Paint Chip Gift Tags

Christmas wrapping continued today at 'a casarella, and this time I decided to get creative with an old blogger favorite: paint chips.   Really, what can't you do with paint chips?  C'mon, earrings, lamps, gift boxes, clocks?  Let's just say that if I were stranded on a desert island, I would totally want to have a box of paint chips with me.  (I'd build myself a paint chip boat and sail right on out of there..)

But I digress...

Today's project was not exactly a matter  of life and death.  And it's certainly not as mind-blowing as this paint chip dress.

(But it was fun.)

(And cute.)

(And full of holiday goodness.)

You see, today I made myself some super-cute gift tags using green paint chips...


And a little bit of bling.

Plus blue paint chips...

A snowflake craft punch...

And some fun ric-rac.

Pretty cute, eh?

If you liked these, stay tuned.  I'll be posting more fun wrapping ideas in the coming weeks!




Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

And the present wrapping has officially commenced...

My go-to paper this holiday season is from The Dollar Store.  (Yes, you read that right.)

I was so excited to find rolls of Kraft paper at the Dollar store that I swooped in and picked up a dozen.

I love that, with the addition of a few office supplies (and maybe a sparkly embellishment or two)...

A roll of brown paper becomes something special.

And if you get really lucky (like I did when I found this velvet ribbon at Marshall's)...

You can really gussy things up.

So, I've got to ask:  what's your favorite paper this holiday season?



Napkin Ring Storage

As I put away Thanksgiving and get ready for Christmas, I thought I'd take a break and share a little organizing tip.

If you, like me, have a collection of napkin rings, tie them together with ribbon before storing so you don't lose any.

This collection looks a little like a wreath (but that was unintentional).



Cookie Cutter Pie Top

Such a simple idea.

Such beautiful results.

Use cookie cutters to make a festive pie crust.

This beauty was made (with love) by my husband and daughters.  


Nonni's Italian Stuffing

This week I've seen a lot of people in the blogosphere asking about "go-to" Thanksgiving recipes.  Today I want to share mine:  my Nonni's (grandmother's) Italian Stuffing.  

If you're looking for an alternative to your typical bread & celery or cornbread stuffing, this might be the one for you.  (But only if you like cheese--lots and lots of cheese.)

To make it you'll need:
  • a loaf of white bread
  • four eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley 
  • 1/4 lb each of diced sharp cheddar, diced sharp provolone & diced fresh mozzarella
  • 4 to 8 oz. grated parmesan
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. 

Take your loaf of white bread (I use this one)...

Wet the bread under the faucet and squeeze out the excess water.

Then tear up the bread into bits and place in a bowl.

Take your eggs...

...add them to the bread mixture and mix with your hands.

Next take the Italian Parsley...

Chop up about 1/4 cup's worth...

...and add to the egg and bread mixture.  (I know that's just a tablespoon pictured below but I ultimately went with a 1/4 cup.)  At this point you should also add your salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Now it's time for the cheese.  I know.  This looks a little ridiculous.   (Okay, it's totally ridiculous.)

Dice up the mozzarella.

And the cheddar and provolone (make sure they're both sharp, not mild).

Add the diced cheese to the bread mixture along with four to eight ounces of shredded parmesan.

This should make enough for a 14 lb turkey.  I usually have additional stuffing that I bake in a pan.

I'm going to go ahead and publish this recipe tonight but I'll add pictures of the cooked stuffing tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Update:  Did I remember to take a picture of the finished product?  No.  No I didn't.  Too busy eating.  Oh well, there's always next year!



Gumdrop Wreath

Here's a little project from my pre-blogging days.

Which explains the lack of a tutorial...

...and the so-so picture.

(Okay, it doesn't explain the so-so picture.  My so-so photography skills explain that...)

I loved this project because it kept my then five and eight-year-olds occupied for a couple of hours at the beginning of Christmas break.  (You moms out there know that that's a gift in and of itself!)

To make it you'll need:
  • A foam wreath--you can even make your own from a pool noodle  (See Pinterest.)
  • Miniature gumdrops
  • Toothpicks, broken in half
Stick one end of the toothpick into the gumdrop, plunge the other end into your wreath and, voila!,  tasty holiday decoration.  

Those of you who live in cooler climates can even hang it on your door.  (Those of us who live in San Diego would be inviting a host of pests if we did that so I just displayed mine in the foyer.  ;)




Happy Birthday, Kathie!

Happy birthday to a dear friend.

(Including my own.)

A woman who is too modest to include herself on the website above.

(Despite the fact that she keeps the whole thing running.)

A woman who is far more addicted to Pinterest than I am.

(Which is saying a lot!)

A woman whose Pinterest boards helped me figure out what to make for her birthday.

chocolate cupcake w/ peanut butter "cookie" frosting...

(There was a LOT to choose from.)

Pin found here.  Original source (and recipe) here.


Cookies in a Spaghetti Canister (Part II)

Are you one of the many (many, many) people who pinned this image from my blog?

Are you, like others, having trouble finding a similar container for your cookies?

I thought I'd address this issue since numerous people have approached me asking where I got mine.   The answer is The Container Store.  Here's the link.

I love that particular container because it's acrylic and less likely to break when little people go reaching for a cookie.  However some people have noted that the acrylic jars are expensive, especially for those who are thinking about giving them out in bulk for Christmas.   For that reason I want to direct everyone's attention to these alternatives from none other than IKEA:

First is the Droppar Jar.   I spotted it on a recent trip to IKEA and while it's not exactly the same as my original, you can't beat the $4.99 price tag.

Also $4.99 is the SLOM Jar.  (Found here.)  It is a little closer to the one I used above but I didn't get a picture.  (6/2013 update: this no longer appears to be in stock at IKEA.)

My original project was a teacher appreciation gift but so many people have embraced it as a Chistmas gift that I wanted to address the matter before the holidays.

If any of you know of another inexpensive source for pasta canisters please feel free to leave a comment.  I'm sure lots of people would appreciate it!


Guest Post at The Frugal Girls: How to Make a Cranberry Apple Pie

A few days ago I posted a little round up of Thanksgivings-past.

A common theme in those pictures was pie.

(Lots and lots of pie.)

If you were particularly observant you might have noticed one pie that appeared all three years:




In case you're wondering, it's a cranberry-apple pie.  Not only is it delicious, it's also easy enough for the smallest chefs in the house to make.

If you'd like to know how to make your own (or you'd just like to hear the funny way in which it became my Thanksgiving Day staple), head on over to The Frugal Girls where I'll tell you all about it in today's guest post.


A Quick Project

A few weeks ago my bloggy BFF, Amy from While Wearing Heels, sent me a little package for my birthday. In addition to a beautiful handmade lavender sachet, she also included these cute adhesive chalkboard labels.

I couldn't wait to use them, but I wasn't sure how I would use them.  Then I bought a jar of this soup for my daughter...

...and I knew I had found my match:

Don't they look great together?



A New Page

That title is pretty literal.

I recently added a new "page" to the blog.

It's what's known as a "Project Gallery," a comprehensive list of my most popular projects.

You can find it just below my blog name.  It's the tab on the far right.  (See the arrows below.)

I would love some feedback if you're willing to check it out.  (e.g. Is it easy to navigate?  Is there a project that I left out that I should include?  Did I include too many projects, etc.)

But be gentle.  I'm a sensitive soul ;)




The Ghost of Thanksgiving Past

A post that will leave you wondering, "How did she manage to share a half dozen Thanksgiving photos without a picture of a turkey?!?

Okay, now that we can check Halloween off the 2012 to-do list, it's time to bring on Thanksgiving!

Though 2012 will mark my first Thanksgiving as a blogger, it is definitely not my first rodeo.  Let's get up to speed, shall we?

2009 was the first "big" Thanksgiving I hosted at my house.  When all was said and done there were 13 of us for dinner and...  a lot more for dessert.  At the time, Apartment Therapy's Cooking blog, The Kitchn, asked readers to submit pictures of their Thanksgiving tables.  This is the one I submitted and they had it up on the front page of the blog for a few hours.  

I totally thought I was famous.  

Note the pies in the foreground.  They represent about 25% of the total desserts served that evening.


We had a much smaller crowd the next year.  (I think there were eight of us...)

Still had plenty of pie, though...


I think there were eleven of us last year.

But the most exciting addition to the table was Pinterest!

Both the swirly pie top and the fruit kabobs (made with love by my daughters) were Pinterest-inspired.  (But I can't find the darned pins.  I'll add them when I do...)
To make the pie top, cut a store bought (refrigerated) crust into strips, twirl, and wrap around the top of the pie.  

What will 2012's feast look like?  

It's anyone's guess.

But I promise that it will include a turkey!

(And this time I might even take a picture ;)
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