Mod Podge Notebook

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

If you are anything like me, you like notebooks.  Big, small, patterned, solid.  I’ve got them scattered around my house and at least three in my diaper bag.  You never know when you’re going to need to make a note or a list.  I’m also one of those people who really likes to write things down and I still have a daily planner.  (My husband buys me a new one every year at Christmas.)

And while deep down I know the purpose of a notebook is just to write things down, another part of me just loves pretty notebooks.  However, I don’t like spending an extra couple dollars just to have a pretty print or a cute quote on the front.  Do you feel the same?

So to make my notebooks cuter, I take advantage of my scrapbook paper fetish and use up some of it on an inexpensive notebook.  I’m sure you’ve seen the composition notebooks at the store.  I found mine at the local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  The front isn’t all that cute and they have these formulas and all sorts of random information on the inside covers that I don’t find useful or pretty.  So I just cover them up and personalize them.   

To make your own notebook, you will need the following:

  • composition notebook
  • mod podge
  • foam brush
  • scissors or paper trimmer
  • 12×12 scrapbook paper
  • vinyl (optional)
  • embellishments (optional)

The first step is to find the scrapbook paper you want to use.  If you’re doing this with a big group, I’d recommend either having everyone bring their own paper or to buy a big pad of 12×12 paper that has coordinating patterns and colors to take some of the guesswork out of it.  (I generally stick to 2-3 pieces of patterned paper.)  Decide which paper you want to use for your main pattern and which will be your accent for the binding.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Cut the main paper in half so you have (2) 6×12 pieces.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Lay the paper on the front of the notebook so there is about 1/2″ overhang on the far right side.  Crease the top and sides so you can see about where to place the paper once you get the mod podge on the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Using a foam brush, spread the mod podge out on the front of the notebook only covering the area that the 6×12 will cover.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Place the 6×12 paper on top of the notebook.  Be sure to smooth out the bubbles, working from the middle outward.  I have a little plastic tool I use, but you could also use a credit card/gift card to smooth it out.

From here you can do one of two things: 1) cut off the extra paper around the edges, or 2) fold the extra paper around the sides and mod podge it to the inside of the notebook.  I prefer the second option because I think it gives a cleaner look.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Once the front is finished, repeat on the back cover of the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

For the binding, you will need to take the second paper you chose and fold it around the binding, making sure to overlap the main paper by about 1/4-1/2″.  Crease or mark the paper, then trim it to size.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Brush the mod podge on the back of the notebook binding and the front of the notebook.  Then place the binding of the notebook on the paper first, then roll it onto the front.  This will help you center it.  Then mod podge the back of the notebook and fold the paper onto the back.  Again, make sure to press out the bubbles.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

Trim the overhanging paper on the top and bottom of the binding using scissors.  It’s easier to trim it if you open up the notebook.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

If the inside of your notebook has random formulas and grammar rules like mine did, you can cover those up by mod podging some plain white (or coordinating) cardstock onto the inside.  Easy peasy.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

From here, you can be done if you like how it looks, or you can add more embellishments.

I thought it looked a little plain so I just cut out a couple of words from vinyl using my Silhouette and I think it added just the right touch.

Mod Podge Notebook--A quick, easy and cute way to update a boring composition notebook!

These would make great gifts for family or friends to use as journal or to-do list notebooks.  Another cute idea is to use it as a notebook to pass back and forth between you and your child, writing letters or notes to each other.  You could make these for a craft night with your friends or local church group or even a girls camp craft.  Super easy and super inexpensive.

What would you use your notebook for?

Summer Pallet Art

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I was looking at my spring mantle this week and realizing that it was time to start thinking about summer decor.  So I looked through my summer decorations and noticed a serious lack of summer-y-ness (totally a word) in my collection.  A few months ago I picked up a 12×12 unfinished pallet board at Walmart without knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it but thought it would come in handy one day.  (This is a habit that drives my husband crazy, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.  *wink*)

So I grabbed the pallet board and opened my Silhouette software on my computer.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I use my Silhouette Cameo all the time on all different types of crafting projects.  I absolutely love using it to cut vinyl because it’s so precise, even on very small images or words.  My idea for this project was to use summer words on each row of the pallet board with a simple background.
To make your own pallet art, you will need the following:

  • acrylic paint (in your desired colors) 
  • paintbrushes/foam brushes
  • vinyl
  • transfer paper
  • Silhouette machine (or similar)
  • optional: stickers or rub-ons for the words (if you don’t have a way to cut the vinyl)

I found the perfect sun cut file in my library and resized it to fill a good portion of the board.  Then I typed out a few words that describe summer to me: sunshine, popsicles, flip flops, watermelon and summertime.  Then I found a font I liked and arranged the words in an order I liked.  As I did this, I realized that I could go from shortest word to longest word from top to bottom which I though flowed really nicely.

To give me a better visual for how the finished product would look, I resized some rectangles to mimic the pallet board, then filled everything in with the colors I wanted to use.  You can see what I did below:

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

To prep for this project, I cut out the sun and words using vinyl.  I knew I was just going to use the sun cutout as a stencil so I used some less expensive vinyl I have on hand for just that purpose.  Then I cut out the words by opening a new file and copying and pasting the words there.  Using the grids, I measured how big each piece of vinyl would have to be to fit each word and then cut it out so I wouldn’t waste any and placed it on the cutting mat and cut it out.  For the words, I used some new colorful vinyl that I recently received as a promotion to try out and review.  The pack I received had 35 6×12 sheets included in all different colors and finishes: shiny, matte and metallic.  (I used the shiny kind.)  When I used it in my Silhouette Cameo machine, it cut beautifully and I didn’t have any problems.  It’s a great value too.  (You can find it here.)
*Note: I received the vinyl at a deeply discounted rate in order to try it out and review it.

Before placing the sun stencil on the wood, I sanded down some of the roughness with a piece of sandpaper.  Then I positioned the stencil on the wood and pressed it out, paying special attention to the edges so that when I painted over it that the paint wouldn’t seep under.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I like the look of distressed wood without worrying about sanding so I used some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to distress the wood.  (You can learn how to do this here.)  I dabbed a little here and there trying to follow the grain of the wood.

Once the petroleum jelly was on, I grabbed some acrylic paint and started mixing the colors.  Originally, I wanted to do a sort of ombre with the blue background, but it didn’t quite work out.  If I look at it now, it’s a very subtle change in color and not as dramatic as I had hoped.  I only did a couple of thin coats and thinking back, I should have done a couple more, especially since the wood was unfinished and soaked up some of the paint.

I removed the vinyl stencil while the paint was still drying to create more crisp lines (just like painting a wall, right?).  Then I let it dry for another 10 minutes.  While it was drying, I added a little more petroleum jelly to the spots where the sun stencil had been so it would appear distressed there as well.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

To paint the sun, I used a smaller brush to paint around the edges, then filled it in with a foam brush.  I used a little more paint on the sun and I think it turned out a little brighter and more how I would have liked the blue background to look.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I used a paper towel to wipe off the paint and petroleum jelly (refer to my tutorial) and then I placed the vinyl words on the board.  I would definitely recommend using transfer paper for this.  One trick I’ve learned is that you don’t need to use a new piece of transfer paper for each piece of vinyl.  It will stay sticky enough that you can reuse it a few times. 

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

I did run into a little bit of a problem with the wood soaking up some of the petroleum jelly and it was a little hard to get it off and it had sort of a greasy look around the edges of each spot.  I think this happened because the wood wasn’t sanded down and there were lots of nooks and crannies for stuff to get caught in.  But not to worry–I have a solution!

Solution: To soak up some of the petroleum jelly, I sprinkled some baby powder over it and left it for a couple of hours before I blew it off.  There were a few places that I had to use my fingernail to get some of the powder off.  Overall, the powder did a great job of soaking up the greasiness and I was a lot happier with how it looked.

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

And now I have a fun, new, summery decoration for my house!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

Summer Pallet Art--a fun and easy way to brighten up your home for the summer!

What holiday/season do you lack decorations for?

Disney Countdown Chain

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

Last October, we took our first family vacation to Disneyland!  It was so much fun and the kids loved it.  I hadn’t been to Disneyland in about 15 years so I was excited to go too!

Since this was a somewhat last minute trip, I didn’t have as much time to build my kids (mostly my daughter) up to it as much as I would have liked.  Like most kids her age–she was 3 at the time–she doesn’t fully understand the passage of time.  To help her with this (and to save my sanity!), I made a simple Disney countdown chain.  We’ve used countdown chains before to help her learn how time passes (see this post here), so I knew that making one again would be a successful way to count down to our trip.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • red, yellow, white and black paper (I used cardstock, but you could use lighter weight paper.)
  • scissors or paper trimmer
  • stapler
  • double-sided tape or scrapbook adhesive squares
  • printer or Silhouette machine
  • Disney stickers, die cuts, etc (optional)

To begin with, decide how large you want the top of your countdown to be.  Mine is about 8.5″x8.5″.  If you’re using a Silhouette machine, open up your Silhouette Design Studio and create the shape you want.  I just used a scalloped border I had in my library and then created a circle inside of it.  For the text, I used a font called “Waltograph” which you can get for free here.  I kept it simple with “Countdown to Disney”, but you could put whatever you like.

*If you do not have a Silhouette machine, just open up your document program, choose a shape (optional) and type the text in.  Then print it out and cut out the shape.

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

Then I pulled out my cardstock.  I decided to stick with classic Disney/Mickey Mouse colors of red, yellow, white and black.  (You could easily make a Minnie Mouse countdown by using pink, purple, white and black and attaching bows to the mouse chains.)  I let my machine do the cutting and writing for me, but decided to color the words in to make them stand out better.  (If you wanted to add Disney stickers or die-cuts to this part, you definitely could.)

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

For the chain, simply cut strips of paper out in each of the four colors.  The number of strips you’ll need will be determined by how long your family’s countdown is.  I only needed three strips of each color for a total of 12 strips.  Each of my strips is 2″x10″.

The only difference will be when you cut out the black strips.  If you want to have the “ears”, you will need to do one of two things:

  1. If you’re using a Silhouette: Grab the Silhouette file here, then save and open it in your Silhouette Studio.  You can then resize anything you need to before sending it to be cut.
  2. If you are cutting by hand: 
    1. Option 1: Grab the PDF file here, then save and open it.  You could put the paper into your printer (once it’s cut down to size) and then cut out the pieces using scissors or a paper trimmer. 
    2. Option 2: You could print out the document, cut the shape out and trace it onto your paper and cut out the strips using scissors or a paper trimmer.

*I also have the Silhouette file here and the PDF file here for the strips, “buttons” and bows (if you do a Minnie theme) if you don’t want to cut or trim those by hand.

Once you’ve got everything cut out, lay your strips out in this order: yellow, red, black, white.  If you look at mine, you can see that once it’s all put together, the order is important because it kind of looks like Mickey Mouse (yellow: shoes, red: pants, black: head, white: spacer).  Fun, right?

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

When you are putting the chain together, overlap the strips by at least 1/2″ so that you can staple them together easily.  For the black strips, be careful that you face the “ears” all the same direction.  After the chain is completed, gently fold the “ears” forward.  Place the “button” pieces (2 each) on the red chain.  Staple the top-most chain to the bottom of your big countdown shape and hang it on the wall!

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

This is a super simple project to make, but the finished product is absolutely darling!  I almost didn’t want to rip any of the chains off because it looked so cute hanging there on my wall.

Disney Countdown Chain--a simple and cute way to countdown to your Disney vacation.  (Free print files included!)

What does your family do to countdown to Disney or other family vacations?

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

Each year, we have a Relief Society activity geared to celebrate the founding of the Relief Society.  (For those of you who might not know, the Relief Society is a women’s organization within my church that serves the ladies within our local vicinity.)  As I was thinking about themes for the night, the story of the woman at the well came to my mind (John 4:5-14) and I felt that the message could be applied to us.  I presented the idea to my committee and they all agreed that it was a good theme and message to share with the sisters in our ward. We recently held our activity and everything turned out so well that I wanted to share it with others who might be looking for a theme for their own ward’s Relief Society birthday dinner.

The decorations:  The colors we chose were: dark/navy blue, white and gold.  We set up round tables with white tablecloths.  In the middle of each table, we laid out a few larger pieces of blue and cream/white scrapbook paper with small gold doilies.  Then we placed a brown paper sack with a white doily folded over the top and secured the two sides with a blue ribbon.  We added gold ribbon around the handles and tied two balloons (one white, one gold) to the handles.

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

On the serving table, we used the same blue and cream/white scrapbook paper and gold doilies.  Then we placed labels for each food item on the table using blue paper and white labels (I designed and created these using my Silhouette Cameo.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

For the paper goods, we purchased soup cups and blue striped paper straws.  We already had plastic forks and spoons and white napkins.  I rolled the fork and spoon into the napkin and tied it with cream/gold baker’s twine and slipped the straw in the front.  We laid the silverware in each place at the table so it was already there and didn’t need to be carried.  (The soup cups, paper straws and twine was purchased from a lady in our ward who owns a darling Etsy shop with all the party supplies you could ever want.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

In the center of the room, we had a well (made from styrofoam and wood) that had been used for our ward’s Christmas party (we had a Jerusalem theme).  In the middle of the well, we placed a metal bucket and put ice and bottled water so the sisters had to get their water from the well. *wink*

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

The food: To keep things simple, we decided to bring four varieties of soup (one of which was my Crock Pot Minestrone) and serve them with rolls (from Costco) and a green salad.  The soups and salad were on one table and the toppings for both the soup and salad were at a separate table.

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

For dessert, we bought plain cheesecake and pie filling (cherry, blueberry and raspberry) for the topping.

The message:  The woman at the well is a fairly well known story in the New Testament about a Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at a well as He and His disciples are traveling to Galilee through Samaria.  When Jesus speaks to her and asks for some water and the woman is confused and replies with a question of her own: “Why are you, a Jew, speaking to me, a Samaritan.  Everyone knows the Jews and Samaritans don’t deal with each other.” (vs. 9, paraphrase)  And His answer, which is the message I wanted to share, was: “If you knew who I was, you would be asking me for a drink and I would give you living water…for if you drink of this water, you will never be thirsty again.” (vs. 10, 13-14, paraphrase)  After hearing the Savior’s message, the woman left the well and returned to the city to share her testimony and brought others with her to hear his message as well (vs.  ).  Many people were converted and it was all because a woman listened to the word of Christ and shared it with others who then came to hear it for themselves.

The lady who gave the message talked about how we are all in need of “living water” and that it is our responsibility to share that living water with those around us.  She connected the sharing of the gospel to being a mother and teaching our children.  Because really, we are all mothers, even if we do not have children of our own.  Women have natural tendencies toward nurturing, loving and empathy.  She used part of Elder Holland’s talk “Behold Thy Mother” (October 2015) and quoted him: “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle–and all will–I say, be peaceful.  Believe in God and in yourself.  You are doing better than you think you are.”  She gave each of the ladies this quote (which she purchased from this Etsy shop) and printed it out at Costco on 4×6 prints.  (Obviously, this message was geared toward the sisters in our ward.  But if you feel like it could work for your ward too, please feel free to use it.  Or maybe it will just be a jumping off point for you.)

Women at the Well (Relief Society Birthday Dinner Activity)

The activity was a huge success!  The best part was that we were all able to get together outside of church and meetings and away from the craziness of kids and just be women and friends getting to know each other better and create a stronger bond between us all.

What have been your favorite Relief Society birthday dinner themes?

How to Make a Chore Chart for Preschoolers

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I wanted to give my daughter some daily chores.  She’s turning 4 next week and it’s the beginning of a new year so it seemed like a great time to get a program going for her.

I started out by making a list of chores.  The easiest way to do this was to search for ‘age appropriate chores’ on Pinterest.  There are tons of charts that break it down by age that I found so it didn’t take long to make a list of my own.

Next I had to consider her development in terms of what she understands.  The best way for her to know what chores need to be done is by using a picture.  So I looked through my list of chores and thought of one picture that represented that chore (make your bed=bed, brush your teeth=toothbrush, etc).

The biggest challenge was deciding how to help her make sure she was getting her chores done each day.  In other words, what type of chore chart did I want to do?  What was going to make the most sense to a 4 year old?  I made a list of ideas and settled on something simple: a magnet board with accompanying sticker chart.

I researched a few options and the least expensive one I found was at Hobby Lobby for $8.99.  Throw a 40% off coupon on top of that and I only paid $5.39 for an 11×14 whiteboard/magnet board.  I already had magnets and clear glass accent gems (see picture in ‘how to make magnets’ section) on hand and knew I could find some simple clip art online for the chores.  I also decided to use stickers and vinyl to organize it into an easy-to-understand chart that I could always change up or take off completely if I decide to go in another direction later on.  Plus, using my trusty Silhouette would make the design a cinch!
I took my daughter with me to pick up the magnet board and let her choose some stickers for the days of the week.  My husband and I had told her a few days earlier that I was going to make her a chore chart so she was aware of what was coming.  Plus, I wanted her to be involved in the process as much as possible so it wasn’t just us saying, “here’s a chart that I made you with all the chores you have to get done every day”.  My daughter is one that likes to know what’s coming ahead of time so she can prepare herself.

Before we get any further, let me give you a list of supplies you’ll need to make your own chore chart:

  • Magnet board or whiteboard/magnet board, size of your choosing
  • Stickers for days of the week and child’s name
  • Magnets
  • Strong glue for gluing magnets to glass accent gems (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
  • Inkssentials Glossy Accents clear adhesive (or similar)
  • Clear glass accent gems (I found mine at the dollar store)
  • Magnet paper (I used the Silhouette brand)
  • Vinyl
  • Cardstock
  • Printer 
  • Ruler

*Note: While I used my Silhouette for this project, it is not necessary to have one in order to make this chore chart.  I will make small notes in each step where you could tweak it if you don’t have a Silhouette machine.

Making the Chore Chart

When I got the magnet board home, I measured the magnet/whiteboard itself so that I could plug those numbers into my Silhouette design studio.  I found that while the entire board was 11×14, the usable part was only 9.5x 12.25.  Glad I measured!

I opened up my design software and inserted the dimensions of the board into the ‘design page settings’ so I could see the full size I was going to be working with.  Then I opened a new page and chose the ‘letter’ size.  I pulled the clip art I saved onto this page and sized it down to fit the approximate size of the clear glass accent gems (about 1.5″) and drew a circle around it.  (Without a Silhouette: Open a word program and pull clip art from online and size it to fit your accent gems.)

Then I made it into a print and cut file (check out this tutorial for more details) and sent it to my printer.  I loaded the paper into my Silhouette machine and changed the settings to cut out the circles around the images I just printed.  I pulled them off of the cutting board and set them aside.  (Without a Silhouette: Print images, trace a circle around them and cut out using scissors or circle punch.)

Next, I opened up the file with the dimensions of the magnet board to start laying it all out.  I decided to put the days of the week going down the left third of the board and two columns going down the remaining two-thirds for the done/not done chores.  In keeping with using images instead of words, I used an ‘X’ for the ‘not done’ column and a check mark for the ‘done’ column.  You can see my screen shot of the layout below.

Since I knew I was using stickers for the days of the week, I only needed to cut out the ‘X’ and the check mark.  I had recently used the Silhouette magnet sheets for a project and knew it would be perfect (check out this tutorial for more details).  I found an ‘X’ and check mark clip art online and moved the images onto my page and sized them according to my layout.  Then I moved them to a new page and cut them out using the same method as the tutorial I just referenced.  (Without a Silhouette: You can still use the magnet sheets, but you would need to cut the shapes out by hand.)

