Holidays, Projects, Winter

Cinnamon-applesauce ornaments

December 7, 2016

 

There’s a good chance you’ve made these ornaments before. There’s a good chance you were in the single digits when you did. And if that’s the case, there’s a good chance it’s still hanging on a tree again this year.

5 year-old me may not have appreciated a 2 ingredient recipe that makes my house smell amazing and requires 2 hours of downtime (during which you’re practically forced to watch a Christmas favorite). 32 year-old me does.

You’ll need:

1 cup cinnamon

1/3 – 1/2 cup applesauce

Tip: most dollar stores sell spices and often applesauce too!

craft glue (optional – some recipes use between 1/4 to 1/2 cup glue to make these practically permanent. I never have, but feel free to experiment). If using glue, reduce your applesauce to 1/2 cup.

a straw (or other pokey tool to make hangable ornaments)

a butter knife (to make gift toppers)

wax paper

rolling pin

 

In a large bowl, mix together your cinnamon and applesauce. Add your applesauce gradually so you can adjust the texture until it’s similar to sugar cookie dough.

Once it’s crumbly, you’ll need to use your hands to finish mixing.

Form a ball of dough, and place it between two sheets of wax paper. A sprinkle of extra cinnamon will keep the dough from sticking.  Roll the dough to your desired thickness. 1/4 inch is a safe bet and keeps the ornaments durable.

Cut out your shapes and use your straw to make a hole where the ornament will be hung.

If you’re making gift toppers, slice two 1 inch lines into the center (wiggle your knife a bit so that a ribbon can easily slide through).

Place your ornaments on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 2 hours, flipping them once.

If you prefer instead, you can air dry these for 24 hours.

The smell of these while they bake has always been my favorite so I’ve never gone the air-dry route. But maybe your oven is so full of Christmas cookies baking that air-dry is your only choice.

Once they’re dry, you can decorate them with paint, glitter, or just leave them sweet and simple.

Hang them up as ornaments, thread ribbon through them for gift toppers, or string them together for the sweetest smelling garland.

These (and their cinnamon scent) will last for years and years!

 

Making these as a gift or want a fun way to remember this (oh so complicated) recipe?

Print this beary cute recipe card!

 

 

Fall, Projects

Dried citrus wreath

October 11, 2015

Your front door invites friends and family in during this most cozy time of year. A beautiful wreath welcomes them with style, suggesting a home filled with the same warmth waiting inside.  Continue Reading…

Holidays, Projects, Spring

A dozen eggs – a dozen DIYs

April 10, 2017

A dozen eggs, a dozen DIY’s.

Sometimes when I’m planning projects, they don’t turn out the first time (gasp, right?). Usually that means I try again, and make different mistakes until the process is fairly fool-proof (myself playing the role of fool). I strayed from that practice this time around though. There were definitely a few fails in my egg attempts. But setting aside the “If at first you don’t succeed…” technique, I did not try again. Not normally one to let failures remain, I resisted the urge to get it just right. Instead, I moved on to the next egg art and here’s why.

Maybe you’re dying eggs as a family; newspaper covering the kitchen tables and paper towel roll at the ready for the inevitable spills. Maybe you’re inviting some friends over for a crafternoon. Either way, Easter egg dying falls into a category of holiday crafts (along side pumpkin carving, cookie decorating etc.) that don’t lend themselves well to second attempts until a full year later. And so when my first attempt wasn’t an immediate success, they didn’t make the cut.  Because after all that planning and prepping, we’re all just trying to avoid the gray egg situation. (Personal home video proves, I’ve been there.)

What I’m saying is… this dozen? They’re winners. And here’s the first half.

A word regarding your eggs. I used blown eggs for most of my DIY’s. (Needle through the top, needle through the bottom and blow. – plan ahead for frittata night) You can use white store bought plastic eggs for any of the techniques that aren’t soaked to achieve their color. The plastic doesn’t do well at absorbing the color of a dye.

