Helping you to satisfy your taste for crafts on a budget.
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might," Ecclesiastes 9:10
Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Number "8" Birthday Cake

I already posted a blog here on Emma's recent birthday.

I finally have the cake post ready!

I have been making my kids' birthday cakes for a few years now. They certainly don't look professional by any means, but they mean a lot to them (I hope!) and are fun.

This year I made a number "8" cake for Emma.

I used 2 boxes of cake mix, and 2 cans of frosting (probably could've used 3 frostings to be honest)...CHOCOLATE for both of course! There is no white cake mix in this house! :) And don't ask why the bananas are in this picture...this is just where they sit on the counter and they happened to be there when I was getting ready to bake the cake. ha ha!

I used 9 inch cake pans and baked 4 cakes (yes I had to use them twice since I only have 2, but they cooled pretty quickly in between).

I love this extra large 15 x 20 cutting board that I found at Walmart. I bought it for the sole purpose of setting up cakes because I needed something big enough to display them on.

This number cake is the first one I've ever made, and I'm glad that I chose an easy number for my first one.


First I used the size of a small cup to cut out a circle in the center of each cake.

Then lightly frosted all 4 cakes.

Then I stacked them 2 cakes high (2 on 2).

Then all I had to do was cut off a little bit off the edge of each cake and smoosh them together to form the shape. (see picture) You can do whatever you want with these "cake scraps" since you don't need them. I gave Laila a small pile of m&m s and let her decorate them. This kept her busy enough to leave the main cake alone while I finished it. It took me about 30 min to add all the m & m s.

Then frost all over and cover the top with M & M s!

If you are interested in baking a numbered cake, check out this link for how-to's on cutting and piecing cakes to create numbered cakes.

Those goofy girls really enjoyed the cake after some swimming!

Linking up at...

So You Think You're Crafty

Friday, August 24, 2012

Projects projects projects!

I was just wondering...

Do you finish one project before starting another?

Or are you like me and have several half-finished projects lying around?

I blame this on 2 things.

The lack of a local craft store and the lack of a craft space.

So I do the best I can with what I have. And if I had a fairy godmother and had to choose between the two, I would choose the craft space. We do have room in our office, but with hubs working from home out of the office, I gather my materials, take them to the dining room, and spread out there. Then dinner time comes and the kids eat at the breakfast nook,  hubs grabs a tv tray and gets comfy on the couch, and I eat standing up while waiting on them. Then after a few days, I really want my table back so I reclaim it, and take everything back to the office (unfinished) , until I get another crafty whim and pull it all out again. Right now, the sewing machine is sitting on part of it!

So since I found myself making an actual LIST of projects I'm working on, or am thinking up, I thought I'd take some pics to help me with my list.

This is a pile of frames that I plan to paint black for the man cave. My husband has a collection of sport pictures and autographs that were all in different wooden frames. I think that by painting them all uniform and displaying them in a more eye-catching gallery display, they will look better.

These are 2 frames that I want to mod podge pictures of the kids onto. I just need to capture a couple good pictures first!

Wreaths! These are grapevine wreaths that I plan to spray paint, then add ribbon and embellishments for different seasons.

The straw wreaths I will probably wrap in burlap then embellish.

These are embroidery hoops that I plan to fill with fabric and decorate.

Which leads me to my growing pile of FABRIC! It's actually not much, for a crafter. But since I'm not much of a sewer (I am a beginner), I haven't accumulated much yet.

This is my crate of old Tshirts. From old tees you can cut strips for tshirt necklaces, bracelets, scarves, or fabric flowers.

Or you can make workout tees.


This is my collection of old pillows that I want to stuff and recover:

I found lots of ideas from pinterest; this is a compilation of them.

In fact, I created a "pillow" board so they wouldn't get lost among all my other pins.

I love all the different looks you can create.

Colors, neutrals, Squares, circles, bows, ruffles, monograms, oh my! So many possibilities...

I have mentioned a couple of these projects in previous posts, and this shows you that I haven't forgotten about them yet. They are works in progress. And since I try to be as thrifty as possible, sometimes I have old things around that I discover can be repurposed into something new, without necessarily digging through my craft crates. Which is why this just cracks me up:

I see all these gorgeously elaborately organized craft rooms on pinterest, and my eyes just love to stare at those pictures. It makes me so happy just looking, but I choose to be happy with what I have, and will continue to craft and create anyway. And when I catch my kids creating things in their own way, with their little imaginations running wild, that's just the best!

Although... it never hurts to dream about the Michaels Craft Closet, as seen on TLC's Craft Wars...

So no matter what your budget or your space is defined by, create anyway! I will! Just need to decide what to work on first. Ha!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Daughter-In-Law Day

This might make some of you jealous, but I'm gonna brag on my wonderful mother-in-law. A few years ago, she made up a holiday to celebrate her daughters-in-law. She planned a day to make us feel special, and chose August 23. Allow me to explain why she chose this day.

The word "daughter" has 8 letters.

The word "in" has 2 letters.

The word "law" has 3 letters.

Are you with me?


August 23!

It might not surprise you that she happens to be a math teacher :D

Every year on August 23rd, she sends me a very beautifully written letter about how much she appreciates me, how she feels about me being wed to her son, what makes me a great mom, basically everything a gal needs to hear in the midst of a long day filled with laundry, dishes, fixing meals, sibling rivalry, bills, etc.

Its one of the nicest things anyone has done for me, and it comes every year! Lucky me!

If that wasn't great enough, she also includes a gift card to one of my favorite stores. Yes, she IS the best!

So this isn't about spoiling someone. It is about finding a unique way to celebrate someone you love in your own way. A way that's different from the typical birthday, anniversary, Christmas, etc.

Thank you Rhonda for giving the world the most wonderful son so that he could be mine. And for being a great "Neena" to my girls. And for being an awesome mom-in-law! Love you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday Emma!

So far, this has been a big week for Emma!

Turning 8 and starting 3rd Grade!

Emma, lets are a mini-me.

You have a huge heart for everyone.

You love music, sports, games, movies, swimming.

You are not a girly girl and I wonder if you'll ever wear a dress voluntarily. :)

You love to watch Jessie, Good Luck Charlie, A.N.T. farm, Austin & Ally.

But you will also watch Peppa Pig, Team Umizoomi, Bubble Guppies, Doc McStuffins, and Oswald to please your sister.

You have a passion for arts and crafts, and you LOVE watching Craft Wars with me. Our new adventure is learning to SEW together!

In just 10 years you will be turning 18 and embarking on your own adventures. I can't wait to see where God leads you. But for now, I will soak up everything about you because I know 10 years will fly by.

For your first few birthdays, you became overwhelmed with attention and you sobbed every time we sang "Happy Birthday" to you. I think you grew out of that stage around age 4-5, but your birthday pics will always remind us of your sweet shyness during those years.

...On to the birthday news...

Here are a few of my favorite photos over the years:

This year's birthday cake was a new one for us.  I made a Number 8 cake and topped it with M & Ms. I'm working on a blog post on how I made it, so you will see the details soon. And instead of choosing a theme for her party, we simplified things and just had a "RED" party, since red is her favorite color these days. Plates, cups, napkins, silverware, tablecloth, balloons, were all red and white.

This year, we had close family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) over one day where we ate and visited. It was wonderful having all 5 cousins (including new baby cousin Grant)together for a new photo shot! We all snapped like crazy and this is the best one I captured:

For her actual birthday, we planned a fun outing for her, and let her bring 2 friends along! We went to Gateway Fun Park where we played mini-golf, bumper cars, go-karts, practiced at the batting cages, and spent a bunch of money in the arcade. We all had a great time!

This year, she asked for new games for her Nintendo DS and a kids video camera. We also got her a stuffed animal that she saw on vacation but couldn't get because she had spent all her money at the Disney store. She loved him because he had "big cute eyes". I instantly knew I would be ordering him from Amazon as soon as we got home.

My birthday wish for you, sweetie, is that you stay true to the person God has designed you to be. That you continue to love and and live for him every day. That you grow up to be as wonderful a mother as you are a daughter. Ok, that's more than one wish, but hey, I have lots of dreams for you. :)

Happy Birthday Emma!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First sewing project-doll pillows

Introducing Emma's first sewing projects!

My girls love playing with their dolls, so she made pillows for their dolls. The pink and green one is for Laila's doll. The black one is for Emma's American Girl. These pictures show the fronts and backs of the pillows.

This was a great starter project for her because it only involves sewing straight lines and making your way around a few corners.

I think she is wanting to make a blanket for her doll next. I found a tutorial  that I really like on pinterest and I love that it includes how to add details. I'm sure there are plenty of tutorials but so far this is one of my favorites.

If we master this, I hope we can move on to sheets, pillowcases, even sleeping bags for overnights at grandmas'!

I also like this tutorial for a sleeping bag, and Emma would probably die for this adorable panda fabric, which I found on Etsy! *fist bumps!* Yay! I heart Etsy!! It is already sitting in my online cart!

According to several tutorials out there, it only takes about 30min to sew one of these things, so for me, being a beginner, and having 4 little extra helping hands working with me, I estimate more like 3 hours...on second thought, better just clear the day! Ha!

We certainly don't have a shortage of dolls in this house,  not to mention beds and cradles.

The bunk bed in the picture above they got for Christmas last year.

This cradle and high chair set we got when Emma was 1 or 2. I just never got around to painting it.

This cradle was made by my Grandpa when I was little! He did lots of woodworking and this is just one of the things he made that we will always treasure. His stamp is on the bottom.

Now to move on to more sewing projects...until next time!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fabric Shopping

Today I took Emma fabric shopping...and Laila too of course...she had a gift card to spend from her birthday and since she got a sewing machine (if you read the latest blog post), we needed some thread and some fabric to get started.

The ones on the left are the ones she got from Aunt Erin, the ones on the right are the ones she picked out at Walmart. These are fat quarter singles so they are perfect for practicing on since they are only 97 cents each!

The one at the bottom is a one yard stash starter and she just really liked the print so she got it!

Laila had us laughing pretty good. She kept saying she wanted a "cinnamon roll"...and after I picked her up and asked her to show me what she wanted, it was technically a "jelly roll" in the fabric department and looked something like this:

Ha Ha! It DOES look like a cinnamon roll and this is only a picture I found online to show you sort of what she saw. I can't upload pictures from my phone, or I would have taken a picture in the store. The one she had her eye on was a hot pink one. I told her she had to wait until she was 8. :D

I was able to successfully thread the machine...

yay me!

...didn't realize it was 4 separate processes!

...none of you warned me!

...but Emma was very patient

...and we started on a pillow for her doll. It is mostly finished but we want to applique her name to it so that is tomorrow's project. I might have the Cricut and the Brother out at the same glad I have a nice big dining room table!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sewing 101

Emma has been asking for a sewing machine for a couple years now. I really don't know what sparked this interest since she has never seen me or anyone she knows using one. I have never touched one; I am a more of a glue gun and heat-n-bond kinda gal. But she just enjoys crafts and knows that sewing is a craft. My mother-in-law told her that she would have to wait until she's 8 to have one (for good reason; that is the recommended age for the beginner's sewing machines). So this week she turns 8 and guess what she got her. Yep! Thank you Neena! <3

So I watched some you-tube videos for beginner sewers like us and we had our first sewing class today!

I started by drawing some designs on plain paper and having her follow the lines using a straight stitch. If you look closely, you can see the needle holes in the paper to see how well she was able to follow the lines.

Straight Lines:

Maze-like Lines:

Whatever-you-want-to-call-this shape:

She even drew a design of her own!

I also had her do her name:

Then we tried a circle:

She really was good for her very first time and is already ready to try the real thing.

We just need to get to a craft store to buy some thread!

This will be a whole new adventure for us trying to thread the machine, so I hope we can figure it out!

More to come later...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bathroom facelift

Sometimes you just need a change. I have been wanting a new shower curtain for awhile, but just hadn't made time to look for one. I strolled through the aisle at Target while shopping for back to school supplies, and found one I loved. Its crazy how I manage to find the best things not when I'm out looking specifically for them, but when I randomly happen to walk down an aisle and notice them out of the corner of my eye. Am I the only one that has weird luck like that?

When you have a small bathroom, the shower curtain is 50% of the room! So a simple update can make a big difference.

As soon as I was ready to put up my new shower curtain, I realized how ugly and worn the old rod and rings were. So I picked up a bronze one. But instead of buying new curtain clips I decided to use an idea I saw on pinterest. The pinterest link is only a picture, so the steps I used are below.

This was my inspiration:

This is my creation:

I had some silver beaded napkin rings that I found at Target a few Christmas seasons ago. They usually sit in the drawer of my china cabinet, but they are too pretty to be hiding in there, so I thought they needed to be brought out of their hiding place.

I had to decide on a ribbon color. I like my fairly neutral bathroom. It is mostly cream/white shades, so I decided I needed something bolder for my ribbon detail. I chose simply sheer black.


First, place your napkin rings onto the rod and hang it up.

Cut your ribbon into 12 pieces. I made each piece 3ft long. So you'll need 36 ft of ribbon to achieve the same look as mine; more if you like longer pieces.

Singe the ends of your ribbon to prevent fraying. I just use a quick flick of a lighter.

Thread one end of your ribbon through a curtain hole. Then thread that same end through the ring. Then thread the opposite ribbon end through the ring in the opposite direction. Then tie your bow! Try to make sure you're pulling on each bow the same amount as you work your way across, so that your curtain hangs evenly. This is a picture of my ribbon right before I tied the bow.

Tip* Tie a piece of string to your curtain rod on 2-3 curtain holes just enough to hold your curtain up while you work on the other rings.

I love it! As Laila helped me put the rings on the rod, she said "they're so SPARKLY!" :D Yes, honey, we like sparkle! Sparkle is good!

I also have a vinyl liner on the inside that desperately needed cleaned. I followed the instructions on the 320 Sycamore blog.     And I couldn't believe how clean it got! Looks brand new! You do NOT need to buy a new one!

I couldn't stop with just the new shower curtain, so I updated my decor.

Hooks/Accents/Soap Jar

I added some new hooks for towels. In a small bathroom, towel rods stick out and take up room, and they are always falling off the walls on us. Plus the hooks make it easier for the kids to hang up their own towels!

To balance out the black ribbon , I added some black accent pieces. I had some old mason jars that I wrapped in twine! Then added a simple black ribbon.

I created a mason jar soap dispenser. I asked hubs (thanks honey!) to drill a hole in the lid. Then I spray painted the lid and rim black. And filled with soap! I just used the pump from an old soap dispenser.

My cost for the shower curtain, rod, ribbon, towel hooks, and decor was about $50.

Not exactly thrifty, but a very fancy easy new look without having to paint walls!

Linking up to...

Positively Splendid

I Heart Naptime

It's Overflowing

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to school bargains

This week while my kids are at vbs, I took advantage of some shopping time sans kids. Hubs decided to go with me. I don't know why shopping without kids feels like such a vacation, but it IS!! I usually take my school-aged daughter to get her back to school supplies. But this year her supply list was much shorter, and we had a couple items already at home, so I decided she could skip out on this adventure this year.

Here is her list:

Pretty short, right? yay!

I started at Dollar Tree to get things that I knew were not on sale at Target. I got loose leaf paper, baggies, and a plastic shoe box....$4 total!

For everything else, I headed to Target, which seemed to have everything we needed on sale this week. My total...$8.

24 pack pencils...$1.12 each...the $1 ones were already gone:(.

Folders....   .49 each

Spiral Notebooks...   .17 each

3ring binder...$1.79

Glue bottle....    .50

Red pens...$1

I already had Kleenex and crayons.

The only thing I will need to find are a YELLOW notebook and folder. Her teacher has a color system for different subjects. Why, Mrs. Miller did  you have to pick the one color that Target did not have? :) oh well, back to school shopping would have been entirely too easy otherwise. I realize that many classes have much longer lists, but if you can get the most expensive items on your list on sale, you will save a bunch!

So my total for everything was $12. Even after the 2 items I still have to find (darn yellow notebooks), and the lunchbox I picked up for her last week, I will still be under $20. So if you have multiple kids with multiple lists, I suggest keeping an eye on the weekly ads starting around the beginning of August and when you see that the majority of the things you need are on sale, plan your trip!

I also purchased extras of the things that she tends to run out of during the middle of the year so that there are no last minute high priced purchases before the next round of back-to-school supply shopping. I will probably even have her pick out a backpack because the one she's using has lasted 3 years now, but this is probably it's last.

So have fun back-to-school shopping!

We are packed and ready for Meet the Teacher night!