Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gingerbread House and Playing with Piknik

Really late in posting this, but Taylor and my friend Sarah and I spent an afternoon on Thanksgiving weekend making gingerbread houses. This is the first time I've ever actually made a gingerbread house and it will definitely be a new holiday tradition in our family!

I started playing around with Piknik today and it's pretty cool...considering upgrading to the premium membership for $24.95/yr. If you use it I'd love to know what you think of it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Featured Today on One Pretty Thing!

My No Sew Stocking Garland was featured today on One Pretty Thing.

Thank you Rachel for featuring my project!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Framed Button Tree - Tutorial

This is a simple project that makes a festive piece of home decor for your home or as a gift for someone on you list! Let's get started with the tutorial:


* Unfinished wood frame (I got mine at Michael's for $1 - I never buy just one!)

* Red acrylic paint

* Scrapbook paper or fabric (for the mat behind the tree)

* a piece of cardboard the same size as the opening in your frame

* Aleen's Tacky Glue

* Green buttons and 1 brown button for the trunk

* Green Embossing Powder, Alphabet Stamps or "Believe" Stamp, Versa Mark Stamp Pad and heat gun (You could also just stamp the word but I wanted to emboss it to give it some extra pizazz).

1) Paint the frame

2) Adhere the fabric or scrapbook paper to the cardboard that will create your photo mat.

3) Now create your button tree. If you need to, in very light pencil, draw a triangle on your photo mat to use as your guide and fill in the triangle with buttons. Put a small dab of glue on each button and then stick each button to your photo mat. You can layer different shades of green on top of your base layer of buttons. Glue down your brown button at the base of the triangle to create the trunk.

4) If the paint on your frame is not yet completely dry, use your heat gun to dry it.

5) Once it's completely dry, follow these steps to emboss the word "Believe":

Stamp your believe stamp onto a versamark ink pad. Then stamp the stamp onto your frame. Then, immediately place your frame onto a piece of cardstock (to catch any excess embossing powder). Pour embossing powder all over the stamped image on your frame. Gently turn your frame over to remove the excess powder. Your image should now be covered with embossing powder. If it's not evenly covered, then repeat this step.

Next, with a tiny paint brush, remove any small amounts of excess powder (if you ended up with "edges" around your image, you want to be sure to brush the powder off the edges of the image).

Immediately after you've added the embossing powder to your image, use your heatgun and watch the magic as your embossing powder melts. Once it's shiny it's done! Ooh, ahhhh!

6) Now put your button tree into the frame and voila! You've got yourself a whimsical piece of holiday decor.

It's seems like there's a lot of steps to this project, but honestly, I created it in less than 1/2 an hour.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pantry Organization

An organized pantry is essential during the holidays when the kitchen is in full gear! All the holiday baking and entertaining will go much more smoothly if you know what's in your pantry and where to find it. A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my pantry was in total chaos. I decided to spend a little chunk of time getting this chaos under control. We have limited cabinet space in our kitchen, but a very large corner pantry. So the pantry doubles as storage for pots and pans.

I started the organization by pulling everything out of the pantry. Yep, everything! I pitched food that was expired and consolidated food that we had more than one container of. I moved some infrequently used pots to the cabinet in our garage that I use for kitchen overflow. This freed up a lot of space.

Then, I grouped like items together and began stocking my pantry back up, grocery store style.

And here's the finished product! Can you tell I love pasta? A whole shelf dedicated pasta and a second shelf dedicated to pasta sauce makings! Bottom shelf holds baking items. I like the basket for bags of chocolate chips and nuts and such.

The pic below shows the snack basket on the bottom shelf so when Taylor wants a snack she can just grab her own.

I didn't snap a shot of the floor of the pantry but it's home to all of our cases of soda and juice boxes.

My plan is to label the shelves so that everything goes back where it belongs and everything is put in the right place when unpacking groceries. BUT...I can't find my label maker! I know it's somewhere in my craft room! That's my next organization project.

Friday, December 10, 2010

No Sew Stocking Garland

A close up...

and a full view...

Yesterday I gave you a sneak peek of what I've been making over the last few days. I was inspired to create this stocking garland by this project featured in a recent special issue of Woman's Day.

As I flipped through the magazine in line at the grocery store, this adorable garland caught my eye. I thought it was made from felt or fleece stockings. I thought it was a sewing project. I didn't have time to read the instructions but I knew I had to make it (and I loved several other ideas I saw in the magazine, too!). So, I tossed it on the conveyor belt along with my other items.

Well...when I finally read the instructions I realized it wasn't a sewing project. The stockings were made from...

baby socks!

I LOVED the idea even more once I realized this would be a special keepsake for my daughter's baby socks! Yes, my daughter is 4 1/2 and I still have socks from when she was an infant. In an effort to simplify, I always bought her the same white socks from Target. So, I have the same socks from 0-36mos. I read the first couple of steps of the tutorial in the magazine and then I let my own creative juices flow...

So, I started with several white socks and a bottle of red fabric dye.

I followed the instructions on the bottle of dye to dye the socks red.

(there's no cooking involved I just used my stock pot because I was afraid of staining a bucket or my white sink!)

When the dying was done, I washed them and dried them and I had beautiful red stockings!

Then I used a whole lot of this:

Some puffy paint, and little bit of this:

to create embellished stockings like this:

To create the snow effect, I used white puffy paint to create a snowman. Then, I sprinkled the Diamond dust on top of the paint and used my heat gun to dry it. It puffed up the paint and sealed the Diamond Dust, creating a look of real snow! I also use Diamond Dust on top of Glossy Accents to create a "sugared" look on fabric and paper flowers.

I had a whole lot of fun embellishing all of these little stockings to create a festive garland.

To create the peppermint swirl candies, I used this cording that I found by the spool at Michaels. I simply curled it and wrapped it tightly to create a circular candy shape. I've got a whole candy them going on this year...I really need to post pics of the tree and another handmade garland!

I embellished the other stockings with paint, felt, buttons and ribbons. Did I mention I had fun??? Then I used my Crop-a-Dile to punch a hole in the upper corner of each stocking and threaded a ribbon through the whole. Next, I hung the stockings from a wide piece of red ribbon and then tied various widths and colors of ribbon to the red ribbon.

The stockings would also work on their own as ornaments. What a wonderful keepsake to give a grandparent as a memento of baby's first Christmas. Or, if you've got a houseful of kiddos you could have them each decorate a few of their socks and keep it as an on-going keepsake that you add to each year. Or, do a collection of stockings for each baby's first Christmas.

However you choose to personalize this project, if you create your own I hope you have fun and be sure to send me a link!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sneak Peek

This is a sneak peek of what I've been up to...tutorial to be posted tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm still alive...

I've just been really, really, really busy! But I haven't forgotten about my blog and my bloggy friends. I'll give a quick rundown of what's been going on with me and then I'll be back before long with lots of tutorials!!!

I've been really busy with work. Hospice and KFA.

Decorating for Fall.

Planning and hosting Thanksgiving Dinner. (Very Thankful for my Father-in-law who cooked the turkey!)

Decorating for Christmas and purging unneeded decorations.

Making handmade decorations and doing Christmas crafting with Taylor.

And...last weekend our dishwasher broke. It was full of dirty dishes with another sink full of dishes ready to go in. Not the best time of year to be dealing with a broken dishwasher. New dishwasher gets delivered today! Woo Hoo!

I've been taking lots of photos but they haven't made it from my camera to my computer, yet.

I hope you're all enjoying the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and you're able to catch a few minutes of tranquility to recharge.