WooHoo Moo!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

After weeks of working on my business cards for my etsy shop plumed (weeks because I am so indecisive and always looking for the best deal) I finally made an order through Moo. I had heard many great things about Moo and I have to say I am really happy with how they turned out and the quality is terrific! It truly is simple to use, yet there are so many choices on how to design your cards by uploading your images. Let me tell you they look and feel so much more professional than the ones I was printing up at home!

I also got some stickers while I was at it and, they too, are a really great quality. On a side note, for the back image I used photovisi to get the little pictures of my pillows and the text. (Photovisi is a really cool collage maker website that is free and also really easy to use.)

And last but not least, and why I am sharing this breaking news with all of you, with my order I got a coupon to pass along for new moo orders (people buying from moo for the first time). The coupon offers 15% off your first purchase and the code is 2RB2CK WooHoo!

The Homemade Pinata and How to Make a Super Easy One!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here is another great very simple, very easy craft idea sent into me by Jenessa V. (who also shared with us the cute horse cake decoration).

This pinata is easy to make at home for a kids birthday party or any party for that matter! And you can definitely include your kids in this project, but beware there is candy involved!

What you need:

2 paper grocery bags
Streamers and other items to decorate the bag.
A rope (to tie it to hang)
and CANDY of course - for a healthier version, you could place little party prizes inside, goldfish crackers or anything else kids will elbow and step over each other to acquire.

To make the pinata:

  • Place the two bags inside each other. 
  • Place a small layer of crumpled newspaper on the bottom.
  • Fill with your goodies. 
  • Fill/stuff the bag with newspaper to give it shape and then staple the top of the bag closed. (Also staple the handles really securely because this is where you will tie the rope to hang your pinata - and we all know how well the glue works on those handles - not so good - i think i might add a little duct tape too) 
  • Decorate your bag with streamers and whatever else you have to make your pinata design.
  • Tie your rope to your secured handles, hang where you may, and give your guests a stick to whack the pinata around.

Jenessa recently made this pinata and used it at a party. She says it worked really well and lasted through about 15 kids beating on it till the booty feel free.

Thanks Jenessa I love this idea and with my twins birthday coming up this friday, I think I am just going to have to test it out!

More Blueberries and a Simple Pie Recipe

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Recently we went blueberry picking, and unfortunately, I do not have an extra freezer to store the 14 pounds of berries we picked, so I have been making a lot of blueberry goodness not letting our hard work or berries go to waste. In fact picking the berries was really a lot of fun, not to mention economical! It was really great to spend a couple hours with other people willing to go to the source for their food. Ultimately I had a fantastic day spending time with my kids (while they perhaps learned a little something) and had several great conversation with fellow pickers.

 Blueberries on the Vine

 My Bucket Almost Full!

Luca was really great at picking the blueberries, they just never made it into the bucket : )

First on my blueberry menu was pie. I LOVE blueberry pie! It's extraordinarily easy and delicious. I have to admit I cheated and bought a pie crust, but sometimes you need to cut a corner here or there, and I really just wanted to get that pie in the oven and then into my mouth as quickly as possible. So for this recipe I am skipping the crust part. For crust instruction I am sure Martha Stewart has some great tips.

Milo woke up a little early from his nap and we were able to have some quality one-on-one time making this pie. Milo and I used 7 cups of Blueberries to make this pie in a pan that was a fairly deep dish. I would say you could use anywhere between 6 and 8 cups depending on your pan.

This pie recipe can be used for ANY fruit pie and I use it for pretty much all my pies, it's just so simple, it works, and it tastes yummy.

Heat oven to 400

Crust (click link to go to an easy pie crust recipe)
Pie pan

Cookie sheet

Fruit between 6 to 8 cups total
1/3 cup sugar (I use raw)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tbs lemon juice fresh (meyer's lemons are my favorite to use in pies, but any will do)

*For the crust I use a little egg yoke to make it shinny and to keep it from getting burnt. Just whip up some egg yoke, add a dash of milk/half and half/cream if you have it and brush it on the crust before you place it in the oven. If you don't have the milk, it's okay, the yoke works fine on its own.

Prepare pie crust and place in pie pan.

Place one half to one cup of your blueberries (or other fruit) into a bowl and crush lightly (to get the juices flowing). Add remaining fruit. Add sugars, corn starch (for thickening) and lemon juice. Gently mix up. Spoon into pie pan with a light raise in the center, so pile it a little more in the center of the pie pan. Add your top layer of crust, place in fridge for a few minutes, 5 to 10.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil - to catch the juices if they bubble over. Cook pie until the crust is just a bit golden, about 20 minutes, at 400 degrees.

Then reduce the heat to 350 and cook for another 50 minutes.

Take pie out carefully! Place on cooling rack and let the pie cool. Yes, you truly have to wait about 2 hours. The pie continues to cook and thicken after it is taken out of the oven and the pie just isn't done until after it has cooled down significantly. The pie will keep on out on your counter if loosely covered with a towel or plastic wrap for a couple days. Enjoy!!! We sure did! And two days later we made another pie following the same recipe but using peaches and blueberries together.

 Milo proud of a job well done!

  Fresh out of the oven still bubbling!

Ready to cut into. It smelled really good!

Make Your Own Light Box: how to trace onto fabric and paper

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Light boxes can come in really handy sometimes and doing embroidery work I quickly discovered that I absolutely needed one - taping my drawings and holding up my fabric to a window was not working so well. But I just didn't want to have to purchase one for 50 dollars when I knew it would be very simple and cost nearly nothing to make one myself. And so I did, luckily it actually did cost me nothing at all because I found all I needed around my house.

What you need:
  • A light bulb/fixture (the kind you hang from the ceiling on a cord is what I use because I can just slip it under the glass)
  • Blocks to place your glass on (same height coffee cups work well too)
  • Tape or clamps depending on what you are tracing your design on

First all you do is set up your piece of glass on your blocks (or whatever else you have to use to keep you glass up and stable). Place your light underneath. ***PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT PLACE YOUR LIGHT-BULB ON FABRIC AS I HAVE DONE IN THIS PHOTO! I only used fabric in this photo to give it a contrasting back ground, you should place your light-bulb on something that will not burn. It can take awhile to trace something so I often get a ceramic plate and stick that under my glass and put my light-bulb on top, so there is no chance of burning the surface I am working on.

Second place the image you wish to trace on top of the glass and tape down to make sure it doesn't move around while you trace it.

Third, clamp down your fabric or piece of paper, you can do this with any type of clamp you wish or any strength. You can use tape, too, if you are tracing onto paper. Just make sure the tape you are using is either outside the area you wish to trace or that it won't tear your paper when you remove it. Also make sure that your paper or fabric is aligned with the image you are tracing and you will be tracing it onto the right place. This is where a ruler can come in handy. I often find out where I want my image on my fabric and then place a few markers with pencil before I set it on top of the glass, so that it is easy to get it on to the glass where I want the traced image to show up on m final piece.

Forth, turn on your light and start tracing your image! It is difficult to see where you are tracing when the light is on, so I often turn off my light to make sure that I am either pressing hard enough with my pencil or not pressing too hard, and that I am following the image correctly and that my fabric hasn't moved. I do this every couple minutes just to keep track and double check.

  Waiting to become a pillow for my shop plumed.

Book Review: Fabric Remix Repurpose & Redecorate

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fabric Remix Repurpose & Redecorate by Sandy Stone

This book is like a gospel song for crafters. It is so inspirational! The only criticism I can think to give this book is that it makes me want to do every single project listed in it right this second. Crafting books can be tricky because you may only find one or two things within one that will inspire you, but if you love the idea of repurposing, upcycling and revamping for vintage chic decorating, this book will not disappoint. (This review so far is giving me flashbacks to reading rainbow all of a sudden). 

So what qualifies a great crafting book for me personally? Well, I am not a follow a pattern kind of gal because I know I will never be able to recreate something exactly as I see it - but that doesn't mean I don't love a little inspiration sometimes. Ultimately, I look for books that provoke me to think differently and foster new creative ideas that are still true to me and I can use the tools and skill set available to me. 

This book tops that list for me. The projects in which are offered are also all over the map, from extremely simple to more complex - from headboards to lampshades and tote bags to curtains. Sandy Stone offers a wide variety of projects and offers instructions on how to complete each of them. I also love that she dedicates a chapter on what materials to look for and where to look for them. She is an amazingly brilliant crafter and uses materials in ways I would never think of, but again, this book really seems to open that creativity in your own mind rather than just offering great patterns to follow. And while the materials are vintage they are not at all pigeon-holed into kitschy looks; many of her projects have a very modern, shabby chic and even in a few cases, an industrial feel to them, which I adore about this book too. And with this book being so inspirational I think you could take any of her projects and guide them into the style you are most attracted too. This book is worth it just for the photos they are amazing and will prompt many great ideas! I would absolutely recommend adding this book to your crafting library!

Here is a great example of her creative genius: A Zipper Tapestry

You can also read an interview with Sandy Stone on Lark Crafts discussing her book here.

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