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

July 31, 2010

Another Fondant Cake - and kid-helpers-philosophy

I made another fondant cake - I wanted to try the filling thing I saw on the Make-A-Cake Series here.  It was de-li-cious.  I used a lemon cake with Raspberry Preserves smothered inbetween the layers - it was a perfect combo.
 I pictured a basket weave type of pattern.  It started with strips:
Then to "weave" you pull back 2 strips, lay down the one going across, flip up the other two, lay another across, repeat - kind of like below:
I was thinking that would be all.  To occupy the kids I had them rolling the extra fondant into balls.  The last cake we made had fondant balls on it, and they insisted that this one needed some too (I even offered that they could just eat the ones they rolled, but they wanted to add them to cake) - so I conceded and it got balls.  And then sugar sparkle (I flicked water onto the cake so the sprinkles would stick, but some kind of melted - oh well).  It turned out cute, and I was ok that the balls weren't rolled perfect (I did have to reshape some crazy ones) because the kids loved that they contributed.
Now, speaking of kids contributing, don't forget to let them be your helpers!  I used to do all my baking and some of my meal prep when they were in bed, just to avoid having helpers.  But they LOVE it and I think it makes for great memories.  Lately I've almost hit the point where it's actually fun to have them "helping".  Almost.  Anyways, even if it's more work, involve them.  Some ways I let them participate in the cake - they rolled the balls - even my toddler had a pile of fondant to work with (although he ate most of his).  And f ondant cakes provide a great opportunity to let them frost a cake.  You have to put a layer of buttercream frosting on the cake so the fondant will stick - and no one will see the frosting, so let them do it and you don't even have to care if it doesn't look right:
And of course there are the spoils of being helpers - here they are after we made a giant pizza cookie the other day:
So grab some helpers and start baking!

July 30, 2010

Blog Swap: Car Seat Tent from Scraps n Strings

Hello to Craft Edition readers! This is Ruth and Sammy from Scraps N' Strings and we are so excited to be doing our blog spot with Mandy! 

Today I'm going to teach you how to make a car seat tent.
These are awesome for all seasons.  Especially for baseball games and things in the summer and for Church all year round!  I designed it to be a cover but also to double as a blanket.

Items Needed:
2 yards each of a cotton fabric and a snuggle flannel
2 packets of quilt binding in a complimentary color
matching thread
2 buttons (the bigger the better, I say :D)
To start off I bought 2 yards each of a cute cotton print (for the top) and a snuggle flannel for the bottom.  I cut each piece into a rectangle measuring 33 X 41".
Next you will turn the opposite sides together and sew around the edges about 3/4 of an inch leaving enough unsewn to reverse back to the right side.
Once it is turned out take your quilt binding and sew around the edges and use this to sew up the hole.
Next cut 2 strips of each fabric 7 X 3" and turn the opposite sides together sew around the edges and then flip right-side out and sew again along the edges.
Now sew a button hole to one end of each strip.  I used the zig-zag stitch to make 2 parallel lines then connected them with a straight stitch and then used my seam ripper to cut a hole in the middle.
 Next sew buttons on the opposite end.
Now lay the blanket over your car seat to determine where to sew on your straps.  Pin them on and sew a small rectangle attaching the straps to the blanket.
Voila!! I promise this is easy! I am a beginner and the whole project took me only a couple of hours.  I hope that you try it out and love yours as much as I loved mine!

July 29, 2010

Grand Re-Opening (and giveaway)

I'm declaring my blog revamp done - yeah!!  I still have a few tweaks here and there, and I need to find time to add to my "Tutorials" section over on the side, but overall I am done with the major renovations.   Thanks to everyone for the kind words - I too LOVE it all!!  So crisp and fresh.
I want to give a big shout-out to my sister-in-law-to-be, Amber.  She is an actual Graphics Designer (not just self-taught, but has a degree in the field) and she helped me a ton.  I'm good with the whole blog layout, adding in html here and there (if I couldn't figure something out I just googled it - the internet is amazing), but I don't have the eye for actually designing the images.  She just whipped up my bee and logo, along with my background and button, all from scratch - I just told her what I pictured and she filled the order.  Amazing!  She might open shop in graphic design for all us bloggers who need images and blog design- just something about being busy with an upcoming wedding and all, so it's low priority right now.  I'll keep you posted on that.

How to celebrate this grand re-opening??  With a giveaway, of course!  I am offering a spot of advertising - you know, you'll have a button over there with all the great sponsors - for the month of August for FREE.    So if you have an Etsy Shop, Online Store, or Blog of Your Own - any site that you'd like to increase the traffic on, good luck on winning!

To enter just leave a comment on this post - any comment.  That's it!  I'll pick someone at random on Tuesday, Aug 3, in the evening.  So enter quick - -

Photography Tips: White Balance

Here we are, yet another Photography Tip with my untechnical talk - have you been using the tips so far?  Just getting started?  Don't ever shoot in auto - see my post all about that: start of Photography Tips.  Today I want to touch on White Balance.  You won't be able to change White Balance unless you're on "P" or some other manual setting, just FYI.

White Balance is actually quite helpful.  It is how your camera adjusts the light it's seeing.  I keep it set on auto a lot, but I change it when necessary.   Somewhere on your camera you should have a button labeled "WB" where you can get to the following list:
 So when should you change it, and to what?  You change it to what light is in your situation.  For example, when I do pictures outside in the shade, I set it to "Shade".  You know how pictures in the shade have a blue tone?  Well if I set the White Balance, the camera adds a little warmth and the pics look great.  WB comes in handy when I'm crafting at night (when is mostly when I do that sort of thing) because I am downstairs with no natural light.  Have you ever taken pictures inside, no flash (right! no flash!), and they come out yellowish - it's because the camera is picking up the lights from your house.  So I set WB to "tungsten" and it takes out the yellow.  Here are two pictures straight out of the camera (upcoming craft...)
The only difference was the White Balance - on Auto in the top picture and Tungsten in the bottom picture.
So grab your camera and try adjusting white balance - have fun!

Now, let's say you forgot to adjust the white balance and you need to fix your pictures in Photoshop Elements.  We'll do it with layers.  Open your picture and find the half black half white circle thing (anyone know what that's called?) over in the layers area:
It has a dropdown menu to create a new layer - pick "photo filter".  Think of it like adding a colored lens to your camera (that's the old-school way to change white balance - screw on a colored lens), after taking the picture though.  When the box pops open it is set to warming filter - use that if your picture was too blue.  Or you see that dropdown menu - you can choose Cooling Filter if your picture was too yellow.
Then hit OK.  Don't worry if it overfixed your picture.  After you hit OK then it creates a layer on top of your picture, and you can slide down the opacity of that layer so it's not so strong (we've talked about how to do this before when I discussed Photoshop Actions).

That's all for today - White Balance - so easy, but makes such a difference.  Any questions??

July 28, 2010

Headband Holder

I wasn't going to enter this round of iron crafter - it was a tricky secret ingredient.  But then I saw the prize - a Flirty Apron!  I would LOVE to win that!  And so I came up with a project - I thought it was "knobs/pulls" when I made my project, but it's really "hinges/knobs" - hope this works.

Anyways, as you can see, I made a headband holder.  Headbands drive me crazy the way they take up so much room in a drawer.  So they just get put various places (so much so that I can't locate a lot right now - oh well, they'll turn up).  So I thought a drawer pull was a great solution, and the knob holds the elastic headbands.  I made it to coordinate with the Hairbow Holder I made a while ago.

First I painted the edge of my board, with a little board on the front.
Then I smeared on mod podge and stuck down my paper.
When it was dry I sanded the edges of the paper for a more finished look.  This is why you need to paint a white border on the top.
Then mod podge over the top to seal it all.  This is the technique we used when we made the Decorative Letters.
Next, poor-man's lettering.  Since I don't have any sort of machine that will cut letters, vinyl or otherwise, I have to improvise.  I printed the lettering out and then set it on top of my board.  Then I traced over it, pushing really hard with something blunt.  That leaves groves on the board.
Then I just followed the grooves with my permanent marker.  I referenced the printed-out lettering to see where to make the letters fatter, etc.  It's not perfect, but it works.
To attach the handle I had my helpful hubby drill the holes in the board.  Then just screw them on through the holes.  And that's it.
And here's the in-use action shot (if only I could find our plethora of headbands for a great picture - oh well)

Showing Off

Wow!  Yesterday was the biggest link-up yet  Thank you everyone!  As it grows, just a quick question - do you like having all the links bunched together or would you rather have a couple of separate areas, like treats in one sections and crafts in the other??  Just wondering.  Here are a few that stood out to me - did you see them amongst all the great posts?

Felt Treats over on Life is A Party - I have never made felt food, but it fascinates me - maybe one day...

For treats of the non-felt variety, look at this overloaded ice cream cake on Monster Mama - yum!

A couple of sewing projects stood out to me because they are on my to-do list.  First the kitchen towels on Adventures of One Crazy Lady - I plan to do something very similiar this week (and I love that lemon fabric - I almost bought it the other day).  Then the recovered ironing board - I even have my fabric ready to roll for this project.  Glad to see on Whimsy Lane Crafts that it doesn't look too hard (and I'm also loving that Nicey Jane fabric - I just ordered some from the same line for an apron).
For crafting I am loving the idea of this canvas.  You stick letters on, let your kids finger paint all over it, then peel off your letters to reveal the white canvas.  Check out the details at Impress Your Kids.  Sounds like a fun end-of-summer craft.
Finally, I want to start a new thing here on the Showing Off post.  I have been big into craft contests lately, so with that idea in mind I want to start pointing out which link got most views.  This week is was the Paper Cake over at Cute As a Fox - and you can cut all the shapes on your cricut (oh, if only.....)

Thanks for linking everyone!!  If you were featured feel free to grab the new and improved button (get it - Sugar Bee, Sweet Buzz - -eh?)