Monday, December 29, 2008

When 20 below is a beautiful thing....

Temperatures at 20 below zero are rarely a beautiful thing. Good for freezing all the bugs and keeping them at bay during the summer, yes, but good for getting out and playing in? No.

Unless you're making peppernuts.

Every year I make peppernut cookies for the holidays. My grandmother always did and I'm happy to carry on the tradition. Our recipe makes a ton of cookies, and if you're going to run the oven for half the day making them, it's best to do it on a cold day when you can enjoy the warmth.

But that's not why 20 below is beautiful on peppernut day. This is:

Holiday Gift Making

You see, you have to freeze the ropes of dough after you've formed them so they are solid enough to cut into cookies. I'm usually fighting to find enough space in my freezer for a few cookie sheets full of dough and it takes a long time for them to freeze. When it's 20 below out, though, you can just pop them outside in the snow and they freeze pretty quickly! It's sort of like flash freezing, I'd guess. It's great!

And then it occurred to me (well, actually it occurred to my brother, but he was nice enough to share this thought with me...) that the good German peppernut tradition probably predates the electric freezer. So I'm guessing putting the dough outside in the cold to chill is not something I am the first to do. Perhaps that's why they're winter cookies after all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Ornament Making

This year Eliana got into the holiday spirit with hand crafted gifts, too! She and her little friends made some salt dough ornaments and painted them to give as gifts to the grandparents. Nothing like seeing your little girl get excited about crafting to make a mama's heart proud! =D

Holiday Gift Making

Holiday Gift Making

Ellie and J flattening out the salt dough.

Holiday Gift Making

Painting the ornaments at home the next day... Eliana painted them all by herself!

Holiday Gift Making

I think they turned out very nicely for ornaments made and hand painted by a 2 year old! I hope they were appreciated by the grandparents. I kept a couple for her to have as keepsakes, too.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Self Portrait

With Leif's new D300! =D


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Fill in the Cake

I just have to put in a little plug for my friend Dana's blog, Fill in the Cake. I don't get to talk to her or see her very often, so I basically keep up with her through her blogs. (Yes, she's another crazy like me who has blogs plural...) Anywho, she's cute and crafty and has 4 kids and homeschools and I have no idea where she gets all the time or energy, but this is the kind of crazy cuteness I have come to expect when she updates her blog:

Seriously. Isn't it the cutest cake for a kid's birthday?? You should go take a peek at some of her other cakes. It's crazy impressive!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Perpetual Calendar Brilliance!!

I am not making perpetual calendars this year, but if I were (and if I ever do in the future!) THIS is sheer brilliance from the good old people at Purple Onion Designs.

Check out the website for more specific instructions on how to use the set, but it can be used year after year after year (until 2025!!). Seriously. Sheer brilliance. And.... true to Purple Onion fashion, the whole set is only $26! Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Crafts....

I did a few crafty things last week in preparation for Thanksgiving. Some of them were with my 2 year old daughter, like these:


Eliana's Handiwork

Eliana's Handiwork

Ellie and I also decorated some sugar cookies. We made these back when we made our Halloween cookies with Mommom and I froze the leaves for later. I actually remembered they were in the freezer and we enjoyed decorating them together, albeit with canned frosting and Wilton sprinkles instead of homemade goodness, but my energy levels were running low and I decided it was more important to spend time with my daughter decorating the cookies than it was to have them perfect. Ack! I think I'm loosening up in my old age...


And last, but not least, I made this little outfit for Eliana to play dress up in last week. It was an afternoon whim and it took me just a couple hours start to finish. And I love how it turned out!

Thanksgiving Getup

Thanksgiving Getup

Thanksgiving Getup

Thanksgiving Getup

One Little Indian

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving is coming...

and as one who usually turns all looneybin this time of year, I found the following quite humorous:

Friday, November 14, 2008


Yes, 26.

That's how many layouts I have completed in the last week. I scrapped with Julie and Kristin last Saturday, and with Erika yesterday. I'm on a roll!

Wanna know what I did today?

No.... not scrapping.... I canned! It's been over 5 years since the last time I canned (when we lived in Iowa!) and I'd forgotten how fun it is! Erika came over and we canned. She canned salsa and I canned apple butter and orange marmalade. I make apple butter every year, but this is the first time I've ever made orange marmalade. I sort of did my own thing with it, but it's good! And would you like to know what I did with the orange peel? If so, just take a peek here and see. Oh. My. Goodness. This is the most heavenly thing to do with an orange peel ever!! Amazing. And the best place to store these little confectionary marvels? In your belly. :)

I also dehydrated apples and made some orange infused syrup and roasted a pumpkin and started drying pumpkin seeds for toasting. Then I left and went to church to teach a Christmas card class for our ladies' night out. It's been a busy day!!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog:
Share SEVEN facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird...just 7 facts. :) Tag 7 people at the end of your post and make sure to let them know they've been tagged!

1. I used to teach Latin to 3rd through 10th graders. It had to be one of the jobs I enjoyed the most and one I would love to get back to once our kid(s) are in school.

2. I am 5 feet tall. I often forget how short I am, though, and I think I'm the same height as my 6 foot friends. And yes, I have quite a few girlfriends 6 feet tall and over. I think we're all the same height. Only I can stand up on my countertops without hitting my head and they can't.

3. I used to manage the darkroom for our campus newspaper in college. I loved printing photos and developing film and said I would never go digital. Wow, that must have been a long time ago, like a decade already.

4. I have 6 blogs that I keep updated at least once a month. They range in topics from crafting here at MIM, to family, to childrearing, to weightloss, to thoughts and devotions, to housekeeping. A couple are for the benefit of others, but most are for my own personal tracking and thought processing.

5. I lived in the same house from the time I was born until I went to college. My parents still live in that house, though it's changed a lot through the years. The first time I moved out of the town I grew up in I was already married.

6. I have had the same best friend since I was 4 years old. Charlotte Newlin Allen. We have been closer at some times and drifted apart others, but we have always been the best of friends and I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. I love Sci-Fi. Some girls watch chick flicks. I watch Farscape and Firefly and Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. It makes finding movies my husband and I agree on easier, that's for sure!

I know I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but I'm too lazy right now. So if you read this, consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm scrapping!

Today I am going over to Julie's house to scrapbook and I am so excited! I haven't scrapped in a while and I haven't scrapped with Julie and Kristin since before I had Eliana! So to prepare myself and get into the groove, I took a few minutes to scrap yesterday afternoon and last night - and I whipped out 5 layouts in no time! Hooray! Right now I'm working with our camping pictures from this summer and the August SPS kit. Loving the colors in that!!

So this afternoon I'm packing up some untouched SPS kits and a few tools and an appetizer of some variety (still working on that one...) and heading to Bozeman for hours of scrappy fun. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Didn't get the DT position...

... but that's okay. Probably good, in fact. The truth is that I've been really really busy this fall and I'd like to be not so busy come winter/spring. So I wasn't even sure that I wanted to do the DT thing. But at the same time I knew I would have been mad at myself had I not even applied, because I would have loved to be on the DT! I didn't make any new layouts for the application, I just used my favorites from the last year.

So... I quick grabbed pictures of the layouts I had already photographed (and had saved places other than Leif's computer, since that's where all of our photos were stored and it was in the middle of a new operating system upgrade!) and sent in my application. Then I told God that I felt really busy but wanted to do this and let Him decide! ;D

I think the best part is that I didn't have to spend a month waiting to hear since I applied like 5 days before they announced the new team! I am looking forward to seeing what the new team will do with the Sweet Pea Scraps kits this year - I am always turning to the gallery for inspiration, so I hope to be seeing a lot of their stuff! If you want to check out the new team, you can see them at the Sweet Pea Vine.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Just under the wire....

I just applied for a DT position. I've been planning on applying for several weeks and thought I still had a few days. Turns out the application period closes tonight at midnight, not on November 4th, like I thought it did. I'm glad I chose layouts tonight instead of waiting another couple days like I was going to! Eek! So I got my application in at 10:30, just an hour and a half shy of the deadline. Whew! That's cutting it close!

Stamped Cookie Tutorial...

Halloween Cookies

I made stamped Jack-O-Lantern cookies for our Halloween party last night and they turned out really cute, so I figured I'd share how it was done. I used the large face pieces from my Spooky Sweets stamp set from PaperTrey Ink.

This was the first time I'd used something other than ink on acrylic stamps, so I wasn't sure how it would work. But it turned out great and I can see all sorts of possibilities for this technique in the future, for birthday parties and baby showers and all sorts of fun events. It's faster than using buttercream frosting to decorate cookies, too, which is a plus. And it's easier on the hands! Here's what I did...

First, make your favorite sugar cookies. Then frost them using a glaze that will dry to a hard shiny finish. The recipe I used is made from powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup. I pipe a border around the edge of the cookie and then fill it in. Let it set to harden overnight and then stamp the next day. Here are the details on stamping once you have a glazed cookie...

Stamped Cookie Tutorial

Stamped Cookie Tutorial

Stamped Cookie Tutorial

Stamped Cookie Tutorial

Stamped Cookie Tutorial

Stamped Cookie Tutorial

Once you are finished stamping, clean the stamps off with warm soapy water and make sure to get all the corn syrup out of the grooves in the stamp. Dry them off and they're ready to put away for another project!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I made these yesterday....

.... and they are SO GOOD. Pumpkin biscotti. I got the recipe here. I dipped mine in chocolate. Mmmm.... My Inner Martha is full on FALL this week!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Accordion Album Love...

I sort of find it amusing that the items I love the most in my Etsy shop are rarely the ones that sell. What does that say about me? Take this one for example...

Butterfly Accordion Album

This might be my all time favorite accordion album tin. Butterflies. Velvet ric-rack. Acetate galore. Pockets for notes or pictures... I love it! But the listing will expire in a week and it will go homeless, unloved. What's up with that?

Butterfly Accordion Album

Do I just tend to like and make things that are difficult to accurately photograph? Does it really just look that much better in person that I fell in love with it and can't convey what it looks like through pictures? Do people just not know what to do with accordion albums? I guess if this one goes unloved I'll have to fill it with my own pictures (provided I ever find the time!) so people can see what you do with them. And so I can finally be a good mom and carry pictures of my daughter with me!! Someone asked what she looked like this week and all I had was a lousy cell phone picture. I really need to carry pictures of her!

Have I already blogged this?

Transparency Folder Card

Transparency Folder Card

This is a card Sheila asked me to put together as a fourth for my transparency card class this week. She really wanted me to use the file folder cut on the diagonal as a template and see what I could do with it. It's not my favorite card ever, but I am happy with how it turned out, especially working with someone else's idea, which I usually have a really hard time with. I love the other cards for the class Wednesday, but I don't have any pictures of those, so you'll just have to stop by the store to see them or use your imagination. They're transparency gatefold cards. =D

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bo Bunny Thanksgiving Album!

When I saw this paper from Bo Bunny, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do with it. All of the eclectic journaling blocks just called for me to make them into a mini album for Thanksgiving this year! So that I what I did. It doesn't have any pictures or writing in it yet, but I intend to use it to document our holiday this year, whatever we end up doing (it's still a bit up in the air as far as plans go...). I'm very happy with how it turned out! (So much so that I did a Christmas one using the Christmas paper, but I didn't really like how that turned out as much.) Anyway, without further ado, here is my Bo Bunny Thanksgiving Album!!






Of course, I used the Bind-It-All and tied some Michael's ribbon on the coils. I also added some Prima crystal frames (ovals) for a bit of sparkle, but other than that it is just that one sheet of paper!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Believe it or not....

... I've been getting to craft lately. Hooray! I've been too busy to blog it, but not too busy to do it, and you'll just have to trust me on that.

Just today I made a diaper cake (or 90% of it... it still needs a few finishing touches) and invitations to a baby shower (or 90% of them... I still need a little more information before they're finished).

I've been working on mini albums galore. I've got 4 of them done. No pictures inside yet, but they're all ready for them.

I've been working on cards, too. I've got some card classes coming up and I've been making samples for those, as well as working on my own Christmas cards.

It's good to craft. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of stuff sometime soon. I don't make nearly enough time for blogging now that I'm busy again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday Gifts....

It's birthday season again.

All of Eliana's little friends seem to have been born in the months of October, November, and December. Of course, she wasn't, so I don't usually think about it until the first birthday hits. And that's Zoe's birthday. This year I was determined to have a great gift and have it made (because I am a believer in homemade gifts!) in time for her birthday party. I started plotting and planning and working on it way back in July. Then the project got stalled and I didn't pick it up again until Sunday.... the day OF Zoe's party. Too late. I didn't get it done in time. *sigh* But I did get it done, and I even remembered to take pictures before I wrapped it to give to her! Hopefully she'll like it, but I thought it would be a great gift for a 3 year old. I sort of pictured it being good in the car (since chalk won't stain car seats or melt in the summer heat) but really it would be good anywhere, I think. It's a chalkboard lap desk with a couple storage pockets....

Zoe's Birthday Gift

Zoe's Birthday Gift

Zoe's Birthday Gift

The pictures are bad because I had to crank up the ISO for low light pictures, but you get the idea. I love this fleece material! The pattern just makes me happy with the little frogs on pogo sticks, and I'm a big fan of the bright cheery colors. I have enough supplies (except for the batting) to make another, so I think I will. Maybe it will be another toddler birthday present. Maybe it will be for Ellie. We'll see. But I like how this one turned out, especially for a first draft of the idea in my head. I love it when that happens.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scarf and Hat....

Well, now that it's been snowing for pretty much two days straight, I guess it's as good a time as any to post the scarf and hat I made while camping this summer. The yarn is SO SOFT (I think it's called "pajama" yarn) and I love the blue, especially paired with the brown coat I wear so much.

Baby Blue PJ Yarn Hat and Scarf

And before my mother has a heart attack at the beautiful white snowy background, this picture was taken a month or more ago, and that is not snow, but a backdrop. So you can breathe easy, Mom, that we don't have THAT much snow on the ground. Only an inch or so, and I'm sure it will all be melted by the time you arrive in a few weeks. =D

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Trick or Treat... Smell My Feet...

I love the Heidi Grace Halloween papers, so when I decided to make invitations to our Halloween party, I knew just which papers I wanted to use! The idea had been floating around in my head for a while, and when I sat down to make these the other night it all just came together. I really like how these turned out, too, and I'm glad I got to use the PaperTrey Ink stamps I bought, since I got them specifically for this (and more of this year's Halloween celebration) purpose. The "bags" are made from craft paper and trimmed with zigzag scissors and the "handles" pull up to reveal the party details! I thought it was clever... =D

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Monday's Craft Night...

... Here's what I did. Turns out it takes more time to scrap when you're out of practice, but I'm happy to get to play with my SPS kits again AND get some scrapping in, even if it only one completed layout. Hey! It's completed!!

Bear Hunt Layout

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

See what I got in the mail today?!

PaperTreyInk stamps!!

Yes, goodies from Paper Trey Ink! I know, I know, I'm not buying more craft stuff until I use what I have, but I have plans for these!! I have plans for my halloween party and plans for a baby shower, and I NEEEEED these stamps to complete my plans!! Really, I do. =D

I'm so excited to play with the new stamps! I'm hoping to have time to do that.... oh, maybe this weekend? I hope so!

Tonight's Class....

So tonight I'm teaching another class at the LSS. It's a recipe album using the new Theresa Collins recipe pages. I pretty much love all thing TC, so I am really excited about this one! I made mine a Thanksgiving recipe album so I have all my favorite Thanksgiving recipes in one place. The recipe cards pull out (with the exception of 2 of them in mine - class attendees will be able to do the cards however they want to, so I added a variety of ways to do it in mine for example) and I think it will be a fun keepsake to have all my holiday recipes in an album! If I'm really feeling ambitious come Thanksgiving I'd like to take pictures of some of the dishes and incorporate them somehow. But that will have to wait until later. In the meantime, here's a peek at the album!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Craft Night Tonight!!!

What AM I going to work on???

I'm thinking whatever I do should include one of the Sweet Pea Scraps kits. I'm itching to play with them!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

My birthday was a week ago, but this year I'm having the birthday that keeps on giving, I think! I've been celebrating for weeks now and today I got another birthday gift, this one from my inlaws. I got... A ScorPal!!

I am really very excited about it. In fact, after thanking my mother in law for reading my wishlist, I realized I hadn't even updated my wish list since I had been wanting a scor pal, so I had to then thank her for reading my mind, LOL! Craft night is Monday here at our house, so I'm looking forward to using it then! I'm going to work on stuff for... *gasp* ME! My own crafting!! (I hope)