Friday, December 31, 2010

Seeing into the Future

I am totally fine with looking goofy.  So, New Year's Eve is great because I fit right in with a mob of people who have lost track of self-consciousness, deep in a bottle of bubbly.  If you are going to a party and are tempted to go out and buy those funny little glasses that say "2011"...STOP.  My crafty friends, there is no reason you can't make your own.  Make this your resolution!!!  I will make more of what I need, starting NOW.

I made these glasses very simply with a piece of gold paper, some glue, sunglasses, and ribbon leftover from a Christmas gift I got.  Yes, I kept the ribbon my presents were wrapped with just for a project like this.  You know you keep crazy scraps too.  Don't pretend I'm the only obsessive scrapper in the room right now.

I literally found a piece of gold scrap paper in my craft pile.  I sketched my "2011" in bubble letters, leaving holes for my eyes.  Make the "2" and the "0" large enough to put the shades in the center.  Tack "11" on the end.  Once I cut out my numbers, I lined them with gold glitter glue to touch it up and hide the rough edges.  This actually takes awhile to don't do this an hour before your party.

Finally, embellish.  You can use feathers, ribbon leftover from gift-wrapping, or leave the glasses plain to match with a funky hat.  Use a few glue dots to adhere the paper to your sunglasses.  For those of you who don't know what glue dots can get them in the craft store near the scrapbooking section.  They are with the racks of adhesives.  At the end of the day, I could actually pull my paper off of the sunglasses and scrape the glue dot off so my glasses weren't ruined.  I can't promise you'll have the same luck.  But, it worked for me.  Then, pop a cork and watch the ball drop like you are right there in Times Square.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flower Power Wall Art

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A fun and inexpensive way to change your home decor is to create your own pieces of art work! I took an old 8x10 canvas and made it new with a couple pieces of scrapbook paper a ribbon some little gems and a big flower! This piece of art really makes me smile- considering I took this picture during fall when we still had real flowers in the garden and we didn't have snow on the ground.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Search of.... ORGANIZATION

My quest for world (my world, that is) organization rears its head in the weirdest way! Am I alone in this? I think that every crafter I know out there would love to have total organization of their supplies and be able to find any item, at will.

Today, surprisingly, my sights weren't set on my Scrap Shack. They were set on organizing some of my pretty things... my HUGE collection of jewelry. To the left you see how it has mainly been stored. The bags and bins (including the 2 drawer white bin) are scattered all around and filled to the brim. Why the jewelry? Why now? I have no clue. I'm on vacation from work and don't have to wear any of it for a week, but somehow I had the need to get it all organized!

I don't think there's a beautiful hanging jewelry cabinet big enough for my stash, which by the way 95% of it was gifted to me by a loving relative. I actually dream about a wonderful over sized walk-in closet complete with jewelry section.

Until then, I have to come up with a creative way to store all of my items.
My loving relative already started the mission when she gifted me the items neatly packed in snack sized Ziploc bags. I love the idea of storing the necklace, earrings, bracelets and pins all in one location. My problem is, I have a hard time putting the items back into their little bags at the end of a work day! So, today was all about re-bagging and finding partners. Once that project was done- then it was on to color coding! I told you- I was kinda off my rocker today! LOL- Soooo, I decided to put like colors together and then all items in a large rolling bin that can be neatly rolled under some furniture! I have many beautiful pins (both floral and jewelry) so I put them in one location and then there are the earrings that don't have a necklace partner. I put those all together in a bin but my next project is to design a neater storage system for those because I can see already that looking for a match can be a nightmare.

I feel so satisfied that my costume jewelry now has organization and harmony! I also look forward to creating a crafty earring solution in the near future! I make the resolution to be more organized a couple times a year and it is, once again, on my list for 2011. I'm actually kind of giddy with the thought that I took the step to be more organized before we flipped the calendar page into the new year.   

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Fried Calamari

I hope you all had a good Christmas and are planing a Great New Years Bash. Here is a recipe you can use as an appetizer.

2 lbs Calamari  Tubes and Tentacles
2 Cups of Corn Meal
1 cup of All Purpose Flour
2 Tbs. Salt
1 Tsp of Black Pepper
1 Tbs Granulated Garlic
1 Tbs Dried Basil
1Tbs Dried Oregano
1Tsp Dried Thyme
2 Cups Milk
8 cups of Vegetable Oil
Cast Iron Frying pan or a counter top fryer
1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese for dusting after the cooking is done

Soak Calamari in Milk for about 1 hour. This will make the squid tender.
Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside.(except for the Parmesan cheese)
Remove Calamari from milk and allow excess milk to drain off. Best thing to do is drain in a colander.
Place about half of the Calamari in the corn meal mixture and coat really well, it will clump together, but do not worry it will separate when frying.
Place about half of the first batch into the hot oil and cook until golden brown about 4 minutes. Do not over cook if it is over cooked it will be tough and very chewy.
Repeat  in same size batches with the rest of the Calamari .
After it is all cooked place in a bowl and add Parmesan cheese and toss.
Serve hot and with some Marinara sauce or Pesto Cream sauce.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Too Far?

Have I mentioned that my parents decorate a lot for the holidays? No spot is left untouched...even THAT spot.  Yeah, that's mom even has Christmas themed toilet paper. That's what you see here...a big roll of seasons greetings to wipe with. Top that Kris Kringle!!  Is it time to rein mom in a little?

Lil' Princess Box

I know I recently shared my large over-the-door jewelry cabinet with you.  But, I wanted to share the mini-version my father made for my nieces for the holidays.
This hooks right to the wall and stores all of the cute little beads and charms a little princess accumulates.

Like my larger father lined the door with hooks to hang necklaces, he connected a section of dowels with hinges that swings out to hang bracelets, he also cubed the bottom and added pink fabric as a liner.

Admittedly, I don't have a saw or powerful sander around the house.  But you I'm passing along all the little homemade projects I can, just in case!!

P.S.  My father signs the back of each craft, so years from now my nieces can be reminded that their grandpa made that cute little cabinet for them.  Love those kind of gifts ;-)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Canon Christmas

It was one year ago this weekend that my life changed.  I was given a 15mp Canon Rebel.  I was giddy with excitement from day one...running around the house, the yard, and the neighborhood shooting closeups of anything...closer than any traditional camera had every allowed me to get.  A new world opened up to me.  On what is our traditional Shutterbug Sunday...I'm sharing with you some of the first pictures I my dog...with a shutter so speedy I captured her mid-lick...
Or the outdoor lights I shot without my camera going into a focusing coma....
Or the series of shots I took of my niece's new kitty exploring a Christmas tree for the first time....taking pictures has never been so fun as the first time I used my brand new REAL camera.  Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

To all of our friends around the world- thank you so much for all your loving, encouraging and inspirational comments! Today we are spending the day with our family members creating memories. We are very excited for what 2011 brings. Today- we invite you to sit by the fire and enjoy life! On behalf of myself, Crafty Cat, Chef Donavan, Crafty Lady and our whole family Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Deck the Lawn

You have to be or know a decent woodworker for this one.  It sure beats the big blowup decorations for the front yard.

You can deck the lawn with Santa and his whole team of his reindeer.  It would take a fair amount of work cutting, sanding, and painting all of these characters.  But, this is an example of the fun results of that handy work.

If you attempt this feat, put one reindeer up front, bending down with his head in the snow to vary the line a little.  Put garland around their necks and add a bow.

