Black Friday freebie

Get a free Utopia postcard set with any tote bag purchase in my shop this Friday (12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. CST Nov. 28 only.) Also: Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
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Gifts to make: packaging

If you're going to make a handmade present, you may as well get creative on the packaging, too. Some fun ideas:

Gift card box by Heather Bailey
Monogram gift tags at Martha Stewart (pictured above)
Origami box at U-Handbag (and if you don't have any patterned paper you like, browse here and print some yourself)
Plastic grocery bag pom poms at Creature Comforts
How to make various bows from the Container Store

(Image from marthastewart.com)
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New ribbon now available

I've made more stupid and useless ribbon! Heh heh. These designs that match my fabric are available right here at JCaroline Creative. Contact them directly if you're interested in wholesale orders. Or see some things to make with ribbon if you need ideas.

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Gifts to make: for babies and kids

Some things you can make for little ones:

Fifties-style bib at Living Creatively
Slip cover for a Boppy pillow from Walter+Veronica
Diaper bag by A Mingled Yarn
Roll-up travel baby chair at Canadian Living
No-sew fleece blanket at A Chelsea Morning
Felt play landscapes at PlumPudding
Decorative bunting at stitch.rip.repeat
Custom paper silhouettes at DesignSponge
Beanbag chair from Michael Miller
Felt food at Design Mom
Felt bears at Canadian Living (pictured above)

(Image from Canadian Living)
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Gifts to make: for the home

We've got a long weekend coming up, so if you plan to make your own holiday gifts (or are just bored out of your mind at home), here are some ideas. I'll post more on Tuesday and Wednesday so you'll have no shortage of lovely things to make after Thanksgiving.

Oak leaf bowls at Martha Stewart
Appliqued no-sew bird pillows from Good Housekeeping
Book-based artwork, also from Good Housekeeping
Patchwork kitchen mat from Sew, Mama, Sew
Lotta Jansdotter's wall organizer (pictured above) at Living Creatively
Cute storage crates from Laura Gunn
Wood wall clock at DesignSponge

(Image from livingcreatively.com.au)
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Bags, bags, everywhere!

My mom has been sewing up a storm. New totes made with my fabric are in the shop. It's horrible to have these sitting around, because every time I go somewhere, I want to take a different one along with me. But that would be naughty. What if it got dirty? No. Must. Resist.
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5-minute cake in a mug

Since the last post got me in the mood for chocolate, I had to try this crazy-sounding recipe for microwaved cake in a mug. Verdict: not bad. I don't know what wattage my microwave is, but 2 min. 30 sec. was plenty of time. I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa because that's all I have at the moment. And I didn't have cake flour so I used regular. It came out with an interesting, slightly rubbery texture that's pleasant in a fascinating, springy kind of way. I think I will make this again. Maybe.

(Update: A link to a forum with hilarious reviews of a recipe like this is right here. If you don't make the cake, at least read a few of the comments about it. Actually, after you do that, you won't want to make the cake.)

(2/6/2011 Update to the update: I now consistently use Squirrel Momma's version of this recipe. I've tried three different recipes for chocolate cake in a mug, and so far hers wins.)
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Printable chocolate bar wrappers

From Rachel Ray's magazine: customizable chocolate bar wrappers you can use as party favors. Get some jumbo chocolate bars ( 5 oz.), then print, cut, fold, and tape. You should probably eat at least one bar before beginning, to fortify yourself first.
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Umbrella loveliness

Once upon a time, it was raining in Chicago and a friend pointed out that my plain black umbrella was simply inappropriate. Why in the world didn't I have an orange one? Easier said than done. Where does one get a cute orange umbrella?

Lo and behold, a few weeks later the kind folks at The Umbrella Society emailed to introduce their shop, and I was in love. My black umbrella has now been replaced by some lovely orangeness. Browse the store! Get free shipping when you buy two. And best of all, money from the sale of each umbrella goes to help fight teen suicide in Japan and fund an orphanage project in India.
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Dachshunds!

I just discovered these pups made by Alice Apple from my Amusement Park fabric! Available in her Etsy shop right here. They made me giggle with delight.
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Downloadable party invitations

Download some nice orangey printable place cards and party invitations here from Canadian House and Home. (Thanks, Stacia!)
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Office accessory ideas

Good Housekeeping has a list of ten ways to add a little DIY creativity to your home office, including vintage metal trays used as bulletin boards. Go take a look.

(Image from Good Housekeeping)
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Fabric fridge frame

A used corrugated cardboard box was sitting around here collecting dust, so I decided to chop it up and make something out of it. (More on the chopping at the end of this post.) Voila, a magnetic picture frame.

To make this, cut a piece of corrugated cardboard to the size you want. (Make sure the opening is slightly smaller than the dimensions of the photo you intend to frame.) Cut a piece of cotton batting or thick fleece exactly the same size and glue it to the cardboard, then turn it face down. Next, cut your fabric into a rectangle that allows you enough extra to wrap around to the back of the frame. Trim the outer corners off at 45ยบ and cut slits toward the inner corners. Then wrap the fabric to the back and glue. (I used some gel fabric glue, but it's messy. Next time: glue gun.)

Add a felt backing with either a slit for inserting your photo, or just stick on two separate pieces, one for the pocket and another strip across the top to hide the fabric's ugly raw edges. When you glue the felt on, apply the glue just outside of the area where the photo will sit. Make sure the outer edges are stuck down, too, and add some magnets to hold it on your fridge.

The reason I was desperate to chop up a cardboard box was so I could try out my new toy: this Skil Power Cutter. It's cordless, self-sharpening, and makes slicing through cardboard and foam core a piece of cake. If you have a job that requires precision and perfectly straight lines, this is not your tool, but for cutting things down to size quickly, it's perfect. Love it.
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Gallery of orange rooms

Check it out! A collection of orange-themed rooms for your decorating inspiration, over at Desire to Inspire. Kim observes that gray, white, taupe and chartreuse are commonly used with orange when decorating. So what color do you think looks nastiest with orange? I gotta say, for me it's purple. When I post something purple here, and see it up there near my crazy orange header, my stomach lurches a little. But I think there's a way for any two colors to work together, even in unconventional pairings, if you're smart about what you put with it. Thoughts? Examples?

(Images from Michael Robinson, left; Mark Lund, right.)
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Oreo truffles in a gift box

Here's a project I want to do for the holidays: make little paper gift boxes filled with Oreo truffles. It sounds ambitious, but I suspect it's pretty easy. Better be, because I'm feeling lazy lately. I was inspired by eating these yummy truffles at my friend Megan's place last week. So delish and super simple to make. And good for you, too! Ha. Here's Bakerella's recipe (and the slightly simpler Kraft Foods version she adapted). For origami gift box instructions, click here to make a small box, and here to make a larger one. I think I'll need to invite some pals over to the Jones truffle factory and make an evening of it.

(Images from Bakerella, left, and K. Werner Design, right.)
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Win two posters from The Poster List

Just when you were feeling bummed that your number didn't come up in the bag and apron giveaway, you've got another chance to win something: your choice of any two 12" x 18" posters from The Poster List! Just leave a comment here mentioning which poster in their shop is your favorite (and make sure there's a way to contact you if you win.) One random comment number will be drawn, and you'll be contacted to find out your mailing address and which two posters you'd like to receive. Contest ends Friday (11/14) at midnight CST.

UPDATE: This contest is now closed. The lucky random winner was Jan, with comment number 185. Congratulations!
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If you like to look at pretty pictures

Check out this site where you can search Flickr by color. Let's pick a color you might like. Um, how about orange? So you click your favorite orange hue in the palette, and all orange photos come up. You can add more colors to your list and see photos that are orange and pink, let's say. Keep adding or changing your color list to see more pictures, then click on a thumbnail to view any photo on its original Flickr page. I don't know what this is good for, but it's kind of cool.
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Newly added to the shop

Mom has been sewing some more, and sent over four new bags to add to my shop!
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Projects to make


Retro paper straw wreath at Styrofoam Crafts, pictured left
Snow Mum pillow from Amy Butler, pictured right
Fabric storage cubes at Crazy Mom Quilts
Paper patchwork notebook cover by iHanna
54 free apron patterns at TipNut
A prize ribbon pin at Craft Stylish
Folded paper flower CD sleeve from Curbly
Fall berry wreath at Martha Stewart
Wall stencil headboard from Good Housekeeping
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Download ObamaBats

Get this font free: "a collection of 24 high-quality dingbats featuring Barack Obama and various design elements," created by designer Jeff Domke. Regardless of your political persuasion, you've gotta admit they look pretty cool. I'm tempted to go stencil pictures of our 44th president on sidewalks and brick walls. Well, not really. But I do think it's fun when you see people's heads in random places around the city. (Via SwissMiss.)
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Quiz: Hair care or digital audio logo?

Head over here and see if you can guess whether each logo is the mark of a hair care brand or a digital audio company. Kinda wacky.
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Bag and apron giveaway

Our Quilt Market booth featured this awesome Calliope print apron made by Etsy seller Perdoozy and this Fireworks print bag made by Etsy seller Blue Blossom Girl. They were a big hit! Would you like to own them... free? Win them by leaving a comment on this post sometime between now and Friday (11/7) at midnight, and I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner. I'm curious to know what all of you do, so leave a comment listing your profession. You know, whether you stay home with kids or drive a firetruck or whatever. And make sure there's a way for me to contact you if you win so I can get your mailing address.

UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Comment number 963 was randomly generated as the winner. Congratulations to Kara, who said, "I have great love for orange as well and love seeing how you use it!"
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