New Blog Design for 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year - New Blog Design...

After much searching, I found a new design for my blog.  I must say I love the new crisp clean look thanks to Adrien of EclairDesign.  I love the mint color against the white, it drew me right in.  Adrien was just wonderful to work with.  She had this amazing blog up and running in less than 24 hours!! There are many designs to choose from.  I love her photography template designs, now I just have to get my daughter to set up her professional page.   We will be purchasing again :-)




The design I chose for this blog is called Peppermint.



If you are contemplating writing your own blog or you need a new design go check out her shop.  Amazing customer service!



Merry Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all! Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

It has been quite the eventful and busy day today.  Last night in Syracuse we broke a record!  70 degrees and no measurable snow this year, which is unheard of here in Central New York.  Christmas day and we were sitting outside in just a sweater.  I had to celebrate this gorgeous weather by  barbecuing Christmas dinner, actually my daughter was the one cooking on the grill.  She calls herself the "grill master."  I guess this is what it's like to live in the south during the winter.

 It was a nice day with my family, although we are not too far from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  It made for some good times and some funny videos that had everyone laughing on Facebook :)

I do have to say I am looking for a little bit of down time this upcoming week.  Between my teaching job and my shop on Etsy I have been very busy these past couple of months.  Now that the craziness has stopped,  I will take a few days off and catch up on all the stuff I haven't been able to get to lately.



I hope everyone had a wonderful day today!




Candy Bar Snowmen

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It just wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't crafting up to the last minute.  I've seen the little candy bar snowmen all over Pinterest and decided that they would be a cute little gift for my co-workers.

I found the printable pattern on line here - Robin's Creative Cottage.  I ran to Walmart and grabbed 2 packs of Hershey Chocolate Bars, 1/2 yard of red fleece, 1/2 yard of blue fleece, and a package of 16 bells from the dollar store.

The directions actually call for sewing the little hats for the snowman.  I didn't have time to sew all the hats this evening, so I cut the fabric to 6 inches wide and approximately 4 1/2 inches wide.  I put some hot glue near the edges and then folded them over to give it a finished look.  I then glue the two sides together leaving the top and bottom both open.  I rolled up the hat, grabbed some twine to gather the upper portion of the hat and then sliced down the hat to make it look like fringe.

If you are a visual person like I am, here is a video I found on how to put the snowmen together.
Scroll down to view the video.


I think next year, I may start a bit earlier than the night before the last day of school to make my crafts :)






Syracuse Fan

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A friend of mine from high school messaged me Friday night and asked if I could create a wreath for his mom who will be celebrating her 84th birthday on Monday and that he would be driving in from Connecticut to celebrate it with her.  Of course, I told him I would make one.  Nothing makes me happier than creating a wreath for someone, especially someone who is celebrating their 84th birthday and a huge Syracuse University fan.  I am lucky that I don't live too far from the University, so I dragged my mom out for the morning (she goes on all my craft adventures with me) and headed up to "The Hill" as the locals call it, to one of the shops that carries all SU items.  There I purchased the huge Otto mascot and the wreath was born...


I'm glad to know that I will be making his mom smile later on today.  Wishing her a happy 84th birthday!

Otto - Syracuse University

Sideview of Otto




Santa Key

Saturday, December 5, 2015


I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit and decided to take a quick break from my wreath making for a few hours. Today I decided to make some Magical Santa Keys for friends and also list a few in my Etsy Shop.  You can find various Santa keys all over Pinterest.  Many have free printables,  but I have to say I didn't really care for the poems that were out there.  I wanted more of a "Twas The Night Before Christmas" feel to it,  so I decided to come up with my own version of the poem.  I really enjoyed making these magical keys - they are available in my shop for $8.00.  



Here is what the finished product looks like:






©2015 Tj's Creative Crafts All Rights Reserved

Get Creative and Make a Wreath...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Finally getting a chance to post the Christmas Wreaths I've been busy working on.  As you can tell, I am all over the place - I tend to look for something that catches my eye and then figure out how I can make it into a wreath.  I have to say that very rarely do I buy from a craft store.  I think the reason I avoid buying signs, etc. from local craft stores is because every other person who make a wreath buys the same items.  Although, from time to time I will find something at Hobby Lobby.  I like mine to look different from everyone else's.

I usually pick out my focal point, (sign, plush animal, etc.) then decide what type of base I would like to use, evergreen, grapevine, burlap, or deco mesh. From there I decide on the colors, flowers, etc.  I will be honest, I will take apart a wreath many times until I get it right.  I have been known to get frustrated and then walk away and come back another day with a different perspective.  I don't secure everything down until I am completely satisfied with it.  Most of the time I will hang it on my fence and take photos from different angles, and if it doesn't look right, I will take it apart and change it again.  I drive my family nuts :-)

My favorites are snowmen, I just love them!  I think living here in the frozen tundra known as Central New York, snowmen can be left out all winter :)  Believe me with the cold dreary winters, I love having decorations in the house to get me by until Spring, which around her can be well past Mother's Day - yes we have had snow on Mother's Day here!

So this holiday season - make a wreath - give it a try - be a bit creative.  If you see something in a store that you think may look nice in a wreath - go ahead and make it!  Be creative!


Victorian Santa

Adorable Moose

Birdhouse

Peacock Wreath

Whimsical Bow Elf Wreath

Lighted Elf Wreath

Snowman

Christmas Cards

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Well it's that time of year already.  Halloween just ended and now onto Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Even though the temperatures are in the high 60's, which is wonderful for Syracuse this time of year, I just ordered my Christmas cards from SimplyToImpress this year.  I loved the sled  and ice skates that I decorated for my front porch and decided that they would make a wonderful Christmas card this year.

Now before I go any further, I do not in anyway receive any compensation from this company.  I just happened to find their website and ordered my Christmas Cards.  It was very easy to upload my photo, and then add the greeting.  I must say I was impressed with the way the packaged was arranged and quickly delivered.  The cards are printed on a heavy card stock.  I honestly think they did a great job and I would use them again.  If you're like me, I get a little leery ordering from companies I've never done business with.  I really must say though, I am very impressed and will order again from them.

You can take a look at their website here.  Right now they have a 30% off special until November 9th.  Go and check out their products.




Nicely Packaged


Box I received

My Christmas Card for 2015





Website


Hanukkah Wreaths

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's been a busy few months around here.  Trying to get into the swing of the new school year, been super busy making wreaths for the upcoming Holidays.  Just doesn't seem as if there are enough hours in a day to get everything accomplished.

Quite a few of my friends celebrate Hanukkah, so I thought it would be nice to make them some wreaths for the upcoming holiday.   I must say I've been a bit disappointed when I search the the web to find Hanukkah Decorations, particularly  decorations I can place in wreaths are very few and far between.  So I have been on the hunt to find decorations.

Here are a few wreaths that I have made so far. More coming soon,  and will also be adding a DIY tutorial in the next couple of weeks.

I Hope this gives you some ideas for decorations.

If you don't quite feel up to the challenge of making a wreath yourself,  feel free to visit my Etsy shop where you can purchase a wreath or custom order one.




Budget Beach Decorating

Monday, August 3, 2015

Who doesn't love finding a deal?  Decided to update my fireplace with a beachy feel this weekend, with some items I purchased at the Christmas Tree Shop,  Dollar Tree and Target.

I just love the aqua blue!



The frame and the metal candle stick holders were purchased at the Christmas Tree Shops, along with the aqua blue stone vase filler (in the arrangement picture) as well at the starfish and sand dollars. All glass candle holders and white candles were purchased at the Dollar Tree Store.  The Aqua blue candles were purchased at Target.



Brooklyn loves to be in photos!







For the arrangement I already had the white grassy stuff, I spray painted the starfish, then hot glued the starfish and shells to wooden dowels and stuck them in the arrangement.  I had the shells on hand, but I've seen them in the Dollar Store.






I have not received any compensation from the above links.  This post is based solely on my opinion.

30 Minutes or less Decluttering challenge

Tuesday, July 28, 2015






Everyone would love their home to be spotlessly organized.  You all know the homes I am talking about, the pictures of the perfectly organized houses that look like an advertisement for the "Container Store" or a photo-shoot for a magazine.  I am like the rest of you, I look at those pictures and get insanely jealous, wondering what I am doing wrong in my life. I must say some of those photos are beautiful, a house to die for,  and when I look at those perfectly organized closets, it makes me feel super inadequate.  How can some of these women have 3-4 kids, a job, a full time blog, yet their homes look like the Queen of England, can pop in at a moment's notice and nothing would be out of place? Am I the only person that has the tops to the Rubbermaid containers fly out at me when I open a cabinet?

I will be the first to tell you, I have great intentions of decluttering my life!  No, really I do, except I am the queen of being side-tracked.  I have a little problem called Attention Deficit Disorder, nothing new, it's been an issue in my life since I was a child.  Now living with A.D.D. is like a double-edged sword.  In order to get through my day, I need to be organized or things can quickly spiral out of control pile up, but in order to be organized you need to focus not start tasks and then quit in the middle.   It's definitely a problem, but by no means am I using it as an excuse.  I do have some perfectly organized areas in my house, and others not so much.

 I am one of those individuals who begins cleaning a kitchen cabinet with great intentions, I pull everything out of the cabinet and then go to put something away in a draw and BAM right in the middle of cleaning the cabinet, I begin cleaning out the draw.  See, I go from one project to the next, without finishing the first task.  In a matter of an hour, I can tear my whole kitchen apart - and then I look at the disaster I have created and BOOM I shut down.  I get overwhelmed and bored quickly.  So for me, I need to break things down into realistic mini tasks.  This way I feel accomplished empowered, that I actually finished something quickly!

So why don't you join me in completing some mini tasks each day.  We can all find 30 minutes a day in our busy lives.  Put on some music and together we can declutter all that junk in our lives one day at a time.

What are some areas of your home that you would like to declutter?  What are the major trouble areas of your home?  Maybe together we can all find a quick way to break down those taunting tasks.

Baby steps friends.....baby steps :-)

Head over to my  Facebook Page and add your before and after photos - we promise this is a "no judgement zone."


Day 1
Here is your first task....yup get on your computer, tablet, phone, whatever device you use and clean out those in-boxes.  I get a ton of useless email a day, that adds up really quickly.
Now, I have a few accounts, one for work, one for my personal life, one for my blog & business, and then one account I keep specifically when I sign up for something online.  This is the one that gets loaded with all the "junk" emails.  While you are decluttering your in-box, make sure you unsubscribe from those annoying emails.  Some companies send out 1-2 emails a day!  Why do they think sending out so many emails a day will entice me to buy something?  It has the opposite affect on me --ugh!






Day 2
Today let's see what's lurking in the depths of the refrigerator.  Take 30 minutes to toss anything that has expired.  Wipe down the shelves, then head on over to the freezer and do the same.

Helpful Hint:  Grab some shelf liner from the Dollar Store, the kind that is very flexible.  Just cut down to fit the shelves, what a time save when something spills in the frig.  You can check out my older post here to see how I added the shelf liner





Day 3
We all have that dreaded junk drawer (or two or three), you know the one in the kitchen where everything winds up.  Take some time today and empty it out.  Wipe the inside of the drawer down.  If something doesn't belong in the drawer,  find it a home.  Toss out anything you don't need or if you're like me what it belongs to.  I have a habit of throwing in pieces to something that are broken or belong to something else,  and then I can't for the life of me remember what it belongs to.





Day 4
Take some time today and go through you medicine cabinet, box, closet, or wherever it is that you keep you medicine and vitamins.  Take a look and see what has expired. Dispose of unused and and expired medicines properly.  This would be a good time to look over your inventory and replenish any cold meds for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.  Better to be prepared and have the items on hand, than having to run to the store when you or the children are not feeling well.  I know as the new school year starts, I always come down with a huge nasty cold.  It's better to prepare in advance.





Day 5
Today's challenge is the linen closet.  Take 30 minutes and organize the closet. Wipe down the shelves, get rid of worn linen and towels.  You can donate old bedding and towels to your local dog shelter, a nice way to give back.



Day 6
Today's challenge is your entertainment center or whatever space you hold your music Cds, Dvds, or game system.  After years of a losing battle with this entertainment system, I finally took all the Cds out of their boxes, bought plastic sleeves and organized them alphabetically.  I did the same for my movies as well.  The amount of space you gain is amazing, not to mention how quickly you can find something when you're looking for it.  You can see my original post here.  I do need to laminate my dividers, but I save that for a snowy winter day!



Day 7
Today's challenge is to organize your paperwork.  We all have that one hidden pile stashed away.  I guess if we don't see it, it's not really there right?  You know the pile I'm talking about.  The one that gets shoved into a bag and then stuffed in a closet somewhere when someone is coming over to your house.

Your Task:  Make 4 piles, to file, to do, to trash and to shred.  Quickly look at each piece of paper and put it in one of those 4 piles.  Put the "to-do" into a file folder and work on it later on.  The shred and trash piles will be the easiest, don't shred as you go, because it will take too much time.  Leave it in one pile and then shred after you take care of the other three piles.  The last one is "to file" pile.  Grab you pile and group "like" (bills from the same company) things that will be filed together.  Make this a quick and painless as possible.







Happy Weekend Everyone - we had a few days off from organizing (actually I was on vacation) - went to Long Island, visited with some friends, went to the Hampton's and Montauk Point with my daughter.  We had a wonderful time.  On the way home we saw a billboard for "The Container Store" and I've never had the chance to go to one,  so my daughter  yells "YOLO" (you only live once) so let's go!  We put the directions into the GPS and off we went!  I have to tell you I was in heaven in that store.

Enjoy the rest of Sunday - tomorrow I will begin with Day 8 of the organizing challenge :-)

Day 8
Today's challenge is to clean out that coat closet or entryway closet.  Now is the time to throw anything that needs to be cleaned (mittens. scarves, etc.) into the washer.  Take any coats to the dry cleaners, and check to see if anything needs mending (missing buttons, etc.)

Go through the boots and shoes in the closet as well.  Have your children outgrown their boots and coats?  Remember to donate anything that no longer fits.  After this mini project is done, you will be ready for the winter weather that seems to always catch us off guard.  There's nothing more frustrating than digging around looking for missing mittens and stuff when you are in the morning rush.  Be prepared :-)



Day 9
Organzier your dresser.  Go through and toss or donate items that you no longer wear.  Make sure all your socks have a mate, if not toss them!  You would be surprised to find out how much stuff we actually accumulate in our dresser drawers.

Dresser Clipart Courtesy of www.furnitureclipart.com

Day 10
Clean out underneath your sink.  It could be the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or if you have time both sinks.  Clean out products you no longer use.  If you keep your garbage can under the sink (as I do) scrub down the can.  Combine products - I am guilty of this - I have many duplicates such as glass clean that may be half full each, I combine them and get rid of one bottle :)  

If you have products that you purchased such as shampoo or other incidentals that you haven't used and may never use, see if you can donate them to a local shelter.  These could be items like toothbrushes or dental floss that you get when you go to the dentist that you haven't used.  You get to clean out your cabinet and help someone in the mean time, it's a win - win situation.  


Day 11
Clean out your nail polish.  Today is an easy challenge, grab that box where you keep all of your nail polish and go through it.  Toss anything that is no longer useable.  This is a quick challenge, which may free up some time to get caught up on other challenges.



Day 12
Purge old make-up.


Time to go through your make-up.  Get rid of anything that you don’t use, that is too old, or out of style.  Most make-up has a short shelf live.  Masacara is only good for 3 months, so make sure you toss the outdated ones. 





Day 13

Happy Monday!  As you can tell I skip Sunday's from the challenge - so here we are again.  

Organize the car.  Sometimes I feel like I live in my car.  Stuff can accumulate rather quickly.  I am so guilty of this.  If I need to run an errand and the mailman comes by, I will grab the mail (especially junk mail) on my way out and toss it into the car.  I guess I am too lazy to go and walk it back into the house.  I have found that by keeping empty store bags stashed in the car getting rid of trash is much easier.  If I stop to get gas or anywhere else that has a trash can, I just grab the bag and toss it, this is especially great when traveling.  I also use a car organizer to help contain things; such as paper towels, glass cleaner, blankets (in winter)  window wash, canvas bags when shopping, etc.  Having an organizer is great especially when you need to take that stuff out if you need to load your car for a big item.  


Day 14

Today's challenge is to clean out your nightstand.  If you have 2 better yet to clean them both.  Nice and quick job today!

Day 15
Super easy challenge today - go through all those old magazines you have lying around the house.  If you've been saving them for an article, take out the article, put in a folder to read at another time.    Get rid of any catalogs while you're at it!



Day 16
Clean out your baking cabinet.

Fall is rapidly approaching.  It will be time for apple and pumpkin pies.  Take 30 minutes and clean out your baking cabinet, the one will all the supplies.  A few years ago, I went on an organization kick and purchased some plastic shoe boxes.  In my cabinet I have sprinkles, extracts, etc.  My easier to grab a shoebox then knock out half the cabinet every time I reach my arm in.  It has worked out great.  


DIY Chalkboard Printables Using Pickmonkey

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I love chalkboard signs!  You see them all over Pinterest.  I was sitting down making a "chalkboard" sign for my friend's daughter, so I thought I would make a tutorial on how to make an Instagram sign using PicMonkey.

Important:  Before you begin, make sure you download all the clipart and fonts you want to use in your project.  Pinterest is a great place to start looking for various graphics and fonts.  Do a search using "chalkboard graphics."  Make sure you download a "chalkboard background" to begin your project.  There are many styles, I happen to like the "darker" backgrounds.  It is all preference, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.


To make things easier I download my graphics and  keep a graphics file on my desktop so they are all in one place when I begin a project.  I have listed the blogs and font website that I used in this project at the very end.

The first thing is go to Picmonkey

Click on "Design" then 8x10 box


Your page will look like this:





Now Click on the "texture" button:



Click on the top box that says "Your Own"

Next, you will download a background from your computer: Click the yellow "open my texture button"  and download a chalkboard background from your files.

After you click on the file you want - click on the green "apply button" and your background should now look like this:



Now comes the designing part.  In order to add clipart,  you need to click on the "butterfly" on the tool bar - this lets you put graphics (overlays) on the page. It will be the same as applying  the background - you choose a file you have on your computer, click the "my own" on the overlays menu:

I chose an "Instagram (free clipart logo) that I got off of the "Instagram" website.



For the clipart banners and corners:  Use the overlay button again - position them where you want them on your page (again make sure you make them white in color.  For the corners - you can duplicate them by "right clicking" on your mouse.  After you duplicate them, you can change their direction by clicking on the arrows on the overlay pop-up toolbar.




Continue with the overlays until you have all the clipart in place.  Add the "text" by clicking on the "Tt" on the toolbar on the left.  You have the option of using your own "fonts" that you have already downloaded to your computer.  I always use my own "fonts" that I've downloaded.


When you have completed your print, save it to your computer.  For nice quality, I would suggest printing this off as a "photo" at your local store (wherever you get your prints from.)

If you are using your sign for a wedding, I would suggest ordering a "poster" size print to be displayed at your reception.





The "Oh Snap" font is ecuyerdax you can download the font here from dafont.

Designs By Miss Mandaee is a wonderful blog with beautiful graphics for your personal use. I used her "banner" clipart for this project.  Her site has printables, freebies, or you may purchase design work for your blog, website, or business.


Starsunflowers Studio is where the "corner" clipart was downloaded from.  They have beautiful chalkboard graphics and freebies for your personal use.  They also offer professional services as well, go and look at their designs.


Free "chalkboard" backgrounds can be found at We Lived Happily Ever After. This website has wonderful graphics, fonts, and resources to help you with your project.  Very lovely blog, go and check this page out.


I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  Have fun making your chalkboard signs.









DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS