Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sharing Time - Holiday Gifts 2011 Part 1

I was trying to get volunteers to post their craft tutorials here, but silly me, it's so busy this time of year. So to help you with your holiday making, I'm linking to some of my favorites.

Oversized Beach Tote - at MaidenJane blog This HUGE tote is not only perfect for the Beach, but also for hauling around those great piles of gifts and goodies for family Holiday parties. Don't want to make it yourself? You can buy it at MaidenJane.etsy.com

Jane also has more wonderful Tutorials, check out her blog.




OliveBites is another great Blog. Cat, of Polarity and Uncorked loves to upcycle. This tutorial is for a Upcycled Ruler Picture Frame. Too cute! Comb through her blog for more great ideas.

I found this Great Doily Lamp Shade tutorial on Pinterest I want to make it so bad.

How about a delicious Sugar Scrub? Find the recipe here. I love to make homemade Bath and Cosmetic gifts, they are so appreciated.

I absolutely Adore Adore Adore this Treat Stand, and plan to make one for us and for gifts this year.

Pinterest is a GREAT place to find tutorials. Search DIY, but please click through to see if they are really tutorials or pins of Handmade Seller items.

I'll bring you more next week too. Happy Crafting

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life on Mars - Family Dinners and Black Friday Shopping

So we decided we were going to have the Thanksgiving dinner ourselves and not go over to Poppy's in laws because - well their house and cleaning habits are - well - I'm not going to say really. Lets just say I don't like sitting an barely wiped off cat barf, drinking out of greasy glasses, or having their huge dogs nose in my crotch while I'm trying to pretend I'm eating somewhere else.

While our house is not the greatest, our cats will not jump on the table while we are eating and we can manage to keep the room we're eating in clean for at least a day. Although we do have a lot of clutter, it's clean clutter.

Then, on Wednesday, boy child #1 says "Grandma is swearing and having a fit because our house is filthy and she doesn't want to have dinner over at our house." So I immediately take over some extra food we had for them and trip over the junk in the hall and say, "Wow this hall is really a mess" and look in the living room and say "Good thing we're having dinner. Looks like you wouldn't have had time to clean up everything anyway." All in a very pleasant tone with a big smile on my face.

Poppy and I were busy with the baby, cleaning and setting up everything for dinner. Poppy spent a little time next door and came back stating that MIL won't be coming to dinner, because she's had runs for 4 days. Well I happen to know that's not true, because the first day she was helping us with the baby, the second day I took her up to the church, and the third day she was just bitching about our house and never said a word about being sick.

Poppy told her that if she was sick for so long, that maybe she should go to the hospital and maybe if it's that bad Luna better go to the doctor and get checked too. Later that day MIL came over and said she wasn't sick when she was watching Luna and she could probably come to dinner because she hadn't been sick all day, even though she just said she was a few hours earlier.

Even though it was an insane and crazy morning and afternoon, when it came time for dinner, the house was beautiful, the food was fantastic and everyone had a great time. No fights, no fuss. MIL said grace, because we don't know any, FIL said the house seemed bigger that theirs (even though it's half the size, it's just cleaner) and the kids actually sat quietly for a minute and enjoyed their meal. A perfect end to a crazy week.

Poppy and Luna took a nap before they went out shopping with Daddy at 10 PM to 3 AM. They want to several stores to price match the Best Buy ads. She only got a few things and some of the stores didn't give them all the matched prices.

At 9 AM I went online and found almost everything she wanted at Best Buy. She ordered there and now she has to return the other things. lol Next year do your Black Friday shopping from the living room Poppy!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's Cooking? - Cranberry Orange Relish

I really should have posted this before Thanksgiving, but I forgot! I love this homemade Cranberry relish so much, that I sometimes eat it with a spoon in a dish. (shhh! don't tell)

Well some people like Turkey and relish for Christmas and some people just like cranberries. This whole darn recipe is great to help with the bloating from all the salty ham you might eat too. Mmmm open face Ham on French Toast with Cranberry relish. Yum!


Cranberry Orange Relish

One package whole fresh Cranberries
One package Frozen Orange Juice
1 cup sugar

In a large saucepan, heat the frozen orange juice till thawed. Stir in the one cup of sugar. With heat on high, add the package of washed cranberries. Heat on high. The cranberries will pop. Heat stirring constantly until the cranberries stop popping. Remove from heat. Relish will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate and serve cold.

If your kids like to cook, they will love making this. The popping is so much fun.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Talking Turkey

OK, so Lets talk Turkey. I hope all my US friends had a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday and had lots of Turkey to eat. I'm talking about the real stuff, not that tofurkey stuff you vegans eat. C'mon why does a bird have more right to live in this world than a bean anyhow? A bean never took a humongous dump on my head while I was walking around the amusement park last summer.

I'm not here to argue philosophy with you today I'm here to tell you how wonderful our two real turkeys were this year. Yes two. No we are not suddenly rich, both were given to us. No, not rich in money, just rich with kind neighbors (yeah, some of them are and sometimes even the crazy ones are nice).

The night before Thanksgiving we saw a new way to cook turkey on the local news. Poppy and I were tempted. We did have an extra turkey and all the ingredients so the next day we went for it. Two delicious and different turkeys. Both recipes use a stick of butter, so don't think your bird will be healthy. It's a freaking holiday! Enjoy life!

Don't know what we will do next year. I think we might get 2 small birds and cook the 2 ways again. More drumsticks all around!

Here are our recipes for those of you who cook turkey for other holidays, and to keep for next Thanksgiving.


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Our Traditional Turkey Style

Not my mothers recipe, one we saw on Food channel years ago and fell in love with. Use your own stuffing or for a faster bird leave empty.

1 stick softened butter
salt
pepper
garlic powder

Wash and dry thawed or fresh turkey. Stuff if you're using stuffing. Above the neck cavity, slide your very clean hands under the skin loosening it without tearing. It will separate pretty easily from the meat of the breast. Just do it to the breast area. Take handfuls of the soft butter and smoosh it under the skin. Yes that's a professional term ;)

Take the last bit of butter and slather the top. Salt, pepper and garlic powder the bird and rub it everywhere. Make sure you have one of those pop up timer cause they are the BEST way to tell if a turkey is done. Pop in the oven at 350 deg F in a roaster on a rack and do not touch it. Do not baste it, do not move it until that little timer pops up.  The skin crisps and holds in the moisture so you don't have to baste and the fat drips off into the roasting pan. Great for yummy gravy.

Dying for bird two? It's a great one too.


*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*~*❀*


Fruit Stuffed Turkey in a Brown Paper Bag


one stick butter
one large orange
one large lemon
one pear
one large onion
2 stalks celery cut up
cooking oil
one brown paper grocery bag

Because you have to put the turkey in a bag, I'm not sure this is suitable for a turkey over 20 lbs.

Cut the fruit and onion into eights and put in a large bowl. Cut the celery into 2 or 3 inch sections and place in bowl. Toss till evenly mixed and put this mixture in the turkey cavities at both ends. If there is not enough you can add a bit more of whatever you have. Rub down the bird with oil. I used safflower, but you could use anything you like, just remember this will be a citrus flavored bird.

Take the stick of butter and coat the inside of the paper bag. Yes really. All over the inside till it's all used up.
Place the stuffed bird in the bag and roll up the ends to seal in. You can staple shut, but we have a lot of straight pins so I used that. Place in roasting pan in a 350 degree F oven and cook for about 15 minutes per pound. I did this and it was perfect, It had a timer and it had popped when the time was over. Open the bag and you will have a beautifully brown citrus scented bird. Pull it out and let it rest FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR. If you cut it too soon all that yummy moisture will be gone.

This bird kept the heat in much longer. I had to let it cool down a bit more than an hour, but it was unbelievably moist and delicious. The smell of the citrus was soo wonderful too. I just can't decide which I loved better.

Have fun with your cooking, and don't get stuck in a rut. If you're game to try something new, you don't have to give up the old. After all, the birds cost the same per pound if you have one or two of them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This is mostly for those in the US, but why not take this time to be thankful for what you have. In our family we celebrate many international Holidays. I even had the opportunity to spend a Thanksgiving in China. You can read about it here if you're curious.

I'm posting this before Thanksgiving so you have a little love before your family who you DO love dearly drives you crazy with the noise and the arguing and the I wish I was somewhere else and the over stuffing and the mess to clean.

I wanted, first of all, to let you all know how much I appreciate every single one of you. Yes you. You who reads my blog, you who supports me, you who tweets with me and listens to my troubles and my joys. You are my friend, and I would be nothing but a sad mess without you.

I am also grateful for the friends and strangers who have helped my family through our struggles in the past few years. How kind and wonderful to share in even these tough times. Your kindness has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

So this year, close your ears to the arguing, you're loved ones are with you; be thankful for the mess, because it meant you had a huge table of food; and if you're like me, mentally block out the football games.


