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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Using a Cricut to make iron on transfers for T-Shirts

Every year we go to Camp Li Lo Li in Randolph, NY.  One of my favorite places anywhere!  Fun camp where kids hear great teaching from the Word of God, and are encouraged in their walk with our Lord.   I'm on staff two weeks during the summer and it's just as much fun for us as it is for the kids!  This year we are having a "Gold Rush" theme so I wanted to make some shirts for my friends and I that are on the waterfront staff.  I found some really cool glittery iron on transfer sheets, put them through my cricut, ironed them on and viola!!  (Total time approx. 30 minutes. The longest part was spent laying out my design.  The actual making of the shirt about 15 minutes.  

Here's how I did it....

Step 1.  I used my Cricut Design Studio software to lay out my design.  I like using it because you can tweak the letters and shapes.  I can also get a good idea of how big the final layout it.
Tip:  The wider the letter, the easier it will be to peel off and use on a t-shirt.  Skinny calligraphy letters would not be recommended, unless you like to drive yourself crazy! 

Step 2.  I laid out my transfer sheets onto my cricut mat.  
 Make sure it's affixed really well so it doesn't slip during the cutting.

Step 3.  Carefully pull back the excess.

 Step 4:  Following manufacturers instructions on your transfer sheets, adhere the letters to your t-shirt.  I always cover over the letters with a handkerchief.  That way the letters won't stick to the bottom of the iron.

The finished product!!!  Custom T-Shirt!   Now we're ready for Camp!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tweaking your basic cookie Recipe

I enjoy baking and chocolate chip cookies are a staple.  Here are some easy to change up your basic recipe to get whole new variations with very little effort!

Basic Recipe:
     Cream in a mixer:
     2 sticks of butter with 
     3/4 cup of brown sugar
     3/4 cup of white sugar
add in    
     2 eggs
     1 t baking soda
     1 t salt
     1 T vanilla (see homemade recipe below!)
      2 1/2 cups flour
      2 cups of chocolate chips 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Variation 1:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
     Substitute 1/2 cup of peanut butter for one of the sticks of butter.  The flavor is amazing!

Variation 2:
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Add 1/2 cup of baking cocoa to your cookie mix before adding in the chocolate chips.  


Homemade Vanilla Extract
I love everything vanilla....from hand soap, body wash, room fresheners and of course in baked goods.  Real vanilla extract is pricey, even at Sam's or BJ's.  I've made my own for's super easy and very inexpensive!

1.75 L of Vodka  ($12.00)
8 vanilla beans ($9.00)

Cut the beans lengthwise and drop 4 of  them into the bottle and store in a dark place.  After a few days, you'll see the color of the alcohol change to the vanilla extract color that we all know.  After 8 weeks it will be ready for baking!   

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Using my Cricut beyond scrapbooking

Using my Cricut beyond the scrapbook pages.

Project #1:  I "decorated" my cricut.  Why bother?  Well, at least twice a year I go to a major crop with other scrapbookers where cricut machines abound.  They are all lined up along the walls where the outlets are.  Now I will be able to pick out my machine right away, and no one will mistake theirs for mine!  (Total time:  10 minutes)
 Project #2!  
I saw this on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try it out myself!  I found a frame at home and removed the backing.  I then used my cricut design studio program to lay out the lettering for our last name and welded the letters together.  After the name was cut out, I used transfer paper to transfer the images directly to the glass of the frame.  I had to bend the clips on the back of the frame so they wouldn't show through the glass, but still keep the glass secure.  I LOVE how it turned out!!!  My husband thought it was pretty cool too!  Score!! (Total Time:  25 min)

 Project #3!  This was fun and so easy, a quick and easy way to jazz up the laptop!  Using vinyl on your cricut machine is easy (cut using low pressure) and they apply to the back of the laptop!  The best part, is that when I want to change it, I can peel it off and there is no residue left behind!  (Total time:  10 min)

What to do with all of those cherries?

This year I picked cherries for the first time!  So fun, fast and easy!  My daughters and I managed to pick about 20 pounds in 20 minutes or so.  
I pitted them using a NorPro Cherry Pitter, which made the job really fast.  I plunked the pitted cherries into ziploc bags and put them into the freezer to enjoy throughout the year for smoothies and baking.  One of my girls loves cherry pie.  I'd never made one before so I went to the internet to find a good recipe.  I combined the pie filling recipe, with my friend's easiest pie crust recipe ever and my own crumb topping .  WOW, best pie ever!!  

Click Here for the Pie Crust Recipe from Red Head Can Decorate! 

Click Here for the Pie Filling Recipe
(For the filling, I used less sugar and omitted the food coloring.) I had made the filling earlier in the week and stored it in a quart jar in the fridge.  When it came time to make the pie, I added in a few of my cherries from the freezer because my pie dish was deeper than average.)

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup of softened butter
1/2 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Oats
Combine and sprinkle over assembled pie. 
 Bake at 350 for approx 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Quick, Easy and Super Yummy, definitely going to go in my list of "keeper recipes"!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Homemade Laundry Soap

I found this recipe on pinterest a few years ago and made a batch as an experiment.  I was pleasantly surprised with how well it worked and how easy it was to make.  We have 5 people in our house so our washing machine is running almost every day.  A batch of laundry soap will last approximately 9 months!   We have a HE washing machine and it's worked great for our family.  I've got three girls who play sports and a husband who works outside so we've got some pretty dirty laundry!

My ingredients.  The last time I bought detergent from the store, it came in the bucket shown in the picture.  It's the perfect size to hold this batch of detergent!  

1 76 oz. box of Borax  
1 4 lb box of Baking Soda 
1 55 oz box of Super Washing Soda
3 bars of Fels Naptha Soap
3.5 lbs of Oxiclean
1 package of laundry in wash scent booster (optional)
Approximate Total Cost:  $26.00

1.  Grate the Fels-Naptha Soap (I bought a box grater at the dollar store that is used strictly for grating the soap.) (If you don't have a grater, use a large kitchen knife to break down the bar and then chop it up as small as you can get it.)

2.  Combine the remaining ingredients, mixing well.

3.  It's ready to use!  

1 TBS per load of laundry!!

The Finished Product!!

I wrote out the recipe on top of the lid, no hunting when it's time to make more!

A batch for our family lasts approximately 9 months....not too bad for $26.00 worth of ingredients!  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Patriotic Votives

I had some old jelly jars in my basement that had no lids.  I didn't want to throw them away because I knew I'd eventually use them for something.  July 3rd I was inspired!  I went to the dollar bin at Target and they had 3 packs of American Flags for half off!

I removed the flag from the sticks, and then decoupaged them onto the jars.  I had some sparkly garland in my basement so I added that to the top of the jars for some extra sparkle. They were cute when I had them finished...
They were still a little tacky from the decoupage, but it dried clear.
(Started this project at 10:30 p.m.!)

I had them on the deck and at our bonfire, I lit the votives that I put inside....

The turned out so cute!!

I'm thinking I may make some for other holidays!  Quick and really inexpensive!