Monday, December 31, 2012

Faux Length Mirror

It seems that I have piles of mirrors leaning against walls in our basement, just screaming for a place to do their thing, in our new home.  I got a wave of inspiration this weekend, when I walked past a couple and thought how wicked awesome they would be, grouped together to create a faux 'full length' mirror. 

I had time to execute this project because my mama was in
town to paper and tape the frames, then run upstairs to
 love on her grand babies.

Slide the paper under the edging frame of each mirror and
tape the edges.

I had extra paint on hand, so I decided to go with this
(the paint looks crazy bright in this picture, thank you flash!)

I put a tarp down and propped the 3 frames up for
quick and easy paint application.

I happened to have a lamp on hand that was dying fora new color. 
In it's life, with me, since I acquired it for $1 at an estate sale,
it has been: green, black, yellow and now funked out turquoise.

After the paint dried, I used a razor blade along the edges of
each mirror to seperate the painted on tape, from the mirror.

(what a difference it makes to eliminate the flash...
this color is more representative of what it truly looks like)

Of course I remembered to take this picture
at night, so this photo does very little
justice to the beauty of this creation.  I
vow to replace this picture, when I remember
to snap another in the light of day. 

The top two mirrors were finds at junk stores (I am talking dollars for these bad boys!)
and the smaller one used to house a drawing of a loon (yes, I am from Minnesota)
that my mom popped out and had a glass company replace with a cut of mirror
(repurposing at it's greatest!).

Like I seem to always say, look around your house...
what is just screaming to  be used differently  
(well, maybe not 'differently' in this case, but how absolutely fun is this!!!)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

3 Little Birds HOUSE

My mom is in town for Christmas, which is such a relief, since we couldn't muster up the energy to haul the kids, and the compulsory half of house required for said kids to know.

So, I was trying to think of a little gift to whip up for my mom, and I came up with THE CUTEST LITTLE SOMETHING...patting myself on the back with one hand while I dominate the home row keys with the other.

Long ago my mom told us that Bob Marley's song 3 Little Birds made here so very happy because it made her think of her three kids: Thad, Tate and me.  While we certainly know Mr. Marley didn't write this song about his three kids (let's be real, he would give The Duggar Family a run for their money with all the kids he had...but, i digress).

As we know, I love me some papier mache (I have said it before, and will say it again, I would papier mache my family, if that sat still for long enough!) and I found this cutie little wooden birdhouse which set the course for the following project:

Printed words of Bob Marley's song 3 Little Birds (tight margins),
brewed tea, wooden crafters birdhouse, crafters moss

Printed words.  I was thinking it would be cute to pull some information
of a few species of birds and print that up, if you aren't feeling the
Bob Marley song.

Tear up the printed words into random sizes.  I tend to tear sizes
according to the piece I am going to adhere them to.  The
birdhouse is tiny, so I took that into account. 

Soak the paper in the tea.  I tend to start projects in the evening,
so I often leave the paper soaking overnight.

The next morning I set up my little work's about to get messy,
just FYI.  I make a glue/water slurry and run each piece of tea stained
paper through the slurry and start attaching it to the birdhouse.  This
is where the picture taking ended as I ended up with slurry running
down my arms (I was running out of time, as my mom was arriving shortly)

equal parts water and glue

I didn't cover the roof of the birdhouse, beyond the edges, with papier mache,
 so I used that slurry-free section as my 'handle' as I covered the rest of the birdhouse. 
You really can't screw this up.  I figure a little mess up makes it all that more
'organic looking' which works in a piece like this! 

I also used a toothpick to push the slurry covered paper into the areas my fingers
couldn't reach, like under the roof lines.

Phew, hands washed and I set the birdhouse to dry.
Notice that the paper does wrap a little bit up on
the roof, that is just to cover the area that
the moss (next step) might miss.

After the slurry paper dried, I generously spread glue on the
roof of the birdhouse and pressed a torn off junk of the moss
on the roof.  I had wrapped the paper a bit on the roof, so it
didn't matter if the moss covered every bit of roof, which I
think gives it a sweeter look.

I am so happy with how this little creation came together.  Often what we think will be
totally adorbs, is totally a flop...well, not this time!  I know it will make my mom smile too,
as it will make her think of her favorite 3 little bird!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Candy Houses & Cocoa

It was a snowy day...just perfect for having some neighborhood kids over for
candy house constructing and lukewarm cocoa.  Oh what fun it was!!!

All the goodies for construction (and snacking, of course)
Frosting in the front right corner was perfection for 'glueing' the
graham crackers together and making drippy icicles.

1 c Marshmallow Fluff
3 c Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla (in case you want to eat it, make it tasty!)
1/4 tsp sea salt (to balance out the fluffy sugar concoction)
Water (tablespoon at a time, just to thin out a tiny bit)

My cheeky little monkey put on her 'holiday costume' before her
friends arrived (in my head I thought, 'more like your uniform...')

I put aluminum foil over paper plates for added stability, and because
the pattern on the plate was summery.

I made 'party favor' Rudolph cookies.  I saw a picture of these in a magazine at the
doctor's office, but there wasn't a I decided on peanut butter cookies,
with pretzel 'antlers' (I couldn't remember if the picture shown was whole pretzels...
would have been much easier!!!  Will do that next year!)
chocolate chip 'eyes' and a peanut m&m 'Rudolph nose'.

Baked the cookie with pretzels and chocolate chips pressed in at 350 degrees
for 6 minutes, pressed the peanut m&m in and baked 2 more minutes. 
The m&m tended to crack if baked longer.


I want to live here.  A candy A-frame...get outta town!

This time of year, when I feel like cocoa is OFTEN NECESSARY,
I make up a small container of ganache and leave it in the fridge
for quick and easy cocoa making.

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1 cup half & half
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
 pinch of sea salt

(I made it with fat free half & half, because I had that on hand)

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of ganache per cup of milk in a saucepan.
It is delish!

Does it get any better than this, for a 3 year old? 

Finished product #1!  'Symettry'

Finished product #2! 'The Shack'

Finished product #3! 'The Camper'

Finished product #4! 'A-frame'

Good times for these little kiddos!  It was off for some sledding, after this
crazy rush of sugar.  Such a perfect, snowy day!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookie Tip: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Blossoms

It is written in the holiday handbook that cookie giving season cannot commence without the ubiquitous Peanut Butter Blossom cookies in the line up.  I think it's on page 7, if you need to see for yourself.

After Hershey introduced the dark chocolate Kisses, I didn't think these little cookie gems could get any better...until today!

Check out this little addition that seriously makes these cookies a bit more outrageous!

Make your favorite dough, according to recipe, then when it comes
time for the final pre-baking step (rolling dough balls in granulated sugar), switch it up
ever so slightly for ridiculous results!

Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 T fine grain sea salt and roll the dough balls.
 Continue baking and dark chocolate Kisses adorning, according to recipe.

The tiny bit of sea salt makes every sugary bite of cookie all the more scrumptious!!!

We made these for Logan's preschool teacher...
we'll see how many make it to the classroom tomorrow!

At least it is going to be a lovely day tomorrow, so we will walk to school (and thankfully we live uphill from school). I pretty sure I will have 27 cookies to walk off by morning!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trimming the Tree: Toddler Style

It is so much fun to have little hands around to help decorate the house this time of year...and by so much fun, I actually mean totally stressful.  I am constantly playing defense with the cutie bits of holiday merriment that my 3 year old attempts to play catch with. 

I could have a major case of the sighs, but instead I thought up the most fantastic idea for stress-free-toddler-tree-decorating.  I had several packages of glitter snowflakes from Target on hand (I tie them on top of presents, with big bows), they are mega a package of 5 for $1.  I removed the strings from the snowflakes and thought, voila, my little sweets can place them in the tree, strategically finding little branch shelves for which the snowflakes can rest.  Phew, problem solved. 

There isn't a single gift wrapped yet this year, but here is a picture from a few years ago
(baby Logan's first Christmas) so you can see the intended purpose of the glitter stars! 
You might have to zoom in on the picture a bit, but they are there!  I swear!

I loved watching her little mind work as she placed the snowflakes
throughout the tree (i.e. the bottom 3 feet of the tree...)

No longer did I need to watch her like a hawk, just waiting for the
sound of crashing know exactly what I mean!

This occupied enough time that I safely placed the
other ornaments...she was so excited to help, and I
was so excited that she didn't break a thing!  Win/Win!!

This is one of the beauties I had to rescue from her hands.
He is wicked old and very fragile.  I love him.

As if I want her destroying the cotton ball 'milk shake'
I whipped up as a kid.  As if!

One might actually think I commissioned an ornament
of our dear Sammy Waffle.  See below for comparison.

Oh Sammy Waffle...

I used to collect Dept 56 Krinkles, until they stopped
producing them.  I love them so much, as does Logan.
Protecting these little guys is what first alerted me to
the idea that she needed an ornament alternative.

One more Dept 56 Krinkles.  Sadly, many of my Krinkles
didn't fare so well in the move/storage/move transition from
Oklahoma to Colorado.  I was so sad to open a few boxes and
find pieces of Krinkles.  Now, my hunt will begin to try and replace
the broken ones.

How fun is it that Logan got to style the bottom half of the tree with fancy pants
glitter ornaments...your little ones will love this too!  Stress free, guaranteed!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

DIY Tree Skirt

I made this beauty, before I was a blogging fool...but it is too dang cute (easy and cheapy) not to share!!! 

Let me set the scene: I was on the hunt for a tree skirt, on the cheap, and wasn't having any luck!  So, I went to my mother ship, flipped through the rack of tree skirts on hand and wanted to cry, as it was more of the same...super traditional and stuffy (in my uneducated tree skirt opinion)!  One can't visit TJ without walking through the home section (that is like rule #24 of shopping, right?) and I happened upon this fantastic throw blanket that just screamed 'MAKE ME INTO A TREE SKIRT!!!!'.  I thought, 'no worries new blanket friend, I shall get on that, asap!'.  The blanket was under $10 so I gave a nod and a wink to the big guy up north, as this had to be the Christmas magic we all dream of...for this I am certain! 

While the blanket was totes adorbs, it needed a tad bit of whimsy, so we (blanket and me) headed to the fabric store, where the pom pom trim basically jumped in my shopping basket.  Score.  Done and done, I was then off for the world's quickest date, with my sewing machine. 

I put the blanket flat on the ground, and used scissors to cut an opening to the center (from one corner of the blanket I cut in at the diagonal to the center) and then roughly cut a circle in the middle of the blanket (for easier draping around the tree stand). 

I sewed up the cut edges of the blanket and then sewed on the pom pom trim. 
It is a total doll baby of a tree skirt, if I do say so myself! 

As Susan Powter so poignantly said in the 90s
STOP THE INSANITY (of cuteness)!