December 31, 2011

Refinished Table and Chairs

It's finished!  Aah.  You may or may not remember that I started this project back in June. I posted about it in August after I got the first chair done.  Yes, it took another 4 months to finish the other 3 chairs and the table!  I really drug my feet on this one, but now it's done and there couldn't be a better way to end the year!

First I sanded everything down.  If there is one lesson I learned through this whole process, it is to sand, sand, and then sand some more!  I preserved the intricate table top design by staining it, then painted everything else.  I really like the dual color scheme. 

This was definitely not a beginner's project.  Perhaps that is why it took me so long to finish - I am a novice when it comes to refinishing furniture.  So I am proud of myself for pushing through and finally getting it done!

Needless to say, I LOVE how it turned out!  But I will not be attempting any more big furniture makeovers for a very long time!

December 20, 2011

Handmade Gift Exchange: Pretty Accessories

Yesterday I showed you what I sent my partner for The Handmade Gift Exchange.  So today I will share what Mary Katherine sent me.  First off, this ADORABLE hounds-tooth flower headband.

The perfect accessory for Baby J's winter outfit.  I love it.

Second, this pretty tweed brooch.  I was really impressed with the quality of this flower. I've made and bought lots of flowers and this one seems to be put together really well.  The petals were sewn together and the pin on the back is secured with thread as well as glue.  I know it is going to be super durable and am excited to wear it.

And lastly, a set of orange embossed thank you cards that I had been eyeing since I discovered her shop.  Check them out here.  Be sure to hop on over to MKMathews and take a look at all the pretty accessories she has for sale!

Thanks for the handmade gifts Mary Katherine!!

December 19, 2011

Handmade Gift Exchange: Embroidered Dish Towel

Have you heard of The Handmade Gift Exchange that Linda from Craftaholics Anonymous put together?  It is such a fun idea and I decided to join in the Holiday 2011 Edition.  After signing up, you are paired with someone for a handmade gift exchange.  Each person receives one other person's contact information and mailing address and then it is up to you to get to know that person and make something for them!

I was partnered up with Mary Katherine who blogs at Mathews Family Happenings about crafting, decorating/renovating her home, and her wonderful crazy life.  This woman has some awesome talent!  She is not only a wife and mom, but a singer, music teacher, theater director, and actress too.  Plus she blogs!  She has got to have some serious time management skills!!   

It was fun to "meet" a new blogger and challenging to figure out what to make her.  I read through her blog and stalked her on Pinterest as well as looked for ideas among her Etsy favorites.  I finally decided to try my hand at embroidery and made her this dish towel. Isn't it cute!?

I printed off the free pattern from Wild Olive and followed her simple directions.  This cupcake requires only 2 different stitches, so it is a perfect beginner's project.  Since I had never embroidered before I followed these thorough instructions for making the backstich and these for the french knots.  

I also sent each of her kiddos a package of Reindeer Noses.  I'll be back later with pictures of what she sent me!

December 13, 2011

Using Sticker Negatives as Stencils

Merry Christmas in Hawaiian

Sorry for the lull in posts lately.  I've been on Maui for the last week soaking up the sun and relaxing!!  But I'm back now and have been busy unpacking and tidying up.  The babe has been running a fever and has been very sleepy so I even managed to get some crafting in.  I ran a coconut giveaway last week on my other blog:  A Real-Life Housewife and decided to paint a little message on it before sending it off.  Instead of digging out my Cricut to cut stencils, I grabbed some stickers and used the negatives.

This is a great method if you don't have a cutting machine! 

It worked great!  I was debating about drawing a rainbow next to the message but realized my painting skills are not that great and decided to keep things simple.  I hope the winner likes it!

Hop on over to A Real-Life Housewife to learn some useful household tips as well as to get to know me a little better.  You might just be inspired to clean your shower head or shine your glassware!

November 30, 2011

Free Printable Treat Bag Toppers for Reindeer Noses

Are these the cutest Christmas treats you've ever seen or what?  I got the idea from Zoe at A Personal Touch.  She used real scrap booking supplies, but I cheated and designed them in My Memories Suite.  I found the cute little reindeer clip art here and used embellishments and monograms from the software to create the rest.  I am just loving this digital scrap booking stuff!  It has come in handy for all sorts of things.  I think I may make a Christmas themed header for the blog with it next!  They just came out with Version 3 so I've been playing around with it and there are definitely some improvements!  They even fixed one of the things I complained about in my review!  There is now an easier way to find your store purchases.  And I really love that they made custom sizing available.  You can set your paper size to just about anything you want. 

