Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Read It Forward: Three Free Books

I read the Hey, It’s Free blog when I have time in order to discover all sorts of free wonders to be had. Today I discovered three new free books and thought I’d quick tell you about the opportunity in case you don’t know about this wondrous blog.

Sponsored by Crown Publishing
Group, their Read It Forward program provides an opportunity for you to get free books here and there. The title says it all—read and pay the opportunity forward by giving the book(s) to someone else to enjoy.

Source: Crown Publishing Group

The offer lasts only as long as the limited number of copies available. Don’t stall, my friends, hustle over there right now and then make your way to Hey, It's Free to find other items you may like. Click here for the books.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Blessings Friday: Christmas 2009

Source: The Graphics Fairy blog

Merry Christmas to all of you—my husband and I wish you an abundance of blessings!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Almost Elf Time

It’s Christmas Eve and this afternoon my husband and I will pretend to be elves and deliver our last little gifts to nearby friends and neighbors.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

We’ll deliver the Magic Reindeer Feed and Rudolph’s Spare Red Noses I made to all the neighborhood children. But we haven’t forgotten their parents; we’ll give them a copy of Richard Paul Evan’s book The Christmas Box as well as a tin of Cinnamon Toast Pecans I made and the recipe in case they want to try making some themselves.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved. Holly sprigs graphic from The Graphics Fairy blog

I converted Paula Deen’s recipe to a card for my recipe box. Click on the picture to enlarge for saving to your computer and printing. For gifting with the pecan treats, I printed the recipe on cardstock, made decorative corners, and backed it with a piece of dark-red cardstock.

All the little gifts are lined up on the pool table, ready for stuffing in our elf sacks (no, we really don't have elf sacks), and off we'll go just when the sun is starting to go down and the Christmas lights come on in all the houses. I love Christmas Eve!

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve and enjoy all the magic this night brings to the world.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kitchen Measurement Conversion Charts

My presents are made and wrapped, the house is ready, and this week is when I can enjoy some leisurely baking. Yesterday I shared some recipes I like to make at Christmas. Anna at Thimbleanna asked for measurement conversions to U.S. standard for the shortbread recipe. I have provided those in the comments section for that post.

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After thinking about Anna’s request and the number of recipes I have requiring conversion, I decided to make some simple conversion charts using measurements from one of my cookbooks.

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I printed them on magnetic paper last night and stuck them on my fridge. The banner graphic came from Karen at The Graphics Fairy blog. Now I have an easily available resource when using recipes originating outside the U.S.

Just click on the pictures to make them larger for printing on magnetic paper. I’ve also created a PDF version in case you prefer that; it’s available here and in the Tutorials section on my sidebar. I hope this small project helps in your Christmas food projects.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recipes and Sewing Mrs. Claus’ New Bag

Holiday Recipes

All my Christmas preparations are done and all I’m doing now is having some fun in the kitchen, baking a bit here and cooking a bit there. I’m having a lovely, relaxing time.

On a recent trip to Michaels to get some craft supplies since there’s still at least one tiny nook in my house not yet inundated with creative tools, I found holiday recipe boxes on sale. I could make such a box as I did for Halloween a couple of years ago, but the ones at Michaels were cute, cheap, and ready to go.

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Packages of gaily-designed recipe cards were tucked in the $1 bins, so I grabbed a bunch of those along with two of the recipe boxes. One box and packages of recipe cards will go to my daughter Lindsay. Now I’m pulling out holiday recipes from my computer archives to put on my card set to store in my new box.

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Here are a few recipe cards I’ve made in the past in case you’re seeking to add to your own collection. This card was put in use yesterday to make Yule Bread in honor of Winter Solstice.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved. Recipe card graphic purchased from The Vintage Workshop.

Pfeffernuesse—German peppernut cookies are one of my all-time favorites. After living in Germany twice and being spoiled by the glorious Weihnachten traditions there, I cannot survive without these delectable cookies each year.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved. Recipe card graphic purchased from The Vintage Workshop.

Shortbread is my husband’s favorite, so he’s now stocked up with this treat for awhile.

Mrs. Claus’ New Bag

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Mrs. Claus (that would be me) needed a new red-and-white bag, so I’ve made one exactly like the Japanese Knot Bag I made last year for a blog giveaway using the free tutorial at Show Your Workings.

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I’ve been thinking about that bag since my giveaway and wanted one for myself; thank goodness I still had some of the same fabric in my stash. I love that the bag is reversible, so Mrs. Claus can enjoy whichever side makes her happy on any given day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shenry’s Christmas VI CD Swap: “Whoopee with Sass”

Warning: Dear Gentle Readers who expect a safe crafty subject today. It’s not. Don’t read if you’re easily offended. If you do choose to read, please don’t fuss at me later; I’ve tried to keep it somewhat under control.

Once again, I’ve participated in Shenry's annual Christmas CD Swap. The theme this year was challenging for me, one of his suggested considerations was “Orgasmalanche” and another Michael Jackson. I had to ask a friend what the first term meant.

Source: I received it in an email the other day, but it originates at parodyville.com

Since Michael Jackson really doesn’t do anything at all for me, I worked on the “Orgasmalanche” theme—which was rather brave of me considering it’s a public display of naughtiness. It’s probably good the mostly young people in the swap learn we old folks still have a life, y’know. This can be my good deed on behalf of baby boomers everywhere. My CD is titled “Whoopee with Sass”.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

We’re tasked to explain our music choices on our blogs—awkward for me as I keep such subjects private and do not write about them. However, I chose to accept the challenge and am endeavoring to meet the established parameters.

In considering my play list, I contemplated … uh … making love … as a type of bell curve where everything starts slow and easy, somewhat tentative. Then it all gets much more energetic and builds to a peak—enough said about that bit. Then the bell curve turns downward to cuddling time. Everyone’s different, but this is my world view of such matters and my musical offerings reflect this perception.

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If I’m going to put brazen music CDs into the hands of the other participants, I figured I could at least make everything look pretty. I used a CD Kit from Chronicle Books (various versions can be found cheaper at Amazon.com) to create my gift set offerings and printed my play list on pink paper.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blessings Friday: Recycling Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are filling up our mailbox, but what do we do with the cards after the holidays? The subject has been discussed on many blogs and just the other day Finnyknits offered a couple of new ideas. Today I thought I’d continue the virtual conversation.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens magazine, December 2009

Last night I remembered this magazine article I’d recently read, so I dug it out and scanned it into my computer to share with you. It’s a lovely charitable idea to consider.

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Yesterday I used tutorials found at Chica and Jo’s blog to make a note pad and a matchbook-style note pad out of two recycled cards. My little test projects went well and were very fast to make.

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Here’s another view so you can see the end of the cat note pad where it’s edged with padding compound to make pages that you can tear off. I wanted to keep the sentiment in the matchbook-style pad so I was careful how I cut the card. This one will go in my knitting bag for making notations about what row I’m on at any given time.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

A couple of years ago I posted a tutorial about making small origami gift boxes out of old cards, perfect for tiny gifts like candies or jewelry.


  • Craft Christmas ornaments with Junk Mail Gems
  • Create a recycled Christmas card banner
  • Crochet card edges to make new cards at FaveCrafts
  • Finnyknits makes a yearly post sharing creative card recycling projects: 2009, 2008, 2007
  • Make origami greeting card boxes with me (a PDF link is listed in my Tutorials in the sidebar)
  • Many project ideas may be found at Chica and Jo’s blog
  • Recycled Card Program at St. Jude’s Ranch
  • Use the cards in rubber stamping projects at About.com
The blessings of receiving cards at any holiday or special occasion are double-fold—we can also use the cards later to continue the love.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Peppermint Stick Planter

In the December 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens’ Christmas Ideas magazine, I saw a project involving decorating a square glass vase with candy canes (page 10, article entitled “Merry in Minutes”). The finished vase was filled with fresh red carnations anchored in floral foam. I decided to give this idea a try.

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Using Bob’s Peppermint Sticks bought at Cracker Barrel for 99 cents per bag, I hot glued each candy stick to the sides of a square glass vase. It’s sealed with clear acrylic spray. Then I put a wired red velvet ribbon edged with white around the base, hot gluing it in a couple of places so it won’t slip off.

Instead of fresh flowers, I planted a small rosemary plant in my new vase. Not only does the rosemary look like a small Christmas tree, it's useful in the kitchen and has a wonderful fragrance.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

UFO Christmas ATC Exchange

My UFO (Unfinished Objects) craft group met last Saturday for our Christmas breakfast and ATC exchange.

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A few members didn’t make it do to scheduling conflicts, but what fun cards I received.

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I made a two-photo collage of Margie’s card so you can see the front and back.

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Here is the card I gave each of our members which I tucked into a little gift bag with some other goodies. Each card element has special meaning to me—all equating to love:
  • The card I made to represent my love for all things mermaid.
  • A sand dollar from my collection of those my mother and I gathered over the years from our home beach in N.C.
  • A bit of sand from the beach in Destin, FL which my husband and I collected on the day of our wedding and I keep in a sealed plastic tub.
  • A tiny sea shell I call a unicorn’s horn which means good luck. My husband and I found a bunch of these on a beach in Mexico on our first anniversary.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BYOB 2009 Ornaments

We had a huge group for this year’s annual BYOB (Blow Your Own Ball) party my sister Connie and I host each year at Sonoran Glass Art Academy. We love this annual opportunity to make our own glass ornaments. I don’t have pictures of everyone’s finished projects, but I can share some of mine.

