Monday, January 9, 2017

How to make an awesome leather tassel from an old handbag

awesome leather tassel


Yes you read it right.  In the following tutorial I will show you how to make an awesome leather tassel that you can use for a key ring, backpack bling or just for decoration on a drawer pull.  It’s so easy and pretty much free since you use an old handbag that you cut up to recycle the leather.  And tassels and pompoms are all the rage right now!

You will need a handbag that has thinner leather and is flexible enough to cut with regular scissors.  If you don’t already have one, you can easily find one at a thrift shop or a yard sale.  You can re-use the leather in a myriad of ways so come back often for more quick and easy tutorials like this awesome leather tassel!

Materials:

Leather pieces from an old handbag
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil or disappearing marker
Jewelry cap
22-gauge wire
Needle nosed pliers
Wire cutters
Head pin
Key ring if making key ring
Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
E size seed bead

Awesome leather tassel tutorial

Instructions:

1.     First cut a piece of leather from an old handbag.  The leather you choose should be thin enough to cut with scissors.  (You may also use synthetic leather if you wish)  Using a ruler measure 8 strips 2 ½” long by ¼” wide.  The measurements do not have to be exact since it is a tassel.




2.     Cut the strips making sure they are approximately the same length.  Next, cut a bit of leather off one end of each strip to make it into a point.  This will make it easier to tie them all together with the wire.




3.     Now bunch all the strips together and twist about 2 ½” of wire tightly around.  Using the needle nose pliers, keep twisting so the bunch of leather is very tight.



4.     Thread a size E seed bead on to a head pin.  Add a bit of glue on the bead, then, pull it through the hole in the top of the jewelry cap.  The glued bead will keep it stationary. 



5.     Now add some more hot glue to the top of the tied bunch of leather strips and insert into the jewelry cap.  Let dry. 

6.     You will have a straight piece of wire at the top.  Use the needle nosed pliers to curl the wire into a loop around.  This will be where you can attach a key ring or a clip to use your tassel.










Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How to make lucky New Year's Greek sweet bread



Who will get the lucky coin in the New Year’s Greek sweet bread? Every year from the time I was a child we always had Vasilopita or Greek sweet bread. The baker adds a coin inside before baking and the person who gets the slice with the coin will be lucky all year.
There are so many superstitions and traditions when it comes to New Year’s Day. I always make black-eyed peas with rice, which is a lucky dish to have in the south where I grew up. My grandmother always felt that a man should be the first to enter the house on New Year’s Day for luck and wouldn’t open the door for a woman. My mother would send my brother’s outside to walk back in just to be safe.
The most enjoyable New Year’s Day tradition for us was always the Vasilopita or Greek sweet bread. And all of us kids would hope we would be the lucky one to get the coin.
The bread is only slightly sweet and is great with a cup of coffee. This bread is especially tasty toasted with butter for a super breakfast dish.  If you've never made bread before this one is a really easy one and has a subtle flavor with a dense texture. So it's best to cut the bread in medium thin slices.

Vasilopita (New Year’s Greek sweet Bread)

Ingredients:
  • 1-cup milk (scalded)
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 packets of yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 5 – 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 clean coins (washed and dried quarters)
In a large bowl pour hot milk over the butter, sugar and salt. When milk becomes lukewarm add two beaten eggs and the two yeast packets.
Next add cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.   Knead until smooth. Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Then, cover with a clean towel and let rise until it has doubled in bulk.
After it rises, punch the dough down and shape into two round loaves and place in greased pans. Insert a coin in each loaf. Brush with beaten egg white. Cover and let rise again.

Finally, bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for around 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. Now that your loaves are baking you can see how easy they are to make.
Makes two round loaves.



Monday, December 26, 2016

Make simple, easy, and quick sausage cheese balls appetizer

sausage cheese balls


You can quickly make these quick sausage cheese balls for Christmas and New Year’s parties and get-togethers.  This recipe has been around for years and there are a vast amount of variations. I, however, like to make mine simple and easy.  They are so delicious, and there are never any leftovers!  Guess it’s a southern hospitality thing.

Sausage cheese balls are a holiday tradition in my house.  In fact my family wouldn’t dream of ringing in the New Year without them. 

You can make them ahead of time and put them in the fridge and just warm them up when company arrives.  They are even great for a breakfast treat when everyone is tired from staying up till after midnight.

Sausage cheese balls


Roll of hot sausage uncooked (The cheaper kind works the best)
10 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups buttermilk baking mix
¼ cup water
Aluminum foil (non stick or sprayed with cooking spray)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix sausage, cheese, biscuit mix and water until blended.  Shape into 1 ½” balls.   Place on a pan covered with non-stick aluminum foil.

Then bake for about 15 minutes or until light browned.  Turn them to the other side and bake for another 10 minutes till done.  Serve warm.

Refrigerate any leftovers and rewarm in a 325-degree oven or microwave.

sausage cheese balls




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Use extra Christmas cards make an awesome 3-D gift bags

3-d gift bags


Aren’t these 3-D gift bags adorable?  Each year I order my Christmas cards from an online retailer.  In the months leading up to the holiday they send packs of sample cards.  They are not usable since they are just the cover of the cards and have writing on the back but I just can’t throw them out!  So I use the images on the front of the cards to make cool 3-D gift bags! 

All you need are some double-sided sticky dots and two card images that are the same.  You won’t be able to stop making these little bags and it’s a great craft for kids to do as well.  Plus you are upcycling something and putting it to good use!

Materials:

Two Christmas card fronts with duplicate images
Glue stick
Gift bag
Small pointed scissors
Glue raised double sided sticky dots

Instructions:

1.     Choose an image from the cards that you like.  The images must be exactly the same for the 3-D effect to work.  Carefully cut around your images.  (You may use several images if you desire you just need two of each)




2.     Use a glue stick to apply glue to the back of one of the images and attach it to the gift bag. 




3.     Next, apply the double-sided sticky dots onto the back of the second image.  This will raise your image to give it a 3-D look.


4.     Now align your second image exactly on top of the first image, remove the backing paper from the dots and attach to the second image.  You bag now has a 3-D appearance.  You may attach other smaller images around the first on if you choose to create scenes. 



5.     Fill the bag with small gifts, candies.  This makes a great gift for teachers, mailmen, and many others.








Monday, December 19, 2016

Quickly make adorable ornaments from laser cut wood

adorable ornaments from laser cut wood


Laser cut wood shapes are available for pennies at the craft stores.  There are ornaments and frames of all shapes and sizes.  And the best part is that they are so inexpensive!

The scrollwork is so elegant and lends itself to quickly make adorable ornaments.  Mom or dad can spray paint the shapes and kids will love to add the beads to them. The resulting ornaments are stylish and classy.  And the memories of creating them as a family will be a lasting treasure.

Materials:

Laser cut wood shape ornaments
Spray paint in gold and silver
Silver, gold, and pearl beads
Tacky craft glue
Tweezers (optional)
Paper or foam plates to work on
Silver or gold cord for hanging

For the snowflake:

Bag of sparkle snow

Instructions:

1.     Spray each ornament in gold or silver and let dry.  Turn over and spray the other side.  Let dry completely.  Work in a well-ventilated area or outside.


2.     Add dots of tacky glue to the shape and attach the silver, gold, or pearl beads as desired.  You can be creative.  Run a ring of beads around the ornament; add to the corners or in the middle.  The sky is the limit.  When you have added the amount of beads you choose let the ornament dry.  You may if you desire turn to the back and add more beads as you did before.




3.     Cut a length of gold or silver cord and attach to the top for hanging on the tree or in a window.

For the snowflake:

1.     Cover the entire silver spray painted ornament with tacky glue.  Work on a paper plate.



2.     Sprinkle the sparkle snow on top and press with your fingers to make sure it adheres.  Let dry.  Add a hanging cord to the top.  You may add a second coat of sparkle snow after the first one is dry if you want a fluffier snowflake.