Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Necklaces for Christmas!

I mentioned in a previous post that I participated in the It's Just Emmy Christmas Exchange recently.  The ice was to make something that the recipient would be able to replicate and give out as Christmas gifts.

One of the items I made is what I'll probably be giving a lot of this year:  Necklaces!

This one contains a lyric from my very favorite Christmas carol.

It's pretty easy to make.  Here's the step-by-step:

1.  Select a Pendant Tray at your local craft store.  I chose these 1" round ones by Bottle Cap Company that I purchased at Archiver's (full disclosure, I work at Archiver's).  I particularly liked that I could get the matching cabochons or photo seals, which makes it much easier than having to use UTEE or Glossy Accents to seal the image.

2.  Find, create or purchase an image you want to use.  I created this one.  Print it at the appropriate size.  In this case, it was 1" circular, which was available as a "Collage" option at the Archiver's Memory Lab.  So, I got 15 of these on a 4x6" print for less than 30 cents.

3.  Punch or cut out the image to the appropriate size.  I used my 1" circular punch.  Although, the picture above is misleading, I actually use my punches upside down, so I can easily center the image.  

4.  I used Ranger Glossy Accents to secure the image to the pendant tray and then again on top of the image to secure the cabochon.  Glossy Accents dries completely clear very quickly.  I usually make sure to press down really, really hard on the cabochon to make sure that there are no air bubbles caught underneath.  

5.  I secured a chain for the necklace.  I prefer to wear mine long.  So, I purchased these Tim Holtz Idea-ology ball chains that are 36" long.  I trimmed it to 25" and added a closure.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Another Awesome Exchange

I did it again.

I signed up for another "swap."

I'm obsessed.  It's possibly an illness.  But it's all for a good cause.

This one was the It's Just Emmy Christmas Exchange, aka #ijechristmasexchange.  It cost $5 to participate and all of that money goes to help a family adopt a child.  You can read all about it on her blog.  She hasn't announced another exchange yet, possibly because she just brought home her sweet new baby girl, Georgia.

The idea for this exchange was to make something that your buddy could replicate and give out as Christmas gifts.

I was indecisive.

I like to make things - all kinds of things.  So, I made as many as I could in the time I had.

In the end, I included 3 homemade items, plus handmade pom pons (just for fun) and a little something extra, a Basic Grey 25th & Pine Capture book with embellies so my buddy could have a December Daily.

I'll detail how I created each of the other gifts in separate posts, so I can be detailed.  And include pictures.  And have a little more time.  

Gift 1.  Snowman Candy Bar.   
This isn't a picture of the one I sent.  I forgot to take a picture of it.  This is another (slightly different) version.  

Gift 2.  Christmas Necklace.   
This is just the beginnings of the necklace.  I mailed off the exchange before taking a picture of the finished product.  I'll be recreating this necklace again tomorrow and I'll post pictures along with a tutorial.  

A sneak peek of the graphic I used in the necklace.  I created this using Rhonna Designs app.  

Gift 3.  Wall Art. 
I created the chalk art print using the Rhonna Designs app and printed it at 8x8" where I work, Archiver's.  The wooden plaque is stained with Pewter Distress Stain.  Below it you can see a little corner of the wall art I created using a photo of my sweet grand baby.  

Thursday, September 05, 2013


I did something really fun.

Really, it's kind of ridiculous how much fun it was.

I was part of #Mugswap2013 hosted by A Cuppa Kim.

The way this works, in case you don't know, is that we all pretty much throw our names in a virtual hat and each of us is given the name of someone that we should send a mug.  Folks were asked to provide a little basic info about themselves, their Instagram name, blog address, etc.  Until your mug arrives, you have no idea who is your sender!  You only know who you are sending to!

The person I was assigned to send a mug only said that she was a pretty happy person and would love anything.  Her Instagram account had 0 posted pictures and her blog was mainly posts about running times and workouts.

I initially set out to find a great Runner's Mug!  But, despite hours and hours of online shopping, I really couldn't find anything that seemed special.

See, not special.

So, I hit the streets!

I tried Anthropologie, World Market, TJ Max, Marshall's, Specialty Gift Shops, Art Galleries...  The hunt was a blast!  I found a whole bunch of lovely mugs... but not THE mug.

See... lovely.

In the last moments before I had to pick up Baby Girl from school, I drove to the Square in Marietta to see if there was a quaint gift shop that might have a great mug.  I noticed Dupree's, the antique shop.  There is never parking on the Square in Marietta.  Never.  But, just as I rolled around, the spot directly in front on Dupree's opened up.  Not only that, but I was actually able to successfully parallel park my gargantuan "mini" van in the spot with only one smooth move.  I don't really believe in "signs" - as in signs from "fate" that something was meant to be... but if I did, I'd say this was a sign!

See, there's a shot from inside the front door of Dupree's 
looking upon my van.  Could NOT have been closer!

I had a great time looking through all of the cool stuff the shop had to offer -- it's a big shop!  But I knew I'd found the mug when I stumbled upon this beauty.

I know, I know, some folks think she's creepy, but I think she's lovely!  And, to top it all off, I fell in love with a vintage tin that I snagged to pack her in.

So, I wrapped her in tissue and nestled her amongst hand-made pompoms and tucked her into the tin.

I put the tin in a large box that was mostly-filled with halfway blown up balloons and added a few Kind Bars, a gourmet chocolate bar and some other goodies.

I couldn't bear to leave the box unadorned... Then, off she went on her journey to Florida.

I started stalking the mail carrier.  Waiting for my mug.  I had so much fun on my journey to find the perfect mug for my partner I had forgotten to wonder what I'd be receiving... until the giving was over!

Days and days and days passed and still no mug.  And then, one day, a sweet e-mail from a stranger who hadn't heard from me that I'd received my mug.  She'd shipped it a while back and received confirmation of delivery.  I searched the house - interrogated the kids and hubby.  No one had seen a box come to the door.  Until.... my hubby checked the mail box.  There, shoved inside, was a box.  It had been there for several days as the postal carrier shoved mail in around it.  I'd never considered that the carrier would shove it in my mail box... I'd expected it to come to the door!  Not to mention, I didn't realize that no one was checking mail.


I anxiously opened the box and the perfect mug was nestled in a blanket of bubble wrap.

Isn't she perfect?  

A sweet note by e-mail from her sender said that she hoped it represented my love of comics and being a mom.  I don't know if she spent as much time pouring over my blog, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. as I did over my partner's, but she nailed me.  And, each day I've enjoyed a special cup of coffee and remember that somewhere out there is someone I've never met who - at least for a moment - totally got me.  It was a pretty cool day!

As of yet, I haven't heard back from my mug's intended recipient.  I hope both she and the mug are safe and so happy together there hasn't been time for a note in return!  But probably she's just busy training for her next marathon and being a mom to a cute bunch of kiddos and that's okay!

Mug Swap!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plate Licking

Tonight I made a meal I found on Pinterest:  BBQ Pot Roast with Cheddar Grits.

It was a HUGE success.

At least for me and the hubby.  Baby Girl did not care for it, but, then again, it wasn't chicken nuggets and pizza.  What does she know.  She's 11.

Here is the original recipe from Plain Chicken   I changed a few things and omitted a couple things to make it a little more "clean" and Gluten Free.  So, below is the recipe as I prepared it.  Next time I'll take pictures and update this post.

BBQ Pot Roast over Cheddar Grits

The Roast
2 tsp Goya Adobo (I use Goya brand because it doesn't have MSG)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 (3-4 lb.) boneless beef roast (mine was a grass-fed bottom round)
1 (12 oz) can coke
1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Sriracha

Coat the roast with a good sprinkling of Adobo and black pepper. Place roast in slow cooker.  Combine coke, chili sauce, worcestershire and Sriracha; pour over roast. Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or on low 8-9 hours.

Remove roast from slow cooker, reserving juices; keep roast warm. Pour Juices into a pan and reduce until it thickens a bit.  Pour thickened juices into a gravy separator (if you don't have one, just skim any fat off the top of the juices and use those - it's just adding a little moisture and flavor)

The Grits

1 cup quick cook grits (not instant)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 - 2/3 c Half and Half or Heavy Cream
1 1/2 - 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (buy good cheese and shred it yourself, the pre-shredded cheese is just nasty!)

Bring Broth, water and salt to a rolling boil, add grits and stir.  Cover and cook on medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (at this point I also stirred in cream, then added the cheese) and continued to cook for about 4 more minutes on med.

Place grits in the bottom of a shallow bowl, top with beef and pour reserved juices over top.  Serve hot!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Very Quick and Easy Hydrangea Wreath Tutorial

The hydrangea wreath I mentioned in my last post was so super east to make, that I went out today, bought the supplies and made an additional one to give to my mother-in-law.  It took me 41 minutes from the very start to completion (yes, I actually timed it!). The total cost was around $31, because the hydrangea "bushes" were on sale 60% off at Joann's and I was able to use a 50% off coupon for both the ribbon and the wreath form.

I have to give credit to V & Co. Blog for the original idea and general instructions that I followed on my first wreath.  I tweaked them just a little for the second wreath, so here's the instructions for that.

Here's the finished product, so you know what we're aiming for!


  • 5-6 hydrangea "bushes" from the silk flower section of your local craft store
  • 14" grapevine wreath
  • 2 yd satin ribbon
  • wire cutters
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun and about 4 glue sticks
These are the "bushes" I bought.  They were originally $9.99, each.  I used 5 on the first wreath and 6 on the second one.  I have no idea why I needed more for the second one!

Here's the grapevine wreath.  I had a difficult time finding a 14" wreath.  But the 12 looked too small and the 18 too big, so I hunted until I found one.  If you like a bigger wreath, get a bigger one and a couple more bushes!

The supplies.  You'll notice I use a "low temp" hot glue gun.  I am far too clumsy to use a hot melt one!  I only needed to burn myself once to realize that I shouldn't be allowed to wield a hot melt gun.  I've never had any problems with the glue not holding or anything like that!

Using wire cutters, snip each bloom leaving about 2" of stem.  You need enough to get it to stick into the wreath, but not so much that it protrudes too far out the back.  

Begin arranging the blooms in the wreath, poking them in through the woven grapevine.  Don't glue them in yet.  I found that I needed to do some rearranging after I got the blooms all in.  Pay special attention to the inner and outer edges.  The wreath won't look lush and full if you don't cover all of the visible grapevine.

Once you have everything as you like it, flip the wreath over and begin glueing from the back.  I use a LOT of glue.  I mean a LOT.  It's an issue I'm addressing and trying to overcome.  You may not need as much!

See all of that glue?

After you glue all of the stems that you can see (and you probably won't be able to see them all from the back, that's okay) flip the wreath back over and give each bloom a gentle tug.  If the bloom moves, dig down under the petals and find where the stem meets the wreath and glue it.  

Once all the blooms are secure, loop a ribbon through it.  I simply glued the edges together and pushed the seam to the back.  Then tie a bow and you're ready to hang it!

Please let me see your creations!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

I. Am. Not. A. Crafter.

I like to create things.  Not like in the science lab - although, truth be know, I was a Chem major...  but that's not what I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about that kind of creation that some might call "Crafting."


I don't like that word.  crafting.  Crayons, Elmer's Glue, Macaroni and tempera paint... that's the stuff of crafting.  Oh - and that weird plastic "canvas" that you can weave yarn through to make tissue covers... those are crafts.

My creations are of wool roving, comic book pages, discarded wood, yarn, flowers (fake and real), beautiful papers, and a whole lot of hot glue.  But, whether you call it craft, art, or simply creation - I like to make stuff.   Weird stuff, cool stuff, pretty stuff... just about any stuff.

You see, that's my difficulty.  I like to make just about ANYTHING.  I've discovered that I tend to pick up a new medium, play around with it for a while, make a few things and then move on to something else.  This means that I end up with a of of random pieces of stuff:  hand-made pompoms, needle-felted flowers, skeins of yarn half-used in knitting,  loads of gorgeous papers, metal keys, jump rings.... you get the picture.  

I've finally found something to do with all those weird little left-over bits.


This one is a straw form wrapped with black and white yarn.  I added the beautiful woll pompoms that I made in my pompom-making frenzy in mid-2012.  

The close-up is not only a little blurry (sorry) but it's also a little pollen-covered.  I'd just pulled it in after having on the front door throughout pollen season.  If you haven't lived through Spring in Georgia, then you may not realize that it "pollens" here like it snows in Minnesota.  We get a nice, thick, even covering of yellow dust on everything.

Here's the newest wreath.  The only "left-over" thing about this wreath, however, is the grapevine wreath form.  I've had it for years.  The flowers, however, were just Hydrangea "bushes" from JoAnn's.  60% off this week.  I just wanted some hydrangeas - and every attempt I've made to plant them has failed miserably! 

In case you want to make one like this - it's super simple.  Really.  I might not even mind if you called it just a "craft!" It was so easy, in fact, that I ended up making a second one for my Mother-in-law.   I followed some of the ideas at the V. and Co blog, but if you want to know exactly how I did it, check out my tutorial here.  I got the flowers on sale at 60% off and used a coupon for 50% off one item for the ribbon at Joann's then purchased the grapevine wreath from Michael's using a 50% off coupon.  So, all told I spent $31 for this beautiful wreath!

I like it!