Thursday, July 12, 2018

Super Shop Shout Out! ['Moldy Goods' String Art Sign]

I'm a sucker for tradition. Overall, I'm a pretty contemporary in my living and thinking but there's just something about the "traditional" that keeps me coming back. One way that this happens is with our wedding anniversary. For those who don't know, every "year" of marriage has a type of gift associated with it and each one has a "traditional" and a "modern" option. For example: Year one is either paper (traditional) or clocks (modern). Year two is cotton (T) or China (M), and so on. See a full list of them here

[photo credit: jhendonphotography]

Because I'm a crfty person, I usually like to DIY a gift for my husband. We don't usually give gifts (even at birthdays or Christmas) so this is my time to shine. I made a Photo Anniversary Map (my most popular blog post ever!) for our 1 year [paper], custom cornhole bags [cotton] for year 2, a travel bag [leather] for year 3, planted landscaping [flowers] for year 4, and we went hiking [wood] for year 5.

But this year- year 6 was a toughie. IRON. My husband doesn't really like decorations and any sort of garden or landscaping sign would just be in his way for mowing. While searching on Etsy I stumbled across this string art design with a barn on it and it all came together! I'd have a sign made for his tool shed! It's decorative yes, but in a special kind of way in his special building. I have experimented with string art before and it's harder than it looks so I opted so hire this one out.

[This is not a sponsored post. I just happened to find this seller online and paid full price for my item. I am blogging about it only because I was so impressed and wanted to share it with you all. If you need a custom sign made, consider supporting this shop!]

I'll be honest with y'all, I was a little skeptical. The seller had just joined etsy and didn't have any sales yet. But her work looked so beautiful that I gave her a shot and I am SO GLAD I did! I chatted with her about what I thought I might want (a sign that said "Tyler's tool shed" and maybe a little wrench or tool on it to add something besides words). She got back with me right away and offered her thoughts. She ended up saying she could cut the wood INTO THE SHAPE of a wrench if I wanted! I was blown away. That was going to look so cool! We continued to chat more about colors and string/nails vs. painted on words. I commented that I need to have something with nails on it because it was a gift for our "iron anniversary" and even though most nails aren't made with iron anymore, I was accepting it as my loophole!

Do you know what she said? She responded, telling me that now she HAD to include at least a few real iron nails just so I could have some iron on it. I had accepted my "loophole" and she was willing and offered to go out of her way to do this for me at no extra charge. She ended up findind some iron hooks and used those instead. Talk about above and beyond customer service! This woman could have just said "that's so funny, what a good idea to get that 'close enough' to iron" but instead she offered ways to make it real for me.

She also took extra time to mix a little black paint in with the red to make it more distressed looking since we were going with that sort of "barn feel".

Her communication was quick, her customer service was exceptional and her work is just amazing. Like I said, string art is harder to do than it looks and she did an awesome job. My husband (who is not easily impressed with stuff like this) was amazed at how she was able to make different fonts out of the nails and string. He said "it's perfect, I love it" (which is a pretty big compliment from him!) Did I mention that she worked super fast to get it done? (she was going to hurry and get it to me before my anniversary but being as it was like 2 days away because I procrastinate I told her to just get it done whenever no rush- ha!) and shipping ended up being about half of what she thought it would be (and about a third of what I had originally thought it might be) so she obviously didn't fluff the shipping up or anything.

Oh, and my kids AND husband really enjoyed popping the bubble wrap she used! tee hee hee #thegiftthatkeepsongiving

I don't think I have ever written up an entire blog post about a product that I have tried that was just stumbled upon, unsponsored; I love this shop that much. If you are in need of a custom sign, don't hesitate to message Koa (shop owner of Moldy Goods) and support her etsy shop. ;)

What do you and your spouse do for your anniversary? Do you make or give gifts? Go on experiences/adventures to celebrate? or something else? I better start thinking about next year's gift already, it's a tricky one too (Copper). Maybe I'll go with the UK traditional gift of Wool and adopt a pet sheep!

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.