DIY Magazine Organizers

DIY magazine organizers
I like to start the new year with things clean and organized.  It feels good to start a new year with a fresh start.  I like to get my spring cleaning done now because I have the time off from work and also because when it is actually spring, I'd rather be outside enjoying the beautiful weather, not cleaning and organizing.

So while I've been on vacation, I've been cleaning, sorting, and organizing and using my Pinterest Organizing board for inspiration.   (Do I know how to have a good time or what?) 

Not only am I a pin junkie, I'm also a magazine junkie.  I get several magazines and I'm constantly ripping pages out to save ideas for later.  I don't always get to read my magazines right away, and after a while they start piling up and looking unsightly, sloppy, and disorganized.


When I saw this pin on Pinterest, I knew that this would be a great fix to my overflowing magazine problem. 

 Bookholders!

This idea is from Lyssa Beth and if you go here you can get get the directions and measurements for cutting your boxes.  She used Priority mail boxes that she got for free at the post office.  I'm not recommending that you do this since I'm pretty sure using new, unused postal boxes for something other than mailing packages is mail fraud and I don't want to get you in trouble with the post office.  You could use cereal boxes or some other box would work fine. Or maybe you have some leftover boxes from Christmas presents.  Just make sure they are sturdy and all the same size and shape for a uniform look.

DIY Magazine Organizers 
I love inexpensive projects and all I had to buy was a roll of contact paper.  I would have liked to get a prettier pattern, but the choices were limited at Walmart and this green was the best I could find.

DIY Magazine Organizers
Now my magazines are organized and look much neater than they previously did piled on the floor!



Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad

pear blue cheese walnut salad recipe
Have you been eating lots of holiday sweets?  I know I've eaten my fair share of cookies and candy recently and I really wanted to make something healthy.  This recipe is from Drizzle and Drip, another mouth-watering and delicious looking blog.

Here's what you'll need:
Ingredients: 
Arugula or other mixed greens
1 pear, thinly sliced
Walnuts, coarsely chopped
Blue cheese, crumbled
4 Tabl. olive oil
2 Tabl. red wine vinegar
1 Tabl. and 1 tsp.  maple syrup
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt

Directions:
1.  Mix arugula, sliced pears, walnuts, and blue cheese.

2.  For dressing, mix oil, red wine vinegar, syrup, mustard, and salt.  Mix well.  Pour over salad.

 

I thought the salad looked a little plain, so I added some dried cranberries that I had left over from the cookies I made earlier this week. 

Pear Blue Cheese Walnut Salad
Easy to make and delicious.  Enjoy!


Book Review: Laurie Notaro


I've got a confession to make.  Since discovering Pinterest, I don't read nearly as much as I used to.  But while I'm on holiday vacation, I've got time to do some reading and I decided to read some of the books on my Books I Want to Read Pinterest list.  I've read other books by Laurie Notaro in the past, and like Jenny Lawson, another author I enjoy, Laurie is witty, sarcastic, cynical, wildly inappropriate, and hilarious.  I finished both of these books in just a few days.  They're very short, easy reads and laugh out loud funny.


Laurie Notaro is the New York Times bestselling author of several humorous memoirs.  Similar to Dave Berry, another humor writer, she began as a columnist for a newspaper in which she wrote humorous short essays about her misadventures and observations on contemporary life.  Her engaging books follow the same format.  She is often the butt of her own jokes and she admits to being the dorkiest girl alive.

The stories she tells about her life are so funny that its hard to believe they're all true! In "We Thought You Would Be Prettier," readers are re-acquainted with the nutty members of Laurie's family: her Nana, her mother, her nephew, and her husband, who patiently puts up with her craziness.

I admire how Laurie Notaro is willing to write about her life so openly and honestly.  While reading these two books, I found myself laughing out loud at the hilarious things she writes, and at other times I found myself nodding, thinking, "wow, she is so right about that!"

Have you read any of Laurie Notaro's books?  What did you think?
                                                   

Christmas Gifts


Before Christmas, I made a wish list so friends and family visiting my boards could get some gift ideas.  I love how easy Pinterest makes gift giving.  Even if someone doesn't have a specific "Wish List" board, you can still get a sense of someone's likes and interests by browsing their boards and pins.  

I'm hoping you had a wonderful holiday, spent enjoyable time with family and friends, and got everything on your wish list.  Here are a few things that I received:
Christmas With The Puppini Sisters   CD at Amazon
Christmas with the Puppini Sisters
I got a new holiday CD to add to my collection.  The Puppini Sisters are a 40's style harmony group (think the Andrews Sisters).  They sing older songs from the 40's, but they cover modern songs too.  I love they way they sing classic Christmas songs.   
TARDIS WATER BOTTLE  $11.99
TARDIS water bottle
I'm a huge Doctor Who fan so I'll love using my new aluminum water bottle (in my favorite color, blue) complete with pictures of the TARDIS.  

Merry Christmas


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes in the New Year!


White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

White chocolate cranberry cookies

Only one more day until Christmas!  I'm getting ready by doing some baking and making some tasty things to share with neighbors and friends.

I made white chocolate cranberry cookies from Sally's Baking Addiction.  Wow!  What an amazing blog!  So many delicious looking deserts and all beautifully photographed!  I will definitely have to try some of the other recipes on Sally's blog.

I normally don't like white chocolate, but these cookies are fantastic!  The sweet of the chocolate and the tart of the cranberries are perfect together.  The texture of the cookie is just right, too.  Slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

 
If you would like to make these cookies, go here for the recipe.

Here are a few tips when baking these cookies.
  • you will need to chill the dough before baking
  • bake the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets - the parchment paper prevents burning
  • only bake the cookies for 8 to 9 minutes - the won't look ready and you'll want to cook them longer, but don't.  Just let the cookies cool on the baking sheet and they'll be perfect



S'mores Croissants


I pinned this idea for s'mores croissants from the Northern Cottage on my Recipies - Deserts Pinterest board. 

You just need marshmallows, chocolate chips, and refrigerated crescent roll dough.
I had a tendency to fill the rolls too full.  You only need to use a few chocolate chips and marshmallows, otherwise the croissants won't roll  up very well.

Once rolled up, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and cook according to package directions.

They're ready in about twelve minutes.
 
S'mores Croissants
These were good, but . . .
 

 . . . call me a croissant snob, but I much prefer a real buttery, flakey croissant.  The ones out of the can just aren't.


Paper Reindeer Treat Holder


Since the reindeer bottles were such a hit, I decided to make these reindeer.  The orginal idea had magic reindeer food in it, but I decided to use it as a treat holder.

I tried regular glue and tape to secure the paper, but the tape didn't look nice and the glue wouldn't hold the paper while I was trying to fold it.  So I used hot glue.   

Here's what you'll need:
scissors
glue
brown pipe cleaners
red pom poms
google eyes
brown paper

 Cut a 9" by 4 1/2" strip of paper and roll it to make a cylinder.  Glue the edges together.
 Pinch and fold just the edges of one side of the cylinder.  Secure with glue.
 Fill with candy or other small goodies.
Pinch and fold the top making sure it is secured in the opposite direction as the bottom.  Add pipe cleaners and secure with glue.  Add the nose and eyes.
Paper Reindeer Treat Holder
I punched a hole at the top and added a ribbon so it could hang on the tree.  These would be really fun party favors, don't you think?

3D Paper Snowflakes


These snowflakes look really complicated to make, don't they?  They're not! I made them with my second grade class - I promise it's not hard.

And they're all over Pinterest right now.

There are several blogs that have tutorials on how to make these.  The one that I found most helpful was at Ellinee Journal and this blog even has printables that you can use to make small, medium, and large snowflakes.  If you're doing this project with young children, it's a good idea to use the printable so they know where to cut.  Once you've made a few and get really good at it, you won't even need to use the printables!

3D Paper Snowflakes

Bandana Quilt


Bandana Quilt
  
I can handle a glue gun like a pro, but I'm certainly not an expert when it comes to sewing.  I'm terrible at cutting and piecing little bits of fabric together.  I've tried making quilts in the past, and they were failures.  I got frustrated and never finished them.  This quilting  project was a lot easier, because I was working with much larger pieces and I didn't have to cut them.  

This idea was pinned from I Have to Say and it was a mommy and me sewing lesson.  I figured if a child could do this project, maybe I had a chance.

I let my son pick out the colors so we got six black and six yellow bandanas.  Twelve bandanas was enough to make a quilt for a twin sized bed. I also bought some black cotton fabric for the quilt boarder, some quilt batting, and a few yards of soft flannel for the backing.

Sewing the bandanas was pretty straight forward, just a straight stitch on the sewing machine.  The only cutting and piecing I had to do was the strips of fabric for the quilt boarder.  Then I sandwiched the quilt top, batting, and backing on top of each other and stitched it together.  

When it was finished, I used embroidery floss to tie it down.  It's nothing fancy, but I can now say I've made a quilt!
Bandana Quilt

Snowman Printable Popcorn Wrapper


There are many versions of this project on Pinterest.  Just search "snowman popcorn" in Pinterest and you'll get lots of ideas.  Some versions use mittens for the hat.  Other versions have little fleece hats and scarves.  They're all cute, but I went with this version because it was the easiest.

I had some leftover printed snowman wrappers from my previous decorated candy bar project.  For some reason, the first few wrappers I printed came out much too large for the candy bars, but they were just the right size to cover a bag of microwave popcorn. 

Here's what you'll need:
a bag of microwave popcorn
printable snowman wrapper - go here
black paper
scissors
tape

Note:  The free printable I used is no longer available, but Debbie at Simple Joys in Life has a similar and just as cute way to make a snowman popcorn wrapper.  Go here for details.


Just cut the paper to size and tape it all together.  Super easy and a cute little present!


Snowman Printable Popcorn Wrapper

Felt Christmas Ornaments


This idea for these felt ornaments came from several different pins on my Crafts board.

Felt Christmas Ornaments

Patterns and templates weren't available, so I had to make my own.  Click here to use the templates I made.

Here's what you'll need:
felt
pencil
scissors
needle and thread
small beads 

With a pencil, lightly trace the pattern onto two layers of white felt.


Next, cut out the shapes.


On only the top layer of felt, sew small beads for the eyes and buttons.
(The back layer of felt will hide the stitches.)


Put both layers of felt back together again and use white embroidery floss to blanket stitch around the felt pieces.


Glue a piece of orange felt for the nose.


Then add a ribbon for the scarf.

Felt Christmas Ornaments

I also made gingerbread men.  The technique and directions are the same as the snowmen.  Click here for template.

Felt Christmas Ornaments

Here's what they look like on my tree.
Felt Christmas Ornaments