12.30.2011

Wine Glass "Charms" for a Crowd



Are you entertaining a larger group this holiday season? Last week I had 21 ladies from the 'hood over for an ornament exchange. I planned to make Shrinky Dink Wine Charms for everyone but ran out of time...and Shrinky Dink plastic.

I had to come up with a fast solution since I only had 24 wine glasses - I couldn't afford to allow more than one glass per guest.

I looked around and found my liquid chalk marker, which is essentially a dry erase marker in white, and marked the bottom of each glass with a guest's name.



The marker wiped away clean with a dry cloth. Easy Peasy!

12.26.2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

Easy Dish Towel Apron:



Burlap Wine Bags:



No Knead Ciabatta Bread



CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 Shampoo Bar Soap

#2 Last Minute Christmas Gifts

#3 15 Potentially Free Gifts

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios







12.24.2011

Bourbon Soaked Cherries


So, it's Christmas Eve and you need just one more quick and easy gift for the man in your life...

Try Bourbon Soaked Cherries!

Directions:

1. Fill a jar with Maraschino Cherries (no juice)

2. Pour Bourbon to cover...or try your man's own fave liquor: Rum, Vodka, or Whiskey would also be good!

Replace lid and tie with a manly bow.

Merry Christmas, Sweetie!

12.23.2011

Christmas Traditions - Feedback Friday

I am gearing up for our big Christmas here and wonder what special traditions the rest of you have?

We Tour the Lights, decorate with Lots of Candles and Lots of Snowflakes, have special ways of wrapping and delivering gifts, make special Christmas Crafts, make Cookies.

It's Feedback Friday...

Tell me about your Christmas Traditions!

12.22.2011

Edible Candy Plate - Pinterest Pass or Fail



I pinned this idea for making a Plate or Tray from Peppermint Candies (originating at Tutta Bella) this week and thought I should try it for my party tonight.

The directions were simple enough:

1. Arrange peppermints on a piece of parchment or waxed paper (I used a silicon pad)



2. Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

3. Let cool, peel from the paper, and use as a serving tray or plate.


The baking took me more like 10-12 minutes and the mints almost look like they are not melted together when you take them out, they just get square. (**My first try I waited until the mints actually looked melted and they had totally lost their shape and the square became all blobby and was super thin and fragile.) Also, make sure you set your mints in from the edge of the paper at least an inch, because it will grow and roll over the edge.



I would say "Meh". It's okay, but not as cute as I expected. It definitely worked as described but I probably won't pull it out at my party. The kids? They loved it!

So, I'm going to give this Pin a PASS.

Paulette tried a Cinnamon Glazed Pretzel Pin and turned it from a fail to a pass!

What pins have you tried lately?
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12.19.2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

Candy Cane Kiss Shortbread Cookies:



Damask Stenciled Curtains:



Little Frosted Trees:



Cardboard Fireplace:



CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 Easy, Cheap Teacher Gifts

#2 Christmas Bustle Skirts

#3 Christmas Morning Breakfast Casserole

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios






Pine Cone Snowman Ornament


While reading Janet's post about traveling to the Christkindlmarket
in Bethlehem, Pa. I saw an ornament she photographed and knew it was my choice for our Soul Sister's Ornament Exchange this year.

Thank goodness Janet also gave me some tips about how to create this ornament because I was stumped!

Pine Cone Snowman Ornament:

Supplies-

Pine cone
styrofoam ball
Snowtex (I found it near the Plaster of Paris at Michael's)
White glitter
Hot glue gun
Twigs
Small beads
Toothpick
Orange paint


Instructions:

Hot glue the ball to the top of the pine cone. I actually poked the tip of the cone right into the ball, then removed, added glue and popped it back on. (**If I did it again, I would insert the hook right into the foam ball at this point and hot glue it in).

Slather the ball and upper portion of the cone with Snowtex - be generous! I used a small cookie frosting tool.



Try to fill in the area between the ball and the cone to make it look like the snow is dripping down, then hit the tips of the cone's "petals"(?) all the way down.



Sprinkle the wet Snowtex with glitter (I used Glamour Dust by Deco-Art). If you do this over a paper plate, you can funnel the excess right back into the container, easy peasy.



Press some beads into the face for the eyes and mouth:



Use the tip of a toothpick, painted orange, for a nose. Stick it right into the foam ball, then hot glue some twigs into the sides for arms:



Now, gift them to your friends, drink some wine, and pose for your annual photo in front of the Christmas tree!



Don't forget that I will post Tutorial Tuesday tonight if you want to come back to teach me something!

12.16.2011

Our Restaurant Game

(my photo won't flip!)

So, the Soul Sisters always play a game of "guess the food server's name" when we go out. Some of you mentioned wanting to play along so I found a blurry photo of our waitress and me, (with makeup smeared under my eye), from the night of our Christmas Ornament Exchange Party.

I guessed immediately after her first hint: "I love mustangs."

Now you can play along. Any guesses?

Elf on the Shelf



We have adopted an elf from the North Pole named "Jingles". He arrived on our front porch at the beginning of the month and my kids really love him. He came with a book explaining that he came to spend some time with us to hear what we want for Christmas and to report any bad behavior to Santa each night. We are expected to behave all year long, so we mostly see him as a little friend sent to entertain us and keep us company.

Jingles is mischievous! My youngest son says "Mom, Jingles is trouble!" When we sleep he messes around in the house and we find him in the strangest predicaments each morning!



The kids have a special box they use to collect any little elf paraphernalia they find in the morning and they make me take a photo each day to document his mischief. Sometimes, I think they wish they could get into the same trouble during the night! So far, they have found him:

Parachuting
Roasting marshmallows
drinking pancake syrup
Fishing in their fish tank
Stuck in the paper chain
Making his own paper chain
Making a snow angel
Changing all the ice in the freezer to snow (use this)

I have heard from friends that Elf on the Shelf is too much work, or one more thing to worry about during this busy season. I have read on Pinterest that we should say no to "subversive parenting" like this elf. I have also heard from families who really love the tradition of their elf each year.

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?

Do you use him for behavior control during the holiday season?

What are your gut reactions to the concept?


Looking for Elf on the Shelf ideas? Check out my Elf Pins!

12.15.2011

Soul Sisters Annual Ornament Exchange



The Soul Sisters met for a dinner and drinks and our annual ornament exchange last week! We played our usual game of "guess the food server's name" and laughed until we snorted and exchanged our hand made ornaments. The dress code for the evening was dubbed "sparkly" and we had a ball! Our honorary S.S., Ordinary Miracles, was there in spirit

Do you remember the rules? We must make 4 ornaments to exchange and not exceed $10 in materials.

Let's go!

Marzipan made delicate paper ornaments with scrolled card stock coated with glitter:



The Treat Girl made a White Glitter Snowman Ball Ornament:



**can you see our own Soul Sisters Christmas cards we exchanged in the background??**

Joy filled this glass globe with a paper tree and ornaments:



And Girl in the Sticks choose scrapbook paper that represented each of us to make her pleated circles:



I was so busy snapping pictures of my Sisters that I don't have a photo of my ornament, but soon I will teach you how to make a Snowman Pine Cone Ornament! Do you have any holiday traditions with your girlfriends?

12.14.2011

DIY Glitter - Pinterest Pass or Fail?



So, sometimes things I see on Pinterest cause me to say "DOH! Why didn't I think of that??" hence, my Great "Doh!" Moments board.

One such pin for DIY Glitter originating at PlanetPals explained how to make glitter in your oven with salt and food coloring.

The directions were as follows:

Mix together 1/4 cup of salt with 1/2 teaspoon of food coloring until well mixed.

Spread mixture on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cool and use as glitter in your projects.

Robyn commented that this pin might be a fail, so I decided to try it out for myself.

I followed the directions and though the salt colored well and uniformly, it just wasn't sparkly as shown in the example photo! It resembled colored sand:




Wait! This would be great for sand art projects. But glitter? It's a stretch. I have to give this pin a FAIL. Let's rename this pin "DIY Colored Sand".

But hold up, this pin gives me a thought. Let's experiment:


DIY Colored Sugar:

Mix 1/3 cup sugar with 1/2 tsp. food coloring until uniformly colored.

Spread onto a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely because sugar will melt and/or burn!

Cool and pour into an airtight container, breaking up any clumps that may have formed. Use to decorate cookies!





Robyn made Toffee with Saltines.

Shelly learned how to cut her son's hair.

Jennifer learned how to Photograph her Christmas Tree last week.

What pins have YOU tried lately?
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12.12.2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

Fabric Garland:



Christmas Card Display:



DIY Train Table:



Click Picks (last week's most clicked links):

#1 Easy Hair

#2 6 Easy Handmade Gifts for Boys

#3 Decorate Your Tree Like a Pro!

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios







DIY Custom Christmas Cards - that are cheap and fast!


So, let's just say you forgot to order Christmas cards this year. Let's say you are interested in a custom card and have no time and even less money to spend. I don't actually know anyone like that...(wink)

What would you say if I told you I could show you how to order custom 5x7 inch cards that could be ready in an hour? Okay, here goes...

Choose a snapshot from your computer and upload it to Picnik.

I created a frame around my photo to give it more of a "card" feeling by clicking the "frames" tab using the "borders" option from the sidebar (there are many options):



Did you know you could add text to a photo just like the big card companies do? Chose the "text" tab and write your message in the box to the left:



You can move your text to any spot on the card by simply clicking and dragging. You can even change the font, color, and size of your text with a quick click.

Send them out to Walmart to get 1 hour 5x7 reprints for $.58 apiece. Throw in a box of 50 stationary envelopes from Staples for $6.49 and you can have 50 large, frame worthy Christmas cards lickety - split for about $35.00. Now, go buy some stamps - there is still time to send cards this season!

.

12.09.2011

20 Kids and Counting...


So, we all know the Duggars announced that they were pregnant with their 20th child a few weeks ago. They sadly announced the miscarriage of that latest pregnancy this morning.

I watch this program in the morning every once in awhile with my jaw hanging open.

Sometimes I feel awe, sometimes I feel pity for the oldest kids with so much responsibility, sometimes I feel angry that the mother risks her life, at this point, with additional pregnancies, and sometimes I feel inadequate when I see how smoothly this household seems to run compared to my own. More importantly, I wonder how they arrange 19 people so nicely for a family portrait when I can't get a decent photo of just 3 kids??? Why?!? Why?!? (Sorry, Christmas card drama is still a fresh wound...)

What do you feel when you watch this show?

It's Feedback Friday...

What do you think when you watch a show like 19 Kids and Counting?

Do you think it's a risk to have a 20th pregnancy? Do you think it's a beautiful thing? Do you think the show figures in to their family planning?

12.08.2011

Let's Cut Down A Christmas Tree!


You are cordially invited to join our family on our hunt for the perfect tree again this year! Jump on the tractor, we're headed up to the fields!



Where do you choose your Christmas tree?

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12.07.2011

Olive Fritte (fried olives) - Pinterest Pass or Fail



We are hosting The Big Guy's executive staff Christmas Party at our home this year (so scared!). It will be the 1st time a General Manager at his club has ever hosted the staff at home and I just want everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves. We are having some of the food catered, but I feel like cooking for guests really shows you put some effort into the event and I wanted delicious food that even his award winning chef would enjoy.

I've been saving Par-tay Food on Pinterest and have been intrigued by the Olive Fritte, originating at Bellalimento for a while.

I finally decided to test it beforehand and was shocked at how quick and easy the whole process was! I made up a few and tried them hot and at room temp. to determine if they could be made ahead and they were delicious both ways. The Big Guy is concerned about the smell of oil in the house so I might plug in my frier on the back porch.

Olives are tricky, you either love them or hate them. I love them and used a blue cheese to stuff. Here is the scoop:

Olive Fritte

Find large, pitted olives

Stuff each with a small sliver of cheese (blue, chevre, ricotta...)- you can do this ahead

Set up a breading station of flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs.

Begin by coating the stuffed olives in flour then egg.

Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drop right into the bread crumbs to coat.


**I need to experiment to see if I can do everything up to this point ahead of time.**

Slide olives into 350 degree oil and fry for about 20 seconds or until golden. They fry quickly, so have your slotted spoon and a paper towel covered plate ready, sister!

I have been dreaming about this little delicacy since I made them last week! Yikes!



PINTEREST PASS!

Jennifer tried this new hair styling technique with a flat iron.

And Kassie tried my own Doughnuts with Biscuit Dough pin.

What pins have YOU tried this week? Drop me a link and I'll check it out!

12.05.2011

Tutorial Tuesday!

Faux Ice Flowers:



Mini Tree Ornaments:



Snowman Tee:



Bottle Brush Christmas Trees!



CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 (by a landslide) How a Mercury Filling Almost Took My Son's Life

#2 5 Quick and Easy Fleece and Felt Projects

#3 Dressing Up a Cheapie Tree


Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios







 

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