Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY Wine Charms

I have been wanting to make these wine charms for a very long time.  I told my friend about them and she was surprised I had not made them yet, since I talked about them so much.  I just love the idea of a wine charm because I'm always losing my wine glass.  Does this happen to you?  I'm at a party and put my glass down and the next thing I know I have lost it in a sea of other wine glasses that all look the same.  My husband has been known to keep track of my glass for me at times.

Wine charms are the solution to this problem.  Because I don't have a very good memory to begin with, I made these with both pictures and numbers.  That way at least one side will be remembered.

I had so much fun making these.  I have dreams of making many more.  The only problem is that these charms take a very long time to make.  I have literally been making them for three weeks.  I may have to find a better way to create a seal on the surface.  The resin I used just takes too long to dry.  I have read about a powder resin that dries in the oven in 20 minutes but it has been sold out at all the online stores and I can't find it at Michaels.

How to Make Wine Charms


1) An assortment of pretty paper.  I used origami paper, because I had it, the thinness made sealing them with resin really easy.  
2) Mod Podge or some other sort of decoupage glue.
3) Resin (can be found at a craft store, follow the directions carefully)
4) Scissors
5) Stickers, glitter, or anything you want to adhear to the charms.
6) Little flat pendants.  This will be the frame for your charms.  
7) Round rings 

Decorate the Pendants 

The best way to get a good fit is to make a template out of cardboard.  Make sure your template fits inside your pendant.  

Then cut out the same shape from your decorative paper.  

Glue the paper to the inside of your pendant with the Mod Podge.  I was careful to use different patterns for each pendant so that they would be recognized easily for the drinkers.  You can see they are different, but all follow a similar theme.  This makes them more cohesive.  Be sure to also coat the top of the paper with transparent glue in two coats so that the resin will not make the ink bleed.  

Once one side is dry you can do the other side.  I used glitter and white number stickers.  Again you want to coat the top with clear glue as well to make sure nothing gets stuck in the resin.  

Apply Resin

Making the resin is a little tricky.  I read the instructions several times and still got resin that never totally hardened the first time I did it.  Each type of resin is different so I would suggest that you follow the directions on your own package. With the one I used, I had to combine a resin with a hardener, mix for two minutes, transfer the whole thing to a new cup and mix again.  

You could skip the resin and just leave it done with the clear glue, but the resin really makes your charms look professional.  It gives them a great thick seal.  I love the look I must say.  So, in my opinion  the resin step is worth the trouble.  

Once you have the resin mixed, just apply it to the dry, decorated pendant.  Make sure to have a nice thick layer, but also be careful not to go over the edges of the pendant too much (otherwise it will look messy).    

Let dry.  This is the hard part.  My resin took 48 hours to dry.  

Then do the second side.  When that is dry and the resin is nice and hard, add the rings.  

Enjoy your wine charms and never lose your wine glass again.  

Censational Girl, where I got this idea, used Amazing Glaze, and finished it in one day.  I would love to get my hands on some of that and make MANY more.  I think everyone should have a set.  There are so many possibilities for different designs and colors.  I love this project.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten Ways to Use an Armoire

Armoire, breakfront, china cabinet they all mean the same thing, but that does not mean you can only use them for China.  I like the term armoire, because it does not imply one use. One aspect of an armoire is that they can be adapted for many uses.  In fact the only thing limiting your use of an armoire is your imagination.  Here are ten ways that armoires can be used. 

1. Simply for china.  I like the traditional use of an armoire for china.  What better way to show off your good china than to put it in a great cabinet?  The above picture is my own armoire and my antique blue and white china inside. 

2. A bar.  I  love the idea of making a home bar out of an armoire.  You can store your liquor and glasses all in one place, and if the armoire closes, you can hide it all away when not in use.

I love this one.  It has everything you need to make a great drink and throw a party.

3. Make your armoire into a home office.  If you are anything like me then you know the value of being able to close up your office so no one can see just how messy it is.  I love the idea of making my office out of an armoire.

