Feb 28, 2011

Messages that matter

I'm not really sure if my kids pay attention to the things I hang in my home but I certainly hope they do.

Just like any family, we like to joke and play and tease but lately I've been a bit bothered with some of the comments being made.  My twins are just at that age that they are starting to toy with sarcasm.  This is a scary stage to be in because there is a paper thin line that is easy to cross.

One side of the line brings laughter, the other side brings tears.  

So when my older daughter pulled out this sign from our craft storage box for a photography assignment I was all over it.  It used to hang in the twin's room and then we moved.  Needless to say, it's going back up.  And, with any luck, they will pay attention to it.  It's a message that matters.

I've made several paintings and signs that I hang in my home but I dare say this was by far the easiest.  Here's how I did it...

Step 1:  Grab a 6x6 canvas
Step 2:  Cut a piece of scrapbook paper to 6x6 and mod podge it to your canvas

Step 3:  Add alpha stickers that will spell out your saying or quote
Step 4:  Add other embellishments

And that is that!  Pretty easy.  Now, if it was only that easy to get my kids to speak kinds words to each other.


Feb 27, 2011

Money Cake Tradition

The one thing that my kids look forward to on their birthday is the money cake.  Have you heard of a money cake before?  They are a long standing tradition in my family.  I remember looking forward to them when I was a kid and it's something I've passed on and continue to do with my kids. 

So what it is?

Basically it's a cake that when you cut into it, you find money - Sweet! Right?!

The girls like to see who gets the most money and it's just another fun way to add some excitement to their big day.

Here's what we do....

 1- Gather coins and WASH them really, really well.  I will usually let my coin soak in really hot water and then wash them twice with dish soap.  You could boil them if you felt like you wanted that extra cleanliness however the coins them self never actually touch the batter so I don't do that.

2- Wrap each coin in tin foil.  Make sure you seal it up really well.


3- Drop the coins into the batter and bake.
It's really pretty simple.  The coins will settle towards the bottom of the pan so it's fun to make these into a two layer cake.  That way, when they are stacked, and you cut into it, it will show the coins on both layers making it even more fun for the kids.

This year I just made the girls small cakes, I have twins, and since they actually aren't big cake eaters I didn't go all out with making layered cakes for each of them.  The fun was still there though, and they loved finding the money hidden in each piece.  If only I had remembered to take a picture of it when it was cut... maybe next year. 

I was also thinking this would be fun to turn into a St. Patrick's Day tradition too.  I'm not sure if you can buy gold foil, but if you can you could totally make a green cake with gold coins hidden inside.... oh yeah!  That would be awesome.  I think I just may have to do that.


P.S. just look past the cake decorating part,  I like to play with fondant but I have a lot to learn.  :)

Feb 25, 2011

Quick little tip: Binder Clips

I'm still cutting my way through flowers but wanted to share a quick little tip.  Did you know you can use binder clips for more than just office needs?  It's true.

The really great thing is that they are pretty inexpensive so buying, and stashing, a pack or two is easy on the budget.

I use them to hang things.  We've slowly been decorating my daughters room and I picked up a $5 mirror from Target for her.  The problem was it didn't have any hardware on it to hang it.  So, I whipped out my binder clips.  Luckily they had a cute pattern that matched her room. 

I also use them on my cookie sheet calendars.  That way I don't have to drill holes or use a wire that will cover up the stored items on the back.

And, last but not least, I use them in my fridge, freezer and cupboards.  They really work great for keeping food sealed up after you open it.  Seriously, don't spend three bucks on one chip-clip, just buy binder clips instead.  They are awesome!

So that's it for the tip of the day.

Back to flowers I go...  next week I'm finally going to show you the tutorial that relates to this post:  It's a sad day.  I'm pretty sure you'll like it, at least I hope so.

Have a great weekend.

Feb 23, 2011

Flower Power

I am up to my eye balls in these pretty little flowers.  Cutting, burning, assembling kits.... eeek!

I'm helping out with a church service project that will be held in a few weeks.  We are making these flowers and then will donate to a Women's Cancer Center.  These little flowers can be clipped or pinned to head wraps, hats, or scarves.  And, I tell you what, it's a lot of work but so worth it.  I'm putting together kits in 9 different colors and should have about 130 flowers when I'm done.  SO, my point?  My only crafty project for the next day or two will be these flowers.

If you haven't seen these before and want to try your hand at making some, I found a great tutorial here:  Craftaholics Anonymous  I chose to adjust the steps a little but Linda's tutorial is really good and these little babies are pretty fun to make.

Enjoy!  And, I'll see you soon.

Feb 21, 2011

Cookie Sheet Calendars - part 3 the last steps

Here it is, finally, the last tutorial for my Cookie Sheet calendars.  I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to get these finished.  In my other world, the one where I'm a super hero mom with mad super crafting speed, these tutorials would have been complete and posted all in one week.  Ya, so, we all know I obviously don't live in that world.

However, here it is... it's done and hopefully, if you've been making one too, these tutorials have been helpful.

So, we left off with completing the decorating of the 35 squares in the number grid.  Now we need to finish decorating the other pieces that will go on the front of the calendar.

The remaining items are the 12 months strips and the days of the week strip.  Will start with the days of the week strip.

Step 1:  Modge Podge your chipboard strip to your paper.  Normally I will cut the paper first and then adhere it.  However, because the strip is narrow, I actually Mod Podged it to the paper first, then trimmed the excess paper off.

Step 2:  Once it has dried, ink your edges and add your days of the week like shown above.  I had some stickers that worked great for this calendar but you could use any stickers, rub-ons, stamps, or print the words out on your computer.

Step 3:  (not shown) Add magnets to the back of the strip and place it on your calendar

Step 4:  Cut your strips of paper to be the same size as your chipboard pieces for the 12 months.  I used three patterns and cut four of each.

Step 5:  Mod Podge your papers on to the chipboard pieces

Step 6:  Add the names of the months to each piece.  You can do this by stamping them, using stickers or die cuts.  Mine were cut using my Cricut machine

Step 7:  Decorate your month strips.  I kept mine pretty simple but you could do a lot with them.  With past calendars I've added quotes and even done some needle work too.  Really anything goes.

Step 8:  (not shown) Add the magnets to the back of each piece.  I used three magnets on each, one at the top, one in the middle, and one on the bottom.  

Now all the pieces that will go on the front are complete.  Time to work on the back/storage part.

Step 9:  You still have 15 remaining squares that you will decorate and label. These squares will make up your special occasions, any holiday you celebrate.  I did all the standard  holidays like Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, ect.  Plus, I also left 5 blank.  These extra pieces will be fillers for when a month starts on a Saturday and you have all those blank spaces in front of it.  Or, for when you have a month like February that is short and ends on a Monday.  These extra squares will fill in those blanks.

Step 10: Once you've got them all decorated, add the magnets and place them on the back of your cookie sheet in the middle of the pan.  You'll have something like what is shown above. (I should mention that when I say "back of cookie sheet" I'm actually meaning the part where you'd cook your cookies.  Really it's the front, but since we are using this part as the storage for the extra pieces, I call it the back.  Hope that makes sense!)

Step 11:  Now we need to make the pockets to hold the extra month pieces.  You will need to cut four strips of paper.  Mine are 8-1/2 inches long and are as wide as the month pieces so roughly 2-1/2 inches wide. (the picture shows one of them already folded)

Step 12:  Fold your papers so you have something like what is shown above.  I don't have measurements but basically, you just want to make sure that you have a squared bottom.  Each pocket will hold three strips so they need to have some space in them to accommodate the chipboard and magnets that are on each piece. .

Step 13:  Place three of your month strips in the pocket and tie a ribbon or some floss around them, then decorate.  I used a circle punch to cut a half circle out of the top and then I added some stickers with the month names on each pocket.  This tells me which months are in each pocket.

Step 14:  (not shown)  Add four strips of magnets to the back of each pocket and put them in place (see last photo below for placement).

Step 15:  Next you need to add your ribbon so you can hang your calendar.  I did this by attaching small binder clips to the top rim of the cookie sheet and simply tied ribbon to each clip.  Then I tied on a bow to cover the knot.

And that is it!  You are now ready to hang it up and put it to use.  Here is my completed calendar.

Eventually I will add some extra squares that have peoples pictures on them.  That way when it is their birthday, their picture will take the place of the regular date piece.

So that is it, thanks for following along.

Ok, onto the next project.... hmmm, what to do next?


Feb 15, 2011

Photo Blocks

Yeah!!!  Valentine's is over.  

