October’s Craftiness Challenge, Revealed.

First of all, a BIG thank you to everyone who bravely persevered September’s game pieces challenge. You rock. It was so fun going through the links and seeing what you’ve been belaboring over the past month. I haven’t finished looking through all of them, but will after school today!

It was pretty clear that people found game pieces challenging, which I guess is why it’s called a challenge, but in the interest of maybe making the next one a little easier,for October’s theme, I’ve selected…

Odds and Ends From the Hardware Store!

I hope a few of you just breathed a sigh of relief. ;)

Some tips:

1. As before, stay away from the items that have been used a lot already, like paint chips, paint sticks, washers, etc. (Unless you're going to do something fresh and original with those items.) Think, instead, along the lines of paint cans, PVC pipe, chain, wire nuts, and other odds and ends from the hardware store that aren't typically associated with a decor or craft project. Stroll through the aisles and see what strikes you.

2. Your project must not have been done before with the item you choose. To clarify, this means that if you choose, for example, to make a sunburst mirror out of, say, PVC pipe, that's fine: a sunburst mirror has obviously been done before, but it hasn't been done with PVC pipe. (Not that it should be, either. Although I guess you never know.) A sunburst mirror out of paint sticks, however, would not be okay: it's been done. Does that make sense?

3. Do a mind cleanse when brainstorming for your project by avoiding Pinterest and Google. Just think with your own brain.

blog craft challenge

Any questions? Are you in? Let me know in the comments section! :)

UPDATE. My brain farted and forgot to tell you the deadline the first time around: the link party will be open Wednesday, October 31st-Friday, November 2nd. Please just wait to post your project until at least that Monday, October 29th. And anyone can participate, even if you didn’t participate in September’s challenge! All are welcome!


Random Craftiness Link Party: Game Pieces and ‘Whatzit’ Gift Tags

Woo hoo! We’ve made it to the first official Random Acts of Craftiness link party. I am excited to see how many followed through with the challenge and what all you creative people came up with!

My game of choice (sort of; it really was more along the lines of “My game of this is what I could find at Goodwill for cheap”) was Whatzit. (I’d really like to play the game “What zit?” but that’s irrelevant.) Using some of the playing cards, I made little gift tags that can easily be attached to something small like a candy bar and slipped in a co-workers mailbox, or onto a treat in your husband’s car. (Dear Rick: Pretend to be surprised.)

DIY gift tags
I chose cards whose sayings matched up with a typical Hallmark sentiment, like “Missing you,” “Two thumbs up,” “Love at first sight”…

clever gift tags
“I want to grow old with you,” “You’re one in a million,” “A round of applause.”

unique gift tags

For the record, I am really, really bad at these puzzles. We sat with a stack of them the night I bought the game and I could figure out maybe two of the 50+ we looked at. Here’s hoping the recipients of these aren’t totally perplexed and thinking, um, why is there a random game card glued to this tag?

make your own gift tags
So that’s what I’ve got…let’s see what you’ve got!

To join in the fun, enter your link below. The party closes at midnight on Friday, 9/28. Karah at The Space Between, our cheerleader-of-the-month, will be choosing her favorites and featuring them on her blog on Wednesday, 10/3. D├ęcor and The Dog’s Michelle has coerced her husband Nate into selecting a few projects to be given the Husband’s Choice Award, which will also be featured on Wednesday, 10/3 on Michelle’s blog.

The rules. I just ask that you share some comment love with the other participants (this was NOT an easy challenge!) AND include a text-link or button-link back to the party in your post so others can find the fun, too.


Not liking your project? That’s okay. Poke fun at it with this button and link up anyway. I know I appreciate you trying, no matter how it turned out!


Giveaway: By entering this link party, you are automatically entered into our monthly giveaway: a $25 credit to the Etsy shop Crazy Fox Studio, where you can find all of these unique, gorgeous pieces of jewelry. The winner will be contacted in advance and announced on Wednesday, 10/3.

crazy fox studio etsy

And that’s it! I can’t wait to check out all of your projects!

*Please note that this is a link party for challenge projects only. I reserve the right to delete unrelated links. Thank you! :)

P.S. I’m also sharing my crazy over at Primitive & Proper today! Big thanks to Cassie for inviting me. :)


Earring Storage: Birdcages Aren’t Just For Birds

Whoever said birdcages were for birds had never met my earring collection.

use a birdcage to display earringsBirdcages for birds. What a radical concept. It’s like saying toast is for toasters. I mean, really.

This is not to say I have a lot of earrings; I suppose by some standards (Rick’s) I might, but by others (Kim Kardashian’s) I have a humble, meager collection. The problem was that ever since I got my hair cut back in April, I have been drawn to larger, more dangly earrings that take center stage with hair that shows them off, versus my old standby favorites: small pearls. And these large earrings were getting seriously cramped and messy in my jewelry box that had exactly 4 little cubicles for earrings. So when I spotted this unused birdcage candleholder collecting dust in my craft room (Unused? Collecting dust? What, my crap craft room?) I decided to try hanging some of my earrings on it.

hang earrings on a birdcage

And I liked what I saw.

use a birdcage to hang earrings

And in case you were wondering, that is the giant ampersand hanging behind it. It’s been there for, oh, several months. Someday I will show it in full view on my blog.

other uses for birdcages

And in case you were also wondering, I pay no more than $5-$6 for a pair of earrings. My favorite haunts are Target and New York & Company. Just about all of the ones hanging there are from one of those two places, and most cost under $5 on sale/with coupons.

alternative ways to display earrings

easy earring holder

What are your go-to earring stores? How do you display your jewelry? Do you use birdcages in socially acceptable ways?

*Linking this up to Tater Tots & Jello and the DIY Show-Off Project Parade!*


Random Craftiness: Nine days remain…

Ladies and gentlemen(?), please get out your planners, because you have a homework assignment. And it is due in exactly nine days. Yes, the first Random Acts of Craftiness deadline is looming over us much like the Lincoln Monument looms over the National Mall in D.C., dramatic and commanding…

Actually, it’s nothing like that.

But I finally completed my project over the weekend.

And that is dramatic, because I’ve been big-time procrastinating on that and pretty much every other non-school project. So when Rick not-so-casually reminded me on multiple occasions that I only had x number of days to make that project for that challenge I dreamt up, I realized I had better get on it.

I’ll give you a hint: I used this game.


What stage of completion are you in? Finished? Almost finished? Know what you’re doing but don’t have the supplies? Haven’t even started? I am being a good teacher and checking in to make sure nobody has any questions about the assignment…and to gently encourage slackers efficient time-users to get going. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! :)


The Peaceful Coexistence of Blogger, Windows Live Writer, and Custom Permalink

I’ve been hearing this word permalink quite frequently around the blogosphere lately. From what I gather, here’s what I need to know, as a blogger, about permalink:

  1. A permalink is the URL of a specific blog post.
  2. Permalink that aligns with search terms people type into Google can make your blog more search engine-friendly.
  3. This is apparently a good thing.
  4. When I write a blog post, Blogger assigns my post an automatic permalink. This is usually the first few words of the blog post’s title.
  5. My titles are usually wacky and nothing even close to anything anyone searches for in Google. Therefore, nobody finds my blog posts via Google when the titles are wacky.
  6. This is apparently a bad thing.
  7. But there is hope: I can create custom permalink using Blogger with non-wacky words in it!
  8. Except…I don’t use Blogger to type my posts anymore. For a variety of reasons, including the ease of resizing pictures right in the post, I switched to Windows Live Writer about a year ago. And the kicker: Windows Live Writer doesn’t yet have a feature that allows me to create custom permalink. So all of my permalinks contain the fragments of my wacky titles…and nobody finds them when they search on Google.
  9. This is apparently a bad thing.

But fear not, fellow Blogger-Windows Live Writer users: there is actually an easy way to have both the wacky titles that I hold near and dear to my heart AND harder-working blog posts. (The number of people that use WLW and Blogger like I do is yet to be determined, but for now we’ll pretend that there is a giant herd of Blogger-WLW bloggers out there dying to make custom permalink for their blog.)

how to create custom permalink using windows live writer and blogger2

1. Create a new post in Blogger. Yes, in Blogger. Ignore the inferior custom perm-less WLW for the time being. Type in your title, and make it wacky. You know you want to.

custom permalink using windows live writer and blogger

2. Click on the “Permalink” tab on the right. Select “Custom Permalink” and type in the text that will be more search engine-friendly. Include dashes between each word. For this post, I typed in “how-to-create-custom-permalink-in-windows-live-writer-and-blogger.” Click “Save.”

how to create custom permalink using windows live writer and blogger

3. Open Windows Live Writer and click the “Open” folder for all posts. Click on your blog’s name. These are the posts that you began writing in Blogger versus in Windows Live Writer. See the name of this post right there at the top of the pop-up window?

creating custom permalink in windows live writer and blogger

4. Open up the post for which you just created custom permalink. Proceed as usual with the writing of your post. You cannot change the permalink once the blog post has been published, which is why I changed it before I even began writing the post in the first place.

custom permalink using windows live writer and blogger 2

5. The end. Yes, that’s it. You know your mind is blown. I never even knew rocket science was my strength. Maybe I missed my calling…. ;)

Do you customize your permalink? Are you of the Wacky Title persuasion? Who was productive this weekend? I was not. I discovered the world of petite fashion blogs. Aaand that’s all we need to say about that.

Psstt…want to see some of the bizarre things people have searched for and subsequently found my blog? Visit here and here.


It’s readjusting time.

Day two of the school year: Student A writes that her favorite food is girl cheese. Student B writes that she is the mater of soccer and singing. Student C asks how to send an email.

Day two of the school year: Teacher A realizes she has her work cut out for her and needs to make sure the year begins well. This requires late afternoons at work and no blogging or house stuff. This requires a much-more-dramatic-than-anticipated readjustment to life as working woman after having two months off.

All that to say…I’m Teacher A. And Teacher A will be back next week. At which point Students A-Z will know how to spell grilled.

See you then. :)

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