Monday, December 31, 2012

Thread Spool Christmas ornaments

Coat and purse hangers are only two of the thousands of projects a person could dive into with thread spools.  I remember seeing thread spool ornaments in JoAnn Fabric and a few blogs with repurposed vintage thread spool projects so I decided it was time to dwindle the inventory and add a touch of my hobby to the Christmas decor:

This project I liked because I could also use some of the old jewelry I had from the brooch bouquet I made for the wedding.  Of course, mine didn't come out nearly as cute but it was still fun.
Thanks, Brookelynn Morris!

Other thread spool ornaments using scrapbook paper and embellishments:

 ... and beads to add a festive touch:

Sushi Baby Gift

I really wanted to make something functional for my sister-in-law who was having her third child.  In a search for ideas, I found a tutorial for a binky leash on the Sew4Home site and a cute gift idea for baby items folded and placed like sushi from the Creative Dollar blog. 

The Creative Dollar uses rubber bands and trash bags as the seaweed wrap for the sushi but I liked the idea of using the handmade binky leashes.  To wrap the sushi rolls, I used the ribbon that came with the wash clothes and fish toy.

Mug rugs - for every occassion

I find that I generally keep every piece of scrap fabric because they come in handy for little projects.  I came across this great tutorial from the Sew WE Quilt blog to create a functional item using even the smallest piece of scrap fabric. 

Since I have a lot of Christmas fabric, I used the larger pieces to make a larger coffee table mug rug for the holiday season.

My husband enjoyed it so much that I made him a smaller one for his desk:

Christmas Cheers for Organization!

This was a Christmas of car organizers, make-up brush rolls and travel accessories.  These easy ideas came from the Sew4Home website.  I LOVE this site, full of great ideas for nearly every aspect of your life.

Travel make-up brush rolls:

Pencil cases and mini notebooks:

Car organizers with upcycled trash bags:

Travel accessories organizer and shoe bag:

More upcycled trash bags for the car:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Squished Penny Jewelry - Because You Can't Use Them For Anything Else!

That's right!  You can't use squished pennies for anything else other than stuffing them in some collector book that's going to sit on the shelf and collect dust. 

I found this great idea from the EPBOT blog and, with the help of my lovely assistant, Husband, turned some SanFran and CT squished pennies into a very simple bracelet.

Ice Cream Ornaments

Mom's annual cookie exchange theme for this year was Ice Cream Social.  She made mint chocolate chip, peppermint and vanilla ice cream in addition to chocolate bars (that come from mars!), white chocolate cranberry cookies and peppermint cookies.  It was a sweets feast complimented by mini meatballs, baked brie with cranberry filling, cheese and crackers, taco bites, veggies and dip, hot apple cider and wine, wine, wine.

Mom starts thinking about party favors in July and this year we decided on ice cream ornaments.  I looked at several styles of handmade ornaments and decided to use this idea from the Icing Designs blog.  The end result was a quick and cute holiday ice cream ornament.

Mom's Exploding Visit to SanFran

Mom's bags were packed the same day my brother and I asked her to visit - woah!

Mom had never been to San Francisco, let alone Northern California, and, needless to say, she had a blast!  Two weeks was clearly not enough time but it was enough time for her to enjoy a visit with two of her kids and relax from a crazy year.  What better way to remember her time here than scrapbooking her visit?  An exploding box! 

I found the tutorial from the Glitter Adventure blog.  At first it seemed a little intimidating with all of the steps but once I had the materials, the base was easily created in very little time!  I think the hardest part was picking out which pictures to use.  For a first time exploding box, it came out to be very cute . . . 

. . . and Mom loved it!

Simple Chocolate Treats

I am a simpleton.

The almond joys I made a few months ago turned out gigantic and were difficult to eat without making a gigantic mess so I decided the next go would be something bite sized.  These turned out to be perfect.  They take two bites (unless you're my husband who pops the whole thing in his mouth) and are just as satisfying as the "real" thing.

1. Lined mini baking cups with melted chocolate
2. Filled with coconut filling using a small cookie dough scoop
3. Placed one slightly roasted almond in each cup
4. Topped with ~1 teaspoon of melted chocolate
5. Let candies set in refridgerator

This recipe is very, very easy to make and I found it on the Greens and Chocolate blog.

But now what do I do with leftover chocolate??  More marshmallows!  These cute candy cane marshmallow treats came from the Liv Life blog.

I also went back to stuffed, dipped marshmallows.  I stuffed the marshmallows with larger chunks of crushed candy cane, dipped in leftover chocolate and rolled in smaller crushed candy cane.  It's a peppermint frenzy!

More chocolate, still?  No problem!  Husband and I are fans of chocolate dipped pretzels.  I still had toffee chips from my failed attempt at homemade twix and my last marshmallow frenzy and leftover pecans from Thanksgiving - perfect for chocolate dipped pretzel embellishments!
I chose salted versus unsalted pretzels.  I really like the salty n' sweet mix and these mini pretzels are perfect for satisfying a mini sweet craving.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Stuffed & Dipped Marshmallows and Chocolate Brownie Balls

It's almost Halloween and my sister, her boyfriend and friend are coming to visit.  It's not a visit without some sweets so following the success of the snickers, I wanted to try other things.  I recently sent a friend some stuffed marshmallows from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival.  I had never had these before and he told me they tasted great, so why not make them myself?

These are so easy to do and do not use a lot of chocolate for the dipping.  I had leftover chocolate candy melts from some cake pops I had made, M&Ms from my standing-in-line-at-store-snacky feeling, chocolate chips from the snickers bars and toffee bits from the "fancy" twix I unsuccessfully attempted.  Perfect, all I needed were marshmallows.

So I adopted these instructions from the Dip It In Chocolate blog.

chocolate candy melts
goodies to stuff marshmallows with

1. Lay out your marshmallows and goodies to stuff them with.

2. Cut out a piece of the center of the marshmallows and put them to the side.

3. Stuff them!  I started with two M&Ms to a marshmallow but later added a third.  I used two-three chocolate chips and a sprinkle of the toffee bits, just enough to stuff them below the cut line. 

4. Place the cut pieces of marshmallow on top of the marshmallow.  It was sticky so I picked it up with the tip of the knife and squished the top of the marshmallow over it so the cut pieces could "adhere" back to the rest of the marshmallow.  Very simple to do.

5. Dip away!  To differentiate between the toffee and M&M, after dipping them in chocolate I dipped them into the toffee bits, also added a cute touch to the marshmallows.

6. Set aside and allow the chocolate to settle.  I didn't put them in the refrigerator right away.  Instead, I worked on dipping brownie balls!

Brownie balls - simple, simple, simple to make.  Bake up some brownies, cut them up, roll them into balls.  They are moist enough that you do not need to add any frosting but I did add a 1/4 cup of vanilla for taste.  I am definitely not a master at chocolate dipping but found this technique to be helpful.

Stuffed-dipped marshmallows, chocolate dipped brownies, salted caramels, Caneles and Benziger port night at the Neilans.