Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Glitter Ornaments

I'd like to shake the hand of the first person who came up with these DIY glitter ornaments. They are beautiful, easy to do and the secret ingredient is floor polish. Seriously, floor polish! All you need to make these are clear glass ornaments, fine glitter and Pledge with Future Shine (or Mop and Glo or similar floor polish sold where you live). And the best part is that because the glitter goes inside the ornament you don't end up with it all over your house!

I didn't take any progress photos because there really isn't much to see! Just take the top off your ornament and pour in some floor polish. Swirl it around making sure you are covering the entire inside of your ball and then tip it over and drain the excess back into the bottle. Once all the drips are out pour in some fine glitter (I used Martha's glitter to make mine) and swirl it around. Put your finger over the opening of the ornament and shake it to make sure your glitter gets everywhere. Dump your excess glitter back into the container (you'll be surprised by how little this project actually uses) and put the top back on the ornament. That's it!

Since I was experimenting I made myself a rainbow of ornaments but I think it would be really nice to do a set in red and green or red and silver and give it as a gift. I tied simple ribbon on mine but you can dress them up with stickers, paint or vinyl since the outside of the ornament is still smooth and glitter-free. 

I think this is the greatest idea and I can't wait to make some more!

P.S. Linking up to:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter Jars

When I saw the idea for these winter jars over at The Tortoise and the Hare, I knew I had to make some of my own. This project could not have been simpler and I'm so happy with the way my jars turned out!

I started with some of those cheapy dollar store trees that people use when they put together Christmas villages - they were green with fake snow on them. To turn them white I soaked them in bleach and water for a couple of hours and then rinsed them really well. The fake snow kind of melted off and the trees turned sort of yellow. To make them whiter I hit them with some spray glue and then poured white glitter all over them. The last step was to put them in them old jars and then add sugar for snow and to hold them in place. Super easy, really pretty and my winter decorating has finally begun!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Project Round-up

With only a month left until Christmas I'm feeling woefully behind on my holiday crafting! I've got a few projects halfway finished (and taking up my entire dining room table) but nothing I've completed yet this year. But I've decided that no new crafts doesn't have to mean no new blog posts - today I'm bringing you a round-up of some of my Christmas projects from 2010. Whether you've seen these projects before or not, I hope they'll bring you some holiday inspiration. And stay tuned for all new crafts beginning next week!

1. Ribbon Christmas Tree 2. Newspaper Christmas Tree 3. Cookies in a Jar with Freebie Printable
4. Christmas Tag Magnets 5. Origami Christmas Trees 6. Paper Christmas Tree Garland

Have you started your Christmas crafting yet? What about your shopping??

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter Wreath Inspiration

I've written before that we have a "no Christmas decorations until December" rule in our house - my husband's idea, I assure you! I don't mind waiting until December 1 but I do find that the house looks a little bare during November once I've taken all the fall decorations down so I've been working on a pretty winter wreath to dress up our front door. I had hoped to have it completed to share with you today but I got sidetracked painting the baby's dresser yesterday and ran out of time. Instead I bring you some winter wreath inspiration courtesy of Pinterest.

1. Yarn Ball Wreath 2. Wrapped Winter Wreath 3. Red & White Wreath
4. Snowflake Wreath 5. Pine Cone Wreath 6. Sweet Gum Wreath

Aren't they pretty? The effort to make a winter wreath is well worth it as you can use it leading up to the Christmas season and then again during January and into February before you put up your cute Valentine's Day wreath. I'm crossing my fingers that mine will be finished this week!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By the Batch - Hot Chocolate Cookies

This coming weekend my husband and I are competing in a cook-off competition. It's Christmas themed and we have to make an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert. The trick is that it all has to be done outdoors on a Traeger wood pellet grill! If you're a regular reader you'll have guessed that appetizer and entrée have fallen to Chris to prepare while the dessert is my time to shine. I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to make cookies since that's my Christmas tradition and I thought these Hot Chocolate Cookies were just right for the holidays. Last weekend I made up a test batch to see how the recipe would work on the grill and I was so pleased with the results!

1 cup Salted Butter, softened
1 cup White Sugar
⅔ cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla
3-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
4 packages (1 Oz. Packets, NOT Sugar-free) Hot Chocolate Mix
1 teaspoon Salt
1-¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Each White, Milk, And Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, hot chocolate mix, salt and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients in 3 to 4 parts, making sure all is incorporated.  Fold in chips. Chill the dough for an hour or so.  
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spoon dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.   Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

According to Sarah:
These cookies are delicious! You might think 3 cups of chocolate chips is overkill but you would be wrong - yes they are chocolate heavy but they still manage to be not too sweet. To make mine look ever more hot chocolatey I added mini marshmallows a minute or two before the cookies were finished baking. This gives the marshmallows time to puff up a bit but not time to melt.

So what do you think? Do they look award winning?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

Today, November 11, is Remembrance Day here in Canada and throughout the British Commonwealth. On this day each year we honour the memory of the members of our armed forces who fought and lost their lives in the line of duty. In Canada, the poppy is the official symbol of remembrance and we wear them pinned to our left lapels, close to our hearts. But it doesn't have to stop at your lapel. I've found some Remembrance Day themed ideas that can help you express your remembrance, thanks and pride.

You could try making your own poppy to wear like this one from I Could Make That. This one would last you through the years and is safer for children since it doesn't employ a straight pin. Just remember to make a donation to the Royal Canadian Legion even if you're not buying one of their poppies.

I love this Poppy Wreath by How Does She? Amy didn't make hers for Remembrance Day but it could definitely work as a memorial wreath.

These Lemon Poppy Sugar Cookies from The Endless Meal are certainly a different way to commemorate the day but I'm thinking that anything that gets you thinking and participating in remembrance is a good idea.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

-John McCrae

Lest we forget.

Monday, November 7, 2011

By the Batch - Triple Chocolate Cookies

Baked goods have been noticeably absent from our house for the last couple of weeks while we've been getting our sweet fix from Halloween candy. But now that all the good stuff is gone and I can barely bring myself to look at another Tootsie Roll, I figured it was time to get back in the kitchen. Yesterday I had a craving for chocolate cookies. A quick search on Pinterest (seriously my new Google when it comes to recipes and craft ideas) turned up these delicious Triple Chocolate Cookies.

1 cup of butter, softned
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and one egg at a time until well beaten.Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt then mix thoroughly. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and gently stir until evenly mixed.

Drop dough by heaping spoonful on to the baking sheet, two inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Cool on trays before moving to a rack

According to Sarah:
These cookies definitely satisfied my chocolate craving. They are moist and delicious and super gooey if you eat them straight out of the oven - after letting them cool for a few minutes, of course! I found I had to bake mine for about 12 minutes but since the recipe doesn't specify how many cookies it yields it could be that I made mine bigger. My only tip would be to follow the instruction that says to let them cool on the pan - when first removed from the oven these cookies are really soft and delicate and they'll fall apart if you try to move them too soon. Other than that, this recipe is quick and easy and the results are fantastic!

Friday, November 4, 2011

50 Days Until Christmas - Holiday Pinning

This week has been a busy one and I'm a little disappointed because I still had some Halloween projects to share with you but just never got the chance to post. I'm calling November 4th too late for Halloween stuff so I guess I'll just have to hang on to the photos until next year. In the meantime, did your realize there are only 50 days left until Christmas?! My husband is not into the decorating quite as much as me so we have an agreement that no Christmas décor sees the light of day until December 1. But that doesn't mean I'm not already planning my Christmas crafting on Pinterest! Here's a sample of some of the great ideas I've found.

1. Ribbon Wreath 2. Glitter Dollar Store Deer 3. Fairy Light Vases 4. Rolled Paper Card
5. Origami Wreath 6. Paper Trees 7.Winter Jars 8. Advent Calendar 9. Paper Pinecone 
Have you started your holiday to-do list yet? My next task is to get started on determining this year's Christmas cookies!