Easy and Inexpensive Easter Mantle and Entryway Decorating with DIY Painted Eggs

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I got my Easter decorations up early! I usually have a few decorations, but with all the little children I have around here I don’t usually do much.

This year I have a few places I can decorate in the living spaces of my home where the children won’t destroy it and it was looking so barren after the Christmas decorations came down I decided to put up a few things. I skipped right over St. Patrick’s day and went for an Easter and Spring theme. I am so pleased with how it turned out I couldn’t wait to share it with you all, especially these super affordable eggs I painted.

Mantle decorated with Easter mantle for springSo my fireplace is set in the corner. I live in South Carolina where it is very warm 90% of the year so even though we’ve been here a year and a half this fire place has never been turned on.

Still though it is a lovely fireplace and it is right in my living room, so I have been doing my best to make this little spot look like a lovely little corner in my home.

Easter/ Spring decorated easter mantle, fireplace decorationsTo take up some of the space I bought this great bridge scene from Kirkland’s I had intended to figure out how to hang it and point lights at it, but that was going to be a ton of work so I just sat it there so it would be up and out of the way in the meantime, and as it turns out I quite like it that way so there it sits.

My husband made me this fantastic tray that sits in the center, it is decorated with this great glass blue tile, but it turned out to be too heavy to use as a tray and too lovely to not be displayed, so I found the perfect place for it on the shelf above the fireplace.

Whenever it starts inching toward spring my daughter’s and I love to have pretend tea out of lovely tea sets I’ve collected from all sorts of antique shops and resale stores, so I knew they would get a thrill out of having this lovely tea set displayed in the living room.

Easter egg wreath from Walmart, pastel egg wreath decorated mantleThis white orchid flower arrangement is from Hobby Lobby, with a 50% off coupon I find the flower arrangements are quite affordable, and I love this one so much we keep it up year round.

This Easter egg wreath is from Walmart and is only $9.88! We are always decorating on a budget, we are always doing everything on a budget really. Amazon has a great selection of Easter Wreaths that are so beautiful, and are available for 2 day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime membership.I only spent about $30 on all the decorations we have up in the house. (I had some from years previous)

Kirkland's easter banner with wooden clip on flowers from the Target dollar spot; how I decorated my easter mantleThis “Easter” banner is another Kirkland’s purchase, because basically Kirkland’s, Target, and Walmart are the 3 first places I look for decor. I have a few other places I like, but I’m at Walmart the most since it is where I buy my groceries and it’s hard to shop much when you have four little beautiful children to take care of and only one car to share for your whole family.

I added these bright and beautiful wooden flowers to my Easter banner,  I found the flowers  in the Target dollar spot. The clip on flowers were $3 for the 4 pack and I thought they went perfectly with my little Easter banner.

DIY painted easter eggs for home decoratingPicked up these bright yellow flowers in the seasonal aisle at Walmart  and painted these eggs with some artificial eggs I had from 90% off Easter clearance at Walmart last year. I had the green crinkly paper in with my gift wrapping things, and the vase is from a candy bar I had at a party a couple of years back. I love apothecary jars, but they start at around $30 for one so we just used what we could find second hand. This jar and lid are from the salvation army.

what I used to make gorgeous affordable painted Easter EggsI had some paint including a metallic gold and a more teal color (because teal/mint is my favorite) and I bought the pink and green paints just for painting the eggs.

 

inexpensive artificial eggs great for decorating and paintingI definitely didn’t realize how many of these eggs my husband purchased on clearance last year. I used about 3 packs and barely made a dent in what we have here.

These paints are $.50 each from Walmart. The metallic gold one may be more, but I already had that one on hand so I just bought the other 3 this time.

spring colored paints used for hand painted easter egg decorThe colors are “Key West,” Pure Gold,” “Baby Pink,” and Lime Sherbet. Click on the picture and it will open up in a new tab enlarged. You can easily read the labels in the enlarged photos if you want to see the exact product number on the paints.

hand painted easter eggs, ,do it yourself easter egg decorationClose up look a these eggs I painted! I love them so much. The colors are perfect. They sell eggs for decorating most everywhere, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and I didn’t want to pay to mix multiple sets so I just made some myself.

I spray painted the metallic gold eggs with glitter sparkle gold spray paint that I had leftover from a previous project. The eggs turned out okay, but I don’t recommend spray painting them since they are so light weight the force of the aerosol spray sent them flying all around.

This spray paint has mixed reviews on Amazon, but I have used it in red and gold and it works near perfect every time. I love it and will definitely use it in the future.

