Hand Painted Photos


I love creating gallery walls and collections of family photographs around the house. There is something so special about filling your home with beloved photos. We’ve had this blank space behind our dining room table for 2 years now just begging for some photos. I decided to hang some simple white shelves and then teamed up with Canon USA to create a photo wall. To punch it up a bit, I printed all the pictures and then got a little crazy and painted on top of all of them. It was totally easy with a super big impact! Love the way the wall has so much character now. The hand painted details really give it a personal feel compared to if you just added text or a color overlay on the computer.

Let’s get to it shall we?



Canon PIXMA iP8720 printer
poster board
craft paint
paint brushes
washi tape


1. Having a large format printer really comes in handy for projects like these. I was able to print some large photos on my PIXMA iP8720. Love the added dimension and height these large photos gave to the wall. Glad everything didn’t have to be 8.5″x11″. I printed all of the pictures out on poster board so they would hold up with the added paint.


2. Once you’ve picked your pictures and printed them out (I chose to do a handful of color and b&w photos), you can start planning out what colors you want to use and what you will actually paint on the pictures. I decided to use a limited palette to create a cohesive collection for the wall.


3. I always like to practice writing out the saying first, trying a few variations before I commit to the final design. You kinda go with the flow though too- don’t get stuck on it being perfect! I love the dry brush strokes a paintbrush can leave. Some pictures I painted a saying and on others I just painted a solid stripe of color. Have fun! Get creative! There are no rules, they’re your pictures!




5. When you’re all done. Trim up the edges and get them ready to put in frames. I chose to do a combinations of in the frame and then also just taped up with wash tape inside an empty frame. I like the combo of the 2 styles.


6. Add a few details (like succulents or figurines) for styling purposes and Voila! You’re done. Sit back and enjoy your new awesome picture wall!






Let’s Make Puzzle Sticks


Have you ever found yourself at a busy restaurant with restless kids, slow service and your blood pressure rising? No? Just me? I feel like I find myself in this predicament quite often. Rowan is always pretty good (I love 4!) but Finley is still a loose canon. Why do the coloring sheets restaurants give kids not entertain them for longer? Anyway, at that moment I am always wishing I had some sort of magic to pull out of my purse to keep them occupied. Today I am teaming up with Canon USA today to bring you this very sort of magic… PUZZLE STICKS!!

My girls LOVE puzzles. Carrying a puzzle around with you in your purse isn’t really easy though. They’re usually too big and bulky. That’s why these puzzle sticks are so great. They 1. have a personal picture on them and 2. are super small and easy to through in a ziplock bag and keep in your purse. I promise your kids will love doing them!


Popsicle sticks/ Tongue depressors
Mod Podge
Sponge brush
X-acto knife
Printed out pictures
PIXMA MG7520 Printer
Masking Tape

1. I found some pictures that I thought my girls would really like making puzzles with. I tried to find pictures that had good use of color and didn’t have too much tiny detail. I wanted to keep the puzzles at their level. Then I wirelessly printed the pictures quick and easy from my laptop to my PIXMA MG7520. Next you will trim all your pictures.



2. Line your popsicle sticks up, making sure the edges are all perfectly aligned. Run a piece (or 2) of masking tape across the popsicle sticks to keep them in place.



3. Flip over the sticks and lay down a thin layer of Mod Podge over the front of them. Align and lay down your picture on top of the popsicle sticks. With your sponge brush, lay another thin coat of glue on top of the picture as well




4. Let the picture dry. Once dry, flip it over and remove the tape from the back. With an x-acto knife, run the blade between each popsicle stick to slice the picture on the front.



5. Finished! Puzzle is ready! You can number the sticks to help make it easier if need be. You can also use tongue depressors to make it a bit easier for a younger child. We decorated one of our puzzles with a sharpie as well. Throw them in a ziplock bag and you are ready for those restless moments that sneak up when you are out with your kids.







Super Sized Pop-Up Valentine’s Day Card


So if you haven’t guessed (you know by my blog name and all) we love Kev over in these parts somethin’ fierce. We are 3 lucky ladies and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, we wanted to make an extra special card for him. What better way to show someone how much you love them then by making them a super sized card? I wanted to make it a pop-up card as well because why not right? Let’s add all the fun into one giant card.

Anyway, I teamed up with Canon USA again this month to create this cute super sized pop -up card. The girls were so excited about the idea. Pop-up books are their favorite right now. Our poor Peter Rabbit pop-up book has seen better days though. Rowan thought it was hilarious when I told her it was going to be a pop-up picture of her.

Let’s get started!


Canon PIXMA iP8720
2 pieces of white poster board
white Glue
a bit of cardboard
hot glue
sweet potato
paint brushes


1. Take pictures of yourself or your kids for the card. It helps to take the pictures on a white background. You’ll want to pose your hands in a way that makes it look like you are holding something.


2. It’s awesome having a large format printer so you don’t always have to print at the standard 8.5″x11″. Using our PIXMA iP8720 we were able to print the pictures of the girls at 13″x17″. Hello super sized cards!!


3. Cut your figures out of the paper and glue a piece of cardboard to the backside. This will help the photos to stand up straight in the card.



4. Fold a large white sheet of poster board in half, this will be your ‘card”. Decide where you want your figure to stand in the card. With a pen mark on the folded edge of the paper. Cut two notches (about 1.5 inches in length and about 2 inches apart) along the folded edge of the paper. You will have to do this for each of your figures.


5. Open the card half way. Use your fingers to push the flap of paper into the card so that the flap lies between the two layers of the paper. When you open the card, a box-like shape or step will pop up at you.


6. Hot glue your figures to the front of these box shapes. To complete the card you will fold another piece of poster board in half and glue this to the outside of the card. This creates a finished backing for the card and adds some support and strength to the card.


7. Now you can decorate your card anyway you’d like. I decided to cut out some sweet potato stamps and let Rowan stamp patterns onto the card. We made a heart, an X and a dot. We also cut out some gold letters to create a banner that we strung between the girls that said “WE LOVE YOU”. I glued dowels to their hands and tied the string to the top.








8. The messier you get the better! Have fun and remember whoever you are going to give it to is going to love it no matter what!




Happy Valentine’s Day!!

p.s. Just in case any of you were in the market for a new printer… There is a promo until Feb. 14th for $50 off the Canon PIXMA iP8720 and $5 off the Canon SELPHY CP910.


Make Your Own Photo Accent Pillows


Over the past few months I’ve been slowly redecorating our room. Ever since we moved into the house (2 years ago) it honestly never really got finished. The kid’s rooms always took priority. We did paint it in a mad dash before Finley was born but that was about it. I love our room. It has vaulted ceilings, lots of space and pretty morning light. I love the idea of your bedroom feeling like a little retreat. Anyway, i’ve been buying a few items here and there to create a more finished feel. Mostly plants. I’ve wanted to keep everything bright and light feeling. Lots of white and neutrals. Our bed was feeling a little sterile though. That’s when I came up with the idea of creating some fun accent pillows for the bed with some cute personal touches.

I teamed up with Canon USA to make these pillows come to life! I was planning on just printing onto some transfer paper BUT did you know you can print right onto fabric from your printer?? How cool and convenient is that?! All you need is freezer paper. I was totally jumping up and down when it worked.


Materials needed:

Freezer paper
Rotary cutter
Embroidery floss
Batting/pillow forms
Kids drawings
Craft paint (optional)
Pixma MG7520 Printer


1. Cut a piece of freezer paper to 8.5×11″ (or whatever size your printer prints). Iron the freezer paper to a piece of muslin that is slightly bigger than 8.5×11″. That way you can trim it exactly to the size of the freezer paper after you iron it. You want the edges to be lined up perfect so that it will feed through the printer right. The freezer paper gives the fabric some “weight” to be pulled through the printer. Make as many fabric/freezer paper sheets as you want photos printed. I ended up making 3 – 8.5×11″ sheets to use in the printer.



2. With our PIXMA MG7520 printer I was able to print the photos right on the muslin/freezer paper sheets I created. I printed 2 b&w photos and then I even scanned a piece of Rowan’s artwork using the scanner on the printer. It made the coolest pattern fabric when it printed. Make sure you load your fabric paper the right way. You want to make sure the photos print on the fabric side NOT the freezer paper side.




3. When everything is printed, peel off the freezer paper back and discard. You will now be left with the printed fabric. The world is your oyster! I’m going to make pillows with mine. How cute would little patches for your kids jeans be?


4. Here comes the extra fun part! Since I wanted pillows bigger than 8.5×11″ I was able to get creative and think of some fun ways to design the pillows. For the first one I cut 1.5″ strips of fabric to sew around the square picture. I sewed the checkered strips first, then added the polka dot fabric creating 2 borders to enlarge the front of the pillow. You will also need to cut out a backside piece of fabric for the pillow.



5. Before you sew the pillow together add any embroidery/details (buttons, paint, etc…) that you want to the pillow. I decided to stitch the words “sweet dreams” onto the front. After you finish, pin right sides together and sew the edges of your pillow together. Leaving a small opening at the bottom to turn and stuff.



6. To finish it off I added some tassels to the corners of my pillow and then stuffed it full of batting. Hand sew the opening closed at the bottom when you’re done. You can really have a lot of fun coming up with your own pillow ideas. The possibilities are endless!!









Crafts With Kids | A Photo Diary


Did you know that Kev and I fell head over heels for each other in book making class in art school? So nerdy, right? Needless to say, I’m kind of obsessed with making handmade books. There is something so fun about making a book and binding it together. When I was first pregnant with Rowan I couldn’t wait until the day we could make cute little books together filled with her drawings and stories. For Rowan’s birthday this year we got her a camera. It’s waterproof and shock proof making it perfect for a 4 year old. She was showing so much interest in taking pictures with our phones, we wanted to help foster that creative spirit. She takes her little camera everywhere! One particular day a few weeks ago, we were walking around one of our favorite cities around us and I told Rowan she should document our time out and about. Then we came up with the idea that we could make her very first photo diary book… “The Photo Book of Troy, NY” captured by Rowan Winter Richardson.

She was in!

We teamed up with Canon USA to create this super cute photo book. A lot of the actual book making was done by me, obviously, but the photos, drawings and words are all her own. You could make so many variety of books with photos you print out. The possibilities are endless!!!


Xacto knife
roll of kraft paper
patterned paper

1. Collect photos of whatever you’d like. I chose all the photos Rowan took on our outing and laid them out in photoshop. I designed each an 8.5″ x 11″ page so 2 photos would fit and print together. We haven’t had a printer in our house since we were first married. I will admit that I can’t imagine not having one now. Our PIXMA MG7520 printer is so simple to use and it’s been so fun to just come up with projects on a whim that use photos without having to go to Staples to get things printed out. I love the connivence and great quality!

2. Print all your photos. I planned to fold each page in half and trim all the white space around the photos. About 3/4″ of the left see of your page will be covered by the binding. Make sure you plan accordingly so something important isn’t being covered up.





3. Once all your pictures are trimmed, measure the length and height of the page. This will give you the dimensions of what your covers should be.


4. Say your pages are 4″ x 3″. You will cut 2 covers (front and back) from the mat board that will be 4″ x 3″. To make it so the covers can open easily I made what is called a stab binding. On each of your covers you will cut off the last 3/4″. This will create the binding. You will now have 2 pieces for each the front and back covers measuring 3/4″ x 3″ and 3.25″ x 3″. Trim those last pieces to be 3″ x 3″. This will allow for the .25″ gap to allow the book cover to open while still being the same measurements of the pages. See picture below.


5. Have your little one color whatever they would like on some kraft paper. Patterns, scribbles, pictures, whatever their little hearts desire. You will use this to cover the matboard making the front and back covers. Trim down the paper so there is about an 1.5″ extra around the matboard.



6. Glue down the matboard to kraft paper (you could really use any paper you wanted to make the covers). Align the binding piece creating .25″ gap between the 2 pieces. Glue corners first by folding them in, then glue the sides.


7. Cut some end paper to cover the inside of the matboard. Trim them to be just a tad smaller than the size of the covers. Glue them in place.



8. Measure across the binding every half inch and make a mark. Clamp your whole book together. Drill holes through each of the marks all the way through the book. Keep the book clamped the entire time.



9. Through the holes sew your binding together. Tie the ends together and your book it done! You can now take off the clamp.


10. I had Rowan come up with captions for each of her photos and she wrote them on the opposite page of the picture. What a special little keepsake for them. Make sure you date the book so years from now you know when exactly they made it!


We plan on continuing making tons of “Rowan’s Photo Books” as she takes more pictures with her camera. She is so proud of them! She made sure she brought it with us this week to show all her Grandparents. She has little stories about each picture. So cute!!!






For more detailed steps on how to make a Japanese stab binding check out these sites: Design Sponge and How Did You Make This?


Family Pop Up Puppets



My girls love puppets! I hear them downstairs all the time laughing as they put on puppet shows for each other. Of course Finley’s version of a puppet show is just shoving a puppet through the curtain and laughing, but Rowan still thinks it’s hilarious. Kev can put on a pretty impressive puppet show too! I wanted to make new puppets for them and thought, what would be cuter than actually making family puppets? I teamed up with Canon USA to create these super cute pop-up family puppets!


Craft Cones (I bought these on Amazon)
Fabric transfer paper
Wooden craft beads
Fabric, felt
Ribbon, trim, buttons
Hot glue

I started with a cute picture of Rowan. I decided to change the color to be black and white and then printed it on my PIXMA MG7520 directly onto the fabric transfer paper. I ordered the transfer paper right from Amazon but you can also find it at any craft store. I cut just her head out and then ironed it on to some muslin fabric.





I decided to make them sort of whimsical and circus like by adding painted details to their heads. Next I cut out an outfit from my fabric choices. I kept it simple, just freehanding a basic shirt shape. You will need 2 pieces of each shape to sew a complete puppet. Remember to make the bottom of the skirt as wide as your cone. You will be gluing the skirt part to the top of the cone so make sure it’s big enough to fit around.



I sewed the head, collar and skirt to the front and back pieces of the shirt. Then putting right sides together, I sewed it all together to create the puppet. Here’s the extra fun part… the accessories! I loved picking out fun trim, ribbon and buttons to add to the puppet.




I added a tiny bit of batting inside of her head to give it some shape. Take a large wooden ball and dowel and hot glue it inside the puppet at it’s neckline to give it the support and stability to pop up. The dowel needs to long enough to go from inside the puppet, down through the cone and attach to another wooden ball at the bottom of the cone.


Time to decorate the cone! Paint it, cover it in fabric, or leave as is. Totally up to you! I decided to paint ours and to add a felt initial to the top. You can also paint the end of the dowel and the wooden ball that you will be pulling and pushing to make the puppet pop up. Cut the tip of the cone off to create a hole just big enough for the dowel to pass through. Assemble it all together.


Hot glue the bottom edge of the puppet’s skirt to the outside top edge of the cone. It doesn’t have to be exact, you will be covering the edge with some ribbon to help it have a more finished look. Once it’s glued, add the ribbon and make sure it’s hot glued to half the skirt’s edge and half the cone. Pull the puppet into the cone and you’re ready to play!!







Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev