Thursday, October 10, 2013

Holiday Countdown

When I was working at Michaels Arts and Crafts, I would get so excited as I discovered new and cool products that were on the shelf.  Some things were so cool, I would brainstorm up a project that I could make just so I could buy this super, awesome thing.  I gave a lot of my paychecks back to that company...almost like I was working for free.  One such product was Magic Wall Magnetic Paint.  So cool!  I bought it with the next 50% off coupon I could get my hands on!  And then it sat and sat waiting to be used.  Until I got this idea...

I have been wanting to make a Holiday/Event Countdown for my home ever since I got married.  My mom had them for different holidays when I was growing up (mostly Christmas) and I remember being so excited as I changed the number each day and felt the excitement build and build.  That excitement and anticipation hasn't dulled as I have gotten older.  I love to celebrate anything, any chance I get!  I thought it would be fun to make something that I can have as part of my every day decor so I could celebrate and look forward to whatever was happening.

I started out with one of those finish-it-yourself picture frames from Michaels and painted a good thick layer of my magical magnetic paint.  After it was good and dry, I carefully and lightly sanded it smooth-ish.  I was super paranoid I was going to sand too much off, that I didn't sand it enough.  You can still see bumps and ridges from the paint. Next, I painted it black to go along with my pictures and other things hanging on my walls.

While my paint was drying I pulled out my Cricut and cut out "More Days" using contact paper.  I used the contact paper as a stencil and painted my lettering with white paint.

I wanted my frame to have a high gloss/acrylic look to it.  So I painted the entire frame with Triple Thick Gloss.  If I could go back and do it again, I think I would have gotten the spray instead of the brush on.  It was kind of hard to brush it on smooth before it started to dry.

While my Triple Thick was drying (which took a few hours) I worked on my ghosts.  Once again using the Cricut and contact paper to make number stencils.  Once they were all painted I put a thin layer of the Triple Thick to seal and make the ghosts shiny and smooth.  Once that was dry (which didn't take near as long as the frame, since I did such a thin layer) I cut small pieces of my adhesive magnetic sheeting and stuck them to the back of my ghosts.

Now for the finishing touch.  I got on my computer and put together the sign thingy for Halloween.  I was planning to have Jason design it but I decided to do it myself, and I think it turned out really cute!

And there you have it!  The base for a cute, year round events countdown.  Now I just need to finish the numbers for all the other holidays.

I would love to hear if you try this out and how you made it your own!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Babies and Banana Bread

Happy Day!  My oldest sister just had her baby and we are so excited for them!!  I am already trying to decide what yummy treat to take down for them (sadly it probably wont be for another few weeks).  My first thought was banana bread, but I got my banana bread recipe from her.  Plus I know she already has a ton in her freezer, so that's kind of pointless.  I will have to think of something, but in the meantime I thought I would post the recipe here, this way it's like I made and shared it with somebody.

*Just a piece of fun family trivia...Annali has a cousin 8 months older than her, and now, with this baby she has one 8 months younger than her.  So just like me, she's a lucky girl who will have a few cousins as her best friends.*

Here it is, Banana Bread...yummy, delicious and easy Banana Bread!

Serves: 1 Bread Loaf or 5 Mini Loaves

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
2-4 very ripe Bananas, mashed
2 Eggs
2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp Allspice
1 cup Chocolate Chips (optional...but not really)

Preheat oven to 315 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add the mashed bananas and eggs and mix well.  Add the allspice.  Then add the dry ingredients.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pour batter into a greased bread pan and bake for at least 1 1/2 hours, or divide into 5 mini pans (fill about half way) and bake 1 hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes.

*My Notes*
~First of all, the only way to eat banana bread, is with chocolate chips. I never measure my chocolate chips, but I use about half a bag.  I like to taste the chocolate.  Do what works for you.
~You can use 2 bananas in this recipe, but it makes a weak banana bread.  Three is pretty perfect for us.  Four is kind of BAM! BANANA! But if you like that, then go for it!
~I don't like this recipe in the large loaf.  It always takes WAY longer to bake and it ends up with a really heavy, cake like texture.  I stick with the mini pans.  They don't take as long to bake and it has a really good banana bread texture and consistency.
~So far I have been too poor/cheap to buy real mini pans.  I just use the disposable pans, and just wash them good and reuse...and reuse.  They work great...Someday I will spend the money.

And that's it!  Let me know what you think.  Do you have a favorite Banana Bread secret or tip?  I'd love to hear it! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

So I have this "toadly" awesome sister...(all of my sister's are awesome, just for the record) who makes really yummy Peanut Butter Cookies.  They don't sit in the cookie jar for very long.  I love them and a couple of weeks ago I had the best idea ever!  I should ask for the recipe.  So I did and I have made them three times already!  They are so soft and moist and delicious!  And soooo easy!

Jason's grandma came to town last week from California.  We hadn't seen her since our wedding, so we were pretty excited for the visit.  We were asked to bring something to share for the little get together they were having.  And what better excuse to make my new favorite cookie?  But I didn't feel like I could take just cookies...I had to dress them up somehow.  That's when I remembered finding these peanut butter sandwich cookies featuring Nutella Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting on Pinterest, too bad I didn't have any Nutella or marshmallow cream.  But I did have cream cheese and cocoa powder, the two key ingredients for my favorite chocolate icing I use for cupcakes.  Done and done! Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting...goodness what a mouthful, but what a delicious mouthful it is!

(drum roll please)

Serves: about 52 Sandwiches


1 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 c. Peanut Butter
1/2 c. Shortening
3 tbsp. Milk
1 tbsp. Vanilla
1 Egg
1 3/4 c. Flour
3/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda

4 oz. Cream Cheese at room temperature
2 tbsp. Butter at room temperature
2 c. Powdered Sugar
1/4 c. Cocoa Powder

Cream together the brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk and vanilla.  Add the egg and mix good.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture.  The dough will be very soft and fluffy.  Roll into 1 teaspoon balls and place on pan.  Make the crisscross with a fork dipped in sugar to prevent the dough from sticking to the fork.
Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.  Do not over bake.

Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and place them on a sheet of tin foil to cool.  If you put them on cooling racks while warm they will fall apart.  This is what that makes them so moist!

While the cookies are cooling.  Make the frosting.  Mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Lastly, mix in cocoa powder.

Make the sandwiches by spreading the frosting in a thick layer on the bottom of one cookie, then top with another cookie.

Eat up and enjoy!

Store the sandwiches in an airtight container in the fridge.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Annali's Baby Blessing Dress

Okay, so here's the deal.  I was gone for a long time, but I never stopped planning and taking pictures for my blog.  So I have a lot of making up to do with some old projects and stuff.  And I'm trying to do better...really.  So here is my first post from the past..

Annali's Baby Blessing

Jason blessed her on May 5 (random fact: Jason proposed to me on May 5, 2011).  I did a few things for the day that I want to share, so to avoid making you read a novel, I am splitting this up into a few different posts and tutorials.

I made her blessing dress and it turned out so beautiful, I surprised myself.

*I usually can't sew anything without a pattern and very detailed directions.  So this is super easy.  And those that do sew really well, you probably know a billion ways to do this better and I should take lessons from you.  Also, I am a completely visual learner, so there are a lot of pictures.*

I got my inspiration here and here and then did my own thing.

I started out with a onesie and just hand sewed some trim around the neck and the wrists

Next I did the skirt.

I started off with a yard of ruffled fabric found at  Then I measured Anne just under her arm pits and cut the fabric one and a half times her width (at the time she was 15 inches around so I cut the material about 23 inches).  Afterward I wished I had doubled her width so that it had a bit more flow and less up and down action.  I also cut it so it would hang a couple of inches past her little toes.

Next, I made a casing at the top for my elastic.  I used 1/4 inch elastic...little girl, little elastic.  It worked perfect.  (But I didn't insert the elastic yet)

After I sewed the casing, I pinned and sewed the skirt together.  Folding it in half, with the ruffles together on the inside and pinned the edges before sewing.  Now, I don't ever pin this much for a straight line, but I had a million ruffles that I needed to keep in line so it would look nice.  So I put a pin through every ruffle, lining them up nice.

And to remind myself not to sew through the casing (you need an opening for the elastic) I double pinned.

And voila!  Perfect (mostly) straight lines.  Placing a million pins is so worth not having to unpick later.

To insert the elastic, just stick a safety pin on the end and thread it through.  When you have gone all the way around sew a few stitches to keep it together then sew your casing closed.  Easy, peasy!

Now for the "hard" part.  Bringing the onesie and skirt together.  Just measure and pin where you want the skirt onto the onesie and sew right around!

You could leave it at that if you want.  But I wanted to hide where the two pieces meet up and I wanted to add a bit of color too.  So I got a ribbon and a flower to put around her like a sash.  And this part really was hard...for me.  I couldn't figure out how to put it on without making it impossible to get it on her.  The ribbon doesn't stretch you I was stumped for a bit, a long bit.  I had to put it away for a few days so I could think about it.  Finally I came up with a plan.  Not a perfect plan.  Clearly I need lessons.  But here is what I did and it worked and was unseen for the most part.  I ended up sewing one end of the ribbon onto the dress, sewed some velcro to the other side so the ribbon could go around her and velcro closed.  Then to hide that I put a flower over it.

 And it worked!  We were able to get it on and off of her without having to fight the constraints of the non-stretchy ribbon.  Like I said, not perfect but it worked, and I'm sure there was a much easier/prettier solution...I just couldn't come up with it.

And there you go.  A beautiful baby blessing dress.

 And a beautiful baby in her blessing dress.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Distractions and a Treat!

Life is always full of distractions.  Everyone experiences this.  They may be small, big, many or few.  Some are good at handling them and being disciplined.  I will be honest and tell you, I am not one of those people.  Right now, I am experiencing the biggest distraction of my life.  A 5 month old baby.  With just one look, she can make me forget about any plans or to-do list I may have had for the day.  Her smile and little squeals of delight make me melt instantly, and suddenly the only thing on my to-do list is to play with her.
Considering the name of my blog, I thought it would be appropriate to share some pictures of the biggest thing in my life that is completely and Toadly Good.  My little Anne.

 Okay, okay, back to business.  This little treat I am about to share is simple, but oh so yummy!  Now, I think I am an absolute genius for thinking of this.  I am also almost 100% positive that I'm not the first one to figure it out.  So if you are somebody who was smart first, please don't tell me.  Just let me keep thinking I am awesome.

Marshmallow treats of goodness made with rice crispy cereal!  Best idea since pop tarts, right?  All right, fine.  Rice Crispy Treats are not new, they have been around for years.  Everyone knows you melt butter and marshmallows together, add them to some rice crispies, pour them in a pan, cut em' up and eat them.  Simple.  Well, I took this simple-ness a step forward...

Serves: 18 Treats  | Prep Time: 5 Minutes

6 cups Rice Crispy Cereal
1 cube butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 cup butterscotch chips

Prepare muffin tins by greasing each well with butter.  Set aside.  Pour cereal in large bowl.  Set aside.  Melt butter and marshmallows together.  Pour over cereal, stir until evenly coated.  Working quickly, fill and pack into the muffin tins.  Let cool.  When treats are set, melt butterscotch chips in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until smooth.  Spread on bottoms of  rice crispy treats.  Let cool.
Makes 18 treats.  Keep in air tight container.

These are super simple!  I have also made them with white chocolate.  So yummy!  Add sprinkles or cookie crumbs, the sky is the limit!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Jewelry Display...Months in the Making

So sad that my Halloween Wreath is still my latest post, and the one before was posted months before. This pattern is not only pathetic but old and is about to change. I have been using my pregnancy as an excuse, and the last few weeks my brand new baby (which, lets be honest is a legitimate excuse). But I think I am ready to craft, cook and party it up again and I can't wait to share my adventures with you. But first, because I just can't help it, here are some pictures of my sweet baby girl, Annali (pronounced Anna-lie)

 I came out from the bedroom one morning to this...Jason is too funny

 Okay, on to today's project, my new jewelry storage/displayer. My jewelry setup was a disaster. Pretty much a mess on the bathroom counter. My earrings were spread out in a few small containers that I was constantly digging through to find the perfect pair or to find the second earring to a pair. My necklaces and bracelets were getting into a tangled mess. Something had to be done. I have seen these things all over on Pinterest and I had a roommate who had one, so all I had to do was get my supplies and make it. This was a work in progress, pretty much throughout my pregnancy, a step at a time until I finished.

Here is what I started with:
~Picture Frame...whatever size and style fits your needs. I got mine at Michaels. It is an "oops frame" from the custom framing, super cheap!
~Wire, which I got on Amazon (on sale). The same stuff is also found at ACE Hardware. But there are a lot of different options. You can find some cute metals at Home Depot or Lowe's.
~Wood Knobs that I found on clearance at Michaels
~Heavy Duty Staple Gun
~Wire Cutters
~Glue Gun
~the trusty E-6000
~Paint for the knobs

First things, first. Paint the knobs. My plan was to get all fancy and use the tape as a guide for some really cool lines. But in the end I went simple, black with the blue accent along the bottom edge.

Next was the hard part. You will definitely want some gloves so you don't get attacked by the wire. Measure and cut the wire to fit the inside of the frame. Then staple the wire in place. I was retarded and didn't think things through. You'll want to staple into the side of the frame instead of towards the front of the frame. Also I ran some hot glue over the top of the wire to prevent scratching.

First of all, let me point out the obvious staples sticking out, since I know that was the first thing you noticed. I told you, you'll want to staple into the side, don't do what I did. Next, in an attempt to add some color and to hide the staples I used E-6000 and glued some blue glass beads and some chunky silver beads to the frame.

Last thing, is to just glue the knobs on with E-6000 and let it dry over night.

The End.

I think it turned out pretty cute and it does its job perfectly, keeping my jewelry together and my counter