A Valentine’s Day Kinda Breakfast!

Not everything has to be chocolates and sweets on Valentine’s Day. How about a breakfast fit for a queen or king?! Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday, most of us should have time to sit down and enjoy a good breakfast before the day’s task. I’m a soccer for a good breakfast. I like to change it up and try new things, these are my favorite breakfast recipes and they go from healthy to plain all guilty pleasures! They are all easy and quick to make -that’s kind of a “must have” around here!- and they have direct links to their original sources, so check them out!


Coconut Flour Pancakes

Okay, so I’m really not into the whole “Paleo” thing, but I wanted to try a couple of recipes, specially something with “coconut flour”! I mean… you can’t go wrong with coconut! I used regular (not organic or grass fead) butter and coconut oil and the results were AMAZING! You got to try this!

Paleo “Oatmeal”

Seriously, we don’t do Paleo but they sure have some good healthy recipes! We go through a Quaker Oats BJ’s size box every two month or so, meaning we eat oatmeal almost every other day. Why not try something new?! This is an interesting recipe that I’ll admit is not for everyone, but if your loved one likes healthy eating you should try it. We didn’t like the version with bananas (No Eggs Version), but the Egg Version it’s good, of course I added some Cool Whip on top!

 Cream Cheese Pancakes

Now to the not so healthy breakfast… Both me and my little guy love packages, my husband not so much but he is officially outnumbered! You would think that these would be heavy since they have cream cheese, but surprisingly enough they are extremely light! I’m not sure calories wise but is one guilty pleasure you will be glad you’d tried, just go easy on the syrup!

Breakfast Bake

But of course you gotta have eggs! This recipe is bound to be a repeat in your house (if you like eggs that is), is extremely simple and it packs lots of flavor. You can prepare it the night before in about 10 to 15 minutes and bake it the next morning, it does need about one hour to bake though. Depending on your household, you might even have breakfast left for the next day. Whether for Valentines or Mother’s Day, this one is a keeper!

Guilty Pleasures

I’ll admit that I haven’t had a chance to try these next two, but they are on my list of recipes to make, and since chocolate is undoubtedly part of Valentine’s Day, why not?!


Or you can just make a good all Cup A Joe!

Here’s a video link on How to Pour A Heart on your coffee or latte, good luck!

See you next week!

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Good Ideas… Bad Ideas! 2

Feeling creative during this long winter?!

Here are some more tips and tricks for our Good Ideas, Bad Ideas Series!


#1 Printer Ink and Craft or Acrylic Paint

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Like I’ve mentioned before, there are several techniques that you can use when transferring images. You can check out my previous post: A Trip to the North Pole for more on this technique, but today I’ll be sharing with you some of the things I’ve learn along the way. Your printer ink might seem light and faded once transferred to your working surface, but don’t be mistaken, that puppy will show through paint!

Bad Idea: When it comes to correcting mistakes like a smudged blurry image, we tend to paint over the transferred image and start over. Unfortunately that doesn’t work as easily when your transfer method includes printer ink, the ink is designed to “repel or attract” it’s pigments in order to create it’s coating, big words?! It simply means that even when you try to paint over to cover your mistakes, it will literally fight trough the paint and show trough. This makes it difficult to paint over transferred images, specially when using light color paints. You have to make sure you nail the transferring process the first time or you will have a little trouble trying to cover it up.

Good Idea: This only concerns you if you are using light color paints underneath your transferred image (whites, ivory, beige, light grays, etc). In reality, it really makes no difference whether your paint is opaque or translucent, if it’s light and you try to paint over it, it will show through.

There are simple solutions to this problem:

  1. You can use darker paints to cover up the area -but you must consider that if you are planing on re-applying the image, it might not be as noticeable.
  2. When using no paint at all under your image; try to wash/brush away the ink, don’t scrub hard though, you might damage your surface. You will need to let it dry overnight before applying it again. Depending on your working surface, this step wont always work, but if your are working on wood the washed out ink will definitely give your piece a unique look! Try using water first, if that doesn’t work use alcohol or paint thinner, avoid acetone as it will make your wood repel future paint.
  3. If you are using light colors, don’t panic, you are just going to have to paint over it several times. Just let the paint dry before adding more layers. It will take multiple coats if you are trying to completely cover the area, but you might not need so many paint layers if you are re-applying the image in the same area. The only problem you will find when using this technique is that it will cover up all your natural wood texture. Your solution is to create new texture using a dry brush technique over your painted surface once it’s dry, and before re-applying your image.

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    byLisandra

  4. Your last and first solution here is: nail it the first time! Make sure not to move your transferring source once laid on top of your working area, make sure your image is clear before placing it, and remove it carefully. Let it dry fully before working on surface and you should be ok.

#2 Mod Podge Coating

Mod Podge is a world on it’s own! If you are unsure of it’s many uses, just check out their Mod Podge Catalog and be amazed! No matter the nature of your project, using Mod Podge is fairly simple, the key lies in finding the right Mod Podge for your project -since they don’t all work the same.

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Just to name a few!

Bad Idea / Good Idea: Your application method will determine the success of your final project, this is true whether you are using Mod Podge or any sort of paint.

  • If you are looking for a SMOOTH EVEN end result, avoid the use of any brush or sponges. Smooth finishes are best achieved by just poring large amounts over your project and moving it around until it fully covers it, then let it drip down to dry. tinted jar 3
  • STREAKS give your project a more modern feel. To achieve this, you most use a brush or a sponge. Avoid dabbing if your using a sponge. Long fluid hand movements work best, always use the same direction of you are looking for clean streaks. candle 6
  • GRAINY/SPOTTY TEXTURE is easy to achieve, just dab away and cover all areas. The less glue (or paint) you use, the grainier it will look. 104588-847x567-Technique7
  • If you are going for a GLITTER/SHIMMER LOOKI suggest just using the Drip down method for an even, streak free cover. glitter_jars2

The key here is to remember that everything shows through once the glue has dried. Mod Podge is not a paint medium, it can be use as one in many projects but it is not Gesso.

  • WATER/FLOATING EFFECT   I saw this project on Pinterest and I fell in love with it’s elegant simplicity, it was perfect for my Glass Makeover series.

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Since I wanted to create variety among my glassware, I decided to try this on a regular -no color- Floating Candle Glass Bowl I had. I did as the instructions said, but I wasn’t quite happy with my results; my simple changes made a big difference between what it should’ve looked like and what it looks like!

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First Mistake: Color. It doesn’t look as cute in clear glass.

Second Mistake: Big open surface to cover. In a small color vase this looks beautiful, but when you have to cover a large glass area, glue streaks are hard to miss.

I wouldn’t scratch out this simple DIY project at all, it looks beautiful and it would make for stunning mason jar centerpieces at any wedding or party! Just remember to use this technique in small areas or closed containers rather than open or large areas. If you don’t like your end results you can easily peal the glue off. I’m still debating whether to do that or make something out of my mishap, it does look good from far but not up close, I will let you know if I come up with something!

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byLisandra


#3 Using stencils

Now a days there are stencils for pretty much everything. If you can’t find what you are looking for, making a stencil is pretty simple, though it might be time consuming depending on your design. Using stencils is no rocket science, that is until you are in the middle of a project and you can’t seem to get a clear image out of your stencil! Here are some tips to help you do it quick, do it right, and do it once!

Bad Ideas / Good Ideas

  1. Use a sponge or a stencil brush (not all brushes are the same).
  2. Don’t load you sponge/brush with paint. A soaked sponge/brush will not result in sharp crisp edges. This is one of those cases where less is more.
  3. Expensive sponges don’t always give you the best results. Dollar store sponges (make up or cleaning ones) are as good as “Martha Stewart’s Craft Sponges”. The smaller the pores are, the less grainy your paint will look. 033572319256_503192500_lgSEASPONGE_OUT
  4. When using thin, paper like stencils, never leave the stencil on your surface in hopes to remove it once the paint is dry. Chances are the paint will tear off of along with your stencil.
  5. The less details your stencil has, the better the image will look. You can always hand paint smaller details after the paint has dried.

I hope these help on your next project!

For more details check out my Techniques Pinterest Board.

Have a great week!

Ten Minutes Camera Fixes!

I recently came to a rude awakening when my Samsung Galaxy pictures, where simply put: not enough. I do own a DLSR camera but with my little one always on the move, it became easy just to carry my phone on my back pocket. Now I realize the effect of my “lazy/comfortableness” and I’m back to using my DLSR. The problem was that I needed something more “mommy friendly” to carry my camera when alone with my bundle of energy! My awesome camera backpack is just a little too much when carrying a diaper backpack also! There are tons of choices for camera bags at all sorts of prices, but I needed one for our trip to the local fair on Sunday morning and it was Saturday afternoon; a little late to go shopping. I resorted to finding something at home that I could re-use as a camera bag. The must have list was: it had to be super sturdy, small, easy to open, carry and handle, plus it had to be waterproof. Too much to ask for huh?! Not really! As it turns out I found the perfect fit on a lunch box I had purchased in Walmart about 5 years ago!

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Of course it needed some touch ups, but it took me ten minutes to fix it up and it cost me absolutely nothing! The hard liner is like a very hard toss proof Tupperware you can remove from the bag itself. I found a black t-shirt on a bag of clothes we where taking to Goodwill and used it to cover the liner. I used E6000 glue (but any permanent fast dry glue will do) to make sure the fabric would stay in place.

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Once it was dry I re-used a long strap I had from an old bag and I was done! It has plenty of space for my DLSR plus two lenses, the black lining makes it look like an actual camera bag, plus I have an extra front pocket to carry my keys and cellphone! It was a quick fix that came in very handy; easy to carry and I didn’t have to spend any money.

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Camera Strap

Now I didn’t get a chance to do this before our trip to the Fair because I didn’t have any leather at home, but after a photo-shoot on Tuesday morning I decided I’d had enough with my camera’s uncomfortable strap. If I’m carrying this puppy around like I should, I’m going to be comfortable! I saw this awesome Scarf Camera Strap in Etsy that I instantly fell in love with, but when I went to buy it, it turns out it was sold out. I’m not one for flowery designs so I was a little disappointed, then I realized I could probably do it with one of my own scarfs! All I needed was a piece of leather or suede for the ends and some hooks, off I went to JoAnn Fabric Store. To tell you the truth I personally don’t like leather, so I was open to a soft strong suede fabric which I didn’t find, but the great thing about being in the right store is that if you look hard enough you’ll find what you are looking for, even if you don’t know what it is! I found some Suede Cowhide Elbow Patches that were perfect: soft, strong and big enough for my needs! They were a little pricey at $9.99 for a pack of two, but after using a 50% off coupon, $4.99 was just the right price! When it comes to hooks you can take your pick, metal or plastic they average about $3.50 a piece.

diagnl-ninja-strapNow, camera straps usually come with an adjustable part at the end, I chose to omit that. Why? Well, the strap is for my personal use and I know what length is comfortable for me. If you happen to want to do this, you can add the adjustable part by removing it from your old strap, or you can just make it “One size fits all” like mine. You’ll need a sewing machine with a strong needle and thread, sew slowly if you are afraid your needle might break.

This makes for a great gift for any photography lovers out there; man or female. Chances are your photographer has a set length they like to use for their cameras, use a tape measure when they are not looking and make a “One Size” for them or for your self! Better yet, make them a knitted one, just make sure it’s a soft breathable fabric or thread.  For less than $10, I am happy and comfortable with my new strap!

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Lens Cover

41Vb4QAloYLA while back, I had purchased a 18-55mm lens on Amazon for a really great price, but unfortunately it came without a lens cover. No biggy, I could probably figure something out… but I forgot about it completely until Saturday night and I was using the camera Sunday morning! The joys of procrastination! I looked all over the house and since my other lens cover didn’t fit this one, I search for something that I could use to protect my lens while walking around. Thank God for Play-Doh! The Play-Doh plastic cover fit perfectly, I used the soft part of a Velcro strap to wrap around the camera and glued a small square piece of the rough Velcro part on the Play-Doh cover, wallah! Not the most professional thing to use, but definitely a last minute life saver!

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Here are some pictures  of our trip to the Fair!

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See you next week!

Good Ideas… Bad Ideas!

With so many DIY ideas and projects we find ourselves totally inspired to get our hands dirty! Unfortunately, we often find ourselves frustrated wondering what we did wrong and why it doesn’t look like the one on the picture! I’m here to tell you that in crafting and DIY projects, sometimes things can be too good to be true! I’ve had my share of “mishaps” (if you can call them that, because technically I was following instructions!) and I will be sharing them with you under a new Category Called: Good Ideas… Bad Ideas! That way you won’t waste your time and your supplies, because there is nothing more upsetting than wasting perfectly good supplies!

If you analyze these, you’ll probably share the thought of “I could’ve told you that!” (no worries, I do it to myself all the time!) but truth be told, even the most experienced crafters might not think of these little/big details, only because they are not mentioned on the instructions. We are always so eager to get started we just don’t stop and think! Is as simple as that! But sometimes, not thinking can cause you!


#1 Cork & Hot Glue 

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DIY wine cork projects can be found left and right on the web, I personally love them! You can do anything with them once you master the art of cutting them. They are extremely versatile, they can hold and withstand water, cold and heat pretty well, making them great for almost any household DIY project.

Bad Idea: Cork surfaces can hold heat so well, that your hot glue will take longer to dry and remain extremely hot and liquid for longer than expected! The wonderful thing about hot glue is that it dries almost instantly allowing you to work at a fast speed. Caution, when working with cork and hot glue you can’t work at a fast speed because you’ll find yourself with a VERY HOT LIQUID glue that drips like water and can cause you a 3rd Degree Burn (…and that my friends HURTS! ).

Good Idea: The key here is to take your time, or use a different adhesive method, which ever you prefer. Cold glue guns will dry before you can really use them so they are not good for cork surfaces. Hot glue guns will work great, just be careful and remember to wait until your glue is completely dry before moving your object to avoid a burn.

#2 Elmer’s Glue on Canvas

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When you search on Pinterest  for this, you will be amazed as to how many things you can “do”, but look carefully. The search pulls up much more than just “Elmer’s Glue on Canvas” and if you are not careful you’ll end up with very disappointing results.

Bad Idea: Before you use “school glue” for any project, remember that it is meant for paper, it’s washable and it dries flat! Yes, it dries flat, and it is exactly why using “school glue” for the purpose of creating visible texture on a canvas is not such a good idea. You might have a “slight elevation” but to be honest, it is barely noticeable unless you are very close to the canvas. Not to mention that if you are planning on painting over the glued surface, depending on the quality of your canvas, the glue might peal off.

Good Idea: The idea behind this technique is a good one, just switch “school glue” for puffy paint. You can find puffy paint in almost all stores at reasonable prices. It is mostly washable and it’s easy to work with, if you don’t like the results you can easily peal it off the canvas once it dries. While you can willingly peal it off, it can also handle painting over without pealing! This was the original thought behind this technique, the “Elmer’s glue” must have been someones idea of ineffectively cutting corners.

Another approach to this technique is writing/drawing with a hot glue gun, it will dry quicker but is less forgiving as it can damage your canvas if you decide to peal it off and try again. It honestly depends on the quality of your canvas and your glue.

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#3 Chalk Paint

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Chalk paint can give your craft or DIY project a very unique touch and feel. There are three different kinds of chalk paints: furniture chalk paint, crafts chalk paint and chalkboard paint.

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There is really no difference between the first two, in most cases you can use it for both crafts and furniture even if it’s not specified on the label. Just keep in mind that it is a very thick paint unlike your ordinary craft paints. Chalkboard paint is meant for any surface you want to use a a chalkboard itself, it makes it easier to write, erase and re-write!

Bad Idea: Any surface painted with chalk paint or “chalk matte finish” will show dirt and dust more than any other surface. If you attempt to clean it with a damp cloth it will show where it was cleaned, sometimes it will even looked as though the painted surface has been damaged. Even small projects can easily get “dirty” if your working area is not spotless.

Never buy furniture or craft chalk paint expecting to be able to use it like a chalkboard! Unless your painting says “Chalkboard Paint” it will not work like a chalkboard, it will only have the feel and look of it, not the functionality of it!

Good Idea: Unless you are literally using your painted surface as a chalkboard, you can salvage your furniture by painting a layer of “Wax” over it. It will make it easy to clean and will protect the painted surface. I suggest buying a wax specifically for chalk paint, the brands vary depending on where you buy them, but they will protect your surface without damaging to look and feel of chalk itself.

If you are working on a small craft project and prefer not to spend money on the wax itself (it can be pricey), make sure your work area is clean. If small areas are dirtied with glue, dust or other paints; just take a dry brush of the chalk paint and brush over the “dirty” areas. Never scrape, rub or wet the areas attempting to clean them or remove debris.

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Keep an eye out for more “Good Ideas… Bad Ideas!”

Happy Crafting!

A Personal Touch to a Boring Office Desk

When it comes to workspaces, you can always put them in one of three categories:

  1. plain/boring with absolutely no personal touch what so ever
  2. over the top with way to much of everything or
  3. the ones that make you go “Wow…I wish my desk looked like that” with just the right amount of stuff

I recently visited my husbands new office and I realized that he was on the first category, so I decided to help him out. He really doesn’t have much usable wall space since his wall are covered with eraser boards (I guess financial people need a lot of space for numbers!) so I had to stick to something simple. I like the idea of pinning photographs on a frame with clothes pins, but I though I make it a bit more useful. 2ff2f4ece035fca7d5f20e68a236d3d8 I don’t usually buy picture frames at the dollar store, but for the nature of this project, it was the way to go. I choose the biggest frame they had (“Certificate” frame), and got rid of the glass. I had some 12″x12″ cork tiles left over from a previous project and some decorative clothes pins I had gotten on clearance for $0.50, so I had everything I needed! 20141221_154459 I used some white twine and created three “clothes lines”,  then I glued them to the back of the cork tile and proceeded to seal the back of the frame with some black construction paper. Just like they do to seal paintings, prints and portraits.

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Check out the link for Framing Instructions.

That’s it! It works perfectly to hang pictures and drawings, and if he runs out of clothes pins he can always use the cork board! It literary took me less than 10 minutes to complete this tiny project! This frame is pretty simple because he likes simple things, but if you are doing this as a gift or for yourself, decorate the frame with anything that brings a smile to your face! It’s all about personal touches!

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In my search for inspiration I came across these simple yet totally personable ideas that you can use for your self or as a gifts. Check them out!

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With such a big variety of decorative buttons available at the craft store, this can be as chick or as manly as you want it to be!

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Perfect touch for a professional look!

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Totally chick!

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You can actually use mini bow ties instead of bows for a manly look! P.S. don’t stress your self trying to make miniature bows, they are extremely cheap at your craft store.

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Never forget a personalized Clipboard!

What is a desk without your own coffee mug?! Here are two techniques you can use to personalize an ordinary mug:

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I’m saving this one for my new desk! Why limit your self to a small mouse pad?! Go big and personal!

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A Set of Personalized Folders!

Or something as simple as a care free plant!

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Take your pick and share your own ideas! April 22nd is National Administrative Day so you got plenty of time to start working on a gift!

Canister Up’Do!

As the Holiday Season comes to an end, I have to say that I’m glad its over.  20150106_110443We didn’t sell the house before the end of the New Year like we had hope for, but it turned out to be pretty busy and hectic all the same. Now we are up to our ears with packing, clearing, fixing and staging, hoping to get this selling down pack in no less than 2 months, since our new home will done by mid February. Needless to say, time for any other projects is very scarce, but I’ve delayed the packing of some of my supplies just so that I can share with you a few small projects between here and there. Our big projects -like building a dining bench and a shared office area (among others)– will come later!


Our current canisters have become sort of an eyesore for me, we’ve had them for what seems like forever and though they work, there’s only four of them and we need six.20150105_094936

I love Yankee Candles and I had collected six empty jars with the intentions of using them to store and organize crafts supplies (like you see in almost all craft room pictures), but as it turns out I didn’t like how it looked, if you ask me, it still looks messy. These jars are great because they seal perfectly, can hold heat and are dishwasher safe, plus with very little effort you can match them to your kitchen or house décor!

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First you need to remove any wax residue. Your candle is finished once the candle wick turns off by itself.d0504d03e96db96c7d6d89a1a36d85a5 Place the jar with the remainder of the wax in the freezer and let it sit for a day (some people say a couple of hours, I leave it and come back the next day), the wax will pop out completely and leave your glass jar ready for use. I’ve found that it works quicker when you place the jar in the freezer while it’s still hot and the wax is still in liquid form,  the heat and the cold react together almost instantly and it makes it pop out faster. Don’t worry, the glass will not crack! If your wax has already harden, just place the jar upside down on the freezer.

