Vintage Milo and Molly: Party Etiquette

Last year I published this post after an embarrassing and disastrous event.  Total humiliation for which my face still burns red.  It is forever imprinted in my brain.  We have been invited to the same party this year, happening tonight, but have been make aware of the dress code, so my fancy black party dress is waiting and hubs and I are going together this year thanks to the grandparents, but I thought we could re-live this one together and you can have a good cringe with me.  Enjoy!

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On Saturday we were invited to three separate get-togethers: a lunch visit with friends we hadn't seen in a very long time, even though they don't live too far from us; a dinner at my cousins' house because they will be away on Cape Cod for Christmas; and an evening get-together at our neighbors' house, who dropped the invitation on us just a few days before it happened, which is typical of them, but we try and make an effort to show up.  Since the last of the three was going to start at 8pm and it was stated that all the other kids were going to one of the other neighbor's houses with a baby-sitter (poor girl), we opted to put Gus to bed and take shifts at the party, which was right around the corner.  We did the same thing on New Year's Eve last year and it worked out fine.

Cue me, taking the first shift, slightly after 8:00 because we had just gotten home from visit #2, but no one is ever on time to parties at this house anyway, and I brought Greta with me figuring everyone wanted to see her and the husband said it was ok to bring her along.  I walk in (because this is one of those just-walk-in houses) and I'm greeted by a sea of faces looking at who's interrupting their party, or so it seemed because everyone was already there in their COCKTAIL DRESSES and suits and ties.  Pardon my shouting, but I've never been so embarrassed in my whole life.

Again, there's me: out all day with two kids, jeans and a sweater (nice but not cocktail attire), hair in a disaster bun, had a baby 6 weeks ago (not that I'm out of shape- I'm surprisingly in shape, but my pants still don't quite fit).  In a sea of black and red and heels and makeup and jewelry.  I managed to get out of there in under an hour, citing Greta's fussing/need to be fed (because oh, yea, I brought a baby with me), promising to send the hubs back for his shift.  The hubs refused to go.  First, he didn't want to put on a suit and tie and second, he was in disbelief and a little bit angry.  He said, "You should have said something like, 'I didn't realize it was a dressy party,'" but when you are deer in the headlights, your brain doesn't always work properly.

So please, do me a favor this holiday season: if you have a party, please inform the guests of the proper attire before they make an ass out of themselves in front of people whom they don't necessarily know well, and if you go to a party, make sure you look just a little extra nice just in case.

Sculpey Clay Ornaments Tutorial {Guest Post}

I've been having so much fun swapping "vintage" posts with Pam, and I've got another one for you.  Her ornaments actually turned out well, so maybe I'd suggest not following my example and trying this instead.


Two For One: Jewerly or Onament

Hi guys.  Hope all is well on your end.  We are headlong into the hustle and bustle of Christmas here. We've been mailing prints all over the place. Making plans for our holiday menus and foods will give to others.  Enjoying Christmas movies - this weekend White Christmas and Monday, A Christmas Carol.  Isn't the hustle and bustle part of what gives us the sense of the season.....what makes us appreciate those moments of downtime with the ones we love even more special? Of course, it's good to remember to breathe. Thankfully, even though I didn't get out to the field yesterday, I received a nice reminder to 'breathe' from my pal Cari-Jane, who posted some lovely pictures of the area surrounding their new home. Just lovely, a quick virtual breather. 

Now onto some crafting my pretties.

I did this tutorial back awhile, so you may remember it. It was the first time I worked with Sculpey clay and I was quite pleased with the way it turned out. It was relatively easy. I made pendants out of it, but they can easily be converted to ornaments with the same basic tutorial. Have a go. I think you'll like the results.

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I worked with Sculpey clay for the first time this weekend. For a first go, I was pretty happy with the results. I made few pendants and a couple of small dishes that can hold jewelry or such.

Lacey Sculpey Clay

First of all, I broke of a chunk of clay and worked it until it was a little softer and could form a ball.



Then, depending on whether I was making a pendant or a dish, I rolled it out to desired size and thickeness. I have to say, if it was too thin, it didn't work as well as if it was a bit thicker. Could have been me though since it was my first time working with it.



Then I'd lay my vintage doiley over the top and roll that into the surface to make an imprint.


If you're making a pendant, make sure you poke some holes in the piece prior to baking to accomodate a chain, wax cotton or leather cord, or ribbon for wearing.

I put each piece in a glass dish and baked in the oven at 275f. The directions said 15 minutes per 1/4 inch- I'd say a bit more. However, my oven is gas and I think the fluctuation in temperature due to that had something to do with needing extra time. Now, perhaps some of you have worked with sculpey and can give me some feedback here.......I thought it would be hard upon baking for this time. It really wasn't though. It most certainly harder than when I put it it, but it could still be bent to some extent. I took each piece and and let sit overnight and everything was much better. Also, it seemed that pieces that were 1/4" thick or more came out of the oven harder. Anything thinner never seemd to harden completely. 

I love that you can press anything into the sculpey and get pretty texture. I even used starfish and shells on one.


I wore the first pendant I made to my grand-niece's birthday and my family made fun of me.  My mother said, "I like your necklace, where'd you get that?" and I told them I'd made it that morning. The reply was a little joking sarcasm from my niece...."What'd you do this morning? Oh nothing much....made myself a necklace." My mother wouldn't even believe me that I'd made it so I guess it came out pretty good.



I just strung it on some pretty gray ribbon and viola. I haven't sealed it with anything yet. Just left it plain. I'd be a bit afraid to get it wet, but I don't see that being a problem.


I like the ribbon too, because I can adjust the length depending on the neckline of what I'm wearing and that's nice to be able to do.

And, now, at Christmastime, as an ornament. Pretty either way.



This project was not high on the difficulty scale. I was happy with the results and will be trying more.

Let me know if you've worked with it before and your results, and if my issues sounded unusual. If you have any tips for working with sculpey, I'd love to hear them.

Note: Since I originally did this tutorial, I've worked with sculpey again. So far, so good. I really enjoy this medium.

Enjoy the day.

Ciao for now,

P.S. Don't forget to come by and enter to win a shop credit to Pentunia Blooms!

We Came, We Saw, We Swapped!

Today is the big reveal from the Handmade Holiday Swap!  It seems like so long ago I posted asking if people would like to do a handmade gift swap, and I got a great response!  15 of us swapped packages, up to three packages each.  The more you sent, the more you received!

The results are amazing!  I'm so impressed with the items that were shared.  I have a few photos from the swappers and I'm going to put a linky at the bottom, so if you blogged it, Facebooked it, tweeted it, Instagrammed it, etc. and want to share, just link up below!

Ok, first, here is what I sent out:

 


And what I got in return is just amazing!

From Sue at ecoleeko-a beautiful, soft stitched portrait of Casey, which hubby said he heard me gasp when I opened it, it's just that lovely.


And from Amanda at Divine Domestication- a set of embroidered linen napkins, perfect for the first-ever Christmas dinner I'm hosting at our finally finished house this year, and a cutie-patootie pair of fabric button hairclips for Greta.


Other photos from the swap:

Chaya from PearlsPlusLLC

Jodi from MagnoliaMommyMade

 from Rachel at RWKrafts

If you have a link to add, please do!


Handmade Dough Ornaments: Epic Fail

Over the course of the next week or so I was going to make and show you all of the lovely dough ornaments I've found and pinned since the last holiday season:

Cinnamon dough (source)

Corn starch dough (source)

Salt dough (source)

All of these types of dough have few ingredients and then you roll them out and cut them with cutters and press shapes into them.  Not bad, right?  Easy enough that Gus and I could make them and it would be a fun project, right?  Right??

Wrong.  I have determined that unless you are able to work in a closed environment with no other people around, and you have the entire Martha Stewart craft collection (for every possible media) and a really steady hand, these are not easy or fun.  Gus and I only got so far as the cinnamon and corn starch dough so I can't tell you anything about the salt dough, but let's just say that both seemed to mix up ok but then when it came time to roll them, they were sticking to everything and no combination of adding extra this or that seemed to help.  We only had one round biscuit cutter because I thought we had others but apparently we didn't, and we tried stamping them but that was a mild disaster.  It just didn't work for us.

Does this mean you shouldn't give the dough ornaments a try?  Not necessarily.  You may have a more suitable environment and more patience than I.  You may be kid-free.  You may actually be Martha Stewart.  And in those cases, I'm sure these will turn out just like the pictures.

As for us, we managed to salvage a few, which became decorations for the preschool teachers' gifts:

Not beautiful or perfect, but handmade with love and frustration nonetheless.

Holiday Paper Stars Tutorial

I'm so excited to have my good friend Pam visiting today with this fantastic paper star tutorial-just in time to add to your holiday decor!  Pam shared this over at Mercantile Muse last year, and I asked her if I could share it with you.


Star Shine

I have to thank Cari-Jane from HyrbridHandmade for pinning an awesome paper star tutorial on pinterest. I love it and it looked so do-able, I tried it right away.  Here's my own take on the tutorial that Cari-Jane pinned. 

You'll need:

two pieces of square paper- you could use origami paper
(I used a 32 lb. printer paper)
scissors
glue
ruler
string, ribbon or twine

I printed off one of my illustration designs to use for my paper.


Then I trimmed it to 6 x 6 like the original tutorial, but you could use any square size.



Fold your paper in half.



Then fold in half the other way, so you now have folds on your paper like this.



Next step is to fold corner to corner.



Again, now fold from other corner to corner so you fold lines now look like this.



On lines coming from sides (not corners), make a just shy of halfway. On my 6 x 6 square, I marked at 1.25. 


Continue until each side is marked, like this.



Cut along line to each mark.



Once lines are cut, fold over to line coming from corner. 



Do this all the way around until your paper looks like this.



Now glue one flap at each 'star' point, and pull other flap over and hold until glue is set.


Choose one point to insert twine in before completing all sides.



Complete rest of points.


You now should have a 3 dimesional star that looks like this on one side.........



........and this on the other.



Repeat this process, except for the twine, to make another star. Once you have two stars you are going to glue together. Place glue like this.



Gently press two stars together and hold in place until glue sets.



Wait 10 minutes before hanging to be sure glue is set enough.



Decorate with your new star as you see fit. 

Hang a lone star or...................




.......hang in a grouping. 



I think this is the perfect craft with the holidays coming up. I've adjusted my Chinese Lantern pattern an 8x8 size so most people can easily print it out on 8.5 x 11 paper to use for this project.  I would have tried the 8x8, but was trying to follow original tutorial.  I did use a little bit heaver 32 lb. paper, but you could certainly try it with regular copy pape. I think by the time the stars are folded and glued, it would have enough stability. 

Click below and right click to save to your computer or copy and paste into a document.


I would have tried the 8x8 paper design, but was doing my best to follow original tutorial to a T.  FYI- I did use a little bit heavier 32 lb. printer paper, but you could certainly try it with regular printer paper. I think by the time the stars are folded and glued, it would have enough stability.

What are you waiting for? Give it a try!

This week you get two back-to-back tutorials because tomorrow finds Stacey  from A Sort Of Fairytale and Maggie Jane's Vintage taking on the Muse's Be Our Guest post and wait until you see the card-tags she's going to show us how to make.  They're a ton of fun! 

Here's wishing you a wonderful Monday. Start your week off with a bang.


Thanks, Pam!
Make sure you stop by and say hi to Pam!

Holiday Tradition: Shortbread {Recipe}

Last year, I did this guest spot for Liz at The Blue Eyes Owl, and I wanted to share it with you!

When Liz asked about people's unique holiday traditions, I was thinking, well, we have family traditions, but there's nothing really super-special about it, except that we get to spend it together.  My mom's family is quite large and we spend Christmas eve together, and then my dad's family, which is not exactly small either, spends Christmas day together.  It's really fun to get to see most all of our family within a 2-day span.

Anyway, as I started thinking about it, I realized that I do make a special treat each year in honor of my dad's family heritage.  His parents were both Scottish immigrants who came over in the 1920s.  Though I never got to meet my grandfather, when we would visit my grandmother, she always made strong tea for the grown-ups (and had a nice plaid tea cozy for the pot) and had cookies ready.  Shortbread has always been a favorite of my dad's, and my mom and I would often get him a box of Walker's for Christmas or his birthday (which are two weeks apart).

Years later, I started making shortbread for him and my uncles every Christmas.  I have a recipe from Good Housekeeping 1999 that I have found to be the best and I've made it every year since.  It is very easy to make- only four ingredients- even for the most hesitant baker. GH calls it pastry-like, but I would refer to it more as crumbly and flaky.  Great with a cup of tea.

Scottish Shortbread

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened (No substitutions! Margarine will make it chewy.)
1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a square 9" by 9" metal pan with foil. (8" x 8" is ok, too- just adjust your baking time to account for thickness.)


In a large bowl, with a mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.


With clean hands, mix flour and baking powder into butter mixture just until crumbs form.  Do not overwork the dough or it will be tough.



Pat the crumbs into the baking pan.  (As done by my helper.)


 With a fork, prick the dough all over in a decorative pattern.  Or straight lines if you're me.


Bake shortbread 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Use the foil to lift the baked shortbread out of the pan.  


Transfer to a cutting board, and while still warm, cut the shortbread into 3 strips, then cross cut it into 8 strips (24 pieces total). Cool pieces completely on a wire rack.  Store the cookies in a tightly covered container up to 1 week.  I'm going to freeze mine until Christmas.


See?  Nothing to it.  I hope you decide to give these a try.  They are a great, classic holiday treat.  Enjoy!