Too Cheap to Buy Frames Tutorial

Chalkboard is the new wallpaper!

Last year’s Anthropologie Catalog has inspired many! Anthropologie displayed their bedding  surrounded by chalkboard-painted walls and floors with hand-drawn accessories: frames, rugs, furniture, lamps, etc. Since then, I’ve noticed hand-drawn picture frames all over the blog-o-sphere, and the new West Elm Catalog has run with the theme as well. Here’s my take from this inspiration.

Frames in Relief (with light walls and a Sharpie)

Supplies needed:

Tape measure or level
Black Sharpie
Straight Edge (ruler)
Different sized frames to trace around

First, decide the layout of the frames on your wall. I eyeballed it. You could trace your layout on a large piece of paper if you need to trial and error before marking up your wall.

Make sure to use the level or tape measure insure your frames are level. Using the pencil, trace around the frames you’ve selected. I used big and little frames to make the inner and outer lines of the frame details. That way, I knew everything would be square. You could use plates and bowls too, if you wanted round frames.  Trace away until you are satisfied.

Step back and take a look. Everything level? Everything square? Feel free to experiment with the frame details, like scrolls or Fleur-de-lies, with your pencil. I like to wing it directly with my Sharpie, and skip drawing everything twice.

As you can see, even walls finished with orange peel (instead of smooth) can be drawn on as well. Now, take your Sharpie and straight edge, and trace over your pencil lines. Its important to hold the Sharpie cap in your mouth as you draw. And, no. I’m not that stout…I’m 7 months pregnant. Okay, my vanity is smoothed… back to the tutorial.

Use the straight ruler to draw diagonal lines for 3-D detail.

Add frame decoration.

Fix little mistakes with fingernail polish remover and a Q-tip. Or,  if you have your wall paint, you could cover mistakes with a small brush.

Here are my finished frames. Click on the links below to see how others have drawn frames for inspiration.

I liked the way the Anthropologie catalog taped papers haphazardly inside the frame. So, that’s what I did. You could hide your tape or glue your picture to the wall.

Other hand-drawn wall frames:


On stupidity and burning fleece on the iron…

I’m sure we’ve all done it… At least, I tell myself that so I don’t feel as stupid… Taken a freakin’ hot iron to fabric that can’t take the heat. Wimpy fusible fleece… As soon as I pulled the iron away, strings of glue and wispy white threads followed my movements off the board to the iron stand, like hot glue.

“Ah, crap!”

This resulted.

Knowing I have piles of pieces to fuse today, with no vehicle to run to the store for a new iron, I binged. That’s ed, Microsoft’s new, amazing search engine! (Why yes! My husband works for Microsoft, why do you ask?) How to clean crap off the bottom of your iron? Many suggestions, only one worked for my experiment in stupidity.

Oven Cleaner…This stuff is scary strong. It will melt the plastic, so its important to tape off the non-steel parts. Spray and ignore for 20. Outside, unless you can afford losing more brain cells.


Wipe away.

Its like picking a scab. Clean as new. Happy ironing!

Spanish Paella

My husband was born and raised in the Basque region of Spain. We recently visited his family and were reminded of the little Spanish store here in Seattle. The Spanish Table is a fun treat for Stephen when he wants “home-cooking”. They have sausages, cheese, imported cans of $12 white asparagus (gulp!) and olives, wine, cookies and of course, paella pans! I bought a large pan a few years back that feeds 6-10 people. I’m not sure if they had smaller pans then. Maybe, and I missed them. But while in Spain 2 months ago, the paella restaurant we frequent started serving personal pans of paella and I  had to buy my own little pan!

With my little pan  (feeds 4) I made paella 2 nights ago. I thought I’d share the super easy recipe. Paella is like casserole in Spain. Whatever they have on hand is tossed in. So, it varies from day to day. But, the traditional ingredients are chicken, chorizo and shellfish.

Easy Paella For Four


1 pkg Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice (Note: Of course, you can use saffron, but this just makes it quick and easy. Stephen thinks the taste is more authentic!)
1/2 chicken breast, cubed
1/2 lb chorizo, sliced (be careful you don’t pick up Mexican chorizo, its not the same.)
6-8 shrimp
1/2 c Green beans or peas, frozen or fresh
1/2  tomato and red pepper (optional), chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
2 cans chicken broth
white wine (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Salt and pepper all the meat.
  3. In an oven friendly pan (Paelleras, cast iron skillet or wok), saute chicken and chorizo in 1/4 c  olive oil on medium until cooked. Add the onion and garlic for 5 minutes more. (Spanish folks love oil, so don’t skimp!)
  4. Add 1/4 c -ish of white wine to de-glaze the bottom of the pan for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the contents of the rice bag and 1 can of broth. Let it come to a boil.
  6. Scatter the vegetables around, and stir lightly to distribute all the goods. This is the last time you’ll stir it. The best part of paella is the crust that forms on the bottom of the pan!
  7. Place the shrimp on top. Put it on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes – 45 minutes. Check the pan every 10 minutes to add more broth as needed until the rice is almost done.
  8. Every time I’ve had paella, the rice is cooked differently in different parts of the pan, so don’t sweat it if some of the rice is under-done. Just make sure the majority is soft and not too chewy!

Spanish Salad

Have a traditional Spanish salad on the side. Trust me, its sounds weird, but its great!

Green-leaf lettuce
Hard-boiled egg
White asparagus (From jar)
Can of tuna in oil
Sliced red onion
Dress with Lemon juice  and Olive Oil

Scrap Door Snake

More uses for my great-aunt’s quilt scraps!

My garage door is off the kitchen. It has a large gaping crack that allows a cold draft to freeze my feet in the winter! Of course, the home store has better, more permanent solutions, but this was a chance to use up some vintage scraps!

To make

Measure the width of your door and add 5 inches. This is the length of your tube.


  • Tube front: Sew your scraps together and cut  to measure 2 1/2 ” x your door length. I serged all my seams for durability. If you don’t have an Overlock Machine, you could top stitch each seam to insure the seams don’t separate with time. Make sure to iron each seam flat before cutting.
  • Tube back: 2 1/2″ x your door length

Sew right sides together of scrap front to back fabric on 3 sides, leaving one  small end of the tube open. Use 1/4″ seam allowance. Again, I serged the seams for durability. I’d hate to have beans leaking out through a ripped seam! Turn right-side out and iron side seams.

Stuff: My daughter had fun stuffing the tube with pinto beans.You could use rice too.

Whip stitch the end closed and stop that draft! Quick and easy!

Finished circumference is 4″.

Pizza Caprese!

Pizza Time: 3 hours

(20 minutes pizza prep, 2 hours rise, 20 minutes bake)


Crust: 1/2 package active yeast, 1 tsp sugar, 1 1/2 cups  flour, salt, olive oil

Sauce: 1 8oz can tomato sauce, 3/4 cup basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 3 cloves garlic

Toppings: Sliced Roma tomatoes, halved grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and fresh rounds of mozzarella

Thin Crust

1. Start half a packet of active yeast and 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup HOT water. Let sit for 5 minutes until it foams.

2. In mixer with dough attachment, add 1  – 1 1/2 cups of all-purp flour and 1 tsp salt. Slowly mix in yeast water. Knead dough on slow/medium speed for 10 minutes. Dough should be sticky, but not wet. Add a little flour or water to get the right consistency.

3. I like to put my oven on Warm for 10 minutes, then turn it off to get a nice cozy rising home for my dough. Put kneaded dough in a big oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Put it in a warm spot and let it rise for 2 hours.

4. After 2 hours punch down dough, roll it out on a floured surface and spread it out in your oiled pizza pan. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Using a pastry brush, spread Extra Virgin Olive Oil over crust and use a fork to poke holes evenly in dough to prevent bubbles from rising.

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Just until the crust turn light golden in spots. Pull it out and set aside.


In a blender or food processor, pulse 1 8oz can tomato sauce, 3/4 cup basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 3 cloves garlic. Spread on top of semi-baked crust.


Top with Sliced Roma tomatoes, halved grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and fresh rounds of mozzarella.

Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese gets bubble and golden in spots. Enjoy!

Cutting a Silhouette

SilhouetteA super-easy project and super-cute! I will be pairing mine with Martha Stewart’s family tree fan chart.

Take a Picture

Take a picture of your subject with a bright background. I used a window.

Clean up your Picture

I imported the picture to photoshop, changed the color to grayscale and increased the contrast to darken the silhouette and brighten the background. I used the photofill tool to fill in any light spots on my silhouette and fiddled with the eyelashes and hairlines.

Then, I flipped the canvas horizontally, so that I had a mirror image to print out. (And, I’m cheap. I printed a light gray sillhouette to save on the black ink.) Print!

Cut the Silhouette

Stick your printed silhouette to the BACK of your black paper, so that when you cut it out your silhouette is facing the correct way. Remember, you printed a mirror image. I used sticky dots to adhere the printed template to the back of the black card stock. Cut carefully around the edges of your printed template.


Peel off the printed template being careful not to rip off any small angles. Place your silhouette on a contrasting background and frame!

Quilted Patchwork Wine Bag Tutorial

Wine Bag

Giving a great bottle of wine? Wrap it up in a great wine cozy. Your friends will know there is something special inside!

Cutting out

Lining: Cut  one piece 12.5 inches x 15.5 inches and one 4 inch circle.

Batting (I used felt):  Cut  one piece 12.5 inches x 15.5 inches, and one 4 inch circle.

Scrap squares:  Cut 20 3.5 inch squares of miscellaneous fabric.


Bottom of bag fabric: Cut one 4 inch circle.

Ribbon: 35″ long

Making the patchwork

1.       Lay out your squares in a 4 x 5 grid to match colors or designs as you desire. Follow your grid when constructing the squares.

2.       Using a ¼ inch seam, sew (or serge) two squares right sides together along one seam.

Two squares

3.       Add a third square to the row and sew along one of the sides.

Three squares

4.       Add the forth square, sew, and press the seams flat.

Four squares

5.       Do this to all 5 lines of squares, so that you end with 5 rows of 4 squares sewn together.

6.       Now, sew 2 rows together along the long edge, being careful to match the seams.

7.       Add the remaining rows until your patching is done. Iron all seams flat.

Two rows

8.       The finished size should be 12 ½ inches x 15 ½ inches.

Finished Patchwork


1.       Using a yardstick and a quilter’s pen, draw diagonal guidelines across your squares to form X’s in the center of each square.

Quilting lines

2.       Place your batting on the wrong side of your patch worked piece. Pin in place.

3.       Starting with the center line, sew (or hand quilt if you wish) the straight lines, stitching the patch worked piece to the batting underneath. Sew all the diagonal lines.

Sewing Quilting lines

4.       Trim up the outside edges, if needed.

5.       Use damp cloth to erase the quilter’s  pen lines.

Finished quilting

Constructing the bag

1.       Fold your quilted patch worked piece lengthwise in half and pin to insure your seams match up. Stitch along the long edge making a tube. Iron seam flat.


2.       Place batting circle on wrong side of fabric circle. Mark an X through the center of the circle and sew (or hand quilt) the lines.


3.       Pin quilted circle around the edges of one side of the tube to form the bottom of the bag, right sides together. Sew, then iron.

Pinned bottom

4.       Turn your bag right side out.

Right side out

5.       Now take your lining fabric, and fold in lengthwise in half, and stitch along the long edge leaving 3 inches open in the center to turn the bag later. Iron seams flat.

6.       Pin the lining circle around the edges of one side of the lining tube right sides together. Sew, then iron.

7.       Place the patch worked bag (right sides out) inside the lining (wrong side out).

8.       Sew the top edge of the lining and patch worked bag together.

9.       Turn the whole thing right side out through hole in lining seam. Slipstich seam hole in lining shut.

10.   Push lining to inside of bag, topstitch seam 1/8″ from edge and iron 2″ down over patchwork to form a cuff.

Sewing cuff

11.   Knot the ribbon on both ends, fold in half, and then sew it to the bag  just under cuff edge.


Now just insert your bottle, tie it up and give it away!

Insert bottleTied Bag

Don’t want to make one? Check out my store and buy one instead!