Pinspiration

Winter weather advisory + sleet = a pot of chili simmering. And projects.

My morning jaunt through Pinterest led me to a virtual holiday home tour here:

Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday Housewalk 2013!

I tried. I really did, but after 30 minutes, I determined it would take me hours to find the exact spot for the inspirations for today’s projects, so just go touring like I did. Each and every house has its own flavor, and if you can’t be inspired…well, Bah Humbug!

The first attempt came from this comfy old sweater.

DSC00171Saint has loved this sweater for years, but the cuffs on the sleeves have frayed. Plus, I cut a big hunk out of it to make the sweater pumpkin last month. 🙂

I cut one of the sleeves off to wrap around this candle holder. I intended to use the frayed cuff at the top, but it wouldn’t fit. The tutorial suggested using the ragged edge, anyway, so this worked.

DSC00173A strip of burlap secured with a piece of jute twine tied in a bow with greenery and berries tucked in complete the coziness.

DSC00178This will feel right at home in a guest bathroom.

At another site on the tour, I saw a cute old toy truck carrying home a bottle brush Christmas tree. I don’t have any bottle brush trees, but I plan on adding some at end of the season sales, this year. In the mean time, I traipsed through the sleet and cold to one of the many little cedar trees we have here on Redbud Ridge and clipped a few sprigs.

DSC00179Finally, while touring, I found just what I had been looking for to complete one of my new family members’ stocking. The hostess referred back to the source of the vintage Paris print, and I found just what I wanted here:

thegraphicsfairy.com

I have used some of The Graphics Fairy’s free printables before. This is a great site for teachers who may be looking for art to enhance a project or center activity. I printed out the Eiffel Tower, mounted it on some brown bag paper, glittered it up a bit, and added some black ribbon so that I can pin the tag to the stocking. I think it gave it just the look I wanted for this lovely lady’s stocking.

DSC00176All that before noon! And I didn’t hit all the houses on the tour, so I may have to re visit this afternoon. The chili was good, the fire even better. What did you do on your wintry day?

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Finishing Fall Fun and All Things Pumpkin

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Oh, the joy of jumping into a big pile of leaves!

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And soft landings!

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And finishing projects.

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And baking and making…

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Saint and I grew a ton of mini pumpkins, and, well…what do you do with a ton of mini pumpkins?

Have a pumpkin Day with Elle! I planned it before Halloween and gathered ideas for all kinds of pumpkin projects, but, just as well that we didn’t have time for it before Halloween because we didn’t even have time to finish the “not Halloween” pumpkins. What we did have time for were pumpkin painting, pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin spice cookies, and chili with a secret ingredient. Any guesses? Yep. Pumpkin! Neither Saint nor Elle were fans of it, but I kind of liked it. I had made pumpkin chili before for a Super Bowl Party when the kids were teenagers, and it was a much better recipe. I liked the idea of adding another healthy ingredient, but Saint thought tomatoes, onions, beans were healthy enough already. Since this recipe failed to pass the Saint/Elle test, I won’t post it here.

The cookies, on the other hand, were easy, good, and the recipe made a LOT of cookies. I found the recipe at myhoneysplace.com, and I only made a tiny change. I used white chocolate chips for half the dough, and I preferred them to the chocolate chips in the other half. Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 c. all purpose flour*
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 (3.4-3.56 oz) box of pumpkin spice pudding (dry)
  • 1½ stick of butter, softened
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ c. of chocolate chunks
DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and pumpkin spice pudding mix- set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together (on medium speed) butter and both sugars until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Then add eggs, one at time, followed by vanilla and honey. Scrape down sides. Then reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients. Combine until just incorporated. Finally fold in chocolate chips .

Line baking sheet with baking mat, aluminum foil, parchment or wax paper. Scoop out 1 1/2-2 inch, cookie dough balls onto sheet (roll between the palm of your hands for a nice round shape). Space the cookies 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the cookies using the palm of your hand. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

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Sometimes you need a break from pumpkins and cooking. This has been one of my favorite teacher projects; one I have used throughout the years with a variety of literature selections and science units. It is extremely simple, yet provides a beautiful display for classroom windows. Elle let me keep this one to display in the dining room, and I think I need to share it with teachers everywhere. Here’s what you will need:
Tissue paper-orange, yellow, brown, red, green-cut into small irregular squares and rectangles
Waxed paper-cut in the shape of a tree crown
Glue
Black construction paper
Directions: Give each student a waxed paper tree shape and a handful of multi-colored tissue squares. Students should glue tissue onto the shape, covering it completely. Glue down all edges, and trim off as needed. Cut tree trunk and branches out of black construction paper and glue onto the crown.
Note: I had parent volunteers cut a variety of trunks and branches for younger students. Older students may prefer to free cut their own.
I assure you these will brighten up your room as the sun magnifies the stained glass effect, but I can’t guarantee the trees will look as lovely as Elle’s. 🙂  She is very talented, you know.

Handmade Hearts

DSC00031Valentine’s Day…or is it Valentines’ Day? I’ve never really figured it out, but in the grand scheme of love, does it really matter? This little woven heart that I’m DIY-ing today is a great way for students, parents, spouses, or sweethearts to show people how special they are. Sure, you could spend eight bucks on a glittery card that would be treasured for life probably thrown away in a week or two. When you look through your keepsakes, you probably notice that most of them have been made or selected just for you. That’s the beauty of this simple project. You can make it as easy, inexpensive, meaningful, elaborate as you wish. Here is the basic list of materials:
Paper (construction, scrapbook, specialty, grocery bags)
Pattern to trace or copy
Scissors
Glue
Accessories, if desired

Yep, that’s all. And here is the pattern with visual instructions:
woven heart
1. Copy or trace the pattern twice…using contrasting paper such as red/white, pink/red, pink/white
2. Cut carefully on dotted lines.
3. Weave the two pieces together as shown in the visual.
4. Glue tabs in place and trim, if necessary.
5. Decorate

I simply used some tissue strands and cut out the word love on the one above, but other suggestions would be to use a paper or fabric flower, (there are tons of tutorials for handmade ones on Pinterest)wire letters, glitter, decoupaged tiny hearts. The possibilities are endless. And it never hurts to throw in some chocolate…good for the heart, you know.