Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our First Craft Show

CraftShow1Yesterday, I participated in my first craft show!  My Mother and I split a booth in The Old Fashioned Christmas Show in Castroville, Texas.   My 10 year-old son even made two items to sell…and what a salesman he turned out to be!  These are the “Rolo Snowmen” and Magnetic Ductape Bookmarks that he made:craftshow2craft3Cute, right?

Santa giving my son a hug before pictures.
The food was great…of course, doesn’t fair food always taste good?  Santa Claus came by fire truck to visit with all of the children, our “neighbors” were friendly, and there were performances by local choirs, dance groups, and cheer teams.  It was fun!

We did okay for our first time out, got lots of positive comments, and I would definitely do it again.  However, I must tell you…it is A LOT of work getting ready for a show.  And, I’m not sure anyone ever feels completely ready…I know I didn’t.  Do any of you experienced craft show participants feel this way?

Here are some more photos of our booth and my items from yesterday:
Craft Show Collage
A Tableleg Dragonfly
Notice my Spindle Angel...I'll do a post on these soon.

Booth1Now that the show is over, I am finally going to open my Etsy shop.  Look for me (and some of these items) soon at

Have a great week!


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Friday, November 23, 2012

Chalkboard Pantry Doors

Pantry Doors with TextI hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We did.  My son and I hosted the big day at our house (first one in our own home, although I’ve cooked for years)….and it was so much fun!  There were 15 of us this year.  We ate too much, laughed a lot, cheered a bunch, played some, and even crafted a little.  What did you do for Thanksgiving?DSCN9940In preparation for the big day, I spent quite a bit of time in my kitchen (obviously).  The one thing that I still haven’t been able to do is to replace my pantry doors.  Remember when I re-did the pantry?  I mentioned then that I was looking for some vintage screen doors for the pantry (I just love that look!).  No luck.  They are just an odd size and I would have to have them custom-made…way too expensive.  So I came up with another plan…

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More DIY Washer Jewelry

With my first craft show coming up, I have been putting together some new washer jewelry (see this post, this one, and this one for previous pieces).  Inspired by several pieces I’ve pinned on my Jewelry Ideas Board and a few ideas I’ve done in the past, here are some of the things I’ve been working on....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rosette Necklace

Remember these rosettesBoring to Fun Rosette PinsI made them (as pins) this Spring and used them to add a little color to a simple sundress.  Because they were so simple to make and I got so many compliments, I made a bunch…then, they went into the abyss of my sewing box and were never thought of again.  Until now!

Fabric rosettes have been popping up all over Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs again.  This past weekend, I was inspired to create some jewelry and decided to use a few of the spare rosettes. (If you need a tutorial on making fabric rosettes, see my previous post for a link.)Fabric rosettes 1Using hot glue, I glued the rosettes to a piece of pink flannel.  The flannel was then cut to shape.  The hot glue should be enough to hold them together, but I felt better putting in a few stitches with a needle and thread.
fabric rosettes 2

fabric rosettes 3After assembling the rosette combo, I stitched jump hoops onto each side and attached a chain.  I wanted it to hang at an angle when worn, so I made one side of the chain shorter than the other.DIY Rosette NecklaceI know this is not a great picture, but it shows how the necklace hangs on my neck.  Wearing the Rosette NecklaceMy cousin loved it so much when I posted on Facebook, that we are going to make some more when the family comes to my house for Thanksgiving!  Bring on the family craft time!

Happy Crafting!

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Delicious “Pasta e Fagioli” Soup Recipe

I don’t know about you, but the cooler temps make me want to cook warm comforting foods…like soups, stews, etc.  And, I realized that I haven’t shared a recipe with y’all in a long time.
Not being a big soup person, I have only a couple of soup recipes that I truly love:  my Chicken Tortilla Soup and this Pasta e Fagioli Soup recipe.

Have you ever had this soup at The Olive Garden?  It is delicious.  At least 5 years ago, I stumbled upon a copycat recipe and decided to give it a try.  Not only is it super easy, but it may even be better than the original!!  Nearly everyone who tries it, asks for the recipe…so here it is:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

CTMH Giveaway

Who doesn’t like FREE products?  Especially from a great company like Close to My Heart!
ctmh logoAs I've mentioned before, my mother is a Close to My Heart independent consultant.  If you haven't had a chance to check-out their terrific it now!  (See the button on my sidebar!)

This week only, my mother is having a “Mystery Hostess” online gathering!  
All you have to do is place your CTMH order via her website…making sure that you join the “Mystery Hostess” party..anytime before noon on Friday, October 19th!  (Sorry...only open to the continental U.S. only)  

Go to:

Fall Decor

“The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” ~Northern AdvocateMy Fall Ladder closeupThe smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, pumpkin desserts, and turkey in the oven…that little bit of crisp in the air and cooler mornings…the beautiful colors everywhere! I love Fall, don’t you?  Here in South Texas, we really don’t get to experience the beauty of the foliage changes like some of you do, but it is still a lovely time of year and I love to decorate with the colors of the season.

