Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Take-A-Look Tuesday Features - By Me {Ashley}

Wow! You peeps have got talent! I am so glad I have had the opportunity to co-host Take-a-Look Tuesday with Mandy and to feature some of YOU!

I am inspired by all of your creativity; it is a delight to rub shoulders with such awesomeness :)
Let's get started...

Sometimes I dream of organizing and beautifying my HUGE craft supply stash, but alas, it has yet to come to pass (especially since we've practically moved twice in the last 6 months). But Kelly, from My Sophia Ryan, has got her groove on in the craft organization department. Her Craft Organization Inspiration post is definitely inspiring!
craft org copy

I enjoy making cards, well, actually I LOVE it! And because I love utilizing my paper creativity to make whatever color/shape/size card I feel like, I am a sucker for a custom, coordinating envelope. Katie, from The Crafty Blog Stalker, put together a great round-up of 18 Different Paper Envelopes.
Paper Envelope Tutorial

Let's face it, making a garment for yourself is not always our top sewing priority. I love that Elizabeth, from The College Seamstress, took the time to sew-up a couple of cute tops for herself. Check out the loveliness on her post, The Casual Lady Top.
I have always wanted to make a pvc 'car wash' for Widget, my daughter, but felt so lost when it came time to start shopping for supplies. I'm so grateful for people, like Adina from The 5th Brick House On The Right, because they make specific lists and instructions that are easy to follow (not to mention the cost breakdown...which is a plus in my book!). Check out her Improved! Car Wash Sprinkler for Kids!
It's amazing what paint can do to change a room. It's also amazing what white paint can do in a kitchen. Check out the before and after pictures (Mom's Kitchen Cabinet Makeover) on Erin's blog, How To Nest For Less. She transformed her parent's kitchen from blah (and yellow) to fab (and bright).
yellow kitchen before white makeover
With a Widget (5 year old girl) at our house, we know a thing or two about princesses. And, you can't forget about princess dresses! Melanie, from The Crafty Cupboard, made a couple of pretty princess dresses for her girls so they could attend Princess Camp in style (I want to go to Princess Camp!). I think the coordinating skirt panels, showcased in the post Princess Camp call for Princess Dresses, are just perfect for the occasion!
Purple Princess Dresses
And as we are nearing that magical time, called back-to-school, my thoughts have been drifting to scenes of me (in my robe) bounding into the kitchen pantry looking for cold cereal, only to find the bag empty...and not knowing what else to feed my wanting child before rushing her off to school. I hope this scenario has never happened at your house, but just in case, I wanted to feature a few yummy looking recipes that would be great to have up your (bathrobe) sleeve in case of emergency (or just because they would be awesome and totally yummy).
'Make Ahead' is a phrase that I've been drawn to as of late, and these waffles fall right into that nifty category. Krystal, from My Life Of Travels And Adventures, shares a great recipe for Vanilla Waffles, that you can freeze and reheat in the toaster when you are ready to feed the wolves kids.
Raise your hand if your kids like doughnuts...Now raise your hand if you love doughnuts. Me too! But, I'm afraid eating doughnuts on a regular basis would give us sugar highs and thick thighs, so they do not grace our table too often. But, maybe these drool-inducing homemade doughnuts would kill the crazy-bad-doughnut cravings! Check out Andrea's guest post on My Thoughts for Thought about her Baked Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnut Recipe.
Baked Banana Chocolate Chip Doughnut Recipe
A BIG thank you to everyone who linked up their amazing projects--I enjoyed looking through all the links and seeing what brilliant creativity is dancing around blogland.
And thanks again Mandy for the opportunity to co-host and to feature some amazing talent from Take-A-Look Tuesday!

Have a Great Day!

P.S. Don't forget to link up your beach/nautical/maritime-inspired projects for July's Make Along Monday link-up. I can't wait to see what else you have come up with!

WIWW - The Sock Bun

Because I spend so much time shopping, thrifting, altering clothing and thinking about what to wear, I thought it might be fun to post weekly of what outfits I've put together throughout the week for me or my daughter. My WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) post will be displaying either my style, Widget's style, or both.

This week I've been rocking a sock bun due to my lack of hair washing...or maybe just pure laziness. No matter the reason, it is a fairly easy hairstyle that can make your 'dirty' hair work for you! Below are two different outfits with my two different ways to rock a sock bun.

