Gift Wrapping Inspiration

As much as I want to say that I am all ready for Christmas and my wrapping er shopping is done, I can’t. So instead, I’m procrastinating, buy finding creative ways to gift wrap the presents I don’t have yet. Take a look at what I’ve found..

Typographic Gift Wrap via Man Made DIY

Woven Paper Gift Topper via minieco

Rolled Paper Gift Toppers via Under The Table and Dreaming

Cupcake Liner Flowers via Creative Chaos

Paper Bows via ellinée

Christmas Tree Lightbulbs via Good Housekeeping

Woven Ribbon Wrap via Martha Stewart

Repurposed Shirt Gift Wrap via Country Living

Mini Shopping Bags via Martha Stewart

Newspaper Bow via Adelle

Nature Inspired Gift Wrap via Martha Stewart

Yarn Plait Gift Wrap via Bugs and Fishes

giftwrap via Anthropologie

Gold Foil Bunting via Tokketok

Have you done some creative wrapping? Please share!

Holiday Desserts and Drinks with Duncan Hines



Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There’s no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On! www.duncanhines.com

The easiest type of holiday parties to throw is a dessert party. No having to worry about the timing of foods or multiple courses, just lots of sweet yummy desserts and beverages to match. My two favorite things about the holidays are desserts and drinks, combine the two and I am a happy girl. Now, I’m no official when it comes to pairing drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, with different types of food, but I definitely know what I like.

The most important thing when pairing desserts and drinks is to keep it simple. If it’s a light and fluffy vanilla cupcake, offer a simple champagne spritzer. And for those that don’t drink, a champagne glass full of lemon-lime soda with a dash of grenadine is always classy.

Or you can keep things similar.. A decadent German Chocolate Cake tastes amazing with a stout beer. Yum! Or how about some cola with a splash of vanilla??

Desserts and drinks don’t always have to two separate things.  A rum cake sounds amazing with a sip of egg nog. With or without the brandy.

And now for the ultimate decadent pairing of dessert and drink…

This Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Cake with a glass of Irish Cream on ice. Or if you are a glutton like me..just pour the Irish Cream on top of the cake and let it become a gooey delicious mess! I would eat this for breakfast if it was allowed. This one is for grown-ups only!

Happy eating!!

 

Remember to check out Duncan Hines’ website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective

Mr. Frosty Ornaments

Forgive me, but I’m on an ornament making kick right now. I want to be ready for the tree when we get it. Plus, my craft supply closet is overflowing, and I’m challenging myself to only use what I have for the rest of the year. And maybe all of January too. Seriously, it’s gross.

I was digging through my stuff and found these wooden discs, and I had enough to make a snowman..or four!!!!

Supplies: Wooden discs {various sizes}, sand paper, hot glue gun, white acrylic paint, ribbon, paint pens {for the face and buttons, use can use acrylic paint too}, Mod Podge or craft glue, foam brush and epsom salt

First, sand the edges of the discs so they are nice and smooth. Using the hot glue gun, glue together your discs like above and then paint both sides white. Once the white paint is dry, paint it again. Then glue the ribbon on to the back (for hanging).

Using the paint pens, or acrylic paint with a fine brush, paint on a face and a cute carrot nose.

Look at poor Mr. Frosty taking an epsom salt bath..he must have some sore muscles.

Once the paint dries, use the sponge brush to paint on the glue, and sprinkle on the epsom salt. I did both the front and back. Gently tap Mr. Frosty on the edge of the bowl to get off the excess salt and then set him in a safe place to dry.

Of course you can use clear crystal glitter instead of the epsom salt..but I **love** epsom salt right now {and I have a ton}. Your choice!

Linked to: Whipperberry

Makin’ Marshmallows

I’ve wanted to try my hand at homemade marshmallows forever, but every recipe and blog post I’ve ever read said that you have to have a stand mixer. And I didn’t have one. And it was frustrating. But Santa came early for this Sparklepantsgirl and now I have my very own stand mixer for a whole lotta marshmallow making goodness!

My first attempt was, um, not so good. Marshmallows are super easy to make, as long as you have the right tools..ie a candy thermometer. Me being me, totally thought I could eyeball the syrup and know when it was at the ‘soft ball’ stage. Um, no. It started smoking, then turned brown, and despite removing it from heat, the syrup still smoked and turned even browner. So I took the pot outside and dumped out the syrup on to the ground, beneath a bush. It subsequently hardened underneath the bush. Maybe I will have my very own candy tree next year? Or maybe the bush will die. Only time will tell. Determined to fix this, I ran to the market and picked up a candy thermometer and tried again. This time they turned out perfect.

Moral of that story: I don’t have infrared heat vision superpowers. I know you’re disappointed..I am too.

Since I had success making the marshmallows, I am gonna make more…lots more. So I rounded up some amazingly sticky, gooey, sweet and fluffy ideas I’ve found..

Marshmallows with Chocolate and Candy Cane via A Southern Fairytale

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows via Authentic Suburban Gourmet

Cinnamon Marshmallows via Technicolor Kitchen

Melon Marshmallow via sweet pleasure : plaisir sucré

 Chocolate Chip Marshmallows via Technicolor Kitchen

Any other flavored marshmallow ideas? I’ve seen cardamom, pumpkin and lavender..yum!

Snowflake Ornaments

A while ago I mentioned here that I wanted to make most of the ornaments for my Christmas tree this year. There are a couple reasons for this, but the most important reason is..toddlers! Yes, the Sparkletots destroyed an ornament or three last year. Cheap, expensive, new or old, the kids did not care and no ornament was safe. It doesn’t help that our floor is concrete, any thing glass that gets dropped/falls breaks. Sooo, the goal for this year’s tree is Toddler Resistant Ornaments. They don’t have to be made of rubber bouncy material, but maybe just be a little less likely to break when dropped, or if they do break they don’t shatter into a million sharp pieces.

That’s where this stuff comes in:

Crayola Model Magic. This stuff is like clay, but when it dries it has an almost foam-like consistency, but still has the look of clay. It truly is magic. I have searched high and low for a recipe to make my own Model Magic, but haven’t found anything that can replace the original. Each bag makes about 13 to 14 ornaments.

Supplies:

  • Crayola Model Magic
  • Candy/chocolate mold {I used snowflake ones by Wilton}
  • flour
  • drinking straw
  • craft glue
  • glitter
  • ribbon

Start by dusting a very light coat of flour on your candy mold. If you put too much on it, the flour will get into to grooves and then the clay can’t get the cool texture. Grab some Model Magic and roll it into a ball, a little smaller than the size of a golf ball. Slightly flatten it in your hand, then spread some flour across the surface of the Model Magic. Press the clay into the mold, making sure to cover the whole area of the mold. Smooth out the back with your fingertip. Then ever so carefully lift up the edge of the snowflake. Go slow and try to get your fingers between the clay and the mold, to support the clay.

Lay the snowflake on a flat surface and use the straw to punch a hole in the top. I usually put the hole at the spot where I first lifted the snowflake from the mold, since it would often get a little misshapen there.

They take a day or so to dry. I flip them over the next day to dry the backs. Once dry use a paint brush to brush off the residual flour. I love the way they look at this point, and intentionally left some like this. But for the others I added sparkle!

For the light silver ones, I sprayed them with a coat of silver glitter spray (Krylon). For the others, I diluted craft glue with some water, then painted on a light coat of the glue with a brush. Then I doused the snowflake in glitter. Then let it dry, tie on a ribbon and hang it on the tree!

Linked to: Tatertots and Jello, At Home With K, Today’s Creative Blog, My Girlish Whims

Falling Snowflakes Canvas Art

During the fall, I made some art for my wall using six square canvases and foam leaves. My original idea was to do this with snowflakes to represent falling snow, but it was September and snow in September would be silly (especially in Arizona).

Supplies:

six square canvases {I got a pack of 7 at Michael’s..use your coupon!}

foam snowflakes 1/2 to 1 inch {Either ones that stick, or you can glue them on. Here’s a good deal.}

glue

foam brush

paint {I used Snow (Titanium) White from DecoArt}

Stick the foam shapes on the canvas. I stuck them so the lower three canvases look like the snow is piling up at the bottom. If you are going to paint them white or a light color, try to use white or light colored snowflakes. They are easier to cover with the white paint. Then, with the foam brush, start painting the snowflakes and the canvas. Last time I made the mistake of painting multiple coats on the leaves, but not painting the whole canvas. This led to it looking funny in certain lights.

Can you see the white blobs around the leaves? It bothered me. So this time, I painted the entire canvas with each coat. I don’t see any blobs this time. Yay!

I’m debating on spraying them with a fine mist of silver glitter spray. Yes or no?? I love my little indoor winter scene.

Linked to: Designer Garden, Whipperberry, Remodelaholic, Nifty Thrifty Things, Under the Table and Dreaming, Blue Cricket Design, Mushki Loves, Organize and Decorate Everything, Tip Junkie, Centsational Girl, Tales of A Trophy Wife, I Gotta Create