December 15, 2010

Paper Snowflakes

Christmas just doesn't feel the same in South Texas - no snow, wearing t-shirts and sandals while Christmas shopping, palm trees covered in lights - just not quite the same as Minnesota! So I decided to bring the feeling of Christmas in the North here to the South. Here's a quick tutorial for paper snowflakes:

1. Start with square piece of paper.

2. Fold in half corner-to-corner, and then in half again corner-to-corner.

3. With the point facing down, fold the two sides in until there are three equal triangles folded on top of each other.
4. d) Cut off the wings to make even edges.

5. Go wild cutting fancy designs. Just make sure to leave at least part of the folded edge (pink in the picture) uncut, or your snowflake will 'melt'.

6. Unfold and gasp at the beauty you just created!

7. Cost: free (assuming you have paper and scissors lying around)

I made some for my therapy room at work:

And decorated my apartment with more:

Merry Christmas!!!

Linking to: Get Your Craft On.....Today's Creative Blog

December 14, 2010

Easy Christmas Craft!

1. Take one glass cylinder....and one candlestick (both from Dollar Tree).

2. Fill with leftover sparkly Christmas bulbs.

3. Enjoy!

December 7, 2010

What I Love Wednesday

This week I am loving:

***Andy Williams Holiday Station on Pandora***

Oldies but Goodies mixed in with current Christmas hits. Think Brenda Lee, Bing Crosby, Michael Buble, and Amy Grant all wrapped up in one pretty little package. Love it!

December 6, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....


First-ever wreath for me!

* wreath -$4 (half-price from Hobby Lobby)
* greenery - $4 from Dollar Tree
* red beaded garland - $3 Target
TOTAL: $11!
Linking to Get Your Craft On......Today's Creative Blog

December 2, 2010

What I Love Wednesday...

This week I love..........


I had a WoNdErFuL week at home with most of my family. So fun seeing the neices and nephews again, catching up with sisters and Dad, doing some cleaning, and cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Now that Thanksgiving is over, my most favoritest holiday is here - CHRISTMAS!! I love everything about this season:

1. Christmas lights!!
2. Christmas music!!
3. Special food and desserts you only make this time of year!! Date Balls, frosted cut-out sugar cookies, Wassail, etc :)
4. Finding just the perfect gift for each person on my list! And being Crafteroonie about it too :)
5. Putting ornaments on the tree and decorating my apartment!!
6. Ugly Christmas Sweater parties!!
7. Going home to Minnesota to see my family!!
8. Going home to Minnesota and seeing snow!! (Doesn't quite feel like Christmas here in South Texas, where it's 75* today....)
9. Receiving and sending Christmas cards in the mail!! I love cards that include letters recapping the highlights of the year!
10. Christmas Eve service at church!! Let's not forget the reason we are celebrating CHRISTmas in the first place!

I could go on. I just love that this season lasts a whole month long. Even though I refuse to let Thanksgiving be overshadowed by early November Christmas advertisements. Now that it's December we can all go wild. LOVE IT! Merry Christmas to you all!!!!

November 20, 2010

2010 Shutterfly Holiday Cards

A great resource for all your photo-storing needs is Shutterfly. You can upload all your photos for free, share with family and friends, and use your own photos for personalized items that make anyone smile. I am using Shutterfly for my Christmas cards this year. They have so many creative and beautiful cards to send to your family and friends. I've narrowed my choice for this year's card down to one of these designs:

Some of my other favorite items that would make great gifts:

*Wall Calendars:

My family makes one every year for Christmas and we all get a copy. It's the best to see the faces of those dearest to me all year long.


Turn your favorite photo into a puzzle! This is so cool! I think this would make a great wedding present or gift (for anyone from children to grandparents!)

*Photo Mugs:

Who doesn't like a personalized coffee cup?! Another great gift for Father's/Mother's Day or Christmas or Birthdays.

Be sure to check out Shutterfly for your photo needs at Christmas time and all year round!

*I am participating in Shutterfly's Holiday Cards promotion for 2010, and earned 50 free Christmas cards for writing this post. Thanks Shutterfly! Learn more here.

November 17, 2010

What I Love Wednesday!

This week I love...

...meeting new people! Making friends when you live across the country from your friends and family makes all the difference! The past month has brought new people into my life and I am so thankful to have friends to hang out with down here in South Texas!

November 16, 2010

{recipe} Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Weekly Test Recipes - week 43!

I made some Pumpkin Scones last week, and had to use up the rest of the pumpkin. Had this recipe bookmarked and it was perfect - between the two recipes I used exactly one can of pumpkin.


1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (can use AP, I used wheat)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. canned pumpkin
1/3 c. olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Topping:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. brown sugar

Steusel Topping:
4 1/2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour (can use AP - I used half and half)
5 tsp. white sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tsp. butter
3 tsp. chopped pecans

*You will need all three layers ready at the time you fill the muffin pans*

For muffins:
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.

For cream cheese:
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth.

For streusel:
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly.

Preheat oven to 375F*.

Fill greased or lined muffin tins 1/2 to 2/3 full with pumpkin batter.

Place tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on top, being careful not to let topping touch edges of liner.

Sprinkle streusel on top. Bake 375F for 20-25 minutes. Devour.

These are so yummy! I got 19 muffins out of the batter, but had extra cream cheese left over, and had to make more streusel for the last three muffins. They were highly praised at work, and are especially good with a cup of coffee or milk.


November 14, 2010

Stained Glass Window Art

I used this tutorial from V and Co. for wax paper and crayon art. It looks so beautiful! I ended up using these gorgeous leaves to decorate my therapy room window at work.

How to:
1. Cut small squares of wax paper. Mine were about 6"x6"
2. With the shiny side of the paper facing up, shave various colors of crayon onto the paper. I used a scissor for this. There may be safer ways to do this, but a scissors worked pretty well.
3. Lay a second piece of wax paper, shiny side down, on top of the crayon shavings.
4. Put your crayon-shavings-and-wax-paper sandwich on top of a paper towel on your ironing board, and place a second paper towel on top of the wax paper.
5. Iron on medium until crayons are melted, moving the iron around to make sure the crayon colors mix really well and cover the wax paper.
6. Once cool, place wax paper over an outline of the shape you want to cut out. I used a leaf shape. Trace with a pencil and cut out.

I mixed these leaves with construction paper leaves and cut a tree out of a paper bag for my window at work.

November 7, 2010

{recipe} Buttercream Frosting

Weekly Test Recipes - week 42!

I made cupcakes for a birthday at work, and decided to make the frosting the focus. I made the cupcakes out of a box mix for time-saving purposes (Funfetti!), then found a highly-rated and well-reviewed buttercream recipe from

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (adapted from allrecipes)

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Combine butter and shortening together until mixed very well (I beat with a mixer for about 2 minutes). Add powdered sugar and mix again for a few minutes until completely combined and very fluffy. Add vanilla and cream and mix until moistened. I ended up adding another splash of cream at the end to make it just a bit smoother. Yields enough for 18 cupcakes, but you could probably decorate 24 if you used less frosting on each one than I used.

I used this recipe for my first attempt at PIPING! I don't own a pastry piping bag, but I got a metal tube piping set in the Dollar Section at Target last Christmas. It worked fine for this, but it made one of my fingers numb from the way it was held. After about four truely sad looking cupcakes, I started to get the hang of it, and really like how they turned out! I sprinkled on some pink sugar sprinkles for the birthday girl after the piping was finished. I love how they look!

Rating: EXCELLENT! This frosting was stiff enough to hold the piping, was easy to work with, and tasted good!

November 3, 2010

What I Love

I'm starting a new regular post on this blog: What I Love Wednesday.

This week's obsession: Lemon Water!!

I've started pouring a bottle of water before going to bed and letting it sit on the counter overnight so it's room temperature in the morning. Before I go to work, I warm a lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds, roll on the counter to release the juices, slice in half, and squeeze the juice from one half into the water. I like the water room temperature because I can just down the stuff. But throughout the work day I refill the bottle with cold water and add additional lemon juice for a refreshing thirst quencher throughout the day.

It's nice because I usually am not a water drinker, but this is a great way to get my H20 intake because it has flavor. Try it!

November 1, 2010

See ya Halloween!!

On Friday my co-workers and I decided to dress up for Halloween, since we work with kids. I didn't want to wear a costume, so here's what I came up with....

Freezer paper stencils! I love these things. In the next couple weeks I'll be posting a tutorial about the freezer paper stencil Christmas gifts I made last year. They are so simple and fun! I'm SO GLAD Halloween is over because it is my least favorite holiday, and now the real holidays can begin! Welcome Thanksgiving! Can't wait until you're here Christmas!

P.S. This project is linked to:

October 31, 2010

2010 Pumpkin Carving

The strangest thing happens to the television on Sunday afternoons. For some reason, it only tunes into channels with football on. No matter how hard my Fiance tries, he can only watch football games on Sunday afternoon =P So I decided to spend the afternoon carving pumpkins. Here's what I came up with this year:

October 26, 2010

SLP Project: Window Decor

In the speech therapy clinic I work at, we all have large windows in our therapy rooms. Unfortunately, those windows don't face the outside world, but it's better than nothing. I like to decorate my windows for the seasons, and I especially like to get my patients involved in the task.

Living close to the beach, I wanted to incorporate water/ocean/sealife into my window. I ended up finding some free clipart line drawings of fish (searched Google Images), made a bunch of copies, and let my patients color them at the end of their sessions. Then I cut them out, put their names on them, and hung them up in the window! I wanted to add a little extra, so I made some waves and an octopus. The kids loved it and I adored their creativity!

a close-up of some of my favorite fish

A couple weeks ago I took the fish down, and sent them home with their owners. Later this week I'll post my Fall Window, which I am in love with.

October 23, 2010

{recipe} Potato, Carrot, Zucchini Pancakes

Weekly Test Recipes - week 41!

This is a recipe I got from my younger sister when we were discussing healthy recipes. It's chock-full of vegetables and pretty easy to make - IF you have a food processor. I do not. So I had to shred potatoes, carrots, and zucchini by hand. That took a long time. I guess it was worth it though, because the end result was pretty good.


1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 pound baking potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 4 cups)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly coat two small baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Drain zucchini in a colander, press to squeeze out excess liquid. In a large bowl combine zucchini, potatoes, carrot, flour, one of the eggs, thyme, salt and pepper.

In extra-large nonstick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat. To make a pancake, spoon about a 1-cup portion of potato mixture into skillet; evenly press and round edges with back of spatula to form a pancake. Cook two at a time, 4-5 minutes each side or until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining oil and potato mixture.

With the back of a wooden spoon or a 1/4 cup measure gently press each pancake, to make a 3-inch diameter depression, deep enough to hold an egg. Pour one egg in each nest. Place pancakes with eggs in oven, being careful not to tilt baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, 10-12 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. Transfer to serving plates

I thought these were good, but the first batch I made I cooked too long and the egg got a really tough outer coating to it. I was scared about undercooked eggs. If you follow the recipe you should be fine ;) The thing I didn't like was the thyme. Any suggestions for substitutes? I made a half recipe and used 1/2 c. measures to make each pancake. This resulted in 4 servings. Also, I fried all four pancakes in the oven, but only baked two with the eggs to eat that night. The other two I fried and then put in the fridge for the next day. Then the next day I just put the egg on top and baked as directed.

Rating: GOOD

{recipe} Chicken Spinach Quesadillas

Weekly Test Recipes - week 40!

Here are some simple, easy, and fast quesadillas that are perfect for a weeknight meal.


You will need:
* chicken (I used rotisserie)
* fresh spinach
* tortillas (I used spinach wraps)
* cheese - Mexican blend, pepper jack, mozzarella - whatever you like
* ricotta cheese
* diced onions
* olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook a few minutes until tender. Add spinach and cook a minute or two until wilted. Place onion/spinach mixture on paper towel to drain. Shred chicken and mix with cheese and ricotta. Spread chicken/cheese mixture on half of tortilla. Top with spinach. Fold in half and cook in skillet over medium heat until cheese is melted and outside of tortilla is crispy. Flip to get both sides crispy.

This was very good! Since I used rotisserie chicken it was very quick to make. I think next time I'm going to try adding some fresh mushrooms. And I'm going to add some cayenne pepper or chili powder to the chicken/cheese mixture for some added spice.

Rating: GOOD

October 11, 2010

{recipe} Apple Crisp

Weekly Test Recipes - week 39!

Apple Crisp. It screams fall. There is no such thing as Fall in South Texas. Last week there were a couple mornings where it was "only" in the 70s on the way to work. I loved stepping outside in the morning and not immediately sweating. I couldn't help but laugh audibly as my co-workers were wearing sweatshirts and saying it was chilly. I miss fall. I miss leaves that change colors. I miss going out of my way to step on the crunchy leaves. I miss wearing long sleeves. I needed something to make it feel like fall here, and apple crisp was just the ticket.

This was actually brought into work for my co-worker's birthday. September - November has the majority of birthdays at work, so be on the lookout for lots of new sweets on here in the coming weeks.

I don't have a 'go-to' apple crisp recipe. I do have a fantastic Individual Apple Crisps recipe that is perfect for one or two people to get their fix. I'll have to post that some time. But for now, here's the recipe I made a couple weeks ago.

APPLE CRISP (allrecipes)

10 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used 5 Granny-Smiths and 2 Braeburns)
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted

*side note - it took FOREVER to peel and slice all those apples by hand. Like, 45 minutes. I definitely need to invest in one of those all-in-one peeler-corer-slicer dohickies*
lotsa apples
Place the sliced apples in a large bowl. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Stir a few times to coat apples. Pour water evenly over all. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture. Bake at 350* for about 45 minutes.

this photo is before baking
This recipe got rave reviews! A couple of my co-workers had never had apple crisp but are now fans! I'm definitely going to keep this recipe, but tweak it a little bit. I like a sweeter topping and thought all the flour in this oen made it a little too dry for my taste. Next time I'm going to make it using half the oats and half the flour, aiming for a topping with brown sugar/butter in the forefront. Make it today to celebrate fall!

 (this is the coffee cup I use at work - it makes me happy to think of home every day!)


October 7, 2010

{recipe} Milky Way Cake

Weekly Test Recipes - week 38!

We had another office party a couple weeks ago, and I never posted the recipe I tested - Milky Way Cake. The fiance helped me pick out the recipe, and he didn't even get to try any because it was gone before I came home! It was super easy to make because it has a box mix as the base.


10 oz. Milky Way candy bars, divided
1 pkg. yellow cake mix with pudding
10 Tbsp butter, divided
3 eggs
1 Tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray 9x13 pan with flour. Melt 5 ounces of chopped milky ways with 2 Tbsp of water in a sauce pan over medium-low until smooth. Set aside. Beat cake mix, 1 cup water, 8 tbsp melted butter, and eggs until thick and well combined (2 - 3 minutes). Add 1/2 of the batter to the bundt pan. Add the other half of the cake batter to the milky way mixture. Add 1 Tbsp flour and stir. Pour on top of the batter in the pan. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Let cool and then turn upside down on wire rack. For the glaze, melt the remaining milky way bars with 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp water in the saucepan until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes. Place cake on a platter. Spoon glaze over top so it drips down the sides. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes and serve.

This cake got rave reviews at the office. I thought it was just meh. Maybe it was the box cake mix. The glaze was my favorite part, but I didn't think there was enough of it. Next time I would double the glaze recipe. The original recipe said to use a bundt pan, but I don't have one, so I used a regular 9x13. Next time I think I'll use two rounds and make a layered cake, so the glaze can drip down the sides like the recipe says to.

Rating: GOOD

September 26, 2010

DIY Sewing Machine Cover

Excuse the poor pictures. I'm camera-less for a few weeks and all I have is the camera with no flash on my phone. :(

I got my sewing machine in college. My Mom bought it for me at a garage sale for $3!! It works great for the occasional mending, and I've even been sewing a quilt with it. BUT, it needed a cover to keep the dust off. Enter the tutorial from Sparkle Power that I've had bookmarked for quite a while. 

This project is DIY - Design It Yourself. I changed it very slightly, but not much at all. The fabric I had been eyeing at Hobby Lobby for months, but never had a project to use it for - until now! I also picked a coordinating gray to tone down the busy-ness of the print. I bought 1 yard of each, and had plenty leftover.You'll also need some coordinating ribbon.

Supplies: plus thread

Start by measuring your sewing machine from bottom-front to bottom-back, as well as the width from the left side to right side. My machine ended up measuring 28 1/2" x 16 1/2". When you cut your fabric, you have to cut about 1/2" extra on each side to account for seam allowances. So I cut my fabric 29" x17". Then, I cut a 4 1/4" piece off each piece so I could attach it to the other fabric just for a little added detail. If that makes sense. So I ended up with a 12 1/4" x 29" piece and a 4 1/4" x 29" piece of each fabric. Still with me? You could just use two pieces instead - one for the front, and one for the back. But I wanted to jazz it up a little.

Pin the smaller piece of gray to the bigger piece of print with right sides of the fabric together. Sew together. I used 1/4" seam allowances, but you could also use 1/2" if that's your style. Now go press those seams open flat.

Cut four 10" pieces of your ribbon. I put a little Frizz-Ease on the ends to stop them from fraying. On the right sides of one piece of fabric, pin your ribbon about 6" from each corner. You want to put about 1/2" of ribbon sticking out, and most of the ribbon lying in the middle of the fabric. Then put the other piece of fabric on top, right sides together, pin around the edges, leaving about a 4" opening from where you start sewing. I like to put two pins marking where to start and stop sewing so that I don't forget and accidentally sew all the way around the edges. You need this opening to turn your fabric right-side-out.

Trim your corners to reduce bulk when it get turned right-side-out.

Now, turn your fabric right-side-out through the opening.  This little tool comes in really handy for getting the corners nice and sharp.

See the difference between just turning right-side-out, and using the tool to get the corners nice and sharp:

Now, take your fabric over to the ironing board because you want to press the outsides flat. Here's another little trick Mom taught me - Lick 'Em! Lick your thumb and first two fingers and rub the two pieces of fabric between your fingers to bring the seam to the outside. This way, your seam will be ironed nice and flat and your layers will be opened as much as possible. I hope that makes sense. It's such an easy and useful trick.

Fold over the edges of the opening to match your seam allowance, and pin shut. Then topstitch all around the edges (about 1/8" from the edge). I used contrasting thread to match the ribbon for this job, just to add a little extra detail.

Drape over sewing machine and tie ribbons together. There you go! Done! Cute reversible blanket to keep the dust off your sewing machine.