Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thank you.....

As many of you know, my family's bread and butter business is in construction. We're established well enough and have our own niche we can weather some bad weather or a down economy. But the combination of the two can be a little tougher to take in stride on occasion.

After having two record breaking weather years in a row and again over 2 feet of rain in the last month it's been a little nerve wracking. Add to that, the little bit of work we've managed during a dry spell was for a contractor that has gone from writing a check at the end of the day, to we write checks once a month and only if we've been paid on the job you worked on. Well, let's just say the Hand Made Pledge and you, my wonderful customers, are what made Christmas possible at my house this year. I have been "the unpaid or volunteer office manager" for many many years (don't get me wrong - the benefits are to die for, I got to be with and there for my kids and I wouldn't give that up for the world) I haven't had my own "earned" money in a long time, and the fact that I was able to contribute to our Christmas meant an awful lot to me.

For that I offer my deepest heartfelt Thank you! I truly am looking forward to the coming year and wish for you too a Happy and Prosperous New Year! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a Hand Made Holiday -

Christmas is this weekend and as I pledged it's a Hand Made Holiday! I am up to my eyeballs in my gifting creations heading down the home stretch with several gifts to go yet.

We'll be making cookies and fudge in my house tonight and then it's back to the grindstone for me :) So far I've made a necklace, crocheted three cute ear flap hats, made 16 ornaments and am currently finishing up a ring and trying to decide what to make for the youngest nephews.

I make ornaments every year, mostly for my own tree but I do make them as gifts too. So if you're looking for that last minute gift todays post should serve as great inspiration for you!

Christmas Ornaments!! Enjoy!

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Dana on Pinterest

Normally I tell you where I found these awesome goodies...... quite a few are available to purchase and the rest are free tutorials. Click through to my Pinterest board, and click again to get to the original.


Monday, December 12, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 5 The Art Gallery

Todays cameras are equipped with a million megapixels - well maybe not that many, but enough to give you very crisp family and vacation photos. The real kick to all those megapixels is they allow you to print large poster sized images without losing that crispness.

There are probably as many photo editors out there as there are cameras so I'm not going to get into editing your photos other than to say crop out all that extra stuff you weren't looking at when you snapped the photo but the camera saw and captured anyway :) Now you have the main focus of your image and most likely a really cool shot too.

You can print that out on glossy paper at home or at a photo kiosk, or you can use some photo transfer paper and get that awesome photo put on canvas! Find yourself a great frame and depending on your subject you've got a gallery photo/portrait shot. If you're feeling adventurous there's a tutorial out there on the web (http://www.instructables.com/id/Inkjet-Printing-on-Fabric/) for printing directly on the canvas. Or if you're feeling adventurous transfer it onto a piece of wood!

Now take that same concept and this time blow up your photo to a large enough size that the printer needs to break it up into four pages. This is a great way to get those gallery shots of a sunset :) Use pre-stretched canvas paint your edges black (or a complementary color or print the photo at a size where it can overlap the edges) and hang on the wall with a little space in between.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Collect Artist Trading cards? Find smaller identical frames and hang together in a block of 3 x 4 or however many you can fit inside a great vintage frame - instant mini art gallery!

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

If your children are very creative and the fridge isn't quite the spectacular display their art work deserves, here's another idea for your Gallery Display. Group vintage frames together on the wall and display their artwork in a way it deserves, complete with a photo of the artist and short bio! Your kids will LOVE it, so will their Grandparents and anyone else who gets the pleasure of seeing it!

Frames can be found here:
and here:

Art Work can be found here:

Til next time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 4 For the Kids!

Today is about the kids, Gifts for them and Gifts they can make. Todays post will send you in to another blog for instructions on how to make chalkboard paint. We'll also make an inexpensive Dry Erase Board and before we do all that we'll make Orange Pomanders.

I remember making pomanders when I was a kid, they are so simple to make and smell so good. The designs can be as elaborate or as simple as you want - just keep in mind the abilities of the ones making them.

What you'll need:
Whole Cloves
Vegetable peeler

Start off by carving your design into the zest of the orange. I use the tip of my vegetable peeler and pull towards me, but you could use an orange peeler or a zester, anything that gives you a consistent size groove.
Once you have your design carved into the orange you simply push the cloves into the groove. Space them in whatever manner makes you happy, this is your design be creative!
Place alone or grouped with several into a shallow bowl or make your own elevated stand to place them in like in this post:

That's it! Told you it was simple!

Next on to the Inexpensive Dry Erase Board. Older kids for this one, glass is involved!!

If you liked the simplicity of the Pomanders, you'll LOVE this! Remember that tray I used with my candles? That's your dry erase board! No kidding! A simple photo frame with glass in and a piece of pretty paper or a solid color to match your decor - scrapbook paper is perfect here. The markers clean right off the glass, piece of cake!

OK On to the chalk board paint customizable to the color you desire! If you can paint it you can have a chalkboard - any paintable surface! Suitable for kids of ALL ages - for drawing on or message centers the choice is up to you!


Before you go! My friend Steph is an incredibly talented artist and she has designed some free gift tags for you!

Til next time!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What's on the Desk..Getting Ready for the Holidays... Week 3 Cookies!

The holiday baking season has begun and I can't think of a better quick gift to highlight this week than cookies! Whether a mix in a jar or a platter full of home made goodness there's nothing quite like a gift of fresh baked cookies.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Cookies in a Jar is a great way to give the gift of cookies without having to do the baking your self. You can use regular canning jars (available in most grocery stores, Wal Marts or Hardware stores) or vintage jars which are often decorative in their own right and make a great presentation. If you've ever made sand art you'll already be familiar with layering for a decorative effect. If you choose a cookie with a colorful ingredient list you can really have fun with it using skewers or straws to create decorative designs along the walls of the jar. Top the jars with a square of fabric and a tag with the recipe and instructions for baking your cookie of choice and tie it altogether with a ribbon.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

If you like baking but don't have the time to bake several types of cookies for a sampler platter you could participate in or host a cookie swap. Gather your friends together and swap your favorite cookies! Arrive with chocolate chip cookies and come home with snickerdoodles, oatmeal, sugar and peanut blossoms! Arrange several of each on a platter and you've got quick gifts for everyone on your list.

Source: etsy.com via Dana on Pinterest

Gift tags can be found at
Snowman Patter can be found at
Cookies in a jar can be found at

I hope you're enjoying my Home Made series while we're getting ready for Christmas. Next week we'll get the kids involved! Til then!