Fun With Fall Leaves

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This was a cute post i found here about making a candle holder using fall leaves. I’m a sucker for fall! I love the smell of it in the air, everything has a burnished look, the beautifully colored leaves dancing in the cool breezes, all the way to the spicy scent of baked goods. When I saw this pin, it was a no brainer!
You start with a glass jar, mine was an old pickle jar, some mod podge and, of course, fall leaves. After my first attempt, I actually read the blog, instead of just looking at the pictures because it turned out a little goofy!

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The leaves kept popping off the edges and refused to lie flat. Yes, inanimate objects refused to listen to me!

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After reading the blog, I learned you need to press the leaves for at least 36 hours. Simple process: pick the leaves you like, get a thick book (my choice was What to Expect in the First Year), and put the leaves between the pages.

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After the leaves are pressed, you start your process. I’ve found it’s easiest to do small sections at a time. Don’t coat the entire jar at once, or you’ll never get it done before it starts to dry.

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After you have some mod podge on the glass, press your leaf onto the glue. You will need to press the leaf for a few minutes until it has good adhesion, then paint another layer of mod podge over the top. This extra layer helps give the leaves a shiny look and helps preserve the color.
I still had the problem of the edges of the leaves popping up a little, but it’s still beautiful with the candle flickering inside!
Happy crafting!

Best Pumpkin Bread Ever

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So I don’t really remember where I got this recipe, but I found it about a year ago and it is amazing! Last year we carved a lot of pumpkins! Four for us and an additional three for a friend. We’ve really been getting into it the last few years, so she had asked us to carve a few for her Halloween party.

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See? An awesome pumpkin carving!
So I had a lot of pumpkin guts, and having my Pinterest addiction, I couldn’t just throw them away! I pureed the guts, without the seeds, to make my own pumpkin, even better than in a can! Then I found the following recipe:
•3 1/2 cups flour
•3 cups sugar
•2 tsp baking soda
•1/2 tsp salt
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1 tsp nutmeg
•2 cups pumpkin puree
•4 eggs, well beaten
•1 cup vegetable oil
•2/3 cup water
•2 tsp vanilla extract
You start by combining all of your dry ingredients and mixing them together.

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Chiara loves helping me make pumpkin bread. She gets really upset if I don’t let her help! After your dry ingredients are well combined, add the eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, water and vanilla. Make sure you get all of the flour from the edges of the bowl until it looks like this:

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This is usually where I have to watch it closely, Chiara tends to keep sampling it!
I have 4 mini loaf pans for making bread, the full batch usually makes 8 mini loaves. Be sure you don’t over fill the pans, or you will have a mess on your hands.

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Then you place them in your 350° oven for 45 minutes. After the baking, I usually dump them onto the counter to cool before sealing them in a Ziploc baggie. If you seal them while they’re still a little warm, they maintain that fresh flavor for up to two weeks. They stay good a little longer, but aren’t as squishy and yummy!
Happy baking all!

Clean Your Cookie Sheets

So I do want to start by saying that this was a huge let down! The original blog, which is no longer up, made this sound like it would work miracles. I was less than thrilled!
You know how your cookie pans get disgusting over time? Black and splotchy, just icky looking in general? Well I only have the one cookie sheet and it was looking pretty gross:

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You see all the ick? It’s clean in this picture, but it sure doesn’t look it! The original blog said to make a paste, using baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. You want it to have the consistency of toothpaste. Once you have your paste, smear it on your cookie sheet. I tried this multiple times with different consistencies to try and make it work:

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This was my super concentrated batch and do you know what I got? This:

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This little circled bit, and that was after putting a lot of elbow grease behind it. The original blog stated that it would take very little scrubbing for amazing results…… As previously stated, huge let down!
Don’t waste your time on this one folks!

Cheap Entertainment

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It does not get any easier than this! Tony kept laughing at me for playing with my hand….. The kids had me draw on their hands as well, so we were laughing for over an hour about this!
It’s easiest to scrunch your hand up a little, like so:

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This way you hide ‘the gap’ and know where to draw. Draw the top of your trampoline just under the crease, and the legs of your stick figure. After you have those drawn, it’s easiest to flatten your hand out to draw the rest of your trampoline and stick figure.
Then you scrunch and un-scrunch your hand for extended periods of fun! Seriously thinking about pricing this out as a tattoo! Boredom, never a problem again! I found this on Pinterest, of course, but it did link back to here.
Prepare to be entertained!

Scarecrow Teacher Gifts

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This was an adorable little craft that I found on Pinterest. The original pin, as usual, was a little cuter than mine, but we had fun making them. Well, the kids had fun playing with the paper scraps, scissors and glue sticks while I put this together.
You start with an empty Starbucks bottle, the kind that are available at the registers of grocery stores.

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You will need an assortment of buttons, paper scraps and glue. I started with krazy glue, moved on to Elmer’s glue stick, then ended with hot glue. Hot glue works best!

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I laid out my face design on the table first, to make sure I liked it, and really, who doesn’t like button eyes?

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This was the first ‘hat’ I tried, and it was just awful! The original pin had a plastic hat as the lid, and I had an impossible time making that work, at least until Tony got involved.

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Second attempt at a hat, and I thought I was going to go with this one. This was about when Tony decided to step in. The original pinner stated she colored her cups with yellow sharpie, which I did not have handy.

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Enter Tony and his model paints, at least for the first hat. The other three hats he spray painted yellow for me. Thank the weather for warming up enough for spray paint!
We’ve given one of the kids’ teachers their gift, and I can’t wait to hand out the rest!
I guess the best advice with this pin is to play around until you find what works. Your face materials, the candy inside, the hat…… Whatever you want! Happy crafting!

Scarf Holder

So, I’ve come to the stunning conclusion that, while completely functional, my Pinterest crafts never turn out quite as visually appealing as the original pins. First example I’ll use is my shoebox charging station, which is completely functional, but goofy looking. Today’s blog is another shining example.

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Behold, a scarf holder!
More than a little tacky, right? The important thing is that my scarves arent a wadded up mess in a drawer or bin.
The supplies you’ll need for this one are:
•1 hanger
•11 shower curtain rings (that’s how many I used)
•electrical tape
•ribbon (this is optional. Mine doesn’t have this yet, but I will be adding it later)
First step is to lay out your supplies like so:

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Tape your shower curtain rings closed. Then you just tape them to each other in a configuration, much like this:

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I went a little electrical tape happy!
Then you attach this to your hanger, like so:

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This is the part where the ribbon would come in. Wind the ribbon around the rings and hanger, disguising the tackiness!
The original pin has been blocked, so I can’t reference the original blogger, but here is their finished product:

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Much prettier, yes? Maybe when I add the ribbon…….

Changeable Art Frame

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This is a super simple craft. I’m not really sure why it has taken me so long to do this one, except maybe I was just waiting for the right frame……

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I received a lot of these horse pictures from a family member. They didn’t expect me to hang up the horse picture, they just knew I enjoy pictures and all things related.
The beautiful picture shown above, not the horse, was created by my son last year in kindergarten. I wanted to hang it up, but don’t actually have an ‘art area’ other than bedroom doors. I felt this deserved a little more prestige, than some tape stuck to the back. This lead me back to this idea of a pin, since I now possess the frames!
Really simple process:
•Remove back of frame
•Remove the glass if there is any
•Insert nails, 2 for each row of pictures you would like
•Tie fishing line between nails
•Use desired style of clips to suspend picture(s)