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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/24/12

Friday, August 24, 2012

DIY GIFT BAGS!!

   This was found at www.howaboutorange.blogspot.com .  When you have a great gift, why not make the packaging just as unique!!




How to make gift bags from newspaper







When I bought something at a store recently, the clerk handed me my purchase in a bag made from a newspaper. I liked it very much and had to make some more—thus today's DIY recycled newspaper project: gift bags made from the Wall Street Journal. You can vary the dimensions, of course, but here's what I used to create a bag that's 5" tall, 4.5" wide, and 3" deep.









Stack two sheets of newspaper on top of each other. This will be a two-ply bag for extra sturdiness.

Cut out a rectangle that's 15.5" wide and 8.25" tall. If your paper already has a fold in it, align the existing fold with one of the fold lines in the diagram below, unless you don't mind an extra fold appearing somewhere on your bag. I cut out this rectangle, then flipped the paper over so the blue area would be on the outside of the bag.










Fold a flap 1.25" down from the top. Fold a flap 2" up from the bottom. Then measure off and make vertical folds in the places shown in the diagram above. The front and back panels are 4.5" wide, the side gussets are 3" wide, and you'll need a 0.5" flap for gluing the bag together.

Cut two pieces of cardstock or chipboard to 4.25" x 1", then glue them on the widest two panels just under the top fold. These will reinforce the rim of the bag. Glue the top flap down along the length of the bag, covering the cardstock. Since the bag is two-ply, you'll need to glue both flap pieces down one at a time.










Put glue on the outside of the 0.5" tab and bring the left-most panel over to form the body of the bag, aligning the cut edge of the panel with the folded edge of the flap. Add a little more glue to make sure the outermost sheet of newsprint gets tacked down, too.









Upend the bag so the 2" flap is now up. Fold the short sides inward as if you were wrapping a present. If it seems easier, you could also lay the bag on its side and crease those folds against the table.









Put glue on both flaps and fold them inward to form the bottom of the bag. Standing the bag upright and pressing down from the inside will help to secure them.









Cut a piece of chipboard to 4" x 2.5" and glue it to the bottom of the bag to reinforce it and hide the flaps if you want to be an overachiever.









Punch holes in the rim of the bag, adding eyelets if you like, and string some cord through the holes to form handles. Knot each end of the cord so it won't pull out through the holes.

If you want to store your bag flat, pinch the top together, fold in the sides, and bring the bottom up so that it lies flat.

HOMEMADE GIRLSCOUT THIN MINT COOKIES!

   This recipe was found at www.bakingbites.com .   Most of the times when you make a well known cookie or dessert, we can make it better.  Save yourself a few bucks buying those little boxes of cookies.  Goodluck!



Homemade Thin Mints


Thin Mints are the Girl Scouts’ best selling cookies – although Samoas, Do-si-dos and Tagalongs have their fans, too – when they have their annual cookie sale. Even though they’re a wonderfully tasty combination of mint, chocolate and crispiness, there are a couple of good reasons not to buy them no matter how tempting they seem. First, only a small portion of the cookie sales go to the troops, and as the prices rise, the cookies themselves shrink. I’d rather donate to my local chapter and know where the money is going. Second, the cookies are still made with partially hydrogenated oils, which means that they contain trans fats despite the fact that the boxes proudly proclaim “zero trans fats per serving!” Eat two servings, and those trans fats will start to add up.
I’d much rather make my own. These crispy cookies are easy to make at home and taste even better than the “real” thing. The dough is made in advance, rolled into a log and chilled. This allows the cookies to be sliced off easily into rounds so there is no need to fiddle with a cookie cutter.
Once baked, they are dipped into a dark chocolate coating. I used Guittard chocolate for this batch and would definitely recommend getting a good quality dark chocolate to work with, starting with a bar and chopping it up. Semisweet chocolate – by which I mean chocolate chips – will work pretty well, too, although you might need to add an extra tablespoon of butter if your chocolate doesn’t get thin enough to ensure a thin cookie coating.
The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for several days, but like “real” Girl Scout cookies, they taste great when frozen and will last for weeks – if not longer – in the freezer.




Homemade Thin Mints



Homemade Thin Mints


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract



In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low speed, add in the milk and the extracts. Mixture will look curdled. Gradually, add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.
Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches (or about 4 cm) in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours, until dough is very firm.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice dough into rounds not more than 1/4 inch thick – if they are too thick, they will not be as crisp – and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cookies will not spread very much, so you can put them quite close together.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.



Dark Chocolate Coating

10-oz dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, room temperature


In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt on high power in the microwave, stirring every 45-60 seconds, until chocolate is smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating.
Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, turn with a fork to coat, then transfer to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes, or until chocolate is cool and firm.
Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it smooth and easy to dip into.
Makes 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

WORLD SAUNA CHAMPIONSHIPS FROM HEINOLA, FINLAND!




    The World Sauna Championships were an annual endurance contest held in Heinola, Finland, from 1999 to 2010. They originated from unofficial sauna-sitting competitions that resulted in a ban from a swimming hall in Heinola. The Championships were first held in 1999 and grew to feature contestants from over 20 countries. Sauna bathing at extreme conditions is a severe health risk: all competitors competed at their own risk, and had to sign a form agreeing not to take legal action against the organizers. Notably, the Finnish Sauna Society strongly opposed the event.
After the death of one finalist and near-death of another during the 2010 championship, the organizers announced that they would not hold another. This followed an announcement by prosecutors in March that the organizing committee would not be charged for negligence, as their investigation revealed that the contestant who died may have used painkillers and ointments that were forbidden by the organizers.





    The championships began with preliminary rounds and ended in the finals, where the best six men and women would see who could sit in the sauna the longest. The starting temperature in the men's competition was 110 °C (230 °F). Half a liter of water was poured on the stove every 30 seconds. The winner was the last person to stay in the sauna and walk out without outside help. The host country usually dominated the event, as only one foreign competitor ever made it into the finals in the men's competition. The first non-Finnish winner in the women's competition was Natallia Tryfanava from Belarus in 2003.





Rules

  • The starting temperature is 110 degrees Celsius. Half a liter of water will be poured on the stove every 30 seconds.
  • Use of alcohol is prohibited prior to and during the competition.
  • Competitors must wash themselves beforehand, and remove any creams and lotions.
  • Competitor must sit erect, their buttocks and thighs on the bench.
  • Ordinary swimsuits must be used. Pant legs in men's swimsuits may be up to 20 centimeters long, and women's shoulder straps may be up to 5 centimeters wide.
  • Hair that reaches the shoulders must be tied into a ponytail.
  • Touching the skin and brushing is prohibited.
  • Competitors must not disturb each other.





  • At the request of the judges, competitors must show that they are in their senses with a thumbs up.
  • Competitors must be able to leave the sauna unaided to qualify.
  • A breach of the rules results in a warning. Another one results in disqualification.
  • The last person leaving the sauna unaided is the winner.

TV Broadcasting and Other Media

    In 2004, Nippon Television filmed a documentary about the World Sauna Championships. The program had an audience of about 40 million in Japan. The network did a similar documentary again in 2007, when they filmed a whole week in Heinola and in Lahti. This time Kazumi Morohoshi (former singer in a popular boy band Hikaru Genji) was with them and also took part in the competition. He ended in the first round, with a time 5:41. Also in 2007, American sportswriter Rick Reilly (who described it as "quite possibly the world's dumbest sport") was also in Heinola. His time in the first round was 3:10 and was eliminated from the second round.






2010 accident

    On 7 August 2010, Russian finalist and former third-place finisher Vladimir Ladyzhensky and Finnish five-time champion Timo Kaukonen passed out after six minutes in the sauna, both suffering from terrible burns and trauma. According to a spectator who asked not to be identified, Kaukonen was able to leave the sauna with assistance, but Ladyzhensky had to be dragged out, and almost immediately went into cramps and convulsions. They were both rushed to the hospital but Ladyzhensky died en route. Kaukonen was reported to suffer from extreme burn injuries, and his condition was described as critical, but stable. Just a few minutes before the finals, Kaukonen told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang that the saunas used for the 2010 championship were a lot more extreme than the saunas used for previous competitions.
    As Kaukonen and Ladyzhensky were disqualified for not leaving the sauna unaided, Ilkka Pöyhiä became the winner.






    The organizer, Ossi Arvela, said that there will probably never be another sauna competition. Two days later the City of Heinola noted that there are no official decisions about the future of the event, and the decisions will be made after the incident has been examined. Arvela later reported that Finnish police had decided not to file charges in connection with the tragedy, but were continuing to investigate. Kaukonen woke up from a coma two months after the event. His respiratory system was scorched, 70% of his skin was burnt and eventually his kidneys failed as well. In late October, Kaukonen was reported to be recovering quickly. He did not blame the organizers for his injuries.





    Ladyzhensky's autopsy concluded that he had died of third-degree burns. His death was aided by his use of strong painkillers and local anesthetic grease on his skin. Kaukonen was competing according to the rules.
    On April 20, 2011, the City of Heinola announced that they would no longer organize the event, noting that " If the city was to organize the World Sauna Championships in the future, the original playful and joyous characteristics of the event should be reintroduced. No ways to achieve this have been found."


Champions

YearMenWomen
1999Finland Ahti MerivirtaFinland Katri Kämäräinen
2000Finland Leo PusaFinland Katri Kämäräinen
2001Finland Leo PusaFinland Annikki Peltonen
2002Finland Leo PusaFinland Annikki Peltonen
2003Finland Timo KaukonenBelarus Natallia Tryfanava
2004Finland Leo PusaBelarus Natallia Tryfanava
2005Finland Timo KaukonenBelarus Natallia Tryfanava
2006Finland Timo KaukonenFinland Leila Kulin
2007Finland Timo KaukonenFinland Leila Kulin
2008Finland Bjarne HermanssonFinland Leila Kulin
2009Finland Timo KaukonenRussia Tatyana Arkhipenko
2010Finland Ilkka Pöyhiä[14]