Fill up your closet for next to nothing!

It's no secret that I love to save a buck!
I like to dress on trend but not break the bank.
I recently discovered a website called Sammy Dress.
I couldn't believe the prices!

Some of our local thrift shops are selling used clothes for more than the price of new fashion forward clothes on Sammy Dress.

Sammy Dress offered me my selection of one item and I must say, 
it was difficult to choose.
I finally settled on this abstract batwing cardigan
The price?

At first I was skeptical.
You get what you pay for right?
I thought it would be cheaply made.
I was shocked!
It looked great right out of the package!

O.k., so if I put it through the washer it will probably fall apart and fade.
I actually washed the sweater and it still looks great.
Not a stray piece of yard unraveled!

I'm sold!
Seriously, go visit right now and see what you can find.
There are even 266 {gorgeous} wedding dresses under $100.

I'm not kidding.
You need to go see for yourself!


Stenciled spring door mat

I am more than ready for spring.
Actually, I am super ready for summer,
but the glimpse of warmer weather, the birds chirping and the longer days are a welcome change from the doom and gloom of winter.

I am always looking for ways to welcome the new seasons,
this time I did it with a stenciled door mat update.
It's super easy and will cost you next to nothing!
My project cost me $2.50 but only because I was lucky enough to receive the amazing Ed Roth stencil 1 and FolkArt paints to create my project.
{stencils and paints can be picked up at your local Jo-Ann fabric store}

Here is what you will need:
A plain door mat with low nap
{I found mine 2 for $5 at my local Fred Meyer}
 Ed Roth Stencil 1
FolkArt multi-surface paints
brush or pouncer

Having the right paint is important in this project.
The FolkArt multi-surface paint is great on any surface.  It's dishwasher safe 
{not that we need it for this project, but it's good to know for the future!}
and it's perfect for indoor or outdoor applications.

I started by placing my stencil in the upper left corner of my mat.
You can use spray adhesive to help it adhere better if you would like.

I used my brush to "pounce" paint onto my stencil.
It's best not to rub your brush or use a traditional paint stroke,
especially on a rug since you want to really get the paint on the fibers but not smear it.

Once you have your stencil painted in, carefully peel it back.

I used the first row of my stencil and lined it up with the final row of my completed stenciled row.
This will give you the proper spacing for your stencil.

When you begin painting the other side of your mat, 
use the far edge of your stenciled row as a guide.
Again, this will help you keep the proper spacing.

Once you are finished with the main stenciling,
let your mat dry.

Now for the fun part!
I love the bird and the overlay of the small detail for the bird.
It made me feel like a real artist and gave my project a lot more depth.
You will start by using the bird stencil and "pounce" your paint and brush over it.
Remove your stencil and let your paint dry.

How cool is this detail?!
 I love it!
I think this is what sets Ed Roth FolkArt stencils apart from other stencils I have used in the past.
The depth and detail that you can get from the design is so much more than just stopping with the bird.

Take your detailed stencil, place it over your dry bird and use your brush to paint on some amazing artist details!

It's subtle since the colors I used were so bold, 
but how cool is that?!

I love my new stenciled rug.
It's the perfect place to let my rain boots dry off while we wait for those May flowers!

Check out these other great stencil1 projects
Don't miss out on the latest from Plaid
disclosure: this is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% my own. I promise I wouldn't share a product that I didn't love and recommend.

Driftwood signs tutorial

All this month, I have been sharing with you some driftwood and twine tutorials.
The beaches of the Pacific Northwest don't have many shells, 
but you are certain to find driftwood on your next trip.
Which is why I have so much!
I finally put my supply of driftwood to work and am sharing my final tutorial with you today.

Today I will show you how I used large pieces of driftwood to create these signs.

 Here are a few of the pieces of driftwood that I have collected that have been just sitting in my garage for far too long!

I used my silhouette to create and cut vinyl letters that I used as a stencil.
Simply transfer your vinyl letters to your driftwood and paint over them.

Once the paint is dry, 
simply peel off the vinyl.

You don't want your driftwood to look to perfect.
Take a sanding block and rough it up a bit.

Here is the final product.
Wouldn't they be cute propped up on a bookshelf or on a mantle?

I also used this large piece of driftwood to create this beach sign.
It would be really cool hung on a wall.

I'm thinking I am officially out of ideas now for things to do with my driftwood.
But that's o.k.
I'm officially out of driftwood.
That is, until my next trip to the beach.
Have you had a favorite project from this month that you want to try?

How I started making money blogging and you can too!

