Monday, December 29, 2008

etsy find

I love all the cute etsy shops. I am usually a window shopper. But, I did find this cute shop - little brown pen. You can buy the pdf images of note cards, tags, calendars and book plates. What sweet gifts. I bought this one - yo yo girl.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

love from grandma and grandpa

We had a special present to open on Christmas Eve from my parents in San Diego. My mom made the sweetest pillow cases for the kids to put on their pillows Christmas Eve. They came with a poem and two wonderful books, Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Christmas. As kids my siblings and I had special pillow cases similar to these that my mom made. We would each pick a different one each Christmas Eve to put on our pillows. I loved them and I know my kids love these too. Since you can't read the poem in the photo, this is what it says:

Each Christmas Eve I lad in bed
I cannot fall asleep
'Cuz Santa and his elves will bring
some toys and games that beep!

My brain is in a thinking mode
I wiggle and I giggle
Then I get my MAGIC CASE
And slip it on my pillow.

I close my eyes and start to dream
Of gifts and sugar plums.
Then all at once my mother's voice
Tells me that Santa's come.

When you can't sleep on
Christmas Eve
You toss and turn and wiggle
Just slip this MAGIC PILLOW case
Over your soft pillow.

Friday, December 26, 2008

handmade for christmas

I really had a great time making crafts this Christmas season because I really took it slow and gave up on a few projects that just weren't going to happen without a breakdown (my own that is). I always have the idea that I am going to get going early, like October, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas yet, so I just don't have the feelings I need to get me started. I made some (1.)key chain fobs for teachers, friends, and family following this tutorial and adding some rick rack. I made a few (2.)Sunday Bags for friends and family to take to church with them. I filled them with steno pads, crayons and pencils. I made a (3.)Birthday Kit for the family across the street. It had a Happy Birthday banner, candles, ice cream scoop, cake mixes, etc. in it and I made a bag to store it all in. And, finally, I made a (4.)knitting bag for my mom and bought a cute knitting book to go in the front pocket. Of course, on some of the Sunday Bags and Knitting Bag, I cheated and bought the canvas/denim bags at Hobby Lobby and just added pockets and details - much quicker. My grand dream of making new stockings was quickly dashed when I couldn't even decide which shape and pattern I wanted to use. So, there's always next year on that. And, if we get a cold spell in October, I might even feel like starting on them early!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

new favorite wrapping accessory

I am running out of red and white baker's twine, so I picked up these Sugar 'n Cream Twists yarn at Michaels. I love the green and white to wrap all my packages with and to hang on my tags. Now, if only it came in red and white - that would be perfect. I picked up the pink and white along with the blue and white to use on my birthday wrap throughout the year. I looked online and there isn't red and white, but they have a red, white and green holiday yarn that I will now be on the lookout for.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

lemon pound cake

It turned out as good as I had hoped. I loved it. I had to make another batch to make up for the little loaves my family and I ate. I highly recommend.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ice storm today

And I am staying in to finish sewing and making these mini lemon pound cakes to go in ceramic mini loaf pans I bought last year for this year. I was going to make the orange pound cakes from Barefoot Contessa's Family Style Cookbook which I was told by both my mom and sister that it is amazing. But, I messed up on my first batch because I had a hard time determining how many mini loaves I could get out of the recipe (explosion of pound cake in the oven forcing me to clean the oven), so I am moving on the Martha's recipe. My mom found it and it looks lovely. So, today I will attempt lovely. I have made tons of toffee and think I have managed to eat it at a slow pace. That being said, I have enjoyed many other treats at a relatively fast pace. That's what this season does to me. Yum!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

favorite new ornament

This cute softie ornament (made from elsie marley's half eaten gingerbread man tutorial) is Gage's favorite. He holds on to it like a stuffed animal and always wants it down from the tree. I want to make some more to put on the top of gifts. When Gage first saw it he asked who ate the gingerbread man's leg and head. Since no one around here eats felt, I had to explain to him that I had to cut it to look that way. Check out Gage's awesome Kool-Aid mustache!

Monday, December 8, 2008

english toffee - you will want to make this, i promise

While living with my in laws our first Christmas here in Kentucky, my mother in law made this wonderful English Toffee. She said she got the recipe from a friend a long time ago and made it every year. Much to my embarrassment, I ate almost all the toffee she had in the downstairs freezer and had to learn to make it myself to repay her the toffee I had stolen. Now, I can only make this at Christmas because I seriously can't stop eating it once it is made. I usually break it up when it is all good and hard and put it in baggies which are twist tied shut and ribboned. So, if I do get to where I want to eat it late at night, I have to undo all the pretty ribbons to get to it and that gets me to at least second guess myself. It hasn't saved me every time though!

English Toffee
1 lb. butter
2 Tbs. white corn syrup
2 Tbs. water
2 cups sugar
1 (12oz.) pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 lb. sliced almonds
1 large Hershey milk chocolate bar - the huge one

(1) Butter a jelly roll pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips and sliced almonds. Set aside. Melt butter, corn syrup, water, and sugar in a large pot (photos 2 & 3) over medium (slightly medium high) heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Stir and cook until mixture is 280 degrees. When mixture comes to 280degrees, remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips and almonds. Break up Hershey Bar and lay pieces over toffee (photo 4). Let the chocolate start to melt and then spread with a spatula (photo 5). Let toffee set in the refrigerator (but I put mine in the freezer because I am impatient). Break in to pieces and ENJOY (photo 6)

Monday, December 1, 2008

packages off and a new wreath

Did everyone survive the Thanksgiving weekend? We had our cabin fever moments, but really had some great times with the family. The one sad moment was when my youngest fell off a chair and cut open her chin, but after six stitches she was back to climbing chairs the next day. She has had more injuries than the three boys put together. I did manage to get this button wreath done. My Boston kept asking to help me, but even I was burning my finger tips left and right with the glue gun and couldn't do that to him. I wish I could have let him help though. I finally got the packages ready to send to the giveaway winners. I always have great ambition when it comes to getting things off in the post, but they will be sent tomorrow!