With all my cutting done, I grabbed the magnet board and my ruler to measure out a little more exactly where I wanted everything.  I used a dry erase marker to draw my lines out to my liking then I got the stickers for the days of the week and put them on the board. (Note: Make sure that you have enough letter stickers for the days of the week, otherwise you may end up having to go back to the store to buy more.)

I used my paper cutter to cut thin strips of vinyl to separate each section which made it look nice and clean.  Then I placed the ‘X’ and check mark at the top of each column.

Lastly, I used some other stickers I had on hand to put her name in the corner of the board.

Making the Magnets

To make the magnets, you will need:

  • Clear glass accent gems
  • Magnets
  • Chore images (printed and cut)
  • Strong glue (I used Loctite GO2 Glue)
  • Glossy Accents (or similar)

Lay out your chore images in front of you.  Look through the accent gems to find the ones that are mostly round and will cover the image.  I had to sort through a few to find the ones I liked.

Open the Glossy Accents and turn it upside down over a piece of scrap paper.  Do not shake it, as this will create bubbles.  Squeeze a little out to get the flow going and then squeeze a decent amount in the center of the paper.  Take your accent gem, flat side down, and place it over the top, pressing down slowly.  As you do this, the Glossy Accents will spread out underneath the accent gem.  If it oozes out the edges, just wipe it off and set it aside.

Repeat with the remaining gems.  Let dry 20-30 minutes.

When the Glossy Accents is dry, get your magnets and strong glue.  Place a small amount in the center of the magnet and then place it on the back of the gems/chore images.  Let dry overnight.

Sticker Chart/Reward System

The sticker chart is how we keep track of how many days she’s done all her chores each day.  If she gets everything done, she gets a sticker.  If not, no sticker for the day.  If there are chores that didn’t need to be done that day, they don’t count against her.  I made a simple chart in my Word program with rewards for every 10 stickers she gets.

10 stickers=treat or candy of her choice
20 stickers=toy from the dollar store
30 stickers=ice cream cone

For my daughter at age 4, these rewards are enough to motivate her, but you could easily change them to suit your own child’s interests.

How It’s Going So Far…

As I was putting my daughter’s chore chart together she kept asking me, “Is my chore chart ready?  Can I use it yet?”  I was happy to see her excitement as I made it for her and even more happy that she likes using it so far.  It’s only been 4 days but it’s encouraging nonetheless.  Each day she moves her ‘Today’ magnet to the current day (which also helps her learn the days of the week) and looks to see what chores she needs to do.  The fact that she knows exactly what’s expected of her and that she has control over moving the magnets to the ‘done’ column is something she really enjoys.  It’s a great visual for her.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and that your new chore chart works well for you!

What chore charts/systems have you liked using for your kids?

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Over the last few years, I’ve been working on discovering my own personal home decorating style and slowly but surely things are coming together.  This has, of course, extended into my holiday decor.  Each year, I’ve been getting rid of decorations that I no longer like or use and buying or making some that contribute to the overall cohesiveness of the look I’m going for.

A while back I was browsing through a local boutique that was closing their business.  They had a back room with tons of random items I wouldn’t have expected to find there considering it was a clothing and jewelry boutique.  Out of everything in the store, I didn’t buy jewelry or clothing–I bought glass blocks.  They only had three of them but I took them all and at a killer price.  I had the best of intentions to make something cute out of them for my home but never got around to it.  (This happens fairly regularly and it drives my husband crazy.  But I do get around to it eventually. *wink*)

When I bought these glass blocks, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use them for but this year I figured it out.  Once again I pulled out my trusty Silhouette machine and started designing different layouts and words to see what I liked best.  (The blocks I have are rectangular–about 5×7–but I’ve seen different sizes as well.)  I decided to go with a more simple design due to the smaller size of the block I was working with.

(Note: While I found my glass blocks in an odd place, you can also find them at home improvement stores, like Home Depot, or craft stores, like Hobby Lobby.)

I used glass cleaner to wipe the block clean of any fingerprints and dust so it was ready for the vinyl.  Then I cut the vinyl lettering out using my Silhouette machine.  I pulled the vinyl off the cutting mat (leaving the backing on) and then trimmed the pieces down so I could more easily see how they needed to fit together.

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Then I got my transfer paper (affiliate link) out and placed each piece of vinyl in the correct place.  I kept the backing on until I was sure it was in the right place.  Then I pulled the backing off of each piece and placed the vinyl on my glass block, making sure it was centered.

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

Using the back of your fingernail or a credit card, press down on the vinyl (on top of the transfer paper).  This smooths it all out, gets rid of bubbles and helps adhere the vinyl to the surface.  Then you can pull off the transfer paper.

(Side note: When I first started working with vinyl, I was kind of resistant to using transfer paper, but it sure makes my life a lot easier, especially when I’m transferring intricate designs or words. It’s worth the time and money in my mind, but it’s also completely up to you whether or not you use it. Also, I tend to reuse smaller pieces that haven’t lost their stickiness which saves a little money.)

To complete the block, I wrapped coordinating ribbon around the bottom and sides, tied it in a knot on the top and cut the ends on an angle.  I didn’t have red and white ribbon that I liked so I used a narrow ribbon on top of a wide ribbon and I think it turned out so cute!

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

How to Make a Holiday Glass Block--an easy decoration to make for yourself or as a gift for holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc

These blocks would be such an easy gift to make for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, baby showers, etc.  I love that they are completely customizable and not time consuming at all.  You could even make a few of them to keep on hand for last minute gifts.  Start to finish, this project took me less than an hour (including design time in my Silhouette software).

What are your favorite projects to make with vinyl?

Book of Thanks Tutorial

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Last week I posted about new traditions I’m going to be starting this Thanksgiving.  One of the traditions is a Book of Thanks, which is basically a journal or binder that you can bring with you each Thanksgiving, wherever you are, and have everyone write what they are thankful for (or draw a picture) in it.  (You can read more about it here in the original post.)  Today I am sharing a tutorial on how I created my Book of Thanks.  Hopefully it will give you some ideas about creating your own.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will received a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for your support!

One of my favorite crafting tools is my Silhouette Cameo, which is a multi-functional, electronic cutting machine.  It has computer software that allows me to create pretty much anything I want and then I plug my computer into the Silhouette and it cuts it out for me using a small and very precise blade.  You can also swap out the blade for a pen and it will draw/sketch whatever design you created.  Honestly, I use my machine all the time for scrapbooking, vinyl, cards, fabric, etc.  (I know I sound like an advertisement, but I am not getting paid to say this.  I just really love it!)

That being said, I knew that using my Silhouette would be the easiest way for me to create a fun cover page for my Book of Thanks.  If you don’t have a Silhouette or other cutting machine (like a Cricut), you could also create a cover page in a word program and print it out, or use your own scrapbooking/crafting materials.

I designed my cover page using the computer software and a combination of sketch pens and cut outs for the final product.

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

Since I paid for the images I used, I can’t offer my design as a file, but you can click on the links below if you’d like to get the files for yourself to use with your Silhouette.

Images used in Silhouette Studio:

Font used: Copperplate Gothic Bold (free from Fonts Geek)

I already had a 3-ring binder so I slipped it in the front, then grabbed a small stack of white printer paper and stuck it inside to have ready for Thanksgiving day.  I also got a small zipper pouch and put a couple of scrapbooking pens inside (the ink is archival safe and won’t fade or bleed over time compared to regular ball-point pens).  Once the papers have been written on, I’ll put them in protective sleeves and then clip them inside the binder.

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

I really am so excited for this new tradition!  It will be so much fun to look back on past years and see who was with us and what they wrote.

If you want to know more about what I’m including in my Book of Thanks, check out the original post, comment below or email me!

Book of Thanks--quick and simple tutorial on how to make a Book of Thanks for commemorating Thanksgiving each year!

How do you commemorate your Thanksgiving?