Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Delicious, Simple Sugar Cookies

What is it about Christmas that makes you want to make sugar cookies?  Is it the icing or fun cookie cutters?  When did the sugar cookie become THE cookie for Christmas?
I may never have the answer to that life question, but I'm fine with it!  Maybe because sugar cookies are fun to decorate and beg for children to get involved.  Or maybe Santa sent out a memo declaring it as his favorite cookie.  Who knows?  Who cares?  Let's get on with the cookies...

I found the perfect sugar cookie recipe from Life, Love & Sugar.  Make this cookie exactly as the woman tells you.  You won't regret it.  It's slightly soft, slightly sweet, and holds it shape.
I used a moose cookie cutter (because all other Christmas cutters were hiding) and got 16 moose cookies and one round cookie. [You'll notice in a later picture there is one less moose cookie.  It needed to be consumed for quality control.]

My childhood nickname was Marla Moose, so I collected moose items from childhood through teenage years.  This moose cookie cutter was a gift and has been around for awhile.  I use it as a tree ornament, so I just had to grab it off the tree and wash it off to start making my cookies.

I used store bought chocolate icing and homemade strawberry icing.  Then added some sprinkles!

I only put a dab of chocolate icing on most of the cookies, because the cookie itself is really the star of the show.  It has such a great shape and great taste, and I didn't want the chocolate icing to overpower the cookie.

After I took a bite of the strawberry iced cookie, I decided that was the real winner.  The super sweet strawberry icing with the sugar cookie is a perfect combination.  I may have to dip the moose antlers in strawberry icing.  And their legs.  And their tails.  And my finger.

I'm putting some aside for my neighbor and for my family that's coming for Christmas, but Santa will have to find cookies at another house.  Sorry, Santa!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Gift Name Tag Ideas

If you have some last minutes gift wrapping to do and need ideas for unique name tags, here are two ideas to try out!

Let's start with the easiest first...


Everyone loves getting photos.  Pick one or two (or more!) photos of the gift recipient, and stick it on the gift.  No need to even write his/her name!
I ordered these square prints from Parabo (***$5 credit at the end of the blog post!), but since you don't have a lot of time to order photos, I suggest printing them out on cardstock at home or ordering one hour photos from Walgreens, Target, etc.  You could even order cardstock prints from Staples or another office supply store.  These are just fun little pictures to stick on the fridge or a bulletin board.

Second idea:


I made these ornaments on my embroidery machine, but you could make ornaments out of ANYTHING!  Decorate glass ornaments, have your kids watercolor on paper and then cut snowflake shapes, make cookies for each person and stick it in a plastic bag with their name on in it...the possibilities are endless!
How I did it: I embroidered on felt and used a tear-away backing.  I left the backing on and cut around the designs.  The backing helped maintain some stiffness and shape.  I glued ribbon on the back to make a hoop to hang the designs as ornaments.

I think there's something fun about personalizing gift wrapping for each person.  It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.  Get creative!

***For $5 off your Parabo order, use code RIOYDB

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Embroidered Christmas Outfits for Harlow

We're busy enjoying December over here!  Our Christmas shopping is done, but presents still need to be wrapped.  The house is decorated, and Harlow has some outfits to celebrate the season!
We found this Christmas elf at Lowe's the other night.  She was quite taken with the nutcracker inflatable...and every other inflatable we had to walk up to and visit.

I embroidered two Christmas shirts for her from lynniepinnie.com.  I love the designs from that site, and they have great sales!
If you've ever read any of my other embroidery posts, then you know I like to embroider the designs not directly on the onesie.  Since these are for my daughter and she won't fit in these onesies next year, I like to have the ability to use a seam ripper to remove the design and sew it onto another shirt.  And that means I can reuse the onesie if we ever have another kid.  Frugality for the win!
After embroidering the pattern, I hand stitched them onto a piece of fabric and then used my sewing machine to sew that fabric on the onesie.
When I took these pics, the shirts hadn't been washed since being embroidered.  I like that when they are washed, the plaid frays a bit around the edges.  I stitch them so it will leave room for some fraying.  I'm wild like that.

It was hard for me to only make two shirts for her.  There are so many cute Christmas designs!

You can find the designs here:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Outfit (Embroidered Shirt & Feather Hair Clip)

When I started planning Harlow's Thanksgiving outfit, I looked for teepee designs.  Colin's family has Native American ancestry, and it's pretty neat to think about my daughter having that in her family history.  I love teepees and Indian images.  I found this teepee design from Planet Appliqué.
I embroidered the design on the yellow fabric then cut the fabric in a circle and stitched that on a onesie using my sewing machine.  I left the edges to fray a bit.  I like that I can use a seam ripper to remove the circle and use for a different project when she outgrows this onesie.

The font for Harlow's name is a font that comes on my embroidery machine.

I glued some craft feathers to the circle using fabric glue (you could also hand stitch them on).

I made a matching bow by gluing (with E-6000 glue) craft feathers to a hair clip.
I love both the shirt and clip so much that she will probably be sporting both well past Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a great week celebrating Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Snag An Affordable Hotel

There are two apps I use when looking for an affordable place to stay on vacation.
The first app is Hotel Tonight.  You need a smartphone to use this site, but it's easy to use and has saved me a lot of money! AND I have a coupon below for you!
The first time I used Hotel Tonight, I was looking for a hotel room in Los Angeles.  Colin and I went to California for my friend's wedding, and we had one night to stay in LA and wanted to be in the middle of lots of tourists sites to squeeze in all we could in walking distance.
We stayed at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd.  The first ever Academy Awards was held in this hotel!  Marilyn Monroe lived here for two years and had her first magazine shoot here.  Clark Gable had a penthouse here!  You can't get anymore Hollywood than this hotel!  It was beautiful, in the center of lots of tourist spots, and generally just pretty cool.

A room through a booking website rents for about $300.  Using the Hotel Tonight app, we paid $99!

Another time I went to Dallas for work and needed a cheap hotel since my boutique (meaning me) was footing the bill.  Using Hotel Tonight, I paid $35 to stay The Sheraton Dallas Hotel by the Galleria, another really nice hotel in a desirable part of town.  Rooms start at $150 without the app.
You need to be a bit flexible to use this app.  A limited list of hotels is offered, and you can only book up to a few days in advance.  I think it's worth flying by the seat of your pants to use this app (and that's coming from a planner and non-procrastinator…love to save money, y'all!).

When you download the Hotel Tonight app, use promo code MSTANTON and you'll get $25 off your first hotel booking!


The second app is Airbnb.  You don't have to have a smartphone for this.  You can head on over to their website.
I haven't used Airbnb yet, but I have created wish lists of places I want to visit!  We're wanting to take a little trip to Memphis sometime soon since it's just a couple hours away.  We love Memphis.  My other wish list is places to stay in Paris.  It's my lifelong dream to visit Paris!

Airbnb is different, because you're not staying in a hotel.  You're staying in people's homes!  Sometimes people have an extra space in their home to rent out, and sometimes they have an entire house or apartment available.  You can read reviews on the space from past renters.  It's great, because it's usually much more affordable than a hotel, it offers a larger space, and you can learn about great spots to visit from the locals you're renting from!  

I'd love to hear if you use Airbnb and have any tips!
If you're new to Airbnb, head on over to the app or website, and use promo code MSTANTON107 to get a $20 credit!

Do you have other apps or websites you use to book your travel plans?  Let me know, because I'm all about a good deal!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Get Paid to Shop (for items you already buy!)

There are two apps I've been using for the last few months that PAY me for items I buy when I shop.  I upload a picture of my receipt, and they pay me for items.
That's it!  Easy.  FREE!

Don't have a smartphone?  You can use their websites!

The first app is Checkout 51.
This app is a bit limited in rebate selection.  You select which items you have bought and upload your receipt.
When you reach $20, you can cash out!  The cash back per item is about any where from 25 cents per item to $1.00 per item.  Little by little it adds up, though.  Each month they also have a $500 drawing if you have a grocery receipt over $60.

The next app (and my favorite) is ibotta.
You can search rebates by category or store.  I shop most frequently at Kroger, so here's what it looks like when I look for rebates.

I use the app the lazy way.  I shop for what I need and then come back and see if anything I bought has a rebate offer.  Most rebates are only 20 cents, but it adds up!
You could make a lot more money if you looked at the app before you went shopping and used that to influence what you bought.  Going to buy spaghetti sauce?  See if there's a rebate offered for a certain brand, and then buy that brand.  I would only do it that way if it wasn't going to be more expensive in the end, of course.

I've been able to make money on items before when I've found the item on sale, plus used a coupon, then gotten a rebate on ibotta!

You can get a check or gift cards or paypal cash on ibotta.

If you click my referral link (here: https://ibotta.com/r/hn5gba), I'll get a $4 referral credit, and you get $1 credit after your first rebate.  BUT I got an email from ibotta telling me that if you start using the app now, you'll get a $10 Welcome Bonus after your first rebate!!! I'm not sure how long they're offering that discount, so I'd run and sign up!

Once you sign up, you'll get a referral code that you can share with your friends!

Yay for rebates!

I know Walmart has a rebate app; are there any more out there I should know about?  I'm going to use my rebate money to help with Christmas shopping!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Colin's Birthday: Pool Party & Butterbeer Cupcakes

What better way to celebrate my husband's birthday than with an indoor pool party and Harry Potter inspired cupcakes?!  Yes, it was for adults (and our baby) :)

We had the pleasure of swimming at the new pool at the University of Central Arkansas.  We played basketball and climbed a rock wall that falls into the pool.  If you live near UCA and are wanting to host a pool party, I recommend using this aquatic center!

Instead of having a cake, we have cupcakes-- butterbeer cupcakes!  If you have never read or seen Harry Potter, then you may not know anything about butterbeer.  It's a drink in the books/movies.  I found a recipe for butterbeer cupcakes and knew I had to make them, since Colin is a Harry Potter fan.

The cupcakes were soooo good!  I found the recipe here.

While it may have seemed like a party for a kid, all of us adults had a great time!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Harlow's First Birthday- Crown & Headband

The birthday girl got a crown for her birthday!  Everyone has this crown at their home-- it's made from a toilet paper roll!
Take the cardboard from a finished roll of toilet paper, cut the top to resemble the top of a crown, paint it pink, paint glitter on top, cut a small slit to slip a hair clip in-- Voila!

For her birthday party, I made Harlow a felt flower crown.  Here were some sites of inspiration: tiny turbans and VictoriasClass.

I searched Pinterest for tutorials on how to make different styles of felt flowers.
I hand-stitched buttons on some of the flowers and stitched sequins and beads on some of the leaves.

I then used a combination of fabric glue and hand-stitching to attach the flowers and leaves to a strip of felt.
I laid a piece of floral wire on the back of the strip of felt and glued another strip of felt on top.  This allowed the flowers to bend to the shape of Harlow's head.

I glued a hair clip to the center of the finished felt strip and clipped it to a stretchy headband that I purchased.
I used floral wire in two other places to attach the crown to the headband so it wouldn't move.

Grown-ups can wear these too, right?

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