Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Decorating Tip #4 {Wall Collage with SIX fun ideas!}

If you've been following along with us over the last couple of weeks you know that I have been sharing design elements that I used in decorating my son's nursery.  If you are new to Cut, Craft, Create, don't forget to catch up on the first and second posts.  Don't worry if you aren't decorating a baby's room- these tips can be used in all rooms of your home or even in your office!

Today's decorating tip is a wall art collage that takes common design elements and fills it with some unexpected details.

There are 6 parts to this design.  You can replace each of these details to fit your room/theme in particular to make it your own.

#1- Word Art (With AMAZING frame!)

I typed up words that I think of when imagining my sweet little boy growing up and experiencing life.  Some of these words were: run, play, dirt, curious, joy, adventure, and explore (my favorite word on there).  I want my child to experience life in all it's messiness.  I want him to explore his world and play in the dirt.  I also included his name to be positioned in the very center of the word collage (For the sake of not having his full name plastered across the internet, I changed it above to "Baby Thumper!"  Thanks photo editing!)

After typing up several of each word in different fonts and sizes, I printed it out on regular paper and cut into strips.  I chose to then tea-stain the paper strips (make unsweetened tea or coffee and then "blot" the paper with a sponge).  This is optional, I just like the look.  Let the paper dry before continuing.

To put it all together I made a backing that fit just inside the frame from a heavier cardstock.  Then using a basic glue stick (found in the scrapbooking or adhesive sections of any store) I stuck all those tiny little paper strips on to the backing.  Put it all together, hang and enjoy!

(Note:  Check out your local thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, etc for inexpensive but beautiful frames such as this one!)

#2- Detail Memorabilia

For my son's Peter Rabbit nursery I opted to hang a "vintage" copy of the Peter Rabbit story with a crisp black frame around it.  The two pieces are not connected in any way.  The frame was hung as usual and the book was hung with a nail just inside the front cover.  I then stuck the front cover to the first page with a few Zots (glue dots) so that the cover didn't swing open but the nail is still "hidden".

For another room, you could use this idea to hang up your grandmother's necklace, a family crest, special ribbons, etc. The possibilities are endless!

#3- Large Focal Picture

I'm not going to say much about this because there are so many examples of this photo on Pinterest- such as this one, this one, and this one (which is a little different but I love just the same).  I wish I would have had my letter blocks to spell out his name across the bottom but ended up using large chipboard letters from my scrapbooking supply (again, I covered his name in this photo)

For a room other than a nursery, make a large print of a favorite family photo, an aerial photo of your home or even just something you like (think: stunning photo of the Grand Canyon, etc).  I recommend Shutterfly for photo prints and they have deals all the time where you can get a 16x20 print for free (just pay shipping).

#4- Inspirational Quote

I made this out of extra foam board I had from my anniversary map (never throw anything away- ha!), cut it to the shape I wanted, painted it with acrylic paint and put vinyl lettering on top.  We actually made this as a prop for one of our maternity photos and loved it so much it became a part of the nursery.

{Photo via J. Hendon Photography}

You could make your favorite quote, phrase or just something fun (like "whip it good" in the kitchen!) in the same way I did, or by creating a wood sign, painting a canvas or even printing on paper!   This one is so easy to personalize and if you find a sign in a store you like, even easier!

#5- Monogram Piece

We've all seen the different ways that these craft letters can be decorated and used.  Many times they are displayed in a nursery to spell out baby's name.  I suggest using only the first letter in a larger collage like this.  It's personalized and sweet without having their name everywhere (especially since his name was already present in a few other design elements shown already).

For another room, simply use the initial of your family's last name.  The year that you got married or some other significant date could be used as well.

{Love the engraved button with our last name? My mom ordered these for me from Pick Your Plum.  It's a company that features a few different items on super sale each day.  They probably wont have these buttons again *maybe!*, but it's definitely worth checking them out!}

#6- Smaller Photo Frame Set

Using some extra 4x6 frames I had on hand, I hung them in a horizontal-vertical-horizontal-vertical pattern along the right side of the collage.  These were all photos from the first few days of our son's life while still in the hospital.  One of just him, one each of him with mommy/daddy and our first family photo (which I looooove!)

It's easy to use this idea in any layout to make a "line" along an edge and bring together all the separate pieces a little better.

{Your Turn!}
Which design element is your favorite?  My son loves looking at the photos of him (#3 and #6) and touching all of the different textures on the wall.  This would be a great project for a large open space in a living room- personalize with family initials, special photos and important family mementos!

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

MAM Pacifier & Pacifier Wipes {Review & Giveaway}

Last week I shared with you my love for my son's crib.  If you missed it, I showed two decorating tips that transformed the space and talked about how much I love watching my little babe sleep.

Seriously though...

Do you notice a trend in these photos?  Adorable baby, sweet little snoozes... and MAM pacifiers!

We have been a MAM family since day one.  Before my son was born I was a crazy lady well informed and did a lot of research.  Everything said to register for a variety of pacifiers, bottles and nipples.  Then I went to Target to set up our baby registry.  In our free products bundle there was a MAM pacifier and MAM bottle.  My son loved both from the start and the rest is history.  Here and there we have tried other brands (after all, I did register for them!) and none of them have stood up to their MAM counterpart.

{Different sizes of MAM pacifiers through the months.  That bunny on the left was his first love from our Target bundle!}

Here's why I like them.  MAM pacifiers:
- Are shaped to fit comfortably around baby's face.
- Have ventilation holes in the design to help the skin breathe under the pacifier (love this!)
- The nipple is designed to be similar to mother's nipple, making this the perfect choice for nursing mamas (this was a huge concern when we introduced the pacifier.  He never had any trouble going back and forth between the two.)
- Come in a SELF STERILIZING container.  You heard me right.  Most people don't realize this and throw it away.  Check out the instructions on the packaging.  It's so easy to use!
- Are super cute!  Some moms love shopping for cute outfits, fun cloth diaper prints or hair accessories.  I love getting new pacifiers.  Every time we need more I find myself digging through the pacifiers at the store trying to decide between all the cute designs!

{This was my favorite design we've had.  It's currently gone missing but I know the little stinker has just hidden it behind something somewhere in this house! It's upside down here but it's a little sailboat!}

Have you heard of the  MAM "Perfect" Pacifier
I hadn't until recently and am bummed that I didn't find it sooner.  Here's what makes it so special:
- It's 60% thinner and 4x softer than regular silicone pacifiers.
- Was developed by Orthodontists & Pediatric Dentists.
It's lightweight & designed with ventilation holes to let babe's skin breathe underneath it.

{MAM Perfect. Love those little fish!}

So what does this all mean? 
It means that this pacifier is better for your little one's teeth!  As a mama of a 12-toother (and counting!) this is the BEST. NEWS. EVER. I'm sure you have heard from "well-meaning people" that pacifiers can cause problems for your little one's teeth.  Because of it's design, this pacifier is made to reduce the risk of misaligned teeth.  LOVE it.  All MAM pacifiers are "ahead of the game" when it comes to teeth & jaw concerns, this product just goes above and beyond!

I'll be honest, it took my little guy some time to get used to the Perfect (because it feels different I'm sure) but because of it's benefits I wanted him to use it.  He still prefers his others but is getting used to it slowly.  This is my only "complaint" about the product and it's only happening because my son loves his regular ones so much!  I do still recommend the product and this advice:  Just keep giving it to them!  It's similar enough to the other MAM pacifiers that they are likely to like it but just different enough that they aren't quite sure at first.  The benefits of this pacifier are worth it.

Are you starting to understand why I love these pacifiers so much?

A new product I tried recently was MAM Pacifier Wipes.

