Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DIY Art - Paper Products

Hello everyone, I am back again for week 3 of our DIY Art Series. This week we will talk about "paper products".   No, I am not referring to toilet paper or facial tissue. I'm talking about Scrapbook paper, wallpaper, file folders, any kind of paper that you think is beautiful. Because really, that's what it's all about isn't it - how you alone feel about your decor in your home? It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, if you love it, then do it! 

This is going to be a bit of a long one folks because I have lots of pictures to show you and lots to talk about, so get the kids (husband, pets, etc.) into bed, grab a cup of tea and settle in for this one. 

Let's start with a couple of the items that I've used to create artwork for my walls.

 Scrapbook paper...

...and pretty file folders.

I know that there are so many other options out there.  Check out these ones.

Didn't I just say we weren't talking about toilet paper?  Well this is actually an amazing example from Made 2 Style of art using just that - toilet paper rolls! Wow, some people are just so talented!

Or how about using wallpaper to make art.

These were actually made by Sarah, one of my favourite bloggers at Thrifty Decor Chick using textured, paintable wallpaper.  What a great idea!

Now that we've had a look at some other options that are beautiful but take a bit more time, I will show you how I do it - quick and easy!

First you grab an old frame you have laying around like this one that was still packed in a box from our move 4 months ago.

I know, it doesn't look like much now, but once I add some beautiful scrapbook paper like the one above...voila!

A masterpiece...or at least something to put on the wall that goes with the room and doesn't cost a lot.

I made another one using a complimentary pattern.

Then I put them both up in my guest room and please once again ignore my builder beige walls and lack of furniture, curtains and lamps to complete the look, but you get the idea right?  Sorry, upon second viewing of this I probably shouldn't have put this picture up as the pictures just look like postage stamps, but oh well, we can't all be perfect.

Now, I have another little art project that I did using card stock and scrapbook paper.  You might remember another Nifty Little Craft where I did something similar.

This is a little display I did above my bedroom door.  The two frames on the outside are scrapbook paper and the one in the middle is made from cardstock and a butterfly punch.  I really like this because it pulls some of the colours from my bed to the other side of the room.

Finally we have a quick little project that I whipped up because I have been working on my paperwork and filing situation and came across these beautiful file folders, from the dollar store no less!  I have a couple of different patterns, one of which I showed you at the beginning of this post, but for the actual finished product, I let my 3 year old pick which one she wanted as it was for her playroom.

I put it in a nice white frame that I had, once again still packed in a box and here is how it looks in her playroom.  I think the colours work beautifully together and it's just so much fun!

See I told you...quick and easy, cause that's how I roll these days!  Are you going to make some paper art this week?

Until next time...Lisa

I'm linking up with:

Home Stories A2Z
A Bowl Full of Lemons
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Monday, January 21, 2013

Paint Colour Dilemma

I am soooo tired of the builder beige rooms in my house.  The house was built about 10 years ago, we've lived here for 4 months and we just found out that the previous owners never, ever painted.  Therefore, all that is on our walls is tinted primer.  Tinted primer and two small kids do not mix, it is NOT washable in any way, shape or form not too mention it is B-O-R-I-N-G.

I need to get this place painted.  We have done our family room already which you saw a glimpse of in my Christmas Mantel post but I will do a proper post on that room sometime in the near future.  Now, we are working on trying to complete the kitchen, dining room, laundry room and powder room to have the main floor finished with the exception of the entry/stairway which I think we will have to hire someone to do given that it reaches up two full stories.

For now, I am focusing on the dining/playroom.  You remember the playroom don't you?  Well, it's not that bad now, I cleaned it up and removed some of the toys but we still need to figure out more storage/decor options.

My inspiration in this room is my stretched fabric art and these are some of the colour options we have.

We have an espresso coloured table and chairs...

...and this table runner.

Of course the table runner can be changed if necessary but I really like the idea of staying with the orangey reds.  My husband, however feels it might be too much for the space.  The room is quite long and at the opposite end from the art is a wall of windows.  There are also 2 additional long narrow windows on one side wall and glass french doors on the other.  The room is quite well lit with natural light during the day.

My favourite option is the one at the bottom, it is called Mexican Chili by Behr.  Brad prefers the next one up, the light sage green which is called Southern Breeze by Behr.

I would love it if you would weigh in and give us your thoughts.  I'll update you once the room is complete.

Until next time...Lisa

I linked up at:


I Heart Nap Time

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bill Payment Binder

I'm not sure where I first saw this idea, but I know it was about a year ago.  It was working great for me until we moved at the end of August and then it all went to HE(double hockey sticks!). This has been my filing system for the last 4 months but enough is enough.

Just a big pile of paper that was kept in a grocery bag.  When I dumped it out, this was it.

I decided to dig in and get things sorted out.  First of all I sorted every piece of paper into 3 piles: trash, filing and needs immediate attention.  Once that was done, I took the "filing" pile and further sorted it into: bills and other.  I will go through the "other" items in another post and for today focus on how I organize my bills.

First, I start with a pretty binder because I feel like this mundane stuff should at least be nice to look at.  This one is just from the dollar store, so there is no big investment required.

Next, I got out my trusty label maker and gave it a spine label.  I didn't make anything for the front cover, because first of all, it is pretty as is and secondly this binder doesn't have an opening to slip a cover page into.

The section dividers (adding more prettiness here) are also from the dollar store and again I made labels using my label maker.

I sorted my bills by type, ie. utility, credit cards, etc.  if you are not technologically challenged like me and you get your bills electronically, you may want to use an electronic or online version of a bill paying organizer, but since I am old school, I like to get my bill paying on with paper and pen!

Basically, every time a bill comes in it gets opened and the due dated entered onto a calendar and then slipped into the front pocket of the binder until it is time to pay it.  Once payed it gets hole punched and slipped into the binder under the correct tab.  I keep everything for one year, that way if we need anything for tax purposes it is easy to find.

You can use any calendar that you like to write your payment due dates on, however, I wanted to keep things fun and pretty so I printed out these free ones from Ellinee.com. Lia's site is absolutely gorgeous, she is very talented.

Well, I hope this makes paying the bills a little more enjoyable.  Have fun getting it all set up and let me know how it goes.

Until next time...Lisa

I am linking up at:


Somewhat Simple

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DIY Wall Art - Printables

Welcome back to week 2 of the DIY Wall Art series.  Today's post will be about Printables.  Some of you may be very familiar with them and others may be thinking, "what the heck is a printable?"  Well, you have come to the perfect place whether you are a newby or an old pro to the wonderful world of printables.

Here is one of the printables I have in my house.  I LOVE (like I mean really LOVE) Subway Art.  Next to photography it is my absolute favourite kind of art.

I found this printable at Simple Scrapper. All you need to do is enter your email and you can download any of Jennifer's printables for free.

I adjusted the colour a little on mine before I printed it so that they were more muted and would coordinate better with my bathroom.  Then, I printed it out on a piece of white cardstock.  I picked up an inexpensive frame that came with a mat at Jysk for a couple of dollars and voila! instant art.

There are so many places in blogland to find free printables, they are available for everthing from household organization to art of all genres.  Some people are just so amazing and creative to be able to design these beautiful pieces for us aren't they?

Here is another shot of this piece hanging in my main bathroom.

Are you going to give printables a try in your house?

Until next time...Lisa

I linked up at the following link parties!

A Bowl Full of Lemons
Tip Junkie
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Friday, January 11, 2013

Playroom Organization (Help Me!)

I always feel like at the beginning of a new year, new season, new month...actually I think I always feel like I should reorganize something.  Anyway, I digress, at this moment I am feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety due to the number of things that need to be done for me to feel like this beautiful new house of ours isn't just temporary.  Although this house is large enough and has it's fair share of storage space there are still many areas that are in complete and utter chaos.

The playroom...is one of those spaces.

We've put in book shelves and Ikea toy units for storage but it still seems to always be a mess.  Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those moms that can't just let their kids be kids and make a mess.  I totally can and it's not the mess so much that I mind but the location of the mess.  You see, I'm afraid that the playroom is in the totally wrong place.

In our decision making process before we moved into the house, I tried to think of where all the toys could go.  In our old house they were kept in the finished basement family room, which was perfect.  When we had guests over, we would just close the door to the basement and no one was the wiser but in our new house our basement is unfinished at this point and probably will be for a few more years.  The question became, where would be the best place to create a toy room.  At first I thought we could dress up the unfinished basement with paint on the concrete walls and foam floor in a section for the kids as it does have big windows, but I quickly realized, I wasn't keen on it from a safety standpoint and if I was going to have a playroom in the unfinished basement I would have to spend all of my time down there with them.  This was not my goal!

Then I thought all of the toys could be spread between their bedrooms upstairs and they could play up there as their rooms are a good size and there is a significant landing at the top of the stairs.  However, as I thought more about it I realized again....safety concern.  

Need I say more?

Honestly, I am not usually so over-protective, but I just couldn't shake the idea that my three year old would get mad at my four and half year old and push her through the banister.

I felt like since we don't have any formal living room furniture anyway, the best place for our play room would be in that space.  After all, I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have 2 small children.  Sounds like a great idea right?  I thought so too, until we moved in and set everything up.  Unfortunately I was wrong.

First of all, it's one of the first things you see when you walk into our house. 

Sorry folks, I know it is a bit scary...but this is real life.

Secondly, it is open to our formal dining room  which isn't a big deal, it's not like we host a lot of dinner parties these days, however sometimes it would be nice to have a "grown up" space.

Last but certainly not least, since the house is very open concept, there is really no door to speak of in which we can close off the mess.  This is the only door, doesn't really help hide much does it?

So now, I have run out of rooms...aside from locking them into a closet (I'm only kidding...don't call social services on me)!  

What is an anxiety ridden, stressed about the chaos, mom who loves her kids to do?  Any thoughts????

Until next time...Lisa

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Product Review - Mabels Labels

You know how there are certain things in life that you just can't live without? Whether it is that little black dress or your favourite wine or your cell phone or (insert whatever item you couldn't live without here).  Well, there are lots of things that I use on a regular basis that I think are worth sharing with the world.  So I've decided to try something new this year, I am going to have a Product Review Day the first Wednesday of each month.  Some of them will be items that are affiliated sponsors on this blog, others will just be things I think are pretty cool and are worth discussing.  I will say that anything I post a review about I actually have used.

The first one that I want to talk about is Mabel's Labels.  A good friend of mine (another mom) gave my daughter a set of these on her first birthday to be used at daycare and I have been smitten ever since. Now, probably anyone who is reading this and is a mom will know about these products, but these labels have really expanded and are no longer just for kid's items, you can also get beautifully designed, custom printed labels for just about anything now.  Check out their new Household Labels for everything from spice labels to labels for cord control.

The thing that makes them different from other labels and believe me, I tried making my own and they just don't compare, is their durability.  All of their labels are waterproof, so when you put your kids grass stained jeans into the wash, you know that the label will still be there when it comes out.  I personally am a huge fan of the sticky labels and tag mates since they are dishwasher safe.  In fact, my daughter has been using them on all of her lunchbox containers and utensils since September which have been going through the dishwasher on pretty much a daily basis and they still look like this.

I think the labels may outlast the containers!

Has anyone else tried out these labels? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Until next time...Lisa

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Holiday Traditions

Only 18 more days until Christmas! Can that be right? Where has the time gone? I have so many great things that I wanted to share with you this holiday season like my new advent activity that I set up this year, but since it is already December 7th, it's a little to late to share that one. I think I'll keep it under wraps (...pun intended) until next year.

So, I decided that today I would like to talk about holiday traditions, specifically those surrounding the Christmas tree and some of the things that are important to our family.  

Before we had kids we always did an artificial tree and in fact that was what I grew up with and truly all I had ever known.  I had never experienced that fresh pine smell which conjures up images of hot cocoa by the fireplace with the snow gently falling outside the window.  After our first daughter was born my husband and I decided that it was time to create some new traditions around the holidays.  The first would be to go out and pick out our very own fresh tree each year.  Mostly, we have always gone to a garden centre and picked one, but this year since we are in a new City which is just minutes from the country, we decided to go to a tree farm where we could actually go out, pick the perfect tree and cut it down with our (well, who are we kidding...with hubby's) own hands.

 So, this is where we went, D.C. Drysdale's, a tree farm but so much more.  What a fantastic family day we had there.  After the horse drawn trailer ride, there was face painting...

 and meeting Santa who was here for a visit...

My oldest is the one in the pink hat hanging off of Santa and the little one is with daddy in the second photo.  She doesn't like to get too close!

Then it was off to hunt for the perfect tree!

After an hour and half of wondering through hundreds of trees looking for that National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation moment, the little one thought she had found it.  I told her it would be perfect if her name was "Charlie Brown"!

After all that fun was had, we tied the tree to the roof of the car and got it home and into the stand.  The next day we managed to get the lights onto it and then I spent the following evening, after the kids were in bed and while hubby was out, drinking some wine and adding the remaining decorations.

 Now you may be thinking, hmmmm, this is not a very designer looking tree like I see on so many other blogs and websites.  Well, you're right.  After the tree was complete, I considered not even posting about it because it didn't look like the other ones but then after some thought, I realized that the important thing about this tree is not how perfect it looks but how perfect it makes myself and my family feel about the holidays.  This tree represents so many wonderful memories and will create new ones too.  My oldest daughter actually picked this tree out herself.  It's 9 feet tall and a bit wonky in spots, but it's perfect because she thinks it's perfect.

No, the ornaments are not all teal and silver, or brown and gold but aside from the filler balls and icicles, every other ornament on that tree tells a story of our life together.

 From left to right and top to bottom, there's the red high heel that I bought while shopping with my best friend, the ornament my baby made for me when she was still in daycare, the snow man ornament my friend Maria made for me,  just one of many handmade, cross stitched ornaments by my mom, one of many beautiful pewter ornaments that my boss in my previous life would bring me each year from Nova Scotia, a Tim Hortons pot from my wonderful friend Erica who works there and knows how much we love coffee, a couple of brand new ones that my oldest made just this year, the blue one in church and the gingerbread man at home and last but certainly not least baby's first Christmas.  These are just a few of the wonderful items that we have on our tree that mean so much to us as a family and isn't that what Christmas is really all about?

Until next time...Lisa

DIY Art - Stretched Fabric

Happy New Year!!!! I hope you all had a relaxed and enjoyable holiday. I took some time away from blogging over the holidays so that when I returned I could start 2013 off with some great new ideas for you.  

A new year means resolutions for many people. I however don't believe in resolutions because I feel like I am just setting myself up for failure.  What I do believe though is that a new year means a fresh start and time to try new things and if some of those things don't work out, that's ok.

Some of the things that I want to try this year is spending more time blogging, completing some projects that are on my "list" and trying to get my home and my life more organized.

I am going to be doing an ongoing series of posts for you throughout the month of January called "DIY Art".  I love getting inspired by pieces I see in shops and thinking of ways that I could make it myself.  It is a fun and inexpensive way to get creative.  There is tons of inspiration and many tutorials out there in Blogland as well and I'll share some of my favorites with you.

Today is going to be my first post on DIY Art and I am going to start with a piece that I made myself last summer.  It started out in the eating area of my kitchen in my old house and now resides proudly on the wall of my dining room in my new house.

Here's what I did.  I started by wandering the fabric stores which is one of my favourite activities, although I wouldn't recommend it with kids in tow (mine kept hiding under the racks like a big game of hide and seek, not really how I wanted to spend my time).  If any of you follow me on pinterest you will see that I love finding beautiful fabrics and sometimes I will find the fabric and buy a yard or two not even knowing what I will do with it, but it is just too pretty to not have it.

On one of my many trips I found this beautiful fabric and totally fell in love with it.  

Most of the fabrics I buy are on sale but this one wasn't and I think I paid $28 per yard for it, still not a bad price.  Since I knew that I wanted to use this at the time in my kitchen to fill a big blank wall, I wasn't sure how much I would need so I believe I bought a yard and a half.  Once I got it home I thought about ways that I could hang it, some of which you will see in other posts during this series.  For this piece though, I decided that buying a ready made canvas from an art supply/craft store would be the best option.  So, I waited until Michaels had a sale on canvases and purchased one that I felt would be the best fit for my fabric.  It is 36"x48" and I laid my fabric horizontally so that the two birds would be centered on it. 

Once I had the placement figured out, I started in the center of the first side and pulled the fabric around the frame of the canvas and using my trusty staple gun, I stapled it to the frame.

I continued by attaching the fabric in the center of the opposite side, pulling it taut as I went around the frame and then just continued stapling down the length of each side.  Once the sides were complete I did the same thing on the ends.

For the corners, I just did a gift wrap kind of fold and then stapled in place so it would look neat.  Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that for you.  Sometimes it's hard to remember to stop and take pics when I get in a groove on a project, my bad!

Ready for the big reveal?!  Here it is hanging in my new dining room (please overlook the wall colour, or lack there of!)

Check out more on the DIY Art series next Tuesday when I show you how to make art from crafting obsessions.  What kind of DIY art have you made?  Leave a comment and share your stories.

Until next time...Lisa

I`m linking up at the following blogs:

Home Stories A2Z