Friday, December 30, 2011

Shower Curtain Ring Craft

 I am my youngest son's room mom this year. This was not my first time being in charge but for some reason this year has been more difficult than others. So, I was put in charge of coming up with Christmas party ideas and making sure they all came together. I tried REALLY hard not to panic and managed to get a couple of parents to help even. I ALMOST succeeded! lol. Let me elaborate... We had a cookie decorating station, a Christmas Bingo station, a snack station, and a wreath ornament/gift station. Bingo, snacks, and cookies went well! I had hoped the craft would have also- that it would be something simple that all first graders would have an easy time doing. I helped my son do a mock-up of the whole craft and timed him. 15 minutes seemed like it would be perfect! Or so I thought...
I never even imagined that I would have a hard time appropriately explaining how to wrap chenille stems around a shower curtain ring. Never. Go ahead, I dare you! Try to simply explain to a 6 or 7 year old, how to wrap the circle with the stem and keep it tight, how to scoot the stem around so that the ends aren't showing, how to find a good spot to put the pre-tied bow, find a grown up to hot glue the bow in place, how to attach the hanging loop, sign the pre-stamped tag, and then attach it to the bag- all while a room of 1st graders asks you for more supplies because they can't find theirs or needs more help wrapping because they only have 2 hands, or they need you to help them spell "grandma" for their tag or their clear bag disappeared, or they like "Johnnie's" better or can they just have mine because I have enough already... etc. You get my drift. I am thinking I may have overestimated my ability to manage a room full of first grade crafters. lol. 3rd grade, maybe, but 1st grader is a whole different ballgame. I should have stuck with those foamie shapes covered door hangers. Oh well, their "wreaths" turned out cute. I guess you could call them wreaths. Unfortunately, most of them just looked like random shower curtain rings with some fuzzy green stuff barely covering half of the circle, and a bow sitting at the bottom of a bag because they ran out of time to get it glued in place. hahahaha. Lesson learned. Know your audience. I just smiled calmly, (multiple times and chuckled to myself) and reminded them that Grandma/Daddy/Auntie/Brother would love and appreciate their effort. It was the least I could do. Good thing I am not a perfectionist or that would have been the end of me.

Winter Pickle Jar

Ever been to Costco or Sam's Club and seen those big pickle jars and wonder who the heck would eat all those pickles? Well, I am raising my hand. Yep. Just call me pickle fiend. Haha. Needless to say, I have a bunch of pickle jars on hand usually and am always trying to find new ways to use them. I had seen an idea recently on Pinterest that made snow globes out of mason jars and thought I could give the large pickle jar some similar life.
<--- This is what I came up with.
I ended up putting it with my Christmas decorations with about 3 days to spare. Bummer I couldn't have made it earlier in the season. But... I am remedying the situation by calling it appropriate for "winter" and leaving it up for awhile with the rest of my "winter" (A.K.A. too-cute-to-put-away-so-early) decorations.
All I did was spray paint the lid black and added fake snow, random berries and a pinecone that I had on hand and some dollar store mini trees, then tied a bow to match the other "winter" stuff still on the mantel.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Elf named Leon

It was only a matter of time before my kids discovered the awesomeness that is the Elf on the Shelf. My kids received early monetary Christmas gifts and decided that they wanted a new tradition and couldn't wait any longer, so we headed out to Target and purchased our family's elf. We brought him home and named him Leon, because when you reverse his name, he is Noel. Get it?! ;-) My kids thought that was the most clever name on the face of the planet and so Leon it is! They had me read the story and then quickly went to bed so that Leon might have his first adventure. (This has got to be the most fun tradition that we ever start!) I am going to have to plan things waaaaaaaay earlier next year. I just didn't know that we would be getting our very own elf this year! So, 4 nights left and I think I can handle this. We shall see! His first adventure is being a weathervane-riding cowboy. Wish I had a tiny cowboy hat, but at least he has a lasso. lol. I am sure they will love seeing him in the morning. This is going to be so much fun! Yay!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hand Santa-tizer

Thanks go out, yet again, to Pinterest for helping me find the super cute idea to re-label a hand sanitizer bottle and make it into an adorable Santa-tizer for my kids teachers. 

