May 31, 2012

Chocolate Glazed Cookie Dough Brownies



This past weekend we got together with some friends for the Memorial Day holiday.  I was planning on bringing my Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Rice Krispie Treats, but I completely forget to buy some caramels.  I needed a new plan.

Thank you, blog world. 

I discovered these amazing Cookie Dough Brownies from The Farm Girl Recipes.  She promised they'd be a hit, and they sure were!  

The only thing I changed from the original recipe is that I made the brownies with a little less cocoa powder, just to tone down the "chocolatey-ness" (that's a word, right?) of the dish.

I grabbed the last piece to take pictures of, so I apologize that the piece is falling apart a little.  Obviously, I'm not a food photographer!  But, look at all this delicious-ness!



It takes a little time to make these, as you have to make each layer in stages, but I highly recommend these the next time you need a dessert that will impress.

Click here to find the recipe.

I'll link it up to some of my favorite parties in hopes of sharing the goodness with some friends.  

What's your favorite dessert to bring?

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May 29, 2012

Captain America Shirt!

With the release of Avengers, all of the Marvel superheroes are a big hit with my boys. I snagged some clearance blue shirts, pulled out some iron-on heat transfer material, and got to work.

Here's a screen shot of my Silhouette Studio software before cutting. Captain America uses some very simple shapes so his shield is easily replicated. [quick CIRCLE tip- if you hold down the shift key while using the circle tool, it will keep your circle equally proportioned, i.e. no ovals] The image on right will be cut out of red material and the image on the left will be cut out of white.


I cut out and ironed on the red heat transfer shape first, then cut out the white shapes and ironed them on as a separate layer.


 I love how it turned out, and it was so easy!


 Now just add this simple cape and your kids will be off and flying!

I'm linking up  at some of these parties this week- come party along with us!

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May 24, 2012

Making your own envelopes

Another fun aspect of making your own cards is making envelopes to go with them! You can make your card any size/shape/style you want! I wanted to make a cute square card for my sister's birthday so I needed a square envelope to go with it.

The first tool you need is a scoring board to help you have clean and crisp folding lines. I have the Martha Stewart scoring board because it has a lot of clearly marked divisions, conversion tools and even a compartment to keep you from losing your bone folder.







Next cut your cardstock. In order for my six inch square card to fit I needed to start with a 10x10 page.

Now you can begin scoring with the bone folder using firm but controlled pressure. I turned my paper so it was diamond shaped and scored at the 3 3/4" line. (The scoring board comes with a tool to help keep everything straight) Rotate 90 degrees and score again. Repeat until you have all 4 sides scored. 

Once you have all sides scored you'll notice little triangles where your score lines intersect. I cut these out to avoid bulk when you fold.

Begin folding!

Adhere your sides together in your favorite way. I love my Xyron mega runner!


Now that your envelope is complete you need a card! I put some vellum over this black and white damask card stock, added ribbon and a felt flower.


And here's your finished product!


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May 22, 2012

Guest Posting at Handmade by Hilani


Hi all- today's my actual birthday, so I'm off celebrating with my family.  But I did want to let you know that I'm  guest posting over at Handmade by Hilani today.  Go over and check out my Chocolate PB Caramel Rice Krispy Treats, especially if you missed them when I posted them here.  They are delicious!



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May 21, 2012

Napkin turned Book Cover


Have you seen The Shops at Target?  If not, Target is featuring products from cute boutique shops around the country.

I kind of love the stuff from Privet House.  They produced some home decor items just for Target.  I saw these napkins and fell in DIY love.  I really just adore the color combination of neutrals with coral/tangerine/whatever you want to call this color.



We don't use cloth napkins in our house.  Maybe we should.  But we don't.  Still, I knew I could make this into something else.  So I bought one.
After some deliberation, I decided I would use it to make a scripture cover for my LDS scriptures.  I used it for my triple combination (which is three books of our scriptures combined into one.  You could certainly use it for any book or bible.

Now, I kind of made this up as I went along, because I had no idea what I was doing.  So I'll tell you what I did, and what I should've done!

Supplies:
1 Cloth Napkin or Towel
A book to cover
Sewing staples- machine, thread, scissors, etc.

Time:  30 min or less
Skill level:  Beginner

1.  Measure the length of your book from cover, around the spine to the other cover.  Do this when the book is closed so it is as accurate as possible.  This is measurement L.  Mine is 11.25 inches.


2.  Measure the height of your book (from the top edge to the bottom).  Add 1/2 inch for hem allowance.  This is measurement H.  Mine is 8 inches.  


2.  Decide how long you want the ends to fold over.  Multiply that by 2 and add it to the length in #1.  For example, my cover length was 11 1/4 inches.  I wanted my flaps to come over 3 1/2 inches.  3.5x2= 7 +11.25= 18.25 inches total. BEFORE YOU CUT-  Now, I got lucky.  My napkin was 18.5 inches wide, so I didn't have to cut the beautiful finished edges off.  If you have to, you'll need another 1/2 inch for any hem allowance.  Most likely you can definitely keep one finished edge, so if you have to cut the other one off, make sure you leave 1/2 inch extra so you can hem it.  

So my cut piece measured 18.25 in L x 8 in H.

3.  WHAT I SHOULD'VE DONE NEXT:  I wanted to use the contrasting side of the napkin as a ruffle embellishment.  I wanted it to go across the outside of the cover, not on the inside flaps.  If you'd like to add any kind of sewn embellishment, do so now, BEFORE you sew the flaps. 

4.  For my ruffle, I cut an inch off the extra napkin fabric, ran it through my sewing machine using the longest stitch possible and the highest tension on my machine, and I had a quick little ruffle strip.  If you are making a ruffle, it needs to be 1 1/2- 2 times the length or height of your cover, depending on how full you want your ruffle.  I sewed mine along the width of the cover. 




 

5.  Pin and sew your embellishment on.  I sewed my ruffle straight down the middle.  The edges will fray so it has a nice shabby chic look to it.  Trim any extra fabric and loose threads.


6.  For the flaps.  Hem any unfinished edges by rolling over 1/4 inch, pressing, then rolling over another 1/4 inch.  Sew in place.  

7.  Fold over the flaps to the length you chose in step 2.  Press in place.  Sew the flaps down across the top and bottom, as close to the edge as possible.




8.  Insert your book by placing one cover in each flap.  That's it- easy peasy!


What I did wrong:  I waited until after I had sewn my flaps to add my embellishment- not realizing that if I sewed it on, I would sew my flaps closed.  Duh.  There was lots of unpicking and seam ripping going on.  Not my favorite things.....

Anyway- there are lots of cute napkins in the world.  Go pick one up and give this a try!  I'm sharing this at some of these parties this week:

Have a great one!

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May 16, 2012

A Special Birthday Card


Soon after I bought my Silhouette I started making my own cards. I love working on a smaller canvas than a regular 12x12 page, and I always picture what it would be like to open an envelope and pull a homemade card out. Who wouldn't love it?

A few years ago my dear friend was expecting her second child, a girl! Around the time of her due date we didn't see or hear from her. The next Sunday she showed up at the end of church no longer pregnant and without a child in her arms. She very calmly told me and a friend that Caelia had been stillborn. Our hearts sank and we looked in on her for awhile. Then it was time to move and the 3 of us vowed to keep in touch since we had bonded over this tragic and special experience.

On Caelia's first birthday, with one of us in Alaska, the other in Massachusetts and me in Korea, there wasn't much more we could do than send flowers and cards. This is why I make my own cards. Nothing in the store can say or convey what needed to be said.

She loved the card so much that she wanted me to make one for her 1st child, and then with much joy she announced the birth of another son a few months ago. What a wonderful blessing for her and her family, and it was time for another card!

I had this cute pennant shape in my image library and used that as inspiration to finish the card. The name was cut out of the card itself with vellum placed behind it for a fun look. 


What do you prefer?  Handmade or store bought?

Have a great rest of your week-

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May 14, 2012

Birthday Bash Giveaway Winners


Thank you all so much!  What a great response to my Birthday Bash Giveaways!  I wish I had more things to give away.   The winners are announced below:

Very Jane Chalkboard Labels (3 winners)
Savannah Miller
Jennifer Winchester
Erin Lawrence


Handmade Towels from Applewhite Handmade
Emily H.


Scarf from Ruffles n Such
Renee Sexton

Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson
Michelle J.

$25 Michaels Gift Card
Diana Meredith

Congratulations to the winners!  Emails have been sent (check your spam folders!), and you each have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen for your prize.

Remember, if you didn't win, but would LOVE a scarf from Ruffles n Such, Jill is offering 20% off your purchase!  Just use the code BIRTHDAY20 at checkout.  This code is good for another week and a half, so take advantage of it while you can!

Have a wonderful week, all!

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May 11, 2012

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips!

When I began the year, I knew that some of my priorities had to change.  My children are growing up too quickly, and too often I've been the mom with her face to the computer and the back to her children.  I wrote a little about my struggle here.

Shortly after I wrote that post, I came thisclose to shutting the whole thing down.  Not only was I struggling with prioritizing, but I was also feeling very inadequate and doing the whole "compare myself to the big bloggers" thing. A smart friend helped me remember why I started this blog in the first place:  it was simply a place for me to share things I'd made, and if it inspired some people along the way, so much the better.  I never wanted it to become a business or to make money.  Sure, that seems exciting and rewarding, but the reality is, that takes a lot of time and work.  I've decided it's okay to just blog about what I love, which is crafts and recipes I've made, and people who inspire me.

One person who inspires me is my little sister Laura.  She's a military wife who moves all over with her two little boys.  She's always positive and super creative.  As I was mulling over the direction of my blog, a thought hit me:  Laura should help.

A little about her: Laura got a Silhouette way before it was so popular, and when she heard about my poor RA- inflicted hands cutting out words with an Xacto knife, she gently suggested to my husband that he buy me one too.  It has changed my crafting life!  She is great at scrapbooking, card-making, and general craftiness that I always admire.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce the new co-author of Occasionally Crafty, Laura McBride.



Hello everybody! My name is Laura and I too am 'occasionally crafty' just like my sister. I was really excited to be offered the opportunity to post along with her and enter the craft blog world. I am a military wife and mother of two boys.  We are currently stationed in Seoul, South Korea. Even without a Michael's or Hobby Lobby nearby I have continued to craft and love dabbling in so many different things.

My first love is paper crafting, and my Silhouette Cameo is my best friend. I can do cards, scrapbooks, vinyl designs and even make awesome shirts for my two crazy boys. 




Even after all that crafting I have discovered a love for knitting and have even been exploring the world of felt flowers.   I can't wait to share it all with you!

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Laura will be joining me here about once a week or so.  I'm excited to have Laura because she does things I don't do, like card-making and knitting.  I know you'll love her inspired ideas.  I will, of course, still be posting regularly as well.  I'm excited about taking this fun journey with my sis, and think it's awesome that technology lets us do this even when we live so far away.  (16 hour time difference, anyone?)

Thanks and I'll see you next week to announce the giveaway winners!


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Birthday Bash- Giveaway #5: Michael's Gift Card


 It's my bloggy birthday, and my real-life birthday is coming up soon!  Let's celebrate!


Each day this week, I have a giveaway for you, as well as a fun, birthday-themed post.  !  The theme of my giveaways this week is "My Favorite Things"!   I have not been compensated in any way for featuring these shops or products-- I am just thrilled you get to share them with me, and I hope they become some of your "favorite things!"


Thanks for coming back today!  Before we get to the last giveaway, please make sure to enter all the giveaways this week.  They can be found here.  All giveaways are open until midnight on Sunday the 13th.

Now, on to the show.....My final giveaway is simple and hopefully really useful.   Any crafter knows a great place to shop is Michael's.  It's dangerously close to my house, and I go there ALL THE TIME (much to the chagrin of my husband and boys).  I only get through it with the promise of lollipops at the end, but hey- it's worth it!

