Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Florabella Collections Giveaway!

Florabella Collections is giving 5 lucky winners the new Florabella Color Matte Actions & Design Kit! I love the odds of that!! I would absolutly love to win this new set. I have plently of future birthday invitations, facebook timelines, albums and many more things I could create with this kit! :)

I could win one and so could you! ;) Here's the link to the giveaway:

Crave Photography Giveaway!

I've always loved photography and even had an SLR before they were digital!! BUT I never learned how to properlly use the camera - I was 'always on the green' (auto). Learning my camera, taking beautifuly composed pictures and editing in photoshop were always on my bucket list of things to do. I was just too busy crossing off other list items that I never dedicated the time to learn these...until my daughter was born.

The birth of my daughter inspired me to finally take the time to focus on developing my photography skills. I have a LONG ways to go to be as good as some of the photographers I admire but its such a fun hobby. I love that it is a constant challenge and I'm always learning new things to try.

Facebook has introduced me to many talented photographers! Crave Photography is probably my favorite photographer to follow - her images are breathtaking and her edits are so beautiful. She captures deep, rich tones in a lot of her work or will go the opposite with an image that is light, creamy, and sun-drenched!! Just beautiful!

Crave Photogrophy is doing an amazing giveaway, which is worldwide so the odds of me winning this fantastic 2 day in person private workshop are slim but I just HAVE to try, right? :) The key to winning is entering so here is my blog post on this amazing giveaway!

Here's the link for your own chance to win:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

1st Birthday Invitations

The first pin I recreated was for an invitation to my daughter's first birthday! I found Pinterest to be such a FUN place to get lots of inspiring birthday party ideas and I just loved the  idea of my daughter 'speaking' to her guests through her invitation photo!
Here was my inspiration:

The pin was actually for an Esty Chalkboard Photo Prop by Morgann Hill/braggingbags and not necessairly for birthday invitations.

Instead of purchasing the chalkboard photo prop, I took a picture frame that I wasn't using and painted the glass with chalkboard paint that I had left over after painting daughter's bedroom wall (this paint is around $10 at Home Depot so if you don't already have it you could just buy the chalkboard prop if you wanted).
At 11 months old, my sweet little girl happily sat for me and held onto the sign (I did have it propped up a bit but she still held onto it anyway!). I then uploaded the photo to a Photo Card Invitation from, added details about her party, and purchased matching envelopes to mail the invitations.
One month later, after her 1st birthday party, I thought I'd use this same sign to send out Thank You cards. Great idea until I realized the sweet little girl who happily sat for me a month ago had turned into a toddler! LOL!
Not as cooperative this time but nothing a sucker can't cure! Got the shot and created the cards once again through!

I definitely give this TWO THUMBS UP!

Photo Coasters

I seem to be constantly looking for creative ways to display my many favorite photos without making my house look cluttered. There's only so many walls you can hang frames on!  This Pin I came across looked like a perfect way to showcase a few and I thought could also work as great Christmas gift.  I decided to try them out at craft night with my girlfriend and made a set for myself and a set for my mother-in law. They turned out beautiful! I love them.  My mother-in-law even got a little teary eyed when she opened up her gift. I love the way certain photos can be so sentimental like that!

Here is the Pin I had pinned to my "She's crafty" board: Lee La La DIY tile coasters

They were very easy to make and didn't take much time at all.  The longest part was allowing the tiles enough time to completely dry.  I try to be thrifty so I didn't set out to look for perfect tiles to match the ones in the picture.  My girlfriend had a box of extra 4x4 tiles left over from a home project so we opted to try those. They had a smooth top so I was a little worried that the photos wouldn't adhere to the surface, but it was not a problem at all. The tiles were cream colored and we used colored photos instead of black and white (although I love the look of both). 

There were a couple steps I skipped in the instructions which just goes to show you there's no need to be perfect making these.  They are pretty forgiving.  For example, I didn't use tissue paper or acrylic top coat.  The mod podge was enough of a topcoat for me. I think there can be so many different looks with these coasters depending on images and tiles used. You could print out small images of favorite artwork, use clipart, letters, favorite quotes and use many different tile textures.  Get creative! I bet they will turn out good so many different ways. I would love to hear about any others you may have come up with!

I read that you can use both glossy or matte mod podge. I chose the matte. You start off by spreading a layer of mod podge onto the tile surface and laying your cut to size photo onto it. Call me impatient, but I'm positive I didn't let it dry completely before applying my first layer of mod podge on top of the photo. You would think I would follow directions perfectly to save myself the pain of projects not working out the way they are supposed to! Luckily for me, this time it still worked fine. I did allow the top layer to dry clear before applying each of my next layers. Make sure to swipe the sides of the tile, too. After you feel you have enough layers of coating on top and it's dry use a hot glue gun or craft glue to stick a bottom onto the rough underneath of the tile. The directions used black felt, I used cork backing. Voila! you have a beautiful coaster.

However, remember me mentioning my impatience?  Definitely make sure that the tops have had enough time to completely dry, not just to the touch, but to actually harden all the way through (it might take a couple days) before stacking them on top of each other to tie a ribbon around them.  I accidentally stacked them too soon and they stuck onto each other in spots, lifting a little of the top layer off when I pried them apart.  Perhaps this is what the acrylic top coat helps with?  They still look wonderful, though and now there's no issue with stacking them. They also wipe down with a wet rag nicely.

Here's how mine turned out:
A few of our wedding photos
My mother-in-law and her boys

My friend who was crafting with me used fancy letters instead of photos on one of her sets which I thought turned out really cool, too. One of her tiles said "Live, Laugh, Love".  Here's a photo of her sets drying:

I give this pin two big thumbs up mostly because of how beautiful they look, how easy they are to make and how you can't really mess them up. Also, because I think you can create a variety of looks with them by getting creative. Have fun and Happy pinning... and doing!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

When I logged onto Pinterest for the very first time I started browsing around and trying to figure it out.  It didn't take long before I was addicted to Pinning. I created board after board, the ideas and creativity were endless, my inspiration growing, my head spinning. "What a great idea!",  "That's so simple, why have I never thought of it?" and  "That looks delicious!" were my thoughts on repeat.  I would log on to see what my friends had found since I last had been on the site and pinned away.  I noticed, though, that I was collecting a borderline insurmountable amount of projects to do and things to try one day. I needed to start doing. 

My first Pinterest trial was a baby step.  A recipe. Everyone has tried new recipes so it wasn't that big of a leap, but I was excited.  Even recipes I have a tendency to collect and never actually try out, though.  I had happened upon a recipe for homemade pumpkin spice lattes.  One of the best things about Pinterest is that things are organized by images so before even seeing what the recipe calls for you are enticed by the finished project.  You can only hope that your attempt turns out as beautiful.  These pumpkin spice lattes were featured in mason jars set among fall leaves with a perfect dollop of whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Beautiful. Even better, the first line in the blog it was featured in, The Pastry Affair, was "Let me start by saying the pictures don't do this drink justice. If I could, I would have captured this drink on a long walk beneath red, yellow, and purple trees. I would have photographed it between two warm mittens, as conversation among friends flowed between sips. I would have found it resting on a kitchen counter, enjoyed during an early fall sunset after a long day at work. ". Sold. I have to have this wonderful autumn in a cup in my cup soon.

Mine did not look quite like that. Mine were served in my mismatched collection of coffee cups, my whipped cream looked a little melty on top, and my pumpkin mixture was spooned into the coffee cups from the saucepan I had warmed it in. Nevertheless, I was pleased with how it looked and I did sprinkle the cinnamon on top to make it prettier. My guests were happy and the drink was delicious! 

There was one negative aspect to this recipe that in the spirit of this blog I wanted to point out. The pumpkin mixture was thick and would settle at the bottom of the cup after a couple of minutes requiring constant stirring to mix it up again.  When you got to the bottom of the drink it was pretty much undrinkable because of the thick sediment at the bottom. While writing this entry I looked back over the recipe and realized that this was my mistake!  I had missed the step in the recipe requiring you to put the mixture into a blender and blend until it's frothy.  I have no doubt that blending would have been just the trick to fix this so my tip to you is make sure you do that step.  It's an important one! The drink is no doubt still yummy without it, but it would have been a million times better without the stuff at the bottom. I say this pin was a crowd pleaser and easy to do so definitely worth a try. Happy pinning... and doing!

Here is the link to find the recipe: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Friday, March 2, 2012

What the heck is Pinterest?!?

Pinterest is amazing! It's the next greatest website since, well, Facebook! LOL! (yeah, it can be a timewaster but SO worth it. lol). If you haven't tried it or if you've been on the site but gotten so confused and had no idea what you were doing you really should give it another try! It may take you a while to get the hang of it but once you do, its addicting - I'm warning you!!

So, what exactly is Pinterest? Pinterest states that it 'lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.'

I view it as a better way to save websites! No longer are the days of saving websites in your 'favorites'' (usually creating a LONG list of websites you either forget about, forget what the site contains, or your 'favorites' get so clutter and unorganized that its frustrating to navigate). Instead, you pin them to a virtual pinboard that you can come back to easily view later. When I am searching things from recipes, hairstyles, travel, clothing, etc. I turn to Pinterest instead of Google. I have found that a Pinterest search yields better results since it appears that its usually the very best ideas, greatest recipes, cutest clothes that get 'pinned' (i.e. a website containing my search item - aka Pin).

Once you find a pin you are interested in and want to check it out, all you have to do (if its pinned correctly) is click on the picture and it will take you to the original website it was pinned from! So simple! I love that you can follow people, even complete strangers, and its ok. It actually seems like people want you to follow them. Like, it validates their taste in something by saying you like it so much you're 'repinning' it! Haha! I have to admit, I get excited when I see an email that says So-and-so repinned your pin! ;)

So, why would you follow someone, especially a stranger? Well, I follow all my friends that are on Pinterest simply because we must have things in common since we are friends, right? (and Pinterest's connection to Facebook makes it easy to follow your friends) Plus, its fun to see what ideas your friends are finding! I also follow strangers because its easier to view boards/pins that have more of the items you are truly interested in. For example, when I was planning my daughters first birthday party, I was looking for party ideas. If I came across someone who was also gathering first birthday party ideas and I liked a lot of the ideas that person was finding, I would follow their board (or even sometimes all the boards the person was creating if I liked a lot of different things they were finding). This saves time searching for items I may be interested in and if you seem to share the same taste you'll have direct access to some of the coolest pins that person is finding.

Needless to say, I've pinned way more things than I have actually tried! BUT I've also tried some really cool ideas that I'll be sharing with you...most of these are ideas I never even would have thought to Google so I never would have discovered without Pinterest! So, how do you get on Pinterest if you don't have an account? Just go to the website and request an invite (it may take a few days) or ask a friend who has an account to invite you. I have no idea why Pinterest is trying to be 'exclusive' by needing to have an invite, extremely silly and pointless if you ask me, but it is worth waiting for an invite!

Still confused? Here's a blog that goes into further detail (pictures and everything!) about Pinterest:

Happy Pinning!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pinning & Doing!

Have you ever pinned an idea on Pinterest not knowing if it actually works or if its even worth trying? Are your boards cluttered with great ideas…but that’s where they stopped, at just a great idea. Pin Up Girlz is here to put some of those pins to the test! We will inform you on projects or recipes that worked (thumbs up!) so you’ll know what ideas are worth trying. We’ll also tell you of the duds so you won’t waste your time (thumbs down)! Along the way we’ll give variations on projects to make them easier, have pin features of the month, and have fellow pinners share their success stories! So follow along and happy pinning…and doing!