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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Project 11: Salt Dough Tags

200 degrees F/4 hours OR 250/3 hours

Easy Peasy.  I don't have a photo because we did this while I was in Michigan, barely recovering, and I didn't want to post someone else's photos.

The stamping thing works, but use a little flour.  Also, I like the thinner rolled ones.

And if you must have a photo (if I were the one reading, I would!!), here are a few links.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday shopping Last Minute

Hey Everyone!!
Check out this link that will lead you to many-an-artistmade-gifts!  I love handmade stuff, and I couldn't help but share.

And, no, I don't have another Project yet.  YET.  But here are a few photos of this tooo long recovery.  
 (Shawl made by my mom.)

Playing Upwords while Mama recovers.

"Daddy dressed me."

Basic Christmas Craft.  Melted Chocolate+Paint Brushes+Molds.  (we didn't really keep these to eat.  It was more to entertain them while I made chocolate covered pretzels as a teacher gift. )

Things are coming around slowly here.  I haven't even yet mailed my parents' things...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Kidney Update

Hi all!  I thought I would be back posting by now, but I am having a harder time recovering than I thought.  Papa Chin is doing well--the kidney donation was successful, but healing takes time.
By some miracle we have the Christmas tree up, but if you stop by for a visit, please don't be appalled by extremely messy house.

Be back with Project 11 hopefully soon.  There is crafting being done around here, but not by me.  Thank goodness for Pinterest and its unending kids craft ideas.:)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Project 10: Felt Ornament

This is super easy, and barely needs a tutorial.  My friend, Maddy, and I planned this out and almost finished it before Soleil's nap was over!  Design whatever you want, draw a template on heavy paper, cut it out, trace it on felt, and sew it together.  Make sure to sew a ribbon to it to hang your ornament up.  (If you don't add a ribbon, it can be a toy.  My kids like them either way.)

A few designs.  (This is a fun activity in a waiting room.

Template we drew and cut out of magazine paper.  
It is nice and thick and readily available in my house. 

 Our bird.  
Sew the decorative details on first, then sew the 2 sides together and stuff.  
We did this all by hand, because you can sew it in front of the tv :) 

**There might be a small delay in the next blogpost, as I am in Michigan, donating my kidney to my dad.  I am hoping that I will recover quickly and be able to keep to my project 52 timeline:) 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Project 9: Homemade Envelopes

I'm cheating.  I have made these for many years, but was re-inspired when I started to receive the holiday catalogs in the mail.  (Anyone else get TWO Pottery Barn catalogs on the same day??) Many of the pages are beautiful and I had to reuse them.

You can buy a plastic template or take apart an existing envelope and trace it, but really I actually prefer to make them without the template because it is easier.  To do this,  you:

1.  Fold the edges on the longest sides in about an inch

2.  Fold the top part of the page into a triangle, by folding in the sides. This is your closing flap.

3.  From the bottom of the page, fold up a third of the way to make the envelope part, and fold the triangle flap down on top.  Easy Peasy!

 4.  Now tape the sides together, and use to tape at the flap once you have put a letter inside.  Small mailing labels work great for the address.
(Here is the front of the envelope.)


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Roast

I miss this.  In England, it is customary to gather on a Sunday at a family member or close friend's home and have a Sunday Roast, usually late in the afternoon.  The roast can be any meat or even veggies, which I have had over a baked potato. Yum.   Even the local pubs serve a Sunday Roast menu instead of their regular fare.  My favorite was usually the roast chicken.

I want to continue the tradition now that we live back in the US.  Today, however, I have a cold, so the kids will be lucky to get freezer pizza.  But, if you are inclined to have a nice lazy long dinner with friends on a Sunday, I will share with you a really good recipe that we have tried several times.

Pork Tenderloin Roast with Stuffing and Apples.  Enjoy!
(It only takes a few minutes to assemble, and only 30 minutes to cook. ) from Food Network

               2 whole pork tenderloins, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds total
               salt and pepper
               1/3 cup apple juice
               1 tablespoon butter
               1 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crumbled
               3/4 cup chopped peeled tart apple
               1/2 cup chopped onion
               3/4 cup herb seasoned stuffing crumbs
               1 cup apple juice
               4 slices bacon, halved crosswise

Cut each tenderloin lengthwise, but not all the way through. Flatten. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Heat 1/3 cup apple juice with butter and sage. Stir in chopped apple and onion and stuffing mix. Spread stuffing mixture over one flattened pork tenderloin then top with the other flattened pork tenderloin. Skewer shut. Place pork in a shallow baking pan. Pour 1 up apple juice over the meat then lay bacon across top. Roast uncovered at 350° for 1 1/2 hours, or until cooked through. Remove skewers.
Serves 6 to 8.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Project 8: Bath Salts for a Cold

I am trying to minimize the cold that I have just gotten.  According to the internet, I can't, but I am determined to feel better in order to take my kiddos to a Halloween Party tonight!  (In case you didn't know, Halloween is my favorite holiday!!!)

This is a simple recipe for making a bath salt.  Mine is Eucalyptus, Orange, Lavender, and Peppermint. The Eucalyptus and the peppermint will help me breathe a little better, and hey, who doesn't feel just a bit better after a hot bath?

Basically, I used half epson salts, half sea salts and added essential oils, zest from an orange, and a little food color.  You can do this all to your preferences.  It is fun to play around with different combos.

I also wanted to add ground oatmeal, which makes your skin really soft, but the baby was sleeping and the coffee grinder would have woken her up.  (Put oatmeal in a coffee grinder until it is powder.  Voila!)  You can also use JUST the oatmeal mix for kids who have eczema.  I used to put this in Tate's bath with a little lavender oil.  It makes a mess in the tub, but it really does help his skin.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Project 7: SQUAM!

I just returned from "Squam by the Sea", an art retreat that was held in the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  I booked this event back in the very beginning of the year, as a much needed getaway since I have never really left the kids in the 7 years since I have become a mother. 

It was so much more than art, and these things usually are, and I have returned tired, but rejuvenated.  I don't want to describe with words because I think the photos do a better job.  

A table of trinkets to choose our inspiration for a bit of creative writing.

What I chose....

From the class I took called "Awaken the Muse."

My new friend, Michelle's, cool camera strap.

A gift for Paul. 

Two of my fellow squammies:) I miss them already.

I finally had an outlet for my face painting!!  I loved that lots of folks wanted a little decoration.

Project 6: Photo Op Mural

One of the folks from Tate's school asked me to make a colorful photo op mural for the upcoming Did de Los Muertos celebration.  It was great to paint, and was a perfect activity to accomplish while Soleil took her daily nap.  (She didn't take one today, and I am really, really, really hoping that she isn't growing out of them!) 

Tate took my photo trying it out before I was done:) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Project 5: Crockpot Cooking

Still working on the project for Tate's school...  No need for me to be cryptic--it is a Dia de Los Muertos photo op board for the kids to look like happy skeleton and Frida Kahlo.  I love that it got me painting, but I have to remember sometimes that it is for elementary school kids to have a giggle with, not something that will be placed in a museum! (This ridiculous need for perfection made me love to fly  on instruments, so I guess it is good for something...)

As for this week, I turn to the crock pot.  Pinterest is a wonderful thing!  I have used the crock pot in the past, with so-so results, but it was great that I didn't have to cook.  Lately, I have things that have been downright yummy!  My favorite inspiration?  The Crockin' Girls.  I love their Texas accents, their great personalities, and their stuff turns out great!  Yes, they do use the occasional cream of whatever soups in their stuff, but it is really good AND you can use a healthy alternative if you really want.  (I found several substitutions online when I went looking once.)

Apple Cake (from last post) We made that twice in a month!
Pot Roast+2 French Onion Soup Mix Packets on a bed of celery.  (YOu can add carrots and potatoes, but I roast separately in oven.)
Little Meats and Gravy (from crockin girls) --everyone loved it!
Cheesy Sausage Casserole--(also from crockin' girls) Hubby loved it, kids didn't, but they don't like creamy anything!  I loved it.
Chicken for Shredding --Whole Chicken, 1 cup BBQ.  You can also use broth and veg instead.
Many Bean Soup--dry beans, italian dressing, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, carrots, celery

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Project 4: Fall Decorations

I have actually been working on a crafty project all week for Tate's school, but since I don't want to spoil the surprise, I will have to post something else for Week 4.

Here are our fall decorations and a few photos of our neighborhood Harvest Party that we had last weekend.  I think it will satisfy my "Project 52" requirements, since it was creative work to make sure the party and all the decor happened!

 Our bubble maker!

The favorite soup of the day.

The coolest soup bowl cozy!! My neighbor, Nessa, made this and Mom, pleeeeeeeease make me one! (Did mention that Nessa made it without a pattern?  Awesome.)

Soups, Plain Noodles, and Bread.  Simple but yummy.

Our new fave: Apple Crockpot Cake! 

  Just add apple pie filling (or we just cooked up apples with spices and a little brown sugar in butter)+yellow cake mix+a teeny bit of hot water+melted butter.  Cook for 2 hours on high and it magically makes cake.  Sticky, yummy, appley cake.  Serve with ice cream!

I love this time of year!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Project 3: Homemade (cute!) Pillowcase

A homemade pillow case sounds really ugly.  You something a relative gives you at the holidays that you only pull out when they come to visit.  But I found this really great tutorial on pinterest, and they used super cute fabrics, which made the pillow case ADORABLE.  Or, I am getting old.

In any case, to go with Mikey's Quilt (Project #2), I made him a matching pillowcase.  He's a 23 year old bachelor, so he'll appreciate (I hope!)  a household good that he doesn't have to buy, and can use the money on food!!

It was really easy and I was able to finish within 2 hours.  Here is the link.

I personally used the video included from Notes from the Patch blog, in addition to the written instructions.  I love the french seams as well as the finished look of the case. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Project 2 : Quilt for Mikey

Yes, yes...I realize that we are in week 3, and I haven't posted Project 2 of 52...  I swear! I was working on it the whole time!

Quilts take a really long time to make.  Thank goodness we aren't relying on my quilt making skills to keep us warm, as they did in the days of old.  We would be out of luck.  And by we, I mean my family, who all love to sleep under lots of blankets.  

This quilt is for my brother, Mikey.  I made the top over the last year, but I used the Project 52 to give me focus and actually finish it and mail it off.  (It is not yet in the box.)  The kids are breaking it in, snuggling and playing on it any chance they get.  My kids really, really love quilts.

As for Week 3's project, does decorating for Fall count as a project? Maybe?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bits of Inspiration

We went to the MN Renaissance Festival a few weeks back, and it was way more fun than I expected.  In fact, my kids preferred this event to the State Fair, which we had been to the week before.  We went on Fairy House competition day, and here are a few of the amazing fairy houses that we saw.  Tate preferred to watch the longbow competition, until I made him walk around with me (Soleil and Paul went to get some corn) and then he was insisting that we walk around them twice. He even voted for his favorite!

Later in the week, we were looking for something to do, and I remembered a fountain pump that the previous owners of our house had left behind.  It started with "Let's see if this thing works!" and progressed to the kiddos arguing over who get to play with the new fountain.  The whole thing was created and designed by Tate.

And thank you, Pinterest and Lisa (Rogers) Meesseman, for inspiring me for today's afternoon project...
(the q-tips will be dots for the leaves on the trees.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Project 1: Scrapbooking!

Wait.  It's Wednesday already!  I had big plans to post every Monday, but I am having a hard time getting back into the swing of things with school starting.  The first week was all about going to Target, Library, Dry Cleaner, returning purchases, errands galore.

This weekend started with a Dove Chocolate Party, which was sooo fun (kind of like Pampered Chef, but you buy from the high end division of Dove instead of pots and pans).  And then on Saturday, I threw a bunch of crafty stuff in a bag and went for a mini scrapbook retreat.  Delightful.  The best part of it all, was that I am back in crafty mode, now that I know where all my stuff is, and I can't wait to get back at it.

 So for my Project 1 of Project 52, I present SCRAPBOOKING.  :)

The beautiful studio we created in...

The wonderful cabin we slept in.  The best part was the snuggly kitty that came with the house!