Tag Archives: clever uses

How to Make Thick and Chunky Yarn

Tis the season for thick and cozy yarn, but here’s the problem…that warm, thick, chunky blanket yarn can run you about 12 bucks a skein…and not only that, but you get WAY less than you think you do. So, here’s the simple solution – make your own!

how-to-make-your-own-chunky-yarn

Yes, it does take some time, but with all the Christmas movies you have yet to watch, it can go a lot faster than you think.

For my chunky yarn, I used Lion Brand Homespun Thick and Quick Yarn (Tudor – #315), which was on sale at my local Hobby Lobby.

chunky-yarn

Now all you do to turn this thin yarn into thick yarn is you start chaining, and then you keep going until you’re done. Yup, this thick and cozy yarn is just one super long chain!  For reference, here’s the comparison in thickness (chain on the left, yarn on the right):

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I bought four skeins and turned them all into thick yarn…then I think I’m going to braid them together and sew them into a big cozy blanket because – after all –

game of thrones jon snow kit harington winter is coming

You could also use an extra large crochet hook or big knitting needles to make something with your extra thick yarn.

Happy Crocheting!

 

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Cookies

It’s inevitable…whether it’s your co-worker, friend, or crazy aunt, someone is bound to send an email sometime between now and December 19th with the following subject line:

LET’S DO A COOKIE EXCHANGE!

While there are some folks who will jump at this opportunity (me!), there are others who just don’t have the time, patience, money, or skills to bake an insane amount of cookies around the holiday season…but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on the fun!

Let the grocery store do the work for you!  With these five no-fail, insanely easy cookie decorating ideas, you can still have fun decorating and gifting cookies without all the stress that comes with baking!  Simply buy your favorite cookies as your base and add your own special touches at home.

store-bought-cookies

Whether it’s Nilla Wafers, Oreos, Nutter Butters, or just regular old sugar cookies, these no-bake cookie decorating ideas are just the ticket to a batch of cookies you’ll be proud to share with family and friends.  They’re simple, affordable, and most of all, fun!

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Cookies

Nilla Wafer Cookies
Honey and Butter Blog

OREO Polar Bear Cookies
Noshing with the Nolands Blog
Polar Bear Cookies

Nutter Butter Snowmen
Brown Eyed Baker Blog

Easy Reindeer Sugar Cookies
One Little Project at a Time Blog
These reindeer sugar cookies are really easy to make and they look ADORABLE! The cookie recipe is so good! Perfectly even cookies, with no chilling required!

Milano Cookie Reindeer
Momerish Blog
Reindeer Cookies

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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10 Dollar Store Christmas Decorations

We’re all trying to save money around the holidays…and just because you’re trying to save a little green doesn’t mean you can’t bring the magic of the season into your home!

I mean, let’s face it…if my bank account were a person, it would have a serious nutrient deficiency.  IT NEEDS MORE GREENS, AM I RIGHT?!  But with these clever and creative dollar store Christmas decorations, you can create a magical Christmas wonderland in your home without spending a cent (or at least spending very few of them!).

So keep the greens in the bank.  This year, make your own magical Christmas decorations with materials you most likely have in your craft storage bin already!

Pinterest Top 10:  Dollar Store Christmas Decorations

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 Fa La La La La Embroidery Hoop Mantel Decor
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Rudolph the Glitter Reindeer
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JOY Sign
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Popsicle Stick Snowflakes
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Christmas Sweater Pillows
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DIY Sparkle Branches
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Merry and Bright Wall Art
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Paper Christmas Lights
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Cookie Cutter Wreath
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Spoon Trees
spoons

Want to see more of my favorite Christmas ideas?  Check out my Pinterest board, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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10 Kitchen Staples You Can Make Yourself

Why spend money on things you can make yourself?  From must-have condiments to DIY baking supplies, these Make-It-Yoself Kitchen Staples will allow you to create your own amazing sauces, spice packs, and more.

Besides being able to say, “Why yes, that ketchup IS homemade!”,  making your own seasoning packets and sauces also gives you the ability to control your sugar and sodium intake.  PLUS, homemade always tastes better!

So toss that 3-year-old bottle of ketchup.  Don’t waste money on those salty seasoning packets…get creative in the kitchen and have fun making your own kitchen must-haves with this list of DIY Kitchen Staples!

kitchen-staples

Condiments:

DIY Homemade Ketchup
Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Homemade-Ketchup-1

Ridiculously Easy Homemade Mustard
Simple Good and Tasty

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BEST Homemade Mayo
Satisfying Eats

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Homemade BBQ Sauce
Gimme Some Oven

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DIY Spice Packs:

Taco Seasoning
The Pioneer Woman

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Ranch Seasoning
Damn Delicious

DIY-Homemade-Ranch-Seasoning-Mix

Chili Seasoning
Whole New Mom

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Baking Supplies:

Homemade Buttermilk
My Frugal Adventures

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Confectioners’ Sugar
The Burlap Bag

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Baking Powder
A Bright and Beautiful Life

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Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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9 Clever Ways to Keep Your Food Cold in the Summer

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!

If you’re a citizen of ‘MURICA, chances are you’re donning your red, white, and blue attire and heading to your local firework display or BBQ cookout, picnic basket in hand. And if you’re traveling with fruit, deli salads, meats, cheeses, desserts, or the like, you’re probably wondering how to keep your food cold, despite boiling July temperatures. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re just trying to keep your edibles cold in transit or you need them cold for outdoor entertaining, these picnic and entertaining hacks will help you keep your cool and refreshing treats, well, cool and refreshing.

Summertime Hacks!
How to Keep Your Food Cold

keep-food-cold

Place bottles of water in the freezer and use them to keep food cold when traveling. If frozen at least a week in advance, the bottles could stay frozen for up to a day, much more economical than that gas station ice that lasts about 2 seconds.

Keep drinks cold by placing them in a mixture of water and ice. Using just ice won’t distribute the cold as evenly as water will, so placing your drinks in an ice bath will keep them colder longer.

Full coolers tend to stay cold longer, so if your cooler has empty space, fill it with ice.

If traveling by car, keep your food/cooler in the passenger area. The temperature is usually cooler inside the car than it is in the trunk.

Create an ice bowl by putting a medium-sized bowl inside a larger bowl, then fill the larger bowl with water and freeze. Serve your salad or fruit in the insulated bowls.

If possible, freeze part of your dish. If you’re serving a fruit salad, mix in frozen blueberries before you head out the door. They should defrost in about 30 minutes.

Fill small water balloons with water and pop them in the freezer. Use them around your food to keep your table cold and decorative!
Side note, add some food coloring to the water before you freeze it. Peel the balloon off the frozen water for an amazing winter (or summer) decoration.

If you’re traveling a long distance, consider waiting to assemble your dish until you arrive at your destination. Mayonnaise, for example, can be kept at room temperature until the container is opened. It might also allow for easier travel if you don’t have to worry about your bowl tipping over. Just cut and package everything and assemble when ready.

Like your fridge, a cooler will stay colder if the lid stays closed. Avoid opening and closing the lid of your food cooler by keeping drinks and food in separate coolers, if possible.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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How to Make a Pocketwatch Necklace

pocket-watch-necklace-final

Last month I was helping my mom clean up her house and came across one of my dad’s old pocket watches. I recently lost my father to pancreatic cancer so finding this little trinket brought up a rush of emotions.

pocket-watch-necklace

The pocket watch no longer works, but I thought it might be fun to turn it into a cute charm necklace to remind me of him.

This was a surprisingly super easy project to do and one you can easily embellish and re-create if you want to transform a family trinket into something new. It would be great for pins, brooches, lockets, and even wrist watches.

I added a little rabbit charm to the clock since his favorite book was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and that book always reminds me of him. Plus, it serves as a little reminder of how quickly time can get away from us. Cherish every moment!

pocket-watch-necklace-rabbit-charm

UPDATE: I first decided to just string the chain through the pocket watch but it kept sliding around and knocking into the charm…so I cut the chain and reattached each side to the actual pocket watch to prevent it from sliding back and forth.

pocket-watch-necklace-update

As an added dedication, I set the time to his birthday: 10:23:58.

pocket-watch-necklace-time-set

As we come upon Father’s Day, be sure to tell your parents how much they mean to you. Time passes too quickly and we just never know how much time we have together. I think about my dad every day and wish I could have just 5 more minutes with him to tell him again how much I love him.

pocket-watch-necklace-2

When you’re little, you think everyone—especially your parents—will be alive forever…and even in adulthood, it feels so strange that he’s not here. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it or it will ever seem “normal”, but I take every day as it comes and remain thankful for all the blessings in my life.

 

Alice: “How long is forever?”

White Rabbit: “Sometimes, just one second.”

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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10 Must-Know Baking Hacks

To celebrate World Baking Day (May 17th), I’ve collected a few of my favorite baking hacks that I find myself coming back to again and again.  Some of these I learned from friends and family…others I picked up along the way by trial and error.

Baking shouldn’t be intimidating!  It’s really fun and actually quite easy to experiment with different flavors and textures.  Cake won’t rise?  Canned frosting tastes terrible?  Don’t worry!  There’s a hack for that! 😉

800-pie-crustIf your flour or sugar needs to be sifted, pay attention to how it’s phrased in the directions. For example, “1 cup sifted all-purpose flour” (flour is measured AFTER sifting) is not the same as “1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted” (flour is measured BEFORE sifting).

For better results, use a liquid measuring cup to measure liquid ingredients and dry measuring cups to measure dry ingredients.

For lighter, fluffier baked goods, spoon flour into measuring cups and then level it off. Do not use your measuring cup as a scoop, as this will cause flour to pack down and actually give you more flour than you need.

If you’re measuring sticky items, like honey, syrup, or molasses, spray your measuring utensils with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Baking temps matter! For a fluffier cake, bake at a lower temperature (325 degrees F – 350 degrees F). Cakes will bake denser at higher degrees (375 degrees F – 400 degrees F).

Hate that canned frosting taste? Take the frosting out of the can and whip it with an electric mixer for a few minutes to beat in air and add volume. Add a few drops of vanilla or almond extract to add more flavor.

Keep berries and chocolate suspended in your desserts and baked goods by first coating them with flour. A very light coating will work. Great trick for cookies, cakes, and muffins!

If you’re having trouble with your cakes and cookies not rising properly, try replacing your baking powder.

When baking cookies, make sure you bake like-sized cookies for even baking. Use a scoop for plop and drop cookies and bake similar-sized cut out cookies together to make sure everything bakes evenly.

If you have empty cavities in your muffin tin or doughnut pan, add water in the empty cavities to help your baked items cook evenly.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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