DIY Invitations & Greeting Cards – Without Photoshop!

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So while I’m on a roll with sharing my all of my posts related to Baby P’s birthday, I will share another little DIY trick that has come in super handy for me this past year – designing my own invitations and greeting cards! Now, I’ll start by saying one of my goals for the next year (or couple of years if I continue to be as computer illiterate as I currently am, haha) is to learn to use Photoshop to it’s full extent but for now my abilities are extremely limited. So when it came time to design an invitation for J’s surprise 30th (another post that I planned on getting up, oh, about six months ago and have still not gotten around to, lol) I had three choices: (a) become proficient in Photoshop in three days time, (b) purchase an over-priced invitation via Etsy or other online retailer or (c) make one myself using the tools I had at my disposal (spoiler alert: Microsoft Word and Staples print services, lol). Since choices a and b were off the table from the get-go, I remembered that I had very frequently used Microsoft Word to create marketing materials that we didn’t want to pay to outsource when I was working for a gym, so why couldn’t I just apply that same idea to my invitation? I figured I’d give it a try. So while a then six month-old Baby P (*sigh*) napped away in his baby swing, I quickly (and very easily, I might add) created J’s invitation. Once I had gotten the confirmation from others that it actually looked good (not just in my head, lol) I took it up to my local Staples print center and had them printed up on 5X7 high quality cardstock for the cost of about $7.00 for 15! For anyone that has ever purchased cards from Shutterfly, Wedding Paper Divas or another online card retailer, I don’t have to tell you that under forty cents a card is a steal!

Additionally, sometimes the freedom to customize the card to your liking and be able to run up and get extras at your convenience is savings enough. So after my success with J’s invitation I proceeded to use this same idea for a friend’s baby shower invitations, Baby P’s first birthday invites and even my 2014 Christmas card! While I’m sure there are lots of Photoshop tricks that would improve on my method drastically, if you don’t own Photoshop (or you’re like me and own it but are unsure of it’s mysterious ways, lol) this is a great method to creating some cute cards in a pinch, all you need to know are a few simple functions in Microsoft Word and then simply allow your local print store to do the rest!

NOTE: Use of Disney and other copywrited characters is legally allowed for personal use on your part (i.e. using them for your child’s birthday invitation), however, corporate print retailers like Staples will not print your cards for you if they contain these types of copywrite images as it is considered trademark infringement on their part because they would technically be profiting from your use of them. Dumb, I know, but it’s the law. I ran into this problem when creating Baby P’s invitations but was able to have my local postal annex print them for me. So before you

I will use my sweet friend K’s baby shower invite as an example, since it is an easy and trendy little design. This one came in at a cost of just about twenty cents per card since I did four to a page! Check out my post on the “Whale-of-a-Time” Diaper Cake I made for this shower as well. Obviously if you’re proficient in Photoshop this whole post is going to seem extremely silly to you, but if you’re not and are after a cute custom invite or card at a great price this is an easy alternative!

Step 1: Search various online print retailers (like Shutterfly or Tiny Prints) for design inspiration. The inspiration for this particular card actually came from Google when I was searching for whale themed baby shower invitations. Once you have found something you like, try to Google similar background images, for instance, for K’s baby shower invite I Googled “grey chevron background” and for J’s surprise 30th invite I Googled “chalkboard background”, when I found an image that I liked I saved it to my desktop so that it was easily accessible. I also did Google searches for the whale silhouette and saved them to my desktop as well.

this was my inspiration, I found it by way of a Google search for "whale baby shower invitation"

this was my inspiration, I found it by way of a Google search for “whale baby shower invitation”

Step 2: Now I was ready to download a few new fonts. For all of my projects I use http://www.dafont.com to find lots of good free fonts which are simple to download. Once you have downloaded your desired font you can easily add them to your font library by using an online or YouTube tutorial for your specific version of Windows or Mac.

Step 3: To create the actual invite I began by opening Word and inserting an object in your desired shape. NOTE: For cutting purposes a square or rectangle works best, but if you are set on a circle just be prepared to have to cut them each individually. The size of your shape does not matter, just make it large enough for you to work with, the print store will be able to print them to whatever size you want once they receive it. Select: INSERT>SHAPES>RECTANGLE

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this is how the dropdown menu appears on Word 2013

Step 4: I then changed the background of the shape to my chevron print that I had saved earlier by selecting: FORMAT>SHAPE FILL>PICTURE and then selecting the chevron background. Then I used the same method to change the outline of the shape to none, however, if you would like a border on your invite simply select FORMAT>SHAPE OUTLINE and then select the weight and color of your shape outline.

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Step 5: Now I added my text. This part I played around with a bit to figure out which fonts looked best together (NOTE: It usually works best to interchange script and solid fonts, fi you need more help with this there are lots of “text matching/combining” pins on Pinterest that are very helpful). When I found the ones that worked for me I added each line of text in a separate text box by selecting the following: INSERT>TEXT BOX>SIMPLE TEXT BOX. Next, I edited my text boxes so that they were transparent and had no outline, this way I was able to move different groupings of text as close or far from each other as I wanted. I did this by going to the “text format” dropdown at the top of my toolbar (pictured below) and selecting: FORMAT>SHAPE FILL>NONE and then FORMAT>SHAPE OUTLINE>NONE. The last thing I did to format my text box was to set the “text wrap” option of the text box to “tight”, as I find this to be the easiest setting for manipulating the placement of the box later on, I adjusted the text wrap option by selecting: FORMAT>WRAP TEXT>TIGHT. Now you can enter text in your text box as you wish! I know it seems like a pain to go through these steps for each individual text box SO, good news is – you don’t have to! Once you have customized one text box you can simply copy and paste that same text box as many times as needed and simply change the text within the box. Once I had created my first line of text I copied the text box and pasted it seven times, then once I had changed each text box to contain my desired text I simply manipulated them into my desired positioning.

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Inserting the text box.

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changing the background and outline of textbox

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changing the text wrap option.

 

Step 6: My final step was to insert the clipart images of the whales onto my invite. This is important for creating transparency of an object, in other words, editing a clipart object that would otherwise have a colored background to be a plain object against the background of your invite or card. I found these cute little whale images via Google and originally they were just black (in a minute I will explain how I changed them to blue and grey). I pasted the image onto my document, changed the text wrap to “tight” (same method as above) and then set transparency using one of two methods, depending on how detailed your image is, since this one was easy I did the following: FORMAT>REMOVE BACKGROUND (I simply clicked the areas that I wanted to keep, the body of the whale and the water drops and then hit “keep changes”. If your image is too detailed to select each individual detail (like Baby P’s invite) you can simply select: FORMAT>COLOR>SET TRANSPERANCY and then click the background of your image to remove the background, sometimes this can cause your picture to look a bit fuzzy on the edges but depending on the background of your invite or card it probably won’t be noticeable at all. Lastly I changed the colors of my whales by selecting FORMAT>COLOR and choosing from one of the options given (see picture below).

setting transparency and changing color of image

setting transparency and changing color of image

 

That’s it! I know it sounds like a lot of steps but this invite took me about 3/4 of a naptime to create (not very long!) and once you’ve done it once it’s pretty easy to repeat for different designs.

Printing: I saved mine as a PDF file and emailed it to my local Staples print center, letting them know that I wanted to print 4 to a page on cardstock. NOTE: If you want Staples to cut your invites for you they will charge you $2.00 per cut, which doesn’t sound like very much but if you’re doing 4 to a page that makes 8 cuts and will add $16.00 to your print cost, I suggest just using their rotary cutter for free. It’s a little tedious but again, it doesn’t take very long and it looks great so my advice would be to skip the professional cutting and do it yourself.

I will eventually get around to individual posts about each of my greeting cards/invites but for now these are a few I have done

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J’s Surprise 30th invite – the theme was “whiskey & cigars”

 

 

 

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Invite for K’s whale themed baby shower

Baby P's "Where the Wild Things Are" 1st Birthday party invite.

Baby P’s “Where the Wild Things Are” 1st Birthday party invite.

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Our 2014 Christmas card! My address list is about 100 people including family and friends so each year I spend close to (if not over) $100.00 on holiday cards and this year I spent just $35 by designing this one myself!

DIY Fall Wine Bottle Decor – Perfect for any season!

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So before I get too ahead of myself with incessant posts about baby P’s first birthday and DIY Halloween decor I just wanted to share this little tid bit of my fall decor that I whipped up using things I always have on hand – wine bottles and scrap fabric 🙂 Now as I do on at least one day most weeks, I found myself in the fabric store buying the fall themed burlap for my DIY Autumn Pennant Banner and happened to walk past their display of little seasonal over-priced chochkies (is that how you spell that word? lol) and saw a cute little decorated wine bottle. As I do with most of the fabric store ready-made decor I passed since I was not about to pay $12.99 for a bottle (a small one at that, if it had actually contained wine at any point I feel bad for the person who emptied it – they got jipped! lol) wrapped in twine, however I did snap a picture and make a mental must-DIY-that note.

Before I get to the tutorial I think it’s worth mentioning that as I fulfill my holiday decorating goal of keeping my home decor themed with each holiday, I’m realizing the fact that Halloween falls right in the middle of the start of fall and Thanksgiving really messes with decor in that I came up with a whole bunch of autumn-y type ideas for our home only to remember that I would have to put up Halloween pieces and then pull the fall stuff out again for the whole harvest/autumn theme that goes along with Thanksgiving. Super complicated stuff this decorating business is, lol! Anyway, before I figured out that I would wind up in a decorating pickle, I decided to re-create the little wine bottle craft that I saw in the fabric store the week before only I would go a step further and create a set of four! Two things I love about this project: first, it is super easy and cheap to create and while I know wine isn’t free but lets be real, wine bottles are plentiful at the Schulze home, lol. Second, since there are four bottles and the embellishments are interchangeable I can easily swap out the wording for any holiday for instance, “noel” for Christmas, “love” for Valentine’s Day, “booo” for Halloween and so on. This can be made with any scrap fabric if you have a particular color scheme in mind or want it to fit the theme of a particular room instead of a holiday that would work too!

my inspiration!

my inspiration!

my version :)

my version 🙂

SUPPLIES

*this supply list is for my specific creation, any scrap fabric combinations can be used!

  • 4 wine bottles, labels removed
  • scrap burlap (plain and printed)
  • scrap lace
  • scrap fall print fabric
  • twine
  • gold ribbon
  • faux fall leaves
  • crafting letters or stencils
  • orange acrylic paint
  • hot glue/glue gun

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: I began by removing the labels from my wine bottles by soaking them in some warm soapy water then scrubbing off with a sponge. Since I drink relatively cheap wine the labels remove pretty easily but if yours are a little more stubborn Goo-Gone will take them right off.

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Step 2: I then cut my strips of plain burlap and lace and secured them around each of the wine bottles using a few dots of hot glue.

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my lace was actually cut from a pair of curtains that I found at a thrift store for $0.50!

my lace was actually cut from a pair of curtains that I found at a thrift store for $0.50!

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Step 3: Next I prepared my “fall” portion of the decor by cutting four small squares of fall themed fabric and then four smaller squares of printed burlap to be glued atop the first squares. Next took my faux fall leaves (purchased at Walmart for $0.98 for a package of about 12!) and used a dot of hot glue to attach two to each fabric square.

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98 cent Walmart leaves!

98 cent Walmart leaves!

Step 4: At this point I took my craft letters left over from another project and painted them orange (they were originally brown but I felt that the orange stuck out better, at this point you can also stencil the wording directly onto your fabric squares using acrylic paint). Once they had dried I glued each to the front of my fabric squares. To attach the square to the bottles I cut two small holes in the top of each of the fabric piece and ran a piece of twine through each and tied them around the body of the wine bottles. Finally I tied a decorative ribbon bow atop each of the bottle necks – done!

finished product :)

finished product 🙂

Rustic Burlap “Autumn” Pennant Banner

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So as I’ve mentioned, last year I made a commitment to myself to keep up with my holiday and seasonal decor. As a kid my Mom always put a lot of time (that she didn’t have) and effort into decorating my childhood home for the holidays and I’d like to do the same for baby P and any other future children I may have. Since in my opinion it’s a tad early for Halloween decor (it still feels like summer!) I thought I’d get my decorating started with a few easy fall themed pieces that compliment our regular home decor. This pennant banner is super easy to create and is both fun and elegant and most importantly – cheap! Mine cost about $3.00 to create. Happy fall, now go make a cute pennant banner to celebrate 🙂

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This project was inspired by my DIY Rustic Pennant Banners that I use for party decor, follow this link to see how you can jazz up your next event!

My fall version!

My fall version!

SUPPLIES:

  • Burlap – the amount you need depends on what you would like your banner to say and how many letters it will contain, but you will likely need less than 1/4 of yard which will cost you about $1.00-$2.00.
  • Twine
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Small paint brush
  • Large stencils – I used my reusable stencils that I used to create my DIY Rustic Burlap Pennant Banners, they are available at Staples.
  • scrap fabric (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Scrap paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Begin by creating a pattern out of scrap paper (I just used a piece of computer paper out of my recycling bin) in whatever shape you would like your pennants to be. I chose a square shape with an inverted triangle at the bottom which measured about 7″ wide by 10″ long.

I made sure that my letter fit atop the pattern.

I made sure that my letter fit atop the pattern.

Step 2: Once you have your pattern, use it as a guide and use a marker to trace as many as you need onto the back of your burlap then cut them out.

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Step 3: After all of your pieces have been cut. Use your stencils and acrylic paint to apply your letters to the tops of the burlap using your small paint brush. Use a generous amount of paint. Set aside to dry.

Step 4: Once your letters have dried use your scissors to poke a small hole in either end of each of the tops of the pennants through which you will thread a piece of twine. At this point if you wish you can dab some mod podge on the ends of your pennants to keep them from fraying but since mine was going to be up high out of tiny finger reach (lol) I didn’t bother.

Step 5 (optional): If you want to add little fabric tassels to the ends to jazz it up use the same method I used in creating my Scrap Fabric Banner but instead with a few pieces knotted together.

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Meal Planning – Week of Aug. 31st

Eeeek! So as I predicted I am way behind on posting our weekly meal plans as the last two weeks have been kind of crazy! Unfortunately when choosing to cook or craft it’s either feast or famine at the Schulze home – I’m either crafting up a storm and relying on our favorite no-fuss meals to get us through the week or I put my crafts on hold and take the time to try out new recipes. If you’ve been following my last few posts you’ll see that the past two weeks have undoubtedly been crafting weeks. I did however, get the opportunity to participate in two meal trains for new mamas last week so I plan to make a post on meal trains soon! This week the pace has slowed down a bit and although I’ve still got lots of projects in the works, I did take some time to try out a few new recipes so I’m happy to share this week’s meals with you!

SUNDAY // Ordered In  – Since Monday was a holiday I was eager to keep my crafting buzz going and not be bothered with cooking on Sunday evening, so Chinese deliver it was! 🙂

MONDAY // Tacos – Just plain old tacos! I make my taco meat by browning the meat with canned green chilies, onions and homemade taco seasoning (paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt and cumin).

TUESDAY // Grilled Chicken Wraps – I love turning salads into wraps. It’s a great way to work a carb into the meal and make the salad more of a whole meal. One of my favorite salads is one that I make using grilled chicken, spring mix salad, craisins, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, bacon bits and pecans with a raspberry vinaigrette. For this night’s dinner I simply turned this salad into a wrap.

WEDNESDAY // Pasta e Fagiole Soup – I am SO happy I found and tried this recipe! It is so simple to make and absolutely delicious! Even though it has been ten thousand degrees outside this week I still couldn’t resist whipping up this soup for dinner and boy am I glad I did 🙂 I subbed turkey sausage for regular Italian sausage. NOTE: If you want to make it super healthy just brown up some ground turkey sausage then add some salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and fennel – this way you omit the fat of the sausage (even turkey sausage is pretty fatty) but still achieve those sausage flavors.

THURSDAY // Slow Cooker Beef & Broccoli – This is one of my favorites. It’s super simple and great to cook up when you’re craving take out. It only requires a few ingredients and can be prepped the night before.

FRIDAY // Miso Glazed Salmon – Help! I’ve created a monster! lol. Ever since I made this recipe for my hubby a few weeks ago, he requests it anytime I suggest we have fish! However,  I hardly mind – t’s hard to argue with a recipe that is so healthful and delicious!

SATURDAY // Inside-Out Jalapeno Popper Burgers – Finally a new original recipe! As I mentioned I have been seriously slacking when it comes to my creativity in the kitchen but I like to think that this recipe helped me to redeem myself a bit. It is super delicious and the perfect lightened-up gourmet style burger just in time for football season. If you’re like me and are always torn on whether or not you should order an appetizer and a meal, now you can have both! 🙂

To see more of my favorite recipes check out my “Tried and True Recipes” board on Pinterest!

Inside-Out Jalapeno Popper Burgers

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So you’re probably reading this post and thinking “wait, she cooks?”, lol. On account of my crafting spree the past few weeks I haven’t tried out many new recipes but luckily I have an arsenal of easy favorites that I can rely on during the weeks that I lack creativity in the kitchen. Last night I came up with this amazing new burger recipe that I am so excited to share with you! I like to think of this recipe as rolling two bar favorites, a burger and a jalapeno popper, into one delicious bite. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that the motivation for this burger was actually to get rid of some lingering cheese, sour cream and scallions in the fridge (throwing out food drives me nuts!) which reminded me of typical dip ingredients and then somehow my mind wound up at jalapeno popper, lol. No idea how that happened but I’m glad it did because I love a good burger and I’m so happy to add this one to my list of favorites (I’ll have to write a burger collective post soon!). I wouldn’t classify any recipe containing cream cheese and sour cream as “skinny” (lol) but for what it’s worth I did lighten it up by using reduced fat ingredients and lean beef feel free to adapt it to your liking whether that be dialing back the amount of cheese or using full fat ingredients! With football season officially upon us I hope you can feature these at your next game day get together, served up with lots of cold ones 🙂

Even though baby P wasn't awake for burger deliciousness he still thought our weekend was fab! :)

Even though baby P wasn’t awake for burger deliciousness he still thought our weekend was fab! 🙂

 

INSIDE-OUT JALAPENO POPPER BURGERS

INGREDIENTS (makes 8 regular burgers)

  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  •  1 medium jalapeno, diced (I removed the ribs and seeds to reduce the heat a bit, but prepare to your liking)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled bacon or bacon bits
  • 1 cup mild shredded cheddar cheese (pepper jack or mozzarella cheese would also work)
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Combine cream cheese, sour cream, diced jalapeno, bacon, cheese, scallions, garlic powder, salt and pepper, stir to combine.

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Step 2: Separate your ground beef into eight equal portions. Working one at a time, separate each section of beef and form two equal patties. Take about 1-2 Tbsp. of the cream cheese mixture and place it in the center of one of your patties, then take the other patty and place it on top of the filling using your fingers to pinch the edges of the two patties together around the filling and reform the burger. Continue until you have eight equal sized burgers.

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Step 3: Brush your burgers on both sides with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Grill on conventional grill or grill pan to your liking! These would be delicious served with homemade onion strings but if you’re lazy like I am just throw your onions on the grill while your burgers are cooking 🙂

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ignore my weird choice of lettuce, yet another fridge item I was trying to burn lol

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For two other great burger recipes check out my recipe for Kitty’s Mediterannean Turkey Burgers and Greek Sliders!

DIY Fabric Covered Photo Mat – Made from a Cereal Box!!!

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Who doesn’t love free stuff? I actually have quite a few “free” projects in the works currently that I’m super excited about, but for now I’ll share this one with you as it was part of our gallery wall which I will reveal soon! This project actually happened by accident when I realized that the frame I was using wasn’t a standard photo frame and I was going to need to cut a photo mat to fit it. Since the piece of art (I shouldn’t say art, it was a weird picture of a cat or something, lol) that was originally in the frame had an ivory mat around it I was going to have J cut it to fit using a box cutter. Of course he misunderstood me (anybody else have an issue with their men having selective hearing when it comes to their crafting requests? lol) and cut the wrong part of the mat, rendering the part I needed useless. Boo-hoo! It was time to come up with a plan B, which I thought would be just to buy and cut a standard mat to size but then I realized that a standard mat wouldn’t fit this frame either (gahh!). Just as I was getting super frustrated and about to ax the use of that particular frame altogether, I remembered that I had seen a picture mat that somebody had covered in fabric by simply mod podging fabric onto a plain picture mat. Now, that still didn’t solve my problem of not having the right mat size, but if I thought that if I could only find a thin cardboard to fashion my own mat I could take advantage of my left over fabric from past projects. I knew that a poster board cut to size would work just fine but in the interest of not having to traipse into town to get one I thought to myself “what do I have in the house that is of similar thickness/material to a poster board?” and then it came to me – a cereal box!!! About a half hour and a little mod podge later I had myself another fancy photo mat (check out my first DIY photo mat here) that not only matched the fabric on our side-light window panels but was free!!! All it required was a little thinking outside of the “box”, so to speak (get it? cereal box, ha.ha.ha). I hope this inspires a free photo mat on your end (you need not use a cereal box like I did, any thin cardboard will do) and should you not have the need for a photo mat right now, keep this one in mind as a great DIY gift opportunity come the holidays!

I'll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart <3

I’ll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart ❤

 

DIY FABRIC PHOTO MAT

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 large cereal box or poster board of some sort
  • fabric of your choice
  • mod podge (I used matte finish but it doesn’t matter what you use)
  • glue gun & hot glue
  • foam brush
  • measuring tape
  • scissors

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: If you are using a cereal box break the box down by cutting along one of the corners so that it can lay flat like a piece of cardboard. Then measure and cut four strips of equal length or four pieces that can come together to form a rectangular mat since it wont matter what your pieces look like beneath the fabric as long as the shape of the mat is even (depending on the size of your box you may not be able to get four equal pieces but rather four pieces just long enough to overlap and connect to form a rectangle). If using a poster board simply measure and draw out your mat and then cut it out already formed.

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My cereal box! In the interest of pinching our pennies I opt for “crisp rice” instead of rice krispies haha

Step 2: Once you have your four pieces connect them so that your print side (if using a cereal box) is all facing one direction using hot glue to form the mat. Ignore this step if you have used a poster board and your mat is ready to go. Now you are ready to measure and add your fabric!

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ensuring that it fits in the frame

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Step 3:  Measure your fabric by laying the fabric print side down (upside down) and laying your mat on top, use a pencil or pen to mark an area just a tad bit larger than your mat size or enough to be folded over the edges (I will explain in the subsequent steps). Once you have marked your rectangle on the fabric, cut it out using your scissors (this should be obvious but keep the rectangle in tact! To cut the center simply puncture a hole in the center of your fabric and cut along the insides).

Step 4: Place your mat so that the non-print side is facing up and lay your fabric cut out over the mat to make sure that it will line up correctly. In each of the inner and outer corners cut a small slit that extends from the edge of the fabric to the corner of the mat (this is so your fabric can be tucked underneath without puckering at the corners).

Step 5: Now you are ready to attach the fabric to the mat. Using your foam brush, brush a generous amount of mod podge onto the mat surface and then lay your fabric atop it and press down to secure. Some mod podge will likely seep through the fabric, this is fine, simply use your foam brush to brush it off so that it doesn’t form clumps. At this point your fabric will still be larger than necessary for the mat but allow it to dry this way before moving onto the next step.

Step 6: Once your fabric has dried for the most part, turn your mat upside down and use hot glue to attach your fabric’s edges to the underneath of the mat, making sure to pull it tightly so that isn’t loose along the edges and holds to the mat securely.

Step 7: Now turn your mat back over and add another coat of mod podge to the top of the fabric, ensuring that you are adding and even layer and are not allowing it to pool or clump along the top. Allow it to dry and you are ready to use it in your frame!!! Ta-da!!! 

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My DIY frame displayed on our gallery wall!

 

To see more of our family pictures from baby P’s 6 month photo session see this post! 

 

Laundry Room & Command Center Transformation

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Finally! I am so excited to share my laundry room and command center transformation with you! Now it may not seem like much of a “transformation” to you, but in the short time that we had been living in this home pre-transformation this room was one of my least favorite rooms in the house. Not only is the room barely big enough to fit a standard size washer and dryer, it quickly became the catch-all and family dumping area of the house, anything that didn’t have a place would just get tossed in the laundry room. I was on a mission to fix this problem room because as much as I disliked the laundry room, I knew that if I was successful in transforming the room it would be so wonderful to finally have an actual “laundry” room as opposed to having the washer/dryer hook-ups in the garage as it was set up in our last home. Additionally, I was super excited to draw inspiration from so many of the amazing laundry room and command centers that I’ve seen on Pinterest but were never able to apply to our Honey Tree home.

A lot of this project was simply de-cluttering and organizing the space. With the addition of a few storage solutions and DIY decor I was able to transform the space for very little money (and it was worth every penny! lol). The “command center” was just my little addition to help organize our random to-do lists, receipts, coupons etc. and centralize all of the little “hey-where-the-heck-did-I-put-that ______?!” items. Oh, and to display a calendar of course, which is a great point of fascination to my hubby who had no idea how busy our lives were, haha! I hope this inspires a transformation on your end, you will be amazed at how easy this project was and even more amazed at how much it has organized us with just a few small additions to a tiny under-utilized space. Check out my pictures below for DIY ideas and links to their tutorials, as well as sources for all of my decor!

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Before! Okay, I know a lot of this transformation ha to do with organization lol but I think a lot of people can agree that the mudroom tends to become a family dumping ground for miscellaneous items and I was determined to change that!

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After! Organized and stylish, if I do say so myself 🙂

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Command area, before and after!

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Laundry area, before and after.

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See sources below to see where I found these free printables!

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Follow this link to find see how I went about creating this sign!

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These serve no purpose other than to cover up the ugly wall and washer hook-ups behind them but I think it adds a little pretty somethin’ to the room 🙂

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These descriptive chalkboard signs are held on to the totes by magnets, the perfect thing for me since we are not staying here long and who knows what we’ll be using these bins for in our next home. Follow the link to see how I made them!

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DIY calendar I made using paint chips, unfortunately I didn’t have my day planner handy so I could only remember two things we have to do this month, haha, obviously I REALLY need this calendar! lol This picture links to my tutorial so check it out, this project is basically free!

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This transformation cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $200.00, however, to permanently organize and stylize this room using items that can easily be reused wherever we end up next, it was a small price to pay! That being said, a similar look can be achieved for next to nothing if you’re open to different color schemes and products. 

 

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1  // Fabric Totes with Magnetic Chalkboard Signs – Totes available here via Amazon for $13.97 each. These were a little pricey but were exactly what I was looking for, they are sturdy, just the right size and will I will definitely be using them in our future homes. The magnetic chalkboard signs were a little DIY addition that I came up with out of necessity for these bins, check out my tutorial here.

2 // Fabric Curtains/Wall Coverings – These do not serve an actual purpose other than to cover the ugly water hook ups and white wall behind them. I simply used left over fabric from my living room curtains using the same method as I did when creating my sink skirt, just added little loops of ribbon to hold the decorative shower curtain hooks (available here via Amazon for $7.64, lots of other colors available!) I used to hang the curtain from the wire shelving.

3 // Sink Skirt – This is a DIY project I finagled to cover the ugly laundry sink using left over fabric from my side-light curtains, check out my link to see how I made it!

4 // Chevron Rug – Available here via Overstock for $35.49.

5 // Ironing Board Holder – The perfect thing to free up space for the bins above the washer/dryer. Available here via Amazon for $34.99.

6 // Ironing Board Cover – Purchased at Walmart for $7.50. It was just a coincidence that it happened to match my wall coverings perfectly!

7 // Family Bulletin Boards – Available here via Amazon for $6.53, I attached them to the wall using Command picture hanging strips. I personalized them using unfinished letters from Walmart ($1.97 each) that I spray painted white and attached to the boards using hot glue.

8 // Large Striped Totes – Available here via Target, $25.98 for a set of 2. I used the fourth bin as extra toy storage for baby P. These bins are perfect for holding our daily items (pocketbook, keys, wallet, hats etc.) so that we need not leave them randomly about the house. I used left over chalkboard favor tags to label each with our initials.

9 // Dry Erase Paint Chip Calendar – Check out my post to find out how I made it!

10 // Laundry Room Printables – I printed and framed these two free printables I found via Pinterest: “This home has endless love and laundry” and “Laundry, drop your pants here”.

11 // White Floating Shelf – Originally purchased at Home Depot, I reused one from our guest bathroom update on our Honey Tree house.

12 // Metal Wall Mounted File Holder – Purchased via Amazon and available here for $25.00. It is very helpful in organizing receipts, coupons etc.

13 // Candy Jars – Used for holding detergent pods and dryer sheets. I purchased mine at Walmart for $2.98 each.

14 // “Schulze Central Command” Hand Painted Sign – Check out how I made this sign by reading this post!

15  // Wall Clock – Cheap-o wall clock purchased from Walmart for $2.98! Gotta love all that cheap back-to-college dorm decor!

DIY Hand Painted Sign

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Please forgive that my past few posts are all related to the laundry room/command center that I am yet to post about (I promise to do so soon!), but it just so happens that a lot of my DIY projects as of late have been part of that particular little room makeover. This little sign I made as decor for our little family command center, emphasis on “little” since I didn’t have much space to work with, this cutsie little sign was the perfect thing to jazz it up. Another reason I am so excited about this little sign is because it was my first attempt at a hand painted sign using this particular method (printing out the wording and using painters tape cut with an X-acto knife to create a stencil). Additionally this project was my guinea pig for what will be two larger painted decorative signs that I am now planning to get to work on in the next few weeks given that this one came out so well! So if you’re like me and love the idea of DIYing something that fetches a fortune on Etsy (like hand painted signs!), give this one a try, all you need is wood, some painter’s tape and a steady hand. I also want to add that my inspiration for this project was both my glass etchings (see tutorial here which is generally the same idea only with glass and etching cream as opposed to wood and paint) and my friend Courtney of Wildly Domestic’s tutorial for her growth chart ruler in which she uses this same technique for stenciling and painting the ruler! If you’re skeptical about your ability to pull this one off give it a try anyway by practicing on some scrap wood, just be careful with that X-acto knife, I wouldn’t want my project to be the reason for any DIY-induced ER trips :-P.

DIY HAND PAINTED SIGN

WHAT I USED:

  • 1 small wooden plaque – normally I would just use scrap wood or cheap lumber from Lowes, however, my laziness got the best of me when I saw this little pre-cut plaque at Michael’s for only $2.99 that fit the space perfectly and already had a decorative edge.
  • chalk paint – you need not use chalk paint, that is just what I had left over from my previous projects and the color was right for the space. Any latex or even acrylic paint will do. Check out my post on using homemade chalk paint here. For this particular piece I used “Stone Mason Gray” by Valspar, read about my love for sample size paints here!
  • white paint – for distressing the wood. If you do not plan to dry-brush the wood for a distressed look you can skip the white paint altogether. I just used latex trim paint we had lying around from our work on the Honey Tree house.
  • acrylic paint – I used acrylic paint for the wording but latex paint will do as well if you have some lying around in your desired wording color, it will just take a little longer to dry than if you were to use acrylic.
  • sanding blocks or sandpaper
  • foam brushes, for painting
  • regular paint brush, for dry-brushing
  • small paintbrush, for wording
  • clear topcoat – I used this Krylon Matte Spray Finish purchased at Walmart for about $3.00, since I had it leftover from my DIY Painted Plastic Planters (post coming soon!)
  • painter’s tape
  • scotch tape (or any clear tape)
  • X-acto knife

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: I began by preparing and painting my piece of wood. For a more detailed description of how I dry-brushed and distressed the wood check out my DIY Rustic Picture Display to see the step-by-step instructions on a larger piece. For the purposes of this post I’ll give a more concise version  – first I sanded down the wood surface quickly so as to remove any roughness or scratches, then I painted the wood piece with a coat of chalk paint (you may need more than one depending on your paint color, I only used one). Once the coat of chalk paint had dried, I dry-brushed the surface using a regular 2″ paint brush (see above mentioned post for detailed instructions) and once that had dried I sanded down the edges and a bit on the surface to give the wood a distressed look and wiped it clean with a dry rag.

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Step 2: Once my wood was prepped, I used painter’s tape to cover the surface of my wood. Then I simply created a document in Word of my wording in my chosen font and printed it out. I cut each of the words out individually and used scotch tape (any clear tape will do) to secure them onto the painter’s tape by covering the entire surface of the words with clear scotch tape.

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Step 3: I used an X-acto knife to carefully cut out each of the words. This is pretty tedious but goes much faster if you have some SVU re-runs on in the background :).

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Step 4: Once you’ve cut out all of your words use your smaller paint brush to paint the wording onto wood inside of your makeshift stencil. As soon as you have finished painting all of your words carefully remove the painter’s tape from the wood (I gave mine a few minutes to dry before removing the paint but didn’t wait too long because I didn’t want any of the edges to glob up against the painter’s tape and dry in weird pattern).

Step 5: As soon as your piece has dried apply your top coat and you are finished! If you like the way your piece looks sans topcoat this is fine too since your sign will most likely be mounted on a wall indoors, there isn’t much need for added protection to the wood.

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Quick No-Sew Sink Skirt

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So this post is one of the prequels to my long anticipated laundry room/command center makeover! I’m so excited to finally reveal the project as a whole but for now I’ll share this quick little DIY job that was one of the finishing touches. The sink in our laundry room doesn’t see much action (although I am grateful to have a larger sink basin available to wash off baby P’s high chair trays as they will not fit in our dishwasher or kitchen sink) and is quite honestly an eyesore, as it is just a big ol’ stained plastic basin. Needless to say when I decided to give our laundry room a style makeover, I knew that I needed to do something to downplay the ugliness of the sink. Since I had seen lots of examples of sink skirts and had lots of fabric left over from my DIY no-sew side-light window panels, so I thought that it would be a cute and quick no-sew addition to the room. We are technically “renting” this home so when figuring out how to rig up a sink skirt that wouldn’t require any kind of permanent hardware, I decided the easiest solution would be to either suspend a tension rod between the wall and the washing machine or to use temporary velcro to attach the fabric directly to the outer basin of the sink. I chose to go with the latter, simply because I already had some removable Command velcro strips on hand (I may decide to go with the tension rod idea later on but for now I think this looks good enough!). This project is easy-peezy and could work anywhere you need to cover an empty (or cluttered, lol) space or ugly appliance! Additionally I love that the fabric lends a lot of style to the space, even though the skirt really serves no purpose, sometimes it’s all about looks 🙂

May not look like much now, but when I reveal the whole room it really adds a lot :)

May not look like much now, but when I reveal the whole room it really adds a lot 🙂

 

QUICK NO-SEW SINK SKIRT

WHAT I USED:

  • Indoor/Outdoor Decorator Fabric in “Vertical Stripe Ebony” – purchased on sale at $8.00/yard, left over from my side-light window panels.
  • Iron-On Hem – Available at your local craft store, Walmart etc.
  • 2-3 Command Damage-Free Hanging Velcro Strips
  • Glue Gun/Hot Glue
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: I began by measuring out my fabric to the correct length and width (allowing for an extra 2 inches on top, bottom and sides for creating my fold-over hem) and cutting it accordingly.

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Step 2: I then used iron-on hem to fold over the edges (top or bottom first doesn’t matter) and create your hem. Check out my DIY No-Sew Curtain Panels to read more about this process, just disregard the instructions for creating the panel pocket. NOTE: If you plan to suspend the sink skirt using a tension rod, follow the previously mentioned tutorial exactly, pocket included.

Step 3: Once all of my hems were made I removed the sticky backing to one side of each my Command strips and used hot glue to secure it to the top, inner edge of the fabric panel. Next I adhered the other two Command strips to the top edge of sink, right below the lip using just the regular sticky backing of the strip (these things are super strong, they’ll hold no problem).

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FYI, this is just to show placement, the sticky side will be down and velcro side will be facing up. I removed the paper from the strip, then put my hot glue directly onto the sticky part and firmly pushed the strip onto the hem.

 

DIY No-Sew Side-Light Window Panels

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When I chose this house I did so in a total rush and in true Natasha fashion, an extreme panicky nature, lol. We were about to go to closing on our Honey Tree house and if I wasn’t able to secure us a house on base we would be faced with the prospect of being homeless (well not really, lol, but the whole point of selling the house was to move on base not to have to rent a house out in town). Luckily the housing office on base had several homes available but when they showed me one right on the water and right across the street from one of my closest friends I am not exaggerating when I say I considered absolutely nothing before jumping up and down saying “I’ll take it, I’ll take it!!!”, lol. Now don’t get me wrong I love this house and faced with the decision again I would have picked the same one because I absolutely love living on the water, however, there are definitely certain aspects of the house that make it a less than ideal choice. For instance, we are the only house in the whole neighborhood without a storm door, which annoys me to no end mostly because I can’t open the door and enjoy the fresh air come fall and also because my fun and festive wreaths aren’t protected from the elements, haha (serious first world problems over here). I’ve also realized that we are one of the only homes in the neighborhood with sidelight windows that run the entire length of the door, which in terms of natural light is quite nice, but come nighttime you can see right into our house and not just a little bit, like a lot, like even if you are driving by you could tell which episode of Friends I’m watching, lol. Lucky for the neighbors, we aren’t into anything weird, haha but I still want a little privacy in the evening so instead of buying special sidelight rods and covers, I decided I would reuse a cafe rod from our old home and DIY some no-sew curtain panels. Initially I  was a little skeptical about this project would turn out since I had only seen sidelights covered with actual sidelight curtains but was pleasantly surprised upon hanging the finished product because when looking at the pictures I think you’ll agree that they not only serve their purpose but also add a little something extra to the design of the room. I hope that you can pull a little inspiration from this post, even if you don’t have sidelight windows this could definitely work on any form of  small window.

Sweet squishy baby watching the UPS man :) He melts my heart.

Sweet squishy baby watching the UPS man 🙂 He melts my heart.

WHAT I USED:

  • Indoor/Outdoor Decorator Fabric in “Vertical Stripe Ebony” – purchased on sale at $8.00/yard.
  • Adjustable Cafe Rod
  • Iron-On Hem – Available at your local craft store, Walmart etc.
  • 2 Small Coat Hooks – purchased at Walmart for $2.98
  • 2 Drapery Clip Rings (optional) – Like these, available anywhere curtains are sold. Mine were left over from my bedroom curtain project. *You do not need to use these, the fabric will hook onto the wall hook all by itself without a clip.
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Iron

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: I began by laying out my fabric and measuring the appropriate length then cutting it. Next, since the sidelights are not anywhere close to as wide as a normal window, I cut my 54″ wide fabric in half.

Step 2: I followed my steps in this post for creating no-sew curtain panels.

Step 3: Next, I made the tie backs for the curtains by cutting a piece of fabric about 12″ long and 4″ wide. Next I used another piece of iron-on hem to fold the piece in on itself and ironed to seal (when you are finished it will look like the picture below). I used a left over drapery clip from another project to hold my tie back together and later hook it to the wall, but if you would like you can use a dot of hot glue to seal the two ends of the tie back (to create a big fabric loop) that way it can just hook to the wall hook without any additional hardware.

I love that I was able to use these little Walmart coat hooks in place of curtain tie-back hardware! They are small, discrete and cost about a quarter of the price!

I love that I was able to use these little Walmart coat hooks in place of curtain tie-back hardware! They are small, discrete and cost about a quarter of the price!

Step 4: I hung my curtain rod and attached my hooks to the wall, then hung the drapes! Done and done! Check out the finished product below!

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Sorry for the horribly lit picture but you get the idea!