Sunday, August 7, 2016

He's Flying the Coop! Sending a Kid Off To College

Y'all I'm a mess right now! My sweet son, whom I usually refer to as "the big guy" has grown up. He is going off to college in a few short weeks. Granted he's not going THAT far, but still. 
And I know that many of you moms out there have sent your precious children off to the military, missions and so forth so this may not seem like a big deal, but it is.
My son is in the autistic spectrum. We have raised him to be a self sufficient, responsible and respectful young man. So far so good. 
I still do worry about him living away from us on campus. 
We can visit him any time as he's only a half hour away! (I know, I know!)

We want him to live on his own so he can be fully ready to spread his wings when he finishes his undergrad.

I don't know how a mother prepares for this. You just can't. 
He was just a four year old boy yesterday playing with dinosaurs and memorizing every single detail of their existence and extinction. 

Then he turned 18. 
I decided to home school him the last two years of high school and boy am I glad I did. 

Since I do photography, I took his senior pics myself. 


 As I was editing these I burst into tears. 
Then in the shower, as most of us do when we want to put on a brave face to our family, I sobbed! I wept and wailed. 

I don't want this to happen! I want to be young again, bringing babies home from the hospital! I want to look at my back seat and see three little kids grinning back at me or sleeping on our way to vacation. 
I want to plan fun birthday parties and drive them to softball practice. I want to groan and moan because we have to drive an hour away to my daughter's track meet. 
I want super fun Christmases where I can't wait to see them open presents and play with all their new toys for a second and then continue to play with the empty boxes. 
Am I right?

I love looking through our family photo albums and scrapbooks (does anybody still make those?) and remembering all those years ago. Remembering when I was young and vibrant, full of life and so, so happy to kiss on all my little people. 




I still like to kiss on them. And hey, I've got one 13 year old left. I'm going to photograph my heart out. 

And with that, I leave you with some advice: Print out those  photos! Blow them up big, print wallets, make a photo book, gather the family and make a scrapbook of prints. Anything to preserve your memories. You'll never regret doing this. 
I love to have my very special photos and those of every day life printed. As a professional photographer, I choose only the best pro labs for my clients. Occasionally they like to print those themselves. I often give them recommendations for the best labs available to the public.  They can order prints or canvas or metal or anything really! 

The point is to print those photos.


I'd love to share with you a special gift. 
I will be holding a giveaway sponsored by canvasfactory.com
The winner will receive a free canvas postage paid! 
You simply upload your photo and after a few clicks you are done!
What I love about canvasfactory.com is how affordable they are. Being a professional photographer myself 
I know quality. 
Here's a gorgeous canvas in a 16X20 size that I had made of me and my boys. I love this pic so much since my hubby took it a couple of years ago. I can't help but notice the sheer joy in all our faces and how much they have changed. The canvas has vivid, beautiful colors and comes with a hanger in the back ready to hang. I also like that it has this felt like material so it won't scratch your walls. (ignore the staples and random paper pieces. I tore into the package and couldn't wait to share)

Here it is in my entry way:












So here's how the giveaway works:

Earn one entry for every one of the things below:
1. Comment on this post stating where you would hang your new canvas from canvasfactory.com

2. Earn a second entry when you follow my page on facebook by clicking on the facebook icon over there>>>>
Then come back and comment here stating you follow on facebook.
3. Follow me on Instagram @simple.beautiful.life 
or click on the link >>>> 
4. Follow me on my photography facebook page at 

Remember-every time you do one of these come back and make a NEW and separate comment so you get more entries to win. 
Winner must reside within the continental U.S. 
Winner must check back on this blog to find out who won and contact me at salmar70atgmaildotcom
to claim the prize. 
If winner does not claim prize within 10 days, another winner will be selected. 
Winner will be selected by using random.org. 
Giveaway ends on August 30th, 2016 at 10 p.m. CST.


xoxo 
Patty


Canvasfactory.com
has provided me with a free canvas for myself and one for the winner. All opinions are my own. 
No other form of compensation has been received. 






Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gallery Wall on a Dime-Apartment Life


I'm back friends and I'm so ready to share my gallery wall that I finally put up just today. 

Gallery Wall on a Dime-Apartment Life


As you can see it has four large pictures (16X20s to be exact). I had been wanting to get these printed for the longest time. If you don't already know this, I am a professional photographer so I generally use a pro lab to get my images developed. I wanted to try a local lab so I could recommend to y'all and one that would go along with this post of decorating on a dime ;)
So I uploaded my 4 files to Sam's Photo. The 16x20s were very reasonably priced and I absolutely love the way they came out!! 
They were ready the next day which is a plus for me. 
I then took the photos I already had and decided on which ones I would include in the gallery. I wanted a good mix of our family and maybe a few extras here and there (the letter M and the arrow) 
Most of the frames, the 8X10s and 5X7s to be exact, are from dollar tree. #winning
The letter M is made of wood and I had it made from an Etsy shop I found a few years ago. It was a bit pricey but hey, I love the scrolls! The arrow is made with gold vinyl cut on my Cricut Explore. 
Now, for the 16x20 picture frames, those can get expensive. I found these at Walmart. 

You can get them online at a better price, but I wanted them today. And they only had 2. :( the other two are actually 
poster frames and I have to say they look nice. 
The ones with the link above were about $9 a piece and the poster ones were about $6 a piece. Not bad. Here's a close up 
of the gallery. The baby is my grandbaby and makes my heart sing. :D


When I had them all in frames, I laid them out on the floor to see what configuration I wanted them to be. Here's a crappy cell phone pic. 
I used a type of wall hanger called hercules hooks to hang the 16x20s. I tell you I absolutely love these things! Especially when you have the crappy dry wall. 'Cause who has time to be drilling in holes and stuff? Not me. 
They go by many different names as you can see but this is what they look like. 


The M was adhered to the wall with command strips. So there you have it. A cool, gallery wall to display your precious memories. And speaking of...I am going to be giving away a free canvas print. Come back later this week to enter and learn some tips on taking great pictures this summer. 
Hasta pronto!

xoxo 
Patty




Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Page Bunny Silhouette Art and Banner

Book page bunny silhouette and cute Easter banner


I'm back today to show you a super easy and cute way to decorate your mantle. 
Or in my case, my faux mantle.
It's just an Ikea shelf that we hung in our little dining area.
I love to decorate it now. 

For the bunny silhouette art
You will need a piece of long wood or any size really
A bunny silhouette 
(you can find mine here and download it)
clear tape
old book pages
black card stock or black vinyl
Cricut Explore 

First I took a piece of mdf that I had lying around. 
I like the size. It's perfect for that space. 
Then I found a bunny that was standing. I just searched on pinterest. You can either download it and print it out and just cut it by hand or I downloaded it and put it into my Cricut Design Space and cut it in vinyl. 
Since I wanted my bunny to be 16inches tall x 8 inches wide
I  had to cut it in 2 sections. 

You can do that when you print it too. 

Ok, back to the piece of wood. 
I did this on a whim late at night so if my method seems primitive or simplistic please forgive me ;)

I found an old book and carefully ripped out some pages. 
I lined them up to see how I wanted it to look. 
I then just took some clear packing tape and carefully wrapped the pages around the edges and taped making sure the tape did not show in the front of the sign.

To adhere the pages to the wood, I used the same packing tape and just rolled it so it was sticky on all sides then I pressed into the back of each page being careful not to have it show. 

That's it for the background. Easy peasy! 
The reason I did not use glue (besides lazyness) is that I wanted my pages to be crisp. I didn't want them buckling or looking rippled. 
Now I simply cut my bunny and decided where to stick him. You can cut him out of black cardstock and tape him down just like the pages. 

Here is the vinyl being cut 


Here's what it looked like on my screen 

 Book pages taped down




All done!




so what do you think?
You can totally pull that off!

