Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Belated Valentine's Sweetness

Oh gosh, I fell off the map again! I have been super busy following my heart in another direction and just plumb forget about this blog. TERRIBLE blogger attitude, I know!  Look at that photo up there, it's from Valentine's Day and I never finished the post. *facepalm*  I made these pretty pink cupcakes for V-Day this year, but they are really just the same plain and simple vanilla cupcakes with my favorite meringue powder buttercream.

Anyway, St. Patty's Day is coming up so my GOAL is to get something fun up here in the next week or so to share with you. Just need to find my mojo and keep my hands out of so many pots, you know? How do you find motivation?

By the way, I just surpassed 50 registered followers to this blog, and I can't thank you all enough for sticking around with me.  Here's to 50 more (and as many more posts in the near future, haha!) 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 Lovely Last Minute Valentines Ideas

Oops!  Valentines Day 2012 is almost here, and you don't have your plans complete? No worries!  The internet saves the day, once again, with countless ideas for quick and easy projects to make your Valentine blush with heartfelt pleasure.  Here are some of my favorites for kids and adults! Share your own in the comments! 

Valentine's Cupcakes by Butterfly Foodie

Valentine's Matchbook Download by All Things Simple

Snickerdoodle Cookie Grams by Freutcake

Sweet Nothings by Maggie Makes

Origami Heart Cupcake Toppers by Omiyage Blogs

Muffin Tin Crayons (with printable) by Our Best Bites
Valentine's Day Printables by Paper Glitter

Printable Valentine's Cards by Thank You Cards Shop

I Heart You Valentine's Printables by The Sweetest Occasion
Love You More Printable by The Sweetest Occasion
Aren't these all absolutely fabulous?  And most of these awesome ideas only require a few minutes of your time and some printer ink! Ahhh, I love the internet and its never-ending treasure trove of DIY creative goodness. Thank you to all you creators out there sharing your work with us!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Freebie: Resolution Reminders

Almost 1 year ago today I uploaded my very first free printable to this blog, another way to remind yourself of your New Year's Resolutions, and now I'm back for another year and another try!  I think it's important to keep your goals in sight, sometimes literally, so I created this little envelope of pretty goals to keep near me, and I hope you will keep it near you, too!  

I love that fresh new feeling that the new year brings, the turning of that calendar page is so full of promise and hope. In January, don't you feel like you can conquer the world?   I want to keep that feeling alive and well throughout the year. I want to remind myself that each new day is a chance to start anew, to plunge in after my hopes and dreams and try to catch up. 

That first printable was a similar theme, a way to keep my goals close. It had a similar design theme too -- stars!  I am a sucker for stars, haha. I think particularly for New Year's, they seem fitting. On January 1 we're all reaching for the stars, aren't we?  

This little freebie will help remind you of your own goals, too. Click on the preview image below to download a printable envelope and set of notepapers. It's easy to print them out right on your home printer, then as simple as a quick snip of some scissors and a dab of glue or tape to assemble.  You can print it out as many times as you like!

Click the preview image above to download!

This year, my New Year's resolutions are much the same as last year.  I did okay on them back in 2011, but 2012 is going to be even better! What are your goals for this year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Is this thing on?

....anyone, anyone...?


Just kidding, but my it has been a while.  I bet you all thought Penny had run off and abandoned her dreams of being a glamorous internet arteest. Not so, says I!  I simply got a little distracted.  Life has a way of getting into the nooks and crannies of even the best laid plans, after all. But it's 2012 and I'm back with a vengeance!!

I have a lot of things coming in the next few months, including the debut of a brand new shop! I will be posting regularly with new recipes, craft ideas, art, and best of all  NEW PRINTABLES! So stay tuned. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

String Fever

I am very much a novice when it comes to anything made with string, yarn, and thread, and anytime I attempt a project using any of these I'm most likely to end up sitting dejectedly in a nest of tangled string bits instead of with a finished project. Thankfully, there are many talented crafters out there that have overcome the inherent difficulties of dealing with what I consider to be one long knot waiting to happen. Today I come to you with some of their lovely string-y handmade items, in pretty spring-y colors!

All images are credited/linked below, clockwise from top left:

handarbeitskram | Mademoiselle MermaidPrecious KnitsShelby Rose 

All items shown are from two up-and-coming handmade marketplaces, ArtFire and Zibbet. They are a lot smaller than Etsy at the moment, but there are some great finds!  I am so excited that buying handmade has become such a big deal these last few years.  I am just getting a taste of what it's like to be a small business owner, and it is thrilling that there are so many avenues nowadays for SBOs to pursue. If you haven't already signed up to buy and/or sell from one of these new sites, you should!

Gizmo Fiber Arts | Nances Knifty Knits | Flouncing Floozy | Morning Sky Creations

Have you found any more Etsy alternatives on the web that I missed? I would love to check them out! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Freebie: Mother's Day Coupon Book

I blame this freebie on the recent spate of coupon fever (seriously, when did "couponing" become such an omnipresent thing?), but I'm actually kind of glad for the inspiration. My first thought for a cute Mother's Day printable was some sort of printable art to frame, or maybe a card.  But in the back of my mind I had this niggling feeling of meh. Sometimes an idea just doesn't jive, you know?  Then out of the clouds (or probably the TV....) came the word "coupons"! Coupons? Yes, coupons!  And I knew exactly the project I wanted to do.

I, and probably a lot of other people, have definitely encountered homemade "coupon" books like this before.  Valentine's-themed coupon books are easy to find, but usually kind of raunchy. I think you'll find these Mother's Day coupons just right for that special lady (and not that special ladeee, if you know what I mean). I went with something cute, colorful, easy-to-make, and best of all, something that will cement your affection and desire to help/please/soothe your mom or a mom in your life not just once, but many times as she redeems the coupons in the book throughout the year. Mother's Day is about taking a day to appreciate your awesome, most excellent Mom, but seriously...she's most excellent all year long, and this little booklet will remind you both of that.

This free printable includes two pages in a PDF file: first, a selection of three covers, giving you a choice of delightful pink, blue, or yellow, along with instructions for assembling your coupon book; and secondly, a page of coupons to go inside your booklet.  I've added a few suggestions for mom-friendly coupons, but also included are one "mom's choice" coupon if you want to let your mom go hogwild, and a simple blank coupon to allow for your own write-ins. Print as many pages as you want and use your favorites! Stuff this little booklet silly. Your mom will thank you.

Just print, cut, and staple it all together...or if you're fancy, you can use a sewing machine to sew down the left edge to bind it together, punch holes and thread ribbon, string, or twine through and tie, or even bind it with Japanese washi tape!  There are numerous tutorials on how to do this, so I didn't go too in detail on that part. I trust that we've all made a homemade book of SOME kind before!  Sorry the file is kind of large, I'm not sure how to make a PDF smaller -- working on it!

I truly hope you all find some lovely lady to pass this little booklet on to, and that they truly enjoy it!  What did you think of my coupon ideas? I think my favorite was the free sinkful of dishes...dirty dishes are my nemesis. What will you write in on the blank coupons?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Girl Friday

So, I hear some royal people got hitched today. I honestly haven't paid much attention to the whole affair (not for TV's lack of trying, though), but I can't say it didn't get me thinking about princesses and fairytales weddings!  So, since it's Friday (for another 1.4 hours, or thereabouts), here's another Girl Friday for you all to enjoy.  Did you watch the wedding? Will you be sad as the hype dies down?  Even I have to admit that a real-life royal wedding doesn't happen everyday.  

Today I startled two tiny baby bunnies while I was mowing the lawn. They were soooo cute, and I felt like a cow for scaring them. Part of me wanted to scoop them up and nuzzle them forever, the other part wanted to scuttle around in the grass looking for late-laid Cadbury eggs. It's an addiction.

 Sighhh, just 12 more months until Easter 2012.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Candied Bacon Waffles (of Insane Greatness)

So I got to thinking after that Sunday post a while back that maybe you guys would be interested in my breakfast-making skills, if said breakfast was particularly awesome.  So I made waffles with bacon.  Except instead of a neat little stack of bacony goodness on the plate next to my waffles, I just put the bacon right INSIDE the waffles. With brown sugar.  Yes, they are amazing. Let me show you.

When I was a kid I went absolutely bonkers when mom even THOUGHT about making waffles for breakfast.  That old waffle iron of ours, outside edges ever-so-crusty with the remains of waffle breakfasts gone by, was a thing of joy for me. I would sit at the table, mouth watering, barely able to contain myself when the first fluffy waffles came sliding onto my plate.  I kept things simple then, just a smear of salty yellow butter on top of my waffles suited me just fine.

Years passed, and my love affair with waffles cooled. Nowadays I am usually satisfied with cold cereal and a glass of orange juice. Breakfast is all about convenience for me these days, especially during the week when it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed and make sure my socks match for work. But every now and then I get a wild hair and that's exactly how these delicious pork masterpieces came to be!

Bacony recipe after the jump!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Snail Mail Capable

Hello, magical internet people!  Sorry for lack of posts this week, I am busy busy busy in the workshop and have not a thing to blog about. Unless you'd be interested in my stunning breakfast-making skills? Or perhaps my stupendous ability to file paperwork? 

Anyway, just a quick note to say lookee thar, it's a new button on the blog!  Now you can email me with the greatest of ease, if you should be so inclined.  I am embarrassingly late in realizing there was  no way on the blog to contact me, aside from leaving a comment. My apologies to anyone that might have wanted to say hello!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Springtime Cake Pop Bouquet

I think this year more than any other in memory, I have been enamored with the coming of spring. Each new tree I spotted with barely-there buds just thrilled me.  The arrival of the early spring daffodils (one of my favorite flowers) seemed to herald more than just a change of seasons this time.  Seems kind of silly to say, but this spring has truly felt like a fresh start, a new year. And of course as soon as I started waxing poetic about the chirping robins and rising temperatures, a rogue cold snap came in an reminded me that winter's not quite over yet.

Well boo, I say! If I can't have REAL spring flowers, I'll make some myself! I decided I was going to pursue a little papercraft goodness and make my own flowers, and found a wonderful, easy tutorial over at Alphamom for making paper daffodils. But once I got started cutting and folding, I was suddenly struck with inspiration. Why not make some cute patterned paper to make my flowers with? And wait! I could totally make some yummy cake pops and slide right in the center, instead of the little paper cones where the daffodil trumpets should be. Thus, my springtime cake pop bouquet was born.

First I went to the source for all cake pop-related craftery, which would be the cake pop queen herself: Bakerella. For basic cake pop baking and construction, read her instructions. (She uses boxed cake mix and canned frosting, but I'm sure  homemade would work as well. You'll just have to play with the consistency!) For my cake pops, I used white cake and vanilla frosting, with some lemon extract thrown in for a little something extra. 

You'll see from the photos below that I melted my white candy coating and added yellow food coloring to it -- you can also use white chocolate, white chocolate bark, or colored candy coating. Whatever works for you!  I would melt just a little at a time in something tall and skinny, like a coffee mug (shown), to make for easier dipping.  And if you want to decorate your cake balls/pops with sprinkles, make sure you add those right after dipping or the candy coating will harden up and become impervious to your sprinkling desires!

click to enlarge.

This project takes about an hour to do, not including baking your cake. It's pretty easy and with the help of some safety scissors, would be a great craft idea to do with your kids!  Plus, I think this little bouquet would look ADORABLE on an Easter kiddie table as a centerpiece AND dessert.  Easy peasy entertaining, it's a good thing. ;)  

First thing's first! To recreate my springtime polka dot flowers, print out my FREE paper set!  

Download here!  

Assembly instructions:
1. Print out my colorful polka dot squares. Use plain old copy paper or cardstock, using your printer's best quality settings. Cut out each square!
2. Take a square and fold it in half.
3. Then fold it in half again.
4. And fold it in half one more time.
5. Now use your scissors to trim your little triangle into a petal shape. Depending on how you trim it, your flowers can turn out quite different from one another. Experiment with fun shapes!
6. Unfold your petals carefully to reveal your new flower. Simple as that! Now repeat with your other squares.
7. Turn your finished flowers over and draw a teeny little "X" in the center of each one. Now use the tip of your scissors or an x-acto knife (be careful not to leave kiddos in charge of this step, just in case!), to cut the lines of your "X". 
8. Now dip all of your cake pops, decorate as desired, and let dry thoroughly. Attach each flower by gently slipping each lollipop stick into the hole created in step 7. You may need to shave off any excess candy coating that drips down the stick (your X-Acto or a fingernail works great for this) to be able to get each flower up to the base of your cake ball.
9. Arrange your finished cake pop flowers into a container of some sort. I used a small mason jar I had on hand filled with white chocolate chips, but these would look great in just about anything! I bet they'd be terribly cute in a mini tera cotta pot with some floral foam stuffed in the bottom!

This little cake pop bouquet was so fun to make (and fun to eat, yum!).  I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did!