Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I've been on "vacation" for the last two weeks, and have been really bad about posting things. So, sorry about that. But I thought I should, at the very least, do one more post for the year and say "Happy New Year" to you all. Here's to a great 2009 with lots more adventures. Take care all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Easy Gift Card Holders

As Christmas gifts, since we usually end up having to travel in a car with our dogs and our luggage and several gifts, it has become easier to resort to giving the impersonal gift cards. Oh well. So, as an effort to make it a bit more personal, I decided to make my own gift card holder. :-) Anyway, I found this site that showed how to make Easy Peasy Snap Wallets and basically used the same technique with Christmas fabric and called them giftcard holders.

Here's how I did it:

  • fabric (in this case Christmas... but can easily be for a birthday or any other occasion)
  • interfacing (I don't know if this is really necessary, but it does make it slightly thicker to have)
  • easy no sew snaps (trust me, these are the way to go if you are a beginner to sewing – super easy to use.)
*Please note that I started making one wallet with one fabric then decided to use another fabric afterwards because the details showed better on it. Sorry if that makes it confusing.


1. Cut your fabric. You need two rectangles that are about 5 x 8.5 (I cut out a piece of paper to that shape as a guide.... and yes, is pretty awesome).

2. Cut your interfacing. You just need one rectangle of this... about 4 x 7.5, basically enough to cover the center area of one of the rectangle so it doesn't hit the sewing line.

3. Iron the interfacing on one of the rectangle fabrics (onto the wrong side of the fabric). You'll want to center the interfacing onto one of the rectangles and make sure that the smooth side is on top and the bumpy side is on the bottom. Then go ahead and iron it on, it should take a few seconds on each area. The interfacing will basically attach itself to the fabric.

4. Sew together the two rectangles with the right sides together and the wrong sides away from each other. You'll sew almost all the way around leaving a small opening in the middle of one of the small sides. See the picture for the sewing line. The small opening is on the right side.

5.Cut the corners off. This gives you cleaner corners when you invert the fabric.

6. Invert the fabric by pulling the inside out and the outside in.

7. Use a pen to form the corners from the inside.

8. Optional: Here I try to iron down the long edges flat on the sewing line. This makes a cleaner fold when you fold down on the sewing line. (I actually did this after step 10 then did step 9 again, but it probably would have made more sense to do it on before step 9.

9. Iron the edges of the rectangle. Particularly, fold and iron in the opening so that the edge is straight

10. Sew the edge with an opening from long side to long side.

11. Fold up the side with the sewn edge to form the pocket area.

12. Sew along both side edges, do a small reverse sew right where the folded up edge meets with the rest of the fabric.

13. You're done at this point. The only thing left to do is to add on the snaps. The craft blog ( where I found the original easy peasy wallets also do a great job of explaining how to add on these snaps to the wallet. I wanted to do the instructions for these as well but, my pictures didn't come out... so just follow the instructions on the craftster site. Sorry!

14. Put the gift cards in, attach a gift tag inside, and give the gift to someone special.

I hope that gives an idea for this Christmas (tho, it might be a little late, sorry again), or maybe for other gifts throughout the year.... or maybe for a wallet or for a business card holder, or whatever. I've recently made a camo one to store some gift cards that I've recently received.
Also, as this will probably be the last post that I'll put out before Christmas, I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Goodies

So, this past week was pretty hectic: shopping for Christmas gifts, several parties, all the wrapping, and packing to get out of town, to enjoy some decent baking to give cookies to the neighbors and to enjoy some for us. Phew! I think I'm finally about done (minus the packing). Anyway, I kinda feel bad that I don't have pictures along the way, but I decided to do a post on all the baking along with the recipes of the stuff I made. So here they are in no specific order. :-) I think I may have overdone it a bit.

Gingerbread cookies : I actually just wanted to decorate some cookies... I would have done a house, but those don't travel well. (maybe, a gingerbread car next year -- would be really cool to hook up a motor too? haha... I'm only half serious.)

Cranberry-Coconut Oatmeal cookies (I used a regular oatmeal cookies recipe, below, and added craisans and shredded coconut, very yummy)

Oatmeal Cookies: My cousin's fav.

Fudge with Marshmallows (My friend and I have dubbed this Geek Fudge because it's from one of the coolest foodie sites ever. I've mentioned before Cooking for Engineers)

Reese Peanut Butter Cup Cookies. I bought a bucket of cookie dough from one of my neighbor's kids for a school fundraiser. It's for a good cause, and it was easy and quick.

Fudge Brownies. I cheated here, this is from a boxed fudge brownie's set. It was in the cupboard, so I decided to go ahead and use it. Also easy and quick, and yummy.

Awesome Banana Muffins: These muffins are really good, and not overly sweet.

And that was my Sunday! Now to finish packing! ugh!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Card Display

So this is another quick post. I'm starting to get a few christmas cards from my more than awesome friends, and decided to figure out a way to display them. I recently ran into this website that had a similar idea to hang cards. Unfortunately, I can't find that site anymore. Ugh! Anyway, I came up with my own method. So far it's working fine.

Here's what I did:

1. I cut ribbon into about 2' lengths. I used different ribbons, about 4 of them, but I'm sure you can use more.

2. I then put small pieces of double sticky tape on the ends. If you're going to cut the ribbon in longer lengths, I'll recommend putting a small amount of tape in the middle of the ribbons for support as well. For these, I didn't do so.

3. Put them on the wall.

4. Hang cards.

I know, I know... serious lack of pictures. I think this one is pretty easy to understand without the step by step tho. As a disclaimer, I only put it up this evening (about 3 hours ago) so I don't know for sure that the sticky tape will hold, but I'm thinking it will be fine.

The nice thing about this is that it's like a 3 minute project and it's fully expandable to whatever size you want it to be. Double sticky tape isn't bad on walls... is it?

[12/17/08 Update]: Remember that disclaimer? Well, I did have to put extra sticky tape in the middle of the ribbons because a few of the ribbons fell down after about 6 hours (the one with heavier cards). This morning they were all still up tho. :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quick Post: Amazon's 25 days of Free

Just heard about this. Amazon is doing 25 days of free holiday music. Thought it was note-worthy enough to post. :-)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tie Dye Envelopes

First I should apologize for not blogging for a whole week. I can't believe how fast this week has gone by. Anyway, I had done this project last weekend to make the envelopes that go with the homemade Christmas cards a bit prettier.

I first got the idea from this site. Instead of dyeing regular paper, I dyed envelopes.

aluminum pan
shaving cream
food coloring
lots of paper towels
skewer (or something to stir with)
foam brush (optional – just for smoothening out the foam)


1. Spray some shaving cream into pan and spread it evenly onto the pan. Go easy, that stuff spreads a lot.

2. Put a couple drops of food coloring, whatever colors you'd like to use.

3. Stir the food coloring around some. I found that going in circles one direction works well for some really good designs. Also, don't over do the stirring, the swirls will not be as defined.

4. Put the envelope onto the foam and gently tap down so the foam/color hits a lot of the envelope.

5. Remove the envelope from the foam and blot the shaving cream off. Don't worry if you don't see the swirls when you first pick up the envelope from the foam. Once you blot, you should see the design. I've tried to wipe it down, and it smears the color – so I wouldn't suggest it. Blotting seems to work the best. Did I mention that you'll be using a lot of paper towels?

6. Once you got the shaving cream off, you just need to let it dry.

As an added bonus, the paper feels smooth and smells pretty good at the end of it all.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gravlax Recipe

Following my Thanksgiving blogs, a good friend of RadLinc Crafts, Captain Monkeypants, asked a few questions about the salmon that we had pictured. So, as I answered her, I thought that this was a perfect time to do a blog entry on it. I can't admit to being an expert to making this seeing as how I've only learned about making it (and about what it's called) earlier this year, but we've made it three times and so far so good.

Gravlax is a Scandinavian way of preparing salmon literally meaning “buried salmon.” I guess, back in the day, fresh salmon was buried under dry sand where it was fermented and cured. Nowadays, we can control conditions better by burying the salmon in a mixture of kosher salt, sugar, pepper and dill weed and “curing” the fish in our fridge. The recipe I'm following is taken from this really cool site for foodies called Cooking For Engineers.

The best parts about preparing this dish is it's easy (since you only need 5 ingredient), and it's delicious. The not so great part is that it takes 48 hours before you can taste the goods. So let's get started.


  • 1 lb fresh salmon fillet (we used skinless)
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp pepper (I used a 50:50 ratio of white and black pepper, mostly because I had it any combination should work fine tho)
  • dill weed (a small bunch from the grocery store works well).


1. Lay down a big piece of saran wrap and place the salmon
2. Mix the salt, sugar and pepper together in a bowl.

3. Cover the salmon with the salt-sugar-pepper mixture... all over, both sides, and on the sides of those.

4. Divide the dill weed into two. Put one half on the top of the salmon and the other half on the under side of the salmon so the salmon is sandwiched between the dill.

5. Wrap tightly with the saran wrap.

6. Now you need to compress it. I used two pyrex dishes and three cans of corn. Stacked like this from bottom to top: pyrex dish, wrapped salmon, pyrex dish, three cans of corn.

7. Put the whole thing in the fridge for 48 hours. Within that 48 hours, every 12 hours turn the salmon over, and pour out the oil that will inevitably form. A lot of oil comes out, so don't freak out.
8. After 48 hours, take the salmon out, drain the oil, toss the dill and saran wrap, and rinse the salmon really well.
9. Slice the salmon thinly using a fillet knife or an otherwise sharp knife.

We like to eat this on toasted bagels with some cream cheese. Crackers and baguette slices work really well too. This makes an awesome make ahead appetizer or a really good snack.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fabric Gift Tags

I was thinking about fusing some fabric onto cardstock one day, and decided to google up how to do it. Anyway, I found this site that shows how to make gift tags by fusing fabric onto cardstock. So, I gave it a try. Thought it would look really good with matching cinch bags like the ones I made a month or so ago. Anyway, here's my how-to.

  • Card stock
  • fabric
  • no sew adhesive (heat n bond) fusing material.
  • Ironing board and iron
    Download Template Here. (for 8 x 11 paper, not 12 x 12)

    1. First, I start out with penciling the lines that I'm going to cut for the tags

    2. Next, I cut the adhesive to the size of the cardstock.

    3. The adhesive material has a paper side and the adhesive side. Put the adhesive side next to the wrong side of the cardstock (where you don't have the drawn lines). Place both the adhesive and the cardstock lined up on top of an ironing board with the adhesive's paper side up. Iron, the sheets together, staying at each spot for about 2 seconds. Once you've thoroughly fused the two pieces together your about ready to introduce the fabric.

    4. Cut the fabric to the same size as the cardstock and adhesive.
    5. Remove the paper side of the adhesive. The adhesive should stay with the cardstock as you peel the paper away.
    6. Put together the fabric's wrong side to the cardstock's newly fused adhesive side and place onto ironing board fabric side up. Iron all together same rule as last time... about 2 seconds on each spot. Be careful when ironing the fabric on. Start with one side and work your way slowly to the other, or the fabric might bunch up. You should now have a good fuse between the cardstock and fabric. Let's finish it up.

    7. Alright, so remember those lines you drew on? Time to use them and cut out your tags. Don't forget to erase the lines once your done.
    8. Use a hole puncher, and punch a hole out for the ribbon. I used an 8” piece of ribbon for a tie down.

    9. In addition, you can stamp on a To:/From: label onto the card... and there you have it. Optionally, instead of drawing lines or stamping, you can print out some gift tag designs onto cardstock and fuse fabric on the other side.

    These cards pictured are about 1 1/2” x 3” and a 12 x 12 cardstock gave me 30 gift tags.

    Now that that's all done, all I need to do is buy the gifts to tag. :-) Happy Shopping!

    Saturday, November 29, 2008

    Looking Back At Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is now done with (except for the left overs in the fridge) and the Christmas season is upon us. But before we totally leave it in the dust, a few notes for next year. :-) I've also included various pictures. Please note that the text next to the picture doesn't necessarily go with the picture. :-) I'm adding them on randomly.

    Pomegranate martinis... Those were super tasty! Goes in the “must do that again” list.

    Planting carrots in late August or early September will give us good carrots for Thanksgiving. Those in the picture were pulled up Thanksgiving morning. We ended up roasting a couple with the turkey innards and cooking up some gravy, and using some of them with the spinach dip appetizers that my sister made.


    2 or 3 different appetizers worked out really well... it wasn't too much to set up and it kept people still able to eat a pretty hearty dinner.

    For lox, stick to sliced baguette or bagels instead of crackers. Crackers tasted really good, but we think we may have liked the toasty yet soft texture of the bagel instead.

    Wear gloves when cutting sweet potatoes. Don't know if it was because they were par-boiled or what, but once I finished cutting them my hands were a bit yellowish. A few washings had to be done to get it off... so gloves next time.

    A little goes a long way with sweet potatoes. I ended up making sweet potato fries too.... why not the fryer was out. To make them, I par-boiled the potatoes, let them cool, cut into fries and fry up.


    Double the cake recipe of the roll. The pan I had was a little larger than the recipe called for, so the cake part of the roll was really really thin. Next time, double the recipe and make a bigger roll.

    The frosting for it was outstanding – not too sweet, creamy and went really well with the pecans. I bet we can use the same recipe and fold in some coffee syrup for our buche du noel.

    Do a really really good job of greasing the corners of the cake pan. It stuck... a lot... and with the cake being so thin, it tore away in the corner. I just cut the end result into a rectangle before rolling it up, and I got to try out the cake, so all wasn't bad.

    Place fryer at a well lit place next time (or bring better lights near fryer). We place the fryer in the middle of our back lawn for safety, but that made it farther away from the patio lights. We had a small flashlight while we were doing things, but definitely need more light next time.

    When frying the turkey, pull out the turkey when internal temperature is 150ish. The carry over temperature took care of the rest and it ended up being so juicy.

    Next year, when letting the turkey rest, we want to try to let it rest uncovered to see if the skin stays crispier.

    Leftovers will make really good turkey soup... or at least ours will. :-)

    Using warmers would probably have helped with the timing.

    All in all, I think Thanksgiving was a success. We had fun, hope yours was a success too.

    Update [12-3-08]: This last picture shows the zucchini quiches that we added onto the appetizer list last minute because I found frozen shredded zucchini in my freezer. :-)

    Update [12-5-08]: A friend just reminded me that instead of using foil and greasing it for the pumpkin roll, just use parchment paper... that stuff works wonders. I should have thought of that -- next time.