31 December 2010

DIY: fabric yoyos

These fun little flowers are all unique and can be used to accessorize so many things. The best part?! All you need is a needle, thread {the thread color doesn't *have* to match}, circles of fabric & a button per circle.
Now follow the directions below:

Start with any size circle. Just remember that  the finished flower will be half the size of the original circle.

With your needle and thread, stitch a running stitch completely around the circle.

When you've arrived back at your beginning stitch, start pulling the thread all the way through so the fabric starts bunching together.

When the bunching is tight, flatten out the flower and pull the fabric at different points until you're happy with the look. Then, while keeping the stitches tight, add a few stitches securing the top of the flower to the bottom. I would suggest sewing the button on now, although you can always do it later.

Here are a few of the things I created using yo-yo flowers!

After choosing your layout, use small stitches to secure them to a shirt.


I used mix-matched buttons from my great-grandmother's button tin.

It's very easy to create hair flowers too (see next picture)

Take a large bobby pin and insert a square of felt in between the prongs at the closed end. Apply hot glue and immediately press finished yo-yo on top. (stitching the flower to the felt might work better long-term but I haven't tried it yet)

This headband was made by stitching finished yo-yo flowers onto a length of wide rick rack.
{original idea for yo-yos found in a magazine)

DIY: Chalkboard Globe

 This was one of the first ideas that got me rolling on gifts this Christmas.
Not only is it unique, versatile & perfect for guys or girls-- it's very easy and inexpensive to pull together. {The hardest part for me was finding a globe!}

To start with, you need chalkboard paint! Now you *can* buy it in the store or -for a fraction of the cost- follow this simple ratio and make your own --in any color you wish!
Ratio: 2 Tablespoons of Tile Grout per 8 oz. of paint

My observations:
  • One tub of grout goes a really looong way- especially on smaller projects- and allows you to use various colors instead of just one.
  •  Mixing in a disposable glass jar is preferable to mixing in a plastic tub.
  •  Mix your paint in small amounts because whatever you don't use in the space of a few hours gets really gummy and you have to throw it out.
  • For smaller projects, you can pick up 2 oz bottles of acrylic paint at your craft store (which is much less expensive per project than buying paint by the pint or quart.  (I used less than 2 oz of paint to coat a normal size globe twice)
Once your paint is mixed:
  • quickly prepare your globe's surface if you haven't already (wipe with a slightly damp cloth; use masking tape on anything you don't want painted...)
  • Using a small paint brush, coat the areas you want painted with at least two coats of paint (letting dry in between coats)
  • After your last coat of paint is applied, let the globe sit for at least 24 hours before writing on the surface.

Side Project
If you are giving this as a gift, you might want to add chalk...why not enclose it in a unique package?

 Take a small box (jewelry boxes work great) and paint with 1-2 coats of leftover chalkboard paint. 
Leave as is or create a design with chalk on the surface and then spray with Acrylic coating to set the design.
I was incredibly loathe to paint this globe. I loved the colors and it was so vintage!

{although I found it on the Fossil blog, the idea is originally from Design*Sponge}

28 December 2010

I hope everyone had a marvelous Christmas filled with Christ, traditions, {maybe even some snow!!} and warmth.  I'll share a small description of my Christmas morning taken from a letter I wrote to Brooke.

" I woke up to my alarm at 7a and jumped in the hot shower. After dressing, I ran downstairs and plugged all the Christmas lights in before brewing a hot mug of tea. I then went back downstairs by the tree and read Luke chapter 2 and then some of The Scarlet Pimpernel while waiting for everyone else to awaken. 
Very soon, all the little ones came sleepily from their beds-- blankets dragging behind and excited anticipation in their eyes-- to snuggle up on the sofa.

When everyone was assembled, Elaena {the youngest} opened the first gift and then Ellyn distributed the rest.
It was a time full of laughter, gift explanations, thank- yous and excitement. I'm sure you can imagine how the room looked when we were done! The floor covered with wrapping paper, strewn with gifts and pieces of ribbon, and not a place you could walk!
I love big family Christmases!

After a half-way clean up, we headed upstairs to the warm breakfast of strudel and quiche which awaited us."

Some of the most special moments of the morning for me were giving the gifts I made and seeing the pleasure and joy on each person's face! It made it so worth all the time and energy I put into each one! 
Whether your making something for yourself, your living space or someone else, the sense of accomplishment which comes with the trial, error and success of creating something yourself is priceless. This blog post introduces a series of DIY posts that will ::hopefully:: encourage you to start creating!

As I've said before, a lot of DIY " just has to do with seeing something you like and thinking "I could make that!". So you see it, examine it if possible, take a few mental notes on how it's essentially put together and then go home and work with what you've got...tweaking it until you like the result." But on the other hand, definitely Google and browse blogs and websites for inspiration and ideas. I do- lots!! Even when you "copy" an idea, without intentionally doing so you'll tweak it to your style and taste so it will be original to you.

Coming in the next post is one of my favorites. I couldn't wait to try it when I first saw it and I'm sure you'll love it to so check back soon!

p.s. Isn't it craziness that New Year's is just a few days away?! I'm pretty sure the beginning of the school year was just a few weeks ago...or at least, it seems like it!

** I was in such a whirlwind in the weeks leading up to Christmas that setting up good lighting for taking pictures of my projects was not exactly a priority. (I even used flash a few times...which is usually a no-no for me unless I'm trying to get a quick people snapshot) So please don't expect anything outstanding from this photographer for these particular blog posts:)

20 December 2010

::Gift Wrap::

Your Christmas shopping is all done (or almost done) & now you have loads of bags from stores...some even have Christmas prints on them! Or maybe you've run out of wrapping paper and you're snowed inside. Is there a solution?! Yes!  Turn all of those bags {paper or plastic} into gift wrap.
Oh and did you run out of ribbon too? Use scraps of fabric you have lying around...or twine...anything that is long and can be tied;) get creative!
Taking the time to wrap gifts creatively {even if it's just wrapping something instead of putting it in a bag!} is the last step to completing a gift which shows the recipient that you care about them.

Here are a few I came up with ... So far I've used Trader Joe's, Starbucks bags and scraps of fabric. {I've yet to do the majority of my wrapping and try the other ideas. Here's a link for a pom pom made out of a grocery sack!}

Add some color of your own with pens or markers. Paint would be very special too!
To get the frayed look with the ribbon, cut a strip (or whatever shape/size) and then roll around in your hand like you would a ball of dough.

03 December 2010

Photography:: Christmas Warmth

 I was in downtown Zionsville this week having tea with my sisters and Mama and very much enjoyed the warmth that spilled out of each shop window. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Inspiration Links

{I've shared just a few  of the do.it.yourself ideas which I've already had the opportunity to try but since I don't have the time to pull more posts together, I'm sharing a quick list of websites which should give much inspiration as you create and purchase gifts this Christmas season.} 


{Design Sponge}

{Martha Stewart}
{once you go to this link, scroll down to view links to other DIY gift galleries (i.e., for guys, chillen's, etc.)}  

{Fossil Blog} 

{MStetson Design} 

{Man Made Diy}  (I was so excited when I found this site because there just are very few diy/inspirational websites which are geared towards guys!)

When it comes to DIY, a lot of it just has to do with seeing something you like and thinking "I could make that!". So you see it, examine it if possible, take a few mental notes on how it's essentially put together and then go home and work with what you've got...tweaking it until you like the result. And most of all, have fun with it and think outside the box!

02 December 2010

DIY:: Placemat Stationary Holder

  • 1 Placemat 
  • 1 coordinating ribbon belt
  • sewing machine

1) Measure roughly 26 inches of your belt starting at the D ring end, and cut off excess.
2) Double fold cut end under and sew straight across.
3) Take your placemat and fold, bottom to top, 2/3 of the way up.

4) Pin ends together then pin to make 3 divisions (tri-fold)
5) Before sewing your ends and sections, take your belt and fold the end with the D rings over 2-3 inches. With the D ring side facing down from you, stitch the edge of the fold in between the folds at the left side of the placemat.

7) Completely sew that end closed before sewing along the other pins.

8) Tri-fold, wrap the belt around,  and buckle.

Now you have yourself a place to hold your inspirations, bills, stationary... you name it! Or make it a silverware wrapper by sewing smaller divisions.

*** If you have any questions let me know. Making and creating things comes more easily to me than writing up blog posts and how to's!

Recipe:: Peppermint Patties

 Mama and I have always been suckers for peppermint patties...and thinking as we paid $.79 for one, "it can't be *that* hard to make these, we should do it ourselves". Now after years of saying that, we have finally gotten around to it! And they are relatively easy to make-- only taking about the same amount of time it takes to make a batch of cookies, start to finish.
So if you are interested in making these for yourself or as gifts, I hope this will get you started!

{We googled to find our recipe and ended up using one from www.cdkitchen.com. There are many, many recipes out there so if you aren't happy with this one, start googling:)}

1 Egg white
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint oil or extract
Cornstarch for dusting
1 (16-oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bow, beat the egg white until it is stiff and forms peaks. Don't use a plastic bowl for this.

Slowly add the powdered sugar while blending with an electric mixer set on medium speed.

Add the corn syrup and peppermint oil or extract and knead the mixture with your hands until it has the smooth consistency of dough.

Using a flat surface and a rolling pin lightly dusted with cornstarch, roll out the peppermint dough 1/4-inch thick.

Punch out circles of peppermint dough with a biscuit cutter or a clean can with a diameter of about 2 1/2- inches. Place them on plates or cookie sheets, and let them firm up in the refrigerator, about 45 minutes.

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave set on high for 2 minutes. Stir halfway through the heating time. Melt thoroughly, but do not overheat. Melting the chocolate chips can also be done using a double-boiler over low heat.

Drop each patty into the chocolate and coat completely. Using 2 forks, one in each hand, lift the coated patty from the chocolate. Gently tap the forks against the bowl to knock of the excess chocolate and place each patty on waxed paper.

Chill the peppermint patties until firm, about 30 minutes.

***notes: I made mine only about an inch and a half in diameter-- it turned out to be a better serving size and it made much more from one batch.
If you don't have Cornstarch, you can substitute Arrowroot powder. I also found myself powdering the countertop often, as I kneaded and then rolled the mixture, to keep it from sticking.

DIY:: Pine Cone Winter Door Hanging

9 yards of 1" width ribbon
6 pine cones
(or just go by the ratio of 1 1/2 yards ribbon per pine cone)

1) Cut ribbon into lengths of 1 1/2 yards.
2) Individually tie ribbon to top tip of pine cone with a double knot (you may need to fold the end of the ribbon to make it easier to tie)
3)Using a hot glue gun, place a few drops around the knots you just made, securing them to the pine cone stem.

4) When glue is dry, gather ribbons together, half in each hand, and tie a bow. If you wish for a staggered pine cone look, simply pull the ribbons to various lengths in your hand before tying. You should have excess ribbon hanging down after you tie your bow... leave as is or trim ends to lengths of your liking.
5) It's that simple! Now hang and admire!!