Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Elves and The Shoemaker

As a child I was fascinated with this story. If I remember right, the version we had was by Paul Galdone and the little elves that helped him were naked and he and his wife surprised them with
beautiful little outfits. I just loved it! I have also fallen in love with the simple process of making these adorable little shoes out of my wool. I have made a few for baby shower gifts and for my little grand daughter Elsie. They are addicting and so adorable!







Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Witch Hat


A styrofoam cone and paper-mache . . . a festive little hat was
born! I covered it with old Halloween post cards, old photos and newspaper.
The silk flowers & bow are wired on the top.
It was fun to do - the only creative project I have made
time for this season.


*link is fixed to DIY Dish - sorry I goofed before!
Inspiration for this projects and the how-to
came from this DIY Dish web site. I met these
two girls at Spark last month and they are from
our sweet little valley! Funny girls with so much
energy...and yes, I think they look do look a lot
like Marie Osmond. They really are awesome
women.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

You've Been Slimed


Cael loves to play with this "GAK" stuff. It is a slime --- even better than play dough in his mind. We have made it for several years, and it is always a hit. It's gooey and slimy and keeps well in a ziploc bag. The recipe is:

GAK

1 cup Elmer's Glue
3/4 cup water

Mix above together in a bowl.

Separately, mix together
1/4 c. hot water 
1 tsp. Borax

Slowly add the two together. The mixture will immediately coagulate together. 
Knead, then drain off excess water.

This is perfect for upcoming haunted houses. You can also tint it another color with food coloring if desired.

Happy Sliming!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm Back....

This summer has been beautiful in so many ways.
My days to create have been far and few in between
~but I haven't been idle!
I will be posting some of the projects I have been
working on in the not to distant future.

For now though, we must enjoy
fresh tomato sandwiches & corn on the cob

***


SPOILER ALERT
This is in a birthday package on its way to
my adorable daughter-in-law Dani.
shhhhh.

It was a simple pre-fab apron of restaurant quality
that I souped up a bit for a great cook
who loves to garden and adores the color
blue.



It just took a tiny bit of seam ripping and some hand stitching.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

On Sabatical

This week is finals week for me - just two classes, but the work is piled so high I really don't have time to think about a spare moment to myself. The exciting news is that our sweet little granddaughter is preparing to enter this world in a matter of days!! I will get to go welcome her very soon! Even Mark gets to escape for just a few minutes :)

Can hardly wait to have some time in my life again for creating...
The thoughts of holding that brand new baby and playing with my
little Liam are what pull me forward - and that fact that Jake & Lindsey
came up for the weekend with that sweet Miss Molly. True love.
The silver linings in lifes storms are sweet indeed.

Be back rejuvinated in just a few weeks!

P.S. My Basil is growing!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Week #12

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Two quilts off a shelf and quilted! I did the piecing and had then machine quilted.
It sure feels good to have them finished. I need to finish the binding and then
wash the chalk marks off. The larger one that is a combination of pieced
and applique was probably nearly finished well over 8 years ago. Nice that I
still love it even though that much time has passed! It was the first quilt my little sewing group Purple Cats did together. The other little scrappy square quilt is just a throw Camber & Emily helped me piece a couple of years ago. I am really happy to be checking off unfinished projects!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Week #11

What a miracle a tiny seed is!

This week as I was going through a drawer, I found some seed packets that were never planted last year. I'm hoping they still have their get-up-and-go! I planted Sweet Basil and Lemon Basil. We love this savory herb at our house! The basil plant in the background was one I purchased at the grocery store about 4 months ago. It was $3.99 and was just a small little plant. It's fragile little roots were in a dirt pod type thing, wrapped in paper. I thought some fresh basil would be divine at that time and felt it was worth the $ even if for a few dishes. We snipped it, ate it and watered it when it was thirsty and it took off! I had to re-pot it about 6 weeks ago. I can't believe my luck.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Week #10

We enjoyed a nice spring break last week. Being gone most of the week I wasn't able to do much sewing or crafting, but yesterday - out of necessity, I decided Sunday dinner was coming from the pantry and whatever I could find in the freezer. I had a couple of apples that were well past their prime and few onions that were in the produce drawer. I found a few pork chops that had been in the freezer for about the allowed time - and I cooked up the most tasty little dish ever!

