4th Annual Cookies and Cocktails- Lemon Swig Cookies & Upside down Pineapple cake

That time of year again folks! Where we have the cookies and cocktails party! It was a great time and people really came out with some good cookies. This year we did trophies which made it all the more funner. ( i can use the word funner because it is my blog). The winners get to keep the trophies for a year, return them next year to pass onto next contestant winner. My new cricut machine helped me make awesome decorations for the party which were not photographed :(.

This year I made Lemon Swig Cookies! 

  • 1 Cup Butter, softened
  • ¾ C Vegetable Oil
  • 1¼ C Sugar (plus ¼ cup reserved)
  • ¾ C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T Water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Cream of Tarter
  • 1 t Salt
  • 5½ C Flour
  • Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
  • softened
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, vegetable oil, sugar (1¼ C), powdered sugar, and water. Add in lemon juice and lemon zest.. Add in eggs.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture until combined. Roll the dough into golf sized balls and place onto a non stick cookie sheet.
  4. To give the cookies their signature rough edge, dip the bottom of a glass into the reserved ¼ cup sugar and press onto the cookie ball to flatten the cookie. You still want the cookie to be thicker so don’t press them to thin.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom is lightly brown. The cookies stay soft so do not over bake.
  6. To make the lemon cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar. Beat until creamy

Upside Pineapple Cake Cocktail

I had this at a chinese restaurant once and I wanted to make it for the occasion!

Ingredients
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Cake Vodka
  • Malibu Rum
  • Grenadine
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. Use a tall drinking glass and fill ⅓ full with ice.
  2. Add a double shot of Cake Vodka.
  3. Add a single shot of the Malibu Rum.
  4. Fill glass with Pineapple Juice.
  5. Pour a bit of Grenedine over the top. The red should float to the bottom & the drink will actually resemble pineapple upside down cake.
  6. Enjoy :)
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DIY Halloween Costumes 2014

This year I convinced all 3 kids to let me make their halloween costumes. I showed them a few ideas on pinterest and let them pick. Audrey picked that she would like to be Minnie, and we decided that means Adam could be Mickey. Amy picked popcorn. So here began the DIY Process.

The Popcorn

I drove around to several stores looking for a box, a single box, you wouldnt think it would be that hard to find, between Walgreens, CVS, Cumberlands, New England Farms the final winner was a small convenience store in Freetown.

I cut hole for Amys head and arms.

I bought white duct tape and red duct tape. I covered almost the whole thing in white, and then went over in red stripes. I was one strip short and was upset when I had to buy whole new roll to cover that part!

Once that finished, I popped pop corn and bought popcorn flavoring butter, to make the pop corn appear yellow. You could use microwave popcorn, but I found it cheaper to pop on stove with kernels

I began to hot glue pop corn all over the top of the box. I bought a winter hat from walmart for 98 cents, and covered that with popcorn using hot glue as well!

I printed the label to a pop corn box online, and taped it on both sides.

Amy loved her costume, although she did say it was a bit heavy and it was hard for her to fit through door ways!

Minnie:

I started with making the Tulle Tutu. The first mistake I made was that I purchased the tool from Jo-annes fabrics. Which mean I had to cut all the strips!! My recommendation to you is too buy the ROLLS! They make rolls of tulle in the appropriate width at any craft store. I used satin ribbon and looked up a basic tutorial on how to make no- sew tutu. I

Then I cut white fabric to polka dots and fabric glued them onto the skirt. I’ve found the cheapest kind of glue works the best. Forget fabric fusion, its the no- sew all the way.

We bought a leotard and tights from Walmart. The ears I had from the ship.

To make the yellow shoes- I bought plain white canvas shoes from Walmart for both Mickey and Minnie. I bought a packet of yellow dye, followed the directions, and dyed their shoes in the sink! The color doesn’t stick to rubber so they came out great. It didn’t stick to the laces either.

Mickey:

Same thing we bought black shirt and black tights. Mickey’s mom found red shorts on clearance and sewed them to his size. Then cut out white dots and glued them on. The ears we also found at Walmart too. WHite gloves were from walmart too!

It was all very inexpensive!

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Owl Costume DIY

Last Halloween, I made Amy D. an owl costume! She loved it! I used this website. It was so helpful. I ran to the store and bought fabric squares at Jo Ann Fabric and it was more than enough. I liked the tweed one and the different textures. I didn’t put it on a tee shirt, but on a long sleeve black shirt. as I looked at the picture longer I realized they glued it on a tee shirt and cut off the sleeves. Either way it works!! I also quickly made Little Adam a Charlie Brown costume out of a yellow tee shirt and black zig zag. It couldn’t be cuter!!!

Supplies:
-dark colored tee
-fabric scraps (50-60 feathers)
-thread and sewing machine (or permanent fabric glue)
-card stock
-scissors
-craft knife
-tape
-children’s sunglasses
1. Cut out the feathers from fabric scraps using the template below.
2. Begin pinning and sewing in rows from the bottom (or just line them up and glue).
3. Continue until you reach the top and then form a circle around the neckline.
4. Print out the owl mask and cut it out. With a craft knife, cut out the center eye holes.
5. Attach the mask to the sunglasses with tape. Hoot!
Click here to download the template for mask and feathers: Download file

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INSPIRE- My classroom Project

I saw an idea on Pinterest, where somebody took the letters “READ.” and covered them with pages from a Dr. Suess book. This got me thinking, how could I apply this idea to my classroom? I had a big window sil where I could place the letters, I just had to pick a word. Since I am a speech pathologist assistant, I knew READ wouldn’t be appropriate, and SPEAK was pretty silly. haha. So I immediately thought of The book “Ohh the Places You’ll Go.” Which was book that my mom gave me for high school graduation. Then I read it to my brother on the day of high school graduation, and again on my college graduation.

The book Inspires me, so I thought what a great word to have covered in pages of Dr. Suess. This would serve as a daily reminder that my life has come full circle, I am now teaching Dartmouth children, when I myself was a product of Dartmouth Schools. It would inspire me to give the children I service the tools to succeed. 98 % and 3/4 Guaranteed.

Materials:
Block Letters
Dr. Suess Book
Modge Podge
Paint Brush
Scissors
Pencil
Razor blade

I began with buying block letters that could stand on their own from Walmart.com. They were 1.88 a letter, I couldn’t beat the price. I bought a used copy of the book off Amazon.com.

I decided to go in order of the book. The first letter “I” is the title of the book, and the last letter is one of the last pages of the book.

To begin, I ripped out the page, from there I flipped over the letter and traced the letter onto the page. I cut out the letter and applied modge podge onto the letter and carefully placed book page onto letter. I repeated for the next letters.

Then I noticed some edges were not lined up perfectly, the page would go over the letter. This is when I took the razor blade and trimmed the edges. Then I modge podged over the top, to make a smooth protector coat.

It came out wonderfully! People have already asked to make me letters for them!
There are so many combinations to do this project, maybe you can use multiple Dr. Suess books, or any books at all!

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My first attempt at String Art

I wanted to try string art, and so I came up with a little present I could send my cousin.

She lives in Michigan and I live in MA so I thought I could do both states with a cute quote.

I started off with tracing the states from the computer and cutting those out, and then using them to nail around. Of Course I recommend “anchoring” the picture with a few nails around. 

My materials I used were nails my dad had in the garage. Some people use fancy craft store nails but I didn’t find it necessary. I think the trick to the nails are to have a big head and short body. 

I painted a old piece of wood for the base. 

The string I used was not the thin kind of string some people used. I just bought a bag of the string you make friendship bracelets out of. 

Then the nailing process began, I just put nails as close together as they could be and to be honest it was exhausting. Once both states were nailed, I ripped them off the board. 

There is no rhyme or reason or pattern as to how I did it, I started with a knot to begin and rolled with it. Whatever looks good go with, I did no exact pattern, some people don’t cross over but I saw do whatever you think looks good! 

I finished it up with some paint, but using carbon paper my dad gave me I was able to trace a nice font and transfer it to my art and then paint over that. 

I sent it to my cousin in Michigan for christmas and she loves it. I am so happy!!!! I look forward to making more string art for different reasons! 

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Wall Quote- The One Month Project

I don’t know what I was thinking when I started to do this one. I had a very large wall that I really wanted a wall quote on. I searched far and wide for ideas, you see many pictures of wall quote on tumblr cut out of magazines, I have tons of magazines, but magazine pages are thin, and I just didn’t like the idea of searching for good pages, and all the unwanted colors that come with it.

I found my quote, and I think I picked the longest quote in the world, but it was something that I would like to see every day when I woke up. It’s all about the inspiration. I thought about what I would use on it for a long time. I decided to find a pack of scrapbook paper. I went to two Michael’s and finally found “the one.” Black and White floral, paisley, stripes, all that good stuff you would want in a paper pack.

 

I also got it 50 % because the paper packs were on sale but I printed the weekly coupon just in case. Michael’s weekly coupons are where its at.

So I counted all the letters that this quote had, 27 E’s. 27 E’s SO you can imagine how many more letters there were.

I cut each paper in sections of four. Using my dad’s Paper Chopper.

Then I went and found font that I really liked and in the size I wanted and printed that and used that as templates for the letters. Then I painstakingly cut out EVERY. SINGLE. LETTER. it took me two days. I then arranged them all over my living room floor, so I could measure how wide and tall it was across. This was a very very exhausting task, I dont really recommend this project to anyone. Well I do, if you use a smaller quote.

I began putting this project on my wall yesterday, as my best friend kelsey sat on my bed and kept my company, we watched Dan in Real Life and the Nanny Diaries, before I even finished half. She also laughed when I chose to use a old  rocking antique chair as a ladder       ( few close calls there). I used sticky tack to apply the letters. I measured where I wanted it on the wall, about three inches down. I didn’t measure the rest of the lines after that because that is exhausting.

Today, my friend Erik came over and clicked a few pics of me mid project.

 

We watched Will and Grace our favorite show as I finished it up. I am very happy with it, its kind of hard to read, but I kind of like it like that. And its a good reminder to wake up to every morning. I also decided to move the pink lantern I have had hanging from attic since high school. My best friend gave it to me for Valentines day. This was way back in the day before we could drive, and I remember this because my mom took us to Walmart and we snuck around the store and bought presents for each other, and gave them to each other right after. I think I will hang it in my closet. But I love that little thing, so I cant bear to get rid of it.

 

The finished product. Success!!

Retirement Cake- & My easy EASY Fondant Recipe

My dad retired this friday after 31 years at the same company. He worked for Nstar and my mom and I were throwing him a surprise party. She asked me to make the cake and I of course said yes.

The cake had to be large, but I didn’t want it to be your average sheet cake. MY mom and I came up with three cake spread all circles, I made this cake at work, (babysitting) and they didn’t have enough pans so some of the cakes are 9 inch and some are 8 inch. no biggie.

I have ALWAYS had a problem frosting a cake, getting the crumbs everywhere trying to make it look good, breaking the cake all common problems, my mommy would always have to help me, thats why for the past years, I have just used fondant. its that much easier to me. We wanted a frosted base cake, so I was FORCED TO FROST.

Heres what saved me.

Helpful Trick: Take canned frosting, and WHIP IT. With your beater, whip for a few minutes until it is light and fluffy.

This is literally SO GREAT. It almost doubles your frosting, it also doesn’t appear as canned frosting anymore. BEST OF ALL. its not heavy, so it doesn’t pull crumbs off your cake when your spreading. So I SPREAD FROSTING WITHOUT CRUMBS, BREAKAGE AND A DISASTER :)

Making fondant:  Fondant is EXPENSIVE at boxed. Much cheaper to make your own, but easier? It can be with this recipe!

  • One bag of Mini Marshmallows
  • 2 tbl of Water
  • BIG OL bag of Powdered Sugar- (okay just the average size)

Microwave the marshmallows in a microwave safe dish, but FIRST add in the two tbls of water over the marshmallows. Microwave for about 45 seconds, take out stir, repeat until they are smooth, should take about two  times. Now time to get sticky, Add in powdered sugar, like A LOT, start with a cup, and then another, I always use more than two cups, This is all under your digression, you have to get the fondant so its not sticking to the bowl, or the spoon or your fingers, but you also need extra sugar on the counter and for your hands when your rolling it out.

Since I was babysitting I hired the kids to help. The oldest was great at mixing the colors, I use wilton colors. I then asked the kids if they had play dough letter cut outs. THEY DID, so the letters came out perfect because we had “cookie” (playdough” cutters for them!!!

 

Here comes the cool part, So since he worked for the electric company, responding to every storm when poles where knocked over, I had to incorporate them! I took large and small pretzel rods and attached them by fondant. Made a trip to  a penny candy store with the kids and bought black licorice. This was the cord that attached from pole to pole. I very carefully stuck the rods in the cake and strung the cords.

PROBLEM. CALL NSTAR. The last pole kept FALLING OUT OF THE CAKE. Soon the hole got so big it was no longer staying. But we only say HAPPY ACCIDENTS around here. and we made the best of it.

 

The kids and I grabbed little lego man, and began making an NSTAR truck out of legos. We have the little lego man tools in his hands, and made a crane/ladder for him to be up in the air fixing the pole. Just like Daddy’s REAL JOB. always cleaning up after the storm!

I bought kids handcuffs from the dollar store, and placed them on the cake, one hand cuff open and one closed. In the closed handcuff it said the date he began working, and in the open, the date he retired. The theme of the cake

” You did your time now your free”

I didn’t get a good picture of the final product, because it was surprise party and I was in charge of setting the thing up!!! My dad’s friends shined a flashlight on it during the party and I snapped a picture.

 

Dad was surprised the cake was a hit. SUCCESS!

P.S. I discovered RUM CHATA at this party. Its a rum horchata drink Anyone who is portuguese and ever had rice pudding, this is  A DREAM. Tastes like Vavo’s kitchen. EXACTLY LIKE RICE PUDDING. Great drink to bring to parties.  I highly recommend it, and you can find it in the cordial section of the liqueur store. Spring some cinnamon on it over ice and its so great. I miss is greatly since YA KNOW Paleo DIET.

Tee Shirt Quilt

All through high school I was given tee shirts all the time! Every season of color guard we would receive a shirt with the shows theme on the front and all of our names on the back.

As I went into college, I was getting more free tee shirts, because in college, free tee shirts is just a way of life.

My drawers were filling rapidly with shirts I didn’t wear anymore, but I couldn’t throw them out.

What to do, what to do. T SHIRT QUILT.

So I asked for the help of my grandmother, because I could not find a tutorial online, I knew we could figure it out together.

I grabbed all the my t shirts, even my Kindergarten DYSA shirts.

I made a template out of cardboard (rectangle shape) that fit the designs of all my shirts, I used this to trace on all the shirts, and then cut them out. Some shirts I used both the front and the back so I had to cut them twice.

I then arranged on the floor how I wanted it to look, in rows and columns.

I took the first row of shirts and sewed them together on the sides. I did this five times so I had five rows.

Next we took rows and began sewing them together, Row one to Row two, and so on.

Once this was finished we had the base for the quilt. We measured this making extra four inches all around, and went to Jo ann’s to pick out fabric I liked.

We also picked out the stuffing that goes in the middle, IDK the technical name for it. haha.

We placed the stuffing down the sewed around the edges to attach the back to the front.

I did this so long ago that I can’t think of all the techniques and tricks but I just wanted to show everyone mine!

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Man Soap Dispenser

This is another craft I saw on Pinterest. It seemed pretty easy and again my best friend was leaving to his own house and I thought this would be good for his bathroom.

So I picked a captain morgan bottle, it was not glass it was plastic, which I liked the idea of this better because things constantly fall off the sink.

I went to the store and picked a target brand soap that resembled the color of captain morgans. It was mango scented something.

It was hard to find a dispenser that fit the top of the bottle. the one I bought of course did not fit, and several others I had in the house until I found a soft soap one. Pomegranate scented. The red top accented the bottle well with the red accents on the bottle.

It came out well and it was a very easy DIY project. I definitely recommend it!

 

Recycled Dress- No Sew!

Today my Kids were sick, which is fun because I have had a wicked stomach ache since yesterday so I didn’t have to go to work! Perfect rainy day to get a few of my crafts done.

One day when I went over my friend was cleaning out her closet and giving me old clothes she didn’t anymore, we are completely different sizes, and I am about a foot taller than her. So most of the clothes were tight, and didn’t fit right but I decided I would make them work.

She had this one striped white and black dress that I loved, because I have a very odd obsession with stripes, however the dress was WAY to short. like showing my vag. so why not make it a shirt!?

I dont sew, I have a sewing friend and his name is Hem Tape.

So here is how I made a cute shirt basically for free and took very little time:

I put on the dress and folded it up to the length I wanted to be when I cut it, and now remember I am not technical at all. I took the nearest thing I had that was long, which happened to be a mirror, and made a mark on the hand held mirror and then took off the dress.

I layed out the dress and cut the bottom of the dress off but using my hand mirror measurement. strange. i know. but use what ya got. I cut straight across then heated up the iron and hem tape.

I guess the true way you use hem tape is laying across the entire piece of material you are working with. However I cut it in segments, because that much tape is not necessary to make it stick. How you use hem tape is you cut the tape, iron for about two seconds, and then peel off the paper. After the paper is peeled, you fold where you want it hemmed, and iron over it, and this bonds the two sides.

I ended up cutting the skirt on either side, that way it was like two halves, and easier to hem, I didnt have to do a perfect one all the way around, just worked with front and back. So the bottom has a very small taper on it. To hem I just kinda guess and fold it over, I dont pin or anything, because generally with a hem you cant tell if its crooked. It came out pretty even and looking great, can’t wait to wear my new shirt!!

Success!!!