28 February 2011

Cosmos Flower Painting for Hailey

My mother-in-law made an ADORABLE quilt for Hailey--it has little mary jane shoes all over it!--and we hung it up over Hailey's crib.  The other day, Hailey realized she was tall enough to grab it.  So it had to come down before she pulled it off herself.  Now there's just a lonely, blank wall above the crib, and we can't have that--time for a new project!  What to do...?

This last Christmas, my wonderful sister offered to babysit Hailey long enough for me to do a painting.  You see, I majored in studio art in college, but with a little munchkin who needs at least 100% of an adult's attention almost all of the time...No time for painting.  (And yes, more than 100% is possible--sometimes Hailey requires the complete attention of multiple adults.)  So I decided to use this incredibly thoughtful and time-consuming gift to make a painting to go over Hailey's bed.

What do you think?  (Ignore the watermark.)

The original is about 18 inches long, but I'm planning to enlarge it and print it off about 5 feet long, so it'll make a really impressive statement there above Hailey's bed.

UPDATE:  I finally got this painting printed, framed, and hung.  Here it is hanging of Hailey's bed.

How to Make Custom Sewn-in Labels

If you're like me, you want your projects to look professional.  (Actually, I want people to be shocked and amazed at the incredible-ness of my skills.  Hey, I can dream.)  One thing that I've thought about for a while, but haven't known how to do, is to put labels (like those tags in the back of shirts) on the stuff I've sewn.  Well, I was browsing blogland yesterday, and I found this post by Gabriel's Good Tidings explaining how to make your own labels by printing them on ribbons!  Easy, cheap--I love that kind of project.

Basically, you print your design (reversed!) on iron-on transfer paper, then iron it on (go figure) to ribbon.
For specifics, check out Gabriel's post.

Happy sewing!

(Okay, for some reason, the links at the bottom of this post are for Gabriel's blog, not mine.  Any ideas why it's doing that?...)
(Update:  For those of you who are confused by that last paragraph, the problem seems to be fixed now.  I would really like to know what happened, but at least it isn't happening anymore.)

24 February 2011

How to Tidy Up Your Linky Party Buttons!

You know when you're working on something and it's difficult/ complicated/ confusing/ generally not working, but you keep at it until you figure it out--that feeling you get?  I feel like a mad scientist--It worked!  IT WORKED!  BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!  (Ahem!  Sorry about that.)  I call it the "evil laugh of success."

There was definite evil laughing when I finally figured this out.  Here's what happened.

It all started on a dark and stormy night...or an unseasonably pleasant February evening, anyway.  I was exploring one of the blogs I follow, when I came upon a tutorial on how to resize your blog's buttons with html.  Personally, I'd just use my good ol' Photoshop and change the actual size of the button, but what about OTHER blog's buttons you have on your page?  That would be worthwhile.

Most (all?) linky party hosts ask you to put their party button somewhere on your blog.  (I totally would if I hosted a linky party--advertising!)  So I have the buttons for the parties I join down at the bottom of my homepage, but they were such a mess!  The buttons were all different sizes, and some of them didn't play nice with the other buttons (insisting on being on their own lines), and they just generally made my page cluttered.

But with this tutorial, I could make them all the same size!  (The anti-social tendencies of the buttons would be dealt with later.)  It was great, and so simple!  Well, I was excited and tried it immediately...and nothing happened.  Re-read the instructions.  They weren't very clear.  It was only one step--insert width:##; height:## somewhere after the "img" in the html code.  Problem is, it says "img" several times in the button code.  ???  So I tried a couple of different things, with no luck.  I checked the comments; maybe others were having the same problem, and the blogger clarified.  Well, other's had the same question, but no answer yet.

Okay, next step--try Google.  I found this article, How To Resize an Image With HTML,  and I thought, A button is just an image, when you think about it.  Maybe this will work.

It said to put the new height and width after the img src html tag, so:
<img src="the url where the image is hosted" width={new number} height={new number}

So for a real-life example, here's how you would re-size my button.

The Original Button  and Resized  (Aww, isn't it cute?)

Here's the code:
By the way, sometimes the "img" and "src" bits aren't right next to each other, so look for the "src" specifically.

Now a quick note about the anti-social buttons:
If you see a code like this  <center>  then it is (you guessed it) centering itself.  Just take that out.

Let me know if you have questions!

Update:  I thought you might want a point of reference so you can choose how many pixels tall/wide to make the buttons.  The linky party buttons at the bottom of my page are 75 x 75 pixels, and the Resized Button in my example is 35 x 35 pixels.
Oh, yeah--remember to keep the dimensions proportional.  Rectangle buttons will look weird if you resize them to be squares.

21 February 2011

"Love Beareth All Things" Free Printable

Browsing the blogs I follow, I found this Free Valentine's Printable at Humble Homemaking.  I was so inspired that I stopped what I was doing to make one of my own.

This will look great in a black frame!

We always could use a reminder of what love is really about, even after Valentine's Day.  I hope you enjoy this printable, and be sure to check out the Humble Homemaker's original version!

(Just right click on the picture and save to your computer.)

14 February 2011

Free Blog Backgrounds!

I love it when other bloggers post free backgrounds and other stuff I can use on my blog.  And since this is me, what I like even better is letting their ideas (and their instructions!) inspire me to make my own.  So here are some backgrounds I made today!  Feel free to use them for any non-commertial purpose.  If you use one of them on your blog, please leave me a note in the comments so I can check it out.  I hope you like them!

Here's how you use them (with the new template designer):
Right click on the background you like and save it to your computer.
On your blog, go to Design->Template Designer.
Pick which template you want to use.  I liked how these ones looked on the Watermark template, but that's just a personal choice.
Next, click on Background (right under Templates).
There where you see the background image, click on the little triangle, which opens a dialogue box with the option to upload an image.
Upload your new background, click to choose it, and then click Done.
Be sure uncheck the "Scroll with page" option.
Update:  Pick the Center Top alignment option, like so:

You may want to adjust your layout or column widths (other options in the Template Designer).
There you go!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Update:  I changed the backgrounds a little to work better with a wider blog.  So if you downloaded the backgrounds already but wished the center column was wider--now they are.

10 February 2011

Updated: Valentine's Date Dessert--Cherry Brownie Towers

I am so excited for Valentine's Day.  (This holiday wasn't so exciting before I was married, but now I love trying to think of something romantic and fun for me and my husband.)  Now that our kitchen is (practically) finished, I just had to come up with something delicious to make.  Joseph loves brownies, so...

I haven't actually made the Cherry Brownie Towers yet--it needs to be a surprise for Joseph!--so I'll have to update this post after Valentine's Day to include pictures.  Alright, I made it today.  (We decided to celebrate today, rather than actually on Valentine's Day, because we'd have more time today.)

You will need:
1 package (about 18 oz) brownie mix and the ingredients to make it
1 can cherry pie filling
Frosting (whatever flavor you want, or even whipped cream/Cool Whip)
Heart shaped cookie cutter

Mix up and bake the brownies according to the directions on the package.  You don't want the brownies to be too thick, so bake them in a 9x13 pan.  You'll see later why.

After the brownies are cooled, cut them into hearts with the cookie cutter.

On your serving plate, layer brownie heart, pie filling, brownie, filling, brownie.  Repeat for your other towers.  (I got two towers of different diameters out of my pan of brownies.  And lots of leftover brownie bits between and around the hearts.)

(Doesn't it look delicious already?  Mmmmm...)

(Oh, no!  The little one fell apart!  But I put it back together.  The bigger hearts seem to be more stable...)

Frost the top and outside of the towers.  You could crumble up the leftover brownie and press onto the sides (or just munch on them while you're working on the rest of the dessert...)

And you're done!


Shortly after I took these pictures, the big heart broke in half and one side fell off!  Any ideas why?  The little one stayed together...

Even though it didn't stay together properly, it was DELICIOUS!  Oh, so good!  I will definitely be making this again, but probably not in towers.  It'll just be brownies topped with cherry pie filling and whipped cream.

P.S.--This recipe is based on one I found in the cookbook Favorite Brand Name:  Cake Mix.  But obviously their version used cake instead of brownies.

08 February 2011

Hurray! I've Got Comments!

Thanks to everyone who commented on my posts!  I'm excited to know that people are actually reading (and enjoying!) my blog.  Feel free to comment some more!

07 February 2011

Name Her Space

I really wanted to put Hailey's name up on her wall, but how to do it?  One day, I found these cute letters at a craft store (Hobby Lobby, I think), and they were cheap, so...

 Here are the supplies:  the letters, spray paint, ribbon, and hot glue

Well, I know you can figure it out from here, so I'll just show you my finished project.

 Isn't it cute?  I like how it turned out.  :)