Progress not Perfection Print

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hello. I am so glad that Fall is starting to arrive. It has been football non-stop in our house for the boys. I jump in and out with conversations about the uniforms and get lots of eye rolling. I've been working on getting the house in shape for Fall decorations and an awesome Fall Home tour with One Krieger Chick and Everyday Enchanting in just 10 days! 

I needed to fill two frames in my living room. I was running around all week like a crazy girl, trying to keep my head above water... when I came across this quote on Pinterest (is there any other place to get inspirations these days???)

Progress NOT Perfection. Simple and three perfect words. 

I typed up those three words and I think it is the perfect Fall print. The perfect sentiment to remember as life gets crazy with Fall break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 

Click HERE to download your PDF file. 

I hope that you have survived back to school and are starting to enjoy the beginnings of Fall and all of the new and wonderful things that come along with this time of year.

... and a little sneak peak of the upcoming house tour on Septmeber 23rd. I can't wait!!

DIY Chalkboard: Back to School

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This is one of my favorite back to school posts and I wanted to repost and share it with you! I made this wonderful chalkboard for my daughter's teacher last year. We typically find out who the new teacher for the year a week before school starts, so just enough time to get a sweet personalized gift ready for those first days.

I've had so much fun this summer with the kids, but it has went by way to fast. I hope to make the last few days packed full as much fun as I can. Even a trip to the local water park.

So onto this awesome  (and did I mention insanely easy?!!) back to school inspired chalkboard. 

This chalkboard project is super frugal and quick to make.  I bought all of my supplies at Lowes and used some extra items that I had around the house.

Supplies I used: 
3 Yardsticks
Thin piece of wood, approx. 16x24
Chalkboard Paint
Paint Brush
Gorilla Wood Glue
E-6000 Craft Glue

1. Cut your main piece of wood (if needed) and yard sticks to make a frame around the chalkboard.  I cut my main board to 24x16 inches and cut my yard sticks so that they butted up to each other instead of making angles to form a more traditional frame look. I used my black and decker electric orbital jigsaw. It is small and easy to use, but you may have a big fancy saw to use instead. Just make sure that you wear eye protection and keep your fingers and other body parts away from the saw.
2. I took each yard stick piece and lightly sanded the words to make them less of a marketing product for Lowe's and a little more distressed.  Make sure that you take a paper towel and wipe off the blue paint that will sand off and wood dust that is left from sanding before you stain.

3. Lightly brush on stain and wipe off any excess with a paper towel.  You only need to stain the top and the sides.  You could do multiple coats if you like. I also stained the backside of the chalkboard, but this isn't necessary.

4. Now it's time to paint the chalkboard.  I used chalkboard spray paint. If you want, you can wear a mask since it is a good idea to not breath in the fumes.

For the chalkboard paint, you really need to do two coats... light coats and it's quick and easy.  I let it dry for about 6 hours between coats and then the next day I rubbed the chalk all over the board to get it ready for use. Then I wiped it off with a wet white dishtowel and it looked amazing!

5. Now it's time for assembly. Lay your chalkboard on a flat surface with some sort of protectant for the table if you need to. Place your yardsticks where they go and make sure everything lines up perfectly. Mine wasn't perfect on one corner, but that just gives it some character :)

(I didn't end up using the staple gun... but that's the glue that I used)

Have some paper towels ready and clamps. Get out your Gorilla Glue or preferred wood glue brand. Put a small line of wood glue on the back of each yardstick and put it into place. Gently place the clamps onto the sticks and leave it to dry for an hour or so. Some glue will take longer to dry. You will also need to let the glue cure overnight. 

6. Now for the embellishments. I chose to add a flower from my stash to the bottom corner. I used my amazingly strong and quick drying E-6000 craft glue. I also clamped down my flower to help it to stay tightly connected while it dried.

I added a washi tape covered clothespin to the top right corner. This will be great for attaching little notes or encouraging prints or pictures. 

I added in a piece of paper from my project life kit, a letter and photo of mine to finish it off.  I didn't want to add in too much, since I don't know the teacher well enough to know what she really likes or doesn't like. I love how it turned out, so cute!!  

7. The final step is to add a hangar on the back of the chalkboard. You could also add a ribbon for hanging if you want. I chose to add a sawtooth hangar on the back for mine.

I hope that you like this project as much as I did. You could make one for many occasions... like a countdown for Christmas or to hang at the kid's homework area. You could also use a different framing item... the possibilities are endless.  

Have a wonderful week! More projects to come... soon!

FREE Summer Prints and Postcards

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

School is out and my little girl said bye to her favorite friend this past weekend. That's the bummer of being a military kid. You're either leaving your friends behind or watching your friends move on to the next duty station.

They exchanged email addresses and in the spirit of keeping in touch with friends and family... these two cute postcard designs are perfect to stay in touch. Send a sweet hello to friends you haven't talked to for a while... And it's perfect the boys and girls. My son says I only design girly things ;) The best part...?? You can send more postcards, cause they're cheaper postage :) so no excuses for not sending love around the world to your family and friends this summer

If you've followed along with my blog for any length of time, you know that I love simple and pretty things that make people happy and feel all warm and fuzzy. So these make me feel all warm and fuzzy and I love the color combinations and the anchor of course! I hope that they make you all giddy too!!!!

May I present to you... Happy Summer :)

... and her brother Hello Friend!

and then the important gotta have part... the postcard.

You can use these as 4x6 ish prints to make you or a friend smile. Or you can print both sides of your pdf's and have endless fun with sending postcards to friends, family and strangers. I highly recommend sending it to someone who is somewhat a stranger... it doesn't hurt to brighten even a strangers day. 

to achieve the postcard, you will need to download the 2 pdf's below (fully download them from the dropbox before printing) and print them. So I print the pretty side first. I print it on best quality setting in my printer. Then I pull that out of the printer and make lots of grumpy noises as I figure out again (for the 90th time) how my printer feeds thorough and place the dang piece of paper back into the tray to print the other side of the paper with the postcard details... yes I screwed this up the first time today. But only once is better than times in the past. Click on the photos below to download. 
... and as an extra bonus, if you love these designs as much as I do. You may also love my notepads available in my etsy shop. Personalized with your initials. They also come in multiple designs and colors. Go check it out :)  Yes shameless plug. But a girl has to pay for her many hobbies and crafts!

Be sure to follow me over on Pinterest and I hope that you loved the postcards and stop by and say hi again! Have a wonderful week :)


Saturday, June 21, 2014

So it has been forever.... or a little over a month since I posted here on the blog. I started this blog close to two years ago as a way to focus on something positive and happiness. I was going through a time of being a little lost and a lot of broken. I haven't kept up with a completely predictable posting schedule, but have posted in clumps as I had crafty and happy things to share. In the last few months life has gotten busy with family, work, and trying to launch my photography fully here in Oklahoma and the etsy shop. There are times that I feel the stress of having to post and so I decided to back off just a little and breath... to work on what matters and not force something to post about, when I'm just not feeling it at that moment. So I think it's time to work on a little change with the blog and get back to what really makes me happy and simplify a little.  So maybe there won't be as frequent postings, more of me- the imperfect me... who has her days that she is pretty broken... mixed in with some kick tail days that make me feel proud of where I am in life as a mom, creative girl and wife. So I hope that you will stick around and keep reading as it comes.

I've been taking a summer photography class and driving my family all around Oklahoma exploring. I'm working on a list... an Oklahoma Passport of the places we've been and want to go. A memento that we can look back at and keep track of our thoughts and impressions of a location. Maybe the kids will use it to record how mom stopped 30 times to take just one more picture on the side of the road or how my daughter exclaimed "I don't want to go to juvie mom" as I was carrying her past a no trespassing sign for the perfect photo. Summer is our chance to drive our kids crazy and their childhood wouldn't be nearly as fun if mom wasn't as crazy as she is. Be Bold :)

There are quite a few photos... hope that you enjoy them.
who sits in that building up on the tipy top of the grain elevator... I would die!

Crafty Party Printable: Goodie Bag Thank You Labels

Monday, May 19, 2014

This past weekend, I had an awesome time crafting with some wonderful ladies. We had a couple of kid free hours to craft away and catch up with each other. At the end of the day I gave each lady a little bag full of paper scraps, twine, buttons, and a cute Oklahoma print to make something cute to brighten their day. Maybe a bookmark or scrapbook embellishment. I attached a cute Thank You to the outside of the bag with washi tape. Today I am sharing a full page of these cute Thank You tags for your next crafting party.

Transcending- Cherish those in your life

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I posted this last year and tonight I feel like it is worth reposting.  My last comment speaks even louder to me a year later...
Cherish your girlfriends and the women in your life... build them up, rely on them, love and respect them... you never know when one of them may be gone from your life forever.
I hope that you enjoy this trip back in time with me-
I sat in the local YMCA tonight watching my daughter rock climb to the left and my son practice basketball to the right... trying to give them both equal attention...

Earlier last week, I had quickly grabbed the latest Real Simple magazine at the grocery store, but life had been busy and hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.  Tonight I got a chance to make it through the first 20 or so pages. I came across an article that was very inspiring to read and subsequently lead to scribbling down this blog post.  

Creative Wall Prints

A few weeks ago I shared this post over on One Krieger Chick and I'm so happy to be sharing it with you today.  It's a couple of creative and inspiring prints to brighten up your creative spaces and home. I believe strongly that staying positive and being kind to those in your life can make even the most difficult situations in life a little sweeter. I also love love love little inspirational prints for my office... which have slowly started to bleed over into my house. 

I feel like this first print has become my life mantra lately and I hope that it inspires you to be creative and enjoy life!

Big News Again!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I announced the opening of my Etsy shop. Well I have even bigger news to share and a few photos of the most handsome baby. It has been a dream of my since 2002 to start up my own photography business and to be a real professional with my very own photography website. Well it has taken me quite a few years through many many military moves, graduate school and 3 babies... but I have finally accomplished my goal! My photography website and blog are up and running and very close to being just where I want them. I hope that you will head over and check it out. Michelle Lea Photography is official. 

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wow! It's been a crazy week here and every time that I think I have time to sit down and blog about a project or idea... something happens. It was testing week for the middle kid, the oldest inducted into National Junior Honor Society, hubby studying for some major tests, and the little guy trying his best to crawl. I've been in the middle of working on client orders, new items for the Etsy store and try to not realize that tomorrow I will be a year older.  Ugghh if only I could stay young forever. On the upside I got my hair done, a new bag from my mom and maybe a couple Kate Spade items to make 36 not so hard to take tomorrow.

This coming week I will be over at One Krieger Chick sharing some cute printables to inspire your creative spaces. I'll also be over at Life with the Crust off sharing a tutorial. While I work on wrangling some posts for Michelle Lea Designs... here are a few shots from our past two weeks.  

A little country road driving

Grand Opening: Introducing My Etsy Shop

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Oh how that post title makes me sooooo happy. Phase 1 of getting my etsy shop up and going is done! Many readers have asked to purchase prints from my blog posts and now you can!!
I've started with a few of my favorite photography prints from our travels around the world.  You can purchase prints in 5x7, 8x10 and 11x14. The prints are printed on the best matte premium photo paper and come mailed to you in a protective stay flat mailer with love from me!

I will be offering postcard sets in the future and the line of paper goodies are still in the development stage... aka pulling my hair out phase.

I've never promoted myself through my blog, but for those who don't know I am a photographer and graphic designer. If y'all are ever in need of services, please please send me an email and I'll get you taken care of! I love what I do and I am terrible about tooting my own horn. It makes me cringe to talk about myself. I prefer to stand behind a lens and the computer screen and send tons and tons of happiness to my clients.

Sooo head on over to the etsy shop and check out some photos and tell all of your friends, your mama, your hair dresser and every stranger that you run into today!! Thank you for all of your love and support.

Have a fabulous week!!

Stay Safe: Being Prepared for a Tornado

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wow. This post is a hard one for multiple reasons. Last year I wrote an upbeat and cute post on emergency preparedness and how to not end up on tv looking like a hot mess.... which stems from me usually being in my pajamas or some unattractive get up as we all run into the shelter. It is a cute way to approach a very very serious subject, but this year is different.

We live in Moore, Oklahoma. My children go to Moore schools... schools that were damaged by the May tornados last year. Each morning we pass the neighborhoods that had rows and rows of houses ripped from their foundations. Our local park and playground completely gone and the slow rebuilding of buildings and back half of the school.

13 Tips on Organization and Happiness

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Today, I am sharing some tips on being organized. Being organized isn't only for the type A personality, meticulous individuals. I am creative and chaotic at times, but love a clean and neat space... and organization. I think I'm always striving to be more organized, like most people. You can ask my husband, there are times that he will open my purse and it is perfectly in order and then there are times that it looks like a tornado hit. I feel like the key to being organized is to work on it a little at a time and please give yourself a break. The house is going to be insane at times, you're going to forget to write in your planner some days or weeks and at some point you may even have to run through the drive through cause you didn't plan a thing for dinner. The world will keep spinning and you'll get it all back on track. No big deal, you've got this!

Things to Do: Free Printable

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I love to design simple little pieces to simplify life.... and in honor of my brain not being able to remember one more thing, I've designed a to-do list to share with you.

Confession: I Adore Magazines

Sunday, March 23, 2014

So I am admitting to one of my obsessions, vices, money suckers... Magazines. I LOVE magazines. They are perfect for me, pretty pictures, beautiful topography, creative layouts and interesting topics and ideas.

I aspire to be an avid reader... But it's never happening.  I love books and admittedly I choose them many times based on their cover design.  I fall asleep almost every time I sit to read a book, even audio books lull me to sleep.

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