Friday Favorites No. 313

It took all the willpower I could muster to stay in my seat yesterday. Not only did I need to write this new Friday Favorites, but I'm working on building a new website where I'll be moving Crafty Staci soon. I know nothing of doing such a thing, so the learning curve is requiring rock climbing gear for me. That made it hard enough, but through the window behind me was a gorgeous blue sky with a bright sun shining down on several inches of frozen white snow. I just wanted to go play outside. But because I'm dedicated to our handmade cause, I stayed put and did my job. Maybe tomorrow can be a self-employed snow day. Since this is the first Friday Favorites in this new format, let me explain where I'm going with this. Previously, every week contained ten links, usually something to craft or sew, often a recipe or two, and occasionally something for purchase.  There was always a theme, like penguins or outdoor games.

Fridays will now be five links.  There will always be at least one thing to craft or sew, one recipe and one thing that can be purchased.  The other two will fit into those categories as well, depending on what I find that week.  For instance, this week is three sewing/crafts, one recipe and one item for sale.  There won't necessarily be a theme, but I'll try to make sure it makes sense to the season.

Most weeks the link for the item to purchase will be an affiliate link. I love providing free patterns and content here, but I need to find a way to make it more financially self-sustaining.  I considered selling patterns, but I'd rather continue to offer those to you for free and use the affiliate links and sponsored content to support the blog instead. I will earn a commission if you happen to click through and make a purchase and it will add nothing to the cost for you.  That said, I want you to know that my primary goal is to support handmade, and I will continue to do that with the same integrity I always have.  If I link here, it's to something I want or admire.  If you have any questions about that, please feel free to reach out to me via the comment section below, social media or email (craftystaci at gmail).


This post contains affiliate links for Amazon and Etsy.

Make Winter 2017
Make Winter 2017

I've seen these hats with a hole in the top for a ponytail all over the place lately. It's a smart idea, and I could use one myself. As you might imagine, there are patterns everywhere, but the reason I chose to feature this one by Mango Tree Crafts is that she offers it in three different sizes and there's an option to add a cute flower. You crochetists get all the good stuff.

Messy Bun Hat Pattern from Mango Tree Crafts
Messy Bun Hat Pattern from Mango Tree Crafts

I've been tempted to try making myself a pair of shoes ever since I saw the soles you could buy by Dritz (Amazon Affiliate link). I've been eyeing the ones with a higher heel, but I love what Dritz did with the espadrille sole on their blog.  Who knew you could make boots? The free pattern is available for sizes 5 through 10.

I like a good sweater, but I get tired of wearing them day after day. I'm too cold to consider anything less, but I think I could work one or two of these sweatshirts from Sewing Rabbit into my wardrobe. I love that she gave the neck a little creative detail, and it looks pretty easy to make.

Cowl Neck Sweatshirt Pattern from The Sewing Rabbit
Cowl Neck Sweatshirt Pattern from The Sewing Rabbit
Cook Winter 2017
Cook Winter 2017

January in my house means we're trying to improve our eating habits after the holiday calorie train goes back to the station. That, combined with the fact that soup is the perfect winter food, means this turkey chili from Ambitious Kitchen just made my must-make list.

Healthy Turkey Chili from Ambitious Kitchen
Healthy Turkey Chili from Ambitious Kitchen
Buy Winter 2017
Buy Winter 2017

My daughter bought a scarf from storiarts when they were selling at a local craft show a couple of years ago. The print quality is really nice. I love the black detail on these Sherlock Holmes Writing Gloves they're selling on Etsy, and who needs writing gloves more than me and my extremely cold hands? My daughter would say that she does.

Sherlock Holmes Writing Gloves from storiarts on Etsy
Sherlock Holmes Writing Gloves from storiarts on Etsy

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Friday Favorites–Staying Warm

I always feel like winter kinda gets the short end of the stick when it comes to seasons.  Autumn gets a lot of the cold weather credit in November, then when winter actually gets its day in December, no one notices because it’s almost Christmas.  Once the holidays are over, all anyone can think about is when spring will arrive.  Well, Winter, this one is for you.

Crafty DIYs for Staying Warm - Crafty Staci

What did your mom always say when you’d go outside in the cold?  Put a hat on!  This Convertible Neck Warmer from Sovanisa is a brilliant idea for sending those kids out in their bike helmets.

Convertible Neckwarmer from Sovanisa

Another great way to warm your noggin is a hoodie, and this one from Small Things is so cute.  Love those big buttons!

Mustard Hoodies from Small Things

Sometimes it’s not about going out into the cold, but keeping it outside.  This Door Draft Blocker from Patchwork Posse adds a little color to the room and keeps those breezes out.

Maybe you ventured out without sufficient coverage and now you’re trying to warm back up.  Try this Cherry Pit Pillow from Nifty Thrifty Things.  I’ll bet it smells fantastic when it’s heating.

Cherry Pit Pillow from Nifty Thrifty Things

I have this fun little thing called Raynaud’s Phenomenon.  Sounds exciting, huh?  It just means my fingers turn white, hard and lose blood flow if they get cold and they hurt like mad when they warm up.  It’s a nuisance.  Needless to say, I try really hard not to let that happen.  I think these Pocket Warmers from Fellow Fellow would be perfect for me.

Pocket Warmers from Fellow Fellow

Thanks to the above stated weirdness, I have more gloves than you can imagine.  That doesn’t stop me from adding to my collection, and these Fingerless Mittens from Zaaberry would fit right in.

Fingerless Gloves from Zaaberry

I always love an accessory that can serve more than one purpose.  This Cargo Scarf from lovefromvirgil on Instructables would be so handy.

Cargo Scarf on Instructables

You aren’t the only thing that gets cold when it’s chilly outside.  Don’t you hate when you try to take a hot dish to a friend’s house, only to find it lukewarm when you arrive?  Then you need one of these Casserole Carriers from 2 Little Hooligans.

Casserole Carrier on 2 Little Hooligans

We all know how hard it is to wrap a baby up warmly enough in a car seat, so how about a nice warm cover to go over the whole thing?  Check out this Car Seat Canopy at Fleece Fun.

Baby Car Seat Cover from Fleece Fun

In my experience, the best way to get warm is from the inside out.  This Caramel Corn Hot Chocolate from Recipe Girl would definitely do the trick.

Caramel Corn Hot Chocolate from Recipe Girl

Only about 11 more weeks of winter! Smile

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix

I love warm drinks in the winter.  Coffee, cocoa, tea, even an occasional apple cider are all welcome.  What I don’t like is having to take a long time to make it, which is why we always have drink mixes around.  Not to mention, drink mixes make great gifts.

I considered using my Cinnamon Vanilla Warmer Mix to fill my etched jars, but I was in the mood for something new.  My kids have been drinking a lot of chai lately, so that was in.  My new favorite flavor is salted caramel, which meant I was going to need something that included that as well.  I ended up with two new recipes.

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 1
Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 1

We’ll start with the chai.  I like it a little on the spicy side.  My son felt this was a little too peppery, but he doesn’t usually like even a hint of spice.  My daughter and I both felt it was perfectly seasoned.  However, if you’re like my son and want it on the mild side either reduce or eliminate the pepper and reduce the ginger.

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 2
Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 2

Spiced Chai Tea Mix

3/4 cup dry milk powder

3/4 cup dry powdered plain creamer

1/2 cup powdered vanilla flavored creamer

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup unsweetened instant black tea

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Combine all ingredients and process in a food processor until you have a fine powder.  To serve, add 1/4 cup mix to a mug of hot milk or water.  Makes about 3 1/4 cups of mix or 13 servings.

I originally planned to only make the chai, but as soon as the idea of salted caramel cocoa made its way into my head there was no going back.  I was nervous about getting the amount of salt right, but this is exactly the taste I imagined.  Make sure you’re using sea salt and not regular table salt or it will be too salty.

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 3
Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 3

Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix

2 cups dry milk powder

1/2 cup dry powdered plain creamer

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup powdered dulce de leche or caramel flavored creamer

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients and process in a food processor until larger pieces of milk, creamer and salt are powder.  To serve, add 1/4 cup mix to a mug of hot milk or water.  Makes about 4 3/4 cups of mix or 19 servings.

Just talking about these is making me want a warm cup.  The only problem is, which one?

Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 4
Spiced Chai Tea Mix and Salted Caramel Cocoa Mix 4

Fire Starter Hostess Gift

I’m starting to feel that anxiety of a busy week coming up.  I don’t mind the chaos.  In fact, I sometimes like a little crazy.  The part that makes me tense is the thought that I’ll forget something important.  When there’s so much to do, something is bound to slip through the cracks (FYI – as I was typing this I wrote “crafts” instead of “cracks” – psychoanalyze that!). One of the things I want to make sure to remember is a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  My husband is still away and my sister invited me and my kids to spend the holiday with her family.  Hosting Thanksgiving is no small task, so I want to thank her properly.  Before you think I’m giving away the surprise here, this isn’t the gift I decided on, but I love it and wanted to share it with you anyway.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1

Everywhere we have lived has had either a fireplace or a woodstove.  I love being able to have a fire in the winter.  What I do not enjoy is wading up balls of newspaper to start it.  I decided instead to make something I could just grab out of a basket and throw in under some kindling.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2

To make the fire starters, I used cardboard rolls.  Mine are toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut down a paper towel roll or the center from the wrapping paper.  Speaking of gift wrap, you’ll need some of that too.   You’ll also need some cotton string and something flammable to stuff inside, like shredded paper.  I’ve even seen these made with dryer lint.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3

I used shredded paper for mine.  I also wadded up pieces of the instructions that come wrapped around interfacing and stuffed that in the ends of the tube so the shred wouldn’t fall out while I was working with it.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4

Cut the gift wrap into pieces about 6” by 10”.  Starting from the larger side, roll it around the stuffed tube.  Secure with a small piece of tape.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5

Squish the ends just above the tube and tie with a 6” piece of string at each end.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6

