I'm done with February.  And March, for that matter.  GIMME SPRING!!!  It's not going to happen for me, no matter how hard I cry.  I can't even get excited until mid-April.  SO...while the rest of you are enjoying ever-warming temperatures and a gradual thaw from here on out, I'll be freezing--impatiently waiting my turn.

In the meantime....in desperation, I dragged (or drug?) two of my little ones all over town with me yesterday, popping in to several floral shops looking for something cheap, beautiful, and cheery.  Goodness, do we really have to resort to that?!  Yes.  {I'm so sick of dead stuff--everything around me is dead, gray, and covered in white slush.} How pathetic that I have to actually go to floral shops or else I'm going to loose my mind!!! haha!

However!!!  Momentarily, I was transported to a warmer place...full of flowers, grass, trees, birds chirping....a picnic blanket, bare feet, and children laughing outside.  ahhhh...someday....  

here are my beauties from yesterday:


Happy Valentine's Day!

Sending out a big, fat, yummy love to all of you!!!
Even though I'm not into all the lovey-gushy-romancy stuff for Valentine's Day, it's still a fun time to tell everyone around you how much you love them!  (and decorate the heck out of everything with red and pink hearts...)

It's too bad, really, that I don't want to do anything today.  I don't want to shower, exercise, go anywhere, do anything.  Is that scrooge-ness or what?!  Did I mention that I've been up since 5 a.m. with a baby and my sick 5-year-old?  And that my agenda today consists of laundry, dishes, and grocery shopping?  {ewwww!!!} Nevermind...I'm going to hide in a cave today.

Wanna hear the worst of it?!  Don't tell anyone, but because I'm all out of eggs (and pretty much everything else) and because I have to bring sugar cookies to my daugher's V-day party and because I don't stress if I can't do everything---I HAVE TO BUY THEM!!!  {gasp!!!}  How embarrassing!!!  Don't worry---I totally have a plan.  I'll slip in unnoticed, hide them amongst the other party goods, and pretend to be all surprised at the AMAZING-looking cardboard cookies in the plastic bakery container!  hmmm.  Not feeling it.  Maybe...I could arrange them on one of my serving platter thingies and fake it that I made them!  Is that like telling a lie? Maybe if I put a Wal-Mart sticker on one of the cookies or something?  Don't worry---I'm a survivor and I can manage this little disaster.  

Happy Valentine's to you - and here's to hoping that you feel loved today!!!


Cooking 101 - Chocolate Sauce (Ganache)

Wanna quick, easy, last-minute, AMAZING Valentine gift idea?!  (the reason I even did  this is that my son's Valentine party is tomorrow???!!!...I know...why not on V-day?)  I'm giving one of these to my boy's teacher - and she's not going to know what hit her.  It's ganache (guh-nosh) and when you drizzle this hot stuff over some good French vanilla ice cream, the world literally stops turning!!!  (I know that for a fact.)

Okay, so my "label" has much to be desired, but I didn't have time nor patience for a detailed explanation of the contents in the jar. If  you got this gift with some ice cream and it looks like chocolate and says, "heat & serve" - wouldn't  you know what to do??  I hope so.

So here's how it's done:

Take about 1 to 1 1/2 c. of heavy cream and heat it up to boiling, stirring constantly so as not to scorch the cream.

Have your chocolate chips in a bowl ready and waiting - go ahead, use the whole stinking bag.
 You MUST use Ghirardelli.  No exceptions.
 Aren't the morsels delicious?!  Can you smell the chocolate?!
 When your cream starts to boil, gently pour it into the chips - a little at a time so you don't get soupy chocolate.
 Whisk in the hot cream - it will look light and clumpy at first, but then...
 ...you get this gorgeous rich sauce.  If it's too thick, add more cream.
 I happen to have a stockpile of baby food jars available.  They're PERFECT because they're just the right size for this sauce as a gift.  You don't use very much of it at one time, so a little goes a long way.  Find whatever little jars you can.  Keep in mind that the contents of this sauce aren't cheap and it doesn't go very far.  Think LITTLE jars.
 And now decorate the heck out of your jar.  For my fabric covering, it's about 4 inches square with a little glue on the top of the lid to secure it.  Glue helps a lot.

Because my jars had that sticky crap where the baby food label was, I had to cover it up so I cut a strip of pink paper.  Not necessary, but definitely a solution.

 Give it away by itself or grab a small half-pint of ice cream to go with it!  And you'll always be remembered as the really classy lady who gave the most delicious, rich chocolate sauce that made the world stop turning.  Yes...now go be that lady...you amazing thing, you.


Clipped Fleece Blankey Gift Set

{humor me, if you will, while I ramble on about "Blankey"...}

When I was about 12 months pregnant with that little guy up there {or so it seemed like}, I decided that he needed some of his very own blankeys instead of the crap hand-me-downs he was getting from his older brother.  I got this wild, crazy "nesting" syndrome and made about 6 blankets in one day!!!  I was a crazed, over-pregnant blanket making machine!!!  Some were beautiful chenille-backed vintage cotton prints, some were warm, cozy flannel - and this one was just a random piece of fleece that I clipped.   You can guess which one quickly became his favorite.  What the?!  Go figure.  The simple clipped fleece blankey was his favorite from the moment he was born and it's still his special "friend".    The same thing happened with another girlfriend of mine - I gave her baby a clipped fleece blanket the baby also got attached to the soft fleece and little fringies.  Interesting, wouldn't you say?!

SO...it's anyone's guess as to what a baby is going to attach themselves to, but I'm telling you that these clipped blankeys have a very high success rate regardless of how simple they are.  They're SO easy, very inexpensive, and perfect for snuggling a baby with because they're warm without being too heavy.

On with it now...

Fleece Baby Gift Set

This little gift set is going to my very own, very first, flesh-and-blood niece who is my only sibling's first baby.  (did you get all that?)  My brother and his wife had their first baby and I'm ecstatic beyond belief! I'm also getting another little niece this summer who will live around the corner from me, so I'm going girl crazy with baby stuff!!!  Girl stuff is SO adorable!    

Here's how to make that little gift set:
You'll need a fairly large piece of fleece cut - about 1.5 yards.  If you are going to cut out a motif from the blanket, make sure the designs on your fleece are large enough to cut out.  

Then:  with pinking shears or plain scissors, cut your blanket size however large you want it.  With the remaining fleece left over, cut out a motif or even strips to stitch onto your onesie.  You could also save some for burpies, booties, or whatever else you want to make.

You can clip your corners however you'd like, but below is a photo of the way I did mine.  Corners can be tricky and this is my favorite way to do them.  (Rounded corners would be cute, too)

That's it!  Very simple.  You cut a rectangle and clip the edges.  Does it get any easier?!

On to the Onesie:

Before you do anything, make sure you wash, dry, and press your onesie.  I also prefer to use a lightweight iron-on fabric stabilizer on the underneath part of the shirt - just a rectangular piece that covers the upper half of the shirt.  It helps keep your stitching from puckering, it helps prevent large holes forming in the shirt where you stitch, and it's soft so it won't irritate a baby.

For the motif, use a teeny, tiny amount of fabric glue in the middle and outer areas that you DON'T plan on stitching on.  It's SO hard to stitch through dried fabric glue, so try to be careful, but tack it down nicely.  This will prevent you from having to fuss with pins.  If I don't have to use pins, I try not to. 

Then, using my handy-dandy stitch guide here, create something cute on your cut-out!  
I used pinking shears to clip out my flowers, so that added a little more detail to the flowers and I just stitched in-between the triangles.

It IS possible to over-decorate something like this.  Keep it simple without distracting from the fleece motif too much.  You want to add detail without overdoing it.

That's it!  What a GREAT gift!!  Wal-Mart had some cute solid colored infant pants for $2.00, so I grabbed some in every color in order to pair them with hand made tops.  If you ever see solid colored pants or skirs for cheap, get them and keep them in your gift-giving stash!

... I also did a quick little lollipop onesie {gasp!!!}  Simple, scrumptious, and hand-made.  
I love it.  Who wouldn't like something like this?!  (a wierdo, that's who)

Now go make something cute!!!

Simple Cake/Candy/Party Stand

I'm just re-posting this tutorial from the guest spot I did at the Crafting Chicks so that I have it on my blog for archival purposes.  Thanks again, Kadie, for the wonderful idea - yer amazing!!

...and it takes 2 seconds to make...wahoo!

Isn't it ADORABLE?!  

 I found a cup for $1.99, a plate for $1.99, and some "Quick Grip" for $4.99. 

Remove those tacky stickers....

Apply a bunch of glue to the bottom of the glass...

Center it on the plate, and press down.  I was able to find a seriously awesome weight to press down on my glass.  Use anything heavy.

After a couple of hours, my stand was all ready for me to fill 'er up.  EASY, right?!

NOW here's where you get creative and have some fun.  You can make a variety of stands - you just have to get creative!  If you have a birthday party, random event, special holiday, mix and match your options.  When yard sale season comes up, keep a look-out and stock up on random dishes and glass stand items.  You'd be surprised at the great stuff you'll find for CHEAP!  

**ALSO, some ladies commented about using Velcro instead of glue so you can mix & match whenever you want.  Great idea, girls! I'll have to try that idea out sometime.

Some cute glass filler ideas are:  marbles, gum balls, hard candy that won't spoil over time, colored beads, or whatever your theme might be.  Party stores and dollar stores are full of small items that would be a lot of fun.

Fill glass containers with something fun...

 I'm in LOVE with this polka-dot plate from Target!!! 

This is a ceramic ice cream dish I found on clearance

And look at this cute little heart-shaped candy dish!  I found it at Target a few years ago on clearance and it looks great on this candlestick holder!  (Can you tell I live at Target?)

Add a cute plate in the mix...

You've now got a double-decker!  

You can even get creative with non-dish items like this cute nest-basket I found at the Pottery Barn outlet.  LOVE it!!!

This plate is an old, vintage tin plate on top of a candlestick I got at a yard sale.  I LOVE this one!!

Same vintage plate on top of a Mason jar filled with cherries.  Makes a great summer serving platter.

The possibilites are endless!!!  Go have some FUN with that glue!!!


Crafting Chickies

Hey, remember that cute cookie plate from yesterday?  Head on over to the Crafting Chicks where I did a guest spot on how to make one!  Thanks, Chicks, for asking me to share with you!  I love you!


Strep, Fitness Challenge, and Snow

Okay, first things first - I've been on 'break' for the past few days on account of my strep throat issues.  {gag}  Have you ever had strep?!  It's strong enough to knock a horse down.  Luckily I've got some good meds and feeling SO much better, so now I can peel myself from the couch and shower for heaven's sake.  Gross.

In the meantime...I'm still collecting and logging in all of you who have paid thus far.  Because I've had kids clawing at me all day and because I'll have kids clawing at me all day tomorrow, I'm moving a little slow but I'm hoping to have a final list posted by tomorrow afternoon.  Stay tuned!!  If your check is in the mail, DON'T PANIC.  If you need to use Paypal, feel free to use my email address.

And whatta whopper of a snowstorm we got over here!!!  I don't think my area got hit as hard as most of the country, but we got a good amount of snow.  I love it!!!  If we're going to get a storm, for heaven's sake, make it a good one!!!

Here's the wall-o-snow out my front door.  It doesn't look like much in the photo, but if I were to stand in the snow right there, it would be up to my knee caps.  Yeeeeahhh.

Can  you see the snow blowing?!  Well, it is. 

...and here, too.  All that white fuzz is a whole mess of snow coming down.  

...speaking of messes...my little Baby Spaz.  I realize she doesn't look like she could trip you up, slap you sideways, fling slime, and destroy anything in her path, but she can.  She can also laugh so hard, dance like a maniac, and snuggle.  I love this little creature!

She walks now. Totally.  On her own.  What has happened to my little baby?!  She's practically an adult now.  One year old in a couple of weeks.  My goodness.

aaaand...this is what I do when I'm trying to loose weight in a blizzard. {cringe!} 
 Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies.  {heaven in your mouth}

Don't you want one?!  They're warm, gooey, and so incredibly rich and chocolatey with a tiny hint of toasted coconut.  Heaven.

mmmmm....what a good day!