Back to school: an easier approach to first-day photo shoots

My sweet girls went to school last week. My oldest started fifth grade and my youngest started kindergarten. Last year, I took no first day of school pictures since we were virtual. This year, I more than made up for it.

I may have gone a bit overboard- I ended up taking over 70 pictures, but I got some awesome shots. Today, I’d like to share some tips for getting some great back to school pictures.

1. Don’t wait til the actual first day of school

We put on our school clothes and back packs and we pretend it’s the first day of school. This year, we sneaked over to the school the day before the first day.

If you’re anything like us, you will be in a hurry on the first day and you won’t have time to get any good pictures. And if you are in a hurry and forget to take them, it won’t matter.

2. Wait until sunset

If you don’t wait til sunset, chances are really good you’re going to get lots of pictures with squinty smiles. The sun will be too bright.

3. You need a prop

Find a sign, find a wall, find a bus, make a sign.

Find a staircase and do this:

Whatever you can do to make it interesting.

4. Take a lot of pictures!

Because the more pics you take, the more likely you are to get some good stuff!

But most of all, don’t wait until the day of. Take a lot of pictures but have fun with it. You aren’t just taking photos, you’re making memories. And if your kids want to strike a silly pose, let them.

I hope you have an amazing school year.

How to customize a dance costume (and make it look custom)

My two daughters are competitive dancers. While custom costumes are the way to go for competition, it’s also a much more expensive route. Thankfully, there are ways to customize an existing costume and make it seem like a custom.

1. Buy costume separates or a shell

We chose to buy this crop top and bottom from Balera. You can buy sequined separates like we did, or plain. It’s truly up to you.

2. Choose the embellishments you want to use

We chose to use a rhinestone appliqué, clear rhinestones and Maribou feathers. We also used E6000 adhesive and a glue applicator.

3. Add embellishments to the bottom

We chose to add only feathers to the bottom of the costume.

4. Add embellishments to the top

Finished product

The result is a very cute, very sparkly one-of-a-kind costume. This was surprisingly easy and you can do it too!!

More costume customizations to come!!

Three creative wood coatracks you can make yourself!!

I don’t know about you all, but I’m so obsessed with the unexpected. When it comes to hanging up coats, I love finding unique and interesting ways to hang up our clothes and coats.

1. Unique door knob coat hanger

Source

This remains one of my favorite projects I’ve ever done and I still use this in my bedroom. You should totally try it! Click the link for the directions.

2. Reclaimed wood coat rack

Source

You can easily make this one with a reclaimed board, some hooks and some paint. Most of us have an old board around. Make this one.

3. Built in coat tree

I wish so much that I had “stages” pictures and directions for this. My dad did this for me shortly before he died. I do know he made it entirely from 1x4s and nails. I love this so much.

I hope these ideas spark your creativity! If you use any of these ideas, please share it with me!

Junk Drawer DIYs: make these crafts from things you already have around your home

I don’t know about you guys, but I am itching for a good project. With the current cost of lumber, I have been struggling to find ways to scratch my creative itch.

I’ve got a few scrap wood projects and pallet projects in mind, but until then, I’m making things from what I already have. I’d love to share some of those things with you.

1. Desk storage boxes

Source: Create Fashionable Storage from Ordinary Shoeboxes

I have two daughters and a love for shoes…so you better believe I have a collection of shoeboxes. Get some paint, some metal bookplates and some glue…and you have yourself some new desk storage boxes.

2. Farmhouse candlesticks

Source: DIY farmhouse candlesticks

If you have some candlesticks, some plant pot saucers, white chalk paint and a drill, you can make these candlesticks.

3. White mason jar succulent planter

Source: mason jar succulent planter

If you’re like me, you have an assortment of mason jars lying around. Take a small one, paint it white and pop a succulent in it.

4. Picture frame tray

Source: make a tray from an old picture frame

All you need for this one is some drawer pulls, a drill, a pretty piece of paper and some chalk paint.

5. Scrap wood shutters

Source: scrap wood shutters

Do you have some scrap wood lying around? Just use it to create some faux shutters!! You will need wood, drawer pulls and hinges, and paint or stain.

I hope these five easy and cheap DIYs inspire you! Maybe you can scratch your creative itches, too.

Scrap wood Challenge: a plan-less chicken coop or rabbit hutch

I never like to build anything without a plan- it’s so difficult and something always turns out wrong. BUT- is it really a scrap wood challenge if you use a plan? It’s still challenging, but building on the fly is a whole ‘nother level of challenging. It’s aggravating.

I knew from looking at a neighbor’s chicken coop about what design I wanted. So I started by creating the bottom with four four by fours cut at 30 inches long. I cut my 1x4s to 24 inches and built a frame. I then used two 1×12 shelf boards to build the nesting box. I cut the sides and the divider to 12 inches and cut one to 30 inches to form the back of the nesting box. I also added a 1×4 board frame to the bottom of the legs for stability and to add the wire later on.

I then added plywood to the bottom, top, and added a floor to the inside of the nesting box. I also created a small door for the coop.

Then, I added a 1×4 frame “chicken run” to the outside of the coop. I also added a plywood roof to the top.

And my youngest daughter decided she should try out the chicken run. 🙂 We started adding wire to the outside until we completely covered the open areas with wire.

And then we added hardware to the doors and egg hatch.

Three coats of paint and several shingles later, we ended up with the final product…which I will show you next week 🙂

Have a wonderful week!! We will see you Wednesday for school lunch ideas and on Friday for Farmhouse Friday.