Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Twelfth Day of Christmas Crafts: A Reprieve

Just missed it. I didn't get that last craft done. But you know what? I did make:


And I wrapped all the gifts, sent all the cards, cleaned all the house, did all the shopping, ran all the errands, and took care of all the kids. So I'll just apologize for missing #12, and wish you and yours all the merriest holiday ever! See you all in the New Year, as I will be taking the next week off to visit my family in Ohio. Sadly, leaving DH and the Dog behind.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eleventh Day of Christmas Crafts: A Glitter Ornament

This was so simple to do, and I love the way that it turned out. I found this idea on pinterest here and decided that it would be a great ornament to add to a bottle of wine for our neighbors. I used music clip art instead of a book page and in about 15 minutes created this little add on to add a personal touch to a simple gift.

The Tenth Day of Christmas Crafts: A Framed Quote

I love this quote and just had to have it in my house somewhere! I printed it out on my computer on card stock, distressed the edges, matted it, and framed it in an old frame that I did a really quick paint and distress job on. I can change the quote any time I want to and I think it adds a bit of whimsy to the house!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Ninth Day of Christmas Crafts: A Simple Knotted Blanket

Every year, I like to make my kiddos each at least one present. This year I decided that they each needed a special blanket from Mommy, so I set out to buy each one a fleece print that matched their interests and personality. Mistress got a pink and purple Rapunzel blanket, The Professor (who is ALL boy) got an army green and camouflage print, and Buggy got a Scooby Doo print backed in yellow. These blankets are super easy, (albeit time consuming, so I'm glad I only have to do three!)

First, I got two yards each of two fleeces. One of the print, and one solid coordinating color. This particular blanket is Buggy's. (His favorite color is yellow.) Trim the selvage off the edges and straighten the cut ends. Then lay the whole thing out so you can work without moving it. Also, pay no attention to the messy sewing room, 'kay?
I LOVE this fringe ruler, it makes the whole process so much easier. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but you can get them at places like JoAnn's. Just line up the edge of the fabric with the length of the fringe you want to cut. I do 3 inches.

When you get to the corners, cut out an equal amount to the fringe length that you are doing. In this case, I cut a 3 inch square out of each corner.
Then start tying your fringe in knots. I would suggest some music at this point, it helps the process move along. Make sure that you don't get the fringe mixed up or you may miss one. That's why I suggest laying the whole thing out and not moving it. Also, the sides will stretch when you tie them. I haven't figured out a way around this...
By removing the corner you get a nice finished look. I would suggest music.
And in about an hour you have a nice finished cozy blanket. Here's hoping that my kiddos will love their presents!

The Eighth Day of Christmas Crafts: Chipboard Ornament

These are so easy to do and make such a great little hostess gift. They can be tied on packages, hung around the neck of a wine bottle, or slipped into an envelope for a little Christmas treat! I don't have a tutorial, but they really are simple. Cover a piece of chipboard with modpodge and press firmly to a piece of scrapbook paper. Using an exacto knife, cut carefully around the edges of the chipboard design. Sand the edges lightly and distress with ink if desired, then repeat on the back. Cover the entire piece with modpodge and glitter. Allow to dry, embellish as needed and add a string for hanging. Choose chipboard with simple designs to allow cutting out to go smoothly. In just a short amount of time you have a super simple and adorable gift for anyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Seventh Day of Christmas Crafts: A North Pole Breakfast

I love having my kids home from school for Christmas Break! I make every effort possible to have all the prep work done for Christmas before they are out for the break, and we have two weeks of fun! I found the cutest idea for a special breakfast here, but decided that instead of having it on the day after Thanksgiving I would save it for the first Monday of Christmas break. We invited a few friends over and had breakfast in our jammies, the Moms too!

I got fun Santa plates and cups and wrote the names on the cups for each kiddo. Fun story, I had the table all set and put the three candles in the center. It lacked something, but I couldn't find anything around the house to put with it. I had pretty much given up when our doorbell rang. It was the FedEx man dropping off a package from DH's company. The present was packed in shredded green, red, and gold crinkle paper! I gleefully finished off the table about 10 minutes before everyone arrived. Talk about perfect timing!
My last minute crinkle paper! Perfect touch, no?
The one day I break my objection to paper plates. :)
Even our elf, Fred Pequeno, dropped by for breakfast!

And what better breakfast to serve than reindeer pancakes? These were a hit with the kids!
All in all a fun Monday morning. Hopefully this will become an annual tradition!

The Sixth Day of Christmas Crafts: Cloth Lunchbox Napkins

Have you ever noticed that going green goes hand in hand with being frugal? Going green saves green in a ton of ways, we have a drawer full of plastic containers that I use in the kids' reusable lunch boxes, so I never need to buy lunch bags and almost never need to use plastic baggies when packing their lunches. We have reusable juice boxes that get washed at the end of the day instead of individual (and expensive) prepackaged juice. Another way that we have gone green in our house was by replacing our paper napkins with cloth. Recently I decided to take it a step further and make cloth napkins for their lunch boxes! I found fabric to coordinate with their boxes and in about 20 minutes had two napkins to use in Mistress's lunch box.

I used two half yards of fabric that coordinated with each other. Cut two 18" squares from each fabric and put one of each right sides together. Pin around the edges.
Starting at the bottom, stitch around the edges 1/4 inch in, leaving about 4 inches open to turn it right side out.
Turn right side out, making sure to use a point turner in your corners, press. Pin the opening closed and press the hem in place.
Press flat.
Now top stitch around the edge, making sure to stitch the opening closed.
Pull your threads through, tie them off, and weave them in. If you need a refresher on how to weave threads in, check out my tutorial here.
Press again, and fold.
And now Mistress has two napkins to use for lunch. They are easily washable, and will pay for themselves in a short amount of time! I still have four more to make, and my kids will be the envy of all their friends at lunch!

The Fifth Day of Christmas Crafts: Hand Warmers

Admittedly I am behind on blogging. Not on crafting, but definitely blogging. We'll call today a catch up day...

I love quick little stocking stuffer gifts, and these little hand warmers are a great way to use up some scraps of fabric.

I used the sleeves left over from the santa coat...
...traced some shapes and stitched along the lines...
...add a little rice, stitch the opening closed, and when microwaved for 30 seconds or so these little hand warmers will keep your fingers toasty warm when slipped into your pockets on a cold day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Fourth Day of Christmas: A Santa Coat

"And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat."
(Did it ever bother anyone else that the Grinch didn't use his sewing machine correctly?)

I didn't make a hat because we already had one, but when your second grader informs you in the midst of Christmas prep chaos that he is going to be Santa Claus in his class program and that he needs a costume by tomorrow, you too can make a coat in less than an hour using a $6 red sweatshirt from Kmart. I bought a women's small, cut it up the center, and trimmed the entire thing with leftover white polar fleece from the storm trooper halloween costume, and in about 45 minutes came up with this:
Paired with Buggy's red elf costume from last year's preschool program for the pants, the hat we already owned, and a belt that I'll find tomorrow, and we have a 7 year old Santa. I'm off to make a beard out of white felt and stuffing. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Third Day of Christmas Crafts: Monster Tooth Pillow

While technically not an actual Christmas craft, this Monster Tooth Pillow became a necessity today when Buggy lost his first tooth! His favorite color is yellow, and I had some of this yellow chenille left over from another project. I combined it with a couple of random buttons, some white felt that I had in my stash, and about 20 minutes and created this little guy for that special first tooth. I tried to convince him to leave it outside his door so the tooth fairy could find it easier, but alas, he insisted on his nightstand. Did I mention his door squeaks? Sigh...

The Second Day of Christmas Crafts: Clothespin Ornaments

I know, it doesn't bode well for me that I'm late on day TWO of my challenge, but in my defense I had to make a birthday treat for Buggy's class last night and I did MAKE these yesterday, I just didn't get a chance to blog them. Anyway, I found these adorable clothespin pompom ornaments here and just had to try them out for myself. I decided to use bits of lace and tulle for their skirts, and ribbons for their tops instead of pompoms and paint, but the end result was adorable and Mistress loved them! These would make great package tie ons too, and even little hands could make these. So simple!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The First Day of Christmas Crafts: Printing on Fabric

I make no promises, but I will make my best effort to make 12 Days of Christmas Crafts, starting today so that I will end on December 24th. Enjoy day 1!
I've been wanting to try using fabric in my computer printer ever since I saw it done on Pinterest. I found a great tutorial here and decided to combine it with this adorable pillow I found here. I can never do anything exactly as it tells me to though, so I changed a few things up a bit, namely adding border fabric around the printed phrase. I also used osnaberg instead of burlap, mostly because I already had some. This entire project was made with things I already had on hand, so it didn't cost me a dime!

Here's my phrase, all printed out. I was a little nervous putting fabric into my new printer, but it worked great and truthfully the fabric isn't much heavier than cardstock and that has always worked fine.
I trimmed my definition to the size I wanted and got busy adding the decorative fabric. Although I have no pictures, I just basically cut four strips of fabric 3" wide and stitched them to the edges, pressing the seams open and flat when I was done. Easy peasy! Then I decided that 3" was too much, so I trimmed it down to 1".
I lined the pillow with some warm and natural batting so that my stuffing wouldn't be lumpy and came up with an adorable pillow that works great with the ones we already have! If I had it to do over again, I probably would have just used the osnaberg and omitted the accent fabric, this is cute but I like the simplicity of the plain fabric. Who knows, maybe I'll get another one done this year yet, but until then this one works just fine!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Ohio Principle

I know, you're probably wondering what on earth Ohio has to do with a crafting blog, right? Well, I'll tell you. It actually has nothing to do with the state itself, it is actually an acronym that my mother told me about and it is working wonders with my organization. I'm an organized person to begin with, having three kids I can't not be. Clutter always builds up in our home though, and I found things being moved around the house before they found their way home. Anyway, back to Ohio. Here's all you need to remember to keep a house clean and organized:


When you bring in the mail, throw the junk in the recycling bin and file the bills. When you take off your dirty clothes, throw them in the laundry bin. When you step on a toy, take 30 seconds to put it away. Or in my case, when you find a game piece, put it back in the game, don't make a pile of random game pieces that will take hours to sort. (We have a lot of games) So, remember the Ohio principle and maybe it will help you as it has helped me! More crafts tomorrow!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The $5 Candy Canes

Every Thursday night we go to a grocery store called Earth Fare. It is a fantastic natural food store with organic and healthy food, and on Thursdays they have kids eat free night. With the purchase of one adult meal, up to 6 kiddos can eat for free. It's a wonderful program and we love the food. (I love even more that 5 people can eat for under $10 and I don't have to clean my kitchen when we're done!) Last night Santa was there too, handing out organic candy canes and listening to kids' Christmas lists. Unfortunately, Buggy broke his candy cane. The world ended. While going through the checkout earlier I noticed boxes of candy canes stacked up though, and told him that I would just buy a box to take home. Problem solved. Right? They were $5 a box. For 10 canes. I almost choked. Unfortunately, I had already told him that I would buy them, and in a 5 year old's mind there is no going back on a promise once it has been spoken. So, I bought a box of candy canes. And you know what? They really were the best candy canes I had ever eaten. I might just be able to find room in the budget for one box of them each year. Bug got his unbroken cane and was happy. I hung the rest of them on the tree. Waaaay high up...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Laundry Room Transformation

When we moved to our new house, I was thrilled to finally have a laundry room that wasn't in a basement. Unfortunately, it was completely utilitarian and boring. It also lacked some functionality. It had a shelf that ran the entire length of the room, which was often too high for me to reach and didn't take advantage of the 10 foot height of the room at all. And let's face it, white on white on white on white is boring! So with not too much money and a little creativity, I changed my boring laundry room into something that was cheerful and comfy. Plus, it is pretty much where I spend most of my time so I may as well make it enjoyable, right?

Before: Builder white walls, less than functional shelf, cold tile floor. See how difficult it was for me to keep this place organized? Everything got shoved to the back of the shelf and then I'd need to get a stool to reach what I needed.
Boring hamper that didn't hide anything at all. Not that I don't love having our dirty underwear on display, but I wanted to go a different route!
Another shot of the main area of the room. It was just a dumping ground for anything that didn't have a home. Plus there was nowhere for me to put all the dog's stuff. Sitting on top of the dryer wasn't good, a three year old can feed the dog enough treats to make her puke. Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...
After: I chose a fresh green color for the walls because I wanted the white of the cabinets and appliances to pop. The cabinets are from Ikea. Ikea is a great option for affordable cabinets. These two were $175 apiece and offer a much better way to store all my laundry and cleaning stuff that that old shelf did! Now all those things are organized and hidden from view. I also added the fun 'Laundry' letters from Hobby Lobby, an antique toy washing machine that belonged to my grandmother when she was a child, and a basket for all those lonely socks.
Here's the area above the sink. I put up a little shelf ($15 from Lowes) and put all the dog treats up high out of the reach of little hands. I also added a soap container I already had and a huge clothespin that I made in 8th grade shop class. Eventually there will also be a small drying rack from Ballard Designs, but it's backordered until February. Sigh...
And finally I replaced the old hamper with this one from Home Decorator's Collection. I had seen dozens of these for well in excess of $150, but this one was only $49. It hides all the dirty underwear, and because it's smaller it forces me to keep up on the laundry. I also added a throw rug to keep my feet warm on those cold tile floors.
So there you have it! A quick laundry room re-do. I also plan to add a countertop above the washer and dryer for a folding space, but haven't gotten to it yet. For now I'm done, and don't completely hate doing laundry anymore!
(Oh and for the record, that shelf will find a new home in the garage where it can store coolers and toys and be much more appreciated. Waste not want not!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amping up Garland

We've all seen those amazing garlands from high end stores that cost in excess of $50. Absolutely gorgeous, but really, who wants to pay that much for something that will sit in storage 11 months out of the year? I figured that with a little ingenuity I could make something that worked just as well without blowing the budget. Personally, I think it works just as well, read to the end and decide for yourself!

The supplies: One 9' evergreen garland from Michaels, $2.49 and one 6' holly garland, $6.49 on sale. I always start with the evergreen and choose fluffy accent to go with it. Today it just happens to be holly! Lay your evergreen garland out and fold it in half. Twist in several places to secure and fluff the entire way down.
Lay your accent garland on top of the fluffed evergreen. Work your way down twisting the evergreen in several places to secure.
By working the accent garland down into the fluffed evergreen you will hide the chain and make it more natural looking.
Twisted like a twist tie. Re-fluff and you won't notice the twist.
All finished! See how full it looks?
You could add lights as well, but as this one was going on my chandelier I didn't. If you add lights, do it before you add the accent garland so that the wires are hidden.
So what do you think? Not bad for $9 huh? Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pining for Pinterest

Hello. My name is Ashli and I am a Pinterest addict. Seriously, if you haven't checked out this site, you need to. I have been spending the last couple of months cooking my way through my savory, sweet, and breakfast boards, and now am beginning to try some of the projects that I have pinned. The first one I am sharing with you are these adorable Christmas ornaments, made from wedding invitations. Super simple and sweet, I made one for each brother and sister-in-law. (And if they are reading this post, act surprised when you get them in the mail, 'kay?) I added glitter to give it a little more pizzaz, but that's what I love about Pinterest. It serves as a great jumping off point for your own creativity! Check it out for yourself and stay tuned for more projects as I complete them!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Genetic.

If you've ever wondered where I get my creative side, look no further. My mother is an amazing seamstress who teaches classes, used to write for a magazine, and has made a good portion of the clothes that I wore when I was a child and still makes a good portion of clothing for our kids, especially Mistress. I wanted to share these amazing creations that she made!

This Santa was originally made for my grandmother as a Christmas gift one year. When she died, I inherited it from her. The body is made from leftover fabric from the bridesmaids' dresses from my parents' wedding. I have always loved it, both for the sentiment and just because it's beautiful. I am so grateful to have been the one to get it, and treasure it until the day it gets handed down.
And now this year my mother surprised us with an early gift. This Santa was also made by my mother, and she made the body of this one (a little hard to see with his coat closed) out of leftover fabric from my wedding gown. (Which she also made!)
They are displayed with a third Santa that was handmade by an artist from DH's hometown. I love this little group in our dining room, high away from little hands, and look forward to adding to the collection if another special fabric comes my way someday!