Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Candy Advent

We love our Christmas Countdown at our house because it's made of candy. Who doesn't love Christmas candy? My mom made me this Santa hook years ago and we use it every year. Think of it as candy portion control.
This Christmas countdown is simple to make.
All you need is:
-Some kind of hook
-About 7 feet of plastic wrap (red or green plastic wrap also looks nice)
-Enough candy for everyone in your family to have one piece each day, so 75 pieces for us. Two 8 oz bags of Hershey's kisses was enough.
-Colorful ribbon cut in about 7 inch pieces
Just lay our your plastic wrap and place the candies on it, one day at a time. Separate each day with a ribbon tie.

Keep on going until you have 25 days, or in our case 29 since I don't like to wait until December to start.

Just cut below the candy each day and eat your treats. Christmas will be here before you know it.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Did you know if I submit a blog post about Shutterfly (an online photo cards and gifts store) that I can get free cards!? That is why I love Shutterfly. They have great deals all the time. This year for Mother's Day I made a really pretty card with pictures of my kids for my mom and mother-in-law. It turned out great and it was so inexpensive because they had a great deal where you get 3 cards free and only pay for shipping, which is perfect for a holiday like Mother's Day. My mom loved it. She took it to church and showed all of her friends.

This year I plan to use my free cards deal to make personalized Christmas cards for all of my family and friends. If you haven't tried Shutterfly, you should check it out. Keep an eye out for coupon codes and you can get some great deals on really beautiful and high-quality cards.

Persimmon Muffins

I was walking through the grocery store and I overheard a man and his son discussing something in the produce section. "What is THAT?" "It looks like some kind of tomato." "Maybe it's just an unripe tomato or... something..."

I didn't tell them, but they are missing out on one of the great fruits of fall- the persimmon.
Persimmons are a little bit tricky. I've heard people say, "They dry out your mouth and taste awful." That's only if you eat them unripe. Unripe persimmons are full of tannins that make them astringent and bitter tasting. The variety sold in the Walmart in my town is Hachiya, which is particularly astringent until ripe, but is more sweet when it is ready to eat than some other varieties. Make sure you know which variety you have and that it is ripe before trying this recipe. Wikipedia is a good resource.
*My Hachiya persimmons were not ripe until you can easily squish your fingers into the skin and the fruit is very soft. Other kinds, especially the pumpkin shaped ones are more crisp when ripe. If you're unsure, just cut a small slice out and try it. The flesh and skin is edible. You will easily be able to tell if it's ready. If it's not ripe you're going to want to spit it out because it's really gross. Have a trash can ready.
I decided to use my persimmons this year in some baking, and I came up with a muffin recipe that I really like. It makes 6 muffins.
1 ripe persimmon*
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon canola oil
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
Peel your persimmon and cut off the green top. Remove the soft core.
Mash or blend up the persimmon in your mixer. Add the egg, applesauce, oil, and sugar and mix. Add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg and blend well. Then add the flour and stir until moist.
Spoon into a greased muffin tin. Grease it really well.
Bake at 350 F for 16 minutes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving Hair Bow

I thought this hairbow tutorial found on was adorable, so I made one myself. I made a few adjustments. Instead of the suggested 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, I used 3/16" "loopy ribbon" for the feathers and 1/4" polyester ribbon for the body. I added some extra purple feathers as well. The beak is a triangle piece from a sheet of craft foam, and I added a couple of tiny buttons for the eyes.
Cut out a small piece of non-adhesive shelf liner that you buy in rolls at any store like Walmart. Glue that to the inside of your alligator clip and the hairbow will stay in all day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Diaper

We started cloth diapering when my oldest daughter was one. I went out to the store and picked up some Gerber prefold diapers and plastic pants. My mother had told me stories of trying cloth with one of my brothers. They leaked all the time, she said, and were kind of a mess. After trying out the Gerber diapers and covers, I had to agree. It was pretty awful. They didn't absorb really well and they were kind of a pain. I wondered how anyone could stick with it, but I loved saving the money. Did you know that the average cost of disposables for a child is $1600.00 for two years? My daughter wasn't potty trained until 3, so add on another 800 dollars I could save. So I did some google searching and found the world of cute cloth diapering. Diapers have come a long way from Gerber prefolds, let me tell ya.

Most of our current diaper stash is prefolds (higher-quality GreenMountainDiapers prefolds) and cute Thirsties brand covers. I have, however, splurged once on a cute designer diaper sold on

After studying how the designer diaper was made, I figured it wouldn't be really hard to make my own. Here's my very first attempt at a homemade cloth diaper. I had some leftover flannel from making these ornaments, and I had some terrycloth laying around from other projects, so I thought why not make a diaper with it?
I laid out the diaper that I had purchased and traced out a rough outline on some Christmas style flannel I had leftover from making these ornaments.

I cut a piece of terrycloth the same shape. I also cut a soaker from two layers of terrycloth and a layer of flannel.

After sewing wrong sides together, trimming the seam allowance, adding elastic on the back and legs, flipping them inside-out, and top stitching, here's what it looks like. The middle part is called a soaker, and is for extra absorbency. It is easier to dry the diaper if the diaper and soaker are separate pieces instead of making one thick diaper.

I think it only took about 1 1/2 hours to make it start to finish. Here's what it looks like on my baby.

We'll see how it holds up, but I may be making more of these. Maybe he'll have a different one for every holiday. Why not have a Thanksgiving diaper? How about a 4th of July diaper? I'm excited to come up with some new diapers to add to our collection.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Message Board

My sister-in-law will be going off to college next year. I thought this would be the perfect Christmas present to use in a dorm room or small apartment. While looking for ideas for her, I found this blog:
and a great idea for a message board.

I love it! Here's my version.

You write on the glass in the picture frame. I added some painted clothespins for pictures/notes/keys/whatever she wants to clip on. I used mostly hot glue to keep it all together. The beads are on beading wire attached to nails, so they are pretty strong. I had to cut the cardboard that the fabric is glued to in order to make it fit into the frame. The added thickness of the fabric made it not fit until I cut it. Make sure you check before you glue it all on, like I should have.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Decisions Decisions

We've been on vacation for a week, and now that I'm home I've been torn between cleaning the house (boo), exercising (double boo), and making the crafty things I've been wanting to.
I'd love to make these adorable cloth shoes from My son's sneaker soles are pretty stiff and I'd like him to have something more flexible.

Or I could finish the spring horse. It's all painted, but I'm trying to figure out how to make it safer. It needs some kind of cover for the springs and sharp corner posts.

Then there's all the stuff I bought at the craft store that's a two hour drive from my house. I'm thinking some modge podge is in order.

And I still need to make some cloth diaper wipes. My son is in cloth diapers so it would be nice to have some cloth wipes too.

Oh and I have two pair of knee socks to make into leggings, and I'd love to make these shelves.