Archives for category: DIY


Anthropologie Knock Off
Vintage Yo Yo Bobby Pins
{As seen on the fabulous Kojo Designs}
I originally posted this fun tutorial on Kojo Designs a while back.  During my moving interim, I thought I would revisit it with y’all.
If you’ve ever seen any of my tutorials,
then you know I love me a good knock off.
And naturally, one of my favorite sites to get ideas is Anthropologie.
I stumbled upon these beauties, and knew I wanted to try my own version.
{source: Anthropologie}
And now, for my version:

In my family, we have a Yo Yo quilt that has been passed down for 4 generations.  It is made with vintage fabric, and it makes my heart swoon.  The only problem, it has begun to tatter and fall apart. And the girls in our family have been trying to find alternate uses for the classic yo yo’s.  So I very carefully used a seam ripper to remove a handful of yo yo’s from the outer edge of my blanket–to use on this vintage project.

To make your own yo yo’s, see this tutorial.

  • Fabric Yo Yo’s
  • Bobby Pin blanks {available in jewelry section at Joann’s}
  • Buttons and/or scrap booking embellishments
  • Ribbon, tulle or any other extras you like
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue

Lay out all your Yo Yo’s and start gettin’ creative as you make your button/yo yo combinations.

Grab your bobby pin base and add a drop of hot glue.
Place on the backside of a yo yo. Allow to cool.
Flip over and apply a drop of glue to the center of the front of your yo yo. Then place your button on top. Allow to cool.
Yep, it’s really that easy.

I hope you enjoyed the world’s easiest knock off project!
Happy Crafting!


Yep, little ol’ me got a little feature in this months issue of Women’s Day Magazine.  Remember this tutorial from back in the day?  Well, some of WD’s people thought it would be the perfect summer craft, and I didn’t argue.  You can check out the feature here, or at your local newsstand.
Pretty neeto.
BTW: the corn on the cobs on the cover of the magazine are actually cupcakes. How cute is that?!
P.S. the new blog design is coming along awesomely…stay tuned!


Homemade Taquitos Recipe
Never dry, always crunchy, with a touch of salt.
Seriously better than any taquitos you’ll order at a restaurant.
Mmmmm, Mmmmm good.
Since as far back as I can remember, this has been one of my all-time favorite comfort meals. When my Momma makes her yummy taquitos, I turn into a teenage boy–as in I eat about a dozen. It’s not pretty, but it sure feels good.
My grandma {Dad’s Mom} taught my Mom how to make these way back when my parents were newly weds. 

Vegetable Oil
Canned Roast Beef
Corn Tortillas
First, open the roast beef and break apart the clumps with a fork until their are no large pieces.
Next, microwave about 10 tortillas at a time until soft enough to roll without breaking. Be sure to wrap them in paper towels or cover them with paper plates before you microwave so they don’t get rubbery.
Spread a heaping tablespoon worth of meat onto the edge of a tortilla.

Tightly roll up the tortilla and place in a cookie sheet seam side down.
Continue this step will all your tortillas {make a lot, trust me}.

Once all the taquitos are prepped, you are ready to start frying them.
Pour enough vegetable oil in the pan to cover the bottom.
Turn the burner onto medium/high heat and wait for the oil to get hot.


Use tongs to place the taquitos seam side down in the pan.

Taquitos should take approximately 5 minutes to brown on one side (takes longer for a larger pan). Once brown on one side, flip with the tongs.
Sprinkle salt to taste while they finish cooking.

Remove the taquitos from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess grease. And of course, top with cheese.


Tips for Getting Kids to Smile for Pictures
by: Kristen Duke Photography
{we love her}

Hello friends! Ashley asked me to do a post on some photography basics, so I thought I’d share something that would help the momma’s out there trying to get their kids to just LOOK AT THEM for a picture. I know a lot of you can feel my pain when you get blank stares or grumpy frowns or just plain ignoring your requests. As a momma myself, I have to have a LOT of tricks up my sleeve to get my own kids to smile at the camera (no, they aren’t used to it and happyily comply, I have to work for it). Right now in my family, I am dealing with my hardest client ages–the 2 year old and the 10 year old boy–Neither want to do what you ask when it comes to picture taking! Luckily my 6 year old daughter loves the camera!

