Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fortune Cookies for New Year's 2

Yes, I am on fortune cookie overload. You just have to see this little craft of a paper fortune cookie.

Items Needed:
  • Fortune tags
  • White or pre-printed cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue or double-sided tape
I say the larger the paper cookie the better! I love this idea of a Chinese New Year party. I think you should give it a try. How beautiful is this?


New Year's party favor

I love, love, love easy party ideas. This is definitely the best one, especially perfect for any ladies only parties.

Items needed:
  • Clothesline
  • Enough scarves for your guests
  • Cardstock paper for note card

You can come up with several ways to display the scarves if a clothesline doesn't work for your venue. I suggest:
  • Hang them on hangers - each hanger has the same note card
  • Wrap small wine or champagne bottles with scarves as bows
  • Place them in a basket near the door for guests to take as they leave
What will you (or did you) give to guests as favors at your NYE party?


Fortune cookies for New Year's

My fascination with fortune cookies led me to this little craft. Cleverly Inspired posted the idea here.

Easy steps:

Cover a champagne bottle with icing.
Add fortune cookies.

Ingredients for icing:

1 Cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 teaspoons water
3 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon meringue powder

This is two gifts in one. Bubbly and yummy.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow outside, snowmen inside

I received a sock snowman when I was in college from a friend's mother. I thought it was adorable and I had it for a long time. I ran across this craft online at Then She Made. It is very easy and my mantel will be full of them soon.


Kindness of neighbors

I live in a sweet little cul-de-sac five minutes from downtown. My neighbors are always busy with work, like I am, so we rarely have chances to chat in passing. However, the kindness of my neighbor, well actually his father, really surprised me yesterday. Most of us were outside yesterday shoveling snow slowly and surely. He walks over with his snowblower and offers to snowblow my driveway too. I was shocked. It just warmed my heart. A small gesture from him means a lot to me. I won't forget it. My neighbor and his sweet dad will get a nice New Year's gift from me.


Interior design dilema

Like many of you, I design my home slowly - room by room. I have a formal living room, which means no television, as well as a family room with a TV. After three years, the formal living room was furnished with off-white couches, a round coffee table with hidden seating, paintings, and lamps. The room is seldom used, but definitely needs some warmth. Below is a picture of my side table (far left). I like the hollowed out books, lamp, vase, and jars - just not all together. What could I do to make this corner warm? I'd love your input.

Plant? Just lamp and one book? Just lamp?

Table set from Value City Furniture. Lamp from Kirklands. Books from Kirklands. Vase from TJ Maxx. Jars from Kirklands. I now realize I shop a lot at Kirklands!


Family bracelet

Children can really surprise you with how much thought they put into kid-made gifts. My child made a family bracelet.

Some pipe cleaners from Dollar Tree and lots of twisting. Since the ends poke my wrist, I will wrap them in ribbon that I have left over from opened presents. The best way is to knot the ribbon every quarter inch.

What kid-made gifts did you receive?


New Year's cookie

I can't be the only one who loves the taste of a fortune cookie, right? Unfortuantely, they are always hard and crispy. The recipe below makes for a ymmy fortune cookie. Instead of pinching it in the traditional form, I will keep it round and flat. I plan to sandwich two together with almond buttercreme and place them in CD sleeves (see previous post).

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons water

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-X-13 inch baking sheets.

2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil until frothy, but not stiff.

3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar into a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.

4. Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.

5. Place level tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth and from side to side so that each tablespoon of batter forms into a circle 4 inches in diameter.

6. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 - 15 minutes).



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year's sweet gift

Like many people, I can't get enough of easy reuse projects. I seem to always have CD sleeves in my home office, many of which can with some software I don't use any more. Similar sleeves here for $6.00. Reuse CD sleeves as single cookie packaging. The only trick is making the right size cookie, preferably round.

No one does it like Team Martha added free printable labels that you simply glue to the sleeves.

I appreciate the tradition of eating Chinese food on New Year's Eve and reading the fortunes in the fortune cookies. This year, I plan on making a fortune cookie-ish round cookie to include in each sleeve. I'll even slip in a small piece of paper behind the cookie with a fortune printed on it. Easy and classy.

As a fun game, I will try having everyone write down a fortune that they wish for the group for the new year on a fortune cookie shaped piece of paper. People throw them into a bowl and each fortune gets read aloud.

What are you planning for NYE?


Kid-made book

Children can really surprise you with the clever gifts they make to warm your heart. I received a book filled with hand-drawn pictures and nice messages from my child. Find similar blank book here.

A kid-made book would be a perfect gift for grandparents! I would especially like to see a kid-made book describing the family tree. It is basically a scrapbook. I could see this given to someone on Mother's Day or Father's Day. In fact, make one for your child!

Stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby have plenty of blank crafts. However, don't neglect the crafts section of your supermarket and dollar store.


3D holly

It is no easy task to keep young children interested in crafts at school. I discovered this little delight tied to a door knob a few weeks ago.

Items needed:
  • Plain paper, 8-1/2 x 11 size
  • Scissors
  • Tape
Fold paper in half diagonally. Trim excess on sides. Cut three lines diagonally on each side, never meeting in center. Open paper and fold in the opposite direction. Wrap around each section, starting with center, and attach points with tape.

Match both As together and tape. In same direction, match both Bs together and tape. Now, in the opposite direction (behind), match both Cs together and tape.

Make three of these and attach them at the top with staples. Hang on tree or doorknob with piece of yarn.


Teacher's gift

Is it just me or are yarn pom poms adorable and easy? Feel free to hot glue the yarn tail ends between two strips of card stock for a more stable bookmark.


Girly paper tree

I am still in the holiday mood, at least that is what I will tell myself when my tree is up past New Year's. This sweet and easy crepe paper tree is perfect for a little gir's room year-round. Creatvie Chaos came up with the perfect little craft.

Items needed:

  • Crepe paper - $1 rolls of pink streamers like this
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • 1 piece of paper or cardstock - 12x12 for cone


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Perfect winter dessert

Hayseed Homemakin has the right idea for the perfect winter dessert.

This recipe is very versatile. You can use any cookie cutter shape, you can change out the candy decoration, or you can even sandwich two of them. Easy and delish!

I didn't want to pass up a chance to post this year's Christmas tree! Sweet and simple.


Best salad

I am not a chef by any means. Well, I am deep in my heart, but my hands have a mind of their own. I keep a short list of winning recipes I have tested. This is the best recipe I have found for salad. It's a bit sweet, and I love sweet things. At least try it, and let me know what you really think.

Best Salad

Yields 8 servings
     For salad:
  • 1 bag Spring Mix lettuce
  • 1 bag (or half a head) of regular lettuce
  • Some chopped red onion (handful)
  • 1-1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Provolone
   For dressing:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (can substitute with canola)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
First, layer Spring Mix lettuce, regular lettuce, red onion, grapes and cheeses in a large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together oils, vinegar, salt, sugar and mustard. Pour dressing over large bowl of lettuce mixture and toss tongs until fully incorporated over salad.

Note: Since the dressing sits in the salad, the lettuces wilt faster. I suggest you eat the salad over two days tops. However, it is so tasty that it may not last that long!

Note 2: After rinsing lettuce leaves and before adding them to the large bowl, dry the leaves as much as possible.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Beard and advent in one

When I say that I am in the Christmas spirit, I mean I am in it waist deep. A third advent calendar we have hanging on the refrigerator is Santa's beard. I purchased a gift bag with Santa's face on it from Dollar tree. I then trimmed out his face and hat, and glued it to construction paper. Below his head is a note that reads:

Santa's beard is very bare.
On his chin, there is no hair.
So each day, add one puff so white.
And when they're all on, he'll come that night!

We add one cotton ball with a glue stick every night before bed. Just adorable!


The Elf

I was trying hard to not get caught up in the Elf on the Shelf movement. Once I saw Tinsel, our little elf, at Target, I could not pass it up.

Tinsel has hidden in the Christmas tree and boxes, on the mantel and lamps.
Tinsel has been under the tree and tables, up the stairs and ramps.
Tinsel is our elf from the North Pole with a special trick.
Tinsel flies home each night to tell on us to Saint Nick.

What is your elf's name? Where has he/she hidden?


Why not two advent calendars?

The Christmas spirit has been seeping out of my pores this season. Instead of giving my child one advent calendar to help countdown the days until Christmas, we made two!

The first advent calendar was the easiest. From Dollar Tree, I purchased white paper cups (found in the wedding decorations section), foam Christmas stickers (maybe 100 in a bag), black number stickers (found in the school supplies section), and solid red wrapping paper. Each item was $1.00!

With a box cutter, I removed the bottom circle of the cup and cut the cup along the seam. Once the cup was unfolded, I pressed it down on the red wrapping paper and traced around it. I cut out one piece from the paper, and traced it 12 times. I wanted to alternate red and white cups. I used small pieces of tape to wrap the strip of paper around 12 cups. once wrapped, I adhered the numbers and then the foam stickers. I also purchased goodies from Dollar Tree, such as pencils, erasers, candy, pens, small puzzles, and other trinkets. The cups were stacked one to 24 on the mantel.

The second advent calendar used similar items from the first one.

With a tree-shaped cookie glass jar I had on hand, I filled it with emptied matchboxes from Dollar Tree. I wrapped each one in red wrapping paper, leaving the sides white to slide in and out the box holding the trinket. I used the same foam Christmas stickers and wrote numbers on them with pen. Each day, a child can open a box to count day the days until Christmas. Since the matchbox is so small, I wrote special things on small pieces of card stock, such as:
  • Play a board game together
  • Drink hot cocoa
  • Go to a movie together
  • Make a card for someone
  • Pick a toy to donate
  • Visit Santa

What kid wouldn't want TWO advent calendars?



I want to thank you for stopping by my blog. A few years of blogging on various topics landed me a career in writing and several volunteer opportunities. I am a working mother, full-time employee outside the home, that is. I believe that a woman can work and be a great mother. I even recently completed my masters degree, a dream that I still can't believe came true.

I am a life-long lover of cities, urban landscapes if you will. In the home, I like traditional decorations, food, and, well, traditions. I enjoy the simple things in life. I love doing projects as cheaply as possible.

So, stay and look around a while. Share your stories with me. Comment below and let me know what you like, and what you don't.