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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Being a Student Blogger...

...means that during finals, the student comes first.  So I've been slammed this past week, but I'm getting all caught up this weekend.  I'm taking advantage of the fact that I'm not going home for Thanksgiving by crafting all weekend and setting up a blog schedule... 

I have super exciting news for my few faithful followers:  my first giveaway!!!!  It is coming soonish (I just got the offer) and I can't wait to share it with you!  It's something I'm excited to get for free, so you should be too.  Keep a look out.

Much blog love coming soon.  <3 Steph

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What do I do with this blog now? Linky Party?

So I've been home sick for a few days and it has been nice having all the spare time in the world to get this thing off the ground while sipping tea and soup.  The thing is, I'm a full time student with an after-school job, a rigorous course load, a church life, and had virtually no spare time before I started the blog.  So, I'm probably going to make up a weekly schedule and release new blogs on certain days.  I'm thinking a recipe day and a tutorial day, maybe two tutorials... So I'm thinking that since I love love love linky parties (and that and stumbleupon are equally responsible for the launch of this blog into the blogosphere) .  So, dear readers, I come asking for advice. 

Is it too soon for me to host a linky party?

What other posts could I fill my days with?

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about my blog?

Lay it on me.  I'm going to sleep to the smell of melted crayons and acrylic paint overwhelming my room.  It's not easy being a crafter when you live with a mischievous cat. 

And on a side note:  I have to thank my "real world" friends who have been so insanely supportive of this blog from the moment it was just a tiny idea in my head to getting this far (and of everything else in my live).  Luckie, Bester, StaciB, Brandy, RoomieM, RoomieJ, and my most beloved sister, Fred.  You people are my heroes.  I wouldn't be who I am today without you.  <3 

Me with my sister "Fred"
Steph (or Bob, depending on who you ask)

P.S.  I can see 1,000 views from where I'm sitting.  Just saying.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My First 500 Views!!!

7 days 1 hour and 40 minutes ago, I posted my introduction to this blog.  I just received my 500th view.  My mind is blown!  You guys are the best!  I can't wait to find a way to pay you back.  Now... how do I get more than 5 followers?  Hahaha!  Oh, the trials of a blogging rookie.  :D  I'm floating on cloud nine right now, you have no idea!

Love Love Love,

Update 11/16/11 19:00 PST:  I'm at 800 and at this rate, I'll hit 1,000 sometime tonight or early tomorrow.  I am just BLOWN AWAY by your support!  I am so excited for where this blog is going to take me.  If you haven't already, I'd love for you to follow me.  Thanks a million!

"Her"vival Kits!!!

Get it? Like a survival kit... but for "her"! Who is "her"? Why it's all of us, of course! [Christmas Spoiler] I'm making these for all my female family members for Christmas because I love this one and I'm NOT about to give mine away! So here's this tutorial I hope you love:
How great is this?!  Sorry to brag, but this is the first tutorial I'm really excited about.   I like all the other ones (or I wouldn't have shared) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one!  Honestly, with all the useless junk we carry around every day, why not throw something in your purse that could save your day?  Okay, enough tooting my own horn, here we go:

First, you need to make the pouch to hold your kit.  The very best thing about this is that it fits in the palm of your hand... sort of.  I was blog surfing the other day and saw this Travel Sewing Kit and absolutely loved it.  The only problem is, I don't really do much sewing on the go.  Carol from Rosey Corner Creations was gracious enough to let me repurpose her genius creation it in this tutorial, so I'm not going to link up the steps (because her pics are better anyway ;)) so just go there to see how to make the wallet container.  Seriously, how brilliant is she? 
In some future versions, I am planning to put an initial on the front rather than the accent band, but we'll see...

So, what's inside?  Let's see! 
2 Needles:  One with white and the other with black thread.
3 Safety Pins:  Because you can never find one when you need it!
2 Band-Aids:  Because beauty is pain, especially when it comes in the form of new heels.
A stain wipe:  For the unexpected lunch invite to a mexican restaurant when you're wearing your favorite white blouse... dang salsa!
And here's the kicker: a spongey piece...
"A spongey piece," you ask?  Whatever could that be for? It's a brilliant secret I've kept to myself for far to long and I now gladly share with you (but you have to let me ramble for it).  When I worked in retail (way back when) the worst thing that happened every day was when someone would come try on black clothes right after applying deoderant or white clothes with 6lbs of makeup on.  Do I hate them for smelling and looking nice?  No.  But what do we do?  Well, my manager taught me that the little foam strip on retail hangers can be used to rub it away.  Is it magic?  MAYBE!  ...but it seriously works every time.  Now, flash to my moment of genius.  A few weeks ago I got all ready to go out in my fave little black dress and then changed bras (I had to give in to the strapless... ugh) and when I put my dress back on  DUN DUN DUUUUUUN it was bad.  I was frantic to get it off.  Nothing was working!  I had 5 minutes before my friends left me and I no longer own any foamy hangers!  Why oh why did I ever switch to all matching hangers?  What would I do!?!?  That's when I spotted it:  The sponge paintbrush.  It is exactly the same foamy sponge.  Night saved. 

This is why it's a perfect addition to this Her-vival kit.  Fair warning:  I've only ever used it on cotton or poly fabrics.  I think it might not work as well on silk or fine fabrics because of the finer knit, but I could be totally wrong.  It is a magic sponge, after all.  All you have to do to make your own is remove the sponge from the brush.  The glue sticks pretty good at the edge, but just slide your finger under the ledge and separate it from the base.  I made two per sponge-brush by cutting the sides, then across the top of the slot already cut out of the sponge. 
What do you think?  I'm planning to give this to all the ladies on my gifting list this year!  I don't know how I'm going to top it next year, but luckily I'll have a whole year to figure it out. 

Do you love love love it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

No-Cash Trash Bash: Bottle Shock

I was so in love with the idea that there were crafts waiting for me that I dove into my recycle bin this week, searching for inspiration.  One of my roommates loves to try different types of beer (especially from microbrews) so we always have a few bottles in the bin.  [I really want to emphasize that I dug these out of the recycle.  My roommates would murder me if I let you believe we lived with all these beer bottles on the counter.]  I pulled some out, determined to think of something to do.  I peeled off the labels, then they sat around in my room for a few days (which is not a good look) and I finally decided I had to do something.  I Initially liked the idea of wrapping them in yarn, then putting them on a floating shelf with maybe a simple decorative flower. 

[I was recently at my friend Bailey's apartment and she had these floating shelves which reminded me of how much I loved my bestie Shelby's bedroom decorations.  I also had some in my apartment in St. Louis which I looooooved, so yeah.  It had to happen.]

(This one is the ledge-jumper)
 While I was making my first attmept, I hit a speedbump in the shape of the bottle.  There are a few ledges that made gaps when the yarn "jumped the ledge".  I tried using hot glue gun to keep it in it's place and it got weird and clumpy and still jumped off the ledge.  So, typical me, I got super frustrated and gave up for a few more days.  Then it hit me: double-sided tape!  Problem. Solved.  You just put the tape around the bottle, half on the widest part, half on the small part right below it, then press as you wrap the yarn around it.  So here it is, super easy, super cute.  When I get home from house-sitting, I'll get these all set up and take cute pics for ya. 

Have you had any magical garbage rescues lately?  I'm going to be keeping my eyes out for anything good in the recycle bin!
Here's a final-ish product.  I added some super cheap-o flowers from the piddly flower aisle of walmart and cut of the stems.  I love the way they look, though.  Something super frilly just wouldn't go with the simple look of the piece.  My new shelf isn't cooperating, so I need to get new mounting hardware this week.  >:|  I'll post pics when my shelf decides not to be a butt-head.

No Cash Trash Bash: TP Wall Art

This no-cash trash bash is somthing that makes me immensely happy.  I am alway crafty and often broke.  The total cost of this craft is probably less than $2, but it cost me NOTHING because it was all stuff I had around the house: 1/2 a hot glue stick, maybe 1/4 can of spray paint and stuff saved from the landfill.
This idea was totally inspired by my boss. She is quite crafty and she came in last week with an idea for wall art she was thinking about doing for the living room. I was in love with the idea and decided to give it a whirl. (I did warn her that I was jacking her brilliance and she was good with it. A few of us at work swap ideas regularly.) Working with elementary school kids, we know the value of a good toilet paper / paper towel roll. How brilliant would it be to turn something that is literally garbage into beautiful wall art? Well, that's just what I did.

I should mention that I'm still house-sitting and some of my tools (like a ruler, for starters) are not here with me. To start, I took 3 paper towel rolls and measured lines the width of this pie looking tool thing I found in the drawer. I cut all these little sections out (and kept having to wrestle them away from the cat) then decided I had enough to get started. I was watching a movie ["Lost in Austen", available for instant viewing on Netflix. A really cute movie if you love Pride and Prejudice] during this whole part, it's definitely a mindless activity which is nice to have from time to time. I then began to assemble the piece. It was a very organic process, I just kind of stuck one where it looked like it needed to go. The more I added, the more I liked it. When I had all the cut pieces glued on, I considered cutting the toilet paper rolls I had collected for this craft, but decided I should stop while I was ahead.

After I had my piece all glued together, I took it out back to spray. In retrospect, spray painting it in this manner was not fun. Raw cardboard toilet paper rolls absorb so much spray paint that you have to do a zillion coats before you see full coverage. Also, you're trying to get in and around all the surfaces of waaaaaaay to many little circles. Next time, I'm going to paint the tubes with acrylic BEFORE I glue. This was really the most frustrating part of the project... other than the time my glue gun went rogue while I was trying to balance the piece I was about to glue on and catch the falling piece... Yeah... not fun. All in all, though, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this project. 
My final piece isn't exactly "final" yet, because I'm not home to hang it on the wall, but this is what I have right now.
Have you ever done something surprisingly beautiful with toilet paper rolls?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chalk & Awe

I'm house-sitting this weekend with the best dog and cat ON THE PLANET!  I'm serious, these guys are amazing.  You'll see them in the pics later on.  Now for the craft:

I've wanted a chalkboard forever.  There are two main purposes I'm interested in.  I have a few friends who have featured them in pictures.  I love the idea that you could write something on the chalkboard and have it appear in the photo more organically than if you were to put it in with a photo editing program later.  The other reason I wanted one is that I have wanted a cute, decorative way to feature inspirational quotes in my bedroom and a chalkboard is just the thing.  Every time I look for them in craft stores or the school-supply and craft aisles of my neighborhood big-box store, I can't handle how much they cost.  I'm looking at a minimum of $10 for a plain-jane one, then I have to decorate the raw wood edge. would take all weekend.  Blah.  So, while wandering Walmart, disappointed that they hadn't magically gone down to 5 cents overnight, I had an epiphany!  It went something like this:
 Even better, I had a few hours to spare between Chem Lab and work, so I got a head start on it, since I knew I would need time to dry.

So here we go!

Things you need:
  • $2 picture frame.  (Mine is actually a "document frame" because it was so much cheaper, just make sure it has the glass, because that becomes the chalkboard.)  Go ahead and get an ugly one, because it won't matter later.
  • Spray paint
  • CHALKBOARD SPRAY PAINT!!!! (How have I not realized how much I needed this before?)
What you do:
Take the frame apart.  Discard the family photo or pretend document that came in the frame but mean nothing to you.  Unless you really like it... then save it for another craft.  Make sure you save the back so that you can put it all back together at the end!
Spray the glass (one side only) with 3 smooth, even coats (not too thick) of chalkboard paint.  Let it completely dry between coats.  (Mine took about an hour to completely dry because it was really cold outside.)  Alternate spray direction between coats, so one is applied in landscape passes and the next in portrait.  Does that make sense?  I hope it does, because I can't really think of another way to describe it.  Once your 3rd coat is dry, set the glass aside in a safe place.  The paint needs to cure for 24 hours before we can chalk it up. 

While you wait for the chalk paint to set up, go ahead and spray paint that ugly frame a cute color that will accent your room well (or one that just jumps out at you)!  I went with the accent color on my comforter (which happens to be the color of my sheets).  Mine was made of some sort of cheap plastic material which STRONGLY resisted being spray painted.  With several persistent, super-thin coats I was finally able to achieve the color I was going for.  It honestly took 6-8 coats before I was getting full coverage. (this pic is before)

Side Note:  I strongly recommend getting a great cardboard box from the produce department of your local grocery.  They are great for catching all the crazy spray dust from spray paint.  Also, they have handles, so you can spray outside and move it inside to dry after the smell has dissipated some and you don't have to put fingerprints in it.  Magical.

After your 24 hours of settling is done, you have to "prime" the chalkboard by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the board.  It would be more stable if you put it back in the frame first, but I like a good struggle, so I did it before I put it back together.   Once you erase the chalk, put the frame back together and get to chalkin'!  If you're house-sitting, make your new furry friends pose with your creation!    I have a feeling you'll be seeing this board again...  What would you do with your very own chalkboard?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pump Up Your Cup...cake, that is.

If you could taste what I'm tasting right now, you would be a happy, happy panda. These are seriously yumeroo.

I came across this on a blog somewhere last week and now I can't find it (even though I could have SWORN I saved it in my favorites), so I sort of had to wing the details. Luckily, it's so simple, there was little opportunity for disaster. I still made a pretty good sized mess. So here it is: A pumpkin cuppy recipe.

Ingredients: (get ready, the list is long)
  • yellow cake mix (1 box)
  • pumpkin goo (1 15oz can)
Pour the goo in a bowl.  Add the mix.  Pour into cupcake pan.  Bake at 350ish for 20ish min. Tada.
30 minutes after you crack open the can of goo, you should be chowing on pumpkin delight.

I know you're saying to yourself "WOAAAAAH!  Slow down!  That was intense!"

Since I can pretty much guarantee that you're going to try and complicate matters, allow me to elaborate on what is not required:
-Do not add the eggs, oil, or whatever else they tell you to on the box.  Unnecessary.
-Do not buy pumpkin crap.  You want pumpkin goo.  The ingredients list should look like this: "Pumpkin."
-If you want to use cupcake paper, you'll have cupcakes.  If not, they look like little cornbread muffins.  I did half with, half without.  Powdered sugar is nice on top. (Warning:  it's super messy and presents a choking hazard if you're trying to take a big whif before biting in.)
-Would this be delicious with spice cake or other mix?  OF COURSE IT WOULD!  I just wanted in and out of the grocery as quick as you please, so I nabbed the plain-ole yellow and bolted.

These muffin/cupcake things are seriously delish.  The best part is that you can lick the bowl risk-free (no raw eggs)!  I am so pleased with myself that I see this becoming a regular feature in my kitchen AND you family members will be seeing this number at Christmas.  Prepare your tastebuds now!

Linked up on: Muffin Monday, 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Please hold while I continue to giggle about the title of this post.  Teehee.  Now, moving on.  There has been some wild craze in the crafting scene this year about these melty crayon things:
Go ahead, take a moment to ooh and aah at all the pretty colors.   It's exactly what I did.  I have to think that this gained such popularity for three simple reasons:
  1. It requires precisely 2 supplies and 2 tools.
  2. Everyone likes rainbows.  Everyone.  Especially crafty people. 
  3. It's suuuuuuuuuuuuper easy!  I'm pretty sure that given a half-hour of instruction, my beta fish could pull this one off. 
So, since this is such a simple project, I happen to have loads of pictures of my first attempt, and it's the picture behind my blog title, here we go: My very first craft tutorial! 
What you need:
  • box of crayons
  • canvas
  • hot glue gun
  • blowdryer
The Nitty Gritty:
Before you start, you should just cover EVERYTHING IN THE ROOM with those throw-out ads from the newspaper.  The wax is gonna fly and the minute drops dry instantly leaving everything you own with rainbow freckles.

The box of crayons you need will be determined by the size of the canvas you're using.   I got ambitious and went all 16"x18" on my first try.  I bought a box of 96, pulled out all the black, white, gray, metallics, neons, and browns and still had quite a few leftovers.

I get asked often if you have to use Crayolas of if the off-brand crayons work.  I have to assume that any crayon would work but since the wrappers are heavily featured in the end result, I don't recommend buying one that has "Carls Crappy Crayons" or whatever written on them in an ugly package.   Also, it is theoretically possible to do this without the wrappers, but I haven't done it yet.  I think so much of the crayons melt that it would just become a colored wax painting.  You would lose the effect of the melted crayon, which is my favorite part.

