Saturday, November 27, 2010

Crafty Tattoo

So exactly three weeks ago today, I got... first tattoo!

It took me awhile (umm...about a decade) to decide on both which part of my body and which image I wanted. And I finally came up with the one that is just perfect for me.


I got my tattoo at Beloved Studios, and if you are near the Twin Cities at all, I highly recommend it. I couldn't have had a better experience, and my tattoo artist was incredible. She was patient, accommodating, and she put me at ease right away.

I came in with my design drawn up and in the size I wanted, and she helped me tweak it a little to make it turn out well as a tattoo.


I knew I wanted an image that would always mean something to me, so I chose Minnesota...'embroidered' on me! It was a way to combine a love for my state with a love for all things crafty.

After (red and bandaged!)


I love this tattoo! It makes me so, so happy every time I look at it.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful that I get to spend today with good friends and family. And for a four-day weekend!

Read about how I made my turkey pin right here.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, if you're celebrating!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dresser Makeover

This is not a recent project; I've been meaning to share it with you for a long time. I began this project over two years ago, in fact. It all started when I saw this dresser put out for free on the side of the road:

My eyes were initially drawn to it by the bright blue color. On closer inspection, it was spray painted on cheap wood, and chipping badly. But I had recently seen a tutorial I wanted to try, I was in need of a dresser, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

[A note on the tutorial - I'm sure I bookmarked it, but I can't find it anywhere. When I googled it to see if I could find the one I used, so many tutorials came up. If I manage to find the one that inspired this project, I'll edit this post. Otherwise, just google 'furniture mod podge tutorial' (or something along those lines) and you'll see lots of different ways this has been used. And I mean lots.]

The first thing that I did was prime everything with Kilz, inside and out. Then the dresser got coats of white paint. I got that far, and then summer ended and teaching began, and everything sat in my garage for a year.

The next summer, I pulled everything out again and finished the coats of paint on the drawers. [Don't ask me why I waited that long - I could have easily finished this in one weekend. But you know how it goes...I guess we all have WIPs going, this was just an especially large one to store!]

To decorate the drawers, I set each one on the fabric I had chosen, and traced it.

Then I cut the fabric out. I put mod podge on the drawers, set the fabric on, and then mod podged (yes, it's a verb) over the top of the fabric.

Here's a close-up shot of the fabric I used:

Once the mod podge had dried, I used a drill to add drawer pulls (from Target):

And Ta-Dah!!!

A brand new, beautiful dresser for my closet. I've been using it for over a year now, and I still love, love, love it!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Yesterday morning I woke up to this sight outside my window:

The first snow of the season!

It was absolutely beautiful. I had a very good friend in town visiting for the weekend, and the snow made our Saturday plans rather exciting!

Love the one lone fall leaf left on the tree...

Last weekend, I made Italian Sausage Soup, courtesy of Alicia over at Posie Gets Cozy.

As soon as I read the recipe, I knew I had to make it!

The snow this weekend makes me want to cook up another batch already. It was so good! I see this being made many more times this winter.

Even more cozy goodness from Alicia:

My Walk in the Woods ornament kit arrived in the mail! I've noticed a lot of you have also gotten your own ornament kit, and I've even seen some finished ornaments out there already. I have to say, I'm impressed! With all the presents for other people that I need to work on, I'm thinking my ornaments will have to wait until after Christmas...

This kit is just one of many things that have been arriving in the mail recently. I can't wait to show you more! Most are things that I've ordered, but a few are things that I've won (!!).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Canning!

In early October, my friend M and I got together to do some more canning (she and I made the salsa together, too).

This time, we made dilly beans! Again, we got our canning recipe from this book. We ended up with 10 pints. I haven't opened one up yet, so I don't know how they turned out, but if they're anything like the other recipes from this book they're going to be delicious!

Then last weekend, my friend A and I got together to make raspberry jam. We made it together last year, as well. We both have raspberry bushes in our yards, so we pick over the summer and freeze a bunch of the raspberries.

Then we can make our jam in one big batch, instead of a bunch of small ones during the summer.

We ended up with 46 half-pints! Yum!

