May 21, 2012

Adding Some Sunshine To My Kitchen

There is a spot above my kitchen sink that i just do not like, at all.

There is an exposed electrical box up there, intended for wiring in a clock, something not all that uncommon for a 60's bungalow like mine.  The problem is, not only do I not have a clock to mount up there...I don't want a clock hanging up there.  So I'm left with the problem of covering up this unsightly mess.

In fall I've got a lovely autumnal spray to hang up there, over Christmas and most of winter I had a green garland with burlap ties hanging around the tops of my cupboards, but I haven't had anything to fit the space for spring/summer.

So last week I finally decided to do something about it!  A few weeks ago one of the ladies from my church very generously gave me boxes and boxes of craft supplies she wasn't using anymore.  She and her husband were moving to a new house and downsizing along the way, so she thought I could make use of her crafty treasures.  What a great blessing!  In all the boxes of supplies she passed my way, there were many, many, many bottles of craft paint, paint brushes, and wooden cutouts to paint.  So I grabbed a good sized wooden rectangle, a brush and some paint and got to work creating a little something to brighten up my kitchen and to cover up that ugly little box.  

I painted my wood a gorgeous sunshiney yellow.  I only did one coat (and I didn't bother priming) because I wanted the wood grain to peek through.  Then penciled in "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day" using some fonts I found online as inspiration.  I just free handed the letters onto my sign, but you could easily use a stencil to do this if you'd want.
 

"I've got" and "on a cloudy day" I filled in with gray paint, and "sunshine" I painted bright white.  Once all my paint was thoroughly dried I roughed it all up with sand paper, sprayed it with clear coat, attached hooks and a wire to the backside, and I was done!



Now my kitchen has a bright note of sunshine above my kitchen sink.  Every time I look at that sign, I'm reminded of all the blessings I have, and how very much I love my children.  It's just what I needed!

Be blessed,

  I may be linking up to a few of these fine link parties:

May 16, 2012

I've got a secret...

Just in case you were wondering, I am, in fact, still alive.  It's true.  I know it might be hard to believe since I've been pretty quiet out here on the Prairie.  

Would you like to know what I've been doing? 

 I have been breathing, savoring time with my family, and just catching up in general.  Both during and after the competition (which I placed 4th in, by the way), I had a really hard time keeping life balanced, it got too busy, I got overwhelmed, and something had to give. 

 So I decided to just give myself a break, take the time I needed to get back on top of things, and to enjoy some of the beautiful spring we've been having.  And I'm so glad I did.  Taking a break has given me the chance to live without self inflicted deadlines for awhile, and wow, am I grateful for that!  I think I'm ready to slowly get back into the blog, but the key word there will be slowly.  I've really struggled back and fourth if I want to continue blogging, and while I have loved the challenge, the reward, and the opportunity to speak outside of these four walls, I want to enjoy myself, and I don't want blogging to be a chore.

So I've decided to take my time, post as I care to post, and not put the deadline pressure on myself of having a very direct blogging schedule.

Now, onto my secret...

I think part of the reason I got overwhelmed with blogging is that I took on a whole lot of new stuff within a couple of weeks' time.  I got news that I made the top 10 of the Sew-vivor competition, I started a twice weekly intense work out class that ran for 6 weeks, my husband was working long hours, and I started a little business.  Crazy much?!?

My little business is called Something Wonderful, and it has been a lot of fun for me.  Something Wonderful is a little shop full of hand made home decor, and simple accessories.  If you'd like to check it out, you can do so at www.facebook.com/somethingwonderful.jen.  

So that's my big secret!  

Thanks for stopping in, and for your understanding :)


Apr 25, 2012

Vote, vote, vote! {Part 4}


I'm so excited that I get to ask you to vote one more time!  Yup, the final round of Sew-vivor is here and voting is happening right now!  


This weeks challenge was to sew anything with pleats and wow, was I ever intimidated!  I've never even attempted pleats, since I thought they were only for the sewing elite.  I'm absolutely relieved though, pleats were not nearly as challenging as I thought they'd be, and I'm pretty pleased with the result of my pleat-themed project. 


 This week I sewed up a box-pleated skirt for Addie's bedside table and matching stool to transform it all into a mini vanity any little girl would love!  And check out this bonus feature:  The table and stool skirt are a totally removable so they can be tossed in the wash without a problem.


Head on over to Family Ever After to show your support!




Apr 19, 2012

I Can't Keep My Eyes Open

Hey Y'all.

I. Am. Pooped.

Like really, this whole Sew-vivor competition is knocking me out!  I'm slightly ashamed to say we've had a lot of thrown-together-at-the-last-minute-because-holy-cow-it's-already-five-thirty-and-Zach-will-be-home-any-minute kind of meals.  And my house?  Disaster zone.  

 Week 1
Don't get me wrong, I am positively thrilled to have placed in the top three each week of the competition!  I am over the moon that I came in #1 in the polls after yesterdays voting!  All that being said....I can't wait til this is all done!  Ha!

 Week 2
 Week 3
One more challenge, one more vote, one more crazy week, and then my life will maybe return to some form of normal! 

I can't wait to show you all what I'm working on for the fourth and final round of Sew-vivor.  The challenge is pleats...I can sew anything my little heart desires, but it must have pleats.  I think I've got a great idea, and I'm really excited to see it all come together!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to each one of you who have supported me through this competition, both by voting, encouraging, and believing in me.  You've made my heart smile!  If I could bake a batch of cookies for each of you who have spurred me on throughout this competition, I would!

Be blessed,

 

Apr 18, 2012

Vote, vote, vote! {part3}

It's that time again!  Round three of Sew-Vivor is up and running, and I would just l-o-v-e it if any and all of you would head on over to Family Ever After to vote for me, contestant #4!  


This week's challenge was a sew for charity challenge, and I created a couple of trendy baby hospital gowns for a little guy I know who has spent his whole life in the hospital.



Thanks for your support!


Apr 11, 2012

Vote, vote, vote! {part 2}

Thanks to some really wonderful people who voted for me, I made it through last week's first round of sewing in the Sew-vivor competition.

Now, round two is up and running and I'm hoping to make the cut yet again! 


Head on over to Family Ever After to cast your vote!  Only the top 5 competitors will be making it through to the next round, and voting closes tonight at midnight, EST. 

Thanks for your support!




Apr 9, 2012

Addie's Easter Dress


 With the first challenge of Sew-vivor and Easter hitting our home all in the same week, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone.  So of course, that equals Addie's Easter dress.

Side note: I made it through the first round of Sew-vivor, coming in third place in the polls!  The next round of Sew-vivor is coming up this Wednesday, be sure you swing by Family Ever After to cast your vote!  I'd appreciate your support!




The first challenge for the Sew-vivor competition is the judge's challenge, where I get to peruse each of the judge's fabulous blogs and reinterpret any one of their tutorials for myself.  Let me tell you, it was so hard to choose.  There are so many beautiful tutorials between all the judge's blogs, but I kept going back to this Charlotte Russe Inspired Skirt tutorial from Tam over on Sew Dang Cute.



I loved the ruffle/tulle combination, and thought it would translate beautifully into a girly and sweet Easter dress for my girl.  By the way, Tam, your modest interpretation is flawless, and w-a-y cuter than the original version, if you ask me!



I started by finding a basic pattern that I liked, and that I knew would be easy to tweak.  I thought it was only appropriate that the pattern I went with was a Project Runway pattern, make it work, right?!  I followed the pattern directions for the bodice and combined what I liked from look A and look B to make the dress I wanted for Addie.  


Then, following Tam's great how-to, I whipped up the skirt with ease.  Her easy ruffling trick saved me some major time!  To add just an extra touch of sass, I whipped up those sweet five-petal flowers for Addie's hair using some left over scraps of fabric.  Oh, if you can't tell, Little Miss is in love with her long flowery dress!



 Her cheesy posing just cracks me up!

I think Addie will get a ton of wear out of her new dress, and with the extra details I know it's a dress both of us will treasure.


Thanks for stopping in, I am so glad you came!

Be blessed,



I'll be linking up to a few of these fine link parties:

Apr 4, 2012

Vote, vote, vote!

Update:  I made it through to the next round of the competition!  Thanks to everyone who put in a vote for my dress!  I'm so excited to be competing again next week :)

Eeeek!  Today is the big day!
Today is the first round of Sew-vivor, and I'm on pins and needles, just waiting to see what happens!

I'd be absolutely thrilled if you'd head on over and vote for my entry, Addie's Easter dress.


I can't wait to see what everyone else made for their entry.  I think that's been the hardest part for me, not knowing what my competition is up to! 

Voting is open from 6 am - Midnight pacific standard time, and the advancing competitors will be announced on Thursday.  You can check it all out for yourself right here.

Thanks for your support!


Mar 22, 2012

Flower Bobby Pins

Hey Friends!

Phew!  It has been a busy couple of weeks for us over here!  
I have busily been sewing away in preparation for the big competition coming up in April.  I've got a good head start, but I'd like to get a little more done before the first round so I don't get caught with an unfinished sewing project if I advance in the competition.  


With Easter fast approaching I've already got Addie's dress ready to go, and goodness, it's cute!  I can't share it with you just yet, but I can show you the little hair accessories I made to go with her dress.  

These five-petal flowers come together quickly and are a great way to jazz up a simple braid, ponytail or bun.

I followed this great tutorial for the flower basics.


Then I attached the flower to a bobby pin.


Then I popped 'em right in Addie's hair!


A perfectly cheery Easter hair-do!

