I'm April. I'm a Stay at Home mom of two, a wife, homemaker and an artist.  I believe anyone can be an artist.  I love DIY projects, creating art and decor for my house or my friends and homemade gifts.  A lot of times my friends say things like "You're so Crafty. I could never do that."  Well I am artistically inclined, but most of the time, projects I do involve mainly time and know how.  I love sharing the lessons I've learned from my family, the fun I've had with my friends and the art that I create.  So come spend some time with me and I'll share what I've learned, my unique ideas, and my favorite places to look for ideas. Stay Crafty!


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April's Fave 5 Baby Gifts

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own and I do not accept free products for positive reviews.

 

Do you ever feel like everyone you know and love is pregnant or just had a baby?  Okay maybe that's just me.  A lot of my friends have recently had or are expecting in the near future.  There's always a registry and I do think that's the way to go sometimes but I also think it's nice to pass down some maternal wisdom in the gift giving department.  If you've read this blog very much you know already that I Love small businesses and handmade things.  So usually that's my go to when it comes to gift giving as well.

Well, I rounded up five of my favorites for you to consider.  I have to say I do have a clear favorite.  I tell everyone that'll listen about my first pick.

  1. Pura Stainless.  These bottles are the bomb diggety.  And you may have caught them on the blog before.They are completely plastic free.  That's right not even the lid is plastic.  This is an entirely stainless steel bottle with a silicone nipple and will fit any standard sized bottle nipple, if like me you have a picky baby.  Now that's pretty awesome all on it's own but consider this.  One bottle for life.  No I'm not crazy.  This bottle can literally move out with your baby when they grow up.  It has interchangeable lids.  You start with the baby bottle nipple, then you can purchase several options from there.  There's a sippy lid, a silicone straw lid and a pop top sports lid, also available with sealing disks so you can store your milk.  They also offer silicone sleeves to pretty up your baba. And as if that's not enough, you can decide between a regular bottle and an insulated version.    So what's the big deal?  First of all the prices are so reasonable.  And from personal experience, this has made transitioning from bottle to sippy to straw and sports lid a non-issue for my baby.  She trusts this bottle and she will not accept any other 'bottle' for bedtime milk.  To order visit their website.             
  2. Mossy Bottom Farm Reversible Blanket.  I mean do I even have to tell you why you should buy this for every baby ever?  Yes it's literally the cutest blanket I've ever seen.  Those sheep are raised and fluffy and the back, I mean don't even get me started on the comfy plaid.  I want this in a full sized blankey to snug on the couch!  As an added bonus my baby loves to feel those little raised sheep with her tiny fingers. To order visit her etsy store.                                                                                                                  
  3. Rags2Roses. Now I have done an in depth review of Rags 2 Roses before.  I mainly featured their bows, which by the way, also make a great baby gift.  But look at this bibdana!  I mean come on!  So much cute in one picture right?  The really great thing is that it is also adjustable.  Bibdanas are great for drooly teething babies because they are fashionable and functional.  To order direct message Amanda on Instagram.                                                      
  4. Milk Snob.  Milk Snob breastfeeding covers are so fab!  I have been following their story forever and they are a true small business success story!  They were featured on Shark Tank.  So what do I like so much about them?  It's a nursing cover of course but it is also a carseat cover and a shopping cart cover.  I'm a sucker for a product that can deliver more than one function!  Besides being super duper functional it comes in so many colors and super on trend prints, like this buffalo plaid print!                               
  5. Modern Bloom Studio.  So this one might not seem totally relevant, but one of my favorite things to do is include a gift for mom.  The baby gets all kinds of gifts, but the gifts I remember most were some small thoughtful gifts just for me.  This small bag can be used in so many ways and I thought it'd be a perfect addition to any diaper bag.  Mama can store her essentials or her makeup in this handmade, hand painted bag.  Check Andrea out on Etsy for lots more hand painted and hand stitched goodness.

That's the roundup.  What do you think?  Would you be thrilled to receive such thoughtful gifts?  What is your go to baby gift?  I love to learn about new goodies! Love your friends and Stay Crafty!

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An April Favorite: Lederman Leather

I love discovering new favorites!  If you're wondering, one of my favorite ways to do this is by searching Instagram.  Yah shopping on Instagram is kind of a big deal, if you didn't know.  And it's pretty much my favorite way to shop online. Well while doing so I stumbled across Lederman!  I contacted the owner and a great relationship has ensued.  Lederman is located in Nicaragua!  He hand crafts all of his items.  He is extremely talented and I can't wait to share all the goodness he has in store for you. 

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Senegence LashSense and UnderSense Review

To finish up my Senegence reviews, my friend Sharlene gave me LashSense with Undersense to try.  You may have tried a similar product in the past or presently.  UnderSense is applied first to build up your lashes to the desired length and then you top it with LashSense mascara to create the finished look.  With some of these lash building masacaras you apply fibers and then mascara but Undersense is different.  It uses volcanic ash to build your lashes.  It is wax free and water resistant.  It is also moisturizing to your lashes.

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April Journals are Here!

 

I want to let you in on a little secret.  I've been working on a project for quite some time.  Brain storming, drawing, collaborating and second guessing.  I don't always feel like my art or my projects are that great and this is probably no different.  But I have put together something that I think is pretty neat.

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Senegence Silk Pore & Wrinkle Minimizer Review

This week I am sharing another Senegence product with you.  My friend Shannon gave me a bottle to try along with my foundation. It's called Silk.  It's used as a primer, a pore minimizer and wrinkle reducer.  It comes in an airtight bottle that keeps it fresh and helps you to use every drop.  I have been using it for about 2 months and have used about 1/3 of the bottle.   Silk has the following benefits.

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Throw a Kid's Party on the Cheap!

Have you thrown a party for your kids lately?  If you have, you know just how expensive it can be!  I searched and searched for a reasonable venue and crafty inexpensive party ideas.  This is what I put together for my kiddos and some of their friends and it was a hit!

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MakeSense Foundation Review

My friend Twila gave me MakeSense Anti-aging foundation to try out and review for you.  As you may have guessed it is also a Senegence product (yes, the Lipsense people)   I was hesitant to accept and even told her that my skin is  super sensitive and maybe foundation wasn't the best choice for me to review.  She insisted that I was going to love the foundation and encouraged me to give it a try.  

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The Sitch on Lipsense

Okay so unless you've been off of the internet for the last 3 years you've probably heard of Lipsense!  My friend gave me a set to try and tell you guys all about.  If you aren't familiar with it, let me break it down for you really quick.   Lipsense is lipstick! Lipstick that doesn't come off for 4-12 hours.  Now when I first heard that I was like what the heck is it?!  It must be made up of some kind of gross chemicals right?  But low and behold it is 98% natural.  She even gave me the ingredient book!

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Cash Envelope DIY

Well earlier this week I told you about my mistakes.  The big boo boos I've been making when it comes to finances.  That didn't feel too great, if you were wondering!  Well that's okay because now I'm going to be sharing how I'm digging myself out of the pit I've dug for myself.  

The number one thing Charissa, our budget counselor, has recommended is switching to a cash basis as much as possible.  What this looks like for my end of things is taking out enough cash each week for the things I take care of like groceries, gas in my car, entertainment and miscellaneous cash for the family.  

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5 Ways I Blew my Budget

I'm not a big spender, or so I thought.  I have pretty good self control when it comes to depriving myself of things I need, like new shoes or clothes or a new 'toy.'  But apparently, I have no self control when it comes to a few small things.  And let me tell you those things have really added up!  In this post I'm only going to talk about what's gotten me into trouble and we'll take the journey together to get me out!  So ready? Set. Go.  Let's see if you can realte to any of these Buget Breakers.

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Fun with Friends : Emilee's Bee hive

Today I am introducing you to Emilee.  She attended art school at the Kansas Art Institute and decided it wasn't for her when she discovered how introspective it was.  She wanted to focus on others and her life now is proof of that.  

Emilee is passionate about the planet.  She was the volunteer coordinator over the community gardens in Springfield, teaching and training in the garden.  Now she works for AmeriCorp whose mission is to eliminate poverty and improve resilency.  She also works part time with the farm to school project getting local foods into the school cafeterias. 

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Upcycled Unpaper Towels

You know what?  I love to recycle.  I love finding new uses for old things and making use of something that otherwise would have ended up in the garbage.  I have made unpaper towels before.  You've probably heard of them.  You basically sew up a bunch of towels made from terry cloth and some kind of pretty (usually cotton) backing.  You can add snaps to make them attach to each other and actually roll them up and put them on a roll in your kitchen.  

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How to Survive When You are the Weird One

It's become kind of popular now to say "I'm WEIRD" or "I'm so AWKWARD!"  You see these popular girls with perfect hair and makeup and a zillion friends who are 'weird' and 'awkward and I think "I'm on a whole 'nother level, honey!'  

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Fun with Friends: Black and Blueberry Farm

This week Lacey I got up to something kind of different.  She asked me if I'd like to go berry picking at a local farm.  I've never been berry picking before and it seemed like a good time PLUS berries!   Lacey had heard about a little farm called Black and Blueberry Farm so we headed on our way.  Black and Blueberry Farm is located just outside Springfield in Rogersville.

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DIY Leather Bows

I have told you all about my obsession with bows.  I can't tell you how many my little girl has.  I also love matching but I love to save money as well.  I have a big bag of leather scraps and I've been trying to figure out how to use it up.  I've been making tassels like crazy and now I'm making bows for Baby girl!  Now you might be thinking I can't sew or I don't know anything about making bows.  Well April Does. :)  AND you don't have to sew a thing.  All you need is some leather, some scissors and an alligator clip. Optionally you can use a little leather glue to make sure the bow is extra secure.

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5 Reasons You Need a Budget

Money is an issue for a lot of us.  Here at April Does That I try to keep my projects low cost and budget friendly.  But why do you need a budget anyway?  Julia from Prudent Joy answers.

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First Friday Favorite: Flourish Leather Co.

I recieved products in exchange for this blog post review. I do not accept products or compensation in exchange for a posititve review.  All opinions are my own

This month's First Friday Favorite is REALLY a favorite of mine!  If you don't know about Flourish Leather, I'm about to seriously improve your day!  I'm so happy you're here.

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Family Keepsake Decor Art

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

You could probably guess that I love to decorate my home with handmade things.  This is especially true of things that have sentimental value.  Much to my despair my kiddos are growing like weeds!  Where have my babies gone?  I saw a picture of using a hand and footprint to spell the word love while perusing the internet and I loved how it memorialized a time when small hands and feet fit on a canvas.  But I thought I'd mix it up a bit by adding Mama and Daddy fingerprints to make the L and E.  The baby's chubby feet won't be cute and tiny much longer so it was time to get this together.  Unfortunately my sweet babe is not in any of the pictures as it took two of us to wrestle her cutie pie feet onto the canvas and her hands and body out of the paint. :D  This took all of 10 minutes so buckle up and let's make a beautiful memory!

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DIY Manly Windchime

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Guys are hard to buy for and I think they're even harder to craft for.  For the most part I don't even try anymore I just ask Joshfor exactly what he wants.  But once in awhile inspiration hits me and I come up with a crafty idea that makes my husband smile and let me tell you it's quite a smile! 

I've been collecting beer caps for awhile now and trying to think of something spectacular to do with them that my husband would be excited about.  I have a few projects up my sleeve but the one I'm sharing with you today is a windchime.  Now that might not sound super manly but I mean come on it's made from lids, fishing line and beer caps.

