after researching plenty of burlap banner ideas on pinterest, i decided to gear up and make my own! as you may know, i like to craft, but i like my crafts to be speedy, perfectionist-free and without any sewing requirements whatsoever. this burlap pennant banner fit the bill! scroll down to see the easy step-by-step instructions.
this burlap banner is so simple to make and can be created in just a few hours with simple supplies. i'm excited to try different words and occasions too. i like to think it turned out pottery barn chic, but it's oh so cheap; less than $10 to do-it-yourself. (i created this tutorial well before christmastime, so please excuse the autumn table decor. i plan to swap out the photo eventually.)
gather up the supplies for your burlap banner:
+ burlap (lots of varieties and colors available at JoAnn's!)
note: one yard of burlap will make approximately 2 dozen flag pennants
+ stencil and flag template printed on cardstock
note: you can purchase my burlap banner template & stencil here for $1!
+ acrylic paint (mine was a creamy white called vanilla)
+ sharp scissors
+ glue gun or fabric glue
+ foam paint brush
+ fabric pen or permanent marker
+ parchment paper (to protect your table)
+ a couple yards of jute string or twine (my banner is 33" long)
+ a handful of pretty ribbons for the ends, about two yards total of each ribbon
+ mod podge stiffener product (or plain mod podge works too!)
do you know this handy burlap trick?? if you want to cut burlap straight, loosen one of the fibers and give it a pull. then you'll have a straight guide to cut your material. hooray.
cut out the flag pennant guide and trace it onto the burlap, creating enough flags for the word you choose (my template & stencil has the words: noel, cheer, joy, merry, peace and star all included). when cutting out the burlap flags, cut inside the black marker lines so your marking guides will not be on the final flag banner. print your stencils on cardstock and start cutting out letters (be patient with yourself.. just cut out the black letters and the rest of the page will be your stencil for painting. you'll need to save the circle and triangle shapes from the letters P and A and hold them in place while painting. a little tricky, but i believe in you. if you make a mistake and cut through the stencil, just print it again!)
for a fool proof method, tape the stencil over your burlap flag, eyeballing it in the center. be sure to leave room at the top of the burlap for the fold-over. now start painting lightly until you get the feel for it. i liked the look of a consistent solid paint, dab over and over until you're happy with the results. be careful to hold the edges so bleeding doesn't occur. let the letter flags dry sufficiently.
when the flags are all finished and dried, turn them over (spelling your word correctly and backwards) and hot glue gun the jute string to the burlap by folding the top edge over. be sure to leave adequate leftover string on both sides of your banner. (i used parchment paper to protect my work area, do not use wax paper or it will melt onto your banner!) if you'd like your banner to remain fray-free, use a fabric stiffener all over the flags or, at least, brush mod podge on the edges to help limit any fraying that may occur. allow to dry.
tie festive ribbons on each end and hang your homemade banner with pride! may your home be filled with peace and happiness this holiday.
03 December 2013
17 October 2013
this post is a repeat from last year. amazingly enough, i posted the original post on october 17, 2012 and here we are exactly a year later and i'm craving them again! tomorrow i'll be dipping gala apples and using a store-bought caramel to compare to the delicious homemade recipe you'll find below. (i'll add my notes about these options.) happy october!
dan's sister sarah taught me all that i know about caramel apples a few years ago on a family trip to sun valley. i finally had the courage to try them on my own, after a little refresher course from her a few weeks ago. you'll find her amazing homemade caramel recipe below. (after researching online, i found a few expert tips too, which i've included. please comment with your own if you have additional techniques!) i am posting this tutorial mainly to remember all of the steps and to readily admit that dipping apples is not as frightening as i once thought it to be. i hope you'll try them if you haven't already! i definitely want to make this a tradition (and improve my skills) each year. here we go!
we agree that green apples taste the best with the sweet toppings. i bought giant packs from costco. these were organic which means i didn't have to scrub so hard to get any shiny coating off of the apples. you want the apples completely cleaned off. sarah even uses a tiny drop of dishwashing soap to get the skins nice and clean. i read online that apple dipping experts use a bit of fine sandpaper (yes, real sandpaper!) on the apple skins before washing them to ensure a nice caramel coating.
dry and polish the apples until they gleam. they need to be very dry. any moisture will deter the caramel from sticking. all of this prep work is somewhat tedious (especially when you are working with forty-two apples!), but like i learned while painting the rooms in my house, prep work is oh so important for a job well done. no skimping! and whistle while you work!
stick the apples in the fridge overnight or at least for several hours. cold apples are best!
optional: gather all the stuff you'll need and head to a friend's house for the caramel making. it's much more fun doing something this messy and marvelous with a friend (bonus if her kitchen is big and fabulous too)! plus, her kids will entertain yours while you work. (see benji wearing star wars storm trooper costume below. he was in heaven!)
have one friend plant wooden sticks into each apple while the other starts the caramel in a heavy duty pot. i was too busy stirring and feeding and holding the baby to take pictures of the caramel bubbling (boy does it smell incredible). mainly you need to keep stirring it so it won't burn to the bottom of your pan. my candy thermometer was not behaving so we totally guessed on the firm ball stage. i dropped it in a cup of ice and didn't know what to look for, but it seemed good to me. for two newbies, we did pretty well! p.s. be sure to line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, not waxed paper! caramel will stick to wax paper. eek. experts pour the hot caramel into a clean metal bowl to allow it to slightly cool before dipping. obviously we skipped this step and just started dipping straight from the pan because we're
adventurous impatient like that. luckily, it still worked like a dream. set the caramel apples in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.
now the really fun part. dipping and sprinkling! we had our assistant (my friend's super helpful and eager eight year old son) prep all of our toppings into separate bowls while we melted the chocolate. he even creatively concocted one bowl with all of the toppings mixed together for a 'suicide' type apple (always good to have options). you'll want the toppings ready to go before melting chocolate.
you can melt white chocolate in a double boiler, a pretend double boiler (does anyone really own a real double boiler?!) or in small increments in the microwave. whatever works. again, we threw caution to the wind and just started dipping after melting in the microwave. (hers had a special 'melt' button! if your microwave does too, you should be melting on a regular basis. you have no excuse. i am unbelievably jealous.)
some toppings to try: sea salt on plain caramel, crushed oreos, seasonal sprinkles, brown sugar & cinnamon, reeses pieces, candy corn, heath toffee, mini chocolate chips and then some. we had trouble with the heavier toppings sticking well; they just drooped down the chocolate. but the kids were happy to take those apples off our hands. i love the look of dark or milk chocolate dripping down the sides in a pretty drizzle design, but i ran out of energy for that final step. definitely will do it next time (you know, when seth is a year older and toddling around and pulling everything out of the cupboards and putting everything into his mouth. funny when you imagine things will be easier next time around...)
allow apples to set up in the fridge. wrap them up with cellophane, ribbon and tags. because everything is pretty with cellophane, ribbon and a tag! devour the apples or give them as gifts within 48 hours.
here is the recipe scanned in from my cookbook scrapbook. click and print out for yourself! enjoy!
02 October 2013
images in my kitchen with iphone
a quick hello and a super simple recipe for your sweet tooth. happy october everyone!
Toll-House Chocolate Chip Pie
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
one 9" unbaked pie shell
whipped cream or ice cream for garnish (optional, but delisch)
Pre-heat oven to 325. In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy; beat in flour, sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Blend in melted butter. Stir in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into pie shell. Bake for one hour. Allow to set for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Note / This recipe is easily doubled. Bake two pies and freeze one for later!
p.s. another fall favorite recipe is this apple cake with best ever sauce. and of course we'll be having general conference trail mix this weekend. i can't wait.
filed under: recipes
16 September 2013
here at our house we are excited for fall. i love september! what about you? autumn is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for; you can use so much of nature to create a smashing display!! lookie here and here for more of my autumn decorating tips. benji loves changing up the house with me and we can't wait to decorate for halloween. last week he helped pour some corn kernels, lentils, pumpkin seeds, black beans, and other dried grains into glass vases to create simple (and inexpensive) harvest decorations. i plan to leave them until we're ready to deck the halls after thanksgiving.
thanks to some sweet instagram encouragement & inspiration, i've created an autumn bucket list for my shop. it's an 8x10 print and fits neatly into a standard frame. you can purchase either the download option or order the print straight from me (domestic shipping is free)! the prints are ready to ship this week. for my own fam, i've also made an ongoing specific Fall Fun list on my phone to refer to. here are some activities we plan to do this season. what are your autumn faves? (why let summer have all the fun? bring on the bucket lists.)
our autumn bucket list | 2013
+ brunch at Ruth's
+ hot dog cook out with church group
+ pumpkin patch
+ make Nutter Butter ghosts
+ host a cider & donuts party
+ carve jack-o-lanterns together
+ dip caramel apples
+ have chili in breadbowls
+ celebrate birthdays & anniversary
+ check out halloween library books
+ take a sunday drive to see the changing leaves
+ candlelight read-a-thon
+ bake pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
+ make homemade applesauce
+ trick or treating, pizza & home-brewed root beer
+ Disneyland (!!!!)
11 September 2013
so grateful to fellow blogger, crafter extraordinaire, christina for featuring my shop with an interview over on her blog. i talk a little about my design work and product photography too. thank you for being interested in my designs!! for the month of september enter FALL15 and get 15% off orders over $5 in my shop. happy autumn!
16 August 2013
marta dansie designs / images via twig
hello again. (i'm so rusty at blogging. ugg!) thank you for the kind comments and cheers for my grand shop opening. it's a little thing, but pretty big in my world, so i appreciate the enthusiasm for the long hours i put into opening shop. merci. i have a few bits of featured news...
+ one of my favorite blogger friends in the world, michelle of TWIG–the cutest wooden handiwork around–just had her second baby girl. this past year, i was delighted to finally meet mama michelle, in the flesh. her friendly, genuinely thoughtful and happy demeanor solidified our friendship and we discussed her baby girl's birth announcement. she gave me some ideas and i ran with them. a little Aztec pattern meets soft warrior princess. and, of course i had to include some faux woodgrain into the design as an ode to michelle and steve's TWIG business! she was so kind to do a write-up on marta dansie design, check it out right here. thank you!!!
+ i'm loving the talents of crafty artisans far and wide. i've discovered a lot of incredible new-to-me calligraphers, letterpressers and designers circling around instagram. please check out who i follow to see a seriously talented bunch. you'll want to follow along too. @martawrites
+ i've been meaning to mention a few wonderful LOCAL ladies who have started their own businesses. i am a big believer in following your dreams and striving to make them happen. (of course we mamas must remember there is a season for everything. it took me a lot of late nights and no blogging, tv watching or folding clothes :) to get my shop open!) ever since starting this blog, i've wanted to support women and small business owners in featured posts and in using and buying their products. in fact, all of the packaging supplies for my shop come from small business owners. anyway, please check out these new businesses for me and tell them i sent you! they are each oh so talented...
• INSIDE AND OUT COSMETICS this is an incredible new line of all-natural and organic makeup! i'm blown away at the time, effort, market research, testing, science, creativity, trial & error and beautiful packaging this company has been involved in. what an accomplishment in creating a healthy and nourishing cosmetics line, i'm so happy for them. one of my personally favorite things is how they've named their lipstick shades after history's influential and powerful women! go girl power.
• OH CARROT STICKS my friend becky creates adorable artwork with a simple photo of your child's favorite beloved toys! i just love this idea. what a sweet keepsake after these stuffed animals are tired, worn out and tucked away. benji's bear has definitely seen better days, capturing it up into a pretty print is definitely a sweet piece of childhood!
• PRINCESS PENPAL my friend elizabeth is always creating something darling for our kiddos; cute quilts, super hero capes, dinosaur digs and more. her new business focuses on making children feel special with their very own penpal! what kid doesn't love receiving mail?!
hip hooray for the handmade movement.
keep up the good work!
12 August 2013
hello out there!!! after neglecting my blog for much too long, i hope there is still some of you out there checking in. i have exciting news to share: my online shop The Mini Mart is finally stocked, revamped and ready for its big debut. from thank you notes to dollar downloads to fill-in invites to wedding suites; i hope there is a design that will strike your fancy!
thank you for being patient and supremely supportive. i love the online community that has surrounded this blog and befriended me since way back. i have high hopes to fall into the groove of writing again after all the shop dust settles. this custom designed paperie pop-up shop has been a goal of mine for awhile now. i never wanted to launch it without plenty of pretty pictures and wordy descriptions in tact, which is my excuse for letting my blog lay quiet for so long. i appreciate your kindness throughout all the endeavors i take on. blog readers are the best! thank you for your support, for your enthusiasm for the handmade, and for cheering on small businesses and bloggers!
please feel free to pop in and take a look around!
don't forget to use one of these discount codes as a thank you for being a loyal blog reader.
20% off today only: LAUNCHPARTY
OR all month long: FANCLUB for free shipping!
filed under: the mini mart
12 July 2013
insta love. #campbaby
we've been camping.
we lit army tank fireworks.
summer is running past fast.
seth is almost one. i can hardly believe it.
he is so smiley and toothy and red-headed.
life feels so good.
i am picking up drawing again.
and trying not to be so hard on myself.
i am staying up late working on my new shop.
it's going to be stocked full of invitations. i've always dreamt of having a shop full of stationery. here's to making dreams come true. and making the most of the rest of summer vacation.
