September 2014Occasionally Crafty: September 2014

Tuesday, September 30

Paper Witch Hat + Paper Flower Tutorial: Halloween Printable Blog Hop

Hey everyone!  I'm part of an awesome blog hop this week where a bunch of different bloggers are using some awesome Halloween printables in lots of different ways!

One of the printables available is a set of Black and White Cupcake Toppers.  I knew they would be the perfect embellishment for my Paper Witch Hat.

Making the hat is simple.  I used this party hat template and just used two coordinating scrapbook papers.  The black is actually cardstock so it's a bit more stable.  Glue the brim to the cone and you're good to go!
These paper flowers are stunning and simple to make.  The best part is, you can pretty much do any combination of colors and embellishments to pretty up any project or package!

Use your paper punch to cut out a bunch of circles.  The exact number depends on how big your base is and the size of your punch.  I used what I had- a 1 3/4 circle punch, so I needed about ten circles plus one for the base.

Fold your circles gently into a cone-like shape and glue in place.

Place them on your base circle.  Once you have enough and like the placement, secure with a little glue.  I use hot glue because I'm impatient, but you could use any glue, tape runner, etc.
Finish off as desired.  I used a coordinating circle to cover the center, then finished with one of the cupcake toppers.

This is a simple craft that looks fabulous!  Make one or two to add to your Halloween decor!

You can download your free Halloween printables here.

Happy Halloween!
P.S.  Sharing this on Tis the Season

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Monday, September 29

Easy Lollipop Tree

This weekend the women of our church had the opportunity to meet together and hear wise counsel from leaders in our church. 
Every 6 months we have this Women's Broadcast and it has recently become available to girls ages 8 and up. It is such an uplifting meeting and a way to rejuvenate your spirit and prepare for further counsel from a living Prophet next week during General Conference.
One of our favorite speakers is President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who is an apostle.  He always has thoughtful, motivating messages for women.  Valerie made up a quick printable of her favorite quote to display as a reminder to her how blessed we are, even though we don't always realize it.  
You can download your copy here.
I had the privilege to lead a choir of girls ages 8-11 after the broadcast was over. These sweet girls came together and sang for their sisters, moms and fellow members of their congregation. It was a nice moment to share with them, and I wanted to thank them for coming and singing. 
As my style usually shows, I look for simple, easy to execute crafts that still deliver a strong visual impact. This is purely a Pinterest find and re-creation, but I thought that this could be used for so many things that I had to share it with you!
Simply stab a Styrofoam ball with a gazillion lollipops, and paint a ceramic pot with the color of your choice! I added some tulle for a bow and voila!

For reference, I used a 5 inch Styrofoam ball and about 100 lollipops!

The girls were able to easily grab a lollipop and go, no muss, no fuss! That's my kind of thank you gift!

This week we have a lot of fun things for you, including our Halloween edition of the Sister's Challenge! And don't forget about our giveaway from Paint-A-Pillow that ends in a few days!
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Thursday, September 25

Paint-A-Pillow Review & Giveaway! DIY Accent Pillows!

Disclosure:  Affiliate Links are contained in this post.  I was contacted by Paint-A-Pillow and was given all supplies to create two pillows in return for an honest review and promotion of their product.  All opinions are my own.
Today I am so excited to show you a great new company that specializes in DIY Designer Accent Pillows! You all know what big fans of Cutting Edge Stencils we are. Both of us have remade our bathrooms into masterpieces, and I even used their stencils to make a greeting card.
Well now they've branched out into DIY pillows, using the same quality stencils. The company is called Paint-A-Pillow, and you can find them at this website. You won't believe how many choices they have!
Paint-A-Pillow was kind enough to supply me with enough materials to create two pillows, and show you just how easy it is to make your own too. 
I picked out my stencil and several paints and embellishments to accompany a rug I have in my living room, and within a week my supplies arrived.
I had to take pictures of the packaging because I thought it was cleverly put together.

Everything was secure in the box, with a separate box for the pillow inserts and accessories.

Underneath the inserts and accessories were the stencil itself with the pillow cover, ready to be painted on!

Here are the paints I picked. I felt they were a good quality paint and reasonably priced. I used my green A LOT, and there was still paint left over after two pillows.

I was also supplied with tools and brushes to get me going. If you enter our giveaway below, you can win a free starter kit which includes the following items: 

Kit Includes:

  • Stenciling frame (pat.pend.)
  • Reusable pillow stencil
  • 17”x17” Cotton pillow cover
  • Pillow insert: linen/down alternative
  • Mini roller and 1/2" stencil brush
  • Paint tray and stirring stick
  • Illustrated instructions
  • Free mini stencil and practice fabric swatch
  • One free fabric paint (choose your color above)

I love that they included a swatch of fabric. I immediately tested out all my paints to see how the colors would look on the fabric once dry.
I also picked out a few embellishments. There are quite a few to choose from, including studs, rhinestones, tassels, and even flowers.

So now I had everything I needed to get started!

I think my favorite thing about the whole process, was the way Paint-A-Pillow created a way to keep the pillow cover and stencil, stationary. If you look close you will see that the stencil lies on top of the pillow cover and is held down on a cardboard frame with brads. I had no problems with it shifting around, and only need to hold the stencil close to the pillow towards the edges.

I started with lighter colors first and moved to darker colors as I went along.

Here's a look at the pillow cover all painted with the stencil still on...

And here's a look with the finished design!

It turned out so neat! I tried to get a little creative with the flower using some shading. I wanted to give the pillow a little texture and pop. If you need any help with the painting part of this project, be sure to check out a full painting video tutorial below. It really helped me feel confident to do this!

After the paint dried, I heat set the paint by running an iron over the entire design for 30 seconds. I need a bigger iron! Anyone want to buy me a heat press? :)   It took awhile, but setting the paint will allow me to wash it, dry clean it, or even use them outdoors! Need some pillows for your patio set? These would be awesome!

Now the pillow cover was done. But if you're going to add any embellishments, you need to do that before putting the pillow form inside the pillow cover.

I decided to go with tassels for my pillows and couldn't decide between a standard tassel and the suede tassels they offer, so I went with both! Paint-A-Pillow has a great tutorial video for applying embellishments that made my tassels go on super easily!

Another thing I love about the pillows is that the stencils match the ones offered by Cutting Edge Stencils, so if you've done something on your walls, you can match the decor with pillows!

A few things I feel like Paint-A-Pillow could improve on is pricing and a the idea of reverse stencils. While picking your own design, paints and embellishments makes these pillows very customize-able, I would have a hard time paying that much for two complete pillow sets. The items individually are priced well, so perhaps if you already had a pillow to start with, buying a stencil and paint would not be more than going to the store and buying a finished pillow.

As for reverse stencils, the thought came to me as I started my second pillow and placed the stencil back on top of a blank canvas. I though how neat it would be to be able to reverse the imaging so that the leaves and flower could be left natural and the background could be painted in. Wouldn't that be neat? If that were available I would have done one the way you see it, and one in opposite to compliment each other.

With all that said, I think Paint-A-Pillow offers a solid product. Their stencils are second to none and the easy process always surprises me with great looking results!

Here are the tutorial videos, and keep scrolling to enter the giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
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Wednesday, September 24

What To Do When Your Child Forgets To Bring Home Their Homework: Free Printable Checklist

We've been in school now for almost two months.  I know a lot of you started at the end of August or beginning of September.  Have you settled into a routine yet?  How are your kids handling a new year?
I have a daughter in 4th grade, and every year we have an "adjustment period" with her as she gets used to new classroom rules and higher expectations.  First quarter is always a little difficult.  Now, this year, we have a new challenge.  At least once a week, and often more than that, she forgets to bring something home that she needs for homework.
Homework at school - YES I HAVE HOMEWORK, BUT I LEFT IT AT SCHOOL. Confession kid
She might bring home the worksheet but forget the textbook she needs to complete it.  Or, she might bring home a book to read but not the study guide she's supposed to fill out.
I probably don't have to tell you that she is driving me a little nuts!  At our school a late assignment drops your grade 20% the first day it's late, so to see her grades drop simply because she forgets really upsets me as a parent.
I've turned to her teacher as well as some of my teacher friends for ideas on how to help her.  If this happens to you too, maybe you'll benefit from some of their suggestions. 
1. Use a planner- and make sure they fill it out!
Our school provides an agenda/planner.  We are required to sign it as parents each night, regardless of whether the child fills it out or not.  That's been really helpful until this year.  Now half the time my daughter hasn't written her assignments down, which of course defeats the purpose.  I asked the teacher to go over her planner with her at the end of the day during pack-up time, and so far this week it has been working great!  I hope that helps her re-establish this habit.
2.  Ask the teacher for help
As a former teacher myself, I welcomed parents' concerns, especially if stated thoughtfully and calmly. Teachers are there to help your child succeed- and though they are busy, they will certainly do what they can to make sure that happens.  But with large classrooms and heavy workloads, they may not always know why your child is struggling unless you tell them what you see at home.  My daughter got a detention for missing too many assignments before I finally asked the teacher for ideas.  Having seen this often, she was quick to offer her help making sure Emma has all the items she needs at the end of the day until she can start doing better on her own.
3.  Use rewards and consequences
My daughter responds really well to both.  When she forgets something and won't be able to complete an assignment, she loses "screen time"-- no video games, no computer, no TV.
Now for rewards, I know that she "should" be bringing her homework home.  We expect her to have it.  But since she is struggling, I don't want to just punish, but also correct the behavior.  I want to reward improvement.  So, when she meets the expectation for an entire week, she will earn a special reward on Saturday- go out for ice cream, do a fun activity, etc.
4.  Have a homework buddy
If your child has a friend in the same class she or he can call when she/he forgets something, then you can probably get the homework done anyway.  I would still enact a consequence for forgetting something, but at least his/her grade wouldn't suffer.
5.  Don't stress too much.
I've been told that this is developmentally normal.  Many children go through this around this age. It certainly helped me feel better to know that we are not alone in this struggle!
6.  Use my backpack checklist!
I created this for my daughter so she has a visual reminder each day of what she needs to put in her backpack at pack up time.  I printed it out, laminated it, and attached it to her backpack with safety pins.  I thought someone else might benefit from this as well.
I have a more girly one and one more neutral.  You can also download a blank one and write your own items on the checklist as well.

Download Pink and Purple Checklist
Download Black and Green Checklist

Download Black and Green Blank Checklist

Download Pink and Purple Blank Checklist

What is your biggest struggle with school, and how are you handling it? Join the conversation below!

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Friday, September 19

Primitive Painted Tray: 30 Crafty Days of Halloween

Hey everyone!  I'm guest posting over at See Vanessa Craft as part of the 30 Crafty Days of Halloween!
Click over to find my tutorial for this easy Primitive Painted Tray.  I'd love to know what you think!

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Wednesday, September 17

Preserve Your Memories through the OneDay Video App: Enter to Win a $500 Target Gift Card

When I was little, my dad used to have regular interviews with us.  He used them to check in with us to see how we were doing, to find out if anything was bothering us, and to give us some things that we needed to work on.
I wasn't usually a fan of these interviews, mainly because I always had things I was doing wrong that needed correcting.  :)
My dad used to record these interviews on audio tapes. Yes, tapes.  I'm old.  I doubt we have many of those interviews today- but I know we re-discovered one that gave my family a new catch-phrase to tease me with.  We found a recording where I was complaining about all the things that went wrong in my day.  I fell of the sled and got wet.  Someone got mad at me.  
"It was a most hard day".
Yep- I still get that one quoted back to me.  Often.
Still, I'm glad to have a little piece of my childhood preserved.  My parents love hearing my tiny little girl voice, and remembering things that happened back then.

Recently I discovered this awesome app available in the App Store called OneDay.  It's Free! (for now) 
The premise is simple:  Download the app, pick a topic, and interview your child.  There are a bunch of different themes, such as
Back to School
My Favorites
All About Me
Each story set  has 10 questions in it, allowing you to record your kids answering each, and the app instantly stitches all the videos together into a high quality movie with music, allowing you to share with family and friends via social media, text, or email. It is currently free, but won't be for long!
Create an account, then upload your video to share or download it somewhere to keep it in your files.  
What a great way to remember the simple things about your children!  We say we will remember the small things, but the truth is that we won't.  Time will wash them away as the waves do footprints on the beach.  As my kids are growing up and away from me, I know I will treasure these videos for years to come. 

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Tuesday, September 16

Calling all Pumpkin Lovers! Free Fall Printable Sign

So, I was in Cracker Barrel the other night.  We go there for the food, of course, but I want to go there sometime by myself just to shop.  I always have my crazy kids running around playing with their toys and begging for candy.  But they actually have adorable, adorable decor for different holidays and seasons!
I was inspired to create a little printable for you to frame and display by an awesome glittery wooden sign they had for sale.  So, thanks for the maple syrup and inspiration, CB!  
I printed mine out and Mod Podge-d it to an 8x10 canvas.  Then I used Krylon Glitter Blast spray paint in two thin coats over the top to give it a little sparkle!  (It's hard to see in the photos, though).

You can print this up to an 8x10.  Heck- it might be a cute little card to give your husband.  Because really, this is saying something!   Click here to download and print.  (Colors vary slightly due to differences in computer screens and printers).
I will be linking this up to some of these parties- come check them out with me!

See what else I'm pinning for fall by following my "Falling into Fall" board.

Follow Occasionally Crafty (Valerie)'s board Falling into Fall on Pinterest.

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