Category Archives: Crafting

4th of July Patriotic Round Up

Get ready to celebrate America and show off your patriotism with this round up of patriotic crafts and recipes!
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Deck out your door with this Red, White and Blue Burlap Flag Wreath
Burlap Patriotic Wreath

Get the family together to make some matching Flag T-Shirts to wear to the fireworks display!
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Head on over to my freebies page to download some free printables – I have a few different patriotic ones!
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4th of July Printable

Feeling crafty? Check out this Beach themed Wood and Starfish American Flag Sign
Patriotic Wood and Starfish Flag

Is all this crafting making you hungry? My Italian Soda is the perfect all-American drink.
Italian Soda Recipe

And finish it all off with some American Flag Cupcakes!
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Huge Etsy Shop Update!

I’ve been working like a busy little bee over the past few weeks and in between getting ready to move and getting all of my existing orders done, I’ve created so many new products!

(Make sure you read through all the way to the end – there might be a little surprise in it for you!)

All items can be found in my Etsy Shop or by clicking on my shop on the sidebar of this page.

I gear many of my items towards people who are looking for long distance relationship gifts, deployment or care package gifts, or just those who want to show support for those in the military, but many of them can be used in so many different ways! I’ve had customers who tell me that they’ve bought my items when they go off to college and are away from friends or family, or to mark a favorite vacation spot, and even someone who wanted to document the special location where she got engaged! There are just so many different possibilities!

On to the items!

First off, I now sell just plain stamped washers – perfect for if you want to hang it on your own chain, on a keychain, or attach it to a shadowbox, scrapbook or other form of memorabilia.  I offer 2 sizes and 2 formats.

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This general “my happy place” can be used in so many different ways! I used it to mark the coordinates of my favorite beach in NJ that I’m missing like crazy, but you could always use it to document where you got married, a favorite vacation location, your hometown, college, etc.

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My “one day closer” necklace was so popular, I decided to put it in keychain form too!1DSC_7758

 

This was a custom request and it was so cute I thought others might like it as well.  “I carry your heart” “I carry it in my heart” is such an adorable quote – especially for those in a military or long distance relationship.1DSC01433

 

Not just Army Girlfriend, but I can make this in a variety of phrases – air force wife, navy girlfriend, and more!DSC_0505

 

This is a simple keychain to mark your favorite location – the smaller washer lists the location and the larger washer has the coordinates.

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Same idea as my “my happy place” necklace above!DSC_2564

 

My “one day at a time” collection – bracelet, two necklaces and keychain.DSC_2959

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And last, my “faith, trust and pixie dust” bracelet was so popular, I decided to make it into a necklace!1DSC_2574

As a thank you for reading and for checking out my new items, here’s a coupon code for 15% your total purchase (minus shipping) – just enter code HANDMADEISBETTER630 at checkout and the code will be applied!  This is valid through June 30th, 2014 and only in my shop, DanaElyse.

Let me know in the comments – which item is your favorite!  Do you have an idea for something else I should carry- let me know!

Skillshare – Hand Lettering Tutorial

Today I want to talk a little bit about Skillshare. I discovered this website a few months ago and immediately got sucked in. It is a website filled with all sorts of online classes in the arts; photography, design, HTML, animation and so much more! Just before my husband deployed a few months ago, I signed up for the “The First Steps of Hand Lettering” which promised an in-depth hand lettering tutorial. The class description states:

“If you find letters beautiful and want to turn your handwriting into artful drawings, this is the class for you. It will cover the fundamentals of hand-lettering – and, while it is geared towards beginners, even skilled letterers will learn new tips on what to avoid when lettering, how to create a more conceptual hand-lettered illustration and how to make a clean final drawing ready to scan.

In this class, we’ll work with different types of applications for lettering. Start with your favorite quote, title or phrase. Consider where it will end up: a poster, magazine article, book, greeting card, sign, label, or T-shirt. The focus will be on bridging this gap – on translating your idea into a beautiful hand-lettered final drawing.”

I got to work immediately and completed quite a bit of the beginning of the class, but life got in the way and I didn’t work on the class at all for a few months, but with our recent trip down to Alabama (scroll down to read my other posts explaining this), I knew I’d have a lot of free time on my hands while my husband was in his training classes, so I took my sketchpad and pencils with me, and during the day, I worked on my class. Today, I want to show you a little bit of what I learned and how far I’ve come in a few weeks! Without giving away the class, the instructor takes you through her idea process, to forming your first letters, to design tips and more before you make your own hand-lettered sign.

