“It’s the best part! It’s crunchy, it’s explosive…it’s where the muffin breaks free of the pan and does its own thing” – Seinfeld

I wish I could jump into my TV and high five Elaine Benes for that hilarious quote because that lady is absolutely right. Muffin tops are SO much more delicious than their stumpy companions, and I really wish Elaine was a real person so I could send her this recipe for muffin top cookies! I don’t whip up sweets too often, but several batches of these cookies have been made and gobbled up by friends and family over the past few months. The taste of fresh blueberries with a hint of lemon is just delicious, and getting all that muffin top goodness without wasting a crumb? Nothing short of genius.

blueberry muffin top cookies

Blueberry Muffin Top Cookies (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)

2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
⅓ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsps lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries

  1. Cream together the softened butter and sugar. Then beat in the egg, along with the milk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients little by little until well combined. Then gently fold in the blueberries
  4. Refrigerate the dough for an hour. Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (about 6 per sheet)
  5. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool, and sprinkle a little extra sugar on top for good measure.
  6. Dig in!

blueberry muffin top cookies

share this 10

I’ve always admired beautiful planters from afar, knowing that I would never need to buy one due to my awesome black thumb. Plants and I just aren’t meant to be! So when my mom brought me a basil plant a few months ago, I expected it to shrivel up and die within a few weeks like every other plant that has had the misfortune of crossing our front door. But lo and behold, a miracle has occurred right in our living room because it’s still alive!! I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word “thriving”, but it’s alive, and that’s all that matters to me :-) To reward my new leafy friend for hanging in there, I decided to upgrade its boring plastic planter to something with a little more style…

diy animal planter

Making one of these bear dog cat cute planters could not be easier! All you’ll need is:

diy animal planter

  1. Cut out two dots for eyes, a jellybean nose, a “W” shaped squiggle for the muzzle, and rectangular strips for hairs from the contact paper
  2. Decorate the planter with your stickers
  3. Pop in a plant, and enjoy your new “pet”!

I was originally going to use a Sharpie marker to decorate the planter, but I really like the non-permanent factor of using contact paper. When you get tired of the design, you can peel it all off and start over with a fresh look – yipee!

diy animal planter

share this 16

I’ve whipped up a little Valentine’s Day treat for you all – would you care for a bite of chocolate? …Tee hee. Okay okay, I didn’t turn into a chocolatier overnight, and in fact, you don’t need a sweet tooth to enjoy these candies because they’re magnets! Box them up for a whimsical gift that is sure to make your Valentine laugh :-) Read on for my super simple recipe for faux chocolates!

chocolate heart magnets

What you’ll need:

  • Oven-bake polymer clay in brown, white, and pink
  • a heart shaped candy mold
  • X-Acto knife
  • plastic straw
  • small round magnets
  • hot glue gun

chocolate heart magnets

  1. Knead a small chunk of brown clay until it softens, and press it into the heart shaped candy mold, making sure to fill all the nooks and crannies completely
  2. Carefully peel your heart out of the mold, and trim the excess clay with an X-Acto knife
  3. Bake the clay hearts according to the directions on the package. I baked mine at 275° for 25 minutes in our convection oven.
  4. While the hearts are baking, make some silly faces! Flatten out a thin piece of white clay and use a plastic straw to punch out small discs for the eyeballs. Roll teeny balls of brown clay for the pupils and lightly press them onto the white discs to attach. Use an X-Actco knife to cut out lips from a thin sheet of pink clay.
  5. Take your hearts out of the oven and decorate them with the eyes and lips (I did this while the hearts were still warm). Lightly press down to secure, then return the hearts to the oven for an additional 6 minutes to set the face pieces.
  6. When your hearts have fully cooled, hot glue a magnet to the back side (or maybe a bar pin to make a cute brooch??)
  7. All done! Find a special Valentine to share a few “chocolates” with!

chocolate heart magnets

Add a sweet touch to your love notes and momentos with your new chocolate treats!

chocolate heart magnets

share this 21

I know some people absolutely loathe this task, but one of the highlights of Christmas for me is all the gift wrapping I get to do!! While I drool over all the beautifully printed gift wrap out there, it pains me to know that all that pricy paper will just get shredded and tossed into the garbage at the end of the day. As a result, I almost always go with plain brown kraft paper – it’s super cheap, and you can have a lot of fun thinking of ways to glam them up for your friends and family! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s under our tree this year…

DIY star gift wrap

I made my own shiny gold star stickers (wish I had known this little trick in elementary school, haha) by cutting up this metallic contact paper, which is one of new favorite crafting supplies – it’s amazing! I like the look of organic, imperfect stars, so I just freehanded them in varying sizes on the back of the contact paper and cut them out without fussing over it too much. After applying the starry stickers in a random fashion, I then wrapped the presents with some bakers twine and topped them off with some jingly bells and sprigs of our Christmas tree :-) So easy, and the spray of gold stars really elevates the ol’ humble kraft paper in a very pretty way! .

DIY star gift wrap

PS. 24 Merry Days may be half over, but there are still LOTS of incredible prizes ahead!!

share this 20

We finally got around to decorating our house for the holidays this weekend – hooray! Is there anything more fun than hauling out ornaments, garlands, and endless strings of lights until it looks like Christmas exploded all over your living room? Love it. The one thing I didn’t love was this old wreath that I made 3 years ago. It was giving me a serious case of the blahs, so I decided to treat our door to a new wreath this year using tinsel and a bit of…pasta?!

DIY pasta bow wreath

  1. Start with a flat wooden wreath form, like this one
  2. Wrap tinsel around the entire circumference of the form, making sure there are no gaps, and trim if necessary. Tuck the ends in to secure – no glue needed!
  3. Make some cute mini bows by painting farfalle pasta! I didn’t have spray paint in the colors I wanted to use, so I broke out some red and mint green nail polish to get the job done and it worked out wonderfully.
  4. When the bows are dry, attach them to the wreath with a bit of hot glue. Or if you’d like to be able to deconstruct the whole shebang when you grow tired of it, thread a snippet of fishing wire through the “pinched” side of the bow to tie each bow on like I did.
  5. Hang the wreath up on your door, and go pour yourself some egg nog!
share this 17

I bought a fabric covered mouse pad from Etsy a few years ago, and unsurprisingly it’s been looking a bit worn out and dingy as of late. Instead of throwing the whole thing out, I decided to peel off that grody fabric layer and try revamping it into something more presentable. I’m so glad I did, because now I’m admiring a snowy mountain view right from the comfort of my desk – ha! Here’s how I did it:

DIY mountain mouse pad

  1. If you have a fabric covered mouse pad, pull off the top layer. Then take your bare bones rubber mouse pad and lightly trace a mountain silhouette with a pencil.
  2. Use an Xacto blade to cut out your pattern.
  3. Spray the entire surface with a strong spray adhesive, and lay out the fabric of your choice on top (I used this scatted dots fabric by Lotta Jansdotter that was stashed away in my crafting supplies). Carefully smooth out any wrinkles, and top with some heavy books to make sure every nook and cranny is securely attached.
  4. When the glue is dry, trim the excess fabric with the Xacto knife or a pair of sharp scissors.
  5. For the snow capped peaks, I taped off a random zig zag pattern with painter’s tape and added a few coats of white spray paint, but you could certainly freehand it with some paint as well.
  6. Once your snow is nice and dry, paint a bit of matte Mod Podge around the edges to prevent the fabric from fraying with use.
  7. Start internet surfing with your “new” mouse pad – wheee!

DIY mountain mouse pad

share this 34