Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ivory Homes Gingerbread Contest

Okay, I know I haven't posted on my blog in a while.  It has kind of taken a backseat in my life for the moment. This is simply a shameless plug to get facebook votes on my gingerbread house for the Ivory Homes Gingerbread contest.  My friend and I spent so many hours working on this that I can't even count them.  We are hoping to raise money for my friend's American Cancer Society Relay for Life Team.  This is a fabulous contest because it gives so much to charity.  They also auction off the homes to benefit a charity.  I'm crossing my fingers that they were able to raise a good amount from our house. It would feel amazing to be able to use my skills to help out others in need this holiday season!
The gingerbread homes are modeled after Ivory Homes house plans.  We decided to throw in some Utah humor by choosing a townhouse floor plan and pitting BYU fans against U of U fans.  I hope you enjoy the pictures, and if you have a moment in the next couple days could you please follow the link and vote??  The contest ends Monday December 16th 2013 at 5:00 pm.  We are house #4 "Rivalry Homes"
The townhouse front
The BYU living room

Utes have great throwing arms


Right back at ya'!

The U of U game room

Gingerbread houses aren't complete with out Santa.  Hmmmm, I wonder if he is a Ute fan?

Making snow "Y"s

The BYU side bedroom
The idea for this house came about because I have a couple siblings who are Ute fans.  I am a die hard BYU fan and alumni, so I am partial to all the blue.  Go cougars!! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Deck on a Dollar

I'm cheap and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I have been wanting to spruce up my newly completely covered deck (thanks, honey) for a few days.  I have been searching for the right rug and furniture to match my solar powered lamps to no avail.  Either I didn't like the style, the color, or the enormous price tag.

Enter Dollar Tree save my lackluster, yet functional, picnic table and give me a spot to read and relax while the kiddos run through the sprinklers.  I spotted these fun placemats and they just happened to be the perfect color!  As I was leaving the store, the felt coasters were screaming my name.  They were just too cute, so I grabbed a few of them.

To make my table runner, I stitched the place mats together.  I then stitched on a few of the coasters to add more vibrant color.  The "rug" is also made of place mats stitched together.

I couldn't stop my frugality there.  I picked up the two chairs at the thrift store for a few dollars each. Don't they look super with that new shiny red coat of paint?!  The little wicker table  I inherited from a couple of girls going around the neighborhood playing "big, bigger, best".  If you have no clue what that is a game where you go house to house trading unwanted items and try to end up with the biggest and best item at the end of the game.  I still feel slightly guilty that I traded a pool noodle for this cute little gem of a table.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You are "egg"stra special!

This is a simple little "warm fuzzy" to give out around Easter time.  When I talk of "warm fuzzies", I am referring to a small gift or treat with an attached cutesy saying to go with it.  Hmmmmm.....Is "cutesy" a word??  I guess so since spell check didn't pick it up.  Anyhow,  I gave these to my cub scouts after our den meeting.  This warm fuzzy  message reads, "You are 'egg'stra special!  Thanks for coming to den meeting today!"  I filled the plastic eggs with a little treat.  I am in the process of making a "warm fuzzy" post which will hopefully give you many more ideas to use in church, scouts, home, class, etc.  Everyone needs a warm fuzzy now and then : )

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blue and Gold Banquet Centerpieces and Placemats

Here are a couple more Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet ideas.  For a centerpiece, we re-used 2-liter bottles to create candle holders.  We simply washed out the bottles and mod-podged blue and gold tissue paper to the outside of them.  I printed off a picture of each of the boys and attached it to the centerpieces. We put an electric tea light candle in the center of the bottles.  I wish I had a picture of them with the lights down because they really looked neat.  The boys had a lot of fun making these!
 For the place mats, we decided to make an "I spy" hunt for the family members to enjoy before the dinner.  The boys used old magazines to find pictures to add to the place mats.  They then wrote the items that they wished to be found in the side margin of the place mat.  This was quite time consuming, but they seemed to be having a great time.  The boys were thoughtful in the types of pictures they cut out for their families.  For example my son made a princess I spy for his sister.
These projects were a great way to be resourceful.  We did not end up spending very much for our decorations.  On a tight budget that is always a plus!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Clothesline Baby Shower

For a special touch to your next baby shower, hang clotheslines around the party area.  With clothespins, attach gifts to the future baby throughout the area.  I had fun making these appliqued onesies for my friend's shower.
I think it would be fun to have the future mommy open her presents and pin them up after she unwraps them.  I would suggest doing this first so the presents then double as the decorations!  You could pin up a variety of items; socks, clothes, blankets, burp cloths, diapers, toys, etc. Don't forget to pin up the cards near the gifts so you can admire who brought which items.

This is just another mish mash idea from me to you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Traveler's Pin Map

A few years ago, my husband and I were searching for the perfect gift to give my dad for Christmas and found the perfect gift in a catalog.  It was a world map where he could pin all of his travels (he traveled extensively with his employment).  Only problem was, the map was retailing for near $200.  In true Krista fashion I thought, "I can make one of those for a fraction of the cost".   To date, it has been one of the best received gifts I have made for anyone.  My dad's jaw dropped and he immediately got busy "pinning" his travels.

Fast forward a few years.  Maps in decorating are "IN" in a big way.  I decided we needed to make one for our own family travels.  We don't anticipate any world travels anytime soon, so I made a United States travel version for my family. 

It is a very easy project requiring these basic materials:
  • Map of desired size/appearance
  • Foam core (enough to fit size of map)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Frame (no glass needed)
  • Pins (I used straight pins with small glass beads glued to the end)  You could also just purchase pins that already have the colored balls on the end.
  • Stencil and paint (If desired) OR vinyl lettering
First, you will want to purchase a map and a frame.  I purchased the map I liked first and then looked for a frame to fit it.  Luckily, the thrift store fairies helped me out and I was able to find this frame for $8!

My friend spray paint paid a visit and spiffed this old frame right up!

Next, you will need to cut your foam core to fit the opening of your frame.  Since my map is HUGE, I had to duct tape three sheets of foam core together. 

At this point, I measured my map against the foam core and had to trim it just a bit.

Third, you will need to attach the map to the foam core.  I used 3M brand spray adhesive.  I started at one end and slowly sprayed and worked my way to the other end pressing and smoothing as I went.  You want to aviod getting air bubbles, so working in smaller sections at a time helps with this. 

Add an extra layer of cardboard or foam core if needed to the back of your map.  You don't want your pins reaching the wall.

Fourth, and only if desired, you can add lettering.  I thought "Been there.....Done that" would be appropriate.  I thought about doing the lettering in vinyl, but I am tired of that "perfect look" it creates so I opted for a more weathered lettering.  To get this look, I used a sponge brush lightly coated with paint and brushed a lot of the paint off on a paper towel.  I dapped the paint in a thin and imperfect layer on purpose.   Any one else out there tired of perfect vinyl lettering?  I think I will write a blog post about how tired I am of "Perfect vinyl".  I think I have vinyled way too much in my house already. LOL.  Anyways, if that is the look you are going for  vinyl  would work nicely too.

FYI:  Been is spelled b-e-e-n, not b-e-s-n.  I just used an "s" as a spacer : )

Now for the fun part......pinning all your travels.  You could decide to pin places you've been, places you plan to go, places you have lived, places traveled for work, etc.  Just use a different color pin for each.  My family had a great time pinning and reminiscing about our past trips.  We even started conversations about the next places we would like to go.  

This project only cost me $20!   I think that is pretty good considering it is about three feet by five feet.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park

I've been thinking lately about how excited I am for spring to come.  My family has a great love for the outdoors, so being cooped up in the house all winter is especially tough.  In fact we have a family goal to visit all national parks within the United States at some point in our lives.  Luckily, living in Utah offers a lot of opportunities to cross parks off our list and see some of the most stunning vistas in the world.  Hopefully, I will be sharing more of our travels with you.

For this past fall break, we visited Zion's National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.  Both are near the southern end of Utah.  We were nervous about camping this time of year because of the cool night temperatures, so we decided to stay in a Cedar City hotel and make it our base camp to visit both parks. 

I used to live in southern Utah and have visited Zion's National Park several times.  In fact, I still remember the days when it wasn't necessary to take the shuttle through to explore the park.  Ah, I miss those days.  I see the necessity for it though, as now it is a very high traffic destination.  Nevertheless, Zions is still a beautiful destination that shouldn't be missed.

I love the fall leaves.  There is no shortage of them in this park come fall season.

Weeping Rock was by far my children's favorite hike.  There is something so magical about standing underneath the slick rock canopy with dripping water.  My son enjoyed standing directly underneath the dripping water.  Walking alongside the river and skipping stones was also an enjoyable activity.

This was to be my first time at Bryce Canyon National Park.  We took a minute along our way to stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument.  It was a stunning vista of hoodoos, which gave us a taste of what we would experience in Bryce Canyon.

In Bryce Canyon, there are several viewpoints just off the main road.  This makes it a nice destination for those who want to experience the beauty of the park without hiking.  I guess those people do exist.  We however, went on several hikes which gave us enhanced views of the somewhat strange hoodoos.

Are you wondering what a hoodoo is???  Come to Bryce Canyon and you'll discover.  No, I am not a member of the Utah Travel Advisory Committee.  I'm just a mom with a  love for this great state of Utah and the beautiful scenery within its boundaries.  I want everyone to have the enjoyable experience!  ;)

Hopefully, I have given you enough of a taste of what these parks offer, without giving too much away.  There would really be no point in telling you about every hike and showing you ALL of our pictures.  That would take away too much of the fun when you come and discover for yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Blue and Gold Banquet Centerpieces and Placemats

The theme for the month in cub-scouts is resourcefulness, so we tried to work that into our decorations for our upcoming Blue and Gold Banquet. 

To make the centerpieces, we first cut 2-liter soda bottles in half (This is a job for an adult).  Next,we made Martha Stewart's tissue paper pom-poms, with a few adjustments.  For the top two layers, we used tissue paper.  For the back six layers we used old magazine pages.  The magazine pages are more likely to rip when pulling apart, so remind your cubs to separate carefully.  We attached the flowers to bamboo skewers so we could put them in our vases. To finish off, we had the boys paste pictures of themselves in the center.  I think they look like giant sunflowers, so I think I'll lovingly call them "cub-flowers". To carry on with the resourcefulness theme, I gathered rocks from around my house and used them as a vase filler. 

Luckily our local newspaper has great fun pages.  To make the place mats, we simply cut the fun pages out of our newspaper and had the boys glue blue and gold streamers to the back.  The fun page place mats will make a nice gathering activity for all the family members.

Perhaps we will also have the boys make newspaper hats for the banquet guests to wear during dinner and paint gathered rocks into place setting markers.  The best part about the Blue and Gold this's going to be inexpensive!

For our dinner, we are planning on having a baked potato bar.  We are going to once again use our resources and have each family bring an item for the potatoes.  I hope my mish mash idea can get those cub leader wheels turning for anyone still looking for centerpiece ideas.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Trophy-shaped Cupcakes

My son wanted a "sports-theme" for his birthday party.  I sighed a breath of relief.  This would be an easy one!  I've had some interesting requests over the years.

Sadly, the weather disallowed us from playing outside, so I had to be creative with the games.  We played tabletop soccer and trash can basketball.  The kids were pleased to whack a pinata in the garage as well.

I wanted to create something fun and unique for the cake/cupcakes.  I discovered that by using two of the ice cream cake cups, I could create cupcake trophies to give to all my sons M.V.Fs (Most Valuable Friends).  Here is a brief tutorial on how I achieved the look.

In advance of the party a couple of days, I made the handles out of fondant.  I made snakes (like the ones you used to do with play-dough) and then shaped them into a curved handle shape.  I measured them against an ice cream cake cup to ensure they were a size and shape I liked.  Allow the fondant to dry out.  Don't cover.

The day of the party, I baked and decorated the trophies.  To bake, cover a cupcake pan with foil and punch holes to set the cups through.  I was feeling lazy, so I whipped up a cake mix.  I only filled the cups with about 1/4 cup of batter each.

After they came out of the oven and cooled slightly, I pierced the bottom of the cups with a fork to allow excess steam to escape.

To create the trophy base, I cut another ice cream cup with a serrated knife.  For the particular cups I used, this picture shows where I cut. 

After covering my counter with paper towels, I sprayed my trophies with yellow Wilton color mist.  It is available at most craft and hobby stores in the cake decorating section.

Next, I used yellow royal icing to attach the bases and the handles.

To finish, I decorated to my heart's content.  I was able to use my new edible ink printer for the names.  I topped the cupcakes off with a scoop of ice cream after the traditional birthday song.

Hmmmm....for a simpler version, I wonder if licorice rope would work for handles!? 

The Cub Scout Den Leader in me can't help but think these would be so cute for the pine wood derby!  A checkered flag cupcake topper would look really cute.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"I need me some spring" cupcakes!

Ahh, Where has the time gone?  I am sorry to anyone who follows my blog only to discover my posts are few and far between.  Back when I started blogging, I told myself it would not interfere with the time my young children need from me.  I have been doing just that.  Spending time with my family over the holidays!  Yay me, for not letting the blog take over!

My car thermometer read 54 degrees today.  It felt like spring!  I have had no reason to complain about the weather so far this winter but, I still long for the flowers to appear and the butterflies to fly outside my window.  These cupcakes helped to put me in a chipper mood, even if it is January!