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December 23, 2014

willela's christmas cookies

For me, one of the special parts about celebrating Christmas as an adult is being able to share family traditions with the family I've created. Ever since Heather & I moved in together I've been grandfathered into a couple of her family's holiday traditions, these cookies being one of them. I always made Christmas cookies growing up, but Heather's family makes a very specific cookie every year. We're calling them "Willela's Christmas Cookies" since the tradition started with Heather's granny, Willela. The recipe makes a versatile sugar cookie - buttery & sweet, & perfect for decorating.

Ingredients // 

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs, unbeaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Sprinkles

Directions // 
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. Cream butter & sugar together in a large bowl. 
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract & baking soda. 
  5. Mix in the flour one half cup at a time. 
  6. Roll out cookie dough on floured surface with a cold rolling pin. The dough should be 1/4 inch in thickness. 
  7. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters & place on pan (cookies do not spread, so they can be placed close together, but not touching). Decorate!
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. 

This will be my last post before Christmas & I just wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday & merry time. I hope you get to spend the winter day warm & dry & with someone you love. 


[Bonus picture of the dog being very watchful of our cookie making. I think she was disappointed we made no doggie cookies.]

Related // These cookies perfectly compliment hot cocoa.  

December 22, 2014

peppermint hot cocoa mix

With the weather chilling down it's finally feeling festive around here. Colder winds also means I've been able to whip up a big batch of my favorite wintertime drink: hot cocoa. I have always loved hot cocoa - not just around the holidays, but all winter long. When I was a kid my mom was sweet enough to provide me with all the ingredients needed for my constant hot chocolate consumption. I was so good at making hot cocoa mix as a kid I could eyeball it as I went. Since it's been quite a number of years since my hot-chocolate-binging-days, I had forgotten the exact ratios. After some experimenting I think I've finally hit on the right balance of sweetness & chocolatey goodness.

Since it's Christmastime & peppermint is the go-to flavor, this hot cocoa features candy canes. If you want to make a basic hot cocoa mix, substitute the 1/3 cup crushed candy canes for 1/3 cup sugar. 

Ingredients //

  • 2 cups dry milk 
  • 1 cup sugar (I like using powdered sugar because it melts easier)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy canes
  • 1 drop peppermint extract (optional - it really ramps up the minty flavor!)

Directions // 

  1. Sift together the cocoa, powdered milk, & sugar. 
  2. Place candy canes in a sealed plastic bag, then crush them with a hammer or other heavy object. 
  3. Stir in candy canes. 
  4. Store mix in a jar. Add drop of peppermint extract & shake jar until the extract has completely saturated with the mix. 
  5. To make a cup of hot cocoa, add 5 tablespoons hot cocoa mix to 12 oz. hot water.

I like to top my hot cocoa off with marshmallows & an extra candy cane. Heather prefers hers with whipped cream & chocolate chips. Either way a cup of hot chocolate in the evening is really making it feel like Christmas around here.


Related // Check out this candy cane iPhone wallpaper.

December 19, 2014

links i love // christmastime is here

Instagram @wecanmakeanything // Twitter @wcmanything

It's crazy how fast time is flying - & how quickly time is running out. Did you know yesterday was National Cookie Day? We had made plans to do our traditional round of cookie making yesterday, but with everything that's going on the hours just slipped away from us. It's hard to believe that next week will be Christmas! Even though I've finished all my gift-giving/-making, I still don't feel ready. 

Here are some links to get you through the pre-Christmas jitters.


Related // Mini pom-pom x-mas trees.

December 18, 2014

out & about // 'tis the season

Doing // Since Christmas is a week away (eek!), everything is a scramble. I've been tying up some loose ends gift-wise, working on holiday meal plans, & scheduling rides to get all our family members in the same place at the same time. It's been a little frustrating trying to get everyone on the same page, but I'm not letting the stress get to me. I refuse to be anything but merry.

Watching // Did you know that White Christmas is on Netflix? Nothing says Christmas quite like Bing Crosby. 

Listening // This version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" just slays me (or sleighs me - lol).

Feeling // I've been bummed out about the fact that Florida winter weather keeps playing tricks on me. There's nothing festive about 70 degree temperatures. Warm winter days make me yearn for the days when I lived up north. We never had a Christmas without snow when I was growing up. Learning to celebrate in more temperate climates was definitely a change for me. 

Loving // These photos that Heather took of our Christmas tree. They're just so festive & calming. 


Related // Make yourself a snowflake screen for the fireplace.

December 16, 2014

stenciled tea towels

Since Heather's birthday was this past week & because she is a practical person, I wanted to give her something useful & thoughtful. I stenciled these tea towels for her using lyrics from her all-time favorite band, Tegan & Sara. If you're unfamiliar with their music, the majority of the songs are based in break-ups & lost love. Fortunately for me (& my tea towel project) their most recent album is full of cheesy cute love songs, so I was able to use happy lyrics from those songs! Although, based on Heather's reaction, I could've just scrawled the name of the band on the towels & she would have been just as happy. She seriously loves those gals.

