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Craft Fail: The Christmas Pickle

To spread a little Christmas chuckle I thought I’d share one of the many crafting fails I’ve had this month. Merry Christmas and see ya next year.Erin

This is not my own picture, it's from Wiki

Whether it originated in Germany or America is apparently up for debate as is the exact story behind the Christmas Pickle Tradition. Here’s my version, Santa hides a pickle ornament on your tree Christmas Eve, the first to find it in the morning opens the first present AND gets blessed with a wonderful year.

Sounds like fun right? Nod your head up and down.

Being the DIYer that I am I figured why buy a pickle ornament when I can make one. I mean come on, ornaments are becoming my thing.

Hmm, but how to do it? I KNOW! Why not felt a pickle out of the chartreuse wool roving bought a year ago to make hats with my mother? Sorry we never got those hats made mom.

Here goes. Wool Roving

Okay, I’ve taken out the roving and I’m starting to form my pickle.

@mvemother Wool Roving Felting

It’s time to start getting it wet and soapy.

My Very Educated Mother I SWEAR THIS IS A PICKLE

Good God Almighty, I know you have to have a sense of humor otherwise why would you let me take this picture? It was about this time that I also had my oldest son actually start videotaping the process. After watching it I realized the video had slight pornographic qualities to it and deleted it as quickly as I could.

My pickle looks like crap, literally.

About here is when I said, “Crap.” My son corrected me, "Leprechaun Crap." It still looks like crap

I just couldn’t admit defeat and start over, I couldn’t. So instead I stitched on a smile and glued on some googly eyes. I’ve been told this made my pickle resemble a South Park character. CRAFT FAIL: A Christmas Pickle

And then I hung it on the tree in all it’s creased, green, excrement-like glory! It’s as if I can hear it saying,

Merry Christmas, Eat More Fiber!

Erin Sipes
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Felt Envelope Gift Card Holders

I hate to admit it but sometimes the best gift to give really is a gift card and this easy to sew holder will help you make a more personal delivery! -Erin

  • 2 pieces of felt cut at 3” x 4 1/2” (envelope)
  • 1 one inch square of contrasting felt cut with pinking shears (stamp)
  • quilting foot
  • matching and contrasting threads
  • scissors
  • sewing machine Felt Gift Card HoldersDirections
On one piece of felt use the quilting foot, and a contrasting thread, to write out your name in the top left portion of the envelope and your gift receiver’s name in the middle.

Switch back to your normal presser foot.  Pin your stamp down in the top right portion of your envelope and make a few passes with a wave stitch to create the effect of postal marks.

@mvemother Gift Card Holder from Felt and Quilting Foot
Line the two pieces of felt together and sew along three sides leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Slide in a gift card to their favorite store and give!

@mvemother Felt Envelope Gift Card Holder
I hope you enjoyed this project!

Happy Holidays!   Erin
Erin Sipes
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Christmas List Ornaments

Christmas List Ornaments

Last month during the height of the No Ugly Ornament Series I shared these awesome Christmas List ornaments over on the Graphic Fairy’s Craft site. They’re super easy and you can personalize them however you’d like. I think they’d make pretty special gift tags, what do you think?


The next couple of weeks I’ve got a hodge-podge of recipes, round-ups, and reviews scheduled. I hope you find something you like and enjoy these harried holiday times!
Erin Sipes
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Book Spine Bookmarks

Last Wednesday I participated in a Google+ #HolidayHangout with Cyn from Creative Cynchronicity. Click HERE to watch! During it I shared a super cute Book Spine Bookmark gift or table favor idea. I made it by combining a couple of ideas I’d seen via the web, this one and another I’ll mention later on.

I’m really in love with these bookmarks! They make perfect table favors, decorations, or gifts. Wouldn’t you want one of these decorating your Christmas present?

My Very Educated Mother: Book Spine Bookmarks

  • Old books
  • Scissors and/or X-Acto knife
  • felt
  • Fabric Fusion
  • Optional: string for tassel (I do not include instructions for making tassels)
  • fake pine garland
  • ribbons
  • glitter pipe cleaners
  • candy canes
(For starters, you could just watch the video I link to above. In addition to this craft Cyn shares a number of really great projects even some for the kids!)

Start by cutting the spine out of your old books…just the ones that were headed for the recycle bin.

@mvemother Cutting out the book spines to make bookmarks
Trim a piece of felt the same size as the book spine.

@mvemother Using felt on Book Spine Bookmarks
Glue the felt and spine together using Fabric Fusion and let dry.

@mvemother Making Book Spine Bookmarks
Next you’ll add the candy cane and trimmings! For those instructions be sure to head over to SMC by Design and she’ll give you the 411. Once everything is all together you end up with a favor even the most sour of adults would love to get!

My Very Educated Mother: Book Spine Bookmark Christmas Favors
My Very Educated Mother: Book Spine Bookmark Favors
Sharing: Skip to my Lou Mad in Crafts Homestories A to Z The Shabby Creek Cottage Momnivore’s Dilemma  Stuff and Nonsense  The Romantic Home 504 Main   Tatertots & jello   Be different Act Normal   Serenity Now
Erin Sipes
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Say NO to Auto Review

How many people do you know own a DSLR camera? Now how many of those same people are admittedly only using it on its Auto settings? Maybe even you? It’s okay, there’s no shame in it! For most of us novice photographers these little machines can be quite confusing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read all about ISO and aperture only to forget it all when it came time to take the picture.

That’s why I’m so excited to be able to share this awesome gift idea with you today! It’s Kristen Duke’s Say NO to Auto e-book.

SayNotoAuto Kristen Duke Photography

What makes this book any different than the ones you’ve already got sitting on a shelf?

Well for starters it’s only $10 and scaled at a size of 4x6, making it easy to print and stash into a camera bag so you can take Duke’s tips with you wherever you go! (Or stuff into the stocking of your favorite wannabe photographer!)

Secondly Duke gets right to the point, lining out the three basic steps you need to understand once you make that jump from auto to manual. Did I lose you at aperture? No worries, she’s also got a handy glossary, ISO reference page and plenty of examples such as this one.

Duke also has a hard copy available for purchase (see below) made of thick cardstock and spiral bound for $20 and if you’re feeling ambitious you can also pick up her second book Get Focused for $12 e-book and $22 hard copy. To purchase CLICK HERE .

Say NO to Auto

I received a free copy of Say NO to Auto for review but the opinions expressed are my own.

Erin Sipes
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#Torani Recipes: Salted Caramel Frosting and Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

#Torani Recipes and Review

A couple of weeks ago I received two bottles of Torani Syrup to review and experiment with in my holiday recipes. I couldn’t have picked two better flavors, Salted Caramel and Peppermint! I completely admit that this was the first time I’d ever used Torani in my home. I had no idea I could find them in Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc. When I initially added the Salted Caramel to my coffee I went a little overboard and had to dump it.  Since then I’ve perfected my morning cup (2 Tbsp syrup, splash of half&half, coffee) and I’ve created these two recipes. 


@Torani @mvemother Salted Caramel Frosting

Salted Caramel Frosting


  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Torani Salted Caramel Syrup
  • Milk as needed to reach desired consistency

Mix shortening with half of the powdered sugar until combined. Add syrup and rest of powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Add milk if necessary to reach your desired consistency. Spread onto cake ( I used spice cake) and enjoy!


@Torani @mvemother Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cake Mix

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • White Cake Mix
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup of Torani Peppermint Syrup
  • 4 Peppermint canes crushed
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips (optional – these cookies are pretty sweet you might want to omit these)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Blend together first four ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips and half the crushed peppermint canes. Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy canes. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet promptly to avoid the crushed candies from sticking to your pan. Cool on rack before serving.

*Note: Personally I hate having sticky crushed peppermint candies on the tops of the cookies, if you feel the same way, you can always mix all of it into the batter.

If you like these recipes, take a moment and visit the Torani site for other recipe ideas and heck, just to peruse the many flavors they offer, you might be surprised at just how many and how off the wall some of them are! ( Bacon flavored syrup?)


This was a sponsored post. I was provided with two free bottles of Torani syrup for review through the SheSpeaks review program. That said, the opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.

About Torani:  Since 1925, 3rd generation family-owned Torani has been crafting great tasting flavored syrups that coffeehouses use to make their flavored drinks taste so delicious. With over 120 flavors in Regular and Sugar Free varieties, Torani flavored syrups are perfect for flavored lattes, mochas, coffees, cocoas, Italian sodas, teas, lemonades, cocktails and smoothies. Coffeehouse professionals choose Torani flavors because they are expertly crafted and made with the highest quality ingredients, like natural flavors and pure cane sugar. The Sugar Free flavors have no calories and are sweetened with Splenda. Now, Torani flavored syrups are widely available at retail so you can easily create authentic coffeehouse quality drinks at home.

Erin Sipes
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Recycled Wine Cork Candle Ornament Recycled Wine Cork Candle Ornament

Here is the second ornament I shared during Monday’s Google+ #HolidayHangout!

My Very Educated Mother: Supplies for Wine Cork Christmas Ornaments

@mvemother Wine Cork Candle Ornament Recycled Ornaments

My Very Educated Mother: Recycled Wine Corks

@mvemother Wine Cork Candle Ornament

What do you guys think about this style of tutorials?

I think I like how clean it looks but I miss my musings intermingled in the actual instructions.

Erin Sipes
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Scrappy Star Christmas Ornament Scrappy Star Christmas Ornament

This past Monday I took part in my first Google+ Hangout on Air with Cyn from Creative Cynchronicity. We shared 3 quick and easy ornaments and this Scrappy Star was one of them! (Warning this post is photo heavy!) Watch the hangout via Youtube to find out how to turn this ornament into a garland as well! 

