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DIY Special Date Personalized Art Canvas

31 Jul
Bedroom Home Décor on a budget.

Bedroom Home Décor on a budget.

One of my goals for this past month has been to put more effort into decorating our home.  Home Décor is just one of those areas I just plain stink at.  We’ve lived in our current home almost 2 years and most of the windows still don’t even have curtains!  (I have an aversion to sewing curtains because it just seems so boring compared to everything else one can sew.)  I really desire to have a cozy home that is a place of rest for my family so I decided to start making this more of a priority.

My plan is to work on one room each month.  This month I worked on our bedroom.  It’s probably the easiest room to start with.  🙂  So far I have switched out my bedside bookcase for the one that had been in the sewing room.  I like it much better.  I also added black sconces on each side of the mirror above my dresser and added candles.  My favorite thing I did this month to decorate our bedroom was to make the above sign.  Can you guess what the numbers mean?  It is the date of our wedding anniversary and no doubt my favorite day of the whole year!  🙂

When I saw this number sign on Pintrest I knew I had to give it a try.  Since all of our walls are white I knew I wanted to paint the canvas first.  (My canvas was 16″ x 20″.)  I chose a light green color that matched our curtains and bed spread.  I gave the canvas two coats of paint.  (Elijah ended up wanting to paint also so I let him paint his own canvas at the same time.)

Since I can’t actually paint anything besides a plain background, I decided to utilize my Cricut.  I thought about making a stencil but then decided to just cut the numbers out of vinyl since I already had some on hand.  (I used brown.)  I used the Plantin’ Schoolbook cartridge for the Cricut and cut 6″ numbers.  I had planned on using the transfer tape this time but cut my vinyl too deep so I ended up placing them on the canvas without the tape.  The numbers 1 and 2 were easy to place but boy did the number 3 and 7 give me fits.  Still I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I also painted a sealer that I had on hand over the canvas.

This project turned out to be very inexpensive!  I purchased a 2 pack of canvases for 3.99 at Michaels.  (I plan on using the other one in baby girl’s nursery.)  I spent 0.54 for paint and had the vinyl, sealer, and paintbrushes on hand.  Total out-of-pocket expense: 2.54!  This may be one of my cheapest craft projects yet.

The hubby seemed to really like it.  (He’s a bit sentimental himself.)  He joked that now he will never forget the year we were married.  Ha, ha!  (I still think he will forget one year but I don’t think he will forget the day because it is also his birthday!)  I would still like to add something to the wall opposite our bed but I just haven’t figured out what yet.  Maybe a wedding picture?  I’m really thankful I was able to devote more time to decorating this month.  Before you know it we will have a little bassinett in there with a sweet little baby.

What sort of home décor do you have in your bedroom?  Has anyone made a photo gallery of pictures of the hubby and yourself?

Crafting with my Cricut: Christmas Time!

30 Nov

The Christmas tree is up and the stockings are hung by the window with care (no fireplace here).  I don’t know about you but the weeks before Christmas put me in the biggest mood for sewing and crafting.  😉  Anybody else feel that way?

Usually I turn to sewing when I am feeling creative.  Earlier this week I decided to turn to my Cricut instead.  Last Christmas I was surprised (& I mean surprised) with a Cricut.  It’s a type of die-cutting machine that can do crazy cool stuff.  Honestly I’m still not very good at using the Cricut but I was so pleased with how this craft turned out I thought I would share.  🙂  I really wanted to create something to remind my family of the Joy of Christmas.  It’s so easy during the hustle & bustle of December to lose sight of the real meaning-Jesus!

So thankful that Christ endured the cross for the JOY set before him. What a great reason to celebrate!

 

First I took a piece of finished wood (purchased at JoAnns) and painted it with two coats of acrylic paint.  I used Martha Stewart’s acrylic satin paint for multi-surfaces.

I used the Winter Wonderland cartridge and white vinyl.  I cut out the “Joy” phrase at 3.5″ and the snowflake at 2.5″.  Then I removed the sticky side from the vinyl and attached it to the wood.  Then I painted the plaque with Poly Acrylic sealer and let dry.  I thought about attaching ribbon but decided that since it is so small I will probably just place it on a windowsill.

A simple way to add some Christmas cheer to our window.

 

Elijah had a wonderful time helping me with this craft but I also wanted to do something special just for him.  I had some leftover vinyl so I cut out a snowman and a couple of snowflakes.  He loved them!

 

What type of Christmas crafts do you have planned?

A Husband’s Labor of Love

3 Sep

My sweet thoughtful husband the artist.

A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through a Ballard Design catalog and saw a beautiful floral print.  At a price of $200 I knew that print was not going to make its way into our kitchen.  So I did what any other wife would do with a talented husband.  I asked him to paint something for me instead.

Hard at work. Notice the canning jars on the table? I was canning pickles while Brandon painted. Sweet memory.

I am so glad that I did!  Not only did it turn out beautiful but it was so fun to watch Brandon paint.  I loved watching him paint each stroke and the expressions on his face.

The painting is on display in our kitchen.  I could not be prouder of my hubby.  Every time I look at the painting it brings a smile to my face in a way that a $500 painting never could.  What a precious labor of love from my husband.  One I will always cherish!  🙂

The finished painting. The photo really doesn’t give it justice.

Mail Box Redo

22 Sep

Our lovely new mailbox.

 

When we bought our house I thought the first home improvement item we would work on would be the mailbox.  Who wants to go out to their mailbox everyday with the previous owners last names plastered against the side?  Well I was incredibly wrong.  It didn’t bother us near as much as I thought of.  🙂 We finally did it though over a year later.  Oh well better late than never right? 

 

Side view.

 

First I lightly sanded the entire mailbox with sand paper.  (I have no idea what kind I just asked what kind to use at the hardware store and bought it.)  Then I washed the mailbox and let it dry.  Next I covered up everything that I didn’t want to be green (post, newspaper box, and flag).  This was the most time-consuming part.  Then while Eli was sleeping I spray painted the rest of the mailbox.  It was so much easier than I thought it would be.  I applied two coats and let it dry. 

After the paint was completely dry (I waited till the next day) I attached vinyl letters my sweet mother-in-law made for me MONTHS ago.

 

This project totally makes me want a Cricut bad! Anyone have one they want to give me....

 

Loving our new mailbox. Sorry there isn't a picture of the before-it was pretty bad. Rust and old stickers peeling off.

Clear the Clutter By Christmas Part 1: Entry Way

16 Sep

Before Picture-Yuck! I cannot believe I let it get this bad!

 

I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What could be better than a season of celebrating thankfulness and the birth of Christ?  I love the festivities but most of all I love the chance to visit and celebrate with family.  What I don’t plan on doing this year is spending every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas working myself to death-cleaning, organizing, making gifts, etc.  How may you ask?  By planning ahead big time!  (We’ll see how good it works.)  So far my goal is simple tackle one area of my home each week.  Clear out the clutter and scrub it from top to bottom. 

Invite your children to clean right along side you! Eli had so much fun!

 

I started my clutter challenge Sept. 1.  The first week I focused on the Entry Way, Front Porch and Coat Closet. 

Coat Closet De-Clutter and Clean:

  1. Remove everything from the closet. 
  2. Wipe down walls, shelves, and sweep floor.
  3. Replace only coats that will be worn this winter.  (We also tried everyone’s coat on to see if any needed to be purchased.  Thankfully none did.) 
  4. Add six extra hangers for guests to hang their coats on.   I also included a few child’s hangers since we often have friends over who have young children.  🙂 
  5. I added a basket for shoes to be kept in and a 3 drawer organizer.  The top drawer holds gloves, second drawer holds mittens and scarves, while the third drawer holds a sheet for the park. 
  6. Add hanging rack to the door.  This is where I keep my baby carriers 🙂 and Brandon’s hats. 

    After Photo: Coats hung, extra hangers added, and games stored on top shelf.

 

Don't be afraid to change-up your storage if it isn't working for you. We used a simple shelf last year and it didn't work at all. This year we are trying the basket and drawers which I think will work much better.

 

All finished! Eli ran into the picture and said cheese. What a ham! Notice the baby carriers hanging behind the door. This is a great place for them-out of sight but very handy.

Clean the Porch:

  • Remove everything from the porch and place in the yard. 
  • Take a broom and sweep the porch ceiling, walls, door, and porch.  Attack those cobwebs! 
  • Wash front door. 
  • Add festive fall rug-Thanks mom!  🙂 
  • Attach fall decorations or wreath-Thanks to my mother-in-law!  🙂
  • Add seating if possible or other decorations.  I added a chair. 
  • Clean windows and window frame. 
  • Replace lightbulbs as necessary.  Clean light fixtures. 
  • Trim bushes. 
  • I still would like to sew a curtain for the window panel by the door.  Something else for the to do list! 🙂 

Inside the entryway:

  • Wash walls and baseboard.  Remove cob webs-hopefully you don’t find any but I did.  🙂 
  • Wash front door. 
  • vacuum and/or shampoo rugs.  Mop hardwood if applicable. 
  • Add decorations to the wall.  I added a family picture frame, cross, and decorative key chain.  Other ideas include a mirror or wall art.  Don’t think that you have to go out and spend money.  Think about decorations in other parts of your home that could be moved around.  🙂 
  • Replace light bulbs as necessary and clean light fixtures. 

