Saturday, February 5, 2011

Valentine's Day Cookies

We've been cooped up inside for the last few days due to weather. A rare event in Dallas! We finally got above freezing today and what did we do? Made it another pajama day and baked cookies. :) My absolutely favorite cookies are my mom's sugar cookies with buttercream frosting. YUM!

This is a NON-refrigerated dough. When I make cookies, I like to make them right away, not wait for my dough to chill, then come back to partial room temp. Here's our super-secret family recipe.

Gram's Sugar Cookies
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
1 tsp butter flavoring

Cream together margarine & sugar, then add the egg and butter flavoring.

Mix together 2 cups of the flour and the baking powder, then add them in slowly to the sugar mixture. I take it off the mixer and mix in another 3/4 cup of flour by hand. If you're keeping track, we have used 2 and 3/4 cups of the flour so far. Keep the other 1/4 cup set aside. We'll work that in as we roll out the dough. Putting in the entire 3 cups, plus using more as you roll it out can over-flour your cookies and make them dry.

Allow some time for a little Quality Control:

Next, you want to roll out your cookies. My mom taught me this neat trick for rolling out your dough so that it is a consistent thickness. Take a dowel rod and cut it in half so you have two dowel rods approx the same length. I use a 5/16" dowel rod. Tape one dowel rod to the counter. Place your rolling pin on top of it so you can see how far apart you want your second one to be. Once you have figured that out, tape down the second dowel rod.

Of course, if you have rolling pin bands, this isn't necessary, but I don't have any, so this is my method. :)

Flour your working surface with part of the 1/4 cup of flour that we held out. Be sure to give your rolling pin a little flour too. Take 1/4 to 1/3 of your dough and roll it out. Keep the edges of your rolling pin on the dowel rods and all of your cookies will be the same thickness.
Take your favorite cookie cutters and start cutting out as many shapes/sizes as you want.

With the "extras" you have leftover, work it back into the dough instead of continuing to roll it out over and over until it's all gone, then starting with a new part of the dough to roll out. If you keep working the same dough into more and more flour, it will make your cookies hard.

Once you have your baking sheets filled up, bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, check one of the cookies and just as it is starting to get very, very, very lightly brown, take the cookies out of the oven and immediately move them onto a cooling rack. Keep in mind, if you leave your cookies on the baking sheet, they will continue to cook, so get them off ASAP.

Don't they look pretty? This is how my husband likes his cookies. I think there might be something wrong with him...he doesn't like icing!

Use whatever icing recipe floats your boat. I'm a buttercream fan, so that's what I used on these.

Happy Valentine's Day!

...9 days early. :)

Linking up at Tatertots & Jello.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Mantle

I cannot believe it. I'm actually ahead of the game for a holiday! This many be the only place in my house where there is Valentine's decor, but at least I'm not desperately trying to come up with something on February 13th. :)

Noramlly, my V-Day decor is minimal...a heart shaped something or other here and there. I have never tried to put together any sort of vignette (for any holiday!).

I'm always telling the kids, "Gimme some sugar!", so I thought it appropriate to make this little sign. I just reused a frame that was already on the mantle.

Mine and DH's anniversary is 2/26. Last year, I gave him this picture for our anniversary. I bought it from a seller on etsy. Love that site! It normally hangs in our bedroom (as does this mirror, actually!), but I brought it out for the holiday.

I made several small banners for Christmas, but none of them were long enough to go across my mantle. I actually measured 3 times so that this one would be long enough. Lo and behold, it was too short too! LOL I was not about to rip out stitches from my bias tape, though, so I made do. I taped my banner to the mantle with scotch tape, then glued a little glittery heart over the tape so it didn't look so unfinished. Most of the fabrics were from my stash, but I bought a couple of new ones last week. I think it turned out cute!
I totally ripped off the feather boa wreath from Tatertots & Jello. It's so fun and cheesy, how could I not run with it? :) I took two boas, white & pink, and wrapped them around a dollar store wreath. In order to be able to reuse both the wreath and the boas, I didn't glue them, I just stuck the ends of the boas into the wreath with floral pins.

Linking up at Tatertots & Jello, Under the Table and Dreaming, The Tattered Tag, Somewhat Simple and Dittle Dattle.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Better late than never...

So one month post-Christmas, I'm finally 1) updating my blog and 2) showing your our stockings! I had set a goal of having them complete by Christmas Eve. I met than goal by a whopping 30 minutes. On 12/23/2010 at 11:30pm, I hung our stockings by the chimney with care. Yay me! :)

Please excuse the quality. This is a 11:31pm picture taken with the iPhone and zero editing.

I was SO proud of myself for making these! It had been on my To Do list for much too long. My daughter is 2 (almost 3) and she had yet to have a stocking of her own. Bad mom! :)

I used a variation of the lined stocking with cuff tutorial from Cluck, Cluck, Sew. I did make a couple of modifications, but it's been a month now and I don't recall what those were! Her directions were easy to follow, though, so for that, she is AWESOME.

Now that I have this Christmas post out of the way, my next one will be for Valentine's Day. I have very little to work with for that holiday, so it's all going on my mantle.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Glitter Trees

These turned out so cute! The supplies I used were: candle holder (dollar store), styrofoam tree forms (dollar store), E600, white Elmer's glue and glitter (dollar store...again!).

The first thing I did was smush the candle holder onto the bottom of the tree form so I could make sure I had the forms centered on the holders. Then, following E6000's directions, I put glue on both surfaces...all around the top of the candle holder and all in the little groove that I created on the bottom of the tree form. I let these sit about 12 hours, although the instructions say you should leave them alone for 24 hours. The instructions also say you shouldn't use it on styrofoam, but it was fine.

After they glue dried, I used copius amounts of Elmer's white glue (raid the kid's stash!) and liberally spread it all over the tree form using one of the super cheap foam brushes. DOn't be stingy with the need something for the glitter to stick to. Then I took the glitter and shook it all over, covering all of the glue. Use LOTS of glitter! If you find that you missed a spot, go back and put more glue, then sprinkle over more glitter.

In my case, I bought my glitter at the dollar store and it came in little bitty bottles, so I had to refill my bottles with my overflow glitter several times. I sprinkled on my glitter holding over an open file folder so that when I ran out of glitter in my bottle, I could just easily pour it right back in.

This project was super easy. Not including the dry time for the candle holder and tree form, it took me less than 30 minutes to make all three. This was also a super cheap project! I already had the different glues and a sponge brush, so my other supplies cost $8. I have a small tree left over (it was a 2-pack for $1), as well as lots of glitter still remaining.

Pretty, right?

You certainly don't have to use traditional Christmas colors. The color combos are limited only by the colors of glitter you can find. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Every year, I attend at least a couple of holiday cookie exchanges. This year, my step-mother wins the award for having hers the earliest...November 13th! She has pretty specific rules for her cookie exchanges: no chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, bar cookies or snickerdoodles. I don't know about you, but she just cut out all of my favorites (except for oatmeal raisin...eww!)! This makes me have to be creative, though, and that's not a bad thing. :)

This year, I came up with a cheaters version of snickerdoodles. Please don't tell her! LOL Cinnamon Roll Cookies!

Here are some quickie directions on how to make these.

Take your favorite sugar cookie recipe. It can be from scratch, a package mix or even a pre-mixed dough log from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Take about 1/2 of a scratch recipe or 1 package or log and roll it out into about 1/8" thick rectangle shape onto a well-floured surface (ding, ding ding...this is KEY! Also, if you are using a premade log, I would recommend kneading in about 1/8 cup of flour so they don't spread out too much.) The thickness part is not an exact science, but keep in mind that you don't want it to be too terribly thick since we're going to roll this up like a pinwheel.

Once you have it rolled out, sprinkle the top of it liberally with cinnamon. Then, starting at a long side of the rectangle, start tightly rolling the cookie dough onto itself, creating a long pinwheel. I would recommend putting the rolled log into the refrigerator for at least an hour, but overnight would be best. You can take that advice or leave it, but if you're not in a hurry to get them done, I would definitely refrigerate.

Once your log has been in the fridge for at least an hour, take it out and start slicing one of the ends, making them approx 1/4" thick. See? You're just making your own slice and bake cookies! LOL Bake your cookies according to their package directions.

For for the glaze, mix together 1 and 1/8 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Once these are mixed together and it's nice and smooth, pipe it in a zig-zag motion onto the cooled cookies.

Don't they look delish? They are!

Linking up at Tatertots & Jello

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ruffly Candy Corn Tee

We had a company picnic on Sunday and I whipped this up in less than an hour. I cut my strips 1" wide with pinking shears, then ruffled them with the sewing machine. Individually sew each strip down onto fusible interfacing so that the colors go in the same order as a candy corn. On the back of the interfacing, trace out a candy corn shape, then cut it out. Press the shape onto the shirt, then go back and top stitch around the whole thing. I cut off too much of my white fabric, though, so my candy corn is mainly orange. Lesson learned!

Oh, this is what I got when I said "make a scary Halloween face." :)

Linking this post to: Get Your Craft On and 30 Days

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Baby Bunting

Funny update: I apparently have issues with my hearing. Took this bunting to the baby shower, only to find out that the baby's name is JACK, not Jake. Ack! Another bunting will be on it's way to the parents-to-be soon. Anyone need a navy & maroon bunting with "Jake" on it? LOL

One of my nieces is due to have her first baby next month. Today is the shower, so I wanted to make something personal for the baby. I decided to go with the ever-present-in-the-blog-community-BUNTING. It was ridiculously easy and took me one hour to make.

This project could have been about half the time, but I did a couple of things differently than some I have seen. I wanted the buntings to have a little weight to them and lay fairly flat, so they are two layers of fabric sewn together. You can use just one layer of fabric if you want it to be more flow-y. That would definitely cut down on the amount of time it takes to make the project. I also made my own bias tape, as opposed to buying pre-made. I wanted it to match the color of the letters. If you make your bunting just one layer and use a pre-made bias tape, you could easily knock this project out in 30 minutes or less (depending on how many letters are in the name, of course!). This four-letter name could have been done in about 20 minutes with no problem had I done it that way. That's WAY less time than it takes to go to the store and buy a gift!

I do have one significant "lessons learned" from this project. If using a light colored bias tape with dark colored buntings, it would be a good practice to use a light-weight interfacing when making the bias tape. I found that the top edge of the buntings can be seen through at the very top of the bias tape.

Hope the mom-to-be likes her gift!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Now that I have the majority of my craft show items complete, I can work on fun stuff again. :) I'm glad to get craft show goodies wrapped up (mostly...just working on new things here and there), so that I can work on decor for one of my favorite holidays...Halloween! This wreath is a blatant rip-off of this one. I love me some glitter, though, so I changed it up just a smidge. My wreath isn't as full as hers, though. I wound up only using about 1/2 yard of black burlap.

Funny Update: I just opened the front door and discovered that my carefully crafted wreath was on the ground. Apparently, even with today's "cool front," it's still too hot for a wreath whose ribbon hanger is held on with hot glue. Or maybe the craft gods are telling me you shouldn't hang up a Halloween wreath before October. Hmmm. The wreath is currently in hospice waiting for the kids to go to bed, at which point it will be repaired and then take up residence somewhere in the entry hall. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Early July 4th Post - Flag Cake Directions

I have had several emails about how I made the flag cake in this post. Here are some quickie directions on how I did mine. I'm sure if you make one, you'll find where how you can save some time. If you do, let me know! :)

You'll need enough cake mix (white) for three layers of cake. Use food coloring to dye one layer of the mix red and one layer blue. One layer needs to stay white. To get good thick layers, I used two cake mixes and had one layer worth of batter left over, so I made those into cupcakes. :)

Bake layers as noted on the box. Once baked and cooled (cool completely!), cut the red and white layers horizontally. So now you have two small layers each of red and white and one regular sized layer of blue. Set aside one each of the red and white layers...those will be the bottom stripes of the flag.

Now, of the layers that you didn't set aside, stack them one on top of each other (do not ice them yet). Using a sharp knife, you are going to cut a circle directly out of the middle of all three layers. I used a bowl as a guide and just stuck the knife from the top...ALL the way through to the bottom using the edge of the bowl as my round guide. So now you have a ring of red, white and blue and three inner circles of the same. Does that make sense?

Take a break now and commence eating the inner circle of blue and the outer rings of the red & white cakes.

Frost the bottom two layers of red & white that we set aside earlier...the bottom stripes of the flag. Just place a layer of frosting between those layers. Then frost the top of the red and place the blue ring on top of that. I put a small amount of frosting on the inside of the blue ring to help cut down on any crumbs and to hold the next two stripes in place. On the inside of the ring, place the small white circle cake, top with a bit of frosting, then place the red circle cake. Frost the entire cake, as normal.

Is that clear as mud?

FYI - after I sent my cake pictures to my mom? She told me that you can use a checkerboard cake pan and it would be easier. I don't have a checkerboard pan, so this is how I had to roll. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Birthday Shirt for Miss S

I am a lame aunt. I not only forgot about my niece's birthday party last weekend (until my mom reminded me the day before), but I showed up with NO gift. Ack! Hopefully, my lateness will be excused!

Thank goodness for my mom. She brought her most hated sewing machine to the party for me to take home (thanks, Mom!). Her most hated machine is WAY better than what I had before. It sews on knit. With no issues. Yesssss!

I was prompted to try this after reading a tutorial one someone else's blog (I can't remember where I found it! She did a 4 with baseball fabric for her son's birthday). It was super easy...especially if your machine doesn't hate you. :)

So happy belated birthday, Miss S! Don't hate me too much for being so forgetful.

Since I can't remember what blog I got my inspiration, here is a super quick and dirty how-to (no pics) on this project. Prewash your fabric and shirt (since they are different types of fabric, it will alleviate puckering later on). I used my Cricut to cut out a large S and then traced the S onto the shirt. Next, I ironed interfacing to my white & pink fabric and placed it on the inside of the shirt, then pinned, pinned, pinned all around the S. It's not absolutely necessary, but I sewed two rows of stitches around the S. I tried to be all nice and careful with the second line, but very quickly figured out that there was NO way I would be able to mirror the first line of stitches perfectly, so I went all wonky with them making them criss-cross, curve, etc. After you are all sewn, very carefully cut out the pink shirt on the inside close to the stitches. Then go on the inside of the shirt and cut out all of the excess fabric, cutting near the stitches again.

Linking up to these parties: It's a Blog Party, Today's Creative Blog, Creative Itch