where did the summer go? {simple back-to-school teacher gift}

My three oldest girls started back to school last week (yes, August 14, crazy, right? No year-round school, either, just the wacky local schedule.), and all three seemed to have a great day. The night before, I was a ball of nerves as I lay in bed trying to sleep.

back to school at impressions by jani

Would they have good teachers? Would they reconnect with old friends? Make new ones? Would I be able to handle sending my third daughter off to kindergarten? Would we get everything done in the morning and be able to take pictures and get to school early enough to find a parking spot and not have to park three blocks away? (And considering that we live just over three blocks away, if not, what’s the point???) Would their teachers like them? Why didn’t I put in a little effort and do a teacher gift this year?

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

See, I’m kinda hit and miss on the whole teacher-gift thing. One year I went all out and made elaborate “back to school teacher survival kit” things complete with cute school supplies and chocolate. One year I sent a bottle of sanitizer for the classroom with a cutesy note about being willing to lend a hand. When my oldest started kindergarten, I wasn’t clued in enough to know about teacher gifts but I did thoughtfully send my five year old into a classroom full of other amped-up five year olds with two boxes of store-bought cupcakes. It was her birthday, after all, but I’m not sure her teacher really appreciated that “gift.” A few years I sent nothing, so what would be the big deal if I sent nothing again this year??? At this point I’m really hoping the teachers at their school don’t compare notes, cuz I can’t go back and do retroactive teacher gifts.

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

But as I tossed and turned and tossed some more (and silently wished yet again that I could fall asleep as easily as my husband, who is snoozing within seconds of his head hitting the pillow), I decided that at least I could do something about the teacher gift.

back to school at impressions by jani

Three jars of jam I purchased from a friend, a little washi tape, some patterned paper scraps, and a pack of pre-made tags from the dollar bin at Tar-jay later, and I have literally the easiest teacher gift ever. And ok, yes, it is a cheesy, way-too-cutesy little note I wrote to go with them, but it (hopefully) gets my point across to my girls’ teachers that I’m willing and ready to help out wherever I can. Bailey, as a fifth grader with her first male teacher, insisted that we should have gotten him a baseball or something instead, but he seemed appreciative of the homemade jam (even if I didn’t make it, ha!).

back to school at impressions by janiDo you do teacher gifts on the first day of school? What are teachers really wanting these days, anyway???


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geometric what? {large-scale wall art}

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by jani

The last few weeks as I’ve been working in my home and working on this little blog, I’ve noticed that I have many, many home projects that I never blogged about. Some were simple, quick fixes or updates that didn’t seem blog worthy. Some were “inspired by” ideas that were not 100% unique and original and therefore I deemed them not blog worthy. Some were new purchases/gifts that seemed a little braggy to share “Check out my new XYZ that cost $$$$!” Most of these little past projects will probably stay un-blogged-upon, primarily because at this point I have the attention span of a gnat. But, I’ve resolved to begin sharing the “inspired by” projects because really, isn’t that the whole point of blogging these days? To share projects and inspire others? And honestly, 97% of projects I see are all obviously inspired by something someone else has already done. As long as credit is given where credit is due, I think that’s a wonderful thing.

So, long wordy explanation for a suuuuuuper simple project I’m sharing today. I saw this image months ago on Pinterest and loved the bold geometric shapes and graphic quality of it. So when I clicked over to the blog it was from, My Sister’s Suitcase, I was totally inspired to do my own spin on the idea for Natalie and Macie’s room. This was before I dreamed up the reclaimed molding headboard that takes up all the wall space over the bed, so initially I was planning to put my version over their bed. With the headboard covering most of that wall, though, I shifted and realized I had already created the perfect spot for this project at Christmastime.

Last year at this time, their wall opposite the bed looked like this:

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by jani

My youngest two daughters got a new play kitchen for Christmas, though, and this wall was the only spot in the house where it could fit comfortably. So we moved the vertical bulletin board over and rehung it directly above the desk. That corner is now a bit crowded, as you can see in this completely  unstaged photo (just keeping it real, folks! pin that one, please), but my kids rooms really need to be as functional as they are pretty. And sometimes function trumps pretty entirely. It is what it is–we don’t have a playroom, so their stuff has to live in here with them.

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by jani Anyway, moving that bulletin board left a nice big empty space on the wall that needed filling–the whole wall was visually weighted on the desk side.

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by janiThis project was perfect to fill that space and to add a nice visual punch to balance out this wall. I initially planned to make a butterfly with triangles cut from scrapbooking paper–I even sketched out a to-scale plan of where to place the triangles (nerd alert!). Then I saw these hexagonal trays in the dollar section at Target and my mind started turning over ideas.

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by janiAnd like a crazy person, I plotted out my plan right on the floor of the store and immediate instagrammed it to make sure others could see what I saw. Either my instagram friends are as crazy as me or my design really does look like a butterfly! I cleaned out my store, then went back for a few more, but they’re since been restocked at one of the Target’s in town, so if you wanted to replicate this (or make your own design with the hexes), you may be in luck!

Getting it up on the wall could not be easier. First, lay out your plan with your trays. I could only get so many of the pink and blue trays at the time, so I wanted the yellow and green to be fairly well spread out. Once you like your design, take a photo at this point so you have it to refer to later when you assemble this on the wall.
diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by janiNext comes the most time-consuming part of the process–remove all the round price stickers and scrub them clean. The plastic of the tray is so soft that I couldn’t really use a razor blade to remove the stickers, which is my go-to trick for easy sticker removal. But really, it probably didn’t take me longer than about 20 minutes or so, so fire up some Netflix and peel away! Then get some 3M picture hanging strips, attach two together with the tabs at opposite ends, and cut them in half.

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by jani

These strips are rated to hold up to 4 pounds each, so cutting them in half still provides plenty of sticking power for these super lightweight trays, and it stretches your strips a little further. Then simply stick each half on the back of one of the trays. diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by janiPeel off the other backing, and stick them up on your wall in your preferred design. Easy, right?

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by jani

It’s definitely a more abstract than literal butterfly, but I’m really enjoying the effect, and I love that it brings all the colors in the play kitchen up to the wall and ties in nicely with the riot of colors in the bulletin boards.

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by janiI also love that the blue of the trays is almost an exact match of the blue in the shutter coat hanger. And honestly, it’s nice to break up the pink with the other colors, as well. At night with artificial light this room is PINK. do you think? Can you see the butterfly?

diy hexagon butterfly wall art at impressions by jani

Or am I just the crazy lady in the dollar section? (-:

I’m linking up with Home Stories A to Z and Not JUST a Housewife!



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a place for her treasures {simple dipped jewelry dish}

I have a little mini-hoarder living at my house. Actually, I have three mini-hoarders, but the four year old is definitely the biggest collecting culprit. She is single-handedly responsible for this and this. I truly never know what I’m going to find when I empty her pockets, clean out her drawers, or (shudder) dump out her backpack. She’s always got treasures of some kind stored on her night stand (transformation to come over at Make It & Love It!), so I decided to just go with it and give her a little treasure landing spot.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishThis is an absurdly easy project and one you can easily do in an hour (plus drying time). This was fun to just sit down and play with, plus it had the added bonus of being nice and simple and small. I love doing big, fun DIY projects involving power tools and wall paint as much as the next girl, but sometimes it’s so great to be able to just do a little project that doesn’t take over my dining room table or my garage for a week or more.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishSupplies:

  • small dish or tray (I used super inexpensive and nearly indestructible Corelle mini-plates for about $2.50 each)
  • Martha Stewart Crafting Multi-Surface Glitter Paint
  • foam brush

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishI turned the plates upside down on my work surface (covered with freezer paper shiny-side up), and then dabbed on coats of the glitter paint throughout the day (I may have had the help of my smallest hoarder). Each session of painting took about 5 minutes max, so while this isn’t a one-hour total project, it definitely has less than one hour of hands-on time.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishAfter one coat of glitter paint, there was barely any on the surface of the dishes. They are super slick, so I knew it would take several coats to build up to get a true dipped look to the dishes.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishI tried bouncing the brush around a bit to add more glitter paint in areas–that seemed to help provide a place for successive coats to grab on to.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishFinally, after about 4-5 coats of the glitter paint, the bottoms were covered sufficiently and I flipped the dishes over. All the overlap peeled right up with the little dishes, so I grabbed my trusty razor blade and gently removed the excess.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishI love the slight texture to the dipped treatment and the imperfect-ness of it. I don’t tend to get too fussy about my projects–I may be a control freak but I’m not a perfectionist! 🙂 So if you like perfectly straight, even lines and coats of paint, this may not be a project for you. But if you want to steal a few minutes here and there to dab some paint and play a little, have at it!

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishThe dish is already a huge hit with little miss hoarder. As soon as I finished snapping the first round of photos for this post, I came back to find it already filled.

impressions by jani quick jewelry dishLalaloopsy barrettes, rainbow loom rubber bands, and a Lego girl wig–what more does a four year old need?!

Linking up with 320*Sycamore’s $10 in under an hour party!


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glam it up! {customizing a free printable}

If you’re visiting from Make It and Love It, welcome! I’d love if you wanted to poke around at some of my most-clicked posts: updating oak cabinets, an easy desk chair makeover, fairy house decor, a coffee table trunk, and soda crate shelves. You can see the entire nursery reveal that goes with the blanket ladder tutorial here. Thanks for stopping by!!!

One of the easiest parts of baby Ellie’s nursery was the gallery wall.

impressions by jani nursery gallery wallI used all frames I had on hand, purchased the “You Are My Sunshine” canvas from TJ Maxx, and received a few prints (Love is Spoken Here and Baby Elephant) as gifts. I made the blessing gown hanger from a small wooden plaque and a knob left over from my desk makeover a few years back. The hanger the dress is on actually has a crocheted cover that my grandma made and I love.

IMG_7029That’s me in that cute little rainbow frame! My parents found the rainbow when they were helping clean out my grandma’s home after she passed away, and handed it down to me. Since rainbows are our own family symbol for our sweet Patrick, it was perfect to add to baby E’s nursery.

I also framed a scrap of the ikat fabric I used to make the nursery pouf, added a few free printables (E hot air balloon & You Will Do Great Things), and painted the LOVE sign with some of my favorite rub n buff.

For one of the printables, the feather, I decided to add a little extra bling to customize it just a for my space. It’s so simple to do, this could be done with literally any printable out there.

Start with your printed printable (say that ten times fast!), quick drying tacky glue (I love Aileen’s!), and glitter of your choice (I used a super fine gold from my stash).

customize a free printable with glitter at impressions by janiTrim it to size to fit your frame (mine is 3.5×10) and then simply trace the portion you want to glitter with the quick-dry glue. Don’t be too much of a perfectionist here–the glue is not super fine-tipped so it’s hard to be totally precise. But I think that adds to the finished result. Once you’re done with tracing the glue, liberally sprinkle glitter and let it sit to dry. (Don’t rush the last step! I’ve discovered if I lift a project to shake off the excess glitter too soon, the glue will run and ruin the result.)

update a printable with glitter at impressions by janiOnce your glue is completely dry, shake off the excess glitter, then pop your customized printable in a frame and you’re good to go!

customized printable at impressions by janicustomizing a printable with glitter at impressions by janiThe possibilities with this kind of project are limitless! You could glitter up the flowers of any of these 24 free March printables. My oldest daughter would love this butterfly printable with a few glittered butterflies. How pretty would this deer silhouette be with either the deer or the space around it all glammed up? I’m trying to decide which of these printables to use in my master bedroom–they’d all be gorgeous with a touch of glitter. And my fairies printable would be perfect with a touch of pixie dust added!

I’m sure there’s a room in your house that could use a touch of glitter–if you try this out, I’d love to see a link to your result!



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