To use, simply stick a couple under some small pieces of dry wood…

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7

…and light the ends.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8

I normally use a butane lighter to start a fire, but I thought something prettier would make this a better gift.  The Burlap Bag had shared a match jar project that was exactly what I was looking for.  The only changes I made were to not cut a hole in the top and use the lid insert under the sandpaper.  I actually had a partial box of strike anywhere matches that I’m pretty sure has been around our house through most of our marriage.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9

After I made the first batch of these using Christmas wrap, I happened to find some wood grain print paper at Target.  Now they’re perfect!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10

Throw in a few dried pinecones and you have a gift that’s both functional and pretty – if your hostess can bring herself to actually burn it.  The wood grain starters will probably still be sitting on my hearth in April.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11

Friday Favorites–New Year’s Eve

One more holiday-displaced Friday Favorites, then we’re back to actual Fridays!  I can’t believe we’re already staring into the face of 2011.  Here’s a few of my favorite ideas for saying goodbye to the old and ringing in the new.

On New Year’s Eve 1999, I tried to create time capsules to be opened at some later date.  Sadly, not only can I not remember whether I actually finished them, but if I did I don’t know where they are.  I think it’s time to try again with these Cookie Tin Time Capsules from Kaboose.

time capsule

When the clock strikes midnight, you gotta make some noise.  It’s a rule.  Thanks to this Popcorn Tin Noisemaker from Sassy Sites, you can do it in style.

popcorn tin noisemaker

While we’re on the subject of noise, here are some cute Noisemakers from Make and Takes, and you probably have everything you need to make them on hand.


My kids have always been champions at staying up late, and not just on New Year’s Eve.  There’s always a couple of hours between eating and the midnight chaos where they need to be kept busy.  I think this Big-As-Life Board Game from Craft would be the perfect thing.


It’s always about now that I start to look forward to putting away the Christmas stuff.  We leave it up until New Year’s Day, but sometimes I try to throw in something new, like this New Year’s Centerpiece from from Make it From Scratch.


These Quilted Numbers from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife are intended to be a child’s learning tool, but how fun would they be as New Year’s Eve decorations?


What’s a party without a hat?  These New Year’s Eve Party Hats from Felt So Cute would fill both the cute party gear and something to keep the kids busy requirements.


I don’t know why I like this New Year’s Marshmallow Ball from Simply Designing so much, but I do.  Don’t judge.


This Mini 2011 Calendar from Very Merry Vintage Style is adorable, and she offers a free printable for the tiny pages.


I love making New Year’s resolutions.  I love the sound they make when they deflate mid-January.  This New Year’s Resolution Cube from Chica and Jo might be just the thing to keep me on track.  At least I can fold it to a different one as they crash and burn.


Happy New Year…see you in 2011!

Friday Favorites–Snowflakes

My favorites today were inspired by the weather forecast.  There’s a chance it could snow here this weekend, and I have all my fingers crossed that it does.  In the meantime…

I live in a forest.  Seriously, my backyard is nothing but trees.  I could make enough of these Fir Snowflakes from Sunset magazine to fill my entire house.  Oh, that would smell fantastic!


I’m pretty sure these Crayon Snowflakes from Roots and Wings Co. were meant for kids, but I have lots and lots of crayons and I’m making these.  I might invite some little ones over to help me to make it more legit.


Given my tendency to try to make things out of fabric that are supposed to be paper, I don’t know why I’ve never tried this one.  These Fabric Snowflakes from The New New Blog would be great for so many uses.  You could even add some heavy interfacing to keep them stiff and hang them as ornaments.


This 3D Paper Snowflake from wikiHow looks a lot more complicated than it really is.  I’ve seen these before, but if I would have realized how easy they are to make I would already HAVE some!


This Quilled Snowflake Ornament is also made out of paper, but is definitely more complicated.  Quilling is beautiful and some day I hope to have the patience to give it a try.  Click through to Reese Dixon’s page and check out the glittery version near the bottom of the page.  They always get me with the glitter.


I’ll bet these Stained Glue Snowflakes from Holiday Crafts and Creations are even prettier in person with the lights shining through.  I want to make these, just to see if I can.


I love oversized Christmas decorations.  Those giant ornaments and stockings catch my eye every time.  I can’t believe these Giant Craft Stick Snowflakes from Craftynest are made from popsicle sticks!

I’ve cycled through several different Christmas countdown calendars.  The year we were trying to get our son to learn the alphabet I gave the kids a little gift that started with a different letter each day.  In order.  Yeah, a couple of those were pretty difficult.  This Snowflake Christmas Countdown from eighteen25 is simple, cute and a great decoration.  Everything a Christmas countdown should be.


Snowflakes you can eat.  The blue sprinkles are the perfect touch and I love how they call it “edible glitter.”  These Sweet Tortilla Snowflakes can be found at FamilyFun.


These Crocheted Snowflake Ornaments from Better Homes and Gardens look so delicate.  For you crochetistas out there, the pattern and directions on how to stiffen the snowflakes can be found on their website.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run and stick my nose to the window.  It might snow!