Archive for January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

valentine bubbles labels {free printable}

I saw these cute Valentine bubbles in tubes with little heart bubble wands at Walmart and thought they'd made a perfect "sugarless" Valentine for my boys' classes! If you can't find them with the Valentine's stuff, I've seen them in white in the wedding aisle at Walmart, Michael's, etc., and at I made up some quick (and free) printable labels so you can print a Valentine's message on address labels and stick them on the bubble tubes in half a jiff! The labels read, "Don't 'burst' my bubble, Valentine. Be Mine!" Here's one of my little Valentines enjoying his bubbles. . .

Kids Bubbles Valentine Idea

*Heart wand bubble tubes
*Avery address labels in size 5162 (size is 1 1/3" x 4" and there are 14 per sheet)

Download and print the label file on 1 1/3" x 4" self-adhesive address labels (I used Avery 5162 labels, product #48862 or 48462). Note: These are a little larger than standard address labels you might have on hand. If you use the right size, these will print perfectly in the center of your labels!

These were a little long for my bubble tubes, so I cut about a quarter inch off each short end before peeling them off the label sheet. Click here or on the image to go to our free printable download site. I included pink and blue writing in case your child has a preference.

Center the label on the tube and press on. That's it! You could tie a little "from ____" tag on it, or have your child write it on the labels before peeling them off if you wanted. Or even stick them to a card stock heart with a note. Either way, it's a quick and inexpensive "treat" that won't rot your kids' teeth this Valentine's day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Monday, January 30, 2012

easy burlap valentine banner {tutorial}

I'm still trying to put together my Valentine mantel between diaper changes and feedings, which is proving difficult, but this Valentine craft idea was a cinch. I finished it in about 20 minutes (minus the time to photograph the steps), and it only cost about $2. Here's how to make a simple--but darling--burlap Valentine banner / bunting for your Valentine's decor using not burlap, but jute webbing. And it does double holiday duty--you can use it again for Christmas decor!

Valentine Pennant Bunting Tutorial
*6 feet of jute webbing (this is used for upholstery projects and looks like a tightly woven burlap, and can be found at craft and fabric stores, or even at WalMart in the sewing/craft section)
*Baker's twine, string, or jute
*Sewing machine and red thread

1. Cut 10" pieces of the jute webbing. I got 7 pennants out of 6 feet of webbing. I found my jute webbing on a roll at Walmart, but I've also bought it at JoAnn by the yard for about $.50 per yard.

2. Fold one end in half lengthwise.

With the fold nearest you, cut a wedge out of the folded end at about a 90 degree angle from the fold down to the bottom of the long side, creating two points. (Be careful not to cut toward the fold or you'll get a pennant with one point in the center!)

Unfold and you have a nicely centered notch in one end.

2. Now you'll cut the other side. You could use the same method as above, but I recommend this instead so your two ends will match up perfectly. Fold the webbing in half width-wise, matching up the points of the cut side to the bottom of the other side. 

Holding the two ends together, cut a triangle out of the bottom piece, using the top piece as a guide. The two ends should match.

3. The next step is to sew the pennants onto your twine or string. To make a banner with the same number of pennants and space between them, you'll want about 60" of twine. However, I wasn't sure how long I wanted it, so I did not cut my twine until I was done sewing all the pennants on. 
Fold a pennant in half over the twine and pin together. Make sure your twine is lying snugly against the inside of the fold.

Sew across the top of the pennant about 1/4" from the top. Be sure not to sew over your twine. You're making a snug casing, but you want to be able to move your pennants after you're done. 

Turn at each corner and continue sewing around the pennant with a 1/4" seam allowance. Doubling the pennant this way will make it much sturdier and help it to lay flat.

Add the next pennant to your twine and repeat.

Hang your banner and space out your pennants evenly. They should be snug enough to stay put, but loose enough that you can move them. I spaced mine about 5" apart across my mantel.

Sweet and simple!

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Friday, January 27, 2012

chinese scallion pancakes

Did you do anything to celebrate the Chinese New Year this week? Monday was Chinese New Year and kicked off the Year of the Dragon. Ever since meeting my dear friend, Stacy who is half Chinese, I have loved cooking Chinese dishes and celebrating Chinese New Year. Yesterday we celebrated with a delicious lunch and everyone brought a Chinese dish to share. I made Stacy's fabulous lettuce wraps. Remember them? We also ate dumplings, beef and broccoli, a couple kinds of noodles, and cookies! One of my friends brought scallion pancakes and they were a huge hit!  She followed a recipe from Appetite for China, which is a great blog with many Chinese, as well as other culturally inspired, dishes.

(photo credit: Diana Kuan, Appetite for China)

These Chinese Scallion Pancakes were absolutely delicious. My friend served them warm with some Yoshida's sauce on the side, but they were equally delicious without any sauce. The recipe is as follows, but you will want to visit the original posting over at Appetite for China because she offers step by step photos, which is a huge help in following the recipe.  Enjoy them!

Chinese Scallion Pancake
From: Appetite for China

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (cake flour also works, but lacks elasticity)
1 teaspoon yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water + 1 teaspoon sugar to activate yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped scallions

Sift flour into 2 equal portions into separate bowls. In the first bowl, slowly add the yeast-water, mixing with a spatula, until a dough forms.

In the second bowl, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt into the flour. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the boiling hot water while vigorously stirring (this “cooks” the dough.) Add more water and keep stirring until a rough dough forms. (If you accidentally add too much water and the dough is too soft, add a little more flour.) Mix in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Roll the doughs out on a lightly floured surface and knead them together. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes.

On the same floured surface, roll out the risen dough. Form into a 1-inch thick log, and slice into Ping Pong-ball sized segments. With a rolling pin, roll each segment out to 4″ or 5″ circles.

Lightly brush the top of each circle with vegetable oil. Sprinkle over with chopped scallions and the remaining salt.

Roll up the circle, semi-tightly, making sure the scallions stay in place.

Now, roll it again lengthwise until it forms a coiled ball.

Turn the spiral side face-up, then flatten again into a circle with the rolling pin. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining dough until you have a stack of scallion-studded spiral patties. (Whatever you don’t cook immediately can be frozen for future use.)

Heat a flat-bottom skillet on medium high heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Working in batches, pan-fry the pancakes until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve warm.

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creative kids: crafty essentials deal

Have you heard of the great site called, HauteLook? It's a website with top fashion and lifestyle brands at amazing savings. Each day at 8 AM Pacific, shop new sale events in women's and men's fashion and accessories, beauty, kids' apparel and toys, home d├ęcor, and travel getaways at up to 75% off. Membership is free and everyone is welcome!

Right now they have a great deal going on, creative kids: crafty essentials. I thought I would let you know because as crafty as we can all be, sometimes we just don't have time and we want to buy some of those adorable crafts we are always seeing. Visit HauteLook and sign up to be a member (remember, it's free!) You can then click on the top of the page for "all events" and see all the sales. Then scroll down to find the creative kids: crafty essentials sale.

This crafty essentials sale has some great stuff at great prices. Look at just a few of the items you can snag! (But hurry since items may sell out quickly...I know from experience!)

Love these Doodlebugz crayon folders.

And these chalkboard place mats are great if you can't find the time to make one like we did here!
 A crayon tool belt? Awesome!
WallPops! I know my boys would go crazy for the glow in the dark dinos!

There are so many more things! Go visit HauteLook to check it out! Beware that it's kind of addictive!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

valentine subway art {and a frugal candy bowl tip}

I'm just in love with my little family, which makes this an extra sweet time of year! I want to have reminders all over my house so my boys know how much they are loved, and Valentine's decorations do just that. Especially when they're in candy form. ;) And today's money-saving candy bowl tutorial has a bonus--free Valentine subway art!

First, a little money-saving tip when using candy in a table display. I wanted to fill this simple vase with Valentine M&Ms, but at $3.50 a bag, I didn't want to buy more than 2. So I used this little trick to "fill" my vase on a budget.
*Glass vase, bowl, or apothecary jar
*Favorite holiday candy
*Glass cup that will fit inside your glass container with room on all sides
*Optional: ribbons and trinket to dress up your jar

1. Before filling your glass container, place your cup upside down in the center. 

 2. Pour your candy in to fill in the space around and on top of the cup.

3. To dress it up, add decorative ribbon, ric rac, baker's twine, etc. around the center of the container. I also tied on a little mercury glass heart ornament from my Christmas decorations.When it gets closer to Valentine's, I'll remove the cup and let my kids eat the candy. But for a few weeks they know it is strictly decorative (my husband is the only one who doesn't seem to follow that rule--grrr!). 

Now for the free Valentine's subway art! This free (for a limited time) Valentines Day subway art comes again from our friend Lori of SisterSecrets. You may remember the Christmas subway art she offered to our readers last month--isn't she sweet? It's now in her Etsy shop. You can get the Valentine's subway art printable here while it's free! And for more fun stuff (like her Abundant Life printable subway art), check out the Sister Secrets Etsy shop!
You may notice I kept my Christmas table runner out (doilies are totally Valentines, right?) and even reused the frame from the Christmas subway art. I'm all about making it easy! But I did make a new paper pennant bunting to hang across the front that matches the colors in the printable. Love it! Thanks, Lori!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

santa's little helper {welcome baby}

Look what Santa brought me for Christmas!
 Introducing Jonas Christian, the newest little birdie baby.

 Arrived on Santa's sleigh December 24th at 7 lbs. 11 oz.

Best Christmas present ever! 

I took a little maternity leave, but I'm itching to get crafting again. Many thanks to dear Jessica and friends like Shelley and Erin for giving me the chance to stay in bed until 10am, ignore my e-mail, and stare at that little face during the last month. It has been heavenly. But it's time to start showering regularly and getting out of my pajamas before the kids get home from school (at least that's what my husband tells me). So new tutorials and projects are coming soon. . . Until then, I have a few things to keep you busy.

First, here are a few of our past baby tutorials that have come in handy for me so far:
Welcome Baby Pattern Sale
To celebrate baby (and get me back in gear), all baby crochet patterns in my Ravelry shop are 25% off now through January 31st. I love that at Ravelry you can instantly download the patterns you purchase, instead of waiting for me to e-mail them to you.

And if you're gearing up for Valentine's day, we've added a love day round up link at the top of the page featuring some of our past projects.
I'm still up all night, typing blog posts with one hand, and sneaking in projects between naps, so be patient with me, but it's great to be back!

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ribbons and bows oh my! giveaway winner

Thanks for entering our ribbons and bows oh my! kit giveaway. You all had such great comments about your favorite ribbons. The winner of the bow making kit is...


Congrats! You will be able to make some gorgeous bows now. We have passed your email onto the sponsor, so they will be contacting you. Enjoy!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

no-sew pointed bow tie {tutorial}

Today we are featuring another fabulous tutorial from my dear friend Erin's blog, Lovesome. Go visit her and see all the other amazing things she is dreaming up!

It seems bow ties have taken over the wardrobes of men, babies, and boys these days, doesn't it? I must admit this trend has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now, and I love the pointed bow ties I'm seeing in all the old movies and shows I have been watching lately (downton abbey, anyone?).

With all the bow ties I see all over blogs I thought it would be fun to switch it up a bit and try something different.
Enter: the pointed bow tie. 

It often gets forgotten, and I think it's a great nod to men's (and boys') fashion from decades and even centuries ago. Making it out of felt not only makes these babies a breeze to whip up, but it also modernizes and adds a touch of whimsy, not to mention makes these the perfect fall accessory for the guy in your life (or girl, I would wear it too, and it would make an adorable hair bow).

all you need is some felt (i bought sheets of felt at Michaels for $.20 each)
hot glue gun (this could also be easily hand-stitched)
the length and width of your felt depends on how big you want your bow tie to be. mine was 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, with a smaller strip that is about 1/2 inch wide and 2 1/2- 3 inches long. my little guy is one and this size is perfect for him, and i think he'll be able to wear this size for a few years. (i like smaller, more proportional bowties, but if you like them bigger just make your strips larger.)

how to:

1. cut one end of the longer felt strip into a point. lay the felt strip on a flat surface and bring the pointed side across the strip about 2/3 of the way.
2. turn the pointed side over and bring it back across the other side until it touches the edge.
3. adjust the point if you need to, it can touch the edge or hang over a bit, whatever you like.

4. scrunch the middle of the felt together, making it look like a bow.
5. wrap the smaller felt piece around the middle of the bow where you scrunched it, with the ends meeting in the back.
6. turn the bow around and dab some hot glue in the center of the bow, then fold the top end down over the glue. glue down the remaining flap, making sure the bow is tight and secure.
and then have fun with them!

To turn it into a bow tie I usually thread elastic through the center of the back of the bow tie, but if you don't have room you could glue elastic to it or sew/glue it to a pin or clip.

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