The set up

 John: I always wished I had a brother.
Hartwell: You could ask for one for Christmas.
John: Good idea...
Hartwell (whispering to me): He's cuckoo!

Kings of Mustaches

This is the label I made for the Vanilla Bottles. It's the exact one I made at 9:30 the night before Hartwell's last day at preschool. Hilarious? Yes. Tells you what's inside the bottle? Nope.

Hartwell's teacher asked him what it was and he said, "Vodka." So it seemed a bit like I was handing out liquor at a preschool.

This is what it looked like after I fixed it:
It's actually two different images I made on Picnik and then put together in a word processor. Because I ain't got nothin' fancy like Photoshop.

That is a lot of mustaches.

Vanilla Ice: Part II: Recipe

You know what smells awesome? Vanilla beans. Fruity and flowery. Lovely. If there was only a way to combine it with alcohol and create something amazing-er...

Ingredients: Vodka, nothin' fancy, the beans do the work.
                  Vanilla Beans, lots of varieties, I chose Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla
 Bourbon Vanilla has a traditional flavor and is the most popular type of vanilla. Bourbon vanilla comes from the fruit of an orchid variety called Vanilla Planifolia and is rich in the natural organic compound called vanillin. Bourbon beans have a creamy, sweet, smooth and mellow flavor. Use Bourbon vanilla for applications that require a traditional vanilla flavor.
The basic recipe is 1 bean for every four ounces of vodka. Split the beans by drawing a knife lengthwise down the bean. Place in container and add vodka to cover.
My kitchen smelled really delicious.
Not even 20 minutes and the vodka started coloring. 

Since the two bottles of vodka weren't quite enough, I had added 3 large bottles to the mix, I had to run out for more. I knew I had a bunch of extra beans so I bought myself a bottle of vodka. After dumping a little out, I shoved a bunch of beans in so I had my own vanilla.
I made Paula Deen's Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving and used my vanilla. I could totally taste it! It was more floral that regular vanilla and slightly more complex.

Here's a bottle after a couple of weeks:
One of the best parts of making your own vanilla is that you never run out. After you've used a little, just add more vodka. The beans will continue to do their thing and you always have vanilla extract on hand. With no additives, for a quarter of the price.

Vanilla Ice: Part I Bottles

This year John and I decided to make everyone vanilla extract! Inspired by our love of makin' stuff and limited funds. After researching recipes and beans and vodka I started researching bottles. The thing that takes up most of our budget. I found tons of sites with crazy cheap bottles, but the shipping was as much as the bottles. 

One day as we perused the 99 Cents Only store for Halloween decorations, I found these:
That's right, $1 bottles of wine. 8 ounces. Exactly what I wanted. Except the chintzy caps, those would have to go. I found corks at Michaels. Which I measured for with the wine I kept in my purse. I was lookin' classy that day, unscrewing a bottle of wine in Aisle 10 of the Michaels. 

Once that was settled, I had to clean the bottles:
And clip off the annoying safety seal:
 And then I had 24 lovely clean bottles! And all I had to do was look like a lush on the go at the 99 Cents only store...and the Michaels.

Recipe Gift Tags!

I made these recipe gift tags to go with the gift I made for everyone this year. I happen to have a lot of muslin lying around so i used that instead of paper.

I cut two pieces of muslin to 5x3 inches. Then marked 1/2" in from the top two corners. That makes a nice faux shipping tag.

For the next step, I found a recipe that I loved and printed it on iron on transfer paper. Don't forget to mirror image it! Totally sucks.

I also made a little "from" iron-on. I planned on writing the "to" in Sharpie.

I then just zig-zag stitched the two pieces of muslin together. And since I didn't feel like winding a matching bobbin, I found a green one to go with my red top thread. To laziness!

Speaking of laziness, I liked how the tags looked with the small threads hanging off. Since I made a bunch, it was nice to just trim the threads and move on. If you like blog...

You can see in the above photos that I punched a small hole in the tag. I have a super small hole puncher that worked pretty well for this. I wish I could tell you if a normal sized guy worked.

After you punch the hole, cut two small circles out of felt or fabric. Mine are 3/4" in diameter, which is a little too big. I just free handed one and then used that one as the pattern.
Punch holes!
Tacky glue to tag!
Thread the tag with some string!
And super cute recipe gift tag!

How 'bout a drink for my friend Scarfy here?

I finished the scarf! I had planned to add green yarn and have 4 strands, but I got bored. And it would be done with 3 strands so why make a fourth?

Even though I tried, the 3 I-cords did not come out the same length. I accidentally made the second one a lot longer and then the third was made with leftover white yarn so it's as long as it can be. Which was short.

