Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All American Dessert!

I'm proud to be an American. I know there are a lot of people out there who will not agree with me. But no matter what's going on politically, I have to admit that I'm truly blessed to live in this country. I was talking to a friend the other day and she was telling me that as a child the 4th of July was merely a time for BBQing and fireworks...but that the holiday has more meaning to her now.

I can say that as a young child, I was always grateful to live in this country. My father was an immigrant from the Philippines and his story of how he stayed in this country is truly remarkable. I definitely won't do it justice on my little blog.

As the eldest of 10 children, my dad left the stardom of a growing music and acting career in the Philippines to come to America and live the American dream. He came with his friend on student visas and looked for work. Unfortunately, no one would accept my dad's architecture degree from the Philippines so it was very hard to find work. Time was running out and my dad was trying to do anything to earn money to survive and send to his family.

He saw a flyer for an art contest in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. So with some left over paints he found in the trash (all shades of brown) and an old wooden cupboard door, my dad painted a portrait of Dr. King and submitted it.

To make a long story short (we'll save the long version for a movie I'll write one day) he won the city, then regional, then state competitions. His painting was then representing California in a national competition, which he won. When a reporter asked him what was next in his life, my dad truthfully stated that he was being deported. Upon hearing this, Dr. King's wife gave my dad what so many people aren't offered...a chance. She arranged to have him stay in the country where he eventually met my mom and had three wonderful kids (yes, I'm biased). He has also had one of his paintings on display in the Smithsonian museum...which I think it pretty cool. So did he get his American dream? He and my mom are still happily married, enjoying life. My older brother is a prominent lawyer, my younger brother is about to receive his doctorate and I have a very fun blog!!! We all have families who are happy & healthy. And this is why on the 4th of July, I'll probably tear up like I do every year in honor of a country where I can worship how I please, where I can offer my children an education and where people like my dad can find the American dream.

So how do I honor him? The American way....with JELLO!!

I promise that this dessert will make you a rock-star. It's soooo easy and pretty, but everyone will think it took you forever.

You will need: 
1 large box of blue raspberry gelatin
1 large box of strawberry gelatin
blueberries (about 1-1.5 cups)
strawberries sliced (about 1-1.5 cups)
2 small loaves of pound cake or 1 angel food cake
1 large tub of cool whip or lite cool whip
Clear bowl (the one shown is 9.5 inches in diameter and 4 inches high)

Last night I totally forgot I was going to make this so I ran to the store at 11:30 at night and I couldn't find pound cake, so I grabbed an angel food cake instead and it really was fabulous (and a lot lighter fat-wise)

1. Prepare the Jello by using the same amount of boiling water it calls for but only half the cold water it asks makes the jello a little stiffer.

2. Cut the cake into little squares (about .5 - 1 inch squares).

3. Then in your bowl, layer the ingredients. Put half the cake squares at the bottom.
4. Then sprinkle all the blueberries over the cake (save some for decoration)
5. If you want to cut out star shapes from your jello, do it now and set aside (I've done it before, but not this time)
6. Cut the rest of the jello in small squares and layer that over the blueberries. Make sure you can see the layers from the outside.

7. Then take half of the whipped topping and put it over the jello.
8. Take the other half of the cake and layer it over the whipped topping.
9. Spread the strawberries over the cake (save some for decoration).

10. Then take the rest of the whipped topping and layer over the top and decorate.

It's so pretty like this and the flavors of tangy and sweet and the different textures make this a winner.
I'm making this for the 4th! And when I get to my parents' house, I'll give my dad an extra big hug!
Have a wonderful and safe holiday!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Ruffles are Nice

Could the backside of a baby's bum get any cuter?

I say YES! What fun are baby girls if we don't take the opportunity to fancy them up while we still have control! Or better yet, make a baby gift extra special for the baby girlies.

The weather in our neck of the woods is in the Summertime high of the balmy 100s. I ruffled up some onesies for my baby girl this week. She looks so darling in them while keeping cool. Plus, she's just getting to the crawling phase which shows off that sweet derrière. Take a peek!

I've got a couple of ways that I tried this out.

They all started with onesies that I bought at Target and ribbon from JoAnns.

I added 3 rows of ruffles to the backside of the onsies.

I started by sealing the ribbon ends. I run the ends of my ribbon through a flame. I then folded the ends and sewed across.


The first way that I did it was to create the ruffles while I was sewing. I measured the ribbon strands to be double the length from seam to seam on the back side.

I then pinned the first row. I pinned on each side just above the leg trim. I then put a pin in the middle. Then I put pins in the middle of the two side. Five pins total.

I then made the ruffles as I sewed down the middle. I would make a fold, sew to the end of the fold, lift the foot and make another fold that would go under the foot, then repeat until I got to the other side.

And again until we had our third and final row.


Option two is the one that my Boo is wearing in the top picture.

I went three lengths from seam to seam on the backside. I flame sealed the ends of the ribbons and turned them under and sewed.

I then did a gathering stitch down the middle of the ribbons. I grabbed the end of the thread and gathered the ribbon to create the ruffle.

I then pinned the ribbon across the back of the onesie and sewed a straight line across.

This option took a little more time, but I liked the effect the best.
(I know! We could feast all week on those yummy thighs!)


And this is the best and easiest way.

I found ribbon in the 50 cent bins at Michaels that is already ruffled.

I cut enough to go from seam to seam on the back, pinned it in place, then sewed down the middle. Voila!

To My Sister-in-Law Brooke, Close your eyes if you are reading this.

And to make this baby gift extra special, I made Noreen's No Sew Tutu to go with the onesies.

New Friend FridaysThe Girl Creative

Friday, June 25, 2010

A bright idea! Mason Jar Candles

I think they reproduce. If I put two canning jars on a basement shelf, two weeks later there are six. I know they are up to something. I have more jars then I do squares in their storage boxes. I can't bring myself to send any to the recycle bin because I do use them....sometimes. I've been known to do a little bit of canning. But let's face it--I'm a working mom and I just don't have the time it would take to can something in every last Mason jar in my house!

So when I put my brain to work to come up with something for this week's post I happened to see the jars on my kitchen counter waiting for their trip to the basement shelf (where they will make babies with other jars) and I thought about my new love for spray painting and an idea was born!

Just like I polka-dotted my pitcher, I used stars on my jars!

I randomly placed the star stickers all over the jar and then gave it a few coats of the frosting spray. I let it dry over night.

And in the morning, when I removed the stickers, I had a great looking jar with lots of stars for my candlelight to shine through!

My little pyromaniac was so excited about these! We immediately had to go outside, pretend it was the 4th of July and see what they looked like all aglow!

I'm so excited to make more of these and put citronella candles in them. We always spend the Fourth on my mom's back patio watching the city fireworks. These will create the perfect ambiance and if filled with citronella, hopefully keep some of the pesky bugs away!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mint that Keeps on Giving: Altoid Tin Ideas

I'm the daughter of a daughter of a Great Depression survivor. I don't get sick very often and I credit to both my grandma and my mother because they are very frugal. When we were little, my mother would cut off the moldy parts of the cheese and keep serving. This gesture isn't that bad, but she'd also scrape mold off a main dish and heat it up and serve. Meat was always left out too long (as if we didn't have a refrigerator), milk was drunk past the expiration date...we had stomachs of steel. But no matter what we were  NEVER, NEVER allowed to waste.

Which brings me to Altoids tins and Ice Breaker containers. I love both of those types of mint and I feel very bad everytime I have to throw away a container. But I can't just keep all those tins and container can I...or can I? I've been mulling this topic around in my head for months. And this past week for my birthday, a dear friend of mine made me this very cute present....isn't this travel candle divine? (Using the word divine make me feel like a Disney Princess.)

So, I dusted off my list and here are some ideas you can do with Altoids tins or Ice Breaker containers.

1. Purse-sized first aid kit...example here,
2. Tooth tin for the tooth fairy
3. Purse-sized sewing kit
4. Earphone container (I love this because now my earphones are never tangled up)
5. Change purse
6. Crayon container
7. Carry your sweetner of choice
8. Carry your pins (hair pins, safety pins, etc.)
9.  Decorate them for party favors (filled with candy or lipgloss, etc)
10.  Emergency candles or decorative (click here for tutorial)
11. Glue some strong magnets to the back and it can hold other magnets on your fridge, or twisty ties (it's those depression girls again that save the twisty ties)
12. Traveling intimacy kit (condoms, chocolates, wipes, etc.)
13. You can create a memory game that fits in the tin (using pictures of your family might be fun).
14. I've used them to hold jewelry when I'm traveling.
15. I've given them to the kids at the beach and say that if it can't fit in there, they can't bring it home.
16. Gift boxes for small presents.
17. Nice snack container for cheerios, etc.
18. When you're in another country it keeps your toilet paper dry and intact as you tour around.
19. Fill it with quarters and give it as a gift to the graduate who is off to college and staying at the dorms...laundry money.
20. Bragbook or Memorybook - see tutorial below
21.  Of course you can always use it to hold mints and candy and stuff...

Now when I decided i was going to do a bragbook/memorybook I looked around at some people have done like this or even this.

But, I am lazy and am not a very good scrap I'm going to show you the very easy way to make this.

I have a cutter, so it was easy for me to cut out the exact size of paper...but since I know not everyone has a cutter, I made this pdf so you can download it and use these as templates for your project. I traced the shape over the section of the picture I wanted to show. [It's easy to do this if you hold your photo up to the can see exactly what you want to cut out.]

Then I glued the pictures to the cardstock and on the back I glued a slightly smaller piece of paper where I wrote what was on the picture.

I took a piece of ribbon and glued a tiny section to the bottom cover. This is so it's easy to take out the pictures.

I'm sorry...I didn't have very cute cardstock to make this the prettiest project, but you get the idea. I'm going to make one of these for my mom with pictures of the kids all in there. She can carry it in her purse and she'll always have them near...and they won't have to eat moldy cheese.

Creations by Kara