Knuffle Whaaa?


In summer library we “knuffle-ized” our pictures.  What exactly is a knuffle, you ask?

It’s a bunny!  Mo Willems, my all-time favorite author for preschool through second grade, wrote a picture book based on his daughter’s favorite stuffed animal.  In this first book young Trixie is unable to verbalize that her favorite stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny, is trapped in the washing machine in the laundry mat.  She is horribly upset and utters many words like “aggle flaggle klabble” which I’m sure means “Daddy, how can you be so obtuse and place my beloved stuffed bunny in the washing machine?”  When Mommy finally helps Daddy realizes his mistake, they have to run back to the laundry mat on the other side of New York City to rescue Trixie’s beloved bunny.

This story is universal- what child hasn’t lost a lovey? But what makes this book so unique is its artwork.  Mo Willems has taken beautiful shots of his New York street and other landmarks and then placed his artwork on top, creating a tactile pallet that intrigues young viewers.  I wish he would do one for Chicago!

So in order to “knuffle-ize” our pictures, children used pictures of their elementary school, a local park, or a downtown street as the background to their hand-drawn creations.  Even little brothers and sisters were able to complete this project and have fun doing it!  Here is a picture of my Knuffle Bunny visiting the Bean.

I think my Knuffle Bunny looks pretty good, despite what 5 year old Brendan K. told me!


Summer Lovin’- Having a Blast?


We are not having a blast today… The 20 minute storm yesterday morning has knocked out our power!  And ComEd said it will be DAYS until our power is back.  Me and ThatGuy are bouncing from air-conditioned coffee shop to air-conditioned book store, trying to stay sane.  We are the type of people (like many) who like routine and our personal comforts. Do you even know how often we use power?  Lights, TV, washing machine, radio, microwave, garage door, garbage disposal- the list goes on and on.  No problem with water and plumbing (which is a good thing) and a little bit of a mystery to me.

We keep reminding ourselves about the people in Joplin, MO and all the other recent tornado and fire areas where people have lost their entire homes, which helps us keep this current inconvenience in perspective.  And we are lucky to have parents close by, who are happy to store food in their refrigerator and let us sleep in their guest room.

OK, enough philosophizing and onto today’s project!  I’ve been playing around with my Silhouette machine and decided to make a paint chip banner.  ThatGuy and I rode our bikes over to Home Depot, where you can take paint chips for FREE.  I decided to use yellows and oranges, which are summer colors and compliment the reds in the living room.

Then I used Britannic Bold font and used the carrier grid to kind of eyeball the size using the carrier sheet.  I’m sure there is a more technical and better way to do this, but hey, I’m learning.  After much fiddling around, I ended up using the Heavy Cardstock setting and did a double cut.

Watching the Silhouette cut paper is like the coolest thing ever.  And it makes awesome spaceship sounds, which really enhances the experience.  If you don’t have a Silhouette the same banner could be made by using a dye-cut machine (I’ve seen these at craft stores you can pay to use) or stopping by your local elementary school and sweet talking the secretary.  You could also print out the letters using Word and then cut them out to use as a template on your paint chips.

After cutting out the letters, I laid them under a heavy book for a day to make sure they were flat and just used Scotch tape to attach them to twine.  And I apologize for these crappy photos.  I wanted to take these pictures and escape from our hot and humid home and into the sweet air-conditioning at Borders.

Bunny is super hot too.  I gave her some water in a dish which she drank a little, promptly spilled and then laid in.  This must be a bunny version of a pool.



The other day I received a picture text from ThatGuy.  Here’s what it was:

My Silhouette machine arrived!  I may have let out a little scream of excitement in the middle of the outlet mall… Now I can reach my full crafting potential!!  I immediately unpacked and made a mess (one of the things I do the best).

This machine is AWESOME.  You can design or download an image and the Silhouette will cut it out for you.  I played around with it for a little bit and cut out some letters, but I need to start a serious project.  Stay tuned to see what me and my Silhouette will create!


Wedding Bookmark Album


While wedding planning, I came across the Wish Tree concept.  Basically, guests write a wish for the bride and groom and hang it on a tree.  Since our wedding was in December, we did a little spin on the wish tree and turned it into a Christmas tree!

Guests found a bookmark (to go along with the book theme) at their place with a poem asking them to write words of marital wisdom that have served them well.  We placed jars of colored pencils at each table so guest could decorate or draw around their writing.  Then the bookmarks were hung on the Christmas trees.  I was a little nervous that no one would do it, but everyone did!

Fast forward 6 months later… I finally got to making the memory book!  I printed out pictures of the guests and found their corresponding bookmark.  Reading everyone’s sweet messages brought back some fun memories of our wedding day.  This is a great way to remember who was there and celebrate our day.

First step- Organize photos and bookmarks.

Second Step- Make sure bunnies are locked safely away, no matter how cute they are!  They just want to mess up the piles and chew on things.

Third Step- Arrange bookmarks and pictures on cute wedding-themed paper.

Fourth Step- Slip pages into photo album.  Admire your work and make your new husband admire it too!

Professional pictures by Katherine Salvatori.  Other pictures by me.

4th of July Pinwheel Wreath


Clean or craft?  I often face this question and cleaning doesn’t usually win…

Seeing all those cute wreaths on the blogs (especially this one at The Cellar Door Stories)  inspired me to make my own! And I have a lot of fabric left over from my bunting, so I have to use it somehow.

I bought a white floral wreath from JoAnn’s and spray painted it red.  Probably didn’t need to do that, but I had some extra red laying around and it only took an hour to dry.  Then I stuck a pin into the end of the yarn and started wrapping.  It actually only took about 20 minutes, but in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I would even finish!  When I got to the beginning again, I stuck a new pin into the yarn and snipped off the extra.

While the paint was drying, I made some pinwheels.  I used the fusible interfacing and ironed squares together.  Then I followed Just Sew Sassy’s instruction to make the pinwheels.  Easy cheesy!

Then I stuck the pinwheels onto the wreath with pins and hung it on the door.  Because the pins are so easy to take out, I can change out the pinwheels for another decoration for different holidays (hello Valentine’s Day!)

4th of July Shirt


My niece is sleeping over tonight which means… making crafts!  My niece is way into crafts- she has 2 desks completely dedicated to her supplies at her house.  When I confessed the house was a little messy because I was too busy crafting today instead of cleaning, she said that happens to her every day.

Her mom sent her with a red t-shirt, which is crying out for some festive decorations.  Inspired by this Tatertots and Jello project, we did our own version (no sew, of course!).

We first measured out a flag design, doing a 4×6 inch template on a piece of paper.  Each strip is 1 inch wide and either 4 or 6 inches long.  The blue square is 2×2 inches.  We decided we liked the size of the flag pieces and cut the same sizes out in fusible interfacing.

We laid the interfacing pieces on the backside of the fabric and ironed them on.  Then she cut out the pieces.

We laid the pieces out right side up on the tee shirt, being careful to measure to make sure the flag is even.

We ironed each piece down and Lexi decided it needed “something.”  She cut out some fun fireworks and I ironed them down for her.

This shirt is ready for the 4th!  To make it last for next year, we might stop at Grammy’s house and have her sew  around the flag pieces to make sure they stand up to multiple washings.

4th of July No-Sew Bunting


Ta da!!

This is very exciting!  I did my very first fabric bunting, and I didn’t use the sewing machine!  Good thing, because it wouldn’t have turned out as cute.

Items needed:

3 different fabrics, about 1/2 yard each

1 yard fusible interfacing

1/2 yard interfacing


3 plates (mine were about 1 inch different between the sizes, the largest was around 10 inches in diameter)

Step 1: Trace the largest plate onto the interfacing 3 times.  Trace the medium and small plate on the fusible interfacing 3 times each.  You should have a total of 9 circles.

Step 2: Iron on the 3 large circles to your fabrics- you should do 1 large circle on each of your fabrics.  Repeat with the medium and small plates.  Each of your fabrics should have a small, medium and large interfacing circle ironed on.

Step 3: Cut out the circles.

Step 4: Line up one medium circle onto your large circle.  Make sure it is even (I used a ruler to measure).  Iron to fuse together.  Then place the small circle and iron to fuse together.  Repeat so now you have 3 large circles.  Make sure you mix and match your fabric patterns.

Step 5: Cut your circles in the middle to create 6 half circles.

Step 6: Fold the edge of the half circle over and cut to create a slit. Then weave your yarn into the holes and tie in a bow.

Step 7: Hang your bunting and admire your handiwork!  ThatGuy put some nails up for this bunting (and hopefully future ones!) after he cleaned off the window sill. 🙂

Happy 4th of July!!

Book Book Shelves


No, not a typo- a book shelf made from a book!

The other week at Hobby Lobby ThatGuy found the perfect table for our entryway!

It looks like a library card catalog!  That makes this librarian very happy. 🙂  The saver in me is also happy, as there are many empty drawers that are waiting for me to fill them.  I already have a drawer totally dedicated to Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons!  I decided that the decorations on and around the card catalog need to be reading-inspired, which why I was so excited to see this example on the Real Simple website.

ThatGuy did not follow RealSimple’s directions, but rather made his own version.  He simply got an L-bracket from HomeDepot, drilled it into the wall.  Then he got industrial strength Velcro and attached the back cover to the last page of the book.  The weight of the book, combined with the velcro, keeps the book attached to the wall.  And the best part- it cost $5.13!!

Okay, I know I said the totally cheap price of $5.13 was the best part, but really it was the message ThatGuy wrote for me on the shelves!

Coming soon, reading-inspired decorations for the book book shelves…

Something Old is New


Near our house is a used furniture store, Jubilee.  I love Jubilee for many reasons.  First of all, it has great used furniture that is perfect for crafting. Secondly, the prices are totally reasonable so you can decorate your house without breaking the bank.  And third (and best of all), it supports charity!

ThatGuy and I will ride our bikes over and take a look at their furniture fairly often- they are always receiving new donations.  ThatGuy had his eye on this particular bookshelf and thought it had real potential.

He thought about it for the week and went back to see if it was still there. (Note- things can move quickly at Jubilee!  If you find something you love, buy it immediately!)  He purchased it and then went to work cleaning and filling in the scratches with a handy-dandy furniture pen.  Next we took a trip to Hobby Lobby and bought some great baskets on clearance and a couple of doorknobs to update the look.

Ta da!   Looks great!  And the baskets are a great way to hide stuff so we can maintain the illusion that we are clean people!  Correction, that I can maintain the illusion of being clean… ThatGuy actually is clean.

Susan, the manager at Jubilee, runs a blog. It showcasing furniture people bought from Jubilee and also the week’s the latest donations.  Check it out here!

Taco Pizza


What do you do when you have half the ingredients to make tacos and the other half to make pizza?  Make Taco Pizza!!  I googled some recipes, but then got lazy and made up my own.

Taco Pizza

1 lb. ground meat (I used turkey)

1 taco seasoning package

1 can black beans

1/2 can tomato sauce

1/2 onion (I used purple)

1 ready-made pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat dough)

1 tsp. salsa seasoning or other spicy spice (optional)


Roll out dough and bake for 6 minutes.  Meanwhile chop and saute onion.  Add ground meat and brown.  Drain and add rinsed black beans, taco seasoning package and 1/2 can of tomato sauce.  Stir to combine and then put on the half-baked pizza.  Top with cheese and bake for an additional 6 minutes or until cheese is melted. EAT!!

The reason I half-baked my dough is otherwise I have a problem with my toppings burning while the center of my dough remains doughy.  Not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the half-baking things seems to work for me.

After eating it, I asked ThatGuy what he would change for next time.  He replied, “add olives.”  (see Pasta Salad)  YUCK!