Canvas art - a quick & easy DIY

Friday, September 30, 2011

I had a harebrained idea at midnight last night, or I guess this morning, to get a project checked off my list. So, I gathered a few supplies, sat down at the kitchen table and got to work.

A while ago I mentioned that I was going to make my own canvas prints. While you really can print on canvas right through your home printer, I was working with actual photographs. I was determined to get the look of canvas prints without the high price tag.

Quality gallery wrapped canvas can be expensive. An 11 x 14 with an inch gallery wrap averages about $60.00. You can find discounts here and there but once you start figuring in the thickness of the wrap or custom edge colors, it can increase the price. The work is beautifully done but I would need 5 and honestly, that's $300.00 which is needed elsewhere. Thanks to my beautiful friend, Alysa, she saved me a ton of dough! I followed her instructions and this is how it went.

Paint the sides of the canvas if you wish, even going over on the top sides of the canvas. Let dry. I just used leftover paint from the boys' room.

Using a paintbrush, brush Mod Podge over the entire canvas area.

I brushed it on after this
Place picture on the canvas and glue down. I smoothed it out with my hands, making sure there were no air bubbles. Just make sure your hands are clean - no oil on the picture. You may also want to use gloves for handling photographs.

Turn over and trim excess with an exacto-knife. My pictures were 11 x 16 but the canvas was 11 x 14 so I had a little to trim. You can also trim beforehand if you wanted.

Now, take the Mod Podge and paint the entire surface of the photograph. Don't worry, just keep spreading the glue and remember Mod Podge is magic! I used a sponge paintbrush but next time I think I'll use a better quality brush, something more sturdy. I just gave it one coat.

While one is drying, you can go on to the other. I became slightly impatient since it was now 1 AM so I took the hair dryer and sped up the drying time. If you do this, don't get too close to the picture. I just gave it a quick once-over and it was already looking good.

I just left it on the table overnight to finish drying and in the morning I had "canvas like" prints for a fraction of the price! They have slight brush marks that you can see up close which I don't mind because of the texture it gives. I really enjoyed the way these turned out.

Showing the edge
Lined up for impact

Total spent:

2 pk canvas $7.99

11 x 16 prints, $6.99 each (used a 30% coupon)

Mod Podge $2.69

paint brush $1.00

Total: $27.19 for 2, including tax

If you need help taking a high resolution photo for this project, let me know and I'd be happy to take one for you!

Linking to Just a Girl

Between naps on the porch
Serenity Now

Beware of the book

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Banned Books Week here in the United States.

In a nutshell, It's an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Either way, I think it's ok to protest something you don't like whether it's a book or not being able to read that book. But as for me, if we don't want our child reading something then we would make that rule in our home and not make others conform to our way of thinking. We haven't had to do that yet and don't see that we will in the future.

These are some of the most banned and/or challenged classics, some of them being my favorite books.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell

11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Also on the list of banned or challenged books are Twilight (Series), Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Anne Frank: The Diary of a young girl, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America and many others.

Have you read any of those mentioned? You rebels, you!

What is your take on it all?

Weekend recap, magazine jackpot

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Over the weekend

...Jon took the dog to the vet and the kids to a magic show at the elementary school. Magic show=free, vet=not so much. I stayed home with Reese who was in one of his cycles and was in no shape to be out in public. He usually snaps out of it within a half hour but it is a half hour that makes me want to run away screaming to the hills. I literally thank God everyday for two parent's examples of strong resilience and inheriting a tiny bit otherwise his illness would have done me in long ago.

...I worked at the library and eyed a bunch of books I'd like from the book fair.

...talked to a dear friend in SC for over an hour. We had a bunch of catching up to do. Don't you love friendships where you can be right back where you left off even if it was a few years ago?

...we went with two other couples to a Thai restaurant. It was the best food I have had in a loonnng time. I mean seriously good.

...I dyed the curtains, aka drop cloths. I bought seal gray RIT dye even though I liked the natural color of the canvas but didn't like how yellow it became when the light came through. Unfortunately the process was a failure and I don't care for the color now so back to the original I go.

...went to church and taught the kids during sharing time in Primary. They make me laugh. You inadvertently learn a lot about their families by what they say. So funny. Your family stories are safe with me. Note to self: remind my kids - mum's the word!!

...washed loads of laundry at the laundromat. I don't mind the laundromat at all and rather enjoy washing everything in one fell swoop. I also like saying "one fell swoop."

I always take a bunch of magazines to donate and the manager at the laundromat lets me take home as many as I want. To my surprise someone donated a bunch of Country Home magazines which made me happy. I think they were one of the best shelter mags out there; a perfect blend of modern and country.

So tomorrow (tonight) after everyone has gone to bed, I am going to pop some popcorn and be giddy while thumbing through pretty pictures.

The everyday

Friday, September 23, 2011

I had a Friday Finds post all ready to go yesterday but one of the important pieces I still needed to photograph is missing so it'll have to wait.

So here's a recap of a few of yesterday's happenings because that is all I can think of to write. Hold on to your hats, this is exciting!

- Hung new "drapes" aka paint drop cloths. I took a step back and decided they needed to be dyed which means another trip to the laundromat since our washer is throwing a fit. I also need new rings and rods - too wimpy.


- Snuck out for sushi. A new favorite, the Rock 'n Roll, roll


- Began peeling away the bark off of the future coffee table. See how thick?


-Watched Lumberjack Jon. Enjoyed seeing those biceps hard at work.


- Made a veggie pizza piled high with artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, basil leaves, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, red onion and fresh mozzarella. I also made a pepperoni for the kids and watched Trae make faces at it.


I also ran 4 kids around town, grocery shopped, did the dishes, went to the bank with Jon, wrestled a 3 year-old into a shopping cart, broke-up an arguement, worked at my other job, and watched the premiere of The Office and the debate.

See, exciting, no? No, but busy.

Have a good weekend!

Ba de ya, say do you remember - Wednesday quotes

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."

- Helen Hunt Jackson


Have a great day!

I'm stumped - coffee table idea

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I was really happy to see Jon rolling these huuuge stumps down the hill behind our house. Our neighbor gave us the wood from the trees he took off of his property. We have about 10 of them which we'll eventually chop up into fire wood and use one as the chopping block.

I thought we could rent a splitter but Jon bought an axe, saying that it was too good of a workout to pass up - think Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV. Remember when he trained in Siberia by chopping wood and all?

I really want the smaller one {pictured above} to look more like this {below}. I've been trying to pull away the bark. It's super thick so we'll have to chisel it away. I'm not sure if we can do it.

But now that the carpet is gone in the family room, I'm not as concerned with spills so I need to have a coffee table down there. And since we like natural elements, this fits the bill. It's a good thing it will be in the basement {if it works out} so we can roll it in the house. I think it would fall through the floor if it were upstairs. These puppies are heavy.

image via House Beautiful

The great mother debate

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blair's/My first day of school

A friend was watching my kids the other day while I attended a meeting. She asked if I had always worked (outside the home) My answer was no and then it quickly changed. I said that I guess I had, almost realizing for the first time that I seemed to have always kept a part-time job, noting only a few years here and there when I didn't. It's always seemed so automatic that maybe I had forgotten.

I worked full-time about 8 weeks after Charley was born and up until she was 4 years old. I loved my job and looked forward to work everyday. I considered myself lucky that I didn't find it drudgery. My mom lived with us so she made it easy for me to work and not worry about my girls at home.

But as with anything, change happens. The company was in turmoil after the owners began in-fighting and throwing lawsuits at each other. So ultimately it wasn't fun anymore and the time came to move on so I thought it was the perfect time to have another baby.

I continued with a part-time job just up until we welcomed the baby. I enjoyed the break from work and was loving life with 3 little ones. Jon received a transfer to Washington DC so he flew back and forth every few weeks to see us. When the time came to join him, I realized the cost of living between Utah and DC was not going to let me sleep so I went back to work when Reese was a year old. It wasn't at the same level as before but I always thought that anything to boost your resume or keep the skill set fresh was good.

People often talk about the guilt associated with mothers who work full-time and to make it a balancing act. Worried that I was missing the good mother chip because I didn't feel guilty, I was always hesitant to say that I really liked to work outside of the home. I usually kept silent on the subject because I lived in both worlds and enjoyed them each. I remember being hammered by one person about it after she went on and on about "working" mothers and how they should be home, knowing full well I was working 9-5 in an office.

I finally just said that I liked my job which was the first time I heard myself say it openly, outside of my personal thoughts. Maybe I could say that more easily because I have been lucky in finding jobs that worked around kid's schedules, even taking some where I work in the middle of the night so that I can be available for them in the day. Although I don't recommend that because it is a zombie-like existence.

This balance stuff that is talked about too - for me it's rubbish. I wouldn't say I am balanced at all, anywhere. But you have to go into it knowing something will give and you have to be OK with that. I also think you can choose what gives and I choose everything but family life, kids and my relationship with the hubster and it seems to work.

I've made mistakes along the way, still am, but I learn and am quick to forgive myself knowing that the Lord knows why I work and He is really all I have to answer to.

Why all this? Well, it's just been on my mind for the last however many years, so maybe it's something you're thinking of as well?

I'd like to know your thoughts. Even if they differ from mine, I enjoy hearing them. Selfish purposes I guess, I like to learn something new.

Friday Finds on Monday - hint: charming finds.

Basement fix

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

After the little flood in our basement, we spent the weekend ripping out the rain-soaked carpet and let the floors dry. We only have one more room to dry out and we should be good. Two of our good friends are letting us borrow their dehumidifiers and they are working like a charm!

We are now finishing the tear out of the 70's linoleum and vanity in the bathroom. It was on the chopping block anyway so the flood just sped up the process which was good (in that respect.) We'll have to replace small parts of the drywall but luckily not all of it.

The concrete was so wet underneath that the glue didn't even put up a fight when we lifted up the flooring. We did nearly have a fiasco with the installation of the commode (not a fan of the word toilet) but we remedied that situation, whew!

I'm keeping my budget at $200.00 for the basement bathroom fix and because of a few good deals, (I bought the vanity 2 months ago at Home Depot for $15.00 - floor model.) I am well under budget. So that leaves more to play with for the fun stuff like this bath mat I ordered. Priorities.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flood story

Friday, September 9, 2011

On Wednesday the rain started. It was really starting to fall hard as I took Reese to a Doctor's appt. in Hershey.
I drove by a well traveled intersection and took note that the water was starting to accumulate.

Just as the appt. was ending I received a call saying that school was closing at 12:15 so I headed right over. I was only about 10 miles away and luckily I made it before many roads started to close. Traffic was building at each mile but fortunately our school was the first in the area to let out early so I made it rather quickly.

I was in the school waiting line for a few minutes when Belen and Charley made a mad dash to the car, along with some of their friends. The rain was so heavy that my windshield wipers could barely keep up and I had them on high; the setting that seems like they are spastically swishing back and forth.

There were more kids than my car could hold at once, so we made a few trips. With each trip a new road was closed and I wasn't about to take chances crossing a road that seemed to have too much water rushing over it. Although those situations can be a little scary, I felt that all would be well and the most serious road situations had already been identified. We all laughed in the car at how soaked everyone was and that one of the teen-agers had to sit atop Trae's carseat.

We looked in amazement at the level of water accumulated in our park. The tall swingset and slide that Blair and Trae play on were not visible anymore. We saw kids swimming in the amphitheater where we watch the free movies in the park.

By the time I returned home, there was about 4-5 inches of water in the basement bathroom and family room. You could hear the "squish squish" as we walked across the floor. After attempting to drain it only to see it fill up again, I called it quits. Jon called and said to just come over to the hotel before the roads got any worse. So we packed a few bags, and threw things in other rooms to keep dry.

A normally 15 minute drive took 2 hours but we arrived at the hotel. That intersection from earlier in the day was now completely underwater. The banquet seating from Pizza Hut was floating by and a car got caught up in the rush of water. Fortunately, the driver of the car made it out safely.

So we're still at the hotel waiting another day for the floor to dry. We ripped out the carpet in the rooms affected and we're looking forward to doing something new with them. A few months ago we began to purchase new materials to give the bathroom a make-over so this actually gave us the push we needed to do it.

So really, our perspective is that there are others with greater loss. Some houses were submerged and some people lost their lives. Our little problem is no where near that so I cannot complain in the least. I would feel so ungrateful.

We're good, we're happy and we have great friends whose offers of help are genuine. Lucky desu.

Almost as good as being there

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When I used to teach scrapbooking classes, I always told people to try to stay away from typing out their captions for their photographs so much, opting for their own handwriting. While sometimes it was easier and more fun to use computerized fonts, I felt that some personalization was lost in using such a mechanical approach.

Everyday we send emails, read twitter feeds and facebook statuses. While they can be interesting, downright funny, some times questionable or even offer a little TMI, they are really for a quick exchange of information, often getting to the point and leaving out emotion. Nothing like that can convey our deepest thoughts, gratitude, tender feelings or sympathies during a rough time.

There is just something special about taking pen to paper and making a conscience effort to put our thoughts into words to send to someone. The whole process removes us from thinking about ourselves. Magically, our letter sails across a city, state or ocean to rest in another post box. There, between the "junk" mail of bills and flyers from the local auto store, lies a hand written envelope which instantly garners attention from it's recipient. It causes their face to light up when they realize a gem is hidden for them between all that junk.

With the downturn of the economy and consumers using the Internet more frequently, snail mail is just not in vogue. But, I'd like to bring it back. (think JT here!)

The US postal service may have to cut 220,000 jobs by the end of the year in order to make their 5 billion dollar payment, due this month, to cover health care costs. I'm not thinking that we could do enough to cover 5 billion in lost revenue of course, I'm just thinking it's really nice to send a letter, old school style.

A picture of my Uncle Jesse Hernandez reading a letter from his 15 year-old sister, my mother, while he was in the Korean War.

How many of us still have cards and letters which touched us in such a way that they are still stored for safekeeping? I have a note from my husband that he left on my door years before he became my husband. We were actually each dating someone else at the time. Jon was home for the weekend and stopped by my house to say hello. I was out but when I came home, I saw a rectangular shaped white paper on my door. It was a small piece of letterhead from the place where I worked so I knew he must have tried to find me there first.

For some reason, I saved it, even long before I knew what was to come. I guess I liked that he went to all of the trouble to get in contact with me and felt only a handwritten note would do as a substitute for meeting in person.

So, I am issuing a challenge! Will you join me?

Get out a pen and paper, stationary or a note card if you have it and compose a little letter. Then get yourself a couple of stamps and send that letter out to someone. Maybe it's someone you haven't talked to in a while, or that favorite Aunt of yours, or maybe a person you know that needs a few friends. It doesn't have to be lengthy - one or two sentences will do. (Preferably something nice.) Now, go to it.

And if you'd like, email me your address to
and I'll send you a little note, myself.


Quick switch - DIY lighting

Friday, September 2, 2011

I am not exaggerating when I say that our house had not seen an update since it was built in 1974. Not even a single light fixture. Those are the easiest things to switch out too. But our concentration has been on the flooring and other things so just like the owners before us, we lived with it.

I am in the office all of the time and was getting tired of that light overhead so I grabbed a $2.00 thrift store lampshade that I had stored in the closet and switched it out from the other. It was better.

But when I found some vintage wallpaper for $2.99, I thought it would go nicely with the art wall and wanted to use it somewhere in the room.

So, what else to do but wallpaper the light?


Have a great Holiday weekend! Any fun plans?

linking to Just a Girl