Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vintage Craft Workshop Giveaway!

As many of you may know, October is my birthday month, and to celebrate I am going to be doing a few giveaways to thank you, my loyal readers for spending time with me and my crafty endeavors. The prizes are going to vary widely: crafty books, supplies, and even some non craft related things that I just plain like. It's my birthday, and if I want to break from crafting for a prize or two, who's to say I can't? Make sure to check in frequently so you don't miss out on any fun projects or new giveaways! So without further ado, let's break out our boomboxes and headphones and get this party started!

I am starting my Birthday giveaways a little early! I'm just so super excited to be old (ha!). The first giveaway is one copy of Vintage Craft Workshop. This is a fabulous book filled with vintage inspired crafts that fit any experience level!

There are easy to follow tutorials, patterns, and great step by step instructions. It is also published by one of my favorite independent book publishers, Chronicle Books!

I can vouch for the super cuteness and ease of use for this book as my sister gifted me a copy last year :) I am trying out Rafflecopter for this giveaway, so please leave me your feedback on whether or not you like this platform better than simply leaving a comment. I think I like the fact I can reward my followers and facebook "likers" with extra entries. I really do appreciate the time you all give me :)

*Please be patient while the widget loads*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am sponsoring this giveaway myself, though I do participate in Chronicle Books' affiliate ad program. If you would like to support them by buying a copy of any of their fabulous books, you can find a coupon link at the bottom of this post that will give you 30% off your entire order plus FREE shipping.

Be sure to check back the entire month of October for more crafty projects and weekly giveaways. Thanks for visiting and spread the word :)

Chronicle Books - 30% + Free Ship Banner

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte Body Scrub

Oh, I have been so excited to share this with you all! Several of my favorite blogs have been sharing their excitement with Fall and the fact that it means the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I, however, don't think it can in any way compare to this Pumpkin Spice Latte body scrub. I don't actually like the taste of coffee. Have I mentioned that? Yeah, I'm weird. I do really love the smell of coffee though, so this body scrub has enabled me to share in everyone else's Pumpkin Spice Latte joy this season.

This would make a great gift by the way, and smells super delicious! To make it you only need a few ingredients:

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 heaping Tablespoons of your favorite ground coffee (I have been told that instant coffee can also be used, but my husband doesn't go for that stuff)
1-2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice (this is a blend of nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. If you have all of those but do not have pumpkin pie spice, just combine them in your favorite ratio instead)
3/4-1 cup oil, depending on how "wet" you like your body scrub (I used flax seed oil and grapeseed oil, you want light oils without much of their own flavor or scent in this one, so it doesn't overpower your other ingredients)

Start by pouring your sugar into a bowl and breaking it up to get rid of any large chunks. I generally use a whisk or fork for this, they work great!

Next, measure in your ground coffee and spices. You can add more or less of each depending on your personal taste. I used 2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee, and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of spices. Mix this all together evenly before adding your oil.

Finally, measure and add in your oils. I used a full cup of oil total, about 3/4 cup of Flaxseed and 1/4 cup Grapeseed oils. You may also use Sunflower or Safflower oils in this, they work great. Mix everything together well and then scoop into an air tight container of your choosing.

I found this glass container at my local Dollar Store, but you may want to find something less breakable, especially if giving as gifts. Broken glass in the shower does not a Merry Christmas make. You can find lots of different shops online that specialize in homemade soap and body scrubs that have all kinds of containers for sale, just poke around and I'm sure something both beautiful and function is out there!

This leaves your skin feeling smooth and super soft, and I have seen in many places that coffee can have a myriad of benefits for your skin (some places even claim the caffeine in coffee can shrink fat cells and reduce the appearance of cellulite! Coffee body scrub for one and all!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

DIY Boutonnieres

As many of you know, my sister's wedding is fast approaching and I am making all of the flowers out of paper. Today I will be sharing with you some ideas for making your own boutonnieres. These come in handy not only if you have an upcoming wedding, but also any formal dance or prom. Above you can see a variation I did in Sister's wedding colors, with some eucalyptus leaves and guinea hen feathers.

A traditional boutonniere is simply a single flower on a long stem (it is inserted into a special button hole on a men's suit lapel). As such, you will start with a single bloom on a stem, since my flowers are paper my stem is wire covered in floral tape. Make sure to leave yourself at least 3 inches of stem to work with, it may always be trimmed later.

Next you will want to decide if you are adding extra foliage or decorative "flair" to your boutonniere. You can get really creative with this: if you are doing a beach wedding, why not add some seashells or sand dollars? You could add tinsel or holly for a Christmas wedding. Simply attach any extras to some wire (you can tie the wire around the object or use glue) and then position it however you like!

Position your foliage, I used a decorative Autumn leaf, and cut a piece of floral tape to attach to your flower stem.

Make sure to wrap your floral tape snugly to prevent your boutonniere from moving or falling apart. I typically wrap each item on individually and then wrap the entire stem again once I am satisfied with the final product.

If working from the back, make sure to turn your piece over and make sure everything is lined up correctly. Make any adjustments before wrapping your stem with floral tape a final time. If you want, on your final wrapping of floral tape you can add in a pin back or alligator clip to fasten the boutonniere to a suit without the use of a long straight pin later. The final product may also be wrapped with ribbon if you don't like the look of floral tape

Which style is your favorite?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dollar Store Harvest Centerpiece

If my Caramel Apple Dip wasn't enough to get you in the Fall spirit, here is a cheap and easy centerpiece that may help you out. All of the materials for this centerpiece were purchased at my local Dollar Tree store, so the grand total for this centerpiece was $6 (and I had a bunch of leftover leaves and flowers for another project coming this week).

I love the smell of vanilla in my home, it brings to mind holiday baking. So I started my centerpiece by finding this candle and a holder.

Next up: how to make it more festive? I could easily have gotten out my enamel paints and just painted the holder, but what fun is that? I found a great willow wreath, and bunches of fake flowers and glittery leaves!

To make this project, it is helpful to have a wire cutters, as the fake flowers come on wire stems (which is great for bending them into place on your wreath!). Just cut your stems a few inches below your flowers so you have some wire stem to work with, and start weaving it into your wreath. Bend the ends to secure them, or use glue if you prefer. You could also get a foam wreath and really fill it up with flowers, but since I found a great natural willow wreath, I wanted you to be able to see the wood in my end project.

I arranged my leaves with a red flower in the center of each bundle, this covers up the bare stem of the leaves with bright flower petals.

After spacing out three bunches of leaves with daisies, I added in a couple sprigs of yellow pom pom type flowers. All that is left is to add in your candle in the center. Having a candle holder is important here so you don't risk setting your centerpiece on fire (though my Dollar Store also had some flameless candles in stock, if you went that route you could save the extra dollar for the handle holder and just use a flameless candle).

What do you think?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Caramel Apple Dip

I am so excited that Fall is well on it's way! I am not a fan of hot hot weather and I just burn to a crisp in the sun no matter how much sunblock I slather on. What better way to celebrate weather's return to Fall than with a yummy Caramel Apple fruit dip?

This recipe is so easy and when you dip apples in it, it really does taste like a caramel apple (without the hassle of trying to eat a whole apple off a stick without getting sticky sweet caramel all over yourself--not that that has ever happened to me).

To make this yummy fruit dip you will need:

1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese)
1/2 cup of your favorite caramel sauce, room temp

Whip the cream cheese and caramel sauce together in a bowl with a hand mixer (you can use a stand mixer if you want, but I find you have to scrape the bottom far too many times and still hand mix some unless you use a hand mixer).

Serve with sliced apples, or any other fruit you have on hand. I am also a huge fan of this dip with sliced pears! Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container (if you happen to have some leftovers). One of my favorite parts about this dip is that it is still creamy and usable right out of the fridge, while a regular caramel sauce hardens and needs to be heated. Gotta love the magical powers of cream cheese!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I haven't had a recipe post in awhile. Heck, I have been so busy it has been hard to get ANY posts up in awhile. I do appreciate you all hanging with me, I'll try to squeeze in some more posts soon! I came across this recipe the other day and had to try it! These cookies did not disappoint, and I have to say that if you are not a fan of coconut, I think you could easily substitute something like marshmallows (and even add nuts for a Rocky Road cookie that'd be AWESOME!). To make these cookies you will need:

1-¼ cup All-purpose Flour
¼ cups (Rounded) Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
⅛ teaspoons Salt
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
½ cups Granulated Sugar
½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 whole Large Egg
1-½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla
1 cup Shredded Coconut (sweetened was all I had, so I used it and it was yummy, you can also use unsweetened)
1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugars. Scrape down the sides and then add the egg and vanilla; mix to combine. On a low speed, gradually add the flour and cocoa mixture, until incorporated.

Next, add the shredded coconut and oats and mix. Add chocolate chips and mix until just folded in. The dough will be pretty solid. Form into balls about the size of a heaping tablespoon and place on a lined baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper, you could also use a Silpat Baking Mat).

Bake at 350ºF for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 minutes more on the sheet, then remove and place on a cooling rack. This recipe makes about 36 cookies, and they disappear fast. Between my husband and I they didn't last a week, I'm both ashamed and proud of this :)

If you should happen to try these with nuts and marshmallows, let me know, I'd love to hear how they turned out!

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