Bee Mine Honeycomb Canvas

My front door was looking a little forlorn since I (finally) remembered to take down our Christmas wreaths a week or so ago.  In my defense, that’s not the door we use every day!  Anyway, I wanted something for Valentine’s Day, and came up with this cute Bee Mine Honeycomb Canvas.

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The photo is a little oddly lighted, because of course the sun came out (for the first time in weeks, I think) as soon as I walked out with my camera. But sunshine is too rare in Washington for me not to share it with y’all, anyway!

The kids (as usual) wanted to help with my project as soon as they saw my supplies. Here’s what I used:

  • 8×10 canvas
  • pale yellow craft paint
  • golden brown craft paint
  • a piece of giant bubble wrap (for wrapping all your giants in)
  • burgundy vinyl for the stencil
  • Bee Mine electronic cutting file from Silhouette
  • Silhouette die cutting machine

First I/we painted the canvas with the pale yellow craft paint.

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After it dried, I painted the golden brown onto a piece of giant bubble wrap in an area large enough to cover the canvas.

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Then I quickly pressed the painted bubble wrap, paint side down (or that will be a ginormous mess), onto the painted canvas.  This photo is kinda wonky, too, because of course the sun wasn’t out and adding light to my kitchen counter where I was making this.

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The kids pressed it really well on all the bubbles, and removed it. Look what I had!

Bee-Canvas-ChaosServedDailyWith an open mind, the hooligans totally agreed with me that it looked liked honeycomb. Although I’m not certain they know what that looks like, except from the Bee Movie.

Anyway, all that was left to do was cut a stencil on my Silhouette, using a file I downloaded last year (when I first wanted to do this, but ran out of time before Valentine’s Day). After cutting it out, we transferred it to the canvas.  Bob’s your uncle, we tied a ribbon on it and hung it on the door.  The ribbon is merely stapled onto the frame in back, since it’s not a heavy canvas.

It made a fun Saturday morning project for us and gave us something to do while waiting to stir the granola we were making every fifteen minutes. And then the hooligans popped all the extra bubble wrap I had saved.

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Sale-a-Bration Time…Wahoo!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…in the Stampin’ Up! world, anyway.  Sale-a-Bration runs from January 28 (today!) through March 31 this year, and there is no better time to stock up on stamping and papercrafting supplies…and earn FREE stamps and products!

I recently spent a fun, creative afternoon making all the cards from the Everyday Occasions set (neither the Broncos or Seahawks were playing that day!).  The Everyday Occasions set includes everything you need to make 20 cards, except adhesive and scissors. Stamps, cards, stickers (even some glittery silver ones!), ink, envelopes, and embellishments are all tucked inside a cute kraft box.  It’s Item 134797 and is $29.95, so it gets you well on your way to a $50 order for free Sale-a-Bration products.  You could always stock up on cardstock, Designer Series Paper, or inks to make up the rest. Or a pair of paper snips and some adhesive.

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I love the Everyday Occasions set because it has photos of every card, so you can make the cards the lucky designers at Stampin’ Up! get paid to create, yet swap out whatever sentiment stamps you might want. It’s no-brainer stamping at it’s best, and sometimes that’s just what I need!  But you know me…I just had to incorporate a couple of Sale-a-Bration stamps in with the cards I was making.  See, how cute they are?SAB-Mod-ChaosServedDaily

This See Ya Later stamp set from the Sale-a-Bration catalog is a new favorite of mine.

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You can see the whole Sale-a-Bration brochure at my Stampin’ Up! website, but here’s some highlights, just to get you motivated. These are a few ideas from the Sale-a-Bration brochure of ways to put together a $50 order that is perfect for your crafting needs…whether you want to make a ton of cards in a little time, amaze your friends with your creative gift packaging, or find fun ways to document your memories as they happen, there’s something for everyone here! Did I mention the digital crafting available?  Or the bundles that can help your party come together in no time?  Can you tell I’m excited?

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Don’t forget, in addition to the huge Annual Catalog, all the goodies in the Occasions Catalog are available until June 1, 2014. As you can see below, there’s just a few things I need!

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And then there’s the ever-growing collection of photopolymer stamps to choose from, as well as a multitude of digital products online…and I just discovered last week that you can download files that work on any ecutter, such as a Silhouette. Oh, my.

You’ll earn FREE Sale-a-Brations products for EVERY $50 you spend (before tax and s/h), so pour yourself another cup of coffee and come over and shop!  One last thing, if you’re interested in being a demonstrator, it’s the best time of the year for that, as well. Instead of the normal price of $125 (which is already a heck of a good deal) for the starter kit, you’ll pay only $99.  It’s an fun and easy way to get a 20 percent discount on everything you buy!

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Lemon Lavender Lotion Bars…Again

I’ve never understood why our skin is so dry in the winter here in the Pacific Northwest.  I mean, the sidewalks and streets never even dry completely, and it doesn’t seem dry outside. Perhaps it’s just having the heat on in the winter that dries out the epidermis. In any event, I recently made more of these Lemon-Lavender Lotion Bars, and thought I would repost the directions, just in case your skin is in need of a little pampering.

When we lived in Kansas, a local honey farmer made the most wonderful lotion bars, using beeswax, that moisturized like nothing else I’ve ever tried. I gave making them myself a try last fall, and they turned out fabulously, if I do say so myself. And, always a bonus, they were much simpler and less expensive than I anticipated.

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Supplies:

  • 1 lb beeswax (in the candle-making section of craft stores)
  • 1 lb. organic coconut oil (I found mine at Walmart, so it’s not rare!)
  • 12 oz. cocoa butter with Vitamin E (also from Walmart)
  • Essential oils, like lavender and lemon

Combine everything but the oils in the smallest size crockpot and heat on low until it’s all melted. Stir in desired essential oils, about 20 drops of each. I used both lemon and lavender in mine.

Line muffin tins with baking cups and ladle in about 1/2 inch of the melted lotion bars. Let harden, and remove from tin. I removed the baking cups, as well, but you can leave them on if you’d like. I smoothed the fluted edges of each bar using the back of a warm spoon, just to make them prettier.

Store in an airtight container. This yielded 24 bars, for about $20. The beeswax was the most expensive item, even with a 40% off coupon. The oils are a bit pricey, but you don’t use all of the bottle, or anywhere near, really. The cost is probably more like $12 if I prorated the oils. My point is, these are inexpensive to make, easy, and, most of all, fun!

For gift-giving, wrap the bars individually or stack them in a jar or bag, with waxed tissue paper or new baking cups in between.

This makes a really dense lotion that’s much too sticky for summer, but perfect for really dry winter skin.

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Meatloaf Sliders with Tomato Basil Jam

Yep, Tomato Basil Jam. Imagine ketchup with a much larger flavor profile…slightly sweet, full of tomato flavor, with a bit of tang from lemon juice and the earthiness of basil. Really, it’s supremely delicious. And I whipped up the jam before church last week, so it took less than thirty minutes.

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I modified a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens slightly, using canned crushed tomatoes since it’s not tomato season and saving myself about 15 minutes of cooking time.

Tomato-Basil Jam

Ingredients

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 (1-3/4 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin for lower-sugar recipes

Directions

  1. Combine tomatoes, lemon juice, and basil in a large saucepan. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and the pectin; stir into tomato mixture. Over medium heat, bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining 2-3/4 cups sugar. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon.
  2. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.
  3. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 6 half-pints.

I did not process mine, but simply ladled them into hot sterilized jars and put the lids on.  I let them cool, upside down, on the kitchen counter, and they sealed just fine. I am storing them in the refrigerator and plan to use them in the next couple of months, just to be safe.

As you can see in the photo, I made sliders using leftover meatloaf, pretzel rolls, some havarti cheese, lettuce, and, of course, the Tomato Basil Jam. Unfortunately for my family, we did not have enough leftover meatloaf for everyone to have this, so I just made it for a nice weekday lunch for myself. But now I feel I should make a meatloaf just to have it for sandwiches, this was so very tasty!  I used the jam to top the meatloaf for the last fifteen minutes of cooking, which made a delicious alternative to ketchup or tomato sauce. My children didn’t even smother their meatloaf with ketchup at dinner, they liked the jam so well.

We’ve also had the jam with sharp white cheddar cheese and crackers, and that was almost as good as the sliders. Better Homes and Gardens suggests adding it to a grilled cheese, something I plan to try in the very near future. As in lunch tomorrow. I’m also musing using the jam on some savory scones, perhaps ham and cheese or with smoked provolone. I guess it’s a good thing that I have more jars in the frig!

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Home Is Where the Heart Is Map Art

So I neglected to mention here that the hubs and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week. We tend to downplay it a bit, since we dated for eight years (off and on) before we decided to take the plunge. We like to be sure and look before we leap.

Anyway, we had a chance to go away for a couple of days while my mom watched the kids over the weekend(thanks!), so didn’t do much on our actual anniversary. You know me and my crafty compulsions, though. I just had to make a little something for him. And this is what I made:

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The text is not on the actual art, just the photo.  The art itself is simple…I printed street maps of each of our addresses for the last twenty years, then punched out a heart with a paper punch. I printed all of our actual addresses and the towns on white cardstock and used Stampin’ Up!’s Modern Label punch for those. I’ve blocked out the street addresses here, just for some op sec. (Operational Security, that is)

I used Stampin’ Dimensionals to pop everything off the canvas a bit.  I saw these burlap wrapped canvases at the craft store and, happily, remembered them when I was planning this project. I think it’s a perfect background.

I love its clean symmetry (math geek, remember), and I’m pretty sure my favorite GI Joe loves it, too. And my underlying plan is that I won’t have to make another one, since we’re in our forever house now. At least until the Army decides otherwise, right?

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Simple Digital Personalization: Cards and Planners

Since starting back to school full-time a couple of weeks ago, I’ve not had a lot of time for creative projects, but I did schedule in a bit of time over the holidays for a couple of fun projects that I’m certain you could easily duplicate (with your own photos, of course, because your relatives would be saying, “Now who are these wild looking children?” if you used mine).

First, we needed thank you notes, of course, for Christmas, and I always like to use photos for cards I’m sending relatives, since we live so far from any of them. Which is probably why they’re so generous with my kids…the hooligans seem so pleasant in photos, you just want to give them gifts!

I used a photo from a trip to the Space Needle a couple of weeks before Christmas. It was the day before my eldest son’s birthday, and we thought it would be fun to experience a little Christmas in the city. We had a great time exploring the Seattle Center, riding the Monorail to Westlake Plaza, and generally absorbing the sights and sounds.

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In Photoshop Elements, I chose a vintage effect, then an inked edge.  I used a fun font, Return to Sender, for the “Thank You!”. I printed these at home on white cardstock, because I wanted to get them in the mail before school started, but I could have ordered them online or from Costco for less than $10 for a set of 8, had I allowed time for delivery. Maybe next year.

You could also use an online photo-editing program if you don’t have Photoshop. I love PicMonkey, but there are loads of others. They’re free to use and a lot of fun, if you haven’t tried them. Then you just save your creation to your computer and print however you’d like.

The other project I made was a planner for myself. Costco offers inexpensive planners that have the format I like…the whole month at the beginning of each set of weekly ones. The weekly ones have times listed, which I use heavily to schedule in schoolwork around the family schedule. I know I could buy a planner for half price now that 2014 is well underway, but I wanted a cover that held significance for me.

For the last two years, I’ve made a “manifesto” of goals/resolutions for the new year. I use a basic format from the first year, then add and delete to fit the current year. I printed it to fit the 11×17 frame that hangs over my desk, but then I wanted it on my planner, as well.

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Happily, at Costco Photo online, I could choose a planner with the entire cover as one photo. I simply uploaded the jpeg file and put it on the front of the planner. Inside is a space for a dedication, so I placed a photo of our family there.

I’m really happy with both of these projects, and I’m hoping that someday soon I am organized enough to juggle my class load, shuttling the kids around, and managing the house so that I can actually spend time being creative! I think I can, I think I can…..

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Kid Cooking: Slumber Party Sweet Rolls

Here’s a great thing about my kids: School day or not, they are up and going at the same time. Oh-dark-thirty. Seriously, the five- and seven-year-olds must love spending time with me so much, they hear me making coffee with the Keurig and down the stairs they come, knowing I’m awake. And, of course, I didn’t really want to have any time alone with my coffee and my thoughts (or a magazine from August because that’s how far behind I am). Thus, over their Christmas break, we made breakfast together almost every morning.

One of those mornings, I just didn’t have the energy for cooking a “real” breakfast, so I taught them to make these Slumber Party Sweet Rolls.  I call them that because I learned to make them at a slumber party at my friend Dayna’s house, way back in eighth grade. And whenever I’m in the mood for something totally easy and with absolutely no nutritional value, they’re my go-to choice. Or sometimes monkey bread made out of canned biscuits. But I digress.

The kids (and, honestly, the hubs and I) loved these.  Our only complaint was that I only had one can of crescent rolls, so the kids ate two each and we made do with only one.  Next time I’ll be prepared! They did every step, with me just telling them how while enjoying my coffee…while it was still hot from brewing, not from the microwave warm-up, even.

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The ingredients are simple:

  • A can of crescent rolls
  • Regular size marshmallows (not mini, not jumbo)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (4 Tbsp sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon mixed in)
  • Powdered sugar (for the icing)

1. Make an assembly line of butter, then cinnamon sugar, then the roll dough, separated into triangles on a cutting board or piece of waxed paper.Rolls-Chefs-ChaosServedDail

2. Roll a marshmallow in butter, then sugar, then place on wide end of roll.  Wrap the bottom corners of the dough up and over, then wrap the long tip around the roll, completing covering the marshmallow. Pinch the edges closed really well, or all the sticky, sugary goodness will leak out and glue the roll to your muffin pan. I’ve heard.Rolls-Ingredients-ChaosServRolls-Making-ChaosServedDaiRolls-Bundled-ChaosServedDa

3. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray, or use paper liners. Place the rolls in the muffin tin and bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.Rolls-Baked-ChaosServedDail

4. Use any leftover butter to make icing. Combine butter and 1 to 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar. Add a spoonful of water at a time until it’s the right consistency. I make mine pretty thick because I slather it on while the rolls are hot, so it melts a bit.

5. Top the rolls with the icing and sprinkle with leftover cinnamon sugar. Serve warm and get addicted!

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Two-Hour Project: Ruffled Knit Scarf

If you’re a craft-fair-stalker as I am, I’m sure you saw the ruffled scarves for sale everywhere this fall. Did you know they are beyond simple to make?  I knit several for gifts this Christmas, and I think they would make fabulous Mother’s Day gifts, as well, especially ones like this:

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They’re made from yarn which is really a chiffon-ish fabric ribbon with knitting holes along one side. The fabric is so light, they’re really wearable in any season, unlike some of the ones made of heavier, regular yarn.

All you need for this scarf is a skein of fabric “yarn” and a pair of size 9 needles. The directions are on the back of the yarn label, but here they are, in case your yarn has a different set of directions.

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(from acmoore.com)

  1. Gauge is not important for this pattern. Scarf measures approximately 86 inch long. Notes:This yarn is actually a lace strip with holes evenly spaced along one edge. You will be inserting hook through the holes. If you put your work down, be sure to put a stitch holder or safety pin on the working stitch. This holder needs to be larger than the hole so that your work will not fall apart.
  2. Insert hook through 1st hole from back to front; repeat for 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes. You now have 4 holes on the hook. Pinching together all four holes on the hook with left forefinger and thumb, insert hook from front to back into 5th hole and pull through all holes on hook. Repeat this entire procedure with each group of 5 holes.
  3. Continue until 4 or less holes remain; pull end through last stitch and pull tight. Trim beginning and ending fabric strip points so that they blend in with the ruffles.
  4. Shake out your scarf so that ruffles spiral.

This ruffled scarf took around two hours to make, and probably would have been even faster, but I kept thinking I was doing it wrong, since it was so simple, and frogging it and starting over. Silly, right?  It really IS that simple.

Winter Poem Printable

So one of my good friends lives in Wisconsin and keeps me supplied with kringles, which are the only ones I waste thousands of calories on because they’re the most delicious.  When she mentioned that she’d like a poem for each season, after I posted “October Gave a Party,” I couldn’t help but fulfill her wish!

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Click here for an 8×10 version

Click here for an 8.5 x 11 version

Click here for an 11×14 version

This poem was one of my grandmother’s favorites, possibly because she was a contemporary of Robert Frost. Or possibly because her generation just memorized much more poetry than mine. I wrote another post using this poem, along with some photos I took in Wisconsin two years ago, which you can find here, if you’d like! This photo of the kids’ wagon is one of my favorites from that series:

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Much as we love the Pacific Northwest, we do miss the snows of Wisconsin…if there were only a happy medium somewhere!

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