Spring Flower Topiary Tutorial


I have been seeing these cute rosette flowers all over the blog world and I knew that I wanted to do something with them . . . then I saw this tutorial and I thought that little flower ball would be so cute as a topiary . . . and these 3 little babies were born. :)

I started by making my flower balls. I used 3 of the same sized styrofoam balls . . . I think that they were 4 inches in diameter. Looking back, I wish that I would have used different sizes of balls for my group of topiaries. Oh well . . . you live and learn! I also used felt on the first ball (the white one) and I didn’t like it. So for the yellow and pink I just used a light cotton fabric and liked it much better! I made each little flower then glued it on using tons of hot glue. :) (My stryofoam balls had holes in them when I purchased them- if yours don’t, you will want to make sure you poke some beforehand so you can stick a dowel in later!)

I used some cheap terracotta pots, painted them white, stuck in a piece of foam and stuffed the edges with newspaper. I also purchased a dowel, painted it spring green and cut it into 3 different lengths.

To finish them off, I stuck the dowel in the ball (about an inch- I wanted them to be sturdy!) and hot glued it like crazy! I stuffed the top of the pots with Spanish moss to cover up the foam and newspaper and tied a piece of cute fabric in a knot around the dowel. Easy, cheap, and cute . . . this is what I am all about. :)

Total cost: About $9.59!

3 foam balls: $1 each (Dollar store)
3 pots: about $1 each (local craft store)
Dowel: 59 cents
Fabric: $2 total for all fabric used (you will need about 1/4-1/3 yard of fabric per ball, depending on how big of ball you use)
Spanish Moss: $1 (Dollar Store)

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April 2011 Visiting Teaching Message

Just copy and paste this into word, make it the size you want and print it out!  It looks really cute when you print it out on card stock and put it with a treat!  I can do some in black and white if you guys don’t want to waste color ink.  Let me know!

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Delicious Soft Sugar Cookies

Camille gave me this recipe after I was first married.  She combined Mom’s sugar cookie recipe with her in-laws recipe and came up with this! It is so good and they are my favorite because they are so soft and aren’t dry at all!
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda
4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 stick butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. shortening
1/4 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
Soften butter, shortening and sour cream then mix well.  Add eggs, sugar and mix well.  Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and milk and mix well.  Add flour and mix again.  Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.  If the cookies turn a golden color that is too long!!!  Check them at 6 minutes and go from there!
I also found this delicious sugar cookie frosting recipe at all recipes that goes great with these cookies!  Mmm Mm Mm!

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Baby Bear Beanie

While we have been plagued with sickness at our house I took to some crocheting!  I learned to crochet in 6th grade.  They only taught us how to crochet a scarf which is about as basic as it gets because you just make long straight lines.  I read online how to crochet again and, after a little refresher, was good to go!  It really is so easy and I know any of you guys could do it!  There are even videos online that take you through it step by step if you don’t understand certain terms, etc.  I have seen a lot of these beanies on etsy and wanted to buy one but didn’t want to spend $30!  I combined a few patterns I have seen to make this one for less than $4!

3 to 6 month:
Size H hook, or similar
1.  Chain 4, slip stitch to join and form a ring.
2.  Chain 2, make 10 double crochet in the ring.
3.  Chain 2, and make 2 double crochet in each stitch around, slip stitch to join.
4.  Repeat step 3.
5.  Chain 2 and turn, double crochet in each stitch around.  Slip stitch to join.
6.  Repeat step 5 until you reach desired length for beanie and tie off end.

Ear Flaps (make 2 exactly across from each other on the beanie)
1.  7 double crochet on one side of the beanie.
2.  Double crochet across the whole next row.
3.  Chain 1, turn, skip first hole, 5 double crochet, chain 1, turn.
4.  Double crochet across the whole next row.
5.  Skip 1st hole, 3 double crochet, chain 1, turn.
6.  Skip 1st hole, double crochet across the remaining row, tie off when you get to the end.

Next, starting in the back center of the hat, single crochet along the whole edge to make it even and have a finished edge.  Tie off.
Cut 12 pieces of yarn for each ear flap to make the braids.  I made the pieces twice as long as I wanted the braid so I could just string the yarn through one of the holes on the bottom of the ear flap, rather than tying big knots to connect the braids.  I picked 3 holes and they each had 4 pieces of yarn through them.  Braid together and tie in a knot.

Ear (make 2):
Chain 3, join with a slip stitch to form a ring.  (It will be tight!)
Row 1: 5 single crochet
Row 2: 2 single crochet, 3 single crochet in the same st, 2 single crochet (total 8 single crochet)
Row 3:  1 single crochet in each stitch (8 total)
Row 4:  2 single crochet in the same st, 6 single crochet, 2 single crochet in the same st (total 10 single crochet)
Row 5:  1 single crochet in each st of previous row.

Leave a long tail so you can attach the ears to the beanie hat.  I also just use matching thread and sew the ears on where I want them.

This is probably confusing because I just hurried and threw it together!  Let me know if you decide you want to crochet and need me to help/explain!

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Baking Soda Face Mask

So due to the fact that I stress out about stuff easily, or I’ve eaten a lot of junk lately, I have had bad acne!  I have tried everything and nothing is working.  I even watched a Proactiv commercial where they talked about the refining mask, went online and bought it, tried it, and let me tell you…. Katy Perry lied when she said your zits would just disappear!  I was reading online and read that baking soda can help clear up zits and dry up oily skin so I made this easy little concoction:

Baking Soda Face Mask:

Mix together a small amount of baking soda and water until it forms a thick paste.

Wash your face off with warm water and pat it dry with a towel.
Apply a thin layer of the baking soda face mask and leave it on for approximately 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, wash the baking soda face mask off with warm water. Pat your face dry with a towel. Use this face mask 2-3 times a week to help treat your acne.

It felt like it was working and my face is feeling a little better so I’ll keep trying it!  I’m desperate! :)

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Easy Easter Egg Wreath

I saw a wreath similar to this in a Family Circle magazine, but they had used origami paper . . . I have seen a couple of people using fabric and Mod Podge to decorate Easter Eggs, so I thought that I could give this a try. So- here is what you need:

-12 Easter eggs (I bought a pack of 18 of them for $1 at Dollar Tree)
-Fabric to cover your eggs (I used 4 different colors and used 1/8 yard of fabric of each color)
-Wire (I have super skinny wire in the picture- I learned the hard way that it doesn’t work. I ended up buying some 19 gauge wire and it worked great. I got it at the craft store for $1.99)
-Wire cutters
-Mod Podge and paint brush

First, poke a hole in each end of each egg. Fortunately for me, my eggs already had holes in them. You will then want to make a template for the fabric that will cover your eggs. You will need 6 template shapes per egg. This shape is 3 3/4″ long and 1 1/8″ wide (at it’s widest point). I just kind of free-handed it and drew a shape like this . . . I hope that makes sense. If not, email me and I will mail you a copy of my template. :) I had 3 eggs in each color and you need 6 pieces of fabric per egg . . . so I cut out 18 pieces of each color of fabric to cover all my eggs. I folded my fabric over so that I could cut out about 6 pieces at a time . . . it went a lot faster that way.

Also, when you cut out your fabric, make tiny little cuts around the edge of each one so that it lays even on your egg and you won’t have random folds/bumps of fabric on the egg.

Next, Mod Podge like crazy! I was a sticky mess! After the Mod Podge Disaster of 2010, I made a vow to myself that I could never Mod Podge again . . . but this project was perfect for me because the Mod Podge did not have to be perfect. The messier the better! Just Mod Podge each piece of fabric onto the egg and smooth out the folds and wrinkles with your fingers. You might notice that I have an extra egg in the picture . . . I learned the hard way that if you have light fabric (like yellow), make sure you use a light-colored egg (unlike bright green) or else it shows through the fabric and looks like a gross color (see the ugly colored egg in the middle? One of these things is not like the others . . .). Ha ha!

Once your eggs are dry, string your wire through the holes of the eggs. Make sure each egg faces the same direction or it might look weird. Leave about 1″ of extra wire at each end . . .

. . . so that you can wrap the ends around each other like this!

Tie a ribbon around where your wire connects and hang it up! Easy and cheap!

And someday we will replace our lovely glass door from 1995 . . . Ha ha! Until then, just try to ignore it and look at the cute wreath. :)

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Ranch Chicken Recipe

This recipe is one of our family favorites.  When our mom made this chicken for us growing up, there were never any leftovers!  It is so easy to make and tastes amazing!

Ranch Chicken Recipe:

1 cup corn flakes, finely crushed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 packet ranch dressing mix
8 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix corn flakes, cheese, and dressing mix together in a bowl until blended.  Dip thawed chicken in butter, then roll in corn flake mixture. Place coated chicken in 9″x13″ greased baking pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

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