Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple May Basket How-To: Get Your "Nice" On!

We're days away from the first day of May & you know what that means: people across the country will be putting up their Maypoles in the front yard, gathering greeneries for May baskets, & May Day festivities will be going on every where! Yeah. Right.

Granted, it's not the most celebrated holiday in here America. In fact, most of us don't acknowledge it at all. I must admit, I didn't know anything about it either until several years ago when a May basket appeared for the first time on my doorstep.

We were living in our first house, two doors down from some good friends of ours. And when May 1st rolled around & we opened up our front door to see a cute little basket full of goodies sitting there, I knew right away who it was from. The card wasn't signed--May baskets are supposed to be anonymous. But, since my friend has very distinctive, beautiful handwriting, and since she is also one of the most creative people I have ever known, it was kind of a dead giveaway. Besides that, she's just plain nice. And May Day is the perfect day to get your "nice" on.

I think she left a basket for us every year that we lived there, and now, 12 years and 2 houses later, I have never forgotten it. That's because "nice" is rarely forgotten.

This year, I've decided I'm going to be nice. (I know-it's about time, huh?) I've made my May Baskets and come Sunday morning, a couple of my friends are getting a little surprise. (No, they don't read my blog, so yes, they will be surprised.)

And just in case you get the urge to be nice, too, here are a few super-simple instructions for making May Baskets. (I stole this cone idea from my BFF Denise, but since she's also nice, she won't mind if I share it with you.)

Start with a piece of scrapbook paper-either an 8.5 x 11 or a 12x12 trimmed down to that size. I chose a double-sided cardstock.

Then, fold it into a cone shape & glue it into place in the back. I like to use hot glue because it works fast & holds it together right away. Trim off excess paper.

Then, add some ribbon or trim for a little something extra...

Create a "Happy May Day" banner for the front. I used my mini alphabet stamps like I use for so many projects, but you could also write it by hand or print it from your computer.

Fork-cut the ends & fold them over a straight-edge to give it the look of a banner.

Staple on a ribbon handle...

Cover the staples with a little embellishment if you wish...

Make a little flag for a name tag with some more paper & a bamboo skewer.

Then, fill your basket with a few small treats & maybe a few fresh flowers...

And you're ready to hang it on someone's doorknob early Sunday morning. Now isn't that nice?

Sharing this how-to with some of these nice people. Go say hi!

Tidy Mom

The Blackberry Vine

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

British Royalty Pillow Tutorial {Another Ballard Knock-off}

So, it's Royal Wedding Week & I'm wishing I could be in London taking in all that Royal excitement. I've always been a little fascinated by Britain & the Royals, and when Dave & I took our first trip to London last Spring, my fascination only intensified. I can't wait to go back someday, but until then, I've decided to add a little taste of British chic here at home.

It all started when I saw this super-cool British Royalty Pillow from Ballard Designs.

I knew I needed this for the library, but I also knew I would never pay $70 for a throw pillow I could re-create myself, so I got to work.

Here's my version:

Not an exact replica, I know, but still just the touch of Cool Brittania this space needs. If you want a little taste of royalty for yourself, here's a little tutorial:

Start with a couple of pieces of beige linen in the size you want for your pillow. Mine is approximately 13"H x18"W.

Set aside one piece which will become the back of the pillow later. Prepare the top piece for painting by taping it down onto some newspaper or plastic. Then, using a ruler or straight-edge, mark the lines of the British flag with a pencil. I kept an image of my inspiration pillow in front of me as a guide. If you don't feel comfortable "eyeing" it, you may want to print out a pattern of the flag in the size of your fabric.

After the lines are penciled in, it's time for the paint. I used craft paint in English Navy & Cardinal Red, then painted it on with a small artist's brush. If you want to create a vintage look, don't worry about applying the paint consistently or perfect coverage. Letting some of the fabric show thru will give it more of a worn look.

After I painted it all, I went back with a little more craft paint in Royal Blue (thinned down with a little water) & highlighted some of the navy areas to brighten it up a little.

For the crown, my own prince did his magic & came up with this image for me (thanks, Honey!).
Use heat transfer sheets for dark fabrics to print the image & create an iron-on transfer. I used these Transfer Magic sheets from Hobby Lobby. (Don't forget to use your 40% of coupon!)

After it's printed, use scissors & an exacto knife to cut away the unwanted areas of the transfer.

Then, follow the manufacturer's instructions to apply the transfer over your painted flag. Be sure the paint is completely dry before you do this step. And watch your transfer carefully as I noticed the red paint started pulling thru onto my transfer when the heat was applied for the full amount of time.

After that, you're ready to sew the pillow together & finish it off.

That's it! For less than $10, you'll have a cozy little pillow to curl up with early Friday morning while you watch the Royal Wedding!

And for those of you who still can't get enough royal romance, the internet has been a-buzz with William & Kate memorabilia of all kinds, but these two are a couple of my faves:
(Pillow or no pillow-I love that chair.)

Click here to see more cool William & Kate stuff. And then visit these sites I'm linking up with for more creative inspiration!

Tidy Mom

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cripsy Kale: The Non-Junk Food

I'm one of those moms that makes her kids eat something green with pretty much every meal. And this is simply because my mom did the same thing to us so I'm just carrying on the torture tradition. But, seriously, the good thing about this is that my kids have learned to like vegetables...for the most part.

However, they never have been big fans of kale, since I had served it steamed or boiled to them in the past. But, I kept seeing recipes for Crispy Kale popping up all over the internet & people seemed to be raving about it, so I gave it a try.

There are literally hundreds of versions of this out there, but I used this one,which also includes some helpful tips.

It's super-easy...

Maybe a little stinky...

But, surprisingly yummy...

And, yes, my kids loved it! If you're looking for a healthy snack to replace your addiction to Ruffles, give this a try. Let me know what you think!

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Easter Egg Hunt & Tiger Woods

It's Resurrection Day weekend & I'm ready for a great time celebrating with our family & friends. My sister arrived with her crew last night which means this house is home to 5 little girls, 1 tween girl, & 2 domestic divas.

The guys have their own stuff planned since they decided they couldn't handle this many women under one roof. And we have some fun girl time scheduled including our traditional Easter Egg Hunt.

Making all these plans reminded me of an egg hunt we had 3 years ago when we visited my sister's house. I had posted this story on my old blog back then, but my sister & I have had so many great laughs out of it, I thought I'd re-post it here. Keep in mind this happened in Tiger's pre-controversy days and incidentally, it was before I refashioned that jacket I'm wearing as well. I told you I'd had it awhile!

An Easter Egg Hunt & Tiger Woods

Yeah, I thought that would get your attention. No, this wasn't a crazy dream I had. It's just another page in our very adventurous & exciting life. And it went like this:

The girls & I just spent a few days visiting my sister, Amy, & her two girls in SC. While we were there, we decided to do an Easter egg hunt in a little children's garden in their town. It was the perfect little place for it, and there was no one there at the time either. That was probably because it was cloudy & only 50 degrees, but anyway, it was adorable. All the girls had fun searching & finding until they were finally too cold to stay any longer, so we left & went to lunch.

Enter Tiger Woods. Amy & I were sitting at a table in Salsarita's, trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible, which was difficult since we had 5 little girls & Amy is expecting another one in one more month. We were getting lots of smiles & comments as the lunch crowd poured in. And then I noticed at the table diagonally across from us a guy that looked exactly like Tiger Woods. I pointed him out to Amy who totally agreed & suddenly we were obsessed with finding out if it was really him. I must say that I probably would have totally dismissed the thought right away had Amy not told me that Tiger Woods actually owns a home in a golf community near there, so from then on, we were on a mission. We knew our brother would kill us if we saw Tiger Woods & didn't get a picture or an autograph, so Amy & I began immediately to plan our course of action. Amy first went to the restroom & came back to see if she could get a better view of him from the front. This only confirmed her suspicion that it was him. By now, I was starting to wonder if he & the 2 men that he was with were noticing that we were staring at them, but it didn't deter us. I began to look around & wonder if we were the only ones that had recognized him, and it seemed we were. We noted that he was wearing a blue baseball cap, so we tried hard to see if it was a Nike. If it were, we would know it was him.

We began to get worried that our time was running out, so I sent Abby to our truck parked right outside to get my camera. I knew this might raise suspicions, but I had to do it. Finally, Amy took the little ones out & I made my approach. With Abby & Lola in tow, I walked straight up to him & asked as graciously as I could if anyone had ever told him that he looked just like Tiger Woods. He was a little surprised to see me at first, then without saying anything, he just smiled. His friends laughed as well & then I explained that Amy & I were debating on whether it was him, & how we only wanted a picture for our brother, and yadda yadda. Since he had never answered my question, I asked again if it was really "him" & he finally said no, but that people tell him that a lot, and all the while he was still smiling, which made me wonder if he was telling the truth. After that, he agreed to a picture with me so that I could at least try to make our brother David think it was really him.

So, Abby snapped the picture & then we left as soon as we could. When we got in the truck to leave, Amy told me she overheard someone coming out of the restaurant say to another person, "I told you that was really him".

By the way, our brother wouldn't buy it when we sent the picture. He says he knows Tiger Woods like he is his brother. Yeah, well, Amy & I still say it could've been him, and maybe he just wanted to protect his privacy. We may never know...:)