Archive of ‘Making Things’ category

Crochet Coasters

Crochet Coasters Photo by Jessica TorresI needed something fun to hold my drinks on my desk – something prettier than the paper towel that I’ve been using – so I whipped up these fun crochet coasters last week.  They are quick and easy to make, just a solid granny square, which I edged in a border of single crochet.  You can find patterns for solid granny squares all over the internets … here’s one, here’s another, and one more.  I picked some fun, springy colors for my coasters, and stitched them up while watching TV the other night.  The yarn on these is 100% cotton, to absorb those cold drips running down the side of my glass on warm spring days.  I love quickie projects like this – very simple and quick, but adds a bit of color and cheer to my desk.

Here they are in action:

Crochet Coaster Stock Photo

And a side note, you all know how I take pictures of all the things – so these pictures are available to license on Creative Market – here and here.

Easy Winter Dinner – Taco Soup in the Slow Cooker

Quick and Easy Slow Cooker Taco Soup RecipeWe make this taco soup recipe all the time, it’s huge family favorite.  And it’s super easy to throw together, with lots of variations.  It’s delicious and quick slow cooker recipe for cold winter evenings!

For the Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 14 oz can black beans, undrained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • taco seasoning to taste
  • water, to taste

For Serving

  • grated cheddar cheese
  • tortilla chips

Brown ground beef or turkey with onions, drain if needed.  Combine all soup ingredients in slow cooker, cook on low 6 hours.  Serve with grated cheese on top and tortilla chips.

Again, lots of options with this soup – plus it’s so easy, and basically impossible to mess up, which is probably why it’s a favorite in our house.  We like quick, easy, and hard to mess up.

These recipe is easily substituted based on what you have in the pantry.  Omit the meat to make it vegetarian.  Or use chicken, or really any leftover meat you have on hand.  I’ve thrown in leftover rotisserie chicken, leftover taco meat, shredded chicken, ground turkey, and all have turned out great. Use diced tomatoes with green chiles or mexican seasoning for added flavor.  My husband loves cumin, so he adds extra cumin and garlic (on top of the taco seasoning) when he makes it.  If we don’t have tomato sauce, I’ll throw in some tomato paste instead, or even just another small can of diced tomatoes.  If we are out of onion, I’ll add minced dried onion or just skip it completely.

This is a good recipe to sneak in extra veggies for your family.  We add an undrained can of corn occasionally, or chopped bell peppers, and I’ve even thrown in some chopped spinach to sneak extra vitamins into my kids diet.

No need to drain any of the cans of beans/corn, just dump them all into the slow cooker, juice and all.  Then just eyeball the amount of water, to make it more or less soupy.  Top with cheese, cilantro, sour cream, salsa …I personally prefer a heaping mound of cheddar cheese and then I eat it with tortilla chips.

**And of course, since I take pictures of everything, this soup photo is available to license from Creative Market.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark

Looking for a fun, easy Valentine’s project to whip up in the next few weeks?  Here’s a super simple heart origami bookmark to make for your sweetie.  Tuck a few in a valentine for your book-loving significant other.  There are lots of tutorials online for these (and they are a pretty darn easy origami project), but I took some step-by-step photos to help you see how I made these.

Cut a piece of origami or scrapbook paper in half to make a rectangle.  I used a piece of origami paper for the ones here that was about 5 x 5 – so cut in half it was about 5 x 2.5 inches.

Fold it in half lengthwise.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 1

Fold it in half width-wise, then unfold, leaving a crease to mark the center.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 2

Turn the folded paper so the crease is at the bottom.  Fold one side up so that the edge of the paper lines up with the center crease.  Repeat on the other half.  You’ll have a little folded arrow shaped thingy.  (“thingy” – very professional, technical crafting terminology) I used my crochet hook to roll over and really flatten all the folds.  I’m pretty sure there are fancy official origami folding tools for this kind of stuff, but I just used what was handy in my craft room.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 3

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 4

Turn the folded arrow thingy over, so you can see a little triangle pocket on the bottom of the arrow.  Fold the top edges down about a third of the way.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 5

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 6

Last, fold the top corners down to make the heart shape.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 7

When you turn it over, you see a cute little heart.  Slip it over the corner of a book to mark your place.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 8

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - 9

You can make these in more masculine colors if you’re sweetheart is not a lover of pink and purple.

Simple Heart Origami Bookmark - Black Stars

Or you can string them together to make a cute little Valentine’s Day banner.

Simple Heart Origami Banner

ps:  I added some of these origami stock photos to my Arts & Crafts collection on creative market, in case you are interested in licensing these images.

Crochet Blanket in Progress

Purple Ripple Crochet Blanket with Hook

I’ve been cozied up inside, working on this lovely, purple-y striped ripple crochet blanket for my new baby niece who is due to be born any day now.  Well, technically she’s a bit overdue now, I suppose, as her due date was Thursday.  Either way, she’s going to arrive into the world in the next few days, and one of the best ways to spend a cold winter weekend is a crochet marathon snuggled under a blanket.  I’m hoping to get it finished before she gets here (my family laughed hysterically when I told them this goal, as I have a bit of a reputation for unfinished crochet projects).

The pattern is the sharp chevron pattern from this book.  Yarn is Sheep-ish in plum(ish) and white, and wool-ease in blush heather.

Completed blanket pictures (hopefully wrapped around a new, tiny baby!) to come in the next couple of days!

Purple Lavender Crochet Blanket

ps:  I added some of these crochet stock photos to my Arts & Crafts collection on creative market, for those that might be interested in licensing.  

Simple 4th of July Decor Idea

Simple 4th of July Decor with Washi Tape

Here is a fun idea for 4th of July decor for your party or barbecue … washi tape cookie cutter star ornaments!  I found this idea for Christmas ornaments on Pinterest, which led me here … (Sidebar:  Have I mentioned lately how much I adore Pinterest?  Seriously, how did I live without it?  I love it with all the heart and kissey face emoji in the world.) Anyways, I saw these star ornaments at my local party store on sale and thought they’d be perfect to decorate for a festive Independence Day buffet table or cocktail station.

You simply take washi tape and wrap the ornament as neatly as you can, and then hang with fun baker’s twine!  I chose red, white, and blue washi tape to keep to the 4th of July theme, and it took about five minutes!  Super cute and super simple 4th of July decor.

You can also see the washi tape bunting I made in the top photo.  I love washi tape almost as much as I love Pinterest.  In fact, I follow the washi tape topic on Pinterest.

If you make any of these cute ornaments, be sure and share your project!  I love seeing other’s craftiness.

Have a cool and fun holiday weekend, friends!

Shameless plug:  You can purchase these 4th of July decor photos to use on your own blog, website, or creative project here on Creative Market.

~Jessica