Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tutorial: Switch-A-Roo Shoes (Part 3)

I'm jazzing up a simple pair of slippers with interchangeable embellishments.

Say that three times fast!

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, check those out for other fun ideas and a detailed explanation on prepping your shoes.

This time I decided to go with something a little eclectic.

1. The bottom layer is a simple loop of ribbon (my ribbon was 6" long). Naturally, I picked an animal print. Tack it in place down the center with a needle and thread.

2. To make the second layer, use a wired ribbon (mine was 9" long) and fold it in half. Use the fold to gauge where the middle is and create your center pleat.

3. Then fold two more pleats on either side.

4. With your needle and thread, tack the layers in place, being careful not to go through your top layer.

5. Stitch the two different ribbons to each other.

6. Hot glue a decorative button to the top.

7. Finally, attach your Velcro to the back and you're done!

One pair of plain mass-produced shoes became three totally unique and one-of-kind pairs of slippers!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

K is for Kisses

Do I have your attention? Chocolate does that.

A couple of months ago, my three year old and I began a Letter of the Week program with a twist: we don't go in alphabetical order.

He knows his ABCs so I let him pick whatever letter sparks his interest for the upcoming week. Getting to have a little say in his education makes him feel special.

Then I spend a few minutes jotting down ideas for activities we can do together that relate back to that letter. We practice writing the upper- and lower-case letter, play word games (clap when I say a word that begins with "O"), and look for our letter on businesses and signs while we're in the car.

The best part, though, is that we sit down together and think of a few people we know who's names start with our letter of choice and brainstorm simple ways we might serve them or brighten their day. We also make sure to include that person or those people during our daily prayers.

This has been a really nice way to help our little guy meet people at church he doesn't normally interact with and stay in touch with out-of-town relatives and friends.

Letter K was his pick for this week so we decided to take some Hershey's Kisses to Kristi.

He filled up the baggie. He may or may not have eaten one or two.

I may or may not have eaten one or two or three or four.

I wrote "K IS FOR KISSES" and he searched for the letters out of some foam stickers I had. He then peeled off the backs and stuck them to a piece of paper.

I quickly folded a piece of green scrapbook paper over the top and stapled it in place.

Here is what I typed up for the back.

Who wouldn't love a bag of chocolate delivered by a cute munchkin?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tutorial: Switch-A-Roo Shoes (Part 2)

If you read my earlier post, you know that I'm blingin' my shoes for fall. (Check it out here for detailed instructions on prepping your shoes.)

Because I wear a lot of turquoise, I wanted to incorporate my fave color into the next Switch-A-Roo project.

While many of you already know how to create these perfectly messy fabric rosettes, or cinnamon rolls, as I like to call them, some of you may be interested in learning.

It's a cinch and takes very little time. Mere minutes, in fact. 

I'm all about that.

Start with a strip of fabric for each rosette. My pieces were 3" by 20". 

Notice how messy it is: unironed, frayed edges. The shabby look is just right for this project.

Knot one end.

Twist the fabric as you roll it around the knot. 

Hand stitch the rolls together with stitches showing on the back only.

This hand-stitching is horrid. 

I'm okay with that.

My mother-in-law once told me that if someone examines your stitching too closely, she's not your real friend. Wise words.

Attach your Velcro to the back and you have a brand new pair of shoes!

I still have one more set of sassy embellishments to share with you.

In the meantime, enjoy your Tuesday afternoon!

Part 1
Part 3

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tutorial: Switch-A-Roo Shoes (Part 1)

Have you seen those switchable flip-flops? The decorations (bows, flowers, ribbon) on top can be changed out to match your outfit because it's attached with Velcro.

And I do love me a flip flop.

But with Labor Day having come and gone, I will say that I try to wear sandals less (not that I'm a stickler for that kind of thing).

Cooler weather = more closed-toe shoes = I don't have to paint my toenails as much. Or at all. Let the chips fall where they may.

I do love me a good pun, too.  And grammar.

So I came up with a variation for fall:

Switch-A-Roo Slippers

I love them so.

I may not to be able to afford a new pair of shoes for every outfit, but I can totally have a one-of-kind accessory for every pair of slippers.

And so can you...

1. Start with a simple pair of slippers.

2. Remove any existing embellishments.

3. You'll need Velcro; I used the sticky-back discs, but if you wanted to stitch the Velcro to the shoe (which I will probably do next time), then I would go with the non-adhesive kind.

4. Design your new accessories by asking your husband to watch the children while you root through the craft section at Wal-Mart. Or use what you have.

I picked these out of the jewelry-making aisle. They have a mother-of-pearl sheen to them that spoke to me. Are they kind of art deco? I'm not sure.

5. Attach the fuzzy dots to the embellishments and the coarser dots to the shoes. Or vice versa. It makes me no mind.

I opted to hot glue my Velcro to the shoes for extra reinforcement. As I mentioned earlier, next time I'll buy the non-adhesive dots and hand-sew them on.

Attach the other set of dots to your embellishment. There has to be another word for embellishment. Decoration? Goodie? I'll have to have a think on it.

Did you know I once taught English Language Arts to school children?

How cute would these be with some gray cords, a white cable knit sweater and a burberry plaid scarf?

Part 2
Part 3

You can find me link partying with:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spiced Chai Sugar Scrub

You must really love your scrubs! To better serve you, I am now offering a beautiful brand-new eBook, A Year of Sugar Scrubs, 24 Original Recipes for Hand and Foot Scrubs. It is organized by month and is loaded with delicious (never before seen) scrub recipes, like Caramel Frappe, Pina Colada, S'mores and more! Each recipe can be easily whipped up in your kitchen with common ingredients. I know you'll love it!

sugar scrub book cover

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is like a pedicure in a jar and makes a sweet little gift!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What To Do With An Egg Carton (Part 2)

We are game people, and our preschooler... how shall I say this? He follows suit. Heh.

But his little hands have a hard time holding several cards at once (like in "Go Fish"). They're slippery and he can't easily keep them organized.

So here's what we do.

I keep an egg carton stashed in the game closet and it's ready anytime he wants to play.

I believe this was a Family Fun reader idea, but whoever came up with it is a genius!

My boy thanks you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baby Snuggler

In January of 2007, I was huge and pregnant and could barely move and a friend gave me a baby shower present. It was a long striped sock, knotted at the end, and filled with rice. She included directions that said something like:

Microwave for 1 minute and contour around baby's side.

I'm not too proud to admit that I then knew nothing of the sleep deprivation we would soon be suffering and I tossed that sucker aside to ooh and aah over blue gingham Sunday suits with matching hats and booties.

Our baby arrived and I relished our evenings. We'd rock and sing lullabies and snuggle and he would look up at me and say "Goo." Sweet baby. Then I'd kiss his cherub cheeks and gladly hold him for hours after he drifted to sleep before placing him in his bed.

Well, it didn't take long for our little sugar baby to wrap me around his finger.

He wanted to be held. Period. The minute I put him in the crib, those beautiful brown eyes popped wide open and he would scream. Oh how he'd scream. Nothing but mama's arms would do.

After weeks of this and at our wit's end, I remembered The Sock. We tried it--desperate for anything--it worked and the angels sang. I sang. We all sang (but at a whisper because if anyone woke up that baby, there would be pain involved.

Let me tell you, that thing became our best friend.

When Number 2 arrived this past summer, we were ready. And The Sock didn't let us down.

I would never complain about that perfect invention... it's just that, well, the color. It happened to be a rather feminine blend of hot pink and lavender. Not so manly for our boys.

So today I decided that we were ready. It was time to provide an alternative to the beautiful and functional, though ladylike, Sock.

And here's the simple-dee-dimple creation I whipped out in all of 10 minutes. Why hadn't I done it sooner?

I have affectionately named this The Baby Snuggler.

My baby likes it. I smile.

I repurposed a flannel blanket by cutting a piece that measured 12" x 36". 

Fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together. 

Stitch the long side and one short end together, leaving one end open for filling. 

Fill with rice. You'll need a lot. I bought a 5 pound bag and used nearly all of it. Don't fill the bag too full, though, because you'll want it to be soft, not tight, and bendable. 

It has to fit into the microwave after all. 

Tuck the open end under and stitch shut.

Wouldn't this and a matching blanket make a great baby gift? Be sure to include a note that more thoroughly explains that this is not just a rice bag. It's almost heaven-sent.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tutorial: C-U-T-E (And Easy) Autumn Wreath

Autumn is officially here! Bring on the cooler temps.

My mom and I recently made a fun little trip "into town" and wandered purposefully shopped through the craft store for about an hour.

When do I get to do that?! It was awesome!

Having recently seen this at Craftaholics Anonymous, we were inspired to create our own burlap tie wreaths for autumn.

Here's what I came up with:

I love, love, love how it turned out!

Want to make your own?

You'll need:
  • a wire wreath form
  • 1-1/3 yards of burlap in various fall colors. (I bought 1/3 yard in 5 colors, but ended up with a lot left over. I recommend doing 1/3 yard in 4 colors.)
  • a wooden letter or word (My mom used a pre-cut WELCOME sign and it looked precious.)
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge and a paintbrush
  • an exacto knife or scissors

Trace your letter and cut it out. 

Then paint the Mod Podge on your wooden letter and carefully place the paper cut-out on top, lining up the edges.

Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge on top and set aside to dry.

Cut the burlap into strips that are about 2" wide and about 12-15" long. Please don't stress about making these perfect. The messier, the better.

Start tying. Try to tie the left side over the right and the right side over the left to add poof.

Tightly pull the knot and twist the strips into different directions so they look random.

Tie on your adorable little letter.

Leopard print, I love you and I want you in my life more. Like on some shoes.

And there you have it. My door never looked so good. (This is actually my mom's door, but you know what I mean.)

Make this over the weekend. It's quick and fun. You'll be so glad you did.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What To Do With An Egg Carton (Part 1)

Rainy weather + a three year old = creative mama.

This is one of those games that was born out of necessity one day when we couldn't go burn all of that extra energy off outside but I (really) needed a project that would keep my boy's interest for more than a few seconds. 

He totally loves "playing beads" and I love that he is polishing up on colors and sorting.

I find it to be therapeutic for me as well. Maybe I should pull the old beads out more often!

Normally we save this one for a rainy day--and we've had plenty of those lately--but the sun was out for a bit and we decided to take it outside.

Vitamin D. I needed it.

You'll start with a package of colorful beads. Dump them out. Aren't they pretty?

Using glue dots, attach a bead of each color to the inside rim of the egg carton's sections. This will guide your little one as he sorts.

Don't forget the bandana.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I love the changing seasons.

I would love them even more if I lived in a part of the country where we experienced more of a change than hot, hotter and occasionally rainy.

I dream of turning the AC off (maybe even turning on that heater!) and sitting around a campfire on a chilly night.

And there are no mosquitoes in that fantasy. None. Whatsoever.

In honor of fall--it's coming up on Thursday--my oldest boy and I made a tasty little treat.

He named them "punkin-tillas." I love that.

These little yummies taste like pumpkin pie and are a snap to make.

Punch pumpkins out of tortillas using a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and line them up on a greased cookie sheet.

Brush melted butter on top. We used a BBQ basting brush 'cause we're fancy like that.

Sprinkle with sugar (I used raw; it's what was in the pantry and it gave the pumpkins a nice caramel color), cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

Pop 'em in the oven, under the broiler, for just a minute or two until they're nice and crisp and the sugar is beginning to caramelize. But don't take your eye off of them--they burn quickly!

Serve with a big dollop of whipped cream and dig in. These little cuties won't last. 

So long, summer!