Monday, 24 December 2012

Homemade Chocolate Liqueur

Merry Christmas!  I'm raising a virtual toast to everyone with this recipe for homemade chocolate liqueur.  Let me tell you, it's divine.  I based my version off of a recipe found here and made a few slight variations of my own.  So here it is!

Chocolate Liqueur 

2 1/2 cups Half and Half
2 cups of Whiskey (I used Jack Daniels, but use whichever brand you fancy)
3 300ml cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Instant Espresso Powder
1/8 cup of good quality melted chocolate (I used Bernard Callebaut)
2 Tbsp shaved chocolate

Combine all of the above in a large bowl and mix using an immersion blender or a hand mixer on the lowest speed.  Note: It will not fit in a blender unless you have a gargantuan one, and it will also not fit in a 12 cup food processor.  Store in airtight glass jars and consume within 1 week.  Makes 2 wine bottles full and a a few extra glasses so you can taste test.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Advent Calendar Activities

It's been a busy few weeks trying to keep up with Advent Calendar activities, Christmas baking, crafts, gifts, and remembering to move our house elf, Bob. So I thought I would do one big post about some of the highlights of the last few weeks.  Here it goes:

Bob has gotten into a few crazy things, but mostly he just moves around the house now.  While he hasn't really improved toddler behaviour, my little guy loves looking for him each day and talks to him a lot.

Christmas donuts from Tim's were a huge hit.  This weekend I'm going to try my hand at making my own baked chocolate candy cane donuts.  Recipe to follow!  :)

We went to see the CP Rail Holiday Train when it pulled into town on a freezing cold Friday night.  Lots of fun despite the cold and a great way to help those in need this holiday season.  For any shuterbugs out there, I shot this with my Canon 5D (on a tripod) f/9 ISO 100 with an 8 sec exposure.

More giving by supporting our local Santa's Anonymous.  My little guy had fun picking out toys for other kids.

Snowman pizza!  A cute idea I saw on Pinterest that I had to try.  It was a hit!

Elf punch!  I saw an idea on Pinterest (where else!?) for Grinch Punch while you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and thought it was a great idea.  I modified the recipe slightly since I don't give my little guy's my version:

Elf Punch

Lime Sherbet
Lime Perrier
red and green sprinkles to trim the rim of the glass (I also added green sprinkles in the glass since my lime sherbet was not green)
"Mom, it's so good"!  Direct quote from my little dude.

We've also made cookies, looked at Christmas lights, watched a few holiday movies, had hot chocolate, and other fun activities.  It would take forever to post about each one, but I am planning on documenting all the fun in my December Daily scrapbook mini album.  So far I have the front cover done...but I have everything documented in my journal book (otherwise the old mommy brain will not remember) and the plan is to finish it over the Christmas brake when the hubs is home and I can spend more time in my crafty space.

That's it for now...thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Decor - Merry Christmas Banner

I'm really digging the banner trend going on right far I've made an Easter one and some Birthday ones, and I just finished making myself a Christmas one!  This one took much longer than I had anticipated, but I'm really happy with the results.  I think it looks pretty snazzy in my entrance, don't you!?

Materials used:
American Crafts Kraft cardstock - for the base
My Mind's Eye Holly Jolly
Twinery Cappuccino twine
Teresa Collins washi tape
October Afternoon Sprinklers and Mr Hueys

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Treats

Amidst the crafty projects I need to get done before the 25th, there's a bunch of holiday baking that I also need to get done.  Chocolate Crunch and Nuts and Bolts are complete (only 5 other things left to make now!)  Here are the recipes for both in case you need a little baking inspiration.

Chocolate Crunch - aka Cracker Toffee - This stuff is Ah-Mazing.  Let's hope it lasts til Christmas.

1 cup margarine
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers (approximately...depends on pan size)
1 package milk chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet (or Jelly Roll pan) with aluminum foil.  Arrange saltines to cover the entire pan.  You may need to get creative and break some in half so that the entire pan surface is covered.  

Place margarine and brown sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and cook on medium heat.  Do NOT turn your heat up any higher than medium or your mixture will burn.  Be patient...this is a somewhat slow process.  As the mixture starts to heat up, the margarine and sugar will slowly start to come together and bubbles will start to form.  Keep cooking until it starts to thicken up and bubble nicely.  Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the crackers and spread with an angled spatula until all crackers are covered.  Place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes.

When there's about 2 minutes left, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave.  Remove pan from oven after 10 minutes and pour the melted chocolate over top.  Spread it evenly over the crackers.  Add festive sprinkles if desired.  Place pan in freezer until hardened.  Break into pieces and enjoy!

This stuff gets gooey if left out, so store it in the freezer until serving time.

Nuts and Bolts (aka Chex Mix)

1lb Butter
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
4 cups Cheerios
4 cups Rice Chex
4 cups Shreddies
4 cups pretzel sticks
1 box Cheese Bits crackers
4 cups Praline peanuts

Place dry ingredients (except the peanuts) in a large roaster or large bowl.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion powder and celery salt.  Stir to combine.  Pour over dry ingredients.  Bake at 250 F for 1.5 hours stirring every 20 minutes or so.  Add peanuts after baking.

Store in an airtight container.  I like to store mine in the freezer if I'm making it in advance.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Handmade Christmas - Husband Gifts

It's a good thing the Hubs doesn't read my blog...because today's post is all about the gifts I've made (and still have to make) him for Christmas.  He's kind of hard to buy for sometimes because he's a big shopper, and when he finds something that he wants, he buys it.  So, this year I wanted to make him some cool things that he can't buy himself.

First up, his very own "dream" blanket.  I love Aden and Anais blankets...and so do my kids.  They're so soft and snuggly.  But, they don't come in adult size.  The Hubs loves them too.  So, my first project was to make him his own adult size dream blanket.  I'd heard that JoAnn's carried a cotton gauze fabric, so last time I was in the US I stopped in to check it out.  Totally not the same thing.  Drat.  So I did a little searching online and found some cotton bubble gauze from Dharma Trading Company.  The reviews said it was amazingly soft so I ordered 10 yards.  The reviews were right.  This stuff is luxurious!  Since I needed 4 layers for his blanket, I cut the fabric into 2.5 yard pieces.  Then, all I did was fold the edges over a 1/4" then another 1/4" and sewed as close to the edge as I could.  The fabric is a tad tricky to work with so my edges are not even close to being professional or straight for that matter, but that's gives it character right?  In about an hour, my "dream" blanket was finished!

The cotton bubble gauze only comes in white, so I decided to dye it green since we are all big Rider fans in this house.  My favorite dye to work with is Dylan Dye.  It creates beautiful colors and is really easy to work with.  1 package is good for 250 gm of fabric.  I had significantly more than that but I decided to use just the one package...I was too cheap to buy the 10 packages I probably needed and wanted a subtler colour.  Here are the results:

I didn't have anyone to hold it up so you could see how long it is, but after shrinkage it's about 45"x80".

Project #2:  I saw this cute shirt on Pinterest and thought it would make a perfect stocking stuffer.  I knew I could make it myself for cheaper, so I played around in my Silhouette software and made one very similar to the one I pinned.  I also learned a few new tricks while making this...curving text and modifying a shape.  (The original shape had shirt cuffs underneath that I didn't want in my design).  Here is the finished result:

Next, I'll be working on a scrappy photo frame for his office and a scrappy desk calendar using my Cinch.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Family Advent Calendar

Every year when I was a kid we would each get one of those cheap Advent calendars with the waxy chocolate in them.  Remember those?  So many fond memories...the excitement and anticipation of what shape it would be Dad pre-opening the little cardboard doors to make it easier for us to open (yeah right...he just wanted to see what it would be first! haha) They still make them, but now they have stepped up versions...Kinder surprise, Lego, PlayMobile, Barbie, etc.  They even have posh grown-up ones with Lindt chocolate in them.  Fancy!  And probably the coolest one for men that I saw recently was a Whiskey Advent calendar with tiny 3oz bottles of different whiskeys each day.  How cool is that!?  Unfortunately for the hubs, they only ship within the UK.  Drat!

I'm all about Christmas traditions so we will definitely be doing Advent calendars in my house too.  But being the crafter that I am, I couldn't just settle for the waxy chocolate kind...heck no.  So I just went about making my own with the one that Silhouette had available last year.  Here it is:


And rather then filling the entire thing with candy, I wanted to make it more about fun activities that we could do as a family.  Here's my list:

  1. Unwrap an Advent Calendar present - Christmas Pajamas (I got them each a new pair for the holiday season)
  2. Christmas chocolate (there has to be at least one)
  3. Watch Santa Clause The Movie (anyone remember this one? John Lithgow, Dudley Moore...It's one of my all time favourites)
  4. Make a Christmas craft
  5. Shop for toys for Santa's Anonymous (trying to start teaching them early about the spirit of giving)
  6. Snowman Pizza for supper 
  7. Go see the CP Rail Holiday Train (I'm so excited for this!  And it's another way to show the spirit of giving as the goal of the train is to collect food and money for local food banks)
  8. Build a gingerbread house (I have many fond memories of making these as a kid)
  9. Watch the Polar Express movie or read the book
  10. Make a Christmas craft
  11. Unwrap an Advent Calendar present - Christmas aprons! (I found the cutest Christmas Aprons and chef hat sets for super cheap at Walmart)
  12. Bake cookies - gingerbread men and sugar cookies
  13. Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and have Grinch punch
  14. Unwrap an Advent Calendar present - Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas book
  15. Have Christmas hot chocolate
  16. Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights
  17. Make cinnamon Christmas ornaments
  18. Go for a sleigh ride (not horse drawn, just our regular wooden one pulled by me)
  19. Christmas shaped mini pizzas for supper
  20. Watch Elf and have popcorn
  21. Unwrap an Advent Calendar present - Snowman gum
  22. Watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  23. Have Reindeer pancakes for breakfast
  24. Make elf donuts and treats for Santa and his Reindeer
  25. Unwrap an Advent Calendar present - a new Christmas ornament
I hope the kids have as much fun with it as I will!  Watch for pictures of these events posted on my blog in December.  I'm doing the December Daily scrapbooking kit so I'll be documenting all of our December fun!  Can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Tis' The Season

I started planning this year's Christmas card back in September.  Now, I'm normally not the plan in advance type of girl, but I knew I would probably have a million different crafty projects that I would be scrambling to finish before the big day, so I'd better get crackin.  I also thought I'd better check with the Hubs to see if he needed any for people he works's our convo:

Me: hey I've designed my Christmas card to work on at the crop this you need any for work?
Hubs: yeah that would be great...I need 40. 

I was thinking that he'd need about, over 400 pieces of paper later, 67 cards are finished and ready to spread some holiday cheer.  Here it is:

I used Stampin' Up's Crumb Cake for the card base and American Craft's Hollyday collection for the rest.

Now, on to more projects!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 12 November 2012

For Little Darlings

I LOVE fabric and I love sewing!  Like seriously, my fabric stash is going to catch up to my paper stash soon!  And since I've been blessed with a little girl (in addition to my sweet little dude) I have found so may cute little things to make for pillowcase dresses! So when I needed a baby shower gift for some brand new, sweet triplets, I knew I needed to make one of them for the baby girl.  But, I had no idea what to make for the two baby boys!  So, I jumped on over to Pinterest and found an adorable bow tie tutorial that looked easy enough even for this newbie sewer.  I think they both turned out wonderful, don't you?

The fabric I used for these creations is from the Riley Blake Verona Collection.  The whole collection is stunning!  Here are a few close-ups:

For instructions on how to make your own pillowcase dress visit The Mother Huddle.  To make the darling bow ties, visit A Lemon Squeezy Home.  You'll be glad you did!

Now, I wonder if the Husband would wear one of these bow ties...  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Joining the Blogging World

My first post in the world of blogging!  Welcome to my little crafty blog!  Currently in my crafty world, I'm working on a million different projects (that's how I roll)!  I'm constantly finding new inspiration and new ideas that I must try.  Check out the blogs I follow, or find me on Pinterest to be inspired.

This weekend I'm planning on finishing a darling baby shower gift for my cousin and her beautiful triplets...Pillowcase dress and matching bow ties (seriously adorable!), and finishing up the decorations and treat boxes for my little guy's construction themed 3rd birthday party that's coming up and the end of this month.  Watch for these posts in the next few days.  Thanks for stopping by!