Monday, December 28, 2009

Tutorial: Ribbon Clippies

I have terribly fine hair. So fine that I could never tie cute ribbons in it and most clips don't stay in. My husband, on the other hand, has luxurious, thick hair. Tons of it. As much as I hoped that my daughter would have lots of thick, pretty hair to put ribbons and bows in . . . alas, she inherited my fine, stick straight hair. For that reason, we have a very hard time finding any bows that will stay in. I finally found some and I made them myself and they are wonderful!!

-Box of Clips (I found mine at Sally Beauty Supply - box of 100 for $5)
-Ribbon (3/8" works best for the clips I bought, but check your clips - it needs to be just a bit wider than your clip) - if you are doing this for fine haired children like mine, use the grossgrain ribbon with the ridges. If not, feel free to use anything at all!
-Hot glue gun

Seriously, how cute is this ribbon? It was all 50% off at Hobby Lobby the day I went so each spool was only $1.

Step 1: Cut about an 8 inch piece of ribbon. This gives you a little room to play. Basically, you are going to wrap the ribbon from the inside of the bottom of the clip, around the bottom of the clip, into the squeeze part of the clip, around the top of the clip, and around the inside of the top of the clip. You are just wrapping the entire clip with ribbon. I do a dry run first, and then start gluing. A little bit of hot glue goes a LONG way. Apply your glue to the ribbon because it won't stick if you apply it to the metal. Here is how I start . . .
. . . and this is how it looks when you have glued all the way around. Cut any excess ribbon before you glue your last piece. Be careful as you glue that any excess glue isn't gluing your clippie shut!
Step 2: I took another piece of ribbon and formed an S shape until I got this shape here:
This will be the bow on top. Once you get this piece the right length, cut your ribbon and glue in between each loop just in the middle. It will make a double layer bow and you want a little glue in between to keep it together.
Step 3: Cut a small piece of ribbon to go around the center of your bow piece and glue into place. Then glue your bow onto the top of the ribbon covered clippie.
Here is the final product:
I hope that all makes sense! There is another tutorial that is similar at Smashed Peas and Carrots. It has a variation on the theme. But they are super easy once you get the hang of it. Look at all the cute clippies I made in just a few minutes!
This isn't the best picture of either my daughter or the clippie, but it's the best I can do since she has gone to bed tonight.
These make great gifts! If you know me and are having a baby girl this year, you'll be getting some of these!
On a sidenote . . . while I am typing this, Mr. Naptime is hard at work painting our atrium and tomorrow we'll do the living room. Before and after pictures to come! Nothing like getting rid of a color that was never quite right (in the atrium) and warming up a boring white room (the living room) So excited!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Southwestern Soup

I hesitate to say "soup" because this is so rich and hearty and there really isn't a ton of broth to it. But it is DELICIOUS!! Especially when it is cold outside. Super fast too. Goes great with the English Muffin Bread. I found this in "Southern Living" magazine from January 2009.

-1 lb ground beef
-1 cup coarsely chopped onion
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 (16 oz) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained (light or dark, your choice)
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes and jalapenos, undrained
-1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes and mild green chiles, undrained (i.e. Rotel)
-1 (14 oz) can beef broth
-2 cups frozen yellow and white whole kernel corn (equals 1 16 oz bag)
-1 (1 oz) envelope taco seasoning mix
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
(Naptime notes: I don't do fresh garlic since I don't use it enough and it goes bad, so I just sprinkle a little garlic powder in once the beef is cooked. Also, we don't like major spicy so instead of the can of tomatoes and jalapenos, I just use a regular can of diced tomatoes in juice. I also don't do fresh herbs for the same reason as the garlic, so I skip the cilantro, but I think it would be yummy in this.)

1. Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large Dutch oven (or stew pot) over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink and onion is softened; drain.

2. Stir in kidney beans, next 8 ingredients, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sir in cilantro just before serving.

So Yummy!! Top with sour cream or lots of CHEESE. We eat this with lots of Ritz crackers too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

In Progress . . .

We got back from celebrating Thanksgiving with my in-laws a couple weeks ago. I caught a cold during our last couple days there and have been sick ever since. Hence, the crafting has come to a screeching halt. Meanwhile, I have taken back up a project that I had to put down to get Christmas gifts made.

I have been crocheting since I was about 15. My mother taught me. Since then, I have made COUNTLESS baby blankets for my friends and for sale, and about 15-20 full size afghans. I finally got around to making one for myself a few years ago. I have NEVER EVER had this problem, but the blanket I made for myself sheds like crazy! I'm talking maroon dust balls gliding across the floor. It's bad. I got so sick of Swiffering every 5 minutes, so I've decided to try another one. This time I am using 100% cotton yarn instead of the usual acrylic. It is taking FOREVER!

Here it is today:

The color is actually a deep maroon (again, once I get my new camera, the photography should improve greatly!). The big thing of yarn sitting on top of it is a pound of yarn. That is my 3rd one and I think I have at least 1 or 2 more after that one!

So during naptime this week, I have been sitting on the couch, puppy on my lap, and crocheting. I DVR the old Beverly Hills 90210 on the Soapnet and watch them while I work. Right now they are in their senior year at West Beverly . . . so I have plenty stored up! :) What do you listen to or watch while you craft?

After Christmas I'll be able to post all the cute things I made for everyone and hopefully I'll get started on the twenty million baby gifts I have to do for the spring!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

English Muffin Bread

Before you skip over this because it says "bread," let me explain something. I do not make breads that you have to knead or roll out. If you can mix it and dump it in a pan, I'm in. This is the easiest bread recipe, but tastes like you've been slaving all day. It comes from the "Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook" - the red and white checked one that we all have. I have made this to bring to the sick, postpartum, and many many dinners. It gets rave reviews and people are amazed that I baked bread. Love it.

6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. Grease two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans (found mine at Wal-Mart for cheap). Lightly sprinkle pans with enough cornmeal to coat bottom and sides; set pans aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups of the flour, the yeast, and baking soda; set aside. (I move it all to the sides to create a large "well" in the middle. Makes pouring the liquid into it much easier and less messy.)
In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, water, sugar, and salt just until warm - 120 to 130 degrees (I use my meat thermometer).
Using a wooden spoon, stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Stir in remaining flour.
3. Divide dough in half. Place dough in prepared pans. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 45 minutes).

I don't have a warm place in the house, plus I made this on a day it was 30 degrees out, so this is how I let my bread rise. I place a bowl of steaming hot water on the low rack in my oven, then place my bread pans on the top rack, cover them with a towel, close the oven door and let them sit. Since it was so cold, they were in there closer to 60 minutes.
Here is the before:
Here is the after:
4. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove bread from pans. Cool on wire racks.
Seriously, how could you pass this up?
To make it even yummier, each night we cut off a couple pieces each, butter them up, and put them on a foil-lined cookie sheet under the broiler. It takes about 5 minutes and they look like this:

Yum. Crunchy, buttery bread. You can't go wrong!
PS - Since this was my first recipe post, I need feedback! My husband thought I was crazy to take all these pictures while I was cooking, but I think it helps to see it. Thoughts?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Ball Wreath

So, I've admitted on my family blog that I am addicted to craft blogs. Still true. Here is a great project that I found on Eddie Ross and Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour also has a great step by step tutorial on it. My only note - when they say that you need like 80-something ornaments, believe them. I used about 50-60 and my wreath isn't that big. It looks big when you work on it on the table, but pick it up and look at it. It gives you a better idea of how it will really hang. Here is mine:

Notes for Next Time: I would use more ornaments and lots of different colors!

If you need an easy bow for it, Living With Lindsay has a great tutorial.


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