Thursday, December 31, 2009

homemade crackers...

...and not the edible kind. I mean the fun, break-open-with-a-pop ones!!! Mum and I found this awesome kit at Superstore at the beginning of December, and its a make your own crackers kit. We were so excited about this. It provides you with the essentials, 6 pretty rolls, ribbons to tie the ends, paper crowns, little fun facts, and gems and stuff to decorate your crackers. All we needed now, were little prizes fit for each individual. The hunt was on and we were two very happy hunters. Now I am pretty darn sure my family are not yet aware of my blog, so it should be safe to share what we put into them.

Luckily the pack provided crackers & accessories for six, and that's exactly how many of us there would be. I picked out the yummy kinder chocolates, I just love those little treats. Mum chose Hershey caramel kisses and divvied them up for each person. Then we picked cute little scrapbooking punches for the girls and I, and gel pens too. A yummy fig melting candle for my sister, a pretty stamp and pen for my Mum, and my genius idea for my brother-in-law was all the Canadian Tire Money my Mum had been saving. Everyone's gifts were around 1.50, except for his which amounted to 8.75!!

Here you can see Mum rolling up my brother-in-law's cracker, the wad of C.T. cash rolled around his chocolate! Yum.

And the box of finished products!! Gorgeous silver and gold personalized crackers. We initialed each so we knew which cracker corresponded to each person. Hopefully these will be a big, fun surprise for the rest of the family on New Year's Eve!

Now I have a genius friend, who did one better than me. Not only could she fill her crackers with personal candies and gifts, she actually was so crafty as to construct her own crackers!! She found the sticks, the lovely things that make the pop, at Michael's. It was a huge package for about 2 dollars. She then collected up her empty toilet paper tubes. Using pretty wrapping paper, she wrapped each roll, tied one end with ribbon, filled it, inserted the popping stick, and tied off the other end. Genius no?!? I wish I had a picture to share with you, but I will definitely be doing it that way next year. What are your traditions for New Years Eve?!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

some like it...sweet.

Forget hot, I'm all about the sweetness. Apparently my Mum is onto that, as I found my stocking stuffed with the most delectable little gifts. I simply had to share them with you. I promise they'll satisfy your sweet tooth without a hint of pain.

I do love me some cupcakes. But a suncatcher? Yes please! Mum picked these make-your-own kits up at Michael's for me. I got to bake them in the oven and everything.

She got me cute cherries too, because these little red wonders have vintage appeal.

And two cute cuppycake journals? How sweet are those? Again, she picked these up at Michael's in the 1.50 bin.

Piece de resistance... A wee little lollipop lipbalm! It smells like yummy peppermint. That's it for sweet things in my stocking, but I've one more thing I'd like to share. A few years ago, maybe six or seven, one of my best friends got me this ornament for Christmas. It was instantly my favourite...

Can you guess why? I'm a sucker for sweets, 'nuff said.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

winter wonderland

We woke up to a wonderful surprise this morning; overnight it had snowed and was still snowing! It was the perfect light fluffy snow, which made shovelling a heck of a lot easier than usual. And after the hard work was done, Daisy and I had a little photoshoot. Enjoy the cuteness in her denim jacket!

It was hard to keep her attention long enough to snap a shot, she couldn't resist munching on the freshly fallen snow.

Close up of the cuteness! I love the snowglobe effect of being outside while it's snowing. There were lots of flakes caught on our lashes to be sure. And yes...the jacket is fleece lined. Only the best for my girl.

I saved my favourite one for last, she looks so picturesque here. This pic is now my desktop background. I hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse of cuteness as much as I have. I can not wait to scrapbook these into her album, and yes I am that crazy.

Daisy and I also want to give a shout out to our pals on the other side of the world. My friend Steph from flickr, has just added to her puppy brood. Her pup Archie now has a chug (chihuahua pug mix) sister named Gracie Scarlett!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

new toy

Now I am not much of a gamer, never had much of a skill for it. As a kid I'd sit beside my brother while he played games on our original nintendo, and I'd offer my opinion when needed. As I got older, my best friend and I spent hours upon hours gaming, she played and I consulted her. Her fingers had dexterity, and my job was to figure out all the puzzles and make sense of the games. I haven't played much of anything in the past few years, just a little Star Wars Pod racing on the 64, and Zelda sometimes too.

But for Christmas this year, my sister surprised me with something just for me. A Nintendo DS lite. I'd tinkered with my nieces' ds games over the summer, and so my sister got me my very own. She got me this pretty red one. How lucky am I?

And as little actual time as I should be spending on this thing, I've managed to find the time to play Big Brain Academy, which she got for me. It makes me feel more grown up and responsible playing games that challenge the mind and help keep my brain exercised.

She also bought me USA today Puzzle Craze...which is actually pretty dang hard for me. So today, with one of my giftcards, I went and bought Crosswords...A game for DS I really enjoy playing. So addictive...

So I'll be keeping busy, and probably expanding my collection of educational games whenever I've got the extra money kicking around...Which won't be often. Thank goodness I've got a lot of work to do in Big Brain Academy to get gold medals in each category. Happy Gaming everyone!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

holiday joy

There is so much going on that its been hard to post things when I wanted to. But here is a quick update of some of the things that are new. My family and I had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that you did too. There was so much good food, quality veg' time all cozied up on the couch together, and happy smiles as we opened gifts. Because my budget was so tight this year, I went with one small purchsed gift, and then their other gifts were handmade by me with much thought put into each thing. Everyone seemed more happy with their handmade gifts so I feel it was a success. And it only went to solidy my belief that it is not the price, but the thought behind the gift.

Here are some pretty cards I made. I'm entering these in the Paper Crafts December Gallery Challenge.

Daisy wants to wish you all the very best this season, as she fills in as one of Santa's reindeer!

And here is what I wore to the Christmas Party I hosted on Wednesday. After all that baking and prep, I managed to have a wonderful time and indulge my friends. The little black dress is thrifted, one of my wonderful finds at a Value Village half price day, lucky me!!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my little corner of the web, and reading my blog. I wish you all the very best.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

tis the season...

To make cookies!

I have been baking up a storm since Monday in preparation for the open house Christmas party I am hosting tonight. I always go over the top when hosting parties, because I just love playing hostess. Apparently this time I've gone so over the top I broke the bank, and by broke the bank I mean, I'm broke and thus, am considering finding a job.

But those matters are not to be thought about until the new year. My mind is still in cookie mode. I did not want to do anything too fancy and meticulous, but I did want some cookies with taste & visual appeal to my guests. So I whipped up a few batches of my Mint Brownie Bites, Classic Sugar Cookies, and Gingerbread Men. And yes, they're all wee.

The mint brownie bites are compliments of Good Housekeeping, and the recipe can be found here, Warning, highly delicious little morsels. I made them for the cookie exchange and they were a smash hit. I got a lot of feedback the next Sunday, or moms telling me how their children begged for more.

I also bought some pretzel batons, and dipped them in chocolate and then decorated them with sprinkles for another tasty party treat. But I had by mistake, melted too much chocolate for the amount of pretzels...what was I to do? Why dip the cookies, of course! And, because I simply could not resist, I made mini vanilla cupcakes. Don't they look so yummy with their frosting and sprinkles?!

Here's my perfect cupcake. I ate this one ahead of time, because I couldn't resist its cuteness.

And amongst all of this wonderful baking for my party, I took time to make a batch of peanut butter doggie treats, for Daisy, but also for the dogs of my friends & clients. They're cute wee gingerbread men, a festive treat for any pooch.

Look at how 'wee the baby gingerbread cutter is? Perfect size for doggie treats. And don't worry, the peanut butter treats will not be mixed up with the real gingerbread men. What holiday baking have You been up to? Let me know with a comment, I promise to read them all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

magic dress

Do you have a dress, a pair of shoes, a hat or whatever, that just feels magical? You put it on and feel like nothing can go wrong, that you look perfect every time you wear it? That's what this dress does for me. It comes out of the closet only once a year, usually at Christmas parties. But I had the desire to wear it to church today, for our special Christmas program.
I love this dress. I inherited it from a woman who had been one of my mother's elderly clients. This dress is vintage, circa 1950. The ornate beadwork on the front and back are positively amazing to behold. The craftsmanship and quality of the dress are beautiful, and when I wear it I feel just so darn good!
It used to be an ankle length cocktail gown, but Mum altered and hemmed it to be knee length for me instead. It was the only modernization I could do, the rest of the dress is perfection on its own and simply not to be tampered with.
So what about you? Do you have something that feels special every time you wear it?

Monday, December 14, 2009


So truffles are one of those awesome sweets that I only get the opportunity to indulge in once a year. So this year I decided to make my own, and document it to share with you. You may experience excessive mouth watering by the end, just a warning.

First gather your ingredients. For this recipe it was : 1/3 c. whipping cream, tsp vanilla, 3 tbsp butter (softened), 3 tbsp sugar and 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate.

Bring butter, sugar and whipping cream to a boil. Stir often.

Once it begins to boil, quickly remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate. Keep stirring, the chocolate will melt in and the mixture will become shiny & smooth.

Now time to refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. The thing about truffles is that as you touch them, they soften up, so you have to work fast, keeping what you don't need in the fridge, and returning what you do use, back to the fridge.

Now portion out and roll into balls. It should only take a roll or two to get a ball. It'll start to stick to your hands and melt, so work fast and don't touch it too much

Choose your coating. I like sprinkles, especially festive ones.

Roll the truffle balls in the sprinkles. The recipe also suggested you could use crushed wafer, crushed nuts, or coconut as other options. It also said dip them in melted chocolate. I tried that and the chocolate (even once cooled) still melted the truffle. Fail. I will need to figure that one out.

Voila!! Tasty chocolate truffles to share with all your friends and family who pop by for the holidays. Or to just binge on yourself....whichever. I promise they're good.

Monday, December 7, 2009

busy days

I forgot how hectic the days become as the holidays draw near. Mum was hosting a small party tonight, so first thing on my agenda was to clean the house top to bottom. That was work enough. But after that, the day kept throwing more tasks at me to complete, and I tackled each one with as much cheer as I could muster.

After the cleaning was done though, I was pleasantly surprised by the postman delivering a package from my grandparents!! It made me so happy.

I've a function to attend tomorrow night, and I thought I would make some treats. Just some easy truffles and peppermint bark hearts. They weren't so easy, but once they were done I was really happy. And I most definitely did some sampling...Truffles are heavenly. Nuff said.

I also decided to work on some Christmas presents. I made a necklace for a friend, and a necklace & earrings set for my mother. As I know she has no clue how to find my blog, I'm posting her gift on here for you all to see. She liked purple alot, so I made her some jewelery to go with all her purpley tops and dresses. Its packaged with a pretty bow and nestled under the tree for her now. This is the sort of jewelery that will be available when I open my Etsy shop in January!

Lastly, I found Daisy's festive neckerchief which had been tucked away from last year. She has a special holiday message to share :

"Fleas Navidad!"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Inspired By

So there is a magazine called Paper Crafts, and while I am too poor to actually be able to buy it, I can look on their website and find inspiration. While checking out their company blog, I saw a contest called Inspired By. Essentially, you create your own thank you or birthday card, inspired by another card you saw in one of their publications.

As I had no actual copy to look at, I chose one of their online ones, and this was the product of my efforts. It may not win, but I was still very pleased with the end product.

If you're interested in entering this contest, more information is available on the blog, or on the flickr group site, listed here, respectively.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

paper crafting

I do enjoy a good paper craft, that is for sure. Today I sat down, put on some festive tunes, and worked on my latest project. I've always wanted some sort of countdown calendar besides the fun chocolate one I get every year. (This year I decided to skip the chocolate, considering the mass of cookies I'll be making over the next month).

I googled christmas calendars, and saw alot of amazing ones. But some of them were perhaps beyond me for now, so I tried something simple. Simple though it may be, I think its super cute and I am very pleased with the results. Using cardstock, various holiday papers, stickers, glue, ribbon, mini clothespins, punches and a cutter, I created this simple yet fun holiday countdown calendar.
The whole countdown is nearly as long as my bedroom door! But here's a close up.
Every day I'll pin up another card, but with only one up today, it looks so lonely. I'm most excited about putting the last two up because you know what that means...

Hopefully you see how easy peasy paper crafting can be, and how lovely the results are. Grab a glue stick and get crafting!

Monday, November 30, 2009

holiday kisses

No mistletoe involved, I decided to try and make these amazing peanut butter cookies my sister makes every year at Christmas time. I was so lucky as to find a hershey add in the holiday issue of Good Housekeeping, and it was for hershey kisses peanut butter blossom cookies. I was like "omg - those are the cookies i love". Here is my attempt to make them.

First I had to remove all the prettyful wrappers. Easily done with only one casualty along the way. So much chocolate really is tempting.

Then you need to mix the ingredients in a big bowl. (See the recipe below). Peanut Butter smells so dang good, but I resisted tasting the dough, knowing how good these cookies are when finished.

Then, roll into one inch balls. Then roll those in sugar. Yum. I do love rolling cookiedough balls in sugar.

Then bake. After 8 - 10 minutes ( don't be fooled and think they're not cooked. Overcooked peanut butter cookies get hard) remove from oven. Now kiss each cookie...with a chocolate kiss, and let cool. Then indulge all you freakin' want!

Delightfuly Delicious Hrsheys Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms Recipe

48 hershey's kisses (I used milk chocolate)

1/2 c shortening

3/4 c peanut butter

1/3 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. brown sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

granulated sugar (for rolling)

1. Heat oven to 375 F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl. Add granulated sugar and brown sugars; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

See more at

Saturday, November 28, 2009

quick holiday centerpieces

So my Mum was in charge of a christmas dinner at church, and she mentioned that she needed some centerpieces for the tables. The budget for decor was really small, so she asked if I could help her find/make something pretty and stick within the budget.

I was excited by the challenge, and immediately rummaged through our craft room for supplies. I found a collection of these great, deep red baskets. I also found some large bunches of fake poinsetta. The perfect foundation.

We then took a quick trip to the dollar store to see what I could find to go with this. I bought a floral block, a bouquet of sparkly mini pears, a package of holly berries, and 3 pretty gold wire reindeer. All this for $6.00, four dollars under buget.

I took my supplies home, snipped, arranged and voila, lovely centerpieces! What do you think? I've got lots of supplies left over too, so I'm going to make more holiday decorations. Hopefully it inspires you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

delightful dozen

After seeing the cards I had created on Monday, I saw that look of "I want some" in my Mum's eyes. So on Tuesday I set down to work making her a dozen of her own individual cards.

I had six pretty sheets of paper, so I did two of each. I put my new stamps and punches to work again, and was quite pleased with the result. So was Mum. She said she couldn't pick a favourite, that she liked them all. But I'm slightly more baised than that, the purple one in the bottom set is my fav, with its sweet little bow and scalloped edges.

So tell me, which one is Your favourite and you'll be entered to win 6 handmade greeting cards just for you! Sent express just in time for you to hand them out to your friends & family!! (see yesterday's blog for more info on the contest!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

going card crazy

This past Saturday, we had an activity at church where we put together these five gorgeous christmas cards. My very talented friend Natalie designed the poinsetta, tree, and snowflake one, while I design the argyle and the one with the bow. Everyone had a good time remaking these cards for themselves. These cards were just the beginning...

On Sunday I designed these sweet birthday cards. I'm so hooked on card making right now. Natalie has inspired me to use more than just paper and stamps for my cards, I've started using ribbons, flowers, brads and buttons. I even bought some fancy new Martha Stewart punches. (thank goodness for Michael's coupon which made the punches half price for me!).

On Monday after going to Value Village for the 50% off sale, I could not resist stopping in at Michael's. I was so close....And I saw these adorable Christmas stamps in the $1.50 bin, and well...I bought five. And of course I could not wait to use them sooooo...

I proceeded to make more Christmas cards. I was really pleased with how these ones turned out, and I felt quite proud to have done them all on my own. Let me know which Christmas card is YOUR favourite, and you'll be entered to win a set of 6 handmade greetings cards. The draw closes Wednesday, November 25th, and the prize will be shipped express on the 26th so you'll get them just in time to hand them out to friends & family!!