I am no longer actively blogging here at "Taking Time To Create", but I'd love for you to join me at my new blog: "Taking Time In The City". I hope to see you soon!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cardboard Trucks {Easter Egg Fillers}

Aren't they adorable? I'm so excited about how they turned out! They're a version of the "Small Wooden Trucks" in the book Made To Play by Joel Henriques. You can find info about the book here and Joel's blog here. I'd really recommend at least stopping by his blog, but the book is definitely worth the buy.

I used his templates but did them on cardboard instead of wood. You could easily make your own designs too (I'm just not that great at that kind of thing) :-) Then instead of using a wood burner to create the details I used a Sharpie after I applied watercolor paints. 

They're super cool, but the main reason I made these is because most of them are small enough to fit into plastic Easter eggs!
I'm also making cardboard versions of the "Small Wooden Animals" in the book. Those aren't quite ready yet though. These are a nice alternative to candy. :-)

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Wreath {For Around $15}

I have definitely been bitten by the Spring bug. I've got sprouts coming up from the seeds I started (pictures to come of the sprouts), the weather is getting close to Springlike here in Colorado, and we've been doing all kinds of yard work. I wanted to make something to tide me over until my real flowers start blooming. A Spring Wreath was the perfect solution!

I was inspired by the colors in this wreath that I pinned a few weeks back (four according to Pinterest; it's pretty cool how they keep track of that). I wanted to make it anyway, but when I saw the theme for the Pinspired and Rewired Link Party this month, I knew I had to make one (see below for more info on that link party).

I didn't even realize until just now that the original also had a red backdrop! Nice! :-)

I was going to use tulips as well, but when I got the store I decided that daisies would cover more surface. I didn't have to buy quite as many this way. :-) Plus, daisies are near and dear to my heart since they were the flowers we had in our wedding.

Here's what you'll need to make a wreath like mine:
  • 1 straw wreath (I can't remember what size it was, but it wasn't huge and it wasn't the smallest if that helps)-about $4.00
  • 3-4 bunches of daisies-$3.00-$6.00 each-I bought mine when they were half off at Hobby Lobby, so that's how I made this for around $15.00. I only used 3 bunches of daisies, but you could use more.
  • Ribbon-on hand
  • Glue (I used Tacky Glue and hot glue)-on hand
First, I took all the daisies off the stems and trimmed the plastic that the stem goes into to attach it to the flower (what would you call that, anyway?). This allowed the daisies to lay flat on the wreath.

Then I stripped all the leaves off of the plastic stems, so I just had the fabric of the leaves.

Some of the straw will probably come off the wreath, so you may want to cover your work surface.

Using Tacky Glue, I glued the leaves onto the entire wreath. The was part way through the process. 
I tied the ribbon around the wreath to use as a hanger. Nothing fancy, so I didn't take a picture. I just tied it with a loop that wouldn't stick up of the flowers but was big enough to hook onto a nail.

Finally, I started gluing the flowers on the wreath. I started out sort of following a pattern but ended up putting them on kind of randomly as I was filling holes.
That's it! Though it's definitely not a 5-10 minute craft, it's pretty simple to complete.

Another motivation for me to complete this project was the Pinspired and Rewired Link Party going on over at Southern Lovely, Family Even After, Ginger Snap Crafts, and The Gunny Sack. If you haven't heard about it, you should really check it out.

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Technique Tuesday: Men's Birthday Card {Masking Tape Layering}

I've been MIA due to internet problems. :-( I do have a quick post to share with you though!

To create the effect of the background layer on the card above is really very simple but a bit time consuming. It's worth it though! It creates a nice effect that can even be a little rustic if you like. Here's the original.

Start with a piece of card stock and layer pieces of masking tape until the entire piece is covered as you see on the pieces below.
Once all the layering is done, do a little distressing (put a little ink on a cotton ball and rub it over the masking tape.

You're going to emboss over the entire piece, so ink up the making tape with Versamark.

It may work with just regular embossing powder, but I used a thick, clear embossing powder. Do multiple layers of embossing powder until you have the desired amount of embossing powder. You probably won't get a smooth surface, but that adds to the effect.

That's it! It is pretty simple, but tearing the masking tape does take a little while. My little guy sat next to me and layered his own masking tape (sort of :-)), so it's a good way to keep a kiddo busy too. :-)

You'll have to either use a lot of glue or some type of adhesive strips to layer on top of the embossing powder. It's a great technique to use for a guy's birthday card.

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recipe Thursday {Shepherd's Pie}

One of our go to meals is Shepherd’s Pie. It’s relatively easy, and I can get it all together before I go to work, so all my husband has to do is put it in the oven when it's almost time for dinner.  It's something his parents have made for years too, so it's a family favorite. Nice. :-)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pie crust/shell (see recipe below if you’d like to make your own)
  • 2 cans green beans
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 lb ground beef (or other ground meat of your choosing)
  • Mashed potatoes (I give some instruction below for making them, but you can also buy them pre-made)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (F).

If you're making your own mashed potatoes, get the water boiling. Cut up and peel your potatoes while the water is heating up. I like to cut mine in pretty small pieces, so they don't take too long too boil and are easier to mash. I used 5 small potatoes, but I think we could have used one more.

Start browning your ground beef.

While the potatoes and ground beef are cooking, get your pie crust ready. If you're going to make your crust, see the recipe at the bottom of this post.

If you're making your crust, put it in the oven for about 10 minutes to start it baking. This helps the crust get cooked without the rest of the pie getting burned.

When your ground beef is finished, drain it and then mix together with the green beans and cream of mushroom soup.

Once the pie crust has baked for 10 minutes, scoop the green bean mixture into the pie crust.

Make your mashed potatoes. I use a hand mixer to mash them and add sour cream and butter. Some other things I sometimes add: garlic salt, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, or milk. It just depends what I have in the kitchen and what I feel like throwing in the mix.

Scoop your mashed potatoes on top of the green bean mixture.

Bake the pie for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is heated through. Watch that the potatoes don't get scorched. Serve it up like pieces of pie. :-)

Pie Crust Recipe and Instructions

2 cups flour
½ cup oil (I used Canola)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup + 1 TBSP Milk

Dump all your ingredients in a bowl and mix them together with a fork. They work together really quickly, so you don’t really need to use a mixer. It should look kind of crumbly when it's all mixed.
Push the crust together, so it's all in one piece. Place in between two pieces of wax paper (or one long piece folded in half).

Roll the crust out so that it will fit in your pie pan. 
Take the top layer of wax paper off the crust, and place the pie pan face down on the crust. Get your hand under the other layer of wax paper and flip it all over so that the crust rests in the pie pan. Push the crust down in the pan and remove the wax paper.
Pinch the crust on the edge of the pan to create an edging. Bake according to your recipe.

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Busy Bag Ideas

Something I've seen all over lately is "Busy Bags". In case you haven't seen them, I'll tell you a little about them. You put together little activities for your kiddo(s) and place each of them in a bag for when you need to keep them busy (I'm using one of the bags to keep my little guy busy while I write this post). I kind of had a few things thrown in some Ziplocs, but I decided to organize them a little better. 

There are all kinds of ideas out there for the bags and how to store them, but I just went simple. I used gallon size Ziplocs and labeled them with shipping labels.
I used a bin I found in the Target dollar spot to hold them all. Simple and easy. 

Here's what I have in my bags:
  • Stickers: I put several sets of stickers and some paper, so my little guy can have fun putting the stickers on the paper. Doesn't sound too exciting, but trust me, it will entertain a 2 year old for a while. :-)
  • Playing Cards: I bought some Cars playing cards at the dollar store. My little guy likes looking at all the different cards, lining up the cards, throwing the cards, etc. 
  • I fit the Marble Track I made in one of the bags.
  • Special: I made a bag for special little activities I've found in the Dollar Spot like a paper mask with markers to color it. I'll keep refilling this bag as I find new things.
  • Play Clay: This is definitely an activity that I don't want him to have access to without me knowing it, so I put his play clay and play clay cutters in a bag.
  • Coloring: A coloring book and crayons occupy another bag.
  • Dry Erase and Chalk: We found a Cars mini dry erase board and mini chalk board for my little guy's birthday, so I've got those in another bag.
  • Although it wouldn't fit in the bin, I also have the Busy Book with all the Busy bags.
This is just what I was able to throw together the other night, but I've seen some other ideas that I'd like to make and add to my busy bags. Here are some of the ideas I've seen.
  • Felt Board: Did you ever have a Sunday School teacher use those felt storyboards? Number 3 on this list is the same concept, but you make your own shapes. It looks like a lot of fun and could be made to fit in a busy bag.
  • I Spy Bottle: I've seen these "I Spy" bags all over, but here's an idea of using a water bottle instead of a bag.
  • Color Matching Activity: Although this particular idea wouldn't fit in a bag, but I'm going to try to find something along these lines that will fit in a bag. I may even make something. We'll see. :-)
  • Felt Letters: These would fit nicely into a bag.
  • Paper Toys: There are lots of good ideas on this blog for making your own toys. I also bought his book and would highly recommend it.
Want more ideas? Check out my "Keep 'Em Busy" board on Pinterest for busy bag and activity ideas. There are lots of good ideas out there!

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Technique Tuesday {Kids' Cards}

I have a couple kids' birthday cards to share with you today for Technique Tuesday. They're both super cute!

This first card uses a simple layering technique. I cut individual petals and layered them to create a full and colorful flower. It's simple but leaves quite the impression. I love how bright and cheery it is!

The card didn't use a technique per say. I created the outline of a pickup truck and then layered on a window and tires. I used a circle punch for the tires, but you could easily cut out circles if you don't have a paper punch. 

The really cool thing about this card? I've got a template for you here to create a truck of your own. Although I didn't picture it here, I also made a version of this truck that was a magnet, so there's another idea for you. :-)

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Paper Punch Storage Tip {And What We Did This Weekend}

Here's a quick little tip for storing all those paper punches. 

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of a paper addict! Yes, yes it does sound a little weird, but I just LOVE paper! When you've got a lot of paper, a collection of paper punches will soon follow. My collection was getting a bit out of control and was just piled in a drawer, but then I remembered a tip I had seen (and actually used in an old house) years ago.

Use one of those small curtain rods to "hang" your paper punches. You may have some of these just laying around, and even if you don't, they're really not that expensive. I happened to have one just waiting to be used, so I dug it out, hung it on the wall, and voila! I've got a nice place to store my paper punches. Check it out:

And, now, if you're interested, here's a little of what we did this weekend. My husband took the day off on Friday to enjoy the wonderful weather we'd been having, so we went on a little hike.

About a month or so ago we sat down and made a list of places we wanted to check out near where we live. We got to check one of those places off our list!

Then on Saturday, we did a little yard work...ok A LOT of yard work. We were tired at the end of the day!

I guess we figured we hadn't worn ourselves out enough, so after church and going to breakfast on Sunday, we started doing a little more work on the yard. Luckily for our sore muscles, the wind kicked up,  so we retreated inside. 

We didn't want to waste the day, though, so we got our seeds started for our garden. I'm so excited for the garden this year! We started out small in 2010, expanded it in 2011, but this year we're putting more thought not only into growing the garden but in the design of it. It's going to be so beautiful! I can't wait to get it going, so I can share it with you.

What did you do this weekend? Do yo have Spring fever yet? I'm so ready to get things growing here!

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time To Live February {Picasa Photo Collage Tutorial}

About a month ago I shared a post about the collages I'm creating every month with pictures I'm taking every day (well, almost every day)...Time To Live. I also have a page with all the collages I've created so far and a description of the collages. I'm enjoying taking the pictures, but looking back at the last month is even more fun! Here's the collage for February. It's a little snapshot into our life in February.

Last month I used Photoshop to create the collage, but this month I wanted to do it a little differently and then I remembered the Collage feature in Picasa. 

It was actually easier that what I did in Photoshop, and I like the result a lot better than January's collage.

First, I cropped the photos and added the dates to all the photos. This is something you can easily do in Picasa. I'm not going to going into the details of that here, but please feel free to email or leave a contact if you need help with this step. :-)

Once I had all my pictures edited, I started on the collage. Here's how to do it:

All your pictures for the collage should be in the same folder.

Go the library in Picasa, find the correct folder, and select the photos you'd like in the collage. Then, click the "Collage" button near the bottom of the screen.
Picasa will take you to another screen where you'll choose the type of collage you'd like to create.
Then, you should choose the size of the collage.
You can move the pictures around by hand or simply shuffle the pictures (using the "Shuffle Pictures" button) until you get them where you want them.

Once everything is arranged how you'd like it, click the "Create Collage" button in the lower right hand side of the screen.
You'll get this screen while the collage is being created.
Your collage will automatically be saved in the "Collages" folder under "Projects" in the Picasa library, but if you'd like to save the collage somewhere else, you can do that too. Click on "File" and then "Export Picture to Folder..."
That's all there is to it! Let me know if you have questions, and I hope you have fun creating some photo collages. :-)

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Recipe Thursday {Berry Cherry Soda}

Here's a quick and tasty drink that I came up with the other day, and it's yummy! It would also make a good punch for a party. :-)

First you need to make the frozen fruit cubes. I pinned a punch recipe the other day that gave instructions for freezing a fruit filled ice ring to place in the punch bowl, and this gave me the idea to make a smaller version of the ice ring: frozen fruit cubes.

Frozen Fruit Cubes Recipe and Instructions:
Frozen Berries
Ginger Ale (some type of lemon lime soda would probably work too)

Place the fruit in an ice tray, pour the ginger ale over the fruit, and freeze.

Berry Cherry Fruit Punch Soda
Frozen Fruit Cubes
Lemon-lime soda or Ginger Ale
Cherry or Fruit Punch Juice

Place the fruit cubes in your glass. Fill the glass about half full with juice and fill the rest of the way with the soda. Stir. 

You could use the same ratio to make a punch for a party. It's pretty tasty!

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pallet Book Shelf {Book Rack}

I'm not sure if this should be called a shelf or a rack...at any rate it's great for holding my little guy's books!

I'd like to preface this post by saying that you should make sure to get permission to take a pallet if you see one lying behind a store. My husband works for a major retailer, and those pallets aren't necessarily trash. They may just be there because there is no room inside the building.

Now on to the fun!

Books, books, books! It seems like we were constantly tripping over books, and I couldn't find a good place to put them. So, when I saw this post at Six Sisters' Stuff I was super excited! A bookshelf made from a pallet! It was cute, seemed easy, and we happened to have a pallet in our backyard!

So a couple weekends ago we got to work! Ok, so my husband got to work. I really had every  intention of helping him, but it was so easy that he didn't really need that much help. 

If you'd like to make your own, head on over to the tutorial at Six Sisters's Stuff. It's a great tutorial, so I'm not going to repeat any of the details here. :-)

Now we have a great place to store all those books that have been getting underfoot. :-)

Pin It

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Technique Tuesday-Ladies March Birthday Cards

Every month I make birthday cards for everyone in my family. March had a lot of birthdays (18 or 19 if I remember right)! Making cards is my favorite craft. It's what got me interested in crafting in the first place. My favorite thing about making cards is using different techniques. It's always fun to see how a different technique will turn out. 

I love learning a new technique and thought you might too, so I'm starting a new series: "Technique Tuesday". If you enjoy making cards, I hope these cards will inspire you to make your own. :-)

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This first card uses a couple techniques. One is dry embossing. I'm not sure if you'd call the other one a technique, but it is kind of fun to make. It's a simple folded paper flower.

Dry embossing creates a raised image on paper. Use a stencil and a dry embossing stylus to make an impression of the stencil. See those little raised dots under the flower? That's where I did the dry embossing.

You can find the tutorial for how to make the flowers here.

The two cards above use a technique that creates different shades of color from the same ink pad. You ink up the stamp, stamp the image, and then stamp the image again (one or more times) without re-inking the stamp.

This last card also uses dry embossing and a variation of the last technique. I layered the images from two stamps, but before I stamped the base of the flower, I stamped on a scrap piece of paper, so the image would be lighter for the actual card.

I'm having a blast at these lovely linking parties.