Friday, November 30, 2012


I don't know about you, but I'm so glad it's Friday.  I wish I could have just stayed in bed today.

Petey agrees.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Pinterest Inspired Laundry Room

We've been slowly working on making our laundry room a little cuter, so I thought I'd show our few projects thus far.

I made the very pinterest inspired faux metal letters...

They were super simple to make...just simple paper mache letters from the craft store, spray paint them with silver metallic paint, then sand to give them an aged look.  Mr. JG hung them (I'm thinking he had to drill holes in the back of the letters to get them to hang...but who knows, that's his deal).

Speaking of Mr. JG - he also made this awesome dryer stand while I was out of town a few months ago...

It is of course very pinterest's the original link and tutorial that he used:

He had to make ours a bit shorter so that our washer could still fit under our built in cabinets.  This meant a rather long search to find some shorter baskets that would fit (eventually Hobby Lobby delivered).  I added some vinyl letters and we were set!

Oh and no, I don't have wild birds flying around my house that feed in my laundry room.  I hang my feeders in here during the winter so they won't get damaged/frozen outside.

So go...make your own laundry pedestal (or maybe just faux metal letters...those are a lot easier).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crocheted Cowl Tutorial

A while ago I found this awesome cowl on pinterest - it's sold on Etsy:

NOTE Extended Production Time - New BOSTON HARBOR Scarf  - Warm, soft & stylish scarf with 3 large coconut buttons - Other colors available

Here's the link to the listing:

Well, I love it, but it's a little too spendy for my blood so I decided I'd try to create something similar.  I'm pretty happy with how mine turned out, so I thought I'd share the tutorial in case anyone else wants to try one (it's super easy...a great beginner project for someone that doesn't normally craft but just stumbled upon pinterest - I'm talking to you here, Kim).  If you aren't crafty or don't want to make your own, I highly encourage you to purchase one from Behind My Picket Fence on her Etsy shop....they look so nice!

Ok, so here's my pattern.


Two skeins of Wool-Ease yarn - I already had mine but I know they sell it at most craft stores - it's a Lion Brand Yarn
Three large buttons - I found these at JoAnn's for $1.75 each; they're coconut and La Mode brand; 1.5" diameter
Size US P-15/10.00mm crochet hook
Yarn Darner needle to sew the buttons on

I made the cowl by crocheting two strands of yarn together to create an extra chunky weight yarn.  You could also just buy extra chunky weight yarn (but again I just used what I already had laying around).  So crochet using two strands of yarn (use both skeins at once).

Chain 23.  Dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each chain across.  Turn.

Row 1: Ch 3, Dc in each Dc across, turn. 

Repeat Row 1 until cowl measures 32" (approximately 28 rows of Dc).

You may want to measure this around your neck to make sure you like the length before you tie off.

Now, add the buttons!  You are going to sew them on one end of your cowl, going up the long side of your cowl.

Sew the buttons on approximately 2", 4.5" and 7.5" from the end of the cowl.  When you wrap your other end around, the buttons should be centered on the short end of the cowl (see picture).

Now that's seriously it.  You just wrap it around your neck and loop the buttons through.  The Dc creates holes that are the perfect size button hole.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Homemade Blueberry Pie (no...seriously)

If you know me, you know that cooking/baking is really not my thing.  I try...don't get me wrong I certainly try.  But usually it comes out kind of gross and/or inedible.  It's just not my specialty.

So, for Thanksgiving I was really thankful that my completely homemade blueberry pies came out awesome!

I made two pies - one for my family and one for Mr. JG's.  Thanks to Aimee's crust tutorial, I had that part down and the filling was super simple.  Here's the recipe (from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with just a few tweaks):

For the filling:
5 cups of frozen blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the crust:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter (11 tablespoons)
8 - 10 tablespoons cold water
Small amount of milk and sugar to top the crust

(1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

(2) Mix your frozen berries with the sugar and flour for the filling.  Set in a large bowl on the counter and let thaw for about 45 minutes.  The berries will be ready to add to your pie when they're partially thawed but still icy.

(3) Sift the flour and salt for the crust into a large food processor.  Cut your butter into tablespoon size pieces and add to the food processor (keep the butter cold, don't handle too much).  Then run the processor for just a second or two until the butter is in pea size pieces.  Then slowly add your cold water (just a few tablespoons at a time).  You'll know you have enough water and the dough is the right consistency when it forms a large ball inside of the food processor.

(4) Roll out the dough onto a clean and floured counter top.  Once you have it rolled to pie crust thickness, roll it onto your rolling pin then unroll onto the pie dish.  Make sure not to stretch the pie crust as your unroll it.  Trim the excess crust leaving 1/2 inch of crush around the edges of your pie dish.  (I was home by myself cooking this and may have looked around and loudly said "it worked!" when I got the pie crust onto the dish without having it fall apart.  It's times like that when I really need an audience.)

(5) Pour your thawed berry mixture over your pie crust.

(6) Roll the remaining dough out and then cut strips of dough (mine were about 3/4 inch wide) and use those to create a lattice pattern on the top of the pie.  I spaced my lattice pieces about an inch apart.

(7) Once you've completed your lattice top, brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Then make an aluminum foil cover with a 7" circle cut out of the center.  Use this to cover the edges of your crust but leave the center portion of your pie uncovered.

(8) Cook your pie for 50 minutes with the aluminum foil cover, then remove the cover and cook for an additional 25 to 30 minutes.  You'll know your pie is done with the crust is a nice golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling.  If you used fresh berries instead of frozen, reduce your cooking time to 25 minutes with the aluminum foil cover, then an additional 25 to 30 minutes without.

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! 

And a great black was my big black Friday deal:

An antique wood sign we picked up at a barn sale Friday morning.  I love it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's hoping these pies taste as good as they look (and I don't burn them in the oven!).

I'll post the recipe in a few days.  Have a great Thanksgiving y'all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pumpkin Kiss Pies (and the future of Jane's Girl Designs)

Well we're doing a pumpkin food exchange at work - everyone has brought in a pumpkin themed food for the last two on the last day I decided it was time to hop on board.  I've been lucky enough to eat pumpkin pancakes, oooy gooey pumpkin cake, and pumpkin bread pudding over the last few weeks.  So here's my contribution: Pumpkin Kiss Pies.

First off, the recipe is a modified version of kiss pies - that can be found on The Picky Palate.  Modified in that we changed out the kiss and made homemade pie crust.  And yes...I said we.  My friend Aimee actually did all the heavy lifting on this one.  BUT I did learn how to make homemade pie crust!

So here's the recipe we used (makes 3 dozen):

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold unsalted butter (11 tablespoons)
8 - 10 tablespoons cold water
3 dozen (or so) pumpkin spice kisses

(1)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 3 to 4 baking sheets.  Sift the flour into a large food processor.  Mix in salt.

(2)  Chop 2/3 cup cold unsalted butter into tablespoon size pieces.  Try not to handle the butter too much so it stays pretty cold.  Add to food processor and mix for just a few seconds so that pea size pieces of the flour/butter mixture remain.  (For some reason we only had salted butter at my house so we just used that and didn't add the salt in step one).

(3)  Slowly add cold water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing between each addition.  Continue to add cold water until dough forms into a ball in the food processor.

(4) Unwrap all your kisses.

(5) Roll out your dough onto a floured counter or pastry cloth.  Aimee suggested using a heavy marble rolling pin because it does most of the work.  Use a 3" circle cookie cutter to cut out circles.  Re-roll dough and keep cutting circles until all is used.  Should make about 3 dozen circles.

(6) Place a kiss in the middle of each circle of dough, then fold up the edges to form a diamond on the top (see picture above).

(7) Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets and bake for approximately 20 - 22 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.

(8) Let cool on racks, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

And that's it!  The original recipe used mint kisses which would be awesome for Christmas.  Aimee said she's made them with dark chocolate before too and they were great too.


And in other news...I've decided to retire the Etsy shop for a bit, at least with my Family Birthday Boards.  I've sold a ton of them and had great success, but it's also taking an immense toll on me.  I come home and craft every night, all night.  I'm spread pretty thin and at some point it stops being fun.  So I plan to finish up my last few orders, then focus my attention on trying some new craft ideas/pinterest projects, creating a few custom orders for friends/family, and keeping up with the blog.

So thanks to all of you that have supported my Birthday Board venture!  I'll probably still occasionally make some for craft fairs or the occasional custom order, but for now it's time to try something new!

...maybe I'll start baking/cooking on the regular (don't hold your breath Mr. JG).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Adventures in Craft Fairs!

I had a really great experience at the Basehor Craft Fair last weekend.  Here's a good shot of my booth...

The booth space was pretty small and we were awful tight together in that gym...but I think it came out pretty cute!  I used the same peg board display that Mr. JG created for me using these instructions from Sugar Bee Crafts as a general map:  I also reused the same sheets for the tables and handmade paper bunting (to make it look less like card tables covered in sheets).

I still stand by my Craft Fair Do's and Don'ts...however here are a few more lessons...

Make stuff for kids!  At my first craft fair I had nothing really made for kids so not a ton of sales.  This fair...I made my I Spy bags and put them right on the front edge of the table.  I made around 30 of them and they were sold out within the first two hours.  I got additional orders that day (and a few since then) for some more I Spy bags. crafts sell big!  (make sure you have enough of them!)

Along those lines, have inexpensive items.  Birthday boards are my bread and butter, but they are expensive and are a larger purchase.  I've realized that people are more apt to just spend a few bucks so you can manage larger profits with have a lot of small items.

Once again...I was glad I had a credit card reader (I use the Square reader).  While most people at this large fair were ready with cash, a few people wanted to place larger custom orders which made a credit card reader essential.  I love my square's really easy and I can email people a receipt right on the spot.

Include taxes in your price.  Double check to see if your state allows you to include sales tax in your total price, and if they do I highly recommend it.  When you're at a craft fair and something says it's $5, you just want to hand a $5 bill...not have to come up with additional change to cover tax.  So I just include sales tax in my price and keep a clear log of everything I've sold so that I can pull the taxes out of my totals later.

Have bags!  I wish I would have done a better job with this.  I just had lunch bags which worked for smaller items, but wasn't very helpful for larger purchase (and don't really have good handles).  So before my next craft fair, I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for some inexpensive bags with handles (I really don't just want to use old grocery sacks).

Be signed up for future craft fairs and know which ones so you can tell your customers about it.  I had a ton of people ask me which fairs I was doing coming up and I don't have any on my schedule.  Soooo...I'm looking at signing up for more in the future but I wish I would have had a solid schedule to tell people "come see me next week in Lawrence" etc.

Make friends with your fellow crafters.  I bought some amazing hand-woven baskets from a woman named Sue that was just across the aisle from me.  She has been crafting and doing fairs for nearly 30 years so she had a lot of good advice and it was also a good opportunity to see what a really nice looking booth looked like.  You can learn a lot from your fellow crafters, so don't be too intimidated to say hello.

Bring a friend.  I had my mom with me this time and my mother in law at the last fair.  It's really helpful for setup and tear down of your booth AND if you need to use the bathroom or just want to walk around and look at other booths (and befriend other crafters).  Even if you just get someone to help with setup and tear down and then stop by for an hour or two...that's better than nothing!

Good luck!  Let me know how your craft fairs go!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A little house

My youngest niece, Molly, turned 2 years old recently so of course a handmade present from Aunt Rae Rae was in order.  After scouring the internet for a good present that I really wanted to make, I came across the cutest pattern for a little fabric house.  Here's the pattern I used as my guide:

I did make a few adjustments to mine - basically I made it slightly larger, increasing most of the dimensions by about two inches.  I just felt like the original pattern wasn't quite big enough for a decent sized dollhouse on the go.  Here's my finished product:

I used scrap fabric for the outside color.  These girls have a lot of pink in their lives so I decided to make the outside of the house a nice teal color.  I hot glued buttons and felt on for decoration.  Molly and her older sister, Maggie, are both old enough that they aren't swallowing little pieces, so I wasn't too concerned about just hot gluing buttons on instead of sewing them.

Of course I made sure to include a handle so she can take it with her on the go.  I also used simple felt tabs with velcro to close the house up.  The original pattern called for buttons but I thought velcro would probably be a bit easier for everyone (for me to attach and for her to open and close).

Here are some more detail pics...

I had miniature clothespins from my i spy bags so I used a couple on the back to make a little clothesline on the back of the house.

Here's the house all opened up...complete with a little pond and cobblestone path.

And a close-up of the inside of the house.  I loved that pink princess fabric for the walls.  And of course a felt dresser with button knobs.  I also added little curtains with ric-rac tie backs and a ric-rac valance.  With this description you may be getting the impression that I also make these handmade presents because I secretly want to play with them myself...valid...and true.

I took Kimbo's advice over at A Girl and Glue Gun and also invested in some polly pocket dolls that seem to fit the house pretty well.

Oh, and remember that felt car playmat that I made Molly's sister, Maggie?

It's still out at my sister's house and looks like it's best well loved and used :)  Which makes me awful happy to see!

Oh and hey, did you know that I had my Basehor Craft Fair?  I'll post some pics from my booth later this week and tell you all about it.  It was quite the success!