Monday, December 26, 2011

Geek Gifts!

Pin It One of my brothers is a computer guy, and I wanted to make some gifts for him and his kids that he would get a kick out of.  He just had a new baby a month ago who looks EXACTLY like his 5 year old.  Seriously, if you put pictures of them at the same age next to each other, they look like the same baby.  So I thought these shirts would be perfect for the two boys.

I dyed a regular white shirt and white onesie brown, then used a freezer paper stencil and some turquoise fabric paint to make these. 

My brother used to be a fan of the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when we were young.  If any of you out there are fans out there, you'll appreciate this.  For those of you who aren't, basically towels are carried everywhere for emergencies and the answer to everything is 42.  I actually saw a similar item in a catalog, but it was just too easy to make. 

I got the handtowel from Target and the blue fabric was a fat quarter from JoAnn's Fabrics.  I used Heat N Bond lite and a zigzag stitch to applique on the 42.  I think it turned out pretty cute. 

I love Geek crafts.  Pinterest has a whole category for all things geek and some of the stuff is just too cute.  Check it out. 

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chocolate Stirring Spoons Tutorial & A Hot Cocoa Bar

Pin It I've seen chocolate stirring spoons all over and thought they would make such a cute gift for a teacher, neighbor, or hostess.  I decided for our cookie party this year I really wanted to make some and have a Hot Cocoa Bar.  I tried a couple of different methods of making these and finally found one that is SUPER simple, so I wanted to share it with you.

Lay out a bunch of plastic spoons on a piece of wax paper.

Melt some chocolate (I used bark melting chocolate and a white chocolate bar from Trader Joe's) in the microwave in ziplock bags.  I put one bag in the microwave and melted it 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate was all melted.  (It took about a minute and a half.) Then I snipped a tiny hole in the corner of the ziplock bag and used it like a piping bag.

Fill the spoons with the melted chocolate.

To get the chocolate to look smooth, tap the spoon lightly on the counter.

Add toppings (I used crushed candy canes and crushed oreos) then let them sit until they harden.

I wrapped them with saran wrap and tied them with Christmas ribbon.

I put them in wine glasses for our hot cocoa bar. 

I was thrilled when I found these gingerbread marshmallows at Target.  I knew they'd be a perfect addition to the hot cocoa bar.  I put these in small bar glasses as well.

The bar included the chocolate stirring spoons, marshmallows, Cinnabon candy canes & mints, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, whipped cream and sprinkles, and some irish cream, creme de menthe, and creme de cocoa.  The possibilities were endless!

To complete the bar, I added some decorative labels I printed on my computer then mounted on Christmas paper.  The hot cocoa bar was cute and really popular at the party. 

I love hot cocoa during winter and especially at Christmastime.  I hope you enjoy your holiday season & maybe make some chocolate stirring spoons or a hot cocoa bar of your own.  :)
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ornaments for the Birds

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My next door neighbors have always had a bird feeder and I love sitting out on the back porch and watching the birds they attract.  Another of my neighbors who I frequently craft with also loves birds, so I wanted to make something special for both neighbors for Christmas this year.  I wanted to do something that I could make with my daughter (22 months) since they are all so sweet to her.

A couple of years ago while I was at a gardening store around the holidays I saw cute minature Christmas wreaths made of bird seed and I fell in love with them.  I knew these would make perfect gifts, and I was delighted when I found a tutorial on how to make them on the blog Eighteen 25.  I made mine holiday themed using my holiday cookie cutters.  Here's how I did it. 

I gathered the supplies- wax paper, gelatin packets, bird seed, cookie cutters, ribbon, a pot & measuring cup.
I tied knots of ribbon and laid out all the cookie cutters on wax paper.
I heated 3 packs of gelatin and 3/4 cup of water, then added 2 1/4 cups of birdseed.
I spooned the birdseed/gelatin mixture into the cookie cutters, burying the knots from the ribbon into the middle of the birdseed.  This is the stage where I had my daughter help me, which is why we ended up with a big of a mess.  But they still came out great.  I hope our neighbors- and the birds- like them!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hanging Ornament Display

Pin It It seems like every department store I've gone to this year has had great displays of hanging ornaments.  I really wanted to make one to decorate a blank wall in our dining room.  I bought a bunch of silver ornaments from the dollar store and some cheap snowflake ornaments from Target to start.  Finally I purchased a bunch of plain glass ornaments from Joann's and used this tutorial to make ornaments that are glittered on the inside.  I used Martha Stewart fine glitter in turquoise and green, which I thought made a fun color scheme. 

My friend Sara took the middle two pictures.  To hang these up I used Command Strips (LOVE them) and spaced them on the ceiling every 3 inches.  I hung the ornaments from ribbons in pairs to keep the pattern symmetrical, with the exception of the middle ornament. 

Although it didn't exactly follow my original plan, I think it turned out great.  I really love the idea of using ornaments in places other than the Christmas tree.  Where else do you use ornaments in your holiday decorating? 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Melted Snowman Cookies

Pin It My BFF Sara came to town to visit for a week and was here for our cookie party.  We really wanted to make melted snowman cookies for the party.  We used Martha Stewart's sugar cookie recipe, Wilton Royal Icing Mix to ice the cookies, and white fondant covering Whoppers for the heads.  Sara did most of the work (including taking the picture below) and they came out ADORABLE.  I heard they were pretty tasty too.  Hope you enjoy!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Felt Gingerbread Man Hairclip

Pin It I absolutely loved the gingerbread men from my Cookie Party Invitations, so I wanted to make a matching hairclip for my daughter to wear for the party.  Since I was still on a felt high from making my Pottery Barn Knockoff Felt Donuts, I decided felt was the way to go.  I was soooo happy with the way it turned out.

(My BFF Sara took the bottom picture.) 

As you can see, I just traced 2 copies of the gingerbread man on tan felt and decorated using embroidery thread and a couple of tiny buttons.  Hope you enjoy!
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cookie Party!!

Pin It We hosted our second cookie swap this year which was incredibly fun.  When I was growing up I loved getting plates of delicious holiday cookies from neighbors, so when we moved to our new neighborhood last year we decided to host a cookie swap with our neighbors.  It was a big hit, so we decided to do it again this year. 

Since the invitation I was planning was a little more complicated and the neighborhood was twice as big, my crafty neighbors volunteered to help me make the invitations.  Here's a sample of what we made.

Aren't they adorable?  I wanted to do a gate fold card with the invitation information inside, and I was so pleased with how these came out.  Thanks so much to my crafty neighbors for helping, I couldn't have done it without you!  Are you hosting any parties this season? 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Pin It I absolutely LOVE poinsettias.  I fell in love with them back in college when I came home one year for Christmas to find one sitting in my bedroom.  I couldn't get over the vibrant red.  I remember a couple of years later my parents receiving one as a gift that was bigger and more beautiful than any I'd ever seen.  Finally, I made it to Charleston, SC, where the poinsettia was first introduced to America, one year at Christmastime.  They were stunning.  The Newport Mansions in RI also have incredible poinsettias each year decorated in huge trees and even balls.  Every year now I make it a point to buy some for myself and I love taking pictures of them.

Imagine how excited I was to find out that a nearby garden was having a poinsettia show.  I HAD to check it out.  While I like the traditional red poinsettias the best, I loved getting to see all the different ones they had cultivated.  So I took lots of pictures to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!  (If anyone would like a higher resolution copy for crafting or printing, let me know!  I'd be happy to send you one.)

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