Scissors in the Kitchen! Vegan Whole Foods Cupcake Re-do

My son was born at the crappiest time of the year for a kid. 4 days after Christmas. I can relate, I was born about 10 days after Christmas (you hear that y'all--my birthday is coming soon, starting prepping now!). It was always a suck to get your presents wrapped in Christmas paper (that is if anyone remembered at all after the Christmas/New Years's haze), get Christmas clearance leftovers as a gift, etc. I always wanted to be born in May or June. Nice mid-point between gift receiving. Now that I am older, I can care less, but when you are 8, it really does stink. I am digressing, but I am trying to make the point that I always want my son's birthday to be a BIRTHDAY and not a continuation of Christmas. No Christmas wrap, only birthday wrap. No red and green cupcakes. I even removed the Christmas tablecloth from the dining room before we had cupcakes! I am that committed!

Well, his birthday was on a Wednesday and his party was not until today, but I still wanted to sing happy birthday to him on his actual birthday. We were out all day, and I was not about to make cupcakes when we came home, so I bought a vegan cupcake while grocery shopping at Whole Foods. I couldn't just plop that plain confection in front of him! I had to do something to it. Some gel pens, candles and M&Ms later--it became an alien cupcake! See, you can be crafty too. It's really easy!

Shop the props!
Plate: Orla Kiley for Target (Available for a pretty penny now on ebay!)
Tablecloth: Target (No longer available, I think, so I guess you can't shop that prop!)

Spice (and Scissors) in the Kitchen: Gluten and Egg Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

A good friend of mine found out a few months ago that she has a gluten intolerance. May not be such a big deal, but like me, she is a lacto-vegetarian... makes gluten-free baking a challenge. This chocolate chip cookie recipe to the rescue! Eggs are easily replaced with 1/4 cup of yogurt + 1 TB of cornstarch or vegan egg replacer. Make vegan by using vegan margarine (make sure it is gluten free!). I used Arrowhead Mills gluten free baking mix.

I packaged up the cookies in a Ball mason jar with a circle of vintage fabric closed in the the lid. And don't forget the vintage ribbon around the top! Cute, simple and easy craft.

As a side note, these cookies actually were not only really good, but also helped me to finally get off my behind and start this blog. I had been wanting to do it for the longest time, but could not decide on a name. My friend Deva at Sabjimata asked me for pics of the cookies and the recipe for her blog. I couldn't let all the traffic go to waste!  I had to give a url to link up to! :) 2 days of brainstorming, and Voila! Thanks Deva (and congrats on Bindumati!).

Shop the Props!
Bird Bowl: Jonathan Adler
Tea Towel: Skinny Laminx
Ice Bucket: Vintage Dansk

Vintage Housecleaning

Found in my mother-in-law's broom closet.

Design Inspiration: Utamaro Book Binding

This would be a creative idea for your next book binding project or even for a interesting card.

Spotted: Knitting Graffiti, New York City

Elizabeth Street, south of Broome,  NYC. 7/10

Someone turned it upside down. I found it quite hilarious. 11/10.
Not far from the bike, this tree also got into the action.

Etsy Find: Charlotte Handmade Napkins

Cute and eco! What could be better? Nice simple packaging too! Find them here.

Spice in the Kitchen: Easy Vegan Minestrone Soup

Yesterday, I was completely under the weather. My husband wanted to make me soup, but bless his his heart, all he can do is boil vegetables. I told him I would give him a recipe for minestrone from the couch based on what veggies we had on hand. You know what? We make a great team because the soup turned out so awesome. See, honey, you CAN cook!

Easy Vegan Minestrone Soup


  • 4 qts. veggie broth* (approximately)
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2-6 tsp of salt (To taste: depends if you made your own broth or used store bought.)
  • 2 large stalks of celery
  • 4 carrots (peeled and thickly sliced)
  • 2 cups of French green beans (or regular green beans) (ends removed, chopped to 2" pieces)
  • 2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 6 leaves of kale (de-stemed, chopped into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 16 oz can of beans (we used cannellini, but kidney beans work too)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 cup of pasta (elbow, stars, anything small works)
  • 1 1/2 cups of crushed tomato sauce


  1. In a large soup pan, sauté the spices briefly in olive oil and add celery, then broth and salt and pepper. Bring broth to a boil.
  2. Add carrots and green beans. Let boil for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add  potatoes. Let boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Add kale. Let boil for 5 more minutes.
  5. Add pasta. (Alternately, you can cook pasta separately and add to soup when finished.) Let go for 5 more minutes.
  6. Add beans, peas and tomato sauce. Turn down heat and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes with a lid partially covering the pan.
  7. Test saltiness and add salt. You  don't want to overdo it with salt in the beginning; leaving the last salting to the end ensures you won't end up with an overly salty soup. 
  8. Enjoy!

Shop the props!
Tea Towel: Skinny Laminx
Soup Bowl: Russel Wright
Wooden Trivet: Maine Department of Corrections. I kid you not.

I know I have not been doing many "Scissors Craft" posts, but it's winter and cooking has become both my creative outlet and a top priority (salads don't quite cut it when it's 30 degrees out). I promise once the kids go back to school, I will be up to some major craftiness.

Spice in the Kitchen: Matryoshka Gingerbread Ladies!

Right before Christmas, my daughter begged me to make gingerbread men. While we were cutting them out, I thought, "I bet I could make matryoshka gingerbread cookies!" And I did! No cookie cutter for them so I printed out a nesting doll pattern, cut it out and traced around it in the dough. These were more to play around with than to eat, so I took my time decorating them on a snowy day, adding something here and there. I finally finished the hair and face with melted chocolate. I only had red and white icing on hand, but I appreciate the simplicity of the two-color scheme. They came out somewhat cute, but I think the less decorating, the better they look.

The dough itself was awesome and easy to work with. I only had blackstrap molasses on hand, but it worked just fine. I would definitely use this recipe again.

I used this recipe from VegNews:
Perfect Gingerbread Cookies (vegan--from VegNews)

  • 2-3/4 cups pastry flour (I used All Purpose)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons soymilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.
    2. In a bowl, combine pastry flour, baking powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together margarine, molasses, and brown sugar together until smooth. Add soymilk and vanilla and whisk thoroughly.
    3. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix with spatula to form a dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
    4. Roll out dough onto a floured board, 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, depending on desired texture (thinner cookies will be crispier, thicker cookies will be chewier). Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Go crazy with frosting and decorations!

    Shop the props!
    Napkin: Anthropologie (in stores)

    So Excited...

    I love Post Punk Kitchen. I love Isa's cookbooks. I love not getting fat! I received "Appetite for Reduction" in my stocking and I am so excited to try it out. The recipes are just up my alley, simple, healthy and basic. I'll take pics when I make my first dish!

    Spice in the Kitchen: Gingerbread Cheesecake!

    I made Sabjimata's Eggless New York Style Cheesecake* for a family holiday party and it turned out awesome. Even the skeptics came back for seconds. To use up all the gingerbread my daughter and I made, I decided to holiday-ize it by creating a gingerbread pecan crust. It was a great combo. Visit Sabjimata for the recipe and check out the crust recipe below!

    Gingerbread Crust for Cheesecake

    • 1.5 cups of pulverized gingerbread cookies (or gingersnaps)
    • 1/2 cup of pulverized pecans
    • 4 TB unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup sugar (turbinado works great or evaporated vegan cane sugar)
    1. Finely crush cookies in a food processor. Put in medium sized bowl.
    2. Finely crush pecans in the food processor; combine pecans with cookie crumbs.
    3. Add melted butter and sugar to crumbs, combine until well mixed.
    4. Press into the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes and let cool before filling with the cheesecake mixture.
    *I halved the recipe that Sabjimata gives. You can use her full recipe, but you will need a decent-sized pan or you'll get some messy overflow.

    Design Inspiration: Richard Scarry; The Animals' Merry Christmas

    I love Richard Scarry's illustration style. When I was a kid, I got lost in his books. I found this one, The Animal's Merry Christmas, at a thrift store last year. Finally brought it out to read to the kids. Enjoy the glory of these cute drawings.

    Those trees! I wish my neighborhood looked like this!

    I want to be a hedgehog and have dinner with this family.

    These are the type of illustrations I would sit and stare at for ages when I was a kid. Cozy rabbit house!

    I have to boost that owl for something...

    Love the colors.

    I want to live in that town. So many Santas!
    Back cover.

    Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Miso Braised Kale

    There is a restaurant in Rittenhouse Square, the swankiest place in downtown Philadelphia, called Mi Lah. My friends and I often escape our domestic servitude for a brief respite of calm and "the world's best" vegan French toast. On these ladies' brunches, I often get the "tofu benedict" dish that comes with "miso braised kale." I love, love, love greens. I could eat their kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In an attempt to recreate that goodness, I made my own version of miso braised kale. My husband said, "This is the best kale I have ever had." So there you go!

    Vegan Miso Braised Kale


    • A Big Bunch of Kale (16 ounces?)
    • 1/2 cup of Vegetable Broth
    • 1-2 TB of White, Mellow Miso (depending on how miso-y you want your greens)
    • 1-2 TB Peanut Oil
    • Reserved broth from "Vegan Oven Roasted Asian Green Beans" (Alternatively, you could halve the recipe for that marinade if not making the green beans in addition to the kale.)
    1. Wash, de-stem and chop your kale into bite sized pieces.
    2. Heat broth and dissolve miso paste into broth. Remove form heat.
    3. Heat peanut oil in pan, add kale and coat with oil. Cook for about 3 minutes.
    4. Add miso broth to kale, and coat kale well. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes. You can stop here and just get the greens to the desired level of tenderness.
    5. Add the marinade from the green beans, stir, lower heat to low and cover. Keep stirring every now and then and then remove from heat when the greens have reached your desired level of tenderness. Super yum!
    Shop the Props!
    Dish Towel: Marimekko by my favorite, Sanna Annukka.
    Lamp: Ikea! They don't make that one anymore, but you can get the look with a similar lamp.

    Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Oven Roasted Asian Green Beans

    Pre-date with the oven.

    Vegan Oven Roasted Asian Green Beans & Red Peppers


    • 12-16 oz. Green Beans (tips cut off)
    • 1 Red Bell Pepper (cut into strips)
    • 1 TB Peanut Oil
    • 3 TB Tamari
    • 1/2 TB Sesame Oil
    • 1 TB Fresh Grated Ginger
    • 1/8 Tsp Sriracha


    • In a container with a sealable lid that will fit all of your green beans, mix all your wet ingredients. Add green beans and red bell pepper. Seal lid and give it a good shake to coat all the veggies.
    • Let marinate for about 30 minutes.
    • Heat oven to 425.
    • With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans from the marinade and place in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Save remaining broth for the "Miso Braised Kale" recipe that will appear above this one.
    • Place in oven for about 15 minutes or just until they are starting to turn brown. Serve immediately or they will become a little to tough. Serving with some pan-roasted cashews would make an excellent addition.

    Alternative Methods: I like to bake my dinner as much as possible because I have an 23-month-old and a 4-year-old who are generally in the kitchen with me. But if you have a bit more peace and serenity in your kitchen, stir frying this also works. You could also skip cooking all together and have a nice, raw, vegan salad. Yum!

    On the Hunt: Vintage Cathrineholm Lotus Bowls

    In the BK Era (The Before Kids Era), my husband and I were avid Saturday yard sale and thrift patrollers. I used to see these Cathrineholm enamel lotus bowls everywhere, but now that I want them, I can't find them. They sell them on ebay, but I am not paying $100 on a bowl. Anywho, I will stay on the hunt in hopes that I will get lucky again and cross paths with this cupped beauty of Scandanavian design!

    Craft Lust: Denyse Schmidt Quilts, Fabric and Paper, Oh My!!!

    Really, I don't know why I geek out so much about fabric and stationery. I mean, I barely send hand written letters anymore, and I don't really have much time to sew. But there's something about well-designed products that makes me so happy. Then you have designers like Denyse Schmidt who not only give you great craft ideas, but also give you great stuff to buy (fabric! stationery!). She's a triple threat! I love you, Denyse Schmidt!

    This set makes me hyperventilate, in a good way.

    This is how I found her, by searching for a Christmas stocking pattern.
    One day, I will make my family homemade stockings, I promise!

    How cute is that? Makes me want to get a pen pal!

    Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Split Pea Soup Recipe

    As a lacto-vegetarian, I like to vary my sources of protein. Organic dairy, a little bit of soy (from what I have read soy is not so great for your body, but fermented soy like tempeh is OK in moderation), beans, whole grains, etc. Split peas are an very excellent, super awesome source of vegetarian protein. For dinner, I like to do a bean dish every now and then. Split pea soup is a simple, nutritious meal, perfect for cold winter nights. My kids even love it! While I was making this batch, my daughter asked, "What's for dinner Mommy?" After hearing my answer she said, "Yay! Mommy! I love your soup! You make the best soup ever!" Awww! *Blush*

    Super Simple Vegan Split Pea Soup
    Serves 4-6

    • 1 lb. of Green Split Peas 
    • 6-8 Cups of Water (Depending on how thick you like your soup.)
    • Olive oil
    • 3-4 Carrots
    • 2 Sticks of Celery
    • 1 Small Potato (optional)
    • 2 tsp of Hing (Or onion.) (I'll do a post about why I don't cook with onions at some point.)
    • 2 Bay Leaves
    • 1/2 tsp Fennel powder (optional)
    • 1-4 tsp Salt (I like mine salty! Himalayan Pink Sea Salt is stupendous!)
    • 1 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional)
    • Dash Bragg's Liquid Aminos
    • Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)


    1. Chop up your veggies. My husband likes thick chunks of carrot, so I do it that way. If you like petite diced, then do that. Slice the celery however you like. My husband does not like potato in his, I could care less about it, but if that's your style, dice it up in small cubes.
    2. In a heavy bottom soup pan, saute hing (or onion, like 1/4 cup?) and celery for about 3-4 minutes. Add water. 
    3. To the water, add, salt, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, fennel (optional), liquid smoke (optional--the combo of these two gives it that smoky sausage/ham flavor), pepper and split peas. 
    4. Bring water to a boil, then let the soup simmer on medium-low uncovered. That's it. You don't have to really touch it until the peas start falling apart, but I do like to give it a stir every now and then (specially when the peas start falling apart, they become more likely to get burnt then) and skim off that lovely white foam. This whole process takes about 1 hour.  I like it when the beans have completely fallen apart.
    5. When finished, give the pot a dash of Bragg's Liquid Amnios and take out those dang bay leaves. 
    6. Serve with warm, crusty bread or plain old saltines. If you are not vegan, a pat of butter gives it a "grandma made this" feel. Mmmm... warms the soul and your satisfied belly!

    Shop the props!
    Soup pan: A present from my dear Finnish friend, Kaisa by Hackman. Check out their Moomin and Winter lines. 

    Kitchen Lust: Nesting Bowls and Measuring Cups!

    I don't know if it is the geeky Montessori mom in me, but I love things that nestle inside one another. That and my affinity for cute and clever design makes me love these bowls/measuring cups by Joseph Joseph. Ooh! And those colors! Perfect space-saving gift for that hipster you know that spends $2500/month a closet-sized studio apartment in New York. Maybe you should get them the all white set though. Hipsters dig subtle.

    Head to Head: Vegan Black Bean Brownies Recipes!

    My black bean brownie beat up your black bean brownie!
    Awhile ago, I showed my friend Åsa a crazy looking recipe for no-fat vegan black bean brownies and forgot about it, until a few days ago. She asked me if I had ever made the brownies. "Hmmmm... no, let me see if I can find the recipe." Finally, after searching on the interwebs, I found the one that I had sent to her and another one that seemed like it was a better version. Ah-ha! A great idea! Unless there are ratings on on-line recipes, you never know what you are going to get. I mean, any crazy person can post crazy... recipes... on the inter.. hey wait! So, I thought, a great idea for the blog! Put two recipes for the same item against one another and see which one is better! Åsa is an awesome baker, so I felt totally confident asking her to accept the challenge.

    I chose the basic recipe from Happy Herbivore and she took the more complicated Cake Walk recipe.

    Now, I have to say ever since I have stopped eating eggs over a decade ago, I have been on the look-out for a near perfect brownie. I like fudgey brownies and my friend Deva at Sabjimata sent me the BEST recipe, but not vegan. I like for everyone to be able to eat what I make, so if possible I try to make baked goods vegan. Found another great cakey vegan brownie recipe, but still no fudgey perfect vegan recipe has been found. But, I digress...

    Åsa and I were meeting with a big group of friends for brunch one morning and we brought the brownies along. The verdict: Cake Walk's recipe won hands down, no questions asked.

    Comments on Happy Herbivore's: "What is that taste? I can't put my finger on it." (A: Lots of cinnamon.) "This isn't a brownie, but more like a... a snack bar." "It's very mushy and wet. And super fruity." "This reminds me of when of those raw deserts I had when I was on a raw diet." I do have to say, my kids did love them, but I added some chocolate chips at the top, so that helped. The brownie is relatively healthy, so I actually didn't mind them eating them for breakfast! They are... good, but not chocolatey or brownie-ish.

    Comments on Cake Walk's brownie: "Now THIS is a brownie!" "Mmmm... yummy! I need milk!" "Way better!" "Amazing!" This brownie is chocolatey and somewhat fudgey. I think it would be helped by some fat, like Åsa noted. Maybe 1/4 cup of oil? Her notes: "I used equal parts whole wheat and spelt flour (Arrowhead Mills), 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups walnuts (what the recipe called for), and probably about 1 cup choco chips. Canned beans. The batter was very runny, thinner than cupcake batter."

    So there you go! A successful head to head!

    Shop the Props!
    Plate: Melamine "Folk" Dessert Plate by Thomas Paul
    Mug: Love Birds Mug

    Spice in the Kitchen: Maple BBQ Tempeh, Sweet Potatoes and Chard

    May not be the prettiest, but it certainly the tastiest!

    Today is the lunar eclipse and winter solstice combo! A two for one astrological event! To celebrate, I am making an honest-to-goodness real meal for me and the Mister to enjoy AFTER the kids go to bed. Yes, this is how we do date nights at home. :)

    Maple BBQ Marinated Tempeh, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Chard (Vegan)
    Serves 2

    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Swiss Chard
    • 1 8 ounce Package of Tempeh
    • 1/4 cup Tamari
    • 2 TB. Grainy Mustard
    • 2-4 TB. Maple Syrup
    • 1 TB Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (try Robbie's)
    • dash salt
    • dash of black pepper
    • little squeeeeze of Sriracha

    1. Bake sweet potatoes. You can steam or boil them, but honestly, baking it gives it a certain je ne sais quoi. A depth of flavor and sweetness. Wrap it up in foil, throw it in the oven at 450 and see how it is doing after about 40-45 minutes. If the potatoes are small, then they should be done, but larger ones may need more time. Poke it with a knife, if it goes in easily without resistance, it should be done. I like it when the skin starts separating from the flesh. Use 4 small or one really big one for 2 people.
    2. While that is baking, mix up your marinade. Cut the tempeh in strips and let the tempeh soak up the flavors of the marinade.
    3. Cut up chard. I like chard and would eat it all day if organic chard was not so dang expensive. So, make as much as you need. I also really like the stems, so I cut those up too, but if you must, de-stem before you chop them up.
    4. Heat a pan with olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom). Remove tempeh from marinade and fry on medium heat. Get it crusty, but you have to watch that the sugars in the marinade don't burn. Once the tempeh has reached your desired level of crunchiness, add the rest of the marinade to the pan. The sauce will thicken. Be careful not to let it burn. Set aside.
    5. Mash the sweet potato. Now, depending on how you like it or how fast your metabolism is, you can do lots of things here. You can just mash it and add salt and cinnamon (low fat! vegan! holla!). You can add butter, milk, pepper, salt and mash. You could add, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and mash. You could add 2 TB veggie broth and salt and mash. The options are endless. I am on a "diet," so I will just mash and add salt/a dash of cinnamon. Set aside in a covered pan.
    6. Cook chard how you like it. My favorite is in brown butter. But, I will settle for a simple saute in olive oil. You could also saute some onions or spices in your oil or butter before you cook the chard, but I like chard for what it is. Chard, I love you just the way you are! No need to cook very long. Leave some life in that green!
    7. Now, to plate this this lovely dinner. Halve the sweet potato mash on two plates, place the strips creatively on top of the mash. Nicely place the chard on the side. Voila! Offer with love. And remember to give your significant other hot sauce, because you have realized after all this time, that they always put hot sauce on everything. :)

    Spice in the Kitchen: Masala Chai Chocolate Chunk Granola

    I wanted to make something baked for my daughter's teachers for the holidays, but after leaving my son's school on Friday, I realized every mom was coming in with a plate of cookies. Wanting to be somewhat original, I decide granola would be a welcome respite for her potentially cookie burdened instructors.  Of course, I had to put my own twist on a basic recipe and leave out nuts (since they are not allowed in her school).

    I had some sprinkled over a bowl of Greek yogurt with honey and Oh. My. God. It was awesome. Sometimes my crazy experiments work and this was one of them. My 4-year-old daughter did all the dry measuring, mixing and spreading AND she made the gift tags. We packed them up in some cute Christmas tins. Super simple and hopefully unique.

