Free craft ideas and DIY sewing patterns, tutorials, and printable templates for weddings, baby and kids, gifts, invitations, parties, birthdays, cards, food, recipes and home.

simple & clever craft ideas



Easy Construction Birthday Cake

Baby & Kids, Birthdays, Dessert Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes

Make this easy construction birthday cake for your little construction worker's birthday party! Rachaat! Rachaat! This construction birthday cake is cute on the outside and tastes awesome on the inside -- that's because I...Easy Construction Birthday Cake... »

Raspberry Freezer Jam Recipe (Mini Individual Jams)

Breakfast Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes

Looking for an easy raspberry freezer jam recipe idea? Try making these adorable individual teeny freezer jams using tiny nut cups. Kind of bed and breakfast-y don't you think? And much fresher than weeks-old...Raspberry Freezer Jam Recipe (Mini Individual Jams)... »


Raspberry Carrot Popsicle Recipe

Dessert Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Summer

Don't let the carrot fool you: this easy Raspberry Carrot Popsicle recipe is totally kid friendly. I just came home with 6 pints of raspberries that were $1 each. They're going to go quick...Raspberry Carrot Popsicle Recipe... »

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Recipe

Dessert Recipes, Recipes, Summer

Peanut butter cup s'mores. Why haven't I thought of this combination before? I gave it a try when I came across some peanut butter cups while looking for our Hersey's bars. I halved them...Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Recipe... »


Make an Edible Easter Bonnet for a Lamb Cake

Dessert Recipes, Easter, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Spring

Make a charming (and edible!) chocolate candy melt Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it to add a little fashion sense to an Easter lamb cake. I've shown how to bake and cool...Make an Edible Easter Bonnet for a Lamb Cake... »

How to Decorate an Easter Lamb Cake

Dessert Recipes, Easter, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Spring

Nothing says spring like decorating a traditional Easter lamb cake with fluffy white frosting and green coconut grass. By now, you should have followed the Easter Lamb Cake recipe to bake and cool your...How to Decorate an Easter Lamb Cake... »


Handsewn Teabags Tied to Yummy Cookies

Cookie Recipes, DIY Gift Ideas, Recipes, Sewing Projects, Valentine's Day, Winter

Warm your sweetie's heart with this clever tea & cookies combo: Handsewn teabags tied to yummy cookies that anchor the teabag as it steeps. I came up with the idea while making tea with...Handsewn Teabags Tied to Yummy Cookies... »

Sriracha Salt Recipe For Making a Hot and Spicy Valentine’s Day Gift

DIY Gift Ideas, Edible Gift Recipes, Recipes, Under $10, Valentine's Day

This Sriracha salt recipe makes a hot and spicy Valentine's Day gift for your snugglebug. My friend Macki made this clever Sriracha salt for Father's Day last year and I thought Shane would love...Sriracha Salt Recipe For Making a Hot and Spicy Valentine’s Day Gift... »

Mini frittatas recipe using muffin tins

Breakfast Recipes, Recipes

This mini frittatas recipe makes two different kinds: mini spinach and feta frittatas or tomato and basil frittatas. Or really you can use the technique to add any fixings, like cooked bacon, mushroom or...Mini frittatas recipe using muffin tins... »

Homemade Cranberry Granola Recipe

Breakfast Recipes, Edible Gift Recipes, Recipes

Cristin Siegel is here with us today to share another of her awesome DIY projects (see Giving Tree Save-The-Date Wedding Announcement Free Printable, Kaya's dog bed free sewing pattern, Covered Card Boxes, and Personalized...Homemade Cranberry Granola Recipe... »

Fresh homemade lemonade recipe

Drink Recipes, Recipes, Summer

Fresh lemonade was my one true and steady pregnancy craving. I started making my own homemade lemonade cribbed from a recipe in a Sesame Street cookbook (officially "Big Bird's Sunny Days Lemonade Recipe," ha...)...Fresh homemade lemonade recipe... »

Gooey Butter Cookies Recipe (AKA Cake Mix Cookies)

Cookie Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Edible Gift Recipes, Recipes

This recipe for gooey butter cookies is courtesy of my friend Debbie who makes these yummies for her annual Christmas party. Debbie is from St. Louis where gooey butter cake is a local staple...Gooey Butter Cookies Recipe (AKA Cake Mix Cookies)... »

Mini pizzas recipe using cookie cutters and wheat tortillas

Dinner Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Lunch Recipes, Recipes

Mini pizzas have quickly become a dinnertime staple at our house. They're just so cute and easy to make, and Elise can help with the recipe. The final mini pizzas are about 2-1/2 in...Mini pizzas recipe using cookie cutters and wheat tortillas... »

Sweet potato crackers recipe – easy, healthy recipe for kids

Baby & Kids, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Snack Recipes

I've been making this sweet potato cracker recipe again and again since Thanksgiving's sweet potato leftovers and I think it's high time I passed along this yummy kid-friendly crackers recipe. Elise has become my...Sweet potato crackers recipe – easy, healthy recipe for kids... »

Chalkboard lids for baby food jars

Baby & Kids, Recipes, Recycled Crafts, Under $10, Under 1 Hour

Elise is eating solid foods now so I've entered the Land of Frozen and Leftover Baby Food. With my brain still set on 'sleep deprived,' I put my chalkboard obsession to good use with...Chalkboard lids for baby food jars... »

Grandma Beulah’s Rice Pancakes from Leftover Chinese Takeout

Breakfast Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Recycled Crafts, Vintage Inspired

Along with homemade egg noodles, chocolate pie and fresh-off-the-vine concord grape juice, rice pancakes were my Grandma Beulah's specialty. My parents were in town to help us take care of new baby Elise and...Grandma Beulah’s Rice Pancakes from Leftover Chinese Takeout... »

Australian Weet-Bix Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Breakfast Recipes, Edible Gift Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Muffin Recipes, Recipes, Snack Recipes

It’s been 10 years now since I lived in Sydney, Australia. Recently we received a gift box (yay!) filled with heaps of Australian beer and food – including my favorite biscuits, Arnott’s shortbreads -...Australian Weet-Bix Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins... »

Flower-Topped Birthday Cake With Chocolate Icing

Dessert Recipes, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes

During our recent weekend visit in northern Michigan, my friend Jennie and her two girls made this flower-topped chocolate iced birthday cake for me. Pretty, yes? Ten-year-old Elizabeth did much of the baking, mixing...Flower-Topped Birthday Cake With Chocolate Icing... »

Canning label template

DIY Gift Ideas, Free Printable, Home, Recipes

Canning has been a theme the past few weeks so I'm excited to share these free printable canning labels with you. It all started with a canning night from iheartcrafting, a Chicago ladies' crafting...Canning label template... »

Spinach, Ham and Parmesan Quiche

Breakfast Recipes, Lunch Recipes, Recipes

I'm not sure what it is about spring but I go into quiche mode. I noticed the other day at Lovely Bakery that quiche was on the menu, so I decided to make one...Spinach, Ham and Parmesan Quiche... »

Vodka Infusion Party and Hangover Cure Favor

Decorations & Favors, Free Printable, Inspiration, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes

Za Vas! Heather Crosby and I continued the Upper Crust Social Club event series by co-hosting a Russian-inspired vodka infusion party. Guests brought their own homemade vodka infusions ...such a range of tasty concoctions...Vodka Infusion Party and Hangover Cure Favor... »

Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac and Cheese – 4th Place!!

Baby & Kids, Lunch Recipes, Recipes, Sides Recipes

Updated: I found out that I got 4th place beating not only Stephanie Izard, Top Chef winner, but also Roger Herring, chef and owner of Socca in Chicago. Hip hip! Peanut butter & jelly...Peanut Butter & Jelly Mac and Cheese – 4th Place!!... »

Handsewn fabric tea bags for loose tea favors

Decorations & Favors, DIY Gift Ideas, Free Patterns, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes, Sewing Projects, Under $10, Under 1 Hour, Weddings

I'm posting the free tutorial for how to make sewn fabric teabags for loose tea by request. Jessica Mullen wrote: "I saw your beautiful photos from the tea party and I have a quick...Handsewn fabric tea bags for loose tea favors... »

Bacon pancakes

Recipes, Under $10, Under 1 Hour

Lucky for me that magazines in my doctor's office are hopelessly out-of-date. I hit a goldmine during a recent appointment by seeing this bacon pancake idea in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living....Bacon pancakes... »

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Valentine Dessert with Cacoa Nibs

Dessert Recipes, Edible Gift Recipes, Holidays, Recipes, Valentine's Day, Winter

While I've never been much of a Valentine's Day girl, I've always been a big fan of coconut and chocolate. I made these special treats by modifying a recipe from an Australian cookbook. //...Toasted Coconut Chocolate Valentine Dessert with Cacoa Nibs... »

Upper Crust Social Club Ladies’ Late-Night Tea Party

Decorations & Favors, Inspiration, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes, Showers

My ever-so-creative friend and frequent partner-in-crime Heather Crosby came up with a festive idea that encapsulates the two things we like best -- making things and spending time with friends -- by creating the...Upper Crust Social Club Ladies’ Late-Night Tea Party... »

Seared scallop on parmesan crisps appetizer

Appetizer Recipes, Recipes

I'm a shameless sucker for all things seafood. So when I stumbled upon this recipe in an old cookbook of mine when looking for easy appetizers for guests, I had to give this tasty...Seared scallop on parmesan crisps appetizer... »

Homemade marshmallows

Dessert Recipes, DIY Gift Ideas, Edible Gift Recipes, Holidays, Recipes, Under $10

Today we're going to learn how to make marshmallows using a really easy marshmallow recipe - it's a yummy DIY gift and you can always make some extras for yourself. Lately I've developed a...Homemade marshmallows... »

Pumpkin banana bread

Breakfast Recipes, Fall, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Snack Recipes

Shane and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary with an autumn weekend in Wisconsin. Along with the pumpkins, colorful leaves, fresh apple cider and antiques, I picked up this tasty recipe for pumpkin banana...Pumpkin banana bread... »

Eyeball lychee ice cubes for Halloween martinis

Drink Recipes, Fall, Halloween, Holidays, Recipes

In the past five years or so, it seems like Halloween has gone bonkers in the DIY area. From costumes to cupcakes to candy, it's a holiday ripe for creepy crafting. The always stylish...Eyeball lychee ice cubes for Halloween martinis... »

Mac and cheese bacon cups

Lunch Recipes, Recipes, Sides Recipes

The Fulton Market area of Chicago where I work is filled with food wholesale companies - fish, meat, eggs, butter, ...and (xoxo) bacon. This week I walked into Meadow Brook Egg Company and walked...Mac and cheese bacon cups... »

Chocolate tasting tour of Chicago

Inspiration, Recipes

Anyone who works in the Fulton Market area on a windy day can attest that Chicago's long standing candy and chocolate history is still thriving. For his sister's recent Chicago weekend visit Joseph Dombroski...Chocolate tasting tour of Chicago... »

“Summer to Fall” Berry Cider Smoothie

Breakfast Recipes, Drink Recipes, Fall, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Snack Recipes, Summer

While Monday is the official first day of fall the best thing about Chicago is that summer days usually extend way into September. It's 80 degrees today and I just spent the afternoon at...“Summer to Fall” Berry Cider Smoothie... »

Campfire cookies

Cookie Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Summer

Hot Indiana summers spent at Camp Na Wa Kwa seeded my campfire obsession. The idea for this one has been in my head for a while, and I couldn't stop thinking about it while...Campfire cookies... »

Mussels in Broth

Appetizer Recipes, Recipes

Inspired by our recent trip to Seattle I've been waiting for the right night to try to replicate the fantastic manila clams in broth that we ate there. I took a lunchtime walk over...Mussels in Broth... »

Star Sugar Cookies

Cookie Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Fourth of July, Kid-friendly Recipes, Recipes, Summer

It could have been the yummy flavor, the scraggly homemade cuteness or the cold beer that made these star cookies fly off the platters at Shane's Fourth of July birthday BBQ. The icing in...Star Sugar Cookies... »

Ice cube shot glasses

Parties & Birthdays, Recipes, Under $10

So I had a semi-bad day at work today. What better time than now to try out my super classy silicone ice cube shot glass mold for the first time. Supplies: Ice Cube Shot...Ice cube shot glasses... »

Personalized birthday rhubarb berry pie

Dessert Recipes, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes, Summer

Growing up in upstate New York, Shane loved his grandmother Myrtle's rhubarb and berry pies in the summertime. So this year for his birthday I decided to make a pie instead of a cake....Personalized birthday rhubarb berry pie... »