Next, it’s time to get rid off the labels and the messy glue residue they leave behind. If you have tried this before, I’m sure you’ve realized that this can be frustrating, they must not really want you to recycle glass containers because they make sure those labels are really hard to come out! I mean, have you ever tried to re-use a wine bottle?! It’s like the use cement on those labels!… IMG_2490The good news is that I found a method that actually works in getting rid of that unwanted glue residue no matter how messy it is! You can find the original post on my Pinterest Techniques Board; you pretty much mix equal parts Baking Soda and Vegetable Oil to create a paste, place it o top of your glue residue and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Then scrub away with hot waters! I’ve tried other methods and this one has works the best for me.

Once your bottle is clean, just wipe it with alcohol to remove any oil residue (always do this before painting any glass surfaces).

You can either use a store bought stencil or create your own. The best way to ensure sharp edges when creating your own stencil is to use contact paper. Just remember to flip (mirror) your image and remove any air bubbles before painting or the paint will leak through. I used my die cut machine and cut out some vines, then I drew the words and cut them out using an X Acto Knife.

Now you are ready to paint! When choosing glass paint you might be tempted to head straight for the Martha Stewart Glass Paints section, they have so many awesome colors it’s hard to resist, but you’ll be surprise to know that you can find equally good quality paint for half the price. Maybe with a more limited assortment of colors but sometimes you just need the basics.  Depending on the brand, some are labeled as “Multi Surface”, read the back of the label, you are good to go if it says it’s good for glass surfaces and that it air cures in 21 days or could also be baked.

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It is important to remember that when using a stencil, less paint works best. I know it is tempting to just add a thick layer to get it over with, but take my word when I say it usually makes a mess out of a simple project! You end up with messy edges you will need to clean up later, so avoid loads of paint. If you need to layer to get a more solid paint color, add a thin layer and let it dry, then reapply. Usually when painting glass one layer will do. If you choose to buy Martha Stewarts Glass Paints, double check to make sure whether you are buying the opaque or translucent kind.

Now dab away with a sponge!

Here is the final product! I used the same design in two different colors since I couldn’t really use white for “Flour” or “Sugar”! If you are wondering why two “Sugar” jars? The turquoise one is for brown sugar!

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One last thing, any time you paint glass you need to cured it. It won’t look permanent right away but once it’s cured, it will be. You usually have two choices: bake it in the oven or air cure it. Since I’m moving within the next month or two, I’m in no rush to bake it, I’m letting it air cure. I will post some pictures of them in our new kitchen once we move!

See you next week and…

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Projects Completed!

No matter how much you plan and prepare yourself for the Holidays, it never fails to creep up on you! I mean, can you believe Christmas is just 5 days away?! Wow… it just seems like the year started yesterday! .

It’s only been 11 days since my last posting, but it’s been so hectic that it feels like I’ve neglected you for longer than that! I beat myself up when I can’t post twice a week like I had planned to, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve been up to. Between painting frames as gifts and a big Christmas order with just 8 days to complete and deliver, I will tell you I’m happy to be able to lay back and have some Coquito* while looking at the big pile of already wrapped gifts! Here are some of my Christmas Projects/Gifts!

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Hand Painted Nail & Thread Art on solid wood. This one is for our bedroom in our new house but it will be available in my shop by January!

This was an order for 130 Tags/Greeting Cards to be done and deliver in 8 days! That’s including individualized mailing address labels for each 130!

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Hand Painted Irish Blessing on Canvas. Perfect gift for anyone with an Irish background!

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Another Hand Painted Nail & Thread Art on solid wood. I had so much fun using this technique I had to make a gift out of it!

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A sweet little gift for the new baby! Hand Painted on Canvas.

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There’s a gift for every personality! Hand Painted on a canvas.

I promise to have my shop ready by next year, right now is a work in progress! Enjoy all your Christmas parties and preparations! See you next week!

*In case you were wondering, “Coquito” is a national Puertorrican Holiday drink made with coconut and rum among other things, it’s 10 times better than eggnog!