Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Design Your Own Christmas Card and Silhouette Address Labels

I love using Shutterfly to make our annual Christmas card.  For the last few years we have taken our Christmas card picture in front of our house with the camera set up on a tripod.  This year I went through every page of Christmas cards on Shutterfly and couldn't find one that was exactly what I wanted and then I saw that you could upload your own.  That was really appealing to me so I opened up Pixelmator (my photo editing software) and got to work.
I started by opening up a canvas with the size of Christmas card that I wanted.  I then opened our photo in a different window and resized the image and copied and pasted it onto my Christmas card canvas.

I knew that I wanted a chalkboard look so I googled chalkboard background, found one that I liked, and dragged it to my computer desktop.  I then opened the image on my Christmas card canvas and adjusted the image size until I got the right look next to our photo.  I used a mix of fonts that I have on my computer.  The floral images were a purchased item which you can find here.  Once I got everything to look like I wanted it on the card, I saved the image as a JPEG and uploaded it to Shutterfly.  It was that easy folks, I'm not kidding!  I am excited to design more cards of my own in the future!

Once the cards arrived my next task was to create some address labels using my Silhouette.

As you can see, I put registration marks on the page so that I could use the Silhouette's print and cut feature.  Originally I planned on just buying some white sticker paper for these labels but Michaels was out so I decided to buy the printable silver foil instead.  I was skeptical of how it would work in the printer but it worked fabulously.  I set my printer to glossy photo paper just because I thought it would help it to print properly.

Once the labels printed I put the sheet on my Silhouette cutting mat and loaded it into the machine. Before sending the design to cut I made sure to select all the labels and set them to cut outside edge in the cut settings window. This is an important step, otherwise all of the designs and letters will be cut out too.  Once you send the design to the Silhouette it will start by reading the registration marks and then it will cut all the labels perfectly.  It is so easy!

I love how the labels turned out!  It was exciting to send out Christmas cards that were so personalized this year!  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Twinkle Christmas Art

Christmas is one of my favorite seasons but as a music teacher it is also one of my busiest seasons.  I spent the month of November prepping my students for Christmas concerts that have been happening over the past two weeks.  I spend a lot of time outside of the school day working on Christmas program related things which doesn't leave much time for projects at home.  I have, however, found time to decorate the house for Christmas and my decorations include one new addition in the form of an art project which I am excited to share with you today.
O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas carols so I thought a piece of art featuring the carol would be a perfect addition to my Nativity scene.  For this project I used an art canvas, a print of O Holy Night sheet music on card stock (click here to print your own), Mod Podge, Silhouette brand adhesive vinyl, a foam brush, a battery powered string of lights, and dark blue craft paint.
I used the Mod Podge to attached the card stock music sheet to the canvas.  I applied the glue to the canvas and the back of the card stock.  After it dried I applied a layer of the glue over the top of the card stock.  There were a few bubbles but they aren't noticeable in the finished art so I didn't mind.
Next, I created the word file in my Silhouette software.  I chose to make some of the words script and others more bold.  I then cut the words out on adhesive vinyl.
I then put the letters on the vinyl using transfer paper.  I applied a very light coat of Mod Podge over the letters to prevent bleeding of the craft paint. I then painted the entire canvas with the blue paint. It took a couple of coats.  Once it dried a little bit I started to remove the letters.  If I did this project again I would have waited for the paint to dry completely because some of the paint lifted up as I was removing the letter.
I used a box cutter to carefully remove the vinyl setters.
I realized later that I forgot to remove the vinyl letters for the word "it."  That is how I discovered that it worked a little better when you let the paint dry completely.
I used one of my small drill bits to put holes in the canvas and then poked the lights through.  I didn't end up putting all of the lights on the strand through the canvas.
I propped the canvas against the back of the built-in in our dining room next to the Nativity scene and then put the battery box for the lights behind the creche.  I interspersed the extra lights into the greenery in front of the canvas.
It was hard to get a clear picture for some reason so sorry for the bad pictures.  It looks so much cooler in person, trust me.  I will be back soon with a post on designing your own Christmas cards in Pixelmator and making address labels with the Silhouette cutting machines.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Stenciled Storage Boxes

For some reason I have been procrastinating on this super simple project that I have to share with you today.  I don't know why because now that I have completed it I love it so much.  Last month I completed a Ikea hack media console which I detailed in these posts: Part I and Part II
I wanted to add some color and detail to the storage boxes that I purchased at Michaels.  I love them because they are covered in burlap and a nice off white textured fabric.  I got them when they were 50% off so they were only $3 per box.  My favorite way to add interest and detail to something is by using a stencil so I chose some shapes from my Silhouette library that I could turn into stencils.  I made the stencils out of projector transparency sheets which I detail in this blog post.

I used the following shapes from the Silhouette Design Store to make my stencils: chevron stripes, chinese lattice, scallop pattern, and violets lace.

Next I gathered up some paint samples and craft paint that I had on hand and a stencil brush.

It was such a simple and quick project.  I decided to only paint the visible end of each box.

It was such a simple and pretty project.  I love how my living room has been transformed over the last few months with the purchase of our new couch and TV, the media console project, the Tulsa skyline watercolor painting, and now these pretty storage boxes.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Watercolor Skyline

Today I am back to share a new addition to our living room.  Awhile ago I pinned this inspiration pic to my living room board on Pinterest:
It is a painting of the skyline of the city I was born in: Tulsa, OK.  I was ready to purchase this painting from the Etsy seller but by the time I got around to it the Etsy seller no longer existed.  I was bummed but then I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own.

I started by buying a large piece of watercolor paper from a local art store.  Because the piece was $10 I decided that I would do a test painting on a standard letter size of watercolor paper to practice before I painted the real thing.  I wanted to make sure that the technique would work and I also wanted to experiment with colors to make sure I got the right combination.
So here is how I did it.  I started by drawing the skyline and then scanned it in so I could trace it in my Silhouette software.
To make the lines nice and straight I edited the points until I got it to look exactly like I wanted it.  It took some time but it was worth it to get a crisp finished product.
I then enlarged the image and separated into 3 different pieces so that it would be big enough for my large piece of watercolor paper.
I cut the skyline out on contact paper using the settings from this post.

It took a little bit of time to make sure that I got the pieces lined up right on the paper but the contact paper is forgiving since it can be removed and repositioned.
Then it was time for the paint.  I chose bright colors since there is a lot of negative white space in the painting.
Then I removed the contact paper and ended up with these nice crisp lines.
I took the painting to Michaels and had it custom framed.  I chose a white double mat and a white framed because I wanted the skyline to pop and I really like the white on white look.  It is really hard to get a good photo of this with my bad living room lighting.  It looks so much more awesome in person.
It is nice to have something on the wall in the living room finally besides the mirror that we have over the piano.  Check back this weekend or next week for a post on stenciled storage boxes for the media console.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ikea Hack Media Console Part II

Well I said my next post would be about some art for my living room but I haven't gotten around to hanging it on the wall yet because it is a large piece of art and my husband and I have been under the weather.  So instead I am back with Part II of my media console project.  Part I involved creating a top with a herringbone pattern out of paint stir sticks.
The next step in the process was to add a back to the shelving unit.  The shelving unit is open but since it was going to be up against a wall I really wanted a back to hide cords and such.  I purchased 4 pieces of foam core board and taped them together with white duct tape. 

I then cut out holes for the cords of our PS3, Wii, modem, and router.  That large cut out at the bottom is for the cord of the serge protector.  If you look in the above picture you will see a door on one of the compartments.  That was how I decided to hide the serge protector but I wanted the back open so that it would be easy to plug everything in.

Next, I attached some paintable textured wallpaper to one side of the foam core with spray adhesive. The wallpaper is left over from this furniture makeover in our bedroom.

Next I painted the wallpaper with my favorite Martha Stewart Vintage Gold paint which I have used in numerous projects on this blog.  I spaced on taking a picture of this step because I was so eager to attach the back after the paint dried.  I attached the back with white duct tape.  I figured nobody would be seeing the back and this way if I ever decide to repurpose this piece, the back can be removed without ruining the unit.
Here is a look at the detail of the textured wallpaper behind our modem.
Sorry about the messy cords, I still have some sprucing up to do in that regard.  I have spent the last couple of days finding some storage containers for the console and I have a project in mind to make them a little more colorful.  But enough of that because I am sure you are eager to see the finished product.

I wish it weren't so dark on that side of the living room.  I need to get another floor lamp.  Okay, now for a cost break down:
Ikea Expedit Shelving Unit-$100
Ikea Kallax Door Insert-$15
100 Paint Stir Stick-$5
Liquid Nails-$3
Minwax Provincial Stain: $7
Other items used that I already had on hand: paintable textured wall paper, white duct tape, wood conditioner, wipe-on poly, paintbrushes, miter box and saw, Martha Stewart Vintage Gold paint

So the total cost for me was around $130

The storage boxes were a combination of TJ Maxx and Michaels purchases.  Well I think I need to take a nap now.  This cold is really bringing my energy level down.  I'll leave you with one last picture though:)

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