Make your own greeting cards…
February 8, 2014, 2:18 PM
Filed under: Craft Ideas, Fun on a budget

These days everyone is talking about how to save a buck.  But there are certain things you hate to skimp on.  Gifts and cards are just two of them.  But good news homemade gifts are back with a vengeance.  Just check out any magazine today and you will see homemade businesses and craft kits through the mail.  Wait you say I don’t have the money to special order crafts and gifts.  Martha Stewart I am not.  Well hold on to your to your glue guns and pinking sheers, YOU CAN DO IT!

As promised in all my blogs; it is my goal to empower you to be independent and comfortable with your own talents.  I’ll share with you websites and examples of how to create and purchase one of a kind items for gifting.  We discuss the art of card making, gift giving, and supporting small businesses, and finally using friends and family talents.

The Art of Card Making

The origin of exchanging handmade greeting cards can be traced all the way back to ancient Chinese culture.  Today, card making is a worldwide hobby, especially popular in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  One in six U.S. households participates in making cards.  The top occasions/themes for making cards are: Birthdays, winter holidays (Christmas, New Year’s, etc.), thank you, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.  Card makers prefer stamps and rub-ons for use on their holiday handmade cards.   Creating a handmade card brings a special kind of joy. There’s joy in the process of creating, as well as in giving and receiving handmade cards.   It is energy, time, and love that says, “I really care about you” in a world of impersonal communications such as e-mails.  Beneath the cardstock and embellishments is emotion from the card maker–encouragement, celebration, commemoration, and love.  Instead of being thrown away, they are cherished and displayed.  It’s a RELATIONSHIP BUILDER.  They spark deep connections, express feelings, evoke laughter, and warm the hearts of friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Here are some that I have made they can be simple:

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Or more intricate:

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You can use stickers and pre-packaged cards with envelopes.  The prepackaged cards can be purchased at your local craft store for less than $10 for 50 count.  I use coupons at AC Moore and usually find them on sale for about $8 a pack.  I buy card and paper stock only when on clearance and sale.  Most times I buy after holiday and save.  Other places to find cheap supplies are dollar stores.  The one around the corner from me has great stickers.  I also check the $1 bins at craft stores like Joanne’s and Michael’s.  Hot glue guns and glue sticks are essentials for crafting.  If you are still feeling discouraged look to local library or museum that offers classes.  In our area the Mercer Museum in Doylestown offers card making classes at Valentine’s, and local community centers as well as churches may have crafting nights.  Calvary Church Souderton currently has crafting on Wednesday and Friday evenings.  Check the website or call the office for more information.  Or purchase from other folks you know have talent.  They’ll be encouraged by your support and you’ll be adding to his or her income:)

Gifting-  there are a few things to take into account when choosing a gift for someone.

  1. Think about what they like, but also what maybe an “inside joke” or a memory between you two. Never ask what they want, it sort of ruins the surprise. Just stay aware of things. Like brands, colors, styles, movies, music, things they collect, etc.
  2. Think about places you two have gone. For example: your cousin and you went to a concert, get her something from that band. It’s more personal than a gift card.
  3. Make sure to keep it a secret, and if you tell anyone make sure they keep it secret too! Most people say they don’t like surprises but they really do.
  4. Make sure the gift looks presentable. For example: if you get a book, wrap it, and add a card. Or if you buy a clothing item make sure it’s wrapped in a box or shopping bag.
  5. Personalize a gift, always. Even if it’s just a card.
  6. If you don’t have money or truly have no idea what to get the person. Make up coupons. Like “I.O.U. one shopping day to anything you want” or “One manicure & pedicure, just us!” for guys “One day doing anything you want, fishing, football, washing cars – you choose”. They are all personal and all something you can make memories while doing. You can even bring a camera or buy a disposable for the day.  Reserve this only for those closest to you.  I.E. spouse, sibling, parent, of best friend.

Frequent small businesses.  Often they have a unique selection and offer free shipping or pick up.  Sometimes they may offer gift wrapping.  This introduces the receiver of the gift to a new experience or place to find something that they enjoy.  This goes double for shopping for gifts while on vacation.  Try charity shops that sell all sorts of stuff, also get charms for a charm bracelet. I know it sounds dorky but it has been nice years later to of back through and have all your memories in one place.   Local businesses appreciate your purchase and you know you are spending wisely and purchasing quality.

Lastly, utilize people you know.  I recommend a cousin by marriage Sandra.  She was recently honored by having her creations added to the presenters bags at a Oscars.  She has an Etsy site:

I also have a friend Kelly, who enjoys knitting and crocheting She has made baby booties and baby blankets.  These make memorable and special gifts when you don’t know what to give.   If you are interested post a comment and I will put you in touch with her.

Another friend Kathryn who uses glass as her medium and creates her own ornaments and jewelry.  I purchased her ornaments as gift this Christmas.  It was in expensive and fast and once again no shipping.  Once again if interested please post a comment and I’ll put you in touch with this talented artist.


Be the Light…

Okay Readers:) I am back with new ways to save your pennies and create new from old.  Today’s projects are actually ones I have recently finished.  I became obsessed with re-creating my space and since, like most of you, we are on a budget.  My latest project is re-doing the light fixtures in my home.  ImageImageImageImage

More helpful Household hints!
July 11, 2012, 11:59 AM
Filed under: Craft Ideas, helpful household hints, Life style


Better than paper towels.



Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for $1.00, even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome… Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows sparkling.


3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

















5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.


6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.


9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil

from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters..

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them.. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great “razor nick fixers..”

15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliquéing soft fabrics.

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18 Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car..

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a zip-lock plastic bag until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book.

25. Use as a disposable “snack bowl” for popcorn, chips, etc.


26. Great in the tool room when separating nails and screws then use in to bottom of containers to remove moisture and prevent rust.



I didn’t know most of this stuff!

Cooking, crafting, and camping More fun for free!
May 29, 2012, 9:24 AM
Filed under: Craft Ideas, Healthly Living, recipes
Coconut Flour Chai Spiced Cupcakes -TASTY AND GLUTEN FREE!!!!!
                        By Jamie Calabro
1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
 1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
 1/4 tsp baking soda
5 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
 1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients together and set aside. Using mixer, combine wet ingredients until they are really well combined and even a little foamy. On low-speed, mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Batter will thicken only slightly and will resemble a pancake batter. Mix till all the lumps are gone. Pour into cup cake papers (2/3 full) and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cream Cheese icing works well with these flavors or eat them plain.

Buttoned-Up Elegance

Give a lightweight, linen curtain beachy flair  by stitching a border of mother-of-pearl buttons across the bottom of the rod  pocket.


Transform any object with a flat, smooth surface  into a blackboard. Here, enamel bakeware was used, but you can make use of  anything that strikes your fancy, such as an old mirror or a salvaged window.  Apply two coats of chalkboard paint using a small sponge applicator or roller,  as the fibers in regular paintbrushes tend to leave behind streaks. Chalkboard  paint comes in both liquid and spray versions. If you try the spray, be sure to  cover the surrounding area carefully to prevent spatter.

All-American Floral Wreath

4 steps for the winsome wreath

1. Saturate a 12-inch floral foam wreath  base with cool water.
2. Insert green leaves into floral foam, for  texture. Or skip this step and insert short, clipped stems of pink and white  peonies around the base, slightly varying the stems’ angles while concealing the  foam.
3. Display by hanging from florist’s wire, or looping a  grosgrain ribbon belt through the middle.
4. Maintainwreath a  week or more; place it daily in a shallow container, refreshing the foam ring  with cool water.

All-American Floral Wreath

4 steps for the winsome wreath

1. Saturate a 12-inch floral foam wreath  base with cool water.
2. Insert green leaves into floral foam, for  texture. Or skip this step and insert short, clipped stems of pink and white  peonies around the base, slightly varying the stems’ angles while concealing the  foam.
3. Display by hanging from florist’s wire, or looping a  grosgrain ribbon belt through the middle.
4. Maintain wreath a  week or more; place it daily in a shallow container, refreshing the foam ring  with cool water.

Read more: How to Make a Fresh Floral Wreath – Country Living

Cover a Lampshade

Measure the diameter of the lampshade bottom and  top, and add 1 1/2″ to each. Measure the shade’s height and add 3 3/4″. Cut a  length of fabric to size with sewing shears. For the bottom hem, fold the fabric  3/4″, iron flat, and machine stitch. Cut a piece of string 1″ longer than the  fabric’s length, fold the top 1 1/2″ of the fabric over the string, and iron  flat. Machine stitch two straight lines (1/2″ below the fold and 1/2″ above the  fabric’s edge) to create a drawstring seam. Fit fabric over lampshade, draw the  string tightly over top of shade, and tie. Evenly distribute folds and stitch  seam closed.

Candles in Seashells

Lovely on their own or as a companion to sand candles, these small lights  celebrate the beach and the summer. Collect only good-sized empty shells, or  save the shells from your next clambake or oyster fest.

seashell candles

Supplies:1.5 x 6.5-inch seashells

Six 2-inch lengths thin wire wick, primed

6 wick holders

0.8 ounces stearin

1 disk wax dye, if desired

8 ounces paraffin wax

Directions: 1. Clean the seashells  thoroughly. Then, to be sure they are really clean, put them in boiling water  for a few minutes.
2. Insert the wicks into the wick holders and place  one in the middle of each seashell.
3. In the top of a double boiler over  medium heat, melt the stearin and wax dye, if using. Add the wax. Melt and mix  thoroughly. Heat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Fill each seashell nearly  to the top and allow to cool completely, or overnight.
5. Trim the wicks  to 1/4 inch and arrange the candles on a dish or in a bowl of sand. Light and  enjoy!

