Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let the baking begin.

It is that time of year, cookie swaps, holiday parties, gift giving.  I always make a ton of cookies, my co-workers and the kids teachers looked forward to the home baked gifts.  I find something relaxing about baking in the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle.

This year I started a little later than normal, but I also don't want to make as many as normal.  I really don't need an extra 10 pounds of Christmas cookies floating around the house after Christmas and into the New Year.

I started with Chocolate Chip Cookies, not just any recipe but my friend Amy's recipe.  I don't quite know what makes this recipe come out better than any other chocolate chip recipe I have ever tried, but these really ROCK!

As a matter of fact the only person I ever heard say they didn't love these cookies was my little guy, Francis, and he loves anything with chocolate.  I think it is the fact he is home sick and we are waiting the results of some tests from the doctors office, and I think right about now in his world nothing is good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where does the time go?

It has been quite some time since I have posted anything here.  I have been very busy.  We took a family vacation.  I have finished 99% of my Christmas shopping.  I made lots of crafts for a craft fair I did, my very first one.

There were just one of the styles of notepad stands that I had made.  I thought they made cute teacher gifts

I love making these ornaments, paper and glitter, what else does a girl need?  These were very popular at the craft fair, they were my biggest seller.

These Santa Candy Bar covers I saw on another blog and just thought they were too cute not to make a batch.  Plus with the covers on them I didn't eat up all the candy bars, it deterred me ;)

I hope to post a few more times before the end of the year, and I plan on making my New Years resolution to post at least once a week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where did October go?

I have to say I don't know what happened to October?  With the blink of an eye it was over.  It did however go out with a banging snow storm.  Atleast during the storm I was able to get some things done I wanted to accomplish before Halloween.

I had bought a bunch of pumpkins that I wanted to carve.  Here in Warwick you can't carve a pumpkin too far before Halloween, the second you cut into that thing the deer verge on your house and eat up the pumpkins.  This year I had them eat pumpkins that weren't even carved, that was a first.

I also made some pencil packs for my boys to share with their friends at school.  I didn't want to send in candy since I knew there would be plenty after trick or treating.  I was pleased with how they came out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Francis, my youngest loves holidays, all holidays.  He has been asking for us to make the house spooky for Halloween, when other families out-spook us he gets bent out of shape.  He had seen some bat decorations in the craft store and decided he needed to have some spooky bats in his room.

I gave this a lot of thought, only because I had visions of him waking up at night and being scared to death of bats in his room.  I decided on a bat mobile, not the Batmobile.

I used my cricut to cut out bats of different sizes, and had to dig around up in the attic for an embroidery hoop to hang the bats from.  The biggest problem I had was getting the bats to hang right side up.  As you can see I didn't succeed but does it really matter when Francis LOVED IT!  Then he asked for one with ghosts, that's my boy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's been a banner few days.

One thing I love to do is make pretty or fun or pretty fun things out of paper, that is how the whole banner thing started.  My first banner was for a baby shower and it has just grown from there.  Birthday's, holiday's and now most recently a business name banner for a craft fair.

This banner was made for a friend's business Shabby By Chic, she sews some really nice creations.  She is going to use the banner at craft fair before the holidays.  I know she is going to do great there, her stuff is so cute.

One of the other banners I just finished up was a banner for a Sweet 16.  This one was a little more of a challenge as they wanted pink and black with a Halloween theme.  With the help of a fellow crafty friend and her cricut cartridges I cut out some "girly skulls", spooky and fun. to jazz up the banner.

Last but not least was a banner for a first birthday party that I finished up a couple of weeks ago but never got around to posting some photos here.  Lots of times I use the cupcake die cut to accent the birthday banners, but I just love the party hat to I did a combination of the two.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The most wonderful time...

I love the fall.  My birthday is in the fall.  I got married in the fall.  We often vacation in the fall.  I love the warm days and cool nights, those days when you can sport shorts and a sweatshirt.  Ahhhh... the fall.

When I saw this next recipe I thought it screamed the fall.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a try.  The directions were real easy to follow.

The hardest part for me was pouring it from the dutch oven into the prepared pan.  I was using a wooden spoon to scrap the pot and some dripped off the spoon onto my hand and I saw stars.  I was able to immediately get the hand under cold running water but the damage was done, blistered immediately.  So if anyone is going to attempt these caramels for themselves be careful.

Slicing them up was a little challenging as well.  I followed the recipes suggestion to cut long "logs" and let whomever I share them with cut them themselves.

They are a tasty treat, and the hint of cider was just the right amount for me.

Apple Cider Caramels
from Blondies Cakes & Things
2 cup high-quality apple cider 
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup real butter, cubed

- Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. Keep an eye on it...it might try to run away. Set aside to cool.
- Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1" hanging over the edges for easy removal. Coat with a bit of vegetable oil and set aside. 
- In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
- Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees.
- Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I covered the top with saran wrap and left it out overnight. You could cut the caramels into 1/2" squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper, but I'm lazy so I cut the caramel into 1/2" logs, which meant that I had exponentially fewer pieces to individually wrap. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Warning:  This can cause a serious burn if it comes in contact with skin, and can be damaging to your waistline.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Just Sinful

Once again I have a bunch of mushy bananas laying on my counter.  Bananas in this house sometimes get eaten within hours of coming home, sometimes they just sit and get mushy calling my name to bake with them.

I wanted to do something a little different this time around.  I have added chocolate chips.  I have added nuts.  I have added coconut.  I have never added NUTELLA.  Imagine finding a recipe out there that contains something as sinful as Nutella, just dangerous.

This recipe produced a delicious, moist banana bread.  I made one full sized loaf and a bunch of mini loaves to share, as I am trying not to over indulge myself.  Plus who doesn't love a fresh baked gift?

Nutella Banana Bread
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons nutella
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two full sized loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon and combine.
3. Mix in salt, baking soda, and flour just until combined. Mix in nutella.
4.Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 35-45minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nuts for Nuts!

I recently saw a photo of some homemade glazed nuts on Pinterest, my new favorite website, have I mentioned that already?  These aren't just any nuts but crockpot nuts, another favorite of mine, the crockpot.  Are we seeing a pattern here?

With all the ingredients on hand, a rainy night and the feel for some cozy goodness told me this was the night to make these.


16 ounces pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Put crockpot on high and heat for atleast 15 minutes.  After the 15 minutes add the melted butter, spices and nuts.  Stir well.  Cover and heat for 10 minutes.  Add powdered sugar and stir well.  Cover and cook another 10 minutes.  Then remove the lid and turn crockpot to low.  Cook for the next 2 to 3 hours stirring often with the lid OFF.  Spoon nuts out onto a sheet of parchment to cool.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Disney Countdown

First off I want to say I know it has been a while.  I have been crafting but not blogging about my projects. With the kids starting school this week I should find more time to work on that.

I have been receiving personal requests for different projects.  Most recently I was asked by a fellow member of my mom's group to create some sort of countdown to Disney calendar.  I had never made one before, but I knew it was something I could do.  So without hesitation I took on the challenge and went full steam ahead.  With a little internet search and a browse on my new favorite website, Pinterest, I came up with some rough ideas.

It was only a matter of finding some quiet time to put ideas into reality.  With some fun paper, bright cardstock, ribbon and my cricut expression I was able to put together a cool countdown calendar that any child would look forward to ripping off the next number as there vacation got closer.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I have been out of the loop for a while.  The end of July, beginning of August I was wrapping things up at work... FOREVER!  I am moving onto a new phase and I am excited.

I have been working on some new projects to add to my Etsy shop.  I started a Etsy shop late last year, and I had my Mickey autograph albums.  Little by little I have added some more products.

Next I will be tackling the attic and getting my crafting space in order.  Right now it looks as if, as my husband says "Terrorists have been in the attic."  Maybe even an hour a day will make a difference.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Crafting With Friends

This past Saturday myself and Donna put on another crop, we call ourselves "Creative Cuts".  Donna came up with the catchy name last year.  One of my biggest dilemmas when attending a crop is what to bring.  I never have gotten this down to a science, I always bring too much.  Some stuff I end up never opening the bag, you would think I would learn.

I aim to have a plan, this time around I knew I would be working on a banner for Donna's daughters first birthday.  She had picked out some great pink and orange paper she wanted to use.  Between the set up and just greeting everyone I don't think I actually sat down at my seat until 11:30, meanwhile I was there since 8:30 to get ready but that is a whole other story.

I asked Donna lots of questions about what her expectations were because well after all this was for a special occasion.  She wanted the borders to be scalloped, I love that too.  I had a little panic at first though because I couldn't find the scalloped square on the Cricut, shout-out to Heidi for locating it and making me feel better.  Phew.

Once everything was cut out, assembly began.  One of the final decisions was to bling or not to bling.  Bling it was and I am so happy with how it came out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July Cake

I originally saw this cake over at Crafty Mama, I love the look of it but did not love the recipe.  I am all for baking from scratch, but I really felt a cake mix would do in this case.  This cake was more about the look for me at least.

I used two cake mixes for all the layers.  In each of the two 8 inch cake pans I would pour 1 cup of cake batter in, and bake them two at a time as all I own is two 8 inch pans.  The layers still came out a little thicker than I had planned.

The blue layer was made with 2 cups of batter as it had to be the thickness of 2 red layers.  If you follow the directions from Crafty Mama, you will cut a circle out of a piece of parchment or wax paper for the top layer.  Well I guess you can say I cheated, or made this step a little easier.  I used a large biscuit cutter to cut the center out of the blue layer, and then cut the center of a red layer to fill in the blue layer.  Okay did I confuse you yet?

Well the cake was a really tall layer cake and I really didn't think it would survive the icing part, it tilted from side to side and I did panic a little bit.  The cake at least made it to the table and I was able to cut a few slices before it took a mysterious nose dive off the plate when I turned my back.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Horse Theme Birthday Banner

I had a friend from the mom's group inquire about making a banner for her son's birthday party.  She was very specific on the paper she wanted and sent me the link.  They were using  Debbie Mumm paper to make the invitations and it really was cute.

I found the paper in Michael's and bought all they had, as I didn't want to take any chance or running out mid-project and not be able to get more.  That could be disastrous.

While in Michael's I saw these cute die-cut horse stickers and knew they were a must have for the spacers.

This banner did consist of a second strand for the name.  Adding a name continuously to an already 8 foot banner can be too much, plus it gives them more options when they go to hang it for the party.