Super Easy, Super Chic Vase


I’m not really a “chic” person.

I mean…we have really old green leather couches with holes in them.  We have deer heads on our walls and paintings of ducks alongside haphazardly hung family photos.  This isn’t so much due to my lack of taste (I hope) as it is the constant hoping that we will find a new home to move into soon, thus making decorating/painting/trying-hard-to-make-our-little-home-look-nice feel like a bit moot of a point.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t like chic things…especially since creating chic looking pieces is so easy to do on your own!

I was looking for something to do with all my cheap old vases from flower deliveries over the years when I became inspired by HGTV Magazine to make them look frosty and fun.

All you need is rubber bands, spray paint and a vase.

Basically, put the rubber bands on the vase and spray paint it.  Once the paint is dry, take off the rubber bands and…bada-bing-bada-boom…a chic new vase!

For your educational purposes, I’m chronicling a tale of two vases today….because I messed up the first one horribly and don’t want you to do the same.

It’s not so shocking to discover that easy doesn’t always mean fool proof.  And since I’m usually in a hurry to make the most of my kids’ nap times and get things done quickly, I am usually the fool who finds out the wrong way first.


For the second half of this project, I had quite the viewing party…pressure was on to do it right!PeanutGallery

First, do not make your vase look like a glass version of Anastasia from 50 shades of Grey.  No bondage scene needed for this craft project.  A few rubber band goes a long way.PaintedVase1 PaintedVaseSuccess1

Second, when painting, do not actually spray paint onto the vase.  It will run and drip and look so so gross.  As soon as you push the button on the spray can, let up.  Do one small spot at a time and don’t try to actually cover the vase with paint. You’re going for a frosty chic look here.


If you want slightly more coverage wait for the first coat to completely dry  (not tacky-ish to the touch, not mostly dry but dry dry). Hit the clear spots with a quick spot of spray.


Let the vase dry completely.

*As a side note, if you are a multi-tasker like me and cannot simply wait for things to dry, I recommend using this time to check your dogs for ticks.  I found 2 huge ones and used the spray paint can to crush them.  An excellent use of stand-by time in my opinion!*

Once the vase is dry, gently pull off the rubber bands.  Hopefully, you don’t end up with a drippy, over exposed, harsh looking vase – as I did the first time!PaintedVase3 PaintedVaseSuccess6

You could use any color of spray paint you like here.  I think a sea foam green or turquoise would be equally ‘chic’ and fabulous as well.  Or perhaps do bold colors to pop with your white walls?  You could try different designs with the direction of the rubber bands, too.  Whatever mood you’re in, now you can have a vase to match!

Happy spray painting, everyone!

Garden Labels

If you have been following my blog, then by now you know that my ‘weapons of choice,’ when it comes to crafting, are wood and craft paint.  The possibilities are endless if you keep your craft room stocked with these 2 supplies.  Recently, I planted some herb seeds and realized that, *gasp*, I had no way of telling my pots apart. The solution: a craft, of course!  So, I made these cute little labels in only a few minutes.  Here’s how!


Popsicle Sticks (3 for each label)

Hot glue gun and glue

Craft Paint

Paint Brushes

Clear Spray Paint

Begin by gluing 2 popsicle sticks together length wise.  First, make sure they are straight…sometimes they have a little bend to them.

Paint the sticks a color of your choice.

Once dried, use a pencil to lightly write the name of the plant you wish to label. A hint to keeping your lettering centered: Count the number of letters in the word and begin with the middle letter (or middle 2 letters if there are an even number of letters) in the middle of the 2 sticks. Work your way out, one letter at a time on each side, so you can monitor the spacing and ensure the label won’t be lopsided.

I'm switching back and forth between a couple different sticks here...hope the color changes don't throw you off!

Now, paint your lettering using a contrasting color.  Use block letters, cursive, puffy letters, skinny letters, or paint a picture.  Be creative!

While the lettering is drying, paint a single popsicle stick another contrasting color.  No need to paint the whole thing…you’re going to be shoving one end in the dirt.

Once all of the paint on all of the sticks is completely dry, glue the 3rd stick to the back of the 2 conjoined sticks (in the middle).  It’s important that all the paint is dry, otherwise the glue doesn’t stick well.

Now spray paint the entire project with a coat or 2 of clear spray paint.  This helps protect it from the sun and rain…and makes it shiny and finished looking.

Labels drying.

When everything is dry, label your plants and enjoy the extra color in your garden! 🙂

Mason Jar Shell Keepsake

Like most residents of a landlocked state on vacation in a beach town, I am compelled to collect everything I find in the sand.  Pretty shells, ugly shells, broken shells and (on our trip to South Padre Island) I even snatched up a corroded quarter that had clearly spent some time in the sea.  I also grabbed a bag full of sand because I felt as if it were something that simply needed to be done.  However, I soon ventured home and reality sunk in that I had a leaky trash bag of sand and a plastic sack of stinky shells.  Since I am sentimental and had taken great pains to travel all the way home to Iowa with my treasures, I KNEW I couldn’t just throw them away.  So, I did what I always do…and found a way to craft myself into saving them. A ‘Mason Jar Shell Keepsake’ as I’m calling this craft, was easy to make. I’m now sure that I will be bringing home bits of sand, dirt, rocks and shells from EVERYWHERE we travel so that I can start a collection (*my husband grumbles in the background*).  Here’s how I made it:

Start with an empty mason jar (with lid).  Any shape or size.  Get one without the “Ball” label if you don’t like ‘rustic’ look of this one.  You’ll also need a glass pen (to be found at your local craft store) and a hot glue gun if you decide to decorate the lid.  The first step is to get on Microsoft Word (or any computer program with fun fonts) and find a fun way to write the information you wish to have on the outside of the jar.  I went with the name of our destination and the year.  Make sure the font size fits on the area of the jar you wish to label.  Word to the wise: Don’t use and overly crazy font, unless you have a lot of patience.

Next, cut out the lettering and tape it on the inside of the jar on the area you want labeled.  This takes a couple tries to get straight…unless you have super tiny hands (please excuse my bandaid-ed thumb…I have a problem with reaching into the toaster oven without an oven mitt).

Use your glass pen to trace the lettering.  Go over it a second time if you need to (remove the paper from the inside for a clearer view).

Follow the directions on your glass pen for finishing steps.  Mine called for the glass to be baked at 350 for 30 minutes to make the ink set.  After the ink is set…you’re done!!  Now fill it with your treasures (really wishing my sand would have dried out more..and that I had grabbed more of it).

Decorate the lid if you want.

Fun keepsake and now I don’t have bags of shells and sand sitting on my kitchen counter any more. 🙂

Construction Themed Birthday Cake

For the momentous event that was Evan’s birthday party, I wanted to make a sweet construction-themed cake to celebrate.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and looked up a tutorial on the linked blog.  And, I must say…it turned out awesome!!  Evan’s cake was a masterful looking yellow and chocolate cake, stripped on the inside to resemble construction tape with a backhoe and dirt pile on top.  I decided I must share the method with you…it’s too cool not to try yourself!  My assessment of the difficulty of this baking-craft: It’s not highly skill requiring, but it does take about 30 minutes to assemble (after baking) and a steady hand.  Totally worth it!

First you’ll need 2 equal sized round cakes of different colors.  You can either make 2 separate types of cake or make one cake and tint half of the batter with food coloring.  I made a yellow and a chocolate cake (and several cupcakes with the leftover batter).  And, yes…I totally cheated and used boxed mixes.

Once the cakes are baked, let them sit in the freezer overnight.  Cutting a frozen cake is MUCH easier than a crumbly room-temp cake.  When you’re ready to start, pull the cakes out of the freezer and begin by leveling the tops evenly.  I used a long, serrated knife.

