Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years pArTy Hats!

Get set to ring in 2012 with your own party hats!  They are super easy and fun to make!
I saw the idea at Martha Stewart's website. 
 Party Hats
There are a few other hats as well.  We liked the "Jester" hat the most!

Supplies you will need are a scissors, paper, string, tape/glue/stapler.
We used fun scrapbook paper that was 12x12.  We also made a hat from a paper grocery bag, and figure newspaper would also work.

Fold paper in half, the open part is the bottom.  Cut 1 inch strips stopping 2 inches from the bottom.

Using a pencil or pen curl the strips.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Taste a LOT like Christmas...

There's No Salsa Like Pomegranate Salsa For The Holidays...

It's late December and in addition to other holiday inspired goodies, here is one that adds a few vitamins and fiber to the diet... and it even comes in Christmas colors! Our good friend 'hiker' Katie first made this salsa for us at Christmastime 2006 and we've been spreading it's goodness all around ever since!


2 pomegranates (carefully remove seeds; juice stains clothing)
1-2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 onion, finely diced
1-2 avacados, with slight give (we try to buy ahead to be adequately ripe)
1-2 jalapeños, finely diced, seeded if desired
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of salt

The lime juice will prevent your avacado from browning, but it is nice to chop the avacados just before serving if possible to protect their texture. Best served the day you prepare it.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips! Enjoy!

A cute helper baby is another fun ingredient (optional)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cool website made with {BOYS} in mind!

Travis came across this website.  I figure it must have some cool "boy" stuff in it if he keeps talking about it!


Of course fun stuff for girls as well.  The author of the site has two boys and is on a mission to find projects for her boys.

All those neat DIY snow globes you see everywhere in blog land.
Check out their version.

DIY Snow globes Boys style

Yeah, pretty cool right!?

Fort Friday

Get some AWESOME ideas for forts!

Science stuff

Lots lots more fun stuff...I have just started to explore the site!

I am all about projects that involve the kids!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's oooey. It's goooey. It's gloooorious.

Aunt Jackie's Famous Caramels

I have long enjoyed nipping these delicious caramels off of the cookie platters at Christmas time with the Pierson family--these are the treats Aunt Jackie is always requested to make. This year I requested her recipe--and I have a feeling we'll be enjoying them a few more times throughout the year! Thanks for the recipe, Aunt Jackie!


2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream; divided
1 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup nuts

You will also need:
-a candy thermometer
-a buttered pan ( I used an 8x11 pyrex cake pan)
-wax paper for wrapping
-about 3 hours--these are tedious, but WORTH the time!


1. Combine sugar, corn syrup and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a large pot (I used my cast iron dutch oven) on medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently.

2. Keeping the mixture at a boil, slowly ( just teaspoons at a time) add the second cup of cream. Install your candy thermometer at this time. Stir every couple minutes, keeping an eye on the temperature of the caramel.

3. Remove caramel mixture from heat when it hits 238ºF (soft ball stage) on the thermometer. (It takes a long time for the caramel to get up to the 238 degree mark). Add the 1/2 cup butter and vanilla at this time, stirring until the butter is all incorporated.

4. Pour the caramel into your prepared cake pan. Allow to cool at room temperature (about an hour or so).

5. When caramel is firm enough to cut, cut and wrap in pieces of wax paper. Alternatively, you can temper chocolate and dip these caramels when firm in the melted chocolate, allow to dry and then add them unwrapped to your cookie platters!

6. Try not to eat them all yourself! Yummy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Salivation Worthy: Salzbrezeln

Something Salty...

A german style soft pretzel, homemade, is one of the true pleasures in life. Especially of a chilly, wintry day. It has been a few years since we've made them, but Chad and I were on a roll today and we decided to throw another DIY project on the fire. The recipe we use is linked below.

Chad rolls the dough balls into 12 inch lengths between palms of hands (like making clay coils for a coil pot). Then you twist the dough to your liking--sometimes we just make knots, sometimes the traditional pretzel shape.

After permitting the formed pretzels to rise another ten minutes on a greased cookie sheet, you put the dough in a boiling pan of water-baking soda solution and timethem for a minute on each side.

Allow liquid to drip off through a slotted spoon, and then put the dough on a greased cookie sheet or a piece of parchment. Salt the damp dough using coarse salt.

Bake the pretzels in a 475º oven for 13-15 minutes...enjoy warm with butter, if possible!

Bon Apetit! Goes great with butter, cheese sauce or mustard...and a beer, of course!


Friday, December 9, 2011

{Oil Cleansing} Method

The other day I was reading away and I came across an article about cleaning your face with oil.  Not soap, but oil.  This article peaked my interest.  I have various types of oils on hand so I thought I'd give it a shot. Wow, did my face feel soft afterwards!  I loved it!  And so I feel I need to share!

You start off massaging your face with a combo of oils.  Castor oil being one of the oils (it has antibacterial effects) and an oil like olive oil, almond oil, or avocado oil(or all of them).  Once you have massaged it all over your face.  Take a washcloth and heat it up with warm water.  Place washcloth over your face and let it sit for a few moments.  Let the steam do it's job.  Then when the towel feels cool gently wipe off.  You face should feel soft...and hopefully you won't even find need for extra moisturizer!

What oils you use is up to you.  It depends what kind of money you want to spend, if you have oily skin, dry skin, aging skin and so on.  The basic recipe says to combine a 3:1 ratio.  Castor oil : To another oil.  Castor oil can also be drying.  If you tend to have dry skin already you might want to switch it to a 1:1 ratio.  Everyone has different skin so you have to play around with it.  Tweak it.  Do a little research on the oils out  

It is SO worth it!  You know exactly what's going on your skin.  

Just a few oil options:

I didn't realize this until I did some research but a lot of these oils can help protect your skin from UV rays. 

You can also kick it up a notch by adding some drops of an essential oil like lavender, rose, or carrot seed to name a few.

 Original Website on the Oil Cleansing Method

Website that reviews this method of cleaning(and also lots of other fun homemade bath and body stuff!)

Another website reviewing the method.

I hope you enjoy this natural way to pamper your skin like I do!

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wreath Redux.

Creating Somethings Out of Bits o' Nothings

I've been crafting lately...if you count cardboard santa hats, toilet paper tube reindeer, tissue paper poinsettias and the like crafting. Oh, and it is, but it is kid crafting. But I've been itching to do something a little more complex. You know, something family friendly, but artistically stimulating, as well.

Then, on Tuesday as I was lesson planning for 'P is for Poinsettia' day for my kids, I came across this Martha Stewart project. See link:

and I This would be a fun project--and it's pretty, too. But alas, I didn't have any wide width satin ribbon laying around and I didn't have a foam wreath form. And going to Michael's this time of year is it's own brand of cruel and unusual punishment. Then Emily posted her muslin, burlap and twine wreath yesterday and it got the wheels spinning.

We grow hops in our back yard up a large pergola, and though we pulled most of the vines down in the fall during the hops harvest, there were some vines left clinging to the frame. With a little moistening, I should be able to make a wreath, right? Right!

1. As my vines were dried out, I let them relax in the tub for awhile. Don't think I wasn't envious of them.

2. I formed the wreath and used some thin gauge copper wire to hold it together in places

3. Dry the wreath

4. Assemble supplies for making the poinsettia flowers. The pattern calls for three, even pieces of ribbon, cut the same size. Then trim to form diamonds. At the widest part of the diamond, fan fold to gather. Do this will all three pieces of ribbon, pinch in the center and wrap with think gauge wire. Fluff out. It worked really well. I didn't have satin ribbon, so I used some wire edged Christmas ribbons I had on hand--the wires from the edges worked well for gathering the flowers. I didn't have a whole lot of ribbon, so I used strips of muslin and an off-white flannel for some of the flowers and they turned out well. Then, as I couldn't find my stash of buttons, I raided the girls' bejewels to create stamen centers. I affixed the glittering gems with hotglue.

5. My pile o' flowers-- I glued these on to the wreath, again using hot glue!

6. Voila! Mission accomplished--I created something more complicated than a holiday themed paper chain. And it is now hanging on my front door! Maybe I'll hit Michael's post-Christmas mayhem and gather up some pretty satin ribbons to make the real deal for next year!

Merry Crafting!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Natural Elements

Making use of the parts of our Christmas tree we had to cut off.
The wreath was made from a piece of plywood cut in the shape of a circle and leftover branches from our tree.

Please, don't forget your fairy gardens.  They too need some holiday cheer!

~Good Day!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Birch Bark Candles

Travis made some wonderful looking candle holders from birch trees.

He carved the hole for the candle using his dremmel.

LED tea light candles are {AWESOME}!

Thrift Store Angels.

Next on our Travis's to do make list.  Advent Wreath.

More Burlap and Lace

My tree skirt project left me with lots of leftovers for more projects! 

(I also made a table runner)
This time I decided to spruce up a stick wreath I have had forever.

I cut strips of burlap, muslin, and lace.  Then tied them in knots around the wreath. 

I also threw in some twine for good measure.

Hmmmm, I wonder what I else I can do with this burlap!

Have a great day!

shabby creek cottage
Stuff and NonsenseCooking At Café D

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Burlap Centerpiece

 I have been loving the burlap lately.  Love the way it looks!  Simple and rustic. 
With some burlap I had leftover from my tree skirt I made a table runner.  I actually didn't make anything. 
Once piece of the darker burlap was the the perfect size.  Then I cut a lighter shade of burlap for some color contrast. 
No Sewing, no gluing.  EASY!

 Handcrafted candle holders from small logs.

Red sticks from the woods.

Wood circles with burned lettering.

I don't believe I could get any more simplistic. 
Loving the fact that when the Christmas season is done, this centerpiece can hang around!

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

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