Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week 22 Theme...

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

For this week since it is Christmas and it will be a busy few days, the Pinterest Challenge theme will be Elf on the Shelf. This year we decided to introduce Elf on the Shelf to our toddler, mostly because Pinterest had some great ideas on places to put him and things he could do. Really I think Pinterest should be making some of the profits of Elf on the Shelf. It ended up being a great success, our two year old loved to get up every morning and find our Elf, he named Snow.

This week I will be sharing all of the crazy things and some boring places our Elf traveled too. If it wasn't for Pinterest our Elf would have just moved back and forth between a few shelves. Check back this week to check out our Elf.

And Have a Merry and Safe Holiday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scrabble Necklace Tutorial

Only 3 days till Christmas! Everyday I get a little more excited.

This week I have been working on homemade Christmas Gifts, inspired by Pinterest of course. I saw this Pinspiration a few months ago and have been really excited to make this for my friends for Christmas. A personalized necklace with their initial on it. LOVE IT!!!!
The thing with Pinterest pins is sometimes you don't click on the picture to see where the link leads to. So when I was ramping up to go buy the supplies and get to work on this gift, I got on Pinterest and clicked the pin and it went to a page to buy this necklace for $36.99! Well that is a little too rich for me. I searched all over the internet to find a tutorial on how to make a Scrabble tile necklace, and fail. I have never made jewelery before, but I figured how hard can it be.

So with the help of this Pinspiration, and for a fraction of the cost of one, I made 12 necklaces. Here is how...

First I went to an antique shop that sold Scrabble tile pieces for $0.25 each. You can also find the tiles on, or you can just use your own scrabble game if you want.

Once I had all the tiles, I went to Michael's in search of a chain of some sort. I'm not a huge fan of fake chains, I didn't want my friends to have green necks. So I found a great alternative, and it came with the clasps I needed to make the necklaces. I went with waxed cotton cord. Each package came with enough hardware to make 5 pieces of jewelry for $3.99. I had to buy 3 packages.

Next I used my neck to guesstimate how long I wanted the necklace to be, once I finished one necklace I went and cut the rest in relation to how much longer or short I thought it should be. Then I set a side 2 crimp hardware pieces (included in chain set), 1 clasp (included in chain set), and 1 0.35in/9mm jump ring ($2.99 for a 85 pieces), for each neckalce.

For each necklace I used needle-nose pliers and crimped on the end pieces to both ends.

Then I used the pliers to open the ring on one side of the crimp hardware and applied the clasp, then closed the crimp ring

The next step I had a little help with. My husband drilled all the holes in the Scrabble tiles with a 1/16" drill bit.

Lastly, I used the needle-nose pliers to open the 9mm jump ring, put it through the drilled hole in the Scrabble tile, closed the jump ring. Now it's time to put the tile on the necklace. And Ta-da...

I did find that the wax cord was having trouble straightening out (like it had kinks in it), since it was wrapped around the board that it was packaged with. So I put it between a dish towel and ironed it at medium heat, and it worked like magic!

This was sort of a Pinterest Success, definitely an Olivia Success! I made one for me and I love it, I think my friends will love it too!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Neighbor Christmas Gifts

I'm getting so excited about Christmas, only 4 days away! I had a very successful shopping week, and successful Pinterest homemade gifts week. Now I just have to start wrapping and then I will be all ready for Christmas.

This weekend I am going to start giving out some of the Pinterest Pinspiration project gifts. The first Pinspiration was for a neighbor gift. We have the world's best neighbors and they deserve the world, but instead they are going to get these cute inexpensive gifts I made. :)

My inspiration came from this Pinterest Pin:
They just made Chex Muddy Buddies, added Christmas M&Ms, and put in a container. Since they used Starbucks Frappuccino Containers and I didn't have those, I went with a different container.

Muddy Buddies are so easy to make, here is the quick recipe (also found on the back of a Chex box)...

Chex Muddy Buddies

9 cups of Rice Chex (or Corn Chex, Chocolate Chex, Honey Nut Chex, even Cinnamon Chex is great)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 bag of milk chocolate M&Ms

1. Measure out 9 cups of Chex in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In a medium, microwavable-safe container, add chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter\margarine, and vanilla. Microwave uncovered for 1 minute, then stir. Microwave 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. 
3. Pour smooth mixture over cereal, until evenly coated.
4. Then pour cereal into a large Ziploc bag (2 gallons, although I used a 1 gallon and it worked just fine).
5. Add powdered sugar to the bag. Seal the bag, then shake until well coated. Once that was finished, I added the mix back to the bowl (after I cleaned it), and added the bag of M&Ms.
6. Once it was all cooled, I added it to the containers I bought. I cheated a little, because last year my friend gave us Chex Muddy Buddies in a Christmas Tree container, so I found more of them at Walmart for $1.98 each.

I'm excited to give our neighbors their Christmas gift. I think the Chex Muddy Buddies are delish, and the containers are super cute; so I think it's a Pinterest Success. But the neighbors might not think that :P

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Week 21 Theme...

Christmas is right around the corner, NO LITERALLY it is just about a week away! Every year I am so wrapped up in everything Christmas time has to offer, that I get so behind on gift buying. This year seems even worse; I have some major shopping to do the next eight days.

Since we are a family on a single income, I like to make some sort of inexpensive homemade gifts for friends and neighbors. Thanks again to Pinterest, there are a million and seven ideas for homemade gifts. Maybe my homemade gifts can step it up a notch this year, with the help of some Pinspiration.

This week's Pinterest Challenge is to make homemade Christmas gifts for my friends and neighbors. I'm going to have to find time somehow in this busy shopping schedule this week to complete this task, maybe I should be looking a Pinterest Pins on time management instead. :P

I am looking forward to seeing what I can create on a budget, and hopefully it won't be too lame, so people will actually like it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

For this week of Christmas cookies, I made one other Pinterest cookie. Since I love my sweets and I eat too many cookies, I only tried out two recipes.

My sister use to love to make these cookies at Christmas time, and I use to love to eat them. So I tried my luck with this Pinterest pin, Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies:

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (Makes about 30ish):

- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- 30 chocolate kisses, unwrapped (I had about 36 cookies, so I needed a few more kisses)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Mix peanut butter and butter until smooth with an electric mixer, or stand. Add brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients.
3. Place granulated sugar on a plate. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll into the sugar. Place on cookies sheets, 2 inches apart.
4. Bake until the cookies begin to puff up, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, gently press in chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Then return to the oven and bake for about 2 to 3 minutes, until cookies are golden and cholocate is soft.
5. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
6. Then Enjoy!

These cookies are amazing, just as good as when my sister makes them! This was a Christmas tradition success and of course a Pinterest Success!

Colorful Swirl Cookies

This week I have done a little Christmas baking. Thanks to Pinterest I tried a couple new recipes.

This Pinterest pin was my inspiration for one of the Christmas cookies I baked, recipe here:

Mine looked nothing like this beautiful master piece, and they weren't the best sugar cookies. But since I love cookies, I ate way too many of these mediocre cookies.

Colorful Swirl Cookies

- 2 cups of flour (The recipe that I followed, used regular flour, but the recipe they followed said cake flour. So maybe it would have tasted better with cake flour?)
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 2/3 cup of unsifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1/2 tsp of food coloring your choice (and/or 1/2 tsp of any desired extra extracts)
- 1 1/2 cup of holiday sprinkles (I only used about 1/4 cup of sprinkles)

1. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars.
2. Add in butter and vanilla extract, mix until smooth.
3. Remove half of the dough and roll it between two pieces of wax paper. About 9 x 11 (I think mine was more 11 x 11) and about 1/4 inch thick (I just eye balled it).
4. Then with the remaining dough in the bowl, mix food coloring (if you use a water based food coloring add a little bit of extra flour). Also add extra extract if you want, I added a little bit extra vanilla, but you could use mint, or lemon, or whatever you like.
5. Then roll out the second half of the dough, the same way as the first half. Then refrigerate for about 2 hours.
6. When firm, remove the top sheet of both halves of dough, brush the uncolored dough with water using a pastry brush.
7. Now put the two tops together and trim around the outside, to make straight even lines. Then roll up the dough into a long log, and roll into sprinkles.
8. Now wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 - 4 hours. Once refrigerated you can slice the dough log (1/4 - 1/8 inch slices) and start baking.
 9. Bake at 350 for 15 - 17 minutes. Let cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cooking rack to finish cooling.
10. Then enjoy!

This dough was so hard to work with. It was either too hard and cracking, or too soft and melting; there was no in between stage.  Plus, they didn't taste the greatest.  I mean I ate them like they were amazing, but they weren't. Also they crumbled everywhere. You can even see in my finish picture the sprinkle layer was parting from the cookie. So I think I have to call this a Pinterest Fail, maybe? 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 20 Theme...

You my have noticed I love sweets, and I love to bake. Most of the Pinterest food pins I post are all delicious sweets.

So I can't have a month of Christmas fun without a week of baking Christmas cookies! This week I will be baking up some new cookie recipes for cookie exchanges and get togethers.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do around Christmas time, so I can't wait to try out some new Pinterest inspired treats. Hopefully I don't eat them all before they reach their destinations. ;)