Tuesday, January 31, 2012

decoupage for Grandma

This whole project started with a beat-up frame I thought was boring and one of those ugly lithographs of a pond and some trees.

'why would you have things you consider so heinous?', you might ask.
It's because I'm predictable and I always snatch up any of the $1-$3 picture frames that are 'save-worthy' at the local thrift store.

I removed the picture from the frame and my sweet G. painted it gold for me. Then I mod-podged some 'leathery' looking scrapbook paper onto the backboard; so later, when I wanted to use it - I'd have a 'blank canvas.'

Let me just say that in the beginning, painting it gold - sounded like a fab idea to me.
LoL but once it was gold .. I thought it was just 'too fakey shiney' to be used.

Monday, January 30, 2012

the necklaces were framed, framed I say!

I really don't think I could live without my weekly trip to the thrift stores.  It's retail therapy at it's cheapest and G. will sometimes takes the afternoon off work, to come thriftin' me.  

Other than spending quality time with my favorite man in the world - my 2nd favorite part is to raid  pillage browse their collection of previously loved picture frames.

While we were recently remodeling my crafting area, I had to relocate all the stuff in order to organize.  I stood back looking at the wood and glass cluttered walkway and even I found my frame stash to be ridiculous. 

So, while Pinteresting that night, I made the board dedicated to using up the hoarder's stash pile of frames and made a silent promise to myself to not purchase anymore until I cleared out at least 50% of the pile. 
A promise that I may or may not have broke 3 days later.

onto the craft ... 

I pulled out a ($1) frame for my star wars subway art.  I simply spray painted it with an 'aluminum' color, because I find it very galactic and futury.
1 frame down ...

Since that wasn't really anything complicated, I decided to take on a second frame.

I found this ($1) gold, glassless hexagon frame in the pile and immediately had a mental picture flash of the necklace holders I'd seen on Pinterest.

I am not a gold kind of girl.
I'm a silver and red and teal kinda girl.
So, of course this also got a healthy coat of spray paint.  
dark plum
G. screwed in some little hooks for me and I was done

I love it and can't wait to tackle the other frames.
I wonder what other ideas are out there, that I have yet to see for repurposing frames.

anyone .. anyone .. Beuller ? :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

i heart you ...

I am & always have been a big fan of 'hearting' things.
I don't care how old I get - I'll always 'heart' this or 'heart' that.

I use the heart hands more often than I should openly admit and  let's not even talk about all the <3's for FB and emails ... don't judge!!

I made this because I heart my hubby and it's Valentine's soon ... he needs a printed little reminder; since I probably don't tell him enough.  :)

I heart it and wanted to share!!  

this took all of 4 and a half seconds to make on picnik ..
everyone likes sharing .. feel free to make some of your own and come back to do just that ;)

Happy Heart day !

our marbled Christmas ornaments

The nail polish marbling technique turned out amazing, I adore all that is Christmas (except the music), and I'm addicted to craftin'; this was a no-brainer.

During Christmas I can't find time to tie my shoes or paint my nails; let alone keep up with journaling every day.  In other words - we did these 6 weeks ago and I never got around to posting it. :)

Also, I didn't take pictures of the process .. so we'll be using our imaginations, today & this tutorial.

Instead of the shot glasses used to marble my finger nails; we used salad bowls to dip our ornaments into the room temperature water.

if I do say so myself .. they look marbleous. ;) hehe

she dipped the bottom, then the top - so the marble went all the way around.
we used red and white polish, to emulate a candy cane

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Star Wars subway art

In between all the crafts, nails, fashion, and culinary goodies, I have a not-so-secret Pinterest obsession with subway art. I've always wanted to create my own for holidays and family members, etc. But, I could never conquer the feat in Paintshop.

Then tonight, I stumbled upon this great tutorial for making your own subway art using Picnik - a free online photo editor.

I'd never used this picnik before, so I decided to visit the link and see what it was all about. I need simple ... so I was reluctant to believe it would be as easy as the website said.

LoL - I was delightfully proven wrong; it's super-duper easy-peasy.

I also found out that all the features on Picnik are free until April 19, 2012.
I had to make one

When deciding on what theme to go with, the first thing that popped into my brain was Star Wars .. LOL - don't judge me .. I blame G. :)

so here it is - it's a little chaotic, but so am I :)
it's also a little more cluttered than the ones I've seen .. but it's 100% mine & I like it.

click the link below the picture for the full size version of the picture ..
also you can  follow the picnik link and make your own ..
I like sharing - so feel free to come back and share with us !!
... may the force be with you :)

full size printable version - Star Wars Subway Art

gyoza - pan-fried bits of happy

we all have those nostalgic family foods that will forever take us back to some happy childhood place.

And if you're anything like me, said list of foods is borderline embarrassing long.

Just about every member of my family, past and present, is known to comfort loved ones with calorie packed goodness.
mom loved sugary, baked treats
grampa almost always had cashews & other things salty

but .. hands down - my favorite memories related to food come from my gramma.

march 1969
She was a strong, funny woman who met my grampa during his world war II duty in Japan. They fell in love, got married & moved back to the US; where they raised their beautiful family of 4 girls and 1 boy.

So many of the happy stories from my childhood, start out with me at their house, in Miami.

yard sales...
Sunday donuts ..
going to bloomingdales ...
my sister and I getting caught spying on grammas late night parties with the ladies ..

LOL - we just loved to listen to gramma & her friends, regardless of our bedtime. They would spend hours laughing at their own bad karaoke, playing hona fuda over sake and good food.

*sigh* I miss her, all the time.
I get carried away anytime I talk about her to my husband or my kids .. and now, apparently my blog.
I can't help it ... I hope I never can help it.
/end rant.

aunts/uncles/parents/siblings .. if I get a detail wrong *pbbbbtttt* - this is how I remember it .. 
 onto the gyoza ..

Gyoza ingredients :

1 lb. ground plain pork sausage
1 medium head napa cabbage
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 bunch green onions
1 pkg wonton wraps

couple eggs

You'll want to start by cleaning off all your vegetables. Not only do they come out of the dirt, but I've heard horror stories about what happens to ground vegetables at harvesting.
So, wash them.
Twice. :)

d e p r e s s i o n

depression is weird in how it comes and goes, without any sort of routine or schedule
depression sucks the life out of the room, in an instant
depression makes you yell at your best friend for no reason
depression causes migraines, heartburn, and nausea
depression makes you have to apologize to everyone around you
depression makes me want to hide in a hole
depression actually pisses me off
depression will not define me
depression can't win

Monday, January 23, 2012

words that stick out .. 2 ways

For the third time that week I found myself in the Volvo, rumbling aimlessly down the highway. Of course, by aimlessly - I mean I was headed towards my thrift store.

Friends of mine ''work" at my 2 favoritestest stores, so I can always stroll in dawning slippers and pajama pants; no fear of judgment for my thrifting addiction & fashion backward looks. :)
I may or may not be jealous of their jobs and make a little bratty face when I say ''work'' ..

Today, though .. this thrift store visit; it was going to be different.
Not different as in 'actual shoes instead of my fuzzy slippers different'...nuhuh.

I was hellbent on locating those damn scrabble pieces for some fun craftsies ...

Clearly, the powers that be are aware of my 'not messing around' face ..

The thrift Gods were smiling down on me & I found a "3D rsvp edition" instead of flat scrabble ..

I cringed a little bit later, after finding out it was the 1966 version. But forgave myself by reminding myself that the craft Gods approve of merging vintage with modern.

ok .. onto the craft


1. frame
2. fabric
3. scrabble word jumble
4. glue gun
5. mod podge

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Now that I love love ...

is that even grammatically correct ?
LoL - regardless .. we're gonna run with it :)

Now that I love love ... I embrace the lovin' love.
the awesome art in this post is NOT MY WORK. I linked to the artist who provided us with the awesome
freebie art, when possible - so please visit the different sites to show your appreciation :) tyvm !

Long before the days of diapers, date night and carpools; I didn't like Valentine's day or anything the dreaded day stood for. Every 14th of February, I would loudly moan & groan about protest the red day of hearts, cupid and all things sweet.

That was until I saw the proverbial light in the form of the one true love who rocks my lifetime.
The kind, brilliant man that I'm lucky enough to know as my G.
Now, over a decade later I am the hopeless case you see before you.
I love love.
.. love of life .. love of family .. love of sunshine .. love of kindness ..
..new love .. old love .. love for all things, beautiful or damaged ..
I think you get it ..

G. and I were out thrift shopping, when they just happened to be placing out their Valentine's knick knacks, garlands, and countless paper heart decorations.

Imagine the horror on my face when I realized I didn't have decorations for Valentine's day. :P The extent of our collection was a few window vinyl clings and a handful of trinkets the girls made through the years.

I looked around the shelves at the newly displayed items and I knew the decorations they had to choose from, weren't going to do.

After several cups of coffee minutes of contemplation, I decided that framed printable little 'word art' would be the easiest to conquer. Print some word/subway art, put it into cool picture frames, fit to fit the seasons holidays & voila - we are festive ! <3

I will be eventually making some of my own printable art .. but for now - here's what I found through a bunch of pins, blogs, google, and begging random strangers on the street. (ok, so one of those isn't true ..)

please be sure to visit the host sites and show a little love to the actual graphic makers, I merely grabbed a bunch and compiled them into a list.

onto the prints ...

mine first -- I <3 you !  


available in three colors

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

our photo gallery wall

As soon as my hands were big enough to 'wind up the camera' - I've had a little more than a slight obsession with pictures. Not the type of obsession that includes being IN the pictures .. not at all. *shakes head adamantly*

In fact, I'm usually 'that girl' who holds her hand up to block the well-meaning person from taking her picture. It's not that I'm completely hideous; I've just got an uncanny knack for making some strange, constipated face when the camera snaps.
Nobody needs to see that .. so I hide. ;)

As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted by my rantin' and ravin' off topic - I love taking all kinds of pictures. I used to be a huge fan of objects in nature, but since becoming a mom .. there's not a lot of 'still life' around these parts. ;)

I won't lie; there has been a time or two that I've wondered if I 'did that' for the experience .. or the photo opp ... but that's neither here nor there. :)

Back to the wall !
You'd be hard pressed to find a flat surface in our home without one of our goofy faces plastered onto it. 'Pinspired' by the 9322384 picture walls I've seen - I decided it was time to create one of these 'collage walls' for our shabby little shack.

The first step in this entire process spanned almost 2 weeks. >_<
That 'wait time' had 3 totally legitimate reasons
  • I'm a thrift store addict
  • I'm forgetful
  • I live in a tiny town
I emphatically refuse to pay $7-$10 for a new frame, when I can snag one for $0.50 at my favorite thrift store. I tried to remember to visit daily to check the stock .. but with everything else going on in life; I forgot at least 3 or 4 times. Sometimes even after missing a few days of checking the stock - I'd still see nothing new added to the 'collection.'

Even though I'm painfully reminded how itty-bitty my town is, every time I'm trying to make something crafty .. I craft on !

Sunday, January 15, 2012

cowboy casserole

a buncha years ago - way back in the time before I had a clue, a car or even a hint of normalcy; this was known on many late nights to my friends and I as 'tatertot casserole.'

however - when I found the long lost potatoe goodness a couple months ago on Pinterest ... it's been known as that blog says ever since - Cowboy Casserole.

I ran to the grocery store and retrieved all the ingredients needed to make the cheesy treat that very night; just as I do with far too many things I find 'pinning.'

Friday, January 13, 2012

high heel necktie ring display + holder

when I stumbled upon the pinspiration for this craft - it appealed to me for a couple reasons. It looked simple'ish, it was cute, clever and I could have sworn I had everything I needed in a closet, somewhere ... ( famous last words ... )

Despite being five foot nothin' - I am not a high heel girl; I'd die without my flip flops & sandals. So, when I said they were 'in a closet' .. I meant I hadn't worn them for over 2 years. *shrugs* I do barbecues and bowling .. not formals and fancies.

I also knew I had ties from when I waited tables at a fancy-shmancy restaurant, years ago.

Long story short .. we ( mostly hubby) tore our closet apart and I had neither ties nor heels!!

For the life of me, I just could NOT recall throwing away all those old shoes.
I mean really .. what women throw away shoes ?!?
Apparently five foot nothin' women with 1,100 square feet, 2 kids, a puppy and no crafting room/garage/storage shed.

No biggie; I now had a legitimate reason to head down to the thrift stores :) *yay*
I don't really need an excuse - he loves thriftin' as much as I do. double *yay*

we piled into the car, down to the store, and bought the things we needed for this one craft.
and ONLY the things we needed for this one craft ....

ok .. I lied .. LoL
onto the craft ..

Supplies are regular stuff that everyone probably has lying around .. except me :)

neckties / glue guns / scissors / high heeled shoe

Thursday, January 12, 2012

double frown .. double hug

In general, I'm a shiny happy person.  :)
I love to laugh, make fun out of boring situations, and be a goofball at all times.
That's why it felt so foreign to find myself in a severe state of frown several times, today.

my bestest four legged friend of 5 months - senor Nugget - had to spend the night at the vet because he was having his nuggets removed. :(  we haven't spent a night without him, since he came barreling into our lives! >_<

I also have an old friend that I keep up with through facebook.  This morning he announced his pregnant girlfriend went secretly to sign papers & the baby is to be placed for adoption. He's devastated, as expected.

Then there's my good friend, who I've worked with for a couple years. She lives just down the street and our kids have all been friends for years.  She lost custody of both her 14 yr old son and 16 yr old daughter.   I feel crushed for them, all.

I have been through a lot in life.
And by a lot, I mean 87% of all things you could possibly imagine .. I've had to deal with.

I can't imagine not having my girls with me.
so, tonight - I gave them 2 hugs & 2 kisses & told them twice I love them to the moon and back

I wish I could mend my friends' broken hearts .. I can't imagine the desperation they're feeling right now.

lighting a candle, sending prayers, and happy thoughts.
if someone reads this .. I hope you do the same; send prayers and double hug your loved ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

a new love ...

over the last couple weeks while stalking reading blogs, I found myself becoming increasingly jealous. One might think it was over a luxury home or creative crafts or a wicked cool blog layout ... ... it wasn't!  

I'd been seeing all these cute little vintage / retro photos and I wanted some of my own!
After a day or 4, I gave in to the bratty, screaming voice inside me and off to google I went.

I found a bunch of the images that were similar to the type I'd become recently infatuated with.  As I sifted through them I noticed a buncha them were tagged/labeled as 'instagrams.'

awesome ...
google : what's an instagram? 
apparently it's an iphone app widely known for it's retro/vintage special effects
- cue inner brat again, screaming this time about not having an ianything -

awesome ... my phone is vintage .. stupid irony.    -__-
oogle : how would a girl go about making an instagram if she has no stupid iphone?  (wording may have been different ..)

pc world answered the call !! The link showcases 5 free websites with software that will let you 'instagramize' your photos without an iphone.  Yay!

They all have completely different user interfaces and levels of complexity.  I looked through all of them &  found my favorite.
the one that I found to be the best was the very first one they featured -> http://pixlr.com/o-matic/.  
  • easy
  • fast
  • allowed me to use my full-size pictures
  • save the pictures to your computer
  • free downloadable version for non browser usage
So .. onto the pictures ! :)
as you can see .. I got a little carried away.
I love it ! :))   thanks for reading my ranting .. carry on!

have a coffee and a coke ..

"red rocks are the coolest rocks"  according to the coolest 8 yr old I know

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the gift .. that almost wasn't

I won't even pretend that I don't use any 'gifting' situation as an excuse to craft.
new house ? crafty gift.
new baby ? crafty gift.
of course holidays, birthdays, etc .. crafty gifts.
I think you get it ...

A co-worker/friend was having the birthday party for her soon-to-be 3 year old. She invited my girls and I to come join in the fun.

Let me just say that this toddler is the cutest little girl with the roundest of cheeks and an absolutely intoxicating giggle. Who could say no to a party in honor of her special day?

I knew that I wanted to make 'word art' like this or this or this .. but with her name to personalize it. I decided I would use one of the canvases that I had leftover from shmelty crayola fun.

I'll try not to dwell on the first part of this project, too long -since obviously from the title; it was a complete fail.

I adhered some sticker vinyl letters onto the white canvas, spelling her daughter's name across it. Then, I taped off some clean lines with painters tape & painted with acrylic paint.

I couldn't paint the canvas all at once, due to tape covering parts of a few sections. So, I let the first few sections dry thoroughly - then peeled it off.

I'm glad I didn't get past the first part ... because if I invested a ton of time in completing the project; then it went bad .... I hate sure don't like that ! lol

I'm not sure if it was the texture of the canvas or the paint .. or what - but the lines that were revealed under the tape > were anything but the clean, defined lines I was looking for..
*frown face*

Then, as if the splotchy edges weren't enough; when I pulled the painters tape up off the silver section ... total disaster. I literally LoL'd .. like a crazy woman. lol

It was time to go to bed, only to return 'tomorrow' .. right back at the drawing board.

But, before I bent this canvas in half and started it on fire ... I decided to cover it with black paint - to reuse another day. *high fives self for not being destruct-o*

Sunday, January 8, 2012

letters of love .. and yarn

I won't lie - since the holidays are over I'm seriously craving projects. For the last 2 months, there's been an endless array of keepsakes, decorations, & baked deliciousness to occupy my stubby little hands.

Lately after work, I've found myself more than once searching through my pinboards for projects.

Let me just mention one of the few flaws of Pinterest .. addiction ! lol

You start to pin EvEryThinG you see & your 'I want to do this' list suddenly becomes massive. Before you know it you have 500 1000 2500 4025 pins .. :/

then ... all the crafty things start to look alike - aahhhhh !!

So with that in mind, I created my new 'bored' board for stuff I can ''''easily'''' create with stuff around the house and if I am lucky enough to have some free time.
the """"quotations"""" imply that I am using those annoying finger quotes - just fyi ;)

I looked through bunches tons waaayyy too many pins and found this. I figured it looked fun/simple/cheap, so I decided to give it a go.

I have tons of yarn and more cardboard from Christmas than I know what to do with - thanks to another 'flaw' of pinterest. Not wanting to throw AnYtHInG away .. just in case.

ok .. enough rantin' and ravin' - onto the craft !

I just know my husband has to be tired of hearing me say "... it looked so simple."

This particular craft wasn't hard - it was just a lot more time consuming than it appeared. I wish I could say this was the first time such a misconception was born ...

Not only am I an audacious 'I can get that done in no time' crafter .. I'm an 'I don't need instructions for that - let's just do it!' crafter ... >_<

I have a vast knowledge of the craft that I gathered from the 4 seconds of looking at the picture; I figured it was 5 pretty simple steps.
  • print out large letter
  • trace onto cardboard
  • cut out of cardboard
  • wrap in yarn
  • glue gun on the backside for stability
easy peasy ...

The girls had friends over for the night, so it was a perfect time for me to get to crafting. With my high tech accoutrement lined out before me - I was ready to go :)

I decided the easiest way to 'trace' the letter onto the cardboard, would be to create the polar opposite of a stencil.

I cut the letters out
applied 2way tape to the back
then, adhered the letter to the cardboard

This next step could have been done with pencils or crayons, just as easily .. but this seemed fast and more accurate. I also feared if I tried to 'color over' the letter cutout, I would bend and fold the paper - thus leading to a funky letter.

No.. my ocd won't let me do such things.

So .. I spray painted it I enlisted the help of my wonderful husband to paint them :)

It was a ridiculous 17 degrees outside .. he's such a gentleman!!

After he, so graciously, spray painted over the letters for me -I peeled the paper off the cardboard & revealed a perfect outline of the letters. *beaming proud face*

Friday, January 6, 2012

kitchen central

I couldn't think of a better title for this project .. so it's simply 'kitchen central'

About once a week, you can find me scrambling around the house looking for a scratch paper to create our 'menu' for the week.

At LEAST once a day, you can find me or the husband scrambling looking for another scratch paper to make a list before we go to the store.

I won't even count how often you can catch me nagging at the husband to do some random thing that I could swear I've asked him at least 5982034 times before, to do ...

So - this is a central board for all of that ... :)

If When I do this again (I won't kid myself .. I wasn't 100% satisfied with it) so, when I do it again - I'll change a few things.

I'll add a ' ... stuff to say ... ' for a message area
I'll make bigger spots to write meals
I'll NOT use a 16x9 frame .. what weird measurements.

Anyhowzers .. this is how it turned out

Thursday, January 5, 2012

personalized dry erase message boards

Our local thrift stores stock in lack of picture frames can 100% be blamed on Pinterest.

I had recently stock piled almost 2 dozen different size frames.
But, since creating the picture wall, making Christmas gifts and this latest project - I am down to one.
picture frame !!!
ahhhh !!

I'll get to the thrift store, tomorrow
... onto the craft !

I had seen 'i love you because' versions of this over & over & over ...

but this is what I did with mine ..
I found a scrapbook paper and a font that matched each girls style.
printed "_______ is awesome because ....."
cut & fit paper into frame
hung on wall with dry erase marker & wait for shenanigans ! :)

poor Bessie ..

we recently spent a family night painting ceramic barn animals ... I just knew I shouldn't have painted Bessie gold !

Now, everyone wants her !! >_<

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

our 2011 picture montage

I spend way more time reading blogs than I should; I won't lie. One of the favorites out of the many blogs I read is Meet the Dubiens. It's the blog of a craft-loving Canadian mom who cooks & takes even more pictures of her food & kids than I do, of mine! (I didn't think such a thing was possible ..)

When I stalked read her end-of-year blog the other day, her 'farewell 2011' picture forced me to drop everything I was doing to make one of my our own.

As per my usual, when wanting to get creative; instead of a bang, I started out with a putter. The first step was to download the template ... but, that didn't work. I downloaded it, but when I tried to open it - got an error box that said something about my computer not being able to open the document with the assigned program.
So, I chose to open it using my paint shop .. it barely showed me the document before the computer shut down paint & changed all the icons on my desktop.

went haywIre :/

I tried restarting .. nothing !
The desktop still had weird icons and wouldn't open any programs EXCEPT for paint shop. :/

I was desperate ... it was time for a system restore - ew!

fast forward to everything being fine .. :)

I wanted the same layout as the original, so I need to fill 81 blocks (9x9).
4 blocks for 2011 and half a dozen blocks .. so 71 pictures.

This was the MOST fun of the entire project.

Rummaging through file after file of pictures from the year gone by.

Every journey, field trip, gathering, school function, etc. and randomly picking the 70 pictures I thought could represent 2011.

One really great part was picking some of those fun random photos that never 'get seen.' (cue the onion ring "heart" picture)

I made a file with a copy of each of 'the chosen' - so I could have a version to crop into a square.

I wasn't about to retry downloading/opening the template that almost killed my computer. With no better idea in mind for obtaining the layout - I borrowed Mrs. Dubien's original image for a layout. I then used my brilliant powers of deduction (cropping/sizing tool ..) and figured out that each picture needed to be 600 x 600 pixels. I cropped/resized each picture accordingly.

Enter a tiny panic phase "what if my layout of the pictures isn't really random?"
despite my wanting to claim that I am random; I'm pretty lined up, OCD, and predictable.

so - I organized my pictures ...
  • 11 of the teenager
  • 11 of the 3rd grader
  • 4 of the hubby
  • 3 of sir Nugget
  • 4 of just the hubby and I
  • 5 of the kids together
  • 2 of yours truly
  • 6 of the family
  • 25 random photos

then, I scribbled a 9 square x 9 square graph to represent the montage layout.

I then blindly pointed and filled in squares randomly with all the labels (teen1,fam1,etc).
Saving the random filler photos for last, I was done - I had a layout.

Then came the tedious task; perfectly lining up all 81 of the 600x600 squares over the pictures onto the stolen borrowed layout.

fast forward 2 hours later - I had this .. I love it & we're going to have it printed into a giant picture for the wall.

Monday, January 2, 2012

paint + barn animals = always fun

I'm not ashamed to admit that many of our crafty times come to us from 'the walmart.'

We live almost 2 hours from the city and/or any of their locations. Even though it's always a hassle-filled road trip to go to 'the walmart' - I try to stock up like crazy.

case in point .. our Turkey day trip to the city yielded these goodies :

I wanted more - but we needed the trunk room for kids' Christmas presents or something or other ...

... I digress !!

Even way back when the high schooler was an elementary schooler; we loved setting aside a night to paint cute little ceramic figurines from the walmart arts-n-crafts aisle.