12/03/2013

Christmas in a Jar

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and  lots of time spent with friends and family.  Half of our kids were home and two of our granddaughters so we were delighted.
Today I wanted to pick out an easy Christmas project that almost any age from about 2 on up (with help) can do in under an hour.  They turn out so cute and are so easy peasy.

You need some small Christmas trees. Two in a package are only $1 at the Dollar stores or can be bought at any craft store for a little more.  They have a variety to pick from.
You need to gather up as many jars.. as needed. They can be all the same or different.  You need one for each gift or decoration.  I had these jars available but you can also buy them at any store including the dollar stores.
Any kind of regular glue will work.  These are two of my favorite as well as Elmer's glue---even cheaper.
Optional are spray glitter and spray snow available again at any craft store or big box store that sells Christmas decorations. You can 'glam up' your trees or use as they are.
If you want to get fancy, you can spray your trees with alcohol inks or spray glitter.  You can also bleach the bottle brush trees in a mixture of one part bleach and two parts water until the color is gone.  I then added some of mine to food coloring batches with vinegar and food coloring after rinsing them with soap and water to get the bleach out. 

You also need a large jar of glitter.  Again you can choose any color you want or mix and match.
You can add family photos to make the gift more personal.  This is one of our granddaughters and she was goofing off in a pair of pink glasses standing on a chair.  It is perfect for what I want. This size picture was printed on my printer using the 3x5 setting to get the size I wanted.  Some pictures might need to be a little larger or smaller, depending on the size jar you are using.  I printed this size and a wallet to pick the best option.
I cut the picture out so she is a silhouette and put glue on the back side.
I glued it to card stock.  Any type paper that is thicker than printer paper will work. Photo paper is thick enough that it doesn't have to be backed. Construction paper is great.  I then cut that out around the figure.


I glued the bottom of the Christmas Tree and placed it where I wanted inside the jar.  I glued the picture next to the tree then poured in the clear white glitter.  It looks like she is standing in the snow reaching to the top of the tree.  I could have added a small ornament or paper star to her hand but didn't think of that until this was all done and am now explaining the steps.  Isn't that how it goes?
I embellished this jar with ribbon and added two large jingle bells and a tag that says MERRY CHRISTMAS.
I took three other pictures and printed them on stamp size prints.  These are two other grand daughters who are swimming and have goggles on.  I cut them out so they look like they are buried in the snow and their doggie is sitting next them, partly buried.  They are also backed with card stock and glued in front of the little tree.  I did not label this one.  I used a wide velvet ribbon around the lid and added a ribbon package topper.
This jar I did not use photos but looked through my stash of odd ball ornaments and found this little nativity scene.  I again glued all the elements to the bottom of the jar and added the glitter "Snow'.
I printed a tag that said  'O Holy Night'.  I found a funky elastic ribbon and put it around the  lid.
Lids can be painted or covered in paper as other options.

So there you have three different ideas for these little jars.  They are great gifts for teachers or to personalize for grandparents, aunts and uncles or special neighbors from your and/or your children.
I hope you enjoyed this and it starts you thinking of all kinds of other ideas to make simple but affordable decorations.

11/20/2013

Guest Post Swap

Hi Everyone.  Today I am introducing a guest post from Kathleen.  We are participating in the Guest Post Swap sponsored by the wonderful gals at Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  I asked her to share some of her Gluten Free cooking with us.  Please visit her blogs and the rest of the swap members for lots of fun.
Guest Post Swap



Hello! My name is Kathleen and I blog at Fearlessly Creative Mammas  with my oldest daughter, Samantha. We blog about recipes, crafts, DIY projects and life. I also have a blog called Pebble Pirouette, where I blog about my travels around the world. I think I must like to write and take pictures. Actually, those are two of my many interests. I also love crafting, cooking, reading, traveling and spending time with my family. I have recently taken up archery too, so I'm working on that when I can. 

Catiean and I have been paired up to be guest bloggers on each other's blog through The Chaotic Goddess Swaps. If you click on that link on the 21st, there will be lots of other swaps as well. Maybe you will get some great ideas for the upcoming holiday season. Personally, I can't wait to see all of the things that are posted. 

Catiean asked me to write about gluten free cooking and to provide a gluten free recipe for you today. I do not have to eat gluten free, but I have family members who are either gluten intolerant or who have celiacs disease, so I cook and eat that way a lot of the time. It really isn't difficult, so don't be scared. First, I thought I would give you some tips, in case you are just starting on this journey and then I will tell you about my recipe. It's a good one and it's easy too. My favorite kind! 

Tips for Gluten Free eating:
1. Fresh is always easiest and best. If you have fresh produce, fresh meat, etc, then you don't have to worry too much about gluten. I try to shop mainly on the outside edges of the store. Fresh lunch meat doesn't always fall in the gluten free category, but some do. 
2. Read labels relentlessly. The FDA recently issued requirements on labeling food, beverages and dietary supplements to ensure we know what does and does not have gluten. You can read about those requirements Here.
3. Spices are tricky. I use bullion sometimes and bullion contains gluten. I buy mine from a place called Mom's Place Gluten Free. She will ship things to you as well. She is also great about answering questions. 
4. A lot of restaurants have gluten free menus. You can check their websites to see menus ahead of time or ask at the restaurant. 
5. Watch out for shredded cheese. I had no idea about this until I took at class. A lot of companies use flour to keep their shredded cheese from sticking together. I have been told that Kraft Naturals are gluten free. Check the label though. 
6. Beware of cross contamination if you are cooking gluten free for someone but with gluten for someone else. We have a four slice toaster and one side is just for gluten free bread. My sister has a whole toaster for only gluten free bread. If you're using the same cutting board, either cut up the gluten free stuff first or wash it really well before you cut the gluten free stuff. 
7. The fewer ingredients in something you buy prepackaged, the better. You get in trouble with all those words you can't say. This is true even if you aren't eating gluten free. 
8. Plan ahead. If you're going to be out for awhile, take a safe snack with you. 

Okay, that's a few things. Now, on to the recipe. 





My husband travels for business sometimes, so I don't always want to cook a big meal for just me. One night I was starving, busy and pressed for time, so I thought I would throw something together and see how it turned out. Oh boy was I happy with the results. I have this a lot now, just because I like it so well. I will list the ingredients and when you shop for your ingredients, make sure they are all gluten free. 

Green Chili Beans and Rice
Serves 4

1 15 ounce can of Pinto Beans (I use S &W brand)
1 4 ounce can diced roasted green chills - I use mild and you can also use fresh (La Victoria and Ortega brands are GF)
1 1/2 cup rice
3 cups water
2 Tbsp chicken bullion (I use Mom's Place above)





Instructions

Place all ingredients in a rice cooker and turn it on until it turns itself off. Alternatively, you can put all of the ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, put the lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. 
When it is finished cooking, mix well and serve on it's own, with a little cheese, or as a side dish to TAMALESTACOS or Slow Cooker Chicken Chili . 



 I hope you like this recipe and that the tips were helpful. Please visit us at Fearlessly Creative Mammas and check out our other gluten free recipes. They aren't all gluten free though, so if that's what you're looking for, please select carefully. 

Thanks Catiean for the swap! I hope you love this!! 




Kathleen Please visit our blogs below. Family Blog: http://pebblepirouette.blogspot.com/ Creative Blog: fearlesslycreativemammas.blogspot.com Photography: http://photographybykathleenclegg.blogspot.com

11/12/2013

AEDM Day 12

 
 
I seem to have a hard time completing  one piece of 'art' in a day.  Maybe it is because I pick bigger projects or it is because I don't want to post them half done.  At any rate this is my latest piece of art.
I was doodling while we caught up on TV shows we had on TiVo. This is a compilation of parts of images that caught my eye.  I decided to use random background texture.  The entire piece is done in prisma color pencils.  Once I got into it, I loved it.  It was so relaxing. And.....it does not tell me about any one show or commercials we watched....funny how the brain picks up on detail here and there and makes a brand new image when you let it!
 
 

http://creativeeveryday.com/art-every-day-month-2013-participants

11/09/2013

9th Day of Art Every Day Month

A few months ago I signed up for an art/creativity challenge for creating something every day the month of November.  This event is held each year and sponsored by the lovely talented and supportive Leah Piken Kolidas. This is already day number nine.  I have been creating but haven't taken the time to post until today.
I see myself as a mixed media artist and love drawing and painting and assemblage art.  I also love to sew and create out of fabric and clay and whatever trash stuff I have on hand.
I have a surgery coming up in a week and a half and will be out of commission for more than a few months so have been trying to muck out closets and drawers and get everything organized around here.
 
I love decorating for every holiday/season..  Our kids and kidlets all live far away, but I have a dozen kids from the area that come once a week for art/sewing/baking etc.  They love to see the different decorations and it keeps me inspired to please them as well.
                                             I pulled out all the leave and pumpkin fabrics.
I cut them in squares or rectangles, folded them length wise and stitched up two sides.
                                       I used small and large pieces of fabric so not to waste any.
I grabbed my ribbon containers and pulled out corresponding ribbons, cut lengths longer than the fabric sections and tied them in a knot.
I also had my trusty studio cat an pal, Mato, overseeing my projects.  I rubberbanded the gathered fabric of one end with the ends of the ribbon inside the fabric section.
                                                                             Like this.
             When you turn the fabric square right side out, the ribbon lengths are hanging down.
                                            I then stuffed the pumpkin with cotton stuffing.
                     Next, I took a threaded needle and draw stitched the pumpkin closed.
                         I cut some small limbs from a tree in the yard and used them for stems.
              Then I pulled the ribbons up from the bottom and sewed them to the based of the stem.
I wrapped the ribbons around the stem to finish it off.  This fabric was my Mom's and it is from the 60's.
This is the pumpkin patch I created.  When I showed my DH he said...well halloween is over Honey.
I said.......it is FALL.....Thanksgiving is Fall and have you ever heard of pumpkin pie?" Oh  well they look nice then."  hmmmmm some days............
I have had this turkey hat for several years taking space in the Thanksgiving decorations bin.  I never know what to do with it so decided today I would make it into SOMETHING.
I have a very ecclectic collection of 'trash'  stuff and doll heads are included. So I grabbed this one and after stuffing the "body' I attached the doll head.
                    I also had a handful of real Turkey feathers some one gave me a few years ago.
The feathers were cut down and glued to the neck area of the baby.  I pulled out some wooden letters, painted them and then glued them to some ribbon and attached them to the turkey 'baby.'
She sits on our mantle and makes me smile.  Oh yeah  DH 'got it' and laughed with me. 
I hope you are creating whatever makes you smile today.
To follow other blogs creating art every day please follow here:
 
http://creativeeveryday.com/creativeeveryday/2013

11/05/2013

Chaotic Goddess Swaps

I just signed up at Chaotic Goddess Swaps to take part in a very different swap.  It is a swap with another blogger and you write a guest post on each other's blog.  I thought it would be fun and interesting to take part in this.  If you are interested you still have time to sign up.
 




Our First Snow

The last month has found me 'Nesting'.  I am scheduled for major tendon surgery on the 20th.  I have been putting it off for a few months but I need to do it now.  I will have a minimum 4 month rehab and that is very daunting. So, I have been cleaning and reorganizing and mucking out drawers and closets.
Yesterday we had some free time and I took some pictures in our yard and down the street.  Such beauty for the start of November!
                             We have had no rain and turned the outside water off weeks ago.
                             This one is called  'chocolate rose'.  I love the brown on the petals.
                             The leaves have been so pretty with the cooler days and nights.
                                                Spring and Fall our my favorite seasons.
                                                            Such amazing colors. 
                 So this morning we opened the curtains to Mother Nature sending winter Snow!
                 John is so happy to not have to scrape windows and make the trek to work and so am I.
The pool area in all its splendor.  Still catches us off guard every time we go out the back door.
                                             The same roses I took pictures of yesterday.
I was just talking to my Mom and my sister about how long the rose season has lasted this fall.
The merging of one season ending and a new one beginning.
I hope you are finding your own beauty in your surroundings where ever you live.