Introducing the Cricut BrightPad!

Meet the newest member of the Cricut family! The new Cricut BrightPad will change the way you create. Do you hate weeding? Resist doing more complicated projects because it is too hard/time consuming to weed? Wait until you see what the Cricut BrightPad can do! I created a Facebook Live video to show you first hand how easy it is to use and what a difference it makes!

Head on over to the Cricut Blog for a tutorial on how I created the mirror and a link to the project in Design Space!

The BrightPad is $79.99 and comes in four colors - Mint, Pink, Blue and Lilac. No charcoal - even though you can see it in the photo - ha! The Mint BrightPad is currently available on  (with FREE shipping - enter code CHRISTMASINJULY at checkout), and the Pink, Blue and Lilac colors will be available during 24 Hour Craft Day on HSN on July 11th. Hope you'll join me to see it live in action!

Custom Gift Wrap with Michaels Story Sticky Notes

With just a few supplies and these DARLING Story Sticky Notes from Michaels (you get 100+ notes per pack for only $3.00!) you can create customized gift wrap in no time. {FTC Disclaimer: this post contains some affiliate links so I may make a few pennies if you buy something!}

SUPPLIES:
Michaels Story Sticky Notes (they have a ton of fun assorted styles!)
Xyron Sticker Makers (I used the 1.5" and the 3")
wrapping paper
anything else you've got laying around! I used a uni-ball signo white pen and some alphabet stickers

Check out this quick tutorial and then get out your gift wrap and start decorating! This is also a great project to do with the kiddos!

Looking for more great custom gift wrapping ideas? Check out these fun projects!

IKEA Hack - Ten Creative Ways to Use A Tolsby Frame

Ten creative ways to use IKEA Tolsby frames! Kingston Crafts

I didn't realize how obsessed I was with IKEA until I didn't live near one. I grew up near one of the originals (shout out to Potomac Mills!) and then as a military spouse who moves every two years I relied on it for cheap-but-cute home decor and supplies. I absolutely took it for granted, until we moved to Kentucky where the closest one is ALMOST THREE HOURS AWAY. Yeeeaaaaaaaah. So after my first visit in over two years where I bought WAY too many paper napkins and enough reusable grocery bags to power our entire town I give you my homage to one of the cheapest and most versatile IKEA items in all the land - the .99 Tolsby Frame. 

Don't live near an IKEA either? Amazon has started selling some IKEA items online. The Tolsby frame isn't .99 - but four for $10-ish is still a great deal!

{FCC disclaimer - this blost post contains affiliate links - so I may make a few pennies if you buy something!}

Add a little spray paint and you've got custom table numbers/menu signs/etc for your wedding! From ruffledblog.

Add a little spray paint and you've got custom table numbers/menu signs/etc for your wedding! From ruffledblog.

Create a mini calendar with your favorite photos! From lovelymade.

Create a mini calendar with your favorite photos! From lovelymade.

Use washi tape to add a little color! From washitapecrafts.

Use washi tape to add a little color! From washitapecrafts.

Create a desktop mini album! From heidiswapp.

Create a desktop mini album! From heidiswapp.

Create an entire photo gallery! From brooklynlimestone.

Create an entire photo gallery! From brooklynlimestone.

Feature your favorite small project as a work of art. From kesi-art.

Feature your favorite small project as a work of art. From kesi-art.

Fun AND functional? Flip cards! From swellchel.

Fun AND functional? Flip cards! From swellchel.

How about a Christmas countdown calendar? From goldiecardsigns.

Greatest party craft/favor ever! Star Wars! From attagirlsays.

Greatest party craft/favor ever! Star Wars! From attagirlsays.

What a cool way to display pressed flowers and leaves! From munchkinsandmoms.

What a cool way to display pressed flowers and leaves! From munchkinsandmoms.

Ten creative ways to use IKEA Tolsby frames! Kingston Crafts

Customized Wedding Gift Topper with Mod Podge!

We're celebrating all sorts of things this weekend...Don and I are headed to a wedding with our extended family, and Mod Podge is turning 50! I combined both festivities in to one project because, let's face it, when you are "crafty" you have to make sure that your present is the coolest looking one of the gift table! :) This wedding topper was SO easy to make - start with a wood or chipboard base, then customize to your heart's desire with FolkArt paint, Mod Podge and a little glitter (ok - a lot) to add that special sparkle. I used gold paint and sheer giltter to coordinate with my giftwrap and ribbon. Let's do this! {FTC Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for this blog post - but the opinions and ideas are mine all mine! This post also contains affiliate links so if you buy something I might make a few pennies.}

SUPPLIES:
chipboard or wood phrase or shape (mine is from Hobby Lobby)
Mod Podge Gloss
FolkArt Brushed Metal Acrylic Paint in Brushed Antique Gold
glitter
two (2) plastic cups or paper plates
foam brush
q-tip
disposable work surface (I used white butcher paper) - not pictured

Paint surface of chipboard/wood shape. Be sure to paint the edges but don't worry TOO much about getting full coverage. Nobody is going to be looking that close! :)

Apply thin layer of Mod Podge, then quickly add glitter. I did my phrase in "sections" - I added Mod Podge to a few letters, then added glitter, then moved on to the next few letters, added glitter, etc.

Let dry for about 10 minutes, tap off excess glitter (I collected it in one of the plastic cups and reused it throughout the project) and repeat layers of Mod Podge and glitter until you reach the desired look, then top off with a final layer of Mod Podge.  I did three layers of glitter total - but I think I would have been totally fine with just two!

Don't forget to join the fun over on the Plaid Crafts Facebook Page all day long for project ideas, new techniques, prizes and more. Scroll down for a few other great Mod Podge projects from some of my fabulous friends - Happy National Mod Podge Day everybody!

And for even MORE ideas using Plaid Crafts products check out these fun projects!

Pinterest Pantry - Second Edition

I'm visiting my folks this week - so have spent the last few days eating all of my favorite comfort foods. Which means I won't be able to fit in to my pants next week. ;)  So in the second edition of Pinterest Pantry I'm sharing a few recipes that still have that cozy warm comfort food vibe but are a lot better for you! And...two things that were a failure. Hey. They can't all be green chicken enchilada cauliflower casserole!

GREEN CHICKEN ENCHILADA CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

Sweet Mother of relatively healthy comfort food!! We made this casserole from I Breathe I'm Hungry because we had a bunch of frozen cauliflower in the freezer and all the other ingredients already - all I needed was a rotisserie chicken (because I was too lazy to cook a couple of chicken breasts) and HELLO!!!!! I plan to make this 769 times in the next month because it is AMAZING and surprisingly healthy! SUCH a great substitution for those rich pasta or rice casseroles...I promise you won't miss a thing.

GRADE: A+++
HOW HEALTHY: At first glance it doesn't seem super healthy - but is only 311 calories per serving and is low carb and gluten free.
DIFFICULTY: VERY easy and took less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
RECIPE CHANGES:  We used rotisserie chicken out of sheer laziness, and the only thing we did different from the recipe was we chopped the cauliflower up a bit after we microwaved it so it would be in smaller pieces.
Β 

SLOW COOKER KIELBASA AND WHITE BEAN CASSOULET

Another winner! I first found this recipe from Real Simple in their magazine. We make this at least twice a month because it is easy, doesn't require a bunch of special ingredients and it is perfect for leftovers for lunch. 

GRADE: A+
HOW HEALTHY: We think it is relatively healthy...it is dairy free, gluten free, no added oils/butter, and we used turkey kielbasa to cut back on the calories. See our recipe changes - we skipped the bread altogether and didn't miss it one bit!
DIFFICULTY: SUPER easy - just cut up the kielbasa, dump everything in to the slow cooker and come home to a delicious meal (and a great smelling house)!
RECIPE CHANGES:  We skipped the bread - cut back on the carbs, made the meal a bit healthier, and was one less step to get the meal on the table. We also used minced garlic and dried thyme to make it even easier!
Β 

WALNUT AND ROSEMARY OVEN FRIED CHICKEN

We haven't had fried chicken in a hundred years, and we are pretty leery of recipes that claim that oven baked is just as good...but this one from The Recipe Critic was pretty darn close! The toasted panko and crushed nuts make a nice crispy crust with tons of taste.

GRADE: A
HOW HEALTHY: Another one that doesn't seem super healthy at first glance - but it is under 300 calories per serving so if you combine it with a simple salad it is a nice light healthy meal and has tons of protein!
DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy - the hardest part was making sure the panko didn't burn when we cooked it on the stove. :) We put our chicken on a rack, so if you do that trust us when we say to ALSO line the pan with foil or parchment paper prior to cooking - otherwise clean up is a pain!
RECIPE CHANGES:  We used dried rosemary instead of fresh.

BRAISED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH MUSTARD AND THYME

First of all...am I the only person in the world who did not know the correct name for this vegetable is brussels sprouts - not brussel sprouts? Clearly I need to get out more. Secondly - Don and I like our brussels sprouts roasted and a little "drier", this recipe from Cooking Light was too mushy for our taste. If you love mushier vegetables you might love this one!

GRADE: C
HOW HEALTHY: Pretty damn healthy. You only add 1T butter for the entire recipe.
DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy - the whole thing only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.
RECIPE CHANGES:  None.

BACON AND EGG BREAKFAST CHILI

It is funny - I forgot that this recipe from health-bent.com is called bacon and egg chili because 95% of the time we skip the bacon and eggs and just eat the chili plain! This is our go-to recipe for weekday breakfasts. We cook up a batch (it makes a TON) on Sunday afternoons and then eat it throughout the week - it is hearty, healthy, and easy to make! If you DO add the bacon, egg and avocado it ratchets this up to an A++ - it is SOOOOOOO good!

GRADE: A
HOW HEALTHY: VERY - it is paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and you can use ground turkey or turkey sausage if you prefer.
DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy - the whole thing only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.
RECIPE CHANGES:  As I mentioned - 95% of the time we skip the bacon, egg and avocado, just to save time. Be sure you dice the sweet potatoes VERY small, and be ready to let the chili simmer for an hour or so. Those sweet potatoes take a while to get soft!

CREAMY CARROT AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

I LOVE soup - and I am forever on the search for a rich creamy soup that is still good for you. This recipe from Cooking with Curls is VERY healthy, and if I was on a very strict diet I would eat it (it tastes fine), but otherwise it isn't a recipe we'll make again.

GRADE: C
HOW HEALTHY: VERY. Dairy free, gluten free, low calorie, chock full of veggies.
DIFFICULTY: VERY easy - hardest part is chopping all of the vegetables.
RECIPE CHANGES:  We used minced garlic.

If you've got a relatively healthy Pinterest recipe that you make over and over again - I'd love to see it! We are always on the lookout for easy, healthy, delicious food! Looking for more recipes that we've put in to our bellies? The first edition of Pinterest Pantry has some favorites!

Wall Art Wood Wreath: Pinterest Fail Gone Right!

Ever have one of those projects that just doesn't turn out right? I took a total failure (too much paint, too much wine, not enough following directions) and turned it in to a fun home decor piece perfect for our mantel!

Back in January when I was in Phoenix for Creativation 2017 I was lucky enough to spend the evening at Pinspiration (you MUST go there if you ever find yourself in the area!) with the gang from DecoArt. Our plan was to create gorgeous projects to take home, but then we started chatting, and drinking, and snacking, and visiting with the other patrons, and not following directions. And then this happened.

See the GIANT paint smudges? See the K outlined in pencil in the middle that was supposed to be string art but I didn't even get that far? Yup. I craft for a living. Can't you tell?

I PROMISED them that I would fix it. I told them I could make it right. And you know what? With a few flowers and my glue gun I did just that!

So I guess the moral of this story is "when all else fails...embellish"! OR - pay better attention when you are making a craft project. Whichever. ;)

Here are a few more wreath projects to tickle your fancy!

PAPER WREATHS

PAPER WREATHS

BOW-TIFUL WREATH

BOW-TIFUL WREATH

Customizing Wood Easter Eggs from Michaels

The time right before any holiday is very dangerous for me...because the craft stores discount all of the holiday stuff and I must buy ALL of it and frantically make a bajillion projects!!! Last night it was a bunny wreath for my front door, today it is these wooden eggs from Michaels that will look perfect on our mantle!

SUPPLIES:
Cricut Explore Air and Design Space
Light Grip Mat
Basics Tools Set
Cricut Vinyl - Linen
Transfer Tape
Plaid FolkArt acrylic paint - Titanium White
foam brush
washi tape
Michaels wooden egg easels

Remove the stickers from the wooden eggs and wrap the edges with washi tape.

Paint the edges of each egg and let dry, then repeat with a second coat.

In Design Space, type "easter egg" in the search bar and you will find TONS of options! I just picked my three favorites - one for each egg.

Resize the egg images to fit the eggs, then "attach" the images (they will turn the same color) so you can cut them all on one piece of vinyl.

Cut the images and weed out the excess vinyl. Apply the transfer tape to the images, then the images to each egg. And voila!

Michaels Bunny Banner Tutorial

Last week I hosted my first Facebook Live tutorial - and in addition to sharing a glass of wine with everybody we created this fun (and easy) Bunny Banner using a few supplies from Michaels and a Xyron Creative Station! I've shared the video below and am including the supply list and a written tutorial here. The best part about this? You can take these same techniques and create a banner for any theme! {FTC Disclaimer: there are some affiliate links in this blog post - which means I might make a few pennies if you buy something!}

Michaels Bunny Banner

Join us for our Michaels Stores Bunny Banner Tutorial - just in time for Easter!

Posted by Beth Kingston - Kingston Crafts on Thursday, April 6, 2017

SUPPLIES:
one package of foam bunny shapes from Michaels
one multipack of 1.5" pom poms from Michaels (make sure it includes at least four each of the yellow, pink and white pom poms)
Xyron Creative Station with 9" Permanent Refill
two yards of ribbon
liquid adhesive

Divide package of foam bunnies in to two equal piles - making sure there are the same number of each color of bunnies in each pile.

Run one pile through the Xyron Creative Station. Set aside.

On your work area lay the bunnies out about 2" apart - yellow, pink, white, yellow, pink, white, etc

Lay the ribbon on top of the bunnies across the ears. Make sure you've left a 6-8" "tail" of ribbon on both ends of the banner.

Peel the Xyron adhered bunnies off one at a time and match them to the same color bunny, then press to adhere. Repeat until the banner is finished.

Use liquid adhesive to adhere a pom pom to each bunny and allow to dry.

FREE Printables - Floral Place Cards and Straw Toppers

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Spring is finally here - and what better place to celebrate the season than on your table! Today I'm sharing some FREE floral printables that would be perfect for Mother's Day, an afternoon tea, a baby shower...the possibilities are endless. All you need are a few supplies and your printer - and I'll share the secret of how I made them (and more FREE images) as well! {FTC disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all projects and opinions are mine all mine. This post contains affiliate links so I might earn a few pennies if you buy something!}

SUPPLIES:
8.5 x 11 white cardstock
printer
scissors
paper straws
free printables - links below
ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES NEEDED FOR PLACE SETTINGS:
adhesive - I used the Xyron 3" Disposable Sticker Maker
trimmer
white pen - believe it or not I used a Bic Wite Out Pen!

Download printables (links below) to your computer and print on to cardstock. There are six straw toppers per sheet (three different flower choices) and four place settings per sheet.

click here to download flower box place card

Use your scissors to"fussy cut" the images from the cardstock. For the straw toppers I cut right along the image, for the place cards I left a white border around the edge. I think it looks nicer that way and it was a LOT easier to cut! :)

To complete the straw toppers simply use your scissors to cut a small X in the center of each and insert your straw.

To complete your place cards, add the names to each card, then take an extra sheet of white cardstock and use your trimmer to cut several 2.5"x 5" strips. Fold them in half like a tent. Keep tent folded and run through Sticker Maker, then adhere to the back of the place card.

Now I'm gonna tell you my secret. You can make your own printables with FREE images from FontBundles.net! All of these images came from the Watercolor Bundle which is FREE to download - but only until April 23rd. Once you download them the images are yours forever and can be used as printables, in digital scrapbooking, even with your Cricut or Silhouette machines! Did I mention they are FREE? You get over 400 images - everything from Easter to Crafts to Baking to Holidays and more. Look at all these cool collections! And this isn't even half of what comes in the bundle!

I won't even talk about all the FREE fonts you can get on their website...or that they come out with new ones every week. Like this one. Or this one. Or this one. Do you see what I mean?? So many good ones! Font lovers rejoice!

You DO have to sign up for an account to download the freebies - but I've been using them for over a year and they don't send a ton of spammy emails. Also - once you are signed up you automatically get notified when there are new free bundles and fonts! Hot diggety!

So...get yourself on over to FontBundles.net and download all the free goodies before they expire - the Watercolor Bundle I used to create these printables expires April 23rd. If anyone needs me I'll be off planning a tea party - I think straw toppers might be my new favorite thing!

Love free printables as much as we do? Check out these other great finds!

Studio Reveal and Video Tour

If you've been hanging out with me the past few months you know I've had a studio makeover in the works. More of a move and a downsize I guess...I willingly gave up my giant 15x30 craft room in the basement for a 13x14 room on our main floor! This girl needed light! And to be near the kitchen. Because that is where all the snacks are.

I hosted a FB Live earlier this week to give everyone a tour...

but I also wanted to share a few photos here too. Some of the features in my room got lots of love so I wanted to tell you a little more about them!

I wish I could say I came up with the idea for vinyl gutter ribbon storage on my own - but all the credit goes to Vintage Chic Home. I have struggled for YEARS with what to do with my ribbon (I had it on 4' dowels before this) and this is SO MUCH BETTER. It cost us about $30 all told and because it can be customized and cut to fit any space it really is the most versatile ribbon storage I've ever come across.

Because I moved in to a space that is less than half the size of my old studio I use every square inch. I started by moving in all of my large furniture pieces first, then my smaller furniture and large storage pieces, then my smaller storage pieces, artwork and photos. Everything goes to the ceiling and surprisingly I still have room for more if I need it!

With the exception of certain themes (baby, wedding, Christmas, etc) I store everything by color. That is the way I create so it made sense to organize products to match the way my mind works! Unfortunately the IKEA CD holder on the left isn't made any more - but there are tons of creative ways to store your stuff. I created a studio makeover Pinterest board a few months back and share some cool storage/organization ideas there. 

Vintage, vintage and more vintage! I love scouring antique and thrift stores looking for cool new ways to store my supplies. An old scale (top left) is the perfect way to store my 6x6 pads, my Project Life supplies are neatly tucked away in an antique fruit box (top right) and a vintage cracker keeper (bottom left) stores my Minc supplies in one compartment and my Diamond Press supplies in the other. Because I have a yellow/teal/white color scheme I keep my eye out for anything in those colors, but don't forget that a can of spray paint can turn anything in to a customized home storage piece!

So now that you've seen my new space...how about that giveaway I mentioned on my FB Live? Just leave me a comment here - tell me what you love about your own space or if anything in my studio has sparked some ideas for you! On Friday on my Facebook Page I'll announce the winner of a specially curated box of goodies from my stash. I can't wait to put it together!

For other studio projects I've completed over the years check out these blog posts: