Monday, December 30, 2013

Chalkboard Crazy

Okay, it is official.  I went chalkboard crazy this year.  It was fun to see what items I could paint with chalkboard paint and give it an "upgrade".  I think at one point my husband was a little frightened that I might paint a whole wall with chalkboard paint.  I assured him that this time I did not have enough paint.  But who knows what will happen the next time I get a little addicted.

Here are the items I painted this year.  Most of them were for Christmas gifts but not all.  There are a few that I tried out not knowing exactly what I will do with them.
An old salad plate and silver tray
My garage sale find above my stove
An old cookie tin from my cabinet
Charger plate from the dollar store
Clipboard for my husband's niece
Cupcake tin for my friend
Old tiles made into trivets
Large tile tuned into sign for front porch
Small wooden shapes

Matboard labels

I made 14 cookie tins for gifts

Some of the photos have links to the original post with instructions. Check out 16 days left! for the basic chalkboard paint instructions.  Hopefully you can find some chalkboard projects you want to try.  But, be warned it can be addicting.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Well, it is finally here. I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas. 

Remember that over 2000 years ago our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born in a manger.  Angels proclaimed his arrival then and today we celebrate his birthday.  I pray that today you will take time to rejoice with the angels of heaven that our Savior was born. 

Have a Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 1 day left!

Okay, time is officially out. I hope you have had as much fun these last few weeks preparing your Christmas gifts as I have. Doing the Christmas Countdown has really pushed me to get projects finished.

I have one last project that only takes about 10 min to prepare with supplies you most likely have on hand. Cupcake Picks

I have a friend that loves to make cupcakes. And I love eating her cupcakes. I know one gift that she will love and use is cupcake wrappers and picks. I buy the wrappers and then make my own coordinating picks. This allows for a ton of creativity and unique gift.

Here are the wrappers and my handmade picks.

The picks are two sided.  I thought the #thanks would be fun.

Of course I had to make her a chalkboard cupcake tin.  This will allow her to write on top what flavor of cupcakes she brings to the next potluck dinner.

The picks are simply two shapes glued back to back with a toothpick in the middle. I used my 1¾” punch and then stamped on them. But you could use any shape, the possibilities are endless. It would be really cute to do some with pictures of your child for their next birthday, graduation or other special occasion.

So if you forgot about that wonderful neighbor or friend. Whip out your cupcake wrappers and make some coordinating picks.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 2 days left!

2 days left! Wait, only 2 days until Christmas? But I am not finished with all my projects. Ready or not here is another chalkboard project. Trivets, you know those things you put under a hot dish on your table. I made some of various sizes.

The tiles I used were left from a stack someone had given me. The largest one was actually buried under ice when I ask my husband to dig it out. He was kind enough to brave the cold, he is the best! After letting the tiles warm up a bit, I washed them well and lightly sanded the top.

The chalkboard paint worked well on these. Full directions on making your own paint are here at 16 days left. They would look nice on a buffet table to help identify Aunt Linda’s favorite tamales. The large one I put on my front porch and wrote a greeting to welcome my guests.

The tiles were a beige color before I painted them.

This is the large one I put on my porch.  The greeting was from our ice storm a few weeks ago.  Since then it has rained several times, I think the last time it finally smeared my chalk.

So ask the sweet helper in your house to dig out those extra tiles left from the last tile project to create your own chalkboard trivets.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 3 days left!

As I have mentioned before my husband does custom picture framing. He had a full time business for over 10 years but with the slow economy he now does it part time.

As with any creative process there are scraps left from projects. Picture framing is no exception. He takes his smaller pieces of board and cuts them into standard frame size mats. You can also purchase these at the craft store.

We have taken these mats and added some embellishment. Using everything from fabric, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper and chalkboard labels. Here are a few examples.

This is a small sampling of embellishments we have added.

This is wrapping paper that I cut out and glued in opposite corners. 
Since the wrapping paper is flat this could be put under glass.

I used a scrapbooking cut out, ribbon, various papers and metal squares on this mat.  With the dimension of the ribbon and metal squares it would not be able to go under glass.

The heart is cut from an old quilt and then stitched around the edges.

Using an vintage quilt makes this perfect for a baby's room.

If your mat will be used under glass be sure to keep the embellishments flat. If you are going to display the mat on an easel or add ribbon to hang on the wall you can add dimensional embellishments. This project is simple and can add another layer of detail to a favorite photograph.

These would make great gifts for new parents, newlyweds, grandparents, graduation and much more.  Adding the perfect picture will complete this gift.  Hopefully you are getting close to completing your gifts for everyone on your list.  Only a few more days.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 4 days left!

If you are like me I want an organized desk. Now it doesn’t always stay that way but I do try. A very useful item I have found for my desk at school is a clipboard. I can clip notes or papers that I refer back to often to the clipboard and it stands out on my desk. This keeps the items from getting lost in the stacks.

Of course the boring brown clipboard is well – boring. So I decorated mine with paper that coordinates with my desk color scheme.

Boring brown
I painted the back of the board with craft paint. Then I used wrapping paper since it was large enough to cover the whole clipboard without any seams to cover the front. I simply used Mod Podge to adhere the paper and several coats on top to seal the finish. The trick to using Mod Podge on thinner paper is to go slow and add thin layers letting each layer dry completely.

Back of clipboard painted bright pink

For Christmas I made another version that has a dual function. I used the chalkboard paint (I seem to be hooked on chalkboard paint). This allows for papers to be clipped to the board and for writing directly on the surface. This would make a great option if you were going to hang your clipboard. Then it will double as a message board.

Painted with 4 coats of chalkboard paint
 I made an additional board using the wrapping paper method. I will post it after Christmas since it is a gift for a family member. I purchased my clipboards at the dollar store so the total cost was about $2.00 if you include the cost of the Mod Podge and wrapping paper.

If you have someone on your list that needs a little more organization in their life give them a decorated clipboard.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 5 days left!

5 days left! Oh no, time is really running short now. Today’s project is what I made for all the staff at my school this year. Since our budget is very limited I try to find a craft that is useful but also extremely frugal to create. Here is my version of the popular clothes pin clips:

I made three clips for each teacher and staff member.
For office staff I changed the words to be more appropriate to their area. 

These were the ones I used for teachers.  Every teacher always has something to copy, something to send home and something to grade.

This shows the word file I printed out. 
I created the file with the circles in Word, if you want a copy of the file email me at and I will be happy to send it to you. (I did not have time to figure out how to upload it.)  I cut out each circle and then inked the edges to give it a little more detail. The circles and squares were cut using punches I have. They measure 1¾” in size. You could also use any shape punch and write directly on the punch. Or cut small squares with a paper cutter.

I used a glue stick to attach my circles to the cardstock punches but I used Alene’s tacky glue to attach the punches to the clothes pins.

Another variation on this craft could be to change the words on the circles and create magnets to hang up artwork or notes on the fridge.

Now the teachers will be able to clip their papers and not have to write a note to remind them what needs to be done.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 6 days left!

I was in one of the Kindergarten classrooms earlier this week and noticed several of the Christmas projects they were creating.  It occurred to me that I had not posted any crafts you could do with your kids.
If you do a search on Google or Pinterest you will be overloaded with ideas for kids crafts.  Here are a couple of the ones this teacher made with her class.
Puzzle Reindeer:
These puzzle reindeer would be an easy craft for any age but also work well for a group of children.  So if you have a scout troop, Sunday school class etc. these could be made with only one or two puzzles.  The teacher glued pin backs to hers but they would be especially cute as magnets
I love when the google eyes get stuck and make the reindeer look cross eyed.
This is the back of the reindeer.
Mouse in a frame:
Gifts that kids make with handprints, footprints or fingerprints are unique and capture a moment in time.  These mice are made from your child's fingerprint and then you can add the facial features, name and date.  The popsicle sticks are colored with marker and glued around the picture. 
The boy mouse has a holly bow tie and the girl a holly hair bow.
The mouse is fun and simple way to capture your little ones tiny fingerprints.
Hopefully these projects will inspire you to gather your craft supplies and your kids and make some special gifts for everyone on your list this year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 7 days left!

I arrived at work on Tuesday and was greeted with a gift from a coworker. Having
something fun waiting on your desk is always a great way to start the day. The gift was
roll of gift wrap and tape. 
She found the idea on Pinterest at the Its Always Craft Time blog.
This is one of those simple ideas that we all think to ourselves “Why didn’t I think of
that?” I like the fact that it is creative, practical and useful.  Now all I need is to find
where I stashed all my gifts and get them wrapped.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 8 days left!

Last night I gathered with a group of friends I don't see often enough.  We shared good food and had a great time laughing and talking.  This time of year it is hard to find time to get together but well worth the effort.

My friend Lisa made cake balls for each person to take home. 

Her lovely gift reminded me that food gifts any time can be fun and inexpensive to make.  She purchased the bags and toppers but you can easily make them out of cardstock and a ziplock bag. 
When giving a gift of food the presentation can make all the difference.

Her cake balls taste wonderful displayed on a platter covered with foil.  But when packaged in these cute bags it brings an extra wide smile to your face.

So head to your kitchen and whip up a batch of your favorite holiday treats.  And when sharing them with family and friends consider a new presentation whether it is a bag and topper or placing them in a chalkboard tin.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 9 days left!

Oh my, we are now in single digits.  Time is running out.  Hopefully you have found a few gift ideas from this countdown.  

Today's project is one that I saw at school and it was a "What a great idea." moment.  Our PTA treats our staff to a luncheon at the end of each month.  We are very blessed to have such supportive and generous parents.  One mom brought in her dessert for the luncheon.  It was in a simple tin but the top was painted with chalkboard paint.  She had written what type of cookies the tin held.

I came home and started digging in my cabinets for those tins that get shoved to the back and you bring out every Christmas to take to the parties you attend.  I am sure we all have several of these.  These tins are very functional but not always the most attractive, at least the cheesy pictures they put on top. 

Here is the "new" cookie tin I created Before and After:

Santa is cute but he had seen a few too many parties.
Since the sides are a red plaid I can use this tin all year long.  By changing the contents and the greeting on top I have a new container each time. 
The instructions for painting the chalkboard paint are on the 16 days left! post.  I did lightly sand my top with a fine grit sandpaper to make sure the paint would adhere well.
I think after Christmas this year I will search the clearance bins for those left over tins and create a few more for gifts.  Another nice addition would be to include the recipe for the goodies you make.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 10 days left!

In the previous post 12 days left! I talked about a simple table centerpiece that was a grouping of clear glass dishes filled with candy.  If you don't have a group of dishes that are various heights today's project an Apothecary vase, will eliminate that problem.  These vases are extremely popular and can cost $50.00 or more.  You can make your own for just a few dollars.

The main supplies needed can be found in the back of your cupboards or at the dollar store.  You will need a glass vase and a glass candlestick.  I used clear glass for mine, but you could use colored glass if you prefer.  The only other material is a good adhesive glue that will work on glass.  I used E-6000 glue that can be found at most craft stores.

This vase was purchased from a garage sale and the candlestick from the dollar store.  Total cost for the taller vase - $2.00. 

This vase came from my kitchen cupboards.  It once held flowers from the florist.  You probably have at least one of these in your cabinets.  I know, you were not sure what you would do with it but you could not toss it out. 
This candlestick is a medium height.  You can use a taller one just make sure that the size of the vase on top does not become top heavy.
Here are the steps to create your vase:
  1. Wash your vase and candlestick with warm soapy water
  2. Dry completely
  3. In a well ventilated area spread glue on the two pieces according to your glue package directions.
  4. Put the pieces together.
  5. Let the glue dry completely before you move your new vase.
A vase of any kind is a versatile piece.  The dramatic look of the Apothecary vase would be well received by anyone on your Christmas list.  They might think that you spent a lot of money on them.  No need to tell them any different.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 11 days left!

One aspect of quilting and sewing that I love is that they are timeless arts.  I relish in the fact that there are traditional patterns that have been used for a hundred years.  One quilt pattern I enjoy using in a variety of projects is the Yo-Yo.

Put simply a quilting Yo-Yo is a circle of fabric gathered in the middle to form a rosette.  Then these yo-yo's are placed side by side and whip stitched together.  There are many different patterns that can be created using the yo-yo design.  Connecting Threads has a good tutorial on the traditional pattern and how to figure the size circle you start with to create your yo-yo. 

One project I made was a small yo-yo pillow that I use on my couch during the fall.

I used various green, blue and beige fabrics to create a scrappy look for my pillow.

The yo-yo's measure ~1 3/4"
To create a yo-yo quilt (even a baby quilt) is very time consuming.  Well worth the effort but for a smaller project that can be taken with you anywhere a pillow is a good place to start.  I pack the cut circles with needle and thread in a bag that is easy to grab on the way to the dentist, doctors appointment or waiting for my kids to get out of  practice.  This project is one that is completely hand sewn. 

I have not tried the yo-yo makers that quilt shops sell today but the Connecting Threads site has a video tutorial on the device.  I appreciate the traditional art of hand sewing.  There is something therapeutic about sitting and sewing that reminds me to slow down.  Too many times today we are in such a hurry to finish a project that we miss the joy in the journey. 

For a change of pace take the time to explore some traditional patterns and projects and enjoy the journey.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 12 days left!

There are a few events that happen once a year that I make a concentrated effort to attend.  One of those events is the Holiday Fair at my church.  It is held in October of each year on a Friday evening.  Now to most people this would not be a problem.  But since my son has been in the high school band for the last four years it has been a challenge to keep this date free.  Fortunately I have only missed a couple of the fairs.

Our Holiday Fair is not a craft show it is an event where the focus is on preparing your home for the holidays.  We have had over 200 ladies attend in past years.  Each table is decorated by a different person using either the Thanksgiving or Christmas theme.  One of my favorite parts is to arrive early and walk around all the table to see the creative ideas others use. 

Here are some pictures from this year and last years fairs:

This table was a variety of clear glass vases, candy dishes etc. filled with red and white candy.  This would be great done on a smaller scale for a fun and functional centerpiece. 

Look, it is a charger with a printed paper plate on top.  Just by gathering simple items and grouping them in the center it looks great.  The key is to stick with the color scheme and the table theme.

These were the table napkins at one of the tables this year.  They are fabric circles and then she folded them to look like trees.  She used the fall colors but it would also work well with Christmas greens.

This was done by one of our young adult girls.  She made the pumpkins from fabric. 
Very simple and pretty.

On some of the tables the ladies will have "favors" that you can take home if that is where you sit.  This year there was a favor for every lady to take. 

It was subway style art about Thanksgiving or Christmas.  This is the one that was at my place setting.  This would be easy to do yourself using a word processor and different styles of fonts.  Search subway art and you will find tons of ideas for fonts and styles.
Remember that your centerpiece doesn't have to be fancy or complicated, it can be as simple as a group of dishes filled with candy. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Countdown - 13 days left!

Only 13 days til Christmas?  What, oh no.  I better get busy.  Today's project is another chalkboard project.  This one is easy and very inexpensive.  All over the blogs, internet and Pinterest are Charger projects.  You know those pretty larger plates you put under a dinner plate to give your table that extra special appeal. 

For years chargers where only used for fine dinner parties, weddings or special occasions outside your home.  But today they are used for special dinners at home or any celebration.  The popularity has also made available less expensive chargers in a variety of colors.  I bought mine at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each of course. 

The chargers I purchased were a soft gold. (Before)

How many days til Christmas? (After)
The process to make these is given in detail in the 16 days left post.  But in a nutshell I painted the center of my charger with chalkboard paint.  I used 3 thin coats and let each coat dry completely before adding the next one.
As I have said before sometimes the simple gifts are the best.  I can see a multitude of Pink Lemonade possibilities for these.  They work well to countdown til Christmas or another special celebration.  You could use them to announce important birth facts or wedding date information.  Another idea is to use them in a Kindergarten classroom to keep track of how many days of school until you reach 100 days.  (This is a big celebration day in our area - 100 days of school)

If you are looking for a versatile gift for many people on your list, run to the dollar store and grab some chargers in a variety of colors.  Don't forget to buy an easel for your charger so it will stand on its own.