Category Archives: Crafts

DIY Kitchen Curtains

I made curtains this weekend! Quite proud of myself, actually. Since I painted my kitchen months and months ago, my windows have been naked, and needing some pizzazz! So my mother-in-law helped me find some pretty fabric- at WALMART no less. Now just for the record, I shop at Walmart for a lot of things, but I was a little surprised and excited I found such good quality and cute canvas fabric there!
So here’s how I did it:
***first wash and iron your fabric so you start with it fresh and unwrinkled***

First, I laid the fabric out on the ground and used the curtain rods to measure how long and wide I wanted them to be.
Then I doubled the fabric over, so that the curtains would end up being double sided and also have a little volume, and I cut it and set it aside.

Because I used two pieces/styles of fabric (one for the curtain rod to pass through) and one larger section for the bottom portion, I cut a 7″ piece of the ‘curtain rod’ part that was the same width as the bottom portion.

Now for the sewing, this is actually the easy part, since you only sew five straight lines!
With this pattern, I basically made a loop of fabric with a seam sewn near the top for the rod to go through.
So, begin by folding and pinning the sides just a half inch or so and hemming the sides to create a finished look.
Then, I took the top edge of the bigger section of fabric and laid it pattern side up. After that I matched up the smaller section of fabric and laid it on top of the larger portion- patterned side to patterned side. I sewed the edges together in one straight seam, and did that one more time to the other side of the two pieces, creating that continuous circle of fabric.


Then, I laid the curtains out how I wanted them to look when they would be hanging from the rod, and matched up the front seam to the one on the back, and sewed right over that seam (on my curtains, its the seam where the fabric changes) to make the loop that the rod goes through.



Since I chose to use two fabrics, that complicated this a little- so if you decide to make your own curtains, know that you can do so by using one piece of fabric and sewing four straight lines 🙂
For the windows I decorated, I had two curtains to make, so I merely followed these directions two times to make two small curtains!
It took less than an hour, minus washing time 🙂
And now my windows are no longer naked!


Now, if I could only get Jasper to help me fold my laundry instead of using it as a bed….



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Filed under Crafts, Pets, Style

Virtual Coffee Date


Good morning! It feels like ages since I (~M~) have posted anything… and I have a good reason! Our internet has been down all week and after much ado, we have finally figured out the problem and are back in full swing. What a headache! Honestly, I have so much respect for people who understand technical computer-y things, because it is a Pandora’s box to me. Example:

“I’m calling because our Internet has been down the past few days and we are not sure why…”

“Ok, we can help with that. Can you check to make sure all the cables are plugged into your router?”

“Sure!…. Um… which one is the router?”


Yup. No hope for me. Anyways, 8 phone calls, 1 trip to the Internet store, and an hour and a half of reconfiguring our network later, we are back in business!!

Seeing as it’s been a while… I was thinking to myself- when I haven’t seen a friend in a while and we need to catch up, I usually suggest a coffee date! So, why not have ourselves a little virtual coffee date? Grab a mug of joe and let’s catch up!


If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that I have spent the past few days thoroughly enjoying a new little hobby I’ve started! I’ve been working less lately and been trying to stay as busy as possibly to take my attention away from just waiting for this baby to be ready to come out. I found this tutorial on Pinterest for how to make boutique style burp cloths and it is SO fun! I can’t wait to send some out to some unsuspecting pregnant ladies I know- hopefully they like them as much as I do!


If we were having coffee this morning, I’d also be treating myself to a fully caffeinated coffee drink. Because it’s a special occasion. I’d also tell you that I FINALLY got frozen yogurt yesterday!!! And a pedicure. It was a special occasion- hanging out with one of my dear friends who is also pregnant!!


I’d also be excited to tell you that our nursery is pretty much finished!! It was such a fun project and we are just missing one vital piece now…. our baby. I just love how the room turned out- the walls are neutral, and we have pops of color everywhere that are just happy! My favorite thing about the room so far is the chair… I may or may not spend a little of each morning reading my devotions in that huge overstuffed chair.




If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you about a new challenge I’m setting for myself. It’s driving me a little bonkers to not be working as much, since I’m used to contributing to our finances and being busy. Now that I’m not bringing in as much financially, I want to make some changes and be as frugal as possible! I always loved the idea of Dave Ramsey’s envelope budgeting system, but never really cracked down and challenged myself to adhere to it. Katy, the adorable gal you see in the froyo pic, said she’s doing it and loves it!  So, here goes- i think my biggest challenge will be in the grocery department. I am the number one offender at picking up 10 different food items when I only needed one. Hopefully this works! How do you guys budget?

Well, my coffee is almost cold now. Time for a second cup!



Filed under Baby, Coffee, Crafts

Sharpies in the Washing Machine…

My job (coffeehouse) requires that I have at least one sharpie on my person at all times. My other job (drycleaners) requires that I check all pockets of clothing before cleaning.

So, when I’m doing laundry at home you’d think I would be extra smart and check my pockets for sharpies before putting stuff in the washing machine. You’d think.

You can see where this story is going.

I ruined one of my favorite shirts that I’ve had since before I got married- three years ago! Which, aside from long-term attachment, means it’s no longer in stores.

And it was so cute 😦

I love the color and fit and style!

I love the color and fit and style!

These ugly little marks are ALL OVER

These ugly little marks are ALL OVER


After wallowing in self pity and frustration with myself, I decided this was not over. In the deep recesses of my bathroom cupboard, I found two bottles of RIT dye, less than $4 a bottle, one was blue and one black.

I loosely followed the directions using the sink method, I used about 1 gallon of hot water to about 1/3 of the blue bottle 1/4 of the black and stirred constantly for 20 minutes. Then I rinsed it until the water ran clear and washed it alone and dried it on the delicate cycle.



I’m serious, I was not expecting this to work. I love that the sequins stayed pink and that every single sharpie mark is no longer visible! The shade of purple is not like anything I have in my closet, so it’s kind of like I’m stepping outside of my usual ‘color box’ with this ‘brand-new’ three year old shirt.

So, if you ever have a little mishap like mine, try the dye method instead of spending big bucks on the same exact thing! Totally opens up new doors for older items that have faded too 🙂



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Filed under Color, Crafts, Style

Bringing a New Name to ‘Picture Frame’

I’ve wanted to try out this craft for quite a while now, and I finally found a few (literally, a few) minutes to throw it together! I love how clean and polished this ended up looking, and for just a few bucks.

Hardest part: Finding a window frame.

Easiest part: Everything else.

Total crafting time: 15 minutes.

I say that finding the frame is the hardest part because I’ve been looking for a frame for weeks. Months, rather. And finally, on a random trip to IKEA, I found a frame buried in the very bottom of the clearance corner under cabinet parts with the glass still in tact! You gotta persevere, people. I knew what I wanted, and I searched high and low until I found a frame I liked.

Love the white frame.

This one happens to be a cabinet door frame that had built-in nail holes already so it was a win-win. Or win-win-win-win-win considering all the other ‘perfect stuff’ I found there. I’m not sure yet if IKEA is a blessing or a curse. But seriously- 78 cent kitchen towels? In a cute pattern that matches my kitchen? How do you not stock up? I ask you.

So the picture/window frame. I chose a P (on flickr, thank you toofarnorth!) for our last name, and I wanted to do the whole ‘Established January 2, 2010 so I messed around with fonts and styles and came up with this.

Letter, Wordage, and roll-y cutt-y thing making a reappearance

I decided to do the ‘est. 01.02.10’ part with some textured paper…

A little weave texture for the backing

And a little linen texture for the top piece to print the words on

(I have a 1/2 bag of mixed paper scraps from Flax, a craft store in San Francisco.)

Mod Podge is awesome.

Before permanentizing (not a word, I know) everything, I arranged everything the way I wanted it and made little marks with a dry erase marker so it was even.

So then I Mod-Podged (hereafter referred to as MP) the ‘word’ paper onto the darker paper and MP that right onto the glass. Now, for other projects in the past I do suggest MP over top of everything, but in this case (working on glass) I advise not Mod-Podging over everything. Just MP the backside but don’t worry if you can see it. It’s easy to get off, and I have a method at the end that gets all the excess MP off. So, I covered the backsides of everything with MP all the way to the edges, and smoothed it onto the glass.

Now, the trick to getting most gunky stuff off of glass:

A gift card or credit card of some sort and a little glass cleaner of your choice.

Voila! Clean glass!

So cute!

I love how a craft like this matches pretty much whatever room you choose to put it in! I made a conscious choice to use neutral colors so that it’s movable into any room in the house.

Seriously, 15 minutes. And it’s a great gift idea also! Mix it up, using photos, artwork, postcards, recipes…..really, the ideas are endless 🙂


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Canvas Photo Transfer










You guys!! I did a CRAFT!! Maybe I should start with- this is Monica writing… I did a CRAFT!! (cue the audience *gasp*!!)

Forgive me all the blurry night-time pictures, but to be honest, I wasn’t really thinking this would turn out. It actually turned out alright for my first effort! My dear sister, K, convinced me to try a craft and see how it went. I promised her that I would accept the challenge only if she agreed to 1.) give me specific instructions, and  2.) make it do-able and affordable for a first-time crafter.

This project totally met all that criteria- it was fun, relatively simple, and surprisingly cheap. It is called a ‘Canvas Photo Transfer’. Sounds pretty tough huh? I know. When Katie suggested this for my first craft, I burst out laughing. “I don’t think you understand what I mean by ‘do-able’ , K.” She assured me that it was easy and I’d be thrilled with the results, so she emailed me the instructions and told me to get going.

And I got going! What is a photo transfer? It is simply printing out a picture you love (enter: my adorable niece, Michaela) onto one sheet of tissue paper, and mod-podging it onto a canvas! The result is a canvas photo that looks like you paid to have it professionally printed. It costs around $10, and takes about a half hour. Unless your printer eats 7 sheets of your tissue paper before deciding to work. Then it takes a little bit longer and a little lot more patience.









Here’s what you’ll need!

Mod-Podge ( I bought a big bottle for $7, but you can buy smaller ones) ((another side note- Target does not carry this, you’ll have to hit Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby!))

1 canvas, same size as the picture you want to print

white tissue paper (the standard gift-wrapping stuff)

foam brush (K used her fingers, but I opted for these since I’m a newb)



Start by taking your scissors and cutting out a single piece of tissue paper about the size of a regular piece of printer paper. I chose to do a 8×10 photo, so I bought a 8×10 canvas to match.

The trickiest part of this whole project is getting the printer to cooperate with you. It took me 7-10 tries to finally get a decent print-out on tissue paper- my sister suggested taping it to regular paper, but I couldn’t get that to work, as you can see.

my poor niece! I debated even putting this picture up, I felt so bad how it turned out!

take 2- still too wrinkly and ink spots where it caught… I’ll get it soon, Michaela!!

There we go… after many tries, I was happy with this one, even if it wasn’t perfect.























So, what I ended up doing was taking a loooong piece of tape and enforcing the top part of the tissue paper that feeds into the printer. I found that it went in smoothly after that. It’s hard to see, but I tried to get a picture for you:

see the clear tape of the top of the page?










After you have cleaned out scraps of tissue paper several times from your printer (ahem) and finally have a good picture smiling back at you, its time for the fun part!

Grab your canvas, foam brush, and mod podge. Set your tissue picture aside, and apply a thin layer of mod-podge directly to the canvas. Try to keep it pretty evenly distributed and work quickly so that it doesn’t dry unevenly. As soon as you have finished, take the tissue picture and make sure you center it as you apply it to the canvas. Don’t worry if there are extra flaps on the edge- we’ll take care of those later. Try to smooth out the wrinkles a bit, but be careful! You only have a few tries before it will start tearing!










Once you have it centered and laying how you want it, apply another light layer of mod-podge on top of the tissue picture and gently but firmly work those creases out. Again, be careful because it tears easily. But, as K said, if it does tear, no big deal. Push it back where it’s supposed to be and rub it back in! You’re in charge of that canvas!!!! 🙂

Then, I just took a sharp knife and trimmed away the extra paper and mod-podged the sides down onto the canvas. Then let it dry!

Aaaand WAH-LAH! Congratulations, you’re an artist!! Just kidding, but seriously, you kind of feel like one!

I will definitely be doing this again, it could be a great gift idea, or just decoration for your own home at a fraction of the cost of what it would normally be.

Give it a try! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

Thanks, K!



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Peacock Sunburst Canvas

So last time M and I went into a craft store together, she talked me into buying this pack of Handmade Indian peacock paper just cuz it was pretty. So of course, I did.

I just love all the pretty colors….

I’ve been seeing all these cute ideas on Pinterest for crafts and I’ve totally been getting carried away with hoarding the craft supplies that I buy for them- supposedly saving them for ‘the perfect project’. I think I realized it when M came over to put stuff together for her sister-in-law’s baby shower. She would ask if I had glue and I’d bring out four different kinds. She’d ask for some scrapbook paper and receive a blank stare. ‘Please specify,’ I’d reply, ‘What color? Size? Theme?’. That was when I came to terms with the fact that I have a mini-craft store in my spare bedroom. (I was a little proud of my collection, not gonna lie. I like having options.) So now I have decided to craft for a bit with what I have already.  No more trips to the store. (Glue does not count. But since I have several bottles, I don’t think that will be an issue.)


So for this craft, I was inspired by a Pinterest find using canvas, paint, and scrapbook paper.

Aren’t the colors gorgeous!?









I painted over a canvas I had done awhile ago, just cuz I was sick of it and I really wanted to do this specific project on a larger scale.

I did like the blues…..but this baby needed to be grey. 😦









Then I used my peacock paper and cut leaf shapes out. I saved the scraps- I’m sure I’ll need them for something eventually. 🙂

I have no idea what the real name for that cutting device is, so I call it my ‘roll-y cutty thing‘. It’s truly wonderful. No wrist-soreness even after cutting about a hundred little leaf shapes. It is quite sharp too-  it can cut easily through poster board and fabric! I highly recommend it. I got it on sale at Joann’s. Apparently, it’s called a rotary cutter. I like my name better.

I wanted a sunburst look, so I cut a circle for the leaves to center around and started gluing!

I did sneak in a little piece of lace behind the center circle….just cuz I had some 🙂











The placement and gluing took some time. I spaced them out more the farther they got from the circle (which, you can’t tell here, is located in the bottom left of the canvas).








I like to utilize the sides of my canvases. I don’t frame anything, so the sides need to be part of the art 🙂

Here’s the finished project! I really want to hang it in my kitchen once its painted- the color scheme will work very well together, I think.










I love it. 🙂 But now my canvas supply is seriously depleted…..No. I will use the 8 x 10 ones I have before I go get more. I will be patient. I will….



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Filed under Color, Crafts, Peacock

Homemade Liquid Soap

I love almond scented soap. It reminds me of my Grandma Cole…and it is such a beautiful clean smell! I found a few bars at TJ Maxx, but I have yet to find it in liquid form (which is what I prefer), and then I found a recipe on pinterest! So I decided to try it. It makes an entire gallon for less than 8 bucks, depending on how expensive the bar soap you choose is.

Why I chose to do something that requires me to turn the stove on in the summer is beyond me. But when I get a craft idea it’s hard to deter me from it. Like burning wood….and making soap.

You need a gallon of distilled water, 2 Tablespoons of liquid glycerin (less than $2 at Rite Aid), a cheese grater, and a bar of soap (8 to 12 oz).

Like my yellow kitchen wall? It’ll be LaMarina blue soon 🙂











Finely grate the soap.

Looks like cheese!









Then add the whole gallon of water, the soap, and the 2 tablespoons of glycerin to a pot and heat to medium/high heat.








You don’t need it to boil. Just heat and stir until the soap shavings dissolve.








It will be very watery with some bubbles on top just like this. Once the soap is dissolved completely, take it off the stove and set it somewhere cool. I set mine on my kitchen table. Now it just needs to set for twelve hours! I let it set overnight and when I came back in the morning it had set into the consistency of lotion! I was beyond excited. It was a little thicker than what my recipe called for, because I used 12 ounces of soap instead of 8 but all you have to do is whisk in a little more water to thin it out. You can see how much it thickens here!

Smells amazing!









Once I thinned it out, the texture is not quite as smooth as store bought stuff and it doesn’t get super bubbly when you wash your hands, but it moisturizes and cleans just as well!

All in all, this takes about 20 minutes of actual labor (most of which is spent grating soap) and is fantastically cheap! Plus, if you have a bar soap that you love but can’t find in liquid form you now have a solution 🙂


P.S. Here’s a photo of M and Joey in Israel!! They’re having an awesome time!

So beautiful!!

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Filed under Crafts, Family

Taco Salad

It is waaay too hot to cook in my house right now. Our AC is not working and I am someone who keeps her house at 67 degrees (summer or winter). Ask any houseguests 🙂

So, in order to feed Curtis and myself last night I had to find a light meal that required minimal stove/oven time. We had taco salad! Mom made this all the time when I still lived at home, and I love it.

I used canned chicken (drained) because it’s already cooked and all you have to do is heat it up really quickly.

I accidentally got whole ones…oh well. They dice easily.

I mixed it up with diced green chiles and taco seasoning on the stove and left it alone.

While that heated up I diced tomatoes and onions, cut some cilantro, and got some lettuce ready on the plates.

By then the meat was heated and I put it all together and mixed it up with the lettuce and some salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

Instead of forks, we used multigrain tortilla chip scoops and had it more as a dip. I served it all up with ice cold beer in front of a humongous fan.

Perfect Summer Dinner!

I should move to Alaska….or Antarctica….or just get the AC fixed asap. Monday at 2 can’t come soon enough!


P.s. Even though it was super hot last night I did manage to finish my little wood burning project!

Next time I think I’ll make the words bigger….

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Filed under Crafts, Food Stuffs., Woodworking

Crazy Monday

I love Sundays. They are my ‘free’ day. It is the one day I don’t have work or school and it’s usually filled with church, relaxing, and time spent with family and friends. Yesterday was no exception!  The only problem with Awesome Sunday is that its followed by Crazy Monday. My Mondays start at 4 am and end around 7:30 pm. However, today I am very excited about some new things on the horizon!

I already miss M- She and Joey left for Israel yesterday and I am still waiting to hear how the first leg of their trip went! It’s 12:30 am Tuesday for them now, so I’m sure they’re asleep, so I’ll have to wait to text her and see 🙂 I was kind of hoping she’d find some miracle Dead Sea product for me as my favorite face moisturizer was discontinued a few years ago and is now outrageously expensive…

It’s my last jar…..and I’m very sad.

I’m hoping M can scoop some seaweed from the Dead Sea and bring it to me…We’ll see. I’m tellin’ ya.  This stuff works wonders. I have yet to find a suitable replacement.

Secondly, I started a new woodworking project yesterday (Awesome Sunday) and it’s partially inspired by the movie Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen) which I have never seen but love the quote of his, ‘you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you.’ *sigh* It’s just so beautiful. So I sketched some pretty stuff around the words and started burning.

