'In a Family Love is Spelled T-I-M-E' Quote Plate

We finally got a few glimpses of sunshine yesterday (Yay!), so I hurried and took a few pictures of the little 'Valentine's plate' that I made to set in my living room.

It was inspired by a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf who said:  "In Family Relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e.  Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home." (Of Things that Matter Most)  and from  this short inspirational video (5 min.):  To A Child Love is Really Spelled T-I-M-E.

I wish that I could have bought a whole stack of these plates for gifts, but sadly there was only one left at Ross ($2.49) so I guess I'll just have to be happy that I got the last one.  It measures 8" square and  has the cutest little hearts in the 'lace' edging.  The stand is from a dollar store, I bought a bunch of them a few years ago, so the total cost of the project was $3.49 + vinyl that I already had and of course tax.

One of the features on the Silhouette (cutting machine) that I love to use is the tracing feature.  I can make up a design in Microsoft Publisher, save it as an image, and then open it with the silhouette software to trace around and cut out in vinyl.

This is the first time that I've tried using clear contact paper to apply the vinyl instead of transfer paper and it worked so well!  I first found out about this tip at Occasionally Crafty.  Because the contact paper is clear it's much easier to center the vinyl when you set it down in place--so much easier!  It costs less than transfer paper too.

How to Use Clear Contact Paper to Transfer Vinyl

(Image Top Left) Peel back one corner of a piece of contact paper, line it up, and stick it down on top of the vinyl.  Slowly peel off the rest of the backing.  Rub over it with your fingers or a credit card to ensure the vinyl will stick to the contact paper.  (Image Top Right) Carefully peel off the paper on the back of the vinyl.  This is a view of the sticky side of the paper.  (Image Below) Flip the contact paper over and stick the vinyl to the plate.  Rub over it so the vinyl is smooth without any air bubbles.  Gently pull back the contact paper.  You might need to use your fingernail in a few places to help the vinyl detach from the contact paper.

I wanted the birds to be the focal point so I cut them out in red vinyl and placed it over top of the black vinyl, this way if I want a change from the red I can just peel it back off--I think.

If you'd like to make one with the Silhouette and tracing feature you are welcome to use this image.  Leave me a comment (and a link to your project) if you do, it will be fun to see how it is used!  The bird clip art is from SweetClipart.com.  

(Do not sell this image or use on any items for sale.  Please do not post this image on your website.)

I've made up printable's for the quote as well for those of you who don't have access to a vinyl cutter or would rather print it (to Mod Podge onto a block or to place in a frame) and will be sharing them soon! 

Updated:  Click here for the prints, available in five colors.

Today's Fabulous Find...
Using Clear Contact Paper to Transfer Vinyl

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Past Valentine's Projects you might be interested in:

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How to Search for an Image (and It's Source) via Google Images

Every time I search for an image via Google Images I think to myself, "I need to post this as a 'fabulous find' for anyone who hasn't discovered it yet", so today's the day!

I'm sure that this has happened to everyone at one time or another: You see an image that you LOVE on Pinterest and then when you click on the link it doesn't take you to the actual post about the image.  Or, maybe you see an image on another blog and there isn't a source listed and you really want to learn more about it.

Also, let's say that you write a blog and you're curious about who is using your images.  Are they linking back?  Are they using them as their own?  What are they saying about them?  This last question can be a tough one.  I ran a search for an image from one of my blog posts a few months ago just to see what would come up and to say that I wasn't prepared for what I would find would be an understatement.  When I clicked on the link to my image I discovered that another blogger had taken one of my posts including all of the images and wrote the most horrid things about them, using profanity throughout the post.  While I understand that by sharing my projects online I open myself up to criticism, it was a hard read, I'll tell you that, and I'm sure one of the meanest posts I've ever read.  It hurt to read through it, not because she didn't like my projects, I really didn't care about that, but because the whole post was so extremely negative and hateful.  So my point is, while Google Images can be a helpful tool, if you search for your own images be prepared for what you might find, there might be some surprises, and not the good kind.

If you have posted pictures of your children online, even on a family blog, searching for the image can also show you if, how, and where these images may be posted.  I've read about several instances where pictures of children were taken and altered with added text or were posted on less than desirable sites so it's nice to have a way to check for that.

So how do you search for an image?  It's really simple.  You start here at Google Images.

First click on the camera icon on the right in the search box.  I'm searching for this image of my Crepe Paper Flowers so I will need the image URL to paste into the search box.  (There is also options to drag and drop, upload an image from your computer, and download a Chrome extension. Click here for more information.)

To do this right click on the image in the post you are searching for and select 'copy image url'.  Paste it into the box and click on the blue 'search by image' box.

You'll see something similar to this; the image you searched for, a list of 'best guesses for this image', 'visually similar images', and 'posts that include matching images'.

You might find yourself searching through a bunch of Pinterest links, but I've found that generally the link to the original source is on or close to the first page.  If it doesn't show up, it's possible that the image you are searching for has been saved with a new name and has a new URL.  This is where the 'visually similar images' section comes in handy.

I've searched Google Images ever since I found out about it last year and have had pretty good luck finding the source I'm looking for.  Let me know if you have any luck with your searches!

Today's Fabulous Find...Searching Via Google Images

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Rustic-Elegant Winter Wedding Centerpieces

My youngest sister got engaged in October and asked if I'd like to put together the centerpieces for their December wedding receptions, one to be held in a community dance hall with a live band and the other, a more formal setting, in a church hall.  Of course I was thrilled that she asked me!

The goal was to put together a centerpiece that would work for both receptions, was Winter-y (yet warm), rustic (for the groom) yet elegant (for the bride), and coordinated with the wedding colors which were blue, white, silver, and brown.

(I gathered several inspiration pictures for the centerpieces, but my favorite, and the one that I followed the most closely, was a beautiful Christmas Tablescape at Beechtree Photography.) 

I mixed old and new items to keep the cost of each Centerpiece under $20. 

I would have liked to use real candles in the centerpieces but open flames were not allowed in either of the reception locations so battery operated candles were used instead.  Each centerpiece had two 3 1/2" tall candles (purchased at Dollar tree for $1 each) and one 6" tall candle (purchased at a local craft store on clearance for $4 each).

The silver berries came on a garland with ten sprigs each.  I bought them at JoAnn's (40% off) for $3.99.

The freshly cut evergreens came from the shrubs in my parents yard.  My dad pruned more clippings than I needed so I'd have plenty to choose from.  I used handheld pruners to cut them to the sizes that I needed at the time I put the centerpieces together.  It doesn't sound very glamorous that they were shrubs, but it was convenient and they didn't cost a penny.

I've talked about my Grandma's cute little pine cones before, I used some of the pine cones that I gathered from her yard.   We also used several larger branch clippings from her trees to set around the frames on the photo table.

One bunch of flowers ($6) was enough for all eleven centerpieces.  

The 16" silver tray on the bottom left is a lightweight plastic serving tray from Dollar Tree and the 12" plastic platter on the right was .99 at Wal-mart.  I was a little nervous to use them because I was worried that they would look cheap.  I actually considered using silver metal pizza pans (which surprisingly looked quite nice) but in the end opted to just save the money.  Once the plastic trays were filled with the logs, evergreens, and flowers I think they worked out just fine.

I put together eight centerpieces for the tables and three centerpieces with larger vases (pictured top right) that were placed on the serving table and a photo table.  I was so happy to have found the three vases (that were all exactly the same) during one of my thrift store visits.  It was a rare and fabulous find for sure!   I paid $1.50-2.00 for each of them, a great buy.  

Most of the vases were purchased at thrift stores, ranging in price from .50 to $2.50.  Eight of them were new from Wal-mart, four large ($4) and four small ($3), twenty-seven in total.

Before the first reception I washed and dried each vase, sorted them into groups (short, medium, and tall), and gave each of them a table number and a letter (ex. 1a, 1b, and 1c).  Each log was cut for a specific vase so the heights of the centerpieces on each table would all be fairly close to the same.  I labeled the logs with the corresponding number of the vase and then put each set of logs in a grocery sack for an easy set-up.  On the day of the reception we simply matched the numbers together.  I also cut the berries apart ahead of time and placed the batteries in the candles to make sure they all worked.

The picture above was taken at the end of the reception when we were cleaning up.  It's not a great picture, but you can see in it how the logs and vases were labeled.

The candles all needed to be turned on and placed in the vases right before the reception so I had helpers with this.  I didn't notice until now, while writing this post, that the large candle was in the wrong vase on one of the tables.  Of course it's the table that I took the most pictures of.  It's funny that I never noticed it before now when I can't do a thing about it.  :)

Cost Summary

Each full table centerpiece ranged in price from @ $15-$17.  The single vase centerpieces cost @$7 each to put together.

Vases: .50 to $4.00 each
Candles: $1 for the small, batteries included, at Dollar Tree; $4 for the large at a local craft store that was closing (I used dollar store batteries for the large candles, they worked great for both receptions.)
Epsom Salt (Snow): .88 each (1 carton per table) at Wal-mart
Logs:  Donated and cut by my dad
Silver Berry Garland:  $4 (on sale for 40% off) at JoAnn Fabrics
Silver Serving Trays: $1 at Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart
Small Pine Cones: Free from my Grandma's Trees
Greenery:  Free from my Parents Yard
Flowers:  One large bunch for $6 (check your grocery store)
Ribbon:  .88 for a 3 yd. Spool from Wal-mart

The centerpieces ended up being just what we'd hoped for with their rustic natural pine cones and  logs, elegant glass vases, warm flickering candles, soft sweet smelling flowers, freshly cut evergreens, shiny silver ribbons and tray, and sparkling white (Epsom salt) 'snow'.  And...as you can imagine they smelled wonderful too!

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your long weekend!

Today's Fabulous Find...Rustic-Elegant Winter Centerpiece for Under $20

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Antiqued Subway Art (Scout) Sign with Hooks

For the last few months I've had the privilege of working with a group of really great boys in the Cub Scout program as a Webelos Den Leader.  I wanted to give them a little gift for Christmas so when I saw that the Scout slogan is 'Do A Good Turn Daily' I knew right away that I wanted to put it on a sign for them.

Now, I realize that most 10 year old boys would prefer a small bag of candy over a sign for their room (and it would have been a whole lot easier and cheaper too) but I went ahead with the project anyway.  I figure that even if they only look at it a few times, if it reminds them to do something nice for someone else and they follow through with their thought, then the time put into making the signs would be worth it.

Before I get into telling you all about how I made the signs I want to first tell you about the hooks.  Originally I wanted to put wood knobs on the signs, but I was making 12 of them and it would have cost more than I wanted to spend.   Then I thought that wood pegs might work, but I couldn't find the right size.  I was at Lowe's and decided to just walk around the store and see if I might be able to find some kind of hook that maybe wasn't even meant to be a hook, but was strong enough, cheap enough, and would work well enough.  After about 15 minutes of wandering around I found the answer to my dilemma on the electrical isle--cable clips!

Large EZ-Cable Clips
Sorry for the terrible picture--gotta love Winter lighting!

The cable clips come in a package of 15 and cost just over $3.  They are meant to attach cable cords to walls so they aren't as heavy duty as a knob would have been, but they are strong enough to hold a hat or a tie which is all I needed them to do.  I painted the clips with two coats of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and then sanded them a bit to make them look old.  I was happy to discover that the white paint looked silver when they were distressed which only added to the look I was going for!

How to Make An Antiqued Subway Art Sign
(Size: 5 1/2" x 12")

Supplies Needed
  • 1"x 6"x 12" board (really only measures just over 5")
  • Electric Sander and/or Sandpaper (A medium grit sandpaper is needed for distressing.)
  • Black Paint (I like to use the sample size paint from Lowe's, it goes on so well!)
  • Contact Paper Stencil (Use a vinyl cutting machine or an x-acto knife)
  • Dark Walnut Stain and a Rag
  • Off White Spray Paint
  • 3 Hooks
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • 2 Command Strips for Hanging
  • Clear Acrylic Sealer Spray

'Do A Good Turn Daily' Stencil Template
The gray border on the image should be sized to 6" x 12" (or any size with the same proportions). 

Four ways to use the template:
  1. Use the tracing feature in the Silhouette program and cut it out on contact paper to use as a stencil or use an X-acto knife to cut a stencil if you don't have a cutting machine.
  2. Print the template onto white paper.  Trace around the outside edges of the letters onto the board using carbon copy paper.  Paint inside the lines.
  3. Print or Copy it onto scrapbook paper and Mod Podge it onto a board.  You can follow the directions here.
  4. Use the tracing feature on the Silhouette Machine and cut it out in vinyl.
(I left enough room to trim/crop the words off at the bottom of the image before you use it.)
  • Paint the board black, let dry, and then sand down the corners and edges with an electric sander. Dust wood with a damp cloth or paper towel.
  • Cut out the stencil and center it on the board leaving enough space at the bottom for the hooks (if desired). (Holding the board and contact paper in front of a sunny window helps when centering it.)
  • Spray paint over the stencil (in light even coats) and let dry slightly.  Carefully pull the contact paper off of the board, you might want to use tweezers.

Tip:  Take a straight pin and carefully slip it under the contact paper and then simply lift up on the pin to remove the inside parts of the stencils.

  • Allow the paint to fully dry and then lightly sand over the top of the board with a wood block and sandpaper.  Sand away the black paint in some areas to expose the raw wood.  (The block helps to keep the sandpaper flat so it doesn't sand too heavily in one area.)  Clean with a damp cloth or paper towel.

  • Dip a rag in dark walnut stain and then lightly wipe it over the top and edges of the board.  Quickly wipe off any excess or dark spots with a clean rag.  Stain the back of the sign. (Old white undershirts make great staining rags.) The stain will give it an antiqued look by darkening the words and staining any areas of bare wood dark brown.  After the stain dries, lightly sand over the edges in a few areas to lighten them up a bit more.
  • Spray the sign with 2-3 light coats of acrylic sealer (this brings out the color and also seals the stain that is over the paint, otherwise it might rub off).  
 In the picture below the top board has not been distressed or stained, the bottom board has.  Distressing makes any paint that bled from stenciling less noticeable.  If you don't like the distressed look though go ahead and skip that step. 

  • Because I had twelve of these to make, I made a guide to show me where to drill the holes for the hooks.  I measured it out, poked a hole through the paper, and then used a pencil to mark the spot.

Tip:  The holes should not be drilled all of the way through the wood.  Measure the length of the screw next to the drill bit and put a piece of masking tape around the bit.  This will show you how deep to drill the hole.
  • Drill the holes and then attach the hooks. 

Hanging the Sign

I've been a mom long enough to know that if this sign came home with my son without a way to hang it, most likely it would never get hung.  Sad, but true.  If it came into the house with a hook on the back and I had to get the level, stud finder, and find a nail to hang it, I'm pretty sure it would sit around for a few months until I "found the time to hang it".  Now, let's say that the sign came with command strips on the back of it (with directions) and simply needed to be stuck to the wall, (with no need to find a stud, level, or nail) the chance of it actually making it onto the wall would dramatically increase, so that's what I did and I hope the signs made it onto the boys walls. :) 

All twelve signs.

Even if you don't have a need to make a dozen signs with the scout slogan on them, this tutorial can be used for any name or quote that you'd like to use.  Stenciling a child's name on the sign would be so fun, don't you think!?

Now go and do a good turn today! :)

Today's Fabulous Find...Cable Clips

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