My #StickaPic Craft Party - HP Social Media Snapshots Photo Paper @Staples with Special Discount

sticka pic party main photo

I love to make things, especially during the holiday season. It’s fun to give homemade gifts and when I use photos in my DIY projects, it makes them extra special.

As an HP Smart Mom Panel member, I have been able to give HP insight into what a small business owner, blogger, mom and DIY/crafter likes about products such as printers and photo paper.  I’ve also been able to try out new HP products first hand. Recently I travelled to San Diego for the HP Print and Pamper Retreat where I was able to visit HP headquarters and meet with executives to give my input about product development.

During the trip, we also were treated to a craft night. I was in DIY heaven when I walked into the conference room at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and saw tables and tables of make and takes. I was inspired by the projects and couldn’t wait to get home to share what I learned with my friends! These projects and more can be found online at

Taking an hour or two during the day to get creative with good friends is such a gift. Even though we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving, I put on some Christmas music and lit some cinnamon candles as we visited and snacked on some pumpkin goat cheese and scones. As my friends arrived, they printed photo “name tags” on HP Social Media Snapshots sticky photo paper with their favorite hashtag. It was fun to see what word they each picked to describe themselves.

stickapic party collage

Other friends picked love and awesome. I chose brave.


My friends loved using the free HP Snapshots app to access and print photos straight from their social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook as well as their smartphone’s photo stream. HP Social Media Snapshots 4×5 sticky back photo paper is perfect for creating projects. We made three easy and fun photo projects perfect for gift giving.

craft projects

1. Tile Coasters

How to make yourself: Get some stone tiles in the bathroom section of Home Depot. You can also use ceramic tiles for a more polished look. Print a photo onto HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper from Instagram using the free, HP Snapshots app. You can pick a white or black frame for your photo, or trim the border off completely, like I did. Peel off the protective backing from the back of the photo and adhere it to your coaster. Cover the top of photo and coaster with Mod Podge. After it dries, put four, small felt pad dots on the back of the coaster, one in each corner, to protect your coffee table.

2. Photo blocks

How to make yourself: You can buy wooden blocks from a craft store like Michaels, but I had my husband cut them from wood. The HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper is 4 x 5 but the image will be smaller when you trim off the bottom portion that contains the message below the photo from Instagram. I left a border on my photo and trimmed it down to a perfect square - 4 1/8 x 4 1/8. You’ll need 9 equally sized square blocks to fit together to make a 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 square.

After printing a photo onto the HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper using the HP Snapshots app, trim your photo. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the blocks, then adhere your photo to the blocks. Let dry then use an exacto knife to cut the photo along the lines of the blocks so they can be separated. Sand the sides of the blocks for an even finish. Repeat on all or any of the remaining 5 sides. You can also paint some of the sides with acrylic paint.

3. Christmas Ornaments

How to make yourself: Purchase a glass ornament at a craft supply store like Michaels. You can get a round glass ornament with a flat front and back surface which works well for adhering a photo. Print a photo onto the HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper using the HP Snapshots app. A smaller image works best for this craft. Punch out the image you want with a circle punch. Peel back the protective backing and adhere to the ornament. Using Mod Podge, cover the entire photo as well as a small border around the photo. Sprinkle glitter on the exposed Mod Podge (you can cover photo or just the border like I did). Tie ribbon around the top to match the colors in the photo and/or the glitter.

While in San Diego, I met the creator of the PicCollege app. You can make the coolest photo collages on your phone with their grids and templates that include themes for holidays and events. They even have templates for phone cases and greeting cards.

This is a PicCollage I made of my guests working on their projects. So cute! If you haven’t used this free app, be sure to give it a try.


Deal Alert!

Now through November 30th, HP Social Media Snapshots are Buy One Get One Free at Staples when you use this link and click “redeem now”.

What are you making for the holidays?

As an HP Smart Mom Panel member, I received free products in order to host the HP #StickaPic Party. All opinions expressed are my own.


Summer DIY Craft Project: Painted Canvas Shoes

My kids, especially Annie, love to do arts and crafts projects. While hanging out with some friends last week we had a wild streak and decided to break out the paint. Led by the very crafty and talented Kelly with Life In The Middle  (love her!) we took some plain canvas shoes (we got ours from Five Below for just $5.00) and turned them into wearable works of art.

This is a pretty easy project that you can do with kids of all ages; however, you can’t be a perfectionist. Embrace the imperfections that make them your own creations. As my son said - “You don’t want them to be perfect or they won’t look like you made them.”


DIY Canvas Painted Shoes 1

1. We started with solid color canvas shoes and used a pencil to sketch out our designs. Kelly is all kinds of awesome and helped several of us get started! We were also inspired by designs we found online. Google “fish” or “dolphins” and you’ll get all kinds of inspiration for a summer/beach pair of shoes!

DIY painted shoes 2

2. Next we filled in the designs with fabric paint markers and acrylic paint mixed with a bit of Textile Medium. This allows the paint to become washable fabric paint. Although we won’t wash these, they may get wet from normal wear and we wanted them to be protected.

DIY shoes 3

3. After the paint dried, we painted over the entire shoes with Mod Podge.

There you go. Easy peasy and inexpensive !

Summer boredom = 0, Family and Friend Fun=1




I Need Some Soul Comfort…Do You? (Giveaway)

The last two weeks have been quite an adjustment for my family. I accepted a new position with a company that requires me to work outside of my home. I’ve been working full-time for the last six years, but my office was based in my house which offered me a little more flexibility with scheduling.

Don’t get me wrong, there were challenges with working from home as well. I would find myself working almost all the time because I didn’t have a clear start and end to my work day. My kids complained that I was always on the computer and I often found myself working all hours of the night.

And I know I’m blessed. The company I’m working for now is wonderful. The people are so nice. The work is great.

But it’s still a change and change of any kind can be stressful. I feel guilty because I’m not at home as much with my kids. And finding time to work out and eating healthfully is definitely more challenging. The days seem shorter and my to-do list is longer.

I’m not unique. These are issues many parents struggles with.

Do you?

Brave girls soul comfort

I heard about a recent online class called Soul Comfort offered through an extraordinary organization called The Brave Girls Club and they’ve graciously given me free access to their class and the opportunity to share the news with you along with the opportunity for YOU to attend for free!

Soul Comfort is a fresh new concept using art and journaling as a means to relax and comfort yourself and to get grounded while dealing with the craziness of every-day living.

This course if full of beautiful projects to fuel your creativity in very simple and easy ways that are meditational and relaxing , beautiful comforting things that will have your soul infused into them so that you want to keep them forever.

The instructor, Melody, promises to teach you some new habits of creativity mixed with simplicity (I love, love, love to create…it’s so therapeutic!) and that all the supplies you will need will fit into one fabric tote bag so that you can take it with you where ever you go! You’ll learn new ways to journal and the process will be relaxing, fun and simple. You’ll also have the opportunity to interact with other participants through a private Facebook page.

I can’t wait to attend! Here’s the down low:

  • Supply List - simple, inexpensive supplies
  • Register Here - tuition $99
  • Class begins September 24. Access the online classroom through January 2, 2014.
  • Divided into 4 segments, with a new one released every two weeks to give you lots of space to breathe

soul comfort 2

A Giveaway!

Doesn’t this class sound wonderful? How would you like to attend for free? One lucky reader will get a pass to class at no-charge. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what is it about ‘Soul Comfort’ that makes you want to take this Brave Girl class?

That’s it…easy, peasy! I’ll pick a winner at random on Sunday, September 22, 2013, at noon CST.

The Brave Girls Club and this class fits perfectly with my motto:

Be Brave, Be Fierce, Believe.

Remember my friends, you are awesome and deserve to make time for yourself and to follow your dreams. I believe in you!

I am so grateful to the Brave Girls Club to be given the opportunity to attend this class free-of-charge, share the details with you and offer a free class to one, lucky Still Living The Dream reader. 


Easter and Mantels and Disney…Oh My!

Happy Easter! Yes, I know it’s a little late - but I wanted to share my Easter mantel with you before I take it down.

 easter mantel

Remember that Robin’s Egg Blue paint/ 4-alarm crafting emergency I talked about in this post? There’s the finished product in the photo to the left. All glittery and tied up with a bow!

Annie made the blue glove bunny in the photo on the right. So cute!

And see those green, blue and purple “bowls”/baskets? Here’s the skinny on those. They are doilies that I bought at Michael’s and were on sale for 50 cents a piece. I used a solution of sugar and water and shaped them over a small blown up balloon until they dried. Presto - a cute little basket. The best part? Now that Easter’s over all I have to do it rinse them out in the sink then wash them and I have cloth doilies to use for another project or decoration. Seriously - brilliant!

I have a feeling the white coffee filter wreath I made at Christmas is going to be around for awhile. I’ve changed out the bow three times to fit the holiday/season. It’s such an easy decoration.

I can’t wait to modify it for my next mantel display theme….Disney!

disney badge

I was invited to attend this year’s Disney Social Media Moms conference in Orlando. I am so excited I can’t stand it. It is such an honor to be able to go and I can’t wait to meet the speakers and participants. I’ve already had the awesome opportunity to be a guest on Disney Mentor Moms and to share my life lessons on the fabulous Rene Syler’s blog, Good Enough Mother.

I know I’m going to learn so much and I’m beyond thrilled to be able to take my family along with me to experience Disney World (Life List Number 19!)


We shared our big news to the kids on Easter through a scavenger hunt. Clues led them to a big poster, Mickey Mouse t-shirts, signs for their bedroom doors and a countdown display.  They were completely surprised and are so excited to be going to Disney World for the first time. It’s been a blessing to have this to look forward to as we have faced some challenges this season we’ve struggled with at school.

Annie is in awe of Cinderella and can’t wait to meet her “at her own house!” - the castle at Magic Kingdom! She’s already written her a letter to tell her we are coming to see her!

We’ve been pouring over information about visiting each of the four parks at Disney World. It can be a bit overwhelming to plan a visit - there is so much to see and do!!

Have you been to Disney World? What is your best advice for planning a vacation at the happiest place on earth? Anything we have to see or do? Do you have tips to making the most of each day at each park? What is your favorite memory of your Disney vacation? Come on, share! I want to hear it all!!

I paid a conference fee to attend Disney’s Social Media Moms Conference in May. I was not asked to post about the trip nor have I received any compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Sweet and Simple Spring Treats

My kids are really creative and crafty.

This makes my heart so happy because I love to make things too and getting messy and creative together with them is so much fun.

Last week I really wanted to make something small but sweet for Jackson and Annie’s teachers. They’ve all been so caring and supportive this year. I’m so blessed to have such a great group  of educators that genuinely care about them and want them to be successful.

While I often think of little projects on my own, I draw from a lot of sources for inspiration. Imperial Sugar ‘s website has a ton of great recipes, but did you know they also have a Kid’s Kitchen section as well? It’s filled with lots of fun projects perfect for little hands. Not only are there sweet treats to eat, but also fun crafts, science experiments, homemade bath and beauty products and gifts that you can make and give to someone you love. And the best part, all the projects involve sugar.


I am a contributor for Imperial’s Kid’s Kitchen and I especially loved creating the Easter projects this spring. These Candy Corn Flowers were one of my favorites, so we decided to make them again to give to our sweet teachers.

They are really so easy. After we heated up white chocolate candy melts, we used pastel colored candy corn as the petals, then adhered homemade gumdrops to the middle with royal icing.

Annie loved to measure and mix. (You can tell how hard she is concentrating!)

Jackson was a master gumdrop “cut-er / out-er” and “stick-er / on-er”.

We made a good team and only ate a few (ok several) during the process. No worries….there were still many left to package up prettily and send off in backpacks to give to teachers the next morning. They were so grateful for their Spring surprise.

I am so grateful for times like these with my kiddos.

Thank you to Imperial Sugar for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Countdown to Christmas - Making Sweet Treats for Friends

There are just 15 days until Christmas and in the word’s of Clark W. Griswold, I was having ” a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency…”

  1. I still have Christmas presents to buy for almost everyone on my list.
  2. My Christmas cards are sitting in a stack on my counter waiting patiently to be addressed, stamped and mailed.
  3. I have the supplies for Christmas crafts and inside decorations gathered, but untouched and Clark would shudder at the lack of any sort of exterior illumination on the outside of our house.

Yeah, Christmas kinda snuck up on me this year. Can anyone else relate?

BUT - our Christmas tree is up and we finally got the hole in the ceiling from the pipe leak we experienced the day before Thanksgiving patched.

So with a renewed sense of hope, I woke up inspired the other morning after looking at the Kid’s Kitchen section on Imperial Sugar’s website. I decided to put all the other holiday “have-tos” on hold and get in the holiday spirit by making some sweet treats for my neighbors with Annie.

Not wanting to bite off more than I could chew or frustrate Annie who knows her way around the kitchen but is still just six…I picked an easy project that wouldn’t require hot stoves or ovens.

We decided to decorate sugar cubes and wrap them up with some hot beverage mixes in a holiday mug to give to those in our neighborhood who we feel need a little holiday cheer.

All we needed to make them was cookie icing, Imperial Sugar Cubes and assorted holiday sprinkles. Easy-peasy!

After warming up the icing in the microwave, Annie and I dipped the top of cubes in the icing and then put different candy toppings/sprinkles on them like candy canes, holly, Christmas trees and snowflakes. (After a bit, the icing dries on the cubes and holds the sprinkles in place.)


Annie had to take a couple of  “quality control” breaks and I’m happy to report, they passed the taste test!

The great thing about this project is that you can’t mess it up…anything goes so it’s perfect for kids to do and therapeutic for stressed-out adults! Look at the level of concentration going on!

After about 30 minutes playing with Annie in the kitchen I started to feel the stress melt away. We giggled a lot and had a contest to see who could get the most decorations on one sugar cube. (Annie won!) And when we were done, we had this plate of goodness.

These decorated cubes are perfect for your holiday tea or coffee and look great set out by the coffee pot at a holiday get together. We packaged them up along with some tea, coffee and cocoa mixes. And feeling like they needed a little something extra, I later made some homemade, corn-syrup free orange, mint and gingerbread marshmallows (soooo good!) which were also all on Imperial Sugar’s website. How cute will these be to deliver to our neighbors this weekend?

For more ideas about edible projects you can make with your kids, check out Imperial’s Kid’s Kitchen.

Lesson learned. When you get cooking with your kids, you’ll likely end up making more than something good to eat. Annie and I made some great memories. And those will last way longer than any twinkling lights or Christmas cards!

This post was sponsored by Imperial Sugar. All thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own. 



Happy Halloween - An Easy And Inexpensive Mantle Display

It’s Halloween and we’re just about ready to start the festivities. Because we were on the Disney Magic cruise last week, I’m a bit behind on decorating. But I was able to get a new, spooky-themed mantle display up a couple days ago.

Inspired by Margie Romney-Aslett and her online class, Spooky Spark, I went to my neighborhood dollar store and bought some goodies to decorate my mantle. Seriously easy and seriously inexpensive. I think I was able to do it all for just $10.00 and it took me just a couple of minutes to arrange.

I love the black and white color scheme; especially the black crows and skull!

But the photo frames are my favorite.

Again, these are cheapy dollar store finds and I just printed black and white photos of the kids in costumes we took last week while on the cruise.

So cute and easy - I wouldn’t trick ya!

Have a great evening with your little ghosts and goblins! Be safe!



Back to School With Crayola and Giveaway

School is only nine days away. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up our loosey-goosey summer schedule but I’ve started to get stocked up on supplies my kids will need for the new school year.

For as long as I can remember, Crayola crayons have been both a back to school and all around art supply staple at my house. I can still remember getting my new box of crayons when I was a kid.

Of course, they offer A LOT more to help foster creativity and learning now then when I was young. I was given the opportunity to beef up our art supply drawer and try out some of the the cool, new Crayola products including fabric and window markers, dry erase crayons with wipe board, sticky notes, notepad and notecards.



Annie is gong into first grade and she’s ready to go with her reading and writing. And she loves to draw. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on the dry erase board and crayons. The board has a black and white side and the special crayons can be wiped off easily with the special cloth included in the set.

I can see her using this to practice sight words and spelling. But since it’s still summer, she wanted to get creative!


Jackson is going into fifth grade and has laid claim to the wild notes sticky notes, notecards and notepad set.

I can’t wait to make some fun t-shirts for our girl scout troop with the fabric markers and plan to write messages with the window markers on the kids bathroom mirror like “good luck on your spelling test today” and on our kitchen sliding door such as  “don’t forget to put your permission slip in your backpack”.

So fun!

So are your kids ready to go back to school? What do you have left to shop for? Want to score some goodies for FREE?!


Win your own Crayola Back-to-School gift pack containing:

  • Crayola Bright Fabric Markers
  • Crystal Effects Window Markers
  • Crayola Window Mega Markers
  • Wild Notes Index Cards
  • Wild Notes Sticky Notes
  • Wild Notes 1 Subject Notebook

All you have to do is leave a comment to let me know what one Crayola product you are most excited to try this year. I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, August 24th at 11:59 CST.

Want more chances? Just leave a separate comment for each that you do below to increase your chances of winning!

  1. Follow me on Pinterest
  2. Follow me on Twitter
  3. Like Still Living The Dream on Facebook
  4. Like Crayola on Facebook
  5. Tweet this: “I want to win a @Crayola prize package from @jpatrickcomm”

The information, products and additional Crayola Back-to-School gift pack was provided by Crayola® through MyBlogSpark. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


The Odd Life of Timothy Green Trailer and Summer Fun Kit

I am excited to see this film which comes out on August 15, 2012.

About a unique boy who comes from the garden, Academy Award®–nominated director/writer Peter Hedges (“Dan in Real Life,” What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”) brings enchantment to the screen with “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.”

It’s the inspiring, magical story of a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who can’t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jim—and their small town of Stanleyville—learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of life’s greatest gifts.

Summer Family Fun Activities!

I’ll be seeing the preview before it hits the theatres and I’ll let you know what I think. In the meantime  - enjoy this Summer Fun Kit inspired by the movie which includes cookie and cupcake recipes,  leaf, photo album and paper flower crafts and other fun things to do together as a family. Enjoy!

Are you looking forward to the film?



Cute Teacher Gift Idea

My kids have several teachers and coaches, etc. It can get expensive to purchase gifts for everyone, but I want to show them my appreciation. This year I came up with a cute, inexpensive, but thoughtful gift.

Mason Jar Lemon-aid Glass

I got the Mason Jar glasses at the Dollar Store and found these cute little cut out vintage flower lids online at The TomKat Studio - $5.00 for six of them. The middle hole of the flower is perfect for a straw and The TomKat Studio has the old fashioned paper ones - $4.50 for 24. Add a little shred and a packet of lemonaid and voila….

…a gift that’s perfect for enjoying a cool drink on a hot, summer day!