Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to Throw a Cookie Swap / Cookie Exchange Party

Cookie Swap / Cookie Exchange Party

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Everyone loves a cookie swap! You bake a bunch and go home with a variety to share with your family and friends. It is one of the easiest parties to throw. Here's how:

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Best Carrot Cake Ever! Cream Cheese Frosting too, So Easy!!

This is the best carrot cake recipe ever! 

Just the right amount of spice, lots of texture, not oily and Oh, the fluffy cream cheese frosting!!! 


2 C. Sugar
4 Eggs
3/4 C. Vegetable Oil
2 C. Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla
3 C. Grated Carrots
1/2 C. Chopped Nuts ( I use Walnuts )


2 8-oz package Cream Cheese, softened
1 C. Butter (2 sticks)
4 C. Powdered Sugar
Lemon Juice or Milk (if it's too thick)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Instead of a Gift Bag, Give Reusable Containers!

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I love gift bags, they are too easy, but usually get wasted.
For a recent Cookie Swap, we wanted to come up with a cute way to collect all the cookies for each person into something reusable. We went to the dollar store first. Found these cute little bins, they are about 6" tall and wide. We also bought color tissue paper that coordinates with the bin colors. Then on to the craft store and found these thin wooden hearts. My idea was to paint the hearts with chalkboard paint, it comes in cans and a spray paint.
That way your recipient can reuse the bin and label it however they want. I think it would be great in the mudroom or entry closet labelled 'gloves' or in the media area labeled 'CD's' or whatever your need. Could be for anything that will fit in the container you choose.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ebay's Global Shipping Program - Bad for Sellers and Keeps International Buyers from your listings!

Have you heard of Ebay's Global Shipping Program?

I wrote this original post 6 years ago. I think ebay has improved the GSP program and hopefully doesn't charge outrageous prices anymore. I must say that a year ago I rejoined the program. Here's why:
I have always shipped internationally. I didn't get very many international buyers but I was a very part time seller. I did however have a few packages that I couldn't print postage at home for because of the specific country. It is a pain to ship from the post office, especially in the holiday season. I also had an $90 sale not show up at the buyers home. I had sent it international first class and the tracking ends when it leaves the US so I had no way to verify whether the item did arrive or not. Had I sent it priority, I would have been covered. The calculator doesn't always charge enough to cover the actual shipping so I gave up.

With GSP, you ship your item to Kentucky. Ebay takes over and is responsible from there.
I do however still ship to Canada with calculated shipping. It saves Canadian buyers a lot and I can still print the postage at home.

I have to admit that I haven't checked to see if the international buyers are still charged prices similar to the one below but I will leave this old post up in case it helps others.


 If you are a seller on ebay you probably have received an e-mail from ebay urging you to join this program. You should join this program only if you never want to sell to an international buyer again.

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to make Paper Rose Flowers

How to make Paper Rose Flowers

You will need paper, whether it is old book pages like I used here or scrapbook paper or sheet music. These rosettes are perfect for so many projects. I hot glued them to ball globe to make a topiary, used them with little birds under a glass cloche and taped them to a gift as the bow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Birds under a Cloche Home Decor w/ Book Page Flowers

I love these little bird home decor items!

The pic below is of a little 5 inch bread plate found in a thrift shop. The Cloche is actually a candle holder. I keep seeing these in thrift stores, usually in the candle holder area. They slip into a black iron round circle holder but flipped over they are perfect as a cloche. 

I found the little blue birds in a specialty kitchen shop, they are actually salt and pepper shakers. 

The 'nest' they sit on is made from book pages that I shredded with a paper trimmer and crumpled up.
The book page flowers can be found in a tutorial soon to come.

 I think I like the set with this off white and silver bread plate.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Moist and Delicious! That is what you get when you combine pumpkin with chocolate chips. No one can resist the cakey goodness of them!

Friday, November 2, 2012

5 Minute Prep Artisan No Knead Bread! Add Sliced Garlic for Wonderful Flavor!!

I'm not usually a bread maker but when I saw a pin from simplysogood's blog on pinterest I had to try it. It really is as easy as it sounds. You stir up the 4 ingredents at night and bake the bread the next day.

3 Cups Bread Flour, but use Unbleached All Purpose if that is what you have.
1 3/4 Tsp of Salt
1/2 Tsp Dry Active Yeast
1 1/2 Cups cool to warm water.

Update 01/01/13: The most wonderful variation is to add 4 sliced garlic cloves to the dough and get Artisan Roast Garlic Bread! I made this and the pesto cheese torta (found here) and took it to a winery last Friday night, they have wine and cheese tasting and live music, you bring your own food. I baked it right before we left, wrapped it in Aluminum Foil and put it in an insulated bag. It was warm and wonderful when we spread the pesto on it and drank it with our new bottle of Pinot Gris.

Update 11/26: I made this bread and added Sharp Cheddar and Minced Garlic, these are the two extra ingredients in the photo. And I doubled the recipe to get two loaves.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Measure and Label your Tablecloths with These Labels!

 I have wanted to organize my tablecloths for a long time. 

I buy tablecloths at thrift stores, estate sales and garage sales. I love vintage linens, they are usually high quality cotton and feel wonderful to the touch. Newer tablecloths have polyester added to help keep them wrinkle free but nothing feels like good cotton!

I looked for an iron-on label like the ones they used to use in dry cleaners to label peoples clothes. I'm sure you can get them, I couldn't seem find them in my local fabric store.

Then I found these labels from Martha Stewart Home Office at Staples. These are No Iron. Don't iron them! They melt onto your iron. I thought they said Iron-On instead of No Iron.

You use a sharpie to write the length and width on them, it dries super fast then you stick it to the back of the cloth. They are thin and flexible and you will not see them from the outside of the tablecloth. They are washer and dryer safe, just make sure to iron the opposite side of the cloth. :)

In fact if you buy anything from the Martha Stewart Avery Line at Staples before 12/31/12, use this coupon for 40% off.

Friday, October 19, 2012

ST. JOHN KNITS that I am so excited to have acquired!

Oh Happy Day!!!

I hit a St. John Wonderland last night and must share!

I have a thrift store in my town that I consistently find great things. The ladies who donate there buy and wear some really wonderful designer brands. It is my every Tuesday morning stop.
Well, starting last year they they decided to have a once a year sale where showcase all their best items. I go for the designer clothing. Last year I found arm loads of St. John and spent $650 on it. This year I bought even more, way, way more....
I really need to remember that with Ebay fees rising and postage getting ridiculous, I need to weigh the costs. Literally, St. John santana knits weigh A Lot. Anyway, I have some work to do. I plan to get these items listed this week and since I have the pics, thought I would share them with you and my excitement too. So pop on over to my listing and see what treasures you can't live without.

The lighting was not very desirable today so I didn't photograph all that I bought.

This Royal blue/ purple St. John Black Label outfit is one of my favorites. I just couldn't get the color to show up correctly on my camera. It is a royal blue with purple in it. More blue than purple, but a very vibrant and elegant color. The ruffles on the long duster jacket are silk and add such a feminine touch! There are matching pants and a lightweight moc turtleneck to complete the set. Size 14

This size 14 St. John Black label 3 piece suit is a gorgeous bright tweed! Navy with a plain navy shell and fitted jacket over it. 3 button jacket and he skirt is a flattering no waistband slightly A-line style. Looks much better worn by a fabulous woman than hanging on my size 4 bodyform. It is really had to get the shape to show up. Check my auctions, I will be listing this soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sheet Music Candle Centerpiece

Sheet music decor is quite a trend right now. It is easy to use sheet music to add decor to your next party.
To make these candles for my daugthers Paris themed party, I searched through stacks of vintage sheet music in thrift stores for french sheet music and found some Italian music but it was not the right look. So I settled on music with cute or romantic themes. I did find some french sheet music for free on the internet, I could have bought specialty copy paper with a slightly yellowed vintage look and printed it out, so that was an option. You could use white copy paper or a new sheet music book if that is the look you desire.
The supplies you will need;
  • Candles
  • Sheet Music
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge or brush applicator
  • Burlap or decorative stripes of paper or fabric
  • Ribbon or Twine cording
I found these tall skinny glasses with the candle inside at the Dollar Tree and bought 12 of them. You can also use pillar candles as mod podge is not flammable but the paper is, so you would need to cut the paper a half inch shorter than the candle

1. To apply the paper. Measure the length of the candle and trim your paper to the exact height or a half inch shorter. Measure around the candle and add a half inch then trim. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge all over the back of the sheet music, flip it around and lay in on the candle, wrapping it around the candle and overlapping on the back side. Work quickly to make sure the edges even up where you want them to at the top of the candle. Since the outside is dry you can grip it to slide it a bit to even it up. Let it set for 30 min. while you work on your other candles.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mini Lemon Tart Recipe

Last weekend I took lemon tarts to a baby shower that my friend hosted. I want to share that recipe here.

