Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recipe Box

I have tried many times to organize my recipes. I have bought the books that the cards can fit in, but ran out of room to add plastic protectors. I have the three-ring binder with clippings and printed favorites. I often run from one to the next and then to all the cookbooks I have for the one I'm looking for and can't remember which book or binder it is in. I decided that I want to put all my recipes in one place, so I made this box. It will take me some time to get the recipes that aren't on cards yet ready for the box, but I know in the end I'll be happy to have one place to go looking for those recipes. I used the idea from Sister's Stuff to get me started. Great inspiration!
I added the conversion chart to a card in the back of the box so I could have a quick reference. Just another way to keep organized in 2010.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wild Wild West Party

My son wanted a western themed birthday party so of course I did my best to pull that theme together. In the picture, is my kids with grandma Dee testing out the saddle.

I visited a few websites first. Family Fun and Radmacher blog had some cute ideas.
HP had a ton of free printable ideas with the western theme in mind:
Western printable kit  (includes customizable boot invites, signs, games, and more)
Western scrapabook kit (borders, backgrounds, journal blocks, and tags)

Wild West Party set 1 (mustache stickers, wanted posters, stage coach invites, and more)
Wild West Party set 2 (iron on, badges, invites, and more)

HP has other themed party, decorations, tags, etc. Here is the link I found to be filled with amazing printables!
HP Creative Studio   Enjoy!

Now back to the party I put together.I found sheriff badges, gold coins, and mini decks of cards to put in the gift bags. Thanks to my mom for putting all these together and having the idea for the napkin rings. Most of my decor items came from her too. Thanks mom!

The napkins were bandannas with small western hats glued to hair ties for napkin rings.

Centerpieces were straw cowboy hats, red bandannas, candles with ripped bandannas tied around them, along with horseshoes. Here's my birthday cowboy next to one of them.

Under my welcome sign, I hung the buckaroos sign, which I made with my cricut. In doorways, we hung strings with boots, badges, cactus', etc. These we found at the local Party America store.

Outside, we set up a cowboy fire pit, saddle, and roping station. To our luck it snowed during the party so we came in and out a lot, but I did have extra gloves handy and hats too. The steer head on the hay bale was a fun game while kids sat on the saddle.

You can see in the background some rope with strips of bandannas strung across the front of the house. This was an easy way to make garland. I had extra strips so I hung a few on the wreath that was still on my front door and added a few horse shoes too.

Here's the homemade stand with the saddle. Thanks to my father-in-law for doing so much of the outdoor work. He brought the hay bales too.I couldn't have thrown the party together without all the help.

The menu:
Cowboy cocoa, root beer, hot dogs, buns, chili, cheese, calico beans, ribs, chips, and veggies.
For dessert, we made smores over the fire pit outside instead of cake! It was a huge hit because the kids could make them.

It was a successful 6th birthday party and a ton of fun for me to put together. Good thing my daughter's next party isn't until September.  This will give me some planning time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flag Garland Curtain and Bath Mat

The flag garland/pennant idea came from Sparkle Power and Bison Girl. I love this idea and thought it might be fun to make some for my sons western themed birthday party. I haven't made those yet, but in the meantime I created some for a curtain in our guest bathroom and one for the kids' bathroom, both of which needed some color. Rather than using pinking shears around the edge, I sewed the in reverse and flipped them right side out before I added the binding. This worked pretty slick. Each triangle is 8.5" wide and 11" long. I overlapped them a little to create the curtain look I wanted. I tacked one curtain up and the other I used sticky velcro.

I then decided that the kid's bathroom didn't have enough color, so I made a bath mat using Sew Liberated's tutorial.  It really was a quick project. I whipped up the curtain on Sunday in less than an hour. I cut out the squares for the bath mat quickly and then sewed them together Monday. I am pretty pleased with the end result.I never would have thought about using a quilt for the floor, but how cute it does look and what a great place to add color. Now I'm getting spring fever to start painting the bathroom.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stove Top Citrus Potpourri

If it hadn't been for my friend at Creative Attempts, I never would have thought of this idea. I love gift ideas and this became a great gift for my neighbors as a thank you for their holiday gifts. At first I thought I'd make tags on labels and stick them on the bags. I realized that the sticky labels I had on hand were far to small so I resorted to using the leftover make your own business cards I had around. I stapled the card tag with a ribbon to the bag. I printed the tags with the following information:
Stove Top Citrus Potpourri
Put all ingredients into a saucepan. Fill pan with water. Place on stove on the smallest burner, on the lowest setting. Refill as needed. Enjoy the fragrant smell!
With cheer,
The Ellis Family

I added my blog at the bottom.

 Citrus Potpourri Mix
1 small orange that was starting to get too old to eat
1/2 cup frozen cranberries
1 Tbsp. whole cloves
3 sticks of cinnamon or a small handful of small pieces of cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg or fresh grated

Put ingredients in a ziplock or cute clear bag. I am wishing that I had some other bags around instead of the ziplock ones. Oh well! The recipe also suggested using orange peels instead of using the whole orange. I like how the whole orange slices look. Presentation can be everything, at times.
A tip: Don't allow the water to completely evaporate. I refill the pot when I turn it back on. One mix continues to smell good for weeks. Thanks Creative Attempts for this inspiration!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Family Journaling/Calendar/Planner 2010

I can't wait to make this calendar keepsake! This weekend, while my hubby is busy I plan to work on this family calendar/journal. I am finding it very difficult with a 4 and 5 year old to get scrapbooks finished. I can get them started and then I fail to print pictures or years go by and I can't remember a thing about the event. I love KMckay Designs idea of journaling in a calendar/planner and adding the photos and jotting down the events as they occur. I can see this being accomplished more so then the scrapbooks by year that I am trying to complete. Did I mention I am still working on albums from 2006 and 2007? Also, KMckay Designs also provides the downloadable pages. Could this be any easier?

photo from KMckay Designs

Friday, January 1, 2010

Toy Bags

Organization is the name of the game. My son has too many toys to start, which we will purge eventually. For now though, my goal is to get the toys that have many small parts in the proper bags. So I followed this tutorial at Motherhood for Dummies and made some bags. The fabric I used was a soft denim. I used scrap ribbon or left over canvas like string for the drawstrings. I added felt letters on the front so my son would know which bag was for what toys. Since he is 5 now, the letter-sound correspondence will be great practice too 9T=Trucks, L=Lincoln Logs, B=Blocks). I also tacked down the drawstrings in the back so that he could pull them out by accident. As you can see, they are already being used!

Fay's Baklava

I don't know who Fay is but, I did try my hand at her Baklava. It turned out pretty sweet too! Only slightly time consuming but quite easy to make. What an enjoyable day it was gathered with some girl friends baking. Here is the recipe we used.

Fay’s Baklava from Julie M.
Makes 5-6 rolls with about 10 individual servings each once cut.
1 box philo dough-No. 4 strudel leaves (40 sheets makes 5 rolls)
1 lb. finely chopped walnuts (450 grams)
1 ½ C sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter
Combine chopped nuts and sugar. Set aside. Melt butter on stove top. Set philo
dough out on clean counter flat with a moistened towel over top. Pull two sheets
of philo dough off of pile and set in front of you. Spread butter with a pastry
brush across the top. Then sprinkle approximately ½ cup nut/sugar mix. Lay two
more sheets of philo dough on top of this and repeat process; making three
layers of philo, butter, nut/sugar mix. Finally top with two more philo sheet and
butter top. Roll dough loosely into long tube and place on a jelly roll pan or
cookie sheet with a lip. Begin another Baklava roll. When pan is filled, cut
Baklava at an angle into 2 inch pieces then bake at 250 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

While baking Baklava, boil 4 cups water. Then add 2 cups sugar and boil for 10
minutes. Then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon corn syrup. Boil
and cook for ½ hour. Then set aside and cool until Baklava is finished baking.
When Baklava is done, evenly pour the syrup over the top of the rolls. It is ready
to eat immediately or to store and enjoy later.

What a special treat to enjoy on New Year's Day!