Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beach Treasure Necklace

My boys have not always loved the beach.  In fact, it used to be torture to take them there.  They would get sand on themselves and then cry.  It would be hot, so they would cry.  Sand would get in their snack... and then they would cry.  Our maximum beach time was about an hour.  When they turned three, things started to get a little easier.  They suddenly wanted to go in the water.  They did not mind the sand stuck all over their little bodies.  They were having too much fun to notice the sand caked onto their hands and snacks as they ate.

Last weekend the boys woke me us up early.  They always wake up early, but this day particularly so.  They were bored and looking for messes to make and eager to wake their baby brother up.  So I decided to get them out of the house for a little while and take them over to the beach.   In between sand castle making and wave jumping, the boys were helping me collect shells for a decorating project.  One of the boys brought me a perfect, miniature shell.  I could use those for jewelry!  So we spent the rest of our time searching for the tiniest, most perfect shells we could find.
Rebecca Novotny Designs on Etsy

Later that night, I got to work on some new necklaces for my etsy shop.  Glass globe beads filled with the tiny seashells my sons and I collected, suspended from a sterling necklace.  I listed them for sale and sold my first one Sunday morning.  Here's to hoping for more sales and more mornings at the beach collecting shells with my boys!

Rebecca Novotny Designs on Etsy

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tutorial: How to Make a Handpainted Christmas Countdown! (Advent Calendar)

Every fall I find myself immersed deep in the world of Holiday crafting. A chalkboard Christmas countdown is a simple craft that even the beginner crafter can pull off successfully. The materials are pretty inexpensive and the project can be completed in just a few hours! I've decided to share a step-by-step for those of you DIY'ers who need a little help through your crafting.  And for those of you anti-crafters out there (don't worry, I know you exist...), you can head on over to my etsy shop to purchase one that I have already finished!

Materials needed:
wooden plaque (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc...)
black, white, red, green acrylic paints
chalkboard paint
flat paint brush
small, round paint brush

Optional materials:
painter's Tape (I used wavy Frogtape)
gel medium varnish/mod podge gloss finish

The first thing to do is to prepare your painting surface. Occasionally, the wood needs to be sanded down a bit to remove any rough parts on the surface. Next, I apply a coat of gesso to the front and back. Gesso helps to create a smooth, paint-able surface.

Next, paint the base coat. For this project my base stripe was white, so I painted white paint over the gesso surface. When the base coat is dry, you can start to apply your painter's tape. (If you are not using painter's tape, use a pencil to lightly draw your stripes across the surface.)

Once the tape has been applied smoothly, begin to paint the red stripes. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before removing your tape!
At this point, you can draw the oval that you will be painting with chalkboard paint. For mine, I cut an oval out of paper and traced it onto the board. Now, paint the area with two coats of chalkboard paint, allowing the first coat to dry before painting the second.

At this point, I painted the edges. First, paint the green stripe, being careful not to get paint on your freshly-painted striped surface. Lastly, paint the black stripe.

Now that the chalkboard paint has had time to dry, you can paint the border around it. I used a flat paintbrush to paint the alternating green and red stripes. Now it is time to paint the words onto your project. The easiest way for a beginner to paint letters is to print the words out from a computer and transfer them onto the board. You can do this using graphite paper, or by lightly shading the back of your paper with pencil and then tracing over the letters onto the board (I know you remember this from elementary school!) I painted my letters using a small, round paintbrush and black acrylic paint. Another option would be to draw them on using a black paint pen, or by using vinyl letter stickers. 

Last, I painted a clear coat of gloss over the entire sign, except for the chalkboard center. This just creates a seal, or top coat, over your painted project. It's not really necessary if you do not have the material, but the gloss will give your project a nice shine. *Note about using gloss: It will look white and milky when you paint it over your project. Don't panic! It will dry clear, I promise! You're done! 

Now, it is time to decide how to hang your project so that you can start counting down until Christmas!  There are a couple ways that you can do this.  One, is to add magnets to the back using a hot glue gun.  Then, you can hang your countdown on the refrigerator!
Another option is to add a claw tooth picture frame hanger on the back so that you can hang the plaque on the wall like a picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11.22.2011 Getting Artsy and Navarre Beach Children's Park

Today's adventure with the twins started with coloring, including coloring on our clothes and faces, and ended with a trip to the Navarre Beach Children's Park. The boys had a blast!

11.21.2011 Navarre Beach

Every day is an adventure <3