Word Photo Ornament

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Holidays are the best time for crafting.  I love the excuse to come up with cute decorations to make our house festive.  I have been trying to find ways to commemorate our travels, and decided to come up with some travel ornaments for our Christmas Tree.  That way every year when we set up the tree it is a walk down memory lane.  A few years ago I made an ornament with sand from Maui, so this time I decided to make a word photo ornament to remember Rome.

Handmade travel christmas ornament made from a vacation photo

Starting out I gathered my supplies.  In this case I used:

  • Mod Podge
  • Craft paints
  • Word letters
  • Photograph
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun

Handmade travel ornament for Christmas

Step one, paint the wooden letters any desired color.  You only have toy focus on coating the back and edges, being that you will be gluing the photo to the front of the letters.  Allow to dry thoroughly.

Making a DIY christmas word ornament

Next, trace the letters face side down onto the photo you wan to use.

Making a christmas ornament- travel memories

Remember that everything is backwards so you will want to have the letters in the correct order to have the image correct when finished.

DIY christmas "word" ornament

Carefully cut out each letter.

Christmas ornaments -travel memories

Match the letter with the wooden version

Handmade travel christmas ornament

Paint in some mod podge to each letter and adhere the photo.

DIY christmas Rome ornament

Allow to sit and dry so that the photo does not slide off the wooden letter.

Handmade travel Christmas ornaments

Thoroughly coat each letter with coat of mod podge on the front and back to fully seal on the photo to the letter.  Also to dry completely.

DIY christmas word ornament

One dry, it is time to glue the letters together.  For this step, I flipped the letters upside down and arranged as desired.

Handmade travel christmas ornament made from a vacation photo-Rome

Next I took the glue gun and applied a dollop of hot glue to the seams of each letter to adhere them together.

Christmas ornament- travel memories

In order to hang the ornament on the tree I dug around my ribbon supply and found a brown ribbon to use. I tied a bow in the middle of the ribbon.

Handmade travel ornament

I then glued each end of the ribbon to the back of the word ornament.

DIY christmas ornament

Allow to dry and hang on the Christmas tree.  Now each year when we add this ornament to the tree we will remember our time in Rome.  I will be working on more travel ornaments and hope to share them soon.  Have you made any DIY ornaments lately?

DIY christmas ornament made from a photo

Ikea Hack: Decoupage Table Top into Art

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Ikea Hack - Lack table to wall artSo remember that Ikea hack decoupage coffee table we used to have in the living room of our apartment?  It was created and blogged about way back when I first started this blog over 3 years ago now.  Crazy how time flies!!  If you have forgotten it looked like this: Photo Decoupage Coffe Table I love this table and love being able to look back on all those memories each day, but with the new house and trying to start investing in “grown-up” furniture, it was time to say goodbye to this $30 table.  Before the move I just could not let go and did not want to see our faces thrown in the trash along with the table and voiced this to my husband.  Out of the blue he speaks up with a “Why don’t you just take of the legs and keep the top as an art piece?”  Genius. Ikea Hack- table turned wall art Goodbye coffee table, hello beautiful and personalized entry way art! Ikea Hack - Lack table to wall art

For this simple Ikea hack of an Ikea hack, we removed the legs from the table.  Next, we purchased a frame hanging kit.  We used two eyelet screws and heavy duty hanging wire.

Ikea table turned wall art, love this idea!

I screwed in the eyelets about 9 inches from the top and 6 inches in from the edges.  To get them started used a screwdriver and screw to create a lead hole.  Then I grunted and man handled the eyelet screw into place.

Ikea hack- Table turned art

Next I measured out the correct length of hanging wire to attach to the eyelets.

Ikea hack

Thread the wire through each eyelet and wrap to secure.

Ikea table turned wall art- Ikea hack

Now it is time to pick the wall and hang the art!

Ikea Hack - Table to Wall Art

A simple update to keep this Ikea Hack alive and well in our home.  I love how it looks hanging in our entry way and I am so happy it did not end up in a landfill somewhere!

Wine Tasting in Murphys

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A few weeks ago we took a great weekend trip with a fabulous couple to the small town of Murphys.  For those of you who have never heard of Murphys, it is a small town in Calaveras County in Northern California.  From central California you wind up into the old gold mining towns of the foothills and eventually get to this quaint downtown with lots of cute shops and wine tasting rooms.  The great thing about a weekend in Murphys is that everything is affordable, quaint and within walking distance.

