Monday, April 30, 2012

Boots and a Bucket: Fun Garden Planters

Fun Garden Planters WM Banner
This weekend, our focus was on outdoor instead of indoor projects.

On Sunday, we had a beautiful day of sunshine to get all the gardens looking presentable. Our yard waste is finally being picked up this week (it is very sporadic in my city) so we had a deadline to get it all done.

The front porch also got a little makeover.

I had this beauty from Home Depot adding a bit of Spring throughout the month of April but everything had finished blooming so it was looking kind of pathetic.

Porch Planter 2012

No worries! For less than $20, I was able to make three planters to replace it.

For all of my planters I used pansies and/or violas.

I have been told they are very hardy which is great because our weather just can’t make up its mind!

Chalkboard Bucket Planter

I made this bucket in the Fall to hold mums. It has held up really well.

I started with a $2 galvanized bucket from Dollarama, drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, painted it with etching primer (not necessary but one of the perks of Mr. Mechanic’s work), and then sprayed it with multiple coats of Krylon Chalkboard Paint. If you’re in Canada, I bought this at Canadian Tire.

Once it was dry, I “seasoned” the bucket by rubbing chalk over the entire surface and then I wiped it off with a cloth.

The pansies are turned around because what you see in the photo is the back of the bucket. This bucket actually says my house number on it, but I’m not sharing that with you!

I didn’t want to use up my all of potting soil filling just one bucket so I packed the bottom 2/3rds with crumpled up newspaper and then covered it with soil. I have no idea whether this will work in the long run, but so far they are doing well (I actually assembled this and my wrought iron urn planter on Earth Day).

Then, yesterday, I made these:

Rain Boots Planter Banner

These boots were the finishing touch for my porch.

I knew I wanted a display of three planters but it needed to have a bit more character. I know they would be really cute if they were kid’s boots but I had already had a pair collecting dust in the garage (they give me blisters) and they matched my colour scheme perfectly.

Two packages of pansies later, my trio was complete!

Rain boots Labelled Layers

I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added a layer of rocks so that they wouldn’t tip over, filled the height of each boot with newspaper and then added soil and pansies to the top.

Next time, I would like to add a trailing plant to each boot as well.

Fun Garden Planters WM

Now the porch looks like this (the blur near the mailbox is my house number):

Front Porch WM

In the future I would like to change the door mat, add vinyl to the mailbox and refinish the rocking chair. For now, I’ll just focus on this pretty little vignette!

Fun Garden Planters WM Square

I hope you had a productive weekend, too! 
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P.S. I actually gasped when I opened the door this morning to find that a creature had uprooted the pansies in my bucket. Any tips on how to keep squirrels and chipmunks out of your flowers?

Linking up here as well as to these great parties!
Thank you to all the hosts!

Home Stories A2ZWeekend Bloggy Reading

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Projects You May Have Missed

April has been a wonderful month for a little something in the meantime . . .

Many of my projects were featured at the awesome link parties that I join and my followers grew steadily. I never thought that my little blog would be approaching 100 followers. 

I am so appreciative of every visit and comment that you have made. You all motivate me to cross things off my to do list!

If you’re new here, you may have missed some of the projects that I shared when I first started blogging.  I have linked up some of my favourites!

Please, make yourself at home and take a look around!

Paint Chip Projects

Paint Chip Balls Project Gallery
All Occasion Paint Chip Banner Project Gallery
Paint Chip Rainbow Project Gallery
Paint Chip Eggs Project Gallery
Ombre Clock Banner

Organizing & D.I.Y. Projects

Dishwasher Tab Storage Project Gallery
Organize With Photo Storage Cases Project Gallery
My Craft Closet Project Gallery
Magnetic Message Board Project Gallery

Thanks for joining me on a walk down memory lane!

Happy Weekend!

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P.S. This was also a great excuse for me to go back and properly watermark some of my earlier projects – do you watermark your photos?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Have You Tried iPiccy? How To Watermark Your Photos

Yesterday I found out about another post-Picnik photo editing option.

One of my biggest concerns when Picnik closed was how I would continue to watermark my blog images quickly and easily. A watermark is an image or logo used to identify a photo’s source.

For example, my blog photos are always watermarked with this: 
A Little Something Watermark Black
Up until yesterday I was happily using PicMonkey to do all of my edits and watermarking. However, the added step of uploading my own overlay for each photo was time consuming.

Then I came across this post that mentioned iPiccy and I found my solution!

Welcome to iPiccy

iPiccy (which is currently free) has photo editing options that are very similar to Picnik and PicMonkey with the added benefit of the ability to upload photos to a photo basket as well as access to your edit history. Their font and sticker options are fairly limited right now but their blog indicates that they have updated quite a bit of the features recently. My fingers and toes are crossed!

I will leave you to explore the editing features yourself, but I thought I would share how to watermark your photo. I have never used Photoshop in my life so if I can do this, you can do this!

I like to save a copy of my edited photo {without a watermark} first so that I can use it for collages (another free feature of iPiccy – not yet available on PicMonkey).

My “model” for this tutorial is a photo of a necklace that I made many years ago using a very unconventional material. More on that another day.

Once you have edited your photo, select the “Blender” tab from the top menu (it looks like a stack of blue papers). This will also be the menu that you use to add text and stickers.

iPiccy Tab Menu

iPiccy Blender Edit

Next, select “Photo” from the menu just below the tabs.

iPiccy Select Photo Edit

The first time you do this, you will have to upload your watermark image by locating where it is saved on your computer. After that, it will remain in your photo basket for future watermarks.

(I use a watermark that is transparent and saved as a PNG file)

Once your image is uploaded, select it and drag it across to your original photo.

iPiccy Drag watermark onto your photo Edit

This will now be treated as a layer of your photo. To modify the colour, opacity etc., click on the watermark to make it the active image on the sidebar menu.

iPiccy Modify Watermark Menu

You will now be able to modify your watermark using this menu:

iPiccy Menu Zoom edit

Both “Blend Mode” and “Fade” are identical to those options in PicMonkey and Picnik.

I am still experimenting with the other choices but it looks like “Color Overlay” and “Hue & Saturation” will both enable you to change the colours of your watermark if you use colours other than black and white. Since “something” is teal in my watermark, this menu changes its colour.

Once you are happy with the placement of your watermark, select “done” and you will be asked if you wish to merge layers. Choose “yes” to make your watermark a permanent part of your original photo (this is why I always save a copy without a watermark).

Save your photo and pat yourself on the back! Now, if someone pins your photo, you will get proper credit for your great ideas!

I hope this made someone’s life a little easier!

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Linking up here as well as many of the parties on my Link Parties page!
Thank you to all the hosts!

Weekend Bloggy ReadingHome Stories A2Z

P.S. Thank you to Mel at The Crafty Scientist for inspiring me to create this tutorial and for telling me over two months ago what it meant to watermark a photo!

If you want to read an awesome tutorial on watermarking photos using PicMonkey, Mel is your girl!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My April Makeover

After almost 40 posts, I figured it was time to share more than one photo of the face behind a little something in the meantime . . .

Last Thursday I got a haircut.

Not a ‘trim’ that would go unnoticed by 90% of the population, a haircut.
My hairdresser, Jodi, is almost 8 months pregnant and will (obviously and understandably) be taking some time off for a Maternity Leave. 

Jodi has been cutting my hair for years and understands its quirks. For instance, I have one spot near the crown that she affectionately named my “dead zone.” Sometimes it cooperates, sometimes it does nothing. There are certain hairstyles that I just can’t have as a result.

Jodi helped me creatively cover up bald spots that I developed while I was in college. I assume it was Alopecia, but by the time I had a dermatologist appointment the hair had already started to grow back so I never found out the cause. I am sure it has something to do with the way I manifest stress.

About once a month I show up at Jodi’s with a folder full of photos of haircuts that I like (thank you, Pinterest). One peek at my board and you will think that I’m obsessed with Michelle Willams. If you don’t know, she’s the “Rachel” cut for short haired ladies everywhere.

I decided that I would go short for spring/summer so that the maintenance is a bit easier for the stylist who temporarily inherits me until September.

It has taken a few days for me to adjust, but today I finally love it.

April 2012 Profile No Necklace

One of the things that helped most was the reaction of a Kindergarten girl when I walked up to the school where I was teaching yesterday. As soon as she saw me, she said, “Miss A, you got a haircut! It looks really good!” 

Much more reassuring than the people who say to you “did you get a haircut?” and then after you say “yes” you can almost hear crickets chirping (you know what I’m talking about!)

February 20th vs. April 24th.
 Blogger Profile Photo Before & After

A little more obvious now, right?

Yes, I am very fair-skinned (hence the scarf above and t-shirt necklace below).
 April 2012 Blogger Photo

It was tricky to photograph myself but I think I managed to do a decent job of duplicating Mr. Mechanic’s photo from February.

That’s all!

Stay tuned for one of my more typical posts later in the week. I’m working on something that will either be amazing or an epic fail.

Thanks for visiting!

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P.S. No, I’m not a redhead, but I sure wish I was!

P.P.S. Happy 42nd Anniversary (in a few hours), Mom & Dad!

Monday, April 23, 2012

{Silhouette Cameo} Nursery Artwork

Welcome Little One Square Banner

When my sister-in-law was visiting before Easter she suddenly needed to create a baby gift at 10 PM on Good Friday. We knew it would be a boy but he did not have a name yet so it had to be a more generic piece of artwork.

I already had a 10” x 10” frame that I picked up at Walmart as a “just in case” frame (you can never go wrong with a square frame) so this was our starting point.

Angela knew that she wanted the artwork to include owls and I had purchased several owl shapes from the Silhouette store for another baby gift so we modified this one.


Owl Silhouette Store Image


The great thing about purchasing shapes from the Silhouette store is that they can be modified so easily. All of the different colours you see in the above image are separate pieces when it cuts. You can eliminate and/or resize whatever you want.

In our case, we did not need the hearts but wanted a baby owl to sit between the Mom and Dad. I copied and resized one of the owls to make the baby.

Angela decided that she wanted the artwork to fit into a 7” x 7” opening. Throughout our planning we used a 7” x 7” square on the screen to ensure proper sizing.


Owl Silhouette Shape Split Screen


Once we had all the pieces that we needed and had chosen our paper colours (boy, was I impressed with my paper selection!), I organized them on the cutting mat to correspond with the way they were laid out on the screen. This is a great way to use up paper scraps from other projects.

We made things easier (and more cohesive) by using the same colour for more than one part (e.g., the baby owl’s tummy and the tree branch).


Welcome Little One Cutting Mat Tip


I also cut extras so that I could easily recreate this for another gift in the future. I used my photo storage cases to organize the extra die cut pieces.

To make things easier when gluing on the sentiment, we picked a font that could be welded together. I used one of my 10 favourite fonts, Too Much Paper.


Welcome Little One Welding Before & After


We used my Silhouette to cut out a 10” x 10” mat with a 7” x 7” opening. It makes framing prints SO easy.

Once all the pieces were cut out, I left Angela to assemble the owls because it was after midnight!


Welcome Little One Crop and Zoom


When I woke up, the artwork was already framed with the glass so I had to do my best to photograph it without a glare.


Welcome Little One Border


Jacob was born in the early hours of April 7th, 2012, just after Angela finished making this gift. He did not have a name when they went to visit him, so Angela attached a label to the frame backing with his date of birth and a special message from his Aunt and Uncle.


Welcome Little One WM


I think we did a fantastic job with what we had available on very short notice!


Welcome Little One 4 x 6 Banner WM

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Linking up to these great parties as well as those on my Link Parties page!

Thank you to all the hosts!

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