Fourth Day: Sphere Of Christmas

So00, this week the kids and I attempted to make snow-globes.  We all know the kind that is made in the baby food jar, the tomato sauce jar, or the ever so fabulous mason jar.  A month ago, while at the craft store, I happened upon some super-cool looking plastic snow-globes which had my 3 munchkin’s names written all over them.  They claimed to be “shatter-proof” which is appealing because what kids wants to just stare at a glass jar.  why not have a little fun?  This week we broke them out, picked out our animals and trees (and Lego men!) to put inside, and waited for the glue to dry.  After we filled them up with water they worked for about 5 minutes but slowly each glued item began floating to the top.  We were bummed!  The glue just wouldn’t adhere to the plastic.  The upside is that it led us to something that I love more.  It’s a spin on this Pinterest pin.  You can find the “spheres” in my pictures at West Elm for $8!

These spheres of Christmas…





They might not be able to shake them and watch the snow fall, but they certainly will enjoy seeing them fly through the air like a Christmas bubble.

This doesn’t mean I have given up on the snow globes.  I have mine in the mason jar that is just fine.

We’ll have another go at the kids jars…minus the plastic globe.

Don’t forget to post your Christmas Pinterest pictures…

Third Day: Christmas Chalkboard Pots with succulents

Chalkboard paint is not a recent original idea, but getting/making the paint, taking the supplies out, and deciding what not to paint how many things to paint is the hard part.  The pots below I had sponge painted when I was first married (8.5 years ago) back when sponging was trendy in the craft world…or was it ever.  They’ve been sitting on my potting shelf for years just waiting to have new life.

Enter: chalkboard paint.

My pots with the uber-cool sponge painting from 2003.  So, I slapped some paint on them.

I just bought some succulents back in October when I made a chalkboard pumpkin and potted them right away.  Succulents are awesome for people who don’t do well with house plants.  I am not a good houseplant caretaker myself as I am constantly distracted in my projects.  If it’s not watered automatically, it doesn’t get done.  Anyway, you only have to water succulents every couple of weeks and a little more often during the warmer months.  They store up their water so they take care of themselves in many ways which is awesome!

You can make one for your UPS driver.  Ours is here every day during the holidays and almost every day the rest of the year so he’s high on my list, fo sho.  Entrepreneurs who work from home, like my husband, have that effect on the mail system.  Hey, we help keep them in business, right?

“Dear Neighbor, I’m sorry my children are so loud. Happy Christmas!”

One for your neighbors, to thank them for their patience with your children’s noise levels (my neighbors are actually a very sweet, kind, and patient couple).

If you don’t get to it before Christmas, you could always use it as a “Thank You” for after the holidays or even a New Years gift.

Happy Chalkboard-ing!

Post your Christmas Pinterest projects here…

Second Day: Orange and Cardamom Crescents

Every Christmas, I make the same cookie recipes.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  I love each one and have no intention of stopping this tradition.  However, every year I also am tempting by the intriguing new recipes from Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart Living, my old Gourmet’s, and every other picture at the checkout line.  I look and look at my stacks of Christmas magazines but don’t usually make time during Christmas for more than 1 or 2.  This year I made one from my list from 2 years ago, which I was reminded of by this Pinterest pin.  I’ve had cardamom cookies and marshmallows from a really great bakery in New York called Whimsy and Spice before.  They have really great sampler boxes if you are looking for a gift for a foodie…or anyone really.  Ever since I tried theirs, I’ve wanted to make some.

So, I give you my version which I added orange zest and hazelnut meal to.

Orange and Cardamom Crescents

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

3/4 tsp. cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 c. flour

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

3/4 c. hazelnut flour

1 c. unsalted butter, room temp

1 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.  Whisk cardamom, cinnamon, salt, and flour together. In a separate bowl, whisk 1/2 cup powdered sugar and hazelnut flour.  With your mixer, beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add sugar/hazelnut mixture, zest, and beat to blend. Add the dry ingredients and blend until they form a course but moist mixture.  Flip onto the counter and knead a few times until it forms a ball.

Take a T. of the dough, form a ball, and roll it a few times in your hands until it makes a log.  It will be about 1 1/2 in long.  turn up the ends to make a crescent shape.  Place the formed cookies on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Bake for about 12 minutes.

Sift the rest of the powdered sugar (1 c.) onto a plate or something else you could use to roll the cookies in.  Roll the warm cookies in the sugar until the are covered and set on a rack to cool.

Post your Christmas Pinterest Pictures here…

Check out day 1 here.

First Day: How to make stamped salt-dough ornaments with glaze

On the first day of Christmas…

Salt dough.  We all know it.  We all used it in elementary school or at home (thanks,mom!).  For my family, salt dough meant Christmas ornaments in the shape of little bears representing different years with changing interests.  My family still makes fun of me for the little bear ornament I took little bites out of every year.  A little salt and polyurethane never hurt anyone, right?  So, I knew I wanted to make these dough ornaments with my little guys too.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really into cheesy little kids projects involving gluing pre-cut foam pieces together or making yet another egg-crate creature (although I’ve seen a few tempting ones of late).  I like to try new things and learn new skills, so my kids go along for the ride.  They don’t know any different.   They know I’m crazy around here already so nobody is in the dark concerning that.

So, back to the salt-dough ornaments.  Here is the Pinterest pin I was inspired by.  I put my own spin on it by using rubber stamps.

For the dough:

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

1 cup flour

Every craft book I’ve ever known has this 1/2 – 1/2 – 1 ratio.  As seen above, we mixed (pre-measure if you need to for kids) and needed under the dough was workable like pizza dough.  If you’ve never made pizza dough you should.  Basically, it should be elastic and able to be spread apart a bit.

We cut ours in circles just to keep the lines clean in case the kid applied stamps got a little messy.

I think stamping and then cutting would be best next time around since you don’t want to squish the shape.

We’ve collected a few Martha stamps along the way.  These plastic stamps that adhere to the mounted block are the cheapest stamps and the best to store.  You can get a wide variety without spending $200.

For extra stability and for a cleaner look, we added a coat of polyurethane which is just a smelly clear glaze found at any hardware store or paint store.  You could also use Sculpey glaze (made for glazing clay) which is found at craft stores or amazon right here.

After they dried, we added some mommy/daughter signatures and the date.  You could also save that side to use as a gift tag.  It would be super-cute that way.  Hopefully of few of hers will make them on the packages.

The stamps turned out pretty cute with the baker’s twine.  They got darker after the glaze went on.

We threw in a monogram or two.

Also, a few random critters.  I would have loved a better stamp on this one, but you only get one shot!

We are enjoying our break, decorating, projects, Christmas music, and hangin’ with our buddies.

Made a little progress on the tree in the kitchen.

You have no idea how many of my shots he jumps in the middle of.  Weirdo.

Don’t forget to add your Pinterest Christmas projects to the “12 Days of Pinterest”  flickr page!

Check out the Ella Fitzgerald holiday Pandora station while you’re making these…

Christmastime is here!

“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest,

through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops,

and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”

Love me some Buddy(“Elf”, for those of you crazy people who might not know the reference :)).

Yes, it’s that time, people.  We are busy about the birthday celebration around here (you know, baby Jesus, of course) and are having fun.  We have officially started our Christmas break from homeschooling (can I get a woot! woot!)  So thankful for a break!  I don’t even know what I used to do with my time before.  I must have been pretty lazy.  No, that’s not true.  I never did projects during the day when I had one kid in Kindergarten at an outside school.  I do the same amount of projects as I did before I started homeschooling.  Now, I am more organized (didn’t think that was possible) and press the “go” button as soon as the little people are asleep usually whilst my husband is traveling.  I think people who can sew, knit, or do other quiet projects during the day with little kids around should be photographed like Big Foot.  I don’t believe it’s possible because it doesn’t exist in my world.  All day projects are kid projects ’round here!  Such is life with kids that don’t nap and won’t play or color for hours by themselves.

Since this is a “12 days of Pinterest” series, I guess I’ll have to share about Pinterest for the 1/1000 of you who don’t know about it already.  I started using Pinterest last year.  Yes, it has actually been around that long.  This was back when you didn’t have to wait more than like 5 minutes for the invite. True story.  I kept it to myself for a few months because it was still a baby and I didn’t want to send all of my friends to yet another of my creative ventures.  However, it obviously spread because I went from having nobody I know on there to most of my friends.  Pretty cool when it happens that way, especially when it’s an awesome concept.  Basically, you can “pin” things/images from websites  and put them into categories of your choosing. The links to the websites are pulled along with the images for easy tracking.

If you are like me, you’ve been doing virtual pinning for a LOOOOONG time.  It’s called folders on your computer.  The ease of use for Pinterest and the ability to see what everyone else is pinning to their boards is completely unique.  Plus, you can pin their pins too.  I’ve found a few buddies who I didn’t know before Pinterest that I am so thankful for.  They are the people you’ve been pinning back and forth with for almost a year and you finally decide to introduce yourselves.  I love to make new friends.

Here’s my “virtual pin-board” before Pinterest:

Here is my “virtual pin-board” now:

I don’t know why I have 377 people following me.  Crazy!  Happy to share what I love.

So, I’ve made some plans for this Christmas to help further that desire to get stuff done like people with lower energy children…

I’m so pumped to do this series not only because Christmas is my favorite holiday, but because I love to just make.  This month I’m going to take some of the hundreds (actually thousands) of things I’ve pinned and turn them into a reality.  Don’t worry, I didn’t take on too much.  This is something I would be doing if nobody saw me but my only family.  I have always been this crazy.  Yes, yes I have.  The topics are related to anything from edibles to sewing to epoxy glue.  It’s gonna be a blast.  I’m hoping to do some with my friends if I can.  Hear that, friends?

I’m also excited to hang out with some people I don’t know but like to hang out with me.  Hi, people!  It’s good to meet you, don’t be shy :)  Feel free to tell me what you think and show me what you’ve made (from my pins or even from some of your own) on the “12 Days of Pinterest”  Flickr page entitled, “I totally made this and it’s awesome.”

I hope you have fun too!  Start pinning!

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