So... for the last week or so, my house has looked like the holidays threw up all over it. And not in a good way. This time of year is always a bit nutty for us... there are always giant deadlines to meet in our business. (Brad has a music video due to the label this Tuesday and I have 2 big movies I'm working on.) It's not unusual for us to be at the office on Christmas Eve. And, of course, there's always the general holiday stress. Both of our families are from Arizona, so we have to travel every year for Christmas and Hanukkah. And there's all of the holiday parties. And then there's the gifting. Which I always try to outdo myself from the previous year. And I end up exhausted. (Why do I do this to myself? I must be insane.) So, we have no tree, no holiday lights outside of our house, no menorah... we look like the grinches of our neighborhood. And there is mess all over the place, between the wrapping, cooking, gifting, and building. But, I did do quite a bit of DIY for Hanukkah this year, and since my husband's family is celebrating it today, I figure I can finally share it with you :-). My husband's family is pretty big, so I always try to do one little thing for each family to kind of bulk out the gift-giving. This year, I found this amazing peppermint bark recipe on Pinterest and decided it would be perfect as a small extra gift for everyone. (For those of you who follow me on Pinterest, it's in my "Yum Yum" category.) It was seriously the easiest thing I've ever "baked". Limited ingredients and super fast... my kind of cooking. I got this little candy silicon mold from Amazon that looks like a present and got cooking. Here they are about halfway done with the chocolate and peppermint layer completed: And after the milk chocolate was in the mold and refrigerated for 20 minutes, I put the white chocolate layer on top of it and chilled it for another 30 minutes. As a side note, I just used milk chocolate and white chocolate chips, melted with 1 TB of vegetable oil per cup of chips. I also poured a little bit of peppermint extract in with the vegetable oil so it could melt into the chips. BTW, no double boiler for this girl. I put the ingredients into a measuring cup and threw it into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until it was melted. That's how we roll here at Casa Strickman. We are rebels. There were also some broken up peppermint candies mixed in to the chocolate mixtures and also added to the bottom of the candies for some extra crunch. And, I must say, my little bite-sized barks turned out super cute and amazing. Another fun project for me was creating custom name tags for all of the gifts this year using my Silhouette SD. I got it as a gift for myself a few months ago, and I absolutely love it. (I do wish the software was a bit more user friendly, but I'm getting to know it more and more every day. Maybe it's just my ignorance of the new program, but I really wish it worked more like Photoshop!) Anyway, back to the custom labels. I wanted something fun and colorful that could jazz up the brown paper wrapping we used on everyone's presents this year. I got a pack of scrapbooking paper from JoAnns (50% off to begin with, then with an additional 40% off coupon - score!) and designed a template for my gift tags in Silhouette Studio. Once they were printed out, I attached them to our gifts with some colorful ribbon and voila... cute little somethin' somethin's to add to our gifts. (I've made the silhouette template available for download to anyone who wants it. All you have to do is change out the initials and print. Click OPD Custom Gift Tags for Silhouette SD (873) to download.) I also added the name tags to the jars of bark bites that I made. (The jars are from Ikea, $3 each. Love!) And, of course, I couldn't go an entire holiday season without building something. That would be so unlike me. Believe it or not, I've actually been building up a storm lately. It's just been a lot of larger, more complicated projects, which is why I haven't posted any of them yet. So, it was so nice when Ana posted her thumb chairs last week. Easiest build ever. Took me about 2 hours per chair that I made after work, and I made them entirely out of scrap wood. (The only thing I bought was the green spray paint. Awesome gifts for 2 boys for under $5? Sweet!) BTW, I can't believe that Ana's chairs are the exact same color. I checked out her post again after I painted and was shocked. I guess blue/green is a popular color combo! That about wraps up the DIY for me this season... what have you guys been up to? Any holiday cooking? Building? Fun DIY projects? I must say, it's so fun to DIY for someone you know will love and appreciate it. Even more fun than DIYing for yourself!
I'm not exactly sure when we lost all of our closet doors, but when we moved into our house almost a year and a half ago, only one of our four bedrooms had them. (Then again, our house didn't have floors, either, so at that point I wasn't so picky.) I'm going to guess that they were trashed in the first round of construction before we even purchased the house, because the only "before" picture I can find of our master bedroom is this one from our appraisal: Just looking at that and knowing it was one of the better rooms in the house makes me wonder why no one had me committed back then. Continue reading "Cutting and Frosting Glass"