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Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

DIY Yarn Star Ornaments

I wanted to find a craft for my Bible Study girls to make at our Christmas party.  My requirements:
1. easy
2. not too time consuming
3. inexpensive
4. something cool they would actually use

I don't ask for much! 
I think I found the perfect thing - a yarn-wrapped star ornament (don't think "kindergarten project", think "Pottery Barn, rustic chic").

For this Project, you'll need:

printed star shape (or hand-drawn, if you can)
cardboard (mine was literally a Crate & Barrel box from a recent order)
hot glue gun/glue sticks


Decide on the size and shape of star you want and print it.  You can find a customizable shape Microsoft Word under Insert<Shapes.
Then cut it out and place it on top of your cardboard and trace around it.

Cut the star out of the cardboard.
Hot glue a length of twine to the star, to be the ornament hanger.
Hot glue the starting end of the yarn - then start wrapping - there is no right way to wrap, as long as you cover all the cardboard, you will be successful!  I found it helpful to hot glue the yarn at each of the star points.  When you've finished wrapping, cut the yarn and hot glue the end to the back of the ornament, tucked under. 

The stars can be used as ornaments or as a decorative element on gifts. 

Look how great it looks on my tree (bottom right)!

All the girls in Bible Study did a great job!

Look how cute Gayle looks while crafting!

I can just picture these stars on a garland or on a rustic-themed tree!!

Since this is my last blog before Christmas,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Homemade Christmas Gifts

For the last few years I have given homemade food gifts to my co-workers and friends.  It's become a really fun tradition for my mom and sisters to come over to my place for an annual baking day, then I take them out to dinner for all their help! 
The first year was Gourmet Cookies

Second year was hand-dipped pretzels
Third year was peanut clusters, peanut butter balls and holly clusters.
And this year, I decided on gourmet popcorn.  I searched different recipes on Pinterest and online and decided on:

We popped popcorn,

made the sauce,

baked it,

melted chocolate chips,
and packaged!

It was a lot of work, but it was great!  The recipe turned out AMAZING!  The best part was spending the entire day just hanging out and working in the kitchen with my mom and sister.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tulle Wreath

black and cream tulle wreath, elegant wreath

For this Project you'll need:
wire wreath form
strips of coordinating fabric or ribbon
2 spools of tulle
feather hair clip
jewel for the center
hot glue gun/glue
Step 1:
Wrap the wire form with your fabric or ribbon.

 Step 2: 
Cut the tulle into 8.5-11 inch strips (depending on how full you want the wreath to look.  This one, I used about 9 in. strips) and tie them, all the way around the wreath, with the tie at the outer edge of the wreath. 

Step 3:
Add embellishments.  I clipped my feather to the tulle and hot glued a jewel in the center.
Step 4:
Hang and enjoy!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Writing a Book

I've been working on this particular project for 3 years!  My first book!  I started brainstorming in 2010 after reading a news article about Pluto changing colors - the book is not about Pluto, space or colors - but that article kick-started my imagination!

It's been a great process - brainstorming, outlining, developing characters and plot, revising, making revisions, editing, formatting, proofreading, designing the cover and publishing. 

I wrote this book because:

1. I have a God-given need to express myself though creativity.

2. Personally, I am always looking for Christian fiction to read.  I want to make a deliberate choice to fill my mind with certain things:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

From experience, I can say - the things I allow into my mind make a difference in my everyday life.  If I'm listening to Christian radio or reading Christian fiction - my life, my choices, my thoughts are more Christ-like. 

3. I want to use the gifts God has given me to glorify Him.

Writing a book ends up being a very personal endeavor and when you let other people enter the world you've created - it's nerve-wracking.  I sent it to my family last August and asked for any feedback.  Later that day, my sister Jordan wrote:
"I'm halfway though it!  It's so good!!  What an inspirational quest!!  You have to write sequels,  I love all the characters!!"
 (her response made me cry, in a good way)

Several times through the process, I got tired of writing and thinking and editing and I just quit for  a few months, but I wanted to finish!  (Just like last summer when I walked my first 5k - VERY slowly.  I had huge blisters on my feet and it was pretty excruciating, but I didn't want to stop or take a shortcut - I wanted to finish!)  So I pressed on with my book and it was VERY rewarding to get it finalized and see it on my Kindle.  If you're in the midst of a difficult creative project - I encourage you to press on! 

My book,  The Missing Part, is for sale on Amazon.com in eBook format.  If you decide to read it book, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Legend states that the Lacunan people were created with a missing part and each year, the tribe sends all Eleventh Years on a Quest to find the missing part.

Deep in the Amazon jungle, eleven year old Xander is set to begin The Quest, but Xander has more riding on The Quest than any other. The one who solves the quest opens the door to eternal life…and Xander’s father is dying.

Xander observes the awe-inspiring nature around him as he searches in vain for the missing part. He begins to wonder about the creator of the Earth and then has a miraculous encounter with the Creator.

Xander’s newfound faith is tested when he returns to the tribe to find a new Chief - one aligned with demonic forces.

The Missing Part culminates with a spiritual battle of epic proportions.

Q:  Can you still read the book if you don't have a Kindle?
A:  Yes!  Amazon offers a free Kindle app for most PCs and devices.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ribbon Turkey T-Shirt

As promised:

You've probably seen this cute Thanksgiving Turkey T-Shirt on Pinterest.  There is still time to make one - you probably have all the things you need in your craft stuff.  It's actually really easy to make! 

For this project you'll need:
1 sheet of brown felt
1 sheet of orange felt
2 small black buttons
brown thread
orange thread
black thread
ribbon - a variety of sizes and colors
sewing machine

First make a pattern for your turkey by tracing two circles, then cut out the pattern:
Cut out the turkey out of brown felt.  Then cut a tiny triangle of orange felt for the beak.  Use your needle and orange thread to sew the beak onto the turkey.  Use your needle and black thread to sew the two button eyes onto the turkey.
My mom, hand-sewing the beak!  Pretty nails, right?

Cut lengths of ribbon and position them, to see what works.  My ribbons were a tiny bit too long, because even after the turkey was sewn over them, they would flop over.  If that happens, you can fix the flop by using spray fabric glue.

Then pin each ribbon onto your t-shirt.  As you can see, my ribbon ended up off center - if possible, try to center your ribbon!
 Then sew the ribbon onto the t-shirt.
Then sew the turkey in the center, covering all the messy stitches.
This is what your finished t-shirt will look like!  Check back in after Thanksgiving to see a VERY cute toddler modeling the shirt!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gold Dipped Fall Leaves

When leaves start turning orange, yellow and red - they are so beautiful and I always want to hang onto the gorgeous fall colors.  I decided I would use the preserved leaves at each place setting at Thanksgiving dinner, so with that end in mind, I became obsessed with finding the perfect leaves.
For this project you'll need:
waxed paper
Mod Podge
foam brush
metallic gold spray paint
The first step in preservation is to iron the leaves between two sheets of waxed paper.

Wait a few minutes, then coat both sides with Mod Podge. 

Don't be nervous if they look like this - they will dry clear!
I collected the two leaves below at the same time and they looked about the same.  Nothing was done to preserve the leaf on the left, the leaf on the right was preserved with waxed paper and mod podge - amazing, right?!
Preserved leaves:
Gold dipped has been a trend this year (see below) and I chose that look for my family's Thanksgiving table.
I wanted to give the leaves a "gold dipped" look.  I used painter's tape and metallic gold spray paint to achieve the look.  After experimenting, I don't think the painter's tape is necessary.  Although well preserved, the leaves are still fragile and the tape needs to be pressed tight to really work.  I ended up just using a piece of copy paper, then spraying the uncovered part of the leaf.
My end result:

Have you done a DIY project following the gold dipped trend?  If so, I'd love to see it!



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