Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Scrapbook Sweets

Not long ago, I wrote about my adventures getting to know my great-grandfather through his old journals.

For the final five years of his life, he shared his thoughts and kept clippings in a scrapbook.  There are articles that struck him as funny or important.  There are quite a few pictures, cards, and old sayings.  I also found this simple recipe.  This isn't a gourmet dessert.  It's not for the highly sophisticated.  This is simply a dish that my great-grandfather enjoyed enough to keep in his scrapbook.  If this sounds good to you, give it a try.  More importantly, take the next few minutes to scribble down your favorite recipes to add to your scrapbook.  Your great-grandchildren just might enjoy your favorite dessert as much as you do.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mixed Media Plaque

Hello there!  It's Amy from Mod Podge Rocks.  I've been in the small project mood lately.  Sometimes you just need instant gratification!  I've also been thinking a lot about gifts lately - I think because so many of my pals have summer birthdays.  I love making gifts and I love personalizing, so this was a natural fit.  It's sort of a mixed media plaque, sort of an experiment, because I think my friend would like it.  I encourage you to play, too.  Here's how I made this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Cracker Sandwich Cookies

My mother is always getting new recipes from the ladies at the office.  I'm afraid I don't know who came up with this cracker cookie idea, but I can vouch for it.  I was lucky enough to be one of the taste-testers.  It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

I rarely make desserts, but I love this recipe because even I could make it.  This isn't too hard for anyone.  This does not involve any baking.  This is fairly inexpensive.  The results are fantastic.

They taste similar to the Tagalong cookies that you'd buy from Girl Scouts, which I still recommend you do for the kiddos.  But, when you run out, these are a great alternative and they don't cost nearly as much.

Beware:  You can't eat just one.

If you are interested in testing out the sweet little cracker sandwich cookies, you only need a few materials and a few simple ingredients:

Peanut Butter
Chocolate Brick (to melt)
Crackers (I use Ritz)

Tin Foil

Spread your peanut butter onto a cracker.  Top it off with another cracker to form your sandwich.  Make several in advance.

Melt a large chunk of chocolate in a small bowl.  Dip your entire cracker sandwich into the melted chocolate, until it is completely covered.  Place your covered cookies onto a sheet of tin foil.  Fill the foil and then place it in your refrigerator to harden.

Serve and enjoy the compliments.  It seems crazy that such a simple treat could be so tasty.  My mother made a batch last time I was home.  She sent four cookies back home with me and they were gone in one day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Patriotic Pops

Happy 4th of July!!!!  If you've been invited to a party today, but you don't have anything to bring, here is something you can whip up this morning.

The creative minds at Family Fun have come up with a patriotic pop.  You might even have these ingredients and materials around the house.  You can find the list of ingredients, materials, and a video tutorial here.  While these are easy to make, the freezing time will draw out the preparation a bit.  Put the kids to work.  They should be able to help you with this dish.  Stay cool with your patriotic pops and have fun celebrating the ole' red, white, and blue today.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shutterbug Sunday: America The Beautiful

Recently I was in New York City and took some time out for a little sight seeing between meetings. I took my Blythe Doll "Watermelon Sherbet" and wanted to snap some pictures of her in the big city. Imagine my excitement when I saw the "Naked Cowboy".  Crafty Cat says he's an American institution. He certainly is an American attraction. He was so nice and when I pulled out my doll for a picture, he was more than willing to pose!  Sometimes you just gotta get the picture and I did!  I was so excited. To see more pictures from my recent trip to NYC click on our flickr page!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Getting Rid Of The Shine

 A big attraction to the Blythe doll world for me has been the opportunity to customize my own doll. The crafty side of me just got all excited when I saw some amazing before and after examples. Granted, I'm new to this craft- so I'm learning. I've already given a boil perm with success.  So, I decided to sand the face of a doll and reapply her makeup. Above is the before picture. I don't have a complete after picture because I'm still working on her- but I will show you what I did to make her shiny plastic look go away. I went to the hardware store and purchased fine and ultra-fine sand paper.

For the first layer of sanding- I used the fine sponge. The factory makeup and the shine instantly disappeared with no problems. The ultra-fine paper naturally helps you tackle the fine details. Wet your ultra fine paper and work in small circles, making sure you don't leave any lines or scuffs. This was such an easy process and now her face is more lifelike with a matte finish.  The next step with be adding new makeup.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Eagle Bites

The idea of eating an eagle never sounded so good.  July has arrived and it is time to start thinking about what you'll serve to friends and family on Independence Day.  Looking at the creations of others always makes me humble.  This is a perfect example.  If someone told me to make dessert in the image of an eagle, I doubt I would have come up with this yummy treat.

As you get ready for the 4th of July holiday, we're sharing a couple of ideas that will wow your guests or your host.  Even if you aren't a fan of coconut, this dish would no doubt inspire a smile and some conversation.  You can find all the directions here, on the family fun site.  Bravo to the person who came up with this idea.  Anyone who can get crafty with food is talented in my book.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Independence Cake

Our Independence Day celebration generally involves a BBQ, perhaps strawberry shortcake, and several cold dishes brought by my aunts.  This patriotic piece of cake would knock my family's red, white, and blue socks off.

I can appreciate an interesting artist in the blog world.  So, I was thrilled when I stumbled upon 17andbaking.com.  When I was 17, I was featured in the high school play.  This young lady, now 19 years old, is being featured in national magazines.  

I think this adorable cake is a great idea and deserves more attention.  You can find out how to make it here.  This teenager may make you feel a bit inadequate.  Hopefully, she'll also inspire you to do something you love.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lamp Shades

Have you ever wondered how to take an item from drab to fab?  Try using a little hot glue and ribbon! That's what I did with these lamps. These were simply white shades before I touched them up.  I thought it would be great to use some decorative trim and ribbon to give them interest and a better connection to the room.

Such a simple idea. In less than an hour, I trimmed four shades and gave my room a fresh look for the summer.  If you want to change the ribbon down the road, you can!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Fabulous Feast

Doesn't this just make your mouth water? YUMMY! This was the meal my lovely hubby made me for Mother's day! I just wanted to share with you this amazing meal! Filet Mignon topped with some melt in your mouth cheese that I can't remember the name of, lobster, risotto and asparagus!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Adding Color

My mother is not the type of person who would understand the phrase "less is more".  Her home is the craziest on the block during the winter holidays.  People drive by slowly to look at everything in the yard.  She has the same zest with her landscaping in the Summer.

Mom loves these little figurines.  There are boys fishing, kids cuddling, and animals lounging throughout the yard.  She certainly doesn't need more.  Yet, my mother can't avoid buying them.  I think part of the appeal is that she has turned this yard decoration into a craft project.  We all know how therapeutic it feels to paint something pretty.  Many people like the "stone" appearance.  My mother prefers to add color.  The results compliment the varied hues throughout the garden.  If you've had one of these around for years, consider giving it new life with paint.  You may need to touch up the colors eventually.  Perform a makeover every few years.  Give your girl a new hair color and a brighter dress.  If you see a woman in the lawn section of the store with a cart full of these, she is probably my mother.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shutterbug Sunday: Try It

Sometimes you just don't know if you will get the right picture.  Does that make you give up?  I tend to take a lot of pictures and use a few.  I love being able to preview my pictures with a digital camera, so I can delete what doesn't work. I remember being very careful when snapping pictures with my film camera.  Didn't you hate it when half of your roll was blurry or didn't come out?!  I did.  That money could have been spent on crafting tools!!  I took this picture when I was giving a doll a boil perm.  At the exact moment I clicked, a big poof of steam fogged my lens. The end result was amazing. I just loved how it captured the doll in a foggy state. My advice today- just try it! You never know what the end result will be and you may be pleasantly surprised!  Sometimes unintended obstacles produce the most interesting results.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Joliette, Canada

Have you heard of Postcrossing.com?  It's a great website where you sign up to send and receive postcards with strangers around the world!  This is a fun educational tool for your child and exciting for the adults in the house too.  We have a huge map of the world on the wall in the kids' bedroom.  When a new postcard arrives from somewhere across the globe, we mark the spot with a tack.  Mom is clearly the most interested in the project.  But, it is providing some excitement for the kids, who check the mail box everyday. You get to learn about a little piece of someone's life and the postcards are so beautiful and sometimes quirky!  I have the urge to use them in a craft project, but the written message on the back are as beautiful as the pictures on the front.  I'm torn!  You'll find some of the cards we have received below. If you'd like to learn more about postcrossing click here

Touchuan Village, China
Kassel, Germany
lago Ericina, Spain
Lappeenranta, Finland
and Hutchinson Island, Florida-- This one is from a lovely family member! SHHHH-- don't tell the kids!
He he he.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Paper Bag Book

This can be filed under the most clever creations I've ever seen from my friends at Captured Moments in Rotterdam, NY.  This is a flip book for pictures, made out of two PAPER BAGS!!  Who comes up with something like this?  Tara and Tiffany are so creative.

The crazy thing is...this is so simple to make.  You start by stamping the edges of your paper bags.  Layer two bags on top of each other, facing opposite directions.  Fold them in half.  Punch three holes in the fold and tie them together with ribbon.

You'll want to cut blocks of designed paper for each page of the book.  Another thing I love about Tara and Tiffany is that they are not afraid to use bold patterns and mix them together.  Ink your edges.  You can place photos or notes on these pages.  The girls chose to use titles to inspire a theme for your pictures.

The bottom of your bag with half a fold.  You can use that for something fun and unique...a clever pocket.  If you prefer to cover it, simply glue the fold closed and adhere your patterned paper over the top of the fold.

The tops of the bags offer pockets for pull-out pictures.  Throw a block of patterned paper inside and attach some fiber to the edge to give your book some texture.  This makes the book interactive...some pages flip, others pull out.

Embellish your cover and enjoy.  I think I had more fun with this project than any of the other make-n-takes I've brought home.  Mostly, I was impressed by the originality of the idea.  You can find more work by Tara and Tiffany at www.capturedmomentstore.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Soul of Scrapbooking

Years ago, when my grandfather passed away, I was given four albums that had belonged to his father.  They were a combination of journals and old style scrapbooks...full of news articles, pictures, and little notes.

A couple of years after I was given these albums, I moved away from home for college.  My room was cleared when I left and I was told by my mother that she'd thrown away a pile of old books.  I was devastated.  I hadn't really taken the time at that age to read those journals.  But, I knew I wanted to one day.  That day has come.  I've spent years anguishing over the loss of those albums.  I felt terrible guilt that they had been kept for decades by my grandfather, only to be lost in my hands.  I take my duty, preserving family heritage, very seriously.  I wanted to pass the journals onto my own grandchildren.

This summer, my parents decided to clean out their attic.  They called on me to sort through a few boxes that had been set aside for me.  Twenty years has passed since those items were stored away.  I didn't know what I'd find.  There were old report cards, school papers, and drawings.  My biggest surprise came from a dusty bin with my name scrawled across it with sloppy black marker.  There, in the bottom of the bin, there were four albums with aged paper.  The words my great-grandfather took time to write down were now ready for my attention.

While I was sorting through the pages of the final five years of his life, this man I never knew came alive.  I read all about life on the farm, his wife, how much he adored his kids...including my grandfather.  I found a picture of my mother when she was a little girl.  There are photos of my great-grandparents, a recipe, even a photo of my great-great grandfather cutting wood.  I learned that most of the men in the family were very tall.  My great-grandfather worked hard, right up until his death, plowing land and trimming trees.  There is the story of almost running over his little sister with a roller on the farm.  The newspaper clippings recount a time when people were miffed that penny postcards suddenly cost 3-cents and there was anger that the postal service had created this confusing "zip code" system that was bound to mess everything up.

Knowing that the zip code system eventually worked out just fine, I realized that people complain in the same way they did half a century ago.  They still want the same things...a happy family, a steady job, merciful aging, and people want to be remembered.  I also learned that the scrapbooking bug was born with me.  There is a purpose behind this hobby.  We all hope the loved ones we give our crafts to will enjoy them, appreciate them, and cherish them for years.  Now, for the first time, I understand just how amazing it feels to have these albums.  I feel connected to my heritage.  I feel honored to have been trusted with these memories.  I feel a bond with this related stranger.  Most importantly, I feel relief.  My great-grandfather has finally been heard.  Keep scrapbooking.  It is more than a hobby.