Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cindy's Christmas Candy

I have been making this candy for at least 13 years. Over the years, it has received a lot of rave reviews. I think I like it so much because it is so simple and also so different.

First, the name. I named this candy for a dear friend who first gave me the recipe. She passed away suddenly due to a car accident leaving behind her husband and one year old daughter. I think of them often, and this candy will always remind me of her.

It is easiest to make in 2 batches, as you will see.

Ingredients for 2 batches:
2 24 oz. pkgs of White Almond Bark
1 10 oz. pkg cinnamon disc candy


Tools:
Baking sheet
2 quart measuring cup
Spatula
Hammer







Begin by setting aside 1/2 of the cinnamon discs - usually around 20+, saving them for the second batch, leaving 1/2 in the original bag. Using the hammer, carefully smash each disc - the ones in the original bag - (usually takes 3 to 4 good hits). Keeping them in the bag helps contain the bits that break through the disc wrappers, although you will have some escape. If needed, smash a few at a time and then move them to a bowl to make room as you work. Once all are smashed, place them all in a bowl.

Carefully remove wrappers leaving the candy bits in the bowl.

Melt the almond bark according to package directions. I chose the microwave method. All of the bark, once squares are broken apart, fits well in the 2 quart measuring cup for microwaving. Once melted, pour the candy bits in and mix well with a spatula. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spread it out with the spatula, and allow it to cool. To speed up the process, you can set it in the refrigerator. Be sure to keep it flat or wait until it sets up to a point where it won't run over the edges.
Sorry this pic is not very appetizing.
Once cool, break into pieces.

I love to give this candy as gifts. It looks nice in small cellophane bags. I've also given larger quantities in metal tins or coffee mugs. This year, I gave some to fellow teachers in dressed up jars. I will show you how I made these in my next post.



Until then, remember to share!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

WOW! So honored, so excited!

I am so happy to share some exciting news with you! I have shared my crochet patterns with a couple of websites which have HUGE followings. A company named Prime Publishing puts out several websites for the crafting world featuring free projects and patterns. I have been featured on AllFreeCrochet.com, FaveCrafts.com, and AllFreeCrochetAfghanPatterns.com.

These sites have generated a lot of traffic to my blog, which is so fun. I would never be able to get my patterns to as many people as they can. And, the comments I get from those viewers are truly motivating.

So, now for the exciting news:



AllFreeCrochet.com viewers have chosen my first afghan pattern, 
the Color Block Afghan 
as one of their Top 100 crochet patterns for 2012.



I am more than thrilled! I should also have a Designer's Bio ready soon for those sites to feature.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this little blog. And, especially thanks to everyone who contributed a vote for my pattern! I have a lot of projects in process and even hope to have a new afghan pattern to post in the coming weeks. I've been so busy creating, I haven't wanted to spend the time needed at the computer blogging. But, after the holidays, I promise to get those posts done for you.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Top 10 DIY Christmas Wreaths

I posted last week my newest Christmas decoration for this year, a new wreath for the front door. Well, it definitely falls in the traditional category, and I have to say it's not too exciting. I was going the easy and quick route, really just wanted it to be done, and last year's wreath bit the dust. So this is what I did. It's also going to be easy to change if I have time next year.

So, I spent some time this weekend looking for ideas for next year, and I found A LOT. Here is my Top 10, and links to the tutorials. You are sure to find inspiration here, whether you want traditional, or something a bit different, like yarn, deco mesh, tulle, or even square! 

#10
from Happy-Go-Lucky
A traditional style, here. I love how real the greenery looks, very log-cabin-ish.  Makes me think of going over the river and through the woods.

#9
by All Things Thrifty
posted on Sew Dang Cute
Love the burlap. Very rustic and fresh!

#8
from That's What Che Said
Okay, since last year's wreath was a berry wreath, this one tugged my heart-strings. I still wish it hadn't fallen apart. But, this one is even prettier!

#7
from Savvy Seasons
These deco mesh wreaths are amazing. Love the AWE-factor. So fun and festive!

#6
from Wine & Cork
Cant' pass up a reason to open a bottle! I'll be working hard to gather supplies to make this one next year *wink*.

#5
from Baby Rabies
Couldn't help myself with this one. It just makes me smile!

#4
from Susie Harris
Love the whimsical take on tradition. A bit Suessical, eh?

#3
DIY Christmas Wreath Tutorial
from Becoming the Barr's
Bright and cheerful - love the yarn, monogram, and flowers. A very happy wreath!

#2
from It's Overflowing
Now this is non-traditional! So fun and new. This is what I had hoped to have time to make, maybe next year - oops, I think I said that already. I'd better find a few more places to put wreaths next year.

And Finally,
#1
from Better Homes and Gardens
I know this isn't from a blogger, which kinda goes against my rules, but it's so pretty! Love the contrast of white and red against the turquoise door. Might have to paint my door to do this one, think the hubby would go for it?


So, these are what I found to be inspirational. What do you think? Have a wreath you think should be shown here, or want to share one you made? Let me know, I'd love to see it.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Decorating is Done!

This was my final Christmas decoration to put up this year, and my only new piece. I have found so many Christmas decoration ideas this year, but I've really had to hold back. I'm sure you are so proud of me :) There's only so much time, and I know I have several projects to make for gifts. So here it is, my only new decoration for 2012, a wreath.




Simple
and
sweet.




The wreath, berry picks, and ribbon came from Michaels for 50% off, and I used a coupon for the mirrored "B". The lights came from my miscellaneous leftovers from Christmases past.


It was less than $10!!!
Here's a look at it lit up.

Look for some of my gift projects coming soon, what new decor did you make this year?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

New series - Top 10 Christmas Crafts

Announcement

I am officially on the hunt for AWEsome Christmas crafts. I plan to feature a Top 10 list for various categories. Want yours included? Email me a link to your blog and I will consider it. Categories include (but not limited to, because if I find something I missed here, you bet I'll include it anyway!):

  • Christmas Tree Decor
  • Door Decor
  • Wall Decor
  • Table Decor
  • Christmas Crochet Projects
  • DIY gifts
  • Vintage Style Decor
So, get me those links. I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image from The Graphics Fairy

I am so thankful for all of my loving family and friends and for all of you. I truly enjoy creating projects to share with you, and I hope you find them helpful. Look for new projects soon!

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homemade Halloween

It was a homemade Halloween this year. Most of the costumes my kids have worn in the past were store bought. For several years, we had princesses and either a prince, or a ninja, or a teenage mutant ninja turtle. More recently, the girls have gone with more dark characters, like a dead softball player, or a witch.

Well, this year we had quite a variety. And, they were all homemade. Some more successful then others, but the kids loved it.

My oldest made her own vision a reality of the Black Swan. I think she just wanted the opportunity to do the make up. But after spending an afternoon tying tulle strips to an elastic band, she probably had second thoughts. And, after spending an hour hot-gluing feathers, I know I did.

Our Pixie was a bit easier. She cut and tied the tulle for her own skirt (with a bit of help from grandma one evening). She was soooo lucky to have had her allergies flare up today causing quite a bit of sneezing, hence the red nose. But cute as ever!

Finally, the Mummy. I really didn't think it would take 4 yards of muslin to created this monster, but sure enough, it did. In my effort to age the muslin by wetting the strips and drying them, I actually made a hug mess. They turned into one big ball of fabric tied up with strings, and practically undryable. After it finally dried, I spent free moments at school separating the strips and hot-gluing them end-to-end. Such fun! And it still didn't cover him totally. After he spent a few minutes running through the house, most of the wrapping on the legs had slid down and sagged. He really needed a second layer, but no time for that, we had some candy to gather. So a few more dots of hot glue and they were off.

All in all, a fun Halloween, just wish we had been able to start it all earlier. Next year, I'll have to start in September!

Did you make costumes this year ? I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Colors Crochet Flower Necklace


Here's an update to the Flower Necklace I posted at the end of Summer. You really can make this one in any colors and design you choose. I'm working on another Fall version with some additional flower styles. These are so fun. 

I also want to spotlight the hardware I used for this. The chain is the same as I used in the Summer version. I found it at Hobby Lobby. I love this line of jewelry pieces. It has a vintage (haha) style and it very durable. The price point is higher than some, but I only pick up what I can with the coupon or when it's on sale. If you plan ahead, Hobby Lobby does make it easy to get good deals. 


For this project, I purchased 2 24" 2mm Fine Ornate Chains, 1 Hook and Eye Clasp, and 4.75 mm jump rings (not pictured). Everything came in the natural brass finish.  I also grabbed 5 more off-white pearls from my stash. Tip: for a better value, pick up a second clasp and 3rd chain for a second necklace. 

Follow the pattern for the Crochet Flower Necklace for 6 flowers. I used embroidery floss in an off white (for 2 flowers), a deep rust orange, a deep yellow, a deep red, and a deep brown. To make the chain, I cut one chain to 21 and 1/2", then cut 2 pieces from the second chain, a 6" piece and a 5" piece. 


Using the jump rings, I connected the ends of these pieces 2 " from the center of the long chain. Then, I attached the clasp. The links in this chain are hard to cut. Be sure to use a good pair of cutters. Then, sew the flowers as in the original pattern to the chain and to each other using matching floss (if sewing flowers together, use the floss color of the flower that sits on top - for the flowers shown above, I used the deep red - as this is shown from the back). Check the balance of the necklace. On this necklace, one side tends to slide down a bit due to the weight of 4 flowers on one side, but I still like the look of it.


Have a Beautiful Fall!





This post has been linked up with: Six Sisters' Stuff, Fabric Bows and More, Positively SplendidAliLilyOne Artsy Mama, Show Off Friday, Night Owl Crafting.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This Purse was not such a Cinch after all!

The plan today was to make a Cinch-Top Purse in-between my daughter's softball games. But that didn't quite work out. Actually, I got it done, but not quite how I wanted to. Here's the story. I had myself all set up for it, after only 3 trips to the store!  First trip, I picked out the fabric, cord and part of the hardware. Next trip, I bought more cord because I lost the first one somewhere on my kitchen counter (which reminds me I should do an organizing project for you, well maybe someday), and also found the rest of the pieces I needed in the purse hardware section at Joann - who knew it has it's own section?  Then, I sat down to make this purse and found out I needed thread. How can you run out of black . . . really?!  So after the final trip, two days later, I was ready to make it. And here it is!

Now, it may look fine and dandy here, but it's really not so great. Good thing I don't design for a living, I'd be broke. A tutorial on this might be coming in the future if I get it all figured out. I totally chose the wrong fabric for the bottom of the purse. I picked out black gabardine. Way too . . . wimpy? The wrinkle release fabric for the top trim and strap work well. And, I put A LOT of time into making that strap! So I'm thinking I'll try to remove it and reuse it on a different bottom.  That is, if tearing out the stitching doesn't make me want to tear my hair out. Also, on my next round, I'll need to pay more attention when putting the bottom together. This time, I apparently turned the lining wrong-side-out and didn't know until it was finished. Now I have hidden pockets, soooo hidden, I can't use them!

Well, I had to share this with you. Sometimes you try and fail, and that's ok. It's what you make of it that counts. I might use the gabardine to make a small phone holder or cosmetic bag, hmmm . . .

Anyone have a craft fail to share with us? Please do, it will make me feel better!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How Pinteresting! #2

More Pins I thought were cool!

I really want to try this, just not sure if I could eat them all. Have any of you tried this one?
The image I pinned did not go to a recipe, so I linked to my Pinterest board. Enjoy!



From Decor Pad
Beautiful. I rarely partake of a long soak, but this bathroom makes me want to . . . now!



These are simply laminated construction paper with letters die cut for the color's name. Can't wait to do this in our class. Also with the students' names.



This would be great for my mantle. Hoping to have the time to make this one.


Would love to make a version of this for my home, if the kids don't laugh to hard.



I really do want to do this for the kids. They could end up with a wall of their 1st initial with sweet notes. Would be a great spirit lifter.




Another classroom activity. Now, to find a wall for this.

What did you pin this week that has inspired you?


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Letter T in Pre-K

Just a quick idea for studying the letter T with Pre-K. Take a print out of the letter (outline only). Have them color it. Then with a Toothbrush, have them brush on a dab of Toothpaste. A great way to incorporate the letter with multiple applications of it, plus a bonus sensory lesson. Makes the room smell good, too:)

Have a great day!