Thursday, June 30, 2011

Point of View Feature and Theme for July

Thanks to everyone who linked up their shelf projects at the Point of View Shelves Link Party on Friday. There were some really great projects, so if you haven't stopped over to check them out, go take a look.

It's always difficult to choose which projects to feature, but my favorite had to be this adorable display shelf from KJ at let's go fly a kite...

This display is all kinds of cute! I have a major thing for matryoshka dolls, so this is right up my alley. I love the scrapbook paper that she used on the back of every other shelf. The shelf holds little memories from every member of the family: KJ's bronzed baby shoes, her husband's Lionel trains, her girls' patent mary janes. Such a sweet idea. I just love how this came together.

KJ, feel free to grab a Point of View feature button...

In case you missed the announcement on Friday, we are currently looking for people who are interested in participating as a guest member of Point of View. We will be including one guest each month, so if you would like to take part, send me an email (please include your blog name and URL), and we will add you to the list. You will be notified in advance when it is your turn.

The Point of View theme for July is... SUMMER! Point of View is all about your interpretation of the theme. Use any medium, pattern, tutorial, original idea... it's all up to you! We can't wait to see what you come up with. The next reveal and link party will be Friday, July 22nd. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pin It Wednesday: Nutella!

This week's Pin It Wednesday is a yummy one!

All of the pins I will be sharing today involve one thing... Nutella!

image source
If you have never had Nutella, you are missing out, my friends. Nutella is delicious. Nutella is heavenly. Nutella is amazing. Nutella is a spread (like peanut butter) made from roasted hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of cocoa. Yum! My favorite way to eat it is right out of the jar, but you can spread it on toast or make Nutella sandwiches. And, as I'm about to show you, you can make some absolutely delectable delights with it. Curious? Here are this week's pins...

1. Nutella Sandwich Cookies from A Beautiful Mess.
Spread some Nutella between a couple of yummy, buttery sugar cookies? Yes please!

2. Nutella Doughnuts from Sips and Spoonfuls.
I would have no problem downing a dozen or two handful of these in one sitting.

3. Nutella Ice Cream from Sugarlaws.
I love Nutella. I love ice cream. This one's a winner! And there are only five ingredients!

Oh my Nutella goodness! I don't know which recipe to try first. They all look so delicious. What's your favorite way to eat Nutella? Know of any other great Nutella recipes? Leave a link in the comments so I can check it out. Thanks!

Interested in seeing the other recipes on my Pinterest Recipes board? Click HERE.
Interested in seeing ALL of my Pinterest boards? Click HERE.
No clue what Pinterest is? Click HERE.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shirt Sleeve Bag

I'm guest posting over at My Own Road today as part of Jen's Button Down Rehab, a two-week series sharing some great tutorials from several different bloggers who will be creating new things out of old button down shirts. Today I'm sharing a bag made from shirt sleeves!

Cute, huh? Head on over to My Own Road for the full tutorial.

My Own Road Button Down Rehab

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giveaway and Review: The Key to Taking Pictures E-Book (CLOSED)

This past Christmas my husband surprised me with a DSLR camera. I have been using it and loving it - I even made a cute strap cover for it - but I have had no idea what I am doing. There are all these buttons and dials... I was really intimidated by my camera, so I just left it in auto mode, which totally defeats the purpose of having a fancy camera, right?

I recently decided that it was time I learned a little about my camera, photography, and taking better pictures. I started looking for information online and came across the Katie Evans Photography blog. Her photos are stunning, and she has a really informative post on capturing great blog photos. I noticed in her sidebar that she recently published an e-book titled The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer. I read through the information about the e-book and emailed Katie to tell her how excited I was to check it out. Well, Katie was kind enough to send me a copy of the e-book and generously offered to giveaway a copy here on my blog (more on that below). Thanks, Katie!

This e-book is all kinds of awesome. It is 65 pages of valuable information, and my confidence has skyrocketed after reading this book. I mentioned a week or so ago that I had purchased a new camera lens. This is after having read Katie's book and recommendations. I bought a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, which means that I can open the aperture way up and get awesome bokeh (blur) in the background of my photos. I love this lens. I took a bunch of notes while reading the e-book and brought them outside with my camera, my new lens, and my girls and started practicing. I practiced taking action shots, portraits, shots with backlighting. I haven't used auto mode on my camera since. Now I can take awesome shots of my girls like this...

I actually understand ISO and aperture (f-stop) and shutter speed. I understand how they work together to properly expose a photo. I know what I need to do to stop motion in a photo or blur motion to show movement. I know how to set up a shot to get the best possible picture, how to take a picture indoors (and with a flash when necessary), and how to properly edit my pictures. And this is all thanks to Katie and her e-book.

Have I said enough to convince you that this book is fantastic, cause I could go on :) Here are a few sample pages from the e-book...
Would you like the chance to win a free copy of Katie's e-book The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer? Of course you would! Here's the lowdown...

This giveaway is now CLOSED.

Mandatory entry:
  • You must be a follower of Gwenny Penny via Google Friend Connect in order to enter. If you are a follower, leave one comment on this post telling me that you are.

Extra entries:
  1. Become a follower of Katie's blog. Leave another comment on this post telling me that you follow Katie's blog.
  2. Like Katie Evans Photography on Facebook. Leave another comment on this post telling me that you liked Katie on Facebook.
This giveaway is open to anyone with an email address, so make sure you either leave an email address in your comment or that your email is attached to your Blogger profile. This giveaway will be open until 11:59pm (EST) on Friday, July 1st. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. I will notify the winner via email, and they will have until Wednesday, July 6th at 7:00am (EST) to respond before I choose another winner. Thanks for entering, and good luck!

One more awesome thing to share... if you don't win the giveaway you can purchase the book at a $2 discount for the next two weeks (ends Friday July 8th)! Just enter "GWENNYPENNY" at checkout. Click HERE to purchase The Key to Taking Pictures Like a Professional Photographer.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given this e-book for free, but my opinions about this book and my rave review are all my own.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Point of View and Simple Display Shelf Tutorial

Welcome to this month's Point of View reveal! The theme for June is "shelves". I had a tough time this month... I had to step outside of my sewing comfort zone :) I was so excited to see the other members' projects because this theme could have gone in so many different directions. Here are the Point of View shelf-themed projects...

1. Camilla from Rosy Red Buttons
2. Michelle from A Little Tipsy
3. Jonie from Just Between Friends
4. Amy from Ameroonie Designs
5. Gwen from Gwenny Penny (scroll down to find the tutorial for my Simple Display Shelf)

I'm so impressed with each of these projects. I am always giddy with anticipation waiting to see how the other members of Point of View interpret the theme each month. You can check out each of these projects by visiting each of the blogs listed above, and scroll down here to see the tutorial for my Simple Display Shelf.

Are you interested in participating as a guest member of Point of View? We are currently looking for people who would like to join us. We will be including one guest each month, so if you would like to take part, send me an email (please include your blog name and URL), and we will add you to the list. You will be notified in advance when it is your turn.

Do you have a shelf project, past or present, that you would like to share? Whether you made a shelf, decorated or redecorated a shelf, reorganized a shelf... anything shelf related, we would like to invite you to join the Point of View Shelves Link Party over at Just Between Friends. But before you do that, I'd like to share my Simple Display Shelf tutorial with you...

This cute little shelf is so easy to make, you won't believe it. Like I said earlier, I had a tough time with this month's theme. I finally ended up walking into Lowe's and wandered around waiting for inspiration to strike. I came upon the molding aisle and found this crown molding block that I had never seen before...

The wheels started turning and this little shelf was born. Here's the how-to...

  • mid corner crown molding block (I bought a 5.6" block at Lowe's for about $5. Here's the link to the product. They sell them in several different sizes, so you could make shelves using any of them.)
  • scrap piece of 1x6 pine (at least 8" long for a 5.6" molding block)
  • sandpaper
  • wood filler
  • wood glue (I love Gorilla Wood Glue! They don't pay me to say that!)
  • paint, stain, or your preferred finish
  • saw
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • pencil


*Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert. There are probably much better ways to do some of the things that I did on this project, but this is what worked for me. There is risk involved when using power tools. Please use caution and safety equipment (like safety glasses) if you use power tools for this project. If you are not comfortable using power tools, enlist the help of someone who is.

Step 1: The first thing you need to do is measure the width and depth of your crown molding block. This will determine how you will cut your 1x6. Your shelf will overhang the edges of your molding block by 1". Measure the width of your block (in my case 5.6") and add 2" to determine how long your 1x6 needs to be (in my case 7.6"). Measure the depth of your crown molding block (in my case 2.8") and add 1" to determine how wide your 1x6 needs to be cut down to (in my case 3.8").

Step 2: Use a pencil to mark your 1x6 with the dimensions you calculated in Step 1. Cut the 1x6 down to size. Sand the cut edges.

Step 3: Use wood filler to fill the little nail holes on the sides of your crown molding block.

Step 4: Lay your cut 1x6 board down, and set your crown molding on top of it. Line up the molding block so that the open back is flush with one of the long edges of the board. Center your molding block so that there is a 1" board overhang on the other three sides of the block. Use a pencil to lightly mark the left and right sides of the block on the board. Get out your wood glue and glue your block to the board using the pencil marks as a guide. Let dry for 24 hours. (FYI - I didn't use nails to attach my pieces together because the walls of the block are so thin that I was afraid they would split if I tried to hammer in a nail.)

Step 5: Now that your glue and wood filler are dry, give your wood filler a little sanding to make sure it is smooth.

Step 6: Time to finish your shelf! My crown molding block came pre-primed, so I didn't bother priming my top board. Big mistake! It took four a million coats of paint to cover it. Finish your shelf to your liking with paint, stain, etc. and you're done!

I mounted my shelf by placing two long nails in the wall, letting them stick out a few inches, and setting the shelf on top of them. The nails will be covered by the molding block. I don't plan on placing anything heavy on the shelf, but if you do, you might want to find another, sturdier attachment method.

OK, now you can run over to the Point of View Shelves Link Party at Just Between Friends :) I'll be featuring some of your shelf projects in a post next week. Hope to see you at the party!

I'm linking up...


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pin It Wednesday: Gingham

Time for another "Pin It Wednesday"...

Today's theme is "gingham". Gingham makes me smile. It reminds me of summer and my childhood (for some reason), picnic baskets and pies. I've found some really cute gingham items to share with you today. Here are this week's pins...

3. Tiny Libbey Gingham and Ric Rac Juice Glass (image source: Cheryl at a pretty cool life)

I love the red gingham clothespins. They would look so cute on the fridge if you attached magnets to the back. Also cute as a "chip clip" in the kitchen to hold bags closed. The Papered Crown also sells a set of clothespins in a rainbow of gingham colors that is absolutely adorable.

I don't think it would be possible to have a gingham theme and not mention Cheryl and her blog a pretty cool life. I think Cheryl just might be the queen of gingham. I would love to make a set of her gingham place mats. How can you be grumpy in the morning when you're eating off of something so cheery?!? Make sure you check out Cheryl's famous gingham buntings, too.

Back in March I was reading one of Cheryl's posts about making DIY Girl Scout Samoas (my favorite :) I happened to notice the little vintage yellow gingham juice glass that she used as a cookie cutter, and I immediately fell in love with it. It reminded me so much of the drinking glasses my grandmother had. I started searching high and low for a set of my own. It took me three months, but I was able to find the exact same set in red gingham and a slightly larger set in yellow gingham. They are one of my new favorite things in my house. Try doing a search for "Libbey gingham juice glasses". I found mine on Etsy and Ebay.

How cute are the blue gingham mini baking cups?!? These would be perfect for mini muffins, which we make a lot in our house. And you can find them in several other colors (and regular size) from Sweet! Cheap, too... a package of 50-60 mini baking cups is only $2.00!

I started browsing through the gingham selection at Jo-Ann's the other day, and I think I'd like to brighten up my kitchen with a red gingham dish mat. What's your favorite gingham color?

Interested in seeing all of my Pinterest boards? Click HERE.
No clue what Pinterest is? Click HERE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hello Kitty Party: Letterpress Invitations

I mentioned in my previous Hello Kitty birthday party post that I would share the invitations that I made. Back in April I won the Lifestyle Crafts Epic Letterpress giveaway on Craftaholics Anonymous (thanks again, Linda :)! I was in complete shock. I was so excited to receive my package in the mail and try it out. I adore letterpress, and I really wanted to use it to make my daughter's birthday party invitations, but I had to come up with a way to incorporate the Hello Kitty theme with the letterpress. I purchased some additional printing plates and some red ink and got to work.

The first thing I did was run the letterpress paper through my inkjet printer to print the pink wording on the bottom half of the invitation. I downloaded a free font called CAC Pinafore from Dafont because I read that this was the closest font to what Sanrio uses on its Hello Kitty products. I have to agree that it's pretty close. I then ran each sheet of paper through the letterpress to add the polka dots and my daughter's name. Luckily I only had to make seven invitations because you have to re-ink the letterpress each time you run a piece of paper through. Finally, I used my inkjet printer to print out some cute Hello Kitty faces and used a scallop punch to cut them out. I then used double-sided tape to attach the Hello Kitty faces in the center of the letterpressed polka dots on the invitations. (Unfortunately, it's hard to show a birthday party invitation with a letterpressed name on it when I don't share my daughters' names on my blog. I covered up my daughter's name and added "Jane" in its place below... Use your imagination :)

The invitations turned out better than I ever expected them to. My practice runs with inking the letterpress were less than stellar, so I didn't have high hopes, but every single invitation turned out great. Honestly, they were a lot of work, but I was so darn proud of them, and my daughter really liked them, too.

If you are considering purchasing a letterpress, know that there is definitely a learning curve associated with it and that it does take patience (something that I am severely lacking). I do love the finished product, though, so I won't let my lack of patience deter me from using the letterpress again soon :)

On a side note, I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but it's time for Point of View again... where did June go?!? This month's theme is "shelves", so get ready for the collage reveal and link party this Friday, June 24th.

I'm linking up...

Todays Creative Blog

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birth Announcement Embroidery Hoop

Some friends of ours welcomed a new baby girl into their family about three weeks ago. I decided to make them a birth announcement embroidery hoop after being inspired by this hoop and this hoop. I love the way this turned out...

It was really quick and simple, too. I used fusible web to attach the flags, then used my sewing machine to stitch along the top edge of the flags. I used fabric paint and some rubber stamps to add the baby's name and birth date. It really was that easy. It probably took me longer to find all the fabric scraps to make the flags than it did to put it all together.

The baby's mother really seemed to like the gift and immediately started talking about where she was going to hang it in the nursery, which of course made me really happy, too. File this one away as a great baby gift.

I'm linking up...

Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hello Kitty Party: Favor Pouches and Wallets

My oldest daughter's fourth birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated with a Hello Kitty birthday party almost two weeks ago while we were up in Vermont visiting our family. I made the birthday invitations using my Epic Letterpress that I won a few months ago, but I'll save that for another post coming up soon.

I wanted something handmade to add to the goody bags. There were three little girls at the party, and this is what I made for them...

The fabric is called Hello Kitty Flowers and Foxes. It's so cute. I used a permanent fabric pen to write each of the girls' names in the bottom right corner on the other side of the pouch. They really seemed to like them.

Now for my nephews. Knowing that they probably would not want a Hello Kitty zipper pouch, I went over to Ameroonie Designs and used Amy's little wallet tutorial to make these little gray wallets...

They loved the little pockets inside. These were really easy to make, too.

I used a rubber stamp and some fabric paint to add their initial to the flap.

On to the cake. Prior to this year I have made cupcakes for every one of my daughter's birthdays, but this year she wanted a cake. I went ahead and bought the Hello Kitty cake pan, and this was the result...

I forgot her whiskers! I didn't even realize it until we were back in Connecticut and I looked through the pictures from the party. No one else noticed, either, so I guess it didn't really matter :)

I also made a "Pin The Bow on Hello Kitty" game. I found a black and white image of Hello Kitty online, blew it up, printed it, and glued it onto a piece of foam core. I then printed the bows directly onto different colored pieces of construction paper and cut them out. The kids had a good time with this one, and the grandmothers played along, too :)

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. It has been really nice to slow down and spend less time blogging and more time playing with and enjoying the girls. I got an amazing new camera lens that I'll tell you about in a couple of weeks. It has been so fun to play around with, and I finally feel like I'm getting a handle on how to use my camera after six months of owning it.

I also want to let everyone know about a really neat series that is starting on Monday over on My Own Road. Jen will be hosting Button Down Rehab, a two-week series sharing some great tutorials from some talented bloggers who will be creating new things out of old button down shirts. (And you just may see me over there guest posting during the second week :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

I'm linking up...

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