Sunday, October 30, 2011

This Weekend...

This weekend has been a very fun and busy one. It started with Bryan's birthday party on Friday night. We kind of waited until the last minute to do all the preparations, so we were busy ALL day getting ready for it. But once all of our friends came over, the stress vanished. Maybe I didn't get everything done, but all I wanted was to have friends over to celebrate Bryan's birthday and to eat some really good food. All of these things were accomplished. Hooray!

Unfortunately, I was having so much fun talking and eating that I completely neglected to pick up my camera at all. So I have no pictures! If you were at the party, and have some to share, please let me know! I'd love to see them and share them!

Yesterday (Saturday), I was fortunate enough to attend ANOTHER celebration!! This time- a wedding! And I didn't forget to take pictures of that! Which is good, because I was the photographer.

Who got married? My friends Erica and Tom. Erica and I met a few years ago working at the Cupcakery together.  Sarcasm and dry humor brought us together as friends. That and her Bill Cosby impression.

She and Tom have been together for quite some time and tied the knot yesterday in the most beautiful ceremony. It was held on top of a hill in Alton, Illinois at a gazebo that overlooks the Missippi River. It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day complete with a slight breeze and leaves falling everywhere.

The bride wore a thrifted vintage gown, emerald jewelry and roses in her hair. So glamorous and so like her!

Here is one of my favorite shots from the day. They are such a great couple, and totally meant for each other.

Erica and Tom, congratulations and  thanks so much for having me there to celebrate this beautiful day in your life together! There are MANY more pictures to come, but I don't want to give too much away!

(P.S. You should be able to click on the pictures to enlarge them!)

Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas- Week 3: Wooden Snowflake Ornaments

I am so excited about this week's handmade Christmas gift tutorial.

This time, Bryan and I made Christmas ornaments that you could make a bunch of in advance and then give to all of the people on your list! And not only can you use them as ornaments, they can also double as gift tags for all of your presents OR you could put them in envelopes and mail them out to friends instead of the typical Christmas card! Let me show you how Bryan and I put them together!

We bought some unfinished wooden cut-outs at Michael's- circles and snowflakes.

They are VERY inexpensive. You'll want the same amount of both because 1 circle + 1 snowflake= 1 ornament.
Then, I painted ALL of the wooden pieces with a layer or two of plain white acrylic paint. I painted both sides of the circle white and only one side of the snowflake.

Then I used my beautiful colors of Martha Stewart glitter acrylic paint (also from Michael's) to paint the snowflakes. I chose purple and blue because those are "wintery" colors to me!

I painted both sides of the snowflake with the glitter paint.
Next, I used some alphabet stamps (also from Michael's for $1) and a stamp pad to print "TO" and "FROM" on one side of the circle. The alphabet letters were all tiny individual stamps so I taped them together to form words. This way, I can use the stamps for lots of other future projects!

As you can see, Bryan drilled TINY holes in the top of each circle. I tied some plain white ribbon through the holes to make an ornament.

Simply attach the circle to the snowflake using some hot glue, keeping the side of the circle with the lettering and the side of the snowflake with both white paint and glitter on the outsides.

When it's time to send them off, I will just write on the recipients' and our names with a pen or marker.

Here's how mine turned out:

I really love that glitter paint!
I love that these ornaments are so versatile. I can't wait to give them to friends! Just make sure to give them out before Christmas so they can enjoy them this year too! :)

Thanks for reading! I hope you liked this week's project and that you'll try it out. Be sure to ask if you have any questions for me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home Is Where the Heart Is

I am so excited about this week. There is so much to do around the house for Bryan's birthday/ Halloween party on Friday! I can't wait to have some friends over, wear crazy costumes, eat a TON of delicious food, and-most importantly- celebrate my wonderful husband! Parties are the best. And OF COURSE, I will be sharing LOTS of pictures!

Lately I've been doing the 12 Weeks of Christmas on the blog and I am really enjoying it. I hope you are too! Last week bummed me out though, when I made my embroidery project and the lettering was hard to read. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I decided to make another one- "Home Is Where the Heart Is".

This time I just used a very subtle patterned fabric with darker embroidery thread! I didn't use lettering this time either, I just did some freehand drawing.

I'm so excited for the holidays- including this weekend! I can't wait to get together with the people we love, eat, give gifts, bake goodies, and whatever else the holidays bring. Are you in that mood already too?

Come back to the blog later this week for another Christmas present idea- we're already on Week 3! I'm very excited about this one!

Friday, October 21, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas- Week 2: Embroidery

Hello there! And welcome back to the blog for Week 2 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas! Each week from now until Christmas, I will be sharing with you instructions for a home made Christmas gift that you can make for friends and family.

This week's project is an embroidery/ needlework project. We won't be using the embroidery for a sewing project or quilt, just to use as beautiful, customized wall art!

Here's what you'll need!

  • One fat quarter of fabric (Found at fabric store)
  • One 12" Wooden embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery floss in a few different colors that contrast with your fabric choice
  • One hand sewing needle with an eye large enough to put your embroidery floss through
  • An air drying Mark B Gone marker ( ALSO from fabric store)- don't use the water soluble one
  • Scissors
  • A little hot glue

This is a really simple, fun project You could totally kick back and watch some TV while you do all of your stitching! Here are my quick instructions:

Step 1: Separate the two loops of your embroidery hoop. Stretch the fabric over the smaller one, then put the larger hoop over that and fasten it as tight as possible. Pull the fabric taut so that it is stretched evenly on all sides.

Step 2: Cut the excess fabric around the loop, leaving about one half inch hanging all around. Hot glue that half inch of fabric to the hoop, on the back where it will not show. This just makes it look nice and neat!

Step 3: Now you will need to decided what you want the picture of your wall art to be. I wanted mine to have the words "Happily Ever After" on it (a cute gift for a couple), so I typed it using Microsoft Word and printed it out. If you'd rather have a picture on yours, Google some coloring pages- those would work GREAT for embroidering!

Step 4: Hold your printed letters/pictures to a lamp or to your window and trace onto your fabric using you Mark Be Gone Pen. Your marks will disappear, so don't worry about any mistakes.

Step 5: Thread your needle and start hand stitching on your lines. Your marks may disappear faster than expected, so try to alternate drawing lines and sewing small portions back and forth.

Everytime I switched threads I tied off the floss in the back of the hoop. That might not be necessary, since no one will be wearing or washing it, but I want it to be as secure as possible.

Step 6: (Optional): I drew some hearts and swirly lines freehand on mine and then stitched those lines in as well. Embellish yours however you like!

Here's the finished project!

I really love the way it looks, but I think the next one I make will have greater contrast in colors.  If you want to see it larger and in more detail, click on the picture!

Wall art is a great gift to make and give, and I think people really enjoy receiving it.

As always, let me know if you have any questions about my instructions!

Friday, October 14, 2011

12 Weeks of Christmas- WEEK 1: Infinity Scarf

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas. I am going to be showing you one handmade gift idea every week from now until Christmas! This week's gift is one that could definitely made ahead of time. You could make them now and be prepared for Christmas in December!

So what is the first gift? It's hidden inside of this cute handmade gift bag!
Inside of this bag is a 2-Sided Infinity Scarf!

Have you heard of infinity scarves before? They're basically like a giant loop of fabric that seems to magically turn into a cute scarf with very little work.

Here is my finished scarf in its loop form.

And then, just by twisting this simple sewing project a few times it turns into this:

And since THIS infinity scarf is made with 2 different fabrics, it can also be turned around this way:

Or, for the cold days of winter (remember: we're making this for a Christmas present), you could also turn it into a hood/scarf. Like this:

I got this idea from a few different things I saw on the internet, and from the 2 sided infinity scarf I already own (store bought). I made this one out of 2 lightweight fleece fabrics so it is warm and perfect for winter time. Then I just made a really quick and simple gift bag from the remaining fabric.

So if you want to know how to make one of these things, read the directions below! If you don't see directions, look for the "Read More" link below.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 12 Weeks of Christmas

Ok, not to make you nervous, but there about 12 weeks left until Christmas (give or take).

Don't worry, it will be ok.

I'm usually not one to even think about Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving, but I had an idea for the blog and I hope you all will be excited about it and benefit from it.

I'm going to share with you a tutorial for a handmade Christmas gift once a week for 12 weeks. I thought about doing "The 12 Days of Christmas" but that really doesn't give me or you a lot of time to get things done. So I'm starting this THIS WEEK!

I know, I's October! But imagine this- making Christmas gifts ahead of time so we're not all crying and panicking on Christmas Eve. PLUS, they're all handmade and will save you some money. So... are you ready to start?

(Oh, and just so you know, my blog is not going to become "all Christmas presents all the time" or anything. I'm still going to share all sorts of projects and fun with you all.)

My guidelines to all handmade gift making (I really only have 2):

1. NEVER apologize for making a handmade gift or say something like, "Sorry I didn't have enough money for a REAL gift." There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with a handmade gift. When you apologize for making something for someone, you've done two things:

  • Made the receiver of the gift feel bad. They now think that you made a gift because you felt obligated to get them something but didn't have the money. They feel guilty that you went to all that trouble. And

  •  Made your gift sound cheap. Maybe you DID choose to make something because you were low on cash, but you also put your time, mind, and creativity into this gift. It is full of worth and handmade with LOVE!!!
2. Make it as well as you possibly can.

Sometimes, there is a bit of a stigma attached to handmade gifts. Why? Because people have been given impersonal or poorly made gifts in the past. I admit, I've even been the giver of these gifts before. Regardless what you think your level of artsy-ness is, just make sure you do your very best. The receiver will see the  of effort and the thought you put into it.

Give yourself the appropriate amount of time to finish the project, and even more time in case of an emergency. I'm speaking to myself here as well but: SERIOUSLY don't wait until the last minute to make a gift that's supposed to be heartfelt and loving. It is really embarrassing when something you're giving falls apart on the spot- BELIEVE ME.

Make it personal to the person: Don't make your husband a floral pillowcase unless that's really something he will enjoy and use. Know what I'm saying?

So now we have the ground rules, I hope that didn't sound ranty- they're just based on mistakes I've made in the past...

Watch out for the first gift of Christmas later this week!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Yarn Wreaths!

A little while back, I showed you the yarn wreath I made for my friend's Cori's bridal shower gift. My other friend Melanie and I really enjoyed making it, and we wanted to make some for our own front doors. So last Thursday we did! Well here is what we came up with:

I wanted mine to have a Halloween theme- so I used dark grey yarn, sparkly twigs and leaves (with spiders) and this time hung a big S (for our last name) in the center.

My friend Melanie went for more of a fall theme. She made hers with a pretty taupe-colored yarn, some flowers, and some twigs with berries. Hers turned out so pretty and perfect.

Time with friends, crafting, and fall- some of my very favorite things!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Decorations DIY

I've been looking online a lot lately for some ideas on seasonal home decor. Partially because this month we're having Bryan's birthday party and I want to have cute decorations, but also because I want some home made decorations that I can pull out of the closet to use every year. Some of the first things that caught my attention online were these:

( Photo source: Curbly)

Recycled glass bottles painted in candy corn colors! I thought they would be especially perfect used as vases with some flowers in them (maybe sunflowers?).

Well Bryan and I, for some reason, had been holding onto all of these old Jones soda bottles. I don't know how the collection started, but I knew this would be the perfect way to utilize some of them.

My Supplies:
  • Orange, White, and Yellow Spray Paint
  • Blue painter's tape- I wanted my lines to be more distinct/clean
  • Soda bottles- label removed
First, I put some blue tape towards the middle of the bottle, to section off the top from the bottom. Then I sprayed the top part white.
After the white paint dried, I spray painted the yellow on the bottom (keeping the tape where it was). I painted the lighter colors first since orange-the darkest color- would be able to cover any mistakes made in yellow or white.

After the yellow dried, I re-sectioned the tape so that I could spray between the yellow and white lines.
And then I sprayed the orange spray paint in that open section.
At this point, I started to get REALLY nervous. Paint was going everywhere and it looked really bad. So I walked away for awhile. I wanted to settle down before I went on.

When I came back and peeled the tape off it really wasn't as bad as it looked. I cleaned up the white and yellow paint a little bit and here's how they ended up:

Not perfect, but still cute! I think they'll be super cute for the birthday/ Halloween party! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Halloween Costumes

It's October now, so I can officially start talking about Halloween. I'm planning a Halloween birthday party for Bryan on the 28th (all friends are invited!!!) so I've already been thinking of my costume.

 Usually my Halloween costumes are made up of pieces that can actually be worn again in everyday life. I often buy what I need for my costumes at thrift stores and actual clothing stores. I think you get more for your money that way.

That tradition started for me when Bryan and I went shopping (years ago before we were married) for costumes at a Johnny-Brock's type of place. We found the costumes we were looking for but they were made of cheap fabric, didn't look all that great AND were $50 each. I just couldn't justify that price.

So instead we put together our own costumes! We were Shaggy and Velma from Scooby-Doo! 

My outfit was made up of:
A  turtleneck sweater from Rue 21 (that I wore again), a red skirt from Goodwill, some Red Mary Jane shoes I already had, and then I just bought some cute, tall socks.

Bryan's was:
A plain green t-shirt that he wore many times afterward, and his brown slacks that he wore to work.

Flash forward to a few years later, I was working at the Cupcakery as a baker. We were encouraged to wear costumes to work (so cool) but I needed something that I could work in. I was also supposed to wear a bandana or a hat to work (health regulations). So I dressed as.....

Rosie the Riveter! I actually got this idea from a friend who had dressed up as her the year before. It was so easy to do! I wore jeans, a blue collared shirt from Target, and a cheap red bandana.

That same year, Bryan dressed as Ollie!

His costume was made from a white t-shirt, a white thermal shirt, a little face paint for his cute nose and some ears and spots made out of felt! And yes, Olle was wearing a "real" costume-but  trust me, we won't be doing that again. It didn't go well.

Last year was our first time having a Halloween birthday party for Bryan at our house, so of course we both needed costumes! This time, I partnered up with a friend, and Bryan paired up with her husband (also our friend).

The girls were Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory:

We wore pink dresses (hers was from the thrift store, mine was on clearance and I had to dye it pink), some pearls and heels she had on hand, tights, and chef's hats found at a culinary store. She also sprayed her hair red, because she was LUCY!

The boys were Mario and Luigi!

They wore regular green and red shirts, some baseball caps from the craft store (the M and L are made from felt), jeans and some Mario suspenders found at Hot Topic. We thought about getting them actual overalls, but this was much easier and more comfortable for them. Oh and the mustaches?

Totally authentic :)

This year, I already have a pretty good idea of what I'm dressing up as. Bryan's not 100% sure about his though, so I'm not going to share the details of either of our costumes on here yet. But trust me, I will show you! Or you could just come to the party and see for yourself!

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