Love Story

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Frameless Photos

First of all, how beautiful are my nieces? And how great are these photos (by Small Beginnings Photography)? Really, they need no embellishment. But when I was working on the Magnetic Grocery List yesterday I was left with just the back of a frame and it gave me an idea for displaying these pictures in a unique way.

I started with these supplies:
Flowers, buttons, velcro, ric rac, back of 2 frames, pictures (not shown: ribbon, hot glue gun)
I then began embellishing the outside of the photo. I started with some yellow ric rac and attached it to the corner just by just adding a dab of hot glue. When I got to the next corner I twisted and attached with more glue, continuing on until I had gone around the entire picture.

I then found some flowers and buttons that complimented each other and the colors in the picture {can I just say that I think the pink and yellow combo in the photo is so darling - don't even get me started on the polka dots!}. I hot glued the buttons to the centers of the flowers and then glued the flowers to the corners of the picture.

The last step involved cutting strips of Velcro and gluing them to the back piece of the frame as well as the back of the photo itself. Too simple!

The second photo was the same process only I used ribbon instead of ric rac for the border and just buttons on the corners.
These are probably going to be the inspiration for that empty third shelf in my hutch (see Printing Silhouettes and Glass Jars for what I did on the other two shelves). Couldn't ask for two more beautiful things to display!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Frame to Magnetic Grocery List

The other day as I was trying to find a random piece of scrap paper to jot down the newest "We're out of this" thing that I didn't want to forget on our next grocery trip, I realized that I needed a better system. I think I even spoke that out loud to Jeremy in that moment. And then I went about my week.

Funny how those things get tucked away in my brain and then out of no where an idea hits. I was looking at some frames that I was planning to re-purpose for a project in the boys bathroom when I saw one of the smaller 4X5 frames and was reminded of my grocery list need. About 5 minutes later I had this:
Obviously the red pen on the green polka dot background leaves something to be desired as far as visibility goes, but it will do for now until I pick up some new pens or change out the background.

Either way, this was a super easy solution to my problem. I just put some tissue paper into the frame -you could easily use scrap paper or print off something kitcheny {yup, I am making up my own words now} for a background- and since the back had a stand that was keeping it from being flush with the fridge I replaced that with a piece of cardboard I just ripped off of something already in the recycle bin. Used some strips of magnet along the top and bottom of the back, as well as along the lid of the dry erase pen, and I was done. Doesn't take up much room on the fridge either!
Don't mind the craziness going on around the fridge - that's a project for a different day. Hmmm, that gives me an idea....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Magnetic Dry Erase Board Makeover

This is what I did last night - turned my blah, boring, plain magnetic dry erase board into this cuter, funner, magnetic weekly planner board. This was about as easy as a project as it gets. Truly this takes minimum supplies and very little time. Let me walk you through what I did.

I started with the previously mentioned BLAH dry erase board:
I went through my fabric scraps and found one that was thin enough to still use magnets through and big enough to cover the entire board (you need a little extra to wrap around to the back). After cutting the fabric I wrapped it tightly around the board, hot gluing it into place.

You could use a less sheer fabric if you didn't want to see through it - I like seeing where I can use push pins if I wanted to

I used some pre-cut letters I had picked up ages ago at Michael's and attached magnets to the back to make markers for days of the week.
Continuing to dig through my never-ending craft supplies {such a problem to have, I know} I found some wooden hearts and knobs that my mother-in-law had given me. With a touch of paint and some magnets attached to the back, I quickly created some magnets for adding our weekly events to the board.

Now all I have left to do is make some laminated cards that I can use to write our weekly commitments on using a dry erase marker. Then I can easily wipe them off and use over and over. I may add a pocket to store those in as well. But you get the idea!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Decorating on a dime - Glass Jars

I know it is all the rave right now to create anything and everything with mason jars. But mason jars still cost money and they can be hard to find if you live in a craft savvy area where all the other Pinterest junkies are hoarding mason jars like they are going out of style. I say the truly frugal, green, up-cycle (did I get all the trend words in there?) thing to do is to use glass jars that you already have in your home. The ones that are going to just get put in the recycling bin (or GASP, garbage can) when you are done with them. Spaghetti sauce jars, salsa jars, baby food jars....the list goes on and on. We all have them so why not use them?

