Monday, October 31, 2011

Jello Worms

Okay, today is Halloween and I must confess one of my least favorite holidays. Now that the kids are gone, it's just me and Mercy to answer the door all evening and I'm sure Mercy is going to have mixed emotions; loves kids but their costumes just might freak her out. Now Mark is no help because he has a meeting tonight...who does that on Halloween..yep Mark!

Anyway, I am having fun making some (I hope) delicious food for supper from sites I have seen on Pinterest. I have a potato soup in the crock pot and plan to do one of those blossom looking breads. But for fun since it is Halloween, I decided to make the jello worms to surprise Mark.

Well, I clicked on the site and didn't find how to do it so I think, "how hard can it be?" So I make up my jello and start trying to fill each straw...ya right! It's sort of like nailing jello to a tree.So with my life's motto, "When all else fails, read the directions!" I got online and goggled jello worms. Here is a good site:

It tells to attach 100 straws together with a rubber band and put in an empty qt. milk container. I looked through my trash and found a plastic V8 juice bottle so I cut the top off and inserted my straws, by the way I did not count how many I had. I spooned the jello on top of the straws and refrigerated.
Now for the fun part...NOT! First was to cut away the plastic container which ended up being the easy part.Next was trying to get the jello out of the straws.The directions were of no help and if you think Mercy is looking worried, I think she was. I'm sure she is wondering if I was going crazy! Seriously, who thought up this idea anyway. My fingers were not only covered in blood looking jello but slimy and slippery as all get out. I am sure my arthritic finger has just advanced to the next stage. I finally got the brilliant idea to quickly run the straws under hot water and WOW that did the trick, they slid right out.

And here they are! Seriously gross looking! Well, Mark came home and well let's just say he hesitantly took a bite. Always the good sport, but think this one stretched him. He did say, "tastes good" but then it is jello.
And here is my crock pot potato soup. Mark said it was good but frankly, I have made better. It was a really easy recipe and used frozen hash browns that I already had in the freezer but don't think I will use it again. And for the blossom bread...that didn't happen, those silly worms took too long so Mark ended up with some rolls pulled from the freezer.
And now as I type this, I am sitting in the dark! Yep, ran out of Halloween candy! I know most of the kids that came are not from my neighborhood. I had so much candy too!!! Got to love this holiday! So my Halloween meal was can guess. Will I do the worms again...NO! Sorry Curtis, Colton, and Cannon, I really thought this would be a fun thing to do for you boys.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Old "Granny" rocker to a Chic Zebra rocker

One look at this old rocker and what do you see? Dated? UGLY for sure! What I see is great BONES! What I mean by bones is that the frame has great potential to change into a stylish chair. I found this rocker in a second hand store in Salina, KS for $10. Wow, as I look at this pic I also see a very dated milk can in the background along with dated wall paper. Fortunately, those no longer grace my entryway but it does tell me how long I had this chair before I finally recovered it. Wallpaper and can have been gone for a long time, but guess I was just waiting (not procrastination) for the right home for it and the right person to see the vision with me and that person was no other than my stylish daughter, Emily. It now sits in her living room.
First thing I did, was remove the arms. After stripping, I added lots of Dacron padding and of course this awesome fabric. By taking away the front band that was on the old, I made one piece for the seat which gives a nice clean look. Also, did away with the buttons so as not to distract from the pattern.

Here is another chair that I recovered for a customer and did the exact same thing with it, removed arms, etc but she did want buttons in the back. This project would be an easy start for anyone interested in learning how to upholster.

Poppin' Fresh Barbecups

I want to share our lunch with you today. This is one of my family's favorite recipes and it is so simple and easy. Someone brought these tasty cups to our family after the birth of, I think, Emily. It has been a favorite ever since. They are quick and easy to make when you need a fast meal, but they are even better to make as a big batch and freeze. Just pop them out of the freezer and microwave for 1 min. and woo-la...lunch is ready. Today was one of those days and I was in no mood to cook. Being just the two of us now, I have lots of those days but it was wonderful to open the freezer and see a bag of these cups. Hope you enjoy!

3/4# ground beef
1/2 c. BBQ sauce (like the honey flavor best)
1 T. minced onion
2 T. brown sugar
1- 8oz. can refrigerator baking powder biscuits
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
In large skillet, brown beef; drain and add BBQ sauce, onion, brown sugar. Grease muffin cups and stretch 1 biscuit over cup then drop a lg spoonful of meat mixture onto biscuit and let drop into muffin cup. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 400 for 10-12 min. until lightly brown. Do not over cook. Makes 10 cups.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tulle Tutus.... YES PLEASE!

Tulle tutus are a fun, easy project and look adorable on little girls. If you are like me, you probably love pretty frills on little girls, but do not have a whole lot of extra time on you hands, these tutus only take about 30 minutes to make.

Not the best picture of Maddy. She was in dire need for a nap,
but the best picture I could find of the skirt, since she is such a busy body.

Material Needed:

1" elastic (for babies try 3/4")
20-30 yards Tulle (I like the 6" wide rolls, that way I only have to cut length wise.)
Measuring tape
Needle and thread
Pitcher (optional)
Ribbon (optional)

Start out by measuring the waist of your model and subtracting 2-3 inches. The reason for subtracting 2-3 inches is that you want it tight and the elastic will stretch out with wear. I ran into this problem and had to take it apart and make it smaller. Sew the two ends together either with a zig zag stitch on your machine or hand stitch it. Another option is to use satin ribbon instead of elastic. It is easier to adjust the size when using ribbon, but if making the tutu for I young girl and if she is anything like my toddler, the chances are she will untie it a hundred times by the end of the day.

Measure the length of your model, double it and add an inch for knotting. For my two year old I made the strips each 23 inches long. If you choose to go the bolt route when you buy your tulle, cut each strip about 6 inches wide. I will tell you that the 6 inch rolls will save you a lot of time. The rolls probably cost a little more at $2.99 a roll at Hobby Lobby.

To assemble the tutu you can use a water pitcher to put your elastic around to hold it in place while you loop the tulle around the elastic. It is not necessary to use a pitcher, in fact I have not used one, but some think it really helps make the project go faster. You can loop the tulle either two ways, by knotting it or doing a slip knot. The the regular knot, you put the tulle even on each side and knot it around the elastic. The slip knot is when you fold the tulle in half and loop it through itself around the elastic. The regular knot I feel keeps better and gives a fuller look verse the slip knot lays straighter and closure together. Push each of the knots close together for a fuller look!

To finish off the look, trim the bottom if needed to assure that the skirt is even. You can add an embellishment to the elastic part that you sewed, I find that the tulle doesn't stay on the stitched area very well. I like the look of a satin bow!

Hint: For a fun look you can add strands of ribbon through out the skirt, attaching it the same way you did the tullu. Other Embellishments include things like rhinestones, puff balls, pom poms, flowers, Rose petals, or small premade ribbons that you can find at Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby. You can either sew these on or use a hot glue gun.

I made two skirts a red one and a black one and had her wear them together. I wanted a super full skirt and the layered look. You can also alternate colors if you want. I cut out layered circles of the black tulle and sewed it to the red to make it look like a lady bug. My daughter, the little perfectionist ripped them off, she felt they didn't belong, but it was a cute look.

Some Halloween Ideas for Tutus:
  • Red Tulle with Black Puff Balls glued on Make a LadyBug
  • Orange, Purple, and Black tulle for a witch
  • Yellow, Orange, White for Candy Corn
  • Hot Pink and Lime Green for Strawberry Shortcake
  • White and Light Pink for a “50′s” Look
  • Purple and Light green for a Fairy
  • Yellow and Black for a Bumble Bee

Pumpkin Dip

Here is an easy dip for this fall and the holidays. I have used it for Thanksgiving and Christmas events and am always asked for the recipe. I got it via Claudia Boyles, so thanks Claudia. I served it today for the KSU football party at our home. Fun time but sad at KSU's loss.

Pumpkin Dip Recipe
1 (16 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (5 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 (15 oz.) can solid pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving. Serve it with molasses cookies or ginger snaps.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Monkey Theme Baby Shower

I gave a shower for a gal at my church. She had decorated the baby's room in a jungle/monkey theme, so this is what I decided to do for the shower theme.

Here is the monkey invitation I made that I was able to download for free from this site.

For the table decorations, I made a diaper cake with the monkey theme. Notice the cute monkey toy I found at Target to add to it; also the adorable shoes on top and green headband hanging from the side. I looked at different sites on how to make it but just ended up creating it my own way.
For the cupcakes, I printed the monkey face on paper and used a 1 1/2" paper punch to cut them out. I attached them to Popsicle sticks to put in the cupcakes.
I made a banner with the baby's name on it using scrapping paper. I printed the letters and cut them out in circles and glued to the triangles. I hot glued ribbon to attach them into a banner.
Besides my diaper cake as my gift, I made burp rags out of diapers with the baby's name on them. Gotta love my embroidery sewing machine!!
Also printed up this picture to be a part of the table decorations and also another gift for the baby. I will be doing another blog on this idea later.

My first Fondant Cake!

I was at a mops meeting that someone gave a presentation on decorating with fondant. I have decorated and competed using butter cream and royal frosting, but I have never really gotten into fondant. I did not like the texture or the taste of it on my cakes. This lady introduced me to Satin Ice and I find the texture is not bad, but it also taste great! I had my son's 1st birthday coming up so I thought I would give it a try.

Making the clowns was fun and easy! It was like working with playdough! The challenge was trying to keep my kids away from it. At one point my 2yr old daughter had picked off all of the balloons and ate them!

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And he liked it :>) Notice the very cute #1 Ryker shirt that Grandma made him.

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T-shirt flower and feather flowers

I had seen a site for this t-shirt flower and I pinned it on my board on my Pinterest, so go to my board or here is the site location.
She gives great instructions on how to do it and it was really simple. She gives you 3 ways to attach and I think the glue gun is the only way to go, being that it dries so fast.

Now, having a husband who is into running, biking, triathlons and races, he has tons of t-shirts! I had gone through and pulled out lots of t-shirts and put them in my give away drawer. Fortunately, I had not given them away yet, the main reason to make sure Mark didn't miss any of them (which he didn't). Now if you think he is going to find out I cut up his shirt after reading this blog, don't worry, he walked in on me doing it and thought I was very clever in my recycling. This is the one I made for the strapless shirt. You see it here with feathers but in the end decided not to add them.Now for my next flowers made of feathers! So my dog, Mercy, has a problem in going out back and the only way to do that is to go out with her. And what better time to do it then when I was talking on the phone. So Mercy is out doing her thing and I am chatting on the phone with Trisha, when I look down and see a beautiful Blue Jay feather! As I walked around chatting I found more and more; either there is a very naked Blue Jay or most likely a dead one. Since Old Oliver the cat is no longer living, I can't blame him for the dead bird. Must have been one of his buddies that still come around looking for him. off track there...Trisha and I are talking and I exclaim that I have all these beautiful feathers that I need to find a way to use them so I can blog it. So here it is...

My feather flowers for my granddaughters...a big one for Miss Riah and a little one for either Maddy or her baby sister Ariana. I just cut them and hot glued them to a small round shape of white felt. Then I hot glued pearl buttons I found in my button box and glued a hair clip to the back.

Fun Top!

So today when I should have been working on beauty shop chairs, (so dislike to do) I got side tracked with this skirt. Trisha bought this skirt at Banana Republic on the sale rack. Looks cute on my dress form but it did not look good on any of us. So Trisha was giving/throwing it away. WHAT? Not a skirt from Banana Republic! So I had the idea that it would make a cute strapless top. Now the girls did not reject the idea totally but there was doubt in their eyes.

The problem with pulling it up and using as a shirt was the pockets on each side. They gaped open when done this way. In fact, they gaped open when worn as a skirt too, so that was one of the problems as a skirt. So I cut the pockets off as shown in the picture and just sewed up the sides.
And here it is...on my dress form with a belt and necklace added. Definitely needs a belt to help with the fullness. Once done, I decided it would be cute on Jayney, so this is being sent to you, Jayney, to wear.

Now that Jayney is getting it, I know how she likes flowers on her clothes so thought that would be a nice touch. I had seen a site for making flowers out of old t-shirts so decided to try one on my own. Here it is added to the shirt. My next blog will show you this easy flower to make along with some feather flowers.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Changing Chair style

This old ugly chair was ready to be trashed but I rescued it and gave it a new look. The wood needed some sanding, stain, and varnish first, then I took away the separate cushion and made a nice attached seat.

Don't be afraid to add fun fringe around a chair; it makes it unique! And now...the FINISHED PRODUCT! And daughter, Hayley was the one who got this chair! Yep...benefits of being my daughter! lol

Blueberry Scones....Yummy!!!

Ladies, these scones are absolutely tasty! You don't have to be a coffee drinker to enjoy a nice warm scone for breakfast. I served them at a playdate with some friends and their toddlers and they were a big hit. Pretty sure the tots were eating them like cookies. This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated and I want to share the wealth. These scones are perfectly light and tender, each bite bursting with fresh blueberries. I am sure they would be just as delightful with other mix-ins as well, but I cannot resist tasty fresh blueberries.

These scones take a little more TLC then most scones when it comes to mixing and folding, but well worth the effort. You can freeze scones after they are shaped and before baking, pull out and cook individually as needed. Make for an easy breakfast or a fast fix for company!

Blueberry Scones

8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
1½ cups (7½ oz.) fresh blueberries (or Frozen)
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F. Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater. Place the blueberries in the freezer until needed.

Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball. (I used my kitchenaid mixer to knead) Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (a dough scraper really helps with these steps). Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square. Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Using a dough scraper, roll the dough up to form a tight log. Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. (If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed.) Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Entertaining from Cook’s Illustrated, Spring 2009

Chair uplift!

Susan here with my first since this is new to me, please give me grace as I learn this whole blogging thing. Since my passion is upholstering, I want to show some of my work where I completely changed the style of a chair. This is an old ugly chair but it is from Pennsylvania House; so it has good bones. See chair after where I used two fabrics; paisley chenille and leather with decorative nails. The chair had great legs so I eliminated the skirt.

Side view showing outside with leather all around and decorative nails.