Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa's Coat Milk Carton Treat Holder

I made a project last year using hand sanitizer with the label remade into a "Santa-tizer" (reminiscent of a Santa coat) and it was pretty popular. I thought about other ways I could use a similar concept. This is what I came up with for this year. It seemed like a perfect Christmas party gift for my daughter's 5th grade class. Pretty cute, if you ask me! In fact, my sister liked these so much she asked if I wouldn't mind whipping some up for her to give to her co-workers. So... I only had to make about a gazillion of these babies. Ok, not a gazillion, but 58. (I can't do tiny quantities any more, apparently.) Anyway, it is simple to assemble, though a little time consuming. It is all paper punches or die cut shapes held together with hot glue (on my 3rd bag for this season...) How cool is that? Just one little stamp with simple black ink, a little bit of ribbon, and you are done! Filled my little boxes with Christmas M&M's. I am keeping that company in business this year, apparently.

Reindeer Class Treat Holders

I found another cute little project on Pinterest and thought I would give it a shot. Made 28 of them for my second grade son's Christmas party for next week. Been crafting up a storm lately and having a total blast! Super easy to make this one too.

 Just cut a 5x7" piece of cardstock, roll it into a tube (so it looks like a toilet paper tube,) and then hot glue one of the edges. Turn it over and fill with goodies (we used mini Snickers and M&M candies,) then hot glue the edge in the opposite direction.

Use a paper crimper to crimp the edges, about 1". Then you add the googly eyes and red pom pom nose with hot glue. Draw a mouth of any style you choose with a felt tip pen. Attach the chenille stem antlers with hot glue and you are done!

Pretty quick to assemble which is a bonus. Would make an excellent last minute party favor. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ribbon, Twine, Jute Handmade Ball Christmas Wreath

I recently made a yarn ball wreath for a friend and loved the technique so much, I thought I would create one in a completely different style than the other more modern one. I am in love with this one! Totally my style, kind of old fashioned but with a modern twist and definitely cute. ;-)
 I found the centerpiece ornament at Joann Fabrics and used it as my inspiration. I added the bow myself to match the other balls. I had all the ribbons and laces and jute and twine on hand and found the rusty jingle bells at Hobby Lobby (50% off!!) I used a ton of hot glue on this wreath too. Not as much as the other, but still a lot. I need to restock for my next wreath which is in the works. I am loving these! Hope to have time for at least a couple more for gifts. I suggest you give them a shot. Here is a great tutorial for the yarn balls themselves. Enjoy your season!

Homemade Yarn Ball Christmas Wreath

I have a friend that recently requested that I do her a favor and make her some kind of a yarn ball wreath for her front door. She is having a party soon and since I am all over the idea crafty challenges, I accepted the opportunity with enthusiasm. :) I asked her to send me a picture of  what she had in mind and it seemed like something I had the skills for. I asked her if she didn't mind if I just used her photo as inspiration and came up with a design of my own. She said to go for it! Yay!! So here is my result. It is on an 18" wreath form, covered in white fabric strips with all the ornaments and embellishments and yarn balls hot glued on.
I will give you a tip, if you decide to give this project a shot. Get a TON of glue sticks! I went through a whole bag of mini ones to put this together.

I had another friend ask me if I purchased the yarn balls somewhere and I explained to her that I made them. It was super easy too! I did a little searching and found the styrofoam balls were REALLY expensive. 6 for $4.79. Since you need about a gazillion for this wreath, I searched the internet for a solution. I found a great tutorial on how to make them with newspaper and tape. Hooray! Since I had the tape on hand, the total cost for the balls themselves was $0! Love a good bargain!

I think you can have a blast designing your own wreath. I know I have! I am currently designing my third. Kind of addicting actually. Have fun!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Embellished Coaster Decoration

In case you are new here... I am in MOMSnext. We meet with one of our local MOPS groups until we are big enough for our own shindig. Someday...
One of the things I really enjoy is that it gives me the opportunity to make crafts and gifts for and with my new table friends. This month, our group is getting together for an outside activity craft night without kids. SO fun!! I was asked by my group to create a project and gather supplies so that we can meetup and have a grand ole' time. Makes me so happy! I wish I could do things like this every day and get paid for it. Would be the coolest job ever!

Lately I had been stalking Pinterest (again) and saw some really cute ideas that I wanted to try someday. Then, I happened to be at Target and saw that their "purple dot" merchandise in their dollar spot was 50% off! My favorite!! I found a package of 8 chipboard coasters for 50 cents. Score! Suddenly had my project ready to go. Seemed like a perfect thing for all skill levels- from the crafty to the not-so-crafty. Hopefully everyone will have as much fun creating it as I did.

First, I drilled holes in the corners of the coasters. Then I used my trusty Mod Podge to apply the scrapbook paper. Sanded the edges and inked them with Stampin'Up ink. Then I thought some sparkle would be good so I used my glue pen to apply some coppery Martha Stewart glitter. Next I used my Big Shot machine and my leaf die to cut out the leaves, crinkled them and inked them with my Stampin' Up ink then embellished with buttons and some linen thread. I also cut out the "Fall" letter in vinyl with my Cricut machine. Next step was to coat the whole project with another layer of Mod Podge to seal it, let it dry, then hot glued the leaves in place. Last step was to thread brown organdy ribbon through the holes and created a bow to be used to hang the project. Really happy with the results! Thanks to my find on Pinterest for the inspiration!
I will call this my weekly Pinterest project, even though I have missed so many weeks it is ridiculous. Just got to throw myself back in the game! (again...)

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Drizzle

We were invited to a friends house for dinner the other night and they had planned to make a giant slow cooked roast and some super yummy green beans. I offered to bring some scalloped potatoes and a dessert.

 I had recently found a Pinterest recipe that sounded very similar to a cake I had and loved when I was younger. I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand and it seemed like a perfect fall dessert to share with our new friends.
It was a great night! Hoping to do it again soon!

I tweaked the recipes just a bit to suit my tastes and really enjoyed the results. So, I am happy to share the most amazing recipe for the yummiest apple cake ever!
By the way, it tastes even BETTER the next day. Moist and fabulous until the very end. Hope you get a chance to make this one soon. You will be happy that you did!

Fresh Apple Cake

2 eggs
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 cups unpeeled diced Granny Smith apples

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 inch dish.
Cream the oil and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla and blend well..
Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. The batter will be VERY thick. (Don't worry, it is supposed to be that way. The apples will loosen it up.) Fold in all the apples and then place it in the greased dish.
Bake it for 45-50 minutes or until the center is completely done. While it cools, make the Caramel drizzle.

Caramel Drizzle recipe

1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the butter, brown and white sugars, vanilla and milk over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it reaches a boil, boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and the powdered sugar until well combined. Drizzle over the cooled cake and enjoy! Serve with ice cream if desired. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vaseline Distressed Wood Cross and "E"

My sister decided to "girlify" (yes, it's a word...) a few of the spaces in her house and she hates to shop. What is that sister to do?? Call her shopping, decorating, and crafting loving sister to help her out, of course! And so she did. "Where should we go?," I asked. "Hobby Lobby," she replied. "Heck yeah!," I exclaimed. Soooooo, off we went. She chose some fabulous items and her mantel area is nearly complete. Imagine lots of turquoise and brown and fleur de lis stuff and you will have a good idea of what she was going for. Shabby chic-ish and super cute. She had wanted a cross but we just couldn't find exactly what she had pictured, so, sister shopper/crafter to the rescue again!! I volunteered my crafting expertise and offered to make her one that she would love. I found some blank wooden crosses and she picked some colors that complemented her chosen scheme. We happened to walk by the paper mache section too and she wanted an "E" to go with her stuff. "Ok," I said (and secretly squealed with happiness in my mind.) I was so proud of her! Shopping and picking stuff out and acting like a real grown up house decorating lady! ;-)

Since I recently made a Vaseline distressed letter and it was so easy, I thought that would be a perfect technique to do with my sister's decorations. These were a little different because I decided to double distress them. I started by base coating the items in a dark brown, then dry brushed some turquoise over the brown once it dried. Then I added the Vaseline in spots all over, in places I wanted distressed. Then I painted an ivory color over the whole piece. Waited a few minutes for the paint to dry (ok, almost dry... I am impatient...) Then with a paper towel, wipe away the Vaseline gently.and allow the remaining paint to dry completely. Then embellish! Simple as that. Since I already had a muslin rag rose left over from my last project and some jute cord, it made it even easier. I bet I can do these letters in my sleep pretty soon!
As for the small cross, I base coated in brown then I dry brushed it in ivory. I decoupaged some basic scrapbook paper to the painted surface and then added the Cricut cut vinyl "faith" word. I coated the whole cross with a layer of Mod Podge to seal it and that was it! Super easy.
For a good tutorial on the Vaseline distress technique, check out Shanty 2 Chic. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jen's Hamburger Vegetable Crockpot Soup

Yes, these are baby carrots, not sliced. I used what I had. ;-)
I am always on the lookout for easy, economical, and family friendly recipes for my crockpot. My crockpot is my best friend in the kitchen these days. It is a necessity, as far as I am concerned. In my searches, I came across several recipes for soup that used ground beef. Since we always have that on hand, seemed like a good place to start. I combined a bunch of recipes, picking and choosing the ingredients that I knew would work well together and that my family wouldn't turn their nose up at. I think I succeeded.
In fact, it is popular with lots of moms that I know! ;-) You see, I am part of the creative activities team for my MOPS group and we recently made 120 meals worth of this soup as our opening day activity. Put out all of the ingredients and the ladies assembled them to take home and make for their own families. I got a lot of positive feedback! What a relief it was, for sure. Sometimes I question my taste buds... Hahaha. But, rest assured, this is a keeper. I thought I would share the recipe with you too since it is finally starting to cool down and Fall is in the air. So incredibly happy about that! Hope you give this one a shot and enjoy!

Jen's Hamburger Vegetable Crockpot Soup
serves 6-8

2 cups of ground beef, browned and drained
1 cup (or 1 can) diced tomatoes
1 small (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup (or 1 can) corn
1 cup peeled, sliced, carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 can kidney beans
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. beef (or chicken) bouillon powder
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
6 cups water
1 cup dried pasta (wagon wheel or rotini works best, but any bite sized shape will do)
Parmesan cheese, for topping when serving (optional)

Add all ingredients, except dried pasta and Parmesan, to a 4-5 quart crockpot. Cook on high 4-6 hours. Stir in dried pasta and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Top servings with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Alternatively, you may cook in a large pot on the stovetop for 1 1/2 hours, add pasta and continue to cook until noodles are done, about 15 minutes. Serve with bread or crackers and a salad. Enjoy!

Vaseline Distressed Fall Monogram

Base coated and ready for the Vaseline.
Close up of the distressing.
I am loving the giant letter projects that I keep seeing everywhere on Pinterest. Since I needed a Fall inspired door decoration, I thought I would search until I found the perfect way to make a monogram project of my own. I have also been dying to try the vaseline distressing technique that is used on all those adorable shabby chic items. Seemed like an awesome idea. So I set out to find an "A" that I liked, a sprig of fall berries, some paint to use and a tub of vaseline (haven't had that stuff around in about a gazillion years...) I was amazed at how easy the technique was!! My mind is full of ideas now.
The letter I found is paper mache, about 12" tall. I found it at Joann for $4.49 and used my 40% off coupon. Bought a bottle of ivory paint for .89 cents and got the berry sprig at Micheals. It was $1.39 with 50% off. I had the muslin, twine, buttons, and hot glue. So, super cheap project, yet again!! Love it!
I could explain how to do the vaseline distressing technique but it would be easier to send you to where I learned it- Shanty 2 Chic. (Love that site!) Also need to show you my inspiration piece. Found it on Pinterest, of course. I feel like making a couple more for gifts for my family... Shhhh, don't tell them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Spooky" Halloween Board Decoration

MOPS is next week and I wanted to make something special for my new friends at my table that would be cute and cheap. (Two of my favorite crafting adjectives...) I had an idea of making a little shelf sitter or doorknob hanger or something like that. I went out on a quest for materials. I found a package of 48 plaques in various sizes at Hobby Lobby and with my 40% coupon, I got the package for $6! Not a bad price for that many potential gifts! The only thing I had to purchase was some scrapbook paper and a little ribbon. I had everything else on hand. Love it when that happens!

Before the addition of the googlies...
Though, for some reason I stressed over the googly eyes. Still am not 100% sold on them. I mean, they are cute, but I think the little board is cute all by itself. I cut out the "spooky" using black vinyl and my Cricut. I used Stampin'Up punches for the shapes and my new Stampin'Up hostess set called Mixed Medley for the little spider web. I made the accordion folded flowers using the Stampin'Up Simply Scored scoring tool. Mod Podged over the whole board before hot gluing the embellishment on.
Very happy with the results! Hoping my table group will love them too. Fingers crossed...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Boiled Chocolate Cinnamon Sheet Cake

Pretty sure this is the most boring picture ever....
So, we are having company tomorrow night. Some new/old friends are coming over for dinner with their kids, who have been friends with 2 of my kids since kindergarten. I say they are new friends because even though our kids have known each other for so long, we have just recently realized that we have a lot in common as parents, and enjoy each others company. How cool is that?! So looking forward to a happy friendship! :) We will be sharing the cooking between us and will be enjoying chili verde (click the link for a video of me making the recipe,) rice, chicken enchiladas, guacamole and chips and now, we shall have cake. Yummy yummy cake.

Ok, I have two words for you- boiled cake. Boiled, you question? Yes. Boiled. I also have two more words to go along with the other two- IT"S FABULOUS! It is a family recipe and I would have thought it was strange if I hadn't tasted it first. I will confess though, it is not one of my husband's favorites and he is a fan of chocolate cake. I think it has something to do with the cinnamon that the recipe calls for. He says there is something about cinnamon and chocolate that he doesn't like. I will also say that the whole rest of the family completely disagrees with him...

I don't make it very often because it is quite a large cake. In fact, it takes up an entire jelly roll pan. I save it for when we have company or if I am scheduled to share a dessert at a potluck or gathering of some sort. I think the hardest part is waiting for it to cool. But trust me, it really DOES tastes better when it is cooled. The flavors are more blended or something. I don't get it really. Something about chemistry or some other blah blah reason... whatever. I just know that MAYBE somebody couldn't wait for it to cool down, one of the times it was made it in the past, and MAYBE that person can say that eating it cooled down after they had to make it again (because they still needed it for a potluck on Monday,) makes it taste better. Play it safe and park it in the fridge for about 24 hours. You will thank me later. ;-)

And here is the recipe:

Boiled Chocolate Cinnamon Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cube margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup water
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine flour and sugar in a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, combine margarine, shortening, water, and cocoa. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour into the sugar/flour mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Add eggs and buttermilk, cinnamon, soda, and vanilla.
Spread evenly onto greased jelly roll sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven,

Five minutes before the cake is done, melt one cube margarine and add 1/3 cup buttermilk and 4 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder. Bring to a boil while whisking. Remove from heat and add a 1 lb. box of powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and one teaspoon of vanilla. Mix thoroughly and spread evenly over the hot cake. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (24 is best,) then cut and serve.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wooden Jewelry Holder Story

Back in May, my friends and I got together to craft a simply adorable wooden tray/casserole holder. It was constructed of wooden plank-like pieces, had super cute handles, was stained a beautiful color, and a casserole pan fit beautifully inside of it when it was complete! Perfect! At least everyone else's version was... Mine, however, was not. I have a good excuse for letting my unfinished wooden tray/casserole holder, sit so long unfinished. Let me tell you my story really quickly. (I could use the vent...) ;-)

Earlier that day, the Saturday before Mother's Day to be exact, I was happily shopping at the Hobby Lobby (home away from home) and when I went to checkout, it seems I had "misplaced" my wallet IN THE HANDS OF A PICK-POCKET!! Yes ladies, it's true. I was pick-pocketed at Hobby Lobby. Totally learned a huge lesson that day. Do NOT under any circumstances let your purse hang behind you unzipped as you shop. I should have realized that the "eyes" that I felt on my back and then the two different people who "brushed" against me as I browsed the supplies, were not just coincidental. Now, I know I had my wallet with me before I got to the store because I had bought gas at the nearby gas station before I arrived. I know I hadn't left it there because I threw my wallet in my purse after I used my debit card. Here is where I went wrong: I didn't zip it up after I simply tossed my wallet back in my purse and drove away.

So, I shopped. My oldest daughter was with me that day. We talked, we browsed, we giggled, we planned a couple of projects and gathered the necessary supplies. We then headed to the checkout lanes. Got a total, reached into my purse to pay the nice lady and... NOTHING! I freaked out as I searched my purse at the checkout counter. No wallet. No sign of a wallet that resembled mine throughout the whole store. (Believe me, we checked everywhere.) I had no idea what to do next. I was very sad. VERY sad. Hardly ever carry cash, except on that day, of course. Grrr... Made a police report and did all the necessary stuff you have to do when something like that happens. Still haven't replaced my social security cards. Probably should do that... Ok, you may all feel sorry for me now...

So, later that day, after my head stopped spinning, I decided that I still wanted to go hang out with my friends and attempt  to make the wooden casserole holder that was planned for our gathering. I got there late and started hammering away. I shouldn't have. I messed up. A lot. My heart just wasn't in it no matter how hard I tried. I went ahead and stopped and took the supplies home with me. I set them in the corner of my craft area and they sat there for several months. Today I decided that I would do something with them. I had messed up the wood too badly to make it a usable tray or anything like that- too wobbly and dinged up. I decided to take a trip to the local OSH and picked up a package of cup hooks and a can of flat black spray paint. Drilled a couple of pilot holes in the side of the box, removed the handles from the outside (for use in a different project later.) After I had let the spray paint dry, I hung up my favorite necklaces for display. I am hoping that having them out will encourage me to do more than just collect them. Who knows! I may even wear them someday...

I am so happy to be done with my formerly unfinished project! I feel like I made something out of a bad situation. Hahaha. It wasn't the box's fault, after all. It deserved to be finished! It did nothing to hurt me! ;-) So it is finished and in my room enjoying it's new home. It isn't anything fancy, but functional (like me.) And that is ok too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Personalized Magnetic Note Holders

My crafty buddies got together recently to celebrate 4 of our group members birthdays. August is a popular month to be born, apparently. Now, when crafty buddies have birthdays, you have to create something super cute to give them. if you have time anyway. Well, I almost didn't. But I was able to locate some creativity somewhere deep down inside of me and came up with something pretty cute! I found the wood circles at Michael's and the clips at Target in the $1 section. I already had the papers and the ribbons and I used my Cricut to cut the vinyl lettering. I used my trusty Mod Podge to seal the project and attached the clip and the magnets (on the back) with my E6000 adhesive. One of my buddies asked me where I got the idea and honestly, I got the inspiration from a bunch of different Pinterest projects that I have seen in my perusing. I guess I could go ahead and count this as my 10th weekly Pinterest project, even though I don't have a specific project to link to. You'll forgive me, I am sure... ;-) I hope you are able to make some of these. Would be excellent for a cute teacher gift or something like that. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bottle Cap Embellished Flip Flops

My youngest daughter is going to a Birthday party tomorrow. Kind of a last minute invitation but it is one of her good friends so she is very excited to go! I have gotten in the habit of making my kid's friends gifts and so I just HAD to keep up the tradition! My daughter said that her friends say they have to invite her so they can see what I make next. SO... I had to come up with something quickly. My grandfather died this past week and lots has been going on family wise, so I haven't been in the craftiest of moods. Today, however, my husband and I took a quick trip to Michael's and I found a pair of flip flops that were on clearance. Suddenly it seemed that my gift dilemma was solved! I had seen some cute embellished flip flops on Pinterest and thought that would be a perfect gift that I could put together without even thinking much about it. I am happy with the results!
I just cut a bunch of ribbons about 6 inches long and double tied them on the plastic straps and then made a monogram bottle cap embellishment similar to the ones I had made for other gifts. Since I had all the supplies, it was a cinch to complete and cost me next to nothing. SUPER happy!! Hope my daughter's friend thinks they are as cute as I do. I am off to make a personalized composition notebook to match and then tie up some Jolly Ranchers in a cellophane bag with a cute little tag and call it good. (Blog posts and photos to follow...) :)

Quick Coffee Cake in a Cup

My daughter is a Tumblr freak. She is as into that as I am into Pinterest! Or almost that much at least. Anyway... the other day she asked me if she could make something that she saw on there. I blindly said, "yeah, sure. Just clean up after yourself." A few minutes later I smell this delicious aroma wafting through my house. It smelled like freshly baked cinnamon rolls- all gooey and sweet and cinnamony. I was intrigued!
"What the heck IS that FABULOUS smell?!" "Coffee cake in a cup," is what she said. "Gimme some!!," is what I said back. Oh. My. Goodness! I was instantly a fan. You guys have got to try this when you need something sweet and you need it NOW.

Coffee Cake in a Cup for Two

2 Tbsp softened butter
4 Tbsp sugar
1 egg

4 Tbsp sour cream
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Crumb Topping:
2 Tbsp softened butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar with a spoon or fork (mixer is not required.) Add egg, sour cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add flour and baking powder, stir until smooth. Split the batter between two coffee mugs. Set aside.
In a separate small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon until evenly blended. Split in half and place on top of the batter in each mug.
Cook one mug at a time in the microwave. I would start out with one minute and continue by 10 to 15 second increments. (Ours took about 2 minutes total, but we put it in one giant mug instead of two regular ones.)
Be careful because the mug and the cake will be really hot. Enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Spicy Fire Crackers

A couple of years ago my husband brought me a treat that someone had given him at work. He warned me that they were spicy but that didn't seem to be too big of a deal since they were only saltine crackers after all. WOW was I surprised when I tasted one. They were, in fact spicy and wonderfully savory, all at the same time. Who would have thought??! I had to have the recipe. He brought it to me the next day and we have been making these super easy gems ever since. I will say that they are not for the faint of heart (or the dieters...) because they contain a whole lot of oil. In fact, I am almost embarrassed to tell you how much. ;-) Just save them for a big game or a party or some other occasion and you will be just fine. I just made a batch for my family to munch on during the 2012 Olympic opening ceremonies which air tonight. Good a time as any!! Hope you like them too!

Fire Crackers

1 box (4 sleeves) plain saltine crackers
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-2 tbsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like them)

Put the crackers in a large bowl (I use my 26 cup Tupperware bowl which works perfectly.) In a glass bowl or measuring cup, combine last three ingredients and whisk well to combine. Pour over the crackers and gently stir to coat each piece. Continue to carefully stir for 15 minutes to ensure even coverage. Store in airtight container or serve immediately.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pinwheel Wreath

I needed a gift to give a friend who is going through some difficult adjustments in her life. Looked to my trusty Pinterest, yet again. That fabulous site did not disappoint. Here is the pinwheel wreath that came out of my search. It is kind of a persnickety craft (I always loved using that word...) and takes a little patience, but it is easy enough once you get the hang of it. I would try to explain how it is done but the original poster did such a better job. Here is the inspiration project.

I ended up finding one of those floral foam type, green wreath forms at the Dollar Tree. I covered it in strips of natural colored muslin so the green didn't show through. I chose a complimentary light yellow ribbon for the hanging strap.

I found the double sided scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby. The brand is Authentique. I am kind of in love with it. ;-) You can't see, but I used some additional long dress pins to keep the pinwheels in place. They definitely needed the extra support. Glad I did that. I need to make a card to go with this wreath. Tomorrow it gets a new home at a friend's house. I am kind of excited. Hope she likes it!

Super Easy Button Bracelet

 I have been feeling like I need to do a little crafting lately. It has been awhile! I needed a project for my weekly Pinterest project commitment and I needed to make a couple of  "thinking of you" gifts too. So I looked and looked and came up with several options. This idea was one of my favorites. Pretty simple concept and took very few supplies. Sounded perfect! The hardest part was trying to convince the end of the cording to go through the button holes. I recommend painting it with clear nail polish to make it easier to slide through, it will save you a ginormous headache. (Don't ask me how long it took me to figure that tip out...) ;-)
I will also mention that trying to use buttons with two holes makes it ridiculously hard. I even called in my crafty critical thinking reinforcement A.K.A. my oldest daughter, and SHE couldn't figure out a way to do it. I guess it is beyond our current skill sets. Oh well. The 4 holed buttons it is!! If you would like to make some of your own, check out this tutorial where I found the idea. Happy crafting!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Awesome Churro Flavored Popcorn

I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to make a recipe that I had found on Pinterest for Churro Popcorn. It is hard to find one of the ingredients but I managed to snatch up the last bag that they had at Winco. Score!! It also happens to be the weekend that my group of crafty lady friends has a trip planned to the southern California area to veg out and relax. What better way to veg out than to munch on yummy goodies while you are relaxing. (That is my philosophy anyway.) ;-) I am taking this yummy batch of goodness along for the ride. IF it survives my family's thievery. Hope you get a chance to try it. Sooooooo good!

