Not long ago, I saw this fabulous tutorial for how to make fabric flowers and knew they'd make great little-girl barettes.
With a little girl birthday party coming up for a little girl with ADORABLE pig tails, it seemed like a good time to try it out.
I raided my stash of random fabric scraps and pulled out this turquoise fabric that I used in both kids' bedrooms. I'm a sucker for turquoise. I bought lots of extra...
Here's how it's done (remember, not my original idea...I followed this great tutorial):
Cut a flower template from scrap paper and trace it onto the fabric and cut them out. You'll need 6-8 flowers per bloom.
Cut a circle from the fabric to use as the base for the bloom. Then fold each bloom into half, then again into thirds. It helps to trim the point with scissors before then using hot glue to attach it to the circle. Keep adding flowers around the circle with hot-glue until you have a full bloom.
Use hot glue to attach the bloom to a ribbon-covered hair clip. I actually bought these at Target, and they were already covered with ribbon - score!
To present it as a gift, I just cut a piece of coordinating patterned paper and made slits in it to add the clips:
Love it! I will definitely be making more of these...in fact, I made a larger version for Ayla:
Looks like maybe I should branch out to some different colors & materials though. :)
This week is Teacher Appreciation week, so we sent little gifts to all of Ayla's teachers at school. One of the projects I made was a very simple paper pocket for a small tube of chap stick. Take a look:
First I cut several pillow boxes with my Silhouette from some pretty patterned paper:
Then I inserted the chapstick and closed up the sides:
Made some quick labels with this postage stamp QuicKutz die cut and some alphabet stickers:
Then tied ribbon around each box and labeled it:
Easy peasy. And cute. :)
I know my dad would have no trouble agreeing with this "Dad is always right." sign. And darn it, it's usually true, too. He *is* always right!
Wouldn't this make a great gift for your Dad's office, man-cave or hanging right next to his "throne" in the house? You know the one -- that big ol' recliner in the den that everyone wants to sit in, but jumps out as soon as he walks into the room because it's "his" chair. Then again, I could totally see my dad carrying this baby around with him so he could whip it out as "proof" at a moment's notice!
Dads are hard to shop for at Father's Day, but I guarantee this will make him smile!
$20 Father's Day Sign Design
1ft x 6in. Available in black or brown background with or without beveled edges.
Place your Father's Day sign order by Friday, June 10th to ensure delivery by the big day.
To order: Choose the 1ft Monogram sign option and add "Father's Day Sign" in the comments section of your order. Shipping is only $5 for this special design!
I finally learned how to use vinyl and transfer paper in my Silhouette die-cutting machine this weekend. Though I use my machine all the time to cut stencils for my signs, it took me 6 months to try what most people BUY the thing for - vinyl!
For my first practice cut, I made this little phrase for a clipboard that hangs in my office.
And now, I'm sure I'm hooked. :) No surface is safe.
We woke up this morning to power flickering and major winds, saw branches and leaves down all over the roads on our drive to Ayla's school this morning, and heard about trees and power lines down all over the city. Evidently that was just a preview of the massive destruction caused by tornadoes in Alabama today and this evening. Check out some of these pictures:
Thankfully (for us), the storms missed us by only about 10 miles north & south of us, hitting Tuscaloosa to the west, Cullman & Fultondale north of us and Alabaster to the south. Hoover somehow managed to be a storm-proof area -- today at least. We even managed to keep power all day long.
This afternoon Ben and I made a mad dash to move all our stuff in the garage around so that we could fit our new car inside it (c'mon...it's only 2 days old and we'd heard about falling trees and golf-ball sized hail) and then spent most of the evening down in our den and even set up temporary beds for Ayla & Paxton. However...other than some ominous skies and a little bit of wind, we were spared all of the storms as we watched several areas around us being torn to shreds.
We're thankful today for our blessings and safety and praying for those who were in the eye of the storm. The damage leaves you speechless.
Our front porch is sorely lacking in style. Mostly because I like to spend my crafty time inside, not outside (like my green thumb neighbors) and ALWAYS forget to water plants, which means the nice flower-filled pots my mom added a couple of years ago have sat there very lonely filled with dirt, not flowers for the past two years. Yes, I know that's sad.
However, after Ben spent last weekend power washing our all-brick front porch (and removing the empty flower pots completely), I was so impressed by it's "sparkle" I decided to contribute one tiny little addition -- our street numbers:
Yes, the porch would be much prettier with pots and flowers and a cute little painted wooden chair or a bucket or something...but I'm not sure I have "outdoor decorating" in my talents.
Anyone want to come and makeover my front steps? I need low-maintenance, weather-able decor. Help me out, would you? :)
Here's some inspiration (each picture links to some great tips):
What does your front porch look like?
Spring brings all kinds of celebrations and parties. In our family, from Easter through Father's Day in brings a long string of birthday parties, family celebrations, school milestones and wedding events. And each celebration is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for the people you love -- and if you're like me, you're never *quite* sure what to buy!
Let me offer to help you shop with a few personalized and hand-made gift-giving ideas that are sure to leave a lasting impression:
Custom Painted Personalized Signs - $20 & up
My personalized signs are great ideas for Mother's Day gifts, Father's Day presents, wedding gifts, bridal showers, and housewarming gifts. Customize them with family names, favorite quotes or special phrases.
Dated Wall Art - $19.95
Use your family members' birthdates & wedding date to make this one-of-a-kind frameable print. Perfect for mom or dad! They would also make a great housewarming gift or anniversary gift. You can make your own fully customizeable version of this Dated Wall Art at Zazzle!
Inspirational Pebble Magnets - $10 / set
These 6-set magnet collections make an adorable (and useful) teacher gift, Mother's Day or even birthday gift for a girlfriend. Colors & words can be customized! To order, just email me at mrs(at)bensteed(dot)com.
Go small with a greeting card, or big with a poster print. Either way, these You Are My Sunshine posters & greeting cards are so cute for a baby shower gift or dear friend birthday card.
This makes a great one-of-a-kind birthday card, Mother's Day card or Father's Day card. Just customize it to add their name! It can be made as a poster too! We made a card for my mom's birthday from the kids:
And, you can visit some of my very talented friends' web sites for even more great gift-giving ideas:
For Paxton's 2nd birthday, I was all about keeping it simple. Even so, I wanted the "theme" to be special and represent something he loves. There's NO better choice than his prized possesion: PUPPY. Puppy has been around since before he was born, and Paxton attached himself to Puppy sometime around a year old (I think). Puppy sleeps with him, plays with him, and calms him down when he's upset.
So, I thought it was fitting to try and put his beloved Puppy on Paxton's 2nd birthday cake. Initially I had NO interest in making the cake and decorating it myself. I thought it ought to be easy to just bring in a photo to any old bakery and they'd whip up a great design for me. So I took this photo and went cake shopping:
Bust. Most places wouldn't do it at all and suggested alternatives like other dogs or bears (NOT the same), some would scan it and print the photograph onto the cake (eh, not really right), and one bakery would do it and charge me an arm and a leg for a teeny-tiny cake (which if I had lots of money, probably would have been a perfect choice), and finally I said, forget it. I'll do it myself -- he's only two, he won't care if I screw it up.
So, I stopped at a sandwich shop and I sat down and drew this picture (lucky for me, they even had crayons at the counter for me!):
I figured, if I could draw Puppy, surely I could ice him on a cake...right? (Keep in mind I'm SO not a food display or preparation kind of girl. I much prefer paper, glue & paint!)
So, next, determined to give Paxton a Puppy cake he would love, I trudged around WalMart looking for icing, cake mix and inspiration. As I got to the front of the store, my cart full with cake mix, frosting, yellow cupcake icing, I make a last-ditch stop at the bakery to see if perhaps the Walmart Bakery could help me out. Once again, they said, nope, we don't do freehand.
"But...." she said..."I could scan your drawing for you and give you an edible template that you could pipe icing over the top of". Why didn't anyone else give me that option? Awesome! So while she was scanning the turning Puppy into an edible template for me, I took a quick look at the pre-made cakes in the display case and noticed this adorable cake that was perfectly iced with multi-colored balloons and orange outline. As I imagined a crumbly, probably burned, not-very-pretty iced cake that I made myself I thought "Oh, how much easier it would be to just add Puppy to THAT cake." And so, that's exactly what I did!
(Unfortunately I was so excited to ice the cake, I forgot to take step-by-step photos of this part, but you get the idea)
Add a little bit of cupcake & cookie icing, the template went onto the top of the cake, and I iced and iced and iced and iced...
And we ended up with exactly the cake I dreamed of (okay, not exactly, but close enough) when I decided I wanted a Puppy cake for Paxton. I'll call it "semi-homemade". :) And believe me...everyone who eats the cake is glad it was!
I'm pleased to be guest posting over at Craftaholic's Anonymous today, showing off my crafty office space.
Perhaps you've seen it here before.
Now you can read a more detailed description of how I organize my supplies and keep everything under control in my center-of-the-house office space.
Welcome to any new visitors & thanks for stopping by!
Feast your eyes upon my new gallery wall:
Remember this wall in our kitchen? About a year after we moved into this house, I added these four frames and "temporarily" filled them to look like this:
I liked it. It worked. And it stayed. Until one of those frames fell down and broke. Then it didn't work anymore, for obvious reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, I was beyond inspired by this post at a really cool home decor blog called YoungHouseLove.com.
"I can DO that!!!" (and it didn't hurt that there are about 100 frames floating around my house, so I didn't have to buy a single thing!
So, for the past several weeks, I've been semi-obsessed with getting this project done. Here's the process I took step-by-step:
First, I collected a ton of frames from around the house. Some were displayed, some were in the garage, but no frame was safe!
Next, I arranged them into a design on the floor in our kitchen, to get a general idea of how I wanted them to be layed out:
Since I couldn't pick up this whole grouping and eye-ball it against the wall, I decided to make a to-scale digital mockup of the whole collage so I could see how it would fit on the wall. I ended up with this:
And decided it needed SO much more!!! So I scooted this grouping up to the top right corner and went searching for even more frames around the house, until I came up with this design, which I was much happier with:
Next, I cut newspapers to size to match up with each frame and taped it to the wall where I wanted the frame to hang. I even numbered them (and the frames themselves) to be sure I didn't confuse myself. Once those were up, I did a little more tweaking (especially in that lower left corner, which you can see is quite different than my digital mockup) until I was left with this:
I left that up a few days to try and decide whether I was going to like this new design in actuality or not. Until Ben said "Oh,just hang them up already. Commit." So I did.
HUGE tip -- With a paper template for each frame, I pulled each template down (one at a time), layed it across the back of the frame, marked where the hole in the wall should go, taped the paper back to the wall, and hammered in the nail. WORKS PERFECTLY every time! Then we had this lovely mis-match of frames on the wall:
The night we left this up, it caught me off-guard every time I rounded the corner into the kitchen. I think maybe I was having some gallery-wall remorse. It reminded me a little more of a crowded old lady's house than the sleek and modern gallery wall I had envisioned.
During this whole process I flip-flopped back and forth trying to decide whether to paint all the frames black, keep them their natural color, or do a combination of silver, wood, black and white. After seeing them on the wall...we quickly decided all-black was a must! Good thing I have lots of black spray paint on hand at all times!
Ahh...much better, eh?
Then it was time to fill the frames with pictures & memorabilia and fill in the gaps with a few handmade projects. I started with these fun projects:
Then searched the house for a few meaningful memorabilia items:
- wedding announcement newspaper article
- decorative wedding certificate
- our wedding invitation (perhaps I should replace some of these with NON-wedding things..hmm)
And finally, I filled in with photos. Some of the kids, some of us, some of family and friends. I tried to pick photos that have special memories attached to them, rather than just picking my favorite portraits or photographs that I love (though a few of those creeped in too). Some of the special pictures included are:
- a picture of Ben & I at our high school graduation
- a photo of our sponsored Compassion International child from Ecuador
- newborn hospital photos of each of our kids
- Ben & I in our "Scrapjazz" shirts on a business trip (pre-children!)
- our home in Rochester, MN which was the first house we owned
I may change a few of these out occasionally, but I tried hard to pick timeless and sentimental pieces to tell the story of our family.
So here's the finished product (for now...I just can't call anything complete...I'm sure I'll find some fun knick-nacks to add to those empty spaces!):
And here you can see some context with the rest of the kitchen/dining room:
Ahh...I love a finished project.