Friday, November 29, 2013

SO THE DECORATING BEGINS

THIS ONE ALMOST TOO EASY.....THE MAILBOX

 The finished product!  Good thing this does not take long as Jack Frost was in Eagle, Idaho last night!

All you need for this project is a swag (this one from Hobby Lobby 22x28), indoor-outdoor pre-made ribbons and some ribbon to tie around the mailbox.
First I tied a wide grosgrain (green) ribbon around the mailbox and tied a knot (firmly).  Next I bent the swag the shape of the mailbox and using the ends of the ribbon firmly attached the swag to the mailbox.  Then (I used 3) attach the pre-made indoor/outdoor ribbons, two in the front and one in the back.  I think the mailbox looks so much more festive all dressed up for Christmas!

Source:

Ribbon, Michael's
Swag, Hobby Lobby
Pre-made indoor/outdoor bows, Walmart
 
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


When all the leaves are off the boughs,
And nuts and apples gathered in,
And cornstalks waiting for the cows,
And pumpkins safe in barn and bin,
Then Mother says, "My children dear,
The fields are brown, and autumn flies;
Thanksgiving Day is very near,
And we must make thanksgiving pies!"
Unknown author 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thanks for stopping by.............

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

IT'S ALMOST THANKSGIVING - THE KIDS TABLE


This will probably be the last year for the kids table as alas they grow so fast.  I love doing this table.  It is a  little red card table and chairs that I purchased at Target when I had my first grandchild.  Because we live so far apart it has not seen a lot of action but I love using it whenever I can.
Since a candle would not be appropriate for the children I thought this little organic turkey would do just fine, as it turns out a cocktail napkin is the perfect size for a linen napkin for wee-ones.
 Their favor is a Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies treat with chocolate and chocolate covered sunflower seeds.  Of course, they have to save the treat for dessert! Please see my post of November 18th. if  you would like the recipe. 
When I purchased this set it was red for Christmas and I also purchased a tablecloth and napkins.  When Easter came around I made a simple cloth and chair covers, napkins out of some Easter looking fabric and did the same for Thanksgiving.  Just measure your table account for overhang and seam allowance and it comes together very fast.  On this Thanksgiving/fall set I could not find any fabric I liked so I used flannel backed oil cloth and that is really easy.  To finish off the edges of the tablecloth I added multicolored ric-rac and the chair back are very simple.  Just make a pattern of the chair back, cut it out allowing for seam allowance and then because it is oil cloth just use pinking shears to clip the bottom.  
You can see here that you just make a simple envelope for the chair cover. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Resource:
Dishes, previous year at Pottery Barn Kids
Forks & Spoons, IKEA
Turkey, Previous year Williams Sonoma
Oil Cloth Fabric, Hobby Lobby
 




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TOOLS OF THE TRADE TUESDAY

DAISY CUT MASON JAR LIDS
These little jar lids that are the standard size for canning jars (not wide mouth) are a great thing to keep around for a myriad of uses.....Potpourri, candles, drinks, etc. Only limited by your craft imagination. They will also fit standard size other jars so are great for recycling those jars we all keep.
Here is all you will need to make a cute jar of potpourri for a quick gift, some old (or new) potpourri, coordinating ribbon, coordinating pipe cleaner and whatever add-on you prefer, in my case I had picked up some little pine cones on a recent trip to Oregon and thought it would look cute on this jar.
Finished product! Did not take more than ten minutes to put this together.

The lids have a hole cut into the center so they can also be used for drinks.  I did one here by just inserting a cute straw, then adding a little name tag with the name of the birthday girl and the name of the friend & a cute graphic and then added a little bakers twine to attach.  

Here is a quick recipe for party punch for kids:
1 lg. can lemonade concentrate, frozen
1 lg. can frozen apple juice concentrate
1 lg. can frozen orange juice concentrate
2 liter bottles of Ginger Ale

 
Here is a little something for the adults - for a Mojito and the recipe is on the tag!
You can also use these for candles, especially cute with the little jars.  All I did was spray paint the lid red, add a ribbon, a votive candle and a little festive add-on and you have a cute candle. 

Thanks for stopping by today!




Resource: Lids, craft and hobby stores and online

Ribbon, Michaels
Pine cone, mother nature
Holly Berry tie-on, Hobby Lobby
Straws & Bakers Twine, Hobby Lobby
Birthday Graphic, Google graphics (it was a free graphic)
Potpourri, Home Goods













Monday, November 25, 2013


COMPANY COMING!!!
Guests are coming.........hmmmmm......need that check list!

1. Clean house (x)
2. Sweep sidewalk, water flowers & dust fall wreath(x)
3. Iron top sheet and pillowcases for guestroom(x)
4. Fresh towels and lots of washcloths for guest bath(x)
5. New bar of soap in the guest bath(x)
6. List of network passwords in guest room(x)
7. MP3 player that also will charge iPhone in guest room(x)
8. Nuts & Mints in guest room(x)
9. Bottled water in fridge(x)
10. Welcome gifts for guests(x)
11. Plenty of empty hangers in guest closet(x)
12. Snacks for guests(x)
13. Activities planned(x)
14. Menu's planned(x)
15. Cookies & wine cake made........yikes NO, have to stop blogging and
start baking.


Little framed message in our guest room that pretty much says how we feel about our guests! We live far away from a large percentage of friends and family and so appreciate the effort it takes to make a trip to another state and we appreciate their time, money spent and effort.  The ties that bind.

Thanks for stopping by!


                     

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MAPLE SPICE CUPCAKES WITH WALNUT DUST & MAPLE WALNUT ICE CREAM FOR THE STEEL MAGS!


The Alzheimer's Idaho (local grass roots organization) is meeting early this month because of the holiday.  I volunteer for this wonderful organization and one of the things I do is make the dessert for the monthly support group dinner.  They love dessert and they love ice cream so I try and make them happy!

MAPLE-SPICE CUPCAKES


Easy recipe as you start with a cake mix and then add a few other ingredients.

1 Box Spice cake mix, any brand
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup melted, cooled butter or oil, your preference
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste)
3 eggs, room temp*
1/4 cup real maple syrup

In your mixer mix together the cake mix and the cinnamon, in a bowl mix together all the rest of the ingredients and then gradually add them to the mixer.  When mixing the dry ingredients make sure you have your mixer on low to avoid a flour storm in your kitchen! Mix until thoroughly mixed together.

Using a scoop put the mixture into 24 cupcake papers in your cupcake pans.

Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven

*With room temperature eggs, the whites and yolks will combine easier when whisking. This means that the eggs will disperse more evenly into the batter, making for even cooking and a lighter texture (because the eggs trap air). To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, soak them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. Always do this when baking for a better end product.


Let the cupcakes cool on racks while you are making the yummy frosting.

FIRM WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING 

I think of this frosting recipe as the "little black dress" of frosting because you can do so many things with the recipe and change it and it is always wonderful.  I love whipped cream frosting because it is not as sweet as typical frosting (you know, a cupcake, what is it? A delivery system for frosting, duh). But regular whipped cream frosting has to be in the fridge until ready to serve and this one does not.  You can add food color to it and make it pink and add strawberries or raspberries, put a little chocolate in it and frost a cake and add chocolate curls, buy an angel food cake and slice in half and add some raspberry jam and then frost with this frosting that you had added the raspberries to - only limited by your culinary imagination.

1 - 8oz package reduced fat (NOT fat-free) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract*
2 cups heavy cream
*for these cupcakes I substituted the almond with 1/4 teaspoon of maple extract

In your mixer with the paddle attachment whip until creamy the softened cream cheese and the sugar, then replace with the wire beater and add the rest of the ingredients and whip until the frosting holds a stiff peak, stop a couple of times and scrape down the sides a couple of times.

I put the frosting into a piping bag and piped the frosting onto the cupcakes.  I promise you this is the easiest frosting ever and you can come out with a beautiful product without not much effort.

Because it is Thanksgiving I splurged and bought a box of Mount Mandsfield pure maple sugar candy and topped each cupcake with the maple leaf candy and a dusting of walnut dust.



MAPLE-WALNUT ICE CREAM

I used my normal vanilla ice cream recipe and made changes as noted below.

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste)
Maple Nut: add 2T pure maple syrup & wet walnuts,that have been toasted
In your mixer mix together the milk and the sugar, then add the heavy cream the vanilla and the maple syrup.
Put into your ice cream for about 25-30 minutes until creamy then add the walnuts and let it mix for about 5 minutes and then put into containers and put in the freezer as this will be very soft and creamy and will need to be put into the freezer.
 
Wet Walnuts - For Maple Walnut Ice Cream
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon dark maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and very coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Heat the maple syrup in a small skillet or saucepan until it just begins to come to a full boil. Stir in the walnuts and salt, and cook until the liquid comes to a full boil once more. Stir the nuts for 10 seconds, then remove them from the heat and let cool completely before using. The nuts will still be wet and sticky when cooled.

Roast Nuts 375 degrees 5-10 minutes
Cooks Note: I roasted 2 cups of walnuts and took the additional 1/2 cup and ground in the Ninja to make the walnut dust garni for the cupcakes.
Resource:
Vanilla Paste, grocery and specialty stores
California Walnuts, at your local store
Turkey, Williams Sonoma
Tray, IKEA


Friday, November 22, 2013

THE BIRTHDAY LETTERS - A HEARTFELT POST

Someone very dear to me is going to be a grandmother very soon and I did this blank album to give to her.  Very simple find an album that you like and is appropriate for the sex if you know the sex and if not a generic one.  All I did was to add her monogram because I could, as I know her name, measured the photo that came with the album to make sure that my print out would be the correct size and then added a ribbon, done, ready to wrap.

The album is not the reason for the post, the reason for the album is not for photos, the album is for birthday letters from the child's grandmother.

When I first became a grandmother a little over 14 years ago, I lived in California and one son lived in Missouri and the other in Wyoming - not exactly a set-up for getting close with Grammie (that's me).  Trying to do things that are the ties that bind I wrote a letter (and put in an album) to my first grand-baby on the day he was born, telling him what his birth meant to me and welcoming him to the family.  Each year since then I have written him a letter (I just wrote number 15 as he turned 14 and with his real birthday letter that is 15).  I did not realize when I started doing this just how great this would turn out to be and not until I looked at another grandchild's album that had several letters did I realize that what these letters become is a chronicle of their lives through the eyes of Grammie and long after Grammie is gone the letters and all the love contained within will remain.

Since that first boy I have been lucky enough to have four more grandchildren, three boys and our little feisty girl (also adorable & smart like the other four).  I write letters on their birthday to each of them.  It is truly a labor of love.

Resource:
Font, Monogram KK Font, free, note, when doing the monogram whatever size you use for the first and middle name, double that for the last name initial in the middle.
Album, Hobby Lobby
Ribbon, Costco
Draw Program Link:CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X6 - 3 Users

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY POTPOURRI GIFT JAR



This is a VERY simple project and I think the outcome is a very nice gift or a lovely thing for you to have around your  house.  All you need is a jar (please use glass or ceramic with potpourri, baskets okay too), some potpourri (I recycled) and whatever you want to use to add a festive look to the container.  BTW after Christmas very easy to swap this out for a Valentine's Day theme or St. Paddy's Day, etc. Just change  your ribbon and add-on.

Also I need to note that if  you have small children you will need to either put this up where they cannot reach or not have at all because many of the oils that are used in commercial potpourri are not safe to eat - lots of petroleum distillates, etc. We also have a family story that lends truth to the fact that some adults need to be told to not "eat the potpourri."  I had some potpourri that was yummy apple pie smelling and dear Henry (older gentlemen) was seen munching on an apple slice.  No emergency room visit was necessary.
Start with a nice clean jar.  I will give you the resource later for this rustic, quilted looking jar that is designed for potpourri.
 These were all the items needed - wax paper, oils and some old potpourri, plus not showing I always wear latex gloves when I am working with oils.  Just put the potpourri into a heavy plastic bag, add the oil of choice (for this I used cinnamon oil), set it out on wax paper for a day or so and then put into your container.  You can refresh the potpourri the same way.  This does not have to be expensive as the $ store had bags of potpourri - to me the fragrance is not particularly good but if you add essential oils you will get a good product at a very reasonable price.

I also want to make some pine-cone potpourri this season so will share a recipe.  I am lucky to be within driving distance of a National forest so I can go and pick up cones (if I get there before too much snow arrives).  I checked the Forest Service website and a permit is not necessary to pick up cones.

A NOTE ABOUT OILS: 

People often refer to essential oils and fragrance oils interchangeably because of their similarities, but some important differences distinguish them from each other. Essential oils are natural chemicals that are extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, roots or bark of plants. They are not true oils, but are the aromatic and volatile essences derived from botanical s. Fragrance oils (also called perfume oils) are usually synthetic; chemists analyze the plants’ components and reproduce their chemical compositions. Although essential oil blends (combinations of essential oils) are not synthetic, some suppliers call them fragrance or perfume oils.


WINTER MIX POTPOURRI

8 lbs (approximately) Pine Cones (any type of cones or pods)
3/4 oz Bayberry Oil
1/4 oz Cinnamon Oil
1/4 oz Clove Oil
1/4 oz Orange Oil
1/8 oz Bay Oil
Use a 30 gallon trash bag 3/4 full with cones. Sprinkle the oils over the cones, mixing them so that the oils are distributed evenly. Fasten shut near the top of the bag, leaving room to jiggle and mix the cones around occasionally, for a few days 'til the scents are blended.
Display in decorative baskets or bowls along with, for color and variety, long cinnamon sticks, tangerines or cedar tips, or your own cut evergreen tips. Or keep by the fireplace and toss in for a quick burst of scent. 

Resource:
Potpourri, $ store
Essential oils, drug store, grocery store, craft stores (you will find in the candle making and soap making section).
Ribbon, May Arts, red & green pom-pom
Greenery & berries, $ store pick