I searched high and low and tried several lemon tart recipes. I love them, but didn't want them to taste like dish soap (maybe it's just me, but I get that from some lemon desserts) or curdle when baked. I liked the idea of baking the lemon curd in the pie crust so I didn't have to worry about the crust getting misshapen-ed when it was baking. I combined and tweaked a couple recipes and this is what I came up with.
Makes 72 Tarts
  • 3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB sugar
  • I tsp salt
  • 12 TB (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 C cold shortening ( I buy the Crisco sticks and keep one in the fridge all the time)
  • 1/2 C ice water
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 C. fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dry Erase Plate and Tile Food or Message Markers / Label

So cute! So many uses too. I saw the idea for the message plate at the The House of Smiths Blog and found a tutorial for the Markers from Madigan Made on Pinterest. You really don't need instructions, just a Cricut machine and vinyl. At least that is what I used.

I made the plate out of a square small platter from Walmart a few months ago and have had it on my kitchen counter. To hold it, use a plate stand found at Walmart also.

We use it for phone messages, personal messages and a grocery list. It is also great for company, you can put it in the entry to tell your guests where to put their coats or as a Welcome.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My arm chair project. Chair recover.

Found this baby at goodwill for $5. Sanded and painted it. Supposed to be matte stainless steele color not silver but, Oh Well.
I found my inspiration in a pin on pinterest.

I fell in love with this fabric and started stapling it on the seat. It just wasn't coming out right and I realized that I have nowhere in my house to put a yellow and gray chair, so off the fabric came.
...and sat for about a year.
I went on a girls day trip to Portland Oregon, we stopped at Fabric Depot and I had the most fun looking at fabrics! By then I had decided to go with black and white and found this timeless fabric print! The trim I found at Hobby Lobby and I was back in business. Finally finished my chair as I was recovering from foot surgery last fall. 
I love the way it turned out. It's a bit modern for my house, but it makes me smile when I come home and see it there. That's all that matters.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Paris Theme Graduation Party ~ Parisian

Last June I threw a graduation party for my daughter, she wanted a Paris theme and it turned out really cute so I thought I would share.
She had a large Eiffel Tower topiary in her room that we used to set the theme on the dessert table.
I used a damask print curtain panel for the table cloth and spread a strand of lights over the table and covered them with a sheer white swirl design panel I bought at Walmart. The lights in the Eiffel tower are a strand of battery operated star lights found at Michael's Craft.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tutorial: How to cover an Art Matte with Book Pages

This is my first tutorial, so thanks in advance for any advise.
I had a piece of art in my living room that I really like but the matte has a blush hue and the image has a warmer yellowish hue. They just don't really go together but I love the bead trim on the inside of the matte. I was going to try to find a different image, but then found ideas on Pinterest to use book pages to cover the frame. None of the pins I found had a tutorial so I thought I would try my hand at making one.
I went to my fave thrift store and searched for old books. I was really excited to find one in french! The book itself isn't that old but the pages have the color I wanted.

This is the finished product. It is hard to see the true color, but the book pages are a warm color that accents the image.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Before and After Cafe Chair

I found this metal chair at a thrift store for $5.99. It was pretty ugly with its brown paint and brown vinyl seat, but I could see how cute it could be with the swirl design on the back. At first I wanted to cover the seat in  a swirl design fabric. A year ago I could get it in any color, I even recovered a large ottoman in it for my living room, but now, when I need it, none anywhere. (At least none in the home decor dept of my local fabric store)

I did however find this whimsical black and white fabric with lime green accents, just the colors of my daughters bedroom. I had the green canvas fabric at home for the piping so it was a perfect fit!