Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The snow is melting, but it's still cold. I'm making a big pot of bean and ham soup with the leftover ham from Christmas. It's steaming up the kitchen nicely.
Sandra's Bean and Ham Soup
Makes a ton.
Made this for Rosie's outdoor wedding-- Only had 2 cups left over...

8 cups chicken broth (my homemade chicken broth is condensed)
8 cups water
2 cups mixed beans and barley (soaked)
2 cups pureed carrots
1/2 onion, minced
1 pound chunked spiral-sliced honey ham
spices--paprika; onion powder; oregano; thyme; sage
1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet

Cook two hours. Chill in fridge overnight. Warm slowly and gently.
(Note: The overnight chill allows the barley to soften, making for a creamier soup.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Making paper turkeys for Thanksgiving, today. You will get two birds from each sheet of paper. I used a light card paper. Fold a paper into halves, and then halves again. Forgot to mention sliding the wings down over the body. That will keep it all together without using any glue.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DH made some gingerbread men for the meals-on-wheels folks. He used this recipe. It has very mild spices, and is very soft - good for old folks with bad teeth.
Soft Gingerbread HUBBY LIKES AND WORKS ON HIS DIET - mild spices - excellent!
1 (3.5 ounce) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease baking sheets. On a floured board, roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness, and cut into man shapes using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I just realized I haven't posted yet this month. All of the Halloween decorations finally went out to the garage. It takes a month and a half to create them, and about 2 weeks to dismantle them every year. Now I will have to vacuum the floors now that I can see them! LOL

We've been putting all the bookshelves back into the house, and you know how hard it is for voracious readers to put the books on the shelf without reading them... I did bring in my craft magazines and sort through them.

What craft next? Christmas ornaments and gingerbread houses, of course!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This morning I'm making 'Rice Krispie Treats' without the Rice Krispies. I'm using MaltoMeal's DinoBites instead. I thought they would be a good choice for making nice cheerful Day of the Dead -type skulls. Lots of fruity flavor, too. I don't have enough molds to do a whole batch at once, so I'm doing half at a time.
DinoBite Treat Skulls
16 ounce bag of marshmallows
a big bag of Dino Bites
about 3 Tablespoons of butter

Melted a little over half of the marshmallows, and 2 Tablespoons butter in the microwave on 30 power for 3 minutes. Stir, then dump in a pan with about 5 cups cereal, mix well. Pushed tightly, with buttered hands into the buttered molds, and now I'm waiting for them to cool so I can make the other half.
For face molds I have a large skull, large demon, large witch, and 2 small skulls. There was enough mixture for one of each.
I found the skull molds at http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/
Good prices, and the folks there are very nice.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Good evening!
Three of the contestants were installed in the yard today. Above is Miss Lascaux from France, and Sonja from Iceland. Below is Sadie The Swamp Lady, from Swampland.
I put the ladies out without their sashes, but started making them today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bess, the English witch. She has a broom and a cat with a large round head.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here's Heidi, Miss Switzerland.
She's a 5 foot plastic skeleton. Her hair is a piece of yellow material braided on the ends, and duct taped to the head. Her eyes are blue plastic gemstones glued into the sockets. The sockets and mouth areas were colored in with black permanent marker.
The red sweater is stuffed with plastic grocery bags; the vest is 2 yellow bags, clipped and tied into shape. There is a kerchief on the back of the head that doesn't show from this side.
The bottom is just a dance petticoat with a fleece-like skirt over the top,
It still needs the trim on the vest, but she is basically finished.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

S'mores on a stick Easy, but kids just love them...

barbecue skewers
chocolate (or Candy Melts)
graham crackers, crushed

Put three marshmallows on each skewer.
Melt chocolate on shallow plate in microwave.
Roll marshmallow skewers in chocolate, spooning to cover any bare spots.
Roll in graham cracker crumbs.
Let cool until set. Be prepared for a sugar shock.
I'm going to use these (with 4 marshmallows) to make cattails for a duckpond on a birthday cake.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I have started my Halloween display, a Halloween Beauty Pageant.
This lady is the beauty contestant from the North Pole.

To create her, I started with a stuffed snowman. Then made a garland of silk poinsettias, and sewed them to her head as 'hair' (at this point her hair is not complete). Her skating outfit is made from about 2-inch wide shiny green fabric strips, braided to create the bodice, and left to dangle down to form the skirt.

I will tweak her further as I have more of the contestants made. (The fellow in the background is "The Baron", he's holding some of the trims for me while I work.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I realized I never posted the Directions for ...
Crystallized Sugar Eggs
, you just mix sugar with enough water until it gets like sand for sandcastles.
(If you want a fine crystal, use superfine sugar; if a larger sparkle, just use regular. For a stronger egg, you can add egg white. I don't because too many people are avoiding eggs, and kids like to eat them. )
Pack your mold, and level off. Turn over onto a cookie sheet, remove mold. After you remove them from the molds, cut an equal amount from each end for the 'peep' hole, and butt the 2 together. That keeps the area from drying out like the outside shell.

Here you have 2 options: let dry naturally, or use a very low oven.

When you have a dry shell, pick it up and carefully spoon out the still damp sugar mix, leaving an equal width shell all around. Be careful with the edges of the peep hole. Set back down and let it dry the rest of the way.
When both sides are thoroughly dry, add your designs to the inside, and put together with royal icing.
Pipe along the seam, and add any decorations. Let dry, package, and give away.
That's it.
The Molds you use are just the plastic eggs. They come in 2 parts. You can buy them at Michael's or JoAnne Fabric or just at the dollar store.
Exactly the same technique is used for Christmas ornaments; or to make sugar cubes and decorate them for fancy tea parties or weddings, as well. It's much cheaper than buying them, and you can choose your own size. My daughter's friends used to love those, when she was little.
Found you some directions with pictures.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I've been hunting more Christmas decoration patterns. I found some cute vintage ones for bells, stars and trees wearing little winter hats. I have some vintage trims that I think will look right. I need to go to the storage unit today and dig out my boxes of fabric.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The weather has been more like fall than summer recently, so I've been trying out some cold weather dishes. The original recipe was stuffed in a pumpkin instead of including the puree. I just baked it in a bowl like I do extra bread stuffing at Thanksgiving. Your time may vary depending on how wet you like your stuffing. The family liked it. I used mixed hazelnuts and pecans instead of walnuts, and regular raisins instead of golden ones.
Fall Fruit Stuffing
serves 6
1 can pumpkin puree
6 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark rum (optional)

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
In a large oven-proof bowl, stir together first 8 ingredients. Season with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and mix well.
Heat oven to 350 degrees, bake for about an hour.
variation: Pumpkin puree may be omitted, and stuffing served spooned over pound cake or pumpkin bread, and garnished with whipped cream.
Reviews^^TRACYSUE Nov. 11, 2003 I experimented with this at our Halloween party, I served it with sliced pumpkin pound cake. It was devoured. I did have a little left that would not fit in the pumpkin, I warmed it up and served it over vanilla ice cream, yum-yum. I can't wait to serve this for Thanksgiving.^^ ;; CYNKUEN Oct. 28, 2004 Beautiful presentation and delicious! I mixed the leftovers in oatmeal for breakfast the next day. It did take me longer than the recipe stated to get the pumpkin soft enough to mix in.;;
original recipe (stuffed in a pumpkin instead of including pumpkin puree) from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Stuffed-Pumpkin/Detail.aspx

Friday, July 11, 2008

Today I traced and cut out some patterns for dove and apple Christmas ornaments.

Yes, kiddies, it's time to start thinking about Christmas crafts. I dug out a box of fabric that was missed during the move to storage. Lots of greens and a few reds for apples, and some nice calico to make some doves. I'm thinking of possibly making some trees, as well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I bought a sewing machine! Help Cecil, help! Help Cecil, help!!!

Something came over me... The boys are talking about taking up historical reenacting as archers; the pictures of toys on the internet are so cute (and the patterns are free); I'm going bored out of my mind because my usual crafts mess the house up and we want to sell it...

So I bought one. If I can figure out how to make the silly thing work, I guess I'll be posting some real live crafts.

Check the cabinets for bandaids, everybody - The last time I sewed was in Junior High... and it's no one's business how long ago that was! LOL

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I tried to switch pictures and erased the post! oops

These are the woodburned labels I made for the trees. Nothing special, just log cuts propped up under the trees and bushes to let prospective buyers know what they were seeing.
As always, please click picture for closeup.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lentil and Sausage Bake
1 cup lentils
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 - 1/2 onion, chopped

Wash the lentils, put in a quart pot with 2 cups of the water, and the chopped onion.
Simmer for 15 minutes. Check, if needed add the rest of the water to cover, and cook another 5 minutes, or until soft.
Set aside. It should yield about 3 cups lentils.

1 pound hamburger
1/4 tsp chili powder (the original recipe said cayenne, I didn't have any)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 marjoram
1 tsp powdered sage
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp salt

Mix together and fry in a pan.
When meat is done, mix 2 cups cooked lentil mixture, and 1 cup cooked hamburger mixture.
Put in a small casserole.
Set aside and heat up for dinner. (Hubby had it cold and loved it.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Going great guns to get our house ready to sell.
Not much time for crafts, unless you count wallpapering, packing, or carpet cleaning. I imagine anyone reading this knows how to do that.

Just wanted to put something in a post for April.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dyeing Easter eggs ala Martha Stewart (with my own changes).
My eggs are home-laid brown and green ones, so if you use store-bought white eggs you will get a slightly different look.
I used a dozen eggs, but one tie only wrapped 7. I put the rest in the pot to fill it up, and give the kids some to eat.
Dying Easter eggs ala Martha Stewart (with my own changes)
1 dozen eggs
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 silk tie with a design or colors you like
twist tie for each egg
water to cover
deep pot

Cut the tie long enough to wrap around each egg, and secure with a twist tie.
Put the 1/2 cup vinegar in the pot, add the wrapped eggs, and water to cover.
Simmer as usual, until they are as done as you like. For the size eggs we have, I usually simmer for 7 - 9 minutes.
Drain hot water. Rinse with cold water.
Remove the wrapped eggs to a plate to cool. DO NOT unwrap until they are cold! They will smear a little.
When the wrapped eggs are cool, remove the twist ties and cloth, and let dry.
The loose eggs, you can just rinse and use as usual. They will be all speckled because of the vinegar. (The upper right and upper left eggs were unwrapped ones.)
If you want the eggs speckled without using the tie, just put vinegar and coloring in when you cook them.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Decorated sugar cookies for March Madness...
The way basketball fans see the world.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Toilet roll tube reindeer/moose

For each reindeer/moose you need:
1 toilet roll tube
pair of googly eyes
small pinecone for nose (the green nose is actually a small stud earring)
ponytail holders
Hair clip
black felt tip pen

Cut 2 large, and 2 small areas from the bottom of the paper roll to make legs. Color in tips with the pen, to make the hooves. The picture below shows the cut areas. Glue on eyes, and nose. Use felt tip pen if you want a mouth. Stretch pony tail holders to form harness.
Add hair clips for antlers.
Place in snowy landscape or let them scamper through the woods...
I tried to give you two different looks. You could also use pompoms for the nose, buttons for eyes, or pipe cleaners for the antlers. The kids didn't want ears, but you could glue some on, made from the scraps you cut out to make the legs.

Friday, February 29, 2008

My mother's chili was so hot...

My mother's chili was so hot...

The natives used to toss her chili in when they wanted the volcano to erupt...

Dragons called our house the 'gas station' ....

The pastor used her chili to illustrate the flames of Hell...

You could start a fire with 2 beans and some wet wood...

We called it chili con carnage...

It would strip paint at 50 paces...

We had to post bio-hazard warning signs...

No need for tear gas, just toss the chili !

It's where they got the idea for 'Burning Man'...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

......Happy Valentine's Day!........
These are folded just like snowflakes out of pale pink paper. Some folded as 6 points, some as 8 points.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Melissa's No-Fail Sugar Cookies Recipe

Melissa's No-Fail Sugar Cookies Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes
I roll the fresh dough between 2 sheets of parchment to the thickness wanted (put it right on the cookie sheet), pop in the fridge for a little; lift off the top sheet and cut the cookies removing most of the excess around them; into the freezer it goes until they're hard; take it out, remove any remaining extra, put them the proper distance from each other and right into the oven they go...
I could not believe how much easier to handle and how much BETTER looking they are when I do this.
I USE THIS RECIPE for peanut butter cut-outs. Replace roughly 1/2 cup peanut butter (be sure to add a pinch of extra salt ) it makes the peanut flavor 'pop'.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rag Wreath instructions

1 12 inch foam heart, or wreath shape of your choice
Several yards of fabric
a crochet hook, or chopstick
I used 2 old french earring hooks, and a length of thread for the hanger because that's what was laying around

Cut many, many 3inch by 3inch squares or diamonds from your fabric with pinking shears. You can also use circles to give a slightly different appearance, but the squares and diamonds waste less fabric.
Start at the center front.
Fold a square around the tip of the hook or stick, with the tip in the center. Dip the tip in glue, press into the foam heart, remove hook.Try to keep the squares in a straight line. Starting in the front helps to keep the line straight. You can veer around a bit as you get to the sides to create the fullness you like.
This is the back. I left it empty so it will hang flat on the wall, but they can be covered all around if hanging in a window.This is one of the French hooks. I just tied some doubled thread between them and inserted the hooks into the foam for a hanger. You can also use bent wire to make a hook. The wreaths are quite light. I have made other wreaths for fall, Halloween, Christmas, I even gave one for a wedding present that was made from antique lace!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Here are some Coconut Cranberry Chews I made for last Thanksgiving.
I added thinly-sliced preserved papaya and red currents to the dough as part of the fruit measure. It didn't say to, but I chopped the dried fruit. (I put the orange zest in by eye, as there is no measurement for it in the recipe.)
A half recipe made 50 cookies - YUMMY!
Coconut-Cranberry Chews makes 7-8 dozen cookies
1½ cups (¾ lb.) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups dried cranberries
1½ cups sweetened flaked dried coconut

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, beat 1½ cups butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in egg until well blended.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together. Mix in cranberries and coconut.

Shape dough into 3/4 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered baking sheets.

Bake at 350° F until edges just begin to brown, 11 to 15 minutes. If baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely. (sunset magazine)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's chilly today, so we made some Spring flowers
pipe cleaners (chenille stems) - 7 each of pink, yellow, green, blue, and violet; 3 white, 1 orange.
1 4 inch Styrofoam circle - I used one dismantled from another project
white glue

Starting at the bottom of the foam circle, apply pipe cleaners. Bend each end slightly, add glue and insert into the foam. They will not reach quite all the way around. I started with pink, then yellow, blue and purple to mimic the rainbow. You can glue the whole length if you want to.When the side is covered, take shorter pieces of stems, bending the ends, and insert them with a blob of glue ( into the bottom and into the top surfaces) around the circle from top to bottom. This will help to hold the horizontal stems in place. I made my first upright opposite the gap in coverage. Insert 2 more equal distances between front and the back gap. Fill the back gap the same way, I used one pink in the middle of the gap and continued out in the rainbow. (My daughter made hers with the filled gap in front, she said it reminded her of a bow.)
Twist the 3 white stems together to make a strong 'trunk', fold one each of the colors in half to make the petals of the umbrella arch; and twist together at the ends to create the arch. Add a blob of glue and insert into the foam near the back.
Extra pipe cleaners can be made into the garden flowers and the pink butterfly.
Make sure the weight is balanced, as the back umbrella rainbow arch is quite heavy and could cause it to tip over. The purple flower on the front along with careful placement of the garden flowers was enough to keep it quite balanced.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1930's girl retro cut-up cake

I decided to try a retro cut up cake. She was made with a 9 x 13 cake and a small round.
First I trimmed the edges, then cut away for her waist. Cut triangles to give her a nice bust and some skinny shoulders, used part of the cut away triangles to make her arms. I made the icing white, so you could see where she was glued together. Her head is big like a cartoon.
She was frosted in 2 main colors, dress and body. Used a little Nestle Quik to make her skin color, I wanted the little freckly imperfections from the cocoa in it. Squiggled yellow through a #81 Wilton tip for her hair. The details are made from Wilton Cocoa Candy Melts. I just outlined her like a cartoon with a small round tip (you could use the tip snipped from a plastic bag). Her neck fringe used a leaf tip. And the result - a little cartoon 1930's girl.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

This is the first post of Leah's crafts and doodads. I will put craft instructions and pictures here, along with a few recipes.
I hope that people get some enjoyment out of my blog, and find some new and interesting things to make.
This is a teddy made of yo-yo balls, that my daughter made many years ago. I've been searching all over for the instructions for it, but came up empty. However, the family member she gave it to still had it. I will be posting the instructions for this toy first.
I wanted to make them for an ornament exchange, but we didn't find it until a short time ago. Maybe next year...