Monthly Archives: February 2012

How to Make Felt Shamrocks

Man oh man…this week has just zoomed by!  I can’t believe we’re heading into March already…and let me tell you, spring can’t get here soon enough!

Today I have a fun little felt craft for all you lucky Irish lassies out there.  With some left over felt scraps and a needle and thread, you can easily make this felt shamrock, perfect for hair clips, headbands, or whatever you’d like.

All you need to do is cut out four felt shapes that look like this.  Line them up in a row and weave the needle and thread through the bottom of all four shapes.

Here’s what it looks like after the needle and thread have been weaved through all four pieces of felt.

Finally, take both ends of the string and pull, forcing the four felt pieces to bunch up together.  Tie a couple knots to keep the strings secure and you have a cute little shamrock!  You can cut off the excess threads or use them to help secure your shamrock to a package, headband, or whatever you’d like.

Come back next week for a fun St. Patrick’s Day craft using this cute felt shamrock!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Coffee Fabric Roses

Okay, so I love wearing white, but I’m notorious for being an absolute clutz when I do.  Usually I’m fine, but when I’m wearing white, I’m so extra careful that I just end up spilling on myself anyway!

So a few weeks ago I spilled coffee all over one of my white tee shirts.  I was just about to toss it when I got an idea!  I coffee-stain paper all the time for scrapbooking, so why not try it with fabric!

I decided to make fabric roses, like the Felt Flowers I made last week–only using my cut up tee shirt.  I cut out three circles, created roses, and let them soak in a little bowl of cold coffee for about 2 minutes.

After they dried, I had cute stained roses that I eventually will add to a headband or sweater (plus they still smell like coffee!)

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Mini Almond Tea Cakes

Sometimes I dream about hosting a tea party, just so I can think of fun finger foods to make!  I love the idea of people gathering in huge hats and drinking tea from tiny glass cups.  The tables would be decorated with flowers and fun cucumber sandwiches as we listened to classical music in a Jane Austen style sitting room…or out in the lawn as our husbands played cricket and discussed politics.  I mean, I’m not set in stone about it, but that’s a general idea of how it would go.

So to prep for my most marvelous and classy tea party that will most likely never happen as I believe it will (sigh!), I decided to make some adorable little tea cakes, using the Babycakes Cupcake Maker that my brother got for me for Christmas last year.

This awesome little machine bakes tiny cupcakes in about 5 minutes…so it’s the perfect way to test my crazy batter recipes!  This time I decided to flavor up a box of yellow cake mix I had in my pantry.  I added some almond extract and, voila!  Adorable almond tea cakes!

Naturally you don’t have to use the Babycakes Cupcake Maker to make these sweet little things…but it does create the cutest little cakes!  I topped each cake with an orange glaze and an orange peel and ate to my heart’s content…and then some.

Almond Tea Cakes


1 box yellow cake mix and the required ingredients (usually oil, water, and 2-3 eggs)

2 teaspoons almond extract

Zest of one orange

Juice of one orange

5 tablespoons powdered sugar


1.  Mix cake mix as directed on the package, adding the extract at the end.  Bake in your oven or in the Babycakes Cupcake Maker as directed on the package.  Let cool completely.

2.  Place powdered sugar in a bowl and add orange juice a teaspoon at a time, until your glaze is runny and pourable.  Either dip your cupcakes in the glaze or pour it over all your cakes and top with a little piece of orange zest.

3.  Devour…or serve eloquently with tea and lemon.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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How to Make Curled Felt Roses

Felt is one of my absolute favorite things to craft with.  And at about $0.25 a sheet, it’s no wonder that felt is so popular.

With spring quickly on the way, I’m all about flowers now.  I seem to have a problem keeping real flowers alive, so I’ll settle for fake ones that don’t require a lot of attention.  Plus allergies make having real flowers kind of a drag sometimes.

But, back to felt.  These adorable felt flowers are so insanely easy to make.  This is a great way to use up old felt scraps, by the way!  Add these adorable flowers to bobby pins, packages, pins, or even glue a whole slew of them to a wreath (that’s my next project to tackle!).  Once you make one or two, you’ll be completely hooked on this super fun and felty craft!

Felt Flower Tutorial:


  • Felt in the colors of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • CD
  • Hot glue gun


1.  First you’re going to want to cut a circle out of felt.  You can create a scalloped edge if you’d like to give a nice look to your rose, but it’s not essential.  I’ll do one of each here so you can see the difference.  Use the CD to create a circle and cut it out.  To create a scalloped edge, you can do it freehand or trace the cap of the pen over and over around the circle.

2.  Cut into your circle and continue cutting until you have a spiral, like shown below.

3.  Starting at the small end of your spiral, begin wrapping the felt around itself until a rose begins to form.  Secure the tail end with a little bit of hot glue.
4.  Place some hot glue on the bottom of your rose and cover it with a scrap piece of fabric.  Cut off the excess and there you have it!  An adorable felt rose!

Here you can see what the plain circle looks like (white), as well as the scalloped circle (green).  Like I said, once you start, it will be hard to stop…and here’s some proof.  I went through all my felt scraps and made tons of felt roses!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Cranberry Granola Biscotti

Coffee and biscotti.  There’s no happier food paring!  These easy to make granola biscotti cookies are perfect with a hot and strong cup of coffee.  While I added granola to mine, you can add whatever you’d like.  Chocolate chips and dried cranberries would be great, cranberries and pistachios, or just plain cookies!  It’s totally up to you!

Cranberry Biscotti


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cranberry granola (or whichever flavor you like)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegtable oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cooking spray


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flour, sugar, granola, baking powder, and salt and stir with a whisk.

3.  Combine oil, extracts, and eggs; add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended (dough will be dry and crumbly).  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 to 8 times.  Divide dough in half.  Shape each portion into an 8-inch long roll.

4.  Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Cut each roll diagonally into 15 slices.  Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 10 minutes.  Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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Dark Princess Book Review

Known for his pompous, pretentious, and laborious writing style, W.E.B. DuBois was a writer in a league all his own.  His work is often criticized as being controversial, proud, and sometimes over the top.  Most of his writing focuses on the problem of “the color line” and the quest for racial justice.  Perhaps his most popular and well-loved publication, Dark Princess, is a testimony to his favorite themes of race, sex, and radical politics.

In this political fairytale, heavy with propagandist overtones, Matthew Towns becomes involved in various libration movements to help give freedom and respect to his people.  Having been thrown out of medical school because the Dean would not allow him to pass his last exam, Towns finds himself alone and exiled in 1920’s Berlin.

Down on his luck, Towns walks into a bar where he Princess Kautilya, daughter of a maharajah, and suddenly everything changes.  At first he’s completely taken with her charm and beauty, but soon learns of her intelligence and intellect when she invites him to join the international team she’s heading in which people of color unite against white imperialism.

Filled with everything that makes good dramatic and romantic reading, Dark Princess is a true modern day fairy tale…where a boy becomes a man, finds royal love, and embarks on a quest to find truth and due diligence in a world where nothing is fair or right.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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15 Cute Conversation Heart Crafts

You either love ’em or ya hate ’em.  Those little conversation hearts have been a part of Valentine’s Day gift giving for decades.  Whether you’re eager to say, “Luv U 4 Evr” or “TXT Me” (depending on your generation, I guess!), conversation hearts are a cute and fun way to get the job done.

However, not everything you want to say can fit on one of those little candy hearts…that’s why I’ve gathered tons of craft ideas based on candy hearts that you can alter to say whatever you’d like!  From pillows to headbands, cake pops to body soaps, hearts say it all this year…and we know you’ll just love this assortment!

Brought to you by bloggers, craft designers, bakers, and heart lovers from all over the Internet, I proudly present:

Conversation Heart Mash Up!

1.  Custom Heart Pops from Goodiebites

2.  Paper Conversation Hearts from Make Merry!

3.  Conversation Hearts Scarf from Crochet Me

4.  Felt Conversation Hearts from Christine Chitnis

5.  Wooden Conversation Hearts from Our Seven Dwarfs

6.  Conversation Hearts Sugar Cookies from Brown Eyed Baker

7.  Conversation Heart Wreath from Kaboose

8.  Conversation Valentine Treat Holders from Crafts by Amanda

9.  Heart Shaped Soap from Martha Stewart

10.  Conversation Hearts Candy Pouches from Fun Family Crafts

11.  Valentine Candy Heart Pillows from Sweetie Pie Bakery

12.  Conversation Heart Headband from The Sew Weekly

13.  Needle Felted Conversation Heart from Felt Cafe

14.  Conversation Heart Banner from Punkin Patterns

15.  Conversation Heart Coasters from Sew Chatty

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Scrap Fabric Hand-Sewn Owls

I so vary rarely make fabric or sewing crafts, so I have a ton of left over fabric scraps from crafts I’ve made a while ago.  In an effort to clean out my fabric stash and try some new crafting techniques, I decided to make these cute little owls (because I need MORE stuff just hanging around my apartment!).

I just love these cute little felt owls, though!  I got so carried away that I ended up making one for almost every holiday!  They’re so easy to make and they’re the perfect last minute Valentine gift for your sweetie!  These little felt owls also make great ornaments or gift tags.

While I made my owls by hand, you can easily use a sewing machine.  I was just too lazy to get my machine out for these little guys 🙂  So gather up your fabric scraps and let’s get to bird makin’!  For the sake of the season, I’ll show you how to make a Valentine’s owl, specifically the one in the second row all the way to the left.

Felt Owls


  • Owl template (I drew mine freehand-it stood about 4 1/2” long and 2 1/4” wide)
  • Felt in varying colors
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Colored embroidery thread
  • Sewing pins
  • 5-6 cotton balls


  1. Here’s a picture of my template, in case you want to print it and use it yourself.  You might have to scale it to the size you’d like.
  2. Pin your template to the felt you’d like to use for the wings of your owl.  I marked the right and left wings just in case!
  3. Cut your wings out like so.  Save all the extra pieces because you’ll need them later.
  4. Pin the middle template of your owl to the felt you’d like to use for the body of the bird.  You’re using the main template to help you pin your wings in place.
  5. Using your white felt, cut out two circles, about the size of your thumb.  These are for the eyes.  Pin those in place on the body of the bird (remove the main template before pinning on the eyes, obviously!).
  6. Cut out two small circles and a beak from your black felt and a little tummy (if you want!) from another shade of felt.  Pin the tummy in place so your bird looks like this:
  7. To attach the small black circles, use some colored embroidery thread and tie a knot at the end.  I tied mine three times just for safe measure!  Cut off the small tail and string the thread through the black dot so the knot is on the OUTSIDE.  Then string it through the center of the white eye.  Secure and repeat for the other eye.

  8. Continue to sew all the other embellishments into place.  Soon your little owl will look like this!:
  9. Now it’s time to assemble your owl!  Place the owl face down on the back fabric.  You want both front sides facing each other and the back sides facing out…that way when your turn it inside out, the front sides are on the outside!
  10. Pin the segments of the cut templates back into place.
  11. Sew around the template, stitching the two fabrics together.  You can use a machine for this, but I didn’t mind doing it by hand.  Leave about 2 inches of room for stuffing.
  12. Cut about a quarter of an inch around your stitching to remove excess fabric.  Remove the template and discard.  Turn your owl inside out so the wrong side is now inside and the right side is on the outside.
  13. Pull your cotton balls apart so they’re long and stringy.  Stuff some into the ears of your owl first, and then stuff until he’s full!  Sew the hole closed and you’ve got yourself a cute little owl!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Okay fellow carb lovers, this is the muffin to top all muffins.  It has my absolute three favorite things when it comes to muffins:  lemon, blueberry, and a crumble topping.  If you’re looking for something special to make for Valentine’s Day or Easter brunch, look no further.  These muffins are the bomb-diggity.

If you’re going to be making these for a crowd, you might want to double the recipe, since this recipe makes exactly 12 big muffins…or you can make smaller muffins, but honestly, who wants that?  The bigger the better if you ask me!

And naturally if you don’t like lemon or blueberry, you can omit them.  Blueberry and lemon are fabulous together, but you can just as easily to orange and cranberry or lime and cranberry…it’s totally up to you!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins



  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Line muffin tin with liners, or coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

3.  PREPARE THE TOPPING:  Dice up your butter into small cubes.  Combine butter with sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and mix with fingertips until crumbs form.  Put back in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

4.  To prepare muffins, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a bowl.  Take a tablespoon of the mixture and toss it with the blueberries.  This ensures that the blueberries stay suspended throughout the muffin, instead of falling to the bottom.

5.  Place the vegetable oil, egg, and milk in a bowl and whisk until combined.  Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix gently, leaving lots of lumps.  The lumps will bake out, so don’t worry about lumpy muffins!  Simply mix it until combined.

6.  Add the blueberries and fold in gently.  Pour muffin batter evenly into prepared pan and top with crumb topping.

7.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely (if you can resist the urge not to just jump in!).

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 


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Black No More Book Review

February is Black History Month and to celebrate, I have a great collection of classic African American literature coming your way every week.  From the well-known to the not-so-well-known, these books have done great and uproarious things in the Black community.

They say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  At least that was the case with Max Disher, a dapper black rouge of a med student who found his career short-changed when the Dean of his prestigious college wouldn’t graduate him because of his race.  Through a confluence of events, Max becomes acquainted with one Dr. Junius Crookman, a scientist claiming to have invented a transformation process that will turn all the blacks in the world white.  Max gathers up a mere $50.00 and becomes one of Dr. Crookman’s first patients.  Three days later, where Max Disher once existed now was Matthew Fisher, a white man ready to take on the world.

And so begins George S. Schuyler’s satirical and hilarious novel, Black No More.  A modern day Sneeches story, this staple of African American literature approaches the common thought, what would happen to the race problem in America if black people turned white?  Would everybody be happy?  While it’s clear that Black No More is a smart and eye-opening work of fiction, one can’t help but wonder if there’s a certain truth hiding between the lines of Schuyler’s poignant novel…particularly in his stereotypical portrayal of the leaders of both races…and the people that so blindly follow them.

Within the first day of Matthew Fisher’s transformation, he begins to realize that white people just aren’t what he thought they were when he was black.  They’re far less courteous and much less interesting, he says.  Things quickly begin to turn ugly for Matthew, as his old friends reject the new him and he’s accused of abandoning his people and not having any racial pride.   Even when Matthew dreams up a scam to become leader of the Knights of Nordica, a white supremacist group, he is still stuck in a world of chaos and general hysteria.  Things get extra interesting when Matthew’s new wife, the daughter of his right hand man in the Nordica group, gives birth to a black baby…you can imagine what happens next…

Black No More is proof that there really are no better Sneeches on the beaches, as Dr. Seuss might say.  Regardless of color, we all have the same problems, the same issues and faults, and the same fears and judgements about what we know to be right and wrong.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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