I try to blog about simple projects using things you would have around the house or could get for very little money. 

The little banner was super easy. 
I simply bought a chipboard banner, painted each piece then cut out the letters in vinyl. The ends have a cute little bunny tail for a bit of whimsy. I bought it all at Joann for 50% off. 
So simple and pretty. 


What are you making this week? 

xoxo
Patty






Monday, March 21, 2016

Pretty Easter Door Hanger

As promised I am back today to show you another fun and easy Easter craft. 

Y'all there's STILL time to crank one of these out!

Easter Door Hanger 


Here's what you'll need:
 One egg shaped/oval shaped wooden plaque
assorted craft paints and sharpies
vinyl 
burlap ribbon 
hot glue



(don't mind the little "eggs" next to it. They are part of another post.)


First paint your egg in your favorite color. 
Next, I started out by designing the chevron pattern I wanted on my Cricut Explore. You can easily draw it in by hand but I was testing some things out on my machine so I decided to do it that way. 
So hand draw it or stencil on the chevron pattern. 
Wait until dry and outline it with a contrasting color sharpie. 
I then cut out my "M" initial with my Cricut and 
applied it to the plaque. 


I really like the colors. They go with the rest of the Easter them I have going :)
I got my burlap ribbon and made a box. 
Then I folded the ribbon in have to make it skinnier and hot glued it together. 
I then hot glued the bow to the ribbon. 
Next I hot glued the ribbon to the back of the plaque. 
Ta da! 

Super cute door hanger thingy!
I actually had a hard time finding the egg shape made out of wood. I went to Joann fabric and they had this egg shaped chalkboard with a little stand. It was 1/2 off. Of course I couldn't pass it up!
I simply removed the stand from the back, painted the egg and went at it. 

See how easy it is to make one of these. You still have time. 

I'll be back tomorrow with a super easy Easter banner :)


xoxo 
Patty









Sunday, March 20, 2016

Simple Easter Crafts for Spring

Hi everyone. I'm busy crafting for my family's Easter celebration next weekend. Over the next few days I'll be posting some of my projects here for you .

Spring Shadow Box


These are simple, inexpensive projects that you can try at home. 

First you'll need to gather the following materials:

six small wooden oval shapes
one 9 x 9 shadow box
assorted paints and markers
hot glue 
vinyl 
Cricut Explore cutting machine

The Cricut Explore machine is optional. You can buy any vinyl saying at your local crafts store or online on Etsy. However, I highly recommend this awesome machine. No cartridges needed. 
First I purchased the six oval shapes at Michael's. 
They were found in the wood letter aisle and were only 29 cents each!
Score!
The cute shadow box was also on sale and it cost me around $8. 
I have a large assortment of paints and sharpies but I picked up a few more paints. 
They are only 69 cents and I picked some pretty spring time colors. 
I painted each wooden "egg" in the colors I wanted. I let them dry while I designed a chevron pattern on Cricut Design Space. I first measure the egg to find out how big the chevron pattern should be. 
I cut it out of cardstock. I used that pattern as a stencil and just stenciled it on with paint. When they were dry, I simply went over the outline with a contrasting color sharpie.
When they were all dry, I simply hot glued them to the inside of the shadow box. 


sorry for the orientation. I forgot to turn them around. Anywho, then I just simply picked my font on the Cricut Explore and cut out of vinyl. So easy! I think it looks pretty cute. 

Another take on this craft is to have each of your kids decorate one "egg" then simply cut your last name out of vinyl. Instant memento.

Here it is in its temporary spot:

I hope you got some ideas on how simple and easy it is to decorate a shadow box. 

I'll be back tomorrow to share my Easter door hanger. 

xoxo

Patty







Thursday, March 17, 2016

Healthy Meal Planning for Working Moms






I recently returned to work after a long time handling some health issues. 

If you're like me and have a difficult time eating healthy lunches at work, then this post is for you.

