Thursday, October 31, 2013

Left Over Pumpkin=Thanksgiving Arrangment

I love buying the mini pumpkins at the store and setting them around....but it seems like they should get some sort of special treatment after they have to watch their older brothers and sisters get carved and lit and celebrated.  I learned this little trick from a friend of mine that went into the floral business.  I adapted it a bit (not oasis water foam, and a 'trick' for keeping all those flowers in place).  Here's a fun idea for Thanksgiving arrangements....carve them up just like a pumpkin, remove the seeds. 
 Instead of foam, I just slip a small cup inside (Dixie cup, I cut down paper cups etc....).  Fill it with water. 
 I buy cheap bouquets at the grocery store, snip off those ends and gather them together in a tight little bundle.  To hold them in place, I wrap a rubber band around the stems.  Just make sure that you don't make it so tight you cut off the water flow up the stems...
Pop your bouquet down into your cup....and you are ready to roll.  Or at least...eat rolls and turkey with a prettier view. 
 

Good Morning, Texas: Last Minute Halloween Treats and Tricks

If I don't float away....I'm taking some last minute Halloween party ideas to Good Morning, Texas today.  I'll post a link to the show/segment later on my facebook account.  I'll post directions to the flower arrangement later, but in the meantime, the steps should be on the link.  :O)  I'm making brain cupcakes, which I posted steps to yesterday...
I posted these cookies on Tuesday.  Vampire Cookies...
I'm also making flower arrangements in pumpkins.  I'm a fake florist-I used to help a friend out with wedding flowers, and then I made up all my own rules.  Here is a little example from awhile back...these are fun for those left over pumpkins for Thanksgiving.  I have posted a bunch of my Halloween crafts from years past here on pinterest.

I have some upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas segments I'm pretty excited about.  I.  Heart.  Fall.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Brains in a Jar Cupcakes

 I saw the idea for making brains in a jar cupcakes last year at confessions and I knew I had to try it out this year...in a jar?  Everything, even brains, are cuter in a jar...as long as it's iced.
I dyed some vanilla cake mix a brain shade of pink....
 I squished those into the bottom and then added a layer of blood, otherwise known as seedless raspberry jam....
 You can put a little piece of cupcake in the center on top if you want less icing...but clearly, you need therapy or tastebud transplant if less icing sounds like a good thing.  I snipped off the corner of a ziplock and add some buttercream icing I dyed pink and drizzled so it looks like a squiggly brain.
I added a tag and a label on the lid.  Here is a free printable for that if you are interested in making your own edible brains in a jar.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vampire Teeth Cookies

Here are some quick cookies to throw together for Halloween.  Two cookies, a little icing dyed pink or red with marshmallow teeth and almond sliver fangs.  Granted...it also looks slightly like those Billy Bob teeth...but I think if you are younger than 8 you'd buy the 'vampire' thing.

Pumpkin Jars

 Last minute (mailable) Halloween snacks....fill a jar with orange goldfish snacks. I used electrical tape to cute out and stick on a pumpkin face, and then cover the lid. Super simple and it won't be adding to the sugar rush coming to a school building near you. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chicken Salad

I'm always pursuing a good chicken salad.  Usually, I start exploring recipes when I find myself in possession of some random ingredients I need to use up, like celery.  It's not like I'm gonna eat that stuff by itself....puh lease.  I discovered this recipe via Cooking Classy last summer, and it's DEFINITELY a keeper.
So if you don't want to eat celery raw....or need a great new chicken salad recipe.  Try this one!
Chicken Salad Recipe
printable recipe
Ingredients:  3 1/2 c. cooked, shredded chicken (2 lbs boneless), 1 c. celery (diced), 2/3 c. chopped pecans, 1/2 c. dried craisins, 2 T. Parmesan cheese.
Dressing:  2/3 c. mayo, 1/4 c. apple juice, 3 T. honey, 2 t. apple cider vinegar, 1 t. yellow mustard, 1 T. poppy seeds, 1/2 t. onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions:  Mix first 5 ingredients.  Mix dressing in a separate bowl.  Pour over chicken mix and toss.  Chill overnight before serving on bread or crackers.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pirate Tent and Play Set

 I made a play fort this summer for the first time and blogged about the SUPER simple process here. I used this same concept for my buddy Donovan's birthday gift this year. I decided to use the same concept, with a pirate theme.  He loves Jake, from Disney (I had to do research on this), and I went back and forth between the hula hoop tent and the fort, and decided this one would be something his Mom could put up easily and get out of the way (as their family grows, this seemed important!).
To start I made a bag to store it all in.  I found a skull and cross bones, downloaded a free bone font, and then saved it as a picture file and rotated horizontally so it would be the mirror image.  I printed it off on some fabric transfer paper (by Jolee, no benefit to saying that, but it's a fact), and ironed it onto a plan white bag.
 The hotter your iron, the darker your print.  I wanted it to look a little vintage pirate, so....I didn't go for the full heat.
 I also made a little pouch for the gold I made, here are those instructions.  I just cut off the top of the bag the sheets came in that I used on another tent, the stamped the word 'loot.'  I was going to put 'booty,' but he's going to be 4, and for the next few years, as he is put more and more into play groups and schooling....I figured maybe I wouldn't promote that word, least it is misused or misunderstood in other settings!
 Here's the final product there..
 I also decided instead of sewing on these little pirate designed pennants to the tent, I'd just attach them to binding I bought at the scrapbook store.  I sewed the triangles along the binding but you could also just use fabric glue.
 I also made a pirate map, the instructions were on the same tutorial as the gold.
 Very easy...I just drew a picture with permanent marker.
 I sewed blue felt and a sharks fin to one side of the tend, and also made a jolly roger flag out of felt.  There are six ties, and I also included some clamps so that it can be attached to various pieces of further/trees etc inside or out.
 Peanut thought it was fun...
 ...but then....out of all that junk...he played with the fake gold.  Notice he has flipped it onto his paw here?  Smart dog.
 The best part, it fits nicely into one snug little bag!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Good Morning Texas-Pumpkin Palooza

I shared the tutorial for making dollar treat buckets revamped and the source for that on Monday.  
I shared the tutorial for these tissue paper pumpkins on Wednesday.  The steps and the source are all linked here.  
Last up...a quick little look at stenciling or free handing some fun designs on your pumpkin.  In this sample I just used a permanent marker.  You can also buy or print stencils and use colored markers or paint to decorate your pumpkins....you get to enjoy the decoration a little longer.  
 I added a sparkly spider to this pumpkin.  I snipped off the ring part of a plastic spider I had, mod podged the top, sprinkled with glitter and then glued it on.
Once you do carve your pumpkin, the best way to preserve it (according to everything I've read and done) is to soak it overnight in 1 tsp of bleach and 1 gallon of water.  Pull it out and each day after, spray it with a mist of the same solution.  The bleach helps keep the mold away, and the water keeps it from getting too dehydrated. This should be able to keep your pumpkin looking pretty good for a week.   I've also read you can spray your carved pumpkin with 1 T bleach and 1 qt water, and then rub petroleum jelly over it to keep it from rotting (the petroleum is supposed to somehow seal it in, and you don't have to keep spraying it down.  Let me know if you try that and find better results!  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tissue Paper Faux Pumpkins

I found some faux pumpkins at the dollar store.  They weren't very cute, but I had to get them...for a buck-all I needed was the shape.
 I was hunting down different ways to cover it with...something.  I found this tutorial using tissue paper I really liked on Smith's blog.  I found the leopard print tissue paper at Hobby Lobby, but there are all sorts of fun designs.  I've seen the same tutorial using wrapping paper and fabric.  I changed it up just a tad, but the idea is the same.
It only took one piece of tissue paper to cover my pumpkin.  I did two layers, only because you could see the orange under neath.  You could add a quick coat of brown spray paint to the pumpkin (or whatever color matches your tissue) to eliminate the second coat.  You can either use mod podge to stick on your layers, or I just used about 1 T. of elmers glue mixed with 1/2 c. water to create a paste.  I tore up my tissue paper, drug it through the glue and then slapped it on the pumpkin-it's like making a pinata.
When you are finished, you can seal it by painting an entire layer of mod podge over the whole thing, but I only have glossy, and I would rather have a matted finish or no finish.  I also painted glue over the step and sprinkled that with glitter as well.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DIY Pillow Case (No Seam Showing)

Remember once upon a time when cute pillow cases were the way candy was acquired and stored on Halloween?  Now we have the little plastic pumpkins or small bags that match outfits...emphasis on small?  My friend Mary made the above pillow at our scrapbook/quilting retreat this summer, and I sewed along with some extra fabric that was sitting around to learn the process of making a seamless (kinda-no raw edges showing at least) pillow case.
First, you need three fabrics.  The largest piece needs to be 7/8 of a yard, the accent strip is 1/8 of a yard, and the cuff is 1/3 of a yard.  (This makes a pretty big pillow).
First, take the accent piece and fold it in half and iron it.
Line the raw/open side of the folded piece to the length of one side of your larger piece, lining it evenly along this raw edge.  The fold will be aimed towards the rest of the fabric.
Carefully lay the cuff piece on to of this, facing down so the largest fabric piece and this piece have the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  The accent piece is sandwiched between the two pieces.
Pin all four (the accent piece is doubled) pieces of fabric all the way down, make sure your pins face horizontal to the fabric b/c you are not done pinning and you don't want this to interfere with your sewing in a minute.  All three are lined along the width of the fabric and they may be slightly different lengths, but you will trim those in a minute.
Open up the cuff so you can see the accent piece and all the fabrics are facing right side up.  
Take the bottom of the largest pieces and begin rolling it upwards towards the cuff.  Roll it tightly.
Roll it until you see the pins you just pinned along all four of the raw edges, keeping rolling it up until these raw edges match the second raw edge of the cuff.
NOW, pin these raw edges together (there are now 5 raw edges, the whole pillow is rolled inside the cuff, it's like a magic trick.
Now sew along these pins, catching all five raw edges in your seam.  
Then reach inside the burrito you just sewed and start pulling the inner fabrics out.
Notice how the cuff has no seam showing? Now fold the pillow case, with the fabrics facing out.  Trim the excess fabric on the sides, and then sew down the three sides, leaving the cuff open (obviously).  It seems weird to have the seam/raw sides out, but here's another trick to hide raw seams.
Now the pillow is sewed along the three sides, but the raw seams are visible....
Flip the pillow inside out, now sew along the three sides again, the outside raw seams are now getting 'tucked' and sewed inside this new inner seam on the inside.  
Fold it right side out again and you have a pillowcase with no raw seams showing inside or out.
Now....it's time to get this going with some seasonal fabrics like the first photo.