Easter Banner Free Printable

Hello!  Today I am sharing with you my very first free printable.  I make things like this for myself all the time, so I thought I had better get spreading the love.  This is a simple circular Easter banner.  For mine, I tied the beaded eggs ornaments along a length of ribbon and taped the circles over each knot.  Then, I just used pushpins to secure it to the wall above my entry hall mirror.  Piece of cake!  I got the beaded eggs at Tai Pan Trading, for those of you with one of those around.
  To download the printable, click on the image.  It will take you to a new page, where you can right-click and save the photo.  Then, just print the image the original size and cut out the circles.  You can make them into a banner, like I have done, or you could use them as party decorations, Easter tree ornaments, etc.  Use your imagination, and show me what you come up with!

If you do use this printable and post it on your blog, please give me a link back.  Thanks, and enjoy!
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Cherry Pie Pincushion

My mom hosted a craft night last night, where we learned how to make these cute cherry pie pincushions.  She also had these old, metal mini-bundt pans that we could use.

The basic steps to making these are to 1) cut a circle out of fabric with cherries on it, 2) do a running stitch all the way around the circle and cinch it up, 3) stuff the fabric with as much or as little stuffing as you would like and stitch everything closed 4) glue the pincushion into your pan or cup, 5) glue the lattice strips across the top and into the sides of the cup, and 6) glue the rikrak around the pan and the button over your seams.
Isn't it cute?!  It was seriously not that hard.  Here's a closer view of the pan on the bottom:
I love my little cherry pie, and can't wait to use it while I am making my kitchen curtains this weekend!!


Spoonflower and Project Selvage

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!
One of my secret ambitions is to be a fabric designer.  It is still sort of secret because I have only just started.  Above is my first fabric design, titled "Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!", and it is made as a baby boy print. Spoonflower is an awesome website where you can print your own fabric in any quantity.  It is a little bit more pricey than normal ($18/yd; a little bit less if you print your own designs), but when you need the perfect fabric, it is so worth it.  You can also get upholstery weight fabric, which gives me all sorts of vision for custom furniture.

I recently read a tweet about a contest on Spoonflower that was sponsored by Michael Miller.  It is called Project Selvage, and the winner gets a contract for a line of baby boy and girl fabrics with Michael Miller, plus some money and a trip to Quilt Market 2011.  I figured this would be the perfect way for me to get started on my secret ambition.  I am not expecting to win, but I figure I have to start somewhere, and everything I do builds my portfolio.

I debated sharing this before the outcome of the contest, but I was so pleased with how the print turned out that I just had to post it.  I have to order a test swatch before I can sell it on Spoonflower(gotta approve how the design looks printed), so if you would ever consider buying this, leave me a comment and let me know.  I will probably order a test just for fun, so I'll show you how it looks when I get it.


The Lemonade Incident

So. . . I had a crazy, crazy week.  Do you ever have things happen to you that aren't supposed to happen to someone your age?  Prepare yourself for a long, drawn-out, and maybe even slightly-exaggerated story.

Let us all travel back to Monday morning.  My daughter woke up extra early (dang you, Daylight Savings!) and I was barely at a functioning level.  I went to the fridge to satisfy her pleadings with a sippy cup of milk.  As I opened the door, a precariously-perched, nearly-full pitcher of lemonade tumbled from the top shelf to the floor.  The lemonade flooded my feet and the floor.  Of course, it was then that I realized that all of the kitchen lights were still off and the sun was not yet up.

I spent a few minutes mopping up the mess with the fridge door open, but once I had the inside of the fridge cleaned out, I closed the door (to save energy, of course).  I imagined myself gracefully leaping over the spill and effortlessly flipping on the kitchen lights.  As it happened, I gracefully leapt into a pool of lemonade.  Now, don't get ahead of me.  This isn't even the best part. 

I did not completely fall into the lemonade.  I did, however, pull a whole bunch of muscles that I didn't even know I had in the process of catching myself.  Granted, I did have a baby four months ago, but honestly, at age 24, I think I ought to have just a bit more resilience.  I mean, I have been an athlete my whole life, and I have been 30-Day-Shredding it for over two months.  I know this seems like the end of the story, but brace yourself, because it's about to get better.

About an hour later, I was sifting through some emails, having cleaned up all the lemonade and left that whole incident in the past.  I took a little break to stretch, reaching my arms up above my head and arching my back.  Mid-stretch, there was a huge pop and pain all in my upper back and neck.  As soon as I realized that I couldn't move, I called my wonderful husband and had him come home from work to take the babe to her doctor's appointment.  By the end of Monday, it began to dawn on me that things weren't just going to fix themselves.  Which, by the way, is that too much to ask?

On Tuesday, I was able to get an appointment with a chiropractor in my usual office, but not with my usual doctor, who was booked out for a week and a half.  The guy I saw was able to get me partially back together, so instead of not being able to turn my head to the right at all, I could turn it a little bit.  He told me that I had popped one of the cartilage out from between the vertebrae, and he hadn't been able to get it all the way back.  With a two-year-old and a baby, this was not ideal.

On the way out of the office, I saw my regular doctor (who has a very real gift with his trade) and he told me that he would give up part of his lunch break the next day to see me.  So, on Wednesday, I went in and he fixed everything in about ten minutes.  He believes that the lemonade slip weakened my back enough that it was able to overstretch enough for the injury.

I am still sore and letting my back rest as much as I can.  If you're still with me, thanks for joining me for a little life story time.  I hope to get back to creating next week.  I still have a lot of things in the works, as usual, but here's what I'm thinking about tonight: our bathroom mirror frame (it's all up, just needs the caulk!), a couple of wreaths that are kind of at a standstill, the crackle glaze tutorial (I know, I know) and a stenciled onesie for my little gal.


Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies

This recipe is perfect for St. Patrick's Day.  The recipe is fairly common; I have found similar ones on a bunch of different websites.  This version is a little bit different, though, because you get to use the microwave instead of the stove top, and I've adapted some of the instructions.

Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies
3/4 c. butter (I really think you could get away with 1/2 c., but I haven't tried it yet)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. water
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
30-36 Andes mints (depending on the size of the cookies), unwrapped and snapped in half

Combine butter, brown sugar, water, and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for one minute, then stir.  Keep heating in thirty-second intervals and stirring until everything is melted and well-combined.  Some recipes say to let it sit for ten minutes at this point, but I did not.  Whisk in the eggs.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Stir everything together, then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.  If you leave it in the fridge overnight, your baking time will be a little bit longer, but other than that it's about the same.

After the dough is refrigerated, either roll into balls or use a cookie scoop and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or 12-14 if dough has been refrigerated overnight.  As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, place a mint piece on top of each cookie and let it melt.
At this point, you can either leave the mints like that, let them cool, and be on your merry way.

Or. . . you can swirl the mints around with a toothpick (hold it sideways like a knife instead of up like a pencil) and get a marbled effect with the different colors of the mint.  I tried to draw shamrocks, which I thought would have been an awesome St. Patty's Day touch, but it didn't work at all.  The chocolate on top is too thick to let the green show through.
Enjoy!  Let these cookies cool completely before storing.
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DIY Magnetic Knife Rack Tutorial

I bought a set of six knives from Costco the other day.  They are awesome, but they didn't come with covers or a knife block.  My kitchen has limited counter space (doesn't everyone's?), so I thought a magnetic knife rack would be perfect.  Another problem that my kitchen has is limited wall space!  So, my thought was to get a knife rack that is strong enough to hold the knives and stick to the fridge.  I searched around the internet a bit before I realized that nobody makes a knife rack that doubles as a fridge magnet.  Luckily for you, we did all the trial and error to figure out how to make one.  My husband was a huge help on this project, especially with the metalwork.  After a few failed gluing episodes, I think I have all the kinks worked out.  This is the result:
I love being able to display these knives, since they are so colorful.  They are also much more out of reach to my two-year-old than they were in the drawer next to the oven.  You wanna make one, too?  Here are the supplies you will need:
  • Ceramic block magnets (You can probably get these anywhere; mine were from Lowe's)
  • Strip of aluminum that is just barely wider than your magnets and long enough to go all the way around your magnets (Found at Lowe's in the "metal by the piece" section)
  • Epoxy that will bond metal and ceramic
  • Judikins Diamond Glaze (Found at most craft stores)
  • Scrapbook paper to match your kitchen
These are the tools that will be helpful for this project:
  • A vise or something to hold the metal while you bend it
  • Clamps to hold everything while the epoxy cures
  • A hacksaw or something to cut the metal
Let's get started!  First, you will need the magnets and the aluminum.
This photo shows what kind of a lip you will want the aluminum to have on the magnets.  The lip will keep your knives from sticking all the way to the magnets, which will make them much easier to get off.  Okay, first line the magnets up end to end.
Start wrapping the aluminum around the magnets by holding the metal by the magnets and marking the bends.  I found that a Sharpie pen wrote well on the aluminum.  Do each bend one at a time, marking where it should go, then bending it in the vise until it goes all the way around.  Next, cut the rest of the metal off with a hacksaw.
It may take some adjusting, mostly twisting, to get the metal to sit just how you want.  Once things look good, grab your epoxy and get gluing.  Clamp everything together to get a good bond.  We had to do this part twice to get everything completely bonded.  You can use steel wool to polish up your metal after the epoxy is set, just know that you will have to have a pneumatic blower to get all the metal shavings off the magnets.  Otherwise, you can probably peel most of the exposed epoxy off with your fingernails.
Next, get the paper and cut it to fit on top of the magnets but inside the metal lip.  This part may take some patience, but the closer the fit, the better.  Once the paper is ready, spread the diamond glaze over the entire backside of the paper and press it down onto the magnets.  If you don't get the glaze everywhere, your paper will bubble on the next step, so do your best.  Let the diamond glaze dry, usually half an hour to an hour.  
You can be done at this point if you like, but I took it one step further, and I think it made all the difference.  Fill in the top of the paper with diamond glaze.  If you have any gaps between the paper and the metal, like where the two ends of the metal meet, put some clear tape on the back to keep the glaze from running all over your counter.
As the glaze dries, it will turn clear and keep your paper protected.  If you do happen to get any bubbles at this point, you can scrape it all off and try again as long as the glaze isn't dried yet.  Otherwise, you are done!  Your magnetic knife, utensil, or whatever-else rack is complete!

Good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions.
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Radio Feature on Classical 89

As I mentioned on Monday, my friend Cami and I were on the radio on Classical 89 talking about our neighborhood craft collective, the Domestic Science Club.  This first clip is Cami talking about the inspiration for the group:
And next we have my clip where I talk more about what we do:
What a fun opportunity this was! Thanks to Tom Brinton for doing the interviews, editing the pieces, and putting the whole thing together. We really had a great time and are proud to have been included in Classical 89's program.

Also, thanks to ICT U Can for the help embedding the audio files.

Things to look forward to in the near future: Crackle glaze tutorial, Bathroom mirror frame, DIY magnetic knife rack, spring wreath, more hand-stenciled baby onesies, and branch hair clip organizer. Stay tuned!


Kitchen Curtains Preview

I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to IKEA today to snag some of this awesome fabric before it was all sold out. Me + toddler + baby = lots of work. Things went about as well as they could have, but by the end of the trip there was no room in the cart for the toddler, so I had to do the self-checkout while trying to keep her from running off. (WHY can there not be one cashier lane open?!) I even got enough fabric to make some striped panels for the other windows. . . just you wait and see!

I also found lamps for the master bedroom and a floor lamp for the family room. I was bold and got a purple velvet shade for the floor lamp. So far I still like it.

All in all, great trip! Love doing things I sometimes talk myself out of.