Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas is Coming...
Amy A, Amy M, and I are so excited for Christmas!  So, we vow to get as many Christmas posts on the blog as we can.  I’ve already got a start for us with the 12 Days of Christmas Advent Candles (under Crafting), now we need some FOOD!  I’m going to start us off with a little something we lovingly refer to as Bugle Brittle.  It’s basically Bugle chips covered in a sugary, buttery coating, and I’ve never met a person who didn’t LOVE it.  Special thanks to my sis-in-law, Julie, who got me addicted to this junk and was willing to share the recipe with all of you.

Bugle Brittle

What you need:
  • One 17 oz bag of bugles
  • 2 Sticks or 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light Karo syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • candy thermometer (optional)
*This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, just make sure you use a bigger or your biggest pot.

The Method:

Empty your chips into a large bowl and lay out foil for letting the chips cool on when it’s done. You want to have all of this ready to go because you’re basically making a candy coating and every second counts when you are dealing with the temperature of sugar.

In a large pot melt the butter.  Once butter is melted add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a roaring boil. Stick your thermometer in and bring the temperature up to firm ball stage (244-248 degrees), stirring frequently.  It takes about 10 minutes to reach the right temp.   

So, you don’t have a candy thermometer?  I have made this recipe without one.  The trick is to check the mixture’s texture every once in a while by using the cold water test.  Keep a clean small glass of cool water by you.  Take a drop of mixture and drop it into the glass.  While it's in the water use your fingers to form it into a ball.  Pull the ball out, it should be like caramel, holds its shape but is soft and pliable.  It takes around 10 minutes to get it to the right temp, so set a timer for 5 minutes and start checking every minute after that.

As soon as you’ve reached hard ball stage pour the mixture over the bugles and stir to coat.  Dump the coated bugles onto the foil and use your spoon to separate it out.  You don't want it to cool in big clumps of bugles, it's hard to eat and hard to break apart.

The next step is the most important...take the Bugle Brittle, put it in your mouth, and enjoy!

<3, Sharla

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Advent Candles
 Advent Calendar

I am so excited about this post.  This is a project I came up with at the tail end of the Christmas season last year and I have been waiting all of this time to give it a try.  My kids love to count down the days until Christmas (really, I am just as bad) so the more ways to count down, the better.  I learned the technique for this project from a friend who was a Close To my Heart consultant (hi, Doree) and I have always wanted to do it more because, seriously, it is so cool!  

What you need is:
  • 1 tapered candle (mine are 10”)
  • 1 piece of white tissue paper cut into an 8 1/2” x 11” rectangle
  • a heat tool or hair dryer

That’s it!  That’s all you need!

How to do it:
First you need to prepare the numbers for the candle.  Cut your tissue paper down to the same size a regular piece of paper.  On a computer create a line of numbers with 1 at the top and 12 at the bottom going down the page, like this...
Print your line of numbers on the tissue paper.  This can be tricky, what I ended up doing was taping my tissue paper to a piece of card stock and then printing it because my printer kept eating the tissue paper even if it was taped to a regular paper.  After it’s printed cut it down as close to the numbers as you can get.

Now grab your candle and place the number strip going down it the way you like and hold it in place with your thumb.  Grab you hair dryer or heat tool and, starting at number 1, hold the heat a few inches away from the candle and blow it back and forth over the the tissue paper.  What is going to happen is the wax behind the paper is going to melt and little and when it does it will fuse with the tissue paper and the paper will become translucent (see in the picture how right around the 6 it's not melted).  Once it’s translucent you’ve got it on so you can move down the candle until the whole piece of paper is secured.  Be careful not to heat one place too much, you don't want the wax to drip.  Remember, less is more, so don't go holding the heat right up against the candle right when you start.  You only need to melt it a little for this to work.

Now that you’ve got your candle, its fun to do a little some thing every night you light it.  We put together three list ideas for the 12 days and printed them on cute card stock to keep with the candle.  Yes, my neighbors will all be getting one of these...

The True Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas
1 The Partridge in a Pear Tree=Jesus Christ, the Son of God
2 Turtle Doves=The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens=Faith, Hope, and Charity
4 Calling Birds=The Four Gospels and/or  the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings=The First Five Books of the Old Testament which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-Laying=The Six Days of Creation
7 Swans A-Swimming=The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8  Maids A-Milking=The Eight Beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing=The Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-Leaping=The Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping=The Eleven Faithful Apostles
12 Drummers Drumming=The Twelve Points of Doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
*In the song “true love” refers to God, the “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person.

12 Days of
the Spirit of Christmas
1. Say “Merry Christmas” to every single person you meet.
2. Leave rolled up dollars with a note in the $1 section of a store.
3. Go to a busy place and hold the door open for 15 minutes for people.
4.Buy 3 helium balloons and hand them out to kids in a store.
5. Write a message of gratitude to someone who has touched your life.
6.Go threw a drive threw and pay for the car behind you.
7. Take treats to your local fire department or police station.
8. Leave kid made book marks at the local library.
9.Tape candy canes to ATMs around town.
10. Leave change taped to a vending machine.
11.Be an EXTRA polite driver/friend/family member/employee.
12. Decorate a neighbor’s door with paper snow flakes and side walk with chalk.

12 Days of Christmas
  1. Psalm 27:1How is the Lord my light?
  2. John 13:34-35Do I keep all of the commandments?
  3. Isaiah 41:10From whom do I get my strength?
  4. Matthew 5:16How can I let my light shine today?
  5. Isaiah 1:18Do I understand what Christ did for me?
  6. John 14:16-17, 26How can the Holy Spirit help me become more like Christ?
  7. John 15:13-14Do I have a true understanding of the sacrifice my Savior made for me?
  8. Luke 22:42, 23:46Wherein lies the power of Christ?
  9. Timothy 4:12Do I cleave unto the truth & do I teach those around me to stand for righteousness?
  10. John 14:27Do I search of inner peace and happiness?
  11. Matthew 6:19-21What are my values, my core beliefs and priorities?
  12. Luke 2:1-20What can I do to remember Christ every day?

There you have it, all the hard work done for you.  Now all you have to do is sit on the couch and eat bonbons until Christmas comes (yeah, right).  

Don't have the time to make your own candle?  Click here to visit our Etsy store and order one!

<3, Sharla

Friday, November 9, 2012

Burlap Thanksgiving

Have you noticed how everywhere you look in the home decor world burlap is draped on, sewn into, or glued over one thing or another?  And why not?!  It’s cheap, cute and a great blank canvas for some serious creativity.  Well, friend of the blog, Cassie, had a great idea of covering pillar candles with burlap as a Thanksgiving table decoration and Amy M and I decided to take the challenge.  Um, yes, this is happening, and here’s how to do it...

A fat pillar candle (I found mine in a 2 pack at Hobby Lobby for $5.99)
1/4 yard of burlap (Walmart has the cheapest burlap I could find including different colors)
Hair dryer or heat embossing tool
Hot glue and gun
Ribbon, twine, and other embellishments


First thing you need to do is get your burlap ready.  Amy and I  just laid our candle right on the burlap and eyeballed how much to cut in order to cover the candle.  You’re basically cutting a wide strip that is tall enough to go to the top of the candle and long enough to roll up around the candle.  Don’t worry about being too precise, after the burlap is on, it’s easy to trim off extra.

Now, roll the burlap around the candle and use rubber bands or sting or twine to wrap around it so you don’t have to hold it on while you heat the candle.  Remember how I said you need a hair dryer for this craft?  Here’s where it comes in handy.  Use your heat tool (which every it may be) and carefully heat the candle with the burlap on it.  As you heat small portions press the burlap into the candle and hold it there for a few seconds to allow the wax to cool and grab the burlap.  Be careful not to hold the heat in one place too long, it will melt the wax too much and burn your finger when you press it (ouch!).  It’s better to use long strokes to heat the wax.  Go all around the candle heating and pressing until you have attached most of the burlap.  It’s not going to be a perfect snug fit (unless you are a perfectionist, in which case you have my sincere condolences) but it should hold the burlap well enough that you don’t need the rubber band to keep it on.  

Use the hot glue gun to run a line of glue down the inside of the overlapped burlap and then trim off the extra.

Trim off the excess at the top of the candle and you are ready for the fun part...

Decorate it!  Amy M and I love to do fall crafts so we pool our resources and share silk leaves, berries and ribbon and got creative.  I’ve also seen the candles where you stop at the burlap, if you’re more of a minimalist.  

They turned out great, right?  See, fun, easy, and affordable!  Keep an eye out for more burlap crafts, it’s our gobble theme!

<3, Amy M and Sharla