Thursday, December 19, 2013

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11 Crafty Book Review Lenses You’ll Love (and news from the Squidoo Craft Club)

Posted: 19 Dec 2013 07:20 AM PST

The Squidoo Craft Club shared reviews of their favorite crafting books this month. Take a gander at the following 11 lenses to see if you’ve got them all.

We had a really hard time deciding which of these fine lenses was best so we’ve declared a tie and the Craft Club will take two featured Lens of the Day spots during the weekend after Christmas. Be sure to stop back on December 28 and 29 to see them both.

FYI: This Club is gearing up for some exciting things come 2014. If you’re into crafting and not yet a member, be sure to join the club soon so you don’t miss a thing. Visit All About Squidoo Clubs to learn how.

All lensmasters are welcome.

Thank you to all who participated! 

Fair Isle Inspiration

1. Fair Isle Inspiration

Hurricane Sandy was hitting the town I lived in and my place of work was closed for two days. I had also just been to the craft store armed with birthday money, where I bought yarn and a book on how to do Fair Isle knitting. Then, the hurricane hit. Luckil…

Knit & Crochet Your Stitch into a Creative Hat

2. Knit & Crochet Your Stitch into a Creative Hat

All my favorite Winter hats come from those I’ve knitted or crocheted over the years. Last year I needed some new warm hats because the one I’d most recently made remained in its elusive Summer hiding place, and I had wearied of searching for it….

Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand-Paper to Petal

3. Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand-Paper to Petal

I have been crafting with paper since childhood and continue to do so most everyday. I have stacks of craft paper and drawers of colored tissue paper. I have always enjoyed making flowers from paper and used to do it freehand without the use of a template….

It Is Better To Light One Candle

4. It Is Better To Light One Candle

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness! If you are anything like me though, one candle would never suffice. To say that I love candles would be the understatement of the decade. I know that I am not alone too! This book is a wonderful…

Fill Your House With These Crafty Creatures

5. Fill Your House With These Crafty Creatures

Crafty Creatures has got to be THE cutest craft book that I own! The best part? The projects are made with scraps and leftovers from other projects :) It’s really just too much cute. I can’t wait to get started making many of these cute creatures…

Zombie Felties: How to Raise 16 Gruesome Felt Creatures from the Undead

6. Zombie Felties: How to Raise 16 Gruesome Felt Creatures from the Undead

If you’re like me then you need some cool activities to do with boys! The bracelet kits, beading toys & typical crafting kits on how to make a fluffy pink bunnies just won’t fly around here. My boys are all about blood, grossness &amp…

Star Wars Origami

7. Star Wars Origami

From the founder of starwarsorigami. com, Chris Alexander brings us this collection of 36 origami designs with a Star Wars theme. Chris Alexander is a master folder after beginning at only age four and now specializes in Star Wars designs. The instructions…

Cool Crafting Ideas with Lego's

8. Cool Crafting Ideas with Lego’s

Well world once again it has happened. I was staring at the computer screen and my brain was blank. When from the other room my youngest son calls out with a question about a book he is reading. I go in to look and answer his question. When all of a sudden…

My Favorite Crafting Book Isn't a Crafting Book OR: Why I Love Day of the Dead

9. My Favorite Crafting Book Isn’t a Crafting Book OR: Why I Love Day of the Dead

There, I said it. I love crafting books, but often find myself doing something completely different from the photo no matter how good my intentions were. Then I sigh and figure I have no crafting skills whatsoever because it doesn’t look exactly like…

Subversive Cross Stitch

10. Subversive Cross Stitch

Cross stitching is a classic craft known to have been around as early as 200 to 500 AD. This form of embroidery consists of making lots of tiny X’s out of thread, and all those X’s combined make a picture. Unfortunately the history of this partic…

MicroCrafts book review

11. MicroCrafts book review

Looking for miniature craft ideas? This is my favorite book for creating tiny crafts. Why? Microcrafts has lots of unique projects. The projects are simple, very eye- catching and are: * whimsical – my favorite sort of project! * unique * can use up small…

Quest of the Day: Squidoo Holiday Gift Guide

Posted: 19 Dec 2013 05:57 AM PST

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 5.44.36 PMWe’re pretty excited to share this list of books, music, TV, electronics and games that all of you reviewed with our new product review format. This is just a small selection of the lenses that have been coming in and they are just fabulous. We love reading about your point of view and sharing your stories.

