Friday, December 27, 2013

Foodie Friday: Five Must Try Dips

I have something to confess to you, I love a good dip. In fact, I would take an appetizer spread over a five course meal any day of the week. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to dips and it contains 70 pins! So, in the spirit of ringing in the new year, here are some of my current favorite sip recipes.
1. Pickle Dip from Buns In My Oven: The perfect potato chip dip, especially for all of you pickle lovers out there.
2. Eight-Layer Mediterranean Dip from Whole Foods: This dip is super yummy with pita chips and dare I say, a bit on the healthy side of the dip spectrum?
3. Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip from Jamie Cooks It Up:  A perennial favorite in our family. works well with crackers or tortilla chips. (I usually substitute canned green chilies for the jalapenos.
4. Pizza Dip from  I just made this for the first time on Christmas Eve and it quickly jumped to the top of my dip list. Perfect with crusty bread.
5. Buffalo Chicken Dip from Franks Red Hot Sauce: I have been making and loving this dip for over five years now. It goes perfectly with corn chips, especially Fritos, as well as carrot sticks and celery sticks.
There you have it. Some dipping yumminess for you to try. What about you, what is your favorite dip? (You know I need to add to my list!)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Foodie Friday: Cranberry Bliss Bars

Yes, these Cranberry Bliss Bars are calling your name! Even though I have never had the Starbucks version, I knew I had to make this recipe when I saw it floating all over the internet. And bonus, these are the "healthy version!" So, head on over to Gina's blog Skinny Taste and try our this recipe today!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Five Ideas for Christmas Washi Tape

I snagged this great Christmas patterned washi tape on the Plaid Barn. When I ordered it, I didn't really know what I was going to to do with it. I just knew that I liked it and would find some way to use it up. I have been having such fun figuring out different ways of using it and thought that I would share some with you today.
1) Sealing Christmas Cards: I started using it to spice up the backs of the envelopes for our Christmas cards. A couple of strips over the sealed flap added some great visual interest. (I am not sure how the postal service feels about using it this way. I am hoping my washi tape isn't jamming up all of their machines.)

2) Decorating Buckets and Dishes: We had a little hot chocolate bar here the other day and I used the washi tape to turn ordinary buckets and dishes into festive serving pieces. When I was done, I just removed the tape.
3) Christmas Packages: Before I mail a package this year, whether for myself or my business, I have been adding a couple of strips of washi tape. Sure does liven up a plain cardboard box! (Once again, I may be on the postal service's naughty list for this one.)
4) Christmas Present Tags: I usually make some sort of homemade tag for our Christmas gifts. This year, I am using my washi tape. The best part is that I know it will stay put through shipping and hauling.

5) Labeling Containers: Whether you are handing out Christmas treats or just taking a dish to a potluck, this is a great way to keep track of whose is whose. And when you are done? Simply remove the tape for the next time.
Do you have any unique uses for washi tape?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Seen Around Here

Some of our antics as of late.
Peachy's nativity scene arrangement of choice.
Do you think Mary felt a bit overwhelmed?
Hot cocoa drinking.

Another photo shoot set up ala Peachy. (She also got both of them dressed on this occasion.)
Not a day goes by that this girl doesn't play dress up. And usually her little sister is involved as well as some crazy ensembles.
I took a cupcake decorating class. Now I can do the cupcake swoop like a pro. (Okay, maybe not a pro, but I can do it.)

Peachy found my yoga mat and has been on an exercise video kick. She and Mr. Cherry even did the 30 Day Shred together. Wish I had been home to watch!
Peachy decorated most of our tree! She really wanted to do it and I was totally fine handing the reigns over.

I hope all of your days are Merry and Bright as well!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dare to DIY: Give Handmade Gifts: Ladies' Day {Covered Button Earrings}

Sorry, I didn't get around to posting this last week. You see, this little project wasn't completed until yesterday! It is hard to post about something that isn't done! I think that it is worth the wait, though!

The inspiration for this project comes from several craters that I know or follow. Dana from Botny makes the most awesome hand-colored earrings. You can check out her awesomely unique items on her Etsy page. Another crafter that makes some awesome earrings is Emily from Taea Made. Hers are finished with a high gloss. Totally rad. You can find a pair or two of her earrings on her Etsy shop and see some of the other unique items she makes. Also, Lindsey with the Pleated Poppy just released a new line of fabric earrings. Here is her shop where you can also see some of the other great products she produces.

For this project, I purchased the blank button sets at Joann along with the earring backs. I went with 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch because I wanted mine to be dainty, but you could totally go bigger. Then I set to covering the buttons with fabric scraps. This was so much fun! I loved looking through the fabric to find the perfect fabrics for this project. Just keep in mind the scale of the print. If you have smaller buttons, you will want a smaller print.

After covering the buttons, I removed the shank on the back and glued on the earring back. And just like that you have a totally unique gift for the any lady on your list.
***Note, I had some difficulty getting the shanks off. I eventually got them off. I have purchased blank buttons without shanks in the past for crafting, but didn't see any this time. I would recommend trying to remove the shanks before making the buttons.***

After assembling the earrings, I punched out a fun shape from card stock, poked two holes, free-handed some doodles, and put the earring sets on the cards.
Look for my children's handmade gift post here.
And my gentlemen's handmade gift post here.

Dare to DIY: Deck the Halls: Advent Wreath

I have been wanting to start the tradition of having an Advent wreath at our home. Of course, I wanted something a little bit different, so I was dragging my feet on the entire project. I got the boost I needed when I said that I would bring one to church for an Advent event.
I started by looking on Pinterest where I found this blog post on Groovie Mom that featured a wreath that was similar to what I wanted to make. I started by looking for a base for the wreath. I ended up with a white cake stand from Pier 1. (I can't find the exact one I purchased, but this one is similar.) Then I purchased and chopped apart floral sticks for the greenery.
I got mine from Michaels. The hardest part in this project was tracking down the candles. I could find tapers, but finding purple and pink pillars was hard. Finally I got the purple and white ones at Target and the pink one at Hobby Lobby. At first I just laid the greenery around the candles, but it kept falling off and needing to be rearranged.
So, I cut a piece of white card stock into a circle, traced the candle placement onto it, and then hot glued the greenery around the outside edge. That way I can remove the greenery after Christmas and have a white cake stand to use. We have been enjoying our new Advent wreath tradition. Every night after supper we light the appropriate candles for the week and read a devotion out of an Advent book I found online. The girls look forward to it every night.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Foodie Friday: Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

If you are looking for a healthy past meal, do not click this link!!! If you are looking for a totally delicious pasta bake with cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and heavy cream, CLICK THE LINK!!! :o)

I recently made this and it was delicious! We all loved it. Like I said, it may not be the healthiest for you, but for a suppertime treat, it is so good. You can find the original recipe here. I followed the directions with the exception of adding heavy cream since I had it on hand, and also adding artichoke hearts that I also had on hand.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dare to DIY: Give Handmade Gifts; Men's Edition {Beer Bar Towels}

In continuing with the handmade gift theme, here is a great gift for the gentlemen on your list. I saw these beer bar towels online last year and decided to make up a set for my brother-in-law. Of course I can't find a picture this year of the towels that I made. Grr. Anyway, I bought a set of simple linen dish towels and using large letter stamps and acrylic paint made a set of beer bar towels similar to these from the website Keg Works.
A simple and fun gift for the beer lover on your list!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dare to DIY: Give Handmade Gifts; Kids' Edition {Superhero Cape and Mask}

My blogging friend, Kim, and some of her friends are hosting a Dare to DIY this month. You can read about it and follow along on Kim's blog Newly Woodwards. This week's challenge was to give handmade gifts. Now that is an easy topic for me. I love to give handmade, either by me or another crafter. The hard part is to post about it without giving a gift away to the recipient. :o) I am going to be posting a different gift idea the first three days of this week. Today's will be for kids, tomorrow's for the guys on your list, and then Wednesday is ladies day.

I recently whipped this superhero cape and mask set up for an order, but decided that it would make an awesome handmade gift for any child on your list. I used the cape tutorial from Nancy's Notions that can be found here. (The pattern is actually intended to be used for the Capes for Kids campaign. You can find out all about it here, but you can sew and donate capes for children living in shelters. Wouldn't it be great to make two capes, one to give as a gift and one to donate to Capes for Kids?)

Using felt, I customized the cape with the child's initial. But you could also use a symbol if you would like. I also created a felt mask with elastic to go along with the cape. This was a fairly simple project. I am sure a beginner sewer could tackle it. And what child wouldn't want a swell cape and mask this Christmas so that they can be their own superhero?
If you are looking for even more handmade gift ideas, you can check out this post from last year with a roundup of some of the handmade gifts I have featured on my blog.
And here are a few more:
Ruffled Tote
Fabric Luggage Tags
Coordinates Frame
Tea Wreath
ABC Cards
Wine Gift Bags

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hustle and Bustle

 Sorry, no Foodie Friday today. While we have been eating here, it has consisted of delivered pizza (a stroke of genius on my part, finding a 50% off deal on Cyber Monday), spaghetti, quesadillas, tomato soup and grilled cheese, chicken salad. You know, the things that are easy to throw together quickly.

I have been enjoying keeping busy with orders for kiki b omi and other fun activities. And some not so fun ones, like dentist appointments and kiddos with colds.

I decided to put some of my items in an awesome holiday pop up shop here. I am hoping to stop in one of these days and visit. Maybe I will see if I can grab some pics to share. So, before Thanksgiving I was working on that.

Now I am working on some super hero orders and other custom orders. Then I am hoping to get some crayon rolls and mini caddies made up to stock my Etsy shop.

After I have taken care of business I have some fun presents to work on and Christmas clothes for the girls. I am going to be keeping that sewing machine humming.

And we don't even have any Christmas decorations up! Can't wait to trim the tree and deck the halls.

I truly love this time of year. All of the outlets for my creativity. However, I need to remember what is truly important. First of all, the reason for all of this, the babe in the manger, the Christ Child. Hearing the girls sing Christmas songs and helping the Sunday school children prepare for their service is truly humbling. And of secondly, spending time with those near and dear. That is probably the best present you can give anyone (even yourself!)

I hope you are finding some time to relax and focus on these blessings, too.
(PS The darling pictures were taken by my friend, Tina! Aren't they so sweet?! With the shenanigans the girls were pulling that day, I can't believe she got so many great shots.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Shopping Handmade on Etsy

Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? If not, I would like to highly encourage you to try to support handmade and local small businesses for your shopping needs. As a handmade Etsy seller, I know how important each sale can be. While the $50 you spend on a gift may not mean much to you, it can be the highlight of a sellers day. I have been trying to purchase less from big box stores this year and more from local and handmade sellers. While I won't be revealing what I have purchased this year, here are some fun ideas that I found.

1) Personalized Jump Ropes from TealsPrairie, 2) Captain America Tic Tac Toe from twinsandcrafts, 3) Wooden Toy Camera from elephant and bird, 4) Wooden and Crocheted Teething Toy from nihamaj

1) Alphabet Crayons from ColourMeFun 2) Wooden Doll House from Rewoodtoys, 3) Pendant Locket from PendantsandLockets, 4) Poppy Teething Toy from thebirdandelephant

1) Lotion Bars from Rosscraft, 2) Initial Necklace from LaSenada, 3) Fingerless Gloves from MarryGKnitCrochet, 4) Candy Cane Hot Chocolate from BellaRoseChocolates

1) Minimal Leather Wallet from GuardedGoods, 2) Latitude Longitude Tie Clip from abellagift, 3) Beard Lotions from WildRoseHerbs, 4) Fire Starters from doublebrush

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Planning

I knew it was going to happen, and I tried to be on the ball this year, but here it is 3 weeks until Christmas and I still have so many things I would like to get done. Thankfully, I have the Christmas cards almost ready to go out. And I do have the majority of my shopping done. Now it is on to the things that I would like to do. (Oh, and a whole ton of sewing.) At least they are all fun things, for the most part.
I was just looking through my Pinterest Christmas board and decided that I should make a list of what I would like to all get done in the next three weeks.
(From top clockwise) 1) Woven Cookie Stars from The Crafty Crow, 2) Pom Pom Crafts from Preschool Crafts for Kids, 3) Pipe Cleaner Advent Wreath from When Running Amok, 4) Decorate your own Gingerbread Man from ikatbag
(From top clockwise) 1) Window Snowflakes from Small Wonder, 2) Pipe Cleaner Initials from Your Cozy Home, 3) Vintage Linen Bunting from So Into Vintage, 4) Twine Star from Lowes
(From top clockwise) 1) Eggnog Cookies from Cooking Classy, 2) Cranberry Dip from Jamie Cooks It Up, 3) Party Loaf from Rhodes, 4) Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn