Monday, November 17, 2014

How To: Engagement Basket on a Budget

One of my best friends recently got engaged to her boyfriend of three and a half years. Their story is just adorable and I can't wait to see their love blossom into something even more beautiful than it already is as they journey into new territory together! *cue the ooohs and awes*

Once we heard the news, I went into "bestie mode" and started gathering all the essentials for an engagement gift for her. I actually started collecting little gifts like tissue and a lint roller about 6 months ago (we all knew it was happening soon enough). I wanted to keep it practical, but also include some fun things. 

 The basket includes:

A cute basket...

The Knot wedding planner/organizer
The Knot bridal magazine
Make A Decision note pad (because it's hilarious)

Advil (for the hangovers to come)
Tissue (for the tears)
Lint Roller (because it was 50 cents...)
Champagne (her favorite kind)
Bride/Groom etched champagne flutes (I made these myself)
Nail polish in the color scheme she has chosen (for fun)
Post it Notes (because...sock)

This was too funny to not get for her! She has so many great ideas that this tablet seemed perfect for her to help with some of the decision making in regards to colors and decor. 

I made these with my nifty glass etching kit. The sparkles just scream her name. ;) 
Now, all of my friends know that I have issues when it comes to gifting. I buy a super rad gift weeks or even months before a birthday or holiday and because of it's awesomeness in nature, I can't keep it hidden. What usually ends up happening is I keep the secret for a couple of days and then I get too excited so I give them the gift way too early. With this basket, I thought there was some useful stuff in there, but if I had waited like a patient person, I would have added some more frilly items. 

I should have added:
Lip gloss/chapstick
Ring Dish (I couldn't find a suitable one for her taste in time)
A monogrammed to-go cup
A monogrammed notepad (I couldn't find any with the letter "J")
A pocket calendar

The good news is her long engagement will allow for plenty more gifts before the big day! 

Happy crafting!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Creative Excuses

"I do not mean to pry, but you don't by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?"

Ah, Blogger. We meet again!

How many times have you seen The Princess Bride? I was deprived of this brilliant film until about 7 years ago when a friend of mine began quoting the nonsense of Inigo Montoya. I had no idea what he was talking about, but laughed anyways because I'm embarrassingly easy to entertain. He gasped in horror when I explained that I had never even heard of the film. I went out and bought it the next day to see what all the fuss was about ($5 movie bin for the win!). I must have watched it 15 times in the first week! I can barely comprehend the fact that I had NEVER heard of this film until I was 18 years old... life fail.

Anyways, back to my point: I like to imagine myself as cunning as Inigo Montoya when I'm attempting to personify a bad-ass via the internet. TIP: You should always read my posts in the voice of Inigo Montoya. We would all be happier in the end. Since we're on the topic of The Princess Bride (you're welcome), I wanted to share some excuses with you that have absolutely nothing to do with the preceding anecdote

I'll tell you this - these excuses are so obscure that 60% of the time, they work every time. ;) 

Here is my list of excuses in case you're in need of any creative excuses for whatever is going on in your life:

"What are you doing?" 
Getting fitted for my new spandex superhero uniform.
Washing my hair.
My dog advised against leaving the house. (Even funnier if you don't have a dog)
I have a court hearing for stealing from the cookie jar...
I'm checking on a disturbance in the force. Luke Skywalker needs me! (This could serve as two separate excuses!)
Praying over my holy socks.
I'm opening all the cereal boxes at the supermarket hoping to find new toys.
I'm trying to catch my shadow.
I'm trying to clone myself. (I have a twin sister so this is THAT much funnier)
I'm tasting the rainbow.
I'm asking Sherwin Williams.
I'm delivering your world with AT&T.
I'm checking Verizon's service..."can you hear me now?"
I'm tasting all 31 flavors at Baskin-Robbins.
I'm making it rain.
I'm eating fresh at Subway.
I'm just doing it at Nike.
I'm having it my way at Burger King.
I'm looking for the beef at Wendy's.
I'm seeing what I would do for a Klondike Bar.
I'm not lovin' it at McDonald's.
I'm calling Geico every 15 minutes to see how much he can save.

