Friday, August 12, 2011

Mason Match Jar

This is such an easy project. It seriously took me about 10 minutes (including the creation of the label on Photoshop).  All you need is a mason jar, a box of matches, tape or glue, scissors, and a label of your own creation.

I actually just used the strike strips from the side of the match box and cut them to fit inside of the top of the lid.  I used packing tape to secure them, but once you put the lid together, it stays pretty tight.  Then just put your matches in your jar and your label on your jar. and voila!  Cute as  a button!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Braided Fabric Flowers

I''m back! Sorry for the month-long absence.  The kids had spring break and we went out of town and then things were just crazy for a few weeks.  To get back into the swing of things, here's a super easy and cute flower tutorial.  

Materials needed: Fabric scraps, hot glue gun, felt

Step 1: Cut three strips of matching or mixed fabrics (I've done both) about 20 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Step 2:  Use a couple of dots of hot glue to attach the ends of the three pieces.

Step 3: Braid the fabric.

 Step 4:  After you've braid the fabric, seal the end off with hot glue.  The cut a circle of felt about 2 inches in diameter.  Start gluing the braid in a circle pattern.

Step 5: Seal the end off with hot glue and if you'd like, use FrayEnze on the end to stop it from fraying.

Step 6: Now, you can either make your flower(s) into a pin or a head band.  I decided to do a head band.  For the second flower I used a jersey knit fabric, so I cut a strip of that to use as the headband.

Step 7:  Glue your flowers to your headband.

And here's the finished product.  I just tied the head band at the nape of the neck.  Sorry for the terrible pic of the finished product!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I really love to wear embellished T-shirts, but they are somewhat pricey!  So I decided I could do my own embellishing.  I have several old shirts that I just don't wear anymore (as I referenced in a previous post) so I am using a few of them to re-fashion a couple of $5 shirts I found at Wal-Mart.  These Miley Cyrus/Max Azria t-shirts are a good shape and perfect for the summer.  Below you'll see the two shirts I used for this project.  The striped shirt is one I got from J Crew several years ago and I wore it through my pregnancies with Will and Sam, so it was stretched and deformed!

Next, I cut several flower shaped pieces out of the striped shirt.  They don't have to be perfect and they can be a variety of sizes.  Here's an example.

The next step takes a little bit of time and patience, but it's worth it for the finished product.  I hand sewed the flowers on like you would a button.  I just started with a few and kept adding them until it looked how I wanted it to look!  Here's the finished product.

Cute, huh!  I'd say the sewing took a couple of hours, but I just did it over a couple of evenings after the kids went to bed and I was catching up on my DVR!  So, head on over to Wal-Mart and get your $5 t-shirt and and design your own one-of-a-kind!  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to: Dragon Cake

I love birthdays.
Just LOVE them.
This year, my lil' fella wanted a "How to Train Your Dragon" Birthday....
Complete with his request of an "Orange Dragon cake with Blue wings."
He asked.
I delivered...
Remember, I L-O-V-E Birthdays!
So here it is:

And now, for the step by step directions.

1 Cake Mix
2 - 8" Circle Cake Pans
6 cups of  frosting
1 tube of black frosting
(okay people, I totally order my frosting for my cakes. I know it's cheating, but it saves me time, and well, it turns out the right color every time. I'll let the grocery store do that for me...I'll do the rest:)e
2 Skewers
2 Blue Fruit Roll-Ups
1 Red Fruit Roll-Up
1 Yellow Fruit Roll-Up
2 Junior Mints
2 Yellow Candy Fruit Slices
16 Red Candy Fruit Slices
1 Large Marshmellow
2 Chocolate Chips
10 Keebler Fudge Covered Graham Crackers
Aluminum Foil

Line your JellyRoll pan with Aluminum Foil
Cut your first cake in half. 

The next cake is cut as follows:
Cut the cake in half.
Then, cut the top half in quarters.
The bottom half gets a little tricky.
Cut out the 2 tail portions first, then the top two paws.

Now, stand the two halves up and glue together with frosting.
I also put frosting on the bottom portion to ensure a sturdy base. 

Assembling the Cake:
Okay, so you have your body there in the center of the pan.
Now, add your 2 rectangular shapes for the neck and head.
Then, the 4 triangular shapes for the paws.
And, finally add the tail to complete your dragon.

Icing and Decorating:
This is the fun part!
Okay, and a little stressful.
If the icing starts to pick up crumbs while icing your cake, try a spatula and your finger to smooth out the roughness. Really, when you add the scales, it ends up covering up any little crumb you might have been worried about.
So go ahead and frost your dragon.
Then, add the scales. I used a #3 Wilton cake tip.
Cut the marshmallow in half for the eyes, with 2 chocolate chips on top.
Add the Junior Mints for the nostrils.
Add the 2 Yellow Candy Fruit Slices for the eyebrows.
Place 4 Red Candy Fruit Slices on each paw.
Cut the Chocolate Graham Crackers in thirds using a bread knife.
This will leave 2 triangles and one center piece per cracker.
Take the 2 triangles from each cracker and add the spine of the dragon.
Cut the Yellow and Red Fruit Roll Ups in half, and roll them up for fire at the base of the mouth.
Lastly, roll the tip of the Blue Fruit Roll Ups around the skewers for the wings.
Be sure not to add the wings until just before the big party. They are heavy, and will end up drooping or falling over if placed in the cake too soon.
And there you have it!
The coolest Dragon Cake you've ever seen!
And, thanks Aly for letting me be a guest on your blog!
Stacey Westenskow

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pillow #1

I've made several pillows lately, but this is my favorite of them all!  I was reading this tutorial (fabric flower) and I thought it would make a cool pillow, so here it is!

I forgot to take pictures of my steps all along the way, but I do have a few to get you started.  (I'm new at this tutorial thing!)

Step 1:  Cut several strips of fabric about 2 1/2 inches wide at varying lengths.

You will also need a solid fabric for the body of the pillow.  I used an 18 inch square for the front and 2 18x12 inch pieces for the back.  You will needs two pieces for the back so you can make an overlapping sleeve.  Then you can slip your pillow form in.

Follow the tutorial link above to learn how to make the flower. You will just be making one on a much larger scale.  Once your pillow is sewn together and your strip is ready, use a large bowl to trace a large circle on the front of your pillow as a guide.  Then use your glue gun to glue your strip in a circular motion working from the outside in.

Once you reach the center, you can really finish it however you'd like.  I made a fabric rosette as my center.  I will post a tutorial for the rosette tomorrow.   I need to do better on the step by step process, but I was in a hurry today, and I forgot to take pictures along the way.

Here's a few pics of the details.

Stay tuned for a guest blogger with a cool cake tutorial!  


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The First of Many Flower Tutorials

You will need:  Satin, or wide ribbon, felt, scissors, glue gun, lighter, and a pin clasp or hair clip

Step 1:  Cut several circles in several different sizes (I usually do two of each size for bulk) out of your satin. They don't have to be perfect, in fact, I like them not to be.

Step 2:  Use your lighter and burn the edges of all of the circles.  Do it slowly so you don't burn it too much.  They will curl up.

Step 3:  Now glue all of your circles together, being creative in how you stack them so they look like a flower.

Step 4:  Cut a small circle of felt, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and glue to the back of the flower.  Then glue your pin clasp for a pin or a clip for your hair (or both if you want to use it both ways) to the felt.

Step 5:  You can now embellish your flower with beads or anything you'd like.  And here's the finished product.  One is never enough for me.  I always do two or three (or four) at a time!

I've been making so many flowers lately.  I'll try to do a different tutorial every few days!

Have fun. Aly

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Last week, I was inspired by my brother, Joel and his purging of junk and I decided enough was enough!  Literally, I have enough stuff!  I feel like I am held hostage by laundry.  I know, we are only a family of five, but we go through a lot of clothes.  With morning workouts, basketball practice, baseball practice, and three boys who LOVE to change clothes, I feel like there is always laundry to be done.  One day last week, I washed and folded 8 loads!  Now, I must admit, that day included a bed-wetting incident, so I had to wash bedding, but still, it's just too much!

So here's my solution!

I purged! And I purged A LOT!  That's 10 bags in all, filled to the brim with stuff we don't need.  I'm selling an old camera and a sofa and chair and maybe even a refrigerator.  I just don't need so much stuff.  You should see my closets now!  You can actually walk into the walk-in closets.

So, here's my challenge:  DEJUNK YOUR LIFE!

I had so many clothes in my closet that I was maybe going to wear again someday.  If a full season for that piece of clothing has passed and you haven't worn it once, then you'll never wear it.  I had sweaters I hadn't worn in years.  I always thought I'd wear them again if I lived in a really cold place.  Well, I live in a really cold place and I haven't worn them.  Sweaters make me claustrophobic.  There were clothes I was saving for the boys to wear when they grew into them that had stains and holes.  Foolishness.  They were junking up my life!

