Handmade Christmas 2016: Button Bookmarks

Christmas gift ideas have started to pop into my mind already. If you know me well at all, you’ve likely heard me state that I can’t stand the over-commercialization of Christmas. I love the simplicity of a thoughtful handmade gift.

This fall I plan to share some of my old & new ideas for sweet little handmade gifts, beginning with these cute bookmarks. I originally shared these waaaay back in 2011 and it’s one of the most popular posts I’ve had since I’ve been blogging! They are perfect for avid readers, obviously, and especially ones who still appreciate a great paper copy.

Thinking of trying to make some  yourself? All the materials you’ll need are: fabric scraps, paperclip, button-cover kit, and hot glue/gun.

All it takes are a few simple steps:

1. Cut out a fabric circle approximately twice the diameter of the button cover.

2. Place the fabric printed side facing down in the button-cover mold.

3. Push the front half of the button rounded side down on top of the fabric.

4. Tuck the edges of the fabric into the center, and then press the button back into it until it is firmly encased.

5. Thread the paperclip through the shank of the button until the button rests at the top rounded edge.

6. Hot glue in place. I dabbed hot glue around the shank area and also where the edges of the button back rest on the paperclip.

 

Rose Petal Jelly

One of the things I enjoy experimenting with in the summer is various types of jams and jellies. My favorite experiment was Wild Violet Jelly, which I posted about over 4 years ago! I’ve also made Dandelion Jelly, Apricot Pineapple Jam, Wineberry Jelly, and a whole host of others. Later today I plan to make Blackberry Jelly. My latest and greatest is this…..

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Rose Petal Jelly. Pretty cool, eh?

It sounds rather sophisticated, but is really pretty easy to make, and not very time consuming. I’m not a sophisticated gal, so it suited me just fine. The recipe I will share made about 7 jars of jelly.

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These are the ingredients I used:

@6 cups rose petals

4 cups water

1 TB lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin

5 1/2 cups sugar

Here is the process I followed:

Pick approximately 6 cups of rose petals. Lightly  rinse and place in a pot with a quart of water. Bring to a low boil and allow to bubble for maybe two minutes, then turn off the heat. Allow some time (maybe 20 minutes) for the rose petals to infuse the water. Strain off the rose petals and use the remaining rose water for the jelly.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk the rose water with a box of powdered pectin. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice. (In a separate bowl, measure out 5 1/2 cups of sugar.) Bring your pot to a rolling boil, then dump in the sugar, stirring well as you add it. Make sure sugar is completely mixed in! Allow to boil for one minute, then remove from heat.

Have a separate pot of warm water ready for processing the jars. Ladle jelly mixture into jelly jars, leaving maybe 1/4″ of head space, then place new lids on with a band. Place into the pot with water. Bring to a low boil and allow to process for 5 minutes. Using a jar lifter, pull out of the water and allow to sit for 24 hours. Enjoy your beautiful jelly!

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Denim Pocket Rug

I have sorely neglected my blog lately. Too much end-of-the school-year craziness, followed by the annual adjustment to summer and kids being home 24/7. I apologize and will totally admit that I miss writing!

Also, I have not shown a single decent crafty project in a long , long while. Believe me, it’s not for lack of making things:)

One thing that I’ve totally been into is repurposing denim to make cool stuff. I will perhaps share one or more denim projects in the near future. Here’s one that I found to make with all the pockets of jeans I’ve cut up and basically deconstructed.

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A sturdy little accent rug. I saw an example or two on Pinterest and decided to try a small one to see if I liked it or not.

I did not do any step-by-step pictures, but I can give a brief rundown of how it was made. Basically I took a rectangle of denim, then took a variety of pockets that had already been cut out and arranged them randomly all over the rectangle. I pinned each one down to hold them in place.

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Then I took my handy dandy heavy duty Singer and began carefully sewing around the edge of each pocket. I tried to do all of the “top” pieces first, then went around what is visible of the ones that are more underneath. (Hopefully that makes sense?) Once they were all secure, I took a slightly larger rectangle of denim and sewed it so it is underneath and peeking out behind the original rectangle, just stitching around the perimeter.

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All in all, this didn’t really take that long to make. The prep of cutting all the denim is what actually takes more time. I would recommend definitely using a heavy duty needle, plus a heavier model sewing machine for this kind of project.

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Before use, I would also pop some Rug Gripper on the back so it doesn’t slide.

Overall, a unique little rug that is casual, country, and cool.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Rolls

We had a most beautiful Memorial Day here. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and we took full advantage of it.

For dinner we had a great campfire meal of burgers and cowboy beans, along with a couple of other things. Oh yeah, and some yummy s’mores to top them all off.

I had really, really missed burgers cooked right over the fire and hadn’t had any since last fall.

To take them to a whole new level, I decided to make my own rolls to accompany them.

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Oh.My.Goodness. They did not disappoint.

These are not hard or really too time-consuming to make and are really worth the extra effort.

Here’s the recipe I followed:

1 package yeast

1 C warm water

1/4 C + 1 TB sugar

2 TB melted butter

3 1/2 C wheat flour

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

Mix together yeast, sugar, and water. Let sit for about 10 until it gets nice and bubbly. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except for egg!) and mix and knead really well. Place dough ball in oiled bowl and let rise in a warm location for about 1 hour. Divide into at least 8-10 pieces and form into roll shapes. (I rolled out the whole dough ball so it was pretty thick and just used the top of a cup to make circles.) Place on baking sheet and let these rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 375 F and brush top of rolls with egg wash. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Let cool and then slice in half before serving.

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When I make these again, I may be tempted to do a double batch and then freeze a portion of them for future meals. I would also like to use the same recipe and make hot dog buns as well.

Summer is almost here, so enjoy!

Wild Violet Jelly

This is a little gem from my archives, posted over two years ago!

For some reason this is probably one of my favorites. I’m not sure why, it just is.

I was reminded of it a couple weeks ago when my kids were reminiscing about how I made them pick all of those little purple flowers out of our yard. Then they asked if we could make it again sometime.

Why not? We have a gazillion of these in our yard and pretty much any other grassy area right now. (I’m actually doing a similar experiment with dandelions at the moment. Can’t wait to see the results, I’ll let you know if it turns out.)

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Is this not a beautiful sight?

Seriously, this may be the prettiest jelly I’ve ever made.

What gives it that gorgeous color? Wild violets, straight out of my backyard.

As my little guys have now named it, “flower jelly.”

I stumbled across the recipe for it on another blog and had to at least try it once.

Luckily I had lots of helpers to pick the violets for me.

This is Andrew, my 3rd grader. He was by far the most diligent of my little pickers and also helped to separate all the blooms and stems. The kids were all pretty into helping though. So, if you have any crazy little projects like this, I would be glad to hire them out! Just kidding. Sorta. (They’re also great corn huskers and pea/lima bean shellers.)

Anyway, after they had bunches of violets picked, this is the recipe I used to make the jelly:

2-3 Cups Violets

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 1/2 C Boiling Water

3 1/2 C Sugar

1 Package Sure Jell

Pick flowers and separate the blooms from the stems. In a jar, place the blooms and pour the 2 1/2 C boiling water over them. This will help to make an infuson. Allow to infuse until the water color is a dark blue/purple. (I even pushed the blooms around to help with this.)

Once you are satisfied with the color (it doesn’t take very long), strain and add the lemon juice to the liquid. I wish I had taken a picture of this step, for this is when it changes into such a brilliant color! Pour all liquid into a heavy pan and turn on high heat. Add the package of Sure Jell. Bring to a rolling boil and add in the sugar. Bring to a boil again, allow to boil for @1 minute, them remove from heat. Pour into jelly jars and process for 5 minutes. Allow to set for 24 hours. Enjoy!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the taste. If you are not too weirded out by eating “flower jelly,” it really does taste fine. I have to admit that I was a little nervous–was it going to actually taste good? Or gross? (Almost all of my jelly-making experience has been with berry-based ones.) Well, we tried some with our Easter breakfast and the closest thing I can compare it to is a light grape-y flavor. Nothing strong, just a light, pleasant flavor.

Wouldn’t this make a pretty little gift as well?

Hmmm….I may have to send my little workers out with their baskets to pick me another batch.

A Simple Teacher Appreciation Gift

Teacher Appreciation week is coming up soon at our school. There are oodles of really cute little teacher gift ideas out there, so here’s one that I just put together for our school’s staff.

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I started out with a plan just to do a few for my own kids’ teachers, but as you may know I can get a teensy bit carried away when I make things. I’m making 5, why not just go ahead and do 45, right? (Yes, I realize not everyone thinks that way and may think I’m insane. It’s okay if you do;))

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As you can see, I used Extra brand gum in several flavors and just made my own little printable tag glued onto colored cardstock. I then used double-sided tape to adhere the gum pack onto the cardstock.

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Here’s another take on the same basic idea using mint gum. You could also use this with any minty type of product. Clearly I was in a bright sunny mood when I made these as I may have overly used the eye-popping yellow cardstock. Oh well, it looks Springy!

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Well, there you have it. Nothing fancy or over the top. Just a simple, inexpensive, and quick idea to show your kid’s teachers that their work doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Thanks to all teachers, you are awesome!

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Finger-licking good and healthy to boot.

That’s exactly the type of snack these little bars are.

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They are honey-sweetened and feature peanut butter, dark chocolate, and coconut.

Oh yeah, and oatmeal too.

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See? Healthy and good. And maybe a little bit addictive.

Perfect for a little snack to accompany your coffee or a sweet treat to put in a lunchbox.

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In addition to being healthy, this is a no-bake snack, so it’s easy to make a full pan of these without even turning on your oven.

I don’t make these THAT often, but when I do they’re usually gone by the second day.

Trust me, it’s good stuff.

Here’s the recipe if you’re interested in whipping some up for your family:

1 C peanut butter
1/2 C honey
1/2 C coconut oil
2 C rolled oats
1 C flaked coconut
1/2 C nuts or dried fruit
1 1/2 C dark chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the first three ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add in the rest and stir until chocolate is melted. Press into a 9″x13″ pan and chill for a few hours. Cut into bars.

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!

Banana Baked Oatmeal Muffins

This is a great recipe if you’re looking for a healthy bite.

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Though we have no food allergies in our house (thank God!) and don’t specifically avoid any certain ingredient, they are perfect for families who ARE avoiding specific things.

No white sugar. No flour. No eggs.

Less than 100 calories a piece.

As an added bonus, they are super tasty and nutritious. Perfect for a quick grab-it-and-go breakfast or a healthy little snack.

These would also be great in kids’ lunchboxes. I am always struggling to pack healthy for my gang. After packing five lunchboxes a day every weekday morning I seem to run out of fresh ideas sometimes.

I haven’t tried this yet, but these supposedly freeze well also.

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I snagged the recipe off of this website.

Here’s the lowdown on what you need to make these:

5 cups rolled oats

2 1/2 cups overly ripe bananas

1 tsp salt

5 TB sweetener (you choose which one–I used honey)

2/3 cup Chocolate chips

2 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup + 1 TB oil (coconut or vegetable)

2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 380 degrees F and line cupcake pans with liners. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then add in to the dry ones. Mix together well, than spoon into cupcake liners. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Makes about 24.

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