Best Books of 2012 and Book Page Ornament Tutorial

I can’t believe next week is Christmas, holy cow. This week the theme for Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish is Favorite Reads of 2012. So without further delay here are some of the book that stood out that were released in 2012 (or that I read this year and just had to mention again) I tried to do different books than I did last week with favorite authors of 2012 because seriously it’s so hard to narrow it down to ten each week. I’ve raved about all of these before so I’m keeping the descriptions short but if you click on the links you can read more about each one. Also be sure to connect with me on Goodreads.

  • Cinder – great Cinderella retelling but with Sci-fi awesomeness and a super appealing prince.
  • Grave Mercy – teen nun assassins, love, gorgeous dresses and loads of action.
  • Insignia – the Ender’s game fan and video game con going girl in me loved this. Fun story with great friends.
  • Shadow and Bone – yes it’s I’m talking about this book again. one of the best villians ever, awesome fantasy, and super original story.
  • Throne of Glass -oh yeah this one too, but seriously guys I loved it. Fighting awesomeness, some crush worthy boys, super cool story, and a heroine that stays up late reading even though she’s got to fight for her life the next day.
  • Partials – a great dystopian with a medical bent. Action packed and great for Hunger Games fans.
  • City of Lost Souls – yes it’s many down the line in the mortal instrument series but I loved how we got so much more from each of the characters including the parent’s generation
  • Crown of Embers – Best.Sequel.Ever. okay maybe tied for Ender’s Shadow. But boy oh boy I adore this book. Yup, a great, real, relatable and strong heroine,fun story, and kissing in sewers weeee!
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – this is not new this year but I read it in 2012 and loved it. Definitely my favorite contemporary read. such a darling story, very sweet, fun and quirky and as a bonus could definitely pass as a christmas/winter book. Plus squeely!!!
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox – another older but new to me. This book was awesome. Great story with wonderful family dynamics that tickled the philosopher in me. Questions of what counts as a person, how far would you go for someone you loved, and other bio-ethicy themes.


And since I made a bookish ornament that was super easy over the weekend I figured I’d share. Even Ron and Hermione think it’s cool. Plus they are super fast and easy if you need a gift for a book geek.

All you need is a plastic ornament, a page from a book, mod podge, loose glitter, some clear spray paint and some ribbon. Just tear the page in pieces. Paint some mod podge onto the ornament lay the pieces on top and paint more mod podge all over. Repeat until covered. Then add another layer of mod podge and sprinkle glitter on top. Allow to dry. Then spray with some clear spray paint, add a ribbon and you’re good to go! Merry Christmas everyone.

Guest Posting: Harry Potter Snitch Shirt and Stencil

I am hanging out today over at Heron’s Crafts for her weekly Story Book Crafts series. I’m sharing a new Harry Potter shirt and how to do reverse stencil. Stop by and say hi!

If you’re visiting from Heron’s Crafts welcome it’s great to have you. I hope you have a peek around. You can find some of my readers’ favorite projects in the widget on the right and see all my bookish posts by checking out my Book Geekery and Harry Potter labels :)

And here’s a printable you can use for a stencil :) Just click on the image to enlarge and then right click to save it.

UDATED: tutorial reposted below
I also have a slight weakness for fan related shirts. I may have over 10 Potter shirts alone. So today I want to share with you how to make a fun Snitch shirt.

What You Need

  • Fabric paint (I used both metallic gold and gold glitter)
  • Foam brush
  • Freezer Paper (it’s like wax paper but only has the coating on one side)
  • Paper cutting machine or Exacto Knife

Make your stencil. I cut my stencils out on my cricut but you can just print your design and and then cut it out of the freezer paper with an exacto knife. You’ll want the shinny side to face down.

Iron your stencil (shinny side down) onto your shirt. Make sure to take your time and check that all the edges are sealed. For the snitch I just used it as a basic stencil but for the lettering I did a reverse stencil and put the cut out letters down and then painted on top of them so the lettering was the color of the shirt.

Put something in between the layers of the shirt. I just use a pieces of freezer paper shinny side up.

Start painting. I find that with this technique it is much better to blot and avoid brushing since you don’t want to accidentally pull up the stencil. For mine I used the metallic paint first then did the glitter paint.

Allow to dry for about 1 hour.

Pull off paper. The paint will still be tacky so be careful when removing the paper. I like to use s straight pin to hold down the shirt while I pull off the stencil.

Allow to dry completely and you’re done.

I hope you try it out. It’s SO much fun. Feel free to visit my blog to get a printable of the snitch that you can use to make your stencil. If this went a bit fast for you feel free to check out my Freezer Paper Tutorial that has a bit more thorough instructions and lots more pictures. And definitely let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Hunger Games! DIY Tutorials, Recipes, Party Ideas, and More

Well the Hunger Games DVD is due out tomorrow! If you’ve been around here you know I’m a huge fan of the books and I think they did a pretty good job on the movie too. I wanted to share my most recent Hunger Games crafts tutorials since I figured you all probably need some fan goods to ring in the movie.

I made this necklace by using bottle caps made with Heidi’s tutorial and printables that she shared during my Hunger Games Blog Party and instead of using a pin back I picked glued on a necklace bail. So easy right? I love it so much and I wear it all the time.

You’ve got to have something to carry your movie home in right? I’m pretty sure an awesome I Shop The Hob market tote is exactly what you need. Make your own with my quick and easy tutorial.

Are you having a viewing party or just want a feast fit for the film? Try my crock pot Katniss Stew. Yes that Lamb and Dried Plum Stew that our favorite tribute gushes over, that’s what should be on your menu.

Or maybe you’ve got district pride. Show the district 12 tributes that they are in your heart by wearing this awesome chunk of coal coal inspired pendant around your neck (or on your keys). Oh yes I do indeed wear that, and I feel awesome whilst doing it!

And last but not least every HG fan needs her own Mockingjay Shirt. I mean really does that need any explanation? And if you want more tutorials, recipes and party ideas (oh yes I even show you have to make your own Hunger Games Parachutes) be sure to check out all the awesome posts from me and my friends from the Hunger Games Blog Party!

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

Gryffindor Jacket Tutorial and New and Improved Freezer Paper Stenciling Instructions

I’m not going to lie, I’m kinda of proud of this one. Even though it’s not at all perfect I’m a little in love. This went to my little friend who just turned one, son of my equally Harry Potter obsessed friend Heidi (you may remember her awesome Potter and Hunger Games Bottle Cap tute she shared here).

But yeah when I saw this jacket on clearance I knew exactly what I was going to make with it. The only sad thing is that now I’m insanely jealous of a one year old and will be on a mission to find a similar jacket for me to makeover for myself.

I used my favorite Freezer Paper Stencil technique. I’ve done it so much (and it’s a relatively easy thing to do) so I can practically do it in my sleep. You can use this technique to make a stencil of practically an image (or text) you want.

I used this Gryffindor Crest Stencil Image by Jennifer over at Sew Hooked and cut it out on my cricut. If you don’t have a cutting machine you could also just print the picture onto the back of the freezer paper and cut it out with an exacto knife. You want the shinny side to face down when you cut it out.

Then after testing the iron heat on an inconspicuous part of the jacket I carefully ironed it on shinny side down. This was by far the most detailed stencil I have cut out. I ALWAYS cut out multiples since the cutting machines can be finicky. I fit two on a sheet and the second one came out great. I just used my embroidery scissors to clean it up in a few places before ironing it on. To me this is the most important step so take time to make sure all the edges are securely down.

Put a piece of cardboard or a piece of freezer paper shinny side up in between the layers of the fabric. This is just to protect the back if the paint leaks through. Next I used fabric paint and a sponge brush to fill in the stencil. My favorite paint is Tulip’s soft fabric paint. Michael’s craft store carries a great selection of colors and different bottle sizes. Even glitter like I used on my nieces’ Hunger Games Shirts.


I find it works best to put a blob on my brush and then blot it around. I definitely have had better luck blotting as opposed to brushing and smearing the paint. And I just repeat until it looks like there is a good even layer.

Then let it sit to dry. I like to pull of the freezer paper while the paint is still tacking because if it dries completely you run the risk of peeling off extra chunks but at the same time pulling it off while it’s wet can be tricky with little pieces and since you’re more likely to smudge the image with your hand or the paper as your removing it. I peel carefully from the edge and sometimes use a pin holding the point to the garment and pulling the paper with my other hand (basically keeping the fabric still while pulling the paper off but I feel like I have more control if I use a pin. I usually wait 1 to 2 hours. if there are small pieces (the insides of “A”s) I use a pin to try to lift them off but if I’m nervous about smearing the paint I wait until it’s completely dry.

Now since this fabric was like that parachute fabric stuff I was able to remove some of the imperfections with a q-tip and some nail polish remover. Do not try this with any knits. And make sure to test the nail polish remover on an inconspicuous spot on the garment first. This is the messiest a stencil has turned out for me. I had a bit of trouble ironing it and I’ve never used this kind of fabric before so even though it was a little messy the design was curvy enough that I think it still looked good.

And then you’re done. And you have an awesome fan-tastic masterpiece. Or whatever you decide you want to cut out of freezer paper

You can and I have used this technique to make anything – really words, images, kid’s drawings the sky’s the limit! And because I know sometimes different instructions help here’s my old tutorial from my Make Love Not Horcruxes Shirt.

As always let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to see pictures if you try it out! And I do mean it any questions I love helping.

I Shop the Hob Hunger Games Bag Tutorial

Are you guys checking in with all the amazing links in the Hunger Games link party? Well I have been like every couple of hours it is so fun to see all of your creations. Also have you had a chance to enter the awesome paper doll giveaway, they are so cute that I plan on framing mine!

In preparation for all the wonderful book suggestions we’ll be getting from the amazing book bloggers that are joining us for this blog party I wanted to share a tutorial for making a fun bag possibly to hold all the titles you’ll be itching to pick up. A few weeks ago my friends got together and made these adorable bags, they each made slightly different ones and I love them all. You can use store bought bags in fun colors like Linda‘s blue and white one, or mix color and glitter ones like Tanya and Alexis’ gold and black ones, or make your own bags from old T shirts and use bleach like Heidi did.

What You Need

This will show you how to make the black and gold basic one like my sister made but you should easily be able to tweak it to fit your own taste.
  • bag
  • iron

For the I Shop the Hob Side

  • freezer paper (it’s like wax paper but only coated on one side)
  • fabric paint (I like the stuff tulip makes)
  • brush (I like the foam ones)

For the Mockingjay Side (see picture below)

  • Ultrahold Iron on Bond
  • Background fabric (optional -black in the picture)
  • Mockingjay fabric (gold in the picture)
 For the I Shop the Hob Freezer Paper Stenciling 
If this goes a little fast for you check out my original freezer paper stenciling tutorial with more pictures back when I was making Harry Potter shirts ;)
  1. Make yourself a stencil design and cut it out of freezer paper. You can do this with a cutting machine like a cricut or with a steady hand and a razor blade. Make sure the shinny side is down.
  2. Iron your stencil onto your bag.
  3. Insert a piece of freezer paper shinny side up inside your bag to protect the paint from seeping through. Apply your paint and let dry. I find it’s better to blot rather than brush.
  4. If you want to add a glitter layer do that and allow to dry.
  5. Carefully pull off stencil.

For the Mockingjay Iron-on 

I’ve talked about making iron-ons here and here so I’ll keep to the key points today but if you’re feeling a little lost you might want to review those post.

  1. First make your mockingjay template you can get the image I used here. I use my cricut and a program called sure cuts a lot but you can also just traced the design onto your Ultra bond. You need to decide how big your image is going to be.
  2. Make your gold iron on fabric the appropriate size (for me that was 6×12 since that’s the size that I can run through my cricut. Do this by ironing the gold fabric to the bumpy side of the Ultra bond. (It’s best do turn the iron down to medium and put another fabric in between because that shinny gold stuff is delicate and likes to melt on to irons, not that I’ve done that or anything ;)
  3. Cut your mockingjay (either by tracing and using scissors or a razor blade) or using a cutting machine.
  4. Next make your black iron on fabric the same way you did the gold.
  5. Then using your gold mockingjay as a stencil trace the inner circle onto the black fabric (or the paper side of the black (now iron-on) fabric) and cut a little larger than your circle.
  6. Peel the paper off of your iron-ons and arrange on your bag.
  7. Iron down.
  8. Fill your bag with books, groosling or dead rabbits, okay maybe just books or groceries.

And maybe while I was helping them put together these bags I had to make my own sassy ode to Katniss shirt using the same freezer paper technique after receiving this mind numbing meme in my email inbox.

I’m so loving this Hunger Games blog party all the projects, guest and giveaways, so much fun. If you’re just finding this post be sure to check out all the others fun posts in my “book geekery” category.

UPDATE: I am now selling I Shop the Hob Bags in my Etsy shop for those of who aren’t craft or don’t have the time to make your own!

Harry Potter Countdown: Forget Harvard this Baby’s Hogwarts Bound

My good friend who also is a Potter fiend had a sweet baby girl a few weeks ago. And I just couldn’t help but make her a Gryffindor onesie outfit. I wish I could say I’d put these onesie sets in the shop but freezer paper stenciling is such a finicky sport that I just can’t do it. (It took me 4 tries to cut out a Hogwarts stencil on my cricut and I smudged it a bit peeling the stencil off). But you can make your own!

If you want to make your own I explain how to do freezer paper stenciling in this post if you have a Cricut Explore you could just run the freezer paper through the machine easy peasy. It’s easy the hardest part is cutting out the stencil. You can kind of see the steps in my pictures.

Basically you cut the stencil out of freezer paper, iron it down and then paint and peel the stencil off

As you can see I kind of smudged the paint taking the stencil off. But I added sparkles and it’s fine. Design feature right? Yeah only a few more days left until the movie. And Lisa if you’re reading this, Molly has something coming in the mail :)

Here’s the image if you want to give it a go yourself.

UPDATED: I’ve had a few people ask if they can buy sets. I don’t sell freezer painted tops since they can be finicky and have regular flaws but I do sell this similar Harry Potter based Gryffindor baby outfit (I’m happy to do other houses too). And if you want to make your own top and just purchase the bottoms you can buy this customizable listing and just remind me in the notes that you want the bottom to be just like Gryffindor ones. Hope that helps.

Show and Tell: Mockingjay Shirt

If you guys have been around my blog for a bit or peeked through my goodreads account (widget in the side bar) you already know that I have a thing for young adult fiction. I fell in love with the Hunger Game series earlier this year. This may sound blasphemous to some of you that know me but I may like them as much  as the Harry Potter books (well maybe not but really close and in a different way).

 (photo credit)

Any ways I’m so excited about the new movie coming out and I love seeing all the new people they are adding to the Hunger Games cast. I really wasn’t sure about their choices and really thought Jeff Bridges would be a fantastic Haymitch before the decision was made but I’ll trust them to do their best, I hope. This new image below gives be a little hope you know minus the total plastic feel, okay I’m trying to be optimistic.

Anyways I had to make some iron-ons with my cricut last night so I decided while I was at it to whip up a little Mockingjay shirt. Kinda late for the shirt challenge but still a new shirt for me right? ;)

I used this image from here, traced and resized it and just used my normal iron-on making technique to make gold iron-on fabric which I then ran that through my cricut to cut out the design. Next I trimmed it with scissors (my cricut never cuts totally perfectly) and finally ironed it on my shirt.

I knew it might be iffy since obviously the iron-on doesn’t stretch and I put it on a a shirt that definitely stretches when it’s on. So it’s not perfect, I don’t think it’ll last that long (the fabric was kinda thin and didn’t iron well before the stretch issues), so when this one dies I’ll probably redo it using my freezer paper stencil technique But I’m still really excited about it.

I know it’s not perfect but for a 10 minute shirt I’m happy and I know this won’t be the last Hunger Games shirt in my life :)

UPDATE 2/22/12 If you’re just finding this now I’ve got exciting news. I’ll be doing a Hunger Games Blog Party most of march to get ready for the movie. I hope you’ll come back and geek out with me and some other awesome bloggers! And the shirt has lasted after all :)

Harry Potter Excitment and Two T-Shirt Tutorials

Oh my gosh I’m literally anxious with excitement. Last night I couldn’t fall asleep it was like I was a kid the night before Christmas or the first day of school (but with out the bad anxious feelings). We went to a geek pub quiz and they had a Potter round that I rocked and it totally built up my already high level of excitement eeeeee!

Here are a few (nope not all) of my Potter wearables. The bottom two are shirts that I altered. It’s my quickest way to alter t-shirts. It’s good for shirts where there print is high up close to the neckline.

T-Shirt Altering Directions

1. Neckline: carefully cut off the collar. if you do it right the depth it’ll be like the red dragon shirt. If you accidentally catch some extra fabric you may have to cut it deeper and it’ll look more like the gryffindor shirt which I also really like but just be careful. If you want it more like the gryffindor shirt I’d cut the collar off try it on and then carefully trim extra.
*please note* since the neck is unfinished it will stretch so before you go cutting after the initial cut TRY IT ON because it looks like it didn’t change much but the fit will be a lot different.

2. Sleeves: option 1- Next you want the sleeves to go up diagonally on your arm. The diagonal is way more flattering than cutting straight across like most tees naturally  cut. You can lay a girly shirt with good sleeves on top as a guide if you’re nervous. (the edge will be unfinished and end up rolling a bit in a cute way like the gryffindor top -I also made a little snip in the top middle edge of the sleeves for a little detail)
2. Sleeves: option 2- If you are comfortable with a sewing machine better yet a a serger or know how to sew on knits this is another option. I cut off the sleeve along the seam that is attached then I cut off the diagonal of the sleeve and sew it back on (right sides together, sew around and then you flip the sleeve out and it should work). This will be like the red dragon shirt leaving the finished sleeve end.

Freezer Paper Stenciling

1. Pick your design and cut it out of freezer paper (this is like wax paper but the wax is only on one size). You want the shinny side down so consider that while positioning. I used my cricut and put the shinny side on my mat when I cut things but you can use a silhouette or even an exacto knife and put a print out under the freezer paper to trace.
2. Iron the stencil on your shirt (or bag or whatever). Shinny side down. Be anal about this make sure you do a good job getting all the edges. This is the step that I worry about most.
3. With a board or paper in between your shirt layers Use fabric paint (I got mine at joanns and michaels) and a foam brush and apply the paint. I blot and smoosh as opposed to brush.  Don’t go too heave at once just keep on blotting and adding a little paint at a time.
4. Next you pull off the stencil. I like to wait about an hour. It will still be wet so be careful not to touch the paint and not to touch the wet stencil to spots on the shirt.
*my sister’s and friend linda’s shirts bled a bit and both of theirs had a lot of paint on the board in between the layers so I think they maybe did theirs too heavy/didn’t iron enough. But really I’m not positive why it happened so I’d practice on an old shirt or junk fabric to get the hang of things.

UPDATE: I have used this technique SO many times and I know sometimes reading different versions of the same technique helps. So if you’re still confused check out this post that I wrote more recently with many big pictures. Here’s my New and Improved Freezer Stenciling Paper Instruction Post.

Here is a link from Panjo that I found really helpful.
And if you click on any of my photos it’ll open them bigger so you can see better.

Let me know if you try any of these out!