"Want to hang out?"
"I can't, (insert excuse)."
I'll be fighting crime. I have to clean my toilet.
I have to brush my hair.
I have to let my food digest. I ate 3 hours ago.
I have to check the expiration dates on my tampons.
I have to paint my house.
I have to build a bridge so you can get over it.
I have to wash my appliances.
I have to finish building my time machine.
I'll be time traveling that day.
I'll be on tour with Justin Beiber.
I'll be filming a toothpaste ad in my bathroom. 
My house is on fire.
I have to brush my teeth.
I have to train my pet fish.
I have to build a satellite for NASA that day.
My cell phone isn't working. (via text message...)
I already promised my dog I would chase squirrels with her today...
I'll be investigating the murder of the ice cream carton. 
I think I'll be sick that day.
I promised I'd help my sister fold road maps.
I have to keep refreshing the FBI website to check if I'm still wanted.

I hope these excuses get you out of all the things you don't want to do or the situations you don't want to explain. Good luck!

Happy excuse-crafting!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Glitter Bomb Letters

In case you didn't know, glitter is the herpes of crafts. Once you get it, there's no getting rid of it. So why not spread the love by sending someone an exploding glitter bomb?!

I sent my cousin some love as she started her senior year of high school (yes this post has been sitting as a draft for THAT long...). Here's how I made my own envelope. Warning: this is a partial Pinterest fail....

I started with a blank piece of printer paper and decided to go stamp-happy all over it with all the $1 stamps I scored from Michael's.

To dress up the envelope, I used the cheesy "XOXO" stamp in different ink colors until the entire page was covered. Looking back now that I'm blogging about this, I should have actually made an effort o make the "envelope" look good, but what can I say? I live on the edge!

I was originally going to send glitter in this poor excuse of an envelope without signing the card, but I wanted her to know who the culprit was. So I attacked the inside of the paper with some single-letter different font stamps and discount Valentine's Day stamps. Talk about time consuming! Again, should have spent more time making it pretty if it was going on the internet, but now I've learned a life lesson that will guide my every decision in life: stamps aren't as cool as you think they are...

Next, I followed another blog's instructions on how to make your own envelope from a piece of paper. Basically, make a paper airplane that doesn't fly... Fold the two corners in to look like you're making a house.

Then I added the glitter as I folded the bottom section up to meet the "roof" of "the house." A good rule of thumb when it comes to crafting (and life in general): you can never use too much glitter. If anyone tells you any differently, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life. 

Then you bring the two outside edges inward as if the walls of the house are hugging itself.

Then finally, you bring the roof down. PARTY!
Just kidding, that's what the glitter is for.

As I mentioned before, this was a failed attempt at an envelope. The glitter was seeping through the sides and spreading its love to me which was not the goal. So I taped the mini-envelope inside a giant piece of paper. I taped the edges of the blue paper to prevent the glitter from falling all over the mail person. (Really I just wanted to share the love with one person...that person was not the mail person. Sorry USPS...)

Although the envelope was a Pinterest fail, the glitter bomb was a LIFE WIN! My cousin sent me a couple of snap chats with her hands covered in glitter. It's a great way to add some sparkle to someone's day - literally. ;)

Happy crafting! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How To: Last Minute Wine Party

My friend and I own a craft business called The Whimsical Cupboard. We make an assortment of kitchenware and vases (or pretty much anything if you want a special order). You can check out our products here!

To feed our latest habit, wine bottle vases, we threw a last minute Wine Night with about 10 ladies. Each person brought a bottle or two of their favorite wine or champagne. We had appetizers and goodies for people to snack on and a small mimosa bar. Since we hadn't planned it too far in advance, we had to use what we had on hand for decoration.

