9.16.2014

Easy Way to Update Old Decor with Paint

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Plaid and FolkArt Paint and Stencils. All opinions are my own.
Ughhhh. I'm in a funk again. A house-decorating, ready-to-move-on funk. Can you tell? We moved into this house two years ago with the plan being to build our new forever home and get outta here as soon as possible. It has always been temporary, but I still made an effort to make it feel like ours at the beginning. However, now that we're nearing the home stretch, and the tiniest glimmer of light is starting to shine through that tunnel, finding motivation to do anything with this place is almost impossible. The master bedroom has been my pain point lately. I really want to redo it but it's really hard to spend money on a room when you know you're moving in less than a year (7 months if we're lucky). In an effort to lift my funk and start the bedroom transformation, I started simply and updated a vase using FolkArt Stencils & Paints.

This vase has been in our bedroom/bathroom for years now. It's not all that terrible as-is but it's rather earthy for my current taste. It looked fabulous I tell you back in 2006 when pea soup green and beige were all the hotness. Unfortunately, it just doesn't jive with the navy blue, teal, gray, gold glam vision in my head of our future bedroom. Time to transform.

Supplies:

Step 1:
First I spray painted my vase to make the entire thing a dusty navy color. 


Step 2:
Next, I applied FolkArt Stencil Adhesive to the back of a flower stencil. While the flowers were cute, I really loved how the leaves looked more like feathers to me so I focused on them. And since it's reusable, the flowers may end up in a project for my daughter's room one day.

I applied the glue just around the leaves and waited a few minutes for it to get tacky. 

Then I stuck the stencil right to the vase. It held really well and was easy to reposition when I was figuring out where I wanted my "feathers".

Step 3:
Paint. The FolkArt Stencil Creme is oil based which I found both good and bad. Its really easy to blend and mix which gave me some nice effects. It also dries really slowly so it was a snap to wipe off if I got a smudge or something. On the other hand, the fact that the paint stayed wet so long made it hard to reposition the stencil and add more "feathers" over the ones I just painted. I had to be really careful but if you don't reposition the stencil at all, it's easy peasy.

I used a mix of blue, white, and yellow with a really stiff brush. I also blended on a paper plate before I painted on the vase.

And it looked like this when all 3 were done. Nice and crisp thanks to the adhesive.

Step 4:
Embellish with metallics. I used a copper and silver Sharpie to add to the design but you could also use paint or even another stencil. I just love the way metallic anything looks on navy. Brass or copper studs would look really nice too.

And tada! It might be a small thing, but it's a step in the right direction. Besides helping to move my bedroom from beige and green blah, I've also reused something I already had. You know I puffy heart recycling and cheap. :) I just might have the slightest urge to redo the headboard now. I said might.

For more inspiration and ideas, follow along with Plaid.

9.02.2014

DIY Sharpie Fabric Bulletin Boards

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Office Depot, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirestudents http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
Be honest. How many piles of school projects, and papers, and drawings do have stacked on your kitchen counters right now? I'm saying I have at least 3 rotating piles right now. One pile is the "to keep" art projects. You know, the sentimental stuff–hand prints, the I-love-you-Mommy projects, the newest family portrait brought home. Another is the "some action required pile". The stuff I have to read/sign/return. And the last pile is the "let's keep it long enough so the kids forget about it and I can throw it out" pile. It's true. How many half-colored, ripped-out pages of Anna and Elsa does one family need? In an effort to rein in the back-to-school clutter, I got inspired while shopping at Office Max for supplies, and decided to reallocate a little of it to my son's room. 

As I've mentioned before, my son has bunk beds. The beds came with two cork boards and a dry erase board just under the top bunk. Great idea except he was two when he got these beds and well... I guess the distinction between dry erase and cork just wasn't there.


The cork part was pretty much completely "decorated" on each side (there is another board to the left of the dry erase board in the middle). On top of that, the cork part was so thin that a thumb tack wouldn't stick in it. And certainly not if you were trying to tack a piece of paper up. So really, the cork boards were just colored-on eye sores that served no purpose.

For the last year or so I've been debating re-doing these bunk beds totally. I'd really love to paint them but the work involved in that it a little daunting right now. So I decided to start small and redo the cork boards since they served no purpose currently and were really ugly. Here's a panoramic via iPhone so you can see the whole deal. 


Supplies:
I purchased the majority of my supplies at Office Max and right now you can save $5 off your purchase of $20 or more on Select Newell Rubbermaid Brands (PaperMate, Expo Neon Window Markers, Sharpie, Uni-Ball, & Mr. Sketch) while supplies last. I'm all for a deal.
  • Cardboard
  • Fabric
  • Hot Glue
  • Sharpies
  • Ruler
  • Cork Rolls
  • Scissors


Step 1:
First, I cut two pieces of scrap cardboard out of a box we had in the garage. I cut them to fit just inside the frame of each cork board. Then I covered each piece of cardboard in cork.
A roll of cork is pretty readily available and cheap. I just hot glued it to the cardboard.

Step 2:
Cover each cork-covered piece of cardboard in fabric.The fabric is just wrapped around the back and hot glued in place. I chose a plain white so I could make my own design with the Sharpies.

Step 3:
Sketch out (or print from the internet) a simple geometric print you'd like to recreate. I wanted a simple triangle pattern and planned it out a little first.
Then I measured out a grid on my fabric in pencil. 
And began drawing my lines with the Neon Sharpies. You could do this before the fabric was attached to the cardboard/cork but I think it would be much harder to keep the fabric from shifting.
I really loved how bright the orange came out.
Then I did a dot at each intersection with a Sharpie marker made for fabric. Honestly I really can't tell the difference for this application, but I guess if it were something you were going to wash, the fabric marker would hold up better. I love how crisp and modern it looks!

Step 4:
Pop in your new bulletin boards and kick yourself for not doing this sooner. I didn't actually attach the new boards to the bed because they fit in the frame so tightly you really have to work to get them out. If they were a little floppy I would probably use some sticky Velcro to keep them in place.

And yeahhhh.... you might have noticed I painted the frame of the bed in that area. I couldn't help myself. It's the same blue I used on his suitcase table and I just love it. It ties everything in so nicely now and that's one less piece I have to paint later on when I redo the entire bed. :)

So now I have a place to pin up some school art projects rather than letting them sit in one of my piles on our kitchen counter. He's already moved everything around and added his favorite masterpieces. I've also provided him with some new Neon Expo dry erase markers for his board and if those end up on the bulletin board panels... it's as simple as popping it out and recovering again.

So hurry off to Office Max for some last minute back to school shopping. Weekly savings from August 31st through September 6th: Sharpie Clearview Highlighter 3PK:  $4, PaperMate Clearpoint 2PK’s:  $3, Select Expo Chisel & Ultra Fine 4PK’s:  $2 while supplies last. What back to school projects do you have in mind?

8.30.2014

Chores: Helping Out and Having Fun with Kids + Chore Chart Printable



Whoa. I'm busy people. Really. Busy. I'm in one of those stages where I feel overwhelmed by the amount of "to-do's" that need to be checked off my never-ending list. While I was in a blissful lull for a while at real work, that abruptly ended when back-to-school season reared its ugly head (busy season for the education business and all). Also, my own kids started school again, as well as soccer season. That combo has tuned my evenings into a swiftly moving machine—churning out a well-balanced dinner, a few homework assignments, and clean underwear like clockwork. So between all of the things that have to get done, it's hard to find time for anything else. Cue chores.

Growing up, I never had chores. That's not to say I never had to help out. I emptied the dishwasher, made my bed (occasionally), and picked some weeds once in a while but there was nothing official. No chart or expectations. I just did some work whenever my parents asked me to. My kids, on the other hand, want real-deal chores. They ask for them regularly. I swear. It's either the ages they are at or I struck gold with these two. So we're making it official with the help of our #BigGreenBox from Swiffer and a fancy new chore chart. (Click here and here for the printable chart PDFs).
   

When our box arrived the kids were pumped. To be fair, they practically tackle every delivery person who's truck happens to slow near our house, but this time they were extra excited that they got to open and dig through everything. And I was excited they were excited about cleaning. :)
Swiffer Duster assembly takes quite the concentration.
Then they began madly cleaning everything in sight. Apparently the door needed dusting.
"I'll do in here mom!" While at first I thought this afternoon was going to end up as just something we'll do to pass the time until daddy gets home, they really did clean!
Can you smell the freshness? I really like that you can use the Swiffer Sweeper wet or dry. One very small tool that fits behind the laundry room door and does double duty.

After they tested everything out we came up with a real list of chores a four and six year old could realistically complete. I just tried to think of things that would really help me out and that would make them feel proud as they checked them off their lists. They include emptying the dishwasher, running the Swiffer Sweeper around, putting away laundry, and feeding Fishie to name a few.
Fishie is our goldfish who lives right outside our son's bedroom and is his responsibility to feed. Problem is, when you're four years old, 75% of the fish flakes get in the tank and the other 25% get everywhere else. We've decided to hang the Swiffer Duster next to the fish flakes. Now he feeds and cleans up right after. It's a thing of beauty I tell you and no one has fish flakes stuck to their socks.

After our chore success, we thought about who else would love a Big Green Box as a surprise. My brother and sister-in-law were the target. With 3 kids and 3 dogs, we knew they would appreciate the #SwifferEffect like we did. We came over to visit one evening and I told them I'd be ringing the doorbell with a surprise. My kids are in that mix too... It makes me laugh because kid after kid just keep coming out of the door. haha


Did you have chores as a kid? Do your kids have chores? So far the enthusiasm is still there and the kids are still excited to use their Swiffer Duster and Sweeper. Let's hope I can keep this going so Mama can keep her sanity :)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

8.15.2014

DIY Superhero and Princess Sharpie Plates


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by NBTY through their partnership with Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by Circle of Moms by POPSUGAR to write a post about NatureSmart Vitamins, all opinions are my own.
It's not often that I'm away from my kids. So when I do have a trip that's Mommy-only, things at home are a little weird. Not that my husband can't handle Mr. Mom duty for a few days, but it's just not the same as the real deal (ahem, me) being there. This weekend is one such time. I'm headed off for a few days to hang with my blogging buddies in Atlanta, kid-free. And, since I know they'll be missing me at home (okay, maybe I'm secretly hoping they'll be missing me) I decided to craft up a little surprise for the kids while I'm gone.

Like most little boys, my son is a superhero fanatic. He Hulk-smashes and Thor-hammer whacks several things a day. Same goes for my 6 year old except instead of violently ruining furniture, she wears 12 princess dresses a day and can kick a soccer ball in plastic princess heals like nobody's business. From bubble bath, to clothing, to sheets, to vitamins, it's all princesses and superheros around here, all the time.


So in keeping with their current loves, I decided to DIY some Sharpie plates for them to use at breakfast (since I usually eat breakfast with them) while I'm away. Here's what ya do.


Supplies:

  • Dollar Store Plates
  • Variety of Sharpies

Step 1:
Divide the rim of your plate into even sections. I eyeballed this and used a piece of tape to keep my lines straight. Also, I used a dry-erase marker to make these lines just in case I messed up. But if you're brave, dive in with a Sharpie. Make as many sections as you feel like decorating differently.

Step 2:
Draw a circle to divide the rim from the rest of the plate. I figured it was best to keep the part of the plate that would have food on it free of Sharpie. I used a smaller bowl and traced.

Step 3:
Freehand your superhero or princess designs. I did a quick search online and found really simple icons to represent each of the Avengers and princesses. I basically looked for what would be the easiest to draw. To get really neat circles, I traced coins :)

Keep going! It doesn't have to be perfect. (You can make fun of my Hulk hands now) haha

Step 4:
Fill in the backgrounds. For the neatest look, try as much as possible to keep the marker lines going the same direction.


Step 5:
Bake them in the oven to really set the Sharpie. Most DIY Sharpie fellow bloggers recommend letting the Sharpie set for 24 hours. Then, place the plates in a cold oven and turn it on to 450 degrees (hot!). Let them bake at 450 for about 30 minutes then turn the oven off. Leave the plates in the oven, and let the plates and oven cool completely before taking them out. I still wouldn't trust the dishwasher but that should keep things pretty permanent.

That's it! They're done. Minus a few questionable Sleeping Beauty crowns and Iron Men that look a little bit like scary rabbits, they look pretty good!


So on top of the new surprise plates, they also got new surprise NatureSmart Gummy Vitamins in Disney Shapes and Gummy Vitamins in Marvel Shapes. Every time we grocery shop they either ask for new toothbrushes or these vitamins so I know they will be excited to have not 1 but 3 varieties to choose from in the coming mornings. Just a small simple thing that lets them know I'm thinking about them even if I'm away.

Their favorites at the moment are the Gummy Vitamins in Marvel shapes. They remind me of old fashioned gum drops. The kids love picking two each morning to have with breakfast and trying to figure out what each shape is. They taste great and add a little excitement for them to quick school-morning breakfasts.

And I'm not going to lie... the hubs and I enjoy some sweet Gummy Vitamins in Disney Shapes now and again too. :) It's a nice "treat" I add to our packed work lunches every once in a while.

So I'm going to try and bribe the hubs to take some pictures of their first surprise breakfast complete with new mom-created Sharpie plates and vitamins while I'm away. I'm sure they'll be excited in a half asleep/bedhead kind of way!


Disney Elements ©Disney, Disney/Pixar Elements ©Disney/PixarManufactured by NatureSmart, LLC
©MARVEL Manufactured by Rexall Sundown, Inc.