Family Name Photo Art {tutorial}

I'm back home visiting my family for Christmas, and it's been great to see my parents and sisters! My middle sister suggested we make a Christmas gift for my dad. She is so creative, so I was totally game. K showed me some pictures she had taken of ordinary objects which represented each letter of our family's last name. Look at these awesome photos she took!

Love 'em! To turn these photos into a great gift, K, J (my youngest sister) and I headed over to Hobby Lobby to pick up a nice black frame. We got ours for around $20, I think. We also got four pieces of scrapbook paper for 29 cents each. The girls and I went with a burlap printed paper, and we ended up loving it! It's a nice neutral background for the black and white photos. We also bought some foam board ($1.59) to create our own mat.

The first step was to cut out the foam board to the dimensions of the mat that was in the frame. Then we used Mod Podge to adhere the burlap paper to the board.

Next, we mod podged the photos to the paper. And voila!

We showed it to the parentals tonight, and they absolutely LOVE it! My dad is going to hang it in his office.  :)


Warm and Comfy Sweater Pillow!

I had quite a bit of leftover cable knit sweater from my sweater candle cozie project, so why not make a pillow cover? Sweater pillows have been popping up in home decor stores as well as all over the blog world lately. And I can see why because they give you a warm comfy feeling whether you are resting your head on one or just staring at your handmade sweater pillow in admiration. 

Here is how mine turned out:

It was soo easy to make, even without a sewing machine! I simply placed my pillow form inside the body of the sweater--luckily, it was a perfect fit--and then cut one side and hand sewed two of the sides. 
I didn't turn the sweater inside out while I sewed, so it has kind of a rough edge. I'd like to say I did that for some creative unique reason, but honestly, I just wasn't really thinking. It's not bad, though! 
P.S. The husband really liked this one! That's saying something because his enthusiasm for my projects has waned recently, probably because I tend to strew unfinished projects throughout the house, not wanting to put them away until they are completely finished. Haha...oops! At least he's a good sport about it. I can make this one of my many New Year's resolutions.  

P.S.S. My little Heidz approves! She is an expert on all things comfort-related, so I value her opinion highly. (I am not crazy, I promise...okay, maybe a little dog crazy.) 
She was wearing her Christmas sweater because we just got back from taking our family Christmas portrait. Some dogs may feel humiliated when their owners make them wear clothes, but Heidi LOVES a snug little tee or sweater.
I also need to throw in a pic of my other cutie patootie, Jini. Otherwise, I would feel like I was leaving her out .
Yes, that is a leopard print Snuggie and my fleece jacket that she is laying on. She is my other comfort expert, if you can't tell. ;)
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Fine Craft Guild


Sweater Candle Cozies {tutorial}

We got some lovely snow yesterday here in North Carolina. The snow came down in big soft flakes - it was beautiful! It was the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and do a winter project. I've been dying to try this sweater candle cozie project created by the ingenious Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming.

All it involves is recycling some old sweaters (or in my case, buying one from the thrift store) by covering the candle vase in a comfy sweater. Here is what mine turned out like:
Do you like it? I am in love with it! Small changes like this can really warm up a space, as well as turn generic candles into unique, stylish ones. I think it's the perfect project for these snow-filled days.

One thing I did differently than Stephanie Lynn is that I sewed my sweater into place rather than hot gluing it on. The reason being that I know I will want to change out the look of these candle vases later, so as usual, I only made a temporary change. I will be able to slip off the sweater covers and store them away as spring approaches, but I will be able to reuse them next winter. Perfect!

Sewing them was actually really easy. I only had to make around 3 rows of stitches.

Here is the original sweater. I picked it up at the thrift store. I was able to use it for two different projects and even had some left over. Not too shabby for $7.
First step was to slip a sleeve over the candle vase. Then I cut the piece to size, trimming the edges of the candle vase base as I went.
The only thing left to do was to sew this gap in the sleeve. That took about 30 seconds.
One down, two to go!
I did the same thing as before, but this time I made the sweater cozie for the candle rather than the vase. (Tip: If you do this, make sure the sweater won't catch on fire when you light the candle!)

For the round vase, I simply stretched the other sleeve over it. That way all I had to do was make the same few stitches to the top of the sleeve. I also had to make a few stitches to the bottom of the vase in order to wrap the sweater underneath the vase. If I had not done this, the bottom would have looked too frayed.
It turned out to be my favorite! :)
Here are the sweater candle cozies in my table centerpiece:
What do you think? Have you made any cool things with cable knit sweaters? Have you tried this project before? Please do share. :)

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In case you are interested, here is a photo calendar deal

Hello friends! Just wanted to post something really quick. It's a shopping deal that I think some of you may be interested in - perhaps it would make a nice Christmas gift...? 

I am signed-up to get daily emails from Living Social (and Groupon and Twongo), and this morning I was delighted to see this one. Living Social has a limited deal where for $12 you can get a voucher for a 12x12 custom photo calendar from Snapfish, which normally costs $25! I create a calendar for my mom's birthday in January every year, so that's why I am excited to find a deal that is actually going to save me money on something I was already going to buy. I don't think she will mind that I saved some money on it - in fact, she would encourage it!  :)

In case you are interested, the deal only lasts for I think 20 more hours, so again here is the link: 12x12 calendar deal

Have a great Tuesday!


Dollar Store Wall Art {tutorial}

My stairway walls have desperately been needing some dressing up. They are stark white (it's the renter's curse!). The area wraps around into the entryway and living/dining room, so it felt like too big of an area to paint, which is why I have been meaning to buy or create some wall art to display on the wall at the top of the stairs.  While there are tons of great options out there, I wanted something unique and inexpensive - and have I mentioned I like to make things?

So, a while back I picked up these little canvases from my local Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1 a piece.

As you can see, this is not exactly my style (is it anyone's style?!) But do not fear! To fix this ugly little situation, I enlisted the help of my good friend, Krylon White spray paint. I think it took me maybe 2 or 3 coats to erase all of the badness.

Ahh…blank canvas. Now I was able to unleash my creativity (ha! yeah right). I free handed some birds - however, I wish I would have printed a bird silhouette and stenciled it onto the canvases to get some uniformity to their shapes. If you try this project, here is one option for a free bird silhouette.

Lastly, I busted out my acrylic paint, which I already had, and painted the background first and then the birds.

Here is a pic of the birds hanging on the wall. Not too shabby for $4.

They really brighten up the stairway. It draws your eyes up as you walk up the stairs, which is great considering the staircase carpet is a high traffic area and tends to accumulate many stains. Who knew how much of an impact a little color can make?

What sort of wall art have you created? I'd love to see it, so feel free to leave a link. Thanks!  :)

I'm linking to these lovely parties: Along for the Ride, Funky Junk Interiors, Beyond The Picket Fence, & Remodelaholic
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College Freshman Care Package

I feel like I haven't posted in forever, but thanks for sticking with me. :) I had to present my thesis proposal to my committee last week (whew! glad that's over), which consumed a good chunk of time and about all my emotional energy to prepare for it. And this week I am flying to New Orleans for a conference, which I am excited about, but it also means I am left with little time for fun projects. {sigh} I'll get back to it soon. Actually, last weekend I devoted several hours of my Saturday to restaining my kitchen cabinets and replacing old pulls with new spray painted ones. I can't wait to show you!!! And I will once I get some time to make the kitchen sparkle and take photos of the makeover. 

Anywho, I thought I would show you all a small project from my "additional projects I'm thinking about" list that I put together about a month ago. My youngest sister is a freshman in college this year, and I thought it would be nice to send her a care package, so I searched around for some ideas and this is what I came up with. 

Here is a list of everything I included. Maybe it will help you think of some things to send your child/sibling/grandchild/niece/nephew/friend who could use some fun and useful things as the most stressful time of the semester draws near. He or she will appreciate it immensely! 

  1. Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa (free, as I had some on hand) - It is much cheaper (and cuter) to scoop out some hot cocoa mix from your own big tub into clear plastic bags for individual servings than to go buy small packets from the store.

  1. Handmade bookmarks - you can see how I made them here.

  1. Archer Farms fruit strips ($2) - Love these! Besides being delicious, they keep forever and they hardly take up any room in the box.
  2. White cheddar bunnies from Target ($2) - If you scoop them into Ziploc bags and tie a bow around it, it looks cuter. Nice packaging can make all the difference sometimes.)

  1. Stickers ($1) - because why not? Stickers make everything better.
  2. ToDo list with sticky notes ($2 together) - Got to love Target's Dollar Days. By the way, I realize this is definitely specific to my little sis' personality and behaviors. She LOVES organizational stuff, so that's why this is actually a fun item for her.

  1. Another list-making pad with pencils ($2) - Again, Target's Dollar Days are awesome.
  2. Crystal light packages ($2.79) - Need I remind you that she is a sister, not a brother? Ha ha. Great for mixing into her water bottle when she's on the go.
  3. Dial hand sanitizer - Do not put this in your package no matter how good of an idea it is. (Those kids are all sick at this time of year.) I made that mistake and had to take it out when I went to mail the package at the post office. No liquids, folks.
  4. Tissues ($1) - Again, for those sick gross days when you still have to go to class.
  5. Darling recycled notebooks ($1.99/ notepad, except the large one was on clearance at Target for $1.74) - Great for jotting down notes in class.

  1. Scotch wall mounting tape (free - had some on hand) - I included this later on, so it's not in that 2nd pic. This item is good for hanging posters and stuff in dorm room where you can't nail holes into the wall.

While the items that I included in the package were fairly inexpensive, the actual shipping cost me $14.50. Yikes! Also, I suggest paying extra for the shipping confirmation. I found out the hard way recently that USPS cannot do anything about tracking down a lost package unless you pay the $1.75 or whatever it is for shipping confirmation.

Anyway, I hope this gets those creative juices flowing for someone else who is planning a care package for their college student. :)

P.S. Don't forget to include a note. That's an important part that I almost overlooked.

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And we have a winner...

Thanks for entering my CSN gift card giveaway contest! The contest ended today at noon, and I have randomly drawn a winner. 

I'm old school, I guess, because I wrote the names down of everyone who entered on pieces of notecards. Then, I put them in a glass vase, and shook it really hard. Here is a picture as evidence. Ha ha...

I closed my eyes, stuck my hand in the vase, and pulled out this name.

Congratulations, Catherine Agnes! I hope you pick out something fabulous with your CSN $35 gift card! You have lots of options, as CSN has 200+ online stores

Thanks again for entering everyone! If it were possible, I would give everyone one of you a gift card.  :)