I did it! My adventures in creativity.

I did it! From cooking to crafts, I will share some of my adventures and experiments, both successful and not-so-successful. Hopefully along the way you can find inspiration for some projects of your own!   -Amy


An Epic Fail

Well, I can't really say I did it this time . . .  but I tried!

If you are on Pinterest you may have seen one of many variations of this project:
Santa Plate

In theory, you are supposed to be able to write on a Dollar Store plate with Sharpie, bake it in the oven, and then the ink will be permanent. Wow! So easy, so cheap, so cute. I was planning on doing this for some Christmas gifts this year. Luckily, I had the good sense to try it out first. Here is my sample plate before it goes into the oven:

my plate

Not bad for 5 minutes of work. I followed the instructions: Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then let cool in oven. Theoretically the ink is now permamently baked on and you can safely use and wash the plate. Theoretically. The day after baking my plate I washed it to verify that the project worked. This is the result:

failed plate

Yes, quite a bit of my original "art" has gone missing. Grrr!  I am so glad I didn't buy a whole bunch of plates for this project. At least this way I only wasted $1.00. And I used the plate (after scrubbing off the rest of the Sharpie) to send truffles to my husband's holiday work party, so I guess the $1.00 wasn't a total loss.  I still see the project popping up on Pinterest regularly, so maybe I just had a defective plate, but I wouldn't waste time and money on this project.

I did it! I failed utterly and completely at my latest Pinterest-inspired project. If you have already tried this one, let me know how it worked for you. If you haven't, I just saved you $1.00!

 

Nutella Cookie Cups

I did it!

The other day I was craving something sweet, but didn't want to put a lot of effort into it. I remembered a post I saw on Pinterest about Nutella Cookie Cups and thought that sounded perfect. Well, after I looked it up and realized that the pinner wanted me to bake the cookie cups from scratch, I decided to scratch that idea and do my own lazy-man's version. I gathered up my materials and got to work:

materials

Yes, that's right. 1 pan, 1 package of Nutella, and 1 package of cookie dough. That's all it took. (Plus some cooking spray to grease the pan, but that wasn't glamorous enough to make the shot.) And the results were delish!

Here's what I did: put 1 round of cookie dough in each well of my mini muffin tin. Baked the suckers according to the directions on the package. When I pulled them out of the oven, I thought I might have to create the wells for the Nutella (the original recipe mentioned using a shot glass or spoon to make the wells), but I found that my cookies naturally sank and formed little cups.

cookie cups

After letting them cool for a few minutes I spooned Nutella into each cup and voila! Little bites of tasty goodness.

Finished Nutella Cups

These were so simple and so tasty. I used sugar cookie dough, but they would be amazing with peanut butter cookie dough or chocolate chip cookie dough. I highly recommend trying this one yourself - for minimal effort, you get maximum yumminess. These would be great to make for a cookie exchange or to share with neighbors for the holidays. And if you are less lazy than I am, I'm certain that if you made the cookie dough from scratch they would be even better.

I did it! I satisfied my sweet tooth without having to make an effort. Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes for you!

 

 

Art Table Makeover

I did it!

A few years ago I inherited a kid-sized wooden table and chairs. How perfect for all the art projects the girls do! It was in great shape and really well made, but not so pretty to look at:

old table and chairs

Yes, that is years of caked on paint, play doh, stickers, and crayon.  While functional, this set did nothing to add to the décor of our house. So I decided to give it a makeover! My plan: paint the whole set glossy white and add fun colored polka dots to make the girls happy. The 5-year-old and I headed to Home Depot to pick up our supplies: some sandpaper, primer, and lots of spray paint. I let her pick out the accent colors: purple (of course, it’s her favorite color) and a bright pink. On a beautiful, sunny Saturday (when the 5-year-old had two birthday parties to attend – perfect way to keep her out of the way during the actual painting.  No way I want her to have a can of spray paint!) I set up in the driveway.  A word of advice: if you don’t want paint on the surface you are working on, lay down a tarp! We are planning on seal coating the driveway again soon, so I didn’t bother. Here are our gathered materials:

 materials

First, I sanded the surfaces a bit to get off the crusty layers of stuff. Of course, the sanding also helps the paint to adhere, so even if the furniture you are painting isn’t in such bad shape it’s a good idea to sand lightly first. The 5-year-old got to help with this step – put those arms to work! Once the surface was sanded enough, I wiped it down with a damp rag to clean off the dust. Then I took the kid to her first party. Time for the real work to begin!

First painting step was to spray primer on each piece. This helps the paint cover better and also helps adhere it to the table just that much better. It’s definitely worth taking the time for this step. After the primer was dry (and with spray paint, it doesn’t take long!) I did the first coat of white. It’s key to use smooth, slightly overlapping sprays. This helps with even coverage. I did a second coat of white (it is sooo important to make sure the first coat is dry before you do the next coat – otherwise you can get gloppy streaks. Trust me on this) to make sure it was really well coated.  After the white was fully dry, it was time for polka dots. I had a secret weapon in my arsenal to make the perfect circles: mushroom cans. Yes, that’s right – mushroom cans. I used the mushrooms in pizza puffs, then cut off both ends, washed out and saved two cans (one per color). They were the perfect size for my circles, and I didn’t need to worry about creating a stencil. I just put the can where I wanted the dot, put the spray paint right into the top end and sprayed. Voila! Perfect circles! After everything was dry I sprayed it all with a coat of polyurethane to help protect the finish. Here is how it turned out:

finished table finished chair

I did it! I gave new life to an old set of furniture! It was actually a quick and easy job, and the girls adore their “new” art table and chairs. Try it yourself and let me know how it worked for you!

Personalized Garden Stepping Stone

I did it!

For Mother’s Day this year I decided to have the girls create something special for Susu and Nana, their grandmothers. It had to be something that would last and that wouldn’t clutter up their houses, which ruled out a number of potential projects. They both enjoy gardening, so we decided on making stepping stones with the girls’ handprints. Naturally I wanted one too, so there went the surprise of my Mother’s Day gift!

 Stepping Stone

Cute, no? Very easy, too. We used Quickset cement, a plastic plant tray, and various stones and shells we had on hand from a fairy house project we did last year. All you do is mix the cement, pour it into the tray, and stick the hands (or feet) into it for a few seconds. I let the five-year-old go to town adding embellishments while the two-year-old played with her bike. Both grandmas (and the mama) loved these stepping stones. In order to make them last, they will need to be brought inside over the winter, but that’s a small price to pay for such a neat reminder of how cute their little hands are.

I did it! I (okay, this was definitely a “we” project) made personalized garden stepping stones. Try it yourself and let me know how it worked for you!

No-sew Stuffed Owl

I did it!

I am a Pinterest addict. Yes, I will freely admit it. I find a ton of recipe and craft ideas there. The surprising part is that I actually try many of them! This project, a cute stuffed felt owl, was an idea I found on Pinterest (originally from the blog NatSprat: http://natsprat.blogspot.com/2011/02/no-sew-owl-plushie-tutorial.html) that was just too adorable to pass by. It was quite easy, and turned out well, don’t you think?

felt owl 

One thing I would do differently next time is make the owl a little smaller. In fact, for my Creative Journey program I had the participants do this craft using this smaller template (printed full-sized 8.5x11):

owl template

 

They all turned out super cute, too. Here’s what you do: Gather supplies (felt or fleece, poly-fill stuffing, fabric glue, fabric markers, scissors) and your template. Once you cut out your template, pin it to the fabric (or trace it onto the fabric) and cut your fabric pieces. If you want to do any decorative stitching on the wings, I would suggest you do that now, before you begin gluing. Once you have your fabric pieces ready, glue your top and bottom together at the edges, leaving a small opening for the stuffing. Once the glue dries, glue on your belly and the first eye layer. Again, wait for the glue to dry, then glue on the wings and next eye layers. Once the glue is dry you can add a triangle for the beak and either draw pupils onto the eyes with a fabric marker or glue on felt pupils. Another idea is to sew on small buttons for pupils before gluing down the eyes. Add a small triangle for the beak and you are almost done/ Stuff your owl with poly-fill and glue the stuffing hole. Voila, you are done! I decided to add a simple stitch around the edge just to add color, but it isn’t necessary. This is a project you can embellish as much or as little as you would like.

I did it! I made a cute stuffed owl friend without any real sewing involved. Try it yourself and let me know how it worked for you!

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