Chrismas Gift Idea: Chest-R-desk!

I am always looking for gift ideas for my girls that not only would make them jump for joy but also make me feel like I’m not wasting my money on things that lose their pieces easily and lose interest fast! I want ALL the gifts I give to be something they will adore and if that gift can last more then 2 months then all the better! That’s why I got so excited when I was first introduced to Chest-R-Desk!

You have to check out this darling new desk/storage chest perfect for my littlest one!

The Chest-R-Desk is a three in one station that any little artist will love! It’s a great reading spot, a storage unit and desk all in one! Convertible and ready to personalize with available decals or with your own special touch!

All three of my girls love to color, draw and create! This special space just for them will help keep them organized, creative and super busy! What more could a mom ask for from a  gift! And at $59.95 I can’t see a better value!

Check out how it works…

So simple right! My three year old will love having her own little art station! This gift not only fulfills a gift giving need but it helps me promote creativity in my home and lets be honest… what creative DITing mom doesn’t want to instill that in her own little ones!

You can check out more about the Chest-R-Desk on their website and on Facebook ! Just in time for Christmas!!!! And grandma’s, why not ship one to your grand kids and score some major points with them and their mom! I swear…If my kids get one more toy or book that sings! AHHHH!

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Thread & Rhinestone Bracelet by “Miss Lovie”

 Yesterday I showed you how to make the Thread and Rhinestone Bangle so today I’m going to show you how to make the Braided version! This is the second bracelet I made for my audition on SYTYC This bracelet is a little more difficult to make than the bangle maybe, but you can still do it!! I seriously love these bracelets. They are so fun and pretty.
Materials Needed
Four different, but coordinating colors, of chenille embroidery thread, about 2 1/2 times the length of the diameter of your wrist (depending on how loose you want the bracelet) I used about 24 in. and it was a little long, but it can always be trimmed.
Rhinestone chain (I bought mine when it was 40% off and I had a coupon at Hancock’s Fabric), 8-12 in.
Gold chain and antiqued bronze chain, 8-12 in.
Large and small jump rings
2 solid (not like jump rings) connecting rings
2 crimp connectors (see larger picture below)
and gold wire (22-24 gauge)
eye pin and large pearl or bead (not pictured)
You’ll also need all tools above minus the crimp tool.
(All measurements are approximate. I usually eyeball. And often I have to fix it because I don’t properly measure. The measurements above may be overshot a little, but you can always trim the thread as needed)
Ok first you’ll do the same technique to get the colors all mixed together like in Thread and Rhinestone Bangle Tutorial. This is optional, but I think it looks really cool.
First you want to cut about 24 inches of embroidery thread from each color. Then you are going to separate the threads into 2 strands each. Each thread comes with 6 threads twisted together so you’ll separate it into 3 sets with 2 strands in each set. Once you do that to both sets from the same color you’ll have 6 sets with 2 strands in each set. Do that with the rest of the colors and you’ll have 24 sets with 2 strands in each set.
(please email me if you have questions. I know that’s confusing!!)
I don’t know if my way is the right way to separate embroidery thread, but I always hold one end of the thread between my knees and pull the threads apart slowly. This keeps it from tangling so much. If it tangles, let it untwist some and be patient. If you pull too hard, it will knot.
After your thread is ready you want to put the threads together by alternating colors. On every thread you add, run your thumb and index finger along the entire length of the joined threads to keep them together to reduce tangles and knots.
When you’re done adding all the thread it should look like this. See how the colors are all mixed together?
 Cut each end for a clean edge to work with.
Slide the embroidery thread through one of the solid connecting rings so that there is an equal amount on each side. These will make up two parts of your braid.
To make the third part of your braid you’re going to put all chains (rhinestone, gold, and antiqued bronze) on a large jump ring. Before doing that you have to create a connector from the rhinestone.
Here is the crimp connector. As the picture above shows, the flat parts that stick up are going to be folded down between the rhinestones to hold it in place. The loop will be under the rhinestone and it will help you connect the rhinestone chain to the large jump ring.
Fold one end down first using your (patience) and bent nose pliers.

Then fold the remaining flat part on top of the other.
The back of the rhinestone chain should now look like this with the loop behind the rhinestone.
Use your  bent nose pliers to pull up the loop a little so it’s useable and place a small jump ring onto the loop. This step just makes the rhinestone chain a little easier to work with so it will lay flat like it’s supposed to. (step not pictured)
Then slide the two chains and the small jump ring connected to the rhinestone chain onto the large jump ring and close the jump ring around the large connecting ring between the two embroidery threads. The chain cluster will act as the third part of the braid.
Now you’re ready to braid!
Braid as you normally would being super careful the settings on the rhinestones don’t snag the embroidery thread. Make sure the braid is tight enough that it won’t fall apart! Try to fit the thread in between the rhinestones when you cross over the chain cluster so you see as many rhinestones as possible and to help keep the braid tight.
When you have your braid done to the desired length, push all the embroidery thread to one side and run the thread through your fingers to get it nice and even and looking like a cohesive piece.
Slide your cohesive embroidery thread through the other solid connecting ring and see where you need to cut the chain so that they’ll lay be tight enough and not have any slack in them. Cut them with your wire cutters
Add a crimp connector to the rhinestone chain again as described above, then add all chains to your second large jump ring and close the jump ring around the solid connecting ring.
Loop your embroidery thread around the solid connecting ring and pull tight. Use the wire to wrap around it once and twist the end around itself once. Do this very close to the solid connecting ring so you can work your way down.
Here you can see the wire wrapped around itself once.

In between each wrap use your pliers (doesn’t matter which one but I usually find I have more control with my bent nose pliers) to clamp the wire down flat. Be sure the wire is tight around the thread.

A couple of wire wraps away from being finished, cut the excess thread off (not pictured) and continue wrapping the wire (and crimping it down) to enclose the loose thread ends. When you’re done, clip the wire with the wire cutters so that the wire is in the middle of the bracelet and bend the wire in towards the bracelet with the bent nose pliers. The arrow above is pointing to the bent wire.
Tuck the bent wire into the thread and up under the wire as shown above. I purposely made my braided part a little shorter so I could add that fun goldish pearl to the clasp.

You could even wrap wire around the other side in the same manner and it would look pretty cool, too. I might do that next time.

To make the clasp like this, simply take the eye pin and slide the pearl onto it and create a simple loop above the pearl. See pictures below to make a simple loop.
Open the loop to connect it to one side of the bracelet.
 Connect the clasp to the other solid connecting ring with a large jump ring and use the other simple loop on the pearl to clasp the bracelet together.
All finished!!
And no, that bracelet is not made of hair like someone on Pinterest obviously thought at first.
See their comments here. I literally laughed out loud when I read those. Yikes. If I ever make anything out of hair you have my permission to call me seriously crazy and I’d hope you wouldn’t read my blog ever again. HA!
I’m really loving them. I wore one to school today. :)

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! If you missed it, be sure to go check out the Thread and Rhinestone Bangle Tutorial that matches this one!

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For more great ideas from Allie be sure to visit “Miss Lovie!”

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“To Go” container gift boxes

Looking for a simple way to give a gift card or small gift this year! Look no further then your restaurant supply store! Soup “To go” cartons can get all dressed up for the occasion and house your gift cards, jewelry, and tiny treasure gift givings!

These ‘to Go” soup cartons were the perfect size for gift cards! I purchased mine at Orson Gygi n Salt Lake City. For less then $10 I have lids and containers for 25! All that’s left is to decorate! Put those creative skills to work and go crazy!

This one is decorated with a felt flower, green tulle and rick rack! use your flower making skills for any fun flower topper! Add a leaf and some tulle for added texture and you’re set!

Twine and a simple baby blue ribbon make this one the perfect gift box! I hot glued the twine on starting at the bottom and working my way up to the top.

And lastly this crazy top was adorned with Silver ribbon, Green gingham ribbon, Silver tulle and red ric rack! A fun and festive top for a simple white container!

No more boring envelopes! Spice up your gift giving with these darling “To go” containers! The skies the limit!

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Snowman Cups

Ever seen such an adorable little face! Well if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may have remembered my “Chinese take out Snowman gift box” and these I guess you can call their little offspring!

I thought I could come up with a smaller version perfect for sending little treats to my girls school class rooms! These darling little Snowman fit the bill and were a breeze to create!

6 oz Styrofoam cups and lids found at Orson Gygi were just what I needed and you can’t beat the cost of this project. 25 pack of cups: $1, 100 pack of lids: $1.55,  stiff felt: $1. And we all seem to have paint on hand! Even if you make 100 little gift cups it would cost you about $7 before you fill them with goodies!

First things first! Fill all your cups with goodies and close them with the lids! This makes them easier to hold when you paint them giving the super light Styrofoam a little more weight and with the lids on you can stack them!

Using pink paint and a small round sponge, you’ll  add your rosie cheeks! Next you’ll use the end of a paintbrush and black paint to add your coal smile and eyes! Lastly you’ll hot glue on your felt nose cut from a sheet of stiff felt. I painted all my cheeks then all my mouths and eyes and then glued on my noses. By the time I moved onto the next step, the step I just finished was dry!

I loved this little army of smiling snowman!

It took me about an hour to create 75 Snowman cups! These are perfect for Holiday classroom party favor or little treats for your kids to pass out to their friends!

 

 

 

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Photo Tips with Emilie: Accessories under $100


Gift giving season is upon us.  Here are 10 fantastic photography accessories under $100.  Happy Shopping!!

Keeping your lens clean is so important to the sharpness and quality of your images.  This cleaning kit is only $15.90 on Amazon.  Here is a video on how to clean your lens.  Happy Cleaning :)

The harsh and direct light produced by the on camera flashes is so unflattering.  This Soft Screen Pop-Up Flash Diffuser softens and diffuses the light.  It’s only $11.95 on Amazon.

This program does 90% of what the full version of Photoshop does, but at a tiny fraction of the cost of the full professional version.  Only $89.99 on Amazon.

If you have Photoshop you Must have my action set.  It comes with a Color, BandW, Vintage & Soft color action.  Have Elements?  No trouble, it comes with step by step on running the actions in Elements.  Only $30.00 on my blog.

This little flash is 90% as good as the Canon/Nikon flash and comes at less than one-fifth the price.  I have one of these flashes and love it.  The YN-560 works on both Canon or Nikon cameras.  Only $68.64 on Amazon.

This Rain Cover is perfect for the upcoming winter snow storm photos.  You can buy a permanent one for more money, but I like the cheapies since they are so small and portable.  Only $5.99 on Amazon.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my reflector.  I use my constantly!!  My favorite is the 32″ White/Soft Gold.  Click here for read a tip I wrote on my blog.  Only $55.42 on Amazon.

If you haven’t learned all the thousands of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop, you’ll love these little stickers that go on your keyboard to remind you of the shortcuts until you memorize them.  Using shortcuts have saved my years of my life!!  Only $6.96 on Amazon.

A Tripod is a must have if you’re taking photos of products, home improvement projects, food or crafts.  It allows you to use a slower shutter & brightens up your images.  Only $28.64 on Amazon.

A clean camera is a happy camera.  These non-abrasive and lint free wipes are perfect for cleaning your camera.   Only $10.14 on Amazon.

Learn to use many of these nifty accessories during my Online and Salt Lake workshops.
Click Here to learn all about my photography education options.

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First day of school headband

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This is what you get when you add a silk flower, a fabric rosette, a rounded pom pom, a fabric button and netting!

Gather your elements and create the clutter you like! Glue them onto a piece of felt, trim and hot glue onto a fabric covered headband!

Makes the perfect accessory for the first day of school!

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Friendship support quilt

For the last few months I’ve been helping on a collaborative Friendship Support Quilt! Last November I had a dear childhood friend go through some major health struggles. It was a very scary situation and being so far away from her, myself and all of her friends clung to Facebook for updates from her family.

It’s a horrible feeling to feel so far away and helpless. We all wanted to rally beside her and her family but living states away we were only able to offer up our prayers and warm wished on facebook. Another childhood friend put out a call to all of our friends facebook community to contribute to a support quilt and asked if I would help with putting it all together. I helped her come up with  simple instructions and we both crossed our fingers and hoped the quilt squares and support would come in!

Thanks to a loving community of supporters we had wonderful squares that were made with love and combined to create the happiest warm hug we could ever send our friend! I spent hours  piecing the quilt top together, cutting fabric and thinking of my dear friend all the while! It was an honor to be apart of this beautiful collaboration…

We also asked each contributor to include a special message for our friend and a photo of them together! It added one more personal touch that I know was heart felt!

 

Tips on creating and organizing your ownFriendship Support Quilt:

  • Chose a super simple quilt square design that will be easy for even a beginner sewer. As you can see the design we used is only three parts and two straight stitched! I made a mini tutorial with exact measurements and directions and included it in a word document that was emailed to everyone who participated. Simple is best when you are working with a variety of people all with different skill levels.
  • Suggest a color pallet! If you can steer your contributes in the same color direction it will make for a beautiful all around look! You would hate to get a dark brown square when all the rest of the squares are bright and cheery. We included a link to a fabric line that inspired up and specifically said we wanted bright, cheery and bold colors.
  • Put a dead line on the submissions. When it comes to piecing a quilt you have to have all the squares together before you start to lay out the design.  You can’t be waiting forever so give about 3 weeks to have them work on it and mail it back!
  • For a backing use a beautiful sheet! I had that brightly colored Pottery Barn king sheet in my collection of fabrics. I always look for sheets to use as fabric and when it comes to a quilt backing a sheet is such a great resource. It’s huge and when bought at a discount store it can save you so much money.
  • When asking people to participate also be sure to invite non, “crafty” people to be apart of the gift. We asked for donations to help cover the cost of the machine quilting, batting and other fabric supplies.  Include those who contributed cash donations in the card or scrapbook. We collected enough money to cover the $85 it took to have it professionally binded and machine quilted, the boarder fabric and we even had enough to include a gift card out to our friends favorite restaurant for a much needed date night.

 

Our quilt was delivered to our friend last week and I know she felt our love and support! What a beautiful reminder for her to cherish and know how much she is loved!

 

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“40 Sucks!”

My dear sweet friend turned 40 and that called for a fun gag gift!

“40 Sucks!”

40 Suckers in the cutest Gallon Sized Mason Jar! It was a match made in heaven!

 

I about fell over in Walmart when i found this adorable Gallon sized Ball Mason Jar! It’s sold in the same are as the normal sized Mason jars in the canning section.

Add 40 Blow Pops and now we’re on to something!

Lastly It needed a fun tag and some fun bling to add a little sass! I made a quick Tag with my Letter Press Machine and used Bistro Chalk markers to write “40 Sucks” and then it was on to the trim!

Pom Poms, Ric Rack, Tulle and curled Gross Grain ribbon makes it a done deal!

This project totally SUCKS!!!

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Fabric Button Necklace with vintage jewelry chains

Buttons! Buttons! Who’s got the buttons!

I’m addicted to making fabric coverd buttons and this is no exaggeration when I say I have thousands of them! I just bought a ton of them and I’ve had so much fun creating all sorts of creative things!

 

This fun necklace was created with my scrap fabric, my grandmothers  costume jewelry and chalk cloth! Shall we…

I adore it when I can create a project with all my saved fabric scraps! NEVER throw away fabric scraps!

Fabric covered buttons are a cinch to make! Craft and fabric stores sell button kits in varying sizes. A variety of sizes used together look the best.

I chose to use Chalk Cloth for two reasons! I needed something strong and sturdy and that would add strength and durability!  And it is totally affordable! Leather was too pricy, felt was to weak and Chalk Cloth came to mind because of its price point and durability!

You’ll make a smile shape! This will be the foundation for your necklace! Make it as large or small as you’d like!

First start by placing your buttons in a layered arrangement! Once you like the arrangement start by gluing down the bottom layer with hot glue! The hot glue will stick really well to the chalk cloth! I found that the buttons that you add on top of that layer  adhere better when I used E6000 glue instead of hot glue. My hot glue peeled away from the fabric.

Be sure to leave half an inch on each end in order to save room for your chain.

For the chain of my necklace I rummaged through the collection of costume jewelry I inherited from my grandmother when she passed away! I can’t tell you how much I loved this! I was wondering how I’d put to use her beautiful jewelry! This made this project all the more personal to me!

You can also use ribbon, ric rack,pom poms lace or other fun trims!

I used jewelry pliers to disconnected a link in the center of the necklace to create the two sections. I then added a jump link and connected the sections through a small hole I created on each end of the center piece.

Lastly I hot glued some decorative ribbon to cover the exposed chalk cloth.

 

 

I LOVE how it all came together! Funny…my grandmothers necklace still smells like her! Avon perfume!

 

Seeing as I have a million fabric button supplies, I will be making these to sell so please use this tutorial for personal use only and stay tuned for an announcement on when these babies will be for sale! Thanks!

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Vintage Doilie Embellished Headband

When I visit my favorite Vintage Consignment stores I am always on the hunt for Doilies! Doilies seem to be a very useful and when you find some amazing ones and still don’t have a use for them, grab them anyway and hold on to them until you get inspired!

This project want meant for Doilies!

Doilies aren’t just meant for grandma’s end table any more! Use them as a modern supply for this trendy layered headband.

You can typically find Vintage Doilies at Thrift and Consignment stores ranging in price from $1-$8 depending on the age and condition. These were $3 each.

I folded this beautiful doilie twice to get this final shape. This piece will be the foundation of our headband! It’s the first section that is hot glued onto your fabric wrapped headband.

And here’s where the fun begins! Start layering! I found these glittered embellishments at an after Christmas sale for only 50 cents and they were going to be perfect! Black Tulle, lace and a vintage broach finish it all off! Layer and stack each item and secure with hot glue and you’ll get…

Super cute! The doilies make the perfect starting point for any headband. Here’s the other one I’ve made with the yellow doilie that I cut in half…

So grab a doilie and get start creating your a layered look all your own!

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