Cheap & Easy Monogram Art

I totally meant to post this before Valentine’s Day but somehow completely forgot! Better late than never, right? This was the creative activity for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in February.

It’s a three-dimensional heart art on canvas. This project isn’t limited to just hearts though. That is why I thought i’d go ahead and post it. You can modify this craft to suit any season or holiday by using a different shape or use an initial to create a monogram.

This project is really inexpensive and you only need a few materials. The first is a painter’s canvas. You can find them in the art section of any craft or hobby store. They come in a variety of sizes, we used 8×8 and 5×7 inch canvases.

You’ll need to print the shape or letter you want to use. The letter can come straight from your wordprocessor. Just enlarge the font size. You can Google any shape you want to use. It will be completely covered so it doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it is a large image.

Now here is the fun {and free} part. Can you figure out what the hearts came from?

Paint samples from our local home improvement store! You can absolutely use scrapbook paper or whatever you like, but these are free and come in every color and shade you can imagine!

You’ll start by cutting out your shape or letter.

Use regular old school glue to attach your image to the canvas. Just a little will do just fine!

Then just use a punch to cut the hearts {or other shape}. Butterflies are another great shape and they would be perfect for spring decor! This triple heart punch is from Stampin’ Up.

After you have punched your pieces, glue a layer over your letter or shape just to cover the print.

Once it has dried, add another thin layer on top to make sure all of the image is covered as well as to give it some depth.

Once it is covered, fold some of your pieces to add some dimension to your craft. Add as many or ass few as you’d like. It’s your project!

When you are finished, you’ll end up with a cute little monogram {or shape} to display in your home. This mom added a few pieces of designer scrapbook paper in the mix.

You can drill holes in the canvas and tie a ribbon through it.

You can display it on an easel or plate stand. You can even frame it!

It’s a very simple, very inexpensive and very cute project! The colors and design can be modified to use for any season or holiday and to match any decor.

Valentine’s Day Ideas Revisited

Hey y’all! Hope you had a fantastic weekend!
Can you believe it’s time to put out the Valentine’s Day decor already?! Today I wanted to revisit a few of my Valentine’s Day ideas posted last year.
DIY Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries that look and taste gourmet!
The list of ingredients is very small and the technique is very simple.
  • 1 package of fresh strawberries
  • 1 bag Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
  • white chocolate and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips for decorating
Melt the chocolate in a crock, stirring frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn. This is a very important step!

Dip strawberries using a wooden skewer and cool on wax paper.

Drizzle white chocolate and/or semi-sweet chocolate aver the top.

You can find the full tutorial for my chocolate covered strawberries here.

You’re gonna love these Valentine’s cake balls. They are pretty, they are delicious and they a fun Valentine’s treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix {plus ingredients listed on box}
  • 1 container vanilla frosting
  • 2 packages Baker’s white chocolate or white chocolate chips
Make the cake according to package. Cool and crumble cake into medium bowl.
Mix with frosting and roll into 1 to 2-inch balls.
Dip cake balls in melted white chocolate, top with your favorite sprinkles and cool on wax paper.

You can find the full tutorial and recipe for Valentine’s cake balls here.

A trip to the Dollar Store turned into a very inexpensive handmade Valentine’s Day wreath!

4 spools of ribbon = $4 ,1 pkg. hearts on a stick = $1, LOVE = $1, wreath base – $1.

 A grand total of $7!!

Spray paint the wreath red.

Cut the ribbon into 3 to 4-inch strips. Fold the ribbon in half and twist. Hot glue around the wreath base until fully covered.

For the full tutorial on the Valentine’s Day ribbon wreath, click here.

Last, but not least, my shelf decor.

 Apothecary jars filled with candy, a free printable framed, some kids art and a few other Valentine’s accessories I had around the house.

You can find the full post about my shelf decor here.

Special Day, Start to Finish

Making Valentine’s Day special. . .
I wanted the boys’ Valentine’s Day to be special from beginning to end. So I started off surprising them with a special place setting for our Valentine’s Day breakfast. 

I got these adorable Valentine’s plates after Valentine’s Day on clearance years ago. Each plate has a different  picture on it. I was excited to finally put them to use! They each got a Valentine’s mailbox filled with goodies.

Which of course they loved!
Check out this Villaware waffle maker we got as a wedding gift. Perfect for a Valentine’s Day breakfast!
Heart-shaped waffles with whipped cream and cherries on top because they are Little Man #1’s favorite!
Little Man #2 didn’t seem to mind either. He did not get use the pretty Valentine’s Day plates. Too risky to let this wild man have anything breakable!
Daddy surprised us by taking us to lunch and taking the rest of the day off! We played outisde at the park in the beautiful Carolina weather! 70 degrees!
And for dinner. . . 
Fondue!

Fondue is very quickly becoming a Valentine’s Day tradition in our house. Here we have filet mignon and rib-eye pieces along with a mustard and curry sauces. The sauces are a “recipe” I got from a friend. It’s all done by taste so I don’t have measurements to give you. However, you can find similar sauce recipes here.
A nice salad and roasted red potatoes accompany the fondue for our Valentine’s Day dinner.
And for the adults, a really nice Pinot Noir!
And because it’s a special day, the little guy got chocolate milk in a special glass with a special straw. 
And to finish off this yummy Valentine’s Day dinner, our cake balls and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert!
I hope your Valentine’s Day was as special as ours!

Sweet Treat for Someone Special

Have you gotten something special for your special someone! If not, there’s still time! Here’s a delicious treat that is super easy to make! 

First you’ll need to run to the store for the following:
1 package of fresh strawberries
1 bag Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
white chocolate and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips for decorating
Not too long of a list, right? So here’s what you do. . .
Put your milk chocolate chips in a small crockpot on low for about 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The chocolate will melt quickly, be careful not to burn the chocolate! 
In the meantime, gently rinse the strawberries under cold water. Gently shake off excess water and place on paper towel-lined cookie sheet to continue drying. Dry, cold strawberries will work best for dipping!

When your chocolate is ready, use a skewer to dip and roll the strawberry in the chocolate. 
Let excess chocolate drip off.

Then place dipped strawberries on wax paper to cool.
If you choose to decorate your chocolate-dipped strawberries, melt your semi-sweet and/or white chips in a glass bowl in the microwave on 70% power stirring after, 30 seconds. Continue heating in 30 second intervals  until melted.

Transfer melted chocolate to a plastic sandwich bag and snip off the tip.

Drizzle chocolate over strawberries using back and forth motion.
Allow strawberries to cool completely to harden. You may place them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
An easy, delicious sweet treat for you your special someone!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

New Shelves With "Lovely" Decor

Get it? “LOVEly?” Can you believe Valentine’s Day is right around the corner? Today I thought I’d share with you my new shelves, built by hubby himself, and how I decorated them for Valentine’s Day.
Sneak peak:
First, let me tell you how these shelves came to be. At Christmastime I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, House of Smiths, when I came across these shelves.

Aren’t they gorgeous?! Not only are the shelves great, but Shelley does an amazing job decorating them for each holiday! I had the perfect spot for these guys in my breakfast room above my buffet. And Shelley was nice enough to share her tutorial hereShelley, if you are reading this, thank you!!!

About a week later, I had these. . . 

Now to decorate them. Tricky, tricky. 
I chose a color scheme of bright pinks and red and used clear glass and nickel-colored accents. 

I used pieces with varying heights on the top shelf. Two glass apothecary jars filled with Valentine’s Day candy on one side and two nickel-colored frames on the other. 

While I was working on my valentine wreath, Little Man #1 was busy working on the masterpiece in the front! He glued little pieces of the ribbon on paper. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was so pretty I had to frame it. I left the glass out of the frame to show off the textures of the ribbon. The picture in the back is my Valentine’s Day subway art. You can find the tutorial here

A glass milk bottle filled with pink and red roses and my thrift store decanter match the glass of the apothecary jars on the upper shelf. I brought more pink and red down to the bottom shelf with the ribbon and XOXO picture holder.
I used a cute painted plate on the on the other side of the bottom shelf to balance out the height of the bottles. The plate stand was originally black, so I spray painted it in the nickel finish to match the rest of the decor. The paint is Krylon, by the way, and it just might be my new favorite color of spray paint!

The finishing touch was an 8×10 family portrait taken last summer in, you guessed it, a nickel frame.

And there you have it! My new shelves, decorated in my favorite colors (pink & red) for Valentine’s Day! What I will do with them after V-day, I have NO idea!

Cake Balls, Valentine Style

I found the original recipe for cake balls on my favorite recipe site, allrecipes.com.
And even though I love chocolate, I thought I’d put my own spin on these babies to make them Valentiney (yes, I like to make up my own words). They were soooooo good!

My ingredients:
1 box strawberry cake mix 
(I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not bake my cakes from scratch when 
Betty Crocker has put it all together for me).
1 container vanilla frosting
2 packages Baker’s white chocolate or white chocolate chips

Bake the cake according to Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, whoever. Let the cake cool slightly (or you will burn your fingers off, trust me) then invert cake into a large bowl and crumble.

 Add the entire container of frosting and mix well.

This is what the mixture will look like. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to air-tight container and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or longer, until chilled and firm. Mine was refrigerated over night.

Use a melon baller or cookie scoop to scoop out the cake mixture.

Roll the mixture into balls using your hands. 
If you use Baker’s squares, chop them up into small chunks.

Melt the chocolate using either a double boiler on the stove or a glass dish in the microwave.

Once the chocolate has melted, remove your bowl from the pan. Working quickly, dip the balls into chocolate using a fork to allow excess to drip. Normally I would use skewers, but these balls are heavier than truffles so the fork worked better. You may need to reheat your chocolate about half way through if it starts to thicken.

Place the chocolate-coated balls on wax paper to cool. Use sprinkles or candy of your choice to decorate while they are still “wet.” If you are in a hurry for them to harden, slide the wax paper onto a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator.
There you go! Cake balls to give to your special someone!

From Thrift Store to Valentine’s Decor

A couple weeks ago I found this great thrift store right here in town. I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of it before. I found it after a Google search for thrift stores in the area. I wasn’t expecting much, but boy was I wrong. I couldn’t believe how much junk I found! It is run by the Humane Society, so the sixteen dollars and fifty cents I spent went to a good cause! 
So this is what I got. 2 amber wine goblets (50c each!), antique door handles (that were still in the package), a decanter (because I collect them), white curtain rod holders (which I panted black and used for my hanging buckets), a complete chess/Backgammon set (most of it still in original packaging) and two framed (ugly) pictures. All for $16.50. And yes, it’s probably just junk, but junk can be turned into marvelous things!
So I bought this lovely cherub picture with a gold frame because I liked the size of it. It was tall with a thin frame and I thought it would look nice (minus the picture and blue matting, of course) on my new shelves hubby put above my buffet (tutorial to come soon). 
When I removed the insides, I was surprised to find a perfect ivory matte hiding under the hideous blue one. SCORE! I found this nickel spray paint in a satin finish by Krylon. 

I sprayed two light coats on the frame and was in love with the color!
While the spray paint was drying I printed this Valentine’s subway art from While He Was Napping. It was fine just black and white, but I wanted to jazz it up just a bit so I used regular old Crayola markers to add a touch of color.

I traced around the outside and inside of the two largest words on the page. 
Then I cropped the paper with just a small 1/2 inch boarder around the words and mounted it on a piece of scrapbook paper which I bought in a pack at Target’s Dollar Spot. 

Remember that ivory matte I found underneath the ugliness? Worked perfectly in my new frame!!
It’s hard to see in the photo, but the word love is outlined in  bright-light pink.
And for less than $5, it’s a nice start to my Valentine’s shelf!

“LOVE” it!

Valentine’s Ribbon Wreath

While walking the isles at the Dollar Tree I saw a variety of pretty V-day ribbon. I started thinking about what I could do with it, and for some reason a wreath popped into my head. I had no idea how exactly I would make this wreath, but I started buying materials to make it anyway. And the best part? All the materials came from the Dollar Tree. I take it back, the LOVE came from the Dollar Spot at Target. Point: nothing was more than $1.
4 spools of ribbon = $4
1 pkg. hearts on a stick = $1
LOVE = $1
wreath base – $1
A grand total of $7!!
Once I got home and looked at all my stuff, I figured out what I was going to do. 

I grabbed a can of red spray paint from the garage and went out in the frigid cold to spray my wreath base. It didn’t have to be perfect because it would be covered with ribbon, but it needed to be red.
While the paint dried I cut the ribbon into pieces about four to five inches long. I didn’t measure any cuts. I just eyeballed it.
After cutting the ribbon, I folded each piece in half and twisted the fold so it resembled a knot.

I used a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon to the wreath base. I put the glue in the crevices of the wreath then stuck the twisted end of the ribbon down in the crevice. 
There was no rhyme or reason for the placement of the ribbons other than alternating the two different ribbons. After I had gone all the way around, I filled in some bare spots around the inside and outside of the wreath.
Remember these pieces?

I pulled the sticks out of the hearts and used the hot glue right on the ribbon to attach them and LOVE to the wreath. 
When I was finished. . .
It turned out like this!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Scrap Wood Becomes Valentine’s Decor

Hubby has tons of scrap wood in the garage. I was feelin’ kinda crafty one day and decided to go dig through his pile to see what I could fine. I came across these two pieces. Hmmmmm, what if I (well, hubby actually) cut them into blocks?
I had hubby cut them into 3″ cubes.
I painted the blocks with semi-gloss white paint which we always have in the garage.

Then, using really large grit sandpaper, I rounded the corners. After that I used a finer grit to distress the paint a bit.
I rubbed each block with some distressing ink.

Using my Cricut, I cut 3″ rounded-edge squares from scrapbook paper. I applied Mod Podge directly to the wood to adhere the paper then sanded the edges and corners of the paper to blend it. Then I applied one coat of Mod Podge over the paper.

Close up of the blocks after sanding. The one on the right tore a little, but once I applied the MP on top, it smoothed and wasn’t noticeable.

While the first coat of MP was drying I used my Cricut to cut the letters “I” and “U.” I placed them on the block and applied one more coat of MP. I glued a painted wooden heart I bought at Michael’s on the other block.

And. . .

.
here they are! My cute little Valentine’s blocks!