I'll admit:  I'm not much of a stereotypical "first-time mama".  We've all seen the memes about first time parents sanitizing a pacifier every time it falls and then second/third/fourth time parents wiping it clean on their pants.  Yep... the latter is totally me.  I would never have thought to purchase this item but when I was asked to revue it I found out how helpful it can be!

Dirt is good for the immune system- right?  Baby's pacifier falling on the floor in your garage, a dirty public restroom or under the table at a restaurant (wait, are those fries?  We didn't have any fries.) is just gross.  That is where these wipes come in.

MAM Pacifier Wipes:
- Are Non-Toxic
- Use No harsh chemicals
- Are made in the USA (this is a biggie for my husband. We don't even buy dog toys made in China)
- Come in a re-usable package that's small and easy to carry with you.
- Contains Xylitol (a natural plant-based ingredient) that actually discourages harmful bacteria from growing which could lead to tooth decay.
- Can be used for pacifiers, toys, teethers or really anything!
- Are super affordable.  They retail for only $3.99 for a package of 40.

I found them really easy to bring along and they are perfect for those times when you don't have a sink available (or baby needs the pacifier and you don't have time to go find a sink!)

Can't get any better, right?  Wrong! 
MAM is giving away a $25 gift package of MAM Pacifiers and MAM Pacifier Wipes to one lucky winner.  *Go ahead... do your happy dance*

Unrelated to the giveaway/revue, here are a few of our other favorite MAM products I would recommend you try:

We won this toothbrush on the MAM USA facebook page.  They host giveaways several times a week and this was a #toothytuesday item.  I'll be honest- we already had a couple toothbrushes so I didn't think this one would be any different.  Boy was I wrong! This toothbrush is longer than most baby ones and is designed so that we can BOTH hold it.  Now he gets to brush his own teeth but I get to hold the end and direct it in the correct brushing motion so that he can learn and so all his teeth actually get cleaned.  I never would have guessed how much I love this toothbrush.

We also used only MAM bottles in our home.  We have the Anti-Colic design, but I'm sure they are all great.  My boob-loving baby had no trouble transitioning to the bottle when he needed to and back to breast.  Just like the pacifiers, they also are SELF- STERILIZING!  Just add water to the bottom, put the nipple at the base and microwave!  See the instructions that came with your bottle for details.

Good luck in the contest & let me know if you have any questions.  I am being 100% honest when I say how much I love this company.  There isn't a brand I trust more when it comes to these products.

Disclosure:  I received pacifiers and pacifier wipes to revue from the MAM company.  All opinions are my own and any other product comments were strictly from me because I believe in the products.

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Decorating Tip #2 and #3 (vinyl wording and light switch DIY)

I absolutely love my son's crib.  I love the shape.  I love the color.  More than anything, I love watching my son sleep (I mean, who doesn't love watching little babes snoozing?)  Decorating the nursery in the area around the crib was hard for me because I wanted it to be as perfect as that perfect crib.  I knew that the images surrounding the crib would be the last things my son would see as he fell asleep each night (and nap) and the first thing he would see when he woke. Whew... No pressure...

{Yea, he loves his stuffed animals. LOVES them.}

I'll be honest, I started making a baby mobile.  I didn't like any of them in the stores and thought I could make one better.  I couldn't.  That project took way too long to complete and I didn't end up liking it anyways.

Onto what I did make- vinyl lettering and a coordinating light switch cover.  I can't believe how easy both of these projects were and how BIG of an impact they made.  Simple and perfect.  Exactly what I wanted!

I cut the vinyl lettering with my Silhouette Cameo using the font "Great Vibes" and added stars in varying sizes.  The walls in the nursery are textured but after pressing the vinyl on with my fingers it has stuck great!  Everything continues to hold strong months and months later!

As for the light switch cover, I followed these basic steps: (Images pictured in tutorial are from a separate project so I could show you step by step!)

1. Print a photo on regular paper (or use a scrapbook paper that you like) large enough to fit on top of your light switch cover.

2. With the paper image side up, place the cover on top and trace the outline and holes with a pencil. Add a little extra to the outside border to account for the extra paper it will take to cover the "curve" on the cover.  You can always cut it off later if you have too much!

3. Cut out the traced piece- be careful with the small holes! (I prefer to only cut the hole for the switch and just poke the screws through their spots but that's up to you)

4. Cover the light switch cover with Mod Podge- enough to make the entire surface sticky without making it too "goopy".

5. Carefully, place the paper cutout on top of the light switch.  Make sure to press the paper down inside the hole for the switch and around the edges.

{See the little divot where I didn't cut the hole for the screw? I think it's easier this way and you aren't left with a "too big" hole.}

6. Let dry for a few minutes and then finish with a final layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface. 

7. (Optional)  If you want to paint the screws to match, do so while they are removed and let dry.  You only need to paint the heads.

I am *so in love* with this Peter Rabbit light switch cover.  Turns out, my little guy has developed quite the interest in turning lights on and off these days.  My husband and I know the day is coming when he will be able to reach this one by his crib and it'll be all over for our electricity bill!

Are you just joining us?  Head over to last week's post to learn how to make any design on a pillow in under 15 minutes!  Don't forget to join us next week for a GIVEAWAY!

Your Turn!
Do you have vinyl wording around your home?  What are your thoughts on the light switch cover?  I'm addicted to this simple transformation and have done it in my craft room as well (those were the step by step photos you saw)!  Share your projects with us in the comments below!

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Decorating Tip #1 {Personalized Pillow}

As promised, we are rolling forward with new posts and details about the nursery.  But don't start thinking that it won't do you any good to read on if you don't have a baby around.  On the contrary!  Each week design elements, tips and tricks will help you transform any room from "same old, same old" to something special made by you, for you!

This week, I'm showing you how to make a pillow in ANY design you wish... in minutes.  Not 1,465 minutes, like under 15 minutes.  Really. 

First, pick your fabric.  I wish I could tell you exactly what the fabric was that I used but it's just some scrap I have had for years.  Almost any fabric will work for this project unless it's got a lot of texture like a "fur".
Next, measure your pillow form or old pillow you wish to cover.  Add just a shade over 1/2 inch to each side.  Sew along 3 sides with 1/2 inch seam (leaving the fourth side open) and turn right side out.

Now is the fun part.  You can create any design you wish using one of two methods:
(1) Stenciling.  Using a premade stencil or by creating your own (for those of you much more artistic than myself) simply stencil your design onto the pillow with paint. 
--Note:  If you want to be able to wash the pillow- even spot clean, make sure to use fabric paint or acrylic that can be used on fabric!  I would personally recommend this even if you don't plan to ever wash it. 

(2) Heat Transfer Vinyl.  If you have a cutting machine like the Silhouette (or Cricut) simply cut your shape out in HTV and iron it on!  I am more familiar with the Silhouette program but I know that with it you can create ANY design you wish (not just pre-designed shapes).  To create a design that already exists but you don't own (like the Peter Rabbit image on the nursery pillow), in the Silhouette program you can save a photo from the internet and then trace it.  Always make sure to mirror your image if it has words or you want it to face the direction that it was originally.
--Note:  Don't forget to stick your HTV shiny side down on your cutting mat!

I love, Love, LOVE this Peter Rabbit design.  My son's nursery is Peter Rabbit themed and I wanted this pillow to match without being "too busy".  The crisp black lines look so lovely against the natural look of the fabric.  The sort of "broken sketch" design makes me swoon!

To finish it up, slide the pillow form into the case and sew the fourth side up!  I tucked the edges inside and sewed it with a  tight sort of whip stitch (I closed it up while riding in the car!) but you could hide the stitching better or even add a zipper or velcrow if you want to remove the pillow form in the future.

Your Turn!
I would love to see what designs you have in mind for your special home d├ęcor.  I'm thinking of making some for our living room with repeating shapes (like triangles) in a few coordinating colors!  I would love to see photos of your finished projects!

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann