14 Days of Love – Day 3 LOVE Verses

I try really hard to incorporate our family’s Christian values into every holiday we celebrate.  What better way to teach my boys about love than from the author of love himself.

I searched through Bible Gateway for 14 different love verses and printed them out.  I cut them out using a bracket design on my Silhouette (you could easily cut these out by hand though).  I also cut out 14 scalloped hearts.   I purchased this adorable digital scrapbook paper from Sara over at Moonsteam Design.  I layered them all together and voila.   A super easy way to share God’s word with my little guys in a fun and Valentine-y kind of way.

Each day we read one verse and talk about how we can apply it to our lives.  Braden looks forward to reading each verse everyday and that makes me a very happy mommy.

Don’t they look cute hanging on my old Christmas Card twine?

LOVE dual purpose decor.  Hate the ugly paneling.

14 Days of Love – Day 2 DIY “Love Story” sign

I have been working on this sign for a few days and I am so excited (and quite surprised) I was actually able to complete it BEFORE Valentine’s Day! Ha!

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I originally saw this sign on Pinterest and almost bought it from the seller on Etsy. However the more I looked at it sitting in my Esty cart, the more I kept thinking “I can probably make this…” There wasn’t a tutorial or anything that I followed, although there are plenty of different ones out there.   I realize this project could have been WAAAAAAAY easier if I would have just cut out some vinyl lettering using my Cameo. However, I didn’t have any vinyl on hand and I didn’t feel like ordering it and having to wait another week to do this project. I did have contact paper though! I figured I could use the same technique that I used on my hand painted canvas to make this sign. I didn’t create a tutorial for that one so I thought I’d go ahead and do one for this.  So here’s whatcha do.

What you will need

*12×24 plywood board. You can find these at Michaels or JoAnnes already cut to size for around $2 with a 40% coupon.

*Red and white acrylic paint (or any other color you like. You can even use leftover latex paint. For the letters I used Martha Stewart’s acrylic in “Holly Berry” and some leftover latex paint in “Quail Egg” from Valspar for the main color.)

*small roller

*#2 flat acrylic paintbrush

*contact paper, cut into 2 12 x12 sheets

*Silhouette Cameo or letter stencils

First paint your entire board red (or whatever color you want your letters to be). This will be the color you want to show through once you peel your letters off.

While that is drying, created your the letters in the Silhouette program and cut them out of the contact paper. I used Franklin Gothic Heavy as the font type at mulitiple sizes. **If you don’t have a silhouette machine, don’t fret! You can buy letter stencils at any craft store, buy them on Etsy or just go ahead and buy the vinyl lettering.

Your board should be dry by now. If not, WAIT until it is completely dry before moving on. Measure 3/4 of an inch around your entire board. This will be your guide to make sure all of your letters line up properly and there is equal amount of space around the words.

Take some tweezers and very carefully weed/peel each letter off the contact paper and placed them on your board sticky side down.

Once you complete each row of letters, measure about 1/4 of an inch from the bottom of the row and draw a line. This line will indicate the top of the next line. Use this as a guide to align the top of the next line of letters. Do this for the following line of letters on the top half of the sign. Once you get to the bottom half, use the same technique except now work your way from bottom to top. Start with the last line and measure 1/4 of an inch from the top of those letters and draw a line. This line will be your guide to align the bottom of the previous line of letters. Doing it this way will ensure that there is equal amount of space at the very top and very bottom of the board and that the blank space in the center is actually centered. I hope this is not too confusing… and if you have an easier, less confusing way to do this, let me know!!

Once all your letters are placed on your board go back and make sure they are firmly pressed down and that there are no edges peeling up…

Now it’s time to paint the board again, this time with the main color.  Paint first coat, let dry for at least 1hour and paint a second coat.

I made the mistake of painting my first coat with a sponge applicator instead of a roller and the white paint seeped through the edge of pretty much every letter. I think if I would have rolled it on with a roller the first time, I could have saved myself A LOT of time in the end. I rolled my second coat on with a roller and it was so much easier and WAY faster. USE A ROLLER!! Just be careful not to get too much paint on the roller or you might experience the same thing.

Once your paint is dry, take your tweezers and gently peel off each letter.

See all the seeping paint I was talking about. Ugh.

This is where the time consuming make your eyes bug out craziness begins. Take your itty bitty #2 flat paintbrush and your red paint and paint over all the spots the white paint seeped through.

This is about the time I realized maybe I should have just ordered the vinyl!

Nah – then I couldn’t say I painted it myself 😛

Once that dries, go back with your white and clean up any areas that aren’t as clean as you’d like.

Almost finished…

Add some twine and a few paper hearts and you’re finished!

A completely hand made, hand painted work of art.

So beautiful and SO true. I’m hoping to give you a little glimpse of our love story soon. But for now, just know that it IS truly my favorite, as I’m sure all of yours are as well.

14 Days of LOVE – Day 1 Love Notes

It’s here!! It’s here!! February and the 14 Days of Love madness is finally here!!  I have so many exciting things lined up this year and I am just beside myself.  First up – Mailboxes filled with love – notes, that is.

It seems as though everyone’s love language in my house is “Words of Affirmation” except mine. So expressing love through words is very difficult for me.   It’s not that I can’t think of a million reasons why I love my husband, it just that I forget to actually TELL him!  Poor guy.   This is why I picked these adorable little guys  as my Day 1 – The more I do it (14 days straight) the less harder it will be to continue.  At lease that’s the goal.  We made these last year and they were so much fun.    *You can find them in the dollar bin at Target, but you better hurry.  I was there yesterday and there were only a few dozen left!

These were the perfect little reminder for me to tell my family in words what I personally love about each one of them.  Great for me and super uplifting for them!

Sooo what are you waiting for?  Go and get one for each of your family members right now, before they’re gone!  And have fun writing, and remembering, all the wonderful reasons YOU love them.  🙂

Gearing up – “14 Days of Love” is almost here!!

We did “14 Days of Love” leading up to Valentine’s Day last year and it was a blast.  Not only was it incredible fun for my sweet boy but I truly believe it was one of the things (in addition to some serious praying) that brought my husband and I out of a very long rut.  More on that later but for now here is a little re-cap of some of my favorites. (These were posted on facebook during my pre-blog days.)  

Valentine Mailboxes – Every day we would fill each other’s mailboxes with little notes. “You are my favorite Valentine because…”   We will definitely be using these again this year!  

Rice KISSpie treats – Alright this was probably one of my Hubby’s favorites – Braden doesn’t care for them too much (he’s weird, I know).  Still super fun to make though 🙂 

Love Muffin Pizza’s – Totally adorable and delish!

Heart Crayons – Braden still colors with his.  They were so cheap easy to make that we handed them out to all of his friends at church.  

Valentine – You ROCK! – I think I may have to upgrade this one to the iPhone this year. wink wink

Oreo Cookie Balls of HEAVEN! – OMG these are UH-MAZING!  Definitely making these again!

Cookie cutter art

Sweet shovel

Candy grams – Probably my favorite.  However looking back now, I have no idea how I’m going to trump last years!  

This year’s will be packed full of some more “crafty” additions as well so stay tuned!  Here’s to a very Happy 14 Day’s of LOVE!!

 

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!

Isn’t it the greatest addition to any meal?

If you think about it you could have bacon with every meal.  Bacon and eggs for breakfast; bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwiches for lunch and a juicy bacon cheeseburger for dinner. Yummmy!

While we don’t actually have bacon 3 meals a day, we do have it once a week.  Every Sunday is “breakfast for dinner” night, as my 4 year old calls it.  Whether we have pancakes, eggs or french toast, it is ALWAYS accompanied by bacon.   However as much as we love to eat it, bacon is not my favorite thing to cook.  I’m not a big fan of standing in front of the stove for what seems like hours on end, flipping bacon and having it splatter hot grease all over my hands, the stove, the  floor, my face.

A few Sunday’s ago, I remembered seeing something  about baking bacon while watching Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.  So I did a quick search and found a rerun of the show I watched.   Below is my own personal adaptation of her recipe but you can watch it here to get it directly from her.  She also gives you a few other cooking methods for bacon, but this is by far my favorite.

Here’s what you will need for perfectly baked bacon every time.

~ 1lb fresh bacon

~ slotted broiler pan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line bottom pan with foil.  Place bacon on slotted broiler pan slightly touching but not overlapping.  Bake for 20 minutes.  I rotate my pan halfway through just to be sure it bakes evenly.  Most of the fat drips to the bottom pan but I transfer it to a paper towel lined plate to remove any remaining grease.  Carefully remove foil, discard and you’re done!  It is seriously the best bacon EVER.  The second best part of baking it (because the first is actually eating it!) is that it allows me to make whatever else I need to without having to worry about burning the bacon!

Aaaaand speaking of….isn’t the smell of burnt bacon grease the worst!  Especially when it lingers in the house for days on end… this is actually the real reason why I decided to write this post.   About an hour after eating our deliciously baked bacon, my house still reeked..   I made some sort of comment and my husband responded the way he always does when he doesn’t know the right answer…

“You should google it.”

So I did.

Most people where obnoxious, responding with “why on earth would you want to remove the smell of bacon in  your house?”  or “cooked bacon is the most wonderful scent”.   Not hours after cooking and eating it, c’mon people!    Then someone wrote to “boil a cinnamon stick”.  I just so happened to have some left over from the apple cider recipe I made during the Christmas season.  It couldn’t hurt to try.  I filled a pot half way with water, broke up two cinnamon sticks and popped it on the stove.  Within minutes the bacon smell was gone and my house smelled wonderful.  Who knew!!

And who knew I could write an entire post about bacon!  HA!

February Photo-a-day Challenge

I was on the phone with my mom the other day and she very kindly shared that I needed to send her more recent pictures of the boys (she lives in Indianna and we live in California).  I try to keep up and send them every few months or so and realized she was right.   I hadn’t sent any since October.   You would think that with Christmas having just passed I would have a ton to send.   I didn’t…and my heart sank.    I probably have 800 million pictures of my 4yr old when he was itty bitty and maybe 100 of  my 1yr old…why is that?

I love photography.

I love my boys.

There is no excuse for this.

A day and a few dozen pictures of  my boys later, I just so happened to be checking out one of my favorite blogs, The House of Smiths and there it was!  The little push that I needed.  A fabulous idea to take a picture a day for the month of February.  Brilliant (and why didn’t I think of that)!  I immediately decided that I was going do it.   SOO excited!!

Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim  is the awesome and super creative genius behind all of this.   Below is her list of pics for February.  She actually started this at the beginning of the year (I’m so bummed I missed January 😦 ) but it’s never too late to join in the fun, right?!

Sooooo is anyone else game???

If so, here’s the deal.

Use this list as a guide and take a picture every day. You can take these ideas literally or you can be as loose with them as you want.   This is where the fun comes in.  Let your creativity go wild!

Share your pics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, your blog or just keep them for yourself and not share them at all.  (Although, I would really like to see them :))

I’ll be posting my pics every day on my facebook page as well as Instagram.    You can follow me on Instagram by searching  for “darcimarquette”.  And then send me all of your usernames in the comments below so I can follow you back!

I can’t wait to see all of the awesome pics!

Oh and yes, I will be sending them to mom too.  🙂

Hello stranger!

There’s a reason I’ve never blogged before.

A holiday or birthday or life for that matter gets in the way and I am a crazy mess.  I just can’t keep up.

Now that Christmas is over, I won’t bore you with the multitude of Christmas projects that kept me from doing anything else.  But for the sake of sticking to this blog and not giving up just yet, here is a recap of what I have been up to these last few weeks since then.

The painted canvas I made for my wonderful sister-in-law.

                 

Made a pinterest inspired reward system for B (that actually seems to be working for once!)

and turning this inspiration

into this FABULOUS pillow!

I don’t have tutorials for any of these projects.  However, I did take pics of each step, so if you are at all interested in how I created these beauties, let me know and I’ll put one together.

What have you been creating lately?

DIY Calendar

For about a week leading up to New Year’s, I was on a quest to find a calendar for this year.  Every store I went to either didn’t have the right color combo I was going for, boring, not the right size or was WAY more than I wanted to pay.  So I pulled out my hand dandy phone and went to my pinterest app and voila!  A plethora of DIY calendars appeared.   I really liked the simplicity of this one and then I saw this one and fell in love with the personalization of it.  I decided I had to make it…right now!

Lucky for me, I just so happened to be close to my favorite craft store.  I ran in and grabbed some supplies. Here’s what you will need.

– Frame – I already had the frame (mine is 16×20, but you can do any size).  *Side note*  You DO NOT need to buy a brand new frame!  For around $3, you can go down to your local thrift store, pick up a picture/frame that is around 16×20.  You don’t even have to like the color,  as long as you like the shape/design.  Once you get it home, you spray paint it any color you’d like.  Which is exactly what I am going to do mine.  I think an oil rubbed bronze maybe…?  Black was SO last year.   Haha!

-Scrapbook paper – which you can usually find on sale, 5/$1!

– some sort of paper craft adhesive.  I used an adhesive tape runner to adhere all of the paper and some craft glue to add my embellishments

– an 11 x 17 calendar (you can download mine here).  I had mine printed in color at Kinko’s for $1.50 .  It would have only been $.59 but I’m picky and didn’t want my calendar to be black and white.  If black and white goes with your color scheme, you can save even MORE $!  Heck for that matter you can even print yours at home, if you already have the paper and your printer accommodates 11×17 paper.  Mine does, but like I said, I’m cheap and I really didn’t feel like spending $6 on a ream of 11×17 paper that I’ll probably never use again!  Like I said, Kinko’s – a buck fifty. Done.

Once you have all of your supplies together the first thing you’ll need to do is create a template to adhere your paper to.   Take a lg piece of cardboard or blank  white paper (I taped 4 pieces of white printer paper together to make mine big enough) and trace the glass onto the paper.  Cut it out.  This is your template.

Take your calendar and adhere it to the bottom left hand corner first and the “Notes”  section to the bottom right (sorry I don’t have a pdf of this).   The remaining space is left for you to fill.  Let your creativity lead you.  I made our family nameplate, pennants and banner on my Silhouette, but you could easily cut these out by hand.   If you need an image to trace, let me know and I’ll see if I can pull one together for you.  I also added some ribbon to separate the header from the calendar and to “hang” my pennants on.  You can’t really tell in the pics, but it’s there. 🙂

Ta da!

At first I used a regular dry erase marker but every time I needed to write something down, I would erase a date with my hand while I was writing.  It was quite frustrating, I must say.  I racked my brain and thought “oh great, after all this it’s not even going to work!”  BUT…I had some wet erase markers lying around  (you know, the ones our teachers would use to write on the transparency sheets in math class… No?…am i the only one who remembers that….) Anyway, THAT worked 10x’s better!

I really like how it turned out…hopefully now, I’ll be a little more organized and things that need to get done, will actually get done!  I have no excuse.  🙂

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

I love Christmas.  I think it’s safe to say I love EVERYTHING about Christmas.  The shopping, the baking, but most of all, the decorating of course.

I don’t have any events coming up, so I  finally get to use my gorgeous canisters for my very own decorating!  🙂

I think they turned out quite lovely.

I just love aqua and red together!

My $7 hand-made FRESH garland. (Sorry about the horrible picture.  The lighting was terrible.)  I’ve never made a garland before, so I’m pretty proud of this one (considering I almost spent $40 for a pre-made, fake one!)  It makes the house smell so Christmas-y!

There’s much more to come, as we have LOTS of fun things to make this year.

Have you started  your Christmas decorating yet?!

Hot Apple Cider

There is nothing better on a cold, snowy  rainy night  than a nice hot mug of apple cider.  (We don’t get snow here in southern California 😦 )  I searched online but couldn’t find a recipe that I loved.  They were either too sweet, not sweet enough or just not  cider-y enough.  So I played around with some ingredients and made up my own.   It’s super easy and the perfect addition to this holiday season.

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon Allspice

1/4 teaspoon Cloves

2 3inch Cinnamon Sticks, halved

Caramel sauce (optional)

Whipped cream (optional)

Spiced Rum (optional)

64 oz apple cider or apple juice ( I prefer the cider)

Stir all ingredients into a large stock pot and heat just until simmering.  Do not boil.  Turn off heat and let the spices steep for at least 20 minutes.  Strain spices and pour into mugs.  If you’d like to add a little more decadence, add a drizzle of caramel sauce and top with whipped cream.   If you want to make an adult version, add 1 oz of spiced rum.  Either way, it is absolutely delicious!   Now go cozy up on the couch and ENJOY!