Crafts - Home Decor - Cooking - Faith - Baking - Everyday Stuff - Animals - Cleaning - Home Improvement

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Polka-Dot Message Board

Like most summers,  I stopped at LOTS of yard sales. On my way to a camping trip in, I stopped at a farm sale. This lady had her whole barn open for sale with stuff piled high and deep.  Amongst my small pile, I had picked out an old cabinet door. I didn't have any real plans for it until today. I thought I was going to have a rather lazy Sunday afternoon recovering from a long and cold day of duck hunting, but the idea for this message board popped into my unsuspecting head! 

To make it, I used a piece of cardboard, fleece, fabric, ribbon and lots of staples!I cut the cardboard to fit into the center impression. I stapled a piece of fleece to the cardboard for a little padding, then laid down a piece of fabric and wrapped it around the edges. I pulled the fabric tight and secure with a staple.
I wasn't sure how to best fit the ribbon, so I just used 4 pieces and made two big "X" shapes starting from each corner. I stapled the ends of the ribbon to the back of the board. In the center of each X, I placed a dab of hot glue between the ribbon and the board, and then between the ribbon and the cute little Moose and Bear buttons. That's it!

I probably wouldn't have chose a polka-dot print if I was to go out and buy fabric for the project, but since I just used stuff I already had, I thought it turned out pretty cute. Simple, at least :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quickie Lighted Snowman

I got this idea from my mom, who has been making these guys for years. Hers have light switches and more elaborate embellishments - super cute! I came up with a "quickie" version of these cute little guys, and thought I would share!

What you'll need:
Glass Jar - I think it's best to use a jar with plain class,  no words, etc... Like Ball or Mason jars
White acrylic craft paint
Clear matte finish verathane spray
Orange and black "puffy" paint ( or just regular paint, or paint pens)
Paint brush
Fabric scrap for scarf
Old boot sock band for the hat
LED tea light

1. Sponge paint the jar white, leaving openings for the light to glow through
2. Let it dry and paint on the face - I used pink blush for the "blushing cheeks"
3. Spray with verethane sealant. This helps to keep the paint from scratching off
4. Cut the top band off a boot sock. Hand stitch in and out of the cut-end, and make a draw string. Cinch top together and tie off. Add a puff ball, or embellishments
5. Tie on a scarf. I cut out a piece of red fleece for this one.
6. Glue on a small piece of velcro to the bottom of the LED tealight, and to the bottom of the jar. This will keep the light from jiggling around inside the jar.
7. Flip the tealight on, and watch it glow!

We have made cowboy snowmen with little cowboy hats and bandanas. Little hunter snowmen, with "Elmer Fudd" style hats with ear-flaps. The Classic snowman with a black felt top hat - Super cute! Lots of room for creativity!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vinegar Tip - Flea Repellant

It's be a terrible year for fleas around here! I really don't know why it is, but all I know is I want them gone! So, I mentioned earlier how I recently banned Bleach from our house...ALL bleach products, in fact. I have turned to researching all the uses of vinegar. My most recent discovery was it's use to repel fleas! I came across this tip from my little Farmgirl Wisdom book by Mary Jane Butters (  Page 65 tells me that vinegar has natural repelling properties. Apparently the little boogers hate the stuff! There are a few different ways to go about apply on your furry friends. (#1) You can dab some on a wet wash cloth and rub them down with it every couple of days. (#2)It can be used as the final rinse during a weekly bath. (#3) You can also add some to their drinking water. I have been doing this for about 2 weeks now. I started adding gradually, and am now at a ratio of 1 tablespoon per quart of water. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Gift/Stocking Stuffer Idea...

The idea is a heated pad, and I am sure you have all seen them in several styles. Tonight, I made a "headache relief" one for a friend's birthday. I just took a scrap of a cute Autimn print and blended rice with rosemary and marjoram. It turned out so cute, and oh boy does it smell good. It is a surprisingly soothing combination! Anyways, a cute snowflake, Christmas, wintery fabric would be easy to do! And, the possibilities are endless with this idea! I thought a peppermint scented one would be nice. For scenting, look to your spice cupboard, or  Essential Oils work great! I have broken open a sachet that I had in my dresser and added it with the rice. This one I made is just the right size for your forehead, but all different shapes and sizes work great for lots of different uses!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My War Against Bleach!

I am raging a war against Bleach. It has recently taken victim my brand new (and expensive) Carhartt sweatshirt. I believe the tragedy occurred while I was quickly cleaning up the bathroom before some friends came over. I didn't notice the sweatshirt's wounds until the next day when I pulled it out of the wash and saw the tell-tale faded sign of a Bleached victim! Grrrr.
So, that's it! Bleach is forever banished from the Curtis household. Luckily, there were only a couple cleaning products under my sink that contained bleach. With Bleach banished, I started my quest for it's alternative. I had been using vinegar and water for quite some time, but I didn't use it for the really grimy, nasty cleaning jobs. Thus, my vinegar research begins.
WOW. I never knew just how many things vinegar can be used for. After a quick Google search, I found lots of info about using vinegar, and not only for cleaning! I won't bore you with all the details, but I would love to know of any great non-bleach cleaning solutions you may know of?? 

Besides, it's more fun to be resourceful isn't it? 

...I am still mad about my sweatshirt.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Week 5

Grandma Nixon's Gingersnaps

1-1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs

4 cups white all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Combine and cream together the butter, brown sugar and molasses. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well in between each egg. 

Sift together the flour with the baking soda, spices and salt.

Stir and combine. Roll into balls and press with a sugar-coated glass. 

Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes

Enjoy with a cup of hot cider!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My First Apron...

 I recently did a swap through Flirty Apron Swap. Shawnee did a wonderful job hosting! I got to make my apron for Jennifer in Blackfoot, Idaho. (That place just sounds cool!)  I was pretty nervous about making an apron. I knew I could do it, but the process seemed a bit scary. Ahh!

But, my mom gave me some good pointers, and off I went!

I made a practice apron and it turned out pretty good. I am glad I made it, because I learned a lot from the process. (Like sticking my ties in to soon and sewing them inside the lining) 

As it turned out - It wasn't that scary after all! The apron has a very simple design with no added frills, but I am definitely looking forward to expanding my sewing know-how and trying new patterns. 

I just loved these buttons! This was my idea of adding some little touches that weren't sew-involved. 

I am kinda thinking of taking a class....I never thought I would want to learn that much about sewing, but it would be nice to feel more comfortable adding trims and "frillies".  At least then I would be able to call things by their names and not just generalize with a made-up name. 

Frillies. adj. Cute and adorable. noun. The things that you put on aprons to make it look really professional and sassy.

Anyways, I hope my partner enjoyed it and will get some good use out of it!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Week 3

Cast Iron Apple Pie


5 pounds firm apples (about 8-10)
     - I like to use 2-3 different kinds, and I always use Granny Smith
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F

1. Peel, core and cut apples into large chunks
2. In a big bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and zest
3. In a smaller bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sprinkle over apples and toss to coat
4. Place the prepared crust in to the bottom of a #8 (10") cast iron skillet
5. Dump in the apple filling and dot with 3 tablespoons of butter cut into small chunks
6. Place the top layer of crust and crimp the edges. Brush with half-n-half (or whole milk) and sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of sugar (*raw sugar looks best!)
7. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 and then reduce heat to 325 and bake for 30 minutes longer or until crust is a nice golden brown

Pie Crust

2-1/2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, diced
2 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons cold water

Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Cut in cold butter until the dough looks coarse. * A trick my mom taught me was to put the dough in to a tupperware bowl that has a lid, and shake the dough up, instead of cutting it in. It will yield a coarse mixture, without adding any heat from your hands...keeping the butter cold!
Shape the dough in to two balls, wrap and chill for 1 hour.

A little vanilla ice cream on the side....Heaven!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Knot Just Knit-Wits: Making Pumpkins

What You'll Need:
Fabric squares  - festive oranges and Fall themed fabrics work great!
Hot glue gun - or  fabric glue
Rice or Dry beans
Embroidery Floss
Cinnamon sticks or twigs from your backyard
Green felt, plastic Ivy leaves, Rafia, buttons, scrap fabric, etc... for decorating!

Step 1
   Cut the squares into  circles - They don't have to be perfect!  As a general rule of thumb, whatever size square you start with, your finished pumpkin will be about half the size. For example, a 12" square will give you about a 6" pumpkin.
Step 2
Stitch along the outside about 1/8" from the edge. The goal of this stitching is to create a drawstring. So, weave in and out of the fabric. The stitches can be rough - I usually go with  1/2" stitches and then sometimes 1/4"...I haven't noticed it making a difference in the end result.

 Step 3
Put a small handful or rice, or dry beans, inside the bottom of the Pumpkin - The purpose of this is to add a little weight. Normally no more than 1/4 cup - Even for a bigger 18" pumpkin. 

Step 4
Fill the pumpkin with batting. How much you use here is up to your own personal tastes! I like my smaller Pumpkins pretty full, and my bigger Pumpkins pretty loose.

Step 5 
Pull the strings to draw-in the fabric. Tie off the strings, but leave an opening for the size of your twig (or cinnamon stick).  I usually wait and tie off the strings after I glue in my stem - but whatever is easiest!

Step 6
The Pumpkin Stem - I have seen cinnamon sticks used for the stems before, but I have been using twigs that I cut off from random, dead branches. I used all different diameters, it just depends on what you like! 

Step 7
Place a bead of hot glue  or fabric glue) around the bottom of the twig and quickly stick it in the hole of the pumpkin. Hold the fabric to the glue and let set.

Step 8 
Decorating! You now have your basic pumpkin and it's time to dress it up! For the leaves, felt or plastic Ivy works great! Also, I like using Raffia all by itself tied around the stem!

Knit -Wit Paula made a couple really cute Pumpkins out of wool - stems and leaves in all! My favorite part of making these simple pumpkins, is how fun and easy it is to change the look with just using different fabrics, textures and materials, so on and so forth! So - get going! Make your pumpkin patch just in time for Fall!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Rhubarb Cobbler

I was a lucky girl this fall, since my father-in-law grew an over abundance of Rhubarb! I cut it all up and froze several 4-cup bags. I experimented with a "healthier" version of the Rhubarb Cobbler recipe out of my old Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. It turned out wonderful, and even got more thumbs-up compared to the "unhealthier" original recipe!

1/4 cup Organic Cane Sugar
1/4 cup Blue Agave
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
4 cups Rhubarb - Cut into about 1" chunks

Combine ingredients into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil for 1-2 minutes - Don't burn! Pour hot fruit into 8" or 9" square baking dish. 

Combine in mixing bowl:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cut in:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk

Spoon batter onto hot fruit and sprinkle with about 3 tablespoons of Organic Cane Sugar.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes - Or until a nice golden brown!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday

Fabulous Fall Foods Friday - Join in for a chance at a Gooseberry Patch Cookbook! Head on over to Paula's for more details!

 Baked Acorn Squash

  • 1 Tbsp Butter                                      
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Dash of Salt

 Preheat oven to 400°F.
 Using a big, strong knife (and maybe the help of a big, strong man) cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise.
Spoon out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center.
Score the insides of each half several times.
Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up in about 1/4 inch of water.
Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 Tablespoon of butter. Add a Tablespoon of Brown Sugar and dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup...
Bake for about an hour or until the squash is  soft and the tops are browned. 
Spoon any buttery sugar sauce over the exposed areas.

I experimented with a "healthier" version to this classic recipe. I used Agave Nectar for the sweetener and Olive Oil for the butter.  I went a little heavier on the spice as well. It turned out great!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mules Across the Great Wide Open

I first stumbled across this book at our local feed store and was immediately drawn to one word: "mules". My love for mules started when my dad got us our first "horse." Like lots, or even most little girls, I wanted a horse of my own. Little did I know that I would fall in love with a mule named Barney. . . 

Jody Foss wrote Mules Across the Great Wide Open after her pack trip from Park City, Utah to Spokane, Washington. The trip was 1,300 miles long and they accomplished it with three horses, two mules, a couple dogs, her sister, and their friend. Along the way, they record stories from old timers and interesting characters they meet along the way.

The book is an easy read, 285 pages with a section of photographs from the trip and illustrations throughout. I will warn you, after reading this book you will want to drop everything, pack up, and ride out into the sunset - never looking back. The book is not overly dramatized, but simply depicts the adventures and the people they come across.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in pack trips, mules or the pure romance of riding out into unknown country...

Happy trails!

                                     Barney - Circa 2004.  may he rest in peace

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Knot Just Knit-Wits: Pillow Case Project

The pillow case project through Craft Hope for children of Doernbecher Hospital was a great success. We had 2 additional ladies join in our usual group and we made a total of 21 pillow cases! There was such a fun variety and fabrics, it was a joy to see them all together!We all got together last week at Paula's , our ring-leader of the group, and shared in the blessing that it was to know that our pillow cases were going to bring smiles and joy to children who need it most.

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:11


Monday, August 30, 2010

Truckin' and Junkin' - August

"Let's start the bidding at $100.Give me a hundred. 50 dollars. Come on. Where ya wanna be? This is a collector's item. 25 dollars. Give me 25 dollars. Come on folks. Where ya wanna be?"
        I was at my first farm auction. It was in McMinnville, Oregon and it was love at first bid. 

There was junk piled high, piled under tables, in boxes, shoved and crammed anywhere and everywhere.  The dust never settled and the deals were abundant.  There wasn't too much that caught my eye, but as always, I did manage to load up the pick up. The men rolled their eyes as Mom and I took home the biggest load (to no one's real surprise).  

My first auction bid was on this wooden chair with a pressed leather insert and double rungs. It was hidden beneath boxes, and I didn't really know how good of condition it was in until I  won the bid.
I don't have any good idea for how old this chair is, and I am excited to learn how to identify the age.
I learned a good auction lesson with this ladder. Just because something sells to another, doesn't mean it still isn't for sale! This ladder was sold in a lot of lumber, and the owner turned out to not even want it. Can you believe that? I mean, this is a real fine, worthless ladder. Except, not to me of course. An outdoor table is in the future for this old ladder.

 I managed to pick up an older wood office chair with a cast iron swivel and adjustment that closely matches one that Eric made in highschool. The set goes well in the office/craft room. Also, my mom took home a 50's high chair in excellent condition. It still had the tray and leather "seat-belt" strap. Wish I had a picture to share.
Even though I was having a great time looking at old junk, it was sad to see this once working farm close-up.   At least a little "history" may be preserved in the pieces people brought home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Blue Ribbon" Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Okay,  they are not a blue ribbon winner, but they would be.

After several experiments, failed attempts, and a husband who found out there is such a thing as "too many chocolate chip cookies," I have come up with a pretty darn good recipe. 

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter (has to be butter - not salted)

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons hot water

3 cups white all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips 
1 cup finely chopped walnuts  (very optional)

Cream together the sugars and butter. Add the eggs, vanilla and hot water - mixing thoroughly after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients and mix. Add the chips. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes. 

Do you have a favorite recipe??

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Workspace Wednesday

Good Evening! This is my first Workspace Wednesday! Woo hoo! I feel like I have made a new blog accomplishment....err something.  I learned about Workspace Wednesday over at Kids Napping? I am Scrapping! 

My workspace is covered in unfinished "mini" projects....Do you ever start one project, and then think of another, and so on? Boy, I sure do! Right now I have a birthday present/card in the "wrapping" for my father law's birthday tomorrow. Also, working on the Conkerr Cancer Pillow Case Project...Let's see, what else? Oh yes!  I thought it would be fun to have a little family tree at the reuinion this weekend. There will be a lot of cousins and cousins of cousins, and not every one will know who is who....or how we're related! 
Also, with a growing family (5 weddings in one year!), I thought it would be nice to put together a birthday list and update contact info. I am always a day too late on birthdays! Anyways, I better get crackin'!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Craft Hope - Project 9 : Conkerr Cancer

My friend Paula has really gotten me into this whole "blogging" thing - I never knew how active blogging could be. The latest thing she has turned me on to is Craft Hope. 

They have introduced their latest project, Project 9:  Conkerr Cancer.  We are making pillow cases to send to children/teens in the hospital. Our Astoria, Oregon based group is sending our cases to Doernbecher can read more over at Paula's

To get to the Craft Hope website and see all the other great things they are doing, click on the "Craft Hope" button at the top of my blog. 

                                              Pillow case # 1 - with many more to come!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dixie Doodles

I thought I would share with you a quick and easy dog treat recipe! I made-up this recipe to use ingredients I commonly have on hand.

To make Dixie Doodles...

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons wheat germ (if you have it)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon mint extract (optional)

Roll out "dough" to desired thickness and cut with fun, small or large cookie cutters! The dough should be pretty tough, so don't be afraid to really work it! Place as many as you can fit on a cookie sheet, without overlapping and bake for 10-12 minutes

One happy doggy....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Truckin' and Junkin' - July

The Swap Meet at the Great Oregon Steam Up this year was not as amazing as it has been historically, or as I had hoped. It was easy to find good junk, but hard to find the good deal. The vendors all knew what their stuff was worth...and some thought  they knew what it was worth. Regardless, it was fun to scrounge around and see some neat things, get some ideas, and learn a little.

 To no one's great big surprise, I was able to come home with a few finds. Last month, Eric got me an old hardware scale, and last weekend I found an old kitchen scale to befriend it. The cow creamer was a bonus  for only a $1.  I believe all of my "weighing" needs are well taken care of!
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this old grape crate when I was paying the guy for it, but I was sure I could put it to good use. From Lamont, California to Warrenton, Oregon, it now holds our movies.
 Could you believe it if I told you that an old garden rake head was on my "list" of things to find at the swap meet? Well, it was, and I did find one! Actually, I found a whole pile of them, but the one with rusty, red paint was an easy pick for me! Again, I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with it. I knew I wanted to hang it on the wall, but not sure what I was going to put on it. Wine glasses? Candles? A picture frame! Perfection...for now.

I love all of my finds, but I think one of my favorite things about the swap meat is the thrill of bartering! I get a great adrenaline rush! Don't you start laughing! I am very methodical about my methods. For instance, when I am going after something, I purposely take out the exact amount of cash I am going to offer. Then, when I ask, "Would you take...?",  I hold out the money, just tempting them to go on and take it! This tactic has proven to be widely successful!

Do you like to barter??

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Great Oregon Steam Up 2010

The Great Oregon Steam-Up is an annual event in Brooks, Oregon, and has been a tradition in my husband's family for over 10 years.  Eric took me on our first date here, and we have been going back every year!
The Steam-Up has everything from vintage tractors, trucks, and automobiles to Machinery demos, sawmilling, flour milling, fire apparatus demos, harvesting, kids pedal tractor pulling, traditional tractor pulling, military vehicles, and a Big Swap Meet!

  This year we camped out and  had a great time getting to know all the exhibitors and vendors there! Most everything is ran by volunteers, and you can really tell the people spend all year getting ready for this big event! It's really a rare thing to see so many generations of people preserving Oregon's and Early American history.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Sisters. Three Weddings

This last year has been filled with WEDDINGS! This is not a complaint, but rather an exclamation. I must share with the world about how I, and my two sisters, all got married within 10 months! Not to mention, one cousin and an aunt! I know, pretty ridiculous?! This was not a wedding "intervention" sort of thing, but a random act bliss!

Wedding #1 - It all started on September 12, 2010. Eric and I were married at my parent's house. We had an outdoors, country wedding filled with tractors, corn bread, old wooden church pews,  cowboy boots, elk antler arbor...You get the idea.

Wedding # 2 - May 9, 2010,  My older, wiser sister Sarah and her husband Kent were married! They had a traditional church wedding at a historical chapel. It was picture perfect! They had gourmet cupcakes and handmade candies at their reception. Not to mention, the most beautiful flowers arrangements I have ever seen!

Wedding #3 - June 26, 2010, My younger,  beautiful sister Kaytlyn and her husband Chris were married! They had an evening wedding, and it was a gorgeous night! The ceremony was in an outdoor ampitheatre, and the reception was indoors and catered with scumptios finger foods and mini cheesecakes for dessert. It was a perfect, summer evening wedding.  Kayt also set a new record...she had 10 bridesmaids!!

I would not recommend this method of marrying off your children. I know for a fact, we could not have pulled off all of these individually beautiful weddings without the help of #1 Our amazingly talented mother, and ALL of our super supportive family and friends who helped out above and beyond any level of expectation.

I love weddings.