Friday, December 17, 2010

Cranberry-Chocolate Christmas Granola, and Happy Holidays!

     Today is Doodle Bugs last day of school for the holiday. So I'm throwing in my hat and it'll be my last day blogging until the new year as well. I'm looking forward to spending two weeks with both of my birdies in the nest! Also it is HARD to try to keep up with Christmas stuff and blog too! Kudos to those who aren't taking a holiday! I hope the rest of you have a wonderful holiday! In the mean time I hope you try this recipe. it is awesome! It's not you normal granola, it's sweet and delectable. Almost candy I think! I made some for Doodle Bugs teacher and covered it with a piece of fabric and told her I had a lid issue. She told me it wouldn't be there long enough to need a lid!

Here's what you need:
2 cups oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp brown sugar
dash of salt
2/3 cups dried cranberries
2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Here's what you'll do:
Preheat oven to 350. Stir all ingredients together except chocolate chips. Spread mixture on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then stir. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the last couple minutes that it doesn't burn. You just want browned edges. Once it's nice and golden brown remove from oven it'll still seem sticky, but that's okay as it cools it hardens up a bit. Let cool about 20 minutes. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Store in airtight container. Enjoy!

As with all of my projects, I have designed them for my family and love to share with you so you can have them for your families as well. All projects, patterns and directions are meant for your personal use and neither the patterns nor completed projects are to be used for monetary gain. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Potpouri Christmas ornament... a photoless tutorial

     One Christmas when I was in grade school we made these little ornaments out of paper tubes. This was over 18 years ago and my mom still has the one I made!
     I did have pictures but somewhere along the line they ran away!! They are really easy though so lets see how this goes.

You'll need:
1  paper tube
2inchx 4 inch Festive fabric scrap
3 inch x 3 inch Lace scrap
Hot glue gun
2 tablespoons of Potpouri

Step one: Cut the paper tube in half (about two inches long)
Step two: Cover the tube with the festive fabric using hot glue. Trim the edge so it's nice and evenly covered.
Step three: Cut out 2 circles from the lace large enough to overlap the edges of the tube.
Step four: Glue one circle to one end of the tube.
Step five: Fill with Potpouri.
Step six: Glue second lace circle to open end.
Step seven: Tie string around the center of the tube. Tie the ends of the tails to make a hanger and voila, done!

PS I'll take more picture tonight after Doodle Bug's concert!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas craze!

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday, blogging gets pushed down the list. Plus Doodle Bug came home sick from school Wednesday and was out Thursday and Friday. But we should be back on track and as soon as I get back from some shopping tonight I'm going to start on the next little Christmas tutorial. It will for sure be up on Wednesday! Thank you for sticking with me through the crazy Christmas season!

Monday, December 6, 2010


This month is turning out to be so much more than I expected it to be! At the moment my desk is covered in 17 little gingerbread costumes, about a dozen gifts that still need to be started, a alteration for a friend of a friend of my mom's, and a partridge in a pear tree! We have class pictures coming up on Friday for Doodle Bug, along with a Christmas concert, and Christmas party next week. We need to take the kids to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop (Yeah, we're that family!) Also Santa's Enchanted Forest is due a visit. These are only the things we know of now, not including the ones that will pop up all of a sudden! So if I'm absent, I'm sorry. Life gets crazy and now seems like the perfect time for some crazy! So I'll try to post some more tutorials, but real life comes first. I will be posting a tutorial on Wednesday with toilet paper tubes because Doodle Bug really wants to! 

Also a huge Thank you to Dotty over at Totally Tutorials for sharing my Greeting Card Gift Box tutorial!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Polymer clay peace star ornament

     This is a fun, easy ornament to make. It adds a little color to any tree! Even ours that is eclectic enough as it is! I just love the colors and psychedelic look on this happy little star! This is also a good project for the kids to help with, just as long as they don't do the hot parts!

You'll need: wax paper to work on, something to bake on, star cookie cutter, straw, toothpick, something round and a few different colors of clay. I like to use 5, not to many not to little.

For this star (which fits in the middle of my hand) I only ended up using 1 'line' of each clay. Also it was enough to make a medium star and a small star with the left overs.

I made little balls but you can just use little piece if you want. I like to take the time and make the balls because it makes the colors clearer and more swirly. If you just do pieces it'll be more spotty.

Roll all of the pieces together into a big ball. Flatten the ball.

Cut out your star.

Using a straw, pierce a hole for the hanger.

I used the end of a serger thread cone to make the circle.

Use a toothpick to make the lines.

Preheat the oven and make a little one while you wait for it to heat up. (I use a piece of card stock to bake on because I no longer have a pan dedicated to my clay.) Bake your clay according to the manufacturers directions.

Let it cool. It doesn't take long but hurts if you're impatient!

You can add a regular metal ornament hook, but I like the added color of ribbon. If your like me and hate it when your ornaments don't face forward do this; tie a little bit of ribbon through the hole and then tie your hanger ribbon through that ribbon so it'll hang straight forward!

And there you go! All set to go on the tree or give as a gift.

I'm sharing at

As with all of my projects, I have designed them for my family and love to share with you so you can have them for your families as well. All projects, patterns and directions are meant for your personal use and neither the patterns nor completed projects are to be used for monetary gain.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quick and easy fabric gift bags!

     Did you know that in America 5 million tons of waste is thrown out during the holidays? 4 million tons of which is wrapping paper and shopping bags. So to make the season a bit more green use reusable bags when you shop for those gifts. If you can fit it into a regular bag, great! Why would you want all of those shopping bags hanging around anyway? Not to mention, they make more noise than a fabric bag!! 
     Another way is to make and use fabric gift bags. I made a couple of these last year and they work great! Plus we cut our paper usage down. Now I'm not perfect and I still love all the pretty designs and shiny, bright colors of wrapping paper and still use it, just sparingly. A plus to making bags to is all of the cute fabrics out there! You can make any size and have colorful prettiness under the tree still.
     Seeing as my craft corner will soon be taken over by 17 little gingerbread kids costumes I should get some projects out of the way! So here is my quick little tute on making fabric gift bags!

You'll need:
Fabric (I used a yard folded it in half and just cut out different sizes until I had cut it all)
Sewing machine and serger if you can

First, cut your bag pieces.

Second, serge or sew both sides and the bottoms of bags.

Third, hem or serge the top edge. I choose to serge in white thread because it reminds me of snow!)

Fourth, flip right side out.

Fifth, cut a lenght of ribbon at least 10 inches long and singe the ends so they don't fray. And sew it on to the bag about 2 inches from the top. (Father down for larger bags.) Just make sure you have room to gather and tie around the top of the bag once it's filled.

Sixth, fill and give! Your receiver will love it! Last year my mom said, "Do I get to keep it?" I'm sure someone else will probably get it this year and that's already two gifts given without wasting more paper, awesome!

I'm sharing at

As with all of my projects, I have designed them for my family and love to share with you so you can have them for your families as well. All projects, patterns and directions are meant for your personal use and neither the patterns nor completed projects are to be used for monetary gain. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ho Ho Ho-ly Christmas time!!

     I must say I was ill prepared for December to start already! I thought I just got over Halloween! 
     Anyway, it hit me hard that it is now December! So the Christmas fairy, AKA me, fluttered around trying to find things to stuff the advent calendar with. My mom and I always used festive chocolates or mini candy canes, but for the love of crazies, I forgot to get any! So I raided the top of our pantry for the hidden chocolates and came up with a cute little festive combo. I hadn't planned on using anything bigger than the little oval ones or candy canes so the weight has kinda pulled the whole calendar into a curl, but that's okay because it won't be full for long! I can't wait to see Doodle Bug when he gets up in the morning to get ready for school and this is waiting for him!

The little snowman mover I made is just hanging out up there at the top tucked into the hanger. I hadn't really planned it like that but it works so all's good.

I hope everyone else is having as much fun getting ready for the holiday as I am!

We will be getting the rest of our Christmas-y goodness out of storage and hopefully we'll be all decorated by Sunday! Yea, so much fun!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Grandma Box

     Get ready for an incoherent ramble written through wet eyes! This means a lot to me, and is hard to do but I'm sharing a bit of my heart and soul today so hang in there with me.

     Two and a half years ago my maternal Grandma passed away. Amongst all of the comments and memory sharing there was one thing that really stuck with me. It was when my sister said, "There won't be anymore Grandma boxes." It didn't really sink in until later what that would be like. It's been two years, soon to be three, without getting that big box in the mail. These boxes where unique.
     First you should know, my Grandma and I shared our crafty, creative side as well as our love for thriftiness. She couldn't pass up a yard sale and I have many memories of sorting through piles of other peoples stuff finding our own little treasures tucked away in there. I still think of her every time I see one of those hand written yard sale signs!
     So, back to the boxes. They were always unique. Grandma didn't give big, expensive gifts that no one really needs. They were always practical gifts. Things like teddy bears, and handmade blankets for the kids. Also simple toys like rattles, and secondhand clothes that always seemed to be perfect. For the grownups there would be things like dishtowels (many of which I started receiving when I was 16 and still have), manly things for the men, like knives. Growing up my sister collected carousels and I collected porcelain dolls and clowns, so she would send things like that too. Most of my dolphin collection came from her as well. There were staples that you could always count on, like sugar free hard candy, and thin mints.
      It was amazing to go through those boxes and to see the frugal way she would wrap things. One of her favorites was using empty cracker boxes. For my son's first Christmas he got a big teddy bear wrapped in a hand sewn red plaid blanket. And when I say hand sewn I mean HAND sewn, not machine. Every little stitch made by her. Another of his gifts was wrapped in a fabric panel she had hand sewn... he's had it up on the wall in every room he's had. One year he got a pillow with a hand sewn pillow case, the next year he got the matching blanket.
     So this year I've decided to pick up where she had to leave off and start a new tradition. I think every one should receive hand made gifts. I believe it is one reason I adore giving and receiving handmade gifts. We are not a religious family. Christmas for us is about family, love and thankfulness. It's about being together and being glad we have each other, even when we're hundreds upon hundreds of miles away. So much of Christmas is giving but a part of it to me is also receiving a little piece of those who love you. For my sister, I'm doing my own "Grandma Box", an "Aunt Amber Box" I guess. Maybe, just maybe, you could start this too. Give handmade and practical gifts. Put your heart into it. Give something that brings tears, and will be loved and create a wonderful memory every time it's seen for years to come.

Friday, November 26, 2010

This Moment-First Turkey leg

This moment: a Friday ritual inspired by soule mama
a single picture, requiring no words, yet telling a story worth remembering!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So much to be thankful for... a short auto biography!

      Holiday's have always been... 'interesting' for me. Growing up I loved the holiday season. As a teen my Dad's frequent bad attitude towards odd things made things rough. As a young wife and mother it started to get better but money made it stressful. Last year we had just lost my step dad to cancer and we were staying with my wonderful mother. Neither Hubby or I were working yet as I was waiting for my position to open for my transfer from Ohio. This year things are exponentially better. We own our own home, Hubby has a really great job and things are finally stable now. So needless to say I'm super stoked! I am so excited about cooking Thanksgiving dinner in my very own kitchen, on my very own appliance that Hubby and I picked out together and didn't just come with our place or off the side of the road!
     My son also just lost his second tooth. He is also doing amazingly well in school. We were all in the dark as to whether or not his delays (due to his Apraxia) would hold him back. To get to go on to first grade next year he needs to be able to identify at least ten letters and the numbers 0-20. I promised him back in the beginning of October by Christmas he would know ten letters and his numbers 0-10. As of last Sunday night he knows 11 letters and his numbers 0-12.
      So that being said, there are just so many things I am thankful for. Wishing you all a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving, may it be filled with joy and warmth!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu Printable

     Way, way back when my family first got Printshop on our first computer one thing my mom like to do was print out our Christmas cards and Holiday menus. Well that stuck with me and now I like to design and print my own menus... and sometimes cards, place cards, decorations and everything else I can make! This is the menu design I'm using for this year.
     Now this is my first printable so if I mess up let me know so I can get it fixed ASAP! Also the font I used for the bottom is Calligraph421 BT and I'll be using it for the menu font as well.
     You can print out the design and then re-print your menu over it or if I do it right you should be able to add your own text right over top of the design to print like that.

I'm sharing this on  

Friday, November 19, 2010

This moment-Family

This moment: a Friday ritual inspired by soule mama
a single picture, requiring no words, yet telling a story worth remembering!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making a play kitchen from an old night stand

I've been wanting to make a night stand into a play kitchen for a while now. It's going to be Peanut's big Christmas present. I've been keeping an eye out for someone getting rid of an old night stand to give this new life to. Finally on Monday while on a Freecycle run I found this poor little babe among some other broken discards. (FYI: Freecycle run= bulk is scheduled to pick up in our neighborhood around 15th of every month so there are some treasures out there for those of us willing to go find them. Also for those other neighborhoods that aren't as close, Freecycle drives are initiated.)
I trudged it back home, neighbors eyes wide in questioning, and around to my back porch. This is where I've been spending my craft time since. So far I've got it taken apart, the top sanded, the drawer front sanded and holes filled to become the oven door. Also I've had some help...

Hubby cut the hole for the sink, a little too big I might add, so I have to fix the hole a bit tonight. My back porch is a mess, my skin is dry, and my muscles are sore but I'm so excited right now! I can't wait to get it done. If all goes as planned I'll be able to get it done for under $50.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Advent Calendar mover tutorial

I absolutly adore snowmen! I even have a snowman cookie jar and three coffee mugs that resides on my kitchen bar year round. So of course I decided to make my advent calendar mover a snowman! It was really easy and quick. As a matter of fact it was a couch craft. I just grab all of my supplies and sat down to a rerun of CSI and got craftin'!

Here's what you'll need:
White felt scrap
Template or mini cookie cutter in the shape of a snowman
Black and orange craft paint
White and red embroidery floss
Small amount of poly fill

To get started cut two pieces off the chopstick about 2 inches long each. Glue them together and set aside to dry.

Now trace your snowman twice onto the felt. Cut one out but leave the other.

Now lay the cut out snowman on top of the non cut out one. Stitch together leaving small opening at the bottom. Stuff small amount of poly fill into opening.

Insert the dry chopstick piece into the opening and stitch closed. Cut out the rest of the snowman.

Using your craft paint paint the hat on. Using the end of the brush apply the eyes, mouth, buttons, and carrot nose. I did both sides so it can be put in either way.

Take a couple small piece of red embroidery floss and make a little scarf by tying it on the figure.

Placing a dab of glue on the stick to secure a long length of red embroidery floss. (I left it on the spool so I could just cut it off when I was at the end and wouldn't end up wasting any.) Wrap the floss around the stick, adding glue to the stick to secure it as you go. Add another dab at the end to secure the cut off end.

And there is your little snowman mover!

As with all of my projects, I have designed them for my family and love to share with you so you can have them for your families as well. All projects, patterns and directions are meant for your personal use and neither the patterns nor completed projects are to be used for monetary gain.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Advent Calender-part 2

Dunt-de-duh! Here is the finished Advent Calendar. I really love how it turned out!

So here is the tutorial for the bottom part of my Advent calendar. For this part you'll need a couple additional supplies; a chopstick or dowel, glue, ruler and if you want, a sewing machine.

This part may seem long and tedious but it really wasn't so bad. I got it done in a night. The longest, most repetitive part was the number embroidery. The rest was really smooth sailing!

To get started on your bottom piece cut your pocket background/ bottom base piece the same width as the top applique piece. Leave the length until the end because you'll want the wiggle room later.

Now set those two pieces aside. Cut 5 strips from the felt your using for the pockets. Mine were 1-3/4 inches tall and the same width as the other 2 calender pieces.

Now I cut out 5 little templates of the pocket size I wanted and placed them on the first strip. The with a pencil drew quide lines inbetween them. Repeat with other four strips. Then number the pockets 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 21-25.

Lay the numbered strips on your background piece about 1/4 inches apart, iron, and pin in place.

Sew the sides down close to the edge but not too close because you'll want to trim a tad bit later because felt likes to distort if you put too much pressure on it.
Sew across the bottom of each strip. Sew down the lines you drew. Now here you can just do full lines all the way down or do what I did and just sew on the pocket pieces. Just lift the presser foot in between each strip.

 Now take your top and bottom pieces a line them up, upside down, so they meet. Add a piece of fusible fleece to the center seam and iron. This will help you do the step after the next step.
Now cut another piece of fusible fleece the size of the whole calendar. Iron.

 Flip over to right side, make ties between the two pieces by running the thread from one piece on the front through the back and back out like this.

Evenly space them, as many as you want.

Now take your back pieces and if like me you needed two pieces to make up your back piece sew them together, flip over spread the seam and iron so it lays down flat.

Now lay out your back piece with the seam facing you and then lay the front piece on top facing up at you as well. Make sure your seam on the back piece lines up with the seam on your front piece. Pin it together.

Don't cut the back piece yet, again, wiggle room is good. Now sew the sides and bottom edge, leave the top alone.

Now trim down your pieces so they are all the same except the top. Leave a 3/4 inch part of the back piece intact.

Now round off the ends of your chopstick/dowel and run a line of glue down the seam between the top front and top back seam and lay your stick down.

Now run a line of glue down the stick.

Take your ruler and use it to evenly wrap the felt over the stick.

Let it dry then make little knots the same way you did earlier.

Now tuck the excess in using your scissors.

Run another line of glue down the seam and slightly fold over so the seam disappears. Tape in place to dry or use clothes pins to hold it until it dries.

Once dry remove tape (or clothes pins).
Take a push pin and carefully push it through to make a hole on both sides of the stick. I had to use a hammer and my stick split but a little wood glue at the end fixed that.

Now thread a piece of ebroidery thread through the holes.

Place a knot at the ends of both sides.

After this I also tied a couple of knots at the top of the string to make hanger loop.

So, there you go! All done!

Now, hang in there with me because Monday I'll have a little 'mover' to follow the days! Have a fun weekend!

As with all of my projects, I have designed them for my family and love to share with you so you can have them for your families as well. All projects, patterns and directions are meant for your personal use and neither the patterns nor completed projects are to be used for monetary gain.