Stenciled tea towels make for an excellent last-minute DIY gift. You could use quotes from the gift-receiver's favorite TV show or movie. You could do as I did & use song lyrics, or for a more versatile gift you could use an image. Either way the method used in this tutorial will work for all kinds of stenciling, & it only takes about an hour total. 

To make your own, you'll need:

  • A stencil (I used lettering which can be created in any text program on your computer)
  • Tea towels (washed & ironed)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Dura-Lar (also known as mylar)
  • Foam brush
  • Small paintbrush (optional - for lettering)
  • Masking tape
  • X-acto knife
  • A cutting surface (either a cutting board or a large piece of cardboard)
  • An iron & a dryer

Step 1. // Decide what you'd like stenciled on your tea towel. I wanted lettering only, so I printed out my phrases in the desired font & size. Tape your stencil onto your cutting surface. Lay a piece of dura-lar on top of your stencil, & tape into place.

Step 2. // Cut out your stencil with an x-acto knife. Be careful with letters like "O" & "A" as the middle of the letter needs to be preserved. I left a section of mylar uncut connecting the middle of the letter to the main stencil, as seen above.

Step 3. // Position your stencil over your tea towel. Using a foam brush, dab your stencil with acrylic paint.

If you want lines running across your tea towel, like mine, tape off your lines one at a time. After the first line has been painted & the paint has dried, remove the tape. Then tape down the second line, & paint. You can avoid having to do them one at a time if you use very thin masking tape. 

Step 4. // If you had to convert any of your lettering into a stencil shape (i.e. A's & O's), fill in the unpainted areas using a small paintbrush. Wait for paint to dry. A hairdryer can speed up this process.

Step 5. // After the paint has completely dried, heat-set with a dry iron on a cotton setting. Further heat-set by running in the dryer for about 10-15 minutes.


Related // Need more DIY gift ideas? How about a homemade apron?

December 15, 2014

pom-pom christmas trees

Can I share a secret? When I initially made pom-poms, all I could think about was turning them into mini Christmas trees. I was literally lying awake at night thinking about them & if my idea would work. Rather than be a total psycho & unseasonably post this idea in early November, I've waited until now to try it out. I'm happy with the results - these little guys came out perfect, fuzzy, & festive.

To make these mini trees, you'll need the following:

  • Two small pom-poms (1.75 inch - see how on the tutorial)
  • One large pom-pom (2.75 inch - also on tutorial)
  • 6-7 inch piece of wire
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery floss (for garland)

Stack your three finished pom-poms in a line, with the larger one on the bottom & the two smaller ones on top. Feed a 6-7 inch piece of wire through the middle of each pom-pom. Using pliers, bend the top of the wire into a star shape & the bottom of the wire into the tree stand (basically just a flat circle so it'll stay upright). Trim your pom-poms into a tree shape using scissors. Done! 

Decorate with mini garlands & ornaments. I wrapped mine in embroidery floss. You could glue on glass beads or sequins for ornaments, or wrap in small bits of tinsel. 

I feel silly having craft projects keep me up at night. What's the silliest thing you lie awake & think about? 


Related // Make flowers out of pom-poms

December 12, 2014

links i love // peppermint

Follow @wecanmakeanything on Instagram 

Can you believe this week is over already? Yesterday was Heather's birthday (the resident photographer extraordinaire), & the day was spent gleefully playing putt-putt golf, taking the dog to the park, & eating all of Heather's favorite foods. We also spent a fair amount of time stressing about our fleeting twenties. There's only a small amount of time left until we reach our "dirty-thirties." Even though getting older is scary, I prefer to optimistically rejoice the fact that at least we're all still alive, right? 

Getting older is how it's meant to be, but let's not let the mint be. That's my horrific transition onto our next topic: peppermint! I think it may be my all-time favorite flavor ever. I always associate it with Christmastime, on purpose too. So much that for the rest of the year I refrain from purchasing my favorite coffee beverage, the peppermint mocha. It's like some weird relishing ritual or something. Maybe it's the tingly mint taste paired with the chill in the air, or the over-zealous usage of candy canes, or maybe it's just the red & white stripes - either way peppermint & the holidays are a perfect duo. 


Related // Decorate your phone with a minty candy cane wallpaper

December 11, 2014

gift giving // for the photographer

While I was brainstorming for another gift guide idea, Heather was swift to mention the idea of a guide for the photo-enthusiast. Then she came up with a list. Super quick. Like, within four minutes. She's a girl who knows what she likes. 

  1. // Canon USB Flash Drive  
  2. // Telephoto Kitchen Timer 
  3. // Denim/Leather Camera Strap 
  4. // Film Salt & Pepper Shakers (they look so real!)
  5. // Cuppa This Cuppa That Camera Mug  
  6. // Magnetic Lens Kit for iPhone (for the photographer on the go)

Looking back at this list I'm reconsidering the gifts I've gotten for the photographer in my life. 


[This is not a sponsored post, Amazon is an affiliate sponsor of WeCanMakeAnything. All images belong to their respective companies.]

Related // Gift guide for crafters

December 10, 2014

christmas iphone wallpapers

Lately the days have felt like they're just flying by. It's getting darker earlier. I'm spending more time in traffic since everyone's out shopping. Things at work are picking up in preparation for holiday parties & get-togethers. I don't mind too much - the busyness in the air is exciting, plus it means I'm closer to getting to spend time with my whole family. My brothers & their significant others are coming into town for Christmas, & I'm super excited. It's been a few years since we've all been together under the same roof. Our sibling dynamic has changed so much now that we're all adults - I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to spending time with my once annoying brothers.

In addition to the days going by quickly, the weather has been dark & dreary of late. To cheer things up (at least electronically) I've put together a few iPhone wallpapers. If you're like me & you decorate every aspect of your life for the holidays, why not decorate your phone too?

To use these wallpapers, get on your phone & click the links below to open the wallpaper you want to use. Then press down on the image until you're prompted to save it. Save & set as wallpaper! 

It's nice to have some holiday cheer on my phone every time I look at it - which has been a lot lately. I've got long to-do lists stored in my phone that I'm constantly referencing to make sure I'm on top of everything.


P.S. More holiday wallpapers!

December 5, 2014

links i love // christmas decor

Follow on Instagram @wecanmakeanything

I don't know about you, but we're still working on leftovers at our house. There's only so many days in a row I can eat stuffing, & pretty soon I'm going to have to cry "uncle" & toss the rest of it. Instead of continuing to complain about first world problems, I'm going to share with you some holiday decoration ideas. Our tree is up, & we're putting the final touches on the holly & tinsel (metaphorically speaking - I rue the day I use tinsel in our house), so I've been scouring the web for some cheery decor ideas.


Related // Still have gifts to make? Here are some DIY gift ideas

December 4, 2014

gift giving // for the crafter

This week's gift-guide is for the crafty people in your life. Hopefully you're fortunate enough to have these types of people in your circle of friends - the ones who are always keeping their hands busy & constantly looking for ways to do-it-themselves. The makers in my life inspire me with their ingenuity & resourcefulness. Their handiwork encourages me to think about things differently. As a crafter myself, a gift that encourages this type of creativity is always appreciated.

  1. // Masking Sticker Set
  2. // Silver Movable Scissors Pendant (so tiny!)
  3. // Air Plant Terrarium Kit
  4. // Gingher Goldhandle Trimmers 
  5. // Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat (for the crafter who's up for anything)
  6. // Mixtape Rubber Stamp Kit  

That cat hair book just cracks me up. Talk about DIY.


[This is not a sponsored post, Amazon is an affiliate sponsor of WeCanMakeAnything. All images belong to their respective companies.]

Related // Gift guide for the chef in your life

December 3, 2014

snowflake fireplace screen

Only 21 more days until Christmas! Not that I'm countingTomorrow we're going to pick out a tree, but until then I wanted to go ahead & decorate our fireplace. Even though it never gets cold enough for us to burn a fire, I love having a fireplace in our home. It's such a nice focal point in our living room, & where else would we hang our stockings? 

Check out Monday’s post to make your own snowflakes, plus this quick tip on making them hang flat.

To hang them, I taped my snowflakes in a vertical line on invisible thread. I then tied a small bead to the bottom of each string to weigh them down. 

I’m excited to get our tree tomorrow. Having a Christmas tree in the house really solidifies the feeling of the holidays for me. When I was little, our next-door neighbor grew Christmas trees in her back yard. She would let us cut down one of her pines every year (as long as we didn’t touch her precious blue spruces). My dad, my brothers & I would trek through the snow across lawns & pick out a tree. We never went for the biggest or prettiest tree - for some weird reason us kids were always after the sadder looking ones. Probably some Charlie Brown Christmas influence going on there. After we’d compromised & found a good one, we would name it Christopher (we were weird kids), cut it down, & pull it back to our house on a sled. Those were definitely some of my favorite memories of Christmas as a kid. 

I just had to include this picture of the cat. She absolutely loves the snowflakes since there's a draft that keeps them constantly spinning. If anyone gets more excited about getting a Christmas tree than me, it's her. She treats it like her own personal jungle gym.

Oh, you guys, I finally joined the 21st century & got on Twitter! You can find us @wcmanything!


Related // Make some tissue paper flowers like the ones that sit on my mantel. 

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