Monday, January 31, 2011

Nook Cover

For Christmas I was given a nook. I have thoroughly enjoyed having it, especially that it is compact enough that I can just throw it into my purse. However, often times I go and grab it out of my purse and the battery is nearly dead because it accidentally was powered on. I also hate when I throw it into my book bag that there is absolutely nothing to protect it from damage.

On a recent trip to Barnes and Noble I wanted to buy a cover for my nook, what I didn't like about the covers though was that they are hard and are much wider, it makes the nook appear much more like a book, which makes it less portable, plus they cost a small fortune.

I have seen several tutorials online on how to make nook covers but most of them seem to try and replicate Barnes and Nobles version which makes it hard and wide, NOT WHAT I WANT. I came up with a thinner version that is working quite nicely, it fits in my purse and it protects my nook. I am no longer worried that it will turn on without me wanting it to and I can keep it in the protector and still charge it, another nice bonus.

I was originally just going to use some decorated flannel that I had on hand then I saw the "p.s. ... i love you" frame over at Flamingo Toes and I knew that the notebook paper look would be amazing for a nook cover.

I had some off-white flannel that I thought would give it a nice vintage type look. For the lines I used baby blue and red thread and for the wording I used grey embrodering thread. It is lined with 2 layers of batting. On the front I sewed the words "Once upon a time" and on the back I sewed "And they lived happily ever after."

I didn't want to add a button and ruin my nice lines so I decided to go with a red ribbon to tie it closed, I really love the red ribbon.

To keep the nook in place I used some clear elastic on the top and bottom, which is nice because it stays in place and is still 100% functional, I can use all of the features while it is in the case and I can even charge it.

I really am pleased with how this turned out and I think it looks better than anything Barnes and Nobles sales for the nooks. Now I feel even more confident bringing my nook wherever I go.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Team Chase Auction

This giving Saturday is an easy one, as mentioned in a previous post the Chase's are in the process of adopting children from Ethiopia, which is an extremely expensive process. Today is the beginning of their Adoption Auction. They have gotten some amazing things so be sure to check it out and bid on some great items, I have my eye on some items and I can't wait to start bidding. I also donated some of my felt counting cookies for the auction so check out the link below it is sure to be worth it.

Team Chase: 4 and Counting

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

One of my favorite things to eat is chocolate covered strawberries and nothing is a better excuse to make chocolate covered strawberries then for Valentines day. We have all seen the tuxedo strawberries and just wonderful decorations that seem impossible to do, however, I find that MY WAY to do strawberries is easiest and they always look amazing.

For my best friends wedding I made strawberries for it and to jazz them up a bit I dipped some of them in white chocolate and the others in milk chocolate, now that would have been great but I also went a step further and put chocolate R's and L's on them (their first initials). It only took an extra step and it was well worth it. They disappeared extremely quickly! Unfortunately she was having computer problems so I never did get photo's HOPEFULLY I can get some soon.

For Valentines Day I thought that it would be fun to put on X's and O's and even better it would be fun to share how to I make them.

Items needed are simple:
Bag of Milk Chocolate Chips
Bag of White Chocolate Chips Note: Don't use the Nestle Toll house chips as I did. I forgot how much I hate them, they don't melt very well, Ghiradelli's makes a great white chip so spend the extra as it will make your finished product a lot nicer.
Ziplock Bags
Parchment or Wax Paper

First thing to do is wash and dry your strawberries and bring them to room temperature, if they are cold it will make your melted chocolate harden up a lot quicker and it doesn't stick to the strawberries very well.

Take about about 3/4 of the bag of chocolate chips and poor in a microwave safe bowl.

Place chocolate in microwave for no longer than 30 seconds, bottom will melt faster than top, if additional melting is needed put back in the microwave at 15 second intervals.
The chocolate chips should look like in image below mix with spatula until completely melted.

Once completely mixed you may put in the microwave for an additional 5 seconds if desired but not necessary, do not burn your chocolate, and always do a taste test before dipping your strawberries.

Dip your strawberries in the melted chocolate, flipping over as needed and set on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.

Repeat the same steps with your white chocolate chips. Melt, dip, and Set. Then place in fridge until the chocolate is completely set. As I mentioned before I had a few issues with my white chips and some people had some vegetable oil when melting their chocolate, I don't like too, but if you find it is necessary not very much is easier and it will melt quite a bit easier.

Now it is time to accent your strawberries. I thought that it would be fun to put X's and O's after I did some of the O's I thought it would be even cuter to make the O's look like hearts.

Take the remaining chocolate and place it in a ziploc bag (this often times can be trickery melting the chocolate in the bag so if desired melt it in the bowl and then place in the bag). When the chocolate looks ready just knead until completely melted.

Clip the bottom tip of the bag not to big, it is always better to cut the tip to small and adjust then to clip it too big and not being able to adjust. Then decorate your strawberries.

Place them in the fridge to set and then they are ready to eat.

As you can see I didn't do the best job but I have another tip. For the wedding I wanted the letters PERFECT so I found a font that I liked on my computer enlarged it and printed it. I then placed the letters on a cookies sheet under parchment paper and then traced the letters. I put the chocolate let it set and then placed them on the strawberries. A lot easier for people with the shaky hand and bad penmanship.

I still believe the strawberries came out great and the tasted WONDERFUL. If you are sharing make sure you make enough for yourself. A great Valentine Gift for the special someone.

Happy Valentining.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pay It Forward 2011

So I've seen this on facebook and several blogs so I figured I would play too. This could really be fun and in all honesty it makes me want to go watch/read Pay it Forward. What a great movie!

I promise to send something hand-made to the first five peope who leave a comment here.

You must in turn post this on your blog or facebook account and send somthing YOU make to the first five people who comment on your post.

The rules are: the item has to be HANDMADE and must be sent to the five people sometime in 2011. Time to share some love.

Please be sure to leave your email address in the comments so I can contact you!

Now I have to get thinking about what I will be making...hmmmm...This will be fun!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Terry Cloth Travel Bags

When looking at my Pottery Barn Kids catalog I fell in love with these terry cloth travel bags and I knew that I had to replicate them. I love that they are terry cloth so that when they are sitting on the bathroom sink and water gets on them, it isn't a big deal if they get wet, that is their job.

"Princess's" best friend is celebrating her 10th birthday and decided that this would be a great gift for a girl hitting her double digits. I found this great hot pink zebra print fabric on clearance at Fred Meyer and fell in love with it. I really wanted to do this project with one large bath towel but all they had left were hand towels so I bought 2, thinking that I would need both to piece together. Luckily, I only needed the one hand towel so "Princess" is looking forward to getting a bag of her own.

I was a fool and made this WAY to difficult, which unfortunately, caused the top to look like a big giant mess, it was gift-able though, and the the recipient loved the fabric. The good news is that I know exactly what not to do on the next bags that I make.

I decided to not personalize it because she seems to be going through an identity crisis. I lined it with black vinyl and we put a few trinkets in it for the birthday girl. Shopko had some makeup and lotions on clearance for .67 cents and then we found some earrings and a necklace at Claires for $1. Even the vinyl was on clearance, it was a rembrant and it was 70% off. The total cost of the bag and everything in it was right around $5.00, the cost of the bag through Pottery Barn $17.00 that is a $12 savings, not to shabby.

I linked this post over at 30 handmade days and at So you think you're crafty.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shaken Baby Syndrome

For today's Giving Saturday I wanted bring up another issue that is close to my heart. During my elementary school years my parents were foster parents. My brother is 10 years older than me so at times it felt like I was an only child, I loved having new siblings come into my life and also knowing that we were giving many of these children a new hope for the future.

When I entered 6th grade my parents got a call to take in a baby who was still in the hospital who suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome. He had a lot of medical problems he was only a few months old but my parents had taken care of a crack baby earlier so they understood to some extent how difficult it would be to take in a special needs child. As a family we agreed to take in this beautiful baby boy, and he later my parents were able to adopt him. Our lives with Michael were forever changed.

Because of what his father did to him Michael was never able to eat, walk, or talk. He had an amazing personality though and those who knew him loved him. My mother would take Michael and visit schools to help inform and teach others that violence was not an answer. When Michael turned 12 he lost his battle and passed away on March 30, 2003. I miss him everyday and I know that because of him my life is forever changed.

