FREE 1st Day of School Printables

‘Tis the back to school season and that means adorable first day of school pictures. Here’s a round up of some of the best FREE 1st day of school printables.

Free First Day of School Printables

Carter started Kindergarten last week. Unfortunately it rained cats and dogs on the first day of school, so it was tough to get a good first day of school picture, but we managed. Fortunately the “It’s My First Day of Kindergarten” framed sign and Carter’s huge smile made up for the dark and stormy skies. He was so excited and had a great first week at his new school.

Last year I fully intended on designing my own first day of school printables to mark Carter’s first day of Pre-K, but as often happens, I ran out of time. I found a lot of great options from other sites and ended up using some from Designs by Nicolina. Because we started with them, I’ll use hers every year. I print them out at 8×10 photo size, and then trim the edges in order to fit it into this 8×10 frame that usually holds Carter’s school picture in his room.

Here’s a round of some of my favorite FREE First Day of School Printables. Many of the sites also have coordinating last day of school printable options too. Click on the images or the pink links above the photos to go to the originating site and download the printables.

Chalkboard Designs

Designs By Nicolina

1st Day of School Chalkboard Printables


Oh So Printable

Free 1st Day of School Printables


Yellow Bliss Road

FREE First Day of School Printables


The Crafting Chicks

Free First Day of School Chalkboard printables


Less Ordinary Designs

FREE First Day of School Chalkboard Printables


Colorful Designs

Jacksonville Moms Blog by Katie Palamaro Design

Free 1st Day of School Printables


How Does She

Free First Day of School Printables


Catch My Party

Free First Day of School Printables


The Crafted Sparrow

Free First Day of School Printables


I Heart Naptime

First Day of School Printables

If you like something more custom, there are a lot of great options available on Etsy for pretty reasonable prices.

I have to also show an idea that one of my friends used. It’s not a printed sign, but she created a life size sidewalk chalk version that I think is so cute! My sidewalk chalk skills aren’t nearly as good, so I’ll have to stick with printable signs!


Last year we also started asking Carter about what some of his favorite things are on the first day of school to see how they’ll change over the years. I used PicMonkey to add those on to the photo. Click here to check out last year’s version. 

How about you, any special traditions for first day of school pictures?

Urban Classic Craft Storage

A few months ago I participated in a challenge to define my decorating style and I determined I was Urban Classic. During that challenge the Barrister Lane Bookcase really caught my eye. The classic somewhat vintage look really appealed to my design style and this bookcase with its many cubbies appealed to my need for function.

I’m somewhat storage and organizationally challenged in a few areas of our home, so I zeroed in on needing to solve my craft supplies storage situation… and this is what that looked like before (this was only half of it!).

Not going to lie, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit what a craft supplies hoarder I was becoming. It was also costing me money because I didn’t really know what I had at times and would end up rebuying some of the same supplies because I couldn’t find what I had.

From selection and ordering on to delivery and assembly, I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy and well thought out things were. My unit arrived securely and carefully packaged with extra support at the edges to ensure there would be no damage to the wood. I unpacked all the pieces. The directions were very clear and the pieces were clearly labeled. All I needed for assembly was a screwdriver and a hammer. Start to finish the whole project took me a little over 2 hours. Carter helped me hammer in the back pieces, so it would have taken me a little less time without my little helper. He’s a DIY’er in the making. This kid loves to build (or maybe he just likes to bang things around!)

After getting everything put together, I assessed my craft supply situation and promptly went off to Michael’s to look for some storage bins and baskets. I scored with a 40% off storage sale going on and a coupon for 20% off my purchase. Cha ching!

I got to work on my organizing. I was able to fit in about 70% of my supplies into the bookcase. Some of my sewing supplies I keep in my sewing desk in our spare bedroom, and I keep my Silhouette Cameo supplies in our office near our computer. Someday I WILL have a craft room and everything in one place. It’s definitely a requirement for our next house. For now, I’ll live with most of my supplies being organized, easily accessible and in this stylish bookcase. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see everything put into its proper places. My jars of buttons almost look like decorative accessories and the name plates really make this piece look polished.

The bookcase will “pop” even more when I get the awful wood paneling in our basement painted, but that’s a project for winter. I’m very tempted to order the same bookcase to use for toy storage on the other half of our basement. It’s such a sturdy piece and looks very high quality at such a reasonable price.

In keeping with the storage theme, as I was shopping on, a bathroom storage unit caught my eye. It matched perfectly with my mirror frame and espresso painted bathroom cabinets. It looked like it was meant to be, so I couldn’t help myself. Take a look at how well it fits in! It was just as easy to assemble. I did have to contact customer service because one of the shelf pieces did not fit. No problem, they’re shipping it right away!

Two storage problems fixed, more than I’d like to count yet to come.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.



July Wrap Up

Oh July, you were good to us, but where did you go?? We really made the most of our July with lots of fun, friends and family vacation.

Our 4th of July was actually pretty laid back. Of course I couldn’t help myself but make some custom shirts for the second year in a row. USA Rocks Heat Transfer Iron-On for Carter.

USA Rocks Shirt

 And a USA Love fabric paint t-shirt creation for me.

USA LOVE T-shirt

 Carter and I did a bike ride that day while Todd golfed, then we enjoyed some fireworks with friends.


 We had a fun day at Adventureland for my annual company picnic. Carter just gets more adventurous as time goes on and he was excited to finally be tall enough to ride the Tornado.


Todd and I went to a friend’s annual croquet tournament – Hawaiian themed this year. I can say I hadn’t played since I was probably 8. Let’s just say, I didn’t have any “beginners luck”. It was a blast though.


We were off to Colorado for our family vacation this summer. My cousin was having a wedding reception in Denver, so we decided to make a week of it. Stay tuned for a full post on how we entertained Carter in the car on the 10 hour drive, but I have done one post on my DIY LEGO Travel Kit.

LEGO Travel Kit

We had a great trip. Summer is my favorite time to be in Colorado as I love to hike and not so much to snow ski. We spent a day on the western edge of Denver hiking around Dinosaur Ridge and then went over to Red Rocks Amphitheater. We will see a concert there one day!


We had a great time celebrating with my cousin and her new husband. Most of my family made the trip to Denver and it was great to all be together.


Then we were off to Colorado Springs to visit some friends and see some more sites. We went to Cave of the Winds where we did a cave tour and Todd did their new crazy attraction, the Terror-dactyl. Before we left, we hiked around Garden of the Gods which is always one of our favorite places to visit in the area. In true monkey form, Carter had no issues with climbing. we were hoping to get some actual rock climbing in, but it didn’t work out this time.


I also made a trip to Seattle this month for work. I’d never been there before. Unfortunately I was only there around 24 hours. I look forward to going back sometime soon.


August will bring the start of Kindergarten for Carter. It’s so hard to believe he’s at that age already. I’m really excited for him. Stay tuned for the obligatory back to school photos!

LEGO Travel Kit

This LEGO travel kit is a perfect way to keep your Lego lover entertained on a long car trip or plane ride.

LEGO Travel Kit

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we recently took a family vacation to Colorado. This is about a 650 mile drive from Des Moines to our first destination in Denver. If you’re not making many stops, that’s a 10 hour drive. It took us almost 12 with various stops. Prior to this, our longest road trip with Carter was last year’s trip to the Wisconsin Dells, which is about a 6 hour drive from here. 

We regularly drive 2 hours to visit Todd’s parents, and Carter gets bored on that drive, so I was a little worried about how he’d do on a 10+ hour trek. Several months ago I had pinned this portable LEGO kit from mama.papa.bubba. Of course I didn’t think of putting this together until the night before we were leaving, so luckily all of the items I used were already on hand. In less than 10 minutes it was complete. No better type of project!


  • Lunch box
  • LEGO plates to fit inside cover of lunchbox
  • Velcro
  • LEGOS for building 

I started by finding LEGO plates to fit the inside cover of the lunch box. I didn’t have one that fit perfectly, but I found two that worked together for the right size. I removed the tape from the velcro and adhered one side to the underside of the LEGO plates. Then I put the other side of the velcro tab facing its velcro counterpart and removed the backing. This allows you to easily affix the other side of the velcro  by just pressing the LEGO plates into the inside cover without having to worry about trying to get them aligned. 

After that, Carter helped me pick out some LEGOs to put into the travel kit. He picked a variety of building blocks of different sizes as well as vehicles and minifigs.

It drives me a little nuts, but Carter loves to switch his minifigs around. Here are two of the mismatches he made at a restaurant somewhere in Nebraska.I didn’t get any pictures of his other creations


 I’ll post more pictures from our vacation in my July Wrap Up later this month, but all-in-all the road trip was a success! Between the LEGO travel kit, DVD’s and some little gifts I wrapped up from the Target dollar bin, we kept the “are we there yet’s” to a minimum.

Linked Up At: That DIY Party; Think Pink Sunday; The Creative Collection; Monday Funday

USA Rocks Iron-on Transfer T-Shirt

For the 2nd year in a row, I made Carter a custom patriotic shirt for the 4th of July. Last year I used a bleach pen, this year I used an iron-on transfer made with my Silhouette Cameo.  

