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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cookie-Pops



Yesterday, my 6-year-old turned 7. I'm not going to rant about how I can't believe how fast time flies. I'll just say I can't believe how blessed I am to have her. She's funny and artistic and thoughtful and sweet. And she's a huge fan of lollipops. When we go to Disney World, this is all she asks for. And her dad can't say no to a sweet face like that.




At my kids' school, most parents will bring a treat of some kind for the class on their child's birthday. Since I have a lollipop-lover, I first thought it'd be a great idea to get them all a huge lollipop this year. But the only ones I could find on a short notice were $3 each. And because I'm quick with math, I realized that 27 kids x $3 = 1 very expensive treat. So, I opted for what I now call cookie-pops. I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever do this, but it was easy & cheap & totally impressive to 1st-graders.


If you're looking for something different to serve your favorite kids, here's how to make them.

1. Start with some plain sugar cookies & store-bought frosting. For 30 cookie-pops, I used 60 cookies from our grocery store bakery & 2 cans of white frosting.

2. Next, I put a nice big dollop of frosting on a cookie, topped it with another to make a "sandwich", then rolled the edges in sprinkles.



3. Then I took some long bamboo skewers, cut them in half, & stuck them in the cookie sandwiches. A better alternative would be the white sticks you can find where chocolate molds & supplies are sold, but I didn't have any on hand.



4. The last step is to decorate the "pops". This can be done a million ways, but I decided to tint some of the frosting pink & green. I then scooped each color into a sandwich bag & made a tiny snip off of a corner of each bag to create a simple disposable pastry bag. Using this, I added a little color to each pop & they were done!





If you decide to make these, keep in mind that you'll need to allow at least 3 or 4 hours for the frosting to set & harden a little before serving to the little party guests. As always, I love to hear about it when you give these projects a try!


The Girl Creative


Making


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thanksgiving on a Thursday... in February

It's been a crazy week for me. I've had a few jobs that took longer than expected. I've missed a couple of deadlines & had to rearrange my schedule to find time to get things done. I've had to deal with people and issues and people with issues (most of whom were people I gave birth to). I've had to cancel a few things and schedule a few things. I keep asking "Is it Friday yet?", not because I can't wait for it, but because I still have so many things to do before it gets here. And yet, I'm blogging right now. And that's because I'm thinking there may be a few of you who feel the same way this week. And I need to get in black & white some things that will help put this week in perspective. Today is a perfect time for a little Thanksgiving. So, here's my list of a few things I'm thanking the Lord for this morning:

1. I'm thankful we're not covered in snow here. And that Spring is just around the corner.

2. I'm thankful that, so far, we have eluded the dreaded stomach bug this week.

3. I'm thankful for my warm slippers my husband got me for Christmas. And the fact that they have a little rosette on the top just makes me happy.

4. I'm thankful that my 4th child is now fully potty trained & with the money we're saving on diapers & pull-ups we may just be able to finish getting this house furnished. (Ok, not quite.)

5. I'm thankful that Hobby Lobby has a 25% off coupon on their site, even though it's usually 40%. (What's up, I wonder?) Click here to get it.

6. I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve the Lord in a unique capacity every Wednesday night with some great kids in a great Bible Club. (What did I do to deserve this?)

7. I'm thankful I found time to get my bathrooms cleaned yesterday. Maybe I'll get all the dusting done today.

8. I'm thankful for the encouraging messages, phone calls, & comments that I get from the readers of this blog. (Thanks y'all!)

I hope this gets you thinking. What are you thankful for today?


{Don't forget to vote for the outcome of my Vintage Chest Redo if you haven't already. I'm going to try to make a decision soon. It's one of those things on my list!}

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Need Your Vote!



No, I'm not running for office. Not today, anyway. Today I need your vote on what I should do with one of my latest projects. I came upon this vintage chest a couple weeks ago at a small-town antique market, & when I saw that it had been marked down to $25, I could not leave without it. I am in love with everything from the detail on the front down to the wheeled feet.
Here's the before:

Because I had already picked the perfect place for this to go in my house & I always gravitate toward a formal french look, I wanted it black. That was the easy part. (Professional furniture re-finishers, skip to the next paragraph now). To do this, I turned to my favorite spray paint, Krylon, & sprayed the whole thing Satin Black. This took 3 cans & approximately 30 minutes. You just can't beat the smooth finish, either.

After painting, I put the original antiqued-brass hardware back on without changing anything about it. And I love it. Here's how it looks now. If you're wondering why the lamp still has the tags on it & plastic on the shade, click here.


So, anyway, my dilemma now is that every time I walk by it now, it keeps hinting to me that it wants more. I think it has dreams of being a gorgeous eclectic piece with a harlequin pattern incorporated in that beautiful circle on the front. But, I'm just not sure if that's what's best for it yet. So, I'm asking for your opinion.

For the next few days, I'd like to hear what my readers think about this. I'm asking you to vote by leaving a comment below. Here are 3 options to vote for:

1.) Leave the chest solid black-it's great how it is.

2.) Take a chance & go for the harlequin pattern to accent the circle motif on the front.

(Here's an example where a harlequin pattern has been used for an entire front of a chest. photo credit)

3.) Forget both of those options & submit your own idea.

I am looking forward to hearing what you all have to say about this. Here's the fine print: I reserve the right to go with any or all of the options submitted. And I also reserve the right to ignore all of them & paint this thing hot pink if the mood strikes.

Now get down there & vote!


DIY Day @ ASPTL






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Monday, February 22, 2010

Butterflies: The Sequel



When I did the Butterfly Tree for my daughter's room last week, I didn't know at the time that it was going to pretty much become the theme of the room. However, every once in a while a project turns out just right & ends up being a main attraction. And so it went with this room. We loved the tree so much that we decided to bring the theme around to the opposite wall and give it a little twist. Here's what we came up with:


It's a little vase full of tissue paper flowers, with a trail of little butterflies leading up to it. Once again, this project was super-cheap. The only thing I didn't already have was the vase, which I found for a whopping $3.50 at my favorite craft store. The other supplies we used were a few sheets of colored tissue paper, some 18-gauge floral wire, the patterned papers left over from the butterfly tree, & some sewing pins & glue.

These little tissue paper flowers are the miniature version of the big pom poms that are so popular right now. If you've never made them, here's how:

1. Take one sheet of tissue paper & keep cutting it in half until you have around 16 little sheets that measure around 5" x 5".

2. Keeping all the little sheets together, start fan-folding.


3. Take a piece of floral wire and wrap one end around the center of your folded sheets. You may want to use some needle-nose pliers to twist the end securely.


4. Then, start pulling the layers of tissue apart, pulling toward the center to hide the wire.

5. Repeat on opposite side & you're done!


When you use this method, your flower will look like a rose. For a different look, you can snip the edges into a point on each end before pulling apart the layers & you'll get a dahlia.

And for a carnation-look, round the ends off.


These little flowers would be a great gift-topper or give a whole bouquet to make someone's day!

We made our little swarm of butterflies with a butterfly paper punch, and then attached them to the wall with tiny sewing pins. We even glued a couple little butterflies to the flowers.





Sometimes it's fun to get carried away. Try it!



The Girl Creative


Making
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Copycat Creativity




Once again, I have found inspiration from someone else's creativity and like a woman on a mission, I took the idea and ran with it. This time, it was from Alison at This is Not a Rough Draft. I've been waiting for months to find some kind of art for a large wall over a bookshelf in my oldest daughter's room. When I saw that Alison's daughter's room was decorated in generally the same colors as my daughter's, it all came together. Alison got her butterflies from Pottery Barn Kids, so technically I guess I'm copying 2 sources, but who's counting?

The real beauty of this project is that it cost me approximately $2.50. That was just for a few extra scrapbook papers to add to the ones from my collection that I had already chosen to use. I also used more free sticks from my backyard (click here to see how I used sticks the other day...the neighbors are starting to wonder about me), and a metal flower pot that I already had.

I found a butterfly image I wanted to use as a pattern, then just started cutting. I arranged the sticks the way I wanted them and put a few rocks in the bottom of the pot to balance the weight. Then, I added a little moss on top to finish it off. After that, it was all about hot-gluing the butterflies and leaves onto the "tree" and using tiny sewing pins to "nail" the butterflies to the wall.





I did this little project while my daughter was at school today. She was thrilled when she saw it. I really hated to admit to her that it wasn't my original idea, but then again, isn't that what the decorating world is all about?











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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Keys to Decorating Your Mudroom


Is this a hot topic or what? I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that have said:

"Wow, I'm just really stumped on how to decorate my mudroom."

Okay, you're right. This never happens. I'm guessing that of the less than 1% of the American population who even have such a room, it's not on the top of their decorating priority list. And I'm one of those people. Heaven knows I have an entire house waiting to get decorated, so why am I accessorizing my mudroom? The opportunity presented itself. And it was cheap.

It started when I got my beloved Pottery Barn catalog the other day. And just like many of you, I began to pore over the pages, planning what to replicate next. That's when I saw these cute keys in a mudroom.




And because I pretty much know what's on every aisle at You-Know-Where (rhymes with Sobby Bobby), I remembered seeing a set of keys there for really cheap. Here are mine (only $6 for the set).


I decided to add a little color to mine, so I got out my trusty craft paints & dry-brushed on some color. I left one of them the copper color.



An hour later, they were on my wall. I realize this is nothing close to the mudroom in the PB catalog, but you can't expect much from a $6 & one-hour budget. Pottery Barn Replicaters unite!





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Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Your Typical Topiary






Hope you had a great Valentine's Day with the ones you love. We did here. But, now that it's over, I'm ready to move on to the next thing. All my Valentine d├ęcor was down before I even finished my coffee this morning & now I'm back to decorating for the everyday. For now.

For months now, my little shelf above my range has been bugging me to give it something to call its own. I gave it a chalkboard just before the Christmas season, but that wasn't quite enough. It wanted topiaries. I found some from Ballard Designs, but they were a little pricey & I didn't love them enough to have them standing over my head every day. So, I finally took a blind trip to my beloved Hobby Lobby, hoping to find inspiration amongst the 50% off green plastic foliage. I left with some little boxwood bushes & hoped everything would turn out okay.

When I got home, I pulled out some little glazed ceramic planters I had been saving for this occasion & then took a walk in my backyard, searching for the perfect sticks. Once I found those, it hit me! And my little topiaries came to be.

Here's what I used:
  • my green bushes (I only ended up needing about one & a half of these)
  • my wire cutters
  • my husband's drill with a 1/16th of an inch bit (this was the fun part)
  • my 2 perfect sticks ( a little over an inch in diameter)
  • my hot glue gun
  • some newspapers
  • & some moss



And here's what I did:

1.) With my wire cutters, I cut the stems from the bushes, just like I did with my green wreath project.

2.) I then took the drill & carefully drilled holes at a downward angle around the top of the stick.


3.) Next, I took the stems & started sticking them into the drilled holes. This process may take a little experimentation. The basic rule of thumb is that you choose a drill bit that is a little smaller than your stem in order to get a snug fit.


4.) Continue to make holes where needed & stick in more stems in to fill in gaps. Bend the branches into an upward curve to give a rounded appearance. Use the glue gun to make small dabs of glue where it needs to be secured better.

5.) Stand your stick in the pot & stuff the newspapers in tightly all around it to make it stand the way you want it.

6.) Finish by covering the top of the newspaper with moss. I also helped my little branches look more rounded by hot-gluing together a few of the tips at the very top with a very small dot of glue.

7.) And because I wanted a little more of a french look for the pots, I used some rub-on letters to put the word "Paris" on one pot, and tied a black & white gingham ribbon on the other.



The total cost of this project was approximately $20 for both, including the pots! They turned out just how I wanted them. They look like the real thing. And the beauty of it is I'll never have to prune, fertilize, or water them. Which, as we all know, leaves more time for more projects!
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