If you would like to try it out for yourself, use code STMMMS54717 for $10 off, making it only $29.97!!  Plus this will give you $10.00 of in-store credit to buy some supplies!  This would make a great Christmas gift! 

I filled each bag with 8 Whoppers and 1 Sweet's Christmas Fruit Sour (can be purchased at Walmart).  Click here to access the free downloadable tags (via!  I recommend printing them on some nice paper like Premium Presentation Matte.  Once they are printed, simply cut them out on the dotted lines and fold in half.  Staple to your treat bags and you have a fun and cute little gift or favor.

Buy Handmade This Season + a HUGE Giveaway

Today I would like to introduce you to a new favorite blog of mine:

This blog showcases Etsy shops and is always giving away something.  It is easy to enter their giveaways and it is a great way to discover other handmade vendors.  Right now they have a HUGE holiday giveaway in conjunction with their Holiday Gift Guide.  Over $600 worth of handmade goodies!!  Entering is as easy as becoming a follower of their blog (don't see why anyone would not want to do this!) and leaving a comment.  So head on over to a little etsy love for some great handmade gift ideas as well as a chance to enter this awesome giveaway!!

November 21, 2011

An Unconventional Christmas Tree

200 + book pages rolled and glued to a heavy cardboard cone then attached to a wooden dowel.

And a 3D star for the topper.  If you missed the tutorial, click here.

Although the rolling and gluing were very time consuming, the hardest part of this tree proved to be the base.   My original idea of sticking the dowel in a piece of styrofoam and covering it with burlap, completely flopped.  It was top heavy.  So, I thought about it and experimented with different things and finally decided on some scrap wood I had laying around.  And guess what?  There was already a hole which was the perfect size for the dowel!! How lucky is that?  I spray painted it Rust-Oleum Metallic, sanded it down a little and my tree is now finished!  What do you think, good use of an old book?

November 12, 2011

Create Thank You Cards with My Memories Suite

Think to thank this holiday season with a simple card.

I designed these thoughtful gestures using My Memories Suite.  This digital scrapbooking software is not only great for documenting life's most memorable moments, but you can also make a lot of other things too-like calendars, slide shows, and cards to name a few!

To make these cards, I used the following two Designer Packs, which I got for free because I liked the My Memories FB page (get a $5.00 credit just for liking them!)

After downloading the embellishments to my computer, I opened up the software and came up with this design.  I saved it as a JPEG and inserted into Microsoft Office where I decreased the size and arranged it so that when printed it could be folded into a card.

Turned out cute, don't ya think?!  I thought the printing quality was excellent and will be designing up some more.

Use the code on my sidebar for an awesome discount! ($10.00 off purchase of software + $10.00 credit to store)

November 10, 2011

How to Make a 3d Paper Star

I was in need of a star to top a rolled paper Christmas tree I am working on, so to be all matchy matchy, I made it out of paper.  Book pages to be specific!  Are you excited to see it?  Well, it should be finished soon - just working on a few little details.  And boy will I be glad when it is done!  My fingers can't take any more rolling.  Luckily this star only involves folding, giving them a break! 

All you need are a couple of paper stars and some glue.  I used Mod Podge.

Like the pictures show, start with one star and fold it in half at each point.  This will give you 5 creases.  Then fold the star in between the points in the opposite direction you folded the points.  Do this to both stars and then glue them together.  Use them for tree toppers, ornaments, shelf decor, or whatever your heart desires.

November 8, 2011

Printable Birthday Calendar

Keeping track of birthdays can be difficult, especially when you come from a sizable family and then marry into an even more sizable family.  Between my parents, my siblings and their kids, there are 21 of us.  Combine that with 35 people on my husbands side and I have 56 birthdays to remember.  Plus 3 Grandparents and a handful of friends.  So I started searching for a system that would aid my memory, and I pleasantly stumbled upon this free printable Birthday Calendar at Lemon Squeezy.  I really like that everyone's birthdays are displayed on one page.  With a single glance I can see who's birthday is this month and how many cards I will need to get for next month.  It will make planning ahead a cinch and hopefully I won't miss any more birthdays!

Click here to print yourself one!

November 3, 2011

A Holiday Wreath

I've started my holiday decorating with a simple wreath for my front door.  

Every time I go to the craft store I longingly gaze at all the pretty wreaths.  Then I stroll on, because I can't get myself to spend $20+ dollars on one.  When I saw how inexpensive this unfinished twig wreath was (something like $3.00 or $4.00) I decided to try making one from scratch.  I found some berries for a buck a piece and a couple of  star ornaments for not much more.

Put them all together and my door is dressed for the upcoming months.

November 2, 2011

My Memories Suite Review & Giveaway

The digital age has revolutionized so many things, and scrapbooking is definitely among them.  Say goodbye to stacks of paper, rolls of ribbon and pairs of scissors and welcome My Memories Suite into your life.  It will save you time and money.  Plus, it's totally fun! Check out my Reviews Blog to learn more and enter to win this digital scrapbooking software! CLICK HERE.

October 31, 2011

A Treat Bag for My Ladybug

Happy Halloween everybody!!  We have been celebrating all weekend.  Festivities began for us on Friday with a Halloween celebration at Aaron's office.  Kids were invited to trick or treat the cubicles and about an hour before it began I realized I didn't have anything for this cute ladybug to gather treats in.  So I rummaged through my supplies and found some felt that matched her costume perfectly and I whipped up a simple treat bag.

I sewed 2 rectangles together for the bag and then attached a handle on each side with a few stitches.  The letters were traced, cut out, then adhered to the bag by needle felting. Felt is a fun material to work with and one I want to explore.  Get inspired too by checking out my Felt Pinterest Board!

October 26, 2011

Apple Bites

I don't know about you, but at our house we are already on a sugar high and it's not even Halloween yet.  I bought one of those BIG bags of mini candy bars, like the $10.00 ones, and we have been snacking on them all week.  So when I saw these at Disney Family Fun, I thought, "What a healthy, fun snack!" and I made some.

All you need is an apple, a paring knife, and some almond slivers.

Slice the apple into fourths.

Cut a wedge out of the skin side, slit holes in the flesh and stick "teeth" in!  If you're not serving them right away, moisten with orange juice to keep them from browning.

October 25, 2011

A Monogrammed Book Band

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I joined a book club!  We met for the first time a few weeks ago and discussed Saving Cee Cee Honeycut by Beth Hoffman.  It was so much fun to get out of the house and meet up with a bunch of women who also love to read!  We enjoyed stimulating conversation and laughed a lot as we recounted the story of Cee Cee living through the death of her crazy mom and then getting rescued by her generous Aunt Tootie and all her female friends.  While it wasn't my favorite book (not even close!), I did come to appreciate it more and even like it a little bit more as we talked about it.

So what does all this have to do with a book band for my polka dot notebook?  Well, as I read books I like to slap a sticky note on passages and quotes that I really like.  After I finish a book, I flip back through the book and type them up.  Problem was that they weren't organized.  Scattered in different folders and what not, they weren't accessible.  So I decided I would transfer them to a notebook and record new ones as I read.

That way, they are all in one place.  And I can go back and read through them with a flip of the page.  I have quite enjoyed writing them all down and it has made me want to reread some of the books.

So here's the how to and used what?

I dug through my stash of fold over elastic and found a piece that matched, wrapped it around my book and cut it an inch smaller than that, sewed it together and hot glued a chip board letter over the seam.  All in one breath.  That quickly.

I like it because it is thin and it won't fall off!  I can keep it securely attached while I am jotting down notes.  And if I want to slip a piece of paper in between the cover and first page, it won't fall out.

And I decided to write it all in cursive.  For fun.  I almost always write in manuscript, so this is a nice change.  Plus there is something really lovely about flowing, connected letters and it reminds me of my mom.                                                        

October 18, 2011

Dancing Skeletons + Free Halloween Printables

I am in love.

Isn't this font clever?  I have had so much fun playing with it,

making fun Halloween printables. 

And the collection wouldn't be complete without some Speciman Art:

This has got to be one of my favorite fonts ever.  Fittingly named Tango Macabre, you can download it for free here.

I have made the alphabet and eye exam posters available to print as PDF's for the next 30 days (via  Click here and here.

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