What We Had:
  • Chocolate Melting Pot & chocolate
  • Skewers
  • Olive oil & balsamic vinegar
  • 6-pack of mini plastic wine cups
  • A three-cup serving bowl
  • 4 crystal platters
  • Endless adorable mini frames 
  • Orange juice
What We Bought:
  • Strawberries
  • Bread
  • Tortellini
  • Pesto
  • Berries
  • Champagne

We kept the decorations simple with a few statements pieces to give the party a special feel. On the coffee table, we had two crystal platters with bread and the olive oil/balsamic vinegar dip. To be even more adorable, we made use of the mini plastic wine cups we had to display the dip. Note: this was adorable, but the balsamic vinegar fell to the stem of the cup so it wasn't a practical dip holder.

Then we had skewers with tortellini and pesto for dipping.

At the bar, we had a large bucket filled with ice to chill the opened bottles. Around that was the mimosa bar and chocolate melting pot. The berries were frozen and displayed in the three-cup serving bowl. These doubled as fancy ice cubes and flavor boosters.

Then we had strawberries and skewers on a platter next to the melting pot.

These adorable frames are from the discount bins at Michael's. I use them for everything! They work really good as labels for food and drink items at parties!

And of course, we had a couple of our new wine bottle vases on display. Aren't these to die for?!

We ended up with about 15 bottles by the end of the night (not all empty...). Go check out our page and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest crafts!

Happy crafting!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The "I'm Bored" Jar

We're all guilty of using the phrase, "I'm bored!!" In my experience, boredom usually stems from a lack of disposable funds or having friends with different work schedules. Whatever your situation, this easy craft can help! I call this the "I'm bored" jar.

What you'll Need:
The list below
A jar of any type for storing (mason, coffee, etc.)
Craft supplies for decorating said jar (mod podge, glitter, etc.)

You can use any type of jar or can for this. I decorated mine to match the color scheme of the room it's in (lame, I know). I wanted the jar to pass as decor, not to look like a misplaced item or eye sore, so I added some fun to it.

First, I found a song I could live with looking at on a daily basis and pasted it into a word document so that no spaces or paragraph lines were visible. Then I printed it out and fit the page around the inside of the jar so that the lyrics would show from the outside. Next, I used mod podge to glue the page all around the inside and let it dry for an hour. The lid looked too boring so I added some glitter (again with mod podge) and let it dry before adding another coat over the top to keep the glitter from spreading all over the place.

Glitter that doesn't spread its herpes!
See how the lyrics serve as a shield to all the folded pieces of paper? ;)
Then I printed out the list and cut each activity into a strip of paper. I folded all the pieces in half and stuffed them into the little jar.

It's like picking out of a hat!
Without further ado, here is the infamous list of things to do without spending money!

