Sunday, February 26, 2012

Salted Caramel Lava Cake

{Weekend Retreat}
This weekend I went to my parents for a visit and to finish a project or two.  It's a great place to work on projects because there are fewer distractions there - mainly no internet and no cable tv.  And Sasha loves to see me.

Each morning, Sasha and I went for a walk.

Our Saturday stroll.

Sunday - This hill looks innocent here but it kicks my butt every time.

{Pinterest Challenge}
I'll post later about the projects I did but here is the dessert I made Saturday night that I found on Pinterest - Salted Caramel Lava Cake

The cake was good.  I loved the salty caramel taste.  I wish the caramel would have melted better.  I cut it into pieces like the recipe said but it still didn't melt very well.  Maybe the caramels weren't fresh enough.  Verdict - Must make again.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bottle Charms

{Operation Organize the Craft Room}
2012 is the year of organization.  Okay, I may have made that up but this year I am going to organize my home, including some serious decluttering.  I have two boxes/bags ready to go to Goodwill.  Last weekend I started on my big craft cabinet where I found these from a long time ago project.

I think the idea at the time was to sell them at a craft show.  That obviously didn't happen so it is time to get rid of them.  But those charms are so pretty.  How can I use them?  Then I looked in my craft closet and saw the perfect solution.

They would be a super accent for my marker and scissor holders!  All I would need was more beads and stretch beading elastic to make them bigger.  And I already had that so I was good to go.

My favorite is the create one.  When I came across the tube of those fun and colorful beads in my boxes of beads, I knew I had to use them.  They just made me smile.

Of course, this one gave me the most problems and I blame the cup.  Unlike the other cups, which were curvy, this one gradually got smaller from top to bottom.  The first one I made was too big.  So I had to restring it.  Although the cup is not ideal and the charm sits way at the bottom, I still love it the best.  And for fun, I put a flower bead and leaf bead in the back.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

For this post, I am taking you to my kitchen.  

I have a sweet tooth.  A very very sweet tooth.  I like to always have some cookies or bars or something sweet around my house.  So, to celebrate Valentine's Day, I decided to make and decorate heart cookies.  I'm not exactly a sugar cookie fan but that is what I decided to make.  And I wanted a great sugar cookie so I set out to search the web for the best recipe and I found this one for soft and chewy sugar cookies from Brown Eyed Baker.  It is a winner for sure!  I'm going to have another cookie after I finish this post.

I baked the cookies on Saturday.  I did the decorating today (Sunday).  While looking at all the great pins on Pinterest, I found the inspiration for how I wanted to decorate the cookies.  The day got off to a slow start when I couldn't figure out how to put together the icing bag.  After a quick google search I solved my problem, well not with the icing bag I had.  Instead, I ended up using a large ziploc bag.  (Bonus of this trick is no clean up of the bag!)  Then, I struggled a little to get the right consistency on the icing for piping.  I made powdered sugar icing and not royal icing.  Finally, I got that right and off I went to piping the outside of the heart.  I was motoring right along, getting into a groove when I blew out my piping bag.  Oops!  Quick reload of a new ziploc bag and I finished up all the hearts.  Then I made more icing, this time a little thinner in order to 'flood' the cookies. I have never decorated cookies this way and I think I like it although it is a little more time consuming.  Next up the dots.  I colored the thinned icing with red and pink food coloring and put each into a squeeze bottle.  Then the most fun of the day - making the dots.  I really liked how the cookies came out until I looked at the inspiration cookies.  Not quite as good as those.

All in all, the cookies look pretty and they are very tasty.  And I think I know what I will do differently next time.  And there will be a next time.  (Christmas?)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day Card

Valentine's Day is right around the corner but there is still time to make your valentine a special handmade card.  I made these cards for my valentines.

Since it is a pretty quick project, I thought I'd try doing my first tutorial.  Please enjoy.

Here is what you need:
  • blank card
  • heart pattern and scissor to cut out (I used my cricut machine to cut out heart)
  • small scrap of fabric
  • sewing machine and thread
  • stamp and ink pad
  • marker
  • cardstock
  • small piece of batting
  • glue

Start by cutting out a heart shape from the blank card.  I used my cricut machine but if you don’t have one just trace a heart on the card and use scissors to cut it out.

Take the fabric scrap, put on the back side of the card, and stitch around using a sewing machine.

Stamp a message on the card.  I used a Happy Valentine’s Day stamp with red ink.

Color around the border with a marker.

To finish the card I added a little batting to give some body to the heart.  Lay a piece of batting cut into the heart shape onto the back of the heart.  The final step is to cover the back.  Cut out a piece of cardstock just a little smaller than the card and glue onto the back, over the batting.

Ta Da!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Padded iPad Case

I got an iPad2 for Christmas and I love it.  But it was missing something.  It was missing a perfect case for storage.  Of course my first thought was that I would make this perfect little case.  But how?  Etsy was my first source to search and I did find some nice patterns there but nothing really got me overly excited.  So I headed over to google and after a couple of days, I found just what I was looking for on the Polka Dot Chair Blog.

It was perfect and so pretty.  I couldn't wait to go to the fabric store and pick out fabric and ribbon.  However, before I could make it to the fabric store, I decided that I should and could make it from my fabric stash at home. And as Barney Stinson would say - Challenge Accepted!

With one exception and a substitution or two, I am very, very happy with my new iPad case.  It was a pretty quick sew which was great.

Now about that exception.  I had to buy a zipper.  I'm not a big fan of sewing zippers but I overlooked that for this project because I thought the zippered pouch was a great part of this case.

As for those other substitutions - I have several yards of flannel from an aborted quilt backing project so I used that instead of Minke for the lining.  The color is burgundy but I was going for function more than color coordination especially since it's on the inside.  The pattern called for auto liner 1/4" foam which I did not have.  Instead, I used polar fleece, which I have a tub full of.  While my fabric stash is bountiful, my ribbon stash is not.  So, I did not add any ribbon embellishments.

And now my iPad is complete.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Draft Stopper

Last year, I subscribed to Martha Stewart's Craft-A-Day emails.  Most went right to trash but I did keep about 100 of them in a craft folder.  In December, there was one for a Draft Dodger – something I could really use.  My house isn’t old but I always feel a draft by the few windows I had.  This was something I could definitely use!  I remember making a draft stopper as a 4-H project when I was younger.  It had cats on it.  I wonder where that is now.  For my first project of 2012, I decided to make some draft stoppers (I like that name better – I want the draft stopped!)  To make this project, I used some leftover fabric from some past projects.  Because my windows are so big, I had to make three for each window.  It was a fairly quick project.  Now, where is winter?