Easy Colorful DIY Framed Art

I’m constantly pinning new ideas for arts and crafts projects on Pinterest – especially ones to decorate my woefully under-decorated apartment. So, when I saw this example, I knew I had to try it.

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Easy Colorful DIY Framed Art

Supplies:

– Acrylic paint, assorted colors
– Paint brush(es)
– Posterboard or cardstock
– Large craft hole punch (at least 1 inch in diameter)
– Glue
– Frame and matte

Instructions:

1. I chose two colors to use, blue and teal. I painted strokes of each color on two different pieces of card stock, purposely attempting to make variations in how the paint looked on the page.

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2. Once the paint dried, I took the large whole punch (the one I have is Martha Stewart brand) and began punching holes and setting the circles aside.

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5. Next, arrange the punched out circles on the poster board. I purchased a large piece of poster board, cut it to fit the frame and then taped the matte to the poster board so that I could accurately place the circles.

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photo8 edit6. After laying out all of the circles in order to get the spacing right, glue each circle into place. And, voila – easy, colorful art!

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Life Lessons #16 – 20

It’s now March 23 and I’ve only got a few short days to provide you with 10 more valuable life lessons. Impossible? Not quite. Challenging? It’s starting to feel that way. Worth it? Absolutely.

(To be honest, I just spent the last hour crafting a well-thought out blog post, but in my attempt to save the post as I continued writing, I ended up deleting it 😦 As such, the lessons I’ll provide here will be short, but just as important and valuable as all the others.)

Life Lesson #16: Ask yourself is it worth it?

After crying to a friend about how so-and-so hardly noticed me and woe was me, my friend posed a simple question: Was it worth it? Was it worth it to like someone who didn’t like me and to be so upset about it? Probably not. What was the point in willingly putting myself in a situation that made me so unhappy? I learned that lesson early on in high school and it’s one that’s stuck with me for the past 8-9 years. And, don’t think it applies to things as superficial as having a silly crush at 16. It applies to anything and it applies to everything. If you find yourself in a situation that makes you unhappy, or that adds unnecessary stress to your life, or pushes you to your limits, as yourself if it’s worth it. Sometimes, the answer will be a clear and definite no. Nope – it’s definitely not worth it to be in this situation because I know this isn’t good for me. On the other hand, just because the situation is stressful or challenging doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. It just means you’re dealing with a difficult situation that you need to accomplish. You see, the question does more than just make you think about what you should or shouldn’t do. It helps to focus and think more clearly about whether or not it’s worth it to stay in this situation or if it’s better if we move on for now.

Life Lesson #17: Go back to the basics. 

What’s the magic word? I know you all know it.

As kids, we’re all taught to mind our manners: say “Please” when asking for something; thank someone when receiving something; ask people how they are; how the door for others; be kind to everyone; say “Excuse me” when you bump into someone or commit other social faux paus.

It’s simple: we were taught these lessons for a reason. They teach us how to respect others and how to show gratitude and compassion for our fellow human beings. We learn these manners at a young age, and yet somehow they are often forgotten as we grow up. Today, whenever someone thanks me for doing something for them, I’m often pleasantly surprised, but I shouldn’t be, should I? I almost think that these are things we should come to expect. These things aren’t hard and when we forget to them, we often make other people feel like we don’t care about them and like they’re taken for granted. So, go back to the basics – I know that it’s simple and it might not seem that important, but it can really make a difference to someone.

Life Lesson #18: If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your BS. – W.C. Fields

I’ll keep this one short. I often think about this in the context of giving a speech: If you can’t remember what you wrote for your speech, but know the general ideas, just go for it. You might not be able to get your ideas across as intended, but you may have a general idea. And if you don’t, perhaps you’ll talk in such a circular way that you’ll confuse them 😉

Life Lesson #19: Make the time for the people and things that are most important to you.

Whenever I make a short trip home, I always try to make time to spend with my mom, dad, and brother and I make sure that I spend time with all of our pets. If possible, I always try to see some of my closest friends and I always try to make time to go to mass. It’s often very difficult to accomplish these things because my trips home often only last 2-3 days and they are also usually filled with a number of appointments (i.e., doctors, car, etc.). It’s hard to fit everything, but I think it’s important that we try to make the time for the people and things that are important to us.  I think it helps people realize how much we care about them and it helps us to realize that we would want them to do the same thing if they were in our situation.

I also do have to mention that my group of friends from high school does an excellent job with this. For a few years after high school, we’d often meet up weekly or every couple weeks for some sort of shenanigans. I think it’s gotten a little more challenging as people have started moving out of the area, but we still have big events with everyone when we know most people will be around. Even though we’re all incredibly busy, we all still make the time for each other and these events are things that I look forward to year-round.

Life Lesson #20: Take the time to figure out what you want.

This lesson can apply to anything in life. Kind of seems like an understatement, doesn’t it? Take the time to figure out what you want – don’t let others, or even yourself, force you into make a decision before you’re ready. I often think about this lesson in the context of college. For many of us, for multiple reasons, we probably felt like we had to choose a major early on in college, perhaps before we were ready. Maybe we felt rushed. Maybe we felt pressure from our family or friends to make a certain decision in a timely manner. Whatever the reason may be, we shouldn’t make a decision before we’re ready. Take time to figure things out. Ask yourself what you want out of time. Don’t make a hasty decision only to realize too late that you’ve made the wrong choice. Give yourself the right figure out what you want and then make a decision.

Life Lesson #3: It’s a Small World After All

What do you get when you combine six degrees of separation with the song, “It’s a small world after all?” Well, fine readers, you get:

Life Lesson #3: It (really is) a small world after all!

Disney World – one of the most magical places on earth!

A place where kids beg their parents to go on vacation, where newlyweds spend their honeymoon, and where generations of families gather together to take in the magic found here.

There’s so much to see and explore between the various parks that it’s often hard to decide what to do first! Should I go to the Animal Kingdom and go on a safari ride?

Or, should I start with Epcot where I can travel to Italy, France, AND Morocco without ever leaving the park?

Maybe it’s better if I just start in Magic Kingdom, see a parade and some of my favorite Disney characters, ride some timeless Disney rides, and go from there?

Growing up, I was lucky enough to travel to Disney World twice- once with my family and once with my high school band. Both times were wonderful and I can safely say that I was never able to see or do everything that I wanted while I was there. I saw many parades, watched fireworks shows, took pictures with my favorite Disney characters, and rode many rides. Thinking about the rides, the ones that stick out the most to me are: Splash Mountain (awesome, but wet-clearly), Space Mountain (super fun), the Buzz Lightyear ride/game (I rocked that game), and the It’s a Small World After All ride.

If you’ve been to Disney World/Land (or even if you haven’t), you’re probably familiar with “It’s a small world after all.” If you’re not, here’s what you would experience if you were on this ride:

As a kid, I didn’t really understand or appreciate the meaning of the song or the excitement of the ride. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing all the different cultures and countries represented in the display…although, the song did get a little annoying after awhile. Nevertheless, I didn’t really see how everything was connected or realize how small of a world we actually live in.

 Now that I’m older and yes, even somewhat wiser, I’ve come to better understand how the song and ride is applicable in the real world.

Most of you may be familiar with the theory of six degrees of separation. It’s a theory that asserts that everyone in the world (yes, all 7.2 billion people) are connected to everyone else by six links or people.

Wow.

It’s such a crazy idea when you take a moment to think about it.

When I think of this theory, it’s hard not to imagine I’m back on that ride in Disney World. Is it possible that a girl from a  small town in Ohio can be connected to a random stranger half way across the country? It seems crazy and doubtful.

I’m not saying that I buy into this theory completely, but I can appreciate it in the context of realizing that it really is a small world after all. When you move to a new place, start a job in a city where you know no one, and are feeling completely alone – remember this.

Remember that we are all connected in some way, shape, or form. Maybe not by six people. Maybe it’s a connection through an activity that you participated in when you were in high school. Maybe it’s through a university you attended for undergrad. Or, maybe it really is by a person. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Finding those connections may not even be intentional. You may have to work to make those connections and to put the puzzle pieces together, but I have a feeling that if you look for it, you can find the link.

Here’s why: When my family was in Egypt when I was a baby, we were in the Cairo airport waiting for our flight. From across the airport, someone began frantically waving to my family. From what my parents tell me, they had no idea who this woman was or why she was trying to get their attention. As she approached them, she addressed them by their first names. My parents didn’t recognize her. At all. Literally. It was 2:00 am in an airport half-way across the country from our real home and here’s this woman who knows us. Apparently, she was the sister of the priest of our church in Ohio and had recognized us from a single mass when I was baptized. Connection number one.

In July, Joni and I (and Sarah, too, but she wasn’t there for this part) attended a bachelorette party in Cleveland. As Joni and I were riding in a taxi that evening, we began talking to our driver. We were talking about various topics, when it somehow came up that we had attended the same university for graduate school (not at the same time). It was so random to be riding in this taxi in Cleveland and accidentally find out that we had the same alma mater. Connection number two.

During my first year of grad school, my mom came to visit me. Naturally, this trip involved shopping because what mother-daughter trip doesn’t?! When she was there, we went to Sam’s Club. Shortly after we entered the store, we saw a man who was clearly a Coptic Orthodox priest. So, not to be too creepy or anything…my mom and I followed him and his family to the checkout lane…to talk to them. As we introduced ourselves to the family, we realized that he knew my uncle (who is a priest) who still lives in Egypt. Seriously? In a country with over 80 million people, how could be possibly know my uncle? What are the chances that when my mom and I serendipitously (is that a word?) ran into this family that we would be connected?

It’s a small world.

So, why am I telling you this? I think it’s as much for you as it is for me. I think it can help you realize that no matter how far you go from home that you’re not alone. You’re not disconnected. The connections are there, you just might have to look for them. You might think you know no one. You might think that there’s no one around who can possibly understand the uniqueness of where you came from. But, in some way, the connection is there. It may be unexpected and not in the way that you had anticipated, but I have confidence that you’ll figure it out.

Now, go forth and enjoy the ride! Find those connections.

Who knows, maybe you’ll discover how you’re connected to your favorite actor, musician, or politician!

Own Your Initial: DIY Framed Button Artwork

After 21 non-stop years of school, I’m used to being busy. So, it’s no surprise that my graduated and unemployed state this summer has left me a little bored. The problem with this is that I a) don’t handle boredom very well and b) discovered over those 21 years of school that the busier I am, the more I get accomplished. And I have a lot to get accomplished — namely job applications.

I’ve been doing pretty good on that front though. Unfortunately, however, you can only fill out so many job applications in one sitting, so I have to find other things to do with my time. Not to mention that any down time I do have leaves me feeling guilty and depressed about not having a job in the first place.

So, I’ve taken to other pursuits, like scouring Pinterest for ideas. One of my favorites on the site are the various examples of Button Artwork that are constantly floating around.

I tried this particular project out once already when I made one in the Spring for my cousin’s daughter. I was supposed to make one for her son — I had all the supplies and everything — but life (namely my Master’s thesis) got in the way and I never made it. Lucky for you though, I finally got around to finishing it and remembered to document the process!

What You’ll Need:

  • Buttons (color of your choice)
  • White cardstock
  • Hot glue gun (and hot glue sticks)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil (with eraser)
  • Photo frame — NOTE: Since the button art is not completely flat, you will need to choose a deeper frame that allows for more than a flat piece of paper to be placed inside.

Instructions:

Step 1:  Assemble your supplies. For this project, I used lime green buttons that I bought at Pat Catan’s. They were less than $5 and I have more than enough left over for another button-related project. I also used regular white cardstock as the backing. Finally, I bought a plain white 8″x10″ frame from IKEA.

Pat Catan’s sells assorted bags of buttons in various colors. In addition to green, they have pink, blue, teal, white/pearl, and more depending on availability.

Because this button art is for a child, I decided to use a white frame and white background.

Step 2: Plan out your artwork ahead of time — you don’t want to start gluing and have to start over because your artwork is crooked or doesn’t fit on the paper. Using a ruler and pencil, draw out the letter you are creating on the cardstock. Make sure it’s centered and looks even. Tip: place the cardstock in the frame for a second to make sure the letter looks okay.

I traced the letter P on the cardstock lightly in pencil. Later, I erased it slightly so that that pencil marks wouldn’t show through on the finished product.

Step 3: Spread out your buttons on the table and plug in the glue gun.

Step 4: Start arranging buttons on the letter you traced. Try to vary the sizes of the buttons as you go so that you have both bigger and smaller buttons next to each other. Since my buttons were not all the exact same shad of green, I also tried to avoid putting too many dark or light green buttons next to each other.

Before you start gluing, lay some of the buttons out to get an idea of how they look and fit next to one another.

Step 5: Start gluing! The letter that you traced on the paper is meant to be a general guide — don’t worry about going outside the lines slightly. Also, don’t worry about the gaps that will show through between the buttons. Later, you can go back and add a smaller second layer of buttons to cover some of the holes.

CAUTION: You will be handling a hot glue gun to secure the buttons to the cardstock. Be very careful as the glue is extremely hot and can burn you if it comes in contact with your skin. Please use extra caution when applying the hot glue to the buttons as they have a very small surface area.

Just have fun selecting and gluing the buttons — don’t worry about perfection!

Step 6: Once the letter is completely filled in, go back and place a few additional buttons in a “second layer” to cover any gaps that exist.  Don’t worry about covering all the gaps — the second layer can cover up any mistakes, globs of glue, or pencil marks as well. It also gives the project additional depth.

Here’s what the art work looks like after both the first and second button layers have been completed.

Step 7: After the artwork has dried and cooled completely, place it in the frame.

And you’re done!

The finished product!

Another, close up view, in the frame.

From start to finish, this project only took me about an hour and a half. Some letters may take longer than others.

I’d love to see your button artwork! Let me know if you attempt your own (or someone else’s) initial and definitely feel free to contact me with any questions!