Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Blog Candy!

Pin It As a way to give back to one of YOU, my 80 followers (!), I'm giving away a special Spring/Easter Craftbag with the following items:
An Easter/Spring ribbon collection (3' each)
Some cute Easter rub-ons and stamps!

So how do you win?  Well, unlike my last giveaway, I plan to give you as many chances as you want to win!  How?

STEP 1: Leave a comment letting me know you'd like to win.  That automatically gives you 1 chance to win!
STEP 2: Let other people know about my blog and encourage them to become a follower.  When they come to see the blog, tell them to leave a comment on any of my posts letting me know that you sent them.  For every person who comments with your name (or handle) you get 1 more chance to win!

Today is the official start of the blog candy competition, so get going!  I'll announce a winner in one week- next Friday morning!  Thanks again to all of you for following my blog & good luck!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Woot! Woot! 80 followers!

Pin It I have 80 followers!!!  Thank you all so much for following my blog & for all your great comments.  As a way to celebrate having made it to 80 followers, I'm putting together a fantastic GIVEAWAY!!!  Stay tuned....

Need a Craft Laugh?

Pin It I came across Regretsy when I was looking at the Bloggie Awards for best craft blog, and it is definitely award worthy!  I'm the kind of person who never takes myself too seriously, is hard to offend, and has a slightly twisted sense of humor, so I love this site.  It's certainly not for everyone though and definitely contains some content that some would find offensive.  Regretsy is a site that makes fun of crazy projects found on Etsy, a site where you can sell your handmade gifts.   I particularly enjoy when she finds things on Etsy that people are pretending are handmade but are really resold.  As a former English teacher, I also enjoy her posts where people can't spell or make horrific mistakes (like 2001 A Space Odissey). 

Along this same line of thought, I also enjoy the site Cake Wrecks, where people display professional cakes that are horrifically made or (my favorite) have misspellings.  If you need a laugh, these are two of my favorite go-to blogs for crafting humor.  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Photography Tip: Macro!

Pin It My absolute favorite way to take pictures is using the Macro setting.  I love taking pictures of flowers, as you can see from my previous posts, and the Macro setting on the camera is ideal for this.  Here's a picture I took of the flowers my hubby got me for my anniversary.  I took this photo on automatic, which was fine for a picture taken from far away.  Nice bouquet, eh?  ;)

Here's the problem, when you get too close, the picture looks fuzzy. 

Look at the difference by just using the macro setting.  Isn't this much better?

The macro setting is so easy to use and produces such fantastic results.  Check your camera manual to see how to use this setting and have fun!  Here are some of my previous pictures taken in macro for you to enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bead People - My First Survey!

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I made these bead people a long time ago and meant to make them into ornaments or pins.  I found the idea in a jewelry making book and I thought they were soooo cute.  BFF Sara suggested that they might be fun on cards.  So what do you think?  What would be the most fun project to incorporate these into?  Leave a comment & let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Manly Anniversary Card

Pin It I find it hard to make "manly" crafts.  Manly crafts having to do with love are even harder.  But for our anniversary, I decided to make my husband a card anyway.  I used some of the paper from my 2011 Scrapbooking Calendar (which he got me for Christmas) and some stickers I had left over from when I made our wedding album.  I decided to use gray as a base for the card as well as ivory which I chalked with grey.  I generally don't use these two neutrals together, but I really liked them together for this card.  I cut out hearts from the leftover calendar paper to use as the other two accents.  Do you have any "manly" projects to share?  Link them to your comments!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mmm.... Cheesy Breadsticks!

Pin It I am not a big fan of cooking.  I love to bake, just not to cook.  I don't like that it has to be done on a regular basis.  I don't like that it takes a lot of time.  I don't like that most of the new recipes I try making end up a big disappointment.  But every now and then I will go all out and cook a big dinner.  On our anniversary, that's what I decided to do.

So I bust out a Giada DeLaurentis cookbook I'd been given a couple of years back and sadly had not used (although I flagged almost every recipe with post-its).  I picked out two recipes, and this was one of them.

Cheesy breadsticks!  These are SO easy and tasty, which in my book is the makings of a recipe that lasts!  You start with a package of Pillsbury breadsticks, slice them in half, dip them in olive oil, then in a mixture of shredded gruyere, parmesan, and fresh rosemary.  Sprinkle with sea salt & bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Fantastic!  Thank you Giada!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Baby Card

Pin It I'm so excited to be doing baby crafts again!  I love making onesies and baby cards and albums.  Here is an easy card I made for a new baby using the Sans Serif cricut cartridge at 1 1/2" for the name.  The star brads and solid colored paper are Recollections and the elephant border & "Ella" paper (not the backing) are K&Company. The paisley pattern I stamped with a paisley stamp I got in the dollar bin at Michaels and the Martha Stewart "sweet pea" purple ink.  Isn't it adorable?  Perfect for such an adorable baby!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Freezer Paper Stenciling Tutorial

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How cute is this?  Freezer paper stenciling is one of the easiest and most rewarding projects you can do, especially for baby onesies!  I used one of the blue onesies I dyed for this project.  Do you want to learn how?  Here's a tutorial. 

You need:

baby onesie (put some cardboard inside to protect the back)
fabric paint (I used Tulip matte paint in Azalea)
freezer paper
foam paintbrush
paper plate (or something to put your paint on)

First, cut out the shape you want with freezer paper.  Freezer paper has two sides- you want the glossy side down as this is what will help stick the freezer paper to the fabric when you iron it.  I used this template from Family Fun to make the butterfly, then drew some hearts for the pattern on the wings.
Next, iron the template onto your fabric.  I used the silk setting (LOW) on my iron and only ironed for a couple of seconds. Notice the purple near the collar?  That's a piece of cardboard I cut out in onesie shape to use when I'm decorating onesies.  You need to put something in your onesie at this point so that your fabric paint doesn't leak through to the back.
Paint away!  I use a foam brush and dab like I'm stenciling.  You want to be careful that you don't get below the freezer paper but also you want to use enough paint so it looks even and bold.
 Let your paint dry.  Add a second coat if you'd like.
 Then just peel off the freezer paper!  The Tulip paint suggests washing inside-out.
Did you follow this tutorial?  If so, send me a link to your projects so I can share!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Great Scrapbooking Site - Sandi Genovese

Pin It Do you remember DIY Scrapbooking?  I watch it religiously whenever it's on TV, even though the shows are reruns and I'm pretty sure I've seen them all already.  So I was delighted to find out that Sandi Genovese has a current website with new projects and videos called The Scrapbook Showgram.  I'm definitely planning on making her gift card holder in the near future.  Hope this inspires you to greatness as well.  What are your favorite craft sites?  I always love to check out new ones.  :)  TFS!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is here!

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I wanted to share some of the pictures I've been taking in our yard to celebrate the beginning of spring! I love spring. It's a time of new beginnings and new life and I find it so energizing. This is the time of year I actually WANT to weed and clean. I definitely want to enjoy the beautiful flowers and buds opening on the trees. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to Dye Fabric

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It's baby onesie time again!  I know a ton of people who are having babies this spring and summer, so I knew I had to get busy making some baby crafts!  I bought a few onesies and threw in some other things like a marinara-stained white shirt of my daughter's and a cute white baby hat I had gotten on clearance at Gymboree about 10 years ago and intended on dyeing for my niece, who is now 10.  So I figured at least my daughter could use it if I gussied it up a little. I also threw in some plain white ribbon I'd been saving off packaging just to see what would happen to it. 

I purchased a Dylon fabric dye packet because the packaging is way more exciting than Rit dye.  The colors and pictures are vibrant and fun, which is the look I was going for.  The color I chose was Bahama Blue, which I figured would make a great base for either girl or boy onesies.  I took some pictures along the way so I could make this into a tutorial.  So do you want to learn how to dye fabric?  Here we go!

You need:

Dylon Fabric dye packet

1/2 lb. white cotton fabric (onesies, tees, pants, hats, etc.).  It is recommended that you weigh the fabric.  I did not because the only scale I have is one of those crappy ones that tells you you're five pounds different even if you weigh yourself two seconds apart.  I dyed one size 2 shirt, four ribbons, one hat, and 7 onesies.

Rubber gloves

4 cup glass measuring cup (or I used a 2 cup one and a glass pot since that's the biggest measuring cup I had)

4 tbsp. salt

something to stir with (I used a whisk so it would wash clean of the dye)

plastic bag

stainless steel sink or a bucket to dye in  (I recommend the bucket.  I think my sink may still have a blue hue....)

Let's get started!

First make sure that all of your fabric has been prewashed to remove sizing and is wet.

Next, fill your sink with warm water and stir in 4 tbsp. salt.  The Dylon packaging recommends you use enough water for the fabric to move around freely.  I did not do this because I was hoping if I didn't use too much water the dye would be more concentrated and the color would be bolder.  It ended up being darker than the packaging, so this or the next trick may have worked. 
Add Dylon dye powder to 4 cups of warm water.  (I used 3 1/2 cups, again to try to make the color darker.)
 Stir the dye and then add to the water in the sink.

 Add your fabric!
Stir for 15 minutes.  This is the boring part.  Maybe a good time to do squats?  Then stir periodically for 45 minutes.
Put on your gloves and remove dye, rinsing in cold water.  I used the plastic bag to put the dyed fabric in to transport it to the washing machine.
Wash your fabric in warm water.  I ran these through the heavy soiled wash cycle 3 times and the water was still a little blue.  You might want to recommend to whoever you give these to that they wash these by hand or give them some color catchers just in case.  I was thrilled to find that these were still very bright!  :)
Finally, hang your fabric up to dry away from heat and sunlight.  (Not sure why this is, but it was in the directions on the packaging.)  Now you have beautiful dyed fabric gifts to give to others, or (as I plan to do) to continue to craft with!  Stay tuned to see what these turn into! 

How cute is this hat?!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I've Been Featured!

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My Creme de Menthe Brownies have been featured on another blog!  Thanks to Huggs & Kisses for featuring me in this post!  I'm very excited to have my first feature on another blog!!  Make sure you stop by her blog- she has lots of great projects and giveaways featured.   :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I made this cute little bow for my daughter to go with her festive outfit, ate some Lucky Charms for breakfast and am wearing green.  What are you doing to celebrate St. Patty's Day?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Hat!

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I've been cleaning out my craft area and found this the other day.  It's a baby hat I made that I was originally intending to try to make into a sundae hat.  It didn't go as planned, but I think I could still do something with it.  As it is, it's a cute enough hat, but I think too simple.  Any ideas? 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Easy Fabric Rosettes

Pin It These rosettes are so easy to do, cute, and versatile!  I've seen similar fabric flowers everywhere, but I used this tutorial from Imperfectly Beautiful to make these out of some of my pink flowered fabric I got way back when.  I think this is a great way to use scraps of fabric, since you really only need a thin strip and it doesn't have to be very long.  The first one I made used a scrap of fabric from a letter I was cutting out for an applique. 

I've been cleaning & organizing my craft area and it has really been encouraging me to use up some of the materials I have.  I have SO MUCH fabric and I'm just not doing enough fabric projects to use it all up.  So I really loved these flowers as a quick project that uses up even just a little of the pile.  I literally filled up a 6 shelf hanging organizer from Target with just fabric and sewing supplies.  I'm hoping now that they're visible and easy to access that I will use them more often.  So hopefully you'll be seeing more fabric projects in the near future. You'll definitely be seeing more of these rosettes on my future hairbows, scrapbooking layouts, and cards!  I think they're fantastic!

My first rosette project was naturally a hairclip because they're so easy and quick as well as incredibly cute. I was inspired by a popsicle-shaped hairbow I had seen online. I knew I wanted mine to look more like a flower, so I used some green ribbon cut simply as the leaves below the fabric rosette. I glued these onto a plain white ribbon covered barette. Cute! Hope you enjoy & make some of your own!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Photography Tricks- Improve your blog photos for 50 cents or less!

Pin It I have two new favorite photography tricks to share with you.  The first I found online at I Am Momma- Hear Me Roar (  I think white makes a great background for blog photos and makes them look so much more professional.  The trick is to just take a picture using a piece of poster board.  To take a picture of the item using white under the item and in the background, simply prop it up against the wall like this:

Then I just got down to floor level to take the picture, which is where the next photo trick comes in.  I learned this from a girl at a craft party. Basically you just take a piece of plain white paper and hold it flush against your flash.  It takes a photo from looking too bright and glowy like this

and just softens the light a little like this

Try it!  It really helps to improve the look of photos when you need a flash, but hate the way a photograph with flash looks.  So there you go - 2 tips for improving your blog photos for less than 50 cents!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mmm....Chocolate Mouthwash

Pin It Okay, so this was my first attempt at using up the creme de menthe.  I thought I'd make a lovely pre-St. Patrick's Day drink to share with all of you.  So I used:

Creme de Cocoa
Ryan's Irish Cream
Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka
Creme de Menthe

In excitement for my delicious drink, I decorated a martini glass with chocolate syrup just like they do at the Melting Pot when I order a chocolate martini.

Not being a big drinker or a mixologist, I decided to just use equal parts of each liquor.  This was not the best idea.  It was STRONG, and sadly, it just tasted like chocolate mouthwash.  I think this would definitely count as a Drink Fail.  It wasn't bad, it was just a little too minty.  Also, because of the irish cream, it didn't have quite the kelly green I was hoping for for a St. Patty's Day drink.  It actually ended up kind of teal.  This was definitely my first teal drink and sadly, not one I really recommend.

Oh well.  At least I had fun taking pictures learning this new technique I found online.  I'll share it with you next time.


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