Plush Penguin Wreath

Hello, hello, hello! Ready for the weekend? I sure am! Tomorrow is Ryan’s family Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to get some turkey in my belly. MMmmmmm!

Today’s tutorial is brought to you in part by my little sister. She had asked me for a wreath tutorial a while back and it’s finally here. I did incorporate a special love of hers to it, penguins. Adding a plush toy to any wreath is an easy way to take up a lot of space and create impact. Plus it’s cute!

Plush Penguin Wreath

The supplies needed: grape vine wreath, plush penguin (or character of choice), small fabric poinsettias, four berry spray picks, stick (chopstick or dowel), hot glue gun and glue, wire cutters, ribbon and scissors.

Penguin Wreath materials

Start by placing two berry picks on one side of the wreath and cut off excess wire. Insert picks through wreath.

Penguin Wreath side one

Bend a piece of excess wire in a U shape and use to hold pick in place by inserting it through the front and securing in the back.

Penguin Wreath wire

Do the same on the other side with the other two picks.

Penguin Wreath side two

Insert the dowel through the top and bottom of wreath. This will hold plush penguin in place. With hot glue, secure penguin to dowel and wreath.

Penguin Wreath pinguin

On bottom of the wreath, create a poinsettia seat for the penguin. Attach with wires (these ones already had them) or hot glue.

Penguin Wreath flowers

Thread a piece of ribbon through the back and top of wreath. Tie in a knot. This will be the hanger.

Penguin Wreath hanger

Hang up and enjoy the whimsical wreath you just created.

Penguin Wreath

I’ve done a different version of this in the past, but with a Santa. Again, the possibilities are endless.

Penguin Wreath view

Have fun this weekend!

Holiday Decorative Pillows

I’ve got a super fun and easy project for you today. It literally took me about 30 minutes to make all three pillows. It all started with an impulse buy. I love browsing holiday decorations after the season is over and everything is on a super discount. Last year, I fell in love with some kitchen towels. Didn’t really need them and they really didn’t match my deco, but I bought them anyways. So, I’ve had them for a while and finally came up with a way to use them: Christmas Pillows!

Holiday Decorative Pillows

I love how cute Holiday pillows look, but sometimes they can be a tad too expensive. This version is cute, cheap and easily doable if you know how to sew a straight line. I browsed Home Goods for some more kitchen towels to use and they have some super cute designs. I purchased a pair for five bucks to use for this project. So if you needed an excuse to visit Home Goods, then here it is.

Holiday Pillows fabric

There’s a couple of ways to make these. The most basic, which I did with my “Merry Christmas” fabric, is to fold the fabric in half, printed sides facing each other.

Holiday Pillows fold

Sew the two shorter sides just inside their finished seams. Then, sew the longer “bottom side” leaving a gap in the middle.

Holiday Pillows sew

Turn inside out. Stuff with Poly-Fil (this 20oz bag was five bucks as well and enough stuffing for all three pillows).

Holiday Pillows fill

Close and pin gap and sew shut. Please ignore that the pics below are from a different pillow. I kinda forgot to take pics of this step on the first one. Done!

Holiday Pillows finish

The other two pillows I made with a different pattern fabric on each side. On one I used half of each towel and sewed them to make a rectangle pillow (same size as the first one). For the smaller one, I cut the fabric into 12” squares and sewed. The only difference with these is that you’re sewing all four sides instead of three.

Holiday Pillows versions

Tips. Don’t over stuff or the pillow will kinda scrunch up. Also, fill with poly-fill a little a a time to prevent lumpiness.

Holiday Pillows

The calm before the storm

Good morning! Hope your Monday is a little bit warmer than mine. It’s going to be a chilly one for the next couple of days here in Iowa.

This post should be short and sweet because I honestly didn’t do much this weekend.

Thursday, I brought Boone to work because he’s getting cabin fever with these short winter days. We leave home when it’s dark and get back when it’s dark, so I think he thinks we hate him. Poor guy.

Work Boone

Friday, I went on a craft store run and picked up some Chinese for dinner. One thing I did have on my plans for the weekend was crafting. And that’s exactly what I did any chance I got.

Boone work

Saturday we went to watch the Hawkeyes game at a friend’s house and Boone got to meet a new friend, Holly the golden retriever. Then, I spent the rest of the day working on different crafts and also a little bit of babysitting. Josh, Ryan’s cousin, came over to play video games with him and brought his 6 month old baby. So I took on baby duty every now and then.

holly date

Another thing that happened Saturday, our first measurable snow of the season. Yepee!!!! <—- sarcasm  On the upside, Boone absolutely loves snow. I can leave him playing outside chasing after his ball all over the yard until his paws freeze. Which is waaayyy better than a dog not wanting to go outside when it’s cold.

snow one

Sunday, I started my morning by shoveling the driveway. A good 1 hour workout. Then had a Gchat date with my sisters and mom, love them! We definitely should do this more often. I also transplanted some of my indoor plants, they needed it… Ran some errands, worked on some more crafts and had some ice-cream to end the night.

ficus transplant

Pretty uneventful weekend, but it’s a good way to start the crazy travel Holiday weekends coming up. Have a great week and hope you’re getting into the Christmas spirit, I sure am!

snow two

Yes, I took this picture while I was still inside.

Yarn Ball Ornament

Hello hello everyone! Hope you’ve had a great week and here’s to an even better weekend ahead. It’s been pretty cold here in Iowa and kind of flurrying non stop so it’s impossible to deny that the Christmas bug has hit me. I have a few projects coming up for the holiday season that I plan to tackle this weekend. Honestly, I can’t wait!

With that said, I have also done some Christmas projects already. I already did the key ornament last week, and today I’m adding a yarn ball ornament to the collection. This was inspired by some remnant yarn I had. Fun and easy.

Yarn Ball Ornament

All you need is: a ball ornament (used or a blank one from a craft store), chopsticks, small wooden balls, yarn, hot glue and ribbon.

Yarn Ball Ornament materials

First up, secure the yarn to the ornament with a dab of hot glue and start randomly wrapping the yarn around the ornament. No special method, just go for it. After a few rolls, secure the yarn with another dab of glue. Keep going until the ornament is completely covered with yarn. A few blank spaces is ok. Secure the end of the yarn with more hot glue.

Yarn Ball Ornament yarn

To make the knitting needles, cut the chopsticks down to about 2 inches and glue the wood balls on top. Place needles through yarn ornament and glue in place.

Yarn Ball Ornament needles

Cut a piece of ribbon, loop through ornament, tie a knot and you’ve got yourself a hanger.

Yarn Ball Ornament hang

Easy as pie.

Yarn Ball Ornament tree

Now go have a wonderful weekend!

Homemade Apple Pie

Happy Wednesday! Winter has arrived to Iowa and there’s no going back. With high temperatures in the 30s this week and 20s next week, it’s time to break out the gloves, hats, scarfs and any other ammunition you can find against the cold. Definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving week, spending time with family and some delicious food. My favorite, other than turkey of course, is pie. Love them!

I got the bug a little earlier so I made an Apple Pie from scratch the other day. It’s a recipe I’ve been using for some time now. My favorite part is that it’s not overly sweet. It’s simple and delicious.

Homemade Apple Pie slice

The basics of every pie is a good crust. I’ve been experimenting for some time now with different recipes and haven’t truly found the one. For this pie I used the Flaky All-Butter Pastry recipe from Sunset Magazine. It was good, but not my favorite. Maybe the butter taste is too strong? Not sure. I guess I like the crusts with Crisco more. But in any case, a store bought pie dough will work just fine. The Pillsbury ones are pretty delicious and they’re available deep dish or regular.

Apple Pie crust

The filling is actually quite simple. First, melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter in a saucepan and add 3 tablespoons of flour to create a paste.

Apple Pie sauce butter

Add 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to reduce the sauce to a syrupy consistency. Stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.

Apple Pie sugar

Peel and slice 8 granny smith apples. About 7-8 slices per apple. Not too thin to make them mushy, but not too thick so they don’t cook while baking, unless you like crunchy apples in your pies.

Apple Pie apples

Prepare your crust according to directions. Roll out and place in bottom of 9 inch pie pan. Do not trim edges yet. A trick to move rolled out pie crusts without breaking: wrap around rolling pin and then transfer.

Apple Pie crust set

Stir half of the sauce with the apples. Place mound of apples in bottom crust. Pour the leftover sauce over the apples.

Apple Pie filling

Cover the apples with the second half of the crust. For this one, I did the classic lattice top. Roll out pie crust and cut into strips with a pizza cuter. Place half of the strips on the pie running parallel to each other. Fold every other strip back halfway and place a new pie crust strip perpendicular to these. Unfold pieces and fold the other ones back over the cross piece. Add another strip and repeat process until both sides have been done. Trim edges to about an inch and roll in.

Apple Pie lattice one

Apple Pie crust edge

Brush with egg whites and bake on a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake for another 35-45 minutes until crust is golden brown. If crust is getting brown too fast, cover with aluminum foil to prevent burns.

Homemade Apple Pie

Let pie cool for a bit to set, cut into slices and enjoy warm with ice cream.

Apple pie slice

Homemade Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe for 9inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted  butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 8 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter in a saucepan and add 3 tablespoons of flour to create a paste.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to reduce the sauce to a syrupy consistency.
  4. Stir in 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.
  5. Stir half of the sauce with the apples. Place mound of apples in bottom crust. Pour the leftover sauce over the apples.
  6. Cover the apples with the second half of the crust. Brush with egg whites.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake for another 35-45 minutes.
  8. Let pie cool to set. Enjoy!