Friday, January 29, 2010

Worldwide Recycling

Check out this cool bag from India!

It's a little tote from a shop there, but I think it would be yet another fun way to package a gift, especially if you chose comics or the style section or sports pages for your newspaper, depending on the recipient.  It is even reinforced on the bottom with cereal boxes to make sure it holds its shape. 

See?  You really never have to buy wrapping paper again, people.  There are so many things out there to reuse for free!

(Tutorial is in the works, don't fret!)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tea Time For Two Swap!

I got my first swap-bot package in the mail today and I'm so excited!  Getting some sweet snail mail really is exhilarating, I'd kind of forgotten!  I received a cute tea-cup shaped note from my first partner and two lovely packets of tea - check it out.  (And please forgive the lame cell phone pick - I was just so psyched to share that I couldn't wait to get home and use my regular camera.)

Incidentally this tea couldn't have come on a better day - its snowing here in NYC so a nice cup of hot tea sounds perfect.  Especially since I've been nursing a cold for the past few days - thanks so much Deanna!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Make New Friends

I remember a song from Girl Scouts that we learned that went like this:

"Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold."

But then my dad changed it for me to:
"Make new friends but keep the old, one is mildew and the other's mold."

Oh dad.

I'm lucky that all of my friends (even those from Newtown, CT's Girl Scout troop 228) have more depth than precious metals and/or fungus. Most of them I've had for many years but I'm always happy to make new ones.

Here is my latest way: Swap-bot! It's this cool site that is combines pen pals, crafting, and the Internet all together in one super fun package! You sign up for swaps where you're assigned a partner and you have to make/send something to them, and they to you. You can usually use items you already have or those with very low cost so its a fun way to get a treat and spread the love with little/no money.

So far I've signed up for just an email swap to introduce myself to some new pals and learn more about the process, and next up I've signed up for a Big Fat Stuffed Envelope Swap and Tea Time for Two snail mail swaps. I'm so excited!

I will let you know how things go.

PS I ordered girl scout cookies last week. They arrive in March.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm on the bunting bandwagon!

I've seen a ton of these cool bunting/banner/flag garlands around the crafty blogosphere and I like 'em!  But I didn't have an occaision to make one...until now.  (More on that at a later date). 

I couldn't find a tutorial for them so I decided to try my hand at them and I'd say it was a success!  The project was free, since I used scraps.  You can make them for any occasion, or omit the letters to just add some festive fun to your everyday life. 

I'm thinking I might put together a tutorial of my own - anyone interested?  Let me know!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Craft Hope For Haiti

Here is an amazing way for crafters and shoppers alike to support Haitian relief efforts with their own talents and skills. is an awesome site that helps people in need all over the globe by turning handcrafted items into dollars and supplies for those who need them most.  Immediately after learning of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, an etsy shop was set up where crafters can donate handmade items, and 100% of the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders to help those suffering in Haiti. 

If you've got some Valentines shopping to do, your money could not be spent in a better way than by picking out something unique from the shop.  Or pick out something for yourself with that holiday money that's been burning a hole in your pocket.

If you'd like to donate a craft, check out the post here to learn how to do so - I'm definitely planning on doing it! 

Friday, January 15, 2010

An Apron of My Very Own

Finally, here it is.  My own apron!  Its kind of ridiculous that I don't have one, considering the baking/cooking I do.  Thanks to an awesome birthday gift certificate to Brooklyn General Store (thanks Sasha!) , I picked out some great fabrics and made one.  (I mentioned it in this post.)  Check it out!

Thanks to Julie M for modeling.  I know it has been her lifelong dream. 

I used a pattern from Seams to Me by Anna Marie Horner - a stellar book. 

Here is the tie in the back:

 It's so nice I don't want to get it dirty!  Kind of defeats the point, but I love it. 

Suze Orman!

I went to Barnes and Noble in Union Square last night to Suze Orman's book signing and it was so fun!

A TON of fans there meant for long lines but here I am with my pal Suze when I finally got up to the front.  I've read a couple of her books before and love her show, and now I have my own personalized copy of
Women & Money - check it out if you haven't already.

One fun fact I learned: Suze loves Lady Gaga!  She had The Fame blasting while she signed books which made for a fun atmosphere.

Julie M and I also met a new friend: Susie Q, a fitness expert!  We were next to her in line, and she was a lot of fun to hang out with and made the long wait more bearable.  Check out her site - she has a new dvd coming out, Arms of a First Lady - such a great idea! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cute Cute Cute!

Wow I found the most fun site today! 

 Check out - its a really cool site of all sorts of free papercraft toys you can print and make yourself, like the ones above, marble mouse, bear wagon, and chocolate truck

There are even a bunch of learning paper toys too like this stacking flash card set.

I made my nephew a box of goodies like this for Christmas - I think he was a little young  for it (he's 3) but it was super cute.  Fantastic Toys has some cool gnome items, and Chez Beeper Baby has some fun ones too - all free.

These also make for fun cubicle decor.  Have fun my friends. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scrunchie Fest!

Hello -here is a Totally 80s Tutorial for you! I went to an 80s themed birthday party on Saturday night, and decided to bring back a craft of olde - the scrunchie!

If you're a beginner or haven't made/worn a scrunchie before, here is how to do it:

Supplies: Long strip of fabric, elastic (I used 1/4 inch), thread, straight pins, 2 safety pins, sewing machine (you could do it by hand too).

(continued after the jump - go on, click read more!)

Monday, January 11, 2010


I am a spaz with makeup. Everyday, I do the same thing with my drugstore palette that looks pretty good because I'm sure otherwise I will mess it up and look like a drag queen or a little girl playing dress up. But lo! Check out this smokey eye tutorial from The Splitting End - even I could do it, and with colors I stuff I had lying around! The above eye is not mine - it was pretty tricky to take a picture of my own eye. My attempt:

It looked good in real life, anyway. Ignore the crooked bangs and overall look of alarm- it was my reaction to the flash in my face.
I think I have a new go to going out look. I'm a real grown up gal!

Feeling Applesaucey

Another post about apples, I know. And I don't even like to eat whole apples, it freaks me out. But I made applesauce last night and it was delicious, and really great warm on a cold night.

Here is my recipe - you can tweak it to your tastes as you like.


6 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks (I used 4 granny smith and 2 red delicious because that's what I had, but you can use whatever you like to eat)

1 1/2 cups water

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup sugar (depending on your taste/sweetness of your apples you may need more/less)

Directions: Place all ingredients into a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook covered for 20-30 minutes, or until apples get nice and soft. Remove from heat and cool; mash with a potato masher or fork.


You could put it in the food processor or mill if you want it to be smoother but I like a few chunks in mine. Also, cinnamon would be a logical addition but I ran out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Free Fancy Apples!

So you know I love free stuff, right?

Check this out! Go to the Ivan Mog Gourmet Caramel Apple website and you can order yourself one of their fancy candy apples, and they will send it to you for free! Go here if you want to see all of the available flavors.

I picked the Cranberry Walnut - all of them look really good. If you like surprises you can select "random" and they will pick one for you.

Thanks to Be Different, Act Normal for the alert!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh my darlin', oh my darlin, oh my...

I am working my way through a box of clementines and I love them so much. Sometimes I chain-eat them, two or three at a time. Can I finish the box in one week? I think so.
If you can't, check out this recipe from smitten kitchen (how I love love love that blog). I have to try it this year now that I have a brand spanking new Cuisinart (thanks mom and dad!)

I tried it using the magic bullet last time and it worked but now I can grind up all the clementines at once! This Cuisinart really is a lifetime dream come true - if you are need of any food processing I'm your girl.

How do I get this?

Isn't this pretty? Its the chandelier from Tavern On The Green - it can be yours next week at auction if you have a spare $40,000 lying around for light fixtures, gigantic ceilings, and love green. Unfortunately I can check off yes next to just have one of those things. Oh well...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I've got a new attitude


See? Birds are DANGEROUS.

Unrelated, I wanted to announce a new feature on the site: "Ooh! I want to make that!"

In this area I'll be posting links to other sites with cool tutorials for sewing projects and crafts I hope to tackle in the near future. Mostly, its just a way for me to keep track of cool stuff I've seen, then forget where it was and scramble around the web trying to find it when I'm up for a new project. The pile of printouts wasn't doing anything for the environment or my organizational strategy. So check it out! I'll be adding more, and (hopefully) crossing things off as I complete them.

But you can use it too to check out the cool tutorials I have on my radar! Everyone wins here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I've Got Culture

Things I love: my new yogurt maker! It is so awesome - thanks mom and dad!

I eat a lot of yogurt - I don't like milk so its pretty much the only way I get calcium. I bring it to work for my lunch so I'll end up eating several per week - but they can get expensive! Plus I am particular about what flavors I like (non fat, fruit on the bottom, preferably red) so if the kind I like isn't on sale that week, I'm screwed. Then I got into Greek yogurt - so tasty, but even pricier than the regular kind! Whats a culture loving girl to do?
Lucky for me, this Christmas I received a fantastic yogurt maker and it works like magic! Seriously. You warm up some milk, stir in some dry milk, let it cool, add a bit of pre-made yogurt(or some from your last batch) and a few hours later - gold! I'm sure there is a lot of chemistry and/or biology (or maybe botany?) involved here but since I haven't taken a science class since 1998 I'll skip that explanation and go with MAGIC.
Now I can consume yogurt when I want, how I want. Which usually means, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and with honey and/or cereal. I'm psyched to experiment with my new toy and maybe try it with soy milk, different flavorings, freezing it - ah so much fun!
If you don't have a yogurt maker its ok. Check out this article for how to do it without one (and some of that complicated sciencey stuff).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year and a Book to Boot

Happy 2010 everyone! Wow I can't believe its a new year, new decade, Y2K+X blah blah blah. Moving on.

I'm back and blogging again as you can see. I wasn't sure how to kick off the blog for the new year, but I think I'll just jump into it. Here goes:

I've wanted to get a sewing book for a bit but wasn't sure which one, so after getting some Christmas money earmarked for my new hobby (and some sweet Borders coupons) I checked out a few and selected Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner. I love it! It includes 24 patterns (with an envelope in the back to store them), plus several totally readable chapters on techniques, fabric and color selection, machine basics and a ton of other stuff that is really useful. This book is pretty to look at - lovely photography and layout, but also packs a ton of important information - I am a dork and actually ready it cover to cover before embarking on any of the patterns but the fact that it doesn't feel like reading a textbook is awesome.

There are a ton of free patterns and sewing ideas out there in the blogging world and I have used many myself, and I love that you can find so much for so little on the Internet. Yet I think this book is totally worth the dough because it takes daunting tasks - like making your own bias tape and quilt binding, sewing a zipper, gathering, and more- and makes them seem less scary. Seriously! I feel like I could try my hand at quilting under these instructions. And the patterns that are included are fun and different items that I hadn't seen anywhere else.

Thanks to another birthday present - a gift certificate to Brooklyn General Store (Thanks Sasha!) I was able to get some really nifty fabrics for my first project. I've realized I don't have an apron and thought I could really use one, and probably do less laundry that way too. Its almost done and I'll post a pic when its complete - the image from the book is above.

Yay! An apron all my own - I can't wait to use it. Once I find some cute buttons to finish it off I'll be ready to go.