Archive for November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

gimme s'more - cute clay ornaments


There's this talented woman in the area that makes her children a unique ornament every year. She does this so when they are grown and leave the house, they will have a good size collection of Christmas tree ornaments to take with them. Lucky for us, she shared her talent with others and now we have our very own ornaments for our tree. We had so much fun making them we decided to make some more to give as teachers gifts. Here's a quick recap of how we made our s'more tree ornaments in case you want one, too.

S'more Snowman Christmas Tree Ornament Tutorial

Supplies needed:
Polymer clay (white, brown, orange, and black)
Wire and wire cutters
Blocks (optional)
Butter knife or clay tools

1. First, make two "marshmallows" by rolling clay in balls and then flattening out the top and bottom. You may want to roll the sides on a flat surface to straighten them out a bit.

2. Next, whip up a cute carrot nose.

3. Now, work on the "coal" eyes and mouth. A good way to ensure that your pieces are all uniform is to roll it out into a "snake" and then cut them. Shape them after you cut them off and they should all be pretty close in size.

4. Using your wire cutters, cut three pieces of wire per s'more snowman. One will be bent and used as the ribbon holder. The next two will be folded in half and twisted. These are the arms.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vintage Sparkle Guest Post

We are excited to be the guest blogger over at Or so she says. Here's a sneak peek at our vintage inspired tutorial. Go check it out!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

resin ring tutorial

Eee! A guest post! My favorite kind of post. Especially when the project is as cool as this one. I LOVE Miss London, and I adore all her amazing art. I wear my Starry Collage ring almost every day. Check out her Etsy shop for rings featuring her original paintings, plus tons of cool chipboard buttons. You'll be seeing her Deck the Halls buttons on an upcoming project from me--I love them! She also sells her paintings in her other Etsy shop, and she has a fun blog. Busy girl! Okay, enough from me. Here's London!

Hi! London here, from Such Sweet Tierney, Mandy was kind enough to ask me to guest post a fun tutorial! Today I’m going to show you how to make an easy, economic and totally unique piece of jewelry. These resin rings are a snap to make and would make the perfect handmade holiday gift.

Resin Ring Tutorial


1. Blank Ring trays (I buy mine on Etsy, but also eBay is another good source) The ones I use are adjustable and sterling silver coated brass, which means safe for sensitive skin…like mine!!
2. A resin or epoxy sealer. I recommend Sakura’s 3-D Crystal Laquer because it’s thick and totally clear, Diamond glaze can be substituted.
3. Heavyweight Gloss photo paper, I prefer HP.
4. Inkjet Printer
5. Photos, patterned paper, or other desired images
6. Display tray for rings or something to hold them level
7. Mod podge or other decoupage sealant
8. Paint brush
9. Scissors
10. Krylon Matte clear spray (optional)


1. Select images, photos or create mini collages for your base. I use photographic images of my own artwork and print them right off a word document. If using a printed image I suggest lightening it more than the desired effect as printing tends to darken such a small image. The square ring images are .87” X .87” but will vary by ring manufacturer. Set your printer to the best photo setting, print images and let dry. If using collage or patterned paper skip ahead to next step!

2. I prefer to use a krylon clear spray on both sides of the photo paper.

If you don’t have this, Mod Podge works great. Make sure your image is dry, and apply a thin coating of Mod Podge to both sides of the photo paper. Let dry 5-10 min.

3. Cut out your image and prepare ring tray by applying thin layer of Mod Podge inside. Working quickly, press image inside ring blank and evenly smooth. I use this handy little rubber tool to press down the corners and edges. I allow the image to crease up into the sides of the ring tray wall to ensure that there will be a tighter seal. A tight seal means less bubbling!

4. Allow ring to dry for 15-20 minutes.

5. Once dry, arrange in display tray or surface where the ring tops can sit level. You don’t want them to be lop-sided!

6. To fill the rings, tip bottle of epoxy all the way up and try to let the epoxy come out naturally instead of squeezing. This will reduce the bubbling. If your epoxy does not come out try cutting the tip wider. Fill each tray until the epoxy creates a dimensional “dome” on top of your ring.

7. Watch over your rings for about an hour as they start to harden. Use a toothpick, needle or bobby pin to pop bubbles that form in the epoxy. Epoxy will be hard to touch in 24 hours. Let harden for 5-7 days before wearing.

8. If you discover a large bubble or other imperfection after the initial 24 hours, the epoxy is still soft enough inside to easily remove/peel from the tray so that you may re-use the ring base.

Thanks for joining me in this fun project! Don’t forget to show and tell!

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pumpkin chocolate chip bread recipe

A few of you asked for the pumpkin chocolate chip bread recipe that I used on this post. I actually got it from the King Arthur Flour web site (LOVE their site and blog!), but I did add one thing. Just 2 tsp. cinnamon makes a HUGE difference in the flavor. I thought it was rather bland without it. I couldn't tell if it was pumpkin or banana. With the cinnamon it tasted like the pumpkin chocolate chip bread from Great Harvest Bread, one of my favorites!


Emmy's Pumpkin Bread (from

2/3 cup shortening or 1 cup vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (or one can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons cinnamon (Mandy's addition)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening or oil and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin and water. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and vanilla, stirring to blend, then mix in the chips and nuts.

Spoon the batter into two lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack. When it's completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.

If desired, just before serving, drizzle with an icing made of 1 cup confectioners' or glazing sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 tablespoon milk.

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Zhu Zhu Giveaway Winner!

Congrats Waiseone!

You are the winner of our Zhu Zhu Pet giveaway! Send your contact info to

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1 Comment

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

easy pumpkin bread wrapper

In case you're still looking for a good Thanksgiving hostess gift, I have one more. I made King Arthur Flour's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread last week and wanted to dress it up for a gift. This is a yummy recipe, but I strongly recommend adding 2 tsp. of cinnamon to the recipe. I made two batches of the bread, one with cinnamon and one without, and the difference was amazing. With the cinnamon it was heavenly. Anyway, this is not a recipe post--I'll let Jess handle that later this week.

First, did you see these mini loaf pans at Michael's for $1? So cute! But you don't need a cute loaf pan to do this. You could wrap it after removing it from your pan. After baking the bread and wrapping it with plastic wrap, I simply secured a 12" x 3" piece of patterned paper around the loaf. Then I tied a pretty ribbon around that. For the center I added a button. Thread one hole of a button with linen thread, pass it under the knot of the bow, then thread it back up through the other button hole and tie in a double knot. For some reason that button makes it look so much cuter, don't you think?

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fall flower tag


It's almost Thanksgiving, and if you're going to someone else's house for dinner, maybe you should think about bringing a hostess gift. For example: a jar of homemade jam and a Fall-ish dishcloth. Your host will think you're so thoughtful! Even if you're not thoughtful, here's a cute way to dress up a simple gift: the flower tag. We showed you tons of flowers during Flower Week, but this is one we didn't have time for. So here you go!

Paper Flower Tag Tutorial

What you'll need:

*Patterned paper
*Scallop punch or die cut
*Adhesive (I used Tombow's Mono Multi Glue)
*Stamped or handwritten sentiment

1. Punch or die cut 4 scalloped circles (or other flower shape).

2. Scrunch up your flowers. If needed, spritz them with water to make the scrunching easier.

3. Un-scrunch and fold flowers in half with patterned side on the outside.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

christmas countdown blocks

I can't believe November is almost over! My kids have been asking every day how many days until Christmas. They've been asking since Halloween, so I made some countdown blocks to stop all those questions! These are easy and fun to make, and would make a great gift!

Christmas Countdown Blocks Tutorial

What you'll need:

*2 wooden blocks (ours were 2"x2", but 4"x4" would be a great size for this project)
*Sandpaper (if needed to smooth out block)
*Acrylic paint
*Foam brush
*Patterned paper
*Distressing ink (totally optional)
*Mod Podge or other decoupage medium
*Another foam brush
*Number stickers or die cuts in a size that will fit on your block (we used the Slice to cut ours). You could use paper or vinyl. Or a Sharpie marker to write them on.

1. Sand and paint your blocks. Allow to dry thoroughly.

2. Cut your paper down to a size that is just smaller than your block. Ours was about 1 and 7/8". We cut 6 different papers so each side of the block was a different pattern. We used paper from the Eskimo Kisses 6x6 pad from Basic Grey. These paper pads are a great way to go because the designs are shrunk down from their original 12x12 size so you can see more of them on the little blocks.

3. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to one side of the block. Smooth paper on block, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Continue covering all sides of both blocks. Allow to dry.

4. This is optional, but we like to sand the edges of the paper to make them "one" with the block. Use a downward motion going away from the paper's edge to avoid tearing the paper.

5. If you're die-cutting your numbers, cut them to fit your blocks. Ours were 1.5" high. Be sure to use a 6 that can be flipped and used as a 9, too. Cut the following letters, or get these stickers out:
*Block 1 - 0,1,2,3,4,5
*Block 2 - 0,1,2,6,7,8

6. Adhere your letters to the blocks--use more Mod Podge if you die cut paper letters like we did.

Look at all the cute paper combinations that come out of this Eskimo Kisses paper!

7. I haven't done this yet, but you can also apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the entire block to seal it. I would probably recommend it, but I'm the slightest bit worried about it warping the paper. Amy, any thoughts?

8. On December 1 (or would it be November 30?), put your blocks out with 2 and 5 facing out. Then each day turn the blocks to count down one day until Christmas! My kids are so excited to turn the numbers each day they can hardly stand it.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

label your stuff

Here's a quick tip for all you crafters out there. Are you looking for a quick and easy way to label your gifts or items you are selling at the craft fairs? Take advantage of all the inexpensive address label offers that are flying around the blogosphere right now and make some craft labels.

I took advantage of a discount code at and had some cute labels made up. I just selected two address labels and put in my own wording. Now I have quick labels without having to break the bank or spend precious craft time on making labels. I've already used quite a few on the backs of some picture tiles I made as gifts. Think of the possibilities!

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a new fave -

One of the great things about the craft blogging world is all the great people you get to "meet." We are so excited about some of our newest friends, the three ladies from How Does She. The are three amazing women who started their blog to help themselves and other women become better mothers, better wives, better women. But this is way more than a blog. The site has nine categories that range from balancing a healthy lifestyle, to throwing the perfect party, to implementing creative ideas with family. I especially love the slideshow of recent posts at the top of the page, so you can see what's new on the site at a glance. Right now they're even featuring a countdown of 30 great Christmas neighbor gifts! How do they do it all? We're seriously impressed.

This is one of my favorite posts--the shutter message board. I'm thinking it would be perfect for displaying Christmas cards! Love the red. Check out the tutorial, then stay for a while and check out all the fun categories on How Does She!

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