Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Christmas presents handmade with love part 2

My second Christmas project was Christmas Tree Napkins.  These are petty easy to make they just take a while to cut out!  You can download the free pattern from here Christmas Tree Napkins.  She has a pdf of the pattern and instructions.

What you need for 4 16" napkins:

1/2 yard of two coordinating fabrics

Once you cut out all your napkins put them together wrong side out sew around the edges leaving a 3" hole to use to flip them right side out.  Sew up the hole, iron the napkins and fold you can either iron the folds or tac them to make them stay together.

Here are the four sets I made this year.

Bye Y'all!

Homemade Christmas presents handmade with love part 1

In December I had two handmade gifts on my radar for Christmas.  One I saw in an email from Bake at 350 and the other was one I'd seen years ago at a friends house. 

The first was Homemade Vanilla Extract.  All you need is vanilla beans, vodka, cute bottles, and 8 weeks of time!  I love the bottles that Bake at 350 used. In the blog she said she got the bottles from The Container Store right now they are on sale, but when I looked back in October they were $2.99 each then add shipping and they were like $6-$7 a bottle, more than I wanted to spend.  By a pure stroke of luck, I had to go to training in San Diego, CA.  If you've never been to San Diego they have awesome shopping.  While I was doodling around I found The Container Store out at Fashion Valley.  I went in and bought 14 bottles, 10 for me and 4 for my buddy Teresa.  The only issue was how to get them home, my suit case was slammed coming out to San Diego, and even more so after visiting the zoo, all my shopping, and my trip to Disneyland and California Adventures.  I ended up buying a new carry on bag and packing the bottles and only the bottles in that bag.  They weighed a ton and I carried them on 2 planes and through 3 airports.  Making it home safely all bottles in tact!

 Anyway back to the vanilla,  the recipe calls for 1/3 cup vodka for each bean.  Because I have OCD about measuring things out first I measured out how much each bottle would hold of vodka, that way I new how many beans to put in each bottle.  I bought 1 pound of Mexican vanilla beans from Beanilla, I had my brother-in-law get me a giant bottle of Smirnoff Vodka and got to work.  With my measurements I needed 3 beans per bottle, I actually added 4-5 beans per bottle just cause I really like vanilla.

First I cut the beans in half at different lengths so the wouldn't be the same in the bottle, then I split each bean down one side and kinda opened it up.  I put the beans in each bottle and used my measuring cup and funnel to fill each bottle to the top with vodka.  I closed them up tight and put them under the bed in the guest room.  It take about 8 weeks for the beans and vodka to mix or come together.

When Christmas rolled around I used twine and some cute free printable labels from The Graphics Fairy.  I printed 2 labels per bottle, glued them together picture out, laminated them, and punched a hole in the top and tied them on the bottle.

The ones I used were  not black they were a yellow color like old paper but my computer won't let me see that picture so I grabbed this one.
As you use the vanilla you can refill with vodka and fresh beans.

I don't have any pictures right now but you can see exactly what they look like at the below link:

Bye Y'all!

November sure got here quick

I wouldn't normally complain about November coming around because it's my birthday month and I like getting presents but since 2010 when I turned shhh {whispers} the big 3 0 they are not so much fun anymore.  From this point on there is nothing to look forward too, I'm completely legal, I got my car insurance discount, now I'm just getting old!  Of course 30 or as it is now 31 is not near as old as I thought it was back in my teen years.  Gosh 31 seemed like ages away and now when you look back it really didn't take that long to get here.  But I digress...

November was pretty busy I started running about 29 (better late than never, right?) and in November I ran my first 5K, the Wild Hog Jog, over the Hathaway Bridge and back.  Which if you live here in PC, you know the bridge is pretty steep both ways.  I personally have never ran the bridge and had a sinus infection on that day.  With all that said I still did awesome I came in 41 of 53, and 1st in my age group of 30-34 with a time of 38.11 seconds, of course there were only  3 people in my age group including me but I was 1st!

This year it seemed like the Black Friday deals were starting before Thanksgiving and lasting well after, which was good for me!  I was currently sewing on a 1943 Domestic Series 153 and thought since I liked sewing maybe I'd buy a newer machine.  Amazon just happened to have a great deal for me, a Brother cs6000i with 60 programmable stitches, hard cover, all kinds off foots, extension table etc for a great price of $154.00.  That was too hard to pass up so I got one in the end of November.  Let me tell you that thing is awesome it makes sewing so easy, you literaly have to push a button to start and stop it, no more foot peddle!
Isn't she pretty!
I went out to to grab a picture for y'all and they still have the machine for $159.00.  It really was great deal!

Bye Y'all!

Cookie Contest at the Office!

Every so often our department decides we need some team building, moral boosting time.  In October we do a Chili Cook-Off, it's not just chili they also judge cornbread, and some sort of dessert.  This year it was cookies.  A few weeks before the contest I discovered the new fall M&M White Chocolate Candy Corn!!!  I fell in love!  They were really good but I thought they would be even better in a cookie like the your typical white chocolate macadamia nut cookie.  I don't eat nuts in my food so I have one I have to eat around the nuts.  So I took to Google to find a good recipe for a white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie so I could minus the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts and add the White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M's.

This is where I ended up My Wooden Spoon.  Here is the link to the recipe
it says it is the best soft and chewy cookie and I can vouch it is!  And it makes a ton of cookies so I brought some into work.

I wasn't planning to enter the contest, I can't remember why but everyone kept hounding me so I gave it.  I decided to make the White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M cookies and I thought I should also make a chocolate cookie of some kind.  So I took to Internet again and started looking through the blogs I follow until I ended up on Add a Pinch and found a recipe for a Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Here it is:

I started the evening with this cookie and I completely hosed it up!
First the recipe calls for 1 cup brown sugar, instead of grabbing the 1/2 cup measuring cup, I grabbed the 1/3 cup used that twice so I only added 2/3 brown sugar.  It calls for 1 tablespoon vanilla, I grabbed the 1/2 teaspoon and added only 1 teaspoon, once I realized what I had done it added another 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla but that still didn't make a table spoon.  And my favorite it calls for 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda, I added baking powder!  I realized all of this as I was getting ready to put the first batch on the baking stone to put in the oven.  I freaked out!  My brother-in-law was going to bring me some more brown sugar because I couldn't find the other bag I bought, when he arrived the first batch of screwed up cookies came out of the oven.  I used him as a guinea pig and had him try one before I baked anymore.  He thought they were great, they didn't spread much and had a brownie like consistency and were sweet but not too sweet.  Since he liked them I want ahead and baked the rest.  After discovering all my mistakes in the first recipe I followed the second one a little closer. 

At the contest each cookie got a number and a bag to collect the votes in.  I was beat out for 1st place by the department heads daughter who also had a baby and they were saying he helped make the cookies, I think it was a ploy to win the cute vote but that's ok I took 2nd for the Mocha and 3rd for the White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M.  The trophy's were spatulas!

Bye Y'all!