Last weekend, with my son’s help, we got our Fall decorations up!  And, I took a bunch of pics to share with you all…

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Office Decor

I have an office!  It’s not big or fancy and I share it with a part-time coworker, but I have an office.  It has been a loooooong time since I had a “desk job” with an office, but a new space to decorate…I am all over that!!

Wanting a “happy” place to work all-day, I decided to decorate my half of the space using fun, bright colors and photos of some of my former patients.My Bulletin Board FabricAfter purchasing an inexpensive 24” x 36” framed cork board, I covered it in this pretty fabric from Hobby Lobby.  The fabric has a dark grey background with hot pink, turquoise, and lime green accents…this set the color scheme for my space.

Michael’s had these awesome frames in the unfinished wood section.  Aren’t they great?  I spray painted each one in a different color to match the fabric on my bulletin board.  I just love them!
My brightly colored frames
Green scroll frame from Michael's

Spraypainted wooden scroll frames
Then, I printed out my three photos in black & white.  The photos are 8X10 with 11X 14 white mats.
My new office photosI know you can’t tell from the picture, but these footprints are from the first micropreemie I ever cared for and are only a little taller than the height of a U.S. Quarter!Preemie footprintsI also picked up a turquoise collage frame for my desk (on clearance at Hobby Lobby) and some colorful thumbtacks for the bulletin board.My new office decorI took it all to work and decorated last week.  Now, my office looks so cute.  And, I just love the framed photos of some of my special patients.  Fun, right?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Simple Wall Murals

As a nurse, I have enjoyed a 3-day fulltime workweek for the last 6+ years.  Although the days were long, it gave me lots of free time during the week to get things done.  Now that I am working 5 days a week (Monday-Friday), I am missing that “alone time” in the day.  You know that bit of time when no one else is home and you can create and craft without looking at the clock or answering the 100th: “Mom?”.  Does anyone else out there know what I’m talking about?  (I know you do…I’ve seen your blog posts too!)

Needless to say, I haven’t been very crafty lately. Getting used to my new work schedule and my son’s school and sports commitments have definitely taken a toll on my crafting time.  I'm getting there though and will post soon on a few things I’ve got in the works.

In the meantime, I thought I would show you some “old” projects of mine that I never posted until now……my wall murals. I have some simple murals in my home.  I painted them both shortly after moving in last year and I still love them.

The first is a “Family Tree” mural in my hallway:My Family Tree MuralI drew the tree on the wall in pencil (freehand) and then filled it in with brown paint.  All of the photos are framed in matching (or close to it) black frames.  And, there is plenty of room to add more!  I have seen similar ideas online and many variations…I just like the simplicity of mine.

The second mural is my FAVORITE… laundry room mural!  It took me awhile to figure out exactly how to get the idea out of my head and onto the wall.  I played with drawings and searched for laundry photos online.  I finally decided to just draw it and go for it! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Craft Show Ideas

I am so excited!  I applied for my first craft show booth this past week.  It is for a popular Christmas show in a small town near home.  My mother is going to share the booth with me and my son wants to make a few things too!  I have very fond memories of my parents and their friends doing this same show when I was in elementary school.  It was so much fun to play in the park, eat the great food, and help with the customers.

Now, the work starts!  I registered my business name and received my Texas State Sales Tax license! Woohoo…I’m official!  I have also been working on my business cards.  I think this will be on the front (to match my blog header):CI Business cards 3Next, we have to get the inventory going.  I am still deciding what I really want to offer at the show…I keep coming up with ideas! It is so hard to narrow it down and just focus on a few things.  Anyone else have that problem when it comes to crafting/creating?

My parents and I brainstormed a little this past weekend about how we are going to display everything…rain or shine.  We came up with a few ideas, but I decided to do some more “research”…on Pinterest, of course!  I now have a board entitled “Craft Show Ideas”.  It is the start of a small collection of booth displays, cute set-ups, and show advice.
Have you ever done a craft show?  Do you have some great advice or tips to share?
Please share your ideas with us in the comments section! 

Happy Fall!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Make-Ahead Cooking?

Yes...I am showing you my freezer. 
How many of you have pinned some of those “cook once-eat for a month” or “freezer dinners” pins or Pinterest?  I know that I did and so did several of my friends; however, I don’t actually know anyone who has done it. Well, I decided to try it out this past April (see post and recipes here) on a small scale.  I only made meals that went from the freezer to the crockpot. (These were all raw meats and ingredients, so there was no taste-testing.)  The honest truth…it wasn’t that great. We LOVED the Salsa Verde Beef and still make that one, but the rest…eh.  All of the recipes tasted “okay”, but we only ate one twice and I ended-up throwing most of the food away. 

Why would I pin the idea again?  Well, I still like it and I think the concept is great…I just needed better recipes.  Also, I just changed to a Monday – Friday work week (after 6+ years of a 3 day work week) this month.  It is quite an adjustment.  While I love to cook, I do not like to spend my entire evening in the kitchen, esp. now that I am getting home at dinner time.  The “make-ahead” idea seemed like a great way to guarantee that I have a few go-to meals or entrees in the house with minimal effort.

After reading-up and checking out several “pins”, I opted to order a couple of cookbooks that got rave reviews:  “Don’t Panic: Dinner’s in the Freezer” and “Don’t Panic: More Dinner’s in the Freezer”.  I looked through them both when they arrived and found a lot of recipes that I want to make!  Bonus:  They are both only ~$8/each!So, I made a grocery list based on 7 recipes (6 from the cookbooks and the Salsa Verde Beef from above).  There are only two of us and I do not have a deep freezer, so this is really about all I can store.  I spent several hours (it would go faster if you recruit a helper!) prepping and cooking over two days this weekend, but I wound-up with 60 servings of food in my kitchen!

The two “Don’t Panic” cookbooks give lots of great tips, advice, and instructions for shopping, cooking, and storage,.  Everything was really easy…and the whole house smelled YUMMY all weekend!  Note: I did substitute a few things: chicken and turkey sausage and bacon for pork and fat-free dairy products for their full-fat counterparts.
I was sure to write the re-heating instructions on the packaging!
The filling for Chicken Cilantro Enchiladas! 

I intended to take great pictures, but I forgot…more than once.  My hands were either covered in something or I was busy stirring…oh, well, I think you get the idea.

The recipes I made were: North Woods Wild Rice Soup
Chicken Cilantro Enchiladas
Pork Chops a la Orange
Cranberry Chicken
Chicken, Sausage, & Shrimp Stew
Baked Penne with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese
Salsa Verde Beef

We invited my parents over on Sunday evening for the stew.  It was wonderful (and perfect for one of our rare rainy days here in South Texas)!  I am really excited this time around because I know the food is good (I’ve tasted bits and pieces along the way) and it is going to make those busy evenings so much easier.  My son and I can still have a healthy, home-cooked dinner on the table and I don’t have to stress about the time or if I have the ingredients on hand for dinner-on-the-fly.

Pork Chops a la Orange..yummmmm.

If you have done this or are thinking about it, please comment below and tell me what you think!



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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Legos Everywhere: A Storage Solution

Do you have Legos everywhere?  I found a tiny piece next to my toaster this morning, a few in the laundry last week, and well,…..there are always Lego creations in various states somewhere in the house.  LegoStorage with Label
My son had three boxes to store his Legos: a Lego-brand box (a hand-me-down from his Uncle’s old Lego collection),  an Artist’s Tacklebox (a hand-me-down from me), and a set of small drawers (see pic below).  DSCN9197These work for small collections, but he has outgrown them.  T also likes to keep some things assembled for awhile to play with again, but I don’t like them laying around the house.  He was also complaining about not being able to find certain  pieces to complete his projects or that it took too much time to dig through his boxes to find the pieces.

Our Mission:  Build or buy an inexpensive storage piece that could house his Legos neatly and provide a space for display.

I started by cleaning, re-arranging, and re-organizing his room….finding a lot of Legos along the way!  I had pretty much decided that I was just going to buy a small bookshelf and a bunch of bins when inspiration hit….or maybe it was that I was too tired to think about another trip to Walmart.DSCN7576I purchased this weird piece of office furniture months ago at the Habitat Store.  It is an office system….laminate outer cabinet with a moveable plastic drawer system.  They were obviously used in an insurance office for forms (there were a few drawers with labels on them). They had two of them the day I stumbled on them, one large (that my mother purchased) and one small (mine).  As soon as I saw them, I knew they would be perfect for my mother’s paper storage (she is a CTMH consultant and paper crafter).  I let mine sit in my garage for awhile and finally put it in my craft room closet awhile ago to hold paper.  It works great for that but it was really wasted on my paltry paper supply.  But, re-purposed into a Lego storage unit…perfect!!DSCN7579Using a can of spray chalkboard paint (leftover from my Chalkboard-footed Wine Glasses), I spray-painted all of the drawfronts….two coats.  DSCN9200The next day, I rubbed all of them with chalk and wiped them off.  DSCN9202After organizing the Legos by color/styles, I put the Legos in the drawers and labeled each drawerfront with chalk.DSCN9208The only issue for using these drawers for Legos is the holes in the bottoms…but nothing a little duct tape can’t fix.
DSCN9205May not be fancy, but what does my 10 year-old care if there is a square of duct tape in there?

T loves his new storage and how easily he can find things.  I love that his Legos are picked-up.  And, we both like having an area where he can display a few creations too.DSCN9212
DSCN9213DSCN9209I don’t know if these systems are still available or how expensive they are to purchase new, but it may be something to be on the look-out for at your local thriftstore or used office furniture place.  You never know what you could re-purpose that piece to do in your home.DSCN7580
After attending LegoFest with my son last weekend, I realized that the sets only get bigger and more complex….and some people play with these things FOREVER!  We were quite impressed with some of the complex builds they had on display.  Hopefully, this cabinet will provide enough room to store my son's Legos for awhile.

Happy Re-purposing!

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