USA Rocks Shirt

 I use my Cameo all the time to make stencils for various projects. This is the 3rd time I’ve used their iron-on heat transfer material. The first was Carter’s St. Patrick’s Day “Iowish” shirt. 

I was originally planning on making my own design as I usually do, but I was running a little short on time, so I browsed the Silhouette store for pre-designed options I might be able to use. I settled on the USA Rocks design. Since I wasn’t printing the design, I did a little adjustment to account for this being just one color. Then I reversed the design and put the Cameo to work cutting it. 

After I weeded out the negative spaces, I was ready to iron. 


 You need to put a towel or other cloth barrier between your iron and your transfer. The directions say to press firmly for 30-45 seconds across each section of the design. I found that I needed to do this several times for much longer to really get the design secured down. It probably took 5-7 minutes of ironing for this design. 


 After that, I fully peeled back the plastic sheeting and the t-shirt was done! As always, Carter was being silly when I asked him to pose in his new shirt! This is a really easy and fairly quick way to create custom shirts that look professional. What I like about this design is that he can wear the shirt anytime, and not just the 4th of July.


 Overall we had a great holiday weekend. It was pretty jam packed, but we had a lot of fun with friends and enjoyed some good quality family time. Here’s a few pics from the weekend.

Todd golfed for a few hours on the 4th, so Carter and I decided to enjoy the many miles of bike trails close to our house and explore some parks along the way we don’t go to very often. The weather was too gorgeous to not take advantage of it!


We met some friends to enjoy fireworks on the 4th. This year we tried a new vantage point, which was a little farther away from the launch area than where we normally go. Carter seemed a lot less interested in the actual fireworks than he did the sparklers he was lighting.


On Sunday, we had our annual day for my company at Adventureland amusement park. Carter is at a really fun age to enjoy quite a few of the rides. He was so excited to be tall enough to ride a few of the roller coasters. This kid has no fear as he embarked on his first ride on the “Tornado”. He immediately declared afterward “THAT… WAS… AWWWWESOME!


How is it that long weekends are just never long enough?!

DIY Vintage T-Shirt

Last year I made some patriotic shirts for Carter and I to wear on the 4th of July using a bleach pen technique. (No, they were not matchy matchy!) This year, for mine, I decided to try my hand at a DIY vintage t-shirt look using fabric paint and… wait for it… plastic wrap!

DIY Vintage T-Shirt - Love US Map cutout

 It all started when I saw a cute t-shirt design with LOVE as a cut-out within the United States map outline. Unfortunately I could only find this as a kids t-shirt.


What’s a DIY addict to do? Of course I fired up my Silhouette Cameo and created my own stencil. This stencil would be basic enough to create with a print out and an Xacto knife though. I wanted to get a vintage look, so I tried a new technique through some trial and error.

Supplies (some links go to affiliate links on or other retailers).

First I created my stencil and placed it on my t-shirt.



Next, I tried a few different materials to try to blot on my fabric paint. I remembered an old decorative wall painting technique I read about a long time ago where you use crunched up paper bags to create a crinkle effect. I decided to try a plastic bag squished up first, but then I moved on to the plastic wrap because it created a little more texture. To do this I used a wad of the plastic wrap and dipped it in my paint. I blotted some of the excess paint onto a paper towel before applying to my shirt.


Then I dabbed the paint onto my stencil. At first it looked exactly like sponge painting, which wasn’t quite what I was going for, so I ended up doing 2 coats, letting the paint dry in between.



After letting the paint dry fully, I removed the stencil.Then I washed the shirt inside out as directed with the fabric paint. Voila, a custom vintage looking shirt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look quite as vintage-y in my picture here. I’ll have to see if I can get it in better lighting when I wear it on the 4th.


 Here’s a sneak peak at Carter’s shirt.

USA Rocks Shirt

 Have a great 4th of July!

Linked Up At: Whimsy Wednesday; Whatever Goes Wednesday

June Wrap Up

Hello…. anyone there? I have to apologize for my unplanned absence. For the first time since launching Sometimes Homemade, I didn’t do a single post for the month. Time just really got away from me. I’ve been busy with work, family life, baseball games, fun with friends, car shopping, project launching, working out, and on and on. You know just normal life stuff, all good for the most part, and while I’ve done a few projects, I just didn’t feel motivated to sit down on my computer to write about them (don’t worry I will!)

I thought I’d at least do a wrap up for June to catch you up on some of our family fun. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these moments. If not, follow me, I’ll follow you!

I feel like we had a month filled with lots of physical activity. My husband did three triathlons, getting back into it after a 4 year hiatus. Carter and I went and watched him in two of them. The first one Carter got to cross the finish line with Todd which was a fun moment. Carter kept yelling “You’re my hero, dad!” Sweet stuff!

Pigman Tri

We finished out our baseball season this month, although we had to work around several rain dates.

Carter-BaseballIt’s been a very rainy spring and beginning of summer with crazy storms. Here’s our little storm chaser watching the clouds roll in from our deck. We’re hoping for a few days reprieve at this point, so the flooding in some areas will subside and the flood threats in others diminish.

storm chaser

With the rainy days, we’ve had to come up with some alternate activities to burn off some energy. Carter loves going to Climb Iowa, a local rock climbing gym. We’re hoping to be able to get some climbing in when we go to Colorado in July. This kid has no fear!

little rock climber - Climb Iowa

I started running again and went back to my kickboxing/bootcamp. It felt good to get active again, but getting up for the mornings is never easy for me! 

I don’t really post much about my work life, but we launched a big project early in June after a year’s worth of work. It’s still in progress, but I’m happy we have the first milestone behind us. Speaking of work, we transitioned our workspace over the last few months and went to a more open concept seating arrangement. I’d been in an office the last 7 or so years, so I thought this would be a big change. It turns out that it really hasn’t been too much of an adjustment except in figuring out how to decorate my space!

Here’s my old office.


And here’s my new spot in our shared “pod”. Turns out I really don’t need much space and my hashtag light from Vintage Marquee Lights looks pretty fab in both spaces.


In June my career as a model (HA!) pretty much began and ended at the same time. I was asked to participate in a corporate marketing campaign, and while hair and makeup was fun, holding a 10 lb crystal ball outstretched for 45 minutes made my arms shake! I don’t think I missed my calling, so I guess I’ll stick to my day job! 



I promise I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule in July. 

May Wrap Up

We had a jam packed May filled with some travel, graduations, and remembering all the fun things we like to do outside once the nice weather hits Iowa! I posted very few new projects this month. There’s a lot on my to do list, I just couldn’t muster up the motivation for things that would keep me inside during our limited free time. 

The month started out with Todd and I in Palm Beach, FL. I was there for a trip for work and Todd met me down there so we could have a little mini vacation. We stayed at The Breakers hotel which was historic and beautiful! The wine cellar in one of the restaurants was nothing short of impressive, just like everything else on the property.


The weekend after we got back from our quick vacation, we attended the Central Iowa Leukemia Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year Gala in honor of one of my best friend’s daughters who was the girl of the year. She was diagnosed last year and I’m constantly amazed at the strength their family has had during their journey and the amazing community of support that has been around them. It was a great night, and over $450,000 was raised to help fight for a cure. 


Todd’s nephew graduated from high school in the middle of the month. It’s hard to believe he was the ring bearer in our wedding almost 14 years ago. Where does the time go?! The same week, Carter had his preschool graduation. He is so excited to go off to Kindergarten this fall, but he will miss all of his friends and teachers from the center he’s been at since he was born.


Over Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed a visit to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. If you’re ever in Des Moines in the late spring through fall, it’s a must do! Since it was a holiday weekend and the weather was gorgeous, it was packed. After getting our food on, we took a walk on the river walk where Carter promptly found a good hill to roll down.


After getting rained out on Mother’s Day weekend, we had our first baseball game of the season a few weeks late. Of course we were one of the last parents to pick up jerseys, so Carter ended up with one just a wee bit too big. Luckily he didn’t seem to mind. 


We rounded out the long weekend by taking a ride out to Raccoon River Park, which isn’t far from where we live. I got a new bike about 2 months ago and this was the first time I had the bike carrier on it. I have a feeling this is the last summer Carter will want to ride in the back rather than riding his own bike. 


After injuring my calf back in April, I had to take about 4 weeks off from much physical activity. I missed my regular kick boxing workouts at Farrell’s, so I’m happy to back at it now. I also tried yoga for the first time. One of the gals on my team who teaches yoga on the side decided to lead a weekly yoga class for us on one of our green spaces outside of our building. Just one more way to enjoy our amazing spring and early summer weather before it gets too hot!


As for projects, I made a custom recipe box using wood branding letters.

Wood Burning Stamped Custom Recipe Box 

My other project was turning some vintage clip-on earrings of my late grandmother-in-law into pierced earrings. I’m excited about the possibilities of what I could do to refashion some of her other pieces.

turn clip-on earrings to post earrings

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. I’m most often posting there when we’re busy living our life to the fullest! I’ve already started working on a few new projects for June, so stay tuned for some DIY jewelry tutorials, handmade baby gifts, and maybe a home improvement project. See you soon!