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10 Tips for Thrift Shopping

I love thrift shopping!  I love to find a bargain or something one of a kind and unique.  I love paying low prices.  It gives me more versatility and variety in my purchases.  I'd like to consider myself somewhat of an expert on this topic, so I put together a  list of tips to try as you thrift shop.

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Ma's Homemade Princess Fruit Dip

Some flavors define your childhood memories.  I remember picking black raspberries at my Gran's and gobbling as many as I could during those hot summer months and they remain my favorite berry to this day.  Every time I bite into one I remember her house and those wonderful hot afternoons picking berries with her.  

Today I'm sharing another fond memory with you.  Princess dip!  My Ma was a caterer and a cook her entire life so of course everything at her house was the bomb.  But as a kid one thing I always was on the lookout for was the princess dip!  It is SO good.  I would dip everything in it.  Fruit of course is what is for but as a kid I would pile as much as I could get away with on my plate and dip cookies and cakes and the occasional fruit in it and lick every last drop from my fingers.  There's nothing quite like Princess Dip to brighten up my day and help me feel connected to my family that lives so far away.  It was the one thing I HAD to have at my wedding from my Ma...that and her ribs of course. ;)

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A Party with Nana & Grandpa

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Each year we celebrate our wedding anniversary big!  We love to celebrate our love and the decision that we made to start a family.  So to us, that naturally means including our children in the fun.  The best part is finding fun things for them to do and surprising gifts that they will love.  There's nothing quite like a child's excitement to brighten an already happy occasion.  

This year we did something a little smaller.  We got them a baby pool and pool toys because we knew Nana and Grandpa were up to something big and fun.

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April Huggins
They are! And they have two amazing sets as well as 5 great grandparents! It was so fun.
Monday, 15 May 2017 09:34
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Quick & Easy Teacher Appreciation Gift

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Can you believe it's the end of the school year already?  I can't!  This year flew by for us.  My Big Boy is graduating Pre-k and will be in the big Kindergarten next year.  Oh mama's heart!  We had such an amazing teacher and teacher's aide this year.  They have worked so well with my busy boy to help him work on social skills, to learn to listen and to be kindergarten ready.

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Themed Outdoor Decor

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Themes!  Themes are my jam!  I love themed parties and rooms and this year I am extending this obsession to the backyard!  My backyard is full of life.  We grill, we play, we plant and we reap. We have a flower garden and a pretty sizeable veggie and fruit garden.  So basically, when the weather is good we are outside.  I have given a lot of thought to my yard over the years.  I've drawn diagrams and planned ways to make it look at least decent but it is always lacking something.  Enter the theme.  

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Easy Personalized Doormat

I'm not a very picky housekeeper but there are a few a things I do care about.  I most likely wouldn't ever tell you that you have to take off your shoes when you enter my home.  But honestly I really prefer it.  I have two little rugrats rolling around sometimes eating things that drop to my floor.  They are both walkers sure, but they love to wrestle on the floor and the baby will eat anything that is food...or not that she finds whether its on the floor or the plate.

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First Friday Favorite: Rags 2 Roses

I received free products in exchange for this blog post. I do not give positive reviews in exchange for products.  All opinions are my own.

This month's First Friday Favorite is one I am so excited to tell you about! As you know my Baby Girl is quite the stylish little diva and that's in part thanks to Rags 2 Roses.  One thing about me is when I find something I love and that has great value I become obsessed with it.  As a result Baby Girl and my Big Boy have  A LOT  of bows/bow ties.  

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Nina
Those bows are so cute! I love that you can keep them within the same color family or mix and match!
Saturday, 06 May 2017 15:39
April Huggins
She also has new products and prints coming out all the time. I am constantly ordering from her!
Monday, 08 May 2017 21:06
April Huggins
She's definitely my favorite too! She is pretty quick too which is an added bonus I forgot to mention!
Friday, 12 May 2017 18:27
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Whole 30 Milkshake

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Well I did it finally.  I decided to try Whole 30.  Guys, I'm only 3 days in and my junk food loving days are haunting me.  Now before you jump all over me I KNOW I'm not supposed to eat "healthified" junk food on whole 30.  But let me just say, I was about to throw in the towel after only 3 days!  It's sad I know.  I have very little self control it seems when it comes to my snacks.  So it was either make a healthy treat or go to McDonald's and forget the whole thing.   Also I do what I want. ;) So I thought about what would be most satisfying and easy to make with healthy ingredients and I came up with this recipe for a healthy milkshake. And I am NOT sorry.

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Kid Art Cloth Napkins

A Guest Post by June Rostad

I love hosting dinner parties, especially during spring time because I can whip out my indoor tabletop grill.  If you haven't had Korean BBQ from a Korean mama before ... it's so delicious.  Anyways, six of my closest friends are coming over.  I wanted to spruce up the dinner table some, and thought making these Sharpie marker spray kid-art cloth napkins would be super cool.  The best part is having the kiddos unleash their creativity.  I loved what they drew.

 

 

Salvation Army's half-price day is awesome.  A king-sized sheet and two pillowcases.  That's a $1.50, baby.  For this project, I mainly used the pillow cases because they were easier to handle.  I was able to get 8 cloth napkins out of a king-sized pillow case, so you could really make an entire set for like 50 cents.

 

 

This pillowcase has a decorative trim, so I folded the pillowcase in half, excluding the trim.  I then rotary cut the left and the right sides off.

 

 

I save the trim to use for another project.

 

 

Cut the pillow case up into equally sized-rectangles.  You will divide them in half to make the cloth napkins, so the rectangles should be about half the size of the napkin that you want.

 

 

Rotary cut each rectangle to make it nice and even.  This step isn't totally necessary if you are going for the kitschy look.

 

 

Here's my rectangle, all cut nicely.

 

 

Cut in half.

 

 

You need an empty spray bottle, Sharpie markers, and bottle of rubbing alcohol.

 

 

Let the kiddos go to town!  It's important here to keep the two halves together, just in case the sizes are different.

 

 

Put the rubbing alcohol into the spray bottle, and blast the new kid-art with a few squirts!  Make sure you have some newspaper, although rubbing alcohol is rather harmless (unless you're a Sharpie marker).  You should see some blurring together.  Letting the design sit in alcohol will make it a little runnier, but not much, so spray to your liking.

 

 

Sew the sides together, inside out.  I used 3/4" seam allowance.  Make sure you leave a small hole somewhere, e.g. don't sew the napkin all the way shut.

 

 

Can you see the hole that I left?

 

 

Cut off the corners.

 

And turn inside out.  I used a chopstick to poke the cloth into the corners.

 

 

Sew the napkin all the way around using a smaller seam allowance (mine is about 1/2") than when the napkin was inside-out.  This will sew that hole shut without having to do any pesky hand-sewing.



Here are two other napkins. :)  I love the clouds and sun scene!  Looks very impressionistic!

 

The Finals.

 

This project was a really fun way to spend an afternoon with my kids.  Even teenagers love seeing their own art-work.  Reminds me of sticking up an art project on the refrigerator.  My girls did their own sewing, but you might have to help younger children.  Don't worry too much about making your sewing "perfect" -- not only is this a great kid-project, but it's also a great beginning sewing project.  Most sheets are cotton, so they make for great fabric. I let my daughter draw on the other pillowcase, and then made her a shirt.  And I drew on the bed sheet and made a bunch of sofa pillows for the spring.

June Rostad

Let Go of Being Perfect

http://letgoofbeingperfect.com

 June Rostad loves to refashion clothes that she finds at thrift stores.  She also takes so many photos, her Nikon dSLR can't keep up.  She blogs about her sewing and photography adventures.

You can find June on:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/refashionistas/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/letgoperfect
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/upcycledfashionista/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109732733847899462566
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/refashionistas/

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DIY Pom Pom Garland

One of the most fun things about having a baby is planning the nursery decor!  Well I'm past this stage with Baby Girl but I still look for ways to incorporate cute findings into her room now and then.  Lately I've been perusing garlands and thinking of all the ways I could use them in my home and of course Baby Girl's room is top of my list.  Garlands are all the rage these days but did you know they are practically the easiest thing ever to make?  I love pom poms so naturally that's what I went with for.  

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6 Tips for Throwing a Party in a Small Venue

Over the weekend my sister-in-law threw a retirement party for my father-in-law.  The venue was a small brewery.  They have a party area upstairs and it seats around 30.   It turned out so well.  The party felt intimate but not overcrowded.  There was just enough food without tons left over and desserts to spare.  It was casual without any cheesey party games and grown up fun with beer tickets for everyone.  The details stood out and added a personal touch.  It seemed effortlessly put together but the truth is when planning a party of this size there are a few things to consider that you might not have thought of. Do you feel a list coming on?  I do :) 

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Make Soap the EASY way!

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

A few months back my sister-in-law surprised me with some amazing handmade soap.  It smelled delightful and had all natural ingredients like lavendar oil and lavendar petals and coconut oil and goat milk.  I asked her at the time how hard it was to make and she said it was the easiest thing ever.  I haven't had any experience with making soap before and had always thought there was just the one scary wear gloves and goggles hard way to do it.  My interest was immediately picqued and I couldn't wait to get together with her and make some soap together.  

She was worried I wouldn't like learning from her because she only knows how to do it the easy way.  But the easy way is my favorite way to do everything!

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Jasmine Hewitt
I'd love to try this one day!
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 22:04
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April Does That Nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award

While there were hundreds of blogs in the running, April Does That was one of 11 blogs nominated for “The Sunshine Blogger Award” by Travel Foodie Mom.

           Sunshine

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring. Once nominated, the blogger is required to write a post in which they:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.
 First of all, Thank you so much for the nomination! I am so honored to be part of such a talented group of bloggers.

Here are my answers toTravel Foodie Mom’s questions:

1. When did you start blogging?

I started blogging in January of this year!

2. How were you inspired to start a blog?

I have always loved to write and to do crafty things and I decided I wanted to share my passions on a larger scale.  I believe anyone can be creative and I love to show people just how easy it can be.

3.What is the most valuable thing you have learned from blogging?

I have learned a lot about scheduling and self discipline!

4. What social media platforms can we find you on?

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

5. What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love quiet time and painting with acrylics.  Florals are my favorite inspiration right now.

6. If you were to press play on your playlist, what song would come on?

Probably some Lindsey Sterling.  I love lots of different music genres but Lindsey is my go to.

7. Where is your favorite travel location?

My all time favorite vacation was to Puerto Rico but we also visit Florida on a regular basis.  Tropical is my preferred travel location.

8.What is your favorite food?

That's an easy one! Sushi!  I love it and I could eat it every day.

9. What quote do you live by?

The golden rule.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  I try to be kind always.

10.  If you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you do?

I would spend the day with my husband and babies and let the kids choose something very fun to do.

11. What is one interesting fact about you that most people may not know?

I took 8 semesters of Spanish in school.  I loved it and was fluent at the time...now not so much :)

Now for my questions.

1.How long have you been blogging?

2. Who are your favorite bloggers we should check out?

3. Where can we find you on social media?

4. Why did you start blogging?

5.  How did you come up with the name of your blog?

6. What was your favorite movie as a kid?

7.What makes your blog special?

8. What was your first job?

9. Share the post you are most proud of.

10.How long does it take you to do an average post?

11. What would you like to tell your readers?

Would you like to have a chance to be nominated? Leave a blog comment with your blog URL for consideration. The winners will be announced on Friday April 28, 2017. Stay Crafty!

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April Huggins
You are a winner! See my post http://www.facebook.com/aprildoesthat... Read More
Friday, 28 April 2017 22:43
April Huggins
You are a winner! See my post http://www.facebook.com/aprildoesthat... Read More
Friday, 28 April 2017 22:42
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Featured

Solely Jolie Makeup Brush Clearing Pad Review

I received free product in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions are my own and I do not accept products in exchange for good reviews. 

Today's review comes to you with some excitement!  I am in love with this new find and I just HAD to share with you.  As you know I'm pretty into all natural products.  I especially feel this way about the products I use on my skin.  I wear makeup nearly every day and I have a HUGE stash of mineral eyeshadows.  But to be honest, I don't use them that much because they can be a pain to mix and they are pretty messy.

Well I have discovered something amazing: Solely Jolie Makeup Brush Clearing Pad.  

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DIY Leather Tassels

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

If you are a mom you probably know, remember or long for that precious moment when you feel like you can switch back to a regular purse from that giant diaper bag.  Well friends I am there.  I seem to get away with leaving the house with just diapers and wipes these days and I keep a change of clothes in the car.  Baby girl is perfectly capable and insistent on carrying her own sippy so I am confident that the glorious moment has arrived.  Maybe I should mope a little.  After all baby girl is our last baby and leaving the diaper bag behind is a little symbolic that she is growing up.  But instead I choose to celebrate the steps we're taking together.  My big girl and I will both carry our own purses and they will be appropriately sized to our bodies instead of giant baby suitcases.  Goodbye diaper bag it was great while it lasted.  

Hello my new beautiful purse.  My first real name brand purse (it was a special early anniversary present)  I was giddy picking out my purse over the weekend.  It almost felt like that moment had finally arrived where I was a real adult woman with her first real purse.  The mom purse.  I'm embracing it you guys. This thing is sturdy, fashionable and functional.  It'll have diapers and a pretty wallet.  Kid snacks and my celly.  I'm realizing more and more how little I actually need to carry with me.  It's freeing and wonderful.

Well anyway!  When I was buying my first big girl purse I was looking at all the pretty little tassels and baubles I could attach to it as well.

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How to Kick the Do-Nothings

Have you ever felt like you don't want to do ANYTHING?  Like your bed is your BFF?  You just want to lie in bed all day and...DO NOTHING.  I call this the do-nothings and when I'm depressed I get it it bad.  I hide in my room and well, do nothing.  Simple tasks seem insurmountable.  Doing a load of laundry seems like self imposed torture.  Getting dressed and presentable seems impossibe.  And making dinner?  It ain't gonna happen!

But after going to therapy for my Post Partum Depression I learned some quick and easy tricks that can be just the ticket to get me out of a funk.  Or at least help to accomplish something even if it's small.  Because small things can feel really big when you're in the midst of the dark cloud of depression.

I'm sharing a few of the lessons I learned while in therapy because I think we all get the do nothings sometimes.  And if you don't, then tell me your secret!

1. Make a list of the positives and negatives of a certain activity you're dreading.  My example for this was waking up early.  It's been a goal of mine for a long time, but man do I love to sleep.  So I made the list!  The positives far outweigh the negatives.  Sometimes this is all the push you need to do something that you are dreading.

2. Make a list of pleasurable activities and plan one thing that brings you even a small measure of joy EVERY day.  This might sound crazy because I'll be honest as a mom and a woman I find that I was rarely doing anything just to bring myself joy.  That felt normal and maybe even expected but it doesn't have to be that way.  I assure you it is not impossible to bring joy into every day of your life.  Sometimes it just takes some forethought and planning.  It can be something very small like painting your nails, going for a jog or indulging in a chocolate.  Whatever works for you.  Here's a look at my list.

This exercise is interesting because it gives you something to look forward to every day and surprisingly it can help you to get to know yourself better.  I found that sometimes the things I thought I would enjoy weren't that great or things I thought would be just okay turned out to be right up my alley.

3. Make a schedule for every hour of your day.  So not a regular calendar but and hour by hour break down of your day. (from the hour you get up to the hour you go to bed)  Beside each activity record your anticipated feeling toward the activity or task. Go back and fill in the reality of how you felt.  Did you really do what you had planned?  If not what did you do instead? And don't forget how you really felt.  To make this a little easier you can classify the topics into maintainence (things you must do) and pleasure (things your are excited to do) and next to it write a number from 1-5 how much of a pleasure or chore you are anticipating or was it really.  Was it both?

These are just 3 of many ways to cope with symptoms of depression and I'll be totally honest with you, sometimes these just aren't enough to get me out of my funk or sometimes my do nothings are just too strong to even write a list.  But if I can get myself to do these exercises, more times than not I feel so much better.  Having a plan and something to look forward to really helps me.  I hope that next time you are struggling with the do-nothings you can try some of these suggestions.  Do you get the do nothings?  What helps you to cope and overcome?  Do you like my print outs?  Well I have made them available to you for free!  Just CLICK HERE enter your email and I'll send them right over to you! As always Stay Crafty!

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Tangy Stuffed Peppers

When  I was newly married and very young, cooking was quite the adventure. We lived in a tiny little apartment as managers.  Just to give you an idea of how tiny our apartment was, the bathroom was so small you had to put your feet up on the bathtub to sit down on the toilet. lol!  The kitchen was itty bitty and I didn't have a dishwasher or much space to work with.  What I did have was a gas stove a tiny counter top, a sink and a wobbly kitchen table.  I never felt like I was lacking anything and I was so thrilled to have a place of our own.  I painted every room a different color and we had people over constantly.  I cooked for them all.

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Negative Space Sign Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

We have a family member who is really into moonshine.  It's pretty popular right now, in part thanks to the show Moonshiners on tv.  We have a big event coming up and honestly he's one of those guys that you never quite know what to buy for.  He's a true man's man and is always gracious no matter what we come up with.  This time though, I'm pretty confident he's going to love our little gift. 

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Plaid People Laundry Lather & Linen Spray

I received an unspeakable discount in exchange for this blog post.  I do not accept products in exchange for positive reviews.  All opinons are my own.

My family is SENSITIVE!  My kids break out in eczema rashes at the drop of a hat.  The baby gets diaper rash if we use the wrong detergent on her cloth diapers or if we buy the wrong brand of disposables.  My husband has terrible allergies and most store bought scents make me ill and itchy.  We're a mess!  

I choose natural products whenever possibe and even then I have to be mindful of everyone's allergies.  So the following review comes to you with the utmost honesty and a thorough evaluation.

This month's First Friday Favorite is Plaid People.  Plaid People is a small business offering handmade laundry lather and linen sprays.  Natasha is the owner and artisan behind the scenes and she let me sample her amazing products.  Let me tell you I am in LOVE. 

Natasha has been making natural products for her own home and family for about 7 years and now she makes them for you!  She is passionate about using the very best natural ingredients to yield the best results.  Her products are all natural, vegan and eco-friendly.  As you now know, that is right up my alley.

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The first thing I sampled was the linen sprays.  Her linen sprays are formulated with 100% pure essential oils.  They are perfect to use before ironing or to spray on pillows, sheets or laundry.  Or if you're like me, you might become obsessed and spray it on your entire house!  I spray my throw blankets, my curtains and pretty much everything else. 

There are four seasonal scents.

  • Winter Wood - reminiscent of a winter cabin with a wood burning stove.  It contains cedar, woodfir needle, cardamon, patchouli and sandlwood
  • Spring Hillside - this scent brings to mind new life after a spring rain.  A blend of grapefruit, eucalyptus, lemon, lime and lemongrass.
  • Autumn Spice - This spicy scent smells just like warm mulled spices and autumn days.  A blend of cinnamon, sweet orange and camphor.
  • Summer Sun - this burst of citrus will remind you of fresh cut grass, hot summer days and crisp line dried clothes.  It contains a blend of sandlwood, lemon, tea tree and black pepper.

These scents are all great.  They are just the right concentration to fill my home with the scent of my favorite season without overwhelming my senses.  My two favorites are Summer Sun and Autumn Spice.  My house smells ah-mazing!

So I know you're probably wondering does this all natural laundry detergent really work?  I ran it through my toughest laundry, including the towel I left in the washer that soured and got disgusting. This stuff is the real deal and there are 5 scents plus unscented to choose from.  They, of course, smell amazing.  Lavendar was my favorite.  It had quite a lingering scent.  My towels and clothes smell fresh and came out soft and comfy.  

The biggest challenge I put Natasha's laundry lather through was baby girl's cloth diaper laundry.  Soiled diapers are no joke and they must come perfectly clean or they can cause diaper rash and be super stinky.  I used unscented since oils can cause wicking.  When it comes to cloth diapers it's really important that they come completely clean and stay absorbent for the next time around.

Baby Girl's diapers came out fresh and funk free.  No diaper rash followed and they stayed nice and absorbent even after a week of washing.

Plaid People is my favorite new find and you should totally check it out!  Find them on Etsy and follow them Instagram for promotions and updates OR WIN with my latest collaborative GIVEAWAY!!!!

What you'll win:

Plaid People is giving away TWO linen sprays($13 each) Spring Hillside and Summer Sun so you'll be all set for this season and next. (P.S. I'm not kidding when I say I LOVE the summer sun scent)

AND  I am giving away a Phenomenal Woman tote ($22) from Hugged Apparel

This is a $48 value! (plus no shipping charge)

Click to enter our giveaway

Open to US residents only. Ends 4/14/17

 

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DIY Chalkpaint Couch Makeover

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

A guest post by Paige Everson

I bought this vintage settee for only 10 bucks. I always wanted some sort of stylish bench seating for the window side of my dining room table and this was the perfect size. That said, I never really liked the fabric.

 I mean, honestly, other than a baby’s room, who decorates with pepto pink? In addition to the less than desirable color, there were a few deeply set in stains that were beyond removable and also some spots of sun fading.

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DIY Spring Wreath

Spring has sprung!  My flowers are starting to pop up.  The birds are singing and the weather has warmed.  It's time to say goodbye to my snowflakes and pinecones and so long to my snowmen.  Hello bright colors!  Welcome spring flowers!  

Seasonal decor can be expensive.  In fact, when I bought the supplies for this tutorial, the lady in front of me spent $100 on Spring Decor. (no really!)  If you don't believe that's possible, just take a walk through Hobby Lobby and see for yourself.  I like to change my wreath for each season.

 

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April Huggins
Thank you! It was fun and easy too.
Saturday, 01 April 2017 12:21
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DIY Fur Baby Vest

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You've seen them.  Those little tiny fashionistas with their attitude and fresh style and squishy diaper butts.  They have their mocs their trendy outfits and their accessories.  Well I'm as guilty as the next mom.  I love to dress my baby in grown up styles because it is just so darn cute.  I still like those fluffy dresses now and again but my baby is usually dressed in leggings, gold bow moccasins and a trendy shirt.  That is where it's at for me.  I had been wanting a fur vest for baby girl all winter and when I made those throw pillows a while back, one of them was made of faux fur.  So I decided instead of spending a fortune on a fur vest for the baby, I'd take a shot at making one because that's how I roll.  My sewing skills are pretty limited so if I can do this, so can you!

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Ma's Sweet Potato Pie

Spring is officially here and I am so excited to be planting and opening windows...and even deep cleaning my house.  BUT I am also sad to see my Fall and Winter decor and rich earthy tastes go until next year.  I decided to have a last hurrah and leave my snowflakes, snowmen and pinecones out for one more week.  I also baked one of my favorite treats from my childhood.  Sweet Potato Pie!

