Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Free Independence Day Printable Party Accessories

Over on our MHC Downloads page, you’re welcome to a real treat of free downloads, just in time for those Independence Day celebrations and summer picnics. You will find:

* Sandwich Trays in 3 variations (in red, in blue and also a blank for the kids to decorate)

* Cupcake Toppers

* Water Bottle Wraps

AND

* 3 “starry” coloring pages



You will need:
* your chosen template(s)
* heavy, bright white paper (110 lb)
* glue and/or transparent tape (for the Drink Wrappers & Sandwich Trays)
* food-safe wooden skewers (for the Cupcake Toppers)
* colored pens or pencils (for the coloring pages)


Tips for assembling your party accessories:
1. Go to the MHC Download page and download your chosen Independence Day templates.

2. Print on heavy, bright white paper (110 lb).

3. Use good quality print setting (quality over speed).


Sandwich Trays
1. Cut out along the lines.

2. Score along the main solid black lines.

3. Add glue to the glue tabs and glue together.

Note:  These sandwich trays being printed with printer ink, you may want to line the trays with grease-proof paper and/ or a napkin before placing any open edibles in there to avoid direct contact.


Cupcake Toppers
1. Cut into squares, or punch with 2” scallop circle or 2” circle punch.

2. Glue to the wooden skewer.

3. You can keep your Cupcake Toppers one-sided and use only 1 square per skewer. Or, you can glue two squares back to back to each other with the skewer sandwiched in between.


Water Bottle Labels
1. When you cut the water bottle labels, do not cut any of the sides, i.e. make sure your rectangle's length stays 8 ½ inches even if your printer didn't print to the edges.

2. Peel existing label off the water bottles (this will leave some stickiness on the plastic bottle which will help your new labels stick a bit better).

3. Wrap the new labels around the bottle.

4. To adhere, you can use a little bit of tape. For best results, use the magic transparent tape.

5. If you like, you can personalize the drink wrappers by simply writing the individual names of your picnic / summer party guests on them.

Love this design?
The free “Independence Day” templates all courtesy of Tali Burress of A Party Studio.


- Tali
  A Party Studio

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hot Bean Dip

This quick and easy dip makes a delicious appetizer at any get together. If you like it spicy, use hot salsa or add two tablespoons jalapenos.



Ingredients:
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1 package (or ¼ cup) taco seasoning
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can (4 oz) green chilies
  • 1 ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together beans and taco seasoning in a small baking dish. Add salsa, green chilies, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and green onions, and serve with tortilla chips.


- Jen
Punte Bella

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Finds: Citrus Splash

Nothing says summer like a splash of citrus.  Vibrant orange, lime green, and sunny yellow...add a touch of hot pink and you've got the perfect summer palette.  From dresses and hair accessories to blankets and toys, citrus colors and motifs are plentiful this time of year in the handmade world.  Here's a few of my favorites.



- Shannon

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meet the MHC Team: Margeaux

mhc: Tell us about yourself. 


margeaux: I feel like I’m on a  psychiatrist’s bench...okay, here goes:  I’m an 18-year-old entrepreneur who just graduated from high-school. I live in Iowa with my parents and four siblings and currently work at an organic salad café as a prep and bakery assistant. A few likes: Christian rap, full-fat ice-cream, and poetry.


For most of high-school I’ve operated muxoriginals.etsy.com, a handmade 18” doll clothes web business. However, I’ll be closing Mux Originals July 1st (all merchandise is 40% off until then!) so that I can focus on my primary interest – the culinary arts. I’m considering culinary school but what I want most is to start my own food-related business. 

mhc: What made you decide to become involved with MHC?


margeaux: When I found MHC, I had just given up on writing my own blog – it was too much of a time commitment. However, I still had the writing itch, and MHC seemed like the perfect opportunity. It has been!

mhc: What is your job with MHC, and what do you hope to give MHC's readers? What do you get out of it?


margeaux: I'm co-editor of the Taste section. I write and photograph recipes for both the magazine and blog. I hope that I inspire MHC readers to get in their kitchens and try something new! Writing recipes provides me with an opportunity to quantify my own kitchen experiences and share them with others. I really enjoy that creative motivation. Sadly, I will be retiring from my position with MHC at the end of June to focus on work and (possibly) school. 


mhc: What is your favorite section of MHC?

margeaux: 
Create. I love craft projects.


mhc: And lastly, what is something fun or adventurous you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

margeaux: It’s cliché, but I’d really like to try sky-diving. I can’t imagine what it would be like - maybe that’s why I want to try it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Morning Glory Muffins


These muffins, chock full of grated carrot, apple, coconut, and studded with dried fruit and nuts, are as uncategorizable as they are delicious.

If you have any leftover muffins, place them on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours, then transfer frozen muffins to a plastic bag and store in the freezer. Thaw a frozen muffin in the microwave for a quick breakfast or snack, or put one in a packed lunch – it will thaw by lunchtime!
Makes 14


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1 apple, cored and grated
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin pans with paper liners.
 
2. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in carrot, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, and apple.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients over dry and stir until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups.


4. Bake muffins for 25-30 minutes, or until muffins are lightly browned and completely set in the center. Serve warm or at room temperature.


~Margeaux
Mux Originals

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Finds: Giraffes


Giraffes have a stately appearance, with their long necks and legs, yet there is also something about them that can be quite cute, too.  Whether you prefer their more regal characteristics or their absolutely adorable ones, giraffes are popping up in all kinds of products and styles.  Here's a few of my favorites.



1. organic wood teether toy by Smiling Tree Toys
2. Mens GIRAFFE (in High Tops) by Zen Threads
4. Knit Giraffe Pattern by Amy Gaines
6. giraffe pillow in pale yellow by Kate Durkin
7. Queen Giraffe - Unframed Print by Leo Little Lion
8. Giraffe print by Sarah Jane Studios


- Jen
  
Punte Bella

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Meet the MHC Team: Julie

mhc:  Tell us about yourself.


julie:  These days, I have become a master burper. That is to say, I have a 6-week old newborn and I have become a master at helping her handle her tender tummy. Between snuggling with her in one hand and helping my 2 year-old son scoop and dump puff balls with his dump truck, I have been pretty busy in Mom-land. Other than the joy of being with my kids, I live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, love rocking out with my husband when he plays his rockin' handmade cigar box guitars (www.hartmancbg.com), and sewing styley baby onesies (www.petitefish.etsy.com). I also enjoy being a child and family psychologist.

mhc:  What made you decide to become involved with MHC?


julie:  I've had the idea of "The Crafty Shrink" for several years now, and just needed the right venue to bring it to life. The Crafty Shrink is me, as author, writing articles that provide tips to caregivers on ways of using crafts/activities to teach important child development skills. When I first saw MHC, I became inspired - it's so well-designed, it just grabs you and makes you, as the reader, fall even more in love with handmade. So, I feel blessed to have MHC's support in channeling this special part of my creativity. Hopefully, I'll have the opporutnity to write a book in this light someday.


mhc:  What is your job with MHC, and what do you hope to give MHC's readers?  What do you get out of it?

julie:  I am the Grow editor, which I see as a responsibility to provide helpful, easy-to-execute instructions on ways for parents to facilitate their child's growth, using crafting, specialized activities, and highlighting the value of handmade. I hope it comes across as fun, light, do-able, and inspiring. Ever since I was a child, I've had the desire to help kids feel supported and good about themselves. I find that when a child experiences an adult as having interest in their development, the child becomes more engaged and animated in the ups and downs of their child development challenges. A big way for an adult to show interest is through crafting or related hands-on activities... it's a way for an adult to enter the child's world and make a positive impact. I feel a sense of reward assisting in that vital process, via my Crafty Shrink offerings.


mhc:  What is your favorite section of MHC?

julie:  I love, love, love the kid's quote section "Oh, The Things Kids Say". Hilarious! I also really enjoy the Dwell section, which was very inspiring for my baby girl's room. I have to admit, I frequently look back at the magazine to look at the beautiful pictures. 

mhc:  What is your favorite season, and why?

julie:  Spring - it's like coming out of hibernation for me. I'm a big couch potato all winter, then come April, I can't seem to get enough activity... and I'm big into gardening.

mhc:  And lastly, what is your earliest memory?

julie:  My earliest memory is when, according to my parents, I was 1 year-old. I remember desperately wanting to get to a single gold key that was on top of our glass dining room table. I stood underneath it, focused and determined to get that key. I remember grabbing at it, but just bumping up against something and just really, really wanting it. The feeling of want was so strong. I keep this in mind with my 2 year-old when he gets that squealing insistent whine... and that it's likely there's something just out of reach that he wants.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paper Die Cut Mobile

If you have access to a die cut machine, these paper mobiles make a unique and inexpensive baby shower gift. If you know the mom-to-be’s nursery décor, you can even customize to match. I used butterflies and dragonflies for my baby girl’s garden-themed nursery. For a baby boy, you could use moons and stars. Use light-weight cardstock for your die cuts so the shapes will flutter and turn as you create air currents when you walk into the room—so pretty!




Supplies:
-50 to 100 die cuts in color(s) and shape(s) of your choice (You can either purchase these or make your own using a die cut machine).
-wire wreath (found in the wreath supplies section of craft store)
-white spray paint (not pictured)
-clear seed beads
-transparent thread
-needle
-small scissors
-sharp pencil
-6 yards ribbon
-tea cup hook


Preparation:
1. Spray paint your wire wreath white or the color of your choice. Allow to dry overnight.

2. Cut a piece of transparent thread about 4 feet long. Using a double knot, tie a bead to the bottom of the thread.

3. Depending on the shapes you choose, you may need to determine where you want to place your hole so the object is oriented up, not down when hanging. To practice, mark the center of the shape with a pencil, thread the needle with the clear thread through, and allow the shape to hang on the bead. Reposition your hole until you are satisfied with the way it hangs, then use this shape as a guide when piercing the rest of the die cuts. This step is not necessary if you choose a more symmetrical shape.


 










Directions:
1. To make each strand, use a 4 foot long piece of clear thread, tie a bead to one end and then thread a die cut so it will rest on top of the bead when hanging. Then thread another bead and double knot it about 3 inches above the previous die cut. Add another die cut (alternating colors if desired) by threading it with the needle and repeat until you have 8 die cuts. End with a bead knotted on top so the last die cut won’t fall off if it drops. Leave some thread at the end of the strand for tying to the wreath later.

 









2. Repeat step 1 for as many strands as you want, the more the better! I used 6 strands for a total of 48 butterflies and dragonflies. You can add more strands or make the strands longer or shorter depending in the size of your wire wreath or where you plan to hang it.


3. Tie each strand evenly spaced around your wreath.


4. Cut 4 pieces of ribbon about 2 feet long each. Thread each one through the middle wire of your wreath so they are evenly spaced around. Bring the pieces of ribbon together at the top and tie in a knot for hanging.


5. Cut pieces of ribbon about 6 inches long and tie the pieces around your wreath to decorate it, if you like.


6. Hooray! You are all done! If this is a gift, be sure to include the tea cup hook for hanging.



- Jen
 
Punte Bella

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meet the MHC Team: Kristie

mhc:  Tell us about yourself.

kristie:  I'm a big fan of the White Rabbit - I think he must have too many hats like me. I get it when he's always fretting, "I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!" It doesn't help that I don't like to say no. So when someone says, "who's in?," I usually say me, yes! (Especially if it means I can throw on my converse and boogie down to a live band.) Anything for my kids (PTA, Brownie Leader, Homeroom Mom - you get the picture!), to the moon and back for my hubby (guess who else has his own business), beyond measure for my friends (jetting off on a girls only weekend this week!). Even strangers - hey, we're all friends!

One day I'll slow down, but for now I think I get a little something out of that 'oh geez, I have one more thing to do' charge. I can't help myself - I like to be a part of everything. So one day you'll find me actually typing on my blog, Kindness is Free, again. (But come visit me anyway - it might make me get it done!) One day I'll get around to loading all my hundreds of designs on my Etsy site. Maybe one day I'll even get around to updating every sku on my boutique site for Kind Living Designs. Mostly though, I work hardest to be thankful, appreciate everything I've been given in my life and just in general be nice to others. It makes me happy and feeds my soul. Oh and I've got a pretty cool part-time job working at a Planetarium - I get to stare at the stars! Ah, life is good.




mhc:  What made you decide to become involved with MHC?

kristie:  I'm a wordy kind of girl, and I love to write with a sassy kind of honesty. I was drawn to the attitude of the magazine - so new, so different, but so vintage and true to old-school handmade.

mhc:  What is your job with MHC, and what do you hope to give MHC's readers?  What do you get out of it?

kristie:  I'm Editor of the Share section. Get it, get it? Share what? Share everything! I have the opportunity to encourage others to be true to themselves, be true to others. A show-and-tell for everyone to share my struggles to live an others-centered life while still trying to carve out my own path. We're all in this together. We have to actually say, "I'm here for you" to each other and mean it. I get the chance to push that in front of perfect strangers and hope that I will be heard. What could be better than that?! I've already gotten so much out of it - the wonderful readers who share stories with me where we laugh and take some deep knowing sighs. Life is a wonderful gift and I've already met some great people through MHC. Lucky me!

mhc:  What is your favorite section of MHC?

kristie:  That's pretty hard, I eat it all up. I love the Grow and Care sections.

mhc:  What is your favorite season, and why?

kristie:  Summer, summertime...summertime! That's when I take my kiddos and we head to the beach for some eternal summer slacking. I just want to do nothing but sit with kids, dig in the sand and let the ocean waves roll over my to-do lists. It also encourages me to say no to work for a change which isn't always a bad thing. I also love Fall, too, love me some Halloween fun. Boo!

mhc:  And lastly, if you could have any super power what would you choose, and why?

kristie:  I have my own childhood collection of comic books, love a good action flick, and debate this question with my husband all the time. I think, like one of the fairies in my daugther's book, I'd like the power of making others calm in the midst of the storm. Able to calm the anxieties of the most ferocious 10-year-old playground dramas. Evil eyes no more between the two 22-year-old-girls on the dance floor eyeing up the same boy. Quell the tension of the husband beast when he learns that I forgot to lock the door - again. And I would wield a big huge bass guitar with symbols of love, trust and honesty on a tattooed arm-sleeve - with one mighty strum - there would be peace!
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