Party Crossword

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I’ve been creating, but overdue on posting – the good news is that I loved the results of my Pinterest inspired project this week!

Our sweet friend Sarah hosted a ‘Welcome to the World’ party for Evan with a few friends, and she filled it with an unbelievable number of personal, creative touches. I do believe love is in the details, and she sure made us feel uber loved! She brought to life a whole number of Pinterest inspired projects that we were inspired by. In fact, if I were the one who executed them, I would have weeks worth of completed Pinterest projects to post here… but since she did the creating, not I, this wouldn’t be the place for me to share. I did however do one of the projects myself, so lets get to it…

I created a giant crossword that all attendees could contribute to throughout the afternoon. I was inspired by this Pin from my Parties & Events Pinterest board – which happened to have been created and posted by my friend Sarah (though I didn’t know it at the time – crazy!)… I’m sure I repined it from her originally, but I didn’t know she was the originator at the time.

All the questions were facts about Evan and highlights of his first months of life. I called it: ‘Evan’s “All About Me” Crossword’.

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After coming up with the questions and answers, I plotted them into a crossword within Excel. Questions ranged from Evan’s nickname, to how many weeks early he arrived, to the name his 2.5 year old brother insisted we name him – “Jaguar Baby” (he has an extreme fascination and love of Jaguars right now…so cute), and many more – 14 questions in all.

It turned out that creating the base of the crossword in Excel was perfect as I was able to create the crossword boxes in perfect form. I saved the final version as a PDF, and opened the PDF within Photoshop. From there I made it pretty by layering in a few backgrounds and playing with the opacity. I used a fun font, and added a photo and chevrons that I was really digging – especially since they emphasized my categories of ‘down’ & ‘across’ – adding a perfect visual.

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I created it to fill the largest frame I had (14″x18″), and simply printed it at home on 8.5″x11″ paper. It came out in 4 pages, which I carefully trimmed and taped together on the backside of the pages, so the tape wouldn’t be seen. I then placed it into the frame so that the crossword answers could be written onto the glass with a wet erase marker. Before printing at home, I considered paying to have Staples print it on one larger piece of paper to avoid any seams, but they quoted $14 to do this, so I decided to try it myself first. As hoped, once assembled, the seams were barely noticeable and virtually disappeared once I put the crossword behind the glass of the frame (yay!). I even had one friend ask how I printed it so large. 😉 The frame then rested on an inexpensive table top easel that I picked up from Staples.

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It was a hit and a fun addition to the party, allowing guests to get to know our sweet baby boy.
Whenever I get around to creating the baby book that I’ve started designing *in my head*, I plan to include a smaller version of this crossword on one of the pages. …sigh, if only I had enough time to create all the *in my head* designs and projects. I pinned this quote to my Quotable Quotes board not too long ago and WOW, is it ever the reality I need to remind myself.
What quotes are ringing true for you lately?
What project would you create if time were no limitation?

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Another Infinity Scarf!

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After I made my first infinity scarf a few weeks ago, my mom asked if I would knit one for her. So, I decided to try another scarf from my knitting board on Pinterest.

Here’s the Pinspiration for this scarf.

This scarf was easy to knit (especially since i’m getting used to the process of knitting in the round).

I used the same needles as last time. This pattern requires you to count rows, but is still very simple. I’ll be knitting this scarf again!

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Polka dot nail art

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I’ve been into nail art for a year or so and have been pinning some artsy ideas to my nail art board on Pinterest. But I haven’t gotten around to purchasing the proper tools (dotters, nail tape) to actually attempt most of the pins.

Fellow Pinning Cousins poster katmer26 inspired me to attempt one of the ideas without the fancy tools 🙂

Here’s the Pinspiration:

I decided to go with Fall colors and painted a burgundy color as the main colour:

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And a gold color as the accent on my ring finger nails:

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Then I used an old (fake) pearl earring as my dotter (I wasn’t ready to commit to polka dots on all my nails so stuck to my accent nails). First red:

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And then orange:

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The earring worked well as a dotter (but I think I’ll still buy actual dotters for more variety of size).

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Glass Jar Turned Soap Dispenser

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This week I crafted a project that was inspired by one of the first pins I ever pinned… it’s been sitting on my Projects & Crafts I Love board for over 2 years! It’s a simple one, so here it goes…

I used a glass jar that I originally bought as a jar of coconut curry sauce, purchased from World Market. …The sauce sounded delicious (& it was), but I was also excited about the pretty & uniquely shaped glass jar that it came in. After enjoying the contents, and washing the jar and lid, I hammered a hole in the center of the lid and used pliers to make the opening fit my soap pump. By working on the opening slowly, I lucked out by not making it too large, thus the soap dispenser squeezed into place and held together tightly – eliminating any need for glue.

I started to paint the lid silver, but after the first coat shown here, I didn’t feel the two very different looking silvers looked good together, so I moved to plan B.

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I searched my craft cabinet hoard downstairs, and picked a blue/teal paint that was left from a prior project.
I painted four coats (until I was satisfied that I couldn’t see paint lines any longer), and then finished with a couple coats of sealer. Here’s an image of the materials I used.

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And it was done!

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I placed my finished project on the sink in our main bath prior to filling it with soap… just to feel it out to see if that’s the bathroom where it should live (the similar colored Glassybaby candle holder in the photo already resides there). Then a funny thing happened… J observed our new addition and our conversation went like this:

J: So I’m guessing you have that new soap pump there ’cause you like it?
Me: Why, you don’t like it?
J: Meh.
Me: I made it.
J: You made it? Oh. …Then a little bit of back tracking happened.

Bahaha… but that’s okay – truth is I’m not crazy about it either, but hey, I love to be creative and to be creative I need to be taking action, it doesn’t mean I’ll love everything I create.

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How about you? Have you recently completed a project that is just “meh”?

Halloween Spiderweb Game

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I really like looking for craft and activity ideas for kids on Pinterest. There are so many great ideas out there, and I get to try them out with the kids at work. We’ve repurposed old crayons into new crayons, made giant ice marbles by freezing water in balloons during winter, placed glow sticks in balloons, made moon sand, etc.

I had pinned this game awhile ago, to use around Halloween. We tried it out this week.

This process involved a bit of trial & error.

For the spider web, I used green painter’s tape.

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For the spiders, we used newspaper strips and black crepe paper.

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Here’s our web:

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The spiders began to stick to the web…

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Next time, I would experiment with different kinds of painter’s tape, or perhaps use masking tape instead. I thought maybe the crepe paper would stick to the tape better, but it didn’t have the weight to make it to the web, after the kids threw it. The newspaper was heavier, therefore moved further towards the web.

As more spiders were thrown, the web began to fall apart so I just kept adding more tape to it (making it look less and less like a web) 🙂

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The kids had fun playing this game, and we’ll be trying this again!

“NYTimes rated best Chocolate Chip Cookies”

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This week I made Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was the original plan when I made Taquitos last week, but they got bumped when my pantry was short an ingredient. I’ve pinned a few Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes to my Yum board, but chose to try this one first because the caption with the Pin claimed: “The NYTimes rated this the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.” …Sounded like a great endorsement to me!

I knew we needed baking soda, and after reviewing the recipe ingredients, I realized the recipe required approximately 1.5 bags of chocolate chips (we had 1 bag on hand). J picked up the missing items and actually returned from the grocery store with 2 new bags of chocolate chips. He was excited to have found Ghirardelli brand chocolate chips – yum!

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My helper-cutie pie N and I started baking. Our only deviation from the recipe was using all purpose flour in place of the recommended mix of cake flour and bread flour. I figured it would work out since the blogger whom I pinned the recipe from notes that she did the same thing. Other than that, we creamed, sifted, and mixed to our hearts content, following the recipe to the letter. Then we hit a road block. We got to the finished-dough-stage, the ready-to-bake-stage, the looking-forward-to-eating-warm-cookies-tonight-stage, and I read that we’re suppose to “refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours” — what?!? Ugh, it took will-power, but we did it, we popped it into the fridge and waited an entire day cause we didn’t want to mess with “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever”. I’ll admit, I’m building some pretty high expectations at this point.

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The next day was my second challenge with the recipe – the dough was no longer easily moldable, but instead, very hard and quite a chore to scoop & bake. We persevered, surely the delicious reward would be worth it, right?

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A short baking time later… cookies! Unfortunately here was disappointment numero tres… I didn’t love them! I fully take responsibility that it could have been me, so I’m not going to knock the recipe… perhaps it was the flour variation, or oven temperature, or who knows, but they were simply “meh”… and we didn’t think they were nearly as good as the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe found on the chocolate chip bags.

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So, in summary, I wouldn’t make this one again, but we still tried one more pin from the hundreds in the queue. In this case, you don’t know until you try, so no regrets.

Oh yeah, and what’s that you ask?…
What happened to the other bag and a half of chocolate chips?

Why are you asking me.
I haven’t seen them.
I haven’t seen any extra chocolate chips anywhere.
I would not eat a bag and a half of chocolate chips.
Don’t ask me anymore questions.

I dedicate this post to my witty brother… for a multitude of reasons, really. I have a feeling he’ll get this post and relate to it on a couple levels. xo

And we thank him for the really cute children’s book he gave my son: “I want my hat back”, by Jon Klassen – check it out, and this post will have a little more meaning for you too.

M&M Cookies

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I love baking…cookies, cupcakes, etc. But I tend to stick to the same recipes… the ones I’ve made over and over. I have pinned some pretty delicious looking baking ideas to Pinterest during the past year and it’s time to start trying the recipes!

This week I decided to make M&M Cookies. Who doesn’t like cookies? 🙂 They’re easy to share with family & friends…and easy to freeze any extras.

The full recipe can be found by following the link through Pinterest. I doubled the recipe, to have more cookies for sharing 🙂

Cream the butter.

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Add sugars, eggs, vanilla.

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Mix dry ingredients together, including the special ingredient, vanilla pudding powder.

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Add butter mixture with dry ingredients.

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Add the chocolate chips.

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Add the M&Ms..yummy! The recipe calls for mini M&Ms, which I couldn’t find at the store I visited. I liked the idea of the cookies having smaller pieces, so i chopped some of the regular M&Ms, and left some regular size.

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YUM!

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The recipe suggested using a baking mat or parchment paper on the baking sheets, which I need to make a habit of. A better alternative to greasing the cookie sheets (and helps the cookies to bake evenly).

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Finished!

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These cookies were a big hit! I will be making this recipe again. Mine didn’t turn out as flat as the original recipe (maybe due to doubling the recipe?), but they tasted great!

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What’s your favourite kind of cookies?