First, the regular ol' sock bun. I used something like this technique to get a good, solid bun. Like with any sock bun style, I used lots of bobby pins to keep loose ends in place (along with a load of hairspray...a technique I picked up dancing/competing for 13 years).
Hair Flower: ZLilly Accessories (a fancy way to say I made it!), Top: IZOD Outlet,
Pants: JCPenney (altered by me), Shoes: Target

Second, I used something like this technique to make what I call a 'messy sock bun.' I also placed my pony tail closer to the nape of my neck and left me part intact for this do. Even though it was a bit messy, I thought it worked well with my red ruffled t-shirt and charcoal knit pencil skirt.
 Top: Target, Skirt: Old Navy
 Shoes: White House Black Market

Have you tried a sock bun yet?
Which technique is your favorite to use when making a sock bun?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Take-A-Look Tuesday with Sugar Bee Crafts

Hey Peeps! I am royally excited to announce that I'm co-hosting Take-A-Look Tuesday with Sugar Bee Crafts! 

Before we get into that, I'd like to also remind you that our Make Along Monday link party is open until Thursday. This month's theme is Nautical--so if you have worked on a Nautical or Maritime project lately, we would love for you to hop over and link your projects HERE after you link up below!

Okay, now on to the main event...Link Party Time!!!

Want to join in on the fun? I'd love for you to link up your awesome crafty projects
(anything linked up on my blog will also show up on Sugar Bee Crafts, and vice versa- so you only need to link up once). 
Can't wait to see what everyone's been up to -  - and who will be the most viewed link - maybe you?

- - just a run down- -
  • Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog - no more than a couple of posts please
  • Please don't link up anything you've already linked before (like something posted on a previous week)
  • Try to visit a few other people at the party  - everyone loves visits and encouraging comments!  
Now that you've read all the particulars, link away!!!

Make Along Monday Link-up --Nautical

Welcome to Make Along Monday!
We are SO pumped that you are here!! Let's get started!
Make sure you follow the

Make Along Monday Pinterest Board 

your hosts 
(your choice how you'd like to follow) 

Grab our button or a add text link to show that you
made along this month!

Grab button for Make Along Monday

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<a href="" rel="nofollow">
<img src="" alt="Make Along Monday" width="150" height="150" />

Go ahead and link-up a few of your nautical inspired creations and then pop over to a couple of your faves! Don't forget to leave them a little comment love, because who doesn't adore a nice comment!?!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIWW - Black and Blue

Because I spend so much time shopping, thrifting, altering clothing and thinking about what to wear, I thought it might be fun to post weekly of what outfits I've put together throughout the week for me or my daughter. I plan to have a WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) post every week displaying either my style, Widget's style, or both.

Do you ever feel like you are drawn to very specific color schemes in your ensembles? Maybe I notice these things because I have pictures to look back through, but some weeks my wardrobe may seem a bit less varied than it really is. This week, I wore a couple of outfits that included black knit tops with blue colored bottoms.

This first outfit is more casual, utilizing brightly colored flat sandals and rolled jeans.
Sweater: Old Navy Outlet, Tshirt: DownEast Basics, Jeans: American Eagle, Shoes: Target 
The second outfit is a little dressier, including vibrant cropped pants and neutral heels.
 Top: thrifted (Banana Republic), Pants: Old Navy
Nude Pumps: Shoe Carnival
What color combinations have you been drawn to this summer?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Burlap Peacock Wreath

Michaels now offers pre-cut fabrics in most of their craft stores. Yeah, it's true! I had the opportunity to test out a handful of their new fabrics for a post I wrote for Sugar Bee Crafts, and this is the project I created. You can check out the original post here.

Michaels sent over a few fabrics to try out, including some pretty burlap and fun canvas prints. At first, I had no idea what I was going to do with the fabric...but after organizing my office/craft space, I found an extra wire wreath form in my stash. I asked myself, "What can a wreath form do for burlap?" Show it off, of course!

This project was super easy and quick; I created this beautiful wreath while watching a movie with my 5-year-old daughter.

I gathered my supplies: cocoa burlap, a wire wreath form, scissors, mini safety pins, and a couple rolls of wired ribbon. I didn't have an exact vision, but I knew the burlap would create the perfect blank canvas.
I cut the burlap into strips, about 6 inches wide by the width of the bolt.
I then folded the strips (approximately in thirds) and safety pinned the raw edges together. A glue gun can also be used for this step; I was too engrossed in Hercules to run back up upstairs to snag my brand new glue gun...and safety pins got the job done.
After folding and pinning the strips, I wrapped the strips around the wreath form (being careful to keep the safety pins on the inside of the wreath.  It took 4 strips of folded burlap to cover the entire wreath form.
This is what the wreath looked like after all 4 folded strips of burlap were wrapped around the wire form.
A friend of ours dropped by last week with 5 lovely real peacock feathers. I had no idea what to do with these lovely feathers, except let them sit on top of our piano until something else came to mind. As I was pondering my crafty conundrum, one of the feathers happened to catch my eye. The feather reminded me of some wire ribbon I had (also in my stash) that I had planned to use on my Easy Interchangeable Wreath. However, I knew the ribbon would look just as amazing with the cocoa burlap versus the vine wreath. I pulled out the peacock themed ribbon and cut enough from the spool to create a big bow. After tying a bow, I slipped 3 feathers through the knot, pinned the tip of the feather to the opposite side of the wreath from the bow, and cut the feather shaft to the correct length.
A close-up shows the golden tipped straight pins holding the feathers in place. I used the pins because I was a tad bit worried about ruining the feathers while using any other adhesion method (like hot glue).
My daughter thought using the feathers was 'so cool!' which is kind of a win for me, since she hasn't thought many of my crafty endeavors have been 'cool' lately. And, the wreath looks quite nice on our red door.
I think this wreath will look wonderful in the fall with all it's warm gold and brown tones...but, now that the red white and blue holiday has passed, I am tempted to put away the stars and stripes and utilize my new wreath right away!

Thanks for checking out my Burlap Peacock Wreath. And thank you Michaels for this fun opportunity to show off your new products.

how do u like them apples?

Friday, July 19, 2013

InstaFriday - 8, Mice, in Water

Want to see what I've been doing this week? Most Fridays you can check in on my life with a little phone-photo glimpse here at You can also follow me daily on Instagram at @applesbyashley.

This week, we joined an impromptu Mini Mouse party, hosted by Mandy. Widget played Mini mouse dominos with the girls while we waiting for everyone to arrive.
The girls also liked checking out the table-scape: cake, Mini Mouse Oreos, polka dots everywhere, a piñata, and pink.

I've been watching a couple of girls, a few years older than Widget, for the rest of the summer. It's been quite warm here, so I made the plunge and bought a slip-n-slide (a total of $6 with tax). We've been outside, utilizing our new backyard, at least a couple days a week. Since I need to hang outside with the kids, I've been keeping cool and stylish in my BIG floppy hat...but on occasion, I think I pull it off :)

And last, but not least, our Anniversary was also last week. We were unable to completely celebrate (due to delayed/canceled flights, and other parties), so we are celebrating next week. I am so happy with my decision to marry the Hubs over eight years ago. He is handsome, hard working, and loving...just to name a few of his awesome characteristics. Happy 8th Anniversary, Honey!
Hope you have a photo-worthy weekend!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Third Thursdays with Tash - A fine mess

Remember, on the third Thursday of {almost} every month, my Sis-in-law, Tash, writes about her recent crafty adventures. Take it away, Tash!

Hello everybody.  I hope you enjoyed your Independence day.  Now it's time for a Pop Quiz!
What happens when you have a room to paint and paint leftover from your last painting project?

       A.  Save yourself some money and use the old color.
       B.  Buy new paint and go to town.
       C.  Think and worry about it for days.
       D.  All of the above

If you answered D you're correct!  After buying too many gallons of paint for our living and dining rooms we had a gallon or three to spare.  I wanted to paint the guest bathroom, but we couldn't afford new paint and furnishings for the bathroom.  My husband's thought was to paint the dirty looking white room the same color as the rest of the house.  I really couldn't stand the idea of replacing my all-white home with all creamy mushroom, so I bought a $3.00 sample of gray blue paint and we mixed a new color.

It took a few days, and some really awkward yoga poses to paint behind the toilet, but I think it looks lovely.

Or at least it will once I clean up this mess, and install the mirror on the wall again.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Re-post: Creative Gift Card Holder

This is a Guest Post I wrote for Sugar Bee Crafts last Christmas time...I realized I had never posted it here on my blog, whoops ;) I hope you enjoy my Handmade Woven Gift Card Holder Tutorial.
Do you have someone that is more difficult to shop for on your gift list this year? Maybe a teenager whose style changes weekly, a father-in-law who doesn't even have a clue of what he wants himself, or possibly a brother that lives in another state (making it harder to mail large packages)? Have no fear, gift cards are always a great choice!

However, when I send a gift card (GC) I sometimes feel like I should put a little more effort into the gift...Do you know that feeling? Well, I have a solution for you!

Hey y'all! I'm Ashley from Apples By Ashley and I'm super excited to be here at Sugar Bee Crafts to share my Handmade Woven Gift Card Holder with you today...but before we get into that, here is a little bit about me and my story:

  • I currently live in Puerto Rico for my handsome Hub's job...but our roots are in Missouri.
  •  I recently purchased my first pair of skinny jeans...EVER...and I even wear them constantly responsibly.
  • My Widget (the cute little thing in the middle) is a pre-teen in a pre-schooler's body. She even talks so fast that she stutters...mostly to let her mouth catch up with her brain ;)
  • I was that quiet sweet cheerleader in High School that never had a breakout (not to be confused with break-up)...and then I grew up and experienced the horror of having the face of a teenager. Although my skin has slowly gotten better over the past few years, my fingers are still crossed that I out grow the entire 'acne stage' by 30...wish me luck!
  • My house is clean all the time! Wait-I never said all of my house is clean at the same time...really there is always one room of my house that is almost spotless, but usually not the same room week to week. A girl has to craft, am I right? And so, what if those crafts get spread throughout the house with no remorse???
  • Before moving to Puerto Rico, the Hub traveled about 80% of the week. And while he was gone, I still tried my hand at power tools on a regular basis...and I haven't lost any digits yet! (free reign over power tools and crafting in every room of the house while he was gone...score!)
Okay, so let's get crackin'!

What I used to make the Handmade Woven Gift Card Holder:
  1. Scrapbook paper
  2. Envelope (big enough to fit a standard GC-think credit card size)
  3. Scrapbook supplies: paper cutter, adhesive, pencil, etc.
  4. Gift Card (which I will refer to as GC from now on)-can be added later (actually optional-no GC is needed to make this card awesome)
  5. Smile (also optional, but I find creativity flows better when I have what my Widget calls a 'happy-with-teeth-showing' face)
 1. I like to start with my envelope...envelopes are the culprits that only come in certain sizes (unless you make your own, then kudos to you!). Once you know the size of envelope you would like to use, keeping in mind your GC of course, then you can cut your paper.

2. Instead of cutting a piece the paper to make a bi-fold card, you will need to have enough paper for a tri-fold card-this way you'll have the extra paper you need to make the weave design. I use a score blade on my paper cutter to score the paper, but good-old-fashion folding by hand works, too.

3. I used the envelope to trace a square on two of the sections of the card-using the envelope gives I strong edge to trace.

4. I had a rectangle of cardstock in my scrap pile, so I cut it on an angle (corner to corner) using  my paper cutter. This new rectangle makes a great pattern for the diagonal lines. I traced the diagonal lines with a pencil, eye-balling the measurement (approximately 1/2" wide).

5. Here is the trickiest part...After all the lines are traced, I used my cutter to cut along the pencil marks (and used tiny scissors to cut the short ends.
Side note: Depending on your paper, you may have really clean cuts and/or messy cuts...inking the edges of your cuts (with a small ink pad or marker) will 'hide' the imperfections. Or be brave and let the card bare the imperfections proudly-it's up to you :)

6. I glued the outside boarder down using a glue pen, but a glue stick or other scrapbook adhesive will also work.

I cut strips the entire two sections of the card in the above example, but if you only cut about half way through the rectangle/square you traced from your envelope, then you can use the card to hold a lovely GC by sliding the card into a couple of strips (that's why you do not want to glue your strips together). Here are some examples of how to insert the GC:

*remember to erase any pencil lines still visible on your will help your card look more put-together and professional.

And on a larger scale... can use the un-cut part to 'hide your GC.

I like to decorate most of my cards with quotes, names or sayings on the front; so I came up with a way to do just that and disguise the GC inside...tricky fish!

I cut a piece of paper roughly the size of my gift card, then cut a contrasting paper slightly larger (to frame the first paper). You could use all solid colored paper for this step, or pick a coordinating print (or use the opposite side of your main paper).
I used a red pattern as the frame (larger piece), but couldn't decide between a muted turquoise plaid paper or a bright solid marigold paper...but ultimately went with the marigold, because I thought it looked a little more festive.
But I used the muted turquoise paper as well-to beautify the inside of the envelope:

And you can leave it at that if you'd like to mail the card (to that brother out-of-state), or if you are hand-delivering the GC you can fancify the front of the envelope, too. Just use the same papers utilized to make the card...maybe even cut out the pattern featured on the main paper like I did (the yellow pennant banner).

Write a "Happy Holidays" or any catchy phrase on the outside of the card, a sentimental remark on the inside, and address the card to the recipient. Then fill your new finished woven card with a GC of choice and send it on it's way! (but remember the actual GC is still optional)

Thanks again to Mandy for this opportunity to share the Handmade Woven Gift Card Holder with y'all!
And, I hope you check out a few of my other fun tutorials at Apples By Ashley...