Use a cord that can withstand any weather to connect each reindeer back to Santa's sleigh.  This is your most complicated piece.  This is not flat.  It is actually 3-dimensional.  You could even crawl inside if you wanted to try to fill Santa's shoes.  Throw a cute little tree in the back, tie on a bow, add some presents if you want.  When all is done...this is the piece de resistance on your lawn.  Add a sign or two telling Santa to make a stop.  Don't forget the "Reindeer Crossing" warning sign. Add Frosty nearby to wave at the sleigh.  If you have kids or grandkids...they will have a ball walking beside Santa and his team.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Garland Vase

If you have a cat around the house...poinsettias are not a good idea.  They are harmful to a cat's health, if ingested.  So, isn't garland.  If a cat chews on and swallows the long plastic strands, they can wrap around their intestines and lead to a slow and painful problem.  Since I am known as Crafty Cat I feel compelled to tell you all of this.  However, if you want to sport a fake poinsettia on the dining room table, you can brighten up the base and hide the ugly fake stems by putting a strand of gold garland securely inside your clear vase.  Wrap a gold bow around it and you have a quick and easy...poison-free decoration that can keep you and your cat cheery throughout the holidays.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recycled Gift Box

Recycle, reuse and re-purpose your old boxes! You can make one of a kind gift boxes with a little Mod Podge, wrapping paper and some old boxes! I've been itching to do this project since my friend Deb told me about it and what better time than the one I have to give a special gift! Crafty Cat is coming over tomorrow to exchange gifts and I wanted to figure out a special way to display her gifts. For me- presentation is everything and It's a present for me when I get that "WOW" look from someone!

Supplies Needed:-wrapping paper
-old boxes
-Mod Podge

Directions: First off- I have to admit I was giddy when I realized that the wrapping paper I purchased for $5 for 4 rolls had cutting lines on the back. It made my measuring job much easier! I cut uniform squares about an inch to an inch and a half if I measure it, but it meant two blocks squared on my paper. I cut a bunch of each paper pattern.

Then apply a nice layer of Mod Podge on your box and begin placing your squares down one by one. Be sure to allow a small amount of your paper to come over the top and bottom of the box. I applied all my squares and then went back and applied a small layer of Mod Podge over the edges and then tacked down the paper. I found it was a tad easier to work with when most of the paper was secured to the box. You can paper your whole box inside and out and it is such a spectacular touch to a gift! I decided to put some festive paper in mine and then wrapped my presents and placed them inside.

This could be a fun project to do for birthdays and other holidays. You can use glitter, ribbon, buttons, stickers and many different types of embellishments. The options are endless! It's a very green project and one that your recipient can use over again as well!

Happy Birthday Chef Donavan

Happy birthday to Chef Donavan! You're used to getting recipes from him every Tasty Tuesday but today we're cooking for him! Chef Donavan is blowing out another candle on his cake and we just wanted to take a moment to say we love him and appreciate all he does to make this little blog so great! Happy birthday Donavan!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: White Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

A twist on an old classic. You get tartness from the raisins, and sweet from the White Chocolate Chips. This recipe will yield about 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size.
1/2 pound of Butter (use butter not Margarine, its the holidays)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 tsp of Vanilla
1/1/2 cups of All Pourpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt (I use Kosher)
3 cups of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 cup Raisins
1 cup White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 dregrees
Mix the butter and both sugars togeter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix until loose.
In a seperate bowl add flour, baking soda, cinnimon and salt and mix or sift well.
Add to egg and sugar mixture, mix until smooth.
Add oats and mix until incorporated.
Remove from mixer and fold in raisins and white chocolate chips by hand. (This will prevent the raisins from getting all mashed up and the chips will keep thier shape)
You can drop onto a baking sheet pan with a spoon or I use a small ice cream scoop (about 1.5 ounces) to form the cookies.
Bake until the edges just turn light brown, about 10 minutes.
Cool on a cooling rack and enjoy with a cold glass of milk or hot coffee. I hear Santa likes the cookies ;-)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reindeer Cupcakes

I can't take credit for this idea, but I just had to share it.  A co-worker brought these reindeer cupcakes in for a little holiday exchange.  I thought they were almost too cute to eat, almost.  She tells me she found them in a magazine called Family Fun.  Good idea.  These do look like fun for the family...and what a hit they'd be at your family exchange.  My co-worker used the following ingredients:

Chocolate cupcakes
Eyes:  White Peppermint Patty pieces & a speck of black flosting gel.
Antlers:  Carefully cut pretzel pieces.
Nose:  A small cookie wafer topped with a red M&M.  You can use chocolate to make it stick.

Cute and tasty.  You don't even need to bake well to pull this one off.  That's is my kind of treat.

Spreading Our Wings

We're moving out of the nest and flying across the world wide web to visit other blogs.  I know guest blogging is a regular feature on this circuit...but we are just starting to spread our wings here on Crafty Life and Style.  So, it was an honor to be asked to offer up a guest blog for one of our readers.  The author of Creators Creatures and Intentional Conscious Parenting asked me to share one of my early posts, 40 Wonderful Reasons.  I adapted a version called Appreciation Jars for each of her for adults...the other for kiddies.  The creatures blog is already posted and the parenting post should be up today or tomorrow.  The post offers a nifty idea for a very personal, inexpensive, and handmade gift from the heart.  We hope you'll stop by to show your support in celebration of our first guest blog.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shutterbug Sunday: Star Filters

This is a magical time of the year and why not have your pictures reflect that. A great way to create that feeling is by using a star filter. This is a filter that you can attach to your camera lens if you have one of the more fancy shmancy cameras- not a point and shoot digital camera.

Both Crafty Cat and I have Cannon Rebels. Her mom and dad got it for her on Black Friday last year and little did I know- that I would get the same camera on Christmas last year! Cannon really should pay us because we're such huge fans and we tell everyone to buy them.

If you have a camera like we do- look into buying a Star filter. You won't be disappointed! They are so fun to shoot pictures with. The lens has thin lines etched into it in a crisscross manner. When you take a picture of a light source portions of the light streak outward creating a star effect. I used my star filter for the above close-up, for this wide shot and for this shot in front of the Christmas tree.

They cost about $20-$25 dollars and would be a great stocking stuffer for someone who loves photography. If that's you-- there's still time to hint! Or better yet- just send them the link to this post! hehe-- hope you like this post!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Paper Snow Flakes And Bow

Making snow flakes can be such a fun little project. You don't have to be an expert cutter. There really are few rules and just like the real snowflakes- no single paper snow flake is alike! All you need is some paper, scissors and if you want to jazz them up--- some glue and glitter!

I used my paper cutter to make squares that were all equal in size- but I admit, in the end it really didn't matter! Then take your paper and fold it in half and then in half again- you can also fold your paper in odd folds.

You know, like corners and fat chunks in the middle. Once you get into your second or third fold- you can then take your scissors and start cutting small holes in a variety of shapes (triangle, oval- whatever you can manipulate your scissors to do). Then fold again in a different way- and cut again. Really, your only rule is to make sure you don't completely cut off a fold- that will cause your snowflake to have a large hole or even be cut into separate pieces!

I had fun with Elmer's glue and fine glitter. Well, the glitter got the best of me and I'm sure I'm sparkling like a vampire in the Twilight movie! LOL Still, the glitter really brought the character out in them!

Then, because I already made this display with my son's snow flakes, I decided to make a cute little bow to hang them on! All I did was loop the bow several times and fanned them out. I then tacked them together and added a cute little glass button in the middle! Soooo simple.

Adhere your snowflakes with double sided redline tape and then find a place to hang it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ho Ho Ho Valance

Lots of people break out special decorations for the about changing up your curtains too!!

Head to the handy dollar store to buy a bunch of inexpensive Santa hats.  Make sure you get enough to extend all the way across your window.  You can sew all of the hats together and create a hook in the back to feed a curtain rod through.  If easier, you can just attach hooks to each hat to hang individually from the rod.  Cover any imperfections with garland and lights across the top of the rod.  You can finish styling with green or white curtains.  My mother opted to bookmark her valance with two large bows instead.  While my parents have a ton of holiday decorations, mom's latest valance invention has become the centerpiece of the living room.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Barbara Jean Design

Barbara Jean Design Studio offers an amazing experience to travel into the Adirondaks of New York State and a wonderful opportunity to learn how to create lovely silk wares! Thank you so much Barbara for supporting Crafty Life and Style! We love your work! Congratulations to LisaAnn!! You are the winner of this lovely scarf! Please email me your address so Barbara can send you this lovely gift!