Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DIY: Must be in the genes

People ask if I come from a creative family and I reply, "Well, I get my insanity from my mom. Does that count?"
Deny it as we may, we eventually turn into our parents.

Exhibit A.
Much like my mother in years past, I spent countless hours baking holiday cookies over the past several weeks. Why? To give away, of course! There's just something rewarding about being able to send cookies to work with your husband, bring to church or give to your coworkers. You didn't think I made them to eat myself, did you?

Exhibit B.
Mom used to recruit my assistance in hand-making ornaments to give away as gifts. What did I do this year? Oh right, hand-made gifts for family and friends.

The apple certainly didn't fall far from the tree. Granted, the craft may be different, but the sentiment is the same. Love you mom!

Below are some examples of my mom's DIY specialty: Christmas stockings. She's hand-made Christmas stockings for every human and canine in our household. Since I couldn't sew a straight line if my life depended on it, I'll continue to defer this craft to my mom.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

I love flipping through Crate and Barrel's and Williams Sonoma's holiday catalogs, dreaming about one day owning an entire set of Christmas-themed dinnerware, cookware, and accessories. I also drool over all their seasonal treats. Last week, as I was drooling over chocolate and cookies in the catalogs I realized, "I can do that!" So here is my take on Chocolate Peppermint Bark.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark
1-12oz. bag white chocolate chips
1-12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (can substitute dark or milk chocolate)
1/2 c. crushed candy canes (about 4 regular sized candy canes)

Line a 9X9 baking pan with parchment paper. In a double boiler, melt one bag of chocolate chips until smooth. Pour chocolate into pan and spread evenly with a spatula. In the double boiler, melt the other bag of chocolate chips. Pour over first layer of chocolate and spread gently with spatula. Crush candy canes in a small food processor, or put in a heavy-duty ziploc bag and crush with a heavy skillet. Sprinkle crushed candy canes evenly over the chocolate. Place pan in freezer until chocolate has hardened. Remove chocolate from pan, remove any stuck parchment paper. Break into small pieces for serving. Stores for several weeks in airtight containers or ziploc bags.

This bark is easy to make and beautiful to bag up to give as little gifts to co-workers or teachers.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

DIY Bath Salts

Ever since I realized I can order essential oils on Amazon for cheap, I've been going nuts with DIY aromatherapy projects. Some of these items may or may not be Christmas gifts, so I'm keeping mum for the most part. But this particular bath soak is so lovely, I can't keep it to myself. Tis' the season for colds and congestion, and this particular bath soak is wonderfully soothing for airways and achy muscles.

Cold Season Bath Salts

2 c. Sea Salt
1 c. Epsom Salt
1 c. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Eucalyptus oil
1/4 tsp. Tea Tree Oil

Mix everything together and store in ziplocs or mason jars.

This can also be used as a soothing foot soak, too!