    Stand back and admire of all of your hard work. The closet only took 40 minutes to clean top to bottom with a toddler's help.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Finding the Time to Read

12 Aug

 

Since I post book reviews from time to time I am often asked how I find the time to read so many books.  Aside from studying God’s Word, reading is one of my best sources for encouragement.  I cannot begin to describe all of the things I have learned in just the past year through reading.  I’m sure that most of us would agree that reading is important but how do we squeeze the time out of our already busy schedules to do so?  I thought it might be helpful to offer a few thoughts on incorporating more reading into your own life.

  1. Make a Commitment: to read even if it is a small one.  You could either make a goal to read a certain number of books per year or to spend so many minutes per day reading.  During extremely busy seasons of life I may only read 10 minutes daily.  The important thing is just to read.  (I currently have a goal of reading 4 books each month.)
  2. Read Before Bed: I believe I have been reading before bed ever since the days when it was my Mom reading the Little House books.  Even while in college this continued to be a tradition of mine.  It is a great way to unwind and prepare for sleep. 
  3. Carry a Book With You: I purposefully usually only carry a purse that can accommodate a small book inside.  In this way I am able to make good use of my time wherever I am.  It also makes the time pass much more quickly. 
  4. Read While Nursing: One thing that I absolutely loved about nursing  was how much reading I could do.  I read dozens of books while snuggled up close with Eli. 
  5. Guard Television Time: The average American spends 4 hours a day watching television which equals out to 9 years of a person’s life.  Try turning your television off for an evening and reading instead.  I guarantee your evening will be more pleasant. 
  6. Invest in Audi Books: Most local libraries have a great selection of audiobooks on both cd and cassette tape.  I love to listen to a tape while traveling or even cleaning the kitchen.  Just another great way to make better use of your time. 

Read a Variety of Books: I try to read a wide variety of books.  Currently I am reading a nutrition book, job search book, craft book, and a marriage book.  I try to think of all of the different hats I wear and choose books to help me in different areas.  It is amazing what you can glean from the pages of a book!

The Breakfast Picnic

22 Jul

Eli enjoying his breakfast at the park.

 

Yesterday we started a new family tradition: a breakfast picnic in the park.  You see with all of this incredibly hot weather we have not been spending as much time outside playing.  If I’m not careful this can make for a long day for mommy and child.  To remedy this we are now having breakfast and play time first thing in the morning a couple of days a week.  We did this yesterday and it was great! 

Food somehow tastes better when enjoyed outside.

It is great!  Since it is so early none of the slides have heated up yet which makes the park so much more enjoyable.  It is also so peaceful!  I can’t tell you how serene it was watching Eli play while a light dew touched the grass.  I took along a sheet to stretch out on and leaned up against an old tree in the shade.   

What a great way to burn off energy!

We had such a pleasant start to our day.  Eli was able to burn off a lot of energy as I prayed for a while and then joined him to play.  🙂  This can also be a great way to sneak a bit of exercise in for mom.  (We actually walked to the park.) 

If you would like to try your own breakfast in the park here are my recommendations.  😉

Take Along:

  • Food: Muffins, bagged cereal, granola bars, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, fresh or dried fruit and of course something to drink. 
  • Sheet or Blanket: Since I don’t own an old blanket (crazy huh) I always use an old sheet. 
  • Wipes: for those precious dirty little hands and faces. 
  • Book to Read Together or Alone
  • Ball, little Truck to push, sand toys, etc. 
  • Most of these items can even be packed the night before in a picnic basket or large bag.  Then in the morning you only need to grab some drinks and off you go! 

 

All grins after our breakfast picnic.

 

What new or old summer traditions does your family enjoy? 

May Reads

15 Jun

All delightful reading!

 

With the end of my formal schooling I have been diving into books most of my spare moments! 🙂  This past month I have enjoyed some that I would deem excellent! 

  • Home Economics by Jennifer Trontz: I happened across this book from my library and wow what a gem!  It includes all sorts of helpful household tips and advice.  Everything from budgeting, laundry, cooking, making a home, and hobbies.  As I was reading it I just kept thinking wow this would make an excellent wedding gift!  I’d love to have one myself. 
  • Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Timeby Elyse M. Fitzpatrick If you haven’t yet read something by Mrs. Fitzpatrick put it at the top of your to-do list.  God will use her to speak biblical truth and wisdom into your heart.  Her writing is amazing.  I read everything of hers I can get my hands on.  She is right there next to Elisabeth Elliot in how impactful she has been in my own life.  This book was like a Gospel booster shot.  Sometimes I have trouble practically reminding myself of the Gospel each day but this book is excellent!  It is broken down into 31 days with an entry that is only about 3-4 pages.  If you are pressed for time I would urge you to pick this book up!  No doubt this book can be read in a month’s time by just reading 5 minutes a day.  If you pick one book from my list to read may it be this one! 
  • Give Me This Mountain by Dr. Helen Roseveare.  This book tells the story of Helen Roseveare who was an amazing missionary doctor and author who lived in the Congo.  I loved how throughout this book the reader is allowed a glimpse into her own life.  It was nice for me to see a different side of her with her earlier struggles before becoming a missionary.  She almost failed medical school and was almost rejected by the mission board due to her pride.  I highly commend this book. 
  • More With Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre: This cookbook has really challenged the way that I think about food.  The whole premise of the book is to encourage people to eat better but eat less.  I have not yet tried many of the recipes but I am sure they are great.  We will be trying some next week.  My own mom use to cook out of this book so I was excited to get my hands on it. 🙂
  • Sewn by Hand:by Susan Wasinger: This book is filled with cute ideas of small projects to sew by hand.  Now if you know anything about me you know I love breaking out my sewing machine.  The book has excellent directions and step by step instructions for different stitches if you are new to hand sewing or embroidery.  We have a trip coming up this weekend so I think I may just be trying my hand at an Owie Puff boo-booo bag for Elijah.   
  • Large Family Logistics: by Kim Brenneman.  Okay so you might be thinking why in the world did I read a book about managing a large family.  Brandon and I desire to have a larger than normal (2 kids) sized family but I also think that many large families are super organized. They have to be!  This book was excellent.  I don’t think that very much of the book was specific to large families.  Instead it was filled with words of wisdom.  I felt like I was sitting in Mrs. Brenneman’s kitchen having tea as she encouraged me in my homemaking tasks.  My family has already been benefiting from many of the ideas that she shared.  🙂 

Easter Egg Wreath

30 Mar

The Easter Egg Wreath which adorns our front door. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I saw this idea for an Easter wreath which wrapped plastic Easter eggs in yarn.  It’s been on my to do list ever since Valentine’s Day ended.  (I thought it was time for the Valentine’s Day Wreath to get packed away.)  I love how the Easter wreath  turned out but it did take forever!  Next time I’ll wrap the yarn while hanging out with friends.  🙂 

I used about 2 1/2 dozen large plastic eggs and about 2 dozen small eggs. It did take about 4 skeins of yarn.

I used a glue gun to attach the yarn to the egg in the beginning and then wrapped haphazardly.  (I tried wrapping one nice and neat but it didn’t turn out too great.)  Instead of yarn or ribbon I used an old leather purse strap that I had been saving to hang the wreath.  Overall I like the wreath fairly well.  The colors are definitely me.  Reminiscent of my college and seminary dorm room I think.  🙂 It is a great way to use up yarn if you have too much in your stash.  😉

Ants Be Gone!

24 Mar

Grab some borax, brown sugar, hot water and paper towels. The ant war has begun!

Probably the only thing I dislike about springtime is the unwanted ants who think my home is such a great place to live.  A couple of years ago I came across an easy, cheap way to get rid of them without the chemical fumes.  (I’m super sensitive to ant killers.)  Try it yourself and in 2 days I am sure they will all be gone!  (If you aren’t familiar with Borax it is a laundry booster and can usually be found on the bottom or top shelf at the store. 

  • Boil 1 cup of water.  Dissolve 1 T. borax and 1/2 c. brown sugar. 
  • Fold a couple of paper towels and using tongs dip it into the solution. 
  • Place in shallow dishes wherever you have seen ants.   The ants will take the poison back to their friends and share.  🙂
  • Make sure to remove the dishes while young children are present.  (I keep it out at night while we are sleeping two nights in a row and the ants are gone!) 

Their end is in sight.