My First Year As A Blogger!

With today being New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the last year of my blog.  After all, December 28th was the 1 year anniversary of “AFriendLikeBen”!  (YAY!)

If you’re following my blog, thank you so much!  It’s such an awesome feeling seeing those little notifications to let me know I have a new follower or that someone liked something I created.  I’ve been clicking around a lot this year and hope you’ve seen a notification or a “like” from me as well.

In 2015, not only am I hoping to add more posts to AFriendLikeBen but I’d like to continue learning and getting involved in the blogging community. I love connecting with new people who are sharing their passion for what they do.

As this year comes to a close, I’m feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn how to use WordPress, for having access to the materials I need to create, and for being able to find some time to do it (among the many things I’m grateful for.)

Keep moving forward, everyone – Love and best wishes for a wonderful 2015,

AFriendLikeBen

“I’m sure they’d think again if they had a friend like Ben.” – “Ben” by Michael Jackson

DIY Matching American Girl PJ’s

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For Christmas, I made my 7yr old niece these pyjama sets!  I consider this a DIY project however, I didn’t make all of it from scratch.  For starters, I bought the sequin skull shirt from Wal-mart, the little pink American Girl t-shirt from Michael’s, and those adorable bunny slippers from Hobby Lobby.  The real DIY parts of this project were the PJ pants and sewing the appliqué on the little t-shirt.

For the pants, I used Butterick pattern B6123.  photo 2I made “girl size 7” pants but ended up having to trim off 2 inches from the outside of each pant leg because they were huge!  I think the American Girl pants are a little wide too…so, I’m not too impressed with the pattern.

The fabric I used is called “Lacy Love” from Joanne Fabrics.

*Sewing tip* For the American Girl size PJ pants, sew the hem of the pants first then sew the outer seams.  The pant leg is too small otherwise to fit around your sewing machine.  I found this quick youtube video tutorial that demonstrates this.

Anyway, my niece loved it!

Happy Holidays!  xo

DIY Bath Bomb Powder in Crafty Mason Jars

image_8Continuing on with my DIY Christmas presents, I thought I’d make some soothing bath bomb powder to hand out to a few lucky people in my family!  Bath bomb powder has the same ingredients as a bath bomb but I just skipped the last step of moulding it into a ball or shape.  The only drawback to this method is that it doesn’t fizz as long in the water.  I like having it as a powder though because it’s quicker to make and whoever is using the powder can ration out how much they would like to use in their bath at one time. There are so many different bath bomb recipes out there that it can be hard to choose which one is best.  The basic bath bomb has two base ingredients:  2 parts baking soda to one part citric acid (that’s what creates the fizz when mixed with water).  The ingredients you choose to add to that base are just bonuses!…however they should be fairly dry so that your mixture doesn’t start to fizz before you’re ready to use it!  You also want to consider that it’s going to be in contact with your body so choose ingredients that are known to be safe and gentle on skin. Below are the ingredients I used:


Ingredients:

(For me, this batch filled 2, 1-pint mason jars about halfway.)  photo-3

1 Cup baking soda

1/2 cup Citric Acid (this was hard to find…I got it at a natural foods store but when I wanted more I started ordering it off of Amazon.com  The brand I like is “Now”)

1 Tb. Epsom salts

1 tsp Shea Butter

1 1/2 Tb. Sweet almond oil (you could use sunflower, apricot or a “carrier oil” as some people call them)

20-30 drips of essential oil for scent (I only used 20 drops of Sweet Orange Oil from “Eden’s Garden” because I heard that citrus oils can irritate sensitive skin.  This one smells like orange peels…can’t decide if that’s a good or bad thing but it’s good for now)

Dried rose petals.  (I bought them online at Amazon.com from “aworldofpleanty”)

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.  I used a whisk.


 Now for the cute packaging:

Firstly, I bought some clearance Christmas fabric from Joanne Fabrics and traced the lid piece of the mason jar on it.  I pinned a few layers of fabric together to cut out 4 circles at a time.   I placed the fabric circles on the lid before screwing on the band.  Quick and cute!

To make the gift tags, I bought these craft gift tags at Michaels and used an ink pad and stamps that I already had to add detail.

What I didn’t have was one of those clear acrylic stamp blocks you’re supposed use with this type of clear stamp so I had to be creative and use the metal top of the mason jar.  I got a bit of ink on my finger nails but, meh…

I wanted a quote that went with Christmas and baths so I chose “…and to all a good night” (the last line of “T’was The Night Before Christmas.”) On the back of the tags I wrote out the ingredients used.  Oh…and I tied them on the jar with some silver elastic I had. image_6image_7 Hopefully after the holidays we can all get a chance to relax in the tub…with some homemade bath bomb powder of course! Happy Holidays! xo

Felt n’ Fabric memory game

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As you know, Christmas is coming and this year I wanted to do a few DIY projects for gifts.  I saw this memory game on PurlBee.com and thought I’d try it for my 1.5 year old niece!

I got the pack of coordinating fabric on sale at Joanne Fabrics and purchased a 1/2 yard of purple felt to go with it.  I cut the felt into 3 inch squares and cut the fabric into 2.5 inch squares.

I found using “new sew” glue helped secure the fabric in place on the felt square before doing a zig-zag stitch around the edge of it.image_4

After I sewed on the backing, I used pinking shears to create the ravioli edge on each square.  (I found it easier to do this step after the squares were sewn together than before.)

Since I had a lot of leftover fabric, I made a simple lined bag to put the pieces in.  This bag ended up being a little too large for the pieces I created but it’s still cute!  (I didn’t follow a pattern but used the same technique that Christie used for her easy diaper bag tutorial on lemon squeezy home.)

I think my niece will like it!

Christmas Card Creations

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This year I thought I’d create our own Christmas Cards to send out and I love how they turned out.  I don’t call myself an visual artist but I gained a lot of confidence in my doodling skills after teaching grade 2.  It didn’t matter what I came up with, those kids loved everything I drew!  I’ve always liked using Pinterest to find inspiration and ideas.

The secret, I believe, is using the right tools.  When creating these little cards, I chose to use “Micron Pens” which are black markers with various sizes of tips on them.  I also used fine tip red and green sharpies for the little bit of colour. Sakura-Pigma-Micron-6-Nib-Sizes-and-Lines-1-2

Being able to use various thicknesses with the lines created interesting depth and artistry…ok I’ll stop pretending…I was just trying to speak like an artist.  Someone who knows what they’re talking about however is an artist named, Joanne Fink (www.zenspirations.com).  She has amazing tips and videos on how to use these Micron pens effectively.  I used her techniques when doing my cursive writing.

To jazz up the envelopes I picked up these neat stamps on sale at Michael’s.  With a Christmas themed postage stamp they looked really festive and cute! image-2

So go out, grab a pack of micron pens and surprise yourself!  Happy Holidays! xo