Friday, November 26, 2010

Silhouette Giveaways Everywhere!

I blogged about a Silhouette giveaway on Monday over at Infarrantly Creative and now there's another to blog about!  Decor Chick is also giving one away!  I will take every opportunity to get one free that I can get!  Yes, there are a lot of other machines out there like this, but the Silhouette is pretty awesome.  Here's why I think so:

-No cartridges that you have to buy like other machines
-It links up to your computer so that you can use any fonts you have on there to print letters/words out.  Silhouette even offers free fonts on their site.  Or there are a lot of fun fonts in the blog world.  (I go to
-There are a lot of different materials to choose from such as vinyl, heat transfer paper, temporary tattoos, paper/cardstock, stencils for etching glass and even rhinestone templates!
-It can sketch designs on paper!  Aren't these adorable?!

Basically the possibilities are endless!  Keeping my fingers crossed!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I hope everyone is enjoying time with friends and family, football, and delicious food!!  I have been cooking/baking so far today and will be headed to my parents soon.  But I wanted to show a project I did this week before Thanksgiving is over.

I have fall decorations, but nothing specific to Thanksgiving.  So while at WalMart searching their craft section for supplies (they actually have a decent selection and good prices) I picked up a few things for a 'Give Thanks' plaque, and had the rest at home.  

Here were my supplies:

I didn't use the exacto to cut the scrapbook paper.  I used my paper cutter and measured the board (but somehow I measured wrong, but I went with it!)

First I sanded the 5x7 board down.  The I painted brown acrylic paint on the back and around the edges on the front.  

Then I modge podged the front and placed the scrapbook paper on front.

I let that dry and went and did some laundry.  The I put some over the scrap book paper.  I did about 2-3 layers.  

I didn't take pictures of this step, but I painted the letters brown too.  After the last modge podge layer was still wet, I placed the letters on.  I don't recommend moving them around after placing them down.  I did and I ripped the paper so it had to stay where it was!  Luckily, you can't tell, only I know where it is.
Modge podge a couple layers over the letters.  It's very important to let it fully dry before each layer.  Here's the board after the last layer.

And here's the finished product on display!  For being pretty cheap and not spending too much time on it, I love it!

Board: I'm pretty sure only $1.00 at WalMart
Letters: Package of about 100 for $2.97 (WM)
Paint: On Hand
Brushes: On Hand
Modge Podge: On Hand
Sand Paper: On Hand
Scrapbook Paper: 1 sheet, On Hand

Total: $3.97 
And I have more letters left over! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Cards: 2010

If you haven't noticed, Shutterfly is offering a special deal this year to us bloggers.  50 FREE cards for a little blog post real estate.  And real estate I'm happily giving up!  I've purchased a lot of products from Shutterfly, mainly prints and photo books for myself and gifts.  It's easy to upload your pictures, there's a huge variety of products and limitless ways to personalize your product to your tastes.  

Their photo Christmas cards are an excellent option for those that don't have the time to hand write cards (sorry!) but still want to send something personal.  

You can even take care of some Christmas gifts with their photo calendars.  This is a great idea.  I think I made one for my Mom before the days of Shutterfly.  Shutterfly's are much better, trust me!

You can even get your (or someone else's as a gift) favorite image printed on a canvas.  This is great if you have some blank walls to fill, or a great idea to give grandparents. 

I haven't decided on my cards yet, but here are some of my favorite.

I just love the black with white snowflakes!

I am just in love with that pattern!

I love the combo of the teal and red.

Just adorable!

That pattern...just love it!

Guess you'll find out which one I pick when I mail my cards!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Silhouette Machine Giveaway!

Over at Infarrantly Creative they're giving away a Silhouette machine!  Wow!  I would love to own a Silhouette.  You can make shapes and letters for scrapbooking and card making:  

Isn't that owl adorable?

You can make iron on letters and images for clothing or bags:  

You can even use it to make magnets, temporary tattoos, and vinyl letters/shapes to adhere on the wall or anywhere!

The machine is a lot like a normal printer, it hooks up to your PC (or Mac if you're a Mac lover like me!).

If you're interested in winning the machine head on over to Infarrantly Creative (or you don't have to, I'd love to win it!  haha)

For those that don't win, they will be posting how to get a Silhouette on sale on Monday the 30th (Cyber Monday).

If you win, can I borrow it?  :)

*Images courtesy of*

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Wreath Tutorial

Sorry for the delay in posting.  I have been consumed with studying for the Praxis 2 exam I took yesterday.  I am hoping to start a MAT (Masters of Arts in Teaching) for elementary education in January and the Praxis was a requirement for admissions.  It was a tough test to study for since it covered everything that could be taught from grades K-5!  But I think it went well, I'll find out for sure in about 4 weeks.

So now that I am done with that, hopefully I can post more.  Especially with Christmas coming!  I'm so excited for Christmas!!  I already started listening to Christmas music at work and watched Elf last night.  But Brett made me promise no decorations till after Thanksgiving.  I agreed even though I would love to put them up now!  Especially since Hobby Lobby & JoAnn's have their Christmas decor on sale.  But soon I will be starting on Christmas presents.  I'm hoping to make most of them.  I enjoy making things to give to other people and I think it means a lot more to know someone took the time to make something for you.  And hopefully it might save some moolah.  

A lot of my gift ideas involve sewing, which I have wanted to learn how to do recently.  I don't have a machine so I've been waiting until I got the okay from Hubby to buy one.  But we found out that Brett's grandpa had a machine that his grandma never got to use and he offered it to us.  And we brought it home tonight!  God is so good!  A new, free machine from family is much better than a new one we had to pay for!  I don't know much about machines but its a Janome.  The model is now retired but it's in brand new condition and perfect for what I'll use it for.  I'm SO excited to get to sewing!  Since I have a big stack of fabric I wish I could use it tomorrow instead of going to work!

Now for the wreath.

After Halloween was over I decided to take down the wreath I made and replace it with a fall wreath.  I got a wood wreath form at Dollar Tree that was a light wood color so I spray painted it brown.  

I picked up this little can of brown spray paint at Michael's in the clearance aisle.  When it rang up, it was $.01!!  And the girl just took it off so I got it free!  Yay!  This is the spray paint sprayer I mentioned in my last post.

I picked up these fall fake flowers up at Michael's on sale.

To put them on the wreath I just popped them off of the stem.  They come off really easily.

I also decided to use some of the package of leaves I picked up at Dollar Tree.

I started by hot gluing on the leaves as a base.

After I glued leaves on about a third of the wreath I started with the flowers.  I probably wouldn't have put the leaves on because it made getting the flowers in the cracks a little harder.  But with a little more hot glue and holding it till it dried, it worked fine.

Once I glued on all the flowers, I tied a piece of jute twine to the top and hung it on our door with a wreath hanger. 

I love it!  And the cheap price makes it even better!  

Wreath - $1
Paint - Free!
Leaves - $1 (but used elsewhere too)
Flowers - $2.39
Twine - $2 (at WalMart)

Total: $6.39 (but I still have spray paint, leaves and twine!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chalkboard Menu Tutorial

I've discovered that a crafting necessity is chalkboard paint.  So I got some at Hobby Lobby and used a 50% off coupon so it wasn't so expensive.   On one of my many trips to Dollar Tree I found a board that was the perfect size for a menu board.  (Whenever I buy hideous things at the dollar store or Goodwill I hope people aren't thinking I'm going to use the item in its current state.  I have better taste than that!) And this board is no exception.

First thing I did was sand the surface a bit.  It was glossy and I wanted to be sure the paint stuck.

My chalkboard spray paint.  It also comes in a can to paint on with a brush, but I figured it would be easiest and smoothest to spray it on.  I also picked up a spray paint sprayer at Home Depot for about $2.50.  Totally worth it.  You don't get paint on you and it is better for gimpy hands (thanks Mom!).

Here's the board after a couple of several light coats.

Next I followed the directions for chalkboard paint and rubbed chalk all over and erased it.  It says the chalkboard surface will take the chalk better.  Seems to be true.

The board came with a teal sheer and flimsy ribbon so I cut it off and hot glued a color on that would go with my kitchen walls (and ribbon I already had).

I couldn't get good pictures while I was making the day of the week letters so I just have the finished product.  For each day I wrote the first letter of that day on a small circle of scrapbook paper with a calligraphy marker leftover from the wedding.  Then I glued each one onto the back of vase filler gems from Dollar Tree.  The gems are clear and flat on one side so they worked perfect.  They aren't perfect circles so I had to trim the paper a bit.  I used hot glue, but I suggest using a small line of super glue (or any other strong glue that is clear and has a fine point tip) around the edge of the paper to adhere.  Then I glued the gems onto the front of the board and voila, a chalkboard menu!  I'm just starting to plan meals out (and thus grocery shopping) so this is a cute way to do that.  

Sorry you can't see the letters.  Those gems are so shiny, even without a flash.  But I used red & white polka dot paper for the background.  I have red accents in my kitchen so it was perfect.  Also isn't this wall perfect for the board?  To the left is the fridge & kitchen counter and to the right is the hall to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

I just realized that there are fingerprints all over the chalkboard.  Ooops!! I had just put it up, so next week it will look better.   I did have to put some adhesive on the back of the board to hold it in place on the wall.  If not, it leaned because of the weight of the gems.  I used the stuff that you use to put those plastic hooks on the wall.  I hope you know what I mean because I don't know what to call it!

So now you know what Brett & I are eating for dinner this week.  Yes, last night we ate Mac & Cheese. We had a late lunch so we just wanted a snack.  And someone a while back insisted we get a 12 pack at Sam's.  It wasn't me.  But I added salsa to mine to change it up a bit.  Delicious!!

Tomorrow we're having Penn Station.  They have a GREAT deal on Tuesday's after 5 pm.  Subs are buy one get one free.  You just have to ask for the "Family Special" and you have a very cheap meal!  I usually make my own fries/potato wedges (even though theirs are great, they're still expensive). 

Board: $1
Ribbon: Already owned
Chalkboard Paint: $3.99
Gems: $1
Scrapbook Paper & Marker: Already owned
Glue: Already owned

Total Cost: $5.99

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I'm going to start out saying this turned out so much better than I expected!  I have made 2 soups before that failed miserably.  When I left work Thursday into the chilly air (finally! enough of the 80s in October!) I decided I wanted some soup.  I had a recipe I found on Kraft Foods but it just seemed too plain.  When I was buying tortillas I found a recipe on the back of the package for Chicken Tortilla Soup, but I didn't like that one either.  So I combined them.  It's SO easy to make.  Cutting up the tortillas is the "bad" part, only because its the most time consuming.  Enjoy!

Lauren's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Six 6 inch tortillas (I used flour because I don't like corn as much)
1/2 tsp. oil
1/2 lb chicken breast (1-2 depending on their size, I used the largest one I had)
32 oz. chicken broth
1 cup corn (frozen)
1/2 cup green pepper (you can buy these frozen)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa (I used medium to give it a bit of a kick)
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups water
Cheddar cheese (topping)
Sour Cream (topping)

1.  Boil chicken (if frozen, thaw first) until white in center, about 10 minutes? (I never time this!).

2.  While the chicken is cooking preheat oven to 400.  Cut up 2 tortillas (or 3 if you like a lot of crunchies on top) into strips and coat with 1/2 teaspoon of oil.  Spread out in 1 layer onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until brown.

3.  Chop the rest of the tortillas in to small pieces.  Once chicken is cooked, chop it into bite size pieces.

4.  Add chicken, chopped tortillas, beans, corn, taco seasoning, peppers, salsa and chicken broth to medium pot. Add water, the amount will depend on how much you want to dilute the taco seasoning.

5.  Heat to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir every couple minutes so it doesn't stick.

6.  Once cooked, remove from heat and serve (you can also freeze it for later after letting it cool).  Garnish with cheese, sour cream and crunchy tortilla strips.

It's not McAlister's Chicken Tortilla, but it's very tasty and filling!
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