Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sunburst Wreath

One of my awesome friends started a Pinners Anonymous party where a bunch of us get together to work on little crafts that we have pinned on Pinterest. The first few times I wasn't able to go and then they turned into "gift exchanges" where we would have a name drawn for us and we would make something for that person that they had pinned on one of their boards. It's kind of like secret santa but Pinterest style. I was excited when I found the following idea on my person's board.

A Sunburst Wreath for Fall!

I loved it immediately and it fit under our $10 budget. We went as a family on a "stick hunt" and gathered a bunch of sticks to use. I made a wreath form out of cardboard and wrapped it with burlap, attaching it using hot glue. Then I tore strips of yellow fabric and twisted them into fabric rosettes, using fabric glue to keep it together. I carefully chose sticks that were mostly straight and varying degrees of thickness and length. Then I cut them with trimmers and used hot glue to attach them to the front of the wreath form. Then I hot glued the fabric rosettes on top of the sticks. I LOVE how it turned out and really want to make one of my own. I just need to go on another stick hunt to get more sticks.

Here's a link to the inspiration pin with some instructions on how to make the fabric flowers! I actually really love the original even better than my own. So if I make one again I will probably try to more closely replicate it. The reason my version is different is because I actually only looked at the original one after I had glued on all of the sticks. I would make my wreath form smaller a bit and glue the sticks closer together. And cut the sticks shorter. Hopefully I'll have one for next Fall to hang on my door!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costumes 2012

We went with another family themed costume this year (since we had so much fun LAST YEAR). I was having a hard time coming up with a fun idea, but of course the internet showed me the way. I saw a few family themed costumes floating around Pinterest and they eventually led me to find this picture below - but I can't remember what website it came from.

It became our inspiration piece. My husband LOVES S'mores so he jumped on board in time and even helped a lot with making the costumes! Here's how they turned out...

Our S'more family at our church party. Josh and I were graham crackers. We used cardboard and covered them with felt pieces that had ribbon for the scored lines and I embroidered little french knots for the dots. I should have taken a close up of them. Then we used ribbon to attach them together so we could wear them over our shoulders. We decided to have Bennett be the marshmallow because he really enjoys eating marshmallows for treats. Plus, we thought our little Charlotte would be better off as a chocolate bar since she is not mobile and we needed to carry her the entire time.

Trick-or-treating with friends!

Close up of the chocolate bar! Her costume was my favorite. I used felt for the entire thing. I cut two pieces for her body and two strips to sew up the sides so that we could easily get it on and off (since felt does not stretch). I printed out a HERSHEY'S logo that I enlarged in a word document, traced them onto white felt, and hand stitched them all on. Then I blanket stitched the strips onto the front and back pieces. To keep it together at the top I hand stitched ribbon on to both the front and back pieces on each shoulder and tied them together in a bow when it was on. It turned out so cute!

I don't have a close up of our marshmallow either. He was always on the move and it was hard to get him to sit still for a picture. Trick-or-treating was way too exciting for pictures. My husband actually made his costume. We used a foam piece that we doubled up to make it extra fluffy. Then we wrapped it in white felt, cut our circles for the arms to go through and glued it all down. It was super easy and people definitely got what we were when we were all together. The marshmallow by itself didn't really make sense and neither did the graham crackers because it just looked like we were wearing cardboard. Some people had to ask what we were, but they usually guessed after thinking about it for a few seconds.

I love family themed costumes and I hope we can keep coming up with fun ideas for the future. The past two years have been way easy to make so that is a must in the criteria for costumes. Hopefully we can keep the creative ideas coming before we resort to reusing some of them! Happy Halloween to you all!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Slow Paced Life

This little beauty joined our family in July and it has been a whirlwind ever since her birth.

We absolutely love her to pieces! She is such a sweet, beautiful little girl and is always full of smiles when she sees us. Her brother adores her and wants to kiss and hug her constantly.

These are her newborn shots, but she has grown so much. She's almost 4 months old now! You'll see how big she is in our Halloween costumes.

Most of life has been different since she was born. We moved when she was month old. Two weeks after we moved my husband got really sick with appendicitis had his appendix removed, then two weeks after that we had both sides of our family here to visit for her baby blessing. It was crazy and stressful with all of those big events back to back. We still are not fully "settled" into our house, but each week we get a teeny bit closer. She's also been a tricky sleeper and is totally hit and miss with how long she sleeps at night. But we love her and are slowly adjusting by leading a slower paced life. We don't go a lot of places right now, but we are slowly working back up to enjoying fun outings every once and a while. Thankfully we now have a backyard so staying home is not quite as hard with a toddler as it once was in an apartment.

I haven't had a lot of time or energy to craft, but I have done a few really simple things that I will share at some point in the future! I have a million and one projects that I would really LOVE to do, but all in good time. Babies sure change things and this little girl has definitely changed our lives - in a good way!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Shirt & Tie {Father's Day Cards}

Sometimes I LOVE Pinterest, and sometimes it is really annoying. This week I found a fun thing for Father's Day that reminded me why it is such a great website! THESE adorable shirt and tie origami cards. Now, the pictures over at Fancy House Road are much better than mine, but her instructions took me a little while to get. I had to do a bit of trial and error because there weren't any pictures and I am a very visual person when it comes to folding paper. I need step by step instructions. So, I made my own visual instructions. That way I won't forget how to make them when I want to do it again in the future.

Here's how mine turned out! Aren't they just totally fun and awesome! I'm so glad I found this idea!

So you start by gathering your materials! You will need:

2 Matching (or similar) Buttons
7/8" Wide Ribbon
Glue Gun

Now in the original instructions they say to use cardstock. I tried this, but am not a skilled enough paper folder to make it work right. The paper just got to thick and chunky for me to fold. So, I used regular old computer paper.

First step is to decorate the inside (if you want to), or have your kids draw pictures for their dads/grandpas. I traced my little guys hand and he helped me write his name and "Happy Father's Day" on the insides. Then I let him go to town coloring it!

After you are done with whatever you want on the inside, then you can start folding it up.


1. Fold paper in half, hot dog style.

2. Open it back up!

3. Fold each of the sides in toward your center crease.

4. Take the top inner edge and fold it out so that you have a triangle hanging off the outer edge. (If you flip the paper over you will see that this becomes the triangle sleeves.)

5. Turn the paper over and flip it upside down so that the sleeves are at the bottom.

6. Take the top and fold it down about an inch. It should be toward you.

7. Flip the paper over again and fold the top corners in toward the center. They should meet at a point and create a "collar."

Close up of step 7!

8. Fold the bottom up to meet the collar (pretty much folding the paper in half).

And there you have it! A folded shirt. Now lets add the buttons and the tie!

Using your glue gun, put a teeny dot of glue on the back of each button and press onto the outside corner of the collar. Then cut a length of ribbon a little bit longer than your shirt length from the collar to the bottom of the paper. Cut one end of this length into a point like the bottom of a tie. Also cut a length of ribbon that is about 1 1/4 inch long to create the tied part of the tie at the top.

Get your glue gun and glue the short length of ribbon to the top of your long ribbon (centered). Then fold the edges over to the backside, slightly on a diagonal so that it is folded like a tie - glue down in the back. Then glue your tie to the top of the shirt, underneath the collar. Now you have a shirt with a tie!

Then you can write a nice note on the back or you can do what we did and flip the top down and write on the inside of the shirt! I like that they have to unfold the card to find the message, but the original tutorial just suggested to write your note on the back. Whatever you prefer works great!

I've never been very excited about homemade cards, but this one seriously rocks! Maybe I can find other fun cards like this one that I can make out of plain materials I always have on hand.

PS: This card takes about 10 minutes total (including writing the note) once you have all of your materials out. If you let your kids color on the paper first then it may take a little longer depending on how artistic they choose to be with their pictures! Happy Father's Day in advance to all of the wonderful men and fathers in the world!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Handprint Embroidery

I typically have a difficult time trying to find/think of gifts for my husband for Father's Day and his birthday. He has a birthday at the end of June so I always have double duty right in a row. This year I found an excellent gift for my 2-year old to give him (Tickle Monster Kit), but was unsure of what I was going to give him. I ended up settling on making him a simple, embroidered, picture of my son's hand print inside of his hand print.


I thought it would be something fun that he could keep at his office to remember his sweet little guy at home. With our new baby just weeks (or less) away from arrival I was thinking that I could also add her little hand once she is born.

I did not have a pattern, I just came up with what I wanted in my head, traced it onto white muslin, and started stitching. I printed my son's name and "daddy" out from the computer, along with "Father's Day 2012." I really love how it turned out and I hope that my husband thinks it is fun.

If you want to do one of these it is definitely not too late. It took me about 2 hours of total work to complete it. I suppose it might take a bit longer if you have more than one child, and you might have to overlap hands of kids inside of their dad's hand print, but using different colored threads would help distinguish which hand print belonged to which person. I am thinking it would be fun to maybe update it every year? Or maybe every 2 or 3 years? We'll see how much my husband likes it!

The other big gift I like to give my husband is his favorite breakfast - cinnamon rolls and I always let him choose what we eat for dinner and dessert. This year I am planning a delicious blueberry crisp using THIS recipe, except with blueberries in place of apples. I'm excited to see how it turns out. I'll definitely be posting it if it turns out delicious!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's Been Too Long...

It has really been a long time since I have posted on this blog. I have lots of fun crafts and recipes that I have been trying/doing since February, but life has been too busy to make time to post them. We are getting ready to welcome another baby into our family.

This is a picture of her from our 17 week ultrasound (which was actually in February).


Here's me at 29 weeks. I am now 35 weeks. I should take another picture so I can remember this pregnancy.

It has been a good one. I did have morning sickness through the first trimester, which I wasn't expecting because I did not have it with my first. The second trimester was great and the third one has been pretty good too. We did have a funky couple of weeks when I hit 32 weeks though. I started having really regular contractions so I was told to rest a lot and slow down. I did for about 2 weeks while I was recovering from the cold that they thought was irritating my uterus and causing the contractions, but then I got bored, got my energy back, and decided I was going to get off my bum and stay active again. Although, I do rest much more than I did before and I have simplified meal preparations and other things so that I am on my feet a little less.

My big craving with this pregnancy has been fruit - which actually happened with my first pregnancy as well.

This is just some of the fruit that we have in our house right now. We also have 4 boxes of blueberries (small ones), a giant cantaloupe, a humongous watermelon, and apples in the fridge (plus more kiwis and avocados if you like to count them as a fruit). We eat this much fruit every week, sometimes more. I'm addicted and it doesn't help that everything I LOVE is in season - or at least it's all for sale for great prices! This baby girl is going to be a fruit addict for sure - which is exactly how my son is so I suppose that's a good thing!

I will have posts about actual crafting coming your way soon. I have a fun Father's Day gift that I will be finishing up tomorrow and I am excited to "show it off." I think my husband will really like it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple Tote

Recently I found myself frustrated week after week with my little guy rummaging through my diaper bag at church. He would always pull out the lotion and the hand sanitizer and want to open them and pour them out. I finally decided that the solution would be to have a separate church bag that would only have things inside of it that he could get into. So far it has helped keep him a bit quieter through Sacrament meeting. So without further ado, meet my new church bag!

Isn't it awesome! I love the fun fabric, and it was so simple to make. The ORIGINAL TUTORIAL called for much smaller measurements, which I cut out first and then quickly realized would be too small for our needs. I then re-cut the material and made a bag quite a bit bigger. Unfortunately I cannot remember the measurements that I used. I do remember that I measured my big church binder (for me) and used that as a base measurement so that it would fit comfortably inside along with all of my son's church items.

My only problem with this bag is that I want to make a million more. I keep dreaming up uses for a new bag. I think I might need one for the gym, one for teaching dance, etc, etc. Oh, and I will probably need one in a more discreet pattern so that it will go with a lot more and not be so flashy. Don't you think? And this would also make a great gift, or even a beach bag. See! Thee possibilities are endless. We'll see if I get around to making more.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Best Ever Garlic Bread

I have been wanting to post this recipe for a very long time, but every time I make it I forget to take pictures. I finally remembered to take pictures last time I made. It is a frequent visitor at our table so I am thrilled to finally be sharing it.

Technically this recipe is called Hot Herb Bread, but I always think of it as garlic bread. It is a family recipe that my mother made a lot while I was growing up. That is probably why I love it so much!

Garlic Bread

1 Loaf French Bread (I always use wheat French bread)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt
Parmesan Cheese (for sprinkling)

Slice French bread in half lengthwise. Mix butter, parsley, dill weed, oregano, and garlic salt in a bowl. Spread over both sides of French bread. Put loaf back together, slice into pieces and wrap in tin foil. Bake at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Unwrap bread and lay pieces open on top of the tin foil on the baking sheet. Turn oven up to a broil. Sprinkle bread with Parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown.

Make sure you watch it VERY closely while broiling it. It will brown quickly and you just want the cheese to be melted.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Easy Baked Ziti

I was recently searching for an easy baked ziti recipe and I came across this yummy dish from Taste of Home filled with cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese.

I know the picture is not super great, but you get the idea of how delicious and cheesy it is! It was a very simple dish to prepare, and I usually always have the ingredients on hand so that makes it even easier. Pair this with some toasty garlic bread and a side of vegetables and you have a simple, fast, and tasty meal.

Easy Baked Ziti

  • 3 cups uncooked ziti or small tube pasta
  • 1-3/4 cups meatless spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, parsley, oregano, garlic powder and pepper. Drain pasta; stir into cheese mixture.
  • In a greased 8-in. square baking dish, spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce. Top with pasta mixture, remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer.
  • I have the best garlic bread recipe ever, and will be sharing it in an upcoming post, so stay tuned! I'm sure you could always use a meat sauce if you like to add more substance to your meal, although this dish definitely does not need it. And we actually don't eat a lot of meat at our house so I love finding good recipes without it!

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Car Caddy

    I made this cute little car caddy for my son for Christmas! He has LOVED playing with it. He especially loves to roll and unroll it and open and close it. But he also loves playing with the fun cars inside!

    I followed Jill's tutorial over at Homemade by Jill. It was a fairly simple tutorial so it actually didn't take me too long. I actually made it just a couple of days before Christmas on a last minute whim. You can tell that I am definitely not very good at sewing in a circle, especially with a zig zag stitch. Oh well, practice makes perfect right? And I don't mind that it isn't perfect. I made it and he loves it and that is all that matters!

    Some things I did differently:

    I used white felt for the numbers, instead of acrylic paint. I didn't have paint and I didn't want to buy any or bother with all of the stenciling and painting and drying. I just used fabric glue to secure them to the fabric. If I were to use felt again I would have sewn them on before creating the pockets.

    I also put white piping all the way around the edges. I like the way it looks better than just on the top and bottom edges.

    I just used canvas fabric because that's what I had, but I'm sure the duck canvas that Jill used would be a bit sturdier. Canvas worked fine though.

    It was a fun sewing project and I was proud of myself for giving something handmade to my little guy! I always think it is a little extra special when you make something for your children instead of just buying something. Probably just because I know that I have spent a lot more time thinking about them in the process of making a gift. (I also love purchased gifts for kids too, so there will be plenty of those in my future.)

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Andes Mint Fudge - Not Just for the Holidays!

    Since I didn't get around to posting Holiday things in December I am going to do a couple of catch up posts. We had a lot of sickness in our family the first couple of weeks of December so I spent my time taking care of my poor sick little boy instead of baking for neighbor treats. By the third week of December I was really getting the baking bug so I whipped up some easy fudge to put us all in the Christmas spirit.

    I found this fudge over at MADE. It was a guest post during her Christmas "Sweets & Treats" countdown. I loved the idea of how simple it was and I wanted to test it out to see if it was really good.

    And it definitely was! Thankfully I gave most of it away, otherwise I probably would have eaten it all myself. Here's the recipe:

    1 bag chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for semi-sweet, but I ALWAYS prefer milk)
    1 bag Andes Mint chips
    1 can sweetened condensed milk

    Mix it all in a bowl, pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes on high. I stirred it around about halfway through. Then pour it into an 8x8 or 9x9 greased baking dish. Let it set up for a few hours (or put it in the fridge until it's set up), cut into cubes, and enjoy.

    Fudge is usually something I would only make at Christmas time, but since this recipe is so easy and super good I think I will be making it more than once a year. I will admit that this fudge is not better than my original "Fantasy Fudge" recipe, but it sure comes close given how simple it is to make. Next time I make my original fudge recipe I will share it on the blog.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Ballerina Doll

    As promised, here is more information about the doll I made for my niece's birthday gift. I used the Jo Doll pattern, from the etsy shop "Bit of Whimsy Dolls." I loved the pattern, it was great! And I am excited about making more dolls in the future for gifts, and hopefully for my own little girl someday (if we are ever blessed with a little girl).

    I followed the pattern the whole way through, except that I changed the hair shape and created a bun instead. Then I add a little tulle skirt. It is actually a rather big tulle skirt for such a little doll, but I think it is super fun. It is also a removable skirt so she could always take it off if she wanted.

    Another variation I made on the pattern is that I added little ballet slippers made from felt and ribbon. I just drew up a little shoe pattern, cut it out of felt, and sewed it onto the little doll legs before I did any of the sewing from the pattern. Then I tied up the ribbon the way that you tie point shoes (lucky for me I have done my fair share of dancing so I know all about point shoe tying).

    One note I want to add for my own memory, and to help anyone else who might want to make a doll using this pattern, is that it would be better to trace and embroider the face before doing any of the sewing. I waited until the end like the pattern says, and it didn't turn out quite as great as it could have. The embroidery wasn't that hard, but sketching on the face was hard and I think it could have turned out better if I had done it before. At the very least, you should trace the face onto the fabric before sewing so that you know where to embroider later on. Hopefully those notes help someone else who might use the pattern.

    Another thing, sewing up the bottom of the doll was SUPER hard for me. It definitely did not turn out very good, which is unfortunate because it is sewn on the outside so you can see my horrible stitching. I am grateful for the tulle skirt that covers my poor sewing. Hopefully my sister-in-law (who happens to be much better at sewing than I am) won't judge me when she looks at it. I find comfort in the fact that it is for a four year old and she will probably never look at the seems or the sewing.

    To make the tulle skirt I just measured out a piece of elastic, cut it, sewed the ends together and wrapped cut pieces of tulle onto it. I don't know what the technique I used is called, but I would bet it's pretty easy to find youtube videos of tulle skirt making on the internet.

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Finished Advent Calendar

    Remember THIS crazy project I worked on FOREVER. Well I wanted to show you all how the finished product turned out. December flew by in a hurry. And I guess January has too, since it's almost February.

    It actually seems like another lifetime that I worked on this advent calendar and finished it. I have to be honest that by the time I actually finished, I was really annoyed with everything about it. It took all of my will power just to get it done. But, it's done now and I can look at it, folded neatly in my storage closet with my Christmas decorations, and enjoy the results of my labors.

    Here's a picture of the top. Everything was hand stitched on so it took a long time. It was definitely worth it in the end. It looks beautiful!

    And here is the finished project hanging on the wall. I need to re-do the star next year and also hang it differently because it is all wrinkly at the bottom. But, I put it away for now and will tackle those tiny details next Christmas.

    I am so excited to have this advent calendar for my family to enjoy for years to come. It was a lot of work so if you want to do one then I would seriously start RIGHT NOW. That way you can do a little at a time and not be so annoyed with it in the end.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Still Crafting...

    Hi there! For anyone who actually looks at this blog, I am still here and I am still crafting. It is precisely because I have been so focused on creating that I have not had time to post my creations.

    Just to prove I am still moving, here is one of my creations that I just finished...

    I made this little ballerina doll for my niece who is turning four this week! I'm off to send it in the mail. I hope she loves it, because I do!

    More pictures, with a link to the pattern, and my thoughts on it coming soon!

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    The Last Half - Advent Calendar

    Well I certainly got off track with my posting when I left town for Thanksgiving. I thought I would have all the time in the world to post while I was on vacation, but of course spending time with family always soaks up every minute and ounce of energy I have. So I will post the rest of the advent squares all together.

    I have to admit that my advent calendar is still not finished. Yes I know that it is the 8th of December, but in my defense I have had many other things to take care of that are higher on my priority list than crafting - such as being a wife, mother, and homemaker. Normal everyday responsibilities sometimes add up for me, probably because I am not always good at using my time efficiently.

    For a while I felt pretty bad about my failure to produce this beautiful advent calendar on December 1st, especially since everywhere you look on the internet people are accomplishing their crafting goals. In an effort to make this blog realistic I would like to say I am not always one of those people. I love to craft and most of the time I get things done by my "deadline," but sometimes it is okay to be a bit behind. After all this is definitely not life or death. And you know what, my son isn't even old enough to understand Christmas, let alone presents and advent calendars. Next year will really be the year that counts. So if I'm a bit behind schedule this year then I say it's okay!

    Enough with the confessions. Here are the last 13 squares. I love how they all turned out.

    All 25 pockets are now sewn to my tree backing. I just have to finish stitching the numbers - which is very fast to do so far - and then sew the layers together. I hope to have it all complete and hanging on the wall this weekend. I am pretty confident it will happen too, because I'm finally sick of seeing it sitting on my craft table.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Group #3 - Advent Calendar

    Four more pockets stitched! These four sure turned out fun. My favorite of the bunch is definitely the Christmas lights. They are so cute!

    Can you tell that the last one is a wise man? I think he needs a beard? Or something...he just feels like he is missing something. I can't really figure it out though so it may just stay the way it is. If you have any ideas on how to make him appear more "wise" then please let me know!

    Now I have 12 down and 13 more to go! Almost halfway!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Group #2 - Advent Calendar

    Here's the second batch of advent calendar pockets...

    I have to admit that the milk and cookies is so far my least favorite one. The idea is so fun, but I think I just didn't quite execute it correctly. I think it would have turned out better if I had made the window cover the entire top portion of the square (maybe with 2 windows & 1 set of curtains?). I don't know. It might bug me enough to add some "wall paper" to the background. We'll see.

    All of the other ones turned out great! I think the reindeer is adorable and I love the bell with music notes and the presents.

    So far I am still going strong. I have been working constantly on this project, but I think that it will be slowing down soon for the Holiday travels. Hopefully I can still get it all done before December 1st!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Sweet Mustard Chicken

    A few weeks ago I was watching my friend's kids and saw this recipe open on her computer. I thought it sounded delicious so I decided to give it a go. I love honey mustard sauce, so I figured I would really like this recipe.

    I did however substitute honey mustard for Dijon mustard because the Dijon mustard at the store I was at had white wine in it. I LOVED it with the honey mustard so I may actually just keep using that instead of the Dijon. Next time I have Dijon mustard that is free from white wine I will test it out to see if it is better.

    I served our chicken with yummy mashed potatoes (which I made all by myself for the first time ever - and they were the best mashed potatoes I have ever had, go me!!!) and steamed green beans. The sweet mustard sauce was so tasty paired with the mashed potatoes and green beans. I think it would be even better with asparagus - well, everything would be better with asparagus.

    So, next time you are in the mood for a little chicken, check out this saucy recipe. It will hit the spot!

    Sweet Mustard Chicken Bake

    4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

    1/2 cup honey

    1/4 cup Dijon mustard (or honey mustard)

    1/2 cup butter, melted

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a shallow baking dish.

    In a small bowl, stir together the honey, Dijon mustard, melted butter and pepper. Place chicken in the greased baking dish, and pour the honey mustard sauce over it.

    Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, basting frequently with the sauce, until chicken is firm and juices run clear.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Group #1 - Advent Calendar

    My first 4 squares are ALL done! I am so, so, so excited about how they turned out. And seeing them done is getting me more and more excited to continue stitching my heart out.

    I absolutely LOVE my little snowman! And the gingerbread house turned out so cute as well. The stocking is fun too! And you just can't go wrong with a beautiful snowflake right? It is so nice to begin seeing a finished product!

    I have more pockets in the works and will be sharing more batches over the next week and a half or so. I must admit that each pocket takes a good 2-3 hours. Except for ones like the snowflake. That one only took about 45 minutes at most. The gingerbread house definitely took a good 3 hours. All of the little french knots just take time because you have to cut and re-knot and cut and re-knot quite a few times. It was all worth the time though.

    And I must confess that I have been listening to Christmas music while working on this advent calendar. I am ashamed to admit it, but how can you work on something so festive and not enjoy some good tunes? Hopefully next year I will come to my senses and enjoy Thanksgiving fully before moving on to Christmas.

    PS: If I find the time then I might come up with some Thanksgiving decorations for our home. However, I am guessing that next year will be the year for Thanksgiving decorations since we are headed out of town this weekend and won't really be able to enjoy any decorations that I make. We will see though. Happy Monday to you all!

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Christmas Advent Calendar {My Life During November}

    In honor of this fun date - 11/11/11 - I thought I would share my November project. It has pretty much taken over my entire life this month. I have been working on it every spare moment I can find. The initial idea for this project came from A Feathered Nest. She created a Christmas advent calendar two years ago that I LOVED. I didn't find it until last year at the end of November so I did not have the time to create my own version for Christmas. This year will be our first Christmas not visiting family so I thought it would be the perfect year to start a tradition of an advent calendar.

    If you can believe it, I started this project way back in March. I gathered supplies and began cutting out the felt squares for the pockets (just the bases). Then a few months went by and I didn't do any work on it. In August I started cutting out some of the shapes for the images on each pocket. When I planned out my pockets I wanted to have a Christmas themed image on each one. Abby's version HERE had quite a few pockets that were darling, but they were just simple patterns/designs and I just didn't want to go that route. I wanted each square to be unique and I also wanted to bring in the religious aspect of Christmas more - since Christ is was Christmas is all about. I have been working just a little here and there ever since August on the cutting phase.

    At the end of October I decided that I really wanted to finish it in time for Christmas this year. So I set out a schedule to finish it in one month. So far I am still on schedule to finish by November 30th. I hope I can make it!

    Here are my squares at the first stage - just cut outs! This project will be entirely hand sewn. That is why it will be my life this month. I have been stitching, stiching, and stiching everyday for the past week and a half. I am so excited to see the finished project at the end of the month.

    All 25 advent pockets. Remember, these are just the cutouts so they really don't look that great yet. The stitching is where the magic happens. Which is funny because I have NO experience with embroidery or hand stitching. Hopefully it all turns out good!

    Snowman, Gingerbread House (I added this one), Bell (to symbolize music), Presents!

    Stocking, Snowflake (my addition), Christmas Lights (inspired by the pictures of Abby's friend), and Mittens.

    Milk and Cookies, Rudolph, Holly Leaves & Berries, Wiseman (all of these are Meagan originals except for the Holly Leaves).

    Santa's Sleigh, Mary, and Christmas Tree (the sleigh and Mary are my additions).

    Sheep, Gingerbread Man, and Angel.

    Ornament, Birthday Cake (to celebrate Jesus' birth - I think this will help my son get more excited about celebrating Jesus' birthday), and Candy Canes.

    Wreath, Cup of Hot Cocoa (another addition of mine), and Santa Clause.

    And last, but not least, Baby Jesus in a Manger.

    I am so excited to see these done with the stiching. Some of them are close so I will start sharing them next week. There's still time for you to make your own as well. So go gather your supplies and start sewing with me!