Felt Flowers

They say like mother, like daughter. And they don’t joke. My mum has become an addict to these felt flowers and I recently thought “what the heck, I’ll try one too”. Now I think we need to attend meetings together. I am guessing she found the tutorial at iCandy Handmade (another of her addictions!)… and I am not sure whether to thank Autie at iCandy or blame her for the abundance of felt flowers… either way try this and you’ll see what I mean! All you mommies of little princesses: this is perfect for a Valentine photo!! Headbands, skirts, t- shirts, and blankies beware!

Cut a pattern out of cardboard to the size you want – really you can do any shape. Even a flower with defined petals works, so play around with the cuts and see what you prefer. I also suggest making a medium and large version so that you have the same look, just different sized blooms.

Cut out five of your shapes, all of the same size. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect, it will turn out just fine when you put it together!

Get your matching thread ready and choose some buttons or beads for the center of the flower. My favorite options are the buttons that have the loop below rather than the holes that are visible, they are much easier to sew on and look perfect no matter what.

Select one of your five cutouts as the base and lay it flat. Take a second one and fold it in half and lay it on the base cutout.

Continue folding the remaining three cutouts in half and laying them on top of each other around the base – see picture below.

The final cutout is the trickiest part of the entire project: tuck one side under the initial half you laid down. Think of this petal like closing a paper box, where you tuck the final flap under one side of the other. Your flower should look like a pie cut in four pieces now.

Grab your needle and thread and come up through the center, going back down through the tip of each piece of the “pie”.

Attach your button or bead in the center of the flower and knot the thread at the back of the flower, just like sewing on a button.

Ta-da! Gorgeous! Perfect to pin on a t-shirt, slide on to a headband for baby, or glue to a picture frame for extra pizazz.

I made bunches of them and have NO idea what I am going to do with them all! Here is a Valentine sample of my lovelies.

V-Day Printable from The 36th Avenue.

Home Stories A2Z

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Pinterest Wednesday

One of my favorite past times is looking at houses. I could do it every day. Literally. So along with looking at houses for sale in our area I also love cruising Pinterest for ideas for that dream home some day.

Check out the awesome houses I found and drool a little over how amazing they are! What does your dream home have?

Today I am linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Source: houzz.com via Jenni on Pinterest

Source: houzz.com via Tara on Pinterest

Source: unplggd.com via Donna on Pinterest

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DIY Dry Erase Board

I am obsessed with chalk boards, dry erase boards, bulletin boards, you name it and I am ALL about trying to make one myself. I found a frame I loved and knew it was time to try one! This project could not get any easier and leaves you with an adorable way to be organized (or leave a love note!).

All you need is a frame, pretty paper, decorations of choice (or nothing) and a dry erase marker! This makes a fantastic and thoughtful gift, so pick something that matches a friends’ decor and give one away too.

I thought the frame looked good on its own, but a few DIY rosettes couldn’t hurt, right? So I grabbed a left over sheer curtain to make them – you could use an fabric you have.

You’ll need a glue gun or some fabric glue and a lot little patience. Start by knotting the end (see above picture!) and then begin to twist the fabric. Once you have a little fabric twisted start wrapping it around the knot and every once in awhile dabbing glue to hold it in place.

You will also need a helper. Or someone to lay on the fabric so it does not get away.

Here are the completed rosettes – so pretty! Both turned out pretty well, one was more of a bowl shape and I am not sure how it got that way.

Bowl:

I then added pearls and hot glued the rosettes to the frame. Easy peasy.

I think the rosettes made the dry erase board way more fun! I hope to make more rosettes for some other Pinterest inspirations, so this was also a great test run.

A little shabby chic, but oh so cute!

For My Valentine: Red Velvet Cake Roll Up

I found a recipe for a red velvet cake roll-up this week and was over-the-moon excited. One, it is red so basically it is a built in Valentine dessert and two, it happens to be my Valentine’s favorite kind of cake. Bonus!

I thought this weekend would be a good test run. So I followed the directions exactly, mixed the dry first.

Mixed the wet ingredients plus the sugar. By the way, how creepy does that food coloring look???

Heated up some cherry soda (per the recipe!) reduced it down and added to the other wet ingredients. Then slowly added the dry until just combined. It seemed awfully soupy, but I went with it.

The cake baked completely lopsided, which still seemed okay. See how the left side is really thick and the right side is next to nothing?!?

Rolled her up in a towel to cool completely and got cracking on the cream cheese filling.

Cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar, and almond extract = amazing. Just add and whip together until fluffy.

Then it was time to unroll the cake, add the filling, and roll back up. Ready??

Yep. This is what I found. Probably because I used gluten free flour which never seems to hold together right. Who knows. So what did we do?

Slathered those puppies in filling and stacked ’em up! Delicious. Ugly to look at, fantastic to eat. Don’t try this at home kids.

Dessert is served. Happy Valentine’s Day love!

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DIY Coaster Project

Remember last Wednesday when I promised in the Pinterest Wednesday post I would finally do those DIY Pinterest projects?? Well I tried one. I attempted to make the coasters while watching some lovely reality tv: two birds with one stone!

For this project I knew I needed some basic ceramic tiles, Mod Podge, paper and felt. And that is about it. So I gathered some materials, a “top coat”, and my cardboard working space and winged it.

I slapped some Mod Podge here and there, traced squares on to the paper and generally made myself a hot mess.

I had Mod Podge on my new manicure (humm, still do as I write this!) and paper edges curling up to the ceiling. Maybe I should have researched and found a tutorial or something??

I pushed down all the edges until they seemed dry and stuck to the tile – the thinner paper definitely worked better. I decided to stick with my black and white theme, so stay tuned for another version of these tiles too!

The final coat of spray made these little babies shiny and water proof (I hope!) and I think they will still need another coat or two.

Glued the felt on the bottom so that the tiles don’t scratch up your coffee table and voila! New Coasters!

So cheap, kinda easy… if you are like me you will need to be sprayed down after using Mod Podge, but hey that is some of the fun, right? Stay tuned for round two – it can only get better!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Basil Grilled Shrimp Recipe

For Christmas my husband got me one of the best gifts I have ever gotten: a two-sided stove top grill and griddle. Seriously, I always wanted one after watching Giada grill salmon or bread but probably would have never purchased it. It is fantastic. It does everything!

I made lemon pancakes – my specialty!

I grilled chicken.

Then one day I opened the drawer and saw wooden skewers and thought – grilled shrimp!? So we tried it.

I mixed up some basil (I cheat here and use the tubed kind, simply because it stays longer), lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic to season the shrimp. Soak the skewer before you put it on the shrimp if you think it is at all possible that there might be an open flame (like if you cook these babies outside!) and then push the shrimp on carefully. We use frozen raw shrimp because our grocery store only carries “fresh” shrimp cooked. Oh, and Alton Brown told us as long as they are thawed properly they are just about equal to fresh – love Good Eats!

I brushed the shrimp with the seasoning mixture on both sides and the popped them on the grill.

They need about 2-3 minutes per side, but cook them until they start to get pink. Careful here, too long on the grill and you will eat rubbery shrimpies!

We paired our grilled shrimp with boiled and salted red potatoes and veggies – the balance of the basic red potato and the bright, citrusy shrimp is fan-tastic but you could pair with just about anything. Even tossed on a salad would be great!

Pinterest Wednesday

What is the next holiday I can’t wait for? Valentines Day! I love love love it! I think I may even decorate a bit this year… Maybe. It is a great romantic holiday, but probably my favorite part is making a gift basket for my little sisters – which I do every year. Here’s to getting your creative V-Day on!

Linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday!

Source: google.com via Alisha on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Janel on Pinterest

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DIY Lighting Makeover

Lighting is my arch enemy. I find it impossible to find something I am in love with, but can also afford… Which means I have been searching for replacement lighting for our entry way for a very long time. The entry light is more than dated, its old, ugly and has way too much gold (or is that brass??).

Yuuuck. Gold with etched glass, what could be better? Well, anything really.

Feeling desperate since this is what you see when you first come in the door I thought I would try and makeover this light myself before diving in to a new one. Inspired by months of searching and hoping for lights like this one from Pottery Barn, I knew it was time.

Enter spray paint and handy husband.

We popped this light down (they easy part of the project) and I went to work. Lessons learned: they are serious when they say don’t spray paint below 50 degrees outside and cats love little pieces, keep them in a jar!

First obstacle became the etched glass. How in the world can you make this modern and fun?? Since this light was a test run (meaning if it didn’t work out I would just buy a new one!) I threw caution to the wind and decided to paint the glass pieces. Frosted glass!

Then I spray painted the light fixture itself (out in the 25 degree weather, brilliant!). Hung the little beauty to dry and hoped for the best! Note: when spray painting lights wrap any exposed wires and stuff the sockets with something so the paint doesn’t get in.

There were a few hiccups due to the cold weather, but overall we made it out without a scratch! Getting the light back in the ceiling was truly challenging, especially because we attempted this in the dark with a flash light since our old house has all viable lighting for the first floor on one circuit.

Ready for the big reveal??

Love at first sight.

Great news: it worked and I love it!!! Bad news: the big kahuna awaits.

What do you think of the entry light makeover? Worth the $10 of spray paint?

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wardrobe Essentials by Ashley at Lifevesting

This guest post is brought to you by Ashley at Lifevesting!

I am very excited to have this chance to guest post on your blog Leah! I truly admire your blog – you always give me the inspiration to start a new project and your food posts have a tendency to make me drool on my computer! Thank you!

Wardrobe Essentials: The Dark-Wash Jean

Posted on January 10, 2012

J Brand Cigarette Leg Jeans

J Brand Cigarette Leg Jeans

Jeans have been a staple in wardrobes for the last century. Originally named after sailors from Genoa in Italy who wore the durable fabric, jeans gained wide acceptance during the 19th-century gold rush to California when men needed a durable and difficult-to-tear fabric for their work. Levi Strauss came to California selling wholesale clothing and eventually started producing jeans with deep pockets and belt loops for his utilitarian clientele. When western films became popular in the 1930s, jeans began their transition into mainstream fashion as people across the country admired the hearty and rustic clothing the cowboys wore.

Since the 1930s, jeans have enjoyed a popular place in almost every cultural revolution since. In the 1950s they were an integral part of the rock rebellion and in the 60s, flared jeans were a staple for the hippie counter-culture. Loved for their versatility, durability and practicality, jeans were a natural addition to the fashion scene. Once the fashion world took over, jeans were bleached, blended with spandex, torn, shredded, dyed and decorated a la mode as the world became addicted to this garment.

Marilyn Monroe in jeans

Jean Seberg in jeans and a chic top

Today, jeans come in every color imaginable and in almost every cut. They are in everyone’s wardrobe and are the most common wardrobe essential. When looking to invest in a pair of jeans, the choices can be endless. The most universally flattering and timeless jeans however, are indigo colored dark-washed jeans which create a slimming effect similar to black.

What to Look for When Investing in a Pair of Jeans

1. Cut. The two most classic cuts are boot-cut and pencil-leg, both of which work on most body types. Recently the ‘skinny’ jean has made a come-back as well. Be sure to try on different cuts and styles to see which compliments you body and wardrobe the best.

2. Details. Jeans, despite being such a staple, have a surprisingly wide variety of details. When investing in a good pair, be sure to examine all the elements. How many pockets are there? Are the pockets use-able or are they ‘illusion’ pockets, stitched on for the effect? Is the front fly a zip or is it buttons? On a whole, most people (myself included) prefer zip flys so be sure you are comfortable with what you are purchasing. Also, an often forgotten detail is to check whether the fly is made for the right-hand or the left-hand. I learned this lesson the hard way once when I (a right-hander) bought a pair of left-handed jeans.

Example: Button Fly

3. Spandex content. This aspect is as important as cut when considering what will fit your body the best. Having some spandex in your jeans can give them some stretch and will help them conform to your body shape more. However if you want a more tailored jean, spandex content may actually make the cut limper so be sure to try on a pair before purchasing.

4. Length. Jeans come in many lengths and when assessing which you should invest in, first think of the type of use you will wear your jeans for. Will you always be wearing them with heels? Then go for a longer hem. Will you always be wearing them with flats? An ankle hem can be very flattering and Audrey Hepburn-esque. Whatever you do, be sure that your jeans are the length you want. As a petite, I have fallen into the trap of buying regular length jeans and never getting them hemmed. Don’t! No matter how expensive the jeans, you will look cheap if the length is off.

5. Quality. This is the one aspect I always put on my wardrobe essentials “buy” list because it is the most important thing to look for when investing in a staple. Quality means the piece will last longer and look better. Before purchasing jeans, examine them closely. Is the seaming strong and straight? Is the fly correctly centered? Are the pockets well sewn? Does the jean dye come off on your hands if you rub vigorously? No one ever regrets buying quality and jeans are something that will last you forever if you take a little time when buying them.

6. Fit. I’ve said this already but always ALWAYS try an essential on before purchasing it. I can’t tell you how many times I have ignored this rule and come home only to be broken-hearted when I realize the fit doesn’t flatter me or that the back pockets bulge out.

7. The “wow” factor. Jeans are one of the few pieces of clothing that can make you feel like a million, regardless of what you pair with them. Be sure when you are investing in jeans that you feel absolutely fabulous and confident the moment you put them on. I mean, let’s face it, you’ll likely be wearing them more times than anything else in your closet so make sure you smile every time you pull them on.

8. Tailoring. This goes hand-in-hand with fit and length. If you adore a pair of jeans but the fit isn’t right a good tailor can likely re-fashion them for you. If the top of the jeans in the back gaps away from your lower-back, have a tailor sew in darts so they mold closer to your frame.

How to Wear Jeans

Jeans are one of the most practical and versatile pieces in anyone’s wardrobe. They go with virtually everything and can be dressed up or down as necessary. An easy weekend look with jeans is a classic striped top with simple flats. Jeans can look polished with a simple black blazer as well (another important wardrobe essential).

What’s your favorite way to wear jeans?

Ashley

Pinterest Wednesday

It is that time of the week: Pinterest Wednesday! In honor of the New Year I am trying to get organized (ha!). I am always finding ideas for gifts, crafts, or recipes but I am soooo unorganized that I either forget about them or can’t find them. Pinterest is a great resource for grouping all of your ideas in one place so now the challenge for 2012 is to DO them!

Here are some of my favorite ideas from Pinterest that are totally doable – I just need to do them! I plan to work on these over the next few weeks so stay tuned for the results!

I am linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday – stop by for some other great pins! Drop a comment and tell me what you are working on now!

Source: krylon.com via JoEllen on Pinterest