Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A mammogram, a vase and a wreath

I recently had my yearly mammogram.  Since I turned 40, I have been going yearly and plan to do so in the future.  There are times when I should go to the doctor when I don't, when I should go to the dentist, but I don't, but I don't mess around with getting a mammogram (plus it helps that they schedule them for the next year when you check in).  Two of my cousins have been diagnosed with breast cancer, one a few years ago and is doing well, the other is going through treatment right now.   They are a constant reminder to follow through with my appointment. Anyway, all went well, and when I was leaving they offered my a rose, I happily accepted, but when I got home, I realized that I didn't have a bud vase.  I looked through my collection of jar and bottles that I had been saving to use on a rainy day and found a Holland House Cooking wine bottle.  I grabbed some twine and my glue gun and starting making a vase for my rose.  Nothing fancy, but it did the job and it was free!! 
  • Put a dot of hot glue at the very bottom and start wrapping the twine tightly around the bottle.
  • Once you start getting to the point where the bottle begins to narrow, you'll have to start putting glue after every few wraps in order to keep the twine in place.
  • Once you get to the mouth of the bottle, put one last dot of glue and cut the twine and you're done. 
I posted this wreath back in October during Breast Cancer Awareness month, but without the bling, so I took the post down.  My daughter thought it needed a little something extra, so this is my updated version.

Please take time to get a mammogram.
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Granola Bar Retreat Treats

My oldest daughter is  being Confirmed in May and she had her retreat this weekend.  She came home last night after Mass and she's very glad to be home - she didn't like the food. If you knew my daughter you'd know what a HUGE deal that is. She is such a foodie. She's in the culinary program at her vocational school and last year for her birthday, I bought her all her favorite foods, she was in heaven.  Anyway, she did enjoy the retreat, she said it was a good experience and not at all what she expected (in a good way), but as soon as she got home, she went out with her dad to get Chinese takeout.  My part in this retreat other than attending closing Mass this evening was to make a snack and I decided to attempt my fourth try at granola bars.

I have been determined to make my own, but it hasn't gone so well.  My kids love them and I usually buy the Quaker Oats low sugar peanut butter or chocolate chip, but I've been trying to save money buy attempting to make their snacks, namely, granola bars. I found this great recipe online - granola bars.  The first time I made it, they came out great and everybody loved them but I've made them twice since then and haven't had the same success.  Well, I decided to give it one more attempt, as I refuse buy them anymore.  I made a few adjustments and tried them out on my critics before I sent them to the retreat and... success!!  It was unanimous, I got the green light to make them again and they were allowed to go to the retreat!  

I know this is more a craft blog, but I wanted to share.  I made a couple of changes. The first change isn't a big deal, I used Easter M&Ms instead of chocolate chips.  The second change made more of a difference.  The kids were saying that they were too hard, so I baked them for 30 minutes, not 40 as the recipes says.  They do harden pretty quickly once out of the oven, but the kids are used to the chewy ones, so I tried for less time and it seemed to work. Everything else is the same.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day Wreaths and Snacks

My kids wanted me to make a wreath for the front door to show our Irish spirit/heritage.  So I took advantage of the sale Joann Fabric's had for Presidents day, and got some fabric the color of the Irish flag and used a wire wreath I had left over from Christmas.  My girls took turns helping me tie on the fabric and we finished with a plaid green bow. 
The cotton fabric was cut  lengthwise with pinking shears in 1" strips. The fabric was cut into 6" strips and then we tied them on the wreath in alternating colors (like the Irish flag - of course).   
We love Saint Patricks's Day. The kids are looking forward to the Sneaky Leprechaun's arrival.  The Sneaky leprechaun just has to finish preparing for his arrival.  More to come...
So I've been into making cone treats lately.  I made 37 cupid's hot chocolate cones for Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd do something for St. Patrick's Day and you can't have St. Patty's Day without Lucky Charms. 
A cup of Lucky Charms was added to a cone shaped cello bag.  I found a cute little graphic and attached it to green scrapbooking paper and finished with green ribbon.  I'm planning on using these for breakfast from the Sneaky Leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day morning, but  it could also be used as a party favor.  Enjoy!

Upcycled First Communion Banner

My son and daughter sing in the children's choir at church and they've been practicing songs for the First Communion masses.   It was just last year that we were getting ready for my daughter's First Communion, so I wanted to share her banner that we made last year.  I couldn't leave the house one Saturday afternoon about this time of year (I think we were down to one car at the time), anyway, I realized at the last minute that my daughter needed her banner for the next day. After scrounging around the house for a while, I found everything I needed.

The previous year, we had been to a wedding and the Bride and Groom had left welcome bags in all the guest rooms, it was the right material so I cut it part.  This was what was going to be the structure of my banner.  After dissembling it being careful to cut on the seams, I began piecing it together. The top portion of the banner was one side of the bag, the bottom half was the other.  Where the green band of fabric is, was where I glued the two together so that they were the correct length. The loops for the dowel were originally on either side of the bag which held the wooden handles. I cut those off and hot glued them to the back of the banner so that we could insert the dowel. Then the fabric was glued to cover the seam where I attached the two sides together. After I put it all together, it was time to decorate.   My daughter knew what she wanted on it and the colors and it had to have glitter.  I had felt so I traced the letters of our last name using paper metallic letters I had on hand from Willy Wonka birthday party (that's a post for a later date). I cut them out with pinking shears and glittered them alternating colors, then hot glued them on.  We added a cross made out of cardboard, covered in green velvet and she wanted a spot on there to remember her grandmother who had passed away.  So In the bottom left hand corner, I used a cookie cutter to trace hearts in the velvet green and green cotton fabric that was already used. I wrote "Nonna" on the fabric.  Last but not least, we added the date of her communion in gold glitter and added two bows on either side of the dowel. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Snowman Birthday Party

All my kids birthdays are in the winter.  We have one in December, exactly two weeks before Christmas and then two in January two days apart.  Needless to say, we're not bored.  My younger daughter decided to use the cold weather to her advantage and had a snowman themed party. We did the decorations in ice blue, with snow flakes everywhere.  My older daughter covered my picture I had hanging in white wrapping paper and made a fitting backdrop to our party (this was a pinterest find! She did the refrigerator as well.).

The party was from 5-8:30.  When the kids came in they did a craft, we had pizza, played some games and then watched Ice Age 4, Continental Drift.

For the favors, I found this awesome idea - snowmen coffee cans.  We painted coffee cans white, used felt for the ear muffs and used black and red sharpies to make the face.  We stuffed our snowman cans full of movie treats. A package of hot cocoa, microwave popcorn (which I covered in white paper and drew a snowman face and hat) and junior mints.

Our craft were skiing snowmen. The kids started out with pine cones painted white which were glued to popsicle sticks.  We had googly eyes, felt and other items for them to decorate their snowmen.  Sorry, just had to stop and watch Pink sing over the rainbow on the Oscars.  Anyway, back to the party. 
One of the games we played involved a lot of toilet paper.  I split the kids into teams and they had to decorate one of their team mates as a snowman.  The team who had their snowman covered first in toilet paper and their orange nose won.  Well they love the game so much, that during the movie a couple asked if they could play again, which then turned into a toilet paper fight and my floors covered in white.  They had a blast.  Don't you just love tp.

So we wrapped everything up with an ice cream cake (of course!) and a very happy girl!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Diaper Babies and Baby Food Cake to Welcome a New Addition

My sister recently had her fourth baby, a beautiful boy. My daughters wanted to make their gifts for her baby shower, so they both went on Pinterest, did their research, made out shopping lists and voila!!
We'll start with the oldest's gift first.

Baby food cake

She used cardboard cake rounds to build her three tiers. After a few tries of rearranging the jars, she secured everything in place and added the ribbon.  The stickers went on last along with her frog friend.  I think she had a great first try and my sister loved it, and definitely loved having the jars on hand for when the little one was ready for his first taste of food.  
Next up,
Diaper Babies

Diaper Baby Basket
This is the third diaper baby basket that my eight year old has made.  She found this idea herself on Pinterest (she has her own account :)).  They were a big hit and so easy to make!
She rolled out size 1 diapers (you can do this with the newborn or size 2 in case someone else at the shower is making a diaper cake).  She then secured them with a clear hair elastic that we purchased from Walmart.  The hats (socks from my sister's registry at Target) were separated from their pairs and each one was put on the top of the rolled diaper and then she pushed in the remainder of the sock inside the top portion.  She drew little eyes (some closed some open, you could also use googly eyes), we used a thin sharpie.  For the blanket (washcloths that were purchased from my sister's registry), she folded them into a triangle and wrapped it in a swaddle, like you would a newborn.  We bought the basket at  the dollar tree and used baby scrapbooking stickers that I had leftover to decorate the inside.  We used spare diapers on the bottom of the basket to give the babies some height (my daughter called it their mattress). :)
My sister loved her gifts and the fact that the girls made them their selves. And I thought it was pretty cool that they chose unique, creative gifts, that will get a lot of use.  Oh, and I also liked that they spent time letting their creative juices flow instead of being in front of the computer, on the phone or in front of the tv.  ;)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Red Sox Spring? Training

We're big Red Sox fans in our house and they've been in beautiful Fort Meyers for Spring Training, so I thought I'd jump start Spring a little early and make a wreath for our World Series Champs.  We need a little spring here!! I think this has been the first day in about six or seven, that it hasn't snowed.  It's suppose to be fifty here tomorrow, I think we'll need galoshes, does anybody wear those anymore?  Anyway onto the wreath.

I used a 14" Styrofoam wreath and covered it with strips of white cotton fabric.  The strips are about 1.5" wide.  I used a dot of hot glue to secure the first strip to the side of the wreath that was to be the back.  I used common pins to secure each of the strips to the back as I went, but you could use fabric glue as well or a dot of hot glue.  Once I was done wrapping the fabric, the letters were glued on and my socks, precut the ribbon and attached it with hot glue to the back.

Go Sox!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Perfect snowy day snack - Snowman Snack Mix

I was recently snack mom for my daughter's Brownie Troop.  I wasn't sure what to make to please all thirteen girls, so I looked on Pinterest and found the cutest snack called Snowman Snack mix.  It's supposed to be the pieces of a melted snowman.  The blog that I found it on was nice enough to have template to print off.  Her troop leader said that everyone loved it!  Thank you Pinterest!

The card reads:
It's cold outside so in this pack
is a special mixed-up Snowman Snack!
Look very closely and you many spy
little snowballs, chocolate hats and eyes.
There's a little nose and pretzel arms
and a tasty scarf to give him some charm.
Have fun looking, then you know what to do...
gobble up this snack made especially for you!

 I made enough to make three snowmen in each bag.

9 mini marshmallows (body)
3 junior mints (head)
6 Pretzel sticks (arms)
21 mini chocolate chips (2 each for the eyes, 5 each for the mouth)
3 orange tic tacs
3 red twizzlers (you need to buy the kind that pulls apart)

My Proud Peacock Wreath

I saw this peacock during the Christmas season at Michaels and got it on clearance.  It spoke to me.  I loved the colors and I found the yarn a few aisles over (on sale!!)  and I had the ribbon.  The colors matched perfectly, I didn't think they would go together, being three different items with a similar shad of turquoise, but it worked!  I was a happy girl! Oh and I had a coupon for the wreath, so I was a super happy girl!
I started with a 12" foam wreath, used fabric spray to glue one end to the side that was going to be my back. I then began to wrap my soft fluffy yarn tightly around the wreath. It took about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours.  Once I finished wrapping, I secured the end to the back with a dot of hot glue.  The bow was glued on first and then my proud peacock went right on top.  For the hanger in the back a pipe cleaner was cut in half, wrapped in the yarn and formed into a circle.  Twist the ends and glue it to the back!  

Nautical Shower Favor

My sister had her fourth baby recently and she had a nautical themed baby shower.  These were the prizes for the games that were given out., but could also be used as a bridal/baby shower favor. 
I found the clip art online for free, sized it down in Micro Soft Word and printed.  I then cut it out with the smaller of my two circle punches and cut out the red paper with the larger.  I used a handheld hole punch to put the hole at the top of the anchor.  For the rope, I cut out the desired length and then put a little hot glue at each end so that it wouldn't fray and unravel.  Once I tied the knot, I put one more small dot of hot glue at the knot, because I noticed that they were loosening.  That did the trick.
The ladies enjoyed their prizes at the shower.

Masquerade Mask

I hope everyone is getting through this long winter.  I just realized that Mardi Gras was coming up and thought I'd share the Mask I made for my daughter's Semi Formal.  Her dress was a pale blue color and she wanted a little bling, so here's what I came up with.  She looked wonderful and had a great time at her eighth grade semi.

I cut the strings off the back of the paper mache mask and brushed a light coat of modge podge.  I covered it with the decorative paper I had purchased and poked a hole with a pencil where the eyes were.  Then the paper was pushed back to form the eyes and glued to the back.  I just kept smoothing and cutting until I was happy with how it looked.  You might need a second sheet of paper for the back.  I then glued on the strand of rhinestones around the outside. A light coat of modge podge was put all over the front and back. Just a note, and I learned this the hard way, depending on the sheen of your paper or if it has glittered on it, the modge podge will dull the paper.  You'll still have the shine, but the sparkle disappears.  Continuing on, the stick is a skewer that was spray painted in a light gray and then sprayed with a light coat of glitter spray.  When you glue the stick make sure the pointed end is glued to the mask.  It accented her dress very nicely and she has a keepsake from her eighth grade semi formal.

I was also on the decorating committee for her semi formal and was in charge of displaying the masks for the students to take when they walked in. The color scheme was gold, black, white and green.  Most of the masks (below) came from Oriental Trading.
Cake dummies were used for the centerpieces and decorative paper was modge podged around the sides.
The tops were painted lightly first with modge podge and then with the desired color of paint. 
Then the glitter which was applied while the paint was wet.
The accessories were glued on last.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day Corsage

It's been a while since I've posted, but I wanted to share the corsage I made for my nine year old daughter.  She and her dad went to a Father Daughter Valentines Day Dance on Sunday, and of course we couldn't have her go to a dance without a corsage.

I think I found the last bunch of roses at Michaels.  After trimming down the stems, I wrapped them in floral tape and then the red ribbon.  It's hard to tell in the picture, but the edges of the roses are glittered in red.  The corsage was very easy to use.  After turning it inside out, I hot glued my flowers and then the white bow and the red on top of that.

The corsage went perfectly with her red party dress.  She was so excited to go on her date with dad and they had a great time. I think my husband had more fun than she did, I heard the DJ played some old school rap :).