Monday, November 28, 2016


Often times the grand-kids stockings overflow on Christmas morning/eve and items will sit outside the stocking.  With this in mind I decided to make our fab five little round boxes for their stocking treats.  I am using the same process I used for the Thanksgiving hostess gifts, Link.
First thing I did was to go to The Graphic's Fairy and select my graphic, Link.

You see the image behind the box.  After printing out the image (I  printed it on a full sheet label) I cut around the image.  This step is not necessary as you may want to print an image and just trim it down to fit your box.

I had cut the box down using a box cutter - not an X-acto knife, the paper the boxes are made from is very stiff and after drawing a line around your cut area, very carefully cut off the portion you do not want.  If your blade is sharp it will not be necessary to do anything to the edge but if the edge looks a little ragged, use a little sand paper to clean the edges.  Again, the cutting of part of the box not necessary, but is easy to do. I used the part I cut off to sample my paint.  My image was lovely with muted colors so I chose moss colored chalk paint, then after drying went over with a silver color.
Painted the top and the bottom and put them in my oven "paint booth." I turn the oven on to the "warm" temp, then turn it off and leave the oven light on - amazing how much heat builds up with just a light bulb.  Don't worry paper will not ignite until 450° and the heat from the light bulb while effective, will not harm your project.

Once dry, I went over the edge only of the top with some green paint, back into my paint booth to dry and then I  added some Cricut images and letters that I had cut out with my machine.  If you don't have a machine you could use stickers.  You always have the option to just hand paint at anytime.
After the stickers applied, go over the top and sides with the chalk paint, back to the paint booth (oven) and when dry take a straight pin and gently lift a corner of the sticker and pull them all of and voila you have the design you desired.
I simply dipped the end of a paint brush to make the red berries - just make sure you dip the end each time so that the berries will be uniform in size.  If you try and get more than one berry out of a dip, each time the image gets smaller.
The final step is to use either a matte finish water based product - I used Mod Podge.  Mod Podge will give you a nice matte finish and it will also help adhere your image.  If you see bubbles start to happen on the image, simply use the back of a nail (like your index finger) and press down to get rid of the bubble.  You may have to do this several times.
Beautiful image and the silver second coat was worth the effort - a little shimmer but not shiny.
I used some green sizzle to line the box and give a cushion for the little gifts to nestle in and not move around.
Some fun Christmas candy, a $1,000,000 candy bar, some gold President Kennedy .50¢ pieces, candy cane with Skittles, a Pocket Posh Christmas puzzle book - these fun books are from the UK and they make a zillion different ones and are good for kids and adults alike.  I will had a few more things I am sure - like some $2 bills, maybe a little iTunes card - point is there is room for some more in this little "stocking box."

One down and four to go!

This is a fun and easy project and you don't have to do the extras as you could simply go to The Graphic's Fairy and pick a graphic and adhere to your painted box.  The stickers make for an easy way to add some more charm to your box but you could do the same thing by painting yourself or not. Just be sure not matter what you choose to do to end with the Mod Podge (or other product) because it is important to seal your image and paint.


Graphics, The Graphic's Fairy
Cricuit Cartridge used, Joy's of the Season
Silver overcoat, Folk Art, 662E, Sterling Silver, craft stores
Dark green, Americana, Deep Teal, craft stores
Chalk paint, first coat of paint, Waverley, Moss, craft stores
Berries, Americana, Santa Red with a little white mixed in, Craft stores.
Paper Mache boxes, craft and hobby stores  
Pocket Posh, Christmas puzzle book, Link 
Full sheet labels, Link

Thank you for stopping by. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


 This year I am once again so thankful for all that I have, and especially my wonderful family and friends.  We also pray this year that all the discord that exists in our country right now will heal. I pray for our policemen and women to be safe as they work so hard to keep us safe.

I hope all of you have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day and for those of you who live in foreign lands - have a lovely day and celebrate what you are grateful for on this day!

The year has turned it's circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway-
Thanksgiving comes again!

Traditional Rhyme

For our dear Friends down under 

O HEART of Spring!
Spirit of light and love and joyous day,
So soon to faint beneath the fiery Summer:
Still smiles the Earth, eager for thee alway:
Welcome art thou, soever short thy stay,
Thou bold, thou blithe newcomer!
Whither, O whither this thy journeying,
O heart of Spring?  

Partial poem by Australian John Shaw Neilson

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Each year when fall arrives and the weather cools, my hubby starts looking to see if I will be making some cranberry orange bread.  My barometer is a little less weather related and more have the stores starting having fresh cranberries related. This is his favorite quick bread and I have tried many recipes and this is his favorite as it has both fresh and dried cranberries, has a great texture so the slices don't fall apart when cut - plus he just likes this bread best.
Just wanted to add this photograph taken by my dear DIL a couple of weeks ago in her neighborhood (five minutes from me) fall was in full glory. My granddaughter (in orange) and her BFF enjoying the beauty of the season.
What you would expect for ingredients for cranberry orange bread with maybe the exception of buttermilk and both fresh (may use frozen) and dried cranberries with the walnuts toasted.
One of the things that I do that really helps to keep the dried cranberries from sticking to the knife, is I dust them with some Wondra flour prior to the chopping.  Also, please remember to toast the walnuts as it is so worth the effort.
The recipe does not call for this but just before I pop the bread into the oven I dust the top with some sugar.
I doubled the recipe and this loaf, turned over and ready to be wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil and into the freezer and marked "Cod Fish" so it does not disappear! LOL!

Recipe Cranberry Orange Bread


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup toasted walnut halves, chopped
  • cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  1. Position rack in the center of your oven. Preheat to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and lightly coat with flour; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice, zest and melted butter in a small bowl. Whisk in egg until incorporated.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk gently just until combined, finishing off with a rubber spatula. Gently fold in cranberries and nuts.
  5. Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes. A toothpick should test clean when inserted in center of bread, the top will be golden and risen and the edges will just be pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  6. Cool pan on rack for 10 minutes, then turn bread out and cool completely on rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature at least overnight before slicing. This bread freezes well and I often will double the recipe so I have a loaf for the freezer.
  Thank you for stopping by, Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 21, 2016


In all honesty whenever I see "no-bake" I would typically not read on to see the recipe.  This recipe did catch my eye and I thought it might be a little something my grand-babies might like.  This recipe has taught me to not be a "cookie snob" and to take a longer look at other no-bake recipes because it is really good - sort of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-esque tasting.
This is it - just a few simple ingredients. I use Adam's peanut butter exclusively because there is no sugar added to the peanut butter. I do however, always make sure I get the no-stir variety.  Costco carries the brand but it is not the no-stir. Maybe it's my small hands, but I have a devil of a time stirring the one you have to stir. So I avoid!

I started seeing these little boxes of Nestle Toll House morsels a few months ago and I love them.  Each box contains 1/2 cup and they are available in most stores now including, the dollar store.  I found them one day at a different store for 2/$1 and bought a bunch and put them in the freezer.  The other reason I love them is that the chips are smaller than in the big bag so they are small enough to pop on a cupcake top, decorate candy, etc. I find them to be versatile.
The recipe calls for doing all of the work by hand but I decided to have none of that so I will give the recipe as written and tell you what I did differently. The small Cuisinart and other machines like this one are perfect for taking graham crackers and making crumbs.
I used my mixer with the wire whisk attachment to mix the ingredients - easy.
I also tested the $ store parchment paper with this recipe - the result - great, worked like any other parchment paper only the roll cost $1.
 Spread the wet ingredients into the pan...
After melting the chips in the microwave, pour over the peanut butter mix, place in the fridge and then lift the cookies out by the parchment paper, ready to cut them into squares.
Finished product - I added a few cranberry squares on top and ready for delivery for a pre-Thanksgiving gift.


No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Squares


1/2 cup melted butter - 1 cube
1 Cup graham cracker crumbs, either store bought or if you make them yourself it is about 8 sheets of crackers (two to a sheet)
1 Cup sugar, powdered (must be powdered)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt (or regular salt)


Line an 8x8 pan with  your parchment paper (see above)
If  you want to do your graham crackers by hand, put the crackers in a zip-lock type bag and using a rolling pin, crush the crackers to the desired crush, add the salt to the crumbs and stir to incorporate. Pour the melted butter over the graham crackers,  then added the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. I did this step in my mixer. Spread these ingredients into your parchment lined pan and smooth evenly. Set aside.

Using your microwave put the chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until the chips are melted and ready to pour over your other ingredients. Spread the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients and put in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours. After that you cut the cookies into the desired size squares.


I love local vanilla products by MACTAGGARTS BRAND , in Boise and have blogged about them before - here is a link to his website - he makes all his products and they are wonderful - you won't find better vanilla or fresher vanilla beans.  I am trying out one of his new products and used it in these cookies (it is great for savory too - like zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc.) it is a grinder of vanilla beans and Himalayan rock salt. So good - great when topping things like salted caramel candy. Link

Chocolate chips and parchment paper, Dollar Tree
8x8 pan with removable bottom, Link
Thanksgiving canister/cookie jar, Tai Pan Trading

Thank you for stopping by.