Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cheap-o Pillow Covers!

I have a bunch of pillows that I don't like anymore.  But I can't afford to buy new ones - even if they're on sale.  I've wanted to try to make covers for them since most of them have zippered cases, but I've procrastinated.  So, with a couple of hours of down time today, I thought I'd give it a shot.  The final result?  Here they are!

Update:  The top picture is the most recent.  I made a cover for my 22" Pottery Barn pillow (it's the striped one).  At the store, the covers are about $35 each.  I goofed up and didn't measure and bought 2 yards of a 45" fabric.  I could have bought just 1 1/2 yards and it would have been fine.  The cost for the material and zipper was about $15.00.  Compared to the others, that is expensive!!  The white pillow on the right is a re-make of the Pottery Barn cover.  It's not perfect, but I just followed what they did with it.  The fabric isn't as pliable as the original, but it'll do for now.

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A few weeks ago when I was at Hobby Lobby, I bought one yard of 60" canvas fabric that matched our new paint.  I figured I'd be able to do something with it.  (Total cost, about $5).  I purchased two 14" zippers (the least expensive ones I could find).  

Update:  The first two pillows were soooo easy that I went to JoAnn's and found some discounted upholstery fabric and got a yard for $4.00.  I was able to make the two additional brown pillows - one is shown in the picture above.  It's a suede type fabric and it's PERFECT!  I also attempted to make a cover for my Pottery Barn oblong pillow with a button (cheapo fabric as well) but I have to re-do a couple of things.  It was a bit more complicated and when since I was working inside out, I ended up with the larger flap over the smaller rather than the reverse.  Will post that after I tear it apart and fix it.  Ugh.
I wanted new covers for two Pier 1 18" pillows that used to match my orange walls. 

That one yard of fabric was just enough for two pillow covers with very little to spare.  PERFECT!

Directions are on the Decorating Instructions page.  Have fun!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Truffles

Needing a dessert for Memorial Day, I immediately thought of the cookie truffles that have been a tremendous hit lately.  Using red, white, and blue (of course!) I made a batch.  This time, however, I made them a little smaller so they are a bit more bite-sized.  I purchased a small package of Wilton small cupcake liners so the truffles would be easy to eat.  I wanted to have some sort of label so people would know what they are, so I made a small flag banner.  (You can find the recipe on the Recipe Page.)

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To make the banner I used two wooden skewers, printed scrapbooking paper and twine.  My original plan was to stick the skewers in two of the truffles, but it kept toppling over.  I hot glued the bottom of the skewers to a large button.  I put a small dab of hot glue on the bottom of the button and attached it to the plate.  Hot glue usually can be removed pretty easily.  That was enough to hold it in place.

Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Decadent Cupcakes

I needed a quick dozen or so cupcakes for the work potluck today.  I rummaged through the pantry and found a Duncan Hines mix called Triple Chocolate cake mix.  I gave it a shot.

These little puppies were a hit (I thought I'd have a few leftover, but no!!!).  I just followed the directions on the box - making the two different batters.  I put a spoonful of the "decadent" batter on the top of the regular batter and cooked as directed.  When they came out of the oven, they did sink a bit where the gooier (is that a word?) chocolate baked, but when I added a little bit of frosting, they looked pretty cool!  Unlike the normal cupcakes I make, having just a hint of frosting let the chocolate reign supreme!  Love it!

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The frosting is just 1 1/2 tbs. butter melted with 2 tbs. milk.  Add powdered sugar and milk (a little at a time) until you have the desired consistency and amount.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I'm Lovin' These Chalkboards!

I haven't been too crafty lately (too busy and too stressed with work) but I did have time to make another chalkboard.  I have a going away party to attend soon.  I thought a little chalkboard might make a cute gift.  I didn't know what to paint on it, so I settled for just a heart.

I thought that there could be an unlimited number of things that someone could write including:

or this:

We write on ours all the time.  There is ALWAYS something to celebrate!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Black Paper Banner

Looking forward to graduation in about a month's time.  Time to switch out the banner in my office.  Here's the result made with black 8 1/2" x 11" scrapbook paper, white letters (traced from a random font from my computer) and some ribbon.  Love the chalkboard look to it!

Can't wait to decorate my office and one to share!

AND the banner in action!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oreo Mini Cakes (with lotsa sprinkles!)

Man it's hot outside!  So glad I felt like checking out a new recipe I found on!  I had been searching for BIG containers of sprinkles so that I could make these, and finally found them at Smart 'N' Final.  Yay!

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These little cakes are pretty easy but take time and patience.  I think now that I've been through the process once, it'll take less time the next time.

I used the cream cheese frosting recipe that you can find here.

To make the cakes, I used a boxed chocolate cake mix and a bag of Oreo cookies.  Put an Oreo in each cupcake liner. ( I was able to get a full two dozen cupcakes out of the batter since the Oreo's fill the cups a bit.)  Pour the batter (you don't need much - you don't want them to overflow the top of the liner) and cook as directed.

When done and cooled a bit, slice the top of the cupcake off to make it flat and pull off the liners.  Pour LOTS of sprinkles in the bottom of a container.  Frost the sides of each cake and roll it in the sprinkles.

Frost the tops of the cakes and then spoon the sprinkles to cover them.

When finished, add a dollop of frosting on the top (I used my cake decorating tools because I made a few regular cupcakes as well) and add an Oreo.  I like them either way -with or without the Oreo on top.

These can be eaten with a fork (and maybe a knife since there's an Oreo surprise at the bottom!)  I will be taking my batch to work tomorrow - oh and saving a couple to enjoy here at home too!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Simple Cards (Testing is Over!!)

I am so grateful to two of the ladies I work with.  

In the world of public schools, one of the most dreaded times of the year is testing in the spring.  As a teacher, there is anxiety about covering all of the material, hope that the kids do well, and exhaustion as the week (or two!) is finally over and you can look down the hill to June.  As the administrator in charge of the testing, it is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Over the span of my administrative career, I've been in charge of STAR testing (the California version of state assessment) more times than I want to remember.  I was mentored by folks who knew what they were doing (thankfully!) and by trial and error (lots of error!) I finally found a system that worked.  There are always changes, but nothing unconquerable.  I learned to work through Spring Break and get all my lists ready.  Three grade levels, 1100 kids, 250 of them with special accommodations, at least ten different testing booklets, 4 days of testing schedules, as well as 30 testing rooms and 60 teachers can be a bit intimidating.  But, with practice and patience, it's manageable.

When I first was given this wonderful responsibility, being the OCD and perfectionist type of person that I am, I didn't want anyone else's hands in it. At all.  That worked out well because at my previous site, that's the way it was done.  I did it all by myself.  Worked out fine, but man, that was one big job. I eventually learned to ask for help and had some great people there who jumped right in to assist. When I moved to my current campus I was so grateful that there were two people who were there to help me.  The great thing was was that they really do all the grunt work.  I did spend spring break with all of my lists (lots of lists!!) and by the time break was over, everything was planned out and ready to go.  That's when this amazing duo took over.  They sorted and counted and labeled and boxed and checked and filled in bubbles like you've never seen before.  They are also pretty OCD and perfectionistic, so it was a relationship made in heaven.

We had a few glitches this year (keeps ya humble!) and we're almost ready to pack everything up.  Every last box should be gone by Tuesday afternoon.  I'll be able to sleep again without waking up at 2 a.m. thinking I forgot something.  Well, at least forgot something about testing!  I'm sure some other stressful situation will take its place!  But before the last box is sealed, I want to make sure I say thank you in a meaningful way because I really am grateful and I REALLY couldn't have done it without them!

I got the idea for this card from The Twinery website.  I used leftover tags and scrapbooking paper.  I dug up a few tags I had on hand.  I glued the paper first, then used a sewing machine to sew around the edges of the paper.  I glued everything to a pre-made blank card (you can buy them at Michael's) and then tied the twine.  The "Thanks" was stamped on the tag. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crafty Girls Debut - Projects With Jars

The author of one of the blogs that I enjoy reading, Naptime Decorator, wrote about her monthly get-togethers with other bloggers to do a Girls' Craft Night.  I thought that was a really cool thing.  Each month they pick a theme or a medium (Fourth of July or glass paint, for example) and they get together with supplies, wine and munchies and craft their little hearts out.

I'm not terribly social but I do like meeting up with friends now and then. So, what better way to visit with friends than to try a craft "event" myself?  I sent an email to six or seven of my friends to see if they were interested, and surprisingly, they were!  It was like the "six degrees of separation" - all of my friends have some connection to one another but they don't all know each other.  They are all great women and I was excited about them meeting each other.  I thought it would be a fun group.

Our first project was canning jar candles.  I sent out an email with a list of possible things to bring to decorate jars and some Google and Pinterest images of what other crafty people have done with jars.  Everyone had a couple of weeks to hit the local Hobby Lobby or Michael's or to scour their closets for decorating "stuff".  

It was amazing to see everything that we made!  Everyone had a different idea, but we did a lot of sharing and talking (and eating)!  The results ranged from jars set in flower wreaths to citronella candle jars for the patio to decorations for a birthday party. It was a great afternoon and I am SOOO LUCKY to have such wonderful people in my life!  Looking forward to the next get together - I think we're doing something chalkboardy!!

Chalkboard in use, of course!

A few supplies just to get us started - in jam jars of course!

Having a glue gun station was a necessity - time to pull out all those cheapie glue guns in the closet!

The makings of some great jam jar crafty items

Ta da! What a crafty wonderful group of women!