Random Ramblings: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 PROJECTS ... a few of my favorites

     I know that I was not very productive in sharing much on this blog in 2013 and I plan to work on that for 2014.  But I keep seeing on several of my favorite blogs that they are sharing thier "BEST OF 2013..." So I thought I could maybe at least share a few from 2013 that I did share with you.  What do you say.. want to join me for a little look back on 2013.  

I was super ready to tackle PROJECT LIFE in January.

The FRUIT SALSA I made for Chloe's 3rd birthday party was super yummy!  



I loved the DIY CANVAS PRINT I made.  I can't wait to make more this year.  I have a list of several I want to make.  

The CELL PHONE VALENTINE'S I made were so much fun and the kids loved them.  I need to start thinking about this years Valentine's.  

The front door WELCOME SIGN I made at the old house, just before we ended up moving.  On  my list is a new one in white for this house.  

The BUNNY TREAT BAGS were so much fun to use.  Man I love my silhouette.  :)  These were on our Easter table this year and I filled them with candy.  I love the added cotton ball for the tail.  

When we MOVED.. I plan to share pictures of the rooms that I shared empty in this post.  :) 

DIY ZEBRA PAINTED NAME for miss Chloe's room are still one of my favorites.  I am currently working on painted names for the boys room too.  

I hadn't made a card in so long and this HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARD I made my husband for his birthday 


DIY CANVAS WALL ART I did for the boys room. 

A favorite recipe of ours is CRAB TOSTADAS.

The TEACHER CARD SETS I made for the kids teachers for Christmas. 


Here are a few, or several of my favorite posts from 2013.  I can't wait to share more into 2014.
Hope everyone has a great New Years Eve.  We are going to have some meatball sandwiches for dinner, then a chocolate cake with cool whip and strawberries.  Then at midnight we will toast with some sparkling cider, then head to bed... Here is to hoping we can all stay awake until midnight lol.  

See you in 2014!!!

~NICOLE

Monday, December 30, 2013

VINYL WATER BOTTLES

I have a slight obsession with vinyl.  I feel the need to add vinyl to anything and everything lately. I swear everywhere I go if I see something that catches my eye, I think to myself how can I add vinyl to this and what would I add...  I guess that is just how my crafty mind works lol.  
Well about a month or two ago, me and the kids were at the Dollar store and I cam across some colored bottles.  Instantly I knew they were perfect for adding some vinyl of some kind to them.  My first thought was to add the kids names to them, and that is exactly what I did. 
This is the bottles when I brought them home from the store.  
Fun colorful bottles, that will be more fun with some vinyl on them.   


I figured out what designs I wanted to put on each of their bottles and laid it out in my silhouette software.  I measured the area on the bottles so I knew how big I could make my designs without it coming off the bottle.  


The boys were getting a dirt biker design and Chloe got a butterfly.  


Then just like the wall vinyl sticker I used the contact paper and transfered the designs to each bottle.  
They are not perfectly straight as I am sure you can see, but the bottle had a curve in it which made the designs not lay straight on them, but hey they kids don't care, they just loved their new personalized bottles.  
This is little Jacob's bottle.




This is Caleb's bottle. 



And this is miss Chloe's bottle.  



The kids love them and Chloe used hers for water to take to dance class with her... that is until I dropped it at dance class and broke a hole in the bottom. I need to make her a new one now.  

I think it is so much fun to personalize things for the kids and they love it too.  Look how just adding thier names to the cheap dollar store bottles really made it so much more fun.  Perfect for kids ! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

~NICOLE

Sunday, December 29, 2013

VINYL WALL STICKER



I love the look of the vinyl wall stickers on walls.  Don't you?  Just adds a pop of WOW to a room I think.  It is a little something fun.
I mean who as a kid didn't love to put stickers anywhere and everywhere, I know I did. So now we are just dealing with the grown up adult version of a sticker.  Nothing glittery and shiny, but a quote that means something to you.  
So that being said I did not want to spend some of the high end amounts I have seen for large vinyl wall quotes.  I mean I have seen them up in the high $40s.
So instead I wanted to just make my own.  I mean since I do have a HIGH love of vinyl and all, why not.  

So I started with a quote which I LOVE. 

"Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away".  

I have always loved this quote.  So it was easy to pick what I wanted on the wall.  I knew exactly where I wanted it too.  
So I opened up my silhouette software and picked a font I love and wrote out the quote. 
I made sure that my paper size was the same as the size of the sheet of vinyl I had, and same with the length.  

I also highlighted the entire quote and welded it together so that all the letters that connect would cut as one piece instead of each letter cutting out, and possibly cutting up some of the other letters.  
Next I made sure my settings were set to cut vinyl and made sure my blade was on the correct setting as well.  


Then my silhouette cameo did its own magic and cut the vinyl, just like it was slicing through butter.  Have I mentioned how much I really LOVE my silhouette.  Well in case I haven't I am telling you again.  


The next step was cutting the two lines apart, and then a little task called weeding.  This is when you take off all the extra vinyl around the letters and all the little pieces inside some of the letters, like the inside of an "a"..  It isn't a hard task, but you need to be careful because something the little lines, like the crossing of the t, like to lift up too.  I used these little pointy tweezers to help get the job done.  

Next I cut my transfer paper and stick it right over the words.  ( note : I use clear contact paper now instead of transfer paper... works exactly the same and I can get a huge roll of it for around $4.00)  
I take my scrapper tool and run it over this a few times to make sure the vinyl is secure to the contact paper.  

Then I went to the wall.  I took off the backing of the vinyl so the front of the letters were just on the contact paper and the back was the sticky part, just like a sticker.
I laid it out (several times) to make sure it was as straight as I could it .  I debated many times if I wanted it all as one long line, or two lines when it was on the wall. In the end I went with the two lines.  
Once it is where I wanted it, I took my handy dandy scrapper again and rubbed it all over the contact paper several several times with a heavy hand. I really wanted it to stick to the wall.  Once it was stuck to the wall I slowly began to peel off the contact paper. In some of the small detailed spots I needed to press it into the wall for some added stick.  
After I got all of the contact paper peeled off, I went over it with my hand and pressed it firmly against the wall as well.  




Yes I realize it isn't perfectly straight, but in the end I am OK with that. :) 

This is in our living room above the couch.  When we moved here in May the first thing I hung up were these three frames.  I knew I wanted a scroll metal wall thing for above the frames, and when I started thinking about the vinyl quote I knew I wanted it right here under the frames.  
On another note I really can't wait to paint in this room at some point this year. I will just cut the same quote from white I think so it stands out against the tanish/brownish color I want to paint the walls.  

Do you have any vinyl wall stickers on your walls?  Have you ever made your own?  

Thanks for stopping by!
~NICOLE


Saturday, December 28, 2013

TEACHER CARD SETS


I love making card sets for people as gifts.  Who doesn't love getting cute cards they can send to people.. I know I love getting cards.
So earlier in the year when I was thinking about what I was going to do for the boys teachers this year for Christmas, I knew one gift was definitely going to be a set of cards.  
I debated back and forth with myself on if I was going to make all the cards the same or a bunch of different ones.  In the end I decided to just do all the same.  
I have a ton of blank white cards that my mom gave me, so I started with those as my base.  I knew I wanted them to have some what of a teacher/school feel to them.
So I had no real plan in mind, just started pulling paper from my stash.
I cut the red paper to fit so there was a big white border around it, but on the top I left it longer so I could fold it over the top, with a ripped look.  Ripping paper was one of my favorite ways to add paper on my scrapbook pages many many years ago lol.
Then I took a Becky Higgins Project Life grid card and tucked it under the folded top edge of the red paper.  
I cut out all the apples with my silhouette.  
I have a big scalloped circle punch that I have had for many many years, so I cut those out in black, then embossed them with some circle bubbles.
I then decided to add some twine to the top of the red folded flap.  I swear I can't make anything without twine, it just adds that something extra.
I then cut out the yellow stars with my silhouette too.  
I placed the black circle towards the bottom of the grid card and pop dotted the red apple in the middle of that.  The starts were added and it gave it just enough color pop that it needed.  Then last I added the ruler washi tape ( which I have no idea where I got lol ).  
Then I sat and looked at it and thought it just needed one last finishing touch, so I drew dash lines around the red and the white paper and it was exactly what it needed.  
I LOVE how the cards came out .  I made each teacher 6 cards. 
I wish when I wrapped them up I would have taken a picture, they looked so nice in the little boxes with clear tops. ( I used boxes from Christmas cards I had bought, but decided not to send out ) They fit perfectly in the box and looked like I bought them at the store. 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my teacher card sets.  

~NICOLE

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2013



MERRY CHRISTMAS 
an
HAPPY NEW YEA!!!

from Our Family to Yours.  
Here is to wishing you a very happy holiday tomorrow.  I hope your day is filled with many happy blessings and lots of laughter.  

~NICOLE


Sunday, December 22, 2013

HOME PROJECTS GOAL FOR 2014



I know I tried this once before, and never kept up with it.  But now I am going to try this again.  We are in a new house this year and I have a lot of ideas and projects I want to do with the new house.  
So my goal for this list is to get all or most of them accomplished this year.  I am a list maker and I love crossing the done things off the list.
I am hoping that sharing the list with you will help me make a much better effort of blogging this coming year, and help me actually follow through on all my project ideas.  I tend to start a million projects at once and not always finish all or any of them...  What can I say, I get so excited about all my to do projects that I want to do them all at once then I have so many going on I get overwhelemed and can't decide which one to work on so I just don't work on any.. Oh yes this has been a long time problem of mine.  BUT I am working on changing that this year, and hopefully with the prospect of blogging about each project will help me work on this bad habit of mine.  :) 
Then my ultimate goal for this list is to blog about each project and then link everything in this list to the blog post about the project.
I am looking forward to the new year coming and a fresh start for another year. I am determined to make 2014 a good year.  I have many goals set, not just for projects around the house but personal and financial goals as well.
Now on to my HOME PROJECT GOALS FOR 2014


FRONT YARD

√ make stone path from walkway to end of yard
√ plant grass
√ plant flowers and greenery in front planter
√ put bark in planter areas

LIVING ROOM

√ add turquoise and blue colors to the room
√ pillows for the couches and chair - make
a large canvas print for about the tv stand  √ Made a wood sign with turqouise instead
metal scrolly for above the black and white canvas – hobby lobby
metal bowl for the coffee table with decorative balls inside – hobby lobby
√ fill the picture frames above the couch with pictures of the kids
next to the table at the front door – 3 large canvas black and white prints of the kids
new curtains when add color to the room
paint the living room brownish/tanish color
make 2 fake fern arrangements to replace the dead ones
dark turquoise blanket for the couch – target
greenery on the fireplace
canvas wall art to add color 
√ new vinyl welcome sticker for the front door

KITCHEN/DINING ROOM

curtain for the backyard door
√ fix the curtains above the sink and sliding glass door
wood cutting board to leave on the counter
glass cutting board
get a toaster
get a keurig coffee maker
screen for the sliding glass door
paint the kitchen
√ hutch table for the tv wall
framed photographs for above the hutch table
√ new tv
bean bag chairs for the kids for infront of the tv

HALLWAY

paint
get new black frames
update pictures in frames
√ hang the wood height chart back up

KIDS BATHROOM

paint the walls grey
framed pictures of the kids in the bathtub
paint the cabinets white

JACOB AND CALEB’S ROOM

paint it light brown/tanish color
dirt bike tire tracks painted on the walls
make a dirtbike wood sign
rug that matches the room – target
paint edge of bulletin board
shelves above their beds
clip light attatched to each of their beds
install a fan

CHLOE'S ROOM

zebra rug
black and zebra curtains
√ put pictures in the frames
paint dresser black
paint desk black
install a fan
paint other nightstand back to black
paint room – bottom half turquoise
zebra border around walls
get another small black bookcase for under the window

OUR MASTER BEDROOM AND BATHROOM

√ new comforter
√ new curtains to match comforter 
framed pictures of the kids – 3 on each side of the bigger window – white frames
shelves on each side of the bed
make some canvas wall art to match colors
paint frame around mirror
paint cabinets

BACKYARD
√ plant  a garden
plant some grass
swingset for the kids
fence off a dog area
lay more cement area

~NICOLE

Thursday, October 17, 2013

CARDS FOR SHEA


One thing that I do daily is check my facebook, weather it be on my laptop or on my cell phone.  Well today I got on and read this story that truely touched my heart. I am always touched by stories like this, but today I was touched in a different way. 
Today reading it I decided I wanted to do something, bring some cheer to this girls face.
Let me slow down and send you HERE to read the story.

Now here is what I am asking of you and anyone you want to share the story with.  I would love to collect 100 cards or small gifts to send to this girl.  Who wouldn't love to get a showering of love and support like that in the mail?  I think it would be awesome.
So I am asking that you join with me in my quest to send a smile to Shea.  
Feel free to share this information with anyone that you know that might be interested, your dentist, your babysitter, even your mailman or friendly grocer.  Lets spread the word and do a little paying it forward.
I also created an event on facebook for this and you can find that HERE .

I have set the deadline date as November 17th to get the cards and or small gifts to me and then I will package it all up and send it to her.

Don't forget to help me spread the word.  Thanks.  :)

~NICOLE

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CRAB TOSTADAS



Today I thought I would stop in to share a super quick and easy dinner idea.
Now let me start off by telling you I am not really a fish or seafood eater.  I will eat shrimp sometimes, and I like crab and that is about it.
Well on that note it is so strange to me how often I actually crave these crab tostadas.  They are SUPER yum.  
They are a light kind of dinner, but so filling at the same time.  That is my kind of dinner.  
My husband came up with this recipe years ago and we have been enjoying it often ever since then. 
Another thing I love so much about this recipe is that it does not have be exact.  If you like more tomatoes then you can add more and less of another thing.  

So this is how we usually do it most of the time. 

1 XL pack of imitation crab (about 2.5 - 3 pounds )
6-8 roma tomatoes - if larger tomatoes are on sale use those just not as many, unless of course you want extra tomatoes
1 large red onion - diced up small
cilantro - 1 bushel and we use about half of it - chopped up
lemon juice - about 1-2 (or more) cups
salt - to taste
sour cream
tostada shells


1. Chop up the onion, cilantro and tomatoes and the crab.
2. Put it all into a large bowl.  Mix it all together.
3.  Sprinkle a little salt over.
4.  Now add the lemon juice depending on how tart you want it.  We like ALOT of lemon juice.  It just brings the entire thing together.  You can always start with some and taste, and add as you go to make sure you will like it.  I usually just dump alot in to start because we like it like that.  

Mix it all together to get the lemon juice over all of the stuff.  

Take a tostada shell and cover it with a layer of sour cream.  The sour cream acts like a glue to help hold everything on the shell.  

Top the tostada shell with a generous pile of the mixture and enjoy.
It is so good I am telling you.  


This makes so much and we eat it one night, usually for lunch the next day and sometimes for dinner again another night a few days later.  

Let me know if you try this and what you think.  

~NICOLE

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

PROJECT LIFE WITCH CARD

I follow alot of people on instagram, people that I don't even know but found through someone else or by the # hashtag links.  I found alot of project life ones and those are some of my favorite to follow.
Well recently someone posted they were doing a project life card swap.  I did one before and it was alot of fun so I joined in for this one too.
The theme was fall or halloween. You could make a 3x4 or a 4x6 and it could be a filler card or a journaling card.  I had many ideas flowing through my brain, and this is what I came up with in the end.  (because I can never walk out of there with just what I go for, I get other stuff too , it never fails ).  

So I went through my paper stash and found this awesome grey and white chevron paper, which of course I forgot I even had.  Then I found a small piece of the circle glittered paper, which I thought would work somehow on the card.  I still wasn't quite sure which direction I was going with the card.  I pulled out some orange paper and was going to do some kind of happy halloween card, but it just was not doing anything for me.  I was getting so frustrated with it that I had to walk away for a day and let it be. 
Then I started searching my silhouette library and came across this witch and after that it all just kind of came together.  

I cut the chevron paper down to 3x4 and rounded the corners.  
Then I cut the black circle glitter paper down to a size that would fit on the card but made sure I had enough of the paper for all 12 of the cards.  I think ( I forgot and have already mailed them off ) but I think it was a 2.5 x 2.5 card. 
Then I found my circle punch and cut those from a bright yellow cardstock.  I then cut all of the witches so that they would fit inside the yellow circle.  So now it will look like the witch is flying in front of a bright full moon.  
I then cut white and vellum clouds and I was going to mix them on the card, but I loved the just vellum clouds so much more.  It gave it much more of a spooky feel to me.  I glued those on just under the witch so you could not see the glue and since they are small that seemed like enough glue to hold them on.  

I then glued down the yellow moon to the middle, closer to the top of the black square.
Then I glued the witch down , on pop dots to give it a little more dimension.  

I sat there looking at it and was thinking it still needed just a little something more, maybe more of something yellow to bring out the moon color.  Since I have a slight twine addiction, I decided to add some of the yellow and white bakers twine I had on hand.  It was exactly what else it needed.  It gave it that finishing touch to it.  

I loved how they came out.  I hope that all my project life card swappers like them too.  I can't wait to get all of the other ones in the mail soon so I can see all of the other fun ideas everyone had.  I will share all of what I get in back.  



Have you ever done a card swap?  More and more lately I have been seeing so many swaps of all sorts out there going on. I saw one that was a swap for coffee mugs, one for dish towels... the possibilities are endless really.  How fun though to get fun stuff in the mail.  I mean who doesn't love a fun mail day.  :)

I am working on several more projects to share so come back soon to see what I have been up to.


~NICOLE

p.s.  By the way you can find me on instagram at nicolemantoothphotography .  Here is the internet link to instagram called followgram . Come follow me.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PROJECT LIFE DATE CARDS

Ever since I started Project Life I have kind of struggled with the date cards for each week.  I see some online and people get very detailed and each week is different, and I did start out this year like that.  Then I found myself super behind on even just getting my photos into my album after we moved.
Last year I started project life and was all gung ho and just go so far behind it was not even funny.  For those date cards I was just using the cards that came in the kit and writing the dates on them.  I liked them, but I didn't at the same time.

So I started thinking about just making my own printable date cards so I could just have them all printed and already in my album and really no extra work on my end. Brilliant, why didn't I think about that before??  
So this year I had the turquoise edition of Project Life so I wanted something that kind of went along with those colors so it wasn't too outrageous looking.  
I totally have a thing for grey lately.  Like grey is the new black to me.  
I would love to design a project life kit with grey as the main focus and have pops of colors.  Maybe Becky Higgins will have another contest for people to submit Project Life design ideas?  Hey maybe, a girl can dream right.  

So I started with a grey texture on the back and I wanted the number of the week to be really big on the page, so I made it really big.  
I made sure to include the dates that coincide with that week.  
I liked it but then I was thinking it still needed a little something.  So I thought it would be perfect to add the year on there, so I made it as a strip across the bottom, and made it a light color and real small.  Just like an accent line, only the line is the date.  




I started with week 39 since I am currently working on getting all caught up with my photos.  I have a ton waiting for me to pick them up at Costco so I am hoping I can make it over there this weekend and get them.
After I make all of the week cards I am also going to send them Costco to be printed. I love Costco prints in the lustre finish, and you can't beat there price either.  If you are a Costco member you should check them out, and if you are a member but don't have one very close you can also have the pictures shipped right to your door.  

I am pretty tempted to make week cards for next year too and have them printed out so I will be one step ahead for next year and can really focus on staying current on my pictures.  

~NICOLE

Monday, September 23, 2013

DIY ZEBRA PAINTED WALL NAME

When I was growing up I had wood letters on my wall that spelled out my name.  I have wanted to do this for my kiddos for the longest time and knew when we moved here it would be the perfect time.  I had an idea right away for what I wanted to do for the boys names, but not exactly for Chloe.
One day I was at Hobby Lobby and they had these paper mache letters on sale for 50% off.  So I got each letter for only .99.  What a deal.  
So I only got the letters for CHLOE because the letters for the boys names I had thought of were different. 

So I picked out her letters and brought them home and there they sat.  I was still not quite sure what I wanted to do to them.  I thought I could paint them black or the turquoise color in her room.. But I was just thinking I would get to it another time.  Then it hit me recently I wanted to do them in zebra pattern.  

So first I needed to spray paint them white.  Which this was a task all in itself because it took so many coats I lost count.  Something to do with the material the letters are made from was just soaking up the spray paint.  So probably after 8 coats later, they were all white.

I tried hand drawing on some zebra stripes, because I thought really how hard could that really be.  Well ya not that easy apparently because it looks ridiculous. So then I cut this pattern out of some scratch white card stock I keep on hand.  I used my silhouette cameo and just cut a big square with the zebra pattern.  


Then I used a extra fine sharpie and traced the pattern onto each letter.  I just moved the stencil around to make it look good on each letter.  



My first intention was that I was just going to color in each zebra stripe with a thicker sharpie marker.  But that wasn't working.  It must have been the glossy spray paint because it just wasn't covering very well in each stripe.  So I just took a tiny paint brush and painted in each stripe.  It actually went pretty fast, and if I went a little out of the lines, it really didn't matter since it isn't a perfect line to begin with.
I did forget to get a picture of me painting them though. 


I let them dry even though I was dying to hang them up.  I was really liking the way they turned out and couldn't wait to see them in her room above her bed.  


I used these command strips (have you tried these, they work great for hanging so many things and then you don't have nail holes in the walls either ).  
So I put a few on the back of each letter to make sure it would hold them to the wall nice and securely.  



It was exactly how I imagined it. When I decided to do her room in zebra I didn't want to go too zebra crazy and have everything in zebra, but more just accent stuff along with the black and small hints of the turquoise too.  So her sheets are zebra, one lamp shade and a blanket at the end of her bed, and a few frames.
I really do love how big girl her room looks.
The black night stand is going to eventually get painted the same turqouise color, but for now it is just on the to do list.
I think in this collage frame I am going to add a few zebra papers to fill in a few of the spots and then add pictures to the rest of the spots.  



Here is a close up shot of one of the letters.  See, nothing perfect but all together with the rest of the letters, it looks really good.
Now I have been trying to think of something else I can make for her room just so that I can paint something else in zebra too.

Now I definitely need to get the boys names done.  That is next on the to do list for their room.

~NICOLE