Monday, November 3, 2014

The littlest spools...

I had these wooden spools just hanging around in my house. I think I got them at an antique store and figured I could do something cute with them. Well, it happened. 

I made little animals and shapes out of air dry clay. It was pretty easy to use. Once they were dry (mine sat here for over a month- whoops), you can paint them with acrylic paint.

I made this one look kinda like our little yellow house and our little pup. 

The rest were random.

Once the paint is dry, hot glue them on top of your spools. and wrap the spools with twine, string, or yarn to make them look complete. 

I feel like these would be cute to make for the holidays... Valentines Day, Easter, Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid...anything with a symbol that you could make out of clay. 

-Nicola & the little pup

Cute little face pots...

My friend Emy came down to NC for the weekend... and we got right to making these cute little pots. They were pretty easy, once we got the thickness and height down.

 The Supplies:
- Sculpey Oven Bake Clay (about $5)
- Mod Podge- Water base Sealer- Gloss (less than $4)
- Little Succulents of your choice
- Wax paper to protect your counters

All the supplies can be purchased at Michaels (minus the succulents) and Walmart has the clay and succulents (not sure about the gloss).

1/4 of this box was left over after making 4 little pots.
Apply a few coats. You will have plenty left over. 

How to: 
- Lay out wax paper to protect your surface. 

- We wanted our pots to be small and cute. We used a small can from the pantry as a model so that we wouldn't get carried away. :) You will need different objects to make patterns in your clay and a knife to cut the clay with. We gathered random objects in my kitchen... a fork, ravioli press, bottle caps, toothpick, a party horn, etc. 

Simple Steps:

1.  Loosen the clay by rolling it around in your hands. It starts out pretty stiff. Once it's moldable, stretch it out and place it on the wax paper. We used a rolling pin to get it thin and perfectly flat. 

2. We used the small can as a mold for the bottom and cut a hole for drainage.

3. Once the clay is rolled out and pretty even, we used a knife to cut it into a long rectangle (about 3 inches high and 10 inches long). All that matters is that it can be completely wrapped about the base that you made AND that it can stand on it's own. If it is too tall or thin, it will fall over or rip during the baking process.  I found that out the hard way. :)

Notice the one on the right... too tall and too thin to make it in the oven. :)
4. On your long rectangle of clay, create a pattern by using objects to press designs into the clay. Try not to make it go all the way through. 

5. Once you have decorated the clay (all except the face), wrap the clay into a circle that can be connected to the base that you previously made. It is pretty sticky and will start to stand like a plant pot. Make sure there are no little holes at any of the seams. You can just press them out with your fingers. 

6. Add the face to the front of the pot... We used clay rectangular noses and a toothpick to make the eyes and mouth. You can do anything you like. 

7. Follow the baking instructions. We baked 5 pots at a time and it look about 35 mins. 

8. Once completely dry, you can glaze your pot with the Mod Podge. We used about 3 coats and waited 30 minutes between coats. Really, we just left them on the table and when we walked by and noticed they were dry, we added more. Nothing complicated.  If you want to add some paint and color (like my friend Emy did to the cheeks, do so before the glaze). 

9. Add cute plants (we put some rocks so that the dirt doesn't just flow out of the bottom) and you're done! 

The final product...

- Nicola & the little pup

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Best Fall Cookies EVER!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
Makes about 24 Cookies.


The original recipe (which I tweaked a little bit) is from:

1/2 cup of butter (1 Stick)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree ( I used organic caned pumpkin)
1/2  tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2  tsp of ginger
1 tsp of cinnamon
3/4 tsp of baking soda

Cinnamon-Sugar- Spice-Topping:
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon 

Baking Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix/cream together the butter and the sugar until it's fluffy. Whisk in the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla one at a time. Dump the remaining ingredients into the bowl and stir until they are combined. I used a kitchen aid mixer which makes combining the ingredients easy. About 3 minutes. Tops. :)
Once the dough is ready, roll into tablespoon sized balls/handfuls as you roll and dip them into the topping. 

In a shallow dish/plate, combine the topping spices. Take a ball (about a tablespoon) of dough, roll it around in the cinnamon, sugar mixture until coated and then flatted and place on the cookie sheet. I used Silpat mats on my cookie sheets to prevent the cookies from sticking. Parchment paper would work well too. 

Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes. They will come out lifted, fluffy, and cake-like. 

Have fun baking & try not to eat them all in one sitting. 
-Nicola & the little pup

Friday, October 10, 2014

The cutest souvenir...

I've been traveling quite a bit the past few years. I just love going new places and learning about other cultures and people. The food, the art, the hobbies, and best of all, the beaches. I am a total beach lover. I could spend the rest of my life on a sunny beach and feel pretty happy about it. 

I haven't been great about collecting treasures from all of my travels, but I began to notice that I had a collection of sandwich bags filled with cute souvenirs from some of my trips.  I always think that beaches are so interesting. They all have different shells, wood, seaweed, birds, and sand. I like to collect a thing or two to take home to remember my trip by. Don't be mad. 

I decided that I needed a cuter display than sandwich bags... so out came the bottles!

My Beach Bottle Collection
You can really use anything you want. I think small Ball jars could be cute. Or old baby jars (for all those Mama's out there).  A little string and a tag and you're on your way.

I lived in California for most of my life, and visited a lot of beaches. I wish I had collected a thing or two from some of my favs...Carmel, Pismo, and a bunch of southern CA spots. But we go back a few times a year (to see our families), so I am going to fix that in a few months! And funny enough, my family has a timeshare in Maui... we have gone every year since I was about 12 years old. And I haven't collected and sand from there either. What is wrong with me?! All my favorite spots have been forgotten. I guess I'll have to go back. 

I have SO many other beaches to visit to really feel like I've completed my collection... although, I don't really feel like it will ever been complete. 

-Nicola & the little pup

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

15-LOVE... (see what I did there)

A fun little D.I.Y

Add a little color to your home with some homemade Rainbow Rackets. 

A few months ago I made my tassel bag with my friend Emy (see previous blog post).  I had a bunch of left over embroidery thread from that project that I wanted to put to good use. Emy had just finished a cute racket of her own (that inspired me-obviously) and with my  3+ hour drive from DC to NC, I figured I had time to waste tying knots and wrapping thread. I started with the "heart" racket... which was super easy and just takes some planning before you start.  This DIY can definitely be done while watching TV in your PJ's. Trust me.  I think they would be so cute hanging in a kids room! And I love that you can create whatever you want.  

1.  I found the rackets at a thrift shop for about $1. Can't beat that! I prefer older looking rackets (all wood). Plus, I like reusing!
2. Embroidery Thread (Michaels or Joann's fabric has a bunch). 

My embroidery thread. I like lots of options. 

How to:
1. Gather your materials.
2. Choose a design... you can create anything that you can visualize in squares. 
3. Choose your starting point and tie your embroidery thread in a knot in that location. 
4. Wrap the thread until you get to the desired stopping point. 
5. Tie another knot to end the color. 
6. Move to the next color and/or design.

The heart.
Modern plus signs.

 The finished products...

Have fun!
-Nicola & the little pup

Friday, October 3, 2014

Let the holiday season begin...

The Chalkboard is up! It's official... summer is over and fall is here.  
This last year we moved from CA to NC. We used to always go trick-or-treating with our friends and their kids. Each year, I loved giving them each a little bag filled with all kinds of halloween goodies. What kid doesn't like that?! This year, I decided to send a little box of Halloween fun across country to make up for the fact that I couldn't give it to them in person. Plus, they're my pen pals, and we mail things back and forth quite a bit. I'm sure they'll love receiving a box that is just for them.


I collected all kinds of Halloween treasures from Target, the Dollar Tree, Homegoods, and Michaels. They always have lots of little things that cost a few dollars near the check out or in the holiday section. I figured that I should go small since I need to ship it across country (and I hate paying to ship things).

1. A little trio of things that make for a good halloween... "Glow Stick or Treat, Smell my Feet". I couldn't really find or think of a trick off the top of my head, so glow sticks were the next best thing.

2. A few jokes were thrown in the mix... "what animal is best at baseball... A bat!" Get it?!
 3. Other random Halloween goodies to make the month more fun.
**I'd like to apologize in advance for the noise makers ;)

I packed all these goodies in a USPS box and filled it with confetti... and sent it on it's way.  It's a surefire way to cheer up some kids and have them jumping for joy when the package arrives with their names on it. 

-Nicola & the little pup

Friday, August 29, 2014

We're backkkkkk...

I feel like we've been MIA for a while.  Probably because we have been! Summer has been way too fun and busy around here.  We've been living it up as much as possible. I planned to post some of our pictures, but as I looked through them I realized that there are quite a few (and by a few, I mean thousands- I have a problem). So I thought I'd spare you the downward scrolling and post our adventures in parts.

We started out with a little trip to California for a little summer fun with family and friends (Part 1). From there, I was lucky enough to go to Phuket, Thailand with some friends (Part 2).
And we've been keeping busy here in NC with crafts, gardening, eating, and exploring (Part 3).

Part 1:

 C A L I F O R N I A  aka. H O M E
We've been visiting, eating, and beaching our way through the summer.  

I know that was probably a picture overload... We had the best time with our friends and family. I have so many pictures, I could hardly choose which ones to post. 

To Be Continued...  

-Nicola & the little pup