A fair isn’t a fair without a smorgasbord

or at least that’s what Templeton says is Charlotte’s Web.  This year I decided to enter some of my crafty items in the smorgasbord of still exhibits at the county fair.  I’m not sure what the end result will be and it was rather nerve-wracking and a tad scary submitting my work to be judged voluntarily; however, I’m already glad I did!!!!  Here’s what I entered:

To see more pictures of the inside of this toilet paper core album, please read this post.

In addition to these 3 paper projects, I also entered 4 photos.  You can see which ones I selected on my photog blog Captured Faithfule.  I will let you know what the results of these entries were as soon as I find out!

Quilted Fun

You know, nothing says love like an awesome quilt.  I can remember my grandmother using the cardboard backs of tablets to make templates for her quilts and hand sewing square after square after square.  The image of her with her needles in her mouth is one of my fondest memories of my grandmother.  RIP Grandma, you are missed terribly!

I however, cannot sew for the life of me.  I can’t cut out a pattern, I can’t quilt, I can’t cut straight without a paper trimmer (and even then half the time I can’t cut straight still) and I can’t even use my sewing machine to sew on paper, let alone anything else.  So…I created this faux quilt card instead:

For details on how I did it, please watch my video below!

Let’s make a mint!

As a child my favorite ice cream was mint chocolate chip.  Something about that light green with chunks of chocolate in it just made my tummy happy.  As a new mommy, I learned that a few drops of mint in a 4 oz bottle of water made my gassy babies a lot happier than the expensive baby gas drops and I’ve learned it also helps with stomach cramps and countless other things.

In baking, mint goes with chocolate almost as well as peanut butter does.  In this house we LOVE chocolate.  So, since I had been so successful with making my own vanilla, I decided to try a few other flavors too.  One of my favorite…yep you guessed it:  mint!  Here’s a picture I took this morning of my 2nd batch steeping/infusing:

It looks terrible I know.  But the smell….oh man the smell is wonderful.  I can’t wait for it to be ready to use.  So…why make my own you ask?  Well let’s crunch some numbers shall we?  Store bought pure mint extract is more than $3 an ounce locally.  The jar in this photo is 16 ounces.  To buy this much mint extract at the store would cost me almost $50.  My DIY mint extract is much cheaper.  The last bottle of vodka I bought was on sale for $12 for about 59 oz (1.75 liters).  Most of the recipes I’ve found say to use “top shelf” vodka, but I haven’t had a problem using bottom shelf varieties.   Not that I’d know the difference anyway given I’m not a drinker but…

So…my vodka costs .20 cents an ounce and my mint cost per batch is $1.96.  Total cost for 16oz of pure mint extract if you make it yourself is $5.16.  The $45 I’ve just saved equates to a year of laundry soap, fabric softener and stain remover (or lots of new scrappy stuff) PLUS I can also customize the strength of my extract by adding more or less mint if I want.  So sorry Schilling but you got NOTHING on my mint extract!!!

Making mint extract is just as easy as it is to make vanilla.  To make the jar shown above, you simply need one 16 oz jar, 2 bundles of organic mint (or any other mint), and vodka.  Tear all the mint leaves off their stems and them bruise the leaves up really good.  I used the end of  tart shaper thingie from Pampered Chef.  This is VERY important.  When I first started this batch I didn’t bruise the leaves and it was taking forever to infuse (plus I don’t think I used enough leaves either).  Take your bruised mint leaves and put them in your jar then fill your jar with vodka.  It’s important that the vodka cover the leaves entirely (so they don’t mold and spoil your extract).  Leave your jar out on your counter or mantle or wherever, and shake it every couple of days to mix things up.  When your liquid is more mint than vodka, it’s done.  Like the vanilla, the longer you steep/infuse, the better/stronger your mint will be.  Once the extract has reached your desired strength, strain out the leaves and enjoy!

I use this same mint extract in my DIY mouthwash and toothpaste and baking and start a new batch when I’m about halfway through the first.

Padded Envelopes – Cross Post

I originally posted this on my crafty blog  Faithfule Creations, but I didn’t include the frugality of making your own padded mailers in that post.  I just simply shared the video on how to do it.  We’re going to talk about the cost savings here though.