Churro Popcorn

6 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (I used Hershey's)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Place popped corn in a large bowl. Set aside.
Melt chips with butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir and pour over popcorn. Stir gently to coat pieces.
In another bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon. Shake over coated popcorn. Stir to combine once again.
Allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and store or serve immediately.

Pinterest Weekly Project #7 :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat Recipe

So... tonight I decided to try another Pinterest inspired recipe. This one caught the eye of my son who requested I give it a shot some time. I had to admit it did look pretty awesome and I had all the ingredients on hand so I went for it. Oh. My. Goodness!! This was about as close to a Panda Express recipe that I could have imagined making at home, that is for sure. I tweaked it a little bit from the original recipe and was really glad that I did. It feels like it took forever to make, but, in actuality, it only took about 20 minutes. Not bad at all. If I made it when I was TOTALLY NOT in the mood to cook (like tonight), then certainly you all can handle it too. ;-) Give it a shot when you are in the mood for Chinese food and you will not be disappointed. I made broccoli and steamed rice to go with it. Super yummy!!

Just-as-good-as-Panda-Express Orange Chicken

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups cornstarch
vegetable oil, for frying the chicken

dredge the chicken pieces in cornstarch and cook in preheated oil, in small batches, until light brown, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside.

1 cup water
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp orange zest
juice of 1 orange
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4 tsp cornstarch

Next, combine sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl until blended well. Heat to a simmer in a frying pan, large enough to hold all the chicken pieces. Once simmering, allow to thicken for 3-4 minutes. Add cooked chicken to sauce mixture and stir to coat the pieces. Allow to thicken a little more, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Let's just call this one my Pinterest Weekly Project too. #6. :)

Linking here:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, July 6, 2012

Taco Pizza

Tonight for dinner I made a Pinterest inspired dish again, called Taco Pizza. We have had this a couple of times recently and I must say, it is sooooo yummy! Just wanted to do a quick post and share the recipe. I am positive that your whole family will love it. (Just take off the onions and tomatoes for the picky eaters...)

Please excuse the spots on  my well loved jelly roll pan.... ;-)
Taco Pizza

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 pkg. taco seasoning (added to ground beef according to package instructions)
2 pkg. Pillsbury crescent rolls (don't use generic, it makes a difference, and not in a good way)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can refried beans (I used Taco Bell brand, fat free because it spreads really easily)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1-2 green onions, sliced
small can sliced olives (optional- I didn't use them tonight because I forgot them on the store shelf...) ;-)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a jelly roll pan with nonstick spray. Unroll the crescent rolls and stretch them to cover the whole bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and spread the can of refried beans to cover the surface of the baked dough. Evenly spread the prepared meat mixture over the beans. Cover the meat with the shredded cheese. Sprinkle the tomatoes and onions and olives (if you didn't forget them at the stinkin' store...) over the cheese. Bake the pizza again for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pizza is heated through. Remove and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes so the cheese doesn't slide off onto your plate. Enjoy!!

linking here:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pallet Art with Pennants

Tonight was another one of my monthly craft group meeting and I thought I would show you what I made. I am really liking it a lot!! My friend had mentioned that she would be creating the pallet itself and staining it and that we were to come up with a saying or something to paint or stencil on the front of the board. It was so fun to search the multitude of examples all over the internet and it just so happens that my inspiration piece came from Pinterest (no surprise there...)

We used the Cricut machine to cut out the words on contact paper and then carefully placed the letters down and stenciled with regular old acrylic paint. After it was dry I lightly sanded all the edges to give it a distressed feeling. I chose to make pennants out of fabric die cut scalloped edge squares, turned on their side and strung on jute cording. I just hot glued them in place. I have to figure out a way to hang it appropriately over my couch where it will be living. I am sure my family will appreciate it not falling on their heads at any point in the future. ;-)

This is my weekly Pinterest project. #5 to be exact. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

My hubby and I enjoy going to our local farmer's market when we can and we made the Saturday morning visit this past weekend. While we were there, we picked up some peaches (which I will be turning into jam within the next couple of days,) and some excellent eggplant. I just got in the mood for some eggplant parmesan. Can't explain why, just decided that it was the best tasting meal I could imagine that day.

So... I made it Sunday afternoon and my family gobbled it up, as usual. I only make it about 2 times a year and everytime I do, I swear I will make it sooner. Never happens. Darn it! It is a little time consuming, but really the easiest vegetarian meal that my family will joyfully consume. (They are huge carnivores, after all.) And it makes the best leftover lunch. I promise! Anyway, I thought I would share my recipe with you so you can give it a shot. Enjoy!

Easiest Eggplant Parmesan

2 med  firm eggplant -
slice in rounds, sprinkle with salt, allow to sit for 20-30 min on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, flip the pieces and salt the other side, allow to sit for an additional 20-30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly, allow to drain over paper towels for about an hour, rinse again and pat dry.

Flour (enough for dredging, about 3/4 cup) seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and pepper, to taste
Italian style breadcrumbs (enough to coat, about 1- 1 1/2 cups)
3 eggs, beaten
"enough" oil, to fry the pieces

Dredge the dry rounds in flour, one at a time, then dip in beaten eggs, then in breadcrumbs. Fry in preheated oil until golden brown on one side, flip and fry other side until golden brown. Set aside.

1 1b. ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan
1 egg
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

mix above ingredients together, in separate bowl, until blended well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather the largest baking dish you have (I used my 15" x 10" glass casserole) and begin to assemble.

1 1/2- 2 jars, good spaghetti sauce (if you make your own, great! I don't though. ;-) I used Prego, roasted garlic and Parmesan flavor)

1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Pour about 1 cup of sauce over the bottom of the dish, spread to cover the surface. Lay out the eggplant in a single layer, (squish them all in there to fit the whole bottom,) cover evenly with the ricotta cheese mixture, then pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top to cover all the ricotta, then sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella and grated parmesan. Bake for 35-40 minutes in preheated oven. Remove and allow to set for about 10 minutes, then serve!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Patriotic Rag Wreath

I had a couple of friends over the other night and we made a craft and talked like grown ups. I had a fun time, yet again, and am pretty happy with the results. It is hanging on my front door as we speak. Thanks to Pinterest for showing me the idea.

Here is a word of caution, if you attempt to recreate this project. PLAN ACCORDINGLY!! It took me about 6 hours over the course of 2 days to tie the 1" x 6" fabric strips into knots on my wire wreath frame. Of course, I chose the 24" frame which probably was a little ambitious of me... Anyway... my sister-in-law made a smaller version and she was done before the evening was over. I wished I was her for a second. ;-)

I chose to put an "A" (for Avila) in the center and so I went to Hobby Lobby and found a plain wood letter which I chose to paint with Americana acrylic paint in white wash and attached it through the frame with wide organdy ribbon.

This will be my 4th entry for my Pinterest Weekly Project file. I have been keeping my word to do something weekly! Aren't you proud of  me! ;-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Paperclay Donut Ring and Mushroom Pendant

  My oldest son's good "friend-girl" is having a birthday again. Funny how that happens... She will be 12 and we needed a cool unique gift for her. She likes little animated characters and cute little girly things so it kind of made sense to craft her up something sweet.

I just happened to have picked up a brand new package of Creative Paperclay that I was dying to put to good use and so I searched Pinterest for some inspiration. I found so many super cute ideas and was finally able to narrow down to one direction.

 It just so happens to be time to post my week #3 Pinterest Project anyway, so, yet again it was great timing! I am so hooked on this fabulous stuff. I can see a fun crafting future with my Paperclay!

I will try to roughly explain exactly how to recreate what I have made, just in case you were interested. But basically, you just grab a hunk of the stuff and start rolling it and shaping it until you have a recognizable figure. Then you set it aside to dry (it took about 24 hours to completely set.) Before you leave it alone to dry, you would put a screw eye in the top of each item, if you need one. When the pieces are dry, you paint them and let them dry, yet again.

Then I Mod Podged each of the pieces to seal them.

 For the bottle cap ring, I measured and cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit in the bottom and Mod Podged that in place and allowed it to dry. Before you put the donut pieces on top with E6000 adhesive, you would add glitter or any other embellishments that you choose. The last step is attaching the jewelry hardware, etc.

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