The Low Down on A Reverse Canvas

You’ve seen them on Pinterest, the farmhouse style signs with a nice quote.  It looks like a nice wood frame, white background and typically black lettering.  Something you pay a pretty penny for in a store.  Guess what, don’t spend your hard earned money on them you can do it your self or ask a friend for help.

Disclaimer:  some links in this post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you I will receive a small referral commission.

farmhouse sign (1)

The supplies you need are:

  1.  Canvas – plain canvas from a craft store
  2.  Stain or paint
  3.  Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
  4.  Craft cutting machine (I use a Cricut Expression Air 2)
  5.  Flat head screwdriver and pliers
  6.  Iron or heat press
  7.  Staple gun

Some other possible things may be wood glue and some kind of wire or hanging hook depending on where you will put it.

guide to reverse canvas (1)

My Vinyl Direct

The first thing you need to do is use your screwdriver and pliers and remove all of the staples on the back of the canvas so that the canvas is off of the frame.  I found it pretty easy to get screw driver in and pop everything up and then go back with pliers to remove them.

You will be surprised that underneath the canvas is actually a decent looking frame!

Both of the projects I did were large size so they had support going through the middle.  I used a saw and cut through one piece and then all support pieces easily slide out.  This is where you may need some wood glue depending on how sturdy your frame happens to be put together.  If you think the corners could use reinforcing add some glue to the back.

The next step is to stain or paint your frame.

When you design your quote or image remember that you are losing a couple of inches on the size of your canvas.  A canvas may be 24×36 but you are turning it into a framed piece so your design goes inside the frame.  Once you have the canvas taken apart measure inside the frame to get the dimensions of your work area.

Now you will cut your HTV.  If you need some help or reminders about working with HTV you can see my previous post on making shirts.

Vinyl & Blanks For Crafters

Once the HTV is cut you can lay it out on the canvas and use the frame to help center and make sure spacing and fit is exactly how you want it.  Move the frame to the side and with your iron or heat press adhere the HTV.

After your frame is dry and HTV is on the canvas you can re-assemble.  Flip it to the back and start stapling the canvas back on.  The first one I did I cut the canvas to size and then stapled it back on.  This was hard because you didn’t have a lot of leverage to pull it tight.  The second one I stapled on and then cut the excess off.  This was much easier.  Both did require more hands, probably because I didn’t start small.  I did a 24×36 and a 20×24 canvas.

If you are having problems with the canvas dipping down and keeping it tight you can add some books or something flat under it for support.

The back is not pretty but no one sees it 😉

My first project I leaned against the wall on the ledge in our 2 story foyer so I didn’t need anything for hanging purposes.  The second one I did hang.  I just slid some craft wire under a couple of staples and twisted them tight.  It was easy and I had it on hand.

I know you see the clear command hook in the picture and this is not it’s final spot.  This is hanging in the stair way going down to the basement and I don’t have good lighting for a picture.  This hanging spot was just to get a decent picture.

reverse canvas (1)

Amazon Prime Wardrobe, Bust or Must?

Amazon, everyone knows who they are and most people shop with them.  Are you a fan or has the fad worn off?

Disclaimer:  some links in this post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase at no additional cost to you I will receive a small referral commission.

As much as I love online shopping Amazon has lost it’s appeal to me.  Maybe I’m crazy but several years ago Amazon was the place to go for deals.  Business is business and as a rule businesses are supposed to make money but you sure don’t save any money with Amazon like you used to.   The return process is also a let down.  Every seller has different policies and for sure no free returns.  We’ve sucked it up and kept a couple of things that weren’t exactly as expected because the cost to ship back wasn’t worth it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still shop there but not nearly as much as I used to.  We are still Prime members, although it’s not free shipping…who are we kidding…shipping costs are built in somewhere.

Amazon Prime Wardrobe (1)

In the fall I got frustrated with a fix I had received from Stitch Fix, you can read about that here, Troubles of Clothes Shopping.   I headed over to Amazon to look into their wardrobe service.  It wasn’t available at the time to the general public, you had to be invited.  Well, last week I received my invitation.  I was super excited because every spring I feel like I need a few new things to refresh the closet.

My excitement quickly dwindled when I realized that I had to do all of the shopping myself.  This is not like other services such as Stitch Fix.  With Prime Wardrobe you have to shop and pick all of the items.

They have it set so you can pick between 3-8 items from any category, Men, Women, Kids and Baby.  This is nice because you can shop for the whole family.  You have 7 days to try your items and purchase or return.

However, not all of Amazon is eligible and not all colors or patterns of a certain item are eligible either.   At first you are in the main Wardrobe section and I soon found myself looking at items that I couldn’t add to my box.   Most of the brands are top name brands so you aren’t going to find many deals.  It’s like you are shopping at Nordstrom, not TJ Maxx.

Having to pick my own items was a huge downfall for me.  That sounds terrible, but I didn’t know that’s how it worked and it didn’t save me any time.

I was looking for some distressed jeans so that’s where I started.  I also thought this might be a good opportunity to try a couple of rompers and then added some tops.   I also picked a pair of shorts for my husband.  There’s no way I could get a picture to post but he did like them and we kept them.

AMAZON wardrobe (1)

try before you buy

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First up is the William Rast Wolfe Ruffle Cold Shoulder Peasant Top  size small for $89.50.  I must not have seen the price when I added this to my box 😉  It’s a good thing it didn’t fit!  It’s hard to tell in the picture but it was too short.  When standing normally, not holding a camera or anything the bottom of the shirt barely went to the button of the pants.  The cut in the sleeves didn’t fit well either because I couldn’t move my arms forward, it was tight like a suit jacket.

The white jeans are Calvin Klein Destructed White Ankle Skinny size 28 for $89.50.  One of the pros about being able to have them for 7 days is that I wore the jeans around the house for a while.  I am looking for jeans that you don’t have to suck yourself into and then an hour later they stretch so much you spend the rest of the day pulling them up.  These stayed put after a few hours so this was a win!  I also needed to add a white pant to my closet.  I kept these!

My shoes are the Born Carme Cutout Sandal.

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Now we have the BCBGeneration Pirate Blouse Romper size small for $77.33.  This is more like a swim cover-up.  The material is very thin and the key hole in front leaves very few movements you can make without showing yourself.  It was very baggy too.  This was not a keeper.

 

 

 

 

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Next we have the Taylor and Sage Print Ruffle Flare Sleeve Off The Shoulder Romper size small for $38.  I am 5’9″ so if you are a few inches shorter than me you need to get this.  The material was a good weight and the shorts had a nice lining.  Other than the length it fit great and I really liked it.  There was just no way it could work for me, keeping the top where it should be meant it was riding up like you wouldn’t believe and made the shorts too short for any age.  Putting the waist and shorts where they should be meant the lace opening at the top went right across my chest.  Bummer but it wasn’t a keeper.

 

 

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Finally we have the KUT from the Kloth Connie Ankle Skinny size 6 for $89.   I thought these may be a keeper but after having them on for a few hours they became the pair of pants you constantly pull up every time you move.  I probably needed a size smaller because there was a lot of room in the waist as time went on.  The positive about it though was even when they were falling down and I bent over the waist was high enough that I didn’t feel like a plumber if you know what I mean 😉  These went back.

The top is the Ella Moon Payslee Cold Shoulder Long Sleeve Placement Print Top size small for $43.21.  This top was a keeper.  It fit nice and was comfortable.

 

wardrobe (1)

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The box is easy for returns, you simply use the same box.  Each side flap has the Open Here perforation so you pull the tab when you get it to open it and then when you close it you peel the sticky strip off and use the other flap to seal it.  The return label is included too.  All you have to do is drop it off at a UPS location.

My verdict.  If you have the opportunity I think you should give Prime Wardrobe a try.  I really don’t like shopping and going to stores with a 4 year old and trying 20 things on to maybe find 1 or 2 that work.  Although I did have to spend time doing the shopping it was nice to have it delivered here and you aren’t charged until you check out with what you are keeping.

You just can’t go into this expecting to have inexpensive options or a time savings up front of someone else picking things for you.

Shirt Making – Simple Steps Anyone Can Do

Tshirts with mom quotes, beer or wine quotes and kid related images or quotes are all the rage these days.  They are super popular on sites like Zulily and Etsy.

Disclaimer: some links are affiliate links where if you click through and make a purchase I will receive a small referral at no additional cost to you.

I was initially intimated by them thinking eeehhh, I don’t know it seems pretty complicated.  And I’m a crafty DIY person so I’m guessing a lot of people think it’s impossible.  Well, nothing is impossible…where there is a will there is a way.

On Zulily shirts range for kids and women between $12 to over $20 and Etsy is fairly similar.   I had purchased a bunch of shirts for JP from Zulily and they were all fine but I was thinking man, could I have saved some money doing it myself.  Then Halloween came and he was Catboy from PJ Masks.  I wanted an Owlette shirt for me and a Gekko shirt for my husband but I didn’t want the full character.  I just wanted the mask on ours.  I couldn’t find them so I thought well I guess now is the time I make my first shirt.  There are a ton of places to buy shirts fairly inexpensively and also a ton of places to get the vinyl.

Myvinyldirect.com is one of my favorite places to buy vinyl from.  They also have a ton of ‘blank’ items that you can personalize so it’s a 1 stop shop.

My Vinyl Direct

Another good one is HappyCrafters.com  I’ve found they have rolls of HTV and most things are less expensive if you buy more bulk style.  They also have blank shirts.  While they aren’t the cheapest price on those sometimes 1 stop shopping is worth an extra few dollars.  It just depends on what you need.

happy-crafters-vinyl

For blank shirts I use Shirtmax.com.  They have a huge selection and good prices.   Another good site is Jiffyshirts.com.  They also have a huge selection and decent prices.

You can also find free svg/png/jpg files online.  Just be careful, sometimes people offer free for personal use but have a different paid option for a commercial license if you are going to be selling anything.  LoveSVG.com is a great place for freebies for personal use.

My first shirts were our Owlette and Gekko shirts and it really was easy and worked just like it was supposed to.

PJ Masks (1)

I’ll do a step by step process in text.  So many of the tutorials I found were video and I personally don’t like to watch videos when learning a lot of this.  First when JP hears sound he has to see what I’m doing and then it’s just all over because he has to then touch the phone and is distracted from his playing.  Second, and no offense to anyone who has video tutorials I just don’t have the patience.  So often there is lack of planning the project or a lot of random talk and I just don’t want to sit and wait for you to decide which font to use and go through 5 or 6 before it looks right or oops, that weld didn’t work how I thought it would lets undo.  I want to be able to quickly read do x, y, z and you are done.

The supplies you’ll need are:

  1. Shirt
  2. HTV in color(s) of your choice
  3. Iron or heat press
  4. Teflon page/sheet
  5. Tape measure

I will make a couple of assumptions in that you know how to get an image or text into your software and know basic things like welding words.  I have a Cricut Explore Air 2 so my software is Design Space.  If you do need more help with the basics of Design Space just contact me and I will answer any questions.   On the left side of Design space where you create new projects, add images, shapes, text etc. there is a templates option.  There are shirt templates and you pick mens, womens, kids and you have a guide for sizes and placement.  I still measure the actual shirt though just to be sure.

When you click ‘make’ you need to make sure you mirror your image.  This is what it looks like in Design Space.  MAKE SURE YOU DO IT INDIVIDUALLY FOR EACH MAT/COLOR.

shirts1shirts2

**ASSUMPTION**

These are for plain/standard HTV and you aren’t fancy with printed or glitter HTV yet.

When you click continue you want to make sure the dial on the machine is set to Iron On.  It will prompt you here to make sure you mirror.  It also reminds you to place the HTV shiny side down on the mat.  This may seem backwards but don’t think about it just listen and put the shiny side down.

select mode

Now, if you are venturing out with other types of HTV pay attention to directions on where you got it.  The buffalo plaid shirts I did for Christmas had directions online that reminded me you don’t mirror or place the HTV pattern/shiny side down.  It’s cut regularly and you should also have ordered a special ‘top’ layer used for adhering.  It’s not as complicated as it sounds just pay attention when you order and the site should provide you with any ‘extra’s’ or special instructions.

If you are using glitter HTV you will notice that it feels much thicker.  For this to cut properly you need to turn the dial to ‘custom’ and then on your computer screen it will have a bunch of pre-loaded material options and glitter iron on is one of them.  I’ve never had issues using any of the settings designated for the material I was using.

Now your items are cut and it’s time to weed.  Depending on your design you will want to trim each word or image as close as possible because you don’t want any overlap when you lay the letters down.  You need to make sure you don’t have any vinyl from another section on top of the ‘plastic’ from another section.   My words on the Manic MOM-DAY shirt were all cut as separate words so I had to trim closely so I didn’t have that overlap.  If you have 1 single design you don’t need to worry as much about this.  Back to weeding…you need to weed out what will not go on the shirt.  You need to leave anything that it going on the shirt stuck in it’s original form.  Make sure to get all of the middles of o’s, d’s etc.

shirt prepdirections

You can see in this MOM BOSS one I have it all 1 so I didn’t have to do a lot of trimming, it all just depends on the design and colors you have.

I find it hard to get the proper pressure using an ironing board without breaking it so I lay an old towel on the counter.  Most HTV will have the actual directions for pressure, temperature, cold/warm peel on the site you order from but in my experience it’s generally all about the same.

We have 2 irons and on the one that is newer and a better quality iron the wool setting works.  On the older iron it needs to be warmer and on the cotton setting.  Make sure all steam functionality is off.  You layer the teflon sheet over the design and apply a lot of pressure.  Do not move the iron around as if you are ironing clothing.  Just press and put your body weight on top of the iron and hold for about 30 seconds, lift and repeat this process until the entire design is fully pressed.  You know it’s complete when you can see the fiber pattern through the HTV.  If the HTV still looks nice and flat then it isn’t pressed into the material enough.

For warm peel HTV as soon as you are done pressing carefully remove the clear layer.  Be careful because it could be hot.  For cool peel let it sit for a bit and cool down before you remove the clear layer.

It’s not an exact science so those are general guidelines.  It all depends on the heat setting, pressure and material of the shirt.  Sometimes it goes quickly and sometimes I do need to press and re-press more than once in order to get those good fiber patterns in the HTV for the good seal.

Hopefully those directions help you and enjoy some of the designs I’ve done below.

mom boss

manic momday

Livin on a prayervalentine shirtBuffalo Plaid (1)egg hunting shirt

What Everyone Should Know About Refinishing Furniture

When you hear ‘refinishing’ furniture if you are like me you think strip, sand, re-stain and immediately say no way.  I think I have DIY project ADD because about half way through I tend to think why on earth did I think I needed to do this.  These thoughts are why my immediate reaction to the traditional terms of refinishing furniture is no way.

I’m sure you’ve heard of, seen or maybe even done a project using chalk paint.  This is fantastic when you want to re-do something but in a less traditional sense.  With chalk paint there’s no stripping, sanding or staining.  That’s right, you heard me, none of that!  Sounds too good to be true, right?  WRONG!

cabinet diy

I’ve had my Grandma H’s china in a box for probably 18 years.  After my Grandpa passed and she moved into a condo everything was cleared from the house and I got the china.  You know those ‘someday’ lists, well getting a cabinet to put it in was on one of those lists.  Grandma H passed at age 95 a couple of years ago so a cabinet had actually jumped up in my priority list because I wanted it out of the box.

As it turns out one of my cousins from my other side of the family was looking to get rid of the china cabinet that was my Grandma S’s and asked family first if anyone wanted it.   I didn’t hesitate to take it.  How awesome to have something like this from both Grandmothers!

It needed a face lift.  I was excited to try out the chalk paint.  I went to my local Ace Hardware store and they carry Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and their customer service is great so I got lots of tips too.  Of course Amazon has it too so you can always go there.

I also watched a bunch of YouTube videos, just search on Annie Sloan and you see all kinds of ideas, tips and inspiration.  I spent too much time here making sure I knew exactly what to do.  The nice thing about this though is there’s not much to know!

I did not plan on making a post about this so I don’t have any before or during pictures and I don’t even know the color I used as I can’t find the can.  I do have the wax and I used Light Antique wax.

