SMP Craft
16 Dec

How To Tuesday: Washi Tape Gift Bags Stuffed with Homemade Candied Pecans

How is it already December 16th? Literally, I’ve done ZERO shopping. Not for family, not for friends, certainly not for that office Secret Santa I’m a part of tomorrow. I’m doomed. If you’re like me, then we’re both in luck as I have the perfect, easy, done-in-1-hour homemade holiday treat that’s great to give as a gift, or to enjoy just for yourself.

Candied Pecans are a go-to gift for me. They’re easy to whip up and everyone loves them. Cinnamon-sugared baked pecans will leave your kitchen smelling like one of those nut stands on the corner of New York City streets (aka the best smell in the world.) Then, using Washi tape and parchment bags, you can create festive one-of-a-kind gift bags to share with coworkers, the mailman, or anyone you need that last minute gift for.

CoolingnutsWashi bags filled with pecans

First, start by preparing the Candied Pecans. Once your pecans are in the oven baking, you can start making your Washi tape gift bags.

Candied Pecans (Adapted from Sinful Southern Sweets)

Makes four 3 oz. servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Candied Pecans ingredients

  • 12 oz. Pecan halves
  • 1 Egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • ½ Cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ Cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 250°F. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg white and water. Using a whisk, or electric mixer, beat the two together until light and frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the pecans to the egg mixtures, and stir to coat evenly. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined. Add the sugar mixture to the pecans, and stir to coat evenly. On a foil-lined baking sheet, spread the pecans in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes. After an hour, the pecans should smell delicious and have a hardened candy shell surrounding them. While your pecans are baking, you can start making your Washi tape gift bags. Using strips of Washi tape, decorate the bags in any design or pattern you like. Once your bags are ready and the pecans have cooled to the touch, fill up the gift bags and seal with a piece of tape.

Eggwhites beat

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg white and water. Using a whisk, or electric mixer, beat the two together until light and frothy, about 2 minutes.

Nuts in bowl

2. Add the pecans to the egg mixtures, and stir to coat evenly.

Nuts brown sugar

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined.

foillined baking sheet

4. Add the sugar mixture to the pecans, and stir to coat evenly.

Finished

5. On a foil-lined baking sheet, spread the pecans in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes.

Coolingnuts

6. After an hour, the pecans should smell delicious and have a hardened candy shell surrounding them.

While your pecans are baking, you can start making your Washi tape gift bags.

Washi Tape Gift Bags

  • Parchment bags — you can also use paper bags, mason jars, or any receptacle of your choosing.
  • Washi tape

Washi Tape bags

Washi Bags

Using strips of Washi tape, decorate the bags in any design or pattern you like.

Washi bags filled with pecans

Once your bags are ready and the pecans have cooled to the touch, fill up the gift bags and seal with a piece of tape.

This will be the easiest and tastiest DIY gift you’ll make all season!

For more recipes, make sure to check out St. Martin’s Kitchen on Facebook and Pinterest and for more Washi inspired crafts, pick up your copy of Washi Style! by Marisa Edghill, available January 13, 2015, wherever books are sold.

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Tagged with: candied nuts, candy, christmas, foodies, gifts, handmade, holiday crafts, holiday gifts, homemade, how to, Japan, nuts, pecans, washi
4 Nov

Project of the Month: Cookie “Jewelry” Box

They say there are two types of women in the world: those who love jewelry, and those who love cookies. What? You say you’re both types of woman? Well then I sure have a treat for you. cookie boxWith this FREE PROJECT OF THE MONTH, you can have your jewelry box and eat it too!

This dainty little edible Byzantine-style box is perfect for holding candy, or a little note for your loved one (just be sure they don’t eat it!). And don’t be daunted by the intricate flourishes in this photo–you can easily simplify the design and omit any filigree work to make a more contemporary box using colored royal icing.

This project is from our new book 50 Deliciously Decorative Cookies: Easy-to-Make Cookie Creations by Fiona Pearce, on sale 11/11. For bakers of all skill levels, this delightful book features 50 projects to try with a wide range of different decorating techniques: elegant cookies piped with royal icing; fun and funky fondant cookies; cookies made with amazing colored dough; even sweet treats built up into awesome 3-D cookie sculptures! The projects are grouped according to the type of icing used, and at the back of the book is a selection of cookie recipes, decorating tips, and a set of templates. With step-by-step instructions and photography, each project features simple, elegant designs that are guaranteed to amaze and delight–just in time for the holidays!

What you need:

  • 6 square cookies for each box
  • medium-peak royal icing
  • squeeze bottle and 2 piping bags
  • gold edible paint
  • pin or toothpick and a fine paintbrush

part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4

The cookies assemble just like a gingerbread house!

 

Want more edible projects like this one? Preorder the book today!