Last year, I decorated most of my jars of jam to give as gifts:

A and I will be getting together again soon to package our jam up for this year!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Handmade Wrapping Paper

It's about that time of year when I'm hearing some of you whisper the 'C' word on your blogs. And really, there's nothing wrong with that! It's a little disconcerting to see how early holiday things get put up in stores, but when you're making it yourself you gotta start early! So, I'm writing the first of my - I'm just gonna go for it - CHRISTMAS posts for the season. Although there's some non-Christmasy stuff in there at the end, too, so bear with me.

Finished presents under the tree.

A few years ago I stopped buying wrapping paper. The main reason was that it seemed wasteful, since you can't even recycle it. So I bought a huge roll of butcher block paper (I got mine here). And when I say huge, I mean I will probably never have to buy another one in my lifetime. So if the cost upfront seems a lot, just think about what it ends up being per package... (umm, the answer would be 'next to nothing').

Wrapping in progress.

Since I was only going to get one roll, I went for white, which seemed as though it would be the most versatile. And it really is! Some of the packages I leave white, and on some I stamp the paper. But for all of them, I add pretty ribbons and other 'extras':

A cardstock tree silhouette, using a cookie cutter to trace the outline (see image above mid-process).

A (fake, obviously) poinsettia.

Stamped snowflake paper with a silver, snowy ornament.

I have a tag-shaped paper punch, so to each of my gifts I add a tag with a tiny stamp that goes well with the wrapping, and then write the 'To/From' on the back.

An added bonus to wrapping gifts this way (which I should have realized would be the case, but I hadn't actually thought about it) was that all of a sudden, the whole gift became the gift. If that makes sense. I have always put a lot of thought into the gifts I give, and as much as possible I like to make them myself (or buy someone else's handmade work!). And now, with my new way of wrapping, the outside of the box fits so well with what is in it. I started getting extra creative with the way I would wrap gifts - for example, at Christmas time I would add little ornaments that could be taken off the package and hung on the tree. Sometimes I attach things to the gift that hint at what is under that wrapping paper.

A gift with an ornament.

A note about the fake flowers - I actually hate fake flowers. If I'm going to have flowers in my house, I'd like the real thing, thankyouverymuch. (Though if you like fake flowers, please don't take offense - I get the appeal, as you don't have to keep replacing them and it doesn't matter if you have a green thumb, etc). However, once I started wrapping presents this way, I saw a use for fake flowers. I started buying them after each holiday or season. That way, I could get them really cheaply, and use them the next time that season rolled around. In my craft room closet I have several vases filled with fake flowers - a vase for each season, in fact!

Another thing I like to do is buy ornaments in the after-Christmas sales, and use them the following year. That way, it really doesn't add much to the overall cost of the wrapping, but it sure packs a great visual punch!

More Christmas ornaments.

Stamped tree paper, with a gold star on the top of each tree (and a ribbon and an ornament to match!).

More presents under the tree...

Candy cane stamps with a matching tag and peppermint candy ornaments (it'd be fun to add real peppermint candies or a candy cane to this, as well - a new idea for this year!!).

Snowflake stamps with a white ribbon.

All the ribbons I use are reusable (and in many cases, are being reused) to add to the overall 'thriftiness' of the whole thing.

Tiny packages with candy cane and holly stamps.

More snowflakes and candy canes...

Are you getting sick of seeing presents under the tree?! Well, luckily I've got something else for you now (yes, you may breathe a sigh of relief at this point. That was an awful lot of Christmas this early in November).

Do you remember my Valentine's wrapping paper, from this post? Just white paper and pipe cleaner hearts, but I love how they turned out!

My mom has a spring birthday, so here are her presents from one year:

White paper on two of them, green tissue paper for one, and spring flowers for all!

And speaking of birthdays, last year I made clock wrapping paper for 24 presents, one for each hour of the day. Each present was wrapped in white paper with a white ribbon (and some were 'coupons' I'd created on white cardstock). For each one, I drew a clock face on the paper (or cardstock) with the hands pointing the hour of the day the present was for:

Very simple, but I think they look good together!

There's another wrapping paper option you can do with this wonderful paper if you have kids (or if you can borrow some, as I did):

Have the kiddos draw pictures on the paper, and then wrap gifts for your family in it (or their family, if they're not yours!). They'll want to keep the paper, as well as the gift!

Handprints are fun to make, too!

(So much fun, you'll probably want to make some yourself...)

I used this wrapping paper to wrap some gifts for a new momma and her baby.

So yeah, that was an awful lot of talkin' and photos. But I hope that this might give you some ideas for the upcoming holiday season (and beyond!).