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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Harry Potter Advent Calendar on: December 01, 2017 08:25:39 AM
Every year we do an "Advent" calendar/countdown calendar with activities & little treats to bond us as a family and to be positive influences on the world. Well, this year 2 of my children moved out. I figured it was the end of the tradition, but the boys all insisted that we find a way... enter this year's Harry Potter Advent calendar. I made up 3 swags (2 pictured) of mismatched socks. The activities are a bit simpler than in earlier years, but with everyone so busy I wanted it to be doable.

Here is what we're doing;

1. Let's start off our advent fun by trying to be the perfect house-elf. Do something good for someone without them finding out.
2. Professor Slughorn has been brewing again. Here's some Felix Felicis, know you'll have good luck all day long. (Forgot a picture of this, but it is ginger ale with some shimmer dust swirled in, inside of a glass bottle with a cork stopper)
3. Time to get your creative juices flowing. Let's make up new Christmas carols. Work together, work alone, up to you. In the next week text the new song to the rest of the family. Extra points if you send a video of you singing it.
4. Congratulations! Just like Harry you've caught the golden snitch! It feels pretty good, doesn't it? Spread some of that joy by making a special effort to smile & compliment others today.

5. Today we will dip into the Pensieve. Text your favorite memory from 2017 to the family.
6. To celebrate Rubeus Hagrid's birthday, enjoy festive garden gnome shaped candies.

7. Defense against the dark arts- what would your Patronus shape be? Text a pic, drawing, or words to the family.
8. Dementors have been spotted in the area. Hand out this chocolate to help those who have succumbed to the sadness and irritability.

9. In honor of the sacrifices Dobby has made it is now traditional to exchange socks. Wear these socks & remember to selflessly help others for good as Dobby did.

10. We're practicing for the next Triwizard Tournament with this team scavenger hunt. Babes vs. Geezers. Find the items on the list and snap pictures. Text the pics to the family. You're working with your partner. First team to complete the list wins.
11. Zonko's Joke shop is always looking for some new material especially around Christmas. Text your favorite Holiday joke to the family. Here's one to get you started;
What does Santa suffer from when he gets stuck in the chimney?
12. It's Charlie Weasley' s birthday today. Here's some dragon jerky to celebrate.

13. Remember how happy Ron was when he collected all of that Leprechaun gold? Over the next day or so place this dollar somewhere for someone to find it.

14. "Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic" -Albus Dumbledore
Write a card to someone telling them how important they are to you. Text the family a pic of you at the mailbox when you send it.

15. Christmas cookie bake-off- over the next few days bake some cookies/treats to share at our Christmas on the 22nd. Traditional, crazy, creative, your choice. Prize for the favorite.
16. Let's help Arthur Weasley answer his question "what is the purpose of a rubber duck?" Take this little friend with you today and snap pictures as you and he/she contemplate the purpose of a rubber duck. Don't forget to name your friend.

17. Snowmen are magical creatures, but as Hagrid knows the snow isn't always cooperative. Make a small clay snowman to add to the family's collection.

18. Molly Weasley gathered the family by the radio to listen to her favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck. What is your favorite Holiday song? Find it on YouTube and send a link to the family.
19. Tis the season for mistletoe, kissing, & spreading cheer. Just beware of Nargles!

20. The sweet cart left some Bertie Botts beans for you. Let us know the best and worse flavor you got. You may even want to share some.

21. St Mungos has released a new book of home remedies. Here is a simple Pepper-up recipe to keep your spirits up. Prepare some hot chocolate as directed. Stir with magic swirled cane 7 times clockwise, more for hard cases.

22. "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only my remembers to turn on a light" -Albus Dumbledore
On this longest of nights let us gather together and light our candles & remember to be the light for those who can't.

23. Divination class- text us your predictions for 2018.
24. If you could apparate anywhere for Christmas where would you go? Send a picture to the rest of the family.
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Big Liam Fan on: June 09, 2017 08:22:50 AM
My middle son, Liam, graduated last Sunday. It is usually hot and stuffy at graduation and he's an actor and a character so I thought it would be funny to make a big fan of him for me to use. I was inspired by a photo I saw years ago online of Martin Freeman with a similar fan of Benedict Cumberbatch.

I printed out a bunch of copies of one of his senior pictures onto cardstock. I cut them all out which didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. I then used packing tape to "laminate" them. That took much longer than I had anticipated. (Looking back I should have taken them in to get laminated.) I pressed the tape down really well with a tongue depressor to get a good seal then I cut those out again leaving a bit to keep the "lamination" seal.

For rigidity, I hot glued them to tongue depressors being careful to line it up with the other ones. I drilled a hole a bit bigger than my skewer. I hot glued a plastic bead to one end of a bamboo skewer. I laced the blades onto the skewer. Squeezed the blades together, trimmed the skewer and hot glued a bead to the other end. Once it was dry I released the blades and lined the blades how I liked them. I hot glued a piece of ribbon to the back so that it flicked open just right.

The back isn't all that pretty, but it didn't really cost me anything because I had everything to make it at home. And he laughed so hard when he saw it, it was totally worth it. We're thinking we'll maybe make some more for the whole family for his next play.
3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Glue Spot to Rose Shirt on: June 09, 2017 08:04:57 AM
I had a shirt I liked, the first day I wore it a little girl came up and hugged me while she was covered in gobs of permanent fabric glue.

I tried everything to remove it, but couldn't. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at some reverse applique

I used an old blue tshirt, found a rose stencil as inspiration, redrew it on freezer paper. Cut the freezer paper design out. Ironed the negative onto my shirt. I used flour in a sieve that I shook over the freezer paper. I patted it in a bit with my hand then removed the freezer paper. I used a basting spray to hold the blue tshirt on the inside of the black shirt. I used grey dmc floss and chunky stitched around the rose designs. I carefully pulled the top tee and the bottom tee apart in the areas and snipped the top tee only and trimmed around each part.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The placement looks better on than it does on the hanger, but I couldn't get a decent picture of it on me.
4  COOKING / Dessert / Stroopwafels- Dutch Caramel Filled Cookie on: December 11, 2013 09:09:42 AM

These are a delicious, Dutch, crisp cookie filled with a honey caramel. You can place them on your warm coffee or tea and it warms the caramel and makes them gooey and delicious! You can make them in a waffle cone iron or a pizzelle iron like we did.

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 c sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 c warm water (slightly above body temp)
2 large eggs
dash of salt

In a mixer bowl; add flour, yeast, cinnamon, & sugar, cut in flour with your hands until it resembles small pellets. Place mixer bowl on mixer and on low slowly pour in the warm water and allow the dough to start coming together. Add eggs one at a time. Add in the dash of salt and knead dough until it's a firm and cohesive dough.

Cover with a damp towel or cling wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

1 stick of butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T Karo syrup (I used light)
1 T honey
1 T maple syrup
1 T vanilla

Melt butter and sugar stirring slowly over low heat. Add cinnamon, honey and syrups and continue to stir until the caramel comes together and slowly bubbles. Keep stirring because at this stage it's easy to burn. Keep stirring until sugar is all dissolved and caramel is creamy. It will be HOT! Keep caramel warm.

Divide the dough into 40 equal pieces. Roll them into small marbles and cover with a damp cloth so they don't dry out while baking other pieces.

Heat your pizzelle iron or waffle cone machine according to instructions. Place dough ball in the iron, press down and bake each cookie/waffle for approximately 40 seconds. Check to see if browned and puffed up a little. Remove from machine and place it on a flat surface.

*Working quickly while the cookie is hot and pliable (when it cools it will break on you.)

Place your hand on top of the cookie and slice it horizontally in two with a sharp non-serrated knife. (I had to use a towel/clean pot holder because it was too hot.) Because of the yeast it puffs up a bit to make a spot to cut.

Immediately smear a bit of caramel on top of the bottom cookie. Replace the top and gently push down so the caramel spreads. Let cool on a rack. Then do the next dough ball.*

NOTE: * This is the traditional way to do it. But this is not how I did i;. my pizzelle iron has 3 cookie spots. I cooked 2 at a time [3 I couldn't quite do quick enough] set on 3.5. After 40 seconds I took them out and using a towel to protect my hand I cut them horizontally. I then set them aside (I pressed them gently to encourage them to stay flat. After I cooked all of my cookies. I then made my caramel. When my caramel was hot I reopened my cookies and spread the caramel on the bottom cookie half, then smooshed them together. They held up just as well as the traditional way, but was easier for me to do by myself.
5  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Traditional Scarf or Infinity Scarf? on: August 06, 2013 12:39:28 PM
I am working on a scarf for a charity auction at my church. I'm not following a certain pattern, but a stitch patter which is a lacy-ish chevron pattern. I am wondering if I should make it a traditional scarf or if I should make it an infinity scarf. I would want it to be whichever is most likely to be desirable to the most people to get a better price. What are all of your thoughts?

Thanks in advance!!
6  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Grey Crocheted Work Purse on: January 26, 2013 11:26:17 AM
I am taking part in the destash challenge/craftalong to try to cleanse my home of some of my stash. Also my goal for the year is to be more organized (who's isn't). I have also just been appointed to the Governance Council of an newly forming high school, which meant I needed a purse/bag to easily carry my note-taker, folders, and contact information to and from meetings and school visits. Thus this purse was born.

I crocheted the outside based off of the stitch pattern from this pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bobbling-along-aran-tote I didn't use the pattern though, so I can't vouch for its accuracy at all. I crocheted this while on acar trip with my family.

The inside took me quite awhile as I was very indecisive about pockets and trying to utilize my fabric scraps as optimally as possible.
I have one large pocket on either side one for my note-taker and one for my folders with information, contacts, etc... in. There are clips and rings along the top for my keys, sunglasses, lip chap, etc...
In hindsight I do wish I would have made the top band with the snap a touch higher, it would have been slightly easier for sewing, but over all I'm very very pleased with it. The dimensions are 15x12x4" without the straps. I made it out of scrap Heather Grey Red Heart Super Saver Acrylic Yarn. The fabric was from JoAnns that I had scraps of from other projects, all of the notions I had at home from leftovers from projects.

Any other questions/comments feel free to ask. Thanks!
7  COOKING / Dessert / Mario Bros Birthday Cake on: January 07, 2009 10:36:03 AM
Here is my son's 8th Birthday cake. He was quite excited about it. I made a Funfetti style vanilla cake (per his request,) a yummy butter cream frosting and then it's decorated with marshmallow fondant. It took about 2 1/2 hours to decorate while talking on the phone. I baked the cake in a pyrex bowl to get that shape. I can't think of anything else to tell you about it, so if you have questions; ask away. =)

(sorry about his goofy expression, he really wanted to play not take a silly picture.)

8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Buzz-a-Buzz on: October 14, 2008 01:48:46 PM
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love Halloween, the smell in the air, the crisp mornings.... but for some reason none of those spoke to me. It never fails, there are tons of Bees. I love bees, and I have been a little obsessed with getting my own beehive. It won't happen until we get more land, so it's going to have to wait. But here is my entry.

Here is a mini quilt I made with a bee embroidered on it. It's certainly not perfect, but I love it!

(Thanks KittyKill for letting me slip in!)
9  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Doctor Who Costume Input Requested on: August 24, 2008 09:02:02 AM
Hello everyone
I have been a bad/busy mommy this year and I haven't started my kids' costumes yet. I know most people don't until the middle of October, but for our family it's tradition to go completely overboard and have completely homemade costumes, so with 6 of us, I'm getting started really late.

Anyway, my youngest son (age 7), wants to be Doctor from Doctor Who. We live in the US, very few people who live around us know who that is, but the few who do REALLY do.

I have my brown and blue pinstripe fabric for the suit, and have the basic idea of what I want to do for that. The sonic screwdriver I will leave to my husband because it will have to light up, and that's not my thing. I am still looking for cheap shoes for him, but I can always buy him new ones if I have to.
The part I'm not sure about is his Coat. We live in Wisconsin and it is usually quite cold for Halloween so the coat is a must. I could make a REAL coat, traditional style that looks close.... I'm afraid I won't have enough time, or do it justice (not to mention it could get pretty expensive with all this fabric.) I was considering getting felt and making the coat out of felt, that way I wouldn't have to worry about finishing all of the inside edges and felt is fairly inexpensive. But I'm sure my son would like to wear this in the future for dress up and felt hasn't in the past held up real well with all the wearing and washing that gets done. I was wondering if I could make it out of dark brown fleece? I know it wouldn't be perfect, and I don't know if my son would even approve yet, but I was wondering what everyone else thinks? It would be warmer which is a plus, I can get it 50% off which is a plus, and I wouldn't have to finish the inside edges (which is a huge plus.) But would it look ok?

If you don't know what I'm talking about here are a few pictures that might help you. I'm mainly talking about the solid brown coat.

I can make a "normal" coat if it's a must, but I'd love to hear what you all thought. Thanks
10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Embroidered Niece Doll Quilt on: July 14, 2008 07:38:06 AM
This is something I've been working on for a while. I used a picture of my nieces and some pictures found on the web, to make a fair likeness of them. I colored it with crayon and set it. Then I embroidered it with dark brown. I turned the panel into a little doll quilt. I gave it to my sister-in-law this weekend, so I figure it's safe to post now.

Here's a peek at the backing and the little corner label.
(Sorry it was crazy early in the morning when I took the picture, so the colors are a bit blue.)
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