Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine's DIY Wreath and Serving Tray

My other Valentine's Day project that I did 2 weekends ago is this wreath I found on this blog. So cute! I made this along with my other projects the weekend Adam was snowmobiling!

Here it is hung on the inside of my front door. Don't worry. Those house numbers aren't really ours. They 1234 is on the back of our real house numbers that are propped on the window because we don't have our real ones up yet.

It was really pretty easy to make! I got the cupcake liners at Michaels (with a 40% off coupon of course). The flower I used a fabric flower I had with scrapbooking stuff an a little white button.

I wrapped the wreath mold ($1 at the Dollar Tree) in pretty glittery thick Christmas ribbon. Bad idea with the glittery ribbon. Bad. Idea. Glitter. Everywhere. But super pretty! I totally wouldn't do it again though.

I pretty much followed the tutorial exactly and it worked super well. I am already envisioning different wreaths of the same type for various holidays!

The other project I worked on (very briefly) that weekend was a candy dish. I saw the idea here. I got the heart shaped dish at Michaels and the candle holder and plate at The Dollar Tree.

My supplies

Finished product

This would be a great veggie tray or chip and dip tray for a party in February. In hindsight, I wish I'd just left it at the candle holder and the bowl and used it as a candy dish. I have more use for that to leave it out the whole month of February. But I may leave it out anyway as a candy dish. I don't have as much use for it as a two tiered tray. Live and learn!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Valentine's Day Decorations

Inspired by Kristin, I decided to follow this tutorial to make some adorable Valentine's Day Xs and Os decorations!

My tips:
-Use scrapbook paper with more color and less white. The marbles stand out better.
-The frames are from the Dollar Tree, but watch out that the stand on the back really stands up.
-The best deal on marbles (thanks to Kristin) is from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon (They have them every other week usually).
-I did use the E6000 glue and it was super easy to use. I tried using hot glue, but I do not have a good enough eye to put it in the right place the first time around!
-Definitely buy marbles and don't try to use the flat "pebbles" from the Dollar Tree to save money. They just don't fit together right!
Marbles-$3 (I spent more the first time around because before getting the HL tip, I went to Michael's and the bag is a lot smaller. I needed 1 3/4 bags). But if you go to HL the total is $1.80 ($2.99 x 40% off) for one bag that will do all of them.
Paper-$0 I used paper I already had, but if you had to buy it, the most you would spend is .59 each, but I never do that because I wait for a sale or use at least a 20% off coupon (they have them a couple times a month).
Frames-$4 ($1 each) I used 5x7 frames
Glue-approx $3? I don't remember exactly how much it was, but I used a 40% off coupon (they have them every week)
Total: $10 (but the frames and glue will definitely be used again!)
After doing that project, and having leftover marbles, I got inspired to do another one!
I used the same idea, but instead used black and white heart paper for our black and white dining room. I'm just going to leave these up for Valentine's Day.

Marbles-$1.80 (used HL ones this time)
Paper-$0 I used paper I already had
Frames-$3 ($1 each) I used 4x6 frames because I wanted this to be smaller
Glue-I used leftover glue!
Total: $4.80 (and there's leftover marbles and glue still!)
These really didn't take that long to make. The most time drawing the lines for the Xs because I am a perfectionist and wanted them to look even. But I discovered that they don't have to be perfectly even to look good. One of my Os actually looks like the start of a Q and you can't even tell!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life With Cats

So my previous titles of "Fudgie the Evil Cat" doesn't really fit this post.

So here I go with some cat stories

First of all....Fudgie and I have been getting along better lately. Really it has to more with her not hating my guts so much. Or at least not showing it as much. She even laid on me one day over winter break while I was reading.

However, she has started something new that I am not so find of.

I like to call it "Where's Fudgie?". It is kind of like "Where's Waldo?".

She likes to climb on our built in bookshelves in the office and walk around on the shelves. At first I thought it was funny. She gets up there and sits next to a bunch of knick knacks and tries to blend in.

But then she started knocking stuff. And I didn't think it was funny anymore.

So I'll probably bust out the squirt bottle next time.

But the first few times? I took pictures.

So are you ready to play????

You have 2 seconds to glance at a picture and try to find the cat! Then move on to the next one.

There she is!
As for my next story....this really happened last Friday. But it almost happened again today.

Rewind to Friday. I was getting ready for my Tastefully Simple party. The consultant was there and I was running around finishing last minute things before guests arrived. Oh yeah. And Adam was in Michigan snowmobiling for 5 days.

Well actually I need to rewind a little further and explain that we have Fudgie as our inside cat, but we also have 2 outside cats. Charcoal and Meower. Yes, those are their names. Along with Fudgie (I didn't name them). Charcoal and Meower like to be outside and they only live outside unless it is really cold and then we let them stay in the cellar. So they have been in the cellar recently.
Fast forward to Friday night....
Again, I am running around finishing up and I hear this loud meowing. So I look around and say, "Fudgie, what's the matter?". She isn't there. But the meowing is super loud. I look down on the floor of the dining room where there is a large grate on the floor for the return vent. And there is a cat face pressed up against the vent, meowing loudly. "Charcoal????"
And then the panic commenced. Why did I panic? I don't really know! But I did! I didn't know what to do. How did she get in the vent? I ran for the phone and tried to call Adam but dialed the number wrong. Meanwhile Fudgie came over and they were hissing at each other.
BTW....hissing cats freak me out.

The Tastefully Simple lady said, "Does the grate come up?"

So I pulled the grate up and pulled Charcoal out. She hissed at me once so I dropped her and she ran off. I started calling her to try to get her out the back door. But she ran right for the cellar door and I let her down.

And all was good.

But I didn't take any pictures. And I was a bit shaky for a while.

But was really bummed I didn't take any pictures.

Never fear! Apparently she did it again! This afternoon I heard some thunking in the vent and THERE she was. (Adam has a new project to work on now. Operation: Block off the vent).

And I took pictures this time!

She was shy from the camera. But you can see her face on the right side of the vent.

Pulling the vent off

Fudgie watching the whole thing
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bow Hangers and Sewing Lessons

Oh! Hello!

First! If you are reading in a reader? I have a new header and sidebar and I am excited about them. So go check them out!

I am finally getting around to posting about these adorable bow hangers I made for Erin's girls for Christmas! Well, maybe I shouldn't call them adorable since I made them and that seems to be tooting my own horn, but I didn't design them, so then I think it is OK. Because seriously? I want one. But I don't really have a lot of bows. And that might be weird in a married woman's bedroom.

The super talented Kristin designed them and she happily and generously shared the instructions with me when I drooled over the ones she made for little Layla.

See? They are bow hangers! For a little girl's bows. Or the bows of two little girls!

It took a couple minutes to explain to Adam what they were for and why they were important. He gets it now. I think. But he IS one of 5 boys, so I give him a break when he doesn't get stuff like....bows.

I found adorable owl ribbon that just HAD to be incorporated into their bow hangers. I picked coordinating but different paper for the background because I want the girls to know I picked different ones for each of them. I hope they fit well in their room!

Evelyn's bow hanger.
(I swear the flowers aren't so brightly colored in real life. But now that I have uploaded it and noticed I don't much feel like re-editing it and re-uploading it. So there you have neon flowers.)

Charlotte's bow hanger

The little bows I made to go on the bow hangers.
Kristin shared with me this awesome
felt flower tutorial and I made each of the girls one felt flower. I also found this clippie tutorial and made each of them one of those too. Now we just have to wait until they have enough hair to clip them to!

That same night after I finished my photo session with the bow hangers, I received a sewing lesson from my sister. One of my bridal shower gifts from her was an adorable sewing kit and 3 sewing lessons.
I pretty much have no sewing skills. In fact I had two pairs of work pants that had the little clasps fall off and when I showed my mom the conversation went like this:
Me: Gah! The clasps fell off both of these pants and I need them for work.
Mom: I can show you how to fix them.
Me: ------(silence)------- Oh.....I need to learn how to do that?
So when my sister was home for winter break we had our first lesson. And gosh darn it! By the end of that lesson I had the clasps sewn back on my pants. And I have worn them both and they are still on there. I even had her draw little pictures for me to remind me what to do. We'll see if that works when it comes time to do it myself. I wonder what project will be next!?

See my adorable sewing kit!
I have been very busy with crafty projects in the last few days and I look forward to showing them to you soon! What have you been working on? I love to see new ideas! Especially if you share the hows!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Overheard in Preschool Part 3


Student: "Ms. Stephanie, my mom says God has two eyes."
Me: "Oh. Ok"
Student: "But my mom SAID God has TWO eyes."
Me: "Did somebody tell you differently?"
Student: "Yeah. YOU did!"
Me: "I DID? When did I say that??"
Student: "When you read about the turkey on the bus."
Me: "The turkey on the bus??"
Student: "The turkey who can't drive the bus. You said God has one eye."
Me: "Hm. I don't remember that. Do you mean the book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?"
Student: "Yeah."
Me: "I don't remember saying that God has one eye. Why did I say that?"
Student: "I don't remember. You said it. With the pigeon."
Me: "Did you tell your mom I said that?"
Students: "YEAH! And SHE said God has TWO eyes!"

Various students were talking about poop and Chuckie killing people (I know, seriously, pre-schoolers know about Chuckie?) and they kept getting told to stop. of poop and Chuckie continues during snack time
Me (in a stern teacher voice): "Ms. Stephanie's friends. You have been asked to STOP talking about things that are not nice. We talk about NICE things at school. Just because you heard it or saw it somewhere else doesn't mean it is NICE. I want to hear my friends talking about NICE things."
....crickets chirping as everyone stares and looks abashed....
Student to other student: "Hey.....want to talk about....PONIES?"
Me: "(Dying of laughter)......Yes. That is a good idea. Please talk about ponies".
Another student: "And unicorns?"
Me: "That sounds like a fabulous idea!"

During snack I overhear what I think is someone saying "Michael Jackson"
Me: "Did you just say 'Michael Jackson?"
Student: "No. I was talking about....unicorns."
Me: "(Laughing...realizing she thinks that is a NOT nice thing to talk about...Hmmm...maybe it isn't?) If you WERE talking about Michael Jackson that is OK. I was just wondering if I heard right."
Student: "I said Michael Jackson. I play with Michael Jackson on the Wii"
Another Student: "Michael Jackson sings Thriller....(starts singing) Thriller! Thriller!"

Also Thursday
Looking at pictures of winter vocabulary.....
Me: "(Pointing to snowball) What is this called?"
Student: "Snowman balls!"

Laughter commences.....
....and continues.....

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cake Pops for the New Year

I have been wanting to make cake pops for some time. They have been popping up all over the Internet and seem like something up my alley.

I decided there was no better time than New Years Eve!

I did a search for Cake Pops and found this blog tutorial. It seemed to make really clear sense and I went with it! I won't go through the whole thing because you can just print off her directions, but I'll give you my spin on things.

1. Get your ingredients. I got the Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge cake mix.
-I got Wilton candy melts in white, chocolate, and red.
-I also got the lollipop sticks in short and medium heights because I thought it would look neat in a basket with different heights.
*I bought the candy melts and sticks with a 20% off your entire purchase coupon. I would never go to Michaels without a coupon of some sort!*
-I got my Styrofoam from The Dollar Tree...for $1...obviously. But it is way cheaper than a craft store. I left the wreath Styrofoam in the plastic so it didn't get messy and I can use it again.

2. Make the cake.
(I cannot imagine how I ever lived without my KitchenAid. It is super awesome. And my co-workers are even more super awesome for getting it for me!)

3. Let the cake cool.
(When I do this again, I will probably bake the cake the day before so that it has plenty of time to cool. I was watching it closely because I was in a time crunch).

4. Break the cake apart with your hands until it is a pile of crumbles.
5. Get the frosting ready. I made my own frosting using the Wilton recipe (with butter instead of shortening and no meringue powder since I was just mixing it in). I thirded (is that a word like halved?) the recipe to make one cup instead of using half a can of store bought frosting.

6. Use your hands to mix the frosting and cake crumbles together until they are a messy ball!

7. Roll into 1 inch balls. Be careful not to make them any bigger or they won't stay on the sticks very well. I made a few too big because I was running out of room on my baking sheet and I should have just stuck to the smaller balls and used another baking sheet! Also, I stuck them in the fridge until they were cool (maybe 20-30 minutes) because I read it helped keep them together.

8. Melt your Wilton Candy melts following the directions on the package. Little Miss Momma suggests dipping your stick in the candy first, then the ball and letting it harden in the Styrofoam. I think this went very far towards keeping the balls on the stick well.
9. Follow the tutorial regarding how to dip them. I completely agree that you can't swirl the ball around in the melted chocolate. It will fall off. Make sure you dip it on the side, spoon the rest of it over, tap on the edge and spin until the excess has all come off (VERY IMPORTANT not to have excess!).

10. If you are going to add sprinkles, make sure you do it when it is still very melty. It hardens quickly!
-I used the little ball sprinkles and the sugar sprinkles. I actually like how the sugar sprinkles looked much better.

11. Put the pop in the Styrofoam until it is dry! It doesn't take very long until it is completely hard.
12. If you are going to drizzle a different color candy melt over it, wait until it is completely hard and then put some melted candy in a ziploc bag, cut off the end, and drizzle the design on the top.
13. ENJOY!

Check out the finished product:

Other decorating notes:
-I actually like how the ones with the red sugar on the chocolate and red looked a lot. It looked almost sparkly rather than standing out.
-I didn't prefer the red sugar on the white or the ball sprinkles as much. I think they were too loud. I was going for loud and festive for New Year's, but it just didn't work for me.
-I loved the way the ones looked with the drizzled candy on top. I think a nice combination of those and the red sugar sprinkles on the dark candy would be my preference in the future.

They DO take quite a bit of time to decorate, but they aren't difficult to do. I already have lots of ideas for what to do with them in the future. I'm seeing 4th of July "sparklers", baby shower favors, and more!

They were seriously amazing. They went really quickly and are super addicting. They are SO moist and tasty. Even though I am much more a salt person than sugar person, I am seriously addicted to these. I highly recommend them!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Family Wine Tasting

Last week my family went to a local wine bar to do a tasting and hang out. It was the same place we went for my dad's surprise 50th birthday party last year (cause now it's 2011!). My mom, sister and I tried their special tasting for the night. It was 6 wines for $10 and they were really fancy wines. I've never tried an $85/bottle wine before! It was....fine. I am more of a sweet wine kind of girl, but I AM branching out. I enjoyed trying the different wines I wouldn't have tried normally. Adam had a Riesling flight and we found a yummy new Riesling there that we liked. My dad had a red wine flight and enjoyed some yummy wines that he likes.

It was a fun night to spend together as a family and I really don't want my sister to go back to NY! I am loving having her here!!!

As you can see....
I have been playing with Picasa more. I'd really like to learn more about photo editing and Picasa is pretty neat for a free program. If anyone has any Picasa tips and tricks, I'd love to hear them. I love looking at photos on blogs with neat lighting and edits....but most of those people use Lightroom at least and I am on the free track right now! Any one out there with any neat tips or tricks for Picasa??

Saturday, January 01, 2011

College Girls

Last week on Wednesday, we celebrated our final Christmas gathering with my college girlfriends and their families.

We had a yummy dinner take out from one of our favorite college bars.....the potato salad is to DIE FOR! And then the kids opened presents. We had a great time and it was a blast seeing Layla and Zander interacting. Layla was very nice to share her toys with Zander, which is not always easy for a 2 year old!

I love my friends and I love spending time with their kids. They are two of the sweetest kids around! It makes me really stop and think sometimes how much our lives have changed in 6 years. From our college days to chasing around two toddlers when we get together! It also makes me realize that I am happy with our decision to wait a couple years before we have kids because I don't think I am ready to run around after a toddler ALL the time! Boy, is it tiring! They truly need constant attention. Katie and Kristin are two tireless mommies! But since I don't have to do it 24/7 I am absoutely in love with doing it when we are together!