Monday, December 16, 2013

Giveaway winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my apron giveaway! It was so nice to see some action on this little blog of mine. I hope some of you had a chance to check out the rest of my blog and maybe even made the decision to hang around awhile. I absolutely loved reading all your favorite Christmas songs and the stories behind them... I was even introduced to a few new and beautiful arrangements. THANK YOU!

The winner of the Festive Christmas Apron was.... drumroll please...

Nanbon44 who said: I like Rocking around the Christmas tree and Jingle bell Rock.... But one fave is Silver Bells, two of my best friends and I went to a record your song booth and sang that song, it was so much fun and a great memory for us. 

Congrats! I've already contacted the winner for her address and will be shipping out her apron today so that she can use it before Christmas!

How are your Christmas preparations coming along? I am like a busy elf this week, trying to pick up some last minute gifts, get our cards sent out, make treats for my husband's work peeps and maybe make a couple more handmade gifts. We'll see. :)

I am super excited for Christmas this year, as it will be my daughter's first. I can't wait for her to open gifts (she LOVES paper!), play in the SNOW for the first time, and marvel at the lights on the beautiful Christmas tree. Such a special time. Plus, I am so thrilled to see family and spend lots and lots of quality time with them.

I had a couple more recipes and posts I wanted to do before Christmas, but they will only happen if I have time... if not this year, then they will definitely show up next year, haha! :)

Hope you are all having a wonderful December.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Giveaway Day!

I decided to participate in Sew Mama Sew's bi-annual Giveaway Day! I did in May 2011 and haven't since then, but it was so much fun I just couldn't miss it again. 

If you are visiting from Sew Mama Sew... welcome! I hope you have a chance to poke around my blog and that you see something you like here. If you would like to follow my blog (I love followers!), there is a link on the right to follow through Bloglovin'... or feel free to follow via the blog reader of your choice. If you are already one of my followers or just happened upon my blog this week, then today is your lucky day! 

festive holiday apron

I am giving away a festive holiday apron. I used the tutorial for the Flirty Apron by The Dating Divas. The pattern was pretty simple and one of the cutest free apron patterns I found, but the instructions are not quite as detailed as many that I have used. Also, the over-the-head loop was a bit long for me, but I fixed it by adding a cute bow on a safety pin to adjust it to whatever length fits best for you. The fabrics are from my stash. 

festive holiday apron

If the pure festive-ness of the color scheme makes your eyes hurt, you can thank the 1970's, because the fabric was originally purchased then by my mom to make spice ropes. Truly. Check the link. Anyway, I think we can all agree that this would be the perfect apron in which to bake Christmas cookies with the family or to prepare Christmas dinner. You will be so festive you won't know what to do with yourself! 

Truly, the colors are much nicer in real life. I was having trouble getting a good picture, especially in winter lighting. And the lay-it-out-on-the-floor-and-take-a-picture-from-above method worked much better than the model-it-myself-and-try-to-take-a-selfie method.

festive holiday apron

So how can you win? 
Just leave a comment on this post answering the following question: 
What is your favorite holiday song?
(stories or explanations are encouraged but not required!)

Only one comment per person!

This giveaway is open to anyone, even my international friends - you don't even have to be a blogger or a crafter to enter! All I ask is that you PLEASE leave a way for me to contact you in your comment. If your email is attached to your Blogger profile, that's great, otherwise please leave an email address in the comment [if concerned about spam, please leave it in the name(at)email(dot)com format]. If I have no way to contact you, I'll will have to pick a different winner! Please don't make me do that!

The giveaway will be open from now until Friday, December 13 (Friday the 13th!!) at 7pm CST. After that time, I will randomly draw and announce one winner and then contact them to find out where to send the prize.

So glad you came to visit me... GOOD LUCK!! :)

Also, you should definitely click the button below to check out the Giveaway Day list over at Sew Mama Sew... There are hundreds of giveaways for you to enter this week, so have fun!

Friday, December 6, 2013

{No bake} Chistmas Party Treats - Mint Rounds

Greetings from icy Dallas! We'll have to see if this storm stands up to our 2011 Super Bowl disaster...

Anyway, I have a treat for you today! For a couple Christmases I ran "A Week of {no bake} Christmas Party Treats" but last year I cancelled due to being pregnant and, well... unmotivated. This year, although I don't think I'll be doing a whole week, I do have a few new no-bake recipes to share with you! (if you have any good recommendations for me, let me know!)

mint rounds

Today we are making Mint Rounds! They are deliciously minty chocolate covered cookies with a sprinkling of candy cane crunchies on top. So good. They remind me of Thin Mints. Mint and chocolate is about the best flavor combination out there, don't you think? (Well, in addition to chocolate/peanut butter and chocolate/caramel, and well... chocolate!)

The best thing about these cookies is that they are SO EASY to make. I whipped up a batch in about 20 minutes during my baby's afternoon nap yesterday. 

Here's what you need to make your own:
  • Ritz crackers
  • Wilton dark cocoa candy melts
  • Peppermint essential oil (NOT peppermint flavoring)
  • Crushed candy canes

mint rounds

First, crush your candy canes. My method is to put a few candy canes in a ziploc bag and then pound them with a crab mallet. Yes, I did that. Haha. Anyway, use whatever kitchen tool works best for you. A rolling pin can work as well.

mint rounds

Now, melt your chocolate. The easiest way is to put the candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 30 second increments, stirring in between. It took less than a minute and a half for my chocolate to melt, but it might vary based on your microwave. Just watch it closely.

mint rounds

When the chocolate is melted, add 10 drops of peppermint oil. I bought mine at Whole Foods a few years ago to make peppermint foot scrub. Really, it will last forever because you only need a tiny amount. Stir in the peppermint oil.

mint rounds

Now, dip each cracker into the chocolate. Use a pair of tongs to tap the extra chocolate off and then lay the cookie onto a fresh sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper. (I recommend parchment, it's one of my favorite kitchen tools these days!)

mint rounds

mint rounds

Now just sprinkle some crushed candy cane on top of your cookies, and you are done!

mint rounds


mint rounds

One bag of chocolate candy melts will make about 3 dozen cookies. I used a whole roll of Ritz crackers which had 33(?) crackers and had a tiny bit of chocolate left over. If you want to make more, just melt some more chocolate!

mint rounds

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

snappy christmas dress

Hi all! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Can you believe that we're already smack dab in the middle of the holiday season? I can't either. 
Anyway, speaking of holidays, I already made my baby girl a fun Christmas dress. More of a party dress than a church-y dress, and definitely adorable! It is the Snappy Toddler Top from the blog Pretty Prudent (previously Prudent Baby). The pattern is a free download (gotta love those free patterns!) and it was pretty easy to sew up.

snappy christmas dress

For one thing, I learned how to attach snaps! Mostly easy but not foolproof. Make sure those buggers are lined up correctly before you pound them together! Otherwise they will be a pain in the you-know-what to get apart again, and you may even end up damaging your fabric. I had a couple close calls, but all worked out in the end. I will definitely be adding snaps to future projects, though. They give such a nice, finished look.

I made my own bias tape to use for the trim. Bias tape is my new favorite thing to make these days! It makes me feel so accomplished. I thought it would be hard to do, but it is really not! I use the bias tape tutorial from MADE and it is seriously so easy!

snappy christmas dress

Also, I made a bow to match the dress using the DIY Fabric Bow Tutorial from the blog Lula Louise. Very easy and turned out super cute and professional looking! I attached the bow to a piece of foldover elastic from JoAnn and it is good to go. Any recommendations for a good source of foldover elastic? JoAnn doesn't carry the colors I need and the elastic is a little too wide for my taste. Still cute, though.

I printed and sewed the pattern at 100% to make the 12-18 month size. It is a bit snug on my 9 month old daughter, especially in the arm and chest area. She has been in the 90-95th percentile since birth, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but she is wearing 12 month clothing so I thought it would work. The beauty of a holiday dress, though, is that it doesn't have to last very long. I just need to be able to squeeze her into it for another three weeks (3 weeks, you guys... yikes!!).

snappy christmas dress

I sewed up a second dress for my friend's baby who has a December birthday, so I was able to make a couple tweaks to my process that I would recommend if you decide to sew this pattern. Firstly, I scaled the size up a bit (hopefully enough so that it will fit properly!). Also, even though the pattern says to attach the snaps in the beginning, I would wait until the dress is completely sewed. It is super hard to sew cleanly around the collar piece when the snaps are in the way. Just keep in my my note above about attaching snaps! Finally, when gathering the front dress piece to tuck into the collar piece, gather another inch or two on each side of the marks on the pattern, otherwise it won't fit into the collar piece opening.

Oh yes, fabrics! I used Michael Miller Yule Critter in Aqua for the main piece and Michael Miller Ta Dot in Berry for the trim. Ordered from Etsy.

snappy christmas dress

Hope your holiday preparations are going smoothly! (And no, I don't recommend letting your baby eat leaves!!)