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Making the World Cuter: October 2010

A blog where one woman is on a mission to make the world cuter, one kid, cupcake or crafty thing at a time.


Woo Hoo Wednesday-Pumpkin Steamers

I am not a coffee drinker, but I still love me some Starbucks.

When I lived in Portland, I was usually within walking distance to about 4 of them at any given time.

Unfortunately we moved to a town that does not have a "real" Starbucks.

Are you kidding me? A town in Oregon that is not over-run by them?

Alas, it is true.

So how do I indulge my pumpkin steamer cravings in October and November, and my gingerbread steamer cravings in December? Or what if you have a Starbucks on every corner but are trying to cut back on your spending?

Luckily I have a friend...a friend who works as a big shot at Starbucks...and he let me in on the how-to for these yummy little treats.

And guess what? So easy, so simple, and it will only cost you pennies instead of dollars for one!

Here's the recipe...

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 TBS & 1/2 of Toriani flavored syrup (pumpkin, gingerbread, peppermint, eggnog, caramel...some of our favorites.)
  1. Warm milk on stove while whisking it, to make it frothy, or microwave, you won't have that whipped taste, but it is faster! (Even better? Above said friend got me a cocoa latte maker for Christmas one year, and it heats it all up while whipping it, and then dispenses it all frothy-ahhh yeah! :)
  2. Add syrup and stir in till mixed well
  3. Top with whipped cream
mmmmm...Tasty, easy and warms you right up!

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Handmade Christmas...again?

Do you do handmade Christmas presents with your kids for their siblings? Do you even have them give gifts to each other? Do you have them draw names?

Just curious.

We have done Christmas's where the kids don't do anything for one another. I don't think we will do that again, now that my kids are getting old enough to actually be involved in the gift giving.

We have drawn names in the past, especially when we have my step-kids for Christmas, because we bought the presents, so it saved money, but I don't feel like that is really teaching anyone the true meaning of giving-going out and spending mom and dads money.

Last year we did a fully handmade Christmas.
We made all of the gifts. All of them.
Santa brought each kid a gift from their wish list, but every other gift was made with love.
It was fantastic!
The kids made meaningful gifts, spent a lot of time working on them and making them just right, and were more excited to see their siblings open their gifts than opening their own.
Which is what Christmas should be, right?

Problem-now I feel like we have to do that every year.
It makes me tired just thinking about it! :)
Plus, I feel like we need to do just as good as gifts as we did last year-which will be a challenge, since mommy just had a baby and is in school; and daddy is in the last year of his program before his internship which means he is not around much.
I guess we just need to bite the bullet and get going on it huh? Christmas is only 61 days away...

61 days people!!!

Here are a few things we did last year...I have some ideas up my sleeve for this year-but I have four kids which means 12 handmade presents from the kids and the ones from me and dad-I've got some more thinking to do that is for sure!

Christopher made these cute little boxes and puzzle blocks for both of his siblings...

Bekah made a Wooden barn and filled it with handmade blocks with farm animals on them for Porter......and she made this beanbag chair for Christopher.
Porter made his siblings each a jar of play-dough, which I think is what Oliver will be giving to everyone this that takes care of three of the gifts, and Bekah has her ideas all ironed out, so that takes care of three more.

Six more gift ideas needed.

Anyone got any fantastic...not too time consuming, but still a good quality gift idea that a 2 or a 4 year old boy could make for his siblings?

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Making the World Cuter Monday & Sponsor Shout Out

Happy Monday everyone!
Before you link up your cute projects I want to share with you some fun stuff from
Stitches N' Giggles, my newest sponsor!

Stitches N' Giggles has the cutest fabrics, and has some pretty great prices to boot! I am way excited to get my hands on some of this and make something pretty...
Like this fall line by Sandy Gervais called "Awesome" and it is...
...and here is something "awesome" fun for you!
Lori from Stitches N' Giggles is offering Making the World Cuter readers 10% off everything in the store until November 1st!
(Just mention it at check out to get a refund through paypal, or contact her for a custom listing!)

Now show us what you've done to make the world CUTE!

You know what to do....Making

Check out these other Linky Parties too!

Disclaimer: Anything posted may be used in an upcoming feature including pictures, (linked back to original owner of course). If you don't want me to use your pictures, please don't link up.
Thanks! :)

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Friendly Friday-Scraps N' Strings

Scraps N' Strings

Hello to Making the World Cuter readers! This is Ruth and Sammy from Scraps N' Strings and we are so excited to be doing our blog swap with Tiffany! She has so many great ideas!! We figure we had better introduce ourselves a bit before we start.

I'm Ruth and I am a stay at home mommy of 2 (3 and 1) and a part-time photographer, you can see my work here. I enjoy making "stuff" and taking pictures of them! I especially love to sew and like to break out the Modge Podge. I love anything that is quick and simple! After I got married, I started crafting with my sister-in-law Sammy as a way to make our homes cute without spending a lot of money.

My name is Sammy and I have 2 darling little boys, 2 1/2 and 1 year. I'm a stay at home mom and I like to spend my zero amount of free time trying to be crafty and beautifying my home. One of the first things my husband said to me when we bought our home was, "You want to put crafts up, don't you?" So that's what I've done. And now we've decided to share some of our ideas with you! We've got a little bit of everything on our blog, from baby and home tutorials to recipes!

So on to the tutorial...

I've been seeing elastic thread all over the place lately and I really wanted to find a project to try it out. After much debate I decided that I wanted to make myself a scarf. I love scarves. I have about a billion of them, and I could have a billion more and still be wanting. This one is really fun and can be worn loose in the summer or can be wrapped tighter in the winter. I love it!

To make this scarf, I started with some plain white knit fabric

And cut a strip 14 inches wide. It was probably about 5 ft long, though I didn't measure, you can make it as long or as short as you want.

I used the Dritz brand elastic thread. I was about $1.50 a spool and can be found with the elastic at Joann's.

Hand thread the bobbin with the elastic thread and use plain thread on the top of your sewing machine. I used a straight stitch at a 2 1/2 length and set the tension on my machine to the highest setting possible. Starting at the bottom of my scarf, I started sewing an S shape through the length of the scarf.

And sewed clear from one end of the scarf to the other.

Next I folded it in half hotdog way, right sides together, and sewed along the edge.

And flipped the scarf right side out.

Next I took the two ends and sewed them together.

And that's it. Super easy and way fun. I love this plain but just think of all of the different fabric options and colors and patterns you could do!

So come come check out our blog for lots of other fun ideas, including the tutorials shown below. Just click on the pic! And thanks for having us over!

nursing coverspretty in pink flowerruffle ribbon headbandbow tie hair bowhey juteterry spit clothsDog Tag Key ChainsTag-Along Lion Named Phil
Thanks ladies! Such fun and adorable ideas! Can't wait to make one of those scarves!
If you are interested in being featured for a friendly Friday, contact me! :)



Things I love Thursday-Pumpernickel Buttons Photography

Happy Thursday everyone! :)

I am making a couple changes here at Making the World Cuter.

First of all -Thursdays I will be showing off the things I love, like my kids, my husband, & most likely some of my photography, art and designs.

Second of all-Fridays will still be Friendly Fridays, but I will no longer be doing blog swaps.
Instead I will be doing features-If you have a tutorial or something else you would
like to share, and would like to be featured on a Friendly Friday-contact me here with Friendly Friday in the subject line, and I will give you the details. :)

I have a whole bunch of photo sessions coming up, so before I forget, and they get lost in the shuffle I wanted to share some of my recent ones...

I finally got around to taking and posting my kids' school pictures, Bekah is in first grade and Topher is in his second year of pre-school.
I love home-schooling my kids, and being able to watch them learn and get excited when they figure something out that has been hard for them to do in the past. Mostly I love that I get to take their school photos, and don't have to pay for the sad things that hung on my wall when I was in school! :)

I know most of you have seen my little Oliver-but I can't help but share again-also I wanted to thank Monique at Little Knitter Boutique for the beautiful pod and adorable hat that so many of you commented on!

Here are a few of my faves from his newborn pics.
I recently took some pictures of my daughter and a few friends in some gorgeous tutus from Rebekah at Danbury Lane...Thanks Rebekah, they turned out magical...

Here are a few of my favorites from those sessions which can be seen here...

If you are interested in trading your photo prop products for photographs to use in advertising, please contact me here.

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Woo-Hoo Wednesday-Pumpkin Cupcakes

I make these every year in October...I love pumpkin...anything, but oh pumpkin cupcakes with still my heart!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 2tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Sift ingredients in a seperate bowl

  • 1/4 c veggie oil
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

Mix wet ingredients until smooth and then add dry ingredients.

