Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine's Day Felt Headband


I am having so much fun preparing for Valentine's Day and can't wait to show you the latest thing I made:


I saw a quote the other day on Pintrest that reminded me of my daughter:

Pinned Image

Yup.  That's my daughter!  And I absolutely LOVE HER for it!

This also means she loves anything pink and all accessories.  My daughter LOVES accessories!  

So for Vday I grabbed some pink and red felt, a pair of scissors, some ribbon and my sewing machine and created this cute headband for her:



My daughter is so excited to wear this Valentine's Day Headband!


Happy Valentine's Day!

My inspiration came from here.  

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Bag with Silhouette


I LOVE my new Silhouette Cameo!

Actually, love isn't a strong enough word...it is truly an amazing machine!

So the other day I whipped up a cute little Valentine's Day Bag using my Silhouette Cameo.

This was a FREE template that I used from the Silhouette design store.  I can't remember if it came free with with my Cameo or if I had downloaded it at some other point, but I know it was free somehow!

Anyway, would this be so cute to put treats in for your kids school Valentine's, for a teacher gift, or for a gift for the special someone in your life!  And since you only need 1 piece of scrapbook paper to make this, it is a very cost effective way to package up your Valentine's Day goodies!


If you are looking for a great deal on a new Silhouette Cameo , I suggest you check out Expressions Vinyl!  They have the best price I have seen on the Cameo (and on vinyl too!)  Plus they ship super fast!


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winner!!


I am always so sad when someone wins something, but never responds :(  But...it is good for everyone else because YOU get a second chance to WIN!

The new winner of the Windows by Melissa Pillow Case Covers is....



Congratulations!!  You have 72 hours to contact me at simplydesigning@gmail.com in order to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

Thanks so much to all who participated!!

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Healthy Ice Cream with Yonanas


My kids LOVE ice cream.  I like it too.  But I honestly try to feed my kids pretty healthy most of the time and ice cream, sadly, doesn't fall under the "healthy" category. :(

I knew you could make "ice cream" out of frozen  bananas.  And I tried it once, in my blender.  And it worked ok, but I had to add a touch of milk to the blender in order for it to work.  Which made my "ice cream" similar to a thick milkshake consistency.  Which was ok, and the kids liked it, but it certainly wasn't ice cream.  

So when I heard about Yonanas, I was so excited to find out more!


Yonanas has been specifically engineered to chop frozen fruits into an amazingly smooth texture without adding any liquids.  The blades are strong enough and chop the fruit fine enough to take a frozen banana and give it the texture and consistency of frozen yogurt!


When I was given the chance to test one out, I was thrilled!

So I decided to start with a basic banana ice cream.  But then decided I wanted to add chocolate, and the kids wanted marshmallows...so it ended up being more of a Rocky Road (without the nuts) type of treat.

First you need to freeze peeled bananas in the freezer for at least 24 hours.  The browner the banana the sweeter the ice cream!  Finally, another great use for bananas that are too ripe to eat!

You don't need to use bananas in order to use the Yonanas, you can combine bananas with other fruit, like strawberries, to get a strawberry flavored ice cream, or use pineapple and mango (without bananas) to create a tropical sorbet treat.  The options are seriously endless!

After the bananas (or other fruit) are frozen, you will take them out of the freezer and let them defrost for a few minutes.


Then I started by putting one bananas in the top of the Yonanas machine, I put the plunger in, turned the machine on, pushed the plunger down and out came our yummy treat!  I used one banana, some chocolate and then a second banana.  (Note, use good quality chocolate...I had cheap chocolate on hand and while it was fine, good quality chocolate would have been much better!)



You can add any toppings you like...my kids wanted marshmallows.


And enjoy!

I love that Yonanas allows you to make a super healthy cold treat and you can control what is in it!  My kids both love this with just bananas!  And since it doesn't matter to me if my kids eat bananas in their original form or in a frozen form like this, I am totally happy to give this to my kids without a second thought!  (adding chocolate and marshmallows are definitely a treat around our house!)

Also, this machine is super easy to clean!  I will fully admit that I won't re-use a product very often if it is too difficult to clean.  Yup, I'm that lazy.  So I was a little worried about how well and easy this would be to clean and was so happy to find out that you just untwist a few pieces apart and you end up with 5 pieces that rinse off and clean up so easily!!  I was shocked at how simple this was to clean!!

I love that this creates a healthy treat, is very easy to use and it extraordinarily easy to clean!  The Yonanas is an instant hit at our house!


To find out more about Yonanas, visit their website here.  

Also, you can view this video:



I was not compensated for this post, however I was sent a Yonanas for review purposes.  
All opinions expressed are 100% mine.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heart Lolly Pops


Am I the only one with leftover candy canes from Christmas?  (I'm not sure I should be admitting that...)

Well...if you have a few too, use them to make these super cute Candy Cane Heart Lolly Pops:


First you will take tin foil and wrap it around a cookie sheet. 

Then take two candy canes (I have full sized ones, but mini would work too!) and a lolly pop stick and place them together to make a heart.


Carefully put your cookie sheet in the oven which has been preheated to 350.

Then sit and watch the candy canes.  You will want them to barely start to get soft (this should only take a couple of minutes.)

Even if you hear a big loud crash from upstairs...DON'T WALK AWAY.  Or you will end up with this...


You don't want your candy canes to look like this.

So, after you have faithfully watched your candy canes get soft (maybe a little sweaty or bubbly too), you will take them out of the oven and carefully pinch the ends together.  Careful...these will be really hot!



Then melt a little white chocolate (or regular chocolate works too.) and fill the center.


Add a few Valentine's Day Sprinkles if you like.


And let these completely dry!  You can place them in the fridge to speed the process up a bit.  But since these are quite large suckers, they will probably take a couple hours to fully set.

When they are completely set, carefully take them off the foiled cookie sheet and enjoy!



(I originally saw this idea at one of my favorite blogs, The Idea Room.  She used small candy canes.)

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Simply Link {Party}


So sorry the Link Party is late going up!

Link Away...



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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conversation Heart Ring


I am so excited to start showing you a few Valentine's Day ideas I have been working on!

If you are looking for a simple, inexpensive Valentine's Day project for you and your little girl, check out this conversation heart ring!


You Will Need:

  • Conversation Hearts
  • Ring blank
  • Hot glue (for a less permanent fixture if you want to reuse your ring blanks) or E6000/Gorilla glue etc (for a more permanent fixture)

How To:

  1. Use glue of your choosing to adhere the conversation heart to the ring blank
  2. Let set
Wouldn't this be so fun for your little girl to wear on Vday?  Or for girls to give to their friends.  Or for a little boy to give to a little crush.  :)  Or even for a grown boy to give to his sweetheart.  

This is sure to melt hearts of any ages :)

Happy Valentine's Day!


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

S'more Pies with babycakes Pie Pop Maker


I know you all know how much I love babycakes...but I am seriously having so much fun making yummy, simple treats with babycakes Pie Pop Maker!

The other day I made S'more Pies and they are yumm-o!


You will need:
  • babycakes Pie Pop Maker
  • Pre-made Pie Crust
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips


First you will take your pie crust and roll it nice and thin with a rolling pin.  Then, using your circle cookie cutter that comes with the pie pop maker and cut circles out of the pie crust.


Place one pie crust circle in the preheated pie pop maker's crevices.  Add 3 chocolate chips and 1 mini marshmallow.  Cover chips and marshmallows with a second pie crust circle.  Close the pie pop maker and let them cook for a few minutes.


Yum.  Yum.  Yum!

You can find out more about babycakes Pie Pop Maker from my previous review here, or on babycakes website here.  

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Front Porches: How to Decorate to Make a Lasting Impression



Jessica Phan is a designer for Balsamhill.com a purveyor of high-end artificial Christmas Trees. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area is perfect for her because she has a wide range of interests, including Art & Design, Fashion, Photography, Painting and Thrift Store Shopping.



The front porch is the first thing anyone sees upon visiting your home and if you want to leave a lasting impression, you have to make a statement that guests will never forget. Winter is the perfect time to transform your porch into an inviting space.
How you decorate your porch is also indicative of your taste in design. Below are some tips on how to decorate a front porch that makes a statement all throughout winter.
  1. Think of a theme. No matter how beautiful your Christmas decorations are, you have to take them down once the holidays are over. Pick a theme – shabby chic, urban oasis, country cottage, and woodland forest are just a few.

     


  2. Decide on a color scheme. Bold hues look best in winter. Think of deep reds and glossy blacks. A good rule to follow is to not have more than three kinds of color in a space so that it doesn't look scattered and all over the place. Of course, this still depends on your preference. If you want more than three colors, go right ahead. Just make sure everything ties well together. 
  3. Don't leave your porch bare. A lone wicker chair looks sad and depressing. Find some accessories around your home that you can bring out to the porch. Your attic or basement may have hidden treasures like old ceramic vases, flower pots, or vintage gas lamps.
     


  4. Liven up your porch with plants and flowers. Winter may be harsh to plant life but there are plenty of winter blooms that thrive through the season. Ask your local garden shop for camellias, snowdrops, berry bushes, and evergreens. You may also incorporate herbs like sage and rosemary. Use an assortment of pot sizes and place them in different spots. You can line up flowers contained in small pots by the railings or arrange them on the steps.

     

  5. Hang a winter wreath. Touch up your Christmas wreath and convert it into elegant winter arrangement by simply spraying the traditional evergreens, holly, and pinecones with faux snow. You can also use Epsom salt to achieve this effect.
  6. Select your furniture pieces wisely. You want pieces that will stand the test of time – rain or shine, sleet or snow. Wicker is always a good choice when it comes to outdoor furniture as it gives off that homey vibe. Wood and brass are also classic choices. Throw in some cushions, a thick blanket, and you're all set.
     

  7. Paint your front door in a bold color. Nothing makes a stronger statement than a red door. Not only does it add character to your home, the bold hue makes a lovely contrast against the whiteness of winter.
  8. Add warmth and comfort. Quilts, rugs, thick blankets, and throws add an aesthetic appeal while keeping your guests warm as you entertain them on the porch. Consider a rug made of coconut husk or coir fibers as these materials endure elements like dirt, ice, and snow.
  9. Get a porch swing. If your budget allows it, a porch swing can be the focal point of the space. It doesn't have to be a new one, though. Visit thrift stores or vintage shops and you might score an old swing that you can sand, strip and re-paint.
  10. Choose your lighting carefully. To create a welcoming ambiance, use low-wattage incandescent bulbs that produce a soft glow. Place a pair of lamps atop your side tables and a few electric candles by the window.
With these tips, coupled with some patience and a little creativity, you can change your porch from drab and dreary to cozy and welcoming. Happy decorating!

Thank you Jessica for the wonderful guest post!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Silhouette Cameo: the "hidden" FREE feature to customize your Cameo

Did you know that when you purchase the Silhouette Cameo, you will get 51 FREE cuttable downloads!!!  How cool is that!?

Silhouette Cameo side view

I wanted to tell you about a "hidden" FREE way to customize your Silhouette Cameo.

Ok.  It's not "hidden" but it took me a while to figure it out...so I wanted to pass along my new found knowledge with you!!

Among the 51 Free Cuttable Downloads, there is one called "control panel".  The first time I saw it, I had no clue what it was for.  It looks like this...
And then I discovered that this gives you the ability to "personalize" your  Silhouette Cameo!

All you need to do it pick your favorite scrap book paper, cut this design out, and pop it on your Cameo control panel!


Isn't it so cute!? 

I LOVE my  Silhouette Cameo !! 

Did you know that right now Expressions Vinyl is GIVING AWAY a  Silhouette Cameo ??  Click the button below to enter to win!! 

Also, if you don't want to wait, or if you don't win the giveaway, you can always purchase the  Silhouette Cameo  here for an unbeatable price!!

 

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Simply Link {Party}


Thanks for stopping by to this week's edition of my Simply Link Party!

Please link up your latest creations!  

You can link up pretty much anything as long as you "created" it (Food, craft, home decor item, a beautiful garden, a photograph, etc.  I am really flexible!)  Please keep it family friendly.  Please no links to shops or giveaways.  I reserve the right to delete any links that aren't appropriate. By linking up you are giving me permission to feature or show off your project (I will link back to you of course.)

Also, I would love it if you linked back to my site and mentioned on your blog, facebook or twitter about my link party!  Help me spread the word please!

And please visit 2-3 other links and leave them a nice, meaningful comment!  Thanks!




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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cinnamon Bun Waffles


I LOVE to celebrate others, their birthdays, their babies, their anniversaries, but I really don't like a huge fuss about me.  With that in mind, today is my birthday.  I don't really like a lot of attention on myself, I never try to make a big deal out of my birthday.

Well.  Maybe it's just because I am getting older and I am not too happy about this birthday.  Hahaha.

In any case, I have sure had a lot of people go out of their way to make my birthday special and I am so humbled by it.  Family and friends have both really gone out of their way to make this a special week for me and I am grateful for wonderful family and friends.

So today I am taking it a bit easy and showing you the most simple, but still delicious breakfast / dinner.

In my house, we eat cereal for breakfast every morning and about once a week we eat yummy breakfast for dinner.  I love breakfast, but just not enough to get up that early in the morning.

Just being honest here.  :)

Anyway...here's a simple and yummy shortcut to making delish Cinnamon Bun Waffles


First you will take a store-bought can of cinnamon bun roll dough.  You know, right next to those crescent rolls and biscuit cans...

Put one in your waffle iron.

And cook :)

Yeah.  It's just that simple!

And they taste like yummy cinnamon waffles!  Yumm-o!


Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grilled Cheese with babycakes Pie Pop Maker


I know you are wondering if I wrote that title correctly...but you can, in fact, make HEALTHY food with the babycakes Pie Pop Maker!

The other day, I decided to use my babycakes Pie Pop Maker to make Grilled Cheese for lunch!


You will need:

  • bread (I use whole wheat)
  • shredded cheese
  • butter or margarine
  • rolling pin
  • babycakes Pie Pop Maker


First you will roll your bread out quite thin with the rolling pin.


Using your circle cookie cutter, cut out 2 circles of bread per sandwich.


Butter the outsides of each circle and place one circle, butter side down, in each of the crevices of the pie pop maker.

Add approximately 1/2-1 tsp of shredded cheese and then place second circle, butter side up, on top of the cheese.


Close the Pie Pop Maker and let your sandwiches for a couple minutes until they are cooked and look like this!


Yum!


These made a fun and special lunch for my kiddos.

  

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowman Pop


January is such a dreary month most of the time.

No big holidays, lots of cloudy weather and snow and the sun hides behind the clouds most days.  There just isn't a lot of fun things to craft for this month. :(

So I decided to make some Snowman Pops with my daughter and a few school friends the other day.  They are so simple to make, and yummy to eat!


You Will Need:

  • 1 lolly pop stick
  • 3 mini powdered donuts
  • 6 mini chocolate chips
  • 1 candy corn (is it bad to admit that I have candy corns left over from Halloween?  Well, if you don't, many stores actually still carry them in the candy section all year long.  I can get them at Krogers.)
  • 1 straw candy (I used a strawberry straw candy I found in a pack by the checkout at WalMart)
  • 2 M&M's or similar candy
Let your kids create, decorate and then enjoy!  

Yum.  Yum.  Yum.


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Monday, January 16, 2012

Silhouette Cameo!!!

The Silhouette Cameo.

I am smitten.

I loved my Silhouette SD but then I finally got the Silhouette Cameo! (insert squeals of giddiness here) and I fell in love!!

Silhouette Cameo side view


There are so many fabulous NEW features on the  Silhouette Cameo  that aren't available on any other machine out there!

Come and read my post at Expressions Vinyl Blog here.  It is all about my favorite features of the new  Silhouette Cameo

Also, did you know that right now Expressions Vinyl is GIVING AWAY a  Silhouette Cameo ??  Click the button below to enter to win!!

And, if you don't want to wait, or if you don't win the giveaway, you can always purchase the  Silhouette Cameo  here for an unbeatable price!!

 

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