I shared the other day the printed silhouette I was using for my teapot shelf in my hutch. The next shelf down I had halfway put together with a wedding picture, some old cameras, and some keepsakes but it was missing something. Totally coincidentally I had just washed out 3 spaghetti jars yesterday not knowing what I wanted to do with them but sure I could find a use. As they sat and dried I remembered that shelf in my hutch and had an idea. In my kitchen above my cupboards are some old jars, milk jugs, wine jars that belonged to my husband's grandparents and great grandparents. Awhile ago I had stuck an old picture of my dad as a kid dressed in cowboy gear on top of a pony (so cute!) into one of the jars and put it back against the other things. I knew I wanted to display it in a more visible place and this is where the hutch shelf came to mind.

Along with the cowboy picture jar I put one of my parent's wedding pictures into a jar to nestle next to my own wedding picture, a black and white picture of my grandma that I treasure into another jar, and was left with one more but knew I didn't want to do any more pictures. I decided to try to put a message into that last jar that could sit sideways on top of one of the old cameras. Here are the supplies I rounded up from what I already had around the house:
grey scrapbook paper, some buttons, cleaned out spaghetti jar, bath salts, scissors and hot glue gun
From that I cut down the scrapbook paper to size and glued on the word LOVE using the buttons. I poured in enough bath salts to fill the bottom of the jar when it was tipped on it's side and slid the love paper into it. I'm not totally in love with this project but it will work for now.

This is what my shelf looks like finished:

Ignore the unfinished shelf below it!
Obviously the project itself isn't revolutionary but really more of a reminder to not be afraid to use what you already have. It is a lot of fun coming up with ways to re-purpose items currently in my possession and it is a lot friendlier on the bank account then constantly purchasing brand new pieces. And I think that my Depression-era grandma would be kind of proud that her picture is now on display in such a cost efficient way. Either that or she would wonder why the heck I shoved it into an old spaghetti jar instead of a nice frame...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bouncy Ball DIY (Alphabet Summer)

It's B day which means we are doing a Bouncy Ball DIY. Bouncy balls are a favorite toy in this house. On any given day you can find all 3 boys crowded in our little kitchen watching half a dozen balls bounce all over the place. I knew that making their own would be a huge hit.

I followed the directions as I found them on Free Fun in Austin. Our ingredients included Borax, clear Elmer's glue, food coloring and craft sticks. Since I use Borax to make my own laundry detergent, I was able to do this project without really spending any money (I had to buy the clear glue but that was about a dollar).

Even though they looked pretty good, this project ended up being a bust. We bounced them once or twice and they started crumbling. Reading up on this more it looks like recipes with cornstarch work better. Oh well, it created a good opportunity to teach the kids that not everything is always going to go as we expect and that it is more important to enjoy the process than the final product. And it gives us an excuse to try it again soon!

Our memory verse today came from Acts. I found this great blog that has scripture verses to correspond with each letter so I will be using that for the rest of our Alphabet Summer.
Jeremy was home today so he and the boys tackled a Baseball Stadium for our Alphabet City structure today. Lots of fun!

We also did two different B worksheets today. One came from and had a butterfly inside of a large B. The other came from and was a color by number of a bat on a B. I am going to try and mix these up and I will keep sharing where I find my printable worksheets so that you can use them too if you want.

Another Alphabet Summer activity is in the books! Want to see what we still have on our list? You can follow our Master List here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Decorating on a dime - Printing Silhouettes

Part of my organization goal for the summer is to refocus the look of each room in our house. To choose something that really reflects us and to purge the rest of it. Being on a budget can make this task feel overwhelming but I am determined to make the most of what we have and be creative with stretching any dollar that does go towards decorating.

One of my favorite new obsessions is making my own "art" {I'm not delusional...what I create can only very loosely be called art} to add something personal and colorful to our home. After seeing this pin, I have started using Google Image and Word to make some simple pictures. By searching whatever object I am wanting along with the word silhouette I can make some pretty cute things. Whether left alone or paired with a saying this has become a quick and frugal way to decorate. And finding a frame is never an issue...choosing from the many I have in my home, dropping by the Dollar Store or Thrift Store, or not using a frame at all are some of the cheap options I have used. I already have a bathroom project in mind where I am going to spray paint some frames to give them new life (getting ahead of myself, I'll leave that for another post).

Want to see an example? We were recently re-doing our hutch display and I wanted to designate one shelf for some of the teapots I have collected. I thought a teapot framed piece would be nice so I Googled an image of a teapot silhouette and chose one I liked. I had planned to print it off on colored paper but found a silhouette that was already done in pink lined with gold so I stuck with that. After transferring it to a Word Document I was able to re-size the picture and add Tea Time to the top. Printed on card stock and added to a silver frame from my stash, I was done. Easy, right? It actually helped me focus my teapot display as well because I was able to choose colors that matched the pink and gold in my picture. Like it?

As you can see, this is one of those DIY projects that anyone can do and that can be made as simple or elaborate as you see fit. You can bet these little pictures will be popping up in all kinds of places in my home.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Under the Sea (Alphabet Summer)

As the sign says, today is U day! The kids woke up and checked the sign to see if we were starting our Alphabet Summer yet. I couldn't wait after their excitement over our master list yesterday so we kicked off the first day of summer by crossing an activity off our list - Under the Sea day.

Next to the locker is their chore list that happens to have a white board on the back so I used that to write the Bible memory verse that corresponded with the letter U. We worked on this throughout our day:
Breakfast was Vanilla Bean Yogurt with Acai Berry Powder stirred in to make it a pretty purple. Banana Bread with a U cut out of it made for fun discussion at the breakfast table.
I printed off some U color sheets from this site and wrote the names of the U items pictured so that they could see them in print. Nathan worked on writing other words that start with U while the other two boys colored.
While I got their next project ready I sent them on a quick hunt for 1 item that started with U (which they relied on Nathan to help them find) and 1 item that could be found Under the Sea (which was perfect for Jordan to lead). They came back giggling with a pair of underwear {boys!} and stuffed shark. This was a great spur-of-the-moment activity that got them thinking and moving.

We then made some fun shark hats that only required construction paper, scissors and tape (inspired by this picture). Easy and provided lots of shark play fun for the rest of the day.
And what do hungry sharks like to eat for mid-morning snack? Goldfish of course!
Those teeny tiny goldfish only keep a shark's hunger away so long so lunch was quick to follow. On the menu were blue scrambled eggs with seaweed and octopus pancakes. The whole time they pretended they were sharks eating an octopus family and growing big from their seaweed. Whatever gets them to eat, right?
While Isaiah napped the boys enjoyed their quiet time with an Under the Sea themed movie - Shark Tales. If only we had Little Mermaid...darn!

We then worked on the first structure for our Alphabet City. This project will be ongoing and incorporate every letter once we are done. Our U structure is an Underground Tunnel. We started with a narrow shoebox and some cans and let our imaginations go wild. Nathan was the Architect, I was the Builder and Jordan was the Decorator. We are excited about the final product:

Helping the glue dry
When Isaiah got up we had Jello Stars and Fish for snack (hard to tell but you get the idea):
Then we created sea urchins out of play doh and spaghetti noodles (inspired by this picture). Let me tell you, I almost skipped this one and I am so glad I didn't. Seriously, this kept all 3 of my boys busy for more than a half an hour. That never happens! They had a lot of fun and at one point all contributed their noodles to Jordan's super-spiky urchin. We will definitely be doing this again in the future!

Jordan and Nathan then decided to write/draw about their Under the Sea day...

Nathan had to take a picture of his story:)

We ended the day with a game of Sink or Float in the bathtub by rounding up some items from around the house and guessing whether each one would sink or float. All in all, today was a fun day and we were all exhausted by the end of it. This is just the start of our Alphabet Summer so be on the lookout for more activities from our list.
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