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Monday, December 31, 2012


I know Christmas is over for this year, but keep this in the back of your mind for next year! You can also use other colors for Valentines, Easter, Independence Day, etc.

You'll need:
12 toilet paper roll tubes
hot glue
red & green paints

For half of the tubes paint the inside red & the outside green. Reverse for the other half.
Cut the tubes into strips about 1/2 inch wide & glue 5 together to make a star, keeping the ones that are red on the outside together & the ones that are green on the outside together.
Use one of the colors to be the "big ring" and one to be the "small ring". The small ring uses 5 stars & the big ring uses 7 stars. 
Glue the small ring on top of the big ring. Also, clear nylon thread can be used for reinforcement.
Take a piece of ribbon or sting & hand on your door.

Monday, December 24, 2012


If you have an avid book reader on your list, use this to cross them off your list. I had most of this stuff on hand so I was able to make this for free! I listed a hair elastic in the materials needed, but I used a piece of elastic that I had on hand and sewed it into a circle. I realize not everyone has this, but I wanted to make this as cheap as possible for everyone.

You'll need:
hair elastic

Measure a length of ribbon using a book as a guide. I just grabbed the nearest book & used it. Place the ends of the ribbon near a lighter or burning candle to seal the edges. Place the hair elastic at one end of the ribbon & fold the end over. Either by hand-stitching or with a machine, sew the end down.

Sew the button onto the end without the hair elastic.

Boom! Done!

Monday, December 17, 2012


We haven't been blessed with kids of our own. This means we get to spoil our nieces & nephews! Spoil them rotten then send them home! Merry Christmas to us!

My soon-to-be-four-year-old niece loves dolls. She seriously has a dollhouse at every home she goes to except ours. My mom actually has 2 for her to play with at her place. Our apartment isn't all that small, but it's too small for a dollhouse. I decided to make her something a little special for her to play with when she visits us.

I found this case at a local craft store & painted it pink then glued some gemstones to it. (Like most girls her age she likes things that sparkle.)

I used spray glue to attach some felt to the inside of the top.

Then I cut bodies & clothes out of different colors of felt. I even cut out some hair. I drew the shape I wanted onto one sheet of felt then used it as a template to cut out the other dolls. Then I used the doll shapes to cut out the clothes, ensuring they would fit and the dolls would be modest ;)

I'm very excited about this & I hope she likes it!!

Monday, December 10, 2012


We decided to do home-made gifts to each other this year. This works great if you're friends with a couple or for your parents, spouse, whatever. You can even save this idea to use as a wedding gift.

I found the lyrics to the song we danced to at our wedding: "At Last" by Etta James. I copied the lyrics over and over again to take up a whole Word document.

Then I used the Google to find an outline of a tree I liked, blew it up on my laptop screen, then used my laptop as light box to trace the tree.

I cut the tree out as well as some leaves I printed onto green paper. I glued the tree and the leaves onto black cardstock to make it more sturdy.

I printed a heart on pink paper with our initials in the middle and glued it to the tree.
Then I painted a watercolor "landscape". Super easy! I promise. Run water over paper designed for watercolor paintings. Get it wet. Not dripping, but damp. Wet your paints, then brush the color on. I did one half in brown, then went over it with green, and then painted the other half in blue. Let it dry completely then glue the tree on.

So cute!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I know there are some of you (me included) who wait till the last second or have gifts you need to pick up for people you were thisclose to forgetting about! This month, I'm setting out to help you.

I bought this stuff a while back, before our move, and it's been sitting in my closet for a long time begging to be done.

If you can't find wooden letters, you can just cut it out of really thick cardboard. Same idea.

You'll need:
hot glue
anything you want to stick on it

It really works best if you cut the twine into manageable lengths so you don't have to worry about it getting knotted.

Just hot glue the twine down every now & again to help keep it in place.

I found these flowers at the local craft store. They were part of a garland. I just cut the flowers off of it because I really hated the garland, but loved the flowers. Use some extra twine or a ribbon to hang the letter & you're done!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Monday starts my posts on easy & cheap Christmas presents. To get you in the mood here's my Christmas tree!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Painted Bottle

I'm amassing an impressive collection of bottles. Or, at least, I think it's impressive. I've been collecting them since I was in high school and these are the ones that have made it through all our moves.

I recently added a new bottle to my collection, but it was very plain. I decided to dress it up a little.

You'll need:
a bottle
hot glue
spray paint

Create some sort of design on the bottle. Let the glue set.

If you need to, draw the design on the bottle first using disappearing ink.

Spray paint it and let it dry.

It may take more than one coat. Be sure to
let each coat dry before applying a new one.
Done! Now it doesn't look quite so out of place.

OH-Next week starts my series on cheap/easy Christmas gifts for all you last minute Santas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fabric Rings

Our new place has 2 bathrooms! We feel like we've really stepped up in the world! That means 2 bathrooms I get to decorate! Woohoo! I did our bathroom in white: white shower curtain, white bathmat, etc. The guest bathroom I wanted a beach theme because, ya know, we live at the beach. I wanted the people visiting us to really feel like they're welcome, too.

I found a cute shower curtain on the cheap:

I don't know if you can tell, but it has seashells all over.

I hung a picture that I did that I thought looked like the sun (sort of):

It's actually a slice of grapefruit on a negative scanner.

My mom gave us some cute lighthouses:

The picture was from a vacation we took to Cozumel.

And I made these guys:

You'll need:
embroidery rings

Cut the fabric a little larger than the rings. Apply glue to the inside of the rings & press the fabric into it. Trim off the excess fabric. Tada!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Glue artwork

I hate bare walls. I think no matter where you live, you can always make it "home" with something on your walls. Whether it's pictures (I have tons of them) or art (not so much), decorated walls makes a place more lived it.

I decided to make some art, but I'm not all that artistic. I mean, I take pictures, but that's where my art life ends. If you're less-artistically inclined like myself, this may be for you!

You'll need:

a blank canvas
glue (I used hot glue because you'll need it to stay 3-dimensional)
stencil, optional
paint (either spray or regular) (one color)

Put glue on the blank canvas. You can cheat. I did:

Let it harden & then paint it!

It took 4-5 coats of paint to properly cover. Be sure to let each
coat dry between applications!
Boom! Done!

Look how crafty you are!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Painted Canvas Shoes

I'm a photographer. However, since I'm so new to "the biz" I'm also an underpaid photographer. To supplement my income I work at shoe store. It's perfect really because I'm obsessed with shoes. I think "obsessed" may be an understatement. What's worse than obsessed? Possessed? Nah.

Anyway, my store sells these white canvas shoes. They're comfortable & all, but man are they boring! See for yourself:
Womens City SneaksWomen's Gilly Canvas Slip-On

So I had a friend help me out. She has the awesome precision cutter. It's so awesome I can't remember the name of it. Yep, it's awesome.
     ...Anyway, her & her awesome precision cutter made me a cut out of some branches with birds on them.

Besides the cut-out, these were my supplies:

 I used fabric markers because it was easier to stay within the cut-out and also aren't as messy as paints.

Awesome precision cutter. Awesome friend. Awesome shoes. Awesome.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mawmaw's Meatballs

My husband's grandma can cook! She's the stereotypical Southern woman: gets her hair done every Thursday, goes to church every Sunday, spoils her grandkids (and their kids too), and has the accent to boot! My own grandmas passed away a long time ago and I tend to think of her as my third grandma. Everyone who knows her calls her Mawmaw. In fact, I was told to call her that the first time I met her. She's been "Mawmaw" to me for 9 years now.
Back to the fact she can cook--and I mean cook! There's a difference in the South: you can cook. Or, you can cook! The difference is one means you have the ability--you can follow a recipe, your food tastes decent, and people ask you to bring "something" to a potluck. If you can cook! you know recipes by heart, people go back for seconds and thirds, and people ask you to bring a certain dish (for my mom it's her banana pudding, for my aunt it's her potato salad) to the potluck.

These are Mawmaw's meatballs:

You'll need:
1/2lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1tsp diced garlic
1/2 sleeve of saltines
1/2 jar chili sauce
1/2 jar grape jelly
2Tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
3Tbsp oil

Brown the onion and garlic in the butter until nice and brown. Meanwhile, put the saltines in a food processor until they're just crumbs. Put the beef, onions, garlic, and egg yolk in the food processor. Pulse until all mixed together. Form the meat into balls and place in a pan with oil.

Cook the meatballs on each side until brown, but not done. Pour in the chili sauce & jelly.

Cover and cook on med-low for 20 mins, stirring occasionally to make sure the jelly breaks up.

We serve it over rice with the sauce poured over it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lemon "Brownies"

Do you know how hard it is to find corn-free foods? Trust me, it's hard. The first time we went grocery shopping after our "discovery" we were there for 3 hours! Obscene. Finding snacks I can eat is even harder. Desserts? Fugitaboutit.

All of that being said, I have a serious love affair with brownies. I could eat them all day, ya know, if they didn't have all that corn syrup in them. I did find a recipe though that caught my attention at Becky Charms. Worth a shot.

You'll need:
3/4c AP flour
3/4c granulated sugar
1/4tsp salt
1/2c softened butter (preferably unsalted, but I didn't have it on hand & they were still delicious)
2 eggs
6Tbsp lemon juice, divided-2 for the brownies & 4 for the glaze
1c powdered sugar (powdered sugar can contain cornstarch if you're not careful)
10tsp lemon zest, divided-2 for the brownies & 8 for the glaze

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8 pan.
Beat the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and butter until combined. (A paddle attachment works better, but I don't have one.)
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with 2Tbsp lemon juice & 2tsp lemon zest.
Pour the flour mixture in with the eggs and beat for about 2 minutes until smooth.

Pour into pan and bake 20-25 minutes, or until the edges turn golden and a toothpick comes clean. Take care not to overcook or they will be dry. Allow to cool completely.
Whisk the remaining powdered sugar, juice, and zest. Once brownies have cooled pour half of the glaze and let set before spreading remaining glaze.
I took a bite :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY Carpet Shake

I have this neurotic need to make sure my apartment smells clean. I'm sure it stems from some traumatic experience as a child that I subconsciously block from recalling, but the fact remains that I have a need to make sure my place doesn't stink. Also, I hate smelling food that I cooked 2 days before. Gross.

In the spirit of over-sharing, I go through carpet shake like crazy! I recently found out that most of the contents of a regular can of that stuff is basically baking soda. So I'm paying for something I already have in my house just to put it on the floor? Yeah, didn't make sense to me either.

You'll need:
2c baking soda
20-ish drops of essential oil

Mix it. Seriously, that's it. You do want to make sure that it's thoroughly mixed so you don't have clumps & the oil is evenly dispersed. Put it in a shaker or some other container you can use to sprinkle it about.
This is what was left after 1 application to my
carpet. You'll have much more than this.

Put it on your carpet & let sit for 15 minutes then vacuum up. You can vary the smell by changing the oil. I use peppermint for 2 reasons: 1) it helps get rid of food smells easier and 2) ants & spiders & a myriad of other insects hate peppermint. I intend to make my home bug-free.

Happy shaking!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Product Test: Resolve Easy Clean

Before we moved from our old apartment, we had to do a deep cleaning. You know, we needed to get our deposit back! There were a few spots on the carpet that were really kind of gross. After 2 years of snow and rain being tracked in, it's really no surprise. I decided to try out the Resolve Easy Clean carpet cleaning system:
Courtesy: Resolve website
This is what our carpet looked like before:

And this is what it looked like after:

I thought it was worth it! I know it's hard to tell in photos, but there really was a HUGE difference! Your can just refill it with Resolve High Traffic cleaner so you don't have to buy the whole system every time. It saved me from having to get on my hands and knees too, which was an added bonus for someone with bad knees.