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!)