Easy and quick do not mean the same thing.  Something of this size takes time no matter how easy something may be.  I also only worked on it while JP was in school so I only had a couple of hours a day.  In order to get all angles, you have to wait for parts to dry so you can flip it and get other angles.  I literally painted everything, the hinges and all.  I didn’t want to take anything apart or have to be so perfect.  That’s the great thing about this paint is that you can do this!

I found a couple of new knobs at Hobby Lobby.

This was the ‘easy’ part.  The rest are lessons learned for your next project or just to get a good laugh at my real life.

I also kind of felt like the mirror dated it but I know when you buy new china cabinet they have glass.  I wanted it covered.  I was looking for a vinyl or sticky wallpaper type of thing so I could just peel and stick to the glass.  Although the one I found in my searches had this criteria, it really was just regular wallpaper so I had to use a spray craft adhesive for it.  Details I didn’t check before ordering!

My husband chimed in and said he could add some corner round around the mirror so it looked more ‘finished’ with the wallpaper backing.  Awesome!  We finish the project, I get the china out of the box and all cleaned up.  The cabinet is in the house and clean and guess what.  The glass shelves don’t fit in with the addition of the corner round!  You are kidding me right?

This is where we feel like big dorks for not planning this or putting the shelves in before to make sure it would work.  Now what?  The corner round was glued and nailed in.  Our nephew does furniture repair so he looked at it and his best advice was to take a Dremel and notch out the corner round.  His brother was over around the same time and said their step-dad had a ton of attachments.  They forgot and we avoided.  And this is where the cabinet sat for several months.  It was in the kitchen, china just in piles with no shelves.  It became a project we didn’t know what to do with.  I think there was fear of ruining the cabinet.  I finally nagged enough and said if we ruin it then we ruin it but we have to try something it can’t just sit here like this.

Finally the Dremel comes out, I had unplugged the battery the day prior and it’s now dead.  Ok, not tonight.  Plug battery back in.  I had decided to paint the kitchen so guess what, I unplugged the battery so attempt 2, dead battery.  We have no idea how old it is as neither of us know where it came from so at this point we realize it’s not holding a charge at all.  Next stop is to buy a new Dremel.  I was seriously thinking maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.  We had a vacation planned and I said we have to finish this before we leave, I was tired of tools and stuff all over the kitchen as we just waited between failed attempts.  Thanks to a new tool and awesome husband the shelves were finally in!  If you ever see it in person though you can’t inspect it!

The cabinet gets finished, we go on vacation and while we were on vacation my Grandma S passed.  She was 99.  I really just thought I was tired of it sitting in the house unfinished but maybe there was another reason I was crazy about getting it finished.  The timing sure makes you wonder!

Check That Off The List

Do you ever have little things in life that just drive you crazy but you deal with it or just never really make time to figure out a solution?  Well one of those things for me is when you get to the end of a bottle of lotion, conditioner, body wash, a condiment in the fridge…you know all of those things that you try to tip the bottle upside down to get the last bit of product.

You have no idea (or maybe you too are like me and do know) how many times I’ve tried to balance the body wash just right on the shelf in the shower between the other bottles so it stays upside down but doesn’t fall.  It’s becomes a challenge, what bottle do I need to use next because it can’t touch that bottle or it will all come tumbling down.   As much as I love challenges like this because I will win…sometimes it gets old.

Please tell me I’m not the only one with these issues!

Enter these ingenious things.

bottle saver

bottle hack

I have no idea how I came across them, it was probably late night social media surfing which I said I was going to stop doing so much of.

Disclaimer:  some links may contain affiliate links which means at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase I earn a commission.

Amazon has a few options.  I started with this one and found that most of my bath products use the yellow adapter and this kit only has 1.  I had no idea how they would work or what size the adapters were.  In order to help you  all out here are the sizes of the adapters:

Yellow – 3/4″
Orange – 1″
Red – 1.25″

There is also this option as well which has more. I guess it just depends on how many you have getting empty at the same time as to which one you pick.  I have a feeling that I will need more yellow ones since that’s what size most of my non food consumables are.