Bandanna Table Runner   –

Add a cheerful touch to the summer table with  this patchwork-style runner. Line up enough bandannas to fit the length of a  table, leaving some overhang, and stitch together. To back the runner, cut an  old cotton tablecloth (any light-colored one will do) to match its width and  length. Sew together along the edges or attach with iron-on bonding.


Here is a a great way to spend time together without spending money.  If you don’t own a tent chances are you know someone who does.   Or you can find a range of tents types and sizes for around $50-$100  for an investment in your family it is well worth it for the years of use and togetherness.

Take the kids camping in the back yard.  Make it Dad and his boys (or girls-they need dad time too)!  Or go to a local park check and see if they permit camping overnight and if they allow campfires or b-b-qs.  Bring your own food, go for a nature walk, horseback riding, bring some outdoor games, go swimming in the lake, cook out, and make s’mores.  Be a family make memories that your kids will remember for years to come:)

Allentown KOA Campground

6750 KOA Dr., New Tripoli, PA 18066-2419 Get Directions
610-298-2160 Toll Free USA: 800-562-2138 Website

Open April 1 through November 1, the Allentown K.O.A. Campground welcomes you and your family to their clean, modern campground. Enjoy the swimming pool, hay rides, and special family oriented activities. Conveniently located near Dorney Park and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and within a short drive to Hershey and Gettysburg.

Lake Towhee

Old Bethlehem Pike, Quakertown, PA 18951 Get Directions

This 552-acre park has much to offer, including a playground, picnicking, hiking, ball fields, horseback riding trails, boating, fishing, group and individual camping, ice skating, nature area and a 50-acre lake. Open sunrise to sunset.

Appalachia Spring Ranch

7187 Troxelville Rd., Beavertown, PA 17813-9109 Get Directions
570-966-0884 Website
Enjoy a vacation with horses, education, hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing and photography.
For more locations and information search the PA Tourist Commission site.

What is going on this weekend?
May 5, 2012, 6:20 AM
Filed under: Craft Ideas, Fun on a budget, Life style

May 4th–  First Friday is on in Lansdale and Skippack.  Come for food, fun and music!

May 5thgarage Sale 8am-noon at St Peter’s Lutheran Church 211 South Main St North Wales.  All indoors, Donations are accpeted from 7-9pm on May 3td.  Women’s and children’s clothing will be available for purchase at the thrift shop.

May 5th-6th– Bi-Annual Studio Open House/Pottery Sale 9a-5p at Mirthful Angel Pottery located at 1301 Valley Forge Rd (Woodlyn Ave Worcester Twp)Eagleville. Everything is unique and handcrafted by the studio.  \

May 5th-Norristown Arts Festival Dekalb St. The Location of the fair will be between Lafayette & Penn Sts. in Norristown.  There will be  a variety of performances and food.

May 5th-Cooking Demo with James Wilson of Woodburners fame.  At Woodburners, James will give a demonstration

May 4-6th-An interactive production of Hans Christian Anderson’s Thumblina.  DCP Theater 795 Ridge Rd Telford. Tickets are $10/p Reservations: 215-234-0966.

May 7th-5-8pm  Enjoy a business open house in the town of Hatfield.  You may say “What’s in Hatfield?” Well here’s your chance to find out.  The borough established in 1898 will host an open house style event on Monday, May 7th.  A trolley will be available to shuttle attendees around town, there will be door prizes, entertainment and you’ll have an opportunity to get to know the town better through a scavenger hunt for a chance to win $250 off your electric bill.  There of course will also be children centered events and activities.  Some of the business participating are: Trolley Stop, Crystal Rose Catering, Dale’s Barber Shop, Mom’s Water Ice, Woodburners, Casey’s Saloon, Bethany Bible, Tranquility Life Spa, LA Fun Zone, Bonnie’s Boutique, and Preferred Travel. 

May 7th-View and Brew Night at Sellersville Theater 7pm.  FREE!  Help! (1965) Rated G – The Beatles film has  an obscure Asian cult that believes in human sacrifice after Ringo who  has accidentally put on the victim’s ceremonial ring. He is pursued by  the cult, a pair of mad scientists, and a member of a side cult that no  longer believes in human sacrifice, and the London police who are trying to help.

Free Gardening Workshops Wednesday Evening Wine and Cheese Series at Floral & Hardy:

May 9th-6:30pm “Trouble in Paradise” Dealing with ticks, poision Ivy, and other gardening perils.

May 16th-6:30pm Gardening with  native plants and how they will grow in your garden.

May 23– 6:30pm Stroll the gardens and learn all about plants.

4007 Skippack Pike Skippack Village 610-584-0797

May 10th Thursday-7-9pm Jazz and Joe.  The Church of the Holy Spirit Sumneytown Pike at Barndt Rd Harleysville.  Coffee and snacks after the show.


Get Crafty
April 7, 2012, 9:26 AM
Filed under: Craft Ideas

I am very excited to try this one!  Let me know how you make out!

Framed Flowers

Materials:  Picture frame, Fabric (2” longer and wider than frame), pencil, scissors, hot glue gun, glue sticks, scrapbook paper, 3 buttons per flower 1 lg 2 small.  Precut floral stem wire, wire cutters.

1.) Fold a 2” to 4” square of paper in half twice to get a small square.  Fold on the diagonal so that all unfolded edges are at one end of the triangle.

2) Holding the triangle as shown, round off the unfolded edge with scissors to create a petal shape; unfold.

3)   Center the largest button on the flower and use a pencil to mark the buttonholes on the paper.  Remove button; poke holes through marks with floral stem wire.

4)  Crimp the wire 2” from end.  thread 1 hole of the small button onto the wire, then the second hole onto the short end.  Repeat with large button, then paper (using holes as your guide),  then final button.  Twist the wire below back button to secure; trim excess with wire cutters.

To frame the flowers;

1) Remove picture backing board and glass from frame.  Discard glass.

2)  Center board on wrong side of fabric.  Fold extra fabric onto back of board and hot glue in place, top and bottom first, then sides, tightening the fabric as you go to smooth out wrinkles.  Let dry.  Replace board in frame.

3)  Make 1 or 2 flowers trimming wire to fit frame.  Hot glue onto fabric behind petals and leaves (so glue won’t show).  Let dry.


Bring a Little Spring In
March 29, 2012, 8:38 AM
Filed under: Craft Ideas, helpful household hints

Who doesn’t love flowers!?!   They always make me feel happy and I feel they add life and cheer to any room.  I have seen many a magazine article on arranging flowers and choosing the right vase.  However, you are anything like me I have difficulty in knowing which to choose or am intimidated by all the craft gurus with their own magazines and tv shows.  Who has time for “51 easy steps you too can create this homemade treasure….”  get real!   I don’t have “people” who come in and shop for me, do my hair and makeup and feed and walk my animals.  I am pretty sure that all of you don’t either.

Here is a craft I found in a magazine that my mother-in-law sends me.  This is one I plan to try this weekend.  It seems simple enough that even I can do it.  If I am successful I thought I might make gifts out of more for Easter.  You will need a glass jar, cleaned with the label removed, tube of white puff paint, and matte white spray paint.

1) Applying even pressure, draw a design on the jar with the tip of the puff paint.  Allow the paint to fully dry (double the time recommended on package.

2)  In a well ventilated space on a newspaper-covered surface, apply a light coat of spray paint to the jar, holding the can 12” away; let it dry.  Apply 2 or 3 more light coats, allowing to dry after each coat; until fully covered.

Optional:  In stead of drawing a design, make a gift by writing a message like Get Well Soon or Happy Easter!

3)  Fill with flowers and water.  Enjoy!

Vase number 2:

Materials:  Coffee or soup can, cleaned, with label removed; tape measure, 2 colors of grosgrain ribbon of same width (1/2 -1”)

scissors, hot glue gun and glue sticks.

1) measure the can’s height and circumference; add 1/2” to each.  Choose one color to use on circumference and measure as needed to cover the can horizontally, plus 2 for top and bottom.   For second color: cut as many pieces to cover the can vertically. (For a can 5″ tall and 12” you’ll need 7 long pieces of 1” ribbon and 12 1/2”  long pieces of 1” ribbon in one color, twelve 5 1/2” long pieces of the other.

2) Arrange the longer pieces on a table ( reserve the top and bottom pieces) with the sides just touching, creating a rectangle.  Apply the hot glue along one of the shorter ribbons, then carefully place it on top of one short end of the rectangle to hold the long ribbons in place.  Straighten the long ribbons, if needed, while the glue is wet.  Let dry.

3) Starting at the glued-down end, weave a short piece of ribbon over and under the long ones.  Get it as close as possible to the first short piece, then attach it at the top and bottom with glue.  Continue with the short pieces alternating the over/under, until the entire rectangle is woven.  Trim any excess.

4)  Wrap the rectangle around the can, hot-glue the glued-down short end to cover the opposite end.  Apply a line of glue around the top of the can and attach one of the reserved ribbons, folding the end under to hide the raw edge.  Repeat at the bottom of the can.