Easter decorated console table with mirror, diy painted easter eggsFor my entry way table I added more painted eggs, plus a couple of pink flower arrangements and a few signs (both from Kirkland’s as are the flowers on the right). The flowers on the left are artificial bouquet my sister’s used as bridesmaid flowers in my wedding. My 2 year old daughter’s vacuum is reflected in the mirror there next to a basket of her toys I keep in the living room. I never was the type that didn’t allow toys in the living room.

Console table Easter decor with hand painted eggs, happy easter sign, and kirkland's pink flower arrangementCut and painted a bit of the egg container the artificial eggs came in to display the “Faith, Hope, and Love” eggs I painted using the pointed handle of a paint brush and the gold metallic paint pictured earlier in this post. The Happy Easter sign is sitting on a wooden colored block from a box of foam blocks from my son’s room.

The glass bird jar is from a yard sale and I’m pretty sure I paid a quarter for it. Flowers pictured above are from Kirkland’s last year, but I am certain I saw a similar set of these at Kirkland’s just a few weeks ago.

Feels so nice to have our decorations up and early! I love the way the house feels with all this beauty in it, now if only I could figure out how to keep the floors clean with 4 little kids living in it!

 

 

DIY PJ Masks Owlette Costume wit Free Printable

If your little ones are fans of any thing Disney like my children are and you have cable you probably have seen the new show on the Disney Channel called PJ Masks.

Disney Jr. PJ Masks, gecko, owlette, and catboyIt features 3 school age friends who transform into super heroes in the night. Catboy a super fast cat, Gekko who is super strong and a great climber, and Owlette who is the only girl in the group and can fly, amongst other powers.

This show started airing not too many months before Halloween and my kids were so excited to dress up as the characters from the show PJ Masks when that day rolled around this past October. Alas, there were no costumes to be found anywhere so with a lot of hard work and ingenuity I was able to make my son a Catboy Costume which I wrote about here (very helpful if you are trying to make one for yourself). It was not easy and took many hours but my son’s costume turned out to look pretty awesome.

My 6 year old daughter was so impressed, in fact, with her brother’s costume she was certain it would be no problem at all for me to make her a Owlette Costume to go with it.

I took a few days to think about it (and to look for something close enough to the costume that I wouldn’t have to make one)

I looked and looked, but it was very quickly obvious that the only way we were going to get the costume she wanted was if I  made it.

Suddenly I was wishing I didn’t work so hard to portray a good spirit while I was making the first one. Haha. Maybe if I’d complained more she wouldn’t have asked me.

My husband reminded me how thrilled my son was to zip around the house in his Catboy costume, and that I would have all the reward I needed when I saw her face after first putting on the costume.

So with my little pep talk in my pocket I headed out to get supplies.

no sew, pj masks costume owlette, diy halloween costume

Here’s a  look a the finished product, my daughter was thrilled, and it was much less difficult than the catboy costume.

finished flat lay do it yourself pj masks owlette costumeIt turned out so great considering how easy it was to put together.

We focused mostly on the wings and they were the most time consuming, but they were also a showstopper. My daughter was so thrilled to just sit and check out each individual feather.

diy owlette costume how to Here are the materials I used.

2 yards of by-the-yard felt fabric. (from the fabric section not the craft section)
1 yard of light pink flannel (couldn’t find any this color in by the yard felt)
2 Pink and white 8.5×11 inch felt craft squares
2 Rolls of Hem Tape
2 Sharpie Markers (1 light pink and one dark, but anything to mark on the fabric will do)
1 piece of cardstock for the feather template
1 Eye Mask (this was a masquerade fox style from the dollar store around Halloween time)
1 sheet of iron on transfer paper
Some elastic to secure it to her wrist and some velcro I had on hand to secure the wings to the shoulders of the shirt, but the wings were mostly too heavy for this to really work.

1 Long sleeve pink shirt (I found this one for $6 from the girls section of Target)

 

I started with my long sheet of dark pink by-the-yard felt.

measuring felt for diy pj masks owlette costumeIn order to measure the span of the wings I had my daughter lay down and marked about 2 inches inside of either wrist. I ended up cutting mostly along the crease you can see already in the fabric pictured above.

After that I tied my marker to a ribbon in order to make a swinging curve along the bottom of the fabric.

After I cut the fabric into a half circle I folded the fabric in half and cut down the center in order to make two triangles.

diy pj masks costume owlette wings how toOnce I had my two triangle bases for the wings I started making the feathers.

I measured a bit free hand a rectangle that was 2.5 inches across and 4 inches long.

Just like with the wings I folded the paper in half and cut a curved line along bottom to make the exact wing shape I desired.

how to make a diy owlette costume from pj masks I think the shape is a like that of a pointed shield. It’s not necesarry for this to be a very specific type of shape, as long as you use the same template for all of the feathers you should have the same result.

Once I made the first wing template out of cardstock that I liked I traced and cut two more just like it.

Because I was tracing the template onto the fabric with sharpie markers, the edges of the template got a bit saturated making them hard to work with, which is when I would switch to the next one. Three should be plenty though.

The tracing and cutting took the most time. I suggest if you are going to try this that you have high quality fabric scissors.

For my 6 and a half year old daughter we used about 150 of these feathers. Yes, you read that correctly, 150.

I laid my feathers out on my wings so I could make sure I would have enough to cover the wings. I made certain that the individual feathers would overlap the wing edges, and trimmed them down after they were glued down.

how to diy pj masks owlette costumeAfter I figured out the immense amount of felt feathers I was going to need I decided to distribute the polka dot feathers throughout. I wasn’t sure I was going to have enough fabric, but it turned out I had plenty to spare.

I laid out both feathers and then starting from the bottom row, I began to lay them out, first cutting the strips of hem tape (my scissors will never be the same, that stuff is sticky!) and then placing the tape onto the top straight part of the feather and then placing the feather onto the fabric.

Repeat 150 times….

diy how to felt costume wings pj masks owlette costumeI finished these in the wee hours of the night so after I glued the feathers on, I just went to sleep.

The next day I flipped the wings over and grabbed my roll of elastic, and using hem tape again I glued a loop onto each wing where the wrist would be.

Then I measured and cut a piece of ribbon I had on hand to the width of the top of the wings. I cut two very long strips of hem tape and put them on the back of the ribbon.

Laying the wings out I glued the ribbon on going over the strips of elastic. The tips of the wings were just touching at the top. So it looked like this:

how to diy no sew felt costume wings, pj masks owlette costumeThe two little black strips are where I added velcro to help it stick to the back of the costume tee shirt.

diy no sew costume wings for pj masks costume owletteHere is a view of what the wings looked like from the back. The Velcro is holding them onto the tee shirt at the shoulders, but if I were to do it again I would probably use another elastic strap at the under arm, because the wings were very heavy to be held on by the Velcro and it kept pulling on the shirt.

diy no sew owlette costume, pj masksFor the symbol on the center of the tee shirt I printed a still shot from the show onto iron on transfer paper for dark fabric. I cut it out (the edges were pixalated) and ironed on. Easiest part of the process.

Here is a printable that you may use to print out on your printer for use on your own little Owlette costume.

>>Download HERE Free Printable Owlette Chest Symbol for iron on transfer <<

 

Once you have you wings and your tee shirt finished there is only one thing left to do; the eye mask.

I wasn’t sure how to go about this, because the Owlette mask has feather detail on the top of each side.

I find I do well when I just improvise which is what I did here. I just stopped a few places while we were out running errands. I tried Walmart with no real luck on a good eye mask, but was fortunate to find something that would work at Dollar Tree.

The had several shiny purple and pink mask near their selection of Halloween candy. We picked up 3. Two of these were the same, a fox, and one was a wolf (I think?) they had scallopped edges so I was figuring that they would add to the costume, not a must though.

After I selected my mask, I simply inverted onto a scrap of fabric leftover from the dark pink felt I used for the base of my wings.

Traced around the mask and eyes with permanent marker, and the cut the mask out of the fabric and glued it onto the actual mask I purchased from the dollar store. This gave the mask more structure than if I would have just added elastic to the fabric.

The mask I bought was sized for an adult, this way you get the complete wrap around look that Owlette’s mask has on the show.

no sew, pj masks costume owlette, diy halloween costume After I had all the pieces I had to make myself we just added all things pink! Pink skirt is from Gymboree and was on the $3.99 clearance rack we had already purchased this skirt, and just used it because it matched just right. Pink leggings were something she already had, and obviously the shoes have been around a while.

She found some pink gloves from our winter accessories box (sounds nice, but it’s just a nice basket where we toss all things gloves, hats, and scarves), these particular ones have princess crowns printed on them in silver.

owlette costume, no sew, diy, do it yourself pj masks costumeShe was so excited to save the day. I was surprised how many compliments this costume received at the trunk or treat event at our church. Probably because my lovely friends no that I am not too handy with a needle and thread and I do not own a sewing machine. Considering those factors, this is pretty amazing.

diy pj masks costume, no sewing how to catboy and owletteSo my little ones were a crime fighting duo. My two other little ones dressed up as Elsa and Anna, because obviously I like giving the Disney Company all my money hahaha.

flying owlette in her no sew costume wingsMuch like my son could not wait to see if his stripes made him a faster runner, my daughter was interested to see how much her wings would help her slice through air. She was running up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, she loved how the wings looked flowing behind her in the wind.

She is not jumping off of that car, in case it even almost looks like that.

She did insist on jumping a few times to see if I could get a picture that looked like she was really flying.

She was really excited, and I don’t mind admitting that my husband was right, and it was really worth all the time I put into it after all.

Hope this helps someone who wants to make this costume for their little one. It is definitely not too late for this costume to end up under your tree this Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by,

Ashley

DIY PJ Masks, Catboy, No Sew Halloween Costume Victory
Now with Free Printable

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

*** Update, scroll to the bottom of the article to see new included FREE printables to help you with making the costume yourself! ***

*********

*** Update Two: Checkout the tutorial for my Owlette Costume By Clicking HERE***

diy pj masks costume, no sewing how to catboy and owlet****

I am only pseudo crafty. I glue I do not sew. I cross stitch, but I don’t own a sewing machine. I bake, but I don’t grill (I just don’t like smelling like the grill). I hot glue, but I try to stay from power tools. I think I have stated my case well enough. I make some pretty creative beauties that suit me perfectly, but when my son asked me to make him a Halloween costume I told him it could not be done.

If you have not heard of PJ Masks, it is a new show on Disney Jr. It features 3 young kids who have pajamas that grant them super powers at bed time to fight crime. My kids love this show. I won’t even tell you how many times we have seen the few episodes that aired.

Disney Jr. PJ Masks, gecko, owelet, and catboy

Gekko, Catboy, and Owlet are best friends at school, and at bedtime transform into superheroes, full out with costumes, a secret lair, and customized vehicles. (Because obviously 7 year olds need their own cars, I mean if one of them can fly, why not?)

Only one problem. The show is so new there are no costumes available for purchase yet. Sigh.

When I asked my children what they wanted to be for Halloween they all grabbed something out of the pile of costumes we already had on hand and were perfectly happy to do so. Except for my son. My son proudly stated that he would be Catboy for Halloween and never wavered.

I tried to convince him to be a dinosaur, or a dragon, or a transformer, a knight in armor and Kristoff from Disney’s Frozen.

No go.

He would only be Catboy. I explained to my 5 year old that they didn’t sell the costume he wanted at the store. He confidently replied “Don’t worry, Mommy, you can just stitch it up.”

He believed in me so much I figured at least I could try to see what it would take.

I decided that it might be simple enough. All we really needed was a blue long sleeve shirt, blue pants, a blue mask, and a tail.

Add stripes and go, right?

It actually turned out really well. My son is thrilled. Turns out I’m the real hero and I get to basks in the glory of those few winning parenting moments.

Here is the finished product.

completedDIY PJ Masks catboy costumeI’m pretty excited, since I had no idea how this was going to go. I wish I could tell you some great easy way that you can make this for your child, but it was a little time consuming and at times difficult, but I will show you what I did.

Items I purchased:

Felt: (4 navy sheets) $1.25
Sweat Pants $5
Long Sleeve Tee $4
Hat $1
Masks $1
Gloves $1
Heat and Bond Glue $2
Iron on Transfer paper: $4 (at Joann’s after coupon)

(Check out these highly rated Iron on Transfers on Amazon)

Total Spent $19.25

Not super cheap, but not too bad. It also helps that my son is going to wear this 4 to 5 times a week until it falls apart, and I know for certain at least 2 of my daughters are going to want to play in this as well. I wouldn’t have bothered if it was just for one Halloween night. Unless we were going to do some sort of contest perhaps.

I also used the following things I had on hand:

White crafting glue
Fabric scissors ( I use these ones – and they are amazing)
Black permanent marker
My computer and printer for iron on transfer
and my iron and ironing board

First, I started with some images of the character. I had to pull up my DVR and then play the episodes watching for a moment where Catboy was clearly in view, pause it and then take pictures with my cell phone. My kids really enjoyed that.

side by side, diy pj masks catboy costume with crafting feltMy son has already informed me that the costume helps him to run faster. Super speed is one of Catboy’s super powers. When my son tried on the whole outfit, he began running around the house asking me to check to see if he was going fast enough for me to see his stripes light up. Another one of the power’s of the Catboy character is that during his super speedy moments, his stripes glow or light up. I thought it was so precious that my little guy thought the costume would truly light up as well.

Here are the images that I used in case you need to take a closer look at the character to help with your own creation. (click on the images to see their larger sizes)

Disney Jr. PJ Masks show - catboy characterand this

Disney Jr. PJ Masks catboyI used this image to get a closer look at the stripes and the face.

PJ Masks catboy from Disney Jr.I used those images to create a sketch that I felt was similar enough to Catboy to be recognizable, but dissimilar enough to be created from cut felt.

Here’s my finished sketch.

disney jr. PJ Masks catboy costume sketchYes, I fully colored it in so that my son could be excited about it while I was working on it. I tried to make the sketch look like the cartoon, but I tried to make the costume look like the sketch, so it may have gotten a little watered down by the time we were finished, but it still worked out great.

Next, I had my son try on the sweats and tee I got him from Walmart.

blue sweats and long sleeve tee. From walmart, boys size, perfect for costume making

I made some measurements of where his knee and his elbow would be so I could make sure none of the stripes ended up on those parts of the clothes.

I also measured across the chest to determine the 6 inch size for the chest symbol.

Next, I got some felt and just started cutting. I used a ruler and a sharpie to mark the lines to ensure that they would be straight.

I measured the width of the legs sitting flat and made sure my stripes/ chevrons would fit correctly. For example I make sure the chevron shapes along the bottom were 6 inches across.

PJ masks catboy costume step by stepAt this point I was feeling pretty encouraged.

I got all through the pant stripes before the free hand tracing of the ruler stopped working.

I pre-cut my felt ($.25 per sheet at Walmat I used 4 sheets) to the correct width before cutting the stripe and then traced it in the mirrored direction for the opposite pant leg or opposite side of the shirt.

As I cut the strips of felt I laid them on the top and pants to make sure things were lining up like my sketch.

PJ masks catboy costume made with crafting feltMy husband found an owl mask for $.97 at Walmart. I used leftover scraps to make the stripes on it.

diy pj masks - mask for halloween costumeAdded bright blue felt (another $.25 investment).

mask for PJ masks diy catboy halloween costumeI used white craft glue to glue this down since I wasn’t sure how the mask would hold up to the iron. I used heat and bond glue for the rest of the costume.

Here’s the finished costume hanging up after my husband and I were all done working on it. This took me several hours to do. The heat and bond glue, had to be applied, and reapplied. I haven’t worked with that stuff much, so it is possible that I applied it wrong to start.

finished hanging,diy pj masks, catboy halloween costumeI glued and ironed on all the stripes. I didn’t take any pictures, because frankly it was messy, frustrating, and time consuming. If I had to do it again I would use crazy glue. Yes I would. After using the iron on glue, I had to repair it in several spots, I used white craft glue for the repairs, so far it is holding up after 5 trick or treating events over 2 days.

For the center symbol, I used iron on transfer paper made for colored fabric. Purchased at Joann Fabrics with a 60% off coupon. Cost me less than $5.

I isolated this image from a screen grab.

catboy symbol from pj masks for diy halloween costume.Printed it and cut out the mask shape. This was by far the easiest part.

side by side, diy pj masks catboy costume with crafting feltWe added a blue hat and knit gloves to finish off the look. I did have to cut the pointy owl nose off the mask for it to work.

My son is absolutely thrilled to be Catboy for Halloween . That thrill is why I like Halloween.

I love Halloween for a chance for my kids to dress up and have harmless fun, and I think it can be a great opportunity to go out and meet people from our community.

Hi again! What a great response to this post. Apparently a lot of us moms were trying to make happy sons by letting them dress up as this new superhero. I am here to help. So it took me a while, but I put together a printable to help you in your efforts. A totally free printable, complete with a full cutout for the mask. (Scroll down for the downloadable PDF file.)

free printable template for diy catboy pj cat hero preview

Please, remember that my son is 5 years old and I made the printable using the measurements for his costume. You should be able to cut the stripes bigger or smaller using the basic template provided.

You can try to print these on transfer paper and iron on the whole thing, I haven’t tried it with the stripes but had great success with the chest symbol. Check the material needed on your iron on transfer paper before going this route, I think that iron on transfers work best with 100% cotton.

If you are planning on cutting everything out of felt, this is the PERFECT printable for you can print this and use it as a template and it should make things go a lot more quickly.

free printable pj cat hero preview 2

>>DOWNLOAD FREE PDF PRINTABLE HERE!! <<

PJ Super hero boy cat costume printable iron on stripes

free printable template pj cat hero stripes preview masks included

Hope this helps someone trying to make the costume themselves. Good luck. Feel free to post any questions in the comments below!

 

DIY Button Tree Wall Art

I am working on my school room right now. I spend so much time in their with the kids, and I just want it to be stimulating and beautiful. We are renting right now, so no major construction, we are not even going to paint, we want to try and make changes that can be transported, since moving is definitely in our future.

Lots of little projects are bringing everything together quite well. This week I worked on a button tree for the wall with my kids. I first saw the idea here on Amanda’s blog. I was cruising through Pinterest (follow me here). I had no intentions of ever making it, and then it turned out it would be perfect for my school room, and the kids had a lot of fun watching it come together, and they were even able to help some.

Didn’t turn out anything like the one I saw on Amanda’s blog, but I’m no artist.I was initially trying to make it look just like the one I found on pinterest, but I realized rather quickly that mine was going to turn out a bit differently and that is just fine with me. One of the great things about these types of do it yourself projects is that they each look so unique. I like having something on my wall that you won’t see anywhere else, and the kids like it too!Button tree wall art, smartandsavvymom.com, do it yourself craftThe nearest craft store to me is now a good 40 minute drive. They do have a Jo-ann Fabrics right by our church but sometimes it is not ideal to go in there with all the kids. One of the things I liked about this craft, besides that it was very inexpensive, is that I was able to get all the materials at Walmart, didn’t have to make the trek out to the craft store with the kids. I’m sure they will be there again soon.

So I started with a blank 24×36 canvas. I spray painted the top a pastel blue, (I wanted it to look like sky and grass) and the bottom I painted green. I liked the idea of it having a soft line where the colors touched, so that turned out pretty perfectly. Having the soft blend of the lines made it easier for a non artist like me.

Button tree wall art painted canvasOne of the kids got to it when it was drying and it got a spot on it at the bottom but it isn’t very noticeable. If you look very closely you can see a couple flecks of white in the lower right hand corner where someone accidentally splashed some water on it, but you really do have to look quite closely. Oh, and the splotchiness of my uneven spray painting gives it character, right? Really, I think it is just great for a sky.

Didn’t need too many supplies, spray paint for the initial cavas covering of blue and gree, a few paint brushes and 3 varied colors of brown paint, buttons, plus a pencil (with a good eraser) and you are ready to get started.

Button tree wall art supplies, smartandsavvymom.comI picked out the paint by eye, based on how dark I felt I wanted the tree to be, and then I picked out 2 small darker shades for adding some texture to the tree. I Apple and Barrel brand paint, the large bottle which I mainly used is the color Nutmeg brown, although the paint is relatively inexpensive, I could have definitely gotten by with the smaller bottle. The two smaller bottles are Brown Oxide and Burn Umber. The paint dried really quickly which was great with all the little hands I have around here. However, it made corrections hard to fix.

Next up I drew a tree in pencil which I erased many, many times along the way. I tried to draw the tree as close to the Original image from Amanda’s blog as I could but, it was harder than it looked. I think one o the main differences (of many) is that she drew her branches thinner and didn’t paint them as close to the edge of the canvas, which cave her more space for more buttons.

I tried to take a picture of the pencil sketch I later painted over but it was faint and hard to capture, but you can make it out okay.

diy button tree wall art penciled, pencil sketch stepeThis was probably the hardest part. I made it with five main branches the outer 2 I curved down to the bottom of the canvas, the next 2 went to the upper corners and the final middle branch covered the upper center portion of the canvas. I made sure that the whole canvas was covered and as much as I could I made sure the branches looked normal, no weird joints or bends or jutting off pieces from out of nowhere. I did send a picture of the tree with no buttons it to my sister and she asked e if it was supposed to be a haunted tree, she’s a funny one isn’t she?  Once I had a tree I liked, I brushed off the eraser marks and started painting.

Button tree wall art partially painted treeI had to do 2 coats of paint and use several different brushes to cover all the different widths of the tree and the branches. I even let my littles help me paint the trunk. They were happy to help, but after a while I had to set them up with activities in a different room. We suffered a few paint smudges, but I think when I look at those smudges on the wall , I will just remember the fun I had with the kids. Character, right?

After I let the branches dry, I added the buttons without glue to see how they would look laid out in case I wanted to move them around (and I did) I put the big ones on first and then worked around to having the small buttons on the outer edges of the canvas. I wish I had more very small buttons, but I didn’t want invest any more money, but if you are buying buttons just for this craft, more small buttons is better. You really only need a dozen or so of the very large ones.

I chose bright cheerful colors for the school room. We are using turquoise, and grey, and yellow, so I tried to stick to that, I also used some pink and purple and green. I had some buttons left over from a previous craft (mostly pink) and a bag I bought for about $6 at Walmart that was filled with assorted colors like yellows and blues. Those 2 sets of buttons were enough to do the craft.

I used a tiny tube of fast drying craft glue (also left over from that previous craft) and went around gluing down the buttons where they were laying.

Button tree wall art image 3No real rhyme or reason to how I laid them out, just tried to make sure that it looked pleasing to the eye. I also tried to make sure that there weren’t too many on of one color bunched up together. Didn’t want to have a tree branch with all green buttons, but that is just me. I have seen some pictures of a lot of great button trees made on solid color canvas with only one color of button that are gorgeous.

Finished product is definitely good enough to hand on the wall and probably cost me just around $20.

Button tree wall art image 2

I added a few dark lines on the trunk and in the corners where the branches come out of the trunk. I put buttons over most of the smudges or problem areas. My 6 year old helped me glue on some of the buttons, and it turned out great. I am so excited to have something on our previously barred walls, and I am really happy that it is something that we made ourselves and that everyone was able to help at least a little.

diy button tree wall art, finished product, smartandsavvymom.comI am so lucky to have a school room where I can leave the kids in a quite place doing there homework while I deal with  my 2 younger kids that are too small for school yet. My 3 year old comes in for story time and a few songs but I don’t make her stay. I hope that the next place we live has a space where we can do this again.

It is so easy to let the kids stuff take over the whole house, and some days it does, but for the school room I need it to be neat and organized or I can’t think straight. I keep it cleaner than most places in my house, but I am not so strict about it that I lose my temper on the kids over it, luckily for me, it has a lock on the door (it is meant to be a bedroom) so sometimes when the kids get out of hand, just lock the door to keep everything in order. Don’t worry they have plenty of other places around here to play.

Do you have a space in your home that is dedicated to home school or homework? How do you have it decorated?

10 Ways to Save on Holiday Portraits & Cards

10 ways to save on holiday portraits and cardsI am so surprised at how many of my friends got professional photos done this holiday season. So many really amazing photos to look through, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you who have looked at the cost of having it done professionally and can’t figure how you are going to make that work here are a few tips to save money this year on your upcoming holiday photos and cards

  1. Save on clothing. We bought all the kids clothes second hand this year, but they looked like a million bucks. In my humble opinion. We spent a total of $30 on all the kids clothes, and they couldn’t have felt more beautiful, thank you Once Upon a Child. Also, the added benefit of being able to buy everyone their outfits in one shopping trip IMG_3027-002Side note: I was planning on having both my young daughters wear matching dresses, but at the last second my 3 year old’s identical dress went missing… I’m over it now.
  2. Save on Location. Of course doing your photos at your house is always free, but if you are going to go elsewhere to do your photos, remember that it doesn’t take as much as you’d think to make a beautiful background. A great looking tree, a colorful flowering bush, a lake front, a pond. Plus, travel time is killer on the children, so keeping it close to home is helpful with impatient little ones.
  3. Shop Around. I have seen local photographers doing holiday sessions complete with digital copies for only $60. I think that is ridiculously inexpensive for a photo session, seems like the average is somewhere around $400. Be sure to check out your photographers portfolio, sometimes you get what you pay for.
  4. Pre Plan what prints you will be getting. Knowing how many frames you are trying to fill will save you from any guess work and over ordering.
  5. Have Family Pay for “Extra” Prints. I know this seems iffy, but if you are as close to your family as I am, they won’t mind. I hardly do prints for the family anymore what with the digital age, but if and when I do, I like to offer my family a few select prints I think they will enjoy and then give them the option of ordering their own additional prints.
  6. Order your cards early. I almost never get it together to take advantage of this one, but when I do, I save big. If you are going to be sending out cards via postal mail, you are going to want to be able to get your photos done very early in December. Usually 2 to 3 weeks before the holiday you can get a 50% discount on most online photo sites. Don’t forget you need time to make them, order them to be shipped to your home, then you will need additional time to address them and send them out in time for them to arrive at the homes of your loved ones before Christmas.
  7. Do it Yourself. This may not be a possibility for many of you and I agree that not everyone can take an amazing photo, and there are a ton of benefits to having someone else take your photo, but when the dollars are scarce you will be surprised how well you can do yourself, especially with some natural lighting and some free editing software. We took the plunge and invested in some photography equipment a couple years ago after some dreadful portrait studio experiences and we have never regretted the investment. We have saved much more than we put out.
  8. Express Your Individuality. Now a days (with my friends at least) it is all the rage to make sure that everyone in your family photo is wearing the same one or two colors. I agree that looks great, but if you are trying to save money you will still look great if you do not match. Use what you have on hand, and save on the hassle of having to buy everyone new clothes.
  9. Match accessories. For winter photos, I love the look of having everyone in red and black hats or the like. Or everyone wears a colorful scarf, much less money than buying entire outfits again.
  10. Send your greetings over social media. I prefer to only send a few holiday cards to my out of state family members and close friends that I do not get to see all the time. People who I keep up with only on social media I figure wont mind if I send them holiday greetings that way as well. Plus what’s the point of spending a gazillion dollars on a card that is either going to end up in the trash or in a box in the attic somewhere? Everyone you know does not want to frame a picture of your family and hang it on their wall, and that is okay.

Closet Makeover Project

Before and after, closet, storage, office storage, hutchI couldn’t wait to share this closet make over that we did at our house yesterday. I was getting everything organized and ready for the new home-school school year at our house. This involved a lot of time in my office. Just kidding, I don’t have an office. I needed a quiet space where I could work away from the kids so I had no choice but to put the desk in my bedroom near a strange small closet. My room is big enough to fit the desk but the whole space leaves something to be desired. Doesn’t everyone want their work space to be beautiful.

Well while I was in and out of the closet, printing and laminating I had a Facebook friend post a closet project that she had worked on so I was inspired to change my ordinary closetBefore closet, before office storage

I bought some teal and white patterned contact paper from Amazon. Arrived in just 2 days with my Amazon Prime. It is so affordable. Came as a pack of 2 and I only needed 1 roll to finish this project! My hubby picked up the shelving supplies from a local home improvement store. We decided to just put the shelves in the same place. Even though the laminator probably needs less space, but now I can use it without taking it out of the closet.

I love, love, love it!  After closet project, after office storageI think that I will probably buy or make a few cute storage solutions for the few things tat are loose on the shelf (like the paper) I would like to do something with the index card holders, but so far I just am enjoying leaving the door open and staring at how much better it is.

Closet Makeover Ideas for my Girls

girls clost makeover idea boardWell I decided to switch my 5 year old from kids hangers to regular sized hangers. Since I am going to have to go through all of her clothes I decided to go ahead and try and reorganize the entire closet. so you know what that means… closet makeover! Right now my 5 year old shares a room and a closet with our 2 year old daughter. It’s a constant struggle to go through clothes and only keep things in the closet that actually fit so this will be a good opportunity to get things neat for once.

A girl is always is looking for an excuse to make something over right?I am going to go with pink and white, even though initially I wanted purple. The goal is for it to be neat and organized, but I would not mind if also looks girly and stylish at the same time.

Above I have some ideas of thing I want to incorporate into their new closet. We are going to buy them a new dresser so that my 3 year old son can have the one they are now using, as he is in need. I am going to add storage boxes and possibly some wall decals, maybe some canvas art plus slim line hangers. I do have a budget so that will be the final factor, but I think it will be great. Of course I have a million ideas, but what I can do inside my budget will be a different story.

I am excited. I am going to try and add things that can be changed later (much later) in case they grow out of wanting to have a super girly pink closet (but really who does that, right?)

Here’s a before pic.

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Save Money with
DIY Family Portraits
Part 1: The Benefits

I think we all know that taking a picture of your own family and developing them at your local super center will always cost less than taking your family to a professional portrait studio, but for me the photos never turned out as great as I had hoped and we always ended up in the studio.

Of course I have lots of photos I love from photo studios, but I always wanted the digital file, which meant a photo package, which meant $200. What a heartbreak, I have 3 little ones, ages 3 and younger and a lot of mile stones to photograph but not a fortune to do it with. .

So last year my husband bought me a digital SLR and I have not considered going back to a portrait studio since. The investment was steep at $600 but since I was spending over $400 a year on photo services it was definitely worth it.

Benefits:

  • Create photos on my own time. I don’t have to come in at a scheduled appointment, no big deal if my kids are sick or cranky we can just reschedule.
  • Potty breaks! – The bathroom is so far from the studio where we used to go, (oh a 2 minute walk, but it’s far for a 3 year old) taking my potty training daughter to a strange bathroom where she may or may not be able to go was insanity, now I can take as long as I want without having to worry about going over our appointment time, while others are waiting.
  • No Waiting Room – If you have little ones you know what an awful place this can be. No having to get my kids to the studio early and then waiting for our turn. No waiting after the appointment for our photos to be edited while trying to convince my 1, 2, and 3 year old to be patient (cause they are so good at it).
  • No Embarrassing Melt Downs – Now to be clear, there are still melt downs, I don’t know what it is about being 18 months that makes the kids in my family refuse to be photographed but at least when I do the photos myself there is not a photographer and a room full of people watching.
  • I OWN all the rights and all the files! No extra fees, no expiration dates, no reorder fees. No fine print they’re just mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!
  • I can do Sundays and Holidays – The family is already dressed up so I am a fan of taking an hour out of the day and taking portraits (although my children don’t always agree) after church or just before dinner.
  • Freedom and Flexibility – I could go on and on but the number one thing I enjoy about doing our pictures so far is how much more enjoyable it is. I have never enjoyed getting our pictures taken but suffered through it to preserve the memory. Now when I look back at our pictures I remember how much I enjoyed it, or what a beautiful day it was, or how we played on the swings, or saw a salamander by the lake (really happened). Plus the idea of being able to vary the backgrounds more than brown, white or black :)