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 frame...be 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 windows....as 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 flowers...wow....that was a deal!!! Summer is almost over, so anyone that has a farmers market nearby should go visit it before it's too late.
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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 chopped.....you 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 cheese...it'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 cost....plus 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 www.etsy.com . 
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: www.ruthannzaroff.com/mirkwooddesigns/templates.htm
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 flaps...you 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 licked...it's safe and non-toxic.
Be creative and have fun! : )

Friday, August 6, 2010

Button, button, who's got the button?

I've got the button!  I love buttons, you can do lots of things with buttons, other than using them to keep your shirt and pants on.  Use them to embellish scrapbook pages, hats, clothes, shoes. Glue them to a glass votive holder (the lighter in color the better for the light to shine through), draw black circles near the edge of big white buttons and let your kids use them as eyes on a face they draw on paper...the buttons can be moved around to make the "eyes" look crossed. If you have a collection of favorite buttons that you would like to view all the time, either sew or glue them to a pretty piece of scrapbook paper, quilted fabric, or a solid colored piece of fabric and place them in a framed shadowbox....make a romantic heart shape with them or just do each shadowbox in one group of colors.  Let kids make mosaics on cardboard...green buttons for grass, brown for a tree trunk and if you want flowers use some green yarn and place a pretty button at the top of it.
The classic “Button Buzzer” or “Buzz Saw”
It's simply a button or disk suspended between your two hands on a 30" loop of string. When the string gets twisted and you pull your hands apart, the button whirls, first in one
direction and then the other.    My favorite thing to do with my buttons is display them in jars....but now that I have found a 1 gallon "canning jar", I think I will fill it up with all my buttons. Just remember, WATCH your children around buttons, you never know if they will put them in their mouths and we DO NOT want ANYONE to choke on buttons!!!  : )

Yummy frozen treat! : )

Frozen Chocolate "Soufflés"

Frozen Chocolate "Soufflés"
photo by:
recipe by: kraft

What You Need

3 cups Milk
1 pkg.  (8-serving size) or 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
16   OREO Cookies, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
8 Maraschino cherries

Make It

POUR milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. Gently stir in whipped topping.
SPOON 2 Tbsp. of the chopped cookies into each of eight 8- to 9-oz. paper drinking cups. Cover evenly with half of the pudding mixture. Press gently with the back of a spoon to eliminate air pockets. Repeat layers. Cover with foil.
FREEZE 5 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer about 15 min. before serving. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Peel away paper to unmold onto dessert plates. Top each with a cherry. Store leftovers in freezer.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Healthy Living
Save 80 calories per serving by preparing as directed with fat-free milk, JELL-0 Chocolate Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding, COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping and Reduced Fat OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.
Prepare as directed, using JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding and CHIPS AHOY! Cookies. 
You don't have to put a cherry on top....try a gummy bear!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Resale shopping

 I went to the "Mikado Mall" today....actually it's St. Vincent De Paul resale shop, but since it's the only other store in Mikado....the first one being the Mikado Market.... we like to refer to it as the Mikado Mall. I love shopping there because you get great deals and you help the planet by recycling used items. In my earlier posts I made "garden art"and it was at St. Vincents where I got the supplies to do it...minus the glue. Today I bought some more "garden art" supplies and other goodies, (that are to my liking), for just under $5.00.   My goodies include a framed cork board, ceramic WELCOME house sign, a cute flower pot, glass ash tray with silver lining the edge....I don't smoke, it's just to put stuff in, a goofy glass squirrel, a glass domed cheese holder thingy (great for displaying stuff in or make a cool diorama),  hinged glass box to display more stuff, candle that smells like bubble gum, 3 magazines, white flower shaped plate, glass lily pad, and 4 vases.  What a deal! I will be making 2 new "garden art" displays out of that lot and I have ideas for the rest of the stuff. 
The picture below is inside the Mikado Mall....back where I got most of my glass stuff. Everything is priced from .10 cents up to $1.00, maybe more depending upon what it is. Plus they have half off prices...today was anything marked in red was half off.  Shopping there is like a treasure hunt! Check out your local resale shops and open your minds to the numerous things you can get cheap and turn trash into treasure. Happy shopping! : ) 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baking Soda

Baking Soda is something you should have in your kitchen or bathroom at all times. Not only can you cook with it, but you can use it to clean sinks, tubs, countertops, pots & pans, and your refrigerator. Plus you can leave it in the frig. or freezer to collect odors. Sprinkle it on your rugs and carpet and then vacuum it up. If you run out of toothpaste, baking soda will do the job. Put some in your washing machine, it helps to clean and freshen your clothes.  I use mine mostly for cleaning my dishes, sink, and countertops, but I had a problem with the box getting wet every time I would grab it with my wet rubber gloves, so I used an old pop bottle to put it in. If you do put your baking soda in a bottle, make sure you shake it down or you may not have enough room for it all. I guess you could put a cork on the bottle, but it would be more of a hassle to get it off while cleaning, plus the cork would get wet. I keep mine open and now it is so much easier to use and the glass doesn't soak up the water. 

Great Jar!

I found this 1 Gallon canning jar at Walmarts for $9.99....I think I'll use it to put my buttons in. I love canning jars!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Old Chandelier

I found that old chandelier in the trash....I just need to remove the light sockets and some of the rust, then I can paint it and put tea lights in it or candles inside some small jars. Hang it from my porch or a tree. I have it all apart, but the weather has been so humid that I have been unable to go outside and sand it down. Maybe when it gets closer to Fall.

Our favorite homemade soup.

Recipe is from Taste of Home magazine and I have changed it a little.  This soup is great at potlucks!

My really cute basset hound!!!

Here is an old picture of my Basset Hound, Mr. Boom-Boom. He is much older now and getting very white in the face. I found this pic on one of my kodak discs and I just had to share it because he is soooooooo 
A-DOG-ABLE!!!  Just looking at him makes me want to fall asleep.  zzzzzzz.....

Garden Art

Okay, I thought that my lillypad plate was a little boring so I added my glass squirrel to it....so much cuter now! I haven't glued it on and I may not, so that I can put something else on it later.  That squirrel had been sitting in storage for a long time, I'm glad I remembered it! See what you can make with stuff you have around your house. : )

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Alcohol prep pads and double sided sticky tape.

For years we have been using shrink plastic over our windows to winterize our home, and inside those  plastic kits you get lots of alcohol prep pads and a big roll of double sided sticky tape. I keep the prep pads in my junk drawer and use them to remove sticky stuff off glass or to remove the prices that our local resale shop writes in marker on the bottom of any glass or plastic items I purchase. They are also handy for cleaning up a "boo-boo". Our junk drawer is in the kitchen so it's real easy to find them and you don't have to hunt through the medicine cabinet and get out the big bottle of rubbing alcohol and put it on a cotton ball.  Inside those plastic kits you get the double sided sticky tape....also in our junk drawer....great for removing pet hair from your clothes, craft projects, and getting the sticky goo off of stuff left behind by price tags.  Great for using in handmade cards and scrap-booking....no glue, less mess! If anyone has anymore uses for those items, please post them.

"Garden Art"

Here are a couple of pics of the "garden art" I made.
I gave instructions on these on my posting from yesterday. Sorry about not adding the pics right away.