Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One More Christmas Craft That Should Have Been Posted A Long Time Ago

Here's a quick little gift card/gift bag craft that I'm late posting for Christmas (and with crappy photos!).  At least maybe it will give you some ideas for next year :)

If you've ever purchased anything from Anthropologie online, you've probably received your receipt in a little paper pouch.  They used to send your receipt in a little cloth bag.  Both of these items are great to recycle into gift bags for little items and gift cards.  I like that these pouches are a little bit bigger, maybe 4 x 5 inches, so they fit a number of things (gift cards, jewelry, handmade cards, little art pieces).  But you can, of course, use any envelope or pouch - even make your own!

I've recently invested in a few inexpensive holiday stamps.  Totally worth the 5 or so $$ I spent.  I've already used them for a few projects.  I simple stamped a design over the front of my paper pouch.  (If you use a cloth pouch, I would suggest putting some newspaper or wax paper instead the pouch before beginning to stamp.  This should keep the ink from transferring to the other side of the bag.)  I clearly need to improve my stamping skills, but you get the idea.  These holiday designs add a fun, festive touch to my pouch/envelope, making it a little more special.

The back side of these pouches have Anthropologie's logo on them.  Luckily, a many years ago, someone gave me this cool "recycled" stamp.  I'm not sure if this stamp is still available from Storybeads in Ann Arbor, but it's the perfect way to cover up the logo and proudly proclaim that this item is RECYCLED.

Hope you had a great holiday!  Now would be a great time to pick up some holiday stamps in the after-Christmas sales!  What a great way to spend New Year's Day :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Little Gift to You: Favorite New Craft Websites!!

In this season of giving, I thought I would share some great new craft sites I've found:

First up, Find+Craft, a searchable website of craft tutorials.  Here, you can search for craft projects by category, length of time to complete, and experience level.  You can save the projects you like in your "stash" and even easily add your own tutorials.  I think this website is relatively new - the categories are somewhat limited and there aren't A LOT of projects listed.  But hopefully as more people visit and use the site (hint, hint), there will be more tutorials and categories added.  Go check it out now, I'll wait :)

Next - this cool online magazine, Amy Powers' Inspired Ideas.  The current issue is just chock full of great Christmas decorating and craft ideas.  This magazine is gorgeous, and I love, love, love so many of these projects (check out the little Christmas village covered in snow glitter!).  What is particularly great about this magazine is that the projects include all the templates and print outs that you need to complete them!  Looks like I've missed some previous issues, but I'm definitely going to spend some time on this site!

And possibly my fav new site - Pinterest Fail - a BRILLANT idea!!!  This blog heartbreakingly (but hilariously) posts failed attempts at replicating various projects and tutorials on Pinterest.  Let's admit it - we've all been there.  Why not share the pain?  My favorite post - the DIY Chevron Melted Crayon Art.  I remember seeing this on Pinterest and thinking, "that just can't be as easy as it might seem."

So, Happy Holidays from me to you!  I hope these sites were exactly what you were hoping for  :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wrapped Up in a Wreath

Perhaps like a lot of people, my husband and I don't put up a Christmas tree for the holidays.  There's many reasons for this:  we don't have children, we often travel over the holidays, etc.  Despite all that, I do love Christmas tree ornaments, and have made and collected some much-loved decorations over the years.

So this year, I decided to buy an artificial wreath for over our fireplace, and decorate it in lieu of a tree.  All of the decorations are handmade, but come from a few sources:

Some are made by me from recycled greeting cards (tutorial here)!

Some are made of polymer clay and decorated with various stamps (super easy - check out my tutorial)!

Some I received in my knitting group's annual ornament exchange!

I love them all, and found that this burlap ribbon (with just a hint of gold running through it) did a nice job of tying together my shiny, glittery ornaments with my clay and fiber-made decorations.  One note:  I found that just hanging the ornaments on the wreath looked a little weird.  All I could see were the hangers and it distracted from the decorations.  So instead I removed the hanging loops and wired the ornaments in place, securing them to the frame of the wreath. 

I still need to do some re-arranging with the decorations, but I'm really happy with the overall results.  I think it's a great alternative if you don't have a tree. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sweet and Tangy Salad

I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.  I haven't blogged or focused much on Thanksgiving because I don't consider myself much of a foodie or great cook.  But I did want to share this fresh salad I put together for today's meal.

I'm glad I decided to add a green salad to our holiday menu.  It was a nice break from the starches that made up most of our meal.

For my sweet and tangy salad, I used:
  • spring salad greens (I must admit these were packaged)
  • crushed walnuts (broken down into smaller chunks)
  • dried cranberries
  • blue cheese crumbles

I used a healthy tablespoon of each of the toppings (walnuts, dried cranberries and blue cheese) for each serving size.  I made the mistake of tossing my salad before taking any photos, so most of the fun toppings fell to the bottom.  Blue cheese may seem like a weird choice for this salad, but I think it added just the right amount of tang.  This salad would also be great with some leftover turkey tossed in.

To top it off, I threw together what might be called "kitchen sink" dressing, because I just grabbed some stuff that sounded like it would work well together:

Sweet & Tangy Dressing (amounts for a single serving for a side salad)
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red wine vinegar (maybe a little bit more)
  • tablespoon of raspberry or strawberry preserves (I used strawberry because it's what I had)

You could also add a dash of salt and pepper, but I wanted this dressing to be more fruity than sharp.  Stir together ingredients really, really well.  Make sure you give it a good stir before adding it to your salad.

If I hadn't used this dressing, I probably would have just put on a light drizzle of my favorite poppy seed dressing from my nearby big box retailer.  This stuff is really, really good!

I realize this salad and dressing isn't really breaking new culinary ground, but I was really pleased not only with how this salad and dressing came out, but also how well it complimented our Thanksgiving feast :)

I hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as I enjoyed mine! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Have Yourself A Craftastic Holiday!

I'm still in crafting mode as the holiday season heats up (and cools down - brrr!).  Next up:

Every year, I save my favorite cards from the holiday greetings we receive from friends and family.  And now I'm thrilled to have a project that reuses these cards, yet allows me to still enjoy their beautiful images and sentiments. 

This holiday project is easy and great to do with kids.  And the materials are things that most crafters already have on hand!  You can find more information and directions on my Hubpages

I hope you are getting your holiday craft on :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Needle Felted Tree for the Holidays or Everyday!!

I know that I promised that I wasn't trying to rush Christmas, but I wanted to share another tree I made.  You can find the directions and details here on my Hubpages.  I didn't specifically make this as a Christmas decoration, and I think I can display this tree year round :)

I've decorated my tree with needle felted flowers, buttons, and some (very basic) embroidery stitches.  If you have never seen needle felting, I've posted a very simple, low-tech video demonstration below.

Thanks!  Let me know if you have any problems viewing the video.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Show Off Your Bling for the Holidays!!

I might be pushing the holiday season a bit this year, but I'm excited to get started on some projects and share them with you :)

First up is this Christmas wall hanging I made from some cloth and my collection of vintage jewelry.  I love how this came out and there are a lot of ways you can change this up to use your own costume jewelry.  Step by step instructions are on my Hubpages.  Thanks for checking it out!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No Crying Over a Broken Tile

I recently bought these bird ornaments at my local dollar store for a buck each.  I think they're cute and very appropriate - we have a pair of cardinals that nest in the rosebush in our backyard.

I have a special project planned for the near future using these ornaments, but for now they are hanging on the wall in the kitchen.  They are holding the space where this tile used to hang.

I've had this handmade tile for a number of years.  It's hung on the wall in every place I've lived.  Last weekend, it mysteriously fell and broke.  No one was near it at the time.  I'm a little sad, but maybe I can make something new with the pieces.  Meanwhile, I'm enjoying my new feathered friends :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Flakin' out on Fall

I had a plan to make a new Fall wreath for our front door this year.  I sorta had it figured out in my head what I wanted to make and how I was going to do it.  Then, I was in Homegoods and saw this:

And I really loved it.  But it was $24, which is kinda steep for a wreath which I usually make myself.  As I stood in Homegoods gazing at this wreath, I realized my plan for my handmade wreath was probably going to cost me close to, if not more than, $24 in supplies (ugh).  So I bought this wreath, which (again), I love. 

So I decided to switch my wreath idea to being an "after the holidays" door decoration.  I should probably start on that project soon.  But for now, I'm just enjoying my store-bought Fall wreath :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Craftgawker Bracelet Tutorial

Yea!!  My etched plexiglass bracelet tutorial has been featured on Craftgawker!

Check it out!  Craftgawker is another great craft website, featuring creative projects and wonderful ideas.  Projects are constantly being added and updated.  I'm so thrilled to be included!!

The tutorial for this bracelet can also by found on my Hubpage

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trying to Fashion Blog It

When I first started this blog, I considered making it a fashion blog.  I'm very interested in fashion and I like reading other fashion blogs.  But, let's be honest, I'm no fashionista and I don't have a life that requires the latest styles or expensive clothes.

I did, however, want to share a recent scarf purchase and a cool way to tie a scarf.

I bought this pretty scarf, which I love, for $15 at Target.  I love the color (it comes in a red design and teal too) and the paisley print.  I see myself wearing this scarf a lot this fall and the coming winter months.  And I recently learned a neat way to tie a scarf around your neck:

Step 1: Fold the scarf in half lengthwise, and hang it around your neck with the loop on one side and the 2 ends on the other side.
Step 2:  Holding the end of the loop, take one loose end of the scarf and weave it through the loop by putting it over one leg of the loop and under the other leg of the loop.  With the other loose end of the scarf, do the opposite - weave it under one side of the loop and over the other side.  Refer to the photo below:

Step 3:  Pull on the ends to tighten and shift the knot as you want to wear it.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blog Envy: Another Great DIY Blog!!

Here's another great blog that makes me wish I lived within her world:  DIY with Heather's Help.

from http://www.diyheather.com/

There's three things I really love about this blog:

1.  Heather shares really wonderful recipes and ideas (with gorgeous photos)!

2.  That she has the energy to make all these things (and blog about it).

3.  She has such beautiful plates and kitchen accessories (I'm jealous!)

Heather was so sweet to try one of my recipes from my Hubpages and blog about it.  (She even worked out how to modify the recipe using regular oatmeal.)  Thanks so much, Heather!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

{Food} Blog Envy

Every once in a while (well, really more often then that), I come across a blog that I just want to move into and stay there.  RavieNomNoms is one of those blogs.

baked zucchini chips from RavieNomNoms blog

Everything on her blog looks so wonderful.  Looking at the recipes, I'm not always sure I would really like them, but her photos are so gorgeous that I STILL want to eat it!  It all seems so perfect.

from http://ravienomnoms.com/2013/07/10/blueberry-rolls/
How does she do it?  Check out her beautiful drool-worthy blog here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Strange Alien Plant Form

We recently noticed these green vines growing in our flower garden and across our yard.  They did not look like the flower seeds with we had planted, but we had used some compost from the composter that the previous owners had left.  We though we might have some unintended squash or volunteer cucumbers growing from seeds in the compost.  That's fine.  Great!

Then, we noticed this:

This isn't a cucumber.  Not one that I've ever seen!  Any ideas?

And the vines are taking over our little flower plot (please do not judge how flithy our siding is.  I'll clean it soon, I promise).

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Best Laid Plans Go To Waste

I thought I was SOOOO smart this spring when I laid out my list of craft projects for the rest of the year.  This list didn't look too daunting and I thought I was giving myself plenty of time to accomplish my plans.  It seemed like it would be a productive, yet reasonable schedule.


From the beginning, my plans kind of hit the fan.

First, I found out that some friends were expecting a baby and had to sneak in another knitting project to make them a baby blanket.  You can see it on my list, added later, but now it's complete and I've sent to the expectant parents.

And then the painting I was doing as a present for my husband for our anniversary took much longer than I expected.  To be honest, it's still not done and our anniversary was in May (ugh).

Then, the yarn I wanted for my shawl projects was backordered so I had to find some other knitting projects to keep my hands busy at knit night.  At least I've completed the Chevron Cowl I have listed to work on this coming fall :)  And I've made a bunch of shawl pins for when my yarn does arrive and I can start my planned projects.

I have other excuses for not finishing (or even starting) the other projects on this list yet.  But in the end, it is now July and I haven't even finished some of my projects from April :(  I still plan to take on all these projects (maybe not painting my bureau), but my deadlines are on a rapid slide downward.  Sad face :(

Friday, May 31, 2013

First House Guest: Keep Calm & Make Do

My husband and I just passed our first anniversary in our new home and our now hosting our first house guests - my parents.  This is exciting, since now we have a somewhat guest room for them to use.  However, up until this point, our "guestroom" was the repository for all the furniture we didn't have a place for and probably needed to get rid of.

So, with our guests soon to arrive, we needed to transform our guest room into someplace they would want to stay - but we also didn't want to spend a whole lot of money.

First step - a cheap bureau.  I found this white 6 drawer bureau at Big Lots for $99.  We had to put it together (ugh), but it came with a choice of drawer pulls.  I like how we used the crystal pulls on the top row and the plainer pulls on the bottom drawers.

Next, I added a vintage scarf to cover the top of the bureau.  I bought the little mirror for $5, then painted the frame silver, changing it from the original brown color.  The middle painting I bought on clearance from HomeGoods, and  I already had the blue matted painting in my collection.  It's not showroom perfect, but it will do :)

I then found a nice storage basket for the guest bathroom.

This basket was just the right size to fit on our bathroom vanity.  I filled it with hand towels and toiletries for my parents stay.  I added some little packages of ear plugs and bath items from hotels we had visited.  I hope I have everything they might need.

What do you think?  Will it do?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Robin's Egg Obsession

Every summer, it seems I become enamored with a new color.  Last summer, it was teal.  All the clothes I bought were teal, I got a teal purse, etc.  This summer, I think it's going to be robin's egg blue.  I just love how refreshing it feels.

I've bought robin's egg nail polish.  I bought a robin's egg blue case for my phone:

I found this beautiful bedroom on Pinterest:

from countryhome.com

And I've fallen in love with this kitchen (which might be more mint, than blue - but I still love it)

from obaz.com
Do you have any summer obsessions yet?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blooming and Bemoaning

I was cheered a few weeks ago when the peach tree in our yard starting blooming.  It was so beautiful, covered in pink blossoms.

A few days later, it looked like this:

Luckily, it seems the tree and the blossoms survived.  And my sweater is only a little worse for wear :)

Friday, March 8, 2013


I know, this blog has been cold and dormant for a long time.  I've moved most of my knitting patterns and craft tutorials to Hubpages.  I now plan to use this blog for other topics, like decorating, food, and recipes.

To start, I just finished this fun and VERY bright spring wreath.  I used strips of various fabrics and ribbons for the wreath, then added some artificial flowers for a fun spring-like decoration.  For all the directions, head over to my tutorial.

More fun ideas to follow!!