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Homemade Marshmallow Fluff

28 Apr

I have a confession, I actually made this back in March. I know it’s unfair of me to withhold something so delicious from you for an entire month, but I knew that I should keep a trick or two up my sleeve for when real life interferes with the time that I ‘d ideally spend baking. This recipe is so easy however, that you can whip it up whenever you have just ten minutes of down time.

This is the perfect recipe to make as a cheap homemade gift, as an easy swap for heavily name brand fluff, as a delicious ice cream topping for when you’re craving a sundae but are running out of toppings, or as a delicious ingredient for other delicious recipes (hint hint…expect to see a recipe made with this soon).

I made just half of the recipe, and still had more fluff than I knew what to do with. You can, however, make the entire recipe and freeze it or refrigerate it for up to a week if you like. Good luck keeping the mouth watering fluff around for even that long though!

Fluffy Marshmallow Cream

Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 quarts

From Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 cups light corn syrup (you may substitute honey or maple syrup, but you will be able to taste the difference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder or coffee granules to make flavored fluff.

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a mixmaster combine egg whites, corn syrup and salt. Beat it on high speed for 10 minutes, or until thick.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until blended.
  3. Beat in vanilla until blended.
  4. Use it on sandwiches, in hot cocoa, on top of berries, as a filling, or simply eat it with a spoon! Save the remaining fluff in glass jars.

To give it as a gift, follow the steps below:

Fill a glass jar with fluff, cut out a square of decorative fabric, pick out a pretty ribbon, and grab a rubber band

Place the square of fabric atop the jar lid

Place a rubber band around the mouth of the jar to hold the fabric in place

Tie a ribbon on top of the rubber band, and then remove or cut off the rubber band. Done!

Real Life Inspiration Board

25 Apr

By now almost everyone has discovered the outrageously addictive world of Pinterest. But who really has time to sift through all of his or her pins? The creators of Pinterest wanted to emulate the concept of inspiration boards, but it seems that now Pinterest has made them obsolete.

I know that when I’m in need of inspiration, but am running low on time, that I only glimpse at a fraction of my pins. Having a real life pinterest board on my wall, however enables me to sneak a peek at the things that bring a smile to my face multiple times a day.

Months ago I decided that I wantd to put up an inspiration  board in my room, soI began searching through my mom’s Glamour magazine, my copies of Dwell, the monthly Free People catalogues, and whatever magazine I could get my hands on. After finally acculating a massive pile of images, I decided to go for it and transform my drab closet door into a colorful collection of inspiration. So I pulled out my mod podge and a paint brush, and went to work. While I was doing it, I was half afraid that my mom would be upset at my defiling of the house, but when I showed her the finished project she was impressively supportive of my project.

What have you got to lose? Go ahead and pick a place in your house or office where you want to display images that make you happy. You can of course do this on a piece of paper, wood, or worst comes to wort, you can always paint over it or put new images on top.

Here are some other inspirations boards from around the web to get your creative juices flowing:

Inspiration board from The Decorista

Inspiration board from Styleseeking Zurich

Chartreuse’s inspiration board from The Glitter Guide

Hanna’s inspiration board from iHanna’s Blog

Tanya’s inspiration board from HeyDoYou

Lighten Up with Spring Cleaning

20 Mar

Now that Spring has officially sprung, it’s time to beat those dust bunnies and reclaim the sense of satisfaction that comes from having a clean home. Instead of approaching this annual chore, look at it as a chance to regain balance and control over your own life. There are countless reasons to embrace the tradition of spring cleaning including:

  1. Satisfaction of seeing the clearly apparent toils of your labor. What other task that requires just a few hours of your time gives you benefits that you can see immediately and that you can appreciate everyday?
  2. Release of endorphins from dusting, vacuuming, and making trips back and forth from the dumpster. The physical work of moving is not only a great work out, but also a way to boost your happiness.
  3. Calming effect of walking into a clean house. If seeing toys strewn across the floor and piles of paper filling every surface of the house causes you stress, simply eliminate this unnecessary tension by taking a few minutes to put everything in its right place.
  4. Put your past behind you . Instead of getting stuck in a rut by perpetually reminiscing over memories of past relationships and previous times in your life, chose a few pictures or souvenirs worth displaying, and either donate, throw away, or put into storage the rest of your excess baggage. Instead of allowing these objects to make you dwell on whatever past happiness you’ve lost, focus on the present and creating new memories and experiences.
  5. Allow yourself the time for change. Use this opportunity to repaint your room, refinish your furniture, or finally do whatever home improvement project you’ve been putting off.
  6. Encourage yourself to adopt better habits. Prominently place the materials for whatever aspect of your lift you want to spend more time on, because by seeing them, you will start using them. By forcing yourself to see something daily, you will have many more opportunities to embrace whatever habit you are hoping to establish. This could mean putting your camera by your hand bag, leaving a bowl of fruits and vegetables out on the counter, leaving your journal on your nightstand, or leaving your crafting materials on the top of your desk.

 

Here’s an organizational idea that came to me while I was cleaning up my room. Instead of leaving my art supplies shoved in carious drawers throughout my room, I decided to store all of them in a suitcase near the entrance to my room. By having these materials neatly organized and highly visible, it makes it easier for me to set aside time to get in touch with my creativity.

Portable Art Station 

  1. Round up all of your pens, decorative papers, clay, tape, glue, scissors, and other art supplies from around the house.
  2. Store any materials that you plan to use immediately or on a daily basis in glass or plastic containers so that every time you see them you have to consciously choose whether or not to postpone your latest art idea.
  3. Store you other supplies in an old suitcase. This will not only keeps them neatly organized and compact, but also makes your supplies easily portable in case you feel like getting crafty outside or on the go.
  4. Finally, tie any ribbons you have around the outside of your suitcase, so that they will stay untangled and help to decorate your artsy suitcase. Voila!

A Little for You and a Little for Me

16 Feb

After 31 months of dating my incredible boyfriend, I’ve learned that being in a relationship is about give and take. Choosing what to compromise on can be tricky, but you have to decide what new things you are willing to let your partner introduce you to and what interests you will keep to yourself.

Even if you could force the person who you are involved with to become just like you, it would not take long until your relationship would become tediously dull. While it may not be completely true that opposites attract, people want to be with people who are different from themselves so that they can learn and try new things. In the long run people want to spend time with people who make them better versions of themselves, and one way to accomplish this is by having a partner who stimulates you and encourages you to leave your comfort zone. This could mean dating soemone who is athletic like you and encourages you to try new sports, someone who shares your love of music and starts teaching you how to play an instrument, or someone who is into politics like you but has some opposing ideologies that can help you hone your own ideas.

The original letters on my room

No matter how amazing your partner is, you will probably each have some interests that make no sense to the other person. Instead of trying to fight your differences, embrace them and each take time to spend doing what you love. Perhaps your boyfriend loves playing golf, but it bores you to tears. Instead of trying to force yourself to put on a happy face while golfing, take this time to be with friends who you don’t see often or indulge in a hobby that makes you happy. It is important that you and your partner both continue to dedicate time to the things that are important to you, because it is those things that make you interesting and attracted your partner to you in the first place.

For Goose’s birthday this year, I decided to combine his interests with my own to make sports letters for his wall. I had done a similar craft a while back for my room in which I covered wooded letters that spelled out “dream” with old maps. This time I used the letters to spell out his name, added an extra step and painted the edges of the letters blue, and cut out clippings from the sports page of various newspaper instead of using maps. This allowed me to fulfill my passion for crafting with his love of sports. These wall letters are incredibly easy and very customizable. You can use photographs, images from magazine, pretty paper, or interesting fabric to make these letters a great custom present for anyone.

Custom Wall Letters

Inspiration from Smitten and Hazel and Do It Yourself Divas

Home Made Mod Podge

Letters with the edges painted

Materials:

  • Wooded letters (from Michael’s) or make your own with this great tutorial from Green Zebra Crafts
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Elmer’s liquid glue
  • Glass Jar
  • Newspaper or any other covering
  • cardboard
  • X-acto knife

Tracing the newspaper image to make sure that the best portion shows

Letters completely covered with newspaper clippings

Steps:

  1. Paint the outside edge of each letter and set it aside to dry
  2. Make your won mod podge by emptying the bottle of glue into the glass jar, refilling the glue bottle with water and emptying it into the jar as well, (this will give you a 1:1 ratio of glue to water) then shaking the jar for a minute
  3. Cut out the newspaper clipping that interest you (or select any type of paper you want)
  4. Once the sides of the letters are dry, place the newspaper clippings with images behind your letters and use a pencil to trace them to ensure that you can see the areas that you want
  5. Cut out the images on the pencil lines and dip a paintbrush in the mod podge to attach the images where you want them
  6. Continue using the mod podge to cover the rest of the surface of each letter with text clippings
  7. Coat the entire surface of each of the letters with mod podge and allow them to dry
  8. Once the letters are dry, use the cardboard as a cutting surface for the x-acto knife and trim the extra newspaper from the letters
  9. Give the letters and final coat of mod podge for a little more shine

Backside of the letters prior to trimming

Finished letters that I made for Goose

Life is like a box of chocolates….or in my case a box of tea

13 Feb

Since my dad is the ultimate movie buff, he made sure to show me all the classics early on. As an 8-year-old, my favorite line from Forest Gump was of course “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'” At the time I didn’t really understand what that advice meant, but as I’ve grown up, I realize that this idea has power beyond its salivating reference to chocolate. What Gump was saying is that life is full of variety and unexpected surprises. I try to embrace spontaneity, but not to force myself to live spontaneously simply for the sake of doing so. The trick to spontaneity, is not waiting until the last possible moment to make a decision, but rather being open to all possibilities and being willing to go a little out of your comfort zone and take a risk in hopes that it will make you happier, or t least expand your range of experiences.

The advice that my mom gave me a few days ago could also be linked to a box of chocolate, but is of a very different nature. She told me not to expect any single person to fulfill all your needs because you will end up being disappointed. This is my mom’s secret to always seeing the good in people. By viewing your friends like an assorted box of chocolates, and not getting hung up on the idea of having a single best friend/spouse to fulfill all your needs, you will ultimately be happier. By opening yourself up to a variety of people, instead of narrow-mindedly rejecting any people who aren’t perfect, you will make it so that even if one friend cancels on you, you will have a phonebook full of people that you can call for a reassuring chat or an spontaneous day out.

Even if you haven’t actively tried to categorize your friends, think through them now and see what different niches they fill. Do you have a foodie friend who takes you to hip new restaurants, a therapist friend who is happy to listen to you talk then give your his/her two cents, an outdoorsy friend who encourages you to leave your technologic life for a hike very once in a while, an exciting friend who always knows how to distract you from life’s burdens, or a childhood friend who is always happy to go on walks down memory lane with you? Maybe you are even lucky enough to have a best friend who will always be there for you when you need him/her. This person could be your sibling, your boyfriend, your parent, or anyone who you can always count on to have your best interest in mind. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to show all of your best friends how much you care or as a reminded to make plans with one of your best friends whom you haven’t seen in a while.

Tea-filled chocolate box with a homemade teacup candle (tutorial for the teacup candle to come in a future post)

Now back to the tea…I’m lucky that my Mom is one of my best friends. Not only does she always have my best interests at heart, she also shares my love of tea. Every afternoon after our hectic lives calm down for at least a bit, we discuss our lives over tea. This is when she gives me wonderful advice, like the bit about friends being like an assorted box of chocolate. To show her how much I love her this Valentine’s Day, I updated a box of chocolates to give it a personalized twist.

Neither bouquets of flowers nor boxes of chocolates can addequately express my love, so I’m combing the two most quintessential valentine’s day gifts to make this one!

Materials

Heartfelt Box of  Tea

You Will Need:

  • An empty heart-shaped chocolate box
  • Mini cupcake/candy liners
  • Blossoming tea buds
  • 2 1/2 inch slips of paper
  • Red or pink pen
  • A heartfelt card

Box with tea and cupcake liners

Directions:

1. Brainstorm reasons why you love the person and write them down (you want one or two reasons per tea bulb), then cut the reasons into strips

2. Fill your empty chocolate box with the mini cupcake liners

3. Place a blossoming tea bulb and one (or two) of the little notes into each cupcake liner

4. Place the lid on the box, wrap it up, and top off your present with a sweet card

Happy Valentine’s Day my lovely readers! What gifts did you make/buy to show the important people in your life how much you love them?

 

 

 

Final Valentine’s Day Round-Up: Crafts

11 Feb

Over the past few weeks I have been getting excited for Valentine’s Day by sharing cute cards and tasty treats from around the web, and now it is time for my last round up of Valentine’s Day inspiration: sweet crafts that you can make to decorate for Valentine’s Day or give as last-minute gifts. I compiled these lists to show off some of the incredible talents of some of my favorite bloggers, and to hopefully inspire you to take advantage of this amazing holiday to share your love with whomever you want (your boyfriend, your family, your girlfriends, your dog and most importantly yourself.)

Sure you can dread the approaching holiday like an impending plague, or you can seize the moment to unleash your creativity and brighten someone’s day. Here is a round up of crafts that you can make for anyone anyone in your life. The great thing about this holiday is that there is no pressure to give anyone (except maybe your significant other) anything, but you have the ability to give to anyone you so desire. I have been making various crafts for the people in my life, but I can’t share them yet because the people who I made them for are some of my most loyal followers, so you will just have to wait to see those!

For yourself: Dress up a plain wall with a heart-shaped photo collage of people and things that make you smile

From I Heart Living Small Tumblr (no diy explanation...just use your own photos and glue)

For your nature-loving sister: Heart Terrarium for her house to remind her that even if you don’t talk to each other daily, you still love her

From Love + Cupcakes

For your daughters or nieces: Cute as a Button Earrings that they can show off to their friends at school

From The Anderson Crew

For your sentimental boyfriend: Love Card Deck to show him all the reasons you love him

From DIYIYD

For your favorite coworker: Rainbow Hearts Garland to brighten up her cubicle

From Momtastic

For your travel-loving Dad: make your own Hand Painted Globe by decorating a thrift store globe

From Sow Kinness. Gather Love Tumblr (no diy explanation...just use your own photos and glue)

For your tea-loving Mom: Heart-Shaped Tea Bags that you can fill with her favorite tea blend

From Funkytime

Valentine’s Day Round Up

18 Jan

I know it’s not even February, but I can’t help myself; Valentine’s Day is less than a month away and I’ excited!

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year, up there with Halloween and Thanksgiving, because it’s a fantastic opportunity to show the people in your life how much you love them. I am incredible to have two incredible parents, an unbelievable boyfriend, three fantastic sisters, and many great friends to be grateful for having in my life.

Here are some sweet valentines to inspire you:

Valentine Paper dolls 

Valentine Paper Dolls by Jordan Grace Owens

Valentines Carved in Tree Bark

Valentines Carved in Tree Bark by Fun In the Making

Pucker Up Valentines

Pucker Up Valentine Buckets by Downstairs Designs

Valentine’s Day Lottery Cards

Scratch Off Valentines from Family Fun

Valentines for Teachers

Teacher Valentines from Simply Studio

Crayon Valentines

Crayon Valentines from Chef Messy

Plantable Valentines

Plantable Valentines from Some Day Crafts

Valentine’s Day Treat Packages

Valentine's Day Treat Packages from Martha Stewart

Check back later this week for fun valentines’ day gift ideas and tasty treats!