Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Behind the Scenes

Yikes, I've been a bad blogger! It's been crazy hereabout though. My birthday was the day after my last post, and it was so great! I got to spend some time with my awesome friend LaDonna, who I rarely get to see anymore, although we're working to remedy that! And she brought me a pumpkin spice latte, and Nick sent me these GORGEOUS flowers!

Then my parents in-law and brother and sister-in-law came by and showered me with gifts and cake (well, there was no actual cake shower, but there was cake presented.) There was a lovely cozy sweater/wrap, some pretty earrings, a cool paper bow maker, and some envelope stickers. Then we went to my parents' house, where they presented me with (heavy breathing here) another punch board! This one was the gift box punch board, and I've been having so much fun with it! They also kept {ALL THREE} kids for us so Nick could take me out for a birthday dinner! The festivity! The romance! The meal with no one spilling their tea in my plate!

I also received some terrific embossing folders from another brother and sister-in-law, birthday money from Nick's grandmother, a gift card from Nick's other sister and her husband, and a certificate for a manicure from my other brother. My parents also got me a couple of outfits. I'm totally spoiled!

I've been at my sewing machine doing some mending jobs, and also making up some note cards for a charity fundraiser. And I've had some photo shoots on the books, including some senior pics for a couple of my very favorite girls from church camp. They are just gorgeous, and they are every bit as lovely inside as out, which should tell you something. Take a look at these beauties:

I have another shoot on Saturday, but of course Halloween is the day before, so I've got to get going on a fairy princess tutu to go with the sweet light up Tinkerbell wings I scored at the thrift store for a cool 99¢! Also, there may be a red tutu in the works for a Superman themed costume, and can I tell you how excited I am that Sawyer's costume requires no more input on my part than putting it on him? Not that I mind making costumes, but this week I'll take store bought, especially when it's a crazy cool gorilla costume I scored at the same thrift store for $2.99. Ahem.

Anyway, coming soon on the blog, we'll be talking about that cool gift box punch board, the pinwheel punch board, a few of my favorite 30-minutes-to-the-table meals, a The Fault In Our Stars themed craft, some fun leather key fobs, a darling pin cushion, and a sweet baby headband. See you soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Dude. I know I promised this recipe months ago. Sorry about that. But here it is now!

These biscuits are SO easy and SO good! And S-I-M-P-L-E. Thus them making an appearance here on my blog, because I'm all about the easy, good, and simple. I found these originally over on I'll Get You My Pretties. And I follow her recipe almost exactly. Almost.

So here's what you need:

  • Milk
  • Bisquick or any other brand of all purpose baking mix
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Cheddar or cheddar blend
  • Butter
Preheat your oven to 450° F.

Measure your ingredients out as follows:

  • 2 cups Baking Mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 - 2 cups cheese
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
  • 1/4 Tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 Tsp garlic powder
Mix your first 3 ingredients. This is where IGYMP and I part ways - on the cheese. Don't worry, it was a friendly parting, and I still admire her gorgeous red heels. :) Her recipe calls for 3/4 cup of cheddar. I think we can make a bigger commitment to the Cheddar part of Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Cheese and I have a special relationship, so I added around 2 cups to my milk and baking mix. I will tell you that this may cause your biscuits to spread out a little more. I can live with that. The cheese stays. Anyway, mix your first three ingredients well enough to incorporate all the baking mix, but don't over mix or your dough will do something weird.

Spoon your dough out onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. I kind of start checking on them around 7 minutes just to be safe, but it usually takes right at 9 minutes for them to be done. While you're waiting, microwave your last three ingredients together for about a minute, then stir to incorporate the parsley and garlic powder into the melted butter.

When your biscuits are starting to brown on the peaks, they're ready to come out. Before they cool, brush your butter mixture over the top, then take a second to admire the moist, fluffy, buttery goodness. Mmmmmm! Then dive right in! It's best to make these when you're not home alone, because there is significant danger of eating the whole pan. Ahem. I usually get 24-28 biscuits from this recipe.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 Cups Bisquick or other all purpose baking mix
3/4 cup milk
1 3/4 - 2 cups shredded cheddar or cheddar blend
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
1/4 Tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 Tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450° F. Mix first three ingredients just well enough to incorporate baking mix. Spoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, removing when peaks start to brown.

Melt butter and stir in spices. Brush onto tops of baked biscuits. Yields 24-28 biscuits.

Lily's 5th Birthday Party

On the 11th we had a birthday party for Lily at the Life Center at our church. We've always had small family celebrations for her, but this was her very first friend party, and it went so well!

We went with an Adopt-A-Baby theme, and it was easy breezy to put together. Now here's the part where I realize that I am ridiculous and forgot to get a picture of the the baby table before all the adoptive mothers descended on it. These two are the sum total of the pictures I got before the babies were all passed out.

But here's what they all got: a baby, two felt diapers, a blanket, a diaper bag, a gown, a felt bib, a baby bracelet, a pacifier, a baby headband, and a baby bottle.

The babies were collected over the last few months from various thrift stores and lovingly (and thoroughly) cleaned. What I loved about this (beyond the cost effectiveness) was that each baby was unique. Because there was a range of sizes, I made the diapers specifically for each baby. I just free-handed a couple of sizes based on baby diapers we already had, and made each baby one solid color diaper and one print diaper. They closed with Babyville plastic snaps.

I bought a pattern for the gowns (Simplicity 1937), and my mom sewed up the gowns using vintage fabric. The pattern was for a 15 inch doll, so for the smaller dolls I just flipped the gowns inside out and moved in the seam allowance. I added Babyville snaps to each gown to close it up the front.

The bibs were just cut from a couple of free-handed paper patterns and also closed with a Babyville snap.

I got the pretty ruffled elastic for the headbands from Tuesday Morning, and each headband had a different embellishment, some handmade, some purchased, all of them from my stash. I also made my sweet niece Adelaide one to match. :)

My mom made the blankets from fleece and flannel, and she found the diaper bags at the Dollar Tree. The bracelets were leftover cupcake embellishments from a baby shower, and the bottles and pacifiers came from the Dollar Tree as well.

There were a few boys there too, and they got to choose from an assortment of stuffed animals since baby dolls weren't really their bag. :) The boys who were big enough got to make Shrinky Dink name tags for their chosen animals while the girls played with dolls, and we tied them on with leather cord.

Since a lot of the accessories were crafted from materials already on hand, I think our total outlay for eight babies and accessories was about $30, or less than $4/each for what was a stunningly successful party favor. I saw a number of the adopted babies make an appearance at church the next day. :)

The animals cost even less, since I averaged about 50¢ each for those, and the Shrinky Dinks and leather were things I had in my stash.

There were no formal games at the party. What I did instead was cart in all our big baby doll items, including 3 beds, 2 bath tubs, a baby changing station, 2 cradles, a high chair, a bouncy seat, and numerous baby accessories. My mom also brought in two dollar store doctor kits and a box of princess Band-Aids, the latter of which lasted about 17 seconds lol.

Levi wasn't interested in babies, but he did think he might like a nap!

My mom graciously did the decorating and the food, and I couldn't have made the party happen without her! She made some delicious pudding filled lemon cupcakes, and supplemented them with store-bought Sofia the First cupcakes and a small sheet cake to hold the all important Number Five Birthday Candle. She also made up some fun butterfly snack bags that had a different type of cereal in each wing, and little daffodil accented containers filled with fruit snacks. For drinks there were various fruit drinks with twist off tops, and pineapple-orange cream punch - yum!

Lily was so blessed with all the gifts she received, and she was thrilled with them all! I loved watching her enthusiasm, whether she was opening a giant Frozen themed pen from the Target $1 Spot from her dad and I or an awesome Queen Elsa doll from my cousin Maggie, who always spoils me and mine rotten. :)

She had plenty of helping hands to assist in opening the gifts lol.

Aunt Rachael made her this gorgeous lace crown, and one other, along with a beautiful lace trimmed pink gown. I got pictures of her opening the other gifts, but things were moving so fast that I'm afraid they were a bit blurry.

This party was so much fun, and it thrilled my heart to get to see how engrossed all the kids were in playing! A huge thank you to everyone who came and played along!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's been going on lately...

I know I've been scarce around here, but it's not because I haven't had anything to post about! It's just been very, very busy. A few things that have been occupying me:

My SIL Rachael's birthday was just a few days after my last post. I got her a Marvy Uchida Border Punch System a few weeks ago, but I wanted her to have something special on her actual birthday too, so I whipped up this fun little window pillow box and packed it with a couple pairs of handmade earrings.

To make the pillow box I used my WRMK Pillow Box Punch Board, then just used a large scalloped circle paper punch to create the window. Then I cut a piece of transparency film to cover the opening, adhered it to the inside with an adhesive roller, then folded the box up and glued it.

The ball shaped earrings were one of the pairs I featured a few weeks ago. The second pair looks really impressive, but truthfully, they almost don't qualify as handmade. The wire wrapped circles came in a string of four from Walmart, and I literally just added the ear hooks and backings. She really seemed to love them though, and she's worn them several times already. :)

I used a Sizzix die and embossing folder I got recently to create a mason jar themed card. I added various buttons as filler for the "jar", and on the envelope I added a fun little pennant I got at Tuesday Morning.

The day after was my BIL Scott's birthday. He and his family live in Texas, so his gift needed to be something that would do well in shipping. He does a lot of traveling, so I thought he might like a new Dopp kit.

I sewed him up a good sized zipper pouch using men's tweed suiting and sturdy cotton, and filled it with some nice poured soaps, a new razor, and some shave cream. He loves to grill, so I also sent him a bratwurst grill cage that very narrowly escaped staying here with Nick. :)

My Lily girl turned 5 a few days later on October 5th! That morning before church she woke up to a new baby doll that looks just like her baby cousin Adelaide :), and this assortment of pillow boxes:

My girl loves accessories (as you can tell lol), so each one contained a new piece (or pieces) of jewelry:

This necklace and bracelet set was a clearance find at Hobby Lobby.

The charm bracelet was one I put together using charms from Walmart and basic findings.

The rings are actually midi rings from Rue 21, but they fit her 5 year old fingers like regular rings.

The rose necklace was one I made. The rose pendant came from Hobby Lobby on clearance, and I added the crown and chain. The crown was another charm from Walmart. I cut the top ring off, then sealed it into the well of the rose using Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos.

The rhinestone crown necklace was yet another Walmart charm added to a chain, and it ended up being one of her favorites.

We had a party for her on the 11th, and I'll tell you about that in my next post!

I've also been having some fun playing with my new Pinwheel Punch Board, which We R Memory Keepers was kind enough to send me to try.

It was my intention to make some pinwheels for Lily's party to use as favors and decorations, but I wasn't able to get my hands on any of the pinwheel attachments that makes the pinwheels functional. Every craft store I've gone to has been sold out of them, but as soon as I find some to snatch up I'm going to do a review post on the punch board.

In between everything else I've also been doing some mending and altering jobs, as well as giving the growing laundry a meaningful glance and a promise. But hopefully I'll have a bit more time to post now that the cluster of birthdays is past!