Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Basket on a Budget - Variation One

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Hope y'all had a great weekend! (Ooh look I'm talking Texan now -- haha, it was a fun trip by the way!)

In my ongoing quest to create some inexpensive Easter Basket alternatives, I spent some time tooling around with the "Basket on a Budget" template:

I used a smaller rectangle this time, of cardstock, and scalloped the long edges of the rectangle. I also added a different color liner and some 3D paper flowers. I guess it looks a little more Springy rather than Easter, huh?

The nice thing about this project is that a change in colors or embellishments would completely change the look of the basket.

More Easter Basket ideas coming soon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Basket on a Budget

Good Morning! I'm in the midst of packing and finishing up some work projects before I leave for my trip to Austin, Texas... but wanted to get a quick post in before I leave. Things have been so hectic lately I've not had much time for crafting, and my craft room is a MESS! I'm serious folks, check out the table...

Yikes! Now that's a project in itself for when I return!

I won't be posting while I'm away (I'll be far too busy exploring Austin and celebrating my brother's birthday with some of my favorite people in all the world!) but I issue a challenge to you, readers. If I'm up to 30 followers when I return -- I'll post my VERY FIRST giveaway! Yes, you heard it here folks! For all of you non-followers out there who check in with my blog regularly, don't be shy! Add as a follower so that I can tell you "hi!" and we'll do a super fun giveaway next week. Sound good? Excellent. Let the following begin...

And now to the Basket on a Budget! (Sometimes I get a little off-subject, eh?) I LOVE holidays - just love them - and Easter is no exception. I'll be putting together an Easter basket for the hubby and some close friends - and truly cannot WAIT for the time in my life when I'll be making Easter baskets for my own children -- aaaaah, so much crafty fun! Anyhow - I'm experimenting with some handmade basket ideas, and will share a series of them with you as I go along. Today's basket is using origami folds, and takes less than five minutes - seriously. Perfect for some candies, cookies, etc.

I used two sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper back to back for my baskets, although the folds are so simple that I think you could use lightweight cardstock for a little more stability. The tutorial for these cuties can be found HERE. Whaddaya think?

Until next week... Happy Crafting! Don't forget to add yourself as a follower and get ready for a GIVEAWAY and lots of Easter basketing next week! : )

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Eats!

Did you think I was gone for good?! Man, it feels like it's been awhile since my last post... I'm so sorry! Between both jobs, friends and family stuff, home improvement tasks, and getting ready for our trip to Austin (woohoo! two more days!) I've been absolutely swamped. So swamped, in fact, that I haven't had the chance to work on any of my ongoing projects AT ALL. This makes me sad. I sit at my computer each day planning out my evening responsibilities in my head and dreaming of that hour block of time I can squeeze in to craft --- and it just hasn't been coming to fruition. Ah well, c'est la vie.

In the past 48 hours, however, I HAVE been doing a lot of baking. Now, you have to know that I don't claim to be a great baker in any way, shape, or form. Christmas cookies are about as far as I go. But when the hubby announced on Sunday afternoon that he was in charge of a bake sale at his work on TUESDAY (today!) with proceeds going to charity - I needed to step up to the plate.

As per usual in my cooking/baking adventures - some things turned out well, some not so much, and I learned lots along the way. I thought I'd share with you some favorites old and new. Happy Baking!

Old Favorite: Lemon Cookies
I make these every Christmas, and have friends that request them. But now they're becoming a popular standby for showers and get-togethers as well. They are deliciously buttery like a shortbread, with a great lemon flavor.

Lemon Cookies:

  • 3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) (3 sticks) butter (no substitutions)
  • 1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) grated fresh lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) lemon extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) almond extract

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  • 5 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) grated fresh lemon peel


1. Prepare lemon cookies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On waxed paper, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.

2. Divide dough in half. Between two 20-inch sheets of waxed paper, roll half of dough 3/8 inch thick. (If paper wrinkles during rolling, peel it off, then replace it to remove wrinkles.)

3. With floured 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out and remove centers from cookies. Reserve centers and trimmings to reroll. With lightly floured wide spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. (If dough becomes too soft to transfer to cookie sheet, freeze 10 minutes until firm.)

4. Bake cookies 15 to 16 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, prepare lemon glaze: In small bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and lemon peel until blended. Dip top side of each warm cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire rack set over waxed paper to catch any drips. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes.

6. Repeat with remaining dough, reserved centers, trimmings, and glaze, adding a little water to glaze if it begins to thicken. Store cookies, with waxed paper between layers, in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week, or in freezer up to 3 months.

New Favorite: Pistachio-Zucchini Cupcakes
I know, these sound a little crazy - but they are so good! Plus they are made with pre-made cake mix so they are quick to whip up. Light and moist, they have a great spiced flavor and the glaze on top with a kick of lime is great. I made my glaze waaaay too runny - I need to experiment with glazes the next time I make these...


One 18.25-ounce box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake mix

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1 large zucchini (about 10 ounces), shredded

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachio nuts (about 4 ounces), chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with baking liners. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and milk. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until smooth; stir in the zucchini.

2. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

3. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the lime peel, lime juice and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water until smooth. Cover each cupcake with the glaze and sprinkle with the pistachios.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Etsy Love

I just can't explain how big of a proponent of Etsy that I am -- I think that buying handmade and buying locally are so important. I also find shopping on Etsy incredibly convenient - I can find beautiful gifts, often inexpensively, and talk directly with the folks who have created them.

That being said -- I'm going to start a weekly "Etsy Love" post, highlighting Etsy sellers, products, and shops. Go check these folks out, and support handmade trade! Click on the photos to be linked directly to their Etsy shops...

This is such a great little zine filled with crafting ideas galore! You can purchase the zine only, or the zine plus a crafting leftovers kit that has all the materials you need to make a little project. March's issue had some particularly helpful hints about sewing seeds. Wonderful!

Stephanie of Sea Sprite Soaps was wonderful to work with. Not only did I receive the soap I ordered in time for a birthday gift, but she sent me some additional soap samples as well.

I just LOVED the scent of this lilac soap from Angela and Lippincott Soap Company. She sent me some samples as well -- and I will definitely be ordering some of her soaps for myself!

Lastly, I adore these personalized notecards by Viva la Violette. They are so pretty! Heather loved them as well!

Spread the Etsy LOVE! : )

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Tote Bag

While I was on the East side of the state this weekend for Alison's Bridal Shower, my mother and I collaborated on a quick tote bag project using the fabric I mentioned in my last post.

I cut out a flower shape and used it as a template to create a fabric flower.

I then adhered it to a store bought tote bag with no-sew fabric adhesive.

I unpicked the handles of the bag and removed them.

I cut two long strips of fabric to make new longer handles, and my Mum used interfacing to stiffen them, and then zig-zagged them and sewed them onto the bag. She then zig-zagged around the flower to finish it.

Ta da! A very cute Spring Tote Bag. I gave this one as a birthday gift to my friend Heather, but now I think I need one for myself. Plus... I'm thinking about making a bigger version with pockets as a diaper bag for a baby shower gift. The possibilities are endless!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Project Updates

The favor boxes for Alison's Shower are coming along - I have just over half of them done. This is good considering the shower is THIS SUNDAY! : )

I needed to whip up a quick tag for them, so I printed text on lightweight cardstock, then stamped over the top of it and used a circle punch to punch them out. Simple, quick, and cute!

I was out looking for some fabric yesterday for a SECRET PROJECT I'm working on... and found this.

I was originally looking for something in the purple family but there wasn't anything I loved. This, I think, is beautiful. I'll be posting about it's accompanying project next week.

It's funny really - considering my mother is a costumer and seamstress - that I'm just now discovering fabric and sewing. As a child I had little to no interest in it whatsoever. Now my mind is filled with all of the fabric creations ahead of me! Good thing I have Mum to help out!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Easy Five Minute Playing Card Gift Tags

Inspired by the previously mentioned antique store gift tag, here's a tutorial on how to make your own Easy Five Minute Playing Card Gift Tags!

1. You can buy a pack of hundred shipping tags at any office supply store for about $5. You can also get a variety of sizes in smaller packs at craft stores. I used the cheapo office supply store kind!

2. Although I know I have some cute vintage playing cards in no-longer-complete decks at my parents' house on the other side of the state, I grabbed a pack of three colorful decks at my local dollar store.

3. Line up your tag and selected playing card.

4. Punch some ribbon holes near the top.

5. Grab a scrap of color coordinating ribbon.

6. Tie it through both pieces and double knot it.

7. Snip the ends on diagonals as desired.

8. Make some more and hoard them for last minute gift tags for birthdays, showers, etc... ENJOY!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shower Favors

I started working on some origami boxes (40 of them!) to be used as favor containers at Alison's Bridal Shower this coming weekend. I found paper in three modern floral prints that each incorporate her wedding colors (raspberry and lime) and made up a sample in each.

I still need to work on creating a tag of some description to attach to each of them, but here are the samples thus far...

To see the pattern that I based these boxes on, click HERE.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Kid Art

I guested in Miss Heather's school-age child care class on Friday. I had to think carefully about the project I chose to do with them because it was a mixed age group of kinder-5th grade. I had discovered Kathy Barbro's site "Art Projects for Kids" a year or so ago when I was teaching preschool and kinder art, so I turned to her site and settled on her Van Gogh Sunflowers project.

Here are our results!

After everyone was done with their project (it took the children anywhere from a half hour to almost two hours! They were so focused!) we finished up by planting our own sunflowers in mini-pots. It was a fun way to end the activity.

I had a great time working with the kids. Although I don't think I would ever have the patience to work with kids every day, I do miss teaching. I'll be subbing for a couple of art classes at the Visser Y next month, so stay tuned for that!