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Terrifying Culinary Adventures

In the spirit of spring time, my brother and I decided to purchase Limited Edition Betty Crocker Watermelon cupcakes from Target since they were on clearance and Michael tends to be more bold with his food choices than I am. Back in the day when we lived with our parents we loved cooking late at night and watching reruns of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Ah summer break, remember how amazing that was? When will corporate America give adults a summer vacation?

Items you will need to make these strange cupcakes:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • A mixer
  • Large mixing bowl
  • A big spoon
  • Cupcake trays
  • Cupcakes liners

Michael set the oven to 350 degrees and placed cupcake liners in various lovely pastel colors in the cupcake trays, while I dumped all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then, he set the timer for 2 minutes while I stirred the batter with the mixer set to the medium setting. Next, we stood at the counter watching the cupcake mix change from white, to Barbie pink, and then to a dark coral which was both mesmerizing and creepy. Then, I carefully dropped this odd colored ooze into each cupcake tray with a giant spoon (since Michael explained he has never been sucessful in the past doing such endeavors). And lastly, he place the tray in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

While waiting for your cupcakes to bake, play music on your phone, and have a dance party. Michael and I listened to other albums from The Killers since it upsets him that I love Hot Fuss and ignore all of their other albums. (This part is totally optional)

Once the cupcakes were cooked and cooled, it was time to frost. Michael did most of the frosting while I sampled the watermelon frosting by itself and then ate a plain cupcake. (I’m a dip your toe in the water to gauge the temperature first, kind of gal)

Final verdict: Michael (who had to eat three before he could properly form an opinion) liked the cupcakes alot and hummed happily while eating them. His overall opinion is that they were good if you love watermelon but, are a bit too sweet for him. This is an aquired taste that he will only purchase once.

I liked the plain cupcake more than I thought I would. The batter tastes like the Funfetti ones with a hint of watermelon. The frosting on the other hand was nasty! It tasted like someone melted a bunch of watermelon Jolly Ranchers in a giant pot and added five cups of sugar. The sour fake watermelon flavoring asaulted my taste buds and left me regretting this purchase. (Good thing Michael bought it) Betty Crocker does make an orange sherbet cupcake mix with raspberry frosting that perhaps would be more my speed. What treats are you making on this Easter weekend?

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Sweet & Sour Valentines

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Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, I have a fun and easy project to express your true feelings. The hearts that say sweet sentiments are great for your significant other, mom, or favorite single friend. While the sour ones are perfect for those who loathe “Single Awareness Day” or just aren’t a fan of romance.

Items you will need to make these naughty and nice Valentines are the following:
Foam hearts in different colors & sizes (or make your own out of foam sheets)
Glue
Letters in the color of your choice
Hearts, unicorns, or Valentine related stickers (OPTIONAL)

I bought this make your own Valentines kit from Target because I’m a sucker for unicorns, but feel free to use any supplies you already have at home or check out any craft store for items you want to use.

To begin, decide what you want your valentines to say. Since the kit I bought already had pink and red hearts already made, I was ready to decorate, but if you have is foam sheets, cut out all of your hearts first. Next, plan out how the letters will be arranged and place them. Three different colors of letters came in the package, so I had lots of options to mix and match, but again this is completely up to you. Then, apply any additional decorations like mutiple layers of foam hearts, stickers, lace, ribbon, etc. And lastly share your handmade valentines with friends, family, and loves.

Phrases I used:
XOXO
Love You Madly
Forever Alone
Bite Me
Love Stinks
U Suck
Never
Hatred

Be creative and share your loving or sassy valentines!

What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

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A Time For Celebration

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May your holiday be filled with happiness and may 2015 be the best year yet!

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Frozen Inspired Christmas Decor

The holidays are quickly approaching so I thought I’d share a few ideas I’m trying this year. Frozen merchandise seems to be everywhere this season and while I love Olaf, Anna, and Elsa, I’m not exactly ready to have my entire house covered in items featuring their pictures. Instead I opted for light blue and silver accents that remind me of Elsa’s ice palace but are more traditional in style.

To make this wintry table display you will need the following:

  • A glass bowl or vase
  • Large light blue ornaments; some shiny and some matte (my blue and white patterned ones are from Garden Ridge)
  • Small silver ornaments; some shiny, some matte, and some glitter (mine are from Target)

To begin, clean your glass bowl or vase so your ornaments will sparkle once placed inside. Next, set a layer of the large, light blue ornaments in the bottom of your container alternating between the shiny and matte ones. Then, sprinkle in the smaller, silver ornaments varying the shiny, matte, and glitter ones. Continue layering the large and small ornaments until the bowl or vase is full. Lastly, place the bowl or vase wherever you need a little holiday cheer and enjoy.

To spruce up your cabinets for Christmas you will need the following:

  • Silver ribbon (from Walmart)
  • Tape (from Target)
  • Flat, glittery, blue, snow flake ornaments (from Target)

First, take your ribbon and measure how long it needs to be to cover the cabinet door (be sure to add a few inches). Next, thread the ribbon up through the first hole in the snowflake and then thread it down through the second hole. This way the ornament will stay in place on its own. Then, with the ornament attached, center the ribbon on the door, wrap the remainder of the ribbon on the back, and tape it into place. When you are finished, you will have decor that is quick, easy, and best of all can be removed when the holidays are over causing zero damage to your cabinets.

To create the hanging ornament display you will need the following:

  • Fishing wire (from Hobby Lobby)
  • Small, light blue ornaments of varying types (mine are from Target)
  • Scissors (I’ve had mine so long I don’t remember where they came from)

To begin, find a window you would like to decorate and decide where you will hang the fishing wire. An¬†already existing curtain rod will work, or in my case I choose to use the space at the top of my blinds. Next, measure out various lengths of fishing wire to hang your ornaments. I choose all different lengths to make the window look more interesting, eyeballing each one (feel free to measure for more precise lengths). After you have measured, cut, and hung each wire, carefully tie each ornament to the bottom with two knots. Alternate each type of ornament for more depth (I used glitter, shiny, then matte, but the choice is entirely up to you). I won’t lie, this project was very time consuming, but since it brings a smile to my face every time I enter my kitchen, it was well worth it. Just play some happy music or your favorite podcast while you work to help pass the time.

Some other quick ideas I have are:

  • Use snowflake cling-ons for your windows (from Target’s dollar section)
  • Add blue and silver garland (mine is from Target)
  • Find snowflake patterned, decorative boxes to stack (mine were a present from my Grandma a few years ago)
  • Decorate a blue tree with silver jingle bell ornaments (both are from Boarders – man I miss that book store! They closed in Missouri)

NOT A FAN OF BLUE AND SILVER? Use any colors and patterns you want for these projects and they will still be stylish and festive.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you try any one of these ideas be sure to send me a picture on Instagram at Sparkleandstars21.

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Five Minute Fall Art

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Today I’m going to show you a cheap and easy way to spruce up your fall decor using several items you already have at home. Let’s get started!

Items you will need to create this colorful leaf artwork:

  • Bag of loose, fake leaves (I got mine at the Dollar Store)
  • Black picture frame (I had four hanging in my hallway already)
  • Fall colored scrapbook or construction paper (Michaels)
  • Tape or spray adhesive (From my junk drawer)

To begin, open your bag of leaves and figure out the pattern you want to place them in. I choose a haphazard, more organic look with my leaves, but feel free to arrange them any way you like.

Next, remove the backing from your frame and remove whatever picture or artwork is currently occupying the frame. In my case it was some beautiful beach pictures I used as summer decor. Since my frames are just clear panes of glass, I can attach my leaves directly and not worry about an ugly frame back. However, if your frame is more traditional and has an unsightly brown back, I suggest using a piece of scrapbook paper in a fall color or colors as your background. Plain construction paper in red, yellow, or orange would work wonderful as well.

Measure and cut out your scrapbook or construction paper to fit the frame and you are ready to start applying the leaves. With the tape, pull off one piece and fold it into a loop with one end sticking to the other end, making sure the sticky side is facing outwards. Then, use the tape loop to attach the leaf to your background paper (or in my case, directly on the glass pane). You can opt for spray adhesive instead, but using tape allows you to make any adjustments to the pattern and gives you the option to remove the leaves later and use them for future projects. Continue rolling tape strips and applying the leaves in your desired pattern. Once finished put your frame back together and ta-da you have fabulous fall decor for a few dollars! ($1 in my case.)

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Sweet Treat Magnets

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Is your fridge looking a bit boring? Does your office memo board lack personality? Look no further than this quick and easy cupcake magnet DIY.

Items you will need to create these charming cupcake magnets are the following:
Bottle caps
Flat backed cupcake charms
Magnets
E6000 glue or a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks

I purchased all of these items from Hobby Lobby, but these materials can be found at any craft store.

First, take your bottle cap and flip it over with the ridges facing downward. Bottle caps come in many colors, I chose silver because they remind me of the baking tray liners that cupcakes are cooked in. Feel free to use whatever color you want, or for a more custom look, you can paint the bottle caps yourself.

Next, apply some E6000 glue or hot glue to the back of your magnet and press it to the center of the bottle cap. The magnets I purchased are strength 10 so they can hold any number of things on a fridge or magnetic board. Nothing is more disappointing than having a birthday card, note, or wedding invitation that you want to display and your magnets are too weak (first world problem I know).

Next, flip your bottle cap over so the ridges are facing upwards. Grab your flat backed charm, turn it over, and apply E6000 glue or hot glue. I found a pack of charms that has two different kinds of cupcakes. One is pink with vanilla icing and a cherry on top and the other is a purple cupcake with glittery lavender frosting. Again, you can pick any charms you wish for this project. Halloween or Fall themed charms would be super cute for this time of year.

Next, carefully find the center of the bottle cap and lightly press your charm in the middle. I used E6000 glue so I had some time to adjust my magnets and charms before they dried. Hot glue will work also, but dries quickly.

Once your glue dries, place your magnets on your fridge, file cabinet, or any other magnetic surface and hang your papers in style. For another look you can create the magnets by flipping the bottle cap the other way, but again I loved how cute the cupcakes looked inside the bottle caps.

Love these magnets, but not feeling crafty? You can purchase these magnets at my online store SparkleAndStars

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DIY Lollipop Charm Tree

In the spirit of summer, which sadly is almost over, I decided to create some fun candy inspired home decor.

Items you will need for the Lollipop Charm Tree:

  • Polymer Clay in the colors of your choice (Hobby Lobby)
  • Toothpicks (Wal-Mart)
  • Knife or Clay Blade (Hobby Lobby)
  • Clay Glaze (Hobby Lobby)
  • Eye Pins (Hobby Lobby)
  • Scissors
  • Fishing Wire (Wal-Mart)
  • Jewelry Tree (Pier 1)

Enjoy and Happy Crafting!!
If you make these lollipop charms or have another craft project you want to share, tweet me a picture @sparkleandstar.

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A Closet Worth Keeping Open

20140529-235024-85824241.jpgDo you open your closet every morning and feel stressed out or just plain depressed? Your outfits are hard to find, shoes are scattered on the floor in a pile, and who knows what pieces of clothing still fit? Well my friend, I have the solution for you. Here are 8 easy steps to transform your closet into a space you will love.

1. Empty your closet

This is the most important step of the organizing process because it allows you to really see everything you own. It is amazing how many items we like but forget to wear just because they are out of sight and out of mind. And I don’t know about you but I definitely had things stored in my closet that belonged elsewhere (more on that later).20140529-234723-85643119.jpg20140529-234724-85644143.jpg

2. Install Closet Organizers

If you don’t have built in storage already, I highly recommend purchasing closet organizers. The Container Store has amazing storage options if you don’t mind spending a pretty penny or Target has more affordable options. Since my home was built in the 1950’s this closet was the standard one rod and one shelf set up, so an organizer was a must. I purchased mine from Target. It was easy to install and does the job perfectly. I also had my handy husband create a shelf over the dress rod on the left hand side and put a small shelf over the skirt rack on the right hand side to optimize my space. While my dream closet would allow me to display everything I own (like a personal boutique), this organizer does the trick in the space I currently have. I also suggest buying hangers that are all the same color and style to make your closet look even nicer. I bought my velvet hangers from Target.

3. Sort Everything

Group everything together and organize them in color order. I used white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, brown, and black. Gather together all short sleeved tees, all jeans, all purses, all scarves, etc. This is a good way to see everything you have and will help you decide what kind of storage you will need. For instance I have TONS of purses so I decided to sort them into two separate containers; one for clutches and one for regular handbags.This also makes it easier to figure out what you want to give away.

4. Decide To Keep, Donate/Sell, Or Throw Away

There are many ways to make these decisions. Here are two that helped me the most. The first way I read in a magazine and thought it was pure genius. The article suggested to start by turning all of your hangers backwards; whenever you wear something, return it with the hanger facing the correct way. At the end of the year, discard whatever you haven’t worn (Unless it holds sentimental value like a wedding dress or your high school basketball jersey). The second way is to use a keep or toss quiz I found on Pinterest.

5. Move Items That Don’t Belong In Your Closet To The Correct Place

I had some heavy jackets that belong in my coat closet and some home decor items that belong in the basement with the rest of my collection, so those where the first objects I grabbed and put in there proper places after emptying my closet. Does anyone else rotate items in and out to keep from getting completely bored with their living space? I figure it is cheaper and easier than constantly repainting or renovating. I’m a Libra what can I say?

6. Hang The Newly Organized Clothes You Plan To Keep Back In The Closet

This part is completely up to you. Place clothes where it will make sense for you to find them. For instance I have sweaters and sleeveless tops on the same side of my closet because I wear them paired together so outfits are easier to plan this way. (I will give a complete break down of how I organized my entire closet at the end of this post.)

7. Decide What To Use Your Shelves For

The possibilities here are endless. You can use them for pants, heavier sweaters, to stand your purses upright, etc. I also bought some black canvas storage bins from Kohl’s in two different sizes to help keep items even more organized.

8. Add Accessories

Don’t be afraid to make your closet both beautiful and functional. For example, I am using one shelf as a vanity of sorts. I like to do my makeup standing up so I can dance to silly pop tunes while I beautify. So I dedicated one closet shelf to house my makeup kit and a pretty brush holder that I use for my lipsticks. This allows me easy access to my makeup and I can dance around guilt free because I won’t have a sad, neglected vanity taking up valuable space in my bedroom.

I also suggest displaying small artwork you find inspiring like my “Happy Girls Shine Brighter” canvas, some beautiful hat boxes that provide extra storage, and any small knickknacks that make you smile. This closet is your space, let your personality shine!

And now that your closet is finished marvel at your new space. From now on getting dressed in the morning will be a pleasant and stress free experience. And the best part? If you accidentally leave the door open you no longer have to be embarrassed by the mess or worry about monsters. No monster wants to hang out in a clean closet ūüėČ

My Closet Tour

20140529-234722-85642281.jpgThe Right Side

On the shelf I have a black canvas bin that houses bathing suits, cover ups, and sports bras. Next to that is my lovely metal Eiffel tower. On the rack I have long sleeved shirts and then dresses. And at the bottom of the closet I have a white laundry basket so I have no excuse for dirty clothes to be tossed on the floor.

The Middle

The very top of the shelves is much too high for me to use on a daily basis so I placed some fake pink flowers there for decoration. The first shelf houses a black canvas bin that holds all of my large handbags.  Ideally I would have loved to stand the purses up, but they are way too slouchy and hanging them up would take up far too much space. I love purses but, not enough to let them take over my whole closet. Next to the bin I have a pretty pink hatbox for additional storage (should I need some in the future).20140529-234718-85638991.jpg

The next shelf is another black canvas bin that I use to keep all of my hooded sweatshirts and yet another hatbox. The third shelf is the vanity area I spoke of earlier. And lastly I chose the bottom three shelves for my closed toe shoes. I used to keep them in the coat closet, but I realized I kept forgetting to wear some shoes I really love like my velvet purple ballet flats and my coral Steve Madden ones so these need to stay in my sight.20140529-234720-85640805.jpg

The Left Side

The top rack is my sweaters organized by color and size. I split them into short sleeved, 3/4 length sleeved, and then long sleeved. On the shelf below my sweaters I have clutches in the small canvas bin on the left and leggings, tights, and belts in the bin on the right. In middle I had a bit of space left over, so I choose to display an adorable unicorn snow globe. 20140529-234716-85636958.jpgAnd the lower rack holds my skirts and short sleeved dressy shirts. Any clothes I have not mentioned are stored in my dresser and my other shoes are in a flat, plastic bin that rolls right under my bed.20140529-234721-85641511.jpg

I hope you liked my closet organizing post and are working to create a closet you will love as well.

Stay tuned next time to learn how to make cute lollipop charms.

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Cute Yarn Critters

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While having a craft night with friends a few months back my sister and I discovered a spool animal kit at Barnes and Noble. The idea is to use a spool and knit strands you can use to create adorable little animals. While this is a lovely idea, the directions were very complicated and none of us could figure out how to properly use the spool contraption. So my sister and I decided to design our own method. Here for your reading pleasure is an easier way to create cute little yarn creatures without buying a whole kit.

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Items you will need to make these furry friends: (I bought everything from Michaels)

  • Yarn in whatever color you want
  • Foam eggs from the floral section
  • Pack of googly eyes
  • Colored foam sheets
  • Toothpicks
  • Chip clip
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Pom poms
  • Scissors

20140515-105959.jpgTo begin, decide what kind of animal you would like to make. Keep in mind the egg shape works better for dogs and cats than say a seahorse or a snake. For further inspiration I recommend using Google images of the animal so you can get all of the details correct. (This helped me a lot when I made a polar bear) First, I will show you how to make a basic spool animal and then I will build upon the lesson with instructions on how to create the more complex ones (like the penguin, fox, and polar bear). At the very bottom I will include a lazy version of this craft.

To create a basic animal (I will demonstrate here with a bunny) choose one color of yarn (for my rabbit I choose white). Next measure out how much yarn you will need based on the size of the foam egg. I never measure I always just guess and then add more if necessary just making sure to glue the new strand to the bottom of the animal so you don’t see the seam.

Cut your yarn into three identical pieces and tie the end with a knot. Next, attach the yarn to a chip clip and start braiding away. This is the most time consuming part so I recommend watching TV, chatting with friends, or listening to music (I jammed out to the Frozen soundtrack while I worked on mine, don’t judge).20140515-110013.jpg

Once you have finished your very long braid and tied the end to keep everything secured, you are ready for the hot glue stage. Heat up your hot glue gun and use this time to start thinking about what size googly eyes your animal should have and how you plan to make the other details.

20140515-110029.jpgWhen the glue gun is ready, dab a bit of hot glue on the very tip of your foam egg and carefully push the knot of your braid in place with a toothpick pressing down until the toothpick is stuck inside the egg. Then you are free to start wrapping the yarn braid around your egg. Be sure to glue every few moments and use a second toothpick to push the yarn strand into place. You want your wrapping to be as tight as possible so you don’t see the white egg underneath.20140515-110051.jpg20140515-110107.jpg

When you are finished with the entire egg you can start on the fun part…adding the details! I’ll admit every time I make a spool animal there is always a point in the project when I think My God this looks horrible and NOTHING like a bat, cat. etc.¬†but I promise by the time you are finished you will love it!

I recommend applying the googly eyes on your animal fist so you can better imagine how the face will look. Attach them with hot glue and from there you can decide the placement of the nose, mouth, teeth, etc. I always save the ears for last because those seem to be the hardest part to get right.

For my bunny I cut a cute little triangle nose out of pink foam and measured out some tiny pieces of gray yarn for whiskers. However, the more I stared at this critter the more I didn’t like it, so I wound up making the nose smaller and ditching the whiskers (see I told you I have my moments of I hate this). For a mouth you have a few options, you can use an upside down Y shape like I did on my red dog, a V shape like my husband did on his kangaroo, or a simple slit like I choose for the bunny, the choice is yours. Also, feel free to add a tongue or teeth to make this even more realistic.20140515-110127.jpg

Once your face is complete attach a tail (if your animal has one) to the back of your critter. Since I’m making a bunny I’m using a white pom pom, but you have lots of options. You can use foam like I did on the fox, a pipe cleaner like I did on the pig, or braid another length of yarn like I did on the cat.

Next, hot glue on the feet and/or wings. My bunny is getting four little white pom pom feet, but you can use pipe cleaners like I did on the penguin or foam like I did for the bat. My husband even used tiny clay flower pots for his awesome dinosaur, so let your creativity flow.

20140515-110204.jpgAnd lastly figure out the ears. I used extra braided yarn and shaped them into pointy stick up bunny ears, but I’m considering maybe creating another rabbit with lop ears and big teeth because those can be just as cute.

And BAM you have an adorable spool animal all your own! These are so fun to make I even got my brother and husband to make some critters.

20140515-110215.jpgA MORE COMPLICATED CRITTER

For animals that need multiple colors the steps stay the same, but you simply work with two colors. For instance with the cat, I measured how much of the little face would need to be white and braided and attached that much to the egg first. Then, I covered the rest of the egg with gray and completed the project the same way a basic animal is constructed.

For the polar bear and the dinosaur my husband and I cut one egg in half for the head, covered the entire thing in braided yarn and hot glued it to a second fully covered egg . Then you can continue the steps of a basic animal until your new furry friend is complete!

THE LAZY VERSION

By her third animal, my sister got tired of braiding so she devised a lazy, quicker way to make a spool animal. She simply skipped the braiding step and just hot glued single strands of yarn directly to the egg. (See my brother’s green monster pictured below for an example.) While I do admit this is faster and easier, it creates more opportunities to burn yourself and doesn’t look as polished, but again the choice is up to you.
20140515-105231.jpgHappy Crafting!!

Tune in next time for a closet organizing tutorial and make your space one you will be happy to see each morning!

 

 

 

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Bringing Home The Beach Part Three

 

I apologize for the slight delay with the final installment of “Bringing Home the Beach” a lightning storm fried my wi-fi router, so I had to take a break from the internet for a few days. This actually worked out perfectly because after visiting some friends in New York City I caught a horrible cold and needed some bed rest. ¬†Today I am feeling much better and am happy to announce the makeover of my guest bedroom is finally complete! Pictures of the room will be at the end of this blog post. In the meantime here are two more seaside crafts for your reading enjoyment.

20140505-084215.jpgItems you need to create this fun word artwork (the finished project with the optional step taken is pictured at the bottom of this post under the makeover reveal):

  • Burlap canvas (Michaels)
  • Foam letters (Hobby Lobby)
  • OPTIONAL – anchor iron on decals (Hobby Lobby)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks

To begin this project, decide what words you can spell out with your set of foam letters. I wanted each word to be all one color which was mighty difficult since some colors (blue and green) had more letters than other ones. Some of the colors didn’t even have all of the letters A through Z which was positively frustrating, but I made it work. Since my guest bedroom is decorated in an ocean theme I chose nautical words, but this would work for many projects.20140505-084145.jpg

For a bathroom you could use wash, brush, floss, soap, clean, etc. For a child’s bedroom you could have a space theme and spell planet, rocket, stars, galaxy, etc. This project is open for complete customization. Use whatever colors and words inspire you.20140505-084200.jpg

Once you have your words chosen, figure out the placement on your canvas. Again because this is a beach theme I chose burlap, but white canvas would do the trick as well. Next, remove the sticker backing and carefully adhere the letters. Lastly, (this part is optional) decide where you want the anchor decals to go and hot glue them in place. Then, hang on your wall and smile. I mean with all of these bright colors and positive words how could it not brighten your mood? Let me know if you decide to make new variations  I would love to see your creativity.20140505-084641.jpg

To make this charming lighthouse artwork you will need the following items:

  • Burlap canvas (Michaels)
  • Sand dollar, shell, and starfish stickers (Michaels)
  • 3D lighthouse sticker (Michaels)
  • Tape measure
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks

First, measure a boarder around the canvas. The size of the boarder is entirely up to you. You can create one around the whole canvas or make a frame around the lighthouse like I did. Next, plan out where each sticker will go on your boarder. Then, measure the center of the canvas and hot glue the 3D lighthouse sticker in place. Lastly, adhere all of the sand dollar, shell, and starfish stickers in position and you are done! You now have quick, easy, and stylish piece of art that would be perfect in any room.

And finally the moment you have been waiting for… the guest bedroom makeover reveal!

 

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Stay tuned next time for a tutorial on how to make adorable spool animals. I must warn you this project is highly addictive!20140505-083917.jpg

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