Guest Post:: DIY’d Framed Chalkboard

Well, I’m officially moved in, but I still have A LOT of unpacking to do. So, I have one more guest post for you guys before I return later in the week. This time I have the fabulous Pamela from PB&J; stories to show us a fun diy project. Let’s take a look, shall we?
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My name is Pamela, of PB&Jstories.com;where I write about DIY projects, tutorials even some craft fails and once in a while some goodies about family, love and laughter.  Thank you to Megan for having me here today to guest post!

So let’s get to it, and this past weekend I made a …
DIY’d Framed Chalkboard

An easy way to build a framed chalkboard that’s mounted to the wall.

The chalkboard easy essentials:
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Our walls are a textured knockdown so directly taping off the size chalkboard I wanted and just painting on the wall would have been easiesthowever with the textured walls, it’s less than ideal for a smooth chalkboard surface.  So off to Lowe’s I went and picked up a piece of birch plywood.  It was 24”x48”x1/4th”.

First I primed the board and let that dry.  I used my favorite primer as I was using it on a second project I was working on simultaneously, for a chalkboard project you don’t need this high-end of a primer, almost any will do.

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Once that was dry I did three layers of Chalkboard paint to ensure a good solid coverage.  Directions say that you should allow 24 hours before applying a second coat.  In true DIY sense, I rarely follow directions.  Kidding I usually always do, but I knew that I could recoat before waiting 24 hours… and just be sure to then wait an actual 24 hours after you’ve painted your last coat before you start drawing masterpieces on it.

{Somehow didn’t snap a picture of the painting with the chalkboard step}.
I just applied even coats to ensure full coverage and let it dry for about an hour in between coats.

Once that dries you’re done with the Chalkboard part.

Next step: The Frame.

Since I didn’t conveniently have a large frame laying around to go around the chalkboard, I made my own and it’s actually quite easy!  I wanted to make a frame that I didn’t permanently attach to the chalkboard so if I ever wanted to use it for something else I was able too, or when we move in a few years we’ll be able to take the whole set up with us.  I started off with 2 pieces of molding and grabbed my miter box & saw.  If you don’t have one of these, they’re fairly cheap at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot & are just nice to have around for projects.

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Just by measuring the top and width of the chalkboard piece, I measured out on the molding and then cut the angles at 45 degree ensuring I was cutting the right angles so each corner meets up to make a perfect 90 degrees.

First I glued each piece together being sure that each 45 degree angle met up to form a nice precise corner.

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Not sure if it was the heat that day, or life just likes to challenge me but the glue was not stronger than wood like it typically acts as, so I used “L” brackets and attached them at each corner to make the frame more stable.

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I let the entire frame dry for about two hours before handling to be sure it had a strong build.

Then I just directly screwed the chalkboard to the spot on the wall I wanted it to hang.  I ended up doing a total of 6 screws, in each corner and then midway down the sides of it so it would lay completely flat to the wall.

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Next, I could have glued the frame directly to the chalkboard, but as I mentioned I didn’t want it to permanently to be on it.

I used Velco to attach the frame to the chalkboard, and picked up the industrial strength kind to be sure it would have a tight hold onto it and never fall off by accident.

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I cut the two pieces into four equal pieces.

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Then I adhered one piece directly to the chalkboard, and one to the frame.

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TIP: The easiest way I found to be sure the two pieces of Velcro match up is to lightly have the pieces attached to each other and then press the frame up to the chalkboard.  The sticky back of the Velcro then sticks to the chalkboard and will be perfectly aligned with the frame.

THAT’S IT!
Now my son has a brand new over sized chalkboard for his room and he can let his creativity run wild Smile

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My favorite part? It’s all portable so it’ll be a piece we can take with us if we need to move and don’t have to worry about priming over the chalkboard when we move out.
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What a fun project! I’m loving all things chalkboard and love the idea of making your own, especially one you can transport if you move. ;)

Thanks so much Pamela for guest posting and sharing this tutorial.
You can follow Pamela daily on her blog or on Twitter & Facebook.

I’ll be sharing some exciting news later in the week, so stay tuned!

Happy Monday!

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Guest Post:: Spring Table

I don’t know about where you are, but the weather here lately has been awesome! Definitely feels like Spring is here {and hopefully to stay} :)

Today, I have Debbie from ReFresh ReStyleto share a little Springtime project with us, how to spruce up our tables for Spring with fresh flowers. The floor is yours, Debbie!
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Here’s what you’ll need:

When I saw these cuties at Wal-Mart, I just had to have them.

Before I plant them in the yard, I thought I’d play around with them.

I love fresh flowers on the table. It’s a bonus buy, when I can plant them after I decorate with them.

I used peat pots, lined with sandwich bags. I want to be able to use the pots again.

Megan, Thanks for having me over! I hope you’ll come visit me anytime :)

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Thanks so much Debbie for showing us how to spruce things up for Spring.

Debbie and I both will be attending the Haven 2012 Conference in June. I can’t wait to meet her and some of my other new bloggy ‘friends’ in person! You can follow Debbie on Twitter and Facebook, or daily on her blog.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! The movers will be here bright and early. Can’t wait to officially be all moved in to the new place!


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Guest Post:: How To Make a Blog Button

Today I have the fabulous Erin from How To Nest For Less guest posting for me. She’s here to teach us a few things about Photoshop. Get ready to learn!

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Photoshop Tips & Tricks: How to Make a Blog Button {Using Stock Images}

As most of you know, Picnik will soon be going away and a lot of bloggers are left in the dark when it comes to adjusting their photos and creating new blog buttons. I’ve always been an avid user of Photoshop and currently have a series sharing some of my favorite Tips & Trickson my blog.

Well, when Megan asked me to guest post on her site, I thought this was the perfect chance give a quick tutorial on how to make creative blog buttons using Photoshop and stock photos… perfect for beginners. So let’s get going!

First thing you want to do is find your design elements. Since I’m guessing most of you aren’t graphic designers or illustrators, you’ll need a little help with this part! One of my favorite sites to purchase stock photos, illustrations and vector artwork is BigStockPhoto.com.

You can purchase web-sized JPGs from as little as $2.99. Yes, you can sometimes find little illustrations online that you can grab off Google, but some of those images are copyrighted. Play it safe and purchase your clip art or illustrations. Plus anything you purchase for a blog button can also be used for your website header or Facebook timeline cover! Just note that any item you purchase from BigStockPhoto.com cannot be redistributed. It is for personal use only.For the first blog button I found this little pink polka dot background (which you could easily create yourself) and a little blue birdie.First thing you’re going to do is size your downloaded photo. I suggest starting with a 300 pixel square. Most websites and bloggers use 125×125 pixel buttons, but I find it better to create the file larger and scale down as needed.You can either create a new document at 300×300 pixels and drag your downloaded background to the new document and transform it to fit (Image > Free Transform), or you can crop the downloaded image to size (I chose the latter for this exercise).I set the width and height in the Options Bar to 300 pixels each (see above screenshot) and cropped the image.

Create a new layer on top of the background image. Use the circle marquee tool to draw a circle and fill it with white (Edit > Fill). Add a drop shadow if preferred.

If your icon (like my birdie) has a plain white background you can use the Magic Eraser to isolate the bird. Just click in the white area with the tool and it magically disappears! Now you can drag the bird onto the new button and create a layered effect.

Next let’s add some text! Use the type tool to create your text, change the font, and choose your colors. Position it into place.

Go ahead and save the layered file as a PSD to you can make any changes in the future.To make the JPG version, go to Layer > Flatten Image.


NOW WE MUST CHANGE THE IMAGE SIZE TO 125X125 PIXELS.
Go to Image > Image Size.

Change the pixel with at the top to 125 (the height should automatically change with it).

Now you can SAVE ASa JPEG by going to File > Save As. Change the format to JPEG and click SAVE.

TADA! YOU HAVE A BLOG BUTTON!
{aint’ she cute?}
If I didn’t overload you too much already,
wanna see one more quick thing?
 

For this next blog button I decided to download this fancy background with several tags. It had everything I was looking for… clean space to type my information, a little birdie for “How to NEST for Less” and some little clothes buttons (for this blog BUTTON!). OK, it’s not always that easy to find something so perfect, but it does happen!


I downloaded the small version and saved it to my desktop.

Now I don’t need all of this. I only want the bottom right hand corner so I’m going to crop out the rest.Use your crop tool and set the parameters in your Options Bar to 300×300 pixels. Again, I do this size first because it’s easier to see the details when I’m creating these elements and I can always make the image smaller… you can NEVER make an image bigger (it will get pixelated and blurry!).

Once you have the image cropped, you can add your text (I rotated mine a bit with the Transform tool or Control/Apple T).

And that’s it!
Looks like a professionally designed button in a matter of minutes!

BigStockPhoto.com has a bunch of elaborate, predesigned scrapbook-like elements available for download. This is make your design effort SUPER SIMPLE! Just plop on the text and you’re done! Here are some quick samples of some adorable backgrounds…

One last thing… If you want a grab box with the code for your new blog button, check out these tutorials:

The Cool Realm Code Generator
Between Naps on the Porch
Live. Laugh. Rowe.

Thanks Megan for having me over for the day! I hope I didn’t confuse too many people! Feel free to email me with any questions, or visit How to Nest for Less for more Photoshop Tips & Tricks!

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Thanks so much Erin for teaching us how to make our own blog buttons! Definitely plan to use these tips in the near future.


You can follow Erin daily on her blog, How To Nest For Less or on Twitter and Facebook!

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Guest Post:: Free St. Patrick’s Day Printable

I’m spending the week packing and moving over to the new place and will be taking a break from the blog for a short bit until I get settled. But, until then, I’ve got some fabulous ladies lined up to guest post for me in my absence.I’m delighted to have Holly from My Sister’s Suitcase over today to kick things off. Take it away Holly!

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Hi! I’m Holly from My Sister’s Suitcase, and I’m super excited to be Megan’s guest today. Thanks for having me!

As we get closer to the 17th, I am a little bit envious of all of you out there with Irish heritage. I love the cute “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons, shirts, and printables that seem to be everywhere this time of year. But what about those of us who don’t happen to beIrish? Well, today I’m sharing a cute little printable for the rest of us. We deserve some action on St. Patrick’s Day too!

This file {above} is sized to an 8×10, so you can just click on it and save it in it’s original size if you’d like to print it out and put it in a frame. Or, if you want to give your sweetheart a little treat this weekend, print out one of the tags and attach it to his/her favorite gum, mints, or green candy. Here’s what I’m giving mine:

Here is the pdf of the tags: {Kiss Me Not Irish tags}

You can also check out our St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast printables here. We have a cute invitation and fun food labels to help you to throw a “Top O’ the Mornin”  Pancake Party for your friends & family this weekend! Have a great week {and don’t forget to wear green on Saturday!}

To see some of our most popular projects, check out what’s in My Sister’s Suitcase today :)

Thanks Megan!
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This printable is so adorable! Makes me wish I was Irish too ;)


Be sure to ‘Like’ them on Facebook to stay up to date on their latest adventures!


Happy Monday!

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Gold Themed Dessert Table

Well, I have one final post from the gold set design. I promise, no more gold after this for a while :)

This time I wanted to show you more pictures and details from the dessert table.

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Here’s a full shot of the dessert table again.

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I wanted to continue the gold theme with the food and table decorations. We thought it would be fun to do cake pops. I wanted to display them in a fun way though.

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I bought a couple different sized trays from Party City and filled them with gold and white candy.  I thought it would be fun to lay some of the cake pops on top of the candy.

This tray was filled with M&Ms; and sixlets {in the picture they look orange, but they were actually called ‘gold’ on the package I promise}.

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These were chocolate covered almonds.

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For the rest of the cake pops, I bought vases and filled them with that shredded gift bag filler. I contemplated putting floral foam in the vases, but didn’t think that would end up looking pretty. The filler was stiff enough to hold the cake pops and looked cuter in my opinion. :) I attempted to spray paint the filler with gold glitter, but had some issues with the spray paint I bought. Halfway through spraying, the can quit working. So to add a bit of ‘bling’ to the vases, I used scraps leftover from the metallic poms and sprinkled it in with the filler.

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Nashville Cake Pops supplied us with the treats. They were sooo good! And they were able to do some with a gold metallic spray and then some with gold sprinkles. So fun!

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Here was the finished product with the cake pops on display.
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For the vases, I also added some gold glitter ribbon and taped it around the vase. Just to jazz them up a bit more.

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Did you notice the poms on the table too? I made a few extra to add to the table to tie everything in.

I loved getting to do something different and out of the norm when it came to the food {and it didn’t hurt that yummy cake pops were involved either} ;) And everyone seemed to enjoy it, which is the most important part.

And drumroll please..the lucky winner of the silhouette notecards and gift tagsis::

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Dee!
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Congratulations Dee! I’ll be sending you an email for you to claim your prize :)

This weekend continues the packing saga. I feel like I’ve barely made a dent, so it’s time to get serious. Aside, from packing, I also have to paint my new room, yay! I’ve picked a color and I can’t wait to see it up on the walls.

Since I’ll be busy next week packing and moving, I’ve asked some talented bloggers to guest post for me over the next week or so. Just until I can get a bit settled :)

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

 

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