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Friday, September 23, 2016

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

On my list of things to make this weekend as the temperatures dip outside and rain is in the forecast.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins Recipe
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
I think the house is going to smell positively wonderful while these are in the oven, don't you?

You can get the recipe and directions for these delicious muffins here: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


My Mom has a real knack for making beautiful terrariums, which inspired my daughter to try her hand at it. The result was a table full of terrariums.

Mom made a good suggestion in buying bigger pots of your succulents and then breaking them into smaller pieces for smaller terrariums. It is much more cost effective if you plan on creating a whole bunch like my daughter did.

It started out with this cute small one.

And she was having so much fun, she kept going.

Then we looked through my stash of items to see what I had she use to make a few more, especially one for me.

 I had this large vase and she gave me something that is supposedly "hard to kill". I have a real green thumb for outdoor plants but tend to let my indoor plants die due to lack of water :(

She was just giddy after making these and thought it was so much fun!You can find out more on how to make your own terrarium at Real Simple. This link also shares a step-by-step video guide on how to make your own. Quite simple, but if you have an amazing daughter like I do, you can sweet talk her into making one for you :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

5 Best Places to Buy Sewing Supplies for Your Business

Creative Chics has been in business since 2009. That has given us ample opportunity to buy more "stuff" than any of us care to admit. As with any business, once you start selling enough volume, you look for ways to reduce your material costs in order to increase your profits.

Most wholesale companies have minimum purchase requirements, which can make it tricky for small start-up businesses. Before we were eligible (aka selling enough aprons) for wholesale accounts, we purchased our materials at the typical Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, and local quilt shops at premium fabric pricing!

Thankfully our business has taken off and we are now able to leverage having wholesale accounts. Our top 5 vendors that we highly recommend are:

FABRIC: Checker's Distributors is our "go to" place for fabric. They carry most major quilting manufacturer's lines. The major exception is Moda which is a bummer as I think their fabric is gorgeous.

Pros: Great pricing on bolts, ability to preorder new lines, incredibly fast shipping, great customer service. They continue to add more fabric manufacturers to their offering as well with Riley Blake being the newest to join the Checker's family. It is also easy to pick up fabrics for as little as $3.95/yard pricing in their sale section which is always being refreshed.

Cons: You must buy in bolts so if you are searching for small quantities of fabrics, this is not the answer for you.

FABRIC: Riley Blake Designs

Pros: Nice selection of basic prints (solids, dots, stripes) as well as new lines being introduced all the time. The fabric quality is quite nice. Fast shipping and great customer service. When fabric lines are being discontinued, you can pick up bolts at a great discounted price.

Cons: Their website is terribly cumbersome to navigate and review fabrics. With a new web site design just released it has improved but still has room for improvement. Bolt pricing only.


Pros: If you have patience and time and savvy at knowing how to search for what you are looking for, it is a great way to shop around for small quantities of premium fabrics at great prices. When looking for out of print fabrics that I need just a little bit more of to complete my project, I can find it through one of the smaller quilt shops. Quilt shops also neatly fold and ship fabric so it arrives ready to use.

Cons: Many fabric shops label their fabrics on "sale" even though the price is still in the $10-12 yard range. Some of the older quilt shops operate out of their home and fabrics can have a "musty" smell to them when they arrive. I've only experienced this at a few shops though. Shipping is not always timely and in many of the smaller shops they do not provide shipping/tracking details for your package.

THREAD: Wawak Sewing Supplies is our vendor of choice for Gutermann all purpose thread.

Pros: Large selection of thread colors, free shipping for orders over $100, and the best price on spools of 1,097 yards at less than $2.50 per spool. They also sell a wide variety of other sewing items such as elastic, zippers, needles and a wide array of sewing notions and supplies.

Cons: At $2.50 per spool, you have to purchase a lot of thread to receive free shipping :)

BIAS TAPE: J. Hittle Sewing is a family owned and operated business located in the Louisville, Kentucky. We use a lot of bias tape on our aprons and they provide a great selection at great prices.

Pros: You can purchase in 10 yard for $4 or 100 yard rolls for $32, or premium color 145 yard rolls for $60, the price is hard to beat. They also sell Wrights bias tape in all sizes in packages at better prices than any of the big chain fabric stores. Free shipping on orders over $125.00 in the USA. Great customer service.

Cons: Would like to see more color selections in the 100-145 yard rolls.

And there you have it! If you have resources you'd like to share, send the info to us for inclusion in a future article!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Tips for Buying Bar Stools

With our new home, we needed to buy a new set of bar stools. First off our bar height was different than our last house. Second, after owning a few sets of bar stools, I've learned a few things along the way about what I like and don't like.

Here are some samples of bar stools I really liked but ultimately didn't meet my criteria.
Kirkland's French Country - fabric with nail head trim - $120 each 

Hillsdale - leather top with nail head trim - $130 each

Christopher Knight - fabric backed with nail head trim - $160 for 2

Hillsdale Vetrina backless with nail head trim - $193 each
So what was my criteria?

  1. Leather or pleather seats (for easy wipe up of spots and spills and grand children's sticky fingers) preferably in white or ivory.
  2. Metal (or indestructible) leg bars so they wouldn't get scratched up with shoes.
  3. Backless so they could slide under the bar and out of the way.
  4. Swivel top for ease of getting in and out without dragging them across the wood floors scratching the floors up.
  5. Not too modern, not too old fashioned or french country.
  6. Decent seat size to fit most people's bums.
  7. My budget was no more than $120 a bar stool if at all possible.
  8. Nail head trim -- just because I LOVE the look and really wanted it!

I ended up purchasing from Amazon Prime (free shipping) for $100 per bar stool, nail head trim, chrome shoe bars and pleather seats. Some basic assembly was required and it helped to have Robert's set of hands to help, but wasn't that difficult, especially after we put together the first one.

Impacterra Yeri Backless Walnut Veneer with Chrome & Ivory Seating - $100 each 
I have never ordered furniture online before and was a bit hesitant, but I have no problem doing my research and looking on multiple web sites to search for customer reviews on the product. This one was rated very high and I would say the reviews were spot on. I'm very pleased with my purchase, both with the quality of the product and the price I paid. I would definitely buy again.

The key to getting what you want for your own home is to list out what the most important features are for you and your style of living with your family.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to Refinish a Wood Desk with Gel Stain

We've finished the move and now starts the total nirvana of decorating the place to make it feel like home. I love this part! Like I really, really love this part!

First up is my poor, beat up and often abused work desk that I use for shipping, photo editing, and about every other computer task you can think of. It came from my father-in-law when he down sized several years ago. A solid work desk that is just so functional and sturdy, it deserved a little attention to give it a needed face lift.

Desk Before Staining

I discovered General Finishes gel stain a few years ago. I love this stuff, it is amazing and makes furniture refinishing so much easier and a lot less messier than traditional stain.

First the furniture needs the handles and drawers removed, followed by a light sanding (thanks to my husband for doing this job for me :). Use Krud Kutter to remove the dust; a necessary task before you start staining. (By the way, this stuff is amazing at cleaning up all kinds of messes!)

Next put on a latex glove (you will thank me for this by not having brown stained hands later), followed by an old sock. It's not pretty but it lets your hands do all the work of staining.

Desk after first coat of gel stain

Dip that pretty sock hand into the stain and start applying with long strokes to the surface of the wood, thoroughly and evenly covering it with the stain. It's really that simple. In the case of my desk, I plan on applying more than 1 coat so this needs to dry for 24 hours and then the 2nd coat gets applied.

Desk after staining

Don't forget the drawer fronts and all sides of the desk. Once I've placed the final coat of stain on it, I will put a couple coats of water based polyurethane finish on it so it handles the daily wear better.

Stained desk drawers

My last decision is what kind of new handles to put on the desk. Help me decide, which would you pick?

Desk cabinet pulls

Desk cabinet pulls
I plan on placing the desk into a nook in my sewing room and trimming it out so it looks built in. More pictures to come once it is completely done and installed. In the meantime my computer is sitting on a 4 foot folding table, which is why this was the first project on my list!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Planning The Guest Bedroom

My son is grown and on his own, but he lives out of town and comes to visit several times a year. So of course I need a nice comfy place for him to stay when he is here.

This is what I'm working on in the new home for the guest bedroom, masculine, cozy and warm. What do you think? Feedback on features you would add?

The bedding is from Overstock.com, the painting from Kirkland's, the chair from Joss & Main, the mirror I haven't sourced yet but I will :) and the dresser is one I already have that just needs refinished to this beautiful example I found on Pinterest. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Handmade Wedding Gifts

I don't get invited to quite as many weddings as I did when I was younger. However, when I do, I really like to make something that is handmade for the new couple. I know they will get all of the expected items on their registry, so I aim for something unique that they couldn't find elsewhere.

A few years ago I made these custom pillow cases for Anne & Noah. They are made of a high count cotton fabric with a classic edging. But the embroidered cats were what hooked me on this design. I just hope they weren't dog people :)

handmade pillow case project
Handmade Pillow Cases as Wedding Gifts
If you have interest in making some pillowcases, I've included a link to a brilliant
pillow case tutorial below from the blog "Make It & Love It".

pillow case tutorial

In case you aren't crafty but still want to buy wedding gifts that are handcrafted and unique,
I've included some suggestions below.

Personalized Cheese Board wedding gift
Monogram or Initialized Cheese Board by Lovingly Ours
Love this personalized cheese board with serving utensils.
Add a bottle of wine and you have a personalized gift that the new couple will love.

Wedding Gift Couples Coffee Mug
Couples Mugs by ForeverYoungCo
This would make a really fun couples gift.

Personalized Cutting Board Wedding Gift
Personalized Cutting Board by NomadGift
My daughter received one of these personalized cutting boards for her wedding and it is so beautifully made and a lifetime keepsake that they will actually use.

New Couple Christmas Ornaments
New Couple Christmas Ornaments by HappyYouHappyMe
This will ensure the new couple's Christmas tree won't look bare that first year.
Little Box of Date Nights
Little Box of Date Nights by SweetBellaStationery
I love this idea! Maybe I should get it for me and my husband even though we've been married 25 years! This takes some of the work out of coming up with date night ideas.

And there you have it, a list of really unique handmade gift items for the newlyweds.