Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

Monday, September 30, 2013 No comments
 The Texas State Fair is the largest one in the nation, but what might be disputed by some....that have never attended, but not by anyone who has been-it's the best state fair.  It's one of my favorite things about fall and I miss it most of the year.  I've been going since my memories begun, and my mom went as a little girl, and my grandmother, and my great grandmother....and....I think I've established the point.  My family used to do the whole arts and crafts entry thing, and it's in the blood for sure.  These pictures are from previous years, but really, the Fletcher's Corn Dog, and Big Tex pretty much look the same each season that they greet me....and I eat them....or rather one out of two I devour. OK...but there was a little fire filled mishap last year with Big Tex, that threw us all for a loop, so this is the last photo of this 50 year old guy.  They've replaced him, but it's not quite the same.  I digress.  I love walking through the midway...
 ...and exploring the food of the year.  'Fried' food is the theme.  This is the birth place of the corn dog.  You are welcome, world.  Each year they come up with something new and creative.  Last year was fried jambalaya.  We've housed fried beer, fried butter, fried Frito pie, fried bubble come....
This year they fried a Thanksgiving dinner, among other things.   It's every cardiologist's nightmare.  It's a good thing it only spans 3 weeks of the year. 
I also heart the animals. 
...and the shows.  And did I mention the corn dogs?  My very favorite spot is the arts and craft building.  I love exploring the pictures, quilts, paintings, and watching the bake offs.  Someday, I plan to enter, because I feel like I should to represent the family, but for now, I just plan to enjoy. 

Gifts that Give Back-Reclaimed Frames

Sunday, September 29, 2013 2 comments
 I am always hunting down gift ideas with meaning.  I love giving gifts, but I hate the feeling of getting a gift just because I need to 'get' a gift to check it off the list.  I want it to have meaning!    I heard about these frames via one of my favorite charity organizations,  His Bridge Builders.  You can read their story here.  I can attest to what an awesome group this is and what a beautiful light they are in the inner cities.  In a nutshell, they are popping up in a lot of the major cities, in the poorest parts of town....among many other things.  The goal is to build bridges between corporations and people living in poverty.  They mentor people who want a future that looks different than their current circumstances.  They find people who can train, and more folks who can help guide each person through the training program and then the new job they acquire after their 6 week class.  Some really great companies agree to hire on new employees that are going through the training process.  The personal mentors work with these new professionals to help them as they encounter job ups and downs.  There are many branches of bridge builders that are doing amazing things, and so many incredible people who were once in the program and now help run the program.  The old adage comes to mind-if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, he will be able to provide for himself the rest of his life.  I could go on and on and on about this great organization...and if you've spent 2 minutes in my company...I probably have.  So...when I found out about this latest venture, I was all in!  One branch has started making these gorgeous frames using the houses that are being torn down/revamped in these inner cities. Shabby Chic...not even faked! You can buy them at Jackson Home and Garden (a really cool store near Love Field that is a fun find in itself)...
90% of each frames profit (the ones I bought were each 15 dollars) goes directly back to Bridgebuilders to help support the people making these frames, and making a new way of life for themselves and their family.
 Each one has a tag attached, and a picture place holder inside with a scene from some of the great accomplishments these bridge-crosser have accomplished.
I'm pretty sure every one of my friends are going to find these in their mailbox or in their hands over the next year....right after I'm done buying them for me.  Who doesn't love shabby chic?  A part of your cities history?  AND knowing it is a gift that changes lives?

Ghost Cookies

Friday, September 27, 2013 No comments
I saw the idea for making these mini ghost cookies and packaging them in frosted containers last year.  I fell in love with the idea and had to try it out.  In Bee's original tutorial they made their own parchment envelopes, but I was able to find some envelopes at Hobby Lobby to save myself a step.  I found a set of mini Wilton cookie cutters with a ghost shape.  
 I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe with tips on hardening your icing so it can be packaged.
I printed the haunted house on a piece of paper, and then I taped my envelope on all four corners over the picture and ran it through a second time.  The tape peeled right off, and I was in control of where it printed on the envelope.  
 Then I inserted the mini ghost so they could fly around the haunted mansion.

Bats: Bat Poop

Thursday, September 26, 2013 No comments

 Pretty much....if you add the word 'poop' to any gift....it's going to be a hit with little guys from ages 5 to 105....so....enter Bat Poop....mini bags of chocolate covered nuts....or anything will do.  The little guys in my group of gift getters don't rally appreciation my icing skills these days, so....I'm going easy this year and passing out Bat Poop to the little...and maybe the big, guys in my life this year for Halloween. 

Bats: Bat Pops

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 No comments
My Mom shared this cute little favor she got at a Halloween party.  They glued a Hershey bar to a sucker stick and wrapped it up in a bat.  So cute.  I had to share.Here is the template for the bat cutout.  I traced the one around the pop, not sure on the original source, will post if I find out!

Bats: Bat Cards

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 No comments
 Last year I figured out, after paying 5 bucks for cards for all the kids in my life.....uhhh....it's actually a lot easier, affordable, and more personal to make them.  I stole the idea for the ribbon bat card from every other site I visited with little bat favor bags etc etc etc. 
Basically, I cut out a circle moon, stamped out a little Halloween saying, then punched two holes for each bat.....
 Thread it through with one side peeking out of each side....
 Wrap one end back across and through the other side....
 ...then pull it out of the original hole from the back for the second time. 
 Trim it up, and you have two little ribbon bats....also a great way to use some of those salvaged ribbon pieces.....

Mummy: Mummy Greeting Card

Monday, September 23, 2013 No comments
 Here's another quick little Halloween card I put together for this year.  I figured out last year I spend a small fortune on cards.  I love sending cards, but it's sort of silly to pay 6 bucks a card when I have all the supplies to make my own.  So of course, I went and bought more supplies. 
I used one of the7,654 blank cards and cut up a bunch of pieces of white paper, inked the edges, glued them down at random angles, and added eye balls. 
Ta da, ancient mummies awaiting my littlest friends in the mailbox this year. 

Mummy: Soap

Friday, September 20, 2013 1 comment
 I've been planning these out for several years.  They are so simple, and a cute little addition to...well, life.  I saw the idea at howdoimakesoap two years ago.  I simplified the steps since I'm not a soap maker, but I think the outcome is close enough!
I packaged them up in these little fry boxes I got at Hobby Lobby.  Which means I had to go buy more fry boxes b/c I hear them.
 I used a gingerbread mold I bought at Hobby Lobby as well (though Wilton sells one as well, along with one called 'little people mold).  I also bought some soap squares.  You can add a scent, but I was an underachiever on this particular day.
 It took about two cubes per mold.  I also shaved some soap with my grater, and set it aside.
 I melted the squared soap, poured it into the mold, it dries quick, so before it dried I tossed on the shavings to make it look more like the wrap of a mummy.
 I took a toothpick and some black gel and just dabbed on some black eyes.
Pop them out and wrap them up.  Cute.

Argh-Good Morning Texas, Pirate Style

Thursday, September 19, 2013 No comments
As I'm sure you all know, today is officially (no lie), Talk Like a Pirate Day.  So....I'm headed to GMT with Pirate crafts.  I received a schedule at the beginning of the year, and before each show, I submit about four different craft ideas/themes to the producer who books the crafts.  When I was looking at the fall (I usually do holiday themes, with some misc every day crafts thrown in), I saw one of the days (today) was officially Talk Like a Pirate Day.  I suggested some of the below crafts, and the producer was game.  :O)  You can use some of these ideas for Halloween or birthday parties, but hello, I think we should take this day global!
In honor of this stupendous holiday, I've even created a Pirate Board on my pinterest page.  I have a few crafts I've done in the past I posted there (that's a little disturbing on some levels to me), and I'll be sharing the following projects.  Click on the title to go directly to the tutorial.  I'll also post today's segment on facebook where old GMT segments live.
Yesterday I posted about the Pirate Cupcakes and Pirate Playdough
Pirate Booty

Bone Bread

And....Temporary Tattoos to Decorate a Cup

Temporary Tattoo Cups

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 No comments
 Every pirate needs a cup for his....juice?  A friend told me about this idea.  I tried to hunt down the original idea (she said she saw it online), but the only link I found led to nowhere....so...it wasn't my idea, but it's a fun one.  Temporary tattoos come in all shapes and sizes today (I saw a student at my school even sporting a glittered princess castle today via a temporary tattoo kit-I'm pretty sure I need that one).  In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day-I found this pack of a bazillion temporary tattoos at Target in the party section.  You do exactly what you do with skin to get them to apply to clear cups.  Pull off the top, press it face down.  Apply a sponge or towel over the top until it's wet, pull the back off.  It sticks.  And it's a clear sort of translucent fun.

Pirate Playdough and Pirate Cupcakes

Tomorrow is officially Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Here are a few easy crafts to celebrate.  Everyone is celebrating, right?  Anyway-first off-Pirate Playdough.  Super simple.  Find a recipe online, or you can use this one.  I found the ideas for this version of pirate playdough at H is for Homeschooling.   added some coconut scent so it smell tropical.  I also added some black food dye and gold glitter.  
I also made these cupcakes.  Or rather, I let the store make the cupcakes, and I decorated them.   I crushed some graham crackers and added it to look like sand.  Then I printed off some pirate flags and glued them to a toothpick, then put some 'jewels' I found in the party section at Target, and I bought some white gum I drew an x on with a red food pen.