Back to School Season – First Day Photo Prop

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials, witnessed the large bins of pencils, glue, and notebooks appearing in the stores, and have begun to notice the slow reappearance of school buses making their rounds. It’s back to school season.
My first day of school with students is next Monday and I couldn’t be more excited! In order to prepare for the first day, I’ve been doing a few arts and crafts of my own at home. Here is one that I thought you would enjoy!

First Day of School Photo Prop

 

I created this prop as a gift idea for parents so that they may see how their child has grown throughout their kindergarten year. At the end of the year I will create a “Last Day of K” sign. If you have any other ideas about potential uses, please feel free to share!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large wooden letter (or number) to reflect your grade level (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • paint (I used acrylic – it looks much brighter and bluer in person)
  • 2 foam paint brushes (1 large and 1 small)
  • adhesive foam letters and numbers (again, Hobby Lobby) – if you can’t find adhesive foam letters and numbers don’t worry about it! Just use tacky glue or a hot glue gun to adhere your message onto the letter.

What to do:

  1. Using a large foam paint brush, evenly spread the paint over the surface of the wooden letter. Use the small foam brush to paint the edges and corners.
  2. Let the first layer of paint dry and then apply a second coat.
  3. Once both layers of paint have dried, lay out the foam letters until you are satisfied with your design.
  4. Carefully peel the paper backing off of the foam letters and press, adhesive side down, onto your painted letter.
  5. Voila! You now have a beautiful photo prop for your first day of school.
  6. This craft can be used in many other ways as well! Take a look below for some other designs I created based off of this project.

2014 Photo Prop Kinder Photo Prop Name Photo Prop Diagonal Name Photo Prop Vertical

Quick, easy, and adorable in the hands of a 5 year old.

 

A Season of Cake

One year ago, I married my best friend. My husband and I said our vows on July 11, 2013 on the most beautiful summer evening imaginable. The day went by in a flash, like many told us it would, and so did our first year of marriage! Throughout this first year many things changed, but there was one thing that remained constant. The cake sitting in our freezer – er, I mean, our love.

But really, that cake though!

My aunt baked our wedding cake for us. A simple white cake with a strawberry filling and white buttercream frosting. It was beautiful and perfect and above all, delicious. The whole one bite I had of it was great. Then it sat in our freezer for a year and I had to look at it every day. Every day. WILL POWER! As our anniversary approached, I began researching the best way to defrost a wedding cake. If you can’t tell, I was pretty excited about tasting this cake again (despite the whole keto/not supposed to eat sugar thing). After returning from our anniversary getaway in the city, I opened the fridge, unwrapped our cake, cut two petite slices, and the husby and I took our long awaited second bites of our wedding cake. It was still soft, sweet, and brought back a taste of the amazing day when my husband and I said “I do”.

Wedding Cake

I want to help all of you out there have a happy one year anniversary with your cakes as well, so here are some tips that I found on keeping your wedding cake fresh:

  1. Remove any flowers or bulky decorations from your cake.
  2. If your cake is sitting on a cardboard cake board, replace it with one covered in foil so the cardboard taste doesn’t seep into the cake.
  3. Chill the cake so the frosting hardens.
  4. Wrap your wedding cake in multiple layers (I would say at least three) of saran wrap. Make sure no part of your cake is exposed and it is airtight!
  5. Cover your saran wrapped cake in a layer or two foil.
  6. You may also want to place your wrapped cake in a large tupperware container for safe keeping in the freezer.

When your anniversary rolls around…

  1. One day before your anniversary, place your wrapped cake in the refrigerator.
  2. Set out on the counter (about 2 hours before eating), unwrap, and bring to room temperature.
  3. Cut, serve, and eat!

One year later

Not too bad for a year old cake! I hope your wedding cake brings back sweet memories just as mine did!

Season of Storage – Repurposed Candle Jars

School is out for the summer and as I left my classroom a few weeks ago, so did all of my belongings! I am moving from first grade this year to kindergarten in the fall and also moving to a new building. I packed up everything and currently have it stored in my parent’s garage, my garage, and my inherited summer school classroom. Organizing is something I take a lot of joy in, so needless to say I feel a little scatter brained right now not having my teaching supplies in one location. To compensate for the lack of organization in my professional life, I’ve been doing little projects around the house to keep my personal things in order (AKA finally attacking large piles of “stuff” that accumulated over the last few hectic months of the school year, still a work in progress).

There was one Pinteresty project I had been excited to try and decided to tackle it today. My husband, the lover of candles, and I go through at least one or two candles each month and have all of these pretty glass jars leftover once the wick dies out – which in my personal opinion happens way too soon! There is still half an inch of scented wax in there, come on! Anyway, the Ikea candles we bought came in especially pretty containers with lovely metallic tops and knew they would be perfect for creating some organization in the bathroom. I decided to use these jars to store q-tips and cotton balls for easier access on the bathroom counter. The fact that these candles came with tops was nice because I know my dog, Dexter would enjoy these items as a snack if left uncovered. Below you’ll find directions on how to easily clean out your leftover candle jars to repurpose for other uses around the house!

Image

Repurposing Candle Jars

What you’ll need:

  • used candle jars
  • freezer
  • butter knife
  • paper towels
  • windex
  • towel

What do do:

  1. Place used candle jars in the freezer and let them sit in there for at least a few hours.
  2. Once frozen solid, remove jars from the freezer.
  3. Use the butter knife to loosen the wax from the outer edges of the candle and pry it out of the jar. I could usually hear some sort of popping sound when it was ready to come out.
  4. Spray windex on a piece of paper towel and wipe down the inside and outside of the jar to remove leftover wax shrapnel and the black residue from the top of the jar.
  5. Once all wax is removed, run the jar under hot water in the sink and dry it with a towel. Be sure that any wax doesn’t make it down the drain of your sink.
  6. I filled my jars with cotton balls and q-tips but you can decide how these pretty new jars can be used in your own home!

*Note: I am not going to lie, the directions above sound easy enough, but not all candle jars are super easy to clean. Some wax can be stubborn and you’ll have to go around the outer edge of the wax quite a few times before it decides to loosen and pop out. I ended up cleaning out 6 jars today and the wax easily popped out of 3 of them, the others took a little more time and patience before coming clean. This freezer method is easier than the boiling water method though and overall was pretty simple to do.

Potato Stampin’

A simple bag of potatoes has so many possibilities. I bet each and every one of you probably has one sitting in the bottom of your pantry just waiting to be discovered. Think about it! The edible opportunities of potatoes practically have no limits AND you can use a potato as a battery for crying out loud! But did you also know that potatoes are a fine item to have in your crafting toolkit? It just so happens that potatoes were the inspiration I needed to get some long awaited artwork on the walls of my home.

Before moving into our house, my husband always said that he wanted to fill our walls with pictures and artwork created by us. Cool idea, right? I had been itching to create, but lacked an idea that motivated me – then I came across potato stamping. It is exactly what it sounds like. You grab a potato, cut a design into it, dip it in paint, and stamp it onto a piece of paper! Easy enough. Here is how I did it! What you will need:

  • potatoes (I used russet)
  • knife
  • watercolor paints
  • small bowls
  • paper towel
  • watercolor paper
  • cup of water

Let’s get stampin’!

1. Cut a potato in half. Use the knife to carve a design out of one half of the potato. These are the three final designs I came up with:
triangle stamp

line stamp

arrow stamp2. Prep your paints and paper! I used these watercolors by mixing them with a little water in shallow bowls. I also brushed my watercolor paper with a wet cloth before stamping.

paint

3. Test out your designs! I designated a specific piece of paper for testing purposes and I am glad I did! It gave me a chance to see if I wanted to mix any colors or patterns and what layout I liked best.

4. Get stamping! Dip your potato into the bowl of paint. Let the excess drip off and wipe an edge of the potato off onto a piece of paper towel. Carefully position the stamp above the paper and press down slowly and firmly. I wiggled the stamp around a bit while pressing because the surfaces of my stamps weren’t perfectly level (another good reason to test drive the stamps on a piece of scratch paper). Continue this process until your paper is full of stamps. This is a somewhat slow and tedious process but very easy. I did notice that as soon as I started speeding up the process, a stamp or two would fall slightly out of place. Who says everything has to be perfect though? Just take your time and you will be fine!

line stampings

5. Donezo. Once your stamps have filled the paper, set it off to the side and let it dry. After drying you can frame it and hang it on the wall like I did!

framed stampings

hanging stampings
Overall, potato stamping was really fun and it felt good to start and finish a project in the same day. My next project? Possibly potato stamped curtains…but we’ll wait a bit on that one.