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DIY Canvas Photos Project

February 2, 2012

I am not by nature a creative person and when I discovered Pinterest several months ago, I was in awe of all the wonderfully creative moms that are out there.  I have pinned over 700 things now but one of the first things I found was a DIY photo canvas.  I’ve been wanting to do a photo canvas for quite a while but never wanted to plunk down $50+ for an 8×10 so I loved the idea of being able to do it on my own.

As per my normal though, I can’t just try something on a small scale–I decided to do 20 of these canvas photos to form a gallery of family snapshots.  The whole project took quite a while, but mostly that was due to an unforeseen delay that I’ll tell you about soon.  I will say, that for a non-artistic, non-crafty person like myself, this project was simple to complete and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

So how did I do it?  Well let me walk you through step by step:

1.  Gather your materials–canvas in the desired size, photo in the same size, ModPodge, square tool, trimming tool, acrylic craft paint and coordinating scrapbook paper (not shown).  I would highly recommend a matte finish for your ModPodge (mine was satin finish and has a bit too much glare when viewed in bright light.  I would also recommend measuring your canvas before sizing and printing your photo(s).  I assumed that 6×6 canvas was truly 6×6–it is better for the photo to be a tiny bit smaller than the actual canvas for the best results.

2.  Trim your scrapbook paper to fit each of the 4 sides of your canvas.  You can skip this step if you are planning to paint the edges instead of using paper.  Because my canvas was a 1 1/2 deep I decided to use paper and trim with paint.  To be honest I trusted myself more with scissors than paint–less room for error.  Next trim your photo (again to be a fraction smaller than the actual canvas size).  ModPodge the paper one first and then the photo itself.  Set aside and let dry.
3.  Once dry, which really doesn’t take too long you are ready to coat the entire canvas.  I’ll be honest–it’s a bit scary putting ModPodge over the top of your precious photos especially because it’s milky white going on, but everything I read assured me that the end product would look great.  For my project I decided to do 2 coats of ModPodge although I’m certain that one coat would be just fine.
4.  The final step it to finish the edges with coordinating acrylic paint.  I used a circular shaped sponge applicator to blot the paint around the corners and edges of the paper and the photograph to cover the white canvas showing through.

Initially. I purchased 2 packs of 6×6 canvas (4 in each) to make sure I could get the desired results before buying all 20.  Unfortunately, Michael’s ran out of the 6×6 canvas before I could purchase the remaining 12 and continued to be out of stock for over 6 weeks.  I checked back at least a half a dozen times, checked another store on the other side of town, checked at Hobby Lobby–no one had them!  When I had nearly given up hope and was about to purchase them online for 3x the price, they finally got them in my local store and I purchased the remaining 12.  I was able to complete the project in the evenings over the next couple of days.  I would estimate in all that the whole thing took between 12-15 hours of time–so was it worth it?  Let’s do the math!

  • 20 – 6×6 canvas @ $14.99 per 4pk = $74.95
  • 2 bottles (8oz) of ModPodge @ $4.99 each = $9.98
  • 5 Sheets of Scrapbook Paper @ .99 each = $4.95
  • 20 6×6 Photos printed @ 1.29 each = $25.80
  • 1 bottle of Acrylic paint @ $2.99 each = $2.99

Total Project Cost = $118.67 – That’s less than $6 per canvas!!!

For me, it was definitely worth the time and effort! – I absolutely LOVE how it looks in my living room & I would have never spent retail price for the same gallery.  Let me know if you decide to do your own DIY photo canvas (whether it’s 1 or 20) and share your results–I’d love to see your creations!


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My Newest Journey of Self Discovery

January 18, 2012

Book coverLast week I embarked on a new journey to embrace who I am as a mother, wife and child of God.  I joined a group at our church called “Ministry of Moms Sharing” or MOMS for short.  It’s a nine week journey with weekly sessions and I am already so excited that I finally decided to do this.  It’s been something I’ve felt inclined to do for a while, but something always seemed to “get in the way”.  Honestly, I think that God knew that this was exactly the perfect time for me to begin this journey.  I shared in one of my previous posts, The Power of Girl Timethat I had lost contact with my closest friend and how important it is to have strong, like-minded women that you can connect with.

