Archive for December 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pizza Dough Seasoning


It is no secret we are fans of King Arthur Flour. We love their recipes and all of their products. We keep joking about putting in a bulk order from them, but deep down we are not joking at all. We wish our pantries were stocked full of their yummy goodness.

One of our favorite items is their Pizza Dough Flavor. We love adding it for that extra zip in our pizzas. Unfortunately, we ran out. Too impatient to wait for another order with shipping and all, we headed to our local grocery store and made our very own pizza flavor seasoning. It is super simple and not that expensive to make.

Here is what we used:

8 Tablespoons of cheddar cheese powder (you can use either white or yellow)
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 heaping Tablespoon of Italian seasoning


Mix it all together in a bowl and then store in a small jar or zip-top bag. Just add a Tablespoon or so to your pizza dough recipe when you are mixing and you will have one extra tasty crust.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

thoris designs giveaway

We are so excited that Thoris Designs has decided to sponsor a giveaway on our site! If you haven't seen her designs before, you need to check them out. Thoris Designs has a great etsy shop filled with everything from handmade hats, scarves and cowls, to jewelry and hair accessories. Love it!

Take a look at this adorable dinosaur hat. I know my 5 year old would love to sport this around.


And something tells me my little 2 month old would be super adorable in a fuzzy hat like this one....in a smaller size of course!


Well, lucky for you, one of these adorable items, or one of countless other items in her shop could be yours. One lucky winner may choose any item worth up to $35 OR may apply $35 to any item in the shop! How great is that? Pretty sure I could easily spend $35 at her store! So, for one entry go to Thoris Designs shop and then come back here and tell us what your favorite item is. For a second entry, become a fan of ours on facebook and leave a separate comment telling us you're a fan. Good luck! The giveaway will close January 5th at 11:59 pm PST.

As an extra bonus, Thoris Designs is offering a special deal for our readers. If you place an order at her shop and put "little birdies" in the message to seller box, she'll refund the shipping price for free shipping!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ribbon Jar

We LOVE ribbon. I know, you're probably asking "What don't you love?", but we do. Between the the three of us, we could open up a small ribbon store. The thing is--you NEED ribbon. So many projects call for it. It is a necessity--right up there with buttons, fabric and Mod Podge. You can't just have one spool of ribbon.



Well, one of the challenges with having a lot of ribbon is how and where to store it. It's all fine and dandy when they are nice and neat on the spool, but what about all those little scraps? Where are you going to keep those? Never ones to walk away from a good challenge, we decided to turn some empty jars into ribbon jars. You like? We found this vintage label at The Graphics Fairy. She is one amazing lady with gorgeous graphics. Now our massive amounts of loose ribbon is neatly put away in the craft closets making our husbands quite happy with one less thing laying out and about.


Nicole Heady has another way to store all those loose ribbons especially for those with shelves that can display your stash. We love this look and think we may have to pick up a few wood clothes pins ourselves and some shelves to display them on. Honestly, if your ribbon stash looked this cute would you be able to hide it in a craft closet? I know we couldn't. She has this wonderful tutorial on how you can make this ribbon jar. This would also make a fantastic gift for any crafter.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

washer necklaces


We've been having a lot of fun this past year making these adorable washer necklaces. They are pretty inexpensive to make and you can make them to match any wardrobe.

Supplies:
Washers
Scrapbook paper
E6000
Diamond Glaze or Crystal Effects or similar product
Hole punch or Exacto Knife
Leather necklace
Nail File or Emory Board


If you have a hole punch the same size as your washer you can punch out the paper. If you do not, the glue the washer to the backside of the paper you want and then after it dries, use the Exacto knife to cut out the washer and the center holes. Be sure to use a brayer or something similar to get any air bubbles out. You want to make sure that the paper is glued down flat to the washer.





Next, take a nail file and gently file the edges to smooth it out and if you have a smaller file (these can be found at scrapbook stores or craft stores) carefully file out the center hole too.



Your washers should now look like this.


The next step is to apply the Diamond Glaze. Follow the bottle's instructions and add the glaze to the washers.



When the glaze dries, your new "pendants" are ready to be added to a nice leather necklace for a unique fashion accessory. The best part is that you can change out your pendants to match whatever outfit you are wearing that day so make a few in different styles and colors for variety.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Klutz Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered our Klutz Fancy Friendship Bracelets giveaway. The winner of two of these books is....

Unique2wh0

Congrats! We will be emailing you to notify you. Merry Christmas!

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Apple Pancake-Dutch Baby



Looking for a quick and impressive breakfast? Try this Apple Oven Pancake. We got this recipe from Sunset Magazine and fell in love. We tweaked it slightly to work for us and our favorite part is how quick they are to make.

Ingredients:
Sliced apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon (we just use two shakes of our cinnamon shaker)
3 Tablespoons butter melted (If it is not melted you can just toss it in the pie pan while the oven is preheating--that is what we did)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the brown sugar, cinnamon, apples, and butter in your pie pan and bake in the oven until your apples are soft. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes.




While your apples are cooking place the flour, milk and eggs in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer. If you want you can also put all these ingredients in a blender and mix.


When apples are warm and soft, add the rest of the ingredients to your pie pan and bake in your oven for 15 minutes.



Cut up like a pie and serve with warm syrup or powdered sugar and lemon juice. Yum!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

holiday recipes

In my family growing up we had a tradition that I loved. On Christmas Eve my mom would make a bunch of appetizers, snacks, and sweets and we would just munch on them all throughout the day. No particular meals were planned, we just snacked. Then, on Christmas day my mom would make a nice dinner.

I loved the variety of foods we got to taste and some were such favorites that they made an appearance every year. This year I have been planning what foods to make for my family on Christmas eve. We are still narrowing it down, but here are some of our favorites.

One thing we have to make each year are my mom's Sloppy Joe Turnovers. Remember these?


Another thing I love to make is English Toffee, a recipe from my Aunt.


English Toffee

1 cup sugar
1/2 lb (2 cubes) butter or margarine
2 T. water
1/2 bag milk chocolate chips or 5 Hershey bars
finely chopped walnuts, optional

Cook sugar, butter, and water over medium-high heat stirring constantly until golden brown (this happens very quickly so keep your eye on it). If butter separates just keep going, it will go back together. Part butter and part margarine separates less than all butter. Pour quickly onto an ungreased cookie sheet. While hot, sprinkle chocolate on top of candy. Wait a minute or two for the chocolate to soften then spread evenly with a knife. Top with nuts, if desired. When cool break into small pieces and eat like crazy!



And another favorite at my house, and probably at your house too, are Oreo Balls. They are kind of like cake pops...maybe even a little better!

Oreo Balls
1 package Oreos
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 package dipping chocolate

Crush Oreos in a food processor until very fine (you could also use a blender). Mix in the cream cheese. Form into 1" balls and chill for 1 hour. Melt chocolate and dip the balls. Set on wax paper to cool. Drizzle with melted white chocolate, if desired. Refrigerate.



For something new this year, these chocolate candy cane cookies from The Pioneer Woman look absolutely divine! I might have to give them a try. Enjoy your holiday cooking!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

christmas applique tea towels

Another quick and easy neighbor or teacher gift for all you last minute crafters! I cut Christmas trees out of fabric using my Slice machine and the Fa La La design card (did you know that thing could cut fabric? Sweet!) and appliqued them on flour sack dish towels, which I found in a pack of 5 for $5.50 at WalMart. This is a fun way to use up your fabric scraps--they don't even have to be Christmas patterns. Green and red will do! Then I added a little ribbon, trim, and buttons. Seriously, the hardest part was threading the needle to sew on the buttons!






The only trick to know about cutting fabric with your Slice is that you need to iron on some Heat 'n Bond iron-on adhesive on the back first. Leave the paper on the back while you cut, then peel it off and iron your shape on your fabric. I use the Heat 'n Bond Lite so I can zig zag stitch around the shape. But if you don't own a sewing machine, you could still do this project using the no-sew Heat 'n Bond Ultrahold. They even have it in tape for the ribbon! When cutting fabric with the Slice, I think the less intricate your shape, the better. If you have a Slice, you have got to try this!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

mini calendar magnets

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I know, I know, some of our recent tutorials are really cutting it a little too close to Christmas. The problem is that we are documenting our real life adventures in crafting, which means we don't often do things very far in advance! So we apologize if you love an idea you see here but don't have enough time to make it before Christmas. I guess you'll just have to bookmark it for next year! Or, if you're really behind, this is a last minute neighbor gift that you could give as a 'Happy New Year' gift and totally get away with it!

Mini Calendar Magnet Tutorial


Supplies you'll need:
*Mini calendars--look for these at office supply stores. We found ours online at SkyBluePink.com. Or make your own by printing mini calendars and making a pad using padding compound and our tutorial
*Chipboard cut to 4"x4" (you could use a cereal box for this, too)
*Patterned paper
*Paper trimmer
*Craft glue or Mod Podge
*Exacto knife & mat
*File or fine sandpaper
*Ribbon, buttons, etc. for embellishing
*Crop-A-Dile (optional)
*Corner Chomper (optional)
*Magnet

(Sorry for the weird pictures. I've been crafting at night and the light in my house just isn't right for photography! Also, I have weird spots on all my photos, and I've cleaned my lens. I think they're on the inside. Any suggestions out there?)

Okay, let's get started!

1. Cut your chipboard to 4"x4". Cut your coordinating paper to match. Gather your embellishments.


2. Glue your paper to the chipboard. I love Tombow's Mono Multi Liquid Glue. I usually apply my glue to the chipboard rather than to the paper.


3. Smooth your paper on the chipboard.


4. Turn over and use an Exacto knife to clean up any overhanging paper edges. If you want to, round your corners using the Corner Chomper. Or leave them as is.



5. Lightly sand your edges in a downward motion with a file to make the paper become one with the chipboard.


6. Adhere your calendar to chipboard.


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fancy Friendship Bracelets Review and Giveaway


By now you probably know that we are fans of Klutz. Well, they recently sent us a copy of their Fancy Friendship Bracelets book and we were not disappointed. We love this book. We thought the pictures in the book were great and the directions easy to follow. They also have a nice variety of styles you can choose to make so each friendship bracelet can have its own personality. We thought the instructions on how to make each bracelet were clear and there were lots of nice step by step pictures. As usual, we think the best part of the book is that you have the supplies right there so you can start right away on your project.


My nine year old daughter and her cousins love making friendship bracelets so this is the perfect book for her. It was hard to let her have a go with the book because I was so interested in learning the different knots and how to incorporate beads into a bracelet myself-ha! I know I could have used this when I was a kid making bracelets for my friends.

Well, since this is the season of giving- Little Birdie Secrets and Klutz are partnering up to give one lucky reader TWO copies of this great book. One copy for them to keep for themselves and one copy for them to give away. Just head on over to Klutz and find another book that you think looks interesting. Come back here and comment on this post with the title of that other book and you are in. For a second entry, become a fan of ours on Facebook and then leave us a separate comment telling us you are a fan. This contest will end a week from today. Good luck!


Little Birdie Secrets received a copy of this book to review. We were not compensated in any other way. The opinions in this post are our own. We really do love Klutz books.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

little birdie ornaments



We were so excited to find this idea from Living the Swell Life to make these darling birdie ornaments! We cut out our own similar pattern on thin chipboard and used sheet music patterned paper from October Afternoon (instead of decoupaging small pieces of real sheet music). But we did use Mod Podge! We also tried our gold shimmer Mod Podge which is gorgeous. it gives it a nice gold shimmer that is very subtle but pretty. We also added a small jingle ball on a jump ring for extra cuteness. These make great ornaments or gift tags!

Silver glitter wing


Felt & button wing


Antique gold wing with gold shimmer Mod Podge (it's hard to see in the picture, but it is so pretty in real life!)


Red glitter wing with gold shimmer Mod Podge

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

easy photo blocks & tiles


SPOILER ALERT! If you're the grandparent of the children in this photo, turn away from your computer screen now! If it's too late, will you please e-mail me what size you'd like? Yes, this is what the grandparents are getting for Christmas this year. And you won't believe how cheap and easy (and fun) they were to make!

Photo Block Tutorial

What you'll need:

*Block of wood--ours measure about 5.5"x5.5"
*Acrylic paint or spray paint
*Acrylic gel stain (optional)
*Fine sandpaper
*Distressing file (optional--can use sandpaper instead)
*Foam brushes (at least one wide brush)
*Mod Podge
*Photo that will fit on your block (IMPORTANT-ink jet printed photos will not work. Get a professional print with a matte or lustre finish-not glossy!)
*Patterned paper
*Ribbon
*Ribbon slide or other embellishment (optional)

1. Cut and route your blocks. Stacy bought a board at Home Depot and they graciously cut it for her for free (although she thinks they weren't supposed to). Then her husband routed the edges, but this isn't necessary if you don't have access to a router. You could also check craft stores for pre-cut and sanded wood blocks. Paint your blocks--do a nice job on the sides and back. The front doesn't matter much. Sand the edges for a shabby look. I applied a gel stain on top of the sanded edges to finish them.


2. Cut your photo to fit on top. I started with a 5" wide photo. Using a foam brush, apply a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the photo. Place on block and smooth down with the side of your hand. Allow to dry about 10 minutes.


3. Using a distressing file or fine sandpaper, lightly sand the edges in a downward motion to make the photo become one with your block. Be careful not to rip the edges!


4. With a wide foam brush, apply a thick line of Mod Podge.


Brush across in a horizontal direction to cover photo with Mod Podge.


Then, WITHOUT applying more Mod Podge, brush in a vertical motion. This will give your photo some texture, like it's printed on a canvas.


Allow to dry about 15 minutes.


5. Measure and cut a piece of patterned paper for the bottom of your block. Using more Mod Podge, adhere it to the block. I didn't apply Mod Podge to the top of the paper, but you could if you wanted.


6. Attach coordinating ribbon, ric rac, or other trim around middle where photo and paper meet. This will hide the line. I used Glue Dots to stick my ribbon on, but a double-sided tape like Tacky Tape would work as well. I also used ribbon slides from Stampin' Up!'s Hodge Podge Hardware set to dress mine up. Making Memories used to make these, too, but they're getting harder to find!






That's it--you're done! The great thing about these blocks is that they stand up on their own. Instant home decor, and cheaper than a photo frame!


An alternative to the wood block is a tile, as in the ceramic tiles you find in home improvement stores. Thanks to our friend Andrea Sorensen for this great idea! Use the same technique used in the photo block tutorial (minus the painting and sanding). These range in size, but we like the 6"x6" tile, the 8"x10" tile, and the 12"x12" tile. You will need a small easel to hold your tile.

This is the 6x6 tile.


This is an 8x10 tile.



Here are a few that Stacy made on 6x6 tiles. I love the embellishments she used in place of the ribbon slides. You could use anything in place of them--buttons, flowers, bows, metal embellishments, monogram letters, chipboard accents. . .



Merry Christmas, Mom & Dad!

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