Early Christmas gift to myself!

Look what I found sitting on my porch the other day!

P1240362Can you see on the box WHO it came from???

P1240363YEP!!  I followed my readers advice and splurged a little and bought myself a Keurig Mini Plus.

P1240376In RED!  Isn’t it adorable?!?!?  I really, REALLY wanted a turquoise one and did a LOT of searching for it.  Either the turquoise was sold out in the Mini size or they don’t make the mini in Turquoise.  That’s okay, I like the red and turquoise color combination.

P1240377And my toaster is also red, albeit a considerably different SHADE of red (the toaster is ‘candy apple red’ and the Keurig is more of a ‘burgundy’ red).  Red is a really difficult color to match.

I can actually have people ‘come over for coffee’ and not be embarrassed to serve them instant coffee now!  The only ‘issue’ now is to find which brand and blend of K-pod I like the best.  There are WAY too many options!!!


Easiest Ever (and BEST) Dulce de Leche (caramel sauce!)

Gooey . . . yummy  . . . and easiest EVER Dulce de Leche.  

This super easy recipe had been around for ages!  I made it for the first time about 30 years ago.  Now, thanks to Pinterest, it’s getting some new press.  I encourage you to give it a try.  You will NOT regret doing so!


No mixing.  No measuring.  No candy thermometer needed.  And you will NEVER buy caramel sauce ever again once you make your own like this.


All you need is a can (or THREE!) of sweetened condensed milk  . . .


(BE SURE to but the cans withOUT the tab top.  I’ve heard that the tabs ‘can’ pop open under the pressure of the cooking process.  Better safe than sorry!)


Remove the label and put the unopened can (or canS!) in a big pot of water.  Be sure they are completely covered by the water.  Lay your can on its SIDE to avoid hearing it ‘clank around’ during the boiling process.


Bring water to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let it simmer 3 hours.  Don’t let that length of time discourage you from trying this!  It is SO worth it.   You don’t need to stand over your pot and constantly watch it, so you can easily multi-task while you make it.


Do it while you are baking Christmas cookies, or decorating your tree, or addressing Christmas cards . or watching your favorite Christmas movies . . . . . ALL you need to do is peek in on your pot of boiling water every 30-45 minutes to be sure your can is still completely covered; top off the water if needed.

5f5a52a55653b6d987bdb06f91391119Three hours of cooking time will give you a thick creamy SAUCE.  If you want it THICKER, cook it for 4 hours.  Once cooking time is up remove pan from heat and let cool for half an hour or so.  Remove can from pan with tongs and place on a cooling rack (keep can on its side during cooling time).  Let it cool overnight.


Once cool, open and ENJOY!  Serve it as a dip for fresh fruit for your Christmas party.  Drizzle it over popcorn.  Add it to your favorite Chex Mix recipe.  Dip shortbread or biscotti in it.  Add a spoonful to your morning cup of coffee.  Make yourself a Hot Caramel Rum beverage (instead of a ‘hot buttered rum!’ Drizzle a little over your bowl of oatmeal.  Dip a salted nut in it for a sweet and salty treat.  Or just enjoy a spoonful!

P1240494I like to give these as ‘gifts’ to friends and neighbors along with a plate of Christmas cookies, or their favorite coffee beans (or k-pods!) so I add a pretty Christmas paper label.

P1240495And some pretty papers on the tops, and a tag with serving suggestions written on it.


After you have opened your can, IF you have any left, transfer the rest into a covered glass jar or plastic refrigerator container.


There are also recipes (on Pinterest, of course!) for making the same sauce in a crock pot or pressure cooker.


Try it.  You’ll LOVE it!

We interrupt this ‘Trash2Treasure’ blog for a cookie baking marathon.

Yep.  It’s time to bake the Christmas cookies!

P1240379SO many yummy, crunchy and gooey options to add to them!

P1240375I love having a variety of cookies to give out to friends and neighbors, but I hate ‘waiting by the oven’ for the time to ‘ding’.  I tried a different method this year, and made my cookies ‘assembly line’ style . . . as I do with my crafting.

I bought a new set of baking sheets at Costco, so now I have FIVE ‘good’ cookie sheets.  (got rid of the ‘bad’ ones when I moved earlier this year)  So with five cookie sheets to work with, I could easily keep the oven full of baking cookies all the time.

I mixed up all my cookie doughs the day before, wrapped them in a roll in freezer paper and put them in the frig overnight.  Wrote the baking time and temp on the freezer paper.  Pulled them out about 30 minutes before I was ready to start baking, but my kitchen is SO SMALL, I didn’t have any available counter space to put the tray!  And where oh WHERE was I going to put the trays while the cookies cooled?!?!?

Fortunately my garage door (the ‘side’ door, not the BIG door) is four steps away from my kitchen, and it was nice and cool in there.  And my chest freezer, washer and dryer are right there at the back of the garage.  Made for the perfect cookie cooling station!

Turned my oven on the pre-heat, then lined all my cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Grabbed my first roll of dough and a knife and started slicing.  By the time I had them sliced and on the cookie sheet, the oven was ready to use.  In went the first batch; timer set for 8-10 minutes.

WHILE those were baking, I grabbed my second roll of dough and sliced it up and put slices in the cookie sheet.  Timer went off for the first batch.  Pulled them out and put the next batch in and set the timer again.  Took the ‘hot from the oven’ sheet of cookies to the garage to cool, and grabbed my next roll of dough to slice.

Pulled the second batch from the over, and put the third batch in.  Second batch to the garage to cool and first batch was ready to be moved from the cookie sheet to the cooling racks.  Grabbed the fourth roll  . . . . and so on!

P1240384Just kept that process going for a total of 7 batches.  (small batches, so just one sheet per batch, but there are BIG baking sheets and will hold 24 cookies).

P1240380Sugar cookies with crushed peppermint.  (Yes, you can buy bags of crushed peppermint!  So much easier than crushing your own!)  Sugar cookies topped with ‘thin mints’; raspberry and orange.


Buttery caramel cookies (the caramels come in chocolate chip size!) in front and chocolate mint squares in back (with chocolate and green mint chips)

P1240382Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

P1240383Peanut butter Butterfinger cookies on the left.  (again you can BUY a bag of crushed Butterfinger)  Pumpkin chip pecan cookies on the right.

After they all completely cooled, I packaged them up in cute little Christmas tins that I found at Dollar Tree; one big tin topped with a smaller one and tied up with some red and white bakers twine.  (forgot to take a picture of them all packaged)

And MY Christmas baking is DONE!

Variations on a theme: Snow Folk: Styles B & C

You’ve already met my ‘original’ snow folk, below.


Assorted vintage salt shakers and clear bottles and with party hats made from vintage sheet music.

P1240128I started these guys a bit ‘late in the season’ for this year; so I’m just going to pack them away for next year.

P1240036I had a few extra ‘heads’ made up, but had run out of bottles for bodies. so I grabbed a couple of these salt and pepper shakers at the dollar store.

P1240059I decided to use the tops for the hats for these guys, and just added a chenille ‘pom-pom’ to them.

P1240430Then I made this little guy and glued TWO tops together for his hat.

P1240431I’m thinking I need to add ‘something’ to the top of his hat too.

P1240408Then I found a few more bottles and decided to give them little a NEW style of little crowns.


I’m trying to NOT use my ‘typical’ little sheet music crowns lately.  I made these new crowns from stiffened lace and spray painted therm gold.

P1240409Even up close and in person, you’d never figure they were made from crocheted lace.

P1240414Since they are a little more elegant, I tied sheer white ribbon around their necks.


and tied on some little metal snowflake ornaments I had in my stash.
P1240417I gave the taller one a double snowflake.

P1240407A few more to stash away for next year.

ANOTHER Re-made make-over

So, if stuff site in my booth TOO long without selling, I bring it home and re-make the make-over.

p1190273Such was the case for this simple little table.  THIS ^ was actually it’s THIRD make-over!  Originally it was the largest in a set of nesting tables that I bought new 20 years ago.  They were primitive/rustic style and I think this one was blue.

After a few years I sanded off the blue and stained it hunter green, to match literally EVERYTHING else in my house, which was also hunter.

When I’d tired of the hunter green, I changed my decor to Americana with a lot of red,white and blue.  At which time I painted the top of this table to look like an American flag.

Just before we closed our shop, I had tired of the Americana primitives and sold most of them in an estate sale via the shop.  Somehow this little table go left behind, and it has come in handy over the years.

In my most recent downsizing though, it HAD to go; at which time I did the above black and tan Paris chic make-over.  It has been in my booth for at least 6 months and not sold, so I brought it home and made it over YET again!!

But WHAT color do I try next???  I primed the whole thing black and it sat in my garage for quite a while as I pondered my options.  Ah-HA!!  Everything I’ve painted my ‘new lighter blue’ has sold quickly!  There’s my sign!


And here she is, in her fourth (and hopefully FINAL, incarnation!).  Plain and simple, light Robin’s egg blue over a black base-coat and distressed.

P1240247I love that, even after so many times being painted and sanded and repainted and sanded again, some of the grain pattern still shows in the distressing!

P1240249Painted and distressed the legs to match the top this time.

P1240250Will wait until after Christmas, and possible even until Spring, to take it to my booth at Stars.  Just depends upon when I NEED to add more furniture.

P1240252I also painted this chunky wood footstool the same color; but without the black base-coat.

P1240256And this cute little stool that already had a coat of white on it.

P1240258I almost always end up using the little stools that I take to Stars to ‘prop stuff up on’.  But they still always sell really well.

P1240259Ready to go and just ‘waiting for spring’!

P1240268Up next on my ‘paint blue list’ is these two bar stools. . . . IF my son and new daughter-in-law decide they don’t want them.

Re-making someone else’s make-over.

Do you ever find stuff at the thrift store or a yard sale and wonder “WHAT were they thinking?!?”  P1240091

The COLOR is what caught my eye on the shelf at the thrift store . . . And the chalkboard paint ‘almost’ works.  But they took it too far by adding the ‘bling’!

P1240095The ‘innards’ were VERY clean, and the chalkboard painted inserts (I had assumed they were wood) SHOULD have come out easily by just unscrewing those gold tabs.

P1240117Apparently the chalkboard painted pieces were mirrors (or glass, hard to tell covered with the paint) and they had been GLUED to the doors!  So, the broke when I tried to remove them, and then I had to ‘chip out’ all the little bits still attached to the edges from the glue.  I didn’t have any wood thin enough to use, so I used a double thickness of cardboard and covered it with some fancy script paper.

P1240119I didn’t need to repaint it; just sanded it up real good to distress it.

P1240120Except for the amount of time it took to scrape out all the tiny glass shards glued to the frames, this was a pretty quick and easy male-over re-make.

Upcycled Ornament wreath

 . . . . and next on my ‘Crafting bucket List’ is making a wreath out of vintage ornaments like this:


(no, I did not make that one!  That picture is from Pinterest)  Every time I’d see one of these I’d just ‘sigh‘.  They are just SO glorious!!


(again, picture from Pinterest)  This is actually my ‘dream’ wreath.  The really vintage ornaments in pink and aqua; each one different and in unique shapes.


So, instead of just ‘drooling’ over the ones I saw on Pinterest, I started reading some of the tutorials.  Alas, they were as varied (and confusing!) as the burlap wreath tutorials.  Heavy sigh.


I had actually purchased a bunch of the ornaments AFTER Christmas for half price at Goodwill last year.  Then I got so overwhelmed with picking a color and/or theme that I just slapped price tags on them all and took the boxes of ornaments to Stars to sell; and was just going to scratch that one off my crafting bucket list, incomplete.

P1240042Then this last week while out thrifting, I came across a BIG bag of assorted white and silver ornaments.  Yes, ALL of those ornaments were together in one big bag.   Looked like the perfect amount for making one of these wreaths.

P1240043Found this white berry garland and braided seed bead rope garland and figured I could use them as ‘fillers’ for my wreath if needed.


This is pretty close to how I envisioned MY completed wreath turning out.

343b198ddab9ef2cf1c81f5b965daae3NOW, I just needed to decide which tutorial to ‘trust’.  Some said you could make on in 30 minutes.  HA!!  I spent ALL DAY working on mine.  And SO many of them showed this very same method as the photo above.  Just HOT glue the ornaments to a styro wreath form.  Styrofoam and hot glue do NOT go together well!

6a00e55391c48e88330105366f68d4970cThis ‘wire clothes hanger method’ looked pretty easy.  Glue all your ornament tops on (so they can’t pull off) then just slide your ornaments over your hanger and twist closed.  I had serious doubts that this would work as well as they claimed: the weight of the ornaments would likely turn your round form into an oval.  Besides, I don’t have any wire hangers.  (seriously, not a one!  I hate them!)

5648a1f10634ce60220d2b091f46f55cThis tutorial used a grapevine wreath, and attached the ornaments in ‘bunches’ as opposed to ‘layer by layer’ as did nearly EVERY  other tutorial.  I opted to trust the majority and go with the layering method.  But NONE of the tutorials really went into detail beyond the first few layers.  (NOW I understand why!)

P1240040I opted to use one of the straw wreaths I had on hand, and conceded to the fact that I’d HAVE to hot glue the first few rows of ornaments on.  Hot glue will melt the plastic covering on the straw wreath, so I removed it, and it immediately started shedding and coming apart!  I tore up some strips of muslin and glued them around the straw.  Hot glue will adhere better to the muslin.

P1240045My first outer row consisted of 19 medium sized balls and one smaller one (cuz the bigger wouldn’t fit!)  Hot glued these in place with the loops facing down.  (this is the BACK of the wreath)

P1240047After I hot glued them, I went back over each connection with a dab of tacky glue.  Hot glue tends to not hold too well in the cold and I was thinking of using this wreath for my front door)


Second layer was on the inside; and took 13 small balls.  Attached with hot glue and reinforced with tacky glue.

P1240051Third layer was on the outside edge again, medium balls between each of the large ones. Since they had the first layer to support them while the glue dried, for this row I used JUST tacky glue.

P1240049Applied my tacky glue like this, them placed that end down into the space between the larger balls.

P1240052This row took 20 of the small balls; same size that I used on the inner row.


Fourth row was the tiny silver glitter balls (13 of them) between the first inner row balls.  Again, I used tacky glue for this.  Stopped here to let glue dry overnight.


Nice, neat row after row.

P1240055This is the last ‘defined’ row.  I used my largest balls, glued (tacky glue) one between every OTHER on the second outer row.  After this is when it gets ‘tricky’.  No more perfectly spaced rows.  You just have to fit ‘what you can where you can’.  NOW I understand why none of the tutorials go into much detail!


I clipped the white berry wreath into individual ‘sprigs’ using wire cutters.

P1240077Got abut 50 individual pieces.

P1240064‘Somewhat’ between the previous layer, I used my biggest balls, but not in a perfectly symmetrical pattern.  You just keep filling the holes with whatever size of ball will fit.  I used my tacky glue as much as possible, and hot glue only if I absolutely HAD to.

P1240062I continued taking photos, but at this point you really can’t tell exactly what I did and I can’t explain it!  Just glue on whatever fits over the ‘bare spots’ where your wreath form is showing through.

P1240066Keep going!

P1240069From a distance, it looks done.  And I’m guessing that this is where most people stop.

P1240071Looking up close and from different angels, there are still a lot of tiny bare spots.

P1240073And they BOTHERED me!

P1240057The snippets of white berries did the trick to fill those annoying little spots.  I just dipped the ends in tacky glue, and shoved them into every crack where the muslin was showing through.

P1240074I SHOULD have attached a hanging loop FIRST, but forgot to.  So this is how I did it ‘after the fact’.

P1240075The backside is not at all attractive!

P1240104Not bad for my first attempt, eh?

P1240100Granted the white berries ‘detract’ from the ‘look’ a bit.  And I probably could have filled the little holes with MORE tiny ornaments.  But I was trying to ‘use what I had’ and if I were to have set it aside to finish later . . . well, you KNOW how that goes!

P1240107Those really ARE silver shiney balls.  They are just reflecting the amber lighting in the room and LOOK gold-tone.

P1240076This is what was left of the supplies.  Just a few large and medium balls.  I used ALL the tiny and small balls and berry sprigs.  Did not use the seed bead garland at all.  Maybe on the NEXT one???




Upcycled glass bottle SNOW FOLK

Lots of assorted collected bottles.  Time for a project to use them!


I decided to make them into ‘snow folk’.

P1230906Assorted styrofoam balls, covered with a layer of paper because glitter does not stick to styro very well.  I painted on some ‘pink cheeks’ and covered the balls with white glitter.

P1230911I filled the wider mouth bottles with artificial snow.


For the bottles with really small holes that the snow wouldn’t fit into, I used white sand mixed with a little glitter for sparkle!


A batch of ‘carrot noses’; toothpicks cut in half and painted orange.

P1230919Poked a hole with a nail for the nose in the middle of the face then glued the glittered heads to the show filled bottles with tacky glue.

P1230920Put a dot of tacky glue into the nose hole and push the nose in place.


Time for eyes!

P1230923I used little black upholstery tacks for the eyes.  Poke a tiny hole with the same nail used for the noses, squirt in a dot of glue, the push the tacks in.

P1230926And here they all are!

P1230928I decided to make them ‘party hats’ out of old sheet music.  Cut circles into thirds and glue.  (circle size varies, as do the sizes of the styro balls used for the heads).  I made little ‘pom-poms’ for the tip of the hats.


The pom-poms are made from 1/4 of a chenille stem, rolled into a ball with just enough of the stem left to stick into the top of the hat.  (snip off the tip of the hat, add a dot of glue and push the pom-pom in)

P1230929Then I added a bit more glue from the underside to be sure the pom-poms were nice and secure.  Let the glue dry for 15 minutes or so, with the hats upside down.

P1230930 Put a generous line of glue around the inside rim of the hat and plop it on his head.  Press it down after a few minutes if it starts to loosen.

P1230936For the trim for the hats I used a while gold chenille stem.  Sized it to the hat that is already on the head, and twist the ends to make a circle.  Wrap the rest of the end around your circle.


Put a line of glue around the outside rim of the hat and slide the gold rim into place.


 Hold it in place for a few seconds to be sure it doesn’t slide up.

P1230940Lots of snow folk in hats!

P1230935I used a couple of gold chenille stems to wrap around the neck; embellished with a rusty jingle bell.

P1230937The smaller bottles just needed one chenille stem around the neck.

And here they all are!


Burlap wreaths

I LOVE the ‘loose & fluffy’ look of burlap wreaths!P1230233I’ve been ‘intending’ to make one ever since they first started popping up a few years ago.  And I’ve accumulated all the supplies, over the years, to do so!

P1230266I even ‘did the research’ (looking on Pinterest!) for tutorials.  And THAT is as far as I got before discouragement set in and my supplies were left to gather yet another layer of dust.

P1230238Do you love/hate Pinterest as much as I do??  Love all the ideas and inspiration, but HATE all the DIFFERENT tutorials for making the same thing!  aaaaarghhhh!!!

In my burlap research I found tutorials that said to use pipe cleaners, to attach your burlap to your wreath form.  Another said to use zip ties.  Another wire.  Even one that said to use SCOTCH TAPE?!?!?  So, after all that ‘research’ and the subsequent complete confusion, I just went with what ‘sounded’ most logical to me.  Pipe cleaners, cut into 1/4’s,  Wire cuts up your hands too much and scotch tape, just NO!

P1230240So, this is hoe my first attempt turned out.  And even with having pre-cut all my pipe cleaners to length, it took me a good TWO hours to complete this baby.  And I really was not totally happy with it.  I wanted more ‘fluffed out’ areas. All the folds were just laying too FLAT.

P1230234I tried ‘hand fluffing’ them, but they just flattened right back out.  So I grabbed a roll of brown package wrapping paper and made some ‘wads’ of it and stuffed them into various places.  You can see a few of them in the above close-up photo.   THAT is how I imagined it would look!

P1230235And it breaks up the folds a bit, and looks more ‘random’ to me.  So I waded up a bunch more paper balls.

P1230239Here you can see a few more of the places where I added the paper.  But you really don’t notice it if you don’t know it’s there.  I think perhaps my ‘problem’ with not being able to ‘fluff my folds’ without adding something is that the burlap I used was only 5″ wide.  Wider burlap, folded in half, would probably fluff better.

SO, after I made that first one, I ventured back to Pinterest to look over some more tutorials to see if there was a FASTER way to make them.  Can’t make any money selling them if it’s gonna take me over TWO hours to make one!!

Found a Pin that led me to a you-tube video touting that you could make a burlap wreath in 20 minutes.  TWENTY minutes???  Seriously?  I HAD to watch it.  It’s only a 2 minute video, so worth the time to watch.  Here’s the link:


Interesting, and most definitely a FASTER way to make a burlap wreath, but personally, I would NEVER make on using that method. Not even just to keep for myself.  Why?  One snag and your entire wreath will come apart!  There is nothing ATTACHING the burlap to the wreath form.  No thank you.  I’ll stick with my more labor intensive, but PERMANENT method; and only make a very FEW of them.

P1230305This is the back of the one with the gold bells.

P1230304Each ‘loop’ of burlap is secured to the wreath form with a cut piece of twisted pipe cleaner.

P1230265This is my second one’ on which I used some printed burlap ribbon interspersed.  The printed ribbon was wired and fluffed out nicely.  I did NOT add the brown paper to fluff out the rest of this wreath . .  .yet.

P1230268Still pondering whether or not I need to.  I used MORE burlap on this one, so it’s fuller, and I guess with the printed ribbon ‘breaking it up’, the layers of burlap with no fluff don’t bother me as much.


Which do you prefer?  The larger ‘fluffs’ or the one with more ‘folds’?


I really don’t have a ‘favorite’.  Each looks good to me in its own way.

P1230315I decided to embellish the first one with a gold bow and a gold glitter “Noel” ornament.   I just ‘hung’ the Noel over one of the burlap loops, and did NOT permanently attach it.  That way it can easily be removed, and the wreath can still be used beyond the Christmas season.


Forgot to show you what kind of ‘form’ I used for these.

P1230314I bought this batch of rusty metal wreath forms at a garage sale a long time ago.  To prevent the rust from ‘shedding’ onto the wreath, I spray painted them with clear spray.  And I sprayed one white for an up[coming project.

P1230341AFTER I made those two burlap wreaths, I found these wire wreath forms at DOLLAR TREE!  These are the kind used in the video, twist and tuck method, and should make for a fuller wreath.  I haven’t used them yet, and in fact, I still have several of the rusty ones left.  But I did buy a few of the Dollar Tree ones because I KNOW that if I don’t buy it when I see it . . .they’ll be gone when I DO need them!

P1230976This one has gone to my booth at Stars.  Still trying to decide if the other one ‘needs something more’.  Will probably save it for spring.

P1230975It’s hanging on my re-done ‘holiday wall’.

P1230977Here’s a closer look at some of the other holiday wall decor items.

P1230979Bought these little gold frames at the bazaar last week.  The ‘Merry Christmas’ ornament is just ‘tied on’ with ribbon and can be removed so the frame can be otherwise used.

P1230980Same with this one.

Book pages star wreath revisited. Did I ruin it?

So, I played around with some different materials to use as a bow on my book pages star wreath.P1230876

It DOES need ‘something’, but none of the bows I tried looked right.

P1230913I had some ‘Joueux Noel’ strips of printed paper from a previous project that I thought I’d try.  But it didn’t show up very well against the book page stars.  So I glued on a silver snowflake, and put the Noel across it.


 But just ONE silver thing on the wreath looked odd, so I added three silver glitter stars.  I don’t really like the silver stars in the middle of the big stars, but they didn’t look any better elsewhere.  (and I played around with positions for them for about 5 minutes?!?)


NOW I’m thinking I should have left well enough alone!!  Oh well, we’ll see if it sells, I guess.  I’ve got enough stars to make several more!


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