Thursday, December 31, 2015

Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gender Reveal Baby Onsie Cookies

 My friend wanted to announce the gender of her baby over Thanksgiving dessert.  I always like to practice my piping.  I baked up 3 dozen cookies.
 I used the cookie recipe from this sugar cookie, but I used the royal icing recipe from Wilton.  I prefer the one in the sugar cookie recipe icing, but....royal icing does go on really smooth.
 I kept them simple.
I bought some ribbon from Hobby Lobby and boxed them up for Thanksgiving dinner.  She opened up the box for dessert....and edible surprise...my kind of treat!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Good Luck Black Eyed Pea Cookies

 Last year I decided to play around with my family's New Year's tradition.  It's a must to eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day.  Plural-means two, just in case you love tolerate them like I do. I decided to make a tastier version-sugar cookies.  I used my favorite recipe that holds it shape better.  You can find that here.  I used a mini moon cookie cutter and I just pressed in the pointy edges.  You could also use a little oval shape (they sell them near the fondant) and just press on one side to make the curve.  I added some clear karo syrup (about 1 T per 2 cups) to the icing so that it would harden (it take about 5 hours) and then I'm able to back it without the icing smearing.
 In order to make these a little more fun, I save some of my pull tab cans.  I used one of those can openers that pulls the lid off without the sharp edge (any homegoods store should sell these).
 I created a printable you can download for free here that goes around the can/a tag for the top.
 I bagged and stuffed my can filled with cookies and then I glued the lid on top with a glue gun.
I'd eat more than two if all black eyed peas tasted this good.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Midnight Kisses

 I made these last year for New Year's Eve gifts.  I cheated though, I bought peanut butter cookie dough in a tube and rolled it in sugar.  I baked it as instructed, then pressed my kisses down.
Once my kisses cooled I filled baggies with the cookies.  I placed the baggies in these clear Chinese take out boxes (I found mine at Michael's) and added some silver tinsel, confetti, and a few extra silver kisses.  Here is a free tag printable I attached.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wooden Candy Canes

 I made a bunch of these quite a few years ago.  I cut circles out of wood and painted them up.  I added a layer of glue spray and then glitter. I covered the whole thing in cellophane.  The cellophane has held up surprisingly well and it protects the glitter and paint.
Easy enough for less skilled painters (like me) and the layer of glitter is very forgiving!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pecan Bread Pudding

 This past Thanksgiving I was looking for a different variation on pecan pie.  I mean, I love pecan pie, but we had a lot of other pies on the menu.  I saw this recipe at callmepmc and decided to give it a go.  I actually baked it the day before because I knew the oven would be busy on Thanksgiving and I was a little concerned about the caramel sauce still being delicious on day two, BUT I stuck each serving in the microwave for 20 seconds, added ice cream, and it was delicious!  I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it, but....it's definitely going on the list of things I am going to make again..maybe for Christmas in a few days!
Pecan Bread Pudding
Ingredients:  6 T butter, 1 c. pecans, 1 1/2 c. (self rising) flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 2/3 c milk, 1 t vanilla, 1 1/2 c. brown sugar (packed), 1 1/2 c warm water, vanilla ice cream
Instructions:
1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  
2.  Add butter to a 9x13 inch pan and melt it in the oven.
3.  Pull the pan out of the oven.   Sprinkle chopped pecans over the melted butter.  
4.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Stir to combine, but don't over mix.  
5.  Pour batter over the butter and pecans.  Don't stir.  
6.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over batter.  Don't stir.  
 7. Slowly pour the hot water over the mix.  Don't stir.  It will look like this...
8.  Bake for 35 minutes (until golden brown).  It will still look liquidy, but it will harden up as it cools.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dollar Store Snow Village Make Over

 I recently shared this idea on Good Morning, Texas.  When I'm on (at least once a month, sometimes more depending on what's going on in my life and on their show) I try to post the videos on facebook...b/c I don't always get around to blogging about the crafts.  Here is that video.  Here is my facebook page.  And here are a few pictures...
I found these houses at the Dollar Tree.  I sounded a little like an advertisement on GMT, BUT....I don't/and actually can't get paid by any store for mentioning them, when I do-it's genuinely b/c that is where I found it and I hate being told about a craft and then going 43 places trying to find 'which' craft store or dollar store the item is at I want to use.
 The colors weren't to my liking, so I took a dollar can of white spray (from Walmart....just...fyi-they sell a lot of colors for a buck).  I gave them a couple of coats.
I took mod podge and 'painted' the whole thing and then sprinkled it with glitter.  I'm putting these in some apothecary jars with some snow and trees.  Not bad for a buck and some change.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Christmas Letter I Didn't Send

I wrote this last year, more to wade through my personal thoughts as I watched people I loved hurt through the holidays...and beyond.  I didn't plan to post it because I usually keep things light....unicorns, and spelling errors are really more my specialty on my blog.  But....it sits here restless.  So, here's the post I didn't post last year about why I quit Christmas letters (beyond the obvious reasons).  Not to ruin the ending, but....the people I was losing sleep over last year are either completely healed and partying in heaven, or healing in other ways here on earth, clinging to God even though the answer was 'no.'   He's providing a thousand little yes answers this year to the new things He is creating in their lives through the ashes.  The yearly chapters have their ups and downs, but the ending is a happy one, so while I continue writing that story....

Psalm 27:13

2014 Christmas-time me wrote....

I usually write a letter each year to insert into my Christmas cards.  Tidbits about the years.  Lessons learned.  A few years ago I skipped the letter.  I wrote it and it felt incomplete. They never tell the full story and that year I didn't want to leave pieces out, but I didn't want to write them down yet either.  Those sentences I didn't write were the biggest pieces that impacted my year.  
Now it's another year without a letter.  The truth is I write the letter every year, but twice now I've decided it wasn't really the story of the year I experienced.  I suspect that most things that shape our life the most don't make the Christmas card.  Or the facebook feed.

It's been one of those years-a year of intercessory prayer on behalf of family and friends going through the sort of heartbreak I couldn’t have ever imagined entering their lives.  It came with news that changes the face of their lives.  Their kid’s lives.  Their family’s life.  My life.  Forever.  I prayed for a change of hearts of those hurting others.  I prayed for protection over families.  I prayed for changes of health for close friends, and leaders I respect battling terminal illnesses.  God responded with a, ‘Not now.’ and even, "No."  It doesn’t make sense in the moment, but I know that even if the answer is no, He is still good. But...I just wasn't ready to write the  unfinished stories that, with hope, I pray will be next year's testimonies.

I’ve been challenged to really dig deep into my faith.  Do I trust God?  Do I trust His goodness?  Do I trust His plan for my life?  The lives of those I love?  Yes.  Do I trust He loves those around me I'm broken for, broken by?  Yes.  But...it was a really difficult 2014 for too many I love.  I know that we will all be stronger for this year, and I'm praying on their behalf.

I serve a God who knows what the whole Christmas letter would have said in each of our lives.  He reads it daily and knows just the response to make.  Maybe you have an un-Christmas letter being written into your life this year too.  You are not alone.  There are a lot of letters that didn't make the mail this year, but in the end, the story isn't over yet.  This year will, no doubt, change my life for the better in the end, as long as I trust Him.  Praying that you find peace today whether you are in the middle of the best stories yet being written in your life, or the difficult chapters knowing the Author has a Happy Ending in store.  Merry Christmas to the happy hearts, the hurting hearts, with hope that *you* know you are deeply loved by a Father who knew you before you started this journey, and knows the path ahead.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Ball Wreath

 I made this wreath using only items I bought at the dollar tree.  That means, it cost me exactly 7 dollars to make this wreath.  Win.  Second, I made this wreath via a request from one of the producers at GMT.  I prerecorded the segment.  I'm sharing a few other things I've done recently on my blog (one I'm posting tomorrow)  Whatever day it airs (today?)....I'll link the segment to my facebook page.
I found this foam wreath and they had garlands (a dollar each).
 I wrapped the 9 foot garland around the foam form and just tied it closed.
 They also sold these tubes of ornaments (12 for a buck).  They have multi colors, and lots of solids.  I went with silver.  It took me four tubes (with a few left over I'll throw on gifts/present toppers).
 I glued them around the outside with hot glue.
 I then glued them around the middle.
 Then I started filling in the rest.  I also had some small silver ones I added, but it was not necessary...I'm just trying to get rid of 'stuff.'
It doesn't get much easier than this.  And...seriously, 7 bucks!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Snowman Treat Jars

 I have  a friend that does craft shows throughout the seasons.  She is a pro at painting.  I asked her to teach me some skillzzz this summer, and she delivered.  Another friend of mine gave me a ton of old baby jars she found in her attic.  I took the lids over to Terry's house and painted some pumpkin face jars (I posted in October) and these little snowmen.  I'm going to give a more detailed painting tutorial soon, but....in the meantime.  I love these.
I used regular ol' paint.  The base of the snowman is called sand.  It took two coats.  I then took a watered down brown and ran it over the sand to make it a 'dirty' snowman.  Next up were the face details (the coal mouth was made with the end of a paint brush) and then I flicked white paint over the whole thing.  Once he dried I added a coal of clear sealer and then some twine.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Fan Blade Santa

 This completes the six fan blade projects I launched after replacing a fan in my house...and saving the blades.  I've got turkeys, snowmen, gingerbread, pumpkins, and now Santa.  My friend Terry did up a few Santa's a few years ago and so I gave it a go with some old fabric sitting around my house.
I painted Santa's face a sand color (and white below the beard).  I cut some old sheets into strips and glued it on to make his beard.  I glued fabric on in a long tube on top for the hat, but tied the end with a bell to give it a point.  I added some scrap minky and facial features. Hoarders unite.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Suitcase

 Not too long ago I saw a suitcase with this saying on pinterest (here) and when I was walking the dog one day my neighbor (who was moving) left a bunch of stuff outside for the bulk pick up garbage guy-including a suitcase in perfect condition....if you were traveling in the 70s.
 It came in a lovely mustard brown, but I decided to throw some paint on to make it look more like Christmas.  You lose the white stitching, but I'm OK with that.  I covered up the metal with some painters tape.
 I had a little help.  In her defense-the backyard was just a pile of dirt and no shrubs at this point b/c I had just had foundation work, so....a can of spray paint was like going to the amusement park.
After spraying in burgandy I I printed off the words I wanted in the size I wanted and tape them the way I wanted.
 I took a pencil and colored roughly over the back of the letters.
 I flipped it back over and traced over the letters with a pencil, this allowed the lead on the back to be transfered to the suitcase so I knew where to paint my letters.
I added a ribbon, some holly, and now-a fun place to store Christmas cards and other memories was birthed.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tulsa, Oklahoma Route 6 Half Marathon

 I started running about 5 years ago.  Before that...I ran a mile.  Once.  I've lost a lot of weight running.  I've gained a lot of weight running.  I've been slowing down lately b/c it hasn't been a huge priority, BUT I know that it's good for me, so I keep doing it...even when my hip hurts, it's just a few miles, and I'm going slower than the walkers.  Or...I'm walking with the walkers. At least I'm still out there and really, it's about my health with a few shiny medals thrown in along the way.  I've got two on my bucket list (2 1/2 really)...and it's totally about the medals.  I decided to sign up for them this school year...just in case.  #1 was the Tulsa Route 66 half.  Why?  Because look at that pretty medal!  A hood ornament.  Yes, please!
 My brother joined me.  He was doing the full marathon, which means (not by much)...I was able to finish before him.  Which means, he's almost twice as fast as me.  I'm OK with that.
 It was a CO-OLD morning....the first one this season.  I debated layers and knew I'd warm up when running.  I probably still wore too much, but I'd rather be a little hot for a few hours and not really cold the whole time.
 This was my sixth half marathon (one of those was a full) and it was my favorite route so far.  It was pretty hilly.  BUT it mostly wound through gorgeous neighborhoods with all their fall colors on display.  I could not do it justice...I took a few photos while running, but could never get the best shots of the most beautiful spots, so...you'll just have to go see for yourself.
 I think it was my favorite crowd.  There were a lot of folks in their front yards, and block parties every few miles.  I've never seen so much alcohol in my life.  There was a couple running near me for about 6 of those miles who stopped for every shot neighbors offered-beers passed out from coolers, or jello shots handed out by the thousands (no, really).  There were some pretty drunk people by mile 10....not enough to be a problem, but that was a new one.  Tulsa is apparently full of friendly people who are willing to provide hard liquor to 15,000+ strangers.
 Going with the Route 66 theme there were a few girls who ran in fun outfits, my favorite was this group in sparkle skirts, checkered aprons, and malt head bands.  Another gal ran in a similar outfit holding a tray of drinks.  I'm doing good to get myself across the finish line, much more....a costume. I'm grateful for the costumes though....it keeps me entertained.
Not a lot of the route was along Route 66, but....there were a few fun spots.  I hit up a few of the other local stops the day before, along with some antique shops.  This was my second time in Tulsa.  I love it-a smaller town feel in a bigger city along the Oklahoma highways.  There are some great restaurants, including a place that served food for us 'regular' people and vegans (my brother) called Chimera.  It's hard to find a place good for 'both' kind of people.  Next up....the Hot Chocolate 15K in February...the medal is a candy bar with a bite out of it.