Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Make A Custom Mug For Someone

Thought I would share another easy Valentine idea with you today.  I made this cup for my friend Linda as a Christmas gift.  She loves yellow and purple, so guess what colors I chose?  This mug caught my eye because it was yellow and cream which was perfect with purple accents.

To make these mugs, all you need is an inexpensive mug, something for a pattern - you could use a heart for Valentine's Day, a cupid, or an initial.  Anything could work.  I even made some with mustaches on them which are so cute - and a sharpie in a color of your choice.

To make the initial, I used a letter from this package I found at Big Lots .
The entire package was only a couple of dollars and I have found all kinds of uses for them.  There are different fonts in different sizes with numbers and letters.  I punched out a large "L" and taped it to the front of the mug using tiny pieces of 2 sided tape.

Using the sharpie, I simply made random dots all around the letter, then removed the letter and put it on the other side of the mug and did the same thing.

Next, the sharpie has to be heat set, so I placed it in a cold oven directly on the wire rack and set it to preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the buzzer went off at 450, I turned the oven off and let the mug cool in the oven.  Make sure the mug is not hot before picking removing it from the oven!

You should be able to wash the mug by hand without removing the design.  I am not sure you can guarantee it to be dishwasher safe, although our sons in love have had their mustache mugs for a couple of years and they put them in the dishwasher.  From what I have read, it sometimes depends on the glaze on the mug.

These mugs could be filled with candy, the pink popcorn I posted last night, or someone's favorite tea or coffee.  I sent Linda some boxes of tea that she could enjoy in her mug along with some coasters I made for her.  She really liked it.

Handmade gifts are always special for gift giving.  These would also be super for teacher's gifts, friends, or co workers.  Gift recipients appreciate that you took the time to make something with your own hands and that it came from your heart.

Dollar Tree, TJ Maxx, Big Lots, or Target are good places to look for inexpensive mugs.  The inexpensive mugs seem to work better because their glaze is more porous - it's not about being cheap.

Give this project a try the next time you need a gift.  You could even make sets of them for wedding or shower gifts.  The options are endless.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember

Gifts have ribbons, not strings.  Vanna Bonta

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pink Popcorn Perfect For Valentine's Day

 Yes, the weather is still awful.  I am counting the days until Spring.  I am sure you are too.  It's been a really long winter and there is more to go.  So, why not make something cheerful and pretty to brighten your day?   Something that also tastes amazing!

Have you ever had pink popcorn?  The blogger who posted this recipe raved about it as a childhood memory.  I found it on Cravings of a Lunatic, but she found the recipe on Nan's Recipe Spot.  Evidently they had all enjoyed pink popcorn during childhood.  Guess that's another thing we didn't have.  Perhaps it's regional, I don't know.  But I will tell you this, it is REALLY good stuff.  Indeed.

We were invited to a Super Bowl Party Sunday evening and asked to bring something.  Decisions.  Decisions.  What would everyone else bring?  I had no clue and certainly hoped to not duplicate recipes.  So, to make myself happy I made 7 layer dip because I knew if no one else ate it, I could and possibly would eat it all because I love it.  Best.  Snack.  Dip.  Ever.

In case no one was a fan of the 7 layer dip, I made this pink popcorn to eat during the game.  I mean, come on, there has to be munchies for the game.  Something you don't have to go get a plate and fork for, right?  Well, this was a major hit and people kept asking what it was.  I heard one guy tell his wife he bet it tasted like bubble gum.  Ew.  I laughed and told them it did not taste like bubble gum.  They asked what it was.  I told them candied popcorn colored pink.  I don't know if they ever ate any, but someone else certainly did because it was gone, baby, gone.  Our grandson couldn't seem to get enough of it, so I know I will be making some for Valentine's day.

The recipe is really easy and if you like carmel corn, you will love this recipe.  The one thing you need is a candy thermometer.  If you don't have one, they are not expensive and you will be making this again, so go ahead and invest in one now.  It will also allow you to make lots of other candy recipes.

Here is what you need:

12 -16 cups popped popcorn (16 cups was two batches in my air popper)
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup whole milk
2 TBSP corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 drops red food coloring

Pop up your popcorn, just don't use microwave popcorn.  You can do it on the stove top in a pan, or use your handy dandy air popper if you have one.

Next, place the sugar, milk, corn syrup, and salt in a deep saucepan (cause it really bubbles up when cooking).  Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Stir so it doesn't scorch.  Place the candy thermometer on the side of the pan.

Turn heat to low and boil and stir occasionally.  Cook until the temperature on the candy thermometer reaches 230 degrees which is soft ball stage.  Remove the thermometer and turn off the heat.  Add the vanilla and food coloring.  Stir until well incorporated.

Remove pan from heat and let cool a bit.  If you pour the hot candy over the popcorn right away, it will shrink your popcorn.

Using a large baking sheet with sides, cover with parchment or waxed paper.   I actually used two so the popcorn would dry faster.

After the candy cools a bit, pour it over the popped corn and mix with a large spoon until all the popcorn is coated with the candy.  Pour the popcorn out onto the lined baking sheets and let the popcorn dry.

Good luck not eating it all before it dries.  I could hardly keep Dan out of it (and I may or may not have eaten a little myself).

The 7 layer dip was totally consumed as well as the pink popcorn.  This recipe is a keeper and would look so pretty in clear bags or jars for Valentine's Day.   It's also amazingly good which is the best part.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Every once in a while, someone will mail me a single popcorn kernel that didn't pop.  I'll get out a fresh kernel, tape it to a piece of paper and mail it back to them.  Orville Redenbacher  (sorry, couldn't pass it up, it made me laugh - :)