Friday, December 26, 2008

Just Desserts: Sugar Cookie Recipes

I just have to take a moment to toot my own bright orange Squidoo horn. If you are part of the Squidoo community you know that making it into the top 100 Lens ranking is a big, big deal. So I was thrilled when my Sugar Cookie Recipes lens made it there earlier this week. I then set my sights on the Top 50 so I could put another shiny new badge from Lens Candy on my lens (having just proudly "hung" one for Top 100). But I didn't really think it was possible. Lo and behold, much to my wondering eyes did appear a lens ranking of 49 when I checked this morning!

If you think this was an overnight success it isn't. I created this lens in November 2007 based on my grandma's Christmas lemon sugar cookie recipe. It got close to the Top 100 last year but never got over the threshold.

And to those of you who don't have a Squidoo lens this may seem like a lot of hoopla over nothing, but I've spent countless hours crafting my lenses and it feels like, as the title says, just desserts to be rewarded in this way. Oh, and I actually make money from it! So if you're inspired to join in the fun, click on this link to start creating your own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Make a Paper Christmas Ornament: The Porcupine Ball

To go straight to the tutorial click here to go to the Make a Paper Christmas Ornament Squidoo lens I created. For the background story, keep reading.

Unwrapping Christmas presents at my maternal grandparents house was a slow and cautious affair. Scotch tape was carefully cut with scissors to keep from tearing the jewel-toned foil wrapping papers. Then the wrapping paper was carefully folded and put away in a special box. This was the collection for making the paper Christmas ornaments we called "porcupine balls".

I'm not sure where the pattern came from, or who found it, but I have memories of watching my uncle very painstakingly rolling the small sections of foil and tissue paper to make the points that would ultimately become a ball ornament. Then there was the problem of glue. We always used good old Elmer's white glue in the 1960's. After you got the point of paper rolled you had to somehow get the glue on the edge without losing the point (sometimes with a toothpick) and then hold it until it set up enough. It was a trick to keep the glue from getting on the foil and keeping it from being shiny. Thank goodness for glue sticks and all the other adhesive options we have these days!

But despite the surgeon-like concentration needed to make them, the end result was spectacular and a great way to keep the beautiful foil wrapping papers we all fell in love with and hated to throw away. In these days of green living awareness I thought it would be a great time to reintroduce the world to these ornaments. It seems somewhere in the last 10 years I've seen an article about them - perhaps in Martha Stewart Living - but I haven't seen them anywhere else.

Again, click here to see the tutorial.