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Julia @PrudentJoy
This looks awesome! I have only made pumpkin pie, but, I will definitely give this a try the next time I have sweet potatoes.... Read More
Saturday, 25 March 2017 10:45
April Huggins
It really is one of my favorites and sweet potatoes are pretty much available year round Let me know what you think when you try... Read More
Saturday, 25 March 2017 11:10
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How to Start a Garden

This post contains affiliate links

 

Every year we have a garden and every year I learn a little bit more.  The main thing I've learned is that it IS work and the harder you work, usually the better your result.  Sometimes that's so true that you have fruits and veggies coming out your ears!   Where do you get help with gardening? One of my main sources of information and help with my garden is my friend Cherrelle.  She is simply amazing.

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April Huggins
I'm so glad you found my post helpful! Cherrelle really is amazing when it comes to gardening and I'm happy she is so generous wi... Read More
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:14
Nova @ Happily Ever Hauser
Thanks! I've been meaning to get something started in our home that we bought over 3 years ago!
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 20:17
April Huggins
Yes! I have lost so much to those caterpillars as well. I'm so excited to try these new suggestions this year.
Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:50
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County Fair Gotcha Party

 I'm surrounded by the most amazing women you guys!  One of them is Lacey.  She is inspiring and a beautiful human being inside and out.  She is down to earth and a real friend.  Her husband is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and they love their kids so sweetly. Lacey and her husband are foster parents and recently adopted 2 of their girls.

 I encourage you to listen my podcast where I interview Lacey and ask the big questions you want to know about foster parenting. What are the challenges?  What are the joys?  What's it really like?  Is it hard to let go? and more.

Now we're going to take a look at their adorable Gotcha Party.  The theme of the party was a County Fair.  It came together so well and the kids especially had a good time.  First we'll take a look at the decor.

 

The tables were covered in gingham and topped with sunflowers and hydrangeas.

The kids had an extra fun time with the county fair 'booths' that were set up.  Adopt a Pet

  

A Ball Pit and Face Painting                                              

Fish for a Duck and punch for a prize and make a flower

 

A balloon animal maker and Bumper Cars

  

And check out this adorable food table with a 'Farmer's Market' of fruits and veggies.

 And my very favorite a photo backdrop of quilts with a banner that says Forever Family. 

 I am so happy for Lacey and Dennis and we love their family. I'm glad their girls have found their forever home with such loving and kind parents.  Their party was adorable and I'm glad to share it with you.  I love themed parties.  They are my favorite.  Have you thrown a themed party?  What was it?  Where did you find your inspiration?  Share your thoughts and as alwaysStay Crafty

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DIY Paint and Sip Party

This post contains affiliate links.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This week's Fun with Friends was really a good time.  I've always wanted to try one of those paint and sip places where you paint some relatively easy art and enjoy some wine with friends.  But I checked out the prices and I thought to myself I could do that myself for the same price and have an entire party.  So as a hostess I didn't really save any money but I threw an ENTIRE party for the price of about one admission to a standard paint and sip night.  And we had snacks.  For the truely thrifty set of friends each person could bring their own supplies and this party would be so cheap.  So I'll do my best to describe my party to you so you can get the best value and most fun possible.

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April Huggins
Exactly! We moms need all the cheap and fun ideas for girl's night we can get. ... Read More
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:16
April Huggins
We had a blast! And being prepared helped me not to be nervous!
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:15
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My Body is My Home

 As seen on Nandyzsoulshine.com

After having my second child my weight went pretty much back to my 'normal.'  But after struggling with Post Partum Depression I've put on some weight.  Part of the "problem" I guess, is that I LOVE food and I've been trying to find any ol' way to increase my happiness.  Well, food fits the bill.  It's like an instant gratification, an instant reward, a high five from my stomach.

 

A lot of times when you hear about weight, it's about how to lose it.  And do I want to lose the pounds I've accumulated?  Sure!  BUT I refuse to become obsessed.  I realize that some of my habits have become unhealthy and I'm trying to choose better.  But, in the mean time, this body is my home.  It's the body that cares for my family.  The body that nourished and birthed two babies.  The body that I've come to love and respect.  

I don't want my kids to look at people and judge them by appearance or pounds.  I want them to get to know the contents of their character.  But how can I expet that from them if they hear me saying unkind things about my body?  I'm banning the word 'fat' from my home.  It's not a useful word. 

 

 I never want my kids to feel like their weight determines their worth.  Because, IT DOESN'T!  I'm still just as valuable now as I was when I was first married and 120 pounds.  And I think the healthy wasy to lose weight is to love yourself and do it for your health.

 

I've grown to love myself and I've never been happier (or heavier)  than I am right now.  It's a learning process trying to find balance.  I'm happy for those people that have positive body image AND work out 7 days a week.  They should be proud of their hard work.  But that doesn't minimize anything about my life or yours.  I think we can be happy for each other and support each other through thick and thin. (literally)  We need to stop comparing ourselves with others.

I don't "need" to lose weight to feel better about myself.  That part of my life is behind me.  I need to love myself and make healthy choices, so this body that has given me so much can continue to give.  And I need to model positive body image to my children because the world is not always so kind.  

 

Are you struggling with negative thoughts about your body?  Think about these suggestions:

 

  • My body does not define who I am.
  • My body does not define what I am.
  • My body deserves my respect.
  • My body is my home.
  • My body is wonderfully made.
  • My body is my own.
  • I want my body to be healthy not just a certain size.

 

You guys, let's be kind to ourselves! Let's pursue healthiness and happiness.  Let's empower and encourage ourselves and our friends.  Let's spread love.  Lets love our bodies even if we want to change them.  And as always Stay Crafty!

 

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April Huggins
It's always good to know I am in the company of other strong women! Thank you for sharing your experience. I too have realized it'... Read More
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:24
brandy choate
This is a great post. My daughter is six and I do my best to make sure she knows that we care about whats inside and not outside. ... Read More
Sunday, 12 March 2017 11:53
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DIY String Art Décor Accent

How to: DIY String Art Décor Accent

A guest post by Nandyz Soulshine

 

Do you like your décor to be bespoke with personal touches? Creating little design accents that reflect treasured memories and glimpses of our life tend to do exactly that. I usually prefer creating fine art pieces and sprinkling them around the house. But, I also like creating nifty DIY items that require learning a new technique or craft. Keeping the learning curve up while having fun, not bad right? I had been looking for some new craft to learn and found this really cool technique of using strings to create interesting designs. Also, the other day I was going through the baby videos of my son and was really surprised! Because among all the sweat and tears (both mine and the baby's), feeding, cleaning and lack of sleep, what shone through my memory was his angelic smile and how it made my heart go all mushy and awww. It sparked the idea for a décor accent for my kid's room that would be a reminder of what actually lies beneath all this 'why-there-is-no-handbook-for-bringing-up-kids' mess :)

What are we making:

String art nursery/kids' room accent

What do we need:

Rectangular piece of wood about 12 x 24 inches, iron nails, hammer, acrylic or any type of paint (even nail paint would do), strings, scissors, glue, pencil, paper, sticking tape

Got everything? Let's get started then:

1. Clean the wooden board with a dry piece of cloth and decide on the message you want to write.

2. Either use free-hand technique or select some calligraphic font if you are feeling particularly artistic. Make the fonts big enough to be visible from a distance and also manageable with a paintbrush.

3.  Go crazy with paint on the letters. I used acrylic paint because it was handy, but you can use any sort of paint that you feel comfortable working with.

4.  I also sprayed a protective layer of art-grade spray to protect it from any liquid that decides to get splashed on it later on. After all, it is for the kid's room where anything can happen, right? However, if you are using water-resistant paint, you can do away with this step.

5.  Now, comes the design part. You can either opt for a printable design, which are easily available online or you can create one of your own. Remember to customize these for string art. Which means that make sure they are manageable enough to be filled with stretched string and not too detailed if it is your first attempt. Tape this on to the wooden board.

6.  Mark the positions where you would be hammering in the iron nails.

7. Hammer in all the pins and tear the paper off.

8. Remember to tidy up the knotted ends with glue. I decided to shimmer up the edges of the board with silver tape, but you can decide to leave it natural.

9.  Starting from one corner, tie the string to one of the nails and make your way through the rest of the design. It would be a nice idea to first make a sort of outline with the string and then fill it up. This would give a clean look to the whole thing. And…you are done. All that remains now is to find the perfect place to show it off!

 

Involving kids in the project can create new memories adding more personal significance to your décor items. Though I feel the calligraphic writing gives a bit polished and professional feel to the piece, you can also choose to do away with it for smaller projects. String art is versatile and can be placed anywhere in the house created with different themes. Have you tried using string art to express your creativity? Which new craft technique have you recently explored?

About the guest author:

Hi, I am Nandita - health and positive living enthusiast with a passion for writing and fine arts. My blog, Nandyz Soulshine aims to help people generate and sustain a positive attitude towards life one day at a time. En route, we also explore simple ways to minimize exploding medical bills and maximizing the wellness factor. Drawing and painting are modes of meditation for me. I love to explore new techniques and crafts whenever there's a chance. Connecting with so many like-minded souls is simply the cherry on top!

Blog: www.nandyzsoulshine.com

FB: www.facebook.com/nandyzsoulshine

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nandyzsoulshine

Twitter: www.twitter.com/nandyzsoulshine

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/nandyzsoulshine

 

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Maud Candle Co

 I was provided with free products in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions and reviews are my own and honest.  I do not accept products for a positive review.

It's time for a First Friday Favorite!  Today I'm introducing you to Maud Candle Co.  The owner, Cyndi, is just as cute as can be.  She and her husband run their company out of their Kansas City home.  The company is named after Cyndi's grandmother (Sarah Maud) and each candle is hand poured.  Maud Candle Co's products are eco-friendly and are carbon neutral.  They are made with fine fragrances that are infused with essential oils and their wax is all natural and American grown soy. 

 

So I was curious.  What's the big deal about soy candles as opposed to those paraffin candles I can go pick up at Walmart?  I want to know what I'm paying for! 

  • Soy candles are healthier.  Standard paraffin candles, like those ones at Walmart, are made from a by product of petroleum oil and increase the CO2 in your environment.  Soy candles like Maude do not increase CO2 and are made from all natural soy.
  • Soy candles are cost effective.  Soy candles burn 50% longer and more evenly- which means you won't have that annoying wax well of wasted candle up the sides of your jar.
  • Soy candles burn cleaner. You know that black soot that gets in your candle?  Well besides being ugly, over time that soot can actually discolor your walls and furniture.  But that's not the case with soy candles!  Soy candles produce negligable amounts of soot and because of this your candle stays pretty and your house is soot free!
  • The scent from is soy candle is stronger. Another reason I feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck is soy candles have a lower melting point and a larger amount of liquid wax pools around the wick when burning.  This liquid wax is what you smell when the candle burns, so the scent is stronger and longer than a paraffin candle.

 For more information on the difference between soy and paraffin candles visit this helpful blog.

 So we talked about why soy candles are WAY superior to paraffin but how do I like Maud's candles?  I LOVE them.  Cyndi sent me three scents to sample: 

Noble - My Noble candle came in a beautiful gold tin.  It is a bold and spicy musky scent.  It fills my living room with a decadent and dare I say masculine scent. It has notes of leather, tobacco and black pepper.  I never would have imagined I would love this scent so much!

 Velvet - This one turned out to be my very favorite.  Velvet is a soft and sweet medley of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg with a creamy vanilla finish.  Vanilla is my jam so this was an obvious winner for me. 

 Maven - Maven was a close second in my book with the scent of sandlewood and a hint of vanilla.  It is classic and earthy. 

 

 Royal - The other scent offered by Maud is Royal. A friend of mine has this one so I went over to give it a sniff.  It is a sweet treat of berries and cream! 

 

 

You guys I love these candles.  They smell amazing and they are beautifully packaged.  The packaging is simple, clean and stylish enough to become part of your decor.  Basically, Maud is a WINNER.  I love the scents.  You may not know this about me but I am a scent snob.  I usually hate everything that isn't vanilla.  Maud has me rethinking my prejudice.  I love the packaging and I love that these all natural candles aren't releasing carcinogens and soot into the air my family breathes.  

Wanna try them for yourself?  Head on over to Maud Candle Co's store and light up your world and as always Stay Crafty!

 Want to follow Maud Candle Co?

On Facebook, On InstagramOnline

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April Huggins
I can totally relate. I'm so sensitive to fragrance. I hope Maud Candles work out for you! I personally LOVE them!
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:18
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Kid Creation

As any mama can relate to, I love my kids' drawings.  I love my son's little circle people with 20 legs and 3 eyes.  I love my toddler's tiny scribbles and the excitement  she gets at the sight of a pencil.  I love art so helping my children create it is such a joy. I could probably hang it all on the wall in proud mama style but I like to incorporate designs that match my decor where possible.  How?  Well a couple of different ways.

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Gran's Pork Chop Chili

My Gran and Papi were my best friends growing up.  I loved their house.  I had my own room and my own cat and of course my favorite foods.  They shared the cooking - pretty progressive for their generation.  There was nothing quite like going to visit them and smelling the aroma of butter flavored crisco and onions and browning tortillas fill the air.  The sound of the gas burners snap snap snapping, the excitement I would get to sit on the counter to stir a pot.

Well, I still love to eat their cooking but I'll be honest I don't own any butter flavored Crisco.  I rarely fry my food and I generally choose some different ingredients when I make the family classics.  So this is my take on my grandparent's pork chop chili.  They use actual pork chops cube them and coat them in flour. Then they are fried with quite a bit of "grease."  The browning bits and the grease all become part of a gravy that also includes onion, green chilies and cilantro.

This is served over hot homemade tortillas with cheddar cheese and sour cream.  (In true grandparent tradition the recipe for the tortillas is as follows: 1 part water, 1 part oil (butter flavored crisco) salt and flour until its not sticky anymore.)  Now as I said it really does taste delicious!!  But my stomach can't handle the grease.

So my mom and I have kind of fine tuned a flavorful couple of substitutions that capture the flavor without the tummy ache. AND you guys, we use the crockpot!  Can I just say how much I LOVE crockpot meals.  They are so easy.

The main changes to the recipe are that there is NO Crisco in my recipe and we will use a pork loin roast instead of porchops.

So, lets get started!  Break out the crockpot and get ready to be impressed.

 

Ingredients:

2 to 3 lb pork loin roast cut into 2 in cubes

1 4oz can of green chilies

1/2 an onion

1tbsp garlic

2 tbsp fresh cilantro choped finely

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tbsp oregano

1 cup of water

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp corn starch and1/4 cup cool water to thicken at the end

1. Cut up your pork loin into 2 in cubes.  Add to crockpot. ( Tip: for extra flavor you can lightly brown on the stove top before adding to the crockpot.)

2. Dice your onion and mince your garlic.  Add to crockpot.  (Again you can lightly brown your onions if you choose)

3. Finely mince your cilantro.  Add to crockpot.

4. Add all seasonings and just enough water (about 1 cup) to almost cover the meat.  Stir and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

5. When you time is almost up make some homemade tortillas.  You're welcome to use my grandma's sort of vague reipe.  I promise it's delicious, but this is the recipe I use. 

6. When your time is up turn your crockpot to high.  Mix cornstarch and cool water together and add to to crockpot. Stir.  Once the liquid starts to bubble it will thicken and be ready

7. Fill your tortilla with refried beans, the pork chop chili, sour cream and cheese.  We also like guac with it.

Once you try it let me know what you think!  It's one of my very favorite meals to make.  It's quick and easy too, so super bonus.  Does your family have a go to recipe or a favorite comfort food.  Is there something you make that makes you feel like you're back home?  Tell me all about it.  I love to try new things!  Eat well and as always Stay Crafty!

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The Moment I Realized I Can Do Anything

 Have you ever experienced a life changing event?  Something so profound you will never be the same?  I have and it has effected so many aspects of my life.  To tell you about it though, I need to give you some background. When I was pregnant with my first child my sister-in-law told me 'Once you give birth you will feel like you can do anything.'  But as it turned out I struggled with preeclampsia through the second half of my pregnancy and ended up having an emergency induction 4 weeks early.  I didn't feel empowered.  My nurse was terrible and told me to 'lay back and let her do her job.' My awesome Obstetrician was on holiday and my on call doctor was rushing through my delivery to attend another.  I won't go into the graphic details but my body was not treated with respect.  Even with my doula present, the staff treated me disrespectfully and even chastised me for passing out during my epidural.  I felt totally out of control of my body.  I felt violated and traumatized.  I totally understood why some women prefer midwives and home births.  Needless to say that experience did nothing to inspire that 'I can do anything' spirit in me.  I secretly wondered what was wrong with me.

 

 Fast forward to my second pregnancy.  Although not complication free, my second was much easier.  I wasn't as sick.  I was able to enjoy my pregnancy a bit more even though I was dreading delivery.  After my last experience I was frightened of those who were tasked with helping to deliver and of the epidural that I would surely want.  I again had a doula and this time made through all of my child birth classes. A few days before my due date my doula texted to me she'd be unavailable today because another client was in labor.  She gave me the number of a back up doula to call just in case.  OH NO!  I thought.  What IF!  Well what if happened. I was feeling hyper and restless and then I noticed decreased movement in my normally very active belly.  I informed my husband that I was going to the hospital just in case (like I had several times before) and that he should just get some sleep this time and stay with our son because I was confident it was nothing.  I picked up my mama and headed over. After a couple hours the on call doctor came in and said my Obstetrician was off duty!  and she wanted to INDUCE.   I looked at her and said NO!  Then after some negotiation we decided to try a few other options.  But, when I was checked it just so happened that I was already in labor.  So I called my husband and my back up doula and told them to GET HERE NOW. Well after the drama of my last labor I was terrified of the epidural and decided to let the doula coach me through my labor as long as I could stand it.  I went from a 4 to a 7 in an hour and delivered in the hour after that. Let me tell you drug free labor is NO JOKE!  I begged for the epidural.  I yelled.  I moaned.  I said I CAN'T DO THIS!  But my doula and my family and supportive staff helped me through it.   Well none of that sounds that positive does it?   But, that experience helped me regain my confidence.  In my body.  In my strength.  In my ability to overcome.  I started to think If I can do that I can do ANYTHING.  My sister-in-law was right.  A positive birth where my body and thoughts were respected helped me see what I am capable of.  I felt like wonder woman.  That beautiful life that came into the world I helped to achieve that!

 

 Here are some things I learned from my experience. 

  • I am so much stronger than I thought.
  • Having the right support team makes all the difference in difficult times.
  • Just because something is difficult or painful doesn't mean it can't teach a lesson or be of value
  • Great things come from hard work!
  • Women are amazing! 

  I try to remember what I am capable of any time I have doubts.  Any time I think I CAN'T DO THIS!  Any time I start to feel depressed I remember that I am strong.  I am confident and one bad experience doesn't negate that.  So be strong peeps.  Be confident.  You are amazing and don't let a bad day or a bad experience tell you otherwise.  Surround yourself with people who love you, encourage you and help you through the tough times. Obviously, you don't have to give birth to feel empowered or like the rockstar you are!  There are so many ways to feel good about yourself.

 

 Have you had an experience that helped you realize what a rockstar you are?  How do you stay positive in the face of adversity?  What helps you maintain your confidence? Share your thoughts.  And as always Stay Crafty!

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Hugged Apparel Has Launched

 

Today I'm sharing my new adventure with you! My husband I have been throwing around the idea of starting a tshirt company for some time now.  I went to college for graphic design and my absolute favorite times were in the screen printing lab.  I loved designing things, especially tshirts.  Two of my designs currently for sale were actually created all of those years ago in college.  We have so many ideas that you'll be seeing new designs all of the time.  Have an idea for a shirt?  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you might see it on a shirt some day!

We decided to take our what ifs and turn them into why nots.  Our ideas come from real life.  My husband is a fish tank fanatic so you will see some fish tank designs.  I love crafts, as you know, so there are several craft themed shirts.  All of our designs reflect a small part of our lives together.

We are calling our company Hugged Apparel as a play on our last name (Huggins) and because our tshirts are comfy and huggable.  T-shirts are our main focus but you will also see some accessories like market bags, mugs and art prints.

 

We are a family owned business and every dime you spend with us helps our family to thrive.  We are so excited to share our designs with you and we can't wait to get your feedback!  We hope you'll support our new venture.  You can visit our store with the Store menu button right here on the blog or on the web at  www.huggedapparel.com  Have a look around and as always Stay Crafty!

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Why I'll Never be a Minimalist

 Minimalism is all rainbows and sunshine on the internet right now. It's all over pinterest 'how to become a minimalist' 'why minimalism will improve your life' etc.  I have to admit I was totally all over the posts.  I really feel like less is more when it comes to many aspects of life.  I've read so many posts on becoming a minimalist, only keeping what brings you joy, having a capsule waredrobe and embracing a very simple lifestyle.  So I do really like some of the ideas behind these concepts. 

 

  I like to be conscious of my spending.  I like to try and have a clutter free home and I'd love to have a ROCKSTAR wardrobe that had only things I love in it.  But, here's where they lose me.  I don't have the urge to get rid of my stuff that I love, the stuff I feel nostalgic about or the stuff I'll use someday just because minimalism said so. I'm sort of a messy person.  Most creatives are.  So I feel like a giant cirlce trying to fit in a tiny little box. (picture Baymax shoving himself through that window)

  

 Don't get me wrong I don't hoard stuff. (well maybe a little)  I love to make stuff: crafts, crochet projects, paint, sew.. the list goes on.  So all of those activities entail STUFF.  Basically I'm trying to have closet devoted to my various crafts. (and failing I might add)   I go through my stuff, especially my clothes regularly and purge what I no longer find useful, but a 10 piece wardrobe?  It just isn't for me!  Maybe I don't have that clear of an idea what my style is or maybe I just really like my clothes.  I don't keep stuff I don't wear so I don't really see the issue with a full closet.  I mean what else am I going to put in there anyway? 

  

 I want my house to be comfortable and homey.  I want to snuggle up with ALL my throw pillows and have a throw blanket for EVERYBODY that comes over.  I want black shoes and leopard print.  Blue jeans AND purple jeans. More than 3 shirts and I want my kids to keep the toys they get from family!   I DON'T want things to be the focus of our lives but I also don't want to ask minimalism's permission to buy a 'new' shirt from the thrift store.  I don't want to count my clothes or my anything else.  Basically I just want to live my comfortable life right here in the middle of minimal and messy.  My stuff doesn't define me.  I am greatful for what I have.  So maybe I'm a little messy but my house is a comfy lived in home.  Instead of minimalism, I'm going to focus on limiting my clutter and finding a place for the things I have.  I'm going to clean out my garage and have a garage sale and organize that bad boy.  And I'm going to work on not accumulating things that have no meaning or useful place in my life.

 

 

Here are some ideas that I am going to try:

  • Go through my clothes and donate what I don't love once a month.
  • Go through my kid's toys and donate what they don't play with 4 times a year. This is also a teachable moment.
  • Have a garage sale once a year.
  • Host a clothing swap with friends once a year.
  • Go through craft supplies once a year and gift what I really will not use.
  • Go through books once a year and donate some.

 That's just a few ideas I'm going to try to declutter my life in an easier way.  Do you have any suggestions for me to help declutter? Where do you stand on minimalism?  Are you all in?  Are you organized and carefree?  Or are you like me and look at those amazing people in awe and laugh to yourself at the thought of your house going minimal? Share your thoughts and as always Stay Crafty!

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April's Artbook: CATS

 I thought this week's prompt of cats would be fun and easy.  Well true to form, these kittys were difficult.  The face shape of cats is a particular challenge for me.  Challenge = not my favorite. :)  Well here's my three kitty cats.   

 

 

A cat sketch page.  All in pencil.  This one was my favorite.  It was fun capturing the different movements of the cat and it reminded me why they are so fascinating.

  

 

Another cat sketch in pencil.  This one was challenging as you can tell by all the eraser marks. 

 

 I loved making this one.  I sketched him out first in pencil and painted him in acrylic.  Acrylic is one of my favorite mediums so I enjoyed it very much. Well that's it for this week.  What did you think of my kitty cats?  Did you join me for this challenge?  Next week look for my weekly sketches on Instagram and Facebook and as always Stay Crafty!   

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I am a Recovering Mommy Shamer and You Probably Are Too

 

Whew! Did that title get your attention?  Well, I'm not an internet troll or one of those people that approaches nursing mothers just to say 'eww gross.'  I even sympathize with that lady whose kid climbed in the monkey exhibit, like don't get me started.  

There's been a lot of talk lately about mom shaming.  Innocent phrases like 'Breast is Best' have become stigmatized by trolls who make it their life's duty to shame moms who choose formula.  And I mean guys that's one of many examples. This article is not for those meanies who make it their goal in life to hate on other moms.

I have nothing left in me but respect and love for other mamas. I love you guys.  You're strong.  You're beautiful.  You're amazing.  But let's get real for a second.  I know I personally have gotten caught up feeling angry with those random mean girls on the internet or in person.  But, what's the point in wasting energy on that negativity?  And If I'm completely honest with myself inside I'm not always kind.  I have even judged other moms decisions with my friends.  WOW that feels icky to admit.  But it's the truth.

 

The thing is we all have our opinions on parenting our kids. We ALL have them!  But if you're like me, half of the time I feel like I'm drowning, like I'm failing, like Why did I think I could mother other human beings?  So why would I feel like I could judge other moms going through the same joyful struggle as me?  The truth is I want to turn the judgement off!  I want those automatic..."oh boy he's a brat" or  "Oh no she didn't" to stop.  

I'll be the first to tell you, I'm by no means perfect but I encourage you to seek this goal with me!  Let's encourage, seek to understand, build up, empower and LOVE other mothers.  This motherhood thing is HARD (they don't call it the hood for nothin)  So, let's help each other out.  Let's not waste our time with the mean girls.  Lets walk away from the drama and choose to look for the good in others.

 

 

Unless a child is endangered, how does it really matter what I think of someone else's choices?  I'm going to make an effort to build up my own family and do my best to teach my kids not to be mean to others for being different.  I'm not going to shame the moms or the mom shamers because I'll be too busy spreading positivity.

Here are some things I am trying to think about when I disagree with a parenting style or think a kid is out of control.

  • Is my way the only right way?
  • Have I ever done something similar?
  • Who made me the judge?
  • Can I choose empathy?
  • Can I offer an encouraging word?
  • Can I offer practical help? (not a lecture)
  • Does this actually effect my life?
  • But did they die though? (lol, is this child in any danger?)
  • Is it possible that this child has an invisible disability? My child does. And let me tell you it really effects what we can expect from him.  I don't feel obligated to tell every person that looks at me sideways.
  • My personal favorite: MIND YO BUSINESS

 

Let's be nice to each other! Embrace our differences where we can and IGNORE what we cannot.  Offer a helping hand to a tired mama or a word of kind encouragement.  You're beautiful! You're kind! You're a great mom!  So spread the love and as always Stay Crafty!

 

Recent comment in this post
D Sanders
I completely relate to this. As of mom of three, I've learned that we all have different styles of parenting and we should engage ... Read More
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 13:51
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DIY Upcycled Throw Pillows

 I'm in the midst of redecorating my adjoined living room, dining room and kitchen.  I'm adding some blues into my red and goldenrod yellow pallet.  When it warms up I intend to paint my red wall a calming blue.  My decor style is somewhat busy.  Blame it on my busy mind.  I love color.  I love patterns.  I love themes.  I also love cheap!  Let's talk about an easy way to bring some pops of color into my home.  Throw pillows!  But have you priced those lately?  They are not cheap.  I looked at some of those bad boys the other day.  They are expensive.  Like $20 a piece!  What?!  Well this tutorial combines some of my favorites. Cheap, easy, colorful and patterns. I pulled out my gifted bag of old clothes from one of my favorite friends and searched for colors I wanted to bring to the living room.  I found some blues and a pattern of course.  I also decided to cover an old plain black throw pillow with some fun fur fabric I found at my Gran's house.  So with my old t-shirt, old skirt and Gran's gifted fabric the only thing that cost me anything was the polyfil (which I already had on hand.) So let's get started and turn out some pillows.  I made all three of these pillows in about an hour. 

 

 

The first pillow I made was out of an old t-shirt.  I like to keep as many seams as I can so I made a rectangular pillow using the side seams of the shirt and cutting it right under the armpits and cutting off the bottom seam. 

 

 

Turn your pillow inside out and bring it to the sewing machine.  If your shirt has any stretch like mine does you need to use a zigzag stitch. 

 

 Make sure to leave a gap for stuffing on one side and backstitch at the opening. Stitch up the other side of the pillow completely.  Turn your pillow right side out and stuff it very full. Break up any lumps 

 

 Whip stitch the hole closed.  Tada t-shirt pillow. 

 

 Next I cut up this pretty little skirt. 

 I folded it in half so I would have one less seam to make. 

 

 A straight stitch works fine for cotton fabric.  Be sure to leave a gap for stuffing (preferably at the bottom of your pillow)  Turn your pillow right side out stuff and whipstitch it up. Last but not least I covered my black pillow.  I used my pillow as a template of how big the pillow was and cut out the fabric just slightly bigger. You know cuz you have to shove your pillow inside of it :) 

 

 Put right sides of your fabric together.  Sew it up leaving a gap big enough to shove your pillow through.  But since you will have corners with extra fabric make sure you clip the edges off up to the stitches. 

 

 

By trimming the corners your corners once turned will be sharp.  Turn your pillow right side out and you guessed it, shove your pillow in there.  Whip stitch your hole closed.   That's it you've made three brand spanking new pillows for basically free in an hour or so.  You would've spent that long going to the store to look at pillows and discover how outrageous they are! Well here's the finished product along with a thrifted pillow that I love. 

 What do you think of my upcycled pillows?  Are you going to make some for yourself?  Have you ever done a project like this?  Do you have more ideas for upcycling old clothing?  Share with me.  I love to hear from you!  And I love to see your projects.  See you soon and as always Stay Crafty!   

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April's Artbook: Still Life

 

 This week's challenge was still life.  I absolutely loved it.  I stuck with pencil because I was enjoying it so very much.  I think we may revisit this one again with paint!  I also enjoyed the beautiful unseasonably warm temperatures that lent themselves to outdoor sketching.  I drew some decorative corn cobs leftover from my fall decor, two outdoor pots and a pinecone and lastly my current bouquet of flowers dawning my table (jazzed up a bit)  It's been a long time since I did a still life and I think it may be my jam!  That's what I love about the weekly art challenge!  It's a chance to try out new mediums and new art forms and rediscover old favorites.  Here's my week.  Let's see yours! 

 

 

 

 

What do you think?  Did you take the still life challenge?  Was it a challenge or a joy like it was for me?  Next week's challenge is Cats!  No really! Come on and have some fun with me.  Share your pages with me and most of all Stay Crafty! 

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Upcycled: DIY Peter Pan Collar

 I don't know about you but I have a lot of clothes in my closet that I don't love anymore.  I never wear them and they just sit around or eventually I pass them on or donate them.  I always think to myself 'what a waste."  Recently a friend of mine passed on some of her unwanteds to me and said 'I thought you could craft with whatever doesn't work for you."  (Sara is a genius!)  So expect to see a lot of upcycled clothing ideas coming out of here.  In the past I have upcycled clothes but I guess I just kind of forgot how easy it really is.   This tutorial took about 10 minutes and was seriously so easy.  I love peter pan collars.  They can dress up a plain jane outfit in 2 seconds flat.  And my style is pretty plain jane with fun accessories so this was right up my alley.  As you know, I also enjoy anything that doesn't take a tremendous amount of time and effort.  Even better if it's super cute/trendy when I'm done.  Also saving money is my fave.  Spending zero dollars to get a new accesory feels the best ever. Also have you priced fabric lately? I mean what happened to saving money by sewing for yourself?  It can be done with sales and thrifty shopping but not conventionally.  So you can now consider those unwanted clothes sitting around in a new light.  Free fabric and potential accessories!  Well in the time it took you to read that we will create a new necklace. Ready? Set. Go!

 

  

 

1. So I started with a sweater with a cute collar. Next, I plain and simple cut the collar off.  

 

2. Next I pinned down the top edges with space for a ribbon to pass through after sewn. Sew it! (repeat on both sides) 

 

  

 

 3. Yah this old trick!  Put a saftey pin on the end of the ribbon you want to use and pull it through the top of your collar. 

 4. Tie a knot in your ribbon around the end and tuck your knot end inside the hole so you don't see it. 

 

 5.Repeat on both sides and decide how long you want your ribbon to be.

 

 Wear it with everything! 

Well, what do you think?  Would you wear a peter pan collar?  I know I would!  It dresses up anything you wear it with.  Do you have an upcycled clothing idea?  What things have you upcycled?  Share your projects with me.  Do you want to win this Peter Pan Collar?  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with subject line Peter Pan Collar and tell me what you'd wear it with.  One person will win the above pictured collar. Contest ends March 1,2017 Stay Crafty!

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Worth a Try Recipes: 3 Ingredient Soup

 

One thing I'm going to be sharing is family recipes and those of my own creation.  My multi-ethnic background has made for quite the variety of foods going across our table.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love to try new foods but I always come back to those that remind me of home.  The ones my Mama or my Grandma made me over and over.  The tastes of my childhood.   It's funny because a lot of times I find out the foods I loved as a child were the simple things that my Mama made over and over because they were easy. One of those is this quick, easy and CHEAP soup.  I usually make this when its cold outside and I would rather be hibernating than slaving over a stove.  It's great for a budget and it can stretch for several meals.  This soup can be as easy as 3 ingredients! Are you ready to make dinner with minimal effort and minimal cost?  Good me too! And the great news is even my kiddos will eat this one.

 

3 Ingredient Soup

Kielbasa Sausage (I use turkey kielbasa because it's less greasy) 

Small Cabbage ( basically the whole thing)

Potatoes ( about 3 large) (I used the equivalent in small red potatoes but you can use any potatoes you have lying around.)

Optional - Onion and Garlic  (about half a medium white onion and 2 large cloves of garlic diced)

Salt and Pepper to taste.

 

 

Dice your Potatoes.  

Slice your kielbasa in bite sized pieces.

Chop your cabbage in strips.

Add potatoes and and kielbasa to a stock pot cover with enough water that there is room to add cabbage later. Bring to a boil.

 Lower heat to a simmer and add cabbage ( and onions and garlic if you choose).

 Cook until potatoes can be pierced with a fork. Do not overcook or the cabbage will get slimey.  (gross)

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Admittedly it does seem to take a lot of salt!  

 

Now I know it might not sound that great but like I said even my kids will eat this and they hate everything.  It is very good. It is very easy.  It is very cheap.  Do you have a family recipe you want to share?  Is there something you make that's quick, easy and cheap?  Tell me all about it because quick, easy and cheap is my jam!  Enjoy your hot soup and as always Stay Crafty!

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April's Artbook: Hand Painted Skies

 This week's artbook topic was skies.  I enjoyed this week. I got to look at lots of beautiful photography and I realized that the best inspiration was already inside me.  That's the kind of art I truly enjoy.  My favorite of the three I'm sharing was just that.  It was from a memory.  Which one is your favorite? 

 

 

You can see a tiny bit of the beach at the very bottom of the page.  This is watercolor which seems to be my current favorite medium.

  

 

A closeup of clouds and rays of sunlight.  Water color and acrylic. 

 

 

A night sky through the trees. Water color pencils, water color paint and acrylic. Did you join me this week?  Share your art with me,  Or join me next week.  Next week's topic is Still Life.  See you Friday for a Fast and Easy Recipe.  Stay Crafty!

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Homemade Gift: Toddler Scarves

 

As you may have figured out I love to make homemade gifts. I feel like the receiver can feel the love I put into making it. One of my favorite things to make is scarves for my nephews (and my kids).  Well I've been slacking off and it's already the middle of January! So it is time to get these scarves in the mail!

Traditional patterns for scarves are either infinity or just a wrap around but I like my littles to be just a little safer than that.  I add snaps so if push or pull comes to shove they will snap off and their little necks will be safe.  Safe and cozy little necks! That's the winning recipe. 

Another thing about scarves that I don't love is they usually take forever to make.  I don't love crocheting but I do love crocheted things.  This is the best of both worlds.  This scarf is adorable but it also is so quick!  Under an hour and you are done my friend.  And don't worry about buying multiple skeins.  You'll use less than one.  

So here is my FREE pattern for you!

 

Supplies:

Super Bulky Yarn

9mm crochet hook

yarn needle

Big snaps 

button thread

needle

Buttons of choice (for decoration only so optional)

 

Abbreviations: 

ch: chain

dc: Double crochet

st: stitch

Longer scarf (as pictured) 

1. Ch 63 (for long scarf) 53 (for medium scarf) 43 (for cowl)

2. Dc in 4th st from hook # skip 2 st, dc,ch1,dc (in the next stitch) #  Repeat until end of row from # to #

3. Turn DC in first st ch 1.  #skip 1 st, dc,ch1,dc( in the next stitch) # Repeat until end of row from # to #

4.Turn DC in first st ch 1, DC across row.

5. Repeat last row if you want your scarf thicker.

6. Tie off and weave your ends in.

7.  Attach snaps to an inside and outside edge so they match up.  Use button thread to make sure they stay secure.  

8. Snap your snaps and add your button or buttons to the outside. Voila you're done!

This will fit 18 mos-5 years.  Probably longer.  You can just move the snaps accordingly.

 Here's what it looks like on my baby. :)  

This was my first crochet pattern.  I made it out of necessity because I couldn't find a pattern I liked or that I could follow easily.  I'm definitely a begginer crocheter so if I can do it, you can too!  If you have any issues with the pattern email me and I'll try to help you figure it out. I used to sell these little beauties but I have found I don't have a lot of joy in crocheting, but just for you dear reader, I am doing a give away.  Your choice of yarn color, size and button color.  All you have to do to enter is email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and use the subject line Toddler Scarf and you will be entered to win.  Contest ends March 1,2017.

 

Also if you like that frog hat my son is wearing I found the cutest little pattern at Reapeat Crafter Me.  

https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/repeat-crafter-me-3584669/crochet-frog-hat-pattern-2559816521

Check it out!

I hope you enjoyed my first crochet pattern. Keep those littles warm, cozy and safe!  And always Stay Crafty!

 

April

 

 

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First Friday Favorite: Pura Bottles And a Personal Look at PPD

 I was provided with free products in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions and reviews are my own and honest.  I do not accept products for a positive review.

Well friends, today I'm talking about something a little different.  Something taboo.  Something most people try to hide or feel ashamed of.  Post-Partum Depression.  Now before you go running for the hills, think about this, between 11-20% of women who give birth each year suffer from post-partum depression.  That is approximately 600,000 women in the United States.  That means that most likely you or someone you know has been affected.

 

After I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl I had a lot of trouble coping.  Small things seemed big.  I missed an entire weekend with family because the idea of our kids together being loud and rowdy made me want to crawl under a rock. I could not handle it.  That was first time someone who loved me mentioned post-partum depression.  I was skeptical.  I was just tired.  I'm just introverted.  But, my loud loveable boy, then age 4, was LOUD and rambunctious and on my very last nerve every. single. day.  As soon as my husband would get home from work I would hide out in the bedroom away from my babies.  

I started to think and to feel like my existence was inconsequential.  Like my family, including my sweet nursing baby girl would be better off without me. That's when I did something scary!

 

I told the truth.  First to myself then to my husband.  I told him that I wasn't just tired and grumpy.  I literally did not want to exist.  He was so supportive and so was the rest of my family. Which is just what I needed.

So my husband went with me to the doctor.  The doctor said I could keep nursing the baby while on a medication that had been approved and tested in nursing mothers.  He said it works well for a lot of people and he and my pediatrician had never seen adverse affects on nursing babies from it.  So I did it because at this point it was a matter of life and death.  I was apprehensive and so I took the medicine at night and pumped and dumped in the mornings so that she would have as little as possible of the medication.  I started feeling better..... but then I had an allergic reaction to the medicine.  I was DEVASTATED.  

 

The new medication had not been tested on nursing mothers.  It was 'probably ok' but had unknown effects on the nursing child.  I thought maybe I just wouldn't take medicine and would somehow be fine but quickly realized it just wasn't an option.  I felt very frustrated and powerless.  For my own peace of mind I had to quit breastfeeding. That might not seem like a big deal but it was.  It was so hard. The hardest!  My entire body wanted to nurse that baby.  We all know breast is best and I wanted what was best for her.  But in our case that had become formula.  

There were a couple of things that helped to ease my mind.  I did a lot of research and found the best formula - in my opinion- and the best bottles on the market.  That's what I'm going to tell you about now.  Bottles.  Bottles aren't cheap and they're usually plastic or glass sometimes stainless but they always have plastic components.  It's no secret that plastic is not great for us but I'm convinced it's really not great for our growing babies.  So while searching for options I found PURA Stainless.  Their bottles are innovative and unique.  Not only are they 100% plastic free but they grow with your baby.  You can interchange their different lids on all of their bottles.  We started with baby bottle nipples but have moved on the sippy lids.  Next there is a straw or pop top option all made from silicone not plastic!  

 

So you might expect these bottles to be outrageously expensive but they are not.  They run between 13.99 - 23.99 in the infant department and the higher price is for a vacuum sealed insulated bottle that will keep a drink warm or cold.  Check it out! www.purastainless.com

 

 

Obviously a bottle is not a cure for post-partum depression but it was part of my journey toward better mental health.  Knowing my baby had the best I could provide her with eased my mom guilt over no longer breastfeeding.

Do you or someone you know suffer from post-partum depression?  I can say from experience there IS hope and you CAN feel better!

In Springfield there are several resources.  One is the Post-partum Support Group.  It's run by the Doula Foundation and meets downtown the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 6-8 pm.  Call 417-832-9222 to register.

Personally I found the book Feeling Good by David D. Burns to be an amazing tool to help me.

 

Some other resources:

Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 

Behavioral Health Response

1-800-811-4760

offers 24 hour counseling and crisis intervention

 

Postpartum Support International

1-800-944-4773

Next week, we'll be back to crafty selves with a pillow making tutorial.  Take care of yourselves mamas!  And as always, Stay Crafty!

 

Recent Comments
Andra Kiperts-Feller
You are brave and i admire you.
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:08
Ami
Beautifully written, April. It is scary to feel like you don't want to exist but even scarier to reach out and ask for help. I had... Read More
Friday, 03 February 2017 21:44
3 Comments

April's Artbook: Hand Drawn Patterns

 Patterns are everywhere!  From the digital and print sources to nature.  Anything can become a pattern.  What a broad topic! 

 I tried several patterns and media types.  I won't even include how many I made.  This was harder than I imagined.  I ended up prefering markers and geometic shapes.  I can't decide which one is my favorite.  What do you think? 

 

 

I was going for an aztec feel with this one. I really like triangles. Can you tell? 

 

 

I'm not in love with the way you can see all of the marker lines, but I do enjoy the colors and shapes of this one. It's like a honeycomb. 

 

 This one was fun but got a little sloppy at the end.  More triangles of course. Overall, I liked the patterns challenge.  It's definitely not my strong suit but sometimes that is fun.  What do you think about my doodles? Did you make some art with patterns?  Share it with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I may feature it on the blog!   Next week the theme is SKIES.  Join me and share your art.  And as always, Stay Crafty!

April

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Fun With Friends : A Review of Dublin's Pass

 

We were provided with a free appetizer at Dublin’s Pass in return for this blog feature.  I do not accept compensation in return for a positive review.  All opinions in reviews are my own.

 

As a mom of two I really relish my nights out with the girls.  Awhile ago I went to a certain restaurant ( not Dublin's). I had planned a pretty big event and it was completely ruined by the poor management and wait staff.  They double booked our party and one of my friends ended up leaving before her food even came.  It was a total bummer especially when you only get out every once in awhile! 

I decided from that experience to try and let people know what restaurants are totally awesome or totally not.  Because our time is valuable my friends and we shouldn't have to waste our hard earned cash on a terrible night out.  

My latest lady's night took place at the downtown location of Dublin's Pass.  They serve Irish Pub fare and they've done a pretty remarkable job with transforming the building.  It really is nice inside.  There are distressed columns and arches.  The building is filled with the smell of guiness cheese and upbeat pub music greets you at the door.  In the evenings there is live music and of course center stage of the restaurant is the large squared bar.  It is the perfect environment for some fun!

 

My group was seated in a semi private room .  Our youthful waitress was dressed in tall green socks and short shorts.  And just about everyone ordered at least one green drink.

  

 

I took note of what everyone ordered and sampled most of it.  I won't bore you with a lot of details about what we ordered but I will fill you in on a few of our favorites.

The favorie drink was the Gaelic Giant.  It is big.  It is green.  It is good.  I also enjoyed the Irish dream.  It was a creamy good time.

Scottish eggs!  Hard boiled eggs covered in sausage and deep fried then sliced in half.  They are served with spicy mustard.   I can't believe I didn't get a picture of these.  They were delicious. Everyone loved them. These were the best of the appetizers we tried by far! I know they sound weird but they are worth it!

 Sweet Chili Wings. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and moist in the center with a sweet spice to them.

 

 

Cottage Pie- This was described to me as a more delicious version of shepard's pie.  My friend, Leann, said out 5 stars she gives it 10 :)

 

 

Bread Pudding was a table favorite for dessert.  Although we do recommend adding ice cream on top.

 

 But with all of the positives I do have some negatives to report.  A friend ordered a chicken sandwich and thankfully she cut into it before biting it because it was raw in the middle. It had to be remade.  Granted, mistakes happen but she didn't receive any amount off of the sandwich.   Another friend ordered the Guiness Cheese Soup and was very disappointed to find it more like dipping cheese than soup.  She did not eat her dinner and the waitress never noticed. The service was slow and the waitress was pretty unknowledgable.  Although, to her credit she was very sweet. One pretty big inconvenience is that the bathroom is located outside of the building shared with the theater next door.  When the theater let out there were long lines.  But a plus was the lighting was pretty good for a selfie. ( we all know Springfield cares about that!) 

 

 

 

Overall, we had a great time at Dublin's.  If you're looking for a noisey good time with live music, great drinks and pretty good food this is the spot for you. If you are concerned about speed and attentive wait staff maybe try it another time.

 My grade for :  Downtown Dublin's Pass(out of 5 stars) 

Atmosphere : 5 stars

Staff Knowledge: 3 stars

Attentiveness: 2 stars

Speed of Service: 3 stars

Taste of Food: 4 stars

Overall: 3 1/2 stars 

What'd you think of my first review?  Would you like to see more?  What places do you love in Springfield that I should try?  See you next week.  Stay Crafty!  

 

 

 

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Homemade Gift : Housewarming

Last week I showed you the Upcycled Decorative Bowl that I made and told you it would soon contain a gift.  Well, my very favorite neighbors are moving away.  I'm so sad!!  But I'm also so happy for them.  They found a great deal on a house, still in the neighborhood, and it fits their needs much better.  To congratulate my favorite neighbors I thought I'd put together a small housewarming gift.  And me being me, I wanted to handmake at least part of it.  I thought about crocheting a blanket but I just didn't have time.  So I bought a few things and made a few things. Check it out.

 

1. I removed the labels off of the candle and blanket.  I wrapped the blanket in the pictured ribbon.

 2. Next I added a little detail to the candle with sticky floral Washi tape and I found some silver letters and spelled out their last name.

 

3. Next I painted a cute and easy little home sweet home canvas.

 

 4. The last thing I did is draw "Best Neighbor Ever" Inside a wreath of leaves on a mug with a ceramic marker.  These markers are awesome.  You let your cup sit for 8 hours and then bake the mug. After it cooled I filled it with chocolate.

 

5. Then I put it all in my decorative paper bowl!

 Well what do you think?  Would you like to receive a housewarming gift like this?  Well you can!  Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line Homemade Housewarming Gift.  One person will be drawn on March 1, 2017.  I will contact you for shipping information.  What do you like to put in gifts?  Do you have a go to DIY?  

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Upcycled Decorative Bowl

 

This tutorial is a result partly of laziness partly of guilt.  So, I'm preparing a gift and we'll talk more about that later.  I don't have a single gift bag, box or basket in the entire house.  Well, me being me, I thought "I got this."  Sunday I had bought a newspaper for the coupons and I was feeling a little pained about all those pages of tree sitting on the table.  So to youtube I wandered.  I learned the basics and moved on.

This is the tutorial I used to learn the basics :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzfPHKWBIag&feature=youtu.be 

Basically I learned how to make the tubes that become a bowl.  I closed my browser and again thought, "I got this."  

First of all, the idea that making this would be easier than driving to the dollar store is laughable.  If this project is one thing...it. is. time. consuming.  BUT after finishing it I really feel like I'll do it again and make something for myself.  So let's get started!

Supplies:

A Fat newspaper (think the Sunday edition)

Modge Podge

Skewer or Pencil

Scissors

Paint Brush

Patience

Acrylic Paint (optional)

1. First we cut our newspaper apart so it is all one page pieces.  

2. Take your skewer and roll diagonally up the paper page to make a long tube.

(note: i like to move my skewer outward as I go so it is easy to remove)

 

3. Glue edge down and remove skewer.

 

 

4. Do it again until you have a big pile of tubes. If your baby objects let her play fruit ninja.

 

5.For the bottom of my bowl I started by applying modge podge down the length of the tube then rolling it up.

 

 

6. At the end of the tube connect another tube with modge podge and continue the modge podge rolling until your base is as big as you want it.  Leave your last tube unconnected and add more as needed.

 

  

7. When you are pretty satisfied with the size of the base you can start making circles. Its pretty much the same as before but you'll want a hole in the middle to connect it to the base. I accomplished this by putting modge podge down the length of a tube and wrapping it around a glue stick (On some of mine I used three tubes and on some two on the first level alternating sizes).  Then pulling the whole thing down once secured.

 

8.In order to secure the circle to the base I used strips of newspaper folded 4 times and pulled through the middle and part of the base.  It would be prettier without it but I'm just not sure how to get it to stay.

  

9. The next circle is the same except I used strips through the bottom and the previous circle.  Continue this all the way around.

10.  On layer two I decided to switch it up.  I did a combination of big empty circles and small coils. To make the small coils I just rolled up one tube.  The big empty ones are half of a newspaper page wrapped around a little aerosol can.

The only hard part on the second layer was keeping the small coils in place long enough to stick.  Once a big coil was on either side it seemed to stay relatively easily.

11. Modge Podge the whole she-bang.  Then let it dry. You are done unless like me you decide to paint it because your sister tells you it's ugly. ;)  

 

 

12.  If you paint it I suggest Acrylic paint and then another layer of modge podge.  I think gold or silver paint would look awesome on this project.  

 Well, did you tough it out and put in the work?  I did and I think this beats any gift bag from the dollar store.  Tune in Monday to see my homemade gift that is going to fill up my paper bowl.As a side note, put down some kind of protective layer when using modge podge it is a pain to clean up.  Also don't be like me and ruin your favorite leggings. Wear your craft clothes or don't be messy.  Stay Crafty!

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April's Artbook : Cacti

 

Each week I'll be sharing a page or pages from my art book on a certain theme.  I would love to see your art as well.  So each week I'll leave the theme for next week.  Lately I've been drawn to Cacti and succulents of all types so that's what I did this week in my art book.  What do you think?  Show me your art by tagging me on Instagram or Facebook. Use hashtag #aprildoesthat or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  I may feature your artwork.  Next week's art is: Patterns.  Enjoy and most of all Stay Crafty!

Top view of a Cactus. A mixed media piece with watercolor and acrylic. I had a hard time with this one looking more like a flower or as my husband observed some kind of sea life.  But it is what it is

A Collection of Cacti.  Mixed media in watercolor and acrylic. In true mom style a baby has ripped this page from my art book and it is hastily put back in

.  

This one was more fun for me.  Just some doodles in pencil.  Overall, I don't think Cacti are my cup of art tea.  How did your cacti art go?  I'm looking forward to next week.  Join me and capture some patterns in your art! Until then Stay Crafty!  

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2 Minute Doll Clothes

 

My "Barbara" Dolls were my constant companions growing up.  They went wherever I went, but they were rockstars and astronauts.  They were veterinarians and models.  And they did whatever they wanted.  They took NO naps and stood on all the furniture they wanted.  They changed outfits whenever they felt like it and some of their favorites were the homemade clothes my Gran and I made.  The best part about this project is that it takes about 2 minutes.  No really!  And once your kid masters the art of scissors they can do this confidently on their own.  

Supplies:

Kid sock (a long one not a no show)

Scissors

Doll

Imagination (not pictured)

My favorite look was the Off the Shoulder dress.

1. The opening of the sock is the skirt of the dress.

 

2. Cut off the foot part of the sock

3. Cut two arm holes.

4. Dress your doll.

 

You can also make a one shoulder dress by cutting diagonally across and cutting only one arm hole.

 

Or very simply you can make a tube top shirt or dress or a skirt by simply cutting the sock to the appropriate length. ( Those lace top socks make cute clothes)

 

You can make Barbara a belt or a top knot.

 

 Oh socks!  My childhood Barbara clothing store.  What do you think of this fun little craft? Do you do a craft with socks?  Tell me all about it.  Share your Barbara sock clothes with me by tagging me Instagram or Facebook.  Using hashtag #aprildoesthat or shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and most of all Stay Crafty!

Recent Comments
Cherrelle Hitchcock
I have so many fun memories from making Barbie clothes this way as a child. My favorite was a fire engine red nylon which I fashio... Read More
Monday, 09 January 2017 08:48
April Huggins
I bet that was pretty! When I was little I loved that off the shoulder look. (blame the 80's) But now I agree with you, I like tha... Read More
Friday, 13 January 2017 11:13
3 Comments

Tiny Wreath

Today's inspiration came in the form of a piece of trash.  Yay for upcycling, right?!  My little sister got her first apartment and along with the essentials I picked up a $1 "B" on a piece of twine in the gift wrap section at Target. (like the first letter of her last name)  I thought it'd be adorable hanging on her apartment's front door.  Fast forward and I'm examining a coffee pot I collected for her.  (Can't get much more essential than coffee, guys!)  Well this little cardboard circle popped out and immediately I thought wreath!  But it is TINY..okay well so what??? TINY WREATH!!  Maybe it's just me but small versions of big things scream adorable to me.  You know, like babies and baby animals and mini cupcakes and well you get the picture.  So tiny wreath was born.  And it. is. adorable.  I can't wait to hang it on her door. ( if she'll let me )  So check it out, try it out or enter to win one in your favorite letter and color by emailing me with your letter and color of choice at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  One winner be chosen on March 1, 2017.

 

Supplies:

Scissors

Pencil

Cardboard

Yarn (approximately 8 1/2 yards) 

Decal

Yarn Needle

Coffee optional

Step 1: Draw a big circle with a smller circle inside of it.  Whatever size you like. (a compass might come in handy)  My outer wreath circle is 6 inches and my inner circle is 4 1/2 inches.  Okay, cut that bad boy out and lets get started!

Step 2: You're going to want to make sure your yarn is in a ball or wrapping the wreath is a pain.  Isn't my tiny yarn ball adorable?

Step 3: Cut the knot off of your hanging letter...or untie it.

 

Step 4: Wrap your yarn around your cut out circle and tie a knot.

Step 5: Get to wrapping that wreath.  Make sure your yarn stays close together by pushing it with your fingertip after each wrap.

 

Step 6: Once you have wrapped your whole wreath tie your first knot end and your loose (yarn ball end) into a knot.

Step 7: Wrao a little farther until your first knot end is secure.  Trim excess.

Step 8: Cut your yarn leaving approximatley a 4 inch tail.  Thread into a yarn needle and thread the yarn under your previous wrapping.  Trim any excess.

Step 9: Tie your letter around your wreath.  Tie a knot in the twine.  Tada! Tiny Wreath!

  

 

Options:  Seriously, this project could have so many variations. You could use two different colors (or many).  You could use a glue gun to attach different decorations.  You could, GASP, make a full size wreath!  Go Crazy!  And remember to share your creations with me.  Use hashtag #aprildoesthat, tag me on Instagram or Facebook or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What projects have you done with "trash"?

Recent comment in this post
Lynnelle Stueve
Great post April! Well done! I like your writing style, keep going girl! ! !
Monday, 09 January 2017 00:04
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