So, go ahead and do it!  It feels really good!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Calorie Counting = Not As Bad As I Thought!

So, my sweet sister, Leah, told me about a week ago that she has lost 9 lbs. by calorie counting and exercising a couple of times a week.  My initial thought, as it always is when people mention "dieting" was, "I exercise so I can eat whatever I want!"  Well, that night I watched an episode of The Biggest Loser.  I've watched that show for several seasons and I really enjoy it.  But on this particular episode, three of the team members on the black team threw the weigh in.  They were scared that the younger team members, many of which had a lot more weight to lose, would lose the least amount of weight and therefore, go home.  Each of these three team members gained weight instead of losing!  They did this, despite the fact that they exercised an obscene amount of hours!  So how did they do it?  They blew their calorie counts!

Food really does matter!  No matter how much you exercise, if you're taking in thousands of calories each day, you're not going to lose weight.  So here's Leah's solution:

This website it awesome! It's free and easy.  You simply put in what you eat and what you burn through exercise and you get your count for the day.  The first few days, all I thought about was food.  How many calories are in this or that?  I immediately found that I was wasting A LOT of calories on junk.  A hershey kiss here, a few chips there.  All of them added together were keeping me from making any progress.  Now, I know that I can eat a huge handful of carrots for only 40 calories.  I can eat 16 wheat thin crackers for 140 calories, or I can eat 2 oreos for 140 calories and 6 grams of fat!  For me, it has become more about the quality of my calories.

Now, sure, I still eat cookies!  I am just more aware now of how many I eat.  It truly has not been that difficult.  So, give it a try!  Just for fun, for the first day, eat like your old self.  Eat like you would normally eat. Don't hold back.  You'll be amazed how many calories you're consuming!  I sure was!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

20 Attributes Subway Art

A couple of months ago, Kyle shared a talk with me by Elder F. Enzio Busche.  It made a true difference in my life.  I decided to take the twenty attributes mentioned and make my own subway art.  Click here to grab the file. 

Here's what it looks like:

Most importantly,click here for the link that could change your life, too (for the better)!

No matter what religion you practice, these 20 things will help you to become a better person.  Isn't that what we're all trying to do anyway!

Love, Aly

Vase Wraps - Easy DIY

Here's a really quick and easy DIY project to spruce up a glass vase.

Materials Needed: Fabric Strip, Scissors, Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine, Glue Gun

Easy Steps:
1. Measure the length of fabric you'll need to wrap around the vase and add about two inches.
2. Cut a strip of fabric twice as wide as you'll want it on your vase.
3. Fold the fabric in half inside out and lengthwise.
4. Sew, either by hand or with a machine, a straight stitch down the length of the fabric.
5. Now you'll have a tube of fabric.  Turn it so the seam is in the middle of the back side and iron it open.
6. Now turn the tube right side out.  Then turn about 1/2 inch on both end into the tube and do a straight stitch across both ends.
7. Iron your wrap.
8. Now you'll need your glue gun. Wrap your Fabric wrap around the vase and glue the fabric into place.  (If your vase is a cylinder like the first picture, you can sew it to the size you need and slip it on. If it is an odd shape like the second one, you'll need to use your glue gun.

Total Project Time: 10 minutes

Just a side note, the letter D in these pics was made using the exact same method as was used in the previous post, just on a cardboard letter instead of canvas. Also, these fabrics came from Walmart.  Both were $2/yard and I bought 1/4 yard of each for little projects.  That's $1.

Mod Podge Montage

Here's my first project to share.  The total cost for the two 11x14 montages was about $10.  But, if you already have the Mod Podge and Sealant, then it will be even cheaper.  Here are the items you'll need to do this project:

1. 11x14 Canvas. I got mine at Walmart in a 2-pack.  Follow this link for an even better deal.

2. Mod Podge and Clear Acrylic Sealant (and a of brush some sort to apply Mod Podge)

3. Scrapbook Paper Scraps (always save your scraps!)

To create your montage, cut scraps of the paper of all different shapes and sizes.  Apply Mod Podge to the back of the paper and stick it somewhere on the canvas.  Keep doing this until the canvas is covered!  Make sure to completely cover all of the edges and wrap it completely around to the back!

After it dries, apply an even, thin coat of Mod Podge all over the whole entire canvas.  Let it dry completely. Then take it outside and spray an even coat of the sealant. (I think I ended up doing 3 coats of sealant.)


Total project time: 1 hour

Happy Crafting! Aly

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