Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Farm Chicks book and recipe.

                                    Here is a wonderful book I discovered at my local library. It has great ideas for decorating, crafting, and fact I used one of the recipes and it turned out to be very YUMMY!!! The recipe is, "Mini orange bundt cakes", and it calls for fresh orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice. I have never made a bundt cake of any size, and I have never zested an orange or any other citrus fruit in my entire it was a first for me and it turned out to be delicious. Here is a hint about zesting....don't buy those zesters you see at stores, you can use the smaller sized grater on your cheese know, the one you might use for grating Parmesan cheese. Anyway, you should check out this book and other Farm Chicks books...they also have a blog. Below is a picture of the "Mini orange bundt cakes" I made.
Happy Baking! :0)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sock Snowmen.

These snowmen are so cute and easy to make....also a fun group project! I taught a group of home-schooled kids how to make them and they loved it. As always, safety first...children should be supervised when using scissors and hot glue guns. 

*White tights, toddler size or larger (1 pair will make 6-8 snowmen), or baby socks.
*Polyester fiberfill, batting, or cotton balls.
* will need some to to tie off the body and maybe the hat.
*Fabric strips, ribbon, or yarn (for "scarf").
*Colored baby socks (1 sock makes 2 "hats").
*Hot glue gun or tacky glue.
*Nose: 1 round button with the shank removed...or use a 1/4 in. to 1/2 in. orange pipe cleaner.
*Eyes: Texas beads 5mm round or google eyes, permanent marker or acrylic paint.
*Optional: Earmuffs: about 3 in. pipe cleaner and 2 pom-poms.
*Additional yarn or string for hanging your snowman. You can also use an ornament hook put through the top of the hat. 

Step 1:  Fill the foot of a baby sock with fiberfill, tie shut above the ankle with string, trim off cuff. If using tights, cut 3 or 4 sections out of one leg to make 3 or 4 snowmen...cut to any size you like. The foot part of the tight you can stuff and tie off with a string. For sections without a foot part...turn inside out, tie one end closed, turn right side out, stuff and tie closed. If your snowman is too round, roll him between your hands and mold him into a sausage shape. 
Step 2:  Divide the snowman body into two sections by tying a strip of fabric, yarn, or ribbon around it for a scarf. Use a dab of hot glue under the scarf to hold it in place. You may use tacky glue, but it takes a while to dry.
Step 3:  Glue colored sock on top of snowman for a hat. If using the cuff part of the sock, tie it off at the top to make a "pom-pom".  You may also attach earmuffs or other embellishments.  
Step 4: Glue a button nose a little over the scarf and face...or use a pipe cleaner. Apply eyes.
Step 5: Give your snowman some personality! Glue buttons or tiny pom-poms down the front of it, add earmuffs, a flower shaped button, hearts, snowflakes, or scrapbook embellishments. 
Step 6: Finish it off with a hook or string to hang. 

Have fun and be creative! :0)
Click on pics to enlarge.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flower girl plant pokes.


                     This week I was cleaning out my craft room and came across a craft project that my daughter and I did several years ago. If you have young daughters or granddaughters, this is a fun project to do together.


*Wooden or bamboo skewers.

*Wooden or glass beads that will fit the skewers.  (the bead that is under the "skirt" should fit very snug or you may have to glue it. The beads that are the "body" do not have to fit snug. We used different sized wooden beads)

*For the "head", a wooden bead that already has a painted face on it, or you can paint your own faces. We used both.

*Artificial flowers that you take apart.

*Low-temp hot glue gun.

*Children use adult supervision!

        Glue the head on top of the skewer...if you want to place a "crown" or "hat" on top, leave a little bit of the skewer exposed to glue it onto. This is the fun part...assembling the girls dress. It takes about 2 or 3 beads of different sizes to make the body, but they fit in between the petals that make up the dress. Use the different parts of the artificial flowers to make a "crown" or "hat"...also use some of the plastic parts as a bodice under the "skirt" to make it fluff out more or to give it shape..(as pictured below). After you finally get your flower girl the way you want it to look, finish it off with a small bead under the "skirt"...push it up so everything is tight and in place. If your bead doesn't stay in place, glue it. There you have it, a flower girl plant poke...just place is a potted plant. 

           My daughter and I had hours of fun making up our own petal dresses, but now that she is an adult, I miss those days of crafting with her. Oh you can have fun making them with someone special.  Happy Crafting!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Paint sample ideas.

               I don't know about you, but I love collecting paint many beautiful colors...and they are FREE! I use those small table top plastic drawers to organize my scrapbooking supplies, but I got tired of always looking at the mess inside the drawers, so I used some of my paint samples trimmed down to fit in the slots in the front of the drawers. It's very colorful and cheerful. If you don't want to use paint samples, try using some scrapbook papers. I used scrapbook papers inside my large I don't have to look at all my paints and other junk.  Paint samples can be used in making cards and decorations. I use my paper punches to punch out circles or hearts and then I use fishing line and double-sided sticky tape to make mini garland. Cut out shapes, like treetops and tree trunks, green grass, flowers, etc. and make a pretty scene on a card or on cardstock to frame or give to a loved one. Think outside the box and be creative....or in this case, "inside the box".    
Happy Paint Samples !

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Walnut shell pin-cushions

                                                          I'm back! Sorry that I haven't posted anything in a while...I have Fibromyalgia, so I'm always tired and my body aches all over. is a wonderful idea for making cute, little, pin-cushions. You will need an empty walnut shell halve, a little scrap of fabric, very little stuffing, low-temp hot glue gun, strong thread and a needle, ribbon optional.  Cut out a small circle of fabric, place stuffing in the middle of it and stitch it shut with a running stitch. Your fabric should resemble an oval shaped doesn't have to be perfect because the shell is not round. BEFORE you stitch it completely shut, place your fabric "ball" inside the shell and work the "ball" around until it fits just right. You may have to add or remove more stuffing...just make sure that it fits snuggly in place. Once you get that adjusted, stitch it shut and place it in the shell again to make sure it fits to your liking. At this point you may add a small piece of ribbon that has been folded over and place it at the widest end of the shell under the fabric. Hot glue everything in place and you are done. If you don't like the natural color of the shell, sand and spray paint it before you glue fabric in it. You may add a key ring or just a plastic ring to the ribbon part so that it can hang on a hook or keychain.  The pin-cushions make great stocking stuffers or anytime gifts.  This is one craft project that is uber easy...and CUTE!!! Helpful hint: Use needle nose pliers to snip off any jagged ruff spots inside the shell before you use it. When you glue your fabric in the shell, make sure you tuck it all in around the edges of the shell.
Happy pin-cushions!  :0) 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Re-purposed tea infuser.

            I don't drink tea, but when I seen this tea infuser at my local resale shop for 25 cents, I had to get it!  When I shop I like to look at things "outside the box"....I like to visualize them as serving another purpose. Tea infusers can be used for keeping your clothes, drawers, and closets smelling nice. I use to put cottonballs with my favorite perfume on them inside my dresser drawers or somewhere in my closet, but sometimes the clothes in my dresser would get a yellowish stain on them from the cottonballs. I placed the cottonballs inside the tea infuser and now it doesn't leave stains and the air circulates through the infuser leaving a nice fragrance in my clothes. If you don't want to use cottonballs, try potpourri or some activated charcoal. The charcoal is good for pulling stinky smells out of closets with shoes and coats...or hang one under your bathroom sink. I don't recommend using the tea infuser for making tea again...please, use one for tea and one as an air-freshener. Well, I hope this is a helpful hint to some of you. I think it's a good idea. Check out your local resale shop and see things, "outside the box". Who knows, maybe you will find something to re-purpose...if you do, please share it with me!  
Have a great day! :0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Make your own bookplates.


              When I was a kid I loved reading books like, "The Cat in the Hat" or "The Tales of Peter Rabbit"...and I especially liked those teeny, tiny, books like, "Harold and the Purple Crayon" or books by, Joan Walsh Anglund.  I use to own a few books and I would write my name inside the cover with a marker or crayon and it would look just awful! Oh how I wish I would've had a beautiful bookplate inside the covers of my books...well, I can't go back and fix my childhood scribblings...but I can make my own bookplates.  Making your own bookplates is easy. Find a picture that you like....something with an open space within the picture or a focal point. Scan your pic and make any corrections to it on your computer and then add a text box with your choice of font, font color and size.  Also add a blank line underneath it for someone to sign their name on.  When you're ready to print it out, make sure that you size it properly and you might want to print out a sample one to see if it is the right size and everything is to your liking. You can print it out on regular printer paper or you may use something that has more heft to it, like a parchment or cardstock paper. When you are done printing it out, allow it to dry then apply on the back of it some "Lick & Stick" glue....spread the glue all over and a little past your image that is on the other side. Let it dry over night and the next day cut out your bookplate and it is ready to be licked and placed inside the cover of your favorite book. "Lick & Stick" is non-toxic and works really well. If you don't want to use that, then try glue made for papers or use double-sided sticky tape.  Give bookplates as stocking stuffers or with books as gifts. You can also make matching bookmarks. What ever you do...have fun and be creative! You may use the bookplate I made above...I got that picture from one of my favorite books, "Enchanting", by Joan Walsh Anglund.  
Happy Crafting! : )

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A helpful hint.

                                               This summer my son was home from college, and while he was here, he was working out with our free weights. The problem I had with him using them was that I didn't want my hardwood floors to get I bought those interlocking foam squares that are made for setting weights on. They worked great! After he returned to college, and I was taking apart the squares, it dawned on me....why not use them in my craft room under my chair and table? Wow...those work great! My feet are cushioned and my seat is a little more comfy and it protects my floors from chair marks. I also put some under my computer table and chair...I might try it out in the kitchen in front of the sink. For those of us who do not own a dishwasher, we need to stand on something cushy. Always think outside the box....the things that we use can serve other purposes.  Just a thought and an idea I wanted to pass along. If anyone has any ideas they would like to share, please leave a comment below. Thanks and have a great day! :)    (You can find the foam squares at Walmart over in the exercise section.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Handmade vellum seed packets.

            Well, Fall is upon us, and so dies the beautiful blooms of summer...but their seeds remain...lets gather those wonderful treasures and save them in handmade seed packets. I took some pictures of my flowers and also found some pics online of flowers to print out on vellum. Just as I had mentioned in my posting about "getting crafty with vellum", the same rules apply...except, you don't need to seal the packet shut with vellum tape, you can just leave it alone and tuck the flap in...or use a sticker to seal the flap shut. I put my flower pic on Paint and added the word "Hollyhocks" in a framed box, it just looks nicer than adding a label to the front. I then found the directions for planting Hollyhocks and printed it out really small on some plain computer paper and placed it inside the packet. Make sure your seeds are dry before packing them.  You can find free seed packet templates online or use a template for ATC envelopes like I can find those at or www.mirkwooddesigns/
Don't just hoard all the seeds, give them as gifts to friends and family. They make great stocking stuffers, send them in a card, have a seed swap with others. 
Happy seed gathering! :)

Note: This was my first seed packet, I should have squared off the larger flaps to make it look nicer...I used an ATC envelope template and it was rounded.  If you want your picture to show up better, insert a plain piece of paper or one with instructions. I didn't cut my paper large's smaller than the picture...but you get the idea.  


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Banana Bread.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 loaves without nuts. YUM!

Have ALL ingredients at about 70* (room temp., including the eggs).
Preheat oven to 350*.
Makes 1 loaf. (Double it and make 2)

Sift together:
1 3/4 cups Sifted all-purpose flour.
2 1/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Blend until creamy:
1/3 cup butter flavored Crisco (shortening).
2/3 cup sugar.
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind...(you may also use orange rind or a combination of both).

Beat in:
2 eggs. (At room temp.)
3 medium to large sized, overly ripe, bananas.

Add the sifted ingredients in about 3 parts to the sugar mixture. Beat the batter after each addition until smooth.
(Optional) Fold in: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
Place the batter in a greased bread pan. Bake the bread about 1 hour or until done. Test with a toothpick....don't over bake, it will become too want it slightly under baked on top, but not gooey. Remove from oven and let it rest in the pan for about 4 minutes before running a butter knife around the edge and shaking it a bit to loosen it up.....turn it out on a wire rack to cool. It's good to eat hot, but be careful, don't burn your mouth! Once it's cooled, wrap it up in foil, it stays moist longer.
Happy baking! : )
Posted by Picasa

Recycled floor lamp....mannequin stand.

           Here is a great way to recycle an old floor lamp....turn it into a mannequin stand.  I found the fabric covered body form at a resale shop many years ago, but I didn't have a stand to put it on, until I was looking over our broken floor lamp. Taking apart the top portion and the cord was the easy part....the not so easy part was to drill out a hole large enough for the little pole, that is underneath the body form, to slide into. By the way, my hubby drilled the hole for me...of course I did help him, but he did all the drilling.  My favorite part of this project was priming and painting the lamp pink!  Oh yeah, I just want to tell people to never be afraid to ask for never know unless you in point, the body form. When I was at the resale shop I spotted the body form behind the counter and asked the clerk if it was for sale...she said no, but then she said she would sell it for $15.00 if I wanted it.  So you see, it never hurts to ask! Altogether it cost about $20.00 for this mannequin and stand...what a great deal! Now I can use it to display outfits, postcards, pictures, jewelry, scarves, and all kinds of things. Very crafty indeed!!! 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easy to make dry erase boards.

This project is super easy! You just need a 12"X12" picture frame.... or any sized picture it plain or ornate, scrapbook paper or any paper you like or fabric, scissors, and a dry wipe marker and eraser. You can use them on your computer desk or kitchen counter as a "to do" list, grocery list, or ideas list. Put one in your craft room or kids room....change out the papers as often as you like....mix and match your decor. You can also embellish the frame with 3D images of butterflies, ribbon, or anything else you fancy. Hang one in your kitchen as a weekly menu...with a daily reminder in their sights, your family won't be bugging you, "what's for dinner?".  I'm sorry that I didn't take pictures of them hanging on my wall, I kept getting a glare from the you can see I got some from my camera flash. 
I hope this project gets your creative juices flowing.....Happy Crafting! : )

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lovin' the farmers market!

The farmers market....what a great place to buy fresh veggies, fruit, baked goods, organic chicken, eggs, handmade crafts, and fresh flowers. Today I stopped in at the farmers market in Harrisville, MI and for $3.00 I bought 2 peppers, a bag of broccoli, and a beautiful bouquet of Zinnias and Goldenrod....the recycled jar was included. $1.00 for the jar full of was a deal!!! Summer is almost over, so anyone that has a farmers market nearby should go visit it before it's too late.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Turkey loaf recipe your family will love!

                        I got this recipe from Zonyas lickety-split meals and my family loves it! I gave both, her recipe, and some changes I made to it. Her recipe was good, but a little dry and not a lot of flavor, so I added some stuff to it. Give it a try and make it your own way...I believe your family will like it better than the original beef meatloaf recipes.

Tantalizing Turkey Loaf.......This dinner is a far cry from the traditional artery-clogging classic. It’s fast and tasty, too! The applesauce replaces the moisture lost by using extra-lean ground turkey.

Serves 4.

Prep: 20 min.
Cook: 60 min.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Coat an 8" x 8" baking dish with cooking spray.

1 small chopped onion
20 oz extra-lean ground turkey breast... (I use the regular ground turkey...has a little more fat in it, but it isn't as dry.)
2 lg egg whites... (I use 2 whole eggs)
1/2 - 1 tsp Italian seasoning (children prefer less)...(1 tsp is good)
1/4tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened....(I use the pre-packaged applesauce's in the little cups, it just takes 1)
1/2 tsp salt (omit if bread crumbs are seasoned)
Optional: 1- 4oz can mushrooms may use fresh mushrooms, but remember they hold more moisture and they should be put on a paper towel in the microwave for about 2 or 3 minutes to shrink them down and drain off the fluid.
1/2 cup dry unseasoned or seasoned bread crumbs....(You may need more crumbs if you are using whole eggs and turkey with more fat, you will know you have enough when the turkey loaves you make hold firm)
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese....(I just put in 3 big pinches of's more like 3 Tbsp.)
1 cup spaghetti sauce.....(I like mine saucy, so I use a whole jar, 24 oz., of Prego)
Extra freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping.

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly,  form meat mixture into 4 equal-sized balls and arrange in dish, press them all down a little so they are flat on top and yes, they will be squished up against each other. Pour sauce over top and spread around evenly, top it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, as much as you like. Place in oven and bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

For a complete healthy meal you may also serve with it: 

4 (4 oz each) baking potatoes or
2 (8 oz each) sweet potatoes
Scrub potatoes, pierce 3 or 4 times with a fork,
wrap in foil and place in oven.
4 cups broccoli or salad with

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


What is Swap-bot?

Do you like sending and receiving snail mail? Do you like writing letters, making crafts, or putting together fun packages? You should try swapping! Swap-bot is a online service that organizes group swaps and a community of creative individuals. Swap-bot takes the hassle out of participating in group swaps by organizing all of the participant information and doing all of the partner assignments. On Swap-bot, you can host swaps, join swaps, and chat with other swappers from all over the world. Give it a try!

                                             I've done a few swaps on there and it was fun! I traded some artistic trading cards, buttons and fat quarters, blank recipe cards, a handmade stuffed heart, and a handmade tiny matchbox stuffed full of goodies. I must warn you.....just because you send something really nice, doesn't necessarily mean you will receive something just as nice. That is the risk you take with any swap....but you are able to have one on one swaps with people you may have swapped with and had liked what they'd sent you. I have done a few of those and received some really cool stuff. The pictures above are of an Artistic Trading Card I made and sent....I take photos of all the items I make and swap. The top pic is the front of the card and the bottom pic is the back of the card. The last picture is a matchbox I made along with handmade envelopes and other bonus items.  If you don't want to swap with strangers online, try it with one or a few of your family and friends. First make a questionnaire for everyone to fill out....ask them what their favorite colors, candies, songs, books, crafts, hobbies, etc. etc. are, then you can get together and agree on what to swap. For example, you may choose to swap 12 blank recipe cards, store bought or handmade....and along with it (as a bonus), send one of your own recipes and their favorite candy or tea or anything you think they may like to receive.  

Give it a try and Happy Swapping! :)


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Easy t-shirt pillows.

       To make a t-shirt pillow, simply sew the sleeves and the bottom of the t-shirt closed, stuff with dacron/polyester fiberfill, and stitch neck closed. For a round pillow, cut off sleeves, turn the shirt inside out and stitch from shoulder to shoulder in a "U" shape. Turn, stuff, and stitch neck closed. You can also make a long sleeved or short sleeved pillow or cut the part of the t-shirt that you want to keep and sew it with a different piece of fabric to form a pillow.  Since t-shirt material is pretty flimsy, you may have to use interfacing on the inside part of the t-shirt to keep it firm and in place while sewing it to something like blue jean material. A few years ago my daughter and I made the pillows you see pictured. For the "Hello Kitty" pillow I used interfacing and the back of the pillow is from recycled jeans. I also removed the label from inside the t-shirt and sewed it on the side of the pillow. Some tags are too cute to throw away!  Happy pillow making! :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cool Magnets.

Here is an easy project for everyone.....magnets! 
Sure, you can buy pre-made magnets at the store, but why waste the money when you can make your own at a fraction of the save the planet by recycling items you would normally throw away. 
The items in the picture are magnets I made, and all you need is strong magnets, glue, and maybe some embellishments depending upon what kind of magnets you are creating. Don't waste your money on the weak magnets and magnet sheets, they don't hold up anything. Purchase a really good glue...Elmer's glue will not hold up well on magnets.  the best part of making magnets is all the things you can make them out of....bottle caps, milk jug caps, other lids and caps from food and drink jars, old costume jewelry, used gift cards,  metal campaign style button badges (with pin backs removed), fabric covered buttons, shells, rocks, and anything else you want to use. Mint tins can become magnets and a place to store items. They can also be spray painted and embellished.  In the picture above I used a Snapple lid, a cute picture of a cat, ball chain, a fish bead, glitter, and some Liquid Crystal lacquer....I also used it on the bottle cap.  The magnets with the pigs and bunny were 1 inch button badges...I removed the pins and glued on magnets. The button badges I had purchased from . 
Be creative and have fun making magnets! : )

Homemade Sloppy Joes.

Super Sloppy Joes Recipe

Super Sloppy Joes Recipe
Photo by: Taste of Home
This recipe I got a few years ago from Taste of Home magazine and my family loves it! I have added some of my own changes to the recipe because not everyone has celery or ground mustard on hand. Enjoy!
8-10 Servings.
Prep: 15 min.   Cook: 35 min.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped  (You do not have to use celery...I made it without and it was still delicious)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1-2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes (Or you may use low sodium V-8 juice or pureed stewed tomatoes...if you use a little more tomatoes or liquid than what is listed, then that is okay. You don't always have to follow the rules try tweaking the recipe a bit to your liking)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon steak sauce (I use A-1...YUM!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (If you feel there is too much salt in the recipe already, just use the Garlic Powder instead)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard (If you don't have any ground mustard, just use about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of regular yellow mustard)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 to 10 hamburger buns, split (Try it on an open face whole grain piece of bread or toast)


  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef, onion, celery and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain.
  • Add the next nine ingredients; mix well. Simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each bun. Yield: 8-10 servings.
  • TIP:  If you have leftovers, take 1/2 cup measuring cup and scoop some onto a baking sheet covered in wax paper and place the scoops far enough apart from each other so they don't touch. Place in freezer, after an hour or 2 see if they are frozen and place them in a freezer bag or container...label and date. Now you are able to pull out single servings of sloppy joes.  De-thaw in frig. or on low in a covered pot. Heat and serve.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1/2 cup) equals 306 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 60 mg cholesterol, 473 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 22 g protein.
Super Sloppy Joes published in Taste of Home April/May 1999, p27

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Very moist muffins!

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All Rights Reserved
Level: Easy
Serves: 16 Muffins
Prep Time: 12 min.
Cook Time: 25 min.


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.
I made these muffins for my family and they loved them....very delicious and moist! 

Nature's Playdough

Note: I got this recipe for natural playdough from the book, Make Your Own Playdough, Paint, and Other Craft Materials. (Easy Recipes to Use with Young Children) By, Patricia Caskey.

 This Recipe uses natural fruit juices to add exciting new colors to your dough. Suitable for all ages.

Nature's Playdough

1 cup flour.
1/2 cup salt.
2 tablespoons cream of tartar.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
1 cup water.
2 tblsp. beet, spinach, or carrot juice.

Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil and slowly add water. Cook over medium heat and stir until stiff. Turn onto waxed paper and cool. Divide into balls. Add the vegetable juice to make pink, green, or orange dough. If you don't have these vegetable juices on hand, simply puree the vegetables in a blender and pour off the liquid.

*Provide a special area for children to express themselves. Have you ever tried to draw with a crayon on a piece of paper on the carpet? it isn't an easy task and it's hard to be creative when you're frustrated. Provide a hard surface for painting, rolling dough and clay, and drawing. The children will appreciate it and will be able to work much more easily.
*Provide encouragement and support. Children benefit greatly from encouraging words. Rather than saying, "That's beautiful," use descriptive words to describe their efforts. Statements such as "I like all the colors you used in your rainbow" or "That is very smart of you to add a sun to the sky" not only support their efforts, but also show children you are truly looking at their work. 
**Safety First....Always supervise your children when they are playing with playdough or doing any other craft projects!**  
Have Fun!!! : )   

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Recycled fabrics and unfinished, stuffed dolls.

                      These stuffed dolls are the first and last ones I have made....and they are not even finished. They need smiles, and where I stuffed them needs to be sewn shut....I also have to sew the buttons on the one in purple and finish stuffing the leg on another. How many of you have started a project and never finished it? My guess is too many. 
I am no Martha Stewart on a sewing machine, but I thought I did okay for my first time...what do you think?  I like to doodle a lot, and the dolls you see pictured were made from ones I thought were cute enough to become dolls. I made up my own patterns by drawing out templates for a body, legs, and arms on card stock. I cut them out and labeled them so I would remember what templates go together for each doll I designed. The best part of making these dolls was finding the right fabrics to use and to get them at a cheap price. All the dolls were made from recycled clothing that I bought at my local resale shop. I laundered all of the fabrics in really hot water, including some sweaters, and dried them on high heat to shrink the fibers. After I clean my fabrics I cut off any buttons or zippers they may have and then I cut them into pieces big enough to use for future projects. The hair on a couple of them is made from recycled sweaters and the tiny dolls hair is made from felt. Why go out and pay a lot of money for fabric when all the fabric you need is in resale shops, yard sales, and from people getting rid of their old clothes. I will be making more dolls from my oodles of doodles....I just hope that I finish them when I do!  
Anyone can make something from their drawings....and it doesn't have to be made from fabric....try using clay, paper, metal, or any other medium you like.  Most important of all...have fun! : )
Jellyfish and small stuffed doll, (both unfinished!)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Getting Crafty With Vellum.

Vellum is a great paper to work with, you can print out pictures on it, make cards and invitations, use a stylus or needle on it to make etchings or pinhole art (like braille). My favorite way to use vellum is for making envelopes. Find a picture you like online, scan one of your favorite pics, or scan a pretty piece of fabric, then set your printer to the best setting and print it out on vellum. You must let the ink dry for about 30 minutes and place a clean sheet of paper card stock on top to keep it from curling up. The best place online to get free envelope templates:
Once you print and cut out your template on some card stock, you are ready to make your own envelopes. Fold all the flaps on the template. To make the flap creases, use a stylus and a ruler and make it on an old magazine because it is soft enough to make deep creases. When you are done with all the flaps use vellum tape to attach the sides and bottom may have to cut a strip of vellum tape in half to do those because the tape is a little larger than the flap area and you don't want sticky vellum tape getting inside the pocket area. Vellum tape is really sticky and a little hard to work with, but it is well worth it because it almost disappears on the vellum, unlike regular double-sided sticky tape.  Take another strip of tape and cut it in half again and place it on the top flap that you use to close the envelope...IMPORTANT!...DO NOT REMOVE the paper from tape. And there you have it, a finished envelope and pretty enough to make a few more, along with matching stationary that you can give as a gift.  I like to use up all of my printed vellum scraps. I take a piece of paper and a vellum scrap and with my paper puncher I punch out flower shapes, circles, and other things and I use them in scrap booking, as embellishment to my letters and envelopes, or save them for a future craft project.   Vellum can be used to pretty up a boring votive holder....print out your favorite pic, let dry, and wrap it around a votive holder and tape it closed in the back. Remember, be safe and never leave a candle lit and unattended and make sure that the vellum doesn't get near the flame.  One more thing about vellum...DO NOT USE GLUE on it! Glue makes it bumpy and wrinkled. 
Hint: You can also make envelopes out of magazine pages, scrapbook papers, and old comics....but use double-sided sticky tape and for the top flap apply "Lick & Stick" envelope glue. Apply the glue, let it dry, and it is ready to be's safe and non-toxic.
Be creative and have fun! : )