I am hoping they think it is as cute as I do! I used vinyl and cut the shapes with my paper trimmer and letter stickers that I had on hand for the wording. 

Total cost = $1.50. Hope they don't think I am too cheap. lol. Actually, I don't mind if they think I am cheap. I am also crafty and that trumps cheapness. ;-)

Linking to:

Today's Creative Blog - Holiday Projects

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cards 2011

I always make Christmas cards by hand. I am a Stampin'Up demonstrator and have been selling and collecting stamping goodies for nearly ten years now. It would just be ridiculous if I didn't put my collected stash to use at least once a year! So... I make anywhere from 30 to 50 cards and send them to people that I think might appreciate them. It is a nice tradition that I am happy to keep. It just wouldn't feel like Christmas without handmade cards! Here are my main selections from this year. I made 16 of each and a couple other designs so that I would have some to choose from. I have had good feedback so far and have sent out a total of 42 so far this year. Not that I am into guilt or anything, but... I have only received 2 Christmas cards this year. Guess it is a dying custom. What a shame... ;-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Ornament time!!

 Found a link to this one on Pinterest. Super Easy to make! Just took a little patience. I bought a clear plastic ornament from Hobby Lobby, filled it with a little bit of fake snow, and painted it with some acrylic paint. When it dried, I sealed it with Mod Podge. Then, I embellished it with rhinestones and ribbons and tulle. I love my little "J" and want to make more for my family. If only I had more time, that would be fabulous! Can you do something about that for me? I would appreciate it. ;-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yummy Pumpkin Muffins

A long time ago I had this brilliant idea to start a blog. My husband encouraged me to do it and so I did. It was 3 short posts and they were all recipes. I didn't have a camera that I knew how to use to upload any photos and I had young children at the time so it failed. The other day I was thinking about these muffins and couldn't find my recipe until I remembered the long lost blog!! And there it was. Floating in cyberspace on a defunct page. I thought I would share the recipe even without a photo just because it is that good. I know it is kind of late in the season to be sharing a pumpkin recipe, but, better late than never. Hope you will try these. :)

The Most Yummy Pumpkin Muffin Recipe Ever!
from the kitchen of Jen

1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I used a combination of cloves, ginger and nutmeg because that is what I had)
1 cup pumpkin puree (from a 15 oz can. There will be wasted pumpkin if you buy the big one.)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 lg. eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients. Combine the contents of the two bowls and mix them together until the ingredients are well combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter or you will toughen the muffins. Fill paper lined muffin tins, 2/3 full and bake for 23-27 minutes.  Allow to cool on wire rack for a second and then eat them all really quickly before your family can get to them. (just kidding.) Makes about 20 or so. Hope you give them a try!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Have Yourself a Cheaper Sign

A couple of friends and I had noticed some adorable signs at Barn Owl Primitives which we had convinced ourselves we could do cheaper. (She charges $70 plus $16 for shipping!! That is WAAAAY out of my range of affordability.) And so... we made our own. We got together one morning to give it a shot. You know what?? It was not hard at all to make. Now, Barn Owl hand paints hers, but we decided to do the Silhouette stencil method. We each varied our technique a little, but ended up with similar results. Mine was done by painting a board about 11 1/2 " x 18" in a red shade of acrylic, twice, then allowed it to dry. Then I applied the Silhouette cut letters and painted a light buttermilk acrylic over the whole board and allowed that coat to dry for a few minutes and then removed the vinyl letter stickers and allowed it to dry completely. Then you are supposed to apply the negative space of the "little" vinyl sticker to the board to stencil the word. I brain farted, of course and applied the "positive" word sticker to the board inappropriately. Grrrr. So, I had to come up with a solution to my issue since I ran out of time and had finish my project at home WITHOUT a Silhouette to cut another word with. (HINT: If anyone would like to send me a COMPLETELY AWESOME Silhouette machine for Christmas, I would love you forever.) Anyway, I ended up tracing around the "little" with a pencil and then removing the stickers and hand painted it. Hooray! I was a quick thinker. I am absolutely in love with the results. I attached a tulle bow to the hanger that I had added and am displaying it on my wreath hook (until I make that wreath that I have been dreaming about... to be continued...)

Rudolph Chocolate Bars


 I always like to do cute little treats for each of my kid's class parties for all the holidays. Since my new best friend Pinterest came along, the cute factor has been elevated. (Here is the little Hershey bar reindeer that I have been working on for my youngest son's class. All it took was a chocolate bar, a bunch of cardstock and punches and some chenille stems. Super cute, if you ask me. The tag saying was my husband's idea. It reads, "Go ahead. Enjoy. It would be 'Rudolph' you not to! Merry Christmas!" I thought it was brilliant so I went with it. Might be beyond the first grader mindset, but, oh well. Their parents might chuckle. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clothespin Photo Frame

My oldest daughter is going to another birthday party sleepover and so it was my challenge to craft another gift that a teenager might appreciate. I LOVE these kind of challenges. I was recently given a couple of pieces of cut wood scraps and one of them happened to be painted already. I kept thinking of something that I could do with the painted piece and along comes a super cute project on Pinterest, yet again. I thought it would be perfect so I put it together this morning. All it took was a little Mod Podge, a wooden clothespin, and some various ribbon and trims. Here is the result. Hope she likes it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Repurposed and Upcycled Cuteness

One of my crafty friends has a relative who was in the cabinet business and recently offered some old doors and wooden pieces to the craft group I belong to. I was so excited! After all, a couple of weeks ago, I had been to a boutique and participated in a hands on tutorial, through a chalk paint demonstrator, and walked away with a cute little frame (which I added to my fall decor) and an old breadboard (that I later embellished and am holding for Christmas.) This little hands on tutorial is what spurred our group to make a bunch of other goodies with the generously donated cabinet doors. I am still in the process of embellishing and re-purposing my little stash. What fun I am having!! Serious amounts of it, that is for sure.

 I have another friend who was in need of a wedding gift and had something in mind that she was looking for and asked if I had seen anything around town like what she was describing. Well, I hadn't. But I did have a fabulous idea and one of my doors would soon have a new home. So I was commissioned. I purchased the wording at Target, spray painted the door, added picture frame hooks and sanded it down. Then I created the bow with some tulle I had on hand and added a cute little flower and picture frame ornament. I know I would have loved to receive such a gift. My friend seemed to be happy with the results! Upcycling at its' finest!

Another couple of projects have come about from the same batch of awesome cabinet doors. I made a family prayer board. I painted the door black, added chalkboard paint to the center panel, distressed it, then added "pray" with vinyl lettering. It is hung near the entrance to my kitchen so that every time I walk by or when we are sitting at our table, I am reminded to pray. I need to work on a blessing board too. We certainly have our share of those too!! ;-) 

The red and blue doors are mad at me right now. They are feeling neglected and abandoned. And they should! That is because they have been sitting over in my craft corner for a few weeks, BEGGING to find a place or be embellished or SOMETHING!! (And driving me crazy...) Let's just call those abandoned doors, works in progress. My husband said, as I lay them on the table to take a photo, "I like the red one." Now, for him to have an opinion of anything crafty is madness. Madness, I tell you. ;-) So, that must be rectified immediately. I am thinking of figuring out a cute way to display it as a countdown to Christmas or something fun like that. I will be sure to post the results. As for the blue one... I am thinking it would make an excellent gift. Once I think of a clever saying for it. We shall see! I also made one last item which is probably my favorite item I have done so far. Unfortunately, I'll have to be a tease and just tell you that it is the cutest shabby chic little double chalkboard that you ever did see! ;-) I loaned it out to use as a sample for one of our local MOPS groups who were also blessed with the opportunity to make some similar projects at a recent meeting. All thanks to a retired cabinet makers daughter and her willingness to facilitate it all. How awesome is that??!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jenga Keychain

For the last several months I have been getting together with a group of new friends to do different crafts and have been having a BLAST!! It was my turn to host the monthly craft night, and so I settled on a Jenga piece keychain. I had made a couple of  them in the summertime for some of my female relatives birthdays, and they seemed to enjoy them. Seemed perfect to me! So a group of us gathered at my house on a recent Friday night and decoupaged to our little hearts content. :)
Thankfully, my husband took all 4 of the kids out for ice cream and a movie during our gathering. (Thanks honey...) But when my kids got home and saw what we made, they wanted to get in on the action too! And since I am all for getting my kids to be creative, we spent a good chunk of our Saturday afternoon crafting at the kitchen table. LOVED it!! We couldn't stop ourselves. Personally, I lost count of how many of them I made that day. Here is a good tutorial if you would like to make your own. They are good little gifts, I am finding. Everyone that has received one has loved theirs. The kids made theirs to put on their lunch bags and backpacks. They were so proud of them! Here is a sampling of what came out of our crafting.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Painted "Candy" Holder

This is an example of another little project that my sister-in-law and I made during our Fall craft morning. I had seen larger examples with a basic tutorial like this one that inspired my version. It is hard to tell, but I "antiqued" the edges with some ink and wiped off the excess. The inspiration version is filled with candy corn. Now, you should know that I LOVE candy corn. So much so, that I didn't fill it with the lovely candy treats so that I wouldn't tempt myself with eating them all day long. ;-) Instead, I chose cute little squash with some leaves and a pinecone borrowed from another decoration. I really like the way things turned out. 

linking up to:

Fall Mod Podged Pumpkin

I had been thinking of a couple of different projects that I wanted to try to use a dollar store pumpkin that has been sitting around "haunting" me. It had been spray painted white, then painted black, then I added a fall leaf thingy. I just couldn't decide what would make my happy. Then I saw this scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby and I LOVED it. I had seen a mod podge pumpkin here and was interested in that idea. I also had been meaning to invite my sister-in-law over for some fall crafting and so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. It was a pretty straightforward craft. We took the paper, ripped it up in manageable pieces, and mod podged that baby. I hot glued some random spare leaves and added a fall berry spray that I had attached to another project. I antiqued the pumpkin with one of my ink pads and wiped off the excess. Lastly, I put it on one of my black candlesticks in an arrangement. I love the results!

linking up to:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Owl Chalkboard Sign

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in the garage mending my poor little scroll saw. I had neglected it for far too long. It was creaky, dusty and lacked the necessary blades. But what it needed more than anything, I think, was some love. SO that is what I gave it. Cleaned that puppy up and it is good to go! I used to make projects all the time with my scroll saw- sold the stuff even. Somewhere along the line it got pushed to the back of the hobby closet of life (I think it had something to do with my kids growing up and needing me...) ;-)  I am so excited to be able to do my wood crafting again! Trends have definitely changed in the last decade though. I need to find my current style that I identify with and go for it. Finally, I decided that I would make some kind of owl project. Didn't have any definite plans other than that. I sketched out a pattern on the back of a package of sandpaper, traced it onto my pine boards and cut away! I also loved that it gave me a chance to used up some of my ridiculously large scrapbook paper stash and mod podge stuff. Woohoo! I can't wait to figure out what I will make next!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

EEK! A Rag Wreath!

I needed a new wreath for my front door since the last ghost one I had made fell to its' death last Halloween. I had seen some wreaths made with plumbers insulating tubing and so I bought some at Lowes to give it a shot. I loved it! Only .50 cents per wreath form! I will make sure to use that idea a whole lot more in the future. This particular wreath is pretty straightforward. Just cut the tubing, tape the ends with strong tape (such as duct tape,) start wrapping it in fabric strips until it is covered and then add the embellished letters using craft wire. The sky is the limit with this!  I added the googly eyes after I thought I was finished. Seemed like it needed a reason to have "EEK" on it. I am supposing that googly eyes do the trick. (Or at least that is what I am telling myself.) I think overall it turned out to be a cute little non-scary front door greeting and has just enough whimsy for me. Happy? Yes.

The other half of the tubing will be turned into a Christmas wreath probably. Unless (I am hoping...) my sister carries through with her threat to come over and make one of these on her own. She was loving it too! (I love crafting with a buddy.) So...We shall see!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Painted Muslin Candy Corn

I bought myself some muslin recently to make a project for my son's birthday. I ended up having some extra. (I may or may not have planned it that way... I will never tell...) Anyway, I went to my treasure trove of inspiration (Pinterest, of course) and came out with a couple of cool ideas for what to do with my new fabric/toy. Here is one of them. So, that got me thinking. This is what I ended up with! Super easy and very primitive/folksy/countrified. Haven't done anything like that in awhile. It felt kind of nice.

Got a couple of other things in the works today, including a framed pumpkin and a "eek" wreath. Busy busy and loving every minute of it. :)

Purchased tag is stamped in dark brown ink
 then edges are inked too.

Make a template and trace around edges.
Cut out and sew pieces together with 1/4 inch seam allowance.
 Leave 1" opening, turn to the right side.
Stuff with fiberfill. Top stitch opening closed. 

Paint each layer with candy corn colors
and allow to dry completely.
The one on the right is distressed.
I like it better that way. Adds character.
Used medium grit sandpaper.

Finished Product!
Twine ties them both together.
 Also added a purchased berry stem for even more fall-ish flair.
Sitting on an aged doilie on my shelf.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mickey Birthday Party Wrap-up

Very proud 7 year old pinata conqueror. He still has the remnants (that he insisted on keeping) in his closet. I wonder how long until it hits the trash. (I have already posted about the pinata, if you would like more details.)

It has been a couple of weeks since my youngest son had his 7th birthday bash and I am a bad mommy blogger. I took a bunch of pictures (when I wasn't herding children all around the house from activity to activity...) and had the best of intentions to post them all, but life gets in the way sometimes and I just didn't get around to posting them all in some fabulous creative way. What I have decided to do, so I can move on to bigger and better things, or at least THINK about bigger and better things, is to just post some of the photo highlights from his party. It was a huge success, I can tell you that! Tons of fun was had by all and we loved every minute of it, even though it was 102 degrees that day!! Now, I get a little reprieve from giant birthday parties for awhile since my next child's birthday is in January. Of course, there is a little something called THE HOLIDAYS thrown in there, just in case I get too relaxed...

The cupcakes that took the place of the traditional layer cake. I used my die cut machine to punch out the large circles and hand punches to cut out the smaller ones then attached them to a toothpick. Couldn't be easier!
Here is a closeup of one of the yummy cupcakes. I punked out and went with a store bought cake mix, but made the buttercream from scratch and practiced my piping skills with a pastry bag and added sprinkles.
I bought some Double Stuf Oreos and red chocolate melty discs (found at Michael's craft store) and couldn't figure out what to do to make the buttons on Mickey's "pants." Then I found tapioca pearls at WinCo in the bulk section and thought they would work perfectly. I think they did! These were almost as big of a hit as the caramel corn.

Red Vines had to be a part of the celebration, according to my son, so I wrapped them in Mickey Mouse scrapbook paper and put them on a tray. Tada! Simple.
This is the yummiest caramel corn that I have ever tasted. I did a blog post on it already so I will spare you the details, but, OH MY!! It is good. Check out the post on it for the recipe. :)

Found this idea on I thought it would make an adorable centerpiece. You can't tell, but the pail it's in used to be hot pink until it was spray painted black along with the styrofoam balls.) 
I got this goody bag idea on Pinterest too. I found the black bags at Hobby Lobby and used white vinyl punched out and cut red cardstock for the bottom.

This was the "private" cake that my son requested. It need a cake topper but would have looked funny with one of those tiny ones from the other cupcakes, so I whipped this one up LITERALLY at the last minute (which explains the lopsided edges.) I just sketched the shapes free-handed and taped them to a skewer and plopped them in the middle of the cake as guests were walking in the door. REALLY should have planned ahead for that one. Kinda stressed me out a little. lol...

These are cake stands I made from thrift store finds- random plates and candlesticks. I just used E6000 glue to attach the candlesticks to the plates. The red and white ones got a coat of spray paint and the clear stayed clear, of course. Less than $5.00 for all three! I love that! I just cut the shapes out of vinyl with my Cricut and can change them up for the seasons later. 

One of the games we played was a classic, the bean bag toss. I sketched out a Mickey head shape onto muslin, cut them out and then sewed them and stuffed them with rice. I then spray painted them and added a vinyl Mickey head shape to the front of a white bucket we already had. This was a pretty good game and worked well for all age groups. I mean, how can you go wrong with beanbags?! Pretend that you don't notice the 2 liter bottle of fruit punch that my son has in his hands. Just move along. Nothing to see here.) ;-)
This game was a fun one too. However... I can't believe this is the ONLY picture I have of it. Dang it. I called it the Hidden Mickey game. Originally, I had planned on making this an outdoor game but since it was so hot that day, we had to move it inside. I printed a Mickey head silhouette on regular printer paper, cut them into squares and added point values to the back of the paper. Then shoved about 125 pieces into rice that was filling a HUGE Tupperware bowl. Then they were blindfolded and they had to use one hand to pull out as many Hidden Mickey's as they could in 45 seconds. Whoever had the most points, won. Messy but FUN!! Even the grown-ups loved it!
Can't forget the birthday shirt! Yet another not-so-fabulous photo. Can't win them all! I made this after I showed the idea to my son and  he loved it. Another Pinterest idea. He looked so cute in it, I must say. Super fun! (Check out my blog post about this shirt if you would like to know details.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mason's Mickey Mouse Birthday T-shirt

I saw a version of this shirt on Pinterest. (I am so thankful for that site. Still finding inspiration for projects every day. How did I live without it?!) I loved this idea for a "cool dude" shirt for my son to wear at his 7th birthday party. I showed a picture of the idea and he gave me his enthusiastically typical thumbs up sign. Hooray! It just so happened that the shirts were on sale at Michael's that week so I picked one up and came home to get started. First step was to cut out the shapes or design that I wanted to use and then I attached them to the front with double-sided adhesive tape. (I used scratch paper but if I did it again, I would  use card stock or vinyl letters. It turned out to be hard to keep the letters crisp and firmly attached to the shirt. Luckily I am not a huge perfectionist. (though the "o"  and one of the legs on the "m" still bug me to this day. lol.) So, once the letters/shapes are firmly attached, put a plastic bag inside the shirt so the back will be protected and tuck under the sleeves. Then fill some kind of spray bottle 3/4 full with bleach and 1/4 full with water and then spray away! I left the shirt on the bushes in front of my house for about an hour in the full sun and it was completely dry and ready to use in that amount of time. I really loved the results. Obviously each one would be unique and depending on which color shirt you choose, the effect will be different too! I saw a pink one (on Pinterest) that had white accents when bleached. I want to try a red one and see what will happen. Seems like a fun thing to do at a slumber party. I am keeping this idea in the memory bank for later. ;-)
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