Friday, December 31, 2010

Look what I did

For Christmas I like to give family gifts to my sisters who have kids. and I found a really great idea for this past year. I am posting it after Christmas because I did not want to totally ruin the surprise. Even though some of them already knew, because I took the presents to them when we went out to visit a couple of months ago.

I made these super easy boards for their kids to hang their art work, school work, or whatever on.

To make these I took a 1x8 and cut it down to about 18 inches. I then painted the underside a light brown - slightly darker then the wood. I then painted the top coat. This one I did a tealish blue. I also did an orange and a green one. I then sanded the edges and the top to give it a little distressed look and to see the bottom coat of paint. (You cannot really see it in the picture).
I then painted some regular clothes pins black. (For the orange board I left the clothes pin the wood color because I did not want it to look like a Halloween decoration.) I then just eyeballed where to place the clothes pins and gorilla glued them on. I did not want them to be pulled off.
I cut the vinyl on my cricut with my SCAL (sure cuts a lot) in a kid hand writing. I did not want them to be perfectly straight, so I just eyeballed where to place these letters as well.
This tealish one I used for my kids and the moment I hung it up Thing #2 and Thing #4 went right to work drawing pictures to fill up the hooks.

 Don't forget we have a link party starting next friday. Jan 7 will be our first Fantastic Friday where you get to showcase all of your fantastic creations.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ruffle Bag

I was looking through blogs the other day and came across this bag here: (It was made by Frundy)

I immediately wanted to make one like it. And on the plus side I needed a new bag for Sunday's, because I am trying to slowing get rid of the diaper bag. This looked like the prefect feminine bag.

It was super easy to make. I cut my bag out (30 in x 14 in) and then just sewed the sides together, and made that little triangle thing in the corner to give the bag width. I then sewed the top together with handles. However, I did not think that one totally through, because when I finished the bag I went back and made the handles a little bit longer. (finished they are 30 in)

I manually made each ruffle because the fabric I choose was canvas and I did not have a ruffler. But it worked so great! I will always do ruffles this way when working with heavy weight fabric. I made 5 ruffles from a fabric strips that were 4 in x 60 in. I hemmed each side of the ruffle before sewing it onto the bag. After each ruffle I measured 3.5 inches from the underside and marked it all around so that my next ruffle would be straight.
When I was finished I added this flower to the bag - remember this from the upcycled pillow? It was not surviving on the pillow and stands a better chance on here. When I showed the bag to Conan he said it looked like a skirt, and that it was okay looking. But when I used it this past Sunday he said that it went perfect for a little bit dressier bag.

I am starting a link party on Fridays called FANTASTIC FRIDAY. It will begin on the first friday of the year, January 7th. So remember that date and come and link up your fantastic creations!

Linking up to: Creative Itch, Someday Crafts, Sugar and Dots, Sew Much Ado. Made by You Monday, Crazy Domestic, Today's Creative Blog, Hope Studios, Little Eme.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Last Minute Decorating

I saw this quote once and loved it.

"If it weren't for the last minute, I wouldn't get anything done."

I need to bronze it and place it somewhere prominent in my house. I did a few last minute decorating things yesterday. I am not sure they would have gotten done if I did not have my piano open house. (I am a piano teacher and every Christmas we have an open house instead of a recital.) But I wanted to have a nice little display for them.

I finally mounted my Christmas subway art on foam board:

I made some thank you cards for the parents: I love the top note die cut from Stampin' Up.

And my favorite part of the crafting was making these snowmen:
I saw them in Martha Stewart magazine and knew they would be perfect for this event. And I finished them one hour before the open house. They were so easy and the kids loved them. The big kids just loved the fact that they were getting food, but the littler ones liked the snowman. What they are is a chocolate bar that you wrap like a present in white paper. You then use your finger and make the eyes and mouth. Cut a little orange triangle for a nose and glue on, and then tie ribbon or string for the scarf. Martha also had a Santa one, but I wanted everything to be the same so I did not make one of those.

Here is a picture of the little display I had out:

Sorry it is so blurry, but I was in a little bit of a hurry by this point and I only took one picture and this was what I got.
I hope that you all have a wonderful Holiday Season with family and friends. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting on it, you are great people.
Linking to: Shabby Chic Cottage, House of Hepworths,
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

True Love

This post has nothing to do with crafting, sewing or cooking. It does have a little bit to do with decorating - if you consider decorating my unfinished basement. But I am just so excited about it I decided to share my excitement with all of you.

Rather this post has everything to do with true love, and a great run.

When Conan was trying to decide what to get me for Christmas, he told me that he was getting me something that I would use until it died. So I started thinking about everything that I use. Secretly I hoped that it was a treadmill because I really dislike running in the snow and cold every morning.

He had to tell me early because I was the one who had to sign for it when it came. And Conan does love me because I got this great treadmill: (yes those are storage totes in front of it, we got one of the car DVD players and put on them because a bare wall was awesome to look at while running.)
 Now I do not have to get up early every morning to run before he goes to work and I have to get the kids ready for school. I can run just about anytime I want. Usually it still is in the early morning because that is just when it works, and why mess with what works?!

Yes this man truly loves me and knows what I love. Even though he does use it every so often.
Merry Early Christmas to me! What early Christmas presents have you got or given?
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Quilt

I got this grab bag of fabric a year or two ago - well I actually got three because it was such a good deal - and I am finally using it. I started this quilt this summer. I was hoping that I would have it finished by Christmas. But my problem was I was not in a hurry because Christmas was so far away. So I would sew a little here and there on it. And now it is 3 days until Christmas. I don't think that I am going to get it done in time. Especially since I am all out of thread and the thought of going to the store at this point is scary. That and I am still trying to decide on this outside border.

It just seems really busy. But I wanted to use what fabric I had. I actually made a whole other Christmas quilt with similar fabric. I wish I had more of the cream stripe, but I don't - I actually had to piece it together to make the rows. I am open to ideas on the outside border, I might go and buy a similar cream to replace it.

Here is the complete quilt:

 I like it, but that border just gets me. I might just quilt it and call it good, because my kids all say it is so nice looking. (I think they say that about everything I sew, but good for them.) Maybe I could get some cream and replace that busy outside border with is and then place the busy one on the outside of the cream . . . who knows, but now my goal is to finish this quilt in a month. So stay tuned to see what happens to it!

The pattern comes from a book by Moose on the Porch Quilts - that lady is very talented. She was one of the gals who would quilt for our quilting group when I lived out in the country. The book is called Big Block Quilts. She has very cute patterns in that book and her other ones called Simply Charming 1 and Simply Charming 2. Go check her out, you will not be sorry. She is doing a quilt along right now that looks like a ton of fun.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pie

Christmas break is in full swing at our house, translation – it seems like nothing is getting done. I like to get my blog posts up in the morning and here it is almost dinner time. But I do have laundry almost done.

Anyway, onto my topic: Pie. I love pie, but I really only eat it maybe twice a year. This is a pie that I made for Thanksgiving and I am going to make it again for Christmas because Conan loves it. It is that perfect blend of apple with just enough cranberry to give it a little kick. I personally love it with a little bit of vanilla ice cream. But I think that everything is better with ice cream.

Cranberry Apple Pie
3 C sliced apples
1 C chopped cranberries
1 ½ C sugar
3 TBsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
double pie crust

Chop apples and cranberries up (I use the food processor to do this). Mix all ingredients together and fill unbaked pie crust. (I cannot make a decent pie crust, so I always buy mine). Bake in preheated oven to 375 degrees for 1 hour. (Be sure and place a pan under it because this pie will always boil over!

Let cool and serve with ice cream or whipped topping.

Linking up to Recipes of a Cheapskate , and go over there and enter her giveaway for a $50 gift certificate for Novica. It ends tonight.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Great Neighbor Gifts

Last week you all saw my fun teacher gifts, well today I have my neighbor and friend gifts to share with you. I have a few that are practical and a few that are just fun.It is also the first day of Christmas break, so it is a good thing I got these done already, because I am not sure what else will get done before Christmas.

First off we have the practical gift, I got this idea from a neighbor I had growing up. They always gave great gifts that had cute sayings. I have 2 of these because, well one windshield washer fluid was one sale at ACE this summer and lets just say I have a lot of it. And when I was trying to remember the saying to go with it I was talking to my mom and she came up with another one before we remembered the first saying. 
One reads:
Twinkle, Twinkle, Sparkle Shine,
See more clearly this Christmas time.
And the other one reads:
We wash you a Merry Christmas and a Shiny New Year.

I am giving these little boxes to my friends. It is simple and easy and everyone loves them. I got the box from the Wild Flower Patch. I bought the SVG file and let me cricut do all the cutting for me! I then filled it with little Snickers bars.
They read. Don't Snicker, at least you got something.

For my neighbors who have a lot of kids, my sister gave me this idea last year and I loved it. I made this with a Styrofoam star ornament that I cut into the bottom so that I could stick a dowel rod into it. It reminds me of a wand, but it works for families with girls.
It reads:
Here's a magical Christmas Star
with a tradition old and true
may it bring you warmth and love
not only at Christmas, but all year through too
now every day till the new year
find someone in your home,
and secretly do a deed of love
so your identity won't be known.
and when the secret act is done,
place the star upon their bed.
they in turn do a secret deed
for another, it is said.
And like the star so long ago
lit the sky for all to see,
may this star bring light and joy
to your wonderful family.

Lastly, I have a gift for my friends that can take a good laugh. I am sure you have all seen those cookies in a jar recipes where all the dry ingredients are layered. I used the one for cowboy cookies. 
The saying reads: Poinsettias are red, Candy is sweet, I'm really stressed out, so make you own dang treat.

This one was one of my favorites, and I have already given it to one of my friends who just loved it.

Of course we have the traditional plate  of goodies to give out as well.

Hopefully this will inspire you as you are planning your gifts this year.

Linking up to: Somewhat Simple, House of Hepworths, Shabby Chic Cottage, Finding Fabulous, Creation Corner. Tidy Mom, Tatertots And Jello, craft-o-maniac, Skip to my Lou, Keeping it simple. Someday Crafts, Sugar and Dots.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nausea Quilt

I have been quilting for a couple of years now and I love it! I love to see my family all snuggled up under a quilt made just for them. About 2 years ago I got a quilt kit that I wanted to make. I was newly pregnant with Thing #5, and I was hoping to get the quilt completely done before he was born. Well it started out good, then when I started sewing it together the nausea would hit. I got sick a lot in the evening, and that is when I I had the time to sew. After a couple of days of trying to sew things together I could not do it anymore. Every time I would think about the quilt, or look at the quilt, or heaven forbid sit down and sew on the quilt the nausea would come on strong. So I put the quilt away for a while.
After Thing #5 was born I thought it would be good to finish the quilt - I really dislike unfinished projects. I pulled it out and started sewing on it. I could not make it over 30 minutes without feeling a little ugh. When I finally did finish piecing the top together I was trying to decide how to quilt it and what we would use it for. I came up with a great idea, we would use this quilt when the kids were sick. I got this idea from my mom, because growing up when we were sick my mom would always let us use this pink blanket. It seemed like that was the only time we could use that blanket.
After I decided this I thought it would be fun to quilt the kids names into the quilt so that while they are laying around bored on the couch they can be looking for their name. I also quilted 'feel better' and 'I love you'. The picture is from the back of the quilt, which is why the words are backwards. From the front you cannot really tell that it says anything, but on the back you can see the names and sayings easier.

Now that I am done with this quilt it seems that I do not get as sick when I think about it, but there is something about it still that just makes my stomach turn. Hence the name, and everyone in the house knows what I mean when I ask them to go and get the nausea quilt.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

This weekend we made these cookies for Christmas - well I guess it wasn't really for Christmas when they are all gone already. I love peanut butter and just about anything with peanut butter in it, but for some reason these are not my favorite. But the kids love them, which is why I made them.
 1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butters and sugars together and then add remaining ingredients beating after each. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from tray and add chocolate kisses to the top while still a little bit warm.

I have seen different recipes that say you should refrigerate the dough, but I did not and these still turned out great.

I am having a cookie exchange this week and so I will have some great cookie pictures and recipes later on this week.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Teacher Gifts

I have 3 teachers to give gifts to this year, and I wanted them to be something useful. I have a friend who is a teacher and she has told me about some of the things that she gets for gifts. So I have been thinking long and hard about this and here is what I have come up with.

For my kindergartener - who has 2 teachers - I wanted to do the same thing, but they are quite different in age. So I came up with this: I was going to use the refrigerated roll of dough, but since my little guy has to take them to school, I did not want them to go bad. The saying is: "Thought we'd be an ANGEL and give you a little extra DOUGH this holiday season." I picked up the angel cutters last year after Christmas on clearance thinking that I could come up with something good for them.

My next kid has a grandma for a teacher and she loves all things teacher related. I was doing some glass etching for a craft group last month and thought I would make this for her. After asking Thing #2 what she thought about this for her teacher she was very excited. I got the glass jar at the dollar store and the etching cream from Hobby Lobby. I had the ribbon (notice how it is quite similar to those cards I made?), and the pencils on hand. It is hard to see in the picture, but it does say PENCILS around the cup.

Last but not least, my oldest. I would have to say this teacher is my favorite. She has put a lot of work into my child and really is interested in helping him. She is a very young teacher, and dresses cute and stylish. I have seen these flower clips all over and thought that I would give it a try. I would have taken a picture of it in my hair, but I am giving it away and thought that would not be wise. Thing #1 thought that she would like them a lot. I was wishing that I could get those clip/pin things to put them on, but I cannot find them anywhere.

 Now that I am done with teacher gifts I am on my way to doing neighbor/friend gifts. I have some great ideas, so as soon as I get them done I will post those.

Linking up to: Somewhat Simple, House of Hepworths, Shabby Chic Cottage, Creation Corner, Frugalicious Friday
Craft O Manic, Skip to my Lou, Motivate me Monday
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monogram Stockings

I have this thing about matching. I love it when things match and look good together. You would not know this looking at my house, but I really do like this. For a while my kids all had various stockings that were really an eye sore to me when they were all hung up together. So I got this great idea to make stockings.

It was not really that hard. I took a pattern off of Conan's stocking from when he was a kid and just made 7 of them. I used felt because that was what my stockings were made out growing up. I really like the monogram because then you can always tell whose is whose, and it just looks so classy I think. So I found a font I liked on my computer and made a stencil out of it and cut out my letters. I stitched around the letters by hand and then glued them to the white part of the stocking.

This was super easy, a little time consuming because I had to make so many of them. But now they are very eye pleasing when lined up for Santa.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nativity Parade

 I love nativities, and so when I saw that Char over at Crap I've Made was doing a nativity parade I just had to participate. I would have to say that my Willow Tree nativity is my favorite one right now, probably because it is my most recent one to acquire. But I love all of them for various reasons.

I even made a digital scrapbook page about them - that is how bad my obsession is!
If you love nativities or want to see some great crafting stuff head on over to Crap I've Made and see what kind of fun things she has over there!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

White Chili

Yesterday it was so cold here, no snow, just cold. When it gets this cold I always want snow because then the cold is bearable. However, this weather does always make me want to cook, so we made some white chili. I love this soup, there is just something about the perfect blend of flavors that makes it so good. And you have to love how easy it is to make chili.

White Chili
1 lb cooked chicken chunks - or canned
1 medium onion - chopped
1 garlic clove
1 TBsp olive oil
2 (15.5 oz cans) great northern beans
1 can chicken broth
2 (4 oz) cans green chilies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
1 C sour cream
1/2 C cream or milk

Saute onions and garlic in oil in skillet. Add chicken beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream. Serve and enjoy.
I make mine a little bit different then this recipe - I use raw chicken breasts that I cook in the crock pot with the beans. Once they are done I add the remaining ingredients and cook for another hour or so, and then right before we eat I add the sour cream and cream. Sometimes I will even add jalapenos for Conan, because he likes it that way. I have a hard time following recipes and so I usually alter them to be a little bit easier for me and my crazy schedule.
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Faux Metal Stars

cThe other day I saw this wreath(and of course I cannot find the name to give proper credit  you can find it here), and loved the stars. I immediately thought that they would make cute ornaments for Christmas.
I found two pieces of cardstock that I thought would look a little bit vintage and cut out 4 stars apiece at 5 3/4 inches on my cricut with the Platinum Schoolbook cartridge and used the roly poly feature just like she did. I then scored it to make it the 3-D star shape. At first they just started to flatten out. I wasn't sure what I did, but I decided to put some mod podge on the back of them so that they would hold their form better. And they did.
After that I distressed them a little bit with some chalk ink, if I make more of these I would do this step first because after the mod podge dried I could not get into the creases that were in between the points.
Then I just punched a little hole in them and added some cream twine and hung them up. I think that they look just like those metal ones that you buy, only they did not cost so much!

Linking up to: Somewhat Simple, House of Hepworths, Shabby Chic Cottage, Finding Fabulous,Creation Corner,  
Motivate me Mondays, Skip to my Lou, Craft-o-Manic Mondays
Sew Much Ado 
Someday Crafts
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Name

As many of you may have noticed I changed the name of my blog. This is due to various reasons, the number one being the suggestive content that sometimes come up when you search for my blog name. This is a family friendly site and I decided that my new name will convey that better. Thank you for understanding.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Felt Advent Calendar

First I have to tell you, I did not make this. My dear little sister did one year for us for Christmas.(you can read more about her here) But had she not done this then I would have made this advent calendar. I love this advent not because it is super easy and quick to make, and not because it stores so great. But I love it because it is exactly like the advent that we used as kids growing up. And it helps us to remember what this season is really about.

This is super easy and fun for kids to be able to open a pocket everyday of the month. My kids are always counting out which order to go in so that they can open the last pocket - which is always baby Jesus.

The background square on mine measures roughly about 23" x 26" and each pocket measures 3 inches square. There are three rows of pockets with 8 in each row. There is a pocket sewn on the top for the dowel rod to slip through. We also keep a few extra pins on the side for those items in the pocket that might need more than one. The numbers are written on the pockets with a Sharpie. And the tree and stable are permanently glued on. Each item can be pinned on.

Each pocket is filled with different things to decorate the picture. There are figures cut out of felt. Like these here:

These would be a shepherd and his sheep.

And here we have Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus:

There are other items from felt, but I did not take a picture of everything. They are an angel, some wisemen, more animals, a little manger and another shepherd.

We also have items in the pockets to decorate the tree, like these here(plus numerous others):

And then there are presents to place under the tree

And not pictured is the garland, the star, and more ornaments. Each year we open a pocket every night and then on the last night we open baby Jesus and read the story in the scriptures. When we are cleaning up Christmas, I just randomly place the items back into the pockets and close them with the pin and roll this up around the dowel rod and it is ready to store until next year!

linking up to: We did it Wednesday, Sugar and Dots, Whatever goes Wednesday
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