Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dollar Tree Gold Pear Place Card Name Tag

Just about two weeks until Thanksgiving!  I'm sure everyone is looking for recipes to make for the big day.  You can't really start cooking yet, so now is the time to plan your table and decorations.  These Gold Pear Place Card Holders are a beautiful way to lead your guests to their seats and a copy of much more expensive look.  This is a simple and easy way to class up your table, without breaking the bank.  This DIY holiday decor will also work for Christmas time or end of the year festivities.

I found these plastic pears and foam pumpkin at the Dollar Tree.  They also had apples and peppers.  Pick your favorite fruit or veggie.  Next I used gold metallic spray paint to coat my pears and give them their shiny gold color.

I love the look of this metallic spray paint.  It also comes in silver, chrome, brass and copper.  It not only makes your items look gold in color, but also gives it that shiny look as well.  Allow your pears to dry and respray as necessary.  Remember that it is better to do multiple thin coats to avoid drips.

Now time to make your leaf tags.  Fold a piece of white paper or cardstock in half lengthwise.  Draw your leaf along the folded edge.  Make sure your leaf stem is long enough to wrap around your pear stem.  Freehand your leaf shape in a longer or even heart shape.  Cut out your leaf.  The stem part of your leaf will attach the front and back pieces.

Label your leaf with your guests' names.  Wrap the leaf around your pear stem and use a glue stick to glue the front and back of your leaf together.

Place your Gold Pear Name Cards on your table setting.  Your guests will love your beautiful gold accents.  Gold not your color?  Pick a metallic shade to fit your look.  If you want plates that also match your decorative pear and surrounding tablescape colors, you can easily create personalized plates on Shutterfly.

Prepare your feast and enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Shared at:  Tatertots & Jello

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie for Williams-Sonoma Smoothie Week

It's Smoothie Week!  I don't know about yours, but my kids love smoothies!  I grew up on them! This was before you could find a smoothie shop in every food court. Our typical smoothies are a base of juice or milk and then filled with as many fruits that we have on hand.

When Williams-Sonoma contacted me to be part of their Not Your Typical Smoothie Challenge, I started thinking about what fruit I hadn't used before.  The avocado has a high nutrient content, making it quite healthy.  They are loaded with nutrients, healthy fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. They may also lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, relieve symptoms of arthritis, and even help you lose weight.  This makes it the perfect fruit to add to our smoothie, not to mention the added creaminess it adds to the texture.  My other favorite ingredient?  Frozen bananas.  Whenever I see our bananas getting just a tad bit too ripe, I peel them, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer.  When you are ready to make your smoothie, just break off what you need and add them to the blender.  They make your smoothie thicker and cold, without having to add ice.

A smoothie is best when you can add a bit of protein to keep your energy up.  I love drinking smoothies for breakfast or an afternoon pick me up snack.  Peanut butter is a great way to add protein and keep you fuller longer.  If you have a personal blender, it is the perfect snack to make to bring on the go!  Looking for a new blender?  Williams-Sonoma has a great selection.

Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie
by Love Bug Living
Serves 1

1 c. milk  (or milk substitute)
1/2 small avocado
1/2 frozen banana
2 T peanut butter (or 1 heaping scoop!)
Handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Add your milk, avocado, banana, and peanut butter to your blender and mix until smooth.  Toss your chocolate chips and pulse until blended.  Pour into a glass and serve.  Enjoy!

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Felt Team Spirit Banner

The soccer and volleyball seasons are coming to a close.  Two weekends ago, we had Spirit Day.  Everyone is supposed to dress in their team's colors and show team spirit.  I had some green hair chalk that we put in the girls' hair.  I found some crazy green striped socks to wear and we all wore green and black to represent each of the girls' teams.  I wanted to do something more.  When I was growing up, one of the moms always made the best team banners that they would put up on a PVC stand for each of the games.  I had wanted to do this in the past, but never got around to doing it.  Spirit Day was the perfect day to get motivated.  Of course, I came to this thought at 7pm the day before!  But when I decide to do a project, I pretty much just go for it!  

I ran to JoAnn's that night to buy felt.  I had two team banners to make, so I had to get busy!  Luckily for me, the bolts of felt were on sale.  I needed a piece about 36" x 28" for the background piece.  I then bought smaller pieces to use to cut out my letters and other decorations.  After cutting your background piece to size, fold about 3 inches of the top edge over to the back and stitch across to create a channel to slip a PVC pipe through.

I printed out block style letters in Word to spell out the team names.  I also searched for pictures of balls on the internet, as well as pictures of our team mascots.  I saved the images to a Word file.  When I went to print, I chose the Properties button on the Print screen.  Halfway down that page, you will find the Multi-page option.  This will allow you to print one image onto several pieces of paper, making it big enough for your banner.  I chose the 2x2 Poster option.  Click on Print Preview as well so you can make sure the image will print how you want.  After printing it out, cut out your image and tape the pieces together to create your pattern.  Use your pattern to trace your image onto your felt and cut them out.  I was able to see the black lines from the ball patterns through the white felt, so I traced them onto the felt with a black sharpie, coloring in the black sections of the soccer ball.

After tracing and cutting out all my felt letters, balls and mascots I figured out my layout.  Now is the time to try out what you like and figure out what looks best.  Then it's time to glue.  I used a tacky glue to keep all the pieces in place.  I was only planning on using these for the day, so I didn't think they would have to last long.  The team liked them so much, they requested to have the same team name and color for next season so we could continue to use the banner.  I may go back and stitch everything in place.  I could do it with a sewing machine, or just use a few hand sewn stitches instead.  

Look at my little soccer star!  She's a natural and has her Mom's talent.  Just don't tell her Dad I said that.  She is a quick thing too.  She looks happy here, but she can get quite pouty when someone takes the ball from her.  

After soccer, it was time to head inside to volleyball.  My daughter had her best game of the season and decided the green striped socks must be good luck.  Whatever works!

Despite the fact that I didn't start making these team banners until the last minute, I was pretty happy with how they came out.  They came together pretty quickly (although I was up until midnight).  I would just recommend planning ahead a bit.  If I make these for the season next year, I will definitely make a PVC stand that will hold the banners for all the games.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hometown Heart Map Canvas

You probably know by now that I like to make personalized gifts for my friends. This Hometown Heart Canvas is the perfect wedding gift to celebrate two hearts coming together. Each person has their own past and upbringing that makes them who they are. This canvas honors these pasts combining them into one heart.  

This project begins with a search for maps of the hometowns.  I was able to find my maps in books I found at Goodwill.  You may have some on hand, but if not, Goodwill or a used book store is the perfect place to start your search.  They may have an older or outdated Atlas or map book.  I got one of each for only $.99 each.

Next, I found a pattern for my heart by searching online for the shape.  I was able to print my heart so that one half of it fit on a regular piece of paper.  Use your heart half and trace it onto your map.  How and where your hometown ends up depends on your map and the layout you like.  One of my maps was the whole country of Brazil.  The other was a close up map of Central Florida.  They both have different looks, but that is the unique idea of combining two different things into one.

Cut out both of your heart halves and place on your canvas.  You could mount them on one canvas, but I chose to place them each on their own 8 x 10 canvas.  I lined the edges of the hearts up, on the edges on the canvases.  Use small heart stickers to mark your hometowns.

Apply Mod Podge to the back of the heart, put it in place and allow to dry.  Apply a layer of Mod Podge over your entire canvas with a foam brush and allow to dry.  Repeat this process until you are happy that it is sealed in place.

This Hometown Heart Map Canvas is the perfect wedding or Valentine's Day gift.  Make one for your friends or your sweetie.  A simple project with a lot of meaning behind it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TMNT Mask & Gift Wrapping Idea

With Halloween coming up, I thought I'd share this idea of making your own felt Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask.  It's such a simple project and a great addition to any costume.  Great for Halloween, dress up, or for a party favor!

I made these masks for my nephews.  The youngest one celebrated his birthday a few months ago.  I had made him a TMNT flannel blanket.  I wanted to make him and his big brother a couple of masks so that they could use them for when they play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Easy enough to make them each one, and it went along with the theme of his gift.  

 I used this Template to create my masks.  I simply printed out the pattern, traced it on to my craft felt and cut it out.  Trace onto the back side of your felt so that none of the marks get left behind and show on the front.  Next I measured a piece of elastic to attach to the sides of my mask.  You don't want it to be too tight or it will pop off, but too loose and it will slide down.  Measure your child's head to get the right fit.  Sew a few stitches on the sides of your mask to attach the elastic.  You can do this on a sewing machine or just by hand.  These masks cost just pennies to make!

Like my cute little TMNT mask models?  If you are looking for a cape to go along with your new mask, check out my Easy Bandana Tutorial or my Reversible Superhero Cape Tutorial.  These masks can be made for any superhero you choose!

With a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gift, you have to have the right wrapping!  This is so easy to do.  I found solid green wrapping paper at Walmart.  I cut a strip of red scrapbook paper for the mask.  You can glue or tape this in place.  Cut circles from white and black paper to create your eyeballs.  Glue these in place and you have a Ninja Turtle package!  Rafael is my nephew's favorite Ninja Turtle, so I used red paper, but pick your color to match your favorite.  Too cute to even rip open!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fierce Pink Ribbon Quilt for Breast Cancer Awareness

My current friends and I met at a run group that was formed at the YMCA.  We started off just running around the block a couple of times and then on to running races.  We then moved on to coffee dates, dinners, movies and girls nights out.  We became known as the Fierce Girls.  We have many t-shirts to prove it too!  Our group has evolved and doesn't really run as much anymore.  People went back to work, kids grew, and lives changed.  We've still managed to keep in touch and meet at 5 am for 3 mile runs and coffee.  We still meet for birthdays, dinners and nights out.  We are there to support each other.  We had a big group that got together to run a breast cancer race to support our fierce friend!

Last year this friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was eye opening since she was the first person my age that I knew personally to be diagnosed with this disease. Breast cancer survivors are all around us, but it is not a given. So much pain, emotion, worries, and treatment comes before you can say you are on the other side. While I have never been in this situation, I am sure it can be a scary and lonely time. Even with people to support you, I'm sure you can get lost in your own head thinking about all the What If's. I wanted my friend to know that we were with her, thinking of her, and caring about her even if we couldn't always be with her. That's why I wanted to make her a pink ribbon quilt, to keep her warm and comfortable.  Something to keep with her when she needed a snuggle.

I decided to make a quilt as you go strip quilt.  It would be throw blanket size, measuring about 45 in. x 60 in.  I used crib sized batting.  I found a variety of fabrics in blacks, whites, and pinks.  I also found a pink print for the quilt back.  I cut my strips in all different lengths, with the width being the width of the material.  I laid out my strips to get the look I wanted.  I also wanted to add the word Fierce and a pink ribbon.  I found images online that I used as a pattern to cut out my fabric.

For the back, I wanted to have a larger piece that could fold forward and create my binding.  I bought a piece of fabric that was 45 in wide and 3 yards long.  I cut this long piece in half.  I matched up the lengths and sewed them together to create the back.  It ended up being 90 in long and 54 in wide.

I used fusible web and an iron to attach the word FIERCE to my first strip.  I zig zag stitched around the outside edges to keep them in place.  Now it's time to start quilting.  To create your strip quilt, you will need to lay out your quilt back, face down.  Top it with your batting, and then line it up with your first strip of fabric.  Sew along the bottom edge of your first strip, sewing together your top piece, batting, and your back fabric all sandwiched together.  I centered my batting and front piece in the middle of the backing.  Remember we will be folding the back forward to create the binding.  If you are using a separate binding, you can use a single piece of backing and line all three up.

After your first strip is attached, line up your second strip, right sides together, along the top edge of your first.  Sew your second strip in place, sewing through the second strip, first strip, batting and backing.  Now flip your second strip up and smooth in place.  Continue adding and sewing your strips in place, quilting as you go.  

 Once your strips are all sewn in place, your quilt will look something like this.  Now is when I added my pink ribbon.  I ironed the ribbon on towards the top of my quilt.  I stitched around the edges.  The outline of the ribbon will show through the back of the quilt as well.

Trim the edges leaving an equal amount of excess material all the way around your front.  The amount of extra material really depends on how thick you want your border.  Mine was a bit thicker, so I had about 2.5 inches around.  Fold your extra material towards your quilt front until the edge lines up with the front edge.  Iron in place.  Fold this border over again, so that it is covering the front edge of the quilt.  Pin in place.  Do this for all four sides, squaring off the corners.  Here is another TUTORIAL on binding with mitered corners.

I was very happy with how it turned out.  The pink really popped against the black and white fabric.  I wanted her to know just how Fierce she really is!  The size was perfect for her to bring with her for treatments or just curl up on the couch.

Today my friend has completed her treatment and is doing well.  She is a strong woman and I hope she continues to only get healthier and happier.  I know my friend loved this quilt.  If you know someone that could use some extra love, maybe this pink ribbon quilt could brighten her day.  Plus it's simple enough for a beginner to sew.  Be healthy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Blanket

A few months back, my nephew celebrated his third birthday.  Both of my nephews are big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans. Living in a house full of girls, I must say that I don't know many details about them. I do know that Raphael is his favorite, so I decided to make his gift accordingly.

Maybe I'm weird, but one of my favorite things to make ( and have) is a blanket. Of course I decided that anyone that is a fan definitely needs a TMNT blanket to cuddle with!  

I love all the fleece and flannel prints that are available. With their popularity right now, I easily found TMNT fabric I liked. I chose a fleece print for one side and a turtle green fleece for the other.  You could use either fleece or flannel, but I find flannel easier to work with.

I cut my material into 1 yard squares.  This was just going to be a throw blanket for a three year old, but you can make it longer if you wish.  Next I cut a strip of red flannel material about 8 inches high and the width of my blanket.  Fold under the long edges of this strip and press in place. 

I cut out eyes from craft sized sheets of white and black felt.  Stitch the black circles in place on to your white eyes.  Place your eyeballs on to the middle of the red strip and stitch in place around the outside edges. 

Place your red strip on to the front of your green solid fabric.  Sew along the top and bottom edges of the strip.  Now place the front (right side) of your solid against the right side of your printed fabric.  The wrong sides of both fabrics should be facing out.  Pin together and sew around the outside edges, leaving a 6-8 inch opening. 

Turn your blanket right sides out.  Pin your opening together.  Sew around the outside of your edges again, making sure to sew the edges of your opening closed.

Your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle blanket is ready for cuddling!  This is a great gift for any TMNT fan and would be perfect for the cooler weather that is to come.  Cowabunga, dude!