Friday, December 31, 2010

Ornament Storage Box

It's New Year's Eve!  I'm hoping that 2011 brings us another great year of creativity!  In my household, it means that I'm beyond ready to pack up the Christmas decorations and to stuff the tree up the chimbly (chimbly or perhaps the box we store it in)!  I'm starting to get quite the collection of ornaments and needed a better way to store them, so brainstorm....this is what I came up with.  

With a husband who tends bar, I have access to a large quantity of 6-pack drink carriers, so use what you've got, right?  I used my jumbo pack of My Mind's Eye Christmas paper and Modge Podge (love it).  And of course, I had to use my Silhouette to help make it pretty.
So, now my trimmings and trappings are ready to be stored away in a cute and inexpensive holder!  Each holder can hold six large ornaments or more smaller ones.  I did modge podge a piece of cardboard to the bottom to keep the container from collapsing. 

And here is a picture of my Kitty Cat, just because.  My friend Brooke said I needed to put up a picture of her on my blog.  She is getting to big, too fast.  I'm loving her little pigtails!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Flip Calendar

Happy Holidays!  I'm sitting here on what is now officially Christmas, wishing I was at home in my nice warm bed.  Instead, I am working the night shift at my real job.  As much as I dislike being here right now, I know that it cannot compare to how much the parents of my patients dislike being here today.  So to help keep my Christmas spirits up, I will share with you this very cute calendar.  I was inspired by Rebecca at Better Life Bags.  She created these photo flip books as a flip book of prayer for her husband.  I thought it would look great as a desktop calendar.  This is the one I created as a Christmas present for my mom.  The calendar itself is a print & cut from Silhouette.  Each photo sleeve holds a 4 x 6 photo.  I made one for my sister to use as a photo album.  Isn't it super cute?  And the best part of all was that is was super easy to make!

One of our family traditions is to have cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast.  Since we are attempting to save money this year and pay off our debts, I decided to make them this year (normally we get Cinnabon, yummy).  This is batch number two.  They don't look too bad, huh?  I don't think my house is warm enough for making bread though.  I couldn't get my dough to rise well.  Oh well, I slather on enough cream cheese frosting to cover up any lack of taste.  I guess I better practice my cinnamon rolls before next Christmas morning.  Anyone have a good recipe for making cinnamon rolls in a bread machine?

Well,  I better get back to work before the boss notices.  I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and may we all have a prosperous and healthy New Year.  Please stop back soon!  I'll be displaying my cash envelope system for my wallet soon!  Good night to the blogosphere!

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  Keeping It Simple

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Patterned Paper Christmas Trees

In a wave of creativity, I came up with concept for these easy patterned paper trees.  With help from Bev at Make Good Cheer, this was the final product. 

Here is a list of supplies you'll need:

- 9 x 5/16 in wooden dowel
- 1.5 in diameter wooden spool
- Patterned cardstock of your choice
- Fast drying adhesive (I used Ranger's Glossy Accents)
- Distressing ink
- Paint in the color of your choosing (I used Delta Ceramcoat in Candy Bar, Bronze, Light Ivory & Gold)
- Self-adhesive non-skid felt pads
- Ribbon

If you have the Silhouette machine, you can use the file here.  You will need two of each size except for the top piece (the piece without the center circle cut out). 

If you don't have a Silhouette machine, you will need to start out by cutting out 1- 2.5" circle, 2- 3" circles, 2- 3.5" circles, 2- 4" circles, and 2 - 4.5" circles.  The 2.5" in circle will be the top of your tree.  You will need to cut a small triangle section out of this circle (approximately 1/8 of the circle).  For the remaining 8 circles you will need to cut out a small inner circle approximately 1/3 of inch in diameter.  Then cut the triangle section out of the circle (about 1/8).  You end result should like the image to the right.  Once you have cut out your circles, use a distressing ink around the edges.

Paint the dowel the color of your choice.  I chose Candy Bar with Bronze blotted over the top.  Allow to dry.  The spool will be your base.  I painted mine in Light Ivory and flecked Gold and Candy Bar over it.  Use your quick drying adhesive to secure your dowel into the center of the spool.  If your dowel is loose, wrap a small piece of cardstock around it before gluing it into the spool.  Allow the adhesive to set.

Once your dowel is dry, you are ready to secure your circles.  With the 2.5" circle form a cone and secure with adhesive.  Glue the cone to the top of your dowel. You can now glue the remaining circles to the dowel starting with the 3" circles.  To do this, apply your adhesive to one edge of your cut out triangle and around the inner circle.  Wrap your paper circle around the dowel to form a cone.  The cone should fit snuggly around the dowel.  Hold till dry.  You may need to apply some extra adhesive above and below the inner circle to hold it in place on the dowel.  You can space them out as much as you would like.  I left approximately 1/2'' in between each.  You can add more circles if you want a fuller tree.

To complete the tree, tie a ribbon around the spool and apply the self adhesive felt to the bottom of the spool. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Custom Beer Glasses

My dad is a home beer maker.  He gets together with a friend monthly to brew a keg.  I thought that the perfect gift for him would be to etch beer glasses with the names of a few beers he's brewed.  It's very easy once you get the hang of it.  To start, wash your glasses and make sure they are free of finger prints.  You'll need to find adhesive vinyl lettering or stencils.  I used the Silhouette machine to cut out the names I wanted. 
If you don't have a personal cutting maching that cuts vinyl, you can find glass etching stencils at craft store such as Michaels. Using transfer tape will keep your smaller pieces in place and help ensure flat placement. 

Center your stencil on your glass.  It can be difficult to change the placement of your stencil on your glass, so take your time placing it.   Remove the transfer paper and you are left with your ready to use stencil.  Make sure all areas of your stencil are flat on the glass so that the etching cream does not seep under it.
Generously apply your etching cream to the stencil using a foam brush or make up sponge.  

Wait 10-15 minutes, depending on the etching cream instructions.  After 15 minutes, wash the stencil off in running water and your done!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Mister, Mister had his first experience playing out in the snow yesterday.  He even got to wear his "ho ho shoes."  Everything having to do with Christmas or winter is known as "ho ho" in our house.  It is a wonderful gift to experience all of these adventures through the eyes of your children.  All of this snow has presented us with a new challenge...driving in the snow!  Big Red and I will both be "those people" driving really slow and being passed by old ladies! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Make a Recipe Your Own

I love to be in the kitchen.  Well, let's clarify...I love to bake and cook in the kitchen.  I could really do without the clean-up part.  One of my favorite things to do, is to make cookies with Mister Mister.  I find that it is a great opportunity to teach.  He works on counting, following directions, and language.  Today, we made chocolate chip cookies.  I like to spice things up once in a while and alter recipes I commonly use.  We followed the Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe from the back of the bag.  We made it our own by substituting Crisco Butter-flavored shortening for the butter, added 1/2 cup of walnuts, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Baked for 9 minutes at 375 degrees until lightly brown on the edges.  We like our cookies soft, but if you like yours crispier, cook a little longer.  Remember that they continue to cook when you take them out of the oven.  The nutmeg really adds a deeper level of complexity and taste to the cookies.  Try it sometime.  If your not sure if you'll like it, add 1/4 teaspoon.  And what's the worst that could happen?  You waste a few ingredients and a little bit of time.  I found a great tool in the kitchen was the medium size cookie scoop from Pampered Chef.  It's super easy to portion out your cookies and get an appealing round appearance to your end product.  It is also useful in portioning out muffins, cupcakes, and meatballs. 
What recipes have you made your own?  Share your ideas!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Homemade Grocery Lists

Check out the homemade grocery list I made following Beckie from Infarrantly Creative's design.  She provides a free template and easy to follow instructions.  The pad is easily altered.  I created some as custom notepads for quick, easy holiday gifts.