Thursday, December 5, 2013

Favorite Things

Hint, hint honey... I wouldn't mind seeing one or two of these items on Christmas morning!

With the Holiday season upon us, I thought it might be nice to share some of the things I'm loving and/or longing for lately.   So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite things:

LUSH Rosy Christmas (shop here)

This little gift box comes with rose shower gel and rose-argan body conditioner.  It makes you smell AND feel heavenly.  I love all LUSH products because they contain no harmful chemicals, use organic ingredients, and are not tested on animals.

A nice piece of costume jewelry (shop here)

Did you know that naturally occurring emeralds are more expensive per carat than diamonds??? I didn't, until I started shopping for an emerald ring.  Sooo.... I decided to opt for a nicely made piece of costume jewelry.  This one from Zales has a lab-created emerald surrounded by white topaz, and is set in sterling silver.   Since I wanted a fun birthstone ring to wear occasionally, this one is perfect!

Some Cozy Slippers (shop here)

Ugg shoes are SO cozy.  And I get cold feet constantly in the winter time... even though I live in a very warm climate.  Oftentimes, I wear my UGG boots with my pajamas, and only take them off at the last minute before climbing in bed for the night.   I hate cold feet.   When I saw these slippers, I knew I had to have them... they are even pink with a bit of bling.  PLUS, a portion of the proceeds from these special edition slippers is donated to Susan G. Komen breast cancer research.  Win-Win!

I'm loving these nail foils (shop here)

I'm actually wearing some right now, that are sparkly leopard print.  They've been on for three weeks and still look great.  Out of all the brands I've tried, these stay looking nice the longest!   I really want to try this limited edition nude geometric print.

I need a plug-in for the guest bathroom (shop here)

I have a scentsy warmer in the main living area of our home.  BUT, I really would love a small plug-in warmer for the guest bathroom.  I like this one:

And I've been dying to try this scentsy scent (shop here)

I keep our large scentsy warmer filled with yummy fruity scents, like Blueberry Cheesecake.  BUT, someone described this scent as a spa-like smell.  I think the blend of eucalyptus, lemon, and mint would be perfect for the bathroom plug-in!

What happens when you combine crocs with a cute, girly ballet flat?  (shop here)

You get SWYT.  These are cute flats for toddlers, children, and adults.   They come in a rainbow of colors, textures, and patterns.  I MAJORLY regret not buying my first pair last time I saw them on Zulily.  So now, I have my account set to remind me next time there is a SWYT event.  These are the ones I love: crushed velvet with a big sparkly bow on top... perfect for all of the holiday parties I'm set to attend this December. 


PLUS, this is a company with a heart.  They have taken a stand against bullying, and are donating a percentage of fundraiser sales towards anti-bullying awareness programs such as and The Trevor Project.

And finally, you can never go wrong with a Stitch Fix gift card! (shop here)

My first FIX is scheduled for January 9, and I am so excited to see what my stylist sends me!  (If you don't know what stitch fix is, see my earlier post here explaining how it works!)

So... there you have it.  

Some of my favorite things, and some things I really want.  (And honey, if you're reading... these range in price from $5 to $120.  So there's plenty for you to choose from.)

Happy Holidays everyone!   What do you want Santa to leave under your tree?

Edited to add:  The companies mentioned in this post did not reimburse me for reviews, nor do they even know I love their products so much.  The Scentsy links are through my consultant, but you can use the search feature here to find a local consultant.  The Stitch Fix link is a referral link, and I will get a small credit if you use it to sign up (Which I would greatly appreciate!).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kids Chunky Necklace DIY - Part Two

Today, we are going to talk about using 1/16" nylon ribbon knotted and heat sealed, to make those chunky bubblegum kids' necklaces.

Here's part two of a post that I started last week.  You can read the part one here.

Just like last time, let's pretend that you already have your necklace supplies ready.

  • You have all your pretty beads laid out in order.  Always remember to add Color, Texture, Pattern, and Shine... it works for jewelry too, not just on What Not to Wear.
  • Spacer beads. Note:  spacers aren't necessary.  I like the look of a necklace that doesn't have spacers.  BUT - spacer beads offer flexibility to a necklace.  Without spacers, there will be more stress at the connection points.  Meaning, there is a higher likelihood that the necklace will come apart at the clasp.
  • 1/16" Nylon ribbon and a long sewing needle.
  • A lighter... I used the one my husband lights the grill with.

The Process, using ribbon:

  • Thread your ribbon through a needle and put on all your beads.
  • At the end of the necklace, knot the ribbon tightly onto the clasp.

  • Trim the ribbon, leaving only a short little 'tail.' 
  •  Using a lighter, melt the little tail of remaining ribbon.  Don't let it catch on fire!

  •  Wait a couple of seconds after removing the ribbon from the flame.  Then, use your fingers to press the melted ribbon firmly onto the knot.

  • Repeat for the other end of the necklace.
  • This method makes it IMPOSSIBLE for the knot to come undone, since it's melted and heat sealed.

  • Do you make chunky bubblegum necklaces?  What's your favorite type of pendants?  I am loving converting small PVC toys into pendants!

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    (Almost) Epic Fail

    I had a great idea...

    To have our Christmas Card Photos taken in the cotton....

    Unfortunately, fate was not with us.

    You see... the sun was in our eyes....

    And our kids were not cooperative.

    Fortunately, our photographer is an AWESOME friend from Church!

    And out of 100 photos, we got exactly ONE that will do for our Christmas card.

    Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll.  Enjoy your families.... even if they don't want to look at the camera at the same time.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Stitch Fix

    Has anyone tried Stitch Fix?   I found out about it awhile ago, and it's been in the back of my mind for awhile to try it out.  Stitch Fix takes the hassle out of shopping and gives me the added benefit of having a trained stylist pick out perfect pieces just for me.

     Using Stitch Fix means:
    • no more circling the parking lot to find a spot
    • no more pushy sales people
    • no more dirty, poorly lit fitting rooms
    • no more annoying trips back to the store to return items that I change my mind about
    Plus, Stitch Fix saves me gas money and hours of time, and I don't lose my mind taking my children to the mall!

    If YOU want to try it out, check out my referral link!


    What is Stitch Fix, you ask?

    Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You tell them all about your style, size, and budget preferences, and they send you a package of stylish goodies to try on at home. Each Fix is unique and hand-picked just for you.


    How does it work?

    1. Sign Up and Complete Your Style Profile

      After signing up you can start immediately on your Style Profile. We need to know your size, shape, style, budget, and lifestyle to get your Fix right. The Style Profile took about 10 minutes for me to complete.
    2. Schedule a Stitch Fix

      Pick a shipment date, and they’ll send you a box of 5 clothing and accessory items they’ve hand-picked just for you. You can even opt to schedule a monthly delivery if you'd like.
      You pay a $20 styling fee when your stylist selects the items in your Stitch Fix. This $20 fee will be applied as a credit toward anything you keep from your shipment.
    3. Try On All Of Your Items

      Try on everything they send you—you never know what you’ll like until you see it on. Pair each piece with items already in your closet to try different outfit options. Each item includes style cards with ideas and inspiration on how to wear it.
    4. Decide

      Take 3 days to decide what you’ll keep. Return the items you don't want in the provided pre-paid mailing bag at any USPS mailbox.
    5. Check Out

      Login to your account and pay for those items you kept. If you buy all 5 items you save 25% off the entire shipment price.
      You get to give feedback on your Stitch Fix shipment—the stylists gets better over time if they know what did and didn’t work for you.              

    Let me know if you have tried Stitch Fix!  I scheduled my first box to arrive on the first available date - January 9, 2014.  I'll post reviews when it gets here.  I can't wait!

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Kids Chunky Necklace DIY - Part One!

    Okay guys.  I've made a LOT of these chunky necklaces over the past year, and I also sell bead kits for DIY projects.  So, I painted my nails and thought I would try to write some instructions.  Kids chunky bead necklaces are so darn cute!  Making them takes some finesse, and an eye for color and texture.  BUT - it's not hard!  There are several ways you can put them together... and the way you do it affects the strength and durability of the necklace.  That's super important when you know your kids will be rough on them!

    Let's pretend that you already have your necklace supplies ready.

    • You have all your pretty beads laid out in order.  Always remember to add Color, Texture, Pattern, and Shine... it works for jewelry too, not just on What Not to Wear.
    • Spacer beads. Note:  spacers aren't necessary.  I like the look of a necklace that doesn't have spacers.  BUT - spacer beads offer flexibility to a necklace.  Without spacers, there will be more stress at the connection points.  Meaning, there is a higher likelihood that the necklace will come apart at the clasp.
    • Crimps - the heavier duty the better.
    • Crimp pliers
    • Bead wire, or nylon ribbon/needle, or stretch string.

    Today, we're going to talk about using bead wire and crimps to make necklaces.

  • Add your beads to the wire
  • At the end of the necklace, add a crimp bead, and then the clasp. 
  • Then pass the wire back through the crimp bead.  DON'T pull the wire tight around the clasp... Leave a little loop so the clasp swings freely inside the loop of wire.  If you pull it tight, there will be a lot of friction and the wire will fray.

  • SQUEEZE the crimp with the inside portion of the crimp pliers.  It turns the crimp into a 'V' shaper.

  •  Then, use the outer portion of the crimp pliers to kind of fold the crimp in half, folding at the point of the 'V' and bringing the two sides together.

  • Don't trim it close to the crimp.  IF the wire slips a little inside the crimp, you don't want the necklace to fall off.

  • Feed the tail of wire down inside a couple of beads, and trim the extra. 

  • Repeat for the other end of the necklace


    The finished product is really cute, and my daughter and her friends at school love these.  Stop back by next week to learn how to do these using 1/16" nylon ribbon... and no crimp beads or pliers are required!

    And because no post is complete without a picture of my girls...
    Please note:  Necklaces can be a choking hazard to small children.  Always supervise your kids while they wear them, and remove all jewelry before naptime.

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    New Post Coming Soon!

    I've been busy this past month resurfacing our back deck and doing some fun paint on the deck furniture.  I took lots of pics for a blog post... and then washed my iPhone with a load of laundry!  So hopefully this weekend my phone will be sufficiently dried to let me download the photos for a blog post.

    I have a how-to post planned for kids' chunky bead necklaces too!

    So check back next week!

    Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    Finding the perfect (free) Rag Doll Pattern.

    I found a doll that I love.  They're Baby Be Blessed dolls...  you should check them out here.  They are super cute, but I knew I could never justify spending $50+ on a new doll here at back to school time.  So... I began to hunt for the perfect dolly pattern.

    I pinned tons of inspiration photos and links on Pinterest.  I trolled Etsy and Craftsy. My criteria:  I wanted a nicely proportioned, floppy doll with a similar look to the Baby Be Blessed dolls.  And finally, after a week of "research,"  (read: Driving my husband crazy obsessing over fabric swatches and hand drawn patterns)  I was ready to gather my supplies:

    You'll need:
    - Muslin in the 'skin' tone of your choice
    - Safety eyes
    - Craft paint for the mouth
    - Two scraps of coordinating fabric, for the body and legs
    - Minky, flannel, or felt material for the hair.
    - Polyfill

    I tested 3 patterns, and am sharing the pros and cons of each.  My pinterest board is here...  it's a combination of simple rag doll ideas and Waldorf doll inspiration... I went through a phase where I experimented with Waldorf dolls too.

    1.  First pattern, from Martha Stewart's website.  Emily Martin, owner of the etsy shop Black Apple, shares a free video tutorial and pattern for her version of dolls.   The only things I did differently - I used flannel for the hair and added pigtails. I also made the arms and legs double the width on the pattern.  I got lazy and used a square end on the legs, instead of the curved version on the pattern.

    Pros:  FREE.  The pattern printed easily and the video tutorial was perfect.
    Cons:  The double ruffle bangs are really hard to sew around.  If you fail to sew them to the face, they flip up, like in the photo.  The arms and legs on the pattern are super skinny and hard to stuff. I gave up trying to stuff them with polyfill and sewed thicker arms and legs.

    And here is the result.  Not bad, but not great either.  Those pigtails kind of make her look like a basset hound.  I'm also not a fan of my ability to paint on a face.

    2.  Second pattern, from the blog Make it Love it.  This pattern comes along with a blog post with step by step instructions.  The only things I did differently:  I used minky material for the hair, instead of felt.  And I added pigtails.  I also used safety eyes, instead of felt.

    Pros: FREE.  The pattern printed easily, and the picture tutorial was great.  I also loved all the extras included in the pattern:  Clothing, ties for the boy, sleeves, shoes, etc.
    Cons: This pattern requires that you be a little more advanced in sewing skills.  It also takes longer to sew, because of the added details.  I also felt that the resulting doll looked a bit like an alien, although my 1 year old loves to cuddle it.

    And here is the result.  Cute, but not at all like my inspiration dolls.  The head is too large, the legs too long and spindly.  Plus, the hands remind me of lobster claws.

    3.  Third pattern, from the blog I'm so Crafty, I Sweat Glitter.  I have to admit - I wasn't so sure that this was the pattern for me.  And honestly, the only reason I gave it a try was because the blog name made me laugh.  But I have to say, it was perfection.  The only things I did differently:   I used minky for hair.  And I did two pigtails instead of the one (I had to iron the minky to some fusible interfacing before I could do the little pigtails like the directions called for).  I also opted for safety eyes for this one too.

    Pros: FREE.  The pattern printed really grainy, but worked great.  The photo tutorial was nice, and the tip for putting in rice to weight the arms and legs made a HUGE difference in the final product.
    Cons:  The curved neckline makes for trickier sewing, but I'm glad I didn't cut out that step.  It really makes her head stand up better, and defines a neck for the doll.

    And here is the result.  She's exactly what I was looking for!

    Isn't she cute??  She took a few hours to sew, and I opted for pricier details, like eyes, hair, and designer fabric.  But I love her.

    And I think my daughter does too.... especially since the doll matches her back-to-school outfit.
    Edited: I made a few more, and thought I would share fabric combos and hair colors with you guys.  Each doll has its own unique personality, which I love.

    First Post :)

    Well - here we go!

    I've been a stay at home mom for almost two years.  I've always loved doing crafty things....Then I had my first daughter and discovered ETSY, and all things unique and hand made!  But I dislike the big price tag that usually accompanies those items.  Like so many women - my shopping list far exceeds my budget!  So, if I like it, and I want it, I've tried to find a way to make it!

    I hope to share some crafty ideas on this blog, while also keeping a family scrapbook of sorts.  I'm ready for an adventure, and hope you are too!