Sunday Fun Day Tag!

Natalie, over at Natalie Patalie, tagged me for this fun little tag where I answer some questions that she has provided! This is pretty much perfect timing as I was going back and forth about whether or not to post today…Sunday is usually a Life In Photos day, but I don’t really have enough pics to write a whole post, and now I don’t have to worry about it! Plus, random facts are fun. πŸ˜€

1. If you could have one superpower for a day, what would it be and what would you do with it?
This is a hard one. But if it’s just for one day, I’m going to have to go with mind reading. It would bring people watching to a whole new level. Now that I’m writing it, it really sounds a bit creeper-ish, but I would completely love to be able to pick up strangers thoughts. I’m just fascinated by people’s inner workings – I think it’s why I love personal blogs and memoirs so much.

2. What’s your most bizarre pet peeve?
The only ones I’m thinking of are grammar related. When people misuse the word ‘literally’ – I want to slap them. And when people use the word ‘loose’ when they mean ‘lose’, as in, “I hope I didn’t lose my wallet.” ”Loose’ means ‘too big’ as in, “These pants are too loose.”. I constantly see ‘loose’ being used in place of ‘lose’ online, and it drives me FREAKING BANANA SANDWICH. ….end rant.

3. Tell us about the person that knows you the best.
My first though was, hey, I know me best! But really, I think the person that knows my personality best is my mum. We’ve always had a very special bond. She knows how I’m feeling without me having to say it. And, when I was younger, on the two occasions in my life that I locked myself out of the house (pre-cell phone time) she always showed up about five minutes after I got home, having left work early just, ‘knowing something was wrong’. Pretty crazy, but pretty awesome.

4. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. It was the first book we read in the NovelTea book club, and I just adored it. The characters, the story – all of it. Excellent.
5. What’s your favorite wintertime drink?
Tea! But that’s really my favorite anytime drink. I could also say the ‘Birthday Punch’ we make every year only on my daughter’s birthday. I got the recipe from my BFF”s mum and it’s so great: Cranberry-pomegranate juice + seltzer water + gingerale. Serve with ice. Yum!

I’d like to tag Nerd In The Brain, Dezpresso, North East Nerd, and Sonya Cheney, if you’d like to participate! Here are your questions:

1. What’s your favorite meal to cook?
2. Tell us about one fictional character you absolutely loathe.
3. What is the first/your oldest memory you can think of?
4. Pen or pencil?
5. Describe the location of your perfect house, and the house itself if you’re feeling ambitious!

Want To Make A Plushie?

Skipping 5 Fandom Friday this week to bring you a tutorial! This year I have learned how to make felt plushes, and I’ve become a bit obsessed. They are super cute, and in my opinion, pretty darn easy. Especially with some of the mods I’ll tell you about further down in this post – seriously, even if you can’t sew, keep reading! I put in a no-sew mod. πŸ™‚ So, for those who are interested, here’s how I make a plush from scratch!
*Full disclosure: I am NOT a seamstress by any stretch. This is just how I personally do things.*

Step 1: Find a reference pic, and make a sketch. If this is your first plush, I highly recommend buying a pattern, and making it, just to get the hang of things. I purchased 10th Doctor and 11th Doctor plush patterns from Deadly Sweet, and they were immensely helpful to me in learning how to put together a pattern on my own. For this tutorial, I’m using the kitty plush I made. I used the below image as a ref to go off, and sketched it out to the size I wanted the plush to be.
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Step 2: Make your pattern, and cut it out. To do this, I use a lightbox. I lay a new piece of paper on top of my sketch, and trace out each individual piece I will need. In the case of the kitty, I traced a body piece, each stripe for both body and tail, and then the heart pieces. The little girl I made this for loves rainbows, so I made six pieces for the heart, one for each color of the rainbow.

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If you don’t have a lightbox (my dad was getting rid of his and I snagged it!) you can just use a window and some sunlight. Tape your sketch to the window, and then trace with a piece over it. Once all your pieces are traced, I find it super helpful to go over the edges with a thick marker, to give yourself a really bold outline when cutting. Also, make sure to write info for the piece inside each section. For example, on the body piece I wrote x2 (front and back), lt. purple (color of felt I’m using), and for the little piece I also write ‘kitty’ so I know which plush it belongs to in case they get mixed up with another pattern.

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I cut around the outside edge, to give myself a little wiggle room.

Step 3: Cut out your felt. Pin your paper pattern pieces directly the felt, and start cutting! I use a LOT of pins so there is no chance for wiggling, and the paper holds up fine. So go nuts.

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Step 4: Being assembling! Now that all your pieces are cut out, you can start putting things together. You’ll need to assemble each side separately before you put your two body halves together. I started with attaching the tail.

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6pin back view

When pinning pieces like this that stick out, make sure it’s not right on the edge – leave a little overlap on the back side, like above. Then just stitch it on!

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Time for the no-sew mod. I have never made a plush that can’t also be assembled with hot glue. I personally like the stitched look, but if you’re pressed for time or just can’t sew, hot glue is a perfectly acceptable option. In terms of durability, the only thing I would question is how well they would wash as I haven’t attempted a hot glued one in the machine before. Also, when pinning things, you’ll need to put your pins farther away from the edges so you have room to glue right on the edge of the felt.

Now it’s time to sew (glue) on the back tail piece. When doing so, make sure you lay on the front so they two tails are lined up exactly. Otherwise, it will be all sorts of disasters when you get to sewing the final front and back together.

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Once lined up, pin the back tail piece in place, and sew (glue) on to the back body piece.

9 pin details

10 pin detail back view

Continue adding and sewing (gluing) on all detail pieces (in this case that meant all tail and body stripes for front and back, and the heart pieces on front). A quick note – when sewing piece on outer edges, leave a bit going past the edge instead of lining it up exactly (see above image) – it makes it easier when putting the whole thing together.

11 front and back complete

Once all the detail pieces are attached, I put on the eyes. For these, I used Safety Eyes (which when I started I had no clue what that meant. But luckily, the people at Joanns do, and clued me in!). If you’re using Safety Eyes, simply pop them in, and if you’re not you have two choices. You can cut out black felt circles and sew (glue) them on, or wait until the end and paint them on. I have done both, and they both work fine.

Step 5: Sew together front and back pieces. Getting to the end now! Line up your pieces and pin them together – again, feel free to go nuts on pins as you don’t want any wiggling.

12 pin front

13 pin back

Then start sewing (gluing) things together. I always start with small areas that will need stuffing; in this case, the tail.

14 sew inside front

When sewing the two pieces together, put your needle through only the top layer, not both, to start (see above). This will allow you to hide your knot at the end inside the plush (see below – no knot sticking out the back!). If you’re gluing, quite obviously this is irrelevant.

15 hidden knot

Step 6: Stuffing. After sewing (gluing) all around the tail, and a bit down on each side, stop and put stuffing in the tail. I use purchased polyester batting, but if I continue making them I’d like to come up with something more eco-friendly (like mixing scraps and using stuffing from discarded stuffies.)

16 leave space to stuff tail

Once the tail is stuffed, keep sewing (gluing) all around the body, leaving a gap to put the rest of the stuffing in.

17 small space for stuffing

The size hole you leave is entirely up to you. I’m used to stuffing now, so I only leave a 1.5″ – 2″ gap to stuff. Now fill it with stuffing!

18 stuffing

I pack the stuffing in pretty tight. If left loose it can settle oddly, and end up lumpy. Just make sure you leave enough space to close that final edge. Once stuffed enough, sew (glue) the whole thing shut!

