It is official.... I am now a dot com blogger. I don't really know the protocol for this, so I am just doing a happy dance here in my pjs. :)

Feel free to come visit anytime!

Decluttering with Freecycle

Business as usual over at Housewife Eclectic today -- come learn about Freecycle, a network of people who can help you get the things that you no longer want/need (but that still work) out of your life and into someone else's. One (wo)man's trash, you know. :)

Also, I'll be making the switch to .com later today: soon I'll be broadcasting live from! Everything should go smoothly, so you should be hearing from me again soon. If not... drop me a line at iamjustlu at gmail dot com. And thanks for reading!

Merry Christmas!

From my {adorable if-I-do-say-so-myself} family to yours

See you in January... with all sorts of new and fun stuff,
including... are you ready?... a .com! Eee!

PS -- I've updated the Wooden Spoon Nativity
with more pictures for your viewing pleasure.  

Happy New Year!

Holiday phone calls... FREE!

If you're needing to make some holiday phone calls this week, come on over to Housewife Eclectic to learn how to make the calls for FREE! Google to the rescue. :)

Merry Christmas!
Thanks for reading!

Felt Activity Board {tutorial}

Christmas is coming! The goose is getting fat and the crafters are getting frantic... If you need a cheap and easy craft for the toddler in your life, this felt activity board might be just the thing:

 The same style as the felt game board, the activity board is geared to the younger set and features shapes and colors: matching on one side and a playmat on the other*. It also goes together MUCH more quickly -- once you have the pieces cut out, assembling the board takes around an hour.

Work on matching and fine motor skills by buttoning the matching shapes and/or letter(s):

And then engage in creative play by adding windows and door(s) to your house:

Store the pieces in the large button-closure pockets, and roll up the board for easy on-the-go playing (and learning) -- and hopefully a peaceful trip and waiting-room session. :)

 *The matching side can also easily be made into a tic-tac-toe board like on the game board for an older, but not quite ready for checkers, child. And of course you could also change the playmat to feature whatever you wanted.

Peanut Butter Popcorn at Leafy Treetop Spot

Hi all! I am joining Tricia over at Leafy Treetop Spot for her fantastic Holiday Recipe Week. I'm sharing one of my favorite family treats -- peanut butter popcorn!

It's like caramel popcorn, only cheaper and easier, and therefore better... right? :) So come on over to the Leafy Treetop Spot for the recipe and a "vintage" family picture... you won't want to miss it!

Santa's online!

Can you believe it's only TEN days until Christmas? The panic has started to set in here... If you're also to the panic stage, get some help from Santa with a personalized video message and other fun resources -- get the links and see how (it's fast, easy, and FREE!) in my post over at Housewife Eclectic today.

Merry {panic} Christmas! {deep breath... and still panicking...}

Filigree Tannenbaum Earrings {tutorial}

**This is the tutorial that I shared for Haul out the Holly over at Gwenny Penny. Here it is again, just in case you missed it. These are fast, cheap, and easy so don't feel guilty adding them to your to-craft list ;)

Aside from a cheesy smile and, you know, necessary clothing, earrings are my favorite things to wear -- you can see my rock & roll earrings and tutorial here and today I'm sharing my quilled Christmas tree earrings. They're so simple to make and only take about half an hour, but I make them sound fancy by calling them filigree tannenbaums instead. ;)

If you've never heard of quilling, also called paper filigree, it's a simple but lovely concept: curled coils and scrolls of paper are joined together to form beautiful creations of all shapes and sizes. I began quilling (with these monograms) about six weeks ago, so I'm definitely still a beginner. But quilling is so easy that anyone can do it! I've decided that beginning quilling is more about patience than about actual talent (although there are many very talented quillers out there). :)

My tutorial today barely even skims the surface of quilling, but the lovely and kind Ann over at All Things Paper is a quilling master who provides fantastic inspiration and tutorials. If you'd like to continue quilling and start creating really beautiful and intricate designs like hers, Ann covers the quilling basics in this post on her blog.

Now... on to the earrings! I love the holidays, but I am terrible at holiday decorating -- {cringe} last year I didn't even pull our Christmas tree out of the box, shame on me and my lazy self. I get overwhelmed with all the beautiful decor options out there, so I love simple little touches that help put me and those I'm around into the holiday spirit.