Wishing all my friends a Very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sharing Time - DIY Painted Shoe Rug

Thanks so much Maiden Jane for sharing your tutorial

DIY - Painted Shoe Rug



Does your mud room or entrance way look like this?  Do your kids use the "kick and flick" method of taking off their shoes?





Do you want it to look neat and orderly like this?





Then paint up this fun, whimsical shoe rug!





This rug can be customized to the shoe sizes that your kids wear.  It can be a gentle reminder to your guests to remove their shoes or boots.  It can be placed in front of the door to remind your guests to step on the rug and not your clean tile floor!



However you wish to use the rug, you will need less than an hour to make it.



Supplies

  • Rug.  I selected a rug that is washable.  I would recommend a rug that does not have a high nap.  This rug has a boucle yarn, but is fairly dense.  I think a jute rug would work well.
  • Fabric paint.  I used Tulip Soft fabric paint.
  • Various size paint brushes
  • Washable marker
  • Shoes




1.   Layout shoes on the rug and trace using a washable marker.







2. Using a thin paint brush, paint along the outline of the shoes.





3. Fill in the space using a wider paint brush.





4. Allow paint to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.





Enjoy!







Thanks, akaCinders for letting me share on your blog!  Come join the fun:



on Twitter

on Facebook

on Etsy

on my blog.



Don't feel like painting a rug?  I'll paint one for you - here!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life on Mars - Babies and Holidays

Another Hectic week. Luna is still settling in and I've forgotten how to handle a babe. Well it has been 8 years since Poppy had her last. So this week I grabbed Luna from Poppy to help her out and sat right down in a plate of leftover Riggie Sauce. Had to hand her back to change my clothes.

Tried to put up some Christmas decorations. Had such a horrible winter last year that most of the lights were ice damaged. It happened so suddenly that there was nothing we could do about it. Heavy Snow melting from roof froze. Our Penguins were one big block of ice, but I was able to save them - until sometime this fall.

The Penguins were under the porch in plastic bags. I looked and looked, but only one bag. I swear there were two. Maybe I was wrong. Nope only 2 penguins holding the letters O and Y. No J penguin. Looks like Poppy's FIL thought one of the bags was garbage and threw it out with the recycling. Not too angry, just kind of sad, I set out the two penguins and was resolved to have a Hanukkah display, spelling Oy! instead of Joy.

Then I had a brilliant Idea. We had Candy Cane path lights. I took one and hung it upside down in front of the O and Y Penguins. And this is what it looks like.

Not the Greatest Picture. But you get the idea. I didn't feel like setting up the manual settings, so I shot on auto. What's that saying? Desperation  FrankZappa Necessity is the Mother of Invention?

No one will dampen my Christmas Spirit I say! Can't wait to see what Thanksgiving has in store for us.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bizz Buzz - Oh My Handmade Goodness

I have so many things on my plate right now I can Hardly find which Fork or Spoon to eat with and don't we eat the peas with the Butter knife? (the butter helps keep the peas on, yes?)

I love to share tips with you, but sometimes I just don't have the time to share my advice, so I wanted to share with you a truly wonderful site, if you haven't already started reading it. Sellers please subscribe to the Oh My Handmade Goodness daily emails, you will not be sorry.

The Blog is the work of a loving and sharing team and it is just full of wonderful ideas to make your business more successful. Please stop by and give it a look today.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sharing Time - Why Tutorials?

I made a tutorial for my Felt Poppy Flowers last Week and I bet many of you were wondering why she would give away instructions on how to make her flowers.

I did "invent" the process I use and no one out there is making felt flowers the way I do. The process is also really only successful for handmade. The flowers couldn't be mass produced on a conveyor belt, but they could be handmade in a third world country by craftspeople. I have seen this kind of work done by hand in Asia.

So why would I share my "secret"? Sellers who are afraid to post tutorials assume that the population that read your posts are even capable of making what you make. The non crafting population of the world, wouldn't even begin to know how, or is capable of recreating what we make. You are more talented than that.

I saw some gift tags on Pinterest that were labeled DIY salt dough.  I clicked through to the blog. It was a seller who makes earthenware clay tags. She was flattered by the popularity, but irked at the constant contact questions on how hers turn out so nice and theirs didn't. See Marley and Lockyer

I guess my point is that giving instructions to a non crafter, will only show them why they need to buy from us, and anyone who really crafts will be able to just look at what you sell and make it themselves without a tutorial. There are very few things on Artfire, Etsy or other sites that I can't look at and figure out the materials and processes and reproduce them for myself. I often do this for gifts, but never for resale. I try to be original, and at least use my own patterns on my fabric shop.

If any of you artists or crafters have tutorials you want to share. Contact me and I will post them here. Even older ones. Lets help our friends make gifts and our potential customers find their way to our shops.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life on Mars - Kids

For those of you that have kids, you'll know what I'm talking about. It never ends. The worry they cause you and the endless joy they bring. We have a new member to the family line. I'm a little kooky and who would have ever thought that I would have not only had children, but a lineage as long as this one, thanks to my prolific DD. Of course they are all a bunch of kooks too.

This last week we had a little scare with the beautiful new GD Luna.  She had jaundice and lost too much weight.  She had to be on a silly little lighted belt to clear her out and now she's doing better. Still not enough added weight though. The jaundice can cause brain damage and blindness, and we don't want that.

Poppy, my DD, has had a few issues too, although not serious. Her pregnancy was really easy this time, but the after has not been the smoothest. Hopefully things will get better soon. Luna is one beautiful babe.

For those of you who know about my DS I'll give you an update. I swear things will never go well for him. Here is a link to a longer version of his story "Someone Tweeted Dental Floss". His story is that He was born with a very serious heart defect, surgery at birth, open heart at 1 and 19 and at 34 the valves he had replaced are leaking.

DS tried for 2 years to get on SS disability, because he can't work and needs surgery. Fought the government for 2 years and finally won, and even though he applied 2 years ago, they are cheating him out of his back pay. Now on Medicaid, they are giving him a hard time about transferring to another state. His surgery is one that no one in his state will perform. He's running out of time. The longer he waits, the more irreversible damage is done to his heart. He looked OK last year, but his recent pics scare me. He needs this surgery soon.

I also want to thank everyone who donated to his cost to get my DS to Cleveland for his surgery. He is making only enough to live on and has thousands in medical bills that should have been covered, but are not going to be. He will still have expenses when he comes to Cleveland if he ever gets here.

So kids! I know you know what I mean. Even when they are doing good and are healthy you worry. Parents, if you aren't familiar with the Bowie song Kooks, you must listen to this.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's Cooking? - Oyster Casserole

This is my favorite Thanksgiving recipe. I actually love Oyster stuffing, something like the Natives might have made for the Pilgrims. Corn Bread, Pecan, Oyster and Celery stuffing. But not everyone in the family likes Oysters and most prefer traditional stuffing. I used to hate it, because my mom made it too pasty and always had problems cooking the bird.

I'll never forget the year she cooked a frozen Turkey and served it raw. My Uncle by marriage to her sister, sat and politely ate, until we took it away from him. We didn't have microwaves back then, so it was another 2 hours in the oven while we ate the sides first. Turkey was an after dinner snack.

We don't always make the oysters, because they are expensive and only a few of us like them (me) so on the years we do it's quite a treat. The funny thing is, they taste even better cold the next day, and the crackers are the best part.

1 Pint Raw Oysters
1 Stick Butter
1 Pint Heavy Cream
1/2 box of Saltine Crackers crushed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Grease a small casserole or souffle dish. Divide crackers into thirds, Line the bottom of the dish with 1/3 of the crackers. Top with 1/2 of the oysters. Dot the oysters with 1/2 stick of butter sliced, sale and pepper. Cover with another 1/3 of the crackers and repeat the oyster layer. Top with remaining crackers. Pour the Cream over the casserole, making sure to distribute as well as you can.

Bake your casserole uncovered at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let the casserole stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Evah! - The New Car - Part Deux

So you've seen the pics of the new car, and maybe you've heard my fears about passing inspection. We only have an emissions check in Ohio, but some things are an automatic fail. Cracked windshield that blocks view (cracked, but doesn't block view) Drivers door not opening (but I slide over the center console just fine) or check engine light on (only occasional).

With only 2 days left on my temporary tag I had to get the car inspected. Drivers door was an odd situation but I fixed it. The door panel, not attached at the bottom, was sticking to the teeth of the rubber trim. It pulled out a spot so bad that the steel teeth were loosened enough to bite onto the loose door panel, holding it shut. Good thing I'm handy around metal :)

Now holding me back was the darn check Engine light which was now ON. Sometime just driving around works. I drove to the E-Check station, praying that the light would go off. No luck. So I drove around a little bit and it was still on. Oh well, I guess I just get another 30 day tag so back to the Inspection place to get a fail.

I pull in and start talking to the guy there. He tells me my options, then notices that I just bought the car and runs the title. The car passed inspection in April, I don't have to get it checked. Sometimes your prayers are answered in ways you never expect.  I don't have to get another inspection until April of 2013.

After all that worrying and stress I didn't even have to take the test. And as for my car? The check engine light went out as soon as I got out on the road.

Sharing Time - DIY Flame Sculpted Poppy

This is my first experiment with Hosting a PDF. Because the economy is not so great, I thought it would be nice to offer a free PDF for you to get a leg up on Holiday gifts. I will also be hosting another tutorial soon by Maiden Jane an Etsy seller and blogger at MaidenJane.blogspot.com

Flame Sculpted Poppy Tutorial

Just click on the image or the link above to take you to the FREE printable PDF tutorial. The site is a teeny bit spammy, because it is free. But there are few sites out there that aren't. I'm referring to Facebook in particular.

You can use this to make jewelry like the one pictured, or use your imagination. You must use the eco felt, because that is made out of plastic that can be formed. Don't use any other material, or hold the flame too long on the felt, or you will have a hot flaming mess.

If you feel brave enough to try it, you can make some pretty wonderful gifts for your loved ones. And remember, the pattern is copyrighted, so it's just for you and your friends and family, not to resell.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life on Mars - Oh it Was a Week

I guess it Started Late on the 29th. Poppy had been having contractions on and off for Days so her DH was late to work. He dashed to his car and slid down our muddy hill, fell on his arm and tore a few ligaments and a little muscle. With Right (dominant) arm twice as big as it was, he eventually got a brace and looks a lot like RoboDad. But at least he would be off work when the baby was born.

Halloween was pretty uneventful. Lots of Trick or Treaters and no sign of a Baby. The boys were relieved. Better Luna not come until the 1st.

Tuesday, November 1st was when Poppy was scheduled for induction. We all went in and it took 12 hours but finally Luna made it. Beautiful BIG 9 pound 3 ounce baby girl. I went home with the boys and we all left mom and baby alone to bond.

Wednesday Morning B and I were getting the boys ready for school. He was planning to take the Dink on his way to the Hospital, Em went on the Early Bus. Just getting Dink Ready and I got a call from the school about Em. I didn't say anything to B, but he said "Let me guess, he ripped his pants again" Yep so he had to find a pair of pants to take to school.

Later in the Day I got a call from school that Dink fell on playground equipment and got a black eye. You can kind of see his shiner in the picture below.


Luna and Poppy Came Home on Thursday. Luna was a little jaundiced, but Everything looked OK. She was so good not to come on Halloween and not on Emerson's Birthday, Nov 7th, today actually. But she did have her first checkup and things were not exactly perfect. Still a bit too jaundiced and loosing a bit too much weight. So Luna had a visit from the medical supply company and today she is a glowworm.



That's a Biliblanket. Fiber optics shoot UV's from a light pump to Little Luna's middle all around her little body. Amazing what they can do these days. She will be bathed in light until she gets all that nasty junk out of that sweet little body. Better than staying in the Hospital. Sending lots of positive energy your way Luna, cause she has to get her foot stuck every day until she's better.

Here's hoping that next week well be much less eventful.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's Cooking - Corn Souffle

Sunrise on the lake this morning was beautiful. Variegated bands of Rose and Aqua, through the bare trees, reflected on the lake. The bare trees reminded me that somehow I missed the fall colors this year. I think it didn't last long, and I was a very busy girl woman.

I've missed a bit here, so I want to make it up to you. Some of my family Thanksgiving recipes. Here's one that we wouldn't love without, or would the kids. We call it Corn Souffle, but it's also called Corn Scallop and our version is not so fluffy, so Scallop might be a better name. Maybe Corn Casserole is best. Call it whatever you want. It's out of this world.

CORN SOUFFLE                                                  

1 can whole kernel corn undrained
1 can cream style corn
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 small package of corn muffin mix (like Jiffy)
dash of salt 

Mix all ingredients by hand until dry mix is moistened and ingredients are distributed well.

Pour into a greased casserole or souffle dish. Bake at 350 deg F for 35 to 40 minutes. It should be moist and firm, but not wet in the middle. Top should be lightly brown. It will puff up in the oven, but flatten back when cooled.

Serve warm. I like to add a pat of butter on top to make mine even more decadent.


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