Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adorable crafty ornaments!

Wow, it has been a while since I've posted. Between an unexpected trip to the ER via ambulance, a sick kitty and the craziness of Thanksgiving...I have been a little crazed lately. But do not fret...all is well! I am back and I am ready for Christmas!

Last December, I bought my first artificial Christmas tree at the "day after Christmas" sale. It was such a bargain! I knew that one of my goals in 2010 was to set up my craft room in the spare bedroom and once that was completed, I knew that I would be spending most of my time in there. I was right...I rarely leave my craft room because it is my happy place and this time of year, I knew that I was going to want my own Christmas tree to enjoy as I crafted.

Kmart had a huge sale of all Martha Stewart craft-themed Christmas decor and I cleaned them out! Everything on this tree will either be craft themed...or handmade and I am so excited to share the process of decorating with y'all!

This weekend, I put up the tree in my craft room...it was much more work than a real tree but it was worth it...I love the tree! As soon as it was up, I wanted to work on a few ornaments that I had been thinking about for a while and decided to get straight to work!

I had some leftover empty glass ornaments, artificial snow and embellishments from last year. I cut a few pieces out from various pieces of leftover felt and plugged in my glue gun.

I filled the glass with artificial snow and put the cap back on.

I made a set of ear muffs with some pom poms and pipe cleaners...adorable! I used the black felt as the eyes and mouth and the orange for the nose.

Put it all together and you have an adorable snowman ornament! I thought the snowman lacked a little something so of course, I had to take it a step further....because that's what I do.

And I made a little scarf out of some scrap felt and the snowman was complete! I love him!

In a previous post, I mentioned my love affair with the book Falalala Felt and it has not disappointed me in the least! One of my favorite tutorials in the book was this adorable owl! I was able to whip him up in no time and I think I going to make a few more!

I dig his eyelids...they make him look a little sleepy...cuteness!

On a totally random note, I purchased a winter hat for my cat. I seriously cannot stop laughing at this picture. She hates me, I'm convinced...and I think the look in her eyes says, "I hope someone bigger than you forces you to wear stupid things and take blinding pictures of you when they do". But she's adorable...and I could not resist.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Giving isn't always about money

And do not forget to do good and to share with others for
with such sacrifices God is pleased....Hebrews 13:16

It has been an eye-opening experience to participate in the 30-Day Giving Challenge. If you consider yourself a giver, like I do, it can be surprising how challenging it is to purposefully give for 30 straight days. I started this challenge with the hope to think outside of the box and to give in ways that I hadn't ever given before. It would be easy to throw money, as little as you may have, at the desire to give and don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving money especially because it so needed by so many worthwhile organizations. But sometimes, that is the easy way out.

There comes a point where giving should actually cost something....something that possibly hurts to give. Something that we generally don't give away easily....and that's the challenge that I've issued to myself. My hope was that my giving would be a combination of gifts..money, time, things I don't want to give up. It has been difficult but mostly rewarding...even if only because there were things that I finally just gave to God and said "here, take it".

Have you considered giving in a way that doesn't come natural?

Is there a person who has hurt you and you haven't yet forgiven them? Or maybe you've forgiven them but you've built a huge wall between the two of you so that they can't hurt you again? Consider extending your hand, even in small steps. Take one brick out of the wall you've built. It's a gift you can give to them...and to God.

Is there something that you know in your heart God has asked you to do and you've put it off? Did you know that you can give something to God? He is more worthy than anyone of our giving.

Is there a situation in your life has caused you pain? Did you know that you can be standing in the deepest pain and sing a song of worship to God? It's a sacrifice...and it's an act of giving praise to God even in the midst of a storm. It counts as giving.

I pray that as we approach the midpoint of this challenge that our hearts would be softened to giving outside of our wallet and that we would continue to understand that the gifts of giving far outweigh the cost :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crafty Christmas is under way!

I don't know about y'all but it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around Southern California! We don't have snow or any significant seasonal changes, except that Fall usually brings crisp clear days with a chill in the air and you can tell that it's almost the happiest time of the year. Around here, the cities start to put up their decorations and the radio stations start a countdown to Christmas music. As I write this blog, Bing Crosby is singing "The Christmas Song" in my craft room....talk about bliss! wait...it's now the Chipmunks :)

I recently treated myself to "Fa la la la Felt" and am so looking forward to diving into some crafts from that book, but before I did that, I wanted to make some of felt ornaments that have been swimming in my mind lately and have been dying to see them come to life.

I have so much felt, it's not even funny. A whole drawer is filled to the brim with different colors and it's weird because I use them all the time, but still find myself with more felt than one human should own. I grabbed a couple of sheets, my embroidery floss and some basic supplies. I had only made one of these before so the rest were just ideas that I was excited to see come to life as I worked.

The first thing that I wanted to try to make was a cupcake ornament. I have a deep affection for cupcakes and wanted to add a cupcake ornament to my tree this year. I have been collecting bottle caps from my Coca-Cola addiction because I was hoping to turn some of them into tiny pin cushion gifts for fellow crafters so I decided to grab a white one. I used some pink felt for the cupcake itself and a piece of white for the frosting. I sewed a few colorful beads as sprinkles and actually love how it turned out! It exceeded my expectations and I can tell you that I will be making many more in the weeks to come.

I have long since lost the tutorial I used to make these, but last year, I made these ice-skate ornaments for my girlfriends and of course, forgot to make one for myself. I pretty much remembered the important steps and just improvised for what I didn't remember. They are pretty easy to make and come together quickly. I hand stitched the pieces together, stuffed the skate and added some embroidery thread shoelaces. The skate piece is just a paperclip but I think they are adorable. I think I'll make a few more using some different colors but I love the white. White ice-skates are classic.

It was about 11:30 pm when I finished the skates and I still had another ornament in mind. I just couldn't go to bed until it was finished so I grabbed some lime green felt and hand embroidered a snowflake, or what I thought a snowflake would look like :) I have a huge button collection and thought that the white buttons would make great ends to the snowflakes and I think I was right. I used a basic blanket stitch to the close the sides and added a little fiberfill. I'm sure this one will not be lonely as I plan on making a few more.

So that was my Thursday night and I am so happy with the results! I have big plans for a new Christmas tree idea this year and these will definitely play starring roles in the outcome! I am so excited to start my Christmas crafting! I have some painting on my mind so I hope to post the results of that soon....until then...'tis the Season friends!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Day Giving Challenge - Check In

It's Day 9 of the 30-Day Giving Challenge and I have to say that it has been an amazing opportunity to step out of the box and give in ways I had never taken the time to do. I don't want to post specifics because that just seems to lend toward "ringing my own bell" and I have zero desire to do that, but I will say that in my giving...I have been blessed.

When I think about my lowest times, they don't even compare to the struggles of people all over the world and even here in the United States. I'm a single mom, always have been since the day my son was born, and it has been a struggle. Educating myself, remaining employed and finding a way to take care of myself and my little human. I am blessed to have had that struggle, and even more blessed to have what I have, despite what I don't have.

Roof over our head - check
Food in the fridge - check
Working fridge - check
Car - check
Health - check
Water - check
Insurance - check
Family - check
Friends - check

The list goes on and on and on.....and on. The least that I can do is give...and give purposefully to what I believe in and what my life stands for.

Join me....it's not too late...it's never too late. It doesn't have to be money...just give. If you're looking for ways to give, here's just a few organizations that I am giving to this month and that I believe in.

Operation Christmas Child
Ornaments 4 Orphans
Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree
Christmas Shoes Project
Christmas Jars

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meet Daisy Mae

I'd like to introduce you to my sewing machine....isn't she cute? I named her Daisy Mae and she has been ever so good to me. She was a Christmas gift from a good friend of mine a few years back and I have put her to good use. When I set up my extra bedroom as my craft room and put Daisy Mae in her home on my shelf, I would see her and constantly remind myself that she desperately needs a sewing machine cover. Not a plain cover or a piece of plastic, but a pretty cover that would make other sewing machines jealous.

Several months ago while shopping at Pier One, I spied these cloth napkins on clearance and I believe I spent $1, maybe less, for each of them. This weekend I was looking through my fabric stash and thought that perhaps these would make a great cover for Daisy Mae! I love the different shades of pink in the stripes along with some yellow and white. I trimmed the fringe off of two pieces and leaving an opening for the sewing machine handle, stitched them together.

When I draped the fabric over the machine, I liked the overall look but felt it lacked a little something so I grabbed some leftover fabric from some apple green sheers that I hung in my kitchen and cut two strips from the scraps. Sewing down the middle and then gathering the fabric, I fashioned a couple of ruffles that I then sewed along the bottom front of the cover.

I sewed green ribbon on the sides, glued a button on top for some added detail and the cover was complete! This is Daisy Mae in her new pink and green ruffled cover....I adore it! I love the whole pink/green combination!

It was fun working without a pattern, trying different things as I worked. I think I'm ready to tackle a few more sewing projects....maybe a few things for Christmas!


Simpsonized Crafts

Monday, November 1, 2010

Simple Giving

Happy November! I cannot believe it's November already but I love it...and for me, the holiday season is in full swing! I love Halloween but I tend to hold back, not wanting to saturate my world with all things Christmas too early for fear of burnout...but November 1st gives me permission to jump in!

Last week while reading through a few blogs, I was introduced to the 30 Day Giving Challenge. I read the stories and prayed about it, although I'm not sure why. I didn't really see God saying, "no, don't give" but I still prayed and my heart was touched. God's heart is all about giving and in telling us to give, He wants to bless and give back to us.

Let each one give as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
2 Corinthians 9: 7

If you feel led, please join me...it doesn't take much and it's completely in your own heart to decide how to give. It can be time, it can be a smile, it can be monetary. There is no such thing as a minimum gift...it can mean the world to a person and cost nothing to you. If you need a few ideas to get started, here's a few just off the top of my head...

1. Double your tip at the restaurant you visit today.
2. Give your mailman a thank-you card.
3. Visit your elderly neighbor.
4. Take a co-worker to lunch.
5. Pay for the lunch of the person behind you in the drive-thru.
6. Sacrifice your lunch hour as a time of prayer for someone in need.
7. Send an anonymous card to someone at church.
8. Bake cookies and take them to your neighbor.
9. Donate a shoebox to Operation Christmas Child.
10. Donate clothes, books or shoes to a local thrift shop.

Visit here for an amazing list of giving ideas!

The possibilities are endless and are only limited to whatever your heart can think of! It's so easy to give...let's do it together!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Sometimes I really do believe that anticipation is half the fun! With Halloween 2 days away, I am already sad that it's almost over but I am more excited than anything preparing for my Pumpkin Carving party tomorrow! I've been in full preparation mode all week, making little things here and there to give to my friends and make the time together both fun and special!

Last year for Christmas, I made my closest girlfriends scrabble tile pendants with something personal for each of them on the front, and I chose the first letter of their name as the scrabble piece. I have so many left over that I decided to use a few for some decorations for the party!

Have you noticed that I love Walmart's cheap little wooden frames. I think I got these for $2 each a while back. I grabbed some Halloween fabric that I bought a few weeks ago at JoAnn's for 50% off and picked out a few phrases from my scrabble tiles. I wasn't sure which I would use but I wanted to be prepared.

I took the glass out of the frames and used my hot glue gun to cover the glass with a piece of fabric. My perfectionist side needed to take a backseat because it really isn't rocket science and lining everything up perfectly is not the point. Maybe if I keep reminding myself about that, it will sink in :)

Using card stock, I glued the scrabble tiles down. I put the covered glass in the frames and glued the scrabble card on top. It was that easy!

This is their permanent home....well, until after the party....on my bookshelf, right below "Boundaries" and Dr. Phil....and just above "He's Just Not That Into You". Yes, I read the book. It changed my life. Don't judge me.

Because I love the season more than the holiday, I also whipped up an Autumn frame using scrapbooking stickers and some scrabble tiles. I think it's lovely!

I can't wait to post pictures of the party....Happy Halloween peeps!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Man oh man...am I going to miss October. I have thoroughly enjoyed crafting all things Halloween. All I've learned from this October is that I really need to start my Halloween crafting in June. I already have so many projects on my list for next year and plan on starting very early!

Last week, I spent a good two hours in Wal-Mart...you know, the kind of trip where you go up and down every single aisle, taking your time....it was a nice afternoon. I picked up a few glass votive holders for $1 each and a pack of tissue paper that had orange and black (score!) for $1. I cut the orange tissue paper in strips and using Mod Podge, layered them across the votive holders. I used the black paper to make one into a jack-o-lantern, and with the other I punched a few oak leaves. With a tealight inside, they make the most adorable luminarias for my front porch. I suppose you can also put them in a window. For less than $2, you can't beat it.

The other big project that took me several days to complete were these dryer-vent pumpkins. Are they adorable or what??? My pastor asked me to make a big batch of these as thank-you gifts for her elementary school staff and it was a fun challenge.

I used a glue gun to create the circles, spray painted them with pumpkin orange spray paint and let them dry. Using a sponge brush, I used an orange/brown paint mixture to add some highlighting and texture. I wasn't sure how I was going to create the stems so I played around with a few ideas and ended up using some old magazine pages. I twisted the paper, painted it brown, using some moss green paint for highlights and glued them in the center of the pumpkins.

I already have more scrapbook paper than any one person should own, so I chose some patterns, printed out some thank-you tags from a free template, and using rafia, tied a big bow and attached the card. Love them!

I know this is a horrible picture...but they covered my dining table. I made 21 total and have an order for 3 more. So much fun...and I have yet to make one for myself :)

I have my 2nd annual "Pumpkin Carving Party" this weekend....cannot wait! I look forward to posting some things I put together for the party.....Happy Halloween all!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crochet Hook Cozy

So I have been immersed in all things Fall...because let's face it...Fall is awesome! But last weekend I took a break to clean and organize my craft room and it feels great. Once I had the overall room done, I realized that there were a few things that needed a bit more help because they were just out of control.

Notice the crochet hooks...and how many of them I have. Sometimes when I go visit my grandparents or go out of town for Christmas, I like to take my crocheting with me but end up just gathering a bunch of needles that I think I may need and often find that I didn't bring the right one. So....I decided to make a crochet hook cozy! I already had pink felt, pink yarn and my many crochet hooks.

I wanted to add a decorative edge to the felt so I chose some lime green embroidery floss (don't you just love pink and green together???) and did a simple blanket stitch around the edge of felt.

First I thought that I would sew individual pockets down the bottom half of the felt but I didn't want to be limited in the amount of needles that I could fit in the cozy. I remembered a picture of a crochet hook cozy that I had seen where they used a crocheted piece to anchor the needles down to the felt so I figured I would wing it and see if it worked.

I used a basic double crochet and checked my length against the felt as I worked. I crocheted five rows and loved how the colors worked together!

I centered the crocheted piece on the felt and tacked it down with a few cross stitches on each end and at various points across the whole piece of felt. I used the lime green embroidery floss so that the cross stitches would add a decorative touch to the outside of the cozy.

I wove my needles through the top and bottom of the crochet piece to hold them in place and that was it! I hit a few bumps along the way, mostly because I was just eyeballing the whole thing, but I used them to my advantage. The crocheted piece ended up being a bit too long but I just used the overhang as the button-holes for the buttons sewn on the opposite side for closure.

You can see how the blanket stitch adds some color...and the cross stitches add a little something here and there. Overall, I love it! Now I know where all my needles are and can grab them easily for projects, travel, etc.

On a totally random side note...how adorable is this little box???? I don't remember where I bought it but it looks like one of those plastic storage containers that I use in the garage, but it's super tiny and I use it to store my buttons.....little things make me smile :)

Hearts & Crabs is partying in these linky parties!


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