Friday Inspiration: Fulton Seafood and Meat Markets

Inspiration, Recipes

Who says there's no good fresh seafood in Chicago? Stepping inside L Isaacson & Stein Fish Market to buy ingredients for Shane's Fourth of July birthday BBQ was a revelation. I've heard about this...Friday Inspiration: Fulton Seafood and Meat Markets... »

Indoor Smores

Recipes, Under $10, Under 1 Hour

So it's pouring outside right now and I'm craving a smore. Luckily, living in a locale with nine long months of winter has allowed me to perfect the art of indoor smores. And the...Indoor Smores... »

Tasty marinade recipe for grilling chicken, pork, fish or veggie kabobs

Dinner Recipes, Marinade/Sauce Recipes, Recipes

Memorial Day in Chicago means one thing: grilling! Here's an easy, very tasty and relatively healthy marinade recipe for chicken, pork, fish or veggie kabobs, courtesy of Merriment reader Jen Martensen who created and...Tasty marinade recipe for grilling chicken, pork, fish or veggie kabobs... »

Custom, personalized cookbooks

Inspiration, Recipes

Mother's Day is quickly coming up and so I thought I'd post a unique idea: custom, personalized cookbooks with all your family's favorite recipes from Build a cookbook using recipes from Simply Recipes...Custom, personalized cookbooks... »

Rainy Day Green Pea Soup

Lunch Recipes, Recipes, Soup Recipes

Here's one of my favorite it's-a-rainy-day-and-I-am-low-on-groceries recipe: Green pea soup with toasted baguette slices. It's a healthy, low fat, non-dairy recipe from Ellie Krieger, one of my favorite Food Network chefs. 1 teaspoon olive...Rainy Day Green Pea Soup... »

St. Patrick’s Day Personalized Pot Pies

Dinner Recipes, Holidays, Lunch Recipes, Recipes, Spring, St. Patrick's Day

So I thought of something to do with my mini alphabet cookie cutters. I simplified a more intensive version that Simply Recipes adapted from a Marshall Field's cookbook. Chicago *knows* St. Patrick's Day. //...St. Patrick’s Day Personalized Pot Pies... »

Engagement Party Alphabet Cookies

Cookie Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Edible Gift Recipes, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes, Weddings

We co-hosted a couple's BBQ last July to celebrate the engagement of my friend Heather (H) and her fiance Noah (N). Our co-hostess Michelle Platts scored by bringing these festive romantic sugar cookies that...Engagement Party Alphabet Cookies... »

Kitchen Sink Frittata

Breakfast Recipes, Recipes

I first saw the frittata concept at Simply Recipes. The great thing about a frittata is you can really throw pretty much anything into it and it will still taste good and look like...Kitchen Sink Frittata... »

Hearty Soups for Cold Winter Days


To celebrate Valentine's Day, Shane and I took a cooking class at Sur La Table. While the classes there aren't as hands-on as our beloved, defunct Calphalon Culinary Center Cooking Classes, the personable instructor...Hearty Soups for Cold Winter Days... »

Monogrammed coffee insulator wrap

Accessories, DIY Gift Ideas, Earth Day, Free Patterns, Recipes, Recycled Crafts, Sewing Projects, Under $10, Under 1 Hour

So I was pretty excited about the success of the campfire coffee insulator wrap and decided to make a monogrammed coffee insulator wrap for my sister Krista. Perfect for coffee/tea/cocoa drinkers and the eco-friendly,...Monogrammed coffee insulator wrap... »

Poppy Fall Themed Wedding Cake

Recipes, Weddings

++ UPDATED: See our retro poppy wedding cake featured on an episode of 'Amazing Wedding Cakes Season 2' on WeTV!! Part of We Go Bridal Night. ++ Honestly, I'm not typically a cake type...Poppy Fall Themed Wedding Cake... »

Gourmet Popcorn Bar

Decorations & Favors, Edible Gift Recipes, Kid-friendly Recipes, Parties & Birthdays, Recipes, Snack Recipes

As part of my Rooftop Outdoor Movie Night Birthday Party I created a gourmet popcorn bar. It was a big hit! Supplies: 8.5"x11" red and yellow paper Admit One tickets (at Party City) Paper...Gourmet Popcorn Bar... »
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