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MC 7.1: On the first day of baking…

…My cookies gave to me a kitchen that smells yummy!

This past Saturday, I had a Christmas party for my high school small group girls   And decided to try my hand at baking sugar cookies for the first time!

Before baking the cookies, though, I had to get my first rolling pin, icing tubes, and even almond extract. I texted my mom after saying that “I feel like a real housewife now.” For some reason owning a rolling pin made me feel like I was truly adulting, until I realized that I probably should’ve gotten a rolling pin from an actual kitchen place… because you get what you pay for at Walmart.

Anyways, I found a recipe where you didn’t have to refrigerate the dough before cutting it, which really came in handy since I made them Saturday morning!

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Notice the extracts – so fancy. Here are my ingredients! I mixed the butter and sugar, then the egg and extracts, and lastly the flour and baking powder. It was pretty thick dough! I rolled out about half the dough, which was really difficult to do on a cutting board. In retrospect, I probably should’ve just done it on the counter. I got basically the same amount of flour on it anyway.

I did end up putting the second half in the fridge to firm up a bit, because as you can see below, the edges didn’t hold their shape super well.

I made about 3 dozen cookies, and checked on them pretty often so they wouldn’t be too crispy! I almost ALWAYS overcook cookies, and that’s definitely not something you want for sugar cookies. They ended up turning out pretty well!

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The girls and I had lots of fun decorating them! Hopefully I can figure out how to make the edges a little firmer next time, but I think it went well for my first try! If any bakers out there want to give me some tips, they would be much appreciated. I’m going to do something a little more challenging next week, so make sure you check back in!

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Friday Favorites 12/16

It’s already December!! I can’t believe we are already at the end of 2016. With Christmas coming up, I thought I would help out all of you #ballersonabudget with some DIY gift ideas I’ve tried out! You’re welcome, wallet.

Exploding Year in A Box

This gift takes some work, but the end result is worth it! It’s perfect for a significant other – I made this gift for Matt a few years ago and had a blast. Though inexpensive, this gift is extremely personal, with a picture for every month of the year. Check out Glitter Adventure’s tutorial to make this adorable box!

Dry Erase Frames

I made these gifts for a few of my friends for Christmas one year, and they were super fun to make!

Need:

  • Frames
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Scissors
  • Dry erase markers

Remove the back of the frame and trace the outline on the scrapbook paper. Cut to size. Stick the scrapbook paper in the frame and put the backing on. Write a fun quote on the front with the dry erase marker. Wrap it up and give it to a friend!

Cocoa Ornaments

These ornaments are not only inexpensive to make, but they are super cute AND tasty!

Need:

  • Plain clear plastic ornament
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Sprinkles or broken up candy canes
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Funnel
  • Bows
  • Gift tags

Unscrew the top of the ornament. Fill about half of it with hot cocoa mix. Use the funnel to layer in mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, and sprinkles. Put the top back on and add a tag with instructions for making the hot chocolate. This is a great gift for kids! Make sure to keep them upright so they still look pretty when you deliver them!

Quote Scarf

My friends and I have made a few of these for each other over the years! Quote scarfs are great, especially for book-lovers who can wear a quote from their favorite book. You can also do song lyrics or verses!

Need:

  • Scarf
  • Fabric pens (get at least two)
  • Cardboard
  • A quote

After choosing the quote you want, try to eyeball how much room it will take on your scarf. Try to write bigger or smaller accordingly. You can write vertically or horizontally as well. Lay down some cardboard in case the pen bleeds through. Write the quote on the scarf – take your time so the ink shows up clearly. Give to a stylish friend!

Instagram Pillow


These pillows from Zazzle are so fun to make! Simply upload your instagram pictures and create a cute collage for your friends to decorate AND snuggle with! I’ve made this for several friends and it’s a super fun, unique gift!

Memory Jar

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Another great sentimental gift – perfect for those friends you’ve had since junior high.

Need:

Write down any fun memories or quotes, and add any fun memorabilia like play bills or pins. Add as many memories you can think of, then roll up each little paper and put it in the jar. Write something like “Jess and Matt’s Memory Jar” on the outside in the puff paint. Your friend/family member/significant other will love reminiscing on all your fun memories together, and you can add to them over the years!

I hope you enjoyed my collection of DIY Christmas Gifts! If you end up making any of them, I’d love to see how they turned out!

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MC 6.5: Mixing It Up

Hi friends! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I think I’m still recovering from my food coma.

I spent some time this weekend decorating more journals – the first one turned out so well I decided to do some more for Christmas gifts! They were really fun to make!

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I also played around a bit more with my Tombow Dual Brush pens – they are a little harder for me to control but I think I am making a little progress!

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I also tried to do some different kinds of lettering styles! Bet you can’t tell what Netflix show I’ve been binge watching lately…

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Lastly, for my final project I decided to letter my favorite verse with a few different styles. I think it turned out pretty well!

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I had a BLAST doing lettering this month and it’s definitely a hobby I want to continue! I hope you got inspired to do some lettering of your own – it’s definitely a good skill to have, especially during the holidays!

Speaking of the holidays, my next challenge is an especially fitting one for December!

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Make sure to subscribe so you can get some good baking inspiration for the holidays! I can’t wait to eat all the goodies I make. Don’t forget to check back for Friday Favorites!

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MC 6.4: Getting Fancy

Hi friends, Happy Thanksgiving to you! I love thanksgiving. It’s a great reminder for us to take a moment and be grateful for everything we have. It really is a sacred holiday. And I’m especially excited that my sister will be coming from Phoenix to celebrate with me – the first time in 6 years I’ve had thanksgiving with one of my immediate family! It will be a great time.

This week, I practiced some fancy letters…

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And some even fancier embellishments!

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I also did this quote – this song has really been a source of comfort to me the past few weeks! I still have some work to do on spacing but I like how it turned out.

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Finally, I did this lettering on a notebook for my giveaway winner, Tiffany!

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Congrats to Tiffany, and thanks to all who participated! Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and see you next week!

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MC 6.3: Giveaway!

Hey friends! Hope you had a great weekend after a crazy week! I was very glad to have something pretty to make the past few days. I practiced some upstrokes, downstrokes, and the alphabet in different styles some more, and I am slowly starting to see some improvement!

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Then I freestyled some words and letters (notice how I totally wasn’t paying attention on I dreamed a dream…) Again, writing straight is not my strong suite.

I was feeling a little down this week, so I decided to letter a verse that was really encouraging to me – and I’m really happy at how it turned out! I even wrote somewhat straight!

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Last but not least, I’m having a GIVEAWAY for my last lettering week to celebrate 6 months of my blog!

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HOW TO ENTER

  1. Subscribe to my blog!
  2. Get another entry by following my instagram @shortandsweet_blog and tagging a friend on the giveaway picture!
  3. Deadline is Saturday, November 19.

WHAT YOU’LL WIN

A small journal personalized with your name or quote of your choice, hand-lettered by me! The winner will be announced next week!

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Good luck everyone, see you next week!

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MC 6.2: Practice Makes Progress

Hey friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Matt and I went to a wedding over the weekend, and I even brought my lettering stuff on the trip so I wouldn’t miss a day! Such dedication, I know. But as they say, practice makes perfect!

Earlier in the week, I worked on spacing (which I really need because I can’t write straight for anything).

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I also had some fun with my colorful brush pens!

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Bet you can’t guess my favorite books!😉 And I continued practicing different letters with the wonderful modern calligraphy worksheets!

During our little weekend getaway, we ended up watching both the Deathly Hallows movies, so I was inspired to do this wonderful quote yesterday for my first quote page!

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This is a great example of me not being able to write straight. I even tried pencil it out beforehand, which didn’t help too much. BUT I was pretty excited to do my first full page! Hopefully this will be the first of many great quote pages. I can’t believe this challenge is already halfway over, I don’t think I will want to stop this one! See you next week!

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Friday Favorites 11/16

Hey friends, happy November! I can’t believe we are almost done with 2016, this year seemed to fly by! Here is a roundup of my new favorite things, I hope you enjoy!

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Wheel of Time Series

I started the Wheel of Time series this summer, and am already on my second book! It seems similar to Lord of the Rings and  fantasy books (although I have to admit I never read Lord of the Rings). I really like the series so far, and the character development is great. Though the books are somewhat long, I would highly recommend them!

Here’s a little summary on the first book from Amazon:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs—a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts— five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

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BookBub

You’ve probably seen the adds on facebook for this already, but I just wanted to toss in my two cents about this awesome site! Basically you sign up and choose what authors, books, or genres you are interested in. Then they will send you an email every day with books similar to those that are on sale or free through google, itunes, or amazon! I’ve found several free books through them and every once in a while they have popular books for $2 or $3!

Mexican Zucchini Beef Skillet

I made this last week (for myself, since apparently Matt doesn’t like zucchini) and it was amazing! And not only does it taste fantastic, it is super easy to make – basically just cook some ground beef or turkey, and add some spices, salsa, and chopped zucchini! It is also great for leftovers.

Lulu’s

One of my best friends is getting married in a few months, and she let all her bridesmaids choose their dress as long as it was navy and long! Almost all of the bridesmaids ended up ordering their dresses from Lulu’s because they have beautiful dresses that are pretty inexpensive! Here’s the one I got  – I’m very excited to wear it!

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Flautas

This was another amazing recipe I tried out this week, and even my husband said it wasn’t too bad! I know sweet potato sounds like an interesting thing to put in a flauta, but it was a nice addition to mix things up a bit! It had quite a few spices in it, but thankfully I had all of them already! I doubled the recipe because I didn’t want to only used half of the cans of corn and beans, but it made a ton so we will be eating them for a while!

Hope you enjoyed this month’s Friday Favorites! Stay tuned for an update on my lettering challenge coming on Tuesday!

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MC 6.1: Learning Curves

Hi friends! I hope you enjoyed your halloween yesterday! It’s one of my favorite holidays – I love dressing up, going to haunted mazes and houses, and eating candy🙂 I’m a child at heart, I guess!

In case you missed last week’s post, this month I’m doing lettering! I did my research and ordered about $45 worth of supplies on Amazon – I don’t think I was ever so excited to get a package.

The first items that I got were the Tombow Fudenosuke soft and hard brush pens. I was surprised when I got them because the packaging was in Japanese! So I felt like I was starting off with some legit pens.

In my second package, I got

I also printed out several calligraphy worksheets to help me get my letters and shapes down.

They were all awesome and I would highly recommend them! Also, these beginner video tutorials by Pieces Calligraphy were really helpful!

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The first day was a little overwhelming. I know it takes work to become good at calligraphy and hand lettering, but I thought that since I’m artsy and creative and a perfectionist that it would come a little bit more easily to me. However after my first day I realized I would have to practice a little more before becoming good at it.

Day two was a little better, as I traced over some of the letters on the calligraphy sheets.

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The third day I finally got my second package, and I had fun playing with some color in my new notebook!

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The fourth day I had a halloween party to go to and I went as a party animal, so that was my inspiration for the day.

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Over the weekend, I continued practicing letters, upstrokes, downstrokes, and colors.

And I drew a fun little print for halloween!

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I had so much fun learning how to do lettering this week and I’m excited to keep practicing my skills! Hopefully you will see some big improvement at the end. See you next week!

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MC 5.4: It Was All Yellow

Hi friends!! I hope you had a great weekend. It rained here in California, and although I usually don’t like rain or cold weather, it was kind of a nice change. It was also a little stormy and (surprise) we have some colored leaves on the ground, so it actually kind of feels like fall! Time to get those pumpkin spice lattes! Side note, if you don’t like a full-on PSL, try a pump or two of pumpkin in a chai latte – it’s 10x better.

Anyways, I had another extremely busy week (2 people stayed at our house, we had a wedding and I was at a retreat during the weekend), so sadly I didn’t get to practice too much. But I promised a video so here it is! The winner of the poll last week was Yellow by Coldplay!

*Don’t judge my singing voice, I got sick this weekend right in time for my finale video😦

*My page doesn’t support videos, so click on the picture below to watch on Youtube! Then be sure to come back so you can see what I’m doing next month!

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Thanks to all who supported me during this challenge! It was really fun to pick guitar back up. I definitely have a greater appreciation of those who actually practice their instruments hours every week. It takes a lot of dedication. Hopefully I will be able to keep up with it a bit, although it would be nice to feel the fingers on my left hand again🙂

On another note, I’m so excited for this next month’s challenge! I have been looking forward to it and waiting for the perfect time since I started the blog, and I’m finally diving into….

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I’m so excited to do hand lettering this month! My goal is to do 30 days of lettering and I’ll post a collection of what I learned and did throughout the week on Tuesday. See you then!

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MC 5.3: Song after song

Hi friends! Happy Tuesday! This week was another busy one for me, so I didn’t get to practice as much as I would’ve liked. But when I did play I was pretty dedicated – I played the same 5 songs this week over and over! Here are the songs I played:

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

The Only Exception – Paramore

How He Loves – David Crowder

Yellow – Coldplay

O Come to the Altar – Elevation Worship

I like each of them because they have something interesting about them – either they are easy chords in a different key or there’s a minor chord or something unique. It’s a great mix of being challenging but also not too difficult for a beginner to play. I think Yellow was actually one of the first ones I learned how to play when I was taking lessons, and it’s still a great one!

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Since next week will be my last guitar update, I wanted to record a video so I could show you guys my progress! And I thought it would be fun to let you guys choose which song I feature in my video next week, so… Ready! Set! Vote!

Come back again next week to see which song was the winner! Until then, I’ll just be strumming along!

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