Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Bye 2011

The 2011 Holiday Season has come and gone and it was another great one for this family.  It was a lot of fun for us to watch our son open his gifts this year.  This Christmas he understood the concept of Santa, which was nice because I pulled the "I'll call Santa" card a few times this month when he was being naughty.  I'm not going to remove Santa from speed dial quite yet.

I make our Christmas Card each year (of course) and since having our son, I've incorporated photos into the card design.  Here are some photos of this years card.

 My cards went out much later this year than I would have liked but I like how they turned out.  I wanted to combine my new hobby (sewing) with my old hobby (stamping).  I had a heck of a time finding pictures for this card out of the several dozen that were taken, apparently three year olds don't like to look at the camera or stand still for more than half a second.  

I also wanted a card that was simple and classy.  These family photos were taken in Cancun and helped set the tone for our card.  I wanted the colors to stand out so I stuck with three basic colors: white, blue, and brown.  I really love the colors and the fun effect I used on the photos (thanks picasa). I haven't been a big fan of google's picasa but they have made some huge upgrades to usability lately.  Even a dummy like me is able to figure it [mostly] out.

Here is a plate full of candy that I made this year.  Actually, this is the same candy I make every year.  Going clockwise starting at the top (12 o'clock) is: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.  The link will take you to Sandra Lee's original recipe.  I modify the recipe by making my own sugar cookies (find a recipe you like) and I make the cookies much smaller than recommended.  The cookies are very rich so I have found that using a two-inch cookie cutter for sizing is perfect.  I used a one-inch cookie cutter last year which resulted in much cuter cookies but much more work to make and bake.  Next candy:  Paradise Macaroons.  This recipe is from Alton Brown and these little babies taste just like an Almond Joy candy bar, REALLY.  They are delicious.  This year, I skipped the nuts (did you see nut prices this year!!! As my son would say, "wow-wee zowie").  Next up:  Peppermint Bark.  Oh Martha, how I love thee.  Don't change a thing, but be prepared to make double, triple, or quadruple batches because everyone will want some.  Last but not least:  Peanut Butter Balls.  This recipe from Taste of Home is always a hit but make these when well rested because these go on forever, you are not sure if you will finish dunking them in chocolate.  Make the balls small, like 1 inch because these are rich (but delicious). This recipe might even make more than 42 balls that it says (that rarely happens).  

Here are the cookies that Johnathan left out for Santa.  My son said Santa wanted chocolate milk (not white milk) with his cookies.  I don't think Santa was upset by the change.  

I was no where near as prepared as I had hoped this holiday season.  I had big plans to get a lot of gifts handmade for people this year but as always, time slipped away from me.  Not all was lost.  I did find time to make this ring pillow for my sister.

 It is made from the fabric from my own wedding dress (don't worry, I didn't cut my dress apart, I had some fabric scraps).  I think she really liked it. She also reciprocated and gave me the gift of standing up in her summer 2013 wedding!  How fun!

I hope you all had just as great of a year as our family did.  I hope 2012 brings all of us even more great times and laughs with each other, our families, and our friends.  Cheers!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Sneak Peeks Take Two

 Hi Everyone.  I'm back with some more sneak peaks at all the fun gifts that we'll be making at my craft class this month.  Last time I showed you a quick shot of a project in progress.  It was an ornament made from clay.  I got the original idea from Heather Nichols blog: Pine is Here.  This was my take on her project.


The clay is really easy to work with.  I rolled it with a rolling pin to about a 1/4" thickness and used a bell shaped cookie cutter to cut out the shape.  I used my regular old black stamp pad and randomly stamped the snowflakes onto the bell.  The stamp left a really nice impression in the clay.  I baked it in the oven (as directed on the clay packaging).  Once cooled, I added a clear coating to the top.  I then adhered some holly leaves with glue dots to the back of the ornament and finished it with a pretty ribbon.  This could be used on a Christmas tree or used to adorn a wrapped gift.


This next project was so simple.  It is coasters for drinks made with pretty cardstock.  Just pick out any patterned paper you like {bonus if it is scrap}, mod podge it onto some bath tiles that are 16 cents each at the home improvement store, glue felt feet on the bottoms and call this project DONE...well......

...almost done.  Of course you need to wrap them with a pretty bow and a handmade gift card to finish the gift.

Here is a gift box made from a template I purchased at My Time My Creations.  It is large enough to fit a large glass jar candle.  I plan on putting a coffee mug with coffee, creamer and treats inside.

I woke up the other night with this idea that I thought was brilliant.  I would make a treat holder that was in the shape of Santa's pants.  This idea literally got me out of bed bright and early, I thought it was genius and would make me famous.  Well, a 30 second search on the internet told me that I certainly wasn't the first to come up with this cute idea.  Oh well.  Still cute anyway.  Here is my version.  It is made with a simple 2-4-6-8 box template, you can find the directions for a 2-4-6-8 box all over the web.  I can't wait to fill 'er up with candy.

Here is a quick and simple gift jar.  I'm thinking of filling this with some homemade bath snowballs from Martha Stewart, say what you want about her but she is one creative goddess in my book.

 Last but not least:  my favorite project this month {hands down} is this holiday card storage box.  I've been wanting to make one of these for a few years now and when I saw this paper pack at Michael's today it was all mine.  I really had grand schemes to decorate this but the paper is so pretty there really is no need.  Love it. Just cut the paper to size and mod podge it in place.  I used the lid on the bottom because I thought it provided a nice decorative detail.  I have already received several cards in the mail and can't wait to put them in here.  Perhaps I should think about finishing my own....maybe another day :)

I hope you have found a lot of holiday inspiration in my last two posts.  I'm wiped out and I'm nowhere near having any of my personal projects completed.  I'm starting to fall behind but I have high hopes for what I can get accomplished this week, I hope you all do too.