Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy

I've never really been what I would consider an artist, but I have always loved writing notes, cards, and signs with pretty lettering. Thanks to a lesson from a friend I've elevated my skill and created several gifts for some sweet friends.

While you can use this lettering on just about everything, I LOVE chalkboards and have turned some of these into fun creations. If you love chalkboards as much as I do check out the post: Week-by-Week Pregnancy Chalkboards

Not only do these adorable chalkboards make a good gift, but they also are a great party decor. I recently used one at my son's The BIG "One": A Fishing-Themed First Birthday Party to add a little decoration to the treat table.

Without any further ado, here's the skinny on creating modern calligraphy.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate any and all support.


1. Purchase a pre-made chalkboard or make your own.

To make your own board, you can purchase wood craft plaques or canvases and paint the board/canvas with chalkboard paint. While this is the cheaper option if you plan to make multiples, know that this is not the quickest option.

Use an easel or spread your board/canvas out on an old sheet or newspaper. You will need to do 2-3 coats of chalkboard paint to completely cover the board/canvas. Allow the paint to dry before applying the next coat. Be very careful that the edges of your board/canvas don't adhere to the newspaper or you will have a sticky mess. 

Allow your board to thoroughly dry before moving on to step 2.

2. Lightly apply your lettering in basic chalk.

This step is important because it allows you to make mistakes without a lot of heartache. You may want to practice your lettering before setting out to design your chalkboard. Use the magic eraser to get rid of any unwanted marks.

A trick to modern calligraphy is to mix up your delicate letters with your block letters. A mix gives your design more dimension. 

For this step, apply your lettering softly or once you are done creating your design take a dry cloth and rub away your design so that it is very light on your board. This makes it easier to apply the chalk pen and keeps the chalk hidden.

3. Use the chalk pen to finalize your lettering.

Now comes the fun part-- finalizing your design. Use a chalk pen to trace your pre-written lettering. The trick to modern calligraphy is to double up on your down strokes. Any time that you would move the pen down, do it twice to create a thicker line. 

4. Add design elements.

Get creative! Throw in whatever else your heart desires. You may want to practice these designs before actually putting pen to chalkboard. Simple is usually better, so don't get too crazy, but this is your chance to make it your own.

5. Clean up any imperfections.

Once your chalk pen has dried you can clean up any smudges or boo boos you've made. Be very careful not to erase your actual design, but you can use a dry towel to clean up any chalk residue, or a wet magic eraser to get rid of unwanted chalk pen spots.


P.S. Feeling crafty? Check out these other projects:

String Art Tutorial

How to Make Personalized Coasters with Tiles and Mod Podge

DIY: How to Distress Furniture

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Celebrating the BIG "One": A Fishing-Themed First Birthday Party

I can't believe I have a one year old! It's truly amazing how fast the first year goes. A little over a year ago I was bringing home a little teeny tiny baby and now I have a mobile toddler that is literally into everything.

While the first year has definitely had it's trials, it has hands down been the best year of my life. Looking back on the first year I was a little sad that I no longer have a little baby to hold, but I've discovered that I love my son's new ability to explore the world. Suddenly, I have a child that likes to play outside, go swimming at the YMCA, and throw a ball. This new stage is wonderful in it's own way and while I'll always cherish the time that I had with him as a baby, I'm loving all of the new things he's learning. 

My son is not really into any characters yet, so for his first birthday party we decided on a fishing theme. The big "one" was a huge success! 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate any and all support.

Here's how we did it:


I'm all about saving money where I can. There are tons of cute fishing-themed invitations on Etsy, but to cut costs I decided to make my own. 

I love the program Canva. I use it for a lot of my blog graphics and I have my high school students use it for all kinds of class projects. 

After I designed the invitation I used Walgreens Photo to print out my invitations. Depending on where you get yours printed you're looking at about 0.17 cents per invitation which is a steal! 

Just be careful that after you edit the invitation you upload it to the photo printing site and see how that individual company will crop your picture. Be careful that you don't alter the positioning of the text too much or it will cut off part of your writing when you get it printed.

You can edit this invitation and make it your own by clicking here. It's totally free! You're welcome :) 


Chalkboard Milestones

I'm a huge sucker for chalkboards. Check out my post Week-by-Week Pregnancy Chalkboard Designs for some creative inspiration for expecting mommas. 

No party is complete with out some decorative chalkboards so I used baby's milestones to summarize all of his abilities at the time of his birthday. On your board include:
  • Name
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Number of teeth
  • Things your child likes to do
  • Favorite foods
  • Favorite books
  • Words your child can say
  • Things your child can do
  • Nicknames
  • Anything else that is special about your child

Table Decor

For the table decor I covered our dining room table with a blue table cloth. I then covered it with a party fishing net to go with the theme. I also borrowed some real fishing lures from my dad and laid them on the table.

Candy Bar

This was my favorite detail of the party. I used a serving tray and different sized containers to set up the candy bar.

To go with the theme of the party all of the snacks were fishing themed.

I had a little left over party netting that I was able to use on my china hutch to add decoration under the candy bar. Check out the post-- DIY: How to Distress Furniture for the skinny on the china hutch endeavor.

Did mention I love chalkboards??? These mini chalkboards used to label the snacks are no exception!

High Chair

My mom helped me bring this idea to life. She has the Brother Embroidery Machine and can make all kinds of amazing creations. She appliqu├ęd the number one with a fishing design on a piece of fabric and then strung it and several strips onto a piece of hemp twine. 

I used some packing tape to adhere the banner to the actual high chair. If you plan to serve your child cake I'd highly recommend some kind of splash mat. I purchased the Splat Mat by Honeyed and we now use it all the time. It makes clean up so much easier!


With the embroidery machine my mom also made my son a matching t-shirt for the party! 

Month-by-Month Baby Pictures

If you're like me you took photos of your little doll baby each month to track their growth throughout the year. How can you use those at the first birthday party? 

I have the perfect solution! Upcycle an old frame to create a photo display! Check out the post What To Do With Your Month-by-Month Baby Pictures for a tutorial.

Food & Drinks


I toyed with several different ideas for what food to serve for dinner. I finally made my decision based on the number of people I was serving. The easiest option seemed to be hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips. I thought about making chili, soup, or ordering pizza, but all in all, I was happy with my decision to cookout. 


The fishing theme didn't stop with the decor, I also tied it into the drinks. 
  • Tea as "lake water"
  • Copycat Sonic Ocean Water as "ocean water"
I added small bobbers to the top of the "ocean water" for some extra fun. The "ocean water" was a bit bluer than it probably should have been, but to be honest I winged it on the food coloring instead of following the recipe! 

Next to the drink station I included Swedish Fish in case someone wanted to take them for a swim and paper straws for cuteness.

Smash Cake

Again, I'm all about saving money so I decided to make my own smash cake. I ordered a cake for Costco for the other party guests, but I made my son's cake from a box. Every mom knows that if you bake it in your oven, it's homemade right?! I purchased the funfetti cake mix and icing

I actually made the cake the week before and put it into the freezer wrapped in wax paper and aluminum foil. The day before the party I pulled it out of the freezer and iced it to cut down on prep time the day of the party.

Party Supplies:


No birthday party is complete without presents! My husband and I joked that we'd really like any money people planned to spend on gifts deposited into his college account instead! We didn't follow through on the idea, but my son got some wonderfully thoughtful gifts. 

We purchased our son a Step 2 Naturally Playful Lookout Treehouse and my son loves it! I wanted to get him something that he could play with in our back yard and this item was the perfect idea! He still needs a little help getting up into the treehouse and going down the slide, but I know he will enjoy this toy for years to come.

That sums up the details for Baby B's first birthday party! It was great to see friends and family and celebrate this milestone in my son's life. 


P.S. Put off your dishes and laundry a bit longer--

How to Trick Your Child Into Eating Carrots

Homemade Baby Yogurt Melts

11 Romantic Chick-Lit Books for Mommytime

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What To Do With Your Month-By-Month Baby Pictures

Did you jump on the month-by-month baby pictures trend? Whether you selected the month-by-month stickers or blocks, put baby into the same chair, or next to the same stuffed animal, what exactly should you do with these photos? Today I'm going to share with you the perfect way to display these adorable shots at your child's first birthday party.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate any and all support.

If you're like me, each month I posted a picture of my little guy on social media for my friends and family to see. Looking back now, I'm thankful that I took the time to have my child pose to see the incredible growth that is the first year of life. From a squishy little baby to a mobile toddler, I can't believe all of the changes. 

Each month that went by it was harder and harder to a) have my child sit b) not let him eat the sticker and c) snap a non-blurry shot of my child who is in constant motion. Am I right, mamas?! All of the trouble was well worth it to document his first year.

We celebrated my son's first birthday just a few weeks ago with the theme "the big one". The party was all about fishing. We had a snack bar with pretzels as "rods", gummy worms as "bait", Swedish Fish as "minnows", and Twizzlers as "line". Since we were feeding approximately 20 people we had a cook-out with "waterside grub". To drink guests enjoyed tea as "lake water" and copycat Sonic Ocean Water as "ocean water". 

Other decorations included a happy birthday banner, a chalkboard with my son's milestones at one year, high chair decor, balloons on the mail box, and an upcycled frame with each month-by-month photo.

Everyone enjoyed seeing my son's growth over the last year, not to mention that some of the shots were truly priceless, like this gem:

I couldn't have gotten him to do this if I had tried, but man those rolls up the back of his legs! I just want to kiss them!

As I mentioned in the post: DIY: How to Create a Picture-less Framed Wreath, I scored two old frames from my aunt before she loaded up and moved to Florida to retire. The frames needed a little love, so I painted each of the two frames with gray chalk paint

After they had enough time to dry, I attached hemp string to the back of the frame with duct tape. I attached 3 separate strings to the back and hung 4 photos on each to equal 12 (1 for each month). 

I'm a big fan of the dollar section at Target and I purchased some miniature clothes pins there to use to hang my picture from the string. I think the mini clothes pins work better because of the weight of the larger ones can pull down on the string.

And just like that my little is 12 months and counting. What other ideas do you have for using month-by-month photos?


A Mama's Guide to Toys: 9-12 Months

12 Books Every One Year Old Should Own

How to Convert Any Room Into a Playroom

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How to Convert Any Room Into a Playroom

When we bought our home one of the things we were disappointed with was the fact that it did not have a bonus room or basement that could be used for a playroom.

Alternatively, our home does have a sun room. When we first moved in we did not have a child yet, so I prettied up this room as a nice little sitting area. Once I found out I was pregnant I knew it was inevitable that the room would need to be turned into a playroom, I just didn't anticipate how soon this would be.


When we came home from my parents house on Christmas day, we soon realized that we were now the proud owners of our own mini Toys 'R' Us. Our living room looked like a toy box exploded. You could hardly walk through the sea of primary colored toys. 

The day after Christmas I decided there was no time like the present to get started on converting our sun room into a playroom. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I appreciate any and all support.

Move to Storage

Step 1 was removing all non-baby friendly products from the room. We had a table for four, an upcycled chair with ottoman (Check out the post DIY: How to Distress Furniture for the how-to), a couch, and some flora decor in the room. 

We found a new home for the upcycled chair and ottoman in our living room, but the table had to make it's way into the attic. I decided to leave the couch so that we would have a place to sit when we were watching our son.


Our sunroom had tile flooring, so we set out to find a solution for this hard surface. We opted for a foam flooring to create a softer surface for out little one that is now on the move. 

The foam tile breaks the fall for my son and is super easy to clean. 

I toyed with the color options for the flooring. Foam tile commonly comes in a set of primary colors, black, and grey. We found one with a pattern that resembles hard wood. We opted for the faux hard wood to give our home a more continuous flow. 

If the room had been in another area of the house I may have chosen the primary colors, but since you can see the sun room from the front door I wanted to create a look that would match the rest of the house.

Baby Proof

After you have cleared out anything hazardous to baby, identify any remaining potential issues. For us that meant putting the outlet plugs and putting up a baby gate. We purchased the Regalo Easy Step Walk Through Gate and haven't had any problems with it. It's easy to open with one hand and seems to be very sturdy.

Our sun room doesn't have a door and opens directly into the kitchen. At first I saw this as a downside, but now that we have added a baby gate I love that my son can play in his playroom while I put up dishes or cook dinner. I have peace of mind that he is safe and I can keep an eye on him while he enjoys his toys.

We also purchased the furniture wall straps to prevent the toy storage from falling on my son if he were to pull on it. After seeing videos of children narrowly escaping these situations I'm a nervous wreck that he will start climbing on a piece of furniture and it will topple over on him.

Your baby proofing may include:
Make sure the area is safe before you allow your little one to play in his or her new playroom.

Toy Storage

Make the most of your space by utilizing toy storage systems. We purchased this piece of furniture from Wayfair:

Other great toy storage containers:


Have a little fun with this room. It doesn't have to be anything over the top, particularly if you're like me and have converted a room in your main living space into a playroom, but you want this room to be kid friendly. 


I chose not to paint the walls of our playroom because our entire home in the same color and was repainted right before we moved in (2 years ago). With that said, the walls are a neutral color, but you could always spice up the walls with a fun color.

Display Crafts

Other options are to add wall decor. If you're feeling crafty make some String Art to display in the room or display your child's artwork in frames.

Wall Decor

My little isn't quite to the age of making his own artwork so I picked some fun pieces in yellow and turquoise to brighten up the room.

Other Playroom Decor Ideas:

Playroom Rules

Excuse the Mess...


Now it's time to move in the toys! I was extremely happy to get my living room back after we moved our mini Toys 'R' Us into the playroom. We still keep some toys in the living room, in my son's room, and in the play yard in our bedroom, but the majority of his toys have been relocated to their new home. 

The playroom is a space that my son can just be little. I don't stress over the toys being put away after each use and it's a space I want my son to grow up utilizing his imagination. 

Thanks for stopping by, before you go check out these other posts you might enjoy:

40 Baby Finger Food Ideas for Busy Moms

Homemade Baby Yogurt Melts

11 Romantic, Chick-Lit Books for Mommytime