Saturday, October 15, 2016

Recycled - Re-purposed: Making Wall Decor From An Old Fence

Three weeks ago we experienced a very real tornado. Although damage to our property was minimal, others who live less then 10 minutes away had major damage. 

Over the following week my husband repaired the broken fence. He asked me if we could use the salvageable pieces for a project. I had nothing in mind and shrugged my shoulders and responded with a "I don't know, maybe?" 

A week went by and while scrolling through Instagram I came upon a wooden wall decor piece with the words "gather" written across. I was inspired. I thought, "Oh yeah, we have some reclaimed wood lying around!" So I told the husband what I had in mind and he was game!

He found seven pieces of wood that would work perfectly for the project. He cut them to size and lightly sanded them. He used five boards for the front, alternating between the front and back sides. And he nailed two boards to the back to hold it all together. 

Now it was time for my part. I first tried free-handing the word "gather" across the board with a pencil and that was a bust! It was difficult to write on the distressed wood. So I practiced several times pretending to write the letters to get a good idea of exactly where I wanted them to fit. 

Now the leap of faith. I used Annie Sloan's Old White Chalk Paint to paint the letters on with a fine bristle brush. I took my time writing in cursive handwriting. I went over the lettering several times to make sure that it stood out. After it dried, I lightly hand sanded over the entire word "gather."

It was ready! My husband hung it up over the fireplace and now our dining room is ready for guests. Come and "Gather" with us sometime!

~Amanda Roesch

Monday, August 29, 2016

How I Made My Own Back To School Pictures

As the month of August rolls around parents are abuzz preparing to send their kids back to school. In my house, we do things just a bit different. We homeschool. This year we have a third grader, a second grader, and our youngest is just over two and a half. As each year passes, I watch my Facebook and Instagram blow up with "back to school" pictures. 

I love seeing my friends kids grow up and move on to the next grade. I like to see how others get creative with their pictures. This year I wanted to do the same for my kids. 

I contemplated how I was going to do this. I searched online and found printable templates that had the look I was going for. But they cost money. And I did not want to spend any more money than I had to. Being a homeschool family, school is already expensive on its own.

So what is a mom to do? Why create your own printable of course. With the the help of other tech savvy geniuses I was able to create a faux chalkboard printable for FREE! 

Here is how. I found a website,, that has several background options and filters, texts, frames, and effects.

PicMonkey allows you to customize your project. First, at the top of the website, I selected Design and chose the size 8 x 10. On the left hand side are tools for Text, Frames, Overlays, Textures, and Themes. Under Textures I found a chalkboard that I really liked. I added Text to my board and customized the font and color. 

Under Themes, I added crayons, glue bottles and other pictures for my back to school theme. I added Overlays to give my printable a finished look.

There are a lot of free options on PicMonkey but some features cost money. I just used the free ones. After I was finished I downloaded it and printed it on cardstock. I was really pleased on how my project turned out and couldn't wait to put it together. 

Now, I just needed an adorable frame to put the printables in. What's a thrifty mom to do? Why look around your house of course, see what you got. 

I found some old cheap frames that needed to be reloved. I took out the pictures and glass and headed down to my workspace.

I decided to use Annie Sloan Louis Blue chalk paint for this project. The paint went on smooth and dried fast. After two coats I was able to distress the edges with sandpaper and apply clear wax for a finished look. After a few hours of drying the frames were ready. 

I placed the printable in the frame. I didn't want glare from the glass in the pictures, but I needed the glass to fill in the empty space in the picture frame, so I placed the glass behind the printable.

Now the hard part.

Getting three children dressed and smiling... and sitting still for photographs. Is it possible?

Here are the results.  

Joy Roesch - Third Grade 2016-2017

Jonathan Roesch - Second Grade 2016-2017

Joshua Roesch - Two Years Old 

After several shots, three cranky children, and two stressed parents, my back to school picture project was complete. Thanks to my talented husband and his gift of photography, I was able to get these three pictures of my lovely children. 

Happy Back to School!