August Photo-a-Day Challenge

Photo A Day August -

This month I did it. I actually participated in the photo-a-day-challenge. She assigns a topic or prompt for each day and then you take a pic and upload to Instagram. I heart photography and having an assignment everyday has been fun and challenging. Some days I thought, “This will be so easy to photograph” and others I thought, “What? I have no idea what to shoot for this!” Check out the list for August:

 August Photo-a-Day Challenge

Here’s illistyle’s photo-a-day challenge shots for August:

photo a day challenge august -

If you love photography, have a smart phone, and/or are on instagram I suggest you join! It is so much fun to see everyone’s photos at the end of the day. Sometimes I would check and think, “That’s so smart!” or “Haha! That is exactly like mine, how cool!” I feel so much closer to the instagram community too. Check out the September challenge:

Are you game?

If you are on Instagram follow me @illistyle so we can play together

and if you want some sweet iphone app photo editing software, check out this guest post from Kimberly of


Starbucks Card Mural

Way back in 2006 I created a piece of artwork for a dear friend.  When we both lived in California we would get together once a week.  She and I used to meet 1/2 way between our houses, always at a Starbucks – for all the obvious reasons. Well, when she bought her first home I knew exactly the piece I wanted to make for her.

The Starbucks Card Mural

Starbucks Card Mural -

Overall Dimensions: 40″ w X 48″ h

I used 6 – 16″ x 20″ Canvases

341 Starbucks Cards

The creative process

I laid out the canvases on the floor and laid the cards down around the perimeter. I wanted a completely straight edge to frame the work, so I laid that down first. I then hot glued the perimeter cards, ensuring that where the seams of the canvases met I glued a card over the seam to make it invisible.

 Starbucks Card Mural -

I did not glue the card that covered the seam to both canvases because I wanted my girl friend to be able to easily remove the piece and pack it up if she wanted to move it to a new home later. (Good thing I did because she is now in home #3.) Which means that I made the piece so that the canvases are hung individually, but fit together with cards over lapping two canvases.

 Starbucks Card Mural -

After creating and gluing down the boarder, I then filled in the middle of the work. I went canvas by canvas and placed the cards down.  I did not want any of the same card design right next to one another. I also wanted the red and light blue cards to be prominent in the piece so I used more of those cards. After laying out the cards I hot glued each of them down, again making sure I covered seams and allowed the canvases to be independent of one another, meaning they can be separated without destroying the piece.

That is me {in 2006} with the finished artwork.

This was a serious labor of love. First I had to collect enough cards. I put in a call to everyone I knew and talked to all my local baristas. I had them hold on to old cards for me. They were super gracious and gave me handfuls of old cards. People were wonderful. I collected over 3,000 cards. Over time other artists have asked to dip into my collection, which has been amazing. I love to see what other artists create with the same medium I have used. When we moved to Roatan (read about that here) we sold almost everything. We still have a few pieces of furniture in someones garage… we also have all my husbands books from his church office and we have the plastic bin of bucks cards. I know it sounds strange, but I still see so much potential in those cards… plus, someday I want to do a Starbucks Card mural for myself (or for myself and 7 other people – the math might be shaky on that one, but 3,000/341 is about 8, right?)

 When I originally created this piece I had no idea how collectible Starbucks card were. I also had no idea what a huge fan base they have. There are whole websites dedicated to collecting Starbucks Cards. It’s crazy. If you heart bux you should check it out.  This is one of my favorites.

Do you have a special Starbucks card?


No Sew Fabric Pumpkins – from items you already have!

Happy Wednesday my darlings! I love fall and I love home decor. I struggle with the oranges and browns of the season because I do not normally use them in my everyday decorating. Then, few years back, a friend showed me this cute lil’ craft for making pumpkin from things you already have around your home, and it will match your decor. This is even a kid friendly project. Pink swear.

Check it out:

easy no sew pumpkins -

For each pumpkin you will need:

easy no sew pumpkin materials -

1 Cloth napkin (or fabric, approx 15″ x 15″)  :::  1 paper lunch bag  :::  1 roll of toilet paper  :::  3-6 plastic grocery bags

 easy no sew pumpkins -

Lay out your fabric, right side down, no need to iron (otherwise I could not in good conscience call this tutorial “easy”)

easy no sew pumpkins -

Place TP in middle of square.

easy no sew pumpkins -

Wrap grocery bags around TP – more bags=fuller pumpkin, less bags=thinner pumpkin.

easy no sew pumpkins -

Fold up corners of fabric and tuck into TP roll core. Start with one side and then pull up the opposite corner. Repeat.

easy no sew pumpkins -

Set pumpkin base aside. Grab your lunch bag.

easy no sew pumpkins -

Twist the heck outta that sucka. Then twist some more. This is your stem.

easy no sew pumpkins -

Now place the paper bag into the pumpkin base , and…. Voila!

A pumpkin worthy of your mantel, or the back of your toilet… which would be totally cute if you did these with wash cloths! Cuz I will be honest, my potty is clean, but I am not gonna put my cloth napkins in there… that’s just wrong.

And the best part of this project?

When you are all done you can reuse all of the components. This is like a green crafter’s dream.

Enjoy your festive decor, that also totally matches your home because it is made with your own cloth napkins.

You can even have your kids help you make a little pumpkin family:
easy no sew pumpkins -  easy no sew pumpkins -

Yes, that is my child with a roll of TP as a bracelet. That’s how we roll.  (get it? roll? ha! )



Shared at these great parties:

DIY Showoff

Why I love The Furminator

why-i-love-the-furminator -

THE FURMINATOR – Have you guys ever used this awesomeness?

FYI: The Furminator is on sale at Amazon for $13.19 with free shipping. This is a steal.

{Update 09.28.12: Sale has dropped even further to $11.95! Get it before it is gone!}

I have a German Shepherd, Kara, named after the awesome Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galactica. (I am totally revealing my nerdiness in this post.) She sheds like crazy. As does Mango, which is weird because he is such a tiny dog… but nonetheless, these two leave my home covered in fur. And no inch of it is safe, because Kara is light and Mango is dark. But aren’t they so cute together?

Anyhow, a few years ago I was tired of brushing the dogs every few days and still having a fuzzy home. Then I found this:


The FURminator

I bought it for $50. Yeah, I shelled out 50 clams for this bad boy because I was so desperate. But lemme tell you, this baby is legit. The first time I used it on my German Shepherd I wanted to see if it really worked… I was skeptical to say the least. So I brushed my dog with the other brush we already had. Usually when I brushed the dogs I would just bring a plastic grocery bag with me into the back yard and then put the fur from both dogs in that. I usually got 1/2 a shopping bag worth of hair (from both dogs.) So I did that first.

Then I switched to this one. Oh my. I was totally unprepared. I called to my hubby and had him get the big 50 gallon trash can (for yard work.) I brushed, and brushed, and brush. Hair KEPT coming. It was insane. When I finally called it quits is when my 50 gallon trash can was FULL! And that was just the big dog. It was insane.

I 100% recommend this product to friends and family. Actually, most people have bought it because I let them try mine out:

furminator -

I have had this guy for at least 6 years, and it is still going strong. The blade is a gnarly steel and the head and handle is all one piece of plastic with a rubber coating.  This pic makes the handle look small, but it is just the angle at which I am holding the tool. In reality my giant man-sized hand fits comfortably on the handle with room to spare.

 I just saw a great deal: $12.19 and free super saver shipping on

I paid around $50 for this same model… this is a steal!

{FYI, the small size has always served me well… even for my big dogs.}


This is not a sponsored post. I have no affiliation with The Furminator or any parent company. I simply love this product and saw a great deal online and thought I would share, because I love you guys.

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY Tutorial

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY tutorial -

Check out this great little transformation. From hideous black spice rack circa 1977 to Jewelry holder that belongs in the now.

It all started with this:

Spice Rack jewelry holder before -

I think that in the right kitchen – with faux brick everywhere and big copper pans hanging from the ceiling, a lack of natural light, maybe some dark wood cabinets and an open hearth, this spice rack would be a perfect fit. But since that kitchen should only exist in Hansel and Gretel, or some other Grimm Fairy Tale, this HAD to be transformed.

Supply List:

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY supply list -

Since we were simply adding paint to the piece, we did not need to take the black completely off the rack. We simply used 120 grit sand paper on a sanding block to rough it up. After a wipe down with a wet cloth to remove any residual paint and/or dust we let the piece dry and then got our spray on.

post sanding wipe down -

Since it can be difficult to cover a dark color with a lighter color, we used some Krylon spray primer in White as a base coat. (we actually did two coats of primer to ensure that the black death would not show through our final color.)

primer spray paint -

Tips for better spray paint application: Stand back, use long even strokes, multiple applications (with drying time between each coat) will produce the best results.

Then we busted out the girliest color imaginable: Krylon Ballet Slipper.

Oh yes, we went there.

After 3 coats we were sure that every nook and cranny had be sprayed from every direction, leaving no trace of the previous high gloss black, only Satin Ballet Slipper cuteness.

Then I measured across the bottom and marked the drill holes for our cup hooks.

spice rack to jewelry holder DIY measure for cup hooks - Spice rack to jewelry holder DIY drill holes -

Then we screwed 15 hooks in by hand. This was the worst part, glad it only took a few minutes.

We then attached the three shaker pegs. (My bad, no pic of the drilling madness.)

One more round of paint for the cup hooks and pegs.

Done Son!

Here it is in all it’s glory:

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder Before and After -

Look at that!
Here’s some more of the final product, all dolled up with jewels.

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY After -

And here are her close ups:

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY After nail polish -

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY After bracelets -

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder DIY After necklaces -

One more time with the before and after:

Spice Rack to Jewelry Holder Before and After -

We considered finding or making a plaque to cover the word “Spices,” but we could not think of anything suitable and then we realized that we like the idea of the jewelry being the flavor and spice of the outfit, so “Spices” stayed.

What do you think?

I love it! And it is not even mine. I made this for (and with) my BFF (who made her debut in this post). Her bathroom is TOO cute, all pink and bird accents. Love it. So girly, so fresh.

xoxo-AprilHow to make your keys glow in the dark -    natural seborrheic dermatitis treatment with coconut oil -   hair appliance storage -

How to Make Your Keys Glow in the Dark    Coconut Oil Hair treatment  Hair Appliance Storage     

Little Girl is 3 years old!

Happy Birthday to my dear daughter! You are precious and beautiful. I love your energy and zest for life. I love your curiousness and desire to learn new things. You are a wonder and a joy.









 Happy Birthday Little Girl. I love you.

Mango, the perfect dog -or- MY DBFF

I do not know if you follow me on Instagram, but if you do, then you know about this guy:

Mango and Me -

I talk all about Little Girl and the Hubs, but I have never really talked about the snuggliest member of the family: Mango.

My DBFF – dog best friend for ever. (the husband made that up and wants it to go viral…idk.)

He is 1/2 apple-headed doe-type chihuahua and 1/2 miniature pinxcher.

He is also an answer to prayer.

Back in 2007 my husband had a hyper female German Shepherd who he loved.  I just wanted a cuddly little dog. So I prayed and prayed. And one night, about 2 weeks before Christmas, my husband came home late from a mid-week church service. After he unlocked the front door he just barely cracked it open and said, “close your eyes, hold out your hands.”

Then he came in and put this little guy in my hands. I opened my eyes and exclaimed, “Mango!”

My husband was shocked. He said, “Wait. What?! No. I almost ran this dog over in the street. He has a collar. We have to give him back.” This was all true. But I knew that God was at work, so I said “Ok, call them. But I know this is my Mango.” I promptly bought him a new collar and leash, which I wrapped and put under the tree. I also started calling him by his proper name, not the silly one that was on his original name tag.

4 days later we were sitting in Sunday service when my husband looks at his phone and quickly leaves the service – this is normal and expected behavior for an associate Pastor on a Sunday morning, a million people need him… so I barely noticed. Until he did not show up for 2nd service until 5 minutes before it started. He handed me a little box and said “Open it.”

Inside was a dog tag that read “Mango” and all our info. I screamed and hugged him. Apparently, he left service because the old owner called and said that he had already given the dog away, but that the new owner was old and most likely senile due to the fact that she thought she still had the dog at her house. The old owner said that he would come get the dog and find him a new home. But my husband loves me and offered to have us keep the dog. Win.

This dog is ridiculously sweet and well behaved.

Facts about Mango:

1. He loves to ride in purses. Which is weird, because his first owner was a dude… but I had only owned him one week before he jumped in my large tote bag and wanted to be carried around town.

2. He loves to cuddle. Anyone, anytime, anywhere. “You have a lap? Oh, I just love laps!”

3. He likes outfits. No really, he loves to wear them. I think it’s weird. My husband thinks it is hilarious. Friends love it and buy him outfits. But, I have to admit, he is adorable in them… and look how he poses.

dog outfit jackolantern -   cow dog outfit -   dog outfit cowboy -   dog outfit elf -

4. He has a 4 foot+ vertical jump from a standing position. This dog is small, and when I first got him I was holding a treat for the German  Shepherd as shoulder height (I am 5′ 6″). Mango was sitting next to the big dog, and instantly dropped his front shoulders down, pushed off, and snatched the treat right from my hand. Super impressive. We use him as a party trick now. It is amazing. I should put it on youtube.

5.He is fiercely loyal.  If my husband and I are arguing, or even talking in an animated fashion, Mango with come and sit in front of me and face the Hubs like “Step off my girl, yo.” Also, when I was really sick during my pregnancy (like 5-months-bed-rest-and-lost-30-lbs-due-to-excessive-hurling sick)  Mango was my constant companion. One day I was really sick and sad, sitting on the bathroom rug, waiting to get sick again. And I was crying. And Mango came in with his giant puss-in-boots eyes, and looked up at me. Then laid down and rested his head on my leg and was just there with me. I am pretty sure that counts as true love in DBFF land.

So now when Mango photo-bombs my project pics, or shows up on instagram, you will know him a little more.

Do you have a furry family member, what do you love about them?

creative lifestyle blogger southern caifornia -

Insta Top Ten

Hi guys, meet my darling friend Kimberly from ANightOwlBlog. She is amazing and lovely. I am so excited for you guys to meet her and her Instagram-genius. She has so much to share with us today. If you enjoy her post, please head over to her blog and find out the other cool things she has for you.

Hi, I’m Kimberly from A Night Owl and I want to thank April for having me here today! If you don’t know me, one thing you’ll learn quickly is that I {heart} Instagram. It’s by far my social media app of choice. I love to see all the fun, beauty, and creativeness that others are able to capture in pictures. It’s inspirational. I also love to share things that are important to me and what inspires me.

This year I’ve been participating in the #photoaday challenge by @fatmumslim. If you want to see my pictures so far, you can access my #photoaday album HERE. If you’re doing #photoaday as well, be sure to stop by at the end of each month to link up your recap posts at our #photoadayrecap party! Also, if you’re on IG, come find and follow me at @anightowlblog…I always follow back!

I’m asked from time to time what my favorite apps are to edit or create photos I post on Instagram. And I always love to share! I only use my iPhone for pictures, but there are many apps that I love to use for filters, frames, and labels. Here are my Top Ten faves (note: these are all links for the iPhone because that is the phone that I have; however, there are many similar apps for Android):

There are many frame apps out there, this is the one that I use. You can choose from many collage frames sizes and styles, and with the add-on, add labels to your photos.
Make a cool poster out of your photos! Fun options!
Add cute labels and banners to your photos.
Masking Tape
You can washi “tape” your pictures onto frames with TONS of different and fun options!
Pic Collage
Make a free form collage with different shaped and sized photos! Change backgrounds, add text.
Crop your photos into fun shapes!
Turn your photos into a comic book sketch!
Add text to images. Send a message!
Share your photos with others, change them up with fun filters and effects.
It’s a photo booth in your “pocket”! You can use this in combo with Pic Collage for a fun photo compilation!

I hope that helps! And I hope you love the list, download some new apps, and continue to create! Also, I’m continually inspired by new Instagram friends. So if you’re new to IG or want to make new friends, come check out our new Instagram Blog Hop on Tuesdays!

Thank you so much for sharing Kimberly! I now have 8 new apps to go download! haha. I bet some of these interest you guys too.
Which on do you want to try?
(wow, I just realized how similar our sign-offs are! Great minds…)