Dec 31, 2012

Mr. Snowman Tutorial

Alright, you all know my recent fascination with these...
(***see the edit about fabric bolts below)

I already made this using one of them ...

And, he was cute.  I liked him.  Apparently my family liked him too because my husband, who very rarely discusses my crafts, said I should make a snowman next.  What?  He doesn't mind me crafting but he doesn't get involved much either so his comment rang in my ears a bit.  Needless to say, he inspired me.  So, I did it.  I took another empty fabric bolt and used it as the canvas to make a snowman.

And I like him.  He is cute.  He will be perfect to decorate my door for January.

Want to make one for yourself?  Here's the step-by-step tutorial.

Dec 30, 2012

Snowman Sunday

Oh how I love Sundays!  Today was a snowman Sunday. Do you like him?  He's replacing my Christmas decor that was on my front door.  The cool thing about him is he was inspired by my hubby but I'll tell you more about that when I post the tutorial.  It will be up for tomorrow.

In other news, see this cute girl?    

She's really hoping to celebrate tomorrow night.  Not because it's New Year's eve but because she's hoping to know if she was the winner of free braces.  Yes, you read that right.  She is entered, and trying really hard to win free braces.  This is a HUGE deal for her and for me.  My twins need braces so if she wins that will cut my expense in half. If you've had braces or have kids in braces, you know my pain.  Free would be good.  

Can you help us win? 

SOOOOO, if you have a minute and a Facebook account, PLEASE go vote for her.  If you are worried about the little "download apps" request that pops up when you go to vote - don't worry about it.  It just gives you access to the contest page so you can vote, it will also register you as "liking" the Orthodontist's page but you can always "unlike" it after you vote.

Seriously, we really need your help.  The contest ends tomorrow and we are hoping, praying and doing our best to drum up last minute votes.  

Go here to vote and vote for CAMBREE:

Please, please, please vote and spread the word too.  If others in your house have FB accounts please encourage them to vote too!


Now, I'm off to write a tutorial on how to make a snowman for your door.  Stay tuned!

Dec 29, 2012

Use It Up!

So, New's Years.  Wow!  2013 is just a few days away.  I'm both pleased to have a clean slate and a little sad to say good-bye to 2012.  It was a year of growth for me, a good year.  I guess I move forward knowing 2012 is my foundation to build a great 2013 upon.

In 2013 I will...

- celebrate my 20 year wedding anniversary
- cry when my daughter turns 16 and will start dating and driving and working
- cry even harder when my twins turn 12, leave primary, and start middle school (they are my youngest)
and cry even harder, probably bawl, when I turn 40!

Oh boy, it will be a year...

So, New Year's resolutions?  Are you setting them?  Am I setting them?

Nope!  I'm not.  I always say I'll lose weight, I'll eat less, I'll exercise more but I start out well and then January 2nd hits and poof, I'm done.  Then I feel guilty.

So, no resolutions but I am going to make a conscious effort to do two things.  And, I'm not going to beat myself up if I fail, however, I want to be more aware of these two things in 2013.

1 - Gratitude!  I've been so touched these last few months from the kindness and gratitude from others.  My dear readers have helped out a women in need, (remember our fundraiser in October for a mom with cancer) and you've sent me "thank you" emails randomly just because.  It's been so nice to open my in-box and find a message from someone saying "thank you for writing a blog, thank you for sharing your creations, thank you for your words."  And, not only have I received emails but I've been sent cards in the mail too.  What a surprise!  They made my day.  To those of you who took the extra time to say "thanks" - thank you!

I'm channeling the gratitude and kindness that I've felt from others and I want to pass that along in 2013.  I want to be more aware of the little things people do and I want to let them know I noticed and I'm appreciative.  (I'll share more on this later as I have some tutorials already planned.)

2- I want to use what I have.  I cleaned out my bins, drawers, and shelves the other day and was so surprised at how much craft stuff I have.  I was even more surprised when I realized I'm not using it.  So, I'm going to try and put it to use this year.  I'll be sharing those projects as I go.  This will be good for me to use it up!  Also, funny thing, since I now work at a craft store, my desire to shop at them has decreased.  Using what I already have saves me a needless trip.

Here's a sample of one project I did with some items I had forgotten I had...

The clay necklace idea isn't new, you've seen the tutorials for both the Word Pendants and the mother's day necklace, however I haven't done initials before.  (if you want to see how to make this, click on one of the tutorials for a step-by-step guide)

Now, I'm not sure about you, but long before the days of cute rub-ons and Cricut machines, I went a little crazy and collected alphabet rubber stamps.  Did you do that too?  As I was cleaning the other day I found my stash.  This is only one bag and it has 4 different alpha sets in it.  I have other bags - with other sets - with multiple sizes - too.  Needless to say, I should be using them.

So I did.  I used them to make initial necklaces for all my daughter's friends as goodie bag gifts for their birthday party.  They were a hit!  It seemed all 12 girls loved their necklaces and I used something I already had - success!  

I hope to do more of this type of thing.  In 2013 I'm making an effort to use it up!  I found some fun old metal stencils in my stash - do you all remember those?  I have big plans for mine!

Anyway, as we send out the old year and welcome in the new, I just want to let you all know I'm happy you are here.  Thanks for stopping in every now and again!

Oh, and just because we only have 48 more hours before the contest ends....

Won't she look cute in braces?  We are hoping to win her free braces and would appreciate your vote. It just takes a second to follow the link and press the "vote" button.   Plus, since the cost to put braces on her is $4800+,  if she wins free braces that just means more crafting supplies for me - I know, I know, it goes against my current "use it up" philosophy, however, you know I'll share tutorials on any creations I make which ultimately means voting for her helps you too.  (Is that too much of a stretch? - Yes, I'm getting desperate!  Her lead is shrinking)

Please vote for Cambree at: 

Thank you!

Dec 25, 2012

Wishing You...

So, it's Christmas day.  Things are pretty low key around here.  My little family is alone, we don't live by relatives so our holidays are usually spent as just the 5 of us.  While sometimes I miss the larger group, I do fully enjoy the calm, togetherness that I feel with just my little family.  It's days like these that I cherish.

It's been a great day so far & I hope yours has been wonderful as well.

I recently found a photo from a custom order I did this past summer and it sums up all that I want to pass on to you this day...

Faith, Love, Courage & Hope!

I wish you Faith to believe in your dreams, your religion, and your relationships.
I wish you Love, may your home and heart be filled with it!
I wish you Courage to face the unknown that lies ahead.
And last but not least,
I wish you Hope.  Hope for the good things that are yet to come!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I've loved having you as readers, long time followers, and friends.   

Dec 23, 2012

Quick, Kid-Friendly DIY Christmas Card

I'm taking a simple approach to the holidays this year.  Some of the things I traditionally do every year, I've skipped on.  This decision was in part because my plate was already pretty full with work and other commitments and also because I wanted to focus more on the time spent with my family.

Letting things go has  been the best decision.

I've been saying "no" a lot more to outside requests.  I know it's made a few people upset but I've learned where my limits are and I'm trying to be very realistic in scheduling and not over-doing.  It's been an eye opener because it has clearly separated those who I thought were friends and those who just needed me for something I could do for them.  I didn't expect that but it has been a blessing in a weird way.  Funny how the truth comes out.  Anyway, that's a topic for another day.  However, it does feels pretty good to say "no".   Because I've said "no" to so many outside requests I've been able to say "yes" a lot more to my family.  That's how it should be.

Here's one example: I didn't take family photos or send out Christmas cards this year.  Instead, this year I grabbed my girls and we spent this afternoon around the table laughing and creating.  We rescued some cardboard tubes from the trash, cut down some card stock and went to town making handmade cards.  Our cards, only about a dozen of them, will be delivered with a treat to a very small group of special people.  I didn't send out 75+ like last year but boy, I enjoyed the process so much more.

This afternoon was one of the best afternoons I've had in a really long time.  I love spending time with my girls.  I love laughing with them and watching them create.

So, what did we make?  Simple Ornament cards.  And it is a very simple idea.  If you are looking for something easy to do with your own kids, maybe something to attach to a plate of goodies, this is one idea to save because, well, it's just that, easy.  It's also really inexpensive.

If you want to try this, you will need the following...

- Craft Paint in Christmas colors
- Cardboard tubes.  I used two sizes, one from a paper towel and one from an empty tin foil roll
- Marker
- Card stock cut down to card sizes, mine were 4"x7"
- Tape
- Paint Brushes

Step 1:  Paint the ends of your tube.  I painted the larger tube first.

Step 2:  Use the painted end like a stamp and "stamp" a circle onto the front of your card

Step 3:  Just repeat the process, using different sizes and different colors until you have three circles on your card.  Tip:  If you want the circles to look like they are behind/in front of each other, then after you apply the paint to the tube end, take a piece of tape and put it over one part of the paint end.  Then stamp.  This will give you a circle that will have a space in it.  Then, when you do your next circle, just stamp it into that open space.  

Don't forget that your tubes have two ends so you can use different paint colors on each end.

