Payday Wish List Vol. 1

Here’s to the start of my new ongoing series Payday Wish List to be featured every other Thursday! We all have those fantasy items we wish payday would allow us, and here are some of mine:

Anthro Duvet

1. This stunning Safie embroidered duvet cover from Anthropologie. Be still my heart.

Brass Bib Necklace

2. This cute geometric brass bib necklace by JunonJewelry on Etsy.

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3. These sweet chunky Riviera tour heels from ModCloth that I think I could actually walk in.

 

ZigZag Ring

4. This little coral and aqua zigzag triangle ring from Dainty Hooligan.

 

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5. This awesome Megan arm chair at Joss & Main.

Have a happy weekend!

Girl Scout Tagalong Cookie Truffles

IMG_3741 Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies, right? I grew up as a Girl Scout, so I’d always try to beg my mom to buy enough to survive on for the rest of the year. Even know, during Girl Scout cookie season, I will always have a cookie-stocked pantry. Hence the dawn of baking with Girl Scout cookies. Of all the things I could do with them, I decided to make Tagalong cookie truffles.

This recipe only makes ten truffles, so double up if you want more!

IMG_3697 You’ll need:
6 or more Tagalong cookies (or knockoffs)
1/4 cup peanut butter
Bar of baking chocolate
2 1/2 ounces cream cheese

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First, grind up the cookies in a food processor. Move the mixture to a bowl and use the back of a spoon to crush any remaining crunchy pieces. Because of the soft chocolate coating, the cookies would not grind very finely in my ancient food processor. Add in approximately 1/4 cup of peanut butter and 2 1/2 ounces of cream cheese. Use a spoon or spatula to mix everything together. It should be somewhat smooth but still thick.

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Form balls with your hands and place them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper or aluminum foil. Then melt the bar of baking chocolate according the instructions on the package. Dip each ball into the chocolate and lay back on the cookie sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate has solidified.

While their cooling, microwave a tablespoon of peanut butter in a small bowl. 30 seconds is all you need. Mix it well. It should be very thin. Using a spoon, gently pour a little bit of the peanut butter over the truffles and put them back in the refrigerator.

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Ta-da! All done and these Tagalong cookie truffles taste delicious…obviously, since they’re made with Girl Scout cookies.

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Stud Earring Jewelry Box

IMG_3643 I’ve only had my ears pierced for a little over a year now, but I quickly started collecting earrings. I love earrings and find myself looking at them everywhere I go. At first, I would put all of my studs in a small glass catch-all bowl I picked up at IKEA. Then I accumulated more and more earrings, and it would take me five minutes to dig through the bowl to find what I was looking for. A while back, I came up with one earring storage solution with my lace earring tree for longer, dangly ones, but the studs were another story. Finally, I found a solution – a stud earring jewelry box. It sounds so obvious now, and it was one of the easiest projects that I’ve made.

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You’ll need a shallow, wooden box that is wide enough to fit a pencil. I found the perfect one at Michael’s for just $5 (plus a coupon)! You will also need approximately eight unsharpened pencils, a hot glue gun, approximately eight pieces of felt, and some craft paint with paint brushes.

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First, I painted the box white. I wanted something simple to blend in with the rest of my room since my dresser is already really crowded. While you wait for it to dry, cut the sides of the felt to match the width of the inside of the box. Mine was 8.5 inches wide. I chose black to stand out against the white, but my black or dark colored earrings blend in a little too well. I’d suggest a different color. Using the hot glue gun, glue the pencil to the very end of the felt and begin rolling it so that the felt curls tightly around the pencil. Glue the end of the felt to the wrapped portion. This should fit somewhat snuggly inside the box. Do that to all of your pencils. I used eight total because of the size of my box, but for the last roll, I cut the felt so that the roll would be thinner than all of the others. The last roll needed to be thinner to fit inside the box without making the others too crammed together, and without the last roll there was too much space.

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Then add in your studs and enjoy! This stud earring jewelry box quick, easy and very efficient. And I live for efficient!

Dinner Date Passport

IMG_3529Living in the city is amazing. I grew up in a smaller town where there were only a few places to eat (even less that were actually “good”), so living near so many restaurants is exciting. My boyfriend and I constantly mention places we want to go, but when we actually dine out, we frequent the same places over and over. So what better way to remember all of these places we want to go than with a PASSPORT?

I’ve talked about it for so long that I’m thrilled that I can finally make and share this project. It was so easy, I finished it within an hour. You’ll need a piece of colored cardstock, several pieces (5) of white paper, heavy string, a needle, and some embellishments. I used regular white printer paper, but it made the pages extremely see-through. I’d recommend using a heavier paper to avoid this. As for embellishments, I used washi tape and stamps with embossing powder.

IMG_3506Start by designing your pages on your computer. I just used Word, set it up as a landscape document, and created boxes for each side of the page. I added a box in the corner where we’ll “stamp” the passport when we eat somewhere and a line for the date we dined there. I left a lot of blank space at the top because I didn’t want a very tall book. Once I printed them out, I put them back in to print on the other side as well (which is when I realized how see-through my paper was). Do a test first if you’re not sure how to insert the paper to print on the opposite side.

IMG_3514Print about five copies (front and back) and use a paper cutter to cut off excess white space around the boxes. Then cut your cardstock to be just slightly bigger than the white paper. Using stamps, clear ink and my embossing powder, I wrote “Dinner Date Passport” and melted the powder. If you’ve never used embossing powder before, I would absolutely recommend trying it. It’s one of my favorite scrapbooking items!

IMG_3517IMG_3518Next, fold all of the white paper down the middle, and fold the cardstock over it, leaving and even amount of space on all sides. Using the needle and string, carefully poke through all of the paper starting about half an inch down. String it across the fold and poke through the other side, leaving the same amount of space from the edge. Follow this pattern several times to hold all of the paper together along the fold. When it feels secure, pull the string under the binding you just created and loop it around into a knot. Do this several time until the knot seem strong enough to hold. You’ll want to do this on each end of the string. One side should be inside the book and the other outside. One alternative that will create the same look is to use staples instead of string, but my stapler would not have worked for this size and I preferred the look of string anyway. To cover the binding, lay a piece of washi tape down the middle.

IMG_3524IMG_3526Then start adding your destinations! My paper was too thin to use markers directly on the paper, so I wrote on some cardstock and used washi tape to hold it in place. You can also use stickers, stencils or even print your destinations right on the paper if you plan them out ahead of time. I knew we would add destinations as we think of them, so this allows me to add them in whenever. I’m so excited for us to start stamping our way through the passport!

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Valentine’s Day: 50 Things I Love About You

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If you need a Valentine’s Day gift on a budget, try to keep it sweet and simple!

This “50 Things I Love About You” box is easy and thoughtful for any gift occasion. I made this one for my boyfriend this Valentine’s Day to also honor our one-year anniversary.

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Pick up a plain wooden box at Michael’s, paint it with some regular craft paint (I used a metallic red), and decorate it with stickers and other embellishments. I used a painted “love” wood piece for the top and stickers for the inside of the box. I didn’t want to go too overboard with glitter for my boyfriend, but there are so many things you can do with a box and some fun embellishments.

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Write or type out 50 or so things you love about your significant other. Add in some silly ones. Keep it sweet, fun and personal. I used things like “I love…the way you sneeze in twos” and “I love…that you forget the difference between tights and leggings” and “I love…the weird things you say in your sleep.”

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IMG_3394If you typed them out like I did, print them out with spaces in between. Use a paper cutter to cut them into separate strips. Because my box was fairly deep, I wanted the papers to fill it rather than just sit there. I wrapped each piece around a pencil to give it a little curl and placed them all inside the box, giving it a more full and bouncy appearance.

Bonus: make a card to go with it! I cut out a simple, classic heart shape out of red paper, using the top of heart as the fold. Using rub-on stickers, I spelled out “…guess what?” on the front and “I love you” on the inside because that’s our little inside joke. Sometimes short and sweet is all you need.

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Lucky for me, my boyfriend appreciates cute, corny gifts as much as I do, and I loved it making it! It’s nice to remind your loved ones how much they mean to you (not just on Valentine’s Day!)

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

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Everyone loves Reese’s, right? Well now you can make peanut butter cups at home, and I swear they’re at least as good.

Here’s what you’ll need to make peanut butter cups:

  • Mini cupcake pan
  • Mini cupcake liners
  • Chocolate chips
  • Brown sugar
  • Powdered sugar
  • Peanut butter
  • Vegetable oil

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Start with lining your pan with mini cupcake liners. All of my measurements are approximate. You may need to adjust amounts based on taste or thickness. Melt 1 cup  of chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of oil in a small ceramic bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Fill the cupcake liners with a thin layer of chocolate, just enough to cover the bottom. Put the pan in the freezer to solidify the chocolate.

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While the chocolate freezes, make the peanut butter filling. In a pan, melt approximately 1 cup of peanut butter on low and slowly add 4 tablespoons of powered sugar and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar while you stir. Taste it as you go in case you want to adjust the sugar, but I find the sweeter the better with these. The sugar is important because it not only sweetens but changes the consistency of the the peanut butter. When it’s all mixed up, put the pan in the freezer until the peanut butter is hard enough to mold.

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When the mixture is ready to mold, create small balls in your palms and squish them down flat enough to fit comfortably inside the cups. There should be enough room on the sides and on the top for more chocolate. Heat 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of oil again for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat for 30 seconds. Pour the rest of the chocolate on top of each cup. It should fill the liner completely and stay flat on the top. Then put the pan into the freezer to finish them off.

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They should harden fairly quickly, and when they do, you can remove the peanut butter cups from the pan. From then on, keep them refrigerated so they don’t melt. I guarantee they’re delicious and great for gifting! My coworkers love them!

DIY Paint Splatter Canvas

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If you’ve ever seen The Princess Diaries, you may remember the scene where Mia’s mom is throwing darts at a canvas covered in paint-filled water balloons. One day, my friend and I decided to try it, but life is nothing like movies. Instead, we found other ways to achieve the same painted splatter canvas look with other techniques.

After trying and failing to pop balloons full of paint, we opted for simply dripping the paint down the canvas. Using a few different colors that matched my decor, I splattered paint onto the canvas with a paintbrush while it leaned upright against something. I also dipped paint down the canvas, creating a similar look to what Mia’s mom created in the movie.

All you need is the canvas and a few colors of regular acrylic paint. It doesn’t take long at all, and the splatter canvas looks great on the wall.

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Add Color with Unique Side Tables

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This is a quick, easy tutorial for making personalized side tables that reflect your home. I came up with this idea when my roommate and I picked out pillows at IKEA that have a doodle-like design on them. She found some old haggard-looking stools, so I came up with the idea to paint them to match our new pillows.

You can recreate an old table or stool from your home or pick one up at a garage sale for next-to-nothing. To begin making your personalized side tables, you will need some basic acrylic paint. Choose several of your favorite colors at Michael’s, which offers a wide variety at a low price. Because you will be going over the paint with a Sharpie, remember to choose colors light enough for the Sharpie to be visible over the paint later.

At Michael’s or Home Depot, you may also want to pick up a can of clear spray paint to use as a sealant. The only other items you will need are a couple of medium sized paintbrushes, a regular-sized Sharpie, and some everyday paper towels.

Depending on the stool or table you’re painting, you may also want to buy primer, which is inexpensive at your local Home Depot. Unfortunately, I don’t have a before picture of these stools because I didn’t plan on this blog a year ago, but I used primer in my case because the original stain on the stools didn’t look very nice. If the piece is  a dark color, primer would be a wise choice.

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If you feel the need to use primer, first prime the section of the piece that you plan to paint. Once the primer is dry, begin painting large chunks with your colored acrylic paint. It does not need to follow any pattern. Follow it with a second coat. Give this plenty of time to dry before moving on to the stenciling.

If you are unsure what to draw, outline it first in pencil. It should erase easily and will be visible enough to see over the paint. Next, trace your doodles in Sharpie. If you mess up, simply paint over your mistakes, but it may take a few coats.

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Take your time and draw whatever reflects your home. If the Sharpie appears light, trace over it a second time as you see fit. Once the ink is dry, take it outside and generously spray the clear spray paint over the top. This will keep the marker from wearing away easily.

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For only a few dollars, you’ve revamped an old piece of furniture that once blended into the background. I get compliments on mine all the time, and it’s nice to know my stools are one of a kind.

Square Photo Collage

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I have an incredible amount of extra photos lying around. These are either duplicates of the photos in my scrapbook or photos that just never found a place. For a while, a lot of people were posting about instagram collages, which really just means a bunch of square photos. I took this idea and ran with until I came up with this collage. Let’s be honest. There’s nothing very special about it, but it looks great sitting on my bookshelf in our tiny excuse for a hallway.

For this project, all you will need is a frame (the size is up to you), photos, a paper cutter, multiple colors of cardstock, and some type of glue or sticky squares. My frame is 16 X 20 in., and I chose it with the intention of never actually hanging it, so I chose the cheapest thin frame I could find. I began by cutting my photos to 4 X 4 in. because of the size of my frame, so adjust accordingly based on the size. Because of the way I laid out my photos, I used ten. When cutting, always remember that it’s better to cut something just a tiny bit too big than too small. You can always shave off a little on the sides, but you can never get it back if you trim it too much.

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Next, I cut different colors of cardstock to the same size. I also needed ten of these. After everything was cut, I laid out the pattern I wanted to make sure I liked it before I glued everything down. If you want, you could also leave out the cardstock completely and use all photos throughout the collage. In fact, this would make it more of an actual collage. Because of where I planned to put it, I didn’t want to go for the cluttered look. It would be too difficult to tell what you were looking at when it was in a corner with a bunch of other things.

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I chose sticky squares to lay down the pieces because glue is messy and if you don’t like where you put it, good luck trying to move it. When you buy a new frame, it generally comes with a paper inside that fits the size of the frame, usually with a smiling couple or something on it. Using this perfectly cut piece of paper, I alternately stuck down my squares, making sure to fit each piece directly next to the other and along the edges of the paper. All your lines between pieces should line up. If they don’t, adjust. If adjusting isn’t enough, you may need to trim a little off the sides of certain pieces.

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When you’re satisfied, lay the collage in the frame, put the back on, and your photo collage should be ready to display. You could go so many ways with a project like this. If making it for a gift, you could replace the cardstock with little notes, signatures of party guests, or even quotes. You could also use newspaper clippings or book pages or more photos. It simply depends on you and the occasion.

Custom Nail Polish

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I am a nail polish addict. Thanks to Pinterest, I learned how to make my own nail polish using only eye shadow. This is probably the coolest thing I have ever come across. Below is my tutorial for making your own polish. I made a custom shade to give my sister for Christmas, which was very well-received. It’s a cute and inexpensive gift idea for anyone.

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All you need is a clear bottle of nail polish (not to be confused with a clear base or top coat), the color eye shadow you wish to mix, a toothpick, and some paper to make a funnel. For the clear polish, I used the NYC brand from Target, which was the cheapest one available. You will need a decent amount of eye shadow if you want a strong color, but the cheapest stuff you can find is fine. I mixed pink and purple to make a medium purple polish, and the pallet I bought was only a dollar.

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Using your toothpick, scrape the eye shadow out of its container and onto a plate or piece of paper.  Crush the shadow with the toothpick until it is as fine as possible. This will make it easier to mix. Roll the piece of paper into a funnel small enough to fit the opening of nail polish bottle. When you’re content with the color of the eye shadow, pour a small amount into the bottle using the funnel. Do not pour it all in at once, or you may have a difficult time mixing it together.

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If necessary, use the toothpick to begin mixing the shadow with the polish. I preferred to put the top back on and shake the bottle until the colors mixed together. Then add more shadow, and repeat the process until you are satisfied with the color.

Shake well and repeat until the color is completely mixed, and your polish should be finished and ready to use. Below is an example of my finished project, using my mom as my lovely hand model.

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I put a bow around the neck of the bottle with a note that labeled the nail polish “sister sister,” and put inside a small wrapped box. My sister loved it. I think I will definitely make nail polish again for easy, heartfelt gifts.

One problem I noticed with my polish was that the color would quickly separate, looking similar to water separated from vinegar. There probably is no way to completely prevent this, so be sure to shake the polish well before you intend to use it.