On sale 11/11/14

front cover

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24 Oct

Freebie Friday: Pear Pincushion

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A well-known Italian seamstress once told me that Pincushions are a sewing necessity and that, “è vero, vero” It’s true true that one’s pincushion reflects one’s personality. I don’t think I want to know what it means about my personality that the “pincushion” in my sewing box is an old Whitesnake rock band patch I used to accessorize a Heavy Metal Halloween costume.

Whitesnake

Nonetheless, while combing through 50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet by Cat Thomas, I couldn’t help but recall her comment; despite loving the absolutely adorable sushi, bear, and cactus pincushions pictured above, the moment my eyes landed on the Pear Pincushion, I knew I found my (dare I say it) PEAR-fect pincushion match. So for this week’s Free Pattern Download, I offer you Pear Pincushion, which is knitted in the round, uses worsted weight yarn and no seaming so it knits up quickly.

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I’ve decided that this pear pincushion is a Green Anjou, an all-purpose variety valued for its culinary versatility–from slicing fresh into salads to baking into tarts and pies to pureeing for sauces, beverages, and toppings. It’s the most abundant variety in the U.S., is almost always available, and most importantly, has a wonderful flavor profile: refreshing, sweet, juicy, with a hint of citrus!

It’s my friend’s birthday this weekend and I’ve decided to make her a “Pear-themed” present–pear pincushion, a few fresh pears, a pear tart, and pear juice!

If you’re not quite the pear connoisseur but say… have a thing for the circus, or want to make a pincushion for a cat-lover, or maybe love reindeer… and have been learning how to knit or crochet and want a finished handmade something something that you can complete in just a few hours, look no further than  50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet, which is available at your favorite online retailer.

50 Pincushions cover

 

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Tagged with: Advice, anjou pear, Crafts, crochet, crocheting, d'anjou, how to crochet, knitting, pear, pincushions
31 Mar

The Easter Egg, Re-Imagined

We have a special guest blogger for today’s post, Jennifer Lutz, craft enthusiast and interior design writer for Christmas Tree Market. Jennifer shared with SMP Craft how to celebrate Easter with unconventional style; instead of stopping at dyed eggs, create an Easter Tree adorned with unique ornamental eggs using unexpected materials!

Cute and Crafty Easter Trees A beautiful and meaningful part of Easter festivities, an Easter tree is commonly made with bare tree branches adorned with colorful eggs, a traditional symbol of life and renewal. This year, make your Easter tree more delightful and unique by displaying decorative eggs made of string, fabric, and other creative materials.

Felted Easter Eggs If you think using real eggs for Easter decorating is messy or uneconomical, creating felted Easter eggs is a great option. The “wet” method for felting eggs requires packing the wool-wrapped eggs in a nylon legging and placing them in the washing machine. This project from Pamela Susan uses the “dry” felting technique which allows you to make more precise and elaborate designs on the eggs. All you need are Styrofoam eggs, colorful wool roving, and felting needles to create these fuzzy and delightful additions to your family’s Easter celebration. Attach ribbons on the eggs for hanging on the Easter tree or simply display them in a white decorative bowl or glass vase.

String Easter Eggs Making string art ornaments is simple and enjoyable, and the results are fascinating. As demonstrated in Crafty Endeavor, this project requires inflating a number of small water balloons. Next, take embroidery floss, pearl cotton thread, or crochet thread and dampen it with multi-purpose glue or a mixture of liquid starch and flour. For the next step, wrap the string around the balloon to form a latticework. When the string has dried, pop the balloon and remove it carefully. Make your string eggs more fun and fancy by combining different colors of string, adding glitter, or placing a small toy or treat inside the balloon before wrapping it in string.

Pompom Easter Eggs Soft, pillowy pompoms are perfect for adding cheer and warmth to your Easter tree. Take a pair of scissors and some yarn, and follow the simple steps provided in the Country Chic Cottage. You’ll be rolling out fluffy pompom eggs in no time. Getting the egg shape is simply a matter of cutting off less of the yarn in the middle and more on the top and bottom. Use a needle and some thread to form a loop at the top of the egg pompom for hanging on your Easter tree. To keep these yarn eggs company on your tree’s branches, follow this video tutorial and use store-bought pompoms, googly eyes, and craft glue to make adorable pompom bunnies and chicks.

Scrap Fabric Easter Eggs Turn leftover fabric into attractive and inexpensive Easter tree décor with this easy project from Dwell on Joy. Cut scrap or Jelly Roll fabric into thin strips, and hot glue the strips onto plastic eggs. Make sure the fabric strips go in different directions. For hanging on your Easter tree, hot glue a strip of fabric to form a loop on top of the egg. These colorful and rustic pieces also look great draped across the mantel as a garland strung on a length of twine, piled together in a bone china bowl, or scattered around your dining table during Easter brunch.

