Friday, December 31, 2010


Friday, December 31, 2010
These are some snowflakes I crocheted a few years ago using a pattern I found in a Martha Stewart magazine. I love them, but I don't know what to do with them. Any suggestions? (this is the obligatory picture part of the post)

Now, on to the musing part.

I have been reading everyone's top 10 posts, resolution posts, and generally reflecting on 2010 and looking forward to 2011. In addition, I have been considering what I would like to see happen in my life/blog/family in the coming year.

Here's what I have come up with. When deciding on the goals I would like to have for myself, I titled the section "Be a Beacon of Light". This is my resolution. Deep down in the inner recesses of myself I am happy, and I want to show it more on the outside. I want to be grateful, be gracious, be content, be giving, be focused, be generous. I want to share things that will help others find that as well.

I tend to be competitive. I inherited it from my dad. Growing up there were things we just didn't do as a family. We didn't drink, we didn't swear and we didn't play Monopoly. It was just too much contention and arguing. ;) I have struggled with this personality trait my whole life. If someone else can do it, I can do it better, bigger and faster. I have come pretty far, and now it's not a huge problem for me, but there are times when it rears it's ugly head and I have to push pretty hard to get it back under control. This blog thing has been one place where it has gotten hold and nearly drove me crazy. I want hundreds (who am I kidding- I'd love Thousands) of followers and the opportunities that go with them! I'd love sponsors, freebies and sales generated by my blog. But, this is where the great moment of truth comes in, I have realized that someone else having those things, doesn't preclude me from having them as well.

With that truth learned, there is one more thing I have realized. To have the success I truly want- I need to take a step back from the numbers game and simply be myself. I need to stop trying to out-do someone else's tutorials, someone else's projects, someone else's life- and get on with my own.

So, instead of playing Monopoly with my blog, I've changed the game. Now, we're playing Sardines! I'm not worrying about out-doing, I'm interested in gathering in. I'm not trying to come up with the next BIG thing, I'm trying to come up with simple, easy things that will grace your life and mine. Things that will add up to one gracious, lovely, LIGHT filled life. I'm going to be who I am. I'm going to share the reality of my life, so that others might learn, grow and avoid the many mistakes I am constantly making. I'm going to set goals and ideals and share how I succeed and fail at those things.

There will be plenty of tutorials and projects along the way (I have 4 pillow tutorials I'm working on right now- I know, 4?? pillows???) and hopefully lots and lots of fun. Plus, I've got some give aways in the works, with one coming right around the corner.

So, there you have it. Here's to a new year, and a chance to start over.
Bring it on 2011!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

More about Me.

Thursday, December 30, 2010
I love Amy from the Idea Room. I actually met her in person at Jen's cookie party and she has been so kind and friendly. She posted today about herself and is hosting a link party asking everyone to do the same.
So, here are some random facts about me, in no particular order.

-I was 19 when I got my first kiss. It was with a Marine I met on the beach in Hawaii. I had only known him for about 4 hours. It was on the beach, with a full moon, waves gently crashing on the shore- Movie fodder for sure. But if my daughter ever does something like that- I think I'll smack her. ;)
-I met my husband in a bar. Being very religious (in a religion that doesn't allow drinking) it's not exactly where you think you'll meet your future spouse. But, it makes a great story to tell in church. ;)
-I have to have my sleep. If I get over-tired I get sick. One time I even passed out- in a hospital. Not fun, because they make you go to the ER and everything. This is probably the reason I gain most of my baby weight AFTER the baby is born.
-I am a scientist. I have a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I was going to be a Dr. until I took the MCAT. When I saw the intensity of all the people there, I decided I'd just work a while and be a mom. Now I realize, that being a Dr. probably would have been easier.
- I am one of 6 children. There are just under 8 years between the oldest and the youngest. We also moved about 15 times that I remember before I was 15 years old. I have no idea how my parents did it.
-My first two children were 22 months apart (see item above- I thought that's just what you did). I realized that I didn't HAVE to have kids that close, and my next two are 3 years apart. :) (I have since decided that 2 1/2 years is the proper span between kids for me. I figured it out right after we had our LAST baby.)
-I love doing projects, but I am lousy at putting all the pieces together. It's probably been helpful that I have never actually be in a position to purchase our home decor (almost all is hand-me-down) since I am still not sure what my style preferences are. I am however, enjoying this blog and all that I'm learning because of it. I think I'm finding MY own, real true voice, and that's been very freeing.

Well, there's a few bits and pieces about me. I'm learning more each day, and if I find out anything absolutely amazing- I'll keep you posted.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Gift Wrap

Monday, December 27, 2010
I really like the look of fancy-schmancy wrapped packages. I just never could justify the extra time and expense, especially when the kiddos just rip into them and destroy all that effort! But, this year I was worried. The kids were only getting 4 gifts total (including from Santa) and I worried that this drastic reduction of the orgy that is opening gifts Christmas morning would result in some unhappy campers.
So, I thought and thought about what I could do to make the whole thing a little more exciting. The first stroke of inspiration was finding these huge vanilla tootsie rolls at the dollar store. My kids LOVE vanilla tootsie rolls so I thought they would be perfect. I was originally going to give them to the kids as part of the countdown, but that peetered out about two weeks before Christmas. So, I took some plastic snowflakes, some ribbon and gift tags from Less Cake {more frosting} and dressed up some packages. They're hard to see in these pics, but I had to take them at night so it's the best I could do. ;)

Here's a mini-tute for ya. Take a package of Ice Breakers and punch out a 3" circle out of scrapbook paper. Use stickers or stamps to put a name on the circle and tape it to the candy. Get a piece of cellophane (mine was about 14" by 11"). Place the candy in the center name side down and fold the cellophane around it.

Use ribbon to tie up the ends. You will probably need to trim the ends up a little so it looks more like a wrapped hard candy.

Use some tape and attach to a gift. My kids love this candy too! (can you tell we have sweet teeth at our house?) I usually keep some in my purse and church bag when I'm desperate for something to give them to buy me more quiet. They were thrilled to each get their own package!

These are the cookie boxes I made for some of our neighbors. I didn't make enough for everyone, but I gave out what I had. If I missed someone, I'm sorry. It was a crazy year- and I plan to remedy it by starting on Christmas 2011, next week! I found the boxes over at Creative Itch and she found them at Inking out of the box.

Here's the tag I put on each box. They turned out nicely, and I love how the boxes dressed up the cookies. The only thing I would say is that if you have an oily cookie (like my gingersnaps) you may want to line the box with wax paper or something to keep the oil from staining the box.
I'm really looking forward to the new year, with lots of resolutions, big ideas and a few giveaways too! Happy almost New Year.
p.s. I just realized the other day that New Year's day will be 1-1-11. And who wants to bet that there will be a long line of mama's trying to have babies with 1-11-11, 11-1-11 and 11-11-11 birthdays? It's crazy the things women do. ;)
p.p.s. I just did spell check and it didn't like my use of the words "schmancy" and "peetered". But I didn't change them. I'm a rebel like that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Christmas Gift

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to provide a centerpiece and place settings for a table for our Relief Society (the women's organization in our church) Christmas dinner. It shouldn't have been a big deal. But, I made it a big deal. "Everyone is expecting something amazing from me" I thought to myself "I am a crafter after all". And, "gosh, if I don't make it wonderful, and handmade and spectacular, I won't be able to blog about it." (yes, I am truly humbling myself to share this with all of you). I went out and bought supplies to make these gorgeous fabric covered paper cones, ribbon and fabric and everything else. And then, I stopped myself. "Why am I putting myself through all of this?" I wondered to myself. "I don't really have the time, and the effort would take all my extra energy and enthusiasm for other things." And I sat down and had myself a really hard, long thought/talk.
I came to a conclusion.
I love this blog. I love crafting. I want this blog to have lots of followers, and to maybe even possibly down the road provide an income for my family. I want to have great projects. But mostly, more than anything else, I want this blog to help people. I want it to inspire creativity- and the joy that comes with making beautiful things. I want it to inspire beauty and the desire to improve the home you have- to make it a place that is full of happiness and light. I want to help people discover skills and talents that they might not have known they had otherwise. And, above it all- I want this blog to truly reflect who I am. Not just who I would really like you to think that I am.
So, my Christmas gift to you is: You have my permission to simply be yourself. If you don't want to manufacture the most ornate, bedazzled centerpiece known to humankind- you have my permission to let it go, to gather up the simple things you have, and just let it be. You have my permission to have a messy house for a while (or forever if you're fine with it), my permission to let your kids play video games for the entire duration of winter break, you have my permission to neglect neighbor gifts and any other obligations that serve no higher purpose in your life. You have my permission to simplify your expectations of yourself and others. To spend some time searching out your desires and aspirations for life and to eliminate everything else from the mix. You have my permission to be YOU!
And, for Christmas this year- I'm giving myself the gift of Me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guest Posting at Fireflies and JellyBeans

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Hello, everyone, and Merry Christmas week! Today I am guest posting over at Fireflies and Jellybeans! Fawnda asked for some help filling her schedule while they travel to Korea to pick up their new baby girl, and spend Christmas and bonding time together! Yay for new babies!!!
So, head on over and visit my tutorial on making these pom pom flowers. While you're there, poke around a little, you'll be glad you did!
And, if you're visiting from Fireflies- Welcome! So glad you could stop by. Feel free to look around. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Birthday Bedroom Makeover

Saturday, December 18, 2010
My daughter's birthday is at the first of next week. A few months ago, we decided that she would get her bedroom re-done for her birthday. It sounded like a good idea back then.

Last night we shipped the three oldest over to grandma's for a sleep-over so the hubby and I could paint and decorate the room. That way we could do a grand reveal, HGTV style! We were trying to cover up stripes I painted a few years ago. One of the stripes was dark brown. Yikes. I DO NOT recommend painting stripes, EVER! Unless you're planning on living with them for the rest of your life! We had to sand the stripes, since there were ridges from where I taped them off. Then we had to do two coats of paint (and yes, we used the paint with primer, which doesn't go very far and it's PRICEY!) Sorry for all the caps, I'm tired. We got done painting around midnight, and we only quit because we ran out of paint. Got up early, ran to the store, bought more paint, finished painting and moved everything back in.

The butterfly chair was a gift from her grandparents.

These are a few close-ups of some of the accessories.
These frames we had in her nursery with bug prints in them. I put scrapbook paper in two of them to use as dry-erase boards, and fabric covered cork board in the other two for posting notes.

This little owl I made using a tutorial from the DIY dish. I made up the pattern myself because I wanted it to mimic the owls in the inspiration fabric for the room.

These are some of the pillows I made for her room. I am really not loving the brown circle pillow. It looks like a donut, and not a very appetizing one at that.

This was the inspiration fabric for the room. She wanted turquoise, dark hot pink and dark brown. This had everything we were looking for, and darling owls to boot!

I had this monogram hanging in her room for a long time. It had colors that went with the stripes, so it was time for a re-do. I made all the paper roses and glued them to the letter after I covered it with scrapbook paper. It took forever (read 2 1/2 hours) but she loves it, and it's really cute!

This is her face when she first saw the room. She keeps going back up there to check it out. She says it doesn't really look like her room anymore, but I'm sure it will only be a matter of hours before she feels like it's really hers!
She's an amazing kid and really deserves every wonderful thing that comes her way. We were so glad we could do this for her, and I hope every time she goes in there, she remembers how very much we love her.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stepping out

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but doesn't she look cute in her new holiday skirt?

Part of blogging, for me, has been about figuring out who exactly I want to be. Who I am now, plus the person I would like to become. Blogging has stretched me to higher levels of creativity and has pushed me into some situations that are uncomfortable for me.
Take this week for example. Jen from Tatertots and Jello invited anyone to come to a cookie exchange. It was on Tuesday, at her house. The actual house of the actual Jen from Tatertots and Jello. Do you see where this is going?
Normally I'm not the kind of person who assumes an open-ended invitation is actually and really for them. I usually read it as "Everyone, (except Amy) is invited!" Who would need me there? Who would expect me to be there? Well, in this case, literally, no one. But, I put on some grown-up blogger shoes and raised my hand, "Yes, count me in!" This, my friends is a huge step for Amy-kind.
I doubted, I worried, I felt all kinds of pressure to produce the most amazing photogenic cookies I could possibly come up with. (who ever worried about how their cookies would look on film? I ask you, WHO?) In the end I took my great-grandmother's ginger snap cookies, because they are simple and one batch easily covered the 4 dozen cookies we were asked to bring. They aren't fancy, or show-offy beautiful. But, they were good!
I asked my sister to watch my kiddos, took a deep breath and drove myself right on up there! I am so glad I did. I met Leann and Margo, and Lara. I chatted with Amy (I mean AMY- from the Idea Room- AMY!) met Jen and tons of other AMAZING bloggers! It was really fun. Luckily for me Leann showed up early so I wasn't the only one there right at the crack of 11. (does anyone else have a compulsive urge to show up on time (or early) to EVERY SINGLE THING???) She is so fun, outgoing and kind and we laughed a lot, a whole lot! I sort of used her as my buffer for the rest of the event. Thank you Leann, for letting me tag along! I really tried to get out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to people, but I'm not all that good at it. Plus, I don't really like to gush and fawn outwardly. I try to keep all the drool and hero worship to myself!
So, all in all, I'm really grateful for this little blog of mine. It has pushed me and created opportunities for me that I wouldn't have otherwise. It's a TON of work. But I love it, and all that it is adding to my life right now.

Fan Ruffle Pillow

This is the tutorial I did for Gwen's Haul out the Holly event. I thought I'd just re-post it here in case some of you missed it over there.

This pillow makes a great accent for your sofa or bed. And in rich holiday colors, it's a treat to bring out for the holidays! It takes a little patience, and some time, but it's a show stopper for sure!

First you will need your ruffle fabric, and your background fabric. I chose to have my background fabric compliment the ruffle fabric. I purchased the fabric for the ruffles from IKEA, it was only $2.99 a yard! It's a gorgeous, shiny, sheer polyester. You will need about 1/2 yard of the accent fabric and 10" of the background fabric. Cut out your background fabric to 10"X12" (cut 2). Cut your ruffle fabric into 3"X5" rectangles- you will need approx 60 of these.

I didn't want my ruffles to fray as much, so I took a candle and singed the edges of the rectangles.

Then, take each rectangle and accordion fold it using 1/2" folds. You will fold up the 5" length so your finished pieces will be 3" X 1/2". Pin each end of the piece to hold the folds.

Arrange the top three pieces across the width of the front background piece (across the 10" side). Leave a 1" border on the top and approx 1/2" border on the side. Pin in place.
Take the first piece off and fold it in half, pressing to crease and mark the center. Place back on the background piece and stitch down the center line, back stitch the first couple stitches to secure.

When you are nearly at the end of the first piece, lower the needle and lift up the presser foot. Slide the next piece under the presser foot, so it's snug against the first piece, making sure the sides are lined up. Lower the presser foot and continue stitching the rest of the first piece and most of the second. Repeat for the rest of the pieces in the row (you will use about 20). When you get to the final piece, back stitch to secure the threads. Repeat for all three rows.
(please pretend all three rows are sewn in this picture ;) )

Before you place the back of the pillow over the ruffles, fold in the sides of the ruffles and pin to secure, this will give you some working room when you sew around the edges. Also, make sure to push in pins along the top and bottom edges, so they don't get caught in the needle. Then, place the back of the pillow over the ruffles, pinning in place along the edges. There is a lot of bulk in the middle of the pillow, so you will need to just match up the edges and pin in place. Sew around the edges using a 3/8" seam allowance leaving a 5-6" opening for turning. Clip the corners and turn. (there are a LOT of pins inside the pillow, so be careful when turning- just take your time and you won't get pricked).

Remove all the pins, generously stuff the pillow and stitch the opening shut. Fluff the ruffles, and you have a gorgeous accent to any room!

Thanks, Gwen, for letting me come participate in Haul out the Holly! It's been a lot of fun- and there are some great ideas here! Feel free to come on over and hang out with me at Ameroonie Designs any time!



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The new "go-to"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
So, I think I've found my new "go-to" flower for my tote bags. I LOVE these felt flowers. I did a tutorial on them here, but when I did, I was kind of thinking they might not be "fancy" enough for my bags. When I was making a batch of bags last week, I thought I'd give these flowers one more shot- and boy-howdy am I glad I did.
I used a little longer piece of felt (I didn't measure it, but I'd guess it was 72") and about 4" wide. I like that the flowers are large and full, but don't stick out too far from the bag. I also like that being made of felt, they'll hold up to lots of use and "love". :)

I also made some by just cutting the felt without folding it. I like the spiky look especially on the smaller totes.
I'm getting carried away with them, and made up some extras because I was having so much fun. Anyone want to take one off my hands?
Have a great day!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Favor boxes

Monday, December 13, 2010
This weekend was our annual cookie baking party. I get together with my mom, mother-in-law and all my sisters (and in-law sisters) to bake up our traditional Swedish shortbread cookies. We decided to serve some soup this year and I made up these little favor boxes to add just a little chocolate to the mix. ;)

The boxes came out just the perfect size to hold 6 Dove chocolates. It was pure luck and nothing I figured out on purpose!

But, if you leave the box unattended for any length of time. And you have a chocolate monster in your house. This will be the result.

Poor, poor box of chocolates.
I followed this tutorial here for the steps on making the boxes. The dimensions for the small box are: start with a 6 X 6 piece of paper. Score at 1 3/8 and 4 5/8. Turn and score at 1 3/8, 2 3/4, 4 1/8 and 5 1/2. Then follow the rest of the directions (when cutting the side tabs, cut off approx. 3/4"). I left out the window on these boxes, which made them just a little simpler, but I did put in the windows on the larger ones I made using this tutorial (I'll post them later when they're filled with cookies) and they were really simple. I used a page protector for the plastic.
They are really easy and fun, they would make a simple little gift for the kid's friends (I wouldn't spend money on the good chocolate for the kiddos though, get some taffy or other holiday treats). Enjoy!

Keeping It Simple

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Haul

Saturday, December 11, 2010
This week I went down to the American Crafts warehouse sale in Orem. This is what I got for $37! Each of the muliti-packs of ribbon were $1 (when you buy 10- so of course I bought 10). The large spools of ribbon (the skinny spools) were $2 each- but they have between 15 and 20 yards of ribbon on them. The paper was 3 for $10 or $12. The page protectors (6X6) were $1 each. I can't remember everything else, but it's a deal!

My Mother-in-law bought this pack of stickers for my kids. There were 77 packages of stickers in here for $15. They are heavy and glittery and I'm going to steal my favorites (which is most of them) before I turn them over. ;)

I'm not getting compensated in any way for this post (not that I'd complain), just giving a heads up to anyone in Utah who might want to go. If you call 3 people while you're in the store you get $3 off, and they'll give you a $5 purchase of $20 or more as a bounce back coupon. Can you guess where I'm heading this week?

Take the 800 N. exit in Orem, head West. Then turn south on 1500 West (the street emergency essentials is on). The warehouse will be on your left. The entrance to the sale is on the south side of the building. Happy Shopping!



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pillow Talk

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I can honestly say that the "bat" pillow is the first real throw pillow I have ever made. I didn't have a lot of throw pillows, because, honestly, they're just one more thing the kids can throw around. But, I have become enamored with the art of the throw pillow. They are small, simple (relatively) sewing projects that don't take a considerable amout of time to complete (mostly). When my friend commissioned me to make some pillows for her daughter's bedroom, I was ecstatic! What fun! These are the three we came up with. The two square pillows are 12" X 12" and the longer one is 12"X16". We shopped for fabric together and I think we came up with a pretty sweet combination.
This is one of my favorites! (who am I kidding, I love them all!) I LOVE this fabric. We bought the rest of the bolt (there was less than 2 yards). I wanted to keep the pillow relatively simple so the fabric would shine. I made an envelop closure pillow, but kept the closure on the front and used the ties as the decorative element. Yummy!

This pillow is a copy cat of the original inspiration for the bat pillow. It is from the Pottery Barn catalog. I love the tone on tone of the felt. There's enough texture to keep it interesting, without being overwhelming. Delicious!
As I'm typing this, my almost two year old said "cute pillows mommy!" I wish you could hear her little baby girl voice. Melts your heart. I guess if she approves, what other accolades do I need?
Moving on...This pillow is so elegant. As I said the pillow is 12" square, so the flower is a good 6" in diameter. I used up $4 worth of fabric on the flower alone! It's gorgeous and full and makes a wonderful statement. I would start putting these on my bags, but I think the cost and time involved would be prohibitive. as it is though, expect to see at least a couple more of these cropping up as decorations in my own home.
Here is a close up of the flower. Isn't she just luscious? I have to give a shout out to Suzanne over at Just Another Hang up. She gave me the idea for a full bodied, super size organza flower. I didn't use her pattern, because I may end up selling some of these, and I didn't want to over-step. But you should go check out her loveliness- she's really amazing.

So, that's all for this outing. I'm always relieved to have another job done, and when it turns out as great as these did, well, you just can't help but smile!
If you want any specific information on how I made any of these pillows, feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment (just make sure I have a way to get a hold of you). I'm happy to share. And if enough people want them, I'll make up a tutorial. (I may anyway) :)
linking up to: I {heart} naptime
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