Saturday, December 29, 2012

Faux Chalkboard Art: A Tutorial

Yesterday the kids were napping, the hubs was shopping and the house was quiet. I took advantage of the silence and supplies I had on hand and whipped up two 12x12 canvases for our living room.

I wanted the first 12x12 to be a photo display. I gave it one coat of metallic acrylic paint. I wanted the canvas to have a white washed look so I didn't use much paint. While the paint was drying, I cut down a large family photo print to 11x11 using my quilting mat. I glued the print to the canvas using mod podge and gave the whole piece a thin coat. I love us reppin' our teams in this photo. Every time Cam looks at it he says, "Wook, Cam-men wearing football sherrt!"

The inspiration for the second canvas came from free fonts on Pinterest and a bible verse I saw on this blog.

I like chalkboard art and my first thought was to use chalkboard paint and a chalk pen to make my second canvas.  But I didn't have those supplies available and I couldn't leave my sleeping children home alone to go to the craft store, so I improvised.  Here is my tutorial for making faux chalkboard art.

1.  Using a foam brush, paint your canvas with one light coat of black paint.  I wanted the look to be a bit streaky like a used chalkboard.  I painted mine with some left over Behr semi gloss that I had, but any acrylic or craft paint will do.  If you have chalkboard paint, by all means use it!  I just didn't have any and couldn't make a store run.

2.  Choose your fonts and find the words, phrase, or saying you want to use.  I picked the arsenale white, simon script, indy pimp, and return to sender font. Open your computer's document program and type your words.  I used the bible verse "most of all let love guide your life".  I played with the font types and sizes until I came up with the look I wanted.

3.  Print out the document and trim down the words.  Arrange them on your canvas.  Trim them down further if you need to make them fit, but do NOT cut directly on the lines of any of the letters.

3.  Use double stick tape to lightly affix your papers to the canvas.  Using an exacto knife, carefully trace each letter pressing enough to leave a trace line on your canvas.  You may have to practice this a bit until you get the feel of how hard you will need to press.  It took me a few tries.  I traced and painted one word at a time.

4.  Using whatever white paint you have (I used white acrylic paint, but I think most white paints would work) and a artist brush or your kid's watercolor set brush, start painting over the traced lines.  Keep in mind, this is meant to look like chalkboard art and doesn't have to be perfect!  Do your best to capture the look of the font, but don't worry if your lines aren't ramrod straight.  If the paints a little thinner or thicker in some parts that's okay too!

5.  Stand back and admire your work.

The possibilities for this tutorial are endless.  Happy crafting my friends!  If you have any questions leave them in the comments.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hawaii Day 3 - Pampering Day!

When we left home Riley was already sick, but by Sunday both kids were down with a hacking cough,   fussy tempers, snot faces and pink eye.  They were up and down all night coughing and we finally gave in by 5:30 and got up for the day.

I decided not to waste the early morning and hurried my family, along with Gammy, down to the beach to watch the sunrise.

It happened slowly and while we waited my loves splashed their little feet in the ocean.

They always love the ocean, but they especially love the Pacific in Hawaii.

I am NOT a morning person, but hello, I might become one if we lived there.  The sunrise over Diamond Head, I just can't get it out of my mind.  I wish I was there right now.

Besides cleaning the beach, which Gammy always does when we're there, she happily played photographer and photography subject.

We made our way down the beach and out on the walk way to watch the sun finish it's ascent to the sky, and spotted a tide pool when we were there. The kids loved watching the little fish and crabs swimming around. Riley was a bit perplexed by how they would get out of there. Camden just wanted to get in and touch them all.

We had worked up an appetite after our walk so we went the extra block down to our favorite breakfast spot, Denny's!  The rest of the day was spent getting nails done, doing some last minute shopping at Ala Moana, and sitting poolside at the hotel in an attempt to get some sun before the big day.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hawaii Day 2 - Rehearsal Time

With only 2 days before the wedding we had to hit the ground running. The kids slept until about 7 am which is pretty good for the 5 hour time change.   At this point I can't remember if we had Denny's that first day or not, but it was either that or Happy's Cafe at the hotel.  I got everyone dressed in their best Hawaiian looks and we were on our way to the Ko 'Olau!

 While we waited for the officiant Gampy showed the kids all the Christmas decor at the wedding site. Someone took this cute picture of the cousins.

Gampy showed Camden a nutcracker. He loved them.

Everyone finally assembled and we headed out to the ceremony site to practice for the big day. There were a lot of laughs and a lot of instructions to keep in mind!

Gampy helped keep the flower girl and ring bearer entertained after they finished their part of the rehearsal.

I do not wear heels on a regular basis, (heck I wear sneakers, Uggs, and flips), so I brought my 5 inch wedding wedges to wear for the rehearsal just to make sure I wasn't going to fall on my face.  Of course, I took them off as soon as we were done and Camden wasted no time in putting them on. He actually could walk in them better than I could.

It wasn't long before Sassy wanted a turn too! Uncle STG offered a helping hand.

On the way back to the cars I snapped this cute pic of the men in my life. I love them in navy!

Tata and Uncle STG already have the cutest son ever, but looking at this adorable photo I hope they have a girl someday too!

The rest of the day was spent enjoying a massive lunch (hangriness was on the rise) at the food court at Ala Moana Mall, making a necessities trip to Wal-mart, and hanging out by the baby pool enjoying cocktails and the Waikiki sunset.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hawaii Day 1 - Traveling

My baby sister, and the last of 3 daughters, got married in Hawaii two weeks ago. We have been looking forward to the wedding the whole year and we were so thankful to be able to take our entire family, kids and all to Oahu, to celebrate!

Day 1 was spent traveling. Our departing flight to Honolulu was a direct flight, over 10.5 hours on the plane. I'll admit I was a little nervous in the days leading up to our trip, but it really wasn't that bad. The plane was a 767 with big seats and tvs with plenty of show choices and video games to keeps us all entertained. The other plus side was the flight was pretty empty so we were able to spread out. The first five hours were spent playing with new toys I packed, playing iPad, and watching movies. After a sketchy dinner, meals on flights now are a whole other issue, Camden finally passed out.

I made sure to bring his pillow, blanket, and monkey so he was pretty comfortable.

While he slept I was able to close my eyes for a bit too.  Riley and TG on the other hand...

Despite a time change that went way over her usual bedtime Riley stayed awake the whole time.  I woke up from my snooze and discovered her eyes glued open watching TG playing iPad.  I wasn't thrilled that she wasn't sleeping, but she was maintaining okay so I let it go.

When we arrived we found Gammy and Gampy waiting for us at the baggage claim with fresh orchid leis for the girls and kukui nut leis for the boys.  It was 7 pm Hawaii time so Gammy sat with the kids eating their dinner while Gampy and TG wrangled our bags.  I can't believe how fresh faced Riley looks in this photo - she was going on 16 hours of no sleep at this point with at least 2 more before she finally passed out at the hotel.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Riley, at 4 years, 10 months and 6 days

I've been catching up on some posts and I couldn't forgot about my darling girl.

Listen, the year of four has been a doozy. We're up, we're down and sometimes we're upside down with no clue as to why or how we got there. Let's just say, sister is well versed in "the drama", and the most obscure tiny things can set her off.

Part of this is due to the fact that I know she's tired because she's outgrown the nap. That's not to say that she won't nap. If I lay her down, though she might say with just the right amount of 'tude, "I'll lay down, but I'm not going to close my eyes," she's out in a few minutes. However, if she naps she lays awake in her bed until almost 11 pm and still gets up by 7:30 or 8 the next morning. It's a vicious cycle because she needs the nap, but she can't take the nap.

The other part of the fearsome fours is learning that she doesn't technically have to do what we say all the time. That's been an adjustment for all of us and there are many days where I want to pull my hair out and I'm sure she does too. We're getting there and as we creep ever closer to 5, (gulp, really 5!) she's leveling out some.

Riley's big into Barbies, my little ponies, Disney princesses, and Avengers right now and always has them involved in some version of school, mama, or shopping. She recently rediscovered her love for books and is starting to spell out words she sees and is always asking us what things say. Riley still sings and dances all day long, with passion. She loves all arts and crafts and colors a bazillion pictures a day on white computer paper. Everyday it something new, but she's getting quite good at drawing people and specific scenes like fields of flowers and rainbows.

Riley and Camden are close and they have fun playing together, but they also argue over toys or space. He's old enough now to play along, but sometimes he has no idea what she's trying to do and that frustrates her.  It's been eye opening to watch the sibling dynamic because Camden thinks everything Riley does is amazing.  He is always watching her and imitating her which I think is adorable, but she finds it annoying sometimes.  She's learning the ropes of being the big sibling and she handles it with maturity beyond her years.

Riley talks all the time and always has a story to share, some real and some made up.  She uses phrases that crack us up.  Lately she's been using "certainly" a lot.  Like, if I ask her if she knows where something is she will say, "No, I certainly do not know where it is".

The years are fleeting and I can hardly believe she is almost 5.  I remember when Riley was a little baby, five year olds seemed so big to me and now she's one of them.  It's surreal to think that my first precious baby girl could already be so old, but I am thankful for a healthy, vibrant, fun, kind and loving daughter.  We have some rough moments, but each day with her sweet face is a blessing.
photo courtesy of LouLou Photography

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blue Ridge Mountain High

At the end of October we snuck away to the mountains for a mini getaway with our friends.

That Friday, after work, we quickly hopped in the car and headed northwest to the Wintergreen resort. It was a little bit of a rough start considering we were all tired from a long work week and little man had to repeatedly stop for potty breaks on the side of the road.

Cracker barrel for dinner was just what we needed to lift our spirits. While we waited for our table Riley and I rocked in the chairs.

Camden enjoyed a solo game of checkers.

After dinner we had a tense climb, in the pitch black, up steep winding roads, to our cabin that was just before the entrance to the resort.  We were all relieved when we finally arrived and though it was way past Riley and Camden's bedtime we let them roam and explore the house while we unpacked.

The next morning the kids busied themselves with my little ponies, tinkerbell dolls, super heroes and coloring in front of the fireplace while we prepared a delicious breakfast.

I spotted a visitor on the deck while twinnie and I were cooking breakfast.  Our in house science guy brought it inside so the kids could see him.

Riley could not be convinced to hold it, but Camden finally worked up the courage to try.   We're missing the picture where Camden asked me to hold it too and just as I tried to pick it up the bug let out a loud noise.  Of course I shrieked and then Camden did too and that was the end of bug time.  I contend that bug knew I was a sissy posing as a bug lover.

Later that day we bundled up and ventured out to the resort in search of hiking trails. We made a quick stop at the nature center so I could find a reasonable trail for little legs.

The hikers were very excited to see the waterfall at the end of the trail.

Halfway down the trail we paused for a breather and a photo shoot.

Riley, of course, hit this pose for me.  She calls it "the hiker girl".

We finally made it down to the falls and by this point little man was being carried by TG and I. 

Camden let TG put him down long enough to play in this fallen tree trunk while his sister blazed the path back up the hill.

After our hike we had all worked up an appetite so we went back to the resort for lunch. The restaurant had a pretty good view of the ski slopes.

Our bellies full of food, we went back to the cabin where the kiddos and I took a much needed nap.  When we woke up the men started a fire in the pit outside and we all got to work making smores.

That night Mimi made a delicious stew for dinner. While we were enjoying our day we were also keeping a close eye on the weather and the path of Superstorm Sandy. Our original plan was to spend Sunday at the cabin watching the Skins v. Steelers game, but the storm was quickly making it's way north. Gusting winds woke us up early the next morning and we quickly packed up and were on our way back home by 8:30 am.

Camden was not happy that our trip was cut short.

Matt and I weren't thrilled either, but we figured better safe than stuck on top of a mountain in a storm.  We spent Sunday stocking up on emergency supplies and battening down the hatches.  Luckily, though it rained hard and there were some strong gusts of wind, we were safe and sound.  We were very thankful to be snug in our home and we know many others were not as fortunate and we have been praying for those affected by Sandy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Thanksgibings!

We were so thankful to enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving Day at Gigi and Papa's house.  After a morning spent relaxing inside and cooking we hit the streets to burn off some energy and work up an appetite.

The kiddos cruised the neighborhood in their Escalade.

Gleefully tried to run over their mother.

Stopped by the water feature for an impromptu photo shoot.  Look at my darling girl.

Not to be outdone. This just makes me laugh.

Tried to get a brother and sister photo.

And used the self timer to get our only family shot of the holiday.

We hope you had a wonderful day and we wish you another year full of blessings and love.  Happy Thanksgiving!