Thursday, December 30, 2010

Creative Juices

Here's a little something to get your creative juices flowing. Just before vacation began I got the greatest gift from one of the 4th grade teachers I work with. She's incredibly creative and talented and likes to draw, create and cook just like I do. She knew I've been eating healthy and trying to keep the weight I've lost off so she instead of giving me chocolate for Christmas she zentangled this orange for me. I love it! She also zentangled these postcards for me. I love them so much that I know I'm going to have a hard time sending them. Then again they're too beautiful to keep all to myself!

I've tried to get my creative juices flowing too. I created some zentangle Christmas bulb tags that I attached to the gifts I gave this year. I just love how relaxing it is to draw these. I've also finally gotten smart and started using my scanner to create/duplicate the designs I've made instead of redrawing each one.

I baked some biscotti then attached a zentangled bulb and a Dunkin' Donuts card so people could enjoy some coffee with their biscotti. I've had a new biscotti idea floating around in my head for about a year so I finally tried it. I usually make my favorite Almond Pecan Toffee biscotti but this year I finally tried making a lemon poppyseed biscotti too. I still like my almond pecan toffee biscotti the best but my mom and my husband really liked the lemon poppyseed biscotti so I'll have to try making it again.

I also made this tote bag for Ann, the teacher I share a room with. I tried to make a second one for another coworker but at 11:00 at night when I finally turned it rightside out the lining was about 6 inches too short. I guess at that hour of the night my creative juices had stopped flowing. I haven't ripped it apart yet to fix it. It's in the large stack of UFOs waiting for me to get back to it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Did I Miss Something?

Last night Nature Girl had her cousins E & M over for a sleep over. We watched movies and had fun last night then had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast before heading out to see Yogi Bear at the theater this afternoon. When we got home I found this note from my husband attached to this card that came in the mail.
I had to chuckle at his note. Apparently we've ended up on the mailing list for a local dairy company that sends a welcome card and coupon to new parents. We love having extra kids over for playdates and sleepovers but it's always nice to go back to having just one child. I love children and wanted two but after 3 years of infertility treatments and years learning to accept that Nature Girl was meant to be an only child I think we're good the way we are. Our family is little but good and we all agree that we're happy with just the three of us. So did you miss something, honey? Nope. . .we're good!!!
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Secret Santa

This week we did Secret Santa at school. The rule for Secret Santa was to do a gift for the first four days that cost under a $1 with a gift under $10 on the last day. The person I picked liked crafts so I got to make lots of little crafty gifts for her. This photo shows the first four days of gift giving. A snack, a felt brooch with snowflake post-it notes, tissue covers, and chocolate bars with a wool felt ornament for her tree. I had fun crafting for this.

My person for Secret Santa likes snowmen so for the final gift I gave her a Lia Sophia snow flake charm bracelet and a pair of children's skates I bought at a thrift store. I painted a skate, then added some artificial greens. I think it turned out pretty cute but it reminded me why I never became a florist. I'm terrible at arranging flowers and greens!!!

I painted these skates for myself about 5 years ago. This was a pair of skates I wore as a teenager so they have sentimental value as well as being a winter decoration. I love them! I'd like to find some black skates to paint snowy scenes on. I'm also collecting wool sweaters to felt and craft with through the winter. I have quite a few ideas for projects now I just need the time. Thankfully Christmas vacation is just around the corner!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Best Guacamole Ever

I mentioned that I made guacamole with my students at school last week. Since then, they've been asking for the recipe. I'm printing out the recipe so they can make it at home. I thought you might enjoy the recipe too. I did my quick and easy version of this recipe but here is the full recipe. Enjoy!

The Best Guacamole Ever

By Christy at Mamarazzi

So here’s what you need:

2 ripe avocados

1/3 medium yellow onion

1/2 tomato

1/4 cup Salsa

Louisiana hot sauce

garlic salt


  1. Peel avocados, de-pit (save one pit for later). Chop avocado with knife until it creates a chunky but slightly creamy mixture.

  2. Chop onion & tomato into small, chunky pieces & add to avocado. **

  3. Add a few sprinkles of Garlic salt., 1/4 cup salsa, a few squirts of the Louisiana Hot sauce & stir everything together. Stir until a creamy yet chunky combo forms. Keep one of the pits and put into mixture (obviously not to eat), this is said to keep it fresher a little longer, I still recommend serving right away, at the most, within a few hours.

  4. The recipe size here will serve 2-3. If you are making this for more, you can easily double it. Serve with Tortilla chips or on crackers.

A few notes:

Avocados are ripe when you can squeeze them gently and feel them smoosh just a little. If they are real hard, they aren’t ready yet, if they smoosh too much, they may be too ripe.

Also, depending on your tolerance for hot & spicy should depend on whether you get hot, medium or mild salsa.

Last: If you are not familiar with avocados, they are similar to bananas in the way that, after being peeled, they tend to “brown” quickly and taste does change. I highly suggest you make this recipe same day as you intend to eat it, for best outcome, immediately before serving. Remember: Fresher equals better when it comes to this recipe.

Visit Mamarazzi for photos and directions on making the Best Guacamole Ever.

** Note from Jill:

When I'm in a hurry I skip this and add extra salsa. It's still delicious!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A New Apron

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from Hawaii. I was expecting this package knowing it contained some Christmas presents for Nature Girl. This fall, my sister J moved to Hawaii for a year with her husband and three girls. We keep getting lovely photos from their adventures on their new island home. Of course the teacher in me uses this information too. As a matter of fact this week my students took a reading assessment featuring a few passages and questions on the island my sister is living on and avocados. After the test I took out my phone to show the students the pictures of Hawaii that my sister has taken. Then we talked about the land and avocados. To my surprise only one of the students in my room had ever seen or eaten an avocado! One of the passages on the assessment described avocado skin and flesh. Many of the kids missed the questions on this passage because they had no experience with avocados. Needless to say I brought in avocados the next day cut them open for the kids to see and sample. Then we made guacomole and have the pits susspended in water to see if they will root. The kids loved it! Not only that they added to their background knowledge and experiences, they now know what avocados look, feel and taste like.
Sorry I digressed a bit there, back to the package. My sister sent Christmas gifts for Nature Girl and at the bottom of the box this lovely apron for me. Isn't it pretty?!! My sister knows me so well and is so sweet to me! It was handmade in Hawaii. It has three pockets along the bottom. It's lovely! I didn't have any baking or cooking to do last night so I wore it to hang out and watch movies on the couch instead. Thanks Girl for the beautiful apron!!!!
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Monday, December 6, 2010


So I have been busy working. Even with IEPs and evals to write for school I've managed to fit in a few crafty projects. Granted I haven't done as many as I'd like given that Christmas is just around the corner, but I have gotten a few things made. Sadly there are many more projects on my list that I probably won't get to before Christmas. Oh well, I won't dwell on that now. Instead I'll concentrate on what has been finished.
I made this patchwork stocking for my partner in the St. Nickolaus Swap. I love how it turned out and hope to eventually make some for us of course that probably won't happen anytime soon.

I also worked a little bit with wool felt and felted wool sweaters to create these brooches. I sent the blue bird brooch to my partner for the St. Nickolaus Swap. The rest are destined to become gifts for co-workers. I keep forgetting how much I like working with wool felt and old sweaters. I've got to come up with some more projects to use my sweater stash.

I also made and sent this apron to my St. Nickolas Day Swap partner. I love the color combination and the polka dots. I was tempted to keep it for myself but that wouldn't have been in the spirit of St. Nickolaus so I sent it on the way to it's new owner instead.

As you know I'm a bit zentangle obsessed so I've done a some of that over the last month or two. I zentangled this red umbrella for a swap. It took a lot more time than I thought it would to draw on the whole thing. As I was getting ready to mail it out I noticed some black on my hands so now I'm not sure it's even waterproof. I almost didn't send it but decided to send it anyway since I spent so much time on it. It may have to be used as a parasol or a decoration instead of a functional umbrella. I was afraid to test it out!

Lastly I altered this dress for my sister. My sister was looking for a dress to wear to a formal holiday party and asked me to alter her green dress. She originally wore it in her best friend's wedding last year. It was about 5 inches longer and strapless. The dress kept falling down and had to pulled up frequently so it definitely needed some alterations. I have to say I was scared to death to cut it and attempt the alterations. I am not a seamstress and get nervous about cutting and altering items for other people. Especially expensive clothing! My sister was very calm and trusting and didn't seem worried at all. That's okay because I worried enough for the both of us!!! But in the end I worried for nothing as it turned out really cute. It's a little wrinkled in this picture but think it looks even prettier now that it has been altered. My sister wore it to the party last weekend and got many compliments on it.
So what have you been up to? Are you done your Christmas crafting?