Not-Your-Average Crayon Wall Art

I've seen a lot of crayon wall art going around Pinterest lately and it has appealed to the kid in me--and the mom who wants to get rid of bags and boxes of old, broken crayons.  I even saw a crayon art rendition around Halloween that involved melting them on a pumpkin that I thought the kids would love.  Then when I tried it, I realized that kids can't use glue guns (you have to attach the crayons first or the blow dryer will just blow them around), and holding a hair dryer over a crayon for five minutes to melt it completely was WAY above my 4-year-old's attention span limit.  FAIL.

So it has been on the back burner for a while.  Then I saw this picture on Pinterest, realized I had beadboard in my bedroom that I wasn't going to keep on the wall, and thought, "Wow! Free, large, wall-hanging."

As I was pondering what to do with my newly-removed bead-board, I struck on the idea to combine the two projects. I wasn't sure if it would work to melt crayons on bead-board, since there are grooves and such, but I decided to try it anyway.

I was going to do a tree shape because I like this print I found on Pinterest so much. I got out my crayons, my glue gun, some paint, and a hair dryer and went to work.

Look how great it turned out! I love it in the space; it does such a good job of pulling in the colors and filling up the wall--and it was free!  What could be better than that?

If you would like to see the process that I used to make it, keep reading.  If not--thanks for looking!

First, I cut the bead-board as square as I could, sanded down the holes where the nails had gone through it, and then gave it a quick coat of white spray paint to even it out.  Then decided I didn't want it white.  At the time, the dresser it was going to hang above was a dark brown color, so white would have looked great, but then I remembered that I wanted to paint the dresser white, so a large white dresser with a large white wall-hanging above it would have been a bit much.

A sky-blue background seemed appropriate, so I found all my acrylic craft paint and mixed up what I thought would be a good color.  Drizzling some on, I took out my brush and covered the whole thing with it.

When it dried, I realized that the color was WAY too dark, so first, I tried sanding some of the paint off.  This is what I got:

 It was lighter, and it had an interesting texture to it, so I decided to forge ahead.  It couldn't be that bad, right?  Using a knife and a cutting board, I cut my crayons into small round pieces, which I hot glued to the board.  Then I got out my hair dryer and held it about 1/2 an inch above my crayon pieces.  Each piece took a couple minutes to melt and spread, so just getting this far took me about an hour.  Then, for the trunks, I took a dark brown crayon, held it over a candle flame until it was melty and then dragged it on the bead-board.  I really like how this turned out.  It looked like tree bark because of the texture.  Then I went to bed.  In the morning, this is what it looked like:

And I didn't like it at all! The trunks looked great, but the leaves didn't stand out from the background enough, and the blue still looked darker than I wanted it.  I thought about scraping it all off and starting over, but even if that would work, it was more work than I wanted to do.  So I did the only thing a good DIYer could--I spray painted right over the top.

That's right! I took out my white spray paint, held it about a foot and a half from the board and sprayed the whole thing down.  I knew I was taking a risk.  It could ruin my creation even further, but I was desperate.  Thank goodness, when the paint dried, I liked it MUCH better!

I do suggest skipping this step and just painting it the right color the first time--before you add your crayon.  After the background was right, the rest was pretty easy.  I followed the first couple steps until I liked it.

I did make one minor adjustment to my workthrough after a while.  The hot glue worked like a charm, but it didn't melt when the crayon did, so it left a lump under the color.  That was fine for a little bit of texture, but I didn't want them all over.  So I started using the tip of my glue gun to melt the bottom of my crayon pieces and then stuck them to the board.  It was enough to keep them from being blow away (for the most part) and it didn't leave a glue lump at the end.

And there it is hanging on the wall in the girls' room.  A pretty quick project when you do it right the first time--and it was free!  I'm in love. :)


Pinterest Recipe Review: Confetti Chicken Pasta with Vegetables

This recipe claims to be a throw-anything in and it will taste good type of recipe.  I like those because I don't always have the veggies on hand that are called for in a recipe.  It certainly looked tasty in the pictures, so I decided to try it out the other night.

Here is her picture and mine so you can do a side-by-side comparison:

I did do some things differently. I didn't have asparagus, so that got nixed. I added some cauliflower and I used red bell pepper instead of yellow. I also have picky pasta eaters, so I used half regular penne and half whole-grain penne instead all whole-wheat penne. Not as healthy, but my kids will eat it. I used whole milk instead of 1/2 & 1/2, and Parmesan instead of Feta. Other than that, I followed the recipe directions.

I thought it turned out very tasty-looking.  I couldn't wait to dig in.  Once I did, I was a little disappointed in the flavor--it just wasn't intense enough for me.  Using Feta probably would have gone a long way toward upping the flavor intensity, so I can't really blame the recipe for that problem.  And my husband said he didn't have a problem with the flavor, so it could just be the pregnancy, too.  Most pasta dishes are too bland for me right now, I've found. Other than that one "problem," it was a hearty meal that we all enjoyed.  A great choice for anyone looking for an easy weeknight dinner that won't require a trip to the grocery!


Bunk beds are done!

I feel like I have finding/sanding/painting/fixing bunk beds for a year now--even though it's only been about 6 weeks.  Six weeks will feel like forever when you expected it to take less than a week.

Like I said in my post about my hopes for the girls' room, I bought a set of bunk beds for $40 at Deseret Industries (a local thrift store).  It had no hardware, but I thought that would be an inexpensive fix.  That and some paint and we could have some sturdy bunk beds for around $60! What a steal, right?

Well, it ended up being more like $60 in improvements before we (mostly my husband) felt like the bed was safe for the girls.

Here is how it started out:

It was VERY ding-ed up.  It had stickers on it, permanent marker drawings, places where they had stabbed it with a green ball-point pen repeatedly, places where the wood had chipped off, etc.  It had obviously belonged to some little boys. ;)

We knew it would have to be sanded well, and after going through three sanders (we have really bad luck), we finally got that done.  It basically was taken back down to the unfinished wood.  Then came painting.  I wanted white against the bright green walls, and we already had a ton of white paint, so I used some foam brushes to apply 2 - 3 coats of that.  The foam brushes worked the best for keeping brush strokes down, I thought.

After they were painted, I bought bolts, nuts and washers.  When we went to put them together, though, my dad (who was helping) informed me that they had built-in nuts, so I didn't need the washers or the nuts, which was a bonus.  Unfortunately, the bolts I bought were about an inch too long and didn't provide a way of tightening them without the nuts.  Another trip to Home Depot yielded a bolt with a phillips head that cost twice as much as the one without the little cross on one end.  I thought it was a little silly to pay twice as much for a small hole, but whatever--they were what we needed.

Then we needed a cross bar on the top bunk, so Miss E, who is still only 4, would not roll off the top.  At that point, we realized that the box springs we were going to use for support were too big, so we needed to buy some wood for support.  Long story short, 4 1x4s and two pieces of fiber board later, we had some bunk beds.

I was going to go all out and make new throw pillows and quilts for the beds that were matching, but I was SO done by that point, I just found some stuff I had and went with it.  I am very pleased with how they turned out! (Even without the matching.) :)

Voila! There you have it.  We finished them and I love them!  Now to teach Miss M how to sleep in a big girl bed.  (Yikes!)


Girls Room: Over the Rainbow Print

As I said last month, I have tons of projects in the girls' bedroom that I want to do before it's finished.  Today I was able to check another one off my list.  Yea!

When I was thinking about decor for the room, I decided I didn't want to go with a "bug" theme or a "forest" theme or a "princess" theme.  I wanted it to be a little more versatile than that.  After seeing some vinyl wall art of dandelions blowing in the wind, I had the idea to do a "dream big" sort of theme.  (The dandelions made me think of making wishes and having them come true, for those of you who didn't immediately pick up on my oh-so-follow-able logic.)

I had also seen this photo on Pinterest that I loved and thought went well with a wishes/dreams/endless potential theme.  It was a photo of a ink drawing, though, so it wasn't something that could be ordered.  So I did what any computer-savvy DIY mom would do: I made one myself.  It didn't turn out quite the same, but I think I like it better for a contemporary little girls' room.

After finally getting the bunk beds in the room (WAHOO!! Another post on that soon--we have a couple more small things to do before they're finished), I finally felt like I could confidently put some art on the walls.

A while back, I found a tree-branch-and-grapevine star that I liked for a dollar.  I didn't know what I was going to do with it at the time.  When I decided to put this print up on the wall, I thought putting a star next to it would be perfect.  I didn't like the natural look of the wood, though, so I got out some pink spray paint and went to town.

Holding everything up on the wall, though, I realized I really needed two stars to make it look right, so again, I went the free route: I made one!  And it turned out great.  I was really excited that it even worked at all, but I think it is perfect for the space.

I got the print made at a local copy shop for $2 and put it in a frame, but I didn't like it in just an 8x10 frame.  I found an old frame in my box-o-frames that was the right size and even had a double mat.  The problem was, it was a black frame and a grey mat.  Not exactly what I wanted for my pink, green, turquoise, and white girls room.  A quick coat of spray paint on the frame and a couple coats of wall paint left-over from doing the curtains on the mat, and we were set.  I'm so excited about how it all came together--for $4!

If you would be interested in a tutorial on how I made the star, leave a comment! If I have a few people who would want one, I'll take the time to make one up.

What do you think?  How did it turn out?


Pinterest Recipe Review: Delicious Dinner Rolls

I have had a lot of friends tell me that all the recipes on Pinterest are bogus and that nothing found there can be trusted.  Personally, I find A LOT of good, usable recipes on Pinterest.  So I decided to start posting some reviews of the recipes I've found for all my friends who don't believe in Pinterest recipes.

First up: Delicious Dinner Rolls (from this pin)

They claim to be buttery, melt in your mouth, easy, and perfect for Thanksgiving.

On all accounts, I would agree!  They don't require kneading (by mixer or by hand).  You just mix the ingredients together with a spoon and you're done; it's ready to rise.  I put the butter on top, like the recipe says to (after they're baked) and so of course they tasted buttery.  I'm not sure I can say any kind of bread "melts in your mouth." It's not cotton candy for heaven's sake.  But these had a good texture--not too doughy or heavy, but they didn't fall apart or smoosh into nothingness when handled either.  They were still tasty 3 days later, which, for me, makes them perfect for Thanksgiving.  I want to still have rolls to eat by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  What good is leftover turkey without a roll to eat it on/with?

I decided to make them like regular buns, instead of like crescent rolls, just because I didn't want to go through the hassle of getting out my rolling pin and making a flour-y mess of my counter.  Here is her picture compared to mine:

They look pretty good, don't they? I was impressed with myself even! So this recipe definitely gets my recommendation. You can bake with confidence! :)