My mom has been wanting a large art piece for above her bed and I thought that it would be the perfect gift to give her for her birthday. Have you seen how much large wall art cost these days?! I don't know about you but I can't afford $100 plus for wall art so I decided make my own, again. I made one of these large art pieces a few years ago for our bedroom that you can see here. Follow the steps below to create your own masterpiece! I purchased a large poster on Zazzle (using a 50% off coupon), a canvas a little smaller than the poster (also using a 50% off coupon), Mod Podge, and a paint brush.
Step 1: Apply a thick layer of Mod Podge all over the canvas. It needs to be thick so it won't dry before placing the poster in place.
Step 2: Lay the poster ontop of the canvas and carefully smooth out any bubbles starting from the center and working your way out.
Step 3: Flip the canvas over and apply Mode Podge to the sides and wrap the the poster.
Step 4: Using painters tape hold the sides taught in place. Using a hand staple gun, staple the edges in place. For the corners fold carefully in place like you would do wrapping a present. Flip the canvas back over and staple the corners in place.
Step 5: Let it dry completely before adding picture hooks on the back.
The project came out so awesome and only cost me around $45. My mom is going to totaly love her birthday gift!
These homemade chocolate truffles are not only super easy to make, but better than anything you can find at the store! To make the homemade ganache you only need 8 oz. of cream, 8 oz. of chocolate chips, and a tsp of vanilla. Slowly bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan, do not walk away because the moment you do it will boil over. Place the chocolate chips in a heat resistant boil and slowly pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and add the tsp of vanilla. Let the cream start to melt the chocolate chips before stirring. Once room temperature, cover and refrigerate a minimum of 24 hours. The longer the time the firmer the ganache gets.
Once the ganache is fully firm, use a melon baller and create round balls of chocolatey goodness. If your hands get to warm cool using ice, if your chocolate get too warm place a bowl of ice under the bowl or pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.
After all of the balls have been rolled place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rechill.
Remove and roll in your covering of choice: Cocoa powder, Powder sugar, crushed nuts, etc.
Place them on wax paper in a sealed box until ready to deliver to your sweetie! Jack and I will be enjoying ours on a weekend getaway to the Pine Resort!
I hope you make a box for your own sweetie!
My aunt and uncle decided to have a day after Christmas family gathering because their new grandbaby was in town and wanted the family to meet him. As loyal readers know my standard baby gift is a homemade baby quilt. Even thought this was short notice I didn't want the new mom and dad feel left out. A few days before Christmas I ran to the fabric store and found some fun cowboy prints and decided on a quick and easy quilt.
I cute the two cowboy prints into strips. The buckle print was cut into four inches strips and the rodeo print was cut in two 10 inch strips and one 5 inch strip. I then sewed the strips in an alternating pattern. Next I sprayed Quilt Basting spray all over the red flannel backing and laid the front on top, smoothing out the wrinkles as I went. The spray is washable and helps hold the two pieces together while during the quilting.
The border was created with a four inch strip of cowprint. For a baby quilt I buy 1/2 yard for the border and cut it down in the four inch strips before sewing each piece together and ironing a double fold. This fold hides the edges and creates a clean look to the quilt.
Thankfully it was a simple quilt and I had it together within a few hours. My cousin and his wife loved the baby quilt and felt honored that I took the time to make something special for their baby. I am just glad that I wasn't so stressed out with Christmas that I had the time to do something for them that they might have for a very long time.
Whatcha Makin'? Fruit Cake. Does anyone know that song by The Superions? They play it every year on the local radio station and every time I say the fruitcake, it instantly pops into my head. But yes today I made a fruitcake and no it will not last the end of the world. Heck I don't even know if it will last the end of the day, because it is that good! Seriously! I have never made a fruitcake before and I know it is my Dad's favorite holiday treat, so I thought it would be a great gift basket item. I used an adaptation of Alton Brown's Good Eat Recipe, I use a lot of his recipes because they call for best quality ingredients. I dear you to try this recipe and tell me that fruitcake is horrible and can only be used as a door stop!
