Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ella Claire Shoppe Giveaway Winner!

I used to pick a winner... and...
The winner of the Ella Claire Shoppe Giveaway is 

Thank you, everyone for entering! I wish I could give something to everyone! 
There will be more giveaways in the future, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chalkboard Maintenance 101

Chalkboard Maintenance 101: Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Chalkboard!

Several people have asked me how I prepare, paint and maintain my chalkboards, so I decided to put it all in one post for quick reference. I will also share a few other tidbits with you.

1. Before I paint my chalkboards, I make sure to pick a nice hard surface. Softer or more porous surfaces will work, but they are much harder to erase and will have more of a smudged look. {If you are wanting a more aged look for your board, go with a more porous or softer surface... I prefer the harder boards} I always sand my board until the surface is nice and smooth.

2. Make sure you get rid of ALL dust from sanding! If not, you will end up with nubbies and globs in your paint. {OK, so nubbies is technically not a word...}

3. When I first paint my chalkboards I make sure to apply two good coats of chalkboard paint, drying in between the coats. It is important to apply the coats evenly with no drips. I use the actual paint, not the spray paint. I feel like it has a better finish, but it is totally a personal preference thing. 

4. I put a fresh coat of chalkboard paint on my chalkboards every 6 months or so. They start to get a little dingy and scratched, and a little hard to draw on after a while. I guess the proper way to do it would be to take the back out of the frame and then paint it. But, I have found that if I just paint up within an inch of the frame and blend the edges really well, then I don't really need to. So, I don't.

Chalkboard Maintenance 101: Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Chalkboard!

5. Let your chalkboard paint dry!! On my can of paint it says to wait 24 hours before using the chalkboard, but I always wait at least 48 hours. I have noticed a huge difference in the durability and longevity of the finish when I wait. 

6. One of the most important things to do when caring for a chalkboard is to prime it! To Prime your chalkboard, lay a piece of chalk on its side and cover your entire board liberally with chalk. Rub it in with a dry rag and then erase. Chalkboards are porous, so if you don't prime it you are at risk for your first drawing to be there permanently. If you prime the whole thing, all the little pores will get filled with the primer chalk and your future drawings will go on nicely, and erase easily.

Chalkboard Maintenance 101: Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Chalkboard!

7. My favorite type of chalk to use on my board is Crayola. I have used others and I really can tell a difference. 

8. The picture below is what my counter actually looked like when I finished my last chalkboard drawing. I like to use lots of bits and pieces to get the look that I am going for. Tip: If you notice a certain piece of chalk is scratching the surface of your chalkboard, rub it on a piece of paper to even it out... much like if you were scribbling with a pen. 

Chalkboard Maintenance 101: Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Chalkboard!

9. To clean my chalkboard, I usually use a damp rag. I have read on certain containers of chalkboard paint that you aren't supposed to do this, but it works really well for me. It is also important to use a soft cloth so as to not scratch your surface.

10. To see my Chalkboard drawing tutorial, click {here}. 

11. Other random tips:
~ If you would like your chalk art to be a dark, thick white, dip your 
chalk in water {or wet your chalkboard surface} first.
~ It doesn't have to be perfect!! Whether you are refinishing your chalkboard surface 
or creating a fabulous drawing, it doesn't have to perfect! Say it to yourself 
over and over and you will be much happier! I promise. Part of the charm of
 chalk art is its imperfections.
~When creating your chalkboard art, place your chalkboard on a surface that is at 
eye level or below. If it is up above your head, it is much harder to draw and 
make things even.  
~have fun with it! It is JUST chalk!

Chalkboard Maintenance 101: Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Chalkboard!

I hope you found this helpful and I hope it answers some of your questions! 
Chalkboard Maintenance 101: Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Chalkboard!

If you would like to see my chalkboard drawings and free templates, click {here}.
I love, love, love doodling on my chalkboards!

linking up at Savvy Southern Style 

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Valentine Chalkboard

Vintage inspired chalkboard

I shared a Valentine's Day chalkboard a couple weeks ago {here}, but I also wanted to share the one I drew for my front entryway. It isn't nearly as detailed as the other one, but I like its whimsical simplicity. 

vintage inspired chalkboard drawing

I am not sure what to put in the little easel yet. Any ideas? 

vintage inspired chalkboard drawing

Oh how I love to doodle on chalkboards! I love to doodle in general, but there is something so fun about getting my hands all chalky and just playing around with it.

If you would like to see more of my chalkboards as well as a chalkboard drawing tutorial, you can click {here}. 

vintage inspired chalkboard drawing

Happy Monday! 

P.S. The giveaway closes tonight at midnight! Don't forget to enter {here}

linking up at Savvy Southern Style 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

500 Followers~ Ella Claire Shoppe Giveaway!!

Hello friends! 
I was so, so, so, so excited when I saw my followers list hit 500 yesterday... and today there are even more! You are so kind to me! To all of you new friends, welcome! 
To celebrate this milestone for me {who knew this would happen!?}, I wanted to spoil you a bit and give away a $30 credit to the Ella Claire Shoppe!

{My amazingly talented sister took these pictures for us... Devan from Devan Rae Photography while my other sister, Megan and her gorgeous friend, Micah, were our models}


We just added a bunch of new things to the shoppe, including scarves, earrings, and necklaces, and will continue to add over the next few weeks. So, you have a lot to choose from! We also have some reeeeeeaalllly fun tote bags {that we have loved working on} we will be listing in the next couple of weeks.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is be a follower of my blog, go to the shoppe {HERE}, and leave a comment here in this post saying what you would use your credit for. 

I will use to pick a winner on Monday night 1/28/13 at midnight. I will post the winner here on the blog, so be sure to check back. 

: ) Good Luck! 

One more fun thing...  If you would like to purchase anything from the shoppe, just put in the coupon code ellaclaireblog and get 10% off! 

And thank you, again, for being so awesome. You are so uplifting and kind and supportive of me, and I am so overwhelmingly grateful for you! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Vintage Valentine Tree

Vintage Valentine Tree

I took a few pictures of my Valentine tree today. There are a lot of people who probably think I am a little nuts for decorating my tinsel tree for Valentine's Day, but I sure love when my little Ella says "ooooooooooo!" when she  looks at it. 

Vintage Valentine Tree with handmade ornaments

It has been a horribly overcast day, so please forgive the darkness of these pictures. I will try to take some more pictures next week. 

Vintage Valentine Tree with handmade ornaments

I made these vintage picture ornaments last year when I first put up my Vday tree, with images from The Graphics Fairy. I just covered some cardboard with kraft paper and then glued the images to the front. I outlined them in glitter... but I will probably remake them next year. I think I want them on wood with German glass glitter instead. I also added mini book page pinwheels {tutorial here}

handmade ornaments on a Vintage Valentine Tree with

I also made the Xs and Os last year out of cereal boxes! {Read more here}. I got the big hearts last year at Walmart and the cream ornaments this year from the 75% off Christmas clearance. The pink glittered ornaments were also from Christmas clearance, but they were more of a coppery color. I glittered them in this vintage-y pink.  

Vintage Valentine Tree with handmade ornaments

I am not a pink person, so I mostly played up the reds and creams. 

Vintage Valentine Tree with handmade ornaments

 Vintage Valentine Tree with handmade ornaments

On another note, I am so, so, so excited that I hit 500 followers! 
To celebrate {and thank you!}, I will be posting another great ~GIVEAWAY~ tomorrow afternoon! 
Hope to see you tomorrow : )


Linking up at the Inspiration Gallery,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Giveaway Winner!!

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments and for entering my giveaway! You have no idea what all of your kindness and support has meant to me, and I felt so uplifted and inspired reading your sweet comments. 

{I used to pick the winner}

The winner of the giveaway is..... 

who said, "Happy Blogiversary! Although a newer follower, I look forward to every new post. You have wonderful style!!!"

Congratulations, Mary! 
Please shoot me an email and I will send you your new goodies. 

Tomorrow I will be posting pictures of my Valentine's Day tree! 
{My tinsel tree with vintage valentines!}
I have so many fun things to share over the next couple of weeks that I can hardly contain my excitement.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A New Winter Wreath for Our Door

I needed a winter wreath for our door and I couldn't find one that I liked anywhere. I really like wreaths that have a lot of substance that make a visual impact. Most of the ones that I saw in stores were just smaller than what I was wanting. 

Until.... I was shopping at Tai Pan at their after Christmas sale where all holiday decor was 75% off. In with their Christmas decor was this pretty wreath {don't you just love the pine cones and artichokes!?}. I wanted to beef it up a little, so I also bought this white berry Christmas garland as well. 

It was super easy to put together once I pulled the branches out of the berry garland. I just used the existing wire to wrap the berries into the wreath and reinforced it with hot glue. 

About 20 minutes and 2 painful glue gun burns later, I had a new wreath for my door! 

I hung the wreath on a hook that I keep on the door for all of our wreaths. Then I added the ribbon to give it some softness, and also the look that it was actually holding it on the door. 

{ oops... looks like I need to sweep the snow and leaves off of my porch : ) }

Can't beat 75% off, and I don't think it screams Christmas at all. We will enjoy it until I put my spring wreath back up in a couple months. I really love how it looks with the snow that we still have all over the ground. 

I tend to do wreaths for seasons {ie. Winter} instead of each holiday {ie. Valentine's Day}. 
Do you prefer seasonal wreaths or holiday wreaths?

Linking up at the Inspiration Gallery,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

XOXOXO Burlap Banner from Simply Burlap

Today I wanted to share some pics of a GORGEOUS Valentine's Day XOXOXO burlap banner from the shop, Simply Burlap.  Allison sent me this banner a couple weeks ago and I have been enjoying it in my home ever since. I love it.

Allison, who blogs over at Nestful of Love is the creator behind these gorgeous banners. She makes them by hand in lots of different sayings and even does some for weddings! She is also one of the sweetest people~ so warm and caring. 

One of the things I love about this banner is that it hangs so nicely. If you have ever made a pennant banner, you know that it is sometimes hard to get them to hang just right.

Doesn't it look cute with my little village?

You can visit Allison
at her blog here,
and shop here.


Have you entered my blog birthday giveaway yet? Go {here} to enter.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Blog Birthday GIVEAWAY~ A Few of My Favorite Things

Can you believe that my little blog is already a year old!?
I know I can't.

I am so thankful for all of you. Your love, support, kindness, thoughts, and encouragement have meant so much to me over the past year. I feel so blessed by the friendships I have made and by the amazing people I have met. 

As a thank you, I wanted to put together a little giveaway. Truth be told, I wish I could give something to each and every one of you. But, I hope that one of you will really love to receive this prize.

I put together a few of my very favorite things to give away. First, a chalkboard that I made that measures 15 1/2" x 9". I forgot to take a picture of the back, but it is just as cute as the front. I Mod Podged vintage book pages on it. It is hung by a cream satin ribbon. 

Also, I have included a book of perfectly aged vintage sheet music, and a bunch of lavendar from right here in Idaho. My sweet neighbor gave this to me from her yard last summer and it smells like heaven.

I also included 18 grey and white swirly straws for your next party. I <3 swirly straws! 
The little vintage milk glass in the picture is also included. Don't you just love its pedestal base?

And, last but not least, I have included one of my Pottery Barn knock off burlap table runners that measures 68" x 16 1/2". {Tutorial Here}. I washed the burlap so it is much softer and doesn't smell bad. {Washing and cutting burlap tutorial Here}

To recap, if you win, you will receive:
~ a chalkboard
~a book of sheet music
~swirly straws
~vintage milk glass
~a bunch of heavenly lavendar
~a burlap table runner

To enter, all you have to do is be a follower of Ella Claire and leave a comment here on this post :).

I have had a hard time responding to some of your comments because you are no-reply commenters. Please make sure you leave your contact information if you are one of those.

The giveaway closes at midnight {mountain time} on Monday night, January 21st. I will use to pick a winner. At this time I can only ship within the United States.

Thank you, again, for all of your kindness and loving support this past year. I am so excited for all of the things this next year will bring.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

and a hand came out of nowhere...

So, today I was taking some pictures for a little guest post I am doing tomorrow for Kristin's series on Game Day Appetizers over at Simply Klassic. Now, normally when I take pictures, the little munchkin is down for her nap or happily playing with her toys. Today she was a little more underfoot, however happily playing. I took my first picture....

And then, out of nowhere.... an adorable chubby little set of fingers s--l--o--w--l--y reached up and snatched the yummy treat .... : ) 

Sneaky little cutie pie.  

After all of that work, of course I had to let her have it! 
So, I put her in her high chair and let her eat away.

And, boy did she enjoy it! 

I think she knows how cute she is. 
And I am so glad.

If you want to see the recipe for my yummy {easy!} appetizer, head on over to Simply Klassic tomorrow.

And.... TOMORROW is my blog's one year birthday!! 
So, I will be having a really fun giveaway! 
~I will be posting it in the afternoon TOMORROW~