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It’s Graduation Thyme!


It is finally here, after 7 long years of dedicated studies I am finally graduating with my BSN degree! I must apologize for the lack of posting this semester, my mother’s mantra still rings in my head, “studies come first,” and so, blogging has taken a back seat. However, with graduation less than a week away I wanted to share with you a few images from my graduation celebration wishlist.

The following are ideas I’ve combined to make a Graduation Thyme Garden Party Celebration come to life. I hope these ideas spark your creativity as you prepare for your own graduation celebrations in the coming weeks.

Minted garden party invitations Garden Party Invitations via Minted

Herb Favor Bags Herb Favor Bags via Move Nourish Believe

Garden Party Tablescape The Tablescape via HeatherBullard.com

Brioche, Peaches, Thyme garden party treat Brioche, Peaches and Thyme via Bayaderka

Good Ideas for You summer garden party ideas Flowers and Paper Bags via Good Ideas For You

Onto Baby Vintage Couples Shower Juice Bar (but add champagne for a mimosa bar) via Onto Baby

Thyme garden party decor Drying Thyme via French Larkspur

Berry Tart Berry Tarts via Belonika


Diaper Burp Cloths DIY


It’s springtime here in Tennessee and I could not be more pleased!

Here are a few of my favorite things about Spring:
1.) Dew on the grass every morning
2.) Sunshine and blue skies
3.) Tiny flower buds sprouting up through the ground
4.) Planting my garden
5.) Grilling out

This spring, like many before, has already been filled with a plethora of baby showers (all boys). I always know spring is coming when the baby shower invitations begin to roll in. In the past 2 weeks I have had 4 baby showers to attend and I must say, this quickly exhausts my creative abilities and available time trying to come up with something cute and unique for each person.

diaper burp cloth; diy

This year I’ve decided to try out the famous redesigned diaper burp cloths. I always like this idea but up until a few weeks ago had never actually tried my hand at crafting these sweet gifts.

diaper burp cloth; diy

I purchased a couple packs of pre-folded cloth diapers from osocozy.com. They also have flat diapers if you prefer the shape. I found that the pre-folded diapers provide clean lines to measure & match to my printed fabric. Next I purchased a fairly inexpensive pack of three receiving blankets, also pre-folded.

diaper burp cloth; diy

The three sections made by the folds in the receiving blanket perfectly matched the width of the three sections on my diapers. This made it simple to cut three strips out of the receiving blankets and place one in the center strip of the diaper. Once in place, I folded under the edges of the receiving blanket and pinned in place.

diaper burp cloth; diy

Next I chose a fancy hem design from my sewing machine and sewed around the edges of the receiving blanket fabric, making sure half of the stitch was on the blanket and half off as I stitched around.

diaper burp cloth; diy

That’s it! If you cut all our strips first then place, fold and pin all together, then sew all together, you can whip up about 6 of these in less than 1 hour.

diaper burp cloth; diy

All in all I was very pleased with this project and look forward to trying more variations in the future.

diaper burp cloths, diy


Sailor Baby Shower


A couple weekends ago, I had the pleasure of helping out with baby shower decorations for my sweet friend Jane. Her and the hubster are expecting their first child in the next few weeks. My friend Kristin and I decided to broaden the trendy whale baby shower theme to a sailor baby shower. Instead of cutesy whales, we went with boyish flags in bold colors and homemade life preservers.

Sailor Shower; baby shower

Kristin found these awesome nautical signal flag patterns at PurlBee: Laura’s Loop. The ones on the site are napkins, ours were simply flags made out of felt squares. To assemble, we cut strips of felt and hot glued them onto larger blocks of felt, making a flag for each letter of the alphabet. The life preservers are from a picture Kristin found on Pinterest. Unfortunately there was not a usable link to share with you. To assemble we used 2 foam rings, cut them in half to make 4 rings and wrapped white and red streamers around them to make little life preservers. Linda from Aunt Willie’s Wildflowers brought the daffodils in blue vases to place in the center of the life preservers.

sailor shower; baby shower; paper boats

I found the adorable origami paper boats at I Love This and That. I used colored printer paper and cardstock instead of the vellum and cut my paper to 5×7.5in. I would recommend using paper no thicker than printer paper, the cardstock boats were a bit more difficult to fold once you get to the last steps.

The food selection consisted of a beautiful,colorful & tasty salad bar.

salad bar; baby shower; sailor theme

And, of course, what baby shower is complete without the mother-to-be and all her friends and family.

baby shower; sailor theme


Dolls & Daylight


Lately in our little corner of the world, we’ve been catching tiny glimpses of spring. While parts of our country are still trudging through a constant flurry of snowflakes and torrents of rain, here in Tennessee we are seeing longer, brighter days as the sunshine makes an early debut. All I can say is it has been glorious!

DollsandDaylight (4)

The other day, I received my West Elm catalog in the mail. If you haven’t discovered West Elm you should head over to their website for a peak at hundreds of lovely home decorating ideas. When I opened the front page, I was met with this image of bright, cheery, sunshiney goodness.

DollsandDaylight (5)

It made my day and only affirmed what I’ve known in my heart these past few days, spring really is coming!

In the few moments of spare time I’ve had lately, I’ve been working on a trial doll project for my niece’s birthday. I recently finished my doll’s body and thought I would share the results. I have seen many doll patterns floating around the internet but they all seemed too complicated to attempt until I found this Black Apple Doll pattern on Martha Stewart’s website.

fabric doll pattern

The pattern is from Emily Martin who is well-known from her Etsy shop, The Black Apple (be sure to check out her blog too). I am also working on a few clothing items to fit the doll–a hat, scarf, dress, apron, etc. As you can see, Ms. Dolly has no face yet, I can’t seem to decide what type of face she should have but will be sure to post pictures when I do.

fabric doll pattern

I am also working on backdrops to fit into a suitcase so Ms. Dolly has a home of her own. Check out these wonderfully creative doll suitcases at Hart & Sew.

Fabric doll pattern


Guest Post: DIY Lace Sleeve Sweatshirt


Hello Friends! Jack and I are working hard to wrap up this last semester of school which, unfortunately, means very little time to share fun projects with you. Luckily, I have a wonderfully talented and creative friend (Kira) who was willing to help me out with posting. Kira and her husband are both incredibly talented photographers based in Oregon. Head over to her website for a peek at her work. Today Kira is sharing a super easy and fun lace sweatshirt DIY. Enjoy!

libraryandlace-3153

So excited to share this super easy DIY with all you lovely Sweet Peonies readers!

Every winter, just before spring, I always seems to pick up Pride and Prejudice and read it through in a week. I don’t really re-read books, except for this one. It’s lovely. And comforting. And it inspired me to add a little more lace to my wardrobe and tea to my afternoons.

libraryandlace-1

Inspired by this little pin on Pinterest, I scored this $3 sweatshirt  (at Walmart) and some lace and went to work. I really LOVE how it turned out. Super simple and pretty much no sewing skills required (I literally followed the directions in the Pinterest caption). And very cozy. Perfect for reading.

One of my favorite spots to read is the local Public Library. It is so peaceful and has so many gorgeous windows that the place is always flooded with light, even when it’s dark and rainy like today.

libraryandlace-3155

Do you ever find yourself coming back to a certain book? Do tell!

{Thanks to my husband Matt for taking these photos during his study break. Straight up gentleman that one.}

libraryandlace-3196


5 Beautiful Blogs


Happy Friday! Today I’d like to take a moment to share with you five beautiful blogs & websites that I just can’t get enough of. These are my daily go to blogs for inspiration and an overall feeling of goodness. Check them out and be sure to spread a little love their way.

KinfolkMag: A photographic/journal-style blog that provides casual entertainment ideas. They put out a beautiful magazine that is available for purchase on the site and also have a Journal site as well as galleries of their various events.

Kinfolkjournal

My Ideal Home: A beautifully crafted tumblr page filled with awe-inspiring architecture, design, and decorating elements.

myidealhome

Sunday Suppers: Beautifully staged photographs and details of class-cooking-dining experiences, pairing friends and food. Classes are held in a waterfront loft in Brooklyn, NY and are taught by local Chefs. The food is market fresh, local and organic and the approach is to create seasonal and fresh meals together.

Sunday-Suppers

Treasures and Travels: Hosted by the two girls behind the online shop, Kalos which sells handmade jewelry and vintage clothing. They post about anything and everything they see, love, wear, etc.

TreasureandTravels

Tiny White Daisies: Beautiful photography is king at this tumblr page. The photographs range from nature, to architecture, to everyday sightings. A must see sight for beautiful finds.

tinywhitedaisies

Happy browsing!


Etsy: Valentine’s Day Hair Accessories


Can you believe it is already February? January was busy and cold and gone as quickly as it came. Since February is now here that means Valentine’s day is quickly approaching. I always liked Valentine’s day. I mean of course you should celebrate those you love everyday but having a national holiday dedicated to showing your loved ones how much they mean to you, how fun!

Valentine's Day Bobby Pins (1)

I wanted to throw together some sweet little hair accessories for my niece this Valentine’s Day and decided to make a few extra to put in the shop, SweetLittlePeonies. If you are looking for small treats for your little ones this Valentine’s day, consider checking out these simple and sweet petal heart bobby pins. And of course, whatever you do and whomever you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day with, I hope your day is filled with joy and laughter and time spent with those you love most and who love you.

Valentine's Day Bobby Pins (4)

Valentine's Day Bobby Pins (6)

Valentine's Day Bobby Pins (8)

Valentine's Day Bobby Pins (9)



Kitchen Shelving Transformation: Country Chic


Kitchen Shelving

I’ve had a bit of a nesting bug lately. It seems every Christmas break I feel the need to stock up on home projects, sewing, painting, etc. This past weekend I decided to finally paint the cheap bookshelf that has been serving as extra pantry storage in my kitchen. I have a light, unfinished wood shelf on the opposite side of the kitchen so I wanted a light color for this shelf as well to keep a small space looking as open, light and roomy as possible.

BEFORE:

Kitchen Shelving Transformation: Country Chic

AFTER:

Painted Kitchen Shelving

Like I said, this was a very cheap bookshelf, the kind with the veneer covering, not real wood. I was worried I wouldn’t really be able to paint over this material but I used a primer/paint mix and although I did have to use multiple coats, it covered quite well.

If I were to paint this material again I would probably use a spray primer so it would cover without the brush strokes. I think this would allow better overall coverage and would also be less expensive than the primer/paint variety.

Painted Kitchen Shelving

The baskets hold our bread, potatoes and onions since we tend to buy those in bulk. This is also a convenient way to showcase some of my favorite serving pieces without actually having to have a dinner party.

Materials:
Primer/paint(1 qt.) from Home Depot-$14.98
Wood Baskets from Michael’s-$3.00
Mercury Votives from Target-$2.99



Christmas Gift Wrap


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our home and that means it’s time for one my favorite tasks-wrapping presents. Yay!

Christmas Gift Wrap

This year, I found beautiful gold & red shiny gift wrap from TJ Maxx for $3. Although the gift wrap was much fancier than my typical gift wrap, I wanted to incorporate some of the simple touches that I have used in the past. I chose cards that were made of simple recycled brown cardstock and wrapped each gift in twine.

Christmas Gift Wrap

These gifts look quite stunning under the tree this year and will hopefully be well received by friends and family.


Baby’s StoryTime Quilt


A couple weekends ago I attended a baby shower for the most stylish mom-to-be I have ever known. Seriously, she’s so classy I wish I was her. Anyways, the invitation I received asked if I would contribute a children’s book for story time, I decided to continue the story time theme and also make her baby girl this pretty quilt to snuggle into while mom reads her favorite tales.

This little quilt was very simple as it was my first and didn’t take much time to piece together as I stuck with simple strips instead of squares. I cut 2 pieces of fabric the size of my large rubber cutting mat (a simple and easy measurement to make). I also cut one piece of batting the same size. Next I took one of the pieces of fabric and cut it into 4-1/2 in. strips.

Once all my cutting was complete, I placed two strips together, right sides facing each other and sewed up the one long side, 1/4 in. from the edge. I unfolded those two strips and aligned a third strip next to the second strip, once again with right sides facing each other and sewed 1/4 in. in from the edge. Now unfolded, I have three connected strips of fabric. Continue to join strips until all are combined into one piece. Iron flat.

Place a piece of batting on the wrong side of the pieced together square of fabric. Pin together. Now sew along the lines that join each individual strip of fabric. This is how we are going to get a quilted look (see below).

batting sew lines

Once you have sewn down all the lines, lay the untouched piece of fabric (the back piece with no stitching) right side up, then place the pieced-together fabric with batting right side down (batting up). So the batting is on top, attached to the wrong side of the front of the quilt and the right side of the front of the quilt is facing down and touching the right side of the back of the quilt. Confused yet?

Now pin the pieces together. Your top piece will most likely be a bit smaller than the other two pieces so once pinned, take your rotary cutter and trim the edges to match the size of the top piece. Now comes the sewing. Sew around all 4 edges of the fabric pieces, leaving a 4-5 in. opening on one of the long sides. Make sure you capture all the layers as you sew around the quilt.

Now, reach into the opening and pull the opposite corners through the slit, essentially turning your blanket inside out or in reality, right side out. Once this is done. Iron all the edges and iron under the small section that was left open. Sew a 1/4 in. from the edge all the way around the blanket making sure to catch the fabric at the opening in your sew line (see below).

quilted edges

That’s it. You should now have a very sweet little baby quilt. Now that you have the general idea you can make another attempt and add ribbon along the edges, switch up the fabric strip patterns and textures, or switch to squares instead of strips. Good luck!


Men’s Shirt Refashion + Farmer’s Market


I think the best thing about Summer and Saturdays is the Farmer’s Market. I don’t know if there is a better excuse for waking up early on the weekend. This weekend, Kristin and I manned the Aunt Willie’s Wildflower station at the Kingsport market and had such a great morning.

I think she was a bit more awake than I was at this point. We’ve also started taking instagram photos of our last year together so here’s a look at that one too.

The shirt I am wearing in these pictures takes me to my next topic of discussion–clothing refashions.

Some of our friends were thinning out their closets last week. I peeked into one of the bags destined for the college “share closet” and stole this men’s dress shirt. Of course, when I tried the shirt on it was incredibly long with sleeves that extended about 8 inches past my hands plus oodles of growing room under the arms and around my middle (sorry, no before pics that are worth showing you). Here is a quick and dirty tutorial to give you an idea of how easy it is to take in a shirt.

To start, I buttoned the shirt and turned it inside out. Next, I lined up the front and back pieces, set my sewing machine needle in 2 inches from the original sew lines (or however much you need it to go in) and followed the shape of the original line down the shirt sides. Where the original line curves for shape (which is very little for men), I exaggerated the curve so it would hug in the right places (think man shape vs. woman).

For the sleeves, I followed the same guidelines as above, moving my needle in from the original sew line and continuing to sew up the arm, around the armpit and connecting it to the line I sewed down the shirt sides.

Next, I cut the sleeves at the elbow, folded a cuff and sewed it in place.

Not the fanciest sew job but to the untrained eye, it looks pretty darn good (and it only took 15 minutes). Now I have a fun dress shirt to go with my skinny jeans. So, next time you are thinking about throwing out the husbands old shirts, think again and see what fun fashions you can come up with.


Gift Wrap: Baby Shower Basket


This past weekend we held a jungle baby shower out on the farm (pictures coming soon). For my gift, I decided to go with necessities as opposed to adorable baby clothes–always a tough decision.

babyshowergiftbasket

I thought I would play on the “shower” aspect and compile shower supplies for the mommy and daddy to test out.

babyshowergiftbasket

Included items: washcloths, shampoo, body wash, baby powder, drying mats & burp cloth, washable wipes to go and, of course, little shower animals just because they were so cute.

My hope was to have a little paper umbrella sticking out of the box. Sadly, the umbrella didn’t quite survive all the way to the farm, but a fun idea for those of you better at paper-umbrella making than I am.


Ribbon Braid Bouquet DIY


Wedding bouquets are by far my favorite flower piece to arrange. There are multiple factors to consider when planning a bridal bouquet. Many brides put all their creativity and thought into the flower type and completely forget to adorn the bouquet handle. Adding a bit of glam to the bouquet handle is simple and can make a huge impact. One of my favorite handle wrap techniques is the classic braid adorned with pearl corsage pins. This is the braid technique I used on last week’s bridal brooch bouquet? This simple classic braid is simple, elegant and fail-safe.

bridal brooch bouquet

Preparation:

Arrange your flowers and tie with a rubber band close to the neck. Cover the rubber band with green floral tape, then proceed down the stems as far as you want your braid to run. Leave at least 1 inch of the stems exposed at the bottom. If you want to cover the entire bottom of the stems as well, you need to wait until the day of or find some really great ribbon that won’t fall out of place after being soaked in water all night.

Choose your ribbon, a medium width is best. Place your bouquet on it’s side with the “front” facing you (the side that will not face the bride). If you are braiding up the majority of the stems, use 1 entire roll of ribbon. You may end up cutting some off at the end but it is better than running short and this technique uses much more ribbon than you might think.

brooch bouquet and braid

The Braid:

Step #1: Starting at the bottom of your stems, wrap the ribbon around the back of the stem bundle and even up the two sides of ribbon. Hold the ribbons up toward you and taut.

Step #2: Cross the ribbons, one in front of the other two times. You are basically switching the ribbon from your left hand to your right and back again. You should have a twisted tangle of ribbon now. Now pull the ribbons to their separate sides, this should move something resembling a knot down toward the stems.

Step #3: Cross your ribbons around the back of the stems to switch their sides. Repeat the crossing in front by once again crossing the two strands around each other twice then pulling the strands away from each other to move the knot down.

Step #4: As you tighten each “knot,” try to keep them in line with one another and make sure you are overlapping the ribbon all the way up the stems so there are no gaps.

Step #5: Continue to braid your ribbon to the neck of the flowers and finish the braid by either tying a knot or a bow. If you have extra ribbon, measure the strands to the end of your bouquet stems and cut each at an angle.

Step #6: Using short corsage pins, place one at the base of each knot to dress up your braid. Push the pins in and up so they don’t poke out the other side of the stem bundle and stab the bride.

bridesmaid ribbon mini braidWhile the bride may enjoy having a full braid that covers the entire length of the stems, bridesmaids often opt for the mini-braid which covers only a portion of the bouquet handle. This technique (seen in the picture at right) follows the same steps but it is only necessary to wrap a small portion of the stem with floral tape–just enough to cover the rubber band.

I hope these pictures are helpful. Ribbon braiding really is a very simple and quick process. As always, please let me know if you have any questions.


Bridal Brooch Bouquet Sneak Peek


For today’s floral post I thought I would share a sneak peak into my latest wedding project. One of our bride’s asked if we could arrange her bouquet, no surprise there. The catch? Not a flower bouquet.

brooch bouquet

Have you seen these beautiful heirloom brooch bouquets? There are many varieties of brooch bouquets and personally, I think they are absolutely exquisite.

brooch bouquet

I really can’t express how excited I am to put this bouquet together. I’ll be posting the finished pictures on the blog very very soon so stay tuned.

brooch bouquet

These are just a few of the wonderful brooches I get to work with. Don’t you wish this was your job?

brooch bouquet


Pink Yarn & Raffia Gift Wrap


Today’s simple gift wrap technique was inspired by the hoards of leftover yarn currently taking over my craft room. To make your own pink yarn & raffia gift wrap you will need yarn, double sided tape and a piece of pink raffia (makes sense).

pink yarn gift wrap

Simply adhere tape to the top of your gift box/lid. Cut strips of yarn to fit across the top, align side by side until the top is covered. Place lid on box and secure with raffia bow.

pink yarn gift wrap

It’s that simple. This pink yarn & raffia box took about 10 minutes to throw together. Don’t dismiss that leftover yarn the next time you are looking for a easy way to dress up your gift wrap.


Wood Panel Wall Art


wood panel wall artThe last few months I have noticed a plethora of wooden-variety signs and art making their debut on the pages of Pinterest. I have struggled to come up with an idea that could turn the hundreds of extremely creative ideas into one project that I can truly call my own–my idea, my style, my brain child. Although I am one of the biggest supporters of Pinterest, I find it becomes more & more difficult to be original after seeing the incredible ideas submitted by users. Really, I just want to make exact replicas of most of the projects I see, but no, I push on and try to make each project my own. I think I did just that with this plywood art.

I received this beautiful Monet print from my friend Kristin after her recent excursion to D.C. with her junior high students (isn’t she sweet). I struggled with the many ways to really make the print stand out on the vast expanse of white wall currently found in our apartment. Originally I started this project thinking I would just paint a cute saying of some sort on the boards but luckily the print came to mind and the finished result makes me happy.

Wood Panel Art

Materials:

2-8ft 1x4in boards
1-4ft 1×1-1/2in board
1 bag of 2in screws
1 small jar of wood stain
3 colors of paint (mine were gray and blue and yellow)
1 canvas frame
1 print
60-grit sandpaper

Instructions:

Cut the two 1x4in boards into three-2 1/2ft long pieces and sand.

After sanding, stain two of the boards with wood stain. Set aside.

Next, get your other two paint colors ready. Dip your brush into the paint and then swirl around in a cup of water so the paint is extremely watery. You want to use your paint sort of like a watercolor and let the watery tint soak into the board. So, to reiterate, you aren’t really “painting” the board but more “tinting” the board. Got it?

painted wood panels

Allow the boards to dry. Meanwhile, take your 1×1-1/2in board and cut two pieces long enough to fit horizontally across the back of your boards (20in each). This is what you will screw your 2-1/2ft pieces into.

Take your canvas frame and paint it using your third color (mine was bright yellow to accent the yellow sunflowers). Let dry.

Come back to your stained and painted boards and begin to sand the edges and tops until you achieve the desired amount of weathering.

Now it is time to assemble. Turn your boards over so the front is facedown. Stagger the boards and place the 1×1-1/2in boards across the back horizontally, one toward the top and one toward the bottom (see picture). Screw the boards to the blocks.

wood panel wall art

Once all the boards are secure, turn the pallet over and glue your print to the center with craft glue.

Last of all, take the painted frame and using wood glue, attach the frame around your print.

This project took about 6 hours for me to make. The longest part is sanding and drying time, but overall it is fairly simple to throw together.


Jungle Paper Mobile


Recently I’ve been working on a few decorations for a friend’s baby shower in July. Their nursery is going to have jungle decor so we decided to extend the theme to the shower as well.

paper jungle mobile baby shower

I found a beautiful animal print fabric for a table runner ($5/yd) and decided to contrast the muted browns with bright jungle colors.

Here are a few simple steps to making your own mobile:

1.) Cut cardstock into 1X8-inch strips. I used seven shades of brown, green, yellow and gray.

2.) Next, line the colors up in gradient order and decide on your mobile length. I ended up using 28 strips of paper for each mobile.

3.) After deciding pattern and length, stack the strips in order and head to your sewing machine. Place a piece of tape on the machine as a guide to help you sew straight down the middle of each strip of paper.

4.) Sew. Simply push each piece of paper under the needle, continue stitching until you have achieved the desired distance between strips and then place the next strip under the needle. Be sure to leave excess string on each end of your mobile for hanging.

5.) If you are using a light-weight paper, such as vellum you may want to weigh down the end of your string after hanging to avoid curling at the bottom of the mobile. Project Wedding makes this mobile with vellum and attaches a fishing weight at the bottom to weigh it down. The card stock however, is heavy enough that this curling does not occur (hence my choosing cardstock). The cardstock is also a cheaper purchase than vellum.

Project wedding vellum mobile: $25
Sweet Peonies cardstock mobile: $10 (even less if you already have various pieces of cardstock on hand like me)

I love how the mobiles turned out. I have made 5 so far and will hang them above the food table at the baby shower. I am also tying in the jungle greens by placing tall ornamental grasses on the table and surrounding areas which should complement the green mobiles nicely. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peek at the jungle baby shower. I’ll be sure to post pictures of the finished event. You can see finished photos of the baby shower here.


Gift Wrap: Blue & Red Straws


I’ve recently become slightly obsessed with straws. I see them everywhere and they are so enticing with their bright colors, fun designs and cheap price tag. I picked up a pack of 100 fluorescent straws for a grand total of $.99 this week. I have a couple ideas in mind for these straws but for today, I chose to incorporate them into my gift wrap.

I simply placed one strip of double sided tape across the top of a wrapped box. Then I lined the straws up so they covered the top of the box. After the top of my box was covered, I wrapped a red ribbon around the box and straws and hot glued a blue flower on top. That’s it. The entire wrapping process took about 10 minutes.

blue and red straws, gift wrap


Wine Bottle + Lace Gift Wrap


The next time you bring a bottle of wine to a dinner party consider dressing up the bag to make your contribution stand out. That’s right, just dress up the plain boring paper bag from the store. All it takes is a small segment of lace, a glue gun, and, if you feel like going the extra mile, a section of ribbon.

Simply start at the bottom of the bag (with wine inside) and work your way up the bottle at a diagonal angle, gluing the edge of the lace or ribbon as you circle the bag. I also took a match and burned the top edges of the paper bag for the finishing touch.


Blue Gift Bag + Doily Accent


blue bag gift wrap

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend. Ours was absolutely wonderful–gorgeous weather, great friends, and good food–what more can a girl ask for?

This week we will be staying with a friend as we make the trek up to see my parents. I decided our brief overnight stay required a little thank-you treat. I decided to bake mini lemon cupcakes (you know in those tiny cupcake liners–so cute!). Anyways, I needed a good way to dress up the gift bag. Here’s what I came up with on the fly.

I started with this little blue bag to hold my mini treats. Prior to filling the bag, I used a glue stick to attach a mini doily to the front. Then I filled the bag with treats and tied an aqua bow around the bag to finish off the gift bag decor.

That’s it, a quick and simple way to spruce up small gift decor.


Memorial Day + Decorative Paper Flags


Hello friends! I hope you are all out enjoying your holiday weekend. This weekend the hubby and I decided to throw a last-minute Memorial Day BBQ for a few friends. I didn’t have much time to prep but I thought I should still throw together a few decorations for the event.

paper flag sticks Memorial Day

These fun paper flags are great for either adding color to your table or labeling your food (just stick straight into your dish). If you are baking a Memorial Day cake, consider frosting the outside with white icing and adding the red and blue flag sticks on top in varying heights.

You can also add ribbon to your skewers or dip the edges of the paper into glue and coat in glitter. The possibilities are endless.

The simple version pictured above uses two pieces of 8-1/2 x 11 inch paper. Cut 1-inch strips across the narrow side of your paper. Then fold in half and cut to a point at the end. Last step–use double-sided tape to attach the paper flags to the skewers (just wrap it around the stick). That’s all it takes for these easy-peasy paper flags.

Hope you all have a very relaxing Memorial Day!


Purple Gift Wrap


I love gifts. I love giving them, getting them and especially wrapping them. Doesn’t a creative, well-wrapped gift make the exchanging of gifts so much more exciting?! Well, in honor of creative gift wrap (and just because I love it so much), we are starting an exciting new weekly posting: “The Wednesday Wrap” (or some other clever title that I have yet to come up with).

I will be posting a new wrapping idea each week in the hopes of inspiring a little gift-wrapping creativity. Hope you enjoy!

Materials:

Take-out Box (Michaels, $.99)
Lavender Raffia (Michael’s, $.99 clearance bin)
1 mini paper doily (WalMart, $.99 for a pack of 12)
Purple Ribbon (Michael’s, $.99 clearance bin)

And that’s the Wednesday Wrap!


Tee to Tank Tutorial


Working on a farm in the summer, in Tennessee, tends to get a little hot and a lot humid. I wish I could say I’ve become accustomed to the humidity but every time I think I’m beginning to adjust, the summer ends and we start the adjustment process all over again the following year.

Is there a point to me rambling about the heat? Why yes, now that you mention it, there is…working on a farm you learn quickly the value of wearing long pants and long-sleeved t-shirts to stay cool and keep yourself protected. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to handle the long-sleeved t-shirt. Maybe its psychological but it feels SO HOT. Instead, I opt for tank tops, lots and lots of tank tops. Of course, that means a lot of shirts end up ruined. I decided this summer, I had to come up with cheaper dispensable farm clothes.

I saw this tee to tank tutorail on Crafterhours, but the idea is from Upcycled Education. Here’s my own little documented attempt at the tank.

First, choose an over-sized t-shirt that you never wear (mine was a $3 pink craft tee from Michaels).

Next, make your cuts.
Cut #1: Lay the t-shirt flat and cut off the sleeves just inside the seam.
Cut #2: Cut a straight line across the top of the shirt just under the neck.

Cut #3: Cut the bottom seam off the tshirt plus another small strip immediately above. The strip with the seam you can throw away, the second strip needs to be cut into 2 equal strips.

If your tee is a bit too large, as mine was, turn it inside out and lay it flat. Place pins 1/2 inch inside the original side seam all the way up to the armpit on both sides. Sew along the pins. Remove excess fabric and turn right side out. Tada!

Hem the top edges of the tee, leaving a 1/2 inch loop. Once the hem is sewn, thread one of the fabric strips from the bottom of the tee through each hem loop. I poke the end of a skewer through the fabric strip and pushed it through the loop, however, the smarter method would be to place the fabric strip on the shirt edge before folding it over for the hem.

All that’s left is putting on your newly fashioned tank and tying the front and back ties together at the height that suits you best. There are lots of ways to tie the drawstring so put on your creativity cap.

That’s it–a $3 tee shirt turned tank that’s loose, comfy and won’t bum me out if it gets ruined on the farm. Tomorrow I’m planning to turn some large print tees into work shirts too, I’ll share pictures soon.

Be sure to head over to Upcycled Education and thank Jen for the great tutorial inspiration and check out the actual tutorial on Crafterhours.


Watermelon Turtle + Edible Books


The Milligan library held their second annual Edible Books Festival this week (year #1 here). My contributions included a “Holes” carrot cake made with graham crackers, coffee frosting and cinnamon as well as a “Tortoise and the Hare” watermelon turtle, complete with hair-get it? I crack myself up.

Anywho, I thought I’d share a few quick and dirty instructions for carving Mr. Turtle. I’ve seen several versions of this turtle but the one at Down Memory Lane is my favorite.

Instructions:
1. Cut watermelon in half along the longer line.

2. Use a melon-baller, or if you don’t have one (like me) use a metal measuring spoon-1/4 tsp, and scoop out as much watermelon as possible.

3. Scrape all remnants of the watermelon out of each side.

4. Take one side of the watermelon, and draw an oval-shaped shell, four feet, and a head with a dry-erase marker (dry-erase makes it easy to wipe off once you’re done carving).

5. Carve out your shapes.

6. With a flat head screwdriver, carve out the lines on your shell. If you are afraid to eyeball it, use the dry erase marker to draw your shapes. I basically just dragged the flat edge back and forth to make the lines–took about 15 minutes total.

7. Poke two small holes in the head and poke in two whole peppercorns for eyes.

8. Use toothpicks to secure your legs and head to the shell.

9. All that’s left is filling the non-shell side with fruit (and adding strawberry-leaf hair if desired). I used the previously scooped melon balls, strawberries and grapes as filling.

This turtle is really easy to make and adds a fun element to any party.

Here’s a little shot of the carrot “Holes” cake. I basically just used a round cookie cutter to make the holes, crumbled the cake into piles and added ground-up graham crackers so it looked more textured and desert-like. I also sprinkled cinnamon into the holes and on one side of the mounds to act as a sort of shading. The “shovels” are broken wood skewers and the rocks are ginger candies.

Some of my other favorites from Edible Books 2012 were “Where’s Wal-dough” (cookie people with Waldo hiding among them) by Grace Jackson, “Pigs in Heaven” (a plate of bacon) by Seth and Stacey Tramel, and “Book of Fungi” with meringue mushrooms (I totally thought they were real mushrooms) by Meredith Sommers.

If you ever have the opportunity to bake for an Edible Books event, DO IT! It’s so much fun! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tutorial. Let us know how your watermelons turn out. Happy carving!


How to Build a Planter Box


Spring is in the air here in East Tennessee and our household is gearing up for another attempt at container gardening. Although we love our little apartment, one very unfortunate downside is the inability to put our budding green thumbs to work. Since Jack and I very much enjoy the labors of tending a garden, we had to figure out a way to make due without a plot of land.

Our first year in Tennessee, we purchased a few inexpensive starter pots for a bit of trial and error in East Tennessee growing. The second year, we got smarter. We borrowed three large cylinder buckets from Linda out at Aunt Willies Wildflowers that were deep enough to allow better root growth for larger plants. The buckets aren’t pretty but our tomatoes grew much bigger and stronger because of them. We also attempted to put together our first planter box. When this project was attempted however, Jack did not own his own saw or a decent drill so we relied heavily on the great staff over at Home Depot to make the appropriate cuts for us.

This last Christmas, Jack was gifted a new saw and drill (you can imagine how much our neighbors are loving us this Spring). Jack’s biggest goal with his new toys has been building wall book shelves that work around his desk. This is a slow process and we have had some extra wood pieces lying around the house because of the project. Last weekend, with the beautiful weather beckoning us outdoors, we decided to get the porch ready for planting and since we had the materials, we decided to build our second planter box too. This one is WAY better!

I asked the lovely husband to write up these simple instructions for those of you looking to container garden this spring.
Please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email if you have any questions.

_Tools & Materials:_

Plywood sheet-whatever size you want (we used 3/4″ plywood that was 8′ x 14″)
8 L-Brackets
1 package of Screen Door nylon
Wide head tacks or staple gun
1 extra piece of lumber-(4′ 1×4)
Wood screws or nails

Directions:

  1. Cut four equal (and they really do need to be equal!) lengths of wood (I used some scrap 3/4” plywood that was 8′ x 14”).
  2. Attach L-brackets to each side, forming a square.
  3. Cut a sufficient amount of screen material to cover the bottom of the box (I use twice as much and doubled it over).
  4. Using a staple gun (or tacks with a wide head) fasten the screen material to the bottom of the box, keeping it tight.
  5. Fold the excess screen material back inward (under the box) and staple it. This serves a two-fold purpose—it gives some strength to the staples (in case the screen rips) and it hides the excess without having to cut it off.
  6. Cut two equal lengths of a smaller kind of lumber (I used a 4′ 1×4) and miter the ends at a 45º angle, making each look like a trapezoid (viz. not a parallellogram).
  7. Screw (or nail, if you’re brave) the two 1x4s to the bottom of the box diagonally.

That’s it! The quick and dirty way to throw together a planter box for Spring. Of course, you can grab some outdoor stain or sealant if you’d like to further protect the box. We, however, have come to like the gray, weathered look of our first box and thus decided not to treat the wood at all.

I hope this helps. Once again feel free to email us with any questions or clarification needs.

Happy Building!


The Patterns of Life


Tonight I am breathing a huge sigh of relief after making it through another week of midterms. Now I intend to spend my next week (Spring Break) re-cooperating, reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and stocking up on some great blog posts for you all.

For today, I thought I would give you a glimpse of our home through the patterns that inspire it. As many of you know, the apartment life is just not the same a turning an actual house into your very own home. Although Jack and I have a lovely apartment, certain rules keep us from making it truly ours. So, without being able to paint the walls, hang anything heavy, attach molding, etc. patterns have become my way of making due until the eventual day that we are able to purchase a home of our own.

These photos are just a few of my favorite patterns that I have in our apartment that I hope to one day incorporate into a home of our own. Keeping these patterns in sight keeps me looking forward to the future and to the possibilities it holds–and I don’t simply mean for decorating.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this unique sneak peak into our little apartment living.


Decorating: one step at a time


I realized recently that I hadn’t been posting anything remotely crafty, just food. Perhaps that gives you a glimpse into my study habits–attempt to study, get distracted by baking, then munch on the sugary goodness all night long.

I have been working on this painting for a few weeks now and finally decided to see what it looked like in our bedroom. I am still tweaking the background but can’t seem to find time to officially finish, so up on the wall it went and I’m so glad!

Decorating our bedroom has been a painstakingly slow process. I saw a picture when we first got married of a simple color scheme, white, tan, and navy blue–the room was exquisite. Since seeing this image I have been trying to capture that same feeling in our room and haven’t quite been able to get there with our limited time and funds. However, I thought I would share a few photos so you can see some examples of turning cheap, random items into coordinated decor. We still have a ways to go but these little touches are satisfying enough for now.


I decided to hang the painting above our bed because it provides a good central focus and ties in more of the warm neutrals in the room. As with most of my paintings, I found an image online that I liked and attempted my best replication.

The pillows on the bed are probably my favorite part (see pillow tutorial here). I have been slowly collecting fabrics in a variety of patterns and shades of blue to keep adding to the mix. I want the pillows to look eclectic and be the main pop of color in the room. I currently have 3 more fabrics waiting for me to turn into pillowcases.

We have also started collecting blue glass jars mainly because I love the way the light shines through them when streaming in the back window. The trick here is to have a small collection of jars that doesn’t look cluttered.

I have made great strides in the past four years of marriage in learning to just let go. I used to have so many little collections because of my attempts to be thrifty. You never know which items can be reused or refurbished? And the items I don’t think I’ll ever use, I can usually attribute some sentimental emotion to in order to justify its continued safekeeping in our home.

However, one day you just reach a point where you must throw out everything that even partially resembles clutter and voila! A clean and clutter free home. Now the trick is maintaining that environment. All that to say, this is my one collection at the moment–blue jars.

Well, that’s just a few of the decorating elements in our room. The wall adjacent to the bed also has a large hanging tapestry that matches the center pillow. We aren’t allowed to paint so hanging fabric on the walls has been our substitute for color additions.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this small glimpse into our developing home.


Orange Fall Wreath


If I haven’t emphasized it enough over the past few weeks, I really love Fall. I love when the weather starts changing and you can finally wear your favorite sweater. I love how much better a morning cup of coffee tastes when gazing out the window at the drizzling rain. I love little kids running through the pumpkin patch trying to find the perfect pumpkin. I love cinnamon-scented candles and pumpkin pie. I love everything about Fall!

To add to my list of Fall-centered celebrations, I decided to throw together a wreath for our pumpkin carving party this weekend. This wreath cost me less than $5 and can be adapted for any holiday.

Tools:

1 tube of pipe insulation, 3 ft. ($.89)
1 yard of fabric (mine was $2)
2 feet of ribbon ($.99)
1 box of straight pins (I had these but they cost about $2)

Instructions:

Cut fabric into 2x4in strips. Pinch the center and fold the edges up. Stick a straight pin through the point to keep fabric folded together and stick into the wreath, overlapping previous layers.

Once the pipe is covered, tie or glue your ribbon in place. That’s it–a super easy Fall wreath for your door. Mine took about 30 minutes to complete.

Well folks, that’s all I have for you. I hope you are enjoying your Fall as much as I am! I’ll be sure to post some pumpkin carving party pictures soon. Happy Fall!


10-Minute Pillowcase Tutorial


Are you ready for the easiest pillowcase-making tutorial ever?! I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I like my projects to look fabulous and take a grand total of 10 minutes. It’s not that I’m impatient (I am) and it’s not that I get bored easily (I do), the problem is I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them (right). Whatever the reasoning, these pillowcases satisfy my need to craft along with my A.D.D. lifestyle.

First, cut a strip of fabric that will wrap once + 8 in. around the pillow (meaning the fabric should fold around the pillow snugly and overlap itself by 8 in.). This fabric should also be 2 inches wider than the pillow. You want the pillowcase to look full so don’t worry about cutting the sides of your fabric too small.

Next, hem in one end (not side) of the fabric, 1/2 in, nothing fancy, just a simple fold over and hem.

After hemming, place fabric right side up with the unhemmed side closest to you. Fold about 1/3 of the fabric on the hemmed side down (toward you), so right sides touch. This edge will end up being on the outside of the pillow.

Next, fold up (away from you) the unhemmed side and overlap the hemmed edge by 8 inches. (see picture). Your folds might not split the fabric exactly into thirds, the main point is that when you fold the unhemmed side back over the hemmed side, it MUST overlap by at least 8 inches.

Pin in place. Sew a 1 in. strip down the two open sides. Flip pillowcase inside out.

Insert pillow and enjoy your fabulous handiwork!

I’ll be honest I’m not great at writing out tutorials so if you have questions or need more pictures of the process let me know. I’ll try to get a few more pics up to clarify the steps. Good luck and happy sewing!


Guest Post: DIY Bridal Headband


I am very excited to announce that The Kitchen Curtains will now be featuring guest posts! In the past few weeks, I have recruited, if not begged, a few talented individuals to share their crafting, cooking, baking, blogging, and photography skills with you, the reader. I am very excited about these articles and so incredibly grateful to these individuals for taking time out of their busy schedules to contribute to my blog. I am always looking for creative ideas, so please feel free to email me with your own guest post submission ideas, pictures, or articles.

Because I am SO stinkin’ excited about our first guest post, I won’t make you wait any longer. This talented individual runs her very own photography business, with hubby, in the Salem, Oregon area (my home). I have known her since Jr. High and have seen her flourish into a gorgeous, successful, classy, Godly woman. I hold the deepest respect for her and am so excited to introduce you to her today. So, without further ado, here is Kira of Kira Noble Photography. After reading, be sure to head over to her blog and also check out her website for some exquisite wedding, engagement, and family photographs.

 

Hello! I am so excited to be guest blogging over here at The Kitchen Curtains! Here’s a little DIY project that I whipped up for my best friend Amy. She is getting married at the end of this month and I made a headband for her to wear during her wedding reception. She is planning on wearing a veil during the ceremony and then we’ll put this DIY headband in before she and the new hubby dance the night away. I didn’t spend a dime on this project because I happened to have all the materials on hand. That said, most of these items can be found at places like Joanns or Michaels. Okay, so here’s what you’ll need.

1. A length of ribbon or lace that will fit around your head. (I cut the lace after measuring it to the nape of the neck. We are just going to use bobby pins to secure the ends into Amy’s hair instead of tying it off.)
2. 7-8 small rectangular pieces of lace or fabric. I used scraps of swiss dot lace from a previous project.
3. Package of pearl or clear beads.
4. Needle and thread. Be sure to use thread that will match the color of the lace or fabric.
5. Scissors

1. I marked the spot on the headband where I wanted the flowers to go with a pin.

2. Next, I started making the small flowers for the headband. Start with one of the small rectangular strips.

3. Accordion fold the strip. (I usually only got 3-4 folds per strip, but that will vary depending on the length of your rectangular strips.)

4. Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end of thread. Then insert the need through the center of the folded piece of lace or fabric several times until it is secure. Do not tie off or cut the thread yet.

5. A pearl bead will serve as the center of the flower, so next thread the bead through the needle.

6. Let the bead rest in the center of the flower and run the needle and thread back through the lace several times until the bead is secure.

7. Then tie off the thread. Next cut around the edges of the flower to make them round. You can get creative with the cutting around the edges to yield different looking petals.

8.  Next place the flower on the headband and secure it by running your needle and thread near the center of the flower several times.

After securing about 8 flowers to the headband, I filled in some of the space between flowers by sewing in pearl beads. There is no right or wrong in DIY land. That’s all folks! What do you think? Stay tuned for a close up photo of how this headband looked on Amy, and if you try this DIY out I’d love to see your end product!


Spray Paint Patio Lights


Last summer I bought these cute little yellow glass lanterns at a thrift store for $2. I liked the yellow because it is summer color, but this yellow was too dark for my tastes. My solution? Spray paint. A few days ago, while going through my nightly routine of catching up on the 48 or so blogs I have bookmarked, I saw these lanterns that were painted with a glow-in-the-dark paint (which was awesome). I, however, couldn’t justify spending the money on glow in the dark paint for just one project. Instead, I chose an indoor/outdoor $.97 can of pure white, thinking by the time I put a candle inside it’ll glow all by itself. I know, I’m pretty clever like that.

Can I just say, that although these almost look like little milk jugs, I absolutely love the finished product. The paint has an almost marbled look with tiny hints of yellow showing through which give it lots of texture. I have the lanterns sitting in between my pepper plants at the moment just waiting for me to attach them to the our porch railing.

If you have old jars, tins, or frames that you think you will never display in your home, don’t discount the power a new coat of paint can make, turning old and grungy into new and modern.


Rosette Tote


A gal can never have too many bags, at least that was my rationale for making this latest tote. Totes come in all shapes and sizes, patterns and colors, and of course price tags. Since the price tags are usually uncomfortably out of my price range, I choose to make my own after scrounging around in the $2 bin at the fabric store.

My first bag-sewing attempt was a diaper bag from Make Baby Stuff.com. You can find the original tutorial here. This tutorial is extremely easy to follow, even if you are a beginner.

After my first successful diaper bag, I began to draw my own patterns in order to make different shaped purses and totes with a variety of pocket combinations. The instructions in the link can be used for pretty much any type of bag combination you can think up.

The rosettes I attached with hot glue. These are very simple to make. Cut a strip of fabric about 2 in. wide and 10 in. long. The actual size doesn’t really matter, the wider you cut the fabric the fatter your twist will be. The longer you cut the fabric, the more times you will be able to wrap it around itself.

Once the strip is cut, simply hold one end still while twisting at the other. With the fabric completely twisted, place it on a flat surface and start to wrap it around itself. Have sewing pins ready to hold the flower in place while you continue to wrap. Am I confusing you yet?

I’ll try to make a better rosette tutorial with pictures at a later date. Basically, once you have wrapped all of the twisted fabric around itself (so it looks like a rose), pin it, hot glue it onto another piece of fabric, cut around the edges and glue to your tote!

Here are the measurements I used minus the lining. The diaper bag tutorial gives more details with images if you need them.

Fabric:

4-15X21 (green, 2 for each side to reinforce)
1-10X21 (pattern)
2-5X21 strips (pattern for straps)
1-8×23 strip (green for bottom)
2-3×11 strips (purely decorative straps on the front pocket)

I didn’t have enough of the two colors of fabric to make a lining for this bag (yes, I suppose I could have used another color). Here is the order of my sewing:

1. fold over the top edge of pocket lining (the 21 in. side) and sew a 1/2 in. hem
2. align pocket with the 2-15X21 pieces of fabric (I use 2 to reinforce the walls, making them more sturdy)
3. pin the vanity strips of fabric over the pocket and sew each side down (that’s 4 lines of stitching through four pieces of fabric)
4. pin this front piece to the two remaining 15X21 pieces (right sides facing in)
5. sew up the 15 in. sides making sure to catch all pieces of fabric in the stitch
6. pin the bottom piece to the bottom edges and sew (this one’s tricky, check out the tutorial)
7. flip the tote right side out, fold over the top edges 1/2 in. and stitch
8. fold strap fabric (5X21) in half (hotdog style) with wrong side facing out, sew along the long edge, turn right side out
9. pin straps 5 in. from each side and sew in place


house becomes home: bench + lanterns


It’s the little seemingly insignificant details that make a house a home. In these posts, I will be highlighting some on the little details in our home that make it stand out as unique, creative, and simply put, ours.

I would love to also feature images from you readers, showcasing some of the little details in your house that make it feel like home. Please send me an email with your photo submissions and I will highlight a different reader’s photo every other week.


Mosaic Patio Table


While I desperately miss my Oregon home, family, and friends, there are many aspects of Tennessee life that I absolutely love.

For those of you unfamiliar with my rantings, allow me to clarify…

Aspects I do not love: tornadoes, golf ball sized hail, banana spiders, distance from home

Aspects I love: rolling hills, 4 distinct seasons, summer heat that sticks around for more than 4 days, insanely energetic football fans, new friends, and finally…

the southern sun rooms!

Since we currently rent a little apartment, the chances of me actually having one of these beautiful sun rooms in a state where I can enjoy it, are slim-to-none. However, I have been working hard to bring life and color to our tiny, yet well-loved porch.

My latest project involves our patio table. Up until this spring, we were sporting some lovely lime green $5 fold-out chairs. However, we decided this was the year to really enjoy sitting out at night to watch the fireflies flicker so we bought two new chairs and a glass table.

This last week, I set to work turning our table into a glass mosaic, glass shards courtesy of my lovely friend and neighbor, Kristin.

I took this fabric (see below) and taped it underneath the glass so I would have an outline to follow. Then I simply filled in the outlines with various colors of glass, glued them down, and grouted in between.

It looks like a lot of white but half of the white sections are actually pearly so they shine different colors in the sun.

I also stapled the fabric around canvas frames and am hoping to make hooks on the porch railings to hang the frames in order to make the porch look more like an outdoor room this summer.

This project took me about 4 days to complete.


15 Minute Dress


So, I like clothes…a lot. Although I usually default to jeans and a fitted T-shirt, my fashion tastes did evolve while working at Nordstrom before Jack and I got engaged. Nordstrom clothes+discount=hooked.

Nowadays, being a young married couple, there isn’t much shopping taking place. Instead, I look at clothes online and dream of flowing cotton dresses, classic cardigans, and modest heels.

Every now and then, I see a dainty dress and think, “I can make that, no problem.” Unfortunately, it usually turns out to be a problem. I tend to overestimate my sewing abilities and let my impatience get the best of me, usually resulting in a less-than-satisfactory end product.

This time however, the end product was a success and it really only took me 15 minutes.

I chose this olive/purple stretchy fabric, it’s like a rayon spandex blend of some sort. First, I took two pieces of the fabric and placed right sides together. Then, I set a dress, that I love, on top of the fabric (see below) and placed pins in the fabric around the dress to copy the shape.

Next, I sewed 4 inches across the top for the shoulders, not sewing all the way to the edge. Then I measured down about 6 inches (the dress I copied had wide arm holes) and started sewing from that point down to the bottom of the fabric following the line of pins. I got the idea for the simple sewing on the shoulders and sides from this baby hankie dress which explains the setup more precisely sorry forgot to take pictures of the setup).

Finally, I turned the dress inside out and added a cute belt and some matching shoes. Tada! A dress I can actually wear (excuse the headless pictures, it was late and I have no desire to have my picture taken). I still have to hem the bottom, but I wanted to get the pictures up. Want to try your hand at sewing an outfit? Trust me this is the simplest outfit ever ever. You CAN do this. Happy sewing!


Sequin Shirt


“So, I saw these shoes…”

Those are 5 little words that my husband hopes to hear as little as possible yet rarely does. I am usually a very practical person, however, when I saw the shoes pictured below it was love at first sight.

Now comes the sad part, 4 months later, I still haven’t worn them. Why not? First of all, the college life is full of backpacks and trekking across campus through the rain, not exactly conducive to 3-inch heels. Second, I can’t find a fancy-schmancy ruffle shirt to wear with them. So, I attempted to make one.

The picture above is the finished product. I was originally not going to add the sequins at the bottom (pictured below) and just let it be ruffly but I preferred the extra sparkle.

I used this old tank from The Limited.

And cut 15 pieces of red fabric to fill the middle section of the tank.

Next, I folded each of the red pieces in half, lined them up side by side, and sewed across the top. Then I stitched the bottom edge. After the scraps were secured, I pinned the sequin strip over the stitching and sewed over the top.

Yay! A sparkly shirt to go with my fancy shoes.

Dressing up a shirt is simple. If you don’t feel comfortable messing with both fabric and sequins, try sewing just one strip of sequins across a neckline or add a few simple, straight, sequin stripes across an old T-shirt.

So, pull out your favorite pair of impractical shoes, throw on your newly bedazzled shirt, and have fun!


Potpourri Frames


While there are many aspects of our little apartment that we love, one downside to apartment-living is the “no painting” rule. A consequence of having no color on the walls, I am forced to craft more in order to brighten up the place. Oh shucks.

I was going through a junk box last year and came across a package of potpourri. At first I thought I would be typical and arrange the potpourri in a vase with a candle, always a nice touch. Instead, I came up with this potpourri art.

Our couch is dark green so the limey-green fabric in these frames contrasts well and helps the walls pop with color. Potpourri tends to be muted colors so I definitely suggest picking a bright and bold color for the backdrop.

Materials:

3-8×10 frames
6-5×6 pieces of fabric
1-package of potpourri
Tape or Hot glue

Instructions:

Overlap the frame backing with two pieces of fabric making the frayed edge visible (this adds dimension). Pull the fabric tight and tape or glue the fabric around the edge of the backing.

Next, scatter various pieces of potpourri over the fabric. I found that randomly dropping the pieces worked out much better than planned disarray.

Carefully place the glass and frame over the top of your potpourri. If you are very particular about your placing, you can always use hot glue to make sure the potpourri stays in place as you attach the frame.

Voila! You now have a unique piece of colorful art for your walls. There are lots of other materials you can use for a project like this so, as always, BE CREATIVE!


Still-Life Chalk Art


Have you ever wandered down the art aisle of your favorite home decorating store and thought the images were overpriced and somewhat amateur? You think, a 6-year-old can paint a red circle in the center of a white canvas, right? I have spent many hours in these stores thinking I can paint this myself, and finally one day, I did.

Painting does not have to be a difficult or expensive endeavor. I firmly believe that almost anyone has the ability to make beautiful art for their home. The most difficult part of painting is learning to work with the paints. However, if the task of painting still seems daunting to you, I have another suggestion. Pastel Chalks.

Pastels are some of the first art forms I attempted when I was younger and I have recently come back around to using them.

For Christmas last year, I decided to craft some made-to-order art pieces for the women in our family. The picture above was made using a canvas, pastel chalks, and my fingers for blending.

This “painting” was created for Momma Mary (Jack’s mom). She has a shabby-chic look in her home and I thought the simplicity of the piece and the colors would match well.

I am fully convinced that anyone can make this still-life piece. The fruit shape can be accomplished free-hand style or by printing out a clip art fruit of choice. Simply print, trace, and fill in the shapes with your favorite color. Be sure to have a wet rag on hand to clean your fingers from time to time.

The pictures were very well received and are a great idea if you need an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift idea. Trust me, you can do this!


Edible Books Festival


In order to celebrate the nourishment that books bring to our lives, Milligan College library staff threw the college’s first ever Edible Books Festival at the P.H. Welshimer library. The event was a hit! It looks like next year the staff will throw a full-out competition due to all of the positive feedback.

Neither of my entries were as elaborate as I had hoped (this week was abnormally hectic). Jack asked me to make his entry since he works late Thursday evenings. I immediately said, “of course!” Unfortunately, I underestimated the precision required to make caramel apples. It will be a long time before I attempt those by myself again. Timing is key and between keeping caramel melted, crushing candy bars, and dipping apples, I did not have good timing. Oh well, I’ve learned my lesson.

[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-026-325x243.jpg ""Green Eggs" Cupcakes")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-026/) "Green Eggs" Cupcakes

Anyways, my “Green Eggs” entry wasn’t anything special so I am not even going to bother giving you the recipe. The icing was the same powdered sugar frosting from my previous Rummy Shortbread Cookies post, minus the rum.
Here are the other entries…

[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-036-575x431.jpg ""Candide Apples"")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-036/) Jack’s, oh so clever, “Candide” apples. He’s so witty.

And a few other entries that were both creative and clever…

[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-030-575x431.jpg ""If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-030/) Kirstin Blackburn: "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"
[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-031-575x431.jpg ""The Illiad" (aka Book-la-vah)")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-031/) Meredith Sommers: "The Illiad" (aka Book-la-vah)
[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-034-325x433.jpg ""The Invisible Man"")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-034/) John Jackson: "The Invisible Man" (we gave him a hard time but it's pretty clever)
[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-037-575x431.jpg ""The Very Hungry Caterpillar"")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-037/) Mary and Grace Jackson: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-042-325x433.jpg ""The Giving Tree"")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-042/) Melissa Nipper: "The Giving Tree"
[![](jekyll_uploads/2011/04/Edible-Books-033-575x431.jpg ""The Lion and the Mouse"")](http://www.sweetpeonies.com/2011/04/edible-books-festival/edible-books-033/) June Leonard: "The Lion and the Mouse"

And there you have it, a few highlights from the first ever Milligan College Edible Book Festival. I am also including a little background information on the event for those of you who might be curious…

Judith A. Hoffberg originally came up with the International Edible Book Festival idea in 1999. Beatrice Coron created the Books2Eat website for participants worldwide to enjoy each others edible creations. The first Edible Books event took place in 2000 and has since taken off as an annual sensation.

Edible Book festivals take place on or near April 1 in honor of the French gastronome, Jeane-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s (1755-1826) birthday. He is famous for his book, “Physiologie du gout,” a witty mediation on food.


Baby Skirt


Seeing as it is my spring break, I have decided to celebrate this week by working on all the fun little projects I have been dying to try for my new niece. Today’s project, skirts!

Unfortunately, I have no babies or dolls to get a good picture of the skirt, but trust me it’s adorable and the pictures don’t do it justice.

This skirt took me about 30 minutes to complete. All I did was cut two 11×16 pieces of one fabric (the pink) and two 11×16 pieces of cream for the lining. Start by sewing the two pink pieces together (along the 11in sides), right sides facing each other. Same with the inner lining. Then, with the two sets still inside out, slip the lining around the outside of the outside piece and line up your seams.

Next, grab both layers and fold over 1/2 in. at the top of the skirt and sew along the cut edge leaving a pocket to slip elastic through later on. The hem the two layers separately. I suggest hemming the lining at 1/2 inch and the outer layer at 1/4 in.

Last of all, cut a small slit through the top folded edge (be sure to go through both layers on the inside but not to cut all the way through the front of the skirt). Next, attach a 1/8 in. elastic strip to the end of a pencil (I used a pin) and slide it through the hole and all the way around the skirt. Once you have two ends of the elastic pull so it is snug and sew over the two pieces to secure.

Very very simple to make. I’m sure you could all figure these out on your own but hopefully, this will help get your creative juices flowing. I have 4 more fabrics that I am using to make these this week so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more pictures very soon. Happy sewing!


Baby Shoes


I had an itch to sew today and decided to give these baby shoes a try. The pattern is simple to follow and can be found here.

I had a few issues getting equal tension on each foot, but I am pretty pleased at my first attempt. Looking forward to trying some different patterns. Baby Avynlea will have the coolest shoes on the block!


Spring Petal Mosaic


I am one of those individuals who collects pretty much everything I have ever received. You might say I am overly-sentimental. I like to think I simply have incredible insight to possible future uses of said gifts. I mean, you never know when a ceramic lime green elephant will come in handy.

One of the items I have acquired many of over the years are roses. I have dried roses from high school plays, Valentine’s days, and birthdays in jars all around my home. Well, last March, spring cleaning got the best of me and I decided to get rid of the clutter of jars. Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the entire collection of dried petals so I came up with a way to display the flowers in a more condensed manner.

I took a canvas and painted the sides and background in varying shades of green. Painting the background made it easier to attach the petals without having to worry about covering every tiny hole. After the canvas dried I took craft glue and started attaching different shades of petals in groupings and then blending the groups together with a gradient of petals. I also added a few dried leaves to help make the green underneath blend well with the overall composition.

I couldn’t be happier with how the piece turned out. I now have my own unique piece of spring art that ties together our flowered curtains and green couch in the living room.


Knitted Blanket for Avynlea


I’ve been working on this blanket for my soon-to-be niece, Avynlea. Her mommy asked for pink to match the room. I ended up with 2 shades of pink that are girly but not necessarily little girl, girly. I like to think these colors are a bit sophisticated as well.

I chose Loops & Threads brand Country Loom thread. I love this thread because it is a little fluffy so it hides mistakes well. My colors are (from right to left below), Rodeo, Warm Cream, and Snapdragon. Snapdragon is my favorite!

I like to knit while doing other things (watching Biggest Loser)so I decided not to count rows because I know I’ll get distracted. Instead I am knitting one whole ball of yarn (104 yards/95m) for each pink color (ends up being 16 whole rows-32 single rows) and separating them with 8 whole (whole=”down and back”) rows of cream. Another great striped blanket pattern can be found here.

Blanket:

Stitch: garter (knit every row)
Yarn: 4 snapdragon, 2 rodeo, 2 cream
No. of Stitches: 115
Needle Size: 9-10mm (mine is 9 wish I would have done a 10)