Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday Fun!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season :) 

I've got my house mostly back to normal already. I usually don't by this time, but decided to because I got a stunning heirloom cabinet for Christmas and wanted the space my tree was taking up. Quite the gift, I tell you.

So... Christmas and Hanukkah are over. SAD. However, New Years is right on the horizon!! I'm not one for New Years resolutions, but I'm definitely a fan of ending the year with a bang!

This year, we're doing a New Years Eve Slumber Party! We're going to have great games and prizes going all night long on our Facebook pages! If you're stuck at home while everyone else is out partying (or are choosing to stay home), we'll keep you entertained, and hey, you just might win some freebies!!!

Here is a list of participating shops:

Feel free to "like" the pages ahead of time and turn on notifications :) You do so by hovering your mouse over the "like" button, then clicking "get notifications." 

Let's have fun!! Join us starting at 5:00 pm PST (8:00pm EST) for games, prizes, and a great community!


Here is the full game schedule! Use clickable links above to access these pages :) MANY of these games have prizes!

5pm- How many buttons?-Adore by Nat
5:30pm- Who's face-part?- Down with Plumes
6pm- Word Scramble- Camille's Charms
6:30pm- Bingo- Down with Plumes
7pm- Last Comment- BeeBee and Jack
7:30pm- Birthday Game- The Purple Monkey
8pm- Duck Duck Goose- Blueberry Corner Quilts
8:30pm- Word Scramble- BeeBee and Jack
9:30pm- How many gems?- Down with Plumes
10pm- Birthday Game- Waltons Jewelry
10:30pm- Last Comment- The Purple Monkey
11:30- Random Number- Down with Plumes- Final game

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Handmade Hot Hands Hand Warmers

I just finished up the Christmas gifts for my son's preschool teachers and I had to share this with you. It's super simple and makes a great gift.

What you need:

  • Fabric scraps (I used 2 different fabrics but you can stick with just 1 pattern)
  • A piece of cardboard to use as a template (I measured mine to be 3.5" x 4", you can make them any size you'd like, just measure 1/2" extra for your seams)
  • Rice (I used jasmine rice and added some lavender and rosemary that I had gotten out of my garden I cut the rosemary and lavender into little pieces and mixed it into the rice and let it sit for 3 days)
  • A sewing machine (because sewing this by hand would suck)

Using your cardboard template, cut 2 even pieces of fabric. Feel free to trim up the edges so they're fairly even (it doesn't have to be perfect since they're going to end up on the inside, but it helps you sew straight lines if your edges are straight and even)

 With right sides pinned together, start your sewing. Don't forget to leave 1 side completely unsewn so you can flip your bag right side out when you're finished with this step
 Don't forget to zig-zag all the way around the 3 edges you just sewed together to keep them from fraying in the future.
To make sewing your bag closed a little easier and cleaner, I folded down the top 1/4" and ironed the crease in it

 This is what it should look like when you flip it inside out

 Sew the final seam but leave 1/2" at the end to fill it up with your rice

 I couldn't find my funnel so I used a small piece of paper and taped it into a makeshift funnel. Start scooping your rice mixture into your beanbag. Be careful not to overfill because you're going to have to stitch the top closed on your machine when you're finished filling it. I sewed another seam completely across in case the first seam decided to come loose.
Since the rice bags are so small, you only have to heat them for 20-30 seconds and they stay warm for a long while.

I hope you find this tutorial useful and fun :)

Happy Crafting!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Get Your Kids to Eat Spinich!

I saw this idea on Pinterest originally (who knows where), but the recipe they had suggested using homemade mashed potatoes. I do not roll like that.

I do not have the time, interests, patience, or skill to make homemade mashed potatoes. Boxed mashed potatoes do the trick, and they come in yummy flavors that take zero extra work.

*Note- Again, if you're all about healthy meals every day, this is not an idea for you. If you are, however, looking for a quick and easy way to get your kids to eat some vegetables, this might help :)

I used the mashed potatoes that come in the little packet... They're cheap. I think $.89 at Winco. Anyway, I used the Three Cheese or White Cheese (or something cheese) kind, which are yummy enough on their own.

BUT-- here's where the veggies come in. 

I made the potatoes according the the package, then moved them into a bowl and busted out the ole' trusty mixer. I cut up some spinach into little pieces, then added the spinach to the potatoes and blended it well. I topped it with a bit of shredded cheese, and by the time it was mixed, you could barely taste the spinach!


My three-year-old, who says every green food is "stinky" or "yucky", gladly ate every bit of his potatoes. 

Overall, it was a win with the whole family. Next time, I'll use about twice as much spinach, which is about two handfuls or so. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Quick Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of my favorite dinners to make for a couple of reasons:
 1) It's super yummy
 2) It's super easy and you can add pretty much whatever you feel like.

Here's the basics you need:

  •  Macaroni noodles
  • Cream cheese
  • Cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • Half & half
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Whatever spices you like to use. I used garlic, salt and pepper
You can also add ham, bacon, hot dog, etc if you feel like it

 Preheat your oven to 375°

Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. When it's boiling, add in your noodles and turn down to med-high to boil until almost cooked. When it's finished, strain it and add a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking

Meanwhile, in a smaller sauce pan add 1/4 cup of half and half, 1/4 cup of milk, 1 tbsp of butter and about 1 oz of cream cheese. I turned the burner on medium and stirred frequently until the butter and cream cheese were melted.

 Once everything is melted, start adding your shredded cheese a handful at a time and stir it in until it's all melted.
Be sure to save about a handful of cheese to sprinkle over the top
 Pour your cooked noodles into your breadpan and then pour your cheese sauce over the top and mix it in well. You want to make sure your noodles are completely covered.
 Sprinkle the rest of your cheese over the top and stick it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The cheese should be melted but not brown at all.

Finished product!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reasons I love The Plush Plum

Today is Featured Crafter day... So why is the title of this post not Featured Crafter? Because Lani and I are spontaneous, mildly rebellious people. 

We've chatted with Lani once already, so she's a pro at this. Since I'm getting relatively good at this, too, this should be fun!

So, here it is; our list of the best things about The Plush Plum.

#5- Lani is bringing back plush dolls.

So many dolls these days are plastic. Although they may be easier to clean and look a little more realistic, we all know plastic is bad and not very much fun to love on. If you don't believe me, rub your face on a Pepsi bottle and come back to me.

Plush dolls are great for cuddling, dressing, and caring for. There is absolutely nothing a plastic doll offers (other than the plastic) that isn't present in Lani's plush dolls. 

Plastic dolls can also get crazy expensive. American Girl dolls, for example, are great and come with books and whatever, but the hair gets all knotted up and you're left with a ratty version of a $200 doll. I don't have girls, but that sounds like a bad thing.

#4- Lani's Facebook page is fun.

Since we're all friends here, I have to be honest. I do love a giveaway. I rarely win, which is totally fine with me, because I just like to enter and see all the awesome things handmade shops have to offer.

Lani does giveaways on The Plush Plum. It adds fun to her page and makes you want to check back to see if you've won, which is smart Facebook page promotion.

She also shares other pages' work and updates. I especially love seeing these on Facebook pages because it shows buyers the community element that exists between makers. We all rely on each other, to a certain extent, and try to show our appreciation for the shops we love in whatever ways we can.
#3- Lani's creativity. 

These dolls are all so unique! Lani makes these amazing little people with so much personality on their faces, they're impossible to resist! They can be made to look like your child even, if they'd like to tote a mini version of themselves through the world. 

Here are some photos to solidify my point:

Along the same lines comes #2- The Plush Plum's stuffed animals.

The dolls are amazing and so full of personality, but the little creatures particularly grab my attention. There's something about how whimsical they are... They're personified just enough to be almost dolls, but they're so definitely creatures, still. 

These types of dolls are so much fun for kids because you can imagine them in any type of situation. Since they're not realistic, they're not bound by the rules of reality.

#1- Lani's track record.

Speaking from the position of a buyer, this is hands down my favorite aspect of The Plush Plum. I love her items, her creativity, the ways she interacts with her fans... But the way her buyers feel about her work is one of the most important aspects to selling handmade. Without quality product, you'll likely have a tough time and eventually give up. 

Lani clearly does not have that problem. She has a 5-star rating on both Facebook and Etsy, and the comments are glowing. It appears that every buyer (and every doll recipient) has been incredibly happy with the product they've received. 

In our previous post, Lani mentioned how much love goes into her dolls, and by her customer reviews, I'd say that's paid off.

Now that you know the best things about The Plush Plum, head on over to her Etsy and Facebook pages and like, follow, comment, share... You know the drill ;)