08 July 2013
10 June 2013
a peek into my photo shoot with one of my very favorite wedding suite designs
i forgot how much fun (work, effort, craziness, and mania) goes into re-building a brand. (remember when i used to post all about running an online shop?!) these days i'm working hard on rebuilding my own! finally! #yay. last year i collected all my favorite designs and wedding invitations into an oversized leather portfolio, yet still hardly anyone has actually paged through it. my best clients seem to be found online (hooray! i love you, customers!) thus it's obvious i'm long overdue for a new website, better photos, a new logo, and a shop of ready-made designs for clients to hurry up and pick a party invitation without too much hassle. not everyone is gung-ho on waiting around for custom designs, so i am hoping to solve that dilemma. i'm gearing up. slow and steady, i'll get there. it's a big process, especially for a one woman show. thankfully my excitement is giving me adrenaline!
here is what i've managed thus far.
+ full fledged affair with instagram @martawrites
+ just put the finishing touches on a new mini mart shop logo
+ photographing my own designs (catching the sunlight is the trickiest!)
+ cropped, tweaked, photoshopped said product photos
+ uploaded photos into online shop
here is what i still have to do. (the short list)
+ update all that product verbiage in the shop
+ figure out prices, shipping postage, nitty gritty details
+ update main website / design another new logo
+ print new business cards, packaging, etc.
+ create even more products for shop (ideas are rolling in)
+ market, promote, create buzz, spread the word!
filed under: blog + business
28 May 2013
17 May 2013
my dear friend hilary was one of my favorite idaho finds. we were neighbors and became very close during the years i lived there. lucky for me, her fam moved here when we moved home. such a happy crazy coincidence! we still get to see each other. in fact we are running a 5K together this weekend. if you feel so inclined, please donate a little for a good cause. we are running on a team in honor of her sweet angel baby michael. hilary is one of those friends that you know God put in your path for a reason. i have learned so much from her, i get teary every time i think about it. she is one of the most genuine, charitable people you'll ever meet. and she brings you cookie dough, just for no reason. and she shows up early when you're hosting parties, to help out. and she usually stays late to help clean up. she is that type of person. i'd never met any one else like her.
to make a long story short, i am a better person because of hilary. she is too humble to ever realize all she has done for me and my family. in this household we talk about her and her husband like they are legends. we really love them. enough gushing, onto the carmelitas! p.s. happy birthday, hil! admittedly, i have been on a carmelita kick for months now. they hit the spot, are quick to whip up and keep for days in the fridge. these bars are perfect for a picnic, a church activity or with a scoop of ice cream to accompany The Office finale. (didn't you love it?!)
i text hilary every time i make one of her recipes. she is an amazing cook. due to her gorgeous slim physique you'd never know she has a sweet tooth. but i love how she can put it away with the rest of us. just another reason we get along so well. i've been meaning to blog this recipe forever, so in honor of hilary's birthday, i give you her carmelitas!! careful, they are addictive.
HILARY'S BEST EVER CARAMELITAS
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 jar Mrs. Richardsons Butterscotch Caramel sauce (brand name is essential)
1 package (2 cups) milk chocolate chips (Hilary insists on using Guittard)
In large bowl combine first 6 ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle half of crumbly mixture into a foil-lined, greased 9x13-inch pan. (I smash mine down to ensure no holes for slippery carmel to get through.) Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust and top with melted caramel mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
note 01. / if you want extra dense carmelitas for a party, simply double the crumbly dough topping by melting 3 sticks butter and add 3 cups flour, 3 cups oats, 3 cups brown sugar and doubling the soda and salt. use 3/4 jar of caramel sauce and 2 cups or more chocolate chips. (you can't really mess these up.) bake the doubled recipe in the same 9x13 pan.
note 02. / here's my tutorial on prepping and cutting carmelita bars. (did i mention how they are the perfect sweet for sharing?) i make them so often, i pretty much have the process down to a science. line your 9x13 pan with foil and spray with pam. then continue with the recipe as directed. that way, you can easily lift them out of the pan and peel off the foil for cutting. make carmelitas a day prior to when you plan to serve them. or at the very least, early in the morning of your dinner party. let them refrigerate overnight so the caramel can set up properly. the next day, when you're ready to slice them, take them out and let them sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so (while you eat breakfast). carmelita edges make the perfect breakfast dessert. slice off edges and save for husband and kiddos. then continue to slice into bars. place bars in sealed container and refrigerate until you're ready to roll.