I consider myself to be an emotionally strong person, back in early December, I had a pretty low moment where I was feeling very much alone and isolated.  A friend of mine from church had reached out to me via Facebook the day before and invited me to be part of this ministry and it seemed that she really understood how I was feeling at that very moment.  I made the decision to attend and I am so happy that I did.

Last week was an introduction to the journey so tonight was our first real session.  As part of the preparation, we were asked to read and journal on the topic of self-esteem and self-acceptance.  This topic was incredibly difficult for me, especially considering that I’m not an overly emotional or reflective person by nature.  I literally spent a hour and a half reading just 17 pages and then writing about some of my most inner thoughts.  The first portion was sort of a self discovery of who I am and how I became who I am today.  It was really interesting to look back on my childhood and the process of becoming an adult and how that has shaped me into my current self.

The most interesting to me, was a section where I was asked to write about an important choice that I have made which has impacted my self-esteem.  This one was fairly easy for me to identify but requires a bit of background for those of you that don’t know me well (which may be many).  Growing up, I always struggled with self-esteem, especially throughout high school.  I was never part of the “popular” crowd.  Although I had a few close friends, to most I was nerdy and weird–an outsider.  I was not outgoing or pretty and I have always been the kind to “walk the straight and narrow”.

My second year of college, I met my now husband Andrew, and immediately fell in love with his brilliant intellect, caring nature and incredible work ethic.  We really made (and still make) a perfect pair.  We started dating in the spring of 1994 and I took him to meet my parents over the 4th of July weekend that year.  We drove back to school that evening and I remember very distinctly the phone call from my dad voicing his absolute disapproval of Andrew.  You see Andrew is bi-racial (black/white) and my dad, though I never felt to be racist, did not want his daughter dating a “black man”.  That evening, I stood up to my dad (for probably the first time in my life) because I knew that Andrew made me happy.

That was truly a defining event in my life.  I decided, at that moment, that I had to make decisions for my own well-being without regard to how others would view me, even my own family.  For the next 3 1/2 years, my relationship with Andrew was not discussed.  Part of that time, after graduating, I was living in my parents house while Andrew was attending grad school in Missouri.  I was not even allowed to use my parents phone to call him (that was before cell phones).  I would travel to visit my friend in nearby Lawrence just to spend time with Andrew when he would come into town.  It was extremely difficult and without a very close group of friends to confide in and re-affirm my choices, I’m not sure I would have persisted.

Just so you know, my family did come around and now they adore Andrew as much as I do. That moment, however, will forever be etched in my being as the moment I became “ME”.  I can honestly say that it was likely the best thing that my parents could have done to make me the strong, confident person I am today.  My purpose in telling this very personal story, is only to share how my experiences have shaped who I am and who I am becoming and to encourage you to take some time and reflect also.  I leave you with this very powerful psalm from Psalms of a Laywoman by Edwina Gately, VMM.

Called to Become

You are called to become
A perfect creation.
No one is called to become
Who you are called to be.
It does not matter
How short or tall
Or thick-set or slow
You may be.
It does not matter
Whether you sparkle with life
Or are silent as a still pool,
Whether you sing your song aloud
Or weep alone in darkness.
It does not matter
Whether you feel loved and admired
On unloved and alone
For you are called to become
A perfect creation.
No one’s shadow
Should cloud your becoming,
No one’s light
Should dispel your spark.
For the Lord delights in you
And encourages with gentle joy
Every movement of the Spirit
Within you.
Unique and loved you stand,
Beautiful or stunted in your growth
But never without hope and life.
For you are called to become
A perfect creation.
This becoming may be
Gentle or harsh,
Subtle or violent,
But it never ceases,
Never pauses or hesitates,
Only is –
Creative force –
Calling you
Calling you to become
A perfect creation.

Enjoy your journey and recognize that you are “a perfect creation”!

 

The Power of Girl Time

January 3, 2012

It has been over a year since my closest friend and I stopped talking.  The reasons for why are not entirely clear to me and I won’t bore you with the details of what happened to our relationship.  All I know, is that there is something wholly therapeutic about spending time with like-minded women.  I have a great group of female colleagues and several moms from church that I would consider friends, but no one that I really connect with.  There have been several times this past year when I have needed a little “girlfriend” time.

This past weekend, my beautiful and talented sister got the opportunity to hitch a ride with one of her friends who was traveling to Indy.  She is the wonderfully gifted artist behind FookaDesigns as well as a lover of nature and animals.  Unfortunately, because we live so far away and can’t really chat on the phone due to her hearing loss from Meniere’s disease we just don’t get to connect very often.  While she was here, we did a bit of shopping, had brunch on Saturday (when our scheduled photography class was cancelled) but mostly we just chatted.  Even though we lead very different lives–our challenges, victories, heartaches and joys are universal.  I truly wish that we could spend more time together–she is such a genuine person and I would be a better person if I could be more like her.

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.  ~Author Unknown

I only hope that she enjoyed the visit as much as I did.  Love you to pieces sis!

6 Day Challenge!

December 22, 2011

Eating healthy is so hard.  I seem to go in cycles where I tend to be very disciplined, but then something will come up (birthday, holiday, etc) and I get de-railed.

Within the past few years I’ve tried many things–counting calories, watching fat intake, paleo and juicing.  By far the easiest to reasonably maintain is paleo.  And I’ve got to tell you that, while it’s still tough, I feel the best when I eat that way which to me is the best indicator that it’s working.  You see I don’t see myself as overweight at all–just not as healthy as I want to be and of course we all have our “problem areas” right?

As for most people, mid-November through the end of the year tends to be extremely challenging for me to eat healthy.  In fact, I had pretty much given myself permission to just eat whatever and start over in January.  The only problem is that I started to feel like crud.  One evening after making Christmas goodies with the kids (and eating a few) I just felt awful.  Plus, my clothes were already fitting tight and it wasn’t even mid December yet.

So on Sunday this week I decided to do something about it–a six day cleanse.  Fruits and veggies only for 4 days then 2 days of juice only.  I would have done 3 & 3 but we had a team lunch and I couldn’t bear to watch everyone eat delicious italian food and drink juice–so I had a salad (with a tiny bit of olive oil & vinegar for dressing).  Today is my first juice only day and we’ll see how it goes–wish me luck and mostly discipline!

By the way, I am going to enjoy my Christmas holiday with all the normal yummies, but I’m committed to doing another cleanse in January and start the year off right!

Merry Christmas and a Healthy 2012 for you and your loved ones!

 

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey – Fully Charged: A Review

December 4, 2011

This is the first year that we attended the circus on opening night–it was my husband and I, our 7 year twins, their 7 year neighbor friend plus our 4 year old so we had a big crew.  We had told each of the kids that they could get one snack each and of course they wanted them right when we got there–when the lines are crazy long so I missed the first couple of minutes of the show getting popcorn.

It started off with the juggling acts directly in front of us.  I’m always amazed at what these performers can do and the number of disks/pins that they can keep in the air.  Next, was the equestrian acts and I have to say I wasn’t overly impressed with this portion.   The horses directly in front of us didn’t seem to be cooperating with their trainer (they must be 7 year olds–LOL!)  The rest of the performances were absolutely amazing and did not disappoint!

Twin Turbines of StellThe tightrope act was one of my favorites–the way they balance is truly awesome to watch!  Our neighbor was really enjoying all the clown acts and I’ve got to say they are fun to watch for kids and adults alike.  My husband’s favorite was the spinning pendulums–I think the official name is the “Twin Turbines of Steel”.

After intermission, the tiger act sure kept me on my toes–I don’t know if it’s part of the act but there were a few times when the tigers roared and seemed to be rebelling.  My biggest fear would be to see those tigers attack the trainer during the performance–I don’t think I could ever recover from watching something like that and would hate to think how it might affect my kids.

I didn’t know it at the time, as my husband and I were separated by 4 kids, but my little guy was done by this time.  It was of course bedtime and even the fun of the circus can’t keep a tired four year old from getting crabby.  The evening ended with some amazing gymnastics that my daughter was entranced with being a budding gymnast herself.  The number of flips these guys could do in a row was incredible.  The human cannon added an extra element to the act when they set the guy on fire before launching him into the air.

Human Cannon

Overall, it was a fantastic experience–the kids really had a good time and so did the adults.  I do think that choosing a time that didn’t extend past bedtime would be a better option for the younger ones.  If you have a chance to go I would definitely recommend it!

This year I am excited to be participating as a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events.  Even though I receive these benefits, I will always give an opinion that is 100% my own.

Welcome to THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!

November 27, 2011

1920 Poster

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CHILDREN OF ALL AGES! WELCOME TO THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!

With our annual family tradition of attending the circus, I started thinking about my recent getaway with Andrew where we visited the Cincinnati Art Museum.  They had an exhibit showcasing the history of the circus poster.   It was very intriguing to see the evolution of the posters and the featured acts on each.  I think the two of us must have spent a couple of hours walking through reading the history and admiring the various posters they had on display.

I was especially fascinated by the stories of how the different shows would eventually merge like when  P.T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey formed their partnership in 1881 and then a year after Bailey’s death in 1906 the Ringling Bros acquired Barnum & Bailey.  Later, in 1919, they combined their shows under the current branding of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (see the poster at the right).

If you a bit weird like me and you’re interested in learning more, there’s a great resource Circopedia where you can learn about the history of the circus starting in the 1700’s.  If not, you can just make your way to the show this week and experience the circus in it’s modern glory.

The show runs from December 1-4 at Conseco Fieldhouse and here is the full schedule of performances:

            • Thu, Dec 1 at 10:30AM & 7:00PM
            • Fri, Dec 2 at 7:00PM
            • Sat, Dec 3 at 11:00AM, 3:00PM & 7:00PM
            • Sun, Dec 4 at 1:00PM & 5:00PM

Need an extra incentive?  Save $4 on each ticket when purchasing through Ticketmaster with the code: 11MOMFC.  The discount is valid for any Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey performance (Offer not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row, or VIP Tickets).

This year I am excited to be participating as a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events.  Even though I receive these benefits, I will always give an opinion that is 100% my own.

Family Traditions

November 20, 2011

Fully Charged Logo

I just love creating family traditions, and one of my favorites is attending “The Greatest Show on Earth” each fall.  In fact, my youngest son attended his first Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show when he was just days old.  This year Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Fully Charged and it looks to be a show with tons of high-voltage fun.   This year we are lucky enough to be attending the opening night on December 1st.  The show runs from December 1-4 at Conseco Fieldhouse and here is the full schedule of performances:

Fully Charged Coloring Contest

            • Thu, Dec 1 at 10:30AM & 7:00PM
            • Fri, Dec 2 at 7:00PM
            • Sat, Dec 3 at 11:00AM, 3:00PM & 7:00PM
            • Sun, Dec 4 at 1:00PM & 5:00PM

If you and your family would like to check out the show this year, I have access to A SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER!  There is a great coloring page for the kids too – Print the coloring page here.

Save $4 on the performance of your choice by logging onto http://www.ticketmaster.com and use the code: 11MOMFC in the “Advance or Promotion Ticket Selection”.  The discount is valid for any Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey performance (Offer not valid on Circus Celebrity, Front Row, or VIP Tickets).

This year I am excited to be participating as a Feld Family Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events.  Even though I receive these benefits, I will always give an opinion that is 100% my own.