Do-It-Yourself Shirt

A simple, fun way to revamp an old t-shirt into a stylish tank top! This tutorial not only gives step by step instructions on how to get this look, it has tips on where to find more fun projects.

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Holiday Gifts

So Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Are you in need of a last minute host gift? Perhaps you want to show your appreciation to your neighbors, friends, or in laws? Here are a few ideas for some festive personalized treats.

The Classic Host Gift: Wine

For many events (especially large dinners) wine is typically a go-to gift for a host, Thanksgiving is no exception. But what kind of wine is best and how can you add your own personal touch?

Both white and red wines can work with Thanksgiving day feasts.

Whites

While chardonnay is typically a reliable standby ,its intese flavor may not be the best for such an overwhelming amount of flavors. Instead consider a lighter fruity choice. The most popular of these include Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Reds

Yes, red wine is typically served with dark meat, but lighter reds are just right! Stay away from tart choices like Cabernet. Instead try Pinot Noir, Zinfadel, or Syrah.

Or…

You could marry the two and choose a nice, pink Rose! Its light, crisp flavor may be a nice compliment for a hearty meal.

Personalization:

There are a variety of ways to personalize wine bottles. You can use printable holiday labels like this or this. Or you can customize your own label here. These sites let you choose whether you would like to print free from your home wine labels or tags to drape around the bottle’s neck.

Another way to add your own personal flare is to use a wine bag or box and customize it. You can add photographs, gift tags, and more!

NOT 21? NOT A PROBLEM!

Pumpkin Nutella Bread

This festive holiday treat is both scrumptious and easy to make.

ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
8 tablespoons Nutella (2 tablespoons per mini loaf)

directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Using non-stick spray, coat a layer onto your bread pans. If you do not have spray, canola oil and a paper towel will do the trick.
  2. In a bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together completely.
  3. In a separate larger bowl, combine sugar, canola oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and hazelnut. Make sure the mixture is a smooth consistency.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixture and continue to stir.
  5. When the ingredients are well combined, pour the batter into your pans. Add a spoonful of Nutella to the top of each pan. Swirl the butter into the mixture.
  6. Place the loafs into the oven. The bake time will vary based on the size of your pan. I used four medium sized pans and baked for 40-45 minutes. If you are using smaller trays you may be safer at 20-25, or if you are using one large pan it may take up to 60-65 minutes.
  7. You will know your bread is done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. When done, allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before attempting to remove from the pans. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

And there you have it! Yummy, simple treats!

Pumpkin Candle Votives

Have leftover pumpkins that you feel guilty throwing away? Here is a waste-free way to use them!

Materials

  • Pumpkins (smaller sizes tend to work best)
  • Knife
  • Tea light or votive candle
  • Lighter or matches

Directions

  1. Take a damp cloth, wipe down the top of your pumpkin stem to remove excess dirt or blemishes.
  2. Using your candle as a guide, dot around the border of your candle with a knife.
  3. Take the knife and cut your circle connecting the dots. Be sure to only carve as deep as your candle need be. You dont want it sinking to bottom or falling through completely.
  4. Insert your candle, you may have to clean up the edges in order for it to fit better.
  5. Once in place, melt the wax on the edges to conform to the pumpkin’s shape.

You now have a fun, festive candle! This project is very quick and extreamely easy!

And there you have it!

A complete list of thoughtful, simple ideas that anyone would appreciate receiving!

Have fun and enjoy your holiday festivities!

Serving it Up

From toddlers to the elderly, decorating and personalizing ceramics is a relaxing way to demonstrate creativity. Plus, the product is a handmade piece that can be used or given as a gift.

There are myriad ceramic shops located throughout the country that allow patrons to come in and paint items of their choice. This includes figurines, dishes, vases and various other knick knacks. Heather Gelfound of Paint Pals in Simi Valley explained the attraction to this particular art form. “It’s versatile because a ceramic can be painted any way that a person desires. It can be baked in an oven for a smooth finish or it can be glossed with a spray,” Gelfound said.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Rachelle Beaudoin said she would use this as an idea for a gift. “Hand made gifts are special because you know a lot of time and effort went into it,” Beaudoin said. ” And i think that’s more important than how much money it cost.”

Gina Allen of Firefly Ceramics stated, ” There are a variety of age groups and experience levels. Some take it more seriously than others, but it’s a lot of fun no matter what.” She elaborated by saying that the studio hosts everything from children’s birthday parties, to baby showers and more.

However, these shops tend to be a bit pricey. They can vary from $5-45 depending on what is being made and the establishment. It can be made for under $5, and here is how!

What you will need:

  • A plate or cup ( I got my plates for $1 each at Ross)
  • Pencil
  • Permanent  marker (any color you choose)
  • Oven

Directions:

  1. Wash your plate or cup well and be sure to remove price tags and dust.
  2. Find your decorative inspiration. This can be song lyrics, quotes, book segments, or stencils!
  3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In pencil, layout your design in order to assure there is space.

4. Go over your pencil design with the permanent marker. (TIP: If you find you are unhappy with the way it looks or if you make a mistake, a sponge and dish soap will do the trick)

5. When you are happy with your look, put your item in the oven for 30 minutes.

6.When it is done, carefully remove it from the oven. It will be very hot so use hot pads or oven mits for safety.

And there you have it! The design is set into your piece and will remain wash after wash!

    

Aut-YUM Treats

What celebrates the commencement of fall, cuddly weather better than baking and sweet treats?

Here are a few Fall recipes you don’t want to miss:

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • Apple cinnamon muffin mix (carried seasonally at chain grocery stores)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil ( canola or vegetable)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • A dash of powdered sugar
  • Candy corn (optional)

You will also need an oven, oven mitts, mixing bowl, and cupcake pan with paper cups.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Empty the mix into the bowl and add milk, egg, and oil. Mix well until smooth.
  2. Spoon out the batter into your cupcake tray, filling the cups about 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top for flavor.
  3. Bake for 16-18 minutes. You can test the cake by inserting a toothpick through the center. If it is thoroughly baked, the toothpick should come out clean.
  4. While your cupcakes are in the oven, begin making your icing. Mix together the butter and cream cheese. It may help to put these in the microwave for about 10 seconds to allow them to blend easier. Add powdered sugar to sweeten to your liking.
  5. Once the cupcakes have cooled, begin to frost. Embellish with sprinkles or your favorite seasonal candy. Candy corn is a great choice for the fall!

Homemade Candy Apples

Ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Candy sticks (optional)
  • Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips
  • Candy corn, sprinkles, brown sugar, etc

You will also need a microwave or a stove and pan.

  1. Wash the apples. Make sure to remove any stickers and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Melt your chocolate. Using a microwaveable safe bowl, poor your chips of choice in. Microwave for 1 minute on High. Remove and stir. Repeat the process until the chocolate is of a smooth, milky consistency. I recommend microwaving as it is harder to burn the chocolate with this technique.
  3. Dip the apples in the chocolate. Use a fork or a spoon if necessary to evenly coat the entire fruit. This step may get a bit messy.
  4. Decorate with any choice of sprinkles, candy, or simply brown sugar.
  5. Put the decorated treats in the freezer to set the chocolate and the decor.
  6. And enjoy!

For more fun holiday treats check out Family Fun or Food Network
Enjoy the cuddly weather and happy baking!

Play Your Cards Right…

52 REASONS WHY I LOVE YOU

    You want something special and personal to show someone you love just how much you care? You may have just hit the jackpot!

Here is what you will need:

  • Deck of cards ($1 at a dollar store or drug store)
  • Ribbon (color of your choice)
  • Construction Paper
  • Hole punch
  • Thin Sharpie
  • Access to a printer (optional)

Here’s the deal…

  1. Come up with a list of things you love about this person. You will need 52 as there are 52 cards in a deck. The hardest part will be narrowing it down to just 52 things. Remember to make it personal, including personality traits, inside jokes, and qualities. Once you have these ideas, assign what cards you want to correlate. (For example for “The way you make me feel”  you may want to put on the Queen of Hearts)
  2. Hole punch your cards. You want 2 holes in order to thread the ribbon. Be sure not to put it too close to the edge as this may tear easier with wear. On the other hand, do not do it too far in either because that will make it hard to turn between pages. I did mine about 1/4 of an inch from the edge.
  3. Put your cards in the desired order and decorate! Have fun with it! Use clipart, internet images, photographs, or just construction paper with your reason. Change it up and allow the decor to vary. Here are some examples of what I did:

4. Use one of the Joker cards as a cover. Say whatever you please or what you deem appropriate!

5. Now comes the assembly! String your ribbon through and tie it in a bow. And thats it! You have yourself a handmade bundle of love that I bet they will enjoy!