For the first cut, move your knife about half an inch to an inch from the edge of the cake and insert it at a 45 degree angle.  Holding the angle steady, cut a circle around the edge.  Don’t worry about perfection.  As you’ll see in my photos, things get lopsided pretty easily, but once put together, you can’t tell.

Pop the circle out of the center of the cake and set the outer ring aside.  All of these steps will be repeated with the other cake, so please excuse my photos for bouncing back and forth between chocolate and yellow.

Now, to make the smaller circles more even, draw or trace a circle onto a piece of paper, making sure it is at least 1 inch smaller in diameter than the remaining circle of cake.

Use a small knife to gently scrape around the edge, creating a faint circle for you to follow along while making the actual cut.

Insert your knife into the cake at the same angle as the first cut (45 degrees) and follow your faint line around the cake.  Pop the circle out and repeat one more time on the small center of the cake (sorry…no photo here).

Once you’ve repeated these steps with both of your round cakes, assemble it by placing alternating colors back together…like children’s stacking cups!  It won’t look pretty.  In fact, I had to use pieces of my cake tops to fill in holes where things didn’t match up.  Here’s how it looked after I assembled and stacked the cake.

When it was time for the party, I whipped up some chocolate frosting.  After cutting a chunk of the top out and placing it on top of the cake (to create the “hole and dirt pile”) I frosted the cake…heavily of course.  Then I crushed up some Oreos and sprinkled them on the top to look like dirt.

Evan liked it and his cousins who were here thought it was “so cool,” which I accept as the highest compliment!

Spreading the Love on Valentines Day

I love having an excuse to bake (have I said that before??).  And I feel that holidays like Valentines Day are made just for baking and sharing!  I had grandiose visions of making sweet Valentines for all of Evan’s cousins and sending care packages out, but February has been so busy…it just got away from me!  I did, however, make three (why am I so honest with you?  I should say I made about a dozen of these, but I’m a horrible liar.). 


I accompanied my little love notes with mini Sour Cream Pound Cakes (I divided the batter and baked it in 4 mini loaf pans), adding some red food coloring and sprinkles.  Of course, I made an extra one…the chef needed to have a sample!

I also whipped up some Peanut Butter cookies and substituted chocolate hearts for the Hershey’s Kisses.  These I gave away to the daycare ladies at the gym and some friends.  And myself.  Quite a few to myself, actually.

I’m off now to prep supper as best I can so I have plenty of free time to enjoy my 3 Valentine guys tonight (JJ, Evan and, of course, the pooch, Jimmy!).  On our menu: Steaks, mashed potatoes, asparagus, wedge salads and chocolate souffle’s (my first attempt on the last item).  Happy Valentines Day to you all!  Now go eat some chocolate…there are no calories in it on February 14th!

Kiddy Coat Hangers: A Tracing Tutorial

I started making these fun coat hangers a long time ago…like…pre-husband and pre-child.  It was back in a day when the most important things I needed to hang up were my purse and the coat that my dog Jimmy wears in the winter time (yes –  have a miniature horse sized coat that I put on my Black Lab/Doberman mix in the winter. He is, after all, my first child).  I’ve had several people ask me for personalized versions of these hooks and there is little more that I love than making things for other people.

Here’s how to make your own, should you feel inspired to do so (and I hope you do!)!

Start with a wooden craft plank.  This one cost me $3.99 at Michael’s.  You can also use scrap wood, like from old cabinets.  Using craft paint (I suggest Folk Art brand as it covers well), paint the base the color of your choice.  This wood typically drinks up a bit of paint, so don’t be afraid to lay it on thick over a few layers.  This will make the rest of the paint take more evenly.  Allow it to dry.

Drawing your own designs free hand is a creative fun way to color your board, but for this project, I decided to paint a clip art cow.  This is where it get easy (as if it wasn’t already).  Go online and find an image you want on your craft.  The key is to keep it pretty simple (or the K.I.S.S. theory, as my mom says -Keep It Simple, Stupid! Sorry…not calling any of you stupid.).  The more intricate and the more colors required, the longer this craft will take you.  You can see by my choice of artwork that I am not very ambitious today.

Once you have your artwork printed out, flip it over and scratch heavily with a pencil over the entire area you want traced onto the board.  Lay it on heavily so it transfers easily.  No need to be exact or precise…just scribble.  Brings out the Kindergartener in ya!

Once you have used up plenty of pencil lead and your wrist is tired, turn the paper back over and place it on the board where you want it to be. Secure the paper in place with tape.

*TIPS HERE*: Make sure to measure (don’t just eyeball it) as it’s a bummer when you get done and realize your image is too far to one side. Also, don’t forget to account for where your hook will be screwed in (I’ve moved my cow up on my board so the hook will sit underneath it).*

Now, simply trace the design.  Use your pencil to draw over the entire drawing.  Press firmly to insure the lead (or graphite, I should say) on the back of the page transfers to the wood.  Don’t be tempted to peek!  You risk moving the paper, causing the artwork to look misshapen after you’ve traced it.

Once you’re done, you should have a very faint outline of your image.

Now you’ve earned the right to paint (the fun part)!!  Start with the larger areas and move to the smaller.  I started with the white…

…then finished with the black.  Easy!

Once the craft paint is dry, hit your board with a coat or two (depending on how much wear and tear your craft will need to bear) of clear spray paint.

Lastly, it’s hardware time!  At your local Target or hardware store, you should be able to find a variety of hooks as well as picture hangers for the backside of the board.  Size small picture hangers suffice for this craft…unless you’re planning on hanging bowling balls from it. Most important thing here: measure, measure, MEASURE.

 Then, attach the picture hanger and hook.  Attach the picture hanger first, followed by the hook (much easier this way).  Depending on the hook you selected, you may need to purchase shorter screws, however most smaller hooks come with short enough screws that will not stick out the back.  And there you have it…a fun addition to your mud room, nursery or bathroom.

How To: Melted Crayon Art

Who loves colorful, easy artwork that’s fun to make?  This girl does!!  And I’ve been dying to take a stab at my own melted crayon art ever since the craze has become popular.  Let me break down the complicated steps of this highly difficult, skill-requiring craft: 1) Glue crayons to a canvas. 2) Use your hair dryer to melt them. 3) Hang it on a wall.

It’s pretty easy-peasy!  Here is a little bit more of a detailed break down for those of you who are wanting to do ‘the melt’ yourselves.

I started out with a 16×20 canvas and a box of 64 crayons.  The whole box won’t fit on the canvas, so pull out the colors you don’t want.  I suggest getting a smaller box of crayons as well, so you can double up on the colors you really want to pop (I didn’t do this…mine are strictly from the 64 count box, but I’m wishing I would have added more of the brighter colors).

You have a choice at this point; you can leave the wrappers on, or take them off.  Totally up to you what “look” you would like in the end.  If you decide to remove the wrappers, simply soak the crayons in a bowl of water until the wrappers slide right off.  Don’t try to peel them off dry…it’ll take you forever.

When you’re ready to assemble, use a hot glue gun to fasten the crayons to the canvas, tip pointed down.  Go ahead and snug the crayons up against each other.  No need to leave room between.Make sure to have your canvas propped up on a flat surface, placing plenty of aluminium foil (or newspaper, I suppose would work) around the area to catch splatters.

Using the highest heat setting and the lowest speed setting, fire up the hair dryer and make those crayons sweat!  The rest happens naturally…it’s a science I like to call “gravity.”

In no time at all, you’ll have a neat work of art!  This one is going to hang in Evan’s room.  I’d like to build a black frame to go around it, but that craft is for another day. 🙂