Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Inspiration: Holiday Gift Wrapping

So sorry to not have posted very often.  Not only have we had the holidays, but our little family is currently in the midst of moving.  We'll be hosting Christmas at our house just 4 days after moving in!  Hopefully a post about that will be up by the end of the year.  Until then, here are some pictures of the presents I've wrapped so far; hopefully they inspire you as you are doing your Christmas wrapping!

Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 Fall Decorations

As much as I dislike being cold, fall is here and I am quite in love.  Holidays, for me, have always been somewhat magical.  Thanksgiving being in just a couple weeks has me on cloud nine.  But the moments, the minutes (yes, even those spent awake with our little boy in the middle of the night), the days until then are not being taken for granted either.  I'm so enjoying life; I have been richly blessed and I'm eternally grateful.  In true fashion of embracing this season, my home is filled with fall decorations and smells.  Heavenly, I'm tellin' ya.

I didn't want to use real pumpkins this year because I didn't want to have to deal with them rotting and having to take care of that when I'd rather be taking care of my wee one.  But I wanted pumpkins.  So I wondered if I could make them myself and, after a search on Pinterest, I discovered I could.  THESE are the directions I roughly followed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

DIY: Card Crafting

How quickly a month goes by.  Definitely faster after the baby is born, than when you're waiting for the baby to come...  Making sure I don't take any of it for granted. 

Below are a few birthday cards I made and am posting for inspiration.  New idea: use an old unwanted book to cut a shape out of, color and add to your card.  It's a different twist and gives the card more detail without a lot of time or effort.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Maternity Leave

Just to let y'all know: I'll be taking a temporary break from blogging as my husband and I get to know our new little man better.  He arrived this past week, safe and sound, and we're all doing well - very happy and quite in love.

(Picture credit goes to Aunt Stephanie.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

DIY: Nurse Thank-You Packets

I've never been through the process of having a baby before, so the thought of putting together little "thank-you's" for the labor and delivery nurses didn't even occur to me until I saw the idea on Pinterest.  For anyone who has nesting syndrome every day and lives in a sweet little one bedroom apartment, projects that require getting done ahead of time are greatly appreciated.

I gathered the supplies from a couple of different stores; Walmart had the little notebooks on sale since it's been back-to-school season, Bath & Body Works has had their travel size lotions on sale for a while, and any grocery store will do for picking up little sweets (I figured chocolate and mints were pretty basic).

I have some clear bags that are for wrapping up candy and they suited my purpose well.  I stapled them shut and then taped a little thank you tag, made with plain ol' cardstock, onto the bag.  Ta-da!  These little packets are now sitting with our pile of stuff that will need to be packed last minute on our way out the door to the hospital.  Any day now we'll be holding our sweet little Bug in our arms!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Items for Sale

This summer I ventured into the world of trying to sell projects in a little shop in a cute little town.  Unfortunately, the cute little town wasn't getting much traffic and so I had to take my things out of the little shop.  Right now I am storing it all in my sweet little home and, with little Baby Bug due to arrive in the next few weeks, we're needing more space.  That being said, all of the pictures posted HERE and HERE are items for sale at a discounted price so that we can make room for our sweet little one.  If you are interested in buying any of the items, shoot me an email at

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DIY: Iron-On Transfer Onesies

A little while back I made a onesie using an iron-on transfer for my nephew.  I had seen the inspiration on Pinterest, but the original cost more than I wanted to spend.  For most everything, you'll find it's much cheaper to make your own than it is to buy it.  So that's what I did.

On second thought, it might be more expensive to make your own.  Reason being that once you've gotten started making it, you're going to want to make more.  And more.  And more.  After I had finished the nephew's onesie, I wanted to make some for Bug.  Thankfully, the only cost I incurred for this whim was the cost of ink to print the images; I had been given several white onesies at baby showers and my brother had given me his whole leftover stash of iron-on transfer sheets.

I had an idea for an image I wanted for Bug's onesie.  So I searched Google images high and low.  But it was to no avail.  So what do you do when you can't find the image you want?  You draw it, of course.  I usually always start my drawings by sketching it out in pencil.

To fill in these images I used permanent markers.  The vibrant colors showed up really well. 

Then I scanned the images to the computer and inserted them into a Word document.  For iron-on transfers you need to flip the image so that it will turn out facing the same way on the garment as the original image.

Iron-on transfer sheets can be bought at almost any local craft store, even some general stores, and will come with their instructions.  They're very simple.  After printing the images onto a sheet, I had to cut them out and iron them (surprised??) onto the onesies.

I am so happy with the way the onesies turned out!  I cannot wait for little Bug to wear them!

And since I was at it...might as well make them in "bulk".

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gender Reveal Cake: Chocolate and Cannoli

Quite wonderfully, my life right now is filled with final preparations for our little Baby Bug to arrive.  The car seat has been installed in the car, the bouncy has been set up in the living room, the little clothes have been washed and are hanging in the closet, and the last of the packages of cloth diapers are due to arrive this week.

We were greatly blessed by family and friends at two baby showers.  At both of the showers we did a gender reveal and finally told everyone what we have known for a while now...and, trust me, it sure was hard to keep a secret!  I made the gender reveal cake for the first shower and had a grand time with it.

I made three chocolate sheet cakes.  They were a denser cake, so it held up really well.  Frosting tip #1: eliminate crumbs from the cake getting in the frosting by cooling the cake in the fridge first.  This will help it hold together.

I made a chocolate cream cheese favorite!  Frosting tip #2: pipe a line of chocolate frosting around the edge of the top of each cake before adding filling.  This will ensure that the filling doesn't ooze out into the frosting of the cake.

Frosting tip #3: put your plastic bag (or frosting bag) that you're going to do piping with in a cup and then fill it with the frosting.  This eliminates the mess of trying to hold the bag and fill it at the same time!

For the filling I made a cannoli filling that I added food color to (any guesses?!).  Being a lighter filling with a hint of orange, the cannoli was a nice addition to the rich chocolate cake and frosting.

The cake turned out huge; it took up a third of my fridge!  I have found that Kroger will sell you their cake containers from the bakery for just a couple dollars or less.  I've used them for cheesecakes for a few years now and I was so happy that it would solve the problem of transporting my biggest baking project yet!

For decorating I used melted chocolate chips for drizzle, mini chocolate chips, and edible pearls.

And here it is after cutting and sharing it at the shower.  That's right, our little Bug is a boy!  We can't wait to meet him!

(Last photo credit goes to Rebekah Chandler)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Homemade Yogurt

I love Greek yogurt.  Of course, all the healthier food is also more expensive.  I had received a yogurt maker as a wedding shower present and, looking for a healthy cheaper alternative, I pulled it out and decided to give it a try.  I made the basic recipe, no flavors added, and it turned out tasting just like the plain Greek yogurt from the store!

First, you bring milk (just milk) to a boil on the stove and then let it cool back down.  After cooling, you'll need to follow the directions on the yogurt starter package.  Basically all you have to do is open and pour and stir.  Simple, no?

Then you evenly pour the milk into the glass jars and put them in the yogurt maker for 7 hours (since I used whole milk).

After 7 hours, my yogurt was done and ready to go in the fridge!  How easy is that?!  I added honey to sweeten the yogurt right before eating.  I also tried coconut balsamic vinegar and lime olive oil in different jars and was pleased with the results!

I'd love to know if you make your own yogurt, especially if you've found some great flavors you like!  My yogurt maker is from Williams-Sonoma.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Take a look at the new pages!

I'm so excited to be able to offer my work in newsletters, handcrafted photo albums, and custom Prezis! You can find samples of my work and my contact information under the page links at the top of this blog, or click below:

Handmade Photo Albums
Personalized Newsletters
Custom Prezis

I have some exciting projects underway and I can't wait to share them with you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pizza Night: Recipes

Who says you can't have a pizza and movie night in the middle of the week?  With everything made from scratch, this pizza is a healthier version; one you can feel good about on a Wednesday.

Pizza Dough Recipe
Mix together 5 cups flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.  Mix 1 3/4 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon yeast and mix into other ingredients.  Let rise at least 2 hours.  Divide in half and roll out two crusts.  Bake at 500* for about 4 minutes, until dough is just baked.  Put sauce, cheese, and toppings on.  Return to oven for 10 minutes.  (Yield: 2 Crusts)

Pizza Sauce Recipe
Combine 6 ounces tomato paste, 8 ounces tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  (Yield: Sauce for 1 Crust)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Paper Crafting: Wedding Scrapbook

One of my favorite pastimes is paper crafting.  Mostly that means making cards and home decor, but occasionally I venture into scrapbooking.  For our wedding pictures I wanted something more personal than just an album printed by an online company (although I think those are really neat too); I wanted it to be more special and meaningful.  I wanted to put as much of our personality into a picture book as I could.  So out came the mountain of craft supplies.

A lot of the little touches that I put on each page are handmade.  But some of the sweet little extras I picked up at Hobby Lobby, along with the paper.  I love Hobby Lobby; you might say I'm addicted.  And the great thing about it is that if it's not on sale this week, it probably will be next week.  I got most everything at about 50% off.  A way to save money and tie the whole album together is to pick out just a couple extras (such as stickers) and then spread them across several pages. 

Our beautiful wedding pictures were taken by Evangeline Renee.  As you can tell from the sub-par pictures below, I'm still learning to use my camera...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Supper at the Beach House

We're at the beach this week. We're a sand and water and sunshine kind of family.

The dining room table at our beach house was calling my name, so I dug through the kitchen cabinets and found various pieces to pull together to make a table setting.  There were several small things (like ribbon and candles and flowers) that I'd wished I'd had.  Giving in to ho-hum would have said that it wasn't going to be just right, so it wasn't going to happen at all.  But truly enjoying life and loving where you are doesn't wait for situations to be perfect.  The fun thing about beauty is that you can create it wherever you are.

Random, whimsical, mismatched pieces can become delightful when put together.  Number one rule: USE and LOVE what you have.  Approach things you already have with a different perspective and appreciate the beauty that is already there.