Seashells, Sand, and Souvenirs

Back in June, my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Riviera Maya, Mexico. We were married in November, but life of a teacher and a teacher’s wife means you wait until summer to take big trips. Honestly though, I’m glad we waited anyway.

It gave us some time to save a little extra money so we could do whatever we wanted. There was no stress about trying to take wedding presents back to the house and then get to the airport right away like if we had left the day after the wedding. And mostly, we were able to take two honeymoons technically! We got married the weekend before Thanksgiving, so on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we took off for a “mini-moon” somewhere more local to unwind from the wedding and just enjoy being married. So, like I said, we technically got two honeymoons! Can’t complain at all!

But, for our big honeymoon, we wanted to go all out. This was my husband’s first time going out of the country, so it was a completely new experience for him. We spent eight days lounging in the pool with a swim up bar, enjoying amazing food, and soaking up all the Mexican sun and beach-time we could get. It was truly wonderful!

On a few of the days we were there, the seaweed problem let up and we were able to swim in the ocean in front of our resort. We were even able to find some seashells and sea glass on the shore.

For reference, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE SEASHELLS. Seriously, I am a little obsessed with looking for them while on the beach. My husband laughs, but he can’t help but play along because he knows how happy it makes me. So, when we found some on our honeymoon, he was not surprised when I already had a plan for them when we got home.

I wanted a memory I could look at and always think about our amazing trip, and I had seen this idea on Pinterest that I thought I could easily recreate myself.

Pinterest Inspiration for my project

All I needed was a decorative bottle, a few seashells, and some sand from the beach on our resort. (Let me tell you, getting that sand home was an experience. My bag got flagged at airport security and scanned because they thought I was smuggling drugs over the border. The lady laughed when I told her what it was actually for, thank goodness!)

Yes, I did bring ziplock bags on my honeymoon specifically for this!

Less than five minutes later, with way less spilled sand than I would have though, I might add, the product was pretty cute.

I plan to hijack my mother’s Cricut to make the lettering for the outside of the glass. But for now, it sits on my book shelf and is a reminder of the beautiful beach from our honeymoon.

Sentimental. Cute. And Stupid Easy!

Those are my favorite kinds of crafts!

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Paint Nite Pumpkin

Have you ever done one of those Paint Nite events?

You know the one– with a guide showing you how to paint the canvas or the wooden sign, usually with a bring your own alcohol involved.

Back in October of last year, I went to my very first one for my Bachelorette party. And, in true bachelorette fashion, we didn’t paint a pretty flower…. no, we painted a nude male model!

It was hilarious– so many nervous giggles and slamming of the first (and second) mimosas to feel better about it. A lot of side eyeing the model, as to not look directly at IT! Thankfully my friends are all really good sports!

But after the first twenty minutes or so, we all relaxed. And to be honest, it was at that point that I decided if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right and I was going to do the best job I could. I guess that is the perfectionist in me. And now, nearly a year later, I’m pretty sure I am the only one of us from the group that has the canvas hanging in my house. (That was really fun to explain to my 17 year old brother when he pet-sat for us when we went on our honeymoon, let me tell you!)

That Paint Nite event was the first time I ever realized that I had some talent with a paint brush. I found it relaxing (to a degree- unless I got too worked up about making it turn out just right), and I found I had a huge sense of pride at the final product, genitals and all.

So a few times over the last year, I have sat down at home with Walmart-purchased canvases, brushes, and acrylic paints, and used handy-dandy Pinterest to find either pictures I thought I could do on my own or step-by-step guides.

This weekend I decided to do one for this blog, actually documenting my way through it and taking pictures as I went so I could share. With fall just around the corner, I decided to do a white pumpkin canvas, something I plan to put up in my home as the season rolls around.

Thanks to Pinterest, I found the one I really wanted to do. Check the link here to see the step-by-step guide for yourself!

So here was the goal!

The first step was the background. I decided on a darker teal color for the background, mostly to make my pumpkin stand out a little more. One thing I realized later, however, was that it was much harder to cover the background color with the white paint than I thought it would be. The darn teal kept wanting to poke out. It only took like five coats to do the trick! Sheesh!

Don’t you love my tablecloth! Ripped out pages of a tourism magazine! I’m super prepared!

