Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Map Inspired Home Decor

I have always had trouble buying gifts for people.  I really do want to give a gift that shows I put some thought into it and that I care- but most of the time it ends up just being a standard clothing/accessories that has something about it they like (like a sports team or pattern).  It's no surprise that I struggle with this though, being as "receiving/giving gifts" is 5 out of 5 on my Love Languages.  It just doesn't come naturally.

Crafting comes naturally.  I love creating with my mind and hands.  Some people aren't as receptive to "handmade gifts" as I am though so I tend to steer clear of them.  That all changed this Christmas.  As I was searching the stores and racking my brain to find the perfect gift for my mother-in-law (who we think has the #1 love language of gifts) this idea hit me.  It's sort of store bought but with a creative twist.  Easy, meaningful and perfect for anyone on your list (or yourself!) who loves to travel or has loved ones afar.

{Sorry for the poor lighting in the "after" photo.  I forgot to take one until it was being wrapped up!}

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through these links gives me a small commission at no extra charge to you.  Products I link are products I personally use.  Thank you for supporting my blog.

Here's how to make your own:

Step 1: Find some frames/shadow boxes that you like.

I found these at T.J.Maxx for around $5 a piece.  They had several sayings like "family always & forever" , "soul mates" , "best mom ever" and "best dad ever".  It didn't really matter what they said since I was painting over them but I did love the square shape and how they all coordinated together.  The round pieces also stuck up from the background which added dimension.

My MIL lives in Georgia now but her three children reside in Indiana, Florida and Pennsylvania.  I wanted to make something that captured all the places that her heart is scattered across the states.  Oh, and all three kids attended Purdue University so the black & gold colors were fitting!

Step 2: Paint the back or whatever spot you are going to re-decorate!

It took several rounds of gold paint to cover up the black wording, but luckily acrylic paint dries pretty fast.  Just keep doing it until the original design is covered up.

Step 3: Create & apply your vinyl design.

Using your Silhouette or other cutting machine, create vinyl pieces in the shapes of your choosing.  I wanted basic shapes of Indiana, Florida and Pennsylvania.  Tip:  Make sure you measure your shapes to fit inside the space in every direction. I measured side to side and up and down but forgot about making it fit diagonally!  Oops.  I had to re-cut my states!

Position the vinyl where you want it and remove the transfer tape.  Press down the vinyl so it sticks well.

Step 4: Draw hearts in the states using a metallic pen or marker.

You can do this with vinyl or by hand, I just thought it was faster by hand!  Add hearts in the locations where loved ones live, in the state capitol, or in between multiple locations.

That's it!

I love how easy this project was and how personalized you can make it.  I chose to keep the fourth shadow box as it was- saying "Family Always & Forever" but you can make it as small or big as you need.  What a perfect gift this would make for anyone with family out of state or for those who have moved from state to state themselves.

Love this?  Check out my most popular post for another map-inspired DIY!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hand Print Tree Skirt {A Christmas Tradition}

Did everyone have a good Christmas/holiday? Five celebrations later, we are finally settling back into a routine and figuring out where in the world we can fit all of my son's toys (spoiled much?)  This post will be brief but I need to share it with you before you start packing away the Christmas decorations.

It's fast and easy to do and it's a great way to preserve this moment in time for just a little longer...

For years we've had this generic tree skirt.  I've considered making a new one (I love those burlap and red fabric ones that are ruffled!) but as are many of my craft project plans- it gets pushed aside for more pressing projects.  This year it hit me what we should do... and it's way better than any ruffled tree skirt.

Starting this year, I'm adding my children's hand prints all around the tree skirt.  Think how amazing this will be in 18 years when I can look down and compare my almost-adult child's hand print to his sweet toddler one.  I only wish I had started this on my son's 1st Christmas.  Oh well... you live you learn.  That will be one thing that baby #2 will have from the start.

- A basic solid color tree skirt
- White (or green or whatever color you want) Acrylic Paint
- 3D Fabric Paint

Step 1:
Paint your kid's hand.  I found that my son was much more willing to participate when I let him paint it himself and I just filled in any missing spots.

it also made him really happy so that's always good...

Step 2:
Press child's hand onto the tree skirt (or let them do it if they are old enough not to finger paint the entire thing!)

Step 3:
Using 3D paint, write your child's name and age around the hand print.

Step 4:
Set aside and allow time to dry.  In the meantime, let your child go nuts with the paint.  I consider this a reward for playing along with mommy's craft project plans.

Start this project now before you pack away that tree skirt for another year.  After all... they grow so fast, don't let that little hand print slip away!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Put Your Kid's Drawings on an Ornament! [Guest Post]

I have occasionally had guests posts on this blog and enjoy them very much because it helps me to offer you- the readers- a wider range of craft knowledge than I possess myself.  However, I have never, let me repeat: never before reached out to a fellow crafter to guest post without them previously reaching out to me.  That is- until now.  

This DIY project was posted in a facebook group that I am a part of.  I immediately fell in love with the idea and asked Araceli to please share her tutorial with you all.  I think these ornaments are so lovely and such a meaningful personalized gift for anyone on your list (and hello... yourself!)  I also love how versatile they are (she made glitter ones, solid colored ones and even one with plastic confetti pieces in the bottom!)

[Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing items through the links gives me a small commission with no extra charge to you.  Links will take you to the described items to make projects easier for you to complete! Thank you for supporting my blog.]

Now onto this amazing little DIY...
I would first like to say that this is my first blog experience, thank you very much Kelsie.
I just got a Silhouette Cameo this past April and have since learned so much from Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook groups.  I came across a great video on YouTube by Zindee How to make glitter ornaments and decided to give it a try. (Check out the original video here)

A trip to Michael’s and Walmart, my silhouette cameo and vinyl and I was ready to get started. The supplies I used:

- Plastic Ornaments from Michael’s (link is to "disk" shape.  Can also use round.)
- Extra Fine Glitter
- Craft Smart Paint
- Minwax Polycrylic,
- Silhouette Cameo
- Oracal 651 Vinyl

Oh and of course a drawing with a sharpie from my boys, niece and nephews on a white paper. I couldn’t decide what to put on each ornament and then I remembered that I once traced a name and added it to a t-shirt. So hey, it should work for an ornament too, right? I was a little scared that I would not be able to get a good trace from the sharpie drawings, but they came out pretty good I must say.

First I set out my ornament with a cup and followed the instructions on the YouTube video and let them dry overnight. The painted ones don’t need anything else inside, just the paint. I followed the same technique of pouring and swirling the paint inside. The paint took longer to dry.

A few days later, I completed the second step. I scanned my drawings onto my computer, opened my Silhouette software and traced my images. Once my images where traced, I sized them about 2.5 x 2.5 inches to fit on the ornaments. I cut my images, cleaned the outside of the ornament to make sure I had a clean surface and transferred the vinyl.

I did all this while my kids slept. It was a nice surprise for them to see their work on our Christmas tree. I can’t wait to gift my niece and nephews with theirs as they haven’t seen what I did with their Christmas drawings. 

Aren't those amazing?
I absolutely LOVE how simple yet stunning this personalized ornament craft can be!  I have to admit... I'm a little sad that my son is still too young to write his own letters- although he does love to draw "zigzags" so hey... that's a design right?!  Thank you SO SO much Araceli for sharing your crafts with us and for guest posting today.  I can't wait to see what beautiful projects you come up with in the future.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Christmas Tradition You Need to be Doing With Your Kids

I'm sure you've seen the seemingly endless Christmas traditions posted across the internet.  Things to do each year, make each year, gift each year.  There are so many awesome ideas out there- which ones to choose (because we can't do them all)?  Have no fear my friend, I'm here with a tradition that is both easy and useful and you can be as creative with it as you please.  The best part about it?  Your child gets to keep the tradition going as they grow and leave the nest *please excuse me while I go cry at the thought* 

I grew up in a household that cherished those "meaningful" ornaments.  You know, the ones from special events we attended, places we have been, passions we have or even ornaments that remind us of those we love the most (like my boxer dog ornament that reminds me of my late dog Buddy).  My husband is completely foreign to this idea and I'm in shock.  He came into our marriage with a Purdue University Santa, a miniature stocking with his name in glitter glue (from college) and... wait for it... a jock-strap ornament.  I kid you not.

That is why I beg you to start this tradition with your kids TODAY.  Don't waste any time, don't wait until next year and for the love of Christmas, don't buy a jock-strap ornament.

It's simple really.  Here's what you do:

STEP 1:. Think of something important that happened in your child's life that year.  If they are old enough to discuss, let them tell you what they cherish most!

Last year, my little guy took his first flight (actually his first several)!  He was a champ and actually won over about half the airplane with his adorable-ness.  He is such a social butterfly.  I had a little trouble finding a bare wood airplane (I wanted the older looking airplanes because I just think they are more cute) but eventually found this one at Hobby Lobby for under $2!

STEP 2: Design your ornament to fit the details of the occasion (or simply purchase if you aren't interested in getting creative).  I wanted this ornament to have as many details as possible so I first painted it to resemble scenes we might see in Colorado (where we went on his first flight).  The bottom half is the ground and the top half is the sky.

On each side I painted mountains and trees and clouds.  Disclaimer: I am NOT gifted at painting but I'm really proud of this.  I think I was channeling Bob Ross when painting my "happy little trees".  If you don't understand that reference, don't tell me or I might feel old.

Since the ornament is so small, basic designs work well.  No need for tiny details.  This is good news if you have zero art skills like myself.

Hello Colorado mountains!

The dusty little clouds are my favorite part!

STEP 3: Using vinyl and your cutting machine (or letter stickers or handwriting if you prefer) add the final details such as: date, location, type of event, etc.  I also covered the vinyl with Mod Podge to get a better seal so it doesn't peel off through the years!

In this particular shape (airplane) this was the hardest step to accomplish.  I don't know how many times I stuck that date on trying to get it centered and straight, especially with that slanted font!

STEP 4: Have your child place their ornament on the tree every year.  This is a great opportunity to remind them of what the ornament means, a funny story behind it, etc.  When your child grows up and moves away, let them take all these ornaments with them.  That way, they not only have a start on collecting their own ornaments but they have a little piece of home with them wherever they may go.

Don't worry, you'll still have plenty of ornaments from them throughout the years that you get to keep as well!

Looking for another easy tradition to do each year that incorporates this one?  Pack a "Christmas Eve Box" that your child can open on Christmas Eve.  There have been many variations of this online but here's what we include:

1. Pajamas (to wear that night!)
2. Slippers
3. Christmas-themed book
4. Their special ornament from that year

{This was my son's Christmas Eve box last year.  He was just over 1 year old}

What do you think?
Whether you create the ornament for them, involve them in the process, put it in a Christmas Eve box or not- this is a tradition you have to start immediately.  As a 27 year old with years of meaningful ornaments, I promise you that this will be an investment well worth your time. 

This year, I've collected sand from his first trip to the ocean and will be filling a clear ornament with it.  Then of course I will have to vinyl up the outside of the ornament with the details!  What would some of your kids' ornaments look like?