Little Yellow Cottage in Murphys

We rented the cutest little 2 bed, 2 bath house called the Little Yellow Cottage.  It was just down the street from the main strip and next to a park.  Plus it was within really close walking distance to all the great shops and tasting rooms, so once we arrived we never had to drive anywhere until it was time to head home.  They did have a 2 night minimum though, so we headed up after work on Friday to make use of both nights.

Clawfoot bathtub in Murphys

I just had to snag a picture of the clawfoot bathtub in the guest bathroom.  How sweet is that!  Someone even took the time to paint the side of the tub to match the wall paper.  While not my style for our house, it was so cute and perfect for the feel of the cottage.

Backyard at the little yellow cottage in Murphys

Another huge plus to the Little Yellow Cottage was this fabulous back yard! We lucked out in having fantastic weather for March and we were able to sit out in the 70+ degree sun soaking it all in.

Backyard at the little yellow cottage in Murphys, California

In the yard were a few cute touches like this little bird house on the fence and a gazebo.

Backyard at the little yellow cottage in Murphys, CA

It turns out that Murphys is also super dog friendly.  Out in the yard we saw this cute little sign, and if you follow the direction of the arrow there is a nice little dog run along the side of the house.  Perfect for a weekend getaway with the boys in tow next time.  We were not sure of the situation so all the dogs stayed with puppy sitters this time around.

Wine tasting in Murphys, California

Such a beautiful day!  Now, time to head out to the winery tasting rooms :)

Zucca Winery tasting room on Murphys

The first stop on our tour was Zucca Mountain.  This was one of the closest tasting rooms to our cottage so a natural first stop.  You can click here for a map of tasting rooms and wineries in Murphys for reference.  I was a bit afraid to go underground into this tasting room, but once inside it was not nearly as claustrophobic as I feared.  The wines were fairly good and they gave us $5 tokens per tasting each that we could combine towards a bottle of wine at the end.  What a great deal to get $20 off one bottle right?

Bloody mary

After the first tasting room it was time to stop for some food.  We decided to get lunch at this cute little restaurant called Alchemy.  The food was great!  I had the asparagus and chicken quesadilla and must try to make one at home!  Plus a nice bloody mary to round out the meal.

Black Sheep Winery in Murphys

After lunch we stopped by the Black Sheep Winery.  They have a sparkling raspberry champagne that is amazing!  It tastes like a summer’s day and they were having a deal if we bought 2 bottles, so I couldn’t resist.  Now I am just waiting for a nice hot day to have a few friends over and enjoy it in our backyard.  We stopped by a few more wineries along the way, but I neglected to take pictures at each unfortunately. Some of the ones we really liked were the Sangiovese at La Folia and both the late harvest Zin called Robert’s Cuvee and the Port at Milliaire.

Wine tasting in Murphys

Next up was Twisted Oak winery.  My favorite here was the Syrah.  Did I mention before how dog friendly Murphys is?

Cute dog in Murphys, dog-friendly wine tasting rooms

This little cutie named Tessa came in to Twisted Vine and was such a sweet dog.  One of the other customers bought her a toy chicken and she was running around having a great time.  I love dog friendly areas like this!

Wine tasting in Murphys CA

As the evening approached we made our way back to Zucca to combine our tokens for a nice bottle of wine by the outdoor fireplaces while listening to live music before grabbing dinner at Firewood.  Firewood is a great simple place to grab a meal in Murphys too.  It is an order at the window, casual feel with hamburgers, wood fire pizzas and some mexican items.

Zucca Winery Murphys

Murphys is a great little town for a nice weekend trip andy I hope to make it back out there again soon!

DIY Watercolor World Map Artwork

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On a rainy weekend a few weeks ago I got the wild idea stuck in my head that I wanted to watercolor a piece of art, namely a watercolor world map, for my new office at work.

How to watercolor a world map

We just upgraded to a much larger building and the bare walls in my office were screaming for attention.  Keep in mind, I have never really done any watercolor art, unless you count playing around with those little sets as a kid.  So, this was going to either be a triumph over a new craft, or I would end up angrily breaking things while I throw a temper tantrum over it not working like I think it should. But only time would tell so after a quick trip to Joann’s I was ready to give it a go and try to watercolor a world map.

learning how to watercolor

Being new to the art, I have to get the proper supplies.

Grand total cost for this project= $15.48

I also grabbed a pad of water color paper to play around on first, but not as part of the project so I am not including it in the cost.  Add in 2 mugs of warm water, and it is time to get started.

learning how to watercolor paint

Before getting started with the painting, I needed to draw the world map outline.  I hopped on Google and found an image of the world that was nice and clean and perfect for this job.  Taking that image I scaled it up to be the right size for my paper (20×30) and printed it out over multiple pieces of paper.  I then taped them together to create one large template and laid that over my water color paper.  Using a pen and a heavy hand, I traced the entire world…yes the entire world, leaving a nice indent on the watercolor paper to follow.

watercolor world map art piece

After removing the template, I got a pencil and drew lines along the indentations.  Now I  had the basis of the world map to color in with water colors.

creating a watercolor world map

Step one for in me watercolor was to learn the process.  I did this on a small piece of paper until I thought I had the idea down and then moved on the the traced map.  The process I found to work best to achieve my desired look was to take my brush and apply a thin coating of water to one section of the map at a time.  Once the water was on I could choose my first color to paint.  I liked to start on the edge of one of the land masses and move across, blending the colors as I switched from one to another.  By painting each area with water first it helped the color to spread nicely but stay contained within the water lines.

watercolor painting a world map

I went wild with all colors, but you could keep it simple and just do a couple tones of blues and greens for a more subdued look. For some of the smaller areas, like the islands, I went ahead and just dabbed the color on without adding water first.  Don’t be afraid of using the water either though.  If it starts to get too wet, you can grab a paper towel to absorb excess and then start over.  Do be careful to not over blend though, the changes between the colors need to look natural but not muddied.

watercolor world map art

The project took about 4 hours from start to finish, so not too bad for an afternoon craft.  The longest part was tracing the map onto the paper to have lines to follow.  I might be artistic, but I am definitely not good enough to think I can free hand the world.

watercolor world map

As the map dried, the color calmed a little bit and got a chalky finish.  This might just be the type of watercolors I was using, but either way I really liked the final outcome.

How to watercolor a world map painting

I can’t take all the credit for this beautiful idea though.  It came to me one day while browsing Pinterest and I pinned a few variations on my DIY board.  There are even a few artists on Etsy who sell hand-painted and/or images of watercolor world maps.  But, as usual I wanted to test myself and see if I could do it first before settling on buying one.  I love supporting other artisans, but there is also a great deal of satisfaction in doing it with your own two hands.  Now the shame part….the map then sat in my craft room next to the frame for two weeks before I finally got around to framing it and I still need to bring it to my office and hang it. Maybe next week?

framed watercolor world map art

Speaking of watercolor, today marks the start of the Pretty Waterlogue April Challenge.  Follow me on Instagram @justtwocraftysisters and join in on the fun!

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Monterey: 17 Mile Drive

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One of my goals for 2014 is to travel more and in the process document past and future trips on this blog.  While this blog may have started off as a craft blog, I want to use it to document life and get a bit more personal.  I shared an overview of our Monterey trip the other week, but promised a detailed posts on the aquarium and on our experience with 17 mile drive.  We did not do the specific route and added a couple stops before actually getting on 17 mile drive since we were starting from Monterey, so here is a quick map showing the loop we took with the major destinations noted.

17 mile drive

If you are looking for more information on 17 mile drive in particular I found this Interactive map to be really helpful.  We did this drive on our last day after checking out of the hotel, and then headed straight out for home afterwards.  Now settle in for a long read, and I plan take you through all 15 stops on our version of the beautiful 17 mile drive.

1. Lovers Point Park & Beach in Pacific Grove

Stop one on our drive was Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove.  It is a nice little park along the coast and near the road, so a great place to start our site seeing.

Lovers Park

Seal statue in Monterey

Butterfly Statue in Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove Park

17 Mile Drive, Monterey

2. Point Pinos Lighthouse

On a whim, we heard about Point Pinos lighthouse and decided to stop off on our drive and check it out.  This light house boasts being that longest/oldest operating lighthouse on the Pacific coast.  Pretty cool!  Unfortunately if we had done our research a little better would would have known that it has very limited hours.  Oops, at least it was not that far off the path! If you want to go by and take a tour, it is open 1-4 Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday & Wednesday), and the grounds are fenced off when closed.  At least we got this nice artistic picture of the lighthouse behind the fence, and we can tell people there is some deep meaning behind it right?

17 Mile Drive- Lighthouse

3. Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove

Next up was the home of the Monarchs, otherwise known as Monarch Grove Sanctuary. I was really excited to see all the butterflies, but unfortunately we were a little late in the season.  The best time of year to catch a glimpse of the Monarchs here is October through February in case you are planning a trip to this area and want to make sure to have a good viewing of these majestic little buggers.  Even without an abundance of butterflies it was still a nice stop along out drive.

Monarch Grove Sanctuary

It is crazy how fragile these beautiful butterflies are and how important the migration is to their survival.  At temperatures under 55 degrees they seize up and enter “suspended animation” being unable to fly and vulnerable to being eaten or trampled as they wait to warm up and take wing again.

Monarchs in Pacific Grove

As we strolled around the habitat we did spot a few groupings of butterflies up in the tree tops, and then a few more flying around.  While it was nothing like the volume a hoped for, I was happy we at least got to see a few.

Monarch Sanctuary

While walking around the sanctuary we stumbled across this super cute Monarch bench, I mean can’t you just imagine it in a sweet backyard garden?  I just love it!

Monarch Grove Sanctuary bench

And then, through the forest we spotted a little friend grazing on some grass.  A cute little deer, seemingly unaware of the people walking around.  We stood watching him for quite a while taking pictures and enjoying a little piece of unexpected nature.

Deer at butterfly sanctuary near Monterey

Once we had our fill of circling about the sanctuary, it was back on the road and officially on 17 mile drive.  As you enter this stretch you must pass through a check point and pay $10 to access the loop.  I thought it was great that they mark the center of the road with red dashes to help you know you are on the right path of 17 mile drive.

17 Mile Drive along California's Coast

4. Spanish Bay

The first stop we made on 17 Mile Drive was to stretch our legs walking around Spanish Bay.  The views were gorgeous looking out over the bay with the fog rolling by.  Just inland from Spanish Bay is the Inn at Spanish Bay.  While we did not go check it out, I have heard that it is  a great resort with fantastic restaurants and golfing.

Spanish Bay

5. Restless Sea

Next up was Restless Sea.  Along the drive there are there great painted wood signs to help let you know what stop each is, along with other information placards as to what each spot is named for and more about the area.

Restless Sea- 17 Mile Drive

This spot was appropriately named for the seemly constant waves created by under water rock outcroppings.  While watching the crashing wave you maybe even feel a light feeling of mist on your face.

Restless Seas

Along the shore we found piles of rounded stones tossed about and then stacked into little monuments.

The beauty of Monterey

6. Point Joe

Next up on the drive is Point Joe.  The sign below gives a history as to the name of this location.

Point Joe

This spot was know to have many ships crashing due to the turbulent waves and underwater shallow rock formations, but the views were simply beautiful as the fog began to lift.

Point Joe

7. China Rock

The large rock along this next part of the path is named China rock.  Apparently it was the location where many Chinese immigrants set up camp in lean-tos, hence the name.

17 Mile Drive Monterey- China Rock

8. Seal Rock/Bird Rock

Another appropriately named stop was was Seal Rock and Bird Rock.  This rock it out in the Pacific and covered in birds on the top and seals on the bottom section. It is out a bit, so hard to see too much details of the wildlife without a zoom lens or binoculars.

Seals in Monterey

But with a zoom lens it becomes more clear the magnitude of how many seals are playing in the surf and calling this rock home.

Seal Rock

9. Fanshell Overlook

On to Fanshell Overlook next.  I have heard that April – June you can spot seals closer up on the light sand beach at this overlook.  We did not spot any while we were there, but we were on the early side of the season.

17 Mile Drive

10. Cypress Point Lookout

Continuing on you will come to the Cypress Point Lookout.  From here you can look across and start to see the beautiful Cypress trees ahead, along with more gorgeous views of the coast and rock formations.

Cyprus Point Lookout

Monterey Vacation time

Monterey- driving 17 mile

3 days in Monterey, CA

3 days in Monterey

11. Crocker Grove

Drive along a little more and you will find yourself at Crocker Grove.

Crocker Grove

17 Mile Drive- Crocker Grove

Crocker Grove is home to one of the largest Monterey Cypress trees and was named after Charles Crocker who established 17 mile drive.  The Santa Cruz Cypress tree is fairly rare, so it was a treat to get to see this fantastic grove.

17 Mile Drive Monterey- Crocker Grove

12. The Lone Cypress

Probably the most well know and famous image from 17 mile drive has to be the Lone Cypress. This image has become iconic for the area and can be found in the logo for Pebble Beach Company.  This tree has been photographed by millions and now I have captured my own picture of it too.

The Lone Cypress

In order to get to the viewpoint they built this large winding staircase.  I loved it!  SO beautiful and fun to photograph too!

Stairs in Monterey
Lovely stairs in Monterey

Such a beautiful day on 17 mile drive!

17 Mile Drive Monterey- Lone Cypress

13. Ghost Tree

Back on the road again we next came upon Ghost tree.  These gnarled white skeletons were once live Cypress trees. Time and beetle infestation have not been kind, and now they stand as remnants of the trees that used to be.

Monterey 17 Mile Drive

17 Mile Drive- Ghost Tree

14. Pescadero Point

Ghost tree is also the same location of Pescadero Point. With beautiful views and a mix of dead and alive Cypress trees, this was one of my favorite stops along this scenic drive.

Pescadero Point

15. Pebble Beach Market

We ended our drive in Pebble Beach at the Pebble Beach Market.  The sandwiches, while not cheap, were amazingly delicious.  With a cold drink and a melt-y sandwich in hand, we found a nice seating area outside to enjoy the last few minutes of the coast before hopping back on the road and starting the long drive home.

Pebble Beach

Wow, this may have been my longest post to date! For a brief overview our entire trip to Monterey, click here.  And stay tuned for our experience at the Monterey Bat Aquarium coming soon!

Weekend Trip to Monterey

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One of my goals for 2014 is to travel more and in the process document past and future trips on this blog.  While this blog may have started off as a craft blog, I want to use it to document life and get a bit more personal.

Monterey Cannery Row

What a better place to start with than the beautiful Monterey, California, spring of 2012. It was a beautiful warm spring weekend in March, and we had a engagement party in Watsonville for my dear friend, so we took the opportunity of making a long weekend in Monterey.

Weekend in Monterey

I just love Monterey!  It is such a cute little coastal town.  We spent a lot of time walking up and down Cannery Row finding great places to eat and lots of little shops.  Alex & I are both not great window shoppers, so we blew past most of the stores.  But that left us plenty of time to for other site seeing and beach walking.

Monterey vacation in april

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row and booked through Hotels.com.  I love booking through Hotels.com because we typically find a great deals and if you sign up for their Welcome Rewards program, your get a free night for every 10 booked.  The Holiday Inn itself was pretty basic and nothing special, but for the location the price was fantastic.  It is near the Montery Plaza Hotel and Spa and easy walking distance to all of Cannery Row.

Visiting Monterey

We were so lucky to have such a clear couple of days to enjoy Monterey!  On our first full day we walked all over, not only Cannery Row but also down to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Views of Monterey

I was a bit hung over that first day from all the fun we had with my college friends, but by the time we got to the wharf, I was ready for a snack.

Monterey Fisherman's Grotto

No trip to Monterey is complete without stopping by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It is well known as one of the best aquariums in the US and I loved my first visit there.  I will share more about the aquarium next week, and for a teaser just think jelly fish and seahorses galore :)

Monterey Aquarium

As night fell, we took one last stroll around Cannery Row and grabbed dinner and a few drinks before heading back to the hotel to split a bottle of wine.  If you are ever in Monterey and like pub food and brewery atmosphere, make sure to check out Cannery Row Brewing Company.  We have been there twice now, on this trip and when we went back this past October when in town for a wedding.  The food is great, hearty and comforting and the beers are plentiful.  So many beers on tap to choose from!

Monterey at night

After a good night’s sleep we were off for more site seeing.  Starting with a quick breakfast and walk along the beach.

Monterey weekend vacation

The remainder of the day was spent checking out Pacific Grove sites and traveling along 17 Mile Drive.  I will be back soon with more details of our drive as I highly recommend it if you are vacationing in the Monterey area.  Beautiful views and a little bit of history along the way.

Monterey 17 Mile Drive

Ah Monterey!  I love living in California and having such diverse and beautiful vacation destinations just a few hours drive away.  Some of our best vacations are close to home weekend getaways.  Just writing this is giving me the travel bug to get out on the road and go somewhere new. Anyone else catching the travel bug this year?

Quick Trip to Indianapolis

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Last week I got to take my first solo business trip by attending an industry conference in Indianapolis. It was a quick trip with very little down time, so I did not get to explore the city unfortunately. But it was still great getting to represent my company, take away some ideas for the business and win an award for marketing. So I wanted to share a few pictures from the trip, starting off with this beautiful view from the room!

Indianapolis in October

I was lucky to get a room on the 30th floor with city views which was amazing.  If I was to look a little more to the right I could even see the Colt’s stadium.  Too bad I could not stay one more day and catch a game, but I had to hurry home for a Sunday wedding.  The hotel I stayed in was the JW Marriott.  Beautiful view, inside and out.

Indianapolis in October

While walking around the first evening after arriving, I stumbled across Monument Circle in the middle of downtown. That was really the only site seeing I did, because the next day was all conference including a dinner reception, then 1/2 day more conference and afternoon flight home.

Indianapolis in October

So, let’s end this with one last shot of the view from the room. Hopefully next time in Indy I will have time to relax site see a bit.

Indianapolis in October