Monday, January 30, 2012

"I was soapin' you'd be mine" Valentine gift {soap tutorial and free printables}

After my recent adventures in soap making, I got a little hooked. I just can't tell you how easy it is! I'm doing the 'melt and pour' method of soap making though, the kind where all I have to do is....well, melt and pour the soap.

When I told my husband that I learned how to make soap, he pointed out that I'm not actually making the soap, I'm just mixing it. Way to crush my little crafting heart. Next time he goes to play one of his computer games I'm going to remind him that he's not actually a wizard.

So there.  

So back to making soap. I have these cute silicone heart molds that were meant for muffins, but why make muffins when I could have a year's supply of heart soap? I also included some free downloadable tags so you can give them as gifts.

  • Glycerin soap 
  • Red food dye 
  • Silicon heart mold
  • Fragrance of your choice
  • Cellophane baggies
  • Free printable tags HERE
  • Ribbon
  • Cardstock
  • Hole punch
  • Decorative edge scissors

First, follow the instructions on the back of your glycerin soap to melt your soap in small batches (5 or so ounces at a time). I like to use a kitchen scale to weigh out the soap, then melt it in a clear measuring cup to make it easier to pour.

After you have your soap melted down, stir in your desired amount of food coloring until the color you want is achieved. Next add your fragrance according to the package directions.

Pour your soap into the mold and allow it to dry. Mine took approximately 30 minutes, but time will vary based on size of the mold and amount of soap.

After it's cooled, pop your soaps out of the mold, and it's ready to be bagged!

I made some free downloadable gift tags that you can download HERE. Just print on cardstock and use decorative scissors to cut them out.

To package my soaps, I put a couple of them in a cellophane bag and tied it with ribbon. Then, I punched a hole in one of the sides of the tags and threaded one of the ends of the ribbon through it.

Simple and cute. These heart soaps would make a great Valentine gift for co-workers or friends!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pinned it, made it: food

One morning recently, I woke up with the sudden itch to actually make some of the things I pinned on my Pinterest board. Novel idea, right?

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that, when it comes to Pinterest, I find myself scrolling through the pictures for a ridiculous amount of time while pinning pictures like a mad woman. Then I realize that it's been 10 minutes since I blinked. I know I sound like an addict, but I can stop anytime.


I've got tons of boards for categories like things I'd like to make myself, inspiration for future projects, food, and things I'd like to make the kids, but I could count on one hand the things I've actually made from Pinterest. So I decided it was time for some action!

Over the past week, I've been trying out some of the recipes that I pinned, and I thought I'd share them with you too so you could hear what I thought of them and give them a try.


1. 2-Minute French Toast in a Cup from Prudent Baby

Prudent Baby has always been one of my favorites. They always have great tutorials for clothing and other crafts, so I knew this one would be a winner (and it doesn't hurt that french toast happens to be one of my favorite breakfast foods.) The preparation and assembly for this was SO easy. I had all the ingredients on hand, and all I had to do was mix everything in a cup and cook for 2 minutes in the microwave. Brilliant, and yummy! I'll definitely be making this again.

2. Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rolls (via Jen McCaffrey on Pinterest)

This recipe had no source to it, so I'm linking to the pin itself since the instructions are in the caption. I immediately liked the idea of making these because the ingredient list was so simple: bread, cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and sugar. I had my doubts that they would turn out very good but I have to say, these were delicious! The sugar and cinnamon that the rolls are covered in, along with the crispy texture and creaminess of the cream cheese, remind me of getting a cinnamon sugar pretzel with glaze dip at Auntie Anne's. They are rich, but I think these would make a great snack or addition to a Sunday brunch.

3. Pepperoni Rolls from What About Pie?

As a child, there was a local bakery down the road from my church that would make pepperoni rolls each day. The recipe was basic, just bread filled with cheese and pepperoni, but that homemade bread and gooey cheese was to die for. After church each Sunday, we would drive to the bakery and pick up pepperoni rolls for each of us and devour them on the way home. This recipe brought all those memories flooding back. Since the bread is store-bought, it wasn't the same as the bakery version I remember, but I would like to try this again with my own homemade dough. All in all, it was delicious!

4. Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup by Chefnini on Food.Com

This last recipe is one that I made just recently. My husband is a sucker for Panera's broccoli cheese soup, so I decided to make this with him in mind. I kept the recipe the same, however I did substitute one cup of 1% milk in place of one of the cups of half-and-half to cut down on the fat and richness and it worked just fine. The only thing I would change would be to reduce the amount of nutmeg. Otherwise, this dish was a winner. I might double it next time since there were hardly any leftovers.


Are there any recipes you've made from Pinterest that you absolutely love? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, I'd love to try them myself!

Also, if you want to check out the rest of the food that I've pinned on my "Eats" board, or to follow me on Pinterest, you can find me here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cupid's Arrow Chocolates

Target is a dangerous store. Not only do I love their clothes and home decor, but they also have an area at the front of the store with shelves full of inexpensive goodies and decorations for under $5. I'm not sure what they call it, but I refer to it as "the black hole" because I get sucked in right away every time I walk in. It's kind of like how grocery stores keep candy in the check out line because they KNOW you're too weak NOT to buy it. 

I just can't help myself.

I went to Target recently in an attempt to return something, and I was immediately drawn to the goody section. I was desperate attempting to tear myself away before spending all of my money on cute little robot thank you cards and Valentine's decorations, and then I spotted these:

They may not look like much, but these silicon ice cube molds were just begging to be used for a Valentine's craft. After all, Valentine's Day IS the day of love, but it is also the day of chocolate. And I'm totally down with a holiday that encourages me to eat as much chocolate as possible, so I made some Cupid's arrow chocolates.

Here's what you need to make some too.

  • Candy melts or chocolate chips
  • Silicon heart mold
  • Pretzel rods
  • Fruit Roll-Ups or other gummy candy

Melt your chocolate chips or candy melts according to the package directions. I prefer the double boiler method since it seems to melt the chocolate evenly without overcooking it. I don't have an actual double broiler,  so I just simmer (don't boil!)some water in a pot and place a glass bowl on top and melt my candy that way. It works great!

After your candy is melted, pour into your mold. Make sure you slightly overfill each cup.

Place a single pretzel rod on top of your chocolate at an angle as shown below and leave chocolate to cool.

While you're waiting for your chocolate to cool, use kitchen shears to cut out some hearts for the arrowheads and feathers for the tail from a Fruit Roll-Up. (In retrospect, I wish I would have used fruit leather or gummy candy for this part because they're a little thicker, but the fruit roll-up still worked fine.)

Once your chocolates have cooled, pop them out of the mold and admire your awesomeness.

Now, dab some of your melted chocolate on the ends of your pretzel rods and attach your fruit roll-up pieces.

And there you have it, cute little chocolates with Cupid's arrow through them.

Now give them to your Valentine! And if you're giving these to your man don't worry, while your guy might not appreciate the cuteness of the pretzel and Fruit Roll-up arrows, he will appreciate the fact that you're giving him food.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

A walk outside

Today was..well, not what I expected. We went to church, dropped the kids off, then 30 minutes into the service, we got a call that our house alarm went off. We grabbed the kids and rushed home after being assured that the cops were on their way. When we got home do you know what we found?

Nothing. A balloon that we bought the kids had moved when the AC came on and set the motion sensor off. I'm sure we were the least exciting call the cops had gotten all day.

We did enjoy some time outside though. It was one of those overcast, perfect-for-picture-taking kind of days. So Connor and I took a trip outside while Haley was napping.

This guy is busy perfecting his walking. He actually has it down really well, as long as he's not wearing shoes that is.

Shoes on his little chunky feet make him one angry dude. The minute we put them on him, he kicks and whines pitifully until they come off again. It's not comfortable for him, shoes just make his little life more difficult. It made me think of how our relationship with God can be sometimes. When something hard comes along, we kick and scream instead of doing what we should do - just come to Him.

And He picks us up and sets us on our feet again.

That's not to say we won't have other spills later. But He's always there, watching over us like any caring parent does. Ready to wipe away the tears and pick us up again. Because ultimately, we have to go through the hard stuff to make us stronger.

Even though it may be hard to understand at the time, one day we'll look back on all that hard stuff and say, "If I hadn't tried and tripped a little, I wouldn't have learned how to walk."

So thank you God for shoes. And for helping us up when we fall.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Heart doily shirt

I don't really decorate or do much for Valentines Day (aside from going out to dinner with Patrick), but this year I wanted to make something fun for my daughter to wear. I recently picked up a pack of paper heart doilies and immediately remembered a project I saw on Maybe Matilda awhile ago.

Rachel uses doilies and fabric paint to make a cute shirt for herself and, while I've tried several times in the past, I can't ever seem to make anything cute for myself. I get a vision for a cute article of clothing, and then I put all this time and effort into making it only to have it turn into a complete train wreck. Children's clothing is just so much more forgiving. So, until I can teach myself to make decent adult clothing, I've learned to stick with what I know, so I made one of Rachel's painted doily shirts for Haley!

I used pink and red fabric paint and layered the hearts on a plain long-sleeved shirt.

It turned out so cute!

This method of using doilies to paint a shirt would really be great for any holiday. I'll definitely be trying it again. If you're looking for a quick, inexpensive idea for Valentine's Day, grab a pack of doilies and make one of Rachel's painted doily shirts!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Link love and a portrait of Connor

Back in October, I have the pleasure of winning a giveaway over at one of my regular blog reads, Dee*Construction. Do you have a blog that you love to read because it makes you want to live in that person's living room (in a non-creepy way)? That's Dee's blog. It's the one I like to sit and page through on lazy days in my pj's with a hot cup of coffee. It has a wonderfully vintage, homey-feel that I can't get enough of.

All photos property of Dee*Construction
I'm one of those people who would love to have a house full of vintate-y things, but since it doesn't come naturally to me, my house ends up looking more like a garage sale. That's why I live vicariously through blogs like Dee*Construction, Bleubird Vintage, and Cakies.

Besides peeks into daily life, Dee also has tons of wardrobe refashions and makes the most adorable dolls. Oh, and she's expecting baby #5 soon. I don't know where she finds the time to do it all. If I had 5 kids, I'm pretty sure I'd just hang out in sweats all day watching reruns of What Not to Wear on a pile of laundry. I can barely attempt to craft with 2 children.

Like I was saying, back in October I entered one of Dee's giveaways to win a custom portrait from one of her sponsors, Stella of the blog The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse and the shop Frank and Dean. When I enter giveaways, it's usually something I do without really expecting to win, so I was so thrilled when Dee notified me that I won! The prize was a custom portrait of a person and background of my choice.

After a lot of deliberation, here is the picture I decided on (my Connor boy back when he was little and squishy!):

Here is Stella's portrait based on my photo and background choice:

Isn't it awesome? The likeness and colors are just beautiful, I feel so lucky to have won the giveaway! The portrait is hanging out on my mantel right now, along with my DIY hurricane vases that I worked back into my mantel decor after Christmas.

If you're looking for a custom portrait, shoot Stella an email. She's one talented lady!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BFF Coffee Cozy

I have to have my coffee in the morning. And I mean, a big ol' cup of it. My husband jokingly says I have a bucket of coffee in the morning. A bucket is one of the standard coffee measurements, right? Tall, grande, venti, bucket. Yep.

Maybe "bucket" is comparable to Starbucks' alleged "trenta size" which is apparently larger than the capacity of the human stomach. 31 ounces of coffee. Talk about your coffee buzz. Is it bad that I want to try this? That sounds like the right amount it would take me to start my day off without being a troll.

Since it's beginning to actually feel like winter in Tennessee (and also due to the fact that I've been drinking multiple buckets of coffee thanks to my new Keurig that I got for Christmas), I wanted to share a coffee sleeve that I made for a friend awhile ago.

It's a simple sleeve that I made by tracing a cardboard Starbucks sleeve on 2 layers of felt, adding additional felt coffee and muffin characters, then finishing it off with a blanket stitch around the edges. I also added a few french knots for the blueberries and couple seed beads for the eyes on the coffee cup.

Maybe one of these days I'll actually keep something I make haha.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

And then this happened.

So while we were in Pittsburgh for the holidays, Connor learned a new trick.

Yep, Connor learned how to walk! He had been taking a few steps here and there before the holidays, but he decided he was over the whole crawling thing and just took off during our 10 day vacation. And now, he is into EVERYTHING.

Want to know how to babyproof a house? Let a one-year-old loose and hide anything that they find interesting.

We went to my sister-in-law's house for New Year's, and Connor was thrilled. It was like we had just taken the kid to Disney World. We spent most of the time hiding stone coasters and antique cameras, blowing out candles, and attempting to keep him from leaping off of the stairs (which had no banister) and onto the cat.

I feel like his sole purpose is to break everything. I mean, just look at this face. It's a look that says "I am Connor, Destroyer of All Things."

Needless to say, we are re-babyproofing.

Oh and while we were there, he also decided to get 2 more teeth. I need this kid to stop growing!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mitten Pocket Shirt

I have a thing for appliqued shirts (if that wasn't abundantly obvious.) Probably because of the instant gratification they give me. I get a cute shirt in half the time without having to make the actual shirt itself, and that leaves me more time for really important things, think like eating bowls of Oh's cereal while catching up on my DVR'd episodes of Chopped (there's just something so intriguing about watching four people frantically attempt to make an appetizer out of stuff like candy canes, lamb chops, and pancake mix.)

I get inspiration from so many different things that I have to keep a running list in my phone. For this project, my inspiration was a mitten. Originally, I had a vision of making a cute ruffled dress for my daughter with striped mitten pockets. The dress became a shirt, then the stripes became hearts but hey, at least my mitten pockets remained unchanged.

Wanna make one too?

  • Shirt
  • Scraps of knit fabric
  • Ric-rac
  • 2 buttons
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies
  • Free mitten template for download HERE

Step 1: Make your mittens.

First, print and cut out my mitten template. Using a disappearing ink marker, trace the template onto your knit fabric. Flip your template and trace a second mitten. Cut out.

Next, fold the bottom of your mitten up 1/4 inch and press. Fold up another 1/4 inch and press. Using a zig-zag stitch and coordinating thread, stitch straight across.

Step 2: Attach your mittens.

Now you need to enclose the raw edges of your mittens. We'll do this with a gathering stitch. Set your stitch width and length to their highest settings and stitch 1/4 inch around the perimeter of your mitten, making sure not to backstitch at the beginning or end. Leave the tails long for gathering.

Tie the tails at one end of your mitten in a knot. At the other end, pull gently on one of your threads and push the fabric away from the thread to form gathers. You'll have to work to distribute the gathers evenly around the mittens, especially around the thumbs. You want to gather just enough to keep the raw edges of your mittens underneath so that they're not exposed when you sew your pockets on.

Place your mitten pockets on the top of your shirt and make sure they're lined up exactly where you want them. Now pin pin pin.

Make sure you're happy with the placement because there's no going back once you stitch everything in place!

Once you have your mittens pinned where you want them, use your coordinating thread to stitch your mitten pocket in place using a 1/4 inch seam allowance (don't sew the top closed :) Add some ric-rac for the string (stitch down with coordinating thread) and a couple buttons for decoration.

Here's a close-up of the pocket detail.

The pockets are a great place for kids to hide their treasures.

The pockets are also really great for blogging mommies to hide the bribes for photo sessions (smile if you want chocolate!)

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