Archive for May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

reader submission - beach chair cover tutorial

The the Little Birdies had a big family outing planned to go clamming on Whidbey Island today with some friends. A few of us went last year and had a blast. But we're in the middle of a long, cool, rainy weather cycle, and we decided digging holes in the sand and exploring low tide is much more fun in the sun than the rain. Oh well--I'll just have to stay inside and craft instead! In fact, here's a great tutorial from one of our fabulous readers that will get me ready for summer, whenever it decides to show up.

Today's reader submission is from Lisa of She has put together a tutorial for this cool beach lounge chair cover to keep your your towel in place and your beach accessories organized. Brilliant. Take it away, Lisa!

How To Make a Beach Chair Cover

I searched online everywhere for a Beach Towel Chair Cover tutorial because I didn't want to spend the $30+ stores were charging for them. No tutorial found anywhere online. After inspecting a cover in person and chatting with my BCF (best crafting friend), I figured the cover would be simple enough to make. They are perfect for the beach or pool. The back "flap" keeps your beach towel from slipping off the chair or getting blown off by the wind. The side pockets hold all your beach essentials so all you need to do is lay back and soak up the fun in the sun!

First off you should know I am a messy sewer. My grandmother is a professional seamstress and would shudder if she saw my sloppy seams etc. But since this was for my own use and just something I threw together in less than 30 minutes, I did not go to any great lengths to make it perfect.

I started with one of the cute Target Dollar spot beach towels (only $1.25!). I had some cheap light pink terry cloth material on hand (I seem to have a hobby of collecting fabric!) but you could also use a 2nd towel for the back and pockets. A serger would have came in very handy for this product, but I used a simple tight zig zag stitch on the raw edges of my pockets and back. You could fold it and hem it to make it look more professional.

I cut the light pink terry cloth wider than my towel because I wanted the cover to fit any beach chair and this was the easiest way to make sure it would work on wider chairs. Sew the back section onto the top and side parts of the towel to make the part what will slide over the chair to keep the wind from blowing your towel away or slipping once you sit down.

Next I laid out all my "beach" items. A book, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, cellphone etc. and cut the pocket sizes to make sure all my items would fit in the pockets. On the back part I made it longer so it could be folded down to "close" the pocket.

Sew the pockets up and then sew them onto the towel with a single straight stitch, leaving the flap at the top. TA DA... Your beach towel chair cover is ready for some fun the sun!

Thanks, Lisa! If you have a great tutorial you want to share with us, send us an e-mail with the tutorial and some pictures (or a link to your blog). We'd love to hear from you!

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

giveaway winners

Thanks to everyone who entered our two great giveaways last week. Happy Chickadee and Klutz Glossy Bands were very popular! Now it's time to announce the winners...

The winner of the Happy Chickadee dress is...
Marie from 52 Looks

The THREE winners of the Klutz Glossy Bands Books are:

★All Thingz Related★

Amanda @

Soggy Cereal Mom

Congrats to all the winners. We have emailed you so you can send us your info!

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Friday, May 28, 2010

sweet chex mix

I love Chex mix. Pretty much every kind of it. But this sweet Chex mix that my mom has made ever since I was a kid is my absolute favorite kind. I won't pretend that it is healthy in any way, but that's why it's delicious! When you need a sweet, gooey, treat run to the nearest store and grab the ingredients for this recipe. It could be the hit of your Memorial Day BBQ!

Sweet Chex Mix
Place in large bowl:
1 (16 oz) box of corn Chex
1 can of peanuts, lightly salted (I usually go light on the peanuts for my husband's preference, so use whatever amount suits you.)

Melt 2 cups of butter or margarine in a pan. Add:
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
--Bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes. Pour over cereal and peanuts. Stir and pour out onto wax paper. Let sit for a couple of hours and then store in an airtight container.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

some things are meant to be

Just had to share one of those "good thing" moments.

While on a quick weekend trip to San Francisco a few months ago, I fell in love with these little birdie measuring cups at Anthropologie. But alas, I just couldn't cough up the $32 for the set.

As luck would have it, I saw them at my local Anthro recently and guess what? They were 60% off! That's how I know we were meant to be together. They don't actually measure even close to accurately, but I'm very happy to have them perched prettily in the window above my kitchen sink.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the windless kite

My kids want to fly their kites on the quietest of days. Not the faintest hint of wind, hardly even a breeze. It doesn't matter how many times I explain that the kite needs the thrust of the wind to overcome gravity and lift off, they insist on dragging them out and tangling up the string into knots that I'll spend the rest of the summer untangling. So when all the neighborhood kids were at my house asking to play with the kites the other day, I pulled out a brilliant idea.

I gathered several plastic grocery bags from my recycling stash and grabbed some string. Tying the handles together with one end of the string, I made a loop on the other end for their little hands to hold on to. "Run!" I urged them. Run they did, and behind them flew their puffy white sacks like miniature Walmart blimps in the spring sky. You can't ask for better cheap thrills than that.

With the slightest forward motion, the force of the air through the billowing bags creates enough thrust to lift them instantly, even without a steady wind. We tied them behind bikes and scooters and let them fly themselves. Try it. It's quick and easy (and free) fun. Plus you're saving a few sea turtles by keeping your plastic bags out of the oceans. You'll be the greenest (and least tangled-in-a-mess-of-kite-string) mom on the block.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Klutz Glossy Bands Book Giveaway

It's no surprise that we love Klutz. We have had several of their books offered as giveaways on our site and today we have yet another one for you!

The new book is called Glossy Bands and they have a great description of it:
"Chances are good that you’ve never seen anything quite like a Glossy Band. Simply take our special, non-toxic, acrylic gel and squeeze out dots of color following the patterns in our book. Then use the swirling stick to make fancy designs. Once the bracelet is dry, wrap it around your wrist, and you’ve made your first Glossy Band: a beautiful, durable, completely wearable piece of art. Glossy Bands comes with 4 colors of gel, clear plastic work surface, swirling sticks, and Klutz clear instructions for tons of bracelet designs."

You can click here to watch a how-to video about this book.

How fun! I know I would have loved this as a little girl. Klutz is offering THREE of our readers a chance to win this fabulous book. Just head on over to the Klutz site and tell us your favorite book. Then come back and let us know what it is! This giveaway will end Saturday, May 29th at 11:59 pm PST. Good luck!

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happy chickadee giveaway

Time for another giveaway! I have had baby items on the brain lately because I have so many family members and friends that are currently pregnant. I have been shopping for gifts and trying to find cute items. Happy Chickadee is your source for hand made and boutique designer clothing and accessories for little girls ages 0-6. Clothing, toys, gifts, organic items, gear, and decor. They have such adorable and unique items!

Today, Happy Chickadee is giving away this gorgeous dress!

Hearts and Clovers Halter Infant Sun Dress by Beary Basics. Gorgeous designer cotton prints mixed together makes this a showstopper. It’s the perfect outfit for birthday parties, visits to grandma, special occasions and photo sessions. This long, open backed sundress is stunning. Your little girl will love the flounce and bounce to the dress and will feel as special as she is each time she wears it. Proudly made in the USA. Size 12 months or 18 months. It's a $44 value!

To enter this giveaway visit Happy Chickadee and find your favorite item (besides this dress). Then come back and tell us what it is. The giveaway will end Friday, May 28th 11:59 pm PDT.

Happy Chickadee
is also offering a special discount for our readers. Enter the code secret15 to get free US shipping and 15% off orders. US orders only apply. Some brands are excluded, Gilbert Design, Jennifer Delonge, Jamie Rae, Kids Crooked House, La Petite Maison,and Lima Bean Kids excluded.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

gussy giveaway winner

Thanks to everyone who entered our Gussy giveaway. I know you're all dying to win something from this fabulous site. But there can only be one winner. The $30 gift certificate goes to. . .

Congrats, Erika! Contact us so we can hook you up with some Gussy goodness!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

how to frost a cupcake video tutorial

We've had a few cupcake posts lately, and the other day a friend asked Stacy to show her how she frosts her cupcakes so perfectly. It's true--she has a gift for creating the most scrumptious, swirling piles of frosting. Of course I invited myself along, camera in tow, and turned the get together into a blog post. Sorry girls--I can't help myself! Thanks to Stacy, Shelley, Melissa, and Deborah for letting me act like the paparazzi while you decorated. You were stellar models!

Just FYI, we used a Wilton 1M star tip and disposable decorating bags in the video. You can find these at big box stores like Michael's, small specialty baking shops, and all over online. We embellished the cupcakes with chocolate monograms and cupcake picks (that Stacy made with her paper crafting supplies). Also, our favorite butter cream frosting recipe is from Food Network. Yummy and easy. Enjoy!

I also wanted to mention that I made this little video using my new Adobe Premiere Elements 8 video editing software that Adobe sent me. In the past I have used iMovie and Windows Live Movie Maker, so it was fun to compare and see the differences between all three. There is definitely a learning curve when moving from one software to another, and I still feel like I have a lot to learn about Premiere Elements. I spent a lot of time using their online Help site, which was wonderful. It includes pictures and diagrams to help you navigate the many menus and screens. But my movie took a lot longer to create than it should have. Hopefully I will get faster the more I use it.

One thing I love about this software is how you can use so many different effects on the video. It's a lot like Photoshop. It's great to be able to fix the color or lighting in a clip that is too dark, or crop something a little closer. You can also apply stylized effects like gausian blur or beveled edges. It also has a ton of cool text options. I was impressed that I could set the "style" for my text so that I didn't have to keep fixing the font, color, and size in ever clip that I had a text overlay. Like Photoshop, Premiere Elements is pretty powerful editing software, which was a little bit of a detriment to little 'ol novice me. I felt like there were a lot of options that were way over my head, even after I read the Help section. But I'm sure that, too, will be less of an issue as I use and understand the software better. You'll be hearing more from me on this subject. . .

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

circle applique quilt

Baby G. finally got his quilt! Nevermind that he is six months old. Luckily summer doesn't officially start here until July, so he still has a little time to snuggle in it.

I love an easy quilt, and this one is just that. I had leftover Michael Miller fabric from this stroller quilt, but not enough for another patchwork. So I opted to cut a few circles of each (plus a few other coordinating fabrics) to create a similar look with way less fabric.

I ironed my fabric to an iron-on webbing, then cut the circles using a die cut machine, but you could easily trace a cup and hand-cut your circles. Then I measured and ironed them in place and used a zig-zag stitch to stitch them in place.

The quilting was the hardest part of this quilt! That's the reason it sat in my closet for months and months. I decided to quilt around each circle, and then outline the circle rows with another row of quilting. If I could do it again, I'd probably just do a stipple over the entire center panel, even over the circles. I love the look of stippling. But I still love the way this polka dot quilt turned out!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

easy ribbon ruffle tutorial

I finally found a place mat I liked to make this place mat purse we posted recently (I found it at Anthropologie), but I thought it needed a little somethin' somethin'. My go-to accent these days is a ruffle. Frilly is good! This easy ribbon ruffle fit the bill perfectly. I also love it for papercrafts (see below).

Easy Ribbon Ruffle Tutorial

*Length of ribbon
*Sewing machine & coordinating thread
*Seam ripper, pencil, or other small, pointed object

1.Put your ribbon under the needle and stitch a few stitches (I have used a straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, and a couple of my decorative stitches, all with great results). Stop with your needle down in the ribbon.

2. Using a seam ripper or pencil tip, push an inch or so of ribbon up toward the needle, forming a ruffle.

3. Continue sewing straight down the middle, right over the top of the ruffle.

4. Continue creating ruffles and sewing over them until your ribbon is the length you want it.

I often alternate the direction of my ruffles, as seen below.

To sew my ruffle ribbon on a project, I simply pinned it in place and sewed over the top of the original stitches.

I used a decorative stitch on this ribbon, and stapled it to this card.

I often use matching thread, but sometimes it's fun to use a contrasting thread, like on this scrapbook page.

As a gift to a friend without a sewing machine, I stitched a few feet of several ribbons into ruffles and included it in her Christmas gift (with other scrapbooking supplies). It's fun to stitch different colors just to have on hand. I {heart} ruffles!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

gussy giveaway

We are pleased to offer a fabulous giveaway today! Here is a bit about what the owner had to say: Gussy is a line of ruffled accessories. Each ruffle is machine sewn free-hand style, making each ruffle unique. About 18 months ago I sat down at my kitchen table -- I wanted to learn how to sew. And here I am now, offering wallets, zipped pouches of all sizes, laptop bags, and note cards (all with my signature ruffle) to those that love a little flair. And starting May 14, I'll be sewing exclusively on Gussy products. No more day job! : ] To read more about Gussy, click here.

The Nester wrote, "Gussy has a juicy shop full of all kinds of wonderfulness, and her blog, Gussy has a lot to say is quickly becoming a crafter’s headquarters where she features different crafters/artists and writes about her experience."

As soon as I headed over to take a look at some of the Gussy products, I about died. I am in love. Below is one of the reasons why.

Here's another...

And yet another...

Love at first sight feels so good. Anyway...I am majorly jealous of you readers who get a chance at some of these beauties. Gussy is offering one reader a chance to win a $30 shop credit to be spent at (all baby blankets are exempt from giveaway credit). To enter, visit the shop and then come back and leave us a comment telling us your favorite item (good luck finding just one!). For a second entry follow our blog or the Gussy blog. Good luck! The giveaway ends Friday, May 21 at 11:59 pm PDT.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

upcoming review

I am so excited to have an opportunity coming up to review a product from CSN Stores. I love their products and I can't wait to try something out. Lately I have been trying to start some new decorating projects in my home, as you have seen in my last post with my refinished side table. CSN Stores have such a wide selection of products, I have no idea how I will choose something.

I am considering choosing something in lighting or maybe something from home accents. I really don't have much talent in the area of decorating. What would you choose?

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

refinished side table

I recently had my good friend show me how to refinish furniture. I can't believe I hadn't tried it sooner, it really is so simple and it's amazing how new and fresh you can make a piece look! My mom gave me this set of small tables when I first got married. One of the tables has been damaged by water over the years. The surface was bubbled up. I was going to throw the table away when I decided I might as well try to refinish it. What did I have to lose?

First I sanded the table to make the surface smooth. Since the table was damaged it required a lot of heavy duty sanding to get past the damage. I even had to use some wood putty to fill in a few gaps.

After sanding was finally finished, I used a gray primer on the table. I then spray painted it in Rustoleum's Colonial Red. What a beauty!

Finally I brushed on some stain and sanded over it to get a distressed look. Of course you can skip this step if you just want it painted without the distressing. Then I added a coat of clear finish to protect it. I wish the picture did it justice, but it really looks so much cooler in person. I am so happy with the result and even more thrilled that I didn't throw this table away! It was such a cheap way to turn this damaged table into a brand new one. I have several more things I am now planning on refinishing.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

monogram cupcake toppers

Remember last week's post about the daisy cupcake toppers? Well, while we were at it, we also made monogram cupcake toppers using a little white chocolate and sprinkles. You can create any letter in any font, or any other shape. Here's how.

To use a specific font, print out your letter exactly the size you want it. Cover your printed page with a piece of wax paper.

Melt your melting chocolate according to package directions. Spoon melted chocolate into an icing bag or plastic bag with the tip cut off. Pipe the chocolate onto the wax paper following your printed guide (or freehand it if you're artistic, or just brave).

Immediately sprinkle with nonpareils or other sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet. Allow to dry for several minutes, then carefully pull shapes or letters off the wax paper and put on top of cupcakes.

Think how cute these would be with the birthday girl or boy's initial on them. Or any shape that goes along with your party theme. Custom toppers for any occasion!

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

i craft, therefore i am

We hope you're all having a wonderful Mother's Day! My favorite part (besides my husband fixing dinner!) was the handmade gifts from my boys. My kindergartener made a book called, My Amazing Mom, and one page said, "My mom is really good at_________." He filled in the blank with "crafting."

Recently I made this mini book to celebrate just that. I don't usually take the time to scrapbook myself, but I got a design team assignment to use this mini album and coordinating die-cut pages from Little Yellow Bicycle. I LOVE this line, Fresh Print Clothesline, but it's rather girlie, and I have boys. So I was it.

I decided to record my love of crafting. It brings a richness to my life, it makes me happy. Okay, I'm obsessed. I love that my kids recognize that this is a part of who I am. But I hope they always know that being their mom is the most important thing in my life. I hope this book inspires you to take some time to document who you are, what makes you happy. It's like giving yourself a little Mother's Day gift. Enjoy!

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