Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crafty Wednesday ~ Fabric Ribbon Flower Tutorial

Crafty Wednesday ~ Fabric Ribbon Flower Tutorial

Ribbon Tutorial

It's Tutorial Time!

Today, I want to show you how to use your Double Dotscraps to make really fun and easy flowers!  These are really quick and after the first one, you won't take more than a few minutes to make one. 

Here is a card that I made with Double Dot Scraps. 

I decided to make my tutorial using several pictures so that you could see each step clearly and be able to refer to it, if needed.  The first thing you need to do is cut a 9 1/2 inch strip of Double Dot Ribbon.  You are going to fold it accordian style, as shown.  You need to end up with 5 equal folds for 5 petals.  Each fold is approximately 1 3/4 inches.

Run your fingernails along each fold line.  When you open the ribbon, you will be able to see each of the 5 petals.  It will look like this.

Now, you are going to make each of the petals by stitching, as shown. 

I have used blue thread so that you can clearly see the shape.  You will want to use thread that is more closely matched to the ribbon if possible.  You also want to make sure that your thread is a strong one.  I just used regular thread, so I doubled it.  Do NOT use embroidery floss.  It will break, trust me! 

Here is a picture so you can see how to do the stitches.  All of the stitches start and end on the top of the ribbon.  Except...
The Trick!

Here is the trick to making each petal shape.  When you get to the bottom of the stitches on one petal, you need to go 'under' the ribbon with a stitch before you start the next petal.

After all five petals are stitched, your ribbon will look like this.  (same picture!)  Notice that this is not an exact science.  Close to this is good enough!

Now... the final step...

GENTLY pull your thread from both edges to gather it.  As you are gathering, you will see your petals start to appear.  After it's gathered, simply tie the ends of your thread together.  That's it!  You have an easy ribbon flower!

Note:  I didn't gather this one tightly so you could see how it pulls together easier.

Here is a close-up of the finished flowers. 
 (You might want to do a bit of shaping with your fingers to make the petals more even.)

For the centers of these, I just tied a little knot in a small piece of ribbon, tucked the ends under and then glued it to the center of each flower.  You could also just add a brad or trinket to the centers.

Did you notice the little ribbon leaves?  They are even EASIER! 

All you need is about 3 or 4 inches of Double Dot Ribbon.  Fold and stitch as shown.  All stitches start and end on the top of the leaf.  Be sure to catch the fold into your stitches.

Now, pull up the stitches to gather.

Wrap the thread around the stitched area a couple of times and then knot it in the back.

Trim the excess ribbon from the ends.  Be sure to leave a bit of ribbon to attach the leaves underneath the flower.  Just use glue dots to hold them in place.

That's it!  Super Simple!  Now it's your turn to give it a try! 

One more hint before you go... I like to glue my flowers and leaves to a little punched circle.  Then I can move them around to my heart's content.  When you have them where you want them, just use a glue dot to attach them to your page!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Jewelry Spotlight Features Barbara with Hot Dog Crafts

Tuesday's Jewelry Spotlight is Featuring Barbara with Hot Dog Crafts

I Love Graphics ~ Scrabble Tiles, Button Earrings and Glass Dome Necklaces
Living is so expensive now. I like to make items that will work well as a gift , a party favor or a stocking stuffer. My earrings, Scrabble Tile Necklaces and Glass Dome Necklaces make great party favors for tweens, teens, bridesmaids and friends and YOU.

I love searching for graphics. I have thousands on my computer and have access to millions more. 

If you can think of it I am sure that I can create a an item just for you.

I also love color and I love making treasuries. You'll see that most of my treasuries feature bright colors.

I hate to admit it, but I am kind of a techo rebel. I spent over 10 years working as the Computer geek at a college campus. Loved the problem solving and teaching users and the interactions. Now I can not convince myself to blog, tweet (I do once in a while) or facebook.

If you have read this far, I would like to invite you to visit my shop, check out the selections and contact me if you would like a custom order.  
I am happy to personalize any item in HotDogCrafts. Convo (contact) me any time.  
I am a farm girl from Indiana, but have lived in Texas for almost 25 years so I am now a Texan.
I served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 15 years. (I love red, white and blue Treasuries).
I am hooked on crafts. I like to try all kinds of crafts but mostly paper based now. I make paper mosaics (my husband says the paper is much nicer to step on than when I used colored glass.)
My husband retired from the U.S.Navy and just recently retired from a job as a college network engineer.
We are both very happy that he is home all the time. 
We are both ham radio operators and crafters.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Solutions: 101 Home Organization Tips

Monday Solutions:  101 Home Organization Tips

1. Consider going digital. “Scanning old receipts, documents and important papers creates uncluttered space,” says professional organizer Justin Klosky. If you do go this route, make sure to invest in a backup drive for your computer.
2. Get rid of your old makeup—foundation lasts for one to two years, concealer for only one year, and lipstick for two years. Chances are high that you are hanging on to items that are way past their expiration date.
3. Use an over-the-door storage system in the bathroom for your hairdryer and other bulky tools to free up cabinet and counter space.
4. “If you haven’t worn it in two years, get rid of it!” — Wendy Clurman, former Vogue Fashion Director
5. Speed up your morning makeup routine by setting aside the products you use daily somewhere specific. Makeup artist Jenn Streicher places her BB Cream, concealer, and blush on a sleek white octagonal tray.
6.  Turn on music to help make the organizing process more fun. Sometimes all it takes is a little Beyoncé.
7. Toss, sell, or donate something for every new item you buy.
8. “The casual daytime belts I wear all the time are hung on a wall with hooks, while those that are more delicate or have tons of hardware, like my vintage Judith Leiber and Hermès belts, are coiled with tissue paper and kept in soft duster bags,” Rachel Zoe shared of her system for organizing her closet.
9. To help get motivated, create a deadline for clearing out unwanted items by calling a charity and scheduling an appointment for pick-up or drop-off.
10 diy garment rack 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
10. Store all of those empty plastic bags you’ve collected inside of an empty paper-towel cardboard tube.
11. Download electronic copies of appliance manuals and throw-out the hard copy.
12. Actress Angie Harmon organizes her makeup seasonally. “I literally have tubs under my sink that say Spring and Summer Lips and then Fall and Winter Lips,” she says.
13. Organize sunglasses on a pants hanger. Seriously, it works.
14. Bedside tables are tiny and don’t provide much storage space. Try a beside dresser, instead.
15. Shred or stamp any unnecessary documents that include account numbers, birth dates, passwords and PINs, signatures, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
16. “I encourage people not to spend too much time on filing. If you have an overly detailed filing system, you’ll have a harder time finding things. It should be really simple. Assign big categories: credit cards, taxes.” — Kim Anker-Paddon, organizing consultant
17. Use a big bookcase as a headboard for your bed—shelf and sleeping space all in one.
18. Store winter gear like hats, gloves, and scarves in designated baskets in your entryway.
19. Enlist a friend to help you organize. “You’re a better editor with someone else’s stuff,” says stylist Christine Cameron, who regularly helps one friend in particular clean out her closet. “I insist she let go of that ‘When-I-lose-five-pounds skirt,’ and she reminds me that a girl doesn’t need ten pairs of black pants.”
d158b54a41760d1ad3bb53c8b0e9ebb5 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
20. Keep a basket for sneakers, rain boots, and other shoes that get messy by the front door or in the foyer closet.
21. To maintain as much open space as possible, store up instead of out. Tall rather than deep furniture takes up less room.
22. Scan business cards instead of letting them pile up.
23. “When you arrange your closet by color, items get lost. Instead, organize your clothes by sections of occasion. Keep fancy little black dresses separate from your long black sundresses.” – Deirdre Pursel, Owner of Organize & Edit
24. Display pretty perfumes on a cake stand or mirrored tray.
25. Store important documents such as your passport, social security card, and living will in a safety deposit box or fireproof storage.
26. The dining table can get cluttered, as it’s often used as a workspace. “Designate a bin for whatever tends to find a temporary home on the table. This can be permanent storage or a way to move things to their rightful room,” says Meryl Starr, author of The Home Organizing Workbook.
27. While sorting through unneeded clutter, you’ll probably come across unopened items. Re-gift them!
28. If you share a bathroom, get color-coded towels and washcloths for each person.
29. “A great goal is to clear the surfaces (the floor, tables and desktops, countertops) of your home before you go to bed. Waking up to an orderly, stress-free situation can set the tone for your entire day.” – Jodie Watson, Founder of Supreme Organization
1 orderly bedrooms xlg 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
30. Don’t fall into the trap of cluttering your home even more that it already is by purchasing unnecessary storage products and organizational containers.
31. Organize your appointments and other commitments on a wall calendar. Writing out everything will make it easier to remember those lunch meetings and coffee dates.
32. “Put together tote bags for regular activities, whether it’s bicycling, sports, the beach and so forth. Fill them with things like water bottles, a little cooler, SPF, and snacks, so you don’t have to look for anything before you go,” recommends professional organizer Donna Smallin Kuper.
33. If a fire destroyed your home, would you really miss all of those extra pens or mugs that you never use? If it’s not that important to you, toss it.
34. In your home’s entryway, designate a hanger or hook for each family member.
35. Floating shelves are great for small rooms since they don’t take up nearly as much space as bulky, standalone storage units.
36. “If you have the space to hang everything, hang everything. You’ll wear more if you can see it,” says professional organizer Andrea Rapke.
37. Before buying something, consider whether you have an actual use for it, if you have something else that does the same thing, and above all, where you’re going to store it.
38. Store small kitchen containers, like Tupperware, in a large plastic bin. Keep the bin in a bottom cabinet so you can pull it out, take what you want, and then put it back.
39. Attach a magnetic strip to the inside of your medicine cabinet to store bobby pins, nail clippers, tweezers, and other small metal objects.
bathroom4 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
40. Just say no to procrastinating. “Many people tell me they avoid cleaning out their drawers because they don’t know what to do with the items they don’t need any more. Making a donation to an organization like Goodwill allows you to turn gently used items into opportunities for people in need of job training or support services” says interior designer Michael Moloney.
41. Keep paper clips, rubber bands, hair ties, and other tiny items that tend to get scattered in Altoids tins.
42. Instead of cluttering the rim of your tub, store your shampoos and conditioners in a metal, tiered caddy that you can hang onto your shower rod.
43. Have a lot of scarves and no where to put them? Tension rods work well for just this.
44. Living in clutter? Lauren Conrad suggests decorating with furniture made of clear Lucite or glass. “Just one see-through piece can entirely reshape a room by giving it a more spacious and less cluttered feel,” she says.
45. Hang cords you don’t often use on hooks on the inside of a cupboard.
46. Use tension rods as dividers in cupboards to make storing trays and cutting boards easier.
47. Need somewhere to put all of your nail polishes? Go for a spice rack.
48. If you’re always searching for keys and other small but essential items, professional organizer Jill Pollack has a tip: “Make a command center for your keys, purse, wallet, and cell phone charger.”
49. Store batteries in a plastic tackle box.
home stationary storage 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
50. Have a system for incoming and outgoing mail, such as letter trays, baskets, or standing racks. Have a dedicated bin for junk mail, so it can be immediately recycled. File bills and other correspondence in separate in-boxes.
51. Get rid of anything that doesn’t make you feel good. “Surround yourself with things that are important, that make you happy, that are beautiful,” says designer Merit Elliot of Current/Elliot.
52. A magazine rack hung on the inside of a kitchen cabinet makes a great storage spot for pot lids.
53. For functional seating, get an ottoman with interior storage space.
54. Group like with like—designate spaces for different types of items, like office supplies, important documents, wires and cords, and gadgets. That way you’ll know exactly where to look for an item.
55. Stylist Brad Goreski owns 40 cashmere sweaters, but does anyone need that many? “Go through the things in your drawers and evaluate whether you really need a certain number of things you have in your closet. How many pairs of jeans do you really need? Just keep the ones you are really into right now,” he says.
56. Store perfume samples in old cigar boxes or other decorative tins.
57. Store cleaning supplies in a plastic caddy that you can carry from room to room.
58. Store off season clothes and linens in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. They save space and easily fit under a bed or in a closet.
59. When organizing your makeup, the key is to use small clear containers with no lids. “This allows you to see what’s inside and keeps items accessible. It also helps to repurpose glass containers for things like q tips, makeup sponges, and cotton balls,” says professional organizer Beth Zeigler.
fea988c892b852dab7a329c269215752 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
60. Stack bracelets on a paper-towel holder.
61. In the linen closet, store sheet sets together in one pillowcase to make it easier to find what you need when making a bed.
62. Store wrapping paper in an umbrella stand.
63. Keep an ice-cube tray in the drawer of your desk to store those pesky “I don’t know what to do with this” items like paper clips and thumbtacks.
64. “Plenty of walking space is best for traffic flow, especially in an [area] as busy as the kitchen. To make the room appear even airier, clear your rarely-used gadgets off counters and organize your cookbook shelf by color—you’ll be amazed at how much larger the room feels.” — Graham Elliott, chef
65. Store kitchenware by task. For example, all baking supplies in one drawer, pots and pans in another, and knives and cutting tools in a different spot.
66. If you buy food in bulk, transfer them from their unnecessarily large boxes and bags to smaller glass containers that are easier to store.
67. Store hairsprays, gels, and other products in a tub under your bathroom sink instead of cluttering sink space.
68. If you can afford the luxury of a housekeeper, hire one. “It doesn’t have to be every week. An excellent housekeeper can help you stay on track,” recommends professional organizer Kim Anker-Paddon.
69. Make your bed everyday. If the rest of your room is organized, what’s the point if your bed is messy?
2 clutter free kitchen xlg 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
70. Store remote controls in a small decorative basket on the coffee table.
71. Keep kitchen tools by the place you normally use them—for example, pans by the stove and baking sheets by the oven.
72. “I use Lazy Susan’s to store oils, vinegars, and condiments which makes it really easy to access and find exactly what you’re looking for.” — Alejandra Costello, professional organizer
73. Use a small flowerpot with a drip tray to store sponges, scrubbers, and other dishwashing supplies by the sink.
74. If you don’t use it everyday, don’t keep it on a table, desk, or counter that is in plain view.
75. Keep items you don’t know whether to keep or toss in a box in storage for a year. Toss the things you don’t use for an entire year.
76. “Slimline hangers are an absolute must in any closet, no matter what the size! They are an incredible space saver, and the felt lining keeps all of your clothes in their perfect place. No more silk tops on the floor!” – Corri McFadden, Owner of eDrop-off
77. Stack trays and platters by shape: round platters in one stack, oblong platters in another. Or lean platters against the back wall of a cabinet (secure them using rubber bumpers) and stack plates in front.
78. Instead of letting magazines pile up, keep your favorite issues in a colorful magazine holder.
79. “Stackable plastic drawers are a great way to manage household supplies such as light bulbs, vacuum cleaner bags, and batteries.” — Stacey Platt, author of What’s a Disorganized Person to Do?
3326d5390f17467e86bd2d5b9980da32 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
80. Throw out anything that doesn’t work—be it a broken clock, stained shirt, or bracelet missing a clasp. Chances are, you won’t get around to fixing it.
81. Opt for adjustable shelves rather than fixed ones. They will allow you to change the arrangement of the closet as your storage needs evolve.
82. Organize your pantry by expiration date. Designate one shelf for goods that last one year and another for those you can keep around for two.
83. Organize one room at a time instead of spreading your efforts over multiple rooms at once, and “completing each area before you move on to the next,” says Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out.
84. Put things back as soon as you finish with them. We know, it’s easier said then done.
85. A shelving unit above the toilet adds tons of storage space without taking up much room.
86. “Keep a folder labeled ‘Tax Documents’ where you sort your mail. As statements come in, slip them into the folder. When tax time comes, everything you need is in one spot.” — Meredith Schwartz, Founder of
87. Hide cords and keep them organized by drilling a few small holes in the back of your desk and threading them through. Then attach your surge protector to the underside of your desk.
88. On the first of the upcoming month, turn all of the hangers in your closet backwards. Whenever you wear something, put it back with the hanger facing forward. After six months, donate everything still on a backwards hanger.
89. Keep knives on a magnetic strip above the stove or sink in the kitchen to save counter or drawer space.
 101 Home Organizing Tips and Tricks
90. Get a handheld label maker. “You can get as many containers, bins, and baskets as you want, but what good are they if you can’t tell what’s inside?” Jodie Watson, founder of Supreme Organization, points out.
91. Organize wires and cords with small stick-on labels.
92. Use a cabinet or a shelf as a TV stand to create extra storage space.
93. Have a designated bag or box in the house for items you want to donate.
94. “Hands down, [trays] are my favorite way to make my less-than-organized piles of random items look streamlined and put together.” — Abby Giffin, Founder of Semigloss Chic
95. Rolling clothes instead of folding them saves space and minimizes wrinkles.
96. Attach a metal sheet to the inside of a kitchen cabinet so you don’t have to clutter your fridge with recipes, notes, and magnets.
97. If you’re short on closet space, store winter blankets between your mattress and box spring.
98. Use bed risers to maximize storage space under the bed. Or, get a bed frame with built-in drawers underneath.
99. Store pet grooming supplies in a caddy and pet treats in a labeled cookie jar. Keep leashes and doggie bags in a basket by the front door.
100. “Allocate a realistic amount of time for editing thoroughly (a minimum of two hours). Real editing involves trying things on and going through a lot of items. You don’t want to have to run out to your appointment halfway through and loose your clearing out momentum.” — Sarah Hogan, Head of Styling at Vault Couture
101. If you don’t have a laundry room, mount an ironing board cabinet on the wall in a corner of a hallway. You can purchase one that’s ready-to-install or get one custom made to perfectly match the color scheme of your home.

Read more:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Recipes ~ Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan with Spinach

20 Minute Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan
4 servings
20 Minute Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan
  • 6-8 small chicken cutlets or breast filets (1.5-2 lbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
  • 2 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine panko and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
  3. Coat the chicken with the bread crumb mixture pressing gently to adhere.
  4. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the cutlets (do in batches to avoid crowding) and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. (Wipe skillet before repeating with remaining chicken pieces.)
  6. Remove chicken from skillet and pour half of the pasta sauce onto the bottom of the skillet.
  7. Gently lay the chicken on top.
  8. Top each piece of chicken with a couple tablespoons of sauce, 1/4 cup chopped spinach, and two tablespoons of mozzarella. Just spoon and sprinkle till it looks right :)
  9. Place in broiler for 2-4 minutes until cheese just begins to turn golden brown.
  10. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kid's Fun ~ How to Make Melted Bead Suncatchers

For the Kiddos ~ How to Make Melted Bead Suncatchers with Pony Beads


Share & Comment
How to Make Melted Bead Suncatchers
Yesterday we made melted bead suncatchers, an idea I found on Craftster (viaPinterest).
Now that Maia is on summer vacation, we have been using Daphne’s nap time toread and, often, to work on an art or craft project together.
The melted bead suncatchers were surprisingly easy to create yet are very durable. Unlike most suncatchers and stained glass projects we make out of paper or contact paper, these melted bead suncatchers will last and last and will also withstand the elements for outdoor use.
Melted Bead Suncatchers


We started with cheap, translucent pony beads. I bought ours at our local A.C. Moore, but they are available on Amazon and Discount School Supply as well.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Maia and I each arranged the pony beads into a single layer in metal baking dishes. She started with a cake pan but was soon daunted by the size and switched to the smaller muffin tin sections.
By the way, I was skeptical about melting the plastic beads in my baking dishes. I half thought that they would never come out and I’d be stuck with ruined pans, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as a bead suncatcher was cool, it popped right out and didn’t leave any visible residue at all!
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Here are Maia’s beads, ready to be melted and fused together.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
While Maia created several smaller suncatchers, I used the cake pan to make one large suncatcher. I arranged my beads to form a sun as you can see in the partially completed design above.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
We melted the beads in the oven at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. They could probably have used a few more minutes, but I was starting to freak out about the melting plastic smell. I don’t know why it came as a surprise to me, but it did.
I opened all the windows, turned on all the fans, and took the kids outside to play while the beads melted. I didn’t want any of us to breathe the fumes. Once the suncatchers were melted, I took them outside to cool on the hood of the car.
(By the way, once the suncatchers were “cooked,” I sprayed some Febrezearound the house and the smell went away immediately. Awesome! I don’t know much about the stuff, though, and wonder if it just masks the smell (it didn’t seem like it — I used one without a scent) or if it somehow removes the particles from the air or makes them inert. I’m awfully curious now.)
UPDATE (5/23/12): We’ve since made all of our melted bead suncatchers on the gas grill outside, thanks to a comment from Lou. It works great and only takes about 10 minutes! Some readers have been using a toaster oven outside, which may be another good solution.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Once the suncatchers were cool, I inverted the pans and they popped right out! As you can see from the somewhat pebbly surface, they probably could have used a few more minutes in the oven.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Harry drilled a small hole in each with the power drill, then strung some old kite string through the holes to hang them up.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
We hung the melted bead suncatchers on the front porch to catch the morning sunlight.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Aren’t they lovely? Maia has already said she wants to make more and I have to admit that I’m eager to try different colors and designs myself. I think they would make great gifts as well.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
By the way, look how the round beads melted into hexagons. We thought it was pretty cool how they melted to take up the space around them so evenly.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Although when the beads were more widely spaced or set on their sides, some melted into rectangles and pentagons.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Now we have a riot of colorful melted bead suncatchers to join the melted crayon stained glass bunting on the porch!
Perhaps it’s time I just give in and admit this is a stained glass and suncatcher blog. :)
If you’re looking for more melted bead suncatcher ideas, here are my melted bead suncatcher posts so far: