LeafBowls-3

2014 Gifting: Leaf imprinted bowls

Every Christmas, I try to make one or two handmade gifts for my favorite people. One of those gifts is typically an ornament, which I will share with you in time to make your own during the next holiday season :)

However, I did make a gift that isn’t an ornament, and it is this polymer clay dish by Crafts Unleashed. It’s a small, decorative dish that could be used to hold some earrings or something similarly small. I basically followed the method in the post, but used a few different supplies. I bought white Sculpey clay III, which from the review seems to be a bit easier to work with than Premo by Sculpey. I also picked up a really cheap Sculpey clay tool set at Joann Fabrics for the cutting tools, but found that the little white roller worked better than a cheap rolling pin I bought at HomeGoods. The main thing I used the actual rolling pin for was to press the fresh leaf into the clay after it was flattened. The leaves came from a tree in our yard, and I used the ring from a glass jar as a circular cutout. I had a gloss clear coat from previous projects, and a bowl in our cupboard that I could use for this project and then dedicate for future craft projects. I’ve read that kitchen dishes should not be used for polymer clay projects. I made 10 dishes in total.

My supplies:

LeafBowls-1

 

Close-ups:

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LeafBowls-3 LeafBowls-2

 

BabyBib-2

A simple baby bib

A friend recently had a baby boy, and to commemorate the occasion I wanted to make her a simple gift so I settled on a baby bib. This free pattern from Delia Creates was the perfect solution. I love the simple way it fastens – with a little knot that is pulled through a button hole. My friend’s baby shower was Nascar themed, and the baby’s namesake has to do with her alma mater, so I decided on a football theme for the bib in her university’s colors. I was lucky to find the helmet pattern and then used a solid red for the back of the bib. The pattern was easy to follow and went together quickly.

BabyBib-3  BabyBib-2

Hand stamped infinity scarf

AcornOrnaments-3

Acorn jingle bell christmas ornaments

 

 

 

 

 

 

AcornOrnaments-3

I whipped up these simple Christmas ornaments as gifts for my friends and family. I had the grand idea that we would harvest local acorn caps to use, but they ended up being too small for the bells I found at Joann.

 

They were pretty simple to make. It went something like this:

  1. Find acorn caps to order on ebay since our local caps were too small.
  2. Paint the acorn caps with gold, green, and red glitter paint.
  3. After they dry, glue the bells into the acorn caps. I found hot glue to be the easiest to work with, but reinforced it with some Elmer’s in the gap around the bell, if it existed.
  4. After that round of glue dries, attach matching embroidery thread to the stem by tying it and then add a bit of glue for security.
  5. Once that dries, tie the thread onto a loop of ribbon. I varied the length of thread so that the bells would hang at different lengths.
  6. Optional – add a small coordinating bow to the ribbon loop.

And done!

AcornOrnaments-2

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PretzelRolls-7

Baking pretzel rolls for Thanksgiving

I haven’t baked any sort of bread that requires yeast in quite a while. That all changed when I read the pretzel parker house rolls recipe on Smitten Kitchen recently. While I don’t have a clue what a parker house roll is (yes, I could look it up), I did know that the rolls sounded (and looked) delicious. Following her recipe, and using the baking soda wash instead of lye, I now have made two batches of these rolls and froze them for Thanksgiving. I’ve taste tested a roll from each batch and can tell you that not only are they easy to make, they are also delicious. I’m not really a fan of kneading dough by hand, so I used my KitchenAid to take care of that part.

The yeast comes alive:

PretzelRolls-1

 

The dough hook does the hard work:

 

PretzelRolls-2

 

The dough after kneading:

 

PretzelRolls-3

 

The dough after first rise – I used a pizza cutter to cut up the dough into 16 kinda equal slices, like a pie, as the recipe suggests:

 

PretzelRolls-4

 

The dough formed into rolls, prior to the second rise:

 

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After second rise, before washing in baking soda / water and egg rinses:

 

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The finished product – so good!

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CauliflowerTabouli-7

A healthy take on Tabouli

I recently came across a recipe for “detox taboulleh” from Oh She Glows which uses cauliflower rice instead of regular grains. I wanted to try something with cauliflower rice again and I decided to try this recipe. It was well worth it. We paired the salad with flatbread and hummus and it was delicious. Because the recipe was so healthy I made very few changes. I used a bit more tomatoes and onion, a bit less cilantro, and sesame seeds instead of hemp seeds. I also used the shredding blade on my food processor to grate the cauliflower and celery. I used:

Salad ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower, leaves removed
  • 1.5 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cups fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 & 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
  • Optional sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Steps:

  1. Use the grater blade attachment on a food processor and drop cauliflower florets into the machine to grate. Empty out the bowl and use the same blade to grate the celery.
  2. Stir the rest of the vegetables (tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, and green onion) into the bowl.
  3. Whisk together the dressing in a small glass or jar. Pour onto salad and toss to combine, adjusting salt to taste if desired. The flavors are best after the salad has been refrigerated for a while. Sprinkle sesame seeds on of the salad when you’re ready to eat.

The grated cauliflower:

CauliflowerTabouli-1

 

Adding celery and tomatoes:

CauliflowerTabouli-2

 

Dressing and salad prior to mixing:

 

CauliflowerTabouli-4

 

Mixed salad:

 

CauliflowerTabouli-5

 

Delicious salad with olive hummus topped crisp flatbread:

CauliflowerTabouli-6

 

All recipes I’ve made from Oh She Glows have been great, I recommend you check her site out!

Repainting our bedroom

Painting the master bedroom

 

 

 

I finally got around to picking colors for our master bedroom and bathroom so that we could continue updating the bottom half of our house. The master bedroom has the bathroom sink open to the bedroom and the tub and shower are in a room off to the side. I had three basic ideas to test out:

  • Teal accent wall behind the bed, teal bathroom walls with the rest of the walls light blue and white ceiling
  • Teal accent wall behind the bed, teal bathroom walls with the rest of the walls light gray and white ceiling
  • Gray walls in bedroom (same gray as in our living room), teal walls in the bathroom and light blue ceiling

I tested four dark colors in the bathroom, narrowed my options to two, and then tested them on the wall behind the bed. I settled on white ceilings, and selected Valspar Lyndhurst Duchess Blue for the dark color and Valspar Halcyon Blue for the light color. Despite its name, Halcyon Blue is more of a light gray color. In some light, it almost looks white. Even though I decided to stay with white ceilings, I’d still like to try painting a ceiling a non-white color in one of our rooms.

BedroomPaint-1 BedroomPaint-2

 

A great photo of the mess after we started moving the furniture around:

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Testing the light colors on the wall and the ceiling:BedroomPaint-4

 

The after view – we finally hung some things on the walls!

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BedroomPaint-6 BedroomPaint-7 BedroomPaint-9

 

We still have to replace all of the trim in the room and paint it white. You can see the ugly light beige colored trim in most of the photos. It’s peeling and it’s ugly and I can’t wait to get rid of it!

While I was hanging things on the walls, I took an unused picture frame, removed the glass, and glued in a piece of metal screen so that I can use it as an earring holder on the wall near the hooks that I hang my necklaces on.

Earrings-1

Videos from our Alaskan hikes

I’ve finally slightly figured out how to do this GoPro video thing. I’ve been mostly using my GoPro for pictures, but we took it with us in Alaska and took some 360 degree videos from the top of the hikes we went on. I was able to use Adobe Premiere Elements to import those videos and stitch them together, much easier than when I tried to use the GoPro video app. So this first YouTube video is made up of multiple hikes, with the video taken with my GoPro. The hikes were the Savage Alpine Trail and Mt. Healy Overlook in Denali National Park, Flat Top in Anchorage, and the Harding Ice Field trail in Kenai Fjords National Park.

The second video was taken with a point and shoot camera, since somehow my GoPro battery was dead, despite charging it the night before. This one is probably my favorite though, because it’s video of a hand tram in the Kachemak Bay State Park near Homer, Alaska!