Sleepy Puppy – Knit Animal

Recently the (amazing) woman who watches my dog had a baby. I wanted to thank her in a special way so I found  this modification of a pattern from  The original “Pupster” pattern can be found here.Knit Instructions


Although in the website this little puppy fits nicely into someone’s hands, mine came out about twice as large! I did use size 6 needles as instructed, but my yarn must have been larger than what this pattern asked for. Here’s the correct yarn if you do want a small puppy in the chocolate color: 

Aspen 3I was able to make this in two days. It is not overly complicated but does require a moderate amount of sewing.Puppy in Pieces


As shown in this picture, the pattern instructs you to make all of the pieces separately and then sew them together (tail not shown).

As described in the modification I used one solid color instead of the “Pupster” pattern which has white face and paw accents. I also choose to use embroidery for the eyes instead of plastic since this is safer for infants (tutorial for face).

Face Close Up


I definitely think that using the “sleepy face” from is a lot cuter than regular button eyes.


If you have never made a knit stuffed animal before I’m not sure if I would suggest starting with this one.  The entire thing is knit by making flat pieces and then sewing up the seam.  It can be difficult to make this look pretty if you’re new to working with yarn.

Side View


This pattern used about 50 g of yarn which made it a great project for “cleaning up” my clutter of half used skeins.



One more of my dog modeling with the sleepy puppy toy, because why not?

Aspen 1

DIY Magnets – The perfect gift on a budget

I am dedicating this post to my friend, Anna Fiore, who taught me how to make these wonderful magnets last winter.  Since then, I’ve made over 40 magnets and have sent them to friends all over the US!

What you’ll need:

  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Old Magazines
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Super Glue (I recommend Loctite gel control)
  • 1 – 1.5 inch Clear Glass Mosaic Circles (Check out the sidebar for a link to Amazon to buy 50 for $9.99)Magnets
  • Magnets – Do not use magnet tape, it is not strong enough.  You can get these “Flexible Magnets” at most craft stores. They are worth the few extra dollars.


Steps 1-3 edited

Step 1: Find an image in a magazine that you think would make a cute magnet.  Place the glass circle over the image to ensure it will fit.  Use the pencil to draw a line all the way around the circle, as close to the base as possible.

Step 2: Cut out the image, cutting along the INSIDE of the circle.

Step 3: Use the paint brush to apply Mod Podge to the TOP of the image. That’s right, cover the image that you want to turn into the magnet with the Mod Podge.

Steps 4-6 edited

Step 4: Place the glass circle onto the sticky side of the image.  Turn the glass circle over and Mod Podge the entire back.  Ensure to smooth down all of the edges.

Step 5: Separate one magnet from the stack.  Use the super glue, Loctite in my case, to glue the magnet to the back of the magazine image.

Step 6: Let dry for about 15 minutes.

The best thing about this gift is that you can fully personalize the magnets.  Here are some examples:

For a Male Friend



I made these for a friend who likes hamburgers, football, and the IU Hoosiers.



Gift for a Girl




I made these for a girl friend who likes mail, coffee, and kittens.



Magnet Set 3



These three were made for a sorority sister who likes makeup and is an engineer!



Here’s a set of magnets that I’ve gifted to two friends over the course of a year.  You can tell based on the images I chose that they like Breaking Bad, Girls, Game of thrones, and the Voice.  Penguins are Shanna’s favorite animal and I thought Adam would appreciate the shark and the bacon.

Magnet Gifts
Customize your magnets gifts to the likes and interests of your friends!

Butter London Nail Polish

Jaffa - Butter London 


If you look closely at the bottom of the nail polish bottle, you’ll see the words “3 Free Nail Lacquer”, but what does that mean?  I added a picture of the back of the bottle that explains that “3 Free” products are free from:

  • Dibutyl Phthalate
  • Toulene
  • Formaldehyde

Butter Jaffa

About 5 years ago I started to change out all of my cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, even laundry detergent and dish soap with product that use less synthetic chemicals.  My purge ended at my nail polish caboodle however.  At the time I didn’t know that less-chemically-harsh products existed for nails.  Now, at $15 a bottle I’m not going to run out and restock my entire nail polish collection, but I have been trying to slowly use up the toxic polishes and replace with “3 Free” and “5 Free” products like Butter.

PRO TIP!!!  Check out your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls for Butter nail polish.  I found 4 bottles (yes, only 4) at my local store for $5 each!  That’s 66% off the normal sticker price at Sephora or boutique stores. 
Butter Bumster

PROs: It dries quickly, the applicator brush is smaller which makes getting close to the cuticle easier, and the bottle shape makes for easy storage.  Plus the bottles are large and contain a lot of polish.

CONs: The price (yeesh!) and you can’t get away with just one coat.  You also must apply a top coat because the polish isn’t especially shiny by itself.

Let me know if you have any questions about Butter.  Not sure if you can afford a bottle for yourself?  Why not buy it as a gift for a friend and then invite yourself over for a manicure 🙂


VS Sport Bra and Knockout Crop

Are you in the market for some new performance athletic gear?  I just found out that Victoria’s Secret launched their new line of athletic wear.  Since its VS they obviously have a huge line of sports bras.  If there is one thing that VS does well, its supporting our lady parts.

My main physical activities are yoga (heated and non-heated) and walking/light jogging.  Below are my reviews on some of the new items from VS and how they perform for these activities.

The items I will be reviewing are:

The Incredible VS Sports Bra

The Knockout Mid-Rise Crop

Let’s talk about the Incredible Sport Bra first.  These are the performance details listed from the VS website:

♥  Maximum support

 Breathable padding with wicking liner to keep you extra dry

 Concealed wire for cushioned support
Padded straps and bonded, seamless technology that eliminates irritation

 Super-soft elastic band for comfort & movement
Cushioned, adjustable back closure

 Body-Wick keeps you cool & dry

Perfect for running, boxing and cardio

Of these claims, I absolutely agree with the claims indicated by a pink heart.  I do find that the T-strap design makes getting this bad boy on and off a little difficult.  I guess that’s part of the design.  If you’re bashful about your decolletage I do not recommend this bra.  It is definitely made to support your buxom and also to show your curves.

Ok time for the Knockout Crop.  The website boasts:

♥  Smooth seams for total comfort

 Medium rise with second skin fit and lined, reinforced gusset

 Hidden drawstring waist and hidden waistband pocket

♥  17″ inseam

 Body-Wick keeps you cool and dry

 Nylon performance fabric with four-way stretch

 Machine wash. Tumble dry.

As you can see this crop definitely is a total KNOCKOUT!  I agree with all of the website claims.  As an avid yoga pants/capri wearer (literally every day after work) these are great.  The mid-rise is very comfortable and flattering.  They are expensive at ~$60, but get them when you have a coupon and you will be pleased.  Plus that price isn’t bad compared to other performance wear brands that wick away sweat.


I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.  This post permits contest entry.

Dandelion in the Wind Nail Art

Looking for very easy whimsical summer nail art?  You’ve got it. This Dandelion design only takes a few minutes.  Best of all, you only need to have very basic nail art supplies.

Paint the nails with a base color; I used Lilacism by Essie.  Once the background color is dry, paint on a thin black line onto the main accent nail using either a fine tipped nail art brush or pen.  At the top of the line draw a small upside down semi-circle.

Dandelion Nail Art close up
Dandelion Nail Art close up

Wait for the black to dry a minute or two.  Next, use a white nail art brush or pen to draw on the dandelion seeds.  The more free and less structured you are with these brush strokes the more authentic it will look.

Continue to add dandelion seeds with the while onto adjacent nails. Make the pattern less dense as you spread to nails farther from the main accent nail.

PRO TIP: I highly recommend the I Love Nail Art White Nail Striper by Sally Hansen.  This nail art tool will allow you to create so many designs and it won’t dry out after a few months I promise.  The brush is just firm enough to have good control but still have the natural brush stroke look.

Dandelion Nail Art


Valentine’s Day Nail Art Roundup

I put together a small roundup of some of my favorite Valentine’s themed nail art creations from Pinterest.  Enjoy!

Simple Heart Nail Art – Easy Enough for Anyone!

Sometimes the thought of self created nail art is just too daunting, but even the worse artist can do these two easy heart designs with the right tools!

Nail Dot Setup

First is the Dotted Heart design, originally Pinned by @majikbeenz at  For this design just pull out all of the colors you want to use from your nail polish box and place a few drops of each on onto a piece of wax paper.  After painting the nail in your base color, use a marbling tool to add dots in the shape of a heat.  If you don’t have a marbling tool, the end of a bobby pin works just as well (as demonstrated in my post here).  In the original Pin, Majik kept their dots separated. I found it easier to allow the dots to overlap slightly. This makes it way easier for beginners.

Simple Heart Nail Art

Another easy nail art design for beginners is a simple heart outline.  I used a gold background (a little less obvious than hot pink for those of us who like to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a subtle way) and a black accent.

I Heart Nail Art Tool Kit

I bought a kit that has the pinstriping brush and the marbling brush together like the one pictured. The best way to apply a thin line is with a pinstriping brush. It’s easiest to start by forming the round tops of the heart. Place the brush so that you are “pulling” it, not pushing, to get the best result.

Happy Pinning!

Stick Figures in Love Valentine’s Day Nail Art

Stick Figures in Love Nail Art

This nail art design was originally created by @NewlyPolished.  Check out their Instagram for more amazing nail art.

 (Click on the image to view in Amazon Marketplace)

I wanted to paint my friend Julia’s nail and asked her to search Pinterest for some fun ideas.  She found this incredibly cute stick figure idea and we fell in love with the design.  I used the Kiss Nail Art fine line Black paint to make the stick people and a regular marbling pen with pink polish to make the hearts.  This kit can be bought on Amazon for less than $7!

Remember, love is for everyone, even stick figures!

How to Fix Leather and Suede Boots After Winter Weather

Nothing is worse than buying an expensive pair of leather or suede shoes and seeing them ruined by snow, salt, and dirt.  The good news is there there’s an easy way to clean and refurbish them.  The better news is that it’s also cheap to do.

Leather Shoe Chapstick before and after

First let’s talk about leather.  There’s a secret product called Chelsea Leather Food that is made for extending the life of high end leather soccer cleats.  You can find it on Amazon for about $16, direct link is in the sidebar for either the clear or black variety.  One jar should last a few winters depending on frequency of use.

Using Leather Food on Shoes

To use, just wipe the shoe clean with a damp cloth and then use a dry cloth to rub in the leather food.  I like to describe it as “chapstick for your shoes” because it’s got a soft wax consistency and you can immediately see the difference.  The Chelsea Leather Food will moisturize the leather (just like chapstick on lips) and will extend the life of the shoe.  My shoes pictured here have made it through three winters and they still look brand new.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Moving on to suede.  Everyone knows that it’s impossible to keep suede clean.  My first suggestion is to not buy suede shoes, but if you have to (because they’re adorable and comfy) do yourself a favor and buy a dark color.

To clean dirt and salt off of suede make a small bowl of equal parts warm water and vinegar. Use a clean cotton towel to wipe the shoe clean. It only takes a few minutes. Make sure the suede has time to dry before wearing, and if there are annoying particles stuck to the suede when it’s still damp, you can brush them off after the material has dried.


Suede Shoes Before and After

Hope this helps keep your feet sparkling through winter!

Low Fat Waldorf Salad

Check out my original recipe for a Healthy, Lowfat, and Possibly Vegan Waldorf Salad, posted on my friend Johnnie’s blog Taste Every Season.  Or check out even more great recipes by Johnnie and her friends on the Taste Every Season website.

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