Crafty DIY Bird Feeders

I'm using all my might to "wish away" the impending storm, set to hit parts of New England. So while I sit here and imagine long walks on the beach, bonfires in the pit and maxi dresses, I thought it would be a good idea to share some projects you can do for Spring.

Here are a few of my favorite tutorials that I have discovered for making your own crafty bird feeder.

First up is the idea that inspired my post today - a fun project with a rustic feel & nature-friendly results via Cassy as of Lately. The best part is you probably already have everything you need in the house!

This cute idea I recently came across is an easy weekend project and would work perfectly if you have young kids around. Courtesy of My Own Ideas, click here for the tutorial to make these pretzel birdie treats. 

Another fun idea to do with the family, requires simply a bag of bird food, gelatin, twine and some fun shaped cookie cutters. (Alpha Mom)

And my personal favorite, because I love any teacup and teapot related crafts, this tutorial comes from Tip Nut.

Tonight I'm hoping to complete the makeover of a promising, albeit dated, denim jacket from my Nana, because she found it on sale of course - full story plus before & after pictures coming tomorrow. 


Themed Party Decorations for Less

One of the things I love most about being a grown-up is having gatherings at the house. Whether it's holidays, birthdays or any celebrated event, I enjoy throwing parties, especially when it comes to decorating!

The best party decorating tip I've ever gotten came from my friend Beth; each holiday season, she wraps all of the pictures in her house with holiday and Christmas themed wrapping paper. With a few ribbons, bows and other festive accessories, this decoration is inexpensive, easy to accomplish and it can stay up all season long. As per usual, I don't have any examples of my own handy work from this past holiday but here is a great example (from the Woman of Gloucester County website): 

When we hosted my friend Kerry's bridal shower last year, I took that same idea and personalized it to her taste. It made the house look colorful, fun and totally unique.

We used another variation of this for our own party last month. Every February, Bunch and I hold a Winter BBQ for our friends and this year was our 7th one. In honor of that, we went with a James Bond 007 theme but it was surprisingly difficult to find decorations at the normal party supply stores. I took this same wrapping paper idea and made it work for this event as well: 

I used plain black wrapping paper and print-outs from Google images to create this (and other) fun James Bond decorations around the house.

Use your crafty nature and imagination for showers, themed birthdays & holidays. Happy decorating!


Crafty Links - Babycakes Approved

It's Tuesday and you know what that means - time for crafty links!
  • With a witty tag line that says "the home and lifestyle blog for women who have better things to do" - you should definitely check out Domestic Sluttery for a fun, creative & entertaining blog that updates often.
Another busy day here but I'm looking forward to getting back to a few craft projects that are near completion - always a good feeling, whether it's a project for me, the house or a fun addition to my Etsy store.


Sundress Salvaged - Summer Top

As with many of my projects, I don't happen to have a before picture of this sundress but take my word for it - it was super cute. Since Bunch and I eloped, I had the joy of picking out two wedding dresses. One for the beach ceremony on Martha's Vineyard and one for reception with family & friends, the following summer.

This top is what was salvaged from my reception dress, which was the unfortunate victim of a red wine stain from that party. The tiered skirt was perfectly adorable but it had to go if I was going to keep this piece of clothing, in any form. 

I took a pair of scissors to the top tier of the skirt, added some thin black ribbon and created a clean hem with white thread and a single stitch.  Now it's the perfect tube top for a hot summer day or with my favorite black cardigan on a cool night. 

I love the ruched top most of all and I'm so glad I was able to save this dress and turn it into a fun, comfy little top for the upcoming warm weather.


Recycled Home Project - New Chair

As I mentioned yesterday, I found a fun little chair for the living room, something I've been looking for, for at least the last month or so. While bargain hunting for craft supplies (I was lucky enough to come across 9 small glass plates which will come in handy for the holiday season) I came across this chair in the consignment store for only $4, in need of a little love: 

As you can see by the second photo, there was some rust on the frame. First, I cleaned the dust off the chair, sanded any areas that looked rough and then went to one of my favorite crafting tools - spray paint. 

I used Rust-o-leum spray paint  in a dark bronzed color with a hammered finish, $6 at Home Depot. The best part is that it is safe to spray right over rust and stop it from appearing again. 

Before I could makeover the frame, I needed to cover the seat and back of the chair. Because the material is a flexible plastic, I was able to use painters tape ($4) for protection. With the benefit of ''clean release", I didn't have to worry about any damage to the upholstered areas. It took a while but it was worth it. I could have used newspaper for the larger areas but I didn't think of that until after.

After the first coat of spray...

After one more coat, I finally was able to peel off the tape and reveal the final results!

By the end of the day, this chair has been rejuvenated with new life and we already have the perfect spot for it.

This project took one full day and cost less than $15 - I couldn't be happier with the results. Time to do some clean up and get ready for the work week. If you attempted any new projects this weekend, I hope you were thrilled with the results too.


Deal of the Day

While out today, picking up spray paint for another project for the house, I was in Home Depot and decided to check out the tiles for future coaster projects because I had so much fun with my first try. I came across these two iridescent tile mats, that were on clearance but no price was marked.

When I was at the register, the nice sales lady told me that they were only $0.51 each! I was happy to scoop this deal up so I can make coasters for summer time gifts or possibly for a frame project I have in mind...

I also discovered an interesting looking chair at the consignment store today, with a little spray paint and some TLC, two of my specialties, I think it will be the perfect addition to our living room. I'm hoping to work on that tomorrow (my goal is to post before and after shots) because our bedroom makeover starts soon and I'm not sure what I'll be able to get done once that starts!

Hope everyone is having a fun weekend - it's chilly but beautiful here in New England!


Decoupage Mini-Desk for Arm Chair

I have had this arm-chair desk tucked away in my craft closet for sometime now. Sadly, it doesn't fit any of the furniture in our house, with the exception of Bunch's office chair but he has a big desk in there so he doesn't need this little guy. I decided to use a bit of Modge Podge and cotton fabric cut-outs to give it a colorful, lively feel. It's perfect to hold a cup of tea, a book, some knitting needles - whatever!

Here is my starting piece (it needs a little dusting, I see):

I was experimenting with layout last night, here are my cut-outs: 

I would like to use the mini-teacups and flowers on the sides but I have to make sure they fit. When finished, I will list this in my Etsy store so it can find a happy home. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Crafty Celebs - Just Like Us

Ok, so maybe celebrity crafters are not exactly like you and me; I'm pretty sure I've never bumped elbows with any movie stars in the clearance section at Michaels but being crafty is not a matter of income, it's about the desire to create! It should come as no surprise that actors and celebrities enjoy craft projects, since they are already creative & imaginative people by nature. 

Did you know...

Jessica Alba posted pictures on her Facebook page of her and friends making shower decorations for her friend Jessie's shower, using recycled items.

This past holiday season, Gwyneth Paltrow got into the spirit by making a lovely pine wreath with her friend Hayley.

All of these talented beauties love to knit - Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker!


Two-Toned Eternity Scarf Complete

As you know, I have been diligently working on my infinity scarf, inspired by this tutorial: Sweater-into-infinity-scarf by Adventures in Dressmaking.

I decided to use two sweaters instead of one so it's extra long but I like it. The bright turquoise color and the dark gray are a fun combination and I have plenty of options for wearing it. 

Just to recap, here is what I started with: 


Cut and pinned, just prior to sewing...   

And the final result!

I can layer it in the cold weather...

Or for a casual Spring night.

The best part - it matches my favorite ankle boots!


Crafty Links - Babycakes Approved

Hello crafters! It's Tuesday and you know what that means - time for links!

I'm off to add some new items to my Etsy store and then another night of sewing awaits!


    Tips for a Successful Craft Fair

    As I recover from the busy weekend and feeling a little under the weather, I have my sewing machine set up to watch Dancing with the Stars so I can work on a couple of projects. While I finish those and look for my next Spring show to participate in, here is a list for you beginners, of some things to consider before your next show, to ensure it is a success!

    1. Check with the craft fair coordinator to find out what you need to bring and what will be provided; chairs, tables, tablecloths, etc. 

    2. Be comfortable and prepared - wear comfy shoes and layers in case you get warm after set-up and some healthy snacks as there are rarely any provided. 

    3. Decide how you will accept payment. If you accept credit cards, make sure you have your supplies and an electrical outlet at your booth. If cash only, have plenty of change and never leave your cash box unattended.

    4. Make sure all items are priced and signs are visible. Customers don't like to waste time searching for prices, they are looking for the items that catch their fancy and are easily accessible. 

    5. Be a happy seller! Wearing a genuine smile and having a good time are among the best ways to draw customers to your booth. Bring a friend, string some colorful lights and relax while enjoying all the compliments that will surely come your way. 

    Good luck with your next show!


    Weekend Projects 1, Babycakes 0

    It's with a wee bit of annoyance that I have to admit that my weekend ended with more of a whimper than a bang. Us type A folks never like to admit defeat, especially publicly. I'm home now from a family event and with the way my projects from this morning turned out, I'm in no mood to start anything new before bed. 

    Here's what happened - I tried to replicate the zebra glass candle holders that I sold at Maple Fest except I used glitter Modge Podge. For some reason, it's about 75% of the way done and it's just not looking right. I'm not sure what the issue is yet since my technique is the same but I'm going to let it sit overnight. I also used some cute yellow and black polka dot tissue paper on a martini glass, as a wine holder but it looks too busy. It might be salvageable so I'm going to try a few more layers before I call it a loss.

    The last decoupage project I tried was with a frosted glass candle holder with some old sheet music. I was only a few minutes in when I realized the glass was just too small of a space. 

    This might be the saddest picture I have ever posted but in the spirit of honesty, here is what I have to show for my efforts, 3 unfinished projects: 

    For now, I'm calling it a night and hoping for a productive Monday. And if all else fails, it's Dancing with the Stars night tomorrow!


    New Items Coming to Etsy Store

    Today was another nice Spring like day here and I as happy to spend some time with Bunch. Since it's only mid-weekend, I don't have any final projects to show but here is an update on my infinity scarf

       All cut & pinned, next step is sewing...

    And here are some beautiful beaded lamp & fan pulls that I will be listing in my Etsy store tomorrow, made by my crafty mother-in-law.


    Weekend Projects

    Let me start by saying that it is a gorgeous day in Connecticut today! I know the weather won't stay like this for long but it's nice to have the sun out and birds chirping. 

    As the work week winds down, I have a few projects on my radar for the weekend and I'm setting aside a few hours to hopefully get them done. 

    • Decoupage tea light holders - since these were such a hit at my last show, I'm going to make a couple more but with a twist. One will be made with a wine glass and one with a martini glass. I have an idea that I think will provide a sleeker finish that my first ones but I'll hold off writing about it until I see the results. 

    • Decoupage with sheet music - this is an idea that I have seen done a few different ways, all of which looked amazing. Most of the projects I saw used large pieces such as end tables to work with so I'll see what I have to experiment with. 

    • Infinity scarf - I mentioned this project last weekend. I have my pieces cut and ready to go but I haven't had time to sit with my sewing machine. I know we'll have at least a few cool spring nights still so I'll be happy to have it when it's finally done! 

    • And I think I'm going to pick up a cotton tote bag because I have two ladybug gem iron-ons and these adorable buttons: 

    I was going to use these on a jean jacket but I don't know if I want to hand sew those on denim (they are tiny!) - my poor little fingers wouldn't be able to stand the torture!

    I'm going to step away from the crafts for a little while and watch a movie. We just got The Kids Are All Right in from Netflix - I've heard good things.

    Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the weekend! 


    Happy St. Patty's Day!

    In honor of St. Patrick's Day today, I decided to put my craft skills to good use with these mini-cupcakes:

    I'm working on my project list for the weekend - it looks like Bunch (I might as well start referring to my hubby Chris by his affectionate nickname, it flows a little easier that way) has some work to do on Saturday so I'll take advantage of a few hours while the rain passes. Update coming tomorrow...



    Chinese Food Pillow - Finally Done!

    Before I put up any pictures, I should explain that I started this pillow last summer. I was all excited to have found this Chinese food thin flannel-ish fabric at a hidden gem of a fabric store in Rhode Island. I'm pretty sure it's call Just Fabrics, in Cranston - it's worth a day trip. The prices are reasonable and there is a huge selection inside, considering it looks tiny from the road.

    Armed with this new fabric (along with many others that I purchased that day), I tried to find a good use for it. I also happened to have a remnant piece of leopard print furry fabric from my friend Kerry's wedding so I decided to combine the two for a truly one-of-a-kind decor item: 

    As you can see from the first picture, I have added just a touch of sequins on the top seam. I'm headed over to my Etsy store tonight to list this new item. It feels good to get this out of the 'unfinished project' bin!


    Crafty Links - Babycakes Approved

    While I continue to work on my unfinished projects pile, which currently consists of my infinity scarf, a cross stitch baby bib and my Chinese food pillow (phew!), here are some crafty links -


    Personalized Wine Bottle Aprons

    Wine, or just about any liquor, is almost always an appropriate gift. A hostess will surely enjoy a bottle of wine, your neighbor might enjoy some vodka, you get the idea. 

    The next time you decide to give a bottle of wine as a gift, you can personalize it with a customized apron! This is an easy craft project for an skill level. 

    Start by picking out your fabric. In the picture, you can see cats, birthday greetings and chili peppers, so use your imagination. You can use tacky glue for the ribbon accents, but I do recommended reinforcing the necktie and the side strings with a few simple stitches. Using more bold colors and less lace, these work for guys too!

    Encourage the recipient to pass it along if they would like, sharing joy with others without being wasteful. 



    Etsy Store is Back in Business

    Hello everyone! Despite losing an hour of sleep last night, I managed to stock my Etsy store with a variety of crafty items this afternoon. The hubby and I are watching movies and enjoying this Sunday but I decided to be productive too.

    Please stop by and let me know if you have any comments or critiques. 

    In the meantime, here is a really easy and fun project that I will be starting this week - check out the tutorial here: Sweater-into-infinity-scarf by Adventures in Dressmaking, a crafty website out of Portland, Oregan. 

    Here are the sweaters I will be using- 

    The turquoise sweater is a little small and the gray hooded sweater coat is too overwhelming for my short frame.  They both have a ribbed texture so I'm hoping that mixing the sections will add a fun twist to my final product. 

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


    First Craft Fair of 2011

    I'm happy to report that today was a success! The leopard print and zebra print decoupage candle holders were the first items sold. I was so happy that I experimented with those, during my crafty afternoon with Allison a few weeks ago. The tile coasters generated some interest so I'm going to put them in my Etsy store this week, which is in desperate need of some TLC. Here is a picture of my table - 

    Today was my first time tweeting during a craft fair and it was fun - in fact, the whole day was fun but now I'm exhausted! After treating my hubby to dinner, it is time to watch a movie and step away from the crafts...

    But first, as promised, here are pictures of my mother-in-laws Easter baskets, which I will be listing in my Etsy store tomorrow -

    top view


    Getting Ready for Maple Fest

    It's the night before my first craft fair of 2011 and everything is exactly as it should be - I don't have my pricing done, I still need to seal a plate and I almost forgot change for small sales. This happens every time and yet I never learn, it must be part of some weird ritual...

    My mother-in-law will be with me tomorrow at the craft fair - she is my crafting partner-in-crime.  She makes these beautiful Christmas baskets with white lights (see picture - although it's a little blurry) and beaded lamp pulls. Obviously, she won't bring any winter items tomorrow but she is experimenting with a few Easter baskets so I will post pictures of those before the end of the weekend. 

    I finally went to the store to make change (why does it always feel weird asking the clerk for singles?) bought whole wheat blueberry muffin mix for breakfast treats and now I have to print out my price tags. For some of my larger items, I like to include ideas for where the buyer can use the item or who it would make a good gift for. My darling hubby was nice enough to pick up pizza tonight so as soon as I'm fed, I need to get to work!

    I will probably post late tomorrow night but if you follow me on Twitter @babycakescrafts, I will be tweeting tomorrow, all day from Maple Fest. 

    Happy Crafting!


    Spring Wreath w/ Colorful Eggs

    Last weekend, I was going through my craft closet and saw a tan, wreath form that I've had for some time. It never looked quite right for a Winter holiday decoration so I thought it might work for Spring. With colorful eggs, each decorated differently and a cute little chick in the middle, if this doesn't sell, I will gladly hang it to brighten our front door.

    This is what I had on hand to work with - 

    And here are the results!

    I decided to scrap the little basket at the last minute, add some Easter grass (secured with twist-ties, behind the flowers) and secure everything with my hot glue gun. I should take this time to thank my husband for picking me up a new one on his way home, craft crisis averted - thanks Bunch!