This year, it seems like our schedule has gotten much crazier with after school activities, church events, and family activities.
To try and keep track of it all -- and make the rest of the family aware of what's going on (instead of the calendar just being in MY head) -- I've been printing a weekly calendar on computer paper and writing in our activities for the week and pre-planning our dinner menus. Then I post it on the refrigerator, which is DEFINITELY the hub of our house. :)
Well, as I'm sure you know, plans and schedules change! So, I did a lot of scratching out, erasing, and rewriting the same things for the next week. But, aside from the scratch outs, the weekly calendar posted on the refrigerator was definitely working for us. Not only did I know exactly what needed to be done to prepare for dinner every day, but I could plan out meals based on the carpool and activity schedule, to make everything a little easier on us all. The system worked....I just needed a more permanent solution that looked nicer and was easier to adjust as our schedule and plans changed.
I designed a basic weekly calendar onto two different sizes of dry erase boards (medium & large). I wasn't sure if the medium version (8" x 12") would be big enough to write all our activities on it, so I ordered both sizes to try them out. The large version is 16" x 22" and would be great for large families with lots going on every week!
I ordered the medium sized version with the basic khaki background, but I got creative with the large one to try out some color matching with our new Sherwin William's paint swatch. I used the hexidecimal value number for our paint color (Worldly Gray #CEC8BB) and just pasted that into the background color. Viola - a perfectly matched piece of decor!
Here's how you do that...
How to Change the Background Color:
Click on the "customize it" button for the product.
Click on "edit" and then "background color" from the drop-down menu.
Next, choose a color from the color pallette or click on Advanced to enter your own hexidecimal number.
Enter the six digit hexidecimal number for your color of choice (which I found for my paint color at the Sherwin Williams web site).
As you can see, it's not exactly the same color as our walls, but it's pretty darn close! This would be such a cool way to perfectly integrate this dry erase board into your own decor.
As far as the quality of Zazzle's dry erase boards, I was overall very pleased. The design printed all the way to the corners, and there is no border or frame added to the board. It comes with a black fine tip dry erase marker that clips right to the front of the board.
The slick finish on the top of the board makes it easy to write on (and easy to wipe off with a paper towel), which is exactly what I was looking for.
It's a pretty low-profile board, only about 3/16" thick.
My only disappointment was that the included "mounting equipment" was just double-stick foam tape in three strips on the back of the board.
I'm sure they stick very well, but I'm *not* confident that they remove easily without ruining whatever it was stuck to, and wasn't about to stick it to my newly painted walls or refrigerator.
Instead, I glued four magnets to the back of the board so it would not-as-permanently stick to my refrigerator. :)
The 16" x 22" version would be pretty easy to put into an open-back frame (which you can have made at any framing shop). Or, you could use something like these if you wanted to mount it to a wall:
After trying out the different sizes for a few weeks, I decided that the medium version was a good size for our family's activities, and it fits nicely on our refrigerator without being too overwhelming.
At regular price, the large version of this (de)Sign is about $40 plus shipping and the medium version is only about $20 plus shipping. Plus, Zazzle offers coupons regularly, so this could really be an inexpensive family organization tool.
I love it! I'm so happy with how my dry erase board has worked out. And now I can stop wasting printer paper on my weekly calendar scribbles. :)
- Would this calendar and dinner menu dry erase board be helpful in your house?
- What size would you get?
- Would you change the colors?
If you like this, you can buy it and customize your own here:
Or check out all of Zazzle's dry erase boards from tons of artists!
I've got to share an awesome blogging tool that I've started using recently called Lazy Linkies.
I love sharing my blog content at linky parties. They're a fantastic way to share my projects and tutorials with new audiences - and they work! My blog traffic has largely increased since I started participating in linky parties.
The problem is...there are LOTS of them, hosted on all different blogs, with different guidelines, on different days, and at different times of the day. They are all great parties to participate in, but I was having a hard time keeping up with which blogs posted their parties on which day of the week, checking to see if the weekly post had gone live yet throughout that day, and trying to remember to check them all. It was taking up entirely too much of my time, but the payoff and traffic I got from each of them was really great, so I didn't want to stop.
Enter: Lazy Linkies. Seriously. Simplified it all, and made it so easy!
Lazy Linkies monitors all of those blogs for me and notifies me when each blog's weekly linky party goes live. Now, instead of manually checking each of those blogs multiple times a day, when a linky party is posted, I'm notified immediately, I go to the post, fill out the form with my newest blog content, and am often one of the first links in the list. So easy. So fast. So wonderful.
If you regularly participate in linky parties, do yourself a favor and try using Lazy Linkies! You'll be SO glad you did!
Since it's what I do and love, I think it's important to do my best to support other mom-based businesses with a handmade twist. So when offered the opportunity to review this adorable little etsy shop called Burlap + Blue, I jumped at the chance.
Burlap + Blue specializes in cake stands, dessert pedestals and home decor with a vintage-inspired feel. And Linda, the shop owner has a great eye for vintage and shabby-chic, as you can see from her blog. She even has some great DIY tutorials:
|Shabby Flower Pillow||Burlap + Ruffles Ottoman||Wood + Felt Buntings|
This particular black and white damask dessert pedestal in her shop caught my eye right away.
It's made from combining a gorgeous patterned ceramic plate and a painted metal candlestick.
Together, they create this beautiful, delicate stand that says "I'm special."
I envision it proudly supporting a gorgeously decorated scrumptious cupcake for a special birthday, tiny little cheese cubes at a party buffet, or a perfectly wrapped little present with a pretty bow. But for today, a few oatmeal cookies will have to do. :) Don't worry, they're yummy too!
Check out some of the other great hand-crafted products that Linda has in her Burlap + Blue Etsy Shop!
How cute are those customized coasters? And the clock? Love it!
I'll bet you'll find a special piece in her store that speaks to you. If you do..use coupon code signsbyandrea for 15% off - expires 3/22/12.
You're welcome. Happy shopping!
Brezina Refinishing Review - Birmingham, AL
My grandparents bought a beautiful set of maple furniture for my mom and aunt when they were young. A dresser & mirror, two secretary desks, a lingerie chest and a set of bunk beds. If there were night stands, I'm not aware of it!
Anyhow, my mom inherited the bunk beds, dresser and one of the secretary desks when she moved out on her own (or sometime in her young adult life), which means that for most of my life, *I* used them as my bedroom furniture.
They'd been beat up, scratched, stained, dented, and even had a LOT of stickers put all over them. But still, they remained sturdy pieces of furniture. We had the dresser refinished as a wedding present when Ben and I got married 11 years ago, and it now resides in Ayla's room. As does one of the twin beds, which has since been painted with white laquer paint.
But the secretary desk that I love so dearly has unfortunately sat in our garage taking up space and collecting dust for 11 years until we were ready to spend the money to have it refinished. We waited and waited and discussed it and stewed over it every time we cleaned out the garage. Finally, this year, I decided it was time to either fix it up and use it somewhere in the house or let it go.
Well, I couldn't let it go.
I knew it would look so great in our kitchen and help keep all the mail and papers at bay that seem to collect on the island. But...I'd only like it *IF* it was painted, not stained. With all the red wood floors in our kitchen, the wood finish just didn't look quite right. But imagine it all painted black...now THAT would be sharp!
Originally I was going to try and paint it myself. That illusion lasted about 10 minutes when I told Ben about my big revelation and he said "you're not doing this yourself." He was right. This desk has an insane amount of nooks and crannies and I'm not known for my detailed precision when it comes to stuff like this. Oh, and I've never done any refinishing before so I have zero experience.
So off to the professionals I went. Brezina Refinishing was recommended to me by a local friend, so I called for an estimate, was not completely shocked by the price, and decided to just go for it.
Brezina Refinishing (Tony Lee)
4915 5th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35222
(Be sure to tell Tony that Andrea Steed sent you!)
I asked Tony for a black satin finish with slight distressing. I was VERY pleased!
He did just the perfect amount of distressing around the edges so that the original wood peeks through. Plus, check out that shiny brass hardware all spiffed up!
He finished every piece of it, inside & out, front and back (since the back is open to our playroom downstairs). It even got three new knobs for the inside drawers (since I was so resourcefully using a paper clip - yikes.
Even the inside shelves have some neat distressing marks that almost make it look like it's *actually* worn down that way.
And the chair looks just as good! Check it out:
Ahh...love it. Working with Tony at Brezina Refinishing was a joy. I would absolutely recommend him for any wood refinishing work. I even got to see some samples of cool furniture he's restored and re-vamped in his workshop and home. He does fantastic work. Plus, I caught him during a slow season, so he was able to have my desk delivered to me only a week and a half after I brought it to him. Unbelievable!
I'm so glad to finally have this desk out of the garage and into the house! Yay!
Next on the bedroom furniture refinishing list -- turning that other twin headboard and footboard into a bench for the entryway. Something along these lines...maybe in a color this time though! I think I'll probably let Brezina Furniture tackle that project too. :)
Finding the Perfect Match:
Boy, do I have a fabulous giveaway for you today! But first, let me show you what arrived last week:
That's a 16" x 20" stretched canvas print of a photo I that took of my daughter and her friends playing "rainy day". I'm so excited about how perfect it's going to look hanging next to a 16" x 20" You Are My Sunshine canvas in my mother-in-law's office:
My mother-in-law counsels young mothers with toddlers and babies and works with families that need a lot of "sunshine" and encouragement. When she mentioned one day that she'd like to have this photo to hang in her office, I began thinking about how I could incorporate it to go with her You Are My Sunshine canvas. Then, a couple of weeks later I connected with Julie Ryan at My Fine Art...and well, the match was made. I knew exactly what photo I needed to have made into a canvas print! And I love how it turned out.
Be Inspired by Canvas Display Ideas:
Now of course, I would love to have several more and just need to free up some more wall-space! How cool would a collage of 6 of these 12" x 12" deep profile canvases look? They're only $30 each, which is a super deal. I'm visualizing a set of 6 canvases: four 12" x 12" canvas displaying a favorite photograph of each family member, one with the entire family together, plus a decorative canvas featuring a favorite quote or bible verse:
The 12 x 12 canvases shown above are actual canvases printed at My Fine Art.
Or, here's some more canvas decorating inspiration for you...I just love how clean and simple a stretched canvas looks and how the style really showcases the photographs:
The six display inspiration examples shown here are from a Google image search for
wall canvas display ideas, and are not image examples of canvas prints by My Fine Art.
Having trouble choosing which of your photos to have printed on canvas? Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing:
- family portraits for a den or living room, to hang over the mantle
- action shot sports photos to decorate a playroom or kid's bedroom
- favorite travel photographs (beaches, gardens, mountains, cities, buildings, etc) to display in an office, kitchen or living room
- wedding portraits or favorite "couple" candids to hang in your master bedroom
- newborn moments or "birth-day" hospital photos to hang over a crib in a nursery
- favorite baby or toddler candids of each of your grandkids
- a princess castle picture for your little princess's bedroom -- (oh, this picture I took at Disney World would make a GREAT canvas print.)
- ahh...so many ideas...so little wall space. :)
My Fine Art Giveaway & Coupon:
So, now that you're sufficiently inspired and itching to have your favorite photos turned into canvas prints, let me formally introduce you to Julie's custom canvas printing business on Etsy:
The talented Julie Ryan from the fabulous "Less-Than-Perfect-Life-of-Bliss" blog is the mastermind behind the business. She will work with you to take your digital photograph and artistic ideas and turn them into one-of-a-kind stretched canvas pieces of fine art in all different sizes from small to HUGE (30" x 40" big enough for ya?). And believe me...there's nothing cooler than seeing your photographs turned into a canvas print! See?
Julie has generously offered to give away a 16" x 20" custom printed stretched canvas to one of my readers! (shipped anywhere within the US). And...she's offering a 10% off discount* through the end of March 2011 - JUST for you guys! So, if you've always wanted a canvas display made from your favorite photos...now is the time! *To redeem the 10% off discount, just contact Julie through her Etsy shop to request a custom discounted listing.
So, go check out Julie's blog & My Fine Art Etsy shop and come back and comment here to let me know what you'd have put on your 16" x 20" custom canvas if you were to win! What are you waiting for? I'll draw a winner on Friday morning, so enter now!
When I received an email asking me if I'd be interested in reviewing some new sets of permanent markers from BIC on my blog, you'd better believe I was interested. They sent me two sets of the new Mark-It Color Collections - ultra fine and fine point permanent markers in 36 colors each. I tell you what, for a girl who loves office supplies and scrapbooking products, it was like Christmas in October!
- writes on nearly any surface, including slick surfaces like plastic, glass and metal
- excellent detail doodling and journaling possible with the ultra-fine tip markers
- fabulous easy-to-use, sturdy storage case
- includes a color available to match ANYTHING
- passes the "eraser test" (draw guidelines w/pencil, write journaling w/marker, erase pencil marks = NO SMEARING! Yay!)
- would prefer a slightly more opaque finish when writing on glass, plastic and other slick surfaces (gel pens or paint pens work better for that opaque finish)
- can wash off of dishes when put in the dishwasher
- Markers Used: Fandango Pink (fine) & Deep Sea Blue (fine)
- Markers Used: Fandango Pink (ultra-fine), Hot Aqua (fine) & Hot Aqua (ultra-fine)
Next, I tackled a holiday-decor project - Christmas tree ornaments. First, I decorated a glittered Styrofoam ball ornament with polka dots, a hand-drawn letter and some ribbon. I knew the Styrofoam ball would be tricky, since it's a textured surface, but the markers did a remarkably good job covering the area and maintaining a fairly precise look.
- Markers Used: Rambunctious Red (fine), Hot Aqua (fine) & Tuxedo Black (ultra-fine)
- Markers Used: Rambunctious Red (fine) & Tuxedo Black (ultra-fine)
- Marker Used: Meadow Green (ultra-fine)
- Markers Used: Woodsy Brown (ultra-fine), Tranquil Teal (ultra-fine), Tranquil Teal (fine), Honey Brown (ultra-fine)
- 36-count BIC Mark-It Permanent Marker Color Collection - Fine
- 36-count BIC Mark-It Permanent Marker Color Collection - Ultra-Fine
- or check your local craft store!