Moving on...  if you are looking for a cute and easy "just because" project, I've got one for you.

Photo Blocks!

Not really a new concepts but they are fun to make, look super cute on a shelf and are easy to whip up.
Here's how:

Gather your supplies.  You'll need:  A piece of wood, mine was 1x4inches.  Paint, Paint brush, Mod Podge, and a cute photo.  You might want sand paper, distressing ink and some rub-ons, too.

Step 1:  Paint the edges of your wooden block and let dry

Step 2:  Trim photo to correct size so that it is the same size as one face of your block.

Step 3:  Add Mod Podge to the flat surface of your wood block and before it dries, adhere photo in place.  Let dry.

Step 4:  Sand edges or distress with ink

Step 5:  Add a rub-on message and display on shelf.

See!  Told you it was easy.


Feb 13, 2011

V-day Quickies

Can you believe we've only got just one more day before Valentine's day.  I'm ready for it to be here and gone.  After planning, shopping, and prepping for a school party I'm just about done with Valentine's Day.  Bring on St. Patties!  However, I had to sneak in just one more V-day post.  If you are still looking for a really quick idea here are a couple I whipped up this morning.

If you've got some guitar players in your family like I do, the guitar pick valentine just might be the perfect thing.  You can very easy turn a guitar pick into a heart, here's how...

Grab a pick and then with a pair of really sharp scissors just cut a small little notch out of the top.  That's it!  Now you have a cute little heart pick to go on your card.  And, I must admit, I didn't come up with this idea.  My hubby is the one that thought it up.  (I love that he sometimes thinks the same way I do!)

As for the mazes.  I made these for my kids at church.  They were super easy and really inexpensive.  You can buy a package of 6 heart shaped mazes at Walmart for only $1.

So, there you have it... two really super easy, quick, and inexpensive Valentine's ideas!


P.S. Step 3 for our cookie sheet calendars is coming, gotta get the school party out of the way first, so stay tuned.

Feb 9, 2011

I "Chews" You!

Ok, I know I was all sentimental yesterday about just following my daughter's lead and making hand drawn certificates for  Valentine's day - still a great idea - However, at the grocery store I found another fun treat and thought it would make a great little Valentine gift.

Have you seen these?  
(They are way yummy!) 

You can quickly turn this little box into a fun Valentine treat.  Here's how ....

Step 1:  Cut a piece of paper, I used an 8.5 x 11 piece of pink cardstock, down to 3 x 11 inch strip

Step 2:  Wrap the paper around the box and cut off the excess.  Then, crease the paper where it hits the corners of the box.  This will help it stay in place and will look better too.

Step 3:  Holding the paper in place (don't glue it yet) draw a box on the front.  You want this to be over top of the part of the box that says "Chews".  I could kind of see through my paper so it made it easier.  TIP:  If you can't see through your paper, you could use a piece of regular printer paper and make a template and then transfer it to your cardstock.


Step 4: Next, carefully cut out the box you drew in step 3.  When you are done, it will look something like the photo above.


Step 5:  This step is optional, but before adhering your paper to your box, you can ink the edges and creases on your paper.

Step 6:  After you've added your ink, then attach your paper to your box and then set aside for a minute. 

Step 7:  Using another piece of paper (you can't tell from this picture but I actually used a slightly darker pink paper than what is on the inside) cut another long strip of paper.  It needs to be the same height as your box.  (I didn't take an actual measurement, I just held it up to the box and cut)

Step 8:  Take your box and wrap the paper around it so that the ends meet at one corner of your box.  Your paper will be longer than needed so you will need to fold the paper under on the ends like shown above.  (You actually want it this way as it will help hold your ribbon in place.)


Step 9:  Next you need to punch some holes so you can thread in your ribbon.  The photos above show the general idea.  Punch one end in the center of the fold, then line up the other side and punch another hole.

 Step 10:  Now open up your folds and thread a long piece of ribbon through the punched holes like shown above. 

Step 11:  Adhere your box in place so you have something that looks like the photo above.

 and FINALLY it's time to decorate.

 I kept it pretty simple on the outside....

and simple on the inside too!

There you have it,  a fun little treat to stick in your kiddos lunch boxes or under their pillow on Valentine's day.


Feb 8, 2011

The sweetest thing ever!

I had a really great surprise the other night. It truly was the sweetest thing ever.  I went into my bedroom after my kiddos had gone to sleep and found this on my closet door...

My little one had made me an award/certificate. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face.

So, what does this have to do with my blog and the things I make?  Everything, of course!

Her little act of kindness really got me thinking.  I like to make things, that's a fact.  Another fact is that the majority of what I make, I usually give away.  I always hope that my creations will brighten someone else's day.  Unfortunately though, I get caught up more in the perfection of the project than in the message I'm hoping my creation will convey.

I was thinking about the responses I get to my creations, "How did you make that?",  "I could never do that!", "You must have so much free time!",  "Where did you get....?"   Those are all great but when I realistically look at it, the focus has turned back to me instead of it being on them.  All I wanted was to see their smile and maybe hear, "you made my day!".

So, I'm very grateful to be the recipient of my daughter's little award.  It reminded me that love, encouragement, and kindness doesn't need to be in the form of a cute craft, clever idea, or matching ribbons.

I've been stressing about Valentine's ideas this year, looking at blog after blog for great ideas I can make and give.  However, I just might skip the trinkets and crafts this year.  Instead, I think I will write heartfelt notes on the back of a hand drawn certificate.  That would be perfection in and of itself.

Then the person getting the gift would know exactly how I feel about them.  My message would be more clear.

So, go make somebody an award - I promise you, it will make their day!!!

Feb 6, 2011

Cookie Sheet Calendars - part 2

Finally!  Wow, what a busy week....  Thanks for being patient with me.

In part two, we get to decorate!  This is the fun part....

First, gather all your supplies.  I just went through all my stickers and rub-ons and put them all in a box.  Anything that I thought would work, I pulled out and kept together.  Then I grabbed a few punches, buttons, brads, floss, etc...   Pretty much anything goes.  In the past I've also used a lot of stamps but didn't get them out this time.  Seriously, use whatever you have.

This is what my little box of supplies looked like.  I pulled way more than I ended up using but it was nice to have it all together in one place just in case I wanted it.

Once you have all your supplies, you need to get your pieces in order.  From Part 1, we've already laid them out and have them in the grid the way we want them.  The best way to keep them in order is to simply turn them over and number them.  That way as you are decorating, you'll remember where each piece came from.

Now, please note, if you are going to number them in order, you don't really need to do that step, however, to make the process go quicker I do mine a different way.  I'll explain that a little more in a bit.  First though, you may want to ink the edges of each piece.

Inking the edges will help define each piece and also keep the whole calendar grid uniform.

I explained earlier that I don't number/decorate my pieces in order.  Instead, I pull out three to five pieces from my grid and I use the same number style (rub-ons or stickers) on all three pieces.  This serves two purposes.  1-) It's quicker and 2-) because you are repeating styles, it will also unify your design.  Here's what I mean...

I pulled out three piece, you can't tell from the picture above but they were labeled on the back as 15, 20 and 30.

Then, using the same style of rub-ons, I numbered each piece.


Once they were numbered I put them back into the grid.  You can see that they make a visual triangle.
Next, just continue the process.

Above are a few more pieces that I pulled out of order and numbered them all with the same sticker/rub-on style.

You can see how the grid is starting to fill up.

Once you've got all your numbers in place, go back and add in some embellishments.  Don't go too crazy, remember sometimes less is actually more.  However, have fun with it too.  Add in some floss, stickers, punched shapes, etc...  I even did some sewing on some of my pieces.

I know I said I was using all new photos for this tutorial but here are some photos of some details from some pieces from past calendars I made.  It might help you get some ideas flowing.

Use brads to make your numbers.

Make some little button flowers

Tie some simple bows out of floss

Make some designs from punches and floss

Use a masking technique by placing a sticker on your square and then ink over it.  Once the ink is dry, remove the sticker to show the number design underneath. 

Use stickers to decorate the pieces.  

So, that's it... decorating the grid is the fun part.  Oh, and one last thing before we wrap up part 2.  Once all your grid pieces are numbered and decorated, add a magnet to back of each piece.  You only need a small magnet on the back of each number piece.  Something like what is shown below.

I should also point out, you'll still have 15 pieces left.  Those will be stored on the back of your cookie sheet for special holidays.  We'll work on those next.

Email or leave a comment if you have question.