February 22, 2018

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! Last Minute Gifts for Your Girls

Christmas is a few short days away! If you’re in need of some easy, inexpensive, handmade gifts for the girls in your life – whether little or all grown-up! – then you’ve come to the right place! This round-up includes nine awesome gifts that any girl would love to get!

*Note: You can find all nine ideas on our “Saturdays with Shandy” board on Pinterest!

Did someone say scrapbook paper?!?!

paper crafts

  1. The adorable DIY Dry Erase Board from Leah Marie V is so cute, and so useful! The shabby chic DIY flowers give it an extra feminine touch. You can use this for a hundred different things, and customize it with scrapbook paper that fits the style of the person you’re creating it for. This would be great to leave notes for your family, or to jot down what you need to pick up at the grocery store!
  2. The Scrapbook Clipboard from KaeliElyse would be a great gift for any girl on your list, and would come in handy on a daily basis! Just like the dry erase board, you can customize this with your choice of scrapbook paper!
  3. Aren’t these pens super fun? I found them at Chocolate on My Cranium! You can make these to match the clipboard! Or make all three a matching set! What a great gift that would be!

What girl doesn’t love hair accessories and nail polish?!


  1. This Headband Organizer from Lyssa Beth (tutorial found at Make It My Own) would be great for any girl with a love of hair accessories! The best part? You can put all kinds of barrettes, ponytail holders, bobby pins, and clips in the inside! I am definitely making this for my daughter!
  2. How cute is this play on words?! For Your Mistle Toes! Such a creative idea from Carissa Miss, and she has a free printable!
  3. Make those ugly bobby pins cute with this tutorial from Colour Me Everywhere! A simple, inexpensive, and fantastic stocking stuffer!

And the last three fabulous gift ideas…

gift ideas

  1. How amazing are these Coffee Cozies from The Sitting Tree?! I can think of at least a dozen people I could give these to, and I know they would be LOVED! I’m going to knit one for myself, too!
  2. Shhhh! Don’t tell my daughter, but she’s getting one of these Friendship Bracelet Kits from Tater Tots and Jello for Christmas! I loved making friendship bracelets as a kid, and now my daughter loves them, too!
  3. I received a personalized hand sanitizer bottle for Christmas one year, and I absolutely loved it! I can tell you these would be a big hit with your child’s teacher! You can also use soap bottles! Either way, put a classy monogram inside, and this would be a welcome gift for anyone’s home! Be sure to check out the tutorial at The Idea Room!

I have to go and get busy making all of these wonderful handmade gifts (and a few for myself!) I hope you found some of these ideas to be excellent as well! There’s nothing like handmade for the holidays! Thanks for joining us for Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! It’s been a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to get started on our next series!

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, and may you be blessed abundantly in the new year!

Love & {Christmas} Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! Prim Christmas Stitcheries

Hand embroidery, particularly primitive hand stitching,  is one of the easiest craft projects there are. It’s very forgiving, and is meant to be imperfect. It’s also very rewarding, because in a very short time, you can create something beautiful for your home, or to give as a gift. You can really take creative license with hand embroidery, and there are many different styles you can create… everything from modern to vintage to primitive designs (like we’re doing today!) and anything from pictures to quotes to stitching names and words in your own handwriting!

Believe me when I tell you that even someone who has no craft experience can do this! I wasn’t taught any specific technique when venturing into prim stitcheries, but instead taught myself. I saw a pricey stitchery in a catalog, looked at it and thought, “I can do this!” I went to the craft store and bought some inexpensive materials, then I just sat down and started stitching – knotted the end of the embroidery floss and began running the threaded needle under and over until my project was complete!

I like to put my stitcheries in frames when complete. I buy inexpensive black picture frames, and use sandpaper to distress them. Usually, I remove the glass so the fabric is exposed (like the one on the left) but there is one stitchery I made (shown on the right) where I created a “photo mat” by folding the muslin and tea-staining the middle darker than the border.


I also create “labels” to affix to stackable boxes (another project I like to do!) or to attach as tags on gifts.


At Christmastime, I display many stitcheries… ornaments, table runners, magnets, framed pieces…  there’s nothing like a handmade Christmas!

have yourself a merry little christmas

I hope this has given you some ideas of your own! Or maybe you’ve seen something here you’d like to create! Start with something simple if you’ve never made a stitchery before.

{Last week, we learned how to make “tea-stained” fabric in preparation for this week’s project. If you missed it, you can find the tutorial HERE.}

Round up the following supplies:

  • muslin
  • embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle
  • embroidery hoop
  • scissors
  • sharpened pencil

Basic directions:

  1. To get started, lightly sketch your design onto the muslin with the pencil. You’ll be stitching over the pencil marks, so don’t worry that they’ll show.
  2. Then, place the fabric into the embroidery hoop so that the area where you are starting is in the middle of the hoop and taut.
  3. Thread the color of embroidery floss you’re working with first through your needle and knot it at the end.
  4. Starting on the backside of your fabric, use simple back stitching to complete your project. (Our very own Shauna did a post on embroidery a while back, and shared THIS picture with us to give us a visual on how to back-stitch. You come up from underneath the fabric on the odd numbers, and go back down through the top on the even numbers. Piece of cake!) *See notes below.
  5. When complete, or to change colors, knot your embroidery floss (which must now be on the back of your fabric) and cut off the ends.
  • Note: Space evenly and pull gently, but not allowing the embroidery floss to be loose… you want it to be snug on the fabric, but not so tight that it’s wrinkling or puckering the fabric.
  • Note: On curved lines, you may need to make the stitches a bit smaller so the curve forms nicely.

Happy stitching!

Love & Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!

Our next Women’s Online Bible Study,

“Crazy Love,” by Francis Chan,

begins January 6, 2013.

To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and follow the instructions. You will also be given a link to where you can purchase the book for this Bible study. We’re looking forward to learning about this “Crazy Love” with you!

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! “Tea-Stained” Fabric

This week and next is a two-part project. This week I am teaching you how to make the  “tea-stained” fabric that you will need for next week’s Prim Christmas Stitcheries. This is one of my favorite craft projects to do. It’s easy, smells wonderful for years, and looks beautiful.


What You Will Need:

  • muslin fabric (I dye 1 yard at a time)
  • cheap instant coffee
  • cheap imitation vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • large pot
  • large cookie sheet


  1. Fill a large pot with water (approx. 5 cups) and heat on the stove to boiling.
  2. Remove from heat and add 1/3 c. vanilla extract, 2 cups of instant coffee, and 1/4 c. cinnamon to the water.
  3. Put the fabric in the pot and let sit for an hour.
  4. If you want a “grubbier” textured fabric, you can rub cinnamon directly into the fabric as well, after you take it out of the pot.
  5. Gently wring out, then hang to dry, or place fabric on a large cookie sheet and bake on low heat (200 degrees F) for a few minutes. You will need to stand by and watch the fabric so it doesn’t burn. This is my preferred method, and it makes for a slightly stiffer fabric as well.


  • You can make more stained fabric with the remaining mixture, or put it in a container and refrigerate to reuse later.
  • This fabric is wonderful for all sorts of craft projects, especially for those like me who love primitive country decor.
  • I buy my coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla at dollar stores. No need to spend money on good ingredients!
  • I never pay full price for fabric! The popular craft stores have apps with 40% off coupons!
  • I also dye embroidery floss to give it a muted or aged look, and just put it on a plate to dry. Works well for lace, too!
  • Use for craft fabric only, and not for garments, as it will at least partly wash out.
  • I once dyed a shower curtain in the bathtub using the mixture, leaving it in for a few hours, and it came out beautifully. I just hung it to dry! When it came time to wash it, I washed it in COLD water, and it preserved some (but not all) color.

This opens up a whole new world of crafting. Have fun with it! The possibilities are endless!

Love & Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments


I have such fun decorating our family’s Christmas trees. Yes, TREES. Plural. We have our big tree that is beautifully decorated in our front room, and we have two smaller trees… a Norwegian and Swedish tree in our dining room, and our kitchen tree, decorated with miniature kitchen utensils and cinnamon applesauce ornaments – which I am going to teach you how to make today! They are very simple, last for years, and make the house smell wonderful! And who doesn’t love a spicy aroma wafting from the kitchen this time of year? It just shouts Christmas! By the way, kids of all ages will have fun joining you in the kitchen to make these, so let them help, and make some memories together!


Here’s what you may need to pick up at the store if you don’t have them on hand:

Applesauce. Cinnamon. Cookie Cutters. Material Scraps or Twine.

Easy, right? Let’s get started!

Directions,  adapted from McCormick.com:

  • Preheat oven to 200° F.
  • In a bowl, mix together 3/4 c. applesauce and 1 cup + 3 T. cinnamon until well incorporated and smooth.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on a cutting board, and roll out dough to 1/3″ thickness.
  • Cut out with small cookie cutters.
  • Carefully place cut outs on an unprepared cookie sheet.
  • Using a straw, poke a hole at the top of each ornament, as shown in the picture at the top.
  • Bake in oven for 2-1/2 hours, until hard. I kept mine in for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Cut or tear strips of muslin, homespun, or twine for each ornament. I used coffee-stained muslin. Mmmm, smells delicious!
  • Place a strip through the hole of each ornament and knot at the top.
  • Hang on tree!
  • These will last for years if stored carefully in an airtight container!
  • Note: even though these are made with just applesauce and cinnamon, they are not edible. Trust me 😉

Here is a picture of my kitchen tree. It’s a work in progress… needs primitive grungy lights, another strand of red beads, and a few more handmade ornaments yet, but I wanted to give you a peek at what I do with my applesauce cinnamon ornaments!

kitchen tree

Love & {Christmas} Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! All That Glitters…

I just LOVE glitter. I love the way it sparkles, and I especially love the way it shimmers in the light. And Christmas lights? Even better! I found three fun and simple Christmas crafts that are not only beautiful, but they won’t break the bank either! Time to get our glitter on, girls!

*Note: You can find all three projects pinned on our “Saturdays with Shandy” board on Pinterest!

Shopping list:

  • Glitter in your choice of colors (I love the Martha Stewart glitter from Michael’s!)
  • Clear ornaments
  • Pledge Floor Care Finish
  • Faux fruit (I like using all pears as shown in the picture. Check your local dollar store!)
  • Glue
  • Small brush to apply glue
  • Clothespins
  • Double-stick tape

You’ll also need:

  • Scissors
  • Workspace covered with newspaper

Ornaments – You can find the tutorial at Plum Adorable. I will be making several of these! They would make wonderful gifts as well!

Fruit – You can see the picture at Iowa Girl Eats. This is a very easy craft. Simply brush with glue, sprinkle with glitter, and let dry! Then display them in a bowl or basket, and you have a classy centerpiece! Mine are going to be done in a champagne colored glitter. Very classy, indeed!

Clothespins – You can find the tutorial at Posh Little Designs. Use these to hang Christmas cards from garland on a mantel or bannister, or from ribbon or twine. I’ll be using these (all in gold!) to hang the cards I get this year from the garland on our bannister. It’s going to be beautiful!

When do you start decorating for Christmas? I always get my decorating done the day after Thanksgiving, and everything stays up until the end of January. What colors will you be using for your glittery projects? I’d love to see how they turn out, so if you belong to our facebook group, feel free to share pictures of your creations with us!

Love & Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! Distressed Wooden Sign

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If you joined us during our last six weeks, your house is sparkling clean and organized! The hard work is behind us; now it’s time to have fun! For the next five weeks, we will meet here every Saturday for tutorials on homemade Christmas gifts, crafts, and decorating! Turn up the Christmas music, and let’s get started!

This week, we are making distressed wooden signs. I’ve been making signs for years, and they are wildly popular! You can make them in any size and color you want, and with any name or quote you’d like! The versatility makes them not only beautiful decor, but wonderful gifts as well… and inexpensive, too!


  • wood (reclaimed wood, pallets, or pre-cut wood from a home improvement store)
  • base color paint (color of your choice) I used a barn red acrylic paint from the craft store. Only $1.19, yay!
  • lettering paint (color of your choice) I used black acrylic paint from the craft store.
  • paint brush
  • stencil sponge (spouncer)
  • paper plates
  • letter stencils
  • fine grit sandpaper
  • sawtooth picture hangers (1 or 2 depending on size of sign. Nails are included.)
  • hammer
  • hair dryer
  • newspaper or paper bags


  1. Put your piece of wood on top of newspaper to protect your table. Make sure it is free of dust and DRY. If it’s too rough, you will need to sand it down a bit, and then wipe away the dust.
  2. Shake your base color paint and squirt a good amount on a paper plate (you may want to double up the plates.)
  3. Using a dry paint brush, paint the top and sides of the sign. The key is thin layers! You don’t want drips or dollops.
  4. Allow to dry. I’m impatient, so I use a hairdryer on low to dry the paint. It only takes a minute or two this way.
  5. Paint a second thin coat on the sign, and dry.
  6. Lay out your stencils… planning is important! You don’t want to run out of room with a letter or two to go! For this reason, it’s good to know what you want your sign to say BEFORE you buy your wood.
  7. Shake your lettering paint and squirt a small amount on a new paper plate.
  8. Press your spouncer in the paint, then press it down on a clean part of the plate. Again, you don’t want to put too much paint on your sign, and you don’t want your paint to seep under the stencil.
  9. Place your stencil on the wood, and holding it perfectly still, in an up and down motion, use your spouncer to paint each letter. You will need to use the hair dryer to dry each letter before moving on to the next one, and when removing your stencil from the wet paint, carefully lift it UP. Do not slide it off.
  10. Continue stenciling your letters until your name or phrase is complete.
  11. When the sign is completely dry, take the fine grit sandpaper to distress the sign, especially the edges and at random spots on the front of the sign. The goal is to make it look aged and the letters somewhat faded.
  12. Using a soft cloth, remove any trace of dust from the sign, then nail the picture hangers onto the back of the sign… either one in the middle, or one on each end. Your sign is now ready to hang, or to give away as a gift!

*Not for outdoor use.

Love and Blessings,


You can visit Shandy’s personal blog at Aprons-n-Pearls.blogspot.com

Saturdays with Shandy: 6 Weeks to Make Your Home Shine for the Holidays! Week Six

Congratulations! You made it to week six, and by Friday your home will be clean, organized, and ready for the holidays! This week we are organizing the office/craft room, and cleaning the laundry room. You’ll also have two days to work on any additional spaces that need cleaning, and to catch up on anything you may have missed.

I’m so excited about getting started, we’re going to get right to it! But first, I just want to quickly thank you for following us these last six weeks, and let you know what we’ll be doing in the upcoming weeks… You are invited to join us for our next series starting next Saturday – “Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition!” That’s right – on to the fun stuff! Decorating ideas and handmade gifts is what we’re focusing on for the four weeks before Christmas. I hope you will join us!

*Don’t forget to share your pictures with us in our Facebook group today! And if you have any questions, or need advice on how to handle a cleaning or organizational problem you have, today is the day! Just ask away in the comment section below!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Let’s pray:
Lord, I just want to thank You for this time we’ve had together the last several weeks. It’s been a blessing to me, and I pray it’s been a blessing to these awesome ladies and their families. We thank You for all that You’ve given us. Whether we have a little, or a lot, it’s all in thanks to You. Be with our families as we gather for Thanksgiving, Lord. Bless these wonderful women with safe travels and happy memories. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your assignment:

***For some fantastic cleaning and organization ideas, go to our “Saturdays with Shandy” board on Pinterest! You’ll find all kinds of tips relevant to this week’s assignments. http://pinterest.com/gchministries/saturdays-with-shandy/


Today & Monday – If Mt. Washmore has formed in your laundry room, today is the day to catch up. Wash, dry, fold or hang, put away, and repeat until Washmore is no more. Then, it’s time to clean, clean, clean! Laundry rooms can quickly become dusty, cluttered messes if you don’t take care of them. Toss old detergent and fabric softener containers, and clear away any clutter. I like everything to look pretty, so I use baskets to hide unpretty things and a glass container for my homemade detergent. I’m so blessed to have my grandma’s big wicker laundry basket, as well. It makes doing laundry more pleasant. Special even.

Let’s move on to the deep cleaning. By now, you are a pro at this! You know the drill… wiping down shelves, walls, light fixtures, etc. Just save the floor for last, because I have a couple projects for you to do first… cleaning your washer and dryer. And I’m willing to bet you know my next words. That’s right! Check out our Saturdays with Shandy Pinterest board for the how-to. You’re so smart!

All done? Ok, NOW you can clean the baseboard and floors. P.S. That homemade laundry detergent I mentioned… I will be blogging about it on my personal blog at the end of next week. Check it out! I will never go back to my old favorite. It’s that awesome.

Tuesday & Wednesday – We are deep cleaning the craft room and/or office today, just as we’ve done the last five weeks in the other rooms of our homes. And it’s time to get our paper and craft clutter supplies under control.

Paper is my downfall. I am a recovering paper hoarder, really. Fortunately, when I moved last month, I recycled mountains of papers and magazines that I told myself I would use someday. But it created more problems than it was worth. Organization became more important than the stacks of craft magazines, project and decorating ideas, and receipts from years ago. Learning to file things right away, in the right place, and knowing how to discern what to keep and what to throw away is the first step. Check our Pinterest board on Tuesday for some awesome solutions to your paper dilemma! I will have what I’ve found to be the best tips on there.

We also have some ideas for you now about how to organize your craft room. I’ve gone from having bags full of yarn in the closet, to having them organized by color on a shelf. Cute and functional! The key to any kind of organization is, “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Use baskets and decorative boxes whenever you can, and your home will not only be organized, but beautiful, too.

Thursday & Friday – Catch up on anything else you haven’t completed, then do a happy dance! You did it! You made your home SHINE for the holidays! Enjoy your weekend!



You can visit Shandy’s personal blog at: http://aprons-n-pearls.blogspot.com