Mar 31, 2011

Thrifting!

For those of you who know me well, you know I LOVE thrifting.  I feel so alive during garage sale season, the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of finding something great for an equally great price absolutely makes my day.  

Today we hit up our local thrift store and I just knew ahead of time there was something great for me there.  It's like I have a sixth sense that an excellent find is just around the corner...is that weird?  

So, in my excitement, I thought I'd share my finds with you!



It might not look like too much here, but I'm super excited about some the the finds I snagged.  

Here's the rundown:

 Children's book for the kiddo's - .25
 Green bubbly textured vase - .60
Fall colored striped sweater - 1.50
Yellow crocheted doily - .25
Striped old navy p.j.'s for Judson - 1.00
Pink gingham fabric - 1.00
Black gingham fabric - .60
Navy/white striped fabric - .60



And the grand total is:  5.80

I'm so excited to get to work on some of these items, I've got big plans for that sweater and the pieces of fabric! I'll be sure to share completed projects with all of you, hopefully my plans turn out! 

What about you?  Do you love the thrill of a thrifty find?

Be blessed,

Mar 30, 2011

Quick & Simple Memo Board

I feel like I haven't done a tutorial on here for a long time...time to amend that situation!  

I whipped this sweet little memo board up in no time.  This is a quick project that adds a fun and personal punch to any room.

I started with a thrift store frame that cost me a whopping 20 cents.  I painted it brown and roughed it up a little with some sand paper.  My frame didn't come with a back, so I cut out some cardboard from a cereal box to use as the frame backing.  

 
Either using some heat-n-bond, hot glue, or craft glue, adhere some cute fabric or craft paper to your frame backing.  I used heat-n-bond and it worked great!



 Cut three equal lengths of craft twine.  Cut them long enough that they're about 2 inches longer than your frame backing.  

Evenly mark three dots on the frame backing, this is where you're going to glue your craft twine across.  Adhere the twine to the backing with hot glue.  Once the glue has dried, trim the excess twine.


Fit and secure the backing into the frame.


Using clothes pins, hang up and display snapshots, notes, lists, reminders or coupons.


And that's it!  A quick and simple project that you can put together in minutes!


 
Have fun and enjoy!  

Be blessed,


Mar 29, 2011

Goals

I am a list-oriented kind of person.  I feel so accomplished when I've got a list with boxes all checked off.  Sometimes, when I'm writing a list, I'll write down things I've already completed...just so I can check the box, you know, gaining momentum...feeling the adrenaline rush of completing a task?  You don't know?  Oh.  Moving on then.
 
So, I've been thinking.  
I'd love to do a giveaway.  
They look like so much fun, and who doesn't like winning something?  
I mean, really, winning something cute and free and fun is pretty much the best thing ever.

Here's the thing though: I need to set a goal before I go ahead with this awesome giveaway I've got in the works.  

100 followers.

That's doable, right?  I totally think so.  I think 100 would be just lovely.  So if you're reading this and you're not a follower, you might just want to consider clicking that little button, 'cause this giveaway is something I'm super excited about.  
 
I'll give you a hint:  One of my closest friends has some seriously mad crocheting skills, and she might just have her very own little business crocheting some of the cutest, most darling, lovely, little goodies out there.  And she just might have agreed to be in on this little plan of mine.  Just.  Might.  
 
So, spread the word, click the button, sign up 'cause it's the cool thing to do, and you might just win something awesome too!  
 
 Check back soon for some more crafty action!
 
Be blessed,


Mar 28, 2011

*Make A Mess Monday* Cupcake Liner Flowers

What. A. Weekend.
Do you ever make it to a Monday morning and wonder where the weekend went?  That's me right now.  The weekend disappeared far too fast and now we're on to Monday morning and I feel like I'm running behind already.  After a rude awakening this morning (baby spit up down your shirt, anyone?) and all the other chaos that generally grips our home, I'm not feeling overly optimistic about this week.

Time to have a little attitude check!  My kids will be down for naps and quiet time in just a few minutes...so that equals some "me time"...wow, do I love "me time"...like, a lot.

So, with all that said, I'll just go ahead and share what Addie and I did this weekend and hopefully we can inspire and encourage some of you to do the same!  Without further ado, Make a Mess Monday!!!


We went for a walk this weekend, hoping to see some fresh spring growth...but there was not much to see.  We did see a lot of this though:


And this:

 What?  Can't you see it?  That's a leaf bud on a branch...really, it's right there!
And this:


So while the boys were napping on Sunday afternoon, me and Miss Addie got to work making some paper flowers from cupcake liners and lollipop sticks.  One of my Aunts snagged a huge bag of cupcake liners in all kinds of different patterns and sizes for me last year.  Seriously, there are more liners in there than I'll use in the next decade, so I decided to go ahead and use some of these cute springy ones for our flowers today.  These are mini-liners, though you could use regular sized ones as well.


We made a few different styles. 

1.  The Daffodil

This one is really simple, just flatten one cupcake liner, and scrunch a second on up a little bit. 


Glue them together and glue the flower to the lollipop stick.

2.  The Poppy

This was my favorite style.  Flatten one of the liners.  Fold four more liners into quarters. 


Glue the quarters onto the flattened liner and glue a gemstone, button, or pom pom for the flower center.  Glue the flower to a lollipop stick.

3. The Daisy
(Oops, forgot to take a picture of this one in the works!)
Another very simple style.  Flatten one liner and gently fold it in half, don't fully fold the liner to create a crease.  Cut slits every 1/2" around the outer edge of the liner, stopping about an inch from the center.  Embellish the center with a pom pom and glue to the lollipop stick.

4. The Hydrangea

For a large blossom I used 8 liners.  I pulled each liner over my thumb, forming it into a bell shape.
 

Then, starting with two shaped liners I glued them together at the base, adding liners until I was pleased with the shape.  Add a lollipop stick and you're good to go.

 
 Pictured from left to right: Poppy, daisy, daisy, daffodil, hydrangea, hydrangea, poppy
Now all you've got to do is "plant" them!  Wouldn't these be great popping out of mud pies?!?
 
Well, I hope you're seeing signs of spring outside already, but if not you can always supplement with these sunny, cheerful flowers that are a snap to put together with the kiddos.  As always, thanks for coming by!
Be blessed,



Mar 26, 2011

Anthro-Inspired Braided Pearl Necklace

Using a bunch of supplies that I've had in my craft arsenal for quite some time and a little Anthropologie inspiration, I came up with a great necklace to add to your spring/summer wardrobe.  

 It is so much fun perusing different websites for inspiration.  Anthropologie is a great site to hit for drool-worthy jewelry and fashion  designs.  After finding a forgotten drawer of beads, shells, ribbons, and pearls I knew I needed to expand my jewelry collection. Yes, needed.  Ha!




I played around with a few different looks before I settled on a simple ribbon and pearl braided necklace, fastened with a sheer ribbon bow.  It has a classic feminine vibe that I just love to wear, it makes me feel like such a lady!

Start by loosely stringing faux pearls onto a 1/4" wide sheer ribbon.  It helps to cut the ribbon at quite an angles so you can get a little tip through one of the pearl beads.  Also, be sure to leave a tail of ribbon to work with, 4 or 5" would be enough.


After about 8-9 inches of pearls, string the ribbon through a circular shell bead.  I bought these a few years ago at wal-mart, I'm sure there are plenty of different bead styles that would work great for this project.  After you've strung your ribbon through the shell, continue with the pearls for an equal length.  



Cut three equal lengths of the sheer ribbon, about 16-18 inches long.  Braid these ribbons together.  Attach one end of the braid to one of the circular shell beads.  Braid the two strands of pearls together with the braided ribbon, then pull the beaded ribbons through the second shell bead and secure.  Attach the braided ribbon in the same way you did to the first side.


String a long ribbon through the second hole on each the shell bead, these will be used to tie the necklace on when you're finished.  You can use a little dot of hot glue to add a little extra security to the knots you've tied.  Using a match, lighter, or candle, carefully singe the ends of the cut ribbons, melting each end just enough to keep it from fraying.


And with that, you've got a lovely, feminine, summery necklace that will add a breath of fresh air to your spring/summer wardrobe.  Enjoy!

Be blessed,


 I'll be linking this project up to:

Whipperberry
Be Different...Act Normal
Petite Hermine
 Made with Love Monday
  Tutorials & Tips Tuesdays
Tea Rose Home



Mar 24, 2011

Chai Iced Tea

Yesterday evening I had one of my closest friends over to celebrate her birthday.  We had the most wonderful time chatting, laughing, and of course, eating a delicious spread of tea party themed treats.

The menu consisted of mini croissant cucumber sandwiches, lemon scones with Devonshire cream, and fresh fruit.  Yum.  I tried something new to serve as a drink, Chai iced tea, and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

This recipe makes a relatively small batch, enough or two or three ladies, but if you're thinking of making this for a larger group definitely double or triple the recipe.


You will need:
4 cups milk
4 Chai tea bags
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Ice
Cinnamon to garnish
  
Start with four cups of milk, I used 2% but you could easily do this with skim to cut the fat a little bit.  Pour the milk into a sauce pan and add the four bags of chai tea and 2 tablespoons of sugar. 



Bring the milk to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove the milk mixture from heat, add the vanilla and set it aside for 3-4 minutes to get the maximum flavor from the tea bags.  Strain the liquid into a container to cool.  Straining removes the tea bags and also the skin that forms when milk boils.  Cover and set it in the fridge to cool for at least a couple of hours.  If you plan on making this a day ahead of time be sure to strain the mixture a second time to remove any skin that may have formed overnight.

When you're ready to serve, pour the tea over crushed or whole ice and sprinkle with cinnamon.  This is a delicious and simple summer time treat that I will definitely be making for special occasions.


I hope you enjoy this special treat as much as I did!  

Be blessed,

I'll be linking this post up to Comfy in the Kitchen's Feasting in Fellowship Fridays

Mar 23, 2011

Spring Flower Magnets

These magnets bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.  They're so bright and sunny in my kitchen, adding such a wonderful splash of color and whimsy to my workspace.  They're cute, simple, and fun to make too!

Using scraps of colorful felt, dollar store craft magnets, and my handy dandy hot glue gun, these little beauties were created.  There's no real how-to here, since I didn't take step-by-step pictures, but I'm sure with a little creativity and experimentation you can come up with some of these fun magnets as well.



Wishing each of you a marvelous, sun-shiney day!



Mar 21, 2011

*Make A Mess Monday* Wax Paper Sun Catchers

Oh boy.  I need to take a deep breath.  I'll be honest with you, today's craft raised my blood pressure a little bit.  Not because it's hard, just my kids were a little on the crazy side this morning and things got a lot messier than I thought they would.  This is definitely not a craft to try on freshly washed floors!  But, all that said, the kids really really liked making this springy garland, and I really like how it looks. 

I got the idea here, on www.MarthaStewart.com
Aren't their Valentine's Day hearts just lovely?  Let's just say mine didn't turn out quite as picturesque...

I think the biggest problem was that I didn't use crayon shavings, I just broke a bunch of crayons and ironed them that way.  I tried to make shavings with our pencil sharpener, but it just wasn't working and I got impatient.  Anyway, I'll just suck it up and show you how it went...please don't judge!


We started with a container of broken, worn down, used up crayons.  I'm not the only one with a container like this, right?


We separated the colors and got busy peeling all the paper off the crayons.  


Then I laid out some newspaper on my ironing board, do not skip this step!  Take a long piece of wax paper and fold it in half.  Open up the folded wax paper.  Sprinkle crayon shavings over half of the wax paper.  I used small pieces of broken crayon and it worked, but shavings would definitely work better and give you a better end product.  Use shavings if you can!  Fold the wax paper over the crayons and seal them in by folding the open edges of the wax paper over.  Lay another piece of newspaper on top of the wax paper and run a hot iron over top.  Gently move your iron around until all the crayons are melted.


 Allow the melted crayons to cool, then trace and cut shapes out of your sun catcher paper. 


We cut spring shapes like flowers, hearts and butterflies.  Boden also wanted to cut out circles, triangles and squares, so that's just what he did!


Watching my daughter with a pair of scissors gives me palpitations.  Seriously, that girl freaks me out!  I usually sit with her and try to help her out and slow her down.   

I then took a long strand of craft twine and hung it up, then hung each shape with a piece of tape.  I thought of using my hole punch, but wasn't sure if it would cut through the wax and crayon properly...plus I couldn't find it, so tape it was for me!

 

And that's that!  I love the burst of color this spring garland gives to our living room window.
I hope you have a lot of fun making a mess with your munchkins today!  

Be blessed,



Mar 20, 2011

An Inspired Family Portrait

A couple of weeks ago I popped by the blog of one of my fave blogger friends, Marilyn of The ArtsyGirl Connection.

Each Sunday she puts up a wordless post and a picture that captures what's on her heart.  I was so inspired by this picture she posted of her family, I had to do my own version. 


While my shoes aren't quite as fabulous as Marilyn's, I still love this idea.  It's a quick snapshot of our lives right now...how precious those tiny little shoes are!  

Sorry I broke your "Soundless Sunday" rule Marilyn, but thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

I hope to see you all here tomorrow for Make A Mess Monday,



Mar 18, 2011

Deliciously Dreamy Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon buns are such a treat for me.  
 
 
I love pulling them apart and eating them layer by layer, savoring each bite that leads up to the sumptuous center.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I don't bake cinnamon buns very often though...it seems like a lot of work for a dessert that doesn't usually last too long in our house.  Anyway, first thing this morning, before I could talk myself out of it, I got a batch going.  Oh yum, and I'm not sorry about it either!
 
My go-to cinnamon bun recipe is from a cookbook I've had for years, Great American Home Baking.  I do vary from the original recipe, but the basics are there so I can't really take credit for this lovely recipe!  

Here's the rundown for the dough:
 
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 - 4 cups all purpose flour
 
 For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon  
 
 
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.  The water shouldn't be too hot to touch, but certainly nice and warm, about 105 degrees if you're getting technical.  Though, try not to get too technical, that just takes all the fun out of baking.  Let the yeast stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
While the yeast is doing it's thing, melt the butter in a small sauce pan.  Once the butter is melted, add the milk until it's just warmed through.  Do not boil the milk.  

Stir the milk and butter mixture along with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into the yeast mixture.  If you're using a heavy duty mixer, use the paddle attachment, or if you're mixing by hand, use your elbow grease.  On a low setting, beat in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time into the yeast mixture until a stiff dough forms.  This takes 3-5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's smooth and elastic, about another 5 minutes.  You can add more flour as you need to keep the dough from sticking.  The dough should end up soft and smooth, but not sticky. 

Yes that is me, waving to you, while taking a picture of my bun dough.  Hi!
 
Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel.  Place the bowl in a warm place to rise.  My oven has a bread proofing setting, so I put my dough in the oven to rise.  If your oven doesn't have such a fancy-pancy setting, you can always just turn the oven light on to add just a little extra warmth, or set your oven to 150 degrees for 10 minutes, turning the oven off when you place your dough in to rise.  Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
 
This is such lovely dough to work with, it's so soft.  It's a great recipe that isn't too scary to work with if you're new to yeast.
 
While you're waiting for your dough to rise you can make the filling.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.
 
Grease two baking sheets.  Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough in half.  With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each half out to about a 24 x 10" rectangle.  
 
 
Spread half the filling over each of the rectangles.  


Starting with the long side, roll the dough tightly in a jelly roll style.  Cut each roll into 12 equal pieces.  

 
Place the buns 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.  Cover again with a clean kitchen towel and set them in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes.  

 
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the buns for about 10 minutes, or until they're golden brown.  Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


Of course there are many options you could go with when it comes to icing these lovely buns.  My personal fave is cream cheese frosting, or a lemon glaze is delicious too.  For this batch I kept it simple and did a simple butter, icing sugar, and milk combo.  I used about 4 tablespoons of softened butter, 1-2 cups icing sugar, a splash of lemon juice, and a splash of milk.  Blend it all together, adding more sugar or more milk to get the right consistency.  Spread it over the cooled cinnamon buns, you won't be sorry.  

I sprinkled some tasty cinnamon crunch topping over my cinnamon buns.  Sorry - no recipe for that, I didn't make it!
 
I hope you enjoy this decadent treat as much as my family does.  Have a wonderful weekend!