Favorite Paper Art Ideas

I’m just about ready to create some art for my craft studio walls, and I’m collecting some of my favorite inspirations here. I love these simple ways to showcase gorgeous papers and fabric prints, and I can’t wait to try them!

Inspiring collection of ideas for DIY paper and fabric art projects.  {Jewels at Home}

From Mondo Cherry, check out this trio of ideas:

  • stacked butterfly silhouettes mounted on a book page
  • circles wrapped in a range of pretty fabric prints
  • three-dimensional retro flower cut-outs

Mondo Cherry paper and fabric art.  Part of "Favorite Paper Art Ideas" by Jewels at Home.

Go to Mondo Cherry

These butterflies cut from vintage books are decoupaged onto a piece of painted wood and sold by Gathered Together on Etsy. I love the inclusion of some sheet music!

Butterfly decoupage art by Gathered Together on Etsy.  Part of "Favorite Paper Art Ideas" by Jewels at Home.

Go to Gathered Together on Etsy

Sarah and Bendrix on Etsy have many charming variations on this hearts collage.

Hearts collage by Sarah and Bendrix on Etsy.  Part of "Favorite Paper Art Ideas" by Jewels at Home.

Go to Sarah and Bendrix on Etsy

Bombus on Etsy has a range of art made from maps. Here are some of my favorites:


Butterfly silhouette art by Bombus on Etsy.  Featured in "Favorite Paper Art Ideas" by Jewels at Home. Bird silhouette art by Bombus on Etsy.  Featured in "Favorite Paper Art Ideas" by Jewels at Home.

Here’s another beautiful butterfly collage by Mallory Christensen on Pinterest.

MalloryChristensenButterflies

I hope I’ll be posting my own creations here soon!

“Jewels”

 

Ultimate Pretzel Almond Bark

Warning: this stuff is addictive!

One day, Steve brought home some chocolate- and caramel- coated saltines, and I couldn’t stop eating until the the bag was gone!

When I saw recipes for caramel and chocolate pretzel bark, I knew it was going to be the perfect sweet, salty, creamy, crunchy treat. I based my recipe on the Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark from Mama Says What and I added almonds and some subtle spices to give it an extra rich taste.

ULTIMATE Almond Pretzel Bark recipe with a secret ingredient! {Jewels at Home}

ULTIMATE Almond Pretzel Bark recipe with a secret ingredient!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz mini pretzel twists
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted salted almonds
  • 16 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate chips or 16 oz bar baking chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (my secret ingredient for a little kick!)

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 350F
  • line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
  • layer pretzels and almonds on the foil (pictured below, top right)
  • in a pot on the stove, melt butter and stir in brown sugar. Bring to boil and keep stirring until smooth and thick.
  • Pour caramel over the pretzels and almonds (pictured below, middle left)
  • bake in oven for five minutes
  • sprinkle cinnamon and cayenne evenly over the mixture
  • add chocolate on top and bake for another couple of minutes to melt
  • use a spatula to smooth out the chocolate (pictured below, middle right)
  • cool for 10 minutes at room temperature and move to the freezer for at least two hours
  • break into small chunks
ULTIMATE Almond Pretzel Bark recipe with a secret ingredient for extra kick! {Jewels at Home}

Easy steps for making the ULTIMATE Almond Pretzel Bark recipe with a secret ingredient for extra kick!

For maximum freshness, store the bark in a container in the freezer.  Mine is in the chest freezer in our basement, and I would like to say that I burn enough calories going up and down the stairs to justify this treat, but that’s probably wishful thinking…

“Jewels”

Fabric-covered Magnet Board

It’s long overdue for me to spruce up my craft studio. It’s packed with piles of paper, fabric, and half-done projects, and I know that if I could just establish more order, I’d be able to get a lot more done. Not to mention, this space is also our guest room, and it’s a bit embarrassing to have visitors bunk up in the mess!

So, in my efforts to spruce up my craft space, I decided to cover some large magnet boards in fabric. The boards are from Ikea – SPONTAN.  I got them many years back, but I am sure there is something similar available currently.  For the fabric, I chose this large floral print that has the bright blues and greens I want to use in this room.

Here’s the step-by-step for this easy project.

Cut a piece of fabric about 1.5 inches bigger than your board in each direction.  If you want to add some interest – or you don’t have enough of your fabric, or both! – you can join multiple pieces together. Iron it thoroughly. (pictured below)

Easy steps to create a beautiful fabric-covered magnet board. {Jewels at Home}

Easy steps to create a beautiful fabric-covered magnet board. Cut your fabric a little larger than the board you want to cover. I mixed two fabrics.

Coat the face of the magnet board with spray adhesive and lay your fabric on top, smoothing out the wrinkles. Use a glue stick to wrap the fabric around the sides and back of the board. (pictured below)

Easy steps to create a beautiful fabric-covered magnet board. {Jewels at Home}

Use spray adhesive to mount your fabric on the board and a glue stick to wrap the fabric around the sides and back.

I added some ribbon as a finishing touch and ta-da!

Mix fabrics and ribbons to create a beautiful one-of-a-kind bulletin board. {Jewels at Home}

Mix fabrics and ribbons to create a beautiful one-of-a-kind bulletin board.

DIY fabric-covered bulletin boards are a piece of art in this home office.  {Jewels at Home}

DIY fabric-covered bulletin boards are a piece of art in this home office.

DIY fabric-covered bulletin boards are a piece of art in this home office.  {Jewels at Home}

These feel like works of art in themselves, but they’re also great for organizing pins and supplies and displaying ideas and keepsakes. I turned a lot of sentimental objects – gifts from the kids and my friends – into magnets, so I get to see and use them every day.

Glue a magnet to the back of a sentimental object, so you can see and use it every day.  {Jewels at Home}

Glue a magnet to the back of a sentimental object, so you can see and use it every day.

This craft studio makeover is coming together with the new fabric-covered bulletin boards.  {Jewels at Home}

Here’s hoping these fabric-covered display boards kick start beautification of the rest of the studio!  Also pictured are the Queen Anne chairs I painted and reupholstered and the DIY pencil tins upcycled from food cans.

“Jewels”

New Style for an Old Boiled Wool Coat (Version 1)

It has been a while since I found my mom’s old boiled wool jackets and brought them home. I’m so happy I finally got around to reworking the first one into something more tailored and contemporary, so I can wear this sentimental coat every day.

Do you have an old coat you can’t bear to part with? Depending on your coat’s original design, you can alter it using these ideas, from simple to intricate:

  • Take in the side seams
  • Take in the back seam
  • add a gather or dart at the back waist
  • Take in the sleeve seams
  • Add darts or seaming in back and/ or front
  • Take apart and rework individual pieces

My original jackets are made by Geiger from Austria, bought about 20 years ago, and they’re very big and boxy. I have no idea how my mom carried off this look, as she was very petite, but in any case, the coats were ready for major alterations. I used a whole arsenal of tricks to create a new style on this first project, as you’ll see.

How to take in the sides of a boxy coat:

If you want to make a subtle change, you can take in the side seams without touching the sleeves, but for a radical change like mine, you’ll need to take off the sleeves, so you can take in the sides all the way from top to bottom. After prepping your coat by removing the sleeves or lining as needed, turn it inside out and put it on. Use pins or safety pins to shape the side seams the way you want them. You can flip it back right side out to see how it looks and adjust as needed (pictured below on left).

After pinning a shape you like, use some tailor’s chalk and a ruler to mark a new seam line and see along that line. (pictured below on right)

Try it on to check the fit and when you’re satisfied, trim the excess fabric.

Steps to altering a boxy old coat: taking in the side seams.  {Jewels at Home}

Steps to altering a boxy old coat: taking in the side seams.

How to take in the back of a boxy coat:

Similar to taking in the sides, prepare your coat by removing the lining if needed, turn it inside out and put it on. Use pins or safety pins to shape the back seam the way you like. You can flip it back right side out to see how it looks and adjust as needed (pictured below on left).

After pinning a shape you like, use some tailor’s chalk and a ruler to mark a new seam line and see along that line. (pictured below on right)

Try it on to check the fit and when you’re satisfied, trim the excess fabric.

How to alter an oversized jacket: taking in the back seam. {Jewels at Home}

How to alter an oversized jacket: taking in the back seam.

Adding a dart or gather to an oversized coat:

If you just need to add a little shape to the back of your coat, you can add a simple dart or gather. Because my original coat was so boxy, I did this in addition to taking in the back seam. Looking at the back seam, fold in a small amount from each side. Use pins or safety pins to hold down the fold and try it on. Adjust as needed and then sew in place. I sewed this part by hand, so the stitches wouldn’t show.

Steps to updating a boxy old jacket: adding a gather to the back. {Jewels at Home}

Steps to updating a boxy old jacket: adding a gather to the back.

How to take slim the sleeves of a boxy coat:

After I had already removed the sleeves of my coat and taken in the side seams, I measured the new sleeve holes by marking the top of the sleeve (top left picture below) and pinning it to the shoulder of the jacket and pinning the entire sleeve in place, so I could see how much needed to be removed from the bottom seam (top right picture below).  Using that measurement, I trimmed the sleeves at the bottom seam to match the new smaller arm holes. I used tailor’s chalk and a ruler to slim the sleeves an even amount all the way down (bottom picture below).

Updating an oversized jacket: taking in the sleeves. {Jewels at Home}

Updating an oversized jacket: taking in the sleeves.

After these steps, I had a jacket with a much better fit.

Step by step tutorial to altering an oversized and boxy jacket.  {Jewels at Home}

Results of altering an oversized and boxy jacket.

Adding contemporary style to an old coat:

I could have stopped at this point and had a comfortable fitted coat, but it felt so plain, and I wanted this to be a piece of clothing I’d love, so I decided to remove the old notched collar and use the lining material from the coat to make a larger collar. Finally, I added some more buttons, and I had a look that is completely new and I’d be happy to wear every day.

Complete steps to tailoring a boxy oversized coat. {Jewels at Home}

Complete steps to tailoring a boxy oversized coat. {Jewels at Home}

 

I’m so pleased with my “new” coat, that is filled with memories of my mom, and I’m looking forward to tinkering with the next one to create another cozy memory to wear.

“Jewels”

Gifts in a Jar – Put a Lid on it!

Steve likes to say that everything sounds better when spoken in a British accent… My version is that everything tastes better when it came in a pretty package. I love a project that can reuse an old item in a beautiful way – upcycling at its best! For the holidays this year, I decided to make a variety of gifts in a jar to give to our neighbors and the kids’ teachers. I saved glass jars of various shapes and sizes, and I’ll show how to clean and prep them below.

Here are a few ideas for how to make your own gifts in a jar:

How to clean jars for reuse:

  • start by peeling off as much of the label as possible
  • soak the jar in done water and peel off more of the label
  • if there’s sticky residue left, spray the jar with Goo Gone or vegetable oil and let it sit before a rubbing off the rest of the label
  • run the jars and lids through the dishwasher, using a mesh laundry bag to keep the lids from flying around
  • I finished off by spray painting any labels that had printing on them, for a clean look
Great ideas for gifts in a jar.  Step one: clean and prep your jars. {Jewels at Home}

There are so many ideas for gifts in a jar. Step one: clean and prep your jars.

Tips and recipes for gifts in a jar.  {Jewels at Home}

Another tip: make a funnel from clean card stock to help layer ingredients more neatly.

Some more pictures of our dressed up holiday gifts:

Ideas, tips, and recipes for DIY gifts in a jar. {Jewels at Home}

Homemade apothecary jars filled with bath salts make a wonderful gift for a shower, hostess, or any occasion.

Ideas, tips, and recipes for DIY gifts in a jar. {Jewels at Home}

Ideas, tips, and recipes for DIY gifts in a jar. {Jewels at Home}

I really love having something handmade for the holidays, and making several of the same gifts made the project more doable.  The only real-world caveat I have is that these were very heavy to carry into school.  Add our toddler in the baby carrier on my back, and I definitely broke a sweat.  It was all worth it, though I might recommend a wagon if you are trying this…

“Jewels”

Sesame Noodles with Chicken

I’ll admit I’m not the main cook in our family – thanks, Steve! – but I do have a few dishes that I rely on to get a good, healthy meal on the table, and this is one of them. Our whole family loves the taste of this take on Chinese sesame noodles, and I love that you can pack it full of veggies that the kids will eat.  Since it can be served cold, it’s also a good meal to make ahead for hectic weeknights.

Ingredients:

For the noodles:

  • 5 medium carrots
  • 1.5 bundles buckwheat noodles
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 stalks green onions
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken meat

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini, peanut butter, sunflower butter or a combination of these
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp chili paste (I leave this on the side, when cooking for the kids)

Instructions:

  • Boil the chicken until cooked. Cool and shred
  • Shred carrots to similar width as noodles using mandolin or food processor.  Boil until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Slice cucumbers into thick strips with a mandolin or knife.
  • Slice green onions into long strips with a knife.  Place in the bottom of a colander or sieve.
  • Boil noodles according to instructions.  Drain in a colander over the green onions, to soften the green onions.
  • Mix all the above in a large bowl and then prepare the sauce (see below)

Here are the ingredients (sans chicken), waiting to be mixed:

Recipe for sesame noodles full of vegetables!  {Jewels at Home}

Sesame noodles full of vegetables!

Mix the ingredients for the sauce together and then stir into the noodle mixture.  You can serve this dish hot, cold, or anywhere in-between.

Asian sesame noodle recipe with lots of veggies the kids will eat! {Jewels at Home}

Asian sesame noodle recipe with lots of veggies the kids will eat!

H0pe you enjoy this addition to your family’s menu!

“Jewels”

 

My Favorite French Toast – Panettone French Toast

I don’t spend that much time in the kitchen, so if you find a recipe here on Jewels’ blog, you be assured it will be easy to make.  I love French toast, and this is my favorite way to make it come out perfectly delicious every time!

Perfect French Toast made with panettone bread | Jewels at Home

The secret is to use Italian panettone bread.  Its rich, sweet flavor is the perfect starting point for French toast.  Here’s the easy recipe that will serve 6:

  • One panettone loaf – this time around, I actually found a loaf with chocolate chips!
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Butter for pan frying

To prepare the French toast,

  • slice the panettone bread into 1″ thick slices.  You can do this the night before and let the bread dry out a bit.
  • heat the pan to medium-high and melt butter
  • beat the eggs and beat in the yogurt
  • dip the slices of breast into the yogurt-egg mix
  • pan fry on both sides until lightly brown

Perfect French Toast made with panettone bread | Jewels at Home

Perfect French Toast made with panettone bread | Jewels at Home

Bon appetit!

Jewels

Pancake Mixes in a Jar

I made these pancake mixes in a jar to give as Christmas gifts, but they would be great for birthdays, hostess gifts, or just-because.  The hot chocolate mixes I made were very popular, but these pancakes are also a great option and come with a bit less sugar guilt.

Recipes for pancake mixes in a jar.  These make charming gifts for the holidays or all year 'round.  {Jewels at Home}

I made three variations: banana, banana chocolate chip, and blueberry pancakes.  I used pasta sauce jars, which hold about 2 1/2 cups.  The baking powder does lose effectiveness over time – they are best used within three months – so it’s best not to make these far ahead.

Ingredients:

Layer in a jar

  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Optional: 1/3 cup of freeze-dried bananas (not banana chips which are too crunchy), freeze-dried blueberries (not regular dried blueberries which are too hard and chewy), and/or chocolate chips.

It helped to use a clean sheet of cardstock folded into a funnel for getting the ingredients neatly into the jars:

Pancake mixes in a jar make great gifts. Recipes and instructions from Jewels at Home.

Provide the following instructions with your jar.  I printed labels and stuck them to decorative paper and tied it all on with a colorful ribbon.

Instructions:

  •  Shake the jar to mix contents thoroughly
  • Mix contents of jar gently with 2 beaten eggs beaten, 2 cups milk, 4 tablespoons oil
  • Cook in a hot greased pan

Here’s proof that a gift can look as good as it tastes!

Blueberry pancake mix in a jar.  More recipes from Jewels at Home.

Banana chocolate chip pancake mix in a jar.  More recipes from Jewels at Home.

Banana pancake mix in a jar.  More recipes from Jewels at Home.

These worked out so well for our Christmas gifts to teachers and neighbors – how will you use yours?

“Jewels”

White and Woodsy Christmas – 2013 Wrap-up

Happy New Year!  I have so much excitement putting the decorations for Christmas, that it seems to go by in a flash, but this packing up thing always seems to take longer.  Not to mention, somehow there is more to pack up each year.  I wonder how that happens… I was listening to the radio last month, and they were listing Christmas destination houses – you know the ones that take a month and a whole work crew to set up – and I had a little inkling that left unchecked, that could be me in another decade or two.  Well, “Crazy Christmas lady” wouldn’t be the worst thing to grow old as.

Anyway, I was trying to get our Christmas 2013 wrap-up (get it? ha ha!) posted on Christmas Eve, but I was having technology problems, so I hope that this cheers you up a little as you are taking down your own tree.  The last couple of years, I have tried out themes to our Christmas decor.  Christmas 2012 was all about silver and red with a burst of bright turquoise.

For 2013, our theme was snowy white.  I grew up in Canada, so Christmas was associated with cool temperatures, bare branches, and as often as not, snow on the ground. Even my kids, who grew up in California, ask for snow at Christmas. So, I decided to create a snowy Christmas for us at home.

Decorating for a white Christmas.  Many DIY ideas, including these reindeer pillow covers | Jewels at Home

I pared down my decorations to focus on the white and silver, as well as outdoorsy decorations like animals, trees, and snow. I also made several new projects in a white and woodsy theme.  I put links to all the DIY projects at the bottom of this post.

When you walk into our house, this big window is the first thing you see.  I was recently mildly traumatized by a visiting architect who called the window “tragic,” because it looks out on our driveway and into our neighbor’s house.  While his delivery was a bit quirky, I see his point, so I have some ideas for softening the view down the road, but at least for the month of December, we can focus on our Christmas tree!  Here is how it looks by day (hard to photograph with that window behind it) and night.  I picked up some new white ornaments in stores and also made many, including some that the kids did.

Decorating for a white Christmas.  Lots of decorating and DIY ideas for your tree and the whole house | Jewels at Home

Decorating for a white Christmas.  Lots of decorating and DIY ideas for your tree and the whole house | Jewels at Home

This is the new Christmas tree skirt for our simple white theme.  I sewed our previous one the year we were married more than a few years ago, so I’m enjoying the change of scene.

Decorating for a white Christmas.  Simple modern tree skirt design | Jewels at Home

Our homemade ornaments included these clay ones I created with the kids as well as some white felt poinsettias.  I got a little addicted to those and started carrying a bag of felt and beads around to work on them anywhere and any time…

Decorating for a white Christmas.  DIY ornaments and more ideas | Jewels at Home

Decorating for a white Christmas.  DIY felt poinsettia ornaments and more ideas | Jewels at Home
After the tree, the mantel is a big Christmas focal point.  I used last year’s DIY felt and feather Christmas trees mixed in with some new white houses to make a modern winter village.

Decorating for a white Christmas.  Modern Christmas village in white with lots of DIY ideas | Jewels at Home

The white felt stockings were on sale at West Elm, and I added our initials on these circles.

20131219-232526.jpg

Welcome, Santa!

20131219-232536.jpg

A few more touches around the house are below,  I like that they are more “wintery” than strictly “Christmas-y,” so I plan to leave them up a little longer.  Did I mention I’m tired of packing up?

Here are our new pillow covers:

Decorating for a white Christmas.  Many DIY ideas, including these wintery pillow covers featuring trees and a polar bear | Jewels at Home

In the front hall, I “planted” this faux birch branches.  I have in mind to adorn them a bit more next year – stay tuned!

Decorating for a white and woodsy Christmas.  DIY faux birch branches | Jewels at Home

And in our family room, I hung this DIY antler painting.  No reindeer were harmed in creating it, and s I plan to leave it up a little longer.

Decorating for a white and woodsy Christmas.  DIY reindeer antler painting | Jewels at Home

And while we enjoyed our California version of white Christmas for most of the month, we went to see the real thing in Canada, and I brought home these pictures:

White Christmas | Jewels at Home

White Christmas | Jewels at Home

As promised, here are the links to this year’s Christmas projects:

Back to those multiplying storage boxes!

“Jewels”