Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tour de Freaks - Christmas Style!

Here we are again on yet ANOTHER amazing FREAKY Blog Tour. Thanks for joining us! This month we are focusing on things that you can give to your friends and neighbors ... you KNOW the ones I mean ... the ones who would never even THINK about throwing out or parting with a SINGLE thing that was handmade just for them!! Soooooo....without further adieu, here is what I have come up with ...

First off, I decided to FINALLY make this "Believe" framed art gift. I swear, I have been thinking about doing this FOREVER (like, maybe SIX years!). This month's Blog Tour finally pushed me over the edge (and I'm glad, 'cause I am giving this baby as a gift to ME!! Is that bad???). It really was not all that difficult to make, and it was pretty darn fun t'boot!!

Here is a close up of a few of the letters. I wanted you to be able to see the BEAUTIMOUS Bridesmaid DSP up close and personal.

Stamps: Lovely Letters, Baroque Motifs
Ink: Gold Encore, Old Olive, Real Red
Paper: Bridesmaid DSP, Very Vanilla, Brushed Gold, Old Olive, Real Red
Accessories: Movers & Shapers Holiday Windows Bigz Die, 1 3/8" and 1 1/4" circle punches, 5/8" Old Olive grosgrain ribbon, 5/8" Real Red grosgrain ribbon, gold cord, gold brads, gold embossing powder, pop-up glue dots, frame

For my next project, I make this SPARKALICIOUS snowflake earrings utilizing some shrink plastic, our FABOO Snowflake #2 die, AND some Versamark and Iridescent Ice embossing powder.

And I ALSO enlisted the help of my darling daughter, Vanna (also known in the real world as Amelia - thanks, cutie!) to help me in showing off how fun and fancy these earrings can be. What girl doesn't love a little BLING in her life, especially at this time of year?? Smiley from

Ink: Versamark
Accessories: Snowflake #2 Bigz Die, Iridescent Ice embossing powder, clear ice rhinestone brads, shrink plastic, earring findings, glue dots

At last, but certainly not LEAST, I quickly threw together this little gift bag that would be the PERFECT gift for your neighbors. Not that the bag is all that spectacular, mind you, but what I am about to reveal IS super fantastically SPECTACULAR. I have become somewhat of a legend in my neighborhood for the cookies that I give out to my friends every year ... they are called Lucky Pennies and they are absolutely DELISH!! I have been threatened many-a-year by my girlfriends that if I DON'T bring some of these cookies by they will be EXTREMELY put out. Many of them have actually admitted to HOARDING them all to themselves and NOT sharing them with ANYONE! My dad actually told me last year that they were his MOST favorite Christmas goodie (and coming from him, that was high praise, considering he LOVED goodies ... which is very bittersweet for me this year, as we lost Dad on May 30. These cookies will FOREVER put a smile on my face because of this sweet memory).

Stamps: Sweet Season
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Top Note Bigz Die, Petals a Plenty embossing folder, scallop border die, slot punch, 1/4" Very Vanilla grosgrain ribbon, cello bag

Smiley from millan.netSooo....if I share this recipe with you, you have to SWEAR not to tell ANYONE I gave away my mostest secret recipe, OK?? AND you have to promise to make at least ONE batch of them this year (I should mention here that the cookies in the picture are NOT my famous Lucky Pennies, but a poor grocery-store substitute). Ran out of time to make the REAL McCoy, but if you wanna see the real deal, check out this blog post I did about them LAST December. We make over 1,000 of these cookies every year for neighbor gifts. I have lived in this neighborhood for nearly 25 years, so my list is kinda BIG!! Here is the recipe (which, I have to admit, I shared LAST year!). ENJOY!!

Lucky Pennies

2 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
3/4 C. (1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened)
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 large egg
granulated sugar (for coating cookies)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In a separate large bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the molasses and egg and mix until well blended. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for at least 1 to 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a teaspoon to scoop the dough out of the bowl, then roll it with your fingertips into balls that are about one-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in a shallow bowl of granulated sugar. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes or until the cookies are crinkled and set.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat until all the dough is used. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month and at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Special note: This is a recipe that does NOT double/triple very well. If you want to make LOTS of them, you should make a separate batch of dough each time.

NOW, head on over to the super INCREDIBLE Cindy Majors' blog to see what she has cooked up for the ones you love for Christmas!!


Wendie aka Tankergypsie said...

Wow! Beautiful projects and thanks for sharing the cookie recipe. I think I'll try it for my Christmas Customer Appreciation open house.

carolm said...

beautiful projects. love the "believe."

thanx for the recipe as well. i'll ask my husband, the chef, to make them.

Connie Babbert said...

I LOVE your Believe frame...and the earrings are DARLING...I'm going to have to make some of those! Your daughter is TOO cute! I've never heard those cookies called Lucky Pennies...we call them Gingersnaps! I've been making them for 30 husband's favorite cookie and always a holiday tradition to make up a couple batches! (Never thought to give them as gifts!)

Cindy said...

Hi, Wendy

Great job with the projects this month! Your frame is outstanding, and what about those sparkly earrings! WOW! That's a great idea and a great way to use the Big Shot. Your daughter makes a great model!:)


Melanie Schulenberg said...

Oh Wendy. I don't know which is my favorite! That frame with Believe is just beautiful.

Those cookie treats are a great idea. I know lots of friends who would enjoy them.

I'm going to try my hand at the frame today. Thanks for the inspiration.

Debbie D said...

Gorgeous as usual! Love the frame and the ear rings. I'm going to have to try both of these, and the recipe too!

Dawn said...

Oh - I LOVE your Believe frame and may have to case it! Others are fab as well. Great job!

RhondaG - The Stampin' Bunny said...

Fantastic Wendy! I love it all!

Sweet story about your cookies...hugs!

Dawn Olchefske said...

I love, love, love the believe frame. Great idea using the ornament punch!

Stef Perry said...

I love your "gift to self" of the framed Believe! It is beautiful, as well as the sparkly earrings (and the cute girl modeling!!). Some lovely creations you shared today!!

Janet said...

I love your BELIEVE project. Since it is the most favorite word and thought of a good friend of mine, I am hoping to CASE it! I went to several stores today - but couldn't locate a frame anything like the one you found. Will you share where you found yours?

Lisa Martz said...

AHHHHH!! I am overwhelmed by your creative genious! I laove the frame! And, how DARLING are those earrings? Going to have to try the recipe!

Cheryl said...

Wonderful projects. I love the earrings your cute daughter is wearing.

JanTink said...

Don't tell me the cookies are in the mail. LOL!

GOJUS as usual!!!

Now where did those socks go...?

Cynthia Ferenz said...

What a beautiful young lady and the earrings look great on her...Love, love, love the believe frame. Hmmmm and I actually have everything need to make one (except the frame-minor detail). TFS!

Cynthia Ferenz
Fredericksburg, VA
Proud Parent of 2 Soldiers

Anonymous said...

Wow! You so inspired me that I made one today and it is framed and on my piano! Thanks so much! -Mary R. (scs #1volunteer)

Shelly Schmidt said...

Beautiful projects- I love the earrings, and what a great recipe! TFS

Deborah345 said...

The cookies look yum just by seeing a picture. I am making this one for sure.

Mary Brown said...

Wendy -- I am SOOO glad you got around to doing your BELIEVE is absolutely STUNNING!!!!

StampinGramE said...

These cookies sound like something my husband would just LOVE. I would like to make them but 'blend & cream with a wooden spoon' would not be possible for me. Could this be done with a mixer? I don't want to ruin your cookies. Thanks, ellen

Kay Kalthoff said...

I love those earrings, Wendy! I might have to try to find my shrink plastic today and make some up. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Wendy Weixler said...

In answer to a couple of questions already posted ... I actually got the frame from a gal who uses them at craft fairs. I tried in vain to find them myself. She orders them in BULK from China. I never could figure out where she was getting them!

As for the cookies ... I mix my dough with a KitchenAid mixer, Ellen, so you are totally off the hook with the wooden spoon! :)

Mary Davidson said...

Beautiful framed art! Very cool earrings and beautiful model! Who can't use some lucky pennies? LOL TFS!

Whitney Richardson said...

Your framed art work is gorgeous. It's so funny how we put off those projects we want to do the most, I have been wanting to make shadow boxes and put my decor elements on certain surfaces, but I am aphrehensive scared to ruin them.
so today I am taking the plunge.
Thanks for the inpiration this is so pretty I have to just do it!!

lorijane said...

Dear Wendy,
"Won't you be MY neighbor?" I love your projects AGAIN this month. I'm dreaming of my KitchenAid mixer right about now! You sure know how to spread holiday cheer. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Merry, Merry and Happy to you and your family. Your daughter is a gem! lorijane

Antje said...

oooh yummy, I am sitting here, can nearly smell it... sounds so, so good...thanks for the secret recipe and those earrings are so gorgeous! Or is it just you beautiful daughter wearing them?
Thanks for the inspiration!

Annette said...

What beautiful projects you have shared. Love them all. AND I have a batch of Lucky Pennies in the oven as I type!
Thanks so much for sharing - Happy Thanksgiving!

Wendy J. said...

Wendy, these are some wonderful creative ideas! I love them all! How clever! Everything you do is so perfect!