Pretty Shadow Box

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts, Michaels and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

I have a fun project to share today, thanks to the folks at Plaid Crafts, Michaels and Blueprint Social!


The timing was perfect. As you may know, I’ve been busy helping my daughter makeover the baby’s room and when I received my package of goodies that included a shadow box from the Spring Wood Surfaces line at Michaels, I knew what I wanted to make.


I could have just painted the wooden shadow box but then I thought how pretty it would look if I covered it with scrapbook paper.


I found some pretty card stock in my stash and cut it to the sizes I would need to cover the inside surfaces of the shadow box.


Since I didn’t want the wooden edges to show, I painted them with a few coats of the Folk Art Multi Surface acrylic paint so they would blend in with the colors of the card stock.


To attach the card stock, I applied a generous amount of Mod Podge both to the back of the card stock and to the shadow box. Then I brushed on another coat of Mod Podge to make sure the card stock was well adhered.


A little trick I used to cover the face frame of the shadow box was to take the entire sheet of 12″ x 12″ card stock and lay it over the frame.


Then using a craft knife, I cut an “X” into the middle and then trimmed to fit. This avoided having seams on the front of the shadow box.


All that was left to do was decide what to put in the shadow box. A few ideas came to mind but I finally decided to adhere a framed photo of the baby taken shortly after she was born.


It makes such a pretty and unique door decoration for the baby’s room.

You can find more project ideas and inspiration from Plaid Crafts online here:

Plaid Website

The Plaid Palette Blog

Plaid Newsletter







And wait! There’s more projects and tutorials to be found right here!

Filling Grooves in Paneling

My goal this month is to complete the makeover of my granddaughter’s nursery. Since it’s almost the middle of the month I better get moving! We, (my daughter and I) spent the weekend filling the grooves in the painted paneled walls. Someone, at some point in time in this old home’s history, must have thought it would be a good idea to disguise the paneling with paint. While the concept was good, they missed one important step: they didn’t fill in the grooves of the paneling.


The result looks just like what it is: painted paneling. We wanted nice, smooth walls.

If you have paneling in your home and would rather have smooth walls (that don’t look like painted paneling) then read on to learn how to fill in the grooves.


First let me say, if your paneling has NOT been painted yet, you will have a few extra steps. You will have to sand and prime the paneling first before filling the grooves. Once you’ve done that then you’re ready to fill in the grooves.


The supply list for this project is short.

  1. joint compound
  2. putty knife
  3. dust mask or respirator

Neither my daughter nor I had ever worked with joint compound, but I assure you, no big deal. It’s not difficult and you don’t have to be neat and precise. Just make sure the grooves are filled in. In fact, it’s a good idea to go back to where you started, carefully make sure that all of grooves are filled in and apply a second coat if necessary.

All of those rough edges will get sanded away on day 2.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: this is a 2-day project. The first day is applying the joint compound and the second day is for sanding and clean up. It’s an easy project but not a fast one.

As mentioned above, day 2 is all about sanding. Sanding and dust. Lots and lots of dust. Like open a window, wear a dust mask, your hair is now white, dust. The joint compound we used said “LOW DUST”. Really?

Day 2 is also about the clean up of said dust. After you think you’re rid of all the dust, think again. Using a damp cloth for the final clean up and removal of the last particles of dust is recommended. I left my daughter to handle the final stages of the dust clean up. A perk of being “Nanny” ; )

2014 Year in Review & Reader Survey

I wasn’t sure until today if I would write a year in review post. I decided to go ahead with it for a few reasons. One reason is: many of you are new to Create & Babble and may have missed a lot of these posts that were written during the past 12 months.

love letter box by createandbabble

2014 has been a year of pretty remarkable growth for this little blog of mine. And I have YOU to thank! I simply cannot express to you how appreciative I am of your support.

I could not do it without you.

update a bannister by createandbabble

I have a little dream. Really for me it’s a big dream. A goal really. My goal is to make this blog my full-time gig. Yep, give up the day job! This is where my passion lives. This is what I love to do!

slate grout renew

Yes, I would much rather crawl around on the slate floor painting grout lines than sit at a desk for hours on end.

DIY Staircase Makeover

Who needs corporate ladders when there are staircases to makeover . . .


 . . . and a new baby girl for whom to make pretty accessories! Thanks to you, that precious little face has been pinned over 10,000 times!

DIY farmhouse table |

This past year has certainly been a year of discovery for me.

DIY Workbench by

I discovered my love of using power tools – right after I got over my fear of them! Now it’s a healthy respect. Look for lots of DIY projects/builds in 2015.


And I learned that I can completely remodel a room by myself! Granted, it’s the smallest room in the house, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

Yes, there were lots of “firsts” for me in 2014.

im a star

I went to my first blog conference and met so many blogging friends, new and old . . .


. . . and I got to meet one of my blogging idols, Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed! at Lucketts Spring Market.

silhouette projects

For all of my Silhouette sisters out there, there were plenty of Silhouette projects and there will be many, many more in 2015!

These weren’t all of the projects from 2014 – just a few of my favorites.

Now I want to ask a favor of you. Would you mind taking just a minute or two and fill out this quick survey? I love getting to know my readers!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Here’s to a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!

Elite Blog Academy – My Experience

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

A few months ago I decided to take a chance and enroll in the first-ever Elite Blog Academy course.  I wasn’t sure I would learn anything new, but I was willing to take the chance.

The reason I decided to take the chance was simple. I love blogging. It is my passion. I have never felt so passionate about anything like I do about my blog. I get to do what I love: create and write. I love it so much that my goal is to be able to earn enough from blogging so that I can resign from my full-time “day”  job.


The photo above was taken at my desk at my “day” job. (I wonder if my co-workers think I’m talking about THAT job, ha!) Truth is: I don’t really like my day job. It’s an unfulfilling, unrewarding, paper-pushing, uncreative desk job that pays the bills. I want more than that. Like the quote above, I want to love what I do.

But in order to do that my blog has to grow. Gain loyal readers. I needed to learn how to do this. To learn from someone who could guide me through the process of a successful blog and show me step-by- step, exactly how to grow my traffic and generate a sustainable income.

Most bloggers know all too well how overwhelming it can feel to juggle the day-to-day demands of writing a blog with the big-picture strategy of creating a profitable business. That is exactly what Elite Blog Academy was designed to do.

Elite Blog Academy

I am so glad I did!  In the two months since I started Elite Blog Academy, my blog traffic has more than doubled! And I’m only about halfway through the course! I would love to talk to anyone considering taking this course who has questions or wants more specifics on my experience with the course. Please send an email to

Through a powerful combination of effective videos, practical and insightful handouts, purposeful assignments, and interactive live webinars, Elite Blog Academy will empower, enable, and inspire you to take the specific steps necessary to refine your message, grow your audience, monetize your platform, and transform your blog into a successful and profitable business.

Over the course of 12 lessons, you will learn how to:

  • Eliminate blog confusion by creating an organized framework that sets the stage for everything you do.
  • Discover the secret to harnessing Pinterest, the most powerful free marketing tool in the world.
  • Understand what is not working in your current monetization model and instead develop concrete goals and a solid plan for achieving them.
  • Dramatically increase your site’s passive income by mastering the four key strategies of optimizing ad network revenue.
  • Take advantage of the critical—but often ignored—connection between SEO and ad revenue.
  • Overcome your fear of private advertising and instead learn to approach brands with confidence.
  • Learn what it really takes to earn a six-figure income from your blog, then develop your own product along with a successful marketing plan to sell it.
  • Create a solid working business plan to take your blogging business to the next level.

While so much of the information currently available about Internet marketing is written only by those whose audience consists of other bloggers and marketers, Elite Blog Academy is different. It shares proven, field-tested strategies for building a successful, profitable blog, regardless of the niche and no matter the target audience.

It is possible to create a successful business from a blog, and Elite Blog Academy shares exactly how it’s done, step-by-step.

Course Materials

Here is what the course includes:

  • 12 Comprehensive Unit Videos
  • 12 Detailed Unit Workbooks with Video Outlines
  • 16 Powerful Handouts
  • 30 Purposeful Assignments
  • 4 Live Webinars
  • Accountability & Community within a Private Community Forum

Elite Blog Academy is designed to be self-paced, but should not be completed in less than 12 weeks. Blogging is not for the faint of heart, and this course requires a willingness to buckle down and get to work. That said, for those who are willing to do the work, it also comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.

If you have a blog, you can’t afford not to take this course, and for one week only, starting today, you can enroll for just $299.  This is the last time this course will ever offered at this price, and believe me, it is worth SO much more!

Anyone who completes the course and has not seen measurable results in both traffic and income growth will get your money back, no questions asked. That’s a pretty incredible promise, but it means that you’ve literally got nothing to lose. Enrollment for Elite Blog Academy is extremely limited, and will only be open for two weeks. If you are ready to finally take your blog to the next level, sign up now to secure your spot!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase the course, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As always, I only promote and recommend products and services that I use and love. This has been, by far, one of the best investments I have made in my blog.

Holiday Cards from Minted & Giveaway


It’s that time! Time to pick out the Holiday cards! This year, my cards are coming from Minted and here’s why. Did you know that Minted partners with talented independent artists? I love that!

“Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won’t accept anything else.”

holiday cards from minted

These are a few of my favorite non-photo Christmas Cards.

Minted Photo Holiday Cards

And the choices for photo cards is almost endless.

booklet by minted

This year Minted offers a new and unique idea: booklette cards! Booklette cards are part family letter and part Christmas card. These booklette cards are a lovely replacement for the old-school Christmas letter!

minted holiday cards giveaway

This season, Minted also has a beautiful series of foil wrapped cards; you can choose from silver, gold, or the new rose gold, how pretty!

While I purusing the Holiday Cards I had to click over and see what else Minted offers and look at what I found:

holiday cards from Minted
I am crushing big-time on these Vintage Metallic Glass Ornaments

Minted Holiday Cards

And the Seaglass Large Felt Garland – I love it!

Minted and I would are giving one of you $150 in credit to shop at Minted!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, to keep the lights on here at Create & Babble.

Silhouette Portrait® Giveaway

Create & Babble is two years old! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy writing this blog. Truly. I absolutely love this!

Even though it sometimes feels like I am burning a candle at both ends since I also have a full-time job, I wouldn’t write this blog if I didn’t feel so passionately about  it.  Hopefully, this will be my full-time job within the next year – that’s the goal anyway ; )

It’s hard to believe how this little blog has grown and reached so many people in the last two years. And I do believe that I have the nicest readers in all of blogland!

silhouette portrait giveaway

For those of you who have been here since the beginning, I thank you so sincerely for sticking with me. And to all of my new readers, I welcome you and thank you too for reading and sharing. It means the world to me.

To help me celebrate, Silhouette America is giving away a Portrait® to one of my lucky readers. How appropriate that the maker of my all-time favorite crafting tool is sponsoring this giveaway!

two year anniversary giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogland Tour

I was asked to write about what goes on behind the scenes at Create & Babble as part of a tour through blogland. I was introduced on the tour by Sondra at Sondra Lyn at Home.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sondra this summer at a blogging conference and she was just as sweet in person as she is on her blog. We hit it off right away. Probably because we’re from the same generation and we are both newish grandmothers! I must admit that I’m a little green with envy that she gets to stay home and watch her precious grandson everyday ; )

Sondra’s blog is not only full of great decorating ideas, but also tips and tricks. Like this one where she tells us how to preserve pumkins:

How-to-Preserve-Pumpkins-for-Decor-Sondra-Lyn-at-Home1 And she’s crafty, too. Look at these cute notepads:


There’s so much eye candy at SondraLyn At Home!


As part of this blogland tour, I am to answer four questions. Here we go!

1. What am I working on?

Right now, I am finishing up the remodeling my powder room. Some times I tell myself that I bit off more than I can chew, but I have to say that it’s been quite the learning process. There have been a lot of firsts for me in this project. Like installing glass tile for the first time and removing and replacing wood trim. Both of those turned out to be a lot easier than I thought. Another first is installing crown molding. As of this minute I am failing terribly but I’m not waving a white flag….yet! UPDATE: it turned out pretty good!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s easy. Because it’s ME talking. And it’s MY experience that I’m sharing.  And it will be different from any other blogger. Of course you may see some similar projects around blogland, but we all have our own individual writing styles, senses of humor, and ways of doing things that aren’t alike at all.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?’

Another easy question for me. Because I LOVE IT! I have never felt so passionate about anything before in my life (besides family, of course). This blog is my fourth child! I often think how different my life would be now if all of this would have been available when I was in my 20’s or 30’s.

4. How does your writing/ creating process work?

This is a tough one. I honestly fly by the seat of my pants most days. I wish I could say that I’m so organized and planned into the future, but I’m not. Maybe some day this can become my full-time job and I’ll be more organized, but for now this is how it is ; ) And it seems to be working out okay. I just make what I want to make and then talk about it. Yep, that’s my writing/creating process: making pretty things, making things pretty and then talking about it! Simple as that!

Now, I’d like to introduce you to two blogging friends of mine. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may recognize them since they have contributed here in the past.

The first is Maureen from Red Cottage Chronicles. Maureen and I have been online friends for a few years and we’re hoping to meet in person next year at a blog conference.

Hey All!  I am Maureen from Red Cottage Chronicles.  I have a passion for baking and love to share my adventures in my tiny cottage kitchen.  I am currently navigating my way through part-time studies to achieve my baking certificate from a local culinary school.  I am married for 28 years to my high school sweetheart who is always more than happy to be the official taste tester! 

for jeanie

Did you just gain 10 pounds looking at those desserts, ’cause I think I did!

Now meet my funny, smart, and very talented friend Leilani from Keeping Up With Mrs. Smith.

Hello! I’m Mrs. Smith and I live in a fixer-upper with Mr. Smith and two cats. When I’m not eating scones and enjoying coffee in our sleeping porch, I’m making some other kind of food or fixing up some other room in the house. I’m all about upcycling, dinner parties, growing food, the smell of dirt, and kitty snuggles.

Mrs Smith collage

Leilani recently updated her “rumpus room” as part of the same 30-day room challenge that I’m doing. I’m sure she’d love to show you how she took upcycling to a whole, new level!

Lavender and Mason Jars

Hi friends! Thank you to everyone who entered the Ball Jar giveaway. The winner has been notified and she will receive her prize pack in a couple of weeks. Speaking of the Ball Jars, I want to show you what I did with some of mine over the weekend. Painting mason jars is pretty popular right now so I had to give it a try. I have a big bunch of dried lavender that needed a home so I put the two together and came up with a pretty way to display both.

lavender and mason jars Since I don’t normally use a lot of the typical falls colors in my decorating, I thought this shade of purple would make a nice transition from Summer to Fall in my living room. And the fragrance from the lavender is heavenly.
I had enough paint, jars, and lavender to make three. One for me and two to giveaway as gifts.

This was a super easy project. I simply painted the jars with some acrylic craft paint, used a sanding sponge to add some distressing, and tied some torn scrap fabric around the top of each jar.

I tried to grown lavender this year but it didn’t make it. I had read that it’s easy to grow. Not for me. I did a little researching and it seems lavender likes well drained soil. Maybe that was the problem. Do you grow lavender successfully? If so, I’d love to hear your secrets to success!

Vinyl Word Art

We’ve all seen word art, right? I find myself admiring all of the word art posters, boards, and canvases that I see but I don’t ever buy any. Why? Because I know I can make my own for practically nothing. Any time I see some that I like, I grab my iphone and take a picture with plans to make one similar using my Silhouette Cameo. And then the photos stay on my phone and I forget about them. Womp womp. Until now. word art |
I have had the following photo on my phone for at least a month.


These word art signs were at a store near me and I spotted them on my way to the check out and stopped to take a quick photo. I was originally going to make a stencil and paint the letters on a board.

But then I saw what Nancy, from Artsy Chicks Rule made. A word art sign using vinyl. Isn’t that pretty! Perfect for the kitchen! If you’ve never been to Artsy Chicks Rule, I urge you to go visit. She is super talented at re-inventing thrifty finds.

Well, since I seem to have amassed quite the stash of vinyl it was a no-brainer!

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 8.08.31 PM

I used a font called FontleroyBrown and designed my word art to fit on the piece of wood that I had. The letters are about 3″ high. One trick I learned when working with vinyl is to draw rectangles around the shapes or words to make weeding easier.

If you would like to make your own word art like mine, feel free to download the Legacy version of the cut file here or if you use Version 3, use this one. (for personal use only) Using transfer tape, I removed the words from the vinyl backing and placed them on my board that I painted black with acrylic craft paint.

word-art-3-createandbabble The I slowly removed the transfer paper. It is so easy and fast!

vinyl-word-art-createandbabble I lightly sanded the edges of the board. This little project only took about 15 minutes to make. Can’t beat that!

vinyl-word-art I hung it above the patio doors in my living room using Command strips and love how it looks there. It’s a nice reminder to anyone walking out that door.


Silhouette Goodie Bag Giveaway

I have teamed up with seven of my blogging friends to host a Silhouette Goodie Bag Giveaway!

Image Map
1 Grand Prize Winner will get a prize pack valued at nearly $200 that includes:$25 Gift Cards to each:
My Vinyl Direct
Expressions Vinyl
Punch Place Plus
Square1 Masterpieces
approximately $80 worth of Silhouette goodies including:
1Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit (Includes 10 free designs, 24 pens)
1 Silhouette Printable Sticker Paper
1 Silhouette Double Sided Adhesive Paper
1 Adhesive Magnet Paper
1 Rhinestone Template Kit
1 Pack of Assorted Rhinestones
1 Light Hold Cutting Mat (CAMEO)
1 Silhouette Replacement Blade
1 Fabric Blade
1 Clean Cut Interfacing
3 Winners will Each Get $25 Gift Cards to

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