Monday, February 2, 2015

Homemade Truffles....and Chocolate Covered Strawberries!!!

 Little Miss Abby and I spent the day together on Saturday making some delicious chocolates.
 We decided to make REAL truffles for the first time ever and we think they came out pretty lovely.
 We even made the boxes we packaged them in!  Love my Silhouette!
 The recipe we used can be found at Chocoley and it is also where I buy all my supplies.  Their chocolate is so easy to work with and they have great sales and offers regularly.  Plus they have free online classes and tons of recipes for wonderful candies.  We made one batch of the basic truffle recipe and divided it into four bowls so we could have four different flavors.  The truffles with the white chocolate stripe are flavored with peppermint oil,  The truffles with pink sprinkles are raspberry, and then we also made both lemon and hot chili truffles (yellow and red sprinkles!)  Important note: you must use special flavored oils made for chocolate.  Regular candy flavors will cause the chocolate to seize up and ruin your truffles.  the same goes for coloring chocolate---special coloring oils only!
So how did we like the recipe?
Not only did we enjoy making these truffles but we also learned a few tricks along the way.  First of all, the recipe stated that the truffle mixture had to set up in the fridge for 3 hours or in the freezer for 1 1/2 hour to firm up before you could shape it into small balls.  Way too long.  We choose the freezer method and it was sooo hard we had to leave the bowls on the counter for about 1/2 an hour to soften so we could scoop it out.  Another thing, each flavoring oil has different intensity so be careful not to add too much.  The mint and the chili were very strong!  But the lemon and raspberry were much less intense.  Go figure...... 
 Here is Abby putting finishing touches on her boxes.
 We had leftover chocolate so we dipped some strawberries.  Waste not, want not!

 Abby did all the decorating!

I'd say this was a pretty wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

20 Minute BurlapTree Skirt!

I am all about quick and easy projects.  Maybe it is because my skill levels can be sketchy or maybe it is because I don't have the attention span of a toddler.....whatever my issues are I love to do crafts don't take a whole lot of time or knowledge.  If you can relate,  here is a project you will love!

20 minutes to cut out, sew and is that possible?  Burlap.  And did I mention this skirt is also inexpensive!  I picked up some Christmas style burlap from Walmart (checking out took more time than it did to sew.....or trying to find someone in the fabric section to cut for me).  I needed one and a third yards of fabric (1 1/3) for the skirt.  I bought more fabric for a few other projects I hope to get to later. 
  Next I cut out a 44 inch circle using a string and some chalk for marking.  Cut out a smaller 5 inch circle at the center.  Cut a split down the back from outer edge to inner circle.  You can see that step better in a later photo.
 Now here is the easy part.  Sew a zigzag stitch all around every cut edge.  I did a 1 inch seam allowance but you don't have to be too picky.  If you use thread that is the same color as your burlap you will hardly even see your stitches.
 Attach some ribbon to the back.  (You can see that I got real fancy and hemmed the back slit but you don't have to.  Just zigzag those edges too)  Now pull at the edges, unraveling the burlap up to your zigzag stitch.  Trim any long threads and you are done!

 Here is a picture of the skirt under the tree.  You can see that the skirt has enough body to lay nicely over the tree stand.  Love that it matches the burlap ribbon I am using this year.  And yes the tree looks a little bare......I am still in the process of decorating it and am waiting til the snow melts so I can get to the barn for the ornaments.  

I am going to use vintage ornaments with the burlap for a different look this year.  It is also my first time to use an artificial tree.  Got this lovely at my local craft store.  I miss the smell of pine but it was so much easier to set up and I am not afraid of it falling over in the middle of the night.
Don't ask.....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tumbling Block Quilt

What do you do with a lot of charms left over from other projects?  Make a tumbling block quilt of course!
 I had a quite a few charms from several different lines of fabric.  I wasn't sure that they went together but when I paired them with a ton of white it all seemed to work out.  I think it looks rather modern and fresh.
 I machine quilted the white areas and stitched in the ditch around the charms.
 The fabric on the back is an overall floral print.
I used the same fabric to bind it with.  This quilt was made for one of my husband's assistant in China.  She was a great guide while we were there last month and I wanted to make her something that would show our gratitude.  Can't wait to hear if she likes it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Easy Halloween Cards From Shutterfly.

Did any of you take advantage of the free offer Shutterfly had a few weeks ago?  I decided to have cards made up for Halloween using some images I had created.  The first is of one of my girls.....doesn't she look wicked?
 The next image was one I made of the legendary Hitchcock.

Feel free to use either image yourself or create your own!

Shutterfly walks you through the process of uploading the cards and adding sentiment.  Super easy!

This was so much faster than making cards myself and they are totally unique from any store bought ones.  Gotta love that.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Light As Air Cookies---Only 10 Calories!

I have been trying to eat healthier, exercise daily and lose weight for the last three months (27 pounds lost so far!).  I am finally seeing some results which has me excited.  One of the downsides of this new lifestyle though is not being able to eat some of my favorite sad.  But I have found a cookie recipe that let's me have a little (or, on a bad day, a lot of) sweet during the day without any worries.  These delicious cookies have only 10 calories a piece so you can eat quite a few!
The recipe is from Taste of Home and is very easy.  There is some wait time so start these a few hours before you need them and you will be fine!

Vanilla Meringue Cookies Recipe


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons clear or regular vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  1. Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 250°. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to egg whites; beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes.
  3. Cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag or in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; insert a #32 star tip. Transfer meringue to bag. Pipe 1-1/4-in. diameter cookies 2 in. apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes or until firm to the touch. Turn off oven (do not open oven door); leave meringues in oven 1 hour. Remove from oven; cool completely on baking sheets. Remove meringues from paper; store in an airtight container at room temperature. Yield: about 5 dozen.
Yum Yum

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Spent the other day out at the cabin doing a little more work on the bathroom.  I painted the rest of the walls gray, sealed the tile and hung up the new shower curtain.  I still have a bit more to do but it is really looking like a real bathroom now!
 Went with a clear shower curtain so the room looks bigger.
 Plus you can see the cool tile we put in at eye height!
 We put in a soap holder......I don't mind the shampoo sitting on the floor but keeping soap down there is just icky.
 Here is a view of the sink and toilet.  You can see how small the bathroom's footprint is from this picture.  The shower tile is on the left lower corner.
 The window adds a lot of light.  At first the bathroom was windowless but my husband added it and I love it now.  You can also see the tile floors.  Soon we will have the baseboards in.
Anyone else think this is a pretty cool bathroom for a cabin?  Just wait til I add a few more touches!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Creepy Banner

I didn't add too many new things to our Halloween decor this year......but one thing I threw together at the last minute was this creepy banner for the mantle.
I printed some images from The Graphics Fairy and just added a little ink to aged the cards.
 Tiny clothes pins from the craft section at Walmart hold the cards on a long piece of twine.  Couldn't be easier but still adds a huge element to the Gothic look I was going for.