Archives for posts with tag: holiday

I went on a bit of a manic organizing spree during my days off between Christmas and New Year’s. I emptied and re-organized all my kitchen cupboards and my linen closet. And both make me smile now whenever I open them, yes I’m an organizing dork.

I also happen to be a gift wrapping dork. I love wrapping presents but all my wrapping supplies were shoved in a bag at the top of my linen closet so it always seemed like a chore to get the stuff down – that and I never knew what I had. So I decided to take that out of the linen closet to free up some space and finally get my wrapping supplies organized in the guest/craft room closet. The problem was… what to organize it in. Of course I turned to Pinterest for inspiration 🙂 And it finally clicked… magazine racks mounted to the sidewall of the closet! I finally found the perfect ones – they are clear acrylic and about 3 inches deep. Once I found those it was time to dig in…

Yup, all that was crammed onto the top shelf of the linen closet. And stuffed into a few other nooks and crannies - it was definitely more than I thought I had.

Yup, all that was crammed onto the top shelf of the linen closet. And stuffed into a few other nooks and crannies – it was definitely more than I thought I had.

First up - sorting and organizing the paper, tissue, bags and fabric... (yikes that's a lot)

First up – sorting and organizing the paper, tissue, bags and fabric… (yikes that’s a lot)

 

Next up, the ribbon, gift tags and other embellishments.

Next up, the ribbon, gift tags and other embellishments.

 

I started by corralling the wrapping paper at the bottom.

I started by corralling the wrapping paper at the bottom.

Then I hung and filled all the magazine racks (these make me really happy).

Then I hung and filled all the magazine racks (these make me really happy).

And finally the ribbon went on the shelf along with boxes of neatly organized small boxes, ribbons and gift tags. I found the boxes in Vancouver this weekend and a very dangerous store full of fun things to organize with (we spent an hour in there and it wasn't very big...)

And finally the ribbon went on the shelf along with boxes of neatly organized small boxes, ribbons and gift tags.
I found the boxes in Vancouver this weekend and a very dangerous store full of fun things to organize with (we spent an hour in there and it wasn’t very big…)

The best part about my  new set-up is that it’s using that side wall in my closet, so except for some of the space on the top shelf I didn’t need to use any part of the closet that was already being utilized. Gift wrap on display and a new storage nook made this a very fun project.

 

 

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Paper crafting has always been my favorite, but I’ve put it on hold for awhile now in favor of sewing. But thanks to inspiration from a friend sewing together a super cute paper garland for a party, I’ve been tossing around ideas in my head for sewing on paper. An Easter invitation provided the spark… a friend invited a few of us over for dinner and an egg hunt, encouraging creativity (nothing like pressure since it’s a crafty crowd). I knew I didn’t want to hard boil eggs or use plastic ones if I could help it and came up with the idea of sewing together paper eggs to fill with candy.

I bought a sheet of glassine and got to work. First I traced a bunch of egg shapes and cut them out (leaving lots of extra room around the actual egg shape).

Then I whipped out the crayons – the eggs had to be decorated after all. Something else may have worked better since on the waxy glassine, the crayon was pretty faint, but it’s what I had on hand so I went with it. I did leave half the eggs blank for the backs.

I paired up the eggs and sewed them together, leaving about the top 1/4 open. I mixed up thread color, and did some with a straight stitch and some zig-zag. Initially I liked the zig-zag better, but ended up like the straight stitch best on the finished product.

Then I filled them with jelly beans!

Time to sew them closed… I left a small gap between the top & bottom section of stitching so there would be a natural place to rip them open. Can’t make it hard to get to the candy after all… Then I trimmed off the excess paper, leaving about a 1/4 inch of glassine outside the stitches.

I found a not so pretty one to test – I had to make sure they worked of course 😉

Yup, it works! Super cute & fun to make – a new Easter tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate took over this year. Right after our big chocolate weekend of the year, I somehow ended up elbow deep in chocolate the following weekend.

It started out innocent enough… I needed cookies for a benefit concert and figured those would work for our office party too. I made a batch of these amazing (and addictive) nutmeg maple butter cookies (though I recommend adding extra nutmeg if you want to taste it and cutting them closer to 1/4 inch think for a better chewy flavor). I cutout various shapes and drizzled with dark, milk or white chocolate (I also had this amazing hazelnut milk chocolate that was perfect with these cookies!) and dipped some in dark chocolate as well. Then a variety of sprinkles: crushed candy cane, decorative sugar, maple sugar, etc… Those alone made quite a pile of goodies but they were just the trigger.

The chocolate praline covered hazelnuts from the previous weekend were so tasty and easy that I made another batch – this time swapping the salt for cinnamon.

Then things really got out of hand when I went to buy the chocolate peanut butter bars I always get for my brother in-law. For whatever reason they’ve now added milk powder to the dark chocolate layer (really?) so those were off the table. How to solve it? Make homemade chocolate covered peanut butter balls of course. Very tasty, but next time I hope to do them when we have tempered chocolate.

And, of course I couldn’t leave my sister out… She’d requested chocolate peppermint truffles made from chocolate mint silk. Very easy (just messy) and VERY tasty.I left out the extract and instead added some crushed candy cane to the truffles and added the candy cane dust to the cocoa powder.

And finally (yes, there was more!). Even though I had my dessert for the office party, when my friend showed me a recipe for chocolate caramel tart I couldn’t resist. I was intimidated because I haven’t made caramel before, but it was pretty easy (just time consuming) and the tart shell was a dream – I’ll use that for other tarts in the future.

Some ganache (that I had to make at 6:30am the day of the party!) and a sprinkle of sea salt and this was an absolutely amazing dessert that will most definitely become a staple — mostly because my co-workers will demand it :)…

Well, now that this gift has been received, I can add one more Christmas craft.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a kid was the advent calendar that a family friend filled with presents each year. I’ve been thinking of various ideas of advent calendars to make for my nephew. I finally settled on mini-stockings! But how to make them? I was going to buy fabric and find stocking patterns, but then I found the perfect head start. This great fabric from Spoonflower – even the colors and patterns are exactly what I was planning on!

I cut out all the cute little stockings and sewed them up (turning them right side out was the hardest part, and quite a finger workout).

After some hunting, I settled on giant brown rickrack to string them on. Ta da, a super cute stocking, advent garland!

Since my nephew is only 1, it didn’t seem like the right time to fill the stocking with tiny ‘stuff’ so instead I found a little felt lion ornament that they can move down the garland each day until he gets to become an ornament on the tree on Christmas day!