Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How to make amazing dimensional gift bags quick and easy

dimensional gift bags


Black Friday comes and goes.  And you’ve bought a few gifts you will want to come home to wrap them before anyone sees them.  What happens when the gifts are small and hard to wrap?  You grab a gift bag, right?  Well, you can make several dimensional gift bags in minutes that will definitely be a showstopper! 

These dimensional gift bags are quick and easy to make using some elements cut from Christmas cards and then embellished with little extra touches.

I always buy my Christmas cards through the mail and in the months that precede the holiday I receive stacks of samples with just the covers to choose from.  I would never throw them away and that is how the dimensional gift bags came about.  You just need at least two card fronts that are identical.  If you don’t get card samples just use an inexpensive pack of cards that are all the same for your dimensional gift bags.

Materials:

Two Christmas card fronts with individual elements you can cut out
Small sharp pointed scissors
Dimensional foam circles
Gift bags (I purchased a pack of 10 for under $5) or you can even use a plain recycled store bag and cover the logo with your image
Tacky craft glue
Small bows, rhinestones, jewels, pompoms or any coordinating embellishment
Dimensional fabric paint – Crystal sparkle

1.     Gather your supplies. Carefully, cut out both chosen images from the card fronts.





2.     Spread some tacky craft glue on the back of one of the images.  Center the image on the bag and attach. 



3.     Next, remove the paper from the double-sided sticky surface on the foam circle and attach to the image on the bag.  Add them all around randomly.  I like to add a second foam dot on top of the first one for extra height.  You can if you desire, use only one.



4.     Now, remove the paper from the dots and add the second image on top of the first one making sure you line it up evenly.

5.     Then, add the embellishments with some tacky glue and let dry. 




6.     Use the crystal sparkle dimensional fabric paint to accent the image.  Let dry.



7.     Add the gift to your bag and you will be sure the gifted recipient will save it and re-use it for years to come.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How to make the best Jambalaya in a crockpot, yes crockpot Jambalaya!



If you love Cajun style foods but don’t love all the work and time it takes to make it, you need to try this crockpot Jambalaya recipe!  It’s so easy the ingredients come together in minutes, and then you are off to start your day.  When you return home, the enticing aroma of the best crockpot Jambalaya will greet you!  And best of all, dinner is ready to put on the table!

Recently, I’ve been having a love affair with my crockpot and I found that I could make all sorts of dinners that will ready when I get home.  This is a lifesaver for a busy life.

Ingredients:

2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 lb. smoked sausage cut in ½” pieces
1 large onion, chopped
Large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup uncooked long-grain converted rice
2 stalks of celery sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
One tablespoon of dried parsley
One teaspoon dried thyme
Lb. of peeled uncooked Shrimp
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, more or less depending upon how spicy you like your Jambalaya
½” cup of tomato paste
2 bay leaves
¼ cup water

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients together and place in the crockpot.  Cover and cook 8-10 hours on low.

One hour before serving turn the crock pot to high and stir in the uncooked shrimp.  Cover and cook until the shrimp are pink and tender. 

I just love easy recipes like this one.  If you are like me, you are cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving and have leftover turkey.  Try this chicken salad recipe which is just as delicious if you make it with Turkey and have nice lunch after Black Friday is over and done with!



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Monday, November 6, 2017

Puppy rock



My little Jack Russell terrier is my muse.  She models for me when I paint, and she has me running around as fast she runs.  So it only goes to figure that I would paint a puppy rock. And this rock doesn't need trips to the vet or walking.  It's the new millennium version of the pet rock!

Painted rocks are all the rage these days.  You can leave them in parks or stores for someone to find.  It just makes someone’s day when they pick up a painted rock with a positive message written on it.  Kindness truly does rock!

And this little puppy rock is a great gift for your favorite dog lover.  You can use it as a paperweight or just for a little extra d├ęcor on your desk or shelf.  Paint one or paint a bunch.  You can’t get a craft that is less expensive.  When you finish your puppy rock add a cute little Bowdabra bow on her head or under her chin with E6000 glue and you will have the cutest little pup!

Materials

Oval river rock
Graphite paper
Stylus
Pencil
Small paintbrush
Acrylic paint, sienna, white, black, and pink
Fine line permanent marker
Paper plate or palette
 Face pattern

For the bow:

8” 5/8” grosgrain ribbon in the desired color
Mini Bowdabra with hair bow tool and ruler attachment
Bowdabra bow wire
E6000 glue

Instructions:

1.     First, download and print the face pattern.
2.     Next, cut out the pattern and place a piece of graphite paper under it on top of the rock of your choice.  Use the stylus to trace around the pattern.

3.     Now, remove the graphite paper and go over the faint lines with a pencil if need be. 

4.     Then, begin painting your rock.  Start with the Sienna and a small brush and paint the ears.  Make sure you leave a tiny space between the sections. (You will outline your puppy with the marker in this area when you are done)

5.     Next, paint the muzzle and forehead with white paint. Paint the eyes leaving the pupil area.  Paint the nose and pupils with black paint.  Paint the tongue with pink paint.

6.     Add another coat of paint on all the areas and let dry.  With a tiny bit of white paint add to small dots on each eye and two on the nose. (See photo)  Let dry completely.  Then, use the fine line permanent marker to outline all the areas on the pup.

7.     Make the optional bow.  Cut an 18” piece of Bowdabra bow wire, fold in half and insert into the Mini Bowdabra.  You will have a loop on one side and two loose wires on the other.  This serve as a slipknot when finished.

8.     Cut an eight-inch piece of 5/8” wide grosgrain ribbon.  Insert into the Bowdabra leaving a small tail.  Make a loop on the other side at the ½” mark and then make a matching loop on the other side.  Scrunch down with the Bowdabra wand.

9.     Now, insert the two loose wires through the loop and pull tight.  Separate the ends and tie a knot.  Remove from the Bowdabra. Fold each end in half and cut to dovetail.


10.  To finish your puppy rock, use some E6000 glue to add the bow to the rock and let dry. 



Monday, October 30, 2017

Make awesome pasta sausage bake in the crockpot quick and easy

pasta sausage bake


If you are like me, you are always running around trying to get things done.  This pasta sausage bake is so quick and easy because you make it in the crockpot!  No boiling the noodles and the only thing you have to pre-cook is the sausage!  In about 4 hours you will have a delicious pasta sausage bake that looks like it came right out of the oven! 

Just brown the sausage and drain and then assemble the ingredients.  Go get your errands run, or take the kids to soccer practice and when you come back your dinner will be ready to bring to the table! 

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground hot or mild Italian sausage (browned and drained)
1 lb. box of pasta, any kind (I used cellentani but penne, ziti would be just as good)
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 egg
1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella divided in half
1 cup grated Parmesan divided in half
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. parsley
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic finely chopped
Pam or non-stick spray

Instructions

In a small bowl mix ricotta, egg, ½ mozzarella cheese, ½ Parmesan, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, and salt and pepper.  Stir to blend all the ingredients together.

Next, spray your crockpot liberally with the non-stick spray. Add half the uncooked noodles into the crockpot.  Pour about ¾ of a jar of sauce on the noodles, stir together to make sure every they are completely covered.  Press down into an even layer.

Now add half the ricotta on top of the noodles.  Next, sprinkle half the sausage on top.  Add the other third of the jar of sauce on top of the sausage.

Repeat all the layers with the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and turn the crockpot on low for 4-6 hours.  After four hours test the noodles to see if they are done.  If not, continue cooking till the noodle reach your preferred level of doneness. 

Add the rest of the cheese on top and cook for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Cut the pasta sausage bake as you would lasagna into squares and serve with a salad and some Italian bread.  Yummy and so easy!