Monday, February 3, 2014

Candy Free Valentines

For the last few years, the boys' elementary school has had a "no candy" policy regarding Valentine's Day in their classrooms - no heart shaped lollipops, no conversation hearts, and gasp, no chocolate hearts!
The purpose of this post is not to debate why candy is not allowed, it's just a tale of how I scrambled together at the last minute {procrastinators unite... tomorrow} to come up with a candy-free alternative, let's save the debates for another time.

Two years ago the boys were REALLY into Star Wars, so we made a Star Wars Lego Valentine using the free printable found here and glow in the dark bracelets that we found at the dollar store. They were a hit and super adorable!

So I kind of set the bar high the previous year, and in my usual fashion, I totally planned ahead waited until the night before the school Valentine's celebrations to figure out what the boys would hand out. We decided to hit up the dollar store and look for some inspiration, coupled with some ideas that I had already gathered on Pinterest.

We picked up some rulers - 3 for $1, and packs of adhesive mustaches 6 for $1- SCORE!!

I knew exactly what my plan was for the rulers - thank you Relocated Living! Isadora already had this figured out and she was kind enough to share her genius with the rest of us. Follow this link to her post where she shares a free download for us "last minute roses" that will make us look like Martha {Martha shops at the dollar store, right??}.

Jack picked out a few different colored pieces of card stock from my stash, we printed Isabella's free download on the card stock, cut them apart using my paper cutter, made slits for the rulers to slide into, had Jack sign his name, inserted the rulers and in the words of Amy Duncan, "Ba Bam!"

The mustaches were a bit more time consuming, and probably not something that I should have attempted at the 11th hour, but what's a mom to do when her kid is all about the mustache? It also doesn't hurt that I usually do my best work when I'm under the gun and I have no other choice.

There were some cute ideas on Pinterest that had the wording I liked, but I decided that I needed to reinvent the wheel, since I had all of this spare time on my hands...

I figured that since we were going super trendy with the mustache, we might as well milk another trend that will surely be gone soon enough - my beloved CHEVRON. Thanks be to the free download gods for this chevron download, it comes in quite a few color options, I went for red - it is Valentine's Day after all.
Now please bear with me, my memory is not what it used to be, and it's been almost a year since I made this.
Photoshop would probably a great tool, but I prefer to go the FREE route, so PicMonkey is my go to for editing photos and making printables. I'm not going to walk you through all of the boring "how to's", mostly because I can't quite remember, and partly because I'm lazy and don't feel like typing out the whole process {and there's a huge pile of laundry waiting for me to finish this post}, plus I did the work so that you don't have to - my pain, is your gain!
Long story short, here's my first free printable for you!!! Now I am new to this, just learning the ropes, so you can either right click and save the pic below or save it from Flickr by clicking here. Flickr will allow you to download it in it's original size, which will give you the best resolution for printing.

Next - just PRINT the Valentines on white card stock, CUT them to size {I love to use my paper cutter in the pic below for nice straight edges}, have your child SIGN the back of the card, STUFF the card and a mustache in clear bag {I just happened to have these little bags in my stash, but you can pick them up in the candy making section of most craft stores}, then SEAL the bags with a Valentine sticker or some cute washi tape, but if you're like me last year, you'll just use some clear tape because it's almost midnight and your sister is up late at your house helping you stuff little bags with furry mustaches...

The good news is that we moved over the summer to a new school district, so I don't have to worry about coming up with any new ideas this year - we can just recycle these old ideas - think my kids will go along with that??

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chalk Paint Virgin

So, I've been curious about chalk paint since I first started seeing pins on Pinterest that praised its wonders. Now I will admit that when I first read chalk paint, I thought they were referring to chalkboard paint - I quickly realized that these were two completely different animals, although both are equally admired by DIY bloggers everywhere ;)

This post by the Centsational Girl really piqued my interest, and started my quest for more information on the wonders of chalk paint. I read post after post that sung the praises of chalk paint, namely Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The only con that was rarely, but occasionally, mentioned was the cost - $38 for a quart of paint does sound a bit steep. Upon further investigation, I learned that this magical little quart goes a long way. Chalk paint isn't absorbed by your wood, it sits on top, giving you great coverage with just one to two coats, depending on the look you want to achieve. One blogger mentioned that she was able to paint five mid-sized dressers with just one quart of ASCP {Annie Sloan Chalk Paint}- that comes to just $7.60 per piece, which sounds not too shabby to me! Another plus is that you do not have to sand or prime your furniture - you literally wipe down your piece to remove and dirt/dust, open your can of paint and get to it. I loathe the prep that comes with traditional paint, so when I read this my brain went "ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!!!" Now, I should mention that you do not need to use a shellac to seal your piece, you just apply two very thin coats of Annie Sloan's Soft Wax to protect your piece, and then buff.

After weeks of internal debate, I finally decided to just bite the bullet and make my first purchase. Much to my dismay, I don't have any ASCP authorized retailers in my area - whomp, whomp, whomp... I'm one of those people that needs to see colors in person, I don't trust my laptop monitor to show me true colors, and one person's description of taupe can be vastly different than mine - example: my Nan, love her, but she has the WORST sense of color of anyone that I have ever met, we continually debate colors! So what is a sad sap like myself to do? Totally out of character, I decided to take a leap of faith and just pick a damn color! After swapping out about four different colors from my online cart, {what can I say, I'm indecisive and a commitment phobe} Duck Egg was the winner. I also added the clear soft wax and a waxine brush and then hit "place order" before I could change my mind again...

For my first date with chalk paint, I didn't want to go away for the weekend {oh yeah, I am totally relating this to dating, even though it's been almost 16 years since I was in that game} I figured we should just meet for coffee and see if we click.

I picked up this little beauty with the curvy legs at my local Goodwill, and brought her home for a cool $10 - talk about a cheap date {wink, wink}
It's a little side table that looks like it did have a little drawer at one time, honestly, I didn't even realize that there was supposed to be a drawer until I started painting, because it looks great without it. This piece was no spring chicken, she has some minor dings and scratches, but I think that they only add to her character. I wiped her down to remove any dust or dirt that was on the surface, made sure she was dry, and got busy painting.
Another big plus is that ASCP is No VOC, so it's safe to paint indoors, and cleans up easily. I decided that I wanted a bit of a distressed worn look for this piece. To achieve this look, I applied one coat of ASCP, one coat of AS soft wax, lightly sanded where I wanted it to look worn, applied a second coat of AS soft wax, and then buffed my piece.

Doesn't she look great? And I am loving the Duck Egg!! It's kind of a soft greeny-blue in person, although it looks more blue in the pictures. Are you ready for a close-up?

Meow... am I right??

So there you have it, I am an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint convert, I'm ready to go steady and doodle our names together all over my notebook... swoon...
I think I may even go all the way and paint my kitchen table and chairs with the charcoal colored ASCP - squeal!