Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Sketchbook Challenge

In yesterday's post I mentioned an art challenge that the author of Drawing Lab (see previous post) is involved in. The project is called The Sketchbook Challenge and will begin in January 2011. Artists (or anyone who would like to keep a sketchbook) is invited to participate in monthly challenges to get your creativity flowing. I'm planning on participating just for fun - you can find their badge on my sidebar. Check out the blog for more information!

I also mentioned a "silly art class" taught online by Carla Sonheim, the author of Drawing Lab. The class begins January 5th. Each day, class participants will receive a worksheet with prompts to inspire creativity. You can find out more information about the class here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Drawing Lab

I got this book (Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim) as an early Christmas present and I just have to say that it is the best art book I have ever used. In the workbook you can find "52 creative exercises to make drawing fun." Even if you don't usually enjoy art, I'd recommend picking up a copy of this book for some rainy day fun. I've been doing several activities a day (such as "100 Faces" and "Your Inner Dr. Seuss") . You'll only need a couple supplies (Sharpies, markers, pencils, or anything else you have on hand), and if you don't have the supplies, I'm guessing the author would encourage you to improvise. I, being a perfectionist, have found the book useful in helping me to relax while I draw. Discover the creativity you never thought you possessed and have fun in the process!

I'll be posting more about a cool challenge that the author is participating in starting in January, plus a "silly art" class that is available online!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year. I love gift giving, spending time with family, the magic of the season. But recently, I have become aware of the fact that Christmas is so much more than that. Ever since I was little, I have been told the story of Christmas - Jesus being born into this world as a helpless baby who would someday save the world. However, the true reason we celebrate still slips so easily from my grasp. This year, I want to celebrate filled with the joy I have in Jesus, my Savior. In Luke 2:11, an angel rejoicing at Jesus' birth declares, "Fear not: Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord." In Jesus, my fear is transformed into faith. He fills my heart with indescribable joy. It is a joy that does not come from giving presents or decorating a tree or baking cookies. It is so much more than that. It is the reason why I want my Christmas this year to be a time of rejoicing in the gift of life through Jesus and a time to give from the overflow of joy He has given me. My prayer this Christmas is that you may have that same precious joy that came in the form of a tiny baby two thousand Decembers ago. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cherry Blueberry Pie Recipe Pie

I made this Cherry-Blueberry pie recipe from All Recipes yesterday. I didn't know how it was going to turn out, but it is so good! I don't make pie that often, but I think I will be making this again soon. Enjoy!


  • 1 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Press one of the pie crusts into a 9 inch pie plate. In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in the cherry pie filling and blueberries. Spoon into the pie crust. Top with the second crust, and press the edges to seal. Flute edges, or press with the tines of a fork. In a cup, whisk together the egg white and water with a fork. Brush over the top of the pie, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  3. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crust is golden brown. Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil if they appear to be getting too dark. Cool for at least 2 hours to allow the filling to set before serving.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giveaway on Laura Winslow Photography!

Wanna enter a super fabulous giveaway? Check out what's happening at Laura Winslow Photography. So many amazing vendors!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recipe: Saint Lucia's Day Bread

Image from

This tasty (not to mention easy) bread recipe has become a holiday tradition in my family. It is so quick and fun to make - plus, it always turns out pretty, especially once you add the orange glaze and the dried cranberries. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harvest Party

Here are some pictures from a mother-daugther harvest party I hosted over the weekend.

This was a little idea I had as an alternative to a candy buffet- Make your own trailmix!
These pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting were so yummy! Perfect for fall!

See those cute little treat boxes? I got those at Walmart for only a few dollars in their party section and decorated them with some fun scrapbooking papers.

The caramel apples- we planned on making these ourselves, but that ended up being a disaster...thank goodness we found some at the store a few minutes away!

I used mason jars throughout the party decor. I love the vintage feel they add- and they are inexpensive too, which is always a bonus. : )
We gathered some fun fall scrapbooking materials and made easy mother-daughter memory books out of 12x12 scrapbook sheets.
Best Rolled Sugar Cookies is the perfect name for these melt-in-your-mouth treats. I've been making these for a few years now, and people rave every time!
I found this idea for little placecards online just a day or two befor the party- I'm so glad I did. We used the tags inside to write something we were thankful for, then pinned them to a string of twine with mini clothespins from Hobby Lobby.

I always love the paper party goods at Hobby Lobby. If you have a chance, go to a Hobby Lobby near you- their Fall and Christmas products are on sale big time. That place is dangerous for me...These beautiful napkins were the perfect addition to our party decor.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Harvest Party

This Fall Harvest Party was featured on Kara's Party Ideas today.
All I have to say is beautiful. Go check out the rest of the party- I love all the intricate details and gorgeous colors. I think I will be snatching some of these ideas for my harvest party on Saturday. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sneak Peek

Coming soon: Harvest Party pics!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I made another cookie recipe today to celebrate Cookie Month. A reader sent me this lovely recipe. If you are a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie fan, I highly recommend these- they are much healthier, you can make them yourself, and they are just as yummy - if not yummier - than the boxed kind.
Girl Scout Thin Mints

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low speed, add in the milk and the extracts. Mixture will look curdled. Gradually, add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches (or about 4 cm) in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours, until dough is very firm.Preheat oven to 375F.Slice dough into rounds not more than 1/4 inch thick - if they are too thick, they will not be as crisp - and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cookies will not spread very much, so you can put them quite close together.Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Coating
10-oz dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt on high power in the microwave, stirring every 45-60 seconds, until chocolate is smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating.Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, turn with a fork to coat, then transfer to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes, or until chocolate is cool and firm.Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it smooth and easy to dip into.

Makes 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.
Have a great Thursday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

Image from Rose's Recipes

This week I decided to make the following recipe in celebration of Cookie Month. They were very yummy! Unfortunately, they got snatched up so quickly that I didn't get a chance to take any pictures...but oh, well- I'm glad that everyone enjoyed them!

P.S. I took out the nutmeg - that didn't sound quite right - and they were still delicious!

Bon App├ętit
January 2007
Dorie Greenspan

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Frosting and ganache

1 cup chunky peanut butter (do not use natural or old-fashioned)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used a dash of cinnamon instead)
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For brownies:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving long overhang; butter foil.

Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in flour, then nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; cool.

For frosting and ganache:

Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg, then milk and vanilla. Spread frosting over brownies.

Stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours. Do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Using foil as aid, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares. Bring to room temperature; serve.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DIY Wednesday

I just love this. It is so elegant, simple, and pretty. The colors are perfect too!

DIY Fabric Flower Garland

Monday, September 27, 2010

Triple Chocolate Boomchunkas

This afternoon I tackled my first October cookie recipe. I know, it's still September...but I have quite a few recipes, and today seemed like a good day to get started. I decided to make the most unique recipe from my selection. Triple Chocolate Boomchunkas. A combination of rich chocolate, cinnamon, dried cherries, oats, and pecans, Boomchunkas make for an unique treat. These cookies closely resemble a brownie, and the cinnamon adds a smoky hint that reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate. The cherries plump up during the baking process and reminded me of the flavor of cherry pie. I'm not sure that I'd add the cherries if I made these again- I don't know that they compliment well the other ingredients. But the cookies themselves are very yummy!

Triple Chocolate Boomchunkas

Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or use a silicone mat.

Place the butter and bittersweet chocolate chunks into a medium sized microwave-safe bowl and microwave on level 7 for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the butter and chocolate until they emulsify and come together. Add the brown and white sugars and stir well to combine. Add the eggs and stir well to combine.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter/chocolate mixture to this and stir well to combine. Add the semisweet chocolate morsels, pecans, oats, and cherries. Stir to combine.
Using an ice cream scoop place 6 mounds of dough on the prepared cookie sheet. Each mound should have about 1/3 cup of dough. Using the palm of your hand flatten the mounds out so that they are about 1/2” to ¾” thick and a circle shape. Bake for about 12 minutes in convection oven, 15 minutes in a standard oven. Adjust cook times for your own oven.

*Quick note- the batter will be very sticky and wet before you add the oats, pecans, cherries, and chocolate chips- but it all works out in the end!

Thanks to the folks over at What Geeks Eat for this great recipe!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I've been busy on Etsy...

Etsy "Treasuries" are collections of similar handmade items from different Etsy sellers. It has been so fun finding these unique and creative items! You can look at my Etsy Treasuries here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

October is Cookie Month

Yes. It is true. October is cookie month and I am ready to test out some new cookie recipes and share them with you!

Here's what's coming your way:

Maple Pecan Sticky Bars (Come on, even the name is delicious!)

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts (Oh. my.)

Triple Chocolate Boomchunkas (Love the name!)

Best Rolled Sugar Cookies (I've made these several times. I usually wouldn't choose a sugar cookie over something chocolate. But these are amazing.)

I got this fun recipe from one my my readers. Can't wait to try it out:

Homemade Oreos (So fun! I'm hoping to find a good substitute for the veg shortening though- not too big on that...any ideas folks?)

Hope I have a chance to try all these out- it'll only happen if my mom lets me. She might not want all these goodies sitting around the house... ;) Do you have a favorite cookie recipe you'd like to share? If so, send it to my idea box (, and I'll be sure to post it sometime during the month of October. Looking forward to your recipes!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Three Little Pigs Birthday Party

This sweet little piggy 4x6 art print was created by corid at

So, here's a theme that's a bit unique. I was thinking about how sweet and charming fairy tales are...and what an adorable birthday party for a baby girl this might make. I just have to share my ideas with you!


Create these fun invites using the template from this site.


  • Decorate using three of these jumbo foil pig balloons from Amazon.
  • Paint three large recycled cardboard boxes to look like the three little pigs' houses- one of straw, one of sticks, and one of bricks. If you'd like, cut doors and windows in the houses so that your guests can play in them.
  • Using a stamp, make wolf tracks across your tablecloth.
  • Pink balloons, streamers, etc.
  • Make pig party hats as instructed on this website.


  • Make mini houses from straw, sticks, stones, and any other natural elements you can find in your yard. You can also use buttons, toothpicks, etc. Let your guests be creative!
You can find instructions for this easy-to-make pig puppet at
  • Make pig and wolf paper bag puppets and let your guests act out the story.
  • Read The Three Little Pigs aloud.
  • Play "Pig, Pig, Wolf" like "Duck, Duck, Goose"
  • Play "Wolves and Pigs," similar to "Sharks and Minnows"


Pigs love mud- so why not feed it to your guests?! Treat them to these yummy-looking Mini Italian Mud Pies, courtesy of Rachael Ray. (To make them more kid-friendly, use chocolate ice cream instead of coffee, and omit the espresso bean garnish.)

Serve your guests "straw," "sticks," and "bricks," using cheese straws or Golden Oreo straws for straw, pretzels sticks or Pixie Sticks for sticks, and wafer cookies for bricks.

Make these festive piggy cake pops as instructed on Bakerella.

Decorate a sheet cake with three decorated Rice Crispie Treat "houses," made to look like a house of sticks, a house of straw, and a house of bricks. Or...

Make this easy pig cake from Family Fun.


  • Purchase inexpensive pink headbands and attach pink felt ears with hot glue for pig ear headbands.
  • The sweet, vintage Three Little Pigs Goldenbook can be purchased inexpensively at Walmart- send each guest home with a copy!
  • Make these cute pig cupcakes from Taste of Home, place in a cellophane bag, and tie with pink ribbon.

I also found some sweet little Etsy goodies for your viewing enjoyment...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I want to go to this place. Now.

Yesterday, I was flipping through the pages of my Every Day with Rachael Ray mag (which was full of fabulous ideas- if you don't have a subscription, pick up the October 2010 issue when you get a chance!) when I stumbled upon what was, for me, one of the most mouthwatering pages in the magazine. Four frosty milkshake glasses were filled with the most amazing looking ice cream treats from restaurants all over the country.

Most impressive of all was the Fluffernutter Shake "an homage to the sweet schoolyard sandwich (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff)." This yummy drink can be found at...get this...Peanut Butter & Co. in New York. I'm a little bummed right now that I don't live in NY, because I want to go there so bad.
You can also get the Peanut Butter & Co. PB in Squeeze Packs for lunches on the go (or just a fun treat!).

On their menu are unique peanut butter flavors such as Dark Chocolate Dreams (tried it- delish!), Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, and even The Heat Is On, a mixture flavored with "fiery spices." You can shop in their online store for peanut butter, baking mixes, jellies, and more. If you don't want to shop online, you can check on their store locater for a store near you. Or, you could always make a quick trip to NYC...If you do decide to go, you'll find an old school, homey diner with peanut butter sandwiches "just like mom used to make," inluding the Elvis- peanut butter, bananas, bacon, and honey, grilled to perfection and served with carrot sticks and potato chips. Yes, I definitely want to go!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintage Car Party

This oblong planter tub from Etsy would be a fun accent to a sweets table!

Embellishology's vintage car tags on Etsy could be used for cupcakes, favor bags, and lots more.

Candy Warehouse has lots of fun car candies including these gummy race cars as well as candy-filled cars and milk chocolate racers.

I created this fun invite using a free downloadable font from Kevin and Amanda and cool vintage car graphic from The Graphics Fairy (also free!).

These fun vintage Road Sign Picks and Car Toppers can be found at the Layer Cake Shop, along with lots of other delectable odds and ends.

Below are some cool car party ideas from various sites on the internet- sometimes I'm just amazed at what people come up with!


  • Ask guests to bring a riding toy (bike, wagon, etc.) and have a "car wash."
  • Create pretend driver's licences, then take the child's picture with a polaroid camera and attach it to their personalized licence.
  • Set up a large board, slanted at an angle between the ground and a hard surface. If you'd like, you can paint it black and draw "road lines" to divide the lanes on this "street." Gather some hotwheels, add some little boys, and tada! you've got a great game for a bargain! This is so simple, but it really will keep them entertained for a while.
  • Play Red Light, Green Light.
  • Create a race car obstacle course with cones, puddles (pool if it's warm enough, blanket if it's too cold), hills, jumps, etc. (To add extra fun, create car costumes for the guests out of cardboard boxes.)
  • Purchase wooden car toys ($1.99 each at Hobby Lobby) and set out paint, stickers, etc. for the kids to add some personality to their cars.
  • Let the kids create vanity plates for their riding toys from foam sheets and foam stickers.


  • Arrange pumpernickle and white bread sandwiches on a platter to look like a black and white checkered flag.
  • Oreos can be used as "wheels"
  • Make "stoplights" by adding red, yellow, and green candies (such as gum drops) to rice crispies or wafer cookies
  • Make a figure eight race track cake by putting two round cakes side by side and frosting in green, then drawing the track with black frosting.


  • Hotwheels
  • Racecar gummy candies
  • Wooden Toy Cars for kids to decorate
  • Racecar stickers
  • Black and white checkered flags

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Centerpieces

In a few weeks, I'll be decorating the tables for an event at my church. The event is fairly casual, and I'm trying to spend as little as possible. I have lots of mason jars to use, and I want the centerpiece to be earthy and natural, with hints of autumn. These are some of the ideas I've found so far, and I'm really leaning towards the wheat. Thoughts, readers? Any other good ideas?

Image 1-
Image 2-
Image 3-