Friday, September 30, 2011

Saved by the Thundershirt - A Dog Lovers Miracle

Well since for some reason I can't get the photos I wanted off my digital camera to blog about what I really wanted to.  I am going to blog about the Thundershirt.  Every one has heard about my little wild man, Bubba.  Bubba is a silky terrier that like a lot of little dogs likes to bark all the time.  We were at the end of our wits with him and I had tried everything except a shock collar to get him to stop.  I feel really bad shocking a 10 lb dog so I was willing to try anything.  Also from what I have read if the barking is caused by anxiety, most times "punishing" the dog has no effect.  I originally saw the ad for the Thundershirt on TV (which yes I know a tv infomercial) but after doing some research online, I found mixed reviews it worked for some but not others.  I think a lot of Bubba's barking issues were due to anxiety so I decided to give it a try.

Above is Bubba in his Rugby Thundershirt.  A Thundershirt is an anxiety pressure wrap and for Bubba it seems to work.  It is a neoprene type material that fits fairly snugly.  I have had it for almost a week, which is definitely long enough for him to get use to it.  He is a lot calmer and barks a lot less.  Granted he still barks at the occasional passing car or if another dog is in the yard, but it is definitely not to the extent that he barked before.  I don't make him wear it all the time. When we go for a walk, when he is home alone, or when its just me at home and he is being good, I leave it off of him.

Thundershirt comes with a 45 day money-back guarantee, so it is worth a try.  I ordered mine through Amazon which has an awesome return policy anyways.  Bubba's was  little pricey at $44.95 for the rugby edition, but so far it has been money well spent.  For all the dog owner's that want a humane way to stop the barking, give it a try!  If it doesn't work for you send it back!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yummy! Hasselback Potatos

Another delicious Pinterest find, Hasselback potatoes are the Swedish version of baked potatoes.  Just a few extra steps to the typical baked potato, but it adds so much flavor!
Photo Credit: Seasaltwithfood
I altered the recipe a little bit from what Seasaltwithfood originally did, so here it goes:

Medium size potatoes (I used Russet)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used my wonderful Pampered Chef Garlic Press)
2 tbsp butter, melted
Sea salt

Preheat oven 425. Wash and dry potatoes.  Slice each potato thinly about 3/4 of the way through.  Place minced garlic on top and let some fall down in cracks.  Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until top is crispy and potato is cooked through.

These were so delicious I actually brought a leftover one for lunch today, and I am so not a leftover person!

On another note, if you don't have a Pampered Chef garlic press, I strongly suggest, nothing is better than fresh garlic.  The best part of this press, is you never have to touch the minced garlic or peel, I just scrape it off with a knife and use the same knife to pop out whats left of the peel after pressing.  So no worries about how you are going to get the smell off your hands (baking soda works great!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Musical Love Banner

So last week I posted about how to make your own wood mounted stamps.  I finally got all my letters finished which I would say total in only took me about an hour to cut them all out.  I had all the blocks pre-cut and then i just had to stick them on.  They are working out great, check out what I made with them this week:

Stamped on triangles cut out of old sheet music.  It would be perfect at a rustic wedding!

Here are the stamps I used!  Only problem I've found is I need to make sure I am stamping on a flat level surface to get an even amount of ink on the stamp and then an even imprint on the paper.

For this banner, to make it a little heavier I cut out the same size triangles from a cereal box and glued them to the letters.  Using a whole punch, I punched holes evenly across the top through both the paper and cereal box layers and then threaded through a red gingham ribbon.  I got the entire roll of red gingham ribbon for 50 cents at the flea market

If you were planning on hanging this banner somewhere the back would show as well, you could easily cut sheet music out and put it on the back.  You could even re-stamp something on the back of it as well, so it would be 2 sided :).

Happy Stamping!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Flower Mistake - Recycled Phonebook Flower

I apologize the pictures aren't that great of these, I was hurrying when I took them and not so thrilled with them anyways.  I wanted to make my recycled phonebook hydrangeas with a glittered edge for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I forgot to cut the edge before I did the glittering so they didn't turn out quite right but of course I won't throw them out but work with them and I think they are kind of cute.  

Hopefully I will find time this week to make what I was really trying to do!  These were a mistake but I don't think that bad of one.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Recycled Jar Homemade Air Freshener

Another great Pinterest find, created using any jar with a lid.  I made two of these this past weekend.  One for the kitchen with refreshing eucalyptus oil and another for the bathroom with lavendar oil.

Photo Credit: The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

Any jar with a lid (doesn't have to be glass, can be plastic)
Baking Soda
Your Favorite Essential Oil
Hammer and a Nail 

Fill the jar 1/4 full of baking soda and then add 6-8 drops of your favorite essential oil.  Put on the lid, give the jar a little shake to mix together the oil and baking soda.  Punch holes in the lid with the hammer and nail.  

To refresh the scent I just give my jars a little shake when I am near them.  They work great!  Feel free to also jazz up your jar a little bit with some ribbon or scrapbook paper to make it more decorative.  

I am going to make one for my desk at work with peppermint oil!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Super Easy Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken

Another Pinterest find, this recipe worked out well but was way to spicy for the BF and I so I have included what my adaptation will be for the next time, which is very similar just a few swaps.  

Adapted from My Kitchen Apron

4 Frozen Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Bottle Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce
Butter (amount depends on how hot you want your sauce)
Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing (I use Marie's)

Pour the bottle of Frank's Wing Sauce in your Crockpot.  Melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave and stir into wing sauce already in the Crockpot.  Taste your sauce, if it is still too hot add more melted butter.

Add frozen chicken breasts and spoon sauce over them.

Cook on low for 6 or 7 hours.

Using two forks, shred the chicken breast.  (It should pull apart extremely easy)

Stir in blue cheese or ranch dressing.  I started with 1/2 c - 1 c and added to taste.  Let warm through in crock pot on low.

Serve right away on rolls for sandwiches, make dip, pizza, pasta or even crepes the possibilities are endless.

You could also make a very large batch of this and then freeze smaller portions of it for later use.  This is what I will be doing next time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

DIY Wood Mounted Stamp Tutorial

I have been trying to figure out how to make my own stamps for a long time.  There have been several trial and error versions.  I have done several of the carving type, similar to block printing which work well but are way to time consuming for me to make.  I created this "Wicked" Banner with stamps I created and mounted myself. Check it out:

Here are my stamps!  They look so professional :)

Large rubber stamps are hard to find and also expensive, so to be able to make your own is incredible. 

And here is the tutorial: 

1. A print off on regular paper of the letters (or shapes) you would like to make into stamps.
2. Stencil (Sign) Tape (it is about an 1/8 inch thick rubbery material, mine was given to me for free, but I think I found it on
3.  Wood blocks bigger than the stencil.  The BF cut mine up for me out of a planed pine board and they are a perfect weight.
4.  Glue Stick
5.  Scissors
6.  Exacto Knife (Optional)
7.  Cutting Matt (Optional)
9.  Ink Pads & A dog that won't leave you alone when you are playng with permanent ink!  I swear he almost ended up with orange paws (optional). P.S. I like StazOn ink pads they are pricey but work the best.

Step 1 -
Here is my print out.  My letters are about 2.5 inches tall, printed on regular paper.

A close up of the stencil tape.  It has like a thin white paper backing that has adhesive to stick to the  actual stencil material.  You are going to want to have the paper side up, the stencil material down.

Cut out each of your letters.  I just squared them up as close to the edges as I could and using a little glue from the glue stick attach them to the stencil tape backing (the white paper side). 

 Step 2 -
Cut out each letter with scissors or if necessary the exacto knife and cutting pad.  For my letters I only needed the scissors but for more intricate stuff you may need the knife.  It should look something like this!

Step 3 -
Carefully peel off the paper backing leaving the adhesive backed stencil tape letter.  Stick it to the center of your wooden block. Adjust it wear necessary b/c the material is a little stretchy.  (All of mine have held fine, but down the road may need some glue).  Don't throw out the paper backing with the letter print out b/c you can use this to label your stamp :)

Sorry I was so excited to stamp I didn't take a photo before I did!

Step 4 -
Stamp Away!

I cut out pennants from an old book and stamped my letters on it.  I didn't press down too hard so that my letters have a distressed look.  Punch some holes and string it on ribbon or string and you have a easy banner!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesdays: Bridesmaid Gift Custom Charms

This would definitely make for a unique bridesmaid gift.  They could be used as wedding glass charms, necklaces, bracelets, key chains and what ever else you can come up with.  

I purchased the antique brass base and matching glass disc from the etsy shop Newbora.  I got 10 of the 10mm base (approx 1/2 in)  and 10 of the matching 10 mm glass for $10.  They by far had the cheapest price but it ships from China so it did take a little while to get to me.  So if you order don't be in a hurry to get them! There are multiple sizes and styles available including earrings!    The quality is great though and worth the wait!

For the letter, I used a "J" from the title of vintage piece of sheet music.  You could use just about anything, an old picture, a word from a book or dictionary.  So technically this counts as recycling in that way as well.
I used my Loctite Crafter's Glue, which so far has been permanent and dries crystal clear.  The best part is it takes about 24 hours to solidly cure, so you can adjust it.  I cut out a rectangular piece larger than the glass disc and put a dab of glue on it and placed it over the letter.  As the glue cures it gets clearer and clearer but you can still move it to make sure the letter is centered.

Once it is completely dry, cut around the glass disc with an exacto knife, put another dab of glue on the back of the letter and press it into the brass base and let dry!  I attached a little gem on a wire for extra decoration.  

Not up for making your own, check out one of my favorite shops founding on Etsy for great jewelry options!

bridesmaids monogram necklace package - vintage blues
Bridesmaid Monogram Necklace Package - founding - $192.00

My absolute favorite: 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recycled Jar Jack O' Lanterns

If you haven't guessed yet Halloween is my favorite holiday and fall is my favorite season.  I love making decorations for this time of year and I love carving Jack O' Lanterns but they only last such a short time.  I made these jars so I could enjoy Jack O' Lanterns for the entire month of October.  If you remember I explained how to to tint jars with mod podge before all you do is mix food coloring and a little mod podge, brush it on and let it dry.  Then I just added a face with black craft paint (I used enamel).  

Recycled Ragu and Polnar Preserves Jar Jack O' Lanterns

Martha Stewart offers tons of ideas for faces to carve on Jack O'Lanterns.  I also added a wire handle to the jar and if using a battery powered tea light, it could be safely carried as a lantern while trick or treating!

This creepy pair will be for sale at the Local Living Festival this weekend at the Cornell Co-Operative Extension Farm in Canton!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flea Market Finds: Window Panes and Doors

When visiting one of my favorite junk picking spots in Potsdam, where I previously got an old door and old dresser.  I found these wonderful items, all at unbelievable prices.  I am not going to share what I paid for the 6 pane windows, since I'm probably going to resell them after I clean them up a bit.  The 12 pane window will be going in our bedroom and I only paid $5 for that.  I am currently working on cleaning it up, watch for the post!

I also found 2 more old matching doors, that have the knobs still on them.  I paid only $5 a piece for them as well.  I believe they are solid oak. I want to clean them up and make a different head and footboard for our bed.  Please ignore the mattress on the floor if this pic it is waiting for be cut up :).  

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Crock Pot makes it easy!

I am always looking for easier ways to cook a delicious meal.  My previous crock pot a Rival "Smart"pot had steered me away from crock pot cooking b/c it burned everything.  It was a "not so smart pot", you could set it on the 10 hour setting and it would burn whatever you were cooking within 6.  I finally threw it and the last dinner it burned in the dumpster.  On recommendation of the BF's sister, I purchased this crock pot:

Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach 6 quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Definitely worth the $40+, I got mine at Target for $40.  The first dish I made in it was super easy.  Found on Pinterest (Check out my Yummy Board), all it was is a can of cream of chicken soup, 8 oz of cream cheese, a pack of zesty italian dressing mix and 2 - 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours.  The great part about this crock pot is you can program it to cook on low or high for however many hours or using the probe until it is a certain temperature, and then the crock pot will keep it warm until you turn it off.  You can serve the above chicken over rice or pasta, I served it over wheat penne.  My one change next time is I will microwave the cream cheese, cream of chicken soup and the italian first to create a sauce before adding it to the crock pot.  

Since its starting to really feel like fall, tomorrow I am going to make Loaded Baked Potato Soup in the Crock Pot another Pinterest find, and put it in bread bowls.  Yum!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I apologize I took a little break from blogging.  My sister is home visiting so I have been busy.  We went hiking,  worked on Halloween costumes and did a little cooking!  I canned 12 quarts of homemade spaghetti sauce so far and I only have 40 more to go!  My goal is 52 quarts, one for every week of the year.  I wanted to share this handy little thing I purchased, the FoodSaver Regular Mouth Jar Sealer.  For those of you that have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer with an accessory attachment, this is amazing!

FoodSaver T03-0006-01 Regular-Mouth Jar Sealer

It is super easy to use.  All you do is place your contents in the jar, put on a lid and secure this on top and press the accessory button.  I have only tried it with hot contents and it worked great.  All the jars sealed.  It can be a little messy if you over fill the jars (1 inch from the top).  It is still so much easier than any other method and cuts the canning process in half!

I love it so much I just ordered the Wide Moth Jar Sealer!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creepy Dark Purple Recycled Phonebook Hydrangea

Remember the tutorial on How to create flowers out of phonebook pages?  Well I have been continuing to try dying the pages different colors.  I have found a new favorite!  For this creepy dark people blackish color, which looks much better in person.  I soaked the yellow pages in black food coloring.  I normally microwave the water/food coloring mixture for about 2 minutes and then add the water and let them sit for at least a half an hour.   The color looks amazing!  

Come check it out at the craft show tomorrow!  I will have this little mini bouquet for sale as well as a wreath decoration set!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Recycled Vintage Button Bobbi Pins

These cute little hair pins where created from my vintage button collection and regular bobbi pins you can buy at almost any drug store.  They were actually really easy to make.  All I did was take a tiny amount of glue (super or another strong glue, I tend to shy away from super glue bc I glue my fingers together)  place it on the end of the bobbi pin, give it a few minutes to set.  Then I stitched the button around top side of the bobbi pin with a small needle and thread.  Lastly, I added a little bit of glue to the back side on the thread to seal it and now it is securely attached!

Fun and easy to make!  A good way to put to use all those old buttons!

I will have an assortment of these with me at the show this weekend. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Recycled Bedspring Napkin Holders

Remember Monday's post, the Recycled Bedspring Banner, these are create from the leftover center portions of the spring when the top and bottom are cut off.  I didn't want to start making the banners unless I had a use for the leftover center spring pieces.  One of the uses I came up with are napkin rings!  They actually look really cool and work great!  I can paint them any color too!

I attached a soda can rose to this one and painted the whole thing a flat white:

This one I left plain and painted gold:

This one I attached a Arizona soda can rose to and left plain:


I will be selling these as sets of 4, with a rose will be $10 and without a rose will be $8.  If you want a custom color feel free to ask!

I will also have a bunch of these at the show this Saturday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Margo the Butterfly

My first butterfly hatched today!  I ended up only have 2 make it.  The first one made its cocoon but for some reason it fell :(.  I had named the three of them Margo, Edith and Agnes from Despicable Me, but Edith passed away.  Last night, I noticed the cocoon had turned all black and the BF said that it does that before they "hatch" (I'm not sure if this is even the right word).  I was hoping it would wait until I got home, but it didn't.  At least the BF was great and took some pics for me!

I didn't feel right about making him wait for me to get home to release it, so he let it go out on my giant morning glory plant outside.  It is waiting for its wings to dry before it flies off!

Amazing isn't it?  Hopefully Margo will stop by for a visit every now and again!

Recycled Wine Cork Heart ♥

I have been saving up corks for a long time, as well as getting them from my friends and co-workers to be able to make this wreath.  It took me 51 corks to make it, but it is wonderful and worth taking the time to collect the corks.

It makes a much nicer cork board than the typical store bought version.

It is also very easy to make, I cut out a piece of heavy cardboard in the shape of a heart with the center cut out leaving about a 2 inch outline of the heart and then glued the corks to the bottom of the corks to the heart as well as too each other.  I found using a craft glue like LockTight Crafters glue works best.  Hot glue didn't really work at all.  I think b/c the corks are so porous.  The little roses are from scrapbooking supplies that I just attached thumbtacks to the tops.  I am going to make a set of recycled soda can rose ones for the show this weekend!   

Enjoy!  Check back tomorrow for an interesting wedding wednesday post!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bedspring Banner w/ Magnetic Decorations

Last week I began creating banners out of almost all recycled materials.  Remember the "Autumn" Banner and the little "Boo" Banner, I did not like attaching these to plain string and also they weren't dynamic enough.  So I cam up with a recycled banner using the round tops cut off the top or bottom of bedsprings!  Then I just connected the circles with the smaller springs and voila a banner that can use the same magnetic decorations that my wreaths use, so it is even more versatile.  Very easy and quick to change the look of.  For example, I took all of these photos within a few minutes.  

I am going to offer 2 different sizes a small which will be what is show which is about 10 or 11 spring tops (I haven't decided what I like best) and a 15 or 16 spring top version.  These and the letter sets will be available at my next show, this Saturday September 10th from 12 - 5 in Downtown Massena for the Harvest Festival!

Check back later this week to see what I do with the middle part of the spring leftover after cutting off the bottom and the top!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recycled Book Dahlia Wreath & Upcycled Art Show

This magnetic decoration set was made from recycled book pages.  Each flower includes 19 petals hand-cut and created from squares of old book pages.  The kraft brown centers are cut outs from a coca-cola box (yes again) and a tiny pearl from a broken strand of vintage pearls is glued in the center.  These are probably some of my most detailed flowers yet.  That is why I will be forced to charge $15 for this decoration set and it will be available at my next show Sept 10th for Massena Harvest Festival.

I am very proud to be curating the first annual Uniquely NNY Upcycled Art Show.  Along with my other site Uniquely NNY ,  I am searching for other upcycling/recycled artisans and crafters to be a part of the show.  The show is October 29th at Clarkson University Cheel Commons from 10 - 4.  It is $20 for a 10x10 booth.  For more information or to see what vendors are already signed up, visit  This is sure to be a one of a kind show!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recycled Book Banner - Autumn

Similar to the "Boo" Banner from early this week.  I created the "Autumn" banner pinwheels from old book pages and then glued orange dyed doilies to the center of them.  I then stamped the back of seal cut outs from a soda box and glued them in the center.  Attached it all to a string!  It has a lovely vintage feel! I love it!

Enjoy!  Check back tomorrow, I will be featuring new flower wreath decorations from recycled book pages!