Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For the Love of Gamers

In fact it is for the love of one gamer....my little bro. Playing and creating games is one of his favorite things to do. One of his nick names just happens to be Pacman. I keep an eye out for classic Nintendo items (and Pacman, of course).

One of the first things I found on Craftster (an online community for crafters) was a NES controller messenger bag. We had seen wallet similar to the bag, but it had always been sold out when we would go to purchase it. So I figured I would just make it! I do what I always do first and searched the internet for examples. Lucky enough there was someone out there that created a tutorial to make a messenger bag. I was totally stoked and planned on making it for his birthday last January...then decided I would make it for Graduation in June...and ended up making it for Christmas! Funny how that works?


Making it was a labor of love. I was having one of those days where the thread on my sewing machine was breaking or catching or something dumb every other minute. It took double to time to make it! The only thing that didn't make it on to the bag was the red piping. I had it pinned and ready to sew, but couldn't find the right foot to sew it on with so I scrapped it. In spite of it all, I do like how it turned out. I used canvas material, rather than vinyl (like in the tutorial) and lined with a black light-weight denim. I wanted a more rugged/frayed look to it, but still wanted it to be sturdy. I also made it 3 inches bigger all around. The inside has pockets for pens and larger items along with id and a hook for keys. If I had more time, I would have made some more intricate pockets.

The most important thing is that my brother loved it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Not Just for Eating

Back in October, I visited one of my best friends in Utah. She is a queen of good deals (like myself), specializing in yard sales & consignment shops (not like myself). While there we found this cute consignment shop and could not resist. It is called The Wandering Wardrobe in Spanish Fork, UT. It has a main level and upstairs. There were so many treasures that I wish I could have filled my suitcase with, but I didn't have enough room. I managed to buy an incredibly cute skirt and shoes, along with some beautiful mosaic plates.

I immediately had a plan for the plates. I wanted to paint a quote in the center or maybe something in vinyl. Now that I have a Cricut I was pretty sure I was going to use vinyl, but changed my mind in end. I don't have the best painting supplies, but I do enjoy painting. I usually just freehand everything, instead of sketching it out first. It just depends on what you are most comfortable with. Here is what I ended up with:


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Meet Snowball the Benguin

This is a softie I made as a gift for one of my sisters. She collects bears and I wanted to make something unique for her. I thought that a penguin would be very fitting for this time of the year (plus I think they are so cute...one of my fav animated movies is Surfs Up). I also saw some cute penguins last month on Missy Ballance's site and so penguins have been on the brain. So why not merge the two? Creating a Benguin!

I was having a hard time picking a name, so by husband suggested Snowball (because of the little white balls on the scarf). I thought it was cute and my sister can always change it. The inspiration for the white balls came from a white bead necklace my sister wears often. I'm just getting ready to wrap Snowball up and wanted to share her before she leaves to her new home.

Snowball Benguin, the penguin who thinks she's a bear.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The White Stocking

At church, this past Sunday, I taught the Christmas lesson to all our Young Women. Part of my lesson included a little white stocking.

I used a pattern from Martha Stewart for the stockings. I didn't want the seams to show, so I turned the stocking inside out and added a white ribbon loop along with silver trim.

I also made a handout (on the left) using elements from Shabby Princess.

After reading the poem, maybe you will want to incorporate it into your home. To me, it keeps the spirit of Christmas centered around Christ.

On a side note, I found a yummy treat at World Market on our last trip...Salt and Lime Cashews. It may not be the typical holiday snack, but it sure is good. I've had in my craft room with me while I plow through finishing Christmas stuff.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Note Worthy

I've had this tutorial in my book for a while and decided to do a modified version of it. I opted to use a fusible interfacing on the back of the fabric, rather than iron-on adhesive & additional panel of fabric. I figured that it would be just fine, because I wasn't doing a patchwork front. I had also seen a notebook with ribbon to hold pens/pencils and thought it was a great idea, so I incorporated that (couldn't find a link for that one).

I would like to add some pockets on the inside flaps. One of the pockets would have a clear vinyl window, so they could slip in their information on a card...kind of like a book plate. Another idea I had was to make a cover for a sketch book and then make enough slots on the ribbon for like 12 colored pencils.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For the Guys

It seems to be a bit difficult to come up with handmade gifts for the men in my life...anyone else have trouble with this? So I usually end up buying their gifts. This year I've come up with a few ideas and since the guys don't read my craft blog (I think), then I can post some ideas before Christmas. Maybe it will help someone who is stumped on a man gift.

My dad and brothers are pretty big sports fans and I wanted to do something to incorporate that for one of my brothers. I created a pillow with the team's initials in their colors. Common? Yes, but the thing that makes it different is the backside of the pillow...it houses remotes! It is a pretty large pillow made from polar fleece. I appliqued the letters in place and then stitched them. I was searching online and found a tutorial for making a pillow like mine out of an old sweatshirt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

If only I had time for embrodiery...

...this is what I would be making:

The pattern is from Jenny B of Allsorts. I love her style (it reminds me of Mary Engelbreit). I also want to make time for these international gals:

These pretty maids are only $12 for all 5! I'm hoping to get those for Christmas. There is another addition to the numerous free patterns found on Allsorts...Star Dangles. It would be a fun little addition for a kids' tree. Yet another thing to go in the big ol' craft binder for the future (I'll probably have a library of craft patterns by the time I have kids old enough to enjoy them).

A couple weeks ago I was searching for instructions on a star scrapbook album I saw. I ended up finding a site with tutorials for every kind of handmade album. I'm thinking about making this Stand-up Paper Bag Purse Album with the Young Women in my ward.

This last week has been incredibly overwhelming (with some unexpected things happen in my family) and I'm still trying to recover. I have a lot to get done before Christmas! We did have our first snow this year and it was nice to see it stay for more than a few hours. We only had a few inches, but it sure makes it feel like Christmas.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Cutest Little Advent Calendar

I wish I would have been able to make advent calendars this year, but it was one of those things that got scratched off the list. I searched many blogs and my favorite one ended up being the smallest one. It is a pocket sized advent calendar made from a pack of gum! How fun would that be to give out at Thanksgiving? I'm going to slip the tutorial into my craft book for next year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Technical Difficulties

For some reason I am having blog design problems. I'm going to have to redo everything! I'm more worried about all the html and dimensions I had before that are now gone. So check back in a few days!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

*Whew*
Thanksgiving was a blast! My mom and sisters were the last to leave, yesterday :(. We braved Black Friday, but did it really low key this year. It has been a tradition for years and since I lived in Arizona last year, I went alone and just to the fabric store. My main goal this year was to get a Cricut Expression and I came out victorious! I've spent many hours using it already and I think everyone should have one...seriously.

It was a lot of fun hosting Thanksgiving and I think I would like to host every year. We had a lot of good food, including my first turkey (which turned out moist...my biggest concern). I had watched a couple of Food Network programs and talked to my mom to get as many tips as I could. My hunny even bought me a nice roasting pan from Costco. So the tip that I can pass on is use chicken stock (2 boxes) in the bottom of the roasting pan (w/the turkey on the rack). It just seemed to keep the turkey moist as it cooked. It also helped when it came to making the gravy. Combined with the turkey drippings it made plenty of gravy.

My other favorites from the meal were homemade Cranberry Sauce & Pumpkin Caramel Flan. The Cranberry Sauce was super easy and delicious. It took about ten minutes in a sauce pan with some orange zest & juice, a little white & brown sugar, cinnamon, plus some water. I cooked them long enough for the berries to pop. The flan was yummy too, though I'm not sure you really would call it that. It had some same charicteristics, but I think it needed more eggs to get a flan texture. It was almost like a crustless pumpkin pie, but lighter texture and a light caramel sauce. I also enjoyed the flavor a lot more than pie. It is a good option for a healthier dessert or for someone who can't have wheat (like me). I thought I'd share the recipe (courtesy of Nestle). I made it ahead of time, so it was one less thing I had to worry about.

Pumpkin Caramel Flan
Estimated Times:

Preparation - 20 min | Cooking - 45 min | Cooling Time - 4 hrs refrigerating | Yields - 8
Replacing some of the eggs with egg whites and using evaporated fat free milk make this elegant dessert low in fat without sacrificing any of its richness.

Ingredients:

Directions:
PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
PLACE 8-inch-square baking dish into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; fill outer p
an with hot water to 3/4-inch depth.
HEAT sugar in small, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and golden brown; pour into square dish. Remove square dish from pan of water; working quickly, swirl melted sugar around bottom and sides of dish to coat. Return dish to water.
COMBINE eggs, egg whites, pumpkin, honey, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and salt in medium bowl. Add evaporated milk; mix well. Pour into prepared square baking dish.
BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove square baking dish from water. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
TO SERVE, run small spatula around edge of dish. Invert serving plate over baking dish. Turn over; shake gently to release. Caramelized sugar forms sauce. Cut diagonally into quarters; cut ea
ch quarter in half to form triangles. Spoon sauce over each serving.

We spent the rest of the day with a walk and playing games! I'm so fortunate to live in a place with so many beautiful things in nature. I'm grateful to be living in Washington once again with a lot of family nearby. It was wonderful to spend the holiday with them!

On a business note, I'm working hard on things for my shop...which means less posting this week. I'm crazy to start all this before Christmas, but I'm just rolling with it and having fun! My new toy (a.k.a. the Cricut) is giving me lots of inspiration for more projects. I took my mom to our country store and she got a bunch of fresh herbal teas with cute jars and a spoon sifter. I used my Cricut to personalize it, making it my first project using it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wood-n't ya Know?

I have a secret obsession with wood. The cull lumber cart is my weakness. I can't go to Home Depot with out taking a walk through the 'woods'. My last project was so satisfying, that I've decided to make a bunch for my Etsy shop (that I've talked about opening for the last six months). I'm shooting for the end of this month! I would make a big push to get it open by Thanksgiving, but I am hosting this year and I've got a lot to get done before then.

For the place settings, I decided to use an element from my tree. I love the feathers and buttons with a little sparkle. I wanted to have a little bit of a rustic feel, so I burned the edges of some paper (from an old book). I used it underneath the embellishments and for the place card. When I finished the first one, I thought it looked liked a turkey. Can you see it? I've got about a third of them done, so I'll post more pictures once they are all completed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!



I was recently asked to come up with a craft for our Relief Society Christmas Activity next month. There were several ideas that went through my head, one of the first was blocks. I know it is a pretty popular thing to do Christmas blocks with lettering and pictures. I had figured out lettering to spell several different winter words. Then I thought it would be cute to show how the blocks could stack up to look like a tree. That is when I got the idea to add some wire and everything just rolled on from there. It was so satisfying to be creating again!


Originally, I was going to add pictures and scrapbook paper. Things changed when I started to pull out all my embellishments and paint. There are several different ways you could 'trim' the tree. I would like to do some variations with newsprint, stamping, pictures, scrapbook paper, sheet music and fabric...maybe even wrapping paper or old Christmas cards! I'm also considering using a candle cup as the base/trunk, but not sure yet. I'll also post pictures of the variations. I would love to see what others would create.

**UPDATE: Added a trunk made from a small terracotta pot with a crackle finish.**




Monday, November 17, 2008

Fun Giveaway

It seems to be like giveaway season lately! I promise I'll have some more crafty creations posted soon. Another favorite fabric designer of mine is Lila Tueller (link in my side bar, too). Her giveaway post came up in my reader and I had to check it out. It is a fun challenge to get an entry, so go check it out. I just submitted my answers, but it was almost 12 hours after the post...so I think I am out of the running for the grand prize, but it was a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Quilt Giveaways!

I can't believe there are two separate quilt giveaways going on right now! One is over at Simplify (Camille Roskelley) and the other at Old Red Barn Co. I adore Camille's quilt patterns, especially Baby Mine. I would love to be able to finish a quilt. I think I may try, after the holiday season.

Old Red Barn Co. is giving away three different quilts to three different people and there are a lot of ways to get extra entries, so make sure to check that out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cake Creation: A Long Time Coming

Another area of design I like is in the confectionery world. I'm pretty good when it comes to candy making and love to create things for others. I've envisioned doing a purse cake for months now. Unfortunately, I didn't have any birthdays going on or special occasion that fit the purse theme...until this past week. One of my good friends had her birthday while I was gone and I thought it would be nice to give her a belated cake (just a few days late).

I hit a lot of bumps in the road and didn't give myself enough time to do it how I wanted. I was thrown off when I found my flour was bad, so I had to use a mix (which isn't ideal for layers). I added some almond flavoring to change the flavor, which helps mask the mix flavor. I also didn't have any of my cookie cutters that I wanted to use with the fondant (I left them all at my mom's!). I can find so many imperfections in my work. The good thing was that I had fun making the fondant and creating the whole cake. There will definitely be more purse cakes to come.

In other news, we just bought a brand new Digital SLR. It is a Nikon D60 package from Costco, so it included 2 different lenses, diffuser, bag, strap, SD card and some DVDs. It is pretty sweet. I can't wait to get out and take some yummy fall pictures.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Printables not to be Passed

I was playing a little catch up in my Blog Reader today and saw some really cute Christmas printables from Missy Ballance (I've mentioned her site a couple times on my blog).

She is offering them free for personal use. They are early enough where you can actually use them this year. I really like her art and I'm so glad she is generous enough to offer some freebies.

They would be great for care packages and/or your holiday gifts. I will definitely be using them! Thanks Again, Missy!

P.S. While you are checking out the printables, take a look at her tutorial for Christmas Tree Pencil Toppers. It is a simple & inexpensive gift for a teacher or friend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Costume!

I was hoping to get some better pictures, but we were so busy and rushed getting out the door (on the 30th & 31st) that we only got a few snap shots. I'm totally happy with it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Quick Sketch

I've spent a little time whipping up a sketch for my little sister's Halloween costume, as mentioned below. It looks different than my sketch on paper, but I'm still getting used to my tablet. It is a challenge to draw while looking at the screen compared to looking at the paper as you draw. I also haven't figured out all the features and command, but I'm learning! This sketch is a lot more whimsical than my last one.

The colors are not set yet, but I couldn't leave it black and white. I also got feedback from my 13-Y.O. sis that she wants a square neckline and tighter corset...hehe (she is soooo like me already!). The pink Converse shoes (a.k.a. Chucks) are a bit of her style that I added. I thought it was cute and age appropriate, also something a little different than the typical fairy costume. I'll have a pic of the finished costume in a couple of weeks!

Can't Resist!






Can you believe this gorgeous quilt is being given away??? It was inspired by the Old Red Barn Co. quilt giveaway. Head over to Pigtails and Snails to enter!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chic Pumpkins

These lovely pumpkins showed up in my inbox today and I could not resist posting them! Last week, I saw ghost pumpkins at our local country store and I've wanted to figure out something to do with them. I really want to do this technique! Here is an excerpt from the e-mail:

The Ghost Pumpkin

The White “Ghost” Pumpkin is a beautiful gourd that puts a spooky, yet elegant spin on Halloween décor. Ghost Pumpkins, also known as Luminas or Caspers have a naturally white outer skin but are a pale orange inside, allowing them to give off a lovely glow when carved. They used to be more rare but have steadily increased in popularity over the past few years. Here are a few tips on how to decorate with your ghosts:

  • Painted Pumpkins: Try using stencils or graphite transfer paper to trace patterns or create distinctive designs on white pumpkins. You can also use letter stencils to spell out spooky words on several white pumpkins. Fill in your designs using a fine-tipped paintbrush and black acrylic paint....
If you would like to read the rest of the article, then visit Home Made Simple.

Another thing that caught my eye, were these delicious Pumpkin Coconut Oatmeal Bars. It looks like a good combination of flavors and something I haven't seen before. I'm a sucker for coconut!

Pumpkin Coconut Oatmeal Bars
October is the month for pumpkins, so try a truly unique dessert recipe that’s a delightful twist on classic pumpkin pie. Sweet layers of oatmeal, cinnamon, pumpkin and coconut will appeal to the whole family and best of all, it’s a portable treat you can eat with your hands!

Serves: 9-16 (depending on size of bars)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Approximate cost: 54¢ per serving for 9 bars, 38¢ per serving for 16 bars

INGREDIENTS
Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cook oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shredded coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Combine the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl until evenly mixed.
  3. Press the mix into the bottom of greased 8” x 8” pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes to precook and firm up the crust.
  5. Combine all filling ingredients and pour over the warm crust. Return to oven for 45 minutes or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Baking times will vary for different ovens and altitudes.

Tip: Try using parchment paper in the bottom of your pan in addition to greasing to help release the bars easier and prevent the crust from over browning. Once you’ve pressed the crust into the pan, try poking it with a fork to keep it from cracking.


My Favorite Monster

Every year my mom sends me a Halloween craft magazine. About six years ago, it was a Family Fun magazine and it had a cupcake recipe that I have made every year since. They are the cutest monster cupcakes ever! I think the first year I made them for the student ward I was in. I found that the easiest way to entice people to come to choir was with food...and it always worked! The best part of these cupcakes is the hidden surprise of green slime (pudding) inside. It keeps the cake moist and it is always fun to see everyone's reaction.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blog Love: 30 Days + More Halloween Stuff

I love this blog, because it has so many ideas all stored & categorized. I have done something similar on my computer in different bookmarked folders...but it can be tricky finding that something that you know you saved somewhere! Mique created 30 Days last winter for Christmas gift ideas and has now turned it into a virtual idea file and inspiration spot. You will probably see some links to projects you have already seen, but there are also a lot of ideas I hadn't seen yet, especially for Halloween decor. I love these Mod Paper Pumpkin Ornaments from Hostess with the Mostess and how about this Mysterious Pumpkin Carriage featured in Hallmark Magazine.



Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, because I love to dress up and be someone else for the night (its the actress in me). This year I don't have any big plans for a costume, because (for the second year in a row) my husband will be working. I've decided to help my sisters out by creating their costumes. I was talking to one of my sisters about what she envisioned and she has decided she wanted to be a fairy with a corset and wings. I've drawn something up to incorporate some of her style and age. I'm going to post that soon and hopefully in a few weeks, the costume to match the sketch! I had a couple different skirts in mind from tutorials I have seen. Lately, the most popular one I have seen is the No Sew Tutu-rial. Another one that I considered was the Pettiskirt that was featured on Martha Stewart early this summer. Of course both of these have been around for a while, but it is always nice to have instructions as a guide. Anyway I'll post my sketch soon and more Halloween ideas!