Today I'm giving away a $25 Michael's gift card.  Need a stack of scrapbook paper?  That'll cover it.  How about some paint and supplies?  No problem.  A little home decor?  $25 will pick you up something cute, especially with your 40% off coupon that is on their site weekly.


Simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Good luck!  
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May 10, 2012

Washi Tape Birthday Countdown

I'm getting hooked on washi tape.

It's really kind of adorable, and there are so many fun things you can do with it.

I am trying to resist the urge to buy one of every color and pattern I see.  Target even has some.  Did you know that?  I found black polka dot in the scrapbook section, and a few multi-packs in the office supply area.

Both Very Jane and Groopdealz are featuring a washi tape deal today.  Did you see?  Go over and check them out!

Anyway, I've been wanting to make a version of this Birthday Countdown Frame by Love and Sugar Kisses.  Now that I am in possession of washi tape, I decided to try it out on a frame, and came up with this:





I was going to create a tutorial, but I somehow stopped taking pictures halfway through.  So you get half a picture tutorial, and half words.  Sorry about that.  It's been a crazy week.

What you need:

Frame (I used an 8x10 from the dollar store)
Washi Tape- I used three different patterns
Mod Podge or Sealer (optional)
Craft Glue and Glue Stick
Cardstock and/or patterned paper
Mini Clothespin
Embellishments
Chipboard numbers or large number stickers (optional- I used my Cameo to cut my own)
Estimated Cost:  no more than $10 (much less if you have supplies on hand)
Estimated time:  30 minutes

I started with a frame from the dollar store.  I picked out some washi tape that fit well for a birthday theme, and simply pressed it onto the frame.  As you see in the 2nd picture, I did cut the corners on an angle so it lined up with the frame and didn't overlap.

You could certainly paint first, or use a white frame, if you don't like the natural wood showing through.  This was meant to be a quick and easy project, so I don't mind the wood.  As you see in the third picture, I did, however, use a third washi tape on the outer edges of my frame, pressed down onto the back so I didn't have to trim or anything.


Here's how my frame looked at this point.  


Next, I took it outside and sprayed a good coat of sealer all over the empty frame.  Some of my washi tape doesn't adhere as well to the wood, so the sealer helped it stay in place.  A thin coat of Mod Podge would work, too.  But if your washi tape is staying in place, you can skip that step.

Okay, here's where I stopped taking pictures.  

How to make the "Countdown"

1.  Use the back of the frame as a template and trace a rectangle onto heavy cardstock of your choice to fit the frame.  I used white, and actually Mod Podged it on to the cardboard piece for extra stability.
2.  Choose a contrasting color of cardstock and cut a smaller rectangle.  My pink rectangle was about 5 1/2 x 7 1/2, but you can just eyeball it.
3.  Use a glue stick or a very thin coat of Mod Podge to adhere your contrasting rectangle to your base cardstock.
4.  Attach your mini-clothespin to the upper center of your smaller piece of cardstock with a dab of glue.  Let dry, then cover it with a torn strip of washi tape.
5.  Embellish as desired.  I used an old party hat from a birthday card I got years ago, and cut the "happy birthday" from yellow cardstock using my Silhouette Cameo.  I just used a glue stick to adhere the words, and craft glue for the party hat.

Making the Numbers for the Countdown

1.  Choose a cute piece of patterned paper or cardstock.  Cut into 1.5x 2.5 inch rectangles.  Use scalloped scissors to embellish the edges, if desired.
2.  Use number stickers, chipboard numbers, or your craft cutter to cut numbers as desired.  We only count down about two weeks before a birthday, so I went up to 15.  You can cut as many as you want.
3.  Adhere numbers to your rectangles with craft glue or glue stick.


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Now I have a cute way to count down to our birthdays!  

I'm linking up to some of these great parties- come along with me!

Visit thecsiproject.com

Also, don't forget to enter all the great giveaways happening this week.  They can be found here.  You won't want to miss tomorrow- a final giveaway and a BIG announcement!  See you soon!
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