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
1/2 cup sun dried blueberries
1/2 cup sun dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Zest of one lemon, chopped coarsely
Zest of one orange, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 cup gold rum
1 cup sugar
5 Tbsp butter
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
4 whole cloves, ground
6 allspice berries, ground
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 chopped pecans
Brandy for basting and/or spritzing
I am the supervisor for nine, really awesome ladies. They work so hard and I thought I would throw them a little Christmas party during our weekly staff meeting. I brought cider, eggnog, cookies, and scones. I even surprised them with a personalized stocking with their name on it and filled with homemade: lotion, lip gloss, coffee soap; and each with a custom bird's nest necklace. I was actually surprised how easy these were to make and I already had all of the supplies! To make them I used either gold or silver jewelry wire and wrapped it around two fingers until I got the thickness that I wanted. I then would wrap the wire between the hole and the outside and added a bead or several as desired and ending it with another wrap to hold in place. I would add a loop for the chain to connect to before cutting the wire and tightening it in place. I used jewelry rings to attach the loop to the chain and added the clasp. To make all nine of them it took under two hours, and that was only because I was watching The Santa Claus, one of my favorite Holiday movies. Each of the ladies loved their homemade gifts and was totally surprised with the team Christmas party. I hope your Holiday Season is full of fun surprises!
Tomorrow is our annual Winter Warmer at work and we are all very busy getting it ready. Each division is asked to donate a raffle basket by the Winter Warmer Committee, the basket that receives the most raffle tickets earns a week of wearing jeans. Last year our team was second place with our Lucky Tree, so I knew we could win this year! We wanted to do something that we haven't seen at previous events, and knowing that gift cards/certificates are usually the biggest winner, I came up with the Best of Our Hometown idea. We selected several of the best known locally owned restaurants, businesses, mall, and museums and purchased gift cards/certificates to display in a basket.
I purchased a fun basket at the local craft store and added Styrofoam to the bottom to help keep the dowels in place. I then covered the Styrofoam with pretty snowflake tissue paper.
Next I added red package confetti and added pictures of all of the gift cards/certificates location along the sides of the basket. I wanted it to look like those vintage suitcases with all of the travel stickers.
For the gift cards/certificates I taped them to the outside of their envelopes, so everyone could see where they were for and how much they were. Once taped, I taped each envelope to a dowel to stick into the Styrofoam on the bottom of the basket.
Lastly after all of the gift cards/certificates were in place, I added a few more hometown themed gifts: map, key chain, magnet, and coffee mug, that I picked up at our local gift shop and covered it in a heat shrinking bag. Once the bag was shrunk into place and I tied a pretty bow.
Are basket came out so great and am really proud of all of the wonderful locally known places in my hometown. I'm know we are going to win best raffle basket!!
UPDATE: I'm so excited that we won the best basket!!!
Today I was able to do something that made my heart burst with emotions. I was sad, happy, inspired, and humbled all at once. Today I put a lock with Serenity’s name on the Ponte Des Arts in Paris. Serenity’s dream was to go to Paris and today I hope I was able to give her at least a little of that dream. I cried as my cold hands trembled trying to lock the lock in place. By the time I threw the key into the Seine, I lost it and Jack had to hold me until I calmed down. It was a really rough week and I felt like it finally came to a head. So I stood there in Jack’s arms sobbing in the middle of Paris.
I made a necklace out of the that I didn't throw into the river, for Serenity's mother and my good friend. I added charms that made me think of her including the infinity symbol that matches both of their tattoos. This was a small gesture I could do for a grieving friend and I hope that I brought at least a little peace for both of them. Rest In Peace Serenity.
Who’s there? Candy Gram. Every time I hear that phase I think of that famous SNL skit with Jaws. At work we wanted to update our annual Halloween Candy Gram fundraiser and I came across popcorn hands on Pinterest. I presented the new idea at our committee meeting and everyone loved the idea so we decided to do both popcorn and candy grams and call them Handy Grams. Well 410 Handy Grams later I think I switched my opinion on how cute they were! These are cute if you have to make 30, not as many as we had to make. Thankfully there were a lot of us and we were able to get them completed in a few hours. The committee heard a lot of great feedback after all of them was delivered, everyone loved them and it helped us earn a lot of money towards our Winter Warmer coming up in a few weeks!
I'm not afraid to admit my mom loves her dogs more than me, after all they mind better and they don't back talk! The perfect gifts for my mom always involve her dogs. Since we are still currently paying off all of our debt we have been keeping our gift cost low and reasonable. I found this cute idea on Pinterest where it was a frame that held four pictures with kids spelling out the word LOVE. Well since my mom has four dogs I thought it would be the perfect gift for her. Once day while she was at I would I went to her house with four half sized poster boards spelling out LOVE. I posed each dog and added one of the letter poster boards. After taking as many pictures as I could with each dog, I headed back home to start editing. I knew I wanted the photos to be in black and white, but since they are black dogs it took a while to get the shading and contrast to be just right. Once completed I sent them off to be printed. She was totally surprised and loved the framed pictures. Mothers are special and the original idea behind Mother's day was to acknowledge how special they are, try not to get to consumed in the commercialism of the holiday and take time to do something special and unique for your mother.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mothers out there!!!
I have shown you a few quilts I have done in the past; a wedding guest quilt and a bridesmaid dress quilt. These are two simple easy baby quilts I did for two baby showers. These simple and adorable baby quilts are my traditional baby shower gift. For a basic square quilt I suggest anywhere from 8 to 15 different cotton fabric, depending on the pattern 1/4 to 1/2 yard for each. You will also need 1 1/2 yards of cotton fabric for the back of the quilt, I suggest a flannel fabric. Lastly you will need 1/2 a yard of cotton fabric for the trim. Cut out all of the quilt fabric into squares and decided on your pattern. I like to lay all of the squares on the ground in the desired pattern until I am ready to sew. I start with sewing a small row at a time, 1/4 inch seam. After two rows are completed, I align the seams together and pin in place. You can skip this step, but I don't recommend it because if your squares don't line up correctly it can ruin the symmetrical look of the quilt. Once all of the rows are sewn together I use a quilt binding spray to help keep the front piece to the back piece. Sew the two pieces together in the desired pattern; rows along the seams, diagonal, or random. If you don't want to sew them together you can use a needle and a very thin ribbon to knot the pieces together. I have also in the past sewn buttons to hold together. Once the two pieces are attached sew on the trim. There are several steps to making a quilt and can be broken down to a step a day, but in a rush you can easily accomplish your very own baby quilt in just a few hours! I hope if you have a baby shower coming up you skip the registry and make a special and personizled baby gift. I promise you the mom-to-be will be mood by your precious keep sake!
One of the big things that I have done over the past few years is make and sell chocolate covered strawberries. The profits in the past would help go towards my spring tuition fees, but now that school is completed the money will be going to pay off our debt! I'm really excited about the idea of being debt free by the end of the year and each time a make a cake or sell a box of chocolate covered strawberries it takes us a little closer to achieving that goal! The key to making perfect chocolate covered strawberries is the strawberries and timing. First when shopping for strawberries try to buy as close as possible to when you need them and buy local! Local is always picked fresher and they last longer than the store bought ones. Wash and completely dry each strawberry. Chocolate will not stick to wet strawberries and if they are too wet could possibly ruin the chocolate. Never get chocolate wet! I like to use a double boil when melting chocolate; it makes it easier for me to manage the temperature of the chocolate. If your chocolate is too thick add a little vegetable shorting and stir in. Dip each strawberry into the chocolate by holding onto the leaves and lay flat on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. If you would like sprinkle with crushed nuts, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or drizzle a different color of chocolate. Once all of the strawberries are dried it should be easy to remove from the wax paper. Place a small piece of wax paper in a dessert box and cover with a dollies; the wax paper will prevent leaks from ruining the box, the dollies dresses up the box. I hope you take the time to make these sweet treats for your Valentine Sweetie!
Christmas time is here and that means it’s time for Christmas gifts. I know when it comes to the perfect gift to my mom I just need to do something that involves her dogs! I decided to make her a special shash for her Prima Miche bag. I am a Miche representative and all of the ladies in my family carry these great bags so I have made my own sashes for certain shells. I picked 30 favorite pictures of all her dogs and printed them on fabric paper that I found at the local craft store. I simply created the print out in Word and made them about two inches height and closely next to each other. I cut the rows of pictures in small strips and sewed them all together to create a long ribbon. I then sewed on a cute dog print fabric to the other side of the picture ribbon. Lastly I ironed the sash and put it on a new Prima shell. I have no doubt that she is going to love her personalized gift. I hope you take the time to make a unique gift this Christmas for someone special.
Who doesn't love homemade Christmas treats?! I love to do a little something for all of my coworkers, but since there is so many I need to keep it simple and cheap! I got the idea for the Spoonful of Sugar from seeing those honey dipped spoons you see in little gift shops when on road trips. Since I don't know too many people who drink tea I decided to dip my spoons into chocolate to mix coffee with. Yum!
I melted my chocolate melts in a double boiler until it was smooth and running.
I dipped each spoon into the melted chocolate and immediately sprinkled with sugar sprinkles. I used two small jars to sprinkle the spoons over. I let the spoons cool on wax paper. Once they were dried I covered them in cellophane wrappers and tied a ribbon and a Spoonful of Sugar tag.
Everyone loved the spoons and look forward to using them in their coffee.
This year for Christmas gifts we decided to give out baskets with homemade goodies. The first thing that is going in the baskets is homemade berry jam, the second item going in is homemade canned chocolate sauce! This is an incredible easy and delightful recipe. I always keep a couple of these jars in my pantry since the chocolate is perfect over ice cream or in a glass of milk. Once you try this you will never want to go back to those High Fructose Corn Syrup version found at the grocery store!!!
1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
Growing up I was very blessed as a kid since we always had homemade jam. My favorite jam was this incredible fresh elderberry jam that my aunt made. She would pick the wild elderberries near her cabin and give them out as gifts. This year I thought about bringing back that tradition and made and gave my own jam as Christmas gifts. Now mine wasn't fresh elderberry jam, but frozen mix berries works perfectly!! There is just no comparison between overly processed store bought jam and delicious homemade jam! I used 5 cups of frozen berries with 7 cups of sugar. Each fruit has different amounts so make sure to follow the recipe on the pectin box.
Wash, then boil the 1/2 pint jars and lid rings for 10 minutes.
Boil water in a small saucepan for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and place the lids in the hot water. Leave in the water until needed.
Crush 5 cups of mixed berries in a large pot and mix in pectin then bring to a rolling boil.
Stir sugar in and bring back to rolling boil for one minute exactly. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with a spoon.
Before the jam gets too cool pour into the sterilized jars using the funnel. Use the measurer to leave a 1/2 inch gab. Place the lid on the jar and tighten the ring. Place the jars in hot water and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove with the tongs and cool on a towel. Wait 24 hours before enjoying.
Today was our Winter Warmer at work. Each division in the department was asked to submit a raffle basket to help raise funds for the next event, so we decided to make a Lottery Tree. Since I'm the crafty one of the group I got to put it together. It took a little maneuvering, but I think it turned out great and was a big hit at the luncheon!!
I started with a craft store cardboard tree and painted it a metallic emerald green. Also at the craft store I found a round wooden base that I painted gold and a gold star to top it all off.
Once the tree is glued to the base and the star glued to the top, start taping the largest lottery tickets to the bottom of the tree. Only tape the top of the tickets and if needed the sides so the bottom can curve out to look like branches. Moving up use the smaller tickets and spacing them accordingly.
Once all the tickets have been taped in place decorate it with some garland and presents!
A few weeks ago one of my cousins asked if I would make her sister a special Christmas gift. She wanted to use her old bridesmaid dress from her sister's wedding to make a baby quilt for her expecting sister. I was really happy to help make such a special gift. We picked out fabrics that would go with the theme of the nursery and the bright pink bridesmaid dress: 8 cotton prints, 1 satin print to go along with the pink dress, 1 print for the trim and a soft flannel print for the back.
I cut the 8 cotton prints, the satin fabric, and the fabric inside of the dress into 4 x 4 squares using a rotary cutter, 4 inch width cutting ruler and a cutting mat.
I laid the squares on the floor until I worked out the pattern. I wanted the bright pink from the bridesmaid dress to be the focal point of the quilt so I used it the most. I sewed each row of squares into a single row. Once I had two rows sewn, I pinned the two together matching each corner and seamed together. Once all of the rows were together I sewn on the flower detail from the dress to the center of the quilt. I then measured the back flannel fabric and cut it to fit the front piece. I then used quilt washable spray to get the two piece to stay together as I seamed them together. I didn't need to use a quilt batting since I was using flannel and didn't want the quilt to be too heavy. I sewed the two pieces together by doing a simile line pattern that followed the seams of the squares.
For the trim I cut the fabric into long strips of 4 inch width and sewed all of the pieces together. I then ironed the strips in half, then ironed the edges into the middle seam. I basically made my own bias tape. I pinned the trim in place and sewed together.
This was a fun and sweet idea for such a personal and memorable Christmas gift. I hope she likes it!
Well today was the official kick off of football season! As with any good sports fan, we like to show support by wearing our team's colors. The photo on the left is the dress I made for Amber's birthday gift earlier this year. It is made from an old tshirt I bought on eBay and some fun orange and white chevron fabric. Follow the steps below for your own perfect and unique game dress!
Sports Team Shirt
1 Yard fabric
Cut the collar and sleeves off of the t-shirt.
Cut the fabric for the skirt by tracing a skirt or dress with a similar shape. Make sure to allow ½ inches for the seams.
When cutting the skirt it will be easier if the bottom of the t-shirt is the same width as the top of the skirt fabric.
Next, sew the side seams of the skirt. Pin the top of the skirt to the bottom of the t-shirt and sew together. Hem the bottom of the skirt to the desired length.
Lastly, fold and sew the top neckline of the top (front and back), pin if necessary to leave a small gab. Feed ribbon or hemmed fabric through the opening and sew or tie together.
Additional notes: If desired add a ribbon around the waist. I also didn't need to add elastic to the dress but depending on your fit you may need to use some. I completed Amber’s dress in under two hours.
Today is Amber's husband's birthday and I wanted to try to make his gift this year. I thought I would stick to his two of his favorite things: Beer and Ford Mustangs. He has a love for hand crafted beers so I came up with a Mustang themed beer bottle opener. The final project turned out better than expected. Follow the steps below to make your own bottle opener.
1 Piece of Wood 12 inches by 3 inches by 1/4 inch
1 Piece of Wood 18 inches by 1 inches by 1/4 inch
Hand Saw, Jig Saw, or Chop Saw
Staple Gun or Small Nails and a Hammer
Metal Bottle Opener
2 Short Screws
Metal Decal if desired
Metal Glue if using a metal decal
Paint or Stain if desired
Foam Brush if painting or staining
Cut the 4 inch width board into two length, the first into 6 inches and the other 2 inches.
Cut the 2 inch width board into three lengths, the first two 1 3/4 inches and the other 3 inches.
Staple the two side pieces (1 3/4 X 1 inch) to the bottom piece (3 X 1 inch).
Staple the front piece (2 X 3 inches) to the three connected pieces.
Staple the put together piece to the back piece (6 X 3 inches).
Make sure the staples are flush with the wood and fill in the holes with the wood filler.
Once the filler is dry, sand smooth and paint or stained if desired. I did a grey wash on Aaron's.
Attach the metal decal, a magnet that I found out a craft store, with metal glue.
Lastly screw in the bottle opener, also found at the craft store, with the small screws.
That's it! Jack helped me out with cutting the boards and attaching the pieces together. We added a case of craft beer and a one of a kind, personalized gift!!!
Jack and I are celebrating our 7th Wedding Anniversary today. We are planning a nice romantic dinner at home and a piece of Strawberry Shortcake cake from the local bakery, it was the cake we had when we eloped. Since our anniversary falls a few days after his birthday I decided to follow the traditional anniversary gift guide to help make it easier on what to get him. I've had fun trying to find something from the list each year. This years item was copper or wool, I found several cute ideas involving pennies, but didn't think he would find them as cute as I did. I did a little research and was able to an old magazine ad for his Jeep and framed it in a copper frame. The picture of the jeep was originally red so I had to adjust the color using a basic photo editor. I wasn't able to find a copper frame so I found one that had a photo mount board that I painted copper to go with this years theme. Thankfully he loved, but of course I know I'm always safe when I buy something Jeep themed! I’ve included below a list of the traditional gifts and what my gifts were to Jack.
I created this blog to share my creations with hopes that it will inspire others to show their creative side. I love to show case my friend's photography so a lot of the photos are from her. I hope you get inspired.