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    December 20, 2012
    Cookie Test Kitchen

    Yesterday, I helped my sister-in-law do some baking for teachers’ gifts. We used this Browned Butter Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Bake or Break. It is amazing. The salt adds both visual interest and a little sophistication and the browned butter lends a nutty flavor and aroma. They really aren’t any harder to make than your average chocolate chip cookie recipe, and have been quite a hit. Two thumbs up.

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    December 19, 2012
    Tips For Better Cookies

    If you have ever attempted to bake cut-out sugar cookies, you may be familiar with the above scenario. Turns out, the solution is simple. Before baking the cookies, you should put them, cookie sheet and all, into the refrigerator for around 30 minutes. The chilling prevents them from spreading. Sadly, they had no solution for my lackluster icing skills; but you can get plenty of other tips for baking perfect cookies here.

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    December 18, 2012
    Last-Minute Get Together Made Easy

    Still on the fence about hosting a holiday get-together? Here’s a super easy idea for a¬†simple wine and cheese party. DIY blackboard placemats, made from cork-backed placemats and blackboard paint, make an elegant, informative backdrop for plated cheeses. Add wine pairings and your party is complete.

    Get complete placemat DIY instructions here.

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    December 17, 2012
    Last Minute Decor DIY

    I know the holidays are coming, but every year they seem to sneak up on me anyways. Luckily, Buzzfeed compiled a long list of last-minute DIY decor. See more here.

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    December 14, 2012
    Etsy Finds: Gifts for Little Kiddos

    I always have trouble shopping for my niece and nephew. They are so loved by so many people, sometimes it seems they already have everything. So, I turned to Etsy for a little inspiration. Above, Pony Farm from FilcMania, $46.

    Unisex Animal Leggings, $53 from Fable Baby. If you’re noticing a horse theme, you are correct. My niece loves horses.

    Heirloom Bear Blanket, $125 from Roxy Marg. I think this is my favorite.

    Vortimer the Sloth, $79 from Herbert and Friends.

    Bunny Family Onesie, $22 from Red Prairie Press.

    The Young Mad Scientist’s First Building Blocks, $35 from Xylcoopa Designs.

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    December 13, 2012
    ‘Tis the Season for Swirl

    I’ve always admired the Buche de Noel, though I’ve also always assumed it was too complicated to tackle. But, this Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cake seems like a good way to get my feet wet, so to speak. It has everything you could want – chocolate cake, chocolate sauce, chocolate buttercream and peppermint buttercream – minus the complicated, but lovely, wood grain icing and¬†meringue toadstools.

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    December 12, 2012
    More Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas


    Curbly has a great list of 35 gift wrap and tag ideas for the holidays – many of which I’ve never seen before. The whole post is worth a look, but here are a few of my favorites. Above, Miu Miu -inspired modern ribbons.

    I love these plastic animal toppers, but I’d probably go with pastels and glitter instead of primary colors.

    Buttons and string – so simple.

    And, finally, beads and twine.


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    December 11, 2012
    Baby, It’s Cold Outside

    Here in Austin, we are slugging through the one week of winter weather we get per year … wearing all the sweaters we own. Don’t take that as a complaint. I love cold weather. It gives me the perfect excuse to eat something warm, fattening and delicious. Like this meatball marinara grilled cheese. Sure, I guess when you get down to brass tacks, it’s just a meatball sandwich, but calling it a grilled cheese makes it magic.

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    December 10, 2012
    When Shelves Fly

    I ran across this amazing Flying Shelf on Pinterest (via sfgirlbybay) and fantasized about how amazing it would be if I could make this myself. After letting Google translate the page for me, I discovered that it was, indeed, a DIY, complete with a link to detailed measurements. Now I just have to convince someone handy to help me out.


    Via the South German Times Magazine.

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    December 7, 2012
    Etsy Find: Bliss in a Teacup

    The perfect gift for your favorite reader: wooden bookmarks featuring famous writers. $8 each at Bliss in a Teacup – you get to choose your writer.

    Via Poppytalk.


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