Friday, June 23, 2017

Tea Party

 When I started teacher 16 years ago, I was a sixth grade teacher and the two teammates I started with are two of my closest friends even today.  We still work together in different capacities.  Mary is retired, but tutors at our school (a different one from where we began).  Sonia and I are both specialist together.  We moved together after our second year to a school closer to us.  She turned 50 this past spring and we decided to surprise her with a tea and some of the friends we collected along the way.
 I made a little birthday banner with scrap fabrics that reminded me of her.
 For a 'game' Mary pulled out more than ten different kinds of teas and we served different teas for all three courses and had them write down a guess each time on a card.  At the end, the people with the most correct answers got a 'prize.'  It created fun conversation regardless.  We served each person a different combination.
We lined the tables with milk, lemons, and sugar cubes.  We started out with scones, clotted cream, and jam on each plate.  We also went ahead and put some dishes in the middle of the table for used tea bags.  
 Mary had a collection of cups....which always reminds me I want to start doing this.  I don't drink teas, but (ironically) I've hosted quite a few now.
 For course number one, we served tomato soup and cheese straws.
 Course two was three different kinds of sandwiches and strawberries.
 Last up-sugar cookies, chocolate truffles, lemon cups, and petit fours.
 To get Sonia there, I had told her we wanted to take her to lunch at a new tea room near Mary's house.  I told her I made reservations at 2:30, so to arrive by 2:15 and we'd all drive together.  She was pretty shocked when she arrived to a table full of friends.
We ate, laughed, and ate some more.  A lot of the guest brought her their favorite teas, and we also had everyone sign the back of this little sign for her to take home as a moment.  
Just a few tips.  We plated everything but the soup in advance.  To keep the sandwiches from drying out we put a damp paper towel over each plate.  I put tags with each person's name on them on the cups so we could quickly dump out any left over tea, quick rinse, add a different tea bag, and then a new kind of tea.  It was a really fun way to get together and much easier than I thought with everything planted in advance!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Folio Albums

This is the year of the scrapbook(s) for me.  I'm making scrapbooks for most of my friends in one way or another for one holiday or another because I can.  These little folio albums I put together for two of my animal loving friends.  The idea is that they can print their pictures (finally-I'm so stressed (not really, but I could be) by the number of photos that will be lost b/c they only live on social media accounts-hello, does anyone remember myspace?).
I'm attaching a video walk through of the two albums (above, I think-if not-just go to my youtube channel).  Now.....on to regular programming.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dinosaur Birthday Party

 I few months back I helped one of my pals host a 7th birthday party for her daughter.  She wanted dinosaurs.
I made these little egg dino invites (which I posted about previously).  The goal was as much DIY as possible.  
 The memories I have are the ones at home where my mom decorated the house and baked the cake.  Instead of ice cream we served pudding layers with oreos and topped with chocolate rocks and dinosaurs.  The kids loved these.
 I also made some games (via pinterest ideas).  Pin the horn on the triceratops.
 Feed the T-Rex.
 I put out bubbles and chalk (it was near Easter, so I found some shaped like eggs).
I also made a photo booth with props.  I put out a bunch of supplies so the kiddos could decorate a 'frame.'  The girls loved this most.  I used my little Polaroid to take pictures.  
 I also made some party hats using some from the dollar tree.  We set out some snacky foods and gave them fun dino names.  Dino eggs, dino bones, herbivore and carnivore treats etc.
 She even had her sons get a dino costume and one popped out mid party.  Side note, they had t-shirts made for each family member.  I made a seven-o-saurus for the birthday girl, then bro-a-saurus, dad-o-saurus, and mom-o-saurus wore their shirts.
 The last activity was a 'dinosaur' egg hut.  Her older brothers helped hide them.  I bought some shades of green eggs and a TON of dino fillers from Oriental Trading (dino erasers, gummies, stamps, stickers, finger puppets etc).  I put a different item in each color egg and initially told each kiddo to find one of each color egg, then let them go to town once we knew they had found one of each prize.  This also allowed me to tell the parents with kid allergies etc not to pick up any yellow eggs (the only on with a food item).
It was a hit, and I know she will have memories of this to last a lifetime.  

Cucumber Sandwiches

 I recently helped host a tea for a friend of mine.  When we were deciding the menu I knew she liked cucumber sandwiches, but in all my's one thing I've never tried to tackle!  I did a lot of research.  I knew I didn't want it to be too bland.  I found this recipe that had a little bit of a kick and I really did like it.  I served it open faced because I felt like the sourdough was a good friend to the cucumber, but two pieces would have been a little gummy.
Cucumber Sandwiches
Ingredients:  1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, 1/2 c. mayonnaise, 1 pkg dry Italian seasoning mix, 1 cucumber (peeled and thinly sliced), 1 loaf of sour dough bread, fresh dill.
I sliced the sour dough about 1/2 inc thick.  I even toasted it for about 5 minutes just so it wouldn't be so chewy.  It was, by no means, toasted, but it did make it a little less gummy.  Prior to toasting the bread I had mixed some room temperature cream cheese with 1/2 c. mayonnaise and one pkg of dry Italian salad dressing mix.  I put that in the fridge to chill for a few hours.  I then spread that on my toasted bread and then added three pieces of peeled and thinly sliced cucumber.  I sprinkled the whole thing with some dried dill.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sea Shell Checkboard

 A lot of beach vacations end with a bag of shells for me.  I recently brought a bunch of beach themed crafts to GMT.  This is one of's super simple, but a fun way to use some of those shells.
I bought a 1 1/2 foot board and had the home improvement store cut it down to squares.  I painted it white and then I took a regular kitchen sponge and figured out what size square would be the right one for 8x8.  In this case, it ended up being about 1 1/2 inch.  I took some blue paint and sponge pressed it down.  I liked the 'holes' left from the sponge stamp, but you can go back and paint it to be a solid square.  Afterwards I added two different kinds of shells I have.  You could also just paint the same shell two different colors.....or use bottle caps or sea glass....whatever is around.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

USA Banner

Last fall I FINALLY put together a craft room.  Up until that point I had a craft HOUSE and even though I'm really good about finishing most projects I plan....I do plan a I uncovered some things I never crafted included some wooden letters.  
I got these at Hobby Lobby and I'm sure it was a week they were 30 percent off (so-70 cents for each two).  
I just gave them a quick coat of acrylic paint, and then I glued these on to some red twine (I took some scraps of fabric to sandwich the twine with so that it makes them hold to the string a little stronger.  I also added some stars I made with my embroidery machine, but you could cut out sparkle foam, and then I tied on some ribbons (I saw something similar on Etsy).  The star ribbon I actually bought at the dollar tree last summer, so.....another something I was able to use in my stash of stuff!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Colored Pasta

I made this pasta last year for July 4th.  I used a simple salad recipe I serve a lot with grilled food, but I grabbed some spiral pasta and I divided it into thirds.
I put one third in the bowl with the veggies, and then I added about 20 drops of red dye to one third.  I took a spoon and stirred and tossed it around until it was dyed red.  You can add more color to make it even darker, it's all up to you.  Once it's dyed, put it in a colander and run water over it until it stops dripping red below.  Make sure you get the excess dye off so that you don't end up with a purple pasta.
Repeat with the last third and blue dye.  Toss all the salad together.  If you rinse well enough, each noodle should hold it's color really well, even with dressing added.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Exploding Box Scrapbook

I've been wanting to make one of these little exploding box albums for awhile now, and I finally bit the bullet.  There are tutorials for making these from the ground up, but they also sell the 'shells' at craft stores.  I bought this one at Michael's.  
 It was about 6 bucks before I used a coupon.
 I just covered it with some scrapbook papers I had in my house.  I also decorated each page, added some pockets and flips etc.
Eventually I'll gift this to someone to add pictures to.  I love how it folds up, and  you can still store little souvenirs etc inside=these would make great weekend trip albums.  I think I'll make my second one I snagged with a Thanksgiving theme and I might have my family write some 'what I'm thankful for...' notes to slide inside.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Bible Journaling Sheer Photos

 Bible Journaling was my New Year's resolution.  I LOVE it so much!  It fits my personality so well, and right now it's still authentic to me.  Creating is how I best express myself, so it makes sense that this works for the bible as well.  I knew nothing when I began, so...if anyone else is in that boat-here's is one more thing I recently learned.    I really wanted to journal a quote I heard recently, but I wanted to include a photo from a trip to Israel in 2016 of the garden tomb.  .
 I found out that several gals I follow use clear mailing labels to print their stickers etc from online onto.  I bought these and put four different photos I want to use over time from my travels.  I just slipped them through my printer.
 I cut one out of the garden tomb and stuck it down to the page over a section in Luke that talks about the death of Christ and his burial.  I love that the picture is sheer enough you can still use the words.
I wanted to splatter some purple and green paint on the page (I put some from the water colors on my brush and run my thumb over the brush to make it flick) before making some really messy (on purpose) purple flowers (that remind of the ones I saw growing near the tomb on my visit).  Side note-do any painting in advance of applying the sticker or it can wash away some of the color.  Once it dries, THEN apply the stickers so there is no smearing.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Tortellini Salad

In the summer, I pretty much just want cold salads in every form and fashion.  This one is a keeper.  The best way I can sell it mom doesn't like pasta salads and she really liked this one.  I wish I should express the significance of that statement! me and try it.

Tortellini Salad
Ingredients:  1 lb fresh cheese tortellini (prepared according to package instructions and drained), 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, 2 T. balsamic vinegar, kosher salt (to taste), black pepper (to taste), 3/4 c. salami (chopped) 1/2 c. baby spinach, 1/2 c. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained and chopped), 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1.  Cook tortellini according to pkg instructions and drain.
2.  Make dressing:  Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Pour over cooked tortellini.
3.  Add salami, spinach, sun-dried tomato, and  toss.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  You can eat warm, or chill it for later.
*Serves 4

Friday, June 02, 2017

Rolodex Scrapbook Album

 This year I'm making albums for my friends for upcoming birthdays and holidays.  I'm concerned that people don't print pictures anymore and they will last about as long as myspace did once upon a time, so I'm trying to encourage people to start printing them.  This album I put together for a friend and I used a funky little Rolodex container I found at a thrift store.  It can either be a fun way to create a combination of journals from special events through they year/years....or even pictures from a trip or multiple trips.
 I bought a pad of scrapbook paper that had some stickers inside and some really cute paper.  If my friend were a pad of paper-this would be here.  I also grabbed some cute Fiskers stamps, random arrow clips, washi tape and a few other doodads to embellish the scrapbook.
 I pulled out the tabs and traced them onto the scrapbook paper.
 I cut it out and then glued it down to the tabs.
 I arranged them and then added embellishments.
 I added things like this embossed label....
 Small flowers stickers, ribbons etc.  I didn't want it to be too thick since my hope is my friend will continue to add pictures.  I also didn't cover every single page, again, I wanted to leave room for journaling or scrapping.
Some pages just had stamps.  At the end, I super glued flowers and some ribbons to the cover and now it's ready to be wrapped and delivered.