Monday, December 17, 2012

Playroom Progress: Fingerprint Art

I'm still trudging along as slow as molasses on the playroom gallery wall. I'm reaching the finish line, though! Hopefully, once I frame the artwork I bought at a craft show last month, I'll be able to hang everything up!

After creating this elephant painting with Little One, I decided to try another piece of kid-made artwork with him. I was reading about different wall artwork ideas in my favorite home book, Young House Love. (LOVE this book! Run and get it if you don't already have it! And, of course, check out their amazing blog!) I decided to combine two of their ideas for the playroom--Tip #152-Commission Kid Art and Tip #156-Make Fingerprint Art.

I snatched up a cheap 5x7 frame at Target and dug through my scrapbook paper stash for some solid colored cardstock paper that coordinated with the playroom colors. I cut 10 rectangles out of the papers and glued them down to the stock photo that came with the frame.
I looked up different animal fingerprint ideas on Google Images and mapped out my plan on scratch paper...which animals I wanted to do, which colors to use, and the direction to make the fingerprints go inside each rectangle.  I was planning to use a stamp pad for the fingerprints, but my paper was textured, so the stamps didn't show up well. I made a last minute call to whip out the finger paints and that worked out great!

I called in my willing helper to do the fingerprinting. He loved it! I have no pictures of this part because I'm apparently not Super Woman nor an octopus and couldn't direct a toddler with finger paints and hold my camera all at the same time. Haha!
Once all the paints were dry, I went back to my Google Image search and attempted to draw on the details to the animals. I say attempted because they are far from perfect. But, it kind of gives them character, right? At least that's what I'm telling myself. ;)
Done! Can't wait to get this baby up on the wall!

I'm loving both DIY art projects for the gallery wall! (Elephant painting here.)

Linking up to Young House Love!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

I'm a huge sucker for anything white chocolate + peppermint, so when I saw this recipe for white chocolate peppermint fudge, I had to try it out! It is really rich and yummy and easy to make. Enjoy the recipe! 


-1/4 cup butter, softened plus about 1 1/2 tsp butter for greasing the pan
-2 cups granulated sugar
-1/2 cup sour cream
-12 oz white chocolate chips
-1 jar (7oz) marshmallow cream
-1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (I crushed them pretty small so the fudge wouldn't be crunchy.)
-1/2 tsp peppermint extract


-Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil. Grease the foil with about 1 1/2 tsp butter; set aside. 

-In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, sour cream, and 1/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil; cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 234 degrees (soft-ball stage), about 5 minutes. (I didn't test temperature, just cooked for slightly less than 5 minutes.)

-Remove from heat; gradually stir in white chocolate chips and marshmallow creme until melted. Fold in peppermint candy and extract. Pour into prepared pan. Chill unitl firm. 

-Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Gently peel off foil; cut fudge into 1 inch squares. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 pounds. Original recipe can be found here.

Linking up to The Larson Lingo's Cookie Exchange. Check out all the other cookie recipes and Mel's blog here

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Look

Well, I got tired of the old, cheesy header, so updated things around here. Definitely not perfect, but better than it was! :) I soooo need Photoshop. Let's just say I did the, makeshift style. MS Word+Paint. Oh yeah, Baby. High tech. Haha!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Soft Christmas Cookies

I'm copying this post over from my old blog. Sorry if you've already read it, but I wanted to have it all in one place. And, let's face it, I love these cookies! They're worth two posts! :)
I am super picky about my Christmas sugar cookies. I don’t like really crispy, crunchy cookies and I don’t like for them to taste like you used a lot of flour when rolling them out. Told you I was picky! I found this recipe last year on and love it! The cookies are soft, but not so fragile they fall apart when you pick them up and they have a nice buttery taste. Enjoy!


3 cups all purpose flour (plus a little extra on the side for rolling)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract


Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together then set aside. In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed.  Cover dough and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line sheets with parchment paper (works great!). On a clean, floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/3 inch thickness. You will need to work some flour into the dough, but don’t over do it. Just keep your rolling pin and your surface lightly floured and gently roll out. I only ran my rolling pin over the dough a couple times. Cut out shapes using floured cookie cutters.

Bake 6-8 minutes in preheated oven until middle of cookie is set and no longer wet/shiny looking. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

I used Bridget at Bakeat350′s icing recipe to decorate with. Check out all her awesome cookies!

I linked up to The Larson Lingo's Cookie Exchange last year. Love her blog! Will post another recipe for her cookie exchange tomorrow! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Tree Crafts

As I was decorating our fireplace mantel, I was struggling to find something large to put up on one side. I was thinking about doing these wire trees, but was afraid they wouldn't feel substantial enough for our oversized fireplace. My friend Amy posted a picture of her fireplace and I caught a glimpse of her cute silver trees. I remembered seeing a how to tutorial on a blog and knew they'd be perfect for my mantel! I'm going to call it Amyspiration.

Before I get into the silver trees, though, I must show you Amy's mantel. I'm in love with it! Check out the beautiful wood artwork! Swoon, right?! She said her hubby did the wood part and she did the painting. She is super humble and tried not to take credit for it since she first saw the idea on Pinterest here, but just DOING something off Pinterest is amazing to me! I have a bazillion things pinned and have only done a couple. This girl is great at finding inspiration online, making it work for her home, then actually getting it done! She did such a great job! 
Here are her trees that she made using this tutorial she found linked on Pinterest. Aren't they beautiful?! One is made from tinsel ribbon, one is made of pinecones, and one is made from beads that she cut off of floral picks. I love her trees!!! The girl's got style!
Now that you've seen some of her Christmas decor, raise your hand if you think she should start a blog. What? Unanimous hand raising going on? That seals the deal, Amy. The people have spoken. Please start a decorating blog! :) 

Armed with my Amyspiration, I headed to the craft store to pick up supplies for my trees! I followed the same tutorial on Shauna Mailloux's blog to create my trees. Shauna has great, detailed instructions and photos on her site, so check it out. It really was easy peasy! 
For the first tree, I just wrapped tinsel ribbon around my paper cone, hot gluing it down. I topped it with a silver ball. 
The second tree I made, I used a piece of sparkly silver paper to make the cone, then glued on glitter craft balls. 
For the tallest tree, I used a piece of poster board I had on hand to make the cone. I sprayed painted it silver then used silver glitter paper to cover the cone. I had originally planned to make a pine cone tree like Amy's, but my pine cones were too old and brittle and I kept finding bugs in my pine cones (shutter). Sad. But I like the way the paper one turned out! 
I'm loving how they turned out! Thanks for the inspiration and the motivation, Amy! And, thanks for letting me share your awesomeness! 
I had some white glitter paper that I didn't end up using, so whipped up a quick paper leaf wreath for the fridge door. I just cut out paper leaves, rolled them around a marker to give them some dimension, and hot glued them together in a circle. I hung it with a ribbon and taped the end of the ribbon to the inside of the fridge door. Easy! 
Jeremy's working on a special project for the fireplace right now. When he finishes, I'll share the whole fireplace with you! 

Linking up to Centsational Girl's Christmas Crafts Link Party, Two Twenty OneKeep Up with the Johnson's Pintertest Kitchen, and Hi Sugarplum


Sunday, December 2, 2012

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

Last year on after Christmas sales, we snagged a big variety box of silver ornaments at Target for 50-75% off. I'm really loving the silver on our tree this year! Bad news, though, for our $6 gold, cheapie Christmas tree skirt that we bought our first married Christmas. It looked awful with the silver/red Christmas theme we've got going on in our house this year. It's ok, I never really liked that tree skirt to begin with. Gold is not really my jam.

Anywho... I told Hubby the first world drama of our clashing skirt/ornament problem and asked him what our budget was for a new tree skirt. I got a blank, slow blinking stare. Haha! That usually means it's time to get creative. I follow Centsational Girl's blog and she recently posted this gorgeous tree skirt that she made. I love the colors and the scalloped effect! 

I decided to try a felt scalloped skirt and headed to the fabric store to pick up two colors of felt, hoping to find red and silver. Unfortunately, they didn't have silver, so I ended up going with all red. I'm sad I didn't get the two toned effect, but still like the results, nonetheless. :) 

Let me apologize in advance for the quality of some of these photos. My camera has been full of family photo shoots, so I was using my phone and it was dark.

Here's my supplies... 2 yards of red felt, old Christmas tree skirt, glue gun and lots of glue sticks, scissors, and a marker. Ignore the beads. They were a failed attempt at embellishments. Pipe cleaners ended up doing the trick!
You'll notice sewing machine and thread is not on my supply list. Are you surprised? Hot glue worked just fine and allowed me to, once again, avoid sewing anything. Win!

I folded my fabric and cut it into equal pieces and stacked it four layers high. Any more than four layers of felt was hard to cut through. I figured out how big I wanted my scallops and cut out one scallop to use as a stencil. I drew all my scallops out onto the top layer, then cut them out.
After cutting a million scallops out, I started gluing them down to my tree skirt. I used a line of glue across the straight part of the scallops and made my way around the outside edge, slightly overlapping the fabric as I glued. Then, I moved up a few inches and added another row of scallops. Here's my skirt after two rows of fabric. This is when I realized that one yard was not enough fabric and I'd need to go back to the fabric store for another yard. Whomp whomp. 
To make sure all of the gold skirt was covered up, I cut a circle of felt and glued it down to the middle of the skirt and cut a hole out in the middle. Doing this helped me avoid needing to match up or trim the edges of the scallops to fit around the inside circle. 

I just continued doing rings of scallops until I got up near the opening in the middle and all of the gold was covered. It took me five layers all together. 

At this point, it was looking sort of plain because I had only done one color. I wanted to incorporate some silver into the skirt, but my original idea of a beaded border didn't work out. The beaded strand didn't make clean enough creases to follow the scallops. Moving on to Plan B--silver pipe cleaners. All I did was wrap the pipe cleaners in a tight spiral to make circles, tucking the end of the pipe cleaner under to keep it together. I glued them on to the outer layer of scallops, doing every other scallop. 
Done! The best part? It only cost about $6 to update my skirt! BOOM! 

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick and Two Twenty One!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap and Our Real Tree

I've been a slow blogger lately. Fail! :) My family came in town for Thanksgiving, which was super fun! We ate a yummy meal together with our friend James, then my mom and brother and I hit the stores at midnight for Black Friday specials. We found some great deals!

I felt so spoiled while they were here. Mom brought the turkey, twice baked potatoes, bread, and a sweet potato pie with her, so I only had to cook half of the Thanksgiving meal. How awesome is that? AND, she washed all the dishes without me knowing! I'm one of those people that if you do something for me in front of my, I feel guilty and have to help, but she totally did it behind my back. All I could do was grin like a goofball and thank her profusely.

As if that wasn't enough, she altered some curtains for our living room and surprised us with the curtains we've been wanting for our dining room. Oh yeah, and she had already altered them to fit our windows before they came! Yup, totally spoiled. Sneak peek at the living room curtains in the pics below. I'll do a full post on them after we get them all hung up!

Mom knows my track record with sewing and would not even let me cut or pin for fear that I'd ruin them. She's totally right. Sad, but true. ;) Here's some Instagram photos of Mom happily slaving away on the curtains and a super grainy picture of us chilling before dinner.

After my family headed home, Hubby, Little One, and I went out and bought our first real tree! Wahoo! This is Hubby and I's 6th married Christmas and we finally got a real tree like we've been wanting!

When we first got married, we had zero moola to be spending on Christmas decor. We bought the cheapest fake tree at Wal-Mart that we could find. It was ridiculously ugly and you could see straight through it. We were, of course, super proud of it (at first) and excitedly set up the tree. After we got it all decorated, I had Hubby stand in front of the tree so I could take a picture. I immediately busted out laughing when I saw the picture because when he stood in front of the tree, you couldn't see the tree behind him at all! I've been searching for the pic and can't find it for the life of me. Boo.

I'll leave you with our the obligatory stand in front of the tree picture (He purposely stands so he covers it up. haha) as well as the obligatory "touch the tree" pose. You know your mom made you pose like that in the 80's. Admit it!

Next up, a DIY Christmas tree skirt!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sweet and Simple Christmas Centerpiece

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas at our house! I still can't believe it's already time to put up Christmas decorations, though. I feel like it's still July...

I'll post later about our tree soon, but in the meantime, I'll show you our table centerpiece. Ta da!

I left the table runner I used for fall out on the table since it was nice and neutral, then added three Dollar Tree vases filled with cranberries. I got the cranberries several years ago and can't remember where I bought them. Target or Michael's are my best guess.

I found a 25' live pine garland at Home Depot on Saturday for $5! Apparently, their Black Friday specials went past Friday--woot! At first, I lined the garland all down the table, but then remembered I'm a simplistic freak (remember this?), so stewed over how to make it simple and easy to move when we use the table. Cue a Walmart clearance basket from a couple years ago. I think I paid $3 or $4 for it. It was a great size to contain the decorations and made it easy to move around. I lined the basket with parchment paper since the pine garland was kind of sappy. Then, I just plopped the vases into the basket and filled in the basket with clippings from the pine garland.

Done! So easy and cheap, especially since I had almost all of it on hand already! Love it! Of course, you could snazz it up a bit with candles or pine cones, etc, but I like it simple. Surprised? ;)

I'll post soon about more Christmas decor!

Linking up to Two Twenty One!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm Digging It: Second Edition

More random things that have made me smile.

1.) Young House Love. John and Sherry Petersik's blog Young House Love is an absolute favorite of mine and I'll admit I got really giddy when they announced they were writing a book and pre-ordered it the first day it was available for ordering. I got even more giddy when it finally came out! It's awesome and at the risk of sounding's so inspiring! I've gotten so many new ideas from the book, as if their blog wasn't already chock full of good ideas to begin with! Go, run, get this book! Your house will thank you! :)

2.) Mommy Guilt. I'm totally digging the Mommy guilt since Halloween. It's the only thing that keeps me from sitting and polishing off Little Ones Halloween candy in one sitting. I just can't bring myself to eat his candy without him, so the only time I eat it is when we share an occasional piece. Thank goodness for Mommy guilt saving me a few pounds. Too bad I don't have the same guilt with the giant bag of leftover Tootsie Rolls that were for the trick-or-treaters! Tootsie Rolls are my kryptonite. 
3.) Goblets. Goblets are definitely on my Christmas list this year. We're in need of new cups and I'm thinking these would fancy things up around this joint. I'd feel so swanky chilling in my sweats with my hair in a bun eating my grilled cheese and drinking Kool-aid out of my fancy cup. ;) Hahaha
4.) Patriots. Do I even need to explain this one?! They're awesome. The end. And, no, I don't want to talk about the super bowl last year. Duh. ;) 

5.) Thermometer. With Thanksgiving cooking on the brain, I had to mention this thermometer that allows you to see the temperature of what you're cooking, even with the door closed. It's on my Christmas list, too! 
Good night! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Decor: Simplified

So when we left off, this is what parts of our house were looking like all decked out for Fall:

Festive Tablescape...
 Decorated Mantel with Burlap Banner...

I liked it and enjoyed it, but... when I'm busy, I can't stand lots of stuff around. Messes stress me out and I go on a de-cluttering spree. Which is totally what happened with my fall decor. It wasn't a mess and I liked the way it looked, but it was too much for me. I like things simple and basic. No fuss, no frills. So, I took down my cute fall banner (Don't worry, I can use it again next year!) and redid my table decor. Here's my fall decorations, take 2, simplified.
 I liked my previous table decor, but wanted something more basic, neutral, and easier to pull back since we eat at this table at dinnertime. I left the table runner and burlap, but redid the rest.
 I scored the bowl at a yard sale for $1 and put my fake gourds in it, plus a couple real ones I found on sale for 50 cents at the grocery store.
 The vases and candles are from Dollar Tree and are filled with lentils. Score again for cheap decor!
 Here's the fireplace, sans banner. The banner was cute for a while, but it's nice to have a more simple mantel.
And while we're on the subject of fall decor, check out this cute pumpkin I found 80% off at Kohl's! It landed on the end table in the living room and the bronze looking pumpkin got the boot. Love the new pumpkin!

Everything else is pretty much the same. Still loving the wreath, but sad to say that my mums bit the dust. I noticed that the yellow mums at the stores and that other people had out were doing the best, so may try that color next year. 

Ahhhhh, totally digging the simplified decorations! :) Do you change things up mid-season? Do you like more or less decorations out? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's a Slippery Slope, People

Remember when the Snuggie first came out? Remember watching that ridiculous commercial and yelling at the people on the tv to just put on a flipping jacket already?! I mean really, right? Here's a refresher, just for kicks. 
My favorite is the guy that looks like Grand Moff Tarkin off of Star Wars. :)

Anywho... Hubby got me all excited tonight when he told me one of the companies his work has a contract with sent him a present. When he got home, it turned out the present was a giant Snuggie with the company name embroidered on it. You should have seen Hubby trying it on. Ha! 

Years of holding firm and refusing to own a Snuggie all undone with one gift. Tonight, we watched tv together covered up in the Snuggie. It's a pretty nice blanket and is big enough for both of us to fit under it, we just didn't use the goofy sleeves. No biggie? Not using the sleeves means we didn't completely cave in, right? 

Then it happened... Hubby was upstairs and I had just gotten a Little Debbie snack cake to munch on. It was chilly in the house. I was cold. The Snuggie was right next to me, just staring up at me. I covered up with it sans sleeves. But it wasn't arms were getting drafty. I needed my hands for the delicious Zebra Cake. My jacket was all the way in the other room. What to do?  

Hubby was still upstairs, so I figured I'd sneak my arms into the sleeves and eat my snack cake, then quietly remove them. No one had to know. I put my arms in, grabbed my snack cake, and relished the full body warmth. I took one bite and even thought, "Gee, this is kinda nice." Then I heard it. Footsteps on the stairs. Caught red handed. Hubby was totally amused and informed me that I should be lucky that his phone was full or else he'd take a picture. He is laughing at me and I may never live it down. 

Dessert always gets me in trouble. 

After years of resisting the Snuggie, I guess it isn't so bad. Only thing missing is the booklight. ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Playroom Progress: Kid Made Art

Every year during the holiday season, we put ourselves on a spending freeze to save money for gifts. This means that home improvement projects get put on hold until after Christmas. I have a long list of house projects I'd like to get done soon, so I've been contemplating how to do some of them using things we already have around the house and not have to spend money. 

After striping the playroom, I've had a major itch to decorate in there. My plan for the striped wall is to hang something to hold Little One's artwork. On the opposite wall, I've been cooking up a collage wall in my head with pictures of Little One and some fun artwork. I picked up a cute print at a craft show last weekend and have been eyeing elephant prints on Etsy. The little elephants are just so cute!

In the midst of my elephant artwork browsing, I remembered that I have extra canvases from previous projects when I've found canvases buy one get one free. I also remembered that I have several bottles of leftover acrylic paints that go with the playroom color scheme. Lots of stewing and contemplating later, I decided to DIY an elephant painting with Little One! Let's just say it turned out more as an adventure than the dreamy Mommy/Little One painting time I had envisioned, but at the end of the day, I like the results and Little One is SO proud of the painting. Success! :) 
Here's the supplies I started with: a square canvas, cheap acrylic craft paints, paintbrushes, paper and pencil, and contact paper. I had all of it on hand except for the contact paper, so my total cost was $5 and some change. Woot! 

 I searched online for elephant images and found an elephant that was shaped how I was envisioning. I drew it out (well, pretty much traced it off my computer) on a scrap of paper.

 Next, on some blank paper, I free handed a similar elephant in the size I wanted. I had to re-do the legs many times before I got them right. Thank goodness for erasers. ;)

After I got it drawn just right, I cut it out. Walla...a stencil! :)

I cut out a square of contact paper slightly larger than my canvas and used my stencil to draw out my elephant onto the contact paper, making sure to position it in the center like I wanted it to be on the canvas.

I poked a hold in the middle of my elephant for my scissors and cut my elephant out from the middle of my contact paper square. You could use a utility knife if you'd like, but I feel like I have better control over the lines with my scissors.

Now the not so fun part... Carefully peel the contact paper backing off. Warning, it's a pain because it wants to roll up. Be patient and if your contact paper rips a little near the trunk, know you can mend it with tape. Not that I know from experience... ;) Center your elephant on the canvas and stick the contact paper down.

I used a credit card to score the contact paper, but found that the contact paper really did not want to stick. That's where things went south for me. I wanted Little One to just have fun and freely go to town painting the elephant, thinking the contact paper would keep the rest of the canvas clean. But, since the contact paper wouldn't adhere well, it kept peeling up and Little One's paintbrush strokes kept going under the paper. Thankfully, I was able to wipe up the stray paint right away using a wet paper towel. But because the contact paper was not stuck down well, Little One had to be much more careful that I had wished and made the project a bit stressful where I was hoping it'd be more carefree and fun. Oh well, Little One loves the painting, so I'm still calling it a success. :)

If you do this sans kids, the contact paper would not be such a big deal. Just be careful that the paint doesn't bleed under the paper. You could paint a fun pattern or stripes. Polka dots would be cute, too!

If you do it with kids, I'd recommend doing it with kids who are old enough to have the ability to control their strokes and paint carefully. For younger kids, you may have to paint the elephant a solid color and let them just decorate it with other colors. In the end, that's what helped with Little One's painting.

When you're finished painting, carefully peel back the contact paper to reveal your adorable elephant.

I painted on an eye, ear, and tail for some details. Done!

It was a learning experience, that's for sure, but we love the end result and I love that Little One got to participate! I'm digging the plain white background because our walls are colored, but if you want more pizzazz, you could paint the background and let it dry before doing your elephant. A patterned background would be cute, too!

Sweet little elephant. :)

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