Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!! from our house to yours.

Here's a few craft projects I worked on this month. A quilting friend placed an order for the mice below to give as Christmas gifts. The pattern is from Country Stitches and it makes the cutest pincushion. I made 3 different mice and three different tomatoes. They were made out of wool.

Mice are holding corsage pins. The pins look cute and very vintage.

The label that I made for each mouse. Remember, details people, it's all in the details. My absolute fav is detailing everything. Just love it!!

These are some clothespin dolls that i made for D#2's preschool teachers, music teacher and preschool director. I can't take credit for the dolls, they have been around for many years and I did see some similar to these somewhere on the Internet, but I can't find out where. I have looked and looked. Saw them back in the summer sometime. The arms are just pipe cleaners with thread wrapped around them. I did this technique back years ago when I was making Wee Folks dolls for ornaments. I will have to post a picture of the ornaments before they are stored away for next year's Christmas. I made the apples from small wooden beads, felt leaves and leather stem. Sheet music is actual sheet music that I scaled down. It is of "Away in a Manger". The book was a large wooden book that I had DH cut in half and the peppermint is just polymer clay. I loved the hairbows, D#2 always, always  has one in her hair and plus the cloth dolls that I make always have to have one also, so I thought it fitting that the clothespin dolls should wear one too :)

Close up of director's doll and teacher's doll.

Doll for D#1's art teacher. I made her a little artist's smock, with paint smudges of course, paint brush made from toothpick and real bristles on the end. An artist's beret and a palette. I am calling these dolls "Just Like Me", because I love to customize them to fit the recipient's image.

Have a very Merry Christmas, with love,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Decking the Halls....

There's alot of things going on here at the old homestead. Baking, crafting, decorating, shivering and shopping. Haven't done very much baking. Dear hubby made some sugar cookie dough last weekend and we decorated them. The pictures are in my other camera, so I'll share them as soon as I figure out how to transfer them over to this computer.
The decorating is going well, I should be finished on Christmas Day or the day after. Here's a few pictures of what I have done. Poor dear hubby hasn't been able to help this year, he had surgery on his foot Dec 1 and is still recovering. He had an allergic reaction to the material used in the stitches and this set him back some.
Put some garland on the chandelier in the dining room and added alot of vintage glass ornaments to it. Many of them were my Mama Marcinak's. I just love the red one with the mushrooms.

The hoosier displays my Byers Choice carolers and mini tree with lights. It also had a colander full of vintage cookie cutters.

Close up of display on hoosier. Notice the cute little mixer on the stove.

Vintage cookie cutters. I just love them!

This display is on the piesafe in my kitchen. This vintage hoosier jar is filled with more vintage cookie cutters. I love the bell shaped one on the left side of the picture.

Sorry, you are going to have to turn the computer sideways. This is my front door. I haven't finished, I still have to put out something else on the left of the front door, it looks so plain. Maybe some large boxes wrapped up to look like presents.

Love these Santas and reindeer. My mom gave me the two vintage santas one year before Christmas. The reindeer was a gift from my middle sister. He is very cute and vintagey. The picture is of me when I was about 2 or 3 struggling to get away from Santa. This display is on top of my antique sewing machine.

This garland has red and white lights, red and white ribbon, red and white crochet snowflakes and tiny red and white crochet dresses. The dresses are just darling.

My Mama Marcinak's Gurley Candles. They are a little dirty, but I love them anyway. I remember playing with them as a child. They are in pretty good shape except for the girl in the back row on the right. Her poor backside was totally eaten away by a mouse years ago. No, we do not have mice, it happened at Mama's house when it was empty, except for the mice. She looks pretty good from the front.

Pie safe in kitchen, notice the little copper cookie cutters on the wall. I keep them up year round. My mom had some like this when we were little and I was so happy to find some like hers. The tree on the left hosts all of my gingerbread ornaments. I *heart* that tree. I also have lited garland around my pantry doors. They are decorated with gingerbread ornaments an tiny kitchen utensils.

Close up of some ornaments. See the cutie pie sock monkey, bought him this year when my mom and I went shopping at Thanksgiving.

I will share more as soon as I clean a little. Tune in later for my post "40 Gifts For A Very Special 40 Year Old".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes

Here's a few favorite recipes that are a must each Thanksgiving. The first one is a broccoli casserole given to me by my mother-in-law. Sorry there is not a picture of the finished casserole. I will take a picture of it on Thanksgiving day and post it.

Broccoli Casserole
2 pkgs frozen chopped broccoli
3 T. grated onion
1 c. mayo
1 can mushroom soup, condensed
2 eggs, beaten
1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 roll of Ritz cracker
1/4 stick melted butter
Crush crackers and combine with melted butter. Can use more butter if needed.

Cook broccoli  as directed. Cool and drain. Combine all ingredients except for topping. Pour into greased casserole dish and top with crackers butter mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes.


Corn Casserole
2 cans of Niblet corn, drained (Green Giant)
1/2 c cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c onion chopped
1 can cream of celery soup
pinch of salt
1 roll Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 to 1 stick butter, melted
Mix together and spread ontop of casserole

Put well drained corn into greased casserole dish. Mix other ingredients and spread over corn. Top with cracker mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas....So Soon?

I can't believe that December is almost here. I have started decorating a little. Mostly I have moved furniture around. Moved the hoosier into the dining room, pie safe into kitchen, and turned the kitchen table around. I still have to move the black pie safe/dvd cabinet to its spot in order to make room for the Christmas tree. I wanted to get it before Thanksgiving, but d hubby said that it would dry out. I did remind him that the tree would be standing there waiting for us to come and get it, so did it really matter if it dryed out at our house or the tree lot. We could put it on the deck in the tree stand and set the automatic drip hose to drip on it. D#2 told me that I was so amazing coming up with that plan. I finally realized why we have children, not to carry on the family name or blood line, but to have someone think that you are awesome. You can say the most hair brained stuff and they will think that you are the most amazing, smartest person alive! I just love 5 yr olds.
Anyway, here's some photos of the dining room and decorated table. I went for gingerbread theme this year.

Here is the dining room. The pictures came out much starker than the room actually is. It is much warmer and more toned down. I am thinking about repainting it a green.  Some of the Hull dishes on the table are Mama Marcinak's and some are the ones that I have collected through the years. I love using the large mugs.

Mama Marcinak's Hull dinnerware. Did you notice what I used for napkin rings? Yes, they are cookie cutters. I didn't want to spend any money for matching napkin rings and I had a bunch of these old antique cookie cutters. Don't they look so cute?                                                                                                    

The antique mixer on top of the Hoosier is Mama Marcinak's old mixer. I just love it. I have never plugged it in........

Could this be why? Seems like a really long time ago the cord melted. I do remember the mixer being stored ontop of the little broiler oven, maybe this is how it was melted.

 Closer shot of the sweet little mixer. I think it is so cute up there. Maybe one day I will take it down and use it to make a cake. I do have her recipe holder, not the one in the picture, but a green one not shown. To use her mixer and recipe would be fun! Wish I had one of her old aprons.....

Antique utensils and some antique red plastic cookie cutters: (clockwise) stocking, poinsettia, tree, Santa and American Flag.
 Potpourri pie, made by d#2. Photo doesn't do it justice, it looks so real in real life. Fooled d#1 today. She wanted to eat it.
Here is the table decoration for the table. Antique cookie cutters that I have been collecting for years, antique wooden rolling pin, gingerbread men that I made last year out of fabric, wooden eggs, loom potholder made by d#1 when she was around 8 yrs old, oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, wooden spoon and new wire whisk and of course my wonderful wooden antique dough bowl.
Look who has come out of hiding and is now on naughty/nice patrol. He keeps the house under control. D#2 gets up every morning to look and see if the Elf has moved during the night.

Stay crafty and busy,
Christmas is only 30 days away,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What in the world is amigurumi?

These past few weeks have been busy, busy, busy. I have not gotten to blog as often as I have wanted to. I am now in full gear for Christmas. I have BIG plans to make most of my Christmas gifts. I am getting better at crocheting and am in love with amigurumi. I believe it is pronounced AM-A-GOO-ROOM-EE. At least that is how I am pronouncing it. Amigurumi means "single crochet" in Japanese. The patterns are super easy to follow and I am having a ball, no pun intended, making these little guys. I have decided to make some for Christmas presents for the little ones on our list. I have even made up some patterns. I am still not very familiar with all of the crocheting terms, so my patterns are a little hard for anyone else to follow. I also use a paperclip as my row marker. It works quite well and if I lose it, I have plenty more up in the craft room.

Supplies, gotta love that this is all it takes. Not an expensive hobby at all! Dear hubby appreciates that.

Naked little fellow. Waiting on his prickly fur. Can you guess what he is?

Did you guess hedgehog?
Here's a smaller one. The arms look a little wonky from this angle, but they really are on straight, I promise, really.... they are. He doesn't have his eyes yet, they are the last to be put on. I am making him some felt eyes. The safety plastic ones that I have were a little too big for my taste. I am going to make a momma and hopefully daddy and a felt mushroom house to put them in. I will have to make up my own pattern for the house, I can't find a cute pattern anywhere.

Look what I received in the mail today. It is my Prairie Women's Sewing Circle quilting supplies. They sent this one in a little cigar box, which is just the cutest. The box is for storing your "WIPs" or "work in progress" projects. This quilt is suppose to be hand pieced, which I love doing. I have been working on a hand piecing quilt for a while and I could finish it in about 2 weeks, but time just gets away. Maybe in January I will have some more time to devote to this project.
Pretty little civil war fabrics. See the pattern of the quilt square in the background. It is called "At Mama's  knee".

More beautiful Civil War fabrics.

Have a great day and keep yourself busy,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mr. Squmpkin

Working very hard at trying to finish up some projects for the Etsy shop. I just have so many things floating around in my head that I want to create. Hopefully by this weekend I can figure out all the ends and outs of Etsy. I need to get organized.
This weekend we are going to bonfire and Hayride with our Lifegroup Class (this is our Sunday School Class, but now they call it Lifegroups). I can't wait. We have become such great/close friends with everyone in the class. I plan on bringing my Rotel Dip and Fritos along with some Kettle Corn. I will share the recipes in the next couple of days along with some pictures of the Bonfire Party. Family fun for sure! Just loving this time of the year.
There are some mini projects around the house that I need to finish:
1. Head for scarecrow out front.
2. Clean cobwebs off the front porch.
3. Rake leaves.
4. Finish folding clothes, or rather start.
5. Numerous craft projects.
6. Buy candy for trick or treaters.
7. Boo some neighbors.
8. Post some Etsy stuff.

Here's the recipe of the week. Dear Son did not care for it but the rest of us loved it. He said the consistency was all wrong. Not sure what that meant, but he ate most of it. To me it has the consistency of potato soup, which I love. We call it Squmpkin Soup, because his mother was a pumpkin and his father was a squash according to my Dear D2. She talked to Mr. Squmpkin for about 10 minutes. I put on my best ventriloquist voice and Mr. Squmpkin came to life. This tickled D2. She had never talked to a Squmpkin. Mr. Squmpkin told her how delicious he is and that she should eat every bite because he worked so hard to grow up so big and full of vitamins. She was very intriqued and told him that she could never eat something so cute. He finally convinced her that he is indeed very delicious and it would greatly please him if she would eat her soup. She agreed and made a happy bowl. Maybe next time Mr. Squmpkin will talk to Dear Son.....
Anyway here's Squmpkin  (aka butternut squash) Soup.

Squmpkin Soup
2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium potