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

August 30, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday and dresses

 Welcome to Take-A-Look Tuesday!  A few weeks ago we hit 200 link-ups - wow!  The past few weeks it's been a little less than that, but probably because of the whole summer-winding-down-school-starting stuff.  But now I feel like I'm feeling my routine again - back into the swing of things - and that means more crafting - maybe for you as well??  Will we hit 200 again? - we'll see.

I wanted you to first take a quick look at the dresses my mom sewed for my girls - they were flowergirls in my brother's wedding.  I love that she made the sash unattached, so I can switch it out (I think with a red sash they'll make really cute holiday dresses).  I can ask her what the pattern number was if you're interested:
Now let's Take-A-Look at what you've been up to:
- - just a run down- -

  • 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)

  • Please don't link up a post that you've already linked here before - since we've been getting so many linkups (great!!) let's keep it to a maximum of 2 links per person - thanks

  • 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


Modeling the Shoes

I just got this picture from my uncle so I thought I'd share a picture of the mod podge shoes in action - you can't really see them, but you can see how I needed a wedge and not a heel.  Well worth my $1.  I didn't want to fall down (literally!) as the wedding photographer.

Mod Podge Shoes

Yes, you read that right - Mod Podge on shoes - I too thought I was crazy!  But here me out - my brother was getting married, and their color was green.  I found a cute gray dress and thought I'd accessorize with green jewelry and shoes.  The wedding was outside so I didn't want heels - but I'm short, so the solution was a wedge.  So, jewlery, check.  Green wedge shoes - nowhere to be found!
At a garage sale I came across some cute black and white wedges in my size, for only $1.  I thought, if only these were green, they'd be perfect.  Then I thought, why not try to make them green.  If the project failed I would only be out the $1 - worth the risk.  And so here you - how to mod podge shoes:
--Gather your supplies.  Shoes, mod podge, foam brush (mine should have been smaller), and some fabric (my mom was making the maid of honor dress so she has some scrap green fabric).
The shoes had a bow so I pulled that off and got to work.  There's no "right" way - I just cut the fabric to a shape that would kind of wrap around the shoe.  I did the right half and then the left half.  Where there was a seam at the toe I thought I'd cover with a fabric flower, but I liked them plain so I just left it.  Here you can see the look of crafting concentration:
It was a goey mess, but just keep going.  I couldn't get it to lay right around where it curves by the toes, so I folded in some pleats.  I would squeeze and hold areas until they stuck.
When it dried there were places on the inside of the shoe where the fabric wasn't staying down, so I glued those with that E6000 stuff and clamped it overnight.  That worked.  The mod podge made the shoes stiff and that made the buckle in the back stuck straight out - I just glued and clamped that as well.  I figured since they fit my foot I didn't need to buckle and unbuckle them.
Now, when the Mod Podge was wet, I knew it was see-through and darker green.  I thought as it dried that the green would turn opaque and lighter again.  But it didn't.  So it wasn't what I pictured, but I didn't mind the black flowers showing through - it added dimension to the shoes.  Here's the fabric, with and without mod podge:
I was worried that the shoes would be super uncomfortable because they were stiff, so I told myself that it was just for one night.  But they were great - no blisters, etc.  I even wore them to church the next day.  I was also afraid they might come apart somehow, but they're holding up great as well.
So don't be afraid to mod podge some cheap shoes - what have you got to loose?!  Go try it!!

Linking to some great link parties - check them out here!!
and hoping for a shout-out in the CSI Project: 

August 28, 2010

Bridal Shower Food (and Lemonade Cake Recipe)

Now that I talked about the bridal shower decor, it's on to the food. (oh, did you grab your free recipe card download?)  I used some glass plates and cups to make it special.  And besides, when else can I use something like that?
For drinks it was an obvious choice - lemonade!  I used the can of frozen concentrate and cut up a bunch of strawberries to put in it for a hint of strawberry-lemonade flavor.  I also had water, with lemon slices for color (and theme!):
My cousin Kate brought the lemon bars - she makes the best ones!!  And some pretzels to add some salty flavors to the menu.
I made lemon cream puffs - I used the Pampered Chef "puff" recipe and the lemon filling from this recipe on AllRecipes.  Basically you make like a lemon curd and then mix it with homemade whip cream, so it's a lemon-flavored whip cream.  I was a little disappointed with these because they just didn't have that lemon "bite" or "zing" I was wanting.  I think if I made them again I would use the lemon curd stuff straight-up - not mix it with whipcream.  They were alright, just not wow - but they looked fabulous:
What was "wow" was the homemade lemon ice - it had that "bite" - the pucker up taste I love.  I found the recipe off of Woman's Day via The Idea Room.  It made a lot more than I had lemons for, so I put the extra in a bowl guests could get refills.  Some even put the lemon ice in their water - yum!
Oh, of course I had candy lemon drops - you see them in the picture above.
The cake was one of my favorites - lemonade cake, recipe from my friend Sara.  It is best in a 9x13 pan because when you pour the glaze on it can just sit there and drown the cake in lemony goodness.  But I wanted it to look pretty so for this event I made it in a bundt pan.  Here it is toward the end of the night:
Lemonade Cake - highly recommended, and super easy to make - go try it!

Lemonade Cake

1pkg.lemon cake mix; 1cup plus 2tsp.water
1(3oz.) pkg. instant lemon pudding mix
1-cup corn or vegetable oil;
4 eggs
1(6oz.) can of lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil; water and eggs in a mixing bowl.
Mix well. Put in a greased 9x13pan and bake at 350 degrees for
Combine confectioners sugar and lemonade concentrate in a
bowl; mix well. Pierce holes in hot cake and spread lemonade mixture
over warm cake. Bake for 3 min. longer.

linking to all those fun link parties including the saturday show and tell:

August 27, 2010

Bridal Shower Decor

So, as mentioned yesterday, the recipe cards were yellow.  Then I saw this post over The Rowdy Stroudy's - a Pucker Up Party and I knew the direction I wanted to go - lemons!!  I love lemon treats, so I took the idea and ran.  I knew I needed a vintage sheet - they had one at their party, and Amber is vintagey, so I thought it'd be perfect.  A couple days before the shower I told my husband I was going to check some thrift stores to find one - he gave me the "good luck with that!" and I thought the same thing.  But, I wandered into the first store, and there is was - $2 - perfect.  Now that was surprisingly easy!

My mom has various old things and I borrowed several of the old-school mason jars from her for wildflowers, holding the forks/spoons, etc.  It brought out the vintage feel.  She also had several trays, etc.

I made pom poms using the tips from Homemade by Jill - she had me worried that they were going to defloof, so I made them (with help from my child sweat shop) about an hour before the party.  But I let them hang around my house for a couple of weeks (why not!) and they still looked great, so for future reference I can make them a day or two ahead of time.
To hang them we (well, not me, but my cousin) just used thumbtacks in the top of the trimboards.
My boring piano is in the room where I held the party, so I grabbed a bunch of DIY wedding craft books and recipe books from the library to display (remember, kitchen theme).  I thought if there was a lull in the conversation while waiting for guests, we could flip through the books.  No worries about a lull - my family is talkative - very talkative.  Also I have a couple of random frames laying around from taking pictures (did you know I have a photography blog - check it out! ) so I set it up there to frame out my wedding bouquet (I had it freeze-dried, and it's still here, 10 years (almost) later).  Oh, and that brown box is to collect all the recipes guests brought in.  And ignore that little boy who wanted to be part of the action - he isn't part of the decor:
With another frame I set up this area to show-off a picture of the happy couple.  I found those flowers in my yard and added them to the display:
For a game I bought these little containers and filled them with various white powders (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, etc) and then put numbers on the bottom.  Everyone has to guess what each number contained.  They were sealed so no one could smell/taste.
For game prizes I just grabbed a package of these take-out boxes and put small kitchen gadgets in them (corn holders, dish scrapper, can opener, etc)
I think overall it was successful.  I underestimated how many people would come, so it was pretty cramped on space, and hot with all those people, but other than that all went well.  It's the first shower I've ever hosted - I feel so grown-up!  Big thanks to my mom and cousin who helped with it all. I'll post all about the food (lemony goodness!) tomorrow.

August 26, 2010

Photography Tips: Back-to-School

This might be too late for some of you, but you can always redo the first day pictures - why not!
A couple of heads-up for taking back-to-school pictures.  I'm sure you'll take the usual line-up, but try mixing it up a little with a "alright, now, everyone make a CRAZY face" type of picture:
And I don't know where I got this idea, but each year I take individual pictures of the kids next to a sign that states their year in school - that way looking back I won't get confused...
Notice the weird face on my son in the picture above - he said after I took a few "hey mom, didn't I look like an evil scientist in those?" - yes, yes you did, thanks.  Here he was back in his smile-cute-for-the-camera days:


Recipe Cards

I am finally getting around to posting about the Bridal Shower I gave for my sister-in-law to be.  I wanted to host a shower for our side of the family for her, and since she was having a couple other showers, I wanted it to have a little different angle.  So I went with the "Kitchen Shower" theme. 
With the invitations, I also sent out blank recipe cards.  Guests were asked to come with a favorite recipe.  The idea is that the gift given would relate to the recipe.  It was a lot of fun - some people went all out with the theme - for example, a pan, spatula, spoon, brownie mix, and recipe to make ultimate brownies.  It was really fun to see all the kitchen gadgets.  Griddle with a pancake recipe, cookie sheets with a cookie recipe, and on and on. 
If you remember, Amber is the one who helped me with my blog revamp - I told her I wanted a background that was turquoise with dots, and she just MADE one - I didn't even know you could do that.  She also made my Bee - from scratch.  Along with the logo, buttons, etc.  So I started to put together a recipe card when I thought, she probably wants to make her own.  So I turned that task over to her and she whipped this up:
Cute, right?  The border mimics kitchen tile.  And I love the yellow - it inspired me to have all the food be lemon-themed (more on that in a day or two).  It's a 4x6 card and I had them printed at a printing company because I wanted 50, but if you just wanted a few you could print them out at home on cardstock.

I checked with Amber, and she is willing to share her Recipe Card Design with each of you - for free!!  For your free download, just head over here:
Amber has her degree in graphic design and works for a newspaper creating ads, etc.  She also does some freelance stuff on the side, and I'm sure she would enjoy branching into blog design.  If you happen to need a graphic designer, email me (mandybeez at gmail) and I'll pass her contact info along.

Bridal Shower decor to come tomorrow, stay tuned!

August 25, 2010

Showing Off

As always, great link-up!!

First, a shout-out to myself, showing off over on Olivia Renn yesterday - check me out!
Now, shout-outs to you:

You should see the recipe book that Flamingo Toes knocked off - almost the exact same!  Long ago I made a recipe book, but I just wrote on my cover with a permanent marker - guess it needs revamped...
And aren't these boots over at Life on Old Savannah cute - you can put vinyl on anything!  I have GOT to get some sort of vinyl-cutting device
A couple of bags stuck out to me - I have friends who have the Nappy Bag (here made on The Modern Brady Bunch) and I think I need one, but I'm also digging the burlap one (with a tutorial on La Maison Reid).  Decisions, decisions..
 Did you see this cake over on At Second Street - I didn't realize that the flowers were out of fondant until I read the tutorial - wow!!
So, any guesses on which post got the most views??  It was a before-and-after of a different sort - congrats on the great progress, Easy Peasy Grandma!

Thanks for linking everyone!!  If you were featured feel free to grab the button:

August 24, 2010

Quiet Book Feature

Don't we all (me included) dream of making an amazing quiet book?  Here's a run-down from a friend, Kendra, who tackled one.  She did it as a craft exchange and it looks great!  She's been kind enough to share some info with us:

I had often seen the so - called "Quiet Books" being used to entertain kids during church meetings... and I always admired them from afar. I secretly wanted to have one for my children however, I KNEW that there was NO WAY that I could ever make one of them. Because...
a. I am NOT a seamstress.
b. I am not "crafty" or "creative"
c. I am a perfectionist and never satisfied with the end product anyway
d. I am notoriously NOT a craft "finisher". I get excited about projects... get started and then... get overwhelmed... lose momentum... and never finish.

Anyway, to make a long story short - this last semester I decided to prove myself wrong - and COMPLETE a Quiet Book. A friend and I organized a "Quiet Book Exchange" and we looked through LOTS of Quiet Book page ideas and templates; we chose our favorite 18 pages. Next, we rounded up a group of 9 women - who committed to make 2 Quiet Book pages nine times each. Finally, we set a deadline - the date for the page swap, so that we could all exchange our finished pages and end up with a complete set of the 18 pages. We decided to do the "Quiet Book Exchange" to try to simplify the project (if you do a page once then it is easier to do it the next 8 times), save some money by "mass producing", and also encourage us to get it done on time since other people are counting on us. The whole concept worked out wonderfully. Here is my FINISHED product.
The Quiet Book front cover.
Look! I learned how to sew a button hole!
The back cover.
The two pages that I contributed to the Quiet Book Exchange.
The shoe page.
I got to learn how to put eyelets in. Fun stuff.

The train page.
These are the beautiful pages that my friends contributed.
The Noah's Ark page.
The car page.
The tic-tac-toe page.
The lift-a-flap house page.
Lift five flaps to reveal family pictures placed inside of plastic pockets.
The bead counting page.
The flower page.
The flowers come on and off the buttons.
The shapes page.
This page uses snaps to match the shapes to their outline.
The find the bone page.
Four different hidden pockets are all great hiding places for the dog's bone.
The memory page.
The ice cream cone page.
6 different ice cream flavors can be hooked on and off of the ice cream cone to make delicious combinations.
The braid page.
The gumball machine page.
The gumballs come off and velcro back on to a matching circle of the same color.
The puzzle page.
Two different puzzles are stored in the pocket and put together on the puzzle board.
The mailbox page.
The mailbox opens and there is a felt envelope inside that you can really open and put a note inside.
The baseball mitt page.
The baseball velcros into place on the mitt - and the kids can put their hands in the glove to "catch" it.
During the "Quiet Book page idea finding process" I fell in love with some additional pages that we didn't assign out to anyone in the group (mostly because they were too time intensive to ask someone to make NINE of them) - but I decided to go ahead and make them as "extra" pages for Isaac's own Quiet Book.
The flower vase page.
The flowers come in and out of the pastic pocket vase.
The barn page.
The barn doors open to reveal these 5 homemade finger puppets.
The clothing/paper doll page.
Clothes from the laundry lines are used to dress the dolls on the right.
FYI - If you are wanting to make your own Quiet Book... here is what we did.
1. We used unbleached muslin pages and cut them 10 1/2" x 12"
(planning for a 1/2" seam allowance).
2. We used heavyweight pellon interfacing to try to make the pages sturdier.
3. We came up with the page ideas, found a few templates, and found general page contruction guidelines by just searching blogs online. Primarily we referenced...
* she has links to LOTS of helpful Quiet Book posts online *
*the templates for the barn and mailbox pages came directly from her website*
4. For the most part we just saw pictures that we liked of Quiet Book pages and tried our best to figure out how to recreate something similar to it.
My Quiet Book Thoughts:
In a nutshell, this project took SO MUCH TIME - that I started to wonder if I was really just inventing a big project that was wasting my time. I started to think that I had gotten myself in over my head and that this wasn't worth the time going into it - and that I should find more worthwhile things to do with my life! But... then I started thinking about all that I was learning. I learned SO MUCH from this project and am truly grateful for it.
First, I learned new technical sewing skills. I gained a LOT of confidence in myself and my own ability to create and do well at it. I gained confidence in my ability to learn new skills and to just try new things. I learned more creativity and problem solving. I learned how to plan out and organize the pages. I learned how to be thrifty in finding ways to complete the pages.
Second, I learned valuable organizational and group leadership life lessons.
Third, I learned to relax a little on my perfectionism. Each task was taking me SO long because I am SUCH a perfectionist. Then I said aloud to myself one day "completion is better than perfection" and that became my Quiet Book Mantra. I learned that in some things in life (a Quiet Book-esque project being one of those things) COMPLETION is sincerely better than perfection. It doesn't have to be perfect - it just has to fulfill its job. It's more important to get it done and move on with other life tasks than to sit still and agonize over every painstaking little detail.
Fourth, I learned a bit more about contentment. When you do this kind of a project with a group - pages undoubtedly turn out differently than you had envisioned (especially if you are the group organizer and actually spent time envisioning the final product). But in the end - it didn't matter at all! I love all of the pages - and more importantly - Isaac loves them! I am perfectly content and proud of the final product. Sometimes in life (with things like Quiet Books especially) - it is important for me to learn to let go, loosen up, and simply be happy.
Whew - my goal when I started the Quiet Book process was to give a FINISHED product to Isaac for Christmas. And guess what?? I did it!!!! I may have sewn the Quiet Book cover on Christmas Eve morning... but it is done! I set a goal, faced the overwhelming, worked consistently on it, didn't give up, and I achieved it. Looks like I might just be a "finisher" after all. :)

Just reading her post inspires me to want to make one - she makes it seem so doable.  How about you??

UPDATE:  Here are some other great sites where lots of ideas come from:


*Naptime had a really cute cover