Healthy Choice makes some delicious meals called Cafe Steamers. I love that you can heat up delicious meals at work and drizzle a scrumptious sauce on top. These meals are so easy to pack and go. The best part is that they're a healthy alternative to fast food. 





I hate going out and picking up fatty burgers or other fast foods that are filled with calories and who knows what else.  I also discovered that if I want to eat outside on these pretty spring days, I can heat up my Healthy Choice Cafe Steamer then pour it into a thermal tumbler! Healthy eating on the go! 
You can totally do this with kids when you pack their lunches. 

Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers are so yummy! I love all their pasta dishes. I buy a variety of flavors to pack as lunches not only for myself but for my two boys. Being teens, they need to have a healthy alternative for lunch.
I especially appreciate that all Healthy Choice meals are made with real ingredients and no preservatives so you don’t have to worry about sacrificing taste or freshness. Since the ingredients aren’t frozen in the sauce they have a fresh, more vibrant taste. And unlike other frozen meals, Healthy Choice Café Steamers’ feature a unique tray-in-tray steam cooking method that delivers fresh-tasting meals with crisp vegetables and juicy proteins. It also gives you the chance to be a part of the culinary experience as you pour your own sauce, determining how much or how little flavor you want with your meal. With each meal containing a mix of vitamins, nutrients and protein, Healthy Choice Café Steamers are a delicious, healthy, convenient option, whether at work, home or on the go.

Whether I'm eating at my desk at work or grabbing a quick lunch at home, Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers are an easy way to feel satisfied.



(look at that scrumptious sauce!)


Healthy Choice is the only major brand in the frozen meals section that can call 100% of its products “healthy” as approved by the FDA and that makes me feel good. 
 Visit www.facebook.com/healthychoice or www.HealthyChoice.com to learn more.You can find Healthy Choice Café Steamers in the freezer aisle at grocery stores nationwide for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $3.29 (a LOT less than most unhealthy fast food). 

Until next time!
xoxo
Patty


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas-Apartment Dining Reveal





Merry Christmas!
I'm back to share with you my Christmas post.
Remember how I told you we severely downsized to an apartment? 
Well I've been unpacking and trying to find all my things that are packed up in boxes. 
I finally found my fabric that I bought a couple of years ago to re do my chairs!

So I set out to recover my chairs and paint my table in one weekend. 
Pretty agressive of me don't you think?
Well what I failed to remember not to forget was the 
location of our STAPLE GUN.
Facebook to the rescue. My daughter's MIL had an electric one I borrowed. Made things a lot easier to staple. 
Now, re-covering chairs may seem like a simple task and well it is-until you actually start to do it. 
There are millions of staples to remove. 
First I took them off and used that fabric as templates for my new fabric. My mom helped me cut.
Then I had to figure out how to staple it on so the staples wouldn't show on the chairs. Some of those pieces were extra hard. I mean, the backs of the chairs are solid and a real challenge to staple through. But I did it! Here in pictures is the story:
                      Cushions removed





                   I had to fold over and staple so the other staples wouldn't show. This is covered up by the wood back on the chair.


                         Stapling the corners-fold and pull taut.
         Tool I used to remove the staples. You can get it at Home Depot or Joann.
                          One down.....



I also painted my black table white in one evening. I painted it with Fusion brand Mineral Paint in Casement.
After I let it dry over night, I applied two coats of water based poly letting them dry for about 6 hours in between.
And here's the result.



And after all that 
I was finally ready to decorate our humble abode for Christmas Eve dinner:










The glittered trees were made by me by simply cutting out shapes with my Cricut Explore and hot gluing it to a cone shape made out of poster board. 
The table runner is some black bulletin board paper I had. I simply wrote on it with my metallic marker.
I am yet to finish decorating on top of that shelf that we hung over the table. I'll post on that later. 
But in the meantime, we had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my little family. 
And I love that my little family could enjoy a pretty space to eat. 

xoxo 

Patty











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