Stitchin’ Mad

"A woman's place is in the revolution" cross stitch, pattern from Pinterest, stitched by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.comOops I have another new crafting hobby. How shocked are you? Probably not at all. And if you follow me on Instagram then you know exactly what my new hobby is: I’ve learned to cross stitch!

My creative skill arsenal includes knitting, crocheting, very mediocre hand lettering and painting, and gluing sh*t to other sh*t, usually with glitter.  Obviously because that’s not enough, I decided I need to add cross stitch to the mix. And now we can add this to the list of reasons that I am really a middle-aged woman living in a 25-year old’s body.

This all started innocently enough. I was growing bored of knitting (or, really, how expensive knitting is) and wanting something else I could do while I sat on the couch each night. Plus, who can resist cross stitch patterns with potty-mouth language and a whole lotta sass?

Hint: not me.

So I bought a premade kit online and had some fun. I sent oodles of pictures to my friends as I went, as if I was the first ever to make tiny Xs on fabric. I was Cross Stitch Queen, hear me roar. Everyone needed to look at my tiny Xs and how they made shapes and words. I was Picasso but with both ears.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed to do more. When I start something new I have to throw myself into it. In the words of Jenna Marbles, I have the “Too Much” gene. And, having found no other kits that really that tickled my fancy I started creating my own patterns. It’s been really fun, and I’d never realized how much fun coloring in tiny boxes to make one giant picture was. It’s like using an Excel document but not awful! Now these are MY tiny Xs.

"YAAAS QUEEN" cross stitch original pattern by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

(Psst, special thing just for YOU reading this: I just added my YAAAS QUEEN pattern as my first Etsy listing– I haven’t even officially announced my shop yet! Be the first to get it here!)

"Relax, we're all gonna die anyway" cross stitch original pattern by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

And then creating my own pattern escalated. Suddenly I have a box full of aida cloth in different stitch counts, and I am in 12 different cross stitch Facebook groups. I really don’t know how this happens. I just blinked and now my coffee table is covered in DMC Embroidery Floss and tiny needles. My couch has tiny stray floss pieces all over it. I pulled yellow floss out of my hair at work last week. It’s a sickness and it’s overtaken me. Send help (except don’t because I’m having a great time.)

Long story short, this is a thing that is now part of me. Kelsey the Crafter lives on (which would have also been a great alternative blog name, if I could also somehow fit “cosmetics” in there too). As today is World Cross Stitch Day, it seemed like a great time to officially come clean about this new thing I do.  I have officially added “cross stitch” into my monthly budget. G*d help us all.

Have you been obsessed with any new hobbies lately? Let me know in the comments.

signature

Christmas Countdown: 3 Last-Minute (Super Easy!) Holiday Desserts + A GIVEWAY!

It’s no secret that I am Queen of Procrastination, sitting on her Royal Throne of “I Can Do It Later”. I’m really good at waiting until the very last moment to get things done, usually to my own detriment.  I can only imagine that others are also in my camp.

And as the holidays can be hella stressful, I thought I’d give you something I know everyone needs this holiday season: a few super quick and easy last-minute holiday dessert recipes!  Convince your friends and family that you totally planned ahead with these easy to throw together sweets.  Nobody has to know you bought the ingredients two hours before the party.

3 Last Minute and SUPER Easy Holiday Desserts

You’re welcome!

1.  These delicious sugar cookies from Katrina’s Kitchen that I’ve become obsessed with.  They’re super easy to prepare and the dough doesn’t need to be chilled for hours like other sugar cookie recipes, so you really can make them in a snap! And, if you’re really pressed for time and don’t have time to decorate, they’re moist and flavorful enough without icing,  Just skip the cute cut-out designs, form them into flat cookie shapes and sprinkle on some sugar before you bake.  Nobody will be the wiser!

I’ve made them twice in the past two weeks, and my mom made them once this week.  It’s replaced our old favorite sugar cookie recipe.

2.  This Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge recipe from Cookie + Kate.  It’s freezer fudge, so it whips up super quickly. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Awful people, probably.

Honestly, I have yet to try this recipe, but it’s book-marked for the dessert I plan on bringing to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve! I really don’t see how you can go wrong when the ingredients are chocolate and peanut butter.

3. If you want to really wow them, try some S’mores Bark.  This is a great basic recipe, but it’s so simple you really can’t go wrong.  My mom and I made this all the time when I still loved at home.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay down an even layer of melted chocolate, toss on some broken up graham crackers, and mini marshmallows.  If you want to get super fancy, add some melted white chocolate, almonds, or caramel.  Whatever you’re feeling, go for it! Let it cool and harden, then break into coarse pieces.  Serve with a smile and enjoy the compliments. You’re such an amazing chef!

And to reward yourself after rounding up an awesome dessert, how about another kind of little treat? I’ve teamed up with Jessica and a few others over at SomethingWhimsy.com and we’re giving away a $300 Target gift card! Enter on her blog here!

And now that I am super craving something sweet, it’s a good thing I’m on my way home to Ohio for the holiday where there will be plenty to go around. Anyone else been dreaming of holiday food for the past week or so?

signature

DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland

DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland

I got this idea after having a ton of leftover fabric from making my “Merry Christmas” Burlap Banner last year.  I loved the Christmas colors with non-traditional patterns, and couldn’t stand to see the extra fabric sit in storage all season. It was too cute!

I had been planning on doing a lot of Christmas DIY this season, but the idea of trashing my tiny apartment to do so did not sound fun to me. Then, I was shopping the Target Christmas decoration sale, and saw something super similar to this garland, but with tassels instead of fabric.  I didn’t have any yarn, but realized that I did have leftover fabric, and twine.  Easy-peasy.
You can obviously do this with any color scheme or theme. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, you could do blues for Hanukkah, or any colors for any sort of holiday.  I think this would even be cute for just daily decorations, especially in a kids room.  Customize it as you please!
DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland
To begin, cut your fabric into inch-wide strips.  You can make them as long as you like, just
keep in mind that after you tie them, they’ll be slightly shorter than half of their original length once they are hanging off the line.
I chose a mixture of 16 inch, 12 inch, 10 inch, and a few tiny bits to use up leftover scraps.  It’s going to be a mix-match no matter what, so as long as it is long enough to tie around and leave two little tails hanging off each side, it’ll fit in just fine.
It’s about 12 strips per every 12 inches, so keep that in mind when choosing the length you want your garland, and how much fabric you think you need.
Example: You want a 6-foot long garland? If 12 strips = 1 foot, then you need enough fabric to have at least 72 pieces of fabric.  12 x 6 = 72. #CraftingMath
This is assuming you want your fabric knots relatively close together, like I have pictured.  They are looped around the string, so you can adjust how far apart they are to the look you like, and to help decrease or increase the length.  Use your judgement here and arrange it the way you think is best.
On your twine, begin tying the fabric strips in a fold-over fashion, alternating colors and sizes.  If you want a more structured look, tie them so all the knots are facing the same direction.  I preferred a mis-matched look, so I tied them randomly.
DIY Super Easy Holiday Fabric Garland
Continue in this fashion until you have your desired length.  Fluff up your garland, and hang it where you please. Add some bows to each end, or hang a few ornaments. I hung a my tiny hand-knitted stocking from the middle of mine. I recommend getting those tiny clear Command strips to hang the garland, as it’s not too heavy. Works perfectly and super cheap without damaging your walls.
And voila, you have a gorgeous and cheap holiday garland.
If you make this, make sure to take a picture and tag me on social media– all my links are to the left! I’d love to see them all!
Got any other super easy DIY holiday decorations? Let me know!

 

signature

Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

What’s the best thing ever to have in the winter? Hot chocolate.  What is even better? Peppermint hot chocolate.  And how can you make that even better? If it was just a tad bit boozy.

Spiked Peppermint Hot Chocolate; A Boozy Cold Weather Cocktail

Thanks to the leftovers in my cabinet from the beautiful lady I am subletting my apartment from, I found myself with all the ingredients to create some delicious spirited hot cocoa.   Not so surprising, it’s super easy but SO delicious.

This is the perfect amount of boozy goodness to warm you up, but not make you afraid of walking a straight line from couch back your kitchen to get more. Though, you could always help it get to that level with just a splash of vodka.  I recommend vanilla-flavors.

I made mine originally with almond milk, and it was tasty; very rich.  I later tried it with regular milk, and it was equally as good.  I think pretty much any milk substitute will work for this.  Probably any sugar substitute as well, I just happen to like raw sugar more.  (I know, I hate me too.)

Enjoy!

 

Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Milk, or milk substitute of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 shot Peppermint Schnapps

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small pot, slowly heat milk. Add cocoa and sugar, stir until combined, then add vanilla extract and Schnapps. Add to giant, winter-themed mug and add a candy cane for garnish!
  2. Makes 1 large mug of delicious, minty (and slightly tingly!) hot chocolate!

signature

Low-Cost Ways to Decorate Your Rented Space

subleasing, subletting, apartment, chicago, rented, low-cost DIY, home decor

If you live in a rental, or a sublet like me, then you know you have only a few options when it comes to decorating.  Not only am I living on someone else’s furniture right now (and someone else’s mattress… gross), but I’m in someone else’s home.  None of my decorations can be permanent, which makes personalizing my space a little tricky.

Luckily, I’m a creative thinker and determined to make my tiny apartment feel like my own little sanctuary, so I’ve found a few ways around it.

1.  Coffee beans.  Add them to anything and everything you can.  A big container of whole coffee beans is rather cheap, they smell good, and add some eclectic funk to your decor.  I’ve used them to hold make-up brushes in old jars, and at the bottom of a candle holder.

fairy lights, rose lights, twinkle lights, DIY, DIY home decor

2.  Get some funky lights.  Before moving, I got Rose Flower String Lights.  Unlit, they are white fabric, so they look pretty against the white curtains that came with my apartment.  And lit, they add a soft yellow glow to the room.  Drape them over some shelves, above your closet, or above your window, like I did.

3.  If your apartment is severely lacking in storage space, make the things that have to sit out look good.  I took some ceramic containers from a thrift shop, then added some $10 chalk board decals from Crate and Barrel to make fun labels.  Saved myself some cabinet space, but also added some decor to my kitchen.

low cost DIY gallery wall, gallery wall, velcro strips, art, homemade art, apartment, DIY home decor

4.  Hang pictures and decorations with leaving a mark on the walls with velcro Command Picture and Frame Hanging Strips. I put up my entire gallery wall using just velcro strips.  Each hung-up piece means something to me, which really makes me feel like this is my home.

5.  Repurpose whatever you can.  I always save glass jars, no matter what.  I turned burned up candle into a wide-mouth coffee-bean-filled glass jar for my make-up brushes, and a old salsa jar holds cotton pads in my bathroom. Adding a shiny spray paint to old items can make them look expensive.  Gold, copper, silver, or whatever on cheap plastic decor can really make a difference.  I did some spray painting myself a a few months ago, and I’m still loving how it makes some of my cheaper finds look more expensive.

Got any other ideas to cheap ways to dress up your rental?  Let me know!

signature