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12/14/2010 / jenidleman

Things I Love… Holiday Edition #5

Before we get to the recipes,  we must make sure you have everything you need. Am I giving you a grocery list? No. But there other things that are uber important to Christmas baking!

When I was little, I used to watch “I Love Lucy” on Nick at Night. I LOVED that show, because not only was it funny, but Lucy had the prettiest dresses, coats and aprons.

This apron, from Carolyn’s Kitchen, (specializing in retro, pin-up style aprons)  is something I imagine she’d wear. You could put it on, dye your hair red… (Like I am later on today… *ahem*) and drink some vitameatavegamin… and I’m sure your holiday treats would be better than ever.

From another angle, what says Christmas quite like Science Fiction? I can’t think of anything either. And for that reason, might I introduce you to the Williams-Sonoma Star Wars line…

Don this apron proudly, young Padawan, and may the Force be with your cookie baking!

And now, roll up your sleeves and sprinkle powdered sugar on your cheeks… here are my 10 favorite cookie recipes:

1. Chocolate Crinkles

2. Peanut Butter Blossoms (Gotta use Jif!)

3. Thumbprints – use different Jams or cream cheese frosting in the little ‘thumbprints’ and roll in coconut, shaved almonds, or crushed butter mints. Major Yum. *salutes*

4. Pretzel Cookies

5. Coconut Macaroons

6. Chocolate Chunk – I usually throw in some red and green M&M’s too, just for a little Christmas flair, you can also add crushed Andes mint chocolate chunks, if you’re a mint-chocolate person like I am.

7. Mexican Wedding Cookies These are just so pretty – try dying the dough with red or green food coloring, so your guests have a surprise when they bite in.

8. Snicker’s Cookies (I use milky-way bars instead, and I use a full little mini-bar, not fourths.

9. Buttermint Cookies – these taste just like those yummy butter mints we fill our cheeks with at baby/bridal showers.

10. Dreamsicle Cookies – This recipe is different than the one I used before, but I’m totally trying this one this year. It sounds amazing. Just make sure the Vodka goes in the cookies, not in your tummy. 😛

12/13/2010 / jenidleman

Holiday Pom-Pom Ornament DIY

This is, I believe, the first DIY project I’ve ever created and posted on my blog. I post tons of other people’s projects, but this is my first! Yay!

This project was born when I found some big skeins of yarn on clearance… somewhere… and unpacked my Christmas decorations and found some leftover ribbon spools. I wanted to make little pom-poms to use on my presents, and you can most certainly use this tutorial to make those too, but the pictures I’m featuring are for the large pom-poms I made to go on my tree.

The first thing you’ll need is two cardboard or cardstock circles, with holes in the center big enough for your yarn and fingers to go through. I used the paper from the outside of a ribbon spool, and this pic was taken after I’d already made a few. 😉

Next, choose your yarn, and cut a length off of the skein. (I pull to the length of my arm 4 times, that keeps everything manageable.) String one end of your yarn through the center hole, and pull to one of the outside edges.

Then, just start wrapping the yarn from the center circle, around the outside edge, then back through the circle, until you’ve gone all the way around. Make sure you leave a little bit of space, so you can fit your scissors between the two discs, for the next step.

Now, using a pair of strong, sharp scissors, place the bottom blade through the two discs, and underneath the yarn loops.

Then snip the yarn all the way around the circle.

Next, cut another piece of yarn. Long enough to tie around the middle of your pom-pom, and make a hanger to hang it on the tree. Slip the yarn through the two paper discs, and tie in a tight knot around the center of your newly snipped yarn pieces.

Now, gently pull each paper disc off of the yarn on each side.

Then, holding your new pom-pom by the ‘hanger’ you made, shake it so it fluffs into a ball.

And that’s all there is to it. You can change the size that your pom-poms will come out by just using smaller cardboard circles. I’m using about a 2″ diameter circles for the ones I’m making for on my gifts. They really add a cute, personal touch to the brown kraft wrapping paper I used. I can’t wait to give them all away!

12/13/2010 / jenidleman

Things I Love… Holiday Edition #4

Happy Monday! Hope everyone out there in interweb-land had an amazing weekend. I braved the crazy holiday shoppers and ‘almost’ finished my Christmas shopping. It was actually kinda fun. 🙂

As promised, here are some super cute ornament ideas. Most would be very simple to create, and would look great on top of packages, on a garland on your mantle, or on your tree!

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1. White Linen Rag Balls – I love rag balls, I have lots of them on my tree, and around my house at Christmas-time.  These white linen ones are very pretty.

2. Cute as a button ornaments – I would probably not make these in pink… but if you added a little ribbon or engraved charm, it would make a really sweet ‘Baby’s 1st Christmas’ ornament in pink or blue!

3. Button Wreaths – Love these, and they’re so simple to make. All you need is pipe cleaners, ribbon, and lots of buttons.

4. Scrap Ornaments – similar to rag balls, but more a hodge-podge collection of little fabric scraps. So inexpensive to make, too.

5. Paper Ball Ornaments – These are great, and they store flat. What more could you ask for?

6. Felt Birds Ornaments – So cute. You could do all different types of birds, too… cardinal, oriole, crow…

7. Paper Snowflakes – More of a window or garland decoration, I suppose… but you could hang little ones on your tree, too!

8. Spiky Paper Ball – These look tedious. But if you have the patience, they look awesome!

9. Cute Wire Cat Ornament – Had to post something for fellow kitty lovers. 🙂

10. This collection of Paper Ornament and Felt Ornament DIY projects would keep me busy for hours.

Back tomorrow with another of my favorite Christmas things… Cookie recipes! Have a great day everyone!

12/10/2010 / jenidleman

Things I Love… Holiday Edition #3

Today’s post, as promised, is dedicated to pretty gift wrapping ideas. These are some of my favorites that I’ve found this year – a lot of these links will take you to slideshows of even more ideas! My gifts this year are wrapped with brown paper, and a light blue snowman paper, with multi-colored blue yarn pom poms, felt scraps, pipe cleaners, and grosgrain ribbon.

We went and picked out a Christmas tree last night. It’s sitting in my living room smelling up the place like Christmas. Before this evening is over it should look pretty festive in our little place!

Here’s the goods.

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1. Burlap bags with pretty fabric tops – This is actually a listing for an item on Etsy, but I love her packaging!

2. Sock wine bottle wraps – I love these… Wine for everyone this year.

3. Rubber bands! – I’d love to use them on boxes wrapped in newsprint, or comic strips.

4. Vintage game boards – Bingo cards would also be super cute, or even scratch-off lottery tickets.

5. Recycled packing materials – this site has some very cute ideas!

6. Fabrics and Lace – I love these ideas so much. My wedding-party theme is going something very close to this… with the doilies and bakers twine, and a little nautical thrown in. 🙂

7. Pretty gift toppers – Brooches, twine, paper buttons… good stuff.

8. Beautiful ribbons and fabrics – This spread is so, so gorgeous. They’re on a wedding site, but I can’t think of a single holiday I wouldn’t be happy to receive a box like that on!

9. Maps and recycled papers – Wouldn’t it be fun to wrap souvenir-type gifts in maps? Love.

10. Leaves and natural products – I love the banana leaves and cinnamon sticks – I’d also love to try that paper that has the seeds woven into it. A gift that gives more than once. 🙂

Monday’s post will be featuring pretty ornaments. DIY’s, deals, etc. Have a great weekend!

12/09/2010 / jenidleman

Things I love… Holiday Edition #2

Today’s post is dedicated to stocking stuffers! It was hard for me to pass up things like “Baconaise” and Dr. Who keychains in my lineup… but you know, gotta appeal to the masses. Even if they’re geeky masses. 😀 Here goes…

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1. Peep-toe baby booties. I LOVE these… almost enough to get a pair for my might-possibly-happen-in-the-future baby!
2. A cute flower headband – but you could do a lot more with it than that! I think it’s adorable on the candle just like she’s displaying it!
3. A little octopus ring. What girl wouldn’t love this in their stocking?
4. Little grey furry thing. She has a lot of other cute fuzzy friends in her shop, as well. 🙂
5. Plush sushi! Got a sushi lover on your list? I’m a sushi lover! Can I be on your list?
6. Snowman kit! Every kid should be able to have snow on Christmas. Even kids in Florida, like us.
7. For the nerd in your life… a pocket protector iPhone cozy.
8. Or perhaps a cool decal for their overpriced elitist Macbook? (I’m a mac hater.)
9. Camera iPhone decal – Perfect stocking stuffer for the iPhone user, or the photographer.
10. Or, for your sweet little angel kitty, a hat that reflects what’s really inside… 🙂

Check back tomorrow for some cute/nerdy gift wrapping ideas!

12/09/2010 / jenidleman

New in My Etsy Shop!

I’ve been trying for a while to figure out how to make a ‘bottom’ to my bags, so they’re not all flat, wallet-type clutches. This one is my first little success. I’m calling it a pouch, you know, like for makeup. Or tampons. Or some other uber important thing that you want to disguise by putting it in a pretty container on your counter.

Without further ado… the pics. 🙂

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Look forward to another ‘Things I Love” post soon!

12/08/2010 / jenidleman

Bahamas 2010

Last Thursday, I was sitting at my desk looking at wedding porn, (That’s all the pretty, frilly stuff that has to do with weddings – that ultimately will only end up costing you money… not anything gross, promise.) when I thought to myself “Hey, I think I’ll go drool over Honeymoon cruises!”

The first thing I saw on Royal Caribbean’s website, was this big banner advertising $99 last minute deals on cruises.  I, of course, shared the link with my soon to be hubby via Skype, saying “Too bad we can’t just pack up and leave on a 3 night cruise tomorrow, eh?” A few minutes later, he pings me back, telling me to be ready to leave for Miami by 2pm, and Happy Early Birthday. He’s seriously the best.

While we were there, we decided to also make it our Christmas gifts to each other, so we could indulge in some of the “premium” activities on the ship and the island. We rented scooters and rode all the way around the Island – we shopped at the straw market, and this cute little Christmas festival they were having in the streets of Nassau, E got a Cuban cigar and sang some Karaoke, we gambled a little bit in the casino, wandered around our gigantic cruise ship, went to the comedy show, watched movies in our cabin, (Including Inception… multiple times.) and generally had a blast. 🙂 Our second day on the island, which was supposed to be a day on a private beach, and a beach bbq… got cancelled due to rough water conditions, so we just slowly started drifting back toward Miami, and participated in the activities they provided on the ship. Here’s a few pictures.

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The Bahamas are absolutely beautiful! The water is so amazingly clear and blue. I hope if you find a $99 dollar deal someday that will get you there… that you take the chance!

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