19 December 2013


It's not too late! Tis' the season for sharing a little something sweet.

This year I teamed up with my good friend Chris from Well & Good to make Hot Chocolate Dippers. I saw them at Anthropologie for $6.00 each and I figured I could make those!

Below are links to what we used. It's not necessary to get a caramel loaf, but it's easier than unwrapping a bag of individually wrapped caramels. I used about 1/4 of the loaf for 60 dippers. I melted the rest of the caramel for another recipe and some caramel apples. So it has plenty of uses. Also, Chris and I did three batches of dippers (two batches were salted caramel, one batch was peppermint = 180 dippers total!), so we went through about a 1/2 loaf by the end of this project.

A word on chocolate. I'm not a master baker, but every time I've bought the chocolate listed below, all has gone very well. I love it. It's smooth and so so yummy.

About the trays. We searched and searched for trays that looked like the same size as the dippers I saw in the store. I liked these because they weren't tapered but completely square. About 1.25"x1.25". After trying out the dippers, this size works great with a small mug of milk. If you have larger ice cube trays, expect to use more milk, or have extremely rich hot chocolate. Also, I've only tried this with silicone. It's tricky to get the first one out, but once that's out, they'll all come out easily. An old hard plastic tray???? Who even knows.

Silicone Ice Cube Trays
Wood Coffee Sirrers
Wax Paper
Rubber Scraper
Squeeze Bottle

Clear Cello Bags - Singles (2.5"x6") Duos (3.5"x2"x7.5")
Tags - See below for FREE PRINTABLES
*Optional - Plates ($1 section at Target) and doilies

Makes 60 Chocolate Dippers (using four trays of 15 each)
5lb bag of Guittard Milk Chocolate A'Peels
Caramel Loaf
Sea Salt
Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

*Optional (and extremely tasty) - Peppermint flavoring oil
Peppermint Candy Canes - Mini's, thick... they all work.

1. Wash each silicone tray and lightly spray with Pam. LIGHTLY.
2. Cut 1/4 of the caramel loaf off and place it on a sheet of wax paper. Slice it into .75" thick pieces. Then cube it into about .75"x.75", you can round them to a ball or keep them flat.
3. Put sticks into 15 of the caramels (enough to load one tray at a time)
4. In a large pot melt about 1/4 of your 5lb bag of chocolate on low. I start at 3-low for a few minutes before I add them, then move the dial between 3 and 2. Stir occasionally. Once melted, pour the chocolate into a squeeze bottle. This will save on the mess!
5. Pour in another 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until the new bits are coated with whatever is left in the pot.
6. Squeeze a bit of chocolate into each spot of ONE tray.
7. Place the caramels with sticks in them into each spot in the tray
8. Check on the chocolate occasionally, stir. You don't want any crumbling or bubbling = too hot. It should be smooth. It's a steady slow heat.
9. Start to add chocolate and fill each of the spots in the tray. You'll probably run out of chocolate in your squeeze bottle, but that's ok, the chocolate in the pot should be melted by now. Reload your squeeze bottle and finish the TRAY 1.
10. Repeat this process for the other two trays.
11. After each tray is completely filled put them into the refrigerator. It's ok to keep them in overnight, but I've found that about 2 hours in the fridge is perfect.
12. After about 20 minutes, you can add some sea salt to the top. Do a bit on one, see if the salt melts in, if so, wait a few more minutes. You want it to be tacky so the salt sticks, but not so hot that it melts in because the salt is pretty.
13. It's nice to have sticks that stand upright, so check on them occasionally, move them back into place.

* If you want some Peppermint Dippers, no need for the caramel. On your next load of chocolate, add a few drops of Peppermint flavoring oil. The sticks will have a tougher time standing up on their own, you can put a mini candy cane in upside down and let the stick and candy prop each other up, or you can get fatter candy canes and break them down to about 2" pieces. I like the finished rounded edge sticking out the best. You can also add crushed candy cane to the tops after about 15 minutes or so (see #12).

14. Once cooled (I think 2 hours is optimal, but overnight is ok) it's time to take them out of the trays. Let them sit about 5 minutes, put down some wax paper.
15. Turn one tray upside down and work on one corner, trying to push out from the bottom and stretch the sides. Do so gently. As soon as you feel it giving way, turn it back over and push it out from the bottom.
16. With one out, you can get the others easily by pushing from the bottom, slightly twisting, pulling at the edges gently. Get them all out and place them onto the wax paper.
17. Dip each one into a bowl of Cocoa powder and tap off any excess. This is mostly to coverup any odd swirling that may have happened while cooling. It looks nice to have them coated slightly in the powder.
18. If needed, you can top each of the caramel dippers with a bit more salt before putting them in their baggies.

19. Print off and cut the tags. Load the dippers either 1 per singles bag (2.5"x6"), or 2 per duo bag (3.5"x2"x7.5"). With the wider bags, I use the folded card and string through the top with ribbon. The individuals get a bit of ribbon cinched around the bag and then a tag on each one. FREE PRINTABLE TAGS are below.

Merry Christmas Gifting! xoxo

Print these on 8.5"x11" Cardstock (q4 Cards) and fold at the center line then punch a hole.
This will provide How-To instructions without having to print front-to-back.


Print these on 8.5"x11" Cardstock (q12 Cards) and cut out each individually.
These do not have How-To instructions. But offer some various mug options.

Print these 8.5"x11" Cardstock (q4 Cards) and cut at the center vertical line then again at the center horizontal line. Then fold at the center line for each card.
 These are for packaged sets of two, one Salted Caramel and one Peppermint.

15 December 2013


Apparently my husband's family tooth fairy, is named Janice. I love it. Janice?! Who's idea was that? Because all I can think of is "Three's Company". In keeping with tradition... we needed to prepare for Janice's arrival... And FAST. Our daughter had a wiggler for a few weeks and then all of the sudden she was eating breakfast and it just popped out. Quick and painless! Bless-Ed Be because I wasn't interested in the crying and whining... (oh wait, we got our share of that on her second wiggler, exactly 5 days later.)

Needless to say, I was in tooth fairy mode instantly. I had my eye on this pillow for years, but never really noticed the price until recently. Not within my budget for a 5" pillow. I couldn't find any others in the same range of cuteness or patterns for less so I started in. I had 5 hours to start and finish this little friend.

White Knit Sweater - (I found one at a local second hand store, it was huge, without seams and the right color, but not wool. It will do in a pinch but wool would last longer.) - washed
1/4 yd. Thin Cotton Muslin - washed
Pattern (see provided PDF)
Fabric Scissors
Sewing Machine
White Thread
Embroidery Thread - Pink. Warm Grey

1. Print provided PDF pattern.
2. Wash the knit fabric and cotton muslin
3. Lay out the knit, folded once over so you can cut two pieces at once. Situate your pattern on top and pin. Cut around the fabric at the pattern line.
4. Repeat the process for the cotton muslin.
5. Layer the four pieces... muslin, knit, knit, muslin... and pin.
6. Sew around the tooth leaving a 2" gap on one side.
7. Turn the fabric inside out so that the muslin is on the inside.
8. Stuff the tooth with stuffing.
9. Hand sew the 2" side opening closed with small stitching.
For the Pocket
10. Cut a piece of muslin (using a finished end for the top of the pocket if available) that is 2x as long as the pocket size, fold in half and iron.
11. Cut a piece of the knit (using a pre-finished edge for the top of the pocket if available). Make sure it's about a 1/2" larger all the way around from the muslin size.
12. Sew the top of the muslin (unfolded) to the top of the knit,
13. Wrap the 1/2" portions around the folded muslin and pin.
14. Sew the three sides, leaving the top open, creating a pocket.
15. Hand sew the pocket to the back of the tooth.*
16. Embroider the face to the front of the tooth, making the eyes far apart and the smile long.*

* You can also, sew this pocket to the back, before you layer your pieces (#5)
* You can also embroider the face to the front before you layer your pieces (#5)

It is my preference to do these last two steps after the tooth is stuffed to ensure that the placement works. Sometimes stuffing throws me off and the face ends up too low or in a crack... this is just me.

Here's my happy toothless sweetle with her new friend, "Toothie".

Free patterns!

10 December 2013


This was a project from a while back but it can't go unposted. It's seriously one of the larger undertakings known to moms.

I always wanted a quiet book. I never wanted to actually make a quiet book. But come to find out... I had several friends with the same want/notwant so we got together and made a plan. There were 18 of us so we each made a page x20 (two people had a spread = two pages). Then we traded goods after a few months of intense sewing...  Bless you Holly and Nicole for taking on a spread each!

It was up to each of us to put them together... back them up either with bias tape or piping (I opted for piping) and some sort of cover. Some put one ring in the corner and used a single ring to keep them together. Some put three rings on and did the same thing but with 3 rings... I wanted to feel like a BOOK so I bought two cheap 3-ring binders, sliced off the front and back covers and turned those into soft binders. It was one of those "wingin'it on Christmas eve" kinds of situations, but it got done.

With 20 pages, front to back, I had 10 completed pages so I split those into two groups and made two books, one for each of my daughters (5 pages each). Today, I tend to use one book and switch out the pages instead of toting two books here and there.

Some page ideas :
1. Zipper pulls
2. Converse Shoelaces - To learn to tie a bow.
3. Garden - This was mine ;)
4. Face - (Girl) with hair to braid and a few barrettes
5. Face - (Boy) with a few mustaches to Velcro on
6. Fish Bowl - magnet fishing line and felt fish
7. Button Flowers - Interchangeable flowers to different button stems
8. Zipper teepee - I enclosed the bottom flap, added felt grass, and bought mini cowboys
9. Alphabet - This needs a full spread (two pages)
10. Alphabet - Attached with Velcro
11. Felt tree with owl and leaves to Velcro on
12. Road Track and Garage - I bought two Squinkie cars to keep in the garage
13. Rocks - Flip up to see bugs under the rocks
14. Patagonia snap Jacket
15. Numbers Match Up
16. Shapes Match Up
17. Ice Cream Sundae - Build a Sundae
18. Clock
19. Weave
20. Mailbox

03 December 2013


Every so often I try to be a calligrapher. My father-in-law has the patience and steadiness it takes to really be a master calligrapher. I see what he creates and I hope and pray I can muster up a smidge of his talents.

My good friend Christina is needing a logo type and we thought it might be fun to hand letter something for Good & Well. Stay tuned for more.

P.S. A series of 3"x3" thumbnails from the grand master.

22 November 2013


I've teamed up with a friend to create an sweet little baby room for her soon-to-be-born TWINS! We started with the Enchanted Forest mural from Anthropologie, because she fell in love with it instantly. She's having a boy and a girl so the mural offered a fine mixture of masculine and feminine. A bit of softness, and depth. This is a styleboard, inspired by her room. A combination of vintage and eclectic finds to complement the bold red and soft blues found within the mural and a quilt.

18 November 2013


Fruitloop neckalces... It's nothing new, but it's also so simple, and will get big smiles from the kids faces. It's a must do every once in a while. I'm all for rotating activities and keeping them interested in something besides TV. Plus, now that it's getting cold outside, it's a good activity to add to the Winter Activity List.

P.S. Sometimes the little color compartments are just too tempting and the necklaces don't ever get made. And that's ok.

15 November 2013


Just in time for the holidays!

Make some pretty place settings for your Thanksgiving table. Or think ahead and create something for a future dinner party. Feathers are always in season and always pretty.

See atly.com for the DIY tutorial and be sure to email me (you'll see the link in the class outline) to get your personalized labels for your guest list.

And Happy Thanksgiving!

06 November 2013


I started this so long ago. And my eyes failing have turned it into a long on-going project. It's a sign of age that I choose to deny. But recently I got some readers and was able to complete this little cross stitch of my girlies for their new bedroom. After I finished, I looked for a cute frame and had to stop myself from spending $32 on "the perfect" frame. Instead I found a little $2 white frame that I painted gold. I feel pretty good about the saved $30!

Martha Steward Metallic Paint in Golden Pearl #349 276
Sponge Brush
Wax Paper

1. Spread out a sheet of wax paper to keep your painting surface clean.
2. Paint a thin layer of of metallic paint on the frame. Let dry. This is going to look not-so-great on the first coat, but that's ok, the end result will be fantastic.
3. Repeat coats of paint until you get the desired look on your frame. Mine started white and needed about four coats of paint. I liked that it wasn't perfect looking and just had a hint of shimmer.

31 October 2013


The cute kind of Halloween crafts, nothing gross or scary going on with this crew. I saw this paper plate craft here and needed to do something for my daughter's kindergarten class. After class, I had some left over so we took advantage and crafted up a bat storm! All it really took was some paper plates and construction paper. I like paper eyes better than googly eyes for some reason. You end up with a cute variety of expressions with paper... just in where the kids choose to place the eyes.

Paper Plates: Circle Black (Bats), Square Green (Frankenstein), Circle Orange (Pumpkin).
You could also do White (Ghost), Green (Witch)... on and on and on.
Construction Paper: Black (for all three), White (for all three)
Ribbon: Green (for the pumpkin stem)
Glue Stick

Frankenstein: Cut black hair the width of the plate, about 3" tall, and zigzag one of the long edges. This is the hair. Cut 2 quarter sized white eyes, and 2 dime sized black eyes, Cut a strip of black about .5" tall for the mouth, length can be as long as you want. Cut 2 bolts that are shaped like chunky "T"s. Glue the hair on first, then the white eyes, then the black, then the mouth strip. Last, tape the bolts to the back. Frank is done.
Bat: Take one full sheet of black construction paper, fold it in half (the short way) and cut both wings at the same time. Draw first, from the bottom right corner, up to the fold (midpoint) and rounded down to the mid point of the left edge of the paper. Then start 2" down (this flat edge is where you tape the wing to the back of the plate) and draw the two concave sections, meeting up at the corner starting point. Cut 2 quarter sized white eyes, and 2 dime sized black eyes. Cut 2 small white triangles for fangs and 2 larger triangles for ears. First tape the bat wings to the back, and secure them a bit with glue. Flip the plate back to the front and glue the white eyes, then the black. Glue the fangs then tape the ears to the back. Bat is done, and his wings can flap a bit which is fun.
Pumpkin: Cut a 3" strip of ribbon and a black mouth any variety of smile or non smile you want. Cut 2 quarter sized white eyes, and 2 dime sized black eyes. Glue the eyes and mouth on and then fold the ribbon in half, tape the end to the back and secure it with a staple. Done. These are cute hung by the stem.

23 October 2013


Downton, Season 4 will air January 5th. Sherlock Season 3 starts January 19th. Call the Midwife, Season 3 will be in Spring of 2014. Just a little while more to wait for these fantastic shows, thank goodness for the fillers and repeats. I'm always up for a repeat of these shows, or the opportunity to catch up on those that I haven't seen yet. Right now, I'm really enjoying The Paradise. Better than Mr. Selfridge, in my opinion.

Have you ever watched The Last Enemy, again with Benedict Cumberbatch. it's on HuluPlus. I'm also catching up on Call the Midwife Season 2. There's always something from BBC that keeps me entertained. P.S. wasn't Silk amazing?!?! And there will be a Season 2 (hooray!).

22 October 2013


A playroom. I never thought it was necessary until toys were splattered about in every room. I realized the reason for all the fuss. A place where everything goes at the end of the day.

Before we moved to this home it was the Master Bedroom, so it's quite a decent size. When we moved in we made it our daughters room (remember the hodgepodge? and the dress up closet?). Now our girls share a room so this room is turning into the happy, sunshiney play place. A place for friends to come and play. P.S. I WILL fit the treadmill in here too. I'm determined.

This is the style sheet I came up with while planning.

From the color palette above, the far right is the closest to the wall color we chose (Valspar, Mino's Eye). My husband painted the room while I was out of town on a girls trip. Oh, how I love him. I married well.

We already own several items, the egg chair, kitchen, and shelving from IKEA, The Pkolino Little One's table and chairs. We have a few vintage globes laying around, oodles of vintage Fisher Price toys and paper mache hot air balloons. We have a cloud book shelf, a Jonathan Adler lamp and a vintage yellow table for the dress-up accessories. We also already have a Mr. TTT Bop Bag and the Wish Come True toys by FriendsWithYou. Mr. TTT is a signature piece in this room. He's always smiling, no matter how much he gets knocked around. I found a wire storage basket from Urban Outfitters to hold all of the kitchen goods. I also bought a white white shag rug for under the kitchen table. I'm making a rag rug (which may kill me) for the dress-up closet. A beautiful letterpressed calendar from Lab Partners still hangs in this room, and I have an adorable These Are Things map that needs to be hung.

For the wish list: A cute tent or teepee with white lights all around and a yellow pouf so big people can sit at the kitchen table with the littles. In the future, if I come across any kind of It's A Small World items, more vintage FP toys, or FriendsWithYou doodads... they will find a happy home in this room.

17 October 2013


My little one loves two things: 1) Cinderella and 2) Yellow. So we had a Cinderella party with a few of her friends for lunch and dress-up.

I was really wanting to keep this simple and less expensive because I'm great at spending too much time and money on birthday parties.

I started with yellow and blue... yellow because that's her favorite color and blue for Cinderella's dress. I had some garlands and decorations from past parties. It was fast and easy to make a Happy Birthday banner and incorporate a bit of Mary Blair style. I also used her influence for the invitations. I found some Lucite blue crystals at Michael's for cheap-cheap, bought a slew of balloons, made my usual 36" balloon tassel out of ribbons that I had stashed, BOUGHT the cupcakes this time and made sure they were mini's to cut down on the mess. I was doing good, fast and easy. The lunch was easy too because honestly, three year olds eat like birds.

Melon Balls
Skewered Cheese and Ham Chunks
PBJ Sandwiches Cut with Crown Cutter

Streamer Backdrop
Old frame with cut-out No.3 (glittered)
Lucite Crystals from Michael's
Mary Blair Castle (large to hang, tiny for cupcake topper)
Happy Birthday Banner
Puff Ball Garland
Glitter Puff Garland
36" Balloon Tassel of Ribbons
No.3 Photo Wall
Yellow Roses

I had a simple white table cloth, with white paper doilies, yellow plastic plates and vintage crystal cut glass dessert plates. I took those off for lunch but used them for the cupcakes later. I had some plastic forks, napkins, canning jars, lids and straws on hand. The star wands came from Target's party section.

At each table I filled a blue box with dollar store puzzles and Cinderella goodies. I made little tags for each girl and tied a balloon to each one. So when they left they would get a party favor box, a balloon and a craft.

Prep Ahead:
6" Doilies - Dye these blue before hand by simmering on stove top with some food coloring. Try not to simmer too long, the longer they're in the water, the more fragile they are along the lace edging.
Wood Peg Dolls
Craft Paint (Lt. Blue, Yellow, White) - I used shimmer paint for the blue body and white shoes, regular craft paint for the yellow hair. When painting the hair, I globed it on in the front a bit for bangs.

During Party:
Variety of Markers (Black, Pink, Blue) - Thin is best. Black for necklace in the neck-indent, Pink for lips, Blue for eyes and headband.
Hot Glue Gun and Sticks - I maned the hot glue gun for safety.
Mini Blue Sparkle - I hot glued these even though I bought the sticker sparkles. The sticker didn't stick to the round body.
Blue Doilies & Glue Sticks - Glue the doilie-skirt together. To make it more secure add a touch of hot glue but be careful not to burn yourself. See pattern below for connecting the skirt (at the first circle along the bottom). Use this as a visual guide (no need to print it out): Match up the circular areas where the "x's" are to create a skirt. If the circle doesn't fit around the peg, cut a bit more center circle until it does fit. Once the skirt is glued together and fits around the peg, take it off, then hot glue around the peg at the ;) crotch area and then slide the skirt on to keep it in place.
Yellow Mini Pom Poms - Hot glue to the back of her head for a bun LAST.

P.S. This is the sweetest bunch of princesses ever. They arrived in their favorite princess dresses and played so well together, adding crowns, hats, beads and shoes from the dress-up closet. I adore these little sweeties. They also danced and watched a bit of "Cinderella" before their fancy luncheon.

26 September 2013


We really need to win this!!! Please click here to vote! I beg of you ;)

We recently painted our living room a deep teal and then the Apartment Therapy Color Contest came around. What timing!

It's an honor to be on this list... it would be even more amazing to make past the first round and it would blow my little mind to win. We are in the "dark" category, so there is some hope.

There are lots of beautiful rooms so check it out, vote for ours, please. And maybe next year you could enter something from your home! It's such fun.

17 September 2013


A few of you have wanted to see my sister-in-law's home that I've been working on. Some little bits here and there still need attention but for the most part, much of the home and grounds are complete. I may post more later, but for now, here are the kids rooms and the living room, three of my favorites.

If you remember, I had a series of ideas for baby rooms, here. Some of those ideas came to fruition. For the baby's room, a combination of "In The Garden" and "Woodland Friends", and the kids room, "Vintage Circus".

The living room, I always envisioned the fragility and colors of a basket of farm fresh eggs. With varied whites, creams, tans and greys.

You can see the style boards for these rooms along with several others, here.

11 September 2013


I love the ladies at Modern Kiddo, they're so fun. And they have a great little "Weekly Kiddo" feature. I submitted our Stella so-so long ago. I noticed this today... Hooray for my little superkiddo!

30 August 2013


Where did August go? Oh, I know... it went to this dresser. Seriously, this was a loulou. I tried to find a good dresser that was low and wide for between the girls beds but nothing out there was right. If it was, it was too expensive. So I bought the cheapest buffet I could find and chose to spend the time and a bit of cash for gold foil supplies.

I bought it looking like this.

Black base, distressed by adding paint, not by rubbing it away. A tan top, black hardware and made in China. Which means cheap "non-wood".

We figured out how cheap when my husband attempted to spray paint the top surface white. After several coats and cans later, we moved on to Kilz primer and then rolled a white gloss paint over the top. Once the top was painted I was able to start in on the gold foil.  P.S. That top surface took two solid weeks to complete. Bah!

If you've been hanging around my posts, you'll know I like to gold foil stuff. After this one, I think I earned a masters on the subject. I learned a few things this time around. The tight detail is sometimes not worth the several layered attempt... Some spots are best to use a rub on gold paste and then ONE layer of gold foil over that. However the paste is slightly darker so you can see where you put it, you don't want to apply it after gold foil. And it's best in a crevice where it's naturally darker anyway. I ended up doing a few layers in some places. I also wish I had painted the whole thing a base of gold, just lightly. So that I wouldn't have had to do so many layers. Gold leaf picks up textures and bumps which I don't mind but keep that in mind when choosing what to foil. It's so thin, it sees EVERYthing.

Here's a list of what I generally buy. I really should buy this stuff in bulk online, but I still go to Michael's and buy for each project.

Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Sizing Adhesive - 1 1/2 small jars
Foam Brush - I went through 2
Disposable Container - I went through 2
Soft Brush - I destroyed my brush so after this it's time for a new one.
Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Sheets - I think I used 6 packets
Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Paste - 1 tube, but I still have lots left for next time.
ModgePodge Gloss - 1 jar, I used about half to seal it all when I was done.

Because the entire piece is made of crappy non-wood, that is matte and a bit rough, I chose to put down shelf paper in the drawers and cupboards. This is to be used in my girls room so I needed it to be a bit lighter and smoother for their little hands.

I bought crystal glass knobs at Anthropolgie for the cupboards and I reused the black handles for the drawers. I spray painted them white, then steel wooled them a bit and then used some of my gold paste over the top. It made them look nice and old.

There's more to come on this room, I'm almost finished with it. This dresser was the toughest part. The rest is smooth sailing.

22 July 2013


We had a blank wall that needed some love and art. I had gathered a few ideas online but was immediately stumped. I really needed an ocean painting. I don't have that kind of talent but my grandpa did. So I asked mom and *poof* out of a closet came the cutest little ocean painting by Grandpa Garden, all tucked away in the dark. With the best handmade mid-century frame, to boot! I remember his frame studio in his garage. It's a dream long gone, but I am happy to see one of his pieces in our home now!

With that painting, I was inspired and ready to get going creating the other things I've been admiring lately on Serena & Lily and Etsy: feathers, mixed frames, doodles, a geometric painting, arrows.

I started in with the feathers.

A variety of Feathers
A Shadow Box Frame - Mine came from Crate & Barrel
Neutral fabric - Ironed
Spray Mount
Hot Glue Gun and Glue

1. Cover the back panel of the frame with a neutral cloth by spray mounting it down.
2. Cut the fabric about 1" all the way around the back panel and fold the edges over tightly.
3. Hot glued the edges down so that it's tight and smooth on the front of the panel.
4. Use washi tape to give it a finished edge.
5. Lay out the feathers on the fabric board as you want them.
6. Hot glue the feathers with small dots at the points where the feathers touch the fabric.
7. Insert the back panel into the frame, leave out the glass.

Next, I wanted a geometric painting, something with a bit of neon, and after doing it I realized I needed some gold foil in there too ;)

Wood Board Canvas
Vintage paper
Spray Mount
Mod Podge
Paints and Brush
Elmer's Glue
Tracing paper
Painting Tape
Gold Foil and Sizing

1. First lay out all of the pieces of art so far and determine the color palette. I buy my paints at Miachael's and Joann's with coupons to make them nice and cheap.
2. Draw on the wood board canvas, your desired geometric shape.
3. Lay tracing paper over the top and trace the same geometric shape.
4. Spray mount a piece of old newsprint or book paper to the wood canvas.
5. Cut about 1/2"-1" around to fold down. Use Elmer's to tack this down.
6. Mod Podge the entire face and sides of the wood canvas. 1-2 coats and let dry completely.
7. With a ruler and pencil, go over the shape on the tracing paper with nice thick pencil lines. Flip that over onto the dried board and rub down the pencil to transfer the shape.
8. Lightly redraw onto the wood with a ruler to make the lines clear.
9. Tape around the outer edges, this will stay until completely done painting.
10. One shape at a time, tape off and paint each shape. Some shapes you can do more coats and make it more opaque and others, you can do one coat so you can see the newsprint through the paint. Careful not to get the paper too wet, it may bubble.

This part takes a couple of days because I let each shape dry. I try to do a few shapes at a time. You can go over the top if you don't like something. I found that I needed to add some gold foil and redid a few shapes.

11. When all is done, take off the tape and Mod Podge the entire face and sides again. One coat, let dry.

Next, I laid out all of the pieces of art, and added a couple of photos to the mix. I had a cute tile from Spain to add, and an vintage photo of my grandparents. Then I cut out pieces of newsprint each size of the frames and then taped those to the wall in the pattern that felt good to me. Then my husband and I hung up all of the pieces over the top of the newsprint and then tore out the newsprint from behind... It was missing something.

So I made one last frame of stamps. I have a stamp collection so I just gathered a few favorites and laid them out, hot glued them down, framed and put that up to balance out the group.

Done! In only what... 1 month later ;)

05 July 2013


I saw some amazing ribbon at Paper Source back when I was planning my daughter's 5th birthday party. A FAIRY PARTY so it was just perfect. I knew it had to be worked into the plan somehow. I got a spool and it has gone surprisingly far. I made two garlands out of it, plus I used some to sew onto the finished package... and I still have some left over. It was a good purchase.

The felt balls I got for the party were a different color palette than this tutorial. When my sister-in-law saw the finished garland at the party she said, "oh... that would go so good in...." you know, I had to make her one too, in the correct color palette of course. So I ordered up more felt balls and made her a little garland for her daughter's room.

Here's a quick tutorial so you can make one too.

Leaf Ribbon from Paper Source
Felt Balls (yellow. green. periwinkle) - I got a 20-25mm pack of 25 from HoneyCanada
Neutral DMC Crochet Thread
Needle - Use one with a large eye, but also sharp.
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

1. I lay out the balls in a long line in the order I want to string them.
2. Thread your needle, you'll be stringing the balls on a single strand of thread.
3. At the end of the thread, make a loop (for hanging the garland), and then tie a knot to secure the loop.
4. Thread the first ball and take it all the way to that knot, leaving the loop as the end of your strand. Poke the needle back through the ball so that you have a bit of leftover of the 2nd piece of thread on the other side of that ball. You'll need that later to secure the leaf ribbon to the ball strand. Hot glue the knot to the ball at it's end entry point.
5. Continue to thread all of the balls in the order you'd like, leaving as much space as you'd like. I spaced mine out about 2" in the end. They needed a bit more space once the ribbon was twisted around the balls.
6. At the last ball make a loop (the same size as the other end) and thread it back through that same ball. I try to NOT go through the same entry hole. Leave some leftover thread and take out the needle.
7. Tie a knot at the other end of that last ball to secure the ball in place. Hot glue the knot to the ball.
8. Going back to the other end of the strand - Tie the leaf ribbon to the ball strand, using the extra bit of thread that was left over, tie it on with a square knot. Be sure to tie it past the first leaf so the ribbon doesn't slide out of the knot. Secure that knot with a dot of hot glue.
9. Twist the ribbon around each empty space between the balls so that the two strands are intertwined.
10. Just before the last ball, tie the ribbon onto the ball strand using the extra bit of thread that was leftover.
11. Secure that knot with a dot of hot glue. 

I hope that makes sense, the loop thing is a bit tricky to explain, but it enables you to have something to hang the completed strand with. You don't have to have the loops, really. You could attach tassels from the end points instead and hang it up from the strand at any point.

Whatever you choose, it's a sweet, delicate little bit of spring to hang up in the end.

P.S. Make sure you store this wrapped around something. If it gets tangled it's mighty painful to untangle. Truth. 

04 July 2013


I have to really concentrate, is it fourth or forth? Every time I write out that number I try it out both ways and realize it's really fourth. It seems so wrong, but then again forth seems even more wrong. Inevitably, I end up writing 4th in all my spelling insecurity. Ha!

This is a holiday that I deeply respect in meaning but sort of get annoyed by in reality. It was more fun when I was single heading to a great fireworks show in Portland, New York or San Francisco. Before my worries of kids waking up from extreme pops and sizzles into the wee hours. Before the days of fretting my husband making it home alive after a late night gig. Staying up waiting for him, hoping the police didn't show up instead to tell me there was an awful accident of some sort....All fears I've feared over the years on this glorious holiday.

It is a fabulous occasion to celebrate. I feel a bit of pride seeing our flag waving in our yard. There's a sense of gratefulness for the freedoms that we enjoy. And we do enjoy them. Often without a second thought. Not that I feel like we should feel guilty, but there are many countries full of people in the midst of suffering and political struggles. I hope and pray for their peace. How blessed we are.

I recall traveling in Greece years ago and finding it (this was before 911) alarmingly eye opening that Americans are resented, disliked and in some cases hated. The friends I met there said we think we're so big and important, not giving a second thought to others. I felt a bit ashamed at the moment. I didn't defend us with examples of charity for those that find themselves in the middle of disaster clean up... but we do probably think that way a bit on some level. At least I could see how we could be thought of as puffed up. We've got some issues, sure.

Every country does. But I'm glad for what we have. We have a pride that won't quit. We have a mentality that rises when called upon. We have good people that genuinely want to be successful in life and try with all their might no matter their situation. All worthy of pride, in my wee little opinion. And what is pride but an inflated sense of self... as well as a feeling of satisfaction in achievement. One of those is negative, the other positive. So they see it as negative, we see it as positive, I suppose. I don't know. I'm not terribly political, just happy to be an American.

26 June 2013


These garden labels are easy, but they do take a bit of time. I love how they look. So cute with something green surrounding it. Mine aren't perfect, I'm sure I'll make more and get better with the clay as time goes on. These would make cute little girlie friend gifts, don't you think?

Sculpey Baking Clay
Small Alphabet Rubber Stamps
Rolling Pin
Baking Sheet
Frosting Spatula
Sanding Block

1. I make a 2" ball of clay and roll it out flat and thin. It's best to have one side of it relatively flat along the edge of the counter.
2.Trim the rounded edges on each side and cut 1" strips with your spatula. I like to use a frosting/baking spatula that is not angled at all so I can get a clean cut. I usually get four to six strips out of one ball.
3. Stack every other one on top of each other so that you have a double thick strip. Don't worry about making the edges even you will trim them next.
4. I like to lightly roll over these to mash them together just slightly, but don't make them thin again.
5. Trim off the edges so you have clean sides to each strip. Use your fingers to smooth the edges and the spatula to smash in the jagged edge.
6. Select your letters. I like to space them apart so if it's a short word, I can just hold the entire thing and press it in at once. If there are double letters, break the word apart and start at the outer edge. Try not to press too hard, then you'll see the outlines of the stamp block (I need practice with this;)
7. Once your word is imprinted, cut the other tip to a point and blunt cut the point if you'd like.
8. Smooth the strips as much as possible because sanding doesn't get out all of the imperfections.
9. Using your spatula, gently scoop up each strip and place on a baking sheet. Then smooth the strips again. Be sure to use the edge of the spatula to make each side of the strip straight.
10. Bake according to the Sculpey package directions.
11. After it cools, sand out some of the imperfections and the ragged back edge of each side.

Done! Cute-cute.
Stick it in a pot... or in your garden.

19 June 2013


People just keep having babies.

So I keep making softie balls. I've posted a tutorial in the past.

But this spring and early summer has proven to bring on an unusually large batch of newbies. Hopefully these little jingler balls find their way into their chubby little hands for play. One weekend I made a batch of 9, the following weekend I made 5 more. What is this madness? When do my friends stop having babies? Or is it just that I keep getting younger and younger friends and so I'll be making balls forevermore.

I considered making them and selling them at the craft festivals here in town. We have a number of fun events to choose from. But honestly, I couldn't justify the time it takes to make them and what to charge for them. I mean, I'm not going to charge someone $20 for a jingly ball. And anything less makes the endevor not worth my time or stress. I think I'll continue to make these for friends as they have their babies. I really enjoy giving a handmade gift. I know I always enjoy getting something handmade. It's extra special and always cherished. Hopefully these balls are too.

07 June 2013


We have a room that has turned into the junk room.

Sometimes it's referred to as my sewing room as it contains all of my sewing supplies and fabric and such.

Other times it's called the work out room because it houses a treadmill and a rowing machine, but let's be honest, I've used one of those machines a total of three times in the course of four months.

It has a slew of toys that should be put away in the girls bedrooms but somehow because it's an open space (at times) it has turned into their play room.

In the past it was our bedroom closet on the other side of the house from our bedroom. We recently added a master bath and closet so truth be told, this is the cleanest this room has been since we moved into this house.

It is officially an EXTRA room! I realize we're fortunate to have an extra room. Most people have a junk drawer or an extra cupboard. I know this is a good thing. But what to do with it?

What I really need is a guest room and sewing room. I'd love to have one more baby (time is running out for that idea) so it could be a baby room. On a daily basis, thoughts of what this room could be spin around in my head. It is the multifunctional guest/workout/sewing room with the hope of a baby room. That's it!

Perhaps the closet could be organized in a manner that it contains all of the sewing items and the vacuum. Perhaps a small fold out sofa could fit in there and we keep one of the work out pieces... the treadmill? It's bulky but we use it (dare I say it) more. Perhaps the kids rooms switch around a bit and they get a real play room and they share a room for sleeping. I'd love to put up some pretty wallpaper and play up the sofa side of it. So it would look like a guest room with a treadmill but it would house so much more.

Perhaps... I should keep thinking.

31 May 2013


One of my FAVORITE of all favorite things to do is to go to estate sales. I usually go with my girlfriend Chris, she's an estate sale pro. We try to hit them on Friday mornings if at all  possible between our busy schedules.

I used to think going to an estate sale would make me sad, walking into someones home and looking through their things... purchasing a little bit of their life. But I look at it differently now. I see the photos on their walls and their clothes in their closets and I can't help but wander through their home (it's not a house, it's a home) and think of them. Whoever they were. I think of their family and the life they lived. I don't know these people that have passed on but I find it sentimental in a sweet way, not a sad way. And undoubtedly I find some amazing little bit in their home that I want to bring to my home. And then forever more, I'll look at that something and think about that person who I really know nothing about, but in my mind they were a beautiful person and lived a beautiful life and I thank them for sharing their little something.

Here are a few finds. Some of them remind me of my childhood. We actually owned a sheriff bear cookie jar as a kid, so to see one again brought a big smile.

12 May 2013


It's a morning like any other, my oldest comes to my side of the bed after getting no response from daddy. She wakes me with a complaint of some sort. She's not getting a "Quiet Morning" sticker, oh well. The other one starts to stir needing a Kleenex and a diaper change and my poor husband is in a deep NyQuil sleep. I have a house full of sickies.

But my heart is full when I look at their little faces eating their oatmeal and talking about this and that. It makes me grateful to be a mom even though it's not a day of breakfast in bed and flowers, like it's marketed to be.

It makes me so very thankful for the beautiful examples of motherhood in my life, my mom, my sisters, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, my friends and their mothers who have all influenced me in some way. Each with their unique approach to caring that I want to adopt.

I am a watcher. I can't help but enjoy seeing how you all cuddle with your babies, play with your little ones, talk to your teens and relate to your adult kids. I hope I can be even an ounce of what you all are as mothers. You truly inspire me, I love you and I thank you.

I am also grateful for my husband. Because honestly without him, none of it is possible. He helped me bring them into this world and he helps me each day to not only do my job but enjoy my job. It's a package deal, and I'm grateful I have my own little package. It could be so different, I know it is for many others.

This mom is truly blessed.