Hello, readers! Although we are no longer posting new items on our blog, we are keeping it available so you can browse through our past posts. Thanks for visiting!

Sep 27, 2011

{Halloween Mantel}

Annie and I both LOVE Halloween.

Don't tell Santa, but it might just be our favorite holiday.
{Both of our birthdays are within a week of the 31st...I wonder if that has anything to do with it?}

I usually wait until October 1st to break out the decor, but this year we are leaving town a few days before Halloween, so I need to get my full month of spooky in a little early.

 I decided to forego the traditional orange and black for my Halloween mantel this year, and went with black and white with a cute little pop of green:

I won a print of my choice in a contest a few months ago, and I am so happy I chose this one! It makes me smile every time I look at it.

It's called "Family Portrait," by The Dreamy Giraffe.
She still has it available in her etsy shop.

Do you SEE that little monster baby?!
It seriously makes me baby hungry.
{Yes, I'm nuts; I know this already.}

This is a cute little felt spider I stuck onto the mirror with a piece of Scotch tape.

I found these glittery black pumpkins on after-Halloween clearance at Target last year for 90% off. They were practically free!
Seriously...who can pass up ANYTHING at 90% off? Not me!

I'm so excited for Halloween!


The Lettered Cottage

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Sep 22, 2011

{BANANA Banana Bread}

For years I searched for THE perfect banana bread recipe, and this is definitely it for me. It's a little different from most banana breads...it has FIVE bananas in one loaf! This means it has tons of banana flavor and is incredibly moist. 

BANANA Banana Bread
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 c mashed over-ripe bananas (4-6 depending on size)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease one 9x5 inch loaf pan

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In separate bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten (do not over stir or it will be crumbly). Pour into loaf pan, bake for about 60 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan, then turn onto wire rack.

Go bananas!


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Sep 18, 2011

{Ghostie BOO Garland}

Here's a quick and easy-to-follow photo tutorial on how you can make your own Ghostie Boo Garland!

Tissues (2 for each ghost, layered)
Cotton balls (4 for each ghost head)
Floss or white thread (to tie around neck)
Black marker (to make eyes)
Embroidery floss (to string ghosties onto)
Long needle (to poke through ghostie neck)

Once all of the ghosties are strung, you can make "BOO" tags to hang inbetween each one, or you can leave it just as it is.

I stamped the word "BOO" in black ink onto bright orange card stock.
I cut a "V" shape at the bottom and used black chalk to distress the edges.  I then folded the top of the card stock over the string and stapled the paper together, close to the string, to keep it in place.

That's it!
Hang it somewhere spooky and awesome and you're good to go.

Most importantly...  have fun!


*Click HERE to see the linky parties we participate in!*

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Sep 14, 2011

{Halloween Printing with Fruits + Veggies}

I was cleaning out the fridge today, about to throw away some carrots and apples that didn't get eaten (shh.. don't tell my mother!) and I thought

"Hey wait a minute, I can be crafty with these!"

And... so can you!

All you and your little punkin's need to make some printed Jack-o-Lantern's is an apple, a couple of carrots and some craft paint.

Cut some shapes into the thick end of the carrot. I cut a triangle and a rectangle.  The long carrot stem makes these "stamps" really easy for small hands to hold when stamping.

Slice off one side of the apple.  Don't cut too closely to the core or else your stamp will look like an apple instead of the pumpkin shape you are going for.

Then, take the apple slice you just cut off and cut it in half to make a curved mouth.  You can keep it just how it is or make a few notch/cuts to make teeth.

Spread some paint out onto paper plates, grab some white paper and get stamping!

Super-easy, super-fun.

If you cut out each individual pumpkin print (once it's dry of course) you can string them onto a garland, or make them into a magnet or even gift tags to tie onto a loaf of pumpkin chocolate-chip bread for your neighbors (or to send directly to me... mmm).


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Sep 12, 2011

{Plum-Perfect Cupcakes}


I shared this recipe at Snips & Spice a little while back.
If you haven't made them yet.... do it!  They are delicious!
* * * * *
I’ve been toying around with the idea of a plum cupcake for a while now, and decided this was the perfect chance to experiment.
I have to say that I think these turned out really tasty. They have a plumb-perfect blend of sweetness {from the frosting} and tartness {from the filling}.

You’ll need to plan ahead a little for this recipe…the plum sauce takes about 10 minutes to make and at least an hour to chill in the fridge before it is cool enough to use.

{Plum Perfect Cupcakes}
1 white cake mix
3 fresh plums
8 oz cream cheese
1 cube butter, room temp
3 Tbsp prepared plumsauce (see below)
1 tsp vanilla
7-8 cups powdered sugar (approx 2 lbs)
First, you will need to make your plumsauce filling. Cut fruit (with skin) from the pit of 3 fresh plums and process in a blender or food processor until the skins are chopped and blended in. Pour into small saucepan, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the texture resembles that of applesauce.

Pour into separate bowl and refrigerate for one to two hours, until sauce is cool to the touch. To speed up the process, stir sauce a few times while it is cooling.

Next, preheat your oven and mix cake batter according to directions. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full, and bake for about 15-17 minutes at 350. My mix made 30 cupcakes.
Allow cupcakes to cool.
Reserve about 3 tablespoons of cooled plum sauce to add to your frosting.

To fill cupcakes, pour remaining plum sauce into a pastry bag with a round tip, stick tip directly into the center of the cupcake, and squeeze a little sauce into each one.
filled cupcake 1

Once filled, your cupcakes are ready for frosting.
This recipe makes a large amount of frosting, because I like to swirl big heaps of it onto my cupcakes. Feel free to halve the recipe if you don’t want as much on yours.
Mix cream cheese, butter, 3 Tbsp plumsauce, and vanilla with hand mixer until well-blended. Slowly add powdered sugar one cup at a time until thick enough to pipe and hold up.

Frost, Decorate, and Enjoy!


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Sep 9, 2011

{Lavender Linen Spray}

Did you know you can make your own linen spray at the cost of pennies? It's really easy, too!

This spray is very versatile. I use it to freshen up carpet, couches, even the air. A few spritzes in a room really liven up the place! A light spray of lavender helps anything smell fresh and relaxing.

I even make an alcohol-free batch and use it to tame my daughter's super-curly hair in the morning. She gets a big smile on her face when she smells the lovely scent :) And the natural oil helps keep her hair hydrated in our dry climate.

What you'll need:
A spray bottle
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp rubbing alcohol
100% pure essential lavender oil*
(*found at health food stores)

Boil water in a small pan for about 10 minutes to rid of any impurities. Cool to room temperature, and add alcohol and 20-50 drops of essential oil, depending on how strong you want your spray to be scented. I keep it at 20 drops. Stir to mix; use a funnel to fill spray bottle.

You can be creative with your scents...you can mix 2 different oils to get a unique flavor. One day I'm going to do Sandalwood and Vanilla. Mmmmmm....

 I like to make a large batch of this spray each time and fill several bottles at once. The oils are a little pricey...my tiny bottle was $12. But it goes a LONG way. I've made several batches and have hardly made a dent.

Add a cute tag and you have a thoughtful hostess or housewarming gift.

Here's what's typed on the back of my tag (click to view larger and to save/print if you'd like):

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Sep 5, 2011

{Spooky Party Treats}

Halloween is coming!  Hooray!  It is my favorite holiday.  I love being spooked.

Both Tammy's and my birthday are right around Halloween so we would always have combined Halloween costume birthday parties when we were young.  They were the best!  That might be why Halloween holds such a fun place in our hearts (thanks Mom!).

Here's a tutorial on how you can make your own simple Halloween party favors.

Gather your paper crafting supplies and a few plastic party favor boxes and get to work!

I found the cute Halloween creature head stamps at JoAnn's in the dollar section. Score!
Wrap the main paper around your favor box to determine the size you will need.
These boxes are 2" x 2" x 1".  They came in a 3-pack and were found in the party section at Dollar Tree.  Snip off the ugly, smashed bow that they come wrapped in and fill them with the candy of your choice (individually wrapped candy is best, as the insides of the boxes might not be clean).
I chose butterscotch hard candies because I'm secretly a 90 year old grandma.  Just kidding.  I love me some butterscotch!
Assemble all of your box wrappers and admire your awesome work... holy Halloween cuteness!

Wrap them around the boxes and secure them in back with a little tape.

Now hand them out at your Halloween party, give them to neighbors or take them to school to share with all of your best Halloween buddies!


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Sep 2, 2011

{Oven Taco Fries}

We've got another delicious recipe to share with you today.  Don't worry, some craftiness is just around the corner....

These oven taco fries are super simple to make and they taste great!
(Lot's of step-by-step photos to come... as a visual learner myself, I thought it might be helpful)

* * * * *

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 475*
Step 2: Grab some potatoes

These taste best with the skin left on, so be sure to wash and scrub the potatoes well to remove all of the dirt.

Step 3: Cut the potatoes into thin, even slices. Try to keep them all the same thickness so they all cook in the same amount of time.
If you like your fries crispy (who doesn't), cut them fairly thin.

Step 4:  Place the cut potato slices into a bowl of hot water and let them soak for 10 minutes or so.  This will remove some of the extra starch that prevents them from getting crispy.

Step 5:  While the potato slices are soaking, take a few minutes to make some cute paper pouches to serve them in!  (Pouch how-to below)

Step 6:  Remove the soaked potatoes from the water and pat them dry with paper towels.  You want to get all of the water off so that the oil and taco seasoning will stick well.

Step 7:  Place the potatoes back into the bowl and mist them with some Pam olive oil spray.  Open a packet of taco seasoning and sprinkle half the packet over the potatoes.
Stir all around to ensure that all slices are covered in taco seasoning yumminess.

Step 8:  Place the potato slices onto a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. They can be touching, but if they are not in a single layer, they won't all get crispy (and that will make you sad).

Step 9:  Time to cook! Pop the sheet into the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.
The total baking time will be approximately 35-50 minutes, depending on how thick or thin your slices are.

The trick to getting them crispy is to turn the slices after each 10 minutes of cooking.
Once the potatoes are fully cooked, you can also place them under the broiler for a minute or two to finalize the crispiness -- just be sure to watch them constantly so they don't burn.

Once they are finished, take them out of the oven and serve immediately while they are hot and delicious!

* * * * *

Supplies needed:

Parchment paper
Scrap paper

Make a template with the scrap paper. Cut it into an 8.5 in x 8.5 in square.
Trace this square onto the parchment paper then cut it out.  When cutting the parchment, be sure to cut just inside the pencil line so you don't get any pencil lead on your food.  Gross.

Then, proceed as follows:

Then make as many as you need. Fill each pouch with the baked, crispy taco fries and eat 'em up!



*Check the sidebar or top page to see the linky parties we participate in*

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