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Thursday, January 19, 2017

currently {january}

If we were to grab coffee together, this post is basically what I'd be bringing to the table. Outside of teething babies, planning what to do with my almost kindergartner next year, and the ongoing talk of our family searching for the perfect accessible home, these are the other tidbit you'd hear. 

So pull up a chair and warm mocha latte!

I've been on an audiobook kick lately. I've been so busy and there is exactly zero time to sit down and read a book. But if I have an audiobook on my phone, I can play it while I'm doing my three thousand errands or whatnot around the house. And surprisingly, I can fly thru books this way! Not so great for my wallet, but fantastic for my book list! 

Lately I've finished... 

All The Light We Cannot See - So wonderful! WWII historical fiction.
Secrets of a Charmed Life - Loved this one! Another WWII historical fiction novel.
Truly Madly Guilty - A typical Liane Moriarty novel with a twist. Not my favorite of hers but I saw it thru.
The Last Days of Night - A totally random choice on my end, but this book was great! More historical about the lightbulb patent lawsuit between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse (yes, I realize that makes it sound like the dullest book in history, but I promise, its great!)

Bible journaling! 

Is this something any of y'all are into? I got a journaling Bible for Christmas and had had a great time with it so far! I love spending the creative time designing a page and committing that verse to memory. 

There is so much wonderful inspiration out there!

via  /  via  /  via  /  via

Interested in hearing more? I plan to do a post on this soon!

Y'all might have seen on FB or IG that my girl got her new wheelchair this week! 
So exciting that she has the opportunity to get around anywhere and everywhere!

I feel like I'm so late to this party, but...

Yes, I'm a total cliche stay-at-home-wear-my-leggings mom, but a Lularoe consultant friend of mine sent me the best ever box of clothes! It had several gift items for Eliza to grown into and some great leggings and tops for me! Since then, the introduction has blossomed into a slight LLR obsession. 
I'm a big big fan of their leggings, Irma shirts, and Cassie skirts. I just can't get past how comfortable the always are! Even to a really nice company dinner, I was able to pull off a knotted top and skirt and feel like I was in my sweats (well, minus the heels...).

 I seem to snag either the ultra plain, classic items or the crazy fun prints. Not a lot of middle ground here. Three pairs of black leggings sit in my drawer right next to UFO's, sunglasses, sandcastles and rocket ships.

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, of course. And y'all know this mama loves her some sweet little Valentine's Day goodie bags! 

Because of the overload of candy, I seem to aim for a not so sweet treat to bring a little balance to the Valentine pile. Here are a few of Jake's Valentine's from years past...

{circa 2016 - original post HERE}

{circa 2015 - original post HERE}

{circa 2014 - original post HERE}

So our fourth year of school Valentines us upon us and I'm excited to come up with a fun little goodie for all of Jake's buddies!

I hope there are books to read, new obsessions to follow and fun things on the horizon for you to plan this January as well!

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

farmhouse canvas sign {diy tutorial}

A few weeks ago, I posted my new W piece on Instagram. I adored it and couldn't wait to show off how perfectly it fit into that space. I also may or may not have confessed how many W letter pieces I had in my house.
The answer is 39 for those interested in how far gone my sanity is... 

Since then, I've had several requests for a how-to. Of course! Because is there anything better than the clean, simple farmhouse look? Are there people left in the world that don't love Fixer Upper's Chip and Joanna Gaines? I think not. 

So today's project is for a fun, custom piece that you can create yourself, without dropping a huge amount of cash at Waco's Magnolia Market. 

This tiny W today is no comparison to the oversized letter I created originally, but that's the beauty of this project. Create whatever size and print design you want! Big, small, simple, complex - do your thing! Or snag a tiny canvas like this to get your feet wet before you dive into a tougher design. 


- canvas
- wood trim*
- black acrylic paint for text
- light brown acrylic paint for glaze 
- brown acrylic paint for frame
- a couple small paintbrushes
- power sander or sandpaper
 - a couple finishing nails or wood glue

*I snagged my trim wood from the lumber department at Lowe's. Look for smaller cuts section and you'll find some 2' and 4' length, 2" by 1/2". Just snag however much you need to cover all four sides. You might even consider asking them to cut it down to the right size for you! If you're cutting the wood at home, just lay the wood around your canvas and trim down the pieces to outline it. 

I keep basic paint supplies and colors in my craft stash. And since my hubby has a sander/sandpaper in the garage, all I had to nab for this one was a canvas and the wood trim. I'm doing an 8x10 this go-around (2 canvases for $6 at Hobby Lobby). That puts me at around $7 for this project! 