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This one reminds me of the ocean with its serene blues and greens. I’d say it’s a favorite, but all my glass ornaments are special to me.

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While I don’t get to see holly leaves and berries sprinkled with snow here in Tucson, this ornament will serve as a reminder.

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Every mermaid needs a sea shell ornament and now I have a glass one. All that’s needed is to insert a ribbon in each ornament and hang my new treasures on our Christmas tree.

Today I have a scheduled lunch with my friend/neighbor Cindy and then I’ll take all my boxed Christmas gifts to FedEx. I ship everything each year via FedEx Ground which has proved year-after-year to be the most economical solution.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Cards

My Christmas cards are done and going out in the mail. I kept my list short this year and am only sending cards to immediate family. Postage is outrageous.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

I used blue cards edged with a scallop design, stamped them with a dark red snowflake, and added glitter highlights on the center star and each of the candlelight points. I cut dark red cardstock and wrote a personalized note. I punched two holes in the top and added a piece of ribbon. Done deal.

The weather is overcast today, but I’m going to try to get some photos done of the glass balls made for this year’s annual BYOB (Blow Your Own Ball) party my sister Connie and I hosted. If the photos work out today, I’ll share them tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blessings Friday: Simple Gifts

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The magic of the Random Number Generator has decreed Commenter 16 as the winner of my giveaway for a copy of One-Yard Wonders: 101 Fabulous Fabric Projects.

Congratulations Jen of Dry Active Beast blog! Please send me an email (link in right-hand column) with your snail mail address so I can send you the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about everyone’s Christmas traditions, some echo mine and some are new ideas for me to consider. One of my own traditions is attending an Annual Ladies’ Christmas Tea to which I’m invited each year. Tonight is this year’s tea.

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Another tradition is visiting various friends around town and exchanging small gifts. Tomorrow morning I’m attending a breakfast for my UFO craft group. I have small gift bags for each of them. Following that I’m meeting four other friends and have little offerings for them as well—simple key rings with glass hearts and silver charms. Sunday is going to be another opportunity to meet with friends; my gift is teaching them how to decorate clipboards and make perpetual birthday calendars.

No matter the time of year, love and friendship are the simplest gifts of all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reindeer Treats

Don’t forget about my One Yard Wonders book giveaway—here’s the link if you want to get your name entered into the drawing. The deadline is Thursday night and the winner will be announced on Friday.

Along with some other projects, yesterday was my day to make reindeer treats. I make these each year for the children in our family and the neighborhood.

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I use glassine bags to package Magic Reindeer Feed. There’s nothing new about this project, the recipe and graphics were found on the internet years ago. I just print everything out each Christmas and make the mix from inexpensive cereal mixed with oats.

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This year I’ve added another item to my little offerings, bags of cinnamon red hot candies labeled Rudolph’s Spare Red Noses. I’ve seen them in the stores but figured I could just make my own. There’s one more reindeer treat I’m making for the kids, but I’ve got to figure out a label for it today.

The following is not a reindeer treat, but a very small gift I made. We also went to New Orleans during our Florida Thanksgiving trip. While visiting the French Quarter, we found a penny machine at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant.

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My neighbor Cindy collects these pennies along with me, so I made a set for her. My husband took a picture in the restaurant for me and I made it into a card yesterday morning to hold the set of four pennies by making four slits in the photo. Next I backed it with cardstock and inserted the pennies. It made for a cute presentation to give her yesterday afternoon when she stopped by my house.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Kitchen Fun

Don’t forget about my One Yard Wonders book giveaway—here’s the link if you want to get your name entered into the drawing. The deadline is Thursday night and the winner will be announced on Friday.

Christmas goodies are in the works at my house. So far, I have the divinity and peanut brittle made for my mother-in-law who requests these treats each year.

© June Scroggin, All Rights Reserved

I packaged them in decorative boxes found in the baking section at Jo-Ann’s (Michael’s also stocks such things). The recipes I used are as follows.

Source: Recipe card purchased from The Vintage Workshop, text added by me.

Today I’m making Cinnamon Toast Pecans and Pretzel Logs (dipped in chocolate and colorful sprinkles). The pecans are going to be a hostess gift and the pretzel logs are going to be my neighbor gifts this year.