Monday, January 31, 2011

I {Heart} Custom Valentine Photo Cards

I have been meaning to put together a Valentine card to send to friends and family.  I made this one last year. 

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It was super simple, but I super liked it!

I am so glad I haven’t made this year’s yet, some times procrastinating really does pay off!  Because the gals at Eighteen 25 have put together these adorable Valentine Photo Cards.  There are three to choose from, and all are, of course, adorable!  All you have to do is put your own picture in there, and take all the credit when everyone tells you how cute they were!

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Did I mention that they are all completely free!?  It really doesn’t get any easier!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Glowing Snowmen

Cheap – Check

Supplies on hand – Check

Craft the kiddos can help with – Check

Fast – Check

Snowman 1a

Waaay back in October I made these ghosts out of empty milk jugs, and have been trying to think of a way to use the same idea again.  I came up with these little snowmen.  They were super simple to make, and make our porch so much cuter!

 

Snowman 3

{Supplies}

Empty milk jugs
Black and orange paper
Hot glue gun
Yarn
Fun Foam
Red paint
Paint brush
Knife
Scissors
Christmas lights

 

{To Make}

Once you’ve collected all the milk jugs that you want, make sure they are cleaned and dried really well, you’re ready to get started!

Cut out eyes and mouth pieces out of black cardstock. 

Cut out carrot nose from orange cardstock.  When I made the ghosts, I used a permanent marker to draw the faces on, you could do the same with black and orange markers, but I wanted the noses to stick out from their faces. 

Attach pieces on milk jugs using hot glue gun.  I tried my old friend Mr. Modge Podge, but it was a slippery mess!  Holt glue was soo much faster and easier, although I realize not the most kid friendly.

Snowman 4

I added some rosy cheeks with a tiny bit of red tole paint.  The paint was having a hard time sticking to the jug, so once it dried I sprayed it with a little bit of hair spray. 

You could stop here and your snowman would be perfectly fine.  But I was not going for fine, so I added some earmuffs.  Using yarn and some fun foam.  I made some pom poms out of yarn, cut a strip of fun foam.  Attached the yarn to the fun foam and then put the earmuffs on the snowman. 

To insert lights cut a flap in the back of the milk jug.  When I made my ghosts, I found the lights stayed in better if you cut a flap, not a whole.  So I went with a little back flap.

 Snowman 5

Stuff lights inside, arrange as desired, plug in lights and whal-la!

Snowman 6

 

 

I’m linking up to these parties this week!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Wreath

Easiest thing I ever made.  Well, almost.
Bulb Wreath
Found some wintery ornaments after Christmas on super clearance.  Decided that since I had missed out making a Christmas ornament wreath, that I could still use these wintry colors to make a January/Winter Wreath!
Followed this tutorial from Eddie Ross.  Well, I thought I was following it, but missed a few steps.  Like bending your hanger into a circle before you pack on the ornaments.  And  I remembered the step about hot gluing the little metal part.  Mine were already kind of glued when I bought them so I thought it would be ok.  WRONG!  I had ornaments popping off all over the place when I tried to bend and reshape my hanger. 
So eventually I finished it.  But it still looked wonky so I messed with it some more.  More blubs fell off so I messed some more.   At one point I thought of just hiding it in an unpacked box downstairs, who would know.  I just didn’t want to ever have to see it again.  Eventually we (the wreath and I) made up.  I decided it would be ok.  Put it up on the shelf and was done with it.  I like it alright, but the more I look at it the more I see all these little/big things that just bug me. . . Bulb Wreath 2
Some other Winter d├ęcor:
Snowflake Frame
Stuffed snowman, my husband had this (and a matching Santa) when we got married.  I kid you not.  The frame was $3 on clearance from Michael’s, it had a Christmasy picture but I covered it up with a snowflake and some paper.  The mat came with it, isn’t it cute!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Frosty Letters

Frosty

Finally it’s finished!!  Hoorray!  What’s that you say, this looks like the easiest craft in the world.  Well, it was.  But it took me FOREVER to finish!  I am not good at working in phases/multi-tasking.  I like to sit down do a project, finish it, clean it up, the end.  I started this project and it probably sat on my kitchen counter in a half finished state for about a week.  But I bit the bullet and just got it done already!

I ordered several plain letter set from Wendy’s Etsy shop, Well Good, like right after Thanksgiving. 

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I finished a few for Christmas gifts, but it really took me a loong time to finish my own!  I am happy with the way it turned out but so sad I didn’t finish it sooner so I could enjoy it longer! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Read With Me Wednesday: The Voice the Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights

Have you ever read anything by Russell Freedman?  I think he is one of the most fabulous authors.  I have enjoyed many of his books.  Today I am sharing, The Voice the Challenged a Nation:  Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights.  What an inspiring woman!  If you have never heard her story, this book is a wonderful portrayal of her life and work.  My interest in Marian Anderson began when I read, When Marian Sang:  The True Recital of Marian Anderson.  I became fascinated with this woman who against all odds was able to reach her dreams. 

 

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The Voice the Challenged a Nation:  Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights
by Russell Freedman
128 pages

 

“A voice like yours," celebrated conductor Arturo Toscanini told contralto Marian Anderson, "is heard once in a hundred years."

This insightful account of the great African American vocalist considers her life and musical career in the context of the history of civil rights in this country. Drawing on Anderson's own writings and other contemporary accounts, Russell Freedman shows readers a singer pursuing her art despite the social constraints that limited the careers of black performers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Though not a crusader or a spokesperson by nature, Marian Anderson came to stand for all black artists — and for all Americans of color — when, with the help of such prominent figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, she gave her landmark 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which signaled the end of segregation in the arts.

Carefully researched, expertly told, and profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs, here is a moving account of the life of a talented and determined artist who left her mark on musical and social history. Through her story, one of today's leading authors of nonfiction for young readers illuminates the social and political climate of the day and an important chapter in American history.

A Newbery Honor book.

(Scholastic)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Read With Me Wednesday: Martin’s BIG Words

Hi, my name is Ashlie and sometimes I do crazy things.  Like yesterday when I left the lights on the car all day and it killed the battery . . . but that’s not why we are here.  I am here to apologize.  I had some posts written and scheduled for this week, and didn’t think twice about them.  Problem was, they were scheduled to post this week in January of 2010.  Yup.  Crazy things.  So here is one of them. 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this coming Monday, so I wanted to share with you one of my favorite favorite favorite books of all time.  Not only are the words incredible and share such a wonderful message, the pictures are gorgeous. 

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It is the perfect book to read in honor of this great man’s birthday!

 

imageMartin's Big Words:  The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Doreen Rappaport

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

This picture-book biography provides an ideal introduction to this leader and his works. Juxtaposing original text with quotes from King's writing and speeches, Rappaport's (Escape from Slavery) narrative offers a pastiche of scenes from King's life, beginning with his childhood experience of seeing "White Only" signs sprinkled throughout his hometown. He questions his mother about their meaning, and she assures him, "You are as good as anyone." Listening to his father preach, the boy asserts that "When I grow up, I'm going to get big words, too." Rappaport also touches upon King's role in the Montgomery bus strike that followed Rosa Park's 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and his subsequent efforts as a civil rights crusader. After briefly describing the circumstances of his death, the story concludes, quite abruptly, with the statement, "His big words are alive for us today." The author relies on her subject's own words, and his power, passion and pacifism shine through. Collier's (Uptown) striking watercolor and cut paper collage art feature closely focused, lifelike images of King and other individuals against an inventive montage of patterns and textures. The portraits of King exude his spiritual strength and peaceful visage. In the background of some scenes are intricate recreations of stained glass windows, which, Collier explains in an introductory note, he interprets as a metaphor for King's life. An elegant, understated pictorial biography. Ages 5-9.   (Publishers Weekly)

Monday, January 10, 2011

I {Heart} Valentine Subway Art

Today, it snowed.  Ruined all my productive errand running plans.  Pooh. 

But today, I am loving this cute subway art from Eighteen25.

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I have absolutely nothing Valentinesey to decorate with for February.  So I am definitely printing this baby off ASAP!

Side note:  Our Sam’s membership expired, we went with Costco instead this year.  I usually printed my pictures at Sam’s.  I am not a huge Walmart Photo fan, and Costco is a little farther away than I would like to drive some days.  So my question is, Where to print my photos?!  Where do you get yours printed? 

Ruffle Flower Purses Take 2 and 3

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178_0927

These were two Christmas gifts I made and gave to my cute little (who is now really the big 2-1 so I should call her younger, but I like to reminder her who’s boss!) and my favorite Sister-In-Law!  (Don’t tell the my other SIL’s, I don’t think they are aware of my secret crafty blogging identity, so hopefully they won’t read this!) 

