Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Frame w/ Scrapbook Paper

The second item that I “face lifted” was my chalkboard. I bought my chalkboard at Hobby Lobby for $12. I have had it hanging in my living room for over a year and while I loved the idea of it (chalkboard “art” – having a large chalkboard on the wall that I could decorate with seasonal messages and inspirational quotes), the frame left little to be desired… 

I bought some scrapbook paper from the craft store (about $ .50 per sheet at Joann’s or Hobby Lobby) and I bought some smooth molding from Lowe’s (under $10). Just like I did with the mirror project, I measured the length that I wanted the pieces, got the molding cut to size (thanks again, Dad!!) and then this time, instead of painting the molding, I glued the scrapbook paper on! You can buy “Modge Podge” from the craft store, but I had white glue and I mixed that in a bowl with water until it looked like milk. I cut the scrapbook paper into vertical strips that were wider than the width of the molding. Then I took a paintbrush (I used a sponge-y brush) and my glue mixture and I “painted” the scrapbook paper and the top side of the molding (as opposed to the flat, underside) and carefully placed the paper on the molding. 

Because I cut it into wide strips, I was able to wrap it around the molding so that it would stay in place a little better! Just pay attention to any pattern that your paper has – mine was toile (my favorite!) so I wanted to make sure the pictures would all be right-side up – I didn’t want to have anyone hanging upside down! I used my hands a lot on this project – to smooth the wet, glue-y paper down on the molding, to wrap the paper around the edges – it was a tad messy! I did this inside, at my kitchen table, but I covered it with a large garbage bag first, to protect it from the mess! When the paper was adhered to the molding, I gave it a final coat of the glue mixture as an added layer of protection. 

Once everything was dry, I used Liquid Nails (regular, not for mirrors like with my last project) and I glued the 4 pieces of the frame into place on the existing frame of the chalkboard. I let it dry and the next day I hung it back on the wall. I could not be more pleased with this – it really looks adorable!!  I would use this same technique on smaller chalkboards (like the one on my counter top), picture frames, or even as an alternative to my mirror frame project. And this is just as versatile as the painted mirror frame idea – you can customize the frame with any number of colors or themes of scrapbook paper! I’ve seen holiday paper, sports-related, harlequin – you name it! I have this in mind as a project for a couple of special girls that I know… ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Framed Mirror

One of my favorite projects this summer has been creating two different decorative frames to really give a “face lift” two somewhat boring objects in my house! They were both ideas that I have had in the back of my head for quite some time, and when I finally got around to completing the projects I couldn’t believe how easy they were! I should have done these AGES ago! The first “boring object” was my bathroom mirror. We have a huge mirror that hangs over the sink in our main bathroom. There was no frame around the mirror – it was just a large, rectangular (boring) mirror. I wanted to frame it to make it look fancier, so I bought a piece of decorative wood molding at Lowe’s – you can get any kind, and they vary in cost – this was probably $10 and it was more detailed than some of the others. I wanted it to look like a somewhat ornate picture frame, so I was going for detail! I also bought a can of silver spray paint and some Liquid Nails – make sure to get the kind for mirrors – we had to run back to the store to get the right kind! I measured the mirror and wrote down the lengths that I wanted for the top, bottom & sides of the frame. Then, I was lucky enough to be able to pass that piece of paper on to my Dad who cut everything to size for me! If you do not have that convenience available to you, you can get a miter box and saw to make the angled cuts yourself, or you may try going to your local home improvement store and ask if they will cut the molding for you (which they may, if you have purchased it from them!). After the pieces were cut to size, I sanded them down a little and then spray painted them with the silver paint – make sure to do it outside or in a well-ventilated area. I gave them another light sanding after the first coat dried, wiped off the dust and spray painted them a second time. Once they were dry, we used the Liquid Nails for Mirrors and carefully adhered the pieces to the mirror. It looks fabulous, if I do say so myself!

This is a super easy, super inexpensive way to re-purpose an old mirror for your child’s room – maybe you have an old mirror lying around, or picked something up at a garage sale and you want to fix it up for your child’s room. You can use any type of paint color to match your child’s room – pink, if you have a little girl, blue for a boy, something metallic for a teenager… Or let them paint it themselves! If you are particular about matching room colors, then provide them with only the paint colors that you “approve” of. Or, how cute would it be to use smooth molding and let your child paint their hands and put their hand-prints all over it? The possibilities are endless!

Stay tuned – next I’ll show you my other fabulous frame idea! I love this even more than the mirror!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School!

