Tag Archives: Decorating

Decorating Sugar Cookies

So many of my homeschooling moms amaze me with all of their talents, one of them being my friend JenB. She has been professionally decorating cookies for a while and I CAN SAY WOWWIE! I love looking at her work. They are mini-pieces of art on a glorious little morsel of cookie. Some of them are almost too beautiful to eat. 

I had been researching and researching (not wanting to disturb JenB and her work) on getting the perfect recipe for Cookie Royal Icing. Here is the one that we finally came up with for us to work with. And YES! It worked GREAT! 

We did dye ours with some natural dyes because of El’s allergies… (and why would I want to put those yucky artificial dyes in my body anyway?) We used the Natural Dyes here: https://amzn.to/2KnFpSZ And although they worked, we only added enough to make a “pastel” colored Turkey. 🙂

Our next dilemma was the fact that my turkey cookie cutter was M.I.A. What to do, What to do? I have a large daisy cookie cutter and We made it into a turkey.  

When using your royal icing, outline and then fill. We started with an icing bag and that made a mess. Once we switched to an icing bottle, the designed flowed much better. (ignore the crazy, weird lumps in the start of the icing – it was from the bag – and user error)

*tip – one color at a time and let dry in between

Royal icing

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces, fluid Warm Water
  • 5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 2-¼ pounds (or 1 Kilogram) Icing Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar

Preparation

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Have fun decorating!

(*Recipe courtesy of Antonia74 at www.cakecentral.com)

I already had my favorite buttery sugar cookie recipe. It is one that we have been using for years. 

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour(minus 1 cup), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla, then mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir together until you have a thick mixture.
  5. Add the last cup of flour slowly until you get the right consistency, about that of peanut butter. If you add it all at once, yours might be too dry. If it does get too dry, I have found that you can add 1T of milk. 
  6. Wrap the mixture with clear plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Roll out half of the dough.
  8. Cut with cutters, then bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom JUST begins to brown.

The smell of fall – simmering potpourri

I love having a wood stove. I grew up with them at my parent’s house as well. When Larry and I looked for a stove to have put into our home (Yes, our huge house only had “fake” heating  fireplaces – Propane burning ones and a chimney for a pellet stove.) We had to get something in that was more economical for our family size. And not letting us run through our propane every winter.

I love the fact that the woodstove that we got has 2 cooking burners on top. I keep a water kettle on there all of the time.  I even fixed some elderberry tea with that heated water this morning from off of the woodstove. That is a different story altogether.

We have already simmered soup on the coldest rainy day so far this season. Our season has not gotten cold during the day, however, when you are up at 3 am and the temperature outside is at freezing or so, a nice fireplace is well worth it especially when I have turned the heater OFF!!!

Since as far back as I can remember, I always try and simmer some potpourri on my stove or in a mini-crock. This season, I have an old pot that I have been putting goodies in on the wood stove on the other

burner.  This has worked out great and when I want to simmer something else, it is simple to jest set the potpourri pot to the side. 

Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and clove

This morning, I added cloves, dried lemongrass and dried eucalyptus. 

 

For each of the following recipes, I add about 4 cups of water in my stove pot or mini crockpot and then the plants/herbs/fruit. 

After 1 hour, the mixture is simmering down.

Better Breathing

  • 1/4 cup eucalyptus
  • 2T lemongrass
  • 2T whole cloves

 

Fall is HERE 

  • 1 orange (Peel and Fruit), sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, whole 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Open your Mind

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Harvest Spice

  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Fresh and clean

  • 1 lemon, sliced (peel and fruit)
  • 1/2 cup of eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chai Tea Potpourri

  • 1T Vanilla extract
  • 1t  cinnamon
  • 1t cloves
  • 1t allspice,
  • 1/2 t black pepper,
  • 1/2 t ginger,
  • 1/2 t coriander seed,
  • 1t mace,
  • 1 star anise

If you want, you can throw in a few black tea bags and use this as a chai tea base too. Strain and mix with milk. 

Cricut Explore Air 2 – Game Changer for our homeschool and other projects

I have always been a crafter, but most of that has gone the wayside with 7 kids in the house and working, homesteading, etc. And not wanting to scrapbook and see all of the memories of Breckin. That was way too hard in the beginning of the grieving process. Pictures are coming out, Albums are being put together and memories are being made. 

In my “past life” I taught scrapbooking classes for several different companies (when Griffen was a baby – so about 16 years ago). One flew me around the country several times a month for over a year to teach other consultants how to run their classes.

I have 40+ cricut cartridges and several machines in the top of the closet in the hall.  But, dragging them out of the hall closet, finding the right cartridge, the process was long and crazy. And it took over what ever table that I set it up on.



I needed to revisit my creative outlet and get going again. 

So this new Cricut is a game changer!!! I picked it up on Amazon (Link below) for about $300. Yes, I know….$$$

But since it’s arrival, I have made props for my classroom, the kids started their lapbook projects on the states for our homeschooling, I have our vacation t-shirts designed. I even loaded the VIPKid logo in and cut a few IRON-ON for my orange t-shirts!!! I have so many ideas for home designs and there are even some simplicity patterns that you can purchace and be able to cut with this. I have it on my printer shelf next to my laser printer. 

And the best part is that the design process is online. I can start a design, and then save and revisit it later. I don’t lose anything and since time to do “crafty” things in my house is limited, I am able to come back to projects and cut them out when I have time. 

 

PHONE APP!!!!!

AND There is a PHONE APP! So when I am sitting in the car, waiting for one of the kids in their many activities, I can design something and then cut it when I get home!!! 

 

You can use it with your current cricut cartridges AND/OR pay a monthly subscription plan (if you plan on using it) and get 50,000 graphics to be able to cut. You can also purchase PRE-DESIGNED PROJECTS! 

(YES, It cuts Vinyl, magnet, cardstock, leather, fabric, felt, paper, burlap, birch, denim. There is even a slot for pens to draw some of the parts of your projects – I haven’t even tried that one yet.) Here is a link to all of the materials that you can cut with it: https://help.cricut.com/help/cricut-explore-materials-settings

I am thinking wooden signs with vinyl cutouts for the kids’ animals for the fair next year!!!

 

Oh, WHY did I not do this sooner!?!? So here is the link, my friends!!! GAME CHANGER for your crafting needs!!!






Summertime Activities – Chalkboard wall

Leave a message for your kids every day, or every week or every month. A chalkboard wall or message center is the perfect spot to do that!.

chalkboard

 

chalkboardoys kboard-girls

One of the highlights that the kids love in our home is the many chalkboard walls that we have. I have a full wall in my office and then there are stripes in the little girl and little boy rooms.

I have found that since I have put in the chalkboard sections, we do not have anyone writing on the walls in any other places… no crayon, paint or pens! YEAH! And their walls change often. Sometime they are just scribbles… others they are filled with flowers and hearts.

We have converted a corner in my office to a “quiet zone” with a glider, books, felt toys and the chalkboard. It is utilized often! We have found that when our little boys need a bit of relaxation, this is where they both tend to circulate to.

Every week, I change part of my wall near my desk to have a quote for the kids.  Some are bible verses, others are fun quotes that I find online. I do not take a ton of time with the font… I mean, I could make it look like restaurant signs if I wanted…

 

 

IMG_20130614_214945_649-2

 Creating a chalkboard wall or section is really REALLY easy. Essentials that you need: Obviously Chalkboard paint (I got mine at Ace Hardware. – I love our local Ace in Chino!!) It is also available online if you are not in a hurry – It is on Amazon- I put a link to the right.

You will need blue tape to mark off your area and a paintbrush.  – My FAVORITE TOOL that I use to paint with it the As seen on TV Point and Paint. I put a link to this as well. I know… CHEESEY!  I have used mine on everything from walls to craft projects… and I just ordered another one too.

My full wall took a quart and a half of paint. I buy them 2 quarts at a time so that I have some all of the time.

chalkboardwall
Here is the wall in my office – Please ignore the clutter on the shelf! LOL Just keeping it real!!

 

December 2010 Advent – December 20th – Finish up your decorating

Because we wait until after El’s birthday on the 16th to do our inside decorating, it takes a while to get everything up.

We put up all of our Santa collection (My grandmother collected these before she passed away – our family ended up with a handful of that collection to add to for our own to put out every year in her memory), our angel tree and our nativity scenes that are in our living room (we have several of these also and add to them each year.)

Luke 2:11 – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. —

December 2010 Advent – December 5th – Creating an Advent Calendar at home

There are so many things that are important to me – God, my family, my friends, my health, my happiness. When it comes to happiness, I always laugh at what other people deem in that category. To be rich does not make you happy.

Here are some FRUGAL ways to create your own advent calendar for the holidays.

For about $40 you can purchase one from a store like Costco or Target that you can use over and over and over again. We bought one about 5 years ago at Costco and it lasted until our move. One of the doors is off and I have to figure out a way to fix it.So we are doing the next best thing. We are making our own today.
T0 make your own Advent calendar, you are going to need the following:

  • about 18 sheets of scrapbook paper (I used 16 sheets of Christmas printed cardstock and 4 sheets of plain Bazzil that matched)
  • adhesive
  • cutter or scissors
  • To hang this you will need clothes pins, string and some of those 3M Command hooks that you can remove after the season is over.

I purchased a set of paper from my local craft store. It is a pack of 54 sheets of cardstock 12×12 patterned paper. I cut my patterned paper with my paper cutter into strips – 6 – 6×12, 22-4×12, 4 3×12 and 16 2×12 (these numbers can differ for your needs and you may have left over paper). I then glued a smaller strip on a larger one (see the photo)

Once you are done with the gluing on the patterned paper, it is time to fold. You are making a folded “card”. I actually made 2 folds on each card to have a closure. I used my score pal to score the cards, you do not need to use anything. I clipped together the cards, folded with clothes pins.

Once you have gotten each of the 24 cards folded,  you will need to cut out and glue numbers to the front of them. I am using my Cricut, but you can use rubber stamps or foam stamps and paint. I switched up the size of the font on them.

Next, you will want to add inside of them a daily activity or scripture. We have added BOTH. I used WackyTac to add removable notes so that I can use my advent next year as well.

GIVEAWAY!!! Add a comment for a chance to win a bottle of WackyTac removable adhesive (Drawing to be held on December 10, 2010) Tell me what you would use your WackyTac for.

Luke 1:32 -He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,

December 2010 Advent – December 4th – Are your lights up?

In our family, we like to put up lights around the house and decorate outside. (We don’t put up a tree until December 17th or later because we wait until after El’s birthday to keep both occasions separate.)

I love to add lights to the house because not only does it give a “warm” feeling when you drive up to your home, but it also serves as a reminder that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Our church is fully decorated as well and our plans are to hit tonight’s Saturday service and be able to see all of these beautiful lights there as well.

So, your goal for today is to decorate outside your home for advent. Make sure that you get your kids involved too. They will remember things like this FOREVER!

Griffen and Lar went outside to get these up for me. (It was starting to get a bit cold out and I was tired after having a day at school too.) Even one of our dogs – “Runcle Robbie” as the kids call him helped supervise! You know, it is seriously incredible to be married to such a tall man… I mean, I would need to tote around a ladder to hang those lights!

Luke 1:31 -You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

December 2010 Advent – December 1st – Glitter Pine Cones

We have a tradition in our family to do an activity every day of December for advent. Last night at cub scouts, I lead the boys in creating some crafts. (I am so thankful that Larry and Jen and Jason were there to help along with Karen – one of the moms and Bruce & Joanne – two of the other leaders)We wrote cards for the troops and also made ornaments for the Chino Valley Hometown Christmas Tree that is sponsored by the boys.

One of the fun activities that Larry was in charge of was “glittering” pine cones as decorations for the tree.

Glitter Pine Cones

This is a fast and easy craft.

You will need:

  • Pine Cones
  • glitter
  • glue (we used a spray adhesive but you can use school glue if that is all that you have on hand)

Spray down the pine cones and sprinkle glitter on them. Set aside and let dry.

Use these to decorate your tree or place in a bowl in your living room with some cinnamon sticks for decoration.

Matthew 1:23 – “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

Before & After – Dressers

With 5 children, we budget a TON. I refuse to purchase furniture new with the kiddoes either. Yard Sales 100% for their rooms.

last Friday, I picked up these 2 semi matching dressers at an estate sale for $10 each. (Then went to Ace Hardware here in Chino and matched pink paint to their pillowcase.

So they went from THIS:

To become matching dressers for the “Little Girls’ Room: