Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tip Jar: Another (Albeit Strange) Way to Clean Your Toilet

Just seen on Apartment Therapy: Clean Your Toilet with Kool-Aid. I can’t wait to hear what Mama Judd thinks of this!



Filed under Tip Jar, Uncategorized

As Seen On Etsy: Embroidered Valentines Gifts

In case you didn’t realize what a trend setter I am (insert sarcastic laugh here), these Etsy finds are similar to my DIY Valentine I created earlier this week. You could recreate any of these projects by using the simple back stitch to create any of these projects!

Available Here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Available here.

Happy Valentines Day!


Filed under Embroidery

Easy DIY Valentines Gift

Here’s hoping you came back after I posted an embroidery tutorial.  Yes, I’m a big geek.  However, embroidery is a great way to create some unique DIY gifts and home decor.

Even though embroidery requires a needle, some embroidery floss, and a little patience, it is easy enough for anyone to do. That’s a guarantee you can bank on! Try it for the first time by making this Valentine for your sweetheart.


  • Picture frame
  • Enough fabric to fit the frame
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery hoop

First, decide how big your heart should be in proportion to the frame. You can freehand a heart or print an image from your computer and lightly trace it in pencil onto the fabric.  Lightly pencil in your names in the middle of the heart.  (If you want to get fancy, you can print the names in a word document and trace them onto the fabric so that your font is consistent.)

Second, secure your fabric in your embroidery hoop so that the fabric is taut.

Third, thread your needle and stitch the design using a back stitch.  Remember: There’s nothing to be afraid of with the back stitch! Follow the lines and you’ll be just fine.  If my photo tutorial didn’t help, try this video tutorial.

Third,  frame the fabric in your frame and deliver to your Valentine.  Revel in all the thank-you kisses.

Do you have any DIY Valentine ideas?


Filed under Embroidery

Easy Stitch: Back Stitch

Although I haven’t said much about it since I started this blog, I hand embroider fairly regularly.  The biggest reason I started embroidering (other than to keep my hands busy) is because you only need the fabric you like, a needle, a hoop, and embroidery floss.

Embroidery needles and floss can be purchased at most fabric or craft stores.  Floss is cheap!  When you study a piece of floss, you can see that each piece of floss is made of 6 pieces of string.  Depending on the look you’re going for you can use or just some of the strands.

Image found here.

My go-to stitch for embroidery is called the back stitch.  It was the easiest stitch for me to master and I like it because it makes clean lines.  (If video tutorials are for you, visit here.)

To accomplish the back stitch, follow me as I embroider this onesie for my newest nephew.  (Lil’ guy was born into one huntin’-lovin’ family.)

First, bring your threaded needle from behind the fabric at point one.

Second, at the point of your desired stitch length, thread the needle back to the back of the fabric.

Third, at the place where you’d like your second stitch to end, bring the needle to the front of the fabric.

Fourth, push your needle through at the same place your last stitch ended.  For this stitch set, your needle will push through at number two on the diagram below.

Repeat this pattern.  Bring the needle to the front at the place you’d like the next stitch to end.

Return the needle to the back through the place where the stitch began.  (In our diagram, this is point number 3.)

The back stitch is my go-to stitch for most onesies that I embroider. I like the simple lines. I’ve used this stitch in the onesies below.

Stay tuned for some gift ideas using simple embroidery!

P.S.  I’m starting a six week online sewing course today so wish me luck!  When I finish my projects I’ll be sure to show you all my progress.


Filed under Embroidery

No. 19: Enjoy an Expensive Bottle of Wine

Do you believe in The Secret? It’s the idea that if you tell the universe what you want the universe will deliver it to you.

It didn’t interest me.  I heard about it but I didn’t read the book and I didn’t see the movie.

Although I hadn’t intentionally put The Secret to use, I did publish a 30 Before 30 list for the entire world wide web to see.  I suppose that must have been enough because a few months later the universe put an expensive bottle of wine in my hands so that I can check off Number 19: Enjoy an Expensive Bottle of Wine.

A friend gave Doug and I a 2006 bottle of Tignanello Antinori  without knowing that I had a 30 Before 30 list that includes the drinking of a fine wine.

(Why, yes. I did wrap the wine in a plush red blanket for this photo shoot.)

The Tignanello didn’t disappoint.  It went down much more smoothly than most red wines I’ve tasted and didn’t have a bite. Fewer tannens, perhaps?

Me, Doug, and Mama Judd preparing for our first sip.

We did the things they teach you to do at wine courses – the useless sniffing and swirling.  We also tested its fingers, which are shown below.  Although I haven’t seen too many vino fingers, these seemed impressive enough for our amateur criticism.

It was an excellent wine that I wish I could sip more often.  I drank it as slowly as possible and when it ended I didn’t want to brush my teeth.  Sigh.  At least now I’ve done what I needed to do to see what all the fuss is about.  Although it was easily better than all of the wines I’ve had in the United States, I’m more than happy to stick with my $12 bottle so long as I’m paying.

Have you ever had an expensive glass of wine?  If so, do you think they are worth the price?

As a side note, do you think The Secret really works?


Filed under 30 Before 30

DIY Earring Storage

Eventually, all my jewelry will be stored in the same place – a location so aesthetically pleasing and easily accessible that it will make your heart swoon.  The idea is under continual renovation in my mind and maybe – just maybe – it will come to fruition one day.

Until that actually happens, I need a jewelry intervention.

A year or so ago, I was ecstatic to find this jewelry storage system, which worked fine for me for awhile.

Available at The Container Store.

It hangs nicely in my closet and works great.  But it turns out I actually need to feel my jewelry in order to successfully choose something.  I need to evaluate all the pieces and compare them against each other.  So for the last few months,  all my jewelry has been laying around on the top of my little desk.  And the clutter might slowly kill me.

For a quick fix, I took a thick, hearty piece of ribbon and taped adhered it to the back of my mirror.  I draped it over the front and voila! Instant earring storage.

(Please ignore the junk in the reflection.)

Where do you store your jewelry?  Are you a jewelry box gal?


Filed under DIY

Calling All Beginning Sewing Projects

I don’t have a New Years resolution.  I have 27 of them. Throughout 2011 I’ll be working hard to check off the remaining 27 items from my 30 Before 30 list. (Thank goodness I have 20 months!)

In the midst of a holi-daze, I almost attempted to tackle No. 25 – Sew something with a sewing machine.  What a great way to create a touching Christmas gift, right? Wrong.  One visit to the fabric store for necessary parts – thread, for example – made me realize how not qualified I am to whip something up on a deadline.

Now with the holidays behind me – and cursed by this winter weather – I’m ready to take on a sewing project.  But I need help!  I’m looking to start small. Very small.  Anyone with ideas for beginning sewing projects?


Filed under DIY