Friday, April 26, 2013

DIY Photo Canvas (Great Gift For Mother's Day)

 I wanted to share this project with you well in advance, because this would make PERFECT Mother's Day Gifts. Actually, I think they would make a perfect gift for anytime. The beauty of this project is you can make it your own and do all sorts of embellishing...or none at all....with any kind of picture...B&W like I've done or color. Anything is a go. 
The basic materials you absolutely need: Home Inkjet Printer, Pre-stretched canvas 8X10 or smaller via Michael's on sale (I did several different sizes and depths), 8 1/2" X 11 Canvas Cloths (Office Depot-Under $20 for 10 sheets), Paper Trimmer, Mod Podge, Black Craft Paint (paint brush).
 First, after opening each canvas, paint the edges black. Don't worry about the front, the photo will cover that.
 While the paint is drying, print your selected pictures out on the canvas cloth. It runs through the printer just as good as paper. Tip: I did one print at a time to avoid jams in the printer. I know you can't tell in the picture, but the photos have the great texture of canvas vs. smooth/shiny like photo paper.
 Cut pictures down to the size of each canvas using the paper trimmer. Next, use Mod Podge to attach the photo to the canvas. Just spread a thin coat on the front (the part you didn't paint), it doesn't take much and be sure to smooth it out with your hands to avoid air bubbles.
 This next step is completely optional, but I think it gives the canvas a nice finished edge. I took a black ink pad (the type used for rubber stamping) and ran it along the edge of each gives it a nice soft, slightly distressed edge. Compare the edge above with the ones below....
 Once everything is dry, do a coat of Mod Podge over everything. This will seal and protect the paint, ink and canvas cloth.
 Another optional step is the embellishing. I did some subtle embellishing (especially for the boys) using supplies out of the craft closet to personalize each canvas...I used an initial on everyone's.
 You can do as little or as much as you'd like, completely up to you. The thicker ones are great shelf sitters or they can be hung too.
 I think the embellishing depends on the picture...if I were doing pictures of flowers, I probably would not embellish.
 I also did a little extra girly embellishing on my nieces canvas.

Whatever you decide to do, the recipient will be thrilled!

By Stephanie Lynn
I will talk to you when I get back from NC!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring Mantlescape 2013 (and other things)

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands. 
No? Me neither.
I'm not happy. No hand clapping here. I am so burdened with the recent events, how can one blog? When is the appropriate time, how much time should elapse...I haven't blogged in over 2 weeks, does that count? I'm not blogging about the tragedies, does that make me a bad person....that I like to hide my insecurities and bravely show the world my accomplishments? 
If you can call a mantlescape an accomplishment, that toys are not strewn about and dust bunnies are dethroned for the moment an accomplishment.
Believe me, I am praying and have a broken heart for my fellow Americans, and I am NOT part of the camp that maintains that if it didn't happen to me it didn't happen at all....I'm one of those people that have to be reminded to carry on. Lord, I could go from 9/11 through Newtown (and prior, I know) and discuss the effects but (and here I go again) since being diagnosed with a incurable disease, I know that you have to put one foot in front of the other and move forward because we have to learn from the mistakes....don't we? Yes. We have to sustain. Yes.
I've gotten hardly anything done on the kitchen project and I'm and not ashamed. Between chemo treatments, blood transfusions and of course recuperating, not to be confused with sleeping....I've been going to the movies and shopping for my booth. What really gets my goat is that I have not done any wreaths for my Etsy. That really ticks me off. Wreaths are one of my most favorite things to do!! I have not learned to balance it all and it is so frustrating.
I have had , for lack of better word, a blank mantle since Christmas-egad! Use to, I'd have changed it 3 times by since thinking about the the 'use-to's' in my life...this is the right now and present and I got a  mantlescape. Ta-da. I can still decorate, cancer has not taken that ability, thank God...It's not like I've got math to fall back on.... 

I found these beautiful peonies, silk, of course, and they inspired me....along with the brass findings. Will I ever buy new again? ;) The mirror never changes, that bugger is too heavy...but I did more of a collected look than my normal formula.

The turquoise vases, you remember those right? I had those in my bedroom and brought them back out....this time with no curly willow and flowers in one....I just left the lids on.
And books, I know, old school right? Been done a million times, but I'm getting such a nice collection of old books going and the mantle is certainly a place to showcase them. I love reading through them, if you are with me an Instagram, you saw a passage from  an old book, c.1935, called The Falmouth Survey of Professional Practices (oddly the Falmouth Institute is in Boston, Mass.). It discusses personalities in professional settings and the studies that go along with it...I found it very interesting. It has a list of introvert characteristics (among other things) and believe me, they haven't changed much...#13. The introvert daydreams a great deal. Truer words have...well, you know.
I don't know how I got off on that....accessories! Brass. A dirty word to me a few years ago.....although I was knee deep in it back in the 90's but somehow I became anti-brass....I suppose the ebb and flow of the design world....but now, I have no problem mixing metals...and old brass is what I'm gravitating towards. My MIL is still in shock, you have no idea how anti-brass I was....however, I still exhort that shiny stuff...I'm talking about the old worn, tarnished stuff that you find on the bottom shelf in the back of the antique mall. Case in point; that loverly brass tray: Hello! Little brass etched vases: How you doin'! Said in my best Joey voice.
The fuchsia peonies look fantastic in brass as well, and then of course you can't beat fuchsia and turquoise together.
Am I weary of orange yet? Nope, not yet, it's still a present color in the way of accessories and such. 
I found that graphic pillow at Big Lots. It does a great job of lightening up the charcoal fabric on the chair....not to mention speaks to the grey on the kitchen walls that are oh-so-close.
And straying away from the mantle for a moment, the coffee table....accessorized with a Threshold (Target) tray, a couple of books, coral and a brass shell that opens. Logan hides his candy in there. I've got to be a bad parent when the kids are hiding I wasn't going to find that.
That little butterfly specimen is vintage too and real, my MIL found it for me along with a couple of others. I really like that one, Lord knows how old it is. It reminds me of The Butterfly Place in Branson, anyone been there? They have a large population of Blue Morphs. Man, I am all over the place today.....

 I might change the curtains, or I might not...I honestly just didn't have the energy to change them to the springy ones I made last year...oh well.
I hope you've gotten a little inspiration for a mantle, I know most everyone has created a spring mantle...I'm late to the party. This will probably stay like this till summer. Speaking of summer, I am going home again this year, which I am really excited about. My nephew is graduating from East Carolina University( Go Pirates!) and I will not miss that! I have less than 20 days until I leave and I'm just hoping chemo doesn't screw things up. ;)

And speaking of chemo, I have that on Monday, so there will probably be radio silence for a while again. I want to talk to you again though, so we will chit-chat later. Just keep swimming!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Choosing My Attitude

As I write this, the year mark of chemotherapy has come and gone. I had some preconceived notion of how this new part of my life was going to that cancer has joined me again (uninvited, mind you), 6 months of chemo, tumors were going to vanish, I could proclaim "I'm cancer free!" and move on.....but it just isn't that cut and dry. Why on earth did I think it would be?
   Attitude is everything isn't it? Whatever we face in life from the big things (like cancer) or the little things (laundry-ha) attitude can really make a difference. I've been told how strong I am, and I often pause, because, I don't really don't think about it in terms like that....I don't think to myself; "Today, Michelle, we are going to be strong!"....I open my eyes each morning, and I am aware of the blessing that is. I opened my eyes this morning. I am alive another day...and go from there. :) I think a lot of it comes from my personality, easy going, flexible, laid-back..."Oh? We're going to change my regimen for the 4th time? K."

The drug that I am currently on bottoms out my white blood counts, so the doctor has changed my regimen again...chemo every other week with a Nuelasta shot the day after. So we will see how this goes.
I haven't blogged in a while and I would like to announce allllll the things I've done, but, quite frankly not much has been done. On a couple of days that I felt decent, I did do some leg work on figuring out what new counters I am going to select for The Kitchen Facelift: Phase 2. I also purchased some cabinetry (not all) to start that part. It is slow going...but I'm focusing on the going part not the slow part. See? All in the attitude ;)
Another ludicrous ER visit that I have to tell you about. I was innocently eating dinner one night, and because the chemo has weakened my teeth, I cracked a molar in half. Oh no, I think, dental work and chemotherapy is a big no-no (high risk of infection) I call the Dr. the next day, I get my blood checked, and he oks me to get the work done. I make an appointment with my dentist and we decide to extract the tooth. I get home after my appointment, everything had gone ok, then around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I start bleeding from the extraction site. I am changing gauze A LOT. I call the dentist and they tell me to hold ice water in my mouth to help the blood clot...I do this and it doesn't help at all. I will not gross you out with all the details...but we decide to go to the ER because I never stop bleeding. Fast forward to getting back home around 3 am (yes, I bled for a long time) and I am not home 15 minutes and I start bleeding again! I wait to see if it will stop again (another several hours) and it just won' to the ER again. As we are rolling into the ER, I check the gauze and I've stopped bleeding. We wait in the parking lot to see if it is going to start up again and it doesn't. We decide to call the cancer institute because my MIL is worried that I haven't eaten or drank anything that I'm dehydrated. They get me in right away and I get a bag of fluids and start feeling a tiny bit better. The bleeding has continued to hold off and we head back home and go to of the worst experiences. Ugh.
Fast forward to April 1st (just 4 days after the bleeding saga), I have an appointment to have chemo, guess what? Yep, you guessed it, my hemoglobin was too low to receive chemo. Ugh again. But it was all the blood loss from the tooth extraction (RBC's) not the WBC's as normal. So they send me over to the hospital to get a blood transfusion...which I have never had a transfusion I was a little nervous. It was a very slow process, I got 2 units of blood, and I finally made it home just in time for The Voice. ;) It was a long day. They told me I would start feeling better by today and since I am writing, I suppose I am...the house is still a wreck, but at least I'm awake.

On some much more exciting news...someone that wished to remain anonymous, bought this fantastic necklace for me! It is made by a gal that lives in Joplin (right by me). I first discovered her work at the 2 Friends & Junk Show that she had a booth at...she has an Etsy shop called Tarnished Charm. So somebody saw that I liked this necklace and had it sent to me. I can't believe how generous people are! Remember when a friend sent a juice book to me (Hi Susan!!)??? I am just so thankful to whomever got this for me...actually, it's killing me! I really want to know who it is!! Ha!

Isn't it just beautiful? Thank you to whoever sent this, I love it so much! (just leave your name in the comments, I won't tell anyone)

That is everything that has been going on with me lately. I have had a few meltdowns in between, but still trying to maintain a certain level of peace by choosing my attitude.
Thank you for sticking around with me. I hope it won't be too long before I'm back...we'll see what this new juice does for me! :)