I am getting to be a purse pro, well at least this style of purses.  I posted about my first purse I made for a friend’s B-Day, HERE.  Since I had a TON of leftover grey vinyl from that project, I decided these two purse loving gals would like one for Christmas.  (Oh, and I could still make ANOTHER purse!  I have that much leftover!) 

Two things that made process a little smoother the second (and third) time around:

  • I used a piece of fabric and a piece of vinyl for the strap, it turned out much better than my first attempt where I used two pieces of vinyl.  Sorry first attempt!
  • Second, I used two pieces of cotton fabric to make the pocket, instead of a piece of vinyl and a piece of cotton.  Again much better, and still super cute!!

I must give credit where credit is due, I was not clever enough to come up with this pattern on my own.  I found this great tutorial by Tam from Sew Dang Cute, who was guest posting on Ucreate.

I should add, my cute sister is the one in the bottom picture with the black and white purse!  She came down last Sunday and I told her I needed a picture of her purse for my blog.  I also told her I would crop her head out, but she’s just to cute to crop out! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

National Whipped Cream Day

imageDid you know that today is National Whipped Cream Day?  Maybe the more appropriate question is, did you know that tbere was a National Whipped Cream Day. 

Got me to thinking about one of my favorite whipped cream recipes, ok really Cool Whip, but it counts right. 

 

Symphony Pieimage

{Ingredients}
1 King Size Symphony bar (milk chocolate or toffee chip, but I think the toffee is the best!)

1/4 cup water

1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

 

{To Make}
Break up Symphony bar (do not add one or two squares, set aside to use latter for garnish) and add water in large microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 45 seconds. Remove and mix with spoon so that all of the chocolate is melted.

Add Cool Whip and mix very well. But also gently.  Making, sure that all of the chocolate is incorporated.

Pour chocolate mixture into Graham Cracker Pie Crust and spread evenly.

Cover and freeze for 3 hours before served.

I like to use whipped cream from a can and add a little decoration on top.

Pull out those Symphony squares you saved from the beginning, if you haven’t eaten them already, grate them evenly on top of the pie for garnish. 

Photo Courtesy: PTIT Chef 

 

I also found this article that might help you celebrate:

How to Celebrate National Whipped Cream Day

What can be more fun on January fifth than celebrating National Whipped Cream Day? One of the most versatile toppings in our times deserves a day in tribute. This is the day to celebrate your dessert and honor whipped cream as it truly deserves. This article will explore various methods to pay tribute to this yummy treat.

 

imageInstructions

  1. Mix one cup sized dollop with vanilla sugar free pudding mix and pineapple for a yummy low cal snack.

  2. Bring a can of whipped topping to bed one night just to see what pops up.

  3. Pumpkin pie isn't just for Thanksgiving! Bake up a family favorite and pull out the whipped cream for instant smiles.

  4. Mix chocolate, or any chosen flavor, pudding per box directions. Mix in half a cup of whipped cream. Pour into a graham cracker crust. Chill for a scrumptious mousse dessert for dinner tonight. Feeling extra extravagant, go ahead add some nuts of choice.

  5. Purchase at least two cans of whipped topping and start a whipped cream fight. Maybe best conducted on tile flooring.

  6. Bit cold and chilly outside? Make yourself a cup of hot cocoa. Instead of marshmallows try adding whipped cream for a tasty delight.

Tips & Warningsimage

  • Enjoy whipped cream in a group or alone. Whipped cream does not judge or discriminate.

  • The fifth of January is indeed National Whipped Cream Day. As if we need a reason to indulge.

  • Enjoy and have fun the options are endless. Feel free to be creative.

  • Whipped cream has a potential to make hard surfaces slippery.

How to Celebrate National Whipped Cream Day

Read With Me Wednesday: Stardust

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Read With Me Wednesday, I love reading but don’t always have time!  Yesterday I just finished a fun little novel by Neil Gaiman, Stardust.  Have you ever read any of his books?  This is the second Neil Gaiman book I’ve read.  The first, The Graveyard Book, I loved, a lot.  Different.  But very enjoyable.  And not as creepy as the title leads you to believe. 

imageI was interested in reading Stardust, for two reasons.  First, as I said, I enjoyed The Graveyard Book.  Second, my Sister-In-Laws love the movie Stardust based on the book.  I enjoyed the book, I finished it fairly quickly, which for me is an indication that I liked it.  Books I don’t like as much, usually take me awhile to finish.  But to be quite honest, I liked the movie better!  I don’t think this has EVER happened to me before!  I don’t know quite what it was, but the movie is just so darn cute!  I wonder if I had read the book first, I might feel differently.  I liked the book, it’s not like I hated it, but it’s not going on my favorite list anytime soon.  Have you read the book and seen the movie?  Do you feel this way or is it just me?

 

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Stardust
by Neil Gaiman
272 pages

{Amazon.com Review}
Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land will keep you turning pages as fast as you can--he and the star escape evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold. The story is by turns thrillingly scary and very funny. You'll love goofy, earnest Tristran and the talking animals, gnomes, magic trees, and other irresistible denizens of Faerie that he encounters in his travels. Stardust is a perfect read-aloud book, a brand-new fairy tale you'll want to share with a kid, or maybe hoard for yourself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Be My Valentine!

I love this too much not to share. 

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All made from felt! 
You can buy the pattern HERE at the Bugga Bugs Etsy Shop.

 

They also sell non-Valentine related felt patterns.

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Felt Picnic

 

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Felt Breakfast Cereal

 

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They also sell non-food patterns.  I love this camping one (the moose is what really gets me, The Little Miss has been obsessed with this little plastic moose lately), the dollhouse is pretty darn cute too!

 

Here’s a Top Secret Heads Up (not really because you probably already know) Life With the Lebedas has a giveaway going on right now where you can win a pattern of your choice from the Bugga Bugs shop.

I AM NOT getting an extra entry in the giveaway for making this post, I truly just thought they were too cute not to share!  I am trying to wait patiently to see if I win one, but if I don’t, which I probably won’t, I am for sure buying one.  My only problem, which one to choose?!

Also, I have been seriously itching to make some felt food.  Suggestions, tips, offers to just make it for me, would be much appreciated!

Top Ten Posts of 2010

I know, 2010 is over, I’m a little late on this one.  It took me forever to decide!  Without further ado here are my personal top ten favorite posts from the past year!  (I didn’t like the ones Google analytics gave me, so I choose my own!)

{Pictures are linked to posts}

10 Ice Cream Cone Pinata

Made this back in August for the Little Miss’ Birthday party! I may have cried when we finally broke it open.  

 

9 Chicken Enchiladas

One of our FAVORITE dinners round here.  So yummy!

 

8 Chunky Crayons

One of my first posts (insert nostalgic junk here . . . )

 

7 Bunny Pop

Loved these cuties!  Not pictured:  Even cuter fluffy tails, click over to the post to see them!

 

6 2x4 Turkeys

Loved these little guys.  Thank you Craft Goodies for sharing so that I could make my own!

 

Are you still with me?  Just checking!

5 Q-Tip Skeletons

What can I say, these two just make me smile.  Was a great craft that all enjoyed making.

 

4 Mummy Candy Jar

I’m going now to find my Halloween box so I can pull this little guy out!  I miss his googly eyes staring at me from our counter.  He could be multi-seasonal right?  Add a scarf for January, some sunglasses for the summer . . .

 

3 Pumpkin Tshirt

Sorry for the Halloween cluster.  What can I say, I loved crafting for Halloween! 

 

2 Dollar Store Cupcake Stands

I originally made these for my daughter’s birthday party, but have used them many many times since, even changing out the plates for different seasons. 

 

1 Ribbon Tree Shirt

Are you surprised?  I’m not.  I really did love this shirt, it was probably at the top of my list of favorites.  Not only that it was the most visited and commented on post of the year!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Next Year's Christmas Cards

I really liked this year’s cards that we ordered for FREE from Shutterfly.  The were super easy to put together and I got tons of comments from friends and family about how much the liked them (I may or may not have left out the part that I didn’t really design them and basically plopped the pictures in!)

But next year, I am using one or both of these ideas:

imageMERRY Everything! from Craft Goodies

We just have three of us right now in our whole entire family, we might have to borrow some children to make this really work!  (Friends and family, please hold your comments – WE KNOW, IT’S TIME TO HAVE ANOTHER!  Other blog readers I apologize if that was TMI!)

 

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Wall of Frames from Sassy Sanctuary 

Love the mistletoe in the parent’s frame and the cutie in reindeer antlers!  She also shares great instructions for building your own “wall” of frames.  

 

Could someone please remind me that I love these cards?  Next year around November-ish?  They’re bookmarked, I just might need a little help remembering.  Thanks in advance!

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