Monday, July 23, 2012

DIY Gift Bouquet

Need a quirky, fun gift that will impress everyone around you?
Try making a gift bouquet!
I just made one featuring two of my favorite things: vodka and nail polish! 
I only wish it was a gift to myself!

I tried to re-purpose as much as possible to keep cost down and to use up stuff around the house. 
Here's a list of what I found around the house:
plastic flower pot, pot and base
bamboo skewers
colored scrapbook paper
some ribbon
spray paint
hot glue

Here's a list of what I purchased:
the gifts (nail polish, mini liquor bottles, and lollipops)
DRY floral foam
more ribbon

Newspaper laid out to spray paint my old flower pot.

I started with a plastic flower pot and kabob skewers.  I spray painted them gold with some paint I had from a former crafting project.

I also had some navy ribbon left over, so I know I wanted to incorporate navy with the gold.  In my mind, I thought lime and/or yellow would create a nice color palette. 

Next I went shopping.  I got 5 bottles each of nail polish, mini vodka bottles.  Then I headed over to the craft store.  My local craft store has decorative ribbon sold by the yard.  I got 4 yards of ribbon.  A thick lime colored ribbon that has flowers sewn on to go around the pot and then thinner yellow and blue ribbon to tie on bottles.

Bottles with skewers taped to the back.
Once I got back home, I wanted to drink the vodka and paint my nails!  Instead, I went to work.  I snapped off the the skewers to different lengths, keeping them at least 8 inches, and taped the sticks to the back of the bottles.  I tied and hot glued ribbon to the bottles.  I hot glued ribbon around the top of my flower pot and around the base as well.  Then I cut the floral foam (you could use styorfoam as well, but the floral foam is so much cheaper) to fit my pot and stuck the skewers into the foam.  I put the taller ones towards the back and put them in at different angles.  They staying the foam well, although the weight of some of the bottles made them turn sideways.

Once I had all the skewers arranged, I put dots of hot glue where the skewer met the foam, just for added stability.  I would recommend using a few stones on the bottom of the pot if you plan to add a lot of items.  The end project is quite top heavy.  Lastly I used some colored shredded paper to cover the foam.

Gift Bouquet Ideas!

Expectant mother: sample lotions, shampoos, washcloths, shoes, onesies, gift cards etc. (Use the theme of the new baby's room and Modgepodge a vase or container with cute scrapbook paper)

The man in your life: mini liquor bottles, cigars, packages of peanuts, packs of gum, lottery tickets, gift cards, etc. (Baseball game, game tickets, snacks, small car decal of his favorite team)

Crafter:  ink pads, stickers, ribbon (spools would look like lollipops! Cute), fancy pens, stamps, gift cards, etc (Decide on a theme, color or shape and find crafting accesories to match)

Child: little toys, basically almost any thing you'd put into a Christmas stocking! 

Your BFF: nail polish (of course) travel size products. mini liquor bottles, craft supplies, snacks, lip stick/gloss, eye shadow, gift cards,  etc.

As I mentioned above, just about anything you'd use as stocking stuffer will work.  There are so many variations on this idea, I used a flower pot because I just happened to have one around the house, but I think a vase, basket, or metal container would work great.  You can use glass beads or stones to cover the foam, or even Easter grass.  Just keep in mind the items will be supported by a skinny stick and tape!  Larger, tall items in back, shorter ones in the front.

I'd love to see what you come up with, leave a comment of your ideas, or better a picture of the gift bouquet  you made!!

And check out pintrest for some awesome ideas!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Clubs

Love books, love being social? Join or start a book club or reading group.

Before jumping in, ask yourself a few questions.
What is your goal for a book club?  To have lengthy discussion about books, to read or not read a book and get together and drink wine, to have a dinner with friends?    Your expectations don't have to be much, but all the members should know what he or she is getting into when joining.
How often will the club meet? Monthly, bimonthly, online check ins with facebook or some other online took.
Where will you meet?  Your home, the homes of your club members, a restaurant, a meeting room at a coffee shop or library?
How will you decide on the books?  Take turns hosting the book club and the person hosting selects the next book or suggests a couple and one is agreed upon, aalphabetical order, birthday order, or a club vote?

Not all of these questions need to be answered immediately and can change over time.

So how do you find a book club? is a great website to find others with the same interests as you, this is a great site to find existing book clubs or start your own.  Your local library is a wonderful resource, not only can you find the books for your next meeting, reserve a meeting room, and many libraries sponsor readings and book discussions.

Who to start a book club with?  You can start a group with anyone that enjoys reading: coworkers, people with similar interests, friends, family members, facebook friends.

Types of book clubs: There are an endless amount of books out there and we each have our own taste. You may want to center you selections around a genre or general theme.  Here are some popular choices: chick lit, mystery, children's lit, read the book - watch the movie, best sellers, works by a certain author, online book clubs, autobiographies and biographies,

Great  you've started a book club!  Here are some general meeting ideas:
Theme dinners or treats for books;  drink coffee and eat sandwiches while discussing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
Encourage members to come with meetings with at least 2 questions. Good questions to start with: Why did the author select that title, what would you have named it? What was your favorite passage?
Look up the book's publisher's webpage, many of them will have guides for their books.
Nominate a time keeper to keep the meeting on track and on point; only 5 minutes of discussion per question. 
Do an activity related to the book; try writing your own diary while reading Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding.
Decide a new book at the end of the meeting, and meeting place.
Create a team name for your club: perhaps The Marga-readers! or Books and Booze, Killer Books, etc
Create a facebook group for  your memebers to communicate about your progress while reading and to set up future meetings and reminders for meetings.

I'd love to hear all about  your book club experinces.  Any good books you could recommend?  Have  you done any fun events for a meeting?  Does your group have theme?  Leave a comment!  Thanks :)

Helpful links:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What is Pintrest?

Pintrest has been popping up everywhere!
I got an invitation to join so I did. And I didn't get it. I didn't get Facebook either, but it didn't take long understand. Same with Pintrest. Once you start following a few friends/companies/awesome people it all starts to make sense.

So here's how it works... You create boards of things that interest you. Some boards I have are: crafty goodness, food stuff, and garden stuff. You find items to pin on your board in 3 ways.
1. Your friends will post pictures and you can repin them.
2. You can search photos on Pintrest and repin them.
3. You can find your own pictures anywhere on the Internet and Pin them with the PIN IT button provided by Pintrest. You add the button into your favorites so anytime you see a picture you click it and it creates a pop up to create a new pin.

Once you log on, you will see all the pins from the people you are following. Across the top of the page you can search for people or topics.
Then the red Pintrest link to bring you back to your Pintrest home page. Then towards the right an Add+ link. Click on it to add a pin, upload a pin or create a new board.
Click ABOUT, get more info about Pintrest, find the Pin it button.
The last link will be your name/small photo to view your profile. This is where you can invite friends and follow people you know already on Pintrest.

Under that bar there is another bar still at the top of the page. You can view Pinner that follow you, view everything (categories and topics, great for special interests), videos, popular, and gifts (search for gifts, a drop down menu with $ ranges).

On the left bar you can see your activity. It will show if you followers repinned one of your pins, new people that are following you.

Finally, the Pins! You can repin from any of boards you see. You can write captions under the pinned pictures. You can 'heart' others pins.

Hope I made you less confused and not more confused. You may want to toggle between reading this and I love finding new craft ideas, recipes, pretty things, and helpful hints to make life easier.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Back, With a Goal

So I haven't wrote in a very long time, almost a year! Yikes!

A friend of my started the Eastside Happiness Project Group on Facebook. I really didn't know what it was, but because my friend started it, I wanted to support her. I joined her facebook group. She started posting meetings, I couldn't make the first few. I was able to make the third, mostly I went to have coffee with my friend and support her in group.

I arrived at the meeting as I was pleasantly surprised I was not the only one that showed up! I learned a lot, like The Happiness Project is actually a book! The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
After getting over the shame of not even knowing why I was at the meeting, it was wonderful meeting new women in a small coffee shop. We talked about the book and what steps we have been taking to bring more happiness into our lives. We set goals for our next meeting (mine was to read the book!).

My friend updated our facebook group with our goals and we post progress reports through out the month. It has been a great experience to connect with others, it doesn't take much time, and I feel like I'm getting my life a bit more organized and hopefully being less of a jerk along the way.

The book is split into months, each month with a topic to focus on. This makes the book very easy to read and allows for skipping, picking and choosing. The book is a great resource as well as the author's blog:
and online toolkit:

So what have I been doing on my own Happiness Journey??
Good question, making a lot of lists! I work really well off lists.
To Do Lists: Plant some herbs, change my phone plan, organize my bookshelf, change my contacts out, make a checklist board.
Ongoing Stuff To Do: Work on 3 existing quilts, write on my blog, fold and put laundry away right away, clean out fridge once a week, create an Excel sheet for my Kiva loans.
I broke up these To Do's into daily (keep shirts right side out at all times), weekly(clean out fridge), monthly (sort and organize mail), and yearly (sell at a craft show) and put them on a chart. I thought of several ideas: a chalk board, dry erase board, a notebook I could carry around, an iPhone app, or some online website. In the end I made something that will work for me. I bought a small poster frame, 4 different colors of scrap booking paper, some letter stickers, and dry erase markers. I spent just under $15. I taped the paper into quadrants and put stickers on for day, week, month, year and put it back in the frame. Then wrote my goals on the glass with dry erase markers. I can easily erase, check or put a line though my list items! I have gotten through quite a lot of my list. Here are a few pictures of my board.

Our next meeting is this Sunday, I'm excited to share in the conversation! One of my goals is to write on my blog at least once a month, so stay tuned...
Sorry links aren't working, you'll have to copy and paste.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dinner Exchange

Dinner's too much work?
Try a dinner exchange with your friends!
Get a group of 2 to 5 friends together, that's what I did with some friends! We emailed ahead of time with a list of our food allergies, hates, and dislikes. The bigger the group the more difficult it maybe, but it worked for us.
We met once every one to two months and exchanged 1 meal with each person. We made sure that the meals were or could be frozen.
Here are some of the dinners we exchanged:
Stuffed Green Peppers
Soups, Chili, Green Chili Stew
Sausage Polenta Casserole
Tater Tot Casserole
Chicken Rice Casserole

Need one of these recipes? Leave me a message and I'll get it to you! Have a great recipe? Leave it in the comments for me to try!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe!

1. Carve pumpkin, save seeds. If I'm carving mine in the kitchen, I put a strainer in the sink and just throw the seeds in it as I go.
2. Once I have all the seed removed, rinse them well, removing all the orange bits. (One way I found to do this is to put the seeds in a bowl of water, the seeds will float and the pumpkin - as long as it's not attached will sink. Just scoop out the seed and into the strainer)
3. Try to shake out as much water as possible.
4. Place in bowl and add seasoning. I typically use salt and garlic powder. Try those and black pepper or cayenne pepper, seasoning salt or what ever seasoning you prefer. I put in what feels like a lot and that is usually about right.
5. Add about a teaspoon of oil per cookie sheet batch.
6. You'll want to place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Depending on how many seeds you have it may just be one batch (I just made 5) or more!
7. Bake at 350.
8. Stir every 8-10 minutes, should take about a 1/2 hour.
9. Roast until golden brown. Enjoy!

Picture 1: All my pretty little pumpkin seeds!
Picture 2: Baking seeds on cookie sheet.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Craft Night It's Finally Here!!

I want to touch on 2 main things in this blog today, first what I've all been up to, and second, CRAFT NIGHT (can you tell I'm excited?!?!)!

What I've been up to, craft-wise, anyway! After 2, yes, 2 years, I finally finished a quilt for my most beloved niece, Bianca. Sept. 29th was her 6th birthday. She has always loved horses, so of course I made here a horse quilt. I was my very first quilt, so even though I've finished others, this one holds a special place in my heart! Awww

I also made the cutest tote bag. I found some festive and colorful material. It's Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos themed fabric. I like this bag so much I don't know if I can even put it up on etsy to sell it... We'll see! I also bought fabric to make another tote, this one with trees and leaves. The liner will be plaid, I seem to really be into plaids lately.
I have two more projects in line for family members, okay, wait that's a lie, I have all these Christmas projects swimming around in my head, but actual projects, I have 2. One for a cousin, it's a long decorative pillow to sit on her bead. It's aqua and lime green fabrics and I'm appliqueing all these flowers on it. It's mostly done, and I hope to finish it up this weekend! The other project is a Packers quilt for my brother. I have the fabric and the pattern for my blocks I just need to get started, which I am super pumped to do. But first, there is one thing I NEED to finish first.
What could that be? My Halloween costume, of course. I've been putting it off like it's got the plague. I'm actually very excited to have my costume, but the making of it, yuck... I'm going to be an Ol West Saloon Girl. I can even wear the costume again for Steamcon. I need to JUST DO IT!!
On to Craft Night!
What is craft night? Let me tell you, craft night is when I get together with 5 friends and we do crafts.
We select someone to host craft night, they then find a day and time that will work for everyone else (typically via email, so everyone is in on the planning thread). We show up at their house and we are greeted with 'snacks or light refreshments' aka a ton of super yummy food. Even if my friends were shitty people, I would possibly keep them around for what amazing cooks they are! (But they are all super amazing outside the kitchen, too!) There is normally a wine or a select cocktail. We get some munchies, pick a movie to watch, and get to work. We tend to talk the whole time, so we usually pick a 'chick-flick' we've all seen before. Some favorites are: Never Been Kissed, Mean Girls, Bridget Jone's Diary, 2 Week's Notice, etc. Or we pick funny movies, like Wayne's World or Dodgeball, a True Underdog Story!
It's so nice to connect after a couple of weeks at our busy lives and just relax. There are 6 of us, and none of us do the same thing, we have a knitter, a crocheter, scrapbooker, jewelry maker, and 2 of us that do all sorts of things. When I host, I'll sew, otherwise I bring a more portable craft with me. I'm just learning to knit, so it's nice to have an expert right there to ask questiong and give guidence. I think the jewelry makers can borrow tools and teach each other techniques.
I finally broke down while hosting this time and made craft night a pot luck. I tried my darnedest to come up with a clever theme, but it never came. So our theme is DIP. I asked my friends to each bring a dip and the dippers to go along with it. We have a bottle of sparkling wine and a rose. My roommate will pick up 2 six-packs, one PBR or Coors Lite like beers, and one a mirco brew.
We've even set up a 'play-date' for the boys. All the spouses, are gathering at a different house for Scotch and Cigars???? Our goal is a craft night about every 6 weeks or so. Over the summer it was impossible, but now we're back on track to craft away!