Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Upcycling: earring holder

I tend to wear the same 5 or 6 pair of earrings day after day. These are my everyday-favorite earrings. At the end of the day, I throw them in a little dish. The process starts over the next morning when I dig around the little dish trying to find a matching set.

Here’s my solution.

To make an earring holder like this, you’ll need:
- A frame
- Fabric
- String
- Mini clothes pins

Here’s what I started with.

Yes, another dollar store find. No offense to the bird artist but I needed the frame. I covered the birds with a piece of heavy white paper so there would be no show-through.

Good bye birds, sorry.

Then I used a piece of muslin and stapled around the back of the frame. I added string and miniature clothes pins. I used a dab of glue behind each clothes pin to support the earrings.

Now I have no excuse to wear mismatched earrings.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Taste: caprese sticks

I mentioned last week that my neighbor delivered a bushel of fresh veggies from his garden. He’s quite elderly and yet he manages to tend his garden and grow the most amazing produce. And, he gets my vote for best neighbor for sharing his harvest.

Here’s what I made with the cherry tomatoes.

These little caprese sticks are the perfect summer food. Little bite sized servings of a caprese salad. Did you know…because I just found this out - caprese salad is also referred to as insalata tricolore (the three colors representing the red, white and green of the Italian flag).

These are skewered and ready to go. Add the dressing right before servings. If you need a quick and easy appetizer, that tastes great, this is the ticket.

Caprese (tricolore) sticks - recipe is in the goodie bag tab.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Inspiration Board: brookies, chicks and other good stuff

I recently had a birthday and boy, was I spoiled. I had to share all the goodies with you.

Brookies from my friend Vicky. These aren’t cupcakes. The bottom is a brownie, the middle is a cookie and the top is frosting. So good. I’m pretty sure the word “brookie” can be used in the same sentence as “devil” and “temptation”. Check out the recipe here on Martha Stewart.
My friend Linda let me scavenge her beautiful garden. Lookie what I got. I’m especially excited about the “chicks” from her Hens and Chicks plant. I can’t wait for my chicks to grow up and have chicks of their own.

The plant is called Hens and Chicks because the main plant, the hen, will produce little baby plants or chicks all around her. Here’s a nice blog article on Hens and Chicks.

Veggies from my neighbor’s garden. I will be posting up something made from these very soon.

The most beautiful flowers from my friends, C, J & B. Such good friends. I was overwhelmed.

My birthday cake. OK, I made this because it was also my son’s birthday. Cake decorating isn’t my forte but with my family the cake is gone so fast it would almost be a shame to spend too much time making it perfect.

I hope your weekend is filled with things as good as brookies, chicks, flowers and cake.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Dirt: plant propagation science experiment

I’ve been a little discouraged by the cost of plants at the local nursery so I’ve decided to do a little science experiment. Plant propagation or hydroponics is supposedly an easy way to multiply your plants.

In my scientific research (hah – quick google search) I found that woody bushes are the easiest plants to propagate. All you do is cut stems from the bush, strip away the bottom leaves and put them in water. Success rate is not always 100% so it’s suggested you do several of one type of plant.

I starting with 3 each of 4 types of plants; boxwood, ficus, lavender and a mystery plant that I love but I just can’t remember the name of it. I placed the cuttings in a spice jar set that was stored away and collecting dust.

Now I sit back and wait. Maybe I should I be playing them music or talking to them. Singing to them would be definitely not be beneficial.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Upcycling: paper beads

I found a tutorial on paper beads and had to try it. I just have to say…beware. This craft is so addicting.

To make paper beads, here’s what you need:
  • colorful paper – I used magazines
  • glue
  • cutting board and x-acto knife
  • something to roll the bead on like a toothpick or shishkabob stick, knitting needle or wire
  • wax paper
  • string or jewelry cord
  • optional – a small paint brush

Choose your paper and cut into tapered strips. Starting with the wider end start rolling onto your toothpick. Tip: do not roll too tightly or your bead won’t come off easily. When you are almost to the end of the strip apply glue to the last couple of inches and finish rolling. Spread the excess glue all over the bead with either your fingers or a small paint brush. Slide the bead off and dry on wax paper.

As your beads are drying roll them around every now and then so they don’t stick to the wax paper.  

Once your beads are dry, string them up. I used clear stretchy jewelry cord to make these bracelets.
Continue rolling beads until you have to stop yourself because nothing else in your life is getting done.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Inspiration Board: another one

I have a large inspiration board in my office where I hang pretty note cards, photos and all things inspirational. I decided I needed another one because one can never have too much inspiration. This one is more of a mood board.

I plan to change out the color or theme depending on what I’m in the mood for or what my mood is. This one is blue. Not that I’m feeling blue. I just felt like a little “serenity now” would be a good thing.

I promise not to post my mood board if I’m in a super bad mood.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Inkling: lbd note cards

Silhouettes are popping up everywhere. I wanted to try to make one but I think it takes a certain skill set to cut out a profile of someone’s face. I decided I needed to start with something a little more basic for my silhouette attempt and what could be more basic than a little black dress or lbd.

To make these silhouette note cards, I first sketched the dresses on cardstock. Once I was satisfied I cut them out. Then I traced around each dress template onto black cardstock. I cut out my dresses (like paper dolls) and glued them onto white cardstock.

The best part of the silhouette little black dress note card is that one size fits all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Inspiration Board: rock art

My friend, Carol and I like to walk along the local bike path. Last year we started noticing a few rock formations – 2-3 rocks stacked into art sculptures.

This year an entire village of rock sculptures has shown up. Each and every one is unique. What is so amazing is that they are made up of only a few rocks balancing on each other and yet you can clearly see what the artist intended. There are literally hundreds of these dotting the water’s edge.

Creative inspiration is everywhere and the simplest thing can be turned into an old lady, a man with a hat or a family.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sew and Tell: mini pin board

I saw these cool grey pin boards at CB2. Very sleek but I knew I could make one for a fraction of the cost.

I had some grey wool left over from my pincushions so I decided to make a miniature version for post-it reminders or business cards.

To make this pin board, all you need is a frame, some cork, fabric and glue.

Glue the cork to the inside of the frame and then stretch the fabric over the frame. Staple the fabric to the backside of the frame. Work your way around – one staple at the top, bottom, left, right. Keep going around so that the fabric is smooth. Do the corners last.

You could make several of these in different shapes and sizes and arrange them as a collage on a wall. The more the merrier!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Inkling: corrugated composition books

I love the idea of covering a plain black speckled composition book and giving it a new look. I’ve also been thinking about doing something with corrugated paper. My plan was to use kraft corrugated paper. You know, the kind used for packaging breakables. There are a couple reasons I didn’t get the kraft corrugated paper. One – it came on a huge roll and there are only so many corrugated kraft projects I can come up with. Two – did I mention the roll was huge – I really don’t think I could have lifted it into the car.

Not to be stopped, I found colored corrugated sheets.

For this project I used Tacky Glue and cut pieces of the corrugated paper larger than the composition book. Once the glue dried, I trimmed the edges with an exacto knife. Open the book up, cover side down – the edge of the original cover works like a ruler. Just make sure your exacto knife has a brand new blade. This method worked better than trying to precut the pieces to fit the book. I also decided to leave the original binding showing.

The corrugated sheets came in a variety of colors. I’m thinking about getting some really bright colors to cover more things.

Hmmm – maybe I should have bought that huge roll after all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Etcetera: tea bag gift box

What is it about a cup of tea that’s so soothing? I’m not sure if it’s the preparation, the pretty cup or the aroma. I think it’s all of the above which is why tea makes such a nice gift.

Homemade tea bags are easy to make. You don’t even need to know how to sew. Just cut out fabric squares - you can use muslin or cheesecloth. The squares should be about 5-6 inches. Spoon the loose tea in the middle of the square, roll up and tie with baker’s twine or cotton thread.

Don’t forget to add a tag to the end of the string. You can make the tag out of anything since this part doesn’t touch the water. I’ve seen buttons and all kinds of cutouts. I went with a simple tag that includes a tea leaf image and “enjoy” in a pretty font.

You can package up the tea bags in a jar, tin or box.
I used a kraft box and added another tag to the top.

That’s it. Orange Spice Tea all ready to gift.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Taste: mini pecan tarts

My friend from Louisiana served these at a crawfish party and I’ve been a fan ever since – of the tarts not so much the crawfish. Even if you don’t love pecan pie, you will love these tarts.

The crust is buttery crumbly and there’s just enough filling to get a little taste.

There are two methods to eating these. The two bite method. Or, the single, pop it in your mouth method. Both methods work equally well.

You can serve with plates and forks but really, why bother…

You’ll find the recipe in the Goodie Bag tab.

Entered in the CSI baking challenge.
Visit thecsiproject.com