Thursday, March 22, 2012

Accessories: paper and mod podge charm bracelet

There are so many fun diy jewelry ideas floating around lately. I’ve seen some pretty fabric flower necklaces and a lot of charm bracelets.

I was taken with these two charm bracelets and filed away the idea.

{left) Sandy’s Space – Paper and Mod Podge bracelet
{right} Just Something I Made – Shrinky Dink bracelet

I decided to use Sandy’s paper and Mod Podge method and dug through my paper supplies. I wanted something natural looking and delicate for spring.

I found some rice paper with bits of leaves and foliage pressed into it. I Mod Podged the rice paper onto heavier cardstock and once it was dry, I cut out the charm shapes. Two more coats of Gloss Lustre Mod Podge sealed the charms.

I’ve had the silver link bracelet forever and can’t even remember where I got it. The finishing touch was the beautiful vintage seam binding I just bought from one of my favorite Etsy shops – Carmelos.


I wove the seam binding through the silver bracelet links and added the charms with embroidery floss.

With a little paper, Mod Podge and ribbon and you can create any type of charm bracelet you want.

Thanks for visiting!



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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Dirt: Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix

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This post brought to you by Scotts®. All opinions are 100% mine.

The weather is turning nicer and nicer and I can't wait to get out into my garden and get planting. I have to admit, my garden has really been neglected this winter so I'm eager to get started.

One of my goals this year is to plant a vegetable garden. The caprese sticks that I made above were from tomatoes from my neighbor's garden. Nothing tastes better than homegrown vegetables so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll have a good harvest.

That's why I was especially excited to receive a bag of Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix to try out. Now I won't have to rely on just keeping my fingers crossed when I plant my garden. Here are some of the benefits:

• Up to 3X the Flowers and Vegetables!* *versus native soil
• Significantly improves soil for multiple years
• Concentrated planting mix expands up to 3X when water is added
• Feeds for up to 6 months
• All natural fibers hold up to 50% more water than basic potting soil

EnG Product Shot.png
The mix is specially formulated to help you get beautiful results - in the ground or in pots. I was surprised at how light the bag was when I received it. Here's why:

Besides the Miracle-Gro plant food it contains coconut coir fiber derived from the coconut husk. It's lightweight and retains 50% more moisture than regular potting soil. Harvesting coconuts begins with de‐husking. The copra (flesh) and milk of the coconuts are used as food, but the husk itself is also useful. The long fibers are used in the manufacture of ropes, doormats, mattresses, automobile car seats, and garden pots. The remaining short fibers and the pith, which makes up about 70% of the weight of the husk, are by‐products of the fiber industry. Previously, these materials were disposed of, but now they are compressed and sold around the world as soil amendments.

Check out Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix for yourself. Or, leave me a comment for a chance to win a free sample of Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix. I'll draw a winner from the comments using a random number generator and send you your sample. You'll have beautiful plants in no time!

Expand ‘n Gro™

Besides tomatoes, I'm planning on planting a mixture of herbs. I can't wait to have fresh tomato sauce, salsa and plenty of herbs for the barbeque season.

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homework: photography

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I posted about these embellished candles a few weeks ago and received some nice emails about the photography. This made me positively giddy because I struggle with photography on every post.

{The picture above of the Advent Apple was taken a few months back}

I had planned on devoting a post to what I’ve learned about photography in my short time blogging and had taken pictures of my setup the day I shot the candles.

I should start out by stating that I’m no way an expert. In fact, I’m truly a novice and learning everyday. Whenever I see a blog post about photography, I try to read it. Learning from other bloggers has been extremely valuable. However, not everything has worked for me. Some of the tips I’ve read may have been written for a better camera, or different lighting – it’s a mystery to me. So, because of that, my number rule is:

#1 – Take lots of pictures. Use different lighting, different backgrounds and surfaces. There’s nothing worse than finishing your shoot and uploading your photos to find they’re not right.

I use a simple Nikon Coolpix L100. Basically a point and shoot camera with a zoom lens. I almost always shoot on the close up setting not automatic. For me and for this camera I’ve found the photos are more in focus when I use this setting.

The photo above was taken outside in daylight. The crystal bowl is set on a white platter that reflects the light from the bowl and the natural elements.

I usually try to shoot a few projects at one time. As long as you are setting up a backdrop and have a nice bright day, you might as well shoot as many things as possible. I gather up props and create a giant mess on my dining room table. On this day, I had more props than normal because I was shooting three different candles and the little yarn sheep.

Have spare batteries on hand. Mine died halfway through this shoot and the backup rechargeable batteries weren’t charged. Luckily, I had plenty of regular AA batteries.

Here’s one area that I like to take pictures. It’ a bay window so I get a lot of light. I sometimes use a foam core board for a white background. This one is my son’s science fair board.

Another trick I learned along the way was to use tin foil to bounce light off of. You can cover cardboard with tinfoil or like me, use a cookie sheet with a piece of tinfoil wrapped around it. Depending on your lighting, you can use one on each side. You need to play around and see if you need more light, less light etc.

Here’s the shot from the photo shoot above. I was shooting very close up and the sheep and rabbit are on a white plate. The tin foil reflected light on the sheep and the white plate is slightly blurred. I was happy with how this shot came out. It’s a product shot for my Etsy Shop so I wanted to keep it simple.

Blog Blue Candles
Silver objects are hard to photograph. Take a lot of pictures from different angles because silver is like a mirror and depending on where you stand, you’ll end up reflected in the silver. I have some nice outtakes with my face and camera smack dab in the middle of the silver cup.

Copy of Blog Blue Candles-1
These pictures used the same setup as the sheep with the tin foil reflector. I like how the light is intense against the epsom salts in the votive. This is just a personal preference. I submit a lot of projects to sites such as CraftGawker and very rarely do they accept my photos. I would say, 9 out of 10 times my projects are rejected because of photo issues. A common rejection comment that I get is “lighting issues”. Oh well…

Blog Blue Candles_collage
It would be nice to have a fancy DSLR camera one day but in the meantime, I muddle through with my point and shoot. 

Thanks so much for visiting.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Inspiration Board: link party 42

Hello friends! Welcome to the Inspiration Board link party. I’m so happy that you could join me. Spring always seems to bring forth a burst of creativity and I just love all the pretty pastel projects, baked goods and fresh home d├ęcor ideas. Is it warm where you live? If so, it’s definitely gardening time. My garden is very neglected and I can’t wait to get outside and plant some pretty flowers. Whatever you’re working on, I can’t wait to see it.

I’ll be going through the projects and featuring some in the spotlight on Friday.
A few rules:
  • Link up your own project - something you created, made, did, etc.
  • Link to a specific post, not your blog home page (No Etsy shops or giveaways).
  • Grab a “homework” button and include it somewhere on the post you’re linking, on your home page or a page of link parties. Or, if you prefer, add a text link.
  • Follow homework. You’ll find the “Follow via Google Friend Connect” gadget on the right sidebar.
  • Please visit the other links that intrigue you and make someone smile with a comment or two.
I’m ready to be inspired and can’t wait to see what you’re sharing this week.

Don’t forget to add my button somewhere on your blog. Spreading the word helps bring more visitors to your linked project.

Want to host your own link party? Click here to sign up for InLinkz

Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrations: spring paper flower centerpiece

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Inspired by the pretty spring projects floating around blogland I felt it was time to create a new spring centerpiece.

Features 40
These three projects {above} were linked up on my link party and featured on the Inspiration Board within the last month. These were my main source of inspiration when I created my spring paper flower tree. {left} Mulberry Paper Flowers ~ Craftberry Bush  {middle} Bird Lamp ~ Creative Chaos  {right} Spring Paper Wreath ~ Ivaalex

I loved different aspects of each project… the muted watercolors on the Mulberry Flowers, the airy feeling of the Bird Lamp and the variety of color on the Spring Paper Wreath.

For my flowers, I used very cheap napkins as the paper.

I sprinkled water on the napkins and then dabbed water color paints here and there until I achieved a mottled effect. Since the napkins are wet, the paint bleeds together nicely. My primary colors were blue, pink and yellow/green. Once you’re done painting, let the napkins dry thoroughly.

I wanted tiny little flowers so I cut strips of the napkins and used this tutorial originally designed for crepe paper.

When you make these flowers, try to find interesting parts of the napkin with different colors and tones.

The little blue birds are made out of rice paper and I recycled them from this project I made last year.

The flowers are extremely fragile so be careful when putting together your tree.

I may keep one little bird perched on top but I haven’t decided.

I didn’t want the entire tree covered in flowers so I added some silk flower leaves to give it a little bit of an airy feeling.

 This will be the centerpiece of my Easter brunch table. I can hardly wait to add more tablescape details.

Thanks for visiting.


Friday, March 16, 2012

The Inspiration Board: link party spotlight ~41~

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Happy Friday! And welcome to the Inspiration Board spotlight. Thank you to everyone who came by to visit and a big thank you if you shared your project. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy checking out your creativity.

There were so many creative projects linked up on Tuesday, I really had a hard time picking features this week.

Here are a few projects in the spotlight this week.

One of the most unique projects I’ve seen. Creative Chaos created these wonderful spoons out of shells and driftwood. So perfect for a beach theme mantel or tablescape.

finished beach hut
Speaking of beach themes, City Girl Gone Coastal turned her kids’ playhouse into a beach hut in the garden. I love the blue and white stripes and nautical bunting.

faux wallpaper 14
Meeha Meeha shows us how to make faux wall paper. What looks like a whimsical accent strip of wallpaper is actually individually placed stickers. What a fun idea.

What a great idea for upcycling an old t-shirt. Threading My Way made a pillow out of a favorite t-shirt. I’m sure it’s extra soft and cuddly.

Love 040
Wow! I thought they only made cakes like this on television. Fantastic baby shower cake by Meaningful Mama. The party theme was “cute as a button” and this cake is even more than that.

Gorgeous ruffle pillow by Ode to Inspiration. The red, pool blue and yellow colors are some of my favorites.

Features 41-1
If you’re in need of some last minute St. Patrick’s Day ideas here are some great ones.

{left} Homespun With Love has an assortment of St. Patrick’s Day treat ideas on the amazing treat table.
{right}  JackOLyn Murphy has great Green Thumb gift ideas including this cute green nail polish gift.

Ice Cream Cupcakes
This recipe can be used year-round for different occasions. A Pumpkin and a Princess made these pretty mint chocolate chip ice cream cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day. Just change out the ice cream for different occasions. Fun!

I love pasta. I think I could eat it every night. This roasted butternut squash, crispy kale and bacon pasta from Tale of the T’s sounds fantastic. And what a great way to serve up some leafy greens and veggies.

Gorgeous magnetic pin dish by Color Me Domestic. A Dollar Store glass plate and candle holder painted in a pretty blue becomes a beautiful personal gift.

This week on the Inspiration Pinboard
{Robin’s Egg Blue}Features 41
Back Yard Garden Birds – Guerilla Crafter
DIY Toms Slippers – Three Years of Death
Robin’s Egg Easter Wreath – Uncommon
Grape Hyacinth – Nifty Thrifty Things

If you were in the spotlight, please feel free to grab a button.

Thank you again to everyone who linked a project and to everyone who came to visit. I loved looking at all the projects and visiting your sites.

Please come back next week for another link party.
Link parties are held every Tuesday.