valentine’s day – stamped conversation heart cookies

Happy Valentine’s day everyone!

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This year I decided to make Valentine’s for T to take to work for his coworkers to enjoy. And of course, I decided this yesterday afternoon. Without much of a plan, I ran out to Hobby Lobby with a friend and did some in-store brainstorming. I found a heart cookie cutter which inspired an iPhone google search that turned up this blog post on stamped conversation heart cookies. Perfect! So I also grabbed a set of upper-case letter stamps, a gourmet food pen (which turned out to be THE BEST addition to the cookie recipe), clear treat bags, and some chevron scrapbook paper. I still can’t pass up chevron’s.

Here’s a little step-by-step of how they were done. If you want the actual recipe, go to Lauren’s blog.

Step one – Mix up the dough. This dough has more flour than regular sugar cookies so the letters will hold their shape better.

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Step two – Roll out the dough & cut out the hearts. Place cookies onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

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Step three – Stamp your words into the cookies. I just used “XOXO” and “Be Mine” for these, but I wish I’d also stamped some with “That’s What She Said”. I would err on the side of pushing the stamps in too much rather than too little, since the cookies will rise a bit when they cook.

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Step four – Put the sheets of cookies into the freezer for 10 minutes, then pop them straight into your preheated oven. Cook them however long they need (my thicker ones took almost twice the time as the thinner ones) and then let them cool. You’ll notice the letters probably aren’t as noticeable as you’d like, but should still be there. We’ll fix this once they’ve cooled off.

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Step five – Grab your gourmet food pen – which is basically a marker with food coloring instead of ink – and fill in the indented letters.

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Step six – Cut your scrapbook paper down to smaller rectangles. I started from a 12″ x 12″ sheet and cut it into 6″ x 3″ strips. Score the paper down the middle and fold (when folded it should be 6″ x 1.5″). Place one cookie into a clear treat bag, then fold/roll the top of the bag down until it almost reaches the cookie. Place the folded strip of paper over it and staple into place. Then voila. Valentine treat bags with stamped conversation heart sugar cookies.

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nerdy baby

One of my most recent projects has been for an Etsy store called Nerdy Baby. Inspired by her boy/girl twins, my client started making these adorable baby bandana bibs that have really taken off. So when she asked me to design a logo for her shop, I couldn’t say no. I love logos anyway, but add a fun baby crafty business in the mix and it was a blast. Go check out her shop, she has lots of great fabrics and styles to choose from!

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new crafting obsession

It’s winter time, which for the past few years means it’s knitting time. Something about the cold dreary outdoors makes me pick up my knitting needles and go to town. The thing that makes this winter different than the rest is that I didn’t stop at 1 or 2 scarves. No, I got downright obsessed and have made over 10 so far. I made one cowl / infinity scarf out of soft pink alpaca yarn and I was hooked. Since then I’ve been buying all different kinds of yarn and trying out different sizes of needles to get a little variety.

And now these scarves are on my Etsy store – where you can get free shipping for any items until Valentines day with the coupon code VDAYFREESHIP.

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What has your crafting obsession been lately? Or any new winter hobbies?

painting a piano

I’ve wanted a piano for years. I grew up with a gorgeous baby grand but ever since leaving for college, I haven’t had one to play. A couple months ago I got the urge to play that just wouldn’t go away. So I did what anyone looking for a piano would do : I went to a local music store, played several used uprights, and fell in love with one. Except even at the good price of $450, I just couldn’t do it.

Craigslist is really bare here in a small town but I thought I’d at least give that a shot. If I couldn’t find anything there, then maybe I could find a way to set aside the money for the one I liked, knowing it was my best option. But believe it or not, a listing came up for a house full of furniture for sale – including an upright piano. I couldn’t tell how it looked from the dark picture so T and I went to take a look and took it home for just $25, including the bench. After a good tuning a getting a couple keys fixed, it’s totally playable and perfect for what I wanted.

Except I wasn’t in love with it’s appearance.

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It’s not BAD but it’s not my style. It’s way too dark for the room, had scratches and areas where the stain has worn off unevenly. The bench didn’t match. Parts of it are wood (with a dark cherry stain) but the majority of the surface is this weird cardboard wallpaper material with a basket weave texture on it. Staining the piano was out of the question, so I researched all over the web to find more information about painting a piano.

Some people take it all apart and even remove every key before painting it. I don’t know enough about pianos to know how to do this correctly, much less put it back together. I ended up only taking the music stand off and then taping up the insides (beneath the “lid” of the piano), taping off the keys, and taping off the pedals with plastic grocery bags and frog tape. I taped it all off before sanding to keep the piano free of sawdust.

A lot of people also take their piano out into a garage or workspace and spray paint it. You’ll get a smoother and more even finish that way, but I didn’t do that because it’s hard to move the piano, it’s cold outdoors and I didn’t want to mess with the tuning too much with sudden humidity and temperature changes, and that texture over most of the piano would be very difficult to cover with a spray. We just pulled the piano out from the wall and put a plastic tarp underneath.

Once it was all taped off, I began sanding all the wooden parts down enough to rough up the surface.

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Then I put 2-3 coats of primer on it. There were a few areas where the reddish stain would bleed through, so those are the areas with 3 coats of primer.

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When I got to the painting phase, I was still pretty indecisive about color. Yellow would be perfect with the colors in the room, and yellow is my favorite color, so I went for it. But after a coat of paint I realized just how bright it was. And how much attention it would grab. The piano is a shorter upright (technically a spinet) and somehow the combination of it’s shape and the basket weave texture made it feel too mid-century for the room with the yellow.

Instead of being patient and waiting for the next day so I could buy more paint, I realized there was still over half a gallon of turquoise blue paint from the accent wall on the other side of the living room. My 2nd choice of color for the piano would be a turquoise but I was worried about clashing with the accent wall. Since I had the exact same paint already, I went for it.

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The crazy thing about paint is how it can look SO different depending on what you’re painting and how much surface is covered. The piano looks noticeably lighter than the wall but it still looks good across the room from it.

I was pretty scared to take on such a big project but I’m really glad I went for it. I’m loving this turquoise piano even more than I did the day I brought it home.

Here’s the before & after, side by side.

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Anyone feel like painting their piano now? I’d LOVE to see pictures.

truth about me & blogging

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Christmas and New Years feel so far away now, it’s hard to believe that it’s still just January. Life has picked back it’s new routine and as every year seems to do it, time has sped up a little bit more.

I’m going to be honest. I love having a blog and I hate having a blog. I love having a place to share my thoughts, projects, and instagrams, but I hate the commitment . There are so many incredible ones out there that have great new posts daily, a huge number of followers, and even are successful enough to become a supporting income. And that’s overwhelming! I find myself wanting to do ALL or NOTHING, which I can’t do. When life gets in the way, this blog is the first ball of what I’m juggling to drop but I always find myself coming back to it. And while it won’t be the freshest, most creative, busy or successful one out there, that’s okay.

Which brings me to my New Years resolution. Not everyone believes in them but I like the idea of looking at what isn’t working in your life and beginning the new year on a different path. I’ve found resolving something general and attainable is the best way to go, like compliment people more, try more new things, prioritize health and my goal for 2013…

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What’s your goal for this new year?

pillows

We bought our couch from Craigslist 4 years ago when we first moved to Kansas City. It was only $200, in excellent condition, and came with 4 pillows (oh how I miss Craigslist in a city). The pillows had seen much better days after our dogs got a hold of them when they were little. They weren’t ruined but looking pretty rough… That’s where an impulse Hobby Lobby fabric buy and my sewing machine come in.

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I was really surprised by how quickly this project went by. And I love the results – how can anyone go wrong with chevron? That exact color blue matches our blue accent wall in the living room perfectly.

happy halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Last night was a blast, seeing lots of little ones all dressed up and giving them hand-fulls of candy. We saw the cutest “Snoopy” ever, a pumpkin who just started to walk, a brother / sister duo of the Earth and Sun, and tons of princesses and super heroes. The kids weren’t the only ones who dressed up…

T & I dressed as Dwight and Angela from The Office.

Friends of ours were a spartan and a pirate.

And yet another friend was the “running dead” – walking dead with her running gear on.

Even though Halloween itself didn’t feel very much like fall with 70+ degree weather, the week or 2 before has been chilly enough to make me whip up some gluten-free baked goods.

GF Carrot Cake….

…and GF Pumpkin Pie.


Hard to believe it’s November already!

gleeful peacock mercantile

I’m excited to announce that iPhone cases & cards from my Etsy shop are now available at Gleeful Peacock Mercantile in Tulsa! Their grand opening was this past weekend and they’re now open Tuesday – Friday 11am – 6pm, and Saturdays from noon – 5pm. So if you’re in the Tulsa area, go check it out!

Here’s some of the amazing handmade goodies you’ll find there:

 

And a few of my items, just before they were shipped off to Tulsa: