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Create Your Own Easter Egg Dye Using Natural Ingredients

Apr 18, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY, Creative Clutter

Looking for an egg-citing way to add a little color to your Easter egg routine? Kick those egg color kits to the curb, make a quick trip to the produce section, and as quick as a twitch from the Easter Bunny’s tail, you’ll be ready to cook up your own homemade, natural Easter egg dye.

While I’ll admit that the pre-packaged kits are pretty convenient, this hands-on art project/science experiment is a surefire way to get your friends or family engaged in the egg-dyeing process. You’ll also be rewarded with unique, earthy tones you just can’t get from a box. Add a spritz of olive oil to your newly dyed eggs, and your little works of art will positively shine!

I’ve collected some of the easiest to assemble ingredients below to help you prep your color batches:

Natural Easter Eggs

Red/Pinks
Beets (Boiled)
Cranberry juice

Orange
Yellow onion skins (Boiled)
Carrots (Boiled)

Yellow
Orange/Lemon Peels (Boiled)
Celery Leaves (Boiled)

Green
Spinach (Boiled)

Blue/Gray
Blueberries (Boiled)
Purple Grape Juice

Purple
Blackberries (Boiled)
Red cabbage (Boiled)

Browns
Black coffee
Black tea


No two batches of naturally dyed Easter eggs are ever the same, and the colors that you get from the ingredients above will vary based on the amount of each ingredient used and how long you let your eggs steep in the resulting dye.

While you can cook your eggs in with your dye batches to save some time, we recommend creating your dyes first, then steeping your eggs (if you plan on being able to eat them after the hunt is over, that is).

Preparing Your Dye

I’ve noted the items above that need to be boiled in order to prepare your dye.
If you plan on using beets, carrots, orange peels, spinach, or berries, you need to plan to have 2-4 cups of the required ingredient. The more of each ingredient you use, the deeper your resulting colors will be.

  • In a saucepan, add your color ingredient (orange peels for example).
  • Add enough water to measure at least one inch over the peels.
  • Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours (until the water is several shades darker than you’d like your eggs to be).
  • Remove the saucepan from heat, and pour into a measuring cup (straining the liquid through a sieve as your pour).
  • Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar per every cup of dye – this serves as a fixative to help set the color on your eggs. (For ingredients that you did not boil, add one part vinegar for every three parts dye.)
  • Pour the color into a bowl deep enough to cover your eggs entirely.

While you’re working on making your dyes, you can also prep your eggs by having them cook by themselves on an additional burner. I’ve included a handy recipe below for making sure you get perfectly hard-boiled eggs.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

(from Southern Living Cookbook)
Prep Time: 20 minutes

  • Place desired number of eggs in a single layer in a saucepan.
  • Add enough water to measure at least 1 inch above the eggs.
  • Cover and quickly bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Let stand, covered, in hot water for 15 minutes (large eggs)
  • Pour off water.
  • Immediately run cold water over eggs, or place them in ice water until completely cooled.

Once your dyes have been created and your eggs have boiled (and cooled) – you’re ready to paint the town! Experiment with steep times to get different depths of color. For deep, rich tones, you can also soak your eggs in dye overnight (just keep them in the fridge).

Thanks for tuning into to my Easter egg tutorial. Now hop to it!

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

DIY Hand-painted Inspirational Signs

Mar 23, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY

I got to spend some quality time with Steph and Katie, two of my best gal pals, this weekend for a much-needed craft day. This month’s mission? A slightly distressed, hand-painted sign with a meaningful quote. (Doesn’t sound too hard, right?) Steph was the ringleader on this particular project. She used her super Pinterest-sleuthing skills and discovered a great step-by-step tutorial from Johnnie Collier over at Saved By Love Creations.

Johnnie’s tutorial features the work of a local talent from her region, Pam, who creates and sells rustic hand-painted signs like the one below. After reading about Pam’s process, I’ll admit I was a little daunted to learn how many steps would be involved in recreating her process, but never one to back down from a challenge, we all went to work on finding a quote and gathering our supplies.

Pam7text

More than anything, choosing a quote actually ended up being the difficult part of this particular craft. I had more than a handful I considered, including some of the following:

  • Not all those who wander are lost. – The Riddle of Strider (The Fellowship of the Ring)
  • Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
  • Live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry. – Jack Karouac
  • Love everyone. Trust few. Paddle your own canoe.
  • Confidence through competence. (my personal credo)
  • You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star. – Nietzsche 

For whatever reason, that last quote by Nietzsche really resonated with me, and I sent it over to Steph who laid out the quote using a couple of different layout/font options (it’s nice to have friends who have a background in design).

At some point I’d actually like to take a stab at free-handing something like this, after I’m more familiar with the process. Katie decided to go that route, but I’m still getting comfortable holding a paintbrush instead of pencil/pen. It’s a different feeling and requires a new style of dexterity that I have yet to master. Steph printed a to-scale version (2′ x 2′) of the layout I chose, and ordered some tracing paper online so we could lay down an outline of the letters.

1. Progress Shot 1

The weather this weekend was beautiful – sunny with a slight breeze – which meant that it was just right for working outside. After a light lunch on Steph’s brand new deck (which was built by her with help from her parents), we brought our blank wooden canvases outside and got to work.

Paco, Steph’s pup, monitored our progress and served as quality control for the project. (Isn’t he a cutie?)

Quality Control

The first step in the process is pretty simple: Put down the base color. For my sign, I chose “Mermaid’s Treasure,” a nice aqua paint and primer duo sample I purchased from Home Depot. It didn’t take much to cover the board – one solid first coat with some light touch up around the edges.

Step two required a little bit more concentration. I lined up my printed guide over my soon-to-be-sign, slipped some tracing paper underneath, taped down the edges, and then painstakingly outlined the letters on the guide to transfer their outline. The time it took was definitely worth it though. When I was finished tracing, I had a perfect map.

2. ProgressShot

I  love the quote that Steph chose for her piece: “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” I think it’s pretty representative of her overall positive, can-do outlook. Even when she’s had a rough week or is tired, she always has a smile and encouraging word for her friends. It’s one of the many things I love about her (in addition to spearheading our craft day efforts, of course).

3. Steph in progress

As I mentioned above, Katie, crafty rockstar that she is, managed to skip the tracing step, free-handing her piece using just an image on her phone as a reference. I hope that with enough practice, I can do the same. Her quote was  another that really resonated with me (I told you choosing a quote was the hardest part!), and really reminded me of her. Katie’s got some pretty brilliant ideas and is one of the most driven and passionate people I know. She not only knows what she wants, but she has the courage and persistence to go after those things and make them happen.

4. FinishedPiece(Katie)

Tracing the outline and filling in the letters took a little more time than I thought, especially given the intricate nature of the font I chose (definitely a factor to think about the next time I give this a go). I ended up having to finish my sign at home, which I did while watching the first season of Veronica Mars, my latest TV series addition. (Thanks, Katie!)

If we were to follow through on our original pinspiration, we actually all have some additional steps to finish, but I’ve been at war with whether or not I want to follow them all the way through. The last steps call for sanding over the sign to create the distressed, weathered look, applying a walnut stain, and then framing the board. While I know I’ll probably end up adding a frame to my piece to give it a more finished look, I don’t know if I can go through with the sanding and stain. I like the bright colors and look of my piece the way it is, and will likely hold off. However, if that changes, I’ll be sure to add an update to this post.

FinishedPiece(final)

(Sparkly flourish courtesy of PicMonkey until I can figure out how to recreate it in real life.) ^_^

How are you celebrating the return of spring? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thrift Store Monsters & Friendship Bracelets

Jan 29, 2014 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY, Slice of Life

TicTac

There’s nothing my cats love better than Craft Day. Seriously. It’s like Christmas, catnip, empty boxes, felt mice and warm laundry fresh out of the dryer, all wrapped up into one glorious event. It could have something to do with the fact that my craft room/office is strictly off-limits to them without supervision, so they leap (quite literally at times) at the chance to enter the restricted area. But it could also be because they’re also pretty social creatures (you may not have realized that about cats), so they look forward to opportunities to show off for our house guests. TicTac, pictured above, is the worst offender.

1. Craft Day Set Up

Craft Days are a pretty special event for me too. They’re a chance to spend time with some of my girlfriends, catching up on life, the universe and everything, while trying (and figuring) new crafts and projects. We only had a couple in 2013, but we’ve resolved together to try to find time to have them more frequently. Last year’s projects included water-coloring, spray-painting plant silhouettes and sculpting little animal figures from polymer clay, and this year’s ideas are proving to be just as exciting.

As you may imagine, a lot of our ideas come from projects or products we find on Pinterest, but they also come from things we stumble across in real life or on Etsy.

Steph stumbled across the first idea for our January Craft Day over at Apartment Therapy. They had a blog that highlighted some artwork that someone had created for their home by adding monsters to thrift store paintings - brilliant! I’m not a great painter (mostly from lack of practice), but I fell in love with the idea and immediately went on the hunt for a painting. I found the little metal sign, pictured left, at the Goodwill by my house for a whopping $2.99.

The second idea was to try our hand at crocheting our own version of these cute friendship bracelets. Steph found on Etsy. I love to crochet, so was definitely on board with giving this a try.  Because they were a for-sale item, we didn’t have a step-by-step guide to follow, but thankfully we both knew enough about crochet to muddle our way through.

The great thing about both projects is that between Steph and I, we had all the supplies we needed (minus the thrift store paintings) already on hand. That almost NEVER happens. When Steph arrived, we wasted no time in jumping into to Project #1, and by some crazy happenstance , we both ended up purchasing watery-themed pieces, so had similar ideas of creating a kraken-like creature for our paintings.

3. Craft Day - Steph Painting

I absolutely LOVE how Steph’s kraken turned out, and the poor fisherman never saw it coming!

4. Craft Day - Aliera painting

I ended up painting a little octopus, who ended up better than I had hoped, which means that I’ve stumbled across a new hobby (like I needed another one), but I can’t help myself. I can’t wait to try this again!

5. Detail Shot (Aliera Painting)

Stitch made an appearance after all the hard work was done (typical Stitch), but seemed to enjoy hanging out and getting to know Octavius (the little guy had to have a name after all). I was actually so excited about how the painting turned out, that I immediately hung it up in our guest bathroom.

6. Friendship Bracelets

While our paintings dried, we started on the crocheted bracelets, which worked up much faster than I expected. We kept things simple by making one really long single crocheted chain, then sewing a button on one end to serve as a fastener. I didn’t have any charms on hand to embellish the bracelets with, but if I try this project again (which I very likely will) there’s a lot of versatility and customization to play around with – stitch styles, buttons, charms, yarn types and colors.

And because we like to know where our next craft is coming from, we’ve already decided what to do for our February Craft Day. Steph found a pretty great (if daunting!) tutorial on how to make rustic, handpainted wooden signs that we’re dying to try.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what crafts you’ve tackled already this year. Share your favorites in the comments below!

 

 

Geek Chic: Across the 8th Dimension

Aug 16, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY

My dad, sister and I have a joke about the fact that we think differently than most people. Whereas most people’s thoughts logically progress from Point A to Point B and then to C, D, E and beyond, we’re more like a stone that you’ve skipped across the surface of a pond. While we cross over those same points as everyone else, we only touch the surface every other point or so, which sometimes makes it difficult for others to follow our thought progression. I only mention it because the manner in which tonight’s art project unfolded serves as a real-life example of that process of thought progression come to life.

When it comes to home décor, it’s probably safe to say I have an eclectic sense of style, which probably explains why I’m so drawn to the home accessories (and to be perfectly honest, EVERYTHING else) at Natural Life. I pop into their store semi-frequently and often stalk their social channels and website to check out their latest stuff. One of the things that I’ve really had my eye on lately is the wall art pictured below. (It will be coming home with me soon – it just doesn’t know it yet.)

Screen shot 2013-08-15 at 10.10.27 PM

(In love with this as much as I am? You can get it here.)

Earlier this week, I finished a crochet project (yes, it does occasionally happen). The project stemmed from a pattern for an infinity scarf that I’d “pinned” early last month. Last night, we re-watched the Hunger Games, and I took the opportunity to finish the pattern. It’s teal, of course, in honor of my beloved Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m hoping it will come in handy during some of our winter games, although in Florida, one can never tell how winter weather will be, but I digress.

Scarf

I also made time to draw a little bit this week and worked up a quick sketch of an owl (only my second ever drawn to-date) with some new Crayola colored pencils I picked up during this time of year’s legendary back-to-school savings. (See, you don’t have to have children of your own in order to get excited. Go running down the aisles and pick out your own BTS stuff. You’ll be glad you did!) :)

OwlSketch

But getting back to the subject of this evening’s project, I knew I wanted to do something crafty, but was at a loss for what to do. Then I remembered the rustic print from Natural Life,  was inspired by its charming quote, and decided to try my hand at making  my own bit of wall art (although narrowing down a single quote to use for the painting was tough).

My supplies?

  • Used canvas from an earlier failed art project (you can always recycle them, if things don’t work out!)
  • Craft Smart acrylic paints in purple, black, white and neon pink
  • Alphabet sponges (picked them up  ages ago from the Dollar Tree
  • Paint brushes
  • Clean palette
  • Jar (to hold water to clean my brushes)
  • Lots of paper towels (I tend to get paint everywhere.)

Steps:

  1. To kick off the project, I grabbed the above-mentioned used canvas and painted a purple base coat over its predecessor.
  2. While I was waiting for the base coat to dry, I amused myself by making a little nonsense video and posting it to my Instagram account.
  3. Once the purple coat was dry, I used a rough brush to add a neon pink coat, and before the paint was dry, took another rough brush without paint to texture the surface and blend the two coats.
  4. Using a small brush, I painted the edges of the canvas black, then splattered white paint across the top of the canvas to add some interest to the purple/pink background.

photo 2

So what about the quote?
Here’s where we get to the “geek” part of the post. In thinking about what I wanted to place on the canvas, I began reflecting on  some of my favorite quotes from movies and books I feel in love with during my childhood. Given the size of the canvas (and my letter stencils), I knew it would have to be something short and to the point.

The solution?

My favorite quote from Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, “No matter where you go…there you are.” (A close second would’ve been “Everybody Need See Buckaroo,” but I didn’t think it had the same inter-dimensional appeal, although if you haven’t seen Buckaroo Banzai, you REALLY should.)

 

banzaicast

“Who is this Buckaroo Banzai?” you ask. Excellent question. The multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo Banzai is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician, who has to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from the Planet 10. The novel  and movie fuse the genres of action/adventure with science fiction while weaving in elements of comedy, satire, and romance.

Of course, the story would be incomplete without the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo’s trusted team and band (pictured above). They are:

  • Rawhide, Buckaroo’s lieutenant who also plays piano.
  • Reno Nevada, who plays saxophone.
  • Perfect Tommy, who plays rhythm guitar, and is generally accepted to be perfect. (My favorite, btw.)
  • Dr. Sidney Zweibel, aka “New Jersey,” a neurosurgeon, and a colleague of Dr. Banzai’s from Columbia. He sings a little, dances and plays piano. (Played by Jeff Goldblum in what I believe to be one of his best roles.)
  • Pinky Carruthers, one of Buckaroo’s Blue Blaze Irregulars who also plays bass guitar.

If this description has just confused you more about why you should care, you could always check out the movie’s trailer below (although to be honest, unless you watch the movie, I’m not sure it helps):

And because, I’ve probably kept you long enough – the finished work! I was pretty happy with how it turned out, although if I do another quotes canvas, I’ll likely make some tweaks to the process. It could be fun to do a whole series using my favorite quotes from Moonheart, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and more. Which begs the question, actually, what’s your favorite quote?

photo 5

The Art of Zen: Doodles

Jul 23, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY

This whole project started because I was browsing Pinterest on my phone while Chris and I were watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood this evening (what else are credits good for?). I stumbled across an image that led me to the blog, Art with Mr. E, who chronicled one of the lessons he holds for his students to teach them shading. Following his instructions, I created my own piece of art, with the exception of using crayons in lieu of colored pencils as I seem to have misplaced them.

His blog post contains a great step-by-step tutorial that walks you through the process – it’s super simple, but a little time consuming. :)

photo 1

I really enjoyed watching the piece take shape. Hard to believe this all stemmed from one wavy line with eight points dotted across the line at varying intervals.

photo 2

Think I’ll have to retry this art project when I find my colored pencils. It was a little difficult to apply the shading explained in the tutorial using crayons.

photo 3

All said and done, it took me nearly three hours to completely sketch and color this piece, but it was a great way to lose myself in a repetitious task and clear my head. Coloring and crochet both have a lot in common that way.

photo 4

Have a hobby of your own that helps you find your zen? Share it in the comments below. And if you decide to try your hand at creating your own piece of art from Mr. E’s tutorial, I’d love to see how it turns out!

 

Craft Day: Animal Totems & Watercolors

Jul 22, 2013 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY

photo 1 Every now and again, it’s good to stretch your creative muscles. That’s why a couple of my girlfriends and I take turns hosting a craft day at our respective houses. This weekend, I had the privilege of hosting Katie and Stephanie.

Past projects included spray paint art using leaves as natural stencils at Stephanie’s house and putting together table numbers for Katie’s wedding back in May.

This go-round, we decided to try our hands at a little 3-D art thanks to some inspiration from the Etsy Shop, Handy Maiden. I was already in love with Danielle’s (the shop owner) work before embarking on this project, but now after having tried to sculpt little animals myself , I have an even greater respect for her talent, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

To kick things off, I headed to JoAnn Fabric to see about finding some polymer clay, because this type of clay can be “fired” using a home oven. Pretty neat, huh? It’s also available in a variety of colors, although for this project, we’d already decide to hand paint our figures once they’d been fired. When the girls came over on Sunday afternoon, I had already laid out the materials we’d need to get started. You know, the important stuff like warm brie, homemade bruschetta, and a bottle of Cupcake Vineyard’s Prosecco. Seriously though, if you think you’d like to try something like this at home, make sure to check out the materials list below to get what you need.

Materials Needed:

  • Neutral-colored polymer clay
  • Acrylic paint
  • A variety of paintbrushes
  • Xacto knife
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Optional – finishing varnish / gloss

I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials on the making of polymer clay charms, that were actually pretty helpful before kicking things off in real life. It’s actually pretty simple to get started – you break open the clay, roll it around a bit in your hands to make it more malleable, and then begin creating shapes.

The three of us worked on a pretty varied array of animals:

Steph: Lemur, octopus, hedgehog and bird
Katie: cat, stegosaurus, peacock, hedgehog and bird
Aliera: Fox, penguin, owl and panda

Once we were happy with the shape of our animals (see image above), we preheated the oven to 230˚F, put some wax paper down on my oven stone so that the figures wouldn’t stick, and baked them for thirty minutes.

To help pass the time while we waited for our animals to bake and cool, our secondary project was to watercolor, another something I’ve never done before (well, as long as you don’t count elementary art classes). Katie (our resident watercoloring guru) suggested we each find a photo to use as reference for the sketching portion of the piece. I hadn’t really given much thought to this portion of our craft day, so I did a random Google search for “owl watercolor.” You can check out the piece that I decided to use as a reference in the image below on the left.

While I’m actually pretty happy with the results of my first experiment with watercolor, I can definitely understand why Katie spent so much time on her sketch. Can you guess which part of the image I spent the most time sketching? (If you said the head/face, you’re correct!) In the past, I’ve always been too afraid of failing miserably to try my hand at painting, but today’s exercise gave me the confidence I needed to give it a shot. Don’t be surprised if you start to see more of my attempts on the blog in the near future.

OwlWatercolor

So after about an hour or so of watercoloring, our little animal figures were ready to paint, which ended up being a task that was much harder than it sounds. However, with a little patience, multiple coats of paint in a plethora of colors and a glass or two of Prosecco, the totems came to life!

Pretty sure my favorite animals of the day was Steph’s lemur and octopus. Aren’t they cute?!

Steph photo

I was also really happy with my fox figurine (although I’ve already noted some improvements I plan to make in the attempt.)

photo 5

Lucky Mr. Fox

I was also pretty stoked about how well my penguin turned out.

photo 3

Mr. Penguin

What creative things did you tackle this weekend?

 

CopyCraft: Mug Coaster Cozy

May 10, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY

IMG_5786

I stumbled across this Mug Cozy Pattern from Micah Makes while on Pinterest earlier this week and decided it was something I just had to try.

Micah’s pattern was easy to follow and ended up being the perfect project to keep me from feeling restless while watching the final Back to the Future movie with Chris this evening. (One of his birthday gifts was the Back to the Future trilogy, and we’ve been watching one movie every night.)

tumblr_mkqvtiDbOx1s80h8lo1_1280

Illustration Credit: Back to the Future Trilogy Poster Set by Justin Erickson

As for the pattern itself, I’m definitely going to want to give it another go (probably this weekend if I have time). When working from a new pattern, I have a tendency to crochet tighter than the pattern calls for, so the cozy I made this evening may have difficulty fitting larger mugs.

For round two, I’m planning to use a different color palette though – I’m thinking about teal with a black border in honor of my favorite football team. What do you think?

JagCollage

 

Easter Weekend Projects

Mar 29, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY

Easter Craft Round-Up

This is the first weekend I’ve had in the past six weeks or so that didn’t involve traveling or being away from home for an extended period, so I thought I’d make the most of it and celebrate the return of Spring (and Easter) with some crafts I discovered this week while I was “catching up” on Pinterest.

Project 1: Herb Garden
The return of an herb garden this year is a MUST. I’ve been reading too many recipes and teas that require fresh or freshly dried herbs that it’d simply be a crime not to include them in my weekend to-do. Last year’s challenges to my herb garden were torrential rains that over-soaked my herbs and pesky mites that devoured the leaves. To combat those challenges, I’m starting (and likely keeping) my herbs indoors this year. I’ll start from seeds, thin them as the sprouts appear, add a little plant food and hopefully watch them grow like weeds.

On this year’s grow list:

  • Anise (for tea)
  • Basil
  • Catnip (in the hopes that it will keep the cats from devouring my other plants)
  • Cilantro (Coriander once it goes to seed)
  • Chives
  • German Chamomile (for tea)
  • Lavender (for tea and homemade sachets)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lime Basil
  • Peppermint (for tea)
  • Rosemary (because I’ve been dying to try a home fragrance stove concoction)
  • Thyme
  • Wild Bergamot (for tea)

I’m also thinking about picking up some chocolate mint (already growing strong) that I saw at Home Depot last night. What herbs do you have (or plan to have) in your garden this Spring?

Project 2: Handmade Stationery Envelopes
With Sean recently returned to Afghanistan for his fourth tour since joining the Marine Corps, I ‘ve been wanting to do something extra special this time to let my brother know just how much he’s missed, especially with the birth of his first child just around the corner. So when I stumbled across this tutorial for how to create your own stationery envelopes using magazine pages, I knew it was just the thing I’d been searching for.

I’ve been scouring the pages of Jacksonville Magazine for uplifting images of Sean’s hometown to help wrap up the letters and photos I plan to send him in the coming weeks and months while he’s away. The focus this weekend will be on creating envelopes that can handle the 4×4 photos I plan to print from Instagram of his beautiful wife Bianca, their little girl Sofia who’s big debut (aka her birth) will hopefully take place next week, and Jackson, Sean’s energetic boxer-mix pup.

Image Credit: You Are My Fave, guest post & craft idea from Joy of Frock Files

Project 3: Scalloped Wall Art
I’m a huge believer in mantle eye candy, so when I saw these strikingly cute scalloped wall art pieces on You Are My Fave, I knew I had to try to make them for our home. I haven’t decided on color palette or paper patterns yet, but Chris and I did make a last-minute trip to Michael’s yesterday so that I could pick up a circle punch. I’ll be sure to post about the finished piece(s) sometime next week!

Weekend Project 3

Image Credit: You Are My Fave, guest post & craft idea from Brooke of Playing Grown-Up

Project 4: Food Passport
If you and your significant other are anything like myself and Chris, one of the most hotly debated topics each week is that dreaded topic, “What’s for [insert your meal of choice here]?” That’s why I love the idea I saw over on The Spotted Fox (a blog now sadly discontinued) about creating a Food Passport with all the restaurants you’ve been meaning to check out, but haven’t made the time to.

I’m accepting restaurant nominations in the comment section, if anyone has a few they think we should try out. :)

Weekend Project 4

Image & Craft Idea Credit: Sara of The Spotted Fox

Project 5: Dyed Deviled Eggs for Easter Lunch & Dinner
Last but not least, the only truly Easter-themed project for the weekend, brightly dyed deviled eggs for Easter Lunch with my mom and her parents, and Easter Dinner with my dad and his mom. This tutorial from MomDot.com makes it easy to get vibrant hues for this traditional dish. While she used vinegar with her Easter egg dye to get the strong colors you see below, I’m planning to use water, so my eggs come out more pastel-y. Can’t wait to show you guys the results!

Weekend Project 5

Image Credit: Trisha of MomDot.com

Thanks for checking out my Easter weekend projects – I’d love to hear what you’re planning in the comments below. Until next time, wishing you and your family a “Hoppy” Easter!

Happy Easter

Feeling Inspired: Valentines Day Crafts Round-Up

Jan 23, 2013 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY
Crocheted Blanket with Hearts

Be My Valentine Pattern from Red Heart

Now that our floors are complete (yes, I know I still owe everyone our “After” pictures), I’ve been ITCHING to get back into my crafting. Unfortunately, my craft room is still in disarray and many of my supplies are living in boxes scattered throughout the garage and attic. Despite that obstacle, however, I still managed to compile a pretty extensive list of  Valentines-themed projects I’d like to tackle before February 14th. Not sure if I’ll get to all of them, but if I can at complete three or four, I’ll feel pretty accomplished.

The first (and consequently the most time-consuming), is this adorable “Be My Valentine” pattern from Red Heart. When I stumbled across the pattern on Pinterest earlier this week, I immediately created a V-Day themed board, printed off a .pdf of the pattern, and went out that night to pick up the appropriate yarn. I’m currently about four rows into the project (out of 82), and hoping that I can cross it off my craft to-do list by next Sunday, February 3. While that may seem like a pretty quick turn-around, I find that I’m always more successful with my crochet projects when I give myself a deadline.

I haven’t crocheted in awhile, and I’m definitely feeling a little rusty, but this project couldn’t have come at a better time, as one of my coworkers commissioned me for a smaller project earlier this week!

I think one of the reasons I’m so determined to jump into the deep-end with Valentines-themed crafting is that I was very disappointed by not being able to decorate much for Christmas this year. Because of the state our home was in due to the flooring project, and our trip to Seattle over the holidays, I wasn’t really able to get into the Christmas spirit other than hanging my stockings over the fireplace and putting a wreath on our door. I’m also getting ready to roll into an array of baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings, so if I don’t craft now, I’m not likely to get the chance again until June!

Other crafts that I’d like to attempt are as follows:

Picture Me Valentine:
Because we missed out on even sending Christmas cards this year, I’ve been toying with the idea of sending out personalized Valentines greetings instead. I really love these valentine photo cards from delia creates, and am hoping I can talk Chris into posing with me to create something similarly cute (perhaps mimicking some of the poses from my “Cutesy Couple Photos” board on Pinterest).

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Photo & craft idea credit: Delia Creates

DIY String Heart:
So, I saw this originally on More Design Please (which is a great compilation of art, design, crafting and more), but eventually traced the original tutorial back to Green Wedding Shoes. They put together a great post that walks you through each step of creating the string heart accompanied by stunning photos (courtesy of Katherine Elizabeth Photography) such as the one below.

What I love about this project is that it’s simple, but dynamic, and it’s also reminiscent of a project I did for geometry back in the fifth or sixth grade. While purchasing yarn for project number one, I went ahead and purchased pins and embroidery floss to ensure that this project made the final cut. Updates as soon as I have them!

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Photo & craft idea credit: Green Wedding Shoes

Friendship Bracelet with Hearts:
My little sister LOVES making friendship bracelets, so I thought it would be neat to gift her one on Valentines using the pattern I found below. Because I know she’ll be wowed by the little hearts, I’ll be including the pattern when I give it to her, so she can in turn, impress her friends!

I found the pattern over on La Manufacture, and she includes a great video tutorial in addition to the graphic below.

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Photo & craft idea credit: La Manufacture

Framed Heart:
The last time Chris and I were at Ikea, I scooped up a couple of frames that would work for a project like this quite nicely. Of all the Valentines crafts I’ve been collecting, this is probably the easiest, which strangely enough means that for some reason I’m likely to put it off to the point that it will never end up getting done (although I certainly hope that’s not the case.)

For some variations on the theme below, I definitely recommend checking out Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour to see how she incorporated a variety of frames/layouts into her project. She was also brilliant – using sheet music scrapbook paper (when I first saw the image, I despaired because I didn’t have any sheet music handy, and was afraid I was in for a long search).

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Photo & craft idea credit: Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour

Heart-shaped Corner Bookmarks:
For all my book-lover friends, these little heart-shaped corner bookmarks are a MUST! I found the tutorial over on Craft and Creativity.

Photo & craft idea credit: Craft & Creativity

Photo & craft idea credit: Craft & Creativity

 

Fluttering Heart Wreath:
I still haven’t decided where I’ll hang this wreath if I decide to make it. Because it’s made out of paper, I’m not sure it would hold up very well outside on our front door. (Guess I’m kind of putting the cart before the horse here by worrying about where to hang something that hasn’t yet been created. Typical me.) ^_^

This heart wreath was embedded in a slideshow of more great Valentines ideas from Better Homes & Gardens.

Photo & craft idea credit: Better Homes & Gardens

Photo & craft idea credit: Better Homes & Gardens

In addition to the crafts I’ve listed above, I also have a secret craft I stumbled upon that I’m DEFINITELY going to be making, and since several of the people who occasionally trip across these pages may perhaps be a recipient of said-craft, I’m going to hold off on sharing what it is until Valentines Day.

What crafts have made their way onto your to-do list?

Home Office Makeover

Jul 8, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Crafts & DIY, Home Improvement

Putting together my home office/craft room has been on my to-do list for almost a year, and I promised myself before Chris and I celebrated our second anniversary in our “new” house, that it was one item that would be scratched off the list. After scouring the paint samples at both Home Depot and Lowe’s, I settled on the color “Celery.”

Surprisingly, it was one of the first colors I was drawn to nearly two years ago when we were choosing colors for the kitchen. At the time, I was having trouble deciding between “Asparagus” and “Celery” and had consoled myself with the thought that if I used the darker color (“Asparagus”) in the kitchen, I could use “Celery” for another room in the house.

I have to pause here in my makeover tale to laud my husband for being so accommodating when it comes to color in our home, as I definitely have a knack for picking colors not for the faint of heart. Our dining room is the color of the table you see pictured above, our bedroom is in the same color family although significantly lighter, and our kitchen as I’ve already mentioned is a deeper version of my recently refreshed home office.

And since I’ve already halted the chronological progression of this makeover, I’d also like to take a moment and thank my good friend Caroline over at Clumsy Crafty Happy for inspiring me to tackle this project by posting about her own recent studio makeover. Caroline used to work with me as a social media manager at the Dalton Agency, but is now working with her beau, Jason, over at IWearYourShirt.  If you enjoy crafting, I definitely recommend checking out her blog as she’s often posting about groovy DIY projects she’s working on or copycrafts anyone can enjoy.

All rambling aside, once the paint color was picked, the “makeover” was pretty straightforward. This room is the last unpainted canvas in the house, and with Chris and I both pitching in, it only took about an hour to prep, two hours to paint (including drying time between coats) and another thirty minutes or so to set back up. When we removed the outlet covers, I also took the opportunity to scrub and sand them so that I could spray paint them the metallic silver you see in the image above – an inexpensive way to embellish your outlet covers if you’d like to avoid spending the upwards of $7 a piece on actual metal covers.

I’m pretty excited about having a room to in which to both work (write) and play (craft). One of my annual traditions for the past three years has been participating in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for those in the know), and the second phase of this project will be moving my computer desk and all its accoutrements back into the office. Another benefit of my home office is that it also provides me with a quiet(er) place in which to “social my media” on evenings and weekends, because as much as I love my husband, cranking out content calendars or working on reports is difficult to do when I’m also listening to fascinating cut scenes from his latest video game (this weekend it was Uncharted 3).

In terms of next steps, my drafting table and about half of my drawing, painting, crocheting, sewing and scrapbooking supplies have made it back into the office – although many of the aforementioned are hiding in the closet so I could get a decent picture. Next weekend’s tasks will be to put the closet into some reasonable semblance of order (a task that I’m very much dreading), and working to get some artwork up on the walls as they’re looking pretty sparse.

Sorry for not having any “before” shots to feature, but this room was a hot mess, and I didn’t feel like showcasing my cluttered side to the interwebs. Stay tuned for Part Two!