Lines Across

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

DIY Watercolor Pumpkins

I'm really excited to be sharing my first tutorial as a part of the Michael's Maker's program. Basically, each month, Michael's challenges all of us to a specific theme. This month's challenge is to decorate a craft pumpkin! Of course I ended out decorating mine with watercolors (big surprise!), and I love how they turned out. I actually first tried dip dying pumpkins (craft fail) and painting them with a brushstrokes patter (somewhat craft fail) as well as a few other ideas before I tried this one. And I'm so glad I did, because I love how these turned out, plus they are really fun and easy to make.

What you need:
1. Plastic craft pumpkins (there are so many options at Michael's, like these half pumpkins)
2. White spray paint (I used one that was a paint and primer and it worked well)
3. Watercolor paints (These tubes work well for this project)
4. Paper towels
5. Sponges
6. Sealant

Monday, August 31, 2015

Braided Clay Picture Frames

You know how much I love bright colors and white backgrounds right? Well I'm thrilled to be partnering with Portrait Innovations to bring you this fun tutorial. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.

So Oliver is 17 months old now, and we had never had any pictures taken before as a family. I know, so bad! Sometimes the whole thought of going and getting your picture taken is overwhelming... especially when you know it will involve attempting to get three kids to look at the camera at the same time, and maybe even smile. Honestly, it felt impossible to get any good pictures.

But a couple of weeks ago, we did the impossible! We went to Portrait Innovations and got pictures taken. And the kids were a little crazy. Lyla made silly faces. Oliver would not sit still. And even I got so distracted with the kids that sometimes I forgot to look and smile. And yet the photographer still was able to capture some great pictures! They were especially great with Oliver and had so many great tricks for making him feel comfortable, sit still for a few seconds at least, and even smile.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Play is the Highest Form of Research

I'm so excited to be partnering with Playskool and Socialstars over the next few months to bring you more toddler themed posts and reviews. Check out my first post here. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and pictures are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Lines Across possible! #Playskoolcrew

A few weeks ago I shared a little bit about choosing better toys, and I shared with you the Stack and Go Cups. Well this adorable tiger toy matches the little lion. And just like the lion, this Pop-Up Shape Sorter by Playskool is an open ended toy with lots of possibilities that folds up neatly with all of the pieces inside so that it is easy to take on the go.

I just love this quote by Albert Einsten, "Play is the highest form of research." And it's so true... especially for kids. You can just watch them play and see how much they are learning and having fun at the same time. I especially love toys that are "educational" but still fun toys, like this Playskool Pop-Up Shape Sorter. It is a great toy for teaching kids shapes and colors, and great practice for fine motor skills. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Watercolors for Beginners 5 - Frame Worthy Art

You can catch up on other posts in this series here:

One of the things that I love about watercolors, is that there are a lot of beautiful things you can make in a pretty short amount of time even if you're not an experienced artist. When I first started painting about a year ago, I didn't use masking fluid. It seemed expensive and complicated. But let me tell you - I was wrong! There are so many fun things you can paint with masking fluid and it's really easy to use.

What you need:
1. Watercolor Paper (I recommend 140 lb cold press)
2. Paint brushes
3. Masking Fluid
4. Eraser (optional)
5. Watercolors

Saturday, August 15, 2015

15 Gorgeous Free iPhone Wallpapers

I love iPhone wallpapers! I love making them... I love finding new ones. I change my lock screen about once a week just for fun. I've gathered together a collection of 15 gorgeous free wallpapers. Although most of these are sized for iPhones, you can easily download them and use them on any smart phone. You may just have to slightly zoom in or zoom out to fit your screen. Which one is your favorite?

Wallpaper by Cotton & Flax

1 /// 2 /// 3
4 /// 5 /// 6
7 /// 8 /// 9
10 /// 11 /// 12
13 /// 14 /// 15

Also check out some of the other collections I've put together:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Free Hand Painted Watercolor Wallpaper

Happy Friday everyone! I realized that it's been a while since I shared a free iPhone wallpaper. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already recognize this pattern. Also, next week I'll be sharing a fun tutorial for how to create this kind of artwork yourself (I promise it's easier than it looks!).

I sized this file for the iPhone 6+ since it's so large, but it's easy to zoom in or out however you choose so that this one file will perfectly fit all smart phones. I would recommend turning the perspective zoom off.

If you're not sure how to get this download to your phone, here are a couple easy ways:

1. View this page from your phone's browser. Click on the download below to download the image. It will save to your phone's camera roll and you can easily upload it to your wallpaper from there.
2. Download and save the file from your computer. Email it to yourself. Open it and save it to your camera roll.

And if you're looking for more free wallpapers, check out some of these fun collections I've put together:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Less is More

When I first started blogging, almost all of my posts were about my kids. I shared cute stories about them, little bits of advice and tips I had for other moms, and fun crafts and activities you could do with your kids. However, at some point I got caught up in more DIY and craft type posts, and haven't taken the time to share as many posts about parenting and activities for kids. However, I've been wanting to share more and I'm happy that I've teamed up with Playskool and Socialstars over the next few months to bring you a series of sponsored posts for other moms. As always, all of the thoughts, pictures, and opinions are mine. #Playskoolcrew

So today I wanted to share with you all some of the best advice that I have that has taken me a while to learn. I'm not a perfect mom who does everything right all of the time (do those moms even exist?), but I certainly have a lot of experience! In fact, if I could send a message back in time to myself 6 years ago right before my oldest son Benjamin was born, this is the advice I would give.

Less is more.

Yup. That's it. Less is more. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the baby stuff. I mean, some people have come up with the coolest toys and inventions that are meant to make moms' lives easier. And some of them are really great! However, it's so easy to start thinking of some of these things as absolute needs and before you know it, it takes you an hour to pack the diaper bag before you can leave the house. I totally did this with my son the first time around, and at some point, all of those things that were supposed to be making my life easier were making my life harder!

When my son Oliver was born 16 months ago, my older two kids were 3 and 4, and I had stopped carrying any sort of diaper bag completely. I had gotten addicted to the freedom and I knew that I didn't want to have to start dealing with and carrying all of that stuff again. Plus, I had a lot less time to spend packing and managing the diaper bag and I had a lot less space in the car. And you know what? I started taking trips to the store with all three kids and no diaper bag. I would just put a few diapers and wipes in my purse and an extra pacifier in a ziplock bag. In fact, for the first 8 months, I rarely even used the stroller and I would just carry Oliver in a baby carrier. It was so liberating and made running errands with three little kids so much easier (not that it was ever actually easy haha).

Now I'm not saying to get rid of everything or that you shouldn't carry a diaper bag or use a stroller or that there is anything wrong with all of those cool baby products. All I'm saying is that less is more. This general principle will be different for every mom. But basically, if you think you won't need it - leave it!

When you start living by the less is more philosophy, you will start to look at products and toys differently. It has made me a smarter shopper, and instead of picking out lots of different toys with lots of different parts, I've started looking for toys that are more open ended and that grow with your child. The Playskool Stack 'n Stow Cups are exactly this kind of toy that I LOVE!

They are fun and colorful. They stack. They nest. They have shapes. And best of all, they store compactly inside a cute little lion. The lion's tale even acts as a hook so you can bring it with you easily. So when you take a weekend family trip to a hotel, you don't have to pack a ton of toys. You can just bring this one toy, and your baby or toddler will find a lot of different ways to have fun with it.

Oliver just loves lions and growls every time he sees the little lion face. He will play with these cups for a long time, and is working on figuring out the right order to put the cups in so that they will all fit inside of each other.

I even let him sit at the table with some Cheerios the other day and he was mesmerized with putting a few Cheerios inside one of the cups and letting them fall through the hole.

Playskool also sent us the Fold 'n Go Busy Elephant to try out. It is such a cute soft toy that is great for babies.

Since Oliver is older now (16 months) I actually put this elephant at his feet in his crib, and he has lots of fun playing with it when he wakes up (and it buys me an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning). Oliver especially loves putting the heart rattle in the elephant's pocket. However, this is another one of those great open ended toys that is great for traveling or taking with you. There are 7 different unique activities all packed into one toy. So instead of having to keep track of, pack, and store 7 different toys, you have just one fun toy with a lot of different possibilities. It also folds up really nicely to make it even more portable.
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