Make a Basket Herb Garden

  
I’m a big fan of using plastic baskets as car trash cans (try it and you’ll never go back to using a bag!). As I was unloading plants from the back of my car I used the empty trash basket to carry 6 pots of herbs to the patio. Setting them on the table, I noticed that they looked kind of cute in the basket and wondered if I could just use the basket as an herb garden – I figured “it’s plastic – why wouldn’t it work?”. I left the herbs in the basket and put them by my back step and watered them every day. I wondered if they would continue to grow in their little pots… it became evident that they needed to be in more soil than just their little plastic pots… and I was getting really tired of watering them every day! 
I wanted to keep them by the back kitchen steps because it is more convenient than where I usually grow herbs and I had become attached to the whole “basket” idea, so I set about figuring out how to plant them in the basket without dirt leaching out every time I watered them – AND how to avoid the responsibility of needing watering them frequently (I live in New Mexico and our humidity hovers around 10-20% ). I came up with this idea and it has worked beautifully – I much prefer it to my old herb container garden on the drip system! If you try this, just make sure to heavily water the basket once a week – the water crystals/granules need a chance to soak up enough water to see the plants through the next 7 days or so! 

 
     


  
 
     
  

Unique Graduation Gift

Give this graduation gift a try – Book safes are my favorite thing to give to kids heading off to college – things tend to “disappear” in dorms and it’s good to have a hidden place to store extra cash and credit cards!  This post with video is also on Lifetart Instagram account!  

 

Glue Gun Hack

I was at Costco last week and saw these grill mats and thought “Hey! I’ll bet those would be great for working with glue guns!” – they are!

 1. They are designed to withstand heat. 

2. Glue peels right off of them. 

3. The mats are big so you won’t accidentally lay the glue gun down on the table instead of the mat. 

4. Four sheets are $16 instead of ONE silicone baking mat for the same price! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻😊

  

Magic Magnetic Craft Board

  
 *You can also see this tip WITH VIDEO on my Lifetart Instagram account (I am FAR more active on IG than here on my blog).  If you have any questions, just message me on Instagram! 

Super easy to make and makes any craft you do while sitting in a chair or the car SO much easier! Needlepoint, embroidery, beading, etc. 

 My “Lapboard” is actually a vintage cork backed board placemat (eBay usually around $15 for 4). I love it because it provides a perfect place for stray things and the cork provides drag so things don’t slide off – (you could also use a small cookie sheet or a piece of chipboard). Using packing tape, attach magnets to the back of the board and place a magnet into any lightweight container and throw it on your board!

  
When you need to get up from working on a project, it is SO easy to just take the board and place it on the table without worrying about stuff sliding off…and of course while you are using it…

I use LARGE magnets (1/2” wide by 1/8” thick – from Hobby Lobby 6 for $6 online & in stores) – they are strong enough to hold things through the thickness of the lapboard and using two can anchor heavier things. Smaller ones are not strong enough for the vintage placemats. 

Lapboard Hack: Since the front of the placemats are shiny and slick, gluing a piece of ultra suede or real leather suede on the shiny side would help anchor it on uneven surfaces (in the car!) – just make sure to tape your magnets to the back before gluing on the suede!

  
Tags: Needlepoint, Needlepoint tips, craft tips, magic magnet board, crafting tips, embroidery 

Photo Books Made Quick and Easy with the Chatbooks App and Instagram

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With Spring Break just around the corner, I thought I would share how I make travel photo books!  Too many times the photos I take on vacation either stay on my SD card or phone and never make it onto my computer – and if they do happen to make it onto my computer, they never get any farther than that!

Last summer, we took a three week trip to SE Asia and I was determined to record it, share the photos with friends and family while we were in Asia and have a photo book at the end!

I came up with this idea and it worked flawlessly!!  Enjoy!

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STEPS:

1. Set up a new Instagram account for vaction photos – i.e. JaneDoeVacationPhotos. (I prefer having a special account for vacation photos so I don’t have to sift through all my day-to-day Instagram posts to see my vacation photos.) If you already have an Instagram account you will need to provide a different email for your new Instagram account – just open a new email account – i.e. JaneDoeVacationPhotos@gmail.com)

2. Make your new account private or public. I made ours private because we were gone for three weeks and I did not want strangers to know we were away from home.

3. Send friends and family the name of your new Instagram account so they can follow your adventures! (If your account is private, you will need to accept their request to follow you)
4. Download Chatbooks app & set up Acct with Credit card info
5. Link Chatbooks app to your new Instagram Acct
6. Take loads of pictures every day and upload to Instagram at night using hotel Wi-Fi with journal descriptions.
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6. Order a “custom” book at end of trip. The custom book can be up to 366 pages. Lengthy journal entries will print on their own page. When you have uploaded 60 photos, Chatbooks will send you a confirmation – do not click “order” or you will end up with lots of little books about your trip. Wait until the end of your trip and order a custom book of the entire trip!
7. Consider making your Instagram trip account open to the public after you get home! If it is not filled with lots of personal information – you may want to share your adventures with the world! Whether you make it public or private, it is really nice to have a dedicated vacation account everyone can enjoy for years to come in addition to a nifty photo book!
To get you started, here is a promo code for a free book at Chatbooks – just cut and paste it into the app! Promo Code: U74CFNN
**This is not a sponsored post & I have not been compensated in any way to mention Instagram or Chatbooks.

Completely delish Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies!

Last night I was making Ina Garten’s Raspberry Crumble for a school function and thought I would use that recipe as a base for thumbprint cookies. I played around, added a few ingredients and came up with this recipe for these cookies!  Half were gone by this morning – a sure sign of a good cookie recipe!  Hope you enjoy it!

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How to tie a PERFECT BOW!

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I have searched and searched and SEARCHED for how to tie a straight bow! FINALLY I found out how!! Recently I received a gift of Jo Malone perfume from my dear husband. Upon looking at the bow on the box, I noticed how beautiful it was – how symmetrical – how even – how it didn’t tilt to one side like MY bows! As I carefully untied the bow, I took photos of each step of untying (it would drive me crazy to watch someone open a gift as slowly as I did – he is a very patient man!) and I made a video of how to tie this most perfect of bows! Here is a link to the video – for your reference and my own!! Enjoy!!

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Savory Cheddar, Thyme & Sweet Corn Scones

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I had a cocktail party in my studio last night and served these amazing scone ham sandwiches and thought the recipe would be a good one to share because everyone at the party asked for the recipe!

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Savory Cheddar, Thyme & Sweet Corn Scones

Astoundingly good, savory and wonderfully chewy!

Makes approximately 30, 2″ scones

Ingredients:

2 c. Self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp. English mustard powder
1/4 tsp. ground Cayenne
Paprika for sprinkling
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme + about 30 whole leaves for scone tops
1/4 c. cold unsalted butter
2 c. grated cheddar cheese 

1 can of corn 

3/4 c. 2% milk plus extra for brushing
juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. In the bowl of a food processor, mix flour, baking powder, mustard, cayenne, salt and minced thyme leaves. Cut butter into 6 slices and add to flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add most of the cheese and all of the corn and pulse until incorporated. Mix the milk and lemon juice together and with the processor running add to flour mixture through the feed tube. Very quickly, it will form into a thick batter/dough – don’t overwork the dough. Don’t panic! This is a very wet dough!
2. Put dough on floured board, sprinkle with flour on top and knead a few times. Using a medium spring-loaded scoop (like a small ice cream scoop) – or a spoon, drop 1/2 golf ball sized pieces of dough onto prepared baking sheet.
3. Brush each scone with a little bit of milk and lightly press ball down with brush. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese and paprika and add a thyme leaf or two.
4. Bake for 7 – 12 minutes or until scones are risen and golden brown. Cool on rack.

Add shredded ham to dough while kneading or add Herbed Cream Cheese Spread and ham to make little cocktail sandwiches!

Herbed Cream Cheese Spread
1/2 c. cream cheese
1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and use as spread for scones.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/749706/cheddar-and-sweetcorn-scones

Itty Bitty Sweet Hugs & Kisses Earring Project!

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Since most of the jewelry I make it is quite large by most standards, it is difficult for me to come up with things for teenagers – because they like things small! I came up with these for my daughter for Valentine’s Day and thought they would make such a fun project for you! If you have some experience with silversmithing, these should take about 30 minutes! Enjoy!!

*** feel free to make these for yourself and as gifts – but please do not sell them….because stealing isn’t nice.

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How to finish a needlepoint ornament!

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Here are process photos of how I finish needlepoint ornaments! There are many ways to do it, and this is how I do it! I am not great at responding to comments, so please do not feel bad if you do not hear from me – just thought you might enjoy!

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…..and a different way to finish the top loop……

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