Thursday, December 14, 2017

BFF Open House Link Party

Yikes! How is it Friday Eve again already? Excited to have my son home from Grad School for the holidays. Already baked the first two dozen of several more dozen cookies to follow. 

Here are some great ideas it's not too late to whip up or pin for next year. 

Love these rustic and rusty ornaments from Artsy Va Va! Great additions to your tree or to make as gifts. Would you guess they aren't metal?!

Vintage holiday decorations are so special. Whether they've been handed down from older family members or found while thrifting, I think there's something so special about preserving them. My Thrift Store Addiction has some gorgeous ideas. 

Christmas cards are starting to roll in and Repurpose and Upcycle has a wonderful way to display them.

Finally, with my young man home for a couple of weeks, I see making these in my immediate future. From Craft Beering, Stout Walnut Brownies. YUM! 

Now, let's see what everyone's been up to this week! 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Bucket List: Gingerbread House From Scratch

Something that's been on my Christmas Bucket List forever has been to make a gingerbread house from scratch. Why? Who knows. That's how I roll ( pun intended). 

I've had fun decorating the pre-made kits before but I just had this need to make one from start to finish. It was MUCH easier than I thought. If you can bake a cookie, you can bake a gingerbread house. 

  • Template
  • Gingerbread Cookie Dough
  • Royal Icing
  • Piping Bags / Tips
  • Whatever you want to use to decorate your house. I used candy wafers. 

I started by finding a template. I used the one found here: 

And of course you need dough. I used this recipe which I doubled  :

Here's how it went: 

I followed the recipe instructions and used a heavy hand on the spices. The dough was crumbly at first but quickly creamed up . 

Roll out your dough ( I don't know why it looks so dark in this picture) and then cut your pieces using the template. I rolled out thick pieces  for sturdy construction!

Bake per recipe and don't worry about flaws in your dough because that's what icing's for!

After all my pieces were baked, I let them cool for several hours. I made my royal icing ( per directions on meringue powder container) very thick. I wanted it to be able to support the front/back and sides and I could always thin it with a little water. Success! It stood up from the first two corners. 

I went around the sides inside and out with a good amount of icing. I also decided that I wanted to decorate the roof before I put it on. I planned on letting the pieces sit overnight so that the house would be very solid once I put the roof on. 

I decided to keep things simple since I was still unsure whether this was all going to come together. I did a diamond pattern with the icing, and I'd baked buttons from scrap dough which I topped with candy melts as shown. 

The roof pieces went on and the whole thing didn't cave in! Happy dance ensued ( away from the gingerbread house so I didn't accidentally smash it). 

While looking for ideas for my house, I saw that some bakers made little gingerbread vignettes. With some dough leftover, I thought I'd give this a shot as well so my house has a tree next to it. 

Place a glob of royal icing on your base, let set until firm but not hard, and then stand your tree up. I'm thinking next year I may do a few of these in lieu of a house. Or in addition to. OK let's be honest...definitely in addition to. 

I also made a door and a doormat and using more of the cookie buttons made a couple of wreaths. I used royal icing to attach which is what I also used to attach the candy melt decorations. 

All those years of being too intimidated to try this? Gone. So glad I did it. You never know until you try right?

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Christmas Home Tour

I spent last weekend and last week decking my halls. Welcome to a little tour! 

Every year, I change things up on my mantel and this year I went for what I'm calling "Farmhouse Glam", incorporating the new "vintage" sign I made here.

I keep this vase on the mantel all year round but added some Christmas ornaments and a little sign I made a couple years ago that went with the theme. 

Collection of vintage looking glass and crystal Santas, trees, and snowflake ornaments, along with a Santa (tall skinny one) I painted at a paint your own pottery place years ago . The framed  "Merry Christmas" was a Pottery Barn knockoff from a few years ago made using a chalkboard printable and a re-purposed frame I painted with red glitter paint. 

I made the black and white trees a couple of years ago that were upcycled from trees I'd made a couple years before that. B&W will always be part of my decor!

We were lucky to receive this little white tree from my husband's uncle who moved to a smaller place this year. Knowing my love of Christmas, he felt it went to a proper home. 

One thing I'm adamant about is reinventing things to change up a look. Between DIYing much of my decor and making it over when I'm tired of it, I can get the look I want without breaking the bank.   

This year, I went a little crazy with greens from our yard which I kinda put everywhere. Shown here with some  eucalyptus I picked up at the grocery store and a large pinecone from the Christmas tree lot. 

Finally, finished everything off with a giant bow I made with black and red buffalo plaid ribbon that I got for 70% off at Michaels! 

For me, Christmas is an around the house thing and every surface is subject to Christmas decor. Here a vintage vase is filled with ornaments and epsom salt snow and finished with a bleached bottle tree. 

A corner shelf that usually holds a connection of milk glass gets re-purposed to hold a collection of Mark Roberts fairies and more ornaments. 

The entry way bannister is draped with fabric and tulle and home to more Mark Roberts fairies, along with a pair of skates, a reminder of the years I spent in an ice rink. Added more greens to the boot!

I re-purposed some ribbon and made bows for my entry way table which is home to my collection of Winter White Christmas items. 

I've collected Santas over the course of our marriage, including from places we've traveled. They all hang out together on the Santa table. 

Except this guy who sits in the entryway. Still one of the best finds ever. $30 at a craft fair I don't recall how many years ago but I still remember asking the vendor "Are you sure"? 

I haven't always decorated our bedroom but I did add a fresh cedar and eucalyptus swag to a mirror, along with some bows and ornaments to our lamps. 

Thanks for joining me on this little tour! Hope everyone has a fab week!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

BFF Open House Link Party

Happy Friday Eve all!!! The countdown has truly begun with 18 days left until Christmas, and Hanukkah is next week! Yikes. But we're makers right? We are the people who can whip stuff up in no time and make it look like it took all year. We're the ones who pinned stuff a year ago that we planned to have done in July and..... Just me? I think not! 

Let's see some great ideas from last week's party. 

How about this buffalo plaid Farmhouse style wreath from Vintage Paint and More? CUTE and easily doable. I love how the plaid pops against the white pom poms. 

I really love this idea. If you love to bake and know someone who either doesn't or doesn't have time, how about putting together a cookie decorating gift box for them like this one from Just Measuring Up

Even though the ladies from Lolly Jane call these  "Ugly Sweater" trees, I think they're adorable. Just shows they can't make ugly things if they try!

Finally, how can you go wrong with 12 Days of Treats from a blog called Mrs. Kringle's Kitchen. I mean c'mon! 

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


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Handmade Gifts: Stenciled and Gold Leafed Hanukkah Treat Plate

Hanukkah begins next week and each year I try to make a gift for a special friend to celebrate. This year I went with what I'm calling a Hanukkah Treat Plate that can be used each night to share the goodies of the season. 

  • Clear Dinner Plate ( I got mine at Cost Plus)
  • Mod Podge Super Gloss Formula
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Gold Leaf
  • Gold Leafing Glue
  • Clear Contact Paper
  • Stencil ( I made my own using my Cameo 3 but you could use a ready made stencil)
  • Paint brushes and foam applicators
The plate is food safe since everything is done from the underside. You can bake it to "cure" it so the paint won't come off or if you think ahead like I did for once in my crafting life, you can make 21 or so days ahead and it will cure.

Let's get started! 

Clean the underside of your plate with alcohol to make sure you get all the oils store dust etc off and you get good adhesion of your materials. I cut my own menorah stencil using my Silhouette Cameo and contact paper from the dollar tree. This is my favorite stencil material. It cuts great on a digital cutter and you can't beat the price for a roll ( $1).  I also covered the areas I didn't want to paint w/ contact paper. 

Using foam applicators, paint your stencil. I used metallic silver for the menorah and gold for the flames and did 3 coats. 

For this kind of project, you have to reverse your brain because you're building the layers in reverse. So start with the focal image and then do the background. Once I was satisfied w/ the menorah, I added the gold leafing.  Apply the glue per directions ( you'll find this in the fine art section of the craft store) and then apply the leafing. I remind people every time I do a leafing project IT'S MESSY. The gold leaf will fly everywhere as you apply it so be prepared. 

Yes this looks like a hot mess but keep going. Once you're done w/ your leafing ( and clearly I didn't want a perfectly covered plate...I wanted a streaky look) then mix your acrylic paint ( I used Deco Art Navy) with the Mod Podge ( I did 1/2 and 1/2 because I didn't want this part to be opaque) and apply with a flat brush. 

I did this for the whole plate then filled in the center with just plain paint. Sealed the whole thing with a coat of just the Mod Podge. 

NOTE: Mod Podge formula matters! Use the Super Gloss for projects like this. 

Once your plate is dry, flip it over and imagine it filled with chocolate rugelach

A few years ago I included some gift tags with my friend's gift and the following year her relatives were asking if she was getting more so I've done them ever since. 

The black and gold foiled paper is my current addiction. Better yet, I got a stack of it ( ok I bought 2 stacks) when Michaels had one of their $5 Hot Buy stack sales. And of course, I made a coordinating card: