Love Story 3 column

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Casual Pearls?

So, 6 months later...

Yikes! That's how long it's been since my last post. I got so busy with the holidays, planning and throwing 2 little girls' birthday parties, and just life in general. I fully intended to do a post on each girl's party, and still may. I think I got overwhelmed with it all and just did nothing.

Anyway! My mom recently took me to help her find some jewelry components for a necklace she's planning, and it kind of got me excited about making some things for myself. I have a ton of the supplies and tools, and haven't used any of it in probably 4 years. This past weekend I made 2 necklaces, 4 bracelets, and a pair of earrings!

Today, I'll show you some really easy bracelets and matching earrings.

When I was growing up (in the totally rad 80s!), pearls were always dressy and always paired with gold. But in the last few years, I've seen pearls with silver, and I kind of love it.

On a recent trip to Walmart, I found some glass pearls strung with silver spacers for only $4. They were packaged in 3 rows, just the right length for bracelets, so how to use them was kind of a no-brainer. I already had some clear stretchy cord and jewelry glue on hand, and that's all you need for 3 bracelets!

I started by cutting the existing cord the beads came on - one strand at a time. I pulled it out with the beads laid out on my bead design board. This is totally optional, but the board was not expensive at all. It's kind of velvety and keeps your beads from rolling everywhere. You can also lay out your design and check out the length as you go. Each of these strands was about 8 1/2 inches, and I wanted a slightly smaller bracelet. So I removed one repeat from each strand and my bracelets ended up being about 7 1/2 inches around. They fit me a little snugly, but not too tight.

I cut about 10 inches of the clear stretchy bead cord and put a clothes pin on one end to keep the beads from sliding off. Then I strung them all on and tied several knots with the cord ends. I intended to put some beading glue on the knot, but found out it was all dried up. Oh well, I'll just cross my fingers and hope my knots were tight enough!

Here's the finished three bracelets. I had originally thought to string them on jewelry wire and attach the ends to one clasp, but I decided three separate bracelets would be more versatile. I could wear just one by itself, or layer them with some other silver bracelets I already have.

And since I removed one repeat from each strand, I had a few bead left over. Hmmm...what to do? Make matching earrings, of course! (And I had no idea how hard it was to take a decent picture of my own ears. I guess this will do.)

I used 1 large pearl, 2 silver spacers, and 6 small pearls for each earring, pairing them with some additional silver spacers and silver-lined glass beads from my stash. I also already had the earring "clasp"??? and silver bead wire, so these were a free bonus from my original $4 purchase!

And as if it wasn't tricky enough to get a shot of my own ears, I just had to try getting the bracelets in the shot, too. Not the most flattering angle, but you get the idea. I wore these for church with a purple maxi dress and a chambray shirt tied in front with some wedge sandals. (Yes, of course I should have taken a picture of that, but my arm only stretches out so far, you know!)

I'm planning to show you some of my other recent creations soon. Until then, I hope you'll be inspired to try making something for yourself or to give away. It's really not that hard!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Dresses

I don't plan on my girls having matching outfits for the rest of their lives, but while they are still too young to protest - I'm going for it. We had plans to visit the pumpkin patch this week, and I had just bought some fall plaid fabric, so matching dresses were in order.

It was not easy to get a lot of great pictures - especially since Caroline would not let me put her down and Annelise is in a weird-face-making phase. But we got a few good ones. (I also played a little with overlays on picmonkey - the photos aren't dirty!)

FYI - just in case you're concerned about Caroline's bare toes - it was about 80 degrees outside!

Those adorable dresses (if I do say so myself!) were made from the Charlotte Dress pattern from Mama Stellato. It's $6 for the e-pattern, which includes sizes from 9M to 5T. I'm getting years worth of use from that $6! I've used this pattern several times before, including here and here. The plaid fabric is from Hobby Lobby, and the floral fabric is from Joann.

I used the 3T and 6-9M sizes and made just a few modifications to the original pattern. I put elastic in the sleeves on the little one, added a slight ruffle to the bottom of both, and put a 1" cuff on the 3T dress. (The 3T sleeves were going to be about an inch too short, and the cuff was a really simple addition. Next time I'll hold the pattern up to my daughter before cutting the fabric!)

Happy crafting,

Monday, October 15, 2012

EASY Tulle Autumn Wreath

So it's October 15 and I have ONE fall decoration up. Pitiful, I know. But my 7 month old doesn't even know what fall is, and my almost 3 year old doesn't seem to care. To decorate, that would require me asking my husband to get my stuff out of the attic and - the key thing here - I would have to do some major cleaning. Yeah, like that's going to happen!

Anyway, on to my one fall decoration...

I made a super-simple tulle wreath, inspired by this one I saw at Nap Time Journal. Here's how to make one for yourself!

12" wire wreath base ($2.47 - Hobby Lobby)
6" spool of tulle in chosen color(s) ($4.99 each at Hobby Lobby - 50% off when I bought them.)

I used olive green, brown, gold, and glitter orange. You won't even come close to using it all. You could make a one-color wreath and use most of one spool.

You need a bajillion pieces of tulle that measure 6" (spool width) by 2 1/2". To simplify the process, I cut 20" strips and stacked them - 4 strips of each color at a time, for a stack of 16 strips. Then I cut each stack into 2 1/2" pieces. You could use regular scissors or a rotary cutter.

Starting on the inner ring, tie a single knot in each tulle strip until they fill the ring. I alternated each color, but you could tie several of one color in a row for more impact.

I skipped the next ring, and continued tying pieces on the 3rd ring.

Continue tying the 4th (outside) ring. I skipped the 2nd ring, and it turned out perfectly full.

Here's a side view. I don't think the colors look right on screen. The green shows up a little better in real life, but I wish I had put more of the green strips side by side to make the color a little more vibrant.

This is what the back looks like. After you finish tying all your knots (took me about 2 nap times!), flatten out the back to fluff everything toward the front. (Does that make sense?)

The last thing I did was to tie a bow on the front - no pic of this step. I cut two 3-foot lengths of the green tulle and tied them around that unused ring. You could position your bow at the top, bottom, side, or leave it off altogether. All that remains is to hang it up and enjoy! I also used a clear suction cup wreath hanger (about $2.99 at HobLob) since we have a mostly glass front door.

Here's one more look:

I hope your fall decorations are coming along better than mine. Maybe I'll try to do some of that this week. Don't hold your breath!!!

Happy crafting,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

No-Sew Trick-or-Treat Bag

My husband and I have been volunteering at our church's Fall Festival for years, and for the last two years, we had a little someone to take with us. And both times, we realized after we got there she didn't have anything to put her candy in. Okay, you got me. When she was 11 months old, the candy was really just for us! But now that Annelise is almost 3, she is definitely going to need a bag for her candy.

When I was growing up, you pretty much had one choice for trick-or-treating:

Well, that was fine 30 years ago, but I just had to make something cuter, right? Besides, storing a plastic pumpkin the rest of the year is not ideal. We already use up valuable closet space for Easter baskets. So here is a super easy, no-sew trick-or-treat bag:

Would you like to make one? Here's what you need:

Fabric Tote (mine were $7.99 for 4 at Hobby Lobby)
Scrap Fabric
Fusible Web
Fabric Paint
Printout of initial

For my letters, I used Janda Manatee from I made each letter using Word Art in Microsoft Word, and they are about 3" square. I also used a bowl to trace the background circle - the diameter was about 5 1/2". Trace your letter (in reverse) and circle onto the fusible web's paper backing. Cut loosely around each shape, remove one side of the paper backing (not the side you traced!) and set it in place on the back side of your fabric. Follow package directions to iron the fusible web in place.

Cut out your letter and circle along the traced lines. Remove the paper from the letter, center it on the circle, and iron it in place.

Then remove the backing from the circle and iron it to your tote.

At this point you could stop. The fusible web should hold everything just fine. But to add another dimension, I traced the letter and circle with fabric paint.

Here's a close-up of my edges. (Of course the closer you get, the more imperfections you see!)

I also made a simple bow and hot glued it to the bag. Now my 7 month old won't be carrying a treat bag this year, but I couldn't let her feel left out next year, so I made her bag now.

You could easily change up the look of this bag to suit your child - think superhero fabric for boys, their favorite colors, or something to match their costume. Or you could make one to use as a gift bag (that's a gift in itself) for another holiday - red and green for Christmas, cupcakes for a birthday, etc.

I'm super-excited to show you what I just made Caroline (the 7 month old) for Halloween. I just have to get a picture of her wearing it. Stay tuned...

Happy crafting,

Linking up here:
Sundae Scoop (I Heart Naptime)
Mop It Up Mondays (I Should Be Mopping the Floor)
Make It Wear It Thursday (The Train to Crazy)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bed Rail Recover

Shortly after my oldest daughter's 2nd birthday, we moved her into her big girl bed. We bought the longest bed rail we could find - not just so she wouldn't roll out, but also to serve as a deterrent to getting out of bed. Don't get me wrong - she can still get in and out - but she knows when the rail goes up, it's sleepy time.

My problem came as a result of when the rail is down. Annelise's bed is so low that the rail doesn't hang straight down - it hangs at an angle where it hits the floor. So of course my daughter uses it as a ladder to climb into her bed. And after about 6 months of that kind of treatment, the top seam of the rail cover completely came undone. (She also kicks it before she falls asleep. I'm sure that had quite a bit to do with it, too.)

I found some white twill fabric at Hobby Lobby. I wanted a sturdy fabric that would hold up to Annelise, and possibly last long enough to use with Caroline in a few years. I thought about getting a coordinating color for her room, but went with plain white so it will go with Caroline's room later.

I laid out the fabric and traced the existing cover with the top seam at the fold of the twill. I cut the fabric about 1/2" outside the traced line. I thought about using velcro to fasten the bottom around the rail frame. But then I realized the zipper on the old cover was still in perfect shape. So I picked out the old zipper and reused it.

Here's a close-up of the new top corner. I started the side seam right where the frame started to curve down.

I also tried to solved the "ladder" issue. I gave Annelise a little window to put her foot in when climbing in. I cut out a 4"x6" hole on the inside and stitched bias tape around the raw edges.

And here's the new cover in place on Annelise's bed.

Here she is using the foot hole. Love that cheesy grin!!!

There she goes. Nap time!

And here is the reason I haven't A) posted lately, and B) had any time to make something to post about!
Our sweet little Caroline is 6 months old. She's crawling and pulling up to stand already (yikes!), and is completely a momma's girl. I'm thankful that she and her sister nap together most of the afternoon, but by the time I get them down for naps, I'm worn out from chasing them all morning. Whew! Together they keep me hopping.

I have lots of craft plans - a ton of things collected on Pinterest - I'm just looking for the time to get it done. One of the next things I'll be working on - Halloween costumes! I've completely sewn Annelise's first 2 costumes, but this year I'm going to combine some homemade items with store-bought things. Stay tuned...

Happy crafting,

Linking up here:
Sundae Scoop (I Heart Naptime)
Mop It Up Mondays (I Should Be Mopping the Floor )

Monday, July 16, 2012

Photo Wall Redo

Now that Caroline is 4 months old, it's time to add her pictures to the photo wall. I should have done this months ago, but I'm finding that once Annelise (the 2 1/2 year old) goes down for her nap, I would rather sit and do NOTHING than work on projects. Surely I'm not the only one who is exhausted by her toddler!

Here's our family photo wall before:
 Not too bad, but I wanted to add a collage frame with pics of the new baby, so some rearranging was in order.

Here's the entire wall looking toward the front door. (Sorry for the extreme afternoon sun. I took this while Annelise was napping.) This is pretty much just a hallway from the front door to the living room, so I couldn't get a straight-on picture.

 This is the new collage frame (from Hobby Lobby, of course!). More adorable pics from our newborn photo shoot. (Skyley Photography by Lori Smith - Houston area - find her on facebook).

Caroline's hospital portrait - 2 days old. These shaped frames seem to be all the rage right now, and Hobby Lobby has them! This one is 8x10, and I don't remember all the sizes they carry, but I know there were also 5x7s. There were a few shapes and colors to choose from.

 I had about 7 feet of wall to work with, but I wanted to leave a little room to add a couple of frames in the future. So I used about 6 feet by 3.5 feet on my dining table to lay out the frames until I was happy with the layout.

 Ready to go on the wall.

I went for a more linear layout this time. I love being able to walk past pictures of BOTH of my babies every day. Now we just need to have new family portraits made with all FOUR of us!

Happy crafting,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ummm, I Had a Baby! (Is that a good excuse?)

Bless me, bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been 4 1/2 months since my last post. (Ha ha! No, I'm not Catholic.) So what's my penance? Instead of Hail Mary's, how about 8 Mod Podge projects? Hmmmm....

Well, I have a great excuse for not blogging. I had a baby. I know there are plenty of rock star moms out there who get posts up right after their baby is born. Well, I'm not a rock star - not even close! Who has time to craft, much less blog about crafts, with a newborn and a really energetic 2 1/2 year old? Not me - I'm worn out!

I've come to the conclusion in the last few days that my blog is called "Crafting When I CAN", not "All About Crafts." I can post about anything, right? And when I actually DO find myself having time for a craft project, I'll blog about that, too.

All right, on to the adorable baby pics. Here's a snapshot of my life for the last 4 1/2 months...

 So here I was on February 11, two days before my due date, Feb 13. On Friday, Feb 17, when NOTHING had happened yet, I went to the hospital to be induced. After 8 hours on Pitocin, I was not progressing enough, so my Dr. sent me home and told me to come back the next Tuesday. I had a great nursing team - some sweet, patient ladies - who told me they were back on duty Tuesday, and they might see me again. Yeah, so nothing happened over the weekend. I got lots of confused looks when I went to church that Sunday (when everyone assumed I'd still be in the hospital holding my bundle of joy).

So on Tuesday, Feb 21 (EIGHT days after my due date!), I went back to the hospital, got back on Pitocin, and started over (with my same fabulous nurses). This time, Caroline was finally ready to come into the world. I was in labor about 9 hours and pushed for literally 5 minutes. (With my 1st daughter, it was 13 hours of labor and 1 full hour of pushing!)

Here we are about 10 minutes after Caroline Rose was born.
She was 8 lbs. 1 oz. and 21 inches.

Day 2: Our 1st photo as a family of four! This was when Annelise came to meet her new little sister. The first thing she asked was if she could hold her!

 Caroline is like a little carbon copy of Annelise. I'm so glad digital pictures have date stamps, or years from now, I might not know which girl is in the picture. Especially since we're reusing all of Annelise's clothes!

March 14 - Ready for bed. I still thought Annelise was my little girl until I saw her next to her newborn sister. Wow! All of a sudden she seemed so big. Sniff, sniff.

April 8 - Easter Sunday. Poor Caroline had such a huge case of baby acne. It was all over her body when she was born, and stayed on her face until she was about 2 months old. I know it doesn't bother them a bit, but I still felt sorry for her.

April 26 - Caroline's 1st visit to the Houston Zoo. As she grows, I hope she will love it as much as Annelise does.

May 20 - The day of Caroline's dedication at church. (This was after church, which is why Annelise's hair is so messy. Those boys in the nursery always pull on her bows!) Their clothes don't always match, but it's just so darn cute when they do!

June 17 - This is one strong little girl. She gives herself tummy time! She's been holding her head up for a while, and started rolling over at about 3 months (1st roll was on my birthday!). She loves watching her big sister, and I can tell she just wants to get up and run after her NOW! Annelise hit most of her milestones a little earlier than her peers, and I think Caroline will beat her on all of them!

 March 21 - One month old. Little miss bright eyes showed off for her 1st photo shoot. A friend from church does beautiful photography - especially of kiddos - and came to our house for this shoot.

***If you like our pictures and live in the Houston area, please check out Skyley Photography by Lori Smith on facebook. She gave us all our retouched pics on a CD (about 22 shots) for a great price, and we can print them all we want. Her retouching was fabulous - remember I told you about the baby acne - can't see it at all!***

Hard work for such a little girl!

She slept through most of the shoot, but looked so cute doing it.

And she comes by those gorgeous baby blues quite naturally. Annelise has them, too! (No retouching needed!)

If you're still reading after all these pictures, don't hold my blogging absence against me. I have plans to get some crafting done soon. And if I don't have time for crafting, I'll just force you to look at more pics of my beautiful daughters! Until then...

Happy crafting,