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Two-Ingredient Chocolate Buttercream

November 12, 2013

Frosting made with just butter and chocolate chips? Believe it!

Chocolate_Buttercream

It looks like frosting, tastes like frosting, and is really easy to make.

Cupcakes with frosting

Heads up:  You need to plan ahead a bit because the butter and chocolate chips are melted, cooled, and then brought back to room temperature before mixing into a fluffy, smooth frosting. But it’s worth the wait! You’ll find the recipe here on Cookies and Cups. I made a smaller amount, using 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, which worked just fine.

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Chalkboard Labels: A Reality Check

November 11, 2013

After seeing a lot of cute chalkboard labels on containers, I decided to make my own. I bought a roll of chalkboard contact paper, a paper punch, and chalk. I punched some labels and put them on my pantry containers. So far, so good.

Then I wrote on the labels. My non-artistic handwriting, combined with the cylindrical pieces of chalk, didn’t result in an attractive label. I dug up a sharpener for a long-gone “chubby” makeup pencil; it did a good job of sharpening the chalk, which made it easier to write on the labels.

And then. I used the containers and realized that when I grabbed them, my hand smudged the chalk. Even now that I know I’m going to smudge it, I still manage to grab the containers in a way that I smudge the label.

Chalkboard_Labels

So, they kind of work, but I’m not holding my breath for my pantry to be featured in a home decorating magazine!

 

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New York-Style Pizza Sauce

November 10, 2013

This is my go-to pizza sauce. It’s quick to make, no-cook, and most importantly, it’s delicious.

PizzaSauce

I like a not-so-sweet sauce and this fits the bill. If you prefer it sweeter, you can add some extra sugar.

It makes about 2 2/3 cups, which is more than I need for one pizza. The rest goes into the freezer for an even quicker pizza next time!

Pizza Sauce

I found the recipe long ago in Cooking Light; you can find it here on My Recipes. It is best with fresh basil, but in the winter, I substitute about 3/4 Tablespoon dried for the 2 Tablespoons fresh called for in the recipe.

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Sloppy Joes from Ellie Krieger

November 9, 2013

Happy Saturday! How about a sloppy joe?

Sloppy Joe

I wouldn’t normally put sloppy joes in the “exciting meal” category, but this recipe made an impact. They don’t have the typical sweet-smoky flavor – not that there’s anything wrong with a standard sloppy joe – but these were a nice change.

I loved the addition of pinto beans and red bell pepper, both of which add a nice flavor and texture. My husband described this as having a “fresh, light” taste and he appreciated that it didn’t make the bun soggy. Speaking of buns, I went the extra mile and made King Arthur Flour’s Beautiful Burger Buns, which are oh-my-gosh so delicious. Homemade buns or not, give these sloppy joes a try!

Recipe notes:

  • The recipe is on page 91 of The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. I’ve made lots of recipes from this book and have enjoyed all of them. You can also find it here on the Food Network’s website.
  • I used ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • I didn’t want to deal with leftover tomato sauce, so I put in a whole can, which was a bit more than the 1 1/2 cups called for in the recipe.
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Crochet Candy Corn

November 8, 2013

Is it too late for candy corn? I have a bag of it in my pantry, so I think it’s still the season.

This is an easy, cute crochet project for your fall décor.

crochet candy corn

I made a bunch and put them in this Halloween cat basket.

crochet candy corn

The pattern, called Amigurumi Candy Corn, is here on Lion Brand’s website. (The pattern is free, but you may need to create an account and log in to see the pattern.) I also saw a bunch of other cute candy corn patterns on Ravelry.

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Glass Tile Pendants

November 7, 2013

Have you seen these glass tile pendants at craft fairs? They’re easy to make yourself, and if you have a lot of design ideas, you could put together a bunch of these assembly line style.

Pretty paper is a good starting point; if you’re a good collage maker, you can add more layers to your design. These are both from the same floral paper.

GlassTile1

There is a nice tutorial and supply list here on Crafts Unleashed. That’s the blog for the Consumer Crafts website, so the supply lists links to their site. Note that if you sign up for Consumer Crafts emails, you’ll occasionally get reduced-rate or free shipping offers. I don’t like paying for shipping, so I try to save my ordering for when there’s a deal. Of course, you can also shop at your local craft store.

Project notes:

  • It’s nice to have a good-looking back side in case the pendant flips over. The paper I used had a solid color on the back, but if yours doesn’t, you may want to add another layer of paper or add a design on the back.

GlassTile2

  • I also bought some round drop charms, but I don’t like how they look. They have a loop at the top that screws into the charm and the screw is visible. If you look closely at the top of the charm, you can see the screw. If you attach paper to the back of the charm, it doesn’t cover it up.

GlassTile3

  • I tried the faux soldering technique shown in the tutorial, but it just didn’t look as nice as in the example. Luckily, the memory foil tape is easy to remove.
  • Be sure to clean the tiles with glass cleaner before you start to work.
  • Thicker paper is easier to work with.
  • Work on wax paper, which will help keep the glue and mod podge from sticking to your work surface.
  • Size is a personal preference, but the rectangles are too big and heavy for me. If you’re ordering online, sketch out the size of the tiles and make sure it’s what you want. The larger size might make a nice mini-Christmas ornament.
  • Search online for “glass tile pendant” and you’ll see a ton more ideas.
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Embroidery Projects

November 6, 2013

A while back, I pulled out a tote bag full of embroidery supplies which included a couple of unfinished projects. The tea towel already had a coffee pot and cup on one side, and I added a bundt cake on the other side. I had a stack of plain flour sack towels, and I stitched a champagne bottle and glasses on one of them.

TowelEmbroidery

I still have an unfinished 4th of July and Bastille Day towel, which maybe I can finish by next July.

I have a ton of men’s handkerchiefs, which come in handy but aren’t very attractive. They’re a great place to practice and work on small designs, like this cupcake and camping trailer.

HandkerchiefEmbroidery

Embroidery can get pretty elaborate, but so far I’ve stuck with simple stitches. It’s relaxing and not too expensive – that’s my kind of craft! If you don’t know where to start, there is some helpful how-to information on Sublime Stitching.

Pattern notes:

  • The cupcake and bundt cake patterns came from a pack of iron-on designs I bought from my local craft store.
  • The camping trailer is part of a PDF pattern called Camp Out that I bought from Sublime Stitching. I bought more cute patterns that I haven’t used yet (Winter Wonderland and Krazy Kitchen).
  • The coffee pot and cup are from the Stitch-It Kit, which I bought a long time ago.
  • The champagne bottle and glasses are from Embroidered Effects, an embroidery book that includes iron-on patterns.
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