I love this one because it is not only a home office that can be closed up, but it is bright and colorful inside.

4. A bookcase.  I have so many books.  I love the idea of making an armoire into a bookcase.
This armoire is really an old set of lockers.  I love the look.  It has both open and closed shelves as well as a great bright color.  The darker internal paint really makes the books pop. This image also shows that you can make an armoire out of almost anything.  I say, if it stands alone and has doors, you can call it an armoire.

5. Use an armoire for beauty products.  If you have a lot of beauty products this is a great way to keep them all in one place.  The armoire featured here even has built in mirrors. 

6. Put an armoire in your laundry room and have a spot to organize all your laundry paraphernalia.   
This one has a place for clothes, detergent, and even a laundry basket.  I would love to have a place to hang clothes that don't need to be folded. 

7. A refrigerator?  The armoire below is actually a refrigerator.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.   
This might be taking your kitchen one step further than I am willing to go.

8.  Jewelry storage.  I love the idea of having lots of places to put all your jewelry.  This armoire has lots of drawers and space for all your jewelry.  
My problem?  I just don't have that much jewelry to store in such a big place, but I'm sure I can find other little nick-knacks to put in all those drawers.

9. Convert an old media center into an armoire for children's dress up.
I love this idea.  Kids should be encouraged to dress up, it ignites their imagination.  Here is a kid-friendly spot for all those dresses, or capes (for boys) that the child can reach themselves.

10.  A modern armoire.  I don't know what is kept inside this armoire, but I love the bold graphic (the blue flowers?  Not so much).
I, personally, would love to have a armoire like this in my living room to house my t.v.

So there you have it, ten different uses and different kinds of armoires. Are you an armoire kind of person?  What do you use your "china cabinet" for?

Oh, and on a similar but slightly different note, have you ever heard of the word armoire?  I looked it up and it is a word, even if Google Crome says it is miss-spelled.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DbC on Facebook

I updated my blog more than a year ago, but I never took the step to make a Designed by Chance page on facebook.  I'm not sure what was holding me back, but I am finally over it.

I am now live on Facebook, and I want you to join me.  Like my Facebook page and get updates and all that. Or you can also just click the Facebook icon on the top of this page.  It will get you to the same place.

I even plan to have a book trilogy giveaway soon too, so get a jump start on the requirements and like me now.

Just wanted to let you know another way to stay in touch.

Also, if you have a facebook page I would love to follow you.  Leave a comment with your link or page name and I will like you too.  We can all be "friends" (ha, sorry for the cheesy joke).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

With my new job everything else has to take a back seat.  That means I have not had as much time to blog, cook, clean or really do much of anything (like shave my legs, it's a good thing that fall is upon us).  I will probably only be posting once a week now.  This week it is another recipe review, but I should have my big craft project done by next week (the drying time on this one is really long, 48 hours long).  

In an effort to not have to work very hard on the weekdays I have been experimenting with the slow cooker.  I made two recipes this week.  This soup and a slow cooker lasagna (it was good but did not photograph well).

I have been craving lentil soup for days!!!  I just needed me some veggies and beans and soupy love.  So I found this recipe and tried it.

This is a Weight Watcher's recipe, so I was ready for something on the lighter side.  I knew going in it would not have a lot of calories and all that.  Usually, WW recipes are good.  In fact, last time around, when Hubby and I gave up WW we kept cooking some of our favorite recipes from our time in the program.  This recipe was a bit of a disappointment   I would say it was good, but not great.  In truth I found that the slow cooker overcooked the celery and, in general, there just was not enough veggies for my taste.  I think it was just overcooked in general.

I did eat the soup for lunch a couple of times, but the super soft veggies were just not that appetizing.  I don't think this recipe is a keeper.

I'm looking for more slow cooker recipes, so if you have any suggestions or websites you could recommend that would be a big help.

Any guesses as to what it is?

Now, to entice you to keep coming back I will give you a little taste of my next project.  The pictures so far are pretty great.  I hope it will work in the end.  I can't wait to show you what I made.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Free Standing Clothes Line

I love clothes lines.  There is nothing better than line dried sheets.  They have this incredible smell that cannot be duplicated.  The sheets are also nice and crisp, almost like being starched.  I love that starched sheet feeling you get at hotels and I get the similar feeling from sun dried sheets.

Dry sheets aside, clothes lines are also a great way to save money.  Instead of paying for your clothes to be dried you can just let the good old (free) sun do the work.  Besides towels (and personal items, I don't want any neighbors seeing them), I dry all my clothes in the sun.  With towels I dry them in the sun and then throw them in the dryer with a damp washcloth for a few minutes to get them soft.

Of course, with the North East weather, I don't get to use my clothes line all the time, but when I do, I really enjoy it.  I love to be out there with my clothes line and my wood clothes pins.  I feel like a proper homemaker.

How to Make a Free Standing Clothes Line

I did not make this project, my hubby did.

Isn't he handsome?
He was so sweet to make this for me.  He knew I wanted a clothes line, but we didn't have any trees that would work.  Hubby found directions online, then promptly lost them.  But he got enough information to make the clothes line for me.

The hubby used landscaping timber to make the posts.  They are cheep and they hold up in the weather.  The hardest part was getting these logs home.  We ended up using a rented truck when we picked up our wood flooring.

It took us (and by us I mean him) a lot longer to get the wood properly cut.  We didn't  have the right saw.  Eventually we got he right saw and the right screws (really big ones) and then this spring hubby got to work.

The process was super simple.  Hubby cut the wood at 45 degree angle (I think) and attached the two sides to a cross bar.

The angled bars are not perfect, but they are good for me.  We made two, dug holes, and kept the posts in place with some cement.

Then we added the rope.

 We screwed the eye hooks right into the posts.  Attached the rope to both sides and we were done.

We got three lines up.  We plan to add three more.

I really meant to get a shot with my sheets hanging in the wind, but alas, it never happened.

You do get a shot of my house though.  Yup, that is my little cottage in the background.  The place we call home.

We want to paint the house next summer.
I can't wait to get some color on this house.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recipe Review: Winter Squash Soup

I have decided to start a "Recipe Review" series.  I'm a follow-the-recipe kind of cook.  I can cook something from scratch when needed, but prefer to use a recipe that I know is good.

I thought I could share my favorite recipes, and how I have changed them, with you.  I will provide links to the recipes when I can and my own review.

Today's recipe is "Winter Squash Soup" from  I get a lot of my recipes from Epicurious because they have a great selection.

This soup recipe is great.  I absolutely love it.  The fall is the best time to cook this, because the acorn squash and butternut squash are in season.

Add Flavor 

The recipe calls for boiling the squash, but I find a great way to add flavor is to roast the squash.  I cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and rub with olive oil.  Sometimes I add herbs too.  Baking the squash also makes it much easier to cut and peel.

Use Less Fat

The original recipe calls for a half stick of butter!!!  Way too much butter.  I used one tablespoon of olive oil instead.  Much healthier, and it did not affect the flavor one bit.

The recipe also calls for heavy cream at the end.  I use light cream, but you could really use any sort of creamy thing.  Try unsweetened coconut milk, soy milk, or even almond milk.  All these alternatives will work. 

Use an Immersion Blender  

The best time saving trick I have developed yet?  Use an immersion blender.  It made blending this soup so easy.

Add some home made bread on the side, and you have a great dinner recipe.  I somtimes make this ahead (it reheats beautifuly) and seve it to guests as a first course. 

This soup is so good, you really must try it. 

Now that it is fall all I want is soup and pizza!  Not sure what the pizza part is about, maybe it is because I'm on a  diet- I mean a life style change.  I always crave things I should not have. 

What are you craving for fall?
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