Chillin' wiht my Peeps

FREE file to make a super cute spring shirt

Mini Photo Frame Banner

A cute and simple way to display mini pictures - come find out how to make one for yourself!

Pony Bead Lizards

Learn step-by-step how to make pony bead lizards

Glitter Felt Hairbows

Add a little sparkle to any little girls wardrobe with these DIY hairbows!

Perfect Crisp Lines

Find out the trick to getting perfectly crisp lines on name signs

May 31, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday: Felt Corn and LinkUp

Sorry, I messed up the scheduled post - but here we go now:
Today I'm excited for you to Take-A-Look at these felt corn from Narelle - too cute!!  I've never actually made felt food, but it all looks so cute and easy that I know I'll be trying it soon!
You can tell this little guy is loving it!  Narelle has her very first tutorial on how to make this felt corn over on her blog, Cook Clean Craft , and she does a great job with it.  Head on over there for the details!  (Remember, shoot me an email if you have something you've love to have featured on Take-A-Look Tuesday - you don't even need to have a blog, just something crafty you'd love us all to see!)
Now, on to the link party - - last week I hit 100 link-ups - wow!!  Thanks for sharing all your crafty ideas - I love browsing through them all and hope you do too.  Heads up, to celebrate the 100 link milestone, I might just have to do one of my random follower giveaways tomorrow, so be sure you're a follower.....
So here are the basic rules to the link party if this is your first time here:

  • Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog (to do this, click on the title of the post you want to link and it will open on it's own page, then copy that url)

  • Grab my button below - you can post it on your post, on your sidebar, on a page of a list of link-ups, wherever as long as it's somewhere

  • Try to visit a few other people on the list - it's fun to support and encourage fellow craftiness - and everyone LOVES comments
If you're new to link-ups and have questions let me know and I'll do my best to help


Gnat (fruit fly) Catcher

Does anyone else have a fruit fly problem in the summer?  Those little bugs are such a nuisance.  I tried a nasty fly strip, but that just looks gross.  Then I tried the funnel-in-a-jar thing which worked, but it doesn't kill the bugs (and I'm okay with killing bugs!) - it just catches them and you have to release them.  I knew I was just recatching and releasing the same ones over and over.  I posted this funnel trap on my blog, but it must have been my family blog because I can't find it here.   Anyways, my grandma saw it and told me "don't you know about the vingear trap?" - no!  So she taught me this trick and I'm passing it on to you.  So easy.  So here we go: how to make a fruit fly trap.
Gather your supplies: a glass jar, seran wrap, vinegar, something pokey, and ribbon if desired.
Fill your jar with abuot 1 inch of vinegar.  Wrap the top of the jar with a piece of seran wrap.  It'll probably just stick, but you can secure it with a rubberband if that makes you feel better.  Grab a helper to poke holes in the seran wrap top:
That's it!  My jar sat this way on my counter all last year.  The gnats want to get at the sweet-smelling goodness of the vinegar but they get in and can't get out - and eventually drown in the bottom.  It looked a little nasty, this jar full of floating bugs.  So this year I spiced it up a little by tieing a ribbon around the water line in the jar - now you can't see the floating bugs.  We have a compost pile so there is always something on the counter waiting to be taken outside - aka, fruit fly magnet.  So that's where my jar lives:
So go craft yourself a bug trap - you probably have all the supplies ready to go!
Linking to all those great Link Parties and the Iron Crafter Competition:

May 29, 2010

Quick Breadsticks

  Did you know that breadsticks are simple to make (and so yummy to eat!) - my friend Renee was always making them and finally I asked for her recipe.  I've been making them ever since - they make a spaghetti dinner seem fancy.  And from start to finish they just take an hour for rising, cooking, etc - perfect.
But first let me tell you that I re-tried the Praline Turtle cake using parchment paper - having the right tool for the job made a HUGE difference - they came right out of the pans.  Mmmm...more than one person said it was the best chocolate cake they've ever had:

Now, on to the breadsticks (I know, those pictures of deliciousness are a hard act to follow).  Renee got the recipe from her mom, so we refer to them as Renee's Mom's Breadsticks:

Breadsticks From Renee’s Mom

1 tbsp yeast

1 ½ C warm water

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

3 cups flour  (sometimes I put in 1 cup wheat flour, 2 cups regular flour)

Brush with:

½ stick butter

Garlic salt

Parmesan cheese

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add salt and flour. Mix together 3 minutes. Raise 20min in bowl.

Melt butter and brush half onto cookie sheet. Roll dough on cookie sheet, covering completely. Cut into 1 inch strips. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese. Raise 20 min.

Bake 375° for 20 min.

What I love about this recipe, besides it's simplicity and quick prep time, is that I just roll the dough right on to my cookie sheet, like so:
Then I grab the pizza cutter and cut the sheet of dough into breadsticks, like so:
And they come out, like so:
Go whip some up and impress all your family and friends!

May 28, 2010

Teacher Gift - Pendant and Towels

I thought this would be a perfect teacher gift - it can be a necklace for spirit days or cut short and hooked onto a keychain or lanyard for everyday use.  Hopefully I'm not the only one loving these pendants.  I made it when I made all my other Glass Tile Pendants (follow the link for a how-to) in anticipation of needing an end-of-the-year gift.  For the actual image I took the school mascot, opened it in Photoshop Elements like a picture, and then followed the directions HERE to shrink it down.

Then last minute I decided to expand the present and I made a couple of towels with the teacher's initial (I love my embroidery machine in that I can just whip up a present like this on a whim!).  I thought towels would be a handy thing to have in any elementary classroom, right?  The towels were bought on clearance after Easter and I thought they were fun enough for this project.
A quick ribbon tie and it's looking great - I just need to have my child attach a handwritten "thanks for being an awesome teacher" type of thing, and we're good to go.
Of course, this in on several Link Parties - I hope you've checked out that list!

May 27, 2010

Force Be With You

If you name a baby Luke, I can't help but make you a Jedi shirt.  Sorry, I know it's not the cutest babywear, but it had to be made.
(When my son was younger he used to say "my name is Luke, but people call me Reed" because he thought he was Luke Skywalker - really.)  I have some StarWars embroidery designs and love when the opportunity comes up to use them.  (I made a girl Star Wars shirt that I showed off HERE and have made some StarWars pj sets)
And since the real Luke is much cuter than staring at the homely shirt, here ya go:
(looks like he might be trying some Jedi mind tricks....)

May 26, 2010

Photography Tips: Focus Lock

Alright, all you with your camera previously on the "green square" - did you try out the ISO?  Flip your camera to "P"?  More about that HERE.  We're moving on today, but still practice with different ISO settings so you can see what it can do for your pictures.

Today I want to touch on something called "Focus Lock".  First grab your camera (still set on P - you can't change anything if you're in full auto) and find the AF button (auto-focus) - it looks like a square with little solid rectangles in it - it's circled in the picture below.  In the picture the arrow points to your wheel where you can scroll through your AF choices.
Your AF is probably set to Automatic Selection.  You want to change that.  Let me tell you something you might not believe:  you are smarter than your camera - you are human, it is not - you know more.  There are still times that I think my camera knows better than me, but I'm working on that.  Anyways, YOU know what you want to be in focus in the picture but your camera doesn't - let's say you want to take a picture of your child off-centered - you know you want the child in focus, but your camera might not focus on them because they are off-centered.  So never let your camera pick your focus point - you can do it!
Push that AF button mentioned before and scroll until the dot in the middle is lit up - that will set your focus point always in the middle.  Test it: when you push your button to take a picture down half-way to focus; when you're looking through the viewfinder, does the red light only light up a dot in the middle? (did you know that to focus a digital camera you push down half-way, let it focus, and then push it all the way to snap the shot?)  That red dot shows you your focus point - and you want it right it in the middle.

Now wait - did you catch on - this means the focus will only be on the middle of your picture.  But pictures look best when the subject is off-center - how's that work?  Use the trick called Focus Lock.  Aim for what you want focused (my little boy's face) - put it right in the middle of the viewfinder - push down half-way to focus on him.  Then while still holding the button down half-way, pan slightly to the right so he is in the left of the frame, then push the button down the rest of the way.  It's called focus lock because you lock the focus on him by pushing down half-way.  Then when you move the camera, it doesn't refocus - it keeps him as the main focus even though he's not centered anymore. 

Does this make any sense?? Go out and try it.  Find an object set away from it's background (like a post across the street from a house).  Take pictures with the object in focus and with the background in focus.  Try to put the object off-centered in your pictures.  Here are the pictures (SOOTC: straight out of the camera) that I took when I was in my class (I was actually practicing manual focus, but that's irrelevant) - I was a beginner at focus lock, just like you, but I did it, and so can you!
Really, let me know if you have questions - I'll try my best to answer them, or I might pass them on to my photography friends who know way more than me...

Showing Off

Take-A-Look Tuesday is really taking off - thanks to everyone for another great link-up!  There were TONS of great things, so be sure to browse back through them.  A few that stood out to me:

Number bean bags at Lemon Tree Creations - simple, cute, and fun.  I made my kids bean bags with the letters of their names, but numbers is a great idea I need to try!
This ottoman repurpose at Meet Virginia - love it because she was so thrifty - even in the fabric she used (which was a sheet - you know I love that!)
I (well, my husband, but I'm directing..) am currently painting a tree on a wall on our house, so I loved seeing this version at My Pink Life - and the whole nursery was such a change:
Life in the Pitts was guest posting on C.R.A.F.T. and I love the 3D of this wall art:
And I couldn't help but stare at the handle redo on A Quest for a Balanced Life because I have the EXACT same handles that I don't care for - I never thought painting them would look this good:

If you were featured, feel free to grab a button:

Stay Tuned - the much-anticipated next post on photography tips will be up later this afternoon...

May 24, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday: Framed Flowers and LinkUp

I posted a little late in the day yesterday - so scroll down if missed my Stamped Washer showoff - they turned out really cute.
Yet another Tuesday is here - yeah!  Today I want to feature something my mother-in-law made for all her daughters/in-laws for Mother's Day:  framed dried flowers.  She brought a whole bunch and I was able to choose my favorite (the silver frame with purple flowers, towards the back).  So simple, yet I love it!  She just gathered wildflowers, smashed/dried them between books, and framed them.  Here's some upclose pics:
Brings a little touch of outside, inside.  So glad she was willing to share these with the world.  Now, let's move on to what you are willing to share with the world...

So here are the basic rules to the link party if this is your first time here:

  • Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog (to do this, click on the title of the post you want to link and it will open on it's own page, then copy that url)

  • Grab my button below - you can post it on your post, on your sidebar, on a page of a list of link-ups, wherever as long as it's somewhere

  • Try to visit a few other people on the list - it's fun to support and encourage fellow craftiness - and everyone LOVES comments
If you're new to link-ups and have questions let me know and I'll do my best to help

Stamped Washer Necklaces

I found a great how-to on making these stamped washer necklaces over at Not So Idle Hands.  Super easy and simple.  I hammered these while I was working my garage sale this weekend.  All you need is the stamp set, some washers, a hammer, and a permanent marker. Oh, and a ribbon of some sort and bead if that's your style.
I didn't take how-to pictures - follow the link mentioned before for that.  But basically you just hold the letter stamp, hammer the top of it, then color in where you stamped on the washer with permanent marker (wiping off the excess).  It's a little tricky not to get the stamp to move while you're hammering on it, but as I practiced I got better.

I think there are endless possibilities. But I thought I was genuis to make a graduation gift:
If you'd like to make them you can find the metal stamps at Harbor Freight and washers at any home improvement store. 

So go grab some supplies and crank out a few of these!  More Stamped Washer IDEAS HERE.

Young Sprout

In honor of the CSI Project with the challenge "paint" I just wanted to do a quick shout-out to my kitchen which I LOVE.  Of all the rooms in our home, this one is the most "me". 
Do you remember the "before"?  The wallpaper was overwhelming and reminded me of those Magic Eye things (remember that craze?) .  The vertical blinds were mauve and seemed to encroach on the whole space. 
I found some amazing fabric from Amy Butler and built my kitchen around it.  (The curtain grommet tutorial is HERE.)  The paint color is "young sprout" and it is so fresh - a whole new space.  There is a spot opposite of the sliding door where we wanted a desk, but it was pretty narrow.  So we needed a narrow desk, plus it needed to be counter-height so I could store my spare table chairs under it.  We shopped for little bit but realized we needed a custom build.  My husband BUILT the whole desk unit (cabinet doors and all) - he's amazing.  I painted a lot of it to match our table and built-ins that are in the family room off of the kitchen, so I contributed a little, but he was the mastermind of that operation.
Wow!, right? Amazing what paint can do. Next project, new counters/tile backsplash, etc (did you notice they were teal?  I love teal and all, just not so much on my counters...)
Also linking to several Link Parties - check them out!