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Posts in “DIY”

Living Room: DIY Painting For A Blank Wall

Friday, May 26, 2017

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It’s been almost a year now since we moved into our apartment. I realized it was time to do something with the blank wall behind our couch, to make our living space more inviting. I had thought of two options on how to add decors to the wall: frames or a painting that I would make. My husband surprised me with an art store gift card for my birthday last month, and I thought this would be the perfect time to do something that I enjoy. That’s why I chose to make a painting for our living room wall.

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I used two pieces of canvas for this wall art. Since I’m pregnant and I painted inside the house, where my children are always present, I chose to use acrylic paint over oil. It doesn’t smell and it dries easily. living-room-diy-painting-blank-wall-6

There are different styles of painting and I chose an abstract style inspired by the ocean’s blues and whites. My husband loves going to the beach and the color blue, so I tried to get inspiration from there. When it comes to using acrylic paint on a big surface like this canvas, I like to have a spray bottle of water beside me. This makes it easy to spray some water on my palette (or even directly onto the canvas) to create smoother brush strokes with the paint. Art sponges and palette knives are great tools as well to create texture on the canvas.

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How do you style your living room wall? Happy weekend!

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Floral Watercolor Art + Tips About Graphic Design

Thursday, May 18, 2017

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I did a watercolor painting session last week for a friend of mine. She needed a logo for her new business Christian Grace Embroidery. Since she wanted the elements in the design to include florals, I thought it would be easier to do it hand-painted first. When I used to work as a full-time graphic designer, I always tried to make my work simple and clean.  I like choosing simple fonts and avoid using more than 3 font styles. You can see my old commercial designs and advertisement layouts here. Today, I wanted to share some basic steps on creating graphic designs like this.

RESEARCH

Most of my clients give samples of what designs they like in terms of look, color schemes etc. I also do my own research for inspiration before I start putting the composition together.

 

SKETCH

Start to sketch what the composition could look like. I like to make a few studies (definition) to see which design will work great for the product/service.

 

COLORING

Watercolor is a great option to use for creating floral artwork. I wish I brought my good paint brushes that I used in the Philippines. Investing in good brushes makes a big difference in your brushstrokes when it comes to painting.

 

SCAN

After I’m done painting, I use a scanner to transfer it to my computer. Then, I start polishing it up in Photoshop.

 

LAYOUT

I always make sure that I have a good resolution size of my design in Photoshop, so the quality of the image will be good when printing, uploading, etc. Try to explore different styles coming from the original artwork. For example, for the Facebook header, I repeated​ the floral artwork three times to create artwork on the top. You may try to remove some elements or try to copy some areas, according to what you need.

 

I hope this helps those who want to make their own logo for their business, or those who are beginners in graphic design. If you are fan of embroidery, don’t forget to check out Christian Grace Embroidery and their products. Support local moms and their business in Houston!

CATEGORY Design, DIY
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DIY Animal Silhouette Painting (For Mom & Kids to Make Together!)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

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I’m always excited whenever my kids and I do a painting activity together. As you may know, I graduated from a fine arts college and I used to do a lot of paintings before. There is quite a difference between my paintings now and the ones from college. The ones I paint today are colorful, fun and happy artworks compared to my college ones, which you can see some examples of here. My husband loves to tease me and says the reason for my darker art was that I was empty and depressed, until I met him. It is true. ; )

I saw cheaper canvases at Walmart and found 2 for just under $4. I thought were the perfect size to have for our first canvas painting activity. The challenging part of these activities for parents is cutting out the masking tape and following the animal shapes, but it is worth doing!

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First, cover the top of the canvas with masking tape. Leave only the center area clear where you think the sketch’s outlines won’t be. It’s better not to overlap the masking tape too much, so it won’t be too thick to cut. Start to sketch the animal shape of your choice for your child. I suggest to make the sketch simple to have a simple outline for cutting. Next, gently cut and follow the outline of the animal sketch. I used a box cutter to do this. Canvasses have a layer of primer paint, so it acted as a little bit of protection when I used the cutter to remove the masking tape. It helped when I put my other hand underneath to gauge if I was pressing too hard with the cutter on the canvas. If you have another technique on how to do this part, feel free to share in the comment box! :-)

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Once you are done with your animal sketch, prepare acrylic paint colors that you want to use for your kids. I let my kids explore by using different kinds of brushes and tools to paint.

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Let the artwork dry before peeling the masking tape. Once you are done, you can retouch the edges by using white acrylic paint. Use a thin paint brush (similar to a pointed eyeliner brush) to create a white outline like as shown in the pictures here.

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Any fun art activities that you and your kids love to do on Mother’s Day?

 

I hope all of my readers who are moms have a great time celebrating Mother’s Day. Motherhood is such a blessing from God. I am thankful that He gave me the role of being a mom!

 

Have a great week!

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Ninja Turtle Inspired Birthday + Filipino Skewered Barbecue Recipe

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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My eldest son has been liking “ninjas” a lot.  I think he’s been a fan of them ever since he was an infant. My husband would lift him up and have him pretend to jump all over the house (walls, sofas, etc). This year for his birthday, he was the one who kept telling me that he would like ninjas for his birthday. That’s why I planned to use a touch of Ninja Turtles and a colorful theme for his special day. I saw some ninja turtle birthday ideas when it came to food. I tried to make the fruit tray and saw Ninja Turtle cookies in a grocery store. We also played “Pin the Mask” on the ninja, thanks to my friend Karla who led the game. We had a great time with our friends and their kids, who are close to my son’s heart. I thought to prepare Filipino dishes like lumpia and skewered pork barbecue, so our friends could taste some FIlipino dishes that we love. Here’s a recipe of Filipino skewered pork barbeque in case you guys want to try it. It’s actually a street food in the Philippines, which I loved to buy often when I lived there. It’s perfect if you dip it with spicy vinegar and eat it with rice!! YUM!

 

(Special thanks to my sister-in-law Suki for the birthday decor!)

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Filipino Skewered Pork Barbecue

 

2 lbs pork, sliced

½ cup soy sauce

½ ketchup

8-10 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic pressed, similar to this)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1-2 teaspoons sriracha (optional, but it’s good!)

2 teaspoons of lemon juice (fresh or it can be from the bottle of concentrate)

1 cup (or more) of Sprite (Yep!)

Bamboo skewers – Soak a night or at least 20 minutes before you use it. It keeps the skewers from getting burnt during grilling.

 

Instructions:

Combine soy sauce, ketchup, minced garlic, brown sugar, pepper and salt, sriracha, and lemon into a flat container (I like to use a glass baking dish), stir it well with a fork. Place sliced pork onto the dish and mix together with the sauce. Pour the Sprite evenly over the pork. Cover it and refrigerate it to marinate overnight.

After it’s marinated, skewer the pork with the bamboo sticks. Keep the sauce aside. Ready the grill at medium heat. While waiting for the grill to be hot, cook the sauce from the marinated pork with a low heat and stir. Wait for it to bubble while cooking. When it’s cooked, I taste it and add some sprite, ketchup and brown sugar depending on how I want it to come out. For my son’s party, I found it a little spicy for our visitors who were kids, so I added these ingredients to adjust it. This cooked sauce will be used to brush onto the barbecue while on the grill so it’s juicy and moist. Put the barbeque pork on the preheated grill and start to brush the cooked sauce on each side of the pork. Grill 10-12 minutes per side. Keep rotating it and brushing the pork with the sauce keep it moist. Cooking takes about 25-30 minutes. I used a charcoal grill to cook this, but you may use a gas grill too.

 

Try serving it with spicy vinegar and rice! It’s totally delicious!

 

Anyone here tasted this skewered barbecued pork before?

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Bathroom Update on a $20 Budget

Monday, April 3, 2017

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When we moved back to Houston last year, we were excited to move into our new apartment with our kids. The first thing that I fell in love with at our new place was the bathroom. Overall, our new apartment is more spacious than our apartment in LA, has a big tub, and has a walk-in closet too. Texas has bigger spaces, but guess what, it has lower costs of living too, especially compared to LA. You can see my post about our bathroom makeover here, where I added curtains and some plants too. This time, I decided to remove the plants and add artwork I made, inspired by a coconut tree. I bought this affordable poster frame (around $15) a few months ago, but never had time to start painting. I finally found some time to paint during my kids’ bedtime. It’s a good way to relax after a long day. I used watercolor for this painting which i was actually hesitant to use, as it had been a long time since I last use that medium. But hey, it turned out okay, right?  I guess my artist friends will be like, “Umm, you need more blending.” Haha

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I went to one of the biggest garage sales in Houston held by Impact Church of Christ last month. That’s where I got this native basket that I turned into magazine container. What was the price? Only $2!! This is what I always love about going to this garage sale of Impact Church, I always find cool stuff in a very affordable cost. You can find stuff for babies and kids, furnitures, kitchenwares (found gorgeous pieces!) and many more. You should definitely won’t miss this garage sale that happens every year (around March). Better follow them in Facebook to get updated for upcoming events. And guess what, all the money you spent will be 100% donated to this church who helps people who are less fortunate. bathroom-update-on-a-budget (5)

Here’s a haggard photo of me and my fresh artwork made by time and effort of a mom 😉

Happy weekday to all! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram :-)

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Cute Valentine’s Gift Wrap (Tutorial)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

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Another Valentines is coming! Brent and I are actually will not be together on Valentines since I’m in the Philippines for visit. I think this will be our first time that won’t be together after we married. Anyway, I thought to share with you a cute Valentine’s gift wrap that was inspired from Pinterest. As you know, I love kraft wrapping paper which you can see from my old gift wrap tutorials like “How to create a bow using ribbon”, and Christmas gift wrapping paper like here / here. So here’s how I made this Valentines gift wrap:

 

Materials to use:

Glitter

Invisible Tape

Scissor

Kraft wrapping paper

Pencil

Twine

White Paper

Small piece of cardboard
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Step 1 Sprinkle glitter on   a flat surface and use invisible tape (measured how long needs to use for the gift wrap box) and let glitter stick all the sticky side of  invisible tape.

Step 2 Wrap your box with kraft paper as you normally do and start to wrap the first strip and secure it with invisible tape.

Step 3 Finish the other glittered tape on the opposite direction and sealed again with tape at the back.

Step 4 Use twine to wrap as how the glittered tape shows in the photo. Leave 5 inches on both end of the twine.

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Step 5 To create the paper heart shape, I sketch it on a piece of cardstock and use it to trace six (6) heart shapes. Cut the heart drawing and punch a hole on lower part using a puncher.

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Step 6 Insert 3 heart shapes on each end of twine and secured the end by knotting it.

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And that’s it! Here’s a simple yet cute gift wrap you can try for Valentines whether for your boyfriend, husband, family or even to your friends!:-) I hope you enjoy this tutorial!
Have a great week everyone! Follow my Philippine trip journey at Snapchat and Instastories :-)

CATEGORY Design, DIY
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How to be creative on your Christmas gift wrap

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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Here’s another fun way to be creative with your Christmas gift wrap. By experimenting with the texture of Christmas decors, you can get a modern, stylish gift wrap perfect for Christmas! Here’s how I made it!

Materials:

Kraft Wrapping Paper

Invisible Tape

Artificial Christmas Pine Leaf

White Acrylic

Sponge Brush

Paint Palette (or you may use a simple plate)

Twine

Scissor

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Step 1: Start wrapping your gift box with kraft wrapping paper and secure it with invisible tape

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Step 2: Apply white acrylic on the flat surface of your palette. Then, flatten it using a sponge brush.

how-to-creative-christmas-gift-wrap-8 Step 3: Press one side of the pine leaf down onto the paint. Make sure you are covering most of the area of the side you are using.

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Step 4: Dab the painted side of the pine leaf on the kraft wrapping paper. Try different angles for variation. Be sure sure to cover each side of the gift box. Let it dry.

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Step 5: When it’s dry, wrap twine around the box. Make sure there are at least 5 inches of slack remaining at each end of the twine.

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Step 6: To make the small wreath, cut two other artificial pine leaves and curve them into a circular shape. Attach them together using hot glue.

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Step 7: Put the small wreath on the top of your gift wrap, and center it. You may simply glue the wreath on top, or use any leftover twine to wrap around the wreath to decorate it.
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You may also attach a name tag with the twine you wrap around the wreath (as shown in the picture above). I recycled a cereal box to create my own tag for this Christmas gift. :-)

Any other creative gift wrapping ideas that you love to do for Christmas? Don’t forget to check my other gift wrap tutorial for a DIY Christmas tree stencil!

Merry Christmas to all! :-)

 

 

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Our Christmas Greeting Cards

Monday, December 19, 2016

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Yipee! We survived having our Christmas greeting card photos taken, although it was a rollercoaster! 😉  If you have seen my posts on Snapchat and Instagram Stories a few weeks ago, I shared a couple behind-the-scenes looks during our shoot with these two adorable, yet active toddlers. They were running around and didn’t want to stay in one place! But thank God, my mom was there to entertain the kids with the help of their best friends Owl and Froggie (their stuffed animals). Another important thing that we brought were snacks. Oh boy, do they love to eat all the time. It was helpful to use a tripod and clicker as well while my mom entertained her grandkids.

In the end, I’m happy with how the photos came out. I think it’s best to take  A LOT of pictures so you have many options to choose from. We tried to take photos one hour before sunset so that our pictures would have golden light. It was beautiful!!  Printing tip: Always make sure to send JPEG files (which I mostly use) to your favorite printing company in CMYK mode. It makes a difference with the colors and brightness!

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Have you seen our Christmas photo cards from last year? It’s like the behind-the-scenes images from this shoot, except for the reflux baby. 😉

P.S. I forgot to ask Brent to proofread the text for our cards. I missed “s” in “The Smiths.” 😉

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of two boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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