I’m currently into paisley patterns

I just used some scrap craft wood I had- super cheap at Michaels. Like a dollar.

It’s comin’ along!

Hopefully I can finish it tonight.

Thirdly, I started a new book recently- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’m sure you’ve heard of it already. The book is fantastic so far. My Grandpa Cole gave me a useful tip on how to handle large books with a lot of characters- when you begin the book, make a list of characters with a brief (like two or three words max) description of who they are and use it as a bookmark until you’ve got it down. Works like a charm. Hopefully I’ll have a review of this one soon!

I’m a fast reader, but this one will take me awhile!

And lastly, M got this FANTASTIC (and when I say fantastic, I mean fan. tas. tic.) table from her husband’s younger brother. He made it in his woodshop class out of the rails from a staircase and some beautiful wood pieces. It’s a little higher than waist level- more at bar level and is perfect for a crafting table. I mean perfect. I feel kind of mean describing this gorgeous table especially since I have no picture to share. However. I am coveting this table and since I don’t have a big enough vehicle to smuggle it into I have decided to make my own. One of my friends’ father has a woodshop and has agreed to help me make my own table! This is an extremely rough sketch of what I am hoping to create.

I am hopefully finding the wood I need this week, and I will take MANY photos, I promise.

So, with all these cool projects on my calendar, it’s only going to get crazier for me this week! Oh! And I still haven’t found a cake recipe for M’s cake yet. I’m hoping to find one in Mom’s recipe box! We shall see….

Happy Monday!


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Filed under Crafts, Family, Woodworking, Work

DIY Reusable Calendar- week by week

I am a planner. I don’t always follow my plans to a T, but I like knowing what’s coming up in my week. I think it’s because I am a huuuge procrastinator and knowing exactly how much time I have to waste before crisis mode hits calms me down a little. Also, Curtis and I have a different schedule every week between our jobs. After one too many conflicting plans and no idea of what my week looked like, I decided to make a calendar.  I like the reusable aspect because I don’t like paying fifteen bucks for a calendar.

( I’m watching TV out of the corner of my eye right now and saw a commercial for coffee cream. They did the ‘pour the cream in the coffee and watch the cream curl’ thing and it totally distracted me, sorry.)

Umm…back to calendar making. I live down the street from another crafter (a dear friend of mine who shares my addictions for reading, Hobby Lobby, and yummy food) who generously helped me on this one. She has a few cans of the spray paint chalk and she helped me take care of this part of the project. You can meet her here. She’s awesome. We chose the spray paint rather than the regular canned paint because it seemed easier. It was. It was also cheaper, about 8 bucks.

Okay. So you can really use any frame you want for this one. I happened to have a six part frame in the garage that I found recently so that’s why I chose this one. But really, any frame will do.










Take out the glass and spray paint it evenly and let it set for however long your particular brand of paint instructs. (I only spray painted one side). I did two layers on the one side.

Excuse the poor angle.











Once it is completely dry, you’re basically done! Put the glass back in the frame, and voila!








Like I said, I am doing this so I have a calendar.










But you can do this with any frame for anything you want! A dinner menu, daily love notes to your significant other (which I do on the mirror with a dry erase marker….this might be a classier idea lol), grocery list….whatever!










This is what I use to write with, but you can use sidewalk chalk too! The markers are about $5 apiece.








The final project, all filled out!

It's M's birthday on Friday!










We don’t have little ones yet, so my smallish calendar (12×12) suits us just fine. But any more than two different schedules may need more space than this. I recommend a plain frame minus the separations that mine has. This one works really well for recipe planning too.

I’ve been using it for a few days now and I love it. I still procrastinate though…anyone comes up with a calendar to eliminate that completely, let me know.


P.s. Did you see it’s M’s birthday on Friday! She’ll be in Israel, but I am going to bake her a cake anyways….any ideas on what kind?!

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