Thursday, September 8, 2011

BFF Link Party#19 and BFF Dreaming In Color

Monday holidays throw me off . I realized tomorrow’s Friday again already and it’s time for the BFF Open House Link Party and now that things have settled down a bit, it’s time for the Blog Feature portion of Blog Feature Friday!

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Deneen from the blog Dreaming In Color.
Deneen is in full Fall mode, inspiring me with a series of gorgeous gords aka pumpkin projects. For example this flower (silk ) covered pumpkin.
I love how she blended the orange tones for a variegated look. Or these great topiaries:
made so elegant by using candlesticks. She’s also getting ready for Halloween. Look at this great plate featuring a graphic from The Graphics Fairy:
Back to pumpkins, check out what she did with chalkboard paint on these:
So much more over at her site. You have GOT to see the Audrey  Hepburn dresser! I’m just going to tease you with that. You need to go visit for yourself!

Now, what’s everyone been up to? It’ll be Halloween before you know it so let’s see what you’re cooking up in your crafty cauldrons. I’m totally ready for Fall … the colors , textures, foods. What crisp fresh Fall things do you have up your sleeves?  As long as it was made by you, link it! Party On.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jingle Bells…Repurposed Belt

I’m anxious to start working on Halloween stuff so naturally I did a Christmas project first. What can I say? When an idea comes, it comes.
Jingle Bell Belt (2)
For years I’ve seen old sleigh bells on leather straps in antique stores. Unfortunately, they tend to be really pricey and I haven’t been able to justify the purchase because if you ask Mr. Chocolate, the last thing I need is more Christmas stuff. PS. Don’t ask Mr. Chocolate !
Speaking of him, one of his favorite belts recently bit the dust so he dropped it off in my craft room because he figured I could do something with it. Then the Christmas stuff started showing up in the stores and… belt plus bells = my sleigh bell strap!
Jingle Belt 
This was one of those things that looked old when it was new so it was even better after being worn. I liked the texture until I went to punch holes in it. My Cropodile made it through!
Jingle Bells (2)
Michaels had these great bells that are kind of textured, almost hammered looking.
I punched holes all along the belt , and tied each bell on with twine. My brain said it was better to do each one individually so they wouldn’t all come off if one came off.
Jingle Bell Belt
I left the buckle on which I’ll use to hang my “sleigh belt”. And now that I have this, I feel totally justified next time I see an antique sled ‘cause I don’t think you know who has one of those in his closet!
Linking Up At:

Monday, September 5, 2011

BFF Link Party #18 Wrap Up and Features!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the three day weekend. I enjoyed being able to get back to visiting all the links to last week’s BFF Open House. As always, creative ideas. Here are a few that caught my eye:

Michele from The Scrap Shoppe combines cute décor with practicality by lining her pantry doors with self adhesive dry erase paper she can use for menu planning! Love this. Is there a better place for menu planning than your pantry door? You could also use this for a grocery list.

A Creative Princess made these adorable and interchangeable pendants using classic candy themed magnets from Target!

Maggie from Midwestern Sewing Girl showed a new twist on specimen art, combining it with embroidery to create this keepsake to commemorate the birth of a friend’s baby:

And Christine from Christine and Co showed a new “twist” on book page wreaths ( and the journey that led her to this “a-ha” moment). I can see this being done w/ coffee filters too!

Thanks everyone who linked up and hope to see you again this Friday!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

BFF Link Party #18!

Whew! Who's ready for a long weekend? ME ME ME. Catching up on my day job after being gone for 2 weeks has about done me in. It was worth it though to take the time. Next week I'll resume the actual blog feature part of "Blog Feature Friday" but for now, let's party on. Thanks so much for continuing the party in my absence and I hope you visited each other and made some new friends.

I'm seeing all kinds of boo-ti-ful Halloween ideas starting to pop up and even though many have started back to school, there will be many back to schoolers next week. So let's see what you've got! Fall recipes ( I need to pick my finally ripe blackberries) and decor ideas ( I'm kinda tired of my Summer decor but haven't done anything yet). Can you tell I'm trolling for ideas and inspiration?!

Disneyland’s Blue Ribbon Bakery Cinnamon Rolls

One of the things we indulged in our our recent Disneyland trip :
The BEST cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. Better than Cinnabon in my opinion. Made fresh daily at the Blue Ribbon Bakery on Main Street:
Definitely not something you want to indulge in every day ! So upon returning home, I couldn’t wait to see if I could find the recipe online!!
I haven’t had a chance to try this recipe yet, but I’m going to try this one from

Disney Cinnamon Rolls (Main Street Bakery)

½ cup warm water
2 packages yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 (3½ ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoon milk
In small bowl, combine water, yeast, and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.
In large bowl, mix pudding according to package instructions with milk. To this add ½ cup melted butter, egg and salt. Mix well, then add yeast
mixture and blend well. Gradually add flour and knead until smooth. Place in a very large greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size. Punch down and let rise again for second time.
Roll dough on a very large floured surface. Dough should roll out to a long rectangle, about 34 × 21 inches in size. Take the 1 cup of melted butter and spread over entire dough surface, using a pastry brush.
In small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of buttered dough. Roll dough up like a jelly roll.
Measure dough every 2 inches and cut with a knife. Take each roll into the palm of your hand and gently pack the roll (this keeps it from coming apart during baking).
Place each roll in a buttered baking pan and allow to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350ª oven until golden brown in color, about 15-20 minutes. Frost rolls while still warm.
Since we are going to cheat, let’s fo all the way with the frosting. I know
your children will love this production.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread on the very warm rolls. Enjoy!
If they turn out half as good as the real thing, they’ll be wonderful!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Here’s To The Next 20 Mr. Chocolate!

Back in February when I made this for Valentine’s Day, it served a dual purpose. I wanted to have something that would be up all year long to commemorate a milestone in our lives this year. In addition to our son’s HS graduation and starting college, TODAY we celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary!

20 years ago today I married by real life BFF. The guy who makes me laugh when I want to take myself too seriously. The guy who lets me cry when he knows I need to. The guy who remembers all the little things but knows how to do big things in style.

We knew each other for several years starting in college even though we didn’t date…each other  that is lol. When shortly after college life threw me a curveball (my dad suddenly passed away ) and I needed someone the most I have ever needed anyone in my life but couldn’t communicate that to anyone, not even my mom, he was there. I couldn’t let my guard down until he walked through the door with mocha almond fudge ice cream and chocolate sauce. How well he knew me !

Twenty years of all the things that marriages go through. Silly arguments over dumb things; agreement on the things that matter. Challenges that test what you’re made of and rewards that can only be shared with someone who’s been there. Love and loss and more happy moments than sad. Laughter, tears (sometimes from the laughter)  shared looks that need no words. An amazing father to our son and truly my other half. My biggest cheerleader, coach, and constructive critic (although I’ve learned to never show him a project until it’s DONE).

I can’t begin to imagine ( nor do I want to ) what the last 20 years would have been like without him. I can’t wait to see what the next 20 bring.

I love you B. Even more than that day 20 years ago when we said “I do”, and it was a lot then!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to An Empty Nest

First off, I have to thank my wonderful friends and guest bloggers who shared such amazing ideas with you while I was away for some family time and moving our son into college. I wasn’t able to keep up on all of the comments, but judging from them, everyone enjoyed the guest posts and I am so grateful to Jenn, Kathleen, Carolyn, Jocelyn, Maggie, Christine, Michele, Bev and Doreen! You ladies ROCK!

We had a fantastic road trip from Washington to California where “Chocolate Chip” ( son ) is now loving college life and settling in with a great roommate, academic adviser he really likes, and plenty of food in the dining halls. I’m sure the SoCal weather doesn’t hurt either.

We spent a few days at Disneyland which was way more emotional than I thought it would be. While all of the “classic classics” are still very much alive and we enjoyed the character sightings of pals like Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald etc., I realized on this trip how much of Disney is part of our son’s childhood.

Movies from Pocahontas, all three Toy Stories, Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Monsters Inc., A Bug’s Life, both Cars,  Up…..all of these were part of his childhood, adolescence and now (YIKES) adulthood.
Woody and Cowgirl Jessie from Toy Story
His Royal Highness The Lion King
I love these little alien guys! 
No intro needed...BUZZ
Heimlich from "A Bug's Life"
Every time we saw one of these characters or their attractions, it brought back a wonderful memory. I also love Disneyland and its sister park California Adventure for the friendliness of the “Cast Members”, the cleanliness, the attention to detail and ensuring their guests have a wonderful experience.
It All Started With A Mouse...
and his gal pal
faithful pet ( although someone still needs to explain to me why if Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, one speaks and wears clothes and the other doesn't. Don't even get me started on Pooh's lack of pants)
BFF Donald
You knew I’d find the chocolate right? On Main Street and in the resort kitchens, chocolatiers are busy busy busy!
A candied apple wearing Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast and marshmallow and pretzel confections including one in honor of Tigger!

Good thing there was glass between me and the kitchen Smile