Tuesday, December 9, 2014

DIY Gift Ideas

Ya'll know I started this blog as a play to show my scrapbooks for my Etsy company, Pressed Clovers.  But then I started doing other crafty things and putting pics up here, so it's turned into a crafty blog. 

When I started thinking of ideas for homemade gifts, I realized I had quite a few tutorials or ideas already posted on this website! Here are a few reminders and links to things I've posted in the past.

1)  The Christmas Scrapbook.  I make my mom one for her birthday on January 4th and print dozens of photos from Christmas for her to put into it immediately.  This way she hasn't forgotten any of the details and can have it ready for the next holiday season.  Don't forget to include the double sided stickers for the photos! (more photos in the link). Basically, each page has a place for a photo and is already decorated. All she needs to do is put in the pictures and write her memories.

2)  Photo Flower Pots.  While I made these for Mother's Day, I think it would be nice for Christmas, too. There are still flowers in the winter!  This isn't difficult at all and is completely personalized.  Print pictures on plain white copy paper and mod podge them to your flower pot. Easy Peasy!

3)  Monogram is all the rage! Many of us have tons of buttons laying about - buttons in jars, buttons in drawers, or in my case, buttons from a yard sale.  Tons of buttons. A quick run to my local craft store for a burlap canvas and some hot glue can turn buttons into beautiful monograms. Loved this gift idea! So quick, can finish it in an hour. 

4)  Teenagers! What about them? I wondered the same thing. Which started another one of my traditions - a scrapbook for my preteen niece.  With her, however, I buy lots of fun teenagerish stickers for to her decorate the book herself. I provided the book and basic layouts, tons of printed photos which all included her, and the double sided tape squares. She really impresses me with her creative ideas! This year, I'm giving her all the supplies pre-cut (mats for the photos and decorative strips of paper and tape, and stickers, of course) and letting her design the actual pages!

5) Toddler Artwork  This is my most favorite DIY project I've done to date.  Having my baby niece participate by "painting" four canvases and then I hand lettered the word LOVE on top. This is currently hanging in my bedroom.  Not keen on something that large? How about a small canvas or cardstock even, let them add a little paint and you add a monogram with a sticker!  Make it your own creation! :)

6) Baby on the Way.  New mothers or mothers-to-be... even grandmothers! love having these premade scrapbooks for the newborns most stellar moments.  The delivery day, the first day home, the first bath, baby sleeping - this provides a place for all those photos and will become a gift to the baby one day.  While baby boy is featured, just think pink for a girl.

I hope some of these ideas may inspire you to try a handmade gift this Christmas or into the New Year. Share your ideas with me, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

One More Fru Fru Pumpkin

It took me long enough to find the perfect pumpkin to make a Fru Fru Pumpkin for my house, but I finally saw it in a bin at the grocery store.  Huge fat pumpkins, so cute and so cheap! I fished around until I found the cutest of the "patch" and here it is.

I used the same materials as the pumpkin for my office (see it here) but added the cream lace.  I love the combo of burlap and lace, raffia and leaves, the blues and oranges - I  LOVE AUTUMN! And so there you have it.  My fru fru pumpkin for the year.  I regret I didn't do this on a fake pumpkin to have it for several years because I do love this combo of materials. *sigh*

Sooooo... what are you doing to decorate for Autumn?? Wanna share? I'd love to see!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The 2014 Fru Fru Pumpkin Reveal!

Each year, I make a "Fru Fru" pumpkin for the office and when it's time to send it on its way, I undecorate it and toss it into the back of the flower bed.  Finally, it took root and came back this year! So exciting!

Let me catch you up on the progression of this pumpkin - the plant (which for the longest time we had NO idea what was growing in this flower bed), then the pumpkin started showing up but was dangling outside of the flower bed!! We moved it into the bed and it really ripened quickly.  The bottom two pics were taken with 24 hours of each other. 

So back to the fru fru pumpkin - I hit Hobby Lobby last night (man, I love that store) and picked out what I wanted to do this year. And I'm in love with it. It cost considerably more than the dollar store finds I usually use in making these pumpkins, but it was SO WORTH IT when you see the difference. (By the way, I did a post earlier all about making Fru Fru Pumpkins, feel free to check it out for other ideas!)

TA DA!! I love the chevron and the blue/orange/burgundy combo.  The rustic colors and burlap just bring the look up a few notches compared to the dollar store glitter ribbon I've been using.  

This is last year's pumpkin with all items coming from the dollar store.  So this in total (not including the hot glue and stick pins) cost about $8-9 and will last several months. It will carry you through the entire fall season.  

I also did one a little tamer last year, still using dollar store items.  I bought a dish towel at the dollar store and ripped it into strips, fraying the edges for a more rustic look.  The fabric was too floppy on its on, so I used wide packaging tape along the back of one strip to form the bow shape.  I really liked this one, too. 

For today, I'm enjoying our new pumpkin in blue.  :)  AND I have enough decor left over to do another one for my house and I can't WAIT! We even have another pumpkin in our flower bed, so I may get two pumpkins for free! :)  If so, I'll show you how that one turns out, too. 

Ya'll have a lovely hump day! Thanks for joining me in my crazy fru fru pumpkin excitement!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

{Tutorial} Pinned It Did It - LOVE Canvas + Toddler Art

I have finally finished this project that I've been working on for a while now.  Here is a former post where I was in the middle of it - and it includes the inspiration pin where I got the initial idea.  I cannot possibly tell you how much I LOVE this artwork! It's so special to me and makes me glow every time I see it. I'd call that a serious #success!

Let's start from the beginning of the project and you can see how easy it is for you to do with your own toddler. :)

4 cheap canvases - I used 8 x 10 that came in 2-pks
4 cheap acrylic paints (you can really use whatever number you'd like)
small paint brushes for the lettering
computer/printer to print letters
Scissors to cut letters out
pencil to trace letters onto canvas
1 enthusiastic toddler

As I tell you how I did it, I'll give you advice on what I'd do different.  The inspiration photo had the word LOVE taped out on one large canvas.  I wanted four individual ones AND I wanted more definition in the font than tape would allow, so I decided to come back after the toddler painting and paint on my letters.

I let Sweet Niece #2, who is barely 2-years-old, enjoy finger painting the canvases.  She would call out which color she'd want and I'd squeeze it directly on a canvas and she'd smear like crazy.  What happened, however, is she over smeared and I have large patches of brown/grey.  I think if I did a redo, I'd leave out the orange OR only use one color per canvas.  It didn't really matter to me, though, she had fun and it still turned out cute.

I pulled this picture above into a photo editing program to see what it would look like with letters painted on top, to get an idea of fonts and colors.  This is what I ended up with to work from:

Using this as a guide, I found a font that was very similar and printed single letters that would fit in the 8 x 10 canvas.  I cut them out and traced them very lightly onto the canvas.  Thankfully, I have smaller brushes and was able to do a decent job of keeping everything neat while painting the letters (see photos at the end for the actual letters on canvas.  Remember the one above is typed on with a computer program).  As I was doing this, I kept thinking Cricut letters would probably work just as well. I did measure the distance from the top of the canvas to keep everything even. I eyeballed to get them centered from the sides.

I used the original four colors of acrylic paint and thought by adding black, I could achieve this slightly darker color that would stand out from the background.  THAT DID NOT WORK.  Every time I would end up with a grey color that blocked all the pretty color out... not good. Like a Grey Pink, Grey Green - not a darker version of the original color.

This looks like DUSTY ROSE, not my favorite color! 
See what I mean about the grey colors in this pink and the green above it? It didn't really darken it like I was thinking it would do.  So instead I used a base that was darker than the original, then added some of the original color to it - like hunter green and added the lime color to it.  That seemed to work out perfectly!  In the photo below, I used the top green, and the bottom three colors of blue, pink/red, and orange.

By making them several shades darker than the background, you could really see the letters.  This pink below wasn't quite dark enough - I ended up going back over it with the darker pink/red and I liked it much better.

Original pink 

Darker pink  Don't you think it looks better?

So here are the side-by-side views.  The left I typed onto of the photo just to get an idea of what it would look like.  The right I painted on after tracing the letters to the canvas.  Not bad! 

And here is the finished product on my wall in my bedroom! LLLLLOOOOOVVVVEEEE it!!! Having my baby sweet niece's artwork as the background makes this so precious to me.  I think I may do another smaller version of this for Christmas gifts this year... what do you think?

I hope you'll try it and please share with me! You can email me at b_covington@yahoo.com. I'd love to see your own masterpiece! :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pinned it... Working on it.

Ya'll know how much I love Pintrest and I actually attempt some of the things I pin.  I know, what a crazy idea, right?  Anyway - If you have seen the pin where the toddler finger paints on a canvas and then you turn that into the beautiful LOVE picture, I thought surely I could do that.

Here is the inspiration pin:

I wanted my letters separated with different canvases for each letter. So I bought my four canvases and four colors of paint.  I wanted to paint my letters on afterwards for a more defined letter with serifs. So I thought I'd just let Sweet Niece #2 go at it with some paint.

Um... unfortunately, four colors all mixed together by an energetic 2-year-old turns grey/brown.  No more pretty colors.  So yeah, I needed to do this project when she was younger.

Here is where I'm at today.  Hopefully over the weekend, I'll get the letters painted on and will have an update for you next week.

What do you think? Can I make this something worthy of hanging on my wall? Hmm... I'm not so sure. Will update you ASAP! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

{Tutorial} Buttons and Burlap Monogram

I found this huge box of buttons at a yard sale several years ago and have been wondering what to do with all these buttons?!  On Pintrest (of course) I found the button monogram idea and kept thinking this can't be rocket science, so surely I can do something like it. Finally, I sat down and did one this week and I like it! It isn't rocket science!

What do you need?  Well, here you go:

--Canvas of some sort. I chose burlap, found at Wal-Mart
--Hot Glue Gun and Glue
--Buttons. Lots of Buttons

First thing I did was measure the canvas and head for the computer. In Word, I made a text box the size of the canvas so I knew how large I could go.  Pick a font and print. Cut out your letter so you have a stencil to work with - remember this part when you are choosing your font. :)

I took my cut out letter and my pencil and traced it lightly onto my canvas.

Look closely, you can see my stenciled letter H.

After that I eyeballed my buttons and tried to keep things mostly straight and level on the first layer.  Glue glue glue.
I cheated and filled in gaps as I went along in some cases.
Then begin looking where you need to fill in with buttons to cover up gaps. I noticed with burlap, even in the places I didn't cover up the pencil markings you can't see them on the darker backgroup of burlap.  I'm sure this wouldn't be the case for white canvas, so be careful!

I haven't added a ribbon yet, but that's next on my agenda. Although, you don't have to have it - this would sit in an easel just fine, as long as it was proped on the wooden border and not the empty canvas section in back.

My favorite part of this one? The bits of thread and cloth still in some of the buttons. Just imagine the stories it could tell!

Anyway, this took me less than 15 minutes to glue, but I wasn't overly picky about my buttons. If you are pickier, you might need to do some presorting by size, shades of colors, etc.

SO, what do you think?  Share your thoughts and any photos if you try your hand at it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bunny Cake!

I saw this cake on Facebook and how to make it - someone had taken a photo from an old cookbook and posted it.  It looked pretty easy, so I decided to try it out.  I would think any cake would work - from scratch or a box - as long as you can get two round cakes from it.

My whiskers are a bit crazy, oops.  For the dark details I melted chocolate and put it in a plastic baggie and snipped the end.  Mom happened to have some blue gel icing in the cabinet for the blue details, so that was nice.  And I dyed coconut pink for the ears.  I trimmed the ends of my ears to be a bit more flush against the rabbit's head, but I'm not sure I would do that again.

There is the cutting pattern for you.  I wouldn't have seen it myself until I saw the cutting pattern, but it's so easy! So cute, too, and the kids loved it! What an Easter treat!  Or any kind of party that would need a rabbit - bunny themed birthday party? I'm sure you can think of other ways to use this cute and simple cake!  Feel free to share your examples with me-I'd love to see your bunny cakes! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Felt Friends

I started going through some older photos and found a few that I never posted here! I wanted to share with you my FELT FRIENDS! You know I stareted by making felt hearts from a Pintrest pin I found (see the original post here). Actually, I started by making felt food for my sweet niece #2 - I'll find some photos I took of those items soon...

 Anyway, once I started with felt, I fell in love.

 After I made hearts, I had a request for clovers for St. Patrick's Day.

Then I made tons of hearts not in a Valentine's Day theme.  I'm still holding these, trying to think of a nonprofit or something that would like to use them for something?  Any ideas? 

I did some with stars, thinking boys might like hearts with stars instead of hearts with hearts or buttons? Just a thought, maybe I'm crazy. 

Then... I discovered FELT FRIENDS. I wish I could find the website where I printed out the best patterns for animals.  Don't you know, I have searched and searched with absolutely no luck. But anyway, here are several I made for my niece and for a friend of the family. 

It started with a rabbit for Easter.  Goodness gracious, everyone wanted a rabbit.  And rabbit ears aren't the easiest... but it's so darn cute.  It had to have a cow to play with as friends.  Then someone wanted a PIG.  And the pig was C.U.T.E.

So then I just made a farm of felt friends.  Cats, dogs, sheep, cows, pigs... fun fun fun.  Some I added the loops to and others I just left as random heads.  Which do you like better?  Loops or no loops?  I've thought about making sets of these as baby gifts.  There is nothing to harm them as they have no buttons.  Everything is handstitched.

You know that once the gates open up, someone else asks for a random something... which was an ADPi lion.  So, I made up an ADPi lion. 

And a penguin.  Because every child needs a felt penguin to play with, right? 

So there are my felt friends!! Feel free to copy any of the ideas - some were patterns and some I made up on my own (lion, penguin). And give me feedback, a good gift or no? Better for one-year-olds vs. babies? I don't have kids, to help me out! :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

{Tutorial} Toddler Fishing Game + Template

My niece turned two this month.  I'll have another post with more pictures, but today I wanted to share this new toddler game we created.  (I'm sure it isn't NEW but it was new to us.) We wanted to have a fishing game - you know the one with the cardboard and someone hides behind it and the kids toss their lines over the cardboard to get a surprise. I was not wanting to figure out how to hide behind cardboard, etc etc. SO... This is what we came up with instead. 

Toddler Fishing Game
1 kiddie pool (ours is from Wal-Mart)
1 blue plastic table cloth from the dollar store
multiple colors of paper (construction paper, scrapbook paper, whatever)
scissors to cut out fish
round stickers for fish eyes
markers to decorate fish
paper clips 
a fishing pole of some sort
magnet - strong one
pipe cleaner
hot glue

We purchased a kiddie pool from Wal-Mart, a blue plastic tablecloth from the dollar store and made "water" in the bottom of the pool. Using multi-colored pack of scrapbook paper, we made fish (I'm including a fish pattern if you want it) and drew some fish details and round sticker (eye) on each one. Added a paper clip to each fish nose. 

For a fishing rod we happened to have an unopened toddler one.  Threaded some of that baker's twine or whatever string you got on hand.  Used a pipe cleaner for a "hook" and glued a super strong magnet to the very bottom of the hook.  There you go! Time for some FISHING! As each kid caught a fish, they received a prize, which became their goody bags. We had two, three and four year olds and they all enjoyed fishing, with or without prizes.  They just liked fishing!

To use these patterns, just print it out so it fits on one half size of paper. Fold your paper in half, and you can cut out two at once!   The plain one is if you want to jazz it up yourself. The decorated one is how we made ours look.  Somewhere near the smile is where we put our paper clips. 

So there you go! It was really easy and the kids loved it. Everyone caught fish with no problems thanks to a pretty strong magnet.  What do you think? If you try it, let me know how it works out for you, or how you tweaked it! I'd love to hear! :) 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Apple Cake - so yummy!

Don't ask me why I've been busting a gut to make an apple cake, but I have. The first time was a disaster (we aren't going to talk about it...) but yesterday, during our "snow day," I found success!

Finding an apple cake recipe really isn't as easy as I thought, but the one I used is from "Tapestry," a cookbook printed by the Junior Welfare League of Rock Hill, South Carolina.  A girl I worked with gave each of us this book, which I've only used for the Vulture Dip recipe until now. YUM.

I give to you Foba's Apple Dapple Cake.  I gotta tell you, it's pretty tasty.  Here is the recipe for you to try (is it wrong to publish a recipe online? If so, I'm terribly sorry...)



1.5 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans, chopped
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine

Beat the oil, eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until well blended.  Beach in the vanilla.  Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well.  Fold in the pecans and apples.  Spoon into a greased tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Combine the brown sugar, milk and margarine in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat until the mixture is smooth, stirring frequently.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Pour the hot glaze over the hot cake.  Let stand for 2 hours.  Remove from the pan.


I didn't do the pecans because I didn't have them.  Otherwise, I followed it just as it was written and it was mighty yummy in my tummy.  This glaze stuff that you pour over it - holy moly. Yum yum yum.  I had a slice for breakfast this morning - umm umm good.

I must say, if you had any way of getting your hands on this cookbook, I would recommend it, however, I think it's pretty much sold out.  You need it for the vulture dip recipe alone - THAT is some GOOD STUFF.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pinned It Did It - Felt Hearts!

When I saw this on Pintrest, I knew what I wanted to do with all this left over felt I had from the felt food I made for my niece this Christmas. I wanted to make felt hearts to share with those crafty people in my life that I love dearly.

I had another pin of all these brown felt hearts but it seems I deleted it.  Oh well.  WAIT! I found the website  it's actually on the same page as the red ones above:

check out the entire blog post here.  she rocks. 

So I picked up several colors of red, pink, cream, brown, and tan. And several shades of embroidery thread in all those colors, too.  I have tons of buttons - old buttons, new buttons, craft buttons, oh-la-la button - so I didn't need to buy those.  Then I sat down at got to work.

Basically, I took a piece of card stock, folded it in half, cut it into a half-heart and made myself a heart shaped template. It's about the size of my palm. I kept refolding and trimming until I was happy.

Then it was just a matter of holding the template on top of the felt and being still as I tried to cut. It was a hot mess to tell you the truth, but it's ok, I like the rustic look. Which is good because I can't sew all that great, either.  I looked up different stitches on You Tube to teach myself.

So I wanted to do three for each person, with each of the three different. Some had smaller hearts overlapping, or one larger contrasting heart - buttons or just one button, the stitching helped make some stand out a little more... I really looked at the example above and went with it.

I made one set for myself - black, gray and cream.  Here is mine on my vanity in my bedroom.  The photo is of my great-grandmother and me (I live in her old house).  My hearts are in a special place! :)

See some of the other groupings below! :)

I also made a set for my preteen niece, who is all about owls and mustaches - hers are larger. I found printed felt at Hobby Lobby.  The mustache I just made myself and stitched it on.  Please ignore the very wrinkled tshirt I'm using as a backdrop!

My boss liked them so much she's giving them to her friends this Valentine's and found these cute buckets to put them in!  What do you think?

Ok, just a few more before I sign off -

Hope this possibly inspires you to try your own! It's lots of fun and folks really enjoyed receiving them in the mail. Feel free to share your creations with me! I'd love to see them.  And join me on facebook at www.facebook.com/pressedclovers.

Easy to Pin!