Category Archives: Guest Bloggers

DIY Canvas Photos

Today I’d like to welcome Alissa from The Illiterate Author.  We go way back to the long-ago days in Maine when I had teeny little babies.  Alissa is an inspiring young woman who has bouquets of good things to offer blogland.  I’m so happy she’s here to share this DIY project with us.

Welcome Alissa!

*Clap Hands Now*


I love canvas photos. I love how they turn memories into art, and special pictures into masterpieces.  I love them, but at $30 a pop for an 8×10, they don’t love my budget, which is fairly typical of things I love. Thankfully, a while back I discovered DIY canvas photos while browsing through the craft section of Pinterest. I had been wanting to display our parent’s and grandparent’s wedding photos as a sort of “family tree” wall for a while, and this project seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

I’ve made several now, and I can’t seem to rave about them enough. They’re easy, quick, virtually fool proof, and inexpensive. (They’re especially affordable if you plan on making more than one; some of the supplies, like the Mod Podge are not super cheap, but will do quite a few photos.)

As an added bonus, I’m fairly certain creating them yourself makes you an artist. That my friends, equals bragging rights. What’s not to love?

DIY Canvas Photo tutorial

Loot you’ll need:

  • Scrapbook paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sponge brushes
  • Wax paper
  • Mod Podge
  • A canvas (You can use any size–I chose an 8×10)
  • A photo you love (I chose a photo of the hub’s grandmother and grandfather on their wedding day.)

Once you’ve got all your loot together, you’re ready to begin!

Note: There are roughly 10 thousand different varieties of Mod Podge. Roughly. I used the Matte variety.

Step 1. Measure the thickness of your canvas, and then cut the scrapbook paper into strips for the sides of your canvas. My canvas was 8×10″, and the thickness was about .75,” so my strips were 8x.75″ and 10x.75″ respectively. Try not to be too awed by my math prowess.

Step 2. Prepare for Mod Podging! If you’re anything like me, you WILL make a mess, so you’ll want to protect your work area. Lay down a layer of wax paper to catch drips. Wax paper is great because your canvas won’t stick to it when it dries.

Step 3. Using your brush, apply an even layer of Mod Podge to each side of the canvas, placing the scrapbook paper as you go.


Step 4. Once the sides are done, apply a layer Mod Podge to the surface of your canvas. Don’t skimp with the glue here!


Once your canvas is evenly coated, place the photo on the canvas and allow it to dry. I gave mine about an hour before moving to the next step.

Step 5. Once you know it’s dry, apply an even coat to the sides and top of your canvas. This is what seals everything, giving your photo a layer of protection. Do your best to apply the coat evenly and to keep your strokes all going the same direction. Your photo will appear a bit milky at this point–don’t panic! It will dry clear. Pinky swear.


Again, allow to dry completely before moving on. See? I told you it would dry clear.


You’re almost done!

Now that the Mod Podge is dry, you’ll notice narrow gaps between the photo and the paper. This is where the paint comes in.

Step 6. Squeeze a small amount of the acrylic paint onto the wax paper. Don’t be afraid to mix colors to get a shade you love. For previous photos, I created a slate gray to accommodate my black and white photos. This step is literally fool proof–if you make a mistake, just wipe off the paint with a damp cloth. Thanks to the Mod Podge, the photo won’t smear. Honestly, I’m beginning to think Mod Podge should make me their paid spokesperson.

Using your brush, paint around the edges of the canvas to fill in the gaps and create an artsy border around the edge of the photo.You can be as heavy or as light handed as you prefer with this step. I prefer a light border, but that’s just me.

Allow to dry, and you’re done!

For this particular photo, I ended up using plain old white paint as there was already a white border around the photo.


Here’s a better example of the paint border. (In case you were wondering, this is my parents on their wedding day. You can’t tell here, but my pop’s suit was maroon, and that lovely ruffled shirt you’re seeing was a pale, baby pink. If there was ever any doubt, love truly is blind.)