After the background was all dry, using white paint, I started to draw the outline of each section of the pumpkin by making the outer “C” shape, and moving towards the middle with thinner, less defined “C” shapes, until the general shape appears. Then, moving from one section to the next, I filled the inside of each section with white paint and create a border around the original “c” shapes using a light green and brown. Then, I created some shadows on the base of the pumpkin using a brown paint. By doing these last two steps, I was creating definition and making it look more realistic. After the aforementioned five coats of white paint to cover the teal, I finally stared to see things really coming together!

Don’t worry if it isn’t symmetrical. How many real pumpkins are??

All that was left was the stem. Using some green and brown paint, I made the general shape I wanted and filled it in. I added a few twisty vines for added affect. Lastly, I decided to add some wispy white to my background to soften it up. This was just a personal decision, not a required step!

And, that was it!

A cute white pumpkin for fall!

If you’ve ever done a Paint Nite, drop a comment about your experience with it and a picture of your masterpiece. I’d love to see them!

Back to School!

Let me guess, you have some questions. Like- are you considering school as a hobby/activity? Or are you a teacher?

The answer to both of those questions is no. So how am I going to spin this as a hobby/activity/project?

Though I am not a teacher, I am a teacher’s wife. My husband is an elementary teacher. (Pause for the “aww”s) I know. It is adorable. At least in my opinion.

So where do I fit in in this?

Well, he may be the elementary teacher, but he also has zero creativity. So room decorating, bullet board projects, etc.– they are all me. Which is why I am going to count them as a project/activity.

This weekend we spent some time in his classroom making sure he was ready to go. Rearranging desks, taping on name tags, positioning posters, and all the like.

Look at his adorable room!

I even left him a note in his desk!

Like I had mentioned before, I’ve helped him with the end of year bulletin boards the last two years too. The first year we made it a PacMan theme, where Mr. PacMan ate dots that counted down to the end of the year. This year, I cut out about 15 traced hands, some my own, one the teachers, and all the kids in his class made one of their own. We glued eyeballs on the hands. Any ideas on what they became??

In my opinion, I get the best of both worlds when it comes to being a teacher’s wife. I get the fun stories and creative projects that come with the territory, but I don’t have to deal with a group of rowdy prepubescent children for 7 hours a day.

I think I’ll stick with my mostly angry, sometimes pleasant and appreciative adults in the social welfare world.

Making a Mess or a Masterpiece?

“What are you doing?”

“Why are you making a pot of coffee at 7:30 p.m.?”

“Why are you dumping that coffee on a cookie sheet?”

“Are you almost done? Cause the entire apartment smells like smoke.”

These are just a few of the things said to me by my ever-supportive husband last night while I worked on my hobby of the day. What do you get when you take coffee, computer paper, a cookie sheet, an oven, and a lighter?

Antiqued Paper!

My project for last night was to make aged looking paper. I’ve seen people use this paper to make letters, treasure maps, framed poems, etc., so I decided to try it out for myself. I found the idea on Pinterest, the gospel of all DIY projects! It seemed easy enough.

Step #1 (Also known as Step “What are you doing?”)- Crumple up your piece of paper and smooth it back out, then laying it on the cookie sheet.

Step #2 (AKA Step “Why are you dumping that coffee on a cookie sheet?”) -Pour coffee all over the paper.

Step #3- Clean off the excess liquid. Optional step here- to create more natural aging spots, you can take dry coffee grounds and rub them in to the paper for added effect.

After that, at your oven’s lowest setting, you bake the paper until it is dry. You will know it is starting to dry because the corners will start to flip up.

Here is the final product!

I completed the process a few more times, changing some of the ways I added the coffee. On one attempt, I used the wet coffee grounds instead of straight liquid coffee, which turned out much darker.

For the final optional step, (Step “Are you almost done? Cause the entire apartment smells like smoke.”) I decided to burn the edges of one of the pages to see if it added an extra vintage effect. All I really think I did was make the house smell like smoke and severely increase my blood pressure trying not to catch the kitchen on fire.

All in all, I found the process to be (mostly) stress free and quick. The pages did turn out pretty well. I could definitely see printing a poem and framing it. Might make for a neat gift at some point!

I’d love to hear your thoughts,suggestions, or other tutorials you’ve tried!