November 30, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas - Pallet Art

I love pallet art.  I love the idea of using otherwise discarded or weathered wood and making it into a piece of art.  And so, I finally made myself a sign using some wood scraps - not technically from a pallet, but similar in style.  

I wanted to make a Christmas sign that I could wrap lights around, and I think this is a sweet saying.  So, here's the quick how to:  (No vinyl or cutting machine required on this one!)

Take your pallet wood, or wood scraps, and cut them all to similar lengths.

Line them up in the order you want them, face down some place where you can hammer away.
Set down 2 perpendicular pieces of wood (see picture below) that span the entire height of your sign - one on either end.  Nail the perpendicular board into each of the horizonal boards.  I used a couple nails for each section.

Once that is done, you can flip it over and paint it however you wish!

I first did a whitewash on the boards.  Then I traced and painted the words.

This method is completed by first typing your text into a Word document.  Make it the exact size, shape, and font that you will want to have it on your board.  Set the text to show the outline only so that you can save on ink, and print all the text onto regular printer paper.  
[To create an outline only, highlight your text, right click and choose "font", click the "text effects" button at the bottom, choose "no fill" in the "text fill" tab.  Then click the "text outline" tab and choose "solid line."  Click "okay" and you should see an outline of the text only.]

Rub pencil generously on the back of the paper, set the paper pencil rubbed side down on the board where you want it, and trace hard around each letter.  When  you lift the paper, you will have a pencil outline of each letter on the wood.  You can then follow this outline as you paint the words.

And that is it!  I added some D-ring hanging hardware to the back, and now this simple hand painted pallet wood sign is all ready to hang up for Christmas!

I love having this cheery saying on my wall, and it adds the fun atmosphere of twinkle lights to the living room. Best of all, it was very inexpensive and simple to make.  

Have you started decorating for Christmas this weekend?

image signature
Follow me on Facebook

November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Memory Tablecloth

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Although I have started crafting a few Christmas decorations already, I have kept up my fun scrappy turkeys, happy fall bunting, grateful frame, and little clay pilgrims.  I love Thanksgiving, and all the wonderful memories!

I've heard people talk about their different Thanksgiving traditions - usually writing down in one way or another the things they are thankful for.  Now that my kids are getting old enough to understand and practice gratitude, I thought it would be nice to have a "thankful" tradition of our own!

I bought a huge piece of fabric from the store to make into a tablecloth.  I picked sturdy material that is pretty thick - not as thick as canvas or duck cloth, but thicker than linen.  It should be easy enough to write on with permanent marker or fabric pens, and the color is very festive!

I hemmed the edges of my fabric using this tutorial here - and it turned out great! I wanted a nice mitered corner, with no raw edges, since I hope to keep this for a while.

I wanted to add something to tie my tablecloth to Thanksgiving, so I decided to add the phrase "gather together & give thanks."  

Here's how I did it:
I wanted my words to look appliqued, so after I chose a dark colored fabric for the words, I first ironed light weight fusible webbing (sewable heat-n-bond) to the back side.
You could use the non-sewable kind, if you don't want to stitch the edges, but there is still a chance that with washes and use, the edges of the words will fray if you don't sew them.

Above you can see the process I used to make the words.  The words are all cut out by hand - no fancy machine required!

1st) I chose a font that I liked on the computer, typed out my phrase "gather together & give thanks", and made the font really big.

2nd) In Microsoft Word you can make the text show an outline only - so you aren't using a bunch of black ink.  To do this, highlight your text, right click and choose "font", click the "text effects" button at the bottom, choose "no fill" in the "text fill" tab.  Then click the "text outline" tab and choose "solid line."  Click "okay" and you should see an outline of the text only.

3rd) Now you can print your words.

4th) Cut around the outline of the text on the paper.

5th) Set your words upside down on the back of the fabric (which should be covered by heat-n-bond) and trace around the paper.

6th) Cut the words you just traced out of the fabric.

Once you have cut all the words out, peel off the backing on the heat-n-bond, heat up your iron, and work on placing your words.  Above, you can see that I carefully centered my fabric, and measured from the edge of the table to create lines of pins.  I used these lines to align my words.

Above - the fabric is all ironed down.

It was a little cumbersome because the fabric is so large, but I used my sewing machine to zig-zag stitch around all the words (see picture above) - and it looks so nice now that it is done!  Like I said, I want to keep this for years, so the extra time it took me to stitch around everything was worth it.  It looks great!  

I'm looking forward to having my family write on it for the first time at Thanksgiving dinner.  I'll be sure to trace my baby's hand, and write the date next to everyone's entries.... I can just see my husband and I looking at this years down the road and reminiscing about when our children were small.  

So, I'd love to know - what are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions??

image signature
Follow me on Facebook

November 21, 2013

Christmas Photo Garland and Clothes Pin Reindeer

I had so much fun looking at the pictures in my Halloween Photo Garland, I decided to keep the twine and pin Christmas and holiday pictures up in their place!

We have some pretty funny memories (above you can see my husband playing - and there are some sweet pictures of my kids acting out the nativity.  

I also got to add in these adorable clothes pin reindeer that my kids made with Grandma while she was visiting...

They followed a tutorial here at BostonBabyMama - and the kids had a great time.  Don't they look cute on the garland??

I love having these wonderful family memories up on display.  A photo garland can really go anywhere, and is so simple to make.  

Are you getting ready for the holidays??
image signature
Follow me on Facebook

November 11, 2013

"Minute To Win It" Opening Social Event

A few weeks ago we had a lovely Opening Social for the women's group I'm a part of - the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - and I took a few pictures of our evening I thought I would share.  This is the second event I've helped plan and facilitate, the first being our Service Auction, and both have been huge successes!

The evening started out with a dinner of soup, salad and bread (all provided by different women in the group), along with a bit of socializing, and ended with our "Minute to Win it" style games - modified for our audience.

One thing I loved about our decor was all the natural elements.  It is amazing what you can do with little to no budget!  Most of the items on these tables were gathered from women we know (with one brilliant lady in charge of the overall decor and the one who provided most of the accessories).

She did a few simple things that made the evening seem so elegant.  The platters of bread and pots of soup were set on overturned bowls that had been covered by a 2nd linen tablecloth.  The differing heights and spacing made the food eye catching and easy to access.

Things like burlap and twinkle lights are inexpensive, and often things that people have already, which can be used to add texture and interest to a table!  Above is our dessert table, and again, I love the differing heights of the platters, and the interspersed natural and vintage decor.  I felt so warm and inviting!

Ball jars as vases, old books tied with raffia, fresh flowers and a burlap table runner made each table warmly decorated on a very small budget.  This is the kind of place you want to sit down and chat with your friends while eating warm homemade soup -- don't you think?!

We encouraged people to socialize with women they might not know very well by randomly assigning each person a table based on color (see the painted fall leaf in the picture below, which represents the purple table).  We also had "get to know you" questions written out on popsicle sticks at each table, and encouraged women to break the ice by asking their neighbor some of the questions while they ate.

For the second half of the evening, each table became a team to play our quick, team building games - all with an LDS twist.  Instead of completing a task in a minute, we modified the game so that each team completed each game as fast as they could (they got a couple of tries at each game), and they recorded their fastest time at each.  The team who added up all their fastest times and had completed them all in the least amount of time, won!  

One lady that helped out with the event even made a darling scorecard for each team to use!

Here are the games we played (some of which were inspired by this post here and this post here):  

Game 1: Samuel the Lamanite - knock the little figure off the "wall" using MnM's, then re-stack the cups and replace the little figure.  (There was a line they had to stand behind).  It was a mess - but a fun one!

Game 2: Party Planner - 1 player must setup 6 chairs in 2 rows.  Have your team sit in the chairs, stand up, and the same player must then re-stack the chairs.

How fast do you think you can put away those stubborn metal folding chairs? ;)

Game 3: Fast Faith - Recite the 13th Article of Faith from memory, no mistakes.  Another teammate will check your work with the provided answer.  

Game 4: Stack N' Sing - Sit or stand and stack 3 hymn books on your head and sing all the verses to a popular [church] song (you are allowed to look at the words for this one.)  Sing as fast as you can, and don't let those books drop!

Game 5: Church Ball - One person holds a clip board at their waist, another stands behind the line and tries to bank ping pong balls off the clip board into the garbage can.  Get 3 ping pong balls in as fast as you can - and the person with the clip board can feel free to move around to try to help!

Game 6: David's Practice - Slip a toilet paper roll through a broom handle, and tie one end of the TP through the tab of a pop can to weigh it down.  Stand behind the line, and using rubber bands, break the line of toilet paper apart.  

It was so fun to see everyone playing our silly games!  Each person was welcome to play the games as many times as they wanted, or a person could simply cheer on their team - whatever made everyone comfortable!  It was great to see people laughing, cheering, and competing -- and it's always nice to have people talking to one another, and making new connections!  

Plus, we ended the night with these amazing pumpkin bars for dessert - and these are so good - they make everyone happy! ;)

image signature
Follow me on Facebook