Sunday, March 18, 2012

Week 12 - Owl Earflap Hat

I came across this adorable hat a couple of months back but had no reason to try it out yet.  Well, my friend Samantha changed that this week when she asked me to make one for her daughter.

I have to admit that I was super excited to start a new project - it had been more than a month since I'd worked on any crocheted projects.  And this one was so much easier to do than I expected... I had it done in just a few short hours.

The design came from Inner Hooker, a wonderful site for purchasing some adorable patterns.  If you like to crochet, I highly recommend checking out the site.  The patterns are very affordable.

The colors I chose to use for this pattern were purchased at Michael's:
- Red Heart Soft worsted weight in Berry
- Loops & Threads Impeccable medium weight in Grass

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Week 8 - Tie the Knot Photo

I came across a beautiful idea on Pinterest for a "Tie the Knot" photo...  I decided to try it out at a wedding I shot this past weekend and love the final result.

The original photo link is no longer showing on my Pinterest board for whatever reason, but was actually done with twine.  I opted for ribbon since I didn't have any twine handy.  I tied the ribbon between two chairs and used the cloth hanging over the edges of the tables as my backdrop.  After editing out some unwanted shadows and throwing one of my favorite textures onto the shot, I had this final result.  The Bride and Groom love how it turned out - and I loved it so much it is now on my new business cards!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 8 - Eyebright Technique for Photoshop

I wondered how people always make eyes look so amazing in their photos.  I came across a pin that gave a step-by-step tutorial for Photoshop and decided to try it out. The original link can be found here on DeviantART - I still posted the tutorial below as well.  I followed the instructions and got the results above.  It's quick, simple, and one of many options I have ended up discovering as I've learned my way around Photoshop more and more.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Week 7 - Taco Bowls

This idea comes from Emily at EmilyBites - her instructions can be found here.  A few weeks ago I showed you our family's attempt at Crockpot Mexican Chicken.  When I came across this idea, I just knew that it would be a fun way to serve this up, as well as our other favorite southwest dishes.

You start by preheating your oven to 375F.  Next, sprinkle some water on both sides of your corn tortillas. Stack them on a plate and cover with another plate turned upside down.  Pop them in the microwave for about a minute or until warm.

To bake the tortillas, turn a 12-cup muffin tin upside down.  You will want to spray your tortillas lightly with some non-stick cooking spray.  Place them on your muffin tin as shown in the photo below.

The only thing left to do is to stick them in the oven for 8-10 minutes.  They don't get as crunchy as if you were frying them, but you could turn the broiler on for about 30 seconds to resolve that issue.

Fill with your favorite toppings and serve while still warm.  The kids absolutely loved them!!

Week 7 - Glittered Heels

Today's project was inspired by Geneva at A Pair and a Spare, as well as all of those glittery heels seen around on women's feet.  I am not a huge fan of heels - it has nothing to do with not liking to walk in them, but rather that I am not a fan of shoe shopping.  I know this may seem unbelievable since I am in fact a woman, but I have never been a big shopper of clothing and accessories anyway.

I have a pair of plain boring black pumps that really need some spicing up.  I decided to try this technique, doing only the heel itself rather than the entire shoe.

 Gather the supplies you'll need:  your heels of choice, glue (I had prepared to use Mod Podge but she recommended regular Elmer's ), and glitter.  If you want a more "polished" look, choose a fine glitter - regular craft glitter isn't going to look as nice when you're finished.
I started by attempting Geneva's use of the paintbrush and very quickly changed my mind.  It was taking forever and didn't seem to be working so well.  You can try the painting method if you want by simply mixing some glitter into your glue.  

Apply the glue and glitter mix to your shoe in the areas where you want it.  If you're planning to do the entire shoe, it would probably be better to work in sections, allowing each one to dry in between.

What you see in the photo was taken after I got frustrated with painting the mix on and used my finger instead. I used the glitter/glue mix I'd already made then just sprinkled on more glitter as needed.
The finished product turned out so great.  This is just a close-up, which actually looks better than the shot at the top - glitter tends to reflect light (duh!) so it almost looks as if there is still wet glue in the other shot.  I haven't worn my "new" heels yet, but I plan to do so very soon!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 7 - Bottle of Quotes

I came across the idea for the bottle of quotes back before Christmas.  My original plan was to put a quote in every day for a year then give it to my sweetheart on New Year's Day 2013.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot about it until about 3 weeks into January.  It was then that I decided I would make it a bottle of love quotes, one for every day of the year.

The original idea was posted on Craftster - you can find the link here.

The pictures are fairly self-explanatory so just follow along.  One note, if you're going to attempt this project, get an oversized wine bottle.  I was unable to fit all of them into the bottle so I refill it periodically as my hubby reads the quotes.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week 6 - Glittered Key

I hate how boring keys look.  I refuse to spend $4.00 or more for the decorative keys you can buy and have cut, especially when we're renting an apartment, so it's a key that I'll eventually have to give back to the landlord.  Needless to say I was excited to find this fun and simple way to decorate my house key.

I don't know where the original idea started since the pin I found went to nowhere, but I followed the instructions in the description and it worked.

The items I needed were simple:  my key, some Mod Podge, and glitter.  Apply Mod Podge all over the key, doing one side at a time.

There are two ways to apply the glitter.  You can apply it with a brush, or just sprinkle it onto the key.  For trial purposes, I tried both and using a brush was just a pain.

Be sure to apply a good coating of the glitter. Wait until the key is completely dry to shake off the excess.  Once dry, apply another coat of Mod Podge to act as a sealer.  Follow the instructions to complete both sides of the key and you're good to go - a pretty new personalized key.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 6 - Coffee Filter Roses

Ever since my daughter started school three years ago, we have always made homemade valentines rather than using store-bought ones for her classmates.  This year was no different.  I went through so many ideas in my head, but money was tight and it wasn't in the budget to do our original plan.  That meant searching for a back-up.

Then, a couple of days ago, I came across this pin for Coffee Filter Roses, originally posted on the Craftbits website.  Honestly, the instructions left a lot to be imagined.  It gave the basics for making the rose itself, but not really much in the way of finishing the rose.  I used my imagination, thinking back to a Girl Scouts craft we did, and got started.

I followed the instructions to make the rose, stacking three coffee filters on top of each other.  I folded each stack in half twice, then twisted at the bottom and secured it with masking tape (it seemed stronger for this craft than scotch tape).  Then I just used my fingers to separate the "petals" out, fluffing as I went to help achieve some fullness.

 The next step, in my book, was to form a stem.  Craftbits didn't give any information on how to do this.  I took a pipe cleaner, cut it in half, then wrapped one end around the taped section.
 Next I used some floral tape to secure the pipe cleaner to the rose itself.  I continued wrapping the pipe cleaner all the way down, then back up again, to give it some thickness and stiffness.

They were starting to look less like coffee filters now and more like roses.  

Next came the decorating. Craftbits suggested using some paint and a brush to color the roses.  I tried this, using both a wet brush and a dry brush.  I didn't like how either method turned out.

It was actually my husband who reminded me of a craft we did with our Girl Scouts Troop that was used to paint coffee filters. We used markers to color on the filters then sprayed them with water, watching the colors bleed together to form magical patterns.

We did a modified version of this, watering down some acrylic paint then dipping the rose into the paint, doing only the tips of the rose.
 We then placed the roses upside down on a piece of cardboard to allow time for the paint to bleed and dry thoroughly.

Some of the flowers had to be secured with a little more tape.  After doing a couple of test runs, I found that it was more effective to make the roses, then dip and dry, then attach and wrap the stems at the end.  

Daisha loved how the roses turned out and had a fun, unique valentine to present to her teacher and classmates.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week 6 - Crocheted Slouchy Hat

This was one of the first hat patterns I came across when I started learning to crochet.  I attempted it two different times before this and was unsuccessful.  As I sat watching one of the many awards shows on this time of year, I decided to make one final attempt.

The pattern was created by Julie at Gleeful Things.  The pattern actually calls for one skein of heavy weight yarn.  Since I didn't have any heavy weight yarn on hand, I opted to do a double strand of worsted weight yarn.  This hat was made with Red Heart Super Saver in Shaded Dusk.

If you're interested in making one of these for yourself, you can find the pattern here.  If you don't know how to crochet but would like one, you're welcome to pick up the yarn of your choice and I'll make you one.

The hat is super cute for all hair lengths, though it is tricky to put on if you want to do it without pulling your hair back into a ponytail first.

Week 5 - Crocheted Camera Strap Cover

I have come across all kinds of designs for DIY camera strap covers, all of which were sewn.  I have really been wanting to make one, but just don't have the money to go shopping for supplies right now. With a wedding and a family shoot both coming up within the next couple of weeks, I knew I needed to find something that was more comfortable.

One night I opened my email to find this pattern by Rachel at Maybe Matilda sitting there in all of its glory just calling my name.  I pulled over the leftover yarn from my daughter's Simple Kerchief since it's super soft and got to work.

This cover is removable since it's not crocheted around your strap, but let me just say that it is super tricky to get on since the ends are narrowed.  In the end, though, it is so much more comfortable to wear the strap now and is definitely worth the hassle.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Week 5 - Buffalo Chicken Bites

With the Super Bowl tomorrow, I knew I wanted to try something fun with the chicken tenders we had in the refrigerator.  I absolutely love buffalo wings and wanted something similar but not exactly like them.  I came across a link for these Buffalo Chicken Bites on the website What's Cookin', Chicago?

At first I was skeptical as to how they would taste since Joelen's bread seemed so simple.  It turned out delicious.  I will openly say that I had to make a couple of alterations to the recipe to suit my family - we left the blue cheese out completely, and I forgot to add the melted butter.  (I apologize for not having step-by-steps pictures like I normally would - I was in a hurry to get them done.)

Since my recipe wasn't exactly as hers, you can check it out on her website, but let me say that they were so yummy served up with some cold ranch dressing.  We'll be having leftovers for dinner while we watch the Big Game tomorrow night!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week 5 - Little Brimmed Hat

Of the crocheted hat patterns I've completed, the majority have been for little girls.  I recently came across an adorable newsboy-style brimmed hat that I knew had to be my first for boys.  The pattern came from Kristi at Knotty Knotty Crochet - you can find it here if you want to try one out for yourself.

I selected a variegated yarn from the Red Heart Super Saver line called Shaded Dusk.  I have not yet picked up any buttons to stitch on, but will be doing that soon.  I absolutely can not wait to try this on an adorable baby boy - I'd make one for my 3-year old if I thought he'd actually wear it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 5 - Crockpot Mexican Chicken

I went scanning Pinterest yesterday for something new to try out with chicken.  We eat a lot of chicken - it's good for you and we have a place where we get it cheap.  Unfortunately, it can get boring doing the same things with it over and over again. Before I'd gotten beyond my main page on Pinterest, I saw a recipe that a friend of mine had posted.

Mel from The Larson Lingo posted the recipe I selected for dinner.  On my hubby's way home, I had him stop to pick up the couple of ingredients we would need and didn't already have.  Here's what you'll need:

- Frozen Chicken Breasts (I had a family size pack of thighs that we used instead.)
- 1 block of cream cheese
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of whole kernal corn
- 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (We used the lime and cilantro ones.)
- whatever you want to serve them on or top them with (our choice was corn tortillas that we fried up and topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa)

Here's what you do (and what I did):
- Drain the beans, corn, and tomatoes.  Be sure they are drained thoroughly or this dish will end up soupy.
- Place your chicken in the slow cooker then top it with the cream cheese, beans, corn, and Rotel.  Since I knew we would need to remove the bones and skin from our chicken, I cooked it first on its own then put it all back in together once the chicken was done.
- Cook it on low 6-8 hours, stirring every couple of hours - mine only took about an hour to cook on high since the chicken was precooked.
- Turn the slow cooker off and allow the dish to set about 30-45 minutes.  This is essential since it will still be slightly soupy to begin with.  As it sits, it thickens up.
- Serve up and enjoy!!

Let me just say that the possibilities for this are endless.  Mel served hers over rice and on flour tortillas.  We served ours on corn tortillas that my hubby fried up.  The next morning, we even used some to mix in with some scrambled eggs, which was delicious!  If you have kids who are picky, don't let that discourage you.  Neither one of my children is a fan of black beans, nor am I, but my whole family ate this dish until every bite had been devoured.