Oct 31, 2015

Happy Halloween - Please Help Groot!

Hello There.

So, Halloween is wrapping up for us here in Colorado.  It's been a fun time but as it draws to a close for another year, I do have one BIG favor to ask.  

Can you go and vote for my friend Groot, I mean Frank!

He made an amazing Groot costume - it's HAND MADE! I'm a creative person but this kind of thing just blows me away.  Anyway, he is in the running for a costume contest and I'd love to see him win.  Please take just a second to vote.

You can vote here:  http://woobox.com/cybb5b

You don't have to like the first page, you can if you want, or you can click "skip" and head to the picture page.  From there look for, and vote for,Groot.

I adore his little family and would love to make this a Halloween they will always remember.
Plus, look how awesome their whole family looked, they have some serious talent.

Good luck to them!  And thank you all for voting!
vote here:  http://woobox.com/cybb5b


Oct 25, 2015

DIY Halloween Costumes - T'shirts and Tulle

It is less than a week before Halloween and my girls are without costumes. Now before you panic for me, it's ok! They are getting older and aren't quite as into Halloween as they were in years past. However, that doesn't mean that I don't have to come up with something quick as they do have a party to go.  This happened last year too and we were just fine.   I've learned something over the years that always helps.    

Here what I've leared:  T-shirts + Tulle = fast, inexpensive costumes.

Don't believe me?  Here are three examples from last year that we pulled together really fast.  And, my apologies for the crappy photos.  I forgot to take pictures until we were at the church for the party and all I had was my phone. 


Miss M as Minnie Mouse:  Black t'shirt with red tulle skirt.  I can't really take credit for this as she made her own costume.  But, I helped a little.  She took her tulle, about 6 yards - it was $0.78 cents a yard, and left it folded in half like it comes from the fabric store.  On the fold she ran a super quick hand stitch across the full length and then pulled the thread to make it gather.

From there she took a 3 inch black ribbon, folded it in half and placed it over the fold of the tulle and sewed it in place.  She left extra ribbon in the back to tie the skirt on and create a bow. (sorry, no photos of that).

She paired the skirt, which took about 30 minutes to make with a black t'shirt, leggings (the tulle is see-thru) and mouse ears which she made by attaching felt circles to a head band.  And, she used left over tulle to add a bow. 

See!  Easy!

Bug and Jet as Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West.  They chose these costumes on their own.  Which, since they are twins, I found it really funny.  

Glinda:  To make Jet's costume I grabbed a cheap pink t'shirt from Walmart $3.33, some pink tulle, fake glue-on gems, silver ribbon and poster board.

I started with the t'shirt and tulle.  I gathered the tulle and I sewed it right onto the t'shirt.  It fell at a weird place when added to the bottom hem of the shirt so instead I added it up from the bottom by about 4 inches.  This made the skirt start at her waist instead of her hip.

The first layer I sewed right on to the shirt, this gave it volume.  Then I added a second layer by making a skirt just like Miss M's above only I unfolded the tulle so the skirt was full length and hit the floor.  After it was all put together, I had Jet put it on and I trimmed the bottom so she wasn't tripping on excess tulle.  

I then took the tulle I had trimmed off and attached it to the shoulders of the t'shirt to make puffy sleeves.  Once that was added I just glued on the fake gems to add some sparkle and interest.  And lastly, I made the hat from poster board, painted it silver, added on some silver ribbon and fake gems and that's it - done!    

Elphaba/the Wicked Witch of the West:  For Bug's dashing look we already had a lot of the pieces.  They just needed to be dressed up a bit.  We had the dress and hat.  So, we added a black t'shirt underneath and that was that.  Really truly, she could have been done there by just adding a hat.  However, she looked a little blah.  Here's where the tulle comes in.

Using black tulle, I made her a black tulle cape - sorry, it's a little hard to see in the photo.  What I did is gathered one end of the tulle together by doing a quick stitch and then pulled the thread to gather it.  On that same end, I sewed on black feathers and a ribbon on each end so the cape could be tied around her neck.  It looked a whole lot more witchy that way.  Is witchy a word?

Then I took a $3 Target Spot witches hat and added some tulle for interest.  Add in a little green face paint, some stripped socks, and a broom and this kid was all set.

It all worked about fabulously!  And on the cheap, too!

Also, my previous post I shared my spiders but never showed you where I put them.  I'm not going to share a photo of the whole house but here's a small snippet of what I did.

You can't see it, but my whole porch and unseen railing are currently covered in spider web and spiders.  There are 40 or so spiders of different sizes crawling all over the place.  I also have my "beware of Spiders" sign hanging by my door - so fun!

Happy Halloween to you all!  I'm off to figure out how to make this years costumes.  Wish me luck!

P.S. Update on Ornaments:

The last day to order ornaments will be November 26th.  I know that feels like there is still a lot of time but it will come quick.  And, depending on interest and order amounts, I may end sooner.  If you had wanted to purchase a personalized ornament, please do so soon.  You can order from my Etsy site here: www.etsy.com/shop/Thenshemade

Oct 4, 2015

New Spiders and Ornament Updates

Just a quick little weekend update.  I made more spiders!  I hate spiders -  the real kind, but these - the fake ones, are making my heart happy. 

They are super easy to make and I had Bug and Jet help which meant we had some much needed Mom and Me time.  I pretty much followed the same steps as I did in the tutorial I posted HERE but this time I added heads and left off the googly eyes.  

The goal was to get them hung on my porch this weekend but instead I got hung up with strep!  So, the spiders are all over my living room floor patiently waiting for me to get better so I can hang them up.  Hopefully soon!

Also, not at all related to spiders, I just wanted to let you know the new ornament designs are up and ready for purchase in my ETSY SHOP.  Here's what they look like:

First Christmas Together Ornament.  You can include the couples name, wedding date or First Christmas on the back

And then there are these:

New this year, the Reindeer, The Gold Winged Angel and the two-part Christmas Tree with hanging name.

And, last but not least, I did also list several set of my Christmas Gnomes (or Santas)

Each set has five ornaments in it and all come with different hats and stitching.  These would be cute as ornaments, or hung on a garland, or you could add them to the top of a gift as package decoration.

Ok, and with that, I'm off to rest.  Hoping to kick this strep thing and return to normal soon.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sep 27, 2015

Fast Fall Treat

I was in need of a super quick fall treat over the weekend but with temps still kinda high here in Colorado I wasn't really wanting to bake.  Hot oven means hot house and well, ya.  Not what I wanted.  

So I pulled out the crock pot and quickly whipped up some candy covered pretzels.  Did you catch that? I said crock pot.  I  may be the only one who didn't know this but you can totally use your crockpot for melting things.  Seems like common sense but I was always told you had to use the microwave or a double-broiler.  Neither of which work for me.  

The microwave is fast but the candy hardens quickly and so you are constantly re-heating and that usually ends up with clumping or burning.  I feel like I throw out more candy melts than I use.  And I get irritated and usually don't end up sticking with it long enough to make more than a handful of treats. 

The double broiler is not ideal because, well, I don't have one.  Simple as that.

For me, the crock pot is an ideal tool for this.  It keeps it at the right temp.  Is easier for kiddos to use and it's portable.  So, if I wanted I could totally sit on my living room floor, watch a movie and dip pretzels for hours.

So, here's what you do if you want to do your own.

What you need:
Candy Melts
Crock pot
Parchment paper
clean hands  

Step 1:  Dump the candy melts into your crock and set on high - DO NOT COVER

Step 2:  Stir regularly.  You want the clumps to melt evenly

Step 3:  Once the candy melts have fully melted, no more clumps, turn heat to WARM.
This is important as you don't want it to continue to cook or burn.

Step 4:  Spread out a large piece of parchment paper close to your crock pot.  Then start dipping.  Once dipped, place on paper to cool and dry.

Tip:  You could dip the whole pretzel but I never do.  I like the balance of taste with only one side dipped.  And, it's easier to dip this way.  You have a place to hold onto without getting your fingers messy.  This works great if you plan to have little kids helping too as it sets a guide for them and they won't burn their fingers

That is pretty much it.  If you have more than one crock pot you can melt multiple flavors at a time.  I did this activity with my Activity Day girls at church over the summer and it was a hit.  We had three colors of pretzels so I did double batches in each crock pot and the girls got to rotate through and dip a handful of pretzels in each color.  They loved it!

And, it will make a lot so this is great if you need to provide snacks or goodies bags for a large group.  Or, think Christmas neighbor gifts.  It's super easy, not all that expensive and using the crock pot to melt the candy saves a lot of frustration!

Enjoy!  And, Happy Fall!


Sep 23, 2015

Happy First day of Fall Y'all!

I'd like to tell you all about all the fantastic fall things I'm working on.  Pumpkin this and pumpkin that but, truth is, other than buying some Halloween decor for Miss M's apartment and eating some yummy Pumpkin ice cream, I've kind skipped right over fall.

Not to worry though, I'll get there!  I get giddy every time I pass the big cardboard box of pumpkins at my local grocery store.  And, I'm excited to make another GIANT SPIDER and decorate our porch with a bazillion of LITTLE SPIDERS, too.  That's my upcoming weekend project.

In the mean time though, I've  pulled out my clay and am happy to say my Etsy shop is back open for the season.  I did this because I've had a lot of emails asking if I'll be offering my custom ornaments again.  Some people are on top it and ready to order now.  So, the answer is yes!

And, kinda a cool thing, new designs are coming too.

These aren't finished yet but watch for a First Christmas together ornament and 

three fun new Christmas designs like the tree above.  

And, if you simple can't wait for the new designs, please know the Etsy shop is open and ready for you to order all the classic designs!   


You'll find these plus more!  

Jul 20, 2015

Light Painting in the Dark

A few weeks ago, we like many others across the United States celebrated The Fourth of July.  My family had a fun day.  We hit a little local community celebration, watched some fireworks and then played with Sparklers.   It would have been a perfect All-American day had we had apple pie as well.

As part of our celebration re-cap I had posted the photo above onto my facebook page and had a few people ask how we got that photo.  So, in order to answer their questions I have asked my better half, Mr. K himself, to share all the details and how-to's on how to do light painting.

Light painting is super fun.  You can do it with sparklers, like above or even with flashlights like in the photo below.  And, depending on the hue of the light bulb in the flashlight, you will get a different look. 

Jul 1, 2015

Life Changing Moments

Warning:  Personal, heartfelt thoughts on this here blog today.  This is for my girl!

On this day, eighteen years ago, my life changed in ways I could never plan for, or expect.  Actually, in truth, it started to change eighteen years and 10 months ago.

Way back in the early fall of 1996 I woke from a dream and knew things would be different from that point on.

My dreams, the ones that I feel the most peace in, have always been a form of spiritual insight for me. I'm not sure why I have them.

Are they messages from a higher power?  Maybe.

Are they my own inner dialogue and thought processes presenting themselves in a way I better understand?  Maybe.

Maybe it's both.

Regardless of the reasons or how you make sense of it, I just know that through out my life I have had a handful of dreams that were more than just dreams.  This was one of those times.

(Please know, I don't take sharing this experience lightly, it is near and dear to my heart and my faith.  However, today I've felt the push to share.)

In my dream Mr. K and I were on an airplane.  We were flying parallel to a mountain range and we were clearly preparing for landing in a large field.  We knew we were landing, we were buckling back up and settling in.  Just then the pilot came over the intercom and made the landing statement "we are preparing to land, all passengers please return to your seats".

In unison, Mr. K and I turned around to look down the aisle, which was now on a steep slope due to the plane's descent, and we said "Marinne, come here."  We were speaking to a cute little blonde girl who was about three years old.  She was happily bouncing down the aisle towards us.

Shortly after this dream Mr. K and I attended a session in the Salt Lake temple (The most sacred place of worship for my faith) and I had another very moving and similar experience, it wasn't a dream and is too sacred to share details but it was a very direct message and I felt it through every piece of my being.  It was undeniable.  I was being prepared to be a mom.

A few weeks later we found out we were expecting our first child.

For obvious reasons we named her Marinne and when she was 3, she looked just like the little girl we called by name in my dream.

Over the years since, I have had many more similar experiences concerning, and involving, her. How grateful I am for them as they have helped give me insight and direction as we have traveled through our relationship together.  She is a special kid and there is greatness in her quiet ways.

Natalie Merchant, one of my favorite singers, has a song called Wonder.  I had it on repeat during my pregnancy because I felt it explained so well my thoughts and feelings about this child I was about to have.  Some of the lyrics are:

O, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
know this child will be able

Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer

Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She'll make her way.

Today, as she turns 18 and is gearing up for her first year of independence, I'm reminded of how blessed I have been to have these experiences and to be called her mom.  She is my Wonder and I have no doubt,

"She'll make her way".

Also, specifically for you Miss M, A few months ago I asked my friends on Facebook to describe you in 3 words.  I was working on a project for your graduation that never came to fruition.  However, on your birthday, I can't help but think of a better way to honor you than by sharing the descriptive words people shared with me.  You are loved and respected more than you know.

Kind, Smiling, Artistic, Quietly Confident, Honorable, Sweet, Talented, Thoughtful, Hard-working, Radiant, Loving, Serene, Classy, Pure, Compassionate, Graceful, Lovely, Brave, Poised, Responsible, Gracious, Quirky, Artsy, Gifted, Wholesome, Virtuous, Loyal, Happy, Thoughtful, Level Headed, Joyful, Full of Light, Beautiful, Inspiring, Trustworthy, Confident, Genuine, "The best ever!", Smart, a Cutie, Wise, Loves Deeply, a Good Friend, Encouraging, Respectful

And since I'm your mom I will add "A Good Judge of Character, Goal-oriented, and Intuitive."

Happy Birthday, Miss M!

Great things are in store for you.

Jun 18, 2015

Father's Day Treats

My blog hits have been at a recent high and when I did some digging I found that people are searching for Father's Day ideas.  You just a few days to put something together so if you are still looking for a simple little treat for dad or if you need to make gifts for a large group of men, like a church group, here are two simple little crafts that you can pull together rather quickly.  

I've had several emails lately about this little craft.  Seems there are questions about where I got my supplies and how I made the tag.
You need this type of envelope - it's a security envelope and has the pattern on the inside.  You actually could just use a regular envelope, it would look cute too but I do prefer the pattern as the collar shows up more once it is folded down.

I don't have a file of the saying but it was easy to make, I just typed it out.

The ties are just made out of scraps of pattern paper. and then you just stick a candy bar on the inside.  Flat candy bars like Hershey chocolate bars work best as they don't have much bulk.

These are super cute.  Similar idea with the collared shirt and tie but the inside is folded so that it can hold a little baggie of treats.  You can also include a message like "it's a SWEET treat to have you as my dad!"  You can get the step-by-step on how to fold these HERE

And, on the same lines - this one is a gift card holder.


Jun 14, 2015

The Last Dress - Prom Before and After

Well, Hello there!

I have made it through a seriously crazy time and thought it would be good to check back in.  I left off with a mention of the last dress I altered for Miss M.

Ya know, that kid up and graduated on me and I will no longer be altering dresses for dances for her.  It's sad to think about but it is what it is and we've made some good memories over the years.  In her 4 years of high school, we never once bought a dress and had her wear it as is.

So, without further ado, here is the very last dress we modified for her.

The dance was another prom but since she had just been to a prom for her high school a few weeks before this one, she wanted a dress that was a little more fun and flirty.  She called it her fun dress. So that's what we made - a fun dress.

And as per usual, we always start with an inexpensive dress.  $14.99 - not a bad price.

To be honest, as far as modesty issues go, this one was already pretty modest.  The dance standard though was that she needed to have her shoulders covered, so we bought it knowing it we'd need to fix the shoulders.  

And, she wasn't totally in love with it.  Me either, it was a little boring.  However, I saw it as a good canvas and knew we could work some magic.

I'm sorry to say, in all my rush I did not document the steps with pictures but basically here's what we did:

- She wanted it shorter, more tea length so we chopped about 8 inches off the bottom.

- She wanted it POOFY, so I purchased a petticoat to go underneath however when we got it, neither of us like how it looked underneath.  It was bulking and the dress on top just didn't lay right.  So, instead I made a really basic skirt made out of netting that added some structure underneath and we put the petticoat on the OUTSIDE instead of underneath.

She didn't even want to try it on that way.  She said it would be weird but I made her do it anyway and as soon as she did, we both knew - it was EXACTLY the look she wanted.

It was kinda 1950's retro and feminine.  (my mom had a dress pretty similar to this when she was in high school so that connection made me happy)

- and last, we added a small cap sleeve.  I was lucky enough to find a black vest made out of the same lace fabric on the top of the dress so it matched perfectly.  All I had to do is cut off the hood of the vest and craft it into sleeves and we were done!  Oh, and we added a fun red belt with a flower on it mostly to bring in the colors that her date was wearing in his bow tie.

Here's the side-by-side

We were both really happy with the dress and love that she can wear it for other things too.  She took off the pearls and belt and threw on a denim jacket and it looked super cute so she has options with this one.

Another thing we made for this dance was the corsage and Boutonniere.  The theme of the dance was "Life is Sweet" - based on Willy Wonka and candy so Miss M really wanted to have candy in her flowers. 

I'm new to this whole corsage and boutonniere thing.  I've only made one other boutonniere before and that was for a dance just a few weeks before this one so this is new territory for me.  But, I love it.  

I think the trick to adding candy and other things to the arrangement is making sure you are also using real flowers too.  It helps with balancing things out.

Marinne ordered her date's bow tie for him from a shop on Etsy - it's pretty much awesome sauce.  It matches the boutonniere so well.  (to be honest here, everything we made as accents were made to match his bow tie)

And here's another shot of the corsage on.  I love how it turned out.

I mentioned earlier that this dress was the last one I will alter for this girl of mine.  No more high school dances for her  and she's already told me I'm not allowed to touch her wedding dress (several years from now, of course.)   However, I have had fun over the years with challenging myself to not only save money but to create something better than the original.

I will miss this.

Luckily, Bug and Jet still have high school dances in their future.

And, just a quick shout out to Miss M - Congrats kiddo!  I'm proud of all you have done and know great things are in store for your future.  Next stop - college!