January 2014Occasionally Crafty: January 2014

Thursday, January 30

Three Things Thursday #16- Three fast dinners!

My Three Fastest Dinners!
Life is life, and life is busy. Unfortunately we all still get hungry and even have others to feed. Both my sister and I teach piano lessons after school. This means there's not always a lot of prep time to get a complicated dinner ready. I often try to do things during the school day so I can just pop it in the oven or have little to do later, but let's be honest. As much as we want to think ahead, be prepared, etc etc, it just doesn't happen every day. On those days, I turn to one of these three meals that are quick, painless and yummy!

15 minute Chicken/Rice Dinner
  1. 1 ½ tsp oil
  2. 2 chicken breasts
  3. ½ can cream of chicken soup (click here to make your own soup!)
  4. ¾ C water
  5. 1/8 tsp paprika
  6. 1/8 tsp pepper
  7. 1 C uncooked instant rice
  8. 1 C broccoli

Heat oil in skillet. Cook chicken 10 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken. Add soup, water, paprika and pepper. Boil. Stir in rice and broccoli. Return chicken to pan. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes, until chicken is done.
Kielbasa Alfredo
  1. 10 oz of noodles (egg or rotini)
  2. 1 tsp butter
  3. 1 16oz package of kielbasa, sliced
  4. 1 16oz jar Alfredo Sauce
  5. S&P to taste
  6. 1 TBSP grated parmesan cheese

Cook noodles as directed. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced kielbasa, and fry until toasty at the edges. Drain excess grease and stir in Alfredo sauce. Stir in noodles and season with S&P. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. (an even faster version of this is to slice the kielbasa and boil it along with the noodle water, add noodles and cook until noodles are done. Add sauce and cheese)
  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. 1 pkg McCormick Spagetti mix (dry seasoning pouch)
  3. 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  4. 1 can of water
  5. Spagetti noodles
I can have this done in about 15 minutes. Start your water boiling for your noodles. Brown the beef while the water is getting ready to boil. Add noodles to water. Drain beef, add tomato sauce, water and seasoning to your beef. Stir and simmer on low until your noodles are done.

Dinner is served!
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Tuesday, January 28

Love Embroidery Hoop Art

Hey all!  You can find me over at A Pinch of Glitter today, where I'm sharing how to create this cute Love Embroidery Hoop Art.  Please go check it out and let me know what you think!

Have a great day!

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Monday, January 27

Simple Class Valentines

Now that my youngest is 4, it's a lot easier to help at class parties for my older kids.  I like to go and help them make their little crafts, or decorate cookies and whatnot.  It's really fun- unless your room mom is a bit of a control freak. 
Last year, we had a spring festival where each class had a booth.  Ours was a cake-walk, and we were supposed to bring cupcakes representing different countries (!)  I took the easy way out and did USA, with red, white, and blue cupcake wrappers, with white frosting and sprinkles.  I didn't make any fancy decorations because they were sent in the day before with my 2nd grader (meaning it had almost no chance of arriving in good shape!)

So, when I got to the booth to help out, I noticed the homeroom mom was not impressed with my cupcakes, and had added little flags to each of them to "spruce them up a bit".  

Aaandd, that's the last time I'll be donating cupcakes for that homeroom mom (who is our room mom again this year!)

Oh, craftiness.  I adore all the adorable homemade Valentine's that are all over the web each year. I admire the creativity of the bloggers, and I enviously think "Why didn't I think of that?"

Still, I've got to admit, since I tend towards the lazy crafting, most of those Valentine's don't have a chance in h-e- you know what of actually being made at this house.  That's because they are either take too much time, too much ink, or you have to find just the right little toy or candy to attach to them.

So, I designed my own super simple class Valentine's this year. My kids are CRAZY over silly straws and cool pencils.  I know, I know, that is so not original.  Hang in there a minute. 
I'm going to pick up a pack of silly straws and a pack of cool pencils, and I'm going to print out a bunch of these Simple Valentine's Day Flags, make my kids cut them out and address them, then glue them around the straws and pencils.  What could be easier than that?

I made you a free printable for the straws.  Download it here.

"Ex-STRAW" awesome.  Heh heh.  We're just that clever here.
I also made you one for the pencils.  Download it here.

All the sentiment, (more than) half the ink and paper.  Plus, it's candy-free, if that's important to you.  
Now you have more time to decorate insanely intricate cupcakes for your children's class parties.  Right?

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Friday, January 24

Chevron Stenciled Monogram

Wreaths, wreaths everywhere.  I've even done posts just spotlighting wreaths!  Sometimes, I just want something different to hang on my front door.  So, I decided to make myself a cute letter to hang up instead.

Long ago a pinned a chevron letter on Pinterest, but I can't find it, or maybe I just liked it but didn't pin.  Anyway- it was time to finally make what I've been coveting.  So I picked up my supplies at Michaels- and if you want to make one, you'll need them too.  Here is your supply list:
Wooden or MDF letter
Vinyl/Transfer Tape  (or contact paper)
Paint/ Paintbrush
Fine Sandpaper
Wide Wired Ribbon
Staple Gun or Glue for Hanger
***Note***  If you don't have a craft cutter but still want a Chevron design, I have heard that there is Chevron painter's tape out there, or you could buy a Chevron stencil.  ***
First things first- I fired up my Cameo, took a chevron border, and sized it/ replicated it to make a whole sheet of chevron vinyl.

 I did keep the lines I weeded out, as my letter was slightly taller than the 12x12 sheet I cut.  Oops.

I prepared my letter by painting it the base coat, or the color I wanted the area under the red vinyl to be.
Make sure you let this completely dry!  I'll show you why in a minute.

When it is dry, I applied the vinyl using transfer tape, then cut it down as close to the letter as possible.

You'll notice I had to add two extra zig zags at the bottom.  Don't do what I did- just cut a longer sheet of vinyl from the beginning.

I removed the  transfer tape and made sure the vinyl was firmly attached to the letter.

This next step is super important for clear, clean lines.  I painted over the edges of the vinyl (or stencil) in the base coat that I already used.  That way, if anything was going to bleed under your stencil, it would be the base coat.

Now I was ready to paint my second color in between the vinyl stencil.  Start lightly- it's better to do a few light coats rather than one heavy coat.

I let the paint dry, then peeled up the vinyl I used as a stencil.  Then, I wanted to cry!

Now you'll see why it was so important to let your base coat dry.  I thought I did, but obviously I didn't!  When I pulled up my vinyl, half of my base coat came up with it!  

If this happens, you've got twp options.  1- Chuck it in the trash and start again or 2- Get out a small brush and carefully paint in the most noticeable parts.   Please give #2 a try before you do #1!  

I decided to paint in all the big gaps where paint was missing, but I kept a lot of the smaller "scratches", since I was planning on age-ing it a little with sandpaper anyway.  

Go over the whole thing with sandpaper and, if desired, a clear coat of sealer.

Attach a hanger by tying wired ribbon in a triple bow, or whatever kind of bow you desire.  I attached mine to the back of my letter with a staple gun, but you could use a strong glue as well.  Just let it dry before you hang it!

And now you have a cute letter to hang on your door!

What's on your front door?

P.S.  I'm linking up at some of these fabulous parties this week.  Come check them out with me! 
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Tuesday, January 21

Spicing up my craft room- Vinyl Matryoshka Dolls!

Even though the work space in my craft room is awesome, I haven't done much else to make it mine! Sometimes you have to get a little creative with your work space so you can love it even more and want to come in there and create more!
I have a love of Matryoshka Dolls, AKA Russian stacking dolls. I've been fortunate to receive a few beautiful sets from good friends throughout the years. I always keep an eye out in the antique stores and even look for seasonal themed ones. I display my actual dolls down in our living room, but when I saw an adorable stacking doll image on the Silhouette store, I had to get it and incorporate it into my room.
I decided to make them about 12" tall and put them above my window!
It took a lot of layering of vinyl, but I just love how they turned out!

Also, I mentioned in my last Three Things Thursday post that I was going to start some subway art on the walls of my craft room. I was too overwhelmed at the idea of doing it all at once, so I decided to add a little bit at a time and choose the words based on the crafts I had recently been doing! This makes it personal and more meaningful for me, instead of putting words up that just fill up space. Here's what I have so far!

It will be fun, colorful, and a great addition to the room the more I add to it!

What things have you done to spice up your favorite rooms in your home?

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Thursday, January 16

Three Things Thursday: Workout Music

I've got to admit- I hardly own any current music.  I still listen to the radio, which probably makes me old-fashioned.  I do stream music to my iPhone when I'm on the go, though.  I usually use Pandora.  
When I excercise, I use the Pop Fitness playlist.  Sometimes it gives me really weird, random, songs.  But there are some great songs on there that I enjoy enough to add it to my personal, purchased music.  So here are
  Three Workout Songs to add to your Fitness Playlist.
1.  Wake Me Up: Avicii (with uncredited singer Aloe Blacc).  
This is Swedish "house" music- think clubs, parties, Dj's, etc.  It's a little mellow at the beginning but once the beat comes in, this song doesn't stop.  It's the perfect speed for a fast walk or a workout on equipment (I use an elliptical most of the time).
2.  More: Usher
This song really makes me want to work hard.  It's got a fast driving beat and of course the lyrics spur you on with motivation.  I think this was used for an NBA All-Star Game.  2010?  So- yeah- I feel like an All-Star.  Or something.
3.  Counting Stars:  OneRepublic
This song makes me want to clap along, or dance, or something.  It's seriously infectious, and it definitely has a great beat to keep you moving.  
I'd also like to add that I don't get music videos.  At. All.   
So, what do you listen to when you work out?  What should I add to my playlist?
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Tuesday, January 14

Vinyl Car Decal- Music Stick Family!

I have to begin this post by saying, this was all my husband's idea. AND it's an idea he told me about a long time ago that I'm just now finally getting around to doing! He wanted a creative stick figure family that reflected our family a little better, and since we're big music nerds he challenged me to find a way to make a musical stick family!

Almost all of my shapes came from the silhouette store, but I had to get creative when turning regular notes into people. Splicing and merging shapes were the techniques I used to make it work. 

To splice, select the splicing tool on the left hand side of your screen. This literally cuts your image into separate cuttable pieces, using straight lines only. Since I wanted the hair from a different shape, I spliced it off, put it on top of my note and merged the two shapes together. Voila! Hairy musical notes! Once you get used to how this tool works, you'll find yourself using it all the time to edit your shapes!

So after a whole lot of splicing and merging from a myriad of different shapes from my library, my musical family was ready to cut out! Nothing too tricky here, other than putting a square of white vinyl behind the eyes and mouth to make sure they didn't get lost in the color of the car.

My husband loves how it turned out, and I love that he inspires me to craft things too! My favorite is the eighth note puppy! :)

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Thursday, January 9

Three Things Thursday #15

Three CRAFTS/PROJECTS I want to complete this year!

Last year was the first full year in our new home. I made a lot of wreaths and specimen art for each season that helped fill my home with holiday cheer. But now that those are done, I'm not going to reinvent each wreath (unless there's one i see that I just HAVE to make)! It's time to start giving my home some style. We can't afford to do everything  I'd like to do, but picking three to get done over the course of 2014 sounds like a plan to me!

1. Window Treatments for our Living Room
Remember when I shared a few pinspirations for window treatments? We were all ready to get started on this when my son transferred schools and used my window treatment money on his school fee. Then my hubby left for awhile and I decided not to tackle this one on my own. I don't think I could lift the valances all by myself. BUT I really want to finish it this year and help pull our living room together into one space!

2. Front Door Coat Hangers/Backpack Hangers (and Laundry room too!)
We have a kind of useless coat closet right when you enter the front door. It's not convenient for guests to use and out of the way and sight for us to use properly. If we take out our hand rail, it could be a good place for the kids to put their backpacks and coats when they come inside. Our other gathering place for coats and stuff is in the laundry room, which is right off the garage door. I don't think we're using the space effectively, so it'd be great to turn it into almost a mudroom, but still a laundry room!

3. My Craft Room
A lot of people joke with me that I'm so crafty, but my house is barely decorated, especially my craft room. But hey, at least I have a craft room, right? It is a very usable space that has served me well since moving here. But now it's time to make it mine. I have an awesome idea to personalize the space using my crafty skills. I'm going to have an ongoing subway art creation in my craft room. Whenever I craft something, I'm going to also create a vinyl word that represents that craft to cut out and put on the wall of my craft room, subway art style. It's like journaling with vinyl! Every few weeks I'll update you with how it looks! By the time it's filled up it will be a great addition to my craft room. I'm so excited!

Have any projects you've been wanting to get done? Share them with us!

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Tuesday, January 7

Valentine's Day Free Printable!

I'm a little surprised at myself.  I actually completed something for Valentine's Day in January!  Usually I am scrambling at the last minute before holidays to get my decor projects done.  I still have two Christmas projects that I didn't get to sitting in a box.  Boo.  Not this time, though-- I made a sweet little Valentine's day printable for you!

I've made it in a few different color schemes so it goes with your decor.  You can print up to  an 8x10.  Simply choose the one you want, click to open the image in a new tab, then right-click and choose "Save As" to download it to your computer.  

I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day decor, but I do like to put up a few things, and this will certainly be one of them!  

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Monday, January 6

Winter Specimen Art

All good things must come to an end. This Winter specimen art completes my year long collection! I love having just a little something for each season, and it has allowed me to be creative with my paper crafting! Here's a year in review and a look the last in the collection. 

Hope you have enjoyed seeing them all year!

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