A Hobby Lobby in AF?!  I was excited when they announced the Orem one, because it's 20 minutes from my house, versus 35 to get to the next closest one.  The AF one will be like 5 minutes from my house, and no freeway will be involved (for those of you that live in Utah and are dealing with the I-15 reconstruction, I feel that pain). 
I think my morning is made.
I've been busy with Halloween costumes, but they'll be one here soon and hopefully will be as cool as I imagined.  I look forward to the return of crafting as normal.


The best breadsticks in the world. Seriously.

Hello, all.  I would like to introduce you to the best breadsticks EVER:
Their hobbies include being buttery and delicious, as well as being easy to make.

I've only ever posted one other recipe on this blog, so this is definitely something special.  Here's where it starts:
Defrosting Rhodes Rolls in the fridge the night before.  You need 22 per pan.  I made 3 pans yesterday, so I defrosted 66 of them- pretty much an entire big bag.  

And now, here's where the delicious begins:
Melt an entire stick of butter, then pour it in a pan:
Then cover all that butter with parmesan cheese:
Mmmm-hmmm.  We're off to a great start.
Take your 22 balls of dough and roll them out and put them in the pan on top of all that butter and parmesan:
 More appetizing/artistic angle:
Then, let them raise until they look like this (or maybe slightly smaller- these ones raised a little too long):
About this time you want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
And now it is time for the most delicious part.  I actually tried this 3 different ways on Sunday, but then never got to do my planned side by side taste because right after the last batch got out of the oven we had to get to my in-laws, and then not long after we got there Mim burned her fingers on the glass fireplace front (blisters on 4 of her fingers- it was so sad).  Anyway, I'll tell you all about my variations so you can have a taste test of your own.
The way my mom does it and how I usually do it starts out with squeezy butter.  Then you cover generously with more parmesan cheese (either the powdery stuff or fresh grated, it doesn't matter), feta, and just a sprinkle of Salad Supreme (sounds weird, but you should still do it).  Here's how it looks once that's all done:
Like a delicious breadstick party.  I used to do a single line of squeezy butter down the middle of each roll, but I got lazy.
My method I made up the other day was the same, except instead of using squeezy butter, I melted real butter and put it in a spray bottle:
That's a whole stick of butter in there.  I found out you only need a half stick per pan.  Without the squeezy butter, the pan looks a little less festive:
For the third variety, I used squeezy butter and real butter from the spray bottle (I know, I live on the wild side).  Maybe it was overkill, but I had already squeezy buttered two of the pans, and I didn't want to waste the rest of the butter I had already melted.  

Bake them at 350 degrees on a middle rack for about 15 minutes.  They're still pretty soft at that point- if you like crustier breadsticks, you'd probably only need to add a couple minutes.

Take them out of the oven, let them cool down enough to pull apart, and have at it.  
They really are the best ever.

***UPDATE 1/12/12***
A few weeks ago for a baby shower I used home made roll dough instead of Rhodes for these (the Lion House roll recipe, if you're curious), and I have to say, I don't think it made a real difference.  They were softer, but they still just tasted like butter and parm and feta (which is how it should be).  And the softness wasn't necessarily desirable for a breadstick.  From now on I'm just going to stick to Rhodes- so easy.


Gettin' spooky up in here

I've never decorated for Halloween before (except for when I was 8 or 9 and I would take a big stack of computer paper, draw pictures of ghosts and pumpkins on every sheet, and then hang them in all the windows) and this still might not count, but at least it's something.

All I did was wrap some branches that I already had up with some fake cobwebby stuff.  It's not much, but I like it.
There's some on top of the piano

and some on the mantle.
Maybe next year I'll have Halloween stuff in three places. 


New brooch

Well, I don't have a pin for it yet, but it will be a brooch. 

Here's how I made it:
Cut out a bunch of circles from a polyester-containing fabric.  That smaller circle is my base circle.
Grab a circle in the middle and squish it up.
 Then cut off the bit where you were holding it (this probably isn't necessary, but I did it to reduce bulk when I glue everything to the base circle.
Put some hot glue on the cut off squished up end, to help preserve the pinched-ness.
Then make a glue puddle on your base circle and stick the squished end into it.
You could leave it all fray-y like this, but I took it one step further (because I live on the wild side).
That's it!  Glue it to a headband or a brooch pin (like I will do as soon as I remember to buy one) and voila!
It probably looks more like a carnation than anything else.  I like it.


More paper crafting

So, if you didn't know, I'm LDS.  You know, a Mormon.  And my new calling in my ward is the primary music director.  For those of you who aren't Mormon, that means that every Sunday I teach songs to kids/try to get kids to sing.  For the very youngest group I teach I'm mostly just singing at them.

It's fun.

And a challenge.

A big part of that challenge is finding a way to teach songs that can appeal to a wide range of age groups (I teach 3 different groups separately- the nursery, which is 18 months to 3 years; the junior primary, which is 4 years to 8 years; and the senior primary, which is 9 years to 12 years), because I don't want to have to prepare 3 completely different lessons/teaching methods each week.  My sister gave me a great idea that I implemented today and thought I'd share with all of you.
Music dice!
One die has some of the songs they've been learning throughout the year, and the other has an adverb.  I get two volunteers, one to roll each die, and then we just do what they say.  Even the older kids, who I was worried wouldn't really care, always wanted to be picked.  Universal appeal.  Sweet.
I just used scotch tape on the back of the white papers- I can switch out what the dice are for as needed.

To make the cubes:
a cardboard box to cut up
so much hot glue (kids are going to throw them, so you want these suckers to be sturdy)

Then I creased some scrapbook paper, cut it to length, and covered up all my messy edges, just using plain ol' Elmer's glue to hold the strips in place.

I hope somebody else out there can use this.

Old fashioned paper crafting

Not that there aren't a million contemporary paper crafts.  Using paper just felt old fashioned to me, since I haven't done anything much with it (except for the occasional card) since I really loved scrapbooking in high school. 
These are for an activity my church is having for mothers and daughters.  There are a few different crafts to work on, and we thought it would be nice to have a few free options for the people who come. 
One of those options are these little paper clip turned picture holder doo dads.  I cut paper the right size, then just glued it on, cutting little slits to allow for the holder bits to stick up.  While I was doing it, I got to thinking just how adaptable these little babies are.  I especially love the thought of them holding food labels at a party- you could just choose paper to match your theme.  Simple and cheap.  That's how I roll.


A warning to all

I was scammed.  I'm pretty annoyed about it. 
In April I bought a book for a book club from DiscountBookSale.com (it was Shannon Hales "Book of a Thousand Days," which is wonderful).  It was an awesome deal.  I even got "Goose Girl" as a bonus for like 50 cents.  Having found similarly awesome deals on Amazon, I was not suspicious.
Now, 6 months later, in reviewing my list of debit charges, I notice one from Discount Book Sale.  Mike was there, so I asked him if he ordered something.  Nope.  So I look them up online and find that by buying my books at "member price" in April, I was automatically signing up for a 20$/month membership.   
To be fair, I should have noticed these charges earlier.  I assumed Mike was buying stuff online- I didn't notice that the charges were for the same amount, at the same time each month.  That's totally my bad. 
I've called, and they gave me a refund for the last 3 months, which is more than I was expecting, given what I'd read online.  I hung up with them and called Visa to see if they could get the first 3 months back.  Turns out, Visa can only dispute charges up to 3 months old.  So was it coincidence that that's how much I was refunded by the scammers?  I submit that it was not.  I read some more online- people always got the same amount refunded as they would have been able to recover through their credit card companies. 

The real message here: Don't be as inattentive as me.  And don't buy from Discount Book Sale.  I'm definitely sticking to Amazon from now on.  They've never even scammed me a little bit.  The message for me: pay attention!

(On the lighter side: my little paperback books I got from there, which I totally thought were some awesome deals, are now, taking into account my "membership fees" about 30$ a piece.  That's after I get my refund, which you can be sure I'm watching for.)


So she can have her own wallet to empty

My little stink bug loves to empty out my wallet.  And it's saved me a couple of times, for sure.  But recently, I've decided that it's high time she got her own wallet.  Especially since I gave her all my old student cards, expired bus passes, and empty gift cards.  Really, I decided to make her a wallet because I just want somewhere to put away the cards when she's done with them.  So, to start:
One of those fat quarters I bought with no purpose and some felt scraps.
Here it is all laid out.  I didn't take exact measurements because I had some cards on hand and was just comparing sizes as I went along.  The felt is about 8.5" by 4.5" and the lining bit is probably about 1.25" smaller in both dimensions.  The other pieces I just cut to fit.  I don't have any pictures of the sewing process because it was after Mim's bedtime and dark and I just didn't want to take any crappy ones.
The little card holder pieces are the same size and I sewed them along 3 sides to the lining bit first.  Then I attached little closer strap and the velcro square (I realize that's not super close- you'll see in the finished picture).  Then I did a really close zig zag all around the edge of the lining piece to attach it to the felt backing.  Then I sewed clear vinyl to the driver's license pocket and then attached that to the felt backing.  And that was it.
{Here it is, mostly empty}
{In action}
{All the cards, neatly removed}
It's simple and she loves it.  And so I love it. 


Even cheaper than the dollar store

We all know that the only thing cheaper than the dollar store is free.  I've seen a bunch of crafts out there using dollar store leaves on garlands and wreaths, which is cool- I mean, they'll last forever.  But the thing is, I can get real leaves for free, just by going for a walk around the neighborhood.  I took some of the leaves I used in this post and stuck them to a grapevine wreath.  Like so:
It's not a new idea, by any means, but it's still lovely. 
It's kind of turning out that my "thing" on this blog is to use natural materials.  I was thinking about this post and this post and this post.  Maybe it's just a fall thing.  Or maybe my decorating style is "make it look like outside if you can."  I don't think that's a thing.  Whatever.  I guess I just love leaves.  Especially free ones.

I could make pillows all day

As long as they all had envelope backs.

Also, I tried some embroidery (see above).  It was really fun, actually.  I think there will be more of it in my future.  I don't know technical terms or anything, but I think I used a backstitch.  I think.
Here it is with its other fall buddy:
I love pillows.  Maybe I'll get winter/Christmas ones done before the season is actually upon us, now that I know how awesome it is.


Scrap busting like a scrap buster

When I saw this at Cluck Cluck Sew, I knew I had to make one.  I pretty much did the exact same thing she did, but my pillow cover was a bit bigger, about 24" by 20".  I wanted to replace my embroidered IKEA (which I love love love but they're very springy/summery) covers with something more seasonal.
{Oooo, I do love them.}
 Here's my version of Cluck Cluck Sew's lovely pillow:
 My scrap drawer is not as diverse as hers (or as pretty- so many gorgeous fall fabrics), so not every leaf is unique.  I tried to make up for it by having lots of textures: quilting cottons (of course), knits, ribbed knits, corduroy, and felt. 
I love it.  Now I need to make another fall-ish cover to replace my other IKEA one.  I was thinking a big acorn, maybe.  The original plan was to make another of these beauties, but now that one's done, I kind of think it might be too much.