Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Happy Shutter

Look at how cute my Christmas card shutter looks all full with holiday greetings from my family and friends. I am planning to put this in my craft room for the non-holiday times and cover it with all of the other cards I receive during the year- birth announcements, thank you cards, birthday greetings and the like. I just can't bear to put it away.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Easy Make Ahead New Year's Party Appetizer

Earlier this month, my coworker introduced me to these great appetizers at our company's holiday party. Her aunt has been making them since the 40's. They were a big hit back then since you can make them ahead of time and pop them in the oven if your husband calls to tell you he is unexpectedly bringing home a dinner guest. I can tell you that if that happened today, these appetizers aren't the only thing I would pop :)
I made them over the holidays and my family loved them.
You mix up all ingredients ahead of time and... spread it onto quartered English muffins and freeze them.
When you are ready to eat them, simply pop them in the oven and then enjoy!

Here is the recipe for CRABBIES

8-10 English muffins
1 jar Old English cheese (near Velveeta in the store)
1 can crab meat, drained
1 stick butter, softened
3 T mayonnaise
2-3 mashed garlic cloves

Mix cheese and butter together and then add remaining ingredients. Cut English muffins into quarters and spread mix. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Place into Ziploc baggie until ready to serve. To serve, take straight from freezer to oven and cook for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Need something else for your party- I recommend this or this. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Birthday Giveaway!

In honor of my daughter's first birthday today, I am giving away a birthday stamp set from my personal Stampin Up collection! To win the stamps, leave a comment guessing how many pictures I have taken in 2009. The closest guess wins, even if you go over!
Having a child, a family blog and a craft blog leads to lots of pictures! Make sure I have a way to contact you by leaving your email if you don't have a blog! I'll announce the winner on 1/1!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Table Place Settings

I was lucky enough to host Christmas this year. There were just 4 adults, so it was simple and wonderful! I love to entertain- to set a beautiful table, make my husband pull out the fancy dishes, and prepare a yummy meal. This year was no different!

At the last minute, I made these place settings to hang on the dining room chairs. I saw them on another blog. I used small wreaths sold as candle "skirts", chipboard letters left over from this project, a red marker and ribbon. They were a fun addition.Our Christmas tree is in the entryway of our dining room which opens into the living room. I loved having the tree in the room where we dined. It felt even more festive. I have 2 sets of mismatched Christmas dishes. The bottom plates are red with gold stars and the bowls (I also have small plates) say "Jingle Bells" in gold script. I added Christmas wreath napkin rings this year and reused the olive green place mats I also use at Thanksgiving.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with all new recipes including a Bacon and Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin that was by far the best and most expensive meat I've ever had, Dijon roasted potatoes and this cake...

Pound Cake with peppermint extract instead of the traditional almond and a candy cane glaze. I will make my pound cake with peppermint extract from now on. It was subtle, but really refreshing.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

50% Off Sales

This afternoon my mother, daughter and I drove to a nearby small town and shopped their antique stores around the town square looking for post- Christmas deals. We ventured into my favorite antique shop and found some great items for next year.

Look at these cute characters. They are about 12" tall and have such neat details. I bought both of them for $11 each. I have seen them before on this blog and never seen them in person. I may have a new holiday collection! The blogger also collects there floral frogs. They are great for holding up a card, recipe, to do list, etc. This is my daughter's first birthday invite sitting in my new $5 green frog.
I loved the lime in these green felted jingle bells. They were less than $2 each. I bought 4 of them for my tree or my Christmas ragamuffin garland.

Finally, I bought this painted planter box with a holiday postcard embellishment. It'll look great with little Christmas trees inside or even a collection of vintage ornaments in a windowsill. It was less than $10.

I hope you found some great post-Christmas deals. Today truly is my favorite shopping day of the year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monogrammed Gifts

Each of these items was a loving gift to my daughter from her great aunt for this holiday season.
They are monogrammed onto shirts, turtlenecks and an oilcloth bib. What fun to dress up a little one each day this holiday season. I just hate that she'll have to say goodbye to them all at the end of the month. We'll definitely share these with friends so they are enjoyed next year, too!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Handmade Baby Blocks How To

I saw homemade baby blocks on Etsy recently and decided to make a set for my daughter for Christmas and a set for a friend's baby shower. It was honestly easy and fun. I had a brief moment where I thought I should sell sets on etsy. That was quickly replaced by a quick glance at my schedule. Here are the directions for you to make or sell your own!
First, you will need lots of wooden blocks. They sell them at Hobby Lobby, on etsy, or can likely be cut from lumber yourself. I bought mine on etsy and realized HL would have been MUCH cheaper. These are 1.5" squares and were easy for my 1 year old to pick up. Next, the fun part! Buy paper and embellishments until your little crafty heart is content. I purchased a 4x6 paper set called Animal Crackers and simple white stickers.You'll also need Mod Podge, a finishing spray (in the spray paint aisle) and sponge brushes.
Cut your paper to size. You'll need 6 pieces per block and I recommend you leave a small amount of wood exposed on each. So, cut each piece just shy of 1.5 inches. Apply the mod podge to the block and attached your paper.
Repeat over and over.
Until each side is covered in paper.
Here is a set of 20 paper covered blocks.
Add stickers to each block. I made 20 blocks, so I just repeated less popular letters on 6 of the blocks. You could make as many or little blocks as you want. Add numbers or use only capital or lowercase letters if you'd like.
I wanted my blocks to look aged. So, using medium grade sand paper, I sanded each and every edge. This was the moment I decided these aren't for mass production. You will sand 24 sections per block! The sanding also helps thin out the edges and makes the paper less likely to peel up.
Next, I added aging ink with a stamp pad to each edge. The rougher the better!

Next, it is recommended that you mod podge each block all over to seal it all in. It will keep the paper on the block and the letters on the paper.
When finished, spray a clear coat over each side.
If you don't have a baby to make these for, I think they would be cute for various holidays- "Bunny" at Easter in sweet pastels, "America" for 4th of July in stars and stripes, "Boo" at Halloween, "Gobble" or "Thankful" at Thanksgiving, and the Christmas options are endless. They'd make a great hostess or teacher gift!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peppermint Snowballs

This is a plate of yummy goodness right here. You want yummy goodness? You must be willing to make a big mess.
To consume 2 sticks of butter and visit your local Williams and Sonoma store or spend a day crushing small candy canes?

You must be willing to roll dough over and over and get it all under your fingernails!

Then, you must wait 11-13 minutes when you are just dying to dig in!

You don't have to be willing to share, but I recommend it. Someone once shared these with me. I promise these cool, refreshing, buttery little balls of Christmas are worth it!
Here is the recipe just for you- make them for Christmas, New Years, your next party, or anytime really. They are that good!

Peppermint Snowballs
Heat oven to 325.
Mix 1 cup butter, 1/4 cup crushed peppermints, 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Add 2 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Mix well.
Shape into balls and bake at 325 for 11-13 minutes.
Let cool slightly and roll in powdered sugar and crushed peppermints. Cool and roll again, just for fun!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Drying Out A Book

Just in case you happen to accidentally spill your iced tea on your child's favorite book that you have no idea how to replace, clorox wipes and skewers work wonders for cleaning and allowing said book to dry properly.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three Ingredient Turtles

My Dad is a wonderful cook- he can make everything from specially marinated fajitas to salsa to pumpkin bread. A few Christmases ago, he made these turtles and now I make them every year. They are great to have on hand for a party take-along, go well in goodies baskets you are making for neighbors and co-workers, and they take no time at all! The most time is spent unwrapping every single Rolo in the bag!
Preheat your oven to 350. Lay your pretzels onto a cookie sheet. Place a Rolo on each pretzel.

Place them in the oven, about 5 minutes until they begin to melt and shrink down.

Press a pecan half onto each Rolo. Voila- you have turtles- caramel, chocolate and pecan! The pretzel gives it a hint of crunchy and salty. How divine!
Place the completed turtles in the refrigerator for about an hour so they can chill and the Rolo will harden. Serve at room temperature. Cold Rolos are hard to chew!

Just make sure you watch them in the oven. Don't walk way, bathe your child, pack her clothes for the next day and then wonder why you smell chocolate!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Baby Name Banner

I made another baby name banner this past week for a friend's shower and her Americana nursery. Rather than using traditional stars and stripes, I opted for denim blues, hardwoods, grass and patriotic stripes. I hope the addition of star stamps reminds you it is Americana more subtly. The chipboard letters were made to match with distressed ink from Hobby Lobby called faded jeans. How creative!
I used red gingham ribbon to attach them together and some clothespins from this project.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Personalized Coffee Mug

I bought a travel coffee mug at Michael's that is made for a photo insert to go between the inner layer and the clear outer layer. I used my Scrapbook software to make the photo option a little fancier that just printing out one large photo. There are so many uses for the scrapbook software. If you are still looking for a gift for a crafty friend or need to figure out something for your parents or husband to get you, go for it! You'll have fun with it, I promise!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It is Snowing!

.... on my blog at least. Get your snow here.

Christmas Decor: Trees

This is my new tree and I just love it! It is a 9 foot skinny tree and is perfect for our house. We had a traditional 7 foot tree, but it was too wide for our space and not tall enough with our high ceilings. If you are tree shopping this year, go skinny!
Our tree is in the open archway of our formal dining room that is open in an L shape to our living room. It just wouldn't fit in our living room with our furniture, TV and the fireplace. I couldn't bring myself to move furniture out of the room since we need out seating on Christmas morning.
I don't know how to describe my tree- is definetely has a theme. I love warm things on it- felt balls, fuzzy mittens, vintage toys like wagons and scooters, rusty jingle bells, ratty plaid fabrics, and furry Santas. It is rustic. It is country. It is Americana.

This is one of my very favorite ornaments.

Since this is my first Christmas with my baby girl, I added a second tree for her room. On Halloween morning, my girlfriend and I ventured to Garden Ridge for a tree and the fixins for her new baby girl's tree also. I went with a white tree thinking it will look great with pink in future years.
But, since I have a say this time around, I did a candy theme for her. Everything on here is sugar-coated! These intitials were a gift from my shopping buddy after she discovered them weeks later. They are perfect since I love to monogram!
Even the simple balls on her tree and sugar coated!
This is a ball of cherries with some icing! We also have chocolate chip cookies, ice cream cones, chocolate dipped strawberries, ribbon candy, and candy canes. I hope I can teach her fake candy from real candy by next Christmas!
I love the warmth a lit Christmas tree brings to a home. I hope yours is cozy and bright this year as well. Merry Christmas!