    Masala Chai Chocolate Chunk Granola (with Vegan, Gluten-free options) (Nut free!)

    4 Cups of Old Fashioned Oats (Use gluten-free if need be.)
    1 Cup of Coconut Flakes
    1/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
    1/4 cup Coconut Oil (Veg works as well)
    1/4 cup Liquid Sweetener (Honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup)
    1 tsp. Cinnamon
    1 tsp. Cardamom Powder
    1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder
    1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
    1/4 tsp. Salt
    2 tsp. Vanilla
    1/2 cup Chopped Crystalized Ginger
    1/2 cup Chocolate Chunks (Vegan, if making making vegan.)

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Combine oats and coconut.
    • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, oil, sweetener, spices, salt and vanilla. Heat on low and stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool slightly.
    • Combine wet to dry. Coat the oats really well.
    • Spread mix on a 4-sided cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven for 20 minutes, and give it a stir every 5 minutes. 
    • Remove from oven. Let oats cool completely. Add ginger (my fav is from Trader Joe's) and chocolate. Mix it up and serve! Makes about 5-6 cups.

    Wrap, Don't Walk!

    The Marimekko Kantele Gift Wrap is on sale at Crate and Barrel!

    Scissors Craft: Kokeshi Christmas Card

    When I was addressing the cards for the card exchange, I realized that I was short one card! Eeek! Well, I had wanted to do a kokeshi card, so here was my opportunity. I made the pattern and it went pretty smoothly. If I had some sort of design program on my laptop (cough, cough, gift ideas...), I would post it for you. Cut, origami paper, felt, glue... cute! I like the way it turned out, though, I may give her a less rounded body next time.

    Scissors Craft: Matryoshka Christmas Card Series

    This set made me happy. They worked out really well. Instead of using felt for the hair, I gave the 3D texture element I wanted and winterized the little ladies by giving them a wind-swept felt scarf. For the paper, I recycled a paper catalog from French Paper (My favorite! Jerry French rules!), recycled label from Marimekko, cardstock and pre-made blank cards. For the snow, I used a white-out pen! No mess, no fuss! Inside, I lettered, "Warm Holiday Wishes." This is something I would do again. Time involved was a bit much, but time better spent than sitting on the couch watching reruns of Cake Boss.

    Scissors Craft: Matryoshka Ornament Card Experiment

    This was my first attempt at the Christmas card exchange. It was a good idea, but didn't work in the end. I thought it would be cute to mix felt and paper, but putting the felt hair under the paper babushka just didn't work; it was way too bulky. I didn't intend for this to be an ornament, but as I was making it, I thought if I glued a backing to the front and put a cord in the middle... voilà! Then I added the muffler and a hint at arms. I'm always in a rush making things, so I tend to think on the fly. Sometimes that works; sometimes it doesn't. The arms are too, well, unarmy. I should have used ribbon to add more texture. In any case, I think this was a good first attempt and should be revisited.

    Again, the pattern used for the ornament is an adaptation of April Rhode's.

    Scissors Craft: Matryoshka Christmas Cards

    Over the next couple of days, I will be posting photos of the cards I made for Brooklyn Bride's handmade card swap. Here's a preview of one my sweeties. Stay warm!

    The little lady is based on this pattern by April Rhodes... I have some of the felt ornaments in the works too!

    Holt Howard Christmas Elves and Dream Pets Reindeers

    I was so sad to part with these little guys, but I feel satisfied knowing that they went to a good home. The reindeer are definitely by Dream Pets, but the elves are of an unknown manufacturer. I am almost positive they were made by Holt Howard. They're so cute, even their little behinds are adorable!

    Blog Lust: Orange You Lucky!

    Wow! I just discovered Orange You Lucky!. What a feast in color and cuteness. Helen Dardik is an prolific and talented illustrator, blogger AND a mother of THREE! Geez, I really have to get my act together. I'm just a mom of two and I feel accomplished when I manage to get dressed and wear make up... Check out her work. It'll make you super happy.

    Vegan Sugar Cookies

    I have not been baking this winter as much as I did last holiday season (for fear that I will eat too much of what I make!). Last year was a stellar year for honing my baking skills, though. I made these for a Christmas/Santa Lucia party and they were a super big hit. The awesome, easy to work with recipe is here and the decorating inspiration came from Martha. Check out John and Kritie's tip for frosting them. It works like a charm and makes life so much easier.