Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baptism Towels

Yesterday while checking Facebook I noticed a post from my husband's cousin, Marcie.  She is an amazing seamstress and made the most adorable little quilt for my new granddaughter's baby shower.  I asked her if she would be so kind as to share the story of her amazing baptism towels with all of you:  

"I had a friend request a towel for his son's baptism.  
It turned out so cute that several others have wanted them as well."

"My daughter is serving a mission, and thought she would like one for the family they were baptizing.  I have made several and sent them to her for their baptisms.  
I can put almost anything on them.  They are super cute gifts!"

Thanks Marcie!  I absolutely adore them! 
It would also be awesome to put your missionary's name on their 
own personal towel don't you think?

Interested in having some towels machine embroidered?
You can contact Marcie at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grandma Christensen's Sugar Cookies

I may have mentioned this before:  My husband LOVES sugar cookies - Grandma Christensen's recipe,  thin and slightly crispy with frosting.  Me?  Well, IF I'm going to make them (which I rarely do because they take a freakishly LONG time from start to finish) then I like them thick and soft.  We both agree on the frosting bit though...

I stumbled upon an egg cookie cutter and because of it's unique shape - small on one end and larger on the other - making these Easter sugar cookies wasn't too bad at all.  I could use up most of the dough on the first roll out and with sugar cookies the less you roll the better because each roll out incorporates additional flour into your dough which effects the outcome of the cookie.  Less is better, unless we're talking about frosting,...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Grandma Christensen's Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla
1 cup milk
7 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar thoroughly.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla to milk and beat into creamed mixture alternately with the sifted dry ingredients.  Note:  the dough may seem soft but don't add more flour).  Cover or wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.  Cut off a workable amount of chilled dough and place the remainder back in the refrigerator.  Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place on greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  
Bake at 400 F. 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  
Yield: 15 dozen 2 3/4 inch cookies.

When cookies have cooled completely you can begin to decorate them.  First you need to add your base layer.  If we were just eating these at home I would most likely make a nice buttercream frosting.  Because I need to mail them, and because I want to decorate them I like to use royal icing. It looks great; it's smooth; and it dries hard so I can wrap them and stack them.  Here's the recipe that I like to use:

Royal Icing
1 cup water
6 Tbs meringue powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 lb bag of powdered sugar

Mix the water and meringue powder in your mixer until it is foamy.  Add the extracts and mix.  Add the entire 2 lb bag of powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated. 
Mix on high until icing becomes stiff.  Cover unused frosting with a damp towel 
because it will harden SUPER FAST...

You will need different consistencies of icing for different types of frosting techniques.  For piping words and detail, you will want the dough pretty stiff (like what you just made).  For other techniques like floating, you will need to thin it out a little.  You do this by adding more water, a teaspoon at a time.  To test the consistency, make an indent in your frosting and count how long it takes for it to smooth out.

I used small squeeze bottles to decorate my cookies.  One batch of the Royal Icing was perfect for the whole batch of Grandma Christensen's Sugar Cookies from the above recipe.  First I decided on two base colors: pink and yellow.  Using only a portion of the colored icing, I piped around the outer edge with a stiff icing.  Then thinning the icing slightly, I filled in the center.  Make sure to pop any bubbles that form with a toothpick.  Gotta watch out for those bubbles.  They are the enemy of a beautiful cookie.  Do one cookie at a time and don't be discouraged.  It really doesn't take too long for a simple cookie shape.

When your cookies are all frosted you are ready to move on to decorating.  For this you want a stiff icing like you piped with at the beginning of the process.  I chose quite a few different pastel colors and divided out my frosting.  As you're mixing in your colors, be sure to stir each VERY well. Otherwise you may just end up with a colored streak...not pretty.  Spoon each into squeeze bottles (or piping bags) and have yourself some FUN!  I used a mug to hold each of my squeeze bottles.  Just invert so the tip is pointing down inside the mug.  It's easy to tell which color is in each bottle and the icing stays at the end of the tip which saves LOTS of time.

Make sure that the icing is completely hardened before you wrap them up to send to your missionary.  I put mine into small cellophane bags, folded down the top, taped them closed with a cute piece of washi tape, and boxed them up in some boxes left over from my Christmas candy making.  Add a bit of shredded paper and a cute bow and voila!  All done.  Your missionary and their companion will love them AND...your family gets to eat the leftovers...or your Visiting Teaching ladies...or your husband's Home Teaching families...or YOU!

For more ideas on mailing cookies, click here or here...
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Origami Carrots

One day while surfing the net I stumbled upon an Origami Garden.  All sorts of directions on how to make all sorts of origami vegetables. When I found the origami carrot, I let out a squeal of delight!  So excited!  I looked in a couple of craft stores for orange and green origami paper.  Who knew it was so expensive? Who knew that it's impossible to find just orange or green? Sheesh!  In my imagination I found cute patterned orange on orange an adorable polka-dot...and an equally adorable green on green paper for the leaf...alas, it was not to be.  I found a plethora of scrapbook paper but deemed it all to be too heavy and stiff to use for origami paper folding.  I went to the copy shop and picked up several sheets of orange and green and cut them down to size.  Being frugal (my husband is laughing his head off at the moment, but I do try...most of the time anyhow) I wanted to make the most of each sheet so I just made each sheet an 8.5 inch square.  This allowed plenty of room for everyone to write a nice long was just a titch too long to fit in any of the Easter packages that I was sending so I ended up putting them all into one of the larger Flat Rate envelopes which worked just fine but wasn't near as cute as it was in my imagination, yet again.  If I were to do it again, which I probably will, I would make them smaller so they fit into a box that could be lined with tissue and green shredded paper.  Live and learn!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter - Candy Bottles

These little jems were so easy to put together and I just love how they turned out.  I picked up a pack of juice at the grocery store and handed them out to Maren (my youngest) and her cute cousins that were spending the weekend and told them to 'drink up'.  They were thrilled to comply! These juice bottles come in many different flavors but I went with grape juice because...well...I wanted a white lid.  Lame, huh.  After the kids were finished I washed up the bottles and peeled off the labels saving one to use as a pattern.  This kit from Scrappy Nat made everything so easy and I absolutely adore everything she designs.  You can check out her site here...

These would be SO easy to make for any occasion.  I love them!!
Contents will arrive to your missionary fresh and un-crushed.

Scrapbook elements used and posted with permission by Scrappy Nat

TALKS: "None Were With Him"

The perfect Easter talk to send to our wonderful missionaries.  Enjoy!
click on the photo to download the talk


Don't forget to change your printer to print 'double-sided' to save on postage...
On my PC:  click on 'Print', click on 'Properties' tab, click on 'Finishing',
click on "Print on both sides', click on 'ok', click on 'ok' - should be good to go!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

TALKS - "The Divine Gift of Gratitude"

This is the talk that I sent to Matt in his Thanksgiving package, The Divine Gift of Gratitude by President Thomas S. Monson.  A great talk!  I posted this in another place on the blog but it was a little difficult to find so here it is again.  Enjoy!        (click on the photo to download the talk)


Don't forget to change your printer to print 'double-sided' to save on postage...
On my PC: click on 'Print', click on 'Properties' tab, click on 'Finishing',
click on 'Print on both sides', click on 'ok', click on 'ok' - should be good to go!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Atonement Advent Calendar

One of my most popular posts is The Last Week of Christ which I did for my oldest son when he was serving in the Ohio Columbus Mission a few years ago.  I wanted to come up with something for Matt which was spiritual as well.  I had a great time researching quotes on the Atonement from our church leaders as I put together this Atonement Advent Calendar.  I think he and his companion will LOVE it and enjoy pondering upon our Savior's Atonement during this Easter season.  Hope so!

(mine are 2.75"x 4")
number stickers
mini clothes pins
jute, twine or ribbon
2 push pins / thumb tacks
small Easter candy
(see below)

 Number your bags.

Print the quote cards onto white card stock.  Cut out on the dotted lines.  

Note: The quotes are in no particular order.  There are 30 of them.  
Use only as many as you need i.e. if Easter falls on the 20th of the month, 
you would only have 20 bags.

Insert one quote card and two small pieces of candy into each bag - 
one for your missionary and one for their companion.

Seal bags closed.  
I used some bicycle Washi tape that I found at Staples 
quite some time ago but anything will work.

Using mini clothes pins, attach your bags to jute, twine, ribbon, yarn, etc...
I used some white jute that I found at the craft store.

There you have it!  All done!  So cute...I made 2 sets in blue and one in yellow because I have three missionaries that we mail things to.  They are going to LOVE it!  Don't forget to include a small baggie with two push pins or thumb tacks inside so they can hang their banner in their apartment.

This isn't going to fit in the small Flat Rate box...and the medium size was too big for what I wanted to send so I opted for the 6"x 7" Priority Mail box.  Just ask the postmaster to get one for you.  They are usually behind the counter.  The box is free but it costs a bit more to send because it goes by weight.  If I keep the weight down it should only be $10 to send.  Don't know what I'm going to do when I start mailing packages to my niece in Bolivia...I've got a month to figure it out.  Any ideas?

I made this topper to go on the top of my package along with a little instruction sheet.  Thanks to Nat at for the digital scrapbook embellishments!  She makes adorable scrapbook kits and it was fun to use a couple of her elements to put this together.  You really should check her out!  Happy Easter everyone!

(scrapbook elements used and posted with permission by Scrappy Nat