When my brother and mother were visiting the schools they were working with The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and made videos to send out to schools. On their website you can donate to them and get more valuable information to Never Shake A Baby, and steps on what to do when you feel stressed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

T-shirt Valentines

For this Friday's Valentine I thought I would share what "Princess" is giving this year for Valentines Day. Now this project can become fairly costly, I was fortunate enough to have a connection and got all of my t-shirts for free. I do know though that Dollar Tree now has t-shirts so you could do a classroom size for right around $30. This I believe is a great idea for gifts for a few select people, because it is fairly cheap and kind of fun to see what you end up with. So onto our heart shaped t-shirts.

To make these only a few supplies are needed:

Fishing Line
Fabric Paint
Sponge Brush

The first thing to do is take your t-shirt of any color (I used a small adult size, I would rather have the shirt too big then too small), and shape it into a heart (I used a large heart shaped cookie cutter for guidance). I found it was easier to start off at the bottom point of the heart. Then start wrapping it with fishing line, as you reach the top of the heart start shaping the "humps" into desired shapes.

Once the t-shirt is nice and wrapped knot if off. This next step is optional as now you could be finished with the shirt, it looks neat just wrapped in a small heart shape.

However, I think it is neat to take it a step further. Take the fabric paint and sponge paint it on, both back and front of the heart. Lay out to dry for recommended time on your fabric. This will give the t-shirts a nice tie-dyed effect.

The next step is to add a nice little Valentine with it, ours is cut into a heart shape on card stock, on the front it says I think you are" t-shirt-rrific" on the back we put simple instructions, "Just cut string, wash, wear, and enjoy."

I am really pleased with how these turned out and hopefully these Valentines will be as well received as last years Valentines.

Happy Valentining

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fantastic Fabric Organizer

For today's post my friend Len, from crafty homeschool, shared her wonderful post on fabric organizing. I don't know if anyone is like me but I have a lot of fabric and I feel like I have it under control, except that I have to pull out the boxes and find a fabric that I feel will work. I love her idea of having the fabric easily accessible and still looking amazing. Once I get my crafting area set up I will definitely follow suit with her idea. Take it away Len:

So here of late my fabric has been well a little out of control. I have yard upon yard of pretty fabric all shoved into three bags and a pile of smaller pieces. My dear husband was well, a little irritated by all of the fabric all over my house (rightfully so I'm sure). So I had a brain storm for a cost effective space saving solution to the problem. Well #1 it had to hang on the wall. #2 it had to be thin and #3 I needed it to be fairly inexpensive. Now for the solution, it cost me a total of $22.50 not counting washers and screws (we had those on hand). Here is the finished product (how to will follow).

Here are the supplies you will need, I bought everything at Lowe's, but I'm sure any hardware store will carry the items needed.

The dowels are 3/8" x 48" and are $.84 each (I bought 6)
The brackets where $8.76 each and where 4' tall
I found the metal brackets next to the ladders and some metal sheets. The gentleman said they where used for things like garage door track mounting (not sure what they are called but I explained what I needed and the gentleman knew exactly what I wanted). Then I found the biggest dowels that would still fit through the holes. I bought six of those (I cut mine in half). I imagine that if you had a large wall you could buy three brackets and use a whole dowel. That would give you twice the room to store your fabric with out the dowels sagging. You could also buy taller (like 6') brackets but either you would need a step stool or it would touch the ground, I really like the 4' ones, there is enough ground clearance that fabric is not touching the ground and short enough that I can reach with out using a step stool.

This is the tag from the brackets I bought.
They had taller and shorter ones.

This is the dowel size that I used.
I used the largest diameter that still fit in the hole.
This is the paint that I used it was about $4/can.
You will need to use a primer on the bare metal.
I applied two coats of primer and two of paint.
The only thing left is to hang it.
I had to use washers because the holes where to large for the screw heads, so I sandwiched them between the bracket and the screw head, worked great. The brackets are faced that way because of the spacing between my studs. I was able to turn them that way and cut the dowel in half so I ended up with 12 bars to store fabric on. You could turn them the other way, just make sure you mount them on studs and MEASURE it twice before you cut the dowels. You may need more dowels depending on the spacing, I would advise again using the whole dowel unless you buy another bracket as a center support so you don't break the dowels (they are not very strong). I left about 1" on each side, you could put more room on each end (mine could use about an extra inch on each side, but you know hindsight). It works very well and even my husband was very impressed (ok, I think he was happy I finally got control of my fabric).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Golden Globes 2011

I love the movies! I love going to them and I love watching award shows that honor the greats of the year. I even worked at a movie theater for 5 years and it is still one of the great experiences of my life. It is my dream to one day have enough friends or acquaintances so that I can through a great Academy Award party. It's really the little that keep me going in life, the hope that someday I will know enough people to have a party.

The Golden Globes recently aired and even though I hadn't seen all of the movies (I desperetly wanted to watch Black Swan before hand) I still got excited for certain actors to win. So one may want to know what this has to do with crafting and saving money, well I love to look at the dresses. Even though Natalie Portman was not wearing my favorite dress of the night, I fell in love with the rose on her dress. Her dress reminded me of Valentines and I can't wait to replicate the rose, especially with all of the sparkle.

I must admit I am getting tired of all of the rosettes on EVERYTHING but this Rose just shouts out at me, "MAKE ME!" all right then I'll make you, sparkles and all.

So the winning dress and the MUST reproduce is this dress worn by Michelle Williams, honestly at first I kind of hated it. It is not a typical Golden Globe dress but what I love about it is that it can easily be worn anywhere almost a nice dress down outfit. So to my short list of things to make at the beginning of the year I have now added this dress as well. I am so excited to reproduce this dress!

Upon looking at these 2 dresses I find it amusing that the dresses I chose both have a flower theme. Quite interesting, considering I mentioned earlier how much I am getting tired of rosettes. All is good I will soon have a beautiful dress for the summer and beautiful roses for Valentines Day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Oneida Crisis Center

For today's post I thought I would go in a slightly different direction and share a personal experience one that makes me the woman I am today.

On April 27, 2002 I ended a relationship with a man who had been abusive to me for a few years, because of this I don't have very many fond memories of this relationship but I was fortunate enough to get two amazing little girls out of it. I don't feel that details are necessary but the form of abuse I was enduring at the time was physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Also, the way the relationship ended was through a phone call to the police.

Even after he was taken away to jail I felt a need or desire to forgive him and take him back, something that is all to common in abusive relationships. Fortunately for me, I had amazing parents who helped me through this trial in my life, gave me a place to stay, and helped me out financially. I know that if it was not for the love of my family then I would either be dead or still in the same abusive relationship.

The reason I am bringing this up is today is because it is "Giving Saturday" a day that I would like to dedicate to giving to others and mentioning organizations that are important to me and always appreciate donations.

Through some weird twist of fate my mother became the director of the Oneida Crisis Center and is in the process of getting an addition for the Crisis Center. Office space, counseling space, and a handicap apartment are desperately needed and they are accepting on going donations HERE. The donation page is set up through crowdrise a great new website designed for fund raising. If you are not familiar with it become familiar with it because it is great!!

I was fortunate enough to have a great family to help get me through this difficult time but many people do not have the resources to help out that is why it is great to have these Crisis Centers to help one another out. Any donation is greatly appreciated and this is an issue that needs to stop being ignored. ABUSE HAPPENS!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Love Potion 9

I love Valentines Day!!! Despite being completely alone and never getting any gifts of "love," I absolutely love this day. Needless to say, I always start planning early on what my girls will be giving for Valentines. Being that it is exactly one month before the big day and a Friday I have decided that all of my Friday posts will suggest Valentines that can be given to one another.

Last year the Valentines that my girls gave were a big hit. Fred Meyer had an amazing sale on their 20 oz Soda's, they were only .10 cents, when I saw the deal I knew I could come up with a great idea for Valentines Day.

Here are a few images of our Love Potion 9

I made a new label on Microsoft Word the front saying "9 A Love Potion," on one side we had Happy Valentines Day and To and From, on the other side we came up with a poem, we used the song and the Soda for inspiration:

Had a hard time getting boys to like me
So I went to a Gypsy named Madame Bea
On my hand she made a sign
"What you need is Love Potion Nine"
It smelled liked sweaty socks, it looked like ink,
I held my nose and took a drink
To my surprise it tasted like a soda pop
Now the boys just won't STOP!
So here's a pop from me to you
Hope you fall in love to.

