Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Does that cupcake not look absolutely yummy? I think so, and it sort of happened by accident. You see, I had to make cupcakes for my youngest to take to preschool. At first I thought all the cupcakes would be chocolate but I thought that I would spare the teachers' nerves and just do vanilla. Plus, it was the only flavor that I had in the pantry. While getting the mix going, I knew that only 12 cupcakes would be going to the preschool so that of course left 12 cupcakes here for us to eat.
Well, I thought that here was my chance to change things up a bit and try something new. I was in the mood for chocolate so after I followed the directions on the back of the box for the vanilla cupcakes I poured half of the mixture into 12 cupcake liners for the preschool, then I decided to play with the remaining mix. I thought, heck, if I screw it up its only 12 cupcakes, right?!
Ok, so with 1/2 of the mixture in the bowl, I added 1/4 cup of cocoa and 3 to 4  tablespoons of coffee.  Mixed it all together and then filled the remaining 12 cupcakes liners with the new chocolate mixture and baked the cupcakes according to the directions on the back of the box.
After the cupcakes cooled, I started on the frosting. I made a basic vanilla buttercream frosting.
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Then I used this frosting to decorate the cupcakes for the preschool and for the frosting that I had left over I added....
    1/3 cup of peanut butter (you may add more, just be careful, the more you add, the thicker the frosting)
    mixed well and frosted the chocolate cupcakes.
    Melted chocolate and drizzled on top.
    That was it, simple and yummy, especially with a glass of milk!
    The cupcakes were moist and the combination of the chocolate and peanut butter were just the trick for my chocolate craving. 
    Let us take one more look......

    Thank goodness that I only had 12 of these and that I shared...........I could have eaten them all, but I didn't.

    Looking forward to baking lots of Christmas goodies soon, there are a few that I make every year. And this year, I am looking forward to surprising some neighbors with some of those goodies too! It is always more fun when you share!

    Do you have any baking traditions at Christmas?

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars

    These are made every year here at Christmas, these are for sure a tradition at Christmas and always have been since I was a little girl.

    They are yummy, oh so yummy and very addictive, gooey, chocolaty, so many rich flavors....so are you ready to make some of your own?

    1 & 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
    1/2 cup of butter, melted
    Mix the above ingredients and press into a 9 x 13 dish, lined with foil or parchment or sprayed with cooking spray.

    Then layer in order the below ingredients on top of the graham cracker layer:
    1 cup of butterscotch flavored chips
    1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 & 1/3 cups of coconut (I use the coconut in the freezer section, just let thaw first)
    1 cup of chopped nuts (I use pecans)

    After all the ingredients are layered, drizzle 1 (14oz.)can of sweetened condensed milk (yes, the entire can) over the bars.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

    And of course they are great with a glass of milk. Can you tell that I have  a major sweet tooth?

    Just one more look at this fabulous treat... (oh and these are one of the treats that I will be sharing with a few neighbors, I hope they enjoy them!)

    Sunday, December 16, 2012

    DIY Beverage Tags


    I absolutely love Ballard Designs, the design is so me and I could go crazy with the plastic if given the chance!

    One day while browsing through the magazine I came across these beverage tags.

    The price in the catalog was $18 for a set of 6, which is a very reasonable price, but I thought to myself that it would be fun to try and make them myself.

    I started off my visiting my local Michael's store, I picked out the tags and headed home.

    I had some black rub-on letters in my scrapbooking supplies and thought that would be perfect for the words on the tags. 
    They went on well, but you just had to be careful to go slow and take your time because the texture of the tag was a little rigid and you have to be sure to get the entire letter onto your tag or it would be hard to line up the portion of the letter that didn't go on the first time.
    After all the words were on the tags, I decided to add some scrapbook paper to the back of the tag, mostly because the price sticker for the tag was stuck to the back and I could not remove it completely and this solution took care of that ugly problem. I used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the back.
    There was one tag that I did not have a word for, so I thought that by covering the tag in a Chalkboard sticker would be cool, that way the host could use it for any beverage just by writing in chalk the name of the beverage on the tag.
    To age the tags a little, I used Ranger Distress Ink in Frayed Burlap around the edges of the tag till I got the look I was going for.
    Then I covered each tag with 2 layers of Mod Podge, allowing each layer to dry in between coats. Then added twine to hang the tags.  And I must say I love the results!
    The tags are so cute on the pitcher! I made these as a  Christmas gift for a special person, I hope she likes them!
    The tags are perfect for a gathering of friends at home, a bridal or baby shower or even a family BBQ in the backyard.
    Have you been making any Christmas gifts for friends and family?

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Fall Mantle

    Since the fall decor will be coming down very shortly, I just thought that maybe I should share it with you guys.  Yes, I know it is not even Thanksgiving, but I cannot help it! I love Christmas and the only reason I have not decorated my house by now is the fact that I am determined to clean the windows and blinds in our home first! So you can imagine what the next two days for me will be like. Would anyone like to help? I didn't think so....

    Anyway, the mantle
     The ball of flowers on the candlestick, I made last year, just hot glued some fall flowers to a styrofoam ball.
    Sorry about the bright sunshine, it was a really bright day, and I dislike my camera, but the one I have now at least takes photos.....I am hoping Santa has been listening to all my talk about wanting a new camera...;)  Well, where was I,  the berries will stay and goes well with my Christmas decor, which I love. It is so nice to have items in your home that you can use for many seasons, don't you think?
    Now I just gotta get those darn windows cleaned but the motivation is there so I better get on it!

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    DIY Memo Board


    My Sister had a birthday a few months ago and I decided to make her a little something, a memo board.

    I had this really great fabric that I had been wanting to use but just did not know exactly where to use it, well this project was perfect for this fabric!

    For the board, I used the cut off section from the top of this desk.  
    Then I cut the burlap to fit the board with enough to wrap around and be stapled on the back.
    Then I measured and cut my favorite fabric to make pockets that fit the entire length plus some to wrap around the back of the board. You could use any size pockets you wish, for this project I used enough fabric to make 2 pockets but you can make just one if you like. That is what is so great about a project like this, you can make it however you wish!

    Before I cut the fabric, I folded the fabric over onto itself, so the printed side would be on the outside and inside of the pocket. For the edge of the fabric that I trimmed I began by folding over 1/2"  and pinned into place, then ironed into place.
    Like I mentioned earlier, I made 2 pockets so I just repeated the step above. After both were cut and ironed,  I sewed a 1/4inch hem to the top (folded end) of the fabric, just to hold everything in place and to give it a finished look. Then, I pinned the layers of fabric, one slightly overlapping the other and pinned into place onto the burlap.  I pinned along the sides and bottom of both fabric pieces, to hold them into place so I could sew them to the burlap.

    Then I sewed the fabric into place, the bottom of both pieces and the sides, Remember not to sew the tops of either pocket to the burlap, you want to be able to put items into your pockets.:)

    Still sewing the pockets into place, the bottom of each pocket and then up the sides of both pockets.
    Once your fabric pockets have been sewn to the burlap, lay the burlap top side down and put your board on top. Make sure everything is correct,(even, no ripples in the burlap, etc. then gently pick up your board and spray it with spray glue, I used Elmer's spray glue. Then lay it on the burlap, flip it over and make any adjustments you may need to, to get the material even or flat. Then flip it over again and wrap the material over the edges and staple into place. Start in the middle then do the corners last. Do this like you would wrap a present. 
    Once it has been stapled you are finished!! Yes, I had to use a small hammer to hammer in some of the staples.
    Any then you have a cute custom Memo Board!!

    This being my first time trying this without any instructions to go by, I thought turned out pretty good. A project like this has many options and you can customize it to your individual taste. My intentions were for the material to line up but it didn't and I still think it looks good. I thought the fabric was perfect for this since it had the mail stamps on it!

    What have you been crafting?

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Pencil Holders

    Since I have been trying to change the decor in our boys' rooms, I wanted to add a new pencil holder to each desk. The boys love to draw and write so I new this was a must for their rooms.

    For each pencil holder I used an old small Similac formula can. Keep in mind that it has been about 5 years since I needed to use formula so I am not sure if the company still uses cans or if they have gone to plastic containers. Anyway, I kept a few in a craft container for a future project and now I have gotten around to putting them to good use!

    For the first pencil holder I used an old pair of blue jeans and the Similac can.

    I began by inserting the can into the bottom of the leg of the jeans and pushed the can all the way up into the leg and then cut across the leg of the jeans. (I cut a little extra more than what covered the can just to make sure that I had enough to cover the can, I cut off the extra after the project was completed).

    After the jeans are cut off, I had a little extra around and needed to cut down the back of the jeans and I hot glued the jeans to the can, so the seam (where I cut the jeans) would be at the back of the can. Here is what it looked like after I cut the blue jean material to fit and hot glued it on the can and trimmed the material at the top of the can.
    At this point you could leave it like this but I wanted a little something extra, so I cut out the pocket on the back of the jeans.
    Then I hot glued the pocket to the blue jean material on the can.
    For the next pencil holder I used the same Similac can and sisal I bought from Lowes
    Then I hot glued the sisal around the can until the can was covered in sisal rope, Be careful!! You could burn your fingers doing this! Trust me on this one! 
    Here is the finished holder
    So what holds your pencils?

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Sweet Potato Pie

    When fall arrives I automatically think falling leaves, cooler temps, pumpkins, Halloween, Thanksgiving, homemade soup, pecan pie and sweet potato pie.
    I'm sure that most people know how to make this lovely pie, it is so easy! But just in case you have not had the pleasure of tasting sweet potato pie, here is the recipe. This recipe is one that I came up with using 3 different recipes as examples in an old country church cookbook. Some of their ingredients I left out or added more either way here is my version.
    I use ready made pie crust from the grocery store, I hope one day to try it with homemade pie crust. The crust that I use is Pillsbury and it is the pack with 2 9" pie crusts in the tins. (regular shell, not deep dish)
     Sweet Potato Pie
    2 9" pie shells, uncooked
    3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes, cooked
    1 stick unsalted butter, melted
    1 & 1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 can of evaporated milk
    2 tsp. vanilla (sometimes I feel the urge and add and extra tsp.)
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    I cook my sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees  on a baking sheet lined with foil. They are finished cooking when the potatoes are soft when you mash them with your fingers.

    Mix all the ingredients together and pour into the pie shells. (it makes 2 pies) Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.   Take out of the oven and let sit until cool. Enjoy!

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Lego Manual Notebook

    I don't know about you guys, but around here, Lego is big! Lego's everywhere and it seems that every time I vacuum I pick up lots of little Lego's before the vacuum sucks them away or the vacuum does actually suck them away and then the fun begins, picking through the dust and crap the vacuum sucked up looking for those little Lego's.

    If Lego's are laying around, then the manuals are as well. After all, if you aren't building with your imagination (which happens alot, kids come up with some awesome buildings and vehicles!) then the manuals are out being used. The manuals are tough to keep neat if you ask me, I have tried putting them in tubs with the Lego's that go with the manual and somehow they never seem to make it back into the correct tub and the pages begin to wrinkle and if you want to be able to build it correctly you more than likely need the manual (at least for the more complex sets). Which got me thinking that I needed to come up with a way to make organizing these manuals an easy and simple process.

    My solution:

    A 3-Ring Binder (with the clear plastic pocket on the front/back & side), Lego Logos (from a Lego box) and some cute American Crafts paper. I cut the paper to fit in the front of the binder and a small slender piece for the spine of the notebook. I glued the Lego logo to the middle of both papers.

    I slid both papers into the notebook, added some plastic page protectors and inserted all the manuals into the page protectors. (I made sure to put sets together  and inserted at least 2 manuals into each protector, one for the front and one for the back of the protector)


    For this notebook, I used 25 page protectors and all but 4 are filled and I believe I will have to upgrade to a larger ring binder....
    I have to say that it has worked out well, so far. If it continues to work well and the boys keep the manuals in the binder then, I may organize it more by adding sections and labels to be more specific and make it easier to find a particular manual, for example: a section for trucks, police, homes, fire, etc. and alphabetize them. 
    Also, I am considering a new method for the Lego's as well, should I keep all sets separate or separate the Lego's out by color and have a bin for each color? Do you guys have a method for sorting/storing Lego's?

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Halloween Wreath

    Yeah, I know that Halloween is still over a month away, but I just wanted to get everything ready so when Oct. 1st arrived, all I had to do was take my fall wreath down and replace it with this one.

    To make my wreath, I began by recycling this grapevine wreath, I just removed all the flowers, twigs, etc. and since the grapevine wreath was still in good shape, I decided to use it again this year as the base for my Halloween wreath. I spray painted the wreath with gloss black spray paint (love it!).

    After the wreath was dry, I gathered a few items, paint, plastic Halloween goodies and black duck tape.

    Here is a close up of the paint I used, Martha Stewart glitter craft paint from Michaels (love that stuff!) and orange acrylic paint I picked up at Wal-Mart a while back.

    I painted several spiders, a bat and a skeleton and left to dry.

    For the "Boo To You" I used Hemp Cord from Wal-Mart as the string to hold the banner together and made the flags out of the black duck tape. I folded the tape over the cord and cut a V into the bottom of the flag. I used my Cricut to cut the letters, then glued the letters onto the duck tape and tied the banner onto my wreath.

    I knew that my wreath still needed a little something, so I used more of the Hemp Cord, this time in white and made a spider web. I cut the cord into lengths that I wanted and placed them into the shape of a spider web on top of wax paper, then used a paint brush and painted regular school glue on the cord to hold the web shape together. After it dried I peeled it off the wax paper and hot glued it onto my wreath.

    After placing the web on the wreath I filled in spaces with the painted Halloween spiders and bats.

     The completed project:
    Linking up: ItsyBitsyPaperBlog 2012 Wickedly Creative Halloween Ideas Linky Party, TatertotsandJello & BrassyApple

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Fall Dining Room Table

    Simple fall decor for our dining room. Fall flowers, leaves and pumpkins.  The burlap runner, I made sometime last year, it was my first sewing project with my new sewing machine that my husband got me for Christmas (the year before). The flowers in the urn came from Target a few years ago and the vine of leaves came from Hobby Lobby last year.

    The pumpkins came from Wal-Mart last year made my Better Homes and Gardens (it was a box of assorted pumpkins). The bronze pumpkins you see in the photo above and below were Dollar Store pumpkins that I spray painted bronze and after they dried I spray painted a coat of glitter spray on top to add a little shimmer.
    I love looking around my home, seeing fall decor,smelling the apple pie baking in the oven, which was eaten devoured before I could snap a photo. Now if we could just get some cooler temps to make it "feel" like fall.

    Stay tuned...more fall decor to come!