Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Activity Book

Pin It I've got nieces and nephews to keep entertained today while the adults are chasing the triplets and getting the meal all ready--so here's a thanksgiving activity book that has a few mazes, puzzles and coloring pages. Have a great day!Thanksgiving Activity Booklet

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Most people either love or hate cranberry sauce on their Thanksgiving plate. I fall into the category of "love it"--providing that the cranberries are homemade! I suppose I grew up spoiled with a mom who is a great cook and does all of the Thanksgiving meal from scratch. For me the difference between that can of cranberry jelly and the homemade is about the same as the difference between fresh peas and canned peas--so different that one is edible and the other is not really food at all. So...if you haven't been a fan in the past, give homemade cranberries a chance!


1 bag cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. water (not quite full)

In a pot put the water and sugar (I tend to use just a bit less water, like a Tablespoon or 2 less) and bring to a boil. Dump in the cranberries. Bring the mix to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. The concoction will get bubbly and foamy--let boil for 10 minutes (set the timer). Stir it up every couple of minutes so it doesn't scortch.

If you like the chunky cranberry sauce (and I don't) you can be done now. If you want the clear jelly you need to dump the mix into a fine strainer over a bowl and push the mix through the strainer with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. If you are going to make the clear jelly, be ready to strain as soon as you take it off the stove--cranberries have a lot of pectin and it will set up rather quickly. Once its all strained put it in a jar or container and refrigerate it.

That's it! Now you have delicious cranberry sauce for your turkey!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Harry Potter Crafts

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Many of you know that I'm a fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. I visited many filming locations when I was in Great Britain and last week, I got to go to Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. The theme park is really fun-its like being in the movie. They have created items to eat and drink that are mentioned in the books such as chocolate frogs, pumpkin juice and my favorite-butterbeer. Butterbeer is a non-alcoholic cream soda-like drink with a thick, creamy foam on top! I've been experimenting with making it at home and I think I'm pretty close!

Cream Soda
1/4 tsp. Artificial Butter Vanilla & Nut flavor (I found it at Smith's/Krogers)
1/4 C. Cream
Sugar (although I used artificial sweetner)

I've been making it by the single serving, so change it up for larger quantities. In a shaking jar (my magic bullet blender went from liquid to stiff cream way too fast) mix the cream, flavoring and sugar. Shake it up until it is a soft foam (less stiff than what you'd want for serving on pie). Pour cream soda in a cup and then spoon the foam on top. Drink it up and enjoy your cream mustache! This drink reminds me a bit of a rootbeer float after the ice cream has gotten melty.

I like it with the cream, but I'm going to experiment with Dream Whip mix too (the cream is a bit too rich compared to the one served at Universal Studios). Some of the other blogs I've visited have created cute gift baskets with bottles of IBC cream soda, mugs a recipe card as well as the bottle of flavoring. I've done the recipe card printable for you at the top of the post...just make sure you click on the thumbnail first, then print the full size image.

Tile JewelrySo, since I'm looking forward to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 next week I decided to make a tile pendant necklace to get myself geared up! If you haven't made glass tile jewelery before, it is super easy!

I purchased my tiles and Diamond Glaze from United Crafters Inc (you need tiles that are crystal clear, so don't get the kind at Home Depot...they won't work). I haven't been to Roberts or Macs in a while, but they might have them too. You will need:

Diamond Glaze
Glass tile
E6000 adhesive
graphic (print it out or use fun scrapbook paper)
Bail (the hanging loop) or a magnet if you are making a fridge magnet

Get your graphic the right size (my tiles are 7/8"x 7/8")--if you are using a computer image, you can just resize the image to .88x.88--if you are cutting the graphic out of scrapbook paper, just get it cut to a rough size, with your image in the middle.

1. Make sure your tile is all clean.

2. Set your graphic down on a table picture side up (I would cover the table in the event of glue spillage-which I failed to do and had to scrape glue later)

3. Use the Diamond Glaze to make a good size puddle in the center of your image.
4. Set your glass tile with the "rough" side down onto the puddle of glaze.
5. Quickly press firmly on the tile to adhere--keep pressing for a few seconds before you let go.

6. Let the Diamond Glaze set for about 15 minutes (or more)
7. Use scissors to cut off the excess paper

8. Flip your tile upside down and spread a puddle of more Diamond Glaze on the back of the tile to create a smooth, sealed surface. Let dry for a couple hours at least.

9. Now you can use the E6000 adhesive to attach the necklace bail or magnet.

10. Ta-da! Now you can be a fan (keeping it subtle or just add to your whole Harry Potter costume that you will be wearing to opening night)

You could use holiday themed scrapbook paper to make Christmas or New Year's jewelry or use pics of your kids or pets! I've always used my Color LaserJet with photo paper--not sure what would happen with an inkjet printer and the Diamond Glaze (it might make the colors run).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TV Cabinet Refurb

Pin It I have been thinking about having my dad build me a cabinet for my tv to sit on. I have had something in mind and wasn't finding it at the store (nor was I too excited about spending a couple hundred dollars on something that wasn't really what I wanted). But, having already made some drawings and measurements I was prepared when lightning struck at a spur-of-the-moment stop at the Welfare Square D.I. Sitting in the back in the "as is" furniture section was the top part of a hutch. It had great doors with really cool glass and it was just the right width, but a bit tall. No worries. I grabbed that hutch and took it home for a real bargain knowing I could make it work. I sketched and looked at it more closely and decided I could just cut off the bottom 12 inches and it would be perfect.

I used my skill saw and a straight edge (which I made by attaching a long straight board to the back of the cabinet with a couple of small nails) to cut off the bottom the hutch (being careful to make sure that the cabinet would still have enough height for the cabinet doors to still fit). I sanded the new edges and added some of those furniture glides that you nail into the bottom of the furniture.

Next, I selected a great green color (Bulfrog Green by Dutchboy) and got to work taping off the glass in the doors and painting over the grey/green paint.

I decided I wanted to give glazing a try and this seemed like the perfect project to start on. I used FolkArts Glazing Gel, which I got at JoAnn's for under $2 and mixed it with a Dark Umber craft paint. I first tried mixing it half and half, but that turned out darker than I wanted. I ended up using about 2 parts glaze to 1 part paint. I used an old t-shirt to dip into the mixture and smooth it over the painted surface. It worked great. As long as i slid it on smoothly and didn't rub it too hard, it left a darker stain and took the bright shiny new look off the green paint.

I had to take a break during the week from my cabinet, but on Saturday I got to work again finishing up the glazing. I decided that it definately needed a coat of clear polyurethane since I wanted it to be a nice hard, scrubable surface to set the TV on.

One coat of poly on the doors, 2 on the top of the cabinet and and hour to dry. Next thing you know, I'm hauling that bad boy down to the basement! It looks great. In the close up you get a sense of the wavy glass that came in the doors! So much fun :)

Now all I need is the new TV--just waiting for a great Black Friday deal!