Cuteness for Every Season

I’ve been planning a seasonal collage of McKenzie for our hallway, and I’ve got 3 out of 4 photos now! I took the winter one today since we have some fresh snow. I think it’s so fun! Maybe I’ll start doing 1 every month so I can make a calendar next year. Just thought I’d share…I can’t wait to order the 8×10’s so her adorableness can adorn our hallway. It will be super-easy to replace one every 3 or 4 months, nothing too crazy. =) Any ideas for spring? I was thinking something with Tulips maybe…? Or maybe in a puddle? I’m sorta drawing a blank…

McKenzieCollageOh. And FYI: Netflix currently has Pocahontas, The Aristocats, and Fox & the Hound! Some of my favorite kids movies (thanks for the tip Jesse)! I LOVE the songs in Pocahontas.

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DIY Christmas Tree Preservative

christmastreeThere is something to be said about real trees…they’re unbeatable if you ask me. First, there’s the search for the perfect tree. Then, the decorating. And the smell…there’s just no comparison!

Unfortunately, there’s always the vacuuming. Urgh. BUT with the help of a simple recipe I found for a DIY Tree Preservative, you can extend the life & health of your tree by several weeks! It’s pretty easy, and with 3 simple ingredients (that you probably already have in your home) you can have it ready in no time. Ultimately, it will be wayyy cheaper than buying the store-bought kind. And for me, anything that minimizes vacuuming is a must.

You’ll need:

  • 1 quart warm water
  • ½ cup light corn syrup (nutrients)
  • 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach (prevents fungal & bacterial growth)

Instructions:

  • Simply mix the 3 ingredients and top-off your tree daily! It has definitely helped our tree so far. I highly recommend it!

Also, a special thank you to anyone who has pinned my Elf on the Shelf Mod-Tutuorial! And please be sure to “like” Life So Lovely on Facebook to receive updates of new posts. =)

“Elf on the Shelf” Mod in 6 Easy Steps

IMG_0318I was so excited to run out and get “Elf on the Shelf” this year, I knew McKenzie would love it. At $29.99 it was a little overpriced if you ask me…but I figured we will use it for several years, so I considered it an investment. We named him Edwin “Eddie” the Elf.

Initially, I was a little surprised that he wasn’t more pose-able…he kept falling off the shelves I would put him on, so I googled a quick solution: Elf on the Shelf Hack. You simply add some wires, velcro, and magnets! I ran to Michael’s craft store and bought the supplies right away. After the modifications, he can now bend, hang, and climb to his heart’s desire! And I even gave him little feet, ’cause I though he looked a little weird with stick legs. Anyhow…

You’ll need:

  • White velcro
  • 16 gauge wire (I found it at Michael’s in the bead aisle)
  • Magnets
  • Needle & white/red thread
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Pliers/wire cutter
  • Stitch ripper (I don’t have one, so I used a pin to pull out the stitches, then a scissors to cut them free)IMG_0288IMG_0272

Steps:

  1. Step 1: First, snip the thread connecting the hands. Then, gently rip 2 stitches from the end of your Elf’s hands…or enough to fit the wire. This was pretty easy and I didn’t have any issues. Start heating your glue gun for the velcro in Step 5.
  2. Step 2: Measure the wire to the size of his arm, adding about an inch so you can curl the wire ends over (you don’t want it to poke through!). Then measure another piece of equally sized wire and wind them together. This makes him/her stronger.IMG_0305IMG_0301
  3. Step 3: Fold the ends of the wire to the exact length of the arms, and insert the wire into your Elf’s arm. Be sure to get it all the way to the end. There are circular tubes in the arm…try to get the wire to go through them. It was tricky, but I managed after persistent wiggling. Then sew him up! (Be sure to use matching thread, and use whatever stitch you think looks best.)
  4. Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 with other arm & then the legs.IMG_0307IMG_0308
  5. Step 5: Next, you will add velcro to the bottom sides of your Elf’s hands. First, cut the pieces to size and use your glue gun to secure the velcro on both hands. This will make the elf easier to hang on things! (Be sure to use the different sides of velcro so they stick.) The velcro option is great…you can use it to have him display clever little notes! The possibilities are endless.IMG_0309
  6. Step 6: Get your magnets ready and cut velcro to size. Again, be sure to use opposite types of velcro. Also, ensure you are not using the sides of the magnets that stick together. I love the magnet option, because now he can “chill” on the refrigerator (get it? haha), but they’re still removable. That’s it! You’re done!IMG_0313

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    Now he has feet!

This project was super-simple. I have very little sewing experience, but I pulled it off just fine! Feel free to share with me if you do the project too, I can’t wait to see how yours will turn out! What a fun little tradition “Eddie” will be. =) Pin away, y’all! And be sure to “like” Life So Lovely on Facebook to receive updates of new posts in your newsfeed. ;) Oh, and I also did a pretty rad tutorial for a DIY Christmas Tree Preservative, or if you have younger kids check out my post on 10 Awesome Holiday Gift Ideas for Preschoolers/Kindergarteners.

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How to create a custom Facebook “cover photo.”

In my last post, I mentioned how I create custom Facebook “cover photos” for my photography clients. I’m going to give you the step-by-step that I use in Adobe Photoshop (CS5) if you’d like to create one for yourself! Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Find 4 vertically-oriented photos (or 1 horizontal, 2 vertical) that you feel reflect you, your family, or your interests!
  • Step 2: Open Adobe Photoshop. To begin, go to FILE>NEW.
  • Step 3: Name your new project, and set the width to 851 pixels, height to 315 pixels, and the resolution to 300 pixels/inch.
  • Step 4: Now you’re ready to insert the photos! FILE>PLACE. Hit enter (return) to place the photo. Repeat with the other 3 photos, and arrange as desired.
  • Step 5: If the photos don’t perfectly fill the new project, adjust some of the photos to make them wider. Do this by going to EDIT>FREE TRANSFORM. Transform 2 photos so it doesn’t distort the images too much. Once you have the photos properly placed and inserted, make sure you like how it looks! You’re done!
  • Step 6: FILE>SAVE AS…Now save wherever you want! Just be sure to save the format as .jpeg. Upload as your new FB Cover Photo, and voila! You’re done…wasn’t that easy?! Let me know how it works, or if you have any questions! =)

I had a great idea for my business!

So I started my photography business less than a year ago, and I currently provide my clients with digital copies of their photos. Frankly, it’s just easier for me right now. I’m still growing as a photographer, and I have a lot of room to expand price-wise as I develop a client-base.

Along those lines, I’m still experimenting with marketing techniques, and I primarily use Facebook and other online mediums. Facebook has been a huge help…word-of-mouth is essential in photography! The ability to “tag” clients in their photos and have all their friends see my work has really worked well.

I recently came up with the idea to create Facebook “Cover Photos” for my clients. They love it, and it gets my name out there. Here’s an example of one I created for myself. If you were a client, would you like this? If you’re a photographer, what do you use for marketing techniques? I welcome any input/advice!

 

Hey y’all, I learned how to curl my hair!

How sad am I? I’m 26-years-old and I’ve never known how to properly curl my hair. I always thought it wouldn’t curl because I have long, fine hair, but I found this tutorial which had some great tips!

And I recently bought a new ceramic curling iron for $19.99 (at Best Buy of all places)…it hadn’t occurred to me that my problem might be an old iron, but I was using a $10, 10-year-old iron. That probably didn’t help! My hair always went flat in minutes. Seriously. So between the new iron and the new technique, it really worked well and I was pretty pleased with the result (forgive the camera-phone pic).

In other news, there’s a lot going on in our lives right now that I’d love to discuss, but I just can’t yet. Have you ever been at a point in your life where there are SO many imminent changes, and you just don’t know where you’ll end up in 6 months? Even a year? That’s us right now.

My hubbs is graduating this December, and we originally had our hearts set on moving back to California  (Jon was stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA during his 4 years in the Marines). It’s the amazing weather! We planned on getting grown-up jobs and looking for a home and what-not, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to play out that way. And I’m being intentionally cryptic here…I’ll be happy to share our plans when they’re set in stone, but I don’t really want to jinx it right now! Big life changes though. *sigh* I wonder where we’ll be in a year! It’s both exciting and frustrating.

DIY Chalkboard Tutorial

A fellow photographer (Megan at Megan Ramminger Photography) used some chalkboards in a recent photoshoot…and it turned out so cute! So of course I had to give it a try…after all, “imitation is the ultimate form of flattery.” Or so they say.

Anyway, I can’t believe how incredibly simple and inexpensive this project was! For around $20 (and that’s very conservative) I was able to make 5 chalkboards (3 are pictured)…and I would have made more if I had more frames! There was plenty of chalkboard paint left. Here are the materials & steps:

MATERIALS: 

  • Wooden picture frames (I found these at Goodwill for $1.99 each)
  • Chalkboard paint (I got mine at Home Depot, $9.79)
  • Newspaper (to avoid a mess!)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Hammer
  • Nails (and maybe a pliers & screwdriver to remove staples from the frames.)

Step-by-step:

  1. Open backing and remove photos or pictures from frames. The ones pictured had staples in them, so I used a flat screwdriver to pry them up and pliers to get them out. Keep cardboard backing for later use.
  2. Carefully take out glass and set it on the newspaper…start painting the glass! Be sure you have adequate ventilation.
  3. Do 3 coats, let dry completely between coats.
  4. Once dry, place glass back in the frames, followed by the cardboard, and reattach backing. If the previous photo was held in by staples, use 4 small nails and hammer in securely (see photo below). Be careful, thinner frames might crack, so be very gentle!
  5. And you’re done! According to the paint can, let the paint set for 3 days and then your new chalkboard is ready! Condition the surface of the chalkboard before use by rubbing the entire surface with the side of a piece of chalk. This will provide the best erasability.

I plan on using these chalkboards for my photography business, but the possibilities are endless! I also made one for McKenzie’s room, which is larger. I plan on making another one for our kitchen, too! Do you have any other ideas for a chalkboard? Gook luck!