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1  GLASS CRAFTS / Glass Crafts: Completed Projects / etched wine glasses on: April 25, 2013 06:40:16 PM
For once in my life I have actually prepared for Mother's Day in advance so I whipped these up on my day off. They cost me about three dollars each to make and it was my first time ever using Armour Etch!
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Slenderman cross stitch on: April 22, 2013 09:49:15 PM
I developed a mini-obsession with Slenderman so I made this a few weeks ago. It's black embroidery thread on a 12x12 canvas. I'm thinking about painting the edges at some point but for now it is unpainted and unframed and I kind of like it that way!
3  COOKING / Dessert / Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese-Cinnamon Filling - recipe included! on: October 17, 2012 08:03:30 PM
I love every bit of the fall season, and that includes absolutely any food item containing pumpkin. I've made these every fall for the past few years and it's become somewhat of a tradition at our house. In fact, I made a batch today and about 90% of them are already gone. They are easy to make, moist, pumpkiny, sweet, and addictive and your house will smell fantastic while they're baking. So without further ado, here is the recipe:



Pumpkin Whoopie Pies - make approx 40 "cookies," the equivalent of 20 pies (although I ended up getting 46 cookies this time):
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled (I used Libby's and kept it in the fridge for a while before using it)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add the chilled pumpkin puree and whisk until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined.

Add the flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until well combined.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet about an inch apart (they won't spread out very much during baking so you can get them pretty close together). You could also use a small ice cream scoop for this step.

Transfer to oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies just begin to crack and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on baking sheet.

Delicious Cream Cheese-Cinnamon Filling:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon and beat until smooth.

Assembling the pies (this part is messy!):
The easiest way for me to put these together was to transfer the filling to a Ziploc bag and snip off the end. That way I could pipe the filling onto the center of the flat side of a cookie and add another, sandwiching them together to spread the filling to the edges. Place each finished whoopie pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

These are honestly one of my very favorite treats to indulge on, which is somewhat misfortunate because they are true diet-killers. One issue that I've had with them over the years is that they are super messy once they are out of the fridge. At room temperature, the cream cheese in the filling starts to warm and becomes really liquidy, so the two cookies of your whoopie pie will slide apart and the filling will get everywhere. Additionally, after a day or so in the fridge, the cookies get really soft and squishy on the bottoms, which add to the messiness. They taste just as delicious though, so I overlook these tiny hiccups in an otherwise fantastic recipe! Enjoy!
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / ivy topiary + tutorial :) on: May 31, 2010 07:38:35 PM

i've seen a tutorial for this at some point on the internet but i thought i'd just share mine on here. this is a really quick, easy, and inexpensive decoration for your home or even for a gift - i actually made this one for my mom Smiley

materials:
- ivy or other type of trailing, viney plant (i got a medium-sized regular ivy for $8.99 from a local gardening shop)
- ceramic pot of the right size (or slightly larger than your plant) to fit your plant (i purchased mine for $1.99 from the christmas tree shops)
- one wire hanger - finally, a way to use up those useless wire hangers!!
- wire cutters (borrowed them from dad =])
- optional: extra potting soil
- optional: twine or small-gauge wire

1. repot your plant into your new ceramic pot and add extra soil if necessary.
2. bend a wire hanger into the shape of your choice. i went with a circle but you could do a heart or oval as well! bend the ends of the wire into spikes so they can be pushed into the soil and snip off the excess wire at the ends, leaving about two inches or so to go into the soil.
3. being careful not to injure the plant, gently (but firmly!) push the spikes of the wire frame into the soil.
4. gently wrap the vines of your plant around the wire frame. use twine or small-gauge wire to tie the trailers into place on the frame. as the plant grows, it will need to be continually wrapped around the frame but, after time, the vines will be accustomed to the frame and the twine can be removed.

you're all done! be sure to check the care of your particular plant and water it as needed. mine has grown a bit since i took this photo and it looks beautiful! good luck and happy crafting! Smiley
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / fully functioning super mario cartridge clock! on: May 22, 2010 12:24:16 PM
my boyfriend made this for me for my birthday!:

we are huge nes nerds and i think it is just the best thing ever Smiley
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / sun jar! tutorial included. on: May 20, 2010 08:03:42 PM
while browsing the internet a few weeks ago, i came across a sun jar for sale from urban outfitters for $45. i had never heard of a sun jar before and it looked sooo awesome but, being a broke (and i mean way way way broke!) college student, there was no way i was going to drop $45 on one - so i made one (= six) myself! i am currently very upset with myself because i didn't take any photos of the project as it went along, but i took some photos of the end product.



materials:
- frosting spray (i found mine at a.c. moore for $5.50. frosting spray is sold pretty much anywhere that spray paint is sold)
- one package of solar garden lights (i got a package of six at the christmas tree shops for $9.98 but i know that you can buy them individually at lowe's, though they do get fairly pricey. also keep in mind that you will be literally cutting up the decorative part of the light since the only part you really want is the solar panel and battery so don't spend too much!)
- mason or storage jars - you want the same number of jars as the number of solar lights you have (i got storage jars with latches as the christmas tree shops for $1.69 each. they came in all different styles, shapes, and sizes, so get creative! =])
- some sort of tool that plastic can be cut with - i used a drill and wire cutters and, after my experience with the horrible, cheap, crumbly plastic that the particular garden lights that i used were made with, i would say that you would probably have a hard time using an electric saw to get the job done. i think the plastic would be splitting and shooting all over the place.
- optional: epoxy, superglue, or blu-tac
- optional: colored plastic

1. first i peeled all of the awful stickers off the storage jars. i actually ended up scrubbing them with soap and water because the stickers left icky bits of glue all over the jar.
2. next i covered our deck in newspaper and got to the spraypainting! i opened each jar and sprayed the inside in short even bursts with the frosting can. i let each coat dry for about five minutes before doing another one. the jar in the photos has five or six coats of frost. one major tip that i have is to be sure to thoroughly shake the can between jars and between coats!! i didn't and it resulted in a whole lot of clear liquid rather than nice frost, which collected in a puddle in the bottom of one of the jars and does not look very pretty. you can get as thick or thin as you want with the frosting spray.
3. while your jars are drying, you can get to work on the garden lights. i hate using power tools of any kind because i am deathly afraid of them so i didn't want to use a saw or anything to disconnect the solar panel, wires, and battery (which is really the only part you need so if you can find them by themselves somewhere - i couldn't - get those instead because it will save you some work, although this part really isn't hard) from the decorative outsides bits of the garden light. i ended up using a very small electric drill and wire cutters because the plastic was so cheap that i could just break right through it. first, disassemble the light as much as you can with your hands. you should end up with a round piece of plastic with a solar panel on the top and several wires and a battery on the bottom. to get the piece of plastic to fit into the top of your jar, it has to be cut down to size and this is where the drill and wire cutters come in! making sure to avoid all the necessary parts of the light, i drilled several holes into the unnecessary parts of plastic and used the wire cutters to clip away the excess plastic.
4. this left me with a square that was a little bit too large to fit in the top of my jar, so i clipped away just enough plastic so that it seemed almost too big to fit but ended up sort of snapping into place in the top of the jar. be sure that the solar panel is facing outward. i didn't glue mine, but i'm sure that you could use epoxy or even blu-tac if you wanted to make sure it stuck or if you cut the square too small. the battery in the solar light will need to be changed eventually and i just thought it would be easier to change if i didn't glue the solar panel into the jar... but that doesn't mean you can't!
5. this step is optional - my boyfriend and i thought it would be neat to have different colored lights so we decided that since we had six lights, we would leave three white and would make three blue. we ended up buying a cheap roll of colored plastic at the dollar store and used that to change the light's color. i cut a small square (about 2 inches x 2 inches) and folded it a few times so it would produce a nice deep blue color and then taped it into place over the led light in the top of the jar. led lights don't get hot, so it isn't a fire hazard. i have thought about using colored saran wrap if i make some more in the future.
6. you're all done! put your sun jar out in the sun for a few hours and enjoy its pretty light at night! at my house we only have east- and west-facing windows so i can't leave mine in the sun all day unless i put it outside. i've found that my light lasts for about 8 hours if it is outside in the bright sun all day and sometimes for only an hour or so if it is cloudy. the photo of my sun jar lit up was actually taken at 4:30ish in a dark corner of my kitchen - i didn't want it to be so dark that it just looked like a blue blob so i took it when it was lighter outside so you could see the jar itself. it actually gets fairly bright at night... not blinding, but excellent night light.
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