Saturday, December 26, 2009

Diary of a craftaholic Gift Exchange

Earlier this month I participated in a gift exchange from here. And Robin from here
sent me these adorable hand-stiched Christmas handtowels. Thanks! They are very cute and a fun addition to my Christmas decor.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick and easy Christmas BINGO

So, I'm in charge of the Kindergarten Christmas Party tomorrow and was going to do Christmas BINGO. And I found this awesome web-site: that did all of the work for me. Just pick a theme, then every time you click print card it will

reload a brand new card for you. So, if you need to entertain any kids this week, check it out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Easy Bread-Maker Bagettes

So, awhile ago I made these bagettes that I saw on Not So Idle Hands and they turned out really good. The directions were easy to follow, but you know me, I wanted to try to SIMPLIFY and use my bread-maker to see how they turned out. Today I had some extra time so I was trying to get as much ready for the week as possible. I was going to make these to freeze and then cut them up to eat with some spinach artichoke dip on Christmas Eve.

To me, it tasted just like the original recipe. It took 1.5 hours in the bread maker, then another hour to rise, then 20 to bake, so if you want it for dinner, start it in the early afternoon.

So, here are my directions:

Easy Bread-Maker Bagettes

1 package dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour (I used 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 egg

In this order put flour, water, salt, and yeast in your bread maker. Then press the dough setting.

Then divide the dough in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll each portion on a floured surfrace into a thick, 12 inch rope, slightly tapered at each end.

Place ropes on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover again and let them rise till double again (I let them sit for about an hour). Now preheat to oven to 450. Optional: beat 1 egg and brush over the surface, then cut 3 (1/4 inch deep) diagonal slits across the top of each loaf.

Bake @450 for 20 minutes or until browned on the bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In case you haven't had enough sugar lately...

Try these oreo suckers. They turned out good and they were easy. And they actually do stay on a stick nicely. I ran out of sucker sticks and uses popsicle sticks. That worked fine. I think my scouts will be getting some today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can you spot the differences?

On Saturday we had our family picture taken at our Christmas party by my brother-in-law.So, I took these two photos and turned it into this: First, I put merged the babies face from one into the other since she was smiling in one. I also cropped, colorized, use the clone stamp tool to get rid of the plug and the stripe from the floor. I also blurred the line between the floor and the wall. I love Photoshop.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good deals

So, I went into Toys R Us today for one child to pick his present for his brother... and I came out with this. They had their PlaySkool Cottage stuff for 70% off. So, guess how much I paid for this?

It includes a market, cottage with stove, sink, washer, three packs of food, a nursery, a mobile, a vanity etc...

Retail value was about $400. I paid $99. I know my baby is a little young, and no I don't usually get this much stuff for one Christmas or Birthday. I think she will be getting this stuff for the next three years.

The hubbie thought it was a bit much, but he wasn't too mad. Do you mind storing bargains like this or would that drive you crazy? Would you have bought it if you were me?

12 Days of Christmas

I made this "12 Days of Christmas" craft by using a 12 count mini muffin tin. I found this one at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for $4.99. It came in a cupcake kit. I saved the other things that came with it for my 2 year old to use with the kitchen she is getting for Christmas. I spray painted it red and then spray painted glitter over it. There are 12 Christmas activities you can do with your kids under each magnet. I also put magnets on the back so it sticks to the fridge. Each day, your child lifts the magnet and then does the activity listed. This one says, "Do a Christmas Craft." And each year you can mix up the order of the numbers so the activities are not always done in the same order. I picked things that we do every Christmas anyway. It's just a fun way to get your kids involved.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Simple Birthday Celebration

My family had a Christmas party yesterday and I was in charge of a little celebration for my mom's Birthday, which is today. I thought I would share what I did in case you need some simple ideas to honor someone in your life.

First, I made a three-minute DVD with pictures of her life put to music. Then we played a "Mom by the Numbers"-- Showcase Showdown Game. Basically I found about 12 questions that the answers were numbers about her life. Check out this website to look up facts about the year someone was born. IE, what was the cost of a home, cost of a car, average yearly wages, cost of a gallon of gas etc.
Then you can some personal questions like how many houses have they lived in, jobs have they had, doors at their house, pairs of shoes in their closet, etc. etc. Then you divide your group up into two teams and ask them these questions. The team that gets the closest without going over gets a point. And then at the end the team with the most points wins.
I also made a simple party favor out of moms favorite candy. I found a few boxes of these at the Dollar Store, and divided them into clear gift bags. (Kids are great at helping with this). Then I used the actual box of candy for the top. I cut them to fit over the bags, and then stapled a picture of my mom when she was 20 to it. Cute and easy. \

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things to do with a Crystal Light tube...

So, if you are sick of eating soup to get those cans ready for your presents, here is another way to wrap those small gifts. During my couponing career (it's over now), I stocked up on the Crystal Light, and I kept the tubes.

Sometimes I feel weird keeping garbage, especially after having watched Hoarders a few times. But sometimes it just comes in handy.

Check out this post where someone made a much sturdier container for their Memory Game too. I copied her, but I just took the label off and wrote Memory with a black marker. Somedays you just put more effort out than others. :)

PS. In case you are wondering, I just took the label off and wrapped it with wrapping paper and then added a tag.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The best bread-maker wheat bread

Sorry if the pictures are doing funky things. I'm not sure how to fix that.

Ok, if you are a die-hard breadmaker who grinds your own wheat and never goes to the bread store-this post is not for you.

For the rest of us, you've got to try this recipe. (If you have a breadmaker)

My mom got this from a friend. And I got a copy a few years ago because it was so delicious. And this time of year I'm all about the soups and casseroles, which this bread goes beautifully with. But, some of the ingredients aren't exactly things you can pick up from Wal-mart. So, print this out, and then gather the ingredients from wherever you can. It will be worth the effort.

And wheat bread in the breadmaker can be tricky. It's very likely that it will come out like a dry brick. Not this one though.

Breadmaker Wheat Bread

1 1/2 t yeast
1 1/2 c white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c cracked wheat*
1 t salt
1 T dough enhancer*
4 t gluten

3 T honey
2 T oil
1 1/4 c warm water

Put in bread maker in order.
Use sweet bread setting.

*I had to research the cracked wheat. It's hard to find in stores. I was about the break out the hand-grinder from our emergency preparedness, when I saw we had a can of Morning Moo 9- Grain Cracked wheat that I opened.

*I got the dough enhancer and gluten at our local Preparedness Store.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Table Runner!

I went to book club on Wednesday and at Amberly's house she had the cutest table runner. I got the wheels working in my head and decided to design my own. It was really quite simple actually, I made 2! One for me and one for a gift. I bought 1 yard of Super Soft fleece in Red and also 1 yard of this fabric that looks like lambs wool. Then 2 yards of leather type belt material, 4 belt buckles and 4 bells. Very simple right? I cut the yard of material in half and then took a carpenters square and laid it at the end and cut a v shape on each end of each piece. Then I laid them right sides together. I took the 2 yards of leather belt stuff (for lack of a better word!!) cut into 18" pieces and threaded the belt buckles on each piece. Made sure that the bottom of the belt was against the red fabric so that when its turned right side out again it will be right. I then pinned the pieces together with the belt sandwiched between and sewed around the whole thing leaving about 4 inches open to turn it right side out. After its turned right side out I hand stitched the opening closed and sewed bells on the points at each end. I think it turned out great! I didn't take picture by picture tutorials I didn't think about it until I was done. It went really fast though, I started cutting them out around 2pm and finished sewing at 4:30 that's 2 and a half hours to make 2. Now I didn't buy bells because I thought I had some at home. I got home and only had 3 so I finished the one I gave away and didn't get pictures of it. So this one still needs the bells, but otherwise its done.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gobble Gobble Gobble

It's kind of a late post, but when I went to my parents house for Thanksgiving and she had made the cutest thing.

Isn't it just so cute! If you go to they have these wood letters you can buy along with a whole bunch of really cute ideas!! Click on the wood crafts tab and watch the slide show. You won't be sorry!!!

Christmas Wrapping

Ok, So each year when I start wrapping presents and putting them under the tree--the kids start fighting about who has the biggest present, who has the most presents (which I try to have them each have the same number under the tree but initially they all don't get wrapped at the same time)....what a dilemma!!!
I have tried one method where I wrapped the presents and then in secret mom code I put a shape on the bottom so I knew who's present was who's. It was ok but not my favorite so I went back to writing on tags and then the fighting began again. Plus the secret code method was a little confusing on Christmas morning.
My sister-in-law every year assigns her kids a reindeer name (they don't know who is who) then they find out on Christmas morning. {she has a 15, 13, 11, and 7 year old and they still love it}
Well, this year I have decided that I will wrap all of one child's presents in the same paper. No tag just the same paper. So I went out and bought 8 new rolls of wrapping paper and assign one roll to each person. I hope that this will help with the fighting and with less confusion on Christmas morning. I hopefully will start wrapping today so HAPPY WRAPPING everyone!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Card

I got some inspiration for my Christmas Card this year from my Creating Keepsakes magazine. They inspired me to think outside the box for my card this year. They had a layout with instructions for a Christmas tree made out of images of things you would see around your house at the holidays, ie, cookies, ornaments etc.
I thought it would be cute to use my kids eyes to make up the tree. Their instructions were for a paper version, but I thought I would save time and try to do it digitally. It probably took me just as long or longer to figure it out, but I finally did.
Sorry, I should have written down the instructions, and I probably couldn't do it again if I tried. Also in their magazine they had a list of Christmas quotes to use in cards and on layouts. Try something different on your cards this year. It's kind of fun!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I cannot help myself....

Ok, I told myself that I wouldn't post this. Part of the problem with this kind of blog is that I can't surprise friends with my craftiness. But after making this today I don't care. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't share this.
It's made from a pop-top food can. But the person receiving it will be the first one to open it from the top. Because you fill it from the bottom. You can fill it with candy or a small gift.
You might have seen it already, if not here are in the instructions in two different places: here and here.
One said you had to have Terrifically Tacky Tape. I was bummed because I didn't want to go to the store, but the other said your trusty glue gun works fine. It did for me.
Now, my sister-in-law will just have to be surprised with whats in it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Christmas Countdown

I wanted to get this post done yesterday..but you all know how some days go.

Anyway---I have wanted a Christmas countdown for the last couple of years but I didn't want something that was big and bulky that was hard to store. Well after looking at many and figuring out what I had at home so that I didn't have to buy anything, this is what I came up with. I have a sizzix machine with a die cut that is a envelope. So I punched out 24 envelopes.
Then I folded them and glued them and put a magnet on the back of it.

Then I put a number on it and came up with 24 things we could do in the month of December. I looked at a calendar so I knew what was going on and could actually do the thing I want to. For example: Sleep under the Christmas tree is on a Friday night, some of the easier things like do service for a family member is on a weekday. I wrote the ideas on a paper and put it into the envelope.
Then on a magnet board that I already have I created a Christmas tree.

I hope it works how I want it to. If not I will revise it for next year. But the most important thing is that the kids are excited about it.

The countdown is on!

Sorry, I know December has already begun, so this isn't the timeliest post. But one of the best parts about Christmas is the anticipation. And advent calendars help with the excitement. I finished this one yesterday (just in the nick of time). I got the idea here.

I probably should add block words "days til Christmas" on two more blocks like she did, so it makes more sense. I used sticker numbers, but you could use print-outs, die-cuts, etc.This is one my mom made me a few years ago. There are litte hooks around the wall hanging that you can move around numbered 1-24.And this is one you move the star down each day until the star is resting nicely above your stable.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hat and glove organization

Now that winter is upon us,I thought I would share this trick I learned from my sister-in-law. We used to have a basket of gloves and hats in the coat closet. And of course, it would get dumped out and then abandoned every time a child looked for a matching set of gloves.

So, this is perfect solution. It's an over-the-door shoe hanger. And each compartment can hold a pair of gloves, a hat, scarf etc. Now if only the munchkins would put their gloves back without being asked.