These earrings are a little tidbit of holiday cheer for your everyday life from now until whenever you decide to stop wearing them! They're perfect for early holiday gifts and can easily be used, minus the earring fixings, for holiday cards, gift decorations and tags, or even ornaments to put on your Christmas tree.

Wooden Spoon Nativity {tutorial}

Good day, friends! Thanks for all the kind feedback about the wooden spoon nativity! I've realized that the nativity is just not happening at my house in time for Christmas, but I wanted to post the instructions just in case some of you haven't overbudgeted your time like I have and therefore will have time to put this little number together for the current holiday season. :)

Unfortunately, getting the the tutorial now, before I make my own, means I have no process pictures. I have included a few finished-product pictures, however. The process is pretty simple, so I'll add pictures once I get mine made.

Until then, here's the tutorial:

MaryJane Slipper Socks {tutorial}

Have you seen these cute little slippers at Old Navy?
Super cute, right?

I saw them there as I was standing in line a few weeks ago. But instead of being like a normal person and saying, "Those are cute and $5 and I should buy some," I said to myself, "Those are cute and $5 and I can make them myself." And, I think I did a pretty good job:
obviously my photography skills are not quite as good, however...

Yes, I created an Old Navy knock-off. I am THAT cheap. Call me frugal if you like, but even this quiz tells me I'm frugal-bordering-cheap. What can I say -- I live on the edge. ;)

Actually, I don't think it's the cheap side of my personality that spurred this creation. It's the "I can make that" side of my personality. The two often partner for their crimes, however. The many, many crimes they commit...

But, I digress... back to the slipper socks. So, yes, I am cheap. I thought I could make a pair from a single pair of the dollar store fuzzy chenille type socks, but I underestimated the finickity (also called finickyness, just in case you were confused) of chenille material, especially dollar store chenille material.

Apparently chenille is a social character because it is much more manageable (at least for me) when there are two of it of them layers. Thus, one pair of maryjane slipper socks requires two pairs of dollar store chenille socks. But, even though that doubles the cost of the slipper socks it also gives them added value... so you CAN'T buy these in a store anywhere!*

*including, possibly, the original single-layer ones at Old Navy. And good luck finding chenille socks at the dollar store this time of year, too. I bought mine before the Christmas rush and now I can't find any more, at any dollar store, anywhere. 

So, without further ado, I present to you the Yes I'm That Cheap BUT They Have Added Value MaryJane Slipper Socks Tutorial. (It's a working title...)

I'm trying out a new thing here, using a jump break so that my looong but detailed tutorials are a bit more manageable, especially for those of you using feed readers. Let me know what you think. :) (If you're coming straight to this post, you won't see anything special here. Except for my awesome maryjane slipper socks tutorial, of course.)

The not-so-eternal debate of full vs. partial feed... on over at Housewife Eclectic today. Today is the last post of Feed Me month(ish) so I hope you'll hop on over and join the debate (even if it isn't very heated): full vs. partial feed. Those of you who read in a feed reader can probably intuit which side I'm on, but the rest of you will have to go read to find out. :)

Happy Wednesday!

PS - maryjane slipper sock tutorial tomorrow. :)

Wooden Spoon Nativity

Char from Crap I've Made is hosting a nativity parade and I just *had* to join up to let this little lovely strut her stuff (I presume that all navities are female, yes?):

Isn't she cute?

Unfortunately, she was created in the days before I was 1) blogging about my creations and 2) competent at running my camera, so this is the only viable (non-blurry) picture. And you can't even see sweet baby Jesus.

Fortunately, however, she (and her sister) are housed at my mother's (and MIL's) so I can visit to hold a proper photo shoot. And I want to make one for myself this year, if I can escape from the throes of Santa's workshop long enough, so I could probably even provide a tutorial if y'all would like (which means I need you to tell me if you'd like that ;).

Merry Christmas!

Handmade Gift Exchange

I participated for the first time in Linda's Handmade Gift Exchange over at Craftaholics Anonymous and I had so much fun!

Thanks to Linda for organizing such a fun exchange and for doing a wonderful job!

I sent my partner, Amy, two pairs of my rock and roll earrings (which I forgot to take pictures of before I sent... oops!) and a pair of these maryjane style slipper socks:

Yes... I created an Old Navy knock-off. Yes, I'm that cheap. Plus Old Navy is sold out. And these have the added benefit of being not only less expensive but also double-thick. :) Tutorial coming soon... probably early next week since I am in the midst of reorganizing pretty much my entire (little) house. The spring cleaning urge hit me a little late (or early?) this year. :)

I received Amy's package in the mail yesterday: this adorable and fun hat:

And here it is, modeled by the duck because I was pukey-sick all day yesterday and have no desire to preserve and display the look I have going right now. :)

Thanks, Amy! And if you're wondering and drooling and wanting one of your own, yes, she does have a website, still under construction.

If you missed this exchange, don't worry -- Linda will be hosting another one in July! You can come check out all of the fantastic exchange items in the linky party here.

Thanks again to Linda and Amy for a fantastic gift exchange! Merry Christmas!

Get the dish on my one true (feed reader) love

Welcome to Wednesday! And December! It's the busy holiday season, but I hope you'll take a minute to pop over to Housewife Eclectic today to get to know a little bit more about my one true (feed reader) love, Feedly. It just might change your life. Or not. It's really up to you. :)

Happy Wednesday!

Felt Game Board {tutorial} part 2

It's a tutorial fest around here! (If you haven't already, go check out my tutorial for paper filigree Christmas trees over at Gwenny Penny for Haul out the Holly.) 

I practically never post twice in one day, but I want to give you the rest of the instructions for the felt game board in a timely manner and if I don't post them today, they might end up forever in the black hole draft folder. :)

Haul Out The Holly with my Filigree Tannenbaums

Yes! It is time to Haul Out The Holly! The event, hosted by the fabulous Gwen of Gwenny Penny, started yesterday and it's my tutorial today!

Be sure to pop over and learn how simple it is to make these lovely filigree tannenbaum (fancy talk for quilled paper Christmas tree ;) earrings and decorations:

And there are 10 more days of fantastic bloggers to come, so stay tuned for the whole Haul out the Holly event. Thanks to Gwen for hosting!

Felt Game Board {tutorial} part 1

At long last, I present to you the tutorial for the double-sided take-it-with-you game board. Well, the first half of it anyway. :) Today I'll share instructions for making the boards and the game pieces; tomorrow, pockets and board assembly. (Click here for part two of the tutorial: pockets, straps, and assembly.)

This game board is easy on your wallet (around $5 depending on your choice of materials and selection of on-hand) and easily customizable for boys or girls. The board features tic-tac-toe on one side and checkers on the other. Pieces are stored in attached pockets and then the entire board rolls up for on-the-go play or stuffing in a stocking. Want to make one? Here's how I did it:

But first... yes - I know that there are probably easier ways to achieve what I've done here. I do things to meet a vision and that vision doesn't always coincide with simplicity. Usually simplicity smacks me in the face halfway through, or occasionally after, completing a project. If you would like to be the hand of simplicity (the one that smacks me), feel free to leave me a comment. :)

Felt Game Board
for personal, non-commercial use only

What you'll need:
  • 1 - 12" square of felt for the tic-tac-toe board (with 1/3 of a yard of 72" felt you'll be able to make 4-6 of these babies, depending on if you use yardage or felt sheets for the straps)
  • 2 - 3"x12" felt pieces for the straps
  • 2 - 2" pieces of sew-in hook and loop tape (velcro)
  • 4 - 12" lengths of grosgrain ribbon, with the ends either heat-sealed or fray-checked
  • 2 full sheets of 9x12 felt for the pockets to store the pieces in
  • 2 to 4 full or partial sheets of felt for the game pieces and checkerboard
  • appx 3/4 yard of fusible web, like WonderUnder or HeatNBond 
  • 1 - 12" square of contact paper (you can find a roll of it at the dollar store!)
  • Printed game pieces pattern
  • 4 to 49 buttons (4 required, 45 optional - I used them because that was my vision, but my nieces never use the buttons when they play :)
  • Sewing supplies: iron, sewing machine, needle and thread

What you'll do:

Make the tic-tac-toe board
1. On the 12" square of felt, make small marks at 4" and 8" on all 4 sides.

2. Lay one ribbon straight across from one 4" mark to the opposite 4" mark and sew it down.

3. Repeat with the other ribbons, sewing them at the perpendicular 4" mark and the two perpendicular 8" marks, to create a tic-tac-toe grid like this:

4. (optional) Sew one button in the middle of each square:

Make the checkerboard
1.  Cut two different colors of felt into 18 - 2" squares, for 36 squares total.

2. Peel the paper off your contact paper to expose the sticky side. (I peeled the paper back in two sections.)

3. Starting at one corner, gently stick the felt squares to the contact paper, alternating colors to create a checkerboard:

4. If needed, trim the edge squares so that the whole board is more perfectly square.

5. Cut a 12"x18" piece of fusible web.

6. Place the pieced-together checkerboard with the contact paper down on your ironing board.

7. Place the fusible web, fusible side down, on top of the checkerboard, lining up the 12" edge and leaving about 6 inches overhang on one end.

8. Iron and fuse the fusible web to the felt. You'll probably want to use a lower heat setting for a longer time than the instructions on the package suggest to avoid melting the felt.
  • I'd suggest doing a test-iron with scraps of felt and contact paper to be sure that your contact paper won't melt. 
  • You may also want to use a press cloth to ensure that you aren't melting the felt. I didn't use a press cloth, and I ironed at a higher temperature, but I slightly melted my felt because I'm impatient like that. :)
9. Once every checkerboard square has been fused, turn the board over and gently peel off the contact paper.

10. Use a zigzag or other joining stitch to top-stitch the checkerboard squares.

11. (optional) Sew a button in each checkerboard square:

Make the game pieces
I chose to make double-sided game pieces for both games and show that here. To make single-sided game pieces, just cut the suggested pieces from felt (I'd suggest a freezer paper stencil), and skip the entire fusible webbing and top-stitching bit.

1. Print the game pieces pattern.

2. On the paper side of the remaining fusible web, trace
  • 5 large Xs
  • 2 small Xs
  • 5 large Os
  • 2 small Os
  • 14 circles
  • 12 crowns
3. Cut out the traced shapes, either individually or in groups (split the circles into two groups of 7).

4. Iron and fuse the traced shapes onto your felt, making sure that the large Xs and Os are different colors, that the two groups of circles are different colors, and that the each small X and O is a different color (to coordinate with the two different colors that the large Xs and Os will be when double-sided).
5. Allow the fusing to cool and then cut out the traced shapes.

6. Set aside the small Xs and Os and 2 circles, one of each color, to be used for pocket embellishments (instructions in part two of the tutorial).

7. Peel the paper from each crown and fuse each crown to one of the circle pieces.

8. Secure the crown by stitching a few stitches in the center of the crown.

9. Peel the paper from the fusible web on the pieces -- 5 large Xs, 5 large Os, and 12 circles with crowns -- and fuse each piece to another layer of felt. Fuse the Xs and Os to a different color of felt and the circles to the same color of felt.

10. When the fusing has cooled, cut out and top-stitch each piece, sewing around the edges of the circles and Os and an X shape on the Xs.

11. (optional) Cut buttonholes in each piece:

And that's it for now... Check out Part 2 to finish up: making the straps and pockets and assembling the game board.

Have a wonderful day!

Linking up with
handmade projects CreativeShareWednesdays

and so flattered to be featured at

Google Reader

Can you believe it's Wednesday? and that Thanksgiving is tomorrow? Time flies! It is Wednesday whether you believe it or not, so I'm over at Housewife Eclectic with the basics of Google Reader. Hope you'll stop by!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mmm Mmm... Potato Chowder

Happy Monday! I hope you have all started off your week well. There's snow on the ground here (it's finally sticking!), so that means I am to my favorite cooking part of the year: soup time! We love digging in to a bowl of hot, creamy thick soup, so we eat well during the colder months.

I'm still crafting up a storm for my holiday gift-giving, but... most of the recipients read this so I can't really share with you just yet. :) Even though I can't share some of the projects that I'm most excited about until after Christmas, I have a few fun things coming up: the tutorial for this felt game board that I shared ages ago and remember how Haul out the Holly is just one week away?!? You're gonna love it! But for today, a yummy and easy (since I allow no other type in my kitchen) soup and a big thanks for my friend Ann for the recipe.

Potato Chowder
serves 5-6

What you'll need:
3 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 tsp (to taste) onion powder
1 can cream of chicken soup (or make your own like in this recipe)
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 3/4 cup milk
8 slices deli ham, cut up
1-2 Tbsp parsley

*Here is my obligatory note telling you that I don't actually usually measure the ingredients and/or follow the recipe: I add more soup/sour cream as I feel like it, I use leftover ham-from-a-bone when I can, and I almost never add the milk because we love our soups extra-thick. 

What you'll do:
1. Cube potatoes and put in a large pan. Fill pan with water until it just covers the potatoes. Bring to boil and boil until potatoes are tender (I like mine fall-apart tender for a thicker soup).
2. Reduce heat and DO NOT DRAIN potatoes.
3. Add onion powder, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream. Stir until well mixed and add milk (if desired).
4. Add parsley and ham and heat through, but make sure it doesn't boil.
5. Serve! Especially yummy with fresh rolls -- I'm auditioning these and these for Thanksgiving dinner.

More about feeds and feed readers @ Housewife Eclectic

I'm over at Housewife Eclectic again with the third installment of Feed Me month, talking all about web feeds and feed readers. Today I'm sharing a food analogy (what else?) to explain how feeds, feed readers, and feed generators/managers (like Feedburner) relate to each other and get along as well as my top reasons why you should use a feed reader... and why you should click out of the feed reader sometimes, too. Hope you'll join me!

Savvy & Scumble {book reviews}

I finished an amazing book this weekend and I am SO excited to tell you about it and its companion novel:

Savvy and Scumble are two wonderful companion novels written by Ingrid Law. They follow two young adults (I'd say kids but I'm not sure that 13-year-olds still count as kids...) from an extraordinary family: on their 13th birthdays, people in the family receive a gift, a special power called a savvy.  Each person's savvy is different (and amazing!) and each person must learn how to control or scumble the savvy they receive.

Savvy is the story of Mibs Beaumont, a middle child in a savvy family. Just before her 13th birthday, her special savvy birthday, her father is in a car accident and ends up in a coma. Mibs is determined that her savvy can help save her father, but he is in a hospital two hours away. In her journey to reach her father, Mibs ends up on a pink bus with a traveling bible salesman, her brothers, and the local preacher's kids -- a cute boy and his obnoxious older sister.

As she travels, Mibs learns a thing or two (of course... what book is there where the protagonist ends the story the same as she began it?) about savvies, people, life, and herself. Any reader -- old and young, male and female -- can see a bit of themselves in Mibs, who, aside from her savvy, is completely normal and UNperfect, a tween just trying to find herself.

Scumble tells the story of Ledger Kale, Mibs' cousin, nine years after Mibs' savvy journey. Ledge, as everyone calls him, has hoped his whole life for a specific savvy and is completely and utterly disappointed when his savvy birthday presents him with a different savvy. He labels himself a dud and then must try to scumble (control) his savvy right away in order to attend a family wedding two states away.

Ledge mingles with the rest of the savvy clan -- including an insect whisperer, levitating twins, and an electric cousin -- and becomes more frustrated with his savvy -- "useless as a pogo stick in quick sand." But with the help of the same wacky clan and a new frenemy, Ledge learns what it means to scumble and comes to terms with who he is in the world, savvy or not.

Final word: A+. I recommend these books to anyone. That means you. Read it yourself, read it to your kids, hand it to your kids to read. Law has an amazing savvy of her own for telling heartfelt and entertaining stories that appeal to everyone, in a setting that is a perfectly magical blend of reality and fantasy. Seriously, go get the books now. You won't be sorry.

Rock & Roll Earrings {tutorial}

I originally shared this tutorial over at twelve crafts till Christmas for Stuff Your Stockings Saturday. Just reposting it again here because I looove it so much. Enjoy!

Today I am so thrilled to share with you one of my favorite and easiest projects: rock & roll earrings.

I got in on the stamped washer craze at the beginning of summer, just like every other craft blogger. I was inspired by Polly's stamped washer earrings at Helping Little Hands, but after I made mine, I felt they they were just needing a little something extra. For me, that little something was a cheap piece of plastic otherwise known as a guitar pick

The little lovelies are perfect for the moms, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, grandmas and all the other women on your Christmas list. For the die-hard (or wannabe, like me) rock and roll fans, the original classic rock and roll set fit the bill:

For those outside the rock and roll set, you can glam up the washer with some pretty paper and glaze to elevate the guitar pick from classic rock to haute couture:

So, let's get started...This looks like a bunch of supplies and an overload of instructions, but I promise that it isn't difficult and really won't take long (except for the glaze drying). I'm showing you both the classic rock and the haute couture versions today, and my technical-writer heart just loves lists. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips