Here’s to a…

happy valentine's day

Okay. So I know I haven’t been here in forever. I could give you all the regular excuses of how I got so busy, life got in the way, blah, blah, blah…
but that doesn’t really matter. And while I can’t say that I promise to be here with a new post everyday, I can say that I want to revive this here little ol’ blog. So, on this day of love, I thought I’d share a little something I whipped up for the little loves in my life.

valentinesdays2013
This is what Valentine’s Day looks like at our house… getting ready for class parties and sharing treats with our friends. First, we made cupcakes…

valentinecupcake
I found all of the cute cupcake stuff in the Valentine section of the local walmart, which makes things super easy for this last minute mama. And Laurel was very happy to help with the sprinkles and putting in the toppers.

While the cupcakes were baking and cooling, I got started making the kids’ Valentines. I designed these cards and printed them on cardstock, cut each one out, and punched a hole in the corner.

vdaycards
For Spencer’s I tied little bags of chocolates to the cards. The Hershey’s nuggets, aside from being extremely tasty, looked like bars of silver to me… kinda like a pirate’s treasure. Perfect for my little pirate-lovin’ boy.

piratevalentine
For Laurel’s class, we decided to hand out bubbles. I found these cute little bubbles in the wedding section of walmart. The wands even have little hearts on top. So, with a loop and a swoop of some ribbon tied in a bow, we were left with these little darlin’s…

bubblevalentine

And, there you go. Our version of Valentine’s Day… cute, quick, and easy. Just how this mama likes it. Now here’s to a day filled with cupcakes, chocolate, bubbles, and the ones you love!


Cookie Monster 2nd Birthday Tag

This post is brought to you by the letter C and the number 2


A few days ago I had the opportunity to create these super fun Cookie Monster tags. My client wanted to use them on favor bags she was handing out to celebrate her son’s second birthday. And I thought they turned out so cute that I wanted to share them here too.


These little tags are a great way to personalize party favors.
Aren’t they just the sweetest finishing touch?


But why stop there? These would be awesome as gift tags too. So I removed the name and birth date, added a “from” line and ta-daaaaa…

Click here to download

Now you can download and print your own! And once you do, all you have to do is trim them out and punch a hole in the top.


And then tie it on with a bit of ribbon. Easy peasy.


I really hope these can be useful for someone out there! But, the only thing I ask is that you use the download for personal use only. :)


Wrapping up Teacher Appreciation Week

Today is the last day of Teacher Appreciation week… the day to “bring your teachers something sweet to eat.”


Instead of brownies or cupcakes or bags of candy, I wanted to bring something a little bit different. I just discovered this stuff at walmart a couple of months ago, and I can not get enough. It is so good. The perfect combination of sweet and salty.


If you can’t read it clearly, it says “A sweet and savory dream of white chocolatey drops, chocolate drops, peanut butter drops, almonds, peanuts, cashews, golden raisins and cranberries.” Mmmmm mmmmm, good. I might’ve bought a bag for myself. Maybe.

I grabbed a couple of glass jars from walmart, a piece of fabric and some yarn.

First I cut 2 circles from my fabric. I used my rotary cutter and a plastic paint palette as a guide.

And then filled each jar with the trail mix.

I wanted to wrap each jar with the fabric and some yarn. But first I needed to add a bit of double sided tape to help hold the fabric in place.

I placed the fabric down on the lid, and while the hubs held it tight, I was able to loop the yarn around a few times and tie it in a bow.



That’s it! Easy, inexpensive, cute and yummy!


Teacher Appreciation Week Part 2

Teacher Appreciation Week is rolling right along. Yesterday was “give your teachers a hug” day, so we didn’t have to make anything for that. But today is “bring your teachers a card” day. And Laurel made these all by herself!

All I needed to do was set out a few supplies. A couple of blank chipboard cards, some acrylic paint and a few foam heart stickers.

Laurel enthusiastically picked 3 colors for each of her teachers. Then I took a brush and painted a little bit of paint onto the front of a foam heart sticker.

After I painted the heart I handed it over to Laurel to stamp away.


We used a new sticker for each color and put 3 hearts on each card.


After the hearts had time to dry, we flipped the cards over so Laurel could write a sweet message to her teachers.

Just look at that handwriting!!


Laurel did such a great job all by herself. She was so proud of how they came out, and she was super excited about giving them to her teachers today.


Teacher Appreciation Week

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at Laurel’s school! So, everyday I’ll be whipping up something cute to show her teachers how grateful we are to have them.


On Thursday of last week, the PTO sent home a list of suggestions to help show the teachers that we are thankful for all the hard work they’ve put in this year. Monday was “bring a colorful pen or pencil” day so Laurel brought a couple of pens like the ones I talked about here. Tuesday is “make or bring your teacher a flower” day. And instead of bringing the teachers flowers that can wilt and be thrown out, we made these cute felt flower brooches.

I’ve made flowers like these before (here), but I put a little twist on these and wanted to show you how you could make your own. Maybe it’s Teacher Appreciation week where you are, too. But, if it’s not (or maybe you don’t have kids), these would make an awesome happy for Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make 2 brooches:

Various colors of felt: 2 colors for each set of petals and green for the leaves
Fabric scraps
Button covering kit
Needle and embroidery thread
Scissors
2 safety pins
Hot glue

STEP ONE: Cut the felt you’ve chosen for the petals into circles that are roughly 2.5″ in diameter. I used a small bowl to trace the shape. You’ll need 2 circles of each color.


STEP TWO: Cut a leafy shape from the green felt. Then cut the leaf in 2, so that one part is slightly larger than the other.


STEP THREE: Cover your buttons. Start by cutting a small piece of fabric. Place the fabric face side down over the white piece in the button covering kit. Trim off any excessive fabric and fold it down into the button. Place the back of the button over the fabric and use the blue piece to push the back into place.


STEP FOUR: Take each of the circles you cut for your petals and cut them in half. Cut slits evenly around the curved edge of the half circles.


STEP FIVE: Take a needle and thread some matching embroidery floss. Using a back stitch, outline the leaves with the thread. I didn’t draw a line or anything, I just followed the curve of the felt as best I could. Then I added a line down the middle to give it that leafy feel.


STEP SIX: I really didn’t like the idea of the thread showing on the backs of the leaves. So I hot glued the embroidered leaf to another piece of contrasting green felt. Then, I just trimmed around the leaf so that a bit of the lighter green was showing. Leave a little tag on the end… it’ll come in handy when it’s time to put everything together.


STEP SEVEN: Cut another circle from the green felt. It can be the same size as the circles you cut for the petals.


STEP EIGHT: Now, let’s put it all together. Starting with the leaves. Add a bit of hot glue to the end tag part of the leaf and stick it down onto the green circle. Arrange the 2 leaves any way you like. One on each side… both on the same side. Whatever you like.

STEP NINE: To make the petals, take one of the half circles and add just a tiny bit of glue… just enough to hold it together folded in half. Then take a contrasting half circle and glue the first piece to the middle of the second. Wrap the other half of the second piece around and glue down. Repeat until all the petals are complete. You’ll need 4 petals per flower.

STEP TEN: Arrange the petals around the green circle and hot glue down. The petals should be on top of the leaves.

STEP ELEVEN: Hot glue the covered button to the center of the flower. I added another felt circle under the button, but it’s not necessary… I just thought it needed something more.

STEP TWELVE: To attach the safety pin, add a tiny bit of hot glue to the part of the pin that doesn’t open and stick it down in the center of the back. To finish it off and add some stability, hot glue a small piece of matching green felt over the pin.


See how cute they are finished!

Plus, they last way longer than real flowers.


A Springtime Apple Treat

Last week I signed up to bring apples for Laurel’s Easter party at school. It was one of the last things on the list. And because I am officially that mom, I couldn’t just bring sliced apples. So, I made these fun little springtime apple treats instead.

You know those moms. The ones who completely overdo and go way above what is required for the sake of being cute or crafty. Yep, I am totally that mom. And I am totally okay with that.

I love doing things like this. Especially when it’s for one of the kids. We get to work together and make something cute that we can share. And I know that one day (all too soon) these things will become just a fun childhood memory. So I will be that mom. For as long as my children will let me.

These are so fun and easy. You can make as many as you need for school parties, birthdays, or just an afternoon snack. It took me right around 2 hours from start to finish to make 16 treats.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Apples
Peanut butter
Gummi Worms
Large straw
Oreos
Clear plastic punch cups
Saran wrap
Tissue paper
Ribbon
Toothpicks
Paper banners
Stickers
Hot glue

 STEP 1: First, I followed this tutorial and filled each apple with peanut butter and a gummi worm.

STEP 2: Crush the Oreos (about 2 per treat) and place into the bottom of each cup. Place the apple on top.

STEP 3: Wrap each apple and cup in saran wrap so that the edges are on the bottom of the cup.

STEP 4: Using an Exacto knife and a small plate, cut the tissue paper into circles.

STEP 5: Wrap each cup with a tissue paper circle. Hot glue some ribbon all around to keep it in place.

STEP 6: Make this springtime treat even more sweet with fun embellishments. Add flowers, bumble bees or butterflies. The ones I used are scrapbook stickers but you can use whatever you have around or can find at the craft store. Anything is fair game as long as you think it’s cute!

For the flags, I used premade banners, but you can definitely cut your own from scrapbook paper. Just fold the banner in half and hot glue a toothpick in the fold. Stick the toothpick into the apple top (going through the saran wrap) and you’re all done!


Laurel was so excited to take these to the party. She told me that all of her friends and her teachers loved them. So I’d say these were a big hit!


How To Make a Disneyworld Countdown

Are you planning a trip to Disney, too? Or another vacation? Maybe you have a birthday or other special occasion coming up? Creating a countdown is a fun way to keep track of the time and keep the excitement growing.

I mean, how great is it to get up every morning and have a fresh reminder of the fun thing you’re looking forward to and watch as each day gets closer to the big event. Plus, if there are kids involved (like Laurel) it helps corral all of those “When are we leaving?”/“Is it time to go?” questions. Laurel already knows that we aren’t leaving for Disneyworld until the countdown says 0-0.

The idea for our Disneyworld countdown sparked when I was cleaning up some unused Christmas craft supplies. It was just after my parents told me that they were planning the trip and I had been thinking of a special way to tell the kids. I knew we would need some visual reminder for Laurel since she’s really bad about asking and asking and asking about things like that. And because she had done so well with the Christmas countdown calendar, I knew a Disneyworld countdown would be in order. That’s when I came across 3 wreath forms… one large and 2 smaller ones… and I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

Here’s what you’ll  need to make one of your own:
Wreath forms – 1 large and 2 small
Black yarn (almost a whole skein)
Felt in various coordinating colors
A needle and embroidery floss
Hot glue
Safety pin
Keychain rings
Cardstock
Hole punch
Chipboard letters
Spray paint
Scissors

STEP 1: Grab a wreath and your black yarn and start wrapping. There’s really no easy way to do this that I’ve found. It’s time consuming and tedious. It does help a little if you cut the yarn into smaller sections rather than trying to wrap straight off the skein. Secure any loose ends with hot glue. Wrap each of the 3 wreaths in the black yarn.

STEP 2: Attach the smaller wreaths to the larger one to make a Mickey Mouse shape. Use a bit of hot glue to secure the “ears” and then take a length of yarn and wrap the two where they meet. Secure the yarn end with your hot glue and repeat for the other ear. Pay attention to the placement of the ears to achieve the optimal Mickey Mouse look.

STEP 3: Create the numbers. This can be done a variety of ways. I designed the numbers on my computer and then printed them out on cardstock. I trimmed around the circles and then glued them down to more cardstock that I had trimmed to 3”x3”. The double layers give it more stability and durability. As an alternative you could use chipboard numbers attached to cardstock, or even the Disney paint color swatches from HomeDepot.

STEP 4: After the glue dries, punch a hole in each of the top corners of the square cardstock.

STEP 5: Add a keychain ring to each hole. Make sure to keep the numbers in order (counting down) and all going the same way. Those keychain rings can be a little tricky!

STEP 6: Spell our your message in chipboard letters. And spray paint them the color of your choice. Again, use what you have… a cricut or silhouette, your own printer, whatever makes it easier for you!

STEP 7: Make a bow. I wanted ours to be Minnie Mouse so I made her a bow. Cut a strip of felt about 2.5” wide by about 11” long. Fold the ends to the middle and secure with a dab of hot glue. Cut a smaller strip of felt. Grasp the bow in the middle and scrunch it down. Then wrap the smaller piece of felt around the middle and glue the ends down. Add glue to the bow and attach it to the ear.

STEP 8: Put it all together. Run a piece of yarn through the keychain rings and tie the ends to the large wreath. Put a little hot glue on the knots to keep it secure. Arrange your message and glue the letters down. Add some bunting and felt stars and pom poms. Whatever you think to make it fun.

For the bunting: Cut small pieces of felt into triangles. Use a needle and embroidery floss to thread the triangles and then tie the ends around the wreath.
Click here to see how to make the pom poms (follow the same directions as for the flowers).

STEP 9: Open a small safety pin and hook it under the yarn on the back of the wreath. Add a 3M hook to the wall and hang your wreath from the safety pin.

Tada! A fun, visual countdown for a super special event. I clearly wanted our countdown to be Disney themed, but you can totally tweak this idea and use it for any occasion.

So, tell me. Are you planning any big trips for the summer? And how do you handle the constant questions from a 5 year old? I’d love to know!


From Canvas to Chalkboard

I currently have 1124 projects pinned to Pinterest. 1124 little bits of inspiration right at my disposal. Armed with the determination to do rather than just pin—and a little inpsirationI whipped up this cute chalkboard from an old canvas and some leftover chalkboard paint.

(pin here, source here)

At first glance of the inspiration photo, I thought for sure that the original was an artist’s canvas. Which was awesome because I already had the canvas I could use. But, it’s not.
When I read the tutorial I realized it’s actually a wooden plaque. Which I didn’t have. And I was not about to go shopping. So I just stuck with my original plan and used the old canvas I had already. Of course you could use a wooden plaque, or a frame, or anything really that’s flat and can be hung on the wall.

THE CHALKBOARD

STEP ONE: Prime the canvas. You can use regular ol’ brush on primer, but I chose to use Killz Spray Primer so I would have as few brush marks as possible. I gave my canvas 2 coats of primer. Not only does it give you a nice clean surface for the chalkboard paint, but it also stiffens up the fabric of the canvas a bit to help make writing on it easier.

STEP TWO: Once the primer has dried, paint 2 coats of chalkboard paint. Be wary of your brush marks and try to keep everything as smooth as possible. A foam roller would probably be better at that, but a brush and some attention works just as well. Allow to dry.

STEP THREE: Hot glue ribbon around the edges of the canvas. The ribbon gives a nice finished edge.

THE POCKET

Please forgive me for the lack of process photos.
I got caught up in the making and not in the picture taking. Sorry.

STEP ONE: Determine the size of your pocket based on the size of the canvas. For the width, you’ll need the width of the canvas plus an inch or 2 on each side to wrap around to the back. For the height, take the finished size you’d like the pocket and multiply x3. Mine is 7” high finished so I cut my fabric to a height of 21”.

STEP TWO: Lay your fabric out wrong side up. Fold down from the top (so that the right side of the fabric shows) to reach your desired height, for me that’s 7”. Iron a crease. This is the back of the pocket.

STEP THREE: From the bottom (so that the right side of the fabric shows), fold up until the crease meets the edge of the back of the pocket. Iron a crease. Now you have the pocket flap, or the piece that actually holds the chalk in.

STEP FOUR: Determine the height of your pocket flap. Mine is 4” so the tops of the chalk stick out above. Fold down any excess fabric and iron a crease.

STEP FIVE: Use iron on hem tape to secure the hem of the pocket flap.

STEP SIX: Cut a piece of iron on Heat ‘N Bond the size of the back of your pocket. For me that’s 7” tall by the width of the fabric.

STEP EIGHT: Place the Heat ‘N Bond (shiny side down) between the creases on the wrong side of the fabric. Iron until the Heat ‘N Bond has fully adhered to the wrong side of the fabric.

STEP NINE: Allow to cool and then peal off the paper backing. Fold the fabric back down over the Heat ‘N Bond and iron until the fabric has fused together.

ATTACHING THE POCKET

STEP ONE: Apply a bead of hot glue along the bottom edge of the canvas. Aline the fabric pocket so the bottom edge is flush with the bottom of the canvas. Don’t forget to allow enough over hang on each side to wrap the edges around to the back of the canvas.

STEP TWO: Continue to apply hot glue and stick down the back of the pocket. Be careful not to adhere the pocket flap to the back of the pocket!

STEP THREE: To finish it off, wrap the edge around to the back. At this point it would be helpful to use a staple gun, but mine was out of staples. So I just hot glued everything down. Even the flap to the back of the pocket. It’s okay to do that on the back. ;)

STEP FOUR: To finish it off, hot glue a piece of ribbon along the top edge.


THE FLOWERS

STEP ONE: Cut 4 circles from felt. The bigger the circles the bigger your flowers. You can use soup cans or glasses for tracing.

STEP TWO: Cut a smaller circle to act as the base of the flower.

STEP THREE: Cut a couple of leaves from green felt.

STEP FOUR: Fold each of the 4 circles in half and add a dot of hot glue. Just enough to hold it together in the middle. Then fold in half again and add a touch more glue. Now you have a petal. Repeat x 3.

STEP FIVE: Add a bit of glue to each of the petal ends and glue down on circle base.

STEP SIX: For the center, I used coordinating fabric covered buttons. Just follow the directions of the button covering kit and hot glue the finished button to the center. Other center options include regular buttons, felt circles, or a few more petals to fill it out.

STEP SEVEN: Arrange on your canvas and use hot glue to stick the flowers and leaves down.

Note: To get the pom pom effect, just cut slits in the circles before you fold them!

And there you have it! Just slip some chalk, and maybe even a little eraser, in the pocket and you’re good to go! Give these as a gift or just make one for yourself. The possibilities are endless.

We gave this one as a birthday gift (hence, the sweet message written by my girl) and it really seemed to be a crowd-pleaser. Also, with just a little change in fabric, you could easily make one of these for a special boy.

Have you painted anything with chalkboard paint lately? I’m wondering, is there anything that can’t be made into a fun, cute chalkboard?


My Crafty Space

Evolution. Ebb and flow. Peaks and valleys. Motivation and … unmotivation.
This is the story of my crafty space.

You see, this space started its life as a formal dining room. But, we don’t actually do any formal dining. All of our dining takes place at the counter bar or at the kitchen table. We’re not really ones for dinner parties. Almost immediately I set out to rezone the formal dining area into a very un-formal crafty space.

That journey began in March. Of 2011.

It’s been a journey full of ups and downs. It’s been a constant flow of changing and rearranging. Adding to and taking from.

Most of the crafting was being relocated to the counter tops and the kitchen table.
And the master bedroom.

And this space—this poor little perfect-for-crafting space—was being neglected and filled with junk. To make matters worse, it’s open to the rest of the house (because it was a formal dining room) and it’s one of the first rooms you see when you walk through the front door.

Not the best of first impressions. So I got my act together and I cleaned it up. And I reorganized. And I’m actually really comfortable with where things are in this room. Which means I’m ready to share. So let’s bring on the pictures!

It took me a week last March to paint those stripes. I built the desk using the parts and legs from an old buffet table. I just added the extra long top and apron. Then painted the top in chalkboard paint. This is one piece of the room I’m still not completely happy with. I really want to rebuild a desk using stock base cabinets so it’ll be counter height. It’s actually on my to do list for this year.

I love those yellow chairs! I picked them up from a yard sale for $10. They are actually really comfortable and the original yellow vinyl is in really good shape. I may need to spray paint the frames soon though. Just another project added to the list.

The shelves above were DIYed using bifold closet doors and wooden brackets. Everything got sanded and primed and painted a fresh white. The brackets are screwed into studs and the doors sit on top. Just like that… tons of extra storage space.

Then I had to find room for all of the stuff. Seriously. I have stuff everywhere. So things like paint supplies, fabric, yarn, felt, jewelry and lip balm making supplies, cricuts, and general all-purpose crafty supplies found their homes on one of 2 cheapo bookshelves that flank the doorway to the entry.

Here’s the other bookshelf behind my favorite blue chair. I bought this lovely from a seller on craigslist. It’s probably my favorite craigslist purchase ever!

On the shelf I used a couple of extra brackets to act as dividers for larger bits of folded fabrics. Works pretty well.

I added little containers and such all around the room to help corral all the little bits and bobs that go along with crafting. The little clear plastic jars I found at Goodwill for 99¢ each. I just cut some scrapbook paper and slipped it inside. And, they even match the soup can organizers!

The little framed pegboard I made helps keep things I use the most—scissors and a ruler—handy, but still has room to add things as I need to. The best thing about pegboard is that you can constantly move the hooks and attachments to get a custom arrangement for whatever supplies you need to store.

There are still a few things I’d like to do before I can officially say that I’m 100% happy with my space. Like changing the light fixture, for one. It is so time for that dining room chandelier to go. I’ve had my eye on the IKEA Maskros fixture for a long time. Too bad the closest Ikea is still 8 hours away. Boo.

For now, I can honestly say I’m content with how it looks and how it functions. I feel like everything has a place and I have room to spread out and get down to the fun stuff—the crafting!!

Linking up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party!


Happy Valentine’s Day

I made these cute little treats for the kids to hand out at their Valentine’s Day parties at school today.

Using Martha’s tutorial, I made these cute cherry Valentines for Laurel to give all her sweet friends. I tweaked the tutorial a bit so I could use some things that I had at home… like pipe cleaners instead of floral wire stems, and green duck tape in place of the floral tape. I was able to fit 3 pieces of assorted candies inside. The card I designed and printed on cardstock says “You’re the Cherry on Top!” To attach the cherry to the card I made a couple of small holes and looped a piece of pipe cleaner through. Easy and cute!

One down… one to go…

I got so lucky with Spencer’s Valentine. I’ve seen cards like these floating around on Pinterest, but I knew there was no way I could get Spencer to cooperate for a photo. Then I remembered this photo from our Christmas card photo shoot. He was already holding the sucker in the photo so I knew it would work perfectly. To make these Valentines, I brought the photo into Illustrator and added the speech bubble and a happy greeting from Spencer. Then I just printed them out on cardstock and punched a hole above and below his hand. Slide in a sucker stick and voila! The sweetest little Valentine I ever did see!

From my little loves to you, we hope your day is filled with love … and chocolate. Lots of chocolate!


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