January 2013 archive

Drinking Straw Crafts

| Decor, Everyday Crafts, Food, Parties

Floral-straws-199x300 Polka-dot-straws

How is it possible that every utilitarian object now has a design-y counterpart? Let’s take the drinking straw, for example. Never did I ever imagine that I’d utter the words “oh my, what a darling straw you have.” After researching for this post, I’m firmly dedicated to adding a straw craft to my book. (Floral straws from Emerald & Ella, amazing Birch-tree straws from Jazzy Apple Girl on Etsy, and Polka Dot straws from Shop Sweet Lulu.)

Straw-flowersThe straw flowers are really a dime a dozen, but these are really pretty gorge. By GCD Spa Stuff.

Alone, I think this straw garland by Crossing the Bugger-Dixon Line would feel pretty sad, but I love how she mixed it in with the dots. Super cute.

I know it’s a little early to be thinking Easter egg crafts, but seriously, come on. I could not resist sharing these precious dye-ving eggs, originally from Spoonful with you!

Tell me, if this jewerly by Creme de La Craft wasn’t pictured in a straw round-up, would you really know that the gold triangles were made from drinking straws?


When I saw these coasters in Country Living magazine last summer, I gasped when I learned they were made from woven plastic straws.


Straws make the perfect frame for kite crafts. Found these on Make and Takes.

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A Pinterest Birthday Card

| Gifts, Me Time

Every year, I hear that I’m hard to buy for. Birthday, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day…I’m a challenge. You know what it’s like; we creative types that read a gazillion blogs, we have high standards. We know what’s out there, and if there’s nothing good, we just make it.

I’m pleased to say that I found me a husband that rises to the occasion. No matter how much I say “this year, I don’t want anything,” he knows that I do want a little attention. And for me, there is nothing better than the gift of creative thought.



This year, I’m all wrapped up in my craft book project and like most people, Pinterest is my best friend. So he created a private (uh-hem, how racey!) board called The Amanda Book Project, where he took vintage book covers and doctored the words or images to make them about me. I am sharing a few with you, the few that I can share (wink, wink).


Not only do I have a funny, creative, and expressive husband, but he’s damn good at photoshop.

(PS…Oliver is our 2 and a half year old son. Anyone with a toddler knows that you are just their pawns in the game of life.)

(PPS…For my newer readers, check out what the husband did a few years ago. It got linked to the Brooklyn Flea’s blog!)

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| Everyday Crafts, Food, Toys

This photograph makes me happy and sad at the same time. Happy because those first few moments after the turn of the machine’s nickel crank (am I aging myself?) are the most exciting, anticipatory seconds. Is red going to be cherry or strawberry? Will the blue turn my mouth blue? And sad, well, because they are scattered on the sidewalk, just waiting to be swept up and tossed in the trash. So today, I felt the need to honor the shiney, sugary everlasting gobstopper of my youth: the gumball. (Photo found via pinterest)


I totally get the urge to wear gumballs around my neck. Doesn’t everyone? Via Formal Fringe.


Why aren’t there more gumball machine toys? I love love love this wooden one that I found at A+R.

Gumballs have the potential to be turned into many things. Least of which—apples. By The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

…or chicks. Also by The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

And lastly, I found the artist Stefan Sagmeister on The Jealous Curator and was fascinated by this exhibition that he erected called The Happy Show. In this installation, he asks the viewer to rate her/his happiness on a scale of 1 to 10 by taking a gumball from the corresponding cylinder. It looks like 7 was winning that day which makes me feel pretty hopeful. What number would you be? Today I’d say I’m a solid 9. Pretty good for girl woman who’s turning 38 tomorrow.

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DIY Wood Coasters

| DIY Home, Grown-Up, Uncategorized

I’ve always thought coasters to be a good gift for a few reasons.

  1. They are useful. Drink rings = bad.
  2. They are small. This means you can carry them in your purse to the party.
  3. They are noncommittal. You can own 5 sets and swap them out depending on your mood.
  4. They are a fun DIY. Enough said. Read on.

I always pick up birch wood slices when I’m at a craft store, wondering how I can use them. Well, here you go. Amazing coasters. Each one is a little work of art that sings underneath your wine glass.

These beautiful gems (above) are created with carbon paper (tracing paper works to) to transfer the cool design to the wood. From Design*Sponge.

Perfect conversation coasters just in time for Valentine’s Day from Kat Design on Etsy.

Diy_wood_coastersNothing is simpler than these dipped-style coasters from And Your Bird Can Sing. Pick one color or four to make this very modern set of wooden coasters.

Happy-serendipity-wood-coastesrThe possibilities are endless with these bold and clean word coasters. Find the how-to at Happy Serendipity.


How easy would these be? Just paint 4 dots on a round wood slice and call it a day. Found via This Next.

Craft note: With any painted or stamped wood coaster, you’ll need to finish them off with a waterproof sealant. What’s worse than drink rings? Runny painted coasters. Nightmare.

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Gold Sharpie Projects

| Decor, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Food, Gifts, Grown-Up, Holidays, Parties

I know today’s topic is awfully specific, but honesty, I’m amazed how one little pen can make things look so fancy, delicate, and expensive. Check out what you can do with a gold sharpie pen! {UPDATE: After starting to embark upon my own gold-sharpie mug project, I learned that you need to use the Oil Based Paint Sharpies…not the regular markers! Now carry on…}

Gold-sharpie-mugDraw your design and then bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. Endless possibiities here! I may just have to head over to Fishs Eddy this weekend to experiment. Via My Home Lookbook.


I’ve seen the vintage-teacup-turned-candle quite a bit, but adding a little gold bling with words or edging can make all the difference. Here’s a perfect example of how the gold sharpie just kicks it up on the elegance scale. By Hey Gorgeous Events.

These gorgeous walls were stencilled with a gold sharpie. One word. Wow. By Rethink Design via Bazaar of Serendipity.

Embellish white ceramic drawer pulls so easily with a gold sharpie. Via Creature Comforts.

A ruler, white paper, and a gold sharpie = lovely wrapping paper. Via Paper Crave.

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The 10 Best Valentine Cookies

| Food, Gifts, Holidays, Parties, Valentine's Day

Yes, this is my second baked goods post in a row; I’m not sure how to interpret that. This post could have gone on for pages, but I reigned it in to 10 of the sweetest confections to make on February 14th. In no particular order, here are my 10 favorite Valentines cookie treats!

{1} Conversation heart cookies had to make the list, but what took these beauties from Martha Stewart over the top were the sewn pouches.

Dot cookies
{2} I love that these dot cookies from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle are not red, white, and pink.

{3} Twice the love with these double-decker heart cookies from Bake at 350.

{4} I love the classic cookie and milk combo for sure, but the arrow straw? A genius confection and presentation by Cookies and Cups. (PS…if you want to try this, you can get these precious farmstand milk bottles at Shop Sweet Lulu.)

{5} You don’t need a special pan to make these heart-shaped whoopie pies by Annie’s Eats. Just trace a heart template onto wax paper and use a pastry bag pipe the dough within the pencil lines. So smart!



{6} This Hayley person is one talented chick! I love her color choices and the tone-on-tone “I Love You” cookies. Very chic. By Hayley Cakes and Cookies.

{7} Lovely cookie-lollipop combo by Martha Stewart.

{8} Love this stack of heart cookies by Patti Paige Baked Ideas.

{9} Need Valentine cookies for your manly man? These woodland ones from Whipped Bake Shop on Etsy are yours with the click of your mouse.


{10} Hugs and kisses or edible tic-tac-toe? These x and o cookies from Woman’s Day can go either way.

Eat your heart out, lovebirds (sorry, I just had to say it)!

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My Impending Birthday

| Food, Gifts, Parties

My birthday is a week from today (no gifts please) and all I want this year is to bake a cake with my son Oliver. He loves to “help” in the kitchen and he’s recently been obsessed with the Birthday Cake episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (if you have a toddler and don’t know this PBS show, you must check it out). And then, of course, there’s the consuming of the cake.

Here’s a little wishful thinking…

Needlepoint-cake-2 Needlepoint-cake
Oh, if only a 2-year-old had the dexterity for a needlepoint cake! (If only I had that dexterity!)


Basically I wouldn’t be able to let the kid touch this gorgeous confection. By Kara’s Party Ideas.

Sprinkle Bakes Sprinkle Cake-1

This is closer to what I’m going to get…and what I’ll be totally thrilled with. We’ll see if Oliver has inherited his father’s color-palette-assembly talents. From Sprinkle Bakes.

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Let It Snow!

| Everyday Crafts, Nature

Is every craft blogger in the Northeast blogging about snow crafts today? It’s so dang cold outside that it’s all I can think about!

Snowman-clocheMy favorite part of this snowman craft is the plastic drink bottle cloche. So clever! You can find instructions at Crafts n Coffee.

Check out these adorable polar bears over at Parents.com. You can watch a how-to video here.


These flakes are cut from poster board, so they should be sturdy enough to last for a while. Definitely a project for an adult because of all the cutting, but how cool would they be floating in the playroom? Craft by Dana Made It.

The one thing that turns me off from making my own snowglobes is the baby oil element. I always make a mess, and the smell is not my fave. I love the simplicity and elegance of these liquid-less snowglobes by Sweet Something Design.

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Pretend Play

| Decor, Early Elementary, Everyday Crafts, Food, Preschool, Toddler, Toys, Upcycled

The one room I wish I had in my Brooklyn apartment is a playroom (I can say this because I already have a craft room). I would love to trick out a space with so much creative play, Oliver and Sommer’s brains would hurt from excess imagination.

Harry is one lucky kid with a mom that would would put this hardware store together for him for Christmas. By Kate’s Creative Space, Harry’s Hardware Gas & Auto covers all the pieces a hardware store needs. Seriously, just go to her blog to check out the details of this adorable tableau.

Diy-bookcase-dollhouseThe potential with this DIY dollhouse from the Land of Nod blog, Honest to Nod, is huge. I love everything going on here from the colorful clouds, to the train-track walkway, to the bright wallpaper choices. Just darling.

KitchenMy friend Jocelyn Worrall made this cardboard kitchen for Parents magazine a few years ago, and it’s still one of my faves. The oven dials are made from Play-doh lids. Enough said. Use cardboard boxes that you have, but if you want help finding free ones, click here.

Kitschy-digitals-kitchenThese are genius, free printables from Kitschy Digitals that would go perfectly in the cardboard kitchen.

See what I mean? Now I’m really ready for my…I mean their…playroom.

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Draw On Your Placemat

| Decor, Early Elementary, Everyday Crafts, Food, Holidays, Parties, Preschool, Thanksgiving, Toddler

Placemat-art1 Placemat-art2

Placemat-art3 9781856699211.in02
If there were a step-by-step guide to teaching patience at the toddler level, I’d buy the DVD, the book, the book-on-tape, and subscribe to the Twitter feed, Facebook updates, and Instagram posts. But, no matter how hard we try, dinners out, and sometimes even dinners in, require a delicate time balance between the pre-food entertaintment, food arrival, waiting for food to cool down, and then the digestion/wait-for-the-check black hole. Potential solution? Placemat entertaintment.

I have this awesome set of paper placemats called Let’s Make Some Great Placemat Art. It’s imaginiative and open-ended, but still too advanced for my 2.5 year old.


Led-pmI love this hand-drawn/digital take on placemat messages, but we are still in the letter recognition phase, rather than the letter creation one. Note to self: save for age 5. Or my next dinner party. Via Habitat Kid.

Thanksgiving-kids-table-party-1109-deAlas, sometimes the right solution is the easiest one. Just toss down some brown paper and cups of crayons and let the madness take its course. I’ll do anything to avoid the dinnertime Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos on You Tube. Photo via Country Living.

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