Pinspired Project: ‘Fancy’ Mason Jars

Although you can find this project most anywhere these days I followed the particulars (almost) from the Thirty Handmade Days blog for creating a fancy mason jar. (Also called redneck wine glasses and many other things.) While I was shopping about for the materials I decided I didn’t want to do a mason jar, mainly because 1: I didn’t have a particular need for an elevated mason jar and 2: the glass tones of the mason jars and candlesticks didn’t match. The clashing really urked me so I decided to use a simple clear jar instead.Glass I found a super cute and simple one at Hobby Lobby and set to work.

I very carefully spread the glue onto the edge of the candlestick and let it set for a moment. (I had actually read the glue instructions, perhaps a first for me.) Then I centered the stick on the glass as best I could and let it set. After a couple hours I decided I was going to hit the sack. The glue had said to let the glue to dry for twenty-four hours, for some reason after two I figured it would be a good idea to add weight to the glass. Just to make sure that there was pressure on it. I grabbed my two biggest books (Art & Architecture book on Rome and my Visual History of Graphic Design). I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and heard a crash. I returned to the living room to find the books on the floor and this on the table. BrokenGlass

Yep, I did not take into account that these things were still GLASS and therefore highly breakable. We didn’t really have glass around growing up knowing we wouldn’t have any glasses left. Perhaps that makes me forget that it isn’t an indestructible material. As you can see I forced this project to fail. It probably would have been just fine if I had left it, but no. I had to go and put those heavy books on them. Oh well, in hind sight I didn’t really need an elevated jar anyway. However of the two pieces I wish the candlestick would have broken, it was a super cute jar. I may need to replace it…and get a second candlestick because having just one seems weird.

Pinspired Project: Easter Center Piece

Center Piece ThumbIf you have somehow not heard of pinterest, or even if you have,you should know it is an extremely dangerous website. I have waaaaay to many pins (both liked and on boards). Many of them are arts and craftsy and I decided to start trying some out. This week’s project? A center piece just in time for Easter. The nice thing about this project is that it uses 2/3 a box of peeps, because one can only eat so many peeps. However it also used almost an entire bag of jelly beans which are really addictive and yummy. But since I’m trying to be healthier, it’s good most of the bag was used as well. Project Supplies

Supplies:

  • two vases (one wider than the other so they can stack inside one another)
  • 3 stems of daisies
  • 8 bunny peeps
  • 1 bag of jelly beans (I used the all reds starburst ones)

Directions:

  • Clean vases
  • put water for flowers in skinny vase
  • place skinny vase inside the wide vase
  • fill outer vase with jelly beans (I didn’t want my bunnies standing too much higher then the outer vase so I didn’t use the entire bag)
  • place bunnies on top of jelly beans
  • place flowers in skinny vase and voila.

I decided to use a monochromatic color scheme of various reds, but as you can see from the pinspiring post here you can really do whatever you want. This project really was as easy as it appeared on pinterest, thumbs up.

Until next time.
~ Q

Center Piece

Christmas Cooking: Kisses, Hugs & Cookies

Kisses, Hugs & CookiesSo, as I wrote last time, last week for Cooking and a Classic I cooked Pretzel Hugs, Grinch Cookies, and Mint Kisses.

Pretzel Hugs

Pretzel HugsIngredients:

  • Hershey’s Hugs
  • Pretzels Snaps

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300
  2. line baking sheet with wax paper
  3. place pretzels on paper
  4. unwrap hugs, enough for each pretzel (I made 63 – one baking sheet worth)
  5. once oven is preheated pop in oven for about 2 minutes
  6. remove from oven and let sit for 1 minute
  7. top hugs with pretzels and press down, making sandwiches
  8. pop in fridge for 20-30 minutes to cool.

I had fun making these, despite hulking a few of the sandwiches. Easy enough that if I ever needed something for little kids to do, this could be totally up their alley. (For example we had a 5 year old at Thanksgiving who really wanted to help with the cooking. I think she would have loved this project, instead she helped put potatoes in a pot after we cut them. She really liked that too though, so whatever floats her boat I suppose.) Original directions found at cookies & cups blog, although I’m sure I could have figured it out. I so often forget these treats so credit given where it’s due…to pinterest.

Grinch Cookies

GrinchCookiesIngredients:

  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 8 drops green food color
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mint baking chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in both mint and chocolate chips.
  3. Using small spoons (teaspoons, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.
  5. Remove from oven and cool.

Grinch BatterOriginal recipe found via pinterest which lead back to here. I made these before the mint-kisses and I like the coloring of the later better. Perhaps because it’s more natural? As far as not adding food coloring personally, but I do like the coloring of theses as well. Not like the mint kisses are naturally green, but I digress.

Mint Kisses

MintKissesIngredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint baking chips
  • granulated sugar
  • candy cane kisses

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and clear room in freezer or fridge for cookie sheet
  2. in large mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg. Mix until creamy.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in chopped up baking chips.
  4. Shape dough into small bolls, roll in granulated sugar and place 1-in apart on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12  minutes or until set
  6. When cookies come out of oven immediately press kiss into center of each cookie and set tray in fridge/freezer.

FreezerI made a dozen cookies, then I decided to make the rest using mini-cupcake tins (which I got since baking the poppers).  They made much cuter little cookies. I think I made them a bit ‘wrong’ since they didn’t turn out like the original blog entry. Granted I made a few adjustments, but even before the mint-chip substitution my mixture was smooth, not crumbly. That may have made them spread out more than they would usually. Which is why, of course, I used the mini-muffin tins.

If you try any of these, let me know how it works out for you! Until next time ~ Q

41 days of Celebration: Days 5-15

Day 5: Monday, November 26: Mani-pedi Day – not
The plan was to give myself a manicure and pedicure on Monday night. Really embrace the green and red and the only time of year you can really get away with wearing them together. Only instead I got the biggest surprise to date (I would say of the entire time, but who knows what next week will bring). I was stricken with an 15 hour flu. I started getting really tired at about 4 at work. Then I went home at my usual time (5:30) and was sick and in bed by 6. I told myself I would only nap until 7, ha. When 7 came around I was still under the weather so I just stayed in bed. Hours later I was awake convincing myself that it was the middle of the night. I was convinced it was like 5, but told myself it was probably only 2. When I finally broke down and checked the clock I believe it was 10. Yeah, that was the longest night ever. To my nephew, the germinator, you win. I think getting the entire immediate family sick trumps me giving my sister her second bout of Chicken pox. Although considering she was on vacation in Denver when it struck she would likely disagree.

Day 6: Tuesday, November 27: Christmas Card prep
I had this elaborate idea for my Christmas card. Last year I did a timeline-esque design. This year I thought about making it look like my Facebook timeline, complete with some of the posts, but since that evening have since changed my mind. So in the end that night just didn’t really count. I’m still working on my own idea, I had originally planned to mail them out yesterday, but we’ll see how long it takes me to finish. Next Monday is my new goal. Fingers crossed.

Day 7: Wednesday, November 28: WHO Wednesday: The Christmas Invasion
Poor London, always getting attacked around the holidays. Since Doctor Who is in it’s seventh revival season there are certainly enough Christmas’ specials to last until Christmas. First up was The Christmas Invasion. I’ve seen it before, but it’s always fun to go back and see the tenth doctor’s first adventure, even if he sleeps through most of it. How can you not appreciate an episode that has the hero sleeping most of the way through, then wakes to save the day in his pajamas while quoting The Lion King. Few shows can get away with such antics and I’m glad Doctor Who is one of them. Also I also enjoy who it makes you scared of Christmas stuff. For example this one had attacking Christmas Trees controlled by evil Santas. What a great way to spread Christmas cheer.

Day 8: Thursday, November 29: Decorate/Create Tree
I had planned to decorate my tree on Thursday, but my volleyball team decided to get together to play before tournament started on Friday so the task was postponed to Friday/Saturday. However I will say that sometimes my apartment lease makes me sad. No cats, no pets of any kind (including fish – it was very specific) and no live Christmas Trees. I’m sure there are other restricitions I’m ignoring right now, but those are the two that hit me most often. Since I’m not well-versed in the art of reanimation to make myself my own cat I decided to make my own non-living Christmas. As is the case now a days I got the inspiration from Pinterest.

Day 9: Friday, November 30: Movie Night
Once I’ve padded my Christmas’ movie collection I’ll be able to watch proper movies, but Friday I watched Someone Like You. It is in no way a Christmas movie, but there is one scene that takes place at a Christmas Party. That must have been my justification when I threw it in the mystery bag last month. While watching the non-Christmas movie I built the base of my Christmas Tree. Using a broken IKEA floor lamp (I should say that the light works, I just broke the paper lantern cover that use to surround it – not to tarnish IKEA’s reputation), chains, wire, and lights I made my own version of the tomato cage tree.

Day 10: Saturday, December 1: Cooking and a Classic
After sleeping in a bit I headed to our local thrift store, Affordables, to supplement my Christmas Light collection. They had a ton of icicle lights (whcih I didn’t have any of) and I’m quite fond of the result. The icicles helped fill in some of the more obvious gaps and it still works as a fairly bright source of light in the living room, especially if I turn on the light properly ChristmasTree(which is not the case in the picture). Win-win. Oh, and I still get to decorate a real tree. In a couple weeks my parent’s will be getting theirs so it’s really is the best of all worlds. I just can’t decide if I want to add ornaments to my ‘tree’ or not. However that thought shall be set aside for another day.

I also flip-flopped my standard Sunday with Saturday and did my cooking and a classic. This week I made Grinch Cookies, Mint Kisses and Pretzel hugs (recipes to come) and that was quite fun. Hugs and KissesThere weren’t even any major mishaps. I was interested to see that for the Grinch Cookies I used a sugar cookie base instead of a standard chocolate chip cookie base. The difference is slight, but a difference all the same. Also for the Grinch Cookies I used food coloring while for the Mint Kisses I just chopped up (to the point of being a fine powder) mint chips and the coloring is nearly the same. Oh the discoveries of baking.

I nearly forgot! The classic I watched was Breakfast at Tiffany’s but that is going to require it’s own short post because it’s related (in sentiment) to Casablanca and I’ll just hit them both at once.

Day 11: Sunday, December 2: Tour of Homes
It was a bit of a work outing when two of my co-workers and I decided to hit the tour of homes together. If you don’t know what this is, pretty much a few community members volunteer to have people come into their homes and walk through it to learn/see all the random stuff. For instance one of the houses this year was quite old and the couple that lived there had kept a lot of the original wood work and even restored some of the old details (like the stenciling at the top of the living room). Each of the houses had there very own feel. One was quaint, old and comfortable. Another was large and antique-y while the third was large and modern (with a restored barn that had a partial basketball court in the hayloft). All were fun to walk through and see once.

Day 12: Monday, December 3: Fancy Dinner
I never get to dress up. I don’t really have the occasion for it, so I made myself dinner and then got dressed up. I think this one would be more fun with other people, but I still quite enjoyed it. There is something about the juxtaposition of being fancy-like and eating (in my case) soup. ‘Posh’ indeed.

Day 13: Tuesday, December 4: Dinner with a FriendMonthly I head on over to this townie-esque bar to meet a friend of mine for dinner. We both live about an hour from this place and it’s been changing recently. The first few times we went to this bar it was run by this old rough looking guy. It was quite random, the next few months it was always a surprise who was going to be running the place (it doesn’t seem like the place that requires many employees). Once there was a santa-esque man (including really long beard), a middle aged woman and a semi-ditzy college aged girl. We’ve been going to this place for a couple years now, what can I say, it’s grown on us. Also, sometime this summer, it came under new management. This guy in his twenties bought the place and it’s evident. The place seems a bit more lively now. Granted it’s never crowded, but it’s not so awkward. It use to be that me and my buddy would be the only two in that evening. Now there is a nice buffer row of people at the bar. That’s probably enough about The Town Pump though.

Day 14: Wednesday, December 5: WHO Wednesday: The Runaway Bride
Again with the Doctor, always really. I enjoy Catherine Tate, and the Donna Nobel character but I did forget how crazily self-centered she was in her first introduction to the Doctor.

Day 15: Thursday, December 6: WreathsThursday is my unofficial decorate/craft night I suppose. I threw together a couple of wreaths to decorate the apartment. Wreath_01First I swapped out the decorations on my front door wreath. I decorate this wooden wreath according to the season. Last night I removed the fall leaves and gourds to replace them with greenery and pine cones. A simple, yet festive, alteration.  Wreath_02Secondly I gathered up my ornaments and a hanger to make a quick wreath for my guest-room door. I, for whatever reason, have roughly a bagillion ornaments. So this was a good craft, used some of those suckers up. Now if I can figure out what to do with the rest. The real problem is I get all of these ideas and want to do them all so then I find I don’t have enough and think about getting more then have to rein myself in. We’ll see if I can keep myself in check.

Wow, this is novel long, clearly need to be more prompt with writing up my days, ten days at-a-whack is too many. Until next time – Q

Christmas Cooking: Honey, Pass the Pumpkin

From the top left corner clockwise: Pumpkin Fluff topping on top of pumpkin loaf, pumpkin poppers, honey cakes

From the top left corner clockwise: Pumpkin Fluff topping on top of pumpkin loaf, pumpkin poppers, honey cakes

As promised, the recipes from last week. Enjoy!

Honey Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet
  2. mix eggs and honey
  3. sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg together in separate bowl
  4. mix two mixtures together adding almonds, lemon extract and salt
  5. roll dough onto a floured surface to 1/4″ thickness, cut with cookie cutter and place on prepped cookies sheet
  6. bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown

Original recipe from The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook.

This was my first time cooking with honey (not counting the fail that was the fudge that I also attempted the same day, so I don’t really count that). So now I know that honey can be used for things other than toast. Yeah learning experiences! Other one from that day, don’t use a paring knife to open nutmeg. I had used the tip to pry the little shaker tab thing on another spice, but I got exasperated with it not working and decided to use it vertically and just press down. Mistake, cut right through the bottom of the container, I did get it open though. I take accident prone to a whole new level. Also, I had these little cakes with jam on them for breakfast, fantastic. I’m not sure if I made them correctly or not, but they were really really dense. But eaten the way I did, the seemed like the perfect breakfast food. Especially with a cup of tea.

Pumpkin Fluff

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 (1 1/2 oz) box sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) container cool whip free
  • pumpkin spice (to taste)

Directions:

  1. combine all ingredients in order
  2. chill for 2 hours

Another pinterest discovered recipe which led me to the Recipe Diaries.

Pumpkin Poppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 12 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond)

For Coating

  • melted butter
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray tins with non-stick cooking spray. The original directions called for mini-muffin tins, but I didn’t have any so I decided to use regular muffin tins as well a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  3. In second bowl mix oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk. Pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. In attempt to still make cute little poppers I only partially filled the muffin tins. I made 12 ‘poppers’. I baked the rest of the dough in the loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Melt butter in small bowl. Since I was only going over 12 ‘poppers’ I melted about 2 tablespoons. Mix sugar and cinnamon in separate bowl.
  7. Allow poppers to cool for a few minutes.
  8. Coat poppers lightly in butter and then roll them in sugar.

I found the original/directions recipe via pinterest which led me to Just The Little Things.

More of the 41 Days of Celebration coming soon, check back all month long for updates! ~ Q

LOEB: A reality show staring you

This week’s prompt from the league: Television executives have determined that you lead an amazing life and have pegged you as the next big reality TV star. What’s the name and the premise of your show? Where to even begin? A title I suppose. Here are a few options:

  • Life of a Loser
  • The Gals
  • Making an Intro an Extra
  • Stars Hollow Redux

The breakdowns:

Life of a Loser – Would just be following me around all day. The camera would roll while I am at work, capturing all the sometimes unfortunate things that escape my lips. (Like last week’s gem of me telling a customer I’d shoot them rather than I’d shoot them an e-mail. Perhaps not the best customer service).

Then the action continues as I go home and pick up a book to read. 

If you can handle that stay tuned for when I then go to browse pinterest

I don’t know if the viewers could handle such excitement.

The Gals – I video chat with my 3 high school friends 2-4 times a month (sometimes biweekly is all we can manage). We were all involved in the arts (over athletics) in school which was a necessary foundation seeing where we are now. Cheryl lives in Texas and is an engineer, Jamie is a medical illustrator in Georgia, Allie lives in KC and is an elementary school teacher, and then there is me. I’m pretty much living where we all spent our childhood, holding down the fort as it were. Cheryl is obviously smart, but sometimes I just can’t understand what she is saying. So she has that going for her, she is also recently married.

Jamie is in grad school to become a medical illustrator and lives with her boyfriend.He hangs out in hospitals (where he works), she hangs out in cadaver labs (where she studies). It seemingly makes sense though.

Allie once posted “May I be as zany as Ms. Frizzle, as inspiring as Mary Poppins, and as nurturing as Miss Honey!” Considering she once dressed up as an ninja to get her kids to remember an acronym, I’d say she succeeded. She is actively dating and is a social person.

Finally there is me. If the first reality show synopsis didn’t show you what I’m about lets see if I can do it here: I’m a designer (and occasional blogger) who spends most of my time alone and through chance only hangs out with women, so no real dating prospects on the horizon. My manager jokes about how she wants to set me up, but she doesn’t know anyone in their mid-twenties so I have, thus far, dodged that bullet.

Making an Intro an Extra – A reality show where they would attempt to make me more social and try new things. Perhaps There could be silly weekly challenges. One week I’d have to host a dinner party worthy of Julia Child.

Then the next week it’s something completely different, snare setting with MacGyver. I bet that would be better to watch.

Stars Hollow Redux – When I tell people about the town where I now live they comment I more often then not get is ‘That sounds like Stars Hollow.’

For those of you who didn’t watch Gilmore Girls it centers around a pretend small town in Connecticut where this single mom raises her daughter. The town always has some festival or activity going on. That is kind of how my town is. Sadly we don’t have giant town meetings, but what we lack in that we make up for in committee meetings. There’s the EDC board, the GCC board,  the planning committee, the org committee, the promotions committee, PTO, school board and lots more. Some of these even have subcommittees so really, it’s obnoxious. The sad thing is that each committee probably average 8 people so you can’t get away with snarky asides. However it is easy to see various factions within the committees, so that makes up for it. Currently I’m involved with 2 (just finished serving on a special committee for RAGBRAI) and it takes up time. The nice thing about this show option is that you’d get a slice of the heartland and what life is like in small towns.

That’s it, those are my pitches.

Monster Cafe is primed to pimp out his business for the show, Dorkhorde will give you a penny for your thoughts, Primordial Badger is gonna kick it with some birds, and our very own Cool and Collected (host of The League) will be playing What’s in the Box.

Ciao ~ Q