Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Felted Garland

OK so here it is- my first ornament of the Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge. I'm so excited about it because the colors of this garland are going to tie my whole tree together.

It's made from about 82 felted balls. And for those of you who've made felted wool balls who are groaning at the prospect of making over 80 of them- surprisingly this was quick and easy.

I had a completed garland after only three afternoons! (2 of felting and 1 of stringing.)

For the little teal colored balls I needle felted.

For the larger green and white ones I used a hybrid method to make them. I started by needle felting them into rough spheres.

In the picture below you can see the before after side by side. Just needle felting on the left and after wet felting on the right.

The result was a ball that felted very quickly (quicker than if I had used just one of those methods alone) but remained lighter and fluffier than if it had only been needle felted. Perfect for a garland!

Once they were dry I strung them together using red embroidery floss, a yarn needle, and some fabric glue.

Poking the needle through the center was easy- to my surprise I was even able to use a plastic needle.

As I strung them into place I found I wanted a bit of space between the felt to allow the red string to show. So I used a dab of fabric glue to secure each ball in place.

On both ends of the garland I made a loop with the floss. This should help secure the beginning and end of the garland onto the tree branches.

The entire garland is about 9 ft. long. I used $5.25 worth of wool (There's a bit of extra wool included in there if I need to make the garland longer). The embroidery floss was bought with a 40% off coupon so it was only $1.01. (I also have extra of that which I'll be using on some other ornaments).

Grand total was $6.26 which means I have $13.74 left in my $20 budget.

Although that's a pretty big chunk of my budget, I think it's ok because to me this garland is the foundation of my tree. It's a big punch of color and I think it's going to tie everything else together. (At least I'm crossing my fingers that's what it'll do)

If you want to join me on this Crafty Christmas Tree Challenge there's still time! Click over to this post and leave me a comment OR just send me an email.

$13.74 and a lot more ornaments to go!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Today I've got a recipe and a tip all rolled into one. I don't know about you but around my house we always have leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving. And to be honest- we never finish it. So about three years ago started making Cranberry orange muffins with the leftover sauce.

Making these muffins is really easy- like most of the muffins I make it's a "one bowl" recipe. Besides... who wants to fuss around with baking something complicated after the marathon of cooking that is Thanksgiving. You can throw these together in 10 minutes and be eating them straight out the oven in about a half hour. YUM!

You'll need:
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce- we get the "whole cranberry sauce" out of the can but whatever you have on your table will be fine.
  • The zest from one orange
  • 1/3 C walnuts (optional)
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (depends on how sweet your cranberry sauce is to begin with. I usually use 3/4 of a cup for the sauce right out of the can).
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of milk (I use nonfat or 1% but whatever is in the fridge will be fine)

Preheat oven to 375.

Sift all the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, baking powder) to a mixing bowl. Then add wet ingredients (egg, milk, oil cranberry sauce) and mix just until ingredients are incorporated. Add orange zest and nuts and mix again until combined. Don't over-stir or the muffins will be tough and chewy!

Spray your muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with muffin cups. Fill each cup evenly. Makes 6 large muffins or 12 regular size. Bake for 18 min (for large muffins) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from pan and let cool. (Or if you are impatient because the smell so good- go ahead and eat one warm!)

And If you already know you'll have more than enough cranberry sauce for your holiday dinner why wait until after Thanksgiving? Make these muffins the day before and have a nice light holiday morning breakfast after you put the Turkey in the oven.

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