Got an idea? Use this link to start your review:

Lens of the Day: Secret to Mailing Perfect Cookies

Posted: 19 Dec 2013 05:09 AM PST

Review of the Day: Jurassic Park Under the Stars at Mesker Park Zoo

Posted: 19 Dec 2013 04:00 AM PST

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 2.23.21 PMDuring the summer of 1995, in the midst of an Midwestern heat wave, the animals at Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana, howled and barked and sang under the evening stars. In the amphitheater next to the zoo’s animal exhibits, hundreds of Evansvillians paced and chattered anxiously in anticipation of their evening treat.

Cercis Is Sharing Her Holiday Traditions

Posted: 18 Dec 2013 02:24 PM PST

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 2.18.56 PMWhat is your favorite holiday tradition?
Polish Christmas Eve- Wigilia – when all or as many members of the family as possible gather together to share oplatek, a no-meat meal, lots of laughs and wait until time to either go to bed (kids) or drive to church for Christmas Eve Mass (adults). I am tryingto tell my stories of Wiigilia and special foods in a series of lenses that I began last year. Completed so far are: Polish Blown-glass Christmas Ornaments, Wigilia – The Polish Christmas Eve: What is Oplatek?, and Pierogi make a traditional Christmas Eve dish for the Wigilia meal.

What’s your favorite holiday food?
I devour almost every one of the special Polish foods prepared for Wigilia and Christmas Day pierogi, cabbage stuffed with buckwheat or plain rice, creamed mushrooms, potatoes, etc. The picture I’ve attached is the Wiligia table at my son and daughter-in-law’s one Christmas when there were only a few of us able to gather. I love that I was able to capture the awe and delight in my granddaughter’s expression looking at the table.

What do you love most about the season?
Getting together with family members. My mother always had the Polish Christmas Eve, then I took over, and now we celebrate (usually) at my oldest daughter’s home. Even we are fortunate enough to visit often with each other, Christmass Eve and Christmas time are special because of all the little traditions we’ve built into that time…decorating the tree with cherished ornaments, imported beer for grandpa, special ornaments – for keepsakes, and lots of hugs and kisses.

What is your favorite childhood holiday memory?
Celebrating Wigilia – usually at my parents’ home – with aunts, uncles and cousins, going, to midnight Mass when we were old enough, visiting around at relatives’ homes on Christmas Day or during Christmas time to admire their Christmas trees and gifts, and eating and eating. I also still love the candles, lights and traditional decorations. “The Christmas Story” with Ralphie could have been my tale of Christmas in downtown Cleveland.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?
Not really…I’ve outgrown my love of snow! I really, really love the stillness of the night as I drive to Midnight Mass each year. Seeing grazing deer also helps instill the peace and mystery of this special night.

cercis is a Giant Squid on Squidoo

tonyleather Is Sharing His Holiday Traditions

Posted: 18 Dec 2013 11:17 AM PST

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 2.04.25 PMWhat is your favorite holiday tradition?
I love the fact that our community centre – in the middle of our mid-size housing estate – throws open the doors every year on the Saturday before Christmas, offering an open invitation to a Jacob’s join buffet supper, followed by a merry session of Christmas carol singing, which everyone seems to join in with quite entusiastically! It began about seven years ago, as a sort of impromptu get-together, but has grown every year since, and it is heart-warming to see our multi-ethnic community putting all differences aside to take part in a joyous celebration.

What’s your favorite holiday food?
I personally cannot get enough of Sherry trifle, but not done necceserily the traditional way! You may find it a touch wicked to suggest such a thing, but should you substitute that strong sherry flavour with say, Tia Maria coffee liqueur, then you get a sponge and cream trifle so moorish that you would be reluctant to share it with anyone else!

What do you love most about the season?
I think the most enjoyable thing for me is the pleasure I get from seeing the surprise and delight that lights up the face of my beloved wife when she opens a gift from me that demonstrates how attentively I listen when it comes to finding things that will please her! To me, the giving is far more important than the receiving ever could be, and the re-affirmation of her place in my life, as my true soul-mate, is what makes the day complete, in my opinion.

What is your favorite childhood holiday memory?
I used to live, up to the age of eleven, in a small house, sharing a bed with my siblings. There were, at the time, four of us, and we had two of my father’s old army greatcoats that we used as blankets. There was only a living-room coal-fire for heat, and in the early morning the house would be bitterly cold, yet we always made our way to the window of the bedroom, mesmerized by the amazing diamond patterns that Jack frost had etched onto the window during the night. The wonder of those memories is still as strong as ever.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?
To be honest, whilst I do enjoy a white Christmas, even here, in the north-west of the UK, I have not seen too many of them in the past 50 years. The thing is that the whole festive season is now so commercialised that it lost the childhood magic – so important when I was a child in the fifties – and nowadays seems to actually begin within days of the last Bonfire night dying away in November! I would love it to be a white Christmas, of course, but even if it turs out that way, I doubt it will ever again be as mysteruiously magical as it once was, and that, I think, is a real shame.

tonyleather is a Giant Squid on Squidoo

Cookie Recipes for the Holidays and Beyond!

Posted: 18 Dec 2013 09:40 AM PST

You’re going to need gallons of milk to get through all of the delicious cookies you’ll bake from these 40 fabulous cookie recipe lenses.

We’ve got cookies from around the world, special holiday cookies and even some vegan and gluten-free varieties. Some of these tasty morsels require decorating… some do not. We’ve got brownies and bars and bunches that call for chocolate chips too.

Grab a napkin to catch the drool before it hits your keyboard and browse through to find something to please even your pickiest cookie monster.

The following lenses appear in no particular order and we think you’ll find something to love about each and every one.

How To Make Fudgie Scotch Squares

1. How To Make Fudgie Scotch Squares

Easy Dessert Bars – A Sweet Treat Fudgie Scotch Squares are by far my favorite holiday treat. If you are looking for a simple condensed milk recipe, these are a very easy dessert bar to make. When we were kids, this was one of the holiday desserts that we…

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies - the Forgotten Cookie

2. Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies – the Forgotten Cookie

Gluten- Free, Butter- Free, and Glorious Imagine pillowy little clouds of melt- in- your- mouth meringue, crispy on the outside and filled with chewy nuts and chocolate chips on the inside. That’s a Forgotten Cookie, so named because you can simply pu…

Davy Crocket Bars

3. Davy Crocket Bars

These bars are gooey and yummy they stay soft in the middle and the family will gobble them up. These are Zane’s (one of my sons) favorites. We always call him the cookie monster because he loves cookies and lots of them. This one is so easy to make e…

Sousababy's White Chocolate Nut Cookies (with G-F option)

4. Sousababy’s White Chocolate Nut Cookies (with G-F option)

After graduation, I spent more time baking – it certainly proved to be more economical and healthier (most of the time). When my man- servant came along, I found out he loved white chocolate. Part of the reason was that his mother used to bake him a white…

Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie

5. Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie

I have always loved these cookies. I first remember them, homemade in Amish country, back home. They are the best cookies ever. This is how I make a Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie. It is fast, easy, and delicious. I have always liked baking brownies (from a box,…

Krumkake - a Delightful Norwegian Holiday Treat

6. Krumkake – a Delightful Norwegian Holiday Treat

Image Source Twenty years ago, my husband and I were newlyweds and approaching our first Christmas as a family. I knew that I wanted our first holiday celebration to be a melding of the Christmas traditions from both our families. Since my husband is of No…

Gourmet Homemade Twix Bars With Bourbon

7. Gourmet Homemade Twix Bars With Bourbon

My homemade twix bars are the single most requested holiday cookie recipe that I make. Every Christmas my mom hints around and asks if I plan to make these scrumptious bar cookies. Imagine flaky, buttery shortbread covered in a layer of caramel infused wit…

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

8. Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

Making shortbread cookies every Christmas has always been a family tradition. This year I decided to tweak my grandmothers traditional Scottish recipe and make a gluten free, low carb shortbread cookie. The texture of the cookie is slightly different than…

Caramel Cheesecake Bars

9. Caramel Cheesecake Bars

Rich, creamy and so amazing are just a few ways I like to describe these yummy bars. Combine creamy cheesecake with smooth caramel in a graham cracker crust and you have a dessert bar that is truly decadent. Caramel Cheesecake Bars are a perfect dessert fo…

Pecan Ball Cookies

10. Pecan Ball Cookies

Melt- in- your- mouth buttery goodness, covered lightly with powdered sugar. Sound interesting? Of course they are scrumptious any time of year, but Pecan Balls are still one of my favorite and longest Christmas traditions. Especially in the dessert catego…

Sousababy's Kahlua Brownies & Icing (with G-F option)

11. Sousababy’s Kahlua Brownies & Icing (with G-F option)

I’ve had this recipe since the early ’90s and made these for college friends after I’d been given a huge bottle of Kahlua from my boss. My friends still reminisce about them, so I thought I’d share them with you. First I checked online…

Swedish Lingonberry Cookies

12. Swedish Lingonberry Cookies

If you have never heard of lingonberries, you are in for treat. My father’s side of the family emigrated from Sweden in the early 1900s and brought with them many traditions and recipes from their homeland. In my family, Christmas wouldn’t be Chr…

Texas Sheet Cake Brownies

13. Texas Sheet Cake Brownies

These homemade sheet cake brownies are so delicious! My mom made these all the time when I was younger mostly for the holidays. They are a favorite. After she’d make them she would put them in a container and pop them in the freezer. Then she’d t…

Vegan Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies

14. Vegan Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies

The Christmas season in Japan is always just a little bittersweet for me. It’s not that big of a deal for most people here and it can be hard for someone like me who used to celebrate the holidays in America. Even so I refuse to let that be a deterren…

Candy Crush Brownies

15. Candy Crush Brownies

Candy Crush Brownies are easy to make and a real treat for anyone who loves chocolate and peppermint together. This recipe is one of my husband’s favorites and one he has enjoyed since he was a child. It’s always extra nice to prepare a tasty rec…

EZ Gingerbread Man Cookies

16. EZ Gingerbread Man Cookies

EZ Gingerbread Man Cookies There are several recognizable symbols of Christmas and one such symbol is the gingerbread man cookie. History tells us this cookie has been around since the 15th century. In fairy tales, a gingerbread man comes to life, gets int…

Seven Layer Cookies: A Special Holiday Treat!

17. Seven Layer Cookies: A Special Holiday Treat!

I’ve prepared a lot of recipes lately that I’ve considered my favorite – and I have to say, these 7 Layer Cookies are an absolute contender for my favorite sweet treat. They are what every guilty pleasure should be – rich, decadent. and unbelieva…

Christmas Spritz Cookies

18. Christmas Spritz Cookies

This festive little cookie has been a Christmas favorite of mine ever since I can remember. I would eat these at a friend’s house and I was in awe over the cute shapes and different colors of these cookies. If the cookies had sprinkles on top, I was i…

Celebrate Maple Syrup Day with Sousababy's G-F Cookies & Maple Glaze

19. Celebrate Maple Syrup Day with Sousababy’s G-F Cookies & Maple Glaze

National Maple Syrup Day in the U. S. is December 17th. Naturally, I figured Canada (being the largest producer of maple syrup) would share the same holiday. Not so. Canadian Maple Syrup Day is February 6th, a fairly new holiday which began in 2010. I use…

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies - A Family Favorite

20. White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies – A Family Favorite

Over the years, I’ve made hundreds of cookies and especially around the holidays. I always try a few new recipes to go along with the family favorites. White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies are one of the family favorites and one that I cannot resist. I…

Sugar Plum Gumdrop Tea Cookies

21. Sugar Plum Gumdrop Tea Cookies

Looking through my cookbooks for something special this year and different from the ordinary family traditions, I found these cute little cookies. They caught my eye because of the appealing decorations and were even more enticing because they are iced wit…

Eggless Peanut Butter Cookie Variations

22. Eggless Peanut Butter Cookie Variations

These eggless peanut butter cookies are super easy to make with just a few ingredients you’ve probably already got on hand. They’re perfect for when we have vegans visiting, or I need a lactose- free cookie recipe on short notice. I have made the…

My Secret Ingredient for Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

23. My Secret Ingredient for Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

My husband is a self- proclaimed chocolate chip cookie addict. I, on the other hand, am a self- proclaimed nightmare in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, there are some recipes I do very well. Chocolate chip cookies, however, were not my forte. If you&…

Sousababy's G-F Pecan Shortbread Cookies

24. Sousababy’s G-F Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Almost every Christmas, I receive a tin of Danish Butter Cookies and I do enjoy having one or two with coffee. The plain swirly one is my favorite. Since we have a gluten- free member of our family, I thought I’d try to tweak a recipe I’ve had fo…

Double Dark Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

25. Double Dark Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

During the holidays, we always enjoy baking cookies and making up our own versions. This is one of our favorites as we both love dark chocolate. These cookies are almost cake- like and are very rich in dark chocolate and nuts. If you don’t care for da…

Aunt Arly's Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

26. Aunt Arly’s Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies Our family has enjoyed Aunt Arly’s Christmas shortbread cookies ever since I can remember. I have memories of the kids with chocolate covered faces and smile stretching from ear to ear. Every year we have a cookie n…

Awesome Gluten and Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

27. Awesome Gluten and Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a batch of low carb cookies. Now don’t get me wrong. I love cookies, especially with choclate chips in them and it is extremely rare that I’ll turn one down. It’s just that I was never successful in…

Hawaiian Snowcap Coconut White Chocolate Chip Cookies

28. Hawaiian Snowcap Coconut White Chocolate Chip Cookies

It is hard to beat the classic chocolate chip cookie, but every now and then you find something that blows you away – and in this case, it is the buttery goodness of white chocolate and coconut mixed with the familiar dough that is reminiscent of the class…

Italian Ribbon Cookies - AKA Neapolitan Slices, Rainbow Cookies, Venetians, Venetian Ribbon Cookies, 7-Layer Cookies

29. Italian Ribbon Cookies – AKA Neapolitan Slices, Rainbow Cookies, Venetians, Venetian Ribbon Cookies, 7-Layer Cookies

These delectable Italian Ribbon Cookies also go by many other names, including Rainbow Cookies, Italian Rainbow Cookies, Seven- Layer or 7- Layer Cookies, Neapolitan Slices, Venetian Ribbon Cookies, and Venetians. Whatever you call them, they’re class…

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe- Like Grandma Used To Make

30. Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe- Like Grandma Used To Make

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe There were two versions of chocolate chip cookies in my house when I was a kid. There was my type and Grandma’s type. Mine was given to me by one of my friends in the neighborhood. It has a lot of chocolate…

Great-Grandmother's Christmas Cookies

31. Great-Grandmother’s Christmas Cookies

This cookie recipe has been a part of our family’s Christmas celebrations for at least seven generations (that we know of). It originated in England and was brought to America with a family passing through Ellis Island and settling in Brooklyn, New Yo…

Snowball Surprise Quick Cookie Recipe

32. Snowball Surprise Quick Cookie Recipe

Snowball Nut Cookies I was browsing through the cookbooks in a local department store when I first came across the Favorite Brand Name: 100 Best Holiday Cookies. Thumbing through it I found a section that listed ‘Christmas Cookie Quickies’. Looki…

White Gingerbread Cookies

33. White Gingerbread Cookies

Actually these are not gingerbread cookies at all. These cookies do not contain any ginger or any kind of gingerbread cookie spices. We just call them white gingerbread cookies. Silly Finns, huh! But these cookies are so delicious! When my sister- in- law…

Caramel Cups

34. Caramel Cups

Holiday cookies are always a treat; my wife makes these every year as one of her many Christmas cookies. Of course there are so many of my favorites, and this caramel cup is one of them. My job every year is to unwrap the caramels; we always have to buy so…

Sour Cream Almond Cookies

35. Sour Cream Almond Cookies

In our home the holiday season officially begins with the first batch of these amazing cookies. They are a family favorite and have been made by my family for as long as anyone can remember. Now that I’m the mom, I love to whip up a batch of these wit…

No Bake Oatmeal Cocoa Cookies

36. No Bake Oatmeal Cocoa Cookies

An easy no bake cookie that everyone will love including the man in my home! This is one of his favorites so off to the kitchen I went to make them for Thanksgiving. He’s done so for much for me and to make me happy I wanted to do something special fo…

Celebration Coconut Macaroons

37. Celebration Coconut Macaroons

I am so excited to be going home for the holidays this year. For me, it means hopping on a plane from Tokyo to Hawaii, where my family lives so it’s extra special for me. I just got a call from my sister a couple of days ago saying that she had arrang…

Soft, Cakey Pumpkin Cookies Made With Egg Whites: Serve Plain or Choose Your Mix-In(s)

38. Soft, Cakey Pumpkin Cookies Made With Egg Whites: Serve Plain or Choose Your Mix-In(s)

A Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Cookie Recipe My husband and I LOVE these cookies, which means we need to give some away ASAP when we make a batch, or else we’ll eat them all in a day. On the plus side, the plain cookies, especially made with egg whites, a…

Fast & Delicious Dreamsicle Cookies

39. Fast & Delicious Dreamsicle Cookies

If you’re having a cookie craving, you can whip these up and be eating them in about 20 minutes or less! They are easy enough for kids to help with too. Best of all, you can make them in any flavor that cake mixes come in, not just the Dreamsicle flav…

Caramilk Cookies

40. Caramilk Cookies

Caramilk Cookies I came up with this delicious Caramilk cookie recipe somewhat due to necessity. You see after Halloween, when all the candy goes on sale, I went out and bought a 110 piece bag of Caramilk bars. This was on top of all the candy that I alrea…

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