Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ghosts in the trees

With Halloween quickly approaching, and the weather determined not to cooperate, I decided it was time to get in the spirit anyway.  We really don't have very many Halloween decorations, and my 6 year old needed a project over the weekend, so I decided to make ghosts for our trees.  They were super easy, very inexpensive, and my daughter had a great time making them.

I cut a large white trash bag into 12 sections.  Then we stuffed the heads with old newspaper bags and used a twisty tie from a toy we had opened that morning.  I used a yarn needle to poke string through the top of the head and tied it at the top.  My daughter drew the faces, complete with a smile and we tied them to the trees.

Here are our ghosts on one of the trees, swinging in the breeze. 

Super cute, and super cheap...we used materials we already had, some of which was destined for the trash can!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Super Cute Flower Pens

Everyone who knows me knows I am a bit of a freak about my pens.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when people walk away with my favorite pen.  A creative way to solve this problem is to make them into pretty flowers.  Then when someone walks away with one of them, I can quickly spot my pen on someones desk!  They also make a great teacher gift, what teacher wouldn't love some pretty pens for her desk?
 To make flower pens, you will need:
Floral tape
Glue gun
 Start by yanking the end cap off your pen by any means necessary.  I usually use my teeth, but pliers are probably a better tool!
Remove the stem from your chosen flower and put a glob of hot glue on the end.  Stick the glued end in the shaft of the pen, give it a twist to spread the glue on all sides.
Allow the glue to cool slightly, and adhere the floral tape to the top of the pen.  Wrap the floral tape around, making sure to stretch it as you go.  Once you reach the bottom, use a tiny bit of glue to stick down the end.  At this point, the pen will be slightly tacky from the floral tape.  It will go away as you use the pen, but you can roll it between your hands to remove the tackiness more quickly.

 This is what the finished pen will look like.  I find that the cap doesn't fit well after wrapping with floral tape, so I toss the caps.
Now that you have a pretty pen, you need something pretty to display them.  To make this container, I used Mod Podge to adhere scrapbook paper to a peanut butter container.  I used ribbon to cover the part where the lid screws to the container and stuck on a flower for good measure.

This, along with a Thank You note written by my daughter, will make a perfect Teacher Appreciation gift!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adventures in Gardening

Last year, I ventured into the world of vegetable gardening.  I wasn't too successful, only getting a few green beans for all my hard work.  This year, I am determined to do better and actually get more than 2 meals worth of vegetables!  I made a few changes to last year's plan and got started last month.

My husband found this little upside down planter on clearance at the end of the season last year.  It has rosemary, parsley and basil on the top.  Planted in the holes on the bottom are tomatoes and strawberries.

 Last year, I used a pot for my potatoes, I didn't get any edible ones.  This year, I went for a different variety and also used kitty litter containers with the bottom cut off.  There are 4 plants in each container.  As they grew, I added dirt to cover the plants until they reached the top of the containers.

These little plants were in the soil from last year.  I am pretty sure they are green beans since they are in the same spot I planted them last year, and now the leaves are looking like green beans.  I hope I am right!

One month later, the herbs and tomato plant are still thriving.  I even have a tomato growing, and have used the herbs to cook with.  The strawberry plant is all but dead.  Back to the drawing board on that one!
 As you can see, the potatoes (in the yellow containers) and green beans are doing great!  I bought a tomato cage that unfolds and is perfect for supporting the green beans as they grow.  I have also planted peas and carrots in the open space.  There is still room in the center for something else.  I am not sure what I will plant there, if anything.  Last year, I also planted pumpkins, which completely overtook the small garden space I have, then the vine was inundated with bugs and died!  This year, I am trying to start the pumpkins in the blue container in the grass to the left.  There is plenty of room for them to spill out of the container and grow to their heart's content in the grass.  We are hoping to use these for our Halloween pumpkins *fingers crossed*!
 Last but not least, this is my lemon bush.  I have had her for 2 years and she has yet to produce any lemons.  She looks MUCH healthier and happier this year, so hopefully we will see something good soon.

At the beginning of the year, I got sucked in by the Arbor Day Foundation.  I sent them some money, and they sent me 12 "trees".  Now I had done some research, so I knew I would be getting "sticks" and not "trees".  When they arrived, my husband laughed and said "Honey, we have tree mail."  I opened my tree mail and had a good laugh when we looked at a bag of 12 sticks.  I really should have taken a picture of them, it was quite priceless.  Flash forward about a week when I finally had time to plant my sticks.  I started to dig my first hole, and realized that there was no way I was going to dig 12 holes in our horrible hard, rocky, clay soil!  I got one good hole in the ground and gave up.  I only had 3 pots laying around, so only 4 "trees" were planted.  The rest were given away to friends or tossed in the trash.  Here are my 4 sticks in all their glory...

This is how my trees looked this morning.  Still sticks, but now they are sticks with leaves (which are really hard to see in this picture because the grass is finally growing back).  Two of the trees have some sort of bug which is eating perfect half circles out of the leaves.  I have to do some research on how to get rid of them and not hurt my precious babies in the process!

I can't wait until I can start eating my veggies this year.  There is something so satisfying in eating something you planted and grew in your own yard, don't you think?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Well, the proverbial saddle, that is.  I don't exactly ride horses anymore ;)  As much as I love crafting, I had to take a bit of a break because, as usual, life got in the way.  Now that things around here have settled down, I am recommitting myself back to my blog and crafting.  I have been working on a little something while I was away...

A few years ago, I taught myself how to knit.  When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I knew I had to knit him a baby blanket.  My daughter was quite sad that he had a blanket from Mommy, but she didn't.  One day, she asked me to make her a blanket, to which I said "yes, of course I will!"  Soon after that request, I pulled out my patterns and she picked the one she liked and we went to the craft store so she could pick out the yarn she liked.  Fast forward about six months and the blanket is finally finished! Here it is in all it's pink glory...
 And here is a close-up of the pattern.
My sweet Nutty Bear will be over the moon when she receives this blanket!  I can't wait to give it to her.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie of the Month - December

This month for my daughter's teacher, I decided to use some of the cookies from our Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza.  I selected 3 different types and tied them up in this cute little snowman bag I found in my stash.
This batch was given a bit later this month because my daughter's teacher was not in the classroom for the first week of December.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Paint Storage Solution

It seems that everywhere I look, there are great ideas for paint storage.  My favorite storage idea was from Infarrantly Creative.  She used spice racks!  What a great idea, I wish I had thought of it.  As you know, I love to hit the garage sales, so with this new idea in mind, I started my search.  I didn't quite find spice racks, but I did find this...
 And this...
 The first unit was unfinished wood, so it only took a quick sand before it was ready for painting.  The second one, on the other hand, had quite a bit of clear coat on it, so it took longer.  Plus it has a very narrow groove on each of the shelves and an ugly gold nameplate on it.  All it took was a bit of elbow grease and a good coat of paint to make them beautiful! 

After my primer dried, I painted each of the pieces using a brush and some paint I had left over from another project.  They turned out VERY bland and boring, so I decided to paint a cute little flourish on each.  I used some "oops paint" I picked up a while ago.  I love the way they turned out.  I even love the fact that the designs are a bit rough and aren't perfect.
 The ugly gold plate on this rack was perfect for my little flourish!

Now to figure out a color to paint the wall so they really pop!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza

Every year, the women in my family get together between Thanksgiving and Christmas to have our Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza.  Each person brings 2 recipes and we spend the whole day baking, eating and enjoying each other's company.  Now that I live in a different state from the rest of my family, I don't always get to participate, however, while my mom was in town, we had our own Mini Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza.  I didn't get pictures of all we made, but here is a small sample of the yummy goodness...
Wintermint Wafers

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Cappuccino Crinkles

Sugar Free Chocolate Chip (especially for my Dad, who is diabetic)

Don't you just want to take a bite out of your computer screen?  I know I do!
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