Monday, February 23, 2015

Quick and Easy Decorative Tray

Yesterday I shared with you a pair of decorative trays that my son's class did for the school's Annual Art Auction. I'd been planning and working on this project off and on since December, so it's no wonder I felt inspired to try some other creative ways to make decorative trays. This past weekend, I finally had all the pieces to put together a tray I'd been excited about, not only because of the creation, but because I'd found most of the pieces on sale.

I started with an 11x14-in picture frame (regularly $39.99, on clearance for $10!). Then I was looking for some clear blue glass pieces to put in the center. The ones I'd been looking at in the floral section we $14.99, then I found these blue "rocks" in the section with mosaic tiles at Michael's for $4.99, plus I had a 40% off coupon! The E-6000 glue is about $3, but I'd had some that I'd gotten to fix some broken things in the house (a must-have for life with a rowdy boy!).

I decided to do the project while watching TV Saturday night, because Prince Charming and Lil Monkey were having a boys night curled up in bed early watching The Boxtrolls in the Master bedroom. Many they sure know how to party!

I set up two of Lil Monkey's kids chairs facing each other to create a table and got started.

The first thing I did was to lay the picture frame face up and poured the blue rocks onto a plate so I could sort through them. My thought was that since they had large pieces and small pieces I wanted them to be somewhat event distributed through the tray even though they would be "randomly" placed. Once I was able to see all the pieces I was working with, I started to layout this "puzzle without instructions" so that I could see how everything would fit.

I wanted to lay out the pieces first without gluing them because it would help me get an overall image without making it permanent. It was a good move, because I ended up moving some pieces to replace larger with smaller and smaller with larger. Then, piece by piece I glued down each piece directly to the glass in the frame. During this method a few of the pieces were moved or shifted, but at least they stayed in the general area where I'd placed them. I also used tweezers to place small pieces with glue into any "holes". 

It took about 3 hours in total to do the project, with a few interruptions from Lil Monkey. (Daddy fell asleep and the movie ended, so he came to claim a few rocks for his collection.)

I let it dry over night. The next day, I carefully tilted the tray over to see if any of the rocks had been missed when gluing or if they glue didn't adhere in some place. Not a problem. The only piece that fell was a loose "extra" blue rock on the top of the tray that I didn't put back in the bag.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Creative Kids Create Colorful Creation

This weekend I had the chance to work on some non-fabric projects, which is a fun change of pace. Lil Monkey's school hosts an Annual Art Auction and each class or grade makes a art piece for the auction. This year the Pre-K classes each made their own project, so as Homeroom Parent for Lil Monkey's class, I found a project for the kids to do and another mother helped me work with the kids to do the project.

The project we chose to do was the Alcohol Sharpie Project using 2-inch square tiles to create a pair of decorative trays. We had each of the children color 3 tiles each with Sharpies (they each chose their own colors) and then soften the color by dropping a littl bit of rubbing alochol on them and patting with a cotton ball. The results were quite colorful.

After the kids colored them, I brought them home and let them dry. Then over a two day period, I sprayed them with several layers of spray Mod Podge. Once dried, my husband and I screwed 2 black handles into a pair of rustic picture frames. (I chose 8x10 inch frames.) The I used a strong glue to glue 20 tiles onto each frame.

It was quite a fun project, though since I had to buy all of the supplies, a little expensive. The most expensive of course was enough Sharpies for 15 kids.

Later this week, I will show you a project I did for our home that was inspired byt this one. If you'd like the directions for this one, I've included them below.

Alcohol Tile Art

  • Plain White “Subway” Tiles (available at most home improvement stores)
  • Colored Sharpies (Black and Brown make colors murky, try to avoid them)
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Eye Dropper
  • Paper Towels or Cotton Balls
  • Surface protector (newspaper, plastic wrap, paper plates, etc)
  • Fixative to seal art (many different sites provide various suggestions,  just make sure it’s a spray, applying with a brush with mess up drawing)
  • Project to adhere tiles to – frame, tray, birdhouse, etc.

  1. Clean and dry tiles to remove any dirt or dust.
  2. Cover work surface.
  3. Color on tiles with Sharpies. Just scribble, any design will be distorted. Try to limit to 2-3 colors or they will become muddled. You can even try with one color and let the white tile be the contrast.
  4. Using eye eropper, drop alcohol onto the tile in random spots.
  5. Using cotton ball or balled up paper towel, gently dab the alcohol around the tile wetting the Sharpie and creating a “watercolor” effect. Don’t over think it. If you don’t like the way it looks, simply rinse the tile with water and wipe dry.
  6. Once you achieve the look you like let the tiles dry for a day or so.
  7. Once tiles have dried, use fixative to seal the tiles, otherwise water or other liquids will wipe them clean again. You may want to seal with several layers.
  8. Adhere to whatever project you want to create.

** A popular quick project is using 4-inch tiles to make coasters or 6-inch tiles to make trivets. Once dried and sealed, glue felt onto the bottom. Makes great gifts!

Until our next cup of tea ...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Life with a Picky Eater: Dinner and a Show

Life with a child is never easy, and my once "eat anything you give him" child has progressively become a bit of a picky eater in the last 2 years and we decided that once he turned 5, he was no longer going to get special meals - dinner is dinner. Well, it's been 10 days since he turned 5 and some days are easy, some days are not.

Tonight was one of those "not" days. 

A neighbor had dropped off some chili earlier today, something Jamie has had before. He ate it last week when I made chili, but her made me take all the beans out after the first 2 or 3 bites. This time however, he decided he didn't want to even try it. It was a good old fashioned standoff.

He did a lot of stalling ... He stated he was allergic to "it". A few minutes later he started moaning that he wished he was in outer space. {That was hard to keep a straight face during.} I told him he was going to sit at the table until he ate his dinner {we only make him eat half.} However, Daddy said it wasn't fair to make me sit there and gave him 15 minutes to eat or he'd go to bed early ... and hungry.

 He was trying every trick in the book to distract us. He confessed that he hurt a friend in school today, and growled at the teacher who corrected him. Yeah ... he was that desperate. 

He reminisced about the Disney cruises we went on ... then he laid out in detail what he was going to do once he finished eating ... 

Then it turned conversational ... "Mama, what do you think about how much I eat? Look how much I eat." I was like, "Dude, you've only eaten like 5 bites."

The Daddy calls time is up. Boy, the tears began to flow! He begged for more time. Daddy gave him 5 minutes, he negotiated for 10, then 9,then 8 ... this kid! 

Daddy gave him 5 more minutes. So he starts to give himself a pep talk. He kept saying, "O.k. now, only 10 more bites. 10 more bites and I'll be done." ... "9 more bites ... 8 more bites ..."

Then he kept shoveling too many bites in his mouth and ended up gagging.Oh, goodness. I don't know why as kids we make this so hard! I'm not going to deny it, I was a picky eater, but I also had 11 other siblings who had no problem scarfing the food I was hesitant to eat. 

We eventually achieved success. He then climbed into bed with Daddy to watch a movie and fell asleep. Tomorrow is another night. Let the adventures continue.

So now you have a peek "behind the scenes" at life at The Teacup Cottage. I thought I could get some blogging done while I sat with him at dinner, but as you see, it got a little dramatic. I do have something excited coming at The Teacup Cottage.

Until our next cup of tea ...

Friday, February 13, 2015

For the Love of Creativity: Lost & Found Treasures

This post is a little late, but its been a fun day full of projects here at the house.

However, I can't talk about crafty friends without mentioning my friend and co-worker at TEAinTEXAS/Texas Tea & Travel. 

Brenda and I talk creative stuff all the time, share crafting ideas, and she spends a lot of time making stuff for the magazine and tea business. She had her sister also make a sell decorative wall hangings online and at crafts fairs. They have some of the cutest letters, hearts and crosses.

She is quite to collector of broken china, lonely buttons, ribbon scraps and more. I am amazed at how she can take simple little items and turn them into such beautiful creations. She is always showing photos of new projects that she is working one, but don't take my word for it, check out her website at D&B Designs

Until our next cup of tea ... 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine's Treats, Simple and Sweet

Each Valentine's Day I try to do something special and creative for Lil Monkey's school mates. I'd rather do a simple craft with the Lil Monkey than to just buy stuff from a store, because my dad and stepmom didn't celebrate Valentine's Day when I was growing up.

In an earlier post, I showed you heart shaped colors we made for his school mates. Tonight I placed them in bags and added these cute stickers for him to pass out tomorrow.

Well also picked up a variety of chocolate for his 2 teachers and filled cute colorful flower pots with candy, a flower clip and this two-sided note ... 

I love that he scratched out "apple" and wrote in chocolate. Sometimes an apple doesn't make a teacher as happy as some sweet treats!

It doesn't have to be elaborate to be special.

Until our next cup of tea ... 

For the Love of Creativity: Making A House a Home

I'm really enjoying this week down Memory Lane as I revisit friends who keep me #CreativelyInspired. Today, I spent a little time at Maribel's website trying to decide which of her adorable cottages I want next. You may remember Maribel from when I profiled her beautiful houses at Christmas.

But Maribel was also one of those military spouses who taught me early on that your house should reflect you in style and decor - it doesn't matter if the Army moves you every few years, you have to take pride in your home. She was a friend who worked hard to show how proud she was of her home, it didn't matter if she had to spend time painting or rearranging furniture, she took made sure her family always felt like it was home.  

Maribel, was someone who I'd watched to learn more about being a military spouse. As a young wife, married to a newly commissioned officer, I knew that the impressions I made would be important. Maribel, the spouse of a senior officer was a great example of the poise, confidence and friendiness that I hoped to develop as I started this new life.

I defientely took notes and having friends like this can both inspire and get you in trouble, because the shopping never ends! My Pinterest boards are proof of that! Live life #CreativelyInspired!! 

Until our next  cup of tea ... 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

For the Love of Creativity: Mommy Humor in Life's Special Moments

As I continue a week of friends who keep me #CreativelyInspired, I have to point out, not all of my creafty friends have blogs, sell their products or publicly post their projects. Some of these friends started their creative adventures because they enjoyed the art medium they use and as a part of their enjoyment, they have found ways to incorporate it into their everyday lives, either getting crafty with their kids or using their talents to create memorable events for their families. One of those friends, is Elissa.

Lissa and I met in college. I attended the same college as our two husbands - at that time the guys were still on probationary status as to whether we'd spend the rest of our lives with them - good new, they passed!

Lissa was a military spouse like me, our husbands commissioned about a year apart. She attended a neighboring univeristy and would visit on weekends, where we spent most of our times shaking our heads at the crazy ideas the husbands and their friends chose to do for fun. Ten years later we still spend our weekends the same way - just not with their friends, but with their sons.

Both Lissa and I survived military seperations with the help of a furbaby and crafty arts. Both of us had kids at or near the end of the active duty Army and we are both grateful that our husbands have the chance to spend those precious moments making memories with us instead of us having to tell them in letters, emails and video chats. Both of us are now working moms, who can get overwhelmed by projects we do for our child's special moments, but find it worth the lack of sleep when we see their smiles.

It was no surprise that she was my first thought today as sat in the carpool line, with 20 minutes until school let out, frantically trying to put together a Batman airplane to serve as a cake topper for my son's birthday cake this weekend. I texted her a picture halfway through, because I knew she has probably had a moment like that at some point as well. 

True to her nature, she offered encouraging words, a little bit of humor and a lot of perspective at my last minute predicament. I didn't quite get it finished, and there's a second something or other that I have to put together. I dropped a Lego or two between the seats, just for a bit of added suspense and panicked trying to cover it when the Lil Monkey was delivered to the vehicle. 

Life is one big adventure, and with inspiring friends like "miss Lissa", there's not half-finished project that we can't find a little humor in attempting. I'll have to post photos of the cake when we pick it up on Saturday!

Until our next cup of tea ...

Monday, February 9, 2015

For the Love of Creativity: Stuffed

Sometimes being stuffed can cause second thoughts, but that is not the case with the kids kitchen treats company, Stuffed.  

Kristin and I were neighbors at my first Army duty station. Not only were we neighbors but our husbands were in the same battalion, deploying at the same time. We saw each other when we walked our dogs, attended the same unit events and spouse activities, even found out we were pregnant near the same time, but it wasn't until years later that we discovered we were both crafters. And we lived 5 houses apart!

Now she has taken that creativity and combined it with the daily activities of two toddlers and created Stuffed!

"I created Stuffed, an eco-friendly, play-food for your aspiring little chef and make-believer," she says.

Kristin wholeheartedly believes in teaching her children to be creative and was inspired to create these child-friendly everyday foods to help boost that creativity. You can't help but feel like spending an afternoon in the kitchen with these fun and colorful treats, no matter what age you are!

Breakfast is served!!

An all-American favorite ...

Or a classic favorite!

Tea time treats for an afternoon tea party! 

Visit Stuffed online to learn more about the products and to order a little creativity for your chef! If you would like to place an order or want a list of products, send email to

(** Note: The coffee cup is made to fit your favorite coffee shop's sleeve. So your little one can be just like you!! Starbucks sleeve can be purchased separately.)

Until our next cup of tea ...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

For the Love of Creativity: Creative Baggage

Some might call this the most romantic week of the year, as we countdown the last 7 days until Valentine's Day. This year I thought I would spend this week talking about creative people whom I love!

Creative people often find themselves surrounded by other crafting people, its our nature to find people with like minds and interests, and lets face it for many of us crafty people, we want friends who tell us its o.k. to buy stuff while we still have 600 half-finished projects, even if our husbands are telling us to finish something before we start another. {Raises hand and nods head in admittance of guilt.}  

First I want to tell you about the person who is as best craft friend a girl can have considering we've never met. You may know her at Quiltsmart Mandy, but before that, she was (and still is) Mandy at Creative Baggage.

As "Quiltsmart Mandy" you may have seen or talked to her at Quiltsmart's blog, social media accounts and even followed along as she walks your through creative Quiltsmart projects throughout the year.

At her blog, Creative Baggage, she takes her readers through a variety of other creative interests as well. Much like me, she is a creative butterfly, floating through a variety of creative worlds such as cooking, quilting, sewing, and kids crafts. Lately she has been taking us on a wild adventure in the kitchen with projects that will make your mouth water, your tummy grumble and inspire you to tie on an apron. 

The only thing she doesn't do it tell you how to get the magically housecleaning fairies to wash your dishes. {sigh} I don't think she's figured that one out yet, either!

My favorite part is that Mandy is very aware of promoting creative kids. Whether her little helpers are crafting alongside of her or she is creating projects for you to share with your little ones, she definitely believes that childhood should be sprinkled with creativity!

Mandy and I collaborate on a lot of things and talk almost weekly unless one of the kids is sick and needs attention and love only a Mommy can give. We brainstorm about projects, talk about fabrics, think up new themes and generally focus on how to help you, our visitors, learn more ways to be creative in efficient and unique ways! Between the 2 of us we have a variety of social media and blogs so it is something that is always on our minds.

I think our husbands may have conspired to keep up apart in real life for fear we'd never come out of whatever creative cave we conjure up. It's probably a good idea, we could go on for days with only chocolate and lattes to fuel us.

If you have some time to check out her blog, definitely pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea {and some cookies} and dive in because you are in for a creative treat!

Until our next cup of tea ...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Color Up Some Fun

Today my husband had class in the morning followed by drill at the Army base. I decided today was the perfect time to get the Lil Monkey and make Vanetine's Day treat for his school friends.

This year was a little harder, because he has a number of kids in his class with dietary restrictions. Some have allergies, but mostof them are cultural or religion-based restrictions. So this year, we decided to go the non-food route.

I'd see the melted crayons made from broken colors, so I thought that my nerves could handle him doing something that involved using the over because he will be 5 on Monday and has learened to stay away from the oven if I tell him too. In the past, my concern was that his curiosity would rule out and he'd try to peek.

The project itself was pretty fun, though not fast. The supplies included:
  • various colors of crayons 
  • small cups (for sorting)
  • mini muffin tin or non-stick baking cups
  • cooling sheet (Applique Pressing Sheet)

Step 1: First I seperated the colors in cups by color families. Reds, blues, organges, yellows, etc. 

Step 2: After the colors were sorted, I peeled the paper off and broken them into small pieces. Usually about 5 pieces for each crayon. The brand I used was Playskool colors. I was able to get 36-pack at Dollar Tree for $1 each. I used 4 packs and made about 45 pieces.

Step 3: The Lil Monkey helped layout our silicone heart shaped cups on a baing sheet and started filling them with the broken colors. Some were mixed colors, some were just colors in the same "family".  We filled the cups to the top because they lose volume once they melt.

He was faster than I was unwrapping them, so he started to play around. This was his sad face because he ran out of broken colors while I was unwrapping them. I guess I wasn't fast enough for him. He was playing around pretending he was going to eat them, then I hear, "Yuck! I think I actually ate some!" Ha! I was laughing so hard!

Step 4: After we filled all the cups we placed them in a preheated oven at 275 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Some of the cups were filled more than others so I checked at about 10 minutes and there was still some visible bumps and left them in a few minutes longer. It just depends on if you want them completely melted.

Step 5: After removing from the oven, we let them cool 30 minutes in the cups, them placed in the fridge for another 10 minutes. If you put them directly in the fridge to cool, the rapid temperature change can make some of the colors crack.

Step 6: We carefully removed them from the silicone cups. 

When we took them out of the oven they had a clear coat that I thought was water, but ince they fried, I realized from the nuted colors that it was the wax in the colors. Once we took them out of the silicone cups, the other side was brightly colored. 

As you can see, we made quite a few. 

The Lil Monkey was so excited with this project. I think we will definitely do something again soon, and this one is going in the books as a redo as well. Between the $4 for colors and the $1 Valentine's treat bags we put them in, we've had quite a budget-friendly project. I'll add stickers or cards with a note from him and be ready to pass out the treats later this week.

Until our next cup of tea ...