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Dollar Store Paris Inspired Mirror

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Hi. My name is Courtney and I’m addicted to Pinterest.

It’s been 12 hours since I last pinned a recipe, funny cat photo or tutorial about making a mosaic with broken pottery. I have at least 762 of making doily curtains, 32 about reupholstering your furniture the lazy way, and how to cheaply decorate every room of your house.

My latest obsession, though, is Paris. Well….the idea of Paris.

My girls love, love, LOVE things Paris related. After we spent a day in “Paris” at home, they have had a wanderlust to visit Paris in their imaginations any time of day or night.  They might take after their mom a bit.

This fall they turn nine (boo-hoo!!) and for their birthdays I wanted to try to redecorate their room to be a Paris theme. Something girlie, fun, romantic and a bit more sophisticated for preteen girls (sniffle*).

I plan to put flower boxes on their windows, turn their closet into a boutique, making a light up Eiffel Tower behind an old window, paint a rug to look like cobble stones, making a biSTRO IN THEIR ROOM, PUT AWNINGS OVER THEIR WINDOWS!! Can you tell I’m excited?!! I plan to make myself a little sitting corner in the “Café” part of the room so I can take a little trip to Paris myself sometimes!

It’s safe to say I’ve had Paris room on the brain. So naturally when I was at the Dollar Tree this past week I was inspired. This whole project cost me three dollars. Yeperooski. Just three measly dollars.

I will admit, though, that I already had the glass paint from another project, but that is still just a couple of dollars. So, without further ado….

Supplies:

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-Dollar store mirror

-Dollar store scrapbook flowers (6 for one stinkin’ dollar! Holla!!)

-Martha Stewart Frost Glass paint

-Scrapbook Letter Stickers (I also had but they have these at the Dollar Tree as well)

 

So, if you’ve followed this blog at all you know I like to do easy projects. This is one of those, people! So super easy!

I started by sticking the letters to the mirror. Rocket science, right?

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Then, take the mirror out of the frame and paint over the whole thing, letters and all, with the glass paint. Leave it sit for an hour to dry.

In the meantime you can decorate your frame. Can you pause a moment, though, and just admire these paper beauties? These delicate flowers are even paler in person. They are small and adorable.

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They have a sticker on the back, but I hot glued them around the frame for durability.  After the mirror has dried take stickers off (you may have to do some touch up because mine peeled off a little of the paint). Then put it in a cool oven to bake(don’t preheat). Then turn oven to 350 degrees and bake it for a half hour. Check on it periodically, though, because mine turned a little yellowish. Poo.

Turn oven off and let cool off before removing it. Once it’s cooled, pop it back into the frame and voila! A masterpiece.

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Here is some other loot I’ve collected already (mostly from Goodwill). That Paris flea market sign is from the Dollar Tree!

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I’ve also started painting some of my own watercolors to add to the ambiance. Oui, oui.

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I’d love to hear more ideas if you’ve got ’em!

Bonjour!

xo

 

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Easy Snowman Art Project

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So it’s that time of year again: snowman building time!!

I don’t know how it is where you live, but here winter just kind of came on all at once! Even though it’s only been snowing for the last week or so, I’m already experiencing some winter blues. It didn’t get above ten this morning! Blah.

BUT, never fear! There’s always fun things to do in the winter! When it’s too cold to build a snowman outside, there are lots of ways to make them inside!

I confess this is my THIRD snowman project I have done so far this year with my elementary art students and I have a few more up my sleeve. There’s just something so cheery about snowmen, don’t you think?

This was one of the easiest projects thus far. This was one of those ones where I threw open my closet (completely unprepared for class) and started pulling things off of shelves. Those always end up being the best projects!

Here are the supplies, folks:

-white finger/tempera paint

-blue or gray cardstock

-scrapbook/construction paper

-buttons, jewels, sequins, etc (anything to give your snowman a little bling)

I started out by cutting out mittens, scarves and hats with different patterns for each child to make their project unique. I also punched holes from black construction paper for the eyes and mouths. I cut little triangles for carrot noses and strips of brown paper for arms.  If time allows, you can have your students do this themselves but my classes aren’t very long and I’ve found that having little details like this prepped before class helps a lot. I gave them a piece of paper and told them to create a snowman on it with the white paint using their fingers. For the younger kids I demonstrated how to do this creating three circles on top of each other, but for most of them little guidance was needed. They went to town. Some anchored them to the paper by making a snow-covered ground, others made falling flakes.  After they had the body created, I let them choose the items they wanted to use to decorate their snowman and some glue and that was it! It was simple and they loved it! Any time you can incorporate finger painting, my students are happy!

 

Here are some more examples:

Happy crafting and stay warm!

xo

 

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DIY Felt Envelopes

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“Come on. Let’s practice,” I said to Ev one night as I was tucking her into bed.  Every night I go in to check on the girls before I turn in for the night and whisper that I loved them in their ears.  Evie always complains that she wishes she would wake up for this nighttime ritual. “Yell in my ear, Okay, Mom? Yell ‘Wake up!! I love you!!’ so I know that you are there.” So I told her we would practice as I pretended to sneak up on her while she pretended to sleep. I leaned over and whispered a “yell” in her ear that I loved her.  She giggled and then grabbed me around the neck before imploring, “Mom, when you come in can you leave me a note under my pillow?”

This was just a couple of weeks ago and since I have slipped notes under pillows while sugar plums danced in their heads.  But then I remembered this idea. I will admit it isn’t original to me. I have seen the idea of making children’s mailboxes or large envelopes for tucking sweet notes such as these to children eager to receive them.  It’s a small way I can connect with the girls and give them reminders when needed that they are loved. I have found these notes tucked away in their book bags they have taken with them to school.

Anyway, I didn’t follow a pattern because I figured the concept was pretty simple (at least the one in my head) and hopefully you can make sense of it, too! It only took ten minutes to make both of them and to make two only cost one dollar. Cha-ching!

First, I started with two sheets of felt (about 25cents each at Walmart) and I liked the idea of contrasting colors, so I chose two shades of pink.

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First, I started with a sheet and folded it about 3/4 of the way up against itself and sewed along the side edges as indicated here. I also sewed along the bottom just to have a neater bottom edge but it isn’t necessary:

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I then folded my other sheet of felt in half long ways and cut a curvy triangle (with two short flat sides as well, so I guess not entirely a triangle) for the enclosure. I then sewed that along the top of my envelope.I also chose to sew a little lace edging on for some girly detail, but again, not necessary at all.

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I also cut hearts out of the scrap for a “seal”. I told the girls if the seal was on their envelope, then they would know they had mail. Otherwise, I would keep it tucked into their envelope.

I completed this little project by gluing Velcro on the back of the hearts with tacky glue. I used the rougher edged Velcro because it sticks right to the felt without needing to sew it’s counterpart on.

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That’s pretty much it! Pretty simple, meaningful and definitely cheap! My kind of project!

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I just stuck them to the girls’ door with thumb tacks just under the flap.

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And who doesn’t love mail, right?

 

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DIY Bleach Shirt

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I’ve gotta be honest with ya-this is going to be a lazy post. This is a “I-have-been-on-the-stinkin’-computer-and-I’m-ready-for-some-tea-and-chocolate” post. But that’s good for you, because this is the EASIEST PEASIEST tutorial!

For Christmas, the girls usually make Sam something. It’s difficult coming up with something that is cheap, useful and easy to make with a couple of kiddos who have a three minute attention span. I saw bleach shirts on Pinterest. Very cute, but most of them were a little on the girlie side. Sooooooooo, this is what we came up with.

If your husband is anything like mine, I have had to agonizingly sit through Rocky 1-56 a million and one times! Adriaaaaaaaan!! Ah, the crosses we bear!! Needless to say, Sam loves “the Italian Stallion”.

Here are the supplies you will need:

*Clear contact paper

*Spray bottle with bleach (use gloves if you are worried about it getting on your skin)

*Dark plain T

*Hair Dryer

To start, I just Googled images of a stallion and then picked a font I wanted. Then I literally peeled the contact paper and stuck it to the computer screen and traced it onto the paper that way.

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I cut them out and stuck them on the shirt where I wanted them.

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Then I put a piece of cardboard in between the layers of fabric, then we went to work just spraying it with bleach. Be sure your corners are stuck down very well, but other than that, it’s really that simple. To speed the drying process along we used a hair dryer (note the cute little legs of my helper).

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I would recommend doing this is a well ventilated area as well because the fumes from the bleach can get strong.

That’s really all there is to it! And this is the final product. I only wish I had my handsome model to show it off for you!

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As a side note, I’m currently selling this printable in my shop if you have a Rocky fan in your life.  And if you do, I feel for ya!

