Friday, December 16, 2011

Snowflake Lampshade

Most of my Christmas decorations are up, but I've been adding a few little things here and there for the last week or so. Last night I was looking at a great tutorial for making paper snowflakes and had a lightbulb moment. I took a piece of junk mail (we all have too much of that lying around, don't we?) and cut out a large snowflake. Then using scotch tape I attached it to the inside of the lampshade in our living room.


Isn't it pretty? I love that the different colors from the junk mail ad come through the lamp to make it look multicolored.

It was free, quick to make, and added a lot to the room. What more could you ask for?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Journal Giveaway!

My amazing aunt is hosting a giveaway for one of my Ten Year Journals over on her blog! Head over to Organize and Decorate Everything to enter to win! The giveaway closes on Monday. She's also got a promotion code for 15% off everything in my shop!

Also, please visit Craft Gossip's IZZE Holiday Crafting Challenge and vote for my aunt's "Fun and Festive Holiday Table" (#6). She has the best craft in the challenge (and I'm not just saying that because she's my aunt) and when you vote you automatically get entered to win a $50 Target gift card and some IZZE swag. Win-win!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In the Shop: Washer Necklaces

I just listed a bunch of washer necklaces I've made from vintage road maps, scrapbook paper, and even a few that are my own design. If you need any last-minute stocking stuffers these may be just what you're looking for!

Click HERE to visit my shop and take a peek at the new items I've listed!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekend Project: Tiled Portrait Mural

Last weekend I decided I really wanted a large piece of art to hang in our kitchen, but with Christmas just around the corner my budget was exactly $0. Solution: blow up a family picture on the computer, print it out, and stick it to the wall!

It was pretty simple to do. Here are the steps I followed.

1. Using Photoshop or another photo editing software, blow up/crop your photo so that it will evenly divide into 8x10-inch pieces. (For example, I made our photo 48"x30").

2. Use grid or ruler lines in the program to divide your enlarged photo into 8x10" sections. Print each section so you've got a bunch of 8x10 sections of your picture. (Note: to save on colored ink, print in black and white).

3. Using a paper cutter or scissors, trim each section of your photo and lay them out in a grid on the floor so you know which page goes where.

4. Decide where you want your mural to be, and using a laser level start attaching your grid pieces to the wall with poster putty. You can measure the distance between each paper if you want to get really OCD about it, but I just eyeballed it.


What do you think? I really love it except for the fact that my face has been split down the middle. Not sure if I'll be able to deal with it or if I'll try another photo layout that will keep my face intact. In any case, it was cheap, relatively easy, and cost me basically nothing! Can't beat that!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DIY Cupcake Stand for under $4

Last weekend was my son's first birthday, and although I wanted to go all-out for him, I also had a limited budget with Christmas coming up soon. Because of this I knew I needed to get creative when it came to the decorations and serving dishes. I went to my local thrift store looking for inspiration and came across this strange looking thing-a-ma-doodle:

Anyone know what it is? I think it may have been used to hold salt/pepper and oil bottles? Maybe? Who knows. In any case, I thought it would work great for the base of a cupcake stand. Y'know, aside from the fact that it was insanely lopsided. But hubby made quick work of that and filed down one of the feet to make it level.

Next I took three stove burner covers I bought at the dollar store and spray painted both sides of the rims dark grey.

Then I cut some scrapbook paper to fit inside the burner covers. I didn't glue them down at all so that I can use the stand again for other parties and color-coordinate the paper for any event.

I glued the burner covers to the thing-a-ma-doodle (yep, I'm just going to keep calling it that) with some trusty E-6000 glue and used some canned food to keep everything in place while the glue dried.

Ta-da! I think it turned out so great and these little fishy cupcakes looked so cute on it.

I love cute cupcake and cake stands, don't you? I think somehow food tastes better when you serve it in a pretty way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Free Printable: Stockings Were Hung...

I don't have a fireplace. And I'd be willing to bet a lot of you don't have one either. So where do you hang your stockings at Christmastime? Last year I hung them from a floating shelf in our living room, but that shelf is now over our TV, and the stockings would block half the screen. After staring at every possible space in the room I finally decided to hang them on a blank spot next to the kitchen. As I hung them up I was daydreaming about having my own pretty fireplace, and the line, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.." kept circling through my mind. Then I had a lightbulb moment. If I can't have a chimney, I'll just change the words!


I absolutely love it and it looks great right above our stockings. Next to the thermostat.

Want one for yourself? Click HERE to download the file with four colors to choose from: red, green, grey, and teal! They fit perfectly in an 8x10-inch frame.

I hope you're all enjoying the holiday season, whether or not you've got a fireplace.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free Printable: Christmas Countdown

My son's first birthday is this weekend, and because of that I'm currently in full party-planning mode and not really thinking much about Christmas yet. That said, I decided to work on a little side project today that I thought I'd share with all of you!

Since this is the last day of November and the Christmas countdown has officially begun, I made a printable that can be framed for the whole family to see and change each day! These fit perfectly in a 5x7-inch frame, and you can choose from one of four colors (or all of them if you want to go crazy!): red, green, teal, and pink.

Click HERE to download the PDF file and print away! 

I added some little hooks to a frame I had laying around, spray painted it grey, and then put one of the red countdowns in it. It's now hanging in our entry and I just love it!

I'll be swamped with preparations for a little munchkin party this week, but next week I'll have some great {inexpensive} party decorating ideas for you! I hope you're all enjoying the holidays!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Glow Stick Bath

Every few months we pull out a glow stick or two from the craft box, throw 'em in the tub, and take a spooky glowy bath. Tay loves it and says he's swimming in "swamp water." Fun little activity to shake up his bedtime routine!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Felt Marble Mazes

My four-year-old is obsessed with mazes right now. He calls them "brainteasers" and is always wanting to get more activity books and iPad apps that have mazes in them. I saw this idea a couple of weeks ago and thought it'd be perfect for him.

All I did was sew two sheets of felt together, leaving a small opening for turning. I turned it right-side out, put a marble inside, and sewed all the way around the piece, staying as close to the edge as possible. I then planned the layout of the maze, marked the lines with pins, and sewed along each line, careful not to hit the marble. Lastly I took some small rectangles of felt and sewed one at the starting point and one at the end point.

Now he's got a maze to do again and again. Taylor absolutely loves it and I will definitely be making more of these for him for Christmas. Super cheap, super easy, and the kid loves 'em. What more could I ask for!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tutorial: Ribbon Ball

My little Ollie will be one year old in less than two weeks, and I decided to make most of his gifts - partly to save money, and mostly because I can make him things he'll love just as much as store-bought toys.

This week's project: a soft, squishy ribbon ball. I've seen these in boutique stores selling for WAY too much money and decided I'd make him one myself. Here are the instructions in case you'd like to make one for a little munchkin in your life!

Materials Needed:
Ribbon Ball Pattern (you can download and print it HERE)
Felt (you can do one solid color or make it multicolored)
Grosgrain Ribbon
Sharp Fabric Scissors

1. Cut out ribbon ball pattern shape and trace on felt six times.

2. Cut out all your felt shapes.

3. Cut out 18 pieces of grosgrain ribbon, approximately 4 inches long. Lay your pieces out the way you'd like them on the ball. Place three pieces of ribbon between each felt piece the way you'd like them arranged.

4. Place the first two pieces of felt on top of each other, right sides together. Take the first piece of ribbon, fold in half, and place between the two felt pieces with the cut edges sticking out about half an inch. Repeat for the other two pieces of ribbon.

5. Pin piece together and sew 1/4" from the edge.

6. Trim the raw ribbon edges down a bit and cut small snips up the edge you just sewed, being careful not to cut the seam. This will allow the fabric to form a nicer ball when you turn it right-side-out.

7. Repeat Steps 4-6 with third piece of felt. Now you've got something like this. Kinda looks like a funny hat, eh?

8. Now you'll need to repeat the steps 4-6 with remaining three pieces of felt, leaving a 3-4" gap open between two pieces for turning later.

9. Now you've got two halves of the ball. Place these two halves right sides together and pin all the way around, inserting your remaining ribbon pieces and pinning in place. Sew all the way around the ball. Make small snips up the edges you just sewed, being careful not to cut the seam.

10. Turn ball inside out and stuff with fiberfill. I didn't have enough so I ended up using some felt scraps and batting scraps as well. You can even use scrap fabric, old clothing, or even plastic bags if you want the ball to be crinkly.

11. Once fully stuffed, hand-stitch the opening shut.

DONE! I can't wait to give this to the wee one for his birthday. I may have to make a couple more in varying sizes for him to play with. If you make this, let me know how it turns out!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How To: Clean Brooms and Dustpans

I was sweeping my bathroom floor the other day and realized everything on the floor was sticking to the broom. When I reached down to clear the bristles off I noticed that they were VERY sticky, probably from sweeping the kitchen floor after the little one spilled his juice. My first thought was that we'd need a new hand broom, but then I thought about trying to clean it instead. I've never heard of anyone cleaning a broom, but surely it's possible, right?

Well I found that it definitely is possible, and it's really easy too! I'm thinking I'll make this part of my yearly fall and spring cleaning regimens. After all, who knows what kind of icky germy grossness is living in your brooms?

First I took the broom outside and beat the bristles against the sidewalk a few times, just to get as much dust out as I could before washing it.

I filled a large bowl with boiling water and set it in the kitchen sink, then added about a cup of bleach and set the broom in the water, making sure all the bristles were completely covered. While that was soaking I rinsed off the dustpan and filled the other side of the sink with boiling water and bleach, then let put the dustpan in it. I let both the broom and dustpan soak for about an hour, occasionally moving them around in the water to loosen anything that was stuck to them.

When the hour was up I ran both the broom and dustpan under hot water for several minutes, paying special attention to the bristles of the broom. Once thoroughly rinsed I set them on a hand towel to dry completely overnight.

My broom is now clean, sanitized, and not sticky! I'm going to try this method with my large broom as well. I feel much better sweeping my floor now that I know my broom isn't so gross.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nutella Croissants

(Re-posted from my personal blog entry, Sept. 2nd, 2011)

I really need to stop finding such amazing dessert recipes on Pinterest.


My mouth loves me; my waistline not so much.

That said, I HAD to share this recipe. It's simple, delicious, and you just can't go wrong with Nutella! I made a batch of these the other night and Sean and I may or may not have eaten them all in one sitting while watching Twister. True or possibly not true story. But most likely true.

So without further ado, the next dessert you should make for your family. Or maybe just yourself. Maybe make them and then hide in the bathroom and eat them so no one begs you for any. Can you tell I'm a mom?

Nutella Croissants (via Handle the Heat)
  • 8 tablespoons Nutella
  • One package Pillsbury Butter Flake Crescent Rolls
Preheat oven to 375. Open package and carefully spread dough out onto a flat surface. Cut apart dough following the pre-cut lines into 8 triangles.

Place one tablespoon (more or less, depending on your preference) of Nutella onto the base of each triangle. Carefully roll the dough up to form a crescent shape.

Place rolls onto ungreased baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.

*When I made these I also whipped up a little basic icing (powdered sugar, milk, softened butter, and vanilla) to spread on top. Perrrrrrrrrrfection. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Apartment Dweller's Guide to Recycling

I've always been a fan of recycling and consider myself somewhat of a wannabe hippie. The problem with this is that we've always been renters, and the majority of the time our landlords haven't been as keen on spending the extra money for recycling bins. For a while I used that as an excuse to just forget about the whole thing entirely and looked forward to a time when we'd own our own home and could have one of those fancy blue bins of our very own. There were two big problems with living that way: 1) I felt guilty, and 2) my four-year-old-going-on-forty-year-old made me feel even more guilty. My sweet little Taylor would ask me at least once a week why we didn't recycle, and each week I'd have to tiptoe around the issue.

Well not anymore!

I've compiled a list of things that even us apartment dwellers can do to help the earth and appease our wise little preschoolers. Now let me preface this by saying that I am in no way perfect at all of these, and have a vast amount of improving to do. But every little bit counts, right? So, without further ado:

(and everyone else, too!)

1. Choose just one thing to recycle (paper, metal, or plastic) and make a bag or bin for that item next to your regular garbage can. Paper is probably the easiest because you don't have to rinse it off first. At the end of each week take it to your local recycling plant or nearby paper recycling bin. Most elementary schools (at least in my area) have large dumpsters specifically for paper recycling. If you've got the room, have separate bins for all three materials to recycle. Stacking bins with lids will save the most space.

2. Wash any glass jars you'd normally throw out and donate to your local thrift store or list on Freecycle. People are always looking for glass jars for projects. Speaking of projects, take a peek around the internet (Pinterest is a GREAT resource) for things you can reuse that you'd normally throw away. Some fantastic decorating projects I've come across are HERE, HERE, and HERE. The possibilities are endless!

3. Save all that cardboard! Break down cardboard boxes and store them in a bag or box in a closet or under a bed. You never know when you'll need a box or have a project that requires something more heavy duty than card stock. Save those paper towel and toilet paper tubes too; they're always great for craft projects! If your stock of cardboard gets too big than the space you've designated to store it, take a trip to your local recycling plant or ask a nearby business if they'd be willing to recycle your boxes along with the ones they usually pack up behind the store.

4. Save yourself a ton of money and make your own cleaning products. Not only is it cost-effective, but you can reuse the same container again and again rather than wasting all that cardboard and plastic buying new boxes and jugs of cleaner. I've found some great "recipes" for laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, all-purpose cleaner, and even hand soap! Do some snooping around the web and you're sure to find how to make just about any cleaning product you can imagine.

5. NEVER throw out old clothes! You can always donate any clothing items you don't want anymore, or you can have a little fun repurposing your items; I usually do a little of both. I have a bag in my coat closet for any items that need to be donated, and then save a few items for myself to give a little makeover. Again, there are literally thousands of websites and ideas online to give you inspiration. You can learn how to revamp your out-of-style jeans, turn a sweatshirt into a cardigan, and just about everything in between. I posted a little t-shirt makeover a few months ago on my personal blog. It was so much fun and I was inspired to repurpose more items I didn't wear anymore!

I know I said there were five tips, but here's one last one...

6. Don't beat yourself up if you're not perfect! Okay, maybe I'm the only one who does this. But if you happen to be crazy like me, this is probably one of the best tips out of all of them. I find myself getting upset at every little thing I throw in the trash, which is good because it shows that I care about doing my part and all that, but it's bad because the last thing this over-worked, over-tired mommy needs is to keep herself awake at night stressing about garbage. Like I said before, every little bit helps!

Another thing that couldn't hurt is to ask your landlord if they'd be willing to pay for a recycling bin or dumpster. The worst they can say is no! I plan to take the boys around our complex at the beginning of the year to ask my fellow tenants to sign a petition to get a recycling plan in place. There's no reason not to recycle anymore, there just isn't. And if I have to pay an extra $5 on my rent every month to ensure that 150 tenants can recycle then I'll do it!

Do you have any great, easy tips for recycling as a renter? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shoe Makeover

I don't know about you, but I think Pinterest is about the coolest thing on the interwebs right now. I love seeing what other people create and getting inspired to make things I would never have thought of before.

Example: My sister pinned these shoes last week. Not sure what the source is, but aren't they beautiful?

As soon as I saw them I thought, "I could do this myself!" I rifled through my closet, sewing boxes, and craft closet and came downstairs with a pair of dark red pumps, some black stretch lace I had from an old shirt, white glue, a foam brush, clothes pins, and brown craft paper.

I laid the craft paper over my kitchen table to protect it, then mixed the white glue 50/50 with water to make homemade mod podge.

I cut two pieces of lace that would cover the shoes completely. Starting at the tip of the shoe, I applied a thick layer of mod podge, laid the lace on top, then applied more mod podge. I worked like this all the way around the shoe, not worrying too much about the edges yet. I didn't worry about getting any mod podge on the sole or heel because I knew I could clean it later with water. I used masking tape in an attempt to keep the lace in place, but it didn't work so well. I think pins would have worked better.

When I got to the heel, I used my fabric scissors to trim the lace around the back, creating a seam that I overlapped slightly. Because it's lace the overlapping fabric looked fine and the seam wasn't noticeable.

I let this first coat of mod podge dry overnight. The next day I used fabric scissors to roughly trim closer to the edges of the shoe. I then applied a second coat of mod podge, paying special attention to any place there could be more friction (the heel and along the sole).

I used clothes pins to hold any lace in place that wouldn't cooperate. In retrospect I wish I would have put a piece of waxed paper between the clothes pins and lace because when the glue dried the clothes pins stuck and it was hard to remove them without removing the lace pieces.

Once the shoes were completely dry I went over them again with the exacto knife, cutting along the seams and carefully pulling off all the excess lace. I used a bit more mod podge to touch up any areas that still weren't completely adhered to the shoe.

The last thing I did was take some cotton swabs and water and clean the mod podge off the heel and sole of the shoes.

What do you think? They turned out so much better than I thought they would!

Obviously these aren't shoes to wear in inclement weather, and putting a couple coats of some kind of clear sealer would be a good idea.

I think they look great! My husband calls them my vampire shoes, so I may have to wear them on Thursday when I go see the midnight premier of Breaking Dawn!