Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

DIY Gifts- Vanilla Extract & Cookie Jars January 28, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 1:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

A long while ago, in October I instagramed this photo:

jars

Homemade Gifting 2014 Begins

I did follow through with my plan and I made homemade vanilla extract and cookie jars for my friends.  The vanilla was simple but time intensive so you do need to plan ahead for it.  The cookies were easy to put together and hopefully a nice treat for people who don’t like to measure everything when they are baking.  Here is the finished product:

finsihed

I didn’t want to post about these before Christmas because it would spoil the surprise, but how perfect would these be for a Valentine’s gift?!  First let me tell you about the vanilla.  I researched this quite a bit because I was amazed you could make your own vanilla extract.  There are exactly 2 ingredients necessary for this creation: vanilla beans and vodka!  I ordered the beans off Amazon.  I planned to use Quart sized Ball jars for the cookies so I grabbed two of them to make the vanilla in.  The first step is to slice the beans lengthwise and then in half.  I had a total of 25 beans.  I will warn you that this process is a bit sticky and awkward since the beans have a tough skin.  After a few beans, I really got the hang of it and it became easier.

beans

I placed have the beans in one jar and then started pouring in the vodka.  Once each jar was filled, I tightened the lids and placed them in a cool dark place.  I bottled on October 26th so there was plenty of time between then and Christmas for the vodka to take in the vanilla flavor.  Each week I would give the jars a good shake so the flavor would be stronger.  When Christmas was pretty close I decided to bottle the vanilla.  I struggled with how to strain the beans, but in the end I used my metal colander and coffee filters.  Once it was filtered, I used a funnel to pour the vanilla extract into the amber bottles and added a bean to each bottle to increase flavor further.

Next piece of my handmade gift is the cookie jars.  The idea here is that each ingredient for a cookie recipe is premeasured and included so all someone has to do is mix the contents of the jar with some butter, egg, and vanilla and their cookies are ready to go in the oven! The hardest part was actually choosing a cookie recipe.  I wanted to choose something I would want to eat so when I found the Christmas Crunch Cookie recipe and the only thing I disliked was white chocolate chips, I decided to go with it.  I simply switched that part of the recipe to milk chocolate chips instead.  The only tip I have here is to make sure to tamp down all the ingredients after you add them to the jar.  You can see in the picture below I used an ice cream scoop.  You can also see in the picture next to it, how much higher the flour is when I didn’t tamp it down.  It was annoying to do, but all the ingredients won’t all fit if you don’t take that step.

jars 1

Last thing was the presentation of the jar.  Since the ribbon on the tags I bought were too short, I just taped the ribbon to the top of the jar’s lid.  Then I decided to use red tissue paper to cover the taped top of the jar.  I started by cutting two layers of tissue into squares.  Then I screwed the lid on to make indentation in the tissue, removed the lid, cut out the new shape of the tissue and screwed the lid back on.  I think they turned out pretty cute!  Lastly, I printed the recipe and taped it to my Joy Tag.

jars 2

If you are interested in this particular cookie recipe, I found it through Pinterest and it linked me to Katy & Abby’s blog- Blue Eyed Bakers.  Here is the recipe.  Remember I changed the white chocolate chips to milk chocolate!

Christmas Crunch Cookies:
The Jar Contains:

¼ cup sugar

 

 

½ cup M&Ms

½ packed brown sugar ½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cups flour ½ cup rice krispies
¾ tsp baking soda ½ cup chocolate chips
¼ tsp baking powder


Instructions:
Beat together ½ cup butter, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 1 egg in a large bowl.
Add the contents of the jar and stir until well mixed (the dough will be crumbly).
Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°
for 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden.

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Creative Wrapping December 21, 2010

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 10:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sarah loves crafting, Karla loves baking and Kate loves shopping.  What’s my love at Christmas time?  Wrapping!

There is always regular wrapping paper and that ribbon you can make curlier with scissors.  I mean at least it’s wrapped, right?  But occasionally when I have some time I like to go the extra mile and really do a present up!  It’s a great opportunity to be creative.  Not that I have a lot of time available with a new job and tons of holiday events going on… but I enjoy the wrapping of a present so much I thought I’d take a little time this Christmas season to come up with three different ways to get creative with wrapping:

1.  Use something besides traditional ribbon.
In this case I used yarn with some pretty button embellishments along with yarn poufs.  I have a lot of yarn around my apartment (it’s the main element I craft with for my Etsy shop) so I might as well use it!  You could use many items…colored tape, twine, an old necklace, the list goes on and on.  I took a short cut and hot-glued the buttons and yarn poufs to the middle of the bows.

2.  Gift Bags are a great way to wrap strangely shaped items.

This plain brown bag is stamped and covered with a green metallic embossing powder.  I love the shiny look it gives off and it makes it look more store bought.  I also love the opportunity to make my own pattern.  You can do a repeating pattern like I did or do a single stamp.  This is a very fast project and looks like a lot of work to others.

 

 

3.  Tissue Paper Wrapping is an inexpensive substitute for traditional wrapping paper.

This is white tissue paper stamped with Brilliance Ink in the Peacock color and a whimsical stamp.  Again you can make any pattern you’d like!   It’s a very untraditional look yet could be considered Christmas-y.  I needed to use a few layers of the tissue so no one could see what the gift is.  Then I used a fun pom pom ribbon to tie the whole gift together.

What creative ideas do you have for wrapping?

 

Stampin’ Up Some Holiday Cheer December 16, 2010

My teacher friend Penny is a salesperson for the company Stampin Up.  I flippin love to craft and make things, so Penny and I became close over my first 3 years teaching at our school (almost too close, because our friendship cost me everytime I ordered something from one of the Stampin’ Up catalogs hehe).  Some of my favorite days at school were when Penny organized after school stampin’ classes in her classroom where we’d make holiday-themed cards.  At first, I never wanted to give my cards away, because they were so cute and I had worked so hard on them that I was afraid if I gifted them to anyone they wouldn’t appreciate the full effort that went into them! But I got over that.  The trick was to find people who are also crafty who truly understood the beauty of each “work of art.”

When I got Penny’s email about her holiday classes, I knew I had to get the girls to attend one!  There were several that sounded good, but the date that we were all available was for a class where you make 3 Christmas gifts with Stampin’ Up products.  Penny uses some ideas from the company, but really creates some amazing things using her tools and a lot of imagination.  When we got to her “stampin’ attic,” we were immediately excited for the crafting experience that awaited us.

First of all, you would never believe the craft room Penny has going on in her attic.  When I read that we would be having the class in her “stampin’ attic,” I sort of thought it was just a cutesy name for a room she used to craft.  But I was wrong; this room is MADE for crafting and nothing else!  I want one someday: the walls covered in organizers with drawers for every piece of crafting material a girl could dream of, and any remaining space adorned with cards and projects Penny has handcrafted.  It was my own personal slice of heaven.

This class reintroduced me to the familiar feeling of not wanting to actually gift my gifts to anyone because I loved them so much.  We made a cloth pin that I swear could sell for bundles in a boutique, an applique coffee mug with an adorable paper-crafted tag and cocoa/mocha mix inside, and a set of elegant red and white stationery in a handmade box with a satin bow on top.  Everything was a joy to make, and the best part about it was that over crafting we were all able to bond and conversate!  If only I had a glass of wine in my hand, again, a slice of heaven.

Hard at work on our gifts

I think I can speak for all 3 of us Uncharted bloggers who attended this class on Tuesday when I say we will certainly be going back for more stampin’. Now I just have to figure out who will appreciate this next set of crafty wonder…

The finished gifts 🙂

 

 
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