Friday, September 28, 2012

Canvas Foam Paintings

I recently posted this picture of my sister on the creative bubble's facebook page:
She painted these awesome leaf pictures that are currently hanging in her hallway.  I want to steal them every time I go to her house.  Someday...someday.

So, she taught me how to create these paintings, and now I'm going to share how to make them with you!

Take a closer look.

They are beautiful!

Here is what you will need:

Acrylic Paint
Foam Sheets
Foam Brushes

First, squirt plenty of the paint color that you want to be the dominate color in an X shape and also how you would squirt ketchup or mustard on your hot dog (best way to describe it!) on the canvas.  Then put your choice of accent colors as dots/blobs on the sides.
Next, start at the top and work your way to the bottom by blending the paint in line strokes using the foam brush.
It should look something like this.  The paint should still be quite wet for the next step.
This next step is the hardest to describe.  Okay, here goes:
Holding the foam brush vertically above the canvas, dab up and down from one side to the other working your way from the top to the bottom until the whole painting is textured.  Hold the brush at about a 1:00 or 2:00 angle, so that you don't have boring straight lines.  If this is confusing, you may want to give me a call, so I can try to explain it better, likely with no luck.  You can probably see what I mean by checking out the finished paintings.
Then, let the canvases dry completely.
This is the disaster we left in my parents' kitchen, because we were too tired to finish that night.

We used Foamies sheets from Jo-Ann's.

Trace the design you want, then cut it out.  Try to do a simple design, so that it's not too difficult to cut out. 
Those are supposed to be dandelions down there.  They look more like palm trees.  You'll see what I had to do to make them look more dandelion-ish.

My sister painted the red, yellow, and blue canvases below.  You don't have to cut out the same shape so many times, but she did just to see how they would look.
 Paint the back of the foam cut-out, then quickly stamp them onto the canvas.  You will want to slather on a lot of paint if you want it to have a more filled in look and less for the opposite.

This is how her fish paintings turned out.  Good job, Carrie!
Below are the foam cut-outs I made.

This is what my paintings looked like after I stamped them.

I asked my dad, mom, sister, and husband what they thought of the dandelions.  They all said the same thing..."they kind of look like palm trees."  Yes, I agree.  They did look like palm trees.  Dangit.
I decided to go against the "foam painting rules" and use a brush to make them look better.
This is how they turned out.  ...a little snow flake-like, but much better!

 ...and the birds...
Well, I was told they needed a little more, so I added some swirly designs on the corners.

I wish that I had not painted the white so boldly to match the light look of the bird on the blue canvas, but I can live with it.
We hung them on our bedroom wall. Our room is coming together piece by piece.
I would love to see what designs and colors you come up with if you try this!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chalkboard Menu

We had this wall area in our kitchen that had been sad and lonely since we moved in.  I had been looking for an excuse to create a chalkboard, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I also wanted to make or buy some type of weekly menu to help me stay on track with planning out our family meals.

So, the hunt was on for a long, narrow mirror or picture to fit on the wall. 
I found this at Goodwill for $4.99.  Sorry to the artist who painted these lovely dogs...I covered them with black goop.  The chalkboard paint actually works on glass.

Look how thick this stuff is.

The directions say to paint two coats, so here is what the first layer looked like.
I really should have taken the glass out of the frame to paint this coat, but my little Bug was asleep I was racing against his naptime.
I decided to paint the frame with a blue, green, and white mixture.
I used this sparkly blue to add a little bling to the color.
I didn't completely mix the color so that I could get some white and green streaks on the frame.  I love the color combo against the black chalkboard.
I had a LOT of extra paint, so I grabbed this pot and had some unplanned fun making it look a little less bland terra cotta-ish.


Okay, back to the main project.
Here is how the chalkboard looked with the second coat. is the final product!

That is chalk!  It's a chalk marker that I found at Jo-Ann's.  I love it!  They have lots of different colors, but I only got a blue and white one.

