Tuesday, November 29, 2011

and the winner (of the holiday giveaway) is...

The winner of the holiday contest is lucky #9...Glynis Crawford!  Congrats! 
If you didn't win, but want to create a little holiday canvas magic, I have the steps listed below. 

  • buy a canvas (or use a scrap of cardboard...seriously!)
  • print lyrics to favorite Christmas songs (I picked my favorite 3, and spliced the lyrics onto a word document, leave very small margins so the words covered the entire page), I printed 2 pages of lyrics for the canvas above)
  • hot tea (let the bags steep for a long while, once tea is cool, soak the torn of pages of lyrics for at least a few hours...the longer they soak, the darker the pages will stain)
  • make a glue/water slurry (roughly 2 parts water to 1 part glue) or be fancy and buy Mod Podge (I think both work just great, I just always have glue on hand and have been doing it that way since I was 6...)
  • Dip the tea soaked lyrics in the glue/water and place on the canvas.  I usually start on the sides and work my way in.  Make sure to wrap the sides of the canvas in the lyrics too (I go around the sides, onto the back of the canvas, just a bit) , and think of the corners as you would wrap the corner of a present, folding down nicely.
  • After the entire canvas is covered (this should take ~20 minutes), I set a cup inside the frame of the canvas (on the back) to dry (I leave overnight, as I often am crafting before i hit the hay)
  • Spray clear acrylic spray paint or run a coat of Mod Podge across the dried canvas
  • Use a dot of hot glue (in the center of the snowflake) to adorn the canvas with a glitter covered snowflake (you can find everywhere this time of year...I bought a package of the blue snowflakes at my mecca Hobby Lobby (and a package of silver snowflakes silver ones at Target)
  • Ta-da!!!  You did it, and isn't it nearly the cutest thing ever?
  • I have mine leaning against a small stack of vintage books on a bookshelf, but if you decide to hang it, I would totally attach a ribbon bow, just to give it a grander look (use hot glue to attach 2 pieces of ribbon to the top back of the canvas frame, and then tie in a big bow)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Remember those bulbs???

I am so excited to show you how I decided to repurpose the 'Charlie Brown Christmas Tree' bulbs that I used a few weeks back for my daughter's photos in the park (see below).  The trees in our yard are too tall to get the bulbs up in them, so I thought they would look fantastic in our front windows, and boy was I right!

Original use of the bulbs for a photo shoot
Repurposed use of the bulbs to fancy up
our windows for the season. 

So, the moral of this blog post story is to think outside the box (of Christmas bulbs) and just have fun!  You might pinch yourself (or ask your husband at least 50 times, 'can you believe how cute they look...') with excitement over what you came up with!

Monday, November 21, 2011

it's the most wonderful time of the year...for a CONTEST!

To know me, is to quickly realize I would paper mache my husband, if he sat still long enough.  I am a women obsessed, but this is your chance to benefit from one of my fave crafting obsessions...all you have to do is leave a comment (I will love you a tad bit more if you also become a follower) telling me where you hope to display this holiday treasure.

I will pick a winner, with the help of random.org on Tuesday, November 29th (gives all you folks enough time to pop in and leave a comment, while you are working your way out of a food coma!) 

If you aren't the bigger winner, don't you worry...I will blog a quick tutorial for creating your own, after the contest wraps up!  Yay, happy holidays!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marshmallow Heaven! Oh, and Cocoa too!

There is nothing like homemade marshmallows this time of year! 
They melt into cocoa like butter...mmmm!

What you need:
6 packages unflavored gelatin
3 cups granulated sugar
2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric
mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Pulse the whish quickly,
just to incorporate then let sit while you make the syrup.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan
and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. 
**Instead of discarding vanilla bean pods after scooping out the vanilla
specks I throw them in my sugar jar to add flavor, so I threw them in to boil
(this is not compulsory for the recipe to be fantastic)

Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches
240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. 
Be patient, it takes a bit of time.  Remove from the heat.

Slowly and carefully add the syrup to the dissolved gelatin. 
Turn on and within a few seconds increase speed to high. 
Whip on high for 15 minutes (set a timer)

While the marshmallows are whipping, butter or oil a 9x13 pan
then completely coat the pan with powdered sugar.
( I use a square corner pan, which is by Calphalon, and seems to always be in stock at TJ Maxx)

 Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly for an additional minute.
Carefully and quickly pour the mixture into the powdered sugar dusted pan. 
Use a damp spatula to quickly clean out bowl, then use damp hands to press flat. 
Allow to sit, uncovered, at least 6 hours (I usually leave overnight).
After fully set, go around edges of pan with a plastic spatula to
release marshmallows and carefully flip onto a powdered sugar surface. 
I use a pizza wheel to cut the marshmallows into large squares,
dusting each square completely with powdered sugar, so no edges are sticky!
I have created a hot cocoa
which perfectly balances the
sweet of the marshmallows.
Slowly heat 16 oz milk,
1/4 cup semi-sweet
 chocolate chips, or shaved chocolate
(make sure it is semi-sweet), 
1 T cocoa powder (unsweetened)
and a pinch of sea salt. 
Heat slowly, to fully incorporate
the chocolate.
This will yield 2 mugs of pure heaven!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Charlie Brown has nothing on this tree!

I am so excited to get all the photos back from our photographer (who I am obsessed with, so if you are in the Oklahoma City area, let me know if you want her info).  I asked her to send over a sneak peek of a 'Charlie Brown' tree at the park behind our house that I funked up with some Christmas balls.  I think it is simply presh, and hope it will inspire some to ditch the faux fireplace backdrop (yes I know, that is totally 80s) and create your own fantastic setting. 

Side note:  It is yet to be seen if Logan sat still long enough in front of this tree to capture a cute pic, but 'tis the life of a 2 year old, always on the move! 

  • Fishing Line
  • Christmas Balls (you pick whatever you love!)
  • Scissors

Cut a length of fishing line (I varied the lengths of line by a bit, but all are roughly 2.5'-3').  Tie a loop at the top for easy hanging on tree branches.  Space out the Christmas balls however you desire and knot on the length of fishing line.  You absolutely can't mess this up! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

No Fail Frosting!

I have no shame when it comes to starting with a box of cake mix, but I will never use a jar of frosting, ever!  Personally, I think it tastes like a plastic jar.  Next time you bake, try this frosting...it is worth the small effort. 

  • 4 T butter (soft)
  • 4 oz cream cheese (soft)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioners sugar
  • milk

Soften butter & cream cheese

Cream the butter & cream cheese.  Then add sea salt, vanilla, almond & powder sugar.
Add milk 1 T at a time, until you have the perfect consistency (I used 3 tsp of milk)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's in a Name (Frame)?

A perfect follow-up to the photo shoot preparations from last week, is this lovely DIY picture frame project.  It is easy peasy, but looks like it came from a cutie boutique. 

  • Frame (with a large enough surround to house the game pieces)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scrabble Pieces (I have found old board games at the Goodwill, and have bought big bags of the letter pieces on Ebay...some vintage, which is even more fun!)

Place a dot of the hot glue on the back of each scrabble piece and arrange, how you would like, on the frame.  So cute and such a sweet gift to give for a housewarming, engagement, new baby, etc. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photo Shoot

If you could see my car right now...yikes.  It looks like a clown car, but instead of a car stuffed with a baker's dozen creepy clowns,  I have stuffed it with a vintage table, a little kid chair my grandma used to own, pillows, vintage crates, picture frames...because, it's photo shoot time!  I am so excited.  I live for these shoots (don't I sound all Vogue editor-in-chief when I throw out that statement?).  Tomorrow we are meeting the photographer at an old, abandoned building (note to self, pack some hand sanitizer) and we are going to funk it up with things from around our house. 

I can't wait to report back, but until then here are a few pictures taken of my sweet Logan with treasures from around our house.  What treasures do you have around your house that are 
begging to make a cameo in the next family photo?

The banana bowl that sits on my counter. 

An old locker basket, that usually holds toys in Logan's room

I said to the photographer, 'I wish we had a scale to state her weight'.
She replied,  'I have a produce scale in my garage'.

The blocks that sit on her dresser.  Friends have been most
inspired to recreate this with their babes, which I love!

A vintage graduation chair from Oregon State University,
which joins three others as our kitchen table chairs

Logan's crib, and some vintage baby clothes to cap it off (the pink dress was mine).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater...

I love to bake.  I love every step of the process, but as of late I feel rushed in the kitchen because life with a toddler is busy.  My friends, you will not believe what I am about to write, but believe it as truth.  The following recipe starts with a box of white cake mix and is to die for.  I give you...Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins.

    • Box of White Cake Mix (pick your poison, I have used several brands and all turn out great, just make sure the box yields a 9x13 cake)
    • 3/4 cup + 2 T Pumpkin Puree
    • 1 + 1/2 cups Fresh Cranberries (it's the most wonderful time of the year...to buy a couple of extra bags of fresh cranberries and pop them in the freezer)
    • 1/4 cup Oil
    • 1/2 cup Water
    • 2 Eggs  (or if you are weird like me, and can't handle eggs in shells, 1/2 cup liquid eggs)
    • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
    • 1 tsp Pure Almond Extract
    • 1 tsp Cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg (I buy whole nuts and keep them in the freezer and just grate off what I need with a fine grate Microplane)
Scoop into paper lined cupcake pan (I use an ice cream scoop) and top with the streusel

 Streusel Topping

1 + 1/2 T Soft Butter
1/4 cup Quick Oats
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch of Sea Salt

I use a mini food processor to mix the streusel , but a fork would work just fine. 

Streusel Ingredients
Streusel Pulsed

Crumble the Streusel on to the muffin batter
Bake at 350 degrees for 19 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!