{what I made} :: curb appeal.

hi, friends!

ok. this could be the easiest way to spruce up your entry way and make where you live look oh-so-cute before anyone even walks through the front door. check out this cute door mat.

i bought the mat for $2.99 at ikea. you could use something you have on hand or buy something inexpensively just about anywhere. this doesn't have a lot of pile, but i've seen pictures of really thick door mats that are painted.

your next step is to find a stencil you like. for obvious reasons, i chose the F, but you can use just about anything as your design. i was lucky enough to have my friend kristen cut out the letter from an old usps box laying around, but you can print out something from your computer and cut out with an exact-o knife or just freehand a design.

then, i just laid the stencil on the mat and used this, my go-to spray paint color. love. it's called 'eden' by rust-oleum and i use it on practically everything for {afd}!

i sprayed lightly to see how the paint would soak in. worked well, so i kept going until it was nice and dark and i couldn't really see the mat through the paint. when i took the stencil off, though, i could see where some paint made its way to the edge of the mat. that's when i decided to free-hand the border.
then, i looked at the reverse part of my stencil, the actual F. i thought i'd give that a spray & it looked really good. originally, i had the idea to glue wine corks to it to give it a 3d look, but i liked this well enough, so i stopped there. 

i have the blue frame on my door most of the year, and try to change what's in it seasonally. i just punched a hole through the cardboard, put some twine through, and tied it to the frame. easy. this was perfect, and i love how the colors work together.

and, there you have it. a quick, less than 30 minute craft that gives curb appeal a new name.

i was happy it didn't take long, because about an hour after i finished, i hosted a happy hour for 40 great gals.
here's hoping you have a happy weekend! see you next week. xo, anne


{what i love} :: helliemae's handcrafted caramels

every wednesday, I'm going to tell you about something I really love. our first installment of {wilw} will introduce you to my friend ellen, or can we just call her the queen of caramels?

i'm pretty positive that when I try to describe Helliemae's caramels, I will fail miserably. they're just that good. mix a lot of butter and cream together with some incredible flavor combos, and you've got these intense amazing treats that I'm sure people have gotten into brawls over.

Ellen Daehnick owns Helliemae's Handcrafted Caramels. she specializes in dark, rich, intense caramels - slightly bitter treats that pair well with colorado's local beers & spirits. her background certainly doesn't scream food business. before Helliemae's, her only experience was waiting tables at an all-night diner as a teenager.

after an MBA and time as a consultant and in the tech industry, a nudge from her husband got her to launch Helliemae's in 2010. Right at the intersection of food and craft, Helliemae's products are made by hand in tiny batches, using the best ingredients, including organic butter and cream. the yummies are packaged in recyclable, compostable hand-stamped boxes, and wrapped in either wax paper or cellophane.

Year-round, Helliemae's makes four varieties: Classic Salt, Cardamom, Coffee, and Chili Palmer, as well as salted caramel sauce and other confections. And, Helliemae's offers limited-edition caramels tied to the seasons. Right now, Apple is available until 10/31, and Candy Cane returns 11/1.

Why "Helliemae"? Growing up in the Houston in the 70s and 80s, it seemed like Beverly Hillbillies reruns were on all the time (at least when the UHF channels weren't showing The Jeffersons), and people would call Ellen "Ellie Mae", which she didn't love. But put an H on the front, and it just seems right: a handcrafted sensibility that draws from the past, with a touch of post-punk DIY.

here's how to find ellen ::

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/helliemaes
Twitter: http://twitter.com/helliemaes

check in with her. you'll be glad you did!

now tell me, friends, what do you love this wednesday?

xo, anne


{my life} :: show pics

my life monday posts will be a hodge podge of ideas, because, well, my life is a hodge podge! these posts will be a bit of this and that. make sure to subscribe to my posts, so you don't miss anything important, or fun!

since I started {afd} two years ago, I spend a lot of my weekends peddling my wares at artisan sales and shows in the Denver area. this weekend was no exception.

my partner in crafting crime, lexis from LexisWorks, and i were at the ridge at 38 event in wheat ridge, co, helping the city planners launch a rejuvenation of a great street with cute shops and fun restaurants.

other than the fact that my tent leg snapped in two (thankfully at the end of the day), we created a great shopping space on a gorgeous day!

enjoy some snaps of our booth, and have a wonderful Monday! if you have time, leave a comment & tell me what you were up to this weekend. xo, anne


{what i made} :: bloom OR close call :: almost a craft fail

happy friday, friends!

well, here goes my first kind-of tutorial/almost craft fail. let's see how i do. i'm sure you've seen all the really cool canvas projects that have been floating around pinterest. this project really struck me ::

you take a canvas, mod podge a background to it, & stick some letter stickers on. then you paint over the whole thing & when it's dry, peel the stickers off to reveal the background.

it's really that simple. so, i tried one. my kids tried one. they all were totally different, completely cool & they all worked. next things you know, i'm hosting workshops in my denver studio. so cool. i know everyone walked away happy with their new piece of wall art. {i'll show you some of these pieces in a future blog post}

anyway, i digress. the other day, when i was at the thrift store, i ran across this cool piece of art.

it's hard to see, but the frame, so to speak, was made of linen tape of some kind. it definitely was vintage. i loved the colors and thought it would make a cool canvas. for $5.99, i thought i'd give it a go. plus it saved me the somewhat time consuming step of creating my own background on the canvas.

once i got my lovely.little.piece. home, i noticed how dingy and stained the canvas frame thingy was. never fear...bleach to the rescue!

  i just dabbed full strength bleach on the canvas tape with a terry cloth towel and all the stains were gone! 

so, on to the fun part. (this is where you join along & start to make your own)

first, the letters. i bought mine at michael's. these are 3" tall, but they have a variety of sizes and fonts. if i were using a longer quote or phrase, i'd go with the 2" letters.

make sure your letters cover up the part of the art that you want to see at the end. the letters are literally protecting the art from the paint. well, they're supposed to. more on that in a bit.

i forgot to take a picture, but i also added a little scallop trip at the bottom cut from a vintage dictionary page. you can barely see it on the finished product.

next, the paint. i chose turquoise. just a plain ol' acrylic paint from michael's. (good thing there's one just blocks from my house!). i used a foam brush from you-know-where and painted it til i thought it was thick enough. i used a dry brush.

when i taught the workshop at my studio, people experimented with a wet brush, a dry brush, squirting the paint directly on the canvas, using a light hand, using a heavy hand. you get the picture. this project is yours, and you really can't mess it up. a great comfort to the perfectionist in all of us!

i waited a few minutes for the paint to dry, then peeled off the letters, expecting to see crisp clean lines, the bright colors of the flowers underneath and pretty much, a finished product. instead, here's the reveal ::

it's not pretty, but here's a closer look ::

you can see the lines from the stickers, but somehow the paint seeped underneath. yikes! now what? a couple of years ago, i would have trashed the whole project. but, what fun is that?! you still could see the floral background, and after a few minutes, i decided that the uneven lines looked kind of cool and gave the piece some character. so, what to do next?

i looked around my studio and decided that i could make my own definition. with what, you ask? just a plain black sharpie! yay! look how defined the letters are now. all i did was outline around the sticker indentations. much better!

done, right? wrong. i thought my 'bloom' looked a bit lonely in that sea of bright blue. so, i looked around again & found my favorite vintage dictionary and ripped out a page. if i liked my freehand lettering style, i would have just used my sharpie & written out the rest of my saying. but i don't. so i stuck the dictionary page in my printer, found a font i loved, typed the words in microsoft word, and hit print. then, i cut them out and mod podged them right on top of the paint.

i took the picture while the podge was still wet but trust me, it dries clear. oh yes, the garland at the top. i just added that on a whim, because i thought the whole thing looked a bit unbalanced with all that blue at the top. and if my photo was centered, you'd see a little dab of blue paint on my wonderfully white frame (you can actually see it in the all blue picture above). wait til you see what i did to cover that boo boo.

i podged a flower right over it. kind of goes with the theme, i think.

and, that's all there is to it. here's the finished product ::

i'm quite happy with the finished result, even though disaster loomed a few times while i was crafting! if you try your hand at this quick, fun craft, please post a photo of your finished product. i'd love to see what you've been up to. and, if nothing else, know that if things don't always go your way, just drink that lemonade!

have a fantastic weekend! see you next week.

xo, anne


update on {flowers for aurora}

hello & happy wednesday!

some of you may be wondering what's the latest on the {afd} project we launched last month, where we were selling these beautiful necklaces we dubbed {flowers for aurora}. for each necklace purchased, {afd} promised that half of the purchase price of $15 ($7.50 each in case you're math-challenged like me) would be donated to givingfirst.org, and specifically to benefit the victims and families of the aurora theater shooting that happened on july 20.

the great news is that we sold 75 necklaces! i am so thrilled and beyond grateful that we have collected over $550 to donate to this worthy cause.

well now you might be asking, "well, why hasn't she gone ahead & donated the funds?" great question! if you live in denver, you've probably heard on the news that the families of the victims have not been 100% happy with the community first foundation's disbursement of the funds. the families have asked to be involved in some of the decision making of how the funds are spent/given, and to my knowledge that dialogue is happening.

so, we're going to keep our money safe & sound, 100% earmarked to help the victims of the shooting and their families, and when we get the all-clear that the families are getting the money when and how they need it, and the money is being spent responsibly, we'll head on over & donate the whole shebang.

i feel it's important to wait until the misunderstandings have been cleared up. i don't want YOUR money to go toward administrative or other costs not related to this tragedy. i think you'd agree. or at least, i hope you do.

here's the final tally. the {afd} community is absolutely incredible, and i'm so grateful to be able to work every single day at what i love and meet and get to know all of you!

 thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for your incredible generosity. i'll let you know as soon as the money is donated.

xo, anne