Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Link List: the Easter edition

Welcome to another holiday edition of my link list!  Can you believe that Easter is only a little more than a week away?

If you haven't already checked out my Easter articles, here they are again:

Of course I've been pinning some additional ideas on my Easter 2012 Pinterest board, too.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

This printable is available in three different colors.

In case anyone missed this awesome tutorial from Duni.

Again, you can check out the entire board right here.  Have fun with all of your Easter projects this year!

Create your own link list and grab a button for your post or simply spread the word on your blog.

Saturday Link List

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Saturday Link List

Did you use one of the projects from my link list? Leave me a link in the comments or send me an e-mail ( with your photos and stories. I would love to post them here.

Stay tuned next week for a brand new set of April recipes!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Feature: Easter cards

Thanks so much to everyone who linked up with me this past week for my Friday Feature link up!  Here are just a few of the great finds that were featured.  Click on the photos to check out the item listings, blog posts, etc.

It isn't too late to pick up an Easter card to send this year.  Check out these great picks on Etsy.

Funny Easter Card, "Sorry, I ate your chocolate" - little bell by stuffannaloves

Easter Card with Watercolored Roses by glassymountain

Shabby Chic Easter Card by fansydesigns

Easter card in classic blue and white fabric.  Porcelain pattern.  Chinoiserie pattern with cream lace.  Christian.  Religious. by BinkieBeeCreations

EASTER BLESSINGS Handmade Hand Stamped Card With Cross in Blue by MissBehavinTrio

Handmade Easter Card by stephanieh02

Easter Card, Rainbow by ArtisanPost

I don't like to make a lot of rules for my link ups, but if you link up, please visit and comment on at least one other post.  Thanks!  

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Friday Feature

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Friday Feature

Where else I linked up today:

Stepping Up My Gardening With Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Jake and I moved into our house in mid-June 2011.  Everything was already blooming then, and we weren't too motivated to do a lot of other gardening right away, as we had a lot of other little home projects that were a higher priority.

Front Bushes

Spring Flowers

We are very fortunate to have some beautiful plants and flowers coming up already on our property this spring.  However, over the next few months, we'd like to add more.  We don't have any vegetable plants and would love to grow some herbs, too.  It would be helpful to have Expand ‘n Gro™ to assist us with this process.

I will be receiving my sample of Expand 'n Gro in the mail within the next few weeks.  The benefits of it include:

  • Significantly improving the soil quality for many years to come
  • Producing up to 3 times the flowers and vegetables that native soil produces
  • Feeding for up to 6 months
  • The concentrated planting mix will expand up to 3 times when water is added
  • All natural fibers hold 50% or more water than basic potting soil does
  • Provides an easy prep method for both spring and summer gardening seasons

EnG Product Shot.png

I look forward to receiving the sample and will report back about any and all results that I get with it.  If you'd like to try it for yourself, it's available at most garden and lawn retailers in the Northeast, Midwest, and Texas.  You can visit for store availability information.  Check for additional options as well.


Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, March 29, 2012

a brand new bangle purple!

I know that I'll get questions about this so I'll put this out there now.  I did not make my coasters, wedding art, and bangle this past week.  I simply got them all up on my blog this past week.  I have actually spent most of my creative energy this past week on a time-consuming customer order and spread out these other projects over the past month.

The April EBW Challenge theme is Seed Beads Only.  As part of the EBW mod team, we had a difficult time putting out a definition of the term "seed bead" and what the perimeters for the challenge would be.  This would seem like the most straight forward theme ever, but there were a lot of questions about whether non-beaded clasps would be allowed and what shapes and sizes of seed beads could be used.  I will spare you all the details, but suffice it to say, that I was pretty happy with the final decisions and decided that I did want to participate.

I have moved away from using beaded bead clasps for bracelets, as customers have really preferred button and metal clasps.  Since neither of these options are allowed, I opted for a bangle.  All of my bangles thus far have been based one of the most standard bangle designs out there.  I decided it was time to break way from that and do something new.

One of the final stipulations is that 20% or less of the final design can be non-round seed bead shapes (hexagons, triangles, cubes, etc.).  Yep, this involved doing some math before I started beading.  I thought that some would be interested to learn that the final piece has over 1,500 seed beads.

This is a variation of my skinny wrapped peyote design.  I had wanted to make a purple version of this design for a while and decided to convert it to a bangle.  I've always used right angle weave for bangles.  For those of you who beadweave, you know how easily it converts to a bangle.  I honestly didn't know how peyote would go.  It is not as flawless, but it's pretty good.  I chose to complete all of the wrapped embellishment before I joined the two ends, as I didn't know if the beadwork would allow the design to flip or not.  It turns out that it is flexible enough to flip so if I do this again, I may join the cube base, which will make the bangle conversion more flawless.

As always, it was really hard to put together a well blended purple combination and photograph is accurately.  Bangles are not my favorite type of jewelry to photograph anyway, but I'm fairly pleased with the result.  Purple continues to be a very popular color combination so it's well worth the effort.

This piece is available for sale here.  Voting for the April challenge will take place on the EBW blog April 9-15.  Check back here that week for all of the voting information.

Have you been working on any new designs lately?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

continued adventures with Mod Podge: a DIY wedding gift

Some of you may remember that I attended a bridal shower and bachelorette party earlier this month.  I was originally planning to give the couple one of Edi's custom engraved frames at the shower and make something later this spring for the wedding.  But I got inspired to get something made for the shower and will save the frame for the wedding.

Here we are with the couple back at our wedding.  Maks was in our wedding party, and Amanda was a huge help at the reception.  We've been friends with them for a long time now and felt like we needed give them some special wedding presents.

A few insights about this project:
  • I completed this before I made my coasters and had not yet learned how to keep the words from smearing.  The effect is pretty minimal and if you aren't a perfectionist like me, you won't even notice.
  • It's important to layer your paper and buttons in stages so that you can make touch ups as needed before adding more.
  • The buttons on the wreath added a lot.  I love having this dimensional effect.
  • It is really hard to apply Mod Podge evenly over the buttons.  It definitely requires some patience.
  • I have no idea why the canvas warped so much in the middle.  That is really my biggest frustration with this piece.  I glued the word mattes with scrapbook glue and applied thin layers of Mod Podge to adhere and seal them as you normally would.  Any insights on this would be appeciated.
  • I have made several projects with Mod Podge this month.  I know so many people who rave about it endlessly.  I am still not entirely sure that I'm convinced.  Am I the only one?  Maybe I just need more practice.
  • Aside from the basic wreath shape, I had no idea how I was going to put the words and buttons together for this until I had glued most of the wreath and am really happy how the final result came together.
  • Amanda was really pleased with it so that made me feel even better about the result.
I have not put together any more button wall art pieces yet, but I bought a bulk set of these 12x12 canvases.  I would like to add a few more similar pieces to my show inventory.  I love to make jewelry and don't have any problem getting sales at shows because my work is unique.  However, there is still the reality that there are simply more jewelry vendors than spots at most shows.  The more I can do to set myself apart, the better.  The button theme will obviously still tie in very well with my current inventory.

What designs, quotes, color combinations, etc. would you like to see for these kind of pieces?

I am happy to create custom work like this one, but I'd like to have some general ones people can purchase and take with them, too.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

a new turquoise and red project for my birthday

Happy birthday to me today!

When were were first signing up for BBA Challenges in October, I quickly picked March and chose the turquoise/red theme.  I'm sure that most of you know how much I like this color combination, and I was curious to see what others would do with it.  I originally intended to make some turquoise/red birthday cards in honor of my own birthday for my entry but got interested in some other ideas instead.  When I picked up my canvases and other new supplies a few weeks ago, I got some tiles to make coasters and on a whim, settled on this as my turquoise/red project.

My Own Two Cents on Tile Coasters

There are a number of tile coaster tutorials floating around online.  If you spend any time on Pinterest, you've probably seen at least one or two.  I did not invent this idea.  However, I did a couple unique things for my set so I'll provide a brief step by step here, sans photos.

Supply List
  • Four 4x4 ceramic tiles (available at hardware stores)
  • Patterns and/or plain card stock and scrapbook papers of your choosing
  • Paper cutter for cutting the initial card stock backing and other paper details
  • Scrapbook glue (I use a 3M kind that I get at Michael's)
  • Any paper punches, embellishments, etc. that you'd like to use.
  • All purpose matte or glossy Mod Podge (I used matte)
  • Matte or glossy spray acrylic (I used Krylon brand with a matte finish)
  • Cork or felt feet (16 total...I used cupboard protectors, but there a number of options for this)
  • Tacky glue for attaching the feet
  • One small foam brush
  1. Wipe down your tiles with a wet cloth to remove any dust.  Let them dry.
  2. Cut the card stock backings for your coasters.  I chose to cut them just under 4"x4" so there would be a little room on each side.  This is entirely up to you.
  3. Cut, assemble, and glue the words, shapes, embellishments, etc. for your coasters.  Complete all of this gluing with scrapbook glue, NOT Mod Podge, to reduce warping.  I also glue in layers to reduce warping.  For example, I glued the dots and stamped leaves on the edges of the words after the words layer had dried.  Let the paper dry before proceeding.  The 3M scrapbook glue dries within 10 minutes.
  4. With your foam brush, apply an even, thin layer of Mod Podge on the back of each piece of card stock.  Press each one firmly and evenly on the ceramic tiles.  Work out air bubbles and touch up with more glue as needed.  Let dry.
  5. The trick I learned for my particular process was to apply a layer of spray acrylic before applying Mod Podge on the top to prevent the words from smearing.  If you use any kind of laser/ink jet printed text or photos, I highly recommend doing this.  Follow the instructions on the spray acrylic and apply this layer.  Let dry.
  6. With your foam brush, apply an even layer of Mod Podge over the entire top of each coaster.  It's up to you how thick you want to apply the glue.  I applied two layers.  If you choose to use multiple layers, allow the glue to dry between each one and afterward.
  7. When the glue has dried, apply at least one coat of spray acrylic.  I applied two layers.  Again, allow for drying time in between layers and afterward.
  8. Use the tacky glue to apply your cork or felt feet to each coaster.  Let dry.
My Finished Coasters
I chose to use a different design and quote for each coaster.  I know that I'll get questions about the quotes so I'm providing a little explanation for each one.
"I know that there is nothing perfect..." is from an Everclear song called Learning How to Smile that Jake and I decided was our song sometime back in 2002 or 2003.  It's about staying together and learning how to make things work through the good times and the bad times.
"It wasn't boring..." is from the movie High Fidelity, when Rob is talking about his relationship with Laura.  I think that this quote is an amazing description of a great relationship.  High Fidelity is also one of my favorite movies.

"If we make it through this..." is from another Everclear song with a similar message to Learning How to Smile.  It's from an album that our best man got autographed for us and gave to us for our wedding.
"Plant palm trees..." is on a total different topic but is still one of my favorite lines.  This quote is from a Fall Out Boy song that was released when we were still living in Iowa.  One of the things that I missed in Iowa was living near Lake Michigan.

I'm sure it's not a surprise that this design is very "me" and that I loved playing around with the different designs for each coaster.  The consistent color scheme still tied everything together nicely.

If you're looking for a relatively simple, inexpensive gift idea, these are a great option.  There are a lot of materials required, but I know that many of you who craft regularly have a lot of these materials on hand.  The more expensive materials on the list such as the spray acrylic will last for many many projects.

Check out the other turquoise/red BBA challenge creations right here.

Do you enjoy this color combination?  If so, have you created anything with it recently?

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I included this post in Michelle's Delicately Constructed Friday - 3/30/2012 and Erika's It's a Wrap Link Party - 4/2/2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Scavenger Hunt and I Heart Macro on Monday

Welcome to another edition of the photo Scavenger Hunt and I Heart Macro!  Enjoy!

1) Whimsy
People tell me how whimsical buttons are all the time.  I thought that green would be a good color to highlight this time of year.

2) Create
This is a sneak peak of my newest custom order so my customer could decide if she liked that button design for the clasp.  (She did.)

3) Dust
I didn't think that anyone wanted to see any of the dust accumulation in our house.  This is a little bit of the crumbling that we have on our front steps, thanks to the salt and ice from the winter.  Fixing that is on the "to do" list.

4) Seed or Sprout
The bushes in front of our house are starting to sprout.

5) Swing or Drop
Honestly I thought that this theme was a little odd and have no idea what the intended possibilities were.  If you click to see the larger version of this photo, you'll see some of the rain drop detail a little more clearly.

Check out Ashley's blog to see what other people submitted for the themes this week.

Here's my shot for I Heart Macro.
This is my newest EBW challenge piece.  It's available here.  I'll have more details and photos about it here later this week.

studio waterstone

Where else I linked up today: