Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Posts of 2011

Pin It I'm really proud of a lot of the different projects I made this year, but I wanted to feature just a few that you readers also seemed to like a lot. 

(to display pictures from each month of her first year)

There are so many projects I've done that I'm proud of this year, but it's also easy to go back and find my "craft fails" as well.  One of the greatest things about having this blog is that I can see my progress as a crafter.  I'd love to see what your favorite projects from the year are.  Leave me a comment with a link if you put up a post about them.  :)  Happy New Year everyone!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Resolutions & A New Year's GIVEAWAY!- CLOSED!

Pin It 2011 has been a great year for me in the crafting/blogging world, and I'm excited to start 2012 with some new fresh ideas.  Here are some of my crafting & blogging New Years Resolutions.

Crafting Resolutions

*Learn to make soap

*Make more stuffed animals

*Learn to crochet

*Maybe try to sell things I made at a craft fair or online

*Continue to meet up with neighbors to learn & share new crafts

*Continue to make new friends and find new inspiration online

*Make a new craft area

*Make more birthday & Christmas presents for family & friends

*Do more Mommy & Me crafts now that my daughter is older and getting more into crafting

*Learn to cook new recipes (I'd love to do one a week, but I'm only going to commit to once a month to start)

Blogging Resolutions

*Expand my social media presence, particularly Facebook

*Host more giveaways

*Make an "advertising" page and look into additional advertising

*Update my other pages (my crafts, favorite sites)

*Clean up the look of my site

*Double my hits and followers

*Make a blog business card

*Maybe get a domain name

*Continue to learn more about blogging

*Have guest bloggers

*Have more themed weeks (a week about inspiration & organization, a week about using up craft scraps, etc.)

I'm really interested in knowing what your crafting or blogging resolutions are for 2012.  So to get an early jump on one of my resolutions, I'm going to host a surprise giveaway!  Here's the deal, all you have to do is be a follower and leave me a comment on this post telling me one of your New Year's Resolutions for crafting or blogging.  On January 1st I'll pick a winner and send you a surprise gift.  Make sure I have a way to contact you.  Can't wait to hear from you!!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 in Review

Pin It 2011 has been a great year for me as a blogger.  I decided at the beginning of the year that I really wanted to start sharing my crafts with a larger audience and make some more crafting friends, and I accomplished these goals and so much more.  Here are some of the highlights of my year in blogging.

*I've gone from having 200 hits (mostly me) to over 80,000.
*I've gone from having a few followers (family and friends) to over 300.
*I've learned a TON about blogging including how to use programs such as My Memories digital scrapbooking program, Picasa and Picnik photo editors, how to make blog headers and buttons
*I've made a bunch of crafting friends both online and in my neighborhood!
*I joined and quickly became addicted to Pinterest.
*I started a Twitter page.
*I became a "paid blogger".
*I had my first sponsored giveaway by My Memories.
*I WON a TON!  I won a Cricut Expression 2, $50 Target giftcard, Stampin' Up supplies, a Jewelry design book, and a My Little Shoebox "Destinations" collection.
*I've learned new crafting styles, improved my own work as a crafter, and improved my blog photography.
*I've been a guest blogger on two other blogs and had my first guest blogger on Binge Crafter

Great year, right?  I'm so excited to embark on even more blogging adventures in 2012.  What are you most proud of having accomplished this year?

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Geek Gifts!

Pin It One of my brothers is a computer guy, and I wanted to make some gifts for him and his kids that he would get a kick out of.  He just had a new baby a month ago who looks EXACTLY like his 5 year old.  Seriously, if you put pictures of them at the same age next to each other, they look like the same baby.  So I thought these shirts would be perfect for the two boys.

I dyed a regular white shirt and white onesie brown, then used a freezer paper stencil and some turquoise fabric paint to make these. 

My brother used to be a fan of the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when we were young.  If any of you out there are fans out there, you'll appreciate this.  For those of you who aren't, basically towels are carried everywhere for emergencies and the answer to everything is 42.  I actually saw a similar item in a catalog, but it was just too easy to make. 

I got the handtowel from Target and the blue fabric was a fat quarter from JoAnn's Fabrics.  I used Heat N Bond lite and a zigzag stitch to applique on the 42.  I think it turned out pretty cute. 

I love Geek crafts.  Pinterest has a whole category for all things geek and some of the stuff is just too cute.  Check it out. 

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chocolate Stirring Spoons Tutorial & A Hot Cocoa Bar

Pin It I've seen chocolate stirring spoons all over and thought they would make such a cute gift for a teacher, neighbor, or hostess.  I decided for our cookie party this year I really wanted to make some and have a Hot Cocoa Bar.  I tried a couple of different methods of making these and finally found one that is SUPER simple, so I wanted to share it with you.

Lay out a bunch of plastic spoons on a piece of wax paper.

Melt some chocolate (I used bark melting chocolate and a white chocolate bar from Trader Joe's) in the microwave in ziplock bags.  I put one bag in the microwave and melted it 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate was all melted.  (It took about a minute and a half.) Then I snipped a tiny hole in the corner of the ziplock bag and used it like a piping bag.

Fill the spoons with the melted chocolate.

To get the chocolate to look smooth, tap the spoon lightly on the counter.

Add toppings (I used crushed candy canes and crushed oreos) then let them sit until they harden.

I wrapped them with saran wrap and tied them with Christmas ribbon.

I put them in wine glasses for our hot cocoa bar. 

I was thrilled when I found these gingerbread marshmallows at Target.  I knew they'd be a perfect addition to the hot cocoa bar.  I put these in small bar glasses as well.

The bar included the chocolate stirring spoons, marshmallows, Cinnabon candy canes & mints, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, whipped cream and sprinkles, and some irish cream, creme de menthe, and creme de cocoa.  The possibilities were endless!

To complete the bar, I added some decorative labels I printed on my computer then mounted on Christmas paper.  The hot cocoa bar was cute and really popular at the party. 

I love hot cocoa during winter and especially at Christmastime.  I hope you enjoy your holiday season & maybe make some chocolate stirring spoons or a hot cocoa bar of your own.  :)
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ornaments for the Birds

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My next door neighbors have always had a bird feeder and I love sitting out on the back porch and watching the birds they attract.  Another of my neighbors who I frequently craft with also loves birds, so I wanted to make something special for both neighbors for Christmas this year.  I wanted to do something that I could make with my daughter (22 months) since they are all so sweet to her.

A couple of years ago while I was at a gardening store around the holidays I saw cute minature Christmas wreaths made of bird seed and I fell in love with them.  I knew these would make perfect gifts, and I was delighted when I found a tutorial on how to make them on the blog Eighteen 25.  I made mine holiday themed using my holiday cookie cutters.  Here's how I did it. 

I gathered the supplies- wax paper, gelatin packets, bird seed, cookie cutters, ribbon, a pot & measuring cup.
I tied knots of ribbon and laid out all the cookie cutters on wax paper.
I heated 3 packs of gelatin and 3/4 cup of water, then added 2 1/4 cups of birdseed.
I spooned the birdseed/gelatin mixture into the cookie cutters, burying the knots from the ribbon into the middle of the birdseed.  This is the stage where I had my daughter help me, which is why we ended up with a big of a mess.  But they still came out great.  I hope our neighbors- and the birds- like them!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Decorations

Pin It While my friend Sara was visiting, she took some cute pictures of our holiday decorations, and I wanted to share these with you.  She's a really great photographer, and I just love how festive and fun these look in her pictures. 

I love the candy theme for holiday decorating.  I found these cheap candy candles at Walmart and these crazily overpriced Christmas Crackers at World Market.  But I looooove Christmas Crackers, so I got them anyway.

Gotta have a Santa hat readily available for holiday pics and it looks really cute sitting on the end of our banister.

I found these plastic snowflakes at a boutique and thought they'd be perfect for our front porch.  I literally had the cashier pull them off the ceiling from their display so I could buy them.

Isn't this picture incredible?  Sara has a great feel for light when she's taking pictures.

Hope you enjoy these!  Did you do anything different in your holiday decorating this year?

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hanging Ornament Display

Pin It It seems like every department store I've gone to this year has had great displays of hanging ornaments.  I really wanted to make one to decorate a blank wall in our dining room.  I bought a bunch of silver ornaments from the dollar store and some cheap snowflake ornaments from Target to start.  Finally I purchased a bunch of plain glass ornaments from Joann's and used this tutorial to make ornaments that are glittered on the inside.  I used Martha Stewart fine glitter in turquoise and green, which I thought made a fun color scheme. 

My friend Sara took the middle two pictures.  To hang these up I used Command Strips (LOVE them) and spaced them on the ceiling every 3 inches.  I hung the ornaments from ribbons in pairs to keep the pattern symmetrical, with the exception of the middle ornament. 

Although it didn't exactly follow my original plan, I think it turned out great.  I really love the idea of using ornaments in places other than the Christmas tree.  Where else do you use ornaments in your holiday decorating? 

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