Monday, February 28, 2011

Make Your Own Envelopes

I've started to venture into card making.  Once in a while, I'll make a card...and I've discovered that if I don't have any envelopes, I need to make some!  

There are templates and guides that you can use online, but I found The Enveloper tool by The Crafter's Companion.  Handy Man bought it for me for Christmas, and it's been a lot of fun to play with.

It comes with a nice instructional booklet.  For this demonstration, I'm making the 1/4 US Letter Paper Envelope.  The sizing and scoring instructions for this size is shown in the second purple block in the top row.
The instructions say: Paper Size, 8 1/4" square.  I used my great Making Memories paper trimmer, and cut a piece of paper into an 8 1/4 by 8 1/4 inch square.

I've found that it's best to use paper that is somewhat lighter than cardstock.  Heavy cardstock is a bit hard to fold into an envelope. 

For the size envelope I'm making, the instructions say to use score lines D and F.  You can see the letters on the edge of the Enveloper.
Put your paper into the corner of the Enveloper. Use the scoring tool to make a score line at "D."  Then, turn the paper around and score the opposite side at "D" as well.

Then, you'll need to score the other two corners on the "F" line. 

(By the way, this is the same piece of blue paper.  I didn't use a flash, and took all these photos in the same spot, within just a minute or two of each other.  I am really trying to take better pictures for the blog. but I have no idea why this happened!)

Here is the paper, with all of the scoring marks on it.  If you look closely, you can see some of the marks, especially to the left.

Next, you'll fold in the short sides of the envelope.  (At this point, I remembered that I had used paper with measuring lines on the back.  Oops, don't do that when you make an envelope.)  I used my bone folder to get a nice, crisp, edge.
Now, put some double-sided adhesive tape on the bottom flap's edges. 

Fold up the bottom flap and press down to secure it to the adhesive.

Next, I like to tuck in the excess flap.  Put a tiny bit of adhesive inside the flap before you tuck it in, to help it stick down.

Use your bone folder to fold the top of the envelope down.  Now you have a cute, handmade envelope!

This tool is great for those of us who are envelope-challenged and need some guidance. 

You can make envelopes of all different sizes; you can make pretty lined envelopes, and even what the site calls an "envelo-box".  This is an envelope that has a double set of folding lines and comes out a bit thicker, so you can enclose a card that might have some lumpy embellishments.

Go to The Enveloper site for video instructions.  This fun little tool costs only $14.99. 

Have you ever made your own envelopes?  Have you ever used this tool?  

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Our first ever link party is starting this week: Wicked Awesome Wednesday!  

We're calling it Wicked Awesome Wednesday, but I'll be opening up the link party around 9 PM on Tuesday night.  This is my first time hosting a link party, I hope you'll all join! Get ready to link up your projects, recipes, crafts, renovations, etc.   

See you tomorrow night!  I'll send out Tweets and Facebook reminders; you can join our Twitter or Facebook pages for blog info, or link party reminders. See the icons on the top right hand section of our page for our Twitter and Facebook links.

Linking to: Tip Junkie/ Funky Junk Interiors/ Fingerprints on the Fridge/ A Little Knick Knack/ Finding Fabulous/ Delightful Order/ Momnivore's Dilemma/ Fireflies and Jellybeans/ Paisley Passions/ House of Hepworths/ Beyond the Picket Fence/ somewhat simple/ Tales from Bloggeritaville/ My Backyard Eden/ Sew Much Ado/ Blue Cricket Design/ At Home With K/ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia/ Not JUST a Housewife/ New Nostalgia/ Sugar Bee Craft Edition/ The Gypsy's Corner/ Today's Creative Blog/ It's a Blog Party

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review: Clutter Rehab

If you like to read about organizing, you'll love this book from Laura Wittmann, called Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!

Laura writes a blog called I'm an Organizing Junkie.  It was one of the first blogs I found when I was looking up organizing blogs.  She writes the best posts about organizing and simplifying. 

Laura's book takes the best organizing tips from her blog, and consolidates them into this great format.  I like that she doesn't suggest that you have to go out and buy a lot of expensive organizing products.  Also, many of her tips can be completed in just 15 minutes (or less!), but they can make such a difference. 

If you are really overwhelmed with clutter, use this book to help get you jump-started. Try to do one tip, or even two to three tips per day, and you can get every corner of your home organized.  Once you get sections organized, you can also use this book for reminders to keep up with your maintenance.  

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Just wanted to remind everyone about our new link party, coming Wednesdays in March!  Watch for details soon...
What are you working on this weekend?  Crafting, shoveling snow, decluttering, organizing, baking, laundry, sleeping?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love Me Some Home Goods

I recently went shopping with a friend to a nearby Home Goods store.  Finally, a Home Goods store opened about 30 minutes from us.  Woot!

While we prefer to buy antique furniture (or have Handy Man build it), I do love the decorating accessories in stores like this.  Sometimes, I just love going through the store to get decorating ideas from their displays.

Fortunately, my friend Sarah wasn't embarrassed that I took pictures in Home someone else we know, whose name rhymes with, let's say...Candy Dan.

I'm loving the black and white that I see in a lot of accessories right now.  It's too bad I don't need any boxes or bins, at the moment...

I also like the various blues that are popping up in home decor.  Light blues, medium blues, deep blues, blue patterns...

Black and white again...with BRIGHT pink interiors.  Wow.  
These vases had rolled up pieces of paper (I think?) on them.  Interesting, and very intricate.  I've seen these around blogland, too.  I can't imagine making one of these!

You just have to love the lampal variety at Home Goods.  Yes, I made up a word: lampal.  Tall lamps, short lamps, even lamps with green flowers:
 Sarah just loved that green lamp, too. 

You might be wondering if I bought anything.  Of course I did!  I bought this wrought iron plate rack, marked down to $9.99.  I had been looking for another wrought iron plate rack, but couldn't find one that didn't cost about $60!  

Here it is, just propped against the wall so I could get a picture.  It will eventually hold Fiesta Ware plates, of course.

I bought it to go with this other plate rack that I'm using in the (mostly undecorated for now) family room.  
Oh yes, and I bought a pack of four cute, yellow ramekins for only $10.99.  I found a dessert I wanted to make that required ramekins, but I didn't have any.  I almost picked up white ones, but then I thought "Hey, my other dishes aren't white!" (See above photo).

Do you have a Home Goods nearby?  Do you like it?  What other stores do you like to shop in for home-y goods? 

Linking to: Finding Fabulous/ French Country Cottage/ The Speckled Dog/ Tidy Mom/ Frugal & Fabulous Design/ The Shabby Nest/ My Romantic Home

Monday, February 21, 2011

Clean Mama Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $50 gift card to Clean Mama's Etsy shop, chosen by, is:

Comment # 20: Kim!

Kim said... She has so many printables that I like. I would probably do the everything kit..but I like the blogging one, the cleaning schedule..all of it.

Congratulations, Kim! 

Tangy Pork Chops

It's hard to get a good picture of this dish, since it usually looks like a pile of glop when you dish it out.  We put it over rice, but so far my attempts to get a good picture of it over rice have been a big "Fail!"  

So here it is, cooking in the crock pot.  Not a bad picture.  When you make this, you will spend the day drooling at the smell coming from the crock pot, and counting the hours until you can make it. 

This recipe has an odd assortment of ingredients, but I promise, they are correct.

Tangy Pork Chops
4 pork chops (at least 1/2" thick)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 beef bouillon cube (we've used a chicken bouillon cube before)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
white rice 

Place pork chops in a crock pot; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the onions, celery, green pepper and tomatoes.  

Combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and bullion, and pour over veggies.  Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.  

Forty minutes before serving, mix cornstarch and water in a bowl until smooth, stir into crock pot.  Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Linking to: Seaside Simplicity/ Craft-O-Maniac/ Boogieboard Cottage/ Between Naps on the Porch/ Kuzak's Closet/ Remodelaholic/ The Tattered Tag/ I Heart Naptime/ Funky Junk Interiors/ Crazy Domestic/ Katie's Cucina/ It's a Hodgepodge Life/ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating/ A Little Knick Knack/ Fingerprints on the Fridge/ Somewhat Simple/ The Shabby Chic Cottage/ Beyond the Picket Fence/ Fireflies and Jellybeans/ Momnivore's Dilemma/ It's a Keeper/ House of Hepworths/ Paisley Passions/ My Backyard Eden/ Sew Much Ado/ Blue Cricket Design/ Not Just a Housewife/ It's a Blog Party/ The Gypsy's Corner/ It's So Very Cheri/ Making the World Cuter/ Sew Chatty

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wicked Awesome Stuff

I just wanted to share some Wicked Awesome Stuff I'm loving this week.

We have a new advertiser: Goodies by Greiner.

Stephanie has a really fun Etsy shop with some really cute crafts.  Here is her "Boredom Block."  When your kids say "Mommmmm, I'm borrrred!" you can roll this block and it will give them choices about what to do.
Check out the other cute crafts that she has in her shop.

Don't forget about our giveaway for $50 gift certificate for Clean Mama's Etsy shop!
You still have until 7 pm eastern tonight to enter a comment for a chance to win the gift certificate. 

I wanted to point out a few fun web sites I've come across lately.  

The Spotted Canary is a fun website with a lot of great info on crafts of all kinds: scrapbooking, paper crafts, jewelry and beading, stamping, etc.

Small Notebook is a great site about simplifying, homekeeping and organizing.  I know there are a lot of sites that cover these topics, but this blog is just great!  The author and her family have moved to Italy for a year.  She's very interesting! 

The Saved Quarter is a blog about saving money and frugality.  She is saving a quarter of her income in 2011, and challenging others to do so, too.  This is a huge challenge for this blogger and her family, since they live on a low income, in a very expensive city:  San Francisco.  She gives very practical advice, and this site is definitely not like the usual frugality blog. 

I just wanted to remind you all that in March, we'll be starting a blog party on Wednesdays:

You'll be able to link up your projects about homemaking, recipes, DIY projects, home decor, crafts, organizing, etc.  Watch for more info about this blog party soon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How I Back Up Our Digital Photos

I thought that I would talk about how I back up our digital photos.  Photos are very important to me since I love to scrapbook.
Woo, it's messy there.  It just means I'm busy!

We bought our first digital camera in 2003, and since then we've taken thousands of photos.  Unfortunately, I've had a few computer crashes over the years.  Luckily, all along I had uploaded our photos to a printing service, Winkflash.  That way, all of our digital photos were safe.  Phew!

A few months ago, I was reading about remote computer backup methods.  Handy Man and I decided that we were going to use Carbonite to back up our computers.  It costs $55 a year, but we believe the cost is worth the peace of mind.  Carbonite does automatic backup of pictures, emails, files, etc.  

We had started using CDs for photo backup, but it began to get expensive and cumbersome to use and store the CDs.  Another advantage of storing photos offsite is that your photos will be safe in the event there is a fire in your home.  

In a nutshell, here are the methods that I use to back up our digital photos:
  • I save them to our hard drive
  • I upload our photos to Winkflash
  • We use Carbonite for extra off-site back up
  • I print our photos every 2-3 months so we have hard copies of our photos
I decided to write about this after I read a great post from Angie at Echoes of Laughter about organizing photos and negatives:

Angie has some great ideas, and she has such a pretty blog.  Go and have a look:

Do you back up your digital photos? How do you do it?  

Linking to: I'm an Organizing Junkie/ A Bowl Full of Lemons/ A Beach Cottage/ We are That Family/ Thrifty Decor Chick/ Craft-O-Maniac/ Keeping it Simple/ Dittle Dattle/ Boogieboard Cottage/ Between Naps on the Porch/ Finding Fabulous/ Just a Girl/ Tidy Mom/ Fingerprints on the Fridge/ The Shabby Nest/ Frugal and Fabulous Design/ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating/ It's a Hodgepodge Life/ A Little Knick Knack/ My Romantic Home/ Tales from Bloggeritaville/ somewhat simple/ The Shabby Chic Cottage/ Saved by Love Creations/ Paisley Passions/ Momnivore's Dilemma/ Fireflies and Jellybeans/ Beyond the Picket Fence/ House of Hepworths

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight and Giveaway!

One of our great sponsors, Becky can be found blogging at Clean Mama - where she blogs about all things clean and organized and other homey things in between.

I'd also like to talk about Becky's Etsy shop,
Clean Mama Printables, and a giveaway that Becky is providing to one lucky reader of Handy Man, Crafty Woman! Becky is a former art teacher with a flair for graphic design. She decided to open up an Etsy shop last March to showcase her printables, which focus on homekeeping, organizing and all things clean.

Becky has put together Kits to make everyday tasks a little more fun: The Busy Mama Homekeeping Kit (18 documents), has documents that every homekeeping binder needs - a variety of lists, perpetual calendars, a deep cleaning checklist, a medical information sheet, daily and weekly planner pages...

The Cleaning Kit (her bestseller), lists all the tasks that should be done in homes in an attractive, easy to use format. The lists are designed to be used together - one for rotating tasks to do year round, and one for weekly tasks.

The Organized Kitchen Label Kit has 11 documents in an easy to use, print and label format. Get ready to label your entire kitchen: canisters, spice jars, dry storage containers, etc. With plenty blank labels, you can label other things in your home as well.

The Everything Kit bundles 4 of her best-selling kits (31 documents) - The Busy Mama Kit, The Cleaning Kit, The Vertical Weekly Docket, The Meal Planning Kit, and the Christmas Planning Kit (the Christmas Planning Kit can be switched out for any other kit with 5 or less documents). This kit is perfect for someone just getting a homekeeping notebook started.

One of Becky's newest printables is The Resolution Kit. It bundles three separate kits together: The Cleaning Kit, The Bill Pay and Budget Kit and the Weight Loss and Fitness Kit. Try this simple method of organizing your bills, payments, cleaning, housekeeping and fitness to stay on track.

In addition to the printable kits, she also carries individual documents. All printables are in PDF file format so once your order is finalized, you can print the digital files as many times as you like for your own personal use! Becky loves special orders, so if you have something in mind but don't see it, just ask!

I have used Becky's printables for bloggers. What a timesaver! These pages have really helped me organize my blog posts, notes, etc. If you're a blogger who needs to get organized, take a look at her blogging printables. 
Clean Mama Printables is giving away a $50 Gift Certificate to her Etsy shop!
To enter to win this $50 gift certificate:

- Leave a comment, letting us know which kit you'd like to try. You MUST include an email address (your email addess will not be shown publicly,) with your comment, so I can reach you if you win. If I can't reach you within 48 hours after the contest closes, another winner will be chosen.

- Your comment must be entered by 7 pm Eastern on Saturday, February 19th.

Optional: Become a follower of Handy Man, Crafty Woman with Google Friend Connect, if you haven't already. Pretty please? Thanks!

Becky is also offering 20% off through this week to Handy Man, Crafty Woman readers - just enter the code '20HANDYCRAFTY' at checkout!

Thanks to all who participated!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

To: You

Isn't this cute? Go to to make your own candy heart message.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cherry Kisses Cookie

My friend Sarah has a family blog, with pictures of her kids and some great recipes.  Sarah is a great cook, and she's also a scrapbooker.  

In January, she started a photo challenge: take a picture a day in 2011.  She lives within an hour of us, so check out the snow she has in her yard.  I think they got even more snow than we did!

When I saw this Valentine's recipe for Cherry Kisses Cookies, I knew I had to post it here.  This is different than the usual Valentine's treat; and it would be great for a school party.  Thanks, Sarah! 
Cherry Kisses Cookie
2 cups butter (1 pound)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
1 tsp almond extract
2-3 drops red food coloring
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
50-60 Hershey's chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Cream butter and powdered sugar together, add cherry juice, almond extract, red food coloring and salt and beat well.
Add flour 1 cup at a time. Scrape bowl.
Add cherries and mix only enough to blend. Dough should be stiff.
Using a small cookie scoop, place dough on greased cookie sheets leaving a little room between them to spread.
Bake at 350F degrees for 12-13 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately place an unwrapped Hershey's chocolate kiss on the top of each cookie, pressing down slightly, not too much.
Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Makes 50-60 cookies. (You can cut the recipe in half, if that's too many.)

Linking to: Funky Junk Interiors/ We are That Family/ My Backyard Eden./ Sew Much Ado/ New Nostalgia/ All Things Related/ It's a Blog Party/ Sweet as Sugar Cookies/ Making the World Cuter/ The Girl Creative/ Kuzak's Closet/ Remodelaholic/ The Tattered Tag

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight...and Upcoming Events

I wanted to take some time to thank our great sponsors here on Handy Man, Crafty Woman; and talk about a few changes we're going to be making to the blog. 

Toni from A bowl full of lemons has a great blog, with lots of beautiful photos.  She talks about organizing and cleaning, decorating and renovating. Toni also has a photography blog.

My friend Cynthia has an Avon business, and she's been recruiting like crazy!  If you haven't seen an Avon catalog for a while, you should check out her site.  In addition to makeup and skin care, they also offer jewelry, home products, and shirts, shoes and handbags. 

My bloggy friend Alison at House of Hepworths has a really fun blog.  Alison does a ton of painting, decorating and renovations on her house.  She even uses power tools on her own!  (I leave that to Handy Man, here.)
Don at Don's Fine Art shows a variety of paintings on his web site.  He also has sculptures and a model ship.  Don also features a Painting Process series, where he goes over the steps that he goes through to complete a painting.

Becky at Clean Mama has a great blog, filled with cleaning and organizing tips.  She also has some really useful printables in her Etsy shop, which can help you with housekeeping, grocery lists, budgeting, meal planning, etc. 

We have some openings in March for advertisers.  We're still offering 125x125 ads on our side bar for the low, low price of: FREE!  If you'd like to advertise a blog or business that would interest our readers, please email us for more information.

We've been working hard and making a few changes to the blog.  I wanted to point out that the recipes section is now up and running.  Click on the Recipes tab, and you will be directed to another page with the recipes divided into different categories.  Go take a look! 

You may have also noticed a new blog button on our sidebar:

Yup, we're gonna pah-ty like it's 1999. Blog party, that is.  In March, we'll be hosting blog parties on Wednesdays.  Wicked Awesome Wednesdays, to be exact. I hope you'll join us!  

The party will be open to anyone who wants to share their home decor, renovations, crafts, recipes, befores and afters; any topic that we cover on this blog.

Even if you don't have a blog, you'll want to check out all of the great projects that people will be sharing. So
get ready to pah-ty!

Also, watch for some upcoming giveaways that we're really excited about.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Antiques Show

Over the weekend, we went to an antique show that a local shop was hosting.  They had rented out a very large space in a different location, and had over 40 vendors.  There were rooms and rooms of great things to see.  Of course, I had to take a few pictures.

I loved this white cabinet.  I've never seen one with this shape before.

This toy piano worked and sounded great.  Handy Boy had to play a few keys, of course.  He knows to be gentle, and has to ask us before he touches anything. 

Love these coin banks, shaped like globes.

Even if you don't buy antiques, you can get a lot of decorating ideas by looking at all of the "rooms" they have set up for display. 

We purchased a few small items.  I had to buy this hand mirror.  I've never seen a hand mirror with a color like this.  It was in great shape, and only $12.  The mirror is beveled glass. 
I need to decide if I want to add it to my collection of hand mirrors on our bathroom wall, shown in this post 

We also found these two medium green vintage Fiesta plates for only $6 and $8!  They are 6" and 7" and in great shape.  They are worth over $30 each.  A great addition to our vintage Fiesta collection.

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