Thursday, November 13, 2014

A November of Handmade Holiday Gifts!! Pine Cone Fire Starters



This next project that I put together for the month long focus on handmade gifts is another pine cone project.  When I was gathering pine cones from my yard, I enlisted my daughter to help me collect them, in addition to that,  Mr. Handy also started making piles for me while he was out doing yard work.  So needless to say, I ended up with A LOT of pine cones!  These pine cones were left over from the Pine Cone Wreath Project.  And ironically, even after this project, I STILL have left over pine cones.  I have added them to a basket that sits on my farm table for a little bit of fall flair.  I promise, no more pine cone projects after this one!  Okay before I move on, I will say that there are a TON of pine cone projects on Pinterest.  I pinned a bunch of them while I was doing research on what I could make for handmade holiday gifts...you know because Pinterist IS the Encyclopedia Britannica of DIY projects right??  So if you, like me, have way too many pine cones on hand, here are some additional projects you can do to use these suckers up!  Pine Cone Projects Pin Board

Back to the project.  So my parents moved to the lake about 9 months before Mr. Handy and I moved here.  They bought a really beautiful, rustic cabin that is amazing.  They have two fireplaces that are pretty much always burning when its' cold.  And unlike our fireplace that has fake gas logs (that are soon to be removed) theirs is a real wood burning fireplace.  So this handmade holiday gift is actually for them.  Hopefully my mom or dad don't read this before Christmas because they will see what I made to kick off their fireside moments!!  For this project you will need:

Pine Cone Fire Starters

A good supply of large or small pine cones (mine were mostly small)
A pot to melt wax
Febreze Wax Bars - pick a nice holiday scent
Wax Paper
Tongs
Container to package up the pine cones

This project is so very, very simple.  First you want to make sure that you have baked the pine cones in an oven for 30 mins at 250 degrees to kill off any critters.

After they have cooled off, put your cones in a pile.  

On a stove top, melt the bars of wax. 



 Spread out on the counter top a layer of waxed paper.

Using your tongs, dip half or all of the pine cone in the wax, let the excess wax drip off of the cone and set the pine cone on the wax paper to dry.  Repeat until you have coated all of the pine cones.




I let them set over night but it doesn't really take that long.  When they are cooled completely, place in the packaging you choose and decorate with a holiday theme.

And here is what you get:








Because I used a Febreze scented wax, these little pine cones smell wonderful.  You could keep these in a basket next to the fireplace and get to enjoy the scent when you are not burning them.  I tried these out in our fire pit and they work beautifully.  It started a fire right up.  My parents do a lot of fires so I used all of them and put them in one big jar, but if you didn't want to give such a large jar of these, you could break them up into medium/large mason jars and decorate them with a holiday ribbon and turn these into multiple batches.  I hope my parents like these.  I think they turned out adorable and again, they smell wonderful.

Oh and total spent on this project - Approximately $16.00
Pine Cones - Free
Febreze - on sale at Wal-Mart - $1.50 each / I used two $3.00
Glass Jar - $6.00
Long Matches - $7.00 - which I will include when I give this to them

We still have so many really awesome handmade gifts still to come.  I hope you are enjoying this series.  I know that I am having a blast making these and I can't wait to give them to my friends and loved ones.

Until Next Time...

~Amanda

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

It's that time of the week again to share What I Wore!!  Just a reminder that I work from home majority of the time.  Every once in awhile, I get an opportunity to go see a client face-to-face.  I had a chance this past week to do that, so you will notice a dress thrown in the mix!!  And after seeing this weeks' outfits, it is clear to me that I have a scarf problem.  Well maybe not a problem, but addiction.  Not all addictions are bad right??  Thanks for indulging with me this post.  As crazy as it sounds, knowing that I am posting what I wore truly keeps me out of sweat pants and a T-Shirt.  This post holds me a little more accountable to my fashion choices and Mr, Handy knows he is coming home to a wife that looks a little more gussied up!!

Shirt - American Eagle - TJ Maxx
Cardigan - Ann Taylor - Thrifted
Pants - Chico's
Shoes - TOMS (my favorite shoes of all time)
Scarf - JCrew

Shirt - Thrifted
Jeans - Lucky - Thrifted
Scarf - Buttonberry Hollow - Etsy
Slippers - Target

Dress - Thrifted
Scarf - GAP - Ebay
Shoes - Nine West - Thrifted

Sweater - GAP - Thrifted
Pants - Old Navy
Shirt - Charlotte Russe
Boots - Bass

Shirt - Thrifted
Scarf -Kroger
Skirt - Maggie Lane
Necklace - Tiffany & Co.

TShirt - BlogThreads
Cardigan - Ann Taylor - Thrifted
Scarf - JCrew
Jeans - JCrew - Thrifted
Shoes - TOMS

And that's it for last week!  I am linking up with The Pleated Poppy for her weekly What I Wore Wednesday Linky Party.  I love seeing what other fellow bloggers are wearing and seeing how they style outfits together.  Thanks for following along with me and I hope you had a great fashion week last week too!

Until Next Time...

~Amanda

Monday, November 10, 2014

A November of Handmade Holiday Gifts!! Bacon Infused Salt



The holidays always invoke a mood of baking.  Even if you never bake during the rest of year, you find yourself baking during the holidays.  Handmade goods are always wonderful gifts and people love to receive goodies from the kitchen.  

Well today's "baking" post is a little different from your traditional holiday baking.  It does involve baking...however what I am baking is Bacon!  Yes I said Bacon.  And what we are making is a wonderful concoction called Bacon Salt!  There is nothing better to spruce up your normal meal than with a fun mixture of a richly flavor infused salt.  Flavor infused salts are all the rage right now, and these can be expensive to buy.  There are salt shops all over the major metropolitan areas, and any foodie on your gift list would love to have this easy to make mixture show up with a bow on top.  

So here is what you will need to make this easy mixture:

6-8 strips of BACON
4 Tablespoons of good quality sea salt
2 Teaspoons of ground black pepper
Air tight Containers
Label Stickers
Twine for embleshment
Salt Spoons 
(these can be found on Ebay.com for as little at $4.00 each)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees - bake the bacon until crispy and remove any excess fat.  Cool the bacon COMPLETELY until it is dry.  If you skip this step, the salt will dissolve and you end up with a strange liquid mixture - ask me why I know this...

Completely cool then place bacon, salt & pepper into a food processor and blend until fine.  You can decide how blended you would like for the mixture to be.



Store in an airtight container and always use a clean spoon every time you use it.
(I store mine in the fridge as well)









This is a really easy mixture to make and let me just tell you...it tastes amazing and gives food an extra punch.  These are inexpensive and easy little gifts to make.  And they are pretty easy to give, because who doesn't love bacon???

Until Next Time...

~Amanda








Sunday, November 9, 2014

A November of Handmade Holiday Gifts!! Handmade Woodland Pine Cone Wreath



It's the second round of the November of Holiday Gifts!  Today I am sharing with you a craft that literally could cost nothing to make, if you have some extra ribbon and a hot glue gun handy.  No need to go purchase supplies if you have some on hand.  I live on almost two acres with a good amount of Georgia Pine trees.  And with those Georgia Pine trees come a plethora of pine cones.  I would be remiss if I didn't include a pine cone craft in my holiday DIY posts with you.  

What I have made for you is a really full, and woodsy holiday pine cone wreath.  Here is what you will need:

Pine cones - lots of them




You will need to bake these on a large metal pan for about 30 minutes at 250 degrees.  This kills any critters that are in the pine cones and on the sticks.



Next you will need to grab a metal wire hanger and some fishing line.

Using the fishing line, wrap the line through the pine cone and tie it directly to the hanger.  Repeat and situate the pine cones accordingly.  The pine cones are going to be really delicate from baking - plan on a mess and have a broom handy for clean-up.





Once the wire hanger is filled with pine cones it should look like this


Using a hot glue gun, fill in the gaps with the tiny smaller pine cones.  I had some small ones that are on sticks, I clipped the sticks and glued them into the gaps to make it really full.

I also added a bow with some ribbon I had here at my house from another project.  And here is what I got when I finished up...




This project didn't cost me anything - I literally used items that were already around my house and in my yard!  If you don't have pine cones in your yard, go to a local park or look in your neighborhood to see if your neighbors have some you can harvest!

How gorgeous would this be for a hostess gift at your next holiday party?  Or maybe even a gift for your child's favorite teacher?  Maybe you keep it for yourself...whomever is the receiver of this gorgeous wreath, they will have no idea you didn't spend any money making it!!  

Until Next Time...

~Amanda








Eye on the Sparrow T-Shirts

My parents were both raised in East Tennessee and I have a distinct memory of going to my grandparents home and hearing old blue grass music playing ALWAYS at their home.  There is nothing more beautiful to me than a banjo mixed with a fiddle, toss in an old school southern song voice with an old hymnal song and I am an emotional wreck.  I cry almost every time.  I have so many hymns or church songs that I grew up with that just bring a wave of emotion over me when I hear them.  And it is a combination of memories of pure love from being at my grandparents home to days of attending church as a child and singing these songs of old.  As an adult, I have a better understanding of the meaning of these songs.  There is such a simplistic beauty to these songs that I just love.  I have such a better understanding of Gods love for me.  There is no way to truly explain how deep  the word unconditional really is.  And there is no way for me to understand why I am worthy of the grace that He so unconditionally gives me...that He gives all of us.  Just typing that sentence brings me to tears.  Singing hymns are such a beautiful way to worship.

To honor my love of these old songs, I have created a line of T-Shirts with a new venture called "Eye on the Sparrow" T-Shirts.  These T-Shirts feature song titles and lyrics from old hymnal songs that we all know by heart.  Each shirt is 100% cotton and the first in the line is a fitted v-neck women's T-Shirt.  They are being sold in my Etsy Shop here Eye on the Sparrow.  There is free shipping on each order.  This is the first in the line of T-Shirts sharing His Amazing Grace that we all have just because He love us.




These are perfect for holiday gifts and a powerful message while you are out and about doing your holiday shopping!  In addition - 10% of each purchase will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House to support the Trip Halstead Room.  There is an excellent cause tied into the proceeds of each T-Shirt.   If you don't know about this amazing family, please click the link to learn more about their story.  Tripp's Momma is one amazing woman, and she helps so many people every single day by her show of strength and determination to care for her sweet baby boy.  They are an amazing and inspiring family for sure!

And I would be remiss if I didn't share with you some of my favorite versions of old hymns:







Thanks for letting me indulge a little bit on this Sunday morning and celebrate the gift that God has given us.  

Until Next Time...

~Amanda