I'll be linking up to a few of these fine link parties:



Mar 14, 2012

Guest Post: The Party Works

Today Lisa from The Party Works is here to share some fun party ideas for children's birthday parties.  Welcome here, Lisa!  Thanks for visiting!  ~Jen

Craft Ideas for Children’s Birthday Parties

If you’re a mom who loves crafting, you probably love crafting with your kids too. One of the best ways to have a successful birthday party is to plan out activities ahead of time. If you keep the party structured, the kids will be less likely to get into trouble.
 

Some of the most enjoyable party activities for kids involve making crafts. Most schools don’t dedicate as much time to arts and crafts as they used to. So, kids jump at the opportunity to express themselves creatively. If you want to make crafting a central focus of your child’s birthday party, here are five fun craft ideas for kids:

1. Cookie Decoration

All you need are some sugar cookies, icing of different colors, and sprinkles for this activity. The kids will love to make their own cool looking cookies and then eat them.

2. Make Your Own Funny Sunglasses

You just need inexpensive plastic sunglasses, craft glue, confetti, buttons, seashells, and sequins for this activity. The kids can glue the flair onto their sunglasses and be as creative as they want when it comes to designing their own shades.

3. Origami

Some pretty paper and a few origami instruction books is all you need for this activity. The kids can have fun for hours making their own paper cranes, frogs, and other paper animals. This isn’t necessarily always the best activity for kids who have a lot of energy. Origami requires a fair amount of attention and patience, and it’s often considered a better activity for girls’ parties than for boys’ parties.

4. Card Decoration

This activity gives the kids a chance to draw and make something nice for a family member or friend. You may want to give the kids some construction paper and markers for this activity. Or you could get some watercolors or finger-paints for them to decorate the cards with for some extra pizazz.

These are just a few of the easy crafts you can try out with kids at your child’s next birthday party. Depending on the age of the children, crafts can be more or less advanced. No matter what crafts you decide will work for your child’s party, the kids are sure to love them. And you should be proud for encouraging creativity!

About the Author: Lisa is a mom and guest writer. She writes a variety of online content about raising children, married life, and even things like Super Mario party supplies.

Mar 7, 2012

B-I-G News!

Oh man, I am feeling a little queasy right now.

You see, I did something back in January, without really considering the possibilities that might ensue.  I might have tossed my hat in the ring....or in this case, Addie's dress in the pile of insane talent over at Family Ever After for the intense Sew-vivor competition.  I did not ever even entertain the thought of actually making the top ten...but guess what?  I DID!!!


As I scrolled down the top ten post and saw my Addie dancing on the side walk in her Bustles of Love Dress, the first thought through my mind was, "Oh crap!"  So my friends, I am about to bring out the big guns and try my very best to swim with the big fish and compete with all I've got!  You can check out the ridiculously talented competitors here and you'll also find details on the competition.

The first round takes place April 4th, and the challenge is a judge inspired tutorial where I've got to make any tutorial from any of the judge's blogs and add my own flair to it.

I guess my little blog break is officially over and it's time to get down to business.  I'm both incredibly excited, and super nervous!  I'll be sure to keep you all updated on what my entries are and how I fare in the competition...plus I may throw out a few reminders to vote, vote, vote!

I know I can count on all of you for encouragement and support!



Burned Flower Pins

Well hello!  It's been awhile, I know!
But it's good to be back, and it's good to feel good!

What have I been up to?  Living life, enjoying my kids, and crafting, of course!

One quick and fun project I just completed was making a handful of some fun burned flower pins.  And, I gotta say, I love 'em!  They're perfect for slipping into a quick up-do to take it up a notch, they're great for dressing up a little cardigan, and they're just the thing to add to gift wrapping to make it extra-special.   


There are only a million burned flower tutorials out there in blogland, so I won't bother
 adding my method to the madness! Search "burned flowers" on Google or Pinterest and you'll be swimming in options in no time.  Just in case, here are a couple of tutorials from Jones Design Company and Make It and Love It.  


I used a simple alligator clip on the back of each flower for easy pinning, and no poking!  And in the middle of each finished flower, I squirted a healthy dollop of hot glue and piled on a bunch of beads or pearls.  Let the glue dry and voila!  Instant accessory!  

Enjoy!

Be blessed,

  I'll be linking up to a few of these fine link parties:

Mar 1, 2012

An Update!

Hello out there!

Hi friends, I'm here.  I'd like to take a quick moment to say thank you for the kind words and support while I've taken a couple of weeks to "just be".  It's been lovely.  We've had a lot of changes in our family over the last year...and I think it all caught up to me in an overwhelming wave of busy.  

Do you ever type a word, then look at it too long and wonder...is that how you spell it?  Does that mean what I think it means?  Am I losing my mind?

That just happened to me with the word "busy".  I know, pretty simple, right?  But it looked funny to me, for just a moment.  So I looked it up, just to make sure.  The definition: sustaining much activity.  That, my friends, is the perfect "nutshell" phrase for the last 365 days!  Sure, we've had our lulls, but overall there has been a constant hum of change and learning.  

I think somewhere in it all, I lost sight of the boundary of balance.  I started blogging because I wanted to do something for myself, and have some accountability to finish projects I've started.  And blogging has been just that, I've completed so many projects, big and small over the last year...I've surprised myself!

As with any time a person loses their balance, there is a time to readjust and that's what I'm up to right now.  Over the last couple of weeks I've removed a few things from my daily life that pulled me too far one way or another.  Those decisions are hard, but feel so good once they're made!  I've decided I'll be letting go of the link party I had been hosting for the last couple of months.  It adds more fluster to my day than it's worth, so with thankfulness for the wonderful participation, I'm saying good-bye to that part of blogging.

I think I'm going to take a few more weeks to "just be" and to allow a little more time for readjustment.  When I do come back, I won't be following the same schedule that I had been, I'll be blogging here and there, as I feel like it.  

My brother teased me that I'm taking a break when my blog name is "I Can't Stop Crafting", ironic, no?  My answer to him was that I haven't stopped crafting, I'm not sure that's possible, but I have stopped blogging, even if it's just for a bit.  So thank you so much for understanding, and checking back now and again, I'll see you all in a few weeks.

Be blessed,


Feb 17, 2012

Taking a Break

Hey Gang!

Thanks so much for stopping by tonight, I appreciate it.  If you're swinging by to link up to the weekly party, thank you for making the effort.  I know there are tons of other parties to participate in, and I'm so thankful for each and every link that's shared.

There are a few too many things going on right now, so I'm going to step back from blogging a take a little break.  

Please know that I genuinely have enjoyed blogging over the past year, and the world wide connections I've made have been fantastic.  I'm sure I'll be checking back in here and there, but I'm not going to stress out about my blogging "schedule" for the next while.

Thanks for your encouragement and support!

Be blessed,


Feb 16, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Popcorn

The other night I was cleaning up supper, bathing the kids, winding the house down for the evening....when I remembered that Boden was supposed to bring snack to school the next morning.  Ugh.  Of course.

So I started brain storming.  The snack needed to be made from what I had on hand, I certainly didn't want to go uptown with freshly pajama'd kids.  The snack also needed to be easy to package in little bags for each child, and at least a little bit healthy.

Then it hit me: popcorn!  I could make a light and tasty snack out of popcorn!

I started searching the internet for light popcorn recipes...and it was harder to find than I thought.  Many of the recipes had reviews saying how it was too sticky and chewy, not what I wanted to send to a class full of five year olds.  

But then I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com, and it was just what I had in mind!  Only a few ingredients, the delicious combination of sugar and cinnamon, and quick, too?  Perfect.


I tweaked the original recipe, just a little bit.  I eliminated the salt completely, since I was using salted butter and I didn't want the saltiness to overwhelm the sweetness. 

I used about a cup and a half of unpopped kernels for the whole recipe, and there was just enough of the butter mixture to pour over all of the popped corn so it was nicely seasoned without being too sugary.  

I also spread the popcorn evenly over two parchment lined baking sheets.  That way I could skip the cooking spray, and have really easy clean up.  


Yum!  I'll definitely be making this easy snack again!  And, at 62 calories per 1 cup serving, I don't feel guilty about sending it to a pack of energetic kindergarteners!

Be blessed,

I'm linking up!

Feb 13, 2012

Head to Head Showdown Winner #3

Hey All!  So???  What were your thoughts on the voting poll?

I liked it.  I think it would be even more fun with...ahem...a few more votes!  But all in time, right?  So, are you curious to hear who the big winner was?  Yeah?  Then I won't put it off any longer!

Drum roll please!

Taking the top spot for our third round of the final Showdown is.............
............The fabulous Kitchen Dresser from Meg and Mum's!   


Oh. My. Goodness.  If you haven't been by Meg and Mum's, you've just got to put it at the top of your list.  Megan, the gal behind the blog, has an unbelievable eye for refinishing furniture.

Just take a look at this table before Megan got her hands on it:

There's nothing really wrong with the table, it's just so very heavy and traditional.  And after?  Just check it out:


Oh, the gorgeousness!

Megan's attention to detail and finish for each piece she completes leaves me slack-jawed.  Here's a well worn coffee table before:


And after, you'll find this stunning ottoman.  Ugh, I'm drooling right now!

And then, there's just the vast array of other marvelous projects Meg has taken on and completed with gorgeous style!



 A-mazing!

Be sure to stop by Meg and Mum's and check out here inspiring gallery!

And Meg, I proudly present you with the winner button for the Head to Head Showdown!  Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful projects with us!





Be blessed,