DIY Wedding Gift

This is perfect timing. My niece’s wedding is this weekend and this month’s Silhouette Challenge is DIY Gifts! This is what I made for the lovely couple.


Hopefully my niece is too busy with last minute wedding details to see this post and this framed photo will be a surprise ; )

Here’s how I made it (warning: this is crazy-simple): First, I stalked my niece’s Facebook page and found an engagement photo (that I adore), saved it to my iPhone, and had an 8 x 10 print made at my local drug store.


Next, in Silhouette Studio, I drew an 8 x 10 rectangle (the size of the frame), then typed and spaced the words within the rectangle. I cut the words out of white vinyl and adhered them to the top glass of the frame using transfer tape. Then I popped the photo into the frame behind the glass. It doesn’t get much easier than that!


This wedding gift only took a few minutes to make and I think they’re going to love it. I love making gifts with my Silhouette because the gifts can be personalized for the recipient. And it’s so fast and easy! Seriously, where can you get a handmade, one-of-a-kind, personalized gift made in just minutes??? I love my Silhouette ; )

I can’t wait to give this gift to the bride and groom, and I can’t wait for this wedding! Weddings are the only time when my entire family manages to be at the same place at the same time. I have three brothers and two sisters; add in their spouses, kids and grandchildren and we total well over 20. Add in the fact that we are scattered over four states then it’s easy to see why all of us getting together is quite a feat!

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Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

DIY Kentucky Bourbon Etched Glass Set: Perfect Gift for Dad! Silhouette Monogram Ideas - Easy Monogram Photo DAD Accordian Fold Father's Day Card Etched Oregon Swing Top Bottle  - May Silhouette Challenge Leather Bookmark DIY Wedding Gift Etched Glass Vase with a Silhouette How To Make Etched Glass Tile Coasters Simple Handmade Gifts for Under $10.00 Family Tree Frame with Vinyl Mother's Day Etched Glass Terrarium: The Perfect DIY Gift Wood Monogram Wire Bracelet The Art of the Etched Casserole Dish: Your Questions Answered! Faux Chalk Mason Jar Glass Delicious! Any More? An etched Glass plate

1. Weekend Craft // 2. Where The Smiles Have Been // 3. Confessions of an Overworked Mom // 4. Simply Kelly Designs // 5. Adventures in All Things Food // 6. Sisters, What! // 7. Create & Babble // 8. Creative Ramblings // 9. Practically Functional // 10. Briick by Briick // 11. My Paper Craze // 12. DIYJustCuz // 13. Made in a Day // 14. The Thinking Closet // 15. Architecture of a Mom // 16. Get Silvered

How I Saved My Life

Typing that title: “How I saved my life” sounds so dramatic. But the truth is, I did. By taking a test. Not taking a test, really. More of a “having a procedure” done.

If you have already turned 50 years old, you may know to which procedure I’m referring. The dreaded colonoscopy. As soon as I turned 50, my family doctor gently reminded me every year that I still needed to have that done. “Yes, yes, I’ll schedule that”, I would say. Fully meaning it, but never getting around to it.

Biking the C&O Canal Towpath

Until last month. I went to see my family doctor for a totally unrelated symptom: heartburn. She recommended that I see a gastroenterologist and have an EGD (an upper endoscopy) done. The gastro doctor noticed that I hadn’t yet had the “wellness” colonoscopy done and recommended that I have it done during the same appointment as the EGD since they do them both and I’d be under anesthesia anyway. I agreed and knew my family doctor would be happy that I was finally having it done. (Like I was doing her a favor).

The EGD and colonoscopy were done on a sunny Monday morning at the end of March. The procedures themselves were no big deal. In fact, I was asleep throughout and have no memory of them. What I do remember is waking up in the recovery area and hearing the nurse say that the doctor would be in soon to discuss the results. Hmmm. I knew right away that something was up.

I could hear cheerful conversations going on behind curtains with other patients that were entirely different than what was said to me. I overheard “everything looks great, you did wonderfully.” All I heard was: the doctor will be here shortly. No “you did great!” or other light banter.

Then the curtain was pulled back and my gastro doctor was standing there and he was not smiling. What he said was: “Thank you for having the colonoscopy done. You saved your life.” My heart sank and Dan and I looked at each other and I think we were both holding our breaths while the doctor continued to explain that he had removed 4 small polyps but that he also encountered a large mass that was too large to remove with the scope. (he did take a piece that was sent to pathology) He thinks that it had been growing there for maybe two years. I would need surgery to remove it. “Do you have a surgeon?” Do I have a surgeon??? Did he just ask me that? Yeah, he’s out playing golf right now with my attorney, my accountant, and my PR rep. No, I don’t have a surgeon. Could you recommend one?

Of course he could. They immediately made an appointment for the very next day with an oncology surgeon. I was scared. Very scared. The surgeon said he was going to treat this as if it were cancer even though they were not sure it was. Yet.  I was immediately sent across the street to the hospital for a CT scan and blood work. I would know the results of the biopsy, the CT scan, and the blood work on Friday. That was the longest week of my life. Friday finally came and I thank God there were absolutely no signs of cancer. Anywhere. However, I still needed the surgery to remove the mass. It was not a question of if the mass would become malignant, but a question of when.

I underwent an open right hemicolectomy. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Well, it was. Surgery is no fun, but I’ll take it any day over radiation, chemotherapy, and everything else involved with colon cancer. I know of a few people going through colon cancer right now. And I thank my lucky stars, God, and my doctors for finding this growth before it was too late. I’m not going to complain about a large abdominal scar and missing a few inches of a large colon when I think about what could have been.


I wasn’t sure I would write about this since it has nothing to do with crafting, decorating and DIYing, but I thought it was too important not to share with you. After all, my family and closest friends know and I consider you all to be part of that circle, too.

Do me a favor please. (warning: this where I’m going to go all “Katie Couric” on everyone): If you (or someone you love) are age 50*+ and have not had a colonoscopy done, please schedule one today. It really is no big deal and it could very well save your life.

*I was told that if there is a history of colon polyps in your immediate family, you should have your first colonoscopy at age 40.


Do it for your kids, do it for your grandkids, do it for yourself. Just do it.

Easy Daisy Wall Art

Are you like me and pin lots of great ideas on Pinterest and never make them? I think a lot of people are like that. I’ve made a couple of things that I found on Pinterest, but not too many. I’m going to challenge myself to do more. I found this Pin last summer and asked Dan if he could draw the outline of the daisy(I have no drawing skills at all) for me on an old piece of wood, but we just never got around to it. Until now.


And I did it without Dan’s drawing skills ; )  Here’s how:


First I found some leftover boards in my wood pile and cut three lengths to 16″ long. The boards are 4″ wide. I made three pocket holes on two of the boards with my Kreg jig and attached the boards together with pocket screws.


On the front of the assembled board, I brushed on a light coat of black paint. As I said, I have no drawing skills whatsoever, so I made a petal shape and a circle shape using my Silhouette Cameo and simply traced the outlines of those shapes on the board with a small brush and white acrylic craft paint.


Next, I just “colored” in the lines using some leftover latex paint. I didn’t worry about the brush strokes.


Then I mixed some yellow and gold acrylic paint together and painted in the center of the flower. Easy peasy!


To give the flower some depth and dimension, I dry brushed on some light strokes of the black paint.


What I love most about this daisy wall art is that it didn’t cost me anything to make it, since I had everything on hand and got to use up some scrap wood.


Daisies and chickens go together, right? Dan is pleased as punch that his mother’s ceramic chicken has a place on the mantle shelf ; )

Disclosure: This most may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, I only recommend products and services that I use and love.

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Lavender Lemon Sweet Tea

Hello everyone!  I am Maureen, and I blog over at Red Cottage Chronicles where I share recipes, DIY projects, organization and decorating our small cottage home!  I am so pleased to be here at Create & Babble today. I have been a fan of Jeanie for a very long time and am thrilled she asked me to share my recipe for Lavender Lemon Sweet Tea with you.

Lavender Lemon Sweet Tea

Sometimes I think secretly I was born in the South.  There are so many things I absolutely love that the Southerner’s do so well.  Sweet tea is at the top of my list.  I discovered a classic recipe a couple of years ago and have to admit I make it every single day come summertime.


Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love baking with lavender.  And the combination of lavender and lemon is a favorite.  These lemon and lavender squares are just one example.

One day while I was in the kitchen to bake some cookies,  I got distracted by some fresh lemons on the counter and somehow got to thinking how refreshing lavender lemon iced tea would be.  It was still snowing and -12 degrees. My mind works in mysterious ways!


As luck would have it I had Lemon Zinger teabags and some lavender buds in the pantry.  I just used the lemon tea bags instead of the regular Lipton black tea bags, and made a lavender simple syrup.  What resulted was a refreshing, slightly floral flavoured lemon tea.

While I normally would have sweetened the whole batch, serving the lavender syrup on the side allows everyone to add just the right amount of sweetness that they prefer.  Serve with some fresh slices of lemon and ice.  How fancy is that?!


Since spring is finally starting to make itself known here in Canada after a very long snowy winter, we are starting to bring our screen porch and deck back to life.  I am already dreaming of a  tall glass of iced tea, feet up, birds chirping, moss hanging from the trees….oh, wait where am I again? No chance of moss hanging from the trees around here. Sigh!

But, I do have the lavender lemon sweet tea and the birds.

A girl can dream!




Bring 1 quart of cold water to a full rolling boil.

Pour over 5 lemon tea bags, cover and steep for 5 minutes.  Remove tea bags.

Fill an 8 cup (2 quart) heat safe glass bowl with ice cubes.  Pour steeped tea over the ice and stir a bit.

Make a simple lavender syrup by adding 1 cup water, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about two minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5 minutes.  Strain through a fine sieve and discard lavender.  (Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks if covered tightly)

In a large glass add some ice cups, fill with tea and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of lavender syrup.  Stir well and serve with fresh lemon slices.


Thanks Maureen, for sharing this sweet tea recipe! I’m looking forward to making this soon. I have never used lavender in cooking or baking but now I have to try it.

vanilla lavender cake

Maureen also has a recipe for Vanilla Lavender Cake that you must see.

I am such a fan of Maureen’s blog, Red Cottage Chronicles. I love to read about the latest DIY projects going on in her home. And her recipes are so different and unique. You will droll over the photos. She’s an artist when it comes to baking!

Bicycling Sweatshirt

The arrival of Spring and warmer temperatures means one thing: It’s time to ride my bike!!! Well, okay, it means more than that but that’s what I’m most excited about ; ) So in honor of bicycle riding weather, I made a bicycling sweatshirt. Well I didn’t actually make the sweatshirt, but I did decorate it.

Bicycling Sweatshirt

Believe it or not, I got the plain, white hoodie on a clearance shelf at JoAnn’s for $3.50! I should have bought all of them. Darn! Anyway, I held onto the sweatshirt for a while before the thought occurred to add some kind of vinyl decals to it. And since bike-riding weather is almost here….

Bicycling Sweatshirt

I designed this “logo” in Silhoutte Studio. I used the rhinestone bicycle shape from the online store. The rest, I made myself. Since the bicycle shape is from the online store, I can’t include it in the free cut file, but I can give you the rest of it. Feel free to down load Version 2 here, and Version 3 here. (personal use only). I curved the test to fit around the circle. If you’re unsure of how to curve text, I made a video to help you out.

Bicycling Sweatshirt

Of course I used my heat press to iron on the vinyl. I love that heat press! And I highly recommend it – no more vinyl peeling off after a few machine washes.

Bicycling Sweatshirt

I love using glitter vinyl instead of rhinestones. Besides being way easier to work with than rhinestones, you can change the size of rhinestone designs without worrying about the size of the holes since you’re not actually using rhinestones!

Bicycling Sweatshirt

Now I’m ready for a ride! The weather forecast for this weekend is sunny, but cool.  Perfect weather for our first ride of the year wearing my new sweatshirt ; )

Easy To Make Butterfly Wreath

Who else is decorating for Spring? I think we’re all ready to stow away the winter decor and get on with Spring! One quick way to welcome Spring is to hang an easy-to-make, new wreath. What says Spring more than a butterfly wreath!


As I was walking into Target the other day, the dollar section called my name. Does it call your name, too? I mean it’s right there. You HAVE to stop and look, right?


Two cute, little, white grapevine wreaths were yelling my name and said “hey! We’d make cute wreaths to hang on the doors of that armoire that you just built for your granddaughter!”


All I did to decorate them was cut out a bunch of small butterflies with my Silhouette Cameo. I cut them in three different sizes and then adhered them to the wreath using craft tape. Hot glue would work, too.


I have round up 18 more SUPER EASY Spring & Summer wreaths that I found on HomeTalk to give you lots of wreath-making ideas. Click on the photo below to get a close up of each wreath and see the instructions on how to make your favorites.


 Flip flops! I love that idea – PERFECT for a summer home. What other unusual items have you used to make a wreath? I’d love to hear!

An Easy Way to Make Lined Curtains

Hey everyone! I came up with an easy way to make lined curtains. Yes, you still have to use your sewing machine, but this is super easy. If you can thread the machine and sew a (relatively) straight stitch, then you can make these curtains.

I’m probably not the first to have thought of this way of making lined curtain panels but I’ve never seen it. I am familiar with the “usual way” of making them – you know, where you’re basically making two curtains panels. One of the curtain fabric and one of the lining fabric – lots of folding, lots of ironing and lots of straight stitching. Well with this way, you still have folding, ironing and straight stitching. Just not as much.


Basically, my method is sewing the fabric panel to the lining panel, right sides together, at the long edges and then turning it right side out. What makes this work is that I cut the lining fabric narrower than the curtain fabric. After the curtain is turned right side out and pressed, it looks just like a professionally-made curtain panel. See for yourself!


Here’s are step-by-step instructions for how I made my lined curtains:


  1. curtain fabric
  2. lining fabric
  3. pins
  4. rotary cutter
  5. cutting mat
  6. straight edge
  7. measuring tape
  8. iron
  9. ironing board
  10. sewing machine
  11. thread

Step One:

Cut two curtain panels. Determine the length of the curtain fabric by adding the desired finished curtain length with the length of the header and hem plus 2″. I am making 2 curtain panels for a narrow window in the baby’s nursery, so I cut two 84″ lengths of 44″ wide fabric to make curtains that measure 77″ long.


Cut two lining panels. Cut the lining panels 2″ narrower and 4″ shorter than the curtain panels.


Tip for cutting long lengths of fabric: keep the fabric folded lengthwise (just as it comes off the bold) fold in half twice, keeping fold edges aligned.


Line up the clear measuring grid (what is that thing called???) and use a rotary cutter with a sharp blade and cut to desired width. Well actually cut it to HALF of the desired width since it’s folded in half. I needed my lining to measure 42″ so I lined up the fabric on my cutting grid and cut at 21″.


Open up your folded lining fabric and then fold down 1″ and press on both ends of the lining fabric. Fold and press again. Now line up and pin the long edges of the curtain fabric and the lining fabric right sides together and folds facing out. Stitch both sides.


Before turning the panel right side out, press open both seam allowances.


Turn sewn panel right sides out and press.


Now you have a nice, clean (and wrinkle-free ; ) lined curtain panel. Now, what about those ends??? I’m glad you asked!


Fold and press down about an inch from the end on the curtain fabric where the lining is shorter. This is going to be your bottom hemmed edge.


Fold up again and pin. Now you can sew in the hem by hand (what!?!?) or do what I do and use the blind hem stitch on your sewing machine. Or you could sew a straight stitch.  But after going to all this trouble of making beautiful, lined curtains, you don’t really want to do that, right? Right!


I could be wrong but don’t all sewing machines have a blind hem stitch? Ever use it? I do. Ever since I learned to sew many, many … a few decades years ago ; )

Well in case you haven’t used your blind hem stitch, here’s a little picture tutorial:



With the lining side up, fold the hem to the back leaving a small amount peeking out on the right.


Make sure you’re using the designated foot (my machine just requires a zig-zag foot) and your machine settings are set up correctly. Slowly lower needle into the fabric on the right. The machine will stitch a few times there and then hop over to the left to catch for one stitch.

Once you’re done, take your curtain over to the ironing once again and press. If you did it right, you won’t see the hem stitch at all!

Now for the header end of the curtain. Once you have the curtain fabric folded and pressed, mark where you want the stitching lines for the pocket for the curtain rod.


Since I’m going to be hanging these curtains on a 1″ curtain rod, I stitched two rows 1-1/2″ apart to form the pocket.


Insert your curtain and hang your lovely, new lined curtains!

The nursery makeover will (hopefully) be done on Saturday and I can show off the entire room here on Sunday. I can’t wait! And then it will be time to move on to other projects in my house. After all, it is March and Dan is planning his out-of-town business trip. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know what that means! If not, I’ll clue you in: Every March, Dan is sent on an out-o-town business trip for about a week. I take this as my cue to start a renovation project. The first year (pre-blog), I painted the walls and vanity in the master bathroom. The next year, I painted the kitchen cabinets, and last year I made over the staircase. I think I know what this year’s project will  be, but I like to keep this a secret from Dan. He likes surprises – NOT! ; )

Pretty Shadow Box

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts, Michaels and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

I have a fun project to share today, thanks to the folks at Plaid Crafts, Michaels and Blueprint Social!


The timing was perfect. As you may know, I’ve been busy helping my daughter makeover the baby’s room and when I received my package of goodies that included a shadow box from the Spring Wood Surfaces line at Michaels, I knew what I wanted to make.


I could have just painted the wooden shadow box but then I thought how pretty it would look if I covered it with scrapbook paper.


I found some pretty card stock in my stash and cut it to the sizes I would need to cover the inside surfaces of the shadow box.


Since I didn’t want the wooden edges to show, I painted them with a few coats of the Folk Art Multi Surface acrylic paint so they would blend in with the colors of the card stock.


To attach the card stock, I applied a generous amount of Mod Podge both to the back of the card stock and to the shadow box. Then I brushed on another coat of Mod Podge to make sure the card stock was well adhered.


A little trick I used to cover the face frame of the shadow box was to take the entire sheet of 12″ x 12″ card stock and lay it over the frame.


Then using a craft knife, I cut an “X” into the middle and then trimmed to fit. This avoided having seams on the front of the shadow box.


All that was left to do was decide what to put in the shadow box. A few ideas came to mind but I finally decided to adhere a framed photo of the baby taken shortly after she was born.


It makes such a pretty and unique door decoration for the baby’s room.

You can find more project ideas and inspiration from Plaid Crafts online here:

Plaid Website

The Plaid Palette Blog

Plaid Newsletter







And wait! There’s more projects and tutorials to be found right here!

Filling Grooves in Paneling

My goal this month is to complete the makeover of my granddaughter’s nursery. Since it’s almost the middle of the month I better get moving! We, (my daughter and I) spent the weekend filling the grooves in the painted paneled walls. Someone, at some point in time in this old home’s history, must have thought it would be a good idea to disguise the paneling with paint. While the concept was good, they missed one important step: they didn’t fill in the grooves of the paneling.


The result looks just like what it is: painted paneling. We wanted nice, smooth walls.

If you have paneling in your home and would rather have smooth walls (that don’t look like painted paneling) then read on to learn how to fill in the grooves.


First let me say, if your paneling has NOT been painted yet, you will have a few extra steps. You will have to sand and prime the paneling first before filling the grooves. Once you’ve done that then you’re ready to fill in the grooves.


The supply list for this project is short.

  1. joint compound
  2. putty knife
  3. dust mask or respirator

Neither my daughter nor I had ever worked with joint compound, but I assure you, no big deal. It’s not difficult and you don’t have to be neat and precise. Just make sure the grooves are filled in. In fact, it’s a good idea to go back to where you started, carefully make sure that all of grooves are filled in and apply a second coat if necessary.

All of those rough edges will get sanded away on day 2.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: this is a 2-day project. The first day is applying the joint compound and the second day is for sanding and clean up. It’s an easy project but not a fast one.

As mentioned above, day 2 is all about sanding. Sanding and dust. Lots and lots of dust. Like open a window, wear a dust mask, your hair is now white, dust. The joint compound we used said “LOW DUST”. Really?

Day 2 is also about the clean up of said dust. After you think you’re rid of all the dust, think again. Using a damp cloth for the final clean up and removal of the last particles of dust is recommended. I left my daughter to handle the final stages of the dust clean up. A perk of being “Nanny” ; )

2014 Year in Review & Reader Survey

I wasn’t sure until today if I would write a year in review post. I decided to go ahead with it for a few reasons. One reason is: many of you are new to Create & Babble and may have missed a lot of these posts that were written during the past 12 months.

love letter box by createandbabble

2014 has been a year of pretty remarkable growth for this little blog of mine. And I have YOU to thank! I simply cannot express to you how appreciative I am of your support.

I could not do it without you.

update a bannister by createandbabble

I have a little dream. Really for me it’s a big dream. A goal really. My goal is to make this blog my full-time gig. Yep, give up the day job! This is where my passion lives. This is what I love to do!

slate grout renew

Yes, I would much rather crawl around on the slate floor painting grout lines than sit at a desk for hours on end.

DIY Staircase Makeover

Who needs corporate ladders when there are staircases to makeover . . .


 . . . and a new baby girl for whom to make pretty accessories! Thanks to you, that precious little face has been pinned over 10,000 times!

DIY farmhouse table |

This past year has certainly been a year of discovery for me.

DIY Workbench by

I discovered my love of using power tools – right after I got over my fear of them! Now it’s a healthy respect. Look for lots of DIY projects/builds in 2015.


And I learned that I can completely remodel a room by myself! Granted, it’s the smallest room in the house, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

Yes, there were lots of “firsts” for me in 2014.

im a star

I went to my first blog conference and met so many blogging friends, new and old . . .


. . . and I got to meet one of my blogging idols, Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed! at Lucketts Spring Market.

silhouette projects

For all of my Silhouette sisters out there, there were plenty of Silhouette projects and there will be many, many more in 2015!

These weren’t all of the projects from 2014 – just a few of my favorites.

Now I want to ask a favor of you. Would you mind taking just a minute or two and fill out this quick survey? I love getting to know my readers!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Here’s to a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!