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24 Days of Christmas: Day Four- Vintage Christmas CD

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I usually try to make myself wait until Thanksgiving Day to start listening to Christmas music. It takes a lot of self-control, which apparently I don’t have because by the second week of November I had made this Christmas CD and have listened to it almost every day since.  Since I love all things vintage as well, I like to call this my “Vintage Christmas List”.

I started by searching for songs by my favorite members of the Rat Pack and also honorary modern-day members like Norah Jones and Micheal Buble. I looked for songs by Burls Ives and Doris Day. I grew up listening to Bing Crosby every Christmas, so he is my absolute favorite when it comes to Christmas songs.

I found them, downloaded them, and burned them to a CD. Pretty complex, right? But I wanted to share my list with you. Oh yeah, I also added “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”, another classic I loved growing up, which my kids love now, too! Every time we get in the van, they request it.

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Christmas Crafts Day 3: DIY Band T-shirt

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So I know this is an odd choice for a Christmas craft, but if you are anything like me, I like to make a lot of my gifts. It makes them more personal and I can often make them cheaper than buying them. Hence, this project.

This is the cover to my brother’s band CD. As of yet, though they have a rockin’ CD, they don’t have any accessories.  So for Christmas, I decided to make my brother a t-shirt to wear to his gigs. Thankfully, though his cover looks complicated, because of it’s haphazard nature I figured if I didn’t get the design exactly duplicated it would still resemble the CD cover moderately.

I confess I am not entirely done with the shirt yet. I wanted to be able to keep up with my “24 day” commitment, but I figured you would get the idea anyway!

So to start, here’s what I used:

*Fabric paints as well as silkscreen paint picked up from any craft store

*Plain t-shirt (I got this one for $3 at Hobby Lobby)

*hair dryer

*Alphabet stencils

*Contact Paper

To start, I cut little strips of contact paper in jagged strips to mimic the pattern on the cover. Like most of my projects, it wasn’t too scientific. I just taped the strips down and painted in between the lines.ImageImage

After I had painted in the lines, I used a hairdryer to dry the paint to make the process go a lot quicker. It took an average of ten minutes to dry between each application when using the dryer.

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Aaaand, that’s about it! I know, I know….super complicated! I just kept doing layer after layer until I got a pattern that looked like the one on the CD cover. I still have yet to stencil the letters on, but this project pretty much took me an hour or two to do. Not too bad! I hope he likes it!

Merry (almost) Christmas!

***DISCLAIMER: If my instructions on anything don’t make sense sometimes, it’s usually because I am being bombarded with a barrage of questions at any given moment; anything from: “what time is dinner” to “MOOOOOM, why doesn’t this Barbie have underwear”

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Making a List of Thankfulness

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If you have followed this blog at all, you know I have been trying desperately to teach my kids an attitude of gratitude in a very entitled world. In the car, I point out all of the beautiful things that God has created. During the day, I try to use the moments when they are complaining to make a list, quick, of at least five things they have to be thankful for.  And, most frequently, I nag them, as all great mothers do, with guilt trips and say things like, “I’m sorry. Did you just say, ‘Wow, Mom! Thank you so much for making this nutritious meal for us because you love us so much,” when they have really said something like, “Ugh. I HATE broccoli.” It feels like an uphill battle most days, but at the end of them, I look back and realize how many times I complained about trivial things that were not going my way.

So I’m always wracking my brain for new ideas of things to do to teach not only my kids, but more importantly myself (because an attitude of gratitude is caught more than taught) how to be thankful for those people and blessings in my life. With Thanksgiving just a week away, I wanted to do a week of thankfulness with my kids, hoping it will become a new tradition in our house.

Now, if your kids are anything like mine, I have found it is much more successful when I “suggest” something, rather than demand it.  So, I was cool. I was sly. I said to the girls, “Hey. Just wanted to let you know about this new thing I was going to try for people I am most thankful for. Do you want to hear about it? You can even do it with me, but, you know…only if you really want to.” I showed them my little jar that I had filled with flutters of paper, all with names of people I am thankful for.  I told them that I was going to pull one out every day between now and Thanksgiving and do something special for that person and include a note that listed the things I loved about them.

Much to my surprise and pleasure, they loved the idea and went about making lists of their own with little prodding from me.  Evie pulled down her class picture off the fridge so she could copy  names of classmates she would like to add to her list, and they sat there for an hour and painstakingly made a list of people they are thankful for. You have to understand, they just started Kindergarten this year, so they can’t spell yet and are just learning their letters. But, they both insisted they write the lists themselves.  PicMonkey Collage

Now, I do need to make a note here, lest you think this was an afternoon of sunshine and roses. I am one of those people who reads other people’s Facebook posts or blogs about the special project they did with their children baking cookies, building snowmen, or crafting turkeys out of Popsicle sticks and picture something akin to a Hallmark commercial and sigh, wondering why my motherly attempts ended in tears rather than hugs.  They did have fun (I….um…it was….hmm…well…). They got distracted by the cat, they fought about who had the class picture, they said things like, “Um..no, Mom. I already wrote Grandma Lynn. I want to write Grandma B,” with as much sass and condescension as any six-year-old can produce. They shoved. They rewrote the letter “G” six times because it looked too much like a “D” and I had to wait “patiently” for ten minutes while they wrote down one name. I just felt the need to clarify that, because I understand that any endeavor like this, especially with children, is never easy and I never want to make something sound easier than it is.

So, having said all of that, we each drew names from our jars. The girls each picked the name of my brother and his wife, which was perfect because we were able to do something for them as a couple. I asked them what they would like to do. Their answers were: “make soup” and “bake cookies”. In the end, we decided on the cookies. So we made them snickerdoodles and a card. In the card the girls listed (with my help this time) all the things they liked about each of them. This was my favorite part of this whole experiment because some of the things they said were too cute such as: you are wild, you run really fast, you are really good at juggling (news to me ;). After the cookies were packaged up, we put them in a box and we are going to send them in the mail today.

I picked my Dad’s name out of the jar, so I am planning to surprise him at work. Despite the frustrations of last night, I am super excited to see whose names we pick today. I will let you know how it goes.

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DIY Easy Picture Frames

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This is one of those posts again that seem a little silly for me to even be giving a tutorial about because these are so ridiculously easy to make, but….well, here we are.

I was shopping for a friend for her wedding shower, and I had this big idea to put together this cute little package of goodies for her to decorate her home with. I started, of course, by stalking her on Pinterest to find out what her style was. Though this might seem a little creepy, it is incredibly effective when trying to pick out the perfect gift for someone.

Anyway, on my quest to finding such aforementioned items, I hunted for cute and affordable picture frames. This friend is super trendy. She always looks like she just stepped out of a magazine, so I wanted to find her something that would fit her style. I did. I found this adorable chevron picture frame that was classy, but still looked a little rough around the edges to give it that shabby chic charm. It was a 4×6 (perfect) and…what?!!! Fifteen dollars!! Have I mentioned before how cheap I am? I could have gotten her the picture frame, but I couldn’t afford to add much else to it. So instead, I grabbed two white frames, $5 each, one a 4×6, the other 8×11. I headed home, got out my Sharpies, only second to Duct Tape in their versatility, and went to work.  My husband so wisely looked at me and said, “You’re doing that freehand?” Yep, was my confident reply.  How hard is it to do a chevron pattern?? Well, apparently for someone like me working at 10 o’clock at night, it’s no small feat.  I hated the way it looked, which was completely uneven and I was sure she wouldn’t like it either. So, my original DIY list looked like this:

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then quickly changed to this:

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Instead of Sharpie, I decided to go with decoupaging instead. I had this darling paper called, “The Sweetest Thing” that I picked up from Micheal’s to wallpaper my girls’ room and thought it would be perfect for this project. So here’s what I used:

*2 white picture frames

*glue (for decoupage-so much cheaper than Mod Podge!)

*scrapbook paper

*foam brush

Okay, so I know this is probably pretty self explanatory, but this is how it was done: I started by taking the glass and backing off to be able to wrap the paper smoothly around the edges.  Then I cut strips of paper the length of each side and then some so it could wrap around the edges and be tucked around the side and glued to the back.  I cut diagonal slits in inside corners of the paper so they could be fold neatly around the inside edges. I started gluing my paper down, edge by edge, then I covered the whole thing with a layer of glue, then let it dry and did another layer. My first attempted side looked like this:

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And here are the final products. Pretty easy, right? All in all these took me about a half hour to make both of them. Not too bad!

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I think she liked ’em.

xo

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Easy Mitten Quilt and Tea Staining Fabric

ImageQuilting as you go is a really popular way to quilt it seems these days, which absolutely thrills my soul! With two businesses to try to keep afloat, two girls to keep after, errands to run, a house to keep in order, murals to finish painting, custom orders to keep up with, youth group activities, church functions, upcoming showers and parties, Christmas presents to be made…..(you get the idea) I am so happy when I see something that helps me to shave off some time on my projects. I have sold my quilts in shops in the past (real storefront stores, not online) so I have to have an inventory of quilts on hand ready to be shipped out. Fall is just around the corner, and Christmas and snow shortly to follow, so lots of stores are already carrying winter items (which is terribly depressing to me, but that is for another day).  Anyway, I came up with this mitten quilt that is an applique quilt-as-you-go quilt that literally took me just a little over three hours to make, start to finish (minus tea staining the fabric). 

Here are the supplies you will need:

* 2 pieces of fabric measuring 48″x36″

*Batting measuring 48″x36″

*Fabric scraps of your choice for the mittens and binding (I found this adorable cotton fabric that looks like it’s knit, but I think using real salvaged sweaters would be cute, too)

*Rickrack

*Fusible webbing

*Thread

*Tea bags (if you intend to tea stain the fabric first)

Pretty simple list, right? 

First, I tea stained the fabric by boiling some water on the stove with a few tea bags, then I turned the stove off and let the fabric soak in it for a good hour, then rinsed and rung it out and hung it out to dry.  Don’t toss the water or bags yet because they will come in handy later.

102_2205After it had dried, I dipped it in the water a few times, then rinsed it out and rung it out really well, the put it in my dryer to really set the stain. DO NOT PUT IT IN WITH OTHER ITEMS!! It will stain other clothes, so I don’t recommend it and you might want to run a rag over the barrel once you are all done with this process. It has never left residue on future cycles for me before, but it probably doesn’t hurt to use this precaution.  You can always hang it up to dry again if you want to.  After it was dry again, I took just the tea bags and would put them in the fabric and squeeze for a very highly concentrated staining.  I have found that it’s always better to make sure the fabric is completely dry when you do this. 

102_2206Then I toss it in the dryer once more for good measure, pull it out and it’s good to go!

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I love anything vintage or antique, so I love this method because it makes your fabrics look “aged” quickly.

Once the fabric was tea-stained, I went to work cutting out mittens. I traced around my own hand for a pattern (very scientific 🙂 ) and then cut out two pairs of mittens out of each of the fabrics and webbing I had, totaling six pairs of mittens. Then, I sandwiched my three layers together (backing, batting and front fabric) and pinned it all together nicely as you would any other quilt.  Then I went about pinning and ironing the mittens in place. This part was fun to me, because I liked putting them around a little haphazardly like mittens strewn about after a morning sled riding and building snowman, discarded in the haste of warming hands on a mug of hot chocolate.  

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After I had the mittens where I wanted them, I pinned on some matching red and green rickrack to connect four out of my six pairs of mittens. I love rickrack! It adds a vintage touch to any project.

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*Note: I know one if dark brown and not red, but I was going to use the brown until I found I had some red after I took this picture. 

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Starting from the middle of the quilt outward, I went about quilting the three layers using a free-motion stitch, and sewing around each of the mittens and across the rickrack. 

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Once it was completely quilted (which took only about an hour total time) I cut out 1/2″ strips for the binding from different fabrics, just to keep things interesting. 

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Last but not least I attached the binding by machine. I know, I know…..that’s the lazy method. But, doing it this way is the difference between 30 minutes and three hours. So, I will take the easy method, please.

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Aaaaaaand (drum roll please) there you have it! A cozy quilt for the upcoming winter chill.

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Now all that is missing is a hot cup of cocoa, a crackling fire, Dean Martin singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside”, and snow sticking to the window outside. 

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Personalized Plates

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Due to the fact that I already wrote this post and it erased it on me, I will make this brief. I made these for my nieces after these adorable plates I saw on Pinterest, but they are $25 apiece, so I decided to make my own version of them with plates from the Dollar Tree and oil-based Sharpies.

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Supplies:

1.Rubbing alcohol (to clean off surface of plate before you begin to ensure the paint bonds thoroughly)

2.Oil based permanent marker(available at any craft store)

3. Blank plate

As a lot of my tutorials are, this is pretty self-explanatory. I started out by sketching my design onto the plate and then filled it in with marker. It took me all of 20 minutes to do both plates.  I tried to match the hair/eyes to what my nieces’ look like as far as style and color and purposely did not color the hair in thoroughly to give it that “sketchy” look. I popped them in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes (put the plate in while the oven is heating up and remove it after it has cooled off to prevent cracking) and voila!

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Simple, cheap, cute. One Christmas present down.