@mvemother: Scrappy Star Instructions 1

@mvemother: Scrappy Star Instructions 2

@mvemother: Scrappy Star Instructions 3

@mvemother: Scrappy Star Instructions 4

Erin Sipes
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Christmas Décor: Peppermint Paper Plates

It’s Craft Lightning – Holiday Edition! 
Back in September I shared a super easy, 15 minute project as part of the Craft Lightning Series hosted by Angie at The Country Chic Cottage and Carolina from 30 Minute Crafts. Well, we’re at it again, but this time there’s a theme and it’s all about the Holidays!

Peppermint Paper Plates @mvemother

  • 2 plain white paper plates (a smaller size works best, in my opinion)
  • Red markers
  • Plastic wrap
  • Glue

Candy Cane Christmas Peppermints
Whether swirls or squares, make an outline on the back of both plates.
Red and White Christmas Decorations
Color in your design.
Peppermint Christmas Decor
Line up your pattern and glue the two plates together.
Paper Plate Christmas Decoration Idea
Lay out a piece of plastic wrap.
Wrap up your Paper Plate Peppermint Christmas Decoration
Wrap up your mint and twist the ends.
Add hot glue to Peppermint Paper Plates @mvemother
Add a little bit of hot glue to hold everything in place. Peppermint Paper Plates
Use to decorate your garlands, wreaths, or Christmas tree!

Don’t forget today at 4 p.m. CST I’m going to be hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air where I’ll be sharing 3 Quick and Easy Christmas Ornaments along with Cyn from Creative Cynchronicity!

Erin Sipes
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#HolidayHangout 3 Quick and Easy Ornaments

handmade holiday

In the mood for some Holiday Inspiration? Next week over 22 crafty bloggers will be sharing holiday crafts, party tips, décor ideas, and festive recipes in a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air (HoA).

Ready for the really fun part? Yours truly will be hosting a hangout at 4 p.m. CST on Monday with Cyn from Creative Cynchronicity! As if a month of ornament tutorials wasn’t enough, we’re going to be sharing three quick and easy trinkets for your tree!

Did I mention this would be live? To tune in, just come back to THIS POST and about a half an hour before the event starts you should be able to click the image directly above and it will take you where you need to go! You can visit the event page HERE or my own Google + profile HERE to watch! The beauty of Google+ Hangouts is that even if you’re unable to catch the live broadcast you can always head over to Youtube and watch at your convenience.  P.S. You don’t need to have a Google+ account to watch the #HolidayHangout!

Not in the mood for more ornaments?  Check out the schedule below, it’s packed with all kinds of holiday themed projects from a host of talented bloggers! Just follow the links to their Google + profiles at the time of their hangout!

NOTE: The schedule below is in Pacific Standard Time!

Monday, December 3rd
9 am PST  Creative Kristi Handmade Gift Ideas for Adults with guest Sawdust and Paper Scraps
11 am PST Mrs Hines Class, Setting for Four, DejaVu Designs  DIY Ornaments and Decor
2 pm PST My Very Educated Mother Three Quick and Easy Ornaments with guest Creative Cynchronicity

Tuesday, December 4th
9 am PST Uncommon Designs Team Simple Neighbor Gifts for Christmas
10 am PST Sugar Bee Crafts Easy Christmas Crafts with guest A Girl and A Glue Gun
12 pm PST Fox Hollow Cottage Holiday Crafts
6 pm PST Just Paint It Three Easy Ways to Guild Fruit

Wednesday, December 5th
9 am PST Atta Girl Says Stress Free Holiday Hosting Tips
10 am PST Hometalk, C.R.A.F.T  Holiday Hangout
1 pm PST Creative Cynchronicity Holiday Table Favors with guest My Very Educated Mother
3 pm PST Jader Bomb, Graphics Fairy, Shabby Creek Cottage Handmade Ornaments

Thursday, December 6th
9 am PST The Bold Abode  DIY Glitter Candles and Madlibs with guest Mom 4 Real, Creekline House
10 am PST Creekline House Working with Fresh Cedar with guest Mom 4 Real
11 am PST Simply Designing Snowman Candy Dish
1 pm PST The CSI Project DIY Ornaments
2 pm PST The Everyday Home The Everyday Home Show
6 pm PST Dukes and Duchesses Hosting a Themed Cocoa Party

Friday, December 7th
9 am PST Mom 4 Real Easy Teacher Gift
10 am PST It's Overflowing Holiday Craft
11 am PST The Everyday Home Creating a Christmas Wreath and Bow Making
1 pm PST 52 Mantels Holiday Craft with guest My Sister's Suitcase
4 pm PST 30 Minute Crafts, Country Chic Cottage10 minutes Christmas Crafts with Madigan Made
Erin Sipes
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