25 December 2011

Idle Hands...

I have a really awesome mom. She has always been an artsy, creative, resourceful person. I really think she could accomplish anything that she put her mind to (except build sturdy garage shelves- but that's another story :-). So I was privileged to grow up with her artistic flourishes and creativity. And let me tell you, that really came in handy when "we" had a school project to do! And although she's the master (there were times I would throw a fit and refuse to color because she did it so much better) I like to think she passed on a little of her skill and ingenuity. I recall staying up late at night in my room as a kid working on random projects that I had been inspired to try. I always enjoyed a new craft or idea. But, as life goes, I grew up and got busy. School and the myriad sports and church activities took over and free-time became a thing of the past.

But one of the byproducts of moving to another country has been a resurgence in the amount of down-time I have. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of actual work. I'm certainly not trying to just kill time. But, after the job, I don't have rugby practice or ultimate frisbee, no band rehearsal, leadership meetings, or Wednesday night church to rush off to. Plus living in a foreign culture can be exhausting, so I often find myself spending a low-key evening in the apartment with a movie on. This time factor also combines with the fact that we are non-profit workers living overseas temporarily and anything we take home has to be carried in a suitcase, hence we don't have much incentive to buy a whole lot of decor or knick-nacks. Oh, and you can't buy a lot of favorite foods ready-made like in the states. So thus the stage was set...

Enter Pinterest.  

If you haven't heard of it yet, it's only a matter of time. It's the latest rage that has been sweeping the online world in recent months. Like a personal/shared bulletin board for you to "pin" things you see online. There's a little bit of everything but it's heavily to the domestic side of crafts, recipes, and home tips. I find lots of fun things on there like photo ideas, cleaning tips, and tons of homemade decorating and cooking projects. It reminds me that I used to be creative, and given the right setting, I still can be. It's also great for a tight budget/living in a place where buying some stuff isn't an option. (I learned how to make my own Febreze!)

The holidays have served to especially unleash my desire to create. I think I'm just so used to being busy and having tons to bake/make/wrap that my brain didn't know what to do without 38 holiday activities every week. So poor Brittany has had to deal with me being in the kitchen every other day with some new recipe to try. Martha Stewart I am not, but I have enjoyed the opportunity and encouragement to try new recipes and entertain myself with a few other homemade projects. Not everything is from Pinterest, some are just old favorites, but here's a rundown on my recent bout of domesticity. Hopefully I'll recover soon so I can go back to eating cereal for every meal and not have everything I own coated in glitter glue. But if idle hands are the devil's workshop, here's the proof that mine have been kept busy!

Toilet-paper roll snowflake tree-topper

Store didn't have any ribbon, so I had to make a colored printer paper bow and curls.

Cinnamon applesauce ornaments like the good ol' days!

I had glitter glue. I shouldn't be allowed to have glitter glue. 

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

My first go at caramels!

Caramel hardening

finished caramel balls

Pre-oven pumpkin pie. 

Ready to eat!

Sugar cookies. A classic.
Lots and lots of sugar cookies!

I got a little carried away with the frosting. 

Finished cookies. 


At home we did this with colored paper when I was a kid.
I decided to use book pages for a little more sophisticated look. 

First go at homemade pretzels. I'm pretty sure this will be happening again. And again.
There ya have it! Hope you've had time to be a little creative during the busy holiday season, and if you have any favorite recipes feel free to pass them on to me. :-) 

Hmm...I think it might be time for another batch of pretzels...

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