My sweet girls were back to school today!  My eldest (who is now 5'7" and taller than her mother!) is in the 6th grade and my "baby" is in the 1st grade and in school for full days now!  (Mommy seemed to have a harder time adjusting to that than she did!)  They looked lovely in their new dresses -- they both like to wear dresses for the first day -- so glad that they appreciate getting dressed up for the first day of school!  When I drop my eldest daughter off at school or pick her up some days, there are kids that look like they came to school in their pajamas...  Yesterday we were all home for the day and with rain pouring outside we opted to clean closets!  I had meant to do it this summer, but time got away from me.  I always like the girls to start the school year off with a clean, organized room, and it certainly helps us to get ready faster when we know where everything is, and the dressers and closets are only full of clothes that fit!  Once they were in bed, I gathered up pictures for them to put in their lockers -- my little one has a locker this year too -- that is very possibly her favorite part about school this year!
Daddy, Grandpa and I were all there to walk them down to the bus this morning -- videotaping and cameras flashing away!  We were like the paparazzi...  Thankfully, my girls don't seem to mind!  (I figured if anyone said anything to my 6th grader about the fanfare at the bus stop, she could blame it on her 1st grade sister!)  I'm so happy that they get to ride the same bus to school in the morning -- it's nice for my little one to have her big sister there to watch out for her!  They have different buses in the afternoon (not sure why...) and this afternoon I took some time off from work to get home in time to meet them.  Of course, they were each late (always happens on the first day) -- my eldest daughter's bus was about 15 minutes late and my little one's bus was 30 minutes late!  I sat out on the front step for about an hour total waiting for both of the girls -- armed with my video camera again, of course!  It was so nice to be home early and to be there to greet them and hear about their days.  We went through their book bags, pulled out the things that need to be signed and sent back tomorrow, cleaned out their lunch boxes and got them ready for tomorrow.  Then we went upstairs so they could change into play clothes and I sat on the floor of my little one's room and cleaned out her dresser (hadn't gotten to that yesterday!).  We bought her a set of hanging "shelves" for her closet -- one of those soft-sided organizers that hangs from the curtain rod and has 6 shelves/cubbies.  She and I picked out outfits to get her through the rest of this week and the beginning of next -- outfit, underwear, shoes, etc. all set!  What a time saver that will be!  We had dinner a little earlier tonight, we read a book together before bedtime and we said our prayers and they were all tucked in on time with no running around and no chaos.  The dishes are done, the house is straightened up and we're ready for tomorrow -- oh, how I would love to get home early every day!!

Pencil Vase
To brighten up the breakfast table for the first day of school, I put together this little pencil vase with some sunflowers -- I tried to do this last year and didn't have enough pencils.  I bought 2 more packs when they were on sale this summer, but could still use a couple more to really fill it in!  I took an empty soup can and taped the pencils into place and then tied a sunflower ribbon around my "vase".  I think I'll look for some cute "school-themed" ribbon for next year!  I like to do a little here and there to make things special for my girls, and I love that they take notice!  My little one asked her sister this morning, "Are those PENCILS?"  And my elder daughter said, "Yes" and my little one said, "Are those pencils with their NAILS CUT?"  What a cute, funny way to look at it!  

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Diner Night" at Home

For the most part, my girls are polar opposites when it comes to the food they like to eat.  My eldest is getting closer to becoming a vegetarian each day, and my youngest is more of a carnivore.  My eldest loves veggies and is not too into fruit.  Her little sister is just the opposite!  My eldest loves pizza and pasta, my little one doesn't like either of those!  And as the primary "chef" in the house -- my frustration is growing...  One thing they do agree on?  They LOVE the local diner!  We have taken them to the diner a few times over the past year or so and they both love it -- my youngest loves the milkshakes and my eldest loves getting french fries and gravy.  We can't afford (money-wise or calorie-wise!) to eat at the diner as often as they would like, but the other night I surprised them with my version of Diner Night at home.

I made turkey sliders, which thankfully is something they both can agree on -- I use lean, ground turkey and mix in a half packet of Lipton's dry Onion Soup Mix.  Much less fattening than a diner burger!  I form small patties -- usually 8 to 10 out of 1 lb of meat -- and I cook them on my George Foreman Grill (love it!).  We had slider rolls, but if I didn't have those on hand I would use whatever I have -- cut up hot dog or hamburger rolls, biscuits, dinner rolls, etc.  We baked french fries in the oven and I just used one of those dry packets of turkey gravy that I had on hand - super quick and easy and only 20cals per serving.  I served mixed veggies (which they would not get at the diner), and for a special treat I made homemade milkshakes!  I used 2 cups of vanilla ice cream, 1 cup of 1% milk, and 1 tsp of vanilla.  I put this in the blender until it was smooth.  I split this into two glasses for the girls, topped it with a little low-fat whipped cream and popped a "bendy" straw in -- big hit with the girls!  I made myself a chocolate shake, following the same recipe but substituting chocolate ice cream. 

It was a fun meal, something different for us to have at home, and while the girls enjoyed their "diner fare" I was happy about being able to control the portions and the calories!