Friday, March 29, 2013

Raindrop Stenciled Craft Organizer

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE geometric shapes and patterns. So of course, when I received this amazing set of Handmade Charlotte stencils full of fun geometric patterns, I was thrilled! Although, how was I supposed to pick just one for this project?

I've had this boring unfinished wooden shelf that I bought at some craft store on clearance years ago, and never got around to painting. I knew it would be perfect for this project, and would look great in white and yellow, a vibrant and invigorating color. I had also decided to use spray paint for most of this project, and to touch up with FolkArt acrylic paints. I ended out choosing the raindrop stencil, although I was seriously tempted by the geometric triangles, polka dots, chevron, and hexagon stencils.

What I did:

1. Clean your surfaces and sand any uneven areas. Spray paint the outside and front edges of the shelf white.

2. Use painter's tape to tape off the front edges.

3. Spray paint the inside of the shelf yellow. Use two coats.

4. Prepare to stencil. Tape the stencil to a corner of one side of the shelf. Make sure that the stencil is sitting completely flat against the wood.

5. Spray one light coat of yellow spray paint evenly over the stencil. Make sure to stay at least 12 inches away from the stencil. I immediately removed the stencil and let it dry away from the shelf to keep them from getting stuck together.

6. When the first section is dry, move the stencil up so that the bottom rows of the new stencil line up with the top rows of the first one. Spray this new section yellow. Repeat the same process to cover the extra area on the right as well. Then stencil the other side of the shelf in the same way.

I was worried that the cardboard stencils wouldn't hold up well, but they worked perfectly with the spray paint. I could easily use the same stencil over and over again without any wrinkling or tearing from the paint. There were a couple of places where I got the can of spray paint too close to the shelf and the paint smeared a little past the stencil. I used white FolkArt acrylic paint to touch up these spots. If I hadn't made that mistake, I don't think I would have needed to touch up any areas at all.

I wanted to use this beautiful shelf as a craft organizer for my ribbon and paint. I found a dowel at the craft store that fit through the middle of spools of ribbon, and then drilled three evenly spaced holes through the top of the shelf. (I actually drilled these holes before I painted the shelf.) Then, I cut the dowel into three pieces that slightly stick out of the top of the shelf. Right now this organizer is sitting on the shelf next to my desk, but I will probably end out mounting it to the wall next to my crafty peg board.

Here are some other great projects you could make with the other AMAZING stencils from this same set. I will definitely be using these in some other upcoming projects!

paint, stencils, handmade charlotte, plaid, folk art

paint, stencils, handmade charlotte, plaid, folk art

Connect with Plaid: Plaid on Facebook, Plaid on Twitter, or Follow Plaid on Pinterest

Check out some of the other projects from this campaign:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Healthy Surprise (plus ten things you didn't know about me)

I'm happy to share with you Green Giant's healthy surprise: New Veggie Snack Chips! Now snackers have an option they can feel good about eating.

I got the chance to try the Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips and the Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt. I'm a huge fan of anything sweet potato and I love Sea Salt, so naturally I was drawn to these.

The Sea Salt Multigrain Sweet Potato chips are made with real sweet potatoes, have 19 grams of whole grain per serving, and have 40% less fat than regular potato chips. While they are still something that you should eat only in moderation with a balanced and healthy diet, they are a tasty way to get your salty fix and your whole grains at the same time with much less fat. I love the subtle sweet potato flavor of the chips and their thin crunchiness.

I LOVE that the number 1 ingredient is Whole Grain Corn Flour. I also feel like the healthiest products have the smallest ingredients list, like this one.

Green Giant also now makes Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips in a delicious Zesty Cheddar flavor. They are made with real vegetables, 17 grams of whole grain per serving (48g are recommended daily), and are naturally flavored.

Save more with this printable coupon from Green Giant.

Check out all of the surprise talents Green Giant has unearthed here or submit your own through their Facebook page.

Instead of sharing a hidden talent, I thought I'd share some things about myself that you all probably didn't already know.
10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me:

1. When I was 12, I got a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

2. The first time I wore make-up I was 18. I was 19 when I got my ears pierced.

3. My secret lifelong dream is to be an inventor.

4. My husband is in the official contestant pool for Jeopardy. He knows everything about everything. It's ridiculous.

5. I was named Rachel after my mom's dad, Ray. I continued the tradition by naming my daughter Lyla after my dad (whose middle name is Lyle).

6. I'm 5'8", but I was usually the short one growing up. I just kept growing when everyone else stopped.

7. I have 2 cats, but I'm more of a dog person. Really, I'm an animal person.

8. I don't know anything about sewing, but I would LOVE to learn. I don't think I've ever seen a sewing machine on and working.

9. I took a LOT of Latin in school, all the way through high school. I didn't keep up with it in college, but I took a couple of French and Italian classes instead. 

10. I am a shy extrovert. I was VERY shy as a kid and I've mostly outgrown it, but I'm still a shy person who loves to be around people. 

Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Delicious Pairings - Some Things are Better Together

Have you ever noticed that some things are better in pairs than alone? The two things combine into something new and when it's a good pair, they bring out the best in each other. Peanut butter and jelly. Road trips and good music. Hot chocolate and a snowy day. Coffee and a chocolate brownie.

Last week, I was excited to get the chance to go to Walmart and check out the new "Delicious Pairings" section, featuring Starbucks coffee and Walmart's bakery. I loved the display, and all of the helpful suggestions for finding the right coffee and pairing it with the best baked treat. I was impressed with the amazing selection of the Walmart bakery, from brownie bites, to marble cake, to mini muffins. #deliciouspairings

I really enjoy coffee, and the taste and quality matters a lot to me, however so does the price. That's why I rarely ever get coffee out, and just brew quality coffee at home. My husband used to be a barista and is pretty picky about what coffee he gets. We do enjoy trying different coffees and flavors from time to time, especially seasonal ones, but our go-to favorite coffee is Starbucks Blonde Veranda Blend.

I like coffee by itself, but sometimes it can be just a little bitter, and it leaves you wanting something more. I got some of the Atlanta Bread Brownie Bites at Walmart as well as some Starbucks Blonde Veranda Coffee (although we already had some at home), and hurried home to try them together. It was difficult waiting for the coffee to brew to break into the brownies, haha.

The brownies were really delicious and went together so well with the coffee. Both the brownies and the coffee complimented each other so well. When I took a bite of the one, I wanted a sip of the other, and vice-versa.

When I think of coffee and brownies, I automatically think of my Grandmother. In honor of International Women's Day, I wanted to do something special to honor her. We have always been very close, and she has always been a huge inspiration to me. Unfortunately, her memory has been failing her lately. She still remembers who we all are, but doesn't remember most things that happen from day to day, what year it is, or even a lot of things about her own life and personality. It's interesting, there are several things that she has always loved, and it seems that as her memory fades more and more her love of these things grows stronger and more resolved: coffee, chocolate, bridge, Gone with the Wind, her family. I know that when I bring her a cup of coffee, a brownie, and the bridge hand from the morning paper, her face will light up and it will literally make her day. I think it's both the delicious taste of coffee and desserts, as well as the lifetime of memories associated with them, even those memories she can't quite recall, that makes my Grandmother get so much joy from something as simple as a little plate holding a cup of coffee and a brownie. I think I enjoy taking them to her and sharing in this little ritual with her as much as she does.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric

Runway Inspired Lace Tip Nails

There are so many fun trends in fashion this spring, from bold shapes and patterns, to black and white, to lace. When I was given the opportunity to create a runway inspired nail tutorial with Sally Hansen nail products for the spring, I knew I would have trouble choosing just one. When I went to Walgreens to look at the collection, my decision got even more difficult. There were so many gorgeous colors and styles of polish that were beautifully displayed. You can see my Google+ shopping album here.

I love the pink and gold metallic nails in this Walgreens display! There was also a beautiful section of Sally Hansen nail polish called "Colors of the Season" with a great selection of trendy colors. #ILuvNailArt

(P.S. There is a BOGO 50% on Insta Dri and Salon Effects at Walgreens that runs until 3/30/13. If you buy 2 between 3/10-3/16, then you will receive 2,000 rewards points.)

After a LOT of deliberation (and a few weird looks from other customers), I finally narrowed it down to just a few products with a design in mind. I made sure to use my Balance Rewards card for extra points and discounts. I ended out choosing one of my favorite trends right now, black lace, which is both classic and current.


Here is a trendy spring outfit I put together that would look great with these black lace tip nails. It features two of the Pantone spring 2013 fashion color report, poppy red and linen.

1. Salvatore Ferragamo Lava Juliette Tote  2. Valentino Couture Lace D'Orsay  3. Freshwater Pearl Earrings  4. Romantic Luxe Twill Skinny Jeans  5. Lipsy Tunic Top  6. Allure's Top 8 Spring Make-up Trends  7. ASOS Nude Round Sunglasses  8. Pearl and Bead Bracelets  9. River Island Black Leather LOVE Bracelet  10. Black Lace Tip Nails (Sally Hansen Nail Effects)


What I used:
1. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear "White On"
2. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "In a Flash"
3. Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat
5. (Optional) Sally Hansen No More Mistakes Manicure Clean-up Pen

What you do:
1. Paint your nails with 1-2 coats of white paint. A lot of light and neutral colors are pretty transparent and the white base gives your nails an even and brighter look. For a more see through look, you can skip this step.
*Make sure to let each coat fully dry before applying the next one. 
2. Paint on a coat of your colored nail polish. I used the Insta-Dri polish (which dried quickly, hooray!) in the color called "In a Flash". A darker nude shade would also work well.
3. Touch up any nail polish spots or edges with the Sally Hansen No More Mistakes Manicure Clean-up Pen. This pen was amazing and SO easy to use. It really allowed me to paint right up to the edges to my nails with a straight line.
4. Prepare your nail polish strips. Choose strips that are the right width for each nail, and cut them to cover the top halves of your nails. Make sure they fully cover past the top of your nails. (These fun strips are made of real nail polish so they don't look or feel like stickers. They come right off with nail polish remover.)
5. Follow the instructions for the strips. Basically, peel off the front and backs from the strips, press them against your nails (you can stretch them a little bit if you need to), then use the provided nail file to file the ends. Be careful to not file off too much of the strip.
6. Make sure you are happy with how everything looks and that everything is smooth and even.
7. Add a coat of Mega Shine Top Coat, making sure it covers the front end of your nails. I LOVE this top coat, plus it extends the life of your manicure and prevents chipping.
8. Let it dry and enjoy!

You can keep up with Sally Hansen on twitter or check out the I Heart Nail Art app where you can submit your own nail art for a chance to win $500, a trip to NYC, and a $2000 grand prize. (Check out the app for more details.)

 I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and COTY. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric

Friday, March 8, 2013

How to Print Photos from Your Phone or Facebook with the Walgreens Mobile App

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I'm a photo addict. I take pictures... lots of pictures... all the time. I've always loved taking pictures, but especially since my kids were born and I started blogging, I've found myself taking thousands of pictures a year. Since I don't always want to carry my big camera around with me, I capture a lot of great shots of the kids with my phone. Honestly, many of my favorite pictures were taken with my phone because I was able to capture a spontaneous moment. (And these are the cute pictures that are perfect for crafts and gifts, like these Easter Photo Gift Tags. Scroll down for the free printable.)

The crazy thing is, I rarely print pictures. In fact, it's ridiculous how few printed pictures I have of my kids. I've always just put it off, thinking I'd have to take forever to move the pictures from folders on my computer or files on my phone to a disk and then take them in to get printed. Now that has changed. It is SO easy to use the Walgreens Photo App. Now I am hooked, not just on taking pictures, but on printing them. In about 5 minutes, you can open the Walgreens app, choose pictures from your phone or Facebook to print, and order them. This is especially useful for printing some pictures to send in a holiday card, or in putting together a quick gift for a family member, like these meaningful Easter gifts I put together for my parents and my in-laws.

How to use the Walgreens Photo App: 
1. Download and open the free Walgreens app. Click on Photo.
2. Now you can choose if you want to print pictures from your phone or from Facebook. (I don't think you can print pictures from both your phone and Facebook in the same order, but it is so easy to just place a second order.)
3. Click on the photos you want to print. A check mark will appear. You can only upload 5 photos at once. Click print to add them to your cart, but you can keep adding more pictures before checking out.
4. Choose what size and quantity of photos you want. Don't forget to search for coupon codes. I found one for 50% off prints.

5. You will be asked to choose a location. You can type in a zip code, but the closest Walgreens locations to me were already listed.
6. Enter your info and submit your order. You don't have to enter credit card info or anything. You can pay in the store.
7. Don't forget to use your Balance Rewards Card. It's easy to sign up, and if you already have a card, you can just scan it.
8. That's it. Now you pick up your pictures. The estimated time is usually an hour, but my first order took only about 15 minutes. 

(You can see my whole shopping experience here.) While you're there, check out the awesome photo center. Walgreens also carries a small but cute and affordable selection of picture frames. Right now, they are buy one get one free. I love how these simple black frames look, and I ended up paying $7 total for them. #HappyHealthy

As much as I LOVE this app and definitely plan on using it again and again, I have one quick caveat for you to keep in mind when printing pictures from Instagram. I ended out printing pictures from Facebook, my camera roll, and a few that I had cropped and edited on Instagram. Because these Instagram pictures are square, I thought that they would print 4 x 4 with 2 inches of white space to the side (which is exactly what I wanted). However, they automatically zoomed in to fill the 4 x 6 space. About half of the pictures were messed up completely, but the other half turned out great. In fact, the adorable picture of Lyla pretending to drive the car (in the second frame at the bottom of the post) was one of these zoomed in Instagram photos and I love how it turned out. I would just recommend printing the original version from your camera roll in most cases.

You can also print pictures of your phone to make personalized gift tags. You can print these Happy Easter tags for free HERE. I printed them onto kraft paper cardstock, but they also look cute on white cardstock. You need a circle paper punch that is 1.5" in diameter.

Print out the gift tags onto cardstock. Cut them out just inside of the light gray lines. Use a 1.5" circle hole punch to cut out a circle in the egg for your photo. Put the tag over your Walgreens prints and find pictures that fit well in the circle. Trim the picture so that it's smaller than the tag and larger than the circle, and tape it to the back of the tag (of course I used colorful washi tape). Punch a hole in the top and add some ribbon, then use these cute personalized tags to give gifts this Easter.


I ended out making two different versions, one for each set of grandparents.

You can view and print the photo Happy Easter gift tags HERE.

You can follow along with Walgreens on Facebook or Twitter.

“I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Walgreens. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric


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