December 31, 2012

Top Posts of 2012 & More

I thought I'd share the most popular projects of 2012 being that it's New Years Eve. Tomorrow marks the start of a new page/chapter/book.

First up and by far the most viewed and read was the Feather Making Tutorial. These can be made with yarn, embroidery floss, bakers twine and maybe even jute twine. I haven't tried that though.

Then the Feather Hair Picks made using wooden skewers from your local grocery store. Paint the skewers gold or any other color you'd like.

The Four Leaf Clover tutorial, made with clippings from shrubs in my yard.

Posts that continue to garner readership even though they're not 2012 posts are the following.
This Paper Plate & Cookie Sprinkle Wreath tutorial still brings visitors.

Then there's this Front Door Decor that I love and will reuse from time to time.

These sweet little Beach Cruiser Basket Liners have been popular. I designed these and make and sell them on Etsy.

A favorite Blackberry Cobbler recipe from Southern Living. All I have to say is very few ingredients, simple, rustic and yummy!

I pray that 2013 brings continued ideas and creativity which in turn grows Blue Sky Confections readership and opens up doors of opportunity for this work-from-home momma.

Thanks so much for reading in 2012!

December 27, 2012

Market Tote

I had already crocheted a hat for my mom earlier in the year. So for her Christmas gift I made her a linen market tote. She had given me an old bag of hers this past summer that she absolutely loved in hopes I could figure out the pattern and make her a new one. The bag was completely worn and tattered and it had been purchased years ago, so it was no where to be found in stores.

I took a few measurements, deconstructed the shoulder strap to create the pattern for it and got to work. It's a very basic style and once I got it figured out it became simple to me.

My mom prefers neutrals and really loves linen. So I chose a classic, neutral stripe in linen and then for the interior I used a navy and gold floral linen.

I love the navy and gold linen print. I wish I had ordered more of it now.

Thanks for visiting.

December 26, 2012

Hand Crocheted Christmas Gifts

I can share these with you now because everyone's received their gifts. This year I crocheted hats. A lot of hats. I had some in my family request these as gifts and you know as well as I that you can't do for one and leave others out. So about a month-and-a-half ago I started crocheting each night when I would settle in for a good nights sleep. I'd crochet until I couldn't keep my eyes open and then pick up where I left off the next night.

Here are the girls and women's hats.
The neutrals are for the adults and the bright and colorful are for the little girls. I especially like the red and turquoise combination for our most recent family addition. My sweet niece Emerson. It's itty bitty and the flower is bigger than her little head.

Then here are the hats for one little boy, teenagers and adult men in my family.
One done in school colors, a couple mainly orange for the hunters in the family and the rest made to match winter coats.

Then for my mother-in-law who I don't think would ever wear a hat I crocheted a cowl that is large enough to double as a hood if necessary.
My oldest daughter modeled the cowl so I could take a few photo's.

All of the family members that received these cozy gifts live way up North. So I know they will be put to good use.

Thanks for reading!

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

While I've got raspberry shortbread baking I thought I'd sit down and wish my readers a Merry Christmas from my family to yours. I pray this season is a blessing for you and that you are able to take a moment to enjoy your families and to reflect on the real reason we celebrate this time of year. Christ our King!

Short little story... a couple nights ago several families in our neighborhood got together and went caroling. One of the songs we sang was "Little Drummer Boy". While singing it I began to really focus on the words and started getting choked up and was fighting back tears.

Here was a child who had very little to give to the new born King but what he did have, his gift and his talent, he gave freely to the Lord. What have you been given in the way of gifts and talents that you can share and give to others to bless them?

I'll be challenging myself this coming year to focus on blessing my family and others with what I have been given. Will you join me?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 23, 2012

The Dining Room for Christmas

A cloche filled with pine cones. A few small touches make a big difference.

A chalkboard with some holiday lyrics and the word NOEL in glitter.

More cedar boughs and faux, snow filled, glass bulbs hanging from gold ribbon.

December 22, 2012

Cocoa Bar & Chalkboard Wall

I said I would never have a chalkboard wall because of chalk dust. Well, NEVER SAY NEVER, I have given in! I decided to throw caution to the wind. LOL Now I've got a "just have fun" wall. The kids draw on it with their chalk and then I wipe it off and draw a bit myself.

I've also been seeing Cocoa Bars all over blogland and this became the perfect spot for just that.

Filling mason jars of varying sizes with mint M&Ms, peppermints and marshmallows makes my kids eyes light up. I also used some scrapbook paper to cover the little Archer Farms cocoa canister.

I love Rudolph, although the kidlet's think he looks funny. I added some small trees to the scape by covering one foam cone in chunky red yarn, another foam cone in peppermint candies and the last cone with cedar boughs.

Here's a closeup of my sweet peppermint tree. I need some red hots to fill in the holes.

Last but not least I made a marshmallow wreath. I just cut a cardboard form the size that I wanted and proceeded to glue marshmallows all over it. Then I wrapped it in ribbon to keep everything tidy and added the little red berry garland to brighten things up. I can't think of a better wreath to adorn a cocoa bar than this.

Thanks for reading!

December 21, 2012

My Christmas Porch-During The Day

Hello, hello.... I wanted to share these photo's before it's to late. I've been overwhelmingly busy as has everyone during this Christmas Season. I worked really hard on this years decor to change it up from last years. I even trimmed shrubs in my side yard and made the garland around the door. I really, really love the look of fresh garland.

Miniature runner sleigh that I've had for 10+ years, embellished with a cedar bough, pine cones and a grosgrain ribbon.

I used my spring/summer planters for painted branches and faux Christmas trees wrapped in grapvine. Then I hand cut the "Believe" sign from a sheet of cardboard and spray painted it metallic gold.

These branches were pulled out of the woods near our development and I spray painted them with a matte white. I like the matte because they end up looking a bit like birch branches and that reminds me of where I grew up. I miss seeing birch trees everywhere.

You can read about the porch pillows here and here and the wreaths here.

Window boxes filled with faux Christmas tree branches that I recycled from our very first fake tree. Remember the trees you had to assemble branch by branch? Once prelit 3 piece trees came out I couldn't bare assembling every year. I also added pine cones and eucalyptus sprigs.

Here's a closer look at the sign. Who knew a sheet of cardboard could look so good? For the cost of a can of spray paint, cardboard I had saved from an over sized package and a branch, I was able to add some interest to otherwise typical holiday decorating.

We also added the animated reindeer to our decor collection this year and updated the wreaths that hang in each window.

Decorating doesn't have to cost a lot of money. With a little creativity and some elbow grease you can create something that makes you smile. Thanks for stopping by and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

December 16, 2012

Gift Wrapped Pillows & Winter Wreath

These pillows were so easy and inexpensive to make and really make a cute addition to our Christmas porch. With an inexpensive painters drop cloth from my local home improvement store and some outdoor ribbon that I've had for 10+ years (I'm embarrassed to say) in my craft collection I was able to freshen up the rockers for the holidays.

What made these so easy is that I used the already sewed seams on the drop cloth for my envelope closure backs which saved some sewing time. If you read this blog at all you know I've got quite a collection of pillow covers that I've gone through on my front porch. I've even got a simple tutorial on how to make your own pillow covers.

This wreath is one of those $1.99 pine wreaths from my local craft store. I've had them for years and in the past they've been clad in plastic multi-colored ornaments. I wanted to change things up a bit this year and rather than buy new wreaths I bought one can of white spray paint for plastic and dusted 10 wreaths for $4 bucks and some change.

This provided impact for very little money. Now the wreaths really stand out on each of my windows and my black door. I also combined some burlap, some of the green velvet, outdoor ribbon I had in my stash and then added this bright chartreuse to the mix. I'm really happy with how they turned out and I'm especially happy with them being very budget friendly.

Thanks for reading!

December 12, 2012

Hand Painted Reindeer Pillows

I am one to always make new, seasonal, pillow covers for the front porch but this is the first year I've made Christmas pillow covers.

Meet Dasher...

I'm changing the outdoor Christmas decor a bit this year and I thought Dasher and his pal Dancer would add a bit of whimsy to my little chartreuse green bistro set.

How I made them:
I measured my pillows to figure out how large my reindeer needed to be then drew the reindeer in Illustrator. I tile printed this, taped Dasher together cut him out and then traced the silhouette onto the canvas using a gold marker. The canvas is actually painters drop cloth that I had on hand. The paint is Folk Art Gold Metallic. (I used less than one of those little bottles for both reindeer. (Value))

Because they're for outdoor use I didn't add fabric medium to the paint. I have to say the drop cloth really took the paint beautifully with no bleeding or feathering whatsoever, and guess what? The paint still looks metallic. Yay! I thought about leaving them as is but then found a couple little holiday picks that I later stitched into place. Dasher & Dancer needed a little Christmas bling.

I hope to be sharing a few more Christmas projects so come back.

Sharing at TT&J's Weekend Wrap-up Party!

December 11, 2012

The Tufted Wool Wreath–My Version

I first saw the Anthropologie, Tufted Wool Wreath on Dreamy Whites Blog. Clicking over to the Anthropologie site and seeing the price made me want to try and make my own. It's definitely worth the price but currently outside of my budget.

The first thing was to find the right yarn. It needed to be bulky and have some wool in it to be somewhat authentic. The one I chose was Lion Brand, Wool-Ease, Thick-n-Quick in the perfect shade of "Fisherman". This yarn is a wool-acrylic blend. One-hundred percent wool would probably be best but would end up costing more than the completed wreath at Anthropologie. I used a large pom-pom maker. This insured that all of my tufts would be uniform and full. You will get roughly four large pom-poms from one skein. So keep that in mind when buying your yarn. Also, watch for sales and use coupons at your local craft store to keep your cost down. I was able to buy each skein for just over four dollars a piece.

The wreath form I used is foam. I chose foam because it's textured and provides the perfect grip for tying each pom-pom on and keeping them in place. I bet taking a doll hairbrush to these tufts would make it look even more like the wreath I replicated.

To finish it off I added a stone colored satin ribbon and hung it over our bed. I thought its soft, fluffiness deserved a cozy place to be displayed.

I couldn't resist sharing the photo with my wee one. They always love seeing themselves on my computer screen and so do I.
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