How much love do you want?

I’m a big fan of custom artisan work. I love the creativity and beauty in the products of these artists. I adore walking through farmers markets and festivals and looking at all the work other people do. All the time and dedication in each piece. It’s incredible and inspiring. Of course artisan work is going to be more costly than the mass-produced products you find in the common department stores, but being handmade and covering costs and at least some time, it’s to be expected and should be appreciated.

One of my favorites is where I buy my custom jewelry MADE WITH LOVE BY LAURETTE
(affiliate link) Her jewelry is one of kind and truly made with love. I love browsing all of her creations because it’s magnificent how beautiful all her pieces are. They make great gifts for yourself, friends and family for any occasion. I love my bracelets from her and I wear them all the time. Every time I put them on I think about how neat they are and how much time and effort went into making them. It makes me appreciate them that much more.

She doesn’t stop at just bracelets. There are earrings, necklaces, awareness, and even cremation/memorial jewelry also. She can even make custom matching sets! Her work is just great. You can check her out at the link above or below. I’m sharing purely based on the love of her work and wanting to help make it seen because it is beautiful.

Made With Love Etsy
Made With Love Facebook

How much love do you want?

First Time Pickler

I followed an online recipe for dill pickles and I really hope it turns out alright. I made a dozen jars with this recipe. For the next dozen though, I’m going to follow a different recipe just in case.

We were given a bunch of pickling cucumbers fresh from the farm. We went through and found all the cucumbers that could be baby dills. I found some good looking ones to make spears and slices. After putting some away for our own use. I sorted through the cucumbers to share with family, neighbors and husband’s co-workers.



Then I set out to brew the brine from a few different recipes I found. Some didn’t exactly have a length of time to set. When I used this recipe, I just bulked it up to fill more jars. This one alone only filled 2 small jars.


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. spices (dill seed, peppercorns, ­coriander seeds, ­mustard seeds)
  • 2 cups water


  1. Cut the cucumbers the way you want them.
  2. Place them in the jars. (I put the jars in the sink to make less mess)
    If you are making spears make sure they are 1/2 inch from the jar lid.
  3. Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.
  4. Pour the brine over vegetables in jars.
  5. Close the lid to seal.
  6. Let cool
  7. Label and store


With this recipe I’m going to let them ferment for about 6 weeks before testing. I’m really hoping they turn out delicious. My husband and kids are addicted to pickles.


If you have a good recipe to recommend for my next batch, feel free to share in the comments. Thank you.

First Time Pickler

Mod Podge Collage

I always wanted to make an extensive collage of our family photos. Today I finally just went ahead and did what I had to do to prepare to do one.

First, I ordered 186 photos from Walmart Photo Center for around $31.00. The photos are from our trips, outings and just a lot of time spent together. What I didn’t use I’m keeping to put in photo albums.

Second, I went to my mom’s to see if a frame I remembered being in her basement was still there. It was and it seemed perfect for what I wanted it for. She said I could have it and she also took the time to wipe it down with Old English and it seriously looked loads different and like new.

Once I got it home, I went through and sorted all the prints I ordered and prepped everything for starting to cut and shape them onto the frames back. That process took roughly 1 1/2 hours.


It was frustrating and tedious getting all the pictures where I wanted them and trying not to accidentally knock them out of place. My sister graciously let me use her jar of Mod Podge to fuse these pictures together.

After about another hour I finally had it coated and finished. It was tricky keeping the pictures from sliding out of place, but I just would carefully put them back where they were. It was so worth the distress because I love the end result!

I let it dry and then I hammered 2 nails into the wall so I could go ahead and hang it. All that’s left to do is measure and go purchase glass at Lowes to put in it.


This is mainly a collage of the last 2 years with a few from our 1st year together. Totaling the collage to be memories from the past 3 years. I adore it and the kids have been amused by it too.


Mod Podge Collage

Renewed table, endless play

My aunt and uncle made my little sister a table and chairs set, with mod podged Winnie the Pooh cutouts from a book, when she was young. It sat retired in my mother’s basement for over a decade. I asked her if I could have it to give it to my kids and she didn’t hesitate to say yes.

I took it out of the dusty damp basement and sprayed down all the cobwebs. I wiped them with a rag and loaded it up in my van. I had a vision for what I wanted to do with the table, but I didn’t know when I’d get around to it. For a while I left it as is and let the kids play with it in their space.

Until last night. I scraped off as much of the “Winnie the Pooh” decals I could. Finally opened the gallon of paint and started on with it. (the paint was leftover from our downstairs walls when we moved in so it didn’t cost us anything) I couldn’t get all of the images off and I’m impatient, so my job was half-ass. My husband told me I should have sanded it down first. So this project may end up having to be done a second time.

I put the first coat on last night and this morning I put on the second coat. For now (until we end up redoing it in the future) it has 2 nice clean coats of paint and it definitely revitalized it and brought it back to life. Instead of keeping it downstairs in the kids space, I moved it upstairs so I can make sure it’s not being mistreated. After all it is a part of not only my sister’s childhood, but my own as well. (I remember playing kitchen and reading books at the table with my little sister when I was young)

Here’s what it looked like before. Very dingy and stained from being in a basement.


This is after. It looks great!


The kids have shown more interest in it now than they did when it was downstairs. They have been playing with it non-stop for pretend tea parties, restaurant and just sitting at it chatting. I love the imaginative interaction it is giving them.


Tea party set was a custom made set I ordered for my daughter’s 6th birthday in 2012 from Drumming Beetle. My daughter always kept it tucked away instead of playing with it and now she’s letting her younger siblings enjoy it. I’m glad to be seeing it in action once again.



Renewed table, endless play

Voodoo and Ragdolls

I have never attempted to make dolls before in my life. Last night I was looking at some of my crafting materials while throwing mismatch socks into a basket… ah ha!!! I’ve always wanted to make a sock doll. So I got everything I needed together and I started.

After finishing the doll I sewed a felt dress for her. While I was creating this neat little doll my youngest daughter comes in and lets out an ecstatic shriek, IS THAT MY NEW DOLL!? I said sure she is and handed her over. She adored her.

I couldn’t get her to put her down for the rest of the day which made the other children want dolls of their own. So away I went… working my fingers to death. lol

I had already made little  voodoo dolls for my own use, but decided I can always make more for me and so I added eyes and gave them to my oldest and middle sons.


So my next craft was to make my oldest daughter her own ragdoll and she sat and watched as she was created. Here’s a picture of the girls and their ragdolls below (excuse my daughter’s pizza sauce face she had just run away from the table to take a picture with her sister)


The girls didn’t mind that their dolls were bald. But after I showed them the yarn I did have here already, they just wanted them to have it. So here is the transformation from bald dollies, to some yarn hair. (this was my first ever attempt at something like this, it’s a learning progress)


After I did the hair, I had been thinking of mermaids, which of course led me to start making one. A zombie one.

I took a picture of the voodoo man, zombie mermaid and the green monster.


I definitely see more dolls in my future. I love creating them. They are so cute, or at least I think so anyways and the kids LOVE THEM!


The fairy ragdoll I made my step-daughter per her request. She loves it.


Our girls had endless fun with their dolls all weekend long.IMG_5730

Voodoo and Ragdolls

How to make homemade finger paint

You can find these ingredients in your own kitchen for endless enjoyment and sensory play with your child.


What you need:

  • Food Coloring
  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 cups Cold Water

or substitute cornstarch for 1/3 cup flour and pinch of salt.
{2 tbsp of sugar in a saucepan, add 1/3 cup flour and whisk in 2 cups of cold water over medium heat until thickened. Pour into small cups, add food coloring, stir and voila}


1. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a pot then add the cold water.

2. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring until it becomes thick.


3.When the mixture is cool, spoon it into small cups and add food coloring, then stir.



Have fun finger painting! I know we will!




How to make homemade finger paint

Made With Love – Custom Jewelry

My birthday is in 9 days and my hubby had ordered me a custom piece of jewelry that I just had to have! It’s made from beautiful exotic wood and I absolutely love the coloring….


I ordered it custom made from Timber Treasure Troves / Made With Love By Laurette (according to the size of my wrist where I’d wear it, which I preferred snug). It’s cuff style, so I would suggest sizing the circumference of your arm/wrist at least 3  inches down from your palm.

There are many other types and styles of jewelry available on Timber Treasure Troves / Made With Love By Laurette’s Etsy Store.

One of which styles, is the memory wire bracelet, that hubby had customized for Mother’s Day in secret. Though I admire his attempt to be undiscovered, I found out he ordered it, I just don’t know what it’s going to look like and that will be the surprise. I’ll be receiving it this Sunday for Mother’s Day and once I have photos I’ll be updating here.


Here’s the picture of my mother’s day bracelet. It’s my favorite colors, it has our initials stamped on a heart and also has all 6 kid’s (step-daughter included) birthstone colors in order of oldest to youngest in the center (July, May, December, May, May, July). It’s beautiful and I love it!!


I’ve also ordered 2 other memory wire bracelets (anniversary and mother’s day) in 2013 from Made With Love by Laurette. They’ve withstood much wear and life with 3 small wild children. I absolutely love the styles, the creatively and craftsmanship behind the finished pieces they have.


Made With Love – Custom Jewelry