Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scrappy Fourth of July Wreath

This morning this post showed up on my dashboard and made me realize I have absolutely no Fourth of July decorations up.  What shame!  I wasn't going to let Cher show me up, so I climbed over a bunch of boxes to get to my crafting stash to see what kind of red, white and blue thing I could whip up.  This is what I had:

So I decided to throw it all together into a scrappy wreath.  And, let me tell you, it felt good to be crafting again for a change!  I cannot wait until this move is over!  But anyway...I just wrapped all the red, white and blue scrap fabric I could find around a straw wreath that my friend Alejandra brought over a few days ago.  I tied and hot glued the fabric in place and added some embellishments to spruce it up. 

I whipped up a couple of loopy flowers with some leftover red and white felt and hot glued them down.  I think they look like fireworks kinda, don't you?

I also used some leftover Christmas ribbon to tie a bow above the loopy flowers and hot glued on a bunch of white buttons above that to complete the look.

I think it turned out pretty well.  I especially like how the red and white stripped fabric next to the blue and white polka dot fabric looks sort of like a flag.

I'm sure you all have much more sophisticated decorations than this for fourth of July, but with the move this is all I could manage.  So let me see what you've made for fourth of July!  Upload your crafty creations in the Flickr pool and I promise to show them off here for you. :)

Until next time, happy crafting!


Quilting Widow(er) Appreciation Day

So, I'm not a quilter, but I do sew a lot (and blog a lot) and it does take me away from my beau for many hours at a time several days a week.  Not only that, I tend to get a little snappy with others when I'm trying to finish a project. So I thought this idea was a wonderful one when I first heard about it over on OCD.

The Plaid Scottie came up with the idea to reserve September 24 as "Quilting Widow(er) Appreciation Day."  What is that, you ask?  It's a special day to honor our significant others for all their patience and support by sewing something for them for a change.  (Read more about it in the original post.)The date is far off in the future, so there's no reason not to join in!  What will you be making?

Happy crafting!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Savory Spice Shop (Picture and Text Heavy)

Last week this little thing followed me home and proceeded to live in my bathroom for two days until we found him a new home.

One of my friends over in St. Petersburg took him.  So, naturally, after my boyfriend and I dropped kitten off to his new home we had to stop and look at the little shops by the marina.  And that's how we came across this boutique called Savory Spice Shop.

It. Blew. Our. Minds.

The entire store is just walls and walls of spices.  Spices you've never even heard of.  They had big barrels just filled with cinnamon sticks and more varieties of salt than I even knew existed.  They also had all kinds of cocoa and sugar. 

You could buy your own small jar of spices, or you could fill these cute little muslin bags with different amounts of spice.  It definitely gave me some great ideas for  homemade Christmas gifts that I'm sure I'll share with you later this year!

 Each different kind of spice had suggestions on the label for how to use it.  They also had gift sets of various spices that they've paired for specific purposes.  Since it was just before Father's Day, I found the perfect gift set of coffee spices to give to my dad.  (He's replaced alcohol with coffee since he quit drinking.  Lol.)

What's cute about the gift sets, too, is that they separate each spice with Bay leaves and cinnamon sticks that can actually be used.  They also garnished the gift set with whole nutmeg, chili pepper and [insert something fancy that I forgot what it's called here] that can be used, too.

I wrapped it up and mailed it to him.  I also sent off a handmade card, but it was so ugly I couldn't bring myself to share it with you!  (P.S. The reason I'm just now sharing this post is because I didn't want to give away the secret before my dad opened his gift!)

Boy, was this a bugger to wrap!
And of course we had to get something for ourselves.  I picked out a chai mix.  They pre-selected all the different ingredients for you and put them in a bag with a recipe for you to follow.  Mmmm.

And Tyler, who loves baking chocolate chip cookies with lots of cinnamon, got this Ceylon "True" Cinnamon.  Did you know the usual store bought cinnamon isn't actually real cinnamon?  It actually comes from the cassia tree.  We bought this real cinnamon and haven't had a chance to use it yet, but it smells different (and more delicious!) than the kind of cinnamon we usually buy.

I was in heaven, and when I went home my fingertips smelled like spices.  My boyfriend and I rambled about how great the store was for about 15 miles on the interstate on our way back home.  I can't wait to visit again!

Hope you've been crafting up a storm while I've been off rescuing kittens and galvanizing in spice shops!


Note:  This post was not commissioned or prompted by Savory Spice Shop.  I actually loved it that much! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moving Progress

Just popping in to show you how ridiculous my crafting corner looks now that we're making headway with the packing...

 Le sigh.  I really wish I could sew.  Can't wait to get to the new house where I'll have a whole room for crafting!

Housekeeping: Social Media

I jumped on the bandwagon.

And I admit it.  Pinterest is awesome.  If you haven't heard about it yet, it's a social bookmarking website.  I think it's a little like if Wanelu, Delicious and Twitter all got together and had a baby.  Awe. Some.

But, if you don't use any of those websites, here's another description:  Pinterest allows you to "pin" anything from anywhere on the internet onto your own virtual idea boards.  You can use it for making a shopping wishlist, organizing helpful links, keeping track of tutorials you want to use...you name it!  Plus, you can see what others with similar interests have bookmarked to find new great stuff for yourself. 

I'm hooked already.  So go follow me on Pinterest!  (If you don't have an account yet, I'd be more than happy to send you an invite.)

Which brings us to today's discussion!

I've really wanted to find a way to give you guys more control of your experiences with CraftyCritique.  I want to see what you're making and hear from you, because my goal with this blog is to inspire you, after all!  So, using Pinterest yesterday I got the idea to create a board for CraftyCritique.  I made the board public so you all can pin your own crafty creations on the board.  So if you made something using a tutorial here and uploaded it somewhere online, I'd love for you to pin it!

And while I was at it, I got around to finally creating some other social media accounts for crafty critique.  I made y'all a new Flickr group where you can show off what you've made using tutorials or inspiration from this blog...

A Facebook page where you can follow along with my crafting as well as upload your own pictures and comments...

And a Twitter account for just one more way to stay connected. :)

I've updated the sidebar to include links to all the social media I just mentioned if you decide you want to use them now or later.  ------->>>>

So if you're already a user of these websites (or if you wanna be), go follow and like away!

Until next time, happy crafting!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Preparing for our Move

I've probably mentioned we're moving to a new house on July 7th.  Moving day is fast approaching, and we've been packing up all our stuff.

Okay, so we had to unpack some of those boxes.  But our living room really is full of boxes and patio furniture that we got at a great price for the new house but currently have nowhere to put.  What does this mean to you?  I barely have space to walk, let alone try and pull out my sewing machine.  Not to worry, though!  The new house has a spare room where I'll be setting up shop for crafting!

In the meantime, I've taken back up crocheting.  I haven't done it in years, but it requires minimal space, so I'm working on an afghan to match our new color scheme.

I haven't gotten very far.  Don't judge.
Again, I apologize for the lack of posts (or at least quality ones).  Try and hang in there with me until the move. ;)

Until next time, happy crafting!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Belated Father's Day

I was out most of the day today with a migraine so I know it's a little late, but I still wanted to say it!  Father's Day this year is very important to me and here's why: it's my first Father's Day with my dad sober (to my recollection).

My dad and I at my college commencement ceremony this past May.
Coming up on a year ago now my dad joined AA and has been sober ever since.  Dad, if you read this, I just want you to know I am so proud of you and so happy to be able to foster a new relationship with you.  I love

To all my readers out there, I hope you spent some quality time with a dad for Father's Day this year, whether it was your own father...

Your grandfather...

Man, that was a bad haircut I had!
The father of your children (or "children," as it may be)...

My wonderful boyfriend, Tyler, and our dog, Monica, in 2007.
Or someone else who's been like a father to you.

My big brother, whom I admire and love greatly.
 Happy Father's Day, everyone.

Until next time, happy crafting!


P.S. I know I've been a little lacking craftwise lately, and I apologize.  We're in the process of moving and I'm coming up on finals for a summer class.  I promise to try and stay connected with you one way or another, though!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

They're Here! Incomparable Buttons

About two and a half weeks ago I entered a giveaway over at Craftiness is Not Optional.  The giveaway was for a set of buttons from a really cool company called Incomparable Buttons.  Incomparable Buttons makes--you guessed it--buttons.  And I won the giveaway!

Note the really cool South African stamp.
 Today they came in the mail all the way from South Africa.  The color of the buttons is way more vivid and glossy than I could tell from the pictures online.  Really beautiful.  The buttons are even cuter than I imagined they would be.

The color of the buttons is way more vivid and glossy than I could tell from the pictures online.  Really beautiful.  I am so pleased with my buttons!

But they're not just any buttons.  Incomparable Buttons is a really awesome company that employs women in South Africa to make their buttons by hand.  That means those women have food on their tables and you get really cool buttons.  Sweet deal?  I think so!  (To learn more, check out their website HERE and their blog HERE.)

I haven't decided what I'll use the buttons for yet, but I'm sure I'll come up with something super cute.  Any suggestions?

Until next time, happy crafting!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday Night Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday night I decided I really wanted some warm, homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I had a specific type of cookie in mind.  I wanted those tall, plump chocolate chip cookies with just a hint of salt.  You know...the ones that look like these:

Photo from Sing for Your Supper
I didn't have a recipe for said cookies, so I googled "tall, plump cookies," clicked on images and came up with this recipe from a blog called Sing for Your Supper.  I looked around and it's a fun little blog!  I especially want to dig deeper into some of the For Dogs Only recipes. :)

Anyway, at 10:30pm I got baking! (P.S. These pictures are terrible because they were taken at 10:30 at night in my poorly lit kitchen.  My apologies!)

The recipe called for melted butter (as opposed to softened), an extra egg yolk and a full tablespoon of vanilla to make the cookies bake tall and plump instead of spreading out.  Once your ingredients are all mixed up, you put a full 1/4 cup of dough per cookie onto your baking sheet.  Since my 1/4 measuring cup is permanently located in the cat food to make sure my fat cat doesn't get any fatter, I decided to use an ice cream scoop.  It worked great!

What didn't work so well?  The cookies didn't stay plump.  They spread out.

Way out.

I don't quite know what went wrong.  I don't think I can really blame it on the recipe since theirs turned out just beautifully.  I think it may be one of two things.
  1. I added an extra little bit of salty to get that salty-sweet taste I was dreaming of.  
  2. I didn't have any pure vanilla extract on hand and, since it was 10:30 at night, I had to use the imitation vanilla I found in the cabinet.  
Or I guess it could have been any number of things that I didn't think of!  Lol.  Any of you have an opinion?  I'd love to try the recipe again and see if I can get them to stay plump if you have any ideas!

Nonetheless, the cookies were delicious.  Chewy in the middle, crispy around the edges.  Warm and melty.  Mmmm.

So I enjoyed one (okay, five) with a glass of milk as a delicious midnight snack.

Hope your weekend was splendid and you've enjoyed some lovely craft time!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Charity Sewing: Pillowfight for a Cause

Jump on over to Ladybird Ln. today to enter a pillow sewing contest while helping a really great cause.  Ladybird Ln. is hosting a contest called PillowFight.  You can enter any kind of pillow you've sewn to compete to win a prize, but with each entry you must donate a handmade pillowcase to patients in the hospital.  A pillowcase tutorial is provided, or you can use your own. 

I think this is a really great cause and I just wanted to pass it along to you all.  Feel free to re-post it on your blog to spread the word!  I'll probably be sewing up a few pillowcases and you should, too!  But, hurry!  The contest only lasts June 15-22 (although you can donate pillowcases anytime!).

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tutorial: Slide On Dog Collar Bandana

Recently I showed you how to make a cute felt flower dog collar embellishment for your pooch, but you might remember way back in December when I first came up with the flower idea that I told you I'd been making bandanas to slide over my dog's collar for a few years.

We've never been able to get bows to stay on our Pomeranian, Monica.  They just drive her crazy and she paws them off her head.  For awhile we tried tying bandannas around her neck and that didn't bother her, but they fell off easily.  That's when we had the idea to sew them with a little tube at the top so they slide right over her collar.  This solves the problem of them falling off and getting lost.

They stay in place and they look adorable on a boy or girl dog, so I thought you'd like to know how to make a slide-over-the-collar dog bandanna for your puppy.  It's a great way to use up scrap fabric, it only takes about 15 minutes and it's super easy.  I've made it even easier by creating the template for you!  So join me after the jump to learn how to make your own dog collar bandana.

P.S.  Did you know you can spell "bandana" with one or two N's?  Bandana or bandanna is acceptable according to Dictionary.com.  Weird, right?  Okay...on with the tutorial. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Birthday

Saturday was my birthday and even though I didn't throw an elaborately crafty party, I thought you might to see a bit of my day.

It started with a special delivery from my mom...

Thanks mom!
I wanted to take it kind of easy, so my boyfriend took me window shopping at all my favorite home decor stores.  We found this tiny party hat so I stopped for a photo op.

We went to see a movie and then we went to my favorite local Greek restaurant, Acropolis.

There was delicious food...


And, in Greek tradition, the breaking of plates to scare bad spirits away from our party.

Broken Plates
Next stop, home for cake!

My lovely boyfriend made and decorated this cake for me.  Awww. <3

I added extra animal toothpicks to my cake.
...and I invited a friend.  What?

And there were presents, of course.

This toaster pastry kit was my "little something" so I'd have a present to open on my actual birthday.  I got my real present from my boyfriend (a new sewing machine!) a few weeks ago. I also got some fabric store gift cards from my boyfriend and his family and a few cards with treasures in the mail from friends and family. Thanks everyone for making me feel so special on my birthday!

Even if it wasn't your birthday I hope you had a marvelous weekend!  :)  We'll be back to crafting soon, I promise.

Until then, opa! ;)

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