Tutorial Tuesday with The Magic Brush!

It's Tutorial Tuesday - your place to link up your tutorials for fun and prizes. You can find my weekly tutorial (Homemade Cleaning Products) HERE. Let's meet this week's sponsor...

Meet Jennifer from The Magic Brush, a wife, mother, and artist:

I began to stalk Jennifer several months ago after I saw her work online and fell absolutely in love with her faux finishes. This girl ROCKS and she shows us all her secrets! Walls, dressers, tables, whatever...trust me, after checking out this blog, you will find yourself scanning dumpsters for junk so you can get your "magic brush" on!

Just look at some of these A.Maz.Ing. projects:

In addition to sharing her latest projects, she will teach you how to

Makeover a Chandelier in 30 Minutes

How to Create Textured Stencils

Or, How to Paint a Ceiling Medallion

And on top of all that, the girl has time to run marathons! I love the bit of inspiration she wrote on her hand:

Jennifer has an amazing prize for us today - A custom painted Antique Framed Chalkboard similar to the chalkboard frame she painted for her own kitchen. The one up for grabs today is created from an antique picture frame she rescued just for you:

Want to win?

Either link up with our party below


Comment below and tell me about your favorite The Magic Brush blog post. Easy peasy, right?

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

**Interested in hosting Tutorial Tuesday for your blog or website? Click here.**

Click the blue box to add your link

Homemade Cleaning Products - Tutorial

*Photo from the film "My kids get off their lazy butts and help out around this joint." It's a sci-fi classic*

Let's save some cash and get our green on this week by whipping up our own cleaners rather than the chemical laden spray bottles from the nearest super-store. Mixing your own household cleaners is simple and use "ingredients" most of us already have around the house.

I'll get you started with a recipe for Window Cleaner:

3 parts hot water
1 part ammonia

Mix the ingredients in a bucket and scrub windows with a sponge or rag. Squeegee off and watch them sparkle.

If you don't have white trim around your windows, wiping them dry with crunched up newspaper is an old trick my mom taught me. They come super clean and streak-free and reuse that stack of papers in the garbage can.

Here is another tutorial from The Treat Girl - I like to call it "Window Cleaning, it does a soul good". At least a Treat Girl soul! That girl loves a clean window like nobody's business!

Now, let's learn some other recipes from some of my bloggy friends:

Condo Blues has it covered in the laundry department with, Stain Fighters, Wrinkle Guards, Static Busters, Wool Wash, and Laundry Detergent.

Dahlia Lane has the low down on an All Purpose, Stove Top, and Toilet and Tub Cleaners.

Let's get cleaning! Do you have a tutorial? Can you "Teach me Stuff?" Well, tomorrow is for you then. Meet me back here around 10 pm tonight for you chance to link up your tutorials and you might just earn a prize! Oh, it's a good one this week... Grab a button to get started:

Hope Studios



Stuff I Learned - Tutorial Tuesday Wrap Up

Another great party - Here is some stuff I learned:

Brassy Apple blew my mind with this Wire Basket Chandy for her daughter's room!

I love a great lamp make-over and Lemon Tree Creations was inspired by Easter eggs of all things! Check out this great Lamp Re-Vamp.

Free projects using things we all have around the house rock! Recycle your old magazines by turning them into these cute Rolled Paper Flowers!

School is almost out and Holiday Haven has a whole system for watering our plants while we're away on vacation to save all our plants from shriveling in the hot sun. We might just get tomatoes around here this year!

Ever wondered how to make your own dog food? Looking Glass Jewels has a recipe for you!

Congrats to Denise from Wallflower Grown Wild! She won the camera strap slip cover from *Shey* [B]! Contact me and I will set you up with Shey, congrats!



Baby Smokestack - Feedback Friday

I came across an article in the Huffington Post covering a 2 year old Sumatran child addicted to cigarettes this week.

Little Ardi Rizal was introduced to smoking by his father when he was just 18 months old and is now up to a 40 cigarette a day habit at the tender age of 2. Though the government has offered many incentives to encourage the father to stop giving him cigarettes, he refuses on the grounds that the child is addicted and throws tantrums when he's not allowed to smoke.

I am speechless, so it's up to you.

It's Feedback Friday...Let me have it!



Juniper's Macaroni Salad

Memorial Day weekend is a big picnic weekend and picnics and Macaroni Salad go together like peanut butter and jelly. I'm kind of famous within my husband's fishing group for my macaroni salad, and my Gramma was famous in our little town for her macaroni salad that she made for the local store's deli. She just passed away this week and I thought this would be a fitting tribute. I don't measure when I make this, but I tried to estimate. You can add more or less to your own taste.

Let's make... Juniper's Macaroni Salad!


1 lb box macaroni (I like Barilla because I like those little ridges on the noodles that hold the dressing) I use this same recipe for Potato Salad. Just substitute 5 lbs. of potatoes you boil skin on then peel and chunk.
1 dozen eggs, hard boiled and shelled (I place eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, then turn off and let sit, with a lid for 15 mins. No green yolks!)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 1/2 cups Hellman's mayonnaise
1 T. yellow mustard
1 T. horseradish
(secret ingredient!)
1 t. celery seed
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
2 t. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
(secret ingredient!)

Cook macaroni according to directions, drain and let cool.

Meanwhile, mix mayo, mustard, celery seed, horseradish, salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Cut eggs in half and reserve yolks in a separate bowl. Cut the whites into large chunks and add to the macaroni along with celery and onion.

Mash yolks and add to the mayonnaise mixture (this is one of the secrets, shhh!). You get a nice, rich dressing that is reminiscent of deviled eggs.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and sprinkle with paprika. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may like yours wetter and you can add more mayo at this point.

Now, don't start complaining about all the eggs and mayo and all the fat, blah, blah, blah...Picnics are parties and we only take the time to make macaroni salad a few times a year. Lots of eggs is the difference between so-so and standout macaroni salad. So, suck it up and eat it and enjoy it and continue on with your life. You have all next week to exercise and watch your diet! Holidays and parties are our times to laugh, and eat, and live life and enjoy with friends and family!

You still have time to link up to win a couture camera strap for Tutorial Tuesday!


Good News! I Wasn't Killed in my Sleep Last Night!

This is the text I sent my husband this morning. He was out of town for a few days and we had had an"incident" the night before.

I don't know about you, but I'm always uneasy sleeping in my house overnight without The Big Guy. I complain about snoring but truth be told, it makes me feel safe to know that my husband will jump up at the slightest noise as soon as I pound him awake, to save us. Now usually he's saving us from a balloon that floated past the security sensor or a chipmunk in the attic, but still...

So, last night we all scrambled upstairs at 9 pm (we all get spooked when daddy's gone) and set the alarm. The kids went to sleep and I retired to my new redecorated bedroom to watch TV and play Scrabble on Nintendo Ds (hey, don't judge, it's my only vice!). I got sleepy around 10:30 and drifted off to sleep....cue sleepy sounds...

All of a sudden I felt like the world was coming to an end as I realized the security alarm was going off! If you don't have a security alarm, the volume is comparable to an indoor McDonald's playland during a 5 year old's birthday party while the Blue Angels are doing flyover maneuvers. Loud and terrifying with flashing lights!

I leaped out of bed (if The Big Guy was home I would have waited quietly under the covers quivering in fear) to turn it off. I could hear a child whimpering in the bedroom and I knew I had to turn that alarm off!

Okay, here is when the shift happened; I'm usually terrified that there is an intruder in the house when the alarm goes off in the night, but this night I leaped straight into the face of danger for my kids. I didn't care WHAT was in that house I had to stop that noise! It was scaring my kids! I couldn't get my fingers to work! I was shaking, I was sweating, I punched the number again and again and the alarm wouldn't deactivate!

I was standing there punching the numbers with my back to the stairs the killer would climb to come KILL us and I couldn't get that damn alarm off! Must. Stop. Noise. Just as I begin to imagine my kids scarred for life from the sheer terror of this moment, the alarm turns off. One crying child barrels out of the room and the other two sleep on, peacefully. What the heck? I almost died out here and you're SLEEPING?

Turns out, the "killer" was a rubber band that was stuck in my "door mantle" that decided to become unstuck at 12:09 this night falling directly in front of the security sensor. (If you are wondering "How did a rubber band get into that garland?" Then you obviously don't have boys). See that little sensor there on the left?

That has to be a one in a million...I'm pretty lucky, huh?


Tutorial Tuesday with Shey B!

It's Tutorial Tuesday everyone - Your opportunity to link up and win! You can find my weekly tutorial, Boutique Tassels right HERE. On to this week's sponsor...

Today's prize is pretty cool: Camera Strap Slipcovers by *Shey* [B].

When it comes to couture camera strap slipcovers, Shey is where it's at. Did I say "couture" and "camera strap" in the same sentence? Yep, check them OUT! They are stylish, comfortable, removable, and machine washable, too.

3 dimensional roses in funky fabrics, The Couture:

Ruffled velvet in a funky green layered over a black and white floral, The Pleated Sage:

Cool layered designs tied with a Knot:

This girl is imaginative and funky. You can find a huge assortment of great fabrics and designs - they are like mini works of art! Seriously, who needs jewelry?!?

Not only does she create these fantastic Camera Strap Slipcovers, but you can also find Guitar Strap Slipcovers, iSleeves, and iPockets. Something for everyone!

So, what does she have for us today? One lucky winner will receive their choice of a camera strap slipcover from her selection priced at $25 or less (like the one pictured above)! I KNOW! You're freaking out, right?

Want to win?

Either link up with our party below


Comment below and tell me about your favorite *Shey* [B] design. Easy peasy, right?

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

Click the blue box to add your link

Boutique Tassels - Tutorial

The Soul Sisters convened for my birthday at the beginning of the month. 4 out of 5 sisters celebrated the afternoon away at Marzipan's house (maybe our last gathering there before she moves!) We ate Devil's Food Cake with Oreo Icing

and learned how to make tassels. For reals, it was the best day ever.

Want to join us? Okay, we'll need to gather some supplies:

Boutique Tassles

Various trims, ribbons, and do-dads
A small terra cotta pot or knick knack with a base
Glue gun

I found these ceramic fleur-de-lis things at the Dollar Tree for our day of tassel making, but my first tassel was made with a mini-terra cotta pot as you'll see in most of the photos.

We take our tassels seriously...just look at the concentration. I believe this is the only birthday party ever where a craft table was whipped out from hiding and each guest traveled with their own glue gun.

I'm not even going to try to make this complicated. Listen, just do this:

hot glue random trims and fringes around an object.

There. That's all there is to it! Seriously. See?

Begin with your longest stuff and end with the shortest stuff:

Now, there are a bunch of variations. Like, glue the same trim around your object upside down:

Now, flip it over and it looks a little thicker:

Try looping some ribbons here and there:

Add some beaded trim, some pom-pom trim, anything you want. You can even make some ribbons dangle from the bottom. Just layer and layer, keep it interesting with lots of textures and shapes. Use your imagination! When using the terra cotta pot, you can layer all the way to the top.

Once I reached the top I glued a little bird ornament up there (it is actually the bottom of the pot since we turned it upside down). I, then, turned some feathery trim upside down and glued it around the tippy top. Look, it made a nest for my birdie!

The bird came with a string to hang it, easy peesy!

Now, look at some of the tassels we made with the ceramic figures!

We followed the same concept and glued trim just around the base. We layered, and layered...

Note: Trim is expensive! Start to collect your trims over time. Look in the clearance aisles in your craft and fabric stores, wait for things to go on sale, use your coupons!

Now, don't forget Tutorial Tuesday tomorrow. Grab a button and link up your own tutorials. "Teach me stuff" and you could win a prize. Oh, and it's a great prize this week...

You can find even more great ideas over at Kimba's place, click the button:



Why I Started my Blog - For Wendy

Wendy, one of my bestest bloggy friends is having a party, y'all! She wants to know why we started our blogs. It's a question I get a lot, so I decided to do a last minute Sunday post to share all the gory details you never wanted to know.

I started my business Hope Studios, The Shop first and in order to grow I knew I would need to begin advertising. Yes, advertising...with no cash. That's a toughie.

Lots of bloggers accepted advertisers and charged money for them, so I thought to myself "Self? You can do that! YOU start the blog and bring in your own business!" (cue rubbing my hands together while laughing maniacally). Guess what? My blog was free! It came with templates and lots of advice and as a bonus I got to explore MORE creative things, and meet friends, and practice my photography, and develop a log of my life and my kids' lives...Um, why didn't I think of this sooner?

So, in February 2008, I got me a blog. Hope Studios, The Blog was born.

My very first post was a mini-rant about a mom's real life experience of returning from vacation called, Back to the Real World. I spent much of that first month talking about my shop. I got about 2 comments in 4 weeks.

I didn't know how to add photos, or links, or make something bold...It was boring.

Finally, in March, I decided to post about some funny thoughts that were running through my head in my kickboxing class (I still think of a lot of my posts while in that class. My teacher inspires something in me and I brainstorm some of my best stuff while drop kicking an imaginary opponent.). I entitled it My Secret Life as a Kickboxer and holy smokes! I got 16 comments! I realized I was onto something and began to use the humor I see in everyday situations as my inspiration. I began to talk about my business sparingly and instead began to focus on entertaining and teaching my readers.

I got my Soul Sisters on board and soon, we all had a blog: The Treat Girl, JoyBeadworks, Marzipan, and Girl in the Sticks.

We started having monthly tech-y meetings - none of us knew much but all the little things each of us knew added up to a lot!

We captured our outings, our parties, our projects, our recipes and each of our blogs is a great extension of the others'. We make each others blogs and lives richer.

We all take something different from our experiences, so you can read all four and get the full scoop. I think adding girlfriends to the mix was just right and seemed to speak to many of our readers - we have many of the same followers and names like Wendy, Saucy, Judy, and Whimsy come up in conversations when we're together as if we all know each other!

So, that's my story. What's yours? You can post one and link up with Wendy HERE and you might even win a prize. Tell her I said "hi".

Sunday Funny

Some of you know that I recently went in for a small surgical procedure called a butt lift. I did not have the most pleasant experience, so I wanted to show you how it turned out and beg you to re-think any form of butt surgery. Don't make the same mistake that I did - be happy with the way you look !


Jennifer Juniper



Stuff I Learned! Tutorial Tuesday Recap and a Winner

Impatiently Waiting for Patience made these Pottery Barn inspired floor candlesticks using stair spindles. Genius.

Meet Virginia came up with these cool Inspiration Notebooks to store all her great ideas in an organized way. Love these!

My Magic Mom sewed these simple pouches for kids to hold ice pops. Totally simple yet totally brilliant! You know they are going to beg for a paper towel!

If you aren't attached to the tags on your clothing, you could turn them into a Tag Wallet like At Second Street did.

And if you need a great weekend breakfast recipe, try I Heart Naptime's Blueberry Muffins. Word on street is they're "To die for". Okay, I'm in!

Congrats to Susan from Living with Punks for winning this week's prize, an original art print from The Empty Nest! She submitted a tote made from a pillowcase that is pretty darn cool. I'll contact you soon!


Public Breastfeeding - Feedback Friday

There is a topic that, as a mother, you just can't avoid...

public breastfeeding.

Pro and Con views are discussed daily on Twitter

It's making headlines as Paul Frank store employees publicly express disapproval of the practice in their stores.

Newspapers are covering stories of "nurse in" rallies in public places.

The nightly news is discussing it as a mother is asked to refrain from nursing her toddler in the lobby of a school.

Facebook got in on the controversy by banning photos of women nursing within public profiles.

It's blogged about every day negatively and positively and now hidden TV shows are tackling this issue:

Mothers on both sides of this issue are passionate - where do you fall? Are you a male reader who has an opinion? Let's hear it!

**Since this discussion is still receiving comments, let me point out another resource to read on this issue that has exploded with comments regarding actress Julie Bowen from Modern Family**

It's Feedback Friday and it's your turn to tell us how you really feel about Public Breastfeeding.

Should mothers be uninhibited about feeding in public?

Should they practice discretion and modesty?

Should they move to a private spot or feed their children where ever they are?

Do you think it's natural or does it make you uncomfortable to be present?

Is there a difference between public feeding of an infant vs. an older child?

*Don't forget tomorrow will be recap of Tutorial Tuesday and a winner will be announced*

Does a Mantle Have to be Above a Fireplace?

Our builder used an extra large molding around the front door for decorative purposes. When we moved in, it looked just like an extra mantle to me! I decorate it for the seasons just like the one above my fireplace. See? (It's so hard to take a photo into a window!)

Because of the height, I try to use large, bold decorative pieces that won't get lost up in the air. The group of three crosses were moved to their new home once my Christmas mantle was disassembled. A little grape leaf garland pulls it together.

Imagine a large painting up there or maybe a collection of paintings overlapped and leaning against the wall?

Do you have an extra "mantle" in your home? What about decorating above a window using thinner decorative elements? I even have a friend who framed her windows with vines and flowers giving her kitchen a cottage feeling. Okay, I'll shut up now so you can go look around your own house!

One more day for Tutorial Tuesday! Your link or comment could win you an original art print from The Empty Nest!

Meet you back here tomorrow for Feedback Friday...

Your Skin Fix, December Edition