Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year.. Chameleon ?

It is of course New Year's Eve day here, so Happy New Year to all!! I hope everyone remembers to be safe tonight...and that means if you are partaking in the New Year's spirits you get a designated driver or find a place to sleep so you don't have to drive and potentially kill someone or yourself! ...Sorry I get a bit irritated by drunk drivers. In the spirit of the New Year I am posting a cute and simple how to on how to make a pipe cleaner chameleon, by Martha Stewart! Enjoy! By the way...whoever donated money to my ASPCA cause, you are an angel, and a wonderful person, and I shower you with thanks!!! :)

This lizard began his life as a few skinny pipe cleaners. With help from the kid who shaped him, he grew into a lovable pet.

Tips and Tools:
Each animal starts with a looped pipe cleaner for a head and a coiled one for a body. You'll also need short pieces for limbs; a marker; felt; glue; and small scissors to cut pipe cleaners and felt, and to trim fur-to make a pointy nose, for instance.

Basic Head How-To:
Make a loop in the middle of a pipe cleaner. The size and shape of the loop determine the size and shape of the head. Wrap head from neck to nose.

Basic Body How-To:
Coil pipe cleaner around a marker (the thicker the marker, the fatter the animal) and slide off.

Chameleon How-To
1. Leave his tail extra long for curling.

2. Slip legs between coils, and twist.

3. Bend knees and feet.
4. Cut a skinny pipe cleaner for tongue.
5. Cut felt eyes. Glue on.
6. Draw pupils with a permanent marker. Slide tongue into the face, and curl end.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Are you as excited for Santa as this little ball of adorable is? I know I am! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent Calendar by Guest Crafter: Britta Jarvis

I belong to a craft community forum called Cut Out+ Keep, it's an amazing site where anyone is allowed to post their crafty creations and how to's. I encourage anyone who loves to craft to check it out and sign up! Cut Out+ Keep is where I found Britta Jarvis's lovely felt advent calendar. The first time I saw this advent calendar I thought it might be one of the cutest things I had seen, so I wrote Britta and asked if I could showcase her work on my blog, and thank goodness she said yes! So here it is, all the way from the UK, the how to for this most festive, and adorable felt advent calendar made by Britta for her boyfriend! Thank you Britta!

You'll need:
-tracing paper
-various colored pieces of felt
-a few colors of embroidery thread
-a length of dowel or bamboo cane
-small drill or hand drill

1. For your advent calendar you're going to need 25 days. I did 5 rows of 5 pockets to hold a sweet for each day. I decided to make the 25th day larger than the rest so it could hold more booty, but this also meant the the other 4 on its row were made slightly smaller. You can choose to do as I did or to leave them all the same size. First, draw out the pieces you're going to cut. I planned mine on tracing paper and then cut
around them to make the rectangles. I also made some simple felt christmassy shapes and sewed them on to every other rectangle in a checker-board fashion to decorate it.

2. Here are the rectangles laid out in sequence. The designs I added are a bell, holly, Christmas pudding, snowflake, snowman, candle, star, stocking, Christmas tree, present, mistletoe, a robin and a candy cane.

3. The next step is to embroider on numbers from 1 to 25 for the days of December. I dotted the dates around so it could be fun searching for the right pocket every day. I used backstitch but I'm no sewing expert, so if you know a better way then go for it :)

4. Get a piece of felt large enough to back all the pieces, minus about 5 cm horizontally but plus enough vertically to be able to roll the top around your dowel and write a message... call it 5cm again. The 5cm horizontally is so that you can bunch up each pocket a bit and make them more pockety and able to hold sweets :)

5. Decide what message you'd like to write on the top of your advent calendar. I chose 'Merry Christmas!' but you might like to add a name in there of the person you're making this for. Cut out the letters from different colored felt and sew it on just touching the top line of pockets, leaving the rest of the felt free at the top. next, get your dowel and cut it to the width of your calendar plus 2cm either side, then get your drill and make a hole through each end 1cm from the end. Roll this into the top of the felt and sew the felt closed around it. Get some of your thread (I used about 35 cm) and tie it through the holes in your dowel so that you can hang it up.

6. Add sweets! This is a very important stage and will be noticed if you forget it! I try to get several types of sweet so that every day you get something different than the last. Hang up your completed advent calendar with pride!

Thanks again Britta for this great tutorial and pictures, and I'm sure all my readers enjoy your advent calendar as much as I do!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread Man pin

If you are like me and love the smell of gingerbread you'll love wearing this unique pin! These are easy to make and cost almost nothing, are a great project to do with kids and make excellent teachers presents. And look how cute he is! You can use this recipe to make ornaments as well. I have had mine for years and can still say that he smells as good as the day I made him.

You'll need:
-1 cup brown sugar, packed
-1 cup shortening
-1 cup white glue (Elmers)
-2 cups molasses
-1 tablespoon baking soda
-1 tablespoon ground ginger
-6 to 8 cups all purpose flour
-1 and 3/4 cups water
-cookie cutters
-pin backs
-hot glue gun

You can certainly cut this recipe down depending on how many pins or ornaments you want to make. Remember these are NON-edible!

Mix the brown sugar and shortening together, add molasses and glue, mix well, set aside. Combine baking soda and ginger with 6 cups of flour, add this to the glue/brown sugar/etc. mixture and add the 1 and 3/4 cups water while mixing. Add enough remaining flour to make the mixture into a stiff dough and knead it well. Roll to about a 1/4 inch thickness and start cutting out your gingerbread men, and other shapes if you wish. If making ornaments using a straw poke holes in the dough for a string to be tied through. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour or until color is golden. Repeat with any remaining dough. To throughly dry gingerbread men, place them in the oven on oven racks and bake an additional 3 hours at 100 degrees. Let cool completely.

After gingerbread men are cool, using a hot glue gun glue a pin back onto the gingerbread man, let cool and you have a yummy smelling, cute holiday pin!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Star lanterns

The word festive comes to mind when I look at this star votive holder. Pretty simple and inexpensive to make, whip up several and use them on your table for a Christmas or New Year's party. I have a deep affinity for stars but you can change this pattern and use whatever shape you want. Stick a small votive candle or battery operated tea light in, turn down the lights and watch these lanterns glow!

For this project you will need:
-a glass ivy bowl (relatively cheap at craft stores)
-contact paper
-pen or pencil
-acrylic paint in white
-small sponge ( I used a small natural sea sponge)

Using your contact paper trace a few shapes, I used stars, you can do gingerbread men or whatever suits your mood. Cut out your stars with a scissor and peel the backing off the contact paper, then adhere them to your ivy bowls. Wet the sponge but make sure to squeeze out any excess water, you want it damp not wet or drippy. Now using your sponge dip into the white acrylic paint and begin dabbing the paint on your bowl until the entire surface is covered in a nice layer of paint. Peel the contact paper off and using a damp q-tip clean up the edges of the stars where the paint might have smudged under the contact paper a little. Let the bowl dry overnight, add a votive candle, and you have an excellent accent to any room or gathering!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Banana Bread Muffins

These muffins are really perfect for any morning, but they would make an especially great breakfast for Christmas morning!

This recipe calls for:
-1 and 1/2 cups flour
-1/2 cup of sugar
-2 eggs
-1 and 1/2 cup of mashed ripe bananas
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup oil
-1/4 cup water
-1 and 1/2 cups Post Banana Nut Crunch cereal

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a good sized bowl. Mash your bananas on a plate, I found cutting the bananas into slices and then using a large fork to mash works best. Add mashed bananas, eggs, oil and water to mixture. Stir until moistened, then stir in cereal. Pour into a greased muffin pan, or pans depending on the size. Bake 55 to 65 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in the centers and it comes out clean.

You can make a batch now and freeze them and on Christmas Eve take them out of the freezer to thaw and in the morning warm them in the oven or microwave, or make them fresh Christmas Eve. Either way they're sure to be a hit!

Spotlight on: ::soop::

Soop rings on Etsy are truly one of a kind! When I first saw these little guys I wondered where they had been all my life, and I promptly ordered a deer and trees ring. I still wasn't sure of my purchase until it arrived in my mail box, (from London I might add) a short while later with a hand penned Thank You no less. I carefully opened my package to find I definitely would not be disappointed with my purchase! These rings are little works of wearable art, I fell in love as soon as I put my little deer ring on, and when I layered the trees ring with it, it was like wearing a tiny diorama on my hand. These adorably awesome rings are not only amazing but they are uber affordable and would make a great present for the person who has everything, or the wildlife lover. I strongly recommend you take a look at these little critters asap!
My links aren't working...Blogger is testing my patience tonight so here is the link to the shop below...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Technical difficulties..

You 'll have to excuse my lack of posts since Thanksgiving, but I am having some technical difficulties with my digital camera...which really stinks since all my craft pictures to upload are on that very camera. I hope to resolve this issue this weekend! Stick around for tons of Christmas crafts and present ideas! Here is an adorable picture to tide you over :) ...Anyone for a cup of cute!!