Craft/DIY Ideas

Gingham Wrapped Favors

Today I am sharing an idea for favors that could be used for a banquet, party, shower, or even a wedding.

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If you’re into gingham, that is.

I made a bunch of these recently for a cub scout banquet, also known as the “Blue and Gold Banquet” that is held annually. Basically I wanted to make something that looked non-girly but was still cute.

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Inside each one is an individually wrapped mint. Since I had to make over 100, I bought the mints at a bulk foods store.

These were incredibly easy to make and I could see them working with a lot of different color schemes. Also since these were for a Blue and Gold banquet, I used a blue and white gingham and a yellow cotton yarn.

B & G favors 2014 011For the gingham, I cut squares that were right around 5″ by 5″ a piece.

I can’t really explain how I wrapped them, but pretty much like you would a present and so no raw edges of the fabric were sticking out. After cutting about a 12″ piece of yarn, I wrapped it around the fabric one way, then crossed the two pieces and wrapped them the other way. Each ended up with a simple little bow on the front.

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As I mentioned earlier, I could really see this same general idea used for a variety of occasions. I would totally use this idea again for shower favors or even for a wedding. Gingham can be found in a whole plethora of colors, plus they could be wrapped with twine or any kind of ribbon.

To see another one of my favor ideas, check out this post from almost two years ago. It’s one of my most viewed posts ever!

Recipes

Homemade Candy Corn

Today I’m sharing a recipe from my archives that is perfectly suited for the beginning of October. I loved this one and can tell you that my family really enjoyed devouring these!

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Okay, so I do realize that candy corn can be bought pretty cheaply, and I did use bought candy corn for my Butterfingers recipe last week, but I just had to try the homemade version of candy corn once I saw some on Pinterest. Hey, it’s worth trying once, right? So, I looked up the recipe from dessertfirstgirl.com, rolled up my sleeves, and got busy with my ingredients. Here’s what I used:

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
food coloring

1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring granulated sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add in the dry milk, salt, and 10X sugar mixture and mix well.

4. Let the dough cool for a few minutes until it’s just cool enough to handle. (Don’t let it sit too long or it will be harder to handle in the next steps.)

5. Divide into 3 parts. Add a few drops of food coloring to desired portions and knead well by hand.

6. Roll each portion into long ropes. Once ropes are formed, push one of each color together so you have 3 stripes.

7. Cut into triangle shapes and let sit out for @1 hour.

8. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

As you can see, they do look a bit different than the store-bought variety. They’re definitely not all perfect and uniform looking, but that’s the beauty of things made by hand, isn’t it? I do have to say that the texture is softer and the taste is nicer (less artificial maybe?) than the bought kind. This is also a fun one for kids to help with!

Craft/DIY Ideas, Recipes

Lego Birthday Cake

I thought I’d share a quick post about the birthday cake I made for my twin boys’ birthday. Well, I actually made two cakes. One was a double-layer chocolatey chocolate (it was SO yum!) and one a basic yellow cake that I decorated in a Lego theme.

Nothing fancy, but I thought it was kind of cute. It had actually been awhile since I had decorated a cake and I had debated about doing different things. However, I found these cute Lego block candies and thought they may be perfect for the job. Our local bulk foods store carries them and they really do look like Legos. So, all I did was bake a basic yellow cake, iced it with white icing, and made a number 5 with the candies and put them all around the perimeter of the cake as a border.

Easy peasy and a big hit with my 5 year old boys.

Recipes

Easter Nest Candy

I need to confess something to you all–I am a complete slacker this week. Well, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but with the unbelievably beautiful weather we are experiencing here in PA, I just haven’t gotten around to too many new creative endeavors. Instead I have enjoyed being outside with my favorite people and just soaking up the sunshine. That being said, I am again doing another “re-run” of something I posted last year before Easter time. I’m definitely going to make these again!

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Easter is quickly approaching! Not only is it my favorite holiday, this year it falls on my son Andrew’s 8th birthday. I have been gathering some bought candy to put in baskets, but wanted to do some homemade candies as well. Not too long ago a co-worker of my husband’s gave us a version of this candy for my kids. I thought they were too cute and the kids loved them as well. So, Linda S., here is my little version of your Easter nest candy.

For starters, here are all the ingredients you need to make this treat. It is very simple, kids can definitely help make them, and it is no-bake!

Gathering my ingredients…

Peanut Butter Easter Nest Candy

8 oz. marshmallows

2 TB butter

1/4 cup peanut butter

5 oz. chow mein noodles (1 can)

1 cup pastel M & M’s, chopped

Pastel Peanut butter M & M’s (whole)

In a glass bowl, microwave the marshmallow and butter together until melted completely. Stir in the peanut butter until well mixed. Add the chow mein noodles and chopped M & M’s. You may need to mix by hand at this point in the recipe. Just try not to crush too many of the chow mein noodles! When all are well mixed, form into nest shapes by hand. Lay on cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Allow to cool for @30 minutes. After cooling, top your nests with M & M’s, arranging them as “eggs”. Cute!

A colorful trio of sweet tweets!

This recipe made 9 nests, but you could easily make them a bit bigger and just make @6. As long as they are big enough for your candy eggs, you’re good to go.

Gooey sweetness with just the right amount of crunch. 

I realize that using peanut butter is not an option for some families, so here are a few variations:

*Chocolate Nests-follow the same method as above, just use 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 TB shortening.

*White Chocolate Nests-same idea, just use white chocolate wafers, a bit of coconut, and some food coloring if you want a bit of color.

*I have also heard of people that use butterscotch chips.

*Top with jellybeans instead of M & M’s.

*Use little pretzel sticks or potato sticks instead of chow mein noodles.

Recipes

Irish Potatoes

Okay, so I am re-posting a recipe I put on here a year ago. Since it is such a good one, I couldn’t help but share it again.

Enjoy this glorious day,

Rachel

Today I am sharing with you my recipe for Irish Potatoes. In case you’re wondering, mine aren’t actually made out of potato at all. There’s some recipes out there that actually use mashed potatoes–mine does not. A dear friend and neighbor passed this recipe on to me a couple of years ago right before St. Paddy’s Day. It’s definitely a keeper!

If you have no clue what Irish Potatoes are, they are a sweet candy. Granted, they certainly aren’t beautiful (hence the pretty plate in the picture!) but they are really good. This is a simple recipe, and no baking is involved. If you like to get your kids involved in the kitchen, this is a good one for them to help with. My kids helped mix the dough, roll the balls, and roll them into cinnamon. Also, this is a recipe that is quite easy to double or triple if you’re making sweets for a crowd.

IRISH POTATOES

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 oz. coconut, chopped fine
  • ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Put a few tablespoons of cinnamon in a smaller bowl nearby. You may need to use your hands towards the end to get dough well mixed (Don’t worry, you’ll be getting them gooped up in the next step anyhow). Roll dough between palms into 1″ balls, then immediately roll into cinnamon. Done! Don’t forget to sample a little bit of dough while you’re rolling 😉

Craft/DIY Ideas

Smartie Pants Valentine

I like this Valentine because it could be suitable for a boy or a girl. Our house is a bit outnumbered with boys, so I thought this may be appropriate for one of my guys to give as Valentine’s for their class.

It’s supposed to resemble a jeans pants pocket with a pack of Smarties candy tucked inside. The caption reads “Happy Valentine’s Day Smartie Pants.” I’m sure it’s mostly self-explanatory, but in case you need directions on how to make this, here’s what I did:

I cut out large rectangles in a light blue color of cardstock. Then I took a darker shade of blue, made a template, and cut out a corresponding number of pocket shapes (they have to be large enough to hold a package of Smarties). On my computer, I typed out a simple document with the wording and printed it also in dark blue.

Glue on the wording near the bottom. Turn on your sewing machine and straight stitch around all edges of the pocket except for the top. (Yes, I realize I may be a bit over the top for sewing a bunch of kids’ valentines, but that’s just who I am. 🙂 It’s actually more secure than trying to glue the darn thing and didn’t take long.)

Pop in a pack or two of Smarties and you’re good to go!

PS-This post is dedicated to my Mom, who never fails to have a pack of Smarties for her grandbabies. In fact, we considered it a milestone for each kid when they figured out which pocket of her purse her “stash” was in and tried to help themselves. Thanks, Mom–maybe that’s why I have such a bunch of Smarty-Pants kiddos now.

Craft/DIY Ideas

I’m Stuck On You, Valentine

I have a couple of cute kids’ Valentine ideas that I want to do this year, and this is the first one I’ll share with you. The inspiration for it came from this stamp, which I got from the $1 stamp section at Michael’s.

Being close to several stores that sell items in bulk has its advantages! I scored this bag of little colored gumballs for a couple of bucks, thinking that it would make the perfect complement to my gumball stamp. I also used some cardstock, red ink, and small cello bags that I already had on hand.

To make the Valentine, all I really had to do was stamp the image onto a strip of cardstock that was the same width as the bags, put a number of gumballs in the bag, then folded the cardstock in half and stapled it along the sides to attach it to the top of the bag.

They turned out pretty sweet, and they were quite easy too. In fact, I knocked out about 25 of these in less than half an hour (with little helpers, at that!).

In addition to the gumball stamp, for some of them I also used another $1 Michael’s stamp that I thought was too cute.

The caption reads “I’m stuck on you!”

So, now I have one kids’ class done, a few more to go! Usually I get these done if we have a snow day, but with the mild winter we’re having, that hasn’t happened yet. More Valentine’s ideas to come!

Hope you have a sweet day, Rachel