Monday, July 21, 2014

Our New Closet!

A few weeks ago we had California Closet come and re-work our closet. It was a dream of mine to someday have a professional closet company make something new from an existing space.

We loved everything about our home (granite counters, stainless appliances, spacious, good layout, fairly large bedrooms, double vanities, separate tub/shower) and the list could literally go on. But the second we saw the master closet it was a total letdown.

It's smaller than any other bedroom closet in this house. It's considered a walk in, but it's really a step in. You can literally take 1 step in. It came complete with 16in lovely wire shelving (sense my sarcasm?). The closet people told us they were pretty surprised that the builders chose 16inch wire shelves since that takes up more space than traditional 12in. Whatever the problem, it wasn't working.

The main problem was that I use a dresser and Josh doesn't. So all my stuff that doesn't hang (shorts, pants, workout clothes, swimsuits, underwear, socks, etc.) goes in there. He didn't have a place for that. So we utilized bins and baskets and a mis-mash of organizational tools found around the house.

It was so terrible that this was the best before I could find. I couldn't even reach the bins on the top shelf. These are 9 foot ceilings.

First we had to make the decision whether to do this ourselves or hire out. We are typically pretty ambitious but this layout had us stumped. We couldn't figure out another way to arrange it. And even after browsing Lowes and HD (and Pinterest of course) and their storage systems we still couldn't figure out what we actually wanted (or needed). We even contemplated reworking to door to somehow make it less awkward. We considered the option of a pocket door but that would only be possible to the left of the closet and our sinks back up to that wall. I also thought of a sliding barn type door but it would have knocked into the door to our bedroom. Even 2 small doors that open in the center (kind of like Emberly's closet- seen in the 3rd picture there) wouldn't work because we don't have the space to open them out. Taking the door off was discussed but I just couldn't get past the look of a college dorm room (although heck- my college dorm closet was HUGE).

We decided to get 2 quotes from local closet companies: California Closets and Closets by Design. I had never heard of CbyD, but we got a flyer in the mail from them with a coupon attached so we decided to get 2 quotes done in the same week.

Ironically, both companies gave us the same layout (which eased our mind that this was the direction we were headed). But California Closets blew the competition out of the water. CC did the whole mock up right in front of us on her computer. We were able to visualize it by seeing the image 3D and we could manipulate it with the mouse. CbyD only did a 2D drawing on grid paper. Also CbyD could only guarantee their work for 7 years, and their original quote ended up being over $1,000. Then with the coupon it brought it down to $850. We felt like they purposely elevated their prices to them bring them down- whereas California Closets was just the lower price all along. Also CC guarantees their work for the life of the system and the warranty stays with the closet even when we sell (a perk whenever we move). They also generously knocked off 5% for a military discount brining the total to $700! The $700 and $850 would have been the EXACT same closet- same material, color, number of shelves, etc. just so you know I'm comparing apples to apples. We would have had to give up the finishes we wanted and a few shelves to beat the CC price. So we hired California Closets and 2 weeks later ONE MAN was here to install! BTW we didn't pay for them to demolish the old closet. That also saved us about $100. We took the shelving down ourselves and then I went through and speckled the walls and touched up the paint ourselves.

Here were our 2 design decisions. The first one put the shelves on the far wall. (left picture). The photo on the right is from an angle you can't really get to because of the wall/door. But the suits hanging in the right photo would be directly to the right when you walk in the closet.
The second put the shelves on the wall to the right clothes all along the back wall. 

I even posted on Facebook asking for help deciding. What I like about California Closets is they can take any shelf and create a drawer from of it. So if we ever decide to upgrade- they are more than happy to accommodate. For now, it pushed the price too far up but I love the versatility. With that in mind, we opted for the shelves to go on the right wall (the second design), since you'd have to close the door to open a drawer on the far wall. That seemed like too much hassle.

I was really impressed that one man got the job done. We had a hiccup with delivery (his van broke down) but he was here in less than 2 hours and then finished the project super fast (less than 2 hours).
We love that they staggered the heights of the poles to accommodate dresses and suits. And what you can't see is that space at the very top has enough room to store 3 rubbermaid bins. We knew we'd never be able to hang summer and winter clothes at the same time, but it sure makes it easier to keep it all in the closet instead of in one of the kid's rooms or having to trek up to the attic.

We opted to add a bar where the hamper is. This isn't so much for us, but when we move (and if the closet is empty) it won't look like dead space. It actually allows enough space to hang my skirts which was an added bonus.
We thought we'd have to purchase a smaller hamper, but for now old faithful is working great!

I love that since my shirts are shorter than Josh's that it gives a little room for folded sweaters and some jewelry. I could also put more baskets for accessories if needed. I love that our iron can sit there too since we don't have much room in our laundry room.
and speaking of ironing... our ironing board tucks away against this side board nicely:
Also on my little shelf I put a mirror (it's actually not hung yet-see the yellow rim peeking out) just to add a little depth. Not sure what color it will end up being. But for now I like it. And I love this coffee cup holder turned big necklace holder with a little gold spray paint. Sorry for the horrible lighting. Not much you can do with a fluorescent bulb and no natural light. I also love the idea of maybe putting a bulletin board with outfit ideas back there! The possibilities are endless. 
So far Josh loves the shelves. They fit all his stuff plus there is still an empty basket. It's a ton easier to reach (confession: I haven't put his clothes away once even though I promised I would). I think the bins need labels, right? rightttttttt? #procrastinationexcuse
Oh and do you recognize these baskets? Yep I repurposed from our old laundry room. I had painted them key lime and used them to store extra laundry supplies on top of our cabinet. Well the key lime wasn't jivving with this new house, so thankfully spray paint isn't too permanent! **BTW the mirror that lives behind my clothes is also shown in that laundry room post! 

We haven't found a permanent solution for his ties and belts. We could have included that in the price of the closet, but they were around $90 a pop when I can find a much more budget friendly solution elsewhere. We plan to put them on this wall behind the closet door (when it's actually closed). 
My best advice? If you plan to hire out something like this let them know UP FRONT that you have a budget that you want to stick to. We did tell our rep that we were getting multiple opinions/prices but that it was going to come down to the best quality for our $ not necessary the cheapest. By letting her know that upfront she didn't even tempt up with bigger and better. Also anything they add on is going to cost more. So things like tie racks and hampers seem easy to throw in when you're already spending a good chunk of change, but it just doesn't make budget sense. By saving on the tie rack, belt rack and demoing the old closet ourself we save about $300 (that's the difference between a $1k and a $700 closet!). 

Friday, July 18, 2014


I haven't updated in 2 weeks! These 2 weeks have been full so It's going to be hard to pick just 5 things.

1. Last week Luke flushed his undies down the toilet. To say I was mad is a total understatement. I sent him to his room because I needed time to cool down. Had to decide whether to call a plumber or "let it go". Conceal, don't feel right? ;)  I emailed Josh at work so he had a heads up and I didn't flush the toilet until I talked to him. Although I'm sure I can handle a toilet overflowing, I didn't really have the patience to deal with it. The good thing? It's been almost 2 weeks of normal use and we haven't had an issue. Thankfully. He learned a lesson and I learned a lesson. I told him he was no longer allowed to flush. Well his bathroom went WAY TOO LONG without being flushed and I legit couldn't be mad him. Lol. So we are back to normal bathroom practices. No more undie flushing!

2. My van had it's 3rd flat tire in 5 months. The second in a week. I was annoyed. We had just spent $180 to get a new tire due to sidewall damage the week before. Thankfully I think this was just neglect and needed a little air. After examining it and not finding any damage we filled her up with air and so far she's been good. So thankful for the tire notification dingy bell that alerts me of a flat!

3. A week ago we had our 10 year high school reunion. It was great to see everyone and it's hard to believe that in 10 years Luke will be 14! Talk about a slap in the face. Luke took a pretty nasty fall at the kiddie pool where we met and when the life guard started talking ambulance and concussion I kinda freaked (of course Josh had left for work 5 minutes before the fall). But he ended up being fine. I watched for signs all afternoon and besides a pretty nasty bump on his head he was good a new.

4. Luke has been attending VBS all week. We registered him at the church where he'll attend preschool this year hoping to get him familiar with some of the kids and surroundings. He has LOVED it and it makes me excited for preschool for him. He needs to be doing something CONSTANTLY so this will be good for him. He hasn't been too thrilled about dressing up as certain things (he's just like his momma), but it has been such a blessing for him to memorize his verses and want to bring in offering. :)
5. I now have 48 items listed on Etsy! I can't wait to break 50 and I have them ready to go but haven't gotten the go ahead from the designers I test for. By the way- I love the testing world! It's the kind of thing that I can do as little or as much as I want. Any design I test I receive for free with the promise of sending a good quality photo. It's a win win! I am gearing up for fall and even *gasp* CHRISTMAS! I have 2 Christmas kitchen towels listed in my shop! Always thinking a season ahead!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Sandbox Turtle

What says childhood better than a turtle sandbox?! It's like the second I had kids I needed one of these.
I kept my eyes out for a while on second hand yard sale sites. I took a break last summer since I knew we were moving and it would be a pain to store- but once we were settled I resumed the search. I actually posted in the "want to buy" section that I was looking for one and someone contacted me with exactly what we needed! The little green turtle!

It was in perfect condition and just needed a little dusting off.

What I didn't expect was the search for sand to be such a pain. Have you read about play sand recently?
Apparently there is a warning on the bags of play sand that the airborne dust particles can carry carcinogens which can cause lung cancer... ummm last I checked I try to avoid carcinogens and lung cancer. And protect my kids from them. and for that to be in PLAY SAND? Intended for use in children's play areas?! That's terrifying. Of course I can't protect them from everything. But from the things I can protect them from- I will.

So my idea shifted to plan B. There HAS to be safe sand right? Not all sand contains calcium sulfate. A quick search on amazon brought up this sand:
It claims to be free of silica and all the other "bad stuff" that's in typical play sand. But At $30 for 25lbs I read somewhere that I'd need about 3 bags to fill the turtle. And after having saved so much on the turtle I didn't want to blow it on $90 worth of sand.

Another sand alternative is to buy river sand which comes literally from the ground. It's typically quartz I believe and although it can still create dust, it's not as bad as the manufactured stuff. But we don't have a truck and I couldn't imagine getting a delivery to our deck- that 2 stories high. So sand was officially scratched from our list.

We also questioned whether sand would be good since our AC until is below our deck and also our driveway. We worried that a lot of sand would be lost by being thrown down.

There's good news! There are some alternatives to sand. A few I found are:
1. pebbles. Kids can still fill cups and dump trucks with them. Again being over the AC until and living VERY close to neighbors (and drive by cars) we just didn't think pebbles were a great idea.
2. rice. Another good idea. But I saw that getting costly too. Plus isn't that bad for birds? Plus if it gets wet I worried about it rotting.
3. corn. Again I worried about rotting.

And those were pretty much the alternatives I found. Womp. So as I was sitting enjoying our patio furniture I tried thinking of ideas. Heck, my kids enjoyed playing in it empty! I also thought to maybe just fill it with water and let them go for it.

It suddenly hit me- what about a ball pit? Remember those? And ewwwww the ones at Mc. Donalds where kids probably used the bathroom in- remember the smell? #itdidntgrossmeoutthen

But balls were out because, again, I could see my kids finding great joy in throwing them at neighbors passing by. So I decided to grab some pool noodles.
I thought they would probably be fun to stack, and hide under. And at $1 a pop they were super inexpensive. I started with 4 and that clearly wasn't enough.
So why that size? I'm so glad you asked. Although they can fall off the deck because they aren't wide enough- I wanted to make them tall enough to not fall down. If it doesn't seem to be an issue I may cut them even smaller. But I wanted to see how this went first. So far the kids LOVE it.

By the way they are super easy to cut. Luke snuck out of bed one night and watched me and I heard him crying inside. When I asked what was wrong he said he was sad that I was cutting up his pool noodles. I assured him that I had bought more and his were still down in the garage. I guess the punishment for being out of bed was watching his beloved noodles die a slow painful death by stabbing and slicing.
I ended up buying 4 more to fill the pool out. So $8 total was the cost (after the $15 for the turtle). Not a shabby "sandbox" for under $25!
We did make sure that the sandbox is against the house, not the railings. Wouldn't want to tempt my little people too much. Plus since they're not round if one does get loose it's not going to roll down the street into the sewer or anything crazy. I'm sure Luke will feel like a big helper going to retrieve them!
I feel like my life is complete now that this sandbox has a purpose!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Deck: Paint and Progress

Having some sort of deck was on our shortlist when we purchased our home. We enjoyed our last deck so much (and then tore it apart and had it rebuilt) and tend to spend a lot of time outdoors with the kiddos when we have somewhere to sit.

Almost every house we looked at had a deck. And some were in pretty pitiful shape. I guess it's just destined to happen when wood is left exposed to the elements. But decks are expensive!

When we first laid eyes on our house we weren't sure how a deck would work since the garage was around back. But when we walked through and realized that the house was actually 3 stories- it totally made sense.

One of the first things we noticed was that the deck was in pretty rough shape. This house is approximately 7 years old, and I think that's the last time the deck was painted. Thankfully since it's a story off the ground it's supported by metal beams that are secured in concrete.

Since this is a townhouse with an HOA we were told at closing that they were actually going to refinish the deck for us- wow really?! 

Well we closed in the middle of December and January 1st we received a memo from the HOA that all doors, windows, and decks were being turned over to the homeowners. Just our luck right? They still take care of anything siding and roof related. But it was kind of a bummer realizing that we'd have to take care of it. But it's not really THAT big and a generous neighbor passed down his paint when he finished his- so we got 1/2 a can of paint out of it. We did have to purchase more since 1 gallon wasn't enough- but I didn't even know how to match the paint color- so the hand me down paint was actually a blessing. 

It seems like we're always working outside in the middle of the summer. I guess it's how we roll- speaking of rolling this was a pretty straightforward process. We pressure washed first (and used some dawn for extra cleaning), waited for it to dry, then sanded, and finally painted (with a brush and roller). 

Some of the boards had wide cracks so we wanted to really push the paint into the cracks. Then a roller made everything smooth. Not sure why I keep saying WE. I didn't lift a finger painting. Figured I needed to say that in case hubs is reading.

Disclaimer? We didn't do the rails and posts. This weather has been CRAY this year! I mean suddenly we live in the tropics and get a rain storm every afternoon. So we had to work around that. Oh and Josh's work schedule. And life with 2 crazy babes. 

I do plan to go back and do the rails slowly. Someday.

Pressure washing took 1 day. Sanding took another. And then painting took 2 days. We didn't do 2 thin coats (like usual) but opted for one thick coat which took a little longer. 

All our deck stuff lived inside (including our grill in our living room) while the painting took place and we lived in chaos for a few days. As soon as it was dry everything went back out. Ironically the same weekend Target had 50% off all their patio furniture. I scouted everything out one day- took an unnatural number of pictures and made note of prices. I brought all my research home and we hashed out what we actually wanted/needed. 

We actually have a patio set at our old house but we left it for our tenants to use (and wrote it in the lease). We were planning to get it after a year, but realized mid December that we had no way to transport it and it wasn't really worth the trouble to bring it here. So we'll be leaving it. Once we figured this out we felt comfortable moving forward with the 50% off sale. 

We visualized a little seating area and then a smallish table with enough chairs for us. When I did my "research" trip I found the perfect loveseat that would fill the space. Josh and I typically try to consult each other on purchases more than $100 so I felt like we really needed to talk before I pulled the trigger. This was 6pm on a Friday night. 

We discussed everything and I made my list and got out early Saturday morning. Would you believe that someone else swiped the ONLY loveseat there? I was floored. I put on my game face and kept going. I ended up finding a seating situation that fit the bill. It was a little more than the original plan, but in the end I think I really like the 2 separate chairs. I think the loveseat would have felt... awkward especially if you're sitting next to someone who isn't your husband. 

I loaded up 2 carts, and with the help of a nice associate got it all paid for and loaded. 

Our deck today looks a little something like this-

This is the far corner to the right of the door.
The side of our house is yellow and our grill is red- so I wanted a nice neutral compromise. I would love to find some throw pillows that incorporate the yellow, red, navy and possibly aqua blue to tie it all together.
Because this side of the house gets direct western sun, it's gorgeous out here in the morning and for lunch- but by dinner it's pretty hot. We'll eventually get an umbrella. Just want to find a large one that's pretty sturdy and has good reviews. Now THAT'S hard to come by!
This kind of gives you a better idea of how small this space actually is. The table does have 4 chairs that will live out here, but while we wait for the rest of our indoor handmade farmhouse bench to be made they are filling a need inside. 
And I have another post in the hopper about what's inside Mr. Turtle. It's a mess free, practically germ free, and cheap alternative to a sand box. 

On the other side of the deck is the grill and my green bean garden. Seriously don't be hatin'. We lived in a house with half and acre and  I never grew ANYTHING. We now live in a town house without a yard and I'm obsessed with gardening. Go figure. And it's practically the only thing that I can keep alive (besides my kids of course). 

We love sitting out here and sipping coffee in the morning. 
By the way- am I the only one or do you ever feel like waiting for a sale is like gambling? I was SOLD on an outdoor rug. But it was the only thing in the patio section that wasn't on sale. So I bought it. But I questioned myself over and over "will it go on sale?" "what if it ends up being $15 instead of $30?" And I have this debate in my head in the store. I usually try to think what I would feel if I let it go and would I be disappointed trying to find another or is this one perfect? Ultimately I decided to buy it. I did leave the tags on for a week just in case, but I checked back a few days ago and 3 weeks later and it's still full price. And there was only 1 left. So I say it was well worth the purchase!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Let's talk chores

I am amazed by how much my little man grows everyday. He has been such a joy to raise, even in the difficult times. As I witness this amazing growth (both mentally and physically), I am constantly looking for ways to challenge him. Not only does he get bored easily, he LOVES being hands on. He wants to help whenever he can and he always wants to be in right in the middle of the action.

My husband and I determined that he was plenty old enough to start doing chores. Why not use his genuine curiosity to help with the function of our home? He's a member of the house and he is old enough to help it run smoothly.

So without further ado, he's what he does. He turned 4 in December.

1. Puts away his laundry.
While I sit in the middle of the hallway in the middle of a huge pile of laundry I make a pile for each member of the family. At this stage it's easy (baby girl clothes, boy clothes, husband clothes, my clothes, and house linens). As I sit there I make sure to do Luke's first. I fold his underwear, pjs, pants and match his socks. Then he comes and takes the piles to their respective locations. His dresser is in the closet and he knows what goes in each drawer. I put the hanging stuff in a separate pile and I do that later. It saves me about 10 minutes lugging stuff to his room and then putting it away. He loves this. And I love that he's REALLY helping.

2. Sorts the utensil drawer.
Everytime I unload the dishwasher I make him a nice pile of little forks, big forks, spoons, not sharp knives, and baby utensils. They are in a huge pile and he stands at the silverware drawer and sorts them. Oh and of course I make him wash his hands before! He LOVES it when dishes are clean. He LOVES when I unload the dishwasher because it's something that he can do, and it's something he does well. There are times I've caught him using a fork to flick a ball around the living room, but he's 4. He's going to get distracted. And you can be assured those forks end up back in the sink.

