Friday, December 20, 2013

My 20 Favorite Free Winter & Christmas Fonts

During Christmastime there are always a lot of reasons to need some pretty Winterish fonts!  ...Christmas Cards, Gift Tags, Holiday Newsletters, etc... So, I thought I'd make a collection of some of my favorite fonts to use for Holiday projects.  Some of these are really versatile and I use them all year round and some of them are pretty unique to wintertime!

Here's where you can download these cool (pun!!) fonts:

1. KG Hard Candy Striped
2. Maratre
3. Mountains Of Christmas
4. Sandwich Paper
5. Unnamed Melody
6. Return To Sender
7. Janda Snickerdoodle Serif
8. Janda Stylish Script 
9. Herr Von Muellerhoff
10. Hultog Snowdrift
11. Shipped Goods
12. Xiomara
13. Foglighten No. 01
14. Janda Sparkle and Shine
15. Antrokas
16. Magnolia Light
17. DK Father Frost
18. Can't Write Quickly In Winter
19. AlwaysHere
20. Cursif

The fonts in this printout are Herr Von Muellerhoff & Sandwich Paper.

Also, check out my collections of handwriting fonts HERE and some script style fonts HERE! I really like to use these styles of fonts for holiday projects, too! :) Enjoy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Apothecary Jar Winter Snow Scenes

Christmas decorating is now in full swing at the Frey home! Chad & I put up our tree on Thursday, a week BEFORE Thanksgiving, and I hung my garlands on the stair banister, along with some Christmas lights!  (not quite done with that, though, because I discovered that one of my light strands isn't working, and I need to go buy some more!).  And my wreaths are up.  I finally threw away the very dead mums on my front porch... There are still some pumpkins out there though, because Chad said, "Well, it still isn't Thanksgiving yet for another week...", so I had mercy on those and they can stay a little longer.  But for the most part, Fall decorations are coming down, and Winter is taking over.
And last night, we had the first snow flurries of the season, so everything, indoors & out, is really starting to feel like winter now!  I get very excited about all this, if you can't tell! :)

Yesterday, I also took a few minutes to change out the Apothecary jars I have sitting on my bathtub in our master bathroom.  I normally have these filled with bath bombs, sponges & other bath tools, soap flowers, and yes, Epsom salt!  I saw several months ago, on pinterest, some really cool projects that used Epsom salt to look like snow!  I thought this was such a cool idea, because it really is so sparkly and white, just like freshly fallen snow.  And I've definitely seen some apothecary "snow globe" decor ideas this year.  So I thought, I've already got Epson salt in this apothecary jar, why not add some trees and make it a pretty winter scene?? 


This was the simplest project ever.  I love the simplicity and calmness of the look.  Now there's just a little added feeling of serene winter in our bathroom!

All I needed for this project was Epsom salt, which was already in one of these Apothecary jars.  I just emptied the other two and spread the Epson salt out between all of them.  And I grabbed a few more of the bottle brush trees that I recently purchased at Lowe's, and to finish the project, I just arranged them in the "snow".  You can see my other Christmas in a Bottle Project that I made with them HERE.  And that is it!  Done. Simplest way to "winterize" a bathroom ever! ;)  They definitely bring a smile to my face every time I walk in there!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DIY Christmas in a Bottle Project

I had a very realistic dream last night that I woke up and noticed this soft sort of glow outside our bedroom window, and I knew right away what it meant.  I jumped out of bed and rushed over to push the blinds back and saw a thin layer of crisp white snow over everything.  It had just started to fall, only just covering the grass and laying so sparkly on all the trees... *Cue a nostalgic sigh.*

When my dreams become entirely about snow, I know that I'm in full blown Winter Mode.  I love winter.  I love snow and ice and being stuck inside.  I guess that's the introvert in me.  Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday.  Being in warm, cozy, soft sweaters is my Happy Place.  Especially if there is cuddling-with-my-husband, a good book, and/or a fire involved.  I love going to stores during winter and looking through all the new Christmas decor.  I'm as pale as a vampire and practically burst into flame when I go outside in the summer... I just wasn't built for it.  But during winter, I get a glow, and it has nothing to do with the sun.  And I'm excited that now the time has come again, and I finally get to start my Christmas/winter decorating for the season.  

I have yet to go all out and really decorate like I would love to because it would take quite a large budget to buy all the decor I've had my eyes on over the years.  This will be Chad & my 3rd Christmas together as husband and wife, and we've been slowly accumulating things each year!  I've also been trying to do some DIY projects for decorating to make this year the most decorative ever!  Which brings me to the reason for this post!  I wanted to share a cute little project that only took maybe an hour to make and I think turned out super cute!

The inspiration behind this project is snow globes, which I'm not so much into anymore, but I loved as a kid.  I still love those winter village scene collections, though, where you can buy all the individual houses and people and add to your scene each year! My mom used to do that with my sister and me each Christmas... Maybe one day I'll start a collection of my own.  I've seen similar things to this on Pinterest, especially with mason jars, but I couldn't find much of anything at all with wine bottles.

This was so easy to make and there aren't a ton of supplies involved.  Here's what you need:
-Clear glass wine bottle (emptied, "delabeled", and cleaned)
-The cork from the wine bottle
-White thread & needle
-Small pushpin
-Small bottle brush trees assortment of your choice
-Epsom salt
-Thin cardboard or card stock of your choice
-Some kind of long thin stick that you can use to stick down into the wine bottle for maneuvering the trees

I pull the labels off my wine bottles and clean them out usually as soon we're done with them, so this one was all ready for me to use.  Fill the bottle with as much Epsom salt as you'd like.  One suggestion I have with this is to go ahead and use a funnel or be sure to pour in the salt as carefully as possible.  If the salt touches the edges a lot, it can leave salt dust on the walls of the bottle that make it look cloudy and are next impossible to get off without emptying the bottle and cleaning it out with water again.

Next I selected my trees.  I recently got a big pack of these bottle brush trees from Lowes and I used 2 of the smallest size and 1 of the next size up (which was still pretty small).  Remember it has to fit through the mouth of your bottle.  The bigger one that I used was a tight fit.  The first thing that I had to do to make these trees work, was take them out of their bases.  This was a piece of cake because mine are just threaded in there like a screw and secured only with a small amount of glue.  It was easy to unscrew them and pull them out with just a small amount of force.  And I think once I'm done with these, I could always screw them back into the base again and they'd work just fine!

I inserted the large one first.  I sort of scrunched up the fat part of the tree to make it a little narrower and then I just pushed it down into the bottle.  It doesn't matter that much how it lands, as it's not too difficult, with some patience and maneuvering, to get the tree into the position you want it to stay.  After all the trees you want to use are inserted, take a stick, or something long and thin, and use it to push the trees into place.  I just used a stick I picked up outside and also a wooden BBQ skewer. Again, it actually wasn't as hard for me to place the trees as I thought it was going to be, but it did take some patience and some time.  Once your trees are how you want them, the hardest part is over.  Really, you could just leave it like this if you wanted.

I wanted to add a star, though.  For this, I simply cut a star out of a thin piece of scrap cardboard I had laying around.  You could also use cardstock if you prefer.  To hang it, I threaded a needle with some white thread and pulled it through the tip of the star.  I tied one end off so it would stay attached to the star.  Meanwhile, I pushed a short pushpin up into the bottom of the cork.  Then I simply hung the star to the length I wanted it to be hanging down into the bottle and tied the other end of the thread around the pushpin in the cork.  All that's left then is to insert the cork back into the bottle, and there you go.  A gorgeous Christmas scene!

This could be a really fun project to do with older kids (it may be a little to difficult for younger ones).  Or you could be like me, and just make it to enjoy a pretty scene on your kitchen counter!  I think this could be a super fun decoration to have at a Christmas party.  It would be especially cute sitting with the other wines you might be serving!

I'm sure there will be many more Christmas projects for me in the next few weeks to come! :)

See how I dressed up the other wine bottles in this picture above HERE.

Happy Winter!! :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Smoked Gouda Baked Campanelle & Cheese with Mix-ins (Basically Just Mac & Cheese!)

It's the time of year now - crisp cool fall - that I really start to crave those gooey, creamy, rich comfort foods.  And macaroni & cheese is definitely one of my favorites!  I liked it as a kid, but I think if it's possible, I actually like it more now as an adult!  I think I have a better appreciation now for all the delicious ingredients and seasonings that as a child probably didn't impress me much! I've played with my recipe enough now, that I have it exactly to my preferences - that gooey cheesy goodness smothered over warm chewy pasta and that little crunch of breadcrumbs on top – YUM!

I was going to call this recipe "Grown Up Macaroni & Cheese", but then I remembered that I cut up 2 hotdogs and mixed them in (because my husband still requests them in his mac & cheese and I am an excellent wife! ;) haha…) which probably isn’t the most "grown-up" thing to do… and then I also remembered that I don't actually use macaroni-shaped pasta in this recipe… so technically it's not "macaroni" and cheese either… So the name that I landed on was "Smoked Gouda Baked Campanelle & Cheese with Mix-ins" ("mix-ins" sounds more grown up than "hotdogs", right?) So, maybe I'm over thinking this a bit!  Well, despite what you call it (…a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…) this has become my favorite baked mac & cheese recipe ever!  Hopefully you will give it a try and love it as much as I do!  It really is such a versatile recipe, you can substitute/add/omit just about anything and make it exactly to suit your tastes!

I love to use Campanelle pasta in this recipe because of its unique shape.  I feel like this sturdy pasta is perfect for the maximum amount of that rich creamy cheese sauce.

While that's cooking up in a pot of salted water and the oven is preheating to 400 degrees F, I shred a whole 8 oz block of smoked gouda cheese.  I'm going to put the WHOLE thing in this pasta.  (Except the amount that I can't keep myself from eating before it makes it in).

Next, I sauté up some sweet onion & garlic in butter until it's nice and translucent

Then after it's nice and creamy, I add in those yummy seasonings.

The cooked pasta goes into the sauce and then I cut up those hotdogs and add them in… this is just a favorite of my hubby's that he has always liked since he was a kid (and hey, you're already indulging in a highly fattening comfort food anyways… why not just add the hotdogs?? haha!)  I use Kunzler's All Beef Franks, so that makes it slightly healthier.  If hotdogs aren't your thing, diced ham can be really delicious in mac and cheese!  Or even something a little healthier yet, like maybe some broccoli, spinach, or another of your favorite veggies… the options are really endless…

And then pour everything into a greased 8x8 dish.  I combine about 1/4 (packed again) cup of gouda (or however much of it is left) and cheddar cheese with about 1/4 cup Panko.  Sometimes I add another few Tablespoons of Panko depending on my mood.  I mix that up with my fingers and then sprinkle it over the pasta with maybe an extra little sprinkle of paprika over top.

And then into oven for 20 minutes.

This is just an all around excellent dish packed with unique flavor!  Not the healthiest meal, but every once in a while you just need some good, fattening, creamy, cheesy goodness! :)


Smoked Gouda Baked Campanelle & Cheese (With Optional Mix-ins)
            Yield: 4 Servings

1/2 lb (8 oz) Campanelle Pasta (or pasta of your preference)
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Sweet Onion, diced
1-2 cloves Garlic, crushed or diced
2 tablespoons Flour
2 cups milk (I use 2%)
1 cup + 1/4 cup Smoke Gouda, shredded
1 cup + 1/4 cup White Cheddar, shredded
1/4 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard, or to taste
2 Hotdogs, sliced (or you could use about 1 cup of fully cooked diced ham or veggie)
1/4 cup Panko

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish.

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain.

In a large sauce pan, melt butter and add diced onion.  Sauté on med-high heat until translucent and tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Add crushed garlic and cook 1 minute longer.  Add flour and continue to cook about another minute.  Slowly whisk in milk, a little at a time, and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, stirring almost constantly.  Lower heat and add 1 cup of Smoked Gouda & 1 cup of White Cheddar cheese and stir until fully combined and creamy.

Stir in salt, pepper, paprika, & mustard.

Remove from heat and gently stir in cooked pasta & sliced hotdogs.  Place into the prepared greased baking dish.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup smoked gouda, 1/4 cup white cheddar, and 1/4 cup panko.  Sprinkle mixture evenly over the pasta.  If desired, sprinkle top with extra Paprika.

Place dish into the preheated oven and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.