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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Home Cooking

For Christmas I got this blank journal from Anthropologie. I was so excited. I have been wanting a blank book to turn into a recipe book for a while now. Also, Anthropologie is my all time favorite store. I immediately began creating my recipe book.

Here are the tabs I made for it. I used the letter stamps and olive green ink pad I got from my mom, too. I even made Alec drive me to the store so I could buy a gel ink pen to use for this. 

I got this "handmade by yours truly" stamp from my mom, too. This is basically my little title page for my recipe book.

Here is my first real page, and favorite page so far. This basically represents how I want my whole book to look, eventually.

This is the first recipe I added to the "sweets" section. I decided to number the pages starting at 1 for each new section. This way, I don't have to number every page in the book, only ones that I've already written on. The "Sweets" section page has a table of contents for the recipes just in that section. This will make finding each recipe easy. I used pictures of the food I made so that it is even more personal.

Here is my frosting page. I'm going to add more today, but I wanted to share what I've done already because I'm so excited. I want to create a recipe book with a homemade, scrappy feel. I hope to have it filled with unique recipes and have each page tell a story. I can't wait to keep going and see what my book turns out to be years from now. 

Kacie's Quilt

I have been working on this project since the summer , but I haven't been able to post about it because it was a surprise Christmas gift for my best friend! I'm almost positive she doesn't even read my blog. I just wanted to make sure she didn't randomly decide to check it out and then have her gift ruined. 

This was the very beginning of the blocks for her quilt. I think this picture was taken in August or even July. I was working on it at the shop during work over the summer.

The blocks turned out like this. They ended up being crooked but, I don't mind and I seriously doubt she does. Part of having a homemade quilt is the mistakes stitched in with love.

In the center of 10 of the blocks I hand embroidered different pictures that I thought Kacie would like. There are coffee cups, flowers, a bird, and even our names in the blocks. This part is my favorite because it adds a really personal touch to the quilt that makes it just for Kacie and I. I worked on the embroidery while at work, too. 

Here is the final product on one of the blocks. I used the same colors for the embroidery floss as were in the fabrics I chose. I literally used every scrap of fabric that matched in order to have the exact right amount of fabric.

Here is the beginning of the sashing. I had to wait until Winter break from school to finish the quilt so, the past few weeks have been crunch time for me. There was a lot of cutting involved. Turning a huge sheet of fabric into little sashing strips was a pain because I felt like I was working forever and ended up with hardly any results to show for the hard work.

This was the first time I got to lay out the blocks. Getting to see it start to look like a quilt was great inspiration to drive more sewing! Most of the gifts in the photo were for Kacie, anyway.

I spent hours at my Aunts house trying to add a border and a backing. She ended up having this perfect gold/ orange color for me to use. There is no way I would have been able to finish this quilt if it wasn't for my Aunt. She even let me use her spray adhesive to connect the batting to the front and back. It ended up working amazingly. Her sharing her supplies saved me a trip and expensive bill at JoAnns. 

The back turned out crooked but, once again I don't think anybody cares too much about that. Meowzers could not get enough of this quilt. She crawled on it the minute it was on the ground and tried to lay on it while I was stitching the binding. We ended up having to make a scrappy binding because we didn't have enough of any one fabric to fit around the outside. This took a lot of extra time but, the result is more personal and looks great because of the added details.

Here is the final rolled up photo I had been waiting months to get to take! I hope Kacie loves this quilt and keeps it forever! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cross-stitch Creation

I created my first cross-stitch this past month and finished it today! I have done stitching similar to this before which I posted about here. This little piece of thread and fabric is my first actual cross-stitch, though.
My aunt mailed me this while I was at school so I could keep crafting even when I'm in my tiny dorm room, far from any sewing machine or Mod Podge. During finals week I found time to work in it while I was procrastinating and avoiding studying. It really is addicting. I ended up messing the little berries up a little bit because I counted the wrong number of spots over before starting them. I have to admit, I felt myself going cross eyed while trying to count the spots. This could account for the inaccuracy of my stitching.

Here is the final product. I just tried to put the back on it and mount it. I ended up trying to trim the back so it fit into the frame with the piece of cardboard that I used as support. I foresee the back still not staying on, even though I glued it. If this happens I'm just going to glue some craft paper over it. Tomorrow I will wrap it up all cute and put it under the tree for my grandma to open on Christmas morning! I am definitely going to try another little project like this soon. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, I helped my mom put together Christmas cards for her staff. We glued a poem onto the insides of these cards made of scrapbook paper. Then, we folded it so it had two seams. After that, we decorated the front of the card, taped an ornament on the inside, and finished them off with a bow. For creating these last minute at midnight, I think they turned out gorgeous. I actually think they turned out great, period. The idea was really cute and simple, yet personalized. My mom did an excellent job coming up with a gift that shows that she cares for her staff without being excessive or too expensive.

I think they all look really perfect together all nestled up in this box. I hope everyone enjoys the cards as much as we enjoyed making them together. Even though we both wanted to be in bed and not being forced to craft at crunch time, I'm glad we got to spend time together creating something for others. 

I have been having a great week. Alec has had a few days off and we just got to spend time together relaxing and having fun. One morning I woke up to him bringing me breakfast in bed. It was so cute because I was actually planning on making him breakfast in bed , but he beat me to it. 

Another morning we made homemade breakfast pizza. This has been on our to-do list since summer. I was so excited to actually make it. We had light-hearted disputes during the entire cooking process, though. He used to work in a deli and claims that the way they made it there was the only way it would taste good...he even said he didn't think we could make it with real eggs! I claimed that he needed to trust my cooking skills and believe that we could create a delicious breakfast pizza using ingredients that we had in the kitchen. He wanted only American cheese; I wanted three types of cheese. The pizza turned out so perfectly in the end. We ate almost the entire thing while watching HGTV and drinking coffee. 

I love mornings that I get to spend just relaxing with Alec where we can get ready at our own pace.The rest of the day consisted of him working on his car and washing both of our cars, and me cleaning the house and sewing. I know that isn't spending time together but it is for us because we both get to do our favorite things and know we can come together and take a break at any time. When he came inside from washing the cars I had this hot cocoa all ready. There is something about winter that makes a simple cup of hot cocoa seem magical. There isn't even snow on the ground and I still felt like the hot cocoa was making Christmas..well Christmas. 

Kitten is the poster child of Christmas this year. I love this picture because she is just posing so perfectly. I figured I should share this photo to encourage everyone to get costumes for their own pets, who deserve to celebrate the Holiday in green and red just like we do. This is besides the point, though.

The best part about Christmas is how you cannot pin it down as one specific thing. Christmas isn't Santa, getting gifts, or cut out cookies. It is the entire month of December. It is baking cookies, saying "Merry Christmas!" to everyone you see (strangers or not), being with family, decorating, a religious holiday, gazing at the Christmas lights on your way to anywhere and watching Christmas movies on TV. Christmas is a feeling, to me. It is a combination of all of these things and more that together create a mood in people, and send a message. I hope everyone embraces this 'spirit' of Christmas and passes it on to everyone that they see.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Seeing Santa

I finally finished wrapping all of my gifts today. I have a few more to finish making, but all of the other gifts I had in bags everywhere are now wrapped. My favorite part is how they are all in coordinating gold and beige wrapping paper with bows. I can't wait to see everyone open their gifts. I get stuff all year round from people and Christmas is the one time I can really return the favor. I actually got too many gifts for a few people on my list because everything I see reminds me of them. This is also the fullest my little tree has ever been. Now I get to sit back and enjoy how perfect it looks.

Today was the first Christmas Party on our huge list of family parties. We went to my Grandma's house where Santa actually comes and visits. He literally calls everyone up and gifts them gifts out of his big red bag and asks them what they want for Christmas. My brother, Alec and I basically just tried to watch the whole event from the other room, but we eventually got called up by Santa for gifts and pictures. Santa gave me a gas card this year, woo! This is the best picture we have because in one picture I am moving and the other one both Santa's and Alec's eyes are closed. Maybe next year we will get a good, solid picture with Santa. 

Amy and I did this last week but, I have not got around to posting about it until now. We newspaper printed our nails and it turned out really cool. It is so easy and looks great afterwords. This photo below does not show the text very well, but shows how mine turned out. The photo above is just one I googled to show the text better.

Newspaper Nails
clear coat nail polish
light pink, grey, or white nail polish (or anything you think will look good)
rubbing alcohol
cotton ball or dish for alcohol

First, paint you nails the color you want them.
Then, cut out a bunch of little squares of newspaper big enough to cover your entire finger.
Take a cotton ball that is soaked with rubbing alcohol and rub it on your finger nail. This can also be done by dipping your finger into a dish of rubbing alcohol but, we did it with a cotton ball. It essentially does not matter how you apply the alcohol, you could even use vodka for your alcohol, just get it on your nail.
Next, set a piece of text on your finger and press it on the nail, being careful not to smudge it.
Cover the paper with the cotton ball with alcohol on it for 15-20 seconds.
Carefully peel off the newspaper.
Repeat with other nails.
When they are dry, add a coat of clear coat nail polish to protect and brighten the text.

Also, I have not been posting about sewing for a while now. I have been getting a lot of sewing done but, can't post about it until after Christmas because it is a gift! I also have been cross stitching but, that post is for the future,too. I hope everyone spends lots of time with their family, eats their full of delicious Holiday foods and enjoys the season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Suits and Shopping

I finally found the Christmas outfits I bought for Meowzers and Kitten last year. They look so adorable in their little Christmas suits; I couldn't help but take pictures. As Megan once wrote: "I judge the awesomeness of my Christmas cards based on how angry my pets are when I'm finished." I could not agree more.

They are basically too fat for their outfits but they still basically fit. Meowzers' only covers her chest so her fat can be free from restraint. Kittens is usually only velcro-ed on the top one or two areas for the same reason. Kitten actually does this amazing thing where she pretends she is Chris Angel and escapes from her costume in record time. I'm sure this will not be the last time this Holiday that they have to dress up, either. I'm still on the hunt for a costume for my Dog.

Alec and I made brownies last night but, we didn't feel like waiting for them to bake and took them out half way through. They ended up staying gooey and we had to throw them away. Today we made White Trash, though. It turned out way better. The downfall of White Trash is that your first bite is never your last bite, ever.

Today, my cousin, Manny, came back from Georgia, where he is a military police officer. My family all got together for breakfast and then visited my Grandpa. This turned out to be a great start for my day. My mother and I then went Christmas shopping for the entire day. I got almost all of my gifts bought, too! I even did our grocery shopping for the week. This is Meowzers playing in the bags while we unpacked from the shopping trip. I hope all is well. Enjoy the Holiday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Emerged in the Christmas Spirit

I am finally home! I have been so busy with final papers and projects and studying that I have not had time to post. This picture was from a day we spent at the Library last weekend. Figured i'd share because it shows how enthused I am about studying and working on papers.

This is my precious living room right now. I love all of the Christmas decorations in every room. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I love the decorations that exist everywhere. I love the whole spirit of the season where family members all get together and bond over the holiday, snowy weather, and delicious food. Wrapping gifts in coordinating wrapping paper until I have a huge pile under my tree makes me happy every time I walk in the room. I also love getting the chance to buy things for people who buy me things all year long. I know I could do this any time but, as a broke college student, I like to be able to justify buying random gifts.
Now that I am finally home I can start crafting! Alec and I are doing the "12 dates of Christmas" idea that I found on A Beautiful Mess' blog. We both (actually my mom made one of them) took 6 pieces of paper and wrote down a cute little date idea for each day. The rules were it doesn't have to be expensive and we don't have to leave the house, just something that we can do together. We then sealed them into envelopes and randomly labeled them one through twelve. I spread out the envelopes in my tree in my bedroom for us to open one of each morning. Today is actually the 12th day so, we are counting Christmas Eve as day "eleven" and Christmas Day as "twelve." I am so glad he agreed to do this with me. I cannot wait to open the first one tomorrow morning!

Alec went to bed around 10:30 and now here it is 1:30am and I've basically been blogging and crafting all night. I made a bunch of these homemade holiday cards to mail to people and signed them all "Love: Alec and Amanda." They were so fun to make and I can't wait to mail them tomorrow. I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday at least half as much as I am.

Potter Party

The Honors Club held a "Harry Potter Party" a few weeks ago. I do not personally like Harry Pottery very much but, the party was indeed fun and very well put together. Therefore, I feel obliged to post about it. I have been procrastinating and not posting pictures because I am not passionate about Harry Potter, nor inspired by it. But, I have more to share so, here we go.
Each guest that attended got an activity sheet as they walked in. The sheet had a checklist of all the activities we had provided. For each activity they completed, they had one of us honors club members sign their sheet to prove that they completed it. These activities varied from games to coloring, dressing up as a character or even just showing up. When they were done having the time of their lives at our party, they took their sheet to the raffle ticket station where they could trade in each signature/activity for raffle tickets. These tickets could then be put towards prizes. I unfortunately did not win any prizes, though.

I thought this station was the coolest looking area in the whole party. These broomsticks are actually handmade and personally I think they look amazing. This game turned our to be very fun and I actually came in second out of about 10+ people. Broomstick Waltz is played by exchanging broomsticks as you move in a circle. Every person in the circle holds a broom in front of them and on the count of three, everybody lets go of their broom (leaving it where they were standing) and moves to the right. As you move, you have to try and catch the broom that the person to your right let go of before it hits the ground. If the broom hits the ground before you catch it, you are out. After a person gets out, or every few rounds, the whole circle moves back a few feet. This game gets really fun and I highly recommend it for any Harry Potter parties.

This bowl of slime is referred to as "jellied slugs," which is basically jello, sparking grape juice and gummy worms. There was a miscommunication during the assembly process and we ended up having to stir in the grape juice at the end instead of using it to replace water while making the jello. Either way it went over well and gross as it looks, many people ate it.

This is our fabulous display of "acid pops." Amy and I worked on these forever and they ended up turning out really well. These are just dum-dums dipped in pop rocks. We had to experiment and play with the process of creating things for a while because, the pop rocks tended to clump together after exposed to water. We would dip the dum dum in water, then roll it in pop rocks. We found that you can only touch the rocks that you are getting on your lolly pop while doing this or else all of your pop rocks with clump up and basically solidify.

Here is an appetizing example of what that actually can look like. Trust me, only touch the rocks that you are putting on your lolly pop while rolling them.

This is me with a Dobbie cut-out. I am wearing a little yellow necklace that has the deathly hollows sign on it. This necklace indicated to the guests of our party that I was a member of the "ministry" and could sign off on their activity sheets for them. 

The "fantastic beasts and where to find them" game was a scavenger hunt. There were clues about certain Potter creatures and where they could be found. Around the building were little pictures of each creature in a location that corresponded. This scavenger hunt was fun but, we did not find all of the creatures.
Alec and I actually spent most of the time at the party doing the word search. I could not even finish mine; Amy had to do it for me.

This was our prize table. We gave away scene it, the entire DVD collection, the newest DVD, posters, stickers and probably more. These are just some of the party activities that were at the actual party. If anyone is truly interested in hosting their own Potter Party, you can email me and I will describe the other games, too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My First Sewing Project in Months

I finally got to sew! Every time I have been home and crafting, I have been doing yarn crafts. I finally sat at my sewing machine and played with my dress form for a few hours! The only thing this dress form has been used for this year is another apron. I think this is due to my obsession with quilting. Finally, I used it though to make an apron for myself. 

I used scrap fabric from the first dress I ever made so, it was really sloppy and had a random seams down the front. I recycled the dress into this scrappy apron. This is the picture from me brainstorming and pinning the fabric scraps onto my dress form.

Here is the final project on my dress form. It turned out really skinny but, I don't mind because I just wanted to sew and needed an apron. I used green ribbon for the top strap, sewed a pink heart onto the top half and used some lace border for the bottom and top. I even wore it to make "pigs in a blanket" with my dad....for everyone who has never heard of that it is sausage baked in bread. They turned out to be delicious, too.

Here is me in my scrappy-and-skinny apron next to my tree in my room. I apologize for the poor quality of these photos but, I do not have a decent camera so they all turn out blurry. This is the tree I posted about decorating a few days ago. Almost all of those gifts under the tree were bought on Black Friday. I love my tree and can't wait to come back home and fill it up completely with presents. 

I know this photo is dark and shadowy but, these are behind the tree on my cork board. I sewed these stockings two years ago, I think. One is for Kacie, my best friend, and the other is for me! Usually they just hang on my tree and have never been filled with goodies. This year might hold a different future for these little stockings. I love them because they are nontraditional and mix two different patterns....oh and they are homemade. I hope everyone is enjoying decorating for the Holidays as much as I am!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Black Friday

This is what I did at Walmart while I waited in line for two hours for a TV for the living room. I couldn't find anybody to go Black Friday shopping with but, at 9:30 my parents decided they were going to camp out for a TV. So, I got to go! I made a trip out of line to go get coffee and my mom went and got us yarn and crochet needles so we could stay busy in line. By the time we got the craft supplies we only had about 30 minutes left, though. We did make a new friend, Linda, in line because she was waiting right next to us the entire time. After we got our TV at midnight, we shopped for another two hours and I got almost all of my Christmas shopping done!

For some reason, our line went right through the freezer section so we were basically in Antarctica for the entire wait. This is the view of our line before they doubled the line and made another row of people stand to the right side of the isle. 
I love Black Friday shopping and I went last year for the first time. My mom absolutely hates it but, I had so much fun getting all the great deals on Christmas Gifts I wish she would do it with me every year. I hope everyone else got great deals, too.
I got all of my gifts for Alec and most of my gifts for my family. This week we put up the tree in my room, the tree downstairs and baked Christmas Cookies. I am so excited for Christmas. It is my favorite holiday and I started celebrating it already. Now I have to do homework for the rest of the weekend, and then go back to school...neither of which I am looking forward to.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crocheting, Knitting, Baking, and Cooking.

  I came home last night, a day early, from school to surprise my mom. I pulled in the drive way at the exact time she did and her face was priceless. I'm almost positive tears of joy were involved. Plus, it was the first time I drove my car, which is standard, without Alec! So, I got home and we made cookies and then went to knitting club. I tried really hard to learn how to knit but, wasn't doing as well as I was hoping. So, instead of making the shifter knob cover from knitting  like I wanted to, I went home and made my own crochet pattern for my Subaru.


This is my masterpiece! It fit on there pretty well and kept my hand warm this morning when I was driving! This is the first time I've ever made a pattern out of my head and created something. It doesn't move around when I'm trying to shift either. I might try to tweak it a little bit and then I'll type up a pattern for it and post it on here so anybody else who wants to crochet their own shifter knob cover can, too! 

These are the cookies I made to bring to knitting club. They are from a confetti cake mix except instead of making it like a cake I added a little bit of oil and 2 eggs, and made it into cookies instead. We made them "Thanksgiving Cookies" and they are about half gone already.

This is the homemade turkey minestrone soup I made today. I'm actually eating some right this instant. I used the Minestrone soup recipe from my Moosewood Cookbook  as a guideline but, basically threw in whatever we had that I thought might taste good. I think it turned out pretty delicious. I know my mom will eat it but, I'm not sure if any of the boys will go for it. They are picky about their homemade food....they hardly eat anything that doesn't come out of a package. Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday week!
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