Step 4:  Next, take your marker and draw on a little "cap" at the top of each circle.  This will be the ornament top.  Then add lines from the top of the card down to each cap.  And, that's it.  You now have a simple card that looks like hanging ornaments.  Don't forget to add "Merry Christmas"

After we got done making cards, we played around with the paper scraps and made some gift tags.  I know snowmen aren't normally green but I kind of like my little green snowman.  So, that's all.  It was easy.  My girls loved it and it's something that kids, even pretty young ones could do.

Oh, I forgot to mention that our guinea pigs made a visit while we were crafting.  This is Ludo, he wishes you all a very Merry Christmas!


and, just an update on the free braces contest, thank you all again for your votes.  Cambree is currently in the lead but not by much.  If you haven't voted yet, please do.  Winning free braces would be a huge help for our family!  You can vote for Cambree here:  Free Braces Contest

Dec 20, 2012

Randomness At It's Finest

I'm not sure about you but I feel like my December has been filled with randomness.  I jump from one thing to another so quickly that I barely remember what I did before or where I'm heading next.  Very rarely do those things have much to do with each other either.  So, I thought I'd share some of my randomness with you.  The good news is perhaps some of these things will help you as you wrap up your holiday prep over the next couple of days.

1- If a photo really was worth a 1,000 words this one would tell my story quite well.  It sums up my life for the last two months.  Only the photo is missing a few things which are; paper work from Etsy orders, fabric from trying to make 12 angel costumes, a broken sewing machine and tape.  For some random reason I have 5 rolls of tape on my table.  That is odd because I can never find tape.  Never!  

2- Whoever invented the kitchen table totally didn't realize that it wasn't for family meals, it was for crafts.  My children, the oldest being 15, have been raised to understand this.  We finally, right before Thanksgiving, bought a larger table for meals and kept the smaller one for crafts.  Ha!  Guess what is on my bigger table now?  Yup.  More crafts - now I just have more space to do them on.   

3- This is little Jet.  She's the one trying to win free braces.  When I posted about it before, her numbers went up - way up!  (My blog readers are awesome)  She took over first place but it was short lived.  She is holding steady at second but we are all trying to figure out how to get her more votes.  If you haven't voted yet - we'd be so happy if you would!  Go here to vote for CAMBREE:  Free Braces Contest, Ward Orthodontics Facebook Page  

4- I've made this a few times already this season.  Oh-my-word!  It's still one of my favorite treats.  I only make it this time of year because, well, it's got lots of butter and sugar and more sugar and ... ya, you get the picture but boy is it a yummy treat.  You can get the recipe from reviewing this old post:  Puffcorn Treat

5- Speaking of butter.  "Is there anything better than butter?"  I watched the movie Julie & Julia the other day and I've been repeating a quote from the movie all day long (just ask Kaity - Hi Kaity! I quoted it to her as I drove the early morning car pool to seminary today)  There's this moment in the movie where  Julie Powell says, "the day there is a meteorite heading towards the earth and we have thirty days to live.  I will spend it eating butter!"  Since the world might end tomorrow, I sooo should have spent the last 30 days eating butter.  Dang it!  I so missed my opportunity.  The Mayans should have marked the calendar with a cube of butter symbol on November 21, that way I would have known when to start eating.  (Please know this is all said sarcastically, I really don't think the world will end tomorrow nor do I think I could actually eat that much butter)

6- I miss my sewing machine. It died.  Just stopped working mid-angel costume.  It was not a heavenly experience at all and in fact was quite heartbreaking.  Especially since I had just bought really cute fabric and was all prepared to make some more purses like the one shown above. I don't use my machine much but now that I can't, I long for it!  I miss you old friend.  Maybe that cute guy who wears a red suit will bring me a new one for Christmas? (I'm pretty sure my husband reads this blog so this is a blatant hint aimed solely at him)

7- Are you still looking for some quick last minute gifts?  It seems you aren't the only one.  I was tracking pins on Pinterest the other day and by far, these two crafts of mine are my most looked at posts.  It was kind of cool to see that.  You can see the original post and tutorials on these posts:

Money Tree:  Week of gifts, day 5
Sock Snowman

Both projects are low cost and whip up fast.  Granted the money tree might not be low cost depending on how much money you use but the supplies needed to make it are low cost. 

8 - I've been thinking about my apple sauce ornaments lately.  I made a bunch of these and did a tutorial on them a couple of years ago but it seems they have become a talking point lately.  I had a comment the other day in my inbox saying that they would taste terrible.  I think that person must have thought they were cookies and maybe didn't read the post because, well, ummm, there are only three ingredients in them, apple sauce, cinnamon and GLUE.  Of course they would taste terrible. The comment gave me a chuckle.  I wouldn't eat them BUT they do smell great.  Here's the recipe in case you want to try and eat them yourself:  Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments  

9- I've been seeing this ad for Spanx lately when I open my inbox.  It has this skinny, perfect model wearing Spanx.  Ummm!  Really?  How are those even working for her?  What does a stick thin gal have to hold, shape, flatten and retain?  I posted this question on my private facebook page and most of my friends were like, "ya, totally, I agree."  But my quick thinking brother said, "She's actually huge without the Spanx."  I laughed so hard I think I spit on my computer monitor.  And, boy, if that's true, I'm buying those puppies.

10- Did I mention it's five days until Christmas.  I'm barely starting my shopping.  I probably shouldn't admit that, you know just in case you thought I had everything all together and was on top of things.  Actually, one look at the picture on #1 should tell you otherwise.  So, random post over, I'm off to shop... wish me luck!

Merry Christmas and don't forget to vote:  Help Cambree win free braces - Ward Orthodontics Facebook page

Dec 17, 2012

Can You Help?

Update 12/19:  Thank you for helping her numbers jump, she's so happy.  We are still 20 votes behind the leader though so if you haven't voted yet, please do - we'd appreciate it greatly!

This is a quick personal call for help and in the light of all that is happening in the world right now, it is a simple request but admittedly, a little bit of selfish one.  If you can look past that, your help would mean a lot to my family and especially my daughters.

Here's the deal, my twin girls, like most kids their age need braces.  For various reasons, expense
being one of them, we've put it off for a few years now.  We can't much longer as they've reached that age that the baby teeth are falling out and their permanent teeth are moving in.  Luckily Cambree has a chance to win free braces. (it's a real deal, my friend's son won them last year)

Here's where you can help.  She's getting creamed in the contest, she checks her votes every day but the numbers just aren't climbing for her.

If you have a Facebook account and wouldn't mind - would you vote for her in an ugly sweater contest?  Your vote does matter and would help a ton.

Funny thing, some people have said they like her sweater - I think if they could see it in real life they wouldn't, it's pretty bad.  It has beads and shiny ribbon, and fake leather and tinsel -eeek!  Anyway, if you want to support her, which would be awesome, here's what you do:

2- go to the top right corner where it says "win braces" and click there.

3 - Like the page and then click to view entries

4- vote for Cambree

It's pretty simple and really would mean a great deal to our family, plus wouldn't it be a nice surprise for her to see her numbers climbing?!  

Thank you so much!

Dec 11, 2012

Empty Fabric Bolt Santa

I know, I know.  The title is a strange one.  Fabric bolts and Santa don't really go together.  But, perhaps they should.   Remember how I posted about being excited about these....

Trash!  I was excited about trash.  I was shopping at the Lobby of Hobby (I felt like a traitor as I'm employed at one of their competitors) and I saw these sitting by the counter ready to go in the trash.  I know the sales associate thought I was a bit strange but I had to have them.  So, with her hesitant approval, I rescued them.  And, I was happy!

I have a project in mind for the other four but I snagged one to make a quick Santa for my door.  

Here's what I did....

Step 1:  Take your bolt and glue on a wooden nose.  I was whipping this together quick so I didn't even bother to paint it but you totally could.  

Step 2:  Get some yarn, I like natural, un-dyed cotton, and loop it into small sections.  Tie off each section on one end and then cut the loops on the end (not shown).  Next, using a glue gun, I attached all the yarn sections under the nose.

Step 3:  I kind of forgot to take pictures of the rest of the steps but basically I just gave him some bangs - because Santa needs bangs, of course!  Then I added some eyes and fashioned him a quick hat.  The hat was all put together with fabric scraps and just hot glue.  No sewing!  Oh, and then I added some Christmas greens and berries for decorations.  

That's it.  See, fun decorations can come from unexpected things like trash.  (I had to put that on here because my family doubted me - Ha!  They were wrong!)

Also, at first I added braids and knots to his beard.  I liked the knots but not the braids so much.  I ended up un-braiding them after the photo was taken.  So, my point, braids are optional.  Maybe dreads would have looked cool - you know, for a really hip Santa!


Dec 6, 2012

Etsy Shop Update

Q:  What did one snowman say to the other snowman?

A:  Do you smell carrots?


Hey all, I've decided to simplify a few things and will be putting my Etsy shop on vacation status starting Monday, December 10th.  If you've had your eye on something or wanted to order a gift please do so right away!  Thanks so much!  I have necklaces, ornaments, bracelets, earrings, and headbands.  And, like always, if you see something you like but want it in a different color, just let me know - I can most likely accommodate your wishes.

Oh, and guess what?  I was shopping a little while go and saw these sitting by the trash can in a local store. 

I asked for them and brought them home.  I think both the store clerk and my husband think I'm crazy.  Especially since I was more excited about them than I was about my purchase.  Can't wait to show you my first creation made from, well, trash!  Anyway, while you wait, please head on over to my shop and see if there's anything you'd like.  All orders placed before the 10th will arrive for Christmas!  Yeah!!!

Nov 29, 2012

Personalized Christmas Ornaments

I get a lot of questions in my inbox.  I try really hard to stay on top of them and respond and I love getting your messages.  Last week was no different, well, except there were a few more messages than normal.  If you remember, I posted a picture of an ornament I made and was giving away to a few lucky readers.  After that post went live, my inbox did too.  I had repeating messages asking me how I made it, well, I'll show you.  Be warned though, they are kind of addicting.  Here's the exact ornament just in case you don't remember it...

Supplies Needed:

Polymer Clay, for this one I used Pearl Sculpey Clay with a small piece of red for the heart
Circle cookie or biscuit cutter
Paint, I use a dark brown
Poly urethane (not shown)
Sharp tool, I use a paper piercer from Lasting Impressions
Ribbon and embellishments (not shown)
paint brush (not shown)
Also keep on hand some water and paper towels (not shown)

Let's get started and be sure to stick with me to the end because I'll show some other ideas you can do using the same techniques.

Step 1:  Pick out your stamp.  I picked up my Angel stamp at Hobby Lobby.  Then, take a chunk of clay and condition it.  If you've never worked with polymer clay before conditioning just means you are going to knead it and squish it for a few minutes to soften it up really well.  Once it is soften, flatten it out and smooth as much as possible.  

Step 2:  Carefully but firmly push your stamp into your clay.  Depending on the softness of your clay will depend on how hard you need to push.  You want to leave a good impression but you also don't want it to be a really deep imprint either.  

When I was done stamping into my clay, it looked like the photo above.

Step 3:  Take your circle cutter - I used a biscuit cutter - and center it around your design and then cut your clay into a circle.  (I know mine was already in a circle but it just came that way when I flattened my clay, the cutter made the circle more uniform)

Here it is stamped and cut out.  We're getting there!

Step 4:  Next, grab your piercing tool.  Carefully poke small holes all along your stamped design.  You could totally by pass this step but I like the extra touch and I think it helps the paint stick into the design.

When you are done with step 4 it will look like the above photo.

Step 5:  Take a very tiny amount of red clay and condition it, then shape a small heart and press it in place onto your angel.

Step 6:  NOT SHOWN - Cook your clay in a pre-heated oven at 275 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Step 7:  Next, paint your design with the brown paint - don't use black - black paint tends to stain the clay.  So, brush on the paint and then, quickly before the paint dries, take a damp paper towel and wipe off the paint.  You want the paint to stay in the grooves of the design but it should come off of every where else.  

When you have removed all the paint it should look like the photo above.  Just enough paint to define the design.

Step 8:  Next, paint on a coat, or two, of polyurethane and let dry

Step 9:   Finish off your ornament with ribbons and embellishment as desired.  

Fun Right!  Ok, so what are some other things you can do to dress them up and personalize them?  Well, here's some more ideas....

Idea 1:  Before you add the coat of polyurethane, paint on some color.  I love using Lumiere.  It's an iridescent looking metallic acrylic item that has some sparkle it.  You can paint it on just like other paints.  It's cool.  It comes in lots of different colors.  You can see more samples of ornaments where I used it below. 

Idea 2:  before baking your clay, after your front is designed, add a holiday greeting to the back

Idea 3:  Use other colors of clay.  Red, green, blue, anything goes.  If you use a colored clay, think about using a light colored paint like white so your design will show well.

Idea 4:  Personalize the back of the ornament with a family name and give them as gifts or use them as personalized tags for gifts.

Idea 5:  Add some cute little embellishments like hanging beads and such.  This also shows a message on the back.

just a cute tree

Idea 6:  Use multiple colors of paint or Lumiere to paint your stamped design.  Again, this has to be done before you add the polyurethane.  

Idea 7:  Similar to the others, only this one shows that you can add a family name or message to the front instead of the back.

So, there you have it - have fun and email me if you have questions.

Oh, and should you want to by pass the whole creative process, I do have these in my Etsy shop and I'm happy to do custom orders!  Plus, good news.  I'm now excepting credit cards in my shop so no need to go through Paypal if you don't want too!