February Around Here

Do you ever feel like your life needs a pep talk? Like a "hey, you wanted this and now you need to work hard and time manage and not eat three donuts a day and then take a nap to get what you want in the end" kind of talk? Yeah, me too. I think 2014 has the potential to be really great. Like really great. With tons of change (and we all know how I feel about change).

But it takes work. And focus. And working when I get home from work. And blogging on the weekends. And maybe actually doing some physical activity. And limiting my bad food intake. And a handful of other things. But I want it so bad I can taste it. So I greatly appreciate any positive vibes you can send my way.

(These photos, which are of my bedroom, don't really have anything to do with these thoughts. But my upstairs is chaos and I feel like it's relatable to life.)

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Happy Valentine's Day

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I just popped in to wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day! I know a lot of people out there aren't huge fans of this holiday, especially if you don't have a special someone to share it with. But in my opinion, Valentine's Day is just another day to feel a little bit special and let your family and friends know they are important to you. Oh, and gorge on chocolate and Sweet Tart candy hearts....

This sweet valentine is from PaperSource!

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DIY: Chocolate Covered Pretzel Valentine in a Jar

Because Tim and I's anniversary is so close to Valentine's Day, we don't usually exchange anything too big or elaborate on February 14. But, I wanted to make a little something special for us to enjoy and I thought chocolate covered pretzel would fit the bill perfectly. Easy to make, and can be stacked in a mason jar for a cute and practical gift. And I was able to use up a bit of the craft odds and ends I have laying around. 

This is one of those projects that can be changed and customized by whatever you have on hand. For mine, I used some scrap fabric, a mason jar, washi tape, assorted ribbons, a leftover pom pom, and some cardstock and a sharpie for the tag. Also, something sweet and chocolately to fill your jar with!

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Clean your jar and fill it with some sweet treats. I made some chocolate covered pretzels with heart sprinkles. Very festive. 

Take the center part of the lid and use that to cut your fabric. You'll want it to be a square that's about an inch bigger than the lid. To attach the fabric, place the center circle down, then the fabric, and then the outside rim to hold the fabric in place.

Add your decorations! I wrapped some heart washi tape around the jar, and tied some gold ribbon above that. Then I used some red Christmas ribbon to attach a pom pom and a handwritten tag around the neck of the jar. And that's it! Simple and handmade Valentines.

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Decorate: Conversation Heart Cupcakes

Does anyone really enjoy eating conversation hearts? I find them chalky and very artificial tasting. But, they are cute and such a fun idea to turn other things into. Kelly over at StudioDIY has been turning tons of adorable things into conversation hearts and it got me thinking about cupcakes.

For a while now I've been seeing heart-shaped cupcakes over on Pinterest and it's been on my list of things to try. Like a lot of things on Pinterest, this a very simple concept but it does take some trial and error. Here's what I did...  

You can use any boxed cake or from-scratch recipe to make these cupcakes. To make mine extra celebratory, I made Funfetti from scratch. Mix up the batter as directed and line you cupcake pan with paper liners. A lot of Pinterest links showed people using marbles, but I didn't have marbles. But, I do have tin foil! 

Tear off about a 2 inch wide piece of tin foil. Using kitchen scissors, cut that strip into three pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Each foil ball should be about the size of a marble. Place each ball in-between the liner and the side of the cupcake cup. Fill each liner with batter about 1/2 full. Too full and the batter will overflow and not look heart-shaped. Too little and the cupcakes just look sad. See? Trial and error. Give each foil ball a poke down with your finger and bake as directed. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Mix up your favorite vanilla frosting recipe (I used one from Joy the Baker's Cookbook which is fabulous). Spoon about three tablspoons of frosting into a small bowl, and separate the remaining frosting evenly into three bowls (or four bowls if you want four different colors). Apply a small amount of food coloring into each bowl of frosting to create a pastel colors. I used pink, blue, and green. Mix the coloring in and apply to each cupcake with a spoon or offset spatula.

Apply red food coloring to the bowl with the small amount of frosting to create the text color. You'll want a dark red, so more food coloring than before. Fill a pastry bag or a sandwich baggie with the red frosting and cut off a very tiny hole. Pipe saying that can be found on conversation hearts and you're done!

Even if you don't want to go through the trouble of making them heart shaped, you can still frost circular cupcakes to look like conversation hearts. Still cute!

These definitely might look very homemade, but I kind of like that. Not everything needs to look like it walked out of a bakery and was made by professionals. People will be more excited with the effort you put in than if they looked perfect!

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DIY: Heart Shoes

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Finally! A DIY! And it's an easy and very cute one. Because really, that's what I want in a DIY; it's easy to make, doesn't take a lot of time, and the end result is adorable. Check. Check. Check.

So, Valentine's Day coming up, which is exciting to me. People tend to get really bent out of shape about Valentine's Day, stating it's just a holiday made up by greeting card companies and it causes some single people to get upset. I really don't agree. It's just a time to spread some love to your friends and family, maybe buy yourself something special, and eat candy. I try not to think too far into things like holidays. They're suppose to be fun. A change from the everyday. And that's how I treat them.

My wardrobe doesn't involve a lot of red or any pink. I'm just not a red or pink kinda lady. So I thought I would dress up some fun flats to wear during the next week. Spreading the love one step at a time.

For this projects you'll need a pair of cloth flats (mine are $17 from Target), felt in the color of your choice, scissors, and fabric tac.

Start by cutting out a square of felt that will fit on the front of your shoe.

Then fold that square in half and cut out half a heart, just like your making a Valentine's Day card in elementary school. Basically a backwards C.

Use the heart you made to trace another heart. Two shoes, two hearts.

Apply your fabric tac to the felt heart. This is a sightly annoying process, because the fibers of the felt will start getting stuck to the nozzle of the glue bottle, but push through. Make sure to go all around the heart, and fill in the center a bit. Press the heart, glue side down, on the front of your shoe and let it dry. And you're done! New shoes in 10 minutes max!

Now, obviously these shoes aren't going to hold up forever. And you probably shouldn't wear them in the rain. Or if you live near me, in the snow. But they really are fun and perfect for when you need a little pop in your outfit! 

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