Friday, October 22, 2010

Flip- Flop Friday with Making the World Cuter

Hi everyone! I am way excited to be here at Scraps n Strings! These ladies have the cutest ideas! Speaking of cute...let me introduce my blog...
I have been married for nearly 9 years to one McDreamy lookalike, and have had 4 beautiful children with him...(our latest edition is not pictured here, as he is only 4 weeks old, and we have yet to get a decent family pic yet!)
We are students, and I like to save money, especially on kids toys. If I do spend money on them, I want them to last a long time. The best of both worlds is if I can spend very little money, make them myself and have them last a long long time!
One of my favorite projects is making blocks for my kids. Blocks are timeless, inspire imagination and help them with their motor skills. They make great gifts for baby showers and birthday parties and the best part-they are relatively inexpensive.

I have a tutorial for you here to make cuter blocks than anything you'll find in a store.
First your supplies...
You'll need modge podge, a couple different colors of paint, at least one sponge brush and wood. I like to have a couple different sizes so that I get a good variety of blocks-so I have a 2x4 and a 2x3.

Next you will need to pick out your stickers-these are Doodlebug Designs, and I used both sheets. A good set of blocks though, only needs about 10 different stickers, so keep your eyes open for something that your kids will love. My set ended up having well over 30-a bit much, but my kids LOVE blocks. Next cut out your stickers leaving the backs on, this will make it easier to measure the size of your blocks.Now take your stickers and place them on the wood, using a ruler or something else with a straight edge, mark the size you would like each block with a pencil, remembering to leave room for the saw blade and what will be taken off in the sanding process.
Then label each block with what sticker goes on it for reference later on, this is especially helpful if you are doing a lot of blocks.Then cut your wood...with a saw...unless you don't have a saw...
Then, I guess you could use a really sharp butter knife...:)
Then you have this.Then comes the tedious part.
The sanding.
First choose the sanding tool of your choice.I of course do not like to kick it old school, so the natural I had no choice was to sand by hand. I now have a belt sander, because of this project. But at the time of writing this tutorial I had to rely on a piece of sandpaper
Anyway back to the tutorial at hand...

Here are all the sanded beasts.As you can see I labled the table where I set the block after being sanded, because I sanded off some of the labels on the blocks, and I am about to cover the rest with paint.See? Depending on the color of your base coat, you might have to do two coats like I did.
Then you are going to let them dry before mixing your paint for the edges.For the edges you'll want to water your paint down a little bit, and you won't need very much paint for this step. Now paint the edges around your block, it's alright if it's a little messy.Get all the edges....Then take a napkin or a paper towel and wipe it off!Then you will have this distressed effect around your edges.I got a little messy on mine, and I like it, all the blocks are unique and I think look really cool.After you are all done with your edges, it's time to put the stickers on.
My kids helped me with this part, giving the animals food, coconuts in the trees, birds on the hippo's back (that's what they do mom, we saw it on Wonder Pets).Now we are onto the next tedious part.
Modge Podge.
These blocks take SEVERAL coats if you want to make sure the stickers actually become part of the block.
Which you do, right?

It's all worth it in the end though-you have a great set of blocks, that will last for years and years.
Your kids might even pass them down to their kids.
How fun is that?

Thanks so much ladies, it's been a blast taking over your blog for the day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spooky Caramel Apples

I'm just gonna say it. I don't do Halloween. I know. Don't hate me. I do costumes for my boys and we also do the whole trunk-or-treat thing, but as far as decorating and all of that goes, it just doesn't happen at my house. I'm lucky if I get Christmas up with my two little guys! But I do love caramel apples. I love them anytime of the year really. I decided that it would be a fun little gift for my hubs to give to his home teaching families.

So here are my caramel apples- SPOOKIFIED!!

To start out I melted a couple of bags of Caramel Bits. These things rock, no unwrapping involved. :) They can be found in the baking aisle with the chocolate chips.

And while I was waiting I stuck popsicle sticks into my apples. (I only had 5 so the rest I just stuck spoons in, and kept those for the kiddos to decorate.)

Melt the caramel until it's nice and smooth like this.

Then tip the pot so that all of the caramel goes to one side and roll the apples in. Then set them on a pan covered with wax paper that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. After they are all covered, stick your pan o' apples in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes, or until the caramel sets.

While your apples are setting, melt your chocolate with about 2 tbsp of cooking oil (I just used milk chocolate chips) and find a little something to dip the apples in. I used crushed peanuts but you can use crushed candy bars or leave them with just chocolate.

Take your apples out and dip those babies in the chocolate. Dip them immediately into your nuts or candy if you choose that route. Set them on a new piece of sprayed wax paper and throw them back in the fridge until the chocolate sets.
I don't have specific pics of the next steps, but I then took some Wilton Candy Melts in white, green, and black, and put them in separate ziplock bags. Microwave until melted and then cut off a small corner of each bag and let 'er rip.

Here are some that we came up with...

We used the peanuts as "dirt" and did some headstones with creepy letters

And a little ghostie coming out of the grave.

A silky spider web...

With its own little critter coming out

And, ah, Frank. Frank had a little bit of a rough life...

As you can see. But it all adds to the spook factor.

Then I stuck them in some cellophane bags, tied them up with some cute Halloween-y colored ribbons

And they're good to go!


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Dreamer Bag Sneak

Whipped up this little lady the other night. I meant to be able to enter it into Purse Week, but I wasn't completely happy with the results by the deadline. After a few adjustments I love it!

I absolutely adore this fabric and have been trying to decide what to do with it.

Love the cute rectangles connecting the straps...

And the personality that the gathered top brings...

Turned out just how I imagined it!

What do you think?

My mom and sister have decided that they want one so I will be working on a tutorial over the next few days with a couple of variation options. Hopefully I will be able to share it with you next week!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flip- Flop Friday with A Few of My Favorite Things

Thanks for having me today Ruth & Sammy!  A little intro:  I am Jessica and my blog is called "A Few of My Favorite Things."  I think the title pretty much sums up what my blog is about.  I love blogging about topics such as fashion, interior design, food, family, photography, and all the other little things that make life good.

 Please come stop by sometime :)

Now onto the project:

I hate buying cat food...not just because its another expense like toothpaste, but because we have to keep buying the small bags that cost twice as much as if you buy a BIG bag. I'm all about getting the cheapest deal possible. We buy the small bags because we live in a small apartment and there isn't any room to put the BIG bag.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I found a cute way to store a bigger bag of cat food:
*Hint: look at the very bottom of the picture

I didn't want to buy a bucket...ok I can't afford to spend $15 on one of those metal I used one of these:
I painted it with the interior premium paint sample that Glidden sent me for free a month or so ago...printed out "Kitty Food" in some cute font, mod podged it on there and voila:

An instant money and space saver. Makes me so happy...maybe not so much my cat since her food won't be as fresh anymore :(

She'll get over it :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I found this board at Ikea. It was a piece of shelving that they were selling in their miscellaneous stuff section. I liked the size of it and bought it with no idea what I was going to use it for. Then it got stuck behind my couch and I completely forgot about it. Until the other day. I was cleaning and found my dear old shelving piece and decided it was high time that I did something with it.
First thing I did was spray paint it this turquoise color. It's Krylon, I think New Ocean Breeze, or something like that.
Then I whipped out my cricut and cut about a million of these little flowers out of white vinyl. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little bit, but seriously, there were a ton of little flowers. The cartridge was the original that came with my machine. I think it is George and Basic Shapes.
And then I lined them up on my board where I thought they would look cute.
And peeled off the backing and began sticking them onto my board.
I wanted it to have a little something extra so I also cut the word CREATE out with my cricut and put that at the end of the board. When everything was finally stuck down I went over it with a thin layer of gloss mod podge to help seal everything down.
It had an ugly edging because it was meant to be a shelf, so I used some white 7/8" grosgrain ribbon and hot glued it around the edge.
And then folded the top over and hot glued it down.
When that was all done I used my Mod Podge Dimensional Magic and outlined each flower and then left it to dry overnight.
And now I have a fun little inspirational piece to hang out on my desk to help keep things pretty.
I think that I may actually end up using this for something else because I love it and I feel bad that it's stuck in my laundry room/office all day long. We'll see...

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