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Update 2/11/2014 – DIY Mug!

Ok I know this update is a little late. I’m supposed to update on Saturdays, and it’s Tuesday. BUT, I had food poisoning/the flu (not sure which) this week and it set me a little bit behind on everything. So there was nothing to blog about on Saturday. I finished a custom order for two hats, and now I am moving on to a baby hat/booties/blanket set! I am really excited about it, it’s my biggest order yet and I think it’s going to be super cute! I haven’t made the booties before, so I’m making a practice pair for my Daisy to be sure they come out perfect. In the mean time, I did a spontaneous craft project today that turned out to be really fun! And so, SO easy. I’m sure you have probably seen this DIY mug idea before, it’s all over the internet. But in case you haven’t, I’ll post the instructions here with photos of my own. You only need three things:

  • A white mug of any shape or size. I got mine at Wal Mart for $3, and they actually have a pretty cute selection of different white mugs. I know that most dollar stores also carry them.
  • Sharpies of any color. The fine tip work best.
  • An oven set at 350 degrees.

Simply draw your design on the mug, and set in the oven for 30 minutes. Couldn’t be ANY easier, right? This is the first one I’ve made, but with how well it turned out I might end up making a whole collection. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, so my mug is a quote that I love from the books.

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Make sure you set your mug on a baking pan! This would be a really fun project for kids, too. Or a fun gift. The possibilities are pretty much endless with these!

 

That’s it for today, I will update with the baby booties next!

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Update 2/1/14: My Favorite Button

Ok, first things first. Update on the Etsy shop: I have created and named it! My brand name will be Daisy Baby Designs (DB Designs). I originally wanted Crazy Daisy Designs, but upon a google search, a larger company by that name already exists. According to my marketing research, you generally want to pick a name that has a chance at coming up toward the top of a google search. I tried many different combinations, and Daisy Baby won out. I have also designed my logo and created a Facebook page for DB Designs. Check it out here. Oh, and I have a twitter! When my Etsy shop is finally up and running, I’ll be tweeting and posting new listings. So be sure to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ me!

Now for the fun part. We’ve gotten almost a foot of snow in my area over the last couple of days, so I have been house-bound with my ten-month-old. I decided to try my hand at a couple of new things, one of them being attaching buttons to crochet pieces! It is way easier than I thought it would be. I made a coffee mug cozy, and an ear warmer. Both for myself, which I justified by convincing myself I was practicing…Anyway, they came out pretty great! Both are made from scrap yarn I had stocked up from previous projects. I found the buttons in a pack at Jo Ann’s a while back, and I couldn’t resist buying them. I have been itching to use them ever since! Mug cozies and ear warmers are easy for me to whip out in a short amount of time, so I’m thinking I will make quite a few of them for my shop. Maybe even matching sets of mug cozies with fun colors and buttons! Both of the patterns that I used, I found for free via Pinterest. So I am posting links to the patterns, with pictures of how mine came out below.

I am hoping to make Saturday my blogging day. I will try my best to update every Saturday with the progress I’ve made during the week. As always, thanks for reading!

Coffee Mug Cozy

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Free Pattern

Ear Warmer

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Free Pattern

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I’m back from my Holiday Hiatus!

If you are still following me at this point, I thank you. The holidays ended up being a very busy time for me this year; between chasing after my now very mobile infant, and making handmade gifts for our whole family, I didn’t have a whole lot of extra time on my  hands. I apologize if you left a comment and I was not able to respond. I am hoping to pick up the pace on my blog, as I have an exciting new project starting up this year. Being a Coloradoan, after the Broncos won the AFC Championship I decided to try my hand at selling some Denver-inspired crochet items. So far, I have sold 7 items. Which is honestly more than I had anticipated. I have also discovered that I enjoy selling my handiwork a whole lot. I had previously considered opening up an Etsy shop, and now I know I definitely will. I have a lot of work to do before the opening, but I am hoping to have it up and running by Easter. Until then, I will be doing loads of research and building up my inventory. My shop won’t only feature crochet items, I am also going to experiment with handmade headbands and tutus. Mostly baby girl things, but I will make some adult and baby boy items. I am very excited to start this new adventure, and would love any tips or suggestions! I will keep the blog updated with the progress I make!

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Experiments in Candy-Making

toffee2With Halloween officially over, the need to prepare for the Holiday Season is already nagging at me. I love making all sorts of sweet treats this time of year, but I am always nervous to try out new recipes. I am starting to experiment now, so I don’t end up with desserts that don’t turn out right at the last minute. And I don’t care if it’s only November 1st, there will be Christmas music playing while I bake.

My first experiment is with English toffee. I LOVE toffee. The only other time I have tried to make it, it didn’t end up turning out at all. So of course toffee is the first thing I want to try my hand at. As far as ingredients go, toffee is extremely simple and all recipes are pretty similar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Milk Chocolate (I used about 1/3 bag of chocolate chips)
  • Chopped nuts- walnuts, pecans, almonds, whatever you want. (Optional. I opted out, because nuts sound kinda healthy and this is CANDY.)

Directions

  1. You’re going to want to get your toffee-cooling surface ready first. I just used a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Whatever you choose to use, be sure to line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Unless you are using silicone molds, which I’m hoping to purchase for future toffee.
  2. In a heave sauce pan, melt the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Your burner needs to be on high. Continuously stir the mixture for the entire duration of heating time with a metal or wooden spoon. And I mean stir VIGOROUSLY. If your arm muscles aren’t begging for mercy, you aren’t stirring enough.
  3. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Continue stirring and heating on high for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the toffee is caramel-colored (you’ve seen toffee before- it needs to look the color you would expect toffee to be). If you have a candy thermometer, that’s about 300 degrees.
  4. As soon as the mixture has reached desired color, IMMEDIATELY poor onto your prepared cooling surface. If you are using silicone molds, use a metal scoop and make sure to work quickly and keep stirring the mixture as you go.
  5. Allow the toffee to cool completely, which should take about 2 hours.
  6. Melt the chocolate. I simply microwaved my chocolate chips for a couple minutes until they were easily spreadable. You can get all fancy with a double-boiler if you so desire. Use a butter knife or a spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee.
  7. Sprinkle on the chopped nuts while the chocolate is still melt-y. The chocolate will take a few hours to completely harden.
  8. After the toffee and the chocolate are completely cooled & hardened, break it apart or pop it out of your molds.

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The above photo is what your toffee should look like. This was my second batch. My first batch didn’t turn out so well:

toffee3As you can see, it’s way too light in color. This is because I took it off the stove a couple minutes too early. It started to look like it was burning on the bottom of my saucepan, and I panicked. The second batch, I simply stirred faster when it got to that point and let it get darker in color. It even smelled a little burnt, but it tastes amazing and the texture turned out exactly right.

Toffee makes an excellent gift at Christmas, and is always tasty to have for a treat. If you do decide to give it a try, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out right for you the first time. I have found that candy takes patience and experimenting. I hope my tips help!

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Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders

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I have to share the chicken recipe I tried for dinner last night. It’s so easy to throw together, and I already had all of the ingredients. Prep time was maybe ten minutes, bake time was 30. I will definitely be making this often.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts, cut into strips (this is what the original recipe calls for, I just used tenderloins)
  • Brown sugar
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bacon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Season your chicken with the salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. (Original recipe didn’t have specific amounts- I definitely used more chili powder than anything else.)
  3. Wrap one piece of bacon around each piece of chicken.
  4. Roll the bacon-wrapped chicken in brown sugar.
  5. Place in baking dish with 2-3 tablespoons oil (I totally skipped this step, because I hate oily chicken. Just spray your baking dish with cooking spray if you also want to skip the oil).
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, just until chicken is cooked through (Mine took 30 minutes. The bacon wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked, so next time I might try turning the broiler on high for the last 10 minutes).

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How easy is that?! The flavor on these is unbelievable. A little bit sweet, and a little bit smoky. Not to mention, BACON. I served mine with baked potatoes. I bet these would also turn out great on the grill!

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Pumpkin Perfection

My husband is obsessed with pumpkin. He begs me to make him pumpkin baked goods all the time. I tried two new recipes for him recently, and they both turned out great!

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The first recipe I tried is my favorite. These Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars are seriously amazing, and I will be making them in lieu of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. I have never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie, so this offers a tasty alternative for me. I can’t even properly describe how awesome these melt-in-your-mouth bars are, so you’re just going to have to try them for yourself.

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/4 cups quick oats (old fashioned works too)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed-light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk or half and half
  • Whipped cream and cinnamon, for serving (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt and baking soda for 30 seconds. Add in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar an mix until no clumps remain. Combine melted butter and vanilla and add to mixture, then stir with a spoon until evenly moistened. Gently press half of the mixture into a greased 8 by 8-inch baking dish (a 9 by 9-inch baking dish would be great to, just reduce the baking time slightly as needed) and bake in preheated oven 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Add in egg, egg yolk and vanilla and stir until blended. Mix in pumpkin then milk. Pour mixture over baked cookie portion and return to oven to bake 15 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cookie crumb mixture over top while breaking the crumb into small bits. Transfer oven rack closer to the top-center (not directly beneath but a few levels below) and return to oven to bake about 20 – 25 minutes longer until golden on top and center only jiggles slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator to cool 1 hour longer (or serve warm from the oven like a crumble with ice cream). Cut into squares and serve with sweetened whipped cream and a light dusting of cinnamon if desired.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

 

photo 3 (1)The second recipe is also to die for. When I see sour cream as an ingredient for cookies, I immediately want to try the recipe. They are guaranteed to turn out soft and fluffy. Which is what led me to try out these Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. Let me tell you, they did not disappoint. If you love regular snickerdoodles, you MUST try this recipe. I made them without the icing, simply because my pumpkin-loving hubby hates icing. I bet they would be even better with it, though!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients
  • ½ cup, plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (do not use the pumpkin pie mix puree)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Coating:
  • ¼ cup granulate sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Icing:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2½ – 3½ cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you want it)
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

 

Instructions
  1. Beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar for about 3 minutes on low.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla and egg until combined.
  3. Add the pumpkin and sour cream.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk them all together and slowly stir into the wet ingredients.
  5. Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you start to roll out the dough into medium size balls.
  7. Mix together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the coating.
  8. Roll the balls of dough into the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Pat the ball of dough gently with your palm after setting onto the pan (covered with parchment paper or a baking mat).
  9. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. They will finish baking when you let them cool on the baking sheet when pulled out of the oven. Do not over bake.
  10. Icing:
  11. Beat the softened cream cheese and vanilla for about 1 minute on medium high speed. Alternate the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until the right consistency. You may want to add more powdered sugar to make it thicker or to your liking.
  12. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the icing. You can hand frost these with a knife or by using a piping bag method.
  13. Enjoy!

Click here for original recipe.

photo 2I hope you give these a shot! Fall is my favorite time for baking, and I think these desserts are perfect for the season! Happy baking!

 

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Quick Ribbed Headband

IMG_1265Just a short blurb today about this super cute and easy ribbed headband with a ruffle rose. This took me about 30 minutes total to make! I made two, one for Daisy and one for a friend’s niece. Now that I am getting faster and a little better at crochet, I have project ideas for literally every baby I know. I’m quickly turning into a 21-year-old granny. Click to see the free pattern! Below you will see Daisy modeling the headband in her Halloween PJ’s. Judging by the second photo, I’d say she likes the headband 😉

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