Friday, December 20, 2013

Awesome Handmade Ornaments of 2013

I am always awed by the great handmade ornament tutorials that come out each year, so this year I decided to share some of my favorites from various blogs. All of these would make a great embellishment on a gift in place of a bow, or would make a great small gift themselves (I'm thinking of making some for gifts to go along with cards at the office this year)! Feel free to share links to some of your favorite handmade ornaments in the comments area below as well :)

I love this terrarium ornament from Farm Fresh Therapy. A great use for small succulents in the Winter months!

I'm obsessed with these cute (and super easy!) felt ribbon candy ornaments over at The Purl Bee. They are so bright and fun (did I mention easy?).

Speaking of easy, these Confetti ornaments from In a Creative Bubble fit the bill! You can change them up with about any confetti filling you like!

Our Nerd Home is one of my new favorite blogs, check out these nifty 8 bit ornaments they made this holiday season!

My ornament contribution this year is this adorable fox. Click over to get the full tutorial and download the pattern!

Have you made any ornaments you are especially proud of this year?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Felt Fox Ornament

I am still doing some last minute Christmas prep and decided I wanted to make ornaments for some of my coworkers. I came up with this little felt fox pattern and decided to share it with you all. While I used needle and thread to put mine together, you can also use hot glue or fabric glue if you want to whip up multiples of these for gifts yourself and save time :)

To make your own fox ornaments at home you will need:

Fox ornament pattern (free pdf download here)
Two colors of felt (I used red and cream, you can change up your foxes to be any color you like)
needle and thread
buttons in various sizes
polyfil or other soft stuffing
ribbon, thread or cord for hanging the ornament

Start by downloading and printing the fox ornament pattern. It comes in two sizes, so you can make a whole family of foxes if you like (or use the pattern that fits your tree best). Trace the patterns onto your felt and cut out the pieces (you will need two of the larger head piece and one face piece for each ornament).

Arrange the face piece onto the head, move around until you are satisfied. Felt tends to stick to itself a bit, but feel free to pin your face pieces in place before sewing together (or just use fabric or hot glue to put these together).

Select buttons in a color and size you like. Place them onto the face piece and glue them down or sew them on. Once you have this piece completed, you can layer together the two head pieces and begin sewing or gluing those together (make sure to leave a hole for adding stuffing). Before sewing up the top of the head, I add in a ribbon or some metallic cord to use to hang my ornaments from the Christmas tree. I used a blanket stitch to sew my pieces together, but you can use any stitch you are comfortable with (or again, glue is great and makes this super fast and easy--the kids can even help!).

Hang your finished product on the tree or give these as gifts (they are super cute on packages instead of bows!). Stay tuned, Friday I will have a roundup of some of my favorite DIY ornaments from 2013 :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Giveaway Day (CLOSED)

This year I am once again participating in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day! If you are a first time visitor, be sure to take a look around the blog. There are lots of recipes to be found in addition to projects for all occasions and a beginners embroidery stitch library! If you are looking for ways to be extra giving yourself this season, you can always check out my post on giving back. Some of my more popular blog posts can be seen below, check out: Paper Flower Roundup, DIY Small Gift Bows, Candy Cane Sugar Scrub, or Gift card envelopes.

I just couldn't decide on a fabric line or book to give away this year, so I decided to let you choose your own handmade gift or bunch of supplies via an Etsy gift card! Etsy has lots of great options for finished products as well as supplies (hello vintage fabrics!), so you are sure to find something you like. The gift card option also makes this giveaway open worldwide!

Not sure where you'd spend your gift card? Here are a couple of my favorite shops!

To enter the giveaway, please use the rafflecopter widget below (allow time to load). I know not everyone is a fan of rafflecopter, so you may also get an entry by leaving me a comment below telling me what you are most likely to spend your gift card on (make sure there is an email address I can use to contact you--I will add comment entries to the rafflecopter widget at the end of each day, one comment per entrant please). Comment moderation has been turned on, comments will not appear until approved.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Erin! Your Etsy gift card is on its way! For everyone else I hope you continue to follow The Craftinomicon for more great projects and future giveaways!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Treat Roundup

It's no secret that I have a heck of a sweet tooth. What better excuse than the holidays to whip up bunches of sweet treats to share with everyone you know? Below you will find some of my all time favorite recipes for making up cookie plates for the holiday season!.

I replaced half the chocolate chips in these cookies with red and green M&M's for a more festive look.

If chocolate and peanut butter are your style, whip up these quick bars that my sister and I lovingly dubbed "Sugar Shock" bars, due to their super sweet richness!

You can't go wrong with these soft double ginger cookies!

We begged my mom every year to make Mounds Bars for the Christmas cookie tray. Add some colorful sprinkles for an extra fancy touch!

Almost nothing is easier than a batch of these Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles. Put them on the cookie tray or give them as gifts!

What are your favorite holiday treats?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vanilla Sugar

I've been working on tons of projects lately, and feel like I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew. I'm going to use the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to play a little catch up (as well as do lots of cooking and eating). Here is a recipe for vanilla sugar you can make ahead and use in some of your holiday baking, or give as gifts!

To make your own vanilla sugar at home you will need:

granulated sugar
vanilla beans

I ordered my vanilla beans online from Beanilla. I would recommend them (especially if you want to make up a ton of this for gifts). They have great bulk prices and my beans arrived super fast (the shipping was also free!).

Cut open your vanilla beans lenthwise and scrape out all of the caviar (all the little bits inside the bean) with a small spoon. Add the caviar and the vanilla pods to your sugar and mix together very well. I generally use one vanilla bean for every 1-1.5 cups of sugar. Put your sugar and vanilla bean mixture into an air tight container and store in a cool, dry place (preferably out of direct light as well). Allow 2 weeks for the vanilla to properly flavor your sugar.

Add this to any recipe calling for sugar that you'd like to add a little extra vanilla flavor to. You may add more sugar and vanilla beans as necessary (if you use a vanilla bean in something else, put the pod into your sugar--add more sugar as space allows and stir well).

If vanilla sugar isn't your thing, you can try your hand at making your own vanilla extract instead!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Easiest Mug Cake Ever

Anyone looking through the recipes I have posted here in the past may notice that I have a bit of a sweet tooth. I also like things to be easily accessible. Enter this awesome mug cake, introduced to me by some of my coworkers.

To make this at home you will need:

1 box Angel Food cake mix
1 box any other flavor cake mix (I used spice cake)
1 microwave safe mug

To start out, you will mix together your 2 boxes of cake mix. I usually put mine in a large freezer bag (you can store it in the bag for a short period of time, I usually put mine in a small Tupperware container.

I've seen this recipe on some other sites called 3-2-1 cake. The reason for this is that once your cake mixture is created to make your cake you use 3 Tablespoons of the mix, 2 Tablespoons water and microwave your cake in a mug for 1 minute on high. I let mine sit in the microwave an additional minute or 2 to cool.

I have tried several cake flavors, and I have to say that you will probably be disappointed with any kind of chocolate cake. It just doesn't have the chocolatey flavor when mixed with the angel food cake. My favorites have been carrot cake and spice cake. Fruit cake mixes (lemon and strawberry) have also been tasty. You can also add frosting or whipped cream to your final cake--I like strawberries sliced onto the lemon cake MMMM.

This is a great option if you like dessert but don't necessarily want a whole cake sitting on your counter tempting you. It makes about 24 servings of cake and each serving is around 100 calories (without frosting added). Also, since you mix it with water only there is no added fat or oil-- you can feel a little less guilty. :)