Wednesday, March 18, 2015

DIY Crib Teething Covers

Ok. I'll admit I haven't done that well in keeping up with my little blog world here. But, let's be real, who's got time to write with a full-time job, a baby, a husband, and two dogs?? Well, I'm going to do my damnedest, people! I'm aiming for a new post every other week or so. We'll see how that goes...

This one's for all you new mommy's out there. Got a teething baby? Not yet? You will. And when you do, this will happen.

We were quite prepared for Little Dude's teething episodes, but for whatever reason, I guess we figured he would only have a taste for the front of the crib. Turns out he doesn't discriminate.

So in an effort to waylay any more damage, and to reduce the amount of wood that gets stuck to those pinchable cheeks, I grabbed some inexpensive fleece and went to town.

Yes, that's right. That half a yard of fleece cost me a whopping $2. Pay no mind to the fact that I paid the same price for two pieces of candy as I did the fleece. Not sorry.

For me?? 

I have it folded in half lengthwise here. You'll want to measure your crib sides to know where to cut your fleece.

My crib sides are about 26" long from the inside of the first rail to the inside of the last rail.

Drape it in half over your crib rail. Mine was a little short, but it's okay, because the beauty of fleece is in stretchiness (and thank goodness for that!). Here's where it gets tricky and where I screwed up. Measure each slat and the open space in between each slat. You'll be cutting two different types of strips into the fleece.  One is your "tie strip" which gets tied in the openings between each slat.  The other is the "excess strip" which will hang where each slat lays (you'll cut the excess later and tuck it up). When you cut your "tie strips", you'll want each tie strip to fall right in the middle of each opening between the slats.  These should be fairly narrow.

See how wide my strips are?  They should've alternated between being very narrow (tie strips), and very wide (excess strips).  You'll see why.

Here you can sort of see how my "tie strips" are too wide and therefore will pull against the vertical slats once they're tied.  I'm not very good with spacial stuff and all that jazz. Give me simple crafts and I'm a happy girl, but make me do math-type stuff... no bueno.

See how each tie is sitting right against the slat and the excess isn't centered over the slat?  That's why you want your tie straps to be narrow.  Here's where the stretch of the fabric helps.

Tie all of your strips off and cut off the extra length.  Next cut the in between excess strips, leaving about a half an inch of fleece, then just tuck that extra up under the cover. 

Yay! No more chomping!  

Until next time, when I'll be creating a super cute birthday craft for Little Dude's upcoming 1st birthday.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Now entering the world of Mommyhood!

Wow!  It's been about 15 months since I last posted here and so much has changed - namely the birth of this little guy:

Cullen Arthur Alexander was born on March 27, 2014 at 10:16 a.m.  He is the absolute light of my life!

Crafting took a bit of a backseat during my pregnancy, and the few things I did accomplish, I didn't document with photos.  But I do have one particular project that we're really proud of, to come in a future post, when I find time between milk, poop, spit up, giggles, more poop, work, drool, and poop.  :-)

During my 38.6 weeks, I really wanted to document the life that was being created.  I convinced my hubby to photograph our growth throughout, and I'm super happy with the result!

Without further ado:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fishtail Braid (aka Herringbone) Mani!

I have to admit, I spend way too much time doing my nails. I get angry when my hubby rolls his eyes whenever I explain that I have to dedicate time on a Saturday or Sunday to perfect the latest manicure trend. But this week, I have NO shame in the time it took me to complete this look, because it more than paid off.
Behold - the Fishtail Braid Mani!
I've been stalking this particular nail art for several months on Pinterest, and finally found a suggested way of accomplishing this that actually made sense - and that I knew I could do.
Start by gathering 3 or 4 polishes. Mine are Zoya Yummy (blue), Zoya Mira (purple), Zoya Willow (peach) and Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Golden-I.
Paint a long strip of each color onto a Ziploc bag. Wait for each layer to dry and build up 2 or 3 layers to get maximum opacity. Then wait a few hours until the paint is completely and 100% dry.
Once dry, use a pair of flat tip tweezers to peel the strips off the bag. Then using a ruler and an X-acto knife, cut the excess off of each strip in order to get an even width.
Cut each strip into smaller pieces.
Paint nails your base color (one of the 3 or 4 colors used for the strips). Let dry.
Sick apron, right?  I was baking with the hubs and never took it off.  :-P
Now comes the tricky part. Because the strips of polish are dry, the may not want to stick as much. But if you warm them a bit between your fingers they should be okay. You're going to start layering.
As you can see, you don't want to place the strip all the way to the edge of the nail. If you do this, they will build on top of each other and become very thick. Keep layering your colors. I tried using a pair of tweezers for placement but found I needed more control so I used my fingers. You'll want to really rub the strips on the nail to promote sticking.
Once you're layered all the way down to the nail bed, use a cuticle stick to press the strips into the edges of the nail, all the way around, and create a crease. Grab your cuticle nippers and start trimming off the excess. Be super careful here as the strips might start to lift, especially the ones closest to the cuticle.
You can also leave a small amount of each strip if you have a hard time trimming. Just grab an angled brush and some acetone and clean up the edges and cuticles like you would after any paint job. Because its just nail polish, the acetone will break it down and dissolve the excess. The top with a coat of Gelous to lock in the strips and provide a smooth layer, the. Add your favorite top coat. I just received HK Girl and I'm impressed so far!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows - Take 2!

Needless to say, it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new project and forget all common sense. For instance, when you're trying your hand at homemade marshmallows for the first time, if your instinct is telling you the mixture is finished when it starts to clump inside the whisk, even if the recommended whipping time isn't up, you should probably turn the mixer off.

Case in point:

Lesson learned? Marshmallow mixture is incredibly temperamental.  Marshmallows: 1, Melissa: 0.

But since these were to be part of a (albeit late) Christmas gift, I wasn't going to let the them win the war.

Take two. We're even.

Soft, chewy, fluffy, minty marshmallows!

Peppermint Marshmallows. Adapted from Betty Crocker.

Butter for greasing
Powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons (3 packets) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (I suggest reducing to 1/2 tsp)
8 to10 drops red food color

 Gather ye ingredients

Combine gelatin with 1/2c of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer and set aside.

Combine corn syrup, granulated sugar, salt and 1/2cup water in a medium saucepan and set over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then clip a candy thermometer to the pan and set the heat to medium high. Make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan! Cook the mixture without stirring until the thermometer reads 240 degrees. Immediately remove pan from heat.

With the mixer speed set to low, SLOWLY, slowly, slowly (I cannot emphasize this enough) and carefully pour the hot syrup into the mixer with the softened gelatin.

Increase the mixer speed to high and beat 8-10 minutes, until mixture is very thick and white and has almost tripled in volume. Follow your gut here! What you don't want to see is the mixture become too thick it starts to stick inside the whisk. Add 1/2tsp of peppermint extract when you have about a minute left to beat. (Side note: I used the recommended 1tsp and it was really strong. So I would cut back.)

While the mixer is running, grease a 9x13" baking dish and generously dust with powdered sugar. Now here's where you need to work SUPER DUPER fast and it would help to have a second set of hands. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had 4 hands? I was thinking that as I was driving tonight and trying to tie my hair in a ponytail at the same time. Sorry. I get sidetracked easily. Using a wet plastic spatula, coax the mixture out of the mixer and into the dish, and lightly pat the mixture down evenly with wet hands.

Drop red food coloring randomly on the surface of the marshmallows. Using a knife, swirl the food coloring though the mixture. Mine pretty much stayed on top because the marshmallows were already setting. But it didn't turn out too bad in the end! Dust the top generously with more powdered sugar. Let the marshmallows sit uncovered overnight to set completely. 


Dust a cutting board with powdered sugar (did I mention you need a lot of powdered sugar for these?) and add about 1/2cup powdered sugar to a small bowl. Turn the entire marshmallow block onto the cutting board. Dust the bottom with more powdered sugar. Using a pizza cutter, slice the block into long strips and then into small squares. Toss the squares into the powdered sugar to ensure they are coated on all sides. This will help prevent them from sticking together. 

And voila! You've got yummy marshmallows! Great with homemade hot cocoa!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY Christmas Cards

Of course, Pinterest was my lifesaver this Christmas when I had the (way too late) idea of making my own Christmas cards. My hubby had some really awesome photos from Christmas last year that I wanted to print and put on the cards in a really hip, really fancy, really creative way. Really never happened. When it occurred to me just how much work (and money) it would've cost to put them together, I bailed. But the pics are super pretty, aren't they?

So back to Pinterest I went for other (read: easier) ideas. I came across a few that featured some round "ornaments" created with various papers. So I dug into my old wrapping paper stash, pulled out some rolls, grabbed some silvers sharpies I had on hand, some stencils from a previous project, and a a 1 1/2" round punch that I used for my wedding "save-the-dates", which I thought for sure I would never use again. Glad I was proven wrong!

All I needed was cards! Rather than make my own (I only had navy blue card stock and various shades of white art paper) I went to Michaels and found some pretty maroon cards and envelopes packaged together for cheap and snatched them up.


Round paper punch

Pretty little circles!

Glued them on with a glue stick

I ended up freehand drwaing the ornament "caps" and string.  I also had to stencil the letters with a pencil first and then filled in with the silver sharpie.

I need a logo stat!

Here are the two "pinspirations"! If I had given myself enough time I totally would've gotten more creative with the ribbon and bows and jewels, etc. Next time!

Homemade Christmas Cards
Christmas Card Projects