Thursday, January 27, 2011

Easy Valentine Candle Holder

Sooooo, long time no see. Sorry about that. My get up and go has kind of got up and went, and inspiration has not been striking so much, so I am not pushing it.

But, we have still been doing some easy decorating and projects. Here is one of our go to seasonal candle holder decorations. This works great with candy hearts or red hots. In the fall, candy corns are great too!

1. Start with your supplies-candy, candle, glass candle holder (cannning jars work great).

2. Add a few candies, then center your candle.

3. Add the rest of your candies, so the candle is centered and the top third is showing above the candies. Light the candle and enjoy (under close supervision only!). Don't burn yourself, and don't forget about it and burn up all your candies! Have fun!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Easy Birthday Cake

So, I am thinking Wednesdays will be recipe days. I am going to try to mix it up between healthy eating and not so healthy eating. For today, not so healthy, but delicious (and easy)!

This is a big chocolate chip cookie cake, from Hershey's Cocoa Easy Baking Cookbook. I love this cookbook, because it is a sturdy board book, it is filled with pictures (yum!), the recipes are easy, and everything has chocolate! My kind of cooking! And, I just scoped it out on Amazon, there are a million (OK, not quite a million-maybe 36) used copies for cheap! I know it sound like I am in sales, but I really just like chocolate. Although, if I did it correctly, I think if you buy books through my links, I might make two cents or something. I won't quit my day job!

So, here's the teaser picture. I know, it could be better. This will have to do. If you think it looks good, take 10 minutes and make two  (yes, the recipe makes 2 of the round 8 or 9 inch pans) and see what you think. 

Milk Chocolate Chip Giant Cookies

6 T. butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. van extract
1 egg
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. choc chips
frosting or toppings as desired

1. Heat oven to 350. Line two 9 inch round baking pans with foil, extending foil over edges of pans. (I have also made these in heart shaped pans.)
2. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until fluffy. Add egg, beat well. Stir together flour and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread half of batter into each prepared pan, spreading to 1 inch from the edge. (Cookies will spread to edge when baking.)
3. Bake 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely; carefully lift cookies from pans and remove foil. Frost or decorate if desired. Cut into wedges. 

So, that's the scoop. As with all recipes, I am more of a 'use it as a guide' kind of gal. But this recipe is easy and fun.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My new Sea Bag

So, as promised, here is my new Sea Bag. Can you believe that I won this?!

Here is the back.

I love the heavy duty rope straps. They are so pretty!

These bags are made from recycled sails, so they are a great 'rescued' good, which of course I love! And, they are based right here in Maine! I am a fan of Sea Bags on facebook, and they frequently have contests, and I won one! How great is this? I have wanted a Sea Bag ever since I heard about them years ago, but I couldn't really justify buying one since I am always making bags on my own. But now I am a lucky owner!

I have already gotten many compliments on (and lots of use of) this cutie! Thanks so much Sea Bags!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Holiday Hit Parade-a bit late, part two...

Another big handmade hit is our natural block set. I had seen a set of these in a catalog long ago and wanted to make some ever since. I can't find the original example, but I think these are just perfect.

We went on an adventure this fall.

We (and by we, I mean, not me) cut a birch tree down on our property early this fall. (Not this big pine tree-still there!)

 We pretended we were beavers and pretended to cut down some more trees. In reality, the beavers had already done these for us!

'We' cut the appropriate cuts and let the wood dry in our basement for a few months.

Then we dried the wood further in the oven. It was weird-it smelled kind of stinky.

But anyway, then 'we' sanded the wood. I guess the we in this project comes down to me being the 'idea person.' And, 'we' are thinking about making a few more sets of these this year to give as gifts and maybe put a few in the Etsy Shop.

Here is the link I used when figuring out how to go about making these blocks. Oh, yes, I did make some heavy duty canvas drawstring bags-they work great to corral all the blocks. The blocks have made garages, hamster mansions, car ramps, you name it. The possibilities are truly endless with these!

Oh, and the wagon was a gift to the kids from my mom, and was handmade by a local woodworker-it has been a perfect fit with the blocks.

 So, as my husband says, we gave our kids sticks for Christmas (and they loved them!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holiday Hit Parade-a bit late, part one...

So, here it is-a couple of our handmade favorites from this holiday season. One more to come tomorrow. The pics may not be the best, but if I waited for better ones, this would most certainly never get posted...

First off, a beautiful pin cushion bought at a local craft fair for me! My sweet girl bought it for me, after seeing me admire it. I love this! I would share the crafter's info, but I don't know it-boo hoo!

Second up, a Princess and the Pea play set that we made for the same sweet girl (Who I will lovingly call Squirrel, because she has a serious habit of squirreling things away to use in future 'projects'-Weird, I know. I don't know where she gets it! I could do another post on this sometime. Maybe I will expand upon apple peelings found in the freezer, gum wrappers squirreled away behind tissue boxes, recycling items swiped and hidden away, etc. etc. She comes by it well!) Anyway, back to the play set.

Ever since I saw this awesome example on Angry Chicken I wanted to make one too. I am really happy with it. The bed was from our local Mill Store, and I spray painted it gold. The mattresses were made from fabric I had on hand, and fleece that was given to me. The dolls are 1. a funky Knot Doll made by my friend Mary, and 2. a vintage doll given to Squirrel by my grandmother. The peas were saved from our garden this year. This set had already gotten lots of love this year.

Hope your 2011 is starting off sweet!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Good Day...

I rave about the importance of kids playing outside all the time, but, truth be told, sometimes I really, really need to make myself go out to play.

Today my little boy kept pestering, uh, I mean  persistently asking me to go out to go ice skating. It is cold and windy here, I have lots to do, and our backyard ice skating 'rink' (I use that term loosely) still has grass sticking out of the ice in many spots. But, the little man was right on, as usual. As anyone with little ones knows, it took about an hour to find our gear, and get dressed (and motivated, in my case) to go outside. We went out, and wouldn't you know, it was so fun! And, we stayed out for an hour enjoying the day and skating. So, here's your reminder to go out and play!