Thursday, January 27, 2011

Geekopolis Sale

So there is this little Etsy shop I have been quietly stalking admiring for a while. Geekopolis has quirky, nerdy needlework art at great prices. Unfortunately for Redd, their Xbox died, but she’s having a sale so I’m having a hard time being sympathetic. I’m too busy combing the house for spare change.

This one would make a unique valentine for my nerdy sweetheart! (Not that it would be a surprise. Hi honey!)



We’ve only just gotten into Big Bang Theory (we’re behind, I know) but this little Sheldon quip suits us nicely.



And since I’m slightly obsessed with Chocobos, I would definitely love this little one in cross-stitch. It’s miniature, so I know I have room!



If you like what you see, hop over to Geekopolis and use the code XBOX20 to get 20% off! Help a nerd in need and get some cute stuff while you’re at it.

I have not been compensated in any way for this post, I just really like this store!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hoo Am I? 1/25/11

Time again for Hoo Are You at Night Owl Crafting!


1. Do you wear glasses or contacts, if so for how long?

I started wearing glasses in the third grade. I got contacts at age twelve and wore them for eight years, but after all that time my eyes started rejecting them and I am back to glasses. I wear them with geeky pride.

2. What was your favorite board game as a kid?

I don’t remember playing a lot of kids’ board games. I liked to play Monopoly with the adults, and my parents and I played Star Wars trivia together during Christmas break.

3. What is a word that you use all the time?

I have a toddler, so you get one guess. No you can’t climb the entertainment center, no you can’t eat the cereal you stashed under the sofa last week, no that doesn’t go in the toilet, no Mommy doesn’t like fingers in her nose…

4. What is your favorite day of the week?

Wednesday- D&D night!

5. Did you graduate high school from the town you grew up in?

Yes, we moved just before I started Kindergarten but I attended the same school K-12.

So, Hoo Are You? Let me know if you link up!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Craft Fail- Ribbon Organizer Take 1

We all have them. Somehow, when I do it, it’s pretty big. Or maybe I just blow things out of proportion? Either way, I’ll share with you my big fat shelf fail.

My ribbon organizer was frustrating from the beginning. The original finish was poorly done, and paint didn’t stick to the glossy surface. But I got past that and started with the Mod Podge. I was about halfway done when I decided that I hated it.


At this point I’m sure you’re asking why. There’s nothing strictly wrong with it, aside from some little imperfections easily fixed when finishing. But the pastel patchwork was too country cottage for me. Pretty, but very much not my style, and not suiting the look I had in mind for the room. I was determined to salvage it by adding bolder colors and crazier patchwork. At first I thought it was working, but it was too much.

Today I gazed upon the Frankenstein monster and gave up. The paper was four and five layers deep in some places, the edges ragged from repeated trimmings, and thanks to the architecture of the shelf I had never shaken that “cottage” feel. This thing caused more heartache (and a few tears) than it was worth. I won’t throw it out. It’s still a great ribbon shelf. But I’ll strip it and go at it from a new angle.

With that decision made, I started grabbing every loose edge and corner I could find and ripping it away. I was upset and it was cathartic. But during this process my husband, who knows no fear, came up and asked, “So, how much time and paper did you waste?”

I don’t know how he has lived this long. But here is your answer, honey.


A lot.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Piggy Pillow Applique

One of these days I’ll figure out how to schedule my blogging a little better. To be honest blogging is not near the top of my priority list right now, but don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I’m trying to make more time for myself so even when blogging is pushed back a bit, I’ll always come back!

Friday night I went to a birthday party for a pig. I have strange friends. But as odd as it sounds, it was a ton of fun! We ate piggy snacks, made piggy crafts and played piggy games. But even before that I had fun making a gift for the birthday girl. If there’s one thing to be said about a pig’s birthday, it is that it challenges your creativity!

017 (2)

This was my first time doing any applique, and I’m very glad I tried. It was fun! I’ll definitely keep experimenting with felt before I move up to more delicate fabrics. There are a few spots where my stitches got a little wonky, but black-on-black is relatively forgiving thank goodness.

Unfortunately none of the pictures of the cute curly tail or any close ups of the stitched-in name turned out. Despite my poor pictures the gift went over well with the birthday girl’s mommy!


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hoo Am I? 1/19/11


Crafting is a very personal art, so craft blogging should be too. But I’ll be honest, I’m not great at getting personal. It’s much easier to glaze over the little things that make up “me”. So I’m going to be participating in “Hoo Are You?” over at Night Owl Crafting on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. It’s full of fun little questions that I might not think to talk about otherwise.

1. Do you use an alarm clock or some device to wake you up, or do you wake up on your own?

Any time I have a deadline I have to set an alarm. I’m not a morning person and I can’t depend on my body to wake me up! Otherwise, I am woken up by the cutest little alarm ever. She still sleeps in our bed (I know, I know…) and wakes me up with cuddles and kisses.

2. If you could go on any game show, which one would you choose?

Hubby and I love The Price Is Right, and we’re pretty good at home, so I think I’d have the best chance of winning. Deal or No Deal is pretty attractive too because the prizes are huge.

3. Do you prefer the weather to be hot or cold?

Definitely hot! I hate being cold and I hate wearing layers of clothes. I’ll wear a t-shirt when there’s half a foot of snow outside and complain about how cold I am.

4.What color of clothing do you wear the most?

Does denim count as a color? I wear jeans every day. Otherwise I think it’s black… I do wear colors, but I vary them, so no single color outnumbers the black.

5. What is your favorite color?

I can’t choose just one anymore. Lately I’ve been liking a lot of bold, warm colors, orange and red especially but yellows and bright pinks too. They’re good at combating the winter ickies.

I’d love to know “Hoo” you are too, so if you link up over at Night Owl Crafting let me know!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Almost Dairy Free Mac n Cheese

Don’t be scared, dairy lovers- this recipe can be made with real dairy products too. It’s a great way to avoid the preservatives of boxed macaroni!

I love macaroni and cheese and I am entirely unapologetic about it. It’s simple, it’s tasty, it can be dressed up any number of ways or just left alone. If I had to name my ultimate comfort foods, it would top the list. There’s just one little problem… I have a lactose intolerance. Anything more than a couple of bites of dairy leaves me with an upset stomach and a fibromyalgia flare. When I went completely dairy-free last summer (long overdue), I thought my mac n cheese days were over. Since then I have found a great cheese substitute and I have branched out my cooking skills. This week I finally mastered cheese sauce!

The real beauty of this, in my opinion, is that it does not take any longer than a boxed mac n cheese mix. I start my cheese sauce when I put the noodles in to boil, and they are done at the same time!

You need:

One box of Elbow noodles (they hold the most cheese!)

4Tbs Butter- this is the only dairy in my version, I haven’t found a dairy-free butter that cooks as well as the real stuff. If you know of something I should try, please share!

4Tbs White Flour

8oz shredded cheddar “cheese”- Galaxy Nutrition rice shreds gave me the best texture. If using real cheese, you may want to shred your own. Packaged shredded cheeses have coatings or preservatives that can affect your final texture.

1-2 cups whole “milk”- thicker, creamier milk means thicker, creamier sauce, so if you have a choice use whole!


1. Boil your noodles in a large pot. They’ll keep cooking while you make your cheese sauce.

2. The base of this recipe is a béchamel sauce. I was intimidated by this sauce for years because it has a fancy French name, but it is so easy! Just melt your butter over low heat, and then whisk in your flour until it has a smooth, creamy texture.

3. Add your cheese and whisk. It won’t look much like a sauce at this point, it will get very thick and try to stick to your whisk. This is okay!

4. Start adding your milk slowly, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking as you go. Keep adding until you get the sauce to the consistency you want. I like mine to stay thick and cheesy!

5. When your noodles are cooked, drain them, and stir in your cheese sauce. You’re done! Enjoy the fruits of your labor now, or dress it up with some bacon, hamburger, and onion- we’re after comfort food, not health food.


The first time I made this, I was a little upset that the cheese sauce wasn’t orange like the macaroni of my childhood. In fact it was almost white! I thought that more color meant more cheese flavor. I was so wrong. If your kids look for that orange color, though, add a little pureed carrot before you add your milk. It will give it great color and a little more nutrition, too.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Featured again!

Keeping It Simple
It's been a good week at Nerd HQ. Kaysi of Keeping It Simple has also featured the chalkboard paint recipe! I guess you all like it. Thanks! I'm working on a project that will showcase colors other than black soon. Hopefully you'll like it just as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I've been featured!

My chalkboard paint has been featured over at I Heart Nap Time! I was all kinds of excited (and slightly embarassed to see my lovely grainy photo among all the pretty ones). I'm a big fan of Jamielyn and very honored to be featured on her blog!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two Cool!

If you have never visited Someday Crafts, you should. The wonderful ladies gather and share great craft ideas every single day and I am always inspired. Today I saw not one but TWO great projects that I just had to share!

Staci from Just Sew Sassy posted a tutorial on how to transform a plain hoody into a dinosaur.

And Jess from Just a Geek Named Jess decoupaged her shoes with comic book pages. Lovin’ these!

It’s a good day to be inspired!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mario Map and Special Delivery!

I was blown away by this felt creation by Tiff at Making the World Cuter. The castles are so detailed, and there are pipes for travel between locations. It’s like a car mat for nerd kids, and a fantastic way to move their interests away from the TV and into their imagination.

In other news, my Mod Podge came today! If all goes according to plan there should be a neat reveal or two next week.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I shouldn’t be a craft blogger

There are many, many reasons that I almost didn’t start this blog, or that keep me doubting even as I forge ahead. But when I really put them in perspective, most of them just make me laugh.

1. I don’t redecorate for every season/holiday.

Christmas is pretty much it, and that’s just a tree, my mantel shelf for stockings and a door wreath. I have a vague hope to do more decorating when I have kids old enough to appreciate it, but we’ll see. For now don’t expect to see a lot of seasonal projects from me.


2. I wear t-shirts and jeans, no jewelry and no make-up.

I like cute, bright, girly décor but my personal style is not very feminine. It’s barely style. Pre-parenthood I had a young, funky, eclectic style (mostly involving rainbow jewelry and punky accessories) that I left behind because it’s impractical and a bit juvenile for a mother, even one only 23. I refuse to move on to collared shirts, cardigans and slacks. I’ll do it if I have to go back to work someday, but probably not by choice then.


3. I don’t like burlap.

Or pennants, or rosettes, or toile, or things decoupaged with old books. I’m just not into some of the styles that seem to be popular among crafters, at least for the moment. I can appreciate their beauty but I wouldn’t put them in my home.

4. My resources are limited.

I’ve mentioned already that the nearest Hobby Lobby is an hour away. JoAnne’s and Michael’s are even further. We do have both a Lowe’s and Home Depot but anyone with a toddler knows that a twenty minute drive takes forever, too. Ikea, which seems to fuel quite a few craft bloggers, doesn’t even have a store in my state.


5. I don’t have lots of craft time.

Honestly when I get a lot done I have probably been neglecting housework. My daughter doesn’t really nap or sleep alone at night with any consistency. How can I blog about crafts when I can barely do them?


These are the top five, the ones that repeat themselves any time I question myself, but there are many others. Despite my doubts I’ll keep blogging. In the end this is for me, to chronicle my Nook’s transformation and share a few projects I’m proud of. And every time one of you shows a little love I know it’s worth it. Whether I have 500 followers or just one (and I will always have one, since hubby dearest is a reader!) I love my blog.



Monday, January 10, 2011

Fleecy Winter Hat

Before I go on to the actual project I feel the need to say HELLO to new followers! I’m slightly in awe to have some. I started this little blog only by putting some self-doubt and insecurities aside. In fact, I have a post all queued up to publish tomorrow about the top 5 reasons I shouldn’t be a craft blogger. To get online this morning and see that my simple little post about making chalkboard paint had four hundred and fifty-five page views, less than 48 hours after posting, about gave me a heart attack. So even if I don’t reply personally to every single comment ever, and even if you get bored and stop following me because I’m not a super craft guru, know that I appreciate every single one of you. For reals.

