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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

summer so far

This summer has taken on a little different role that some in the past. Expecting a baby in August, especially one that will require extra time and attention has both hurried us and slowed us down around here. 

In a certain sense, J.B. and I are eager to soak up every last day with Jake as our one and only. Obviously there are things we won't necessarily be able to do as a family once Eliza arrives. And spending a little extra time with him is a special thing for us in that we'll be away from him for a few weeks while she's in the NICU. 

Alternatively, we live in Alabama. 
And I'm 8 months pregnant. 
Helllooooo heat and exhaustion. 
This gal can't exactly go ninety to nothing like she used to. I'm definitely finding myself having to slow down and take it much easier in these last six weeks or so {something I'm not very good at...}.

So I tried to accommodate our summer fun list accordingly.  Maybe doing one or two things a week at most. I think we're doing pretty good so far! June is already over {WHAT?!} and we're about half way there. 

I love all the "big boy" things that have made the list this year. A movie?! Already! J.B. and I voted yes so there are plans to take Jake to the new Minion movie this month. And go karts?! How is he big enough?! Well he is and he loves them. So they're on the list. Let me tell you, it's a good thing I'm getting a new baby to snuggle soon because this kiddo is entirely too grown up for my liking sometimes. 

But man, are we having fun!

I'm excited to shoot off some fireworks this week and be able to spend some extra time with family that are in town to visit.

How is your summer so far? Are you crossing things off your fun to-do list?

Friday, June 26, 2015

hanging canvas art {tutorial}

 I hope you all enjoyed Eliza's nursery tour last week. I'm so in love with the quiet, calming space and can't wait to meet our little lady. 

I've already been asked a few times about the nursery art over her crib.
 Did I make it/buy/where/how/etc?

Well... (you knew this was coming) I made it. 
But don't be too impressed, it was such an easy and inexpensive project!


 - art canvas (approximately the size of the art piece you'd like)
 - some jute rope
 - wooden trim
 - double sided foam tape

First, we took the canvas material off the wooden frame that it came on. I believe mine was a 24x36 for this project. I'd suggest just ballparking how large of a piece you'd like and finding one that is sized similarly.

It should just be attached with staples on the backside. After taking the canvas fabric off the wooden frame, some of the outer edges will be curled under, so just trim that off.

(Technically, you could buy just the canvas fabric in the store, but I found that it only came in huge, expensive rolls, so just nabbing a simple canvas frame that was the appropriate size was a way better solution.)

Once I had trimmed off the bent edges of the canvas, I had my correct proportions for the art piece. I grabbed an 8' thin, flat piece of wood out of the trim department at Lowe's. I had the wood department cut my trim piece in half so that I could get it home (and since I knew I'd be needing it into two pieces anyway). Once I was home and could measure the exact width of my canvas, we recut each half to make sure they were the same size as the top/bottom width of my canvas. 

I loaded the back side of the trim up with double sided tape. 
Also added a piece of jute to the ends of one trim piece. A simple knot on one end, some extra slack, and another knot on the opposite end would suffice as a hanger for the canvas. 

After the tape and jute were attached, I peeled off the foam tape backing and adhered the trim pieces to the top and bottom of the canvas. 
Badda-bing! Ready for action. 

Add any design you like! You can do this before or after you add the trim/jute.
I actually freehanded Eliza's name in pencil then went back with gold metallic paint to fill it in. You can see that it needed a little "umph" even at this point.

I think the tassels are just the pep it needed!

With my only purchases being the trim and the canvas, I created this nursery art for about $10-$15! Not a bad deal for some custom wall art!

To see the full tour of Eliza's nursery, go { h e r e }.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

the app you need... {she reads truth review}

The app you need... How many times do we hear that? And how many apps do we download over the lifetime of our smart phones or tablets? Sure, there are nice apps for banking, photo editing, and scheduling. But Trivia Crack anyone? Candy Crush? Even something silly that compares how much kids look like their parents {for those wondering, Jake's about 70% mom and 30% dad according to this profound science}.

As a bit of minimalist, I make an effort to keep the apps on my devices somewhat limited. But see, even I'm caught up in the latest crazy from time to time.

So in light of all the fluff out there, let me take a minute today to tell you about an app you need, and really really mean it:

Y'all. I can't say enough how fabulous this app is. I say app because that's the main focus of the line, though they do have printed material that supplements all of their online and in-app materials. If I'm not mistaken, they're also working on expanding more into the printed word as well. But I'm focusing specifically on the app today because I have a particular fondness for things that are fabulous and convenient and super affordable or free. 

So tell you more? 

She Reads Truth creates the most lovely women's Bible studies. The app is free to download {yay!} and it starts by providing a full copy of Scripture right there in front of you, with multiple translations. Listed next are all the awesome study plans they have available. Many are free!

As of this exact moment, I've counted as many as 24 study plans available on the app.
Some are topical {the fruit of the spirit, giving thanks, etc}, some revolve around specific people in the Bible {Esther, Ruth, etc}, and some are studies of certain books of the Bible {Nehemiah, Titus, etc}. Several of the shorter studies are free, while even the longer ones are incredibly affordable. As in, less than $3/each. {Have you priced a copy of a great study in a bookstore?? $3 is amazing! And I'm happy to pay that to go towards them constantly updating their app!}

The daily plans themselves are three-fold:
1. Scripture. And not just one measly verse, but a listing of verses for you to study.
2. The study commentary itself. Beautiful, insightful thoughts from the incredible ladies that have partnered up with She Reads Truth. I am seriously finding new perspectives every single day from these writers. 
3. User comments. I don't always go through these, but its a nice bonus to have them there. It's great to see what other ladies are studying or what their thoughts are on the topic.

Some of the plans have bonuses as well. Right now I'm totally digging the Hymns plans, which uses old Christian hymns as a basis for the topic. For each day, there is a hymn and the writer of the study that day is a recording artist that records an acoustic version of the hymn itself. So as I delve into Be Thou My Vision, I can study the lyrics, how its rooted in Scripture, relate it to today, and also hear a new and beautiful version of the song. If you're crazy for the recording, you can even buy it on iTunes to have in your music library! 

It has a little bit of everything: tshirts, mugs, prints {my fav}. Probably the most useful is the additional study materials.  If you're really digging a study that's more long term than a week or so, they have additional study materials you can purchase to supplement the app study. It would be fabulous to incorporate into a group study as well, I'd think!

 - Bookmarks for your favorite verses or study days - Love this because there are some things that just stand out in bold to me. As if I need to wake up each more and read them over and over again. So now I can, easily!

 - A notes tab for you to jot any ideas down about a specific passage or study day.

 - Lock screens! Genius idea and these graphics are so so beautiful. She Reads Truth not only has an entire lock screen section for you to nab a gorgeous graphic to attach to your devices, but all of the plans also have their own tailored graphics that correlate to your study. It's awesome to have that Scripture right in front of you as a reminder or memorization tool.

Nope, nobody paid me to write a review or recommend She Reads Truth to you guys. I just found it to be something that I truly love and wanted to share. Go check it out! 

Or if you're already a She Reads Truth fan, tell me what your favorite study is!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

welcome to eliza's nursery

With Eliza's arrival coming up, it's high time that I share her sweet little space with you.
I had so much fun turning Jake's nursery into something soft and girly. Because so much of the furniture was neutral white, you'll recognize a lot of the big pieces!

And what is it about a new nursery that's so inviting? 
 I could sit in this room all day and just dream about my gal (the super comfy chair helps too!).
So welcome to my new favorite room!

We kept the original changing table and added a soft white linen cover.
I had J.B. make me some wooden boxes to fit into the table shelves to stock diapers, wipes, and all those other changing table must-haves.

Restyled (and happily reused) crib and bookshelves.
I elected to skip the bumpers and quilt this time for a simpler space.

I love using the little IKEA bench as a window seat, and it's served us well as extra storage space for out of season clothes. Next was a pillow and some ruffled jersey fabric hung up in the window to serve as the perfect low cost curtain. Boom, little nook is done.

I have never ever regretted not having a glider/rocker in the nursery. 
This comfy IKEA chair has been perfect for years (maybe too perfect, as you can easily fall asleep in it with a snuggly little baby in your arms). The chair and ottoman got a nice fresh cover (another perk of these pieces), and our DIY bookshelves were reloaded with books from Jake's library.

The dresser area got a little facelift with some fancy new knobs (Hobby Lobby) and some new artwork just for my little lady.

The gold foil pieces on the wall are somewhat tricky to photograph, but their little sheen is just right on the wall. 
(spoiler alert: the floral print one is a $3 gift bag!)

But this sweet print is my very favorite:

There was a ten day time period between when we found out that Eliza was a girl and when we found out that she also had spina bifida. I was on cloud nine dreaming up a girly little space and ordered this print for her nursery. I didn't receive it for several weeks, and by then was so distracted with her diagnosis that I'd forgotten I had ordered it. That moment when I opened the package and saw those sweet words was the sweetest touch on my heart. 

She believed she could and so she did.

I absolutely cannot wait to meet this perfect girl. And I will raise her to know that she can do whatever she sets her mind to, despite the obstacles that might be in her path. 

It seems that J.B. and I aren't the only ones anxiously waiting for Eliza's arrival. This adorable kiddo spends many a morning  "practicing" with her baby toys or looking out her bedroom window at the robin's nest outside. He's declared this to be "the nicest baby room in the world" and can't wait to play with is new sister. Jake is the sweetest!

Thanks for stopping by our little gal's space!
For more on our constantly changing house, swing over to the home tour page.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

debuting the print shop!

As promised in this post, I've been fiddling with the idea of opening a print shop to list several of the designs I've made. Wall prints are one of my favorite things to create for my home {and my requesting friends!}

So finally the Live A Little Wilder Print Shop has been born.
One of my favorite aspects is that the shop is entirely digital. That means that when you purchase a design, its all yours in digital form. You'll be sent the file and you can print and reprint it as you need to. No more worrying about damaging a design or whether or not to trim it down for one space or another. It also means that the costs of a design is way cheaper that it would be if you tried to purchase a physical copy. Personally, this is my favorite way to pick out prints.

 I've added a couple of items to the shop and hope to continue to add more and more each week.
Here are a few samples.


So feel free to jump over to the print shop and browse around from time to time. I'll be continuing to add prints and have sales as I get this bad boy started.
 I also added a quick link right up at the top of the blog page for easy access!

Hope your week is fabulous, friends!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

toddler art tuesday {#13}


Now that Jake out of school for summer, we have a lot of time to do some fun crafts around the house. He looooves to paint - something he must have gotten from my grandfather, who was an actual artist. 

My boy and his watercolors! I tried something new this time and found a neat blank puzzle for him to decorate. Hobby Lobby carried this for $5 (more like $3 with their coupon!)

The awesome thing about water colors is that you seriously can't mess them up!
Jake's little puzzle was all his own doing and look how beautiful it turned out...

{for an adult water color project, check this one out from a last week}

A few months ago, I snatched up this sidewalk chalk paint from the clearance section at Target. I've since seen it all over the place {including a full 8 color pack at Sam's Club}, but we didn't try it out until last week. 

And of course, my tiny Picasso loved this! He thought he was so cool with his own little paint cans and brushes out there.

I'd probably suggest hosing this off if you don't get some rain after a few days.

The downside to the chalk paint is that once you mix the powder with water, it only stays good for a week or two. So mix these up during a sunny week, then hose off the sidewalk when you toss the paint.

For more Toddler Art Tuesday posts, click on the image below: 


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

leather stamped keychain {tutorial}

 I've seen quite a few of these type of leather key chains circulating. Craft fairs and boutiques seem to have them all over the place. I have to admit, I alllmost bought one. But I held off, and boy am I glad I did. 

This thing was so easy to make! And hey, what an awesome, personalized gift idea too!

So jump right in and create a few of these beauties!

Supplies... somewhat minimal. A leather key chain kit and some metal stamping letters. 
I found these leather key chain kits at my local Hobby Lobby for $2.  Ignore the hideous design on the paper. These are untouched leather pieces waiting for your own design to be added. 

My kit came with what is pictured above: the leather piece, a key ring and a rivet set. Perfect.

To start, dampen your leather. It makes it much easier to work with!

Next, I cut my design into the style I wanted. You can totally leave the circle pattern as is! Or maybe create a new shape. For my banner style, I trimmed both sides down, then evened out the bottom, then cut a triangle into the base.

*Note: Hang on to those scraps! You'll used them as as practice leather in a minute!

Then I added my key ring and rivet piece. 
There's technically a tool you can purchase and use to smash the two rivet pieces together, but I just pressed tightly with my fingers. It's holding just fine!

Last, add your personalization! A small set of number/letter stamps will do the trick. I grabbed this set at Hobby Lobby for about $7 {used a 40% coupon FTW!}

The punches are actually a mirror image so keep that in mind as you set up to stamp. Make sure your leather is still dampened and grab a hammer. You should be able to lightly tap the top of each letter into the leather to make the perfect impression. I would definitely recommend using your scrap leather to practice a few letters first. Tap too lightly and you wouldn't make the impression. Tap too much and you'll impress the outline of the letter punch in addition to the letter itself. 

Another trick to make sure your word is centered: Begin with the middle letter and put that right in the center. Then you can go up and down with the additional letters and you won't end up off kilter.  i.e. I started with the "a" in "spare" first to make sure it was right in the middle.

And voila! A simple but super cute new key chain that can be personalized in any way!