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