Monday, November 25, 2013

Matt's Favorite - Cathedral Windows

Mr. Matt loves sugar. He doesn't just enjoy sweet things; he somehow knows which sweet things have the highest sugar content (and lowest nutritional value) and prefers those snacks. Example - Cathedral Windows. Really nothing more than chocolate covered sugar. These are super easy to make, so I don't mind making a batch. Mr. Matt lucked out this weekend, too - I needed a couple of pictures of my Cathedral Windows for a post on another blog, so I had to throw some together. Whenever I have to do something like this, I recruit Linda as my model.

Really, these couldn't be easier. You start with one back of chocolate chips and one bag of mini, colored marshmallows. I use a large glass bowl to make my own double boiler.

Turn the heat to high, letting the water boil, and stir constantly. You want the chips to melt into a puddle of smooth, chocolatey goodness.

After your chips have melted, add the bag of marshmallows. Mix together until all of the marshmallows are thoroughly coated.

Next, tear off a 2.5-3" long section of waxed paper. Pour your mixture onto the paper. Spread the mixture down the length of the paper, then wrap the paper around your marshmallows (creating a log).

Tuck your log into the freezer for an hour or two (until firm). Or, if you live in the tundra like me, put it outside for an hour. Once it's firm (you should be able to wave it around like a sword), unwrap it on a cutting board.

Now for the fun - making the windows. Slice the log into 1/2" sections. You now have individual windows! (Sorry I don't have a better picture. I gave most of these away, and when I returned to take a picture of the few remaining windows, they were gone. Matt apologizes and said it would be okay with him if I had to make another batch to get a better photo).

This was the first time Linda had made or eaten Cathedral Windows, and now she's a fan too!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

And the crafting continues, snowman-style

A couple of years ago Matt and I bought Linda a ceramic snowman for Christmas. She never got around to painting it, but when I came home the other day she had everything out and ready to go. Problem: after two years those little tubs of paint turn into solid masses of color.

So, about week later we made it to JoAnn's and picked up so more paint. Linda found some pastel and glitter paint that she really liked. Finally, the painting commences.

Viola! A sparkling, pink-coated snowman for the winter season! That's not all, though. Linda also picked up some items to paint for Christmas presents. I'll have to wait to show you those.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Getting Festive

Linda and Matt share a passion for holiday decorations. It doesn't matter which holiday - 4th of July, Christmas, Sweetest Day - so long as they can find a decoration for it. If we can't find a decoration, we don't have a problem making our own.

Recently my sister created a fabric wreath for Halloween:

Growing Up Gabel
We don't celebrate Halloween, but I liked the idea behind the wreath: fabric and a wreath form. What could be easier? Linda and I trotted on down to Joann's to see what we could find for fall and Christmas.

My sister bought 1.25 yards each of five different fabrics for her 16" wreath form, but she had a ton of fabric left, so Linda and I hit the remnant shelf first to see what we could find. We bought five different fabrics for each wreath (a mixture of prints and solids), and we bought 12" forms.

The remnants ranged from 0.33-1.0 yards, then we purchased 0.5 yards of the other fabrics. Based on my sister's experience, I cut my material into 1" x 6.5" strips. DISCLAIMER: My sister used a rotary cutter, but she didn't tell me that. I had to use scissors, which is a MUCH longer process. However, it worked very well to measure a 13" wide section and cut that in half. I then took each 6.5" strip and continually halved it until I ended up with 1" pieces.

It took a while, but I cut strips while watching TV, so it wasn't bad. After I had everything cut, I gave the pieces to Linda and turned her loose. Her fingers would get tired and she had to take a couple of breaks, but she kept at it.

Linda tied the strips to the second ring from the outside (the third largest). When she finished, the wreath was fully covered and there was still a pile of cloth (and I hadn't even cut all of the fabric yet). I had roughly 2.25 yards of fabric for the fall wreaths, and it was enough to make two.

We haven't started the Christmas wreaths yet because we need to buy a couple more forms. She's pretty excited about making more, especially now that we know we'll be able to keep one at the house and give one away!

I'm most excited about the fact that we can make these wreaths for any occasion. As long as Joann's keeps making holiday-themed fabrics, we're in business.

Our chiropractor - Linda decided to give her second wreath to Dr. Brad of Back on Track. You can see it there this month!