Christmas Goodies

16 Dec

Every year I usually spend a day or two baking Christmas goodies with my mother, aunt, grandma and sisters. We would make everything from sugar cookies to caramels! This year was a little different since December has been busier than usual. With people moving, Family #2’s Christmas, etc… I didn’t make it home to bake. The past couple nights however, Kyle and I have been making some Christmas goodies of our own!

We made a fan favorite, Buckeyes, and also peppermint bark, which is new for me. It was Kyle’s idea to make it so I obliged and we made it! It was a lot easier than I expected it to be and turned out really good. I looked at a couple different recipes online just to see what they said but all included two main ingredients…white chocolate and peppermint pieces (go figure!). Those two are the only things we used too!

I purchased the vanilla flavored Almond Bark from Wal Mart(WM), it was significantly cheaper than buying Bakers Chocolate or Vanilla Chocolate Chips. I also bought the WM brand peppermint candies instead of buying candy canes. 1. Because I couldn’t find normal candy canes and 2. they were cheaper!

All you have to do to make the peppermint bark is melt the chocolate and add peppermint pieces. I used a double-boiler for this because I used the whole 1lb brick of Almond Bark. It also helps to cut your chocolate up into slivers so it melts easier. Sometimes I am impatient and have the tendency to burn chocolate in the microwave, so this way was much more effective.

I also melted half then added in the other half just so I didn’t crowd the bowl with a bunch of pieces. Once most of the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and keep stirring! Add in the crushed peppermint pieces, stir and spread on a metal baking sheet covered with wax paper.

I reserved some of the bigger pieces of crushed peppermint to put on top of the bark just to make it look a little fancier. Let it cool for a good half hour in the fridge or until completely hard. Then comes the fun part of breaking it all up. I kept mine in about 2 in x 2 in pieces. Some looked better than others, some are triangles, some are just weird shaped.

I had some left over chocolate from dipping buckeyes and some crushed peppermint so I made some milk chocolate peppermint bark. It wasn’t bad but I think I like it with white chocolate better.

This is the perfect gift to give friends, co-workers, hair dressers, mailman, the list goes on and on! You can put it in a decorative tin, pretty Christmas plate or just in a snack baggy with some ribbon.

Amy Marie

P.S. Coming soon…A present for the dog in your life!

Vanilla Sugar Scrub

15 Dec

Last night I was bound and determined to be productive…and I was! I cleaned the kitchen, made buckeyes and also tried out a vanilla sugar scrub. I found directions for it on Pinterest, of all places, and thought it would be the perfect filler for some presents.

I modified my recipe a little bit but I think it still worked out perfectly! This was one of the fasted gifts I have ever made.

Ingredients:

3 cups Sugar
1 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine all three ingredients, yup that’s it! Super easy I tell ya. Now if you want a stronger scent of vanilla you can add more in. It also depends on your brand of vanilla because I think some are a little more concentrated than others. The original post I saw called for essential oil but I didn’t really feel like going to the store to buy some. I did a little research and found that vanilla is safe to use, and some people even use it daily for hair and body wash!

After mixing just place it in a pretty jar and make a little label. I had some old jam jars laying around and put it in there with some x-mas fabric on top! I also used the left overs myself and my hands were silky smooth 🙂

Amy Marie

P.S. Only 4 more crafts to go! Thinking about adding in some candy recipes, do those count as crafts??

P.S.S. I will post a picture of the scrub after work today!

Sources:
Sugar Scrub
Vanilla Uses

FREE COOK BOOK For All you Kindle Folks

13 Dec

So this is just going to be a quick post, but I wanted to let you all know about an awesome deal I found through Budget Saving Mom! You can get a free digital edition of the Gooseberry Patch Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook!!

Follow the link connected to the cook book title and it takes you to amazon.com. Even if you don’t have a Kindle there is Kindle app’s for PC, iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry. Amazon will help you get those app’s if you don’t have them.

