Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gift Card Envelope Tutorial

I think men are really hard to shop for. Usually any guys I buy for end up with an unimaginative gift card. Well, my dad's birthday came up and I really wanted to put at least a little more effort into his gift card so I bought a plant and made this cute little envelope. I though I'd go ahead and share how I made it.

 Step One: Fold your paper to see how big you'll need the envelope. I always make them just a tad larger than the card so it isn't such a tight fit.

Step Two: Place a bowl or cup on the ends of your envelope so you can trace out a nice round flap. Cut the rounded ends.

Step Three: Cut off the inner rounded ends straight across so the outer flaps can fold over.

Step Four: Your over all shape should be something like this. I went ahead and inked all the edges and folds.

Step Five: Glue the seams leaving the top open to slip the card in.

Step Six: Decorate the front as desired and place a seal on the back flap. This is basically finished, but I wanted to add a stick so I could place it in a plant.

Step Seven: Cut out a small piece of paper. Hot glue the skewer and paper patch onto the envelope.
Cute huh? Pretty simple too. It's a great way to use up those paper scraps you just hate to throw away!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Skirts and Inspiration

Check out this adorable skirt from Elle Apparel . Leanne is a very creative and inspiring blogger. I love to see all the great clothing she makes. Her blog sure puts me in the mood to pull out a sewing machine!
To celebrate her 1000 followers she's giving away a custom made skirt like this one in whatever fabric your little heart desires. Pretty sweet right? You should totally check this girl out, get inspired, and maybe even win a free skirt!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Afternoon Naps

My survival depends on afternoon naps for the kids and for me. Don't judge me, but my youngest still doesn't sleep through the night.  Therefore, if I don't get a nap, our entire family suffers. All of our closest family and friends know to not call between 2pm and 5pm. Yesterday was a little extra rough for me. Little Man decided to start the day just before 7am. By noon I was pretty wilted and was trying my best to muster up enough energy to at least put a clean load of laundry away. I searched my brain for every possible energy boosting trick I could try. Caffeine just keeps me up all night so that was out of the question. Here's what I came up with:

1. A tablespoon of honey
2. Deep breaths for extra oxygen
3. Stretching
4. Protein and carbohydrate snack
5. B12 vitamin

Do any of you have suggestions for getting past an afternoon slump? I'd much rather be perky and productive, than  grouchy.

Sweet dreams Little Man

How precious is my sweet baby? Shortly after I took these pictures we all had a siesta. Then it was time for more laundry.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tissue Paper Pom Pom Tutorial

The first time I ever made these tissue paper pom poms was for my daughters first birthday. They have become my favorite decoration ever since. They are the perfect way to make a big impact for very little money. I usually use up to 14 sheets of tissue paper but I only used 5 for this tutorial. To be honest I was surprised they even turned out okay.

 Step One: Lay tissue paper flat onto the table making sure all the edges line up

Step Two: Accordion  fold all the sheets together making each fold 1 inch wide.

Step Three: Tie ribbon around the middle of the folded tissue paper leaving a long tail so you can hang it
Step Four: Cut the ends into a point.

Step Five: Open up all the layers and fluff it into a nice round shape.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe

I love crepes, I love honey and I love fresh fruit. So this little breakfast is one of my favorites. We have family and friends with Celiac so I've adapted an easy crepe recipe to accommodate a gluten-free diet

1 1/4 cup rice flour
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cup milk (or however much it takes to make a thin batter. I usually eyeball it.)
Optional: 3 Tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla (for dessert crepes)

Mix all ingredients together. You can put them in the blender so there are absolutely no lumps if you want.
Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter in the bottom of a preheated non-stick skillet and swirl it around until you have a thin layer. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.
Top it with butter, honey, maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit, Nutella or anything else your heart desires!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lace Tank Top Tutorial

My mother-in-law was gracious enough to dig through her craft stash and bless me with all kinds of treasures! One of which was this lace applique. I had no clue what to do with it until I decided I needed some new summer shirts and didn't want to spend much money. Lucky for me, Joann's had a sale on tank tops. Only $3 each!
So here's what I did. First I pinned the lace to the shoulder, lining up the center of the applique with the shoulder seam. 
Then I sewed along the bottom edge of the applique. I actually sewed two rows with a zig-zag stitch just to make sure the lace and shirt were very stable together. Then I cut away the shoulder of the tank top so my skin would show underneath the lace. Obviously you could leave the original tank top strap attached.
Easy right? It really only took a few minutes. I like it so much I might do another one with an extra applique I have. 

By the way, all these pictures were done by me. Don't judge my husbands photography skills by my attempts!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

DIY Mermaid Costume and Party

 When my daughter turned three she asked for a mermaid birthday party. I had no clue how to make a mermaid costume, so I browsed You Tube videos to find some kind of directions  to lead me. We ended up finding tutorials for those mermaid tails women can actually swim in. That is what gave me the idea for this mermaid dress.

I used sparkly blue fabric made for swim and dance wear. Taking advantage of Sunday coupons,  it only cost me $5. I think I bought 1 1/2 yards.
The top and bottom are really just two tubes with center seams. The top has a seam in the front along with a casing that runs along either side of the seam. I ran ribbon through the casing so I could bunch up the front a little then tie it around her neck.

The skirt has the center seam down the back. I did nip it in the waist a bit so it fit her body better and wouldn't fall off. Then I made a deep ruffle and just sewed it on the bottom allowing it to drag in the back forming a small train. I arranged the two ends of the ruffle to meet at the bottom corners so it looks a little more fishy. The bottom of the "tube" fabric was cut away beneath the ruffle so it was easier to walk in. This is kind of hard to explain and I hope my pictures show what I'm talking about!

I made a matching dress for her doll but the tail looks like an actual tail and I placed a piece of  plastic milk carton in it to hold the shape.

None of the edges are finished because this fabric doesn't unravel. Total time for her dress and the doll costume was only an hour and a half. I 'm sure it could be made in even less time but it took a while to figure out what would work.

Her headband was virtually free since I only used items I had on hand.
We just hot glued shells and rhinestones onto a blue headband.

Here are the other details of her party:
-Shell necklaces for party favors
-We painted wooden boxes (treasure chests) as our activity. The boxes were only 30 cents each.
- The kids went on a shell hunt (similar to an Easter egg hunt) on the front lawn. The shells I bought for super cheap at the dollar store.
Hunting for shells

- I made the cake using crushed graham crackers as sand, red fish candies and Playmobil mermaid toys as decorations.

This was easily my favorite kid party so far. It didn't cost much and was still loads of fun.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Key to Your Childs Heart and Amazon Mom

I think many parents focus too much on discipline and not  enough on loving their kids. We are so scared we'll mess up and have rowdy, uncontrollable children that we over "train" them and forget to nurture their little hearts. 
Then there are parents who are too permissive setting very few, if any boundaries. These kids never learn self-control and think only of themselves.
I read this book when my daughter was a baby and have decided to read it again. Gary Smalley does a great job in showing us what a loving and yet firm parent looks like.

Speaking of books, have you discovered Amazon mom? A friend introduced it to me over Facebook just a few days ago. THANK YOU MELISSA!!!! You just type "Amazon mom" into the search and you can sign up for free. You get free 2 day shipping on "prime" items along with major discounts on other child related products.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

$2.67 Centerpiece and Banner of Love

'Tis the season for showers. Not just rain, but baby and bridal gift giving gatherings. The first on my list was a bridal shower for my dear friend Dannelle. Her wedding colors are pink and chocolate brown so all the decor fit in with that color scheme. I immediately made an adorable banner in these colors with papers I already had. To be completely honest, they were papers that had been collecting dust because I wasn't too thrilled with them for scrapbooking. I was rather amazed with what a great banner they made though. I experimented with pleating paper and I'm really happy with the texture it added. Of course a bit of glitter and rhinestones add that dash of girly glitz as well. I chose the word "AMORE" so Dannelle can use it as decor for her home or maybe even a baby girls nursery some day!

Total cost for banner: FREE

I'm lucky to be part of a large bridal party. There were seven of us throwing the shower. This means everyone was willing to pitch in on the costs for the shower. One of my responsibilities was to make centerpieces. Target had some adorable pink pails for only a buck. With some other pink paper, I made little paper birds that I glued onto wooden skewers and then tied on strips of tulle. Annuals are a pretty good price now so I spent $4 on 2 six packs of plants. I then cheated and put geranium cuttings from my front yard in the pails as well.
Then I found some really pretty fabric on sale. I spent $9 on a yard and a half. The fabric I made into squares to place under the pails and I made a really long runner for the food counter.  In reality I made 6 napkins and a runner which we gave to the bride to use in her home. Pretty cool huh?

Total cost per centerpiece: $2.67

Table runner: $3 (I don't have a picture of the runner. Sorry!)