Wednesday, July 2, 2014

DIY: Painted Wooden Letters

My parents created a super fun playroom for their grandchildren.  It is packed full of all sorts of toys.  The toy room has each grandchild's name on the wall in jumbo wooden letters.

The wooden letters were purchased at Michaels and are about twelve inches tall.  They are solid white.  Here are some ideas as to how they can be painted...

Pink with Polka Dots


My mom painted the first grandchild's letters dark pink then she traced small circles all over the letters.  She painted the circles light pink.  The light pink circles have two thin coats of paint.  The key is to avoid applying the paint too thick so that the strokes do not show.    When using this technique, the letters end up looking very nice and professional.  

The completed letters look great hanging on the wall or standing on a shelf.  We chose to hang "Myla's" name on the wall on a diagonal, as shown in he picture below.

Lime Green with Pink Hearts


When the next grandchild came along we decided to use vinyl decals instead of painting accents on the letters.  My mom painted the letters lime green.  I then cut hearts in various sizes on my Cricut machine.  I used pink vinyl for the hearts.  We peeled the hearts off of the backing and stuck them randomly on each of the letters.  It was super easy and the result looked great!  Using the Cricut machine allows you to add more detailed accents that would be very difficult to paint on the letters.

We staggered "Camille's" letters across one of the playroom walls, as shown below.


Blue with Green Dots and Swirls


The next grandchild's letters were created by painting the background blue.  I then cut small green vinyl dots and swirls using my Cricut machine.  I applied the dots and swirls randomly to each of the letters.


We then hung "Grady's" name in a straight line across one of the walls, as shown below.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

DIY Disney World Countdown Calendar

Are you heading to Disney World?  If yes, then it's about time that you create a countdown calendar!  We recently traveled to Disney World for my children's first time.  I wanted to get them excited about the trip because they really did not know what to expect from the most magical place on Earth.  What better way to do that than with a countdown calendar filled with treats!

My mom found these two Christmas Advent Calendars at Walgreens.  They were only a couple of dollars after Christmas, and all they needed was a little touching up to transform them into Disney World Countdown Calendars!

We started by peeling off the Christmas bows and reapplying some felt to Mickey and Minnie's faces.  We then attached a new string to each one.  Lastly, I filled each day with a piece of candy or little trinket.  The difference between this countdown calendar and an advent calendar is that you truly do "countdown" from day 24 to day 1.  As you might already know, with an advent calendar you start on December 1st and count up to the 24th.

My kids were so excited to get up each morning to grab their treat for the day.  They also enjoyed counting how many days were left until our big trip.  This was a fun way to get everyone excited for an awesome vacation!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DIY: Wreath For Your Front Door!

Do you need a new wreath, but don't want to pay the high prices for a pre-made wreath?  Or, maybe you don't like what you see available in stores.  Here's an idea...make your own wreath!  Anyone, crafty or not, can make a great looking wreath.  Here's how...

Step 1: Look at Samples


Put some time into researching wreath styles that you like.  It is easier to craft something if you have a sample to follow.  Take note of how many different blooms are on the wreath and if there are any greens (leaves, grasses, etc.).  Also, decide if you would like to include a bow or ribbon.

Step 2: Get Supplies


In order to make a wreath like the one shown below you will need the following supplies...
  • floral wire (green or brown)
  • scissors
  • grapevine wreath
  • 4 floral sprigs (2 lime green, 2 pink)
  • 2 light pink hydrangeas
  • 2 gladiolus (2 blooms on one stem)
  • 24" piece of burlap (approx. 5" wide)

Step 3: Assemble the Base of the Wreath

Attach the lime green floral sprigs to the grapevine wreath.  This sprig should wrap around the top of the grapevine wreath.  Take the floral wire through the branches on the wreath and through the parts of the floral sprigs so that the wire is hidden.  Wrap around several times to catch all parts of the floral sprig.  Be sure to leave the tips flowers loose so that the wreath has a natural look.

Attach the second lime green floral sprig.  This sprig should wrap around the bottom half of the wreath, as shown in the picture below.  You may need to cut off part of the stem if it is too long.


Step 4: Attach Burlap

Crunch the burlap together (as shown below) or tie to create a bow.  Hold the burlap in place to make sure that you like the positioning on the wreath.  Take the floral wire through part of the branches on the grapevine wreath then through the part of the burlap that is against the wreath.  Continue threading and wrapping until the burlap is secure and looks the way that you want it to.


Step 5: Attach Remaining Flowers


Lay out the remaining flowers on the wreath to set them up the way that you want.  Start by attaching the ones on the bottom and working your way to the ones on the top.

I attached the pink floral sprigs next.  One is at the top and one is at the bottom.  Then I placed one of the gladiolus at the bottom.  I then placed a hydrangea at the bottom so that it sat slightly on top of the gladiolus.  I then attached a hydrangea at the top, and then fit the last gladiolus in just below the top hydrangea.  I had to cut the stems off of the gladiolus and hydrangea blooms.

If there are any leaves included with the stem of flowers, be sure to incorporate them into the wreath, as well.  The leaves create a nice background and give the wreath dimension.  You can see the final product in the picture below.

Step 6: Attach Hook and Hang


Using the floral wire create a small hook to attach to the back of the grapevine wreath at the top.  Use the hook to hand the wreath on your door.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Baby Cameron Photo Shoot - Part 2

Baby Cameron was such a great sport that we were able to use many different props for our newborn photo shoot.  Hence, the reason his photo shoot is split into two posts!  Here are the rest of the props that we used.

Wire Basket


For this picture we placed a gray rug inside of a wire basket.  We carefully molded the rug so that Cameron's upper body and face would be propped up higher than his lower body.  We used a natural wood floor and black backdrop.  Cameron was very sleepy, so we were able to change his hats and wrap him in cheesecloth without any protesting!  

This was a good opportunity to get some close-up photos of Cameron's tiny features and hands.



Cameron's mom, Christy, purchased this hammock on Etsy.  We, of course, were very eager to try it out for photographs.  We carefully placed Cameron in the hammock while it was still lying on the ground.  Then Christy took one side and I took the other.  We lifted it just about an inch off of the ground then my mom took the photographs.  For this picture it is essential to have the same color for the background and the flooring.  This gives the illusion that the hammock is higher off of the ground than it actually is.  The next time around, I will use one blanket or piece of material for the backdrop and flooring as opposed to the blanket and rug used in the picture below.


Hunting Gear


Christy's husband, Rick, is an avid hunter.  He was excited to get some pictures of Cameron with all of his hunting gear.  We started by setting up the scene.  Rick prepared his bag, then we staged his bow, boots, gloves, and antlers.  We placed some blankets in the bag to cushion Cameron.  Rick even had a camouflage hat that I used as a diaper cover for Cameron.  

Rick then switched out his archery gear for his rifle, bag, and some ducks.  We were able to get great photos from a couple of different angles.



I purchased this great shaggy lime green pillow, from which the stuffing is removed, at Home Goods.  I placed the green pillowcase on a stool.  We used a piece of white vinyl flooring as the background and a gray rug as the flooring.  The lime green pillowcase makes a great statement.  Cameron looks adorable sleeping peacefully against the soft green pillowcase.

For more pictures from this photo shoot, please visit Baby Cameron Photo Shoot - Part 1

Baby Cameron Photo Shoot - Part 1

After taking my son's newborn pictures and years and years of informal family photography, my mom and I were approached by a friend to do a photo shoot of her soon-to-be baby boy!  We were extremely excited about this opportunity, but also a bit nervous as now our work needed to be liked by our client, not just us.  Although long, the photo shoot went very well and we learned a lot.  Check out the details below.


Cameron's Birth Announcement


Cameron's mother, Christy, created the Birth Announcement shown above.  She is a talented graphic designer.  Her invitations, announcements, and other printed products can be found on her website, Baby Bride and Bungalow.  



My friend gave us a lot of props that she wanted to use for the photo shoot.  I got those props in advance and set up and planned out each of the photos.  This helped the session progress smoothly and made us look more professional and like we knew what we were doing! :)  Baby Cameron was so sweet, laid back, and easy to work with.  He had a full feeding just prior to the start of the session to help with his sleepiness.

Bean Bag


We started the photo shoot with the bean bag as the first set-up.  We draped a gray and ivory blanket over the bean bag and up the back of the scene.  We got some cute pictures of Cameron lying on the bean bag with his head slightly elevated. 

We attempted to take a picture of Cameron propped on his hands.  This shot is very tricky because the baby's hands need to be placed perfectly, and someone has to support the baby's head.  After some editing to remove my arms, this is the final picture.  You can see the original photograph is taken using a landscape orientation.  I also cropped it to show a closer, portrait orientation.

What we learned from this experience is that we need to save these more difficult positions and photos until later in or at the end of the photo shoot when the baby is truly asleep and more easy to position.  Attempting to place the baby's hands and to prop the baby's face on the hands can be very difficult.  

Baby Doll Bed


The backdrop for this photograph is a shower curtain.  Draped across the backdrop is a tassel banner that my friend made for her gender reveal party.  We used a vinyl white wooden floor and a white baby doll bed.  We placed Cameron on the doll bed on his belly then turned his head toward the camera.  Tuck the baby's legs under the belly then place his hand under his cheek.  The important thing to remember is that the baby should be slightly angled so that his behind is pointed away from the camera so that his "crack" is not visible.  We placed a large letter "C" as a prop in a few of the pictures.

Use this opportunity when the baby is sleeping peacefully to get some close-ups or other creative shots, as shown below.



We placed a shaggy white rug in a large tin bucket then placed Cameron on top.  Cameron was sleeping so pleasantly that we were able to do some of the photos with a hat and some without.  For some variety we used a chalkboard, a tractor, and/or a string of pennants as props in a few of the photos.  When the baby is sleeping it is easy to change setups to create a totally different look for a photograph.  Additionally, we were able to slide a brown stable door in for the backdrop on some of the pictures.


Low Basket

This picture is taken using a low basket.  I found this really cool shaggy lime green pillow at Home Goods, from which I removed the pillow and was left with only the case.  I placed the green pillowcase in the basket.  I wrapped Cameron in a piece of white cheesecloth than laid him in the basket.  It is best to take this picture by shooting directly down on the baby.  

For more pictures from this photo shoot, please visit Baby Cameron Photo Shoot - Part 2