Friday, November 29, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #133

The Answer Is Chocolate

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I didn't put the party up last night figuring everyone was too pooped to party. So for those of us avoiding the Black Friday craziness, let's heat up some spiced cider and take a look at some features from last week. 

Hanukkah Gifts

Hanukkah started the night before Thanksgiving. If you still need an idea for the remaining days or want to pin for next year, Doreen at Altered Artworks has a fantastic idea. Hanukkah in a jar!

DIY Tabletop Christmas trees

If you're spending the weekend decorating for Christmas, whip up a few of these tabletop trees to supplement your decor. Very Anthropologie! Details at  Philzendia 

Mason jars are everywhere and they're a wonderful way to package gifts. Whether for food gifts or craft supplies, they come in handy. Dana at This Silly Girl's Life has more. 

cheesecake recip

Tis the season when you need to whip things up quickly. You'll never guess the secret to these Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Turtle Bites. Head over to DigiScrapBoutique for the recipe. 

Now for this week's party!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you a day spent with friends and family as we pause to remember all for which we have to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bleached Bottlebrush Trees

Botttlebrush Trees

I love the look of vintage holiday decorations and have long wanted some vintage bottlebrush trees. I’m automatically drawn to displays of them in stores. I am not always drawn to their price so once again, I decided I could make my own.  SO easy. Another why didn’t I do this before project.

You will need:
  • Bottlebrush trees. Can be found at hobby and craft stores or where Christmas villages etc are sold. I bought a big bag at JoAnn’s last year for 75% off after Christmas knowing that I wanted to make some this season.
  • Household bleach.
  • Water
  • Container
  • Time
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glitter
I googled around for some hints on how to bleach the trees. All of the instructions were similar: mix equal parts bleach and water in a container; submerge trees, wait. Time is the tricky part and my conclusion is you just have to keep an eye on your trees vs an absolute amount of time. One tree took 15 min. Another the same size took 30. Just bleach until they’re the color you want. I wanted natural but may do some more and stop at pale green. I've seen tutorials where people have dyed them all kinds of colors or used spray inks etc.

Bleached Bottlebrush Trees
Mr. Chocolate only looked at a little oddly when I told him I was bleaching trees. He just doesn’t ask anymore. What’s weird is the color bleaches out but the flocking stays on the trees.
Glittered Bleached Bottlebrush Tree

While the trees were drying from their bleach bath ( rinse with plain water once you get the color you want), I made their bases by wrapping some wood spools with washi tape.

Washi Spools

When the trees were dry, I used a spray adhesive (Elmers) and silver and iridescent glitter. Spray, sprinkle, turn, repeat.  Then hot glued them to my spools.

Natural Bottlebrush Trees

Bleached Bottlebrush Tree Closeup

They’ll likely end up on my mantle but since I’m a diehard about not decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving , I haven’t totally decided yet.

Sharing At: 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Card Making Made Easy with Coordinating Papers

Merry and Bright Cards 1

Products in this post were supplied to me by Oriental Trading Company. Project ideas and opinions are my own.
I love making cards and some of my favorite cards to make are Christmas cards. Since I make a lot of Christmas cards, I look for ways to make them unique but not too time consuming. One way to do that is to use coordinated papers like the Bright Christmas pack from Oriental Trading Company. 100 sheets of light cardstock weight scrapbook paper in coordinating patterns for $16.
Merry and Bright 5 Papers

I chose 5 different papers from the pack and since all of the colors coordinate, I just went with a combination of patterns and prints. A couple of the sheets had images perfect to use as focals for the cards. This is a great way to make cards if you don’t have a lot of cardmaking supplies and you don’t even need to be a stamper since you’re using the images from the papers.

Oriental Trading Findings

Santa was in the corner of this green polka dot paper so I cut out a panel, and layered him to a slightly larger piece of black paper. Using coordinating embellishments ( also from OTC) I added a little candy cane brad to Santa and finished him off with a couple of dabs of glitter glue on his hat and holly berry.

Merry and Bright Cards 2

For other cards, I combined papers using some as borders ( top and bottom here) and then as the focal point of the card.  I used more glitter glue in places to give the pieces more dimension.

Merry and Bright Cards 3

I made 8 cards with combinations of the 5 papers. I did some stamping on a couple of the cards but used one stamp and one ink to keep things simple. I had so much fun playing with the papers I can’t wait to sit down with them some more.

Merry and Bright Cards


Thursday, November 21, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #132

The Answer Is Chocolate

Welcome back to another party here at The Answer Is Chocolate. I want to start off with a big thanks because last week's party was the biggest ever. I never get tired of seeing the amazing ideas you all continue to come up with. Here are just a few:


If you need a quick and easy piece of Thanksgiving decor, you don't want to miss this printable from Tara at A Spectacled Owl

Chain Reaction Necklace - tutorial by Rena Klingenberg

Looking for a stunning necklace to wear for Thanksgiving or the holidays check out this tutorial from Rena at Jewelry Making Journal

How stinkin' cute is this piece of embroidery hoop art from Bethany at Pitter and Glink? Think of all the images you could use for this idea!

Brownie Snowballs - A fun, festive treat to add to your holiday baking list! #christmasdessert #snowball #brownierecipe #shop #KraftEssentials

Finally, I can't wait to try this week's chocolate feature that combines my favorite duo of chocolate and coconut: Brownie Snowballs from Stephanie at Back for Seconds ( and Thirds, Fourths etc. ) 

Now time to see what you've been up to this week! Who's already started decorating for Christmas?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Necessity Is The Mother of Color Combinations: Altered Cookie Tin

Altered Cookie Tin

This will be the second year that College Boy won’t be home for Thanksgiving. It’s all good. He would have to travel late on Wednesday and Sunday, the busiest and most expensive travel days of the year and he is fortunate to have multiple invitations to Thanksgiving dinners.

Still, I wanted to send him some goodies from home which presented a reason , excuse, opportunity to alter something. Oh darn!

My  problem was, the only tin I had was not exactly a Thanksgiving color (bright blue) and I didn’t feel like painting the rim. Then it dawned on me that College Boy’s school colors are orange and blue so I thought orange = pumpkin = I have scrapbook paper in a color that will work!

For this project you will need:
  • Empty tin ( forgot to take pictures…this one was from those long rolled filled wafer cookies)
  • Scrapbook paper ( I used a harlequin and polka dot pattern in matching colors. Paper from Oriental Trading Company)
  • Decoupage Medium ( I used Martha Stewart Matte finish)
  • Coordinating Ribbon, button, beads
Altered Cookie Tin Pumpkin and Blue

Measured the harlequin paper to fit the tin and applied with the decoupage medium. Using the lid as a guide, traced a circle on the same paper, cut out and applied to the lid, leaving the rim bare. When I alter tins with lids I like to leave the top of the tin itself and the rim of the lid bare so there isn’t any issue with fit.
Altered Cookie Tin Top

I decided to keep the rest simple ( OK simple for me) and happened to have some coordinating glitter ribbon in my stash which I applied to the top and bottom of the tin.
Using the coordinating polka dot paper, I made a medallion for the center of the tin ( 3x12 with 1/2 inch pleats). Hot glued this to the tin and finished with a coordinating button tied with plain twine and leaf shaped beads.
Inside the tin are chocolate butter cookies that he loves. I only make these once a year during December, but this year I made an exception !

Altered Cookie Tin Pinwheel

Sharing At:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #131

The Answer Is Chocolate

Is it already time for another party? Indeed it is. I can't believe it's only two short weeks until Thanksgiving and there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year so time will fly at warp speed. 

Here are some highlights from last week's party to inspire you! Thanks again to all who link up week after week. I am truly thankful for each of you. 

Who needs to rake leaves when you can use your rake to make this great fall wreath? Get the details from Connie at Hill House Homestead

Fall Spool Craft: Make Your Own Vintage Thanksgiving Turkeys

How about some vintage turkey table decor? Laura from The Shed has an awesome project using dyed spools and a downloadable printable.  

The Crafty Lumberjacks have a festive idea that works for festive holiday drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic; hot or cold. Brown sugar and cinnamon rimmed glasses. Works great with a seasonal beer, cider, cocktail. 

Even though I did a special Chocolate / Thanksgiving roundup this week, you know I have to have a chocolate feature! 

Reese's Fudge #Fudge #Reese's #Candy #Desserts #Recipes

Can you say Reeses Fudge? I know you can! Gal On A Mission has the recipe. 

OK let's see what you've been up to this week! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Let's Put More Chocolate In Thanksgiving Roundup

When you think of "chocolate" holidays, I'll bet you Thanksgiving is not at the top of the list. Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, check check and check. Hearts, Eggs, Pumpkins, Trees... easy to find. Thanksgiving? Not so much. What's a chocoholic to do? Most years I just complain about the lack of chocolate. This year I asked some bloggy friends to share some of their chocolate related Thanksgiving goodies and I also rounded up a few from around the internet.

Malia from Yesterday on Tuesday shared these fun, gobble worthy ( and no bake!) Turkey Cookies which would be fun for younger guests:

Thanksgiving Treats

I am not a huge fan of pumpkin. I bake pumpkin pie and don't eat it. But Jessica from Mad In Crafts has a recipe I may just have to try and which I love just for the name: 

One Pan Chocolate Pumpkin Thanksgiving Wacky Cake

Say that three times fast "One Pan Chocolate Pumpkin Thanksgiving Wacky Cake". Look at that fudgy goodness! I may just be able to have my pumpkin and eat it too :) 

Viv, from The V Spot reminded me of an old episode of Friends where Monica tried to bring some more chocolate to Thanksgiving. I was right there with you Monica.  I think Viv's Mocha Brownie tart would be a great addition to any dessert table don't you? 

Do you have any leftover Halloween candy? Natalie from The Creative Mom has a wonderful way to use it up and decorate your Thanksgiving table with festive placecards. 

Here are a few other ideas I thought were fun to share.

Your favorite candy bar can be wrapped up in this downloadable label from Martha Stewart (see Martha, we bloggers still reference you!)  and serve double duty as a place card. 

Pumpkin Spice Fudge Brownies - The chocolate lover's way to celebrate fall!  #brownies #pumpkin #pumpkinspice

Stephanie from Back For Seconds blog guarantees you'll be back for seconds of these Pumpkin Spice Fudge Brownies. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie4

I stumbled upon a new blog I need to follow called Sugarplum where I found this Double Chocolate Pecan Pie. YUM!

I hope you've found some chocolate inspiration for your Thanksgiving table. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chocolate and Silver Napkin Rings

Maple Leaf Napkin Ring

I’m swapping out some of my Thanksgiving table d├ęcor this year and going with a Silver and Chocolate theme. I was looking around in my jewelry making stash and had an idea for some new napkin rings.

Thanksgiving Napkin Rings

For this project you will need:
  • Stretchy Beading Cord ( I used Stretch Magic 1MM)
  • Focal Bead ( I used large chocolate colored glass pearls, available at craft and bead stores)
  • Bead Caps
  • Spacer Beads
  • Faceted Crystal Beads ( I used Jablonex)
  • Charms
  • Jump Rings
You really don’t need any jewelry making skills to make these. If you can thread beads on a string, you can make these. I didn’t even take pictures of the process…decide on the order you want them, string, tie off your stretchy cord ( I always add a drop of super glue to the knot). I added my charms using jump rings ( OK you need to be able to open and close a jump ring which is super easy and here’s a tutorial how from Jewelry Making Journal

They go fast and are easy to do while watching TV etc.

Chocolate and Silver Napkin Rings

Now I'm thinking I really need to get some metallic brown and silver chargers hmmm...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BFF Open House Link Party #130

The Answer Is Chocolate

Was Halloween already a week ago? November is already flying by! Just three weeks until Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah!  Then madness begins. Here are a few features from the last two parties ( kinda oopsed last week). 

An ugly light fixture gets a makeover with some paint, brushes, and painters tape. Easy!

With holiday entertaining season upon us, it's time to spruce up the homestead. Laura from The Shed has got a fantastic before and after  on some light fixtures that had seen better days ( I've got some of those too). Fantastic results!

Whether you need some additional seating or just a place to put your feet up, Kristina from ReMade Simple has a wonderful pouf idea using the sewing machine she got at Ikea. I didn't even know they sold sewing machines! 

Traditional apple pie got a make-over! Apple pie cups with cinnamon streusel topping from

It's apple pie time! OK not that you can't have apple pie all the time but this time of year is what I associate with apple pie the most. Love these apple pie cups from Roxana's Home Baking. Bite sized perfection. 

I say this every year. Thanksgiving needs more chocolate. ( Um Reeses, you can make a heart, a tree, an can't make a turkey or a leaf? ) Here's a cute idea to bring chocolate to your Thanksgiving table . Hershey's Nugget Turkeys from The Pin Junkie!

OK now time to see what everyone's been up to lately!