Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creative Spotlight: Baby Girl Nursery

My best friend Amber is an amazing Interior Designer.
She blogs some of her projects at Decor Chicks
(which is currently under
construction but will be back soon!)
You can check out their Facebook page here.

She designed a beautiful nursery for her
beautiful baby girl last year.

Pink. Gray. Girly.
She made the pom pom flowers,
the AMAZING ruffled crib skirt,
and added cute ties to a white crib bumper.

Painted picture frames, and a DIY pillow
add splashes of color to the room.
Amber and her husband also refinished those
GORGEOUS hardwood floors themselves.
It's clean, simple, but fun and girly at the
same time. I love her eye for design.
Don't you agree?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creative Spotlight: Star's Crib Skirt Tutorial

Hi! I'm Jennifer and I will be posting on Wednesdays for a bit while Ashley enjoys her brand new baby.

I am a big fan of A Load Of Craft. Star makes some really cute stuff and provides great, easy to follow tutorials. She also has an etsy shop if you're interested. A lot of my favorite tutorials are baby related (I'm 4 months pregnant and I have been dying to make a lot of her ideas). I especially love her crib skirt tutorial. Check out her blog for the full tutorial on this cute crib skirt (as well as tutorials for loads of other great stuff)!

(Image from Star's blog)

My good friend had a baby (Ruby) last October and asked if I'd make her a crib skirt. I used Star's tutorial and it rocks. It's detailed, full of pictures and pretty simple to execute. The crib skirt I made for my friend's baby turned out so cute and I'm really excited to get cracking on one for my little one! Thanks for the great tutorial, Star!

(I also redid her rocking chair cushions...perhaps we'll get to that another day)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Creative Spotlight Award: Settee by Frou-FruGal

I am excited to feature Suesan from Frou-FruGal today with her amazing settee. 
I can't help but absolutely love it! She totally transformed a regular settee into one with a map
that represents where her ancestors are from!

Here's what Suesan has to say about it:

(Check out the links for more in-depth how-tos)

I picked up the settee from my neighbor's garage sale last summer. I bought it for $20 and knew that it needed some love. 

My next step was to strip off the old varnish and restore the wood finish .

Next, I drew on the map and painted the drop cloth I wanted to use as the upholstery.

Finally, I added some extra padding and re-upholstered the settee.

I started the project in January. Due to the plague visiting our house and other setbacks, it took me until mid-March to finish it. I didn't work on it non-stop, but kept at it. 

I'm glad people are enjoying the final results. I think that taking a risk and daring to find something that speaks to you will make all the hard work worth it in the end.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blanket Party

Gabe's Gifts
Hey guys!  It's the end of the month - which means blanket party time!   Don't forget each Monday you can see a special blanket tutorial at Today's Top 20, We're the Joneses, and This & That Creative

For anyone new - I've started a blanket drive this year to raise blankets for Project Linus.  Why?  To donate blankets in my son Gabe's name.  I lost our baby in August due to a miscarriage.  I really wanted something positive to be associated with his name.  And giving back is the best way to do that.

Project Linus is such a great organization.  They donate handmade blankets to kids (newborn - teens) who need them the most.  I'm really happy to be working with them.

I am so happy to say that I have recieved over 40 blankets for Project Linus.  WOW!  Thank you so much!!!  I really am just so greatful.  :)  Thank you thank you thank you.

The first round of blankets will be picked up this week.  It was spring break and my local chapter lady was out of town but I'll be sure to snap a picture! :)
There are 2 of the boxes over flowing...but ready to go!
I just love this blanket - so pretty.  Do you like the crochet edges?  Check next Monday for the tutorial! 
Thanks Heather!!

I had to unwrap the quilt!  All of those blankets were mailed together.  Thanks for the group effort ladies! :)

Lots of soft preemie blankets ....

Here is my little blanket.  I love the fabrics!  So happy!

Your turn!

  So link up any blanket project you've got.  Mail me your blankets to get donated.  Email if you are interested in guest posting a blanket tutorial (it will be seen at Today's Top 20, We're The Joneses and This & That Creative). 

Can't wait to see your projects!!
I'll pick one project using random to send out a little package of my favorite crafty things so make sure I'm able to get your email address! :)

And don't forget the 31st is the Blogger of the Month Party at Today's Top 20.  Come link up your fave. project you've made in March for a chance to win a great prize from My Vinyl Designer as well as a month's of advertising at Today's Top 20!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicken Picatta

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
breadcrumbs/Parmesan cheese (or a mixture for dredging)
3 Tbs butter
6 Tbs olive oil
Lemon Pepper & salt (to taste)
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
8 oz. Uncooked pasta OR 1 c. rice
1 lemon
1 - 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) quartered artichoke hearts drained
1/4 c. capers, drained and rinsed
Chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Season chicken with salt and lemon pepper, dredge in breadcrumbs/Parmesan, and shake off any excess.  Melt butter with olive oil; when it starts to sizzle add two pieces chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side.  Repeat with remaining two pieces of chicken.  Set aside for later.

Dump out soiled butter/oil mixture and add chopped onion and garlic to large skillet (add more oil if needed).  When onions are soft, pour chicken broth into skillet and heat until comes to a boil.  Add pasta/rice (if using long noodles, break into smaller pieces) to the broth mixture and cook uncovered 7-8 minutes until tender (for pasta) or covered for rice (for cook time, follow the guidelines on your rice package).

Zest lemon rind and then juice lemon to measure at least 2 T (you can add up to 1/3 c. of the lemon juice if you like it more lemony).   Add zest, lemon juice and cream cheese to skillet, stir until cream cheese is fully incorporated.  Add chicken and artichokes to skillet.  Cook covered, 1-2 minutes or until heated through. 

Remove from skillet, add capers (optional) and garnish with  parsley, more Parmesan cheese, or both!

Recipe adapted from my good friend, Julie (one of my very favorite people to work with!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Burgers Anyone?

Grilling season is sneaking up on us, and what better
way to finish off a hamburger meal than with a
hamburger dessert!

Yup, this is a dessert
The buns are made out of vanilla cupcakes cut in half
1/2 a chocolate cupcake for the burger patty,
and red (ketchup) frosting,
yellow (mustard) frosting,
and green (lettuce) frosting.
The Fries are sugar cookies cut into strips and
dusted with sugar to look like salt!

Ready to be served!
When I served these at a cook out last year
our guests were very amused!
Oh, and I even found little red baskets at a local
restaurant store for about 50 cents a piece
to finish off the look!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Pink Monogram Giveaway

I just wanted to give everyone a shout out that my friend Katherine from Domestic Diva in Training is hosting a giveaway right now for The Pink Monogram! The prize is valued at $160! Go check out her post HERE for your chance to win! The contest is officially open now and will end Monday April 4th, 2011 at 8:30 AM.

Schedule Posts to Publish (When You're on Vacation, etc.)

Here's a quick way to plan ahead and keep up with your blog even 
when you are on vacation or don't have access to the internet. 

Let's say I'm going on a cruise in two weeks (I wish!) and want to make sure I still keep my blog updated with a few posts while I am gone. First off, I would make a new post like I normally would. I'd complete my post with all my pictures and info. Instead of publishing it right away, I'd go down to "Post Options" at the bottom right of my editing box. 

I'd click on that, and a whole new section would appear. On the right, I would see "Post date and time". I'd select "Scheduled at", and then I can select what day and time I would like my post to appear. 

Now when I click on "Publish Post", because I have a scheduled time, my post will be set to publish while I am sailing away and getting a tan--not the least bit concerned about updating my blog! You can use this option on as many posts as you would like.

Now go get ahead of schedule for once :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Family Pedigree Decor

Image from HERE 
I recently went to a Genealogy Convention with my mother-in-law. I was most definitely the youngest one there, and I don't think that I am that young. Well, it kind of got me excited about looking into my ancestry a little more. I know my family has done a little research, but I am now excited to help fill in any gaps in the family tree that I might come across.

Well, a big picture frame in our front room recently broke, and I haven't got around to fixing it or putting anything else up. I wanted to brainstorm it for a while since I wasn't wild about what I had up before. After going to the convention, I decided that I want to make a genealogy chart to go up there and put a sign with our family name hanging above it.

At the convention, there was a booth by Generation Maps that showed off tons of beautiful pre-made family pedigree charts and gave you the option to submit all your names/records to them to have one printed. They also had fill in the blank charts that you can fill out by hand. Here are a few examples.

Since I didn't want a pre-made design or actual pre-made chart, I asked if there was a way to print one that I designed myself and what the prices would be. Turns out they can print anything you submit to them as a jpeg and have it printed on up to 42" in width and you pay per linear foot. They can print HUGE charts--I'm talking like 40 feet wide! They can also print your image as a canvas giclee (photos of people, etc.). And they match any price. Needless to say, I was on a mission to get one done.

There are lots of family tree/pedigree templates you can find online just by doing a google search. I didn't really want one that was crafty cutesy--more classy and antique looking. I found tons of family tree templates at that were simple but perfect for what I wanted.

I love their circular charts

I then merged the chart (customized it a little too) and the background plus added our family name in a circle around the circular chart and filled am still filling out names (in Photoshop). It is definitely time consuming! Especially if you don't have all the information gathered and with you at the moment of making the chart. But you can always do a chart that doesn't go back as far, and I think any chart will definitely be worth it. I've used Family Search to assist me along the way. It is actually quite addicting to find names that go in certain spots! And it's a lot of fun seeing names that are in the family that you can use for your future kids.

It's so crazy to actually "visualize" how so many people's genetics contribute to your own!  Here is my progress this far. I plan on printing it 42" x 42" and framing it with either a driftwood frame or a white frame that my husband and I will probably make. I am anxious to get it completed :)

 I'll post about the finished product when I get it done!

Linked up with:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ballerina Blanket Tutorial

One great thing about blogging is meeting new friends.  Stephanie from Full of Great Ideas is such a sweet gal and super creative.  You def. have to check out her blog!  I love it!  And I love this blanket she made.  It's so super sweet!  Thanks for sharing today Stephanie!! :)

My daughter was invited to her best friend's 8th birthday party. Her friend is an amazing ballerina and my daughter really wanted to make her a blanket with a ballerina on it. I knew there was no way I could make a ballerina but I came up with an idea that I am very proud of and I think is absolutely beautiful.

I used the same technique as my personalized fleece blankets to make this. I purchased the large deep pink coral fleece blanket (double bed size) and 1yard of tulle. I had black felt, pink fleece, pink ribbon, Velcro circles and thread in light pink, deep pink (to match the blanket) and black on hand. Total cost $5 for the blanket (on clearance) and $6 for the tulle.

I started by printing off some images of a tutu and body form to be inspired from. I first cut out of black felt the bust of the body form, then the post and the feet. Make sure to prewash the felt because the color can transfer.
Once I was happy with the dress form, I used that as the shape to cut the bodysuit. I didn't want the top to be too low cut since this is a gift for an 8 year old girl so I made just a small 'v' shape. I used a wide light pink ribbon (same as the slippers) to make straps on the shoulder.

I decided to remove the black felt from behind the bodysuit so that it was quicker to sew. This is optional.
I placed all the pieces on the blanket to determine where I wanted the exactly. I then lightly glued the fabric down onto the blanket using a fabric glue that dries clear. I start with the black pieces first by pulling one side back and gluing it. This allows you to glue it down without having to move the entire piece.
Once this was drying, I started to work on the ballet slippers. For these I simply printed off a clip art image that was resized (approximately 7 1/2 long) to be in proportion to the bodysuit . I then cut out the shape of the slippers in light pink fleece and sewed a straight stitch over the inner lines to make it look like it had an opening for a foot.
 I ripped off the paper and did a tight zig-zag stitch over the straight stitch to create a bold accent line.
I cut two pieces of ribbon to the length I wanted to make the ties for the slippers (I lightly heated the ends of the ribbon so they would not fray). I glued the ribbons and slippers on the blanket.

I create the girl's name in a Word file using a font that I like. I print off the letters and then cut them out of the light pink fleece. I glue these down in the exact spot I wanted them.

Next I focused on the tutu. I had 1 yard of tulle so I folded it in half length wise and did a basting stitch along the fold.
Pulling one tread from either end I gathered the tulle until it was the width of the waist of the dress. I then sewed a ribbon across the basting stitch to secure it.
Once the glue was dry, I did a zig-zag stitch around the dress form, name and the bodysuit. I always use the exact color of the blanket for the bobbin thread and match the upper thread with what I am sewing. I find this makes both the front and back of the blanket look nice.
(Back of fabric with matching thread.)
I attached the tutu to the dress with small Velcro circles. I thought it would be best that this could be removed for washing. Not 100% necessary but a nice to have.
One last look. Wow... I can't tell you how happy I am with this. Let's hope she loves it too :)

Told you!  Love it huh?  A-stinking-dorable.


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