Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pearl Heart Wall Plaque

At the beginning of the month, I went poking around down in Arkansas at some 2nd hand stores looking for shelving for my craft room.  I found this hideous beauty:
I know, it's awful, but I was thinking I could put a lot of stuff on those three tiered shelves.  I didn't love the heart cut-outs, so I figured I could take them off and hey, with Valentines Day coming up, maybe I could do something with them. Of course, they were glued AND nailed on.  I got out my chisel and Dremel. I Love my Dremel.

Now I have 3 projects to do.  They're pretty rough, have a lot of stain on them and I really didn't want to spend a lot of time prepping them because well, they were just kind of ugly. I poured some deglosser on a rag and wiped them down and called it good.   Here's what I did with the first one:

Pretty cute huh?  First, I drilled a couple of holes to hang it.  Then I painted it red. After looking at that irregular heart shape in the not quite center for a while, I got out some tacky glue and put pearl beads all around it. Then I tried to stencil it.  I'm awful at stencilling.  I know it takes patience and I'm really going to practice.  Really I am.  So I totally screwed up the stencilling and tried to wipe it off.  Fail!  The red paint came off with it.  I had to repaint some of the red.  Ugh!  Man, I really wanted that stencil on there.  Finally, I traced the stencil design on with a pencil and dug out an old paint pen that I had and just painted it.  Not great...but better than it was.  Finally, I stuck a bow on the bottom, strung a silk cord through the top holes and there ya go!  You could fasten a picture on the back I suppose...but I like it without.
Tomorrow, I'll show you the other 2....or maybe just one, depending on how productive I am today.  (I'm having the in-laws over for dinner so some cooking and cleaning must happen sometime between now and 6 p.m.!)
Linking up:
Glitter Glue and Paint

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Candle Bead Makeover

This is a really short post.  I have tons to do today! 
Several years ago, I purchased this tea light candle holder, because A) I'm instantly attracted to anything green and B) I love the combination of beads and flame.
Because I'm a freak for seasonal change in my decor, I put this in my box of Spring/Summer decor.  But......it's one of my favorite things because it meets the 3 S's requirement....Simple, Somewhat Sparkly (I'm not a glitter girl) and most of all Serene, and I miss it during the rest of the year.  So when I was making my Valentine bracelet which you can see here, I had the idea that I could change out the beads my favorite tea light candle.  It was simple, fast and fun.
 I threw some pearls in it.......
And there ya go.

Now I see can my favorite votive year round.  I can't wait to change it out again for St. Patrick's Day!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sweet Valentine Party Mix

Doesn't this look cute and yummy?  I did not invent this recipe, Betty Crocker did.  At least I found it on her website here.  But, I have to admit, I trust Betty for the basics.  You can gussie it up from there.  For instance, although her recipe called for red or pink jimmies, I found that they didn't distribute very well, so I used these cute little pink and red heart shapes instead.  I also used low-fat peanut butter because that's what I had and I couldn't tell the difference.  These are a little bit like "Muddy Buddy's" or "Puppy Chow" but not quite, because you only cover 1/2 the cereal with the powdered sugar.  This appealed to me because I'm not a huge fan of the other.....too messy and maybe a little too sweet for me.  Also, I'm thinking about using Nutella for some of the peanut butter next time.....could that be bad??  Here's Betty's recipe:

4 1/2 C. Rice Chex cereal
1/2 C. White Vanilla Baking Chips
1/4 C. Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine
1/3 C. Powdered Sugar
1/4 C. M&M's
2 Tbsp. Jimmies, Sprinkles, etc.

Place cereal in medium bowl.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.   Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.

Place 1/2 of cereal mixture in 1 gallon food storage plastic bag.  Add powdered sugar.  Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil; cool about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir candies and sprinkles into remaining cereal mixture. Spread on waxed paper or foil; cool about 15 minutes.

In serving bowl, mix both cereal mixtures. Store in airtight container.
Makes 11 servings. (1/2 C. each)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Little Love Comin Your Way!

I L-O-V-E Valentines Day! I decorate for most holidays, but I love Valentine decorating because it gives you a chance for some bright color right in the middle of a grey winter and fills that void that always seems to be left after Christmas decorations are gone. 
I don't have a mantel (wish I did...but right now, we're wood stove people and you can't put anything on top of a wood stove), but I have a couple of shelves in my living room that I dedicate to seasonal decorating.
This "gate" is actually 2 pieces of wrought iron from planter boxes that I re purposed.
The wreath I made from squares of Valentine print fabric and a styrofoam heart.  The vase on the left is just a plain vase with 3 of those window "gel clings" stuck on them.....very temporary.  I made the beaded embellishment on the candle in the middle. It used to have green beads on it.  I threw some pearls in the bottom of it....pearls are so Valentine-ish don't ya think?

I saw this glass piece at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago and I didn't hesitate to get it.  It happens to be the title to one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs and well....Bruce is Boss!...and "Two Hearts ARE Better Than One"!
The trio of hearts below is nothing more than a small glass photo frame with again, those "gel window clings" stuck on them.  (I love those things!) I assembled the candle on the right out of a small glass bowl, a little glass tea light holder, some beads, and I put it all in a pillar candle holder.  It's so pretty at night! 

This is a a shelf in my kitchen.....because I need a little love in there while I'm cookin up a little love! It's kind of hard to tell, but that heart plate is really sparkly.  The taper holder is from Italy and that card came from my good friend Deb, whom I used to play with in Montana.  I miss her and I like to look at it!

This springy looking thing I picked up in Jacksonville Tennessee and I use it year round.  It was such a fun find! It looks great with Christmas ornaments in it too!  The capize shell heart w/ pearl string is about 5 feet long and I picked it up at a global market place.  This is an oil candle that I just can't make myself light!!

So that's about it for Valentines Decor at my house right now.  But I am working on one more project.......I'm just sayin!!!!! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Meet My Sister April

I am blessed with 5 sisters and a brother.  I asked each one if I could ask them the same five questions for a new feature called "Five on Friday".  I thought by meeting them you might learn a little about who I am and where I came from. This one is from my sister April.  She is my oldest sister.  She was my first sister and I was hers.  I'm pretty sure she taught me how to be cool, which I think in "big sister speak" means how NOT to embarrass her!!!  I love her.  She has taken me to some amazing places! Here are her unedited responses:

What do you do?
I have been a travel agent for 25 years. A sometimes stressful, but rewarding occupation!  I am also the mother of a beautiful grown daughter that I love spending time with and that I love very much!  She is very loving & can make me laugh with her witty wisdom.  I am also "slave" to a pretty but feisty cat that can also lift me up when I am down with her sweet but charming ways.

Where have you been?
I am fortunate & blessed to have been able to travel due to my job in the travel industry.  I have been to various places throughout Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Caribbean, cruises, and the U.S.  Some of my best memories though, are places that I've been able to experience with my family members with me.

What is your passion?
My passions are travel, reading, and riding my bicycle.  I just wish I had more time to do all 3 !  If I get to retire someday, I think my passion would be to be able to do some volunteer work with the elderly.  I've always wanted to do that.

What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is "Choice, not chance, determines destiny."  How true is that!

What is your favorite book and why? 
I don't really have a favorite book.  But one that comes to mind is "Without Reservations" by Alice Steinbach.  About a woman that travels the world on her own & talks about all the places & people she experiences along the way, sending postcards back to her own home so she can reminisce about it all when she returns.  My favorite author is anything by Pat Conroy.  I love his stories and his writing technique. I think I've read every one of his books. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Heart Me Up!

Here is a cute Valentines bracelet I made:

It was inspired by this picture on Pinterest.
I've never made a bracelet before that wasn't just throwing a charm on on a chain or cord.  I love these adjustable cord bracelets....one size fits all and they are more on the casual side. 
Here's what you need:

A closer picture of the beads, pin and charm.

Jump rings
Small Jewelry Pliers
Looped Wire Pin (I'm sure there's a better name for this, but it's in the jewelry supply section!)
Some cute beads
A charm (in this case it is the silver square in between 2 beads)

Here's what I did:
I strung the beads onto the long looped pin, cut off the excess with my wire cutters and bent the cut end upwards towards the bottom bead. 
Then I took 3 jump rings and opened them up and fastened them together like a chain. (When you are opening jump rings, never open them by spreading them apart.  Instead, just twist them open.  Then they close back up nicely!)
While the last jump ring was opened, I attached it to the cord and then closed it by pinching it with my pliers.

Then I made a chain with just 2 jump rings, fastened them to the charm and attached it to the second jump ring on the heart chain.
It was really fast and I thought it turned out pretty cute!  Now I have Valentines jewelry!

Linking Up:
Glitter Glue and Paint

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas Pie

Wait! What? Yes Christmas is long gone and Valentines Day is just around the corner, but, I'm going to mention Christmas Pie today.  This is my Sister-In-Law Jen:

She is a saint or an angel and you'll get to learn more about her later, because she truly is a fascinating person. She came over the other day with a pie.  Not just any pie.....a Christmas Pie.  It is a labor of love.  The recipe is like 2 pages long and takes a while to make.  I don't even know how to describe Christmas Pie.  I usually just say "It's like eating sweet air!". I don't know anyone outside of our family who has ever had it before, or even heard of it. Maybe it's called something else, but we just call it Christmas Pie.  Apparently, our husbands' grandmother used to make it every Christmas. By the time we came on the scene, our Mother-In-Law was making it and we loved it too.  I asked for the recipe and my Mother-In-Law just chuckled, got up from her chair and came back from the kitchen with what appeared to be a 2 page manifesto!  I've made it a few times and it turned out wonderful, but it is the most difficult recipe I've ever made and I cook a lot!  Then when Jen married my Brother-in-Law and asked for the recipe, we were happy to give it to her! She made it and it was wonderful.  Then she sat down and re-wrote the recipe to make it simpler to follow and I had to laugh......it starts out, "Get a babysitter!!!!"
We used to have it at Christmas only, but then Jen started making it for my husband, Sam for his birthday in October...way better than any birthday cake (bonus for me, because he shares!).  Then we started a pumpkin patch business that everyone in the family helps with and nobody has time to make pie in October.  But Jen, bless her heart, still makes my husband a Christmas Pie sometime in the year and she appeared at our door with it this week.  It's gone now.  Never lasts more than a couple of days.
Maybe I'll share the recipe when it gets closer to Christmas, but I'll have to ask my Mother-In-Law first, in case it's a secret family recipe.  Here is a picture of it.....and don't be thinkin it's like Coconut Pie or Meringue Pie, because it's nothing  like either, but there is a little coconut on the top.
  Thank you Jen!  We love you and we are glad that YOU are the Christmas Pie maker in this family now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thinking About Starting a Blog?

Jimeny Christmas! Figuring out the whole blogging world thing is such a lovely ride. Creating a blog was a piece of cake. I thought it would be more frustrating, but its such a step-by-step thing and you are prompted so well. I'm still adjusting mine as I go along and see things I like about other people's pages. Shoot, I'm even braving "html" stuff (never had a clue about it before). But...like Pinterest, it's so easy to get lost in the blogging world. I love link parties (a place to post your own favorite crafts, talents, etc.) as well as a place to see everyone elses creativity. They're kind of like a mini Pinterest, but maybe a little more specified (i.e. "Valentine Projects" or "Re purposed Objects" or specific recipes, but I like them because they seem a little more comfortable to me, like I'm in a roomful of people who like a lot of the same kind of stuff I do and aren't afraid to try it out and tell you about it, fails and all!
There's a lot of blog etiquette and I'm still figuring that out too, like if you're posting on a link party, it's very polite to follow the hosts' rules, add the hosts' "button" and comment on other peoples' links. I find most bloggers to be extremely polite, supportive and willing to share. I try to comment on at least 4 different posts on a link party. I know I feel like a million bucks when someone comments on mine! ( Mindie Hilton at Bacon Time was my very first commenter and I was so encouraged. See how I made that live link there, so that when you click on it it takes you immediately to her page? She's very talented and has some fun stuff.) Also, it seems that it's OK to post other people's stuff, as long as you give them credit and put a link back to their post. Seems like the polite thing to do at the very least. If I am wrong about this....some more knowledgeable blogger please correct me!
There are lots of tips and tricks to blogging and guess what?  Yep...people blog about them!  I'm glad they do, I learn a lot from them.  Most bloggers will share information on "how to" with you. 
I'm so new at this.  I started at the beginning of this year.  I have found that I am so inspired by other blogging crafters that I am busy doing something all of the time.  I may not always post what I'm doing, but I do find lots of fun crafts, projects and recipes that I like to try. It's a wonderful way to beat the winter blahs! I also think it helps me to stay on task with some bigger projects like creating my new crafting space.  I feel like if I say it on a blog, I probably better do it. I know that sounds silly, but for me it's true.
I hope I am able to keep up with it all come summer and fall when I am crazy busy with all of my pumpkin patch stuff, but I'll probably blog about that too! 
If you're thinking of starting a blog, I say "Go for it!", you never know where it will take you or who you will meet.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Craft Space (Yay!)

I've been working on making my own craft space this month.  I started on January 4th.  You can read about that here, and then started working on it last Sunday, which I wrote about here.  I thought this would be about a 3 day project.  Ha!  It was a 6 day project and my house was a wreck from start to finish.  I had craft stuff everywhere and I don't function very well in chaos.  Add to that the fact that I'm a little OCD (but I think most crafters are) and you have a recipe for craziness.  I spent one entire day just organizing my beads. I don't really make jewelry, but I use beads for other stuff.  I have a ton of them and sometime during one of my many moves in the last 12 years, they all got spilled out and mixed up and as soon as I opened that box and saw it, I had to stop immediately and deal with it.  I spent another entire evening, sorting and organizing my ribbon scraps by color.  Yeah...that kind of stuff can slow a girl down. 
Anyway, some of my craft supplies have been boxed up since I moved here from Montana and I was so happy to see them again.  Felt like Christmas! But what feels even better is just having a space I can work in and leave a project out until I'm finished with it. 
I still have a quiet space where I can sit on the couch, read and look out the window. My friend Judy will still have a place to sleep when she comes to see me, but about 5'X10' of that room is dedicated to creativity! 
I still have to put labels on everything.  Oh yes, I have to.  I plan to paint that peg board and get a little color going, but, for the most part......I'm done and the rest of my house is cleaned and back in order!
Here are some pictures:

My re purposed armoire.

This armoire holds a lot!

A work table with lots of light.

A place for all of my tools!

A Shelf of Possibilities!
   So there ya go!  I am a happy girl today!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Way Beyond Party Mix

I love Party Mix! Who doesn't? It was one of the first things I noticed about going to my in-laws years ago...they always seemed to have a batch of Party Mix. Yummmm. Then I noticed my Mother-In-Law picks out the cashews!! I called her on it...she was shameless!
I've made tons of the stuff myself, but this new recipe is way beyond...it's sweet, salty, has those french-fried onion things from a can and should be called "Party Crack", but I'm not a big fan of anything that glorifies that life-ruining drug, so I'm just going to call it "Way Beyond" Party Mix.  Here is the thing....you make it in the microwave!  This whole recipe takes like 10 minutes start to finish!
Here's what you need:
2 Cups each - Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Wheat Chex
1 Can (11 1/2 oz.) Mixed Nuts
2 Cans (2.8 oz.) French Fried Onions
1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Broiled Steak Seasoning

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the cereals, nuts and onions.  In a small bowl. combine the butter, brown sugar and steak seasoning:  Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat.
Microwave on high for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.  Spread onto wax paper to cool.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes 2 quarts.
Yummmmmm!  I'm not a photographer and food pictures never look good on my blog, but here ya go!

So make some for the Super Bowl, or for your favorite Valentine.  I'm going to give some to my Mother-In-Law and I'm going to put some extra cashews in it!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valentines "Key to My Heart" Frame

I keep seeing these cute frames on Pinterest, here's one, and I decided to make my own for Valentines Day. Here it is:

I found an old ugly frame at a flea market and painted it black

I used a scrap of wallpaper for the background.  (I picked up  3 wallpaper sample books from a store that was going out of business and I use them all the time.  Free paper.....yay!)
Then I made some hearts out of fabric that I stiffened with Modge-Podge.   I love this technique because so many times I find fabric that is cuter than paper and I want to use it without it getting all frayed. Check it out:
Don't worry, it dries clear in a couple of hours.  (I thinned my Modge-Podge out with a little water first.)  The end result is a fabric that you can do just about anything with including write on it!  So I traced some hearts on it, cut them out and then I spiffed up my hearts a little with a gold gel pen. Didn't they turn out cute??!!
I wanted to add a skeleton key.  I had some that I found in an old outbuilding at my in-laws old farm they were getting ready to sell.  They let me keep them.  (I've had them for 20 years and I'm finally doing something with them!) But, they were nasty and rusty and didn't look right with this project.  I didn't have the patience to clean them up, so I took one off and just painted it black.
I wanted to use some sheet music, but I just wanted a little piece and it was way too white.  I tore a line out and painted some antiquing gel over it to give it a more aged look.  Then I took all of the pieces and tried to figure out how to lay them out.
Oh....I also added a little tassel I made to the key, a black heart for background (cut out of wallpaper scrap) and a small ribbon rosette from my scrap ribbon box.  This was the layout I finally decided on:

I fastened it all down with a little craft glue.  I had to use E-6000 to get the key to stick. (Don't you just love that stuff?)
One of my favorite things about this project is that it can be removed from the frame and stored away with my Valentines decor, leaving that frame available for another seasonal project.  (I'm already thinking about St. Patricks Day!)
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I enjoyed making it!

Wayward Weekend