DIY Oversized Coloring Mural

Last month while buying Hanukkah gifts for my niece and nephew I happened upon the item below.

What you're looking at is a "coloring mural" from our friends at Anthropologie.  It was marked down to $29.95 from $48.  

Now my niece and nephew love to color, and when I realized that the gift could be for both of them, I was able to justify the price.  And I'm really glad I did, too, because as you can see from the text below, the mural was a "big hit!!"

Though I was thrilled with the response, I couldn't help thinking that one could probably have a similar experience for far less money.

Then I remembered one of my favorite crafting secrets:  The engineering print from Staples!  For between $2.00 and $8.00 Staples will print huge black and white prints of almost anything.  

So I hopped on Google to look for free coloring pages that might appeal to my daughters.  

I decided on this cool Mandala print from coloringcastle.com.  

I taped it up on the wall with some Washi tape and my younger daughter went to town.

As you can see, she really enjoyed herself!

In fact, I didn't expect her to like it this much...

Even her thirteen year old sister got lured into the action.

I'm actually thinking about whipping up some more.

The best part is that you can send Staples your file electronically and they'll email you when it's ready for pick up.  (Just follow THIS LINK.)  I made a few so I have them on hand in case of a boredom emergency.  

I can think of so many great uses for these.  Rainy day?  Color a giant mural!  Stalled playdate?  Bring out the giant mural!  Birthday party?  Have the kids color a giant mural!  Last minute gift?  Make a coloring mural, pair it with some markers or crayons, and you have a great custom gift for under $10.

Want to add a suggestion?  Feel free to leave it in the comments below.  

Happy coloring!



Happy Blogiversary To Me!

This past Monday my blog turned three years old (making it the only New Year's Resolution I've ever kept).

And while loyal readers may have noticed that there were fewer posts last year than in years prior, I hope the ones I did write struck a chord.

Blogging in 2014 brought numerous opportunities.  I got to work with some really great companies including Shutterfly, Wayfair, Minted, and Handybook.  I know that people don't always like to read sponsored posts so it's important that you know how many companies I didn't agree to work with.  (Okay, I don't actually have those numbers, but honestly, there were quite a few.)  Although I appreciate being compensated for the work I do here, I will never (ever) write about a company or product that I myself don't love and/or use.

Even more exciting was the opportunity to work with some Southern California creatives including photographer Alyssa Brule (who took the beautiful picture of my daughters below) and Urban Craft Camp Founder Jen Byard, who gave me the opportunity to teach a session on Mason Jar Snow Globes at her holiday workshop.

When I look at my stats to see which posts are pinned, visited, and commented on the most it is clear what people really want to see on this site: small projects (crafts, organization, decorating, etc.) that others can easily emulate.  Fortunately, those are my favorite posts as well and last year there was no shortage of them.  Here are a few of my favorites:

In January, I finally got a room of my own.  (Well, sort of...) If you click on the image below you can read about how I turned an unused corner into a corner office.

One of my favorite mediums (if you can call it a medium) to work with last year was Shrinky Dinks!  In addition to making Shrinky Dink charms for Rainbow Loom bracelets, I also made Silhouette necklaces.

I absolutely loved making these ballerina ring dishes and, based on your feedback,  it looks like you guys enjoyed them as much as I did.

Clearly my gold spray paint got a work out in 2014.  Inspired by Anthropologie I turned ordinary nuts into festive holiday decor.

Speaking of the holidays, I had a lot of fun with bottle brush trees this past Christmas, including the dyed ones you see below.

One of my most popular projects ever was the Mason Jar Wedding Emergency Kit which found new life over at The Knot in 2014.  Although Etsy is no longer allowing me to sell them there (because the contents of the jar are not handmade) you can still order one from me by sending an email to: elena@acasarella.net.

Speaking of weddings, my favorite post of the year was about the wedding reception I hosted in my very own backyard!

A few months later I was back there again hosting a very different kind of event: a candy themed birthday party for my ten year old daughter:

Another special occasion for me last year was the day that my blog hit the one million page view mark.  

I had hoped it would happen before January 12th and it did.  One million page views is child's play to most of the bigger blogs out there, but for a stay-at-home mom who thought the only person who was ever going to read the blog was her mother, it was an exciting milestone.  

Thanks to each and every one of you for being a part of it!

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