“Ready for Your Closeup” Earrings

I’m a sucker for charms, so when I saw a set on Pick Your Plum back in the winter, I couldn’t resist them.  But, like all my craft supplies, once I got them I was reluctant to use them, telling myself I was waiting for the perfect project to pop into my head.  Well, it finally did…some simple little drop earrings.  And guess what?  I didn’t even have to make a trip to the craft store…everything was right in my jewelry supply drawer. Sometimes being a hoarder pays off.

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They really are the same length…I just didn’t get them even in the photo. But on with the show.

The supplies you’ll need:

  • 2 matching charms
  • Beads
  • Fishhook earrings
  • Headpins with a loop at the end for the charms
  • Jewery pliers (roundnose and/or needlenose)

These are so simple to make…you’ll be addicted!  First, attach the charms through the loop on the end of the headpin.  Next, string a few beads on the headpin.  Make a loop at the other end of the beads.  If you haven’t done that before, you can see a step by step on this post. Lastly, attach the beaded portion to your earring, and you’re done!

Ready for your closeup!

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Peach Panzanella

Traditional panzanella, with crusty bread, ripe tomatoes, and summery Italian flavors, is hard to beat. When I see it on a menu, my choice is made (if it’s the season for it!). However, I recently set out to tweak the traditional a bit. The resulting Peach Panzanella turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

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Peach Panzanella

Serves 4

Salad:

  • 3 ears of corn, roasted and kernels cut off (or 4 cups of frozen corn, thawed)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 peaches, pitted and cubed
  • About half a loaf of ciabatta bread, cubed and toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp peach jam
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Toss together all salad ingredients.

2. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over salad.

3. Toss until well combined and serve immediately.

Believe, few pleasures in life compare to a plate of peach panzanella and a big glass of iced tea on the deck on a sultry summer night.Signature

Simple Embellished Tin for Notecards

Drat those marketing people at Michaels, putting the $1 items right by the checkout, so while you’re waiting in line, you’re still shopping!  I can’t resist the notecards, even though I make my own cards as a rule.  I buy theirs, 6 for $1, and pretty them up a bit to give as a little gift.

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I loved the colors in these cute owl notecards, so I embellished a tin to hold them, using matching colors.  I put two sets of notecards inside, for a total of 12 cards and envelopes.

To decorate the tin, I used a “Birds on a Wire” punch from Martha Stewart that I don’t use nearly enough…isn’t it perfect here?  The papers came from Stampin’ Up!’s Floral District and International Bazaar Designer Series Papers, and the sentiment can be found in Stampin’ Up!’s Pursuit of Happiness set. Oh, and I used a Rich Razzleberry marker for the stamp. To finish the look, I simply rounded the corners of the paper to make it match the tin’s contours. The tin came from a scrapbooking store, somewhere in my travels. Yes, that means I don’t remember where.

It makes a cute, affordable gift for a teacher or friend, and took only minutes to turn a few supplies and a couple of sets of notecards into a polished stationery set.

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Throwback Thursday: Tag Blankies

It’s Throwback Thursday! Here’s a post from last summer…but it remains my favorite baby gift to make and give! Away we go…

I like to give these tag blankies for babies to use as teethers or tactile learners, along with a copy of one of our favorite books. It makes a thoughtful, yet affordable, gift.

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About ten years ago, “tag” things were all the rage…books, blankets, teething cloths, you name it. I’m not sure if they’re still so prevalent, but I figured out how I could make them for next to nothing. (In this case, next to nothing adds up to about $3, if I have to buy ribbons and can’t just pull from my stash.)

To make these, you’ll need some soft chenille-type microfleece. One and a half yards of 60” wide fleece will make 6 blankets. I always buy it on sale or with a 40% off coupon at Joann’s. You’ll also need 10 or 12 different, closely woven, fabric ribbons. You’ll need two pieces of each, 4” long.

Tag-Blanket-4Cut two pieces of fleece 14”x14” for each blankie. On the right side of one piece, fold each ribbon in half and pin he cut edges along the sides of the fleece.

I do this assembly line fashion, cutting everything then pinning all the squares.

Next, place another square of fleece right sides together with the ribbon pinned one.
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Stitch around the edges, leaving a space about 3 inches or so not sewn. Clip the corners, as shown above, then turn the blankie right side out, pulling the fabric through the unsewn part. Remove the pins, tuck the raw edges from the unsewn part inside, and topstitch around the entire square.

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See? I told you it was easy! I try to make mine pretty unisex in color, since I make them to stock my gift trunk. You can make several of these in an afternoon (or an evening while watching mindless television) and when a baby is born, you’re ready to give a fabulous present!

Surprise…I’m Co-Hosting a Party!

Happy Wednesday, friends! It seems like we just started last week’s Pinterest Power Party! Thanks for coming to the party! If this is your first time, we really do thank you for joining us!! Every Wednesday we host this party in order to focus on YOU – the readers! Do you have a DIY project, frugal gift idea, or delicious recipe you want to share? We want to see them and share them on our Pinterest boards too!!



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Here are our little rules:
{1} Be a Pinterest follower of your hosts and co-hosts {links below}!
{2} Put our party button on your blog post or party page! This will give our party more exposure which gives your fabulous links more exposure too!
{3} Pin the two links before yours! If everyone pins, we all get exposure on Pinterest!
{4} Please link up no more than four posts! They can be old or new – your old posts are still fabulous {even when they get pushed back by new posts!}.
{5} This is optional – but you don’t want to skip it!! Be a follower of our Pinterest Power Party board – we’ll be pinning each week’s features as well as others that just catch our eye each week! You can follow the Pinterest Power Party board here!


Heather @ Living on Love and Cents: Pinterest | Blog
Chrissy @ The Taylor House: Pinterest | Blog
Danielle @ Sew Much Crafting: Pinterest | Blog


Tammy @ Deja Vue Designs: Pinterest | Blog


Megan @ Chaos Served Daily: Pinterest | Blog

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Each week we’ll be featuring some of our favorite posts!
If you were featured, grab our button – you’ve earned it!
Sew Much Crafting





If you’re interested in co-hosting our fabulous party, send us an email
{sewmuchcrafting [at] yahoo [dot] com} – and we’ll get you added to the schedule!


Are you ready to party and get your pin on?
Here are the features from last week!

{1} Weekly Cleaning Schedule from Our Three Peas

{2} DIY Welcome Post Sign from Cluttered Corkboard
{3} Cinnamon Swirl Bread from Who Needs a Cape?
{4} Finding Washi Tape from Literary Spring


{5} Thrifty Decorating from Penny’s Vintage Home
{6} Twist Front Top Pattern from So Sew Easy
{7} Decking out the Deck from The Happy Housie
{8} BLT Wrap from Lilikoi Joy

Beaded Watch Kit

Yes, it’s another episode of Craft Hoarders, right here on my blog!  As I was cleaning out my craft room (again), getting ready to move cross-country (again), I found a beaded watch kit that I ordered from Peachy Chic a long, long time ago.  I think last fall. Anyway, rather than move the kit, I decided to take a little break from organizing and do something more creative.

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Now, it’s obviously not an everyday watch, but I love the colors and general cheerful funkiness of it.

I’m a little torn, though, as to whether to recommend you try this or not.  The kit didn’t include a watch face, so if you do order a kit, be sure to order the watch, as well.  Or you can pick one up at Michaels or another craft store.

The watch was fairly easy to assemble, but no directions were included, nor were there any on the website, which was a little frustrating. All I had to go by was a photo of a similar watch kit, assembled, on the website, so that’s what I did. I find it a little tricky to work with elastic cord…my knots never want to stay.  In an attempt to remedy this, and prevent the watch from falling apart all over the floor the first time I wore it, I tied several square knots, then added a drop or two of E6000 and let it dry thoroughly.  It seems to have worked. I cut the ends of the cord off very close to the glued knot when the E6000 was dry.

So, the bottom line?  If you’re up for a creative challenge, this was fun and satisfying pretty.  If you want a step-by-step guide, you’d be better off skipping these kits and finding ones that are a bit more helpful.  I did get this one at a great price, so that helped my level of satisfaction with it!

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Not Your Average Popsicle

Who doesn’t love a popsicle?  Well, okay, I have to admit, I’m not big on the store-bought, overly sweet (in my opinion), artificially flavored and colored ones. In fact, I never buy them.  I occasionally splurge on the real fruit versions, and my hooligans act as though I’ve given them gold bars, they’re so happy.

So I made up some recipes of my own, just because I either 1) forget to buy the healthy ones or 2) am off running errands all day and can’t buy anything frozen that will melt before I get home.

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That’s a Watermelon-Lime pop in the front, the one with a green handle is Lemon Buttermilk, and the plain Jane in the back is an adult Pina Colada version.

Watermelon-Lime Popsicles

  • 6 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey

1. Puree watermelon in blender (or food processor will work, too). Use a fine mesh strainer or a regular sieve lined with cheesecloth to strain the puree into a bowl, ending up with just juice.

2. Stir in honey and lime juice and pour into your popsicle molds. Freeze 4 hours, or until firm.

Lemon Buttermilk Popsicles

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2/3 cups buttermilk

1. Whisk lemon juice, sugar, and salt together in large(at least 4-cup) measuring cup until sugar dissolves. Whisk in buttermilk.

2. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze 4 hours, or until firm.

Pina Colada Popsicles

  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup cream of coconut
  • 3 Tbsp dark rum
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp coconut extract

1. Puree pineapple in food processor until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.

2. Pour into popsicle molds. You may want to pour it into a large measuring cup first, to make it easier . Freeze at least 8 hours, or until firm (that rum means it will take longer than non-alcoholic pops).

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Really Good Greetings Treat Bag

I’m kinda loving this new stamp set from Stampin’ Up!….Really Good Greetings.

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Cute, right?  And sort of all-purpose.  I’ve used it for graduation, birthday, thanks, and goodbye cards already. And I’ve only had it for a few weeks!

We needed a little goodbye gift for Princess Thundercloud’s gymnastics coach (I use the tem coach loosely in her case…he’s more like a really patient and tolerant cat herder for the 4Kers). Anyway, the “I Miss You Already” was a perfect sentiment.

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I just used a small paper bag from the craft store and some printed DSP from an old 6×6 pad I had to embellish it.  After coloring my stamp with markers, I stamped the sentiment on Whisper White card stock and punched it out using the Decorative Label punch. After filling the bag, I stapled it shut, then hid the staple using the label.

Quick, simple, and inexpensive…right up my alley! This idea, of course, would work for any occasion, whether for a gift or a party favor. So go get creative!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Throwback Thursday!  This pie is da bomb. We enjoy it as much now as we did when I first published this post, in May 2012.

If you love Reese’s, this is a marvelously flavor-packed pie. We eat peanut butter more than any other food at our house, I think. Even though we’re not big chocolate fans, it does serve to help the spotlight shine on the peanut butter in this recipe, so we love it. I hope you do, too!

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup natural peanut butter
14 oz. can Fat Free Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
12 oz Cool Whip Free
2 chocolate graham (or Oreo) pie crusts
2 cups mini peanut butter cups (the really small ones…mine were from Trader Joe’s)
About 6 Tbsp chocolate syrup(3 Tbsp per pie), for drizzling

1. With an electric mixer (yes, I used a wooden spoon), blend together cream cheese, peanut butter, and sweetened condensed milk until completely smooth.

2. Fold in Cool Whip until blended.

3. Divide evenly between the pie crusts. Top with mini peanut butter cups and chill for at least 8 hours. The pies can be frozen at this point, if you think that will slow your consumption of them.

4. Just before serving, drizzle with chocolate syrup. Then enjoy it!

Click here to print the recipe

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Tap, Tap, Tap…Is This Thing On?

I wrote this post as a guest post on my friend Tia’s blog…Military Wife Theology 101. Her posts are much more meaningful and thoughtful than mine tend to be, so I was a bit intimidated.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? So, now as our lives are in the midst of chaos known as a PCS across the country, I’m reposting here, as a reminder to myself just why it is I blog.

1012-Family-Holy-HillThus, I’m going to share why I started my blog almost two years ago.  Our family has followed my husband’s Army career through 11(now 12) moves, 3 deployments, 3 adopted kids (that’s a post for another time!), and 19 years of marriage.  He’s currently recruiting in Wisconsin, which is a whole new world for us.

I admit, there was a time when I volunteered for every thing I could on post, wherever we were.  Then, as our children came along, I dialed it back.  A lot, I thought. I still attended Catholic Women of the Chapel, shopped at the commissary, and used the hourly care facilities on post. During my husband’s last deployment, our kids were 5, 3, and 1…so you better believe I needed and used that respite care! And of course, I’ve always been a frequent visitor to the post library.

Anyway, I felt as though I was pretty disconnected from military “dependence.”  Then we unexpectedly received this assignment.  Like so many, our plan was to retire at twenty years, and we even bought our “retirement home” in Washington.  My husband received word of his selection for the recruiting command via a voicemail while we were closing on our home.  We lived in our “forever home” for a year, then headed to Wisconsin.

I’m not complaining. Really. If we had turned down this assignment, he would have deployed for another year to Afghanistan.  Retirement was no longer an option, since his unit was slated to deploy. 99 percent of the time, I love our Army lifestyle, and I was excited for the next chapter to begin, in a whole new world for us…recruiting and being away from any military installation.

I felt full of optimism when we moved in the summer of 2011.  I envisioned a small town life, filled with sledding and other winter fun, and a continuation of all the social aspects of our life in the military.  It was a rude awakening, to say the least. We rented a gorgeous home on five acres out in the country, but within sight of neighbors.  Not too isolated, right?  Wrong.

Our kids’ school is a small 4K through 8th grade country school.  We love that aspect of life here. The drawback?  Everyone rides the bus or parents just drive through to pick up…so there’s no social interaction with parents. I made a few friends when we moved here, but the majority don’t understand our lifestyle and seem to already have a social circle, with no desire to expand it.

We found a church we really like, but I naively assumed every civilian church would have a Bible study for women. Nope.

So you’re probably wondering where all this meandering is going.  Here’s my point. I never realized how very much I depended on the military community to provide a built-in circle of support, through friendships, church, and just having a shared lifestyle.  No matter what post we’ve moved to (and, by the way, we’ve only lived on post once.  I felt experienced in “civilian living.”), I’ve always known people, or had mutual friends that provided new friendships, wherever we’ve moved.

After about two months here (basically when the boxes were unpacked, the hubs was back at work, and the kids were in school) I realized how very unfulfilled I felt.  I realized long ago that I need social contact and a creative outlet to be happy.  I was doing my best to make those social contacts, but with little success. So I decided to focus on the creative.

I’ve learned I’m a much better wife, mom, and friend when I create a little something every day, whether it’s a craft, a handmade card, photography, or simply cooking something delicious.  And my blog was born.

It’s been a challenge to build my subscriber list…after all, there are about 3 million blogs out there that do the same kind of thing I do.  While I would love to be the next Martha Stewart, mostly to justify never going back into the workplace, I am happy to have a forum to express myself. It’s a thrill when friends around the world comment on something I’ve made, and I know my family appreciates the change in my mood.

I know that God led us to Wisconsin and this new adventure.  I see it all around me.  Our church even started a Bible study for moms. Our kids are thriving, despite the oldest being diagnosed with Aspergers last summer. My husband loves what he’s doing. And I “think” we are winning the hearts and minds of the civilians!  Or perhaps they are winning ours…

In any event, that’s why I started my blog.  I hope you’ll stop by often to check out some recipes or crafts, or just to take a peek at our adventures.