I browned the pork chops in a little bit of butter until they were nice and brown and then removed them from the pan. Then I sauteed the apples and onions in the same pan I used to brown the meat, adding a dab more of butter. I cooked them until they were softened and the pan was de-glazed. I placed the pork chops in a baking pan and poured the onions and apple over the them. I added one cup of chicken broth - covered and baked for about 30 min.

Just at the end I stirred a little cornstarch into some cold water - uncovered the pan and stirred it in carefully at the sides - added some Parmesan cheese and let it simmer while we set the table. I served it over rice with green beans on the side. So fast and so quick and the flavor was incredible!
Think twice before you toss out old produce or meat from the freezer that might have tiny spot of freezer burn. My grandma's words always enter my head - "Waste not, want not.




For dessert I looked through my collection of cookbooks and went to an old Hersey's Chocolate Favorites. I used to make these cupcakes for my kids when they were younger. They are similar to the hostess cream filled but SOOO much better! Recipe is below.
Enjoy!

Creme Filled Cupcakes
3/4 cup shortening (I sub butter)
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Cream butter & sugar. Add eggs & vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3's with batter. Bake about 18-20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Prepare Vanilla Creme
Combine 1/4 cup flour & 1/2 cup milk. Cook in a small sauce pan til it just mixtures starts to thicken and comes to a boil - stir constantly with a wire whisk. Cool. Cream 1/4 cup butter& 1/4 cup shortening. Add 2 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt & cooled milk mixture. Add 4 + cups of powdered sugar til mixture is thick and creamy. Spoon into pastry bag with a large star tip and carefully fill cupcakes. You can squeeze a little of the white cream filling on top or we made a chocolate frosting.

Makes 24 cupcakes.
(I doubled this recipe for a fireside and there was enough of the single recipe of the cream filling for 48 so you can plan on that for the topping as well)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week # 9

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old sweater = new spring purse

and...a cute little Easter Skirt for Miss Molly.
(I did use a few little pieces of new fabric I recently acquired on a
shop hop last week - along with some scraps from days gone by.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week #8

This week we gave new life to two jumpers that Em out grew. The fabric was so much fun we couldn't toss them ~ so here is how they will spend the next chapter in their lives...


This little ruched flower is pretty quick to work up -
it looks much more
complex than it really is,
I made a smaller one for her hair.
Emily wanted to
add the netting on the underskirt and
I think it is a great little touch!
She looked fantastic in her new skirt.

*****

This next one is a zinger.
I will call it the collage skirt or
"eat your heart out Anthropologie"
It looks a little more hip in real life.
It was just a kick in the pants to do.
She wore it with a red sweater today
and it was amazing!

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So ... anybody else out there
using it up
wearing it out
making it do
or doing without?

or are you just buying more stuff??

:)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week #7


The beads came out (they needed some sorting and organizing) so I created. The bracelet on the bottom left is one of my favorite kind to make. Its done with silk thread and knotting. They are so flexible - both in the size adjustment and what you can do with them. I've done bigger focus beads and then others that have been mostly tiny beads. The flower necklace was a blast to do! A friend of mine named *spring* had birthday on the first day of *spring* - so the *springtime* dangle was created. I didn't have enough chain so I added silk ribbon on the ends. (Use it up - that's my motto this year!)

I also took some time for some photography - another *free* thing to do for fun. It's still so brown outside so having these daffodils in the window are such a bright spot in my kitchen! Thanks to sweet friend who drops them by every year!

Healthy eating - green smoothies - more raw foods - and exercise. We are working on these things at our house. I'm pretty sure there will be more to say on the subject of green smoothies in the near future. But I tried a recipe out of the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World ~ the Coconut Lime Cupcakes. mmmmm they were tasty. After we munched down on them and then analyzed, we decided they were really good and if we were vegan we would be thrilled to have them - but, a little on the heavy side. We thought needed a couple of good old eggs. (Guess we wouldn't last too long without dairy in our diet.) I will include a modified version of them with substitutions that I will be making next time.

Coconut Lime Cupcakes
1/3 cup coconut oil (applesauce or canola oil)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup coconut milk (Light works great)
1/4 cup soy milk (regular milk with be Camber's preference)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 fresh eggs :) * NOT* in original recipe
1 T lightly packed finely grate lime zest
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Lime Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup non hydrogenated shortening (I will omit this)
1/2 cup non hydrogenated margarine (I will use butter next time)
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp freshly grated lime zest

1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut ( I used sweetened because that's what I had)
Thinly sliced limes for garnish (if desired)

If you are using the coconut oil, melt it in a small sauce pan. Ina medium bowl mix together the melted oil and sugar. Add the coconut milk, milk, extracts and lime zest. Mix to combine. Add all dry ingredients. Mix til smooth then dd the coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minute minutes - til top springs back lightly.

When I made the original icing I only use have of each of the shortening and margarine - just couldn't bring myself to put a whole cup of all of that in. I am a dairy princess at heart. The frosting was very tasty - I mean we couldn't quit liking the beaters and the bowl - but the consistency was a little on the soupy side. Don't know if it was the lime juice or the fact that I hadn't followed it correctly - but we had the get them in the fridge ASAP once we dipped them in the coconut.

This is definitely a recipe to play around with and was fun for St Patty's Day !

Monday, March 15, 2010

Week # 6

I was asked to teach a wool project at little retreat next month and so I have been playing with some wool scraps, fabric scraps, scrapbooking paper scraps and fun little bits and pieces.
I so love to create!
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This is Molly's Quilt. I finally got it finished. A friend of mine did the machine quilting. I used a jelly roll that I had purchased a couple of years ago. It was so much fun to make. The dresden plates are machine pieced and hand appliqued. It is bigger than a crib size - so I guess it will be for the crib and beyond! Hope she knows how much love went into it and how sweet it was to think about her and who she will be while I worked on it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week #5

This past week was jam-packed week filled with family. On Sunday our beautiful little granddaughter, Molly was given a name and a blessing by her father. I spent some time with my daughter, Lindsey, helping her make Molly's beautiful little blessing dress. She did a beautiful job with the smocking and stitching. I will count this service of time for my project this week. When Lindsey gets time to upload a photo of her dress I will link. Babies are the sweetest blessing.
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week #4

Week #4 brings 4 little pairs of earrings. It was a busy week but I knew
I needed to come up with something. Better than just beads in a box, right?

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Days of the Week Dishtowels


The last time I did an iron-on transfer I believe my age was still in the single digits. I redeemed enough cereal box tops to receive a fancy silver and black Schwinn iron on. I strategically wore it, of course, when riding my bike!

Needless to say, it has been a while since I have done simple iron-on transfers. When I saw this tutorial of numbered towels, I thought it would be a classy one to try. Using some flour sack towels I bought at Wal-Mart, it turned out without any glitches. The problem was they only came in packs of five. So, I have two more to do when I make it back.

With there being three images per sheet, I had a lot of white space on the last page. I didn't want to waste that transfer sheet, so I googled a baseball image and put it on a wrinkled undershirt of Cody's. Cael was more thrilled with it -- I should have used one of his.

I think I could have a lot of fun doing these. Check out this blog for more number ideas -- she claims is currently quite the rage in home decorating.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Project 2010 - Week #3

Pulled a dress that was in our mending/refurbish basket out and transformed it into a skirt!
It was pretty easy. I just cut the top of it off and made a little casing.
I used the drawstring from the neck and voila! A skirt!
It even had pockets! Bonus.
(Good girl, Em for practicing the piano!!)

This next one was a BLAST!
I had a bag filled with scraps from old prom dresses. The organza makes the most adorable flowers. These little pins are everywhere these days. Cute on a jacket or on a bag or in your hair.
They work up very fast and if you don't have scraps - ask a friend or buy 6 or 8 inches of a few colors! They are only pennies to make.


You simply cut out about 5-9 circles of gradating sizes -
don't be too fussy here.
Next you hold a lighter quite close to the edge of the
fabric and slowly turn the pedal.
This melts the edges and causes it to curl. It's so fun!
You will want to make dozens of them!
To embellish look for buttons or beads or old costume jewelry.
This would be a great girls night party!
I have stitched pins to the back or clips if they are
for the hair or a headband.

I am certainly not taking credit for inventing this -
(I really wish I knew who to credit!)
I came across the directions
a few months ago on line somewhere.
I have seen where you can stitch several
to a wide ribbon for a pretty necklace.
Let me know how you like this if you try it!
(I made a few tacking stitches to hold all the layers
together then added the embellishments)
And last of all - I finished a little penny rug with scraps of wool.
I started this well over a year ago! Wahoo!!
Hope you all had a creative moment this past week!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Week #2

Project 2010 continues . . .
We enjoyed a wonderful get-away to visit Mark's
brother in Vegas this past long weekend.
Wow was that warm sunshine heavenly!
I took along a pleated dress that has been sitting in a box
waiting to be smocked for several years now.
I was able to complete all the hand stitching as we
drove down. Have you tried smocking?
It really is quite simple and kind of similar to
cross stitch. It works up very quickly.
I have a pleater that puts in all the "gathers" in for me.
If you like hand work, you would love smocking.
I am very blessed to have a little grand daughter
to smock for and one more on the way!

Watch for the finished dress to be posted in the not too far future!
Another thing I did last week was pretty difficult.
I walked into the garage and took
a big bag of bird seed off the shelf that had been
sitting there since last spring ~
And I filled my bird feeders!
Wow - were those cute little birdies thrilled!
We have one hanging right outside the kitchen window.
We LOVE watching our feathered friends.
I still need to learn about them and what kind of birds they are . . .
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Wanting to involve all family members with this challenge -
Mark was game to use up some of our wheat and 9 grain cereal.
The result was some of his wonderful bread!

Oh, and a yummy little tip with french toast.
(Don't throw out your old bread! Make croutons or french toast!)
I learned this at girls camp a few years ago. Melt a little butter on the hot skillet and then sprinkle lightly with sugar. Grill one side of the toast, lift up the bread & butter and sugar quickly before flipping it. The result is a very crunchy, caramelized piece of french toast!
It is especially delicious with fresh strawberries and whipped cream!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hem Haw!

I am just tickled to death that I learned something new.

I have a jean fetish. Come fall, with the slight drop in the thermometer, I am itching to jump into a pair of comfy jeans and an oversized sweater. It was no surprise that as Laken and I were shopping last week, I found yet another pair calling my name. As usual, they were way too long. However, I am so cheap I didn't want to pay for alterations. Having altered the last 3 or 4 I bought, I knew I could do it myself. Although, I knew there was a certain alteration method that preserves the original hem. So, I googled it.

It is called a European hem. Nordstrom charges $22 for it. This link shows you how to do it. I did it in just minutes and was tickled pink! I hope you appreciate it more than my hubby did when following my experiment I anxiously called him at work. He didn't share the same enthusiasm.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Here's an Attempt...

Okay, so as I mentioned before...our family's goal is to focus on bringing the words "ORGANIZE" and "ORDER" to life in our home! Maybe after we see progress in this area we will be able to listen to our creative yearnings!!
ANYWAY...here is an attempt at taming one eyesore on my desk.

BEFORE...


and...AFTER!


I actually saw this idea on another blog...but can't remember which one. So if this is your idea THANKS for sharing it! We were having a hard time keeping up on all the papers that come home...usually keeping those that don't matter and losing those that do! I thought this looked like a great way to keep things in place...and easy for everyone to know where to put the "stuff" that they wanted to keep track of! Now...just to keep track of the binder!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ruffle Scarf


I guess I can count this as my project for the week. I assure you I won't be able to keep this up at a weekly rate. However, Laken and I were able to sneak into Joann's Friday night while the boys went to a Flash game. I had seen this tutorial that I wanted to try. They didn't have red -- my fabric of choice. Laken loved this yellow, so we went for it. It is a quick project, so I made it early Saturday morning. Anxious to get her approval, she looked at it and said, "It's too long for me." I then told her I couldn't wear it because I look horrible in yellow. So, now it is a scarf that is unloved in this house. I will probably have to wear it with my black coat matching nothing since the only thing I own that is yellow is a pair of summer pumps! Anyone looking for a yellow scarf?

Week 1

I did post ... I was just on my other blog.
Just a little tired I suppose.
You can link from here.
Happy creating everyone!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Month of Meals -- take one


The idea isn't foreign. You take your family's favorite 30 meals and put them in a handy book and use it in your rotation system. Right. Sounds easy, but I haven't been able to get around to it yet. So, I decided to go slowly at it. Every time we have a meal that is a home run with all the family, I am going to type it up and save it on the computer. Hopefully over a few month's time, we will have found 30 winners. Lately, I have leaned toward quick and easy being first priority, yet great-tasting recipes. So, I thought I would share my latest love.

It. Is. Easy.

Smoked Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches -- courtesy of Rib City Grill
1 small 2-4 lb. pork butt "bone in" or pork collar, or roast bone in or no bone
1 bottle Liquid Smoke
1 blend of Vegetable blend spices (Season Salt, Celery, Salt, Pepper, Montreal BBQ Spices, Garlic powder mixed together
1 bottle Sweet BBQ sauce

Spread all spices on Pork Roast or Butt forming almost a crust, or thick layer.
Tear off 2 big pieces of foil to cover roast.
Pour 1/2 bottle liquid smoke into foil with roast. Wrap the first sheet, then wrap it again with the second sheet so the juices cannot escape when cooking.
Place in a shallow pan or cooking tray. Slow cook at 375 for 4 hours, and then 275 for 4 more hours. (I just place it in my crock pot in the morning and forget about it).
Unwrap and bull bone (if any). Take a fork and make sure that the meat separates easily. Leave cooking juice and put in bowl and pull with forks or gloved hands.
Add BBQ sauce.
Serve on fresh rolls.

Now, to add as a side, I recently discovered these sweet potato fries. I just picked them up at Wal-Mart. They taste just like the ones at one of my favorite restaurants. However, I wish I had the dipping sauce to go with it. So, I made this one -- it is good, too!

Apricot Dipping Sauce
1 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup orange juice
1 T prepared mustard

Melt jam in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in orange juice and mustard. Purée sauce in food processor or with immersible mixer.

There it is! A tantalizing meal everyone enjoys (well, only some of us like the sweet potato fries - that's when Pringles come in as a substitute).

One down. Twenty-nine to go. I would love to have some suggestions on your favorite meals to add to my rotation system.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Goal Worthy of a Post

I have been doing a lot of thinking this past cold month of January. Today is the last day of the first month of a new year and decade. I need to have a worthy goal that I can put out there in cyberland ~ committing to something that I have wanted to do for a very long time.

I love to create thus I love to collect.
I am a busy girl with lots going on ~ all the time it seems.
~That is a good thing for the most part.
A friend teases me that I am always saying,
"If I can just get this behind me..."
I have a hard time scheduling in time to do things I want to do
because of all the things I need to do.
I love balance, order and peace in my life.
I have a lot of very useful stuff accumulating around the
house and filling up closets and drawers.

I am making a commitment to create something on a weekly basis from stuff I have in my possession and then watch and see what happens. I don't know where this may lead, but hopefully to something positive like more space, better organization, gifts to give, satisfaction, items to sell...who knows. I know there may be a few minor things needed to finish projects, but for the most part I want to see just how far I can get with what I have. This goes for food storage as well. Our family needs to be better about using up what we have. I haven't decided if I will blog about my weekly progress or keep a personal journal. I'll think about that for a bit. Week one begins tomorrow and with the exception of extended travel this will go through the last week of November 2010 ~ let's make it through December 5th. That's an even 44 weeks. Wow 44 weeks to look forward to creating! Sounds pretty exciting to me. Project Twenty-Ten here I come! Anyone else out there want to play? You can make up your own rules if you want ... it's just good to get it in writing. Let me know :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Giving a Desk New Life


I love before and after shots. Even more, I love a good deal. We picked this up at a surplus auction for $20.53 -- I still get shaky hands when the bid closing approaches hoping no one will outbid me. With it being all wood, we knew it had good "bones" to refinish.
So, with a little elbow grease, Kilz primer, Benjamin Moore Dill Pickle Paint and knobs from Lowe's, we spruced up this desk for Laken's big Christmas present. Another big task for the princess of the house (as you remember last year Santa "made" her a soccer goal).
It was all worth it. She loves it.
As I worked on this desk, I wondered what this desk could tell us. It was a teacher's desk from Alpine School District. How many hours were spent grading, reading, etc. on this? I like pieces with history. Now Laken can make her own history on this dill pickle desk.