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Step 7: Final Details. This step may or may not be relevant for yout. In some plushes, I add on the little details like mouth (or eyes if I’m not using Safety Eyes) with hot glue or paint, once the whole thing is put together. I like this since sometimes when you put things on ahead of time, pre-stuffed, the stuffing can warp the positions and things look off. This prevents that. In this case, I painted on the mouth, and darkened the purple part of the rainbow as I didn’t have any dark purple felt, and didn’t want it and the body to be the same color.

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Ta-da! The finished product! Pardon the messy art desk…it is always in some form of disarray.

So there you have it! My method of making a felt plush, from scratch. Now I have a question for you, lovely readers! Would you like me to share some of my already made patterns here on the blog? If people are interested, I’d be happy to share some! Obviously, not the Doctor Who ones, as those are purchased and that’s just a rude thing to do. But the ones I made from scratch I’d be happy to share with you guys if anyone has a desire to get crafty!

And lastly, I’d love feedback on the tutorial. Is it easy to follow? I know it’s long, but I am one who loves every detail spelled out for me, so that’s was my diving off point. If it’s too much – let me know! Constructive criticism completely welcome. Thanks! πŸ˜€

Four Years

At this time four years ago I was in a hospital, snuggled up with my five hour old baby girl. She showed up unexpectedly three full weeks early. I was lying in bed at home around eight in the morning, and all of a sudden it was like I was peeing everywhere. Without my doing it. Needless to say, my brain was all what the f***. As it turns out, roughly 10% of women have their water break without any sign of labor whatsoever. I was one those women! So we headed to my OBGYN, who confirmed yup, your water broke, and I got checked into the hospital.

Contractions didn’t show up until the afternoon, and at 1:22am on December 18th, my little miss was born! My memories/experience of birth are actually all good! I mean yeah, pain, but overall, nothing feeling like it was so horrific I couldn’t do it again. My hubs end of things however, not so much. I won’t get into the gory details but suffice to stay I kind of kept bleeding and didn’t stop. And apparently it was worrisome. I thank the amazing hospital team for not cluing me in a bit, as I had no idea this was happening and was in total joy land with my newborn.

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Just born!

Fun side story: We opted not to find out the sex of our baby, so when she was born I had no idea if she was a girl or a boy. The staff was preoccupied with that whole bleeding thing, so no one told me. I finally remember screaming, “Oh yeah, what is it, what is it?!” Nobody had even checked in all the commotion! So they had to unwrap her all to just to let me know – it was a beautiful baby girl. πŸ™‚

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I remember being amazed at how tiny she was. That a living breathing human could be so small. When she started walking, it looked so silly because she was still so miniature! Like a living doll, just wandering around.

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My tiny girl! Also, we soon learned that there really is no ‘gender neutral’ colors haha. Babies are so androgynous, that unless they are head to toe pink, there is no way to immediately identify ‘female’.

Today, she is four. And a little firecracker. She amazes me constantly, with things she can do, words and phrases she says. She’s just such an intelligent little being. It’s amazing to think that I created her. That she started out as just a teeny tiny little gummy bear shaped blob, and has grown and flourished into such an amazing little person.

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Seeing how she has changed over the years amazes me. And makes me a bit sad. Every parenting cliche about time flying once you have kids is so true. And sometimes I have serious mom guilt about it. As a stay at home mom, I am with my child nearly 24/7. Which I really do, truly adore. It’s the only career I’ve ever wanted, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But there are days where I snap at her when I shouldn’t, or yell despite all efforts to keep it together. Some days I get tired of playing pretend, or playing Pet Shop adventures. And I understand that’s normal. But then I remember that all too soon will come a time where she doesn’t want me around her 24/7, where she doesn’t want me to play with her anymore. And that can be a heartbreaking thought.

But, it also helps me keep things in perspective, and enjoy the time I have with her fully. Do I expect to be perfect? No. There will still be days where the last thing I want to do is play another round of princess tea party. But those days are few, and far between. For now, I’ll stick to embracing the little moments when I can. Relish the times she asks to snuggle in my lap, and melt with love when she randomly says, “Hey Mom? I love you.”, completely out of the blue.

Happy Birthday, my little wonder. πŸ™‚

A Very Small WIP Wednesday

I am in massive super crunch time mode for art lately. There are EIGHT DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I have no idea how that happened. I started making presents in September. How is it that I’m still behind?!?!? In spite of that, I am actually feeling relatively okay about being able to complete the last two gifts I have left. Anywho, let’s dive in to the WIPs.

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Finished the kitty plush! I used a Pusheen pic as a ref for the pattern I made, and finally got her all finished up yesterday. Keep an eye out – I’ll be posting a tutorial on how I make plushies this Friday, and this little kitty is my example!

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The next time I decide to do an oil painting on a deadline, please kick me in the face. I am the slooooowest painter, and this is taking me so much more time than I planned for. But I am ALMOST. DONE. At this point, all I have left is adding in the bowstring, and then detailing out her midsection and bow. Then it’s just a couple detail revisions and a bit of reworking on the background and DONE. I’m hoping two more sessions will complete it. Which sounds great, except oils take a long time to to dry. I have serious doubts that this will be dry by Christmas so I think I’ll just be placing it ever so carefully in a box, giving to my brother and saying, “Hope you love it, but don’t touch it!” πŸ˜€

Below is a quick comparison of what it looked like last WIP Wednesday.

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I fixed the proportions (aka no more giraffe neck and looking like she just got her wisdom teeth out) and also added more detail to things – gloves, dress, and so on. Definitely SO much happier with it now.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week! My next WIP Wednesday won’t be until 2015!! But hopefully by then I’ll have some new stuff to show you. I’ve got lots of art plans for the coming year!

5 Fandom Friday. On a Tuesday. Frick.

I spent the majority of last week doing all the prep for my daughter’s rainbow birthday party we just had this past Sunday! It was a big success, and they’ll be a post about, but getting everything clean, made, decorated, and all around ready for the party ate up pretty much all of my week. Therefore, blogging fell so far behind. So it’s time to play a little catch up!

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This past 5 Fandom Friday topic (hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick) is a great one – Presents I Want Santa To Bring Me! My list includes all the outrageously expensive gifts I didn’t put on my Christmas list for people as they just cost Way. Too. Much. Thus, perfect for Santa!


1. A (giant) set of Copic Markers. I’m going to contradict myself now, as I actually DID include a set of these on my Christmas list just for the heck of it, but not one this big. This is my #1 item to save money and purchase for myself next year as I am dying to use them (and have so many ideas for them!).

2. This portrait lens. You’ve seen it already on my Camera Wishlist post. Yup, still want it. πŸ˜€

3. Completely unnecessary but completely fantastic video game figurine/statue thingies. My geeky collectible shelves are dying to have some of these on them!

4. A laptop. We are planning on buying one next year (no idea what kind yet), but it’d be amazing if one just appeared under our tree.

5. A WiiU. I picked WiiU over PS4 for this as I have no plans to buy a WiiU. I’d like it, but it would a complete and total frivolous purchase. There are only a few games I actually want to play for it, and I hardly have time to play console games at it is. But I’d still love it!

 

Christmas On A Budget: From Kids & For Kids

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Today we’re talking about the small humans you may have in your life. My daughter is about to turn four, so keep in mind this list is geared toward the younger spectrum of kids, both in gift making and receiving. This post mostly focuses on handmade gifts. Personally, it is super important to me to instill making gifts for people in my daughter’s life.Β  I am really not a fan of opening up a gift marked as from a little/young child and finding something storebought. They didn’t buy it, and chances are they didn’t even pick it. So why bother saying it’s from them? Maybe it’s just because I grew up making presents for everyone, and my friends I have always made each other things, but I find making a gift for someone and then getting to watch them open it to be one of the best parts of the holiday season.

My biggest thing to keep in mind when giving gifts from young children is practicality. I know that drawings, cards, collages etc. are great, but usually the reality is it hangs on the fridge for awhile and then ends up in the trash. I like gifts, even those from little ones, to have a little more lasting value, and ideally a USE to them.

A go-to for very young children is ornaments. For my daughter’s second Christmas (she had just turned one) we gave hand print ornaments. Specifically, I embossed her hand prints on green and red paper, dated them on the back, and looped some ribbon through. However, a stamp pad is much cheaper than an embossing kit (mine was a gift – woo!) and a stamped hand print would work just as well. If you’re feeling like putting in a little more effort, make up a quick air dry clay and do hand/foot print ornaments that way! I love ornaments as an option for young, especially first Christmas, kiddos to give as it’s a practical item that will be used year after year, and it commemorates their first one! Need some inspiration? Search on Pinterest – you’ll be overloaded with ideas.

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My little’s first handmade gifts!

Picture frames/photo gifts are another great ‘from child’ option. You can buy plain photo frames at the dollar store, and then simply have your kiddo paint on it (after removing the glass! Don’t forget that step! I’ve done it!) and pop in a picture of your choice – voila! My other favorite option, especially for the 2 -3 year old age is the ‘interview’ photo. Write out a series of questions to ask your child about the recipient. For example, I made one of these for my mom last year and I asked my daughter, “What is Mimi’s favorite food?” “What is her favorite animal?” What is your favorite thing to do with Mimi?”, and so on. The answers you get at this age are hilarious, especially if you ask about age! As you can see below, I wrote out my daughter’s answer on a piece of watercolor paper she had painted, added a photo of my mum and daughter, framed it and called it a day. The whole thing cost me $3.15 (for the frame, and photo print) and my mum still says it’s her favorite present she’s gotten from my daughter! That’s a win. If you’re pressed for time, skip the interview and just have them paint on a picture. Once it’s dry, lay a photo over it and frame it. Done!

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Photo gifts from last year. So simple!

This year, we opted for bookmarks, another really great and practical option for little kids. Grab some thick paper (cardstock works fine, though my examples below were done with watercolor paper), cut it into bookmark size pieces, and have your child paint away! Once dry, laminate (you can buy a pack of laminating sheets for $6 – $10 depending on the kind – it comes with LOTS), and you’re done. We opted to add in some pressed leaves and flowers from our stash to give them some extra spunk. My daughter placed them, I did the gluing as the pressed pieces were so delicate, and that’s it! If you’re child is old enough to write (we are just starting, but she’s doing so well!) have them jot a quick message on the back just to give it the extra oomph of handmade love.

bookmarks

My other most favorite simple, cheap, and practical gift from little ones: A painted flower pot + a seed packet. A medium size plain terra cotta pot is about $2 – $3, and plain acrylic paint works great on them! However, you will need to seal the paint if it’s going to be an outside planter. We’ve never done these for Christmas, but they are completely applicable, especially for an indoor plant or herb!

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Now it’s time to talk about ideas FOR kids. With all the commercials and advertising kids are exposed to I find that hand making gifts for kids can be intimidating. And yet, I think it’s so important to do to help instill with them the importance of handmaking gifts for people, themselves included! My daughter is only four, and we don’t have cable, so she isn’t exposed to a ton, but even she loves My Little Pony and many other ‘brand’ type things (Littlest Pet Shop anyone?). Luckily, most of my ideas can be adapted to incorporate their favorite things!

Plush stuffies. I know this sounds really scary, and complicated. The idea of making a stuffed animal of any sort always intimidated me. But I tried it this year, and it’s not that hard! I definitely recommend starting out with a purchased pattern if it’s your first time. Etsy has so many options, and most are only a few bucks each. Mine are all made out of felt because again, it’s super cheap. Can’t stitch to save your life? No problem! I’ve yet to make a stuffie that couldn’t be put together with hot glue instead. I use hot glue on some of mine that have really small details simply because I find it easier than stitching. I’ll be posting a tutorial on how I make plushies (from pattern making to finished product) very soon, so you can see my method. But hot glue would be a completely acceptable (and time saving!) substitute for hand stitching!

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Some examples of the plushies I’ve made as gifts this year!

In the same vein as stuffies, I think masks are another great option for a fun gift, and one that promotes imagination! These would be a bit more advanced as you’d probably need to make your own template/pattern, but still a great option. Etsy has some amazing shops that sell masks – browse for inspiration if you’re thinking of making one for a special kiddo in your life!

Jewelry is another great, and relatively simple thing to make for the late toddler/preschool age (just beware of choking hazards). My daughter loves to play dress up with her jewelry, so a new beaded bracelet, or bracelet/necklace set would be a most loved gift. I tend to scout for beads and things on clearance, as you can often such great deals that way. Especially at Joanns.

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As for non-homemade gifts, I love stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx to get great deals on toys and things. They tend to carry a pretty decent variety of brand toys and non-brand at a price that doesn’t kill your wallet. Often times too they have a pretty sweet arts and crafts section! My local Marshalls always has a great array of notebooks and journals (which my daughter loves to doodle in, and practice her letters!), along with really fun kits of crafts to do with the kiddos. It’s my go-to store for kiddo gifts!

Β Next week is already the LAST POST before Christmas! I thought November went by fast, but good gravy December bumped it up to light speed. Anywho, tune in next Monday for the final post in the series Stocking Stuffers!

Christmas On A Budget: FOOD!

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Today’s topic is one of my favorites. I think giving (and recieving!) food is one of the best gifts out there! It’s not too expensive, it’s practical, and pretty much everybody loves a sweet treat. I make my friends and family a gift basket of homemade foods every year!

I happen to love to bake, but I can understand the intimidation of baking. However, I fully believe that if you can read, you can bake. Obviously, some recipes are easier than others, but for the most part following a recipe is super easy! Just take your time, and make sure you read each step. If you’re a really newbie baker, I recommend reading through the whole recipe at least twice before starting so it’s a bit familiar. And don’t forget to double check that you have ALL the ingredients! There is nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through a recipe and realizing you’re missing a key ingredient….not that I’ve done that or anything. *Cough*

Below are some of my favorite baking recipes to give as gifts! These are all links to my personal recipes, a lot of which are old blog posts! Therefore, please ignore all the funky footer stuff going on at the end of some of them, and the poor food photography (with lack of watermarks). πŸ˜‰

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1. Banana Bread. I think this tops my list of gift-giving food. It is a staple of my yearly gift basket.

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2. Peanut Butter Buckeyes. A simple, quick, and delicious treat!

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3. Molasses Cookies. A bit time intensive, but they are my all time favorite cookie!

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4. Zucchini Bread. Less sweet than the above banana, this bread is a savory classic.

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5. Pumpkin Spice Cookies. More of a fall treat, but so delicious!

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6. Peanut Butter Blossoms. This is my classic Christmas cookie. My mum made them every year growing up, and it doesn’t feel like the holidays without them!

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7. Lemon Bar Brownies. This recipe has a bit more to it than the others, but is still pretty easy! And absolutely delicious – I get raves about these.

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8. Chocolate Pie. This is one of the richest chocolate mousse pies I’ve ever had, and it’s so simple to make.

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Now that you’ve whipped up some yummy goods, lets talk presentation. Packaging up your lovingly homemade goods into a gift basket just adds a punch of holiday cheer! My biggest money saving tip for this? The dollar store. I go there every year to stock up on my food ‘gift wrap’. As I prefer a rustic Christmas look, I always start with a basket but really, pick any container that suits your fancy. I wrap my breads in plastic wrap, place cookies or other treats in cute boxes (or baggies), then add some ribbon or bows around the basket and call it a day! Cheap, easy, and pretty to boot.

