Category Archives: tips and tricks

Valentine’s Day Garland

Valentines Day Garland | Queen of Everything

Hey! I’ve got a quick little post for y’all today – a sentimental (to me) Valentine’s Day garland. 

I’ve had the idea in my head for a long time now – even making notes as I think about it – to type out the lyrics to certain songs in a pretty font and frame them. I finally did that. I thought about just framing those and being done with it, but that’s not very Valentine-y! We needed hearts and glitter! 

I typed out the lyrics to five songs that hold special meaning for me for various reasons, and printed them out. I didn’t print them out on regular old card stock, though – I printed them out on leftover paper from when I made our save-the-dates for our wedding over 10 years ago! I had to buy a whole ream of the silver, sparkly card stock, and of course I held onto what was left because it was so pretty. This was the perfect project for it. 

I picked out some red and pink polka dotted paper and cut 4 large hearts on my Silhouette. (PS: Painter’s tape works GREAT to hold down paper when your mat is not sticky anymore!) After that, I changed the size of the hearts on the Silhouette to be a little bit smaller, since these would be layered on top of the polka dot hearts. I cut a heart out of each sheet of song lyrics (I only ended up using 4 for this project). I almost stopped there, but I decided it needed something else.

I cut out 4 even smaller hearts of plain red cardstock. Next, I used a sponge brush to put Mod Podge around the edge of each lyric heart, and applied lots and lots of antique silver glitter (of course!). Yeah, that still wasn’t enough, so I covered each red heart with a thin layer of Mod Podge and sprinkled red glitter on all of them. 

I do love glitter, but I don’t LOVE glitter all over the house, so I sprayed the lyric hearts and red hearts with clear sealant spray to keep the glitter from continually spreading. Once that dried, it was time to assemble. 

I punched holes in the polka dotted hearts (I usually try to remember to do this in Silhouette and let it cut them, but I forgot this time), one on each side. I used a tape runner to attach the lyric hearts to the polka dot hearts. I put a line of tape on the backside of each red heart, and folded each one in half so it would stick out a little bit from the other hearts. Once the red hearts were attached, I strung red yarn through each hole and voila – a sentimental Valentine’s Day garland! The whole project took me less than an hour, and most of that was spent typing out the song lyrics. 

I saved y’all a bunch of time – if you like the songs I chose! I have provided the pdfs for download. Download, print them out, boom. (8.5×11) I also have a handy dandy Spotify playlist for you guys so you can listen to the songs that mean so much to me these days. If you don’t use Spotify, you should be – and they didn’t pay me to say that! 

Feels Like Home | Chantal Kreviazuk

How Long Will I Love You | Ellie Goulding

I Like To Be Myself When I’m With You | Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

Thinking Out Loud | Ed Sheeran

You and I |Ingrid Michaelson

 

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Stenciled Stepstool for Benjamin

* This post is sponsored by Michaels and DecoArt. The ideas and opinions are mine. * 

Inspire Someone Today | Queen of Everything

Graphic from the Rhonna Designs app.

Many years ago, I painted and decoupaged a stepstool for my oldest nephew. That thing has been well worth the time I spent on it, because he still uses it and loves it. Guys, those letters were cut by hand. I did not have a Silhouette at the time. That was a labor of love! 

Stepstool for Logan 2010 | Queen of Everything

When Logan’s little brother Benjamin came along in 2013, we could tell right off the bat that this child was going to be a little more daring than his older brother. Whereas Logan was cautious and not a risk-taker, Benjamin has kept all of us on our toes. He is into everything, ON everything, and I just hope that my sister and brother-in-law have excellent health insurance because I foresee many ER visits for this one! 

Handle Stool |  Michaels | Queen of Everything

Since Benjamin is not scared of anything, I decided that maybe his stepstool didn’t need to be *quite* as big and tall as Logan’s stepstool. Luckily, Michaels had one that was going to work out perfectly. I picked it up, along with some paint, stencils, and spray sealer and was on my way! 

Primed and Painted White | Queen of Everything I got it home, primed it, and painted it white. Once that dried, it was time for the fun part! 

Stencil Choices | Queen of Everything

I love both of these stencils, but ultimately I went with the houndstooth pattern for the stepstool. The diamonds were a little more “shabby chic” than I was going for. 

Stencil Applied to Stool | Queen of Everything

I used some repositionable spray adhesive to make the stencil lay flat on the top of the stool. I tried it without it, and I can now say that I absolutely do not recommend that! Just use the spray and thank me later.

Base Paint Over Stencil | Queen of Everything

I defer to my friend Lindsay on all things painting (have you seen this?? Even more amazing in person!), so of course her blog came through for me on advice on how to tackle this. I found this tutorial, and the takeaway from that was to put down a coat of the base color over the stencil. It forms a “wall” to keep paint from seeping underneath the stencil. Friends with blogs are handy to have around! So, I painted over the stencils with the white paint I used for the stool itself and let that dry. 

Painting In the Stencil | Queen of Everything

Extreme Close Up of Stencils | Queen of Everything

As you can see, I decided to go BOLD for this design. Benjamin is bold (oh, you have no idea how bold that child is) so he needed a stool to match his personality! This also happens to match his bathroom, so that was a factor as well. 

I used the cheapy sponge brushes (one for each color) to apply the paint. I buy those things in bulk! They are the best. I did not “brush” the paint on, I “dabbed” it on. The key is to not have a ton of paint on the sponge – brush it off until you think it’s too dry. If you have too much paint, it’s going to make a mess underneath the stencil. I found that brushing the paint on led to paint getting underneath the stencil, and I do not have time for that! I ended up doing two coats, because some colors really needed a second coat (mainly the darker colors). I took the stencil off while the paint was still drying. I did not want to take the chance on it getting stuck!

Triple Thick | DecoArt | Queen of Everything

Once the paint dried and I fixed the little mess-ups (everyone has them, no one is perfect!), I took the stool outside and sprayed it with this awesome Triple Thick Brilliant Gloss Glaze from DecoArt. I LOVE this stuff. It comes in a jar or a spray, and I’ve probably gone through two jars of it recently – I’m not even kidding. It’s my favorite sealer spray. I gave it three coats of this stuff, because Benjamin is only 20 months old and is not going to be gentle with this! I let it cure for 24 hours, just to be safe. I love that the Triple Thick actually brightens the colors once you spray it on – it really makes a big difference!

Finished Stepstool | Queen of Everything

Finished Stepstool | Queen of Everything

It turned out just like I wanted it to! Of course, I had to rush it over to get Benjamin’s approval ASAP:

Benjamin Climbing | Queen of Everything

Benjamin Smiling | Queen of Everything

(Sorry the pictures are blurry, but he never stops moving!) I think he loves it. I’m definitely glad I didn’t get him the bigger stepstool!

For the project, I used Americana Multi-Surface Paint – available at Michaels. Visit the DecoArt Multi-Surface website for more crafting ideas and inspiration! Everything for this project (except for the cutie nephew) can be found at Michaels – in store or online. 

In case you’re interested, these are the colors I used!

Americana Multi-Surface Paint Colors | Queen of Everything

(Iris, School Bus, Lipstick, Leprechaun, Blue Bird, Chartreuse, Night Sky, Poppy, and Deep Turquoise) 

* This post is sponsored by Michaels and DecoArt. The ideas and opinions are mine. * 

 

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Christmas Gift Guide for Men 2014

I asked my husband to come up with a general list of ideas for a Christmas gift guide for men, in all price ranges – he apparently had a blast, and now wants to be able to shoot fire out of his hands… so, here you go. Most of these are available through Amazon Prime (LIFESAVER) so you can have them before Christmas! *Some links are affiliate links*

Mens Gift Guide 2014 |  Queen of Everything

 

1. Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones  2. Cards Against Humanity  3. Timex Premium Original Men’s Watch  4. PYRO Fireshooter  5. Moleskine Classic Notebook  6. Chisel Dock (iPhone 6)  7. Dollar Shave Club (best $$ spent all year!)  8. Swiss + Tech Key Ring Multi-Function Tools  9. Sipping Stones  10. Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Sunglasses  11. Solid Cologne Collection  12. Stewart Stand RFID Blocking Stainless Steel Wallet  13. La Fenice 

*Some links are affiliate links*

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How To Be Nice on the Internet

Being nice on the internet | Queen of Everything

I know, I know. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? How to be nice on the internet? Really? 

Well, it’s been pretty rough in that arena lately. I haven’t personally been the victim of an internet meanie recently, but I’ve seen lots of it go down. And, because I’m a blogger, I mainly see it on blogs and social media (big shock, right?). 

Now, this is not to say that I’ve never been rude/snarky/tacky/mean on the internet, because that would be a big fat lie. In fact, I would venture to say that every single one of you has said something online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Right? I’ve done my fair share of it, but now I really make a concerted effort to be nice online – I try to go by the saying that was pounded into my thick skull by my parents throughout my childhood: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. It is more difficult than you think! We all slip sometimes. It’s normal. No one is perfect!

I used an adorable pic of my nephew to illustrate my point – I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the vast majority of us were raised to be nice to other people. We were taught manners. We were taught to ignore or walk away if someone wasn’t nice to us. Our family is already teaching those kinds of things to my nephew at just one year of age! Unfortunately, he will grow up in a world full of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. that most of us did not have to deal with until we were older. We will have to teach Benjamin how to handle the responsibility that those things bring. 

Yesterday, I witnessed a post on a Facebook group for a home/DIY website that grabbed my attention. This blogger that had been featured was being attacked – not because of her project, but complete strangers were attacking her parenting skills. Huh? How do you even think about saying someone is a bad parent from 3-4 sentences on a DIY project? It went on and on, and I have some friends that jumped in and defended the blogger. These people were jumping to conclusions about something as personal as parenting from a picture of a project that was meant to keep a child from ruining a TV. News flash: no matter how “well-trained” your kids are, they’re not perfect. It was appalling the way this woman was being attacked. 

Front view | Queen of Everything

I got ripped to shreds on this same Facebook group for *gasp* painting wood. It was my antique stereo that we refurbished and redid. They didn’t like the fact that I painted the wood (that’s kind of the running joke with most bloggers – “they’re gonna get you for painting that wood!”). They didn’t like the fact that I covered the speakers with new fabric. They didn’t like the paint color. They didn’t like the fabric I chose. You know what? I did it for ME. Not anyone else. ME. I have a fairly thick skin when it comes to this kind of stuff (no, it wasn’t always that way, but it comes with age in my case!) but not everyone does. I blew them off and moved on. 

Just today, someone used another blogger’s comments section as her own personal political platform. What she was saying had very little to do with the actual blog post, and it made several of us think that this person was just looking for a place to get people riled up. It worked. I definitely have my beliefs and views, but I try my best to keep them off of the blog. There is a time and place for everything, and I choose to keep my blog about what I want to keep it about. That’s another thing: it’s MY blog. I can write what I want. So can commenters! That’s the nice thing about living in the USA – freedom of speech. While I may not necessarily agree with everything you are saying, I am glad you have the opportunity to say it. So many other countries do not have that freedom. However, like I said, there is a time and place for everything and it just came across as a little bit hateful. 

That said – comment! If you don’t like something, that is fine. Tell us! BUT tell us why, and in a tactful way. We all learn from each other! My style is definitely not everyone’s style – I know that. We just like to hear from you. Period.

I like to think that the bloggers I know (in real life and online) stick together. We may not all love each other to pieces, but when it comes down to it – we’re going to stand up for each other. The DIY/Craft blogging community has honestly been nothing but helpful for the most part – everyone encourages each other, we help each other when we need it, and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. 95% of the time, we have nothing but nice comments and readers – but it’s that 5% that makes some of us want to take a step back. 

I know this has been a little bit preachy, but it’s been weighing on my mind. Have a great week and I PROMISE I will have something up this week. I’m working my fingers to the bone!

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How to go on a family vacation

How To Go On A Family Vacation and Still Love Them When It's Over.  

 I just returned home from a family vacation last night. We don’t go on big trips often, maybe once every 3-4 years, but we decided that this year was a vacation year. We started planning this trip around Thanksgiving, so it’s been in the works for a while (I’m a planner. I can’t help it). I thought it would be nice to 1) recap a little of my trip for you without boring you to death, and 2) give you some hints/tips/tricks that worked for us this time. As always, any and all suggestions are welcome in the comments! Vacations are NOT always easy.

Plan Ahead | Queen of Everything

I know, I know, Captain Obvious over here. My family was not completely set on the travel dates, which made it a bit easier when looking for a house to rent for the week. We were traveling from Texas to Colorado and knew we wanted to go sometime in the summer. We didn’t have too many schedule conflicts (luckily!), just a few swimming lessons/camps/blackout dates at work to work around. When trying to organize a trip for an entire family, you HAVE to plan ahead! 

Rent A Big House

As much as I love staying in (nice) hotels, when traveling with a group it isn’t always the smartest thing to do. For our past 4 vacations, we have rented a house for the duration using VRBO. We had 6 adults, 2 kids, and 1 infant with us for this trip so it was imperative that we find a house large enough for everyone to have their space. I spent hours (okay, maybe I just really like looking at other people’s houses too much) looking for the “perfect” house and narrowed it down for my dad. My siblings and I asked him to pay for the house in lieu of Christmas gifts last year, because none of us needed a thing. It worked out great – he chose one that was in his budget yet still large enough for all of us. We even had an extra bedroom after all was said and done! Any of us could easily “get away” for a little while as needed – and sometimes, it was needed. We didn’t have to wait for the showers (there were 4 bathrooms), there was plenty of room to sit (two living areas and two decks/patios), and it came with a fully stocked kitchen. It was pretty perfect. (If you ever need a vacation home rental near Durango, Colorado – let me know! The house was great!). I believe it cost around $250/night, which is a steal, when you think about how much 4 hotel rooms would have cost. 

Plan Your Meals | Queen of Everything

We aren’t rich. We can’t afford to eat out for every meal on vacation, and I don’t know many people that can. Another reason we rent a house (vs. staying in a hotel) is because they come with kitchens. Kitchens = meals. Now, we don’t do anything fancy for our vacation meals, but we don’t have hot dogs over the campfire every night either. My sister and I generally make a list of some easy meals, then make a grocery list and some kind of schedule, depending on what the plans are for the day. We always buy breakfast food because we eat breakfast at the house every day. We buy lunch/sandwich stuff because on most days, we stop and have a picnic. We buy lots of snack stuff because we do a lot of driving on most days, and it is easier (and healthier) to not have to stop at random gas stations for snacks. We kept a cooler in each car and refilled it with water, snacks, and ice every day. We also ate dinner at the house every night. I emailed the owner of the house and asked if there was a crock pot in the kitchen, and there was – so we made use of that for 2 of the nights. The house also had a grill, so we used that as well. 

Entertain the kids | Queen of Everything

We decided to make this vacation a road trip instead of flying to save some money. Road tripping has its advantages AND its disadvantages. We rented a large SUV and took my dad’s mid-size SUV. Yes, they are gas guzzlers, and no, it wasn’t cheap to keep gas in the cars – but it was less expensive than paying for plane tickets AND rental cars AND gas. It worked out great for our family. Since we had two 7 year olds and one 1 year old going, I decided to make each of them a road trip goodie bag. That will have to be a separate post, because I admit I got a little out of control with it and bought a TON of stuff for them. It was so worth it, though, and the older kids loved them. I’m sure my 1 year old nephew loved his too, but he couldn’t TELL me he loved it! Yes, we could have rented a 15 passenger van, but I don’t think I would feel safe in one of those on mountain roads – so we stuck with the 2 SUV decision and it was perfect.

Split the driving up | Queen of Everything

The drive from D/FW to Durango is about 13 hours (833 miles) if you drive straight through, don’t hit traffic, and don’t make any bathroom stops. Realistically, we knew we were looking at about a 15 hour drive each way. Now, if the only people on this trip were me and my husband, we would have driven straight through just to get there – but we had kids to contend with, so that was not going to happen. We drove about 500 miles the first day, and stopped in Santa Rosa, NM for the night. (The above picture is the Blue Hole, in Santa Rosa) The next day, we drove the remainder of the miles and got to the vacation house around 6:00 pm or so – we stopped in Taos, NM for an extended lunch/explore the town, so that took about 3 hours (which we factored in when deciding where to stop for the night). We had 3 hotel rooms, thanks to using loyalty points and Priceline! 4 hotel rooms would have been optimal, but it was fine since all we really did was sleep. On the way there, we ate dinner at a local restaurant. On the way home, we detoured through Santa Fe and ordered pizza once we got to the hotel in Santa Rosa. Since we took 2 vehicles, we were able to stop in Amarillo on the way home and see my husband’s mom and grandmother – they were thrilled. The car with the kids kept on going while we got to have a sit down lunch with his family. 

Plan Your Days Out | Queen of Everything

My family made SO much fun of me for “overplanning” this vacation – but by the end of it, they were all so thankful that I took the time to write out what we were doing every day. I probably spent way too much time on it, because I LOVE planning vacations, but it paid off in a big way. I knew we would basically be driving for 2 days each way, so I planned stops for lunch breaks in cities we would be passing through on each day of driving. The kids loved getting to check out a new playground in a new city! It took some thinking and lots of maps, but it was so worth it. I also knew that after driving for 2 days, it wouldn’t be good to do something that required a long car ride on our first full day in Colorado – so I didn’t plan anything too far away. The next 3 days were pretty full, and then our last full day we just took it easy and explored Durango on foot. I had my reasons for planning things the way I did, and it worked out very well for all of us!

Be Flexible | Queen of Everything

As much I stress the planning part of vacations, just know going into it that everything is not going to go according to plan. For instance, I got a migraine 2 days before we left, and was basically unable to get out of bed until about 10:00 pm the night before we left thanks to my migraine medication. I didn’t plan on spending the day before vacation in bed, but it couldn’t be helped. We had to miss an outdoor movie one night because the kids were exhausted. Yes, it would have been fun, but they needed some time to cool down – so we picked up some BBQ for dinner and played UNO together. One of the nights we were there, we were unable to have a fire in the fire pit for S’mores due to the wind. We made them in the microwave instead, and the kids were just as happy with that. Everyone will survive if plans change a little bit!

Take 2 Extra Days Off | Queen of Everything

At my former job, I had 6 weeks of paid time off every year. I never had to really “budget” my days off – in fact, I generally gave about 2-3 weeks BACK every year because I couldn’t take it all (I know, I know). However, at my new job, I have 2 weeks of vacation. As you can imagine, it hurt to use 5 days for this vacation! It really did. That’s why I cringed when I thought about what I had always done in the past – taking the day before we left off AND the day after we got back off. 7 days? More than half of my yearly vacation allowance? Am I crazy? It may mean having to really budget my other days off for the rest of the year, but I can tell you that FOR ME, it’s the smartest thing I could have done for myself. The day before I was down for the count with the migraine from hell and wouldn’t have been able to work anyway. The day after – I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” – yes, yes, YES. I needed that extra day to relax, enjoy some peace and quiet, unpack (ha), watch a little a lot of TV, and cuddle with my dogs that I missed like crazy. If you can swing taking those 2 extra days off, do it. 

Take A Friend | Queen of Everything

We decided to invite one of our lifelong family friends and her little boy to come with us on our vacation. She has always been like my dad’s third daughter, and her son is my nephew’s age. She wouldn’t have been able to do this on her own, so she came with us and made so many new memories with her son AND with us. I know that my nephew just loved having someone to play with and they really did keep each other entertained. Sure, there were times when we had to separate them (because really, two 7 year old boys aren’t going to get along all the time) but 95% of the time it was just great. I loved hearing the giggles and the talking about what we had done that day. I know that it was nice for our friend to “escape” for a while as well! Food/housing/gas for 2 more people was not even an issue because we already had everything figured out before we even invited her. I’m just glad she was able to go and bring her son! 

Don't go every year | Queen of Everything

As much as I love going on vacation with my family, it’s not necessary FOR US to do this every year. Like I said before, we try to do this every 3-4 years and that’s enough for us. Next year, I plan to use my vacation days for a trip alone with my husband and a conference or two. I feel like by NOT going every year with the whole family, everyone appreciates it more and looks forward to it! For your family, you might want to do this every year – every family is different – but it isn’t a huge thing for us. Now, that’s not to say we don’t do ANYTHING in between – we go on lots of little weekend trips that are closer to home and have a blast – but we don’t do full on vacations every year. 

Other Helpful Travel Posts | Queen of Everything

Since I’m a planning freak, you know good and well I went to blogs and Pinterest for help. Here are a few of the best posts I found throughout my planning! Maybe they will help you as much as they helped me. 

Charlotte @ Ciburbanity

Kimberly @ Stuffed Suitcase

KC Edventures

ParentDish

Pauline @ Lessons Learnt

YTravel

 

 

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$1 Chalkboard Countdown Frame

Chalkboard Countdown Frame | Queen of Everything

I’m sure you have all seen the square wooden frames at craft stores that sell for $1-$2, right? I buy them whenever I go to craft stores, because they can be used for quick gifts – and they’re cheap! I decided that as part of Project Road Trip, I would make a chalkboard countdown frame so I have a visual reminder of how many days are left before we go to Colorado. It took me about 20 minutes to make (not including drying time for the chalkboard paint), so it’s not a super involved project.

One dollar frame | Queen of Everything

The first thing I did was paint the frame with chalkboard paint. I had it out when I was painting the garage sale frame, so I grabbed one of my $1 frames and painted it in 2-3 minutes. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it – it was kind of a spur of the moment decision. Chalkboard paint dries fairly quickly, so I put a second coat on it the same night.

Fast forward to today. I was working on some other things when the idea came to me – I could turn it into a countdown frame! It could be a countdown to anything – vacation, Christmas, birthday, whatever. I picked a fun piece of cardstock for the background, and cut it into a 3.75×3.75 square using my Silhouette Cameo

Font choices | Queen of Everything

Font choice two | Queen of Everything

Then came the fun part. I have a bit of a font problem, so of course I had to try several different ones before I found one I loved. I will admit, that took a while, but that was all me – most people don’t/won’t be as picky about fonts as I am! Once I chose the font, I cut out the phrase “Days Until” on cardstock, making sure that it fit within the 3.75×3.75 square. I ran the letters through my trusty Xyron 1.5″ Create-A-Sticker (love that thing) and attached them to the square I had previously cut out. 

Final font choice | Queen of Everything

You know you have to “season” a chalkboard before you write on it, right? Well, all that involves is covering the chalkboard with chalk vertically, and then horizontally. Then you wipe it off with an eraser or soft cloth. I wiped mine off with a damp cloth, because I wanted the darker look (yeah, don’t think that made much of a difference). 

The next step was just filling in the days and what I was counting down to! I’m going to make one for my nephew, since he is getting very excited about our trip. He can use the chalkboard countdown frame for other things after vacation. I’m sure his next countdown will be for Christmas – he thinks ahead.

This turned out really cute and can be customized so many ways – paper, fonts, colored chalkboard paint… and it was so quick, easy, and cheap! 

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How to Make a Chalkboard Out of Any Framed Picture

How To Make a Chalkboard Out of Any Framed Picture | Queen of Everything My best friend loves to go to garage sales. I go with her when I’m in the mood (I will admit, I’m not always up for it), and she finds the best stuff for CHEAP. I spotted a large framed print at one, stepped around it, and moved on. She spotted it and told me I should get it. I thought the picture was ugly, didn’t need another big frame, and I didn’t have room for it on my walls. Why should I buy a garage sale frame? Well, I bought it for $8, and we went about our business.  Garage Sale Frame Before | Queen of Everything Once I got to thinking about it, I thought – hey, that’s kind of a cool looking frame. Hey, I’ve got tons of paint. Hey, I’ve got a bunch of chalkboard paint too. Ding ding ding – and I had a plan.  Maison Blanche Chloe | Queen of Everything I decided to try a Maison Blanche Paint Company color I’ve wanted to try for a long time – Chloe. It’s a fun, light lime green color and I knew it would be perfect for this project. I picked up a sample size pot for $10 and after 3 coats on the frame, I still have about half of it left! Totally worth it.  Garage Sale Frame 1st Coat | Queen of Everything I put on three coats of the Chloe paint, letting it dry between each coat. I didn’t really care about the paint getting on the glass, because that would be covered later. It looked good as it was, but once I waxed it, some of the metallic tones came out and it looked even better! I used Briwax (in clear) for this. Briwax is a little more difficult to work with than some of the other waxes I’ve used, but I used it because I wanted to see how it did on this particular piece. Ready to wax | Queen of Everything Now, I really didn’t mean to distress it at all – but 1) it just kind of happened, and 2) I’m glad I did. Once I saw how the wax was pulling up the paint, I may have pushed a little harder with the brush! I did tape off the glass because I did not want the wax to affect the chalkboard paint. Closeup of Distressing | Queen of Everything Once the wax had dried (I waited about 48 hours, partly to let it dry and partly because I was procrastinating), I took the tape off and got ready to turn this beast into a chalkboard. Ready for Chalkboard | Queen of Everything I put more tape down to guard the edges of the frame while I put the chalkboard paint on. I used a roller as opposed to a brush because I wanted it to be as smooth as possible.  Frog Tape Paint Can Opener | Queen of Everything (Off topic a little bit) – I received this in my Haven Conference swag bag last year, obviously from Frog Tape (one of the many awesome sponsors). I swear, this was one of the best things in the bag! I thought it was a paint can opener, so that’s what I used it for. It works great! No muss, no fuss. Easy as pie. Any more cliches? Well, I knew that wasn’t all it could do, so I got to googling and guess what? It’s a bottle opener. Frog Tape knows how to party (and so do Haven attendees)! This was so much better than using a screwdriver or one of the cruddy metal ones they give you at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Thanks Frog Tape!  Chalkboard 1st coat | Queen of Everything This picture was taken after the first coat. I did 2 coats of chalkboard paint and then went back and did a few touch ups. It covered great! Now I want to paint everything with chalkboard paint.  I did not wait until the chalkboard paint was dry to rip off the Frog Tape. I wasn’t sure how the chalkboard paint would stick to the glass in the first place, and didn’t want to chance it!  Finished Chalkboard | Queen of Everything (That spot on the right hand side is just wet chalkboard paint from a touch up!) I love this project. It was easy, fairly inexpensive, and fun. I’m so glad to know that I can paint chalkboard paint over glass – this opens up a whole new world for me! Every frame in my house better run and hide. I think I’m actually going to sell it because I have so many more projects in the pile, I’m not going to have room to put it on the wall! The frame is 29″x23″, and the chalkboard is 23″x17″ so it would be perfect for a menu board in a kitchen. I thought about cutting the word “MENU” out of vinyl on my Cameo, but decided to let the person that buys it customize it instead.  Have you painted anything with chalkboard paint? If so, what? 

House on the Way
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Mom’s Recipe Box: King Ranch Casserole

Mom's Recipe Box  Queen of Everything

My mom passed away when I was 12 after a long, LONG fight with cancer. I am the oldest of three kids, so I have memories and remember things that my brother and sister don’t. One of the things I have of my mom’s is her old recipe box. It is hideous. I’m pretty positive she painted it herself in a fit of crafting at some point. As ugly as it is, I will never, ever change it because it was hers. Inside that box is my childhood. Mom was kind of a health nut, but sometimes she just enjoyed comfort food and casseroles – especially King Ranch Casserole. That is the kind of food I remember having growing up, and to this day, I find my favorite comfort food recipes in her recipe box. It is one of my most treasured possessions – her handwriting, her notes on the cards – you can really “know” someone by looking at their recipe box! 

This was one of her favorite recipes, and we had it a lot growing up, because it is so easy and all of us liked it (no small feat in our family)! This is not a “new” or “secret” family recipe – I feel quite sure that most people have made/eaten a variation of this casserole. I’ve made it just like she did for so long, I keep the ingredients on hand at all times. I introduced my husband to it, and now he requests it quite often! Now, this is in no way healthy and I do not claim that it is. I am not a fan of “cream of” soups, but sometimes it is just a matter of convenience! I also think that this tastes even better the next day – it reheats very well. 

King Ranch Casserole
A Mexican casserole - perfect for any night you need a quick meal.
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Ingredients
  1. Shredded chicken, cooked and shredded/cubed (I use 2-3 chicken breasts)
  2. 12 corn tortillas
  3. 1 can Ro-tel
  4. 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  5. 1 can cream of chicken soup
  6. Chili powder
  7. 8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, Ro-tel, cream of mushroom soup, and cream of chicken soup. Stir until everything is combined.
  3. Cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan with tortillas. I generally rip mine in half and/or quarters - no good reason, it's just how I've always done it. Spoon half of the chicken mixture into the dish, spread to cover the tortillas. Put a second layer of tortillas on top of that, and spoon the remaining chicken mixture to cover that layer. Sprinkle with chili powder to taste. Cover top with shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Notes
  1. * Did you know that you can use your Kitchenaid mixer to shred chicken breasts? Just put a (cooked) chicken breast in the bowl, use the paddle attachment, and turn it on 1 or 2 for about 30 seconds or until it is shredded to your liking. Sometimes I cut them in half before doing this, but sometimes I don't - I've never had a problem either way. Just make sure you don't let it go for too long or you will have chicken mush. I learned that little tip from Pinterest a couple of years ago and it has been SO helpful!
  2. * This time, I used flour tortillas instead of corn and taco seasoning instead of chili powder. I prefer it this way, but my husband likes it the original way. Both taste great!
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Travel Jewelry Repair Kit Queen of Everything

Travel Jewelry Repair Kit

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Somehow, I have become the “craft how-to/jewelry repair” person at my office. I guess word spreads quickly, because it seems like I get an email, phone call, or visit almost daily from someone wondering how to make or fix something. Even my husband comes home from HIS job with questions from his co-workers. What the heck?

After another co-worker jewelry dilemma today (actually, this was a shoe with a beaded decoration on the top), I decided that I would just go ahead and put together a “travel jewelry repair kit” to keep at my desk for anyone that needed it. I’m sure you know that costume jewelry is very popular right now, and I’m sure you also know that it is fairly inexpensive. As a result of it being inexpensive, the quality generally isn’t all that great! However, I can’t make this stuff myself as cheap as I can buy it, so there you go.

I included a miniature tube of Super Glue, teeny tiny needles, and a couple of clamps. The Super Glue dries quickly, but you really don’t want to glue your fingers together – so that’s where the clamps come in. The teeny tiny needles are for stringing beads back together if necessary. I’ll be using all three of these components tomorrow when we set out to fix the broken shoe jewelry!

Costume Jewelry Repair  Queen of Everything

I purchased the Super Glue at Target (it came in a pack of 2 for about $3-4), the needles came from a craft store (cheap!), and the clamps are from Harbor Freight ($1.00 for 8!). This all fits in a snack size Ziploc baggie, so it doesn’t take up a lot of room. You just never know when you might need this kit!

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