For the ends I kind of looped a knot and then wove the ends through. Not very scientific. I just worked until it was secure. That's why they look a little off.

Onto my next project which involves circular needles. Just trying to see what comes out of that.

And I need to get some new video tapes. Or I could just watch My Cousin Vinny again. Or maybe Die Hard. It's more Christmas-ie.

Things I do while watching The Closer

Finally trying to make something for myself! With all my random yarn scraps I thought I'd make a bunch of i-cords and braid them together. It's a little mad. Especially the colors.

I got a knitting for the holidays book at the library and after flipping through it two times I was positive I couldn't make one of the projects. Socks and slippers and sweaters?! No way. But they had i-cords as decorations. That I can do.

And pom-poms. I love a pom-pom.

Let's see how this goes.

I decided to add a couple of things to my Etsy store. That place seems chock full, so I have zero expectations. At least I had fun with my listings.I only listed 2 hearts and three snowmen. I have a ton more, but it seems harder to find me...

In the wings...

Along with everything else I'm doing, Craft Night, Farmers Market...I'm also doing all of this...

Hope I finish in time.

Hartwell's Book

I put some pictures in clear plastic sleeves and placed them in a three ring binder the other day. Hartwell saw the resulting "book" and exclaimed, "Mama made a book! I want to make a book!"

So, I got some paper and crayons and he proceeded to dictate a book to me. I wish I had recorded the session. There was so much more good stuff that I couldn't fit in. And I had to ask questions to get him to form things into complete sentences. "How did the heart fall in the pool?" And so on...

The resulting book is amazing! And an interesting look inside the mind of my sweet little guy.
Ssib-Ssib has magnet hands? Awesome!

Recycled Love

And my husband says I don't do anything all day...

I made these out of recycled felted sweaters.That's a lot of words.

Snow many snowmen!

My snowmen are back! I decided to Shanghai my friend's table at our local underground farmers' market and sell some ornaments. I lured her into it by promising my sparkling personality. She doesn't know what she's in for...

I'm gonna sell some birds and hearts and owls and snowmen!

When it hit me that I could make a few for sale, I went in search of the original pattern I made thinking that I would've kept it. I looked all over my "mama room" and it was lost. Until I found it in a file marked "patterns." Which was the last place I would've thought to find it.

I got carded.

My mom "ordered" a bunch of ornaments. I use ordered both ways, as an instruction from a customer to buy and a published directive from a commander. Since they were gifts, I made some little cards to display the ornaments.

Very simple design. And I actually found all the stuff in my basement:
The green paper was a little thin, so I backed it with the red swirls and polka dots. Then I glued on a triangle.
Once the tree was set, I mat knifed the very top of the tree about 1/2" down on each side. Here's a detail of the back:
I then carefully threaded the rick-rack ornament loop through the card.

Now my mom can write something on them or whatever. I thought it was much nicer than receiving a ziploc bag full of ornaments. Which I was about 5 minutes from doing when my mat knife was being messy. And it was technically free!

I need to start paying myself. But all I have is a wallet full of Chuck E. Cheese tokens. 

Hats what she said.

I made a hat! I forced my friend Jenny to teach me how to knit in a circle. We hung out and watched videos and she showed me a lot of little tips that will help keep my new hobby from getting too expensive. 

I bought the yarn to match Hartwell. But his head is actually more of an adult head. So little Bee gets the hat. And it might be a little too small for him...

Quick Photo Wreath Ornament!

We have another craft day coming up! This one at night with booze. So I added an ornament to my repertoire.

To make this ornament I just cut two 3" circles out of wool felt and then cut a 1-1/2" circle in the middle of one. I just used these circle templates left over from my drafting days.
I added french knots for berries in clusters of three. Odds are best! And I blanket stitched the inside of the wreath. The bow and hanger were actually done with a super startched bias tape. It's 1/4" wide and if I had ribbon like that I would've used it. (Court: add 1/4" ribbon to list!)
I found a picture of Hartwell that could be cut to 2-3/8" circle, but can be seen out of the 1-1/2" hole. The ornament is sort of like a frame with a 1/2" mat. You need it to be a little bigger than the hole so it doesn't fall out. Also, forgive me, I just copied a pic and didn't adjust the quality. I was in a hurry! This guy, from design to final knot, took 1 hour.

P.S. I had to stop myself from calling this post Wreath Witherspoon. Just so you know.

Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday

It's rainin' gingerbread men.

Today we bought Trader Joe's Really Big Gingerbread Man Kit's for the boys! Let's see how that goes...
 The frosting was a little thick, the boys couldn't get it to come out of the bag, so I helped a little. With direction from Hartwell, of course.
"I wanna eat the head."
Beckett chose the arm and then changed his mind and asked for the head. More frosting on the head.