3. Picking up toys. Oh for the love of everything holy, please do not pick up your child's toys! He has been doing this for over 2 years. It doesn't hurt that he has his father's OCD clean genes. He loves when things look clean. Every night before bed his toys must be picked up and put away in the correct place. Of course if he's working on something (Lincoln Log village or his train tracks) he can leave those out. But little pieces of things that don't go to anything get put away. Food from their kitchen gets put away. And anything that doesn't get picked up goes in time out for the next day. Of course there have been nights where fits have been thrown. Other nights we get home late. I have to make it a priority that I help remind him before he gets overtired. I want to set him up to be successful. We try to have everything picked up BEFORE dinner. Then after dinner we snuggle, read, occasionally watch TV and take baths. If we wait until 8pm to start picking up it usually ends in a disastrous screaming, crying, toy throwing event. And do the piles get picked up EVERY night? No. But I'd say 5 of 7 nights they do. Not too bad.

4. Setting the table.
When I cook, I usually go ahead and fill the plates before they are on the table. I've found that we dirty more dishes when I bring a bowl of green beans to the table. Why not serve straight out of the stove pot? This makes an assembly line on the counters and typically once plates are filled I like to get them on the table. I usually call Luke in and have him take plates to the table. Has he ever dropped one? No. Will he? Most likely. It'll be ok. In the time when I don't have anything for him to carry he sets out the utensils and napkins and carries condiments to the table. I like knowing that when we sit down to dinner that we all had a hand in making dinner a success.

5. Feed the dog. As much as I've tried to ban him from opening doors, he has figured out how to get around the child locks. He hits them with his fist and they pop off the doorknobs into 2 pieces. SO I put his genius to work. Now that he can open the back door his morning chore is to feed Sadie. He gets her cup, pulls the top off the big galvanized can, digs it in and pours it in her bowl. He loves this. Also since he can reach the water dispenser in the fridge I let him fill her water bowl. I'm sure there will be accidents, but NOTHING teaches him as much responsibility than to care for other members of our family. He did leave the top off of Sadie's food the other day and it rained but he learned a valuable lesson!
6. Take down recycling. We try our best to recycle paper, cardboard, glass, and plastic. Back when we didn't pay for trash pickup and we could drop it free we only had about 1 bag a week since paper, cardboard, plastic and glass took up SO MUCH SPACE in the trash. By streamlining our garbage it was amazing to see how quick we as Americans are to throw stuff away. Now that we have trash pickup at home, we still only have about 3 bags a week (and that includes my sewing trash, some diapers- we do cloth diaper about 80% of the time, and regular household trash). We keep a small container right next to our trash and when it's full Luke takes it down stairs to sort. We have 2 white containers for paper and plastic and then 2 smaller black containers for cardboard and glass. Cardboard usually takes the most space so we sometimes end up stacking it on top if it gets out of control. When those containers are full we lug it all to our local recycling bins in town. My point in telling you this? Luke empties the white container whenever it's full. He takes it down to the garage and sorts it in the correct pile because we've taught him where it goes.

I love to challenging him with chores. He's not allowed to say I can't. And he can't pull the "PLEASSSSE help me clean my mess" gig. I nipped that a long time ago.  I also like to give him chores that I have to teach him how to do. He goes from having no idea how to do something to being completely proud of himself for finishing the task. It's an amazing morale booster.

And I can promise you this. After teaching nearly 500 10 year olds over the course of 5 years I know that not every child is made to do chores. And you can tell the chore-ers from the non-chore-ers. :)

I taught kids that wanted me to do everything for them (I'm not talking helping them with work- I'm talking about picking up pencils, jackets, and cups for them off the floor). Good thing for 2 of those years I was very pregnant and couldn't bend over anyways. I remember quite a few times the phrase "I'm not your momma and I'm definitely not your maid" slipping out of my mouth. This is a life skill that will benefit them all throughout life!

I'm also looking to add more as he gets older like dusting the baseboards (which he can probably already do), putting the vacuum away, cleaning his bathroom counter, etc. But for now I am very proud of what he does to help!

Friday, June 27, 2014


High Five for Friday!

1. WHERE did this week go? I feel like I say that every week, but we just live such an odd schedule/life that it's always either becoming a weekend or ending a weekend, so I feel like I'm always goinggggggg! Josh is off Tuesday/Wednesday for now so while everyone is gearing up for the week (Monday)- that's my Friday. And when he goes back to work Thursday everyone is getting ready for the weekend (which is really my "mid week". It's crazy and a total brain teaser!

2. We repainted and furnished our deck this week! It was a blast (well Josh did the painting so I'll let him have the last word about that). Can't wait to share details!
3. My son brought me 18 flowers to my bedside one morning after he took the dog out with daddy. "EIGHTEEN to be exact, mom!" 

And my daughter learned how to make a duck face way too early!

4. We had our master closet redone by California Closets. It was one of the best home improvement decisions we've ever made! I'll have a post with the details later!

5. Luke is getting to the point where he LOVES games. Candyland was his choice this week. I totally dominated (but we're trying to teach him how to win with humility- so I had to tone down my excitement). We're really competitive.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Watermark Part 2- Watermark It Pro

I left off talking about watermarks here. I had created a watermark in picmonkey, saved my file, and was able to use it over and over on my computer for photos I upload from my camera. The only problem? About 40% of what I post is from my phone.

I needed a way to do the exact same thing, only from my iPhone. By the way we are almost completely an apple family so I don't speak any other language. Not sure about other phones/ways to do this.

I used the exact same file as I saved before with the transparent background and I attached it in an email and sent it to myself so I could pull up the image in my phone.

Once it came through I held my finger on the picture until this screen popped up. Since the writing is so light it actually looked like a blank page, but there was a picture there!
Next I downloaded the app Watermark It Pro.

The app was $1.99. I usually never spend money on apps, but I tried the free version and it wouldn't allow me to upload my own photo. So in the end the $1.99 was money well spent.

When you open the app this is what will appear:
Click "choose photo" and click the picture from your camera roll that you want watermarked. On the bottom left there is a place that says "images".

This screen will pop up with a bunch of pre made watermarks.
Scroll to the bottom and there is a blank album that you can add and save you image to. In my app the folder is the "images inside" with the "2" bubble on the bottom right. Click on that album.
Click add new image to folder
and choose the watermark from your camera roll. I think because the image has a transparent background my phone freaked a little and the thumbnail is not the same as the actually picture (weird)- it actually looked like a screen shot I took a while ago with some fonts I wanted. Crazy.

But when I chose it a screen popped up "image saved successfully". Then you can click "use existing image in folder" and it will be saved there.
I actually made 2 watermarks- one for lighter pictures (that has darker letters) and one for darker pictures (that has lighter letters).

Click on the watermark and it will add it to your photo (It'll be really small at first- use 2 fingers to make it bigger and place it where you want it to be).
Then click next and it will "fade" to be how you made it in pic monkey.

Then click finish and save it where you want it. I save the newly watermarked photos right in my camera roll and then go back and pull them whenever I need to add something to my page. I haven't synced my flickr account yet, but this will help with my blog photos since I use flickr to upload all those.

Again, the first time you do it, it may feel complicated because you are having to import the watermark first. BUT after you do that the first time, it's easy after because the image is already there. When you go back after the image is saved you open the program>choose the photo to be watermarked>click images>click your watermark>make it bigger> save! Done.

There has been major drama on some of the embroidery boards I'm on with stolen pictures and people posting other's work to their own page and passing it as their work. Figured this post was timely considering how crazy some people are!