Monogrammed Button Bracelet

Button Bracelet
Mom’s Day crafts aren’t always simple. Sure, they’re not as hard as Father’s Day, but it’s still hard to strike the balance between honoring the holiday and making something that looks like a school project made by a Kindergartener. You could just make something pretty, or you could make something sentimental. Or you could make this button bracelet, that’s both.

The buttons make it a charming vintage looking bracelet, but the subtle dyed monogram makes it touching and sentimental without looking like you’d have to be touched to wear it. It’s the best of both worlds.

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Singed Flower Headband

Dyed Headband
My organza flower tutorial is, still, one of the most popular things I’ve ever done on this site, and every time I see another link to it I chuckle to myself, remembering that it was a total accident and not what I intended to make at all. There’s little I love as much as a good happy accident.

After all this time I wanted to revisit that tutorial and update it with a fresh technique and a fresh use. Perfect for Spring and Summer, everybody needs a flower headband, and if you’re the type that doesn’t love headbands – like me – you can use it like a fascinator by just making your flower extra big.

Click through for the full tutorial.

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Make a Child’s Bean Bag Chair

Beanbag Chair

Beanbag Chair

There are lots of dreams that came true with my little Atticus, but one of my favorites is getting to pass on my love of reading. My little guy is every bit as obsessed with books as I am, and he loves to while away the hours by playing with all the books in his bookshelf. He still plays pretty rough with the books and every once in a while I’ll hear, RIIIP “Oh no! The book!” One of these days he’ll be stretched all over the furniture reading, but right now he’s still pretty active with them.

Which means that the best thing I could put in his reading corner is a beanbag chair. Right now he can roll over on it and toss it around, but as time goes by he’ll still be using it as he’s slouched up against it turning pages.

Click through for the pattern and a great coupon to Michael Levine Fabrics!
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Aquafarm by Uncommon Goods

Aquafarm supplies
If you’re a blog reader, you probably know that bloggers get hit up CONSTANTLY to write about stuff. My inbox is littered with press releases that show people not understanding that bloggers aren’t desperately searching for something, ANYTHING! to write about. I don’t have deadlines, I don’t have a certain number of inches to fill, I’m not going to write about your product just because. Smh.

I have very very strict rules about sponsored posts. If you all had any idea how many offers I turn down…

But every once in a while a pitch comes through for something that I’m actually enthusiastic to write about. When that happens it’s like the clouds part and I get to touch blogging nirvana.

In this case it was an email from Uncommon Goods. I was unfamiliar with the company before now, but once they sent me their information I was just like, “Is someone punking me? Is this a Christmas miracle?” If someone sat down and made a list of all the ways I personally would like a retailer to work, they couldn’t have done better than Uncommon Goods.

Their goal is to sell cool stuff that doesn’t hurt anyone or anything. That might not sound like a lofty goal, but if you have an awareness of how things get to market, it’s surprisingly hard to do. The products they sell are most often made in the US, by hand, and many out of recycled materials. They take care of their employees by paying them a living wage. They give back to the community by supporting non-profits, including a couple that are near and dear to my heart – RAINN and Women for Women International. And they do cool things like holding events that teach creative professionals how to improve their businesses.

Wheatgrass growing
That’s all great if they were a non-profit, but a retailer actually has to sell things I would actually want to buy. I got my choice of a few different items from their catalogue, and I chose the Aquafarm. It’s a fish tank that is made so that plants and fish can live in harmony, with the plants cleaning the water and the fish feeding the plants. It doesn’t use dirt, it uses these porous stones that you just sprinkle the seeds on top of. I really thought it had to be a scam, but look! Honest to goodness sprouts! I followed the directions and then just left it to do its thing and in a few days, sprouts. Just like it claimed.

I really wasn’t in the market for a fish tank when I chose this option, but I thought I might know of a few precocious kids who would love this. I have a nephew and a couple of friends of kids who would lose their brilliant little minds to watch a science experiment happen in front of their eyes and learn about symbiosis. It’s such a cool thing for any little nerdlets in your life. Uncommon Goods has lots more cool ideas for gifts. You can check those out here, or click here for a great gift for the absent minded guitar player in your life, or maybe here for gifts for any budding architects.

Aquafarm in action
Normally when I ask Atti what a fish says he opens and closes his mouth to make a little pop pop sound. When we picked out our new little friend at the pet store I told him to say hello and he stared deeply into the fish’s eyes and said, “pop pop.” He doesn’t speak to the dog or cats in their language, but to the fish he made an effort.

**Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, but in keeping with my policy all words, pictures, and opinions are my own. I really am this excited about this company and the product.**


Tutorial: Bubble Glass Painting

Bubble Painted Glass Vase
I got my hands on some of the Martha Stewart glass paints, and I instantly had about five different ideas of what I could do with them. I settled on an idea I had for an ombre inspired technique (it was so gorgeous in my head) and then completely failed. I botched it thoroughly. But in my botching, I discovered another incredible technique. I’m discovering penicillin over here!

Click through for step by step instructions! [Read more…]


Tutorial: Spring Birdhouse Centerpiece

Spring Birdhouse

Spring Birdhouse

Spring Birdhouse Craft
I’m not a great seasonal crafter. I guess I kind of get all my seasonal festivity worn out with my over the top Christmas, and then I’m spent. But when Elmer’s sent me a box of goodies to make something for their facebook community, I decided to step out of my usual routine and make something sweet and spring like to celebrate the season where the presents are all out doors.

Videos and tutorials below, come on in!

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Superbowl Showdown Giveaway

Football with the boys
Football is a second religion in our house. It was a major force in Bear’s life as he played from 8 years old through college. Despite his best efforts, I have not exactly become a fan, but I am a supportive enough spouse to plan some good times around his passion. And heaven knows I am always down to through a party.

This year we all have the opportunity to have American Express sponsor that good time. My friends at AmEx approached me to participate with a bunch of other bloggers in having a Superbowl Showdown. Whoever gets the most retweets gets their Superbowl Party paid for. It’s probably a good thing I don’t know who the other bloggers are so I can keep my trash talking to myself.

So this is kind of a sweepstakes within a sweepstakes. If I get the most unique tweets, I get a party, and for retweeting, you could win

250 dollars!!!

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My Holiday Shopping with American Express

Atti and a present

In record breaking time, I am done with my Christmas shopping. Everybody is getting awesome gifts, and I saved a bunch of money thanks to American Express and the Membership Rewards points I used.

And now it’s time to share the wealth. The winner.

Of a $250 gift card.


Drumroll please…….

Going to be revealed after this break.

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Holiday Shopping Challenge with American Express – GIVEAWAY!

This is what Santa is bringing me this year.

I have had my eye on this necklace for AGES. My friend Laney is a jewelry artist and makes the most beautiful things, but it’s one of those things that always falls to the bottom of the budget list. Now is my chance. I am claiming this gorgeous necklace thanks to my friends at American Express, and they are giving one lucky reader the chance to buy whatever they’ve been pining after, with a

$250 American Express gift card!


I have a very strict rule here that I only partner with companies that I have, or would, spend my own hard-earned money on. I have been very proud of the brands I’ve worked with and have turned down opportunities that didn’t fit. I am all about honesty here and that’s not going to change. So I was thrilled when American Express contacted me because I have had an AmEx card in my wallet for close to 14 years. Lots of credit cards have come and gone in the time since, but my AmEx has stayed constant. The benefits are worth it.

American Express issued me a challenge: using Members Rewards points and a budget that they give me, do my Christmas shopping for 5 of my friends and family, and at least one of those presents has to be from a small business. I told them I would somehow find a way to make it work, but in my head I was dancing a jig. You know how easy this is going to be? I’m giddy at the thought.

After a quick perusal through the Membership Rewards site, I realized that the only hard part is going to be narrowing down my choices. There are tons of beautiful jewelry choices, electronics, gift cards to just about every store I love, and best of all, they can be used at for anything else I can imagine. I can easily find something for everyone on my list with Membership Rewards points, and save my cash for more boring stuff.

American Express is also a big supporter of small businesses, which I love, including promoting Small Business Saturday on November 26th. The big retailers steal all the attention on Black Friday, Saturday it’s the little guy’s turn, and American Express wants us to remember them. I’ll be supporting Laney’s jewelry shop, as well as some local businesses. Small Business Saturday will be known in my house as “The Day Tresa Goes Bonkers on Etsy.”

Of course, I’m not the only one who has to stretch my dollars this Christmas, so now’s your chance to get in on the action!

Everyone gets three chances to enter:

1) Leave a comment here sharing your best money saving tip for the holidays.

2) Tweet about this giveaway and share the link here in a comment.

3) Post on facebook about this giveaway and leave a link in the comments.

Contest open to US residents only. Giveaway ends on my birthday, December 7th, at 12 noon pacific time. I’ll draw a winner by random number and notify by email and here on the blog.

Good Luck everybody!

Disclaimer: This post, and my Christmas shopping, was sponsored by American Express, but all words and opinions are, as ever, my own and I only work with sponsors I can recommend whole-heartedly. Giveaway provided by American Express.