Friday, June 8, 2018

Child's Painting Silhouette

I am SO excited to get back into crafting. I spend a lot of time doing things that are a total waste of time and then long for all my project ideas to be completed.  I know I'm not the only one out there who does this. Am I right? I've made a conscious decision to be better about it and it starts with this project.  Total time it takes: around an hour or two (including dry time).  Total time it took me: about a month.  BUT IT'S DONE. Completing this project has opened the door for me to make time to be creative and to finally start marking off all those projects from my list.

I got the kids involved in making this project extra special but if you don't have little ones at home, it would work with any cutout or painting you'd like. The possibilities are endless!

I love hoarding treasuring the precious artwork that my children create. But my kids LOVE to create so there is a lot. A lot, a lot. I needed a new way to keep their creations without just having more paper lying around.

Then one day I shared this photo that I found on pinterest (there was only a broken link attached to it. I don't know the original creator to give credit. If you do- let me know!) to my craft community facebook page Crafts & Coffee Support Group.  A member of the group commented that it could be made with paintings done by our children and I thought that was brilliant!

{unknown source}

Now I need to point out that my kids would never sit still long enough for me to actually trace their silhouette so I found an easy way to make my own template using photos of them!  That way, they don't have to sit still and I still get the actual shape of their head!

I also took this opportunity to update some boring decor that hangs in our house (stock photos of nature that my husband had when we got married) with something that means a little more.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products you can use for this project. Purchasing through these links pays me a small commision at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog and for helping me to create future projects.]

Here's how to make it:

First, grab some Acrylic Paint and white cardstock paper. Let your kids get creative and paint whatever they want all over the paper.

While the paint is drying (or even while they are painting!) snap a photo of them facing sideways. It doesn't matter if the background is messy as long as it's a good side profile of them. I took these photos at different times spanning a few days:

Next, you need to size and print your photos so that they can be used as a template. I have a terrible printer and didn't want to waste ink on printing the background so I used Picmonkey to erase some of it away. If you have ink to spare you can skip this part ;)


[Using Picmonkey to clean up the background and waste less ink]

1- Open your photo by clicking "edit" on my main screen and uploading your image.

2- Next, go to "overlays" (the butterfly icon) and choose the rectangle shape.  Change the colors to white.

3- Make the white square large enough to cover your entire photo.

4- Using the "eraser" tab in the "overlay" box, start erasing away the white box where your child's face is.  If you erase too much, just click on the little paintbrush next to it and that will 'brush' the white back on. This doesn't need to be pretty or perfect, all we are doing is creating blank space for printing.

5- I suggest resizing at this point so that your entire 'saved' picture is the size you need.  To do this, go to the top icon on your lefthand bar (the 3 lines with the balls. Just a few above the butterfly icon you already pressed) and crop the photo to your desired size.

To figure out what size to make it, measure the inside of your frame. My frame was about 4.5 inches wide so I decided to make my photo a 4x6 to allow a little extra room on the sides.

***Pick back up here if you skipped the editing portion***

Now it's time to print your photos. Open a word document and insert your photos. Make sure to double check that the photos are the size you need them to be (especially important if you skipped the editing section)

Once everything is good to go, print your photos! If you have a terrible printer like I do, don't worry! The quality of the photo doesn't matter because it's only being used as a template.

Now you need to trace the outline of the heads/faces. Using a crayon, marker, pen, pencil, etc. trace along the outside and down the torso slightly.  I had to make a new line for my daughter's torso because it was twisted in the original photo and wouldn't show her chin outline as well if I'd kept it the same. You'll be able to get an idea of how it will look as your outline is drawn.

Cut out the heads. Be careful not to cut off any little noses or lips! The next couple of photos show the backside of my templates because it's easier for you all to see in pictures ;)

By this time your paintings should be dry. Place your templates on top of the paintings to make sure there is enough to fill in the silhouetted space.

Good to go? Great. Now trace along the outside of your template onto the painted picture. 

Carefully cut out the silhouette from the painted paper.  After that's finished, cut some solid colored cardstock (the blue and pink on mine) in whatever size your frame is. It's easiest to do this if you simply trace the backing or mat from your frame.

Using stick glue (that's an awesome deal on them if you go through a lot) or whatever choice of adhesive you desire, attach your painted silhouette to your solid colored cardstock.

If you wish to add details like name and age, do so with extra solid colored cardstock. You can also print directly onto the carstock before attaching the silhouettes (for me it was an afterthought so I had to add the pieces of paper at the end).

Finish it up by putting everything into your frame and hang!

I love how these turned out and love even more that my kids had such a big part in making them! It was total coincidence that my son's painting looks like his face/hair where the colors change and that makes it even more cool!

Thanks for following along. I hope you feel inspired to make your own.  Please join my craft community on Facebook to get inspiration and tips straight to your news feed and please share your projects with me there or on my Facebook page. I love to see how your creations turn out!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Simple Construction Themed Birthday Party

If you are familiar with my blog, you might have seen some of my older posts highlighting the details of my children's birthday parties. For some crazy reason, I like to pick themes that apparently don't exist.  At least on Pinterest- which let's be fair, in the DIY world that's where it's at. Because of that, I love to share the details with you here so that someday when you want that theme for your child's party you will be able to find a few things on the topic.

Wondering what in the world these themes were?
My son's 2nd birthday was "My Favorite Books" (perfect for kids who don't watch t.v./have favorite characters or who love reading).

The other was my daughter's 1st birthday which was a "Little One Big Adventure" theme. That theme by itself is very popular, but I found there was little to nothing out there for a more "girlish" perspective on it.

When my son turned 3 however, he wanted a 'Construction" theme. This idea was EVERYWHERE! I had so many cute DIYs in my Pinterest folder and started to get carried away. I couldn't possibly incorporate every cute idea I saw into the party. So I decided to make it simple. Often times we get a little carried away with parties and themes and we lose sight of what it's about: Celebrating this cool little guy and making it fun for him on his special day.

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links gives me a small commission which I use to help bring you more content. This is at no additional charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

I did create my own special element though (hint, hint, it's a pretty special pinata)... scroll down to see what it is. Read on to see how I went simple to create a perfect party for my favorite little guy:

Is it really possible to have simple decor that doesn't cost much, take a lot of effort and still look put together? YES. Here's how:

Step 1- Theme the food.

It's the only thing besides *maybe* seeing your kid that people actually care about. So get good food and make it fit your theme to add a little extra fun.  Here are some ideas to get you started. We themed the foods for his second birthday party as well (it's easy to do!)

Incorporate dump trucks and other construction vehicles into the food setup to help draw in the theme. We just used some we already had around the house (clean them well before putting food in them!)

Using Picmonkey or even the Paint program, create "signs" that look like they belong on the construction site. Don't forget to include your creative names for foods!

I also made those "Dig In" signs (just printed on cardstock) and taped them to a section from my son's construction themed train set!  Add a few little worker guys and some safety cones and voila! Easy decor.

Print out some "Gas and Diesel" signs for the drinks and they are done...

I'm about to real with y'all. I saw this adorable idea for construction cone cups on Pinterest. You just take tape and wrap it around plastic cups. It SUCKED. The tape is hard to get to lay flat on the curved cup and maybe I'm just not that skilled but I made about 3 of them and stopped. Never again..

To finish up the food area, I put all the utensils in a toolbox we had lying around (my husband is a shop teacher so he had about 5 of these in storage from class projects!) Even though the red didn't match I wasn't about to re-paint it. The black, white and yellow looked great in there anyways!

Again, sign made on my computer & printed on cardstock. Themed wording of course...

Step 2: Decorations

Here's where it gets real easy. Assuming your kid already has some construction toys lying around (and they probably do if that's the theme you went with) your decorations are practically done! Grab some black tablecloths, run strips of yellow streamers down the middle and smack some construction vehicles on there. Boom, done.

We LOVE this CAT construction trucks set (a few of them seen in the bottom right photo). Both of my kids love to play with them and they have held up really well, especially for being inexpensive. (and they are great for little hands).

Of course, balloons and streamers are a classic party decor for kids. And we all know that those cheap dollar store balloons will get played with more than any gift from the party.

I made one final sign for the gift "table" (or in our case, gift fireplace) that says "dump gifts here". Cut up a few streamers and add a garbage truck and you're done. (Okay, a garbage truck isn't technically 'construction' but my son was (is still!) obsessed with this toy so we had to include it. Obsessed y'all.

I also snagged these plastic safety cones and open frisbees from the dollar store hoping to create a fun game of  "ring toss" but no one really played it (maybe if it were outdoors they would have). Oh well.

Step 3- Add cake

Because, what is a party without cake? This is my favorite theme ever to make a cake because its supposed to look bumpy, messy and all dug up! Perfect for someone who can't manage to put together a cake without breaking it (ahem.. me.) Just make a cake, put it together (or don't... like my giant clumps that were mostly frosting), frost in brown chocolate and cover with crushed oreos.

Using more toys as props, set up a simple construction scene. (I recommend buying a cheap set from the dollar tree for this because these toys will get messy. We still kept ours after cleaning them off but just incase you can't get it all clean it's not worth big bucks)

Add a few of these adorable safety cone candles and remove crushed oreo in the shape of your child's age and that's it!

Use leftover crushed oreo to create "mounds of dirt" or to put in the buckets of the toys vehicles.

My son is more of an ice-cream guy than cake but he had a BLAST playing in it after everyone else had their slice.

Okay, and a little before everyone had a slice...

Okay, okay... it was pretty hard to resits playing in all the food with all these great toys around!

Did you see his shirt?

Since we own our own small business that makes shirts, we of course always make our kids their own birthday shirts. Although we do always seem to be making it the day before/day of the party #procrastination #allotherordersfirst  However, if you have a Silhouette or a Cricut you can easily make your own shirts too!

He loves his "Diggin' Being Three" shirt and always tells people it says that when we wears it! (We actually didn't heat press the back design and removed it after the party so he can wear it year round!)

I would love if you followed my small business on facebook or instagram, we have a lot of fun on there & would love to have you!

Last but not least: the pinata! 

This was my favorite element from the party and although the most time consuming, I'm so glad we had it. This was the first time I've ever made my own pinata (Pinterest is full of tutorials) and I think it went pretty well.  I made a round(ish) ball shape, painted it black and hung it from a string on the wall.

I used yellow poster boards and black cardstock and hand drew (Yes, I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm not generally much of an artist) a large crane.  For the brick backdrop I used the thicker foam board and painted it to look like brick. I did this because I didn't want paint from the pinata to come off on the wall. Turns out the 3M I used to hang it up tore the paint off the wall anyways so it probably didn't matter! Oops.

[Very] last minute I thought to print off a photo of my son and add him as the 'driver'. That's why he has lines on his face- because I have a crappy printer. Be better than be, print this ahead of time!

My son was the only one who used the pinata (it was a family only party and no other kids were there when we did it) but he still got to smash something into the wall *without getting in trouble!* and got lots of little treats. I got a really cool decor piece for the party. Win-Win.

What's your favorite element?

I hope you feel inspired to create a simple but well put together party for your Construction themed birthday. At the time my favorite was the pinata but seeing how tickled my son is about the shirt 6 months later, I'm pretty glad we made that too.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Re-purpose a Desk into a Changing Station!

I like to give my husband a hard time (as many of us do with our significant others) but I have to admit: the man steps up every single time I have some furniture based dream in my head. Whether that's a plan for a detailed wall collage, a made-up dresser design (post coming soon) or a baby changing table, I tell him what I want and he somehow magically makes it happen.

And y'all I'm going to be real honest with you. I love this changing table. I love it so much. But I've literally used it for changing diapers about a dozen times between our two children.  Oh it makes my husband so mad. He doesn't understand how awesome it is as a whole that it doesn't really need to be used for changing diapers anyways. Oops. (You never know what kind of a parent you are going to be until you are one, am I right? Turns out I'm a "change 'em on the floor" kind of mom).

So here it is as it stands in all its glory today:

Want to know the story? I'll keep it brief. I didn't love any of the changing stations that I found online or in stores. I honestly can't remember why, but they either didn't have the right kind of storage or I didn't like the color/material, etc. I explained to my husband the kind of drawers I was looking for (some very shallow for small things like nail clippers and diaper creme, others very deep for cloth diapers and receiving blankets) and he suggested that we use this old dorm room style desk that he had from college:

"That's perfect!" I thought, except I don't feel comfortable with the changing pad just sliding around on the top. So what did my amazing and patient husband do? He made a custom top for it that can easily be taken off so that someday we can use this as a desk again if we want! Here's what it looks like (pre-paint job):

It can also be flipped the other way so that the front has a lip on it instead. As you can see in the above and below photos, the wood goes down farther along the outside edges "locking" it onto the desk so that it doesn't slide around.

He made sure to include an open but boxed in area for me to keep things I didn't want to get in and out of drawers every time to use (like the wipes warmer which literally never got used- again, you don't know what you're going to use until you're in it!)  This design is so simple and easy but really hit the nail on the head in becoming exactly what I wanted.

We then painted the top attachment and the original desk in a taupe/light brown color (to match my son's Peter Rabbit Nursery)  Here's how it looked in my son's room (first photo) and then now in my daugher's room (second photo):

{Using a desk also allows you to have the perfect space underneath for a laundry basket or trashcan. We had the tall trashcan for cloth diapers off to the side}

{I can't express the frustration I have with terrible lighting in my house. You'll hear me complain about it in almost every blog post. We have these amazingly adorable nurseries and you can't tell because even my best editing still looks like an old film camera! Anyone else? Commiserate with me!}

What do you think?
Are you sold on the idea of using already owned furniture to DIY your own diaper changing station? Not only are there some more options for styles/design but you've got great underneath storage for baskets AND best of all you can easily remove the top and keep using it long after your babe has outgrown the diaper phase! I'm so tickled that my husband came up with this for us and although I rarely change a diaper on it, it gets plenty of use and love every day!