Top 5 Projects of 2012

Can you believe that 2012 is almost over?  It seems like it has flown!  Tadd and I are ready for 2013.  If it’s anything like the past year has been, then we are in for some good stuff.  Can’t wait to find out!

Instead of a typical year in review post, I thought I would share my top 5 most popular project posts of the past year.  I always find it interesting to see what posts people like to read the most.  And it’s always fun to reflect on all I have done in the past year!

5. REUSABLE PRODUCE BAG

This reusable produce bag was one of the first sewing projects I completed at the beginning of this year.  I believe it was the first time I boxed a corner!  And it was one of the first projects that seemed to go really smoothly from start to finish.  Successes like these are what encouraged me to keep going with teaching myself how to sew this past year.  And on top of that, it’s just plain cute!

4. PINK SANGRIA

I love a good sangria recipe.  And although I do love this very popular pink sangria recipe that I made last May, I think my all-time favorite version is the peach sangria I made over 4th of July weekend!  It’s my new go-to summer drink of choice.

3. FALL TABLE RUNNER

If you know me, you know that fall is my favorite season.  When I saw this adorable fall fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, I knew I had to think of a project to make with it.  This lead to this reversible fall table runner, which was my very first ever sewing project where I made something just based on what I wanted, as opposed to following someone else’s tutorial.  It was also the first time I used a decorative stitch.  It obviously wasn’t anything super complicated, but I was still so pleased with how it turned out.

2. CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESECAKE

My chocolate chip cheesecake post from last spring has REALLY taken off in the past several weeks.  As I mentioned previously, this recipe has been pinned and repinned a TON of times now.  It’s super easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.  I not only made it for Easter 2012 dessert, but made it again last week for our family’s Christmas dinner dessert!  It’s always a big hit.

1. TERRACOTTA POT SAUCER COASTERS

This is, no question, the most popular post EVER on my blog.  It’s the closest thing I have gotten to going viral and it still gets a ton of hits almost every single day.  As a matter of fact, this post has gotten more pageviews than my blog’s regular main page!  Everyone loves these terracotta pot saucer coasters.  I’m glad everyone loved this project as much as I did, although I certainly did not come up with the idea.  I was inspired by this great post from the Joy Is At Home blog, and she was inspired by someone else and so on.

What were your favorite projects that you completed in 2012?  Any goals or ideas for 2013 projects?

Scrappy Patchwork Tree Ornaments!

I was recently inspired by this post on noodle-head.com and decided to try my hand at making some scrappy tree ornaments like the ones she made.  I found I could make them quickly with very little materials.  I already had a large amount of brown felt leftover from another project, so I cut them into the appropriate shapes (get the printable template on noodle-head.com).

Then all I needed was a few cute pieces of festive holiday fabric.  You barely need any…just some small scraps will do…  (small print works best)

And a little bit of ribbon….

And you’re ready to sew!

It’s pretty simple.  Sew the tree scraps to one piece of felt first.  Then sew the two pieces of felt together with a ribbon at the top for hanging.  One nifty trick is that you stuff a little bit of batting into the ornament while it’s still on the needle, just before continuing on to sew the third and final side of the felt together.

Viola!  Cute, rustic ornaments that take about 5 minutes to make.  I made mine in a very speedy fashion and they are far from the perfect little trees posted on noodle-head.com, but I kind of like that they look handmade and rustic.

A couple of other ideas I had regarding this project:

I made one without the ribbon loop at the top and gave it to my kitties as a toy.  I would like to make another one for them, but put a little catnip in with the batting.

These would be great with some kind of scented item on the inside.  Maybe some cinnamon?

Linking up!:

shabby creek cottage

A cute little owl.

Recently Tadd and I were at Target in the Dollar Spot.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot make a trip to Target without making a stop at Dollar Spot.  I don’t always end up buying something, but I love that you just never know what kinds of things you might find.  I have bought wine stoppers, personal water misting systems (for hot days at the theme parks!), headbands, seasonal stuff, etc.   It’s also a great place to find stocking stuffers during the holidays.

While we were there, Tadd pointed out this one lonely little ceramic owl vase with a chip on his beak, priced at $2.50.  I love owls (Tadd randomly bought me owl pajamas several years ago for Christmas and I have been smitten with them ever since), so I had to take him home, beak chip and all.  Isn’t he cute?

A couple coats of spray primer and white paint, and he is looking pretty on my kitchen windowsill!

Quick, easy, cheap little projects like this make me happy.

Enjoy your weekend!

Linking up:

Home Stories A2Z

Looking forward to fall.

I can’t believe it’s the last day of July!  I am happy though, because that puts us another month closer to my favorite season, fall!  Florida summers can be brutal.  High temps in the mid nineties, crazy humidity, and violent thunderstorms almost every day.  They are also way too long…Our summer weather patterns sometimes start in April and can last well into October.  It can be really tough to do anything (comfortably) outdoors during this time frame, which can be quite limiting.

So, to make these last several weeks of summer a teensy bit more bearable, I am thinking about some my favorite things about fall!

Top 5 fall-related things I am looking forward to (in no particular order):

  1. Yankee Candle Boney Bunch Preview!  This event is THIS coming Saturday morning, August 4th.  I was good and skipped this last year during my No Spend August Challenge.  But this year, I will be going back and I am psyched!  I always love Yankee Candle’s fall and Halloween items, and the sneak peek pics I have seen so far show that this year is no exception.  There is even rumor of a Boney Bunch kitty character in this year’s collection!

    My Boney Bunch haul from 2010.

  2. Long & Scott’s Corn Maze. My friends and I conquered the maze last year.  It wasn’t a very fall-like day (hot!), but we had fun working together to solve the 6-acre maze.  Hopefully this year we can go on a day with crisper temperatures. 
  3. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Disney events like this one make me feel really lucky to live in Central Florida.  This is always one of the highlights of my fall season every year.  It’s not a cheap day (each tasting item costs an average of $4-5), but there is something really fun and enjoyable about getting to stroll around World Showcase, trying different food and beverage items from all around the world.
  4. Fall crafting. Fall tends to be the time that I really get into crafting.  For some reason, it sparks my creative side.  I actually hope to get started on this very soon!  Last year I made a cute “SPOOKY” sign, a Halloween-ified vase, and got together with my girlfriends to make candy corn wreaths.  This year, I am planning on some fall sewing projects.
  5. Halloween!  I love all holidays, especially Halloween.  Tadd and I are starting to toss around costume ideas for this year already.  Last year we dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!

Projects for a very special occasion.

Sorry for another quiet week around these parts.  Life has been rather hectic lately, and there just hasn’t been much time for the creative stuff that’s fun to share on the blog.

I did want to do a quick post to share a couple of the creative projects that I completed prior to my trip to Boston.

First, the letters that I showed you in this picture:

We used them at the guestbook table at my grandmother’s birthday party.  I just bought the letters pre-painted at JoAnn’s (on sale!), and four coordinating sheets of scrapbook paper.  I used my Mod Podge to paint a thin layer of glue on the letters, stuck them to the paper, and then cut away the excess paper with a craft knife.

They were a huge hit with the guests, but if I were to do it all over again, I would do a couple of things differently.  I would use a thinner layer of glue (and be more careful about wiping off the excess while still wet), and I would let them dry more thoroughly before using the craft knife.  You can see the “D” has some scuffy spots on the edges, and the “N” and “A” both have ripped spots.  You couldn’t tell unless you looked closely, but I knew they were there and it bugged me!  Honestly, between everyday life and getting ready to go out of town, I did not devote as much time to this project as I would have liked, so I’m sure that contributed to the imperfections.

Also, I wanted to handmake a gift for my grandmother.  I decided to make another wristlet (based on this clutch tutorial), and she adored it.

She said it will be her new bag for when she goes to play bingo.  So cute!  I have to say I really love this project for gift-giving because everyone seems to really appreciate both the looks and usefulness of the finished product.  I’m actually working on another one now.  At some point I need to break out and try something different, but for now I will stick with this gathered wristlet as my go-to gift of choice!

This was right after I gave her the wristlet. She's holding it and telling me about her sewing skills from back in the day.

Love my Nana!  I hope she had a fabulous 90th birthday!  So glad we got to attend!

A quick (but exciting) shout out!

Work has been brutal to me this week.  I have not had the energy to do much of anything after work aside from try to regain my strength and sanity.  It’s always tough to get posts out everyday or even every couple of days when I have weeks like this.  So thank you for bearing with my lack of posts the past few days.

I did make it out Tuesday night for an impromptu date night with the husband.  We went to Macaroni Grill and had TERRIBLE service (our complimentary bread wasn’t brought until halfway through the meal…I asked for chicken marsala and they tried to bring me mushroom ravioli…also, they served me wine in a water glass?!?!), but as always the company was lovely and made up for the lackluster meal.  You know how they encourage you to draw on the tablecloths?   I was looking at the menu, not paying attention to what Tadd was doing, and when I put the menu down, this was next to my place setting:

Awwww…Sweet guy.  I’m a lucky girl.

Anyways, the main purpose of this post is to thank Kristi at Addicted2Decorating.com for featuring my DIY terracotta coasters on her blog!  I can’t say how honored I am.  People seem to be really excited about this project on Pinterest too.  Exciting for me and my little blog!  If you haven’t checked out Addicted2Decorating yet, you should.  Lots of great ideas!  Especially the hallway project she has been working on for awhile.  She hand-painted her own beautiful argyle on the wall!  Stunning!

Spring Fling Craft: DIY terracotta coasters!

I had been wracking my brain trying to come up with a spring craft to try for the Spring Fling party today. Then I remembered a Pinterest pin I had stashed away a few months ago. It was a short and sweet tutorial from a blog called Joy Is At Home, with an EXCELLENT idea on how to make custom coasters. She used small terracotta pot saucers, spray painted them, added some scrapbook paper, and voila! Cute, cheap, and simple!

On my way home from work, I stopped by the craft store and picked up the saucers ($0.99 each), and a piece of springy floral scrapbook paper ($0.59). The rest of the materials I had on hand (except for felt dots for the bottoms…I forgot to pick up those).

Below is everything you will need, minus the felt dots. Saucers, paper, something about the size of the inside of the saucers to use to trace on the paper (drinking glass), Mod Podge decoupage glue, small brush, spray primer, spray paint, and spray sealer.

Spray prime and paint your saucers.

Trace and cut your paper.

Once the saucers are painted and dry, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of the circles.

Center the circle onto the saucer and press firmly to ensure that it adheres. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to dry a bit.

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper circle. Make sure the edges of the paper are sealed. Carefully wipe off any excess around the edges of the saucer while still wet.

Allow this to dry for another 20 minutes or so. Spray the whole coaster with the sealer and allow to dry again.

Then you get to the step that I haven’t gotten to yet…Apply dots of felt to the bottom with a little hot glue to keep the coasters from scratching your furniture. I will be adding these to my coasters tomorrow.

And there you have it. Springy new custom DIY coasters. Total cost to me was about $4.50 for the whole set plus whatever the felt costs me. These would make great hostess gifts for a party, or housewarming gift. I also love that you can make as many or as few as you need.

Linking up with the Spring Fling craft party at CentsationalGirl.com!

Also linking up to the Drab to Fab Link Party at Sugar and Spice!

And the Addicts Not So Anonymous party at Addicted 2 Decorating!

And the It’s a Cinch Link Party at It All Started With Paint!

Valentines for my BFFs!

I know I have discussed my best girlfriends on the blog before.  These are some of the sweetest, most fun and lovely ladies you will ever meet.  They are the type of people who band together in someone’s time of need, and also in their time of celebration.  We look out for each other, we miss each other terribly when we spend too long apart, and we are always on the lookout for reasons to get together and fun new adventures we can have.  We are a fun bunch!

The last few years, we have started a tradition of getting together around Valentine’s Day to exchange valentines.  Last year it was a big house party where we ate junk food and watched The Princess Bride, and this year it was a bit more intimate at a chic little restaurant in Winter Park called Hot Olives.  We give all sorts of valentines to each other…Little notes, cards, boxed valentines, candy, trinkets, small gifts, crafts, etc.  It’s always fun to see what everyone comes up with.  And of course, it’s wonderful just to be able to take some time to express just how much we appreciate and care about each other.  Not that we don’t the rest of the time, but we make it a little extra special at Valentine’s Day.

As soon as I knew I was getting a sewing machine, I knew what my first major undertaking would be; making something to give as valentines to my girlfriends!  I searched for a small, quick, easy project that I could easily make several times over with some fun pink & red fabrics.  A couple years ago, my mother-in-law made me a purse-sized tissue case, which I thought would be perfect.  When shopping at JoAnn Fabrics a few days later, I stumbled upon some Valentine-print tissue packs, and that sealed the deal for me!  I looked up a tutorial on Pinterest, and set to work on a few practice runs of the project.  I had to adjust the size a bit for the tissue packs I was using.

You basically cut out four rectangles of fabric (you can make them with rectangles of different fabrics, or all the same…I kept mine the same this time), 4″ by 5.75″.  The tutorial I used, which can be found over on Life In Grace, suggested 4″ by 5.25″, but as I said before, mine needed to be a little bigger for the tissue packs I got.

Take 2 of your rectangles and lay them wrong sides together.  Fold 2 of your rectangles in half the long way and lay on top with the folded sides facing toward each other in the middle.

Pin everything in place.

Sew all the way around with a 1/4″ seam allowance and turn inside out once you are done.  Insert the tissue pack.  And that’s it!  Simple, simple, simple.  If you have a sewing machine, you can do this, trust me.

To make them a little more special, I included a little valentine from a box (mine are Glee valentines this year…love that show!), and a Valentine-themed lip balm, all tied with a Valentine’s Day ribbon!  So festive!

This post is linked to the Tutorials & Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z!

Home Stories A2Z

Another sewing project!: Reusable Coffee Sleeve

I just finished another sewing project.  And although it definitely isn’t perfect, I do feel like I am learning more and more as I go.  And even if it’s not perfect, it’s definitely usable, which I suppose is the important thing.

I am thrilled to say that this fabric (which I absolutely love) was found amongst the shelf of random clearance fabric remnants at Hobby Lobby.  I think it was 7/8 of a yard for $3 or so.  Can’t beat that!  And I have plenty leftover, as this project obviously only used a smidgen of fabric.

I used this fabulous tutorial at The Cottage Home blog, which I found really clear and easy to follow.

This post was shared on The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday, and Drab to Fab Fridays at Sugar & Spice!

Simplest Valentine’s Day Craft ever!

I have finally pulled out my Valentine’s Day decor.  I don’t have much, but enough to make the house look festive.

Last year around this time, I was looking for a simple craft to do, and came across this idea.  I thought I had found it via the Dollar Store Crafts blog, but when I searched the archive, I couldn’t come up with the article.  If anyone knows the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit!  It’s insanely simple, cheap, and really cute.

You simply buy heart shaped doilies like these (mine were from Dollar Tree!):

And simply tie them together with some narrow ribbon (I just used curling ribbon) and hang them somewhere in your house.  It’s really that easy!  I seriously love everything about this craft!

I will be back soon to show you more of my Valentine’s Day decor.  But for now…I’m going back to watching the game.  GOOOOOOO PATRIOTS!!!

This post has been shared on The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Valentine’s Week Link Party!