Candy Trays


I ran across these cute candy trays on Pinterest and was infatuated with them, as was everyone else, apparently. I thought they would be perfect to give with my marshmallows to my neighbors and maybe bring the goodies I was making for my husband’s office party. So I gave it a try.

Mine didn’t turn out quite as perfect and beautiful as the ones on the original blog. The edges were not really nice and straight, I think maybe my oven temp is not even. Something I now want to check. Then again, I still liked them a lot and had fun with them.

A bigger problem is that they WERE sticky! I suspect it’s a function of living in South Florida where it’s very humid and particularly humid right now (70%). Heck, everything is sticky. I happened to be making marshmallows at the time so I had cornstarch out and had an idea. Why not try dusting them with cornstarch like I do marshmallows? So, I put some on both sides and rubbed it all over and let it sit. Then I wiped it off after awhile. I did this several times and it seemed to work. They don’t end up as pretty and glossy, but it does seem to take the stickiness off, at least for long enough to use them.

I’m not posting instructions here, you can check out the instructions at this blog Tutto Bella. Really easy and quick, and fun (except unwrapping the peppermints). Oh, and I had a harder time finding the green ones.  My green ones were a different brand than the red ones and I noticed they melted at a somewhat faster rate. I checked and the ingredients were different, so if I make these again I will try to find some that are the same brand with the same ingredients. Maybe my results will be a little more consistent. But, still, I was happy and they were fun. You could have kids place the peppermints and then have an adult do the oven part. And if you live in a less humid place maybe you won’t have to mess with cornstarch at all!

Impress Your Friends With –Marshmallows!

Seriously, I never thought about actually making homemade marshmallows until someone gave us some handmade ones for Christmas a few years ago.  They were peppermint flavored and they came from a boutique shop and they were awesome!  From that moment on I thought, “If they don’t only come in a bag from the grocery store, and they can be flavored, and they can taste this much better than the ones I grew up eating, why can’t I make them?!”  So, I finally got serious about finding a recipe that seemed simple enough and getting brave enough to try it.

And guess what?  They’re EASY.  Yes, you heard me right.  EASY.  There are a number of recipes out there on the web, so I picked one from someone who usually makes things that work for me and went from there.  I wanted to add flavors, but I started out with the original basic recipe and didn’t change anything the first time, so that if anything went wrong later I would know that the change was the problem (yes, I am a former science teacher).

However, not to worry.  No problems, easy and impressive.  Messy, but really, nothing really worth doing isn’t messy.  You still have time to make some for a last minute gift that will please virtually anyone, or to serve at your own Christmas or New Years party, or just to make to indulge yourself.  My husband gives them a big thumbs up.  I’ve made at least 4 batches so far.  OK, enough chit chat.  The recipe is at Peppermint and Cinnamon Marshmallows.  Check it out!

 

Joy

Joy
One more card. This one sort of made itself. I had the letters for JOY made from Mod Podge and food coloring –I think I need to do a blog on that, but not today. I wanted to do them in simple cut outs in the card, and it just started from there. It kept just needing *something else*. 🙂 That’s really my favorite way to work.

I ended up using ric rac and lace and glittery ribbon (behind the cut outs) and some snowflakes left over from making gift tags.  I glued the lace down on the dots, and amazingly that worked.  I cut it big enough to go all the way around the other side so it’s very secure.

Make a joyful noise.  And some cards!  🙂

Add A Little Christmas Color

It’s been a busy week, I’ve managed to get a lot done.  Christmas is almost here, but there’s still time for a few last minute gifts, and a little more decorating.   I actually did some of these glass balls a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t take photos of the process.  It was an experiment that I wanted to try, because I have several boxes of clear glass balls in my craft closet and I wanted to try the same process I used to make the colored glass jars earlier in the year.

As it turned out, they are beautiful!  I used one for the  Quick Christmas Ornament with ribbon in it earlier in the week, and I have a bowl full. I made a couple more to take a couple of pictures to show how to do it today.

You can check out a quick tutorial with photos at Colored Glass Balls.  Afterwards, you should probably pour yourself some tea (or really, it’s the season to indulge in a little Egg Nog!) and check out Handmade Monday and see what everyone else is up to. It’s the last one for this year, and I peeked and it might be the last one for a few weeks since the next 2 are Christmas Day and then New Year Day! So, better check this one out or you’ll be out of luck for a few weeks!  Oh, and if you really have some time on your hands, I have done several blogs this week with new crafts.  Yes, I know, that’s a record for me, but I’ve been quite busy, as I said!  And I’m hoping to keep up the pace!  It’s that crazy busy season.  Merry Christmas!

The Star of the Show

Another day, another ornament!  I keep having these ideas pop into my head while I’m doing something else and I just have to try them.  This one is another gift for someone and it turned out to be pretty easy.  Well, sewing a circle that you’re going to stuff is not really that easy, unless you’re satisfied if it doesn’t turn out perfectly round.  However, to be honest, this doesn’t really have to be round, it could be square, or randomly shaped, or if you’re creative it could be shaped like *something*.  But I wanted this to be quick and easy.