I've been blogging at Holy Craft since January of 2010 but I have had a family blog since 2005.
I'm not super computer savvy so it took me some time to start figuring out exactly what I was doing
{and let's be honest, I still don't always know what I'm doing now!}
and how I could use the hours that I spent writing blog posts and doing projects
to make my time worth it.
Let me start out by saying the key to blogging isn't to blog with the intent on making money.
Don't quit your day job because you think you can strike it rich by writing a blog.
There are several bloggers who have been able to do that,
but the majority of us craft bloggers are able to support our craft addiction
and occasionally generate enough money to supplement our families monthly income.
I read a lot of blogs.
I try to learn from what other bloggers are doing and I really appreciate the tips and tricks that I have learned through the years.
Several years ago, a blogger referred me to Social Spark
Social Spark is a social media marketplace that connects bloggers to quality advertisers.
In order to be approved as a member for Social Spark,
your blog must be 90 days old with a minimum of 20 posts written.
You can blog about any topic, not just crafts or family.
If you have a business of any kind and would like to connect with other bloggers,
you can get connected and start getting promoted today!
How it works
Once you are approved, you will be sent leads.
A lead is an opportunity that you qualify for but haven't specifically been invited to participate in.
You can use these leads to express an interest in an opportunity, or if it's not a good fit for your and your blog, you can take the time to opt out of that lead.
Once you have been selected for a campaign, you can use Social Sparks direct publishing to write your post in your Social Spark account and have it reviewed and approved by the advertiser.
I would highly recommend trying Social Spark for yourself.
You really have nothing to lose but the prospect of potential profit
{say that 4 times fast!}.
You never know what kind of offer may come your way.
If you sign up now through their referral program you can earn incentives like a trip to Maui for two
{yes please!} for every person you refer.

Sign up here

Beach wood star tutorial

I don't know if you have noticed a trend or not, 
but I am ready for summer to be here and it seems as though I am trying to will it's way here with a myriad of beach wood and driftwood crafts and home decor.

You can see my driftwood star and twine tutorial here
and my twine beach sign here.

Today I want to share with you another driftwood star tutorial.
Way back in November, my parents came to stay with my kids while my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in Puerto Vallarta.

After their stay here with my kids, they needed a vacation of their own and they went to stay at Seabrook.
My family decided to take a day trip to visit them and while we were there I collected the sticks that I used for this driftwood star.

Why yes, that was four months ago.
That is how I roll.

Today I want to show you how I made this driftwood star
and it didn't cost me a dime!

I found a star to use as a template and used it on an old box I received in the mail.
You can also do a google search to find a star shape.
I simply traced this one with a pencil.

I cut out my traced star and got my sticks together.

I started by laying them out on the template before I ever touched a glue gun to secure them.
It's like a puzzle.
You will want to move the sticks around until you find the best fit.
Once you do, I used a glue gun to secure my sticks in place.
I started with the outside and worked my way in.

Once you get the outside lined with sticks,
start moving to the inside.
Again, lay your sticks down like a puzzle finding the best fit for each piece before gluing them down.

Continue to work to the inside.
I tried to keep the pattern with the star tips coming to a point so that the star outline would still be visible.

This is the final product.
I really love how it turned out.
It's rustic and was free, but it still holds meaning since I collected the pieces from a family beach trip.

I'm thinking another beach trip is in order.
I'm running out of driftwood that I have collected.
Do you have any other ideas for things I could make with driftwood?
I may have one of two more ideas up my sleeve.
Stay tuned!

How you can save money at the dentist and give your kids some independence and control

 I try not to, but sometimes in parenting I am a bit of a control freak.

I know that there are things that my kids are capable of,
{making their beds, helping out with the household chores, brushing their own teeth}
but because I know I can do it better and usually faster, 
I just like to just do it myself.

When my oldest son was 8, we finally handed over the reigns and let him be in charge of brushing his own teeth.  Yep, he was 8.  Control much?!

After 6 months of him brushing his own teeth, we had a dentist appointment and guess what?
The outcome was exactly how I thought that it would be.
He sucked at brushing and ended up with 4 cavities!
I knew I couldn't be that mom that went to college with her son showing up every night and in the morning to brush his teeth, so I had to come up with a plan.

Spending hundreds of dollars on filling cavities every six months just wasn't cutting it for me
{multiply that by three kids and it would really be nasty}
so we decided to invest in a Philips Sonicare toothbrush.
For less than the cost to fill a single cavity, we could invest in a Sonicare toothbrush and create a lifetime of healthy oral care habits.

I'm sure you have seen Philips Sonicare toothbrushes at your dentist office.
I had for years.
In fact, 91% of dental professional parents prefer Philips Sonicare for kids for their own children.

We have been using Sonicare toothbrushes for all three kids for the past four years and can I tell you something?
They have been cavity free ever since our switch!

As a parent, we all know how important it is to create independence in our children.
We know that our kids are capable and able to do so much more than we sometimes let them.
Check out this infographic on how we as parents can help navigate the independence balancing act.

I honestly can't tell you how much peace of mind I get from handing over my controlling ways and letting my kids take on the independence of brushing with their sonicare toothbrush.

The new Philips Sonicare for kids is a rechargeable electric toothbrush for kids 4+ from a name we all trust.
It not only encourages healthy brushing habits 
{even when kids are doing it on their own}
but it's fun to use with customizable stickers and educational features like a kidpacer 
{to encourage kids to brush the "zones"} 
and kidtimer 
{a built in two minute timer that trains kids to brush for the dentist recommended time}.

My youngest son was excited to receive a Philips Sonicare for kids toothbrush in the mail.
He loved picking out the sticker to make his toothbrush different from his sister and brother's toothbrush.

He immediately ran upstairs and got to brushing!
The KidPacer has fun sounds every 30 seconds that encourage kids to switch from the upper, lower, front and back of their teeth.

This enables kids to get each of their teeth during the two minute dentist recommended brushing time.
Once the two minutes are up, the toothbrush turns itself off.

If using an electric toothbrush is new for your kids, there is a slow start to work up to the two minutes.
Simply switch the button on the bottom of the handle.
The first time my kids used their Sonicare toothbrushes they giggled because it does tickle their teeth until they are used to it.

All done!

Three kids, three Sonicare toothbrushes.

Here are some things about Sonicare toothbrushes that I have learned from years of use.
You can travel with your Sonicare toothbrush since it will take a charge for up to a week of use.
You will use less toothpaste and there will be less spitting.
{if you clean the kids bathroom this little tidbit is a welcome change!}
If your kids use a Sonicare, your dentist will notice.
{Sonicare removes up to 75% more plaque than a manual toothbrush}
Sonicare toothbrushes are a lifesaver if your child has braces.
You can find Sonicare kids toothbrushes at Amazon, Target, WalMart, Meijer, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walgreens.  They retail for around $49.99 and are worth every penny!
We are a Sonicare family.
You should be too!
Give up some of your control, let the kids become independent and gain some important oral health care habits.  And maybe, as an added bonus, you will be spending less time {and money} at the dentist like we did!
disclosure: I received a Sonicare kids toothbrush in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions are 100% my own.  I wouldn't write about something I didn't love.

TV can be educational! How we try to be intentional about our kids television viewing

It's been nearly a full month since our family started our monthly Netflix subscription.
I was asked to be a part of the Netflix #streamteam and was excited to have the opportunity to try something I have heard so much about.
Several years ago I wrote a post about how our family survives without cable.
What started out as a money saving move became a lifestyle change we were comfortable with.
As a parent I want to be very intentional about what my kids are watching.
I had no idea that I could find that with a company like Netflix.
If you aren't familiar with Netflix, Netflix is a monthly subscription service that provides unlimited movies and television shows.  Streaming can be done through your TV, on your computer or through your mobile devices.  It costs $7.99 a month which is more than a third of what you would be paying for even the most basic cable services.
Netflix enables you to set up viewing profiles for every member of your family.
Each member can create a watch list of shows and movies they are interested in, and in turn, they receive personalized recommendations based on what that member has been viewing.
For my two kids under 12, there is a safe kids area where their viewing profile only allows them to view appropriate titles for their age. 
Have you ever looked at the front cover of some of the movies that are out?
Holy cow, just seeing them could give you nightmares!
The kids area keeps these titles and pictures away from their eyes.
I have always been quite strict about my kids television viewing.
I want what they watch to be educational and not just mind numbing.
For years the library has been a great resource for our family to get educational shows and documentaries, 
but as our kids continue to grow and mature, 
it's getting harder and harder to find titles that they are interested in.
When my kids were little they loved The Magic School Bus series.  
Can I admit that I learned a thing or two myself from watching the Frizz?
My youngest son still soaks in Wild Kratts and I'm amazed at what he can learn from a TV show.

Now that I have kids ranging from High School age all the way down to late elementary school age, 
finding shows that we can watch as a family is getting more and more difficult.
Thankfully, Netflix has some of our families favorites.
My tween daughter is in middle school.  She gets extra credit in science by watching and explaining the scientific process from a Mythbusters episode.
My husband is an engineer and he could spend hours with the kids sharing his love of design and science while truly being entertained with these programs.
I think we all have a show or two we can add to our netflix profile this month.
We certainly won't be short on things to watch for family movie night.
So far, I really like streaming Netflix for our family.
I think you will too...that is, if you don't already.
What are you watching?
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