You'll start by deciding on your design! The simpler the design, the quicker and easier to execute. This W (and my larger one) were both fast projects. My next piece (a longer Bible verse) will take a little more time because of the detail and number of small letters. 

Design your artwork on the computer and make sure it's completely scaled to size. This is pretty simple for an 8x10 - draw an 8x10 rectangle and put my W inside. For larger pieces, I set my art board at the exact size of my canvas and created my design, but printing was a bit different since it was larger than a standard sheet of paper. I printed sections of my design out at a time and taped them together. This does not need to be pretty! So feel free to conserve ink (see how I printed only the outline in a pale grey below) and patch things together! The design simply serves as a pattern to trace!

Once you have your design ready to go, flip over the sheet and rub over the outline of your design with a pencil. This is the same old tracing trick I've used in projects time and time again. 

When the back is done, place your design down on the canvas, right side up. Secure it with a couple of pieces of tape to keep it from sliding. Then trace over the outline of your design with a pen - directly onto your pattern sheet. 

The pressure of the pen onto the canvas will transfer that lead on the backside right to your canvas! The end result should be the perfect outline on your canvas! 

When the outline is complete, you're ready to fill it in with paint! I like to think of this step as a subpar job. Remember that a farmhouse look is a little aged and shabby. I don't want my paint to be perfectly drawn or completely filled it. So don't stress over getting it just right. 
While you've got the paintbrushes out, go ahead and give your trim pieces a coat of the brown. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect and filled in.


Painting completed? Now let's rough it up! Grab your sander (or sandpaper) and take to the canvas. Some sanding onto the design should dull down the painted area. Tackling the corners and edges should even pull up a bit of the canvas to reveal the wood underneath.

Work here until you're happy with the end result. Then give a little elbow grease to the trim pieces so they look aged as well. It might sound intimidating, but with a power sander, this step takes me less than five minutes and makes a world of difference. 

The last step for your design is to glaze the canvas. For me, the clean white canvas looks a little too bright, nice and new. So I mixed a dab of cream colored paint with water for a glaze.

Brush this super runny paint horizontally onto your canvas. Wait 20 seconds or so and then gently wipe it off with a paper towel. The glaze paint should show well on the distressed portions of your canvas and give some aged texture to the rest of it. You can apply and wipe off until you get the look you want.
Its tricky to show this slight difference in photos but you'll definitely notice it in person. Use your own judgement!

Last, we'll add the frame! To be completely honest, I handed this off to J.B.
Isn't he a gem??

But he applied a little bit of wood glue and then used a few small finishing nails to hammer the sides directly into the canvas on each side.

I like for my canvas to sit at the front of the frame and leave the lip on the backside.
But I know some folks prefer it the other way around. Do your own thing here.

Happy with my finished product! This design was a simple one. Now I'm ready to move on to a big bad design with oh so many letters!

 I like to think Joanna would be proud!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

farewell 2016!

There was a bit of an unintentional break from blogging this Christmas season. It wasn't planned, but sometimes life just works out that way. I spent Christmas enjoying my family though, so no regrets. 
Well, maaaaybe I would have rather been blogging when E was sick and ralphing all over everyone. Otherwise, no regrets...

And here we are! The end of 2016! 
Guys, I'm just now getting good at writing "2016" on my checks. 
Yes, I'm the only person still writing checks.

And since I'm also a sentimental oaf, I can't start misprinted the year on my important documents before seeing out the final days 2016 and celebrating the highlights.

Here on the blog, the two most popular posts of the year have both been two great DIYs:

(For what it's worth, I've built a second organizer to accompany the first. Same old wood hinged into a square frame with chicken wire in the center. Perfect for the clip hair bows!)

I'd have to say that my favorite moments on the blog are sharing my kiddos' birthday parties. Its always a huge highlight! Jake turned four this year with a race car party and Eliza marveled in her first birthday with  a sweet ice cream sundae celebration.

(for more parties and kid fun, pop over to Jake and Eliza's page)


And my print shop also had a great year!
I'm so thrilled that it hasn't been a bust!! ...Can I say that? 

The top print sales have gone to:

 Thanks for all the love and encouragement this year!
I surely do love this little space that I can call my own and my outlet to share life with you!
Cheers to 2017!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

watercolor ceramic mugs {diy tutorial}

Looking for a DIY present idea this holiday season? 

It seems like every year, I'm on the hunt for a new project to gift folks with. If done well, a handmade gift can be some of the most precious things a person gives and receives. 
Who is it going to? Will they use/enjoy this? Is this going to be tossed? Ha! - All good questions to pose with handmade gifts. 

And every year, some project catches my eye and makes its way under my tree. 2016? These watercolor mugs!

Beautiful, no?
 How about also inexpensive, quick and easy!

: :  Materials  : :

  - ceramic mugs
 - nail polish of your choice (two colors for a multi tone look!)
 - polish remover
 - towel
 - deep dish or bowl
 - toothpicks

Notes: Avoid super quick dry polishes. They dry too fast for this project. Also, don't use a bowl you're overwhelmingly attached too. A throw away would be perfect, but I used a plastic tupperware one and cleaned it afterwards.

Start by making sure any stickers or tags are removed from the mugs
Hint: Check the bottom! And hot water removal FTW!

Next fill up your bowl with room temperature water and set it over your towel. 

Prepare your work area. This project requires you to move quickly through the steps and you don't want to be hustling around for supplies while your paint dries.
 - Lay out a couple of toothpicks within reach.
 - Fold over a couple paper towels as a place to lay your mugs to dry after the fact.
 - Remove the brush tops from your polish and set aside.

Quickly, poura few drops of the polish (or two) into the water. You want it to sit on the surface and spread out. 

As soon as its poured, grab you toothpick a gently swirl the two colors together a bit.
Make sure your polish isn't globbing together! If it globs, pour the water out and refill. Your temperature might be too hot, or you might not be moving quick enough and your polish is drying.

Then gently dip the mug down into the water and pick it right back out. The polish color should cling to the side of the dipped area like watercolor! 

I usually hold the mug over the bowl for a few seconds to allow any water to run off, then flip it upside down and lay it on my readied paper towel.

Depending on the state of the water and any reside on the surface, you may or may not need to rinse out your water for the next mug. It doesn't have to be fresh water, but you don't want any leftover gunk hanging out on the surface. If it looks clean, feel free to pour more polish and go again! 

I let my mugs air dry for at least 24 hours. Probably also wise to add a "hand wash only" tag if these are a gift since they won't do well in the dishwasher.

And voila! Handmade and beautiful gift!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

our christmas book advent

I love advent countdowns.
 The decorative ones are so pretty and the ones for kids are just down right sweet. But confession - I've never really had my life together enough to fully pull one off. Even this decorative one from a few years back didn't come together until halfway through the month. And it was more a sweet little art piece than anything else. 

But this year will be different!
This year it's going to happen!
 How, you ask?

When a friend mentioned wrapping up a single Christmas book to read each night, I practically jumped for joy! Books! We read those each night! Christmas books! We have those too! Wrapping? So I can satisfy my kid's itch to open a gift too?? This is everything!!! 

So the books... I decided I'd go from December 1st to the 25th. So 25 books was the magic number. 
I knew we had our share of Christmas books because I keep a box of seasonal books and DVDs tucked away. I was really surprised to find 16 of them in there! We had all the classics. The Grinch. The Night Before Christmas. Rudolph. And several fun ones too! 

 I snagged a couple on a quick trip out the next day and then scored a few from my mom (a teacher!) to finish out my stash. The great thing about this is if you think it thru, you can use borrow books and even really inexpensive Golden Books. I also wanted to make sure I had several about the real Christmas story, since that's the true reason we celebrate. 

When it came to setting them up for Jake to read each day, I also decided that I didn't want my selection to be completely random. I wanted to have a good variation throughout the days, and even a few specific books on a handful of nights - my most special nativity story on Christmas Day, the classic Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, etc. So I decided to tag the books with a number. It brings the countdown and advent full circle as well! 

Ever the DIY efficienado, I was going to make the tags myself. But I stumbled upon the cutest, simple free set from Simple As That. Hellllloooo, my beauties!

{snag these H E R E }

The icing on top was the wrapping paper.
Jake was pretty dismayed last week when I bypassed the outer space Santa wrapping paper for some simple kraft paper with gold foil trees. And I felt a twinge of guilt for wanting my sweet neutral Christmas tree to look perfectly aesthetic with its packages and bows underneath.

But now! Now I had a reason to toss three rolls of Santa on Saturn into the cart!

I can't wait to start this Thursday night!

I think I'll also be pairing this bedtime ritual with this special advent coloring book. It includes a part of the nativity story each day and the Scripture reading that coincides. Perfect for reminding us of the Christ's birth each night!

Is this your year for an advent? There's still time!!

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