My dad said if you want people to remember something you are teaching, give them a set of three points and it will stick better (Did you notice that with my e-book?) So I’ve got 3 tricks for the young ones and 3 tips for the older kids.

3 tricks for getting young kids to smile:

1. One word phrases
“Cheese” is SO overdone…the kids are tired of it and by now they’ve heard it so much that they move their lips in a straight line and show some teeth but their eyes are totally annoyed and rarely even make eye contact. Change up those one word phrases you have them say. Some of my favorites for kids or groups: “Yee–haw” or “happy” or “Hooray!” or “pizza.” Throw out any words for them to repeat. It can be anything from their favorite treat to their favorite cartoon character to their favorite toy. Have them repeat what makes them happy and they will think happy thoughts.
2. Sing a song
We want to get the children to a place that brings happiness in order to capture happiness. As the momma (or aunt or grandma), you know their favorite song, start singing it! If they don’t sing along, they will surely smile as they hear it. Twinkle Twinkle or Old McDonald or Wheels on the Bus are standard favorites, but I often ask kids (if I don’t know them well) what shows they like to watch and I am finding myself singing about Dora or Elmo or even Barney. Singing the words wrong can actually be pretty funny as well. The little ones will correct you. One time, I kept singing it wrong even after correcting, and I got a grumpy face. I think I just took that one too far;)
3. Have a bag of tricks
First, I pull out a little yellow hair scrunchy that has been converted to a duck. It wraps around my lens and I tell the young kids to look right at the duck and quack. I try to wait until I am desperate when I pull out a ball or a rattle to get their attention. I do this because often the little ones want to hold it and my plan could backfire. I throw the ball up in the air, or put it right by the camera and say I am going to throw it at them. The anticipatory smile is all worth it. I have a silver bell ornament from Christmas that I like to bring out because in the event that the young child wants to hold the ball, it isn’t too ugly to stay in his hand for the pic. A stick or book can “bonk” the photographer on the head or leg and you can actually yell “OWW” and that brings on the laughs as well. This requires an extra person doing the “bonking.” This shot below what my head getting “bonked” by my reflector as I pretended to get hurt.

3 tricks for getting older kids to smile:

1. Have a conversation
Show interest and have a chat about life. Ask about school, friends, sports, skateboarding, vacations, birthday wish list, their favorite show, etc. By asking questions and getting them to talk, they forget about the grumpiness that surely presented itself when you pulled out the camera.
2. Have some music at the ready
Teens love their music and it usually puts them in a good mood. Whether you ask them to bring their ipod, or tune the car radio to their favorite station, you are sure to get a happy face. You may even get to capture a dance move. Seriously, I love those kinds of candid shots!
3. Ask about their girl/boy friend.
They may not have one, but the idea of this brings a “no way” or a big smile as they think of that person they are crushing on. Whether they try to deny it, or paint you a picture of all of their loves’ exquisite details, you will get a smile.
If you have some suggestions on getting kids to smile, please share! I can always use new ideas…especially for my own kids!
P.S. Ashley mentioned my Say NO! to Auto e-book and workshops on here last week. I want to mention that I had a location change for my July 23rd California workshop. It was going to be in San Diego, but it is now in Huntington Beach. So if that is closer to you, please let me know if you’d like to attend! If you aren’t close to there or my Texas locations, look up my skype mentoring info for some one on one Q&A!
Oh, and if I haven’t given you enough links to pass the time, com
e on over to my facebook page and become a fan because each Friday (today!), I have a Facebook Freebie where I give away full resolution files of landscape images I have taken. Print as you please.
Have a great Friday!


´╗┐Dear Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake,
We cannot be friends.
I do not trust myself alone with you.
I knew you would be good, but I didn’t know you would be that good.
But I suppose a recipe that calls for four sticks of butter and a pound of powdered sugar is bound to be life altering.
I will never be able to enjoy a Costco chocolate cake again.
Thanks a lot.

No worries, I washed my hands after I licked the bowl clean.

What’s that, MORE butter you say…

And a mountain of powdered sugar surrounded by a mote of boiling chocolate…Willy Wonka, eat your heart out.

I suggest immediately filling the bowl with water, as to prevent you from devouring every last drop of cake batter. Maybe throw in some dish soap just to be sure.

Then check on the baby to make sure he isn’t standing on the back of the couch. Yep, pants removed, just as I suspected. 

Make these. You won’t be sorry.
Getting closer to checking #89 off my life list.
Off to make her Comfort Meatballs and Home Style Mashed Potatoes,
and then hop into a pair of pants with an elastic waistband.
BTW: Did you know you can find me on facebook?
I fb about all sorts of totally riveting topics like what I ate for lunch and my favorite TV show quotes. You should visit, its good stuff.


How to Make a Jewel Bib Necklace
(with a free template download}

I’ve seen these bib necklaces everywhere. J Crew, Anthropologie, Nordstroms.
And I have been meaning to make one of my very own for nearly a year now.
Well, I finally did it.
And let me tell you, it’s easy as pie.
Let’s make one together, mmkay.
  • Download your FREE necklace template HERE.
  • One square foot of black felt
  • Package of gems: I purchased the 1 lb. package from Michael’s and I used my 40% OFF coupon. You will only end up using about 2 ounces of gems for one necklace.
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Glue gun and hot glue
  • 3 feet of ribbon
First, download your FREE template here.
Carefully cut it out and then pin it to the center of your felt.
Use the pattern to cut out the felt in the shape of your bib necklace.

Set aside the felt scraps for later on.

Now, place your gems in the desired layout on your felt backing.
This may be tricky, so take your time until it looks just right.
I made mine symmetrical.

Once you have your layout, begin to glue down each gem–one by one.
I started from the edges and then worked my way in.

Once you have glued all the gems into place, flip over your felt and get ready to add the ribbon.  Keep the ribbon in one long single strand. Apply a dime size drop of glue to the top of the felt backing. Glue the ribbon about 1.5 inches down.  Repeat the step with the other side of the ribbon.

Now, take your set aside felt scraps and cut two 1.5 inch squares.

Apply another dime size drop of glue on top of the ribbon, and put the square felt on top.  This will hide the ribbon backing and give it a clean look.

Find the center of your ribbon and make your cut.

Then tie a bow. I kept the ribbon extra long {3 feet} so that I could have a larger bow. And that’s it!

I am excited to use the template to make some other bib necklaces.
Maybe a pom pom one, a button one, or a lace embellished one.
If you use this template for a necklace, I would love to see how your project turns out! Come back and leave a link in the comments.
Happy Crafting!
I will be linking up to some of these fun parties!
Getting votes makes me smile.
All you have to do is click the link.
{you can click every day, if you want}
Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
What if I got to be #1 for a day?
I think that might be pure awesome.
Also, we will take a break from I SPY this week.
I have something else planned for us *wink*.


DIY Stencil Tote
How to stencil on your favorite tote or purse.
Perfect for canvas, burlap and cotton market bags.

Canvas, cotton or burlap tote {I got mine from the sale section at Cost Plus}
Queen Bee Stencil from Your Memories Captured
Fabric paint
Sponge brush
Scotch Tape {not pictured}

{purchase stencil here}

First, securely tape your stencil in place.
Be sure you have smoothed the stencil out as much as possible, and that there are no wrinkles in the fabric.
It may be best to iron your fabric first.
Now, always remember that “less is more” when painting the stencil.
Apply a small amount of the fabric paint to your sponge brush and then dab the brush on a paper towel to remove any extra paint.
I like to hold down the part of the stencil that I will be painting in.
This way I can be sure that no paint gets outside the lines.
DAB, don’t brush the paint onto the stencil.
Like I said, less is more–so start with a thin first layer of paint over the entire stencil. Then paint another coat until you have your desired coverage.

If you hold the stencil in place like I do, then your fingers will look like this after.  The mark of a true crafter.

This is my stencil all painted in.
I purposely didn’t paint evenly because I wanted the more “worn out” and vintage look.

Slowly remove your stencil and allow the paint to dry.
It is easiest if you wash your stencil right away.
Just place under a stream of warm/hot water with a bit of dish soap.
You won’t even need to scrub–the paint will rinse right off.

And that’s it!

I have so many fun projects planned for this stencil:
  • burlap pillow
  • framed picture
  • place mats
  • cork board
Be sure to check out all the other inspiring stencils from
And I will see you tomorrow for the
I SPY: jewelry and shoes edition