Sunday, December 16, 2012

Make your Own Feather Ornament!

While I was perusing the aisles of the ornaments this year I noticed in the white section these beautiful feather ornaments.   I also saw  They were about $6 which isn't bad for an individual ornament, but after making my feather tree last year, I knew I had the supplies left over to make it myself.  I wish I had the time to make more than one this year, but I thought I'd share how to make them in case you did! 

Here are the supplies you'll need:

medium Styrofoam ball
string or ribbon for hanging
white feathers of assorted lengths
white craft glue
hot glue and gun
a champagne flute (or something you can stand your ball on while you glue on feathers)
Begin by gluing the string or ribbon to the top of the Styrofoam ball.  My ball had a little divot in the top making it a perfect place for the string to sit in - this is where you'll want to use hot glue.  
Then get out your champagne flue (or something small that the ball can easily balance on) and sit your ball on top with the string facing straight up.  Though this is not exact, it does look nicer if the feathers are uniform.  Begin gluing the longest feathers to the bottom half of the ornament.  Look for feathers that naturally curve in.  They should be covering the whole bottom of the ball.
Once the entire boom circumference is covered, begin gluing another row of medium sized feathers above the others.  Continue in this way until the entire ball is covered.  Save the very smallest feathers for the top and glue them on neatly around the string.
Make ornaments of all different sizes and hang them all over your tree! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sugar Ornaments

As we countdown to Christmas one of the nights was to make an ornament.  I found a really cute post for sugar ornaments here, but to be honest they didn't turn out.  We made them and waited and they just crumbled when we tried to remove them from the cookie cutters.  So I reworked the method and wanted to share with you how we made them today!

What you'll need: 
1/2 c sugar
1 T glitter (I used mica snow)
2 t water
cookie cutters
parchment paper
rolling pin
string or ribbon
1.  Mix the water, glitter, and sugar together in a bowl until it is combines and sticks together when you pinch it with your fingers.
2.  Dump the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and begin to press it down until you have a flat surface of the mixture.  I rolled it a bit with a rolling pin at this point to get it really level.

3.  Then I picked my favorite Christmas cookie cutters that I just recently found at the thrift store.  An owl, a tree, a reindeer and a mini ice skate and cut them out of the mixture.
4.  Using a toothpick make a small hole in the top for the ribbon to go through.
5.  Move them to somewhere safe to dry overnight.
6.  Once they are dry tie a ribbon or some silver string through the hole. 
Hang on your tree and enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fortune Cookie Countdown

This year we are going to celebrate the countdown to Christmas with fun activities and events that we can do together as a family.  Fender and I put together a list of all of the things "Christmasy" we could do and I've added in a few bigger surprises for our family days off together. 

After I printed out the list (with specific numbers so that we weren't out late on a school night) I cut each of the activities into strips.  Then I whipped up a batch of fortune cookies and used these as the surprise inside.  I used this recipe here.

I left the number hanging out so that it would be easy for the kids to grab the correct one.  There are a few nights in there that I am very excited for (like ice skating and a movie at the drive in!) and can't wait to see their faces when they open them up!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Simple Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I hope you are all having a good time getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving!  My hubby dC cooks all of the time, but the Thanksgiving meal is when I get to step up to the plate and take over the kitchen.  It's exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time, so this year I have put together a really simple centerpiece that I wanted to share with you!

Remember the apple crate dC made me this last Fall?  Well, it's taking center stage as a pedestal for all the little treasures I could find around our house.  Pine cones, walnuts, putka pods ~ but you could use anything.  Moss or twigs from your yard, almonds - you name it.  Fender had a fun time helping me scatter everything around.  My white pumpkin that I found at the pumpkin patch is my favorite part.  Have fun decorating!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I have always done a Fall wreath for our front door, but this year I wanted to do one for our kitchen.  This wreath cost only a few dollars and was super simple to make.
I got the idea when Fender and I were at the dollar store and he fell in love with the black crows.  I grabbed a few crows, a straw wreath and came home to get to work.
First I spray painted the wreath black.  It doesn't absorb completely, but it's hardly noticeable.  I pulled a few strands of the straw out to make the wreath more jagged.

Then I tried to attach 3 different crows, but it was too much and I ended up with one.  The dollar store crows have wires coming out of their feet, so dC helped me shove him on!  Fender named him "Headward."   I don't know why. but that's his name!
Can you spot a little bit of last year's Halloween crafts?
Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Caramel Apples

We haven't made caramel apples in quite a while.  The kids were begging for them and of course dC and I are the ones who ended up unwrapping all of the little caramel candies!  Too bad they missed out on eating a few along the way!

Fender and I started the morning off in the rain looking for the perfect branches to use for sticks in the apples.  It was dumping pretty hard, but he liked jumping in the puddles!  I trimmed them back and then we stuck them in our apples.  I liked using the branches because they were so sturdy for such heavy sticky apples!


Then I just followed the microwave instructions on the caramel package and we were eating them in no time at all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Welcome... newest addition to the Halloween head family!  I've been dreaming him up for about a year now after buying a bag of putka pods.  I was just baffled the first time I saw them!  They looked exactly like a pumpkin, but small enough to add to Fall crafts.  I just had to put them on a skeleton's here we are!  I thought I would also show you step by step how I did it, in case you'd like to create your own! 
You'll need:
aluminum foil
air dry clay (I like Papercraft)
black felt
acrylic paints in black and brown
paper towel
craft glue
putka pods
Check out last year's post to see the basic construction of the head.

The skeleton head is very similar to the pumpkin except for the extra clay used for his chin.  Again, I used a toothpick to carve out his teeth and nose and a sharpie cap for the eyes.  Then I began the very simple painting process.

Since he will remain mostly white, I really only painted in his eyes, nose, and outlined his teeth.  I used a small paintbrush for the nose and eyes and a toothpick to drag paint between his teeth.  It looks sloppy I know, but it's all part of his "vintage" charm! 

Just like all of the other's in the past, he got a light coat of brown paint mixed with water to make him look old. Since I still wanted him to be mainly white, I quickly wiped off any paint with a paper towel, leaving only a fine layer of brown behind.

I hand sewed a top hat out of felt, glued it on his head, and added the putka pods to the hat! I haven't told the others, but I think he is my favorite!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcoming Fall

We went apple picking this weekend and had a little local family fun.  Last year we went to Chelan, but unfortunately with the wildfires blazing there, we didn't want to take that chance.  We visited a little farm in Sedro Wooley about an hour north of us called Jones Creek Farms.   My hubby even made me an apple crate for our table centerpiece out of an old pallet.

We were first greeted by a protective puppy watching over his hen who had just laid an egg. 
There was also a small playground for the kids to goof around on including the coveted tire swing and homemade teeter totter.

 There were pears, apples and the beginnings of pumpkins growing - but we were there for the apples.  This year we only brought home 12 pounds.  I know it sounds like a lot, but I have major baking plans - and we might fall short!

After a full day of playing, I heated up some apple cider - but put them in special apple cups (I used a melon baller to scoop out the insides of our recently picked apples).

I always love to get a Fall picture of the kids.  Here's "the one" from this year...but my favorite is from 2009:
They've changed so much!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pickling Adventure

My dream has come true!  My garden sprang forth with enough cucumbers to make pickles!  First off...I had no idea that pickles were made from a specific type of cucumber!  I have never seen them in the produce section, nor at any of the farmers' markets or veggie stands I visit!  But I thought that I would give it a try with what we grew and see how they turned out!

I found a few recipes for refrigerator pickles that sounded fun, but I wanted to can them to keep for the rest of the year.  Using two recipes as a guideline, I winged what I thought would taste good (and used what I had in the pantry).  Here's the recipe I put together (for a VERY small batch - I didn't want to make a ton if they didn't turn out!).  This recipe yeilds (4) 12 oz jars.

I didn't add in the recipe all of the rules for safe canning. You can find info on how to do that here. These tasted so delicious I'd like to try pickling other veggies such as asparagus, carrots, and cauliflower! 


Monday, September 10, 2012

1st Day of Kindergarten

Today is Fender's first day of Kindergarten and boy is he excited!  We have met his teacher, taken a tour of the school and now it is time for me to let go of his hand as he walks towards his classroom alone...

I wanted to start the tradition of 1st day of school photos to watch him grow and mature each year.  There are so many cute ways to capture this moment, but he really liked the idea of a chalkboard.  And with so much paint left over from last year's project, I decided to make my own!

 I started with a piece of plywood that I had dC rough up the edges on, chalkboard paint, and an art sponge.

Then I taped off a boarder with painters tape and with my trusty chalkboard paint and sponge set to painting in the chalkboard.  It was really hot outside so the paint dried quickly - within an hour it was done!  I think it turmed out pretty cute, but even cuter is his face in these photos!!!


What he wants to be when he grows up: "A guy who drives the fire truck"
What he is most excited about in Kindergarten: "The computers"
What he wanted in his lunch: "A peanut butter and jelly sandwich"

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