Crafty Bridal Headband

In case you didn’t know, I have short hair.  No, really short.  I don’t have the luxury of getting my hair all done fancy for special events, like, I dunno… a wedding.  I’ve been pinning pictures of brides with short hair for awhile to get a feel for my options.  You know what?  There aren’t too many pictures of brides with short hair on the interwebs!  But the ones I did find looked super cute with a simple headband.

Next step was to price headbands, and when I saw that they run at least $25 or $30 (sometimes more), I thought I could make something I really liked myself, for cheaper (probably).  So I started pinning DIY headband tutorials like this one.  I still didn’t have a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted, but I was anxious to get crafty, so I headed off to Hobby Lobby.

This is what I came home with:

supplies

All told, I spent about $16 including tax on the various supplies.  I sat down one afternoon and started playing with the supplies, literally throwing things together to see what came out.  One of the first things I did was wrap the off-white ribbon (the kind that has a bit of wire in the edges, so it stays put) around the headband.  This particular headband even had a handy little wrap of ribbon around the ideal spot to place a feature embellishment:

headbandwrapped headband

(And even better, there happened to be a knot in the ribbon that ended up right at that spot, so I could still locate it after I wrapped the headband!)  I hot glued the ends of the ribbon to the headband when I was done wrapping.

Next I started playing with which embellishment would go on the headband.  I had picked up some flat-ish crocheted flower shapes in the scrapbooking section and started playing around with those to see if I could make it into something that looked decent:

placement1up close crochet

Then I stitched them down to the black felt right down the center, so it would stay in place.

Next I started beading the center of the flower with some glass pearls (4mm, I think), and some light pink crystal beads:

half-beaded

When I finished with the flower center, I added some “bridal trim” to the outer spokes.  The trim came in one long piece, but I simply cut each individual flower off and hot glued it in place:

"bridal trim"all trimmed

Next I hot glued all of the edges to the black felt, and cut the felt shape out.  I put a dab of hot glue right on the headband, and placed the embellishment on the dab of glue.  Then I cut some felt patches to glue to either side of the band to hold the embellishment in place:

glued felt patches to hold in place

And then I tried on the finished product:

finished headbandon the bride!

Not bad for $16 and a little crafty fun!

DIY Magnetic Menu Planner

I plan our dinners (and lunches) weekly, and go grocery shopping every Sunday.  I hate shopping on Sunday, especially when there are no freakin’ carts left, but try as I might, I haven’t been able to switch to a better day.  Besides, I suspect our particular grocery store is crowded at all hours of every day of the week.  It’s an insane place to be.

While browsing on Pinterest for great ideas, I have often come across the cute little menu planner for the week.  This is not something I really need, but I kinda want to put one together for a few different reasons:

  1. I tend to get into ruts, where we eat the same things week in and week out.
  2. I want to try to use the groceries that I buy for the meals I intend, so that there’s less waste at the end of the week.
  3. I tend to forget to defrost stuff when necessary.
  4. I want to motivate myself to continue cooking throughout the week, rather than resorting to McDonald’s or pizza because I’m too tired to try to remember what I had planned for the week.

But I think it can safely be said that mine’s a little different than all the others you’ll see on Pinterest.  You’ll see how in a bit…

I started with good old Microsoft Word.  I didn’t want to write out every single meal, and all of the ingredients on the back, so I opened up Word, went to “Tools”, selected “Labels”, and clicked on “Mail Merge”.  This brought up a page of label-shaped cells, and I typed the name of my typically used recipes into each cell.  I’m not going to bother putting the ingredients on them, because thanks to Pinterest, I can look it up with a click or two, and I usually build the bulk of my grocery list sitting in front of my computer, anyway.  And truth be told, I make most of these so often, I already know what’s in them.

labels

My next step was to print off the “labels” on cardstock, and cut them up (using my cropping tool for scrapbooking for nice straight lines), and then laminating them.  I don’t think laminating is necessary, but it will keep the cards nicer for longer.  Then I used some adhesive magnet tape to adhere a small magnet strip to each one.

don't you love cutting up laminated stuff?

roll o' magnet

applying magnets...

Now I needed a surface, so I used a small cookie sheet that I no longer need, and covered it with contact paper.  Here’s how mine is different – I faced the raised edges of the pan towards the wall, so that I can store unused recipe magnets inside for the week. You may also notice that other DIY-ers have used cookie sheets and magnets, but only my recipe cards themselves are magnetized.  See?  I told you mine is different!

old cookie sheet

covered with Contact Paper...

magnetic!

store unused magnets on the wrong side!

Finally, I used some scrapbooking materials and tools to make it pretty, and mounted the board in my kitchen with those 3M velcro hangers.  Now I have a visual reminder of what meals are planned for the week!  As I try more recipes from Pinterest (or anywhere!), I can easily add more cards to the mix.

Finished Board without magnetsFinished Board with magnetsFinished Board Hanging in my kitchen!

Crafty Gift Review

I know I shared some of the crafty gifts I was giving for Christmas this past year, but I couldn’t share them all because some of my loved ones actually read my blog!  And I realized today that I can share them now (now, that it’s February…)

This is a tote bag I picked up from Hobby Lobby for $3.  I also used sprayable fabric paint, and contact paper for the stencil (which I downloaded from Martha Stewart).  I traced the stencil onto clear contact paper with a sharpie, and then cut it out, and applied it to the front of the bag. I was able to use the stencil twice (I made two bags), although I did have a few small tears that I had to pay special attention to with the second bag.  Once the stencil was applied, I used the spray-paint, also found at Hobby Lobby, and let it sit.  When dry, I peeled back the stencil, leaving this:

cherry branch tote bag

I also made some large prints like these, but made it much easier on myself by using large poster frames (which were 70% off at Michael’s) rather than trying to use spray adhesive or mod podge to attach them to MDF or foam core board.  Then when they inevitably fade, I can replace them with new ones.  The three prints altogether cost me about $3 at Staples.  I think the three frames together came to about $20 at Michael’s:

large engineering prints

Finally, in the picture above, you can also see my little silhouette project, which was way easier than it looked and brought tears to my mom’s eyes.  I used this tutorial (although getting The Boy to be still enough to get a sideways shot of his head was easier said than done – I managed to get one while he was asleep), and here is a larger shot of the outcome:

silhouette

We had a fine, crafty Christmas, and my pocketbook is thanking me for it!

Stressed, But in a Good Way

There has been a whirlwind of activity over the past couple of weeks, with school concerts and holiday preparations. The day before yesterday, I worked on about six craft projects in one evening, not including the nightly box for the advent calendar.

ac1Yesterday, it was a cleaning frenzy, not to say that there was a lot to do, but The Man was flying in last night. Not only do I work harder for those I love, I wanted to make sure we had a clean house to come home to after our various holiday travels.

box1
The Man remarked about how much stress surrounds the holidays, but this is self-induced and I enjoy it.  I enjoy being busy if it has to do with Christmas and preparing food, gifts, or my house for loved ones.  How about you?

amaretto fixin's

amaretto

How to Be Thoughtful About a Small Family Christmas

As I’ve mentioned, this Christmas, I will be without The Boy. Since the divorce, I have noted how few gifts are on my list for others.  Being an only child and having an only child leaves only gifts for my parents, The Man, and The Boy.  I’ll admit this is kind of nice, although giving the perfect gift is something on which I pride myself a bit.  I do get gift cards when someone tells me that’s all they want, but it’s difficult to stretch the traditions of Christmas morning out when you are giving gift cards to 3 other people…

How do I get my gift-giving fix?  Where do I get to be creative? (Mom, Dad, anyone else on my list — stop reading!)

I’m working on some crafty wrapping this year, thanks to all kinds of inspiration from Pinterest.  I just got a new sewing machine, so I will be working on these stitched wrapping projects from Shimtokk:

donotopen5

The tutorial is here at Martha Stewart (the idea was so good they were featured as a part of last year’s Gift Wrap Challenge!)

Stocking stuffers are another area where I get to be thoughtful and creative.  No dollar store trips for me!  Here are some of the projects I will be attempting:

Surprise Box from Martha

Dad’s will have his favorite treat, Jordan almonds, and The Man’s will contain his favorite, Necco wafers:

almonds & wafers

The directions are here at Martha Stewart’s site, again.  Haters can hate, but sometimes she’s got good, achievable ideas!

And maybe these:

DIYmonogrammug17

Filled with coffee or hot chocolate mix?  The tutorial is from Design Mom.

Finally, we have a tradition to spend some time on the gift tags – not making them elaborate or anything, but as clues to the gift.  Rather than just saying “To: Mom, From: Annie” it will elude to the nature of the gift, and from whom the gift is.  For example:  if I was giving my mom a book (a fairly common gift), the tag might read, “To: William Least Heat Moon, From: Alex Haley”. (Moon wrote one of Mom’s favorite books, “Blue Highways”, and Haley wrote one of my favorite books, “Roots”.  We know each other’s favorites, so this would be a big clue to her that it is book-related, and that it is from me!)

What can I say?  I like to emphasize the relationship I have with each person rather than the stuff.  I want to remind them about all of their little quirks which make them so lovable.  To me, that’s what this season is about.

Teacher, Parapro, SLP, OT, Daycare, and Ex’s GF gifts

It’s that time of year to give gifts to the many, many people who help your child through his or her day, as well as to the other side of the family (you know, the one you don’t want to spend too much money on, because really it’s the ex’s job to buy for them, but it’ll never happen, and you don’t want your kid to feel bad for not bringing presents?…).

But buying gifts for all of those people would be outrageous.  So what is a budget-minded, single mom of a special needs kid to do?  Get crafty…

  1. As mentioned in a previous post, you can make your own sugar body scrub from fairly common ingredients like sugar, honey, tea, and vanilla.
  2. You can get yourself a metal stamping set (like this one from Harbor Freight), some washers (but probably better to get actual jewelry making metal from the craft store: zinc-coated washers are too hard), and some carabiners from your local big box store (they run about a dollar apiece) to make personalized key chains.
  3. Last year, when I asked everyone I knew for ideas, Dr. Leah from Singlemommyhood suggested paperwhite bulbs in a pretty bowl as a great gift for teachers.
  4. You could always do a donation to a great cause like Heifer International for teachers, as well.
  5. For daycare helpers, we have made fudge, cookies, chocolate-dipped large pretzel sticks (with sprinkles), and all sorts of goodies in previous years.  Just make sure to note any allergies!

I can’t tell you what we’re doing this year (because some of these wonderful people who help The Boy sooooo much read my blog!), but maybe you can share with us some of your ideas in the comments!

body scrub

Advent Update 2

As of Day 9, our advent calendar hasn’t been torn down, and The Boy is excited to open up a box each morning.  He really couldn’t give a flip about the activities, but he seems to enjoy the little gifts.  We have done a few activities, and all I can say is that this is much better than a couple of years ago.

AC as of day 9

I really like only putting one gift out at a time, although it would be great if I wasn’t frantically making a box and trying to fill it with stuff each night.  Next year, I’ll have my “stuff” together and get all of the boxes done ahead of time, and possibly filled so they are ready to go.  Making the boxes is fun, though, and really fills my “crafty quotient” for the day.

I’m still a little disappointed that we’re not doing as many of the activities, but as long as we’re doing some, I’m going to have to be OK with that.  (It’s not about me, it’s not about me, it’s not about me…)

The bonus is that whatever little gifts I have left over, I can throw in his stocking and call it a day.  Time to go make tomorrow’s box…