The poem can easily be converted for boys as well just by changing a little bit of the wording. We used 20 oz soda's but one can easily use bottle waters and even soda cans. A note if you decide to make these though is the weight is quite heavy so be prepared to help carry them in with your children.

Happy Valentining

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair!

My youngest daughter, "Kitty Kat," is obsessed with Rapunzel, because of this obsession she has refused to cut her hair for the last several years; she is bound and determined that she is going to grow it as long as Rapunzel's. I am completely fine with this, she has beautiful blond hair and I know that I need to enjoy it while she has it. I am well aware that once she becomes a teenager she will grow out of her "little girl phase" and will probably color her hair purple or black or perhaps even worse will come home with a shaved head.

When I found out that Disney's Tangled was coming out in theaters I was thrilled because I knew that they would create great activities for there newest movie. Disney did not disappoint! One of the projects that I have wanted to do was the Rapunzel hair clip organizer that was demonstrated in Family Fun magazine, it is also on there website here.

It was a little difficult to deal with all of the yarn, it would have been A LOT easier if I would have made it a 2 person project. The yarn kept getting tangled and braiding it was extremely difficult. Over all though it was a very easy project and took less than an hour to complete. If I was to make it again though I would have cut 10 more strands of yarn for the hair as the top tended to be a little thinner than I would have preferred. Overall though, I think it turned out okay and am thrilled that we have a nice decoration that is functional, keeps the hair accessories in one place, and is easily accessible.

Of course it takes a photo to really show how filthy my walls are. This weekends project, clean all of the walls.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Shopping Savings Spree

On Monday I had to drop my oldest, "Princess," off at violin the school is close to the mall and it gives me an hour to go and do a little shopping with "Kitty Kat." I really wanted to go to Bath and Body Works while they still had there yellow sale going on. I walked in through JC Penny and walked into the sale of all sales, I love this time of year!!!

My girls are now set for back to school next year. I know it sounds weird, it is only January and I already have my girls done for back to school clothes but clothes are ALWAYS more costly in the fall and this is the best time to buy them.

When buying clothes in advance there is a few rules that need to be followed:
  • Don't buy clothes that are going to be to big or to small. This can be tricky as kids sometimes go through growth spurts, but it is good to remember that August is only 8 months away children will generally only grow a size bigger or not at all. (I must mention that I am fortunate because my girls are 18 months apart so if I mess up on buying clothes they are sure to fit one of them.)
  • Don't buy clothes that are too trendy. Nothing is worse for a child when they get clothes that were clearly more popular the year before. For instance, last year the 80's were huge this year it would be a huge embarrassment for a child to go out in that time of clothing.
  • Don't buy clothes to far in advance. So many things can happen when you buy clothes to far in advance, you can forget about them, they seem to fit in the wrong season so that you are wearing winter clothes in the summer. You get the idea, bad things happen when you get a little to far ahead of yourself.
  • Finally, it is good to pay attention to what you are buying. By this I mean buy items of clothing that have stood the test of time. Items of clothing that have very little chance of falling off the face of the earth, jeans, hoodies, etc.
Here is what I bought.

I was able to find bras for my oldest, lots of jeans, long sleeve shirts, hoodies, and dresses. The best part is that every single item was only $2.97. Don't believe me? Here is proof.

I love how the tag states that it is 80% off when it is actually 95% off. So I must admit with these two dresses I bought a size to big but I couldn't resist and I purchased them with the intent of altering them, plus the bottoms are really poofy so if I don't like the dresses on my girls they would make fabulous purses.

My hands were full so I had to buy items twice, luckily my second transaction was a lot less then my first but that is only because I was running out of time my hour was almost up. The first receipt states that I saved $925.37 on the second receipt I saved $183.18. Which means my total savings was $1,108.55, AMAZING!!!

I must mention with the top receipt I also bought "Princess" a video camera for $9.97 it was regularly $69.99, that will be for her birthday in June. I bought the girls a new night lite too, I couldn't resist, it was from Discovery Channel and it is a moon and it phases like the moon, I can't wait to get it set up and look at it.

I hope this helps in your shopping endeavors I find it is better to always buy ahead.
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