Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all the service men and women who are serving or who have served this great country of ours!
Check out my Free Printables to help celebrate this great day!

As a thank you to all (veteran or not!) I am offering 20% off your purchase in my Etsy Shop for today only! Expires at midnight (central time zone) on 11/11/14. Use code ThankYouVets at checkout to save!

While you’re there, check out some of the new items I listed this week!

This is my favorite – anyone in the military will understand what ‘lima oscar victor echo’ means!
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This necklace can be customized with whatever word you’d like (faith, hope, love, or your choice!)DSC_9276

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Another one of my favorites! DSC_9362

{Soy Sauce} Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’ve been carving pumpkins with my family as long as I can remember, but I never tried roasted pumpkin seeds until I spent my first Halloween with my husband.  As we were scraping out the insides, he asked if we could roast the seeds, and since I’m always up for something new, I figured why not!

I actually posted this recipe on my old craft blog a few years ago, but we return to it every year, and I just realized I never shared it on here!  It’s super easy, and it can bake while you’re carving, so you can easily multi-task!
Soy Sauce Pumpkin Seeds

*Note* This recipe was for just over 1 cup of seeds – if you get more or less seeds out of your pumpkin, adjust accordingly.

You will need:
2 T butter
2 T soy sauce
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t garlic powder
pinch of cayenne (optional – I like the kick!)
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 275*

1. Clean and rinse your seeds several times to remove all of the pumpkin gunk.
2. In a bowl, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. To it, add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and cayenne.
3. Add the seeds to the bowl and mix to coat.
4. Spread out on a tray in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt on top.
5. Bake for 1 hour at 275*, stirring several times.
6. When the seeds have reached a golden color, remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container if there are any left!

Easy DIY Craft Show Displays

I am going to do a 3 part series on setting up a craft show booth on the cheap.  Craft shows can be quite the investment – not only in your supplies and time, but in all of the little odds and ends it takes to make your booth/table look warm and inviting so customers want to stop and look at (and buy!) your items.  This is part 1 –  easy DIY Craft Show Displays.

Surprisingly, I haven’t done many craft shows in my day – in fact, I’ve only ever done one and it was pretty much a flop, so I’ve steered clear of them ever since.  But since moving to a new area, I want to get my name out there, both with my metal stamping (Etsy shop) and my Photography business, so I’ve decided to try out some local craft shows.  I really don’t plan on selling much since my metal stamping consists mainly of custom, personalized, work, and I really just want to show some samples of my photography and hand out business cards for both.  However, I will need a way of displaying my work, and I really didn’t want to break the bank because you never know what kind of return a craft show investment will yield!

My solution? Goodwill (or your favorite thrift shop of choice!).  I went in with the intent of spending no more than $25 to find some unique display ideas.  I was very open to refinishing or repurposing items, so I spent nearly an hour in there combing through the housewares department.  I ended up spending $29, which is pretty darn close!  I’ll share more of what I purchased in the next two installments of my series, but these displays were so easy and so quick, I decided to start with them!

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For this display, I purchased two of these Anne Geddes style photographs (for just $1.99 each!). What’s inside the frame doesn’t matter – the frame itself is what matters, and I loved the vintage, classic style of this cream colored frame.  The opening is 8×10, which is a perfect size for my jewelry.  You can go larger, but I wouldn’t recommend any smaller than 8×10.

In addition to your frame, you’ll also need some 1/2 foam, burlap (or fabric of your choice) and a hot glue gun.  The amount of foam and fabric will depend on how many frames you are making, and their size, but figure on about just less than 1/2 yard of fabric for every 2 frames, and 8 inches of foam for every 8×10 frame.IMG_3686.JPG

To begin, clean your frame (or repaint if desired!), and dismantle it.  You can discard the glass and photo (or if you’re like me, hold on to the glass, because you never know when you’ll need it!). You will need the backing, or a piece of cardboard the size of your opening.

Cut the foam slightly smaller than the backing (so for my 8×10 frame, I cut my foam 7 3/4 x 9 3/4) and cut the fabric 3 inches wider and longer (mine was 11×13).  Glue the foam to the backing.  Lay your fabric or burlap onto a flat surface, right side down.  Lay the backing on top of the fabric, foam side down.  Begin wrapping the fabric around the foam and backing like you would re-upholster a piece of furniture – I start in the opposite corners, placing a blob of hot glue, wrapping the fabric down and holding until cool.  Complete with the other two corners, making sure you pull taut.

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When all four corners are secure, begin wrapping and gluing the edges in the same manner.

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When all of the glue is dry, re-assemble the frame, and use straight pins to hold your jewelry at your next craft show!

 

Mason Jar Wedding Time Capsule

Weddings are getting more and more creative as time goes on.  A recent trend I noticed was the wooden wine box time capsule where the couple writes letters to each other and places them into a wooden box with a bottle of wine and nails it shut during the ceremony only to be opened on their 25th anniversary.  Cute, right?

Even though our wedding was a year and a half ago (eeep! Where did the time go?), I recently went back down memory lane when we moved into our new house and came across a box of wedding decor/supplies from our wedding.  All the wonderful memories of the day came flooding back and it was such a shame that all of this decor was wrapped up in a box!  I repurposed much of it as decor in our guest bedroom (we had a beach themed wedding and I decided on decorating the guest bedroom in nautical decor, so it was perfect!), but what about all of the little things like the programs, our invitation, some petals from our bouquet, etc?

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Then yesterday, the idea came to me.  A customer on Etsy purchased one of my metal stamped mason jar lids and asked if I could stamp their name and their wedding date on it because they were getting married on the beach and wanted to bury a time capsule of mementos from the day in the spot where they got married.  How wildly romantic!

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It was also the perfect idea – mason jars come in a ton of sizes (and colors too!).  I’m going to fill up a mason jar with little pieces of our special day, and top it off with a personalized lid to mark our names and date.  The mason jar (I picked the pretty blue ones we have) looks great in our nautical guest room and will hold those special treasures in one place.  Plus, it’s super easy to open and reminisce if we ever want to take that trip back down memory lane.

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Some ideas of what you can add to your wedding time capsule:

Wedding invitation (you might have to fold it or roll it and tie with a pretty ribbon)
Wedding program
Place cards
Dried petals from your bouquet
If you had your dress altered and saved some of the fabric, a piece of fabric from your dress
Special hairpins you wore that day
A jump drive with your favorite wedding photos
A copy of your wedding announcement

… and so much more! Do you have any ideas of what you can add to your wedding time capsule? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Want to purchase your own custom mason jar lid? Check out my Etsy listing here – they’re only $5!

{Reduced Fat} Jalapeño Popper Recipe

Ahh Jalapeño poppers – probably one of my most favorite stuffed vegetables.  What’s not to like? Spicy jalapeno’s, cream cheese and cheddar cheese and bacon all wrapped up into one bite sized treat!  Except when you really look at those ingredients, it’s basically lots of fat disguised as a vegetable!
Jalapeno Poppers
We recently had some friends over for a cookout and I really wanted to make these, so I set out to figure out how to make a less fattening version of them.  I’m not usually one to purchase “sugar free” or “fat free” foods, because they are either filled with artificial sweeteners or just taste funny, but the ingredients I chose here really worked out well and the plate of the poppers was gone in a flash!

This recipe is easily doubled (or tripled!) and I recommend it seeing as how delicious they were!

For the Jalapeño Popper Recipe, you’ll need:
8-10 Jalapeños (this varies depending on their size – mine were 3-4 inches in length)
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese (also called Neufchâtel cheese), softened
4 oz reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
Turkey bacon (I love Oscar Mayer brand!). You’ll need 1 slice per jalapeño pepper
(optional) toothpicks
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Preheat oven to 375*

1. Wash jalapeños, cut off the stem and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the white flesh and seeds if there are any.
2. Mix together the cream cheese and the cheddar cheese.
3. Stuff each jalapeño half with 1-2 T of cheese mixture.
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4. Cut bacon in half lengthwise, and wrap each stuffed jalapeño with a slice of bacon. Use a toothpick to secure if needed. I just smooshed it into the cheese mix and it stayed fine.
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5. Place poppers on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is warmed and bacon is cooked through. You may want to broil for the final few minutes to get added crispiness.

Click the “Magic” button below to see the recipe on My Recipe Magic and find out the nutritional content!

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Chalkboard Fonts

I’m still around! I promise!  My husband and I just moved, and then after we moved, I jet-setted off to the Click Away Photography Conference sponsored by Clickin’ Moms (click the ad in my sidebar to learn more info), followed by a trip back home to visit family, and then back up to Colorado to attend a friend’s wedding.  It has been a whirlwind few months, but I’m ready to settle in and get back to crafting and blogging!

I’ve decided I’m going to do a new series called “A Few Of My Favorite Things” where I list some things I enjoy- the topic can be anything- crafty, photography, technology, style, etc. Today, I’m going to start with my favorite Chalkboard Fonts. I finally installed “Pinterest Analytics” so I could track what pins are trending, most popular, least popular, etc, and one thing I started to notice was that my Chalkboard signs I made for our wedding (seen here and here) as well as my Chalkboard freebies (seen here)) were very popular, so I decided to put together a post highlighting my favorite Chalkboard fonts.

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Each font listed was downloaded for free (the font itself is written in it’s name, so you can just do a search to find them).
The other decorations or dingbats are as follows:
The two swirls in the top corners is from a Dingbat font called “Bergamot Ornaments”
The banner behind the word “Chalkboard Font” is from a font called “Adhesive Nr Seven”
The bunting below the title and the swirls at the bottom of the image is from a font called “KG Flavor and Frames”
The little swirly dingbat next to the word Budmo is from the font “KG Flavor and Frames Four”
(You should pretty much download anything from the KG line- they’re all so adorable!)

While not necessarily chalkboard fonts, just to be thorough, the font for the “Chalkboard Fonts” lettering is “Penelope Anne” and the font for my website is called “Primer Print”.

My favorite places to download fonts are DaFont, Font Squirrel, and 1001 Free Fonts. Most sites have an area with instructions on how to download and install fonts.

Please note- while all of these fonts are free, it is up to you to read the privacy policy on each fond to find out if the creator allows them for personal use only or if they can be used for commercial use. Do not sell anything made with fonts that are listed for personal use only.

I hope you enjoy and please share with me anything you may design with these fonts! Feel free to link up in my comments or leave me a message on facebook. If you use Instagram, follow me @ SewIn2Disney and feel free to tag me and use the hashtag #handmadeisbetter so I can see it!

DIY Cupcake Picks

I love “crafting for the heck of it” – no purpose, no reason, just having fun and watching the creative process unfold before you. Today, I had the pleasure of doing just that.
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I have a Cricut Electronic Cutting Machine, and while I don’t use it as much as I’d want to, when I do break it out, I’m always amazed at how well it works, and how nice the results come out. I have very few cartridges, but I make the best of the ones I do have, so the other day, when I decided I needed a cartridge with an anchor on it (I think it’ll come in handy to decorate our new house with the nautical theme I have in mind), I set out to find their Life is a Beach Cartridge, I knew I wanted to make the most of it.
I started by gathering a few scraps of paper and trying out all the fun little beach shapes. Pretty soon, I had an adorable, but essentially useless pile of 2″ shapes. The color scheme worked so well, and combined with the fun beachy shapes, I couldn’t resist turning them into little cupcake picks. Seriously, there is no need for a full on tutorial here other than “cut out and glue toothpicks onto the back”, but I just love coming across different ways to use my cricut machine other than scrapbooking, so file this under “Ways to use the Life Is A Beach cartridge”. I can’t wait to find out other ways to make this cartridge worth it!
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I didn’t have any cupcakes around, so some cut up watermelon was the prop of the day, which got me thinking- how cute would a fruit tray decorated with these little babies look? Maybe it would help get the kiddos to eat their fruits and veggies!
It would also be great for a beach themed wedding or beach themed birthday party!
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This is just some of the adorable shapes that come with the Life Is A Beach Cricut cartridge!
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*This post contains affiliate links- every time you purchase something from Amazon through my link, a little bit comes back to me to help keep my blog running– thank you!

All Natural Play Doh

Last week I mentioned that we were moving and needed to clean out the refrigerator. While cleaning out the fridge, I found a jar of beets waaaay in the back that I had forgotten I had! I was unsure of the age of the beets, so I threw the last two out, but I was left with a cup of beet juice. I have seen how well it stains my clothes in the past, so I wanted to try to use it as a dye. Looking over the rest of the ingredients I had in my kitchen to use up before we moved, I spotted flour, salt, sugar and other pantry staples and was immediately taken back to my childhood to when we used to make our own homemade play doh. I did a quick google search for some recipes, but most took cream of tartar – something I (surprisingly) do not have in my baking cabinet. Another quick google search revealed that I could use vinegar (at 3 times the amount) in it’s place. So I decided to make my own all natural play doh recipe – no cream of tartar and no artificial coloring. Instead, I would use the beet juice to make it a gorgeous shade of purple.
All Natural Play Doh Recipe

The recipe couldn’t be easier – you will need the following:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of colored liquid (I used beet juice, but experiment with other fruit/veggie juices for different colors)
1/4 cup of salt
3 T. white vinegar
1 T. vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat. After a few minutes it will begin to lump together- Keep stirring! When it has combined into one ball, remove from pan and knead on a hard surface until smooth.

Store dough in an airtight container (I put mine in a Mason jar, but I’m sure if you have kids you’ll want something plastic!). From what I remember as a child, the dough lasted months if kept airtight, and I’m sure the same will hold true for this all natural version, even with the beet juice.
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What do you think of this easy recipe? I’m a 30 year old woman (with no kids!) and I still had a blast making/playing with this! If you experiment with other juices to get different colors, let me know in the comments- I’d love to hear your results!

Do you know a mother or teacher in your life who would love this recipe for their kids or students? Feel free to share it with them or pin it on Pinterest! I appreciate all “shares” and “pins”!

Orange / Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Aaahhhh!!! The movers will be here in 1 week!
I cannot believe that one week from now, a moving company will descend upon our apartment and pack it away until they reunite us in a few weeks in our new home. The military has us moving from Washington to Texas- it’s going to be quite the culture change (especially because we’re both east-coasters!), but we’re excited!
Anyway, with T-minus 1 week and counting, today’s job was to weed through the fridge and discard anything old and decide how to use up the rest of the items in the next week. I started out my day by making some salted caramel to use up the rest of the heavy cream and butter, and I plan on making some buffalo cauliflower for lunch to use up the buffalo sauce and cauliflower. I also came across a huge container of strawberries, 2 half gallons of orange juice and no less than 4 tubs (yes, tubs- not individual servings!) of yogurt. Hmmm…. strawberries + orange juice + yogurt…. sounds like a plan for strawberry frozen yogurt!
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This strawberry frozen yogurt recipe couldn’t be easier (or healthier!). Depending on how ripe your strawberries are, you might not even need any sugar, in which case, the frozen yogurt is only made of greek yogurt, strawberries, orange juice and milk. Now there’s a dessert I can get on board with!

To make this refreshing summertime dessert, you’ll need the following:
1 1/2 – 2 cups of strawberries (stems removed and halved)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
4 cups of greek yogurt (you can use plain or any flavor you want)
(optional) 1-3 T of sugar (to taste). You could also use honey to naturally sweeten it

You will also need some sort of ice cream maker. I use the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment – it sits right where the bowl goes on my KitchenAid mixer, and needs no ice or salt- I love it!

Directions:
1. Wash and prepare strawberries. In a blender, blend the strawberries, milk and orange juice until smooth. Add sugar/honey if desired.
2. Stir yogurt and strawberry mixture together until well-combined.
3. Pour into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions. In my KitchenAid attachment, I blended it for 20 minutes, and then poured it into a freezer-safe container and placed it in the freezer for 6 hours, or until solid.
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I cannot get over how delicious and simple this turned out! My gears are already turning for more combinations in the future- I’m thinking mini chocolate chips would be a great addition to this recipe, as well as seasonal fruit. Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!
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Sony RX100 ii Review

Sony RX100 ii review

Seven months ago, I made the plunge to by the Sony DSC-RX100M II
point and shoot camera. Why say “plunge” you might ask? It’s a plunge because even though this is a completely pocket-able (read: small!) point and shoot camera, it retails for nearly $700. Yes, you read that right, $700 – more than several of the entry-level DSLR’s on the market today!
However, one look at the following stats, and you can see why:
– It has a Carl-Zeiss f/1.8 lens (for those not familiar with Zeiss lenses, they are some of the sharpest (and most expensive!) on the market. An aperture of 1.8 has never been seen in a point and shoot before either. f/1.8 means you can get incredible low-light photographs, without a flash!
– It has a 1 inch sensor- this is the size sensor found in most DSLR’s, meaning you’ll get amazing quality photographs out of this tiny camera.
– It has fully manual settings, as well as aperture priory or shutter priority (and many scene modes and auto that you’ll find on all point and shoots).
– Besides full manual settings for the shutter speed and aperture, it also has full manual white balance settings and manual control over aspects such as ISO.
– It can take photos in both jpeg and RAW.

Enough with the fancy camera talk– the photographs are what speak for themselves.

The lens goes from f/1.8 – f/11, and with the full manual settings, I can set my aperture to f/11 and get those starbursts that I love so much with my DSLR in this point and shoot!  This was one of the very first photos I took as soon as I got my camera out of the box, and believe me when I say that I literally squealed when I saw that sunburst come up on the screen!

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It also takes great panoramic photos – no stitching required- just pan the scene with the camera and it does everything in-camera.
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The colors that this camera renders are absolutely gorgeous:
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The f/1.8 aperture means lovely blurred backgrounds:
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The camera also has an in-camera HDR (that you can set on a scale of 1-6, one being subtle HDR and 6 being strong). Most P&S cameras make a very “fake” looking HDR, but in the Sony, it is very realistic, and helps a lot at night when brighter areas may be blown out.  This first one is with the HDR turned on (to a level of 3) and the one below is without.  You can see in the “with HDR” picture the trees are a bit brighter and there is more detail in the Grand Ole Opry.  In the “without” picture, the whole photo is darker, and parts of the two guitars are blown out (meaning they’re just white, no details or colors).
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Another with and without HDR – the HDR can really help bring out the sky when the camera wants to meter off of a building (oh- and gotta have that sunburst!)

With:
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Without:
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The manual settings mean you can really slow down the shutter speed to get some creative shots like this:1DSC02955

 

And did I mention how awesome the f/1.8 lens is? This shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland was done hand-held!1DSC03009

 

I may have only purchased this camera back in February, but it has already travelled through 17 states with me and to be honest, on our road trip, I used it more than my DSLR.  It was convenient to have in the front seat with me, and on some of our stops (such as walking around Nashville, or spending the day in Disneyland), when I know I’m going to be walking a lot, carrying this Sony in my pocket was so much easier than carrying my DSLR.  I’m not saying it is a replacement for a DSLR, but it is a close contender.

I have yet to go through all of my road trip pictures, but when I do, I’d love to update this sony rx100 ii review post with more of what this camera can do. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions about it, do not hesitate to ask- I love to talk camera and I’d be happy to answer!

(ETA; Sony has updated this amazing camera, and now has the Sony DSC-RX100M III – a few key updates include an even better lens (with an even better aperture!), a back screen that flips up completely for ‘selfies’ (you can see what you are taking a picture of!), and a built in ND filter. If you can swing it, I’d go for the newest model – if not, I’m sure this means that the original will go down in price now!

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