My “family tree” wall, one step closer to completion. The goal is to eventually include all the grandparents, but tracking down 50+ year old photos is taking a little longer than anticipated. What doesn’t though, right?


That’s it folks! These canvas photos are simple,quick, and will make you feel like Martha Stewart minus the house arrest. I must warn you though, once you start crafting, it can be hard to stop. For me, it’s even more addicting than Facebook and cream cheese frosting. Don’t say you weren’t forewarned!


Thank you for this beautiful way to save memories!  After this very thorough DIY post, I think I make a canvas photo of my own.  And, if I can do it, anyone can!

 I appreciate you sharing your art with us!

Now go visit The Illiterate Author.  See you Monday. :-)

Taps For Me

Whip Cream Kids - My Children & My Nieces

Today I’m writing over at An Army of Ermas.

You simply must come visit me.

I’m talking about our road trip and how past sins came back to haunt me.

Have you ever heard Taps played on a kazoo?

 No?  Me either, until recently.  The tune is about as mournful and haunting as a kazoo can be, and believe me, I’ve been haunted by a kazoo for a quite a few years now.

 One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mom, eyes wild with the look young mother’s get when they are torn between selfless love and wanting to eat their young. …continued at An Army of Ermas.

You won’t want to miss it!

Hope you have a happy weekend.  I’ll chat with you in the comments over at the Ermas, but then be sure to come back and check out my baby bat. ;-)

Spring: Time for Something New

Spring has sprung!  At least in New York.  I don’t know if winter will show his ugly face again, but I’m not even going to give it a second thought.  I’m too busy with something new.

You see, after a prompting by Stacey, the editor and fearless leader of An Army of Ermas, to try something new this spring, I kind of made it my mission.

First came a new cereal.

Chocolate Special K.  I know how ridiculous this seems, but honestly, I couldn’t avoid the temptation.  I needed cereal and Special K is a favorite of mine.  The lure of chocolate got victory over common sense and I bought a box.

I am happily mature enough to say, I like the Special K with strawberries better.  Despite popular opinion, mini-bars of chocolate are not what I crave first thing in the morning.

After I ate my chocolate Special K, I ventured out to the land of literary giants.  I attended a Literary Tea hosted in one of the historic homes in my town.  You may recall, I wrote about my fashion dilemma here.  The tea was stamped “approved” by a local British woman and the scones were lovely; however, I’m not sure I quite fit in with the literary tea drinking crowd.  I’m more of a cream-filled coffee and sweet cereal type of gal myself.

So I pressed on.  My next adventure took me…

You’ll have to visit me at An Army of Ermas!  I’m talking about my latest, greatest “new” over there.  So, come on over.  You know you won’t be able to sleep tonight until you find out what I did.

No clues.  I could have bungee-jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge or learned how to cook/not cook Sushi.  You’ll have to read to find out.  ;-)

Love you all!  Happy weekend to you.  All comments are appreciated over at the Ermas site instead of here.  See you there!

This One is Personal

Today I get to be a guest on my friend’s blog, The Alliterate Author.  I’ve known Alissa and her family for about twelve years.  Her sister babysat my son when he was just a wee little lad.  Now he’s on the verge of the terrible teens and my friend is a newlywed.  She and her hubby make the cutest couple ever.

It’s shocking how everyone around me grows up while I just keep getting younger. It’s a phenomenon I do not understand, but choose not to question.

Despite the name of her blog, she’s fully literate and writes some great book reviews.  My critiques tend to consist of the phrases “I like it” or “It stunk”; however, I tried to step up my game today and give you a real book review.  Well, as real as I can write one.

I do hope you’ll join me over at The Alliterate Author.  I’m talking about a book that may change the way you think about certain people, subsequently altering your actions and reactions towards them. I don’t want to give it all away, so come on over and read.  This one is personal.

I know you’re dying to find out why, so click HERE to read.  Let’s give my friend and new blogger lots of comment love today.  Hope your weekend was everything you hoped it would be.

Happy Monday!

Throwing Red & Pink M&M’s Your Way

Hey Peeps!

Ok, I never say peeps, but I have marshmallow chicks on the mind.  I am dieting you know.

Let’s kick this month of love off the right way, with Romance on a Budget.  That’s what I’m talking about today at An Army of Ermas.

Come visit me and I promise you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love…ok, so maybe you’ll just snicker, but it’s still worth a click over.

Now here’s where the favor comes in…

Do you ever get sick of me asking for favors?

Of course you do, but this is just one more.  I promise!

*fingers and toes crossed*

When you visit me at the Ermas site, please leave a comment over there and not on my blog.  Well, you can leave two comments if you wish.  I do enjoy some comment love, but it’s not necessary.  The only way to know if a certain article is well received or not is to to judge it based on comments.  That gets confusing if half the comments are here and half there.

I hope you understand.

Now go visit An Army of Ermas. :-)

Throwing red & pink m&m’s your way,

Summer Creativity ~ Be Inspired

Photo courtesy of Sydney, The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series

Summer Creativity ~ Be Inspired

Today I’d like to welcome Jeanne.  She is a super-creative, delightful woman who has accomplished so much in her young life.  She has a lovely family and a thriving business.  Her blog inspires, challenges, and guides women to find their passion and pursue it.  I cannot think of a better person to inspire us this summer.

Is there a passion you’d like to pursue, but you think ‘life’ is holding you back?

Read on and be inspired.  Let your creativity loose this summer.

Thank you Jeanne for being my guest!


Hello, I am Jeanne Oliver and I am the owner and designer behind Jeanne Oliver Designs.  I have a clothing and bag line that I release twice a year.  I am also a mixed media artist and I am grateful to be able to travel around and teach art classes.


When I was growing up I could often be seen drawing in the yard, being the director of a neighborhood play, making up stories or painting art for a friend’s birthday present.  As an adult it took me many years to get back the love of creating just for the love of creating.  As a child THAT was what summer was all about.  There is no reason we have to lose that.

I know that summers are busy and for those of you that don’t have children home in the school year…I know you think that you don’t have as much time to be creative in the summer but you need to look again.   I like to think of summer as your time to dip your toes back into your childhood.  I homeschool my children so they are usually with me.  If I had to wait for them to be gone to create I would never get anything accomplished.  Just like the children love to cuddle up at night and listen to me read a book…so do your children love to be led into your creative world.

I think summer lends itself to more relaxed creating.  More sketching, experimenting and more spontaneity.  You can create art anywhere.  When was the last time you sat under a tree, opened a brand new sketchbook, looked around you and just relaxed….and created?  No purpose.  No outcome.  Just for you.  Just to grow and explore.  If you have the freedom to do this without the children I highly recommend it but if the children are with you don’t let that stop you.

You can’t create if you don’t carry the right tools with you.  I carry a  journal with me everywhere.  It fits in my purse and I always have pencils and pens handy.  If I see something that inspires a new idea I write it down.  If I think of a new dress I sketch it out quickly.  If I am talking to a friend and her words make me think of a new piece of art I pull out my journal and record those thoughts.  I would hate to think of all the little things I would miss without carrying my journal around.  All the ideas I would never record and make a reality.

One of my favorite create escapes in the summer is to take a few hours for myself and drive. Just me and my camera.  I don’t do this nearly as much as I would like.  If you are anything like me you have music going, children talking, computer open, making dinner etc.  I have to get out of the house to truly give myself time to think, reflect, hear my heart, ponder new ideas.  Some of those drives have given me some of my favorite photos and time for me that I really needed.

A child doesn’t wait for everything to be perfect to create.  They just do it.  They just pull out their crayons and paper and sit down anywhere and create.  We could learn a lot from them.  Summer is a sweet time to slow down and remember all the things that were wonderful about your creativity when you were younger and to bring those things back into your life.

I hope there a few new sketchbooks purchased this week:-)


I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to get busy!  

Thank you so very much Jeanne.

Tomorrow will conclude our Summer Series with a post from me on Summer Camp.

I hope you all enjoyed this series.  I know I have.

A big THANK YOU to all of my guests. 

I so appreciate all the time that went into your articles. 

We feel your passion, your love, and your enthusiasm for life.

We are inspired.

Summer Prairie ~ Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Photo courtesy of Sydney, The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series

Summer Prairie

I’m so very excited to introduce you to Melissa from Huckleberry Prairie.  When a blog is named Huckleberry Prairie, I cannot imagine not loving it.  Melissa’s blog is filled with sugar & spice and everything nice.  She has a beautiful baby girl and the most fantastical kitchen ever.  You really need to see this kitchen renovation, because it may be the best one I’ve seen yet.  She pretty much has my dream kitchen.  I only recently stumbled upon Huckleberry Prairie and I’m excited that Melissa agreed to write a guest post for her newest fan.

I’m definitely trying her strawberry pie!

Welcome Melissa.


The sun is shining bright making the days long and warm, the honey bees are busy buzzing, and the farm fields are brimming with abundance…it must summertime on the prairie!

By mid-summer, the rivers are becoming lazy and the nut trees are ripe for the pickin’.

There are full grown corn fields as far as the eye can see.

Knee high by the 4th of July does not apply to our California corn.

It is ready to be harvested by early to mid summer!

Indeed, the summer season is a bustling time for our farmers.

And, being right in their backyard, we reap the benefits of their hard work.

The Farmer’s Market.

Once a week, the local growers bring their produce to sell directly to our town’s residents.

Every fruit and vegetable of the summer season, picked fresh.

Fresh corn from the stalk.

And sweet watermelon straight from the vine.

Pistachio, Almond and nuts of every kind.

And, if you can’t make it to the Farmer’s Market, there are country stores and local growers selling their crops in stands on every corner. There is no shortage of fresh picked produce.

There is such an abundance of crop that the long days of picking continue by the light of the full moon into the night.

The Farmer’s Almanac has even given the moon a different name each month, according to what is being harvested by it’s light.

The full moon in June is called the Strawberry Moon.

The full moon in July is the Hay Moon.

The full moon in August is the Green Corn Moon.

The September full moon is the Harvest Moon.

The moon rise makes for a spectacular sight.

Dusk makes way for cooler evenings.

A time when you look forward to being outside, enjoying the beauty of the summer night.

And nothing makes a night sweeter on the prairie than sitting on the porch, listening to the symphony of crickets and wind chimes, with a slice of fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

Click on the recipe card to enlarge and print. :)

{recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen}

Start with a 9 inch, unbaked pie shell.

Chop up rhubarb and slice strawberries.

Mix with sugar and cornstarch and pour into the pie shell.

Set aside.

For the crumb topping:

Mix brown sugar and flour together.

Add cold, chopped butter.

Cut butter into the sugar mixture until it resembles pea like crumbs.

Pour crumb mixture on top of the strawberries and rhubarb.

Add a few extra chunks of butter on top of the crumbs.

Bake at 400* for 25 minutes, then cover edges of crust with foil.

Bake an additional 30 minutes.

Make sure to bake the pie on a four-sided, rimmed cookie sheet as filling tends to bubble over.

Allow pie to cool before serving.

I hope you enjoy your sweet pie and a little taste of summer on the prairie.
Thank you Melissa!  I will not rest until I’ve made this pie.
Peoples, do not forget to check out Huckleberry Prairie and leave a comment for Melissa.
Happy Sunday!

Summer Simple ~ Savor the Days

Photo courtesy of Sydney, The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series

Summer Simple

Although she probably needs no introductions, I’m so happy to introduce Emily from Remodeling this Life.  Her blog is inspiring and she truly has found the secret to living a simple, filled life and enjoying every moment of it.  I’m so very glad she agreed to be my guest, because I know you’ll love her too.

Welcome Emily!


Summer Simple ~ Savor the Days

Hi! I’m Emily.

I blog at remodeling this life.

Thank you so much to Tricia for having me here today. I’m here today
to share some ideas about having a simple summer. I feel a little
intimidated in such company of host blogger and guest bloggers for
this series, so please bear with me and my simple ways.

I’m one of those mamas that cannot wait for my kids to get out of
school. Don’t get me wrong, I love when they go too, but I really look
forward to the slow lazy days of summer, days that are full of
possibility and opportunity. Days that can be spent any which way we
want them to be.

To me, summer is all about embracing the moments for what they are,
going with the flow and being flexible – all things we can’t quite do
as much as I’d like during the school year. I can call off activities
for an afternoon if it seems like my kids need nothing but quiet time
coloring and I can swap out plans for naps if they really just seem to
want to swim all afternoon. And at the end of each day, I can feel
like we did the best we could with what we had. To me, that’s the
center of simplicity.

I feel spoiled beyond belief that my family has a cottage on a lake
away from the humid south where we can spend weeks on end playing and
exploring and living the good life. I know that’s not how it is for
everyone, but the fact is we all have to make the most of what we
have, explore whatever is around us and savor the days of laughter and
fun while we have them.

Some days are spent doing nothing but jumping in the water.

Other days it’s nothing but legomania.

There is nothing quite like waking up and feeling like the
opportunities are endless, yet at the same time there is no pressure
to be, do or go anything or anywhere more than what we truly want to.
Simple summer days are those that are embraced fully, savored the
most, and what memories are made of. They are wonderfully fabulously
imperfect, peppered with the realities of arguing and stress that come
with living but they are truly the most wonderful days.


Thanks for visiting, even on a Saturday.  Hope your weekend is simply wonderful.

Picnic for Two – Summer Faith

Photo courtesy of Sydney, The Charming Tyrants

Summer Series – Day Five

Summer Faith

Wow.  This has been a really excellent Summer Series, hasn’t it?  I’ll kinda feel bad when it’s all over and you’re stuck with me again.  I hope you’ve been as encouraged, inspired, challenged, and motivated as I have been.  I really appreciate each of my guests.  They’ve gone the extra mile for us and that makes me want to pass it on.

Today I’d like to welcome Megan from Faith Like Mustard.  I’m generally not a fan of Mustard, but I love Megan’s blog.  I haven’t known her long in blog time, but I feel a kindred spirit with her.  She’s also a pastor’s wife and she talks a lot about faith on her blog.  While my blog is a different kind of crazy every day, hers is more focused.  She knows what she wants to say and it’s always a blessing.  Today is no exception.

Read on and be encouraged on this hazy, HOT, and humid summer day.

Photo Credit

Summer is the perfect time for picnics. The thought of spreading an old quilt over a patch of soft, green grass, and gorging on the finest summertime delicacies while tiny birds serenade from the treetops makes me squeal with glee. Throw in a cute little old-fashioned picnic basket and I may faint with giddiness.

The funny thing about picnics is, they don’t always match the ideal picture in our minds: the grass is dry and crunchy, there are ants in the potato salad and you’re too busy sopping up armpit sweat to eat anyway.

Similarly, we often conjure up an image of what the Christian life will be like—all smiles and potluck fellowships—only to find that we have our fair share of heartbreaks, disappointments, and times when we feel so alone, that we can only wonder if God has abandoned us.

He hasn’t.

C.S. Lewis, a much smarter guy than I will ever be, nailed it with this quote:

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ~from “The Problem of Pain

So, be encouraged. Your ice cream may be melted, but you can always stick a straw in it and call it a milkshake! Even if your picnicking conditions aren’t ideal, at least take comfort in knowing that you’re not dining alone. God will never leave you nor forsake you. That’s a pinkie-promise.

Megan blogs at Faith Like Mustard. When she’s not watering her mustard seed-sized faith, she is busy being a mama to two girls, loving on The Husband (who happens to be a Preacher Man), teaching teens how to love literature, eating chocolate, avoiding the laundry and reading a pile of good books….but not usually at the same time.


What a great promise to bring into this weekend!

Fiction Friday will return next week at its normally scheduled time, but really, is anything normally scheduled on this blog?

Be back tomorrow for Summer Simple!

Happy Friday.