Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DIY: Cheese Ball Snowman

Every year my family gathers on Christmas Eve to share some food, fun and gifts. This year...I was in charge of the cheese ball. Though it may not seem like a big deal...it kind of was to me. Cheese ball is one of my favorite holiday foods...and my Mom is normally the one who makes it. This year...when I asked for a food assignment...and she mentioned that I could bring the cheese ball...I was kind of excited!
{it makes me feel like a grown up to be the one to bring this important dish to the shen-dig!} On top of the assignment...she had mentioned that a few weeks earlier she had made one for my brother and his family...and turned it into a snowman...genius! {that's it...I was a lady on a mission to make something cute and delicious!}

Queue visual aid...

What you'll need:
an 8 ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese {I use 1/3 Less Fat}
8 ounces shredded Colby Jack Cheese
a few sprinkles of garlic powder
a few sprinkles of oregano
{I sometimes add BBQ rub or paprika...but opted out for this little guy}
2 strips cooked bacon {I used turkey bacon}
7 whole black peppercorns
2 small pretzels
1 small carrot

Mix the cream cheese, colby jack cheese, garlic powder and oregano together until you have an even mixture resembling a ball. {this will require you to do a little kneading with your hands} Now...it's time to shape your little snowman up and decorate him! First, make three balls descending in size for the body and the head. Then, use remaining cheese ball mixture to form a hat. Once you have your basic shape, cut your turkey bacon up into appropriate shapes and add to the snowman in the hat area and to create a scarf. Cut a few small thin strips to make a smile. Then add peppercorns for eyes and buttons. Lastly, add the carrot nose and pretzel arms. Serve with crackers.

Fun, festive and yummy! The only problem...it's so cute that people make not want to eat it! {it's true...my husband and I came home with 2/3 a snowman...and destroyed it! sorry Mr. Snowman...but way to fulfill your Christmas destiny!}

So...if you're looking for a fun treat for a cold winter party...try this little guy out! I'm sure that your friends and family will get a kick out of it! {thanks mom!}

Thursday, December 23, 2010

DIY: Reindeer Cookies!

Yesterday my friend Carolyn brought the cutest little treats to work...Reindeer Cookies!

I couldn't get over how adorable they were and seriously hesitated before taking one down {yes...they were so cute I almost hated to eat them}...but once I brought myself to sacrifice one to my sweet tooth...they were delicious!

So...how did Mrs. Gwatney pull off these super cute, sweet little reindeer treats...with skill, creativity and the list of ingredients below...

What you'll need:
Gingerbread Cookie Dough {tub or roll}
Chocolate Chips
Red M&M's
Small Pretzels

First, lay out your pretzels {aka antlers!} on a baking sheet and then add raw cookie dough overlapping them a little {so they'll bake together to form one piece}. Then add two chocolate chips for eyes and a red M&M for a nose. Bake according to your cookie dough instructions.

{quick tip: I normally cut the time in half...or at least take a few minutes off of premade cookie dough bake times. If you like your cookies super soft...try it out!}

You're done! Talk about awesome! This treat is fun, festive and sure to bring a smile to anyone's face!

Now...it's time to send a shout out to the lady who slaved in the kitchen to make these cute little cookies...way to keep it fresh, creative and fun in the kitchen! I think that you just might of made everyone's day with these happy little reindeer!

Hope that you try this cute recipe out! I know that I am!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DIY: Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole + Smoked Gouda Bread

Every year I try my best to bring something festive and delicious to work to wish my friends and co-workers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! This year...I decided to stray from the super sweet and go a little savory...enter Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole + Smoked Gouda Bread!

I was hoping that I would have a visual aid for both...but I was slow with the camera and my co-workers were quick with their forks...so it's a no go on pictures of the casserole. {I swear it was beautiful!..and they seemed to enjoy it!}

Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
What you'll need:
16 ounces Jimmy Dean Maple Sausage
6 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
8 ounces colby-jack shredded cheese
6 slices of bread (cubed)

First, cook sausage until browned and set aside. Then, mix eggs, milk, ground mustard, salt, pepper and oregano together until blended into smooth mixture. Add sausage and cheese. Stir until mixture is even. Add cubed pieces of bread. Grease a medium casserole pan and pour mixture into it. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, preheat oven to 350° and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Smoked Gouda Bread
What you'll need:
2 packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls {I used Reduced Fat}
3 to 4 sliced of Smoked Gouda Cheese

First, preheat oven to 350°. Open tubes of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Separate dough into 16 triangles. Place triangles on an ungreased baking sheet in an oval shape with each bottom edge overlapping the next triangle. Add two triangles in the center to act as a base to the bread. Place slices of cheese in the center of oval shape. Fold triangles over the cheese in an overlapping braided pattern. Bake in the oven for about 18 to 20 minutes. You're final result might look something like this:

Super easy and it looks like it took way longer to put together than it did! {5 minutes prep time and 18 minutes in the oven...WOW!}

So...if you're looking for some yummy breakfast treats...try these out! The Smoked Gouda Bread could easily be transitioned to lunch or dinner as well. Hope that you enjoyed these recipes and maybe even try them out! Have a great night!

DIY: Savory Sliced Beef + Southern Smashed Potatoes

My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy! {and yes...I might just be a meat and potatoes kind of girl} So...it's always good to have a quick and easy "go-to" recipe for those cold nights when you're wanting nothing more than tender slices of beef and some delicious southern style smashed potatoes!

Enter...two of the easiest recipes to give you the fix in about an hour!

Savory Sliced Beef
What you'll need:
3 to 4 decent size strips of steak or eye of round {thawed and cut into about 2" x 6" strips}
1/2 cup Fat Free Zesty Italian Dressing
Corky's Bar-B-Que Rub {or your favorite dry rub seasoning}

Place meat in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup Fat Free Italian Dressing. Generously sprinkle with dry rub. Let it marinate for about an hour. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for approx. 20 to 30 minutes depending on how well done you like your meat. {at our house...we go for about 25 minutes...where it's ever so slightly pink on the center} Let meat cool for a few minutes before moving it to a cutting board. Slice into thin strips. {serve with BBQ sauce or all natural}

Southern Smashed Potatoes
What you'll need:
4 to 5 medium potatoes
2 tsp butter
1/3 cup sour cream {we use fat free...and it's still super delicious}
Salt and Pepper {to taste}

First...wash your potatoes! {do not peel them} Cut into small chunks {about 2" x 2"} and place in a medium size pot. Add water and boil them until tender. {on medium to high this takes me about 15 to 20 minutes} Once potatoes are tender, drain and place potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Smash potatoes with a potato smasher. {or if you don't have one...a whisk works pretty well} Add butter and sour cream. Stir together until mixture is smooth. Feel free to add more or less butter and sour cream to taste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper {or even herbs}. Serve hot!

Quick. Easy. Delicious! If you're having a craving that can only be tamed by meat and potatoes...give these recipes a try!

It's great for a simple meal after a long day at the office or an easy dinner on the weekend. To make the meal a little more balanced...add a small salad to the side or fix up some old fashion greens! Yum! Hope that you give it a whirl and enjoy it!

DIY: Fantasy Fudge

I would like to start by saying that I'm pretty sure that my Mom might make the best fudge in the world...strike that...universe! {I know that this might seem like a pretty serious claim...but if you're doubting me...you haven't tasted her fudge!}

The secret...KRAFT JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme...and the Fantasy Fudge Recipe on the back of it! All I can say is that KRAFT got it right and if you haven't tried to make this...you need to go and pick up some KRAFT JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme and give it a whirl.

I'll admit...I'm pretty picky about the brands of things I use for this specific recipe...so you might notice that it's not word for word the recipe from the link above...pretty close though...and I think you'll
love it!

Fantasy Fudge {just like Mom's}
What you'll need:
3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter {I use Country Crock}
1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
12 ounces Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 jar (7 ounces JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts {optional...I never add these}

Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme. Stir until completely melted. Add vanilla {and walnuts if you'd like} and Mix well. Pour immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature
4 hours or until completely cooled. Cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. You're done!

This recipe tends to get so many compliments! It's such a melt in your mouth, super sweet, little piece of heaven! {and one of my favorite holiday treats} I still think my Mom makes it better than I do...but each year I'd like to think I get a little bit better at it. {with the ultimate goal making it as good as she does}

If you're a chocolate lover...or know someone who is...try it out!

Thank you KRAFT for your JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme and for Fantasy Fudge! It's become a tradition in our home and truly adds a little something extra to holiday festivities!

DIY: Homemade Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Icing

It's been approximately a week since my last blog post...
{where have I been?...in my kitchen}

Yes...it's true...I have been one sugar slinging, mincing, mashing, dash of this...pinch of that...baking machine! I know what you're thinking... 
what have you been whipping up in there? {hmmm....where to start...there have been so many holiday treats...}

So...since it's one of my favorites...let's start with Homemade Gingerbread with Cream Cheese Icing and then we'll work our way to savory treats like Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole...Yum!

Here we go!

My friends love treats...and I love my friends...so I decided to make a few goodie bags for some of my favorite people. Did I mention...I love gingerbread!...and since I only seem to enjoy it once a year...I jumped at the opportunity to whip some up! {there are mixes available at your local grocery store...but if you're feeling ambitious...try this recipe out!}

Homemade Gingerbread
What you'll need:
1 heaping cup of sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg {beaten}

{see below for cream cheese icing recipe}

Sift dry ingredients and spices together. Add shortening and butter to boiling water; stir until melted. Add sugar and molasses. Combine mixture with dry ingredients. Add beaten egg and stir until gingerbread batter is smooth. Pour gingerbread batter into a buttered and floured 9-inch square baking pan or a mini loaf pan {makes 8 mini loaves}. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes {for 9-inch pan} or 18 minutes {for mini loaf pan}...place knife into center of loaves and make sure it comes out clean...if so...they're done! Let gingerbread cool, then drizzle with Cream Cheese Icing. {see recipe below}

Cream Cheese Icing
What you'll need:
4 oz of softened cream cheese {regular...low fat or fat free will not work for this}
1/2 stick of softened butter
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and whip with an electric mixer. Either spread over loaves...or warm up in microwave until a little liquidy {about 15 to 25 seconds} and drizzle over loaves using a spoon. Allow icing to dry and become a little firm before packaging.

So sweet and delicious...and even kind of precious to look at! The bonus...it tastes like Christmastime and makes your entire house smell amazing when they come out of the oven!

So...if you're looking for something festive for your holiday gathering, a treat for neighbors, co-workers or friends...or even a little treat for yourself, give this recipe a try!

On the other hand...if you're in the mood for chocolate and melt in your mouth awesomeness...stay tuned! {Fantasy Fudge is coming up next!}

Thursday, December 16, 2010

DIY: WIWT...Tacky Christmas Outfit

So...I've taking a few days off from writing to you guys...{did you miss me?}...no excuses here...just a ton of stuff going on. {forgive me...?}

Now...where were we? Oh yes...Tacky Christmas Outfit! {aka what i wore tuesday} Queue visual...

...and yes...I wore this all day! To work...for our Tacky Christmas Party...and out for drinks with friends afterward. The greatest part about this outfit...jingle bells...everywhere! I sounded like a reindeer or cheerful little elf every time I moved all day long. {which I kind of loved...and I think people got a kick out of} It did slightly put a damper on my ninja skills...you could totally hear me coming down the hallway...but it's okay to take a day off every now and then.

So...how did I put this tacky outfit together? Easy. Using items I already had and adding several awesomely tacky items purchased at the local Dollar Tree. Check out an outfit overview below and a few tips on creating your own tacky look!

outfit overview
cream sweater {already had...from wal-mart a few years ago}
temporary tacky sweater {see below on how to make your own!}
red polk-a-dot dress {already had...modcloth}
lace tights {already had...wal-mart}
festive santa socks {target}
jingle bell shoes {check out monday's blog for details}
decked out reindeer antlers {see below on how to make your own!}
scotty dog earrings {old school...from my elementary school days}
jingle bell bracelet {see below on how to make your own!}

Temporary Tacky Sweater!
What you'll need:
cable knit sweater {any color you like...I used a cable knit vest}
several flat ornaments {dollar tree had a wide selection...4 for $1}
jingle bells {dollar tree had large bells for 9 for $1}

The best thing about this project is that it's temporary! First, figure out a fun configuration for your swag. {it's always good to mix jingle bells with ornaments} Next, loop ribbon through ornament holes or jingle bell holes. Carefully loop ribbon through small openings or holes in knit sweater. Tie, double knot and finish each off with a bow. Continue adding things until you're satisfied with your design. {if you make a mistake...or are ready to use your sweater for non-tacky purposes, just untie the ribbon and remove your embellishments} Finish off the look by adding garland. {if you're using a cardigan or sweater that opens toward the middle, that's a great place for some sparkle!} You're done!

If you're on a mission...you can probably knock this project out in about half an hour...or if you are going intricate, it might take you a little longer. Either way...I'm sure you're sweater will be a hit with your friends!

Decked Out Reindeer Antlers
What you'll need:
1 headband with felt reindeer antlers
1 headband with fabric christmas characters
jingle bells

First, take both headbands and attach them together by wrapping the base of headband with garland. {this will make them sturdy...I did not do this at first...but learned my lesson quickly} Next, decorate the antlers with jingle bells and ornaments. Attach them with ribbon. Feel free to use your creative vibe and have fun. {caution though...if you add too much swag, the weight will make the antlers tip forward...to avoid this, add a few things and then test them out!} You're done...and wasn't that easy!

Jingle Bell Bracelet
What you'll need:
jingle bells

This project is so simple! Loop ribbon through holes in jingle bells. Tie a double knot after adding each bell to secure placement. When you've added the desired amount of bells, tie ends of ribbon together, double knot and finish with a bow. Festive, fun and only takes about five minutes!

I hope that these little DIY tips and tricks for an awesomely tacky outfit for your next Tacky Christmas Party help you out and give you some ideas. Put your own spin on it, have fun and own the tackiness! I think we all have a funky side and parties with a theme can definitely bring that out of us! Happy Thursday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

DIY: Festive Tipsy Jello Mold + Jingle Bell Shoes

Tomorrow we're having our Holiday Party at work...and the theme is "tacky"...YAY! I seriously love a good tacky Christmas party...and lucky for me...I'm on the committee. So...tonight I'm sharing with you a few simple festive little things that might add that extra little bit of tackiness to your holiday party {if you're feeling a little old school...like we are!}

First...the essential jello mold...with a twist!

I've got to admit...until yesterday...I had never attempted to make a jello mold. {and...it was actually easier than I thought it would be!}

Festive Tipsy Jello Mold
What you'll need:
3 packs of lime jello mix {prepare according to instructions...for mine...I just had to add hot and cold water}
1/2 cup pomegranate liquor

Prepare jello according to instructions and pour into jello mold container. Chill over night. The next day, place jello mold onto serving dish with some sort of lip around edge. {at least 1/2" high...I used a glass pie dish} After jello mold is in position, poke holes into the top of mold. Pour 1/2 cup pomegranate liquor into holes and into center of dish. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Let chill overnight. {this will allow the liquor to absorb into the jello mold...if there is excess and you want to remove before serving, use a baster or paper towel to remove excess liquid} Serve cold.

It's red, green, fun, festive, tasty and yes...tacky in an awesome kind of way! I hope that my co-workers get a kick out of it!

Now...moving onto wardrobe...

So...you can't have a tacky party without a contest for a tacky outfit...right? Last year...I didn't really bring it, {garland and a sweater with sequins that I wear on a regular basis...yep...kind of lame} so this year...I actually decide to spent some time on my outfit! {yep...that's what was going down saturday and sunday and the main reason that I didn't blog...details to come tomorrow...} With this in mind, I decided that I needed to do something fun with shoes. {since I'm a bit of a
shoe addict}

This project is super easy...way festive and inexpensive!

Jingle Bell Shoes
What you'll need:
a fun pair of flat shoes {preferably with a bow or some kind of embellishment on the toes}
jingle bells {the dollar tree is a fantastic resource!}

First, loop length of ribbon around embellishment on shoe {or through bow if you have one} and tie a knot. Cut a length of twine and thread jingle bells onto it. Tie a knot, then a loop and tie to ribbon. {you can do this with large or small bells...I used one large one and three small ones per shoe} When you're finished adding bells, tie ribbon and twine securely in a double knot. Tie remaining ribbon into bow and then trim. Your finished product might look something like this:

Fun, festive and a little sassy! I have a feeling I'm going to feel like an elf all day tomorrow and sound like a reindeer when I walk down the hall. {and...I think it'll be so much fun!}

Hope that these little projects give you a little inspiration for getting jiggy if you have a holiday party with a tacky theme coming up...and if you don't...now you have a little ammunition to throw one of your own! Have a great night...and don't be afraid to be festive!

Friday, December 10, 2010

DIY: Chocolate Covered Cranberry Cocktail

It's Friday night!...and I'd like to share a cocktail recipe with you! Do you love cranberries? Do you love chocolate? Are you in the mood for a delicious cocktail?...then check out the recipe below! I think it might be right up your alley!

What you'll need:
2 shots of creme de cocoa
4 ounces cranberry juice
chocolate syrup

Place ice cubes in glass. Add creme de cocoa. Cover with cranberry juice. Give it a quick stir. Drizzle with chocolate syrup. Enjoy!

This cocktail is so easy to make and so sweet that you might feel like it's dessert. Yum! It's great for parties...or a Friday night cocktail if you're feeling fancy. I hope that you try it if you're wanting to mix it up a little. Have a Happy Friday! {and an awesome weekend}

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DIY: Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

So...last night my husband came home from work and asked me if the cinnamon apple ornaments that I made a few days ago were edible {there are still a few of the larger ones curing on a cookie sheet in our kitchen}...and when I told him that they weren't...he looked pretty disappointed. With this...I realized that there is a serious lack of sweets in our house considering what season we're in. {we're two weeks into December...and there has not been a single cookie in this house...epic!}

So...I decided this morning that the man deserves some cookies. {and...maybe I do too...I mean, 'tis the season!} And...since I shared my favorite gift in a jar with you already this month {which also happens to be one of our favorite cookies to make}...I'm sharing another one of our favorites...aka the easiest peanut butter cookie you might ever make! Queue visual...Mmmmmm.......

{is your mouth watering?...awesome!...you're about 5 ingredients and fifteen minutes away from these delicious little pieces of heaven...so let's get started!}

What you'll need:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips {I use Reese's}

Preheat your oven to 350°. Mix all of your ingredients together in a medium size bowl until you have a consistent dough. Spoon cookie dough on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before moving them to plates or a wire rack. Recipe makes about 1 dozen cookies. {depending on the size you make them}

How simple and delicious is that? You should try making them the next time you have a sweet tooth! Hope that you have a great night!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WIWW + DIY Chiffon Flutter Scarf & Button Cluster Earrings

For today's issue of WIWW {what i wore wednesday}...I have two DIY projects. Why? On Saturday my husband and I spent the day shopping, decking our halls and then having dinner and drinks with friends...thus there was no time for blogging Saturday...{thanks for not calling me out on it}...and I promised a DIY project for every day this month...and am a lady of my word!

So...let's get started! First...an outfit overview for today!

outfit overview
red sweater with button detail {a gift from my in-laws}
white t-shirt under sweater {holidays}
dark wash skinny jeans {alloy}
chiffon scarf {handmade DIY project...see below}
button cluster earrings {handmade DIY...see below}
suede + faux fur boots {alloy}

So...I've had this really fun white chiffon fabric with navy blue flowers on it for about 6 months now...and have had no clue what to do with it.
I somehow got on a chiffon kick a while back and fell in love with the movement of it. If you're looking for a flowy, fun scarf with a unique personality...try this DIY project out! It only took me about an hour to make and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Chiffon Flutter Scarf
What you'll need:
1 yard chiffon fabric
1 small button

First, figure out how long you want your finished scarf to be. {I decided to go with a shorter length, so just cut a third of my yard of fabric off to start with} Once you've determined the length you'd like, cut a rectangle of your fabric off in desired length. {make sure that the height of it is about three to four time thicker than you'd like the finished product to be on your neck} Place fabric on your work area horizontally and find the center. Once you've found the center of the fabric, move slightly to the right of it and fold fabric inward. {see below}

Once you've folded the fabric into the desired thickness that you'd like it to be when wrapped around your neck, sew area closed. {about 1 to 2" total for closure} Add button to cover stitches.

To embellish the scarf, {and add fun movement} cut remaining fabric into varying sizes of triangles. {anything from 3" to 6" is generally a good size to work with} Make sure to mix the sizes and placement up for added interest.

Once you've cut your triangles and are ready to add them to the scarf...pick them up by the center and pull directly up.

Insert needle into the top of the folded triangle and then sew onto scarf. {this technique will help to add an organic quality to the triangle shapes and give a little more volume}

Keep on adding triangles until you're happy with your finished product.

You're done!

All that's left to do is to put your sweet little scarf on and enjoy it!

If you love the kind of organic elegance of raw cut chiffon {where it's a little frayed on the edges and gets more so with time...just cut your chiffon fabric and run with it!...but...if you like a little more control with no raw edges, feel free to run your fabric through a sewing machine to keep the edges from having free range. either way...I think you'll really enjoy this project!}

Next!...Button Cluster Earrings...

So...I have a lot of buttons! {I think I might have a problem} Most of them are vintage ones picked up here and there that live in a jar in my craft room. I've just recently figured out that I might just have more buttons than any one person should have and am starting to wonder how this happened...My solution...crafts with buttons! Enter Button Cluster Earrings!

Button Cluster Earrings
What you'll need:
buttons {varying shades of one color...or just your favorites}
thin twine or smooth rope {check out the craft section at Wal-Mart}
earring settings {check out the craft section at Wal-Mart...or online}

First, get your materials together. I wasn't 100% sure where I ws going with this, so I grabbed way more than what I needed.

Cut a length of twine and thread through button holes.

Keep adding buttons to the twine until yu have a cluster. {tie knots between the buttons to keep them from falling on top of each other. When you have a nice round shape, tie twine to the bottom of the earring fitting. Repeat for the next earring. {a good thing to do is to pull one similar button to the side each time you add one to your cluster for the first earring...that way you'll know that the second earring will be consistent with the first}

When you're finished...your earrings will look similar to this!

From start to finish...it only takes about 15 minutes to make these cute little earrings!...and it gives me something to use my plethora of buttons for!

Hope that you enjoyed these projects...and try them out! They're great for a quick craft project, a holiday gift, or a fun way to spice up an outfit! Have a great night!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY: Gingerbread Man Holiday Card

I'm a big fan of homemade greeting cards. They're unique, personal and can be molded into whatever you want them to be. Tonight...I'd like to show you how to make a Gingerbread Man Holiday Card.

What you'll need:
blank card stock or pre-made blank folded cards
{you can pick either of these up at any craft store or even at office max}
adhesive backed felt paper

Start with your card stock or blank folded cards. {generally blank folded cards come two up on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet} If using card stock, place the paper horizontally and cut in half. If using blank folded cards, fold the sheet in half and tear on the perforated line.

Measure the height of the area that you'd like your gingerbread man to occupy.

Turn the adhesive backed felt paper upside down where the tear away paper is face up. Sketch a gingerbread man shape within the height area that you just marked.

Cut the gingerbread man shape out with scissors.

Remove the tear away paper and center the gingerbread man shape on the front of the card.

Decorate your little gingerbread man as you see fit. {I used white adhesive backed felt paper and red ribbon}

You're finished! Fold the decorated card in half and personalize it with a message to the recipient on the inside of the card.

From start to finish this project only takes about 5 to 10 minutes! And...when you're finished you have a one of a kind greeting card to share with someone special. Hope that you try it out and have fun doing it! Have a great night!

Monday, December 6, 2010

DIY: Apple Cinnamon Ornaments

A couple of weeks ago a friend at work told me about Apple Cinnamon Ornaments and I decided to give them a try!

First of all...they smell incredible!...and they are so easy to make!
{a little messy and a little time consuming...but super easy!}

What you'll need:
1 cup applesauce {I used cinnamon apple}
1 cup ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon glue {optional...but great for added strength!}
glitter {I used gold...but any color will do}
large to medium size bowl and spoon
wax paper {for easy clean up}
cookie cutters
a straw {or other instrument to poke a hole in ornaments}

First, place applesauce in bowl.

Then add cinnamon.  {I added a dash of cloves too...for good measure}

Mix together. You should end up with a thick, rich brown dough.
{it'll be a little sticky}

If you're a glitter fan like me...this is the time to add some sparkle!
If you're feeling a little more natural...no worries...just skip this step.

Mix glitter into dough until even. Then, line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Roll dough out to about 1/4" thickness. {you can either use a rolling pin or you can just use your hands like I do}

Once your dough is rolled out to 1/4" thickness, you're ready to use your favorite cookie cutter. I went with a small star. {it's about 2" x 2"} You can make these as large or as small as you choose to.

After you have cut out all of your ornaments, sprinkle them with glitter.

Then, carefully poke a hole into the shape so that your ornaments can be hung when they dry. {you can use a straw, a pen cap, or anything that fits the size of opening that you're going for. I ended using a cap from a tube of wood fill...and it worked like a charm.}

Now comes the waiting game. Let your cute little ornaments cure for 2 to 3 days. {or until they are as hard as a rock!} You'll be able to tell when they're ready by picking them up and feeling the back of them. If there seems to be a little bit of moisture...give them another day or two. Once they are completely dry, feel free to hit any rough edges with a little low grit sandpaper until you're happy with the way they look. Cut lengths of ribbon to your desired length and loop through opening. Double knot to close the loop and finish off with a bow.

Last step...hang them on your tree and enjoy your festive handy work!

This is a really fun project for the holidays. It's fun, festive, easy...and even kid friendly! So...if you're looking for a fun craft to do with friends, family or the little ones in your life...try it out! I enjoyed making these so much that I'm actually thinking about making another batch in the next couple of days. Have fun! and Have a great night!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

DIY: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {in a jar}

Today we're making Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies {in a jar}.
I absolutely love making gifts in a jar! {especially around the holidays} They're super easy to make, a fun project and a great idea for gifts for neighbors, friends, family or co-workers.

What you'll need:
1 quart size mason jar
a 5" x 5" piece of festive fabric
recipe labels {either handwritten or printed}
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups dry oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

First, make sure that your mason jar is clean. Then, layer the ingredients in the following order:
Layer 1: flour + baking soda {combined}
Layer 2: sugar + cinnamon + cloves + salt {combined}
Layer 3: brown sugar
Layer 4: oatmeal
Layer 5: chocolate chips

{you're almost done!}

Put the round disc from the mason jar closure on first...then cover with your square of fabric. Place mason jar ring closure on top and screw down until secure. Tie ribbon around jar lid and then add recipe label.
It should read:

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies {in a jar}
preheat oven to 350°
add 1 egg, 1/2 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies {in a jar} mix. mix well. spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. cook for 10 to 12 minutes {or until golden brown}. makes one dozen.

I've included a template just in case you might want to use it: {it's set up to print on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper}

You're finished product should look a little something like this:

So...if you're looking for a unique gift that also happens to be a delicious treat {that the receiver can bake at their own convenience} this might be a perfect gift for you make and give this season. I hope that you try it out and have fun doing it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

DIY: Party Mustaches

Are you feeling distinguished and don't know how to make other people see it? Are you wanting to mix it up without a huge commitment? Do you want to go a little incognito for the evening?
I've got the solution...the DIY Party Mustache.

Today was our little Movember celebration at my place of business to honor the guys at work who grew mustaches and the mo sistas that lent their support to the cause during the month of November. It was a lot of fun! I made mustaches for all of the girls that signed up to be mo sistas {and for the boys who couldn't quite hang and ended up shaving early!} They seemed to be a hit and you couldn't help but laugh looking around. {yes...we all looked a little ridiculous...in a good way}

{exhibit a...yep...that's me...totally incognito}

So...if you're interested in sporting these at your next party, follow the directions below and make your very own! {it only takes a few minutes and people really seem to enjoy them}

What you'll need:
1 package adhesive back felt {any color that makes you happy}
mustache drawing skills or a template

First, turn felt upside down where the pull away paper for the adhesive back is right side up. Draw a mustache shape or trace your mustache template onto the paper with a pencil. Cut out your mustache design with scissors. Pull away paper and place mustache just below your nose. You're done! {and you look awesome!} How easy was that?

Here's a template just in case you need it:

Have fun! {and long live the stache!}

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DIY Cocktail: Pomegranate Martini

Today...we're making a cocktail! Do you love the sweet taste of pomegranate? Do you enjoy the smoothness of a great martini?
Then I've got a recipe for you!

What you'll need:
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 shots of vodka
1 shot of pomegranate liquor
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a few splashes of sparkling water {or sprite or ginger ale}
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice {or just a little squirt/squeeze}

Place all ingredients except sparkling water in a cocktail shaker. Mix well. Add sparkling water and give shaker a quick twirl. {make sure to to just swish the shaker from side to side...if you put the top back on and shake vertically, the carbonation will force the top off and cause a mess...trust me} Serve in chilled martini glasses. Makes two martinis.

This cocktail has made appearances at bridal showers, parties, an evening at home and even at our wedding reception. It's light, refreshing, delicious...and always a hit with guests. You should absolutely try it out for your next get together or a quiet evening at home. I have a feeling you'll love it!