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WordPress has just informed me that today is the first anniversary of this blog! To celebrate, I shall introduce you to my new blog, Sweet Wanderings. I will be moving to London for a year whenever I am granted a visa, most likely sometime in July-ish or August maybe, and I will be blogging my journey and experiences there! I may still post some crafty things over the next year, but probably not nearly as much because I will be busy seeing as much of London and Europe as I can while I’m there, and I can’t lug all my crafty stuff with me!

Looking back over the past year, I’ve written several posts on Smashbooks because I love them, and I’ve completed two of them. I started this Smashbook last fall and posted about the beginnings of it. Now I’ve been to a few more places, and it’s all filled up!
Travel Smashbook

Travel Smashbook - New York City

NYC – Julie Andrews book signing and Broadway show

Travel Smashbook - Paris

Paris day trip from London on my birthday

Travel Smashbook - New Zealand Bungy

Bungy jumping in New Zealand

Travel Smashbook - Portland

fun times in Portland, Oregon

Travel Smashbook - Muir Woods, SF

Muir Woods, a beautiful redwood forest across the bay from San Francisco

Travel Smashbook - San Francisco

beautiful San Francisco

Travel Smashbook - Los Angeles

Warner Brothers Studio/Los Angeles

Travel Smashbook - Los Angeles

Hollywood, California

Travel Smashbook

I love my Smashbooks! I bought a big red one to fill during the next year or so, since I figure I’ll need a lot of room with my adventures living in London.🙂

If you liked this post, check out my other Smashbook posts: Smashbooking and 2012 Smashbook – Complete!

SMASHbooks have a LOT of pages. I haven’t counted them, so A LOT is my estimate. I’ve finished my Smashbook of stuff from the 2012 year, which I actually didn’t start until May. I also decorated the cover, and it makes me totally happy.

Smashbook Cover

Here’s a sampling of the pages.

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

Smashbook Page

If you aren’t familiar with Smashbooks, you can find an explanation and some other pages from my 2012 Smashbook here, as well as pages from my International Smashbook (I’ll be posting more from my recent trips soon as well!)

I’ve had a lot of exciting stuff going on lately (a west coast vacation, and an overseas work trip coming up) but I may post more about that later. For now, I want to show you what I made for St. Patrick’s Day:

Green Clover Pretzels

If you saw my Christmas Pretzel Wreaths, this is a similar concept but even easier. I got the idea from Sun Scholars and had to make these for my office’s St. Patty’s Day party (I love holiday work festivities).

Just get some pre-made yogurt-covered pretzels, white chocolate chips, and green sparkle gel (or green frosting and sprinkles like the originals) and melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave…

Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Green Sparkle Gel

Clover Pretzels Ingredients

Then dip the bottom half of the pretzels in the chocolate one at a time, putting them on wax paper together to form a clover shape. After they’ve hardened a few minutes later, add the gel outline.

Green Clover Pretzels

And that’s it!

St. Patrick's Day Pretzel Snack

Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Me as a Leprochaun

Scavenger Hunt Sunday – 1/6/13


I did this photo scavenger hunt a few times last year, but I wanted to give it a go again since the boyfriend got me a 50mm lens for Christmas, and I love it. It takes such beautiful pictures indoors in low light in particular. These were all taken this week with my new lens!

 

1. Breakfast

Waffles

Fall pumpkin spice waffles, yumm.

2. Multi-colored

Christmas plates

So, I know there aren’t a LOT of colors involved here, but there are multiple.🙂 These are the Christmas plates I hung in the kitchen, and I think they’re adorable and had to take a picture before sadly taking them down along with the rest of my Christmas decorations.

3. Starts with the letter C

Moshi Cat

Moshi is so darned photogenic, every time I turn around he is either handsome or adorable and I feel the need to take a picture of him. Jasmine is beautiful too, but Moshi just has such striking features. And he usually stays still unlike Jasmine. This time he was taking up my spot on the couch and cuddling with my blanket.

4. Roll

Wrapping Paper

On top is a roll of my leftover wrapping paper from this year (for presents that weren’t wrapped in word searches) and the bottom is the roll I got on post-Christmas clearance for next year.

5. Future

Doctor Who blanket

This one made me think a bit. Although you can’t see the whole thing in this photo, this is my Doctor Who Tardis blanket (also a Christmas present). Doctor Who episodes often place in the future. I’m also lying down but looking forward… into the future!

2013 is an odd number, which I don’t love, but it could turn out to be an interesting year. Happy New Year, everyone!

Snowman Cheeseball

Snowman Cheeseball

For my mom’s family Christmas dinner this year, I made this snowman cheeseball, and I think it’s the most popular thing I’ve brought yet. They didn’t want to eat and destroy my cute Thanksgiving turkeys, but they hardly had any problem hacking at the snowman made of cheese.

It’s really simple actually.

For the cheeseball:

  • Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened (I used neufchatel, 1/3 less fat and most people don’t know the difference)
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese (my preference is sharp 2%)
  • 1 oz packet ranch dressing mix

Mix it all together, and then just shape it into three balls with your hands, big to small.

For decoration, I used:

  • Twizzlers pull n peel – half a strand for the scarf
  • Baby carrot, sharpened into a nose
  • Chocolate sprinkles for the eyes, mouth, and buttons (because the store was out of black decorating gel)

Snowman Cheeseball

Super easy. If you wanted to make it all white on the outside, you could hold back some cream cheese to spread on the balls once they’re made, but I didn’t feel it necessary.

Several family members asked how I made it, but I promise I don’t have some sort of magic talent. It’s just making your average cheeseball a bit more festive.🙂

Christmas isn’t allowed to be over yet. I am hanging on to the holiday season for at least a few more days. Not taking down my decorations, exchanging a few last presents, and continuing to write blog posts about the holidays. Everyone will just have to deal, because I am sad that Christmas is another year away again, and it’s all cold and I have a cold too. Haha.

Anyway, I wanted to share my gingerbread house. I made it from a kit, but it’s a twist on the standard design, and I had a lot of fun decorating it one night. It turned out so cute that I have yet to eat it, but it will probably be stale once I try it anyway.

Gingerbread House

Along similar lines, I made cinnamon ornaments. A friend in high school (10 years ago!) gave me one she’d made, and I loved it and still have it, and it still smells great. So I wanted to do something similar.

The formula is basically:

  • 1 cup cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup applesauce

And I added some ground cloves and a bit of glue as well to help keep them together and for a bit of a mix of scents. Then mix and knead the dough for a while. Roll out about 1/3 of the dough at a time and use holiday shaped cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and put them onto a cookie sheet. I added the scraps from each batch to the next round of dough to get as many as possible out of it. I didn’t have any drinking straws to make holes, so I just used toothpicks to hollow out spots, which worked pretty well.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I put them in a 170 degree oven for a few hours, but some started to crack and warp, so most of the time they just air dried in my kitchen. It took about 2-3 days for them to fully dry and harden. And finally, I added ribbon to make them ornamental.

Cinnamon Ornaments

I attached most of them as accessories to gifts, kept a couple, and brought in a few for my coworkers in the office on Christmas Eve.


A third and final 2012 reflection post. I saw these prompts and couldn’t resist reflecting on this year in yet another way. I can hardly believe all this is from just one year…

1. Me! – picture of yourself (you don’t have to show your face). What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2012? 

2. I Love You – picture of your husband, boyfriend, children, pets, etc. 

3. Still Laughing… – a moment you’re still laughing about now…tell us a story. 

Once upon a time (Memorial Day weekend), a girl and her boyfriend decided it would be fun to rent a jetski while visiting Detroit. The jetski turned out to be defective, and said girl was somewhat scared for her life. The Coast Guard rescued her while the boyfriend took the defective jetski back to the renter people, and they got their money back and lived happily ever after, except for the huge bruise on her leg that there’s still a mark from.
This picture of me with the coast guard captain just amuses me.

4. Winter Wonderland – a picture that reflects Winter.

5. Birthday – share a birthday picture (your own or someone you love). 

my friend Corinna hanging her birthday present

6. Friends – a picture with friends (this could be your friends or your children with their friends). 

7. I Was Inspired… – could be a picture of your inspiration (person or thing), or inspired by… 

This woman (named Corinna, coincidentally also a good friend of mine’s name) was my tour guide on a photography tour of London. I loved it – she inspired me to travel even more and to get a DSLR camera to take more creative/interesting pictures of wherever I am.

8. Spring Fever – a picture that reflects Spring.

 
Spring in London

9. Travel or Vacation – a picture taken on vacation or on a recent travel experience…even if it was only a few miles away.

Abbey Park in Leicester

10. Summer Days – a picture that reflects Summer. 

Deep fried snickers bar at the state fair.

11. A Day In My Life – a picture of a typical day in your life. 

Drinking hot chocolate at my computer out of my disappearing TARDIS mug. This reflects how much I love Doctor Who, as well as how I work in my office every day.

12. All Smiles – a picture that makes you smile or of smiling faces. 

This cat is just too adorable. Every time I see him lying on the floor like this (pretty much daily) it makes me smile.

13. Autumn Harvest – a picture that reflects Autumn/Fall. 

14. Family or Home – a picture of your family or a picture that represents family/home for you. 

A magnet on my grandma’s fridge.

15. Celebrate! – a picture that reflects a celebration. 

Fourth of July fireworks.

16. Let’s Do It Again… – a picture of something you’d like to do again soon. 

I’d like to go back to New York City. Maybe not “soon”, but there is so much to see and do, and my visit was too short.

17. I Miss You – a picture of someone or something you really miss. 

I miss these two. This picture also makes me smile.

18. Beautiful – a picture of someone or something you find beautiful. 

Gorgeous orchids from the boyfriend this fall.

19. Dress Up – this might be a picture from Halloween or not…but someone who is all dressed up! 

Revenge of the Nerds – Halloween at the office.

20. Macro – share your favorite macro or close-up image. 

21. Holidays – a picture from the Holiday of your choice. 

Ugly Sweater holiday contest at the office.🙂

22. My Favorite – share your favorite picture or memory from 2012. 

View from a hot air balloon. What a big, beautiful world we live in.

23. Don’t Ever Change – something you love about yourself, someone, or something that you never want to change. 

My Jasmine is my favorite cat in the whole world. She comforts me daily. I love her SO much, she is perfect to me and I hope her cuddly, purry, sweet, adorable self never changes.

My 2012 in Pictures

I posted a few pictures in my year in review post, but I’ve loved this year and wanted to expand on that and do a photo-only 2012 post as well. After my UK trip, I was inspired to get a DSLR camera, and I have since taken a LOT more pictures. I narrowed them down to 20 photographs, highlighting my important moments and a few of my favorite pictures. Very few of these have been posted on my blog, and no crafty/foodie stuff is included, because I wanted this all to be new and different to my readers.

Click on any one to see it larger and see the caption.

Though there are still a few days left, The Daily Post challenged us to write a wrap up of the year. So, here are my annual year-end reflection questions. I had a pretty fantastic year.

What did you do in 2012 that you have never done before?
Visited the UK – saw London, a couple of my British friends, and a Doctor Who convention! I had also never been to New York City before, met Julie Andrews, been on a hot air balloon ride, visited the Art Institute or the big reflective bean in Chicago, or met any of the cast of Buffy.

New York CIty

At the top of Rockefeller Center with my favorite part of NYC behind me – Central Park.

Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions and will you be making more?
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. If I want to do something, I do it, no matter what time of year it is.

What date from 2012 will remain in your memory and why?
Valentine’s Day, the beginning of the boyfriend getting me flowers and being sweet even though he hates holidays.🙂

What was your biggest achievement of 2012?
Creating this WordPress blog!

What was your biggest failure?
Some of my craft projects that didn’t turn out as well as I would’ve liked. But you live, you learn!

What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably gay marriage. Did you know interracial marriage was still illegal in the state of Alabama until the year 2000? Just sayin’.

Saddest memory of the year?
My friends Matt, Aryn, and Shannon moving a couple months ago. Still really miss them.

Happiest memory of the year?

The two weddings I was in or attended for my friend and cousin this summer. They seem to have married great guys.

Top 5 movies?

1. The Dark Knight Rises

2. Brave

3. Beasts of the Southern Wild

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

5. Game Change

What did you get really, really excited about?
The holidays, and traveling.😀

Right now I’m excited about my west coast trip in a couple of months.

Compared with this time last year are you . . .
Happier or sadder? probably a little sadder
Thinner or fatter? I’d guess about the same
Richer or poorer? about the same
Healthier or sicker? about the same

How will or did you spend Christmas?
Drove up to my grandparents’ place for a family dinner. I only got Christmas day off. But my mom came on the 23rd and we saw The Nutcracker and exchanged presents then as well. And I had a Christmas with my dad and his wife about two weeks ago.

How did you spend your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 24 this year. Yay even numbers! My game night friends and I had dinner and drinks at Houlihan’s, one of my very favorite places.

What kept you sane?
Weekends, my kitty, my craft projects.

What vacations did you take?
The UK in March and NYC in October – that’s more than last year!

A view of London with the London Eye and Big Ben

What is your greatest hope for 2013?
Same as last year – to keep my job and have more happy times. And more traveling.

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

Everyone likes to display all the lovely Christmas cards they get during the season, but what do you do once Christmas is over? Put them in a box somewhere? Throw them out?

Why not make them into a wreath to be displayed the next year?

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

I love Christmas cards, so I decided to upcycle them into a fun wreath. All you really need is the cards, a flat wreath form, and a glue stick. I found this 12″ wreath at Michael’s for $2 – you could also cut cardboard into a circle, but I decided to go the simpler route.

You’ll also need to find some round objects of varying sizes to trace circles around. I used a reindeer coaster, snowflake glass, and a large glue stick for the little circles.

It’s best to pick a theme of colors. My cards definitely weren’t all uniform or anything, but I went with a blue/white theme with accents of red and green, so it wouldn’t all clash.

Greeting Card Wreath Supplies

Then just start tracing and cutting.

Cutting Circles out of Cards

Arrange your circles in the pattern you want them, then glue them on a section at a time.

Gluing on Circles

Finally, add a ribbon for hanging.

Holiday Greeting Card Wreath

I have been playing with the idea of upcycling other cards, too, like birthdays. You could make other forms of art, not just wreaths. I’ll let you know if I make any more upcycled card crafts.🙂

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