This project reminded me of how much I love painting, and it only took me two baby naptimes to complete!
Creating a chalkboard-Check!
Finding something to hang on the wall-Check!
Having a menu to plan weekly meals-Check!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

Sometimes, I want to reach for a quick snack that is somewhat healthy and has enough protein to get me by until the next meal.  These granola bars are very satisfying between meals or for a last minute breakfast...or midnight snack.  You can substitute the apricot and pecans with other dried fruits and nuts.  I also really like these bars with apples!


1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 C light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 C peanut or almond butter (creamy or chunky)
2 LG eggs
4 T coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 C rolled oats
3/4 C chopped apricots
1/2 C chopped pecans
1.5 C dark chocolate chips, divided
2 oz slivered almonds

I was going to use Lou Ana coconut oil, but the Spectrum oil smells so much actual coconut!


Preheat the oven to 350. 
Rub one tablespoon of coconut oil on all sides of a 13 x 9 in. baking dish.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and peanut butter until well combined.
Beat in eggs, remaining oil, and vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture.
Stir in rolled oats, apricots, pecans, and 3/4 C chocolate chips.
Spread evenly in baking dish.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch.
Cool in dish on wire rack.

Create double boiler with a small bowl and pan of simmering water.
Melt remaining chocolate in heat resistant glass bowl set in the water until it's smooth.
Using a spatula, spread the chocolate in a thin layer over granola bars.
Top with slivered almonds.
Allow chocolate to set in the refrigerator.
Cut into 24 bars.

 flour, baking soda, and cinnamon mixture
 mixing peanut butter and sugar
adding eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil 

after beating eggs and adding flour mixture 

 chopping pecans and dried apricots

 adding apricots, pecans, oats, and chocolate

after spreading granola bars into dish

melting chocolate chips

what the bars look like before they are cut

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Homemade Chai Tea Soap

Homemade Chai Tea Soap:
The Melt and Pour Method


I LOVE anything chai, so making this scent was first on my list!

Chai Tea Shea Butter Exfoliant Soap

32 oz Natural Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap package halved (each half makes four large bars)
2/3 bag of chai tea (Make sure it’s ground finely, but still able to be used for exfoliation.)
1 tbsp ground cardamom
2 drops of Cassia essential oil
2 drops of ginger essential oil
10 drops of vitamin E oil (optional)
3-7 drops natural yellow soap dye (optional)
Alcohol in a spray bottle

Melt the soap in a double boiler. 
Once it’s melted add the tea, oils, and dye. 
Mix well, and pour into the soap molds. 
Lightly spray the top of the soap with alcohol once it’s in the mold to prevent bubbles. 
Allow the soap to sit at least an hour. 
The package may say less time, but the large molds I used required a good bit more time. 
Packaging:  I wrapped the soap in plastic wrap, and then sealed them with a label sticker that has all the ingredients on it, but there are so many cute ways to wrap soaps.

How to order essential oils:
If you are looking for essential oils, I recommend using doTERRA's certified, pure therapeutic grade oils.  You can find them at  my doTERRA store .  If you'd like to receive wholesale prices, 25% off retail, please comment below or email me, and I can help you sign up.

There are different methods to making your own soap, but I chose melt and pour method for my first time, because it's so quick and easy. This is also a good route to take if you want to avoid messing with sodium hydroxide (lye), although I plan on posting some lye soap recipes down the road.

Examples of soap bases you can find at craft stores:
Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap
Olive Oil Melt and Pour Soap
Clear/Opaque Glycerin Melt and Pour Soap
Goat's Milk Melt and Pour Soap

Once you have a melt and pour base for your soap you can be creative in choosing soap molds, adding your own colors, herbs, and essential oils. Bases and soap molds can be found at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. The Jo-Anns where I live doesn’t carry soap making products. There are also lots of melt and pour soap recipe books out there. I used the Shea Butter Melt and Pour Soap, and made two different recipes from one package split in half (it made four large bars).

For Christmas gift ideas, take a look at the other items that went into these Gift Baskets :
Refreshing Shea Butter Soap