December 10, 2010

Chunky Chocolate Fudge Wreath

Want to make THIS?  Sure you do.  Here's what you need:

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch or peanut butter chips
14 oz. sweatened condensed milk (save can for a large wreath!)
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. walnuts
1/2 c. raisins
Candied red (cut in half) and green cherries (cut in fourths) to make holly berries (only I hate these cherries and just skip the green and do red maraschino cherries instead!)
*Extra walnuts/almonds for topping (I buy the precut almonds or cut walnut halves in 1/2)
*Containers to use for your wreathes..whatever size you want!  Also dig through your cupboards for a cup (or something) that would be the right size for a wreath center.

***I should add I got the original recipe from Rachel Ray while watching TV (5 years ago!).  I wrote it down from I am not sure how exact it is, but I do know I changed a few things.  Especially how you make the wreaths.  My way is SO much easier!***

First, get your wreath container ready.  You can do all sorts of sizes..line the container/pie plate with plastic wrap.  Wrap your wreath "center" with plastic wrap also.  For one large wreath, use a pie plate and the condensed milk can (or a drinking glass).  For 2 medium size, I use my round rubbermaid containers and a smaller glass for the center.  For 4 mini wreaths, I use my small round rubbermaid containers with shot glasses in the center.  You can make all sorts of combinations..just have them all wrapped and ready BEFORE you start!
Here is what I used this time...

Place plastic wrap in need to make sure it sticks perfectly because once you put the fudge in, it will keep it in place.  Next, wrap your "wreath center"..for me it was a tobasco sauce container!  I love found objects.  I then did the same with a couple of larger plastic containers, using our glass tumblers for the center.  Just make sure to get the "wreath center" as close to the actual center as you can.

Next, get all your ingredients measured out and ready!  Get the chips, milk and vanilla in a sauce pan.  Put the nuts and raisins in a bowl and set aside.  Get your "toppings" cut and ready to go.  Once the fudge is've gotta be quick!

Now you're ready to roll!  Turn your heat on LOW.  Slowly stir the chips until melted.  I had professional help.  :)

Usually the butterscotch chips don't entirely melt..don't know why, but it doesn't affect the taste.  Just don't OVERcook the chocolate or you will burn it.  It should look nice and smooth (not counting the partially unmelted butterscotch..I promise it's no biggie.)
Perfect!  Now dump in your nuts and raisins (seriously..don't leave out the raisins even if you don't like them.  Somehow they are a perfect addition..and you can't tell they are there.  I don't like them and neither does my hubs, but they are a keeper!)
Stir it just until mixed.. time I'm not chopping the nuts as much.  I usually don't...I got carried away!  Get your pan off the heat immediately.  I place it on the counter right next to my wreath containers.  As I finish one, I set it aside and grab the next! 
I use the spoon to "glob" it into the containers.  It works perfect!  Allow your wreath to be makes it more beautiful in the end!

Yep, looks like one big globby mess.  Perfect!  Do the same with all your containers.  Then quickly move to the next step!  Time to decorate!

When I make these for gifts (the mini ones are PERFECT size for a gift basket!!) or for parties I get the green cherries and make holly sprigs.  But..these are for family, and I don't like those green we'll skip that!  The holly sure does make them VERY amazing looking.  You can evenly space the cherries..or do your own thing like my daughter!  I must say she did a fine job.  :)

Here are my two medium sized ones with the cherries and almonds.  Trust me..they will look pretty in the end!  (Seriously though..the green cherries really make them wonderful looking!)
Take the plastic wrap that is "hanging out" around the container and wrap it over the top of your wreath (like the one in the middle and on the left.)  This will keep any yucky smells out of your fudge while they harden in the fridge.  You don't want to mess them up!  I usually wait one hour before moving on to the next step.  They are still slightly soft, but firm enough to be moved.
This one goes to the freezer.  I don't need it until Christmas!  I left it in the plastic wrap, and placed it into a freezer bag.  I've done this every year for the last 4 years..and the taste is not affected in anyway.  They are still D~LISH!  If you need to, put it into a plastic container (if you are afraid it will get damaged while in the freezer).

My daughter's masterpiece got "tested" after lunch!  It of course was yummy!  This was such a fun project for a 3 year old!

See how nice it looks on a Christmas plate?  Very festive.  They are a hit everytime!  Never any leftovers..which is why I made a mini for home this time!

This one is wrapped up and ready to go to the Christmas party tomorrow night! 

This is so very fun (especially if your kids can help!) and very easy!  The taste is out of this world.  ENJOY!


October 24, 2010

Fancy Tutu! DIY

Want to make this?  (I looked into buying one very similar..but it was $85-NO!)
FIRST, check out my friends blog on how to make a regular elastic waist tutu.  Once you've read that, move on to my next step!:

You need:
4 spools of tulle (25 feet each), but more if you want multiple colors, I used very little of the black and white, and one of each of the (3) different pinks.
1 1/2" wide Elastic (1 package is plenty for one tutu)
Tape measurer
Ribbon if desired (I used 4 yards of ribbon)
Lighter (to heat seal the cut ends of your ribbon)

(The rest of the supplies are for my daughter's costume..I'll post pics of that later!  She's gonna be a pink, posh kitty cat!)
Once you've selected your colors and patterns, choose how long you'd like for your tutu to be.  I wanted it to be abou 12" long, so I went with 27" pieces.  Cut them all at once..saves time!  (Save your spools for storing the tulle if you can't finish it all at once.)  Mine took three entire rolls (30 pieces of each pink, so 90 pieces total).  I also cut 6 pieces of ribbon aprox. 24" long.
Then I took the dark pink, black and white, and cut 2" pieces (just eyeball need to use the measuring tape..I decided this very quickly!  Save yourself the time!)  I just cut a bunch of these, I didn't count them..and cut more as needed.
Got my 3 piles of 30 pieces all ready to go...I wasn't able to do this all at once because I'm a mom..and I only had little bits of time to do this, so I would take out 5 of EACH color at a time (so 15 pieces total).  The remaining pieces I rolled back onto the spools.  I also had the 3 stacks of  (black, white and dark pink) 2" tulle layed out and ready as well...
Pick a 27" (or whatever you've chosen) piece of tulle, and make a knot at EACH end.  Then, take a 2" piece and double knot it just above your first knot so it stays in place. 
On the 27" dark pink and medium pink I tied a 2" black (piece of tulle) to one end, and a 2" white (piece of tulle) to the other so it appeared to be even once tied.  On the light pink 27" pieces I tied  2" dark pink (pieces of tulle) onto BOTH add a little more pink into the bottom of the tutu.  I did ALL of each color the same so they were uniform.  I tied 5 of each color, so I'd have 15 total, then I'd move on to the next step..
Lay them out in order...and get ready to start making a tutu!
I placed the elastic around my knee to tie the tulle on.  I double zigzag stitched the elastic together..just to make it hold forEVER!  Tie the tulle tight enough that it doesn't slide around..but loose enough that the elastic stays flat.  As you go, keep pushing the pieces together so you can't see the elastic between knots.

This is one of my "sections".  Again, I did 5 of each of the three pinks, so 15 pieces total.  Then I have a piece of leopard print ribbon inbetween each of my "sections".  I tied the knots really tight..but still keeping the elastic flat. 

I tied on the colors in a pattern so it looked uniform.  Dark pink, medium pink, light pink...5 times in a row..then I tied the ribbon on...and did it over and over (six times)!

**Make sure you heat seal the ribbon BEFORE you tie it on.  I used a lighter..just hold the ribbon in one hand, lighter in the other.  Run the lighter QUICKLY across the very tip of the ribbon a few times.  That is all you need to do to keep it from fraying.**
Above is what 4 of my "sections" look like...really looking like a tutu! 

**Major tip!  To make the ribbons stay on TOP of the tulle, push the knots to the top edge of the elastic, instead of in the middle like the tulle.  This way, the ribbon naturally falls right on top of your tutu.**
Then sit back and admire your (aproximately 5-6 hours) of work!  It is totally worth it!  :) 
I will add pictures of the rest of my daughter's costume later!

Thanks for looking!


September 21, 2010

Wooden Letters-DIY!

I've had a few people ask me about how I made my kid's names with wooden letters.  Unfortunately, I didn't photograph when I was making them..but they were really simple!  I bought the letters at either Hobby Lobby or Michaels. 

Here's the finished project(s):


Wooden Letters
Acrylic Paint (I used 4 colors for Kimber's:  white, yellow, lime green and pink.  I used 4 colors for Kaylan's:  white, light green, sage green, light mocha brown)
3-4 sheets of scrapbooking stickers (whatever matches your kids room!)
Ribbon (if you decide to hang your letters by tying a bow)
Staple Gun (if you want to hang the letters by tying a bow)

How to:

First make sure your letters are painted white (if they came white, you probably need another coat or two..they just don't make it thick enough!).  When that completely dries, sponge one color at a time allowing them to dry throroughly between coats.  The last color should be the one you want to show up the most. 

If you're going to add ribbon, I'd do that now!  Cut and staple your ribbons..then tie them. 

Next, cut around the edges of all your scrapbooking stickers (don't peel them off just yet).  Lay all your letters out in order, and figure out the placement of your stickers.  Once you're happy with your designs, peel and stick! 

All done!  :)

Here's some close ups since I don't have any pics of the process...

Happy crafting!

Hair Bow Holder-DIY!!

I have 2 little girls..which means we have about 100 hair bows.  I recently realized I didn't like digging through a drawer to pick a bow..and I didn't like not being able to easily see all our options.  Not to mention we don't like squished bows!!!  CODE RED ALERT!! 

I am one of those DIY here's my take on some I've seen.  I am sure someone else has already thought of this..but it's still mega cute!  Not to mention simple!  Here's a pic of the finished project:

What you need:
1 painting canvas (I used a 16x20)
5-6 yards of ribbon (I used aprox. 200 inches..which is just over 5.5 yards, but it depends on how many strips you want)
Acrylic paint (I used three colors:  white, lime green and pink)
1 sponge
Staple gun

First, paint your canvas white (if it didn't come that way).  Once it's dry sponge on whatever colors you want!  Let paint dry between colors.  Whatever color you want to show up the most goes last...I ended up adding more pink once I thought I was finished...the lime green was just a little much!

Don't forget to put something down to protect your table..and don't forget to paint the edges!  When I sponge, I always "blot" the sponge on the newspaper to even out the paint.  If I don't do that, I'll end up with horrible blobs..not cool!

Amazing how different it looks after adding pink...

Still wasn't enough pink, so I went over it one more time...didn't take a pic though!

While the paint dries, start cutting your ribbons.  (After you clean up your mess!)  I did 10 ribbons, 20 inches each.  (So, you've got to choose which direction you want your "piece of art" to hang first!)   I chose 5 ribbons that matched and cut 2 pieces of each. 

Once the paint is completely dry, lay out your ribbons and decide the order you'd like them to be in.  *THIS IS THE HARD PART*.  Hehe..

I turned them all upside down (in order) and layed the canvas upside down on top of them to start the next step.  I used my measuring tape and made a mark for every inch on the back of the canvas..then I made sure I had all the ribbons spaced evenly (mine ended up being 2 inches apart).  I had a ribbon at 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 inches.  Next..start using the staple gun (yikes!)
Man, this part goes fast..keeping my fingers out of the way!
Two more...
And I'm done!  LOVE IT!!!  Oh my, I'm going to have to redo the whole room just to match this thing!  :)

My daughter loved it so much that she wanted her picture taken with it (she thought it was her birthday present..she just turned 3). 
What age to kids stop making weird faces and just SMILE?  My Sweet Pea also made sure the bow she was wearing was displayed on the NEW bow holder!  (Which explains her messed up hair!  HA!)

Here's another pic of the finished product..just because it's so adorable!
The perfect addition to any "girly girl's" room!  Quick and easy!  :)

Thanks for looking!