Saturday, January 30, 2016

Textured Valentine Shrink heart necklace

Valentine shrink heart necklace

Did you know that you could use any typically tossed out container that is marked with the (6) inside the recycle symbol to make awesome jewelry?  Many take out containers have this symbol, as do many egg containers.  After you paint or decorate with markers you simply bake it in a 350-degree oven for about 2 minutes and it shrinks to a third of its size with about the thickness of a nickel. It is also amazingly hard and durable.  It is very similar to the familiar kid’s Shrinky Dinks.

You can use these shapes for key chains, necklaces, zipper pulls, pins and more.  This little Valentines heart necklace is a super kids craft.  I use thick tube acrylic paint and layer it on.  When you bake it to shrink the paint texturizes and looks pretty amazing.   This is a fun snow day craft for kids.  The kids can cut out the shapes and decorate them and parents can bake them. 


Number 6 plastic egg carton (Look for the little recycle triangle with a 6 inside)
Red tubed acrylic paint
Small paintbrush
Paper hole punch
18 inches rat tail ribbon
Two large jump rings
Needle nosed pliers
Cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil
Home oven or toaster oven
Paper, scissors or pinking shears, pen or pencil, paper plate for paint


1.     Cover your work surface with paper to protect it from paint.  Cut out the top flat area of the egg carton.  Cut out a heart shape from paper and use it as a pattern to transfer on the flat plastic egg carton piece with pencil or pen. Be aware that whatever size you use it will shrink to about 1/3 of it's original size.

Look for the 6 in the symbol

2.     Cut out the heart shape with scissors or pinking shears if desired. 

3.     Squeeze some acrylic paint onto a paper plate for a palette.  Working on a protected work surface, use the small paintbrush to apply a liberal amount of paint on the heart cut out.  Let dry.

4.     Use the hole punch to make a hole in the center of the heart. 

5.     Place the heart on a cookie sheet lined with foil and into a preheated 350-degree oven.  The motif will begin to curl and may distort somewhat but will eventually lay flat, shrink and thicken.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

6.     The paint will have texturized and there may be a little distortion in the shape but that is desirable and makes it quite unique.

7.     Cut an 18-inch piece of rat-tail ribbon.  Using the needle nosed pliers, open the jump ring by twisting rather than pulling apart.  Insert the jump ring through the hole in the top of the heart (It will have shrunk as well) and close in the same manner.  Add another jump ring and close.  Insert the cords through the top jump ring and tie a knot.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Focus on creative designer Gail, Purple hues and me

For the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of working with craft designer, Gail of purple hues and me.  Let me tell you this gal is so very creative.  She is my kind of person who always thinks outside the box and comes up with the most awesome crafts. 

You really need to head on over to Gail’s blog and check out some of her newest craft tutorials.  You will find fantastic recycled crafts like this Valentine heart that uses a coat hanger and some leftover wrapping paper!!!

Although Gail insists she’s not a cook, she recently added her crockpot lasagna recipe to Bowdabra’s weekly dinner easy segment and let me tell you my mouth is watering just viewing the photos! 

Gail is one of the super creative design team members at Bowdabra blog contributing weekly free crafts, tutorials and recipes. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Upcycled zipper charm bracelet

Use an old zipper to make a new charm bracelet.  This is a great teen or tween crafting idea.  This is such a simple project that is terrific to make during those snow days when there is nothing to do.  I’ve used word charms but you can use any sort of charms you like. For a super upcycle, you can remove a zipper from an old piece of clothing or just purchase a new zipper.


7-inch metal zipper
Oval jump rings
Large crimp bead for clasp
Lobster claw clasp
Medium jump rings
Charms of choice
Lighter or stop fray fabric glue
Needle nosed pliers


1.     Cut the fabric close to the zipper with scissors.  Use the lighter to run over the edges to keep it from fraying, or you can use stop fray fabric glue and let it dry.

2.     Using the needle nosed pliers attach the crimp bead fro the clasp to the non-opening end of the zipper.  Squeeze it tightly.

3.     Open a large round jump ring twisting to open rather than pulling apart.  Add to the crimp bead and then add the lobster claw clasp.  Close the jump ring, twist to close.

4.     Add a second jump ring to the zipper pull.

5.     Using oval jump rings twist to open and add the desired charm.  Attach to the zipper and twist back to close.  Continue adding charms down the length of the zipper.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Slow cooker beef vegetable soup

What would you love to have on the table when you come home from a cold, snowy winter’s day?  Wouldn’t some hot, delicious beef vegetable soup fit the bill?

Here on the east coast we are bracing ourselves for the first big snow of the season.  Considering I had to turn on my air conditioner this Christmas day, it’s kind of a surprise that here in January (Famous for thaws) they are predicting a blizzard! 

So since I had to go to work today I loaded my slow cooker with the ingredients for a savory beef vegetable soup.  When I came home I had a savory and delicious meal all ready to enjoy. I picked up the cutest little potatoes so I didn’t even have to chop them. If you can’t find them at your local grocer you can just substitute regular potatoes cut into bite sized pieces. This is for a large sized slow cooker.

Mini potatoes


1 ½ lbs. Sirloin steak cut into bite sized pieces
¾ cup flour
1 tbsp. steak seasoning
2 tbsps. Light Olive oil
2 small zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup sliced carrots
1 ½ lbs. mini potatoes or three medium potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
1-quart beef stock
1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
½ tsp. thyme
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
½ 14 oz. bag frozen soup vegetables
½ cup white rice (optional)

Mix the steak seasoning with the flour.  Dredge the steak pieces in the flour.  Add some oil to a large non-stick skillet and cook the steak on medium heat till browned.  Add the meat to the slow cooker. 

Chop the zucchini, onion, carrots and potatoes and add to the slow cooker.  Add the fire roasted tomatoes, beef stock, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  If you choose to add rice add it now. Cook on low for 8 hours.  About a half an hour before serving add the half bag of frozen soup veggies. 

Serve with biscuits or corn muffins.

Be sure and visit Bowdabra blog for more dinner easy recipes, craft tutorials and more!