Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cookie of the Month - December

This month for my daughter's teacher, I decided to use some of the cookies from our Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza.  I selected 3 different types and tied them up in this cute little snowman bag I found in my stash.
This batch was given a bit later this month because my daughter's teacher was not in the classroom for the first week of December.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Paint Storage Solution

It seems that everywhere I look, there are great ideas for paint storage.  My favorite storage idea was from Infarrantly Creative.  She used spice racks!  What a great idea, I wish I had thought of it.  As you know, I love to hit the garage sales, so with this new idea in mind, I started my search.  I didn't quite find spice racks, but I did find this...
 And this...
 The first unit was unfinished wood, so it only took a quick sand before it was ready for painting.  The second one, on the other hand, had quite a bit of clear coat on it, so it took longer.  Plus it has a very narrow groove on each of the shelves and an ugly gold nameplate on it.  All it took was a bit of elbow grease and a good coat of paint to make them beautiful! 

After my primer dried, I painted each of the pieces using a brush and some paint I had left over from another project.  They turned out VERY bland and boring, so I decided to paint a cute little flourish on each.  I used some "oops paint" I picked up a while ago.  I love the way they turned out.  I even love the fact that the designs are a bit rough and aren't perfect.
 The ugly gold plate on this rack was perfect for my little flourish!

Now to figure out a color to paint the wall so they really pop!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza

Every year, the women in my family get together between Thanksgiving and Christmas to have our Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza.  Each person brings 2 recipes and we spend the whole day baking, eating and enjoying each other's company.  Now that I live in a different state from the rest of my family, I don't always get to participate, however, while my mom was in town, we had our own Mini Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza.  I didn't get pictures of all we made, but here is a small sample of the yummy goodness...
Wintermint Wafers

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Cappuccino Crinkles

Sugar Free Chocolate Chip (especially for my Dad, who is diabetic)

Don't you just want to take a bite out of your computer screen?  I know I do!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hand Towel Angel

My mom bought a super cute Angel made out of kitchen towels at a craft fair she recently attended. They were so cute, we decided to make some of our own to give as gifts.

Here is what you will need:
Hand towel
Fingertip towel (if you can’t find one, a microfiber towel will also work)
Pot holder
Rubber bands
Thin wire
Small beads
Bunch of berries or other small item for angel to hold

Start by folding the hand towel using an accordion fold. Once it is folded, find the center and fold in half. Secure with a rubber band about 3 inches from the top. You may also want to temporarily secure the bottom to encourage the pleats to hold their shape.

Fold the fingertip towel in an accordion fold. Place a rubber band in the center of the towel and about ½ inch from the bottom of each end.
Bunch the potholder and slip through the center rubber band on the fingertip towel

Wrap the ends of the fingertip towel around the hand towel and secure the ends together.

Now that you have the basic shape of the Angel, it’s time to decorate her.

To create the halo, string beads on a wire and twist to make the circle shape.  Be sure to leave several inches to slip down through the rubber band at the neck. Tie ribbons around all the rubber bands to hide them. Feed the plastic hanger from the towels through the ribbon used to tie the wings and arms together as shown in the photo below.

This is a shot of her from the back

Slip the berries or similar item through the rubber band and the "wrist", or you can leave her "hands" empty.

Before wrapping or hanging in your own house, make sure to remove the rubber band on the bottom and, voila cute Towel Angel suitable for gift giving. This makes a great hostess gift or teacher gift.

Note: I forgot to take pictures while I was making my angel, so I used old towels to take the pictures for the tutorial. The folds are much harder to make with well worn towels, but it will still work.

This post has been entered in:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Scented Soap

For Halloween, I colored our foaming soap orange.  Well I made too much, and we just finished using it all up.  This time, I made a smaller batch, so we won't be using it well into the new year *fingers crossed*.  I colored it red with 2 drops of food coloring, and added 1 drop of peppermint essential oil.  The whole bathroom smells yummy every time we wash our hands now.  The great thing about it is the smell does not stay on your hands for long, just a few minutes before it dissipates.  My daughter loves that the soap bubbles are pink when she pumps out the soap.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar

Family Fun magazine had a great Cone-iferous Advent Calendar in their November magazine.  We have a fabric one that I bought several years ago, but this year I wanted to do something a little different for my daughter.  Using their template here, and paper from a holiday paper pack I purchased at Joann Fabrics, I created these little beauties:
Inside, I hid things my daughter loves the most:  Quarters, tattoos, gum, coupons to redeem for playing time on the iPod, 30 minutes of TV, a special dinner out at her choice of restaurants, and a few other goodies.  So far, every day has been a huge hit and she asks the moment she comes downstairs in the morning.  When we open each cone, we talk a bit about why we celebrate Christmas. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Be Thankful Banner

Leelou Blogs has a fantastic Thanksgiving Printable Kit filled with all sorts of great printables for Thanksgiving.  I especially loved the Be Thankful banner printable.  Being the crafty person that I am, I saw it and thought to myself, "I'll bet I can make something like that".  It has been a while since I used my Cricut, and I have been itching to make something fun with it.  I pulled it out of the dust bunnies the other night and came up with my own version of the Be Thankful banner. 

As an additional activity for Thanksgiving day, I think we will use clothespins to attach all the things we are thankful for this year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cookie of the Month - October & November

I forgot to post October's Cookie of the Month, so here is a quick snapshot of what I did for October.  I made Carmel Apple Bites.  They looked like little carmel apples down to the stick, but they were actually cookies.  Because October's holiday is Halloween, I included a few plastic spiders to set the mood and wrapped them up all pretty.

 My mom found this fantastic cookie recipe that tastes just like Twix bars.  Oh my...they are so good, I could eat the whole recipe in one sitting!  Anyway, they are called Thousand Dollar Bars.  The recipe can be found here on the King Arthur Flour website.  I wanted something cute to package the cookies in, and I happened on this tutorial from Dandelions and Dust Bunnies.  Perfect!  I made the strips a bit longer (about 10 inches) to accommodate the cookies inside, cut a large leaf from green paper and wrote out the words.
So cute, now to start thinking about what I will do for December.  There are so many cookie recipes to choose from!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Foaming Soap

I am always looking for new ideas to get my 5 year old to wash her hands.  We already use foaming soap, which gets quite expensive, so I poked around online and learned that you can make your own!  I have been doing this for about a year now, but still have to fight with my daughter to wash her hands.  I was walking by the bathroom the other day, when it hit me...why not make the soap fun colors?  With Halloween coming up, I thought orange would be a great color to start with.  This was made with 5 drops of yellow and 1 drop of red food coloring.  My daughter noticed it right away and this week she has been using the soap without my prompting her!  I may try scenting it next

What do you think?  What fun colors would you use?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Halloween Subway Art

I recently ran across MaryJanes and Galoshes and their great Halloween Window Subway Art tutorial.  I just love all the subway art I have been seeing everywhere, and I was inspired.  I just had to make something similar.  I knew I didn't have the right picture frame at home, so I started to troll the garage sales and found this beauty for only $0.50.
With no nicks or scratches, the frame was in perfect condition.  Perfect!  One less step I would have to do.  I recently got the Sure Cuts A Lot software for my Cricut.  Oh my goodness....what have I done without this software all of my life???  I won't ever have to buy a font cartridge again!  I downloaded several spooky looking fonts* from DaFont and got started designing.

Once I was happy with the words, I used my Cricut to cut everything out on cheap Contact paper.  I laid it all out before committing and sticking everything down.
Since it was too late last night to paint my project, I went to bed and dreamed happy spray painting dreams until this morning.  After dropping my daughter off at school, I used Valspar's "Frosting" spray paint to frost the open spaces on the glass.  Then, the hard part, waiting for the paint to dry.  After I lifted the letters off, I was left with a very sticky situation!  Most of the sticky part remained on the glass.  Yuck!  Thank goodness for Goo Gone!  I spent about an hour or so scrubbing all the sticky residue off.  When it was finally off, I gave the glass a good washing and put some orange paper behind the glass and snapped it all back together.  This is the final product...
I apologize for this picture, this project was very hard to photograph!  In the right light, this looks really cool, and I love that I can change the back paper to suit my moods!

* The fonts I used were:  Yard Sale, Juice ITC, Mars Attacks, She Creature, Lunacy More, Trick or Treat BV and Jack Lantern BB

This project has been entered in the Halloween Extravaganza over at The CSI Challenge

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Broken Heart Band-Aid Box

Way back in the day when I was in high school, whenever one of my friends broke up with her boyfriend, I would put a Band-Aid over her heart to help stop the pain. My mother-in-law spent the last week untangling a 38 year marriage to my father-in-law. Suffice to say, her heart is hurting, and while I cannot imagine the pain and hurt she is going through, I can be there for her, to put Band-Aids on her heart to keep it from hurting. To that end, I decided to make her something special to hold her Band-Aids.

I used a plastic box that once held drink mix pouches and used Mod Podge to cover it in fabric.  I added a fabric embellishment to the top and ribbon around the edges.  Then I used Mod Podge to add fabric and a note to the inside.  After everything dried, I added a bunch of Band-Aids.

Here is the inside of the box.
I really just wanted her to know that we are there for her and we love her and will support her in any way we can.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cookie of the Month - August & September

I am a bit late getting this posted, but here goes...

I decided that I wanted to do a little something special for my daughter's teacher.  Teachers do so very much for our children, and they do not get enough thanks for all of their hard work.  One of my friends told me about something she did last year called Cookie of the Month.  Each month, she baked a new cookie recipe and gave it to each of her kid's teachers.  I thought this would be a great thing to start with my daughter.  Hopefully I can keep it up for the full year.  Here is what I have done so far...

August:  Chocolate Chip Cookies
 I included a note explaining Cookie of the Month Club and asking her to let us know if she has any allergies.

September:  Chocolate Glazed Shortbread
This actually isn't the finished product, because I wanted to show the cookies in the picture.  To make the bag:
* Cut down a 12x12 sheet of scrapbook paper to the size of a sandwich Ziploc bag.
* Fold paper in half and about 1/2 inch from the bottom of each end.
* Line up the bag and paper and punch 2 holes.
* Feed ribbon through the holes and tie in a bow.
* Glue bottom flaps to form a flat bottom to make the final presentation below.
I tell my daughter about the cookies in her backpack and she gives them to her teacher.  My daughter loves giving them to her and I love being able to say Thank You each month!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recycled Homework Supply Caddy

My 11 month old adores these cereal puffs, we go through at least one or two containers each week.  They are made of a nice, heavy plastic and are just begging to be made into something else.  They are such a nice plastic, I can't bear to toss them in the recycling bin.  I have been collecting them in my craft room as I search my brain for ideas.  My 5 year old just started kindergarten, and what would be better to celebrate a new school year than a special place to store homework supplies?
After a tearful goodbye (tearful for Mommy at least, my daughter raced into the classroom  and never looked back) I went home and broke out my crafting supplies.  Between drying time and caring for the baby, it took me almost a week to finish putting it all together.  As this was going to be a surprise to celebrate getting through the first week, I could only work while my daughter was in school and the baby was sleeping.  When she got home last week on Friday, this was waiting for her on the table.

 Here is a view from the top.  Right now, we only have enough supplied to fill 4 of the containers, but I know this will quickly change as we get further into the year.

My daughter squealed in delight seeing all the shiny new supplies.  I explained to her that these were her homework supplies and we would keep them in a special place in my craft room.  She couldn't wait to pick out the perfect spot.  She was so exited to use her homework supplies that her homework (yes, she already had homework in the 2nd week of school!!!) was quickly done as soon as she came home from school all week.  I am going to savor this excitement while it lasts!

This was a great project because it cost me less than $5, I got to play with Mod Podge (one of my favorite things)  AND I was able to recycle something that most people would just toss.  I love it!!!

This post has been entered in the CSI Challenge:  Back to School Challenge

Monday, August 23, 2010

Garage Sale Score

I love trolling garage sales, looking for some sad little thing, and transforming it into something beautiful.  On a recent garage sale expedition, I found this sad little shelving unit for $2.  It had stains and water marks on all the shelves, crayon and pencil marks on the sides, scratches and dents all over it, and it was BEAUTIFUL!  Well, at least in my mind's eye, it was beautiful...
 Here is a closeup of some of the stains on one of the shelves.  I tried to get some of the crayon marks, but they just wouldn't show up.  (I need to work on my picture taking skills some more)
 I got to work sanding this little baby.  As I was sanding, I was overcome with the strong scent of powder or perfume.  The previous owner must have stored it in the bathroom or closet where she applied powder or heavy perfume.  It was bad!  After the sanding was complete, I quickly primed it to cover up the horrible smell!  The primer did not cover the smell, so I said a little prayer and started painting.  Thankfully, the paint killed the scent.  I let the paint fully cure for a week, and went shopping for some yummy scrapbook paper. 

Once the paint was cured, I set to work with my paper cutter and Mod Podge.  And this little lovely emerged on the other side of my crafting storm!
It is perfect for my toiletries stockpile.  This is what is looks like loaded up.  Yes, I know I have a ton of shampoo, I am the crazy coupon lady and got it all almost free!

Every time I walk into my closet, I get to look at something pretty :)  What a great way to start each day.

This project was entered into The CSI Project's Mod Podge Challenge

Friday, August 6, 2010

Play Dough

When I was a child, my mom always made our play dough.  We very rarely had the store bought stuff.  I thought it was the best to be able to play with the warm dough, and when we had mashed all the colors together, or it dried out, Mom would make fresh dough.  Now that I have my own kids, I love making play dough.  I also love that I know exactly what goes into it and don't have worry when it goes into my daughter's mouth because everything is completely edible!  There are countless ways to make play dough, but this is how we always made it:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3 tbsp Cream of Tartar
2 tbsp Cooking Oil
2 cups Water
Food Coloring as desired

Combine all ingredients (except food coloring) in a medium saucepan. 
Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the consistency of mashed potatoes (see photo below)

Move dough to a floured surface (I put it directly on my counter) and cool slightly
Knead until smooth and elastic.
Add food coloring as desired.  If you are only doing one color,  you can add it before kneading.  Note:  It will take a lot of food coloring if you want a dark color.  The dough we made this week was at least 30 drops of blue and about 6 drops of green. 
Store in Ziploc bags after completely cool. (Don't put it away until completely cool, or you risk the condensation making your dough too wet, and it will get moldy!)
This is always a hit with the kids and it lasts a long time as long as you are sure to put it back in the Ziploc bag when you are done playing. 
My 5 year old was nice enough to stop playing for a second so I could snap this picture :)


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Upholstered Headboard

No bedroom is complete without something pretty at the head of the bed.  In every bedroom I have ever had, there has always been something at the head of my bed.  Sometimes it was a headboard, others it was the fancy hat collection arranged on the wall above the bed.  My 5 year old daughter has a huge castle sticker at the head of her bed.  So when my husband and I painted our bedroom a deep chocolate brown, I knew I had to find something to complete the look.  The problem was, I couldn't find anything that looked right. 

One afternoon, I was walking through my local fabric store and discovered my inspiration in the aisles.   Because my bedspread has a floral pattern, I did not want anything that would compete with it.  I found this great stitched design and I was off and running.

I don't have any pictures of how I made this, but it could not have been any more simple...
*  Buy the cheapest piece of wood you can find at your home improvement store (tip:  Make sure it will fit in your car BEFORE you get it cut...I ended up cramming it in my car along with the help of a very nice construction worker who happened by me in the parking lot) 
*  Figure out how padded you want your headboard to be.  I used 2 layers of the cheapest batting I could find.  Staple it to your board starting with the middle and working to the ends.  A staple gun is helpful here.
*  Arrange your fabric and staple over the batting.
*  Cut a 2x4 on a 45 degree angle.  Screw one side of the 2x4 to the wall and the other side to the back of your headboard. (You can also attach legs to your headboard so it stands on the floor.)
*  Step back and admire your handiwork!  Easy peasy and, depending on the cost of your fabric, pretty inexpensive :)

Now all I need is the perfect little something just above the headboard.  Only time will tell what that will be :)

This project has been entered in:
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