Pour into cupcake liners 2/3 full

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes-check with toothpick, until it comes out clean.

Frost with Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • 1 brick cream cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 c. sifted confectioners sugar
Combine all ingredients and let chill at least 30 min. before frosting

I add some yellow and red food coloring to make orange and on the kids cupcakes-I let them use some chocolate chips to make pumpkin faces....Yummy!

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Toot Toot Tuesday-Cheese Cloth Ghosts & Scarecrows

Since I have been loving on baby and having no time to shower at a decent time, let alone craft anything, or pull out decorations, my house is not really in the Halloween spirit this year.
That is strange for me, since I love to decorate for Fall and Halloween almost as much as Christmas.
So I thought I would share a couple easy things I did with the kids a couple years back and posted about.

First these cheesecloth ghosts...I'm sure everyone has seen these by now, but on the off chance that you haven't...these couldn't be simpler.
-First blow up some balloons in different sizes.
-Cut your cheesecloth (found in the painting section, and sometimes in the grocery store) to the sizes you need to cover the balloons.
-Dip the cheesecloth in a bowl of glue (white school glue) and warm water (just enough to water it down).
-Drape the balloons in the cheesecloth...-Let dry overnight.
-In the morning pop the balloons and the cheesecloth should hold its form now.
-Cut out black felt circles and glue them on the cheese cloth forms to make them look like ghosts.
-Put mini LED tea light candles under them to give them an eerie glow on your mantle or table.
This picture does not do the cuteness of these little babies justice.
These little scarecrows are a fun and easy way to make something adorable out of things you need to recycle.
The clothes are old size 2 toddler clothes...for the boy; a hat, a long sleeve button down shirt and a pair of overalls.
For the girl; a hat, a long sleeve onesie, a pair of tights and a sun dress.

We stuffed their bodies with plastic grocery bags, for the head we used paper lunch sacks with painted faces on them, and then we just tied the ends up with jute.
We stuck some dead weeds out of them to give them a little more scarecrow-like look and we were good to go!
As long as they don't get rained on and then put away wet, (like ours did last year), they can be used over and over again.

I also wanted to mention that CSN stores (that has over 200+ stores) have Halloween Costumes, Great Toys and Home Decor...and something my daughter really needs...a bookcase headboard.
I will be doing another review for them soon, and I can't decide what to get...decisions, decisions!



Making the World Cuter Monday {Oct 18}...I'm back!

Wow! My maternity leave went by so QUICK!

First of all, I want to say a HUGE "Thank You" to all of my fantastic blog helpers who posted for me these past weeks and all of their amazing talents and cuteness!

Now I want to share how I made the world cuter while I was out...

Meet Oliver Smith Hewlett-born September 23, 8lbs.11.5oz & 21 1/4 inches of loveable goodness!
He is so much fun, and so sweet to cuddle and kiss on, I can barely pull myself away!

There are more pictures of him on my photography blog, and some pics from the hospital, with a little bit more details written by daddy on my family blog

And I have a sponsor shout out I want to do before we link up all of our cute stuff...
Denise at Whimsy Couture sells vintage inspired whimsical patterns that are easy to follow and are so dang stinking cute!
I love her patterns, and her designs are so fun! If you are looking to make some adorable presents for upcoming holidays-or want to give the sewers in your life something fun to do then be sure to check Whimsy Couture out first, her prices are fantastic and she even has package deals to save you even more! Check her out if you haven't done so lately...

Now onto the party!
Link up the cuteness!

You know what to do....Making

Check out these other Linky Parties too!

Disclaimer: Anything posted may be used in an upcoming feature including pictures, (linked back to original owner of course). If you don't want me to use your pictures, please don't link up.
Thanks! :)



Making the World Cuter with The Spunky Diva

I am on Maternity Leave from September 4th-October 18th: This post was contributed by Kimberlee at The Spunky Diva.

Hey There! I'm Kimberlee from over at The Spunky Diva {my very own little corner of the web}. A little about myself: I am a fun loving wife, mom {of one with another on the way}, and a card carrying craft-o-holic! Figuring out how to repurpose, refurbish, and refresh things is what makes stretching the dollar a fun challenge. I enjoy the opportunity to share ideas and links on The Spunky Diva blog with you, as well as everyday ramblings. I would love for you to come and visit me at The Spunky Diva!

I completed this tutu to add to the package that I sent to Samster's Mommy for her Tutu Drive. This is a fun, fairly quick project that any little girl will adore to have in her dress up chest!

The Zippy Flower TuTu (left) and the Furry/Fuzzy Trim TuTu (right)

Here are the directions on how to create this fun tutu in a flash!

Ingredients for the Zippy Flower Tutu are:
- 2 plus yards of tulle (I used 2 yards for 18" of elastic)
- Flowers and matching buttons
- 1 inch or 1.5 inch elastic, measure child's waist and subtract 1 or 2 inches to get length
- Thread to match tulle for both upper thread and to use in your bobbin
Sidenote: the puffier you want the finished tutu to be the longer your tulle should be. If you can find tulle on sale you can easily (and affordably) use 3 or 4 yards to create a super tutu. I got this peach tulle for 77 cents a yard at Hobby Lobby!

Unfold your tulle lengthwise, leave it folded in half as it came off the bolt. Then fold over the open side across the fold side, and have your open edge 4 to 5 inches father than the folded edge. See the picture for this to make more sense.

Take the top layer of tulle and lay it the offside of the other layers. Then take the second layer of tulle and fold it up to the crease. This will give you one single layer laying away from the rest of the tulle, and two layers of double tulle with a fold in each layer.

Lay the single layer of tulle back over the other layers. Pin along the top. I pin roughly at first, just make sure to get all the layers as even as possible. Also make sure that the layer you just folded up (will have a rough edge along the top) is pinned securly. I then measured the elastic, added a half inch, and repinned the entire length of tulle using this measurement to create a casing for the elastic.

After pinning using your measurement from the elastic, take your tulle to the sewing machine. Line up the pins to the right of your sewing machine foot. You will use these pins as a guide to sew as straight a line as possible. The great thing about children's dress up clothes is that straight lines, while always nice, are not imperative. I used the standard straight stitch on my machine for this first line of sewing. You will be sewing through three layers of tulle at this point.

Your result is going to look a little backwards when you lay the tulle out after sewing this "seam". Here is the trick that we are going to use to give the waist band extra strength (this is important with children's dress up clothes, LOL). Unfold the top layer of tulle, then fold it under the other folds of tulle making sure to not compromise the size of your elastic casing you just created.

This will give you three layers of tulle for the waistband. Pin on both sides of your original "seam" the entire length of tulle. Then use a small zig zag (I set my machine to 2.0 length and 2.0 width), and stitch the tulle in place directly over your previous stitches.

Here is a picture showing the layers.

Now cut the folded layers. The top layer is cut 2 to 3 inches up from the fold, and the middle layer is cut only 1 inch or so from the fold.

Lay out your tulle, and then cute your tulle in strips beginning with the bottom layer working your way to the top layer. You can cut the strips any width you like. I cut the bottom layers in 6 inch strips, and the top two layers in 2 inch strips. To save time you can certainly use your rotary cutter and straight edge to cut all the layers into strips at once. I wanted to see how staggering the cuts would affect the finished tutu, and I have to say that it is a pretty neat effect but took more time than cutting all layers at once.

After you have cut the tulle into strips... this next step is where the magic happens! Now instead of cutting millions of strips of tulle, and then spending countless hours (anything over an hour is countless hours to me, can you tell I like fast projects, LOL!), all you are need to do to create your amazing puffy strip tutu is to insert your elastic! Sew with a large zig zag over the doubled up ends. I set my zig zag for 5.0 width and 1.5 length to secure the ends of the elastic.

Move the elastic around so that where you sewed the elastic together is in the middle of your tulle (or so, remember you don't have to be too exact here).

Another bit of magic, you are going to use a flower to anchor your elastic to the tulle and the flower will also hide where you stiched the elastic together! Use your button foot to secure the butrton at the center of your flower. If you think you will be washing your tutu a lot, go ahead and lay out the flower petals on newspaper and spray with a fray check product to prevent the flowers from fraying over time.

Now add the rest of the flowers where you want, and you are done! I used a piece of cardstock over the flower petals to manuver them under my sewing foot. Then when I removed the cardstock my flower petals were all nice and laid out, and I could easily add my button.

Thank you Tiffany for having me over! ~Kimberlee

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