Tissue Paper Flowers and Painted Frames Food Table Decor

Tissue Paper Flowers and Frames Food Table Back Drop

I still have one more thing from Valentine’s week to share before February is over and that is some decorations I did for a conference at church. I always feel very happy when I am able to use my passions to help and bless others, even if it is just in a creating some decorations. Since it was Valentine’s Day and all, I went with more of a girly theme. This type of decor would be great for a wedding. I made a ton of tissue paper flowers and cut out leaves from cardstock, found some frames at a thrift store and spray painted them white, and then learned a few lessons from trying to put this together.

Tissue Paper Flowers and Frames Food Table Back Drop
Tissue Paper Flowers and Frames Food Table Back Drop

I knew I wouldn’t be able to put nails in the wall, so I tried gluing/tying the frames together to stand upright while leaning on a wall. While that kind of worked, they were so fragile I was afraid it might fall and I didn’t want it to fall on a person or food. Fortunately we had a pallet in our garage I could attach them too that. If I had given myself more time before putting it all together I would have done something to create more contrast between the pallet and the frames/sign, but I am still happy with how it turned out.

Tissue Paper Flowers and Frames Food Table Back Drop
The decorations are now waiting to be used at a bridal shower and whatever survives I hope to reuse in some fun way. I love that decorations can be inexpensive and yet look so wonderful!
-Jess

The Cricut Explore Event

Cricut Explore Event

Today I want to share with you about that special trip I took last week. I still can’t believe I was asked to be a part of it. What an honor it was to attend! So, what was the trip? A few months ago I received an email from Cricut with an invitation to a special “secret” event they were hosting. I quickly checked with my hubby and was able to reply with a big YES.

Temporary Business Cards

Time slowly passed and I started to prepare for the trip. I have never been to any type of blogger event/conference/etc, so I didn’t even think about business cards until I saw a list of what to bring the weekend before I was to leave. I quickly made some up and printed them myself and stapled them to some candy to make up for my lack of preparedness. Good news though, I am planning on buying some real business cards this week!

Cricut Explore Event

I also ended up having a little scare the night before when the airlines called and said my flight had been cancelled. I about cried. But, my hubby said to check and see if another local airport was flying out earlier and to my joy they were. I was able to make a quick flight switch and all was good. I arrived in Utah that Monday afternoon and prepared for the fun events and the “secret” that was to be revealed.

Cricut Explore Event
Cricut Explore Event
Dress Up Time

That night began with checking in and then a fabulous dinner that followed. More than 100 bloggers were there and it was surreal to see so many that I follow. We were all assigned a table to sit at and I shrieked a little bit inside when Elizabeth of Dear Lizzy and Bonnie of A Golden Afternoon sat at my table. I of course went and introduced myself. I’m quite an introvert, but I made sure to step out of my comfort zone and meet people because how often does something like this happen?

Cricut Instagram Wall A Project from each blogger
Cricut Explore Event
Macarons

Cricut Explore Event

We played bingo and a few ladies won some fabulous prizes. We ate good food. We admired the amazing decorations. We mingled. We danced. We instagrammed.

Cricut Explore Event
Also met these fabulous ladies in real life! Katie of the Crafty Blog Stalker and Becki of Whippy Cake.
New Cricut Explore Reveal

Then the big announcement of the night came and was the reveal of Cricut’s newest cutting machine: The Explore. The machine in and of itself is a pretty great thing. I have another cutting machine and this one beats it hands down. But, I was also super impressed with the business aspect of this product. They did a lot of research, even thinking about little things I know I wouldn’t have thought of. During the dinner and the whole event, Cricut employees were always among us. The lawyer was sitting at our table and was sharing his experience with the ceo while he was working on this project. It was just really neat and made me think more about all that really does go into this type of thing.

Cricut Explore Event

The next day we had a few meetings about the machine and heard from Anna Griffin (above top right) and Jeanne Lewis (below bottom left) who is the ceo/founder of Creative Bug. They are teaming up with Cricut for the new release.

Cricut Explore Event

After the morning meetings and breakfast, we started crafting. I started in the New York room where we could make some accessories. I also had a chance to use the new Explore at this point. It was really easy to use (especially since it was already set up and ready to go ;).

Cricut Explore Event New York Room
Cricut Explore Event New York Room
Cricut Explore Event New York Room
Cricut Explore Event New York Room
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Aren’t these dresses amazing? Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the other dress they had, but they used the Explore to cut out the butterflies for the one dress and leather triangles for the black one. Gorgeous!

Cricut Explore Event New York Room

Then I went over to the Utah room. This was my most favorite. I loved the craft projects there (vinyl on water bottle, paper deer head on wood) and the decor. I so wanted to just take all the furniture and decor home with me!

Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room
Cricut Explore Event Utah Room

The last room I went to was the California room. It was bright and cheery in there! We added iron on vinyl to a tote bag and made some paper umbrellas.

Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room
Cricut Explore Event California Room

Each room was so inspiring and filled with a ton of ideas that you could create using the Cricut Explore. Everything went so well and I had so much fun meeting so many fabulous people.

Cricut Explore Reveal Event
Snow!
Utah

I ended my last night there with a dinner at a local restaurant with others who were still there or were staying for Alt Summit. I also took some pictures of the snow to show my girls. One day they will get to see snow in real life! Now, for those of you wondering about the Cricut Explore, here is some more info:

Cricut Explore™
  • Cricut Explore™ – The world’s easiest design-and-cut system for making polished creative DIY projects. DIY crafters can go from inspiration to creation in just a few clicks. The Cricut Explore™ system blends:
    • An electronic cutting machine
    • Easy-to-use online design software
    • A 50,000+ image library with hundreds of ready-to-make projects
  • Cricut Design Space™ – Free online software for the Cricut Explore™ that lets users design and create their own projects as well as browse and make Cricut®-designed projects in minutes.
    • Make It Now™ Projects – DIYers can select from hundreds of pre-designed projects (home decor, paper crafts, parties, holiday decor, etc.) that they can start making in just the click of a button
    • Canvas Templates – DIYers can personalize and make their own creations for popular items (t-shirts, iPad cases, pillows, invitations, cards, etc.)
    • Cut What You Want® – DIYers also have the freedom to upload images and fonts from the Web or their computers *
  • Cut Smart™ Patent-pending technology that cuts, writes or scores a variety of materials with incredible precision. It features dual carriage heads:
    • One carriage head with a premium German carbide blade for cutting
    • A secondary carriage head for drawing or writing with a pen or marker
  • Smart Set™ – A material selection dial that works with Cut Smart™ technology to eliminate the need to make pressure, depth and speed adjustments.
    • With a turn of the dial, DIYers can easily alternate between cutting multiple materials: paper, vinyl, iron on, cardstock, fabric and poster board and more
    • Also includes a custom option that can be preset to a desired material of choice, like chipboard, craft foil or magnetic materials
  • Out of the Box Each Cricut Explore™ machine comes with a simple guide and a selection of materials—including cardstock, iron-on, vinyl and two Duck Tape® Sheets—so DIYers can immediately make any of the 50 free projects.
  • Pricing & Availability
    • Cricut Explore™ – $299 MSRP
      • Debuts on the Home Shopping Network February
      • Available at retail March 15th
      • Other retail partners include Amazon, Jo-Ann, Michaels, Walmart.com and more
  • Cricut Design Space™
    • Individual images – Starting from $0.99
    • No-commitment monthly subscriptions, access to 25,000 images and over 200 fonts – $9.99
    • Annual subscriptions, access to 25,000 images and over 200 fonts – $99.99

 Other info you might be curious about:
-Comes with a special bag with handles to store it in so you don’t have to store it in the box.
-The software is completely free, but images cost money (see above). You get fifty free with your purchase to make the projects they share. But, you can upload your own images for free to use. Here is more info on that from the ceo:

“Cricut Design Space is free to use for all file types, no subscription required.
 
 
Upload and design with your .svg, .dxf, .bmp, .jpg, .png, and .gif files absolutely free. Design with your system fonts absolutely free. Use Cricut Design Space for free, and try out any image in your design for free.
 
  
Our month-to-month subscription is still available as the most affordable way to access content in the market. For $9.99 a month, you get unlimited use of over 25,000 images in the Cricut library! (Unfortunately, our licensing agreements don’t allow us to make Disney images or other branded content available in a subscription.)”
 
-They also said that if you have uploaded images from your cartridges onto Craft Room, those will be available for you to use in Cricut Design Space (no fee).

-This machine can also cut things like burlap, leather, magnets, and even thin material like copy paper. If there is a type of material they don’t have listed in the program, you can add it and create a setting for it. The dial on top that is for easy cutting settings can also be reprogrammed to different types of materials if you use those more regularly.
-There will also be a blue tooth accessory available so you can even use Cricut Design Space on your Ipad to operate it if you want.
-They created this machine to be very quiet as they found in their research that a large percentage of usage is done at night while others are sleeping.
-You can use blades from other Cricut machines in this one, but the Explore comes with the newer and more improved blade that last longer.
-They are looking into making it compatible with previous machines, but want to keep this machine as easy to use as possible.
-You can put a pen in to have it draw (think metallics people!) or put in a scoring tool (so you can create that pre-folded look).

Hope that helps for those looking for more info. They really listen to the consumers, so if you have anything you want to ask about, etc. you can get in touch with them. I met some of the customer service team members in the California room and they were really nice :)I will of course be sharing more of my experiences with the machine when I get it, so be on the look out for that.
-Jess

Rustic Arrow Theme Baby Shower

Rustic Baby Shower for Boy

Last month was a very full month for me. It was full of so many amazing events, one of which was a baby shower I hosted for my friend. I have always been so blessed to meet and become friends with such incredible people in all the places the military moves us. There really are great people everywhere. It might take time to find them sometimes, but they are there.

Rustic Baby Shower for Boy

I found out my friend wasn’t having a baby shower and knew immediately I wanted to throw one for her. Every child is a gift, so I wanted to at least have a celebration party or something if gifts were a concern. You know, like one last big party before her little boy arrives. I was inspired by some lovely ladies I follow on instagram to do an arrow theme. Some moms reference their children to being their arrows based on Psalm127:3-4 so I was going with that.

Rustic Baby Shower for Boy

This will be my friends third arrow :) I had wanted to do a little bit more with the arrow theme, but I just didn’t have enough time. I’ve learned by now to just let things go and enjoy instead of stressing out until the very last minute over little details probably no one else will really notice anyways. So I cut out arrows and sewed them together through the middle and used things from all over my house to decorate with. Hooray for arrows!

Rustic Baby Shower for Boy

The tablecloth is actually a piece of fabric I had in my stash. The chalkboard is one my hubby made for me to use for the mini sessions I did (and I also used it at a craft show I did last month as well). It’s come in real handy! He made it from old fence boards. Then I sanded the middle some and painted on the chalkboard area. It’s a bit bumpy but it works.

Rustic Baby Shower for Boy           Rustic Baby Shower for Boy

I hung lights all over like crazy too and it got me super excited for decorating for Christmas. I love twinkle lights! I kept the food simple and added different dishes and bowls I had for some variety to the table.

Rustic Baby Shower for Boy

In our living room, I added a big banner on some craft paper (well, it was technically gift wrap paper) with her sons name on it and taped up pictures from their family/maternity session I photographed. I will share pics of those soon.

We had a fun night and I didn’t even make them play any games! I did try a craft, but I should have tried to make the bracelet myself first because it did not go well at all. But it gave us some good laughs and was funny watching us all trying to figure it out. 
I hope all my US readers had a good Thanksgiving! I should be having some Christmas type posts up soon. In fact, I just made our front door wreath tonight. We are keeping things simple and purposeful this year. It’s going well so far. Have a good week and be a good friend :)
-Jess

Oh, and I forgot I wanted to share the invite I made. We just did a facebook invite so I didn’t need to print this out, but I made the left side with the Studio app. I love that app! It’s free and just AMAZING. Seriously. Then I put it with a pic in PSE real quick. Simple and just right.

Anthropologie Deer Hook DIY Look-a-Like

Anthropologie Deer Hook Look a Like

The last time I went to Houston and was browsing in Anthropologie, I came across the adorable creature kingdom hardware pieces they have. When I was thinking about things to make for Miss J’s room, I remembered them and really wanted to make a place for her to hang her clothes, dress up stuff, etc. using one or more of those hooks.

Anthropologie Deer Hook Look a Like

Then, one day, I was looking around in Marshall’s and spotted a silver deer hook. I immediately knew that I could make my own bronzed hook and for less money too.

Anthropologie Deer Hook Look a Like

I bought the hook for $5.99 (and I’m sure you can find these at places like TJ Maxx and Home Goods too. We don’t have those here, so it’s either Marshall’s or Ross for me).  Then I headed over to Lowe’s and bought the two side hooks and this spray paint, Valspar Metallic in classic bronze. I can’t remember if it was $3.98 or $4.98, so I counted it as $4.98 in my expense round up above.

Anthropologie Deer Hook Look a Like

I spray painted the hooks and was so pleased with the result! The spray paint went on perfectly and smooth. And now I still have a whole can to use on other projects. Plus, my daughter loves her little hanging station now. It’s all part of a plan to make being responsible a bit more fun. She is enjoying picking out her clothes and putting them out so they are ready to go the next day.
Don’t you just love it when a diy presents itself and you weren’t even trying? Me too :)
-Jess

Anthropologie Deer Hook Look a Like

Our Home Tour at Life Made Lovely

Home Tour

A few weeks ago I received an email from Heather of Life Made Lovely asking me to share a tour of our home. Now, if you have not visited her blog you should. I found it because of this amazing series she does called “Home Made Lovely.” She also shares her own diy, graphic designs, and decorating adventures on her blog too. She’s one talented lady! I seriously couldn’t believe I was able to be a part of the home series though. I seriously suggest checking out the whole thing. So much inspiration! You can check out some pics from our home here. It’s still very much a work in progress, but maybe I’ll get more done before it’s time for us to move again in a year and a half.
-Jess

Home Tour
Home Tour

Random Projects and Pics

One of the biggest freedoms I gave myself a while back was to not have to blog every single thing I made. Sure, I might not have as much to blog about, but I needed things that were just for fun. Instagram came along and became a great place to share these kinds of projects though. The ones that I like and want to take a pic of, but not go get out my camera and edit them on a computer and write a blog post kind of thing. So I’m sharing some of these projects and other pics I have shared on Instagram over the past few months. Above: I made some dried apple garland for our kitchen. It’s a great fall decoration and a great way to use apples that are almost to the uneatable point, but still pretty. Know what I’m talking about? I also crocheted a camera strap cover during our road trip to VA this summer. I used this tutorial to make it. I also recently added some yarn tassels to our hallway mirror. I had seen chandeliers covered in them at Anthropologie last year and had been wanting to incorporate that in our house someway. The mirror won.

Anyone else started doing some fall baking? Even though it is still very hot here, I went ahead and made up a batch of pumpkin cookies (I used a box mix for the cookies and made my own cream cheese frosting…..yum). I also made a tiny little owl for a special little girl using this pattern. Then I decided my girls each needed one too. And I also made an adorable fox hat and bow clip for a baby present (I just adjusted a baby earflap hat crochet pattern to work for my yarn and added on ears I made freestyle). Kind of want to make a fox hat for my girls now.

Relished our time at Virginia Beach. Oh how I miss living near a beach…..a real beach anyways.

Played around with some spaghetti o’s; visited local vintage shops with my wonderful friends; and miss E has a new found love for brushed and pretend painting (Don’t worry! I removed the brush right after I discovered she had taken it to nap).

This is a shelf I repainted. It was gifted to us by the man who made it. I of course don’t have it styled so beautifully right now, as my littles would break all of that stuff, but it makes a perfect spot for our printer to live for now.

And, lastly, one of my diy necklaces made an appearance in an issue of Cloth magazine. It’s a teeny tiny appearance, but still made me happy :) I’m going to be working real hard tomorrow finishing up pictures of my humble house to share on Life Made Lovely’s blog soon! I’m a bit nervous as the people she asks have such great style and my decor is still a work in progress, but I’m sure something will inspire someone out there. Will be back sharing on that soon. Good night ya’ll!
-Jess

A Lampshade Bird Cage

Blog2

We have been slowly redoing miss J’s room lately. She loves nature, so I am trying to incorporate a lot of things that go with that. This lamp shade used to be a ribbon chandelier I made, but we changed it into a “bird cage”.

lampshade bird cage

I wrapped all the wires with fabric strips, except for the top middle. Then I crocheted yarn around the top. I glued in some sticks for the birds to sit on and lastly glued on a ton of different trims to hang at the bottom.

lampshade bird cage

I have seen things like this made before and was so happy I was able to make one. I told miss J if she ever grows tired of it, I will more than happily take it off her hands ;)
-Jess

Coffee Table Makeover DIY

Coffe Table Makeover DIY

You all know how much I love creating with DecoArt products. They create some good stuff for us crafters. They recently released a new line of paints called Multi-Surface Satin paints. They sent me some, along with some of their other products, to create a diy to share. I was excited to try these paints, because they are made to work on wood, metal, glass, terra cotta, ceramics, papier mache, most plastics, fabric, and canvas. How great is that? No more buying different paints to use on different surfaces.

Coffe Table Makeover DIY

Originally I thought about making something for miss J’s room, but I have been redoing some things in our living room and our coffee table was looking not so great. It was a craigslist buy 7 years ago (originally from Ikea), and has survived multiple moves and two little children. I’m not quite sure what you would call the surface of it, but it’s very slick. I figured it would be a great piece to check out the adhesiveness of this paint.

Coffe Table Makeover DIY

I used the above products for the painting. Americana Multi-Surface Satins and the chalkboard paint are available for purchase at Michaels, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, and other fine craft retailers. In fact, I just showed them to a friend in Michaels this morning. I also used some paint tape to make painting straight and you will need a paint brush and chalk too. I first taped off a rectangular shape in the middle of the coffee table to paint on the chalkboard paint. I applied the paint according to the instructions.

Then I let it dry/cure for 24 hours, as suggested, and taped around the edged of the chalkboard area so when I painted around it, no paint would get in that area. I first painted the scalloped edge blue, but it was too blue. So I let it dry then mixed some blue with the white and added another layer. Still wasn’t quite the color I wanted. So I mixed up another batch and painted a third layer and it was finally the color I wanted. Then I whipped out some stencils (which are located right there with the paints in the stores) and used them to help create my chalkboard mural. I think the stencils are a great help for drawing on chalkboards.

Coffe Table Makeover DIY

Above is a closer look of the paint. It was a bit hard to photograph. I like how the darker first layer kind of peaks through. And I love the texture it left. I did that on purpose. I used a regular paint brush, but I was very loose with it, not trying to be super perfect and kind of glopping it on. I think using a foam brush would make it really easy to get it super smooth. But again, I wanted it like this. So I’m super happy with it. It has been a few days and is great. And I have two tiny little girls who really put it to the test!

If you are interested in trying out these new paints, DecoArt if offering a special promotion until October 31, 2013. Simple read above for all on the details and get some money back when you purchase 5 bottles of Multi-Surface Satin Paints. Again, read all the details ;)
Happy crafting! May you be inspired to create.
-Jess

A Vintage Birthday

Birthday Vintage Style

Miss E had her birthday a few days after miss J. She turned 2. And then decided to grow up a lot. We had to move her to a big girl bed because she would no longer not climb out of her crib. She started picking up a few words a day. And she just began to grow up, if that makes sense. It was like she fully crossed into toddlerhood. Funny how it just seems to happen sometimes. No progression. Just happens in an instant. We just had a family birthday party for her, but miss J helped me make it special with some decorations.

Birthday Vintage Style
Birthday Vintage Style

We used things that we had around the house. Vintage lace adorned the wall with some gold tissue paper pom poms that I had from a current wall decorating. I took the yellow pom pom flowers off of our photo chalkboard and put them in a vintage vase. The place mats were a fabulous thrifted find that I have later plans for and the tablecloth is a vintage one that I scored off of Ebay years ago.

Birthday Vintage Style
Birthday Vintage Style

I made a two layer chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. Yum. We love cake around here. Big sis found the pink crown in the dress up bin and thought it would be good to use instead of the hats I had. I agreed. A crown for the birthday princess was perfect.

Birthday Vintage Style
Birthday Vintage Style

Miss E didn’t really get the candle thing at all though. It was kind of funny. Even after trying to show her, she just didn’t care. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Birthday Vintage Style
Birthday Vintage Style

We filled our tummies with sugar and our hearts with love in celebration for this precious little girl. She’s my goofy one and always gets me to smile. Happy and blessed to have both of my sweet girls!
-Jess

Birthday Vintage Style

Us

Just wanted to share a few pics from Instagram that I have taken the past few weeks. We have been settling down a bit now that spring break is over. We had a great Easter and I really need to get those pictures off of my camera. But i had this one of them above on my phone. Miss E just kept wanting to sit in that corner for some reason. Little ones can be peculiar at times, can’t they?

 I don’t usually get in too many pics with my girls, but I made sure to get one while we visited the Houston zoo. That was an interesting and fun adventure.

 My mom had a birthday in March and I finally got her present to her! I made this banner to go with her “beachy” decor.

Miss J recently went fishing for the very first time and look what she caught! It was the biggest out of all the others that were with her.

 We have been taking advantage of the pretty weather and meeting up with friends whenever we can. I miss living by a beach so much! But at least we have a lake.

 I have had a few custom orders I did recently too. I made the onesies for a friend’s sister. And I saw that the babies were just born the other day! Soon they will be able to wear these :)

I also made matching dad/son ties for my cousin. It’s a blessing to have family that supports me.

Here is a little dress, well it was more like a top, that I made miss J. She participated in a talent show at school and she picked out this fabric for me to make her an outfit. Sadly, at the last minute she decided not to wear it. But she did wear it to church the next Sunday. She’s getting pickier in what she wears in her old age.

I got around to updating our front door with a spring wreath too. I wrapped a straw wreath in burlap and then added these pretty flowers (from Micheal’s)  and some vintage lace. It makes me happy.

Miss E has been getting some more handmade clothes lately. I made her these ruffle pants and just finshed a dress and some lace leggings the other night. I love it. I’m hoping to get a lot more made for them these next few months.

I’m still pretty preoccupied with Project Run and Play at the moment. I can’t wait to share my creation for this week. It’s been fun being creatively challenged, although I don’t think I’ll ever do a competition again. It’s a lot of work. Hope you all have a wonderful week!
-Jess