In the beginning, I wanted to do a beach themed sign, but I changed direction halfway through and decided on this quote: “The bad news is time flies, the good news is you are the pilot”. Our first anniversary is coming up, and I plan to turned this into a piece of framed art for his new “man cave” in our new house. The traditional first anniversary gift is paper after all!

If you want to take your own class, check out this link here. At time of original publication of this article, the link gives you $10 off your first class, but I do not know how long the promotion will last for.
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If that does not work, definitely google promotional codes for Skillshare – I always see a bunch out there!
Enough talk! Time to look at some typography goodness! (I apologize for the spotty quality– my sketchbook is 9×12, so it’s larger than my scanner bed, plus, I’m left handed so I smudge everything I do when I rest my hand)

The first step of the class is to pick a simple word and write it out in a variety of fonts. This was my first attempt- and truth be told, I was beyond impressed with myself!
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Until I decided that I could do better and did page 2!
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Those two above were as far as I got in the beginning.  Then, two months later, I picked it back up again, and decided to do some more lettering warm ups – since I was sitting outside on an Air Force base, I picked the word “pilot”.
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And one more warm up for good measure – this is my favorite of the bunch, and where you can really see that practice makes perfect.  Scroll up and look at the level of improvement from one practice sheet to the next!
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The next basic step is to come up with some layouts for your sketch.  I may have gone a little overboard making them a bit detailed, but I think it made my life easier in the end.
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I ended up  picking the bottom center layout, and then went ahead and made a full size sketch.
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And as of now, that’s where I’m at.  This sketch above needs refining (I the airplane is too curved, I want to make it look more realistic, and some of my lettering is “shaky” and needs to be cleaned up), however, overall, I’m happy with my result.  What do you think? I’d love any or all feed back I can get! I can’t wait to move forward and finish this guy up so I can work on another one!  Let me know if you sign up for the class- it’s very community oriented on Skillshare and we can follow each other’s progress and comment/leave feedback for each other.

 

Embroidered USA Map

A few months ago, a pin started circulating on Pinterest with a picture of a hand embroidered USA map. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it! Unfortunately, the pin did not link back to anything other than an image, but I assure you, it is an incredibly easy (and inexpensive!) craft project.
Right now, my husband and I are on our second cross country road trip (both times due to his job in the Air Force), and this time, I packed along this little craft to help whittle away the 10,000 miles we’d be traveling. I decided that mine would be an ongoing project – instead of filling in all of the states, I would only fill in states that we’ve visited together, as a way to see how far along we are in our quest to visit all 50 states. I also decided that I’d use it as a way to commemorate all the different places we’ve lived due to the Air Force moving us every 3 years.

All you’ll need to make your own embroidered USA map is the following;
– A wooden embroidery hoop of the size of your choice (mine is 10″)
– A piece of heavy Kona cotton (the size of the fabric will depend on the size of the hoop)
– Embroidery floss, I chose about 6 different colors, but this is up to you!
– Embroidery needle
– Scissors, a pen, and access to a computer/printer

To get started, decide how large you would like your map to be. Find an image online of the outline of the country/states, and print it to size. Using your pen and either a lightbox or window, trace the states onto the white fabric.
Then, double up your fabric (fold it in half so it is two layers thick), and place it in the embroidery hoop. Pull the fabric as taut as you can, and tighten the screw using a screwdriver so it is as tight as it can go.

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And then, sit back and begin embroidering each state.
I used the satin stitch (explained here on Sublime stitching), and I alternated whether the stitches were horizontal and vertical.

Here it is currently – I have about 3 more states to fill in as we drive home this week, and I also took some pink floss and marked off Spokane, WA (where we currently live) and Wichita Falls, TX (where we’re about to move this summer!). This aspect makes it perfect for military families as a way to mark off where you’ve lived. It would also be cute for those in a long distance relationship – you could mark off where each member of the couple lives. The possibilities are endless!
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Road Trip Tips

Updated! Leg 2 of our road trip is almost done and I added a few more items below as we learned some more tricks on the road!

My husband and I are about to spend the next 3-4 months on the road, living out of our car.  With the first part of our road trip complete, I figured I’d share some of the tips and tricks that worked for us.  So far we’ve driven through 10 states on the way from Washington to Alabama, and then spent the next 8 weeks visiting 4 other states on the weekends.  Now we’re driving back to Washington, taking some time to sightsee in Texas, California and Nevada.  After we get back to Washington, we’re going to be packing up and moving, so life on the road is going to be the norm for us from now through the summer!

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Here’s a few random road trip tips- if I can help even one person, I’ll consider it a success! Seeing the country from the car window is a once in a lifetime experience (actually for us, it’ll be our second and third time seeing it) but it never gets old. There’s just so much out there in this great country of ours to see and experience, and we are so lucky to get to do so!

My first tip is my favorite- plan out your route and find some fun things to see along the way by using the Roadside America website. It is your “Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions” and it lists all the fun, quirky things you can see along the way. I love it because it gives you a chance to see something you may have never dreamed of (and a chance to get out and stretch your legs!).
You can find things such as Cadillac Ranch, in Amarillo, TX:
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Parts of Historic Rt 66:

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Giant talking Paul Bunyon and Babe, just outside of the Redwood Forest in California:208858_555899566459_1854213984_n

 

World’s Largest Radio Flyer wagon in Spokane, WA:599673_555954431509_542318121_n

Huge marine creatures representing souvenir shops in Biloxi, MS:

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And the Wigwam Motel, in Holbrook, AZ, home to the town that inspired the town of Radiator Springs in the Disney movie, Cars.1DSC00617

 

As you can see, the stranger the better!

Navigation:
My next tip comes from my husband– get an Atlas. Yes, they still sell them! We found ours in the magazine/book section of our local grocery store. I know everyone has a GPS, most phones have them, but you might travel through areas with little to no cell reception, and having an atlas can help you. Plus, we found it kind of fun to use. We actually left our GPS at home and used the atlas only- it was great! Bonus- if you have kids, use it as a lesson in geography, map skills, math and more!

Organization:
It can be hard to keep the car organized, but I love my next tip! I got these two Case Logic 9 Pocket Garage Organizers and a cheap set of bungee cords at the dollar store and attached them to the back of the two front seats. Inside I put anything that we might need access to that could easily get lost in the car: tissues, hand sanitizer, my travel emergency kit (click link to see what’s in it), the extra bungee cords (which I’ll talk about below), baby wipes, paper towels, a bag of plastic utensils (which came in handy more than once!), an umbrella, the water bottle for the dog, and some doggie treats. The second organizer is on the back of the passenger seat and it is full of our snacks (see below).
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Bungee Cords:
The set of bungee cords came with 6 cords, and I only used a few to rig up the organizer, so I threw the extra two in one of the pocket. Turned out, they came in handy – a few minutes after getting on the road, my husband turned onto the highway, and our coolers, which were carefully perched on top of the box of dog food came tumbling down – bungee cords to the rescue! I corralled them by attaching the cords to the back of the front seat and to one of the suitcases in the back. They didn’t move for the rest of the trip.

Snacks:
My husband said I went overboard on the snacks, but he didn’t seem to complain when I always had something to tide us over between meals! Our favorites included:
Water (we froze a few bottles each night at our stop so we had cold water all day)
Pringles (I know they’re not the best option, but in their little tubes, they travel extremely well!)
Goldfish (I cleaned out the plastic creamer containers to keep the goldfish from spilling everywhere)
Yogurt (frozen the day before and used as ice in our cooler)
Cookies (after stopping for lunch/dinner, we always needed something sweet)
Fresh cut celery/carrots (in the cooler) and Jiff Individual Peanut Butter Packs (they have many different varieties)
I can’t let the snack section go by without mentioning the Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies or Coffee Cake Bars. Each bar is only 90 calories and is packed with fiber and protein – they’re like eating dessert! I am not normally one for those low calorie snacks that taste horrible (or anything with artificial sweeteners), but these are seriously delicious. Plus, they saved us on more than one occasion when a breakfast wasn’t readily available – they held us over until we were able to find something.

I also packed pretzels, granola bars, almonds, and our favorite- Cheez Its.

Boredom Preventers:
My husband did most of the driving, so to help pass the miles, I brought a few things to help prevent boredom. I can crochet or cross stitch, as they’re both very portable craft projects. On the first leg of our road trip (which was only 5 days) we memorized all the states and capitols. Our road trip back is going to be 18 days, so we are going to start learning the countries and capitols of the world. To do so, I made flashcards, but I know there are apps out there to make virtual flashcards!

All those miles and hours in the car makes for a great time to just talk. During my husbands first deployment, we got into the habit of asking each other the “random question of the day” – just little fun questions to get to know each other better. There are lots of websites with tons of random questions – find some and print them out to bring with you. There are also “would you rather” lists and apps – these can spark some great conversations!  Our favorite is Would You Rather.

Last, I packed a Rubix Cube – my husband can solve it in a matter of minutes, and I’m almost to the point of learning how to solve the entire cube.  I know those long highway miles will be good for learning those last few steps! Rubix Cube even has an app for teaching you the moves/steps for solving- it makes it so easy to learn! If you are going to buy a cube, I recommend the V-Cube – It is not the “official” cube, but it moves so smoothly to make solving it so much easier! They also have a 2×2 cube as well, which would be perfect for younger children!

We didn’t use this final tip on this trip, but this summer when we move, we’re driving in separate cars, and I know I’ll take advantage of it – get yourself a book on tape! Listening to the same songs over and over on the radio can get old! A book on tape will help change that up and maybe cross one of those books off of your “to read” list. Audible.com has a great selection and even lets you pick your first book for free! Your local library should have some as well, and Cracker Barrel stores have an awesome program where you can “rent” the book from one store and drop it off at the next.

Those are my best tips for now, but seeing as we’re about to head out this week for an 18 day trip back, I’ll be sure to update with anything new I can think of! What are your favorite road trip tips?

Zentangle

I just want to take a quick moment to introduce you to a new hobby of mine – Zentangle!  For those of you who don’t know (and I sure didn’t know what this meant a few months ago!) Zentangle is a form of meditated drawing.  A husband and wife couple created it when the husband noticed how focused his wife got while working on her drawing, and together, they created the Zentangle process.

Right now, my husband and I are living in a teeny-tiny little base apartment while he completes some training for the air force.  We drove here (cross country!), so I was limited on the amount of stuff I could pack, but one thing from my craft room that I made sure to grab was my sketch book and a small box of artist pencils, pens and tools. I had hopes of working on my hand lettering class (more info on that to come!), but while down here, I discovered Zentangle, and it is the perfect take anywhere, do anywhere craft.

I started out by reading everything I could online, before finally breaking down and buying a book or two on the subject. I sat in the store and looked through the 30+ books I could find on the subject before I settled on two. This one (affiliate link below), called One Zentangle A Day has become my favorite. It really breaks the process down in easy to manage chunks, and I’ve seen a huge improvement in my tangles since I started the book.

Zentangle is something that anyone, regardless of age or ability can do. You should really read up on it (or check out their official website), but the basic steps include finding a calming area to work in, taking a few deep breaths to relax yourself, and drawing your focus on your work before you. You begin with a simple pencil drawn square (3.5 inches), with a simple pencil squiggle drawn inside. Then you begin filling in the squiggles with different tangles. Finally, simple shading brings your work to life. Each Zentangle takes about 30 minutes to complete, and each time I complete my tangle, I am more and more impressed with the results!

I hope to write more about Zentangle on my blog in the future, but for now, here are a few of my beginning tangles.

This is my first one before I really understood the process – I was working on a “sketch a day” challenge on Instagram, and the theme was “clouds”.  I just practiced the different doodles inside the clouds.

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Some more early practice:

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My first traditional tangle:

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Same challenge – now the theme was “leaves” – now I’m getting closer to a real tangle!20140423-221938.jpg

 

For Easter, I practiced some tangles on our Eggs20140423-222007.jpg

 

This was my first tangle after I started reading the One Zentangle A Day
book.
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All the way up to the new one I created today! I’m on day 6 of the book and I’ve already seen a huge improvement in my tangles!

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Burlap Patriotic Wreath

I am so excited to finally get to share this post with you today! I made this burlap patriotic wreath last week, but I had to wait until now to share it. Why you ask? Well, there’s no patriotic holidays coming up, but for me, there was something even more special- my husband’s homecoming! He was coming home from his deployment, and I wanted a special wreath to greet him when we got back home. Hopefully, this will be the last deployment for him for awhile, so I wanted this wreath to be re-usable for other events, so the addition of the chalkboard sign means I can write whatever I want – right now it says “Welcome Home”, but for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, etc, I can always change out the greeting to fit the holiday!

(And to see pictures from our homecoming- including a link to a news station that interviewed us and covered the homecoming, check out my photography blog here )

Burlap Patriotic Wreath

You’ll need:
A wreath (I used a 14inch straw wreath because you’ll be hot gluing the burlap down later- I’m not quite sure that styrofoam would hold up)
Red, White and Blue burlap – you’ll need about a half yard of each for a 14 inch wreath. If your wreath is larger, get more fabric. Also, I couldn’t find blue burlap, so I used a heavy polyester.
Chalkboard sign (I found mine in the wood aisle of the craft store)
Not pictured:
Hot glue gun/sticks
Wire (to make a hanger for the wreath)
Star sequins
Basic sewing supplies

Note: this tutorial assumes that you know basic sewing terms. Any questions- just ask!

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Start off by cutting your fabric into strips.
Cut the following:
Red – 4 strips at 4 inches wide
White – 4 strips at 2.5 inches wide
Blue – 3 strips at 4 inches wide

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Lay the white strip on top of the red strip, and using a 1/2 seam allowance and the longest stitch length you can (to gather later), sew the two strips together.  Repeat for all sets of the red/white fabric, and on the blue fabric, just stitch a 1/2 from the top.
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Carefully gather your fabric.  You’ll want to end up with a piece that is between 1/2 and 3/4 as long as your original strip was (for example, my fabric was 40 inches wide, so each strip ended up being 20-30 inches long after being gathered.)  Repeat for all strips (you should have 4 sets of red/white and 3 of blue).

Optional- if you’d like you can join all the strips together to create one long gathered strip.  I find this makes the gluing easier in the next step.
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Heat up your hot glue gun, and glue down the beginning of your strip.
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Begin wrapping your gathered strip around the wreath in a spiraled pattern, hot gluing down every so often (I only glued on the outside edge of the wreath and it held together nicely.)  You’ll want to overlap the spiral by an inch or two so that you can’t see the raw stitched edge.
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Continue wrapping all the way around until your wreath is covered.

To make the hanger for the wreath, I looped a small piece of wire, and hot glued and pinned it to the wreath.
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Glue some stars on!
DSC00166And not pictured is the chalkboard sign – I glued some wire to the back of it, and wrapped it around the wreath in the lower right hand corner.

Hang with pride!

I’d love to see what you make! Leave me a note in the comments or share with me on Facebook or Instagram – my links are in the sidebar at the top of the page.  Make sure you are following me on Instagram so you can tag me and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter !

Stay tuned, because this isn’t the only crafting I did for his homecoming and I can’t wait to share what else I did with you! Here’s a hint- it tasted delicious!

Beaded Statement Necklace

I’m not usually one to jump on the fashion bandwagon, but I do love accessories– namely ones that will help pump up my usual wardrobe of solid colored shirts and sweaters.  In the fall/winter, you will usually see me with a scarf to match, but lately, I’ve fallen in love with the beaded statement necklace trend- problem is, most of them come in gold (I guess that’s the new “in” color?) and I can’t stand gold.  While in JoAnn’s (Fabric/Craft store) the other day, I noticed that most of the beads were on sale, so I picked up 2 strings of bright pink teardrop beads and a few other supplies and set out to make my own bib necklace.

DIY Statement Necklace

*Note- this project is not for the faint of heart- I’m sure many seasoned beaders could make quick work of this, but for me, it was a fairly tedious project!  It just makes me all the more proud of the final product 😉

So, to make my necklace, I grabbed the following items- beads (my pattern takes 40 beads, measuring about a half inch long), a chain to finish the necklace off, eye pins (and one plain nail head pin), jump rings (I had these, so I used what I had- two different sizes worked best, large and small), some sort of clasp to close your necklace, and pliers- you’ll need a pair of clippers depending on how long your eye pins are and needle nose pliers. To make it even easier, get two pairs of needle nose pliers- one for each hand– makes a world of difference!

Total cost? Less than $10 (not including the pliers which I already had).  The whole bead department was 25%-50% off, which really made a huge difference in the final cost.  I’m really excited about how much it came out to be considering that most of the bib/statement necklaces I see in the store run upwards of $30-$40!

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Step 1: To prepare your beads, string an eye pin through each bead.  Bend the end at a 90* angle, and then, using your needle nose pliers, loop the bent end around into a loop so that you have a loop coming out of each end of the bead.

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One completed bead.1DSC_5540
Do this for all of your beads.  For my pattern, I needed all 40 beads, so I got to work! This part is time consuming, but easy.1DSC_5544

Next, lay out your beads.  I drew up this sketch to decide how I wanted to use my beads (and to make sure I had enough to complete the pattern I had come up with in my head.)

Here are the beads all laid out- I like to put out a piece of felt to “hold” the beads. They don’t slide/roll around as much as they would on a normal tabletop surface.1DSC_5548

If you look in my sketch above, I used pink pen to mark off where all the jump rings will go.  Carefully open your jump ring, and start at one end and start joining beads together.  Work slowly and carefully, and use those needle nose pliers to hold the jump ring so your fingers don’t get in the way.  Make sure you work methodically so that each bead goes on in order.  After you close the jump ring back up, lay the beads down so that you make sure everything is perfect before moving on. In the photo below, you can see that I started working on the top right hand side (and worked toward the middle).  I started on the right and worked inward until I got to the middle, and then went up to the left and worked inward.  I joined the center circle of beads last.1DSC_5551

In this picture, you can see that I used large jump rings on majority of the necklace except for a few of the connections along the bottom edge.  If only two beads were connecting, I used a small jump ring.

Also, when I held it up, I noticed that there was a “gap”, so I strung up my last two beads and added them in.  If something isn’t working for you (as it may not depending on the size and shape of your beads) just re-work it until it does!1DSC_5555

Once you have all of your beads lined up, attach the chain to the two edges.1DSC_5556

Stand back and admire your finished piece and find some place to go so you can show it off!

If this is too complicated for you, fear not – JoAnn’s now carries pre-made necklace parts – this is literally two parts – the chain and the beading itself. They have all these beaded bottoms and you can mix/match them with different chains and accessories. This isn’t an affiliate post – I just think they’re awesome! This necklace took about 5 minutes to put together!
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Valentine’s Day Wreath

I was a bit depressed after taking down all the holiday decorations.  After having them up since before Thanksgiving (yeah, we’re *those* people) the house just looked so plain!  Now it’s time to perk the place up with a bit of love with my Valentine’s Day Wreath.  The whole thing took less than an hour to put together and cost less than $10 to make (thanks to almost everything being on sale at the craft store- got to love luck like that!)

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You will need:

A grapevine wreath (mine measures about 16 inches wide, but I took the misshapen “Charlie Brown” wreath)
Burlap fabric (not much, scraps will work- if you have to buy it, you’ll only need 1/8 of a yard)
Fabric Paint
Scrapbook Paper
Wooden Hearts
2 Spools of ribbon- one 1-2 inches wide and wired and one 1/2 inch wide
Mod Podge
Brushes
Glue Gun
Wire (not pictured)- floral or medium weight jewelers wire will be fine

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First, trace your hearts onto scrapbook paper, cut out and using a light layer of Mod Podge, attach the paper to the wood.  Allow to dry.
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While the hearts are drying, measure the inside of your wreath to figure out how big the burlap bunting should be.  I wanted to write ‘LOVE’ which is four letters, and the inside of my wreath is 12 inches, so 12 divided by 4 is 3.  I wanted my bunting to be slightly smaller than that, so my triangles were 2.5 inches wide at the top by 3.5 inches long. Cut out one triangle for each letter.
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On each triangle, using the fabric paint, paint one letter.  Allow to dry.
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By this point, the hearts should be dry, so again, using the Mod Podge, brush an even layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper, making sure to use even, straight brush strokes. It will look milky at first, but it should dry clear.  Make sure to go over the edges as well to seal it.
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Cut a piece of your 1/2 inch ribbon a few inches longer than the width of the inside of your wreath. This ribbon will hold the bunting.  Since I used a grapevine wreath, I was able to wrap the ribbon around a few of the twigs and hot glue the edge down.
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Using your wide ribbon, make a bow, leaving a long tail on each end. (I wanted my bow off center, so I left one tail longer than the other so that it could go around the edge of the wreath).  Using your floral or jewelers wire, affix it to the wreath, letting the tails hang free for now.
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By now, the hearts and letters should be dry, so lay out where you would like everything to be attached.  Once you have an arrangement you like, use a hot glue gun to affix the burlap bunting to the ribbon and the hearts to the wreath itself.
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I like to turn it over and add more hot glue to the hearts so that I know they are stuck to the wreath very well.
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While it’s drying, make a loop out of wire and wire it onto the back at the top center.
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Last, decide how you would like the tails of the bow to be positioned.  You can wrap it around the wreath or, since it is wired, you can bend it and glue it at various points around the edge.  I went with that method. I found it easiest to hang it up and glue as I go, so that I knew it looked good when it would be hung up at the end.

Valentine’s Day Care Package

I’ve done a few care packages in the past (my favorites were my Orange You Glad orange themed package, my 12 Days of Christmas holiday package and my Birthday/fall care package). They’ve been fairly elaborate, and I do take a great deal of pride in creating a themed package that will bring my husband a little morale boost when he’s deployed, but sometimes you just need something quick and easy.  He’s going to be deployed for Valentine’s Day, but I know that if I wait until after he leaves to mail something it might not make it to him in time, so I wanted to put together something small that I could sneak into his suitcase just before he leaves.  It was really difficult thinking of little things that would be meaningful, and wouldn’t take up too much space!

I came up with a “week of love” my Valentine’s Day Care Package – sending him 7 small things to open one day at a time until Valentine’s Day.

Here’s an overall shot of everything:

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Day 1: Red Velvet Cheesecake fudge (link to recipe below)
Day 2: “Love Letters” (a box of conversation hearts)
Day 3: Long Distance Relationship keychain (can be found in my Etsy store here)
Day 4: Goodnight Kisses
Day 5: Valentines Day coupon book
Day 6: “Our Life” Crossword puzzle
Day 7: Valentine’s Day card

The red velvet cheesecake fudge (recipe) took up the most space, but it was too cute not to include! Plus, I figure he can share it with his crew.
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The love letters is pretty self explanatory and easy – I just stuck a sign on a box of conversation hearts.

The keychain is a new item I developed for my Etsy shop and can be found here. It’s two washers stacked on top of one another- the top half says “half my <3 is deployed" and the bottom half has the coordinates of where your loved one is located. 1DSC_5566

The goodnight kisses was another easy peasy one- I grabbed a few Hersey kisses, put them in a bag and attached a little tag to it made from a paint chip.
Speaking of paint chips, I made him a little coupon book out of paint chips. I cut out I <3 U from a white paint chip, glued it onto a red one, and then stapled it to a few other paint chips. On each paint color, I wrote a little coupon such as "I'll do the dinner dishes" or "Saturday morning breakfast of your choice". 1DSC_5601

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Next up, I made him a crossword puzzle. I used this site to type up a list of words and clues and it instantly generated a free crossword puzzle (there are fancier versions that you can purchase, but I printed out the free one). I then cut it out with decorative scissors and attached it to some card stock.

Last up is the card. I used a paper quilling technique to make the rose and wrote “Roses are red, sometimes they’re thorny, when I’m without you, I get….” and on the inside, it says “corny”. hehe. I think that will definitely put a smile on his face.

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(PS- I’d say the Hand Lettering class I’m taking online is paying off – if you want to check it out, click here – it really is a great class, and if you click my link, you’ll save $10!)
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I also added a little gift for his crew- Part of their deployment is to grow a deployment mustache, so I made up some chocolate mustache lollypops and printed out these cute little cards from Design Dazzle to attach them too. I know it’s corny, but when they’re away from home, the cornier the better!

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It’s not my most elaborate care package, but I think it’ll cheer him up, and it’ll show him that I’m thinking of him while he’s away, plus it’s small- I can fit it all into a small lunch-sized paper bag (which I also decorated) and slip it into his suitcase before he heads out. Now for me, how should I spend Valentine’s Day? Spa? Pedicure? Any suggestions?

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