Archive for March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

peanut wraps

My dear friend, Erin recently shared this recipe with me and I was immediately in love. Here is what she says about the recipe, "I got this recipe from my mother-in-law about a year ago and it quickly became one of our favorites. We make it on a fairly regular basis and it has never failed us. Ever. It has the perfect amount of crunch, is delicious served hot or cold, and the peanut sauce always leaves me licking my plate like the lady I am. It's that good." See, now you know why I love the recipe (and her).

Peanut Wraps

1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbs cooking oil (I use peanut oil)
4 cups broccoli slaw (I use one bag and it works fine)
1 medium red onion (I skip this if we don't have it or use a white onion and it's still delish)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy work, I kind of like crunchy for the added crunch)
3 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs water
3 tbs cooking oil
1 or 2 cloves freshly pressed garlic cloves (sometimes I just use garlic powder)

Season chicken strips with garlic salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil on medium-high until no pink left. Put aside and keep warm.
In same skillet add broccoli mix, onion, and ginger. Cook until crisp but tender.

Make peanut sauce while veggies cook. In a small saucepan combine sauce ingredients, heat and stir until dissolved.

Serve by layering the veggies, chicken, and sauce in a tortilla. Wrap it up. Eat it up. Lick your plate.
Makes 6-8 wraps. (Makes a great salad too!)

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

quick monster birthday card {under 10 minutes}

Recently we sponsored a giveaway for one of our awesome sponsors, Buttons and Badges. I couldn't enter, so I went right over to their Etsy shop and ordered those adorable monster buttons. I love them! I had them do half in flat back and half as pins so I could give the pins to my boys for little prizes (they love them, too). This week my 5-year-old went to a birthday party and I was so happy I had some of these cuties to throw together the quickest birthday card ever!

I simply cut a square piece of patterned card stock and punched a 1.25" circle just off-center. Then I added pop dots (dimensional adhesive dots) to the back to give it some depth. Next I pinned the the monster pin to the card just inside the circle and added a little piece of ribbon with staples underneath it. Voila. Now it's a card and a little prize! I would've added a little happy birthday stamp, but I was seriously running out the door. I did write, "Hope you have a monstrously fun birthday!" inside. Close enough.

Jessica and I are planning some more fun card-related posts and link-ups in the near future, and I'm also working on a tutorial for this pretty card organizer, so card makers, stay tuned!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

canvas map wall decor {guest tutorial}

Our guest post today is from an awesome craft blogger / interior designer that we can't wait to share with you! Her blog is not just inspirational but instructional, too, because sometimes we need someone to tell us how to make our ideas happen, right? This is one of my favorite projects she's done--it's on my project list and I'm betting it will be on yours, too. Enjoy!

I am so excited to do a guest post for Mandy and Jessica!

I'm Selina from Creative Juices D├ęcor. What you will find on my blog is lots of inspiration for all your Creative Juices! I am an interior designer by degree and LOVE home design/decorating, thrift store shopping, healthy recipes and crafting. I have 3 young kids so I also have fun crafts for them too. Come stop by, I think you’ll be inspired!

Today I am going to show you how I turned a $2.00 thrift store map into a large piece of art!

large map wall decor

map wall decor2

This project was inspired by wanting a large piece of art (on the cheap!) for my 7 year old son’s room. I had picked up this map from the thrift store for $2 and knew if I got my Creative Juices flowing I could figure a great way to use it! I went to Michaels and picked up a bunch of canvases at 40% off. I spent $29.00 on all 12.

Next I spray painted the edges with a left over blue from a previous project. I am a sucker for anything AGED looking so I lightly spray painted some brown on the edges too.

Once dry, I brushed on some Mod Podge and attached my cut out map pieces.
map wall decor
Once that dried (I turned them over to add some weight to the drying process) I wanted to age the edges just a little more so I took out my inking pad, or chalk pad, and “aged” the edges. I also put a little brown glaze on the map itself to try to give it some more character. Anyway, once dry I came back and put Mod Podge over the top, quite thick, and in criss-cross strokes.

VOILA!!! Really, that wasn’t too hard. Now I have a BIG piece of wall art for under $35.00!

map wall decor2


Stay creative with me folks – even if you didn’t find a map at a thrift store you could take this same technique and make a large canvas art display. Just apply Mod Podge to your photos and apply it to the canvas. It makes it look like a designer print on canvas. The possibilities are endless. How about cutting out a favorite fabric and applying that to the canvas?

map wall decor

Thank you LittleBirdieSecrets!

I'd LOVE it if you readers would stop by and say hi! Smile I have a few fun pottery barn knockoffs and mod podged transformations I know will get your creative juices flowing!


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

citrus sugar tutorial {sunshine and spring}

I couldn't believe all the comments on our friend Jennifer's Vanilla Sugar recipe post! It was so fun to read all the stories of people who have lived or do live in Germany. So when I heard Jennifer was making lemon and orange flavored sugars, I told her we needed a tutorial for that, too, please! And she delivered. Yum!

Citrus Sugar Tutorial

My family loves the vanilla sugar that I made a few weeks ago. My daughter uses it on fresh strawberries and says that they taste like strawberries and whipped cream. I liked it so much that I was anxious to try some other flavored sugars. The idea came to me while I was making orange curd. My recipe called for me to mix the zest of an orange into sugar, mashing them together well. The orange smelled so heavenly that I added a little more sugar and worked the orange zest and sugar together until the sugar was completely integrated with the orange. I spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven on low to dry out. Yum, it tasted really good, but the sugar had big crystals that clumped together.

The second time I made it I used the zest of 1 lemon and about 2 cups of sugar. I put the rind and the sugar into my blender and started to mix it. I could tell right away that the zest wasn’t going to mix well with the sugar, so I dumped it into a bowl and mixed it together with a rubber spatula. It smelled so heavenly while I was making it, it smelled like sunshine and spring. Once I got it mixed together well, I spread it on a cookie sheet and let it set out to dry. My clumped together sugar crystals were much smaller and the yellow lemon rind looked beautiful in the sugar. It also tasted wonderful. I’ve used this on fresh fruit and my morning oatmeal It’s really tempting just to sprinkle this in my hand and lick it. It really is that good.


Zest one lemon.

Mix the zest with 2 cups of granulated sugar. Mix with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula until the zest is completely integrated with the sugar.

Spread on a cookie sheet and let dry.

Break up any large crystals with the back of a spoon. Store in a sprinkle container with medium sized holes. You can sprinkle it on anything that you would normally sprinkle sugar on.

What do you put your flavored sugars on?

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Friday, March 25, 2011

scalloped lid treat boxes {the new thank you card}

I'm calling these the new 'thank you' card because I really wanted to make them for my friends who spoiled me on my birthday. A little extra love for their sweetness! And I LOVE this box pattern! If you have a Silhouette machine, you can find it in the online store in Lori Whitlock's designs (LOVE all her stuff). It's this box: adorable_box_4_C00383_20509 2/02/2010. I printed some of the paper using digital paper from Cosmo Cricket and Creativity by Crystal, two of my favorite designers. Crystal's having a sale through the end of March on her darling papers--check out her blog for the info!

Silhouette tip: I resized the the pattern until the bottom part of the box almost completely filled the cutting area. Next I released the compound path. Then I selected the box top and grouped those pieces back together and moved it off the cutting area. This is an important step in resizing. If you resize the top and bottom of the box separately, the top will not fit the bottom when it's done!

Look how pretty this flower looks on top! The recipient of this box gave me a gorgeous bouquet of these flowers to use as embellishments. Isn't that a fabulous idea? And so appreciated! So she got one back. :)

Here is her other gift to me, wrapped up with one of the flowers on top.

Back to the boxes. I added a tag and some ribbon,

and filled the boxes with cookies. Yum!

Thank you, you darling girls, for the best birthday ever!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

spring card inspiration {help me find a sentiment}

Spring has sprung! My daffodils have popped up, I wake up to birds chirping outside my window, and everything is coming alive. It inspired me to dust off my card-making supplies!

Using my Big Shot Die Cutting Machine, I made this card.

I just had to use my Perfect Polka Dot Impressions folder. I love it so much! It adds a wonderful, overall texture to the card. In the middle on the patterned paper, I used the Top Note Stampin' Up! Bigz Die. And the bird flair button? Love. I have quite the obsession with flair buttons. So adorable.

The only thing I am missing is a sentiment of some sort in the bottom right hand corner. That's where I need your help. What occasion do you think this card should be for? Happy Spring, Thank You, Easter, Friendship, Baby? I'd love to hear what you would use it for.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

we are who we are {superstars}

Every once in a while we get a really nice e-mail from someone telling us they've linked to our blog or shared us with their magazine readers, and boy does it make us feel good! So imagine how amazing it was to get three great shout-outs in one week!

First we found out we've been named as a Top 50 Craft Blog by! And we ranked #2 in the Best for Mom's category, which is seriously cool! If you haven't been to Babble before, check it out. It is an awesome parenting Web site that really tells it as it is with brutal honesty and humor, plus lots of great resources for moms.

The next piece of good news is that some of our projects have been featured in a new ebook, Save On Scrapbooking Now! How cool is that? It's a whole book of Internet resources for scrapbooking aimed at helping you create magazine worthy pages at a fraction of the cost and with minimal supplies and tools. Um, yes please!

We are really excited to be mentioned in the upcoming issue of Homestyle Sewing, too! This darling magazine is out of the UK, but hopefully we'll be able to find it in the US. It will be out next month--go to their Facebook page for updates!

Yeah, we pretty much feel like superstars. ;)

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Friday, March 18, 2011

raspberry or strawberry free crochet pattern {and a crochet hat head size chart}

How adorable is this little raspberry? My friend Melynie told me she heard that over and over when she was out shopping, but I didn't quite believe it until we went to the grocery store together. Seriously, I don't know how she gets any shopping done when her little sweetie is wearing this hat! We were stopped by so many people who wanted to talk about how cute she was in it.

It started with this pumpkin hat I shared with you in the fall.

I loved the idea of making a hat that wasn't worked in the round. This little strawberry uses the same stitch as the raspberry hat above, but it doesn't have the scalloped edge, and the stem is replaced by little leaves.

I delivered this delightful pink strawberry hat to a friend who just had the CUTEST baby girl--can't wait to see it on her!

Do you love it or what? It's a perfect spring hat for baby. You can find the pattern below, plus a step-by-step tutorial showing how to join a new color of yarn to your project, and a hat size chart you can use to determine how big to make hats for different ages. Happy spring!

Strawberry or Raspberry Crochet Hat Pattern

This pattern is for size 0 - 3+ months. You can adjust the pattern for the size of your choice using the head size chart at the end of this post. Just change the number of stitches and rows until it reaches the number of inches specified in the chart.

Size I/5.5 hook, size G/6.0
Red or pink worsted weight yarn for berry
Green worsted weight yarn for stem
Yellow or white worsted weight yarn for strawberry seeds

Stitches used: Sc, dc, sl st, seed st
Seed stitch: (sc in next st, dc in next st) across

Ch 39.
Row 1: Seed st: (Sc in 1st st, dc in next st) across. Ch 1, turn.
Rows 2 - 28: Seed st: (Sc in 1st st, dc in next st) across.

Your piece should be a rectangle approximately 4" high by 14" long. Continue to scalloped edge if desired, or to finishing step if no scallop is desired. Don't fasten off yet.

Scalloped edge: For a less prominent scallop (like pink example), change to a G hook now. For a more noticeable scallop, keep working with your I hook.

Ch 1, turn. Begin working scallop stitch along long side of piece: (Sk st, 3 dc in next st, sk st, sl st in next) across. Don't fasten off yet.


If you're making a strawberry hat, use a yarn needle and your yellow or white yarn to make small, evenly spaced stitches from back to front to create seeds. On the red strawberry I did a single little stitch. On the pink strawberry I did a tiny "V" stitch. I did a stitch on every other row across and down, creating a diamond pattern. Fasten off.

Inside of hat will look like this:

Next, fold piece in half, matching up short sides and scallops. Holding short sides together, use a yarn needle and matching yarn to stitch short sides of piece together to make a tube (easy way). Or, for a less visible seam, join the ends using your hook and the seed stitch, working sts in end of each row (a little more complicated, but worth it if you're up for it). You should work about 28 sts. Fasten off.

Green top and stem, no leaves:
Change to size G hook.

Round 1: Join green yarn to top of tube with a sc. Sc around top of tube (39 sc worked).

How to join a new color of yarn in crochet:
Insert hook where you want the color to start. Grab your new color of yarn with your hook.

Pull the yarn through the stitch. One loop on the hook.

Now finish your single crochet stitch by yarning over and pulling the yarn through.

It's on!

Now continue on with your sc in the remaining stitches.

Round 2: Dc 2 together (2tog) around (this is a decrease st that will decrease your number of sts around by half).

Round 3: Dc 2tog around.

Additional rounds: Sc 2tog around until stem is at desired width. Then sc in a tiny circle (this can be challenging, so be patient with yourself!) around and around until stem is desired length. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Green with leaves:

Round 1: Join green yarn to top of tube with a sc. Sc around top of tube (39 sc worked).

Round 2: Dc 2tog around until you have 8 sts left.

Leaves: Ch 10. Sc in 1st ch from hk. Hdc in next ch, dc in next 3 chs, tc in next chs, sc in next 2 sc. Repeat 3 more times.

Size Chart for Crochet Hats

0 to 3 months
Hat circumference 11.5" - 13"
Hat height: 4.5” to 5"

3 to 6 months
Hat circumference: 14" - 17 "
Hat height : 5.5” - 6"

6 to 12 months
Hat circumference: 16" - 19 "
Hat height: 6.5"

12 months to 3T
Hat Circumference: 18" to 20"
Hat height : 7"

3 to 10 years
Hat Circumference: 19" – 20.5"
Hat height: 7.5"

Pre-teen to teens
Hat Circumference: 20.5" - 22"
Hat height: 8” - 9"

Hat Circumference: 21.5" - 22.5"
Hat height: 10"

Hat Circumference: 23" - 24"
Hat height: 10" - 10.5"

If you make this hat, I'd love to see a picture of it! Oh, and I should mention that all my patterns in my shop are on sale 3 for $9 for a limited time! I'm working on a few new patterns for spring, so stock up on the winter patterns while they're cheap!

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