December 2010Occasionally Crafty: December 2010

Friday, December 31

An New Year

Wow- first, and now want to reward YOU, my readers, simply for reading my blog.  All this product review isn’t what I’m about- I’m not normally a “reviewer” on my blog- but I just can’t pass up the opportunity to pass some savings along to YOU!

I don’t shop online often, but when I do, is a great place to save money on quality items.   One of my favorite things was a pearl necklace I bought for my mom.   Real pearls for more than 50%  off!  Can’t beat that, right?  I also like to look for apparel there.  I can often find cute dresses or sweaters for a great price.  We are looking to buy some new things for our home, and you can be sure I’ll be checking out their Home Decor section.  I really need a new Area Rug!

If you are an online shopper, I hope you’ll try out  To get you started, they are providing you with 10% off any purchase.  It is good anytime, but can only be used once per email address. 

Before I provide you with the code, a little required business:  All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

There.  Now, simply use this code at checkout to receive 10% off:  121745

This code excludes movies, books, and electronics.  However, if you would like to purchase electronics, you can receive FREE SHIPPING (on electronics only) by using code 202234 at checkout. 

Share this with your friends if you want.  Also, this isn’t necessary, but it would be really, really nice if you asked them to stop by my blog!  :)  If you have any problems using the code, please let me know!

Have a happy New Year, from my family, to yours.

Thursday, December 30

Dollhouse Furniture

 This Christmas, we Santa got my 5 year old daughter a dollhouse.  We weren't planning on getting her a dollhouse.  However, there was a great pre-Black Friday deal on a child's dollhouse online at Amazon.  It was normally $150, and I got it for $39 plus free shipping!  I couldn't let that pass by.

Of course, then you have to fill it with furniture.  Did you know that doll house furniture, even the cheaper plastic stuff for kids, costs around $20-$40 per room?  We just didn't have that in the budget, too.   I found this set of wooden doll furniture at Michaels that showed some promise.  It sells under the name Creatology, but I also found it online going by Puzzled.  I found one in-depth review on it, and that was by a miniature-maker, so I couldn't really tell if it would be something good for my daughter.  Since this whole set

was only $5 at Michaels, I bought it and set out to put it together.  Here's my review in case you're thinking of buying it yourself:

First off, the pieces come in four wooden sheets.  The instructions tell you to punch out all the pieces first.  DON'T!  They are not labeled at all.  I found it easiest to follow by numbering the pictures of the wooden sheets in the provided diagram, then numbering the actual sheets so I knew which ones to use first.

Next, the pieces are labeled by which parts go together.  You work in ascending numerical order:  Find all the pieces that have a 1 and a 2, and slide them together.  It is meant to be a puzzle, and it surely is!  However, I only found a few pieces difficult to assemble.

A square of sandpaper is provided.  It's not much.

You might need more of your own- when you punch the pieces out it sometimes leaves jagged edges.  I dry-fit all my pieces to make sure I had the assembly right, then put them together again with wood glue to make it sturdy to last in a 5 year old's hands.

Finally, I stained or painted the pieces.

Now, her dollhouse is a 1:12 dollhouse.  The furniture is more for a 1:24 home (which Creatology also sells).  My daughter uses anything and everything in the dollhouse- but the furniture is about perfect for a Polly Pocket-sized doll (though her feet hang off the bed a little.)  It looks a little silly in the larger house, but she is young enough that it doesn't matter.  I plan on replacing it with nicer furniture over time.

With the pieces glued together, the furniture is sturdy.  It has some fun parts- like cabinet doors that open and a rocking horse for a baby.  There's even a toilet with a handle!  It took me about 4 hours to put together and another hour or so to stain them.  Not bad for $5!

Bottom line:  I recommend this product for cheap doll house furniture, if you are willing to invest a little time to make up for the money you'll save.

Note- I am not compensated nor have I been asked to do a review on this product.  I simply saw a need for more information about it, and wrote to fill that need.   This is my honest, unbiased opinion only.

She loves it!

Thursday, December 23 WINNER!

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway!  I know you're dying to find out if you are the winner, but first, a little business:

1.  Most of you left a separate comment for each entry, but not all of you did.  I went through the comments myself and gave you an entry for each thing you did, whether it was combined into one comment or not.  Any comments left with only contact information were not counted towards the giveaway.  Therefore, everyone got an entry for following, an entry for telling me what you would like to use the money for, and a bonus entry if you blogged about it.  Next time I'll make sure to explain how to comment better.  Sorry!

2.  The giveaway closed at midnight this morning/last night.  Any comments left after that time were ineligible.

Okay- now for the winner!

True Random Number Generator23

And who had comment #23?  

Kim on December 21, 2010 5:42 AM said...

I follow via GFC

kimben123(@)yahoo(dot)com and I would probably use it towards window treatments.

(this is an example how two entries were combined into one comment- so she had comment #22 and #23- get it?)  Okay, I'm really done with business now.

Congratulations Kim!  An email will be coming your way shortly with all the information you need to claim your gift code!

And thanks again to all of you for entering.  I hope you'll check back often for more fun crafts, discounts, and giveaways- hey, we're not that far from 300!

And to all who celebrate- a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20

We did it! And you get a GIVEAWAY!


Thanks so much to all of you for helping me reach 200 followers!  I'm having a lot of fun posting my projects- and I've got exciting plans for this blog in the new year.  I hope you'll stay with me- and tell a friend or two!

As a special gift to you, I am teaming up with my friends at CSN Stores to offer you the chance to win a $35 gift card to any of their 200+ stores.  Need some new luggage?  Check out Delsey luggage:

Delsey Helium Zip 3-Piece Luggage Set in Raspberry Red

Your kids didn't get enough toys for Christmas?  How about one of their cute Melissa and Doug wooden sets?

Or how about something for yourself?  I love the orange handles on this pot, found here:


From home decor to home fitness equipment- from babies and kids to pets- for you or for your family- pretty much has something for everyone!

If you want $35 to spend at their stores, here's what you have to do:
1.  Follow my blog (I'll check!)
2.  Visit and in the comments below, tell me what you'd spend your $35 on.  Make sure you leave a way for me to get ahold of you if you are the winner!
3.  For an extra entry, you can blog about the giveaway and send me the link.  Sorry, no facebook or twitter posts for this one.

That's it!  The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, December 22nd at 12:00 midnight, MST.  A winner will be chosen with, and I will announce the winner Thursday morning.  Consider it a Christmas present from us to one of you!  

Note: CSN only ships to the US and Canada and international shipping charges may occur in the event you ship your item to Canada.
Special thanks to CSN!

Saturday, December 18


I'm participating in some blog hops this week.  If you're visiting from one, please leave me a comment and I'll return the visit!  If I get to 200 followers this week I've got a great giveaway for you, so do us all a favor and hit that follow button!

Happy Hoppin'!

Wednesday, December 15

Felt Stockings

When we started our family, I wanted to make a stocking for each of my children.  The only problem was, I didn't know how to make one.  I didn't knit or crochet, and at the time I hadn't sewed in years. 

Then, one day online, I came across Bucilla's Felt Stocking Kits.  I immediately thought- "I can do that!"  Little did I knew that I would have to learn all sorts of embroidery and applique techniques!  Needless to say, it was a "learn-as-you-go" experience.  But my first one turned out so cute, I decided to stay with it.

This is not a paid advertisement for Bucilla.  I don't represent them, nor have I been asked to say anything about them.  This is simply my own experience with them.

Here is my oldest daughter's stocking. 

There is beading and sequining, and I had to learn running stitch, backstitch, blanket stitch, outline stitch, chain stitch, and applique stitch.

Not bad for a first try!

My middle child's stocking was a bit simpler, but still very cute.

Then, I chose one for my youngest, who was born in October of last year.  I tried to have it ready for his first Christmas, but it was just SO detailed, and he was SO demanding as a newborn, that I just gave up and put it away.  I broke it out again this fall, and spent hours and hours on it to get it ready for this Christmas.  Most of the work was sequin/beading.  It is very time-intensive- but really adds a pop to his stocking.

Look at some of the detail on this stocking.  This side of the box alone probably took me three hours to do. (Keep in mind, I have RA, so my hands don't work as well as I would like them to).

The top of this stocking is completely adorable- especially the jingle bells:

And I love these felt ornaments:

If you want to try one yourself, they are available at some craft or fabric stores, or online.  They take a lot of time, but really aren't that difficult.  All in all, I LOVE these stockings.  Right now my young children don't appreciate the time and effort (literally, blood, sweat, and tears) that went into making them, but I hope as they grow older, they will become a treasured keepsake.  

Wednesday, December 8

Ribbon Christmas Tree Shirt

I was browsing the jewelry at Charming Charlie's and happened upon a version of this design on a onesie.  I immediately thought "How cute!"  My second thought- "I could make that!"  So, I came home and gave it a try.  Here's how I made it.

1.  Start with a plain old t-shirt or onesie.

2.  Cut ribbons into 4 inch lengths and heat seal the ends.  I wanted three tiers, so I cut 3, 4, and 5 respectively for each layer.  Adjust for however many tiers and how full you want your tree.

3.  Starting at the center, fold your ribbons in half, place, and pin to your shirt.

2.  Sew across your ribbons to attach them to the shirt.  I have sewing....issues, so after messing up the top layer I opted to hand sew the rest of my ribbons on.  This required only a few stitches for each ribbon.  You could even glue them on.

4.  Fold the top layer back, and pin your next tier of ribbons on, and sew or glue.  Make sure to place the new layer so the tops will be covered by the previous tier.  Repeat for as many tiers as you creating.  Note- ribbons will have some movement and play unless you stitch them tight.

5. Tie a ribbon for the top and attach it to the shirt with a few small stitches.  Make sure to cover the stitches in your top tier of ribbon.

 5.  Voila!  You have a cute holiday shirt!  I'm thinking this would look really cute with a holiday tutu!

Linking up to some of these parties!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, December 1

Dollar Store Decorating

When it comes to holiday decor, I love the dollar store.  I went in armed with a creative eye and some inspiration from blogland.  Here's what I came up with:

This is the centerpiece of my sofa table.  I made the plaque at a Super Saturday Craft Day a few years back. Everything else (except the runner) is from the dollar store.

I filled this bowl from mini ornaments from the dollar spot at Target.  It's just the right amount of sparkle for me.

This is a Patriotic plastic star from the dollar store, covered in scrapbook paper that I Mod-Podged on, and tied with dollar store ribbon.  Thank you to Make It and Love It for the inspiration, found here.

Make it and Love It is also the inspiration for what might be my favorite Christmas decoration OF ALL TIME. 

 When I saw her version, found here, I fell in love.  She did hers right on the wall, surrounded by empty frames.  I chose to keep the glass in my frames that I got (at, of course, the dollar store) so I can reuse it again and again.  I did put the words right on the wall, though.  

And finally, though this is definitely NOT from the dollar store, here is a picture of our family tree.  Each year I give my children an ornament, so that when they grow up and move out, they will have their own collection to bring with them.  My mom did this with us, and I am continuing the tradition on with my kids.  So our tree is kind of a hodgepodge of decor- but that's just the way I like it.

So that's a start to my holiday decor.  Check out your local dollar store- you never know what you might find!