Life Update: September 27, 2016

Hi friends!

As you know, from time-to-time, I will post a quick blog about what I’ve been doing and/or projects that I’m planning. Usually when there is a short break in my posting schedule, that means I’m up to something.

And I’m definitely up to something!

I have wanted to get my online store ready for a while now. It has been a dream of mine for over a year, but I never took the time to sit down and make it happen. I thought the mood may eventually pass. Instead, my desire to create an online store has grown! I think it is finally time to make this happen.

I’m still writing blog posts. I have several on the horizon — some in the works with some great sponsors and some that are ready for publishing. But I am also taking some time to create art as well. I am building my inventory of hand-lettered cards and signs, typography/prints, and digital designs. I plan to launch my online store very soon (so please subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive an email as soon as it’s open!) and sell at a few local craft fairs, too. Being an artist means so much to me, and I am looking forward to sharing my work with you soon.

In addition to my artwork, it’s running season again! (I’m an outdoor runner, and train very little during the hot and humid NC summers.) I begin mentoring on Monday with a new group of trainees who will be completing their first 5K in December. I will personally have my first 5K of the season at the end of October.

All that said, you can expect lots of blog topics heading your way. I will have some great fall recipes for you, running tips as we transition to cooler weather, blogs featuring NC Triad businesses, fall and winter fashions, and some holiday DIY projects. I’m on a mission to make this fall the healthiest and most creative yet. I hope you’ll join me!

 

Message Board

Items used:
Old picture frame (16×20 – purchased for approx $10 already painted)
Screw eye hooks – 3/4 in.
Jute twine
Scissors
Stapler
Tape measure
Pencil
Small craft clothes pins


The first thing that you’ll want to do is paint your frame, if you want it painted and it isn’t already. There are several paint options that I recommend. One is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. This paint does not require primer and covers really well. It is also a great paint if you’re planning to distress the frame. It can be a little difficult to find in some cities, however, and it is a bit pricey. Another paint option that is easy to locate, easy to use, and fits almost any budget is spray paint. I love that spray paint comes in all shades and finishes. You can get a high-gloss black lacquer to a glittery bright pink, and even a metallic gold. Your choices are endless. Latex crafts paints are perfect for this project as well.

After your paint has completely dried, place the frame backside up. You will want to measure your frame (For this project, I would recommend a frame that is at least 11×17, if not larger.) Use a tape measure or a ruler to measure the opening of the frame. Consider how you plan to hang the frame when completed. For me, I needed the frame to hang vertically, so I measured the long side. Once I determined that the opening was 20″ tall, I did simple math – yes, even for someone who struggles with math like me – and decided that if I wanted four rows, they would be 5″ apart. You probably do not want your rows less than 3″ apart because you will want enough space between them as to not overlap the notes, memos, or photos that you eventually clip on the message board.

Use your pencil to mark the measurements. Note: I started the first row 1″ down from the top so that there would be enough room to attach the clothes pin to the twine. If you make your first mark at 0″, you will be unable to utilize the first row. Once you have made those marks, screw the eye hooks into the picture frame at each mark. This may take a little pressure, but should not require any tools.

Next, cut strips of twine that are approximately 1/2″ over the outside edges of the picture frame. Tie one end of the twine to one eye hook using a double knot. Then you will want to stretch the twine straight across and secure the other end in the eye hook with another double knot. I tried to keep the twine free from any slack, but I wasn’t concerned about making it taut at this point.

When you finish tying the twine to the eye hooks, used the ends to adjust the tightness of each row. You can do this by pulling the ends and stapling them to the frame. This makes the twine more taut while additionally securing it.

I picked up some small clothes pins at my local craft store (similar to these: http://bit.ly/1Pz58Gp) and added a few to each strand of twine. Now the message board is ready to hang!

This is great for a bedroom, college dorm, office, kitchen, or I put mine by the front door. It’s so easy to use! Just clip your favorite photos, Christmas cards, grocery lists, or any lightweight keepsake to the message board for a quick reminder or fun decoration. You can even change photos often without the worry of removing picture frame backings or having to cut the photo to fit a particular sized frame.

This project can easily be completed in a couple of hours, takes little effort (and supplies), and is very budget-friendly!

 

Hand-Drawn Posters: Helpful Hints on Creating a Masterpiece

As I sat here coloring my poster for an upcoming Open House, I want to share my secrets on creating this masterpiece with all of you!  So here is the scenario – there is an event, school project, or something you need a poster for, and you don’t have the best drawing skills or handwriting.  So you want it to be legible right?  Here is a trick I learned, although I’m not sure where!  You need to have a computer with a word processing program like Microsoft Word, or a desktop publishing application like Microsoft Publisher, or similar.  Once you have decided what you want your poster to say, type one word to a page. Use a large, legible font that is fun or pretty.  Make sure you use black ink only. Color ink will not work for this project.  Before you print the words, reverse the font so that everything is backwards.  On your poster board (don’t use the glossy side) arrange your words where you want them. Take a pencil and trace, or just rub over, the back of the paper like so.

Once you have done the first letter, lift your paper to see if you are applying enough pressure.  You will see a faint tracing of the letter.

Repeat this process until you have finished with all of your lettering.  You can even do rubbings of clipart onto your poster board too.  This is helpful if your drawing skills need a boost.  Fill in your letters and clipart with markers, colored pencils, or crayons.

Here is a poster I did for a fundraising event last summer.  All of it was traced, but it looks like it was hand drawn! :-)   Good Luck and happy coloring!

Shaving Cream

I have recently attempted to make better use of my Pinterest account. In other words, after pinning over 1200 great ideas, I’m finally following suggestions, making recipes, and attempting to learn what is trendy. Today, I decided to make use of all of my toiletry leftovers and try the penny-pinching DIY shaving cream. The recipe, as found on Pinterest, calls for shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, and baby oil.

I made a slight variation of the concoction, hoping to create a similar shaving cream with a delightful smell. I used:

1 cup Suave Milk & Honey Splash body wash
1 cup Suave Almond & Shae Butter moisturizing conditioner
5 T Suave Mango Mandarin body lotion
5 T store-brand baby oil

Using an empty 16oz body wash bottle, I added the conditioner first, followed by the body wash, lotion, and baby oil. Let me suggest a larger bottle. By the time I was adding the baby oil, I was practically out of room and it proved difficult to mix the ingredients by shaking. (I think a 20oz bottle would work better.) Aside from that one small issue, the mixture smelled incredible… like an orange dreamsicle. I could hardly wait to use it.

When I tested it out, there were two disappointing factors. The first is that my mixture ended up runnier than I expected. It was hard to control the amount of product dispensed. I felt like I was being wasteful. And my DIY shaving cream never lathered. (I need lather.) I’m not sure if me altering the recipe is to blame or if those things are common of this product.

The shaving cream did have some advantages though. The smell was delightful, it left my legs feeling extra soft and moisturized, and it allowed me to make use of items I already had in my bathroom that would have otherwise been thrown away since there wasn’t enough of the product to serve its original purpose.

If you have the ingredients in your home, I would recommend trying it out. It may not best suit your needs but it is an inexpensive solution worth attempting.

Name Art

This past Christmas was my sister and her husband’s first as a married couple. I wanted to get them a gift that was a family gift.  Something that would go well in their home and something that could be kept around. I decided on Name Art.  I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures that are taken or cropped to look like letters.  Well, there is a whole site that has different shaped/colored fonts of letters and they are free to download. Click here to view that website.

I chose two recent photos; one was from their wedding.

The other was from a recent family photo session they had done.

Then I chose the letters.  It was really hard at first to choose the right ones but after spending a couple of hours on the first two letters, I finally just picked a random page and made myself choose a letter off of that page.

I meshed them together in Photoshop, did a little fancy erasing and blending, then turned the whole thing black & white. I had the photo printed as an 8×10 at Walgreens.  I framed it in a nice black frame that had a nice double matting, which I bought at Walmart for an inexpensive price.

And this is the finished product – without the frame.

This is a great, inexpensive, personalized gift perfect for upcoming weddings!

 

Jewelry Cleaner

I know we are all looking to save a penny where we can.  This neat little recipe for homemade jewelry cleaner will help with that! I bet you can find all of the ingredients already in your kitchen.

You will need:

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon dish detergent
1 cup water
1 piece aluminum foil

Directions:

1 – Heat water in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.
2 – Cut a piece of aluminum foil that roughly covers the bottom of a small bowl (like a cereal bowl).
3 – Pour hot water into bowl. Place salt, soda, and dish washing liquid into bowl. Place jewelry on top of foil and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse jewelry in cool water and dry jewelry completely with soft cloth. Discard solution after use and make a new batch next time.

This works well for gold-filled, brass, German (nickel) silver, sterling silver, freshwater pearls, shell cameos, and mother of pearl. The solution is safe for you and the environment, but extended exposure can dry out your hands.

Must-Have Organizer for Hair Accessories

If you have little girls that like scrunchies and headbands, then you know the problem of finding storage space for their hair accessories.

Look no further! Today I am introducing you to the Headband/Scrunchie holder.

Supplies:

Scissors

Empty Oatmeal Canister

Scrap fabric

Hot Glue Gun

Ruler

 

Directions:
1. Measure your oatmeal canister’s height, and cut your fabric about a 1/4″ more than that.
(Mine was 9 1/2 inches so I cut the fabric to 9 3/4 inches.)

2. Cut your fabric to fit the circumference of your canister with about 1″ overlap.

3. Line your fabric up to the lip of your canister. Using your hot glue gun, begin securing your fabric to the canister. Be sure to keep it flush with the lip.

4. Once your fabric is glued around the canister, flip the canister over so the bottom is up.  Fold over and glue the extra fabric on the bottom of the canister.

 

5. Place your ribbon flush to the top of your canister and glue the ribbon around the canister.  You can do as many rows as you would like on your canister. Be creative!

6. When finished, wrap your headbands on the outside and throw your scrunchies inside!
What cute storage that you won’t mind leaving out on the counter for display.