Friday Favorites–Welcome to the Jungle

I’m about to show my age here, but if you’re familiar with the song title I’m using, bonus points to you.  When my daughter was a tiny little thing, she used to sing it with her dad.  It was the cutest thing ever.  Today is that same girl’s birthday, and while she would (and does) happily sing this with her father, she’s all grown up now.  This week’s Friday Favorites is dedicated to my first-born monkey!

Welcome to the Jungle - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Around the same time as all that singing, my little girl could not get enough of The Lion King.  That was back when we were all watching on VHS, and the tape was so well-worn it had a permanent stripe across the top of the screen.  Needless to say, we had a lion-themed birthday or two in there.  This little Jungle Party from Simply Designing would have been perfect for my fruit and vegetable lover.

SONY DSC

This Jungle Vine from One Charming Party is a great idea, and I think you could probably recycle paper bags for the vine, making it very inexpensive.

Jungle Vine from One Charming Party

It’s kinda crazy how easy it is to make this Zebra Stripe Cake from My Cake School.  I have got to try this.

Zebra Cake from My Cake School

Craft, Interrupted shares an adorable Feed the Monkey Game here, but what I particularly liked was the little Banana Beanbags.

Banana Bean Bags from Craft Interrupted

A couple of basic paper shapes and some clothespins are all you need to make these stand-up animals from Estefi Machado.

Clothespin Safari Animals from Estefi Machado

This No Sew Leaf Girl Costume from Alpha Mom would be great for your rainforest girl.

No Sew Leaf Girl Costume from Alpha Mom

These sweet Sleep Toy patterns from Livemaster remind me of some I had when I was a little kid.

Toys for Sleep from Livemaster

I remember my kids coming home from school with rain sticks they had made, like these from The Imagination Tree.

DIY Rain Stick from The Imagination Tree

Make play binoculars for your mini explorers with this DIY from Make Life Lovely.

DIY Binoculars from Make Life Lovely

I adore every single part of this Felt Safari Quiet Book from A Handmade Tale.

Safari Quiet Book from A Handmade Tale

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Friday Favorites–Apple of my Eye

We have two dwarf apple trees in our yard.  Every year we root for them (ba-dum-bum), but the number of apples they bear wouldn’t make one pie.  The Asian pear that stands right next to them has so much fruit on it right now the limbs are touching the ground.  I’m no gardener, so I’m not going to begin to understand that, I’m just going to enjoy whatever fruit wants to come my way in the fall. 

Apple Recipes and Crafts - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Why is it when you bite into an apple and find a worm (or worse yet, half a worm) it’s icky, but when you add the little guy to a crafted apple, like this Patchwork Apple Tote from Hungry Hippie, it’s adorable?

Patchwork Apple Tote from 1 Hungry Hippie

This Upcycled Soda Bottle Candy Apple from Club Chica Circle is a great way to reuse those fun, round pop bottles that are available now.

Candle Apple Teacher Gift from Club Chica Circle

I’ve never heard of Apple Nachos, like these from Allyson Kramer, but I definitely need to give them a try.

Apple Nachos from Allyson Kramer

It’s hard to believe that these shiny Apple Earrings from Sowdering About in Seattle start out as simple paper.

Apple Earrings from Sowdering About in Seattle

There’s that worm again.  I love how Craft Gossip used the handle to add him to these Mason Jar Tumbler Teachers’ Gifts.

Mason Jar Tumbler Apples from Craft Gossip

This Apple Scented Bubble Bath from Smart School House is a great gift idea to stash away for the holidays.

Apple Scented Bubble Bath from Smart Schoolhouse

Oh my goodness.  This Spiral Apple Bread with Caramel Apple Glaze from Inspired by Charm is just…I don’t think I need to say any more.

Spiral Apple Bread with Caramel Apple Glaze from Inspired by Charm

These Apple Coasters from The Purl Bee are so cute.  I especially like the ones with a bite missing.

Apple Coasters from Purl Bee

This Apple Bag from The Ribbon Retreat looks just about right for carrying some books.  And, of course, an apple.

Apple Bag from The Ribbon Retreat

I love this idea so much.  No mess, no core, nothing but crunchy apple, gooey caramel and whatever toppings strike your fancy.  Thanks to She Knows for the next autumn dessert I’m going to need to try.

Mini Caramel Apple Bites from She Knows

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

We all know pumpkin is a fall flavor.  Sure, you can buy cans of it year round, but eating pumpkin in summer is like eating a strawberry in January.  You can do it, but it just feels weird…unless you’re my daughter. 

The kids wanted cupcakes instead of layer cake for the wedding, and there’s a local cupcake shop that makes them gluten-free once a week.  For a while, Codi was a Bella Cupcake Wednesday regular.  When it came time to place the wedding order, the one flavor she was absolutely sure about was pumpkin chai.  Thankfully, Bella was accommodating and agreed, even though it wasn’t pumpkin season for them.  Out of the four flavors, it ended up being the most popular.  Well, being the experimenter that I am, I decided to attempt my own version.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 1

First of all, let me say I cannot compete with Bella Cupcake.  I didn’t get a chance to try one of theirs (like I said, popular) but I already know these don’t taste the same.  However, for an amateur, starting-with-boxed-mix version, these are delicious. 

I made these gluten-free, but you could certainly use a regular cake mix.  Just adjust the amount of eggs and water to reflect what’s required on the box.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

  • 1 box of vanilla cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup instant black tea
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 2

Dissolve the instant tea in the water.  Mix all of the dry spices into the cake mix.  Add the butter, eggs, pumpkin and tea/water.  Continue with the mixing and baking instructions on your box for cupcakes.

I had to try this recipe three times before I had one with the flavor I was looking for.  For the first attempt I replaced some of the water with liquid chai concentrate, and they were very pumpkinish and had very little chai coming through.  It was all we could do to scarf down the whole batch.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 3

The second time, I referred to my Spiced Chai drink mix for the spices to add.  I went a little light because I didn’t want them to be too overpowering.  They were good, but it was still hard to taste anything but pumpkin.  When I read the drink recipe a second time, I realized the number of servings was nearly the same as my cake mix, so I went all-out and added the same measurements for the spices.  You can even see the difference in color between the two batches.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 4

Bingo!  These are definitely spicy, but a good dose of cream cheese frosting on top tones them down just enough.  I’m pretty sure nothing has ever said fall quite as loudly as these do.

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes - Crafty Staci 5

Friday Favorites–Shark Week

So, sharks.  I can’t say it’s likely I’d be talking about them right now if there weren’t a popular television channel that has been dedicating an entire week to them, but here we are.  There are some great crafts and DIYs on the subject, but personally, they freak me out a little.  Thankfully, I’m not likely to ever come face to face with one of these toothy guys, because I am completely incapable of swimming.  Not even to save myself from a shark.

Shark Week DIYs - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Some of the footage shown throughout the week might be a little too much for some of the little ones.  Okay, maybe some of us *ahem* not-so-little-ones too.  Let them play along anyway with this shark memory game from Molly Moo.

Shark Matching Game by Molly Moo Crafts

This Shark Fin Shirt from Dollar Store Crafts is just the kind of thing my son would have found hilarious at that age.

Shark Fin Shirt by Dollar Store Crafts

This Shark Bag from Small and Friendly reminds me of a cartoon that was on when I was a kid.

Shark Bag by Small Friendly

What could be more perfect than a Shark Hoodie Towel, like this one from Just Crafty Enough, for hanging out at the beach?

Shark Hoodie Towel from Just Crafty Enough

I’m not sure how I’d cope with these guys looking up at me, but if you’re intrigued you can find the crochet pattern at stacie71’s Etsy shop.  She also has a few made up for those of us who are crochet-challenged.

Shark Slipper Socks Crochet Pattern from stacie71 on Etsy

Rather have the shark eat your head than your feet?  Check out this Shark Attack Hat from pie popper on Instructables.

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You can also go all in with this Shark Costume from Create Craft Love.

Shark Costume by Create Craft Love

Okay, even I have to admit this Shark Pencil Case from Patchwork Posse is pretty adorable.

Shark Pencil Case by Patchwork Posse

And this Watermelon Shark from Spoonful is pretty amazing.

Watermelon Shark by Spoonful

But I think it’s this Shark Trick-or-Treat Bag from Stitched by Crystal that’s finally lured me into shark infested waters.

Shark Trick or Treat Bag by Stitched by Crystal

Friday Favorites–Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

We’ve spent most of this week recovering from the wedding.  I’ll be talking about some of the details soon, but it couldn’t have been better.  Everything came together just as we imagined it, the weather was perfect, the bride and groom were very happy and they’ve started their adventure as newlyweds.  And the bride’s dad and I were exhausted.  Since we were busy getting ready, then too tired to cook, there were several days of take-out.  Now I just want some fresh fruit and vegetables, and one of my favorites is a bowl of cherries.

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Ok, so maybe this isn’t entirely the healthy food I was talking about, but I’m really intrigued by the idea of roasting the cherries before whirling them into this Roasted Cherry Milkshake from 52 Kitchen Adventures.

Roasted Cherry Milkshakes by 52 Kitchen Adventures

This crocheted set of pin-on cherries from Sewing Adicta gives a little more dimension than embroidery or an ordinary brooch.

Embroidered Cherries by Sewing Adicta

These Cherry Tablecloth Weights from Just Something I Made are a fun twist on a summertime outdoor necessity.

Summer Cherries Tablecloth Weights by Just Something I Made

These Chocolate Maraschino Cherry Mice from Frugal Coupon Living would be great for keeping the kids busy for a bit.

Maraschino Cherry Mice by Frugal Coupon Living

Technically these Cherry Lollipop Valentines from The Tomcat Studio are out of season, but I don’t see why you couldn’t make these any time you wanted to share a little cherry-flavored love.

Cherry Lollipop Valentines by The Tomcat Studio

Ah, the wedding favors.  One of my biggest recent projects (again, I’ll be sharing soon).  Before we landing on our final plan, we looked through LOTS of ideas, like these Cherry Bomb Wedding Favors from Martha Stewart Weddings.

Cherry Bomb Wedding Favors by Martha Stewart Weddings

With some premade pie crust dough and canned filling, these cherry tarts from Frankly Entertaining could be pulled together in a matter of minutes.

Cherry Tarts by Frankly Entertaining

This Cherry Garland from Willow Day is a fun décor idea for a summer party.

Cherry Garland by Willow Day

All I can say about these Quilled Cherries from Manuk is wow.

Quilled Cherries by Manuk

I have got to make myself a pair of these Cherry Earrings from Anna Pika.  So cute!

Cherry Earrings by Anna Pika

Friday Favorites–Pineapples

Thanks to our world economy, you can buy most varieties of fruit year-round these days.  Still, there’s something that says summer about a pineapple.  Even though the places that grow them are still on my vacation wish list, they evoke tropical feelings and make me want to hop an airplane. 

Pineapple Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

When I get wherever it is that I’m going, I want to eat these Hawaiian Pork Fajitas with Pineapple Slaw and Coconut Rice by Half Baked Harvest.  If that has to actually be Hawaii, I guess I’ll try to suffer through it.

Hawaiian Hula Pork Fajitas With Pineapple Slaw and Coconut Rice by Half Baked Harvest

Or, I might just go straight to dessert so I can try out these Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars by Averie Cooks.  Love the color.

Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars by Averie Cooks

Maybe if I stick a paper umbrella in a glass of Sparkling Pineapple Lemonade from Create Craft Love it will do the trick. 

Sparkling Pineapple Lemonade by Create Craft Love

I think, for now, I’m going to have to stop thinking about traveling somewhere tropical and just bring a little of it home.  I could start with this pineapple vase shown on Sugar and Cloth.

Floral Tablescape by Sugar and Cloth

This Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread from The Healthy Foodie has an intriguing list of ingredients.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread by The Healthy Foodie

I’ve had grilled pineapple, but never watermelon.  I’d love to try these Grilled Pineapple and Watermelon Fruit Kabobs from A Night Owl.

Grilled Pineapple and Watermelon Fruit Kabobs by A Night Owl

Let’s get the kids in on this pineapple thing with this Fake Food Pineapple from While Wearing Heels.

Fake Food Pineapple by While Wearing Heels

I made my daughter a pineapple purse a few years ago, but I love the dimension in this Pineapple Bag from Llevo el Invierno.

Pineapple Bag by Llevo el Invierno 

Maybe giving someone else a pineapple gift will make me forget about my tropical getaway.  This Champagne Pineapple from Super Sandovnik might do the trick.

Champagne Pineapple by Super Sandovnik

Nope, I’m afraid the only thing that’s going to cure this tropical fever is a plane ticket.  I can even keep track of my luggage with this Pineapple Luggage Tag from Jordana Paige.

Pineapple Luggage Tag by Jordana Paige

Friday Favorites–Easy as Pie

Maybe it’s the “American as apple pie” thing, but the 4th of July always makes me think of pie.  And not necessarily apple, although there are few pies I would rule out.  In my perfect world, sugar is good for you and butter gives you a six-pack.  On the front.

Pie Recipes - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

This Salted Caramel Peanut Pie from Eats Well With Others looks like a big, round, rich candy bar.  Yum.

Salted Caramel Peanut Pie from Eats Well With Others

I have a couple of hazelnut trees by my house, and the day I’m faster than the hungry squirrels I might actually get to harvest some to make this Chocolate Pudding Pie with Hazelnut Crust from Everyday Maven.

Chocolate Pudding Pie with Hazelnut Crust from Everyday Maven

This Crème de Mint Pie from What’s Cooking with Ruthie might seem like more of a winter option, except I have a big patch of mint growing out front right now that’s just begging to become garnish.

Creme de Mint Pie from Whats Cooking With Ruthie

I have fond memories of eating blackberry pies and cobblers when I was a kid.  I just need some adorable little cast irons skillets and to convince my husband to let a few of the vines grow and I’ll be making these Blackberry Pot Pies from The Pioneer Woman on Food Network.

Blackberry Pot Pie from Food Network

I can’t even imagine how sweet and delicious this Butterscotch Pie from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice must be.

Butterscotch Pie from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

This Banana Split Pie from Raining Hot Coupons would be the perfect solution for one of those days when it’s too hot to cook, but everyone’s craving dessert.

Banana Split Pie from Raining Hot Coupons

This Caramel Coconut Cream Pie from I Want Crazy is definitely happening.  My son just discovered he likes to bake, and I watched him take a coconut from whole, in the shell, to grated last week.  I’m recruiting him to make this for me.

Caramel Coconut Cream Pie from I Want Crazy

This Strawberry Pie from Lemon Tree Dwelling is almost too pretty to eat.  I’m sure I could force myself to do it anyway.

Strawberry Pie from Lemon Tree Dwelling

Hey, all you bacon lovers out there, have you tried it in a pie?  Now’s your chance!  Check out this Bacon Apple Pie from The Loveless Café.

Bacon Apple Pie from The Loveless Cafe

My husband loves Red Velvet.  I told him it’s only chocolate dyed red, but according to him it tastes different.  I should probably stop trying to burst that bubble and just make him this Red Velvet Fudge Pie from Pizzazzerie.

Red Velvet Pie from Pizzazzerie

Have a happy and safe celebration tonight!

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait

I find it a little difficult to find healthy snacks when I’m away from home.  It’s even worse that I often end up in the coffee shop, full of cookies and other fat-laden baked goods.  I’ve given up a lot of things for this diet, but I still budget in the occasional Starbucks drink now and then.  Recently, I discovered their yogurt parfaits in the refrigerated section.  The berry version is only 220 calories and it’s delicious.  It didn’t take long before I was wondering if it was something I could replicate at home.  Oh, yes I can.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 1

This actually doesn’t take a ton of different ingredients, and one batch can make 4 – 8 servings, so you’re set for breakfast for at least a few days. 

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 2

Start the granola first, so it can bake while you whip up the fruit compote.

Granola

  • 3/4 cup oats (gluten-free, if that’s how you roll)
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Spread on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then stir.  Bake for 15 minutes longer, stirring every 5 minutes, or until golden brown.  Pour onto wax paper to cool.  Once it has cooled, break up some of the larger pieces.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 3

Once the granola is in the oven, you can start the fruit compote. 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (5 – 6 large)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water

Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat until bubbly.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, around 5 minutes.  Add the blueberries and cook just until they’re heated.  Remove from heat and cool.  Makes about 1 cup.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 4

You can also cook both berries together from the beginning, just be aware that while the flavor is there, your blueberries will not be recognizable in the final product.

To assemble the parfait, start with 2 tablespoons of the berry compote on the bottom for 8 servings, or 1/4 cup for 4 servings.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 5

Add 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt for either number of servings.  I like Zoi.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 6

Top with 1/4 cup granola for 4 servings or 2 tablespoons for 8.  You should have a little granola left over.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 7

After you’re done looking at how pretty it is, mix it all together and enjoy.  Oh, and it’s still pretty.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 8

One thing I really love about the Starbucks parfait is that the granola is in its own container so it doesn’t mix with the yogurt and get soggy.  You can just dump it in when you’re ready.  After a little brainstorming I solved that problem with my homemade version too.

Save and wash an empty applesauce container.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Crafty Staci 9

Fill it with the granola and top it with a piece of foil.  Put it upside down on top of the wide-mouth jar lid and twist on the ring.  The foil keeps it in place!  I shook this and it didn’t budge.

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci

Here’s the REALLY good news.  If you make this recipe into four servings (as shown in the first photo above), each one will have 206 calories, which is 14 fewer than Starbucks’.  If you make it into eight servings, as shown in my awesome travel container here, it’s only 125 calories!

Greek Yogurt and Berries Parfait - Reuse applesauce container to hold the granola - Crafty Staci 2

Healthy on-the-go snack problem?  Solved.

Buffalo Chex Mix

I love you guys.  I asked for help yesterday to make a decision, and you jumped in to give your opinions.  I can’t begin to tell you what that means to me.  Thank you!  By the way, the winner of the one-way trip to Japan can be found on yesterday’s post.  It was very close for a while there!

Now, on to today’s recipe.  I discovered Frank’s Red Hot Sauce about a year ago.  Why had I never tried this stuff before?  I am seriously hooked. (I also just had my first taste of Sriracha a few days ago – don’t even get me started.)  Frank’s is good on everything, so I decided to give it a go as the star of this Chex mix.  Of course, then I learned Chex already had a version, but mine differs in a few areas.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 1

Do you like my non-committal colors?  A little Seahawks, a little Broncos?  That’s me – Go Team!

Buffalo Chex Mix

9 cups Rice Chex cereal (one 12.8 ounce box)

2 cups Bugles

2 cups pretzels

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup butter

3 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 packet ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 2

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the cereal, Bugles, pretzels and cashews.  Of course, you can use combine different flavors of Chex if you’d prefer, I just like using up one whole box. 

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 3

Melt the butter in the microwave.  Add the hot sauce, ranch and celery seed.  Mix well with a whisk.  This is very mild on the hotness, so feel free to add more sauce if you’d like.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 4

Pour over the cereal mixture and stir until the pieces are evenly coated.  Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and gently stir.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 5

Spread on two large cookie sheets. 

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 6

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool.

Buffalo Chex Mix - Crafty Staci 7

If I wasn’t on what I’m affectionately calling The Mother of the Bride Diet, I’d spend Sunday with a big bowl of this waiting to find out what the Budweiser Clydesdales and that E-Trade baby have been up to.  Oh, I mean who wins the game.  Yeah, that.

Friday Favorites–Super Bowl

I have a confession to make.  I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.  We usually play board games while the football part is happening.  I’ve been known to choose which team I’m rooting for by the color of their uniforms.  This year, though, I’m going with Seattle.  Not because I know anything about them as a team, but because I like Seattle, the city.  I haven’t visited Denver yet, but I’m sure it’s a great place as well.  I know I just made some of you football fan grit your teeth, so how about some Super Bowl crafts and recipes to make up for it?

Friday Favorites - 10 Super Bowl Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci

One of the most important parts of any Super Bowl party is the food.  These Pizza Bites from Somewhat Simple would be a great addition to the buffet.

Pizza Bites from Somewhat Simple

Right up there with the food are the beverages.  This Super Bowl Dessert Cocktail from She Knows is such a great decoration it would almost be a shame to drink it.  Almost.

Super Bowl Dessert Cocktail from She Knows

To protect your furniture and make those drinks look even better, whip up these Burlap Football Coasters from Snap.

Football Coasters from Snap

If you have little ones who might have an even shorter attention span for football than I do, let them play along with these Football Player Peg Dolls from Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy.

Football Peg Dolls from Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

I love pickles, so I think this Dill Pickle Dip from Foodie with Family would be a perfect Super Bowl addition.  In fact, if you use low fat or fat free cream cheese, it’s also a pretty healthy one.  Don’t tell anyone.

Dill Pickle Dip from Foodie with Family

Thanks to the chalk-on-green on this Football Field Serving Tray from 504 Main, it could transition right into St. Patrick’s Day after the big game.

DIY Football Field Tray from 504 Main

You’ve got to have some sweets, so my vote is for these Football Macarons from Creative Juice.  They taste like Snickers.  Mmmmm.

Football Macarons from Creative Juice

There are plenty of snacks and utensils that need to be stored on Super Bowl Sunday, so you’ll need a few of these Football and Field Party Cans from Mom on Timeout.

Football and Field Party Cans from Mom on Timeout

Show your team spirit with these Sports Jersey Beverage Holders from Positively Splendid.

I seriously want a pair of these Kids Fan Fingers from Every Day is a Crafting Day.  I guess I’ll have to find out what color Seattle wears.

Fan Fingers from Every Day is a Crafting Day

Good luck to your favorite team (or your favorite commercials)!