Flower Easter Eggs Easter means spring is nearly in full bloom. Try this crafting idea from At the Picket Fence and celebrate the beauty of the season by decorating your holiday tree with flower Easter eggs. For this project, you will need faux flowers, foam eggs, some ribbon, and your trusty hot glue gun. Begin by clipping the flowers off the stems and attaching them to the foam eggs with hot glue. Work around the egg until it is completely covered, and make sure to arrange the flowers close together. Glue a length of ribbon onto the top and hang your lovely flower eggs on the branches of your tree. Really pretty!

Cookie Easter Tree With charming bunnies, carrots, and heart shapes, this endearing Easter tree from Sweetopia looks too sweet to simply eat. This cookie Easter tree features cute shortbread cookies hung with baby pink ribbons on a pale green wire ornament tree. Cookies
Photo by Dana Robinson via Flickr.

If cutting the dough into complex shapes with a paring knife takes a bit too much time, cut out basic egg shapes instead. Before baking, use a barbecue skewer to make a good-sized hole in the dough where the ribbon will thread through. Decorate your mini cookies with a rainbow of pastel-colored royal icing to create one of the most memorable Easter trees ever.

Peeps Easter Centerpiece More of an Easter treat than an Easter tree, this centerpiece from The Hungry Mouse uses cute Peeps chicks to form a bright and bouncy topiary. Peeps
Photo by Hey Paul Studios via flickr.

Chicks are another beloved symbol of new life, and this topiary will need about six to seven boxes worth of soft, marshmallow hatchlings. Get your children to help with this project and make a colorful tabletop piece your family will enjoy seeing and eating. Another Easter decorating idea is to reuse your tabletop Christmas tree and decorate it with your DIY Easter eggs. That way, you save up on time putting branches together, and you get an Easter tree that’s more contemporary. Celebrate Easter in unconventional and inspiring style by decorating your home with these simple and easy-to-make Easter-inspired ornaments.

Jennifer Lutz writes about home décor at blog.christmastreemarket.com. Google+ Twitter Christmas Tree Market: Facebook; Twitter

 

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14 Mar

MMM…Mugs, Mugcakes, and Mugshots

Top o’ the mornin’, lads and lassies!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up in a few days and we wanted to help you get in the spirit with this Freebie Friday! Though we try to stick to crafts on here, this Shamrock Mug Cake from Leslie Bilderback’s cookbook was too good not to share…

irish cupcake

Image via The Cake Blog

Ingredients
1 large egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon liquid green food coloring
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 drop peppermint extract (or 2 to 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey)
1/3 cup self-rising flour
Pinch of kosher salt

In a large mug, whisk together the egg and oils with a fork. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, food coloring, buttermilk, and peppermint or whiskey. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1.5 – 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.

This individual cake only takes 5 minutes to make, so you can use the extra time personalizing your own mug before baking! This craft couldn’t be simpler so feel free to use this as your go-to gift from now on – we won’t tell…

supplies

Image from The Sweetest Occasion

Supplies needed:

Mug (and/or other dishes) – plain white will work best
Oil-based Sharpies or paint pens in any color you’d like
Glass cleaner
Lint-free cloth
Oven

Since you’re going to be creating your own designs, don’t spend a lot of money on the mug. You can find plain dishes for pretty cheap at dollar stores and most craft stores – although porcelain dishes seem to hold up best in the dishwasher.

Before you get the creative juices flowing be sure to clean and dry the mug
completely so you are working with a completely smooth and shiny surface.

Image from The Sweetest Occasion

Once your “canvas” is ready, get to work! The best part of this craft (aside from how simple and cost-effective it is) is that if you mess up your design, just clean and wipe the mug to return to the blank surface.

After you have finished personalizing the mug, place it in the oven at 375° for a half hour – and you’re done! Just remember to let it cool completely in the oven before using!

This craft has a bit of a reputation online for not always working so here are some tips to help this craft goes smoothly:
~ Pay attention to what Sharpies and mugs you buy.
~Wash the mugs first (in a dishwasher if you have it).
~ Don’t write on the handle.
~ (I know I’ve already said this, but bake in the oven at 375° and let it cool completely in the oven before use.)
~ Hand wash whenever possible to ensure it lasts longer.

mugshot

My TGIF Mugshot

Buy a copy of Mug Cakes and put that personalized mug to good use!

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Author of the Month

This month we sit down with Helen Angharad Henley, mother of three, handbag designer, self-proclaimed “compulsive maker,” and author of newly published Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 quick and easy bags to make for all occasions. Helen lives and works in Wales where she designs, makes, and sells her sewing patterns and handbags. She blogs her stitching endeavours at angharadhandmade.blogspot.com and sells her bags online at angharad handmade.

Helen  Angharad Henley, author of Tote-ally Amazing Bags

Cookie Jewelry Box


They say there are two types of women in the world: those who love jewelry, and those who love cookies. What? You say you're both types of woman? Well then I sure have a treat for you, with this free pattern from our new book 50 Deliciously Decorative Cookies: Easy-t0-Make Cookie Creations by Fiona Pearce, you can have your jewelry box and eat it, too!

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