November 2013Occasionally Crafty: November 2013

November 27, 2013

Grateful for our Blessings

I know it's not technically Thanksgiving until tomorrow, but our kids are out of school, and both Laura and I plan to to use up every second we have with them! ( Even though we'll all probably be pulling out our hair by the time school starts on Monday.....)
We are grateful for you, our readers.  We're grateful for the time and opportunity we have to be creative.  We are thankful for our families, our homes, the food we eat, and all we have been given in our lives.  We are thankful for our God who has blessed us with plenty.  And, we hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend as well- no matter if you are celebrating Thanksgiving or if you are just enjoying a regular week.
I wanted to share with you something that has really made me think during the past few weeks.  I really appreciated this quote I found over at makeovers and motherhood.  This blog post is a great read, if you have the time. 
 
Happy Thanksgiving from us to you! 
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November 25, 2013

Turkey Feather Specimen Art

It doesn't seem like specimen art is terribly popular right now. In fact when searching for inspiration for my Thanksgiving version there was nothing. Good thing I had an idea already!
I wanted turkey feathers of all different colors and styles. I knew this meant I had to do a lot of cutting of the same shape on different papers. I was dreading how many times I'd need to feed paper through my Silhouette, so I decided to try putting all my colors onto my mat and cutting it all at once! 
I pored over my stash of scrap paper to find the perfect color combination for my turkey feathers. Then I cut out one inch strips and placed them on my mat. I love how the Silhouette software and the mat have matching hash marks so I know that when I place something on the document, it will cut in the same place on my mat. Be sure each piece is secure so nothing gets pushed off while the blade is cutting.


 It worked out perfectly! I only had to do one cut and all my shapes and papers were done!

Now for the finished product! I set it on my table of Thanksgiving decorations and it complimented it nicely!




 And in case you're just finding us, I've been making specimen art all year to put in an interchangeable frame! Click here to see what else I've made this year!

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November 21, 2013

Three Things Thursday: Let's Go to the Movies!

Three Movies I Can't Wait To See

1.  Catching Fire-   I know it's out today but it will take some time with my husband's busy schedule before we actually can get a babysitter and go see it.  I really enjoyed the books (even Mockingjay!) and am really excited to see this movie!

thehungergams-catchingfire-ukposter

2.  Frozen-  I love to take my kids to movies.  When my youngest was a toddler he would cry and cry, so movies just never happened.  But now that they are old enough, we go to as many movies as we can.  Our local theater even has a Summer Movie Series, and we love to go every week.  My kids are just glued to the screen, and I love watching their reactions to the funny parts.
     They are so excited for a new Disney movie, and Frozen looks very entertaining.  We'll be there next week when it opens!  

3.  Saving Mr. Banks-  A lot of people I know haven't heard about this movie.  This is the story of how Walt Disney got Mary Poppins made into a movie, since the author P.L. Travers was adamantly against it.  It stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, two actors I love to watch.  It sounds like a fascinating story!
'Saving Mr Banks' UK teaser poster

There are others of course.  What movie(s) are you looking forward to seeing?
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November 20, 2013

No-Sew Turkey Applique (Cute Girl's Shirt!)

* This post originally appeared as a guest post at Sugar Bee Crafts*

 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but Halloween and Christmas get all the craft love, you know?  There's so much good food, family time, and counting your blessings that make me want to see Thanksgiving get a little bit of the spotlight.

Usually, we stay home for Thanksgiving.  My husband and I have families that are spread out all over the country, and getting together means paying for 5 plane tickets or making a 24 hour drive.  Not counting stops.  Um- no thanks.  Finally, though, 4 out of 5 of us are in the Western US, so last Thanksgiving we drove up to Colorado and spent Thanksgiving with my mom and siblings.   My 7 year old daughter was the only girl cousin there, so I decided to make her something special to wear for Thanksgiving.  Today I'm sharing with you this cute shirt with an easy embellishment:



Here's what you need:
A shirt (great way to re-use a shirt with a stain, or buy one on clearance)
Felt or fabric (I used orange, white, and brown felt)
Heat n Bond
Wired Ribbon (mine was sheer 1 1/2 inch width ribbon)
Glue gun/sticks
Scissors, pencil
Iron/Ironing Pad

Skill level:  Easy
Time:  An hour or less

1.  Design your shape.  I used my Silhouette software and took elements from two different shapes to create my turkey.  The "feathers" came from a scalloped circle that I cut, and the turkey came from one of the Turkey shapes.  (If you'd like the file, I'd be happy to send it to you.  Just drop me an email!)


2.  Supposedly you can use the Silhouette to cut felt.  I know you can use it to cut fabric by applying Heat n Bond first, then running it through the machine.  I tried this with my felt, but it hardly cut at all. I have had many problems with my blade, though, so feel free to give it a try.  In the end, I just cut my shapes in paper, ironed the Heat n Bond onto my felt (following the directions on the wrapper), then traced the shapes onto the paper liner.

3. If you're doing that, once you have your shapes cut out, remove the paper liner from the Heat n Bond.  You're ready to iron your fabric onto your shirt.  Repeat this for each piece of the turkey.

(If you're going to make a turkey face, do it now.  I wasn't going to, then changed my mind and added one later.  It was a little harder that way).  Details below.
4.    Isn't this a cute shirt?  I love the lace detail.  Normally I would use a plain white tee but this was on clearance for $4.  I just used a seam ripper to remove the pocket.


Now fuse the orange feather piece onto the shirt, then fuse the white feather piece onto the orange feathers


5.  Take your ribbon and roll the edge over twice.  Put a dot of glue on the top and bottom to hold it in place so you have  clean edge to start with.  You could also just melt the edges with a lighter or small flame.


Now make a ruffle by simply folding your ribbon every inch or so and adding a tiny dot of hot glue to hold it in place.


6.  Once you have your ribbon the way you like it, glue the ends down, then hot glue your brown turkey body piece over the ribbon, making sure to cover up any empty space below.  I only glued from about halfway down the body to leave the top part free.


7.  I wasn't going to use a face, but I didn't like how it looked.  So, I added a piece of fabric
for the beak, using the same Heat n Bond method described above.  For the eyes, I simply used a fine-tip Sharpie Marker to draw two little dots.

It's little beady eyes follow me everywhere.  I hate that.

Here's the finished shirt--


And here it is on my daughter.  I paired it with a matching skirt that I whipped up.  Won't she look extra cute for Thanksgiving?




A note-- If you want to sew the feather pieces on, it will add a little stability to it.  You certainly can't put it in the wash like this, but hey.  She'll probably only wear it on Thanksgiving anyway.  ;)

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November 19, 2013

A Great Thanksgiving Side Dish- Corn Souffle!

Last year I shared a great way to make your own Jiffy mix and then use it in this to-die-for Thanksgiving side dish. This Corn Souffle is a family recipe, and whenever I make it, people tell me how good it is. This year I wanted to share the recipe again, complete with pictures! (be sure to click over and make your jiffy mix first, because you'll need it!)
Corn Souffle 
1 box jiffy corn muffin mix (but of course use your new mix!!)
1 egg
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream corn
2 TBSP sugar
1 stick butter


Heat oven to 350 and melt butter in the casserole dish as oven is heating. I use a round Corningware dish.

While the butter is melting, mix the sour cream, cream corn and egg together. Then add the Jiffy mix and sugar. Add all at once to the hot dish with melted butter and do not stir.


Return to the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let it cool and enjoy! If you need to make a lot of this, it does not double well.  You can double the batter, but pour into two separate dishes of equal size.


For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

This has become a Thanksgiving staple in our home. What are your favorite side dishes that help make your meal complete?
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November 14, 2013

Three Things Thursday: Three Ways to use Eggnog


Three Ways to Use Eggnog!
(other than just drinking it by the carton...)

Eggnog is an interesting seasonal treat. You either love it or you hate it. Some like it thin, some like it thick. Some add alcohol, some just detest it. But the interesting thing about it is you can't add it to as many things as you can pumpkin. I mean pumpkin has become the new medium to add anything and everything to, and most of it is amazing. Eggnog, well, not all eggnog flavored things are as good as the original. So here are a few very simple ways I've found to use eggnog as an accessory!

1. Eggnog French Toast- I was messing around one day and decided to dip my bread in a mixture of eggnog, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny bit of milk (since our eggnog is really thick). I dusted a little powdered sugar on and let me tell you, it was delicious! You have to try it!

2. Eggnog Hot Chocolate- This one is simple and tasty. Make your hot chocolate as usual (I am a huge Stephen's fan!). Once it's ready add just a touch of eggnog and stir it in. Mmmm....


3. Eggnog Pumpkin Pie- We found this recipe a few years ago and have made it at every Thanksgiving since! This makes two pies, so feel free to halve it. 

One pie has the topping, the other does not

Eggnog Pumpkin pie
1 large can pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cups eggnog 
scant 1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cinnamon
scant tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract

Either prepare your pie crusts or take them out of the freezer to thaw, and preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, beat all the above ingredients. Once the mixture is well-blended, pour evenly between two unbaked pie crusts. bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile: in a medium bowl, combine:

2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/8 tsp kosher salt

After the pies have baked 30 minutes, sprinkle this mixture evenly over both pies. Bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until pies are puffed and still a bit jiggly. Cool several hours and serve either at room temp or chilled. 


I know there are some more great eggnog recipes out there. How do you use your eggnog?
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November 13, 2013

Giveaway: Thanksgiving Gift Baskets!

