Friday, November 29, 2013

Peg Dolls

This year for Christmas we've decided to focus on giving our kids gifts that spark the imagination. Sturdy gifts that stand the test of time. In other words- no electronics. :) We're talking Lincoln Logs, Marble Works, art supplies, and a few homemade items.... like THESE!
SERIOUSLY! How cute is this little line up of Princesses?
They are even cute from behind.
This set isn't for Christmas though, it was actually a birthday gift for my youngest daughter. They were such a hit at her party, even the adults were drawn to them. And in the past few days my girls have spent endless hours playing make believe with these adorable little peg dolls.
Who would have thought something so simple could be so fun!? I bought the pegs at Hobby Lobby with a coupon. They ended up being 8 for $2.50. Then my sister helped me paint them while watching TV one night. (I LOVE a good excuse to chill in front of the TV, and I can justify it because I'm being productive at the same time!)

I also snagged a wooden chest on sale for $3 at Hobby Lobby. I thought it would be a fun container to keep the dolls in. There is plenty of room in the chest for more dolls which is awesome because I decided to make a few more sets for Christmas.
I'm SO excited!
Stay tuned for Super Heros, Phineas and Ferb, and Despicable Me Peg Dolls!

 What are your kids getting for Christmas this year?
Mine have each asked Santa for a special toy, which I'm sure he will provide. Then they each get two gifts from us, something they need and something fun... and apparently I can't stop there this year, looks like I have to throw in some peg dolls too! Maybe they'd make great stocking stuffers!? Do you have any other great homemade gift ideas for me? I'd love to hear about them!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hello everyone!  I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with loved ones and delicious food!

I found the idea for this cute turkey on Pinterest.  Unfortunately, it wasn't linked correctly (pet peeve...) so I cannot give credit to whomever first made this adorable fruit tray! 

I used my mother-in-law's caramel recipe:
2 c. Brown Sugar
1 c. Corn Syrup
1 c. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 c. Butter

Boil until it reaches 240 F
Remove from heat and add:
1 tsp. Vanilla
12 Large Marshmallows

This recipe is for caramel apples. My M-I-L says to not cook it as long so it won't harden in the bowl like it does on the apples. Make sure you cook it long enough to melt the sugar though! Otherwise it will turn out me.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Martha Stewart Home Office With Avery Review

I really can't describe my feelings when I opened my door one afternoon to find this waiting for me:

Well, hello, early Christmas present--straight from Martha herself!  Well...we can pretend anyways, right?  The card said to have fun decorating and organizing for the holidays.  It's like Martha KNOWS how much help I need with being organized!!  So I got right to work.

Any of you who need to eat gluten free can feel my pain.  One bag of flour has blossomed into about 10 different kinds plus starches and gums and other craziness (this isn't my only flour drawer, people)!  Since my flour loyalties are a little bit fluid (I have some millet flour I haven't used in a couple years.  My new BFF is coconut flour), I had been writing on my flour bins with a wet erase marker.  That way when I changed flour friends, I could easily change the labels with a wet paper towel.  Buuut, let's be honest, it isn't the prettiest thing in the world.

Cue the Martha fairy, and wham!  Chalkboard labels!  I used this tutorial at Indie Craft Parade to take a font from my computer (Lavandaria Sturdy, btw.  My FAVORITE ever) and transfer it in chalk to these cute labels.  Which I can reposition (I tried).  I also sprayed the labels with hairspray (before I put them on the flour--I don't want to eat that stuff!!) to make them semi permanent.  The chalk doesn't smudge without some effort, but I can still erase one and make it new if one of my flour friends turns fickle.

Does that NOT make you so happy that you GET to add Xanthan Gum to your recipes?  Or, if you have never heard of xanthan gum, doesn't that label make you want to know more?  It's so pretty!  And it was so EASY!!  My kind of project, I'm telling you!

Thanksgiving has some pretty key pieces that have gluten in them.  I'm thinking rolls and pie, my friends.  Sure, you could live without them (my love handles are telling me it'd be best), but I really hate having to tell my kids, "Sorry guys, those have gluten so you can't have any" even though they are the best sports ever.  So this Thanksgiving, I will be making some rolls and some pies.  And with these pretty labels, I'll probably whistle a little while I do it!

This next project showed me that I have not conquered my perfectionist self.  At all.  So it took FOREVER, because it had to be perfect perfect, perfect.  It isn't perfect hand lettering, BELIEVE ME, I know, but I figure for a first attempt, it ain't bad.  Take that, Perfectionist Monster! I will love this project in its imperfection.

I fell in love and claimed these chalkboard tags immediately.  Do they not turn into perfect Christmas Tree ornaments?!?  I swapped out the jute ties for a little shmancier ribbon, scribbled a bit with some chalk, and cut some glitter cardstock on my Silhouette Cameo (I used a shape from this set on Miss Kate Cuttables).  A little hair spray again, to help keep the smudging to a minimum, and some hot glue, and I had some adorable handmade ornaments for my tree!

It has kicked off a serious handmade ornament obsession, so stay tuned...

Okay everyone, raise your hands if you have a MAJILLION magazines stashed somewhere in your house.  They are full to the brim with great ideas that you are going to use "someday." Only, since they are stashed and new ones keep coming, how are you ever going to remember the ideas?!?

"Ding!" (That would be the Martha fairy waving her magic wand--just in case you were confused).

Lauren took this super luxe, fabulously red notebook, some pretty tabs and sheet protectors, and turned it into an Activity Binder.  She wisely has been tearing out the ideas she likes from her favorite mags, so it was a cinch to slip them into the page protectors and organize them by holiday!

My kids have been looking through OUR magazines, and they love the activities, but keep getting super distracted by all the ads.  "Can we buy this delicious looking juice, Mommy?  Can we have this outrageously expensive toy?  I WAAAANT it!!"  This binder makes me DROOOL, because not only are all the good ideas in one spot, NONE of the advertising is!  So Lauren's kids love to look through, see all the neat activities, and plan for the upcoming holiday festivities.  And Lauren doesn't have to say, "No, honey, I am not going to buy anything in that magazine for you.  NEVER ASK ME AGAIN!!!" 

She says her favorite part about this notebook is the way it feels.  I seriously wanted to rub my face on the outside of it.  And she loves the tab at the bottom, which makes opening the prongs pain free!

I think I may have to grab a super swanky notebook for myself!  And some more labels..I want to label EVERYTHING now!

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