Jack-o-Dragon

Here’s a little sneak peek of what’s planned for tonight!

Hubs did a pretty awesome job carving it, wouldn’t you say?  The teeth I found at the dollar store for a buck.  I’ve seen them on etsy for around $5, so when I saw them at the dollar store, I snagged a pack.

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Make your own money or gift card holders

I’ll be the first one to admit that I like to receive gift cards, especially if it’s for things that we really enjoy, like for the movies or for restaurants that we like to go to.  Here’s a way to pretty them up!

On Monday nights, I’ve been getting together with some friends, and we’ve been making cards.  We learned how to make a gift card holder a few weeks ago:

I decided that I wanted to do some for Christmas, and now you can too!

Step 1:
Cut two rectangles of card stock measuring 5.5″x4.5″

Step 2:
Put the two printed sides together.  If using double-sided paper, put the two sides together that you want on the outside.  Cut a design on the top, including an indent for the recipient to be able to retrieve the gift card or money.

Step 3:
Fold the sides up until they cover the cut edge.  Glue the sides and bottom on the cut piece.  Do not glue the top, because that will make your pocket for the gift card or money.  **Side note** I bought this ginormous bottle of tacky glue at the Dollar Store for $3.  Glue both pieces of paper together.

Step 4:
Cut a contrasting piece of card stock 1″x6.5″ (you can probably get away with using 6.25″, if you wish) and wrap it around the holder.  Glue the paper’s ends together, and cover the seam with a sticker, if you wish.

Happy crafting!

Hunting Hat

I will start out this post by saying that I’m not a hunter.  However, if my husband’s guns were in the house, he would be one.  I also live in an area where there are a lot of hunters.  It’s currently deer season here, and I think you can also go out and hunt birds, like partridge.  Anyway, darling son and I were out for a walk last weekend, when deer season first opened, and we heard a couple of shots ring out.  Turns out it was across the road, so it was nowhere close to us, but it still freaked me out a lot.  I picked up a bright orange skein of Red Heart Kids (it was buy one get one half off at Zellers… so I’m making one for me, too), and I made him a hat using this pattern from Red Heart.  It turned out pretty good!

We’ll still take care when we go in the woods, and I’ll make sure the dog has her reflective vest on, as well, but at least I can breathe a little easier during hunting season!

Just Another Friday Night

We had a night in Friday night.  Life’s been busy, so we just decided to stay in, and relax.  My little kitchen helper helped me make some cookies.  I decided to try making macarons again, because I had some aged egg whites from Tuesday, but because little boy didn’t like them, we made some pre-made cookies.  They were on sale at the grocery store, and came with a coupon, so I decided to pick up a package for the two of us.  He had a great time arranging them on the cookie sheet:

And then patiently watched them cook:

He even found the oven mit and put it on himself!

Meanwhile, I was trying macarons out again.  Yeesh.  Maybe I’ll get them right one of these days.  At least they weren’t hallow:

But by the time I put in the ganache, they were a little too tall for my liking:

Ah, well… at least they tasted good.  I’ll get the knack of them someday!  This is what happens when the mixture is too thick.  I don’t think that I had enough egg whites.  I had measured out 90g on Tuesday, and took 45g then, and I thought that I had 45g left, but I think it was probably a little less.  I’ll keep at it until I have them perfected, and I’ll be sure to share the secret with you!

Quick Project! Crochet a Newborn-Sized Santa Hat

I apologize for those of you who think this is too early, but I’m starting on my Christmas gifts.  Through my facebook page, I found a local photographer.  I offered to crochet a Santa hat for her to use in some of her upcoming shoots.  I hope you like it, Tamara!  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m new to crochet, especially making up my own patterns.  I had tried about 4 different patterns before I settled on this one, and once I did, it came together very quickly, in under two hours.  Here is the secret:

Super bulky yarn (Red Hear Light and Lofty) and a 10mm crochet hook, yessiree!

Here’s the pattern I came up with, feel free to make any changes!

Newborn Crochet Santa Hat

Round 1 – With the red yarn, make a magic ring, ch 2.  Make 4hdc into the ring.  Join at the first hdc, not at the ch (it makes for an invisible seam). (4hdc)

Round 2 – Ch 2, and then make 2hdc in each (8hdc – do not count first ch2, just count the hdc)

Round 3 – Ch 2, *hdc in first stitch, then 1 hdc*, repeat between the stars three more times (12hdc)

Rounds 4-7 – Continue in this fashion, adding 4hdc each row until you get to 28.  This should have a circumference of about 13″, if it doesn’t, make one more round.

Round 8 – hdc (28hdc).  Break the red colour.

Round 9 – join the white yarn, and sc all around.

Round 10 & 11 – sc, bind off, and sew in the tail.

If you need to make it longer, you can add more rounds of white.

To finish, add a white pompom to the top.

**Variations for older children – continue increasing until the hat has reached the proper circumference, and then add one more row of red, and then a few of white.

I hope that pattern made sense!  I will get used to writing patterns one of these days…

Thanks!

I just wanted to send a note of thanks to you, the people who’ve been reading this blog. I hope you’ve been enjoying it, because I’ve been enjoying writing and creating for you! The reason why I’m thanking you today is for all of the support, the blog has gotten over 1000 views as of today, and we’re up to 43 likes on facebook! I love checking out my stats and seeing where madebymarly has gone that day. Today we made it to Russia! But people in Singapore, Viet Nam, Iraq, Korea, UK, US, Australia, Switzerland, India, Mexico, and Germany (to name just a few) have seen the blog. It’s pretty amazing, and so are you!

How to Make Macarons

What is that?  You may be asking.  Well, my friends, it is a delicious little French cookie called a macaron (say macaroni without the ‘i’, and you’ve got the pronouncation down).  It is delicious, and gluten-free!  I was first introduced to these by Bakerella (check out her blog!), who was introduced by Tartlette.  They are a little finicky, and do take some advance planning, but are SO WORTH IT!  It was also my chance to use this bad boy for the first time:

I got it on sale at Candian Tire for less than 10 dollars.  And I also got to use my wonderful little chopper because I had halved the batch of cookies:

Now, here are all the ingredients you need for the cookies:

That’s right, folks.  4 ingredients is all you need!

Step 1: Age your egg whites.  I was making a half batch, so I used 45g of egg whites, and aged them on the counter for 1 day.  You can refrigerate your eggs after they’ve aged, but they should sit for at least a day.  Apparently you can age them for up to 5.

Step 2: With and electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high until they become foamy.  Add up to 25g of white sugar.  You’ll have enough when it’s shiny and stiff peaks form.

Step 3: Using a food process or chopper, finely grind up 55g of blanched almonds and 100g of powdered sugar.  You may need to separate out the lumps and process a second time.

Step 4: Add the almond mixture in with the eggs and begin to fold.  At this point, you may wish to add in some food colouring.  Both Barerella and Tartlette recommend powdered food colouring, but I couldn’t find any.  I used liquid, and I think it turned out ok.  Maybe gel would work?

Step 5: Put the mixture in a pastry bag with a circle tip.  On parchment paper, make circles of almond-sugary goodness.

Let them sit for about half an hour until a skin forms, then bake them at 300 for about 20 minutes.  Mine browned a little on the edges, so next time I will cook them a little lower for a little longer.  They will puff up beautifully.  If you want to make a filling, a chocolate ganache, it only required two ingredients:

1/4 cup of cream, and 4oz of semi-sweet chipits.  I melted them in the microwave.  When both the cookies and the ganache has cooled, you can spread the ganache on the macarons, and allow them to set.

Now I ate some right away, and they were good, but I made a plate for some guests, and then hubs put the rest in the fridge for me.  They were AMAZING that night, and even better when they were completely cooled and set.

A half batch made about 12 or 13… I forget how many exactly, because I think I had eaten at least 1 by this point.  They were really good, but not perfect.  They were hallow (which they weren’t supposed to be), and they had browned.  I am definitely trying them again.  In fact, there are egg whites ageing on the counter as we speak…