The Real Housewives of Bucks County is now East Coast Creative!
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Frame your own HUGE Photo for Under $20!

We're so excited to finally share this project with you. We wrote it for Infarrantly Creative last week, and now we can reveal it to you! We're going to give you an awesome, low cost way to frame a humongous photograph that will totally be a traffic-stopping scene-stealer! Not only that, this project is super easy and takes very little time. We were actually very surprised at how quickly it came together. You know when you have a creative idea, and you think it should be easy, but it almost never is? You won't have that problem here!

Main Pic

Here's our cast of characters:

1 Piece 4x9 Underlayment/Luan
 24x36 Engineer Print (from Staples!)
Spray paint
Spray adhesive
Mini-projector (or a regular one will work too!)
Picture hanging hardware

Luan, otherwise known as underlayment, is a type of plywood usually used in flooring. Not today, folks! It's ultra-light (I don't know maybe 5 pounds for the whole sheet?!), and so was the perfect medium for making a frame. We chose it because we were planning on hanging it high on a wall in Jess' entryway that has vaulted ceilings. We wanted something that would be light enough to stay put on the wall so that it didn't accidentally knock off one Jess' guests as they entered the house. Plus, because it's so thin, it was really easy to cut using a jigsaw (more on that later), and cost only $10 for the whole sheet.
We recently introduced you to engineer prints from Staples? Remember Monica's Industrial Art?

Oh.My.Goodness. They have completely changed us for the better. Just wait, you'll feel the same way. Take your favorite picture into Staples and ask for an oversized print (they come in multiple sizes, but the largest is 3 feet by 4 feet. That's huge!) They'll make a copy right there for you, and the best costs less than 5 bucks for a print! You're only able to get the picture in black and white, but who cares?! It's 5 bucks! The  tricky thing is that the picture is printed on very thin paper, so you have to be careful not to bend it or mark it.
Engineer Print

Here's where having a crafty best friend comes in: Monica has an adorable mini-projector that was perfect for this project. She brought it over and set it all up using the image of the shape we pulled off of Google images.


If you can't get your hands on a projector, We're pretty sure you can make your own using this fun little tip . Monica downloaded the image of the shape onto the projector (you just use "save as" to save any file format you'd like to the drive)


Then we turned out the lights, and voila!

The perfect shape to trace!


Then, we took that bad boy out to the garage and started cutting out the shape using our trusty jigsaw. We use this thing more than is normal for a pair of moms, but what can we say? We love this tool!

Make sure you take a cheesy picture of yourself holding the frame for posterity.

See what we mean about how thin the luan is? I would say it's about 1/2 inch thick.


The next step is to sand all the rough edges so it's smooth. We recommend using a sanding pad vs. an electric sander because of how fragile the underlayment is.


Because my framed picture is going to hang high on a wall, I wanted our faces to be large so you could see them, so I printed the picture as 3 feet by 4 feet, and then cut off the extra space using an Xacto knife. You could avoid this step by cropping your picture close before printing. Make sure you're using a high-quality photo so that it prints clear. Our photo was taken by the fabulous Salvatori Photography, so we knew it would turn out great! (Need pics? Totally check her out!)

We used Rustoleum Painter's Touch spray paint in Satin Lagoon. It's such a pretty shade of blue- almost like a peacock blue.

It took a few coats, but the underlayment takes the paint really well.


Before adhering the picture, Monica added the hardward to hang the frame. We didn't want the picture to get messed up, so we made sure to do this first. You should definitely use actual picture-hanging hardware, but this is what we had on hand and it worked well. We screwed them in about a 1/4 of the way down from the top of the frame and then threaded picture-hanging wire through.


After determining the placement of the photo on the frame, we marked the corners in case we had any slippage during this next step. Since the picture is so big, we decided to place one hand squarely in the middle of it, and fold one half back towards the middle, spray the spray adhesive all over wood on that half and then smooth outward from the middle. You can use a rolling pin to help get all of the air bubbles out, but we didn't find it necessary. Having a friend help you with this is very helpful, though!


Finally, we brushed matte Modpodge all over the picture to seal it and keep it from fading over time. It just makes it look more finished, too.  The Modpodge should be applied in a really thin coat to avoid any bubbling.  Actually, if it's going to be in a place where it won't be touched, you could skip this step. 


Then it was time to hang our beauty up!


Told you it was high! I'm not sure how Monica got this job because she's afraid of heights, but hey! She did it like a good best friend. :)


We're so in love with it, and can't get over the beautiful pop of color it brings to the entryway.



The total cost for this project was exactly $20, and the impact it makes is HUGE!

So what do you think? 
How many of you are heading to Staples ASAP? 


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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Things { How to Clean Windows like a Pro}

With the return of Spring comes the dreaded Spring Cleaning (at least, it's dreaded for me)!  One of the most satisfying cleaning habits for me is window cleaning! There is nothing like a window that's smeared with dog drool, kids fingerprints, snow residue and all sorts of other things being cleaned to reveal the sunshine and the beautiful outdoors. Today, I'm sharing three tips from a professional window cleaner that will make cleaning windows so much easier and a whole lot more satisfying!

Most of you don't know this, but my hubs owns a company called Jackson Home Services that specializes in residential and commercial window cleaning. He cleaned windows professionally for 4 years before taking another job (darn that the economy tanked!), and now runs his window cleaning business on the weekends. He has generously offered to share his "insider" secrets with all of you, just so you don't dread the process any more. :)

Tip #1:  Invest in a Squeegee.

Honestly, this one makes all the difference in a window with streaks and without streaks. You can find these at Lowes or Home Depot for cheap, and you won't regret it. My hubs does a tricky "S" move with his squeegee, but for your purposes, after getting the window wet, running the squeegee across the window from one side to the next will work.

Tip #2: Don't use Windex!

It's silly to spend all that money on window cleaning solutions when the pros just use an ounce of Joy Dish Soap (or any other dish soap, but my hubs prefers Joy) in a bucket half-full of warm water. Dip a towel/cloth in the water and wipe it all over the window and then use the squeegee to clean it off.

Tip #3: Use a Lint-free Cloth & Steel Wool to finish it off!

After using the squeegee, take the lint-free or microfiber cloth, and wipe around the corners and base of the windows to dry any remaining water. If you encounter a stubborn spot on the glass, like a paint splatter, screen residue etc, rub it with a piece of steel wool to remove. Make sure your window is wet when you do this! Don't worry, this won't damage or scratch your glass, but will easily remove the spot. Then, start over with the squeegee.

Tip #4: Hire a Professional to make your life REALLY easy!
(Bonus tip from ME! :))
If you're in the Bucks, Montgomery or Chester county areas, consider hiring Jackson Home Services to completely eliminate the windown cleaning hassle. My hubs is super resposible, courteous, honest and polite. (And I'm not biased at all!) He does a great job, can give you references,  and is offering 20% off for all RHBC readers.  To schedule a cleaning, email Kevin Jackson at with RHBC20 in the title.
Happy Spring Cleaning!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Things {Scotts Snap Spreader System}

This post brought to you by Scotts®. All opinions are 100% mine.

Apparently the weather isn't aware that we're in the middle of our Spring Things series.  It feels like winter here in Bucks County! Since we're all about keeping it real, I'm going to make a confession.  My lawn is atrocious! When we first built our house the builder seeded our lawn in December (Grr), so we've been working hard to get it growing and green! 

Check this out...  not the lush yard I had in mind! 

Last week we called out a professional lawn company to get their advice, and after getting a whopping quote, we decided we could do it on our own, we just needed the right tools! Enter Scotts® Snap® Spreader System


This system rocks! It's so simple, even I could be in charge of the lawn-improvement-plan! The Snap packs connect directly to the spreader so I'm not pouring fertilizer all over my driveway (umm... not that I've done that before-lol!) 

Last week we started off the process with the Scotts Crabgrass Preventer.  I'm pretty sure that my entire lawn was crabgrass last year, so I'm pretty excited to get rid of it! I need a lush lawn to go with my NEW door color! 

I'll keep you posted on how my lawn-improvement-plan is coming along, but in the meantime, Scotts has an     awesome contest going. LIKE Snap perks on Facebook and you could win tickets to the All-Star Game! Woo! Hoo!


Okay, so be honest... how many of you have a lawn that needs some Scotts Snap Spreader help?  


Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Things {Bring the Outdoors In}

Well, Spring is in full-force here in Bucks County, with trees and flowers beginning to bloom like crazy (although this weekend we experienced a bit of a set-back with 50 degree-gasp!-rainy weather!) A great way to enjoy Spring, especially when the days are still a bit too cool to be outside, is by bringing the outdoors in. A nature walk with your kids, husband or on your own will provide you with loads of opportunities for adding some spring color to your homes. For me, it's not enough to just look at Spring through a window, I've got to get that stuff inside my house!

Probably my most favorite sight in spring are the millions of forsythias that bloom in all their mustardy-yellow glory. As soon as I saw buds on our forsythia, I cut a few branches, plunked them down in a vase and they immediately brought sunshine to my new white kitchen. {Sigh}

Remember my Garden Wall? I felt that my house was in dire need of greens last spring, and guess what? These little fellas are still going strong. Hooray for me!
Centsational Girl

Don't even get me started on all the things I dig in this picture. Let's just focus on those beautiful pink (don't quote me on this) peonies. Am I right on the flower, anyone? Whatever they are, they're lovely.
Ever thought about making your own terrarium? Not sure why, but these things are mega-popular right now. It could be that it's almost impossible to kill succulents, which is awesome for plant-killers like me.

I am in love with growing your own wheat grass. It sounds super easy to do, and is a really versatile spring decoration. I'm thinking I might give this a try this week!
Blog Name Update
We're making progress very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that it's been a torturous process for us. Thank you all for your support and suggestions for names. We so appreciate you taking the time to give us your thoughts! Since we are two extremely decisive girls, not being able to decide on a name has thrown us for a loop! All day long we call each other with new name ideas. We think we've narrowed it down to a few that we like, and now we need your help! Please vote on your favorite name (FYI- they're very similar to each other!), and if you're so inclined, leave us a note with why you voted for that one!

We've toyed around with a million variations, like: BC Design (for Bucks County), 
Designing Reality, East Coast Creative, just to name a few. Do any of them jump out at you? Argh! It's driving us crazy. Help a few girls out, will you? ;)


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Again, thanks for all your help! Now, go outside and bring some of that glorious Spring inside! ;)