Friday, December 23, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- The No Mantel Solution

I wasn't going to post a Free Craft Friday today.  But would it really make since to post a craft for Christmas after Christmas?  So I give you my "we don't have a mantel or fireplace" solution.  I saw the idea of using a curtain rod with stocking hangers on Pinterest but we don't have a mantel or shelf in our home to put our stocking hangers on so I decided to try something different.

I dug out a curtain rod that I never used and picked up some removable adhesive hooks from the store.  I realize these aren't the best looking hooks (I wasn't sure it would work) but I would definitely put in a few more dollars for the nicer looking ones if I did this again.  Hopefully you can look past the tacky appearance to see an idea that could work for you if you don't have a mantel or fireplace.  Our stockings were hanging off of a floor lamp prior to this so this is a definite improvement.  I hung this over our staircase by the front door but any wall would work.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

*once again N2C Original means I didn't find the idea (at least not exact with this one) on another site to credit them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Holiday Snow Tree

This is a craft idea that came to me while scanning (what craft nerd isn't inspired there?)  Anyway I saw a recipe for shaving cream snow paint and thought of my unfinished Scrapbook Paper Tree and a new idea was born:

Holiday Snow Tree
-tree branches (Free...I stole them off our maple tree this time)
-foam shaving cream (Free...I stole this from my husband; $1 if you buy it)
-Elmer's glue ($0.25 on after-school clearance at Walmart)
-paint brush
-mini ornaments ($3.50 on sale at Michaels)
-vase (Free or hit up your local thrift store for a cheapy)

Step 1.  Arrange your tree branches.  I arranged them and then tied them together below the vase line with some yarn (you don't have to do this).

Step 2.  Mix together equal parts foam shaving cream and Elmers glue.
Step 3.  "Paint" your tree with "snow".  Keep in mind the way that snow would naturally be found on a tree (forks in branches and trunk, top edges, knots in the branch, etc).  I liked getting somewhat large globs of "snow" on my brush and dragging in along the branch where I wanted it to rest.  Also painting "snow" between the joining forks in the branch.
Step 4. Allow to dry overnight so the snow hardens up somewhat.  Then decorate with miniature or small ornaments.

*Notion2Craft original means I didn't find this project elsewhere...although I wouldn't dare say it's never been done before*

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Traditions

What holiday traditions do you have?  I think part of the reason the holidays come to mean so much to people is due to the traditions that run in their family.  Some traditions run deeper than others and some are just little fledglings waiting to see if they'll take off.

I have recently heard of making Holiday Pillowcases from MADE and another friend who makes pillow cases reversible (not sure if they are holiday).  I am liking the idea of both of these and thinking very a little ahead of myself to make these for family members and my girls (probably next year...the plate is pretty full right now).  Or maybe birthday pillowcases...that could be fun!  Hmmmmm...

Anyway....back to the point of Holiday Traditions.  I would love to hear what people do for the holidays to make them memorable, to make them fun and to make them theirs.

Traditions we are planning to pick up or continue:  pajamas for Christmas Eve, reading The Night Before Christmas, doing an angel tree project and/or donating toys to goodwill, making lots of delicious goodies (I might share some of the not-so-secret recipes with you).  It isn't a very original list so far but give it time and it will grow.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Paint Splatter Ornaments

-clear ornaments ($3 estimate; Michaels with 40% coupon)
-acrylic paint ($1 a bottle)
-paint thinner

Step 1.  Put a couple drops of you first color into the ornament.  Add just a small amount (drops) of paint thinner into the ornament.  You might need to use a tooth pick or other stick to mix the two a little.  Hold a gloved (or sandwich bagged) finger over the open end of the ornament and shake like crazy.

Step 2.  Put a couple drops of your second color and paint thinner into the ornament.  Shake like crazy yet again.

Step 3.  Once you have achieved your desired look leave the ornament cap off and allow the ornaments to air out overnight (outside wouldn't be a bad idea).  Place the caps on after airing out and bingo bango you have an awesome ornament. 

*varying your paint and paint thinner combination will affect results...have fun and experiment.  The red/white one had a little more paint thinner and the green/red one had less.*

*another set we made that year (I don't like these as much).  Paint the outside with Christmas scenery or whatever pleases you and then add miniature items inside the ornament*

- I consider this a kid-friendly craft when properly supervised by adults due to paint thinner being involved.

-We made these a few years ago so pricing is estimated.  Notion 2 Craft original means I didn't find this idea on another blog...I'm sure it's not that original though ;) 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Christmas Crafting

We are nerds.  Okay well I'm a craft nerd.  It is our twins first Christmas and I'm having fun with little crafts and wrapping up pajamas for Christmas Eve (a simple but not exactly original tradition that we are carrying on from my family).  I also wanted to pick out the ever popular Baby's First Christmas ornament for them but never really found one I loved.  Then I saw these and thought they would be fun to make and also for us and them to remember how small they were (plus they were cheaper).

*who knows maybe I'll still find the classic ornament I love too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Lights Trick...

I learned this trick from my mother-in-law and I love it.  Best thing ever!  When I first met my husband and we dated during our first Christmas together I noticed his lights were put up with hot glue.  I thought it was unusual and somewhat tacky at first but then I tried it out our first year of marriage...awesome!!

Simply use a hot glue gun and all-purpose glue sticks.  Squirt a big glob of glue onto your window and immediately place the wire of your light in the glue.  Hold it in place briefly until the glue cools and hardens.  Sometimes condensation may cause pieces to pop off but simply reapply.  The glue peels right off when the holidays are over. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Start Following...

Start following and you might just be rewarded (or some other lucky winner will be).  My sister made the suggestion to do a giveaway on this blog.  So just imagine...out of the followers (at the moment) out there you have pretty great odds if you start following.  Details to follow...most likely at the beginning of 2012.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Tomato Cage Topiary

I saw variations of this on with very little help in the matter of how to make one.  So most of this is me winging it but I thought I'd share how I did it.

Tomato Cage Topiary / Christmas Tree

-tomato cage (I think mine are 4 ft)
-wire or wire clothes hangers (I tried to do mine on the absolute cheap)
-wire cutters (somewhat optional; I didn't use mine)

*under $10 including cost of lights and tomato cage (I believe); cheaper or FREE if you have either on hand.

Step 1.  Turn your tomato cage upside down and secure the legs together in a point using the wire/hanger.  I tried hemp tie at first so ignore that part.

If your tomato cage is like mine there it too much space between the wire to have a nice rounded shape when wrapped in garland or lights.  It comes off looking more like a triangle than a "tree".

Step 2. Keep you tomato cage upside down.  Unwind you wire hanger and straighten it out.  Place your wire/hanger in between two cage wires to fill in space.  Put your wire on the outside of the tomato cage wire to help strength it and keep its shape when wrapped with garland or lights.

Step 3.  Using the top wire (holding the legs together) hook your wire/hanger over it.  In order to use one hanger for the height of the "tree" this hook was rather small made by bending it over itself with the pliers, placing it over the wrapped wire and then pinching it closed with the pliers.

Step 4.  Stretch the wire to the bottom rung wire of your cage and then loop it over like the top and pinch it shut with pliers.
Step 5.  Repeat steps 2 through 4 to fill in the other spaces around the "tree".
Finished cage/"tree" should look something like this; the top swirl wire is just my excess from wiring the legs together.  Click on the picture to enlarge it if this helps.

Step 6.  If you do place it into a pot or on the ground it never hurts to secure it.  This could be done with little stakes or even bent pieces of hanger looped over the bottom wire and stuck into the ground. 

Don't love this picture.  I think they look better in person but maybe I'm a little biased.

I wrapped lights around mine but you could also use garland and other decorations.  I think next year I may try a combination of lights and garland.

* I also saw instructions on how you can use this for ivy plants or other vine growing plants in the summer.  Awesome!

If you happen to use this tutorial or link to it I'd love to know.  Please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Free Craft Friday -- Holiday Card Boxes

I love to repurpose things.  It saves money and it makes something useful out of something that may have otherwise been thrown in the trash.  Here is one that my aunt taught me years ago on reusing old holiday cards or the cards that you've gotten in years past.

Holiday Card Boxes

-old holiday cards (blank or written in it doesn't matter)
-ruler or straight edge (I used a book)
-pen or pencil
Step 1.  Tear your card in half down the fold line.  Draw an "X" on the card by drawing a straight line from corner to corner. 
Step 2.  Taking your top first (half with the design) fold all edges to the center of the "X".  Crease these folds firmly. 
Step 3.  Your card should have fold lines that create 9 squares.  Cut a slit in the card along the 2 side folds until it meets with the perpendicular fold (as shown).  The slit fold is typically longer than the side folds adjacent to it.
Step 4.  Fold the two shorter side pieces into the middle of the box and then fold the end piece over the two side pieces.  Tape this down to secure it.  Repeat this step for the opposite side.  This form the lid to your box. 

Step 5.  Repeat steps for the bottom of the box with the exception that when you fold to the center "X" you will want to fold just slightly over the center (as pictured; in order to make the inside of the box a tiny bit smaller so it will fit inside). 
Step 6.  Insert the lid of the box over the body of the box and you are ready to go.  These are fun for stocking stuffers, small presents and treat boxes.  Could be fun for advent calendars, tree minatures and all sorts of other things too.  I also used to use them for my Barbies (shows you how old I was when I learned this hehe).
Also I trimmed a little off the bottom of some cards before splitting them in half...this made for more square boxes.  I love the variety you can get...unfortunately I didn't save any last year so these are all from the same box/style.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Felt Flower Hair Accessory

These are so cute and so easy.  Why is it again that I rarely put bows and flowers in my little girls' hair?? (maybe when they get more hair I will :) hehe)  This tutorial can be found here (I love her stuff!)
Step 1.  Cut a small circle out of felt.  Then cut a slightly larger circle using the first circle as a guide.  Then use the second circle as a guide and cut a circle slightly larger than it.  Continue this process until you have the size of flower you like (I did four layers).
Step 2.  Cut slits into all of your circles.  You don't need to cut all the way to the middle as the next layer will cover it and the next and then your button or topper(s).
Step 3.  Cut very small shavings off of the slits you made in the felt.  (the circle on the left is pre-slit cutting and the one on the right is after).  
Step 4.  Stack your cut circle on top of each other.  You can then fasten them with a button or sew them together and then add jewels or other notions to the top.  Glue on an alligator clip to the back.
Notes:  Next time I think I would try these felt bows with nicer felt as I just used the cheaper crafting felt not wool felt. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Rag Quilt (part one)

Okay I admit it.  I was slacking off this week.  We have been dealing with two sick babies and although I have some projects in the works...they just aren't happening anytime soon.  So instead I'm sharing a rag quilt that is in process (ie all over my family room floor).  I made one of these for my friend's baby shower last year using this tutorial and love how it turned out.

Step 1.  Determine the size of quilt you want to make.  I typically decide on the size of square I want and then based on that determine how many squares and yards of fabric I will need.  For this quilt I'm working on I did 8 inch squares and did a 6 square by 8 square size (4 ft by 5 1/3 ft).  Also keep in mind that you have a 1/2 seam that will be sewn and snipped around each square and the outside.  

Step 2.  Lay out your selection/pattern (one front and one back) with squares.  You can do the same pattern front and back or change it up on the back or do a solid (too many choices).  Once you have determined the pattern pin them together with wrong sides together.  Sew an X through each square (picture below).
Step 3.  Keeping your pattern in order pin strips horizontally together (as pictured below) and sew a 1/2" seam with "wrong sides"/back squares together.
Step 4.  Once you have your horizontal strips pieced together and sewn your next step is to pin them together.  Pin the same way (so that 1/2" seam is toward the front of blanket).  Pin the seams from Step 3 together so that the underside seam (held by my forefinger) goes flat on the machine and the top lays toward the needle (held by my thumb).  This will keep your material thinner and save your needle.  Also by laying it this way the underside will not bunch and you are able to see the top and prevent bunching.  The video tutorial explains this really well.
Step 5.  Your blanket will look something like this once you have the horizontal strips sewn together.

....stay tuned for how my rag quilt turns out.

Monday, October 31, 2011


...from our "treats".  Ladybug and Bumble Bee tutu costume tutorial found here.

 Sorry I can't get my photo editor to rotate these :P
but they are still so stinkin cute

Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Tea Dyed Onsie or Shirt

*I heard about tea dying through a Pinterest pin and loved the idea and decided a little interchangeable flower would be the perfect finishing touch*

-new pre-washed onsie or shirt (used onsies or shirts will cause uneven dying; I tried this first and had darker stain around drool prone spots)
-Black Tea (I also tried Koolaid and Green Tea...Black seemed to work best)
-Lace or embellishments
-needle and thread or sewing machine
-bowl and boiling hot water

Step 1 : Boil water and place tea bags into water.  I used about 4 cups of water and 4 tea bags.  Let the tea soak and stir it to mix evenly.
Step 2 :  Soak your onsie in the tea-water.  I left my tea bags in.  It may work better for even color to take them out.

Step 3 :  Wring out minimally and air dry onsie.  Once it is air dried then wash and dry it in the laundry.

Step 4:  Lay out lace embellishment over the shirt.  Cut extra length on both sides.  For some reason my lace ran shorter as I sewed it on (I'm sure a pro sewer could tell you why)
Step 5:  Pin the lace loosely down on the garment to keep it in place.  Sew the lace down.  I used the thicker trim of my lace to hide the thread and only sewed the top edge.
*hopefully you should have a little excess lace on both edges of the garment like this*
Step 6:  Sew the hanging lace down into the seam of the onsie.  Make sure you don't catch under-layers of the onsie when doing this.
Step 7:  Trim off the excess lace.  Repeat steps 4 - 7 to add layers of lace if desired.
Step 8 (optional):  Sew on a loop to attach embellishments to.  I used an alligator hair clip that I use with flower headbands to gauge the width of the thread loop.  I then sewed over it 5 or 6 times to make a secure loop to attach embellishments to.  Tie this off on the inside of the garment.
 *finished shirt with lace and loop.  The thread loop somewhat blends in also so you don't have to attach anything if you chose*

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Oreos

-I stole this recipe from a good friend of mine.  Best ones I have ever tried and amazingly easy too.
Homemade Oreos

1 box Devils Food cake mix
1 stick of butter
1 egg
1 tub of Vanilla icing

Mix the cake mix, butter (melted) and egg together.  This will form a slightly crumble type batter.  Form small balls (approx 1 1/2" diameter) and place on a cookie sheet in even numbers.  Bake at 350* F for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to completely cool.  Pair up cookies and place icing in between each pair.

 the mix is kind of dry but mashes together to form balls
 I usually fit a dozen cookies or more on a cookie sheet...they don't spread to much with baking

Friday, October 21, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Crochet Scarf

*I suppose I should stipulate now that Free Craft Friday is basically a free pattern...not completely free;  although I like to keep my crafts on the inexpensive side*

Late one night this past week as we were watching TV and I was sitting next to my craft pile (you know the mess on the couch with fabric, notions, glue sticks, yarn and such) I decided it was time to put my yarn to work. My friend who is a crochet master is going to teach me to crochet and read patterns.  But in the meantime I have colorful yarn tempting my hands.  So onto YouTube I search for the easiest tutorial out there.  Found one herehere and here.  And then this happened....

This one is small because it's for my girls but super easy to make  longer/wider

She's trying to be a good model
Nope it's nothing spectacular.  It's definitely a learning project.  But if you don't know how to crochet have no fear YouTube is here (this could be true of many crafts and projects).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Silk Flower Accessory

* can be used as embellishments on outfits, bags and hair clips...think of the possibilities*

Refabulous' tutorial found here.  These are so much easier than I pictured them being when I saw them in peoples hair and at the stores.  Definitely going to make more of these in the future.  Awesome and easy project.

Materials needed :
-satin or silky type materials (I used what they called "costume satin"...cheaper satin)
-emergency water
-clothes pin
-beads, buttons or jewels (for the middle)
-hair clips
-adhesive glue or glue gun

1. Cut circles from your fabric.  Cut different sizes and colors if you want to mix it up.  They don't need to be perfect circles.  I think it looks just a good (maybe better) when they aren't.

2. Place fabric in clothes pin and skim the edges next to the flame (not too close so it doesn't catch fire).  I held mine so that they drooped in the way I wanted it to curl.

3. Stack your singed circles.  Start with bigger circles and go to smaller.  I like the idea of mixing colors found on the tutorials also.  

4. Sew a few stitches in the middle to hold it together.  I sewed my first bead on with this stitch to save some time.

4.  Apply to your hair clip or bobby pin or other attachment.  Enjoy.

*Be extra cautious as this project does involve an open flame.  Avoid children, pets and anything else dear to you in the process.  Always have water on hand and don't hold material into the flame*

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween Party

We had our Halloween party early this year.  We have what we call "Gatsby Night" among our close friends.  We get together once a month to have dinner (trading off houses) and hang out.  We were in charge of October so I bought some festive decoration at our dollar store (spider web, LED tea candles, a skeleton, some "caution" tape and toxic shot glasses).  Then it was off to the second-hand thrift store for a couple of interesting glass pitchers.  For the menu I considered small pumpkins with soup inside but the price of pumpkins was too high for my taste so I saw this stuffed pepper jack-o-lantern idea online and went with it.  It was a lot of fun preparing for that night and now we're all ready for Halloween too.  Yeah!  I wish I would have taken pictures but alas these "stock" photos will have to do.
Great Idea! We will be doing this for October in the future
We had "blood" to drink in wine glasses (orange juice with red food coloring and touch of blue Koolaid for color);  also had green Koolaid in the "toxic" shot glasses.

**Recipe for Stuffed Peppers found here (super delicious).  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Paper Tree

I took this idea from Everyday Mom Ideas that I found on and then tweaked it a little for my own preference.  Their example is for a spring tree (bright colors) and since fall is upon us I decided that a fall tree would be more appropriate (warm colors).  Also I wasn't in love with the green florist wire showing up on a brown tree limb so I decided to paint the tree branches black first and then buy black crafting wire instead.  It turned out (or is turning out) to look pretty darn great if you ask me.

Materials / Cost
- tree branches / FREE
- paint / FREE
- scrapbook paper / $2.00
- wire / $3.00
- vase / $1.50 at my local thrift store (or free if you have one in storage)

it's a work in progress

- I found a branch someone had pruned off their maple tree during an evening walk and felt it was fate speaking to me about this project that I had bookmarked in my brain for the last couple of weeks.

- I peeled all of the leaves off and painted it black with some indoor/outdoor acrylic paint I had lying around.

- I cut my leaf patterns out of scrapbook paper using a leaf that was on the tree.  I folded my paper into pieces wide enough to fit the leaf and then after cutting one leaf out used this are my pattern.  I matched up the same paper for both sides of the leaf.

- Then I glued the paper onto the wire as instructed in the tutorial.  I also decided that the leaves look more natural with a little curve to them.

The end.  Super easy.  Super cheap.  Hoping to enjoy it for seasons to come.