Daily Gratitude Library Card Garland

Whew…that’s a mouthful for a title!  The actual Gratitude Garland is much less cumbersome and much more appealing…see?

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I based this on a set of stamps and a kit to make a similar garland in Stampin’ Up!’s Holiday Catalog, called Gratitude for Days.

I’ve made a couple of printables, though, that will simplify making your own garland, possibly even with supplies you have on hand!  And wouldn’t that help justify the next craft purchase you want to make?!

I downloaded a file for cutting the library card envelopes from Silhouette, but you could use small treat bags or small envelopes, both found in the scrapbooking section of craft stores. Mine are 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”, so something about that size. You’ll need 30 of whatever you’re using.   You can also find the miniclothespins there, and the bakers’ twine for hanging.

Once you have the envelopes made or bought, you can download this sheet of cards. I printed it on vanilla cardstock, cut into individual cards, (they’re designed to be 2-1/4” x 3-1/4”) and rounded the corners with a punch. Thankful-cards-ChaosServedD

I put the envelopes in a “random” color order that I liked, then added the cards so that they would also be different on adjacent days.  To finish it off, I created a sheet of numbers from 1 to 30 and printed that on white cardstock.  I used various punches and cut out the numbers and adhered them to the envelopes.  You can download the sheet of numbers here.  A couple of numbers are duplicated, so you can use whichever you like better!

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Then just hang up orange and white bakers’ twine wherever you’d like your garland, clothespin the envelopes up in numerical order, and you’re ready to be thankful starting November 1!

I made this for a friend’s birthday gift, and here’s how I gave it to her:Gratitude-Gift-ChaosServedD

I put the clothespins in a little tin, and I found just a small skein of bakers’ twine for her.  I thought it turned out to be super cute, and now I just need to find time to make a set for my own home!

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Monster Glitter Slime

We made this fun Monster Glitter Slime a couple of years ago for Halloween party favors, and I think we need to break it out again this year. It was fun to make, and the kids who took it home thought it was pretty nifty, too! Here’s the original post from the way back machine….

You know how sometimes you find a craft that sounds super cool, but you just know it’s gonna be messy, so you put it off and put it off?  And it usually involves glitter?  Well, that was the case with glitter slime. How could that not cause me to clean my kitchen for the rest of the day?  Believe it or not, it was basically MESS-FREE!

We made it to give as party favors at our Halloween party and had so much fun doing it!

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You can see a step-by-step tutorial at The 36th Avenue blog.  It’s super simple…here’s the written info:

Supplies:

  • 1 (6 oz) bottle Elmer’s washable glitter glue
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon borax
  • 1 Tbsp water

Directions:

1. Have your minion pour all of the glitter glue into a medium size bowl.  We used plastic ones. Stir in 1 Tbsp water, to make it a bit more liquid. Meanwhile, you can mix the 1 cup water with 1 teaspoon borax, then pour it into the bowl of glue.

2. The minions can then knead the glue, and it magically becomes gel…not a sticky, glittery mess as you would think.  It was amazing, I tell you!

We found these little plastic cups at Walmart with the paper plates and such.  Each bottle of glitter glue made 6 little tubs.  To decorate them, I printed “monster slime” on orange cardstock and punched out circles the correct size.  Then the hooligans glued on googlie eyes and I drew noses and corners of their mouths.

I have to admit, after the party I found a couple of spots of glittery slime ground into my couch…but it came out easily with a bit of Spot Shot, so that’s good to know!

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Hard Cider and Caramel Apple Basket

This Hard Cider and Caramel Apple Basket is one of my alltime favorite hostess gifts to give.  Although I’m not a huge fan of most draft beverages, I do have a weakness for hard cider. I think its sweet. crisp, flavor with a bit of tang goes perfectly with pizza, burgers, popcorn…you name it! I was thrilled to discover our favorite burger place in Washington has Angry Orchard Cider on tap, and then happy to find it at Costco, as well. But I do feel a bit lush-ish, having a whole case of it in the house! I need to share it, people…so…

I picked up a Halloween-themed bucket at Target, along with some Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. I just tucked a few bottles of cider, a jar of caramel sauce (I made my own, but you could also buy a jar, and even pour it into a Mason jar to make it look like you made it), and several apples into the bucket.  Voila!

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So go ahead and invite me over, already…you know you’d love to have this bucket o’apple deliciousness!

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Halloween Treat Bags

I just opened a new set from Stampin’ Up!, and it’s so cute I just had to make something with it to show you!

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The set is Mingle All the Way, from the Holiday Catalog.  There are doodle-looking sayings for every holiday between now and New Years, so I totally felt virtuous buying it. It’s available in photopolymer (the clear stamps) or digitally.  Look…

These bags just took a few supplies…Pumpkin Pie cardstock, Blackberry Bliss  and Pumpkin Pie ink, the Mingle All the Way stamp set, and the Tag Topper punch. The Chevron Tag a Bag is from Stampin’ Up!, as well. For the other bag, I just made a 2-5-7-10 bag from an easy tutorial here, using a piece of black cardstock, then added a bit of patterned paper on the front.

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I love these Tag Topper punches…you just cut your cardstock 2” wide, slie it into the punch, and punch the hole and slanted corners in one easy step.

And here are a few other past ideas for Halloween treats, like this cute Treat Pouch:SourCreamCarton-ChaosServed

Or this fun treat-filled Coffee Cup:

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Or how about a gift of cozy fuzzy socks, done up in an adorable little box?

As always, shop anytime at my Stampin’ Up! site! And thanks in advance! If you order in the next few days, you should have your supplies in plenty of time for Halloween crafting. Of course, if you want digital downloads, you’ll have those immediately. So go get crafting, already!

Paper Pumpkin Halloween Treats

I don’t think I’ve been up on my Paper Pumpkin soapbox in a while…so let me just reiterate how much I love going to the mailbox and seeing that bright orange box in there, filled with crafting goodness!  The day it comes, I cannot wait for the kids to get to bed so I can spend a half hour crafting…just crafting, not having to think up a project or anything like that, because those brilliantly creative designers at Stampin’ Up! have already done that for me!

The package I got in September was super fun….look!

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This is after I stamped the tags, of course…the kit came with 6 burlap bags, an exclusive stamp set, a Tangelo Twist Stampin’ Spot, orange and purple mini-clothespins, die-cut tags in layers, black twine, and orange sequin string. Oh, and bat, skull, raven, and tree stickers.  Those images are all in the stamp set, too, so when I run out of stickers, I can just stamp the images I’d like.

The bags are about 5” by 4” when closed, perfect for my kids favorite Halloween treat.  Sept-Bag-ChaosServedDaily

I used the stamps to make a few extra tags, as well…Sept-Tags-ChaosServedDaily

I also used the Work of Art stamp set on these, for the watercolor-ish zigzags.

Anyhoo, if you’re interested in a creative break each month, you can check out Paper Pumpkin on my Stampin’ Up! website…every month has been a fun, on-trend project that I’ve found really useful!

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TBT: Fall Is Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Time!

The first time I make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies each fall just seems to signal to my brain that it truly is the season.  We’ve been having a really warm, dry fall here in the Northwest (which I am not complaining about), so it hasn’t really felt autumnal.  Aren’t you impressed that I worked that word into the post?  Anyway, as I was driving to pick up the hooligans at school today, the trees seemed to have changed colors, overnight. So, naturally, it’s imperative that I make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies to herald their brilliance!

One of my favorite memories of visiting the Amish area of Pennsylvania can be recreated at home…Whoopie Pies.  That, and a town called Intercourse. But I digress. Here’s the recipe from a couple of years ago…

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 sticks  (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1- 2/3 cups flour
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  4. When completely cookies are completely cool, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake. Let sit until filling firms up a bit. Or eat them right now…they’re yours, after all!

Click here for the printable version of the recipe

We gave these as party favors at my middle hooligan’s first birthday party.  They made a cute little package, in a cellophane bag with a “Thanks for celebrating with me!” tag.

They really taste much like a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting, but are much neater to package or even to eat. So why are you still reading?  Go make them!

Simple Mummy Treat Basket

When I spied this white plastic storage crate at Target, I immediately thought of mummies.  Not scary, gross ones, but nice, clean, friendly ones!  With a smile! With about 3 minutes of work (most of which was finding the large flat glass pebbles in my craft stash), I turned it into a cute Mummy Treat Basket for our Halloween visitors.

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I just needed two of those large flat glass pebbles, some white and black cardstock, and a couple of circle punches. I punched a white circle 1-3/4” (that’s the size of the glass pebbles), a black one that’s 1” in diameter, and used clear glue to attach them to the pebbles, then to attach the pebble eyes to the plastic. I put the crate on its side until the glue dried. I used Crystal Effects from Stampin’ Up!, which hold pretty much anything and doesn’t yellow over time.

I freehand-cut the mouth and used the same glue to attach it to the crate. And I was done!

The crate was in the home storage area of Target, if you’re looking for one for yourself. It’s about 12” long, 6” wide, and 6” tall and cost about $4, I think. It’s a fun addition to our Halloween décor, awaiting its big chance to be useful on Halloween night!

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World Card-Making Day! (and a sale!)

Yep, that’s a thing. And it’s today, October 4, 2014. And no, it’s not invented by Hallmark. Because, really, where were the profit for them be in that?  It could possibly have been invented by crafting companies, but I cannot confirm nor deny that.

Anyway, it’s a great excuse to hide from your family and do a little creative crafting…and here are a couple of cards I made in just a few minutes, with minimal supplies…seriously.

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Supplies:  Work of Art stamp set; Tangerine Tango, Island Indigo, and Soft Suede markers; Whisper White notecard and envelope

I’m pretty sure I’ve pointed out before how much I love the notecards from Stampin’ Up! You get 20 cards and envelopes for$5.95 and they come in white or Crumb Cake (that’s kraft, for you non-SU! linguists). I just used the markers (another great value, if you don’t want to buy ink pads, and they make it super easy to make multicolored images) on this fun set from the 2014-15 catalog, Work of Art.  I really like the watercolor quality of the images in the set.

I used another set from the 2014-15 catalog for a similar card with even less stamping involved:

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Supplies:  Fabulous Four stamp set; Soft Suede and Calypso Coral markers; Retro Fresh Washi Tape; Whisper White Notecard and Envelope

I really like this Fabulous Four stamp set…it has thanks, congrats, celebrate, and a get well stamp in it, and they’re a good size to be the main image on your card.  Again the markers make it simple to create a multicolored image, and the only cutting involved was trimming the ends of the washi tape. Yes, I finally let a little of my stash of tape go!

So there you have it…fun, handmade cards in a matter of minutes.  Stampin’ Up! is having a great stock up sale, with 15% off selected items…here’s the flyer, which includes stamps, paper, inks, and even adhesives.  If you’re interested, swing by my Stampin’ Up! site and shop to your heart’s content…you can see all the great deals in detail there! The sale only lasts until the 6th, though, so hustle on over!image

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Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnuts

Yep, it’s Thursday…so it’s time for another pumpkin recipe!  Yay!  We’ve been having nice, cool mornings here in the Pacific Northwest (it was 42 degrees here this morning!), so one morning when I was up way too early working on Calculus, I decided to give these Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnuts a try.

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Making the batter took about ten minutes, then 15 minutes to cook, then 5 minutes to cool…so in about half an hour, we had fresh, warm doughnuts for breakfast…on a weekday!  I felt so decadent…I even had an extra cup of coffee!

I made these in my doughnut pan (from Target), and then I made some in a minimuffin pan, just to see if they’d be the same taste and texture.  They were. So if you don’t have a doughnut pan, go ahead an use a minimuffin pan, roll the bites in the cinnamon sugar, and tell your family they’re doughnut holes.

Here’s the recipe I used, from King Arthur Flour.  The only change I made was to substitute Butternut Vanilla Extract instead of plain ol’ vanilla.

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnuts

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Cinnamon Sugar:  4 Tbsp white sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease you doughnut or minimuffin pan.

2) Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.

3) Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

4) Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. I find it easiest to put all the batter in a gallon ziptop bag, seal it, then snip off a corner to fill the wells.

5) Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Minimuffins take the same amount of time to bake.

6) Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

7) While the doughnuts are still warm (but no longer fragile), dip them in the cinnamon sugar. I put the sugar in a shallow dish, set the doughnuts in it, then spoon the cinnamon sugar on top to make sure it’s evenly coated. You can just roll the minimuffins around in the cinnamon sugar.

8) Cool completely, and store (not wrapped tight) at room temperature for several days.

Yield: 12 doughnuts or 36 minimuffins.

Since I did both doughnuts and muffins, I wound up with 9 doughnuts and 24 minimuffins. Which our family of five managed to demolish between breakfast and afterschool snacks. We’ll definitely be having these again!

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Captain America Birthday Party (and Printables)

So the third grader celebrated his 8th birthday last weekend…and, of course, we had to have a party!  He just wanted to invite a few friends over for pizza and a movie after school on Friday, but I still wanted it to be a little bit festive. And do a little baking and crafting, of course.

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I designed the invitations in Photoshop Elements…you can download them by clicking here.

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For the party favors, we bought red, white, and blue Hot Wheels, giant erasers that looked like blue and white striped lollipops, and blue raspberry lollipops.  The erasers and Hot Wheels went into white lunch sacks, then I punched holes and tied the bags with red and white bakers’ twine.  We stuck the lollipop sticks through those same holes.  I printed shield labels, the birthday boy cut them out, and we glued them on.

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Click here to download the favor bag labels

During the movie, we had a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks…they devoured all of it.  The little pretzel and cheese snacks looked a bit like a shield, and we had red Twizzler bites with blue and white York Peppermint Bites.  Also, we had veggies and ranch dip, apples and marshmallow dip, and Cool Ranch Doritos (the birthday boy’s favorites). We also had popcorn, but I forgot to add it to the table before I took the photo.Party-Snacks-ChaosServedDai

Since we were watching the movie in the living room, I didn’t want colored drinks spilled, so we just had water…but look at the cool labels I made for it!  (Hydra is the evil organization in the movie, so “Hydrate” worked out punnily well!).  Party-Water-ChaosServedDail

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After the movie, we had pizza, opened gifts, and, of course, ate cake and ice cream. For the cake, he wanted a Captain America shield…easy enough, right? I made a two-layer, red and blue cake using the recipe for 1-2-3-4 Cake that I found on the cake flour box.

To make a multi-colored cake, you mix up the cake and divide the batter into smaller bowls, one per color you want to have in the cake. Tint the batter with food coloring, then start spooning it into the center of the greased and floured cake pan, letting each color spread out on its own (you can hurry it a bit by tapping the pan on the counter), then adding a big spoonful of your next color and so on.  Be sure the batter has leveled out before baking, but don’t use a spoon or your finger or anything, unless you want a swirly look that might blend together. Then just bake according to the directions.

The frosting recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery. I put frosting between the layers, then a thin coat over the entire cake, with more on the sides. I decided to go old-school with Wilton star tip decorating.

To make star-tip decorations, you just use a star decorating tip, spoon your frosting into the bag, then squeeze a bit and release to make stars. It’s pretty therapeutic, really, because it doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I just cut out a paper star to the right size, and iced around it with blue and red, the removed it and filled in with white.  I added more stars of red and blue around the bottom (which hides any uneven areas of the icing along the edge). And it’s an “F” because that’s his first initial…not because I graded my decorating skills!

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The only decorations we put up is this set from the party store. I’ve used these murals before for birthday parties, and I think they rock. They’re about $6 and cover a 5’ x 6’ area…so they’re great as photo backdrops. The hooligans like to put them up in their rooms afterward, and they look great in there, too! (And y’all thought my kids have magazine-perfect rooms, didn’t you?  Well, they don’t!)

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Finally, one of my cardinal rules of having a party…you have to send a hand-written thank you note.  I figure, if they care enough to spend time picking out, buying, and wrapping a gift, the least you can do is spend five minutes thanking them for it. Yes, you’re right…he should have written these to the moms, since I’m sure that’s who actually did all that work for the gift!

Here are the matching thank you cards I made…not a lot of space to write, so a third-grader isn’t intimidated by a bunch of white space. And as I tell them, the guests are not going to be comparing thank you notes, so they can write basically the same thing in each one!

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Click here to download these thank you cards

We didn’t want to spend a fortune on this party (because, really, why?), and, in all, it was around $75, including buying the movie on DVD. I think it was a total success!

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