Read the archives of your favorite blogs. 
Build a fort.
Make some of your Pinterest pins.
Get creative with your meals: create some fun recipes.
Mend those clothes that need mending.
Have a favorite actor or actress? Check out all of their movies on Netflix!
Use those gift certificates before they expire!
Get organized! Clean up old papers, your computer’s hard drive, and your house.
Organize dishes in the cabinets and the pantry.
Cut your own hair.
Try new hairstyles.
Spa day at home!
Take a picture every hour to document your day.
Write letters: Hello Grandma!
Make gifts! Stock up before the holidays sneak up.
Tackle a nagging task.
De-clutter: sort through closets, beds, and dressers!
Clean your house from top to bottom. Really. Scrub!!!
Clean your car…or watch Netflix....
Come up with new outfit combinations
Rearrange the house or your room.
Volunteer somewhere. (Church, animal shelter, etc.)
Check out free library and community events. 
Catch up on your reading: read a whole book today.
Go for a run. Or a jog. Or a wog (walk + jog).
Go to the book store and peruse the magazines. 
Call your long-distance relatives.
Organize your photos.
Make Cards for every occasion.
Make Cookies.
Update your To-Do List.
Write a book.
Start a blog.
Start a happy book of good memories.
Go on a bike ride.
Hike. The park is calling your name!
Wash all your linens.
Look over your finances.
Figure out your goals.
Write a gratitude list: what are you thankful for?
Have a sleepover!
Have your friends over to just hang out.
Take the bus as an adventure.
Open Mic night: enjoy the talented people in town.
Friday night concerts at the plaza.
Roam the Farmer’s Market.
Free week at a new gym.
Put things on Craigslist that you don’t have a need for.
Do a clothing swap!
Connect with an old friend.
Be anonymously nice: leave encouraging notes on random cars, light posts, etc. 
Visit your local museum.
Play a board game. Better yet, create your own! (post soon to come!)
Alphabetize your books and movies.
Learn to crochet. Try your hand at knitting while you’re at it!
Start quilting those old T-Shirts hiding in your closet…yeah, you!
Do yoga. “Are you doing yoga? I like yoga!”
Start a Family Tree project.
Go swimming. Or floating. Or kayaking.
NERF wars!!
Wander walk. With pepper-spray, of course.
Start a book club. Or that movie club we keep talking about!
Go to a playground. Pretend those are your kids so you don’t seem crazy…
Star gaze.
Re-watch movies that you haven’t seen in a while.
Act out scenes from your favorite movies.
Prank your friends. TP, anyone?
Make your own comic book.
Dress up in costumes and walk around town while pretending like your attire is nothing out of the ordinary. People will stare whether it's Halloween or not.
Fight crime! Use those spidey senses.
Youtube: learn a new dance.
Make wings. Learn to fly. (No jumping off of things to test your flying skills…)
Camp in your living room. Pop up that tent!
Learn a new subject online. (ie: criminology, forensic science, etc.)
Water fight! Drop balloons at any passersby.
People watch. (At the mall, the park, downtown…anywhere!) With weird things on your face.
“Entertainment swap.” Swap movies and music with friends for a few days.
Play a game of cards.
Sing everything you say for the entire day.
Shoot hoops at the park.
Give yourself a manicure/pedicure. Just remember these tips...
Try your hand at geocaching.
Midnight float when there’s a full moon. Glowsticks!
Only speak in movie quotes for the whole day.

Got extra streamers laying around? Pay your friend's car a visit.... Caution tape works well, too.

Happy crafting!

Monday, February 3, 2014

52 Reasons I Love You

If you're on Pinterest, I'm sure you've seen a bunch of these tutorials by now, but I'm still going to share mine.
Here is the final product!

I made this bad boy about two years ago now - before I even knew about Pinterest! (Did things really exist before Pinterest!!?)
I was looking for a thoughtful, heartfelt gift to give to my boyfriend for our one year "anniversary." I was perusing the Internet looking for a creative spark when I stumbled upon this website: The Dating Divas. They have TONS of crafty gift and date ideas. This is where I originally saw the "52 Reasons" deck. At the time, my boyfriend was learning a bunch of super awesome card tricks so this was perfect! One of their guest bloggers had a great tutorial on how to make it and came with some great tips. I managed to track down that blog thanks to Pinterest! Here is it if you'd like to check it out: Instructions.

What You'll Need:
  • A deck of cards
  • Hole punch
  • Two binder rings
  • 52 reasons why you love your boo thang
  • Labels (or paper to make your own labels)
  •  Optional:
    • Brown & White paint to age your cards
    • Stickers/gem stones to add throughout the deck
    • Photo of the love birds

You'll notice the vintage worn look of the cards in the Papervine blog. I had already bought a regular deck of cards and was eager (more like too impatient) to make it, so I opted out of waiting 7-14 days for an overpriced deck of cards to be delivered. SO, I grabbed some brown and white paint and a few paper towels and started to distress the regular deck of cards to give them that same vintage feel. Here are a couple of close ups of how it turned out:

Here is the inside cover
Here is the back cover.
I mixed the white and brown paint together to make a rusty cream color. Then I painted 3 cards at a time, allowing the paint to dry enough so that it stayed on, but not fully to where it covered the card entirely. Then I wiped each card with a paper towel to get that scratchy aged look. I repeated this on all 54 cards (both Jokers included) and then also did the backs of each card.

Once all the cards were dry, I punch two holes in every card for the binder rings. Then, instead of making my own labels, I decided to buy the $4.99 PDF from the Papervine Shop. Here's a sneak peek of what you get for the $4.99:

Photo Credit: Papervine
I liked the clean look of the font and the scuffed look of the labels that went well with the vintage look I was going for. From here, I wrote down all of my reasons on a piece of paper before writing them on the final product. Once all of the reasons were done, I made sure the cards were in order by "face/suit" and "number." (NOTE: You don't have to do so, that just made the most sense to me). I then glued them all in order and slipped them into the binder clips.

Here are a few photos of the cards with the labels on them:

I LOVE the way this came out. However, now that two years have gone by and I'm blogging about it, I wish I had taken more time to create my own labels and type each reason into the box to get an overall clean look for the project.

Happy crafting!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Name is Amanda...and I'm a Pinterest Whore...

Why helloooo there!

One of my best friends recently convinced me to start blogging about all the DIY projects I do (because they're so cool, I'm sure!). But my secret (which isn't a secret at all) is Pinterest. I'm a pin-crazed maniac! I've always been told that the first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit you have a problem. name is Amanda, and I am a Pinterest whore.

I get so excited about the crafts and projects I see that I do them as soon as possible. Before I unexpectedly moved out of my tiny apartment, I had redecorated almost every room during the summer. Thanks, Pinterest! (Refer to joke here). I'm so obsessed with Pinterest and doing more projects that I created a secret "Weekend Projects" board. That's right, a *secret* board!

My latest projects have been in the area of home improvement. I had changed the color scheme in our living room to brighten the place up (the colors used to be black, brown, and burgundy). By changing the colors of the living room, I also had to change the colors in the dining room because that apartment was just too small and it would look weird. Of course, that isn't a problem now that I'm in a large house, but long story short, I decided to go with turquoise, light gray, and yellow for the living room. Then flowing into the dining room would be aqua, blue, and green.  

So, the goal was to redo two rooms without breaking the bank. I started with recovering my ugly folding chairs that served as a poor college student's dining room chairs for 3 years.

What you'll need:
  • Chairs
  • Screwdriver
  • Fabric
  • Staple gun & staples
  • Spray paint

You're going to have to use  your imagination on this one. I didn't take "before" photos of my ugly chairs because I never thought I'd be blogging about it. So, picture this:

Only much, MUCH shabbier. The fabric was an awful striped beige and brown, but hey - free is free!

Luckily, these cushions were screwed in rather than glued. If you've seen any other folding chair tutorials, most of them have to glue the re-covered cushions onto the chair frame and use monster clamps to keep the pressure on while the glue dries and seals. These ugly ducklings are the easy ones! I just unscrewed the cushion and *pop.*

You want to pick a fabric that you won't hate by next week. Here's the one I chose:

I have four chairs with a small cushion on top and a larger cushion on the seat. I got 2 and 1/2 yards of fabric and that was more than enough! I have about 1/2 yard or so left over.

Next, you lay the fabric down with the print facing the ground. Once your fabric is laid out, place the small cushion face down and cut enough to fit the cushion. Leave about an extra inch and a half of fabric all the way around the edge.

Once you've cut a piece slightly larger than you need, pull the fabric tightly to the back and staple. Do this, pulling tightly, until the whole cushion is covered. Repeat on all the cushions.

Your newly livened butt pillows should look like this:

The next thing to do is paint the frames! I grabbed this light aqua blue from Wal-Mart that matched the blue in the fabric. Make sure you spray all over - front, back, underneath, and sides. Make sure to let the paint dry long enough before moving the chairs. When you think you're all done spraying them, fold the chairs to make sure you've covered it all. After everything is dry, put the cushions back on. 

Here are pictures of the final product!


How much better does that look?! I'm loving these revamped chairs! And now that I'm no longer in a tiny apartment, I have these brightly painted chairs on the back patio in our HUGE backyard! :)

Happy crafting!