Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wash Your Hands Printable

I think I am turning into a germophobe!  Every couple of years I get a sinus infection that lasts for months.  The best way to beat this disease is to not get sick in the first place.  I also have a son who needs to avoid antibiotics, so I am pretty careful about making sure that switchplates and doorknobs are wiped down.  All fall I have been putting signs on our doors and on the kitchen counter reminding us to wash our hands. 

I bought this chalkboard at a great little store called RodWorks.  The best part about it is that not only can I use it as a chalkboard, but I can slide 8.5 x 11.5 sheets of paper down into it! This is a wonderful little device that I have enjoyed.

I use Chalk Markers on my board.  They write beautifully and wash off easily with a rag and some water.  I had no luck finding them in any retail stores, so I bought my set from Amazon.
Anyway, we all know that once we get used to seeing something, we ignore it.  Consequently, I have made new signs every couple of weeks.  I wanted something bright and colorful for the beginning of 2012, so I made this Subway Art Printable that reminds us to wash our hands.

You can download your free copy HERE.  I printed some full size for my doors and some half size for the bathroom mirrors.  With three teenage boys, reminders are always a good thing.

And here's a reminder to you:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Make-Your-Own Computer Backgrounds

This is a very simple idea, but one that so many people overlook.  I don't know about you, but I spend a LOT of time looking at my computer screen.  I have a large monitor that sits on a desk in my kitchen, so it has impact.  I like to change up my backgrounds every month.  Sometimes I use photos, but lots of time I will just whip something up on Photoshop. Since my New Year's background is only up for a week or so, I don't get too strung out about it.

It's easy to personalize a background if you have a photo editing program. 

1.  Find your monitor size. (Directions for Windows 7)
  • Click on the Windows button in the lower left hand corner of your screen.
  • Click on "Devices and Printers"
  • Double click on the icon for your monitor.  It should then show you the resolution of your screen.  Mine says: 1920x1080p resolution
2.  In your editing software, set up a blank document in the apropriate size.  For my monitor I make the document 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels tall.  I usually set the resolution at 100dpi (which means dots per inch) for backgrounds, but if you are going to want to print your background for any reason, use 300dpi.

3.  Import pictures, artwork files, and text to make something that will be pleasing to you.  I like to include a calendar because I never know what day it is!

4.  I like to save my files to a document folder called "backgrounds."  If you always save things there it will be very easy to change out the backgrounds.

5.  To change your background:
  • Click on the Windows button in the lower left hand corner of the screen
  • Click on Control Panel
  • Click the "Change Desktop Background" in the Appearance and Personalization area.
  • Scroll to the area where you saved your file.  The same folder will pop up automaticaly next time, so that's why it's great to save all your backgrounds in one place.

Not ready to try it yet?  Give these simple backgrounds a try!

New Years Background
January 2012 Background  Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for the use of the birds and snowflake.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Party Hats

I love party hats.  They are so cute and festive.  They can help make any event a celebration!  When you search online, there are lots of patterns that produce tiny hats for small children.  I wanted hats that would fit my teenage children and my adult friends and that could be made out of 12x12 scrapbook paper.  Since I don't have a 12x12 printer, I wanted to make a pattern that could be printed with a regular printer and easily reproduced.  And since I never want to make this pattern again, here it is.

Large/ Adult Sized Party Hat Pattern (print 2)

These are so easy to make!
1.  Print two copies of the pattern and cut them out.  You only need the gluing tab on one piece, so you can just trim it off on the second piece and have a straight line.

2.  Tape the two pieces together to make the pattern.

3.  Use the pattern to cut a hat out of your choice of 12 x 12 paper. 

4.  Curve the hat so that the two straight edges meet.  Use hot glue or some other quick-drying, substantial glue to hold the hat's seam together.

5.  You may want to add some elastic straps or ribbons to help hold the hats on the head.  You can staple, glue, or tie fasteners on.  If you punch holes to tie the ribbon or elastic onto the hat, use some reinforcing circles or extra paper on the inside of the hat.

6.  Now decorate the hats for your event.  Printed stickers, crepe paper, garland, feathers, and paper embellishments can really dress up party hats. These pictures show a sticker that I made with Photoshop and printed several on a full sheet of labels.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Days of Christmas with tags and poems

(***I know this may seem late for this year, but if you can get to a WalMart and a Dollar Store- you will have no problem putting it together!)

I love doing the 12 Days of Christmas for special people who benefit from knowing someone is thinking of them everyday.  But, I wanted to do something different this year!  I didn't want to base it on the song and go the whole pineapple slices for 5 golden rings kind of thing.  I know there are a lot of suggestions across the web, but none of them were what I wanted.  That is not that unusual for me-  I apparently love to re-create the wheel!!! 

This 12 days gift set can be put together for $20 or less. . . or you can add more expensive items.  Most of the items are available at a dollar store.  The first two items are for the first and last days.

Here's how to do it:

1.  Pick your gifts.  You can pick any 12 of the following items.  These items already have hokey poems written to go with them, so if you pick other items you may need to adjust the poems. 
  • Pear scented hand lotion
  • Amaryllis or Paperwhites ($5 at WalMart)
  • A homemade banner or small decoration for the home ($1 at WalMart)
  • Small can of nuts
  • Crossword puzzle or wordfind book
  • Packet of cocoa
  • Candy (Orange Sticks or Chocolate Covered Cherries)
  • Butter Cookies- small can
  • Note pad (I covered $.68 notebooks with scrapbook paper)
  • Scarf
  • Candle or Battery-Run Candle with Timer
  • Bookmark
  • Emery Boards
  • Sugar-Free Candy
  • Hand lotion (if you can't find pear. . .)
  • Sewing Kit
  • Gift cards
2.  Print the hokey poems*.  I have them in a larger font because I usually do this activity with older people.  Cut them out (cut the "This is for a Bookmark" off, too!) and use a small piece of tape to attach them to the item.

3.  Wrap your presents.  Wrap the poem inside the gift.  I love the look of presents wrapped with brown kraft paper (shipping paper) and tied with hemp string or any kind of string, but you can use any kind of paper.

4.  Print the tags*.  You can print them on cardstock and just cut them out or you can print on paper, glue onto cardstock, and add some glitter to dress them up.  I love glitter, so that's what I did.  Plus. . . my new printer can't handle cardstock.  I advise you to punch a hole in the tags and tie them on.  Taping them didn't work nearly as well.

5.  Print the introductory poem*.  There is one for "brown paper packages tied up with string" and one for other wrapping paper.

6.  Start delivery on December 13 and enjoy the fun!  Our family does the 24th as a family and we don't run away when we ring the doorbell.  Instead, we sing a carol and give hugs to our recipient.

PLEASE. . . do not re-post these on your website.  I am happy to have people use them, but I would like to have them come here to download them.  Feel free to share a link!

*To print these items you will be re-directed to  You will have to create a log-in, but it is a safe company.  If you have any problems, please leave a comment.  I make mistakes sometimes!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give Thanks- A Heartfelt Gratitude Printable

Ok.  I have been really busy doing all sorts of things this month, but I don't get around to taking photos of my doings, so then they don't get posted.  So sad.

At the beginning of November I had an experience that led me to create this first printable.  If you are interested in the story, you can check it out at .  This prints in an 8x8 size and I framed it an put it up to remind us to be more grateful.

What If Printable (The picture looks blurry, but the print is sharp!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stenciled Burlap Banner

This summer I made this burlap banner to be an understated decoration for a bridal shower I was hosting at my home.  It is quite large with the top of each "flag" being 11" wide.  I think the flags are about 17" long, because I made the pattern from two pieces of paper taped together.  It has been hanging up for months, but because it was plain, it was not overwhelming.

For my favorite holiday of Thanksgiving, I wanted a little more pop.

I used my little old Cricut machine (longing for the new Silhouette Cameo the whole time) to cut letters out of cardstock.  These letters are 51/2" inches tall because that was the best I could do.  Otherwise I would have gone a little bigger.  I saved the cut letters, but what I really wanted was the part of the paper that was left over.  I cut between the letters and used regular old masking tape to hold the template onto the burlap.  For the middle sections of the B and D I used a glue stick to hold the paper to the burlap. 

I haven't stenciled for an age, but it is not rocket science.  I didn't have a stencil brush, but any large brush with fairly resilient bristles will do.  I mixed some orange paint with brown to get this burnt orange color.  I used acrylic paint.  Goes on easily, is cheap, and dries well.

I highly recommend holding down the paper as you move around the stencil.  Use an up and down dabbing motion to apply the paint.  I wanted full coverage, but don't use too much paint.  The paintbrush should be fairly dry.

Be aware that the paint will go through the burlap, so make sure that you are working on a safe surface.  I have quartz countertops that are virtually indestructable, so I don't bother to put paper down.  Once the paint is dry, carefully peel off the tape and the paper.  I added these sparkly leaves because I have a glitter addiction! 

I left the two end flags blank, but when I take this down on Wednesday to take it for a display at a ladies meeting, I may stencil leaves or something onto those other two flags.  Time will tell!

For such a simple project, it sure makes a big statement in my home.  We are so blessed that I wanted to remind myself and my family of that fact everyday.  You can use any phrase such as Give Thanks, Gratitude, or Be Grateful to spruce up your home for Thanksgiving.  Or this is a great idea for any event that needs some celebration. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DoorMat Redo

We have a "man door" into our garage.  Since we have lived in the house it has been used and abused.  I had used Advantage hooks to hang a wreath at various times, but since the four gentlemen I live with are not always gentle when entering and exiting the house, it had been broken.  Generally there is some random item stacked by this door.  For about a year a dehumidifier sat in this corner.  Dehumidifiers are not hot items here in Utah, so there it sat.  I'm not sure where it is now.  But, I digress.

Last month I finally got fed up with my nasty looking door way.  I painted the door.  I DO NOT recommend spray painting a garage door for a couple of reasons:
  • It is hard to paint evenly with spray paint.  As Papa C says, "There's nothing worse than a bad paint job."
  • To paint a door you generally have to have the door open.  Spray paint cans emit a fine spray of paint- about 10% does not land on the project, but on those items nearby.  In this case, the overspray landed on my beloved black Toyota Prius.  It did not come off in the carwash, but it DID come off with a nice buffing from an orbital buffer.  (Papa C was really not impressed with me that day, but he never gets mad!)
Anyway, I jumped back to my senses and painted the door using exterior gloss latex paint and a small door roller.  It looks much nicer.  Especially the back side that had never been painted.

Next I added this old chair, which I spray painted it in this awesome green. (On the front lawn- far away from vehicles or anything else paintable.)  I am loving green right now. There is no seat in the chair, so I can put a plant pot into it, but I also cut a piece of plywood and painted it so that I could place items on the chair.

Then there was the door mat.  I know, I know.  It's a doormat.  But, when I am driving into my garage space, I see this door, so mostly I wanted it to look better for me. This is a mat that I bought at WalMart a few years ago.  I went looking for a new one, but I couldn't find anything I really loved and I was feeling cheap.  I used acrylic paint to brighten up the worn mat.  To be honest, I didn't think it would work very well (so I wasn't too concerned about color choice), but it was easy and this is how it looks after a month of regular wear.  (Complete with dryer lint for your viewing pleasure.)

So, I may re-do it with some bright Christmas colors in a month.  If it isn't covered with snow!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Glittered Pumpkin Candelabra

I got the urge to do something different in my dining area this Halloween season.  One day the idea popped into my head to put pumpkins over the lights.  The hardest thing about this project was finding these "old-fashioned" pumpkin buckets.  I finally found them at my local Walgreens for $1.99 a piece.  I had already measured my lighting fixture to know how much space there was between the individual "candles" and how tall the bucket needed to be.  I almost always have a tape measure in my large purse, so I knew that these would work before I bought them.

The first thing that I did was to drill the hole in the bottom of the pumpkins so that they would slip over the lighting fixture.  I used a 1" paddle bit on my hand held electric drill and it was super easy.  Messy, but easy!

I decided that I wanted to apply glitter to the pumpkins.  I used a set of  Halloween micro-glitter from Martha Stewart that I have had for at least two years.  They have fairly large jars, as far as glitter goes.  In a bowl I mixed a about 1 part black glitter with about 4 parts orange glitter.  I spread Mod Podge onto the pumpkin with a sponge utility brush.  It works best if you do small sections at a time and only work in a up-down motion.  Sprinkle the glitter over the glued sections and then move on.  I avoided the black parts until the end when I used a paintbrush to cover those areas with glue and then put black glitter in those areas.

I absolutely LOVE how the pumpkin candelabra looks glinting in the late afternoon sunlight.  I did learn a few things though:
  •  I think that the project would have been just as good (and better for the perfectionist) without the glitter.  It is very hard to apply a perfectly even coat of paint, so there are variations in the amount of glitter in different areas of the pumpkins.
  • This project used a LOT of glitter.  I needed another bottle of orange because I was getting skimpy on pumpkins 4 and 5.
  • You may want to get different light bulbs.  I was not happy with the regular lightbulbs, so I purchased white night light bulbs and I love the eerie glow.  Plus, I don't mind leaving it on as a spooky night light.
  • I really was not pleased with the lighted result on the first night that I created this project, but their imperfection has grown on me.  Everyone who has been in my house has loved them.

Printable Vintage Fall iPhone Backs

Last April I stepped into the Apple craze with an iPhone.  I immediately started looking for a clear case because I wanted to "scrapbook" the back of my phone.  I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, but I did find a clear-ish case that I have been using.  In the last month or so my case has been driving me crazy because it had taken on a yellowish tint.  It just looked old and yuck.

Today I was at Best Buy and the iPhone cover area just happened to catch my eye. I bought a new, truly clear phone cover.  I wasn't happy about the price of $29.95, but I was feeling a bit splurgy and it came home with me.

I recently acquired some vintage images, so I decided to make them into little phone backs.  And why not share them?  The only thing that I didn't do was mark the opening for the camera.  Each case may be a little different, so the best plan is to trace the hole and carefully cut it out with an Xacto knife.

Vintage Fall iPhone Backs

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Simple, Changeable Art with free printable

The MudRoom view, complete with Clark

We have lived in our home for almost 8 years.  That doesn't sound like that long, but with three boys and two dogs running around, we have sustained some damage.  One of the hardest hit areas in our house is the MudRoom.  It is that area just off the garage that collects backpacks, shoes, coats, and basically anything that should go back to the garage. . . but hasn't yet!  I also had my recycling bin in the MudRoom. 

I really wanted to do a complete re-do and put up beadboard, but I chickened out.  I would love to put in a cushioned bench, but it would be in the way of the central vac, so I went with a simple paint job.  I just spackled the walls like crazy to deal with holes and dings and re-painted the original color.  I may still paint an accent wall, but I love so many colors that I cannot settle on one!

Anyway, I wanted there to be a happy, inspirational feeling when we come into the house, so new artwork was important.  I think we still need the magnet board that used to grace this space, but it will be getting a makeover, too! (Coming soon!)  Several years ago (yeah, years) I bought these four frames.  They were unfinished wood and I have just kept them out in the garage.  I guess they must have been on sale- I have no idea if I had a project in mind when I bought them!

To paint the frames, I first put a light coat of brown on the edges.  Nothing fancy, but I knew that I was going to eventually sand the edges and I wanted some depth.  Then I painted two coats of white.  I used plain, old acrylic paints that I bought from WalMart.  My goal is to use them up so that I can justify buying some of Martha Stewart's new paint line.  It looks fabulous!!!   After the paint dried I lightly sanded the edges with a sanding block.  I may go back in a few days and distress them some more, but it is a lot easier to take off more paint than it is to put it on, so I wanted to live with it.

For the art, I had bought some beautiful papers from sei a few weeks ago that I have been excited to use.  I wanted a quote to kind of tie things together.  I found out a few days ago that a friend of mine has pancreatic and liver cancer.  Not a good prognosis- in fact, she may choose to forego treatment.  Those situations always make me think and I thought this quote would help me keep things in the proper focus.   For my project the frame openings are 8x8, so everything was cut to that size.

If you like the quote, please feel free to download it in either orange or green.  All the design is original work by me, so there is no copyright infringement.  They are in 12 x 12 format, but you can print them smaller if you need to.

Life is a Gift- green Download
Life is a Gift- orange Download

I have really been debating whether I should leave the wrought iron decoration black or if I should paint it white.  I feel pulled towards white, but I have a lot of iron in my home so it feels more connected by leaving it black.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Lewis wanted equal time.  He's a sweetie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cardboard Flowers

We had received a gift card to Sears and we finally decided that what we needed was new plates.  Sears carries the Country Living brand which has some beautiful patterns.  I was tired of plain white, so this is what I chose.

When I started unpacking my new treasures, I discovered that they were separated by these cardboard pads. 
I immediately thought that they looked like flowers and decided to recycle/upcycle them, but it took me a few months to get around to the project!  In the early summer I was on a purple/green kick (I have purple carpet that I absolutely LOVE in my family room.) and I made this decoration for my mantle. 

Almost everyone who has come to my house has commented on it, so here is how I made the flowers.  I think you could do this with die cuts or any other circular shape.

You need some base shapes, two or three colors of paper, some scrap fabric and some embellishments.  You will need a glue stick or some spray on glue, hot glue gun, rough nail file, ink pad, and an Xacto knife.

You will need to glue the paper onto the base shape and then cut around it.  I use a regular old cutting board and an Xacto knife.  After I cut around the shapes I like to smooth the edges with the rough nail file.  It works like a sanding block, but is small enough to get into all the cracks and crevices!

Because I was using a lighter color paper, I chose to ink the edges for some depth.  When I use dark paper, I like to leave the edges sanded for the opposite effect.  I use these little Cat's Eye stamp pads by ColorBox because they are small, inexpensive, and work really well.

Once you get both layers done, use hot glue to secure them together. 

The middles of the flowers are where you can get really creative.  Here are a few ideas:
I used several layers of heavy felt cut in free hand circles and secured with a lone button.  I did actually stitch through all the layers because I wanted the edges to stick up a little.  It looks better in person than it does in this photo.

For the all-button look I threaded each button with some thin jute before hot gluing them onto the middle of the flower.  No actul sewing involved here.

This is the free hand circle again, but it looks totally different with different fabric.  I just love this burlap!

I used a background circle of burlap here with a paper medallion on top of it.  It takes two strips of accordioned paper to get a circle.  I hot glued everything down.

I used a hole punch and jute to connect the flowers together.  I have Advantage hooks on my mantle all the time, so it is easy to switch out banners for different seasons or events.  They are even strong enough to hold my Christmas garland up!  A few strips of burlap completed the shabby look and I just let the ends of the jute hang down.

EZ Peach Cobbler

OK.  This blog is NOT about perfection.  If I always waited until something was perfect, I would never get anything done.  I say this like I am a pro, but this is a struggle for me.  So, here is a real life post.  No pretty bowl.  No fancy setting.  No fancy directions.  Just life.

Confession- I really don't like to cook all that much, but I do like to bake.  But I hate following directions.  I do not measure ANYTHING when I make a cobbler, so this is an estimation.  Give yourself the permission to be creative and give it a whirl.

My wonderful neighbor, Sonya, brought me some peaches on Monday.  What an awesome treat!  I just HAD to make a cobbler.

EZ Peach Cobbler

Fresh Peaches (cut in slices- enough to fill this 8x8 pan about 2/3 full)
Tapioca (a light sprinkling on top of the peaches- maybe a teaspoon or so)
You may want to add some sugar.  I didn't because the peaches were sweet. . .and I am on WW.


Oatmeal (About 3/4 cup)
Whole Wheat Flour (Or regular flour.  About 3/4 cup)
Brown Sugar (About 1/2 cup)
Cinnamon (About 1 tsp)
Melted Butter (About 1/4 cup. . . half a stick)

Mix all the topping ingredients together and then sprinkle it on top of the peaches.  Cook for about an hour at about 350 degrees.

Here's the most important part:  Just do it.  It's easy.  Not messy.  And enjoyable!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Pillow Cover

This is my little pillow project that I did this afternoon.  It was prompted by two events.  The first was that I learned a cool new technique to print on fabric and the second was that I finally painte this chair my favorite, cheery green color.  I just love spray paint.  This is Rustoleum, which is one of the easier paints to use because it has a larger spray button.

I had a 14"x14" pillow form, so I decided to cut one piece of my fabric in a 15.5" square and then I cut two pieces that were 15.5"x11".  Those pieces will make the back.  I just used scissors since rotary cutters have been outlawed in my house since my DH got stitches because of one.  (He doesn't know that I actually do have three. . . I just don't use them often!)

Here's my favorite part.  I cut a piece of fabric to 11.5"x8.5"- the same size as a normal piece of paper.  I cut a piece of freezer paper the same size.  I ironed the fabric onto the shiny side of the freezer paper and it went through my HP Inkjet Printer!!!!  How awesome is that???  I ironed the result to stabilize the ink after I peeled the freezer paper off.  A little trimming, and this is the result.

I laid out the printed fabric onto the decorator fabric and pinned it down.  I didn't do that the first time and ended up picking out all my stitches, so take my advice and pin it down.

I used a zig zag stitch on the widest setting to sew the two piece together.

Then I turned over one edge (15.5" side)  of each of the two back pieces.

I quickly stitched the edges of the back pieces.

Now we have to put it all together.  The front of the pillow goes face up.  Then I put a ribbon on so that I could tie the pillow to the chair.  The back pieces go on face down- with the hemmed edges in the middle.  Then sew around all the edges.

This shows all the layers sewed together.  I clipped the corners so that they would turn better.

Turn the whole thing right side out and stuff the pillow in.  Voila!  A cute little custom pillow that is esy to change for seasons.