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Crunched for time, or truly doubting your baking ability? No problem! Make Food In A Jar! To me, this is one the best gifting concepts of all time. I love to give soup jars! Here are some of my faves from around the internet, and they make great last-minute gifts too.

(Click the pic to take you straight to the how-to!)


Cul-de-sac Cool shares five different cookie-in-a-jar recipes, with the free printable label tags to go with!

Our Bower shares this yummy looking Multigrain Chicken Soup in a jar.

The Frugal Girls shares a yummy looking Hot Chocolate in a jar! Be sure to check their French Vanilla Hot Chocolate too! (My hubs may be getting this in his stocking!)

Sassy & Sweet shares this Spice Tea in a jar.

Hope you found a new gift to give someone today. Next week for Christmas On A Budget: From Kids, and For Kids!

Life In Photos #32

I have a few fun shots to share this week!

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I just love the way snow looks on the pine trees. So wintry, and oddly cozy looking even though it’s so chilly!

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Visited with my BFF and her new little man was wide awake when I arrived! After snapping a few shot, I then snagged him and proceeded to have hours of snuggles.

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I was playing around with my manual settings and ended up with this shot, which I love. His peaceful face, the tree in the background – it just gives me that Christmas magic feeling!

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My mum’s yard always has some form of animal in it as she puts out food scraps all winter for them! A variety of birds, squirrels and chipmunks, deer, and others are always about. I snapped a pic of these blue jays and then did some partial black and white edits. I just love how the blue pops on the snow! I’m glad these turned out since I shot them through my mum’s door window (the blue jays quickly got perturbed with me). πŸ˜‰

Hopefully I’ll be able to get some deer shots sometime!

Links to the Past

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Totally forgot to scout for fanart this week, so until next time!

5 Fandom Friday

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I’m really excited for this week’s 5 Fandom Friday topic (hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick):

My Favorite Holiday Songs To Spread Cheer!

Why am I so excited for this topic? It gives me a reason to fangirl about one of my absolute favorite musical groups – Pentatonix. I’ve never been one that’s too over-the-top about Christmas music. My mum had this one CD we listened to every single year while decorating the tree, and therefore it always give me nostalgic feels, but that’s about it. Until Pentatonix released their first Christmas CD, PTXMas. I absolutely love a capella music, and PTX just takes it to a whole new level, even just for Christmas music. This year they released a second album, That’s Christmas To Me (which is an original Christmas song they wrote!) and it’s fabulous. Below are my top five faves of theirs, which I’ve been obsessed with lately.

1. Mary Did You Know. I’d never even heard of this Christmas song prior to hearing their version and it’s just SO BEAUTIFUL. The harmonies!! My ears can’t take it. Despite being not at all religious, I often find very religious Christmas music to be the most beautiful, and this rings true here.

2. Silent Night (Live). GOOD LORD THE HARMONIES. I die. Just so achingly beautiful. Also, I couldn’t imagine just being able to create such beautiful music at the drop of a hat like this. Extraordinary.

3. Carol of the Bells. This song is actually my all time favorite Christmas song, and this version is amazing.

4. That’s Christmas To Me. Not only is the fact that it’s an original Christmas song cool, but I love the harmonies (are you sensing a theme here??) and it just fills me with the holiday feels.

5. Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy. Another excellent Christmas song (I’ve always wanted to see this ballet!) and I love this version. Slightly dark and creepy, even without the video, and I like that take on it. Plus, I am astounded at how amazing people can sound when they are basically just singing versions of ‘da’ and ‘dum’ over and over.

When I’m listening to non-Pentatonix Christmas music, I tend to favor pretty traditional Christmas music, either instrumental or choir type. No pop stuff here (in fact, even some of PTX’s ‘poppier’ Christmas stuff I struggle with).

What’s your favorite Christmas song, or type of holiday music?