Chillin' wiht my Peeps

FREE file to make a super cute spring shirt

Mini Photo Frame Banner

A cute and simple way to display mini pictures - come find out how to make one for yourself!

Pony Bead Lizards

Learn step-by-step how to make pony bead lizards

Glitter Felt Hairbows

Add a little sparkle to any little girls wardrobe with these DIY hairbows!

Perfect Crisp Lines

Find out the trick to getting perfectly crisp lines on name signs

November 29, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday

Didn't you just love all those SHOPS I featured over the weekend - such great stuff!  Continue to keep them in mind as you're searching for gifts this holiday season....

Time to Take-A-Look at what you've been up to -  Can't wait to see what comes this week - and who will be the most viewed link - maybe you?

- - just a run down- -
  • Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog (to do this, click on the title of the post you want to link and it will open on it's own page, then copy that url)
    Please don't link up a post that you've already linked here before - since we've been getting so many linkups (great!!) let's keep it to a maximum of 2 links per person - thanks

    Grab my button below - you can post it on your post, on your sidebar, on a page of a list of link-ups, wherever.

    Try to visit a few other people on the list - it's fun to support and encourage fellow craftiness - and everyone LOVES comments
If you're new to link-ups and have questions let me know and I'll do my best to help

November 27, 2010

Tree Skirt

I've always wanted to participate in the Create-With-Me crafts over at Ucreate, so when I saw that this month was a Tree Skirt, I knew I was in!  I have been LOVING this fabric (the same I used on my Handprint Holiday Pillow) so I used more of it on the skirt.  I looked at the tutorial over on The Sweet Life and then modified it a little, as follows:

--you know me and sheets, so of course I used a sheet (garage sale, $1) instead of a drop cloth

--the directions never gave a size - I went out 30 inches from the center - I think that was too big.  Oh well.

--instead of cutting a 7 inch strip and folding in half, I cut a 3 1/2 inch strip and hemmed the edge - I'm thrifty with my use of fabric and always try to eek out as much as I can

--since my skirt was so big, I ended up using 6-7 strips instead of 5

--I gathered the ruffle on my serger using that fabulous gathering foot (I gush about it HERE).
--I top-stitched on the sheet part to add a little interest - I hardly ever use all those different stitches on my machine, so I thought this was a good time to bust one of those out - I used a wavy one.
A picture of the whole thing, before we had our tree set up:

And we just set our tree up, and it's dark, so no good picture of the Tree Skirt in action - just imagine how fabulous it is!!

You can do this!!  It was quick and easy - beginner sewers, go for it!

November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Messages

If you have a down moment today, here are a couple of great videos on the Spirit of Thanksgiving - enjoy your holiday!!

And a link to another video about living in Thanksgiving Daily (I can't get it to embed - sorry!)

November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pie- you can do it!!

Are you intimidated by pies??  Don't be - you can do it!  Last year I tried a couple of crust/pastry recipes, and the best by far was my mom's - the secret was buttermilk.  So pick a recipe that calls for buttermilk, or use this one:
(makes 2 crusts)
1 C Shortening
1/2 stick Margarine
1 Tbsp veg oil
--squeeze all these butter-type products together
3 C flour - mix in (with fingers - not too much!)
1/2 C buttermilk (you probably won't use it all)
dash of salt
--bake approx 10 minutes at 350

So those instructions were for making crust by hand - last year I discovered that the food processor worked wonders - throw it all in and hit the button.  Another tip is to roll out the crust onto wax paper - then when you put it on your pie pan, just pick up the whole wax paper with the crust on top of it and flip it over onto the pie pan:
Now, I made a Pumpkin CHIFFON Pie - growing up, I thought this WAS pumpkin pie.  I probably didn't have "real" pumpkin pie until college and thought "was IS this stuff - ick!"  Needless to say, I prefer the "chiffon" version - if you've never had, you must!  It is light and fluffy and delicious.  Best topped with whip cream.  Here's the recipe, with commentary from my mom:

3 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon gelatin
¼ cup water
3 egg whites
½ cup sugar

Separate 3 eggs. Place 3 egg yolks in large saucepan and 3 egg whites in a clean glass bowl (cover bowl with a paper towel and set out on counter – Do NOT refrigerate). Add ½ cup sugar, pumpkin, milk, and spices to the egg yolks in the pan. Completely blend. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently-constantl­y until mixture has thickened (at least 10 minutes of simmering popping – if you haven’t been burned by popping molten pumpkin mixture you’re not doing it right). In a cup add 1-tablespoon gelatin (1 packet) to ¼ cup warm water. Let dissolve (make sure it is completely mixed in and dissolved). Pour gelatin water into thickened pumpkin mixture. Stir in and mix completely. Set pumpkin mixture in a cool place (on porch, in garage, in refrigerator, or on counter – will take longer) until cooled. Stir mixture occasionally to speed up cooling. When pumpkin mixture is completely cooled begin chiffon mixture. Whip 3 room temperature egg whites in mixer until stiff peaks form. Slowing add ½ cup sugar to egg whites. Fold in egg white mixture into pumpkin mixture. Do not beat mixtures together; you want to keep the fluffiness of the whipped egg white mixture to make the pie light…hence the ‘chiffon’. Pour blended mixture into a cooled baked pie shell. Place in refrigerator (or cool place) and let set.

Number of servings:
(makes one 8”/9”pie)

So here I am, stirring away at the popping pumpkin (wearing that fab apron from Sonshine Designs):
And here is the pumpkin mix cooling outside - as a kid I remember having to run out to the porch and stir the pot that was sitting in the snow.  I guess you could use the fridge, but where's the fun in that.....
I made 2 pies this year for my husband's work food day - he was nice and left one at home for me (well, and the kids..)
Last year my mom was out-of-town right up until Thanksgiving, so I was assigned to make all the pies - - here's my post about it from my family blog last year.  It sounded intimidating, but I did it and I want all you out there to know that YOU TOO CAN MAKE A PIE - just TRY IT!!
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I was put in charge of pies this year. YIKES! My mom is the pie maker extrodinaire. But she had no time and so it was assigned to me. No Pressure! But what's funner than making pies - having people over to make pies (and having them bring their children to distract my children) - so my cousin Kate and SisInLaw Krista joined in. We cranked out about 20 pie crusts between us and filled them with deliciousness. My crust edges weren't as pretty as my moms (or Kate's) but they were just as yummy - due to the buttermilk and 3 kinds of butter - pure healthiness. The only mishap was melting my spatula into the pumpkin chiffon (it's probably happening in the picture below and I've yet to realize it). On my Wish List - silicone cooking utensils. End results: 2 pumpkin, 2 chocolate delight, apple, lemon meringue, peanut butter cream, pecan. All yummy.


Showing Off and favorite sites

Hey Everyone - - ready for the holiday??  Hope it's great for you all.  I've got a few quick housekeeping things I wanted to tell you about.

Lately I've been getting a BUNCH of spam commenting - so I'm going to have to turn off the option to comment annoymously - sorry about that, but I'm hoping it will help with the spam thing....

Did you know that blogger now has a widget that shows your most popular posts?? - I just found out, and added that to my sidebar.  Enjoy!

And speaking of sidebar, I used to click through my "Blog Love" list every morning, but ever since I found out about my new love, the "next" button (see HERE) I don't use it - the Next button is so much more efficient, and so I get to look at so many more blogs - love it!  So I'll be taking that "Blog Love" list down to unclutter my sidebar a littler - I think I'm probably the only one that used it, but I wanted to give you a heads up just in case.

And speaking of Blog Love, I love all things bloggy and crafty - I follow a bunch of blogs but got to wondering if I'm missing some great ones.  So if you've got a minute, let's hear your top 3 favorite sites - just leave a comment and list them.  Mine change all the time - right now it's probably Tatertots and Jello, Be Different Act Normal, and Make It and Love It - - how bout you????

And speaking of love, here's my favorites from yesterday's link-up - -

I don't know much about beading, so I'm glad there was a step-by-step how-to over at Morgan Made It.
I am weak for ruffles on pants - love this whole look over at Couturier Mommy - - -and then the ruffles added to the side of leggings over at Mama Says Sew.
I made this exact pie shown at The Farm Girl for the first time last thanksgiving (and HERE's where I made if for Father's Day) - I think I've mentioned my dislike of peanut butter, so it was for my hubby that I even considered making it - and then it turned out first to disappear - it was a hit!
This Drape Cardigan over on At Second Street is so intriguing to me:
Have some spare time today??  whip up some cute little hairclips like Life is Just a Bowl of Cherrys.
Isn't this the cutest little bird - it's on a kitchen towel - you can see the whole look at Sparta Savings.
I'm weak for shirt/skirt combos, like this cupcake one over at Crazy Craftin Momma:
LOVE these fabric trees over at JAQS Studio:
Did you see?? Another great refashion knockoff over at Welcome to the gOOd Life - and big congrats to Sarah for winning the dress design contest - wow!
I had to read this post at Flamingo Toes twice to see if I read it right - she just ironed freezer paper to fabric and ran it through her printer - wow!!

Did you notice I totally forgot to look up the most viewed link last week - oops!  You guys are supposed to keep me in line on those things.  Anyways, this week, it was none other than Sarah from Welcome to the gOOd Life, again - and I had her pulled out to be featured before I even saw who had the most hits.

Thanks for linking everyone!!  If you were featured feel free to grab the button:

November 22, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday

Ooops!  I forgot to run the giveaway for the Free Advertising Spot Swap for December - (remember, every month I'll give away one spot, you on my blog, me on yours....) - I meant to do that last week.  Oh well, let's just do it right now - - leave a comment on this post if you'd like a change to swap buttons!!

Did you see my hanging chair over on SoYouThinkYou'reCrafty - I posted about yesterday: Reading Nook Hanging Chain.   This week's it's down to the top 3 (eek!) and theme is "Winter" - don't forget to vote!

Last week's link-up was HUGE!!  You all are awesome, as always.  Time to Take-A-Look at what you've been up to -  Can't wait to see what comes this week - and who will be the most viewed link - maybe you?

- - just a run down- -
  • Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog (to do this, click on the title of the post you want to link and it will open on it's own page, then copy that url)
    Please don't link up a post that you've already linked here before - since we've been getting so many linkups (great!!) let's keep it to a maximum of 2 links per person - thanks

    Grab my button below - you can post it on your post, on your sidebar, on a page of a list of link-ups, wherever.

    Try to visit a few other people on the list - it's fun to support and encourage fellow craftiness - and everyone LOVES comments
If you're new to link-ups and have questions let me know and I'll do my best to help

Reading Nook Hanging Chair

Did you see me over at SoYouThinkYou'reCrafty??  I made it another round (who knew!!) - it's down to the top 3, so go vote!  This week is WINTER.

Here was my entry last week:

 After wandering through the hardware store, I came out with:  chains, eyebolts, nuts, washers, painter's dropcloth, lumber, metal bucket, bubble wrap, and colored duct tape.  All for the same project - crazy!!  But it all pulled together for my amazing Reading Nook Hanging Chair.  

I LOVE the look - it's the shiny hardware that makes the biggest statement:
 The chair doesn't hang too high off the ground, so it's easily accessible to young children.  I mounted it in the corner so it won't swing back and forth too much.  The chair is a relatively easy construction project that anyone can conquer (really!  just a few cuts - I was proud that I worked the chop-saw by myself - and then a few screws to hold it together).  I will provide you all the measurements for mine so you don't have to think, but you can also adjust my measurements to fit your own needs.

And I just had to share this cute picture of the Reading Nook Hanging Chair in action as my little guy was winding down for bedtime last night...

Want a quick tutorial??

--First, I spray-painted a dropcloth orange.  I did this because everything had to come from the hardware store - normally I would have just used a fabric that I liked.

--Cut 3 pieces out of a 2x4 - mine short ones were 12 inches, but I don't think they needed to be quite that long.  You'll need one 18 inches long as well. Paint and set aside.

--Cut a piece out of the dropcloth.  12 inches wide and long enough to drape to where you'd like it. Then fold over each end to make a pocket for the 2x4 - make it a little big so a bolt can fit in.  Refer to the picture:
 --Then I added a back to the sling part - mainly because my kids are little, so this wouldn't be a have-to.  I set out the sling part like in the picture above and traced that curve.  To make it more of a bucket-seat, I added pleats to one edge, like so:
 The back side of the pleats:
 Then I sewed the pleat side to the sling, right sides together.  That's it.
Screw the long 2x4 onto the back of the shorter ones after they have been fed into the pockets - to hold the sides apart.  I then used eye-screw things in the 4 corners to hold the chain.    Let me know if you have any questions!

November 20, 2010

Tis the BIRTHDAY Season - Dirt Cake

Have I mentioned to you before that ALL of my kids have a fall birthday - 4 birthdays within 5 weeks of each other - it's crazy times.  This time it's a cake for my toddler that I want to show you - well, I say "cake" loosely.
What do turning-2-year-olds love??  Pudding.  and Cookies.  So what better than Dirt Cake - -
I used the recipe for Dirt Cake on All Recipes HERE - cream cheese and whip cream were involved, and I have to say it's the best dirt cake I've ever had.  YUM!!

Kids can help - here they are crushing cookies:
Adding the layers of goo and cookies and goo and cookies.
We found a monster truck for cake decor - perfect. 
Have a great weekend!

November 18, 2010

Iced Cookies

Do you have holiday traditions??  Would you like to start some??  One of our favorite traditions is making iced cookies - I just love it!  I ice while the kiddos decorate.  So fun!  I've simplified lately and just cut round cookies instead of intricate shapes - so much easier!

First, the dough - - the recipe is called "plain cookies" and my mom's mom used to make them - they're perfect.
Plain Cookies
1/2 C shortening
1 C Sugar
1/4 C milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
3 C flour
Cream together (that means mix well til creamy) the shortening and sugar.  Add milk, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and mix well.  Add flour and mix.  Refridgerate dough  for 2-3 hours - this is important, otherwise the dough is too sticky.  Then roll out to approx 1/4 inch thick (put flour on your countertop so the dough doesn't stick), cut shapes, Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes. 
Let them cool completely before you put on icing so it won't melt and slide off.
1/4 C butter
3 tbsp shortening
1 tsp almond extract (I love getting of whiff of this stuff!)
1 lb powder sugar (1/2 bag)
Approx 4 tbsp milk
Cream the butter and shortening and almond together like so:
Add the other ingredients.  Adjust your milk amount according to how thick you want your icing.  Mix it on a high speed - I hardly ever those high speeds, so it's fun to see the icing whip up.
Then you're ready.  While you ice the cookies, keep a wet paper towel on top of your icing bowl so that the icing won't start to dry out.
Want to see how I ice cookies??  Here's a video (hope my mom approves - all my life I've been trying to live up to her icing standards!)

Yum, right?!  enjoy!