Thanksgiving is all about food, family, and fun.  But what do you do if you're far away from your loved ones?  That's me most years.  My dad and his wife live across the country, and my mom, brother, and sister all live in Colorado (several states away).  

It's rare that I get to spend the holidays with any family.  (Although, Laura hosted almost all of us at her home last year.  You can read about our crafty preparations for it here and here.)

If you're like me and far away from your family, consider sending a basket full of goodies to them!  All About Gifts and Baskets offers a large variety of Thanksgiving baskets and goodies to send to your family and friends.

I'm partial to this Dipped Oreo Chocolate Wheel.  I love Oreos, and these are so festive and fun!
Thanksgiving Chocolate Dipped Oreo Wheel image

This Fall Log Cabin Planter is filled with delicious Fall treats like Ghirardelli chocolates, smoked summer sausage, almonds, Brie cheese spread, and more.

Fabulous Fall Log Cabin Gift image

If you're looking for something a little healthier this Fall Cornucopia is filled with fresh apples, delicious cheese, nuts, and more.

Fall Cornucopia image

Now for the best part:  I'm teaming up with All About Gifts and Baskets and nine other blogger friends to bring you a delicious giveaway!  Two lucky winners get to choose their favorite gift (up to $80) from over 40 great designs on the Thanksgiving Gifts page.

Here are the details:

Enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter widget below.  There is a mandatory entry: leave a blog post comment.  After that is completed, other optional entries will appear.  All entries will be reviewed and duplicate or incomplete entries will be removed.

Winners must be 18 years of age or over and must reside in the continental United States.  

The winners will be chosen at random by All About Gifts and Baskets.    Winners will be notified via email and must respond within three days of being contacted.  Otherwise, another winner will be chosen.  

The full list of rules can be found here.

Sweepstakes ends at midnight on November 24th, 2013.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 
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November 11, 2013

Tulle Turkey Wreath!

The other day I was going through my Facebook feed when I saw the cutest wreath in the world. AND it wasn't from one of the dozens of craft blogs I follow, it was from friend at church! I asked her a few questions about it and where she got the inspiration. Pinterest was the main source, but she could only find a picture, not a tutorial. Since it was so cute and she didn't mind me copying, I had to make one of my own and put a tutorial out there for you all!
So first you need all of your supplies. 
  • Wreath form (i used a 14". Remember that the tulle will add a lot of height to your finished product)
  • Styrofoam balls and cones- for eyes and nose
  • Ribbon- brown and yellow, 5+ yards of each (my brown was 4 yards and it was barely enough!)
  • Tulle- red and orange, 1-2 yards of each color-- see my rant below about tulle!
  • Something for the hangy downy thing on the turkey, I used a felt piece leftover from this wreath
  • Acrylic paint- white, black, and orange for the eyes and beak
  • Hot glue
  • Pins (not totally necessary, but my eyes kept melting off, lol)
Okay, start by wrapping your wreath form in ribbon. You could easily just do the brown ribbon, and do the rest of the turkey in tulle, I felt I could save on the amount of tulle by putting yellow ribbon underneath and then just layering the red and orange tulle on top.


I used a dab of hot glue every few wrap arounds to secure the ribbon in place.


After I wrapped my wreath I went ahead and painted my styrofoam pieces so they could dry while I was cutting and tying tulle. The styrofoam really eats up the paint and then takes awhile to dry!

Now it's time to cut your tulle. This is completely subjective to how you like it. Cut a few strips and see if you like the length before cutting them all out. I ended up with 27" long pieces (1 1/2 inches wide) which I folded in half, and THEN tied it around the wreath form making a simple knot. 


***Time for a tulle rant***

Every tulle wreath tutorial I looked on called for 45-50 yards of tulle. Even though tulle is inexpensive, that's still a lot of money! I knew I only needed tulle for half of my wreath, but still couldn't fathom buying even 20 yards of tulle. It just didn't seem like I'd need that much. But, I've underestimated materials for projects before, and didn't want to get started and not be able to finish. That's the worst. SO, I bought 6 yards of each color.  Folks, I only used about a yard of each color!! Maybe people like to do more ties, bunch it up a lot, but with the yellow already underneath I think it looked great. I counted and I used 53 strips. I just give you this warning so you don't buy too much tulle like me. Do what you think will look best for you! I sent the extra to my sister and gave some to a friend to make their own turkey wreaths :)

***Tulle rant over***

SOOO, once it was all tied on, I glued the eyes, beak, and hangey downy thing. However, since it apparently gets really hot between my storm door and front door, the glue from the eyes melted and fell off! The kids thought it was hilarious! I got some floral pins and they aren't going anywhere anytime soon!


I love getting inspired by my friends. I get so many comments on this wreath. And to think I wasn't even going to make a Thanksgiving wreath this year...

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