Monday, October 20, 2014

HTTC - Molasses Sugar Cookies

Fall is by far my favorite season.  The changing of the leaves is the most gorgeous reason we have to look forward to cooler temperatures after the glory of the summer heat.  But beyond the yellows, reds, oranges, and golds, we get even more reasons to love fall: pumpkins and squash, adorable little kid costumes during Trick-or-Treating, fall baked goods, hoodies, and possibly the best reason after those amazing leaves is the local fall festival.  I live out in the country and we are inundated with them during the month of October.  Hay rides, antique sales, and craft fairs are the staples of any fest, flesh it out with a carnival or possibly a tractor show and you have your Saturday planned out in rural NW Illinois. 
You can start a great fall fest morning with a rampant increase in Garage/Yard sales to catch the crowds, the wonderful aroma of fresh apple cider doughnuts sold by the local Boy Scouts or Kiwanis group, and finally a tour of the craft show at the high school equipped with the ever present bake sale to help raise money for worthy group.  This small town bake sale is where I got my inspiration to back up some yummy fall flavored cookies.  While my husband and father were off perusing the finest farm tractors the 1930’s and 40’s had to offer I took in the crafts and baked goods.  The craft fair had the normal offerings: Pampered Chef, booths full of knitted and crocheted items, smooshed wine bottles turned cheese trays, tied fleece blankets, and for some reason a guy who did custom paintings of sports figures, he did great work, but had a few to many Green Bay Packer Players displayed for a craft fair in Illinois.  Go Bears!
 There was a very nice quilt show tacked onto the craft fair.  The organizers wanted each person to vote for their favorite and even gave you a latex glove if you wanted to touch the quilts, to turn them over and admire the back or delve deeper into the stich patterns.  I voted for one that was an appealing mix of off white, a soft pink, and a sage green, the creator had named it “spumoni”.  Anita had recently taught me how to paper piece a quilt block so this show turned out to be much more interesting than I had originally thought it would be.  Seeing how I could manipulate the patterns in blocks to create a wondrous work of art proved quite the joyous adventure!   
 I had wandered a school full of pillow covers and handmade bird houses, I had admired hours of planning and stitching of fabric, I even managed to check out a few tractors in the ever present battle of red vs green, after all that I thought deserved a treat in the form of a bake sale goodie.  This one was to benefit the marching band, and from the looks of things the every parent had brought the A game.  Cakes and pies, brownies and cupcakes, popcorn balls and candies, snack mixes, and cookies of every kind all offered up by teenagers in ridiculously loud homemade band t-shirts.  I did not know they still made puffy paint.  We got some oatmeal raisin cookies and some small molasses buttons.  I adore molasses cookies but I never think to make them, well after I ate one of those buttons I was sold.  I was inspired to make a big chewy molasses cookie with lots of spice and fall flavor.  This whole recipe mixes up in a sauce pan but makes three dozen cookies, saving you from having to get out the mixer.  I added a candy corn to add a bit more fall feeling to the cookies, and because I love how cute candy corn is!
Molasses Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup soft butter
1/3 cup of you favorite type of molasses
1 cup sugar
1 egg, or egg substitute equivalent
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cloves (1/2 tsp will be quite strong)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
Candy corn, optional

Melt the butter over low heat and let cool.  Add the molasses, sugar, and the egg and beat well. Mix in the cloves, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.  Mix in the flour.  Chill in the pot for 60-90 minutes, it won't be overly firm.  Preheat oven to 360.  Roll into 1 inch balls and toss in sugar, you do not need to flatten.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Press a candy corn into the center of each cookie when they come out of the oven before you cool them on a rack.  Store the dough in the refrigerator between batches. Makes 36+ cookies.

I will never forget to make molasses cookies again with how easy and tasty this recipe is. So chewy and full of depth, each bite makes me happy! I hope your fall baking makes you feel happy and full of life, the way fall should  


HTTC - Instagram Round Up 3

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Costumed Canines - Dino-mite

This is a rare still picture of him because Dino-mite is as explosive as his name.  He has superfast speed powers and can leap over small children with ease.  Forget the energizer bunny.  If we could tap his energy reserves our quest for clean energy would be over.  Try not to blink when he's around cuz you'll miss him entirely.  He is also very courageous but sometimes to a fault, picking fights with much larger dogs.

Origin Story - Dino + Radioactive tanker spill + TNT storage facility.  Need I say more?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

HTTC - Witchy Wreath Part 2

Part 2 of this tutorial basically consists of making the witch hat form in the middle.  You could use this technique to make a center form for any holiday decor.

Deco mesh wreath from part 1
Craft Styrofoam board - mine was   I got it at Joann in the styrofoam/wreath area.
Black fabric - I chose a polyester cuz it will be outside.
Black craft felt sheets - 2 pieces
Ribbon - 20" piece for hat band
Feather spike - Also in wreath section
Puffy Paint - 2 colors
Small gauge wire - 2 pieces, 12" each
Pipe cleaners - use the same color as in the part 1 tutorial
Glue gun and sticks
Box cutter or something to cut the foam

*I've numbered a lot of the photos and they will be notated in each step with a colored number.*

1.  First you will need to cut your hat shape from the foam.  I drew a 1.5" X 12" rectangle for the brim and then a tall triangle on top.(1)  Now use your box cutter/blade to cut it out.(2)  EASY!

2.  Next we will insert your two pieces of wire through the foam.  Bend the wire in half will a squared off edge like in the picture.  You can just push the wire through the foam till the squared edge is flush with the surface.  I put one towards the top and another closer to the base.

3.  Now we will cover the hat form with fabric.  You basically just wrap it like a present, using the glue gun instead of tape, but in two steps.  Do the brim first following the photos from 3 through 5.  When you are done the front should look like 6.

Now you will wrap the top "triangle" part in another piece, keeping all the edges wrapped around the back of the form.  There will be one raw edge on the front where you overlapped the pieces but don't worry we will cover it.

4.  Next you will add your feather spike.  I trimmed mine down with a wire cutter and glued it on right about where the band goes above the hat brim.  That way it will be covered by the ribbon.  Be generous with the glue here.  We don't want it falling off.

5.  Now you will add your ribbon hat band covering the raw edge of fabric and the glued end of your feather spike.  Wrap the ends around to the back and glue in place.

6.  This is really an optional step but I like my wreaths to look clean from the back since I can see them through the window.  Take your felt and cut it to fit over the back of your form coming about 1/4" from the edge.  I had to do this in two pieces since my hat was bigger that the felt I had on hand.  You can poke little holes into the felt for the wire to go through.  I also recommend adding a bunch of extra glue around the wire when applying the felt.  This will keep them extra secure.

7.  Now we will break out this paints I had in the supply list to add our festive message.  If you have another way you'd like to add the letters instead have at it.  I painted the letters first and then filled in some of the blank spaces with a few swirls in a contrasting color.  Note I tied the feathers out of the way while I painted.  
The puffy paint takes a while to dry so watch a spooky movie or do a load of scary laundry.  When it's dry just attach the hat to your wreath using the wires on the back.  

TADA!  You're done.  Now you can hang it up and just wait for the complements to roll in.  Here's Sadie in a couple dramatic poses with the finished product.

Cast on!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Doggone Dirty Craftin Linky Party

Rhinestone Beagle

Eventhough this recipe uses frozen veggies it looks so fresh and inviting! You can grab the super simple recipe for this yummy salad over @ Simply Stacie.

I adore these homemade pantry staples that folks create.  Saving with Shellie has a great one for Onion Soup Mix, I see a terrific pot roast in my future!

Lindy from Itsy Bitsy Paper linked up a post that transforms a simple pop(or soda for all you other people) holder into this adorable treat basket.  I'm thinking hostess gift for a halloween party!

Heidi at Save More Spend Less shared this adorable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Treat bucket tutorial.  I love matching treat containers to a costume and this one is super simple. 

Did you get featured?  Grab the button below.  We made it just for you!

Rhinestone Beagle
  • Link up any project you want as long as its made by you.  That means sewing, painting, recipes, photography, DIYs, and anything else creative you can think of. 
  • Please NO ETSY SHOP links.  I already spend way too much time shopping there. 
  • We would giggle with delight if you would grab our button!  No pressure though; it's not mandatory to participate. 
  • Show some love and visit a couple of the other crafty projects and leave some comments.  It's nice to know someone other than your family and friends is actually looking at your posts out there in cyberspace. 
OK here we go!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HTTC - Witchy Wreath Part 1

I decided to split this tutorial into two bite sized posts to make it easier to digest.  The first will show you how I put together a deco mesh wreath for the base and the second will be all about decorating.  Lets get started.


Work Wreath - I got mine at Hobby Lobby.  Try to get one that will blend in with the colors of mesh you're using.
Deco Mesh - I used one roll of a metallic orange kind and another roll that ended up being more of a decorative tule.
Ribbon - Wired kind really helps with shaping.  Wish I had thought of that before I put this one together.
Pipe cleaners (just in case)

1.  First you will want to adjust all the twist ties on your work wreath so they are sticking straight out instead of lying against the frame.  This makes it much faster and easier to attach your mesh.  Sorry there's no pic of this.

2.  Now take your first/major color and fold the end over by about 6-8 inches and attach it to one of the ties on the inner rim of the wreath.

3.  Now about every 12 inches or so down the roll you will be gathering to make the big bubbles of mesh.  Run your hands down the mesh so you are about 12 inches or so away from your first tie.  Gather the mesh into your fist and attach it to the next tie.  It will make a bubble/hump like this.
Continue gathering and attaching your mesh to the wreath until you get all the way around on the inner part of the wreath.

This is just the inner ring of ties.
After you have finish the inside ring of the wreath you'll do the same thing on the outer ring.  Don't bother cutting the mesh.  Just start attaching it and run around the whole thing.  When you get to the last tie to complete the circle just cut about a 6-8 inch tail and fold it over to hide the raw edge and attach it to the tie just like you did at the beginning.

4.   Now we will add your second color/decorative tule.  I love this one I found that is shear except for the glittery spiderwebs.
You will be doing the same process as with the orange mesh.  The only difference I choose to do is to zig zag between the inner and outer ties to make it look more random.  You can see how I gather the tule to make a poof below.  I insert and tie it in the same way as the mesh.  I just did one pass zig zagging all the way around and tiring it off in the back like with the mesh.
Orange mesh + purple web tule

5.  Final step for this part of the tutorial is to add the ribbon.  It is done the same way as the previous two steps just not much gathering cuz its pretty narrow.
I tried to stagger my ribbon from the tule to make them overlap a little but you can do whatever you want.  This is the step where you would use the optional pipe cleaners.  I keep them handy so in case there isn't a tie where I want the ribbon to go I can attach one to the frame as needed.
Feel free to adjust and shift around any of the fabrics until you get a balance that's just right.  I like a lot of color towards the middle so the center piece we will make next, that is black, will stand out.

YOU'RE DONE!  Mr. Biscuit volunteered to inspect my wreath and I got the paw print of approval.

Stop by Friday to see part 2 of this tutorial.

Craft on!