At the dollar store, I can get a 2 pack of padded envelopes in assorted sizes.  Something like this:

That’s not a bad price right?!?!?  Almost all the cards I make are dimensional (and need some protection when mailing) PLUS most of the people I make cards for aren’t local to me.  These costs can really add up, even at $1 a pack.  After watching a friend’s video where she made her own paper sacks using craft wrapping paper, I decided to try my hands at making my own padded envelopes.  I used a sheet of 8.5 x 11 cardstock, some adhesive, bubble wrap, and a stamp and ink to give me address lines.  Here’s my end result:

You can visit my crafty blog (or just click on the link to my YouTube channel in the navigation bar) to see how I made this envelope if you like.  The cost savings are pretty substantial though.  Even if you get your envelopes at the dollar store like me.

A ream of white 110lb cardstock costs about 6 bucks at my local Wal-Mart.  This is enough paper to make 150 envelopes the size of mine above.  I bought a roll of bubble wrap for about $1.67  that is 16″ x 7′ and it will make who knows how many envelopes.  I’m guessing at least 25.  I’ve made 5 already and barely made a dent in the roll.  Let’s just work with that….let’s say this roll will make at least 25 envelopes.  Here’s the math (it’s early still so let’s hope I did my calculations right LOL):

Paper cost per envelope:  $.04

Bubble wrap cost per envelope:  $.06

Total Cost not including glue or ink:  $.07 cents per envelope.  That’s a savings of over $.40 per envelope if you buy them at the dollar store (bigger savings if you buy them elsewhere).

Some added benefits of making your own padded mailers include: being able to totally customize it (make it any color, add stamping, make it any size, etc), you can recycle bubble wrap you may already have (instead of just popping it and throwing it away), and the satisfaction that comes in doing it yourself.

We interrupt our

regularly scheduled programming with this special….wait I don’t have any regularly scheduled program.  My bad!  Lately I’ve shown you sneak peeks of the album I’m currently working on, but today I want to deviate a little (mostly because I don’t have anything new to show you yet) and share a tutorial instead.  After watching a video by my good friend Sherry from Up or Down They’re Beautiful on how to make your own paper sacks, I decided to try making my own padded envelopes.  It took a couple tries to get it just right, but I’m now completely happy with the result and they only take minutes to create.  Here’s one of mine:

Watch me make the padded/bubble envelope shown above in action in the video below!

A single issue

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Families are central to Heavenly Father’s plan and that includes a husband, wife, and their children.  My family is not at all your “average LDS family”.  I’m not sure what the “average LDS family” even looks like, but I know that most of the time I am pretty sure it’s a lot different from how my current family looks.

I have been divorced now for several years.  I’m still not dating; I’m not sure I trust my judgement.  Most of the time I’m perfectly fine with my no-dating decision; it’s not like I have tons of free time to invest into dating and or a relationship anyway.  There are however, times that it really gets to me.  Times like a few weeks ago at church.

The counselor conducting Relief Society (our women’s organization) announced the Ward (congregation) party coming up on July 31st.  She mentioned how the last one we had like this was just for the women, but this time we got to bring our husbands and enjoy time together as adults.  I don’t have a husband and for the first time in a long time I ALMOST wished I did.

This is my single issue…when there are “couples” events in the ward and I am alone.  It’s not like when there’s father/daughter events for my girls or father/son events for my son and they can borrow someone’s dad, use our home teacher, have Grandpa stand in or either of their uncles or whatever.  “Can I borrow your husband for a couples event?”  AWKWARD!!!

So what’s a girl to do…this girl will just keep doing what she’s been doing and not attend these events.  Even if doing so makes me feel a little left out.

Sometimes it’s just perfect

I am so pleased with how the album I’m working on is coming out.  At the risk of sounding braggart, I have really outdone and amazed myself.  I’ve had my eye on the cameo I used for this closure for some time now.  The other day I walked into Joann’s and it was 50% off PLUS I got to use my student discount and my album just wouldn’t look right with any other closure (isn’t it amazing what we say to ourselves to justify a purchase lol) so I picked a couple up (you know I might find another PERFECT project for it right?!?!?).  I’m very happy with how this turned out and can’t wait to finish up my album so I can do a video showing it off.