DIY Painted Thumbtacks

Thumb Tacks2I love incorporating color into ordinary, everyday items. These thumbtacks are no exception. This project is so quick and inexpensive; and it adds a fun pop of color to your memo board. These painted thumbtacks also make great gifts for teachers and coworkers. So grab a couple boxes of thumbtacks and let’s get to work! 

Nail polish
Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Thumbtacks
  • Nail polish
  • Cardboard

PaintedLet’s get started! Stick the thumbtacks into the cardboard. I used an old piece of foam board here. I’ve also used a cereal box before. You just need something that can hold the pins upright while you paint.

Painting ThumbtacksPaint the tops with your nail polish. Depending on the type of polish and the color you use, you may need a few coats. Let ’em dry between coats, obviously. 

Desktop copyWhen they’re dry, remove them from the cardboard and put them to work! 

That’s it! 

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Make Mornings Manageable

AugustBanner copy

Can you believe it’s August?!? The smell of new notebooks and pencil shavings is in the air! My friends at Wayfair wanted to know how we make mornings manageable around here. To be honest, most mornings are chaotic at best. It’s a scramble to find matching shoes, backpacks and last night’s homework assignment. It’s not for the lack of trying. I really, really try to be organized. But it’s not my special talent. I do have a few key tricks that make our mornings a little less crazy. 

Wall HooksHooks:  My home is made up of an intricate system of hooks; that at least make me feel more organized. Each kid has a couple hooks in their closets so they can hang up coats and jackets without needing help to reach the closet rod. Plus, if it needs a hanger, you bet your buttons it’s gonna land on the floor. The hooks work like magic. And we can usually find our coats/jackets in the early morning scramble. (photo from Wayfair. Trust me, you do NOT want to see the inside of my kids’ closets.)

We also use hooks for backpacks. Each kid has one in the coat closet. Then they’re not running around looking under beds, or in the office for their casually-discarded backpack in the morning. Look on the hook. Works every time. Almost.

Snack Basket

The Snack Basket: We have a special thing in our pantry called “the snack basket.” I keep all the pre-packaged snacks in the basket. It keeps them from being scattered all over the floor or the pantry. And I can easily keep track of our snack inventory by looking in the basket. I’ve been fooled too many times by an empty box sitting on the shelf. My kids’ school requires that the kids bring a healthy snack for recess, since sometimes it can be a long time until lunch. So as we’re loading backpacks in the morning, the snack basket plays an important role. It’s also great for after school snacks. The kids know which snacks are allowed after school, so they’re not tearing into a bag of oreos. 

File Folders

The Important Paper Folder:  I keep a simple file folder in the kitchen with each kid’s name on it. When they bring home important papers from school (like special project instructions, flash cards, permission slips, etc.) they go directly into the folder. Then when it’s time to work on the science fair project, or pass off our sight words we know exactly where to find the corresponding paper. It’s a really simple, not-so-glamorous system, but it’s saved me hours of sifting through the piles of paper that come home every day. 

Late Notes

A Sense of Humor:  When all else fails, at least make the attendance clerk laugh. There are
going to be bad mornings. There are going to be days when your kindergartener cannot find ANYTHING to wear; or days when your carpool driver hit the snooze button a few too many times. It’s really hard to keep your cool when things don’t go as planned; but I’ve learned that if I freak out before school, my kids are more likely to have a rough day. So even on those rough days, if you can send them out the door with a smile, I’d call it a win! 

Here are a few more of my favorite Wayfair items that can help make mornings less crazy: Mornings-01

Desk | Alarm Clock | Wall Hooks | Wall File | Shoe Storage | Calendar | Bench | Bakset

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Patio Style

I’ve completely neglected our outdoor spaces this year. Every summer I think it’s going to be the year we makeover the patio…and then summer is over before we know it. This year is no exception. But then I saw this post at Arhaus, which inspired me to consider a patio makeover again. For reals this time. P.S. If you’re curious about Arhaus, be sure to check out their outdoor sectional sofas and sectional sofas for your home, along with some of their other products!

041516_outdoor_bal_harbour_sectionalNow back to my patio. It’s bad. Currently, we’ve got a giant trampoline on our patio, while the grass recovers from an incident with a waterslide/bounce house. But I dream of turning it into a fun little lounge area. It would be the perfect place to sit with some friends and some dessert. Or curl up with a cold drink and a good book after a long day. 

I know my dream patio changes every year; and that’s probably why I haven’t committed to making it happen just yet. But this one is my favorite patio design yet: 

Outdoor Living Space-01

I’d keep the accessories pretty neutral and simple with gray pillows and a rug. Plenty of seating is a must; as is a fire pit to add a little ambiance and warmth when the evenings get chilly. You need to make sure your guests have somewhere to put their drinks; so throw in a few little side tables. I’d also add the comfort of inside with a lightweight throw and some potted plants. I love outdoor glasses so broken glass isn’t an issue; and I’d make sure the puppy feels welcome outside, too, with a home of her own. 

Here’s a shopping guide for this year’s patio wish list: 

  1. Indoor/outdoor rug
  2. Medallion Pillow
  3. Teak sectional
  4. Turned-leg planters
  5. Side Table
  6. Fire Pit
  7. Beverage dispenser
  8. Striped Throw
  9. Outdoor glasses
  10. Coral pillow
  11. Dog house

We’ve probably got another 2-3 months of summer weather ahead of us, so maybe it’s not too late for my back yard, after all. 

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DIY Canvas Silhouettes

Canvas SilhouettesOne of my all-time favorite craft projects are these canvas silhouette paintings of my kids. I love to look back at them to see how those little profiles have changed over the years. I originally wrote that tutorial over on my old blog, so it’s time to bring it over here to my new online home. 

DIY Canvas Silhouettes

Here’s what you’ll need to make a silhouette canvas of your own:

  • blank canvas
  • two colors of acrylic paint
  • one adhesive vinyl sheet
  • foam paintbrush
  • a photo of your subject (in profile, obviously).
Let’s get to work!  
  1. Paint the canvas. This is the color that you want the actual silhouette to be. Even if you’re using white for the inside, I prefer to paint the whole canvas white (this seems silly considering the canvas is white to begin with. But if you need to touch up any blobby areas, painting the center white will ensure you don’t notice the touch-up paint. Give it PLENTY of time to dry. Maybe like overnight…just to be safe.
  2. Print the photo on regular printer paper.
  3. Trace around the silhouette with a black sharpie. This helps you see a clear outline of what to cut. And it makes it so you don’t get distracted by little wispy hairs or shadows, etc.
  4. Cut out the silhouette along the black sharpie line.
  5. Trace the outline of the image you just cut out onto the back side of the vinyl sheet. It’s a little annoying to trace it again, but using vinyl saves you a lot of touch-up painting in the end since it adheres firmly to the canvas. The first time I did this project, I used a label sheet. It started to slide around once it got wet with paint. It’s still doable with a label sheet; but your lines are way crisper with a vinyl sheet.
  6. Paint the canvas. This is the second color you’re using. In my case, this is always a bright, fun color. Wait till the paint dries.
  7. Paint a second coat (if desired). 
  8. Remove the vinyl.
  9. Admire your handiwork. And touch up any blobs if necessary. 

You can find step-by-step photos here. Someday, I’ll re-photograph the whole process…but for now, if you need visuals, enjoy a trip deep into my archives. 🙂

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