Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photo Triptych

This charming three picture frame helps you re create your favorite memories with a sequence of photos, like the wedding scenes shown here. You'll need 3 1/2 x 5 inch unfinished pine frames, four hinges with screws, and paint;these plain straight edge frames are all painted the same color.
Once the paint is dry, connect each frame with a pair of hinges.

Use tiny flathead screws with these hinges, and mount them with the pivot facing out. After placing the glass,photographs, and backing material in the frames, use a few glazing points to secure a covering of neutral colored card stock to the backs.

Attach 2 D rings to the middle frame, and hang your triptych on two nails or wall screws for extra support

Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Hearts

Are you felling soft hearted this Valentine's Day? Reach for some marshmallow and transform them into confections of affection. Start by greasing a heart shaped petit four cutter or aspic cutter with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cut several marshmallow in half horizontally , and then press the cutter into the center of each one. Float the marshmallows and the cutouts on hot chocolate.

4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
4 tablespoons fine chopped or shaved semisweet chocolate

Bring all ingredients to a simmer over medium heat , stirring until chocolate has melted

Personalized Chocolates

Woo a crush with personalized treats; Pipe designs and messages onto store bought chocolates.

In a double boiler over low heat, melt chopped up chocolate bar, whisking frequently

Place in a plastic bag with a corner snipped

Pipe onto chocolates of a contrasting color; let dry

Package with cellophane and ribbon

Valentine's Craft

These cute little hearts are a great alternative for valentines and your kids can make it themselves!!

You need

Scissors/craft foam/permanent markers/pipe cleaners/pencil

How to

Cut a small heart from craft foam

With a permanent marker, print a short message on the front and the name of the giver on the back

Poke an inch of the pipe cleaners through the bottom of the heart, bend it down, and twist it back around the remaining length of pipe cleaner.

Coil the pipe cleaner tightly around the pencil

Gently pull up on the heart so that part of the coil bobs freely above pencil with several loops anchored around eraser

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heart Shaped Tea Bag

Warm someone up by adding a handwritten note to a tea bag. Cut two hearts out of red construction paper using a hear shaped crafter's hole punch.

Use a metallic pen to write a short message on one of the hearts. Next,remove a tea bag tag and,at the end of the string,affix two hearts, back to back,using double sided tape or a stapler. Package bags to give as a present, or steep one in hot water and serve.

Craft Material Organizer

Don't let craft projects leftovers--odd lengths of ribbon and oversize papers- get crumpled; Keep then orderly with large clips that are hung on nails in the door of a supply closet or sewing room. Organize papers by size so you can see what you have.

Fold an index card around layers to prevent the clip from making a dent. Suspend scissors and other tools from string

Chalk Dehumidifier

A bundle of chalk hung in a closet will absorb extra moisture and keep clothing fresh and dry,and takes up much less room than an electric dehumidifier.

Mount a hook in the closet, out of the way of clothes or linens. Fasten a rubber band around a dozen pieces of chalk,and cover the band with ribbon,allowing loop to hang chalk.

Button-Heart Cuff Links

Let him wear your heart on his sleeve with a set of symbolic cuff links,fashioned from mother of pearl buttons and silk beading cord.

How to

To make 1 set of cuff links, you'll need four 1/2 inch heart shaped buttons,preferably made from mother of pearl.They used red silk beading cord, but any sturdy thread is fine.

Holding 2 buttons 1/4 inch apart,run the threaded needle back and forth through the buttons holes several times.

Enclose the center strands of thread by sewing about a dozen blanket stitches close together. Run needle back through completed blanket stitches; trim thread close to starting point .

Repeat with remaining 2 buttons to complete the set of cuff links.

Slender Rose Arrangement

Isn't this a gorgeous table setting !! A mixed bouquet can be artfully rearranged among a dozen slender vases,freeing each bloom to flaunt its beauty. Much is made of long stems,but trimming them to staggered heights lets individual roses stand out

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fleece Mittens

These easy fleece mittens can be made and enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a very basic mitten pattern that you can modify to fit your own skills and personality

You need

1/4 yard of fleece /plain paper/pencil/straight pins/scissors/sewing machine

How to

Put a piece of paper down on your work surface;lay your hand on top of it,fingers together. Starting about at least an inch below your wrist,trace around your hand to create a mitten pattern. Cut out your pattern staying an inch outside of the line you drew to give you enough room for a seam allowance

Use your pattern to cut out 4 pieces of fleece to make your mittens. Pin two of the mitten pieces together,right sides together,lining up all edges evenly. Repeat for the other set of mitten pieces

Stitch a straight stitch to sew your mittens edges together Begin at the wrist and sew around all edges leaving the wrist open.

Turn your mittens right side out and they are ready to wear. You can also cut the wrist edge a little longer and fold it up to make a cuff.

Tangle Proof Yarn Case

For many of us, knitting is relaxing. But when the yarn inevitably becomes tangles, it can feel more like an exercise in frustration, Here's one way to keep things from getting knotty. Gather empty cookie tins left over from the holidays, or purchase new ones.

Apply a coat of oil based enamel paint any hue to outside of tin and lid;let dry overnight. Using a grommet lit,attach a grommet to the lids center. Place ball of yarn inside, and thread an end through the grommet before securing lid.

Brag Books

Wallet size accordion brag books filled with snapshots make wonderful keepsakes for relatives who have yet to see the full range of baby's first expressions. Use original photos for a single book,or make color copies to use in multiple books. Enlarge or reduce photographs to suite the size of your books.

You need

11x17 inch lightweight art paper/scissors.glue stick/wallet size baby photos or color photocopies/heavy paper or wallpaper for cover /hole punch and ribbon for bow closure

How to

Accordion fold the 11x17 inch paper. Glue a cutout color copied picture or original photo to each panel. Trim the paper to align with the photo's edges. Below each photo,write or rubber stamp it's date or add captions.

To make cover, cut a piece of heavy stock or art paper,to the same height and twice the length of your closed accordion book. Fold the paper in half-one for the front cover and one for the back.and glue the last accordion panel to the inside of the back cover. Punch hole midway up the right edge of the front cover, and thread it with a ribbon to serve as a wraparound bow closure.

Conversation Piece

Gosh, is this not beautiful!! A Valentine of any age will enjoy the fun messages that this arrangement delivers. Pastel candy hearts proclaiming "Class Act" and " Be True" and tulips in complementary colors, such as creamy"Cheers" pale pink "New Design" and "Apricot Beauty", convey your feelings with more than words.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ham and Cheese Crescent Snacks

This recipe makes 24 of these delicious snacks. Another great idea for card night.

You need

1 can crescent dinner rolls
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

How to

Heat oven to 375

On ungreased cookie sheet , unroll dough.Press or roll dough to form 13x9 rectangle,pressing perforations to seal. Form 1.4 inch rim around edges.

In a bowl mix butter,and mustard. Spread mixture over dough. Sprinkle with ham,onion,bell pepper and cheese

Bake 18-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Pita Pizza

All you need is mozzarella cheese,sliced veggies,olive oil, pita pockets, and a grill. Brush the pita with oil,layer on the veggies and cheese, and then grill until the pita is crisp, the veggies are tender and the cheese is melted.

I think that this recipe can be adapted to the oven and with any toppings your family likes, but this one would make a great camping recipe.

You need

1 pita bread
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons pizza sauce
1.2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat grill (or oven )

Spread one side of the pita with olive oil and pizza sauce. Top with cheese and mushrooms and season with garlic salt.

Lightly oil grill grate. Place pita pizza on grill, cover, and cook until cheese completely melts,about 5 minutes.

No Roll Mexican Rice Enchiladas

Take the mess out of making a Mexican favorite;just fill,fold, and bake these vegetarian rice bean cheese enchiladas

You need

1 box rice and vermicelli mix with Spanish seasonings
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 1/4 cups water
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can pinto beans ,drained and rinsed
1 can Southwestern style corn,drained
1 package flour tortillas
2 cups finely shredded Mexican cheese

How to

Spray a 13x9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 12 inch skillet,cook rice and vermicelli with butter over medium heat until rice mixture is golden brown,stirring frequently. Stir in water and seasoning mix from rice box. Heat to boiling, Cover;reduce heat to low. Cook 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce,the pinto beans and corn.

Heat oven to 350 Place about 1/2 cup rice mixture on center of each tortilla;top rice mixture with about 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold each in half. Arrange tortillas in 2 rows of 5 in baking dish;placing tortillas open end up,slanting and overlapping. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over enchiladas. Cover tightly with foil

Bake 30-35 minutes or until hot and sauce begins to bubble. Uncover ;sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes longer

Memory Box

You can't keep your little one from growing up too fast,but by filling a box with birthday mementos, you can at least capture a moment in time. Buy an acid free photo storage box to preserve pictures and cards,snippets of ribbon and wrapping paper, the invitation,candles and more.

Even better than a photograph,these keepsakes will recall the day in vivid detail; create a box to mark the first-or every-birthday

Hanger Sachets

It's always nice to have clothes that smell sweet. And it's easy enough to achieve this with just some fabric and a few cedar blocks or pouches of lavender. These sachets can be hung over a hanger in the closet to infuse your entire wardrobe with their fresh aroma

You need

14x20 piece of loose weave fabric such as fine cotton gauze /bone folder or chopstick/1/4 inch linen tape/cedar blocks or muslin pouches filled with lavender/hanger

How to

Fold one short end of the fabric in by 1/4 inch;press. Fold over one more;press. Topstitch. Repeat for the other short end

Fold fabric in half lengthwise. with the wrong sides facing out. Sew sides together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance;sew along the cut side edges with a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying. Turn right side out.Poke out the corners with a bone folder or chopstick

For the ties,cut 6- 10 inch lengths of line tape;on one end of each tie,tuck under 1/4 inch and press. Sew two ties to the inside corners of the open end and one tie to the top middle of the back of the pouch. Sew the remaining 3 ties to the front of the pouch,3 inches up from the bottom, spaced to correspond with the first three ties.

Tuck a few cedar blocks or lavender into the pouch

Fold the sachet in half over the bar of the hanger,and tie in place

Another Snowy day inVeyo

We woke up to snow again this morning !!!
These pictures are for you Pat.
Where is Spring ??? I need it bad!!!

Heart Candle Wreath

Let this whimsical candle wreath set the mood for a Valentine's Day gathering or a quiet evening for two.

You need

Pink patterned paper/White card stock/scissors/craft wire/beads(optional)/Large candle

How to

Cut strips of different pink patterned paper and adhere them to same size strips of white card stock

Die cut,punch, or freehand cut two sizes of hearts from the patterned papers. Pole tiny holes in some of the hearts to allow wire to be threaded through them.

Join the hearts by running wire through the holes and also by wrapping the wire around the hearts,measuring the candle circumference as you go. If you wish, slide beads onto the wire as you twist and bend it into curls and loops.

Bottle up your Love

Recycle a vintage glass bottle(easily found at a flea market or secondhand store) into a Valentine's message in a bottle. Throw in feathers,cookie fortunes, and delicate paper curlicues, then top with a cork and tag

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eye Candy

This easy to make centerpiece serves double duty with its sugary contents. Thread each end of a piece of ribbon through the holes of a button;know behind to secure. Loosely tie ribbon around the top of a long handled spoon so the buttons trail down each side. Set the spoon in a glass;fill with candies

Valentine Glow

Ok, we have taken care of the kids for awhile. These are adorable. Fill plain glass votive candle holders with candy nonpareils for seasonal color. Small glass beads from the crafts store offer a similar look.

Dynamic Duo

Double the fun this Valentine's Day with a pair of sweet treats.

You need

Double sided tape/wrapped treats/card stock/marker

How to

Using double sided tape,secure one end of 2 individually wrapped treats inside a piece of folded card stock

Write your message with markers on the outer flap.

Suggested Messages

We're two of a kind
You've met your match
You're two cute

Celeste, here's another one !!

Get to the Point

Pencil in your sentiments with this super easy --and practical -valentine gift. Another great one for the kids

You need

Card stock/pencil/double sided tape/marker

How to

Cut a 3/4 x1 1/2 inch strip of card stock,roll one end around the top of a pencil, and secure it with double sided tape. Draw on hearts or tape on card stock ones, then write your message with marker.

Suggested Messages

Write on Valentine

You're all write

You're so sharp

Celeste-- This is a good one for your kids !!

Friendship Blossoms

Here, two classic Valentine's Day gifts-- flowers and candy--combine to make one sweet treat

You need

Scrap booking paper or card stock/scissors/lollipop/tape

How to

For each, cut three heart shaped petals,two leaves,and two flower centers from scrap booking paper or card stock

Poke a small hole in each,crease the petals as shown,and slide the pieces onto a lollipop stem. Tape the bottom secure

Lollipop Flowers

There is something irresistibly simple and lovely about this card,and your sweetheart is sure to be a sicker for the candy treat it hides. Great activity for the kids.

You need

Red and green construction paper or card stock/scissors.lollipop/glue stick

How to

From red construction paper,cut out a heart that's just larger than the lollipop candy and glue it to the wrapper

For the leaves,fold green paper in half and cut out a leaf shape,leaving the two sides attached at the seam

Unfold the double leaf shape.coat the entire inside surface with glue,and fold it back over the lollipop stem,pressing to secure.

Don't you just love it !!!

This big Thank You goes out to my very talented daughter,Jennifer. She designed my blog for Valentine's Day. Is it not the cutest thing you have ever seen.

Remember, if you are in the mood for a beautiful change Jennifer designs blogs . She is very good at what she does and I am sure that you would be very happy with her talent. If you want to get in touch with her,contact me and I will pass the info on to her.

Thanks again,Jennifer.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Aging Terra-Cotta

Clay pots gradually whiten with age, showing evidence of mineral leaching from water through the years. Here's how to get that charming,weathered look without waiting.

1. Stir 1 cup of lime powder, a mineral available at garden centers, into 2 cups of water until it takes on a thick,gravy like consistency, With a bristle crush,paint the solution onto pots,sparingly in some places and generously in others.
2. When the pot is completely coated and still wet, spray some spots with water from a spray bottle on the stream setting to let some of the line solution run off

3. Allow the pot to dry,then sand in a random pattern with medium grit sandpaper about 150 grit until you are satisfied with the gently mottled surface.

Paving Stone Table

The smooth, flat slabs normally used as stepping stones last for years under any weather conditions-- a quality that makes them ideal as outdoor tabletops. The stones can be found in a variety of shapes and colors at most home supply stores and garden centers.

To make a pedestal table,choose a heavy terra-cotta urn for the base and a paving stone for the top.

Place the urn on level ground right side up or upside down, and then top it with the stone. The weight of the stone will hold the table in place,season after season.

Rustic Table

A slab of stone and a few overturned flowerpots make a table that blends into the garden so well,it almost looks like something you unearthed while turning the soil.

The top is a piece of marble,but slate or even an old wooden door--would work just as well. Simply place it on top of four large upside down Terra cotta flowerpots.

Once assembled, the table can be used as a work surface or an outdoor coffee table,more than sturdy enough to rest your feet on .

Basic Microwave Risotto

If all the stirring, stirring has discouraged you from making creamy risotto, then read on. This simple recipe cooks up all by itself in about 20 minutes. You can add different ingredients to the basic recipe .

You need

3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic minced
1 onion chopped
1 1 /2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to

In a 3 quart microwave safe dish combine butter,garlic,and onion. Place dish in microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes
Place vegetable broth in a microwave dish, Heat until the broth is hot but not boiling
Stir the rice and broth into the casserole dish with the onion,butter and garlic mixture. Cover the dish tightly and cook on high for 6 minutes.
Stir wine into the rice. Cook on high for 10 more minutes Most of the liquid should boil off. Stir the cheese into the rice and serve.

This would go great with the Parmesan Chicken !!

Parmesan Chicken

This recipe is very simple and great for weeknight dinner

You need

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

How to

Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness

In a shallow bowl,combine bread crumbs,Parmesan cheese and basil

In another bowl, beat the egg.Dip chicken into egg,then coat with crumb mixture

In a large skillet,brown chicken in butter and oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear

Crafts Cupboard

If you don't have a spare room, just dedicate a corner to creativity. This compact cupboard keeps all your supplies in one spot,so you won't have to search for paper or paint when a craft mood strikes. Start with a plain bookcase;install a curtain to keep everything under wraps. You could also consider mounting it on a wall and out of the way.

How to

Outfit a bookcase to hold supplies;glass jars for markers and pencils;a three tier cooling rack for paper;baking pans for crayons,ribbons,scissors, and pastels;a lazy Susan for easy access to glues and paints; paper covered shoes boxes for photos; and clear plastic toolboxes for sewing notions.

Sew curtains from two panels of patterned cotton, or shorten a store bought set to fit your bookcase

Floral Pillows with Ultrasuede Petals

Store bought cushions spring to life when adorned with pretty,handmade Ultrasuede florets. Ultrasuede does not fray so you won't need to hem the petals. Scatter them all over one side or flower arrange just a few in one corner

You need

Ultrasuede/needle and thread/store bought pillow

Cut a shape of a petal. Cut out 4 petals from fabric
Knot end of thread;sew a running stitch through bottom of petals,making 2 stitches for each
Gently pull thread to gather petals,and know thread
Make 1 more stitch to connect last and first petals to form flower;then knot and trim thread
Repeat making flowers in a variety of sizes. Tack stitch flowers to pillow.

Easy Crescent Taco Bake

Refrigerated crescent dinner rolls unite as a quick crust to hold ground beef,cheese,salsa and seasoning in this easy to assemble main dish

You need

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb ground beef
3/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce/diced tomato

How to

Heat oven to 375 unroll dough;separate into 8 triangles .Place in ungreased 9 inch square pan or10 inch pie plate;press over bottom and up sides to form crust

In a skillet cook beef over medium heat; drain. Stir in salsa and taco seasoning mix and simmer for 5 minutes Spoon meat mixture in crust lined pan;sprinkle with cheese

Bake 20-25 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. Served topped with lettuce and tomato.

Crunchy Nacho Dogs

A great recipe for kids to cook. This recipe can be easily increased.

You need

1 can crescent rolls
4 slices American Cheese
4 hot dogs
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup crushed nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips

How to

Heat oven to 375 Lightly grease cookie sheet

Unroll dough; separate dough into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal.

Place cheese slices on rectangles;place hot dog in center of each. Fold short sides of dough over hot dogs;roll up each. Press edges to seal. Brush rolls with milk;roll in crushed chips. Place rolls,seam side down,on cookie sheet.

Bake 15-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Superbowl Peanut Butter Balls

Here's another touchdown recipe for your Superbowl party.

You need

2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

How to

Melt peanut butter and butter in saucepan, over low heat. In a large bowl,mix crispy rice cereal and confectioners' sugar well. Pour melted peanut butter and butter over cereal and sugar and blend together thoroughly

Form into 1 inch or smaller balls, spread on cookie sheets,chill til firm in refrigerator

Melt chocolate in double boiler and keep melted while working with balls. A teaspoon is best to use in dipping the balls in chocolate. Dip good and place on cookie sheet. As you dip them place them back on cookie sheet and keep chilled til firm

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chocolate Nachos

This would be a great ending to a Mexican dinner. Start to finish 35 minutes and it makes 64 wedges.

You need

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8- 6 inch flour tortillas
1/4 cup butter melted ( no substitutes)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
2 teaspoons shortening

How to

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Brush one side of each tortilla with melted butter;sprinkle with sugar mixture. Cut each tortilla into eight wedges. Arrange half of the wedges in a single layer on a 15x10x1 baking pan. Bake in a 350 oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned

Meanwhile melt chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan. Remove wedges from oven. Spread in an even layer on a serving platter;cool slightly. Drizzle with half of the melted chocolate mixture. Repeat for second batch


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