Thinking Out Loud

I wasn’t injured, but I am forever scarred

As I watch the coverage of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, I am reminded of a narrow escape I experienced over 21 years ago. I, along with my aunt and several cousins, was at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta before the bomb went off.

The evening of July 26, 1996 started out as a small family gathering. With family coming in from several states to stay with those of us who lived in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics, our spirits were high and we were so excited that we had tickets to see the Dream Team play basketball on that fateful evening. We arrived at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and took our seats. The game was fun to watch, but how exciting is it really when you watch the top players in the NBA play against China. With a final score of 133-70, we saw some awesome moves, but no real competition.

Still, it was a great way to start our Olympic experience and after the game ended, we made our way into Centennial Olympic Park. And that is when things got weird. As I admired the displays around the park by the huge advertisers and strolled past the media tents I began to have a very uneasy feeling. I could not put my finger on what was making my flight instinct kick in. As my head was spinning I recall, even 21 years later, being bumped into by a man pushing a baby stroller. There was no one with him carrying a baby and the stroller looked like it was brand new, no diaper bag, no mess, no bottle, or sippy cup in the holder. As the mother of a 5-year-old, I immediately thought that stroller has never seen a baby before. And that was the point at which my aunt and I exchanged very nervous looks. I knew she was thinking the exact thing I was. “I am ready to go.” I said nervously.

“Yeah, go find everyone and let’s go.”

I ran around and gathered my younger cousins. Ranging in age from 14 to 26 they were all ready to party all night, so they were disappointed but followed us out anyway. We made our way out of the park and I remember finally being able to breath, just about normally. We walked the streets of Atlanta until we arrived at one of the Marta Train stations and made our way down to the platform. As we walked into the station I noticed a bank of cell phones. Still unable to shake the feeling of imminent doom, I rushed to a phone and called my father at home. I first asked if my 5-year-old daughter was okay and when he assured me she was sleeping, I then asked if my husband had arrived safely from Memphis, TN where he was living and working at the time. After receiving the news, they were fine, I then asked if everyone else was ok. As dad got irritated by my questioning in the middle of the night, I finally let him go and returned to the crowd to head north on the train.

While on the train, it stopped inside of a tunnel and sat for a while. Of course, there was no communication about what was going on and my anxiety returned. If memory serves, and it might not, I seem to recall it stopping twice. One time was briefly and another time was for a longer period. I would later hear that it had stopped to check the tracks for bombs. Now whether that was true or not, I will never know.

Still a bit nervous, but attempting to stay present with my aunt and cousins, while anxiously trying to get home to check on my little family, I lead the crowd to my van we had parked at the Marta parking garage the closest to where my parents lived. Climbing into the van, the kids asked me to turn on the radio. And that is the first we heard about what had happened. We had missed the bombing by mere minutes.

Today as I watched survivors I am reminded of that experience and want to let them know that this event will never leave them and yes, it will even haunt them on occasion. There are those who left early and did not know why at the time. There are those who stayed and witnessed the carnage. As people who were not injured directly the help for them is limited to what their personal insurance will allow for mental health coverage. But then there is the question of what is wrong with me, I was not there. The people who stayed will experience survivor guilt and many other traumas. But those who left like we did will suffer as well. Did we all suffer? I do not know, we aren’t close anymore and we have never discussed it.

Never again will they walk into a crowd without scanning the room for imminent danger. Never again will they not see that back pack under a mail box that some poor kid left behind. Never again will they attend a fireworks celebration, an outdoor sporting event or even a day at the river without being intimately aware of everything around them. And for those prone to feelings of doom and gloom, they will be hard pressed to not act on all of them for a long time to come.

They will move thru life being grateful for survival and embracing every moment, but that scar will always be there. The invisible scar that so many live with. It is days like today that brings those memories back to the surface and reignites the fear.

Most people will respond with “you were not even there” or “you got out without a scratch”. And they will be right, but those of us who followed our gut to get out before the danger hit or safely escaped after the fact have been forever changed.

The survivors or escapees of Las Vegas have now joined an ever-growing group of survivors and escapees. So, as we pray for those we lost and those who were injured, seek answers that will make sense out of this nightmare and point fingers at the other side for causing this tragedy, let us take a moment to help those who are not part of the official statistics.

Give them time to process the emotions, please. Let them talk about it. Don’t underestimate the depth of this pain. Guide them gently forward into life again. And be patient with their seemingly unreasonable fear and anxiety. As with the injured, time will heal most of the wounds, but a bit of last night will stay with them forever.

Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas, Uncategorized

The Great Etsy Shop

So HandiCraftDesigners finally has an Etsy Shop! I know, right? It’s scary and exciting all at the same time! It has taken years to get up the nerve and put my original cross stitch patterns on there. But I finally did it! I opened it with 1 pattern at the time. I was able to upload a new one every day for 5 days. I have now started working on a more complicated one and hope to have it uploaded in the next day or two.

It was really quite simple once I figured out what all I needed to have to create the first post.

I was even able to go in and edit the posts as I thought of things that should be in the description or found photos that needed to be added. It could not be any simpler.

As I get better and better at it, I suspect, it will only take a few seconds to get a product up and on the market!

My advice to anyone thinking about it…. GO FOR IT!

Things I have learned over the years that I took to market with me:

  1. There is no such thing as 1 size fits all…. It means that my patterns are good fits for some and not for others. I will stay true to the audience I am creating for and worry about others when I am creating patterns for them.
  2. Give more than is expected… As I created the booklets that contain each pattern, I decided to not only insert the pattern in the book, but to break it up into smaller sections with much larger print that is easier to read. I also offered free electronic copies of the patterns with proof of purchase.
  3. Everyone’s a critic… There are going to be haters! There is nothing I can do about haters. If someone has constructive criticism and it will benefit my product I will do my best to improve the product. I will not let any snarky sarcasm directed at me interfere with my plans.
  4. Never apologize for your price… I learned this as a mentor was helping me set up a consulting business many years ago. I also learned to price my work fairly and to give the client their monies worth.
  5. Pour your heart into product, it will show… I have poured my heart into my crafting for years and those that I was passionate about show it! They rock!
  6. Stay true to your brand… for me this is easy! I’m a crafter, everything is a craft!!! If it is not yet, it will be by the time I get done with it!
  7. Follow your dream… this is probably the most important. I don’t have to be internationally renown to be following my dream. I just need to be free enough to create as many hours a day as possible!

Encouraging others to follow their dreams is a passion of mine. I think about how I can do this often and will probably write about it often. If you need a cheerleader I am here, just ask and I will help in any way I can!

Go out and take that first Giant Step!


Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

Recovering Serial Starter

Yep, I own it! It’s who I am!

As I look around my craft room for something to do I am suddenly struck by all the projects that are at various stages of completion. And the tennis match in my head begins:

Logical Me: “You should finish that dress before Emma (age 5) graduates from High School.”

Emotional Me: “Oh, I have time.”

Logical Me: “You are going to lose pieces and forget every carefully laid out step to complete the project.”

Emotional Me: “I don’t have time right now.”

And trust me there are currently 3 project piles that get pulled into this tennis match every time I find myself with an hour to kill.

Unfortunately, crafting is not the only area of my life filled with incompletes.

The garden – I am truly sorry to those last 3 or 4 plants that never got transplanted into the ground. And I apologize to my neighbor for the spaghetti squash vine that has taken over his back yard instead of climbing the beautiful trellis I was going to build.

The craft room – Or more specifically, the relocation of the craft room. I am moving it from one room in the house to another and after a few items are moved I will undoubtedly find a tool or incomplete craft that requires my immediate attention. Or worse, “I will move this once I have a perfect storage solution” and it languishes in the old craft room.

My closet – I know, I know… if I haven’t worn it in a year it’s time to throw it out. But maybe I did not wear it because it was too small or too big. It might fit in the future, right? Probably not!

The causes, in my humble opinion, are as varied as the projects… it’s too hot outside, it’s too cold outside, I have to rip that seam out, I don’t like the color I started using, if my diet works/fails I will have to have pants to wear to work! And the list goes on and on!

So why do I do this? Do I enjoy the chaos? Do I enjoy the lack of completion? Hell NO! I don’t, really I don’t. I have gotten better over the years and have even setup a “system” for dealing with this. It’s not exactly a “12-step” system, but it could probably be stretched out to that!

  1. Complete a project day – one day a week is dedicated to working on nothing but existing projects. No matter the inspiration that may creep into my head I must work on an incomplete project, article, pattern, craft and nothing else.
  2. Reflect on why I wanted to do the project in the first place – what was my vision, what benefits did I believe it would give me, who was it for, make a list of the benefits of being done, picture clearly the finished project.
  3. What is it costing me to leave it incomplete – how do I feel when I look at yet another incomplete, what does it do to my energy to have this hanging over me, does leaving it incomplete fit into the vision I have of my life?
  4. Just start moving towards completion – obviously the emotional rush that fueled the beginning of the project has since died down so I know that a restart is going to be strictly based in a logical step-by-step motion instead of a happy, high-flying emotional process.
  5. Take baby steps and applaud each one – “chunk it down”, “bite-size pieces”, “baby steps”… however small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things each little step is, they are part of the process and by my acknowledging completion of each one I will be able to create momentum that will help to bring the emotional rush back to drive the project over the finish line.
  6. Review the times this process has worked in the past. By looking back at restarts that resulted in completed projects I build an admittedly amazing list of “I can do this”!

Intellectually I know that not all projects should be completed. Sometimes it makes more sense to throw it all out and start all over from the beginning – like burning dinner. Emotionally, I have a hard time letting go of ideas and feel that starting over from the beginning flies in the face of the emotional high I had when I started the project in the first place.

Experience has taught me that I am not alone in this. I see incompletes all around the world. And I think I will never be completely rid of them, but with a system I can keep them in check!

So it’s off to the craft room for me to take those little baby steps and figure out how to get thru just one of those incompletes today! Wish me luck!



Paper Crafts, Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose

Great Homemade Gift Bags and even better Family memories

I am a travel agent by day and wanted to do a little goodie bag for clients for Halloween. I have hordes of left over old brochures, so boom, the two came together! There was a lot of trial and error on these, but we think we have come up with a workable method and were very happy with the results, as were the clients! ~Mia~

gift bag

When Mia called about this idea for a craft I was all ready to go! We called Mimi, our lifetime partner in crime (also known as our middle sister) and agreed to meet at Mom and Dad’s house for a Sunday afternoon of group crafting and general family fun.

Our Supply List:

  • Paper/brochures/magazines/cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Paper cutter
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Glue sticks
  • Clear tape
  • Box for form*
  • Scrap cardboard for inside bottom
  • Ribbon (we used the fabric type instead of the paper type)


gift bag 04

We chose two different brochures and decided to use the front and back covers.

Step 1: Since both brochures utilized glued binding, we had to carefully remove the front and back covers.

Step 2: Carefully trim any ragged edges off the sheets.

Step 3: Attach the two sheets together using the glue stick with a small overlap (less than 1/2″), enough to keep the sheets together, yet not so much that the entire photograph looks off. This is a judgement call that depends on each person. The good news is that this seam will be on the side of the bag and not a major focal point.

Tip: Add tape (on backside) as needed to strengthen the seam. Allow glue to dry completely before continuing. We were assembling several bags, so we continued to assemble all the pages before continuing with one. This seemed to be long enough.

Step 4: Choose a box to use for your form based on the size of the bag you want. We had to choose based on the brochures we used but you could design around the size you want, by attaching more sheets.


gift bag 32
Step 5: Choose the top of your bag and fold over by 1” to create a clean crease. Glue the top flap with a glue stick.











gift bag 01
Step 6: Lay the box onto the flat paper and locate the bottom crease area, as seen in the photograph below. Crease the fold, but do not glue it down.














Step 7: Wrap your pages around your box and match the seam where you want so that the picture looks complete. Use glue stick to attach them together and add tape for strength. Fold the bottom of the bag like you would if you were wrapping a present. We used tape to seal the bottom.


Step 8: After you are happy with the shape of the bag, remove the box from the inside and make any adjustments needed.

Step 9: Cut cardboard the size of the bottom of the bag and glue it inside the bottom of the bag for strength and added stability.

Step 10: Use a one hole punch to create two holes on both sides of the top for your string/handles.

Step 11: We used two types of ribbon. One that was smaller and a wider one (used what we had on hand!). We preferred the larger for the look but the smaller ribbon is much easier to work with! You can either tie a knot in each end that goes into the hole as we show here or you can tie a knot with both strings inside the bag. We did both.


We were very pleased with the outcome. Not only had we created a totally appropriate, homemade gift bag for Mia’s travel clients but we had an amazing afternoon crafting together and laughing and catching up on our daily lives. Mom sat at the dining room table with us and shared in the together time. While Dad does not usually join us for such gatherings he did keep popping in and out of the dining room and when it was all over he told me it was the happiest he had been in years listening to his girls giggling and chattering just like when they were kids. He asked if we could do this every Sunday!  Well, maybe we can find something! Who knew that a few hours sharing a craft would turn into so much more?


Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

The Scary Big Launch

HandiCraftDesigners was officially launched many years ago as a website that held crafts a group of us thought up and made happen in our own lives. But maintaining a website proved to be a real time killer that took away from the crafting itself, so we, unfortunately, let it go.

A job change situation has caused me to rethink that decision. I have now been unemployed for 16 days and I am probably looking at another 18 days before I can truly call myself employed again. So what do I do with all that time? I want to pour my heart and soul into my crafts again! What else? I know of no better way to take my mind off the stress that is currently all around this job thing.

At first I argued with myself about the time and energy that would be involved. Seriously? I currently have nothing but time and nervous energy that desperately needs to be focused some place constructive. I mean, how many times can I manicure my lawn? My weeds are beginning to feel that they might lose this battle we have waged against each other for so long.

Second, I just know I am not ready… the best time to launch a blog is when you have 5000 followers… right? Or, when you have a terabyte of content ready to go live? And better still, all the good blogs have been taken!

And then there is maintaining it over the long haul… “when I go back to work I will never have time to take care of any of it.”

Then every motivational book, dvd, cd, blog post, and Facebook Live broadcast came rushing back into my head and I mean they rushed in fast! Not in some orderly fashion so that I had time to line up my excuses and shoot them down, but bam, bam, bam one right after the other! There they were…

“Follow your passion” they said. “If not now, when?” “Baby Steps” “No time like the present.” “Be uniquely you and don’t worry about how others do it.” “Start at the beginning.” “It takes what it takes to make it work.” “There are enough hours in the day.” “People find the time for their musts, but not their shoulds.” “Jump in with both feet.” “Allow yourself to start slow.” “Don’t worry if you do it wrong, you will learn as you go.”

And that was not all. They kept appearing before my eyes as I pulled up WordPress and started working on my blog. Of course, I had started it a couple of months earlier but had not published it because it was not perfect yet. “So what, I am going live today!” I said to myself. And I did!!!! Yep, I had an About section, a Contact section, still don’t have a logo or banner I’m madly in love with, but those will come with time. And most importantly, I had 2 articles I had written (1 was actually from that initial attempt a few weeks ago.) I posted them anyway and I went live!

Oh, I am scared! You bet your life I’m scared. As things stand now they are far from perfect. Yet, how many times in my life have I just stopped something because it was not perfect? Always in the past that was my stopping point! Well, not anymore!

Stoked by the adrenaline rush I got when I hit that publish button, I decided it was time to add my patterns to Etsy. So I started working on my Etsy Shop. And that is not perfect either, but I am proud to say that it is up and running with 2 patterns I love up there for the world to see and buy! I am so excited about it!

On day 2 I added the second pattern and will keep adding them as they are ready. And by ready I mean a good quality at a fair price and easy for the customer to use. After posting my first one, I put a blurb in the HandiCraftDesigners Facebook group that all 91 of my followers could see! And not 1 like in 24 hours. That will not do. So today, after posting my second pattern on Etsy, I jumped into my personal Facebook page with all 461 “friends” after 3 hours I got 1 share and about 9 likes and 3 loves! So it’s better than yesterday and it will keep on getting better. Because I will keep on getting better.

The funny thing about making that giant first step and taking that leap of faith is once you get past the initial fear and quit worrying about winning awards, or becoming an over night success, or being humiliated for doing it wrong… it is a self-perpetuating rush that pushes you to the next level. Oh, I still scared to death! I still worry about critics! I still know I have a lot to learn! But for the first time in a very long time I am excited to get up in the morning and get on my computer!

I hope you can find your voice too! Take your idea and run with it! Don’t worry about the results, beyond what it takes to tweak the action your taking. Enjoy the things that make you happy and get it out there for the world to enjoy!


For Kids

Vacation Bible School Twister


A couple of years ago I had the privilege of teaching the first and second grade at our church Vacation Bible School. What a great bunch of kids! And what a rewarding experience.

After a couple of days I discovered that their schedule of music (a fantastic, high-energy session) followed by reflection and quiet discussion needed a bit of modification. Their little bodies wanted to still be moving and they wanted to be giggling and chatting and playing with their friends some more. I decided to take my lesson plans for discussion and incorporate them into a game.

I opted for a modification of Twister. I ran to the local Wal-Mart and was distressed to see that they did not have any regular Twister games in stock, so quickly put together a plan B… As it turned out Plan B actually worked out better because we had 5 words of the day that the lessons centered around and twister only had 4 different colors.

A quick trip thru the craft and stationary sections and I had everything I needed to get started.



  1.  1 Con-tact® Brand Clear Multipurpose Vinyl Covering – 54” x 9’
  2. 1 package of Astrobrights® Paper – 24 lb. 8.5” x 11” – 100 sheets
  3. 1 package of Avery® Laser Business Cards – 2” x 3.5” #5371™
  4. 1 can of Elmer’s® Multi-Purpose Spray Adhesive – 4 oz.
  5. Ruler
  6. Pencil
  7. Scissors or Circular Cutter
  8. Cutting Pad (Optional)
  9. Words on Colored Paper
  10. Cards on card stock
  11. Game Instructions


  1. Preparing the Vinyl – Unfold the Multipupose Vinyl Covering and lay it out on the floor. Count the number of squares you have to work with. I had 50, which worked out great with the 5 words and would give me enough space for 10 or more kids to play at once.
  2. Create the Color Squares. I took my 5 words and assigned each of them a color. I then used my word processor to divide the page in half and typed each word nice and big on the page at the top and at the bottom. I placed 5 sheets of the color paper for each word into the printer and printed them out. I then cut the pages in half. 117
  3. Glue the words to the vinyl. To protect the paper from little feet, I simply sprayed the front of each word with the spray adhesive and attached them face down on the vinyl. I mixed up the direction and the angle of the sheets, for a couple of reasons: First, it would be difficult to line them up exactly both horizontally and vertically. Second, it would be easier for the kids to see at least one of the sheets right side up regardless of the side of the mat they were standing on. Just to make it more interesting looking I also ran mine in a diagonal, as opposed to the standard columns that the real game uses. 118
  4. Create the cards. The purpose of my game was to use the things we were learning in Vacation Bible School in context, so I opted to create a deck of cards that contained sentences using the words in context, instead of just the standard Twister spinner. I setup my word processor based on the card size I had and entered the sentences we were to use in our class room discussions. On each of the cards I highlighted the appropriate word. On the back of the cards I printed a body part… left foot, right foot, left hand, right hand. I mixed it up and made plenty of cards using the words we had to discuss each day.
  5. Rules of the game. The rules are quite simple.
    1. The leader has the shuffled deck of cards in his/her hands.
    2. Read the body part the card is for.
    3. Flip it over and read the discussion sentence on the back.
    4. The kids put the correct body part on a square that has that word on it.
    5. If they fall they are out.
    6. If there are no empty squares left with that word they are out.
    7. Keep reading cards and moving body parts until there is only 1 child standing.

This game was play tested by the 2-4th graders first and they loved it. I knew it was a hit when the middle schoolers got wind of it and confiscated it for the youth room! They played it over and over and over again.

It would not be hard to adapt the game to any number of themes and it was a great way to get the kids focused on the things we were learning every day.

Have fun with it and let me know what adaptations you come up with!

The vinyl had a tissue type paper sheeting that I replaced to protect the words and stop any stray glue from gluing the sections together accidently during transport and for storage.


All rolled up and ready to transport!



Plastic, Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose

Removing the labels from plastic bottles

They say a gift can be a curse. Yet they also say a curse can be a gift. Sometimes I just wish “they” would make up their minds! Being the crafter, I am, with the eye for function and ideas has been both a gift and a curse.

Let’s take prescription, vitamin, and small pill bottles for example. My ideas are many and that feels like a gift. Those labels and that blasted glue they use, well that’s the curse. When I have a few hours to craft the last thing I want to do is cut my thumb using a knife or spend hours scraping that label off, only to be left with worthless glue on the bottle. It does not even help new labels stick to the bottle, only the ubiquitous dog hair found in the house!

I know why pharmacy labels are as sticky as they are, but vitamin bottles and aspirin bottles? I read somewhere they use the labels they use to help deter people from using prescription bottles to disguise illegal drugs and make them appear real. My guess is someone trying to avoid jail is willing to put more work into it than someone trying to knock out a quickie craft after work. Seriously, if they are willing to break the law doing drugs do they really think that extra sticky glue is going to stop them? Oh, ok! Or better still, when is the last time someone said, “I tried being a drug dealer, but I could not make the bottle pretty, so I quit!” Seriously!

If you are planning to recycle these plastic bottles and just don’t want bottles out there telling everyone who looks at your recycling what meds you take, well then you really don’t need to worry about the glue. (I might have just angered the recycling company with that remark! Oops!) And as much as it pains me to say so, the same can be true if you are just throwing them away!

If you are planning to put what amounts to a new label on the bottle, then you only need to worry about the areas that will not be covered by your new label. And if you can accurately predict that you are a better crafter than I am!

If you are planning to put what amounts to a new label on the bottle, then you only need to worry about the areas that will not be covered by your new label. And if you can accurately predict that you are a better crafter than I am!

Naturally, an internet search on how to remove them resulted in everything in my kitchen, and heck, even my garage being called into service. I decide to start with the easiest, determine which bottles they worked on for me and move on from there.

The Hot Water Method


Admittedly, my first thought when I read this one was the dozens of bottles I have put in the dishwasher hoping to make labels disappear like dried-on food and that rarely happened. But I figured of all the methods online this was the easiest so here I go.

I grabbed a variety of empty bottles and turned on the kitchen faucet and made sure I was only using hot water. I took off the lids, snapped a few photos for this article and let the water get as hot as it could. Sticking my finger under the water caused a tiny bit of pain… hot enough. I filled the first bottle and set the timer on the stove for 2 minutes. I set the timer because I have a tenancy to assume more time has passed when I am waiting to do something. I had figured it would take me 2 minutes to fill all the bottles, and take photos. Wrong it was less than a minute. I noticed the first bottle filled began to have a wet look about it and after the 2 minutes were up I quickly grabbed it to remove the label. As I slowly peeled the label off I noticed it was one of those that says something like “open the label here for nutrition information” so there was a large section of the label that was not glued down. The edges however, were glued.


Clear Bottle with the peel up label for nutrition information – Completely clear with no glue or label pieces left.

White bottle which also had a peel up label – The glue on one side of the peel up label stuck and needed another process to take it off.

Prescription bottle – The label came off easier than just trying to peel it off, but it was totally covered in glue and I really did not want it that way. So, it would need another process to take the glue off.

Orange bottle with purple lid – This did not work at all. After attempting a few other ways, it dawned on me that the water may have cooled a bit too much while I carefully peeled the other bottles and studied the results. This theory came about when I noticed that the further from the 2-minute mark I got the worse job this process did.

The Peanut Butter Method


I have used this to remove sticky glue from other things in the past and went to this method next. I coated the glue on the White bottle and the Prescription bottle with a small layer of peanut butter. As I coated the label on the orange bottle I wondered how the peanut butter was going to penetrate the label to get to the glue. I had these thoughts in the past and noticed that depending on the label thickness and composition more than one layer of peanut butter was involved. But decided to give it a try anyway.

Instead of watching the clock this time, I walked away and found something else to occupy my time for about 10 minutes. Temperature was not going to be an issue here so the longer I could leave it on the glue the better. Or at least that was my theory!

I came back and grabbed a paper towel. I was actually quite surprised not only with how easily the glue came off both the white bottle and the prescription bottle, but how amazingly clean each bottle looked up close. What a pleasant surprise!

Turning my attention to the now stubborn Orange bottle… I began with a paper towel and it simply cleaned the bottle, label, and all! Using my thumb nail, I gently began to raise the corner of the label and worked my nail up the edge of the label and then a little deeper under the label and so on until I noticed the glue was stubbornly sticking to the bottle and not coming off. So, I grabbed the edge of the label and pulled. I noticed that what began coming up was simply a plastic cover over a paper label. A second layer of peanut butter and another 10 minutes of wait time and the paper label was completely removed. But that stubborn glue remained and it was ugly!

So, a third layer of peanut butter became necessary. Yes, at this point it is necessary! I’m not certain what this jar will become in the future, but I love the color of it, so it WILL get cleaned off and be shiny and new looking if it kills me!

Since I am looking for the one catch-all solution to this issue I coated several other empty bottles with peanut butter when I did the third coat on the orange bottle. I chose a variety of bottles like before to see if there was a solution that worked better on some than on others. I even had a bottle that I had peeled the label off of and of course the glue residue had attracted tons of dust, lint and dog hair even as the bottle sat in a box for months. Since the peanut butter had done such a great job cleaning the other bottles I decided to try it on this bottle.


The Orange Bottle finally looks amazing! I am so excited about what this bottle will become, but totally bummed at how long it took to get it looking like I wanted it too.

After the peanut butter was removed with a paper towel, I applied dish soap to the outside of the bottle and rubbed well using just my hands and then rinsed it in warm water. There does not appear to be a greasy film on the bottle, so it’s all good!

The dirty white bottle came out amazing as well.

The small green bottle label came right off with no effort. And no residue! Perfect solution here!

The other bottles had issues that will require more efforts to remove.

The Freezer Method = Colossal Fail

So, several years ago I worked in an industrial facility where we had large boxes full of items. We labeled what was in each box using standard bumper stickers that we ordered specifically for this purpose. After a horrible ice storm had shut the city down for a few days I returned to the plant that first morning back to find all the bumper stickers lying on the floor and no boxes labeled anymore. It made for an interesting few hours. Later in speaking to the vendor I discovered that the freezing temperatures had rendered the glue useless. Acting on that experience I placed several different jars in the freezer and set my alarm on my computer for an hour later.

I came back to my freezer ready to peel off labels and be instantly amazed at the ease of doing so. Ok, well that is not even close to what happened. Nothing budged, if anything they were more stuck than before. One of the bottles that had some paper still attached to it formed little ridges which, when scraped with my thumb nail pulled both the paper and the glue off. Unfortunately, it was not enough of the paper to make the hour spent to do this worth it.

The Olive Oil Method

So, if the oils in peanut butter are what makes the label come off, what about the oil in Olive Oil?

I poured a small amount into a little cup and used my pastry brush to coat each bottle with a nice layer of the oil.

I set my timer for 30 minutes and worked on another project.


I think this is my favorite method.

Glues, labels, junk on the bottle, most of it came off. I like this method because of using a pastry brush and the variety of layers it removed. I think this is great for the really stubborn labels and glue.


The Acetone Method

Acetone is the main ingredient in finger nail polish remover. I know from experience at work that we use it to remove tape residue from skin and any other durable surfaces. Durable, in this case, meaning things that are not easily evaporated by the strong solvent. Oil based paints can be cleaned out of paint brushes using acetone. My concern was if the shine on the bottles would be effected by the acetone. I did not try this one yet. In the event I ever do I will be sure to post my findings here.

The Microwave Method

I found this method while reading the comments under another method and wanted to try it out. The commenter stated she put some water in the bottle and microwaved it. Not exactly a complete description, but God Bless her for the idea.

As a chronic “Quick Minute” user of the microwave, I started there. First, I put hot water into the bottle, higher than the top of the label. I left the lid off to avoid any build up of heat in the bottle. I placed it in the microwave and hit my magic “Quick Minute” button.

It was super-hot when I pulled it out of the microwave and I used my fingernail to push the corner of the label up. I was amazed at how fast and clean it came off! I did manage to warp the plastic bottle just a bit, so maybe a shorter time next time!

My second attempt was on a little thicker plastic white bottle. Again, I filled the bottle above the top of the label and this time set the timer on the microwave for 30 seconds. The bottle was still hot when I removed it and the label was only slightly harder to start. The result was the same though, a perfect peel off of the label that resulted in no additional methods. I also left the water in the bottle while I peeled the label off. Kind of like using the water method, but on steroids!

I kept trying this with about a dozen other bottles. The trick here is to “get it while it’s hot”! The longer the delay the worse it worked.

It also gets really hot on your skin fast. So be careful. A pair of cloth garden gloves helped the hand holding the bottle in place, but the peel hand still got hot trying to start the label peel. After some of the water in one of the bottles boiled out onto the tray of the microwave, I began placing each bottle into a bowl and then placing them in the microwave.


For my uses the Microwave Method followed by the Olive Oil method, if necessary, are the ways I will be dealing with this issue in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog today!

Be sure to check back in regularly for new articles and updates on existing blog posts. It is my pleasure to share my findings, passions and creations with you.

God Bless you!

Decor, Party, Shower Ideas

Baby Shower Centerpiece

So much more than a cardboard stork and a balloon that will lose helium in a day or two, this lovely Centerpiece would be a great shower decoration that could be given to the mother, and then adorn the families table. What a great way to let a new mom know you care about the new addition!

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 – 9” Styrofoam Circle
  • 2 rolls 1.5” Baby Ribbon (Any color) (144 inches/4 yards)
  • 1 – Pack Baby Blocks
  • Pins
  • 3″ Pillar Candle


Step 1 – Cut ribbon in 4” pieces. The ribbon in the picture is wired ribbon.

Step 2 – Bend ribbon into loop with shiny side out and secure to wreath using pin as shown in picture.

Step 3 – Continue until wreath has reached desired fullness level.

Step 4 – Add BABY blocks with hot glue.

Step 5 – Place centerpiece on table and insert candle into middle of centerpiece.

Crafting Observations, Tips, Ideas

The Life of a Multi-Passionate Crafter

You know you’re addicted to crafting when you wake up in the morning, pour your coffee and head straight to the craft room to grab everything you will need for the project that woke you up that morning!

Thankfully, days where project ideas wake me out of a deep sleep are generally started at least an hour earlier than normal. I already choose crafting over breakfast most days, imagine if I decided to choose crafting over work!

I have actually gotten a bit of a taste of that these last couple of weeks as my job of 7 years came to a close and I am working on getting the new office opened. The vast majority of that work has been from my home computer and that plants me right in the middle of Craft Central! So, as soon as I get the chance to take a break, it’s sew this, glue that, write this article, take those pictures…

Not only am I a Multi-Passionate Crafter, but I am also a Serial Starter! That’s right, I own it! I get passionate about a possible project and work on it like crazy for several hours and then the next project steals all the energy and alas, the first project gets put aside for a bit. It’s a never ending process. It’s my New Year’s Resolution every year! And still there I go. I guess the good part is the ideas for the next projects do not get lost in the shuffle and with my catch-up day, I do make myself come back and complete my incompletes!

At any given time I will have 5-6 projects going at once. Ideally, I would complete one and move on to the other, but that is not how my brain works, and I believe in working with what you have! I have found that a break in a project gives me an opportunity to think about the next steps before jumping in there and possibly making of mess of a great beginning. I have also found that without a passion for the task at hand what I generally end up with is a terrible mess. So I always follow my passion.

This will be the chronological journal of the projects that I have going on at any point in time. I will update articles on days when I revisit a project and work more diligently to actually complete more projects in a day or two, because the world is watching!

The categories are many as well, from knitting, to counted cross stitch, sewing, gardening, home repairs and décor to recycle/reuse/repurpose. All of them are a huge part of what will be present in this blog. So thank you for joining me on this incredible journey and now, as they say, sit back and enjoy the ride!