Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Craftiness: Drawstring Bag (with flower!)

My (3rd grade) cousin had a cheerleading competition on Sunday (little kids cheering in their matching uniforms = adorable!) so of course I couldn't go empty handed. I thought of bringing flowers, but decided that would be too simple... so out came the sewing machine!

Her team colors are blue & gold, so I made this cute little drawstring bag following these instructions.

Drawstring bag

It needed a little *something* when I was done, so I added a flower using these instructions (which I mentioned before). I used pretty thick felt, so only ended up making 3 petals.

I then filled with Crunch bars, but used white-out to hide the 'C' and the bottom of the 'R'... so it became 'Punch' (Cheerleaders have to 'punch' their moves). Had to pass on some cheerleading tidbits from way back in my high school days!

Drawstring bag

Monday, November 10, 2008

Have a relaxing Monday...

The weekend went by way too fast (as usual!) and my Monday has started off crazy (sadly, also as usual!)... I wish I could be as relaxed as the munchkins snuggled at my feet, sleeping in a sunbeam!

Snuggle Pugs
Frank's face is all smooshed, but he doesn't care...

Snuggle Pugs
Like an old married couple... Boozer throws a leg over Frank

Hope your Monday is off to a good start!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dream Kitchen

J and I are house hunting for the first time... what a crazy experience! I never realized that walking around & looking at places could be so mentally & physically draining. Even when a place isn't right for us, it's always interesting to see how other people live & how they've filled their homes. This kitchen is soooo gorgeous & is in my inspiration file for my dream kitchen one day.

Dream Kitchen

The rest of the house wasn't what we're looking for, but I can't get this gorgeous combo of the light marble, white cabinets, farmhouse sink & silver accents out of my mind!
Dream Kitchen

Dream Kitchen

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Craftiness: Fabric Flower Pillow

Last year I discovered Amy Butler's free patterns, but somehow I forgot about them until coming across them on How About Orange again yesterday... what a fun treat! I am especially loving this Snow Mum Pillow - reminds me of Anna Whitford's gorgeous items*

* while so adorable, the project does look a bit tedious... so Anna's site is a good alternative to making yourself!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Classroom-Inspired Design

For many years I planned to be a first grade teacher when I grew up, so maybe that is why I am so drawn to these ideas?!

Vintage Wall Map
Picture from Shelterriffic

Library Cart
Picture from Apartment Therapy Chicago

Monday, November 3, 2008

Extraordinary Papercuts

I am loving this Thank You letter over on Craft Stylish... so gorgeous! The detailing is amazing, right down to the vellum envelope. Not sure I'd ever have the patience to make something like this, but I sure am jealous of the recipient!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Craftiness: Sock Monkey (and more!)

I really want to make as many Christmas gifts as possible this year... partially to save money, but mainly just to force me to get crafting more! I love it so much, yet it is one of the first things to go when life gets hectic.

And for some reason, I have decided that my little cousins need Sock Monkeys. I have always wanted to make one, so now is my chance! After doing some searching, there is so much more than just Monkeys to make, so I may try three different animals...

High-level Instructions from Super Sock Monkey
Detailed Sock Monkey Instructions from Web Goddess
Instructions for a Sock Elephant (scroll down in message board for full instructions) from Craftster
Sock Dog Instructions via Tiakro.com
Use Gloves to make this adorable Dog and Bunny from Martha Stewart

I was at Target this weekend & they have some cute patterned socks, as does Gap Kids. Or, get the Original Rockford Red Heel Monkey Sock!

(picture via Craft Magazine)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Loving It: Lists!

I am addicted to list making... I'm one of those people who will write down chores already completed, just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off. Crazy? Yes. Satisfying? Absolutely!

So of course love this letterpress "i heart lists" paper from simplesongdesigns on etsy. (guard your wallet when you check out her store- sooooo many adorable things!)

Everyone knows that pretty paper, a great pen, & nice handwriting can take your simple list to a lust-worthy status! Ok, maybe not everyone, just list-crazy people like me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A stay-in-bed & snuggle day

Sorry for the lack of posting... I seem to have caught that flu bug that is going around. Good times. I've basically been spending the last few days in the middle of this:

Snuggle Pugs

Snuggliness definitely is a surefire way to feeling better!

Friday, October 17, 2008

All You Need Is Love

All You Need is Love (I can't even think it without singing it!) is now up on my wall, thanks to a fun new wall decal courtesy of VinylVineyard on etsy.

All You Need is Love

How cute is it?! I wanted an easy way to add a pop of color without painting... the place I put it is kind of a strange wall in a hallway & I couldn't think of a logical way to paint without looking out of place. Plus there are super high ceilings which I didn't want to deal with. I am so happy with this solution!
All You Need is Love

Thursday, October 16, 2008

True (Lion) Love

This video is the best thing I have seen in a long time.

So amazing & heartwarming... look how proud his 'owners' are of him at the end, so happy that he is doing well. I admit it- I even teared up a little...

Craftiness: Halloween Pails

Inspired by the candy wrapper decoupaged buckets by Martha Stewart (instructions here), I made my own last year. At the Pumpkin Carving party these are placed on the table & hold the carving tools. I am no decoupage expert (I think this may have been my first time!), but it was an easy - though messy - project.

Halloween Pails
I really wanted to find Sugar Daddies to use, but of course the 10 stores my mom & drove to last year didn't have them. And then the week after completing these pails the Sugar Daddy was everywhere! Typical. Still, the Dubble Bubble turned out cute... even if the angled nature of the pail made for difficulty with the stripes!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quotation Inspiration

Rumi Quotation

Monday, October 13, 2008

Homemade Caramel Apples

Since kids are welcome at the Pumpkin Carving party this weekend, I feel like it is a good excuse to have a fun Halloween craft. Last year I had a bunch of stickers & they decorated gift bags (potential trick-or-treat bags)... was actually amusing because the kids were bored by the pumpkins early on & the parents were all left finishing up the carving. So the activity helped to keep everyone happy & out of trouble.

I was thinking that a fun activity this year (for kids & adults!) could be a make-your-own-Caramel Apple station. Everyone loves Caramel Apples, plus I am always looking for an excuse to use my electric fondue pot! Of course I have no idea how to make Caramel Apples, so last night I set about experimenting on my own.

After searching for a Caramel Apple recipe, it seemed like you can just melt wrapped caramels: I basically followed this recipe. (Of course, Martha had a crazy recipe for people who want to make their own caramel. Right. Needless to say, I did the simple 'melt caramels' version!)

Making Caramel Apples

So here you can see me all set up... I have my trusty fondue pot, a bowl full of crushed M&M's, waxed paper, and my bag of caramels. I then removed the stems from my apples & inserted wooden skewers. The recipes seem to suggest craft sticks, but I already had the skewers. Plus the pointy end made it super easy to put it into the apples.

I then added half the bag of caramels to the pot & turned on the heat... and... ew. A nasty mess.

I put the other half of the caramels in a plastic bowl & melted in the microwave, which worked must better. I then poured the melted caramel in the fondue pot.

Making Caramel Apples

Much better. I rolled my apple around, though the caramel wasn't very deep, so only really covered the apple halfway. I then rolled the caramel-covered apple in my bowl of crushed candy. (I also tried with some apple slices.)

And ta-da - the end result!
Making Caramel Apples

For anyone else wanting to try this I think that the bag of caramels (about 40 caramels) would cover up to 8 apples. Still not sure if this activity will make it to the party. I think that melting much more caramel (I'm thinking 3 bags) would certainly help. Also would suggest thinning out the caramel with some milk or water (the recipes I saw suggested 2 tablespoons of one of the other for every bag of candy).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Halloween Lollipops

I'm still a disorganized mess for our pumpkin carving party in a week, but definitely have the holiday on my mind.

How cute are these lollipops from Hammond's Candies? I feel like a Halloween party needs some candy, but this is a million times cuter than a bowl full of snack-size candy (that I then need out of the house before I eat all the leftovers!).

Magazine Clippings

I have an (out-of-control, according to J) obsession with magazines. Mainly home, decorating, and entertaining ones... I especially can't get enough of Domino & Martha Stewart Weddings. The obsession is relatively harmless, except that I cannot throw magazines away until I've had a chance to dig through them & cut out things I like. I've been into patterns lately... here is a sampling of patterns I spied while cutting up a recent-ish (May 08?) InStyle...

Random Patterns I like...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Celebrate with a Sparkle

I came across this idea at The Fancied & am loving it... who needs boring old candles for your cake when you can have sparklers (from Sea and Jae)?! I think I may need to order some '0' and '9' ones for this year's New Year's Celebration!

When searching for more sparklers, it appears that Europe is all over this trend. Just about every site I found had pricing in Euros... as cute as these are, I'm not ready to pay international shipping. Come to think of it, would it even be legal to order 'fireworks' from another country? I can imagine getting arrested... 'but Officer, I just wanted a super cute cake!'

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Faux"paper (aka Fun with Stencils)

I'm getting excited for our (2nd) Annual Pumpkin Carving party in a couple of weeks (more on that to come!), but of course planning a party isn't quite enough work for me. I also decided that I need to make the house look better, make all those updates I have been thinking about but not made any progress on.

More to come about what I have planned, but for now a project I have been meaning to share for forever. This is the stenciling/ fake wallpaper (aka 'faux'paper!) I did in our entry just in time for the party last year! I just love how it turned out, and so many people say that they love the wallpaper. And then I tell them that I painted it. Luckily, my friends & family already knew I was crazy! :)

Entry Stencil - before & after
Entry Stencil
Entry Stencil

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy

It's been a long week! Boozer & his little booty* want you to have a great weekend!

Pug Butt
* He really looks like he is modeling here, doesn't he!? Like 'oh, gee - didn't see you there with the camera!'

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Room inspiration: Purples & Grays

Just some rooms that have caught my eye lately:

Cynthia Rowley Living Room
Cynthia Rowley's gorgeous living room... picture via
Elle Decor

Squeak in the Bedroom
Sharon Montrose's adorable dog Squeak in her bedroom

Purple Accents
Found via
Another Shade of Grey, picture originally from Nuevo Estilo

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Craftiness: Birthday Banner

Happy Birthday Banner
Image from Martha Stewart Crafts

I love this Martha Stewart birthday banner & often make my own version of it... It's easy to make & you likely have all the supplies on hand, plus it looks adorable & your guests will ooh & ahh!

By doing it yourself you can also modify the colors & the message - this is also great for Congrats, Engagements, We'll Miss You - the possibilities are endless!

Steps to make a birthday banner

I like to use colored paper (cardstock is best) & print on my home printer. It's easy, plus nice handwriting & fancy transfers aren't required! I start with a Word document & make a 2x2 table on each page. (You can use my starter template here.)

In this exaple, I am printing my letters on two colors... to make sure that the letters display in alternating colors, I put the 1st letter on the first page, then the 2nd letter on page 2, alternating back-and-forth as I spell my message. As you have more than 8 letters in your message, just keep adding pairs of pages.

Once you have typed out your message, it's time to print - load your paper into the printer in alternating colors (ex: I had a sheet of blue, then a sheet of yellow, then a sheet of blue...) & print your document.

1. After printing, cut out your letters. You can always cut circles and/or use fancy scissors, but I like to just cut them into 1/4 page rectangles using my paper cutter - you end up with four 4.25" wide by 5.5" tall rectangles.

2. This step is purely optional, but I think it makes a huge difference in how the end result looks - use a corner rounder to round the corners of your rectangles.

3. Punch 2 holes at the top of each letter. I like to punch one, and then lay it over my to-be-punched letters as a guide so that all the holes end up with the same placement & spacing.

4. String your letters! I typically use a craft yarn, but any ribbon, yarn, or string will work - just remember that anything that will stretch out or is too flimsy may sag or break. I also like to use a yard with a little texture to it - with a very thin or slippery string/ ribbon you run the risk of all your letters sliding towards the center of the sign. I also like to wrap a piece of tape around the end of my yarn to make a 'needle' that can be fed through the holes easier than a fraying end.

You do need to string your letters in order... if you're stringing from left-to-right, string in the order of your message. If stringing from right-to-left, add letters in backwards order.

Hang your creation & admire your handiwork!

Happy Bithday Banner
Don't mind the beer in the picture... very classy....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Loving It: Porcelain Plants

Porcelain SucculentsI don't exactly have a green thumb. And by exactly, I mean that I can kill even the hardiest plants... in college my mom once gave me a little ivy plant for my dorm room and was amazed that I managed to kill it... It's a skill, people. That's at least what I tell myself!

But, I also hate fake plants... SO- I am loving these porcelain succulents from Ballard Designs.

Besides, all the Design Gurus are always saying that each room needs a bit of life & nature in it... this is a great tongue-in-cheek way to honor that design 'rule'.

(found via A Merry Mishap)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mosaic of Me (via The SCOOP)

Saw Emily's version over at The SCOOP & had to play along...

You know you want to make one! Answer the following 12 questions about yourself (my answers are in parentheses after each question):
1. What is your first name? (nicole)
2. What is your favorite food? (cereal- there are so many kinds!)
3. What high school did you attend? (adams high school)
4. What is your favorite color? (purple)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (adam duritz. yes. I know. i'm a sucker for a beautiful voice & sadness.)
6. Favorite drink? (mountain dew... an addiction left over from my college days)
7. Dream vacation? (australia)
8. Favorite dessert? (chocolate fondue)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (creative business owner)
10. What do you love most in life? (friends & family)
11. One word to describe you? (smiley)
12. Your Flickr name? (withflourish)

Type your answer to each of the above questions into Flickr's search. Using only the images that appear on the first page, choose your favorite and copy and paste each of the URL’s into the Mosaic Maker (3 columns, 4 rows)... Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Craftiness: Pretty Pendants & Magnets

I've never used Diamond Glaze, but I think that I need to get myself some after seeing this great craftiness!

Magents made by
Angry Chicken

Scrabble Tiles
Scrabble Tiles to make from
this Make and Takes tutorial

One of these used Scrabble Tiles as the base, while the other just bought simple wooden shapes from a craft store. Either approach could work for a pendant or magnets and would be really cute as a gift.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Backyard Trampoline

I adore this idea from SixxDesign and have to keep this in mind if I ever end up with a nice yard (and children!)...

Backyard Trampoline
Image found via
Oh Happy Day

I always loved trampolines as a kid, but was so afraid of falling off the sides- this is the perfect solution!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Loving it: Colorful Ceramics

I'm starting to think about holiday gifts (yes, I am one of those crazy people that has most of my shopping done pre-December!) & am loving these colorful pieces:

Handbuilt Candy Bowl

Purple Pomegranate from whitneysmith

Iceberg Blue Dotted Bowl from marymeestudio

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Renegade Chicago Recap

As I mentioned a couple times before, Mara let me help out with the Maramiki booth for Renegade Chicago a couple weekends ago.

We had fun planning out how we would display her items beforehand (though it would have been hard to make her things look bad!), taking over her living room with our mock-up displays and ensuring that her family thought that we are at least a tiny bit nutty. We were really excited by how the display turned out - lots of her printed fabric accented by repurposed wooden items, home-grown wheatgrass, plus handwritten labels. One of my favorite items was the 'swatch banner' she sewed with printed fabric scraps that we hung along the back wall of the tent- such a great way to display different colors & images since she does so many custom items.

You can see our pictures from the weekend below:

The weekend of the fair was SO. WET. It was insane- you know how normally, when it rains very hard, that just means that the storm will be over quickly? Not this time - we ended up with almost 7 inches of rain over the day on Saturday! We found out later that the day had broken the 20-year record for the most rain in Chicago on that date! And we were sitting outside in a tent. Makes sense.

We both felt like swamp people by the end of the day Saturday (my feet looked like I had taken a 12-hour bath!), but it was fun to be able to show off her items in person. We were pleasantly suprised by the number of people braving the weather to see the fair, and everyone was commenting on how gorgeous her items were. I had really wanted to wander the fair & spend some money, but just couldn't get motivated to walk around in the rain.

All-in-all, was a neat thing to be a part of, but I was disappointed for Mara that the weather was so stinky... but when chatting she has lots of great ideas for Maramiki, so excited to see what is next from her now that she doesn't have to spend time prepping for the Fair anymore!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Be Featured on Martha's Blog!

I just came across this via CuteOverload (my love of this site is well documented!)... leave a post for Martha in this post on her blog, make sure your blog links to hers, & she may link to you!

Martha looking at the CO calendar, from Frank Sugino on Flickr

PS - Yay to Meg from CO for her appearance on the Martha show! It is a dream of mine to one day be on her show... but her reading something I wrote would be a close second!
PPS - Like how I like to pretend that Ms Stewart & I are on a first-name basis?!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prints & Packaging

I recently saw these Davines hair products at my hair salon & had to snap a picture. Such great colors & prints!

Beautiful Packaging
Beautiful Packaging

Monday, September 15, 2008

Handwritten Letterpress

Love these gorgeous Wedding Invitations from Linda & Harriett. Gorgeous handwriting. Letterpressed. What else could a girl want?!

Letterpress Invitations

Makes me even more excited for the Script class I am taking at Paper Source starting tonight! Hopefully I'll have some beautiful handwriting of my own to show off soon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Renegade this weekend!

Renegade Logo

If you're in Chicago & looking for something fun to do this weekend, stop by the Renegade Craft Fair! The fair is in Wicker Park & has lots of cool vendors... it's a cool, non-country-crafts type of fair that is sure to be filled with lots of great jewlery, art, stationary... perfect for gifts for yourself or others.

As I
mentioned before, I'll be helping my friend Mara man the booth for her company, Maramiki & we'd love to see you! (Her booth is going to be between Damen & Wolcott.)

The fair is open Noon - 10pm Saturday & Sunday and is free to attend. Vendors will be all along Division St. between Damen & Hermitage. Hope to see you there... and please keep your fingers crossed for no rain!

Mara Gocco's

Mara Gocco-ing some cards... she uses traditional screenprinting for all her textiles