Thursday, December 27, 2007

Take the Test: How Creative are You?

You Are 79% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.
You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fruitcake that's Not Scary!

No joke—this fruitcake is one you’ll actually want to eat! I've always been a little afraid of fruitcake myself. Rick, however, is a fan of fruitcake and says this is the best he’s ever tasted! There are no icky lime peels or lemon pieces in this fruitcake. No dates or raisins either. This recipe came from the moderator of a Yahoo! Group that I belong to: Christmas to the Max. Thanks, Melody!

(One day I’m going to post a recipe in the manner of The Pioneer Woman. She’s one of my favorites!)

Candy Orange Slice Fruitcake
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 c. sugar
2 c. applesauce
4 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 pound candy orange slices (chopped)
2 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 c. candied cherries (chopped)
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
1 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the applesauce, eggs and buttermilk.

In another bowl, combine the chopped orange slices, pecans, cherries and 1 cup of flour; toss to coat.

Combine the baking soda, salt and remaining flour; add to the buttermilk mixture. Fold in orange slice mixture.

Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 3/4 hours to 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

What I Did:
Well, first of all, I didn’t have quite a pound of orange slices, so I added a few extra cherries.

I used Butter Flavor Crisco instead of butter or margarine. When you use BFC, you are supposed to add 6 teaspoons of water per cup of shortening to make up for the moisture that butter has and shortening doesn’t. Water sounded boring so I used the 6 teaspoons of the juice from the cherries instead.

I didn’t have pecans, so I used walnuts.

Can you tell that I’m all about substitutions?

I think I undercooked my fruitcake, too. It’s very moist, but this one was exceptionally moist. Next time I think I'll make it in an angelfood cake pan. Since the pan separates, it might make it easier to get the cake out of the pan. The bundt pan that I used was just a tiny bit small, in my opinion. Rick thinks the cake is perfect though.

Try it…you just might like it!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Candy Cat-astrophe!

Yesterday was spent making the candies and cookies for gift tins. I made coconut balls and Katie and I had dipped them in chocolate and put sprinkles on them. The were on the kitchen table on waxed paper waiting for the chocolate to set up. of the cats hopped up on the table (a BIG NO-NO!), hit the waxed paper, slid across the table, and onto the floor. Of course the candies ended up face-down on the floor in a big blob! UGH!

Have you ever tried to clean partially-set chocolate off linoleum...or a cat??? :-)

Needless to say, I'm not working from the kitchen table any more!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to make your own coconut balls.
Coconut Balls
1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes
1/2 cup softened butter
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups coconut
12 ounce package chocolate chips
2 T shortening

Mix mashed potatoes and butter together. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add in vanilla and coconut. You may need to stir it with a wooden spoon at this point. It gets stiff.

Roll into small balls. Refrigerate until firm. (The original recipe said to freeze them for 4 hours, but I don't think that's necessary.)

In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt chips and shortening together, stirring until smooth.

Roll balls in chocolate and place on waxed paper to set. We put sprinkles on ours, just for the fun of it!
My mom reminded me that when she makes Coconut Balls, they're actually Coconut Squares. She pats the mixture into a 9"x13" cake pan and cuts then into squares before dipping them in the chocolate. There's a reason for this. She makes Buckeyes (or Peanut Butter Balls, as we call them) and you can't tell them apart unless the Coconut Candies are square. Smart woman, eh?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Have a Heart

Five years ago today I was in the hospital.

I'd had a heart attack.

I was only 38 years old. We'd been married just over one year. I had gone back to school and we were hoping for a baby in the near future. It just wasn't meant to be.

On December 17th, 2002, I had cardiac bypass surgery. Five vessels on my heart were replaced with five from my legs. After spending 11 days in the hospital, I got home at around midnight on December 23rd--just in time for Christmas.

Please know that the signs and symptoms for a heart attack in women are not the same as for men. I had a tight feeling in my neck and chin. I took an aspirin before going to the hospital and it probably saved my life according to my cardiologist.

After a long recovery and several weeks of cardiac rehabilitation, I'm almost good as new. Well, in most ways I'm now better than new! There are a lot of people walking around with clogged arteries who have no idea. At least mine have been fixed.

Please, please, please see a doctor if you have a family history of heart problems, suspect you may be having a heart attack or stroke, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The life you save will be your own!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

You Know You're in a Rural Area When....

I did my second craft show yesterday. I wish I could say it went as well as the first one. Another live and learn opportunity.

This show was held in a rural charter school. In fact, the name of the school even has the word "Rural" in it. Everyone with the school was very friendly and it seemed like such a family atmosphere. (If we wern't homeschoolers, this would be my choice for the girls' school.)
Anyway, my booth was across the hall from the cafeteria where they were having a cookie walk ($5/dozen, your choice) and three raffles: a teepee, a quilt, and....a processed hog. Where else but a rural area would you find those three raffles together??? I had to take a picture of the sign, just for the quaintness of it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Is it a Secret?

Katie curled up in my lap last night and asked me to tell her a secret.

"I love you very much..." I whispered in her ear.

"That's no secret!" she exclaimed.

That was the exact response I needed to hear!

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Craft Show!

I did my very first craft show last Saturday! My booth featured woven headbands, all sorts of hairbows and clippies, and "Picasso Pockets" that I blogged about here.

My dad was kind enough to come out in the wee hours of the morning to help me get everything into the gymnasium. Set-up for this took longer than I thought it would. Live and learn.

Hair accessories sold well, but the Picasso Pockets were, by far, the best sellers! I'm scheduled to do another show this weekend. I'm hoping it goes as well!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

And the Winner is.......

Aimee is the winner of the Criss Cross Coasters! I hope she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Time for a Give-Away!

It's time for the "Fall Y'all" Bloggy Giveaway hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

This time I'll be giving away a set of four Criss Cross Christmas Coasters! (Say THAT three times fast!) Everyone is invited to put their name in the pot for the drawing. On Sunday I'll have my Random Number Generator (a.k.a. DH) pick a number and that person will receive the coasters. International entries are welcome! Be sure to leave a comment to get your name in the hat, and be sure to leave a way for me to get in touch with you if you're the winner!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Kim! Here's what you're supposed to do:

“Devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”

By the way, it might take more than 5-10 to actually fix my life, but here goes....

1. With Kim, I'd like to learn to actually knit something besides a potholder-sized square.

2. Also with Kim, I'd love to learn to make my own soap.

3. I'd love to learn machine embroidery. First, I need to buy the machine!

4. Paint Shop Pro. Need I say more?

5. From my friend Melissa, I'd love to learn to be as organized as she is.

6. For my life to be perfect, I need to learn to make Divinity like my mom does.
(NOTE: I've now actually made Divinity that is pretty much like Mom's!)

7. I'd love to learn to be as passionate as DH is about politics.....

8. I'd like to learn to hand quilt and decorate cakes from Kathy.

9. I'd like to learn from Dave Ramsey all I can about the finacial world.

10. Last, but certianly not least, I need to learn all I can from my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, how to walk in His footsteps, being more compassionate, and seeing the big picture instead of not seeing the forest for the trees.

I tag anyone who would like to be tagged! Please link back to me so I can see what you wrote!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Criss-Cross Coasters

I found the tutorial for these coasters sometime last Spring. I made several sets for gifts because they are easily made and mailed. This simple-to-do project would be wonderful for hostess gifts, teacher gifts, thank you gifts, gifts for the mailman, in a gift basket with assorted teas or coffees, or just because. I usually make sets of four and tie them with a coordinating ribbon. The set on the bottom left is made with Mary Engelbreit fabrics and tied with a scrap of fabric. Cute, eh?

Another great thing about these coasters is that they take very little fabric. You probably have enough in your scraps to make at least a few! Not to mention they can easily match any color scheme or decor.

So, go sew yourself some criss-cross coasters!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Our Christmas Cactus--Bursting with Buds!

We have a Christmas cactus that I received as a gift almost five years ago. It was just a tiny thing back then. Rick "adopted" it and considers it HIS Christmas cactus now. That's OK, I know it's really mine! (Sorry, Honey...)

Right now it's bursting with buds and will be blooming like crazy probably within the week. Some of the leaves have two buds. We've never seen that before.

This is how we care for the cactus and get it to bloom: We leave it outside in indirect sunlight all summer, watering it as it gets dry. When it first starts getting cool at night, we bring it in. Here's the secret: stop watering it when you bring it inside. I don't know why or how that works, but it will bud and bloom enthusiastically!

I'll post more photos when it's all bloomed out. Last year Katie kept picking the flowers off to give to me. Hopefully she's passed that stage this year.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Biscuits Fresh from the Oven!

My girls LOVE biscuits! Well, Rick loves them too. Personally, I don't like the biscuits from a can. Bisquick has always been my preference. Rick's grandma used to make buttermilk biscuits. To Rick, if a biscuit doesn't have buttermilk in it, it's not a real biscuit.

I found this buttermilk biscuit recipe on Recipezaar. The great thing about this recipe is that you can freeze them and take out as many as you like and bake them when you want them!

Buttermilk Freezer Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 T sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2/3 c shortening (I used Butter Flavor Crisco)
1 c buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives or until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir buttermilk into flour mixture until it forms a soft dough and leaves the sides of the bowl.

Turn out dough onto well-floured surface. Knead 10 times. Roll into an 8-inch square. Cut dough into 16 squares. (I used a round biscuit cutter.) Place squares on baking sheet that's lined with plastic wrap. Freeze about 3 hours or until firm. Remove biscuits and place in an airtight freezer container.

When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place frozen biscuits 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

To bake immediately instead of freezing, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Perfectly Acceptable Substitutions:
I made a double batch, replacing half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. I also added 4 teaspoons of gluten. The results were great! They were light and fluffy. Everyone loved them!

Also, if you don't have buttermilk, you can sour milk by putting 1 T lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup and adding milk to make 1 cup. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before using.

Homemade Dry Skin Cream

Here's a recipe for a great cream to keep on hand (literally!) for dry skin. I don't know about you, but once we turn the heat on in the house, my skin quickly starts to dry out. Slather it on your feet after a shower and put on thick socks. Your feet will thank you! It comes out a pretty shade of pink and smells wonderful!

You can put it in pretty jars like little 4-ounce jelly jars, baby food jars, or plastic jars that are found in the travel section of stores like Wal-Mart or Target. They make great gifts for the elderly, or stocking stuffers for anyone! All of the ingredients can be found at Dollar General stores.

Dry Skin Cream

1 jar (8 oz) petroleum jelly
2 bottles (15 oz) baby lotion
2 jars (8 oz) of Vitamin E skin cream

Put all ingredients in a large bowl. Use a wire whisk and whip the ingredients well. Use a spoon and spatula to put into small jars.

Makes several jars of cream. It depends on how full the jars are and the size used.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Whole Lotta Craftin' Goin' On!

I've signed up for two craft fairs in December and have been furiously working on items every chance I get.

My main project has been crayon cozies, or Picasso Pockets, as I plan to call them. I blogged about them here. I have enough crayons to make over 60 of them! So far I have about 40 finished.

The next project will be over 100 headbands in three different sizes. I love making headbands! (Actually, I love wearing them, too.) The colors and patterns are so variable--the creative possibilites boggle my mind.

Then there are socks...and more socks...and MORE SOCKS! A lot of them are finished, but have never been counted. These are fun to make when waiting is involved: doctor visits, while riding in the car, or while the girls are playing outside.

More beaded headbands are next on the agenda. These are more time consuming and cause finger cramping, but are gorgeous in the end. I think they'd make great bridal headpieces, and I don't mean for horses! (If someone wanted one for a horse, I'd certainly make it.)

Last, but not least, are hairbows. (That link it to my Etsy shop. I've blogged about bows too often to link to all of them.) A lot of hairbows are finished, but I keep putting them in Katie and Audrey's hair. Guess a little self-control is called for here. They're just so CUTE I can't help myself!

Display is my next challenge. I have no idea how I'm going to pull that off. If you have any ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments. Did I mention my budget for displays is very small?

Most of this crafting goes on after the girls have gone to bed. I'm glad they're "early to bed" type gals! I'm having a lot of fun with this....can you tell?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An "Awwwww" Moment

Miss Katie and I did our monthly grocery shopping trip today. The weather is finally cooling off and feeling more like autumn is here to stay.

We were walking through a parking lot and the wind was whipping all around us.

"Momma, do you know what the wind is?" Katie asked.

"Well, I don't know exactly.", I answered, figuring it would suffice for now.

"It's angels blowing at us."


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Decadent Brownie Re-do: Thin Mint Brownies

I made up this recipe for "Thin Mint Brownies" using things I had on hand. They are so moist and chocolaty, not to mention EASY!

Thin Mint Brownies

1 Duncan Hines Family Size Brownie Mix
1/2 of a 10 ounce package of Andes Creme de Menthe chips
Canned chocolate frosting.

Prepare brownies according to package directions. Dump in half the package of mint chips--just guess at half the package, don't bother measuring. Bake according to the directions on the box. Cool. Frost with chocolate frosting.

It's that easy!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Two Dresses in (Just Over) Two Hours

Around 9:00 Saturday night I decided to make dresses for the girls to wear to church on Sunday. Yes, it was 9:00 in the evening! Rick just laughed and said it wouldn't get done....but I did!

The dresses were t-shirt dresses that I blogged about here. Not having to make a bodice and sleeves really makes these dresses easy to make.

The skirt is a kitty print in pink, black, white, and teal. The banding at the bottom is black with pink, white, and teal flowers. The dress has a belt in the back of the same fabric. You can't really see that part in the pictures.

The shirt had a rose screen printed on the front. I cut out a kitty square from leftover skirt fabric and appliqued it over the flower.

Katie also wore the socks and hairbow that are pictured here. Audrey had a cute korker clippie for her hair.

They both looked so cute. I love to make matching outfits for them. They'll probably be in therapy over it when they're adults.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Frugal Friday

My Frugal Friday post is the one I just wrote about You Can Make This. The website has a free section where you can give some of their patterns a test run. I'm telling you, this is a great place to inspire your creativity!

You Can Make This!

You Can Make This!

You Can Make This is one of my favorite places to go for patterns for a lot of things I sew. If you sew, you'd like to sew; or if you crochet, or would like to crochet; if you quilt, or you'd like to quilt; if you make jewelry, or if you'd like to make jewelry, this is a great place to look!

I LOVE their patterns. Can you tell?

One reason I love to shop there is because the patterns are available immeditately for download. I do mean immediately. As in right now.

If you have questions, you usually have the authors email address so you can ask them directly.

The clothing patterns are "cutting edge". A lot are Euro-inspired. All of them are adorable.

They don't just have items for children. There are quilt patterns, apron patterns, and jewelry direction.

This post is starting to sound like a commercial, so I'll quit writing so you can go check it out! (I'm going to go order a pattern!)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Day With Grandma?

Katie and I made a dash into Wal-Mart this afternoon. Once we picked out our grapes and hamburger, we were greeted by a bubbly and enthusiastic cashier. She started a conversation with Katie and ended up asking, "So, are you enjoying your day with Grandma?"

Huh? Katie looked at the cashier like she was speaking Chinese. (Good girl, Katie!)

I had to enter the conversation at that point. "She's enjoying a day with Mommy."

"Oh, I'm sorry," she replied.

I didn't mean to make her feel bad. Granted I AM old enough to be her grandmother--barely. But why do people just assume that because you aren't a very young person that you must be a grandparent? Am I being over-sensitive here? (It's quite ok to say that I am!)

This happens at least once a month. Looks like I'd be used to it by now!

Friday, September 21, 2007


I have my Etsy shop open for business! Like eBay, once you get going, the listings are fairly fast and easy. I made an Etsy button for my sidebar, but can't figure out how to make it "live." If anyone knows, please enlighten me! For now, you can click here to see the store.

As I said in my post yesterday, now is a GREAT time to start online Christmas shopping!

NOTE: Rebecca told me how to make the Etsy button live! Now it works. Be sure to check out Rebecca's blog. She takes amazing photographs!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I've been working on listing hairbows and headbands on eBay. Check them out here! (Our eBay id is "peppermintstreetboutique" and you can always look us up that way.) I hope to get a lot more listed in the next few days. Once you get started, it goes fairly fast.

Has anyone out there in Bloggityville ever bought or sold anything on Etsy? Have you even HEARD of Etsy? It's a website to buy and sell handmade items. I hope to open a store site there in the next few days. I'll post about it when it happens.

In the meantime, now is a great time to start your online Christmas shopping....HINT, HINT!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Pizza Cutter

A few weeks ago I wrote about one of my favorite kitchen helps: food scoops. This week I'd like to introduce you to my next favorite kitchen utensil: my pizza cutter!

Pizza cutters are for more than cutting pizza. They neatly cut the crusts off bread. (What is it with kids and crusts?) It slices sandwiches into bite-sized pieces. It makes short work of cutting meats like bologna (not that we'd EVER serve that around here! :-), pancakes, waffles, cheese, and just about everything else, including pizza, that kids need to have cut up for them.

By the way, it doesn't work so great on hotdogs.

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for other great Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Banana Bread.....Yummo!

We love bananas around here. Luckily, we’ve been able to get bananas for a decent price lately. When they start to get brown spots we all know banana bread is in our future! Here’s my favorite recipe. It originates from The Taste of Home Cookbook.

Banana Bread

¼ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup mashed banana (about 2 medium)
½ cup sour cream
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 t cinnamon
¾ t baking soda
½ t salt
½ cup chopped walnuts

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in bananas and sour cream. Combine dry ingredients and stir into banana mixture just until moistened. Fold in nuts.

Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Perfectly acceptable adaptations:

If you don’t have sour cream, use yogurt. In fact, I think we prefer this over the sour cream.

If you only have one banana, make up the rest of the ¾ cup with applesauce.

Add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with the nuts. Or use vanilla chips. Or butterscotch chips.

Leave out the nuts completely!

Make muffins or mini-muffins. Adjust baking times.

I had some leftover Cinnamon Life cereal that I crushed up and sprinkled on top of the muffins tonight. I don’t recommend doing this with the bread because they’ll burn due to the longer baking time.
This bread freezes well. In fact, it’s better the day after you bake it. Just wrap it up in foil after it cools and try to keep everyone out of it!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What am I Going to Wear?

I cleaned out the girls’ closet the other day, culling out things that are too small for Audrey, and clothes that are too small for Katie, but Audrey will be able to wear in a year or so. The girls had been at their grandparents’ house for an overnight stay. When they came home and looked in the closet, Katie exclaimed “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CLOTHES? WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?”! Granted, I’d taken out about two-thirds of what was in the closet, but there were still plenty of things left hanging.

When Kim and family were visiting the other day we were talking about what is needed versus what we THINK is needed, especially where things like clothes and shoes are concerned. She told me of a little rhyme that she thinks in Amish in nature:

One to wash,
One to wear.
One for church,
One for a spare.

Four dresses. That’s it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love dressing my girls. I love buying clothes….making clothes….finding great deals on clothes. Can we get through a season with four dresses each?

(When I say “get through” it sounds like it would be a great sacrifice on our part. I don’t want it to sound this way at all. I want us to be thankful for what we have, not always looking for more. I don’t think it would be easy to have just four dresses per girl, and I don’t think it will happen this year. Also, I’m not suggesting that this is for everyone.)

It seems like our house is getting smaller and smaller. The real problem is that we are accumulating more and more stuff.

How much do you think is enough as far as clothes and shoes are concerned?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sandy Hannah

I just had to show everyone in Bloggityville this picture of Hannah. She's the daughter of our friends, Kim and George.
Hannah fell face-first into the sandbox here last week. She was covered, but still smiling! Isn't she a doll!

Happy Birthday, Miss Katie!

Miss Katie turn the big FOUR on Saturday! She's growing up so fast.
She and Daddy made the cake that she picked out herself: Funfetti with M&Ms on top. Mamaw and Papoo came, along with cousin Kyle, and G-ma. I think her favorite part of the day was playing with Audrey and Kyle.
(Cousin Kyle and Miss Audrey)

She informed me she wanted a kitten for her birthday. She was already planning to name it Cupcake.

Oh my.....

Monday, September 3, 2007

Soda? Coke? Pop? .....Other???

This is by far the most interesting map of the United States I've seen in a L-O-N-G time. (At our home, states are mostly referred to as a "red or blue" state. Politically speaking, of course.)

So, what do YOU call a carbonated beverage? Is it a coke? A soda? Pop?

According to the map, my county in Indiana goes by "pop". I think that's what we always called it when I was growing up, so it makes sense to me.

(By the way, my dad always drank Pepsi, but we called it "pop". We kids got one glass a week while we ate a bowl of popcorn and watched The Carol Burnett Show. ....Memories... But I digress...)

Somewhere along the line I started calling it "soda". I think it happened during my short stint as a nanny in New Jersey. Look at New Jersey....the entire state thinks it's "soda".

I noticed there is category for "other", and there are a lot of "other"s in places like North Carolina. What is "other"? Someone from a bright green county please enlighten me!

How does the map match up with what you say at your home? Is it a coke? A soda? Pop? Other?

I'm off to consider other earth- and mind-shattering what to make for dinner.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Frugal Friday--Saving on Milk

We drink a LOT of milk around here! Rick and I have to have three cups every day because we've both had gastric bypass surgery. Not to mention the girls drinking milk, cooking, having it with cereal, etc. With milk pushing $4.00 per gallon in our neck of the woods, we've made the switch--to powdered milk.

Before you turn up your nose and make an "Ewwww-w-w-w" sound you should try it! If you mix it up the night before and chill it well, you will not be able to tell the difference between it and the skim milk you buy in jugs. I promise!

Here's the best part: You can buy a box of powdered milk that makes five gallons at Aldi's for around $9.00 which works out to $1.80 per gallon. The only way to beat that is to buy a cow!

Head on over to Crystal's Blog for more Frugal Friday tips!

Friday, August 17, 2007


I haven't done any posting for over a week!

I've been recovering from my second knee surgery. It wasn't bad in the beginning, then it had to be drained last week. There is just one word for that--PAINFUL!

Since then, I've been on pain medication--and I'm allergic to it. In fact, I've somehow become allergic to all prescription pain medications. So, instead of NOT taking anything, I take it with two benadryl. Know what happens when you take benadryl with a pain medication??? You sleep. You keep sleeping....then you sleep some more.

This sleeping has my body's internal time clock all messed up. Now my days and nights are confused. So, I sleep all day, then I can't sleep at night! I spend all night trying to go back to sleep and doing quiet, non-brain-stimulating things. For me, blogging is VERY brain stimulating. Hence, no posts. (Please, someone comment and say you noticed I hadn't been posting!!!)

Now it's time to go listen to some quiet music, read a little, tend to the girls when they awake during the night, play with the kitties, weave some headbands (I can to this in my sleep now.)....

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Food Scoops

I have two scoops that look like extra-small ice cream scoops—the old-fashioned kind with the squeeze handle. The smaller of the two belonged to my grandmother. She was a cook at sororities and fraternities at “a major university”. She bought the small scoop when she worked there. It makes cookie baking so easy! Just scoop out the dough, squeeze the handle, and voila--uniform cookies that are fast to dip out! (Anyone who’s been through 4-H Foods Division I knows how important uniformity is!) This small scoop holds about one measuring teaspoon. It’s just the right size when you want bite-sized cookies: baby or wedding showers, cookies for small children, or when you want a recipe to yield more actual cookies than the recipe states.

The larger of the scoops says “40” on the inside. That must have something to do with the size, but I’m not sure exactly what it is. I’m guessing it holds about two measuring tablespoons. This scoop is great for “normal”-sized cookies. Again, it makes scooping fast and easy. This scoop is also wonderful for muffins: two scoops of muffin batter in a regular-sized muffin tin is just the right amount for perfect muffins, regardless of the recipe. They’re never too small, and the batter never runs over the sides.

These scoops are also great when you’re making cookies or other recipes that require rolling food into balls. Just scoop out the food, plop it on a piece of waxed paper or a cookie sheet, then roll it into a rounder ball. No food gets under your fingernails…I just HATE it when that happens! I do this when I’m making peanut butter cookies or meatballs. No digging into the food with your hands!

Making cooking more uniform, less messy, and easier….that Works for Me! Be sure to check out Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas!

Monday, August 6, 2007

I'm Officially Addicted...

Hello. My name is Dana and I'm addicted to headbands.....

I'd been seeing these woven headbands all over the Yahoo! boutique message boards so I went on a quest to find the instructions. There are several out there, but I chose the directions from Little Cans of Beans.

The directions are easy to follow and have photos showing every step. Changing the colors of the ribbons and the initial placement will give you a different design every time. The variety of available ribbon colors is virtually limitless giving you endless design potential.

The headbands are also very inexpensive to make. I bought the plastic headband forms from The Ribbon Retreat for less than $.50 each. I used less than 3 yards of 3/8" ribbon costing less than $1.00 total. These would be easy to make for sale at boutiques, schools, daycares, eBay, or even etsy!

Yes, I can see an addiction forming......
(The photo isn't the greatest. The colors used were black, orange, deep purple, and neon green.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

WARNING: Addiction Possibility Ahead!

WARNING: Making this project could become addictive!

Now that I have the legal stuff out of the way, take a look at this beaded headband I made today! The instructions came from The Ribbon Retreat.

Using beads I already had was my first challenge. I had a bunch leftover from a project I did last year so they soon became scattered all over the dining room table. Of course, the girls were FASCINATED by all the pretty little beads and wanted so much to "help" momma!

The second challenge was working with jewelry findings. I had no idea what a crimp bead was nor how wire is gauged. Once that was figured out, the next part was fun.

Making this first headband took about 35 minutes with a few interruptions. The next one should be faster. The instructions say the materials cost $12-$16 per headband. The main cost would be the glass beads they recommend. The beads I used were plastic and less expensive.

I could see making one of these to match each of Katie's dresses. Not to be forgotten, Audrey could wear it as a necklace. You could make one tiara-style and put ribbons hanging down the back. Every little princess would love having this for dress-up time.

Friday, August 3, 2007

It's a Boy!

After adopting Roxanne a few weeks ago, we decided to bring Vinnie home too. He's a real sweetheart and has adjusted very well! He like's to sleep in "Rick's chair" and is a real cuddler. Fuzzy still hisses at him occasionally, but doesn't put much effort into it any more. Vinnie just doesn't care! His "real" name was Sven, but the girls were having problems pronouncing it and kept calling him "Fin". It was somehow changed to Vinnie and it seems to fit him well.

I would say we are done adopting kittes...however...there are two kittens at the rescue who are at the least, blind in one eye. They are siblings from the same litter and are 4-5 weeks old. While the last thing we need is two more furbabies, we don't want to see them separated. They may be coming here once they are weaned.

Kids and kitties...I just can't resist!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On a Roll

Using scraps of fabric leftover from my purse project last weekend, I made this cute crayon keeper. The instructions came from here.

The best part about this project is that the keeper will match my purse. And we all know how important it is for kids' playthings with to match your accessories!

Seriously, crayons are very inexpensive now with the back-to-school sales going on. These would make great frugal stocking stuffers or terrific birthday presents for kids of all ages.

Sewing time is minimal. Fabric usage is also minimal. It would be very easy to make this bigger (for 24 crayons), smaller (for 8 crayons), or even for markers. It would also be easy to customize this for a Dora the Explorer fan, SpiderMan, or or even Cinderella fan. The possibilities are endless!
On a side note, why are the 24-count crayons $.09-$.12 per pack right now and the 16-count crayons are almost $1.00? Doesn't make sense, does it? I bought a dozen 24-count packages and gave the extras for my girls to use.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pattern Review: Sweet Pea Purse

I belong to several Yahoo! groups that deal with sewing and/or boutique clothing for children. Most of the sites highly recommend the patterns from You Can Make This. I decided to purchase this purse pattern and give them a try.

I ordered this pattern in the middle of the night and the file was immediately available for download. The instructions were very clear and there are lots of photos to help you along.

I chose several prints with chocolate brown, pink, and a light teal green. I added the teal fabrics at the last minute because I felt my fabrics were too "matchy-matchy". With the exception of the lining and backing fabrics, it takes less than a quarter yard per choice.

This pattern introduced me to fusible quilt batting. It's the coolest thing since sliced bread! It makes the pieces easy to handle and machine quilt (all straight stitching) because the layers don't slide! I can't wait to try this stuff with other projects.

The purse also uses a magnetic snap. It was very easy to install and makes the finished purse seem so.....finished! This little detail gives it a professionally-made appearance.

I did deviate from the pattern just a little. The main thing I did was to NOT make the strap. The strap instructions that come with the pattern are great, but I had a purse with a removeable handle that matched perfectly. I made little loops and sewed them in then sewing the lining onto the outside then clipped the handle on. This way I'll be able to make more purses in lots of colors and just clip the handles off and on. (I'm thinking of looking at thrift stores for more purses with handles like this that I can use!) I also put two pockets on the inside instead of just one.

While this pattern is fairly easy, you do need a little sewing experience to make it, in my opinion. The batting-backed pieces along with the interfaced pieces make for some bulky handling (but that's what gives the bag structure). I plan on using up my scraps and making a few more of these gems in the near future!

Friday, July 27, 2007

And the Winner is.....

Heather from "Running from the Little People" is the winner of the Candy Corn Hairbows! Congratulations, Heather!

Thanks to everyone who entered. This has been a lot of fun! I'll have to do another give-away in the near future.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dog Days of Summer Giveaway--Candy Corn Hairbow!

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting the Dog Days of Summer Giveaway! I'm giving away a Candy Corn Hairbow on a French clip and two yellow ribbon-covered snap clips with bows. Everyone is eligible! Just leave a comment and if you're chosen as the winner on Friday, June 27th I'll contact you to get your address. You don't have to be a blogger to win! International entries are welcome as well. Good Luck!
Be sure to visit Rocks in My Dryer to see all the great giveaways!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Fun in the Sun

Today was a great day to be lazy. After lunch the girls put on their swimsuits and we went outside to the pool. Our pool is about 4 feet across and only about 8 inches deep. The girls had a blast! We like to never got them inside to have a bath and get ready for dinner. They'll both sleep well tonight. It's amazing to me how simple things like a little pool with a little water can keep two little girls happy for hours.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's a Girl!

We are the proud parents of a new little girl....kitty! Her name is Roxanne and she's from the animal rescue where I volunteer. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her. There's a special place in my heart for tuxedo kitties. She's adjusting, but we're sure it will take a while for her to totally acclimate.