Friday, January 29, 2010

only something this cute could keep me out of the kitchen

Recently I made the mistake of entering a bookstore. Remind me not to do that again. I was beside myself with excitement. Books, kits, stationary, all in an aroma of coffee and treats. Plus, I had a gift card burning a hole in my husband's pocket.

Then I heard this sweet book whispering my name from the clearance table.

And how could I resist?

So, the sewing table has been monopolizing my time, energy, and creativity for the last week or two. Which explains why we're having quesadillas for dinner tonight.

But check out what a pillowcase plus some rickrack or the remnant of some recently hemmed curtains can become.

Don't worry. I won't make my daughters wear pillowcases the whole summer. I hope to sell most of these at my church's craft sale and use the cash to bless a single mom and her family at Christmas next year. 'Cuz, honestly, who has time to craft around Christmastime? And we want to do some serious blessing.

And never fear. There is a super fun option for boys.

Did I mention this cape is reversible?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


you say "potato," I say "stamp!"

I recently got the urge for a throwback craft. One of those timeless, charming, messy activities that never goes out of style.

And potatoes were on sale at the grocery store last week.

So we rounded up some friends, hauled out the paints, and got stamping.

Does it surprise you that we used the ultra-cute mini cookie cutters from our cinnamon applesauce ornament craft?

The stamps were surprisingly easy to make. Just cut the potato in half, shove the cookie cutter into the sliced part, use a paring knife to cut around the cookie cutter, then slide off the cutter and the potato scrap. Open up the paints and stamp away.

Can you tell I have one very systematic daughter and one very free-form one?

And of course, I had to try my hand as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

mini applesauce cinnamon ornaments

Our school schedule this year is really cramping my style. My baking, playdate, field trip style. We seem to be always on the way to school or just getting home from school, so the finer things in life (like decorating cookies with friends) have fallen to the wayside.

So over the recent holidays, we packed our days with visiting and crafting, preferably both.

One day we shared the morning with our adorable twin 4-year-old neighbors. If you do not have the delight of having adorable twin 4-year-old neighbors, drop everything and get thee some. Move if you have to.

My girls and the adorable twin 4-year-old neighbors spent the morning chasing each other, playing hide-and-seek, and making these super-cute, super-fragrant mini ornaments.

The directions are so simple. Combine equal parts cinnamon and applesauce (we used 1/4 cup each) and mix so it becomes a pasty dough. If it's too wet (ours was) add more cinnamon. If it's too dry, add more applesauce. Roll out dough and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. We used these fun mini cutters.

Set on a paper plate and use a toothpick to poke a hole. Decorate with sugar or sparkles, if desired. We desired. Let these dry until they are hard, turning them over once a day. When dry, hang from tree with a thread. So simple.

While the moms and kids worked with the cinnamon-applesauce dough, here's what the dudes, I mean, dads, did.

Monday, January 4, 2010

a pink knife under the pine tree

On the first day of Christmas, my sister-in-law gave to me ...

... a pink knife under the pine tree.
This is no ordinary knife. I thought I was perfectly happy with my other knives. Until I met this one.

It looks so innocent, just sitting on the cutting board, all pink and cute.

But then you make that first slice into the avocado, rotating it around to cut the other side. And when you get back to the first side, you can't see your original slice. You wonder if this pink knife is enchanted. You blink and wonder if you are (not) seeing things. You, only then, realize that this knife is to be taken seriously. The blade is so fine that you don't see your cut. Huh, you think, but can it take out the pit? Oh, yes.

This knife is a little like Angelina Jolie. All slim, beautiful, and feminine. But take your eyes off of her for a moment and she'll slice off your finger.

Enough about Angelina, what's that I'm making? It's the most amazing chunky salsa ever. This salsa will win you friends at parties. And it's nutritious.

Combine 1 packet of dry Italian seasoning, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup olive oil in a medium bowl. Chop 2 or 3 avocados, 2 or 3 tomatoes, 3 green onions, 1/2 red onion. Toss into the oil mixture and add 1 can drained black beans and 1 can of corn. Toss it all.

Serve ONLY with these tortilla chips. All other chips are wimpy. I don't have an opinion about this or anything. You can find them on the top shelf of the "Mexican" or "ethnic" aisle at the grocery store, or at your local Mexican grocery.

If you are having trouble remembering the name El Milagro, you can look for the woman grinding the corn and making tortillas. (Anyone remember this steamy scene from the movie Like Water For Chocolate?)

!Chao! Hasta luego. Que le vaya bien.

a christmas assembly line

As Christmas approached, I had the brilliant idea of doing all of my shopping at Trader Joes. Well, the closer Christmas got, two things happened: 1) the idea seemed less brilliant and 2) four of these were staring at me.

That's 20 pounds of chocolate.

Even someone who gets as uninspired as I do around Christmastime can come up with a treat or two to make with 20 pounds of chocolate. Actually, I came up with about 80 treats.

Yes, one cold and snowy night, after the sugarplums were all tucked soundly in bed, Music Man and I cranked out 80 of these babies.

And it was fun.

And it was easy.

And it was done.

Anyone have another idea for how to use the 15 remaining pounds of chocolate?