It’s snowing at Nerd HQ today, and the offspring didn’t have a warm enough hat. She has a little kitty hat that I crocheted (which will be featured after I finally get around to sewing the pink felt inside the ears), but it does let in a little air. This hasn’t been a problem before with a hood, but she’s had an ear infection and I wanted to be extra-sure she was protected. I would probably have gone the lazy route and bought a hat months ago, but she is tiny (17 1/2lbs at 14 months) and all the hats at the store are huge. Luckily we had some adorable scrap fleece from making her a knotted fleece blanket. The blankie had also been a result of her tiny size- she coveted mine, but often tripped herself trying to drag it around. Now she has a blankie that gets carried everywhere and one of the cutest hats I’ve ever seen. Best yard of fleece I’ve ever bought.


I started with the Pigtail Hat from Infarrantly Creative. Originally the idea was to make the top a little longer so I could tie ribbons around the corners instead of making pigtails, but as it turned out I made the top too long. Instead, I gathered the whole top of the hat and added a ruffle. It’s very pom-pom-esque. I love when an experiment goes completely right.


I love the ruffle over the seam, too.


I just love the hat! Maybe if I had enough fleece I’d try to make one for myself, but I guess I’ll have to stick with my panda hat. A girl only needs one hat that makes strangers question her age anyway.


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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint!

Still waiting on the Mod Podge- it’s due Wednesday. Next time I’ll just order the Hard Coat and go to Wal-Mart for my regular Gloss.

I am managing to make a little progress. Work on the Nook is somewhat low priority right now because my daughter has an ear infection and is a cranky little mess (not napping!), but I have still found time here and there to work on small projects. Yesterday I put chalkboard labels on a bunch of plastic storage boxes, and I used paint that I made myself.

Why make your own chalkboard paint? For one, you aren’t limited by whatever colors the manufacturers choose to make. The paint I made for this project was just black, but I have made teal too! But for me it’s also about making do with what you have. With no craft stores in the area, I couldn’t find brush-on chalkboard paint in anything smaller than a quart bucket, and only in black. I could find tile grout at the hardware store, though!

The recipe is simple: 1/2 Tablespoon un-sanded tile grout to every 1/4 cup paint.


I mix mine in old baby food jars. Not only do they seal after, but if you are using 4oz jars, you don’t have to measure your paint! The jar already holds the required 1/4 cup. It saves me the trouble of washing paint out of my nice measuring cups.

The results:



You get to see a peek of my mess. This is why I need so much organizing done…


As you can see, I didn’t get a good seal on my painter’s tape and had a lot of leaks around the edges. I tried scraping off the excess but I was getting scratches on my box. I’m trying to think up a solution but in the meantime I am charging forward. I’ve got more organizing to do!


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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just waiting…

Without my Mod Podge I’m stalling out on projects. I have been crocheting, and I coaxed the last bit of Podge out of the bottle to work on my ribbon organizer, but nothing is done. At least I’ve learned the limits of an 8oz bottle of Mod Podge. Can you tell I haven’t been decoupaging long?

I have a good reason for not running out and buying a new bottle at Wal-Mart, though. They only have 8oz bottles of the original Matte and Gloss formulas. I’m covering a whole desk intended to be my crafting work space, so I needed something heavy duty.

I’m such a geek for new craft supplies. That’s part of why a stash bust will be so hard! I got two bottles of Hard Coat, a 16oz of Gloss (my favorite!), and a tool set. I am suffering without a brayer. I’ve already had a lot of bubbles trying to cover the desk and I really want to avoid more. I can only cover so many spots with butterflies and dots.

Living in an area with no craft stores is rough. I hate waiting on shipping; patience is not a strong suit of mine. How do you handle a wait?