March 2013Occasionally Crafty: March 2013

Friday, March 29

Easter Specimen Art

Easter is just a few days away, and I hope you've enjoyed the decor we've come up for our homes this year. The last thing to add is the latest in my interchangeable specimen art-- Easter style.

I used my Silhouette to cut out some bunnies and even draw an outline on my purple paper of where the bunnies needed to go. That took away a lot of measuring and guesswork once it came time to put the bunnies on the paper. Add some fluffy tails and you've got yourself a cute display!

Hoppy Easter everyone!

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Wednesday, March 27

Pinewood Derby Treat

In the past few weeks boy scouts all across the country have participated in one of their favorite events of the year, the Pinewood Derby. My boys are still a little young for scouts, but someday we will join in the fun of making our own car and racing against the other boy scouts in their troop. 

A friend of mine was in charge of the treats for our local Pinewood Derby and I showed her the perfect baking mold I got in the mail from Wholeport.

We tossed around a few ideas and decided that since she wanted finger foods, that Jell-o jigglers, or Knox Blox would be the best way to feed some hungry young boys.

They were fun and easy to make, just a little time consuming since the mold only had 8 shapes and they take an hour to set. They were a big hit with they boys.

Thanks Wholeport!

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Monday, March 25

Come Listen To a Prophet's Voice Subway Art

In just a little less than two weeks, members of my church will come together in person, via satellite, and through many forms of media, to watch and listen to the leaders of our church, including the Prophet and President of our church as they speak to us.  This happens twice each year, and it is a special event each time.  (If you're curious, you can read more about General Conference here).
I designed a Subway Art printable to be used in conjunction with a scripture reading program we are doing in our church's Relief Society (which is an organization for the women of our church).
However, I think it would be great to display during the time leading up to and including General Conference.    Here it is:
You can download it here.
It also might be fun to put it with this sweet picture of our prophet, President Monson.

You can find this post here
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Friday, March 22

Thrifted Easter Decor

You've probably noticed a theme in my posts by now. I am cheap frugal. When you are a crafter, it can be a serious addiction! Having a wreath for every season, a decoration for every holiday and times in between can be expensive. So I do my best to stay in control and make amazing things inexpensively. 
I am definitely in lack of Easter decor so I took a trip to my local thrift store, which totally rocks, and perused through their Easter section, digging and looking for something I could turn into a great decoration. Boy did I find some awesome stuff! 
First was this wreath for $3. It was a great starting point with an awful ribbon which was EASY to fix!

Then I found this wooden bunny with fabric ears. Since the ears came out easily I felt like I could redo this and make it even cuter. I also found a tree and a new box to stick it in to hide the fading pastel basket.

So a brief explanation of what I decided to do with these elements. I removed the bunny's ears, sanded and painted it a dark grey. Then I searched through my stash of fabrics to find something easter-y, but a bit more modern for new ears. I settled on two complimenting fabrics and.... wait for it.... attempted to sew.

You guys, I am NOT a sewer. I made my pillow in 6th grade and that was it. I knew when I bought this bunny that sewing was going to have to happen. I dusted off my old Singer that I got at a garage sale, managed to fix the bobbin, and replicated the ears that already came with my bunny. I did that by tracing the old ears on to my two fabrics, and cut about a 1/4 inch around my lines to leave room for error. You can see I didn't cut them evenly. I placed right sides together and sewed around the ear, leaving a hole so i could reach in and turn it inside out. Thankfully nothing snagged or got stuck, so it was success on the first try. I turned it inside out and fed it through the hole in my bunny's head, creating two ears. I didn't even sew up the hole since it's mashed up inside his head, lol!  I'm SO proud of myself!

The last touch was to cover up the old basket that holds the wire tree. I stuck it inside the green box and shredded some grey cardstock in my paper shredder to create new grass. Then I threw a few dollar store eggs on my tree and it was done! I love how it came out!

My grand total for all of this (including the wreath) was $7. Seven dollars! You can't beat that.  Now head to your thrift store and see what you can create!
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Thursday, March 21

Do You Need New Glasses?

Did you know that Laura and I used to wear glasses?

It's true.  And what glasses they were.... think bottle lenses!  I can't find a picture of me wearing them (mom must have them all) but I have one of Laura.  Heh heh.  One advantage of being the older sister is being able to embarrass your younger sister!  

We use other means for our eyecare right now, but we're pretty sure we'll have to wear glasses again someday down the road.  And we know that many of you wear glasses, or have children that do.

So, even though this is a craft blog, we didn't hesitate to share this company with you, because we all would like to save money on eyeglasses, right? is a seller of quality prescription eyeglasses of all types-- even sunglasses!  They offer fast shipping, fabulous prices, and even a 30 day money back guarantee, so really, there's no risk to you!

And, they have this really fun tool to help you choose the perfect eyeglass frames.  

I uploaded my blog photo and tried on a bunch of different frames.  I tend towards the understated look, like these Juli frames
Or even the Lisbon frames.

But my husband thinks I should wear these red plastic frames.  I'm not sure I'd be brave enough for that- but I kind of like it!

What do you think? 
You can use it right now to see what glasses frames would look best on you.  Go ahead- try it out- we'll wait......

Did you find your perfect glasses?  When you're ready to order, take 10% off your order by entering the code Blog10 at checkout.  While you're there, make sure you check out their Sales and Coupons page for other promotions going on.  You can get some great deals here!

Let me know if you try them out- I know this can be a great resource for you and your family, and I'd love to know how your experience goes!

Have a great weekend- and we'll see you back here tomorrow for a great Easter post!

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Wednesday, March 20

A Camping Birthday Party

Before I share this post with you, I want to say something about parties:
 I love to plan parties for my kids.  But, you'll probably never find me featured on a party blog.  The reason?  I believe in keeping things on a limited budget, and in helping the kids have a great time vs. making the parents ooh and aah.  So you won't see any gorgeous dessert tables, or ten shops listed at the bottom where I shopped for supplies.  I did the whole party for under $100 (mostly food!) and you can too!
(I do love those beautiful parties.  It's just not something I could ever do.  And I'm okay with that.)
That being said, last week we put on a camping-themed party for my soon-to-be six year old!
The invitations went out:
The decorations went up (red balloons and streamers, red and white checked tablecloths, and green plates with red and white checked napkins.
Here's our welcome sign out front:
A banner I cut with my Silhouette:
The food table:
The tent, of course:
And we were ready to have a great time!
First, as the kids arrived, I had them decorate binoculars, which they later got to take home.
Then, we went on a nature-themed scavenger hunt.  When they filled up their bags with all the items, they got a little prize.
We did a fishing game next.  I attached magnets to wood dowels, then had them collect a fish from our "stream".  (Hey, this is the desert.)  The fish were different colors.  They took their colored fish over to the prize bags, which were color-coordinated to the fish, and got to pick a prize.  *sorry for the smiley faces- I didn't ask permission to show these kiddos on my blog, so you'll only see my kids' faces.

Then, everyone played in the tent and jumped on the trampoline for awhile.  Didn't you know there were trampolines in the great outdoors ;) ?
Then we did sleeping bag races.  I had the kids go two at a time and race the length of our lawn, hopping in their bags the whole way.  We did it tournament style- the winner of each race moved on to the next round until we finished with a final three.  The kids loved doing it and cheering for each other.
The last game we played was "Bear-Catcher", which is really just a camping version of "Duck, Duck, Goose!"  They all sat on their sleeping bags. I had the kids use animal names like squirrel, chipmunk, bird, etc, and then instead of goose, they would shout "Bear!" and run like mad.  Good times, good times....
After games and more trampoline-jumping, we ate dinner.  I kept it simple, since kids never eat much at parties.  We had hot dogs, chips, and fruit (grapes, strawberries, and pineapple).  
I served water only, with some cute labels on them.
After dinner, we opened presents.  I know a lot of times kids don't open presents at the parties anymore.  And I get it- I totally understand the reasons some parents choose not to do this at the party.   But our family will always open gifts for a few reasons:
1- The kids spend time picking out a present for the birthday child, and they want to see them open their gift!  It makes me sad when my son spends time picking out the perfect gift for his friend, and then you never know if they like it!  And a lot of times, we don't even get a thank-you card, so who knows if they even got it?
2- It is important that my children develop good manners, and opening presents teaches them to thank the person, and react appropriately to different gifts!  For example- one year he got the same bubble gun from three different people.  But we've taught him to say thank you and be polite, and he handled it just great.  These are important social skills to teach, in my opinion.
*climbs off soapbox*
The grand finale, and arguably biggest hit, was roasting S'mores.  We had a little firepit and some roasters, and the kids took turns roasting marshmallows and eating their S'mores.  
They didn't even want cupcakes, they were so full of marshmallow-y goodness!  But some did eat them, or took them home for later.  Good thing, because I thought they were pretty cute!
I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, then rolled the tops in crushed Oreos to look like dirt.  Then I topped them with camping-themed pictures.
Finally the party had to end, and we handed out goody bags.  I got some camouflage drawstring mini-bags from Oriental Trading, and filled them with mini-flashlights, small working compasses, glowstick necklaces, and a bag of S'mores mix made from Golden Grahams, mini-marshmallows, and chocolate chips.  They also took home their binoculars.

It was a great party- we had lots of fun and got everyone tired out for the night--including myself!
I'm linking this up to some of these parties this week.  Thanks for checking them out! 
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Monday, March 18

DIY Dry Shampoo: Making My Own Reader Request

Let's talk about hair. 
We all have it, and usually have a love/hate relationship with our hair, right? My hair would fall into the normal to oily category, because it starts out normal and as the day goes on, it gets oily! It was AWFUL in middle school and high school when the hormones were raging. I had my hair about chin length, and by lunch time the top half of my hair looked wet, it was that oily. Ugh. That's why my sophomore year i decided to be brave and chop all my hair off. I haven't gone back to long hair since.
Now that I'm older it doesn't get as oily as quick, but i have to wash it every day or it looks flat and gross. So when Sammi  gave me a suggestion for my next Making My Own recipe, I had to try it out. The recipe is for dry shampoo. I had never even heard of such a thing until now (you can tell how into beauty supplies and stuff i am!), and was intrigued by the concept. You mean, I can spray something on my hair, blow dry it and look like I've already showered without going through the whole process? Awesome! We've all had days that get away from us, or we just don't have time, but need to look nice.
So the exact measurements for the dry shampoo can be found here at One Good Thing by Jillee, but all you need is water, rubbing alcohol and cornstarch. Mix in a spray bottle, work it through your hair, blow dry and see your results.
I'll admit, I was skeptical, and a little bit scared to put this on my hair, but pictures speak a thousand words, and here's my before and after"
The before was what my hair looked like right after I woke up (sorry to make you look at that), and the after really speaks for itself. Same lighting, no photoshop tricks, just less oily hair! It even had a lot more volume than it usually does even when i use regular shampoo.
The verdict? It obviously works. In a pinch I would use this if my hair was super gross and i needed to go somewhere fast. The only con was that my hair felt weird (just thicker and a bit heavy), so i might end up touching it a lot and make my hair oily again, lol! Thanks Sammi for the challenge-- it was an awesome experience and quite the eye opener.
Any more requests for me?
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Friday, March 15

Stenciled Easter Sign

My house is kind of a hodgepodge of St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and general Spring decor.  Anyone else?  Everything is just so close together that I feel like it should all be out!
I saw this Easter wall hanging on Etsy a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be really cute to have this on a sign in my house somewhere.  So, I put my inspiration to work and came up with this Stenciled Easter Sign.
I love the sweet little bunny on top.  I love that it is "Easter-y" without being obnoxiously pastel and fluffy. The simplicity of the design fits my style perfectly.
Would you like one of your own?  It's really easy to make!
Materials needed:
12x12 wooden plaque  ($4.99 at Michael's, or even cheaper with a 40% off coupon!)
Adhesive Vinyl  (I used an 8x11 scrap)
Paint/paint supplies
Tweezers or something similar to remove the vinyl with
Okay- this is just a few simple steps.
1. I wanted my letters to be the color of the natural wood.  If you want yours white or something, then you must paint your board and let it dry before you put your vinyl on.  
I designed this shape by myself, simply using text, a bunny shape from the Silhouette store, and then welding them together.  I was going to offer you the file to download, but apparently I didn't save it.  :(
So, design and cut your vinyl, then weed away the negative space.
2.  Once your vinyl design is ready to be applied, use transfer tape or contact paper to adhere your design in the center of your wooden plaque.  Smooth vinyl down firmly to make sure all edges are "closed" and paint can't get through.
3.  Paint over the entire board, stencil and all.  I used two coats of Robin's Egg blue from Craftsmart. 
4.  Let it dry to the touch, then remove vinyl.  Continue to let dry for an hour or so.  Spray with clear coat sealer if desired.  (I pretty much never do this because I'm a lazy crafter.)
And now you have a cute little Easter sign to add to your decor!
I'm linking up to some parties this week- come join me!

* Thanks for the feature, ladies!*
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