Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Easy Co-worker Present Ideas

It is that time again Christmas present season.  It is always hard trying to figure out what to make or get for your co-workers to say hey I like working with you but not breaking the bank.  This year I made two different things for co-workers.  

The quick and easy gift was cute little pumpkin bread!  

I found these neat single use baking pans with a lid!  They were at my local Target for about $4.  (I am not affiliated with or being paid/given anything by the companies listed in this post.  I just am trying to make it easier for you to find the products I am talking about.  I like the items in this post and am passing it along to you.  All opinions in this article are my own.)  I just used one Pillsbury Pumpkin Quick Bread mix and it filled up all the pans.  

It was super quick and easy.  All I had to do was reduce the cooking time by a few minutes and Bam Christmas presents!

The next gift was a bit more involved still cheap because I had all the ingredients. However it was more time consuming as I made the cookies from scratch.  

I made these little boxes of cookies but this year I only iced the top ones and then added icing dipping cups!  This is the best idea I have had in awhile.  It cut down on the icing or decorating time and I could add more than one layer of cookies without them sticking together. 

One little thing I did was use my Mug Cookie Cutter from World Market.  Because I chilled the dough overnight they really seemed hold their shape while baking.  Definitely a cookie cutter to use again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Christmas sign

Hello!  I wanted to share my first Christmas project of the season with you today. 

I have been looking at the projects on Pinterest and ran across a cute Christmas sign.  One of the things I love the most about Pinterest is it allows you to find things that are older and would otherwise be hidden. Check out the cute sign from The Winthrop Chronicles from 2012.

How to make a close enough copy!
(Side note: I picked up the majority of these items from Hobby Lobby.  I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies, brands or stores listed.  I just happen to shop there or like their products!)

First I gathered all my supplies:
Board -- foundation of sign
Christmas lights -- these are battery pack operated
Chip board word
Glitter -- extra fine
White acrylic paint
Mod Podge
Paint brush -- for paint and Mod Podge

Things I found out I needed
Double stick tape --  to attach word
Something to contain the glitter
Q-tips -- to paint the inside of the word
Paper plate -- to put paint on
Upholstery Nails -- To hook my lights on

First I painted my word white on the front and sides.  The back got a bit of paint but only when I was smoothing things down.

After the paint dried and my brush had been cleaned out and dried I applied Mod Podge to the top of the letter and poured glitter on it.  It worked wonderfully well.  I just lightly tapped it to knock off the excess but the majority of the glitter stuck!

Here is the finished word after it dried.

Then I realized I would need to attach everything to the board.  This is when I picked up some double stick removable poster tape and upholstery nails.  I decided to use the tape because I am hoping it will give me the option to change the word later to make it a year round sign.

I taped the word on cutting the tape to the right size to fit behind the letters without being seen.  The nails I just held up my lights to determine where they would go.  Then I nailed them in to hang the lights on and to wrap the cord around to hold the battery pack.  I ended up taping the battery pack to the board as well.

Here is the finished sign unlit.  I love the cute star lights!

Here is one where the lights are on.  The picture does not show how awesome it looks!  I only had my camera phone for pictures.

And here it is hanging in its new home in my crafting/studio space!

This was a super simple project that took about an hour to put together.  
What Christmas crafts are you working on?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Baby it's cold outside!

Winter has officially arrived in Texas!  This morning as I left for work it was 12 degrees out and felt like 1 degree.  Crazy!

On Saturday before the cold snap we started picking up the pecans in our yard.  It look like it will be a bumper crop this year.  Here is what we had gathered in about 20 minutes.

On Sunday we had snow and it was the perfect time to hunker down and read! I also started some Christmas projects that I will share as soon as I finish them.  Here are some pictures of the lovely dusting of snow!

We have had so much moisture this year that the rocks on my house have snow and moss on them!

Keep warm! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Leap of Faith!

This is the Leap of Faith Sweater I knit. It is very aptly named, it was a Leap of Faith for me!  It is called that because you STEEK up the middle to put a zipper in! (For those who don't know what that means: you cut the sweater!) After you knit it up (which you usually knit in the round) then you fold the steek part under and sew it down. Not very hard, just very scary because when you cut it you can't go back and redo it!! I had Never steeked before!

 I think the sweater came out perfect. It's light but warm. 

The hood is my favorite part, I love hoodies and cables!  

More cables down the sleeve.

Thank you sister for taking the pictures, it was a very pretty fall day!
If you would like to see more details on my sweater visit Raverly here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mud Pie or the Upside-down Cake

Looks a mess doesn't? It was a mess......
My brother-in-law and I decided we needed a cake the last time I visited. I had brought a new cookbook with me that I was working through. He wanted a chocolate cake, so I found a devil's food cake recipe with an interesting frosting that called for melted chocolate. I don't think I will mention the cookbook, as the recipe didn't really turned out anything like it was suppose to. I read through the recipe and happily started pulling out bowls and ingredients. The recipe said to start the frosting first as it needed time to cool, so I found the baking chocolate and started melting it. I also started the cake batter and it wasn't until I went to look for the baking cocoa that things started to go downhill...... 

No baking cocoa.

 How are we suppose to make a cake without baking cocoa?!!? Of course we could have just ran out to the store and bought some, but that sounded like a lot of work. I rummaged around looking for more baking chocolate, but decided I needed to deal with the frosting first. That is when Crisis #2 reared it's head. 
As I was reading the recipe again and noting that there really wasn't a lot of sugar in the frosting a little thought began niggling in the back of my mind. I had just assumed when it said baking chocolate it was talking about chocolate with an 70-80% cacao ratio. But with the amount of sugar called for that couldn't be right. I quickly mixed in the sugar and gave it a taste...... bitter, very bitter. I checked the cookbook for an explanation of ingredients, it called for baking chocolate to be around 60-70%. I checked the ratio of the baking chocolate....... 100% cacao!!! Opps!
Now I had a cake will no chocolate and frosting with too much chocolate!! We should be able to work this out, right? Just put a bit of chocolate "frosting mixture" in the cake batter and add more sugar to the rest of the frosting. Simple.
Not sure if that was the best idea, but we did get a cake of sorts in the end. I think the "frosting mixture" made the batter too thin, when we tried to remove it from the pans it just crumbled. In the end we piled the pieces on the plate put the crumbles on top and patted everything into a cake shape. I was afraid of putting too much powdered sugar in the frosting so it was also too thin and almost ran off the cake. At this point we were tired of fussing and decided this was as good as it was going to get. Time to eat it!
Boy, was it yummy! One of the messiest cakes I have ever eaten, but so good! A deep dark chocolaty-ness, like eating a fudge cake A small piece went a long way!

Some day I am going to give that recipe a try........the right way. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Introducing... North Woods Mittens!

 Mandy and I have been working on putting together our favorite mitten pattern to share! We are so excited to announce you can now download it from Ravelry!
These have been our favorite favorite mittens this year! Nothing like two layers of wool to keep you warm! I came up with this pattern several years ago when regular mittens were not keeping my hands warm  They are one of my favorite projects to knit! You could even use the pattern for a basic mitten in either worsted or fingering weight yarn.

Here you can see the inner mitten. 

Happy Knitting!!