I used some of the leftover fabric from the gift bags I’m making and decided to make the opposite sides different, just to make it more interesting (this ornament is going to a boy and altho it’s not classically boyish, I think it’s *interesting* enough and not girlie).  I used a big ribbon spool to draw a circle on one piece of the fabric and cut both pieces at the same time (cutting them about a quarter inch larger than the circle I drew).

Next I simply placed the “right” sides facing each other and sewed around, leaving an opening about half an inch so I could turn it and stuff it.  THIS is the hard part as I’m not that good yet at sewing where I intend to sew and turning in a circle is a little tricky for me, but it was mostly roundish.  I stuffed it with some leftover batting from another project (and you know, if you have any old pillows you want to just get rid of, wash them first and save that batting and reuse it for other things, batting is kind of pricey!).

Then, I turned the edges under and hand stitched.  This was also a little tough, as it tends to want to be a bit flat there.  I just did my best, and maybe someone has some good advice for how to do this better.  As you can see from the photo mine isn’t perfect, but then again, it’s sort of how I roll.  If someone criticizes your home made stuff say, “Oh, I like the organic, home made look –it’s how I roll!” And then don’t make them anything.  🙂

Last, I took some cording that I’ve had forever that’s really pretty. I bought it for wrapping gifts but hardly use it anymore because It usually end up buying things online these days.  I just stitched it around the edge (not nearly as difficult as it sounds and it took about 10 minutes tops, I promise).   Just be sure to leave enough on what you are going to use as the top to tie once (not a knot, just one over and under) and then make a loop for a hanger and tie a knot at the top.  If you have a twisted cord like I did you will have to cut it close because it will unwind.

If you want to put a dangly thing at the bottom (do it, it looks cool!) here is what I did:

It’s 2 star shaped buttons hot glued together with a piece of metallic gold thread sandwiched between them.  Be careful when you do it that you get the thread where you want it so the buttons will hang the direction you want them to (just put a little thought into it).  Then I took those little glass drop things that you find at craft stores in the jewelry section (I think–I’m sorry I have all this stuff that I can’t recall where it came from anymore!) and hot glued them over the button holes.  You could use beads or something else.  Whatever floats your boat.

Then I put that thread on a needle and sewed it into the bottom of the ornament, and there you go. It was kind of funny because I was ready to put it in the mail this morning before I added the dangly star, but I thought….  “It needs something.”  And it hit me.  I’m glad I didn’t mail it yesterday.  I think that last addition is sort of the star of the show!  🙂

A Bit of This and That

Another day, another quick ornament.  It’s one of my favorite things about the Christmas season.  I used to make this sort of thing by the dozen, and so I still have a box of odds and ends with which to put something together in short order.  I thought I would share the process, briefly, since it’s not so much a step by step thing, but really more like, “Here are the things I have, what can I make them into that will be pretty/cute/nice.”

I started out with a mini blue twig wreath.  I didn’t want a blue and red ornament though, and I happened to have a nice green wreath I had just bought to decorate for the front door, so I clipped 2 pieces of greenery from the back (I often recycle artificial greenery that way).  A dab of hot glue to anchor each piece to the wreath, and wound it around the wreath until it pleased me and then a couple more dabs of hot glue (be careful, the hot glue gun can melt the greenery).

Next, I took some pretty mini red ribbon with silver edging and wrapped the top (the part that wasn’t covered by the greenery) and also hot glued that in place.  The red berries came from a little sprig that was in my old wreath box.  I cut several off and kept adding until they looked good to me (odd numbers always look better).  The middle looked bare, so I tied a little bow and hot glued it down.

I already knew I was going to use the little red bird.  He’s been sitting in my craft things for many years, and I have never found the perfect thing to use him on.  This ornament is going to my niece, and so I think he will have a wonderful home.  I had first intended to position him facing out and his tail going through the wreath, but when it came to placement I liked him flying across better.

Lastly, I added a ribbon hanger.

I suppose it’s too late to be brief.  However, these are very simple.  If you want to make a quick gift/ornament, you can do something similar with things you may have around the house or a quick trip to the craft store.  None of the items are expensive. Great for teachers, Moms, Grandmas, friends, to have on hand, even to decorate gifts.

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 by sundero
Thanksgiving 2011, a photo by sundero on Flickr.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, if you are where you celebrate it, and if not, I hope you remembered to be thankful anyway.
I often don’t remember to be grateful for the large things, much less the small ones. Someone mentioned that being born in the time and place I was is like winning the lottery, and he was right. So, in addition to being thankful on this one day, I need to try to remember it every day.
May you always be blessed and may you always remember to be grateful. God Bless.