I also got asked if this could be done with any type of glue.  Again, I would assume so, but then you have to wait overnight for it to dry.  I was reading the back of some glue in the store the other day (what?  that's normal.) and saw that it takes "at least 24 hours" to dry.  I'm a weekend warrior, folks.  I do not have 24 hours to wait for glue to dry.  Hot glue gun it is.

Procedure: (It makes me feel like I'm in lab)
Lay out all the crayons you intend to use.  Keep in mind, you don't have to make a rainbow, but I would advise you that when the melting begins the colors blur so if your colors are not near each other on the spectrum, you're gonna have a whole lot of brown melty blah.

Once you know where you want your crayons, start gluing them down.  Since you're probably a perfectionist like me, you want the labels all facing the same way; so only glue in sections of 5ish crayons at a time or the glue dries.
To repeat myself for your personal sanity and well being, this is your absolute last opportunity to cover all surfaces you don't want bespeckled.  On a similar note, never point the blowdrier toward yourself.  You should have seen the look on my roommate's face as she walked in my room to check on my project the instant after I took on 52,063 purple freckles.
Now, kick on that blowdrier and show those crayons what you're made of.  It takes a little while for the crayons to melt, but on a high heat setting at full blast you should see meltage within 30 seconds. 
When I tried to go straight across, the drip was drying about 2 inches down, then the crayons hardened right back up. You'll develop your own technique, but don't try to get them all to melt at one time, stick to a range of 5-8 crayons.  For best results, make several passes over each section.
Keep going 'til you have something you like, but know when to stop. Too much melting and you're going to get brown goo.  Consider yourself warned.  Now you might have something like this:

I'd love to see how yours turned out, so whip out that cam and send me a link!

Here's how mine looked when I hung it on the wall!

If you learn anything about me in the coming blogs, you'll learn that I'm a one-upper.  Here's how I tried to one-up the standard "melting crayons on canvas rainbow" shindig:

    This is how I took the pic, but it's hanging "upside down" of this on my wall.  You wanna one-up me?  I'd love to see your ideas (so I can try and one-up you back)!

I think I personally love this because as I've mentioned, I was terrible at drawing in elementary school (who am I kidding?  I still am) and it's like I was going to make these crayons into art whether they cooperated or not!  When I first saw this, I wanted to do it, but never thought of it when I had a canvas.  It's hard for me to contribute this craft to any one blog, because it is on so many, but I definitely did check this one out before I got started.

So here it is, my very first tutorial.  What do you think?

Update:  HOLY COW!  LOOK WHAT I JUST FOUND!  Sorry for the caps lock, but I was shouting in my head.  Check out this topical blast from my past:

An Artfully Crafted Introduction

Riding the bus today, I began thinking of how much my life has changed in the last year.  A lot has come and gone, but depending on who my readers are, you might already know everything about me or nothing at all.  Let's start fresh. 

I suppose I've always been a crafter.  It became apparent at a very young age that I was not a prodigy in art class.  Even today, my stick figures are alarmingly devoid of any identifiable features.  I never seem to get the arms the right length... But I always had a passion for the art supplies and the potential they held.  It was in my early days as a Camp Fire Girl that I learned the magical art of crafting.  I always find that the best place to stir up a little spark of creativity is a craft blog. I've been obsessively searching for and following many for years.  It's my love of these that inspired me to start this very blog. I've been making crafts for so long, that it's only fair I share a few with the community that inspired me.

I will be the first to admit that not all of my crafts were completely original concepts.  It has been said, after all, that "there is nothing new under the sun".  (No, it's not The Beatles, it's Ecclesiastes 1:9, you silly billy.)  What I lack in inspiration, I make up for with resourcefulness.  When I find myself coming up a little short in the imagination, my cup runeth over with determination.  My method of blending originality with adaptation was the inspiration for my blog title.

It is my full intention to always give credit where credit is due.  I want to take the best ideas I find (and a few of my own) and be another vehicle for them.  I would love to hear from fellow crafters if you have any suggestions or experiences with these or any other crafty endeavor.  Thanks so much for stopping by!