Feathered

You’ll need: feathers, mod podge (or another gel medium – I like this one since it’s a little thicker and holds delicate items in place well while you’re sealing them to the surface), paint brush

Choose feathers that are fairly delicate. Trim the base of the center vein off if it seems too thick to lay flat on the egg. Paint a thin layer of mod podge in the area where your feather will be placed. Lay the feather on top. Carefully paint in the direction of the feathers to smooth onto the egg.

 

 

Word search

You’ll need: pencil, black fine line sharpie, red fine line sharpie

Give yourself a few pencil lines from top to bottom around your egg as guide lines for your letters. Start with the word that will be circled, and fill in the rest. I wrote all my letters in pencil first and then traced with a fine line sharpie.

 

Just rosey

You’ll need: gouache, paint brush

Use circular brush strokes to lay down your flower’s base layer. Gouache dries quickly and your next colors will lay over the base. Have fun and aim for abstract.

 

Gold and glam

You’ll need: gold paint, paint brush (if you want to make the brush strokes the negative space – egg colored, you’ll need rubber cement too)

For inverted brush strokes, paint rubber cement strokes over your egg. (I used the brush attached to the lid) Let that dry, then cover with gold paint. Once the gold is dry, remove the rubber.

 

All that glitters

You’ll need: mod podge (white glue works fine too), paint brush, glitter, a stencil (optional)

I free-handed a bunny with pencil, then painted it in with a small brush and mod podge before dipping it carefully in a small dish of glitter.

 

Mod squad

You’ll need: rubber cement, black paint

Drizzle rubber cement over your entire egg in a random swirling design. Paint your egg black and let dry before removing the rubber cement.

Lemon Resist

You’ll need: thin line resist, classic egg dye

Dye your egg yellow, then draw your lemons. With the resist on your egg, place the egg briefly in blue dye. Leave the lemon resist on, and draw leaves on with resist. Place your egg back in blue until a true blue is achieved. Remove and let dry before removing all of the resist.

Story book egg

You’ll need: gouache, fine lined sharpie pen

Paint a simple image from your chosen story (a radish from Peter cotton tail was my pick).

Give yourself some faint pencil lines to follow and choose a favorite passage to write with your permanent fine line pen.

Robin’s egg

You’ll need: blue dye, brown paint, small paint brush or an old toothbrush

Dye your egg light blue. If you’re using classic egg dyes, add a tiny splash of your green into the blue. They actually sell a robin’s egg dye kit now too! Once dry, use your paint brush to splatter brown paint onto the egg.

Tattoo egg

You’ll need: temporary tattoos

Apply your temporary tattoo to a clean dry egg, following instructions on your tattoos.

Just add color

You’ll need: fine line sharpie pen

Colored pencils work great on the plastic eggs you can buy by the carton.

Use your fine line pen to draw flowers all over your egg!

Egg shell candle

You’ll need: wax beads in yellow and white, candle wick, paper

Use an x-acto knife to carefully crack into the top of your raw egg. Remove the top of the shell and empty your egg, rinsing well.

Place the wick in your candle, trimming to your desired length. Roll a small piece of notecard to create a small tube surrounding your wick. (This should only be as tall as the edge of the shell.)

Pour your yellow wax into the tube and keep the paper in place while you fill the surrounding area with white wax.

Carefully remove the paper, wiggling a little to slide the paper tube out of the egg.

Light the wick briefly to create the look of a runny yolk.

Place in an egg cup to display! The outer white wax will remain loose until the candle has been lit for a while, so just be careful not to spill the wax beads out before displaying it.

 

 

Holidays, printables, Projects, Spring

Origami bunny planters

March 7, 2017

 

Sweet and simple without the fluff.

That’s how I like my spring decor. When I saw this origami tutorial I thought, exactly!

There is something so satisfying about taking a single sheet of paper and using only your two hands to create an object built of folds.

 

Using this instructional video, I made my own bunny basket. Proudly displaying it, I stepped back to admire my work and realized…

it looked a little less like deliberate decor and a little more like the work of a skilled student placed with pride atop their parent’s desk.

It needed a sense of purpose and permanence.

Enter plastidip. (Enter first it’s smell- wear a mask or open a window).

You’ll need:

a square sheet of paper                                            (I used card stock weight rather than origami paper. It makes the folding process a bit more difficult, but the later steps easier. Don’t worry if heavier paper shows misfolds since those will be covered later.)

Plastidip paint  (This comes in a variety of colors and is carried at many home improvement stores. I found mine at my local Ace Hardware)

gloves & mask

glue dots (the permanent ones work best for paper of this weight)

wire

paintbrush

scrap cardboard

paint in your choice of bunny color

To make the origami bunny base, head to this YouTube video by Leyla Torres. Her style of instruction is easy to follow with helpful tips and an ideal pace (and the benefit of any instructional video is the ability to pause and rewatch certain steps).

After your bunny basket is complete, use your glue dots to secure the inner folds of the ears to the basket interior. I’m certain this goes against the art of origami, but once you dip your bunny you don’t want the weight of the rubber paint to pull open your folds.

Next, learn from my mistakes and put on your gloves!

Here’s the technique I used. I am by no means saying it is the best, but it worked well for me.

With your wire, poke a small hole through the top and center of your bunny’s head. Hook the wire up so that it is secured, but not permanently. Do the same at the back of the basket so that you have 2 easy to hold wire “handles” for dipping.

I apologize for the lack of photography during these steps, but rubber paint plus my camera was not really a combination I wanted to explore.

Dip the bunny into the rubber paint, tilting it forward to coat the ears but not fully immersing into the plastidip. (I found it much easier to paint the interior with the rubber coating later)

Remove your bunny and after waiting for most of the major dripping to stop, place your bunny onto your scrap cardboard. (Alternately, you can create a dowel rod contraption over your newspaper to hang your bunny to dry).

After 5 or so minutes, use your wires to drag your bunny across your cardboard so that it doesn’t become permanently stuck. I did this a couple times just to make certain I’d have an easy time picking it back up.

Slide your wire out before your paint is completely dry.

Once your rubber paint is dry (30-40 minutes), you may want a second coat. Place your (still gloved) fingers into the basket of the bunny and open them so that you can hold the bunny without gripping the sides. Dip your origami once more and place back on your cardboard.

Use your paintbrush to coat the inside of your bunny with the plastidip. You can also paint on extra plastidip where you may have missed a spot or two.

After your coats of plastidip are completely dry, paint your bunny in your favorite bunny color.

Find a succulent or air plant and pop it in.

And if you need any accompanying art, this printable pairs nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projects, Spring

Spring Scents – wax sachets

February 23, 2017

I do not love lighting scented candles. There. I said it. I know. That likely puts me in the minority, but hear me out.

It should be noted, this dislike stems aside from the abundance of artificial bad stuff (science term) we’re putting in the air for our breathing pleasure when lighting most scented candles.

Of course I own scented candles (I don’t live under a candle-less rock). I just don’t often light them. Most scents are strong enough that simply opening the lid or placing it in front of an open window is scent enough for me.

Because really, I’d rather walk past and notice a subtle scent if the alternative is walking into a whole home that smells like a fake frosted lemon sugar cookie. And, what if it’s a great candle and it smells just like a REAL frosted lemon sugar cookie? Well then I’m going to be expecting my frosted lemon sugar cookie. See? Disappointing either way.

But this isn’t supposed to be about personal disappointment. This is about spring.

Have you ever noticed that one of the things people get most excited about, is the first morning of the year when they walk outside and smell spring? I imagine it’s some combination of softening soil with barely-there buds just waiting to bloom.

It’s a subtle scent, that springy smell…and isn’t it the best?

A year ago, I was given these rosy rings. (If buying sounds better than making…you should get yourself some too.) The company out of Denver, suggests placing their wax sachets in your lingerie drawer or with your linens. They also come on a suede string and they are beautiful, so I’m not really sure why you’d do anything other than display them for all to see…and smell.

The wonderful thing about these (and the homemade version) is that they have that spring thing going for them. The perfect balance of subtle strength.

You’ll need:

metal cookie cutters

wax/parchment paper

wax (this can be leftover candles, soy wax, beeswax, wax pellets, wax sheets… you get it)

The amount of wax depends on how many wax sachets you’d like to make. I used 14-16 oz (a combination of recycled candles and several of these soy wax combs) to pour into a 9×9 glass baking dish. When I make them again, I may make them thinner but it’s really a matter of preference.

essential oils (if you’re using unscented wax, a few drops of lavender or rose are my favorite but experiment!)

dried flowers, petals, berries, dried citrus slices (optional, but pretty)

twine (optional for hanging)

skewer or straw (optional for hanging)

a double boiler set up (a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water)

 

Set up your double boiler and place your wax in your heatproof bowl to melt. Many prefer to use a recycled soup can submerged in the water so that clean up involves tossing the can rather than any wax removal.

While your wax is melting, set up your wax mold.

I used a 9×9 glass baking dish, and placed a square of wax paper on the bottom. It’s helpful to have the paper extend a little higher than your wax will sit so that you can lift out the wax once it has hardened.

Place your dried flowers etc. next to your dish for easy access a few steps from now.

Once your wax has melted, (and if you haven’t used a scented wax) add a few drops of your essential oils.

Carefully pick up your melted wax (with a towel or pot holders!) and pour it into your dish.

Depending on the wax you’ve used and the thickness, you’ll have more or less time for the next steps. I was nervous that I’d need to rush these steps, but I had plenty of time.

You’ll notice your wax starting to solidify and becoming more opaque. At this point, place your dried flowers etc. onto the surface of your wax. If it sinks too far, wait a little longer and try again.

Once all your pretty things are arranged, use your cookie cutter to cut your wax into shape.

Press slowly for your first cut. If you notice the center cracks and is wet, give it another minute. The wax around the edges will begin to harden faster, so start there.

If you’ll be hanging your wax, use your skewer to pierce holes in all of your sachets. The wax will be cool within minutes, but I like to give the whole thing an hour or so to really solidify.

With the help of your wax paper, lift your wax out of the dish.

Thread your twine through your sachets if you’ll be hanging them.

Collect your scraps and toss them in a little cloth bag, and into your top drawer!

These would make sweet and simple gifts for house guests or hostesses. They may even end up arranged in an Easter basket or two.

 

 

 

 

Holidays, printables, Recipes

Hot stuff hot sauce

February 1, 2017

Spice things up with homemade sriracha!

Maybe chocolates and roses aren’t your thing. Maybe less sugar was on your list of New Years resolutions. Maybe you can’t have candy of any kind in your house even for props or photo shoots or blog posts because you’ll inevitably eat it all sometime after 10 pm, but before reading the whole internet. Though…that seems strangely specific.

Or maybe you just love a good hot sauce, in which case, I’m with you.

If this is your version of a dozen roses, print a label and present your hot stuff with their personalized hot sauce! (breakfast in bed anyone?)

 

Hot stuff hot sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 1/2 Cups 45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 1/2 Cups 45 minutes
Hot stuff hot sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 1/2 Cups 45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 1/2 Cups 45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Cups
Instructions
  1. Coarsley chop your peppers. (Gloves highly recommended!)
  2. Combine all ingredients into a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to purée for 3-5 minutes.
  7. If you prefer a seedless sauce, strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  8. Taste and add salt, sugar, or water to achieve your perfect flavor and texture!
  9. Transfer to a jar or bottle and refrigerate.
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Projects

Grow your own Geodes!

January 30, 2017

It’s been pretty grey around here lately. And, while searching the skies for traces of blue and refreshing the 10-day forecast in hopes of seeing sun have been fun enough…it seems about time to take matters into our own hands. Ready. Set. Sparkle. Continue Reading…

Holidays, printables

My Funny Valentine

January 17, 2017

❤ Valentines, Galentines, Netflix and chillentines… however you’re spending February 14th, you could use a laugh.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to include long stemmed roses and reservations made months in advance. If living room picnics are more your style, print a little love lib (v-day themed mad-libs) for guaranteed giggles with your funny valentine.

 

Download & Print 

Oh, and if you end up with something hilarious (how could you not?) feel free to send me a pic!