pinecone elf ornament.

elf

I love these little guys! Since we got a real christmas tree this year, these were the perfect addition. I used martha stewart’s directions to make this little pine cone elf ornament for my tree.

heres what you need:

  • Elf Template (you can find the pdf to download here)
  • Pinecones
  • Felt
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Hot-glue gun
  • 3/4-inch wooden craft bead
  • Thin-point sharpie
  • tiny bell, bead or ball
  • string1. Cut out your pattern pieces and trace onto the felt. Cut these pieces out of the felt. Make a scarf by cutting a long strip of felt as well. Set these piece aside.
    2. Glue your wooden bead to your pinecone. I made mine with the wider side towards the top. Glue your hat on your wooden bead, and add the tiny bell, bead or ball you have for to the top of your hat.  Draw a face on your bead with the sharpie.
    3. Cut your pipe cleaners to be about 4-5 inches in length. Hot glue them onto your pinecone.  Affix the mittens and shoes to the pipecleaners.
    4. Glue some string to the back of your ornament if you wish to hang it.

menorah.

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Happy hanukkah!

While we aren’t jewish, or practice any faith for that matter, I thought it would be fun to teach milo about hanukkah and its traditions that go along with it.  He is learning ALOT about christmas at school right now, and is coming home with very lavish stories about the day jesus was born and how a pointsetta came to be so I thought it would be nice to balance it out and learn a little about the jewish side of things. At this age, Milo is like a little sponge. He loves to learn and is just fascinated with new things so I think this is going to be something right up his alley!

Also my husband visited jerusalem a few years ago and it was one of his favorite places he has traveled. He dropped the ball on bringing us home a menorah, so I decided to make my own with materials we had laying around.   I put it together and picked up a book at the library and we read the book, talked about the history of the holiday and lit the first candle.

Here’s what you need:
9 Small plastic animals or dinosaurs (this toob brand works great and are $9.99 at micheals. use a coupon and get them for $5!)
Candle holders/risers (these are kind of hard to come by but i bet you can find some on etsy)
drill
drill bit
spray paint
hot glue
a piece of wood for your base ( a paint stirrer or a wooden ruler would probably work!)
small square lego
Menorah candles (found mine for $2 at target)

First I drilled a hole into all my animals and stuck the candle holder inside. I took my animals outside and spray painted them, along with the base and the lego.  Once these dried I used hot glue and glued them all on the base.  ( My base is just a piece of wood I found in my garage, that i hacksawed to size!  I used a hacksaw AND a drill in this project. It felt good to play with some tools!! )The center animal needs to be higher than the rest, so this is where the lego comes into play.  I used it as a little base for the giraffe, which was the tallest animal and this became the center candle.

Tomorrow night were going to play dreidel and I think another night we are going to make some potato pancakes. Let me know if you have any ideas we can do with a 5 year old to celebrate and keep him excited about this holiday! Trying to avoid giving him a gift each day…since we celebrate christmas he gets enough!

terrarium ornament.

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Here is another fun ornament you can make using clear globe balls. I used the same balls I used in my glitter ornaments.

I happened to find a bag of moss at Homegoods for $2.99! (i cant wait to make other projects with it!) , and got a little evergreen branch at micheals that had tiny acorns glued to it. basically I put it all inside and made a little terrarium!

felted wool garland.

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Ive always been in love with the look of felted wool garland, but depending on how the sheep are raised, wool isnt always the most ethical of textiles. I couldnt bring myself to spend over $100 to get the amount I needed for my tree as well.  I started knitting about 12 years ago, and throughout the years have aquired some yarn as hand me downs, garage sales, etc. I took a look and turns out I had quite a bit of wool yarn already so I figured I would take a stab at using it up and seeing if I can make these little balls to make my own garland.

All the tutorials on line say to use roving. But I wanted to see if there was someway to I could make these out of what I already had. It took ALOT of patience, time and trial and error, but in the end I’m pretty happy with what I have!

You will need 100% wool yarn in order to make these.  I used a combination of this and another kind, that was much thinner.
Pantyhose
Embroidery thread
Acrylic yarn
Long, thick needle
Crochet hook

Decide how big you want to make your balls.  Take them and roll them up into about 1/2 inch-1inch balls and use the crochet hook to pull in the end. (watch this video here) You do NOT want these to come unraveled when you wash them. This is very very important. They should be nice and tight and very round. Much like that first green ball below.

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Once you have all your balls made, You are going to put them, one by one into a pantyhose and tie them off at the ends. I tried a sock and a I tried just throwing them in a pillowcase.  Just putting them in a pillow case WAS my best result, BUT on my second batch a bunch came unraveled and all clumped together, so I found the pantyhose method to be the next best option.

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Once you have them all tied up, you want to throw them in your wash machine. I put mine in a pillowcase first, so they didnt get all tangeled within the washing machine. Set the settings to the smallest load size, and use the hottest water cycle. Add about 2 tspn of detergent and let it go. It will wash them with hot, and then rinse with cold. That is what you want. I usually did this 3-4 times, and then threw them in the dryer too for about an hour or so.

Once i cut them free, your balls should be felted. Alot of mine still had yarn definition but the yarn seemed clumped together so i went with it. Mine is far from perfect, but I dont mind at all. Im sure doing this with roving makes much nicer balls, but I wanted to use up what I had so this suited my needs!

Once you are all done with felting your balls, its time to string them along onto the embroidery floss.  I got my needle ready and tied a knot at the end and just strung these along.  I made each one about 6-7 feet. I Had just enough to cover my tree and I absolutely love it!

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glitter ornaments.

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My friend mentioned making these glitter ball ornaments and I immediately thought that they would be annoying and messy.  After doing some noodling on the internet – I realize that maybe they are pretty simple after all. The secret ingredient here is floor wax! Who would have thought?! I figured for sure you had to figure out a way to get spray glue or something into that little hole…..But nope. Liquid floor wax.  I couldn’t wait to break into these and try it out!

You will need:
clear glass or plastic ornaments
Glitter
Floor wax  (we got ours for abou5 $6 at menards)

Take the top off of your ornament. Pour a little bit of the floor wax inside and put your finger over the top of the ornament and swirl around carefully and slowly. Don’t shake it up, just kind of swirl it and make sure your entire ornament is covered.  Pour out any excess liquid. Dump some glitter, put your in there and swirl around. Keep adding glitter until your ornament is coated.  Let dry for about 15 minutes or so and put your cap back on.  Its THAT easy.

Homeade thanksgiving! And a recipe for green bean casserole.

Hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving. This was my first year hosting – and we did it potluck style. It was a success! The night before the big dinner, I decided we needed to get a little crafty with some decorations. So at the last minute, i whipped up this little banner using what I had on hand: washi tape, card stock and bakers twine. We made little place cards too using cardstock, washi tape and stamps.

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We had a meal that was vegan-a-plenty! I dont really have photos of everything because I was too busy eating, but here’s what I made:

Tofurkey
Gravy
Mac and cheese
Green bean casserole (recipe to follow!)
Pumpkin cheesecake
Brownies

We also had:
Brussel sprouts/apples/potato/walnut mixture, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rice and beans, sweet potato casserole, salad and a homeade tofu roast! Everything was so delicious and I REALLY enjoyed eating all the leftovers all weekend!
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I took a stab at making a green bean casserole for the first time. Ive never had it vegan and when searching the internet there seemed to be alot of different ways to make it. I took a gamble, and went with this recipe, and I’m glad I did, because it was absolutely delicious!

Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3-ounce) can of French fried onions

Instructions:

Cook the green beans in a pot of boiling salted water until tender.  Drain well and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, cover, and cook until softened.  Stir in the mushrooms and thyme, and cook until the mushrooms are soft and release their juices.

Combine the vegetable broth and soy sauce in a small bowl.  Whisk in the flour until smooth and add it to the mushroom mixture. Simmer, stirring, until the liquid thickens. Stir in the soy milk and nutritional yeast and simmer until thick, about 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the reserved green beans, stirring to coat.

Transfer the green bean mixture into an oiled casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and top with the French fried onions. Bake uncovered until browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes longer.

Serves 4 to 6

roasted acorn squash & sweet potato soup.

soup

It got really cold really quick here and I’ve been on a big soup kick! This is a really easy and delicious soup I found here, and once you roast your squash and potatoes it comes together in no time!

  • 2 -3 lb acorn squash, sliced lengthwise in half and seeds removed
  • 3 small sweet potatoes (1 lb)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the acorn squash in half (lengthwise) and remove the seeds and guts–place cut side up on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, drizzle and rub the cut side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the baking sheet along with the acorn squash.
  2. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until both the potato and acorn squash are fork tender and very soft. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin and set aside in a large bowl. Discard the skin.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in medium-sized soup pot. Add the onion and saute over low heat until soft and completely translucent.
  4. Add the ground ginger and garam masala and cook for an additional minute or two, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, roasted squash, and sweet potato.
  5. Bring to low simmer, cover, and cook for an additional for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Puree in a blender (in batches, if necessary) and return to heat. Add the coconut milk and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

italian orzo soup.

orzosoupThis soup is adapted from a recipe I kept seeing on pinterest. Its perfect for the colder weather we have been having and very easily customizable to your liking. I definitely think I’m going to add some chickpeas next time for some added protein.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, pureed in blender before adding
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups loosely-packed spinach
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • salt and black pepper

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, and nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add the orzo and cook another 10 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm with some crusty bread.

dog snood.

snood

Cold weather is coming, which means time to get stella’s wardrobe up to date! I saw these adorable dog snoods on etsy and it took every ounce of resistance NOT to buy her one! Luckily, there was a pattern for sale! So i opted to buy that instead, break out my circular knitting needles (knitting is not my favorite task, especially knitting in the round). It was super easy and I made her one with some yarn I had laying around. She seems to like it too, despite her serious face above (thats her modeling pose!)  I do have some trouble with the binding off process. I think im rusty and not doing something correctly, but overall the knitting part itself is pretty easy and a beginner could totally do this.  Now I gotta figure out how to make her one with the little ear holes! So cute!!

toilet paper bats.

bats
This is a simple halloween project you can make using old toilet paper tubes.
You will need:
Toilet paper tubes
black paint
black construction paper
googly eyes
elmers glue
hot glue
String

1. Fold the ends of your toilet paper tube in.
2. Paint your tubes black. Let dry.
3. Cut out bat shaped wings and glue on the back.
4. Glue on googly eyes.
5. Using hot glue, affix some string to the back of your bats and hang.

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