I guess Amazon does this every once and a while without warning and there is no telling how long it may last. So go now and get it!

Thought this was too good not to share! Enjoy!

Amy Marie

Weekend Update

12 Dec

What a boring post title but it’s all I got today. This morning was one of those morning where I pushed the snooze button a million times; I just didn’t want to get up! This weekend was pretty busy though.

We woke up bright and early Saturday to move the rest of my stuff from Columbus to  Kyles, which I need to start referring to as ours I suppose. If you have ever lived in an apartment complex you know that you must clean, clean, clean before you move out so you get your security deposit back. Luckily my parents came down to help with the moving and cleaning. It only took one 12 ft trailer and a mini van (no seats) to get all my stuff home.

Since the weather has been crappy in terms of harvesting weather, Kyle and  his family still have about 300 acres to go. For those of you not in farming, you normally harvest corn in October-Early November. This year however many farmers still have crops in the field. In order to get them out we have had to wait until the ground freezes. Since its coldest at night, Kyle and his dad started farming about 10pm on Saturday. The plan was to farm through the night and well into Sunday. Unfortunately about 4:15 am I got a call that the combine broke and then caught on fire! EEK! I was worried but I guess it was small and everyone was ok.

Sunday was literally a day of rest. But I did get to do some crafting with Alisia and also got some grocery and Christmas shopping done. I am planning to get a few more of those 12 Crafts of Christmas posted this week so stay tuned!

Amy Marie

Make it With Yarn!

11 Dec

A few weeks ago my soon to be sister-in-law sent me an invite online to a group craft day, unfortunately I couldn’t go but really wanted to make the craft. Since I couldn’t go she was nice enough to hold off and make the craft with me (she’s so sweet!). So this afternoon after grocery shopping and feeding my farmer (who was up all night and battles a combine fire) I headed over to have some fun.

The craft we made was a Yarn Wrapped Wreath. These things are all over Pinterest and Etsy! Prices on Etsy range from $12 – $60+, and we were able to make ours for under $5 each. Now both of us did have yarn on hand and extra decorations on hand but at any craft store you can find wreath forms for a couple bucks.

Supplies:
Styrofoam or straw wreath
1 bundle of yarn
Hot Glue (optional)
Decorations for wreath

This is a simple but somewhat time consuming craft. To start off just tie your yarn in a knot around the wreath. You can hot glue it to help hold in place, we found that this was helpful. Then wrap until your whole wreath is covered, it took us almost 1 hour to wrap. Once wrapped you tie another knot to hold in place. Last step is adding decoration; endless possibilities! I added on gold snowflakes to a green wreath to match our gold/green christmas tree. This is my way of making the fiance think that its a John Deere tree 🙂 I’m sneaky like that…ok not really.

We found that if you use a straw wreath it appears a little more rustic and bumpy (for lack of a better word). I think if I make another one I will try it that way.
Just when you thought I was done for the night…craft #7 of the 12 Crafts of Christmas!

After coming home from wreath making I was inspired to do something with a styrofoam cone that I found at Kyle’s grandmothers house. Then it came to me…wrap it in yarn! So I did and I know have a beautiful tree to match my wreath. I pretty much followed the same steps but wrapped from top to bottom. I also secured the bottom with some wire (think u shaped) and inserted it into the form. Almost like a staple to hold it in place.

I’m not crazy about the snowflake at the top, but I also think it needs some friends! Its a lonely tree, but pretty none the less!

Well with 7 crafts down there are only 5 more crafts to go! I hope you have been inspired to make some Christmas crafts of your own!

Amy Marie

P.S. A week update coming tomorrow 🙂

On the Third Day of Christmas…

8 Dec

That’s right, its Christmas craft #3 (4 and 5). I haven’t decided weather or not tonight’s post will count as one craft or three. I guess it really depends on time (whether or not I run out before 12 crafts). But tonight I am sharing with you three things to do with wire and beads. I have seen things like these before, but usually in a fancy boutique for $30 a pop!

Tonight I made a mason jar luminary, beaded spoon and wine glass. All three of these would make a perfect gift for any holiday party you are attending. The directions are about the same for all three, just working with different objects, so I’m not going to repeat the directions three times (besides, you don’t wanna read that much anyways).

Supplies:
18 or 20 gauge wire
Assorted beads
pliers, needed nosed if available

First step is to cut your wire to nesecary length. The bigger the object the more wire needed.  For the the spoon and the jar I used about 2.5-3 feet. About 2 feet for the glass. Secure one end of the wire by wrapping tightly around the object like a twist tie on bread (best way I can think to describe it). It should be fairly tight and not move around on you. Now string the beads! See the two methods below

There are two ways to attack these projects.

1. You can string your beads onto the wire before you wrap (if doing this, leave enough wire to secure to object.)
2. String your beads as you go along

Both ways work fine, with the spoon #1 seemed easier but for the wine glass I found it easier to add beads as I went. Either way you do it just make sure you leave enough wire to wrap the whole length. Once you get it wrapped around I like to take a plain piece of wire to wrap back to the starting point. It gives it a little more security and decoration.

You can get the wire and beads in the jewelry section of almost any craft store including Wal Mart! You could also use floral wire if that’s what you have on hand.


And there you have it! Three great wire wrapped gift ideas. Can’t you imagine a dinner party with the mason jars as centerpieces, everyone drinking out of their unique wine glass and serving food with decorated flat ware! Ok, well maybe that vision is just in my head but I think it would be a lot of fun!

Amy Marie

Brand Spankin’ New?

7 Dec

Is there really a craft out there that no one has done?? Ok I’m sure there is one somewhere but even still that craft has to draw inspiration from some where. I recently stumbled upon a blog looking for feature bloggers. I thought it would be really fun, but at this point I’m struggling to f ind something completely original (requirement). In college my wise and amazing professor told me that no design is original, that things have been done before. She said that everything we come up with is just an old design revamped. I feel the same way about crafts.

I was trying to think through all the idea/things that I want to do here at Kyles  our house. Every thing I came up with someone else, some where out there, has done! To me, even pulling inspiration or recreating something from a more expensive store is to original. What are your thoughts on original crafts? I would love to heard what you guys have come up with or made!

Amy Marie

P.S. I got my ring cleaned tonight and it looks brand spankin’ new!! I couldn’t believe that it was just as sparkly as before 🙂

2 Samuel 22:29

6 Dec

You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29

Candles and winter seem to go hand in hand. Maybe its the thought of warmth or maybe that glimmer of hope that it might help reduce the heating bill! Either way, a fool proof gift for the holiday season, at least for me, is candles of some sort. I got the inspiration for my next 12 Crafts of Christmas craft from a gift I got a few years back. It was a pretty red plate with a decorated red candle.

I decided to create both on my own, proving to be much cheaper than going to a store like Yankee Candle. The plate is similar to a project we made in 4-H many moons ago. If we did it in 4-H it had to be pretty simple, which means anyone out there can do it! Yes even those who claim to be “crafting impaired.”

I started out with a clear glass plate, (I think about 6in diameter, but choose which size fits your candle), Christmas fabric scraps, Mod Podge(MP) and some glitter. All you need to do it cut your fabric to fit the plate, then cover the plate in MP, apply fabric and cover with one more coat of MP. You should work fast to smooth out any air bubbles before the MP dries. You can also spray the plate with clear coat to give it extra protection if you feel so inclined.

Before I put fabric down I added some glitter onto the MP just to add something extra. This step is optional.

Next we head to the warmth and glittery part of the project! I had seen this candle tutorial on Pinterest (of course) and thought I’d give it a try. This is super simple; you need a candle, double sided tape and GLITTER! Add double sided tape to your candle, in whatever pattern or design you want. Then, roll in the glitter. I did this on a large sheet of paper so I could easily return unused glitter back to its tube. Then use a dry sponge to wipe off the excess glitter.

I kept my design simple and did two lines but you can get as creative as you wish. Some other ideas would be to cut out snowflake designs or letters to personalize.

With the two parts completed, add them together for the full effect. A beautiful candle with plate; add in some flowers or greenery and it makes it that much better!

The total cost for the project was….$2!! The only things I needed to purchase were the plate and the candle. Everything else I had on hand, mostly left over from other projects. I got the plate and the candle at the Dollar Tree, although I’m sure Wal Mart would also have similar prices on their smaller plates and candles. This was a gift for my secret santa at work and I’m hoping she will enjoy it!

Amy Marie

P.S. Can you believe it that I have posted within 24 hours of the previous post?! I hardly can either! Go me!

Sources:
Glitter Candle

Drum Roll Please…..

5 Dec

And the first craft of the 12 Crafts of Christmas is….Ornaments! Ok I know it might sound a little boring, but I have been trying to decide all weekend what I was going to start with. I won’t lie, I am starting with this because I already have some done and knew that they were pretty much fool proof.

I have a couple different ornaments I’m going to share with y’all. The first (one I made couple weeks ago) is the Mop ‘n Glo ornament. You simple take a clear glass ornament, remove the top and dump in enough Mop ‘n Glo to cover the inside. If you have extra, just dump it back into the bottle. Next, using a funnel of some sort (I used the cut off corner of an envelope) pour some glitter in the bulb. I have been using the 99 cent tubes from JoAnn’s. They make 4-5 ornaments. Again if you have extra, just dump it back into the container. Here is the result….

I added a little extra decoration with a ribbon. You could also add on feathers, Christmas sticker, mini jewels, really the possibilities are endless. My wise cousin also suggests going to the Dollar Tree to get their Sweep ‘n Shine.

This next ornament also used a clear glass bulb and some scrap paper. I got my Christmas scrap book paper from Hobby Lobby during their 50% off Christmas sale.  (Lately I have been on a kick to find the best deal before starting a project, and its a good way to stock up on supplies.) Ok so for this ornament all you do is cut your paper into strips, roll it tight and then toss it in your ornament. I have seen this a couple different places, some using wedding invites, old Christmas cards, sentimental type stuff. Ta da!

I will say the I might have started out cutting the paper pretty small, therefore it took a lot more to fill it. But I was trying to make it to you could read the words “Merry Christmas” and whatnot.

What kind of ornaments have y’all been making? I know there are some other creative people out there! Comment, share a picture or shoot me an e-mail and I can share on my next post!

Amy Marie

P.S. I have already completed Christmas craft #2! Woot!

Sources:
Glitter Ornaments

Wrapper Paper Ornament

The 12 Crafts of Christmas

2 Dec

Last night I have every intention of posting, which would have been two posts in two days! But go figure it didn’t happen. I was productive last night, getting an order of coasters put together for a customer and also getting ready for a Tupperware vendor show.

I decided this morning on my drive to work that I need a blogging goal to work towards; therefore I am starting the 12 Crafts of Christmas! I have complete faith in myself that I can post 12 crafty posts before December 25. Heck it may include 4 crafts on Christmas Eve but I will do it!

Luckily, I have a new craft table and shelves to help me with this goal! Last week I came home from work to a surprise…

I love it! Now I can take everything out of the closet and display it proudly on my new work area. Including my Christmas present that is to come….I’ll give you a hint: its a bug! I shared the photo with some family and of course my brothers first question was, “what did he do to have to build you that??” Answer: NOTHING! He loves me and that’s why he built it [well at least that’s what I’m telling myself].

With the end of my lunch break looming I must wrap things up but I am so excited to get started on my 12 crafts of Christmas series feature! I also am making plans for a new series feature (is that the right word?) to come in 2012!!

Amy Marie

P.s. I still don’t think series is the word…maybe feature? We’ll see…