The Chilly Dog - 2013 Highlights

This was a big year for me personally because I quit my day job. Instead of just blogging for fun now and then, blogging is my primary focus. That being said, I could not have made this change without my husband's unconditional support and encouragement. I seriously can not thank him enough for this opportunity. 

The one thing I am most proud of with my blog is that I create original content. I blog about the projects that I am actually working on and the products I like to use. This year I had 186 posts including 50 tutorials, 14 patterns and even a few recipes.


I like to support and encourage other professional crafters, artists and creative people. I have featured interviews or tutorials by six other creative ladies on my blog this year. I also spotlight one Etsy treasury each week in my Fun Find Friday post. In 2014, I plan on hosting regular link parties where Etsy artisans can submit items in their shop to help gain exposure for their work.

I'm building relationships with crafters of all skill levels. I reach out to every Etsy artisan who is included in my Fun Find Friday posts. I have also decided it's important to personally respond to each comment left by others because I appreciate when people tell me they like a particular project and hope to help if someone has a question.

I had over 9 times more page views in 2013 than in 2012. My personal goal, at the beginning of the year, was a 500% increase in page views, so I am very excited that I exceeded my goal. It didn't happen by accident. I'm getting better at promoting my blog by submitting tutorials to other crafty sites and have improved my search engine optimization practices.

My top 10 referring sites were quite varied. Of course much of my traffic comes from Google, Facebook and Pinterest, but I also had a substantial number of visitors who found me through, Craftgawker, Totally Tutorials, Ravelry, Tangled Happy, Knitting Paradise, Creativita Organizzata and I Share Crafts. Thank you for sharing links to my blog!

I finally own my domain name. I made a rookie mistake when I started blogging and didn't search the availability of the domain name I wanted and it was owned by another business. When it became available a few months ago I didn't hesitate to purchase it. Now, if you look up in the address bar, you will notice it says http://www.thechillydog.com instead of http://thechillydog.blogspot.com.

My guiding principle...

I love to craft and learn new skills that I can incorporate into my creations. I take great pride in my work. Crafting often requires patience and attention to detail but with practice (and maybe some guidance and encouragement) everyone has the capacity to make crafting a relaxing and enjoyable part of their life.

The Chilly Dog is my place to share my crafting experiences, expertise and inspirations and I hope to guide, encourage and promote others in their creative endeavors.

Create Happiness. Expect Excellence.

Finally, my favorite projects from 2013.



Happy New Year!





Young's Caramel Corn

Young's Caramel Corn Recipe: How to make the best, most delicious, and wildly addictive caramel corn snack ever!The downside of having a home-based business is that no one brings me yummy things to snack on while I work. There is one treat in particular that I have been missing, my friend Young's delicious caramel corn. Thankfully, she shared the recipe with me and I have made it a couple of times over the holidays.

The recipe is a little time consuming, but well worth the effort. And I'll warn you right now, this stuff is addictive. You won't be able to have just a handful or two.

Ingredients


  • 6 quarts of freshly popped popcorn (Do not substitute microwave popcorn)
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Directions


Pop popcorn. Preheat the oven to 200F.

Pour half of the popcorn into a baking pan. (I actually use two 9x13 Pyrex pans because I don't have a single pan large enough to accommodate six quarts of caramel corn.)
In a large saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and cream of tartar. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over a medium heat for five minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda.
Immediately pour half of the caramel mixture over the popcorn. Add the remaining popcorn to the baking pan(s). Pour the rest of the caramel over the popcorn.
Stir the popcorn in the baking pan(s).

Bake the popcorn for 1 hour, stirring it two or three times.
Young's Caramel Corn Recipe: How to make the best, most delicious, and wildly addictive caramel corn snack ever! Turn the caramel corn out onto waxed paper to cool and break apart any excessively large chunks.



Fun Find Friday - Almost a New Year

'Have a colorful year 2014!' by meirahbrezner

Crochet pattern baby booties - Full of large pictures! Permission to sell finished items. Pattern No. 101 - MakiCrochet
Crochet pattern baby bo...
$4
Lampwork beads. Lampwork beads set. bone beads, black, white, red (6) SRA - gaialai
Lampwork beads. Lampwor...
$30
felt art picture, poppy flower landscape - SueForeyfibreart
felt art picture, poppy...
$87.12
FINAL MARKDOWN Square Within A Square Crib Quilt Couch Throw Hand Quilted Baby Quilt Bold Colors - mommawhazelsquilts
FINAL MARKDOWN Square W...
$50
wooden doll, Kokeshi, Japanese couple, hand painted, large size, ready to ship, Valentine's Day, Gift ideas - MyNihonjin
wooden doll, Kokeshi, J...
$85
Large Mosaic Birdhouse with Native Volcanic Stones from the North West - WinestoneBirdhouses
Large Mosaic Birdhouse ...
$135
Decorative Purple Lavender Lilac Lumbar Pillow Case 12 x 18 in IRMA DESIGN Limited Edition - DelindaBoutique
Decorative Purple Laven...
$38
BAG // Burgundy Shoulder Bag Crochet Celebrity Style With Genuine Leather Gray Handles - Sudrishta
BAG // Burgundy Shoulde...
$99
In The Park- Fine Art Photography - Digital photography download, instant download, Printable Art, winter photography, Wall decor - BlossomingDream
In The Park- Fine Art P...
$5
Original Drawing - Romantic Heart Tiles - 8.5x12" up to 24x34" Art Print, Wall Decor, Illustration - EnchantedCrayons
Original Drawing - Roma...
$15
Sea Glass Necklace Elephant Locket Emerald Green Milk Glass - seaglassgems4you
Sea Glass Necklace Elep...
$38
Poinsettia, Still Life Photography, flower picture, nature photography, wall art, christmas decoration, holiday decoration - JennyLauraPictures
Poinsettia, Still Life ...
$28
ON SALE 30% OFF Four Kelly's Elegance Pillow Beads -10109414-Handmade Glass Lampwork Bead - gracebeads
ON SALE 30% OFF Four Ke...
$23.1
Vintage Floral iPhone 5S Case, Bouquet, Floral iPhone 5C, Floral iPhone 4, Galaxy S4 Cover, Flowers - JoyMerrymanStore
Vintage Floral iPhone 5...
$29
crochet baby dress with headband - CrochetByTheHart
crochet baby dress with...
$40
Wedding bouquet vinatge style brooch and flower bouquet in gold and cream with pearls and organza made to order - Lovefromlilywedding
Wedding bouquet vinatge...
$80



Peppermint Room Spray Recipe

Peppermint Room Spray Recipe: Add a spritz of scent to a room or car with an easy to make spray | The Chilly Dog'Tis the day before Christmas
And I smell just a hint
Of my favorite flavor,
Candy cane peppermint!

The smell of fresh pine is nice, but my favorite holiday scent (besides the smell of mashed potatoes and gravy cooking) is peppermint. It's so refreshing and it always makes me smile.

Since my family is not fond of scented candles, I came up with another way to add a spritz of the scent to our home, room spray. It's simple to make and adds such a happy aroma to the air.

Materials

  • 3 oz spray bottle (glass works best, but plastic ones are fine)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz distilled water
  • 7 drops each of peppermint and bergamont essential oils

Directions

The downside of using plastic spray bottles for this project is that the plastic will take on the smell of what's stored inside it. So if you fill it with peppermint room spray during the holidays, you won't want to mix a different scent in it later. However, since the plastic bottles are less expensive and can easily be found in the cosmetics section at the store, that's what I usually use.

Pour the vodka into a glass measuring cup. (If the vodka has been in the freezer, let it come to room temperature or the essential oils will solidify when you add them.)

Add 7 drops of peppermint oil and 7 drops of bergamont oil to the vodka and stir well.

Add 1 ounce of distilled water and stir.

Pour the mixture into your spray bottle.

Make sure to shake up the mixture before each use.

Happy Holidays!





Moisturizing Peppermint Bath Salt Recipe

Moisturizing Peppermint Bath Salt Recipe: Great for a last minute Christmas gift or a refreshing soak in the tub | The Chilly Dog
It seems like this holiday season has been busier than years past. Maybe it's because there was less than a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. or because much of my focus has been on my blog projects. (Maybe it was because I was a slacker and put off my Christmas shopping until the last minute.) Your guess is as good as mine.

If the holidays have you feeling a little stressed, this post is for you because a sprinkle of peppermint bath salts into a steaming tub followed by a long quiet soak may be just what you need to unwind. And guess what, they are surprisingly simple to make. That's great news if you still need a last minute gift for someone.

(Not in the mood for peppermint? Keep reading, I'll also share a couple of my other favorite scent blends.)

Materials

 

  • pint glass canning jar
  • 2 cups of epsom salt (or other course bath salt)
  • 2 tablespoons of almond oil (or other carrier oil of your choice)
  • 7 drops each of peppermint and bergamont essential oils

 

Directions


Wash and dry your jar completely. You don't want there to be any moisture in the jar or your salts will begin to dissolve.

Moisturizing Peppermint Bath Salt Recipe: Great for a last minute Christmas gift or a refreshing soak in the tub | The Chilly Dog Pour the salt into a large mixing bowl.

Pour the almond oil, 7 drops of peppermint oil and 7 drops of bergamont oil into a small bowl and stir them together.

If you are not a fan of peppermint you can add one of these blends to the almond oil instead:
  • Orange Spice - 6 drops of orange oil, 3 drops of bergamont oil and 3 drops of clove bud oil
  • Lavender - 8 drops of lavender oil, 4 drops of bergamont oil, 1 drop of peppermint oil
  • Sandalwood - 11 drops of sandalwood oil
Pour the oils over the salt. Stir until completely blended.

Moisturizing Peppermint Bath Salt Recipe: Great for a last minute Christmas gift or a refreshing soak in the tub | The Chilly Dog Spoon the salt mixture into the jar. Make sure to pack the salt (like brown sugar) as you go, so you can fit all of the salt mixture into the jar.
Moisturizing Peppermint Bath Salt Recipe: Great for a last minute Christmas gift or a refreshing soak in the tub | The Chilly Dog I made a couple dozen of these as party gifts, so I added labels to the top of each lid with the name of the scent inside. The labels look fancy, but here's the secret, black adhesive vinyl and my Silhouette Cameo die cut machine.

Once the jar is filled, put on the lid.

To use your bath salts, sprinkle about a half a cup into your bath as it's running and stir it up a bit. Then enjoy a refreshing soak in the tub.

Moisturizing Peppermint Bath Salt Recipe: Great for a last minute Christmas gift or a refreshing soak in the tub | The Chilly Dog

Happy Holidays!





Fun Find Friday - A Rustic Christmas

'A Rustic Christmas in red and brown' by DarkroomandDearly

Christmas Reindeer Fabric Soft Toy Room Decoration eco friendly natural materials gray red white linen cotton - 5lovebirdsnest
Christmas Reindeer Fabr...
$30
Food Photography, Cocoa, Hot Chocolate Photograph, Minimal, Holiday Home Decor, Kitchen Art, Neutral Colors, Kitchen Photo, Scrabble - birdandbloke
Food Photography, Cocoa...
$14
Winter Botanicals - cardninal feather, pine branches, holly, pinecone - Watercolor giclee 8x10 print - CeaseWatercolorArts
Winter Botanicals - car...
$17.5
holly berries pine branch winter holiday nest watercolor painting original OOAK - atticEditions
holly berries pine bran...
$85
Baby Reindeer Hat with Ear Flaps--Crocheted Rudolf--Perfect Newborn Photo Prop - HatAndColdCrochet
Baby Reindeer Hat with ...
$39
Made to Order Handknit thick warm wool women woman socks long cuff Christmas scandinavian custom orders to buy europe - WoolSpace
Made to Order Handknit ...
$39
Porsgrund Hearts & Pines Mugs, Set of 2, Multisided Octavia - WillowTreeAntiques
Porsgrund Hearts & Pine...
$135
Illustrated Christmas Card - DoodleDesigns23
Illustrated Christmas C...
$1.5
Snowflake Pottery Rustic Decoration White Eco Friendly Ceramic Ornament Set of 2 Wedding Gift - Ceraminic
Snowflake Pottery Rusti...
$15
Red, brown and gold Christmas tree door hanger - CreativeCooperative
Red, brown and gold Chr...
$75
Christmas Card with Hand Lettering Merry Xmas, Wreath Illustration with kraft envelopes - mipluseddesign
Christmas Card with Han...
$3
Rustic Christmas Stocking, Linen and Mangle Cloth, Holiday Decor - BailiwickStudio
Rustic Christmas Stocki...
$32
fa la la Christmas throw pillow cover / deck the halls / red / 16" x 16"  / natural / farmhouse / cabin style / rustic / holiday decor - SassyStitchesbyLori
fa la la Christmas thro...
$44
Holly Note Cards - Set of 8 Blank Christmas Cards, Holly Painting, Holly Watercolor, Woodland, Rustic, Holly Leaves Berries, Green Brown Red - trowelandpaintbrush
Holly Note Cards - Set ...
$12
Crochet Reindeer / Black Friday Sale / Handmade Christmas Gift / Kids Toys / Children Toys / Crochet Animal / Amigurumi Animal / Knit Animal - LittleBittyKnitter
Crochet Reindeer / Blac...
$30
Winter balsam pine fabric tree sachets brown red country holiday Christmas decoration gift under 15, hostess gift - NancyEllenStudios
Winter balsam pine fabr...
$12



Perler Beads: 3-D Christmas Tree

Kid's Christmas craft tutorial: How to make a 3-D Perler bead Christmas tree | The Chilly DogWhen my daughter was younger, she was very much into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. So, one Christmas, her grandmother gave her a set of Rudolph figurines. It has all the main characters from the old film including Rudolph and Santa, Yukon Cornelius, Hermey the Elf, Clarice, and my favorite, the Abominable Snowman. There was even a star for Abominable to place on top of the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, there was no tree in the set.

Every December Rudolph and the gang have a special place amid the holiday decorations in our home. And, every year  the Abominable Snowman holds the star high above the crowd, ready to place it on the tree, but sadly, there's no tree in the scene.

This year, I finally decided to make a tree to complete the happy scene by taking the basic concept for my perler bead snowflake ornament to the next level. I stacked layers of Perler beads, adding dimension to create a 3-D Christmas tree. This is a great project to enlist the help of your kids!


Materials


  • package of 1000 green Perler beads
  • 16 brown Perler beads (optional)
  • large, hexagon Perler tray
  • iron
  • six inch bamboo skewer (You can find the bamboo skewers in with the kitchen utensils at the grocery store. They are usually used for grilling.)
  • two quarters
  • wire cutters or strong scissors.


Directions


If you are new to Perler beads, you can find them in the kid's section at your local craft store. They come in kits or you can purchase different color beads or trays separately. The trays also come with a piece of pressing paper so you can melt the beads together with an iron and not wreck your iron. Make sure to read the directions included with your Perler beads/trays before you begin.

My tree has sixteen layers. I put a brown bead (the tree trunk) at the center of each layer. It helped me easily locate the center of each layer when I inserted the skewer.

As you can see, each layer is slightly bigger than the last.


After you have set-up a layer on the Perler bead tray, use your iron to press it as described in the product directions.

As soon as you have ironed a layer (while it is still warm) slide it onto the skewer. This opens up the hole at the center of the tree. Once the piece is cool, you can remove it from the skewer.
After you have created all sixteen pieces of the tree, you will stack each layer onto the skewer.

Begin by sliding the largest piece all the way down the skewer.

To make sure the tree branches are evenly spaced on the skewer, set two (stacked) quarters onto the bottom layer. Now slide the next set of branches onto the tree.
Move the quarters up to the next later and slide another set of branches onto the tree.

Continue adding branches and make sure they are evenly spaced on the skewer as you go.
After you add the last layer, there should be about an inch of skewer sticking out the top.
Use a wire cutter or scissors to trim off the excess skewer.

Now you're ready to set the holiday scene with your tree.

Kid's Christmas craft tutorial: How to make a 3-D Perler bead Christmas tree | The Chilly Dog

 Kid's Christmas craft tutorial: How to make a 3-D Perler bead Christmas tree | The Chilly Dog

Happy Holidays!