Halloween Decor DIY – Stenciled Tea Towel

September 14th, 2013

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Being in (very) temporary housing with almost everything we own in storage it’s kind of hard to get the motivation to create projects and decorate for holidays. However, I just can’t stand the thought of not decorating at all for Halloween, Fall & Christmas. And I definitely want to do some fun (and easy) bloggy projects for my readers as well. I’ve mentioned my crafty landlady Katie who previously created a father’s day silhouette project for me. She has been so kind as to help me create projects and she’s back again with an awesome Halloween DIY project. She made this amazingly cute spooky Tea Towel which I am considering just keeping because it’s pretty sweet. Here are the few quick steps:

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All you need is a Tea Towel – this one is from IKEA (awesome), a tree branch stencil (Hobby Lobby), black fabric paint and paint brushes.

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Using washi tape (or any removable tape) to position the stamp just right, I carefully painted in the stencil using a small detail brush.

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Once the stencil dried I peeled it off, and extended some of the beaches so they didn’t look like the stopped so suddenly.

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I just eye balled the trunk, and wanted more branches off to the side so i made sure the stencil was dry and placed it over my tree so i could make some more beaches coming off the trunk.

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Once it was all done I wondered about putting a saying on it like, Happy Haunting or spooky, but I loved how simple it was so i just added a small stamp from MME that said Happy Halloween!

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Such a cute way to bring halloween decor into your kitchen or table.

halloween_tea_towel_11Or you could do this to a table runner, placemat, table cloth etc.

Well I hope you enjoyed Katie’s project. She also created an adorable pumpkin, and I’ll feature that in a few days.

Here’s my last year’s Halloween Apothecary Mantel and my Decopage Pumpkins DIY if you’re looking for more Halloween inspiration.

Father’s Day Father & Son Silhouette Project DIY

June 12th, 2013

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I asked my very crafty friend (and landlady) Katie to create an awesome father’s day project for my blog. She came up with this great idea to do a father/son silhouette. I suppose if you have a daughter you can do a father/daughter silhoutte, or a father/pet one etc. I’m not sure how you’d do multiple children, maybe a really long frame. I’m sure there’s lots of ways you can play around with this idea.

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I just love how the silhouette turned out. The script paper in the back makes for a super elegant art piece for your mantle or gallery wall.

The first step is to get a photo of your guys. Good luck keeping them still for that one second it takes to hit the shutter button.

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Then you’ll need to import the pictures onto your computer. Katie used Adobe Illustrator to build her silhouettes in. If you have a wacom tablet, you could also use photoshop or some similar program. The benefit of using Illustrator is that your silhouette can become a cuttable file for your Cricut or Cameo pretty easily. If you’re just not computer savvy, you can create a silhouette the old fashioned way by projecting light past your subject and onto a surface –  hand-drawing while they sit there, or you can take photos and print out the photo the correct size, and trace/cut your silhouette from the photo.

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In Illustrator you’re basically making a line with points that define change in direction. You want to have as few points as possible in order for your shapes to be as smooth as they can be. Create a new layer, and use your pen or pencil tool to follow the outline of the faces. You can see here that the lines are white so that they show up against the photos.

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Once the silhouettes are complete, you can switch the white line to a white fill to make sure that they look correct.

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When you’re happy with the shapes, you can delete the photo layer, and turn the white fill into a black fill.
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Then you can figure out how you want the project to be composed.

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Katie tried the faces nested, but it created some visual confusion. So she settled on them overlapping.

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To keep the necks from having odd starting and stoping spots, Katie created an oval and used the pathfinder tool to make the shapes fit perfectly together.
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She sent me her illustrator files since I have a Cameo (which I LOVE and highly recommend). I saved each silhouette in it’s own file, and exported as a .DXF (make sure there are no groups). Then I imported into the Silhouette Studio (Cameo’s free software), and cut each of the silhouettes out with my Cameo. Katie cut the background circle by hand, and then we glued the silhouettes onto the background and mounted them in the frame.

silhoutte_table1This turned out to be a pretty quick project, and the results are stunning. Thanks Katie!

Minted Fathers Day Cards & Gifts

May 29th, 2013

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Minted.com recently asked me to review their Father’s day cards and gifts. Since I happen to love Minted (I did my christmas cards with them last year – awesome!), and have a few fathers in my life, it was a no brainer to share their high quality and well designed products with you!

I have to say that I was bit skeptical about using a site like Minted to buy something like a fathers day card. I figured the prices would be to high, and the cards no better than your standard hallmark card, so why bother with something seemingly more complicated? Boy was I so completely wrong on every account. I checked out their cards and found that all the cards were well designed and super easy to customize. Here are a few that I just adore:

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Now you must be thinking to yourself those are so adorable, but they must cost a bajillion dollars. I couldn’t believe that they are only $5.99.

$5.99! For a custom printed with any of your photos card. And I’m not done yet! The cards are also full-color print on the inside with as many photos as you can squeeze in there (they have different layout options that are super easy to drop photos in).

So let me share the cards that I ordered so you can see how precious these are.  Outside cover:

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The paper these cards are printed on is super thick 98lb and I selected the Pearlescent paper option, which has just a little bit of shimmer. The quality of the print is excellent and I’m super picky about paper and print quality.

Inside spread:

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I almost cried when I opened up this card and saw all these precious moments from the past 6 months. This is definitely more than a card to me, it’s an opportunity to get pictures off my computer and give them a chance to be cherished.

There just isn’t anything cooler than a card with all your own photos printed inside of it.

I also wanted to print a card for my Dad. I chose a simple one because I don’t have any photos of me and my dad (now that I know this, I need to make an effort to take some!).

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I did drop a single picture in the inside of our little family (also need to get family photos taken now that Leo is bigger!).

fathers_day_card2_insideIn addition to the cards, Minted also has various Father’s Day Gifts including wall art, customized stationary, and journals. Mr. Project loves to sketch and so I was thrilled when I saw that you could get their journals with blank pages – perfect for sketching. 
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I customized his sketch book with his name, and the inside cover  is custom printed with our address if it gets lost. I think this is so awesome, and was excited to find the perfect simple gift for Mr. Project. You can also print photos on the inside and there are several journals that have photos on the cover like this one:

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I am so grateful for this opportunity to review Minted’s father’s day products because I know I wouldn’t have tried them out just on my own. And now that I have seen how awesome they are, I can’t imagine not ordering my cards from them every year (and probably for every occasion!).

For my readers, I have a 10% off coupon + free shipping on any Father’s Day Gifts now through 6/11/2013! Enter TPG10SHIP when you checkout.

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On an unrelated note, my cute neighbor Katie made the silhouette for my Father’s Day table. I’m going to post a tutorial on that this Friday, so check back to see how you can make this awesome DIY father’s day gift.

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