Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scrabble Tile Necklaces

I found an awesome tutorial on how to make necklaces out of Scrabble tiles recently, and have had lots of fun making them. I've made several for myself and the girls decided that they'd like one, too. So, they each found one waiting for them under the Christmas tree. I found pictures of Tinkerbell that I liked and then sized them down to fit. I wear my Scrabble tiles on chains, but since the girls are so little they can't fasten the hooks. So, I got some elastic jewelry cord and some necklace kits with the beads in the Michaels dollar section and strung the Scrabble tile on the beaded necklace. It looks super cute, and the girls can get them on and off easily. My girls love jewelry as much as I do, so I have the feeling I'll be making more for them in the future!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Angel Wipe Case

I had a request on my Etsy store for a wipe case and matching diaper clutch. The request was that the clutch be in some kind of gingham and that the wipe case have an angel on it. This is the finished product. I'm loving the wipe case design and I had lots of fun finding the perfect gender-neutral gingham print!

The best dip ever!

Well, maybe not the best dip ever, but it's pretty darn good. I got this recipe on the 2 peas message board (I don't remember who posted it, though) and made it at Christmas. It was a hit!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 - 10 oz cans chunk chicken, drained
2 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 small bottle Franks Red Hot sauce (I used their Buffalo Wing sauce)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and Ranch dressing. Stir and cook until well blended. Transfer to ovenware. Add in the Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers and celery.

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Taylor had to decorate a Christmas Tree for homework and one can't make something without the other making one, too. So, using Taylor's tree as a guide, I drew a similar tree for Megan. Then, we went to the local craft store for goodies to decorate them with. The laundry list of stuff we got was huge - and most of it involved glitter or sparkles of some kind. The resulting trees are quite fabulous and oh, so sparkly!

Cup of Water

As I was taking pictures of things for my Etsy store and my blog, my youngest became quite interested. She wanted me to take a picture of something of hers. The closest thing she had on hand? Her cup of water. So, as requested, here is her glass of water!

Farm Birthday Cake

My youngest had a Farm themed party for her 2nd birthday. I searched online and found a cake I liked and used that to make her birthday cake. It turned out really well, except for the fact that it leans a bit. I've since learned that dowels inserted inside 2 tiered cakes are a good thing! I used gum paste to make the animals on top and treated it just like play-doh. A couple of well placed toothpicks helped keep the animals together.

Salt Dough Ornaments

Every year the girls make ornaments for granparents for Christmas. This year's offering was salt dough ornaments. The girls had lots of fun creating this year. Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups salt
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon alum
1 1/2 cups water

Mix dry ingredients. Add water gradually. Knead dough well. Dough is correct consistency when it forms a ball around spoon. Add additional water if the dough is too crumbly. Air dry until hard or bake at 300 degrees 30-40 minutes until hard.

The dough is thick, so you'll get a workout if you mix by hand. If you have a heavy duty stand mixer, use that! I added liquid food coloring to the dough to make it more fun. It takes quite a bit of food coloring to get darker colors. I used parchment paper when baking them. Don't forget to put a hook in the top before they harden if you are planning on making ornaments out of them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipe

Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share my recipe for candied sweet potatoes. It's rich and yummy, and like all good things in life , probably has a million calories. But, who's counting?! The praline pecans on top are oh, so yummy and I always throw in some marshmallows for good measure. Delicious!

I found this recipe online years ago and I don't remember where, but it's yummy goodness, I promise!

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/4 pound butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 cups mini marshmallows, if desired

Butter one 2 quart casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and cream. Blend well, and spread evenly in casserole dish.
Prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans. Mix until crumbly, and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven
If mini marshmallows are used, they can be mixed into the sweet potato mixture before baking, or can be added to the top when 3-5 minutes are left on the bake time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Crayon Caddy

My sister asked me if I could make one of these, so here it is. Most of the crayon holders I've seen just hold crayons, but I thought it would be more useful if it held paper, too. So, I adapted the patterns for the crayon only holder and came up with this. Each one holds 12 crayons and a refillable pad of paper. They roll up and tie closed so they can be put in a backpack, purse or diaper bag. Cute way to take a craft on the go!
My next batch I'll have to fancy up a bit for my two fancy girls. They are each getting one in their stocking!

Aren't they fabulous?!

I've caught the green cleaning bug and now I've got a new cleaning obsession - the show "How Clean is your House?" The show is on BBC America and comes on a couple of times a day. If you haven't watched it before, I'll warn you now. You'll be blown away that people actually live in that filth. You will gag. You might even throw up a bit in your mouth. Even so, I love this show! First, there's those fabulous British accents. Second, the ladies that host the show (Kim and Agie) are a hoot. Thirdly, they have fantastic cleaning tips (did you know that sour milk will make brass shine?). But the best part of the show are the gloves! They never clean a house without wearing the most fabulous rubber gloves.

Since I decided that I had to have some and am way too cheap to buy them, I made my own. They turned out quite fabulous, if I do say so myself. Now, it's time to get cleaning!

Blue Bird

This is another one of our new wipe case designs, and I'm loving it! The little blue bird is so cheerful looking to me that I might just have to make myself one.

Countdown to Christmas

Here's a cute and easy way to count down the days until Christmas! You'll need the following:

~A small piece of lightweight metal (can be found at a home improvement store. Mine is approx. 5 x 7). Make sure it's a metal that magnets will stick to (not aluminum).
~Two pieces of printed scrapbook paper
~1 piece of solid color cardstock
~various ribbons
~magnets (you can purchase either the magnet "buttons" or a strip of magnet that you can cut to size)
~Modge Podge
~Felt tipped pen
~stickers or cardstock letters/numbers (can be found at scrapbook stores or craft stores)
~foam brush (to apply Modge Podge)
~hole punch

Here's how you do it:

1. Cut one of the printed sheets of printed scrapbook paper the same size as the piece of metal.
2. Place a thin layer of Modge Podge on the metal, place the cut piece of paper on top. Smooth out any wrinkles.
3. Cut the second piece of printed paper the same width as the piece of metal, and about 1/3rd of the length. Using Modge Podge, glue on to the bottom of the metal, smooth out any wrinkles.
4. After about 10 minutes, cover the front of the paper with a thin layer of Modge Podge (this will "seal" the paper and make it stronger and help keep the magnets from marking it).
5. Once dry, glue a piece of ribbon along the seam between the two pieces of paper.
6. Glue cardstock letters or place stickers along the bottom to read "days til Christmas. For my "Christmas" letters, I used the Cricut Plantin Schoolbook Cartridge.
7. Cut 12 shapes out of the solid color cardstock (I used circles, but you could use squares, tree shapes, ovals, triangles - whatever). I cut my circles on my Cricut machine using the Doodlecharms cartridge.
8. Glue a number onto each circle - 0-9. You'll need two number 1's and 2's. I used the Cricut Plantin Schoolbook cartridge for my numbers.
9. Outline/decorate the edge of each circle with a pen.
10. Punch a hole in the top of each circle and tie a small piece of ribbon on it.
12. Place a magnet on the back of each numbered circle.
11. If you have a hole punch that is strong enough to punch a hole in the metal you can do so then tie a length of ribbon through the holes to allow for it to be hung. Or, you could put magnets on the back and hang it on the fridge or display it on an easel.

Our own art gallery

There is no shortage of masterpieces that are created in our house and our old method of displaying them just wasn't cutting it. So, I created our own art gallery in the hallway. It was so easy to do and the girls love being able to change out their creations themselves. This is how you can create your own art gallery, too!
1. Pick out 3-4 different colors of paint (I used those small samples of wall paint that you can get at home improvement stores.

2. Paint solid color rectangles on the wall. Since creations can be made with the paper in portrait or landscape configuration, make sure you don't make them all the same direction. Make the rectangles larger than the size of paper that will be hanging in them so it will act like a painted "frame" around the picture once it's hanging. I did mine all by hand, but if the looseness of that will get your blood pressure going, use a level and a ruler to make the lines perfectly straight.

3. Paint swirls, stripes or polka dots on the rectangles so that they'll look fabulous even if there isn't a picture hanging on them. Use your imagination and have fun!

4. Head to the office supply store and pick up some binder clips or bulldog clips to hold the artwork. (I found my fancy clips at Staples). I put half of a Velcro dot on the clip and the other half on the wall. That way, the girls can pull the clips down easily to change out their artwork and then hang them back up again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Have wings, Fly high!

My youngest has a grouping of butterflies, a dragonfly and a fairy in the corner of her bedroom that she just loves. Lately, she's become very interested in having wings and flying high up to the clouds. Since her butterflies weren't in the clouds, we decided to add some!

To do the same, you'll need about 3 yards of tulle. We used two different colors (blue and white), so we used 6 total yards of tulle. I cut the width of tulle in half, since off the bolt it's too wide and put the two different colors together. To attach the tulle clouds to the ceiling I just used white push pins. Every 12" to 18" I'd add another pin, and I just continued around. To make it easier, you could cut your tulle into a couple of different sections (like 1.5" yard lengths). After you've got the tulle up all you have to do is fluff!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Look what's in the works!

I've been busy getting ready for a craft show, so my desk is covered with more projects! I've got lots of new diaper wipe cases in the works - and several new designs! Next to be completed is a big stack of bibs.
Our newest item - a crayon caddy - is coming soon. It's a nifty little pouch that holds 12 crayons and a pad of paper. It's perfect for throwing in a purse or diaper bag to keep the little one occupied at a restaurant, waiting room or in the car!
Check our Etsy store in the next couple of days to see our new goodies - matching wipe cases and diaper clutch sets, matching wipe cases and changing pad sets, bibs, burp cloths and wipe cases!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Green Cleaning!

I've caught the green cleaning bug. I heard a couple of speakers recently who talked about all the chemicals in household cleaners and how bad they are for you. Not being one to take someones word with nothing else to go on, I headed to the library and found a couple of books. The one statistic that I kept coming across was that women who work at home have a 54% higher chance of getting cancer due to exposure to household chemicals. Scary stuff! So, armed with my research, I headed to the store for new cleaning supplies.

Into my cart I threw a gallon of white vinegar, baking soda, liquid castile soap and a couple of spray bottles. The vinegar I mix with water (1:4) in the spray bottles and use that to clean everything - windows, counters, our wooden bar stools, mirrors. The smell does take some getting used to (I keep thinking it smells like we're coloring Easter eggs), but I'm amazed at how well it works. Windex never got my mirrors as clean as the vinegar does! I also use it in the laundry instead of fabric softener. The baking soda I use to clean the toilets (mixed with vinegar to make a paste) and I sprinkle it on the carpet before vacuuming to freshen the carpet. The liquid castile soap gets mixed in a bucket of water to mop my floors.

I feel better about cleaning and I have no problem letting the girls help. I'm not worried about vinegar getting on their hands, so they have become my little cleaning crew. Plus, vinegar and baking soda are cheap!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One of our new wipe case designs

This is one of the newest designs we've added to our line of painted diaper wipe cases. It was a special request for a customer, and I'm loving how it turned out. It's perfect for a little surfer dude! If you'd like on of your own, head on over to our Etsy shop.

Our Etsy Shop is up and running!

I'm excited to say that our Etsy shop is now open for business. I spent a couple of hours this morning getting the listings posted, so go take a peek. Check back often, because over the next week or two, I'm going to be adding quite a bit more! www.turtletaylor.etsy.com

Decorating pumpkins

Yesterday the girls and I decorated mini pumpkins. I debated whether or not I wanted to get out the paint, since the end result would be so much cuter, but in the end I went with the Sharpies. Much faster, and much less mess involved. Of course, our color choices were limited, but the girls didn't seem to mind. They both had a lot of fun decorating their little pumpkin people. Taylor followed my lead and did a girl, Megan went off in her own direction and created quite the little alien. Meg apparently has quite the fondness for google eyes! Our creations are now happily gracing our kitchen counters.

Welcome to Turtle Taylor!

I feel like I've finally joined the ranks of those who actually have a clue about technology and stuff! I've delayed starting a blog and opening my Etsy store for quite awhile since we can only get dial-up around here, but I bit the bullet and finally did it anyway!

I hope you'll have fun here and find some creative inspiration!