Fabulous Flower Magnets

I've finally gotten on the fabric flower bandwagon. I don't know why it's taken me so long - guess I thought they'd be too involved and they really aren't. I found a great tutorial here then started tearing and twisting and gluing (used dabs of Fabri-tac for this) and before I knew it, I had my own little garden of loveliness.

But then I didn't know what to do with them then....I remembered some plain magnets I'd gotten from the $1 bin at Michael's a while back (same day I bought the coasters) and thought I'd upcycle those using the flowers.

I covered both sides with paper so looked at my flowers and then chose accordingly (the paper on the far right).

Traced the magnet onto the back of the paper ~ yeah...just enough!

Got out glue (nothing special here) and a sanding block...

Glued on the paper, let it dry for about 10 minutes then sanded and inked the edges on both sides.

I chose one of the white flowers I made to top this magnet and glued it (used Liquid Fusion, one of my new favorite adhesives) down along with a dark grayish/purple pearl in the center. When it was mostly dry, I varnished the edges and sprinkled a bit of clear glitter around the exposed background.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out and they're substantial which I like too. While these did stick to my refrigerator, I went ahead and added a few super strong magnets to the back. Why not, right? Plus, I get really bugged when my magnets fall off the fridge or only hold one flimsy sheet of paper. Not these babies!

Cute hostess gift and excellent for teacher appreciation week or for a friend who needs a bit of a 'pic-me-up'.


Halloween Countdown Calendar

If you're familiar with Teresa McFayden then you'll already know that she's an uh-MAY-zingly crafty gal whose projects are filled with romance, whimsy, glitter and vintage love. One of her most searched for projects is her incredible cookie sheet advent calendar which was my inspiration for this Halloween project/gift. I'm giving this to my sister-in-law as she LOVES Halloween decor and because I didn't get her a present for her birthday last month (she sheepishly admits). I know she'll love it and my lateness will be forgiven.

This project is really straight forward so I don't have much of a tutorial. Teresa does and you can use that. All I did was to pick up an inexpensive cookie sheet from my local discount grocery store (actually, I got five because they were only a couple of dollars and because I'm anticipating making some for Christmas gifts).

Then I went to Michael's and selected several sheets of stickers that I liked to use as embellishments along with a couple of sheets of scrapbook paper for my background. I prepared my cookie sheet with some black and silver paint which I put on before I put my papers on.

One thing I did do which made my life a bit easier was to pick up a package of wooden chips in various sizes from Michael's and used those to put my embellishments on and sometimes put the dates on. I also used glitter and Mod Podge and various number sticker and rub-ons that I already had on hand.

Oh, and I put some super strong magnets on the back that I got online from a place called K&J Magnetics. And then you just store the finished numbers on the back of the cookie sheet and bring them to the front each day as needed.

Isn't it cute though? Really, you could embellish these however you want and they'll be terrific! Happy crafting!

Linking to...

Blue Cricket Design
Someday Crafts
Trendy Treehouse
My Backyard Eden


Very Vanilla Extract

Several months ago, I was browsing around on One Pretty Thing ~ one of my favorite sites for hand made gift ideas ~ when I came across an idea for homemade vanilla extract. YUM! I love to bake and have several foodie friends who I know would love this and since the holidays are fast approaching and you need time to make this, I thought I'd start now.

The original site is here and I loved that she linked to sources on where to buy things like vanilla beans and bottles to put the finished product in (even has some cute labels that are free to print) and included recipes for vanilla sugar and spiced nuts using both the sugar and the extract. Also, there are a lot of vanilla extract recipes on the net if you want to experiment. Here's what I did...

I found a place on ebay ~ Vanilla Products USA ~ that has great prices on the beans. I got a pound of extract grade Bourbon vanilla beans grown in Papua New Guinea for $19.95 plus 10 free extract grade Tahitian vanilla beans. Shipping was $5. I got the vodka from Trader Joe's (you don't need a top shelf brand for making extract unless you want to use it) for $10.99, approximately 52 oz in a bottle which is enough for two large Mason jars (24oz each then extra to top off the jars).

Most of the recipes I found called for 3 vanilla beans per cup of vodka (or rum or bourbon, etc.). I want a deep, rich vanilla extract so doubled this - 6 beans per cup. I split 4 of the beans (per jar) down the center keeping them in tact by starting my cut about 3/4" from the top of the bean then finished with 10 uncut beans in the jar.

I filled the washed Mason jars with vodka and put the lids on them which I sterilized in boiling water for about 5 minutes.

I also made some using Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum because I had a bottle of it in my cupboard that we'll probably never drink. For that, I just opened the bottle and dropped the beans in. I think this extract will have a very interesting flavor!

Now....I wait. I'm storing the jars in my pantry and will give them a shake from time-to-time. Come December, it should be perfect. I'll be making vanilla sugar as well (stay tuned for that post) but so far, all of the recipes I've found say two weeks. I'll start it in November cause I'm a rebel and what's the point of making it if the flavor is only subtle?

These will make great gifts and a lot of them too! I'll be sure to post about the finished product so make sure you check back!

Linking to:

Today's Creative Blog
All Thingz Related
Twee Poppets


Halloween Coasters

One of the cool things I love about Michael's is their discount bins; it's usually a great place to find items that you can play around with and end up with something really great.

Take these very vanilla coasters....

Only $1 and just begging to be fancied up and since I'm on a vintage Halloween kick right now, I thought it would be great to pick some images that I really liked, cut them to size and adhere them with Mod Podge (great stuff!). There's no real tutorial for this but you get the idea.

Aren't they sweet? I put some self-adhesive cork on the back (which you can find at Target in the contact paper section) and then took a sanding block to the edges to give them a bit of a distressed look which I emphasized with some ink. A couple of coats of Mod Podge on the image and a bit of clear glitter in some strategic places (unfortunately it doesn't show up on the photos) completed them.

Can't you just picture them underneath some creepy Halloween cocktail or a steaming mug of mulled apple cider? In fact, they'd be cute stacked up and tied with big fat ribbon and a sweet hand-stamped tag. I'm already picturing Christmas and Valentine coasters....


Vintage Halloween

I've always loved the look of vintage decor ~ especially around the holidays ~ and thought I'd try my hand at a little something as Halloween is right around the corner and because a good friend of mine has a big Halloween bash every year and goes all out in her decorations. This will be for her!

A couple of months ago, my local Tall Mouse craft store was going out of business and I found a frame there for a couple of dollars; one of those brown paper ones that are just begging to be altered in some way. Originally, I was going to do something with all of the Starbucks cards I've collected but they're all still sitting in my drawer waiting for a different rainy day.

First thing I did was to go through all of the scrapbook papers I have and select some that looked somewhat vintage and would be appropriate for Halloween (colors and such). Then I cut them into squares and followed that up by painting the outside edges and inside of the frame bronze.

Once I had all of my squares cut and the paint had dried, I started decoupaging them onto my prepared frame using Mod Podge. Any finish will work but I used gloss-lustre to glue down and to cover the entire frame (twice) when I finished with the squares.

After all of my squares were in place, I went over them with some brown ink (color used was Close to Cocoa), gave that a couple minutes to dry and then put on my two coats of Mod Podge. Then I added some book binding tape from 7gypsies that I've had forEVer all around the edge (with just a bit to spare - woo hoo!)

When I finished that, I went trolling around on Google for vintage Halloween images and found an adorable one of some little trick-or-treaters. I saved the image and fussed around with it at Picnik until I had it just right. Then I printed it out, trimmed it down and adhered it to a background that I put in the center of the frame (used one of the papers I'd chosen for my little squares), Mod Podged the heck out of it and sprinkled a bit of clear glitter over the image. Et Voila!

Then I thought it needed a little something more so I added a bit of black ribbon.

Then I was happy with it and I know my friend will enjoy it!

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up           party!

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