Archive | July, 2010

Photo Boxing

29 Jul
I read this great tutorial one morning about a DIY photo box.  It was in one of the weekly Etsy “helpful” emails.  It involved a large white poster board and an unshaded lamp.  After a few weeks and I finally spent THIRTY NINE cents and got a white poster board.  How silly is that?  I was saving up for it I guess!  HA!

After my sweet Alie Marie went down for a nap I got out my white poster board.  I tacked it up to the wall letting half of it fold down to make a platform.  Then I used a desk lamp, as I don’t have another lamp to un-shade.  I think the unshaded lamp adds more light.  The light really bounces off the white of the board to light your subject well.  My cat Gizmo decided he wanted to be my photo subject.  You just place your items on the board, aim your lights and snap away.

This is the original tutorial I read. It is a forum post within the Etsy website. BomoBob’s Lightbox Tutorial

These are some new pieces I have made for my Etsy shop.  I took all of these using my new, seriously simple photo box idea.  I know it’s not really a box.

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26 Jul

Back when I started creating jewelry pieces, walking into the jewelry section at Michaels was overwhelming.  I began with so many great ideas in my head, but when I stared at the supplies, beads, and tools available to me, my mind went absolutely blank!!  Always being one with a “frugal” nature, I started to dig through the marked down bins.  I spotted a pendant with a beautiful earth toned moth.  I have always been someone that finds and loves beauty in the nontraditional sense.  I fell in love with this pendant.  I loved that it was a moth as apposed to a brightly colored beautiful butterfly.  Staring at this pendant, I saw in my mind what I wanted it to become.  A double layered long necklace.  I began working on it at once.  Over the course of the past seven months, I could never steer this project of mine away from disaster.  No matter how hard I tried or how much I changed things, the moth pendant necklace was an epic fail.  It was lop-sided.  The twisted seed bead layer never stayed twisted.  In fact, once when I was trying to fix it, more than half of the teeny and tiny seed beads fell off.  I don’t have a bead-spinning stringer so they were all added by hand.  I actually teared up when that happened.  There were also strings and wires poking out all over the necklace.  I did not know how to properly add a clasp.

When we moved from one side of town to the other, I never pulled the necklace back out.  I just gave up on it. I found it the other day and thought.  OK, it’s been a while and I am better at this craft.  Maybe I should try again.  I started working on it.  I restrung the whole necklace and learned how to properly attach a clasp.  Slowly as I worked on it, the piece began to come together.  My excitement for my project reignited and I smiled while I worked on it.  I even did a couple “happy wiggles” in my seat!  Once it was done, I couldn’t stop staring at it.  It was EXACTLY what I pictured the very first time I held that moth pendant in my hands.  I am extremely happy with how it came out.  So happy, I am not sure I can part with it now, but it was always meant to go into my Etsy shop. Perhaps I can make another one.  This necklace is my first beaded double layered seed bead twisted piece.

It is interesting that the whole process of this necklace was metamorphosis.  Just like the journey my beautiful moth went through.  I looked up the species and I believe the moth is a Gymnoscelis Rufifasciata, or more commonly known as a Double Striped Pug Moth.

I need a better picture of the full necklace. Especially if I do add this to my AliLilly Etsy Shop. This will have to do for now. I will build myself a better photo box later.

I am linking up to these awesome parties!

{M} Tools Are For Women Too ~ Making The World Cuter ~ The Creative Girl ~ Skip To My Lou ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff ~Keeping It Simple ~ Between Naps On The Porch ~ Mad In Crafts ~ Santas Gift Shoppe ~ Finding Fabulous ~Trendy Treehouse ~ Sew Can Do ~ Its So Very Cheri ~ C.R.A.F.T.  ~ Craft-O-Maniac {T} Bella Before and After ~ The Pumpkin Patch ~ Today’s Creative Blog ~ The Gypsy’s Corner ~ A Stoll Thru Life ~ All Thingz Related ~ Lucky Star Land ~ Sugar Bee ~ New Nostalgia ~I’m Topsy Turvy  ~ Shannon Makes Stuff {W} Creations By Kara ~The Thrifty Home ~ Someday Crafts ~ Me And My Bucket ~My Backyard Eden ~Blue Cricket Design ~Just A Girl ~Beyond The Picket Fence ~Bargain Shopping Paradise ~It’s So Very Cheri ~Fireflies and Jellybeans ~Sew Much Ado ~Seven Thirty Three  ~Dradonfly Designs {T} Between U & Me ~House Of Hepworths ~ The Shabby Chic Cottage ~Paisley Passions ~ Somewhat Simple ~It’s Sew Stinkin Cute  ~Life As Lori ~Tools Are For Women Too ~It’s Fun To Craft  ~What Allie’s Making Now {F} Finding Fabulous ~ Fun To Craft ~Fingerprints On The Fridge ~Frugal & Fabulous Design ~KOJO Designs ~ Tidymom ~A Few Of My Favorite Things ~Simply Designing ~It’s A Hodgepodge Life ~The Shabby Nest  ~Chic On A Shoestring Decorating ~Simply Sweet Home  ~Frou Frou Decor  ~Punpkin Seed Productions  ~Crystal’s Craft Spot ~My Romantic Home  {S} Be Different…Act Normal ~I Am Only 1 Woman ~Funky Junk Interiors ~Tater Tots And Jello ~Along For The Ride {Sn} I Heart Naptime ~Under The Table And Dreaming 

Super Easy Super Delicious Pasta Bake

21 Jul

It’s been just over a week of participating in link parties. Thank you’s to my sweet Sister-In-Law, Teresa at Nestled in Rosenberg, for introducing me to them! I noticed that you can post recipes! The more recipes I saw, the more excited I became. I couldn’t wait to post a recipe. This is a SUPER EASY & SUPER DELICIOUS recipe!  My husband loves it so much he does not mind eating it two nights in a row!! 

This recipe makes about 4 hearty servings

First you will need:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef (I use ground turkey)
  • 12 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar or can of any flavor spaghetti sauce (I use Hunts chunky vegetable)
  • salt (I use sea salt)
  • black pepper (I use a black pepper grinder)
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmaesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp crushed basil
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 lb pasta (I used tri colored rotini for this batch but ziti and penne work great too. You can really use any kind you like) 

Because I like to get everything ready before hand, you will need these too.
large sautee pan
large stockpot
cooking utensils (I used a wooden cooking spoon and spatula) 
baking pan (I used two 9 inch round baking dishes but a 9×13 baking dish works great too)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook your pasta according to the package directions. While your pasta is cooking brown your ground turkey or beef. Drain pasta then in the same stockpot toss pasta in 2 tbsp of EVOO and 1 tbsp of basil. Once turkey or beef is brown add 1 tbsp of basil and salt to taste. Add the meat and pasta together.

See how pretty they look together.

Now add your sauce.

In a mixing bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with one egg and 1/2 cup parmasean cheese. Spoon a layer of about half  the meat, pasta and sauce mixture in a baking pan. Then spread your ricotta, parmaesan cheese and egg mixture over the layer of pasta. Sprinkle about half the mozzarella cheese on top of the layer.

Layer the remaining pasta over the cheese layer. Then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until nice and bubbling hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Goes great with garlic bread and a nice green salad. I loved buying salad kits. They are easy and delicious. This is a great Hearty Italian Salad Kit. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let me know if you try this recipe and how it worked for you and your family. 

Paranormal Encounters Of The Crafty Kind

15 Jul

I have never been much of a novel reader.  Well, not until two years ago.  Hurricane Ike slammed Houston and left us without power for fifteen days.  My beautiful and incredibly sweet niece, Maranda, recommended the Twilight Saga.  You know, the young-adult vampire romance series starring Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.  I think I have read the Twilight Saga in it’s entirety about five times since.  Fast forward to April of this year.  My friend Kayla recommended that I read The Black Dagger Brotherhood.  I am infatuated by the series.  
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is an erotic paranormal romance series by J. R. Ward.  This series is about six vampire warriors who defend their race against Lessers, de-souled humans who threaten their kind.  
My love for both book series has led me to create some “inspired by” jewelry pieces.  I have previously created a Twilight Meadow bracelet and would like to create a pair of matching earrings to go with it.    
In The Black Dagger Brotherhood, each of the brothers have a significant eye color.  So, I am starting an inspired by BDB line of jewelry that plays on their eye colors.  The first piece I created are a pair of earrings inspired by my personal favorite brother, Zsadist. 
“I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, 
though I could see. And when you came…..I was awakened.”
~Zsadist, Lover Awakened, p. 424

Zsadist was a blood slave for nearly half his life until he was rescued by his twin brother Phury.  Angry and feared by everyone, including the brotherhood his eyes have always been black.  Then he meets and falls in love with a beautiful aristocratic female vampire named Bella.  Once he gives into his heart and his feelings for Bella his eyes turn yellow, the color he was born with and the same color as his twin brother Phury.  
I used bright yellow and black to design my very first piece for the Inspired by The BDB line. 

For the Inspired by Twilight Saga line, I have crafted a pair of earrings with black and deep red.  I was inspired by the beautiful covers of each of the books. 

I received a lot of great feedback for my previous tutorial on a pair of earrings I made.  I decided I wanted to do a more in depth tutorial for y’all.  So, here we go…

This is how it all begins.  A pile of beads, some chain, pins, findings and jewelry tools.  Yes, the earring findings really did end up in the shape of a heart.  No, I didn’t place them that way…isn’t that quite sweet.

Place your beads on the pin, then twist the remaining metal over a pair of rosary pliers like this.

Cut the metal with end-cutters at the bottom of the loop, flush with the top of the first bead.

These are all my beads put together along with the end pieces, chain and findings.

I like to line all my pieces.  It helps me to see what works and what does not, along with how I would like the design to look.  It also helps with how much chain you need for each strand.

If have learned that if you cut the individual link in the middle your pieces does not come apart as often.  When you cut from the ends, I think the two links rubbing together eventually causes them to open back up. 

It helps too, if you don’t have to cut the chain at all.  Sometimes you can get away with opening up the loop on your beads and adding the chain that way.  The closure of the headpin loops is a lot tighter than a closure of a chain link. 
I’ve placed the earring finding as well as a jump ring to show you, that in my opinion it is easier to add all your chains to the jump ring, then add the jump ring to the finding.  The finding loop is small and it is a little tricky to add multiple chains when you have them.

With jump rings, links and even the pin, loops if you pull the ends up away from each other as opposed to pulling them apart.  When you close them back they tend to be more flush with each other.

These are all my strands placed on the jump ring.  Now, see how it’s bowing out a bit at the top.  Too many beads together. 

So I take off two strands to add some links to them bringing the beads down a little further. 

I reattach them in their appropriate spot and…..see, now it dangles much better!
These are the finished earrings!!  Have fun with colors and lengths!!  
These are my Zsadist inspired earrings!  
At first I made the one on the left.  It just didn’t look right to me.  Too much clutter, I think.  So, I took it all apart and played around with it for a while and came up with the one on the right.  What do you think?
So….these are my romantic vampire earrings.  Who doesn’t love a vampire!?!

From Faux Pas to Victory

14 Jul
I was working hard a couple days ago on a pair of earrings.  I ran out of yellow.  I hightailed it to the store with my Alie Marie.  Searching and searching for yellow beads I came across a kids pack of brightly colored plastic beads.  Thinking, this may work out for me, I bought them.  Once I was home and I compared them with what I had used, they did not match at all.  Even my husband gave them a funny look.  Needless to say I was upset.  I wondered if I could take them back.  Suddenly a light bulb went off over my head.  Watching Alie Marie playing I was suddenly inspired to make a line of jewelry for children.  I have named the line Lil Lilly.  These are the first pieces of the line, created from my faux pas.

Lil Lilly Necklace. 

Bracelets.  I will take custom orders.  Each piece can be made with your desired size and color(s).

These earrings were so much fun to make.  Alie Marie watched me the whole time, her eyes wide and bright.

Hemp necklaces. One is created by using square knot and the other by using a half knot. 

Go have a look and let me know what you think.

Accessorizing in construction

10 Jul
Today I dusted off my jewelry making tools.  My intentions were to fix a pair of earrings that had come apart. My mind started to race.  I began to get excited just feeling the tools in my hands again.  I dug out some beads and set to work while Alie Marie played.  This is a walk through of today’s exciting creation.

It all begins with bent nose pliers, flush cutters, a headpin and rosary pliers

You twist the head pin making a loop on the bottom to catch the beads. Then a loop on top. You use either of these loops to hook onto the chain.
These are the finished beads.
Cut out what you need from the chain
These are the beads attached to the chain along with the earring findings I am going to use.
I attached the chained beads to the findings and……VIOLA! A brand new pair of earrings.