Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Print-Wrapped Picture Frames

A few weeks ago was Education Week and one of the events for our school division was a literacy fair. For the fair we decided to have students available to answer questions about literacy, learning, and life at our school. To display some questions to prompt people, I got to make a few print-wrapped picture frames.

To start I dug out some Ikea Ram frames that we had at school. I don't know if they still sell them or not.

I took a book and cut some pages into pieces (which was very hard for me to do), making sure not all pieces were the same shape. I then started attaching pieces of paper with modge podge using a sponge brush. I worked in small sections because it made life easier, and turned the pages slightly so the text wasn't all straight.

Next I turned the frame around so I was looking at the back, cut the pieces to the proper length to fold around the frame, and used more mode podge to attach the paper. Again, I worked in small sections.

I repeated the same thing with the other edge. I'm finding it hard to explain what I did but hopefully the pictures clarify my meaning. 

It took me a while to find my groove but once I did, while it was time consuming, wrapping the frames was pretty easy. Once they were all wrapped and the modge podge was dry,  I gave the entire frame another coat of mode podge.

I'm totally going to toot my own horn on this one - I think they look fantastic. The book pages were perfectly suited to the event and they added just the right amount of detail and interest.  

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Debt Repayment Chain

I don't often talk about money and debt on my blog. It's not that I dislike talking about it, but I don't really have much to say. I do love the way J and I budget (which you can read about here) and we're making payments on our debts every month. I'm not a financial expert but our system works for us.


A little while ago I was browsing Pinterest and came across the brilliant idea of using a debt chain to stay motivated from The Drumgoole Family's Blog. Those of you who know me know I love a good visual (Remember my weight loss jars?) so I decided to make my own version.

To make my chains I cut strips of card stock to 3/4 inch x 5.5 inches and wrote amounts in $500 increments. If I were doing this again, I'd make my strips longer because they were a pain to staple. I used a different colour paper for each debt (not including car and mortgage). I kept each debt on a separate chain because we pay something on each debt every month and I don't keep a running total of it all added together. I also made each $5000 a different colour than the rest of the chain so it would stand out.

Once they were assembled I hung them with the curtains in my office/craft room. Not only do they look cute but they serve a great reminder of our goal. 

Shared at: Friday Pin Fest, My Pintervention, A Conquered Mess, Glitter Glue & Paint, The Happy Scraps, Natasha in Oz, Diana Rambles, Lines Across, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Fluster Buster, Home Coming, Glitter, Glue & Paint, A Creative Princess, Sugar Bee Crafts, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Serenity You

Monday, 19 May 2014

Printable Tutorial: Home Sweet Home

You know those projects that you're cautiously optimistic about? This is one of them. It could have gone either way so I'm pleased to say I'm beyond thrilled with the results.

Ignore the lines. They're the reflection of the stair rail.

It all started with my most recent trip to Ikea, during which I purchased a slew of Ribba frames. I knew I wanted to change out my stairway art to two pieces - one with some sort of welcome or home message, and one that's a secret for now. I was looking online but couldn't find exactly what I wanted so I decided to try making it myself.

Here's how I did it.

Step 1: Go to PicMonkey (love that site) and select edit. Choose a photo from your computer. I wanted to pick one that was high quality so I used one of my wedding photos. The photo you choose doesn't matter because you're covering it up.

Step 2: Under basic edits, select canvas colour and play around until you find one you like. Once you're happy, click apply.

Step 3: Next go to text and find one you like. I used Marcelle Script. Click add text and type your words.

Step 4: Play around with your font. I made mine white, centred, and 500 size.

Step 5: Once you're pleased, save your project.

I actually made these yesterday in multiple colours. I knew that J and I were heading to the city today so I would be able to pick up what I printed. I sent two different 8x10s to Costco and today when I picked them up I almost squealed. For just over $4 I have two beautiful prints. 

When I got them home I was so excited to frame them but the shade of the mat looked really odd with the white frame and white letters. I decided to spray paint it but when I took it apart, I realized the back was white. Instead of spray painting I just turned it over. The only difference is it doesn't have the beveled edge but I'm ok with that.

Notice the ugly off-white colour? It just doesn't work.

The only downside is the colours aren't exactly the shades I'd hoped for (they looked different on my computer screen) but for such a good price I've decided to hang one up and see if it grows on me. If not, I'll just make another.

Isn't that a happy looking dog? I think Raven likes the new print.

If you make your own, I'd love to see!

Shared at: My Pinterventures, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, Home Coming, Tiny Sidekick, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, The Happy Housie, A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, A Conquered Mess, Glitter Glue & Paint, The Happy Scraps, Natasha in Oz, Diana Rambles, Lines Across, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Echoes of Laughter

Friday, 16 May 2014

Painted Vases and Paper Lollies: Take 2

Every year during Education Week my school has a come and go tea. It's such a great afternoon and the students put so much effort into it - baking sweets, plating them nicely, serving our guests, and cleaning the tables.

I apologize that the photos aren't great but they were taken with my phone before being put out on the table. 

Last year a few students and I made painted vases and paper lollies to use as our centrepieces. Rather than start from scratch this year, I decided to make some more to replenish the stock. I bought a few more vases, glasses, and salt and pepper shakers to paint. For a detailed tutorial on how I painted the vases, see my post from last year.

I then had a student help make the lollies. By help, I mean she did about 80% of the work. I really can't take the credit. I trimmed some styrofoam to fit in the bottom of our larger vases, placed the lollies in the vases, and covered the styrofoam with purple shredded paper.

2013 centerpieces

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Flowering Bracelet Tutorial

On Saturday I showed your my pieces for the 8th Annual Bead Soup. The piece that was the hardest for me to make and the most outside my comfort zone was the flowering bracelet, so I decided to make a tutorial.


I cheated a little bit by using a chain that already had jump rings on each hole. I'm sure there's a fancy name for it but I don't know what it is. I cut it to the right length and attached my clasp.

Next I started preparing my flowers. My soup partner, Elaine, made these which absolutely blows my mind. They're so pretty and detailed. You can check out her shop at her blog. For each flower I put two seed beads on a head pin, then the flower, the made a loop on the back of the flower.

Next I opened the jump rings on the chain and attached a flower on every fifth ring. I alternated the light, medium, and dark blue flowers.

Next I prepared my small blue beads by using a head pin to make a loop on each one. I attached two blue beads between each set of flowers, alternating between the first and fourth bead, and then the second and third bead.

Once my blue beads were in place, I repeated the same process, adding one rust bead and one white bead in each section.

Once the bracelet was finished, I made matching earrings using some left over beads. 

I'm glad the Bead Soup Blog Party pushed me outside my comfort zone! It was quite an enjoyable challenge and I can't wait for next year!

Shared at: Fluster Buster, Tiny Sidekick, A Creative Princess, Glitter, Glue and Paint, A Conquered Mess, Diana Rambles, Natasha in Oz, Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Bead Soup 8 Reveal

A couple weeks ago I let you know I was participating in my first bead soup hosted by Lori at Pretty Things. I've had a great time thinking outside my comfort zone to use the beautiful beads I was sent by Elaine at Too Aquarius. Here's what I've created so far.      

The focal was an incredible handmade clay bead, which I accented with some blue, green, and yellow wooden beads. I then used a silver chain to finish the piece.  

This piece was the most outside my comfort zone but also the most fun. I used chain and some beads from my stash with the beautiful handmade flowers to create a bracelet and matching earrings. 

 I just love these little birds and so wanted to do something to feature them. I turned them into simple cluster pendants by adding some glass beads and a charm.  

My last piece included my clasp but I forgot to get a photo of it. This necklace has two layers and is quite a statement. I also made simple earrings to match.

I still have quite a few beautiful beads left to work with so I'm sure you'll see more pieces when school is out and life calms down again. In the mean time, I'm trying to decide which new piece I like best. What do you think? Which is your favourite?

Shared at: Serenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, C.R.A.F.T., A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, Fluster Buster, Tiny Sidekick, A Creative Princess, Glitter, Glue and Paint, A Conquered Mess

Friday, 2 May 2014

Book Club and Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Carob Chip Squares

Our book for last month was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, which I really enjoyed. It was a quick, easy, entertaining read and I've added the rest of the series to my reading list.

Sorry the pictures aren't great. I was more concerned with making
the cookies and being on time than with staging pretty photos.

For our book club meeting I tried a new recipe. The recipe came from the daughter of a colleague, who made them it foods class. I modified it a little bit to suit my needs. These are probably the best  gluten-free dairy-free squares I've made yet!


2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup gluten-free pancake & waffle mix*
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup carob chips

*The original recipe called for gluten-free baking and pancake mix but I couldn't find one without dairy.


Step 1: Beat together eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Step 2: Add in and beat sugar and pancake mix.

Step 3: Stir in coconut and carob chips.

Step 4: Spread batter into a greased 9 x 9 pan.

Step 5: Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until the square is set and golden brown.

Step 6: Cool before cutting. This is hard. They smell amazing and I didn't want to wait. If you don't, the cookies crumble.

Also, in looking through my photos I realized I never shared one of my other book club evenings with you. A couple months ago our novel was The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. It was a quirky, unusual book but I thought it was great. For our meeting I made peanut butter, oatmeal, carob chip cookies. You can find the recipe here.

Shared at: Natasha in OzSerenity You, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Lines Across, Kathe With An E, Fluster Buster, Clean & Scentsible, Ginger Snap Crafts, Glitter, Glue, and Paint, 4 You With Love, A Creative Princess, A Stroll Thru Life, Home Coming, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Sugar Bee Crafts, A Conquered Mess, Diana Rambles