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My Cup Runneth Over: May 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A PINTERESTING GIFT

It's safe to say that I love giving gifts.  Just by looking back through my posts, I realized that many of them are about things I have made for others.  I do {squeezie} love giving a good gift.  If I have to give money or a gift card, it makes me cringe.  I know the recipient isn't unhappy with these types of gifts, but there is something about finding / making someone a gift with them in mind. 

Now I'm sure some of you are thinking "oh geez.. she's that person."  The kind of giver that you feel you have to dig up to your knees in stuff just to pull out the gift previously given and display it in the house when I arrive on your doorstep.  Well, of course!  No, I'm totally kidding. really.

I'm sure those bad gifts were already re-gifted to someone else.  Wink. Wink.  I do, however, try to really find what the other person would like.  Enter PINTEREST!  When you follow your loved ones, they pin the stuff they like!  A.mazing. 

A very special someone (my stepmom and rockin' grandma to my kids) was having a birthday.  I couldn't wait to troll through her boards to see what I could make with the kids.  Here are her gifts!
The sconces were made with directions from The Noshery.  She has a great tutorial and they were super easy to make - thanks to the hubby cutting the boards.  The only disappointment was that the kids weren't able to help because of the type of glue.  No worries, we painted many other papers and cards to send.
The other gift was a silly one.  She really likes Harry Potter and had a quote pinned that said this...
It was my attempt at word art.  I just used a blank picture file and PicMonkey to create it.  The frame was even Eco-Friendly.  Grandma loves that stuff. 

I really enjoyed making the gifts and they couldn't go to a more deserving, wonderful woman!  Happy Birthday Grandma!!! (and Happy Mother's Day's too!)
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

I HEART INSPIRING GIFTS!

OK, so the title says it all.  I love getting a gift that makes me want to run down to my "craft space" and become the Tasmanian devil of creating.  Oh yes, and I hate it. 

WHAT?!?! It's such an oxymoron.  There are times when I have so many things already going on and getting a gift that sparks me into action is a blessing and a curse. 

It's result: I just end up making a MESS.  The kind of mess that makes me want to cringe after the inspiration fairies have left me feeling like I ran a 5K race.  A big sigh comes out when I realize everything I have to clean up.  However, I do usually end up with a new crafty item to give to a deserving friend keep for myself.

My Mom was sweet enough to purchase this adorable stamp set from Close To My Heart.  It is super duper FUN!  You can use it in so many different ways.  Thus, I became a woman possessed. 
Here is the end result of my crazy use of the stamp (it's called Trees and Things).  Side note.  I am in no way affliated with Close To My Heart, nor was I paid to talk about them.  I'm just a girl who loves their product, and uses it with reckless abandon.
How's that for inspiration!  I was on a roll!  I love that you can use the stamps separately in so many different ways.  First, I made a party favor bag.
It's just my handwriting on there, but you could also print on the bags.  For some reason in the picture, it looks like the ribbon is fake?!?! Weird.  It really is tying the bag closed.

Next was a thank you card with one of my favorites.. grey and yellow.
That one is going in the mail this week - I needed to write a thank you card anyway.  Score!  Next a gift bag..
I absolutely love to stamp with white ink on a brown bag!  It gives me joy, what can I say?  Next a fun summer card.  (I used the bottom of the tree trunk stamp to make the "stakes" for the hammock.
Wow.  Aren't those lanterns so adorable?!?!  And last but not least.. one of my favorite reasons I wanted the stamp: the tire swing!
That swing is just too cute for words.  So, how did I do for an afternoon with one stamp set?  Getting gifts is a treasure in life, but having a gift that inspires is priceless because it keeps giving to others as well. 

C'mon back on Saturday!  This post was about a gift I received, but Saturday I'm going to share a gift I gave. 

Like it says above, Life... sit back and enjoy the ride.  Make sure to spend a little time relishing the joy!
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Linking up with the fabulous ladies at Six Sisters Stuff!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A TANGLED AFFAIR

Happy Friday y'all!  I am so glad the weekend is here!  The scrumptious hubby cleaned up all the patio furniture this week... can't wait to sit outside tonight with him and enjoy the outdoors!

I thought today I would share another party with you.  This is not as elaborate as my Mom's Party I shared last month.  I try to make the kids' parties special without going overboard.  Our house is tiny and the kiddos' birthdays fall in months where being outside is not ideal.

The Boo (my daughter) turned 2 and she has been OB.sessed. with the movie Tangled.  All about it.  We even put the songs on our ipods so she could sing along.  I have to admit... I love it too.  Thus, a Tangled party it was.

Her favorite song in the movie is "I See the Light" and I wanted to make that happen.  I decided to make lanterns to hang from the ceiling and recreate the scene on her cake.  Here's how I did it.
Mason jars, wire, and freezer paper that I put on the jars with a few glue dots.  Glue dots are my life!  What would I do without them?!?!  The tea lights are great because they flicker... and you can get them at the dollar store!

I just drew on the paper with doodles so they would glow when lit.  Believe me, I'm no artist, people.  LOL. But The Boo got the idea, and that's all that matters, right?  I hung them all over our basement so it looked like the floating lights.  (Grainy photo... sorry!)
I did make the birthday cake as well.  Here's my disclaimer:  Prior to viewing these photos, please know that I am in no way super great at cake decorating!!! I just always pray that one of my cakes does not make it onto the Cake Wrecks website...
I just have to say that I purchased the toy on top, and the rocks... they are like M&Ms!  Chef Duff product you can get at Wal-mart.  They are so super cool, and you will certainly see them on other cakes of mine!

The sand is brown sugar, the water is piping gel tinted blue.  The rest is icing.  For the lanterns on the cake, I just wrapped a tiny piece of freezer paper around the actual tea light and hung them on wires.  FUN! 
By far though, the BEST idea I used for the party was found here.  I am so happy that I found this because it turned out to be the easiest party clean-up and preparation I have ever done!

MAKE.YOUR.OWN.PIZZA. YES!  Put the food making the responsibility of your guests!  I cooked / cut up all the ingredients while the cakes were baking and put them in ziploc bags.  For the party, I folded over simple brown bags for topping bowls and just plopped the ziploc bag inside. 

I rolled out brown paper and the table and just wrote down the instructions.  Seriously.  Hubby cooked the pizzas on the grill.  For clean-up I just rezipped all the bags and back into the fridge they went.  Rolled up the paper for the garbage.  BEST.EVER. 
We had a great time and the pizzas were so delicious on the grill!  We liked the whole "make-your-own" idea so much, we did it again for the next birthday party!  I'll be sure to share The Bug's party soon!

Have a great weekend!  Please feel free to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by! 

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SUMMER WREATH

Hello Again!

So, part of my Mother's Day gift was the ability to "crazy craft" this past weekend.  I love the gift of time!  Nothin' better than feeling like a mad scientist in the craft room.  WAHAHAHA...

I have been wanting to make a new wreath for the back door with a summer theme.  It's looking bare and I've racked my brain for a fresh idea.  And finally, last week, inspiration struck.

I loved this wreath on Pinterest, but wanted to change it up just a bit.  The idea of the grass was so adorable; I knew I had to incorporate it. 
I had the scrumptious hubby run to pick me up a pool noodle and we cut it and duct taped it together.  NOTE:  I would probably not use this again for a wreath.  The duct tape does not hold it together very well and it starts to come apart.  Next time, I will buy the foam form!
 I purchased a small amount of red gingham fabric and then cut it into strips about 3 inches wide.  I just started wrapping them around the wreath to make my "picnic tablecloth." 

I then just added the green grass yarn (I used the same as Patty in the link above.) to the bottom to seem like a picnic spot.  After making a couple of pinwheels and adding them with bamboo skewers to the wreath, I thought it would be complete.
It needed just a little extra something!  I decided that summer for us is about catching lightning bugs / fireflies... whatever you wish to call them.  I created my own with a button and put him on the top. 
I just love a picnic!  Hanging outside in the backyard, having some lemonade and watching the kids play.  This wreath reminds me that summer nights are upon us... let the relaxing BEGIN!
What are your plans for the summer?  I would love to hear about them!  Thanks for stopping by and Happy Wednesday!!
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I'm linking up to these fabulous blogs!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, May 14, 2012

A HOUSEWARMNG GIFT - BUTTON INITIAL

Hello! I hope your Mother's Day was super special! 

I have been a crafty maniac this past week.  I can't wait to show you some of things that I got done.  I am trying to be on a mission to get rid of the clutter in our home and it sucks me in! 

My bff Ginna, aka The Enabler, recently purchased her first home.  It was super exciting, and we have been talking about how to make it their own decorated space.  (Much to her husband's chagrin...) It's so much fun to have a clean slate to start with and slowly change it to be totally you! 

So, of course I wanted to make her something for her new home.  She had been hinting that she needed something like I made for our wall - a button framed initial.  I thought I would show you too!  I think it makes a nice housewarming gift!
 It turned out exactly how I wanted. And lucky for me, she liked it!  Here's a quick version of what I did.

First, and probably the most important, find your background paper or fabric and the buttons that match.  I used scrapbook paper and burlap, but you can use anything that matched your decor.
I took the glass out of my frame, added the paper and spray glued the burlap on top of that.

I cut out my letter with the Cricut to the size I wanted, but if you don't have a Cricut - you could print out your letter just using a Word document and then cutting it out with a pair of scissors.  I traced it onto the burlap and just started placing buttons.
Once you have them all placed, just use a hot glue gun and carefully glue each button.  If you get close enough you can see the glue, but if it's hanging on the wall, people don't inspect it. 
It really is a simple and easy project.  For an extra bonus, here's the initial one I made for our dining room.
And here is mine in action.  Maybe the Enabler will let me add a picture of hers on the wall too once she gets it up. 
Wow.  I do love that plate on the wall!  That's another story though for later...

Have a great day folks!  I'm so glad you stopped by!
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I'm linking up with these great sites!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Saturday, May 5, 2012

FOODIE WEEK - PUMPKIN BREAD WITH CREAM CHEESE

Hello. Hello!  Happy Weekend to ya!

I am so happy to share another favorite foodie item of our household.  In fact, it's the recipe I write down to take to bridal showers when they ask for a recipe.  The reason?  It's versatile!  It can be breakfast.  It can be dessert.  It can be a snack.  And let's face it, if not watched carefully, an entire loaf can disappear from the plate VERY quickly as a meal. 

That's right!  It's pumpkin bread.  The bread you tell yourself can be good for you because it has pumpkin in it.  Ummm... yeah, sure.

I have always loved pumpkin bread and, until I got married, I enjoyed it whenever my Mom made it.  Then, one of my friends told me a secret to the best pumpkin bread ever.  Ready?  A bag of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips!!  Oh lordy, she changed my pumpkin bread forever!  After that, it became the most given gift to those we love. 
This is the pumpkin bread recipe I use.  I do not add the raisins or the nuts though.  However, here's the rule with the chocolate chips per my friend.  Use all the chips in the bag except for 2 palmfuls.  Why?  So you can finish them yourself, of course. 

Today, I decided to change up my recipe a bit more.  Just to see what would happen.  I have been seeing many pumpkin and cream cheese breads on Pinterest, sooo I had to try it.  I pinned this one from Tanya at SundayBaker forever ago.  It just looks so yummy. 

I didn't follow her recipe exactly; I used my Betty Crocker one above and made cream cheese filling from 1-8oz. package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs and about 2 tbsp. of flour. 

Here's what it looked like before I baked it.  (Please forgive the look of my pans, they are WELL used around here.)

I put half the batter in both pans, added the cream cheese mixture, and then added the other half of the pumpkin bread mixture on top of that.

I baked it for about 55 mins at 350 degrees.

Here's the finished loaf
I could not wait to cut into it!  I wanted to see if the inside looked cool.  It was torture letting it cool.  My finished product turned out to be pretty and super tasty too!  The kids enjoyed it for dessert last night and breakfast this morning! 

What are you cooking up this weekend?  I hope you have a blessed one! 

P.S. Thanks Courtney - My Cup Runneth Over for YOU!!!
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

FOODIE WEEK - SO BAD YET SO GOOD

Welcome Back to Foodie Week!  So glad to see ya...

Today, I want to share some of my favorite food items from Eastern PA that are unique to our area.  When I went to college, it was only 4 hours away to the western side of PA, however, I was not able to get many familiar "comfort" foods.  My Mom was constantly sending care packages with my faves.

I admit, these are not healthy.  But oh how they remind me of growing up and living here in PA!  It really is a swell place to visit. 

The first yummie treat that was a staple in our lunch bags is Tastykakes!  They are much like Little Debbie's types of treats.  There is nothing in the world though like the KandyKake.  A vanilla cake with peanut butter across the top and covered in chocolate.  And recently, they not only make them in milk chocolate, but now DARK chocolate.  OH Yumm!
Thanks to my hubby for taking the bite, so you could see the yummy goodness.  The other flavor TastyKake that is to die for is Butterscotch Krimpets.  And, let me tell you, they are so delicious if you eat them frozen too. 

Next in my favorite things that remind me of growing up is CHIPS.  We all have our favorites.  I'm sure we all have local kinds too, but my absolute favorite is Middleswarth BBQ chips.  I even have a hard time finding them close to where I live in PA now - only certain grocery stores carry them. 
Sitting on the couch as a teenager with my Dad, after cheering at a football game, eating these chips with french onion dip while watching college football games.  I know, I am such a dork! 

One thing that doesn't remind me of growing up (there were none in NE PA), but does now have a special place in my PA food heart is Rita's Italian Ice. 

A mango gelati... vanilla custard on the bottom... mango ice... more vanilla custard on top.  mmmmm.... They have so many flavors of ice - even swedish fish flavor.  Lucky for my waistline, there is one right in our small town.
Please forgive my picture, it was rainy in PA this week and I took it from afar so I would not find myself in line.....

Last, but certainly not least.  ICE CREAM.  It is my downfall in life.  I cannot resist a bowl of it with sprinkles.  OH yes, sprinkles are necessary.  My Mom taught me well.  She's just as addicted as I am.  So, here is my favorite of all time.  Turkey Hill Ice Cream!!
This stuff is the best!  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.  I know you are thinking - oh, I can get cookie dough ice cream anywhere.  Let me just say, it's not the same.  Turkey Hill's ice cream flavor for this one has molasses in it.  It's not just a plain vanilla.  Sooo good.

And my most favorite of all time.  Choco Mint Chip.  *sigh*  The mint ice cream is super yummy, but the real goodness is that these are not chocolate chips/ chunks in here people.  These are DARK CHOCOLATE shavings in the mint ice dream.  They MELT in your mouth.  Let me show you...
The hubs calls it Martian Poop Ice Cream.  I'm ok with that.  I LOOOVVEEE the martian poop.  to. die. for. 

Now that I've gained a few pounds just chatting with you about these foods.... I will leave you to your drool.  I'll be back tomorrow with some additional yumminess!  Please feel free to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by!  Or share your favorite local food!

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