30 November 2011

Crafting a Card

One of the things I like to make are greeting cards. They are fun to do and even more fun to give away. Here are some I've made in the past year from blah materials:

made from scraps of felt

created from old magazine pages

handmade using salt dough and old make-up

If you also fancy making greeting cards, may I encourage you to make some for a few seniors? I came across the organization called DOROT at a the Winter's Eve event in New York City last year. A table was set up at the shops at Columbus Circle and everyone was encouraged to decorate a card. I was very pleased to make one, if only to cheer up an elderly brother/sister. I later found out that DOROT encourages volunteerism and they have a greeting card program throughout they year. If you are interested, you'll find the guidelines here. If you can't find the time this holiday season, maybe you can make some next year {birthday cards will be gladly accepted}. Once you've made the card/s, you can mail them with a volunteer return form {download it from here} to:

Attn: Card Making Project
171 West 85th Street
New York, NY 10024

Just imagine the smiles that will result from the cards you make!

29 November 2011

Crafting a Cake

Hi there everyone!

What was your favorite birthday memory as a child? I always remember birthday cakes, making a wish and blowing candles. It made me feel special when family and friends surrounded me at the table and sang me "Happy Birthday to you." I love birthday cakes, no matter how old the birthday celebrator is.

That's one of the reasons I learned how to bake cakes. I even took a cake decorating class last year.

Here's the first cake I ever decorated. I need a little more practice. It's a good skill to have and a homemade cake is always TADA!, don't you think?

And since we're focusing on crafting for a cause this week, let me tell you about Sweet Blessings. It's a non-profit organization that hopes to provide a happy birthday for children aged 5 to 14 living in poverty or going through life-threatening illnesses. The kind folks behind Sweet Blessings do this by making birthday cakes for these kids. Here's a sample:

They're not the grocery store-bought cakes as you can see. They're fun, colorful, multi-tiered and made of fondant! A cake that will surely make a child's birthday extra, extra special. And you know what? These cakes are made, decorated and delivered by volunteers! Hooray for that!

Now if only I lived in the area {they're based in Lexington, Kentucky}, I would gladly help out. Maybe this can serve as an inspiration for you to do something similar in the city that you live in -- at a hospital, an orphanage or school. But if you're generous, you can make a donation to Sweet Blessings, too.

May you have a wonderful day!

28 November 2011

Crafting for a Cause

Happy new week everyone!

It's officially the start of the holiday season and I'm thinking you're crossing off names on your gift list and starting to decorate your homes.

I'm not sure if crafting is on your To Do list, unless you're making presents to give away or selling them at craft fairs. It's a super busy season after all.

But what if it's crafting for a cause? Would you find time to do it? This week, I'll give you a few options to give some love away during the holidays.

Would you like to craft a letter?

Write a letter to Santa Claus & help make
wishes come true.

With childlike faith and wonder, write Santa a letter, put it in an envelope addressed to Santa At The North Pole. Put a stamp on it and take it to a Macy's Department Store in your town.

Look for the big red mailbox and drop in your letter. Macy's will count all the letters in the mailbox and for each letter received, they will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation {up to $1,000,000!}. Then, the letters will be delivered to the Post Office for mailing to Santa.

Together, we'll collect a million reasons to believe!

Make this a family activity...who knows, Santa may just grant your wish for being an awfully good girl/boy! That's definitely TADA!

25 November 2011

Thank You Friday

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!
I wish you many, many more reasons
to say "Thanks".

Have a happy shopping weekend!

24 November 2011

Giving Thanks

We are celebrating Thanksgiving and next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday. I like it because I get to participate: watching the life-size balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, preparing Thanksgiving dinner {even if I'm just a guest at the party} and saying a prayer of thanks for life's provisions. How many of these things do you do when Labor Day or Memorial Day comes around? At Thanksgiving, I feel truly engaged.

"Thank You" is one of the best things anyone can ever hear and even say. That's why I'm starting a tradition of sending a thank you letter to a random person who has turned my life from blah to TADA!.

I've dipped my hand in my greeting card box and selected these Thank You cards. I already delivered them to two special people: Nurse Monika and Nurse Anne Marie. You see, I had a medical procedure in October. Don't worry, nothing life-threatening. I'm blessed to say that the procedure went well and I'm in good health. Hooray! But that was a scary period for me, filling me with anxiety. Monika and Anne Marie were kind, gentle, enthusiastic. They made me feel safe and reassured me that I was going to be alright. Isn't that what anyone needs when one is afraid? Plus they were very busy. They could have easily ignored me or taken a business-like stance, but they didn't. I just had to say THANK YOU to them and I said so in my Thank You cards.

Many people do their jobs 100% but don't get any appreciation at all. If they made your day easier and did so cheerfully, why not say THANK YOU? It's not hard at all. Thanksgiving Day is the perfect day to do it.

I hope to make this THANK YOU CARD a yearly tradition, as often as I can {not just on Thanksgiving}.

To all of you, dear readers, THANK YOU for being the TADA! to my blog and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

23 November 2011

Hostess Presents

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow and we've been invited to a cousin's house to feast on turkey, side dishes too many to count on your fingers, and of course sinful dessert! Now, when you're invited to a party, it's always TADA! to bring a hostess present, be it a bottle of wine, a sweet treat or a vase of flowers. I'm sharing a few more ideas for the parties you'll be attending now that the holidays are here.

For a couple who love to entertain...

...a bouquet of chopsticks they can use for an
Asian-themed party!

I got this set from a trip to Bangkok a few years back.
Whenever you travel, it's always a good idea to take
home unique souvenirs like this that can be used
as presents, favors or prizes.

Here's a better look at the wooden chopsticks,
with pouches made of fancy fabric and
elephant accents.

Another beautiful and useful gift
is a throw:

Pick a color that your host adores
and have it monogrammed if the
shop allows it.

Throws come in handy as an accent to
a chair or couch, and can easily pulled
over when reading or watching TV.

And finally, every home needs
a set of coasters:
These ones are made of linen and
are personalized with the recipient's
family initials.

Don't forget to take a gift when you're
invited to a party. It's definitely the
polite thing to do!

22 November 2011

A Pretty Pie Topper

For Thanksgiving, I'm planning to bake a pie. Possibly pumpkin since I've never made one before and it's one of the traditional pies you'll find on the Thanksgiving table. In the past, we served store bought and they were really good. This year, we'll try a homemade one. Mmmm.

I have all the ingredients and I've got my trusted pie plate which I use when making quiches and graham crust pies. I've also been thinking of how to decorate it.

Maybe use mini leaf-shaped cookie cutters
like this one from Martha Stewart?
Instead of covering the top, I'll keep
the leaves on the edges.

Another version using scalloped circle
cutters, also from Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin pies don't have a lattice top
but I'll remember this modern lattice
when making an apple pie
or berry tart in the future.

But here's another idea I'm leaning towards:

It's a fun & festive pie topper made from skewers,
ribbon, paper, cut-outs and alphabet pasta!
Hooray Jordan for creating this.

I like what it says, too:
Have a grateful heart
Be conscious of your treasures

Definitely TADA! in my book!

21 November 2011

Centerpiece Ideas for Thanksgiving

I hope your weekend was divine!

This Thursday, we're celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S., a holiday marked with a gathering of family and friends, one that may involve travel, hours of preparing a hearty turkey dinner and personal traditions like watching the spectacular Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, here is a round-up of easy centerpieces to add a festive touch to your table. They make use of old jars & bottles that are quite blah, but with a little magic, they become TADA!

Fill old bottles with assorted floral bouquets; even if the flowers are from the corner deli or supermarket, when the same varieties are clustered together, the look is elevated! This idea is from the girls at Sunday Suppers.

Jordan, over at Oh Happy Day, created these personalized vases that can be used as seating cards at a wedding or place cards at a dinner party. What's even more special is that guests can take these home!

Check out this easy way to brighten up glass votive holders just by adding dry corn kernels. A lovely concept by Amanda Joy of Joy Ever After.

I'm in love with this D-I-Y chandelier made of flowers, candles, jars and twine. So dreamy on a summer night outdoors and still romantic when placed indoors on Thanksgiving night. Found this on the BZ Events blog.

Here's another version that's hung on a blank wall, discovered in the Ruffled blog. Match the flowers to the season like autumn leaves, red roses and orange mums for fall. You can fill the bottles with some acorns and twigs, too.

As you've seen in these examples, making a centerpiece or floral arrangement need not be blah, hard or fussy when entertaining for the holidays.

18 November 2011

Block Printing

I hope you're having a good Friday!

This week was all about blah to TADA!
crafts inspired by this book:

If you haven't had the chance to check it out, you might want to go to the library or order yourself a copy. You'll enjoy the house tours and DIY projects that you can implement in your home to make it even more vibrant and comfortable.

Today, these are my pegs:

A block-printed duvet by Kate Pruitt; the block
print "stamp" is made from scrap cardboard

Stamped fabric curtains by Clara Klein; this
"stamp" is made of craft foam

Instead of rummaging for materials in
my craft bin, I've sought the vegetable
bin in fridge instead.

We'll use some lettuce!

We normally cut off the bottom and just throw it away.
But if you take a look, it has a pretty pattern.

Use this as the "stamp" and dip it in a shallow
puddle of paint.

Here it is on paper -- doesn't it look
like a blushing rose?

Use it as a recurring pattern on paper bags.

Now, a blah paper bag is a TADA!

A neat idea for the holidays!

Experiment with other fruits or vegetables,
as well as colors of paint.

Have a superb weekend!

17 November 2011

Spring flowers in Autumn

E-readers and tablet computers are all the rage these days. And while I appreciate the convenience and thrill of these gadgets, I'm still drawn to books. I still like snooping around bookstores for new releases and old favorites.

As I've mentioned this week, one book that I picked up recently is Design Sponge at Home written by blogger Grace Bonney. The pages dance with things for a beautiful, but still personal and comfortable home.

I've been having a ball trying out the crafts outlined in the book. Today, I'm making something inspired by this:

Ink jet transfers on placemats, a project by Kate Pruitt

Instead of placemats, I'm putting photo
transfers on this blah canvas bag.

I picked hi-resolution photos that I took myself. I love to take photos of flowers and now that the cold months have arrived, I wanted to keep a little reminder of the coming spring, thus these pink blooms.

I printed the photos on ink jet paper.

Then I cut around the designs and planned the layout.

Then I peeled off the paper backing, positioned the design
on the bag {facing up}, covered it with overlay paper
and ironed away for several minutes
with firm pressure.

A blah bag is now TADA!

A vibrant reminder of spring as autumn fades
and winter begins.

16 November 2011

Display Dome

Hey, hey, how are you today?

I'm gathering a few crafty ideas from this book.

Today, I'm doing a mash-up of
three different projects:

log dome display jar by Kate Pruitt

butterfly dome by Jessica Oreck

Here's what we need:

blah: an empty glass jar

blah: a glass base for a pillar candle & a candle stick

When you put them together...

TADA!: Instant display dome!

But let's add something inside
to make it even more TADA!

blah: butterflies made with a butterfly puncher
and old magazine pages

Sandwich a piece of wire between two butterfly
cutouts using all purpose glue.
Use varying lengths of wire,
then allow these to dry.

Meanwhile, make a base for the butterflies.
Trace the mouth of the glass jar on a piece
of Styrofoam and cut around it using
a blade or X-acto knife.

Stick in the wire, making sure each
butterfly is visible.

Gingerly insert the butterflies into
the glass jar and use the Styrofoam
base as a stopper.

Put this on top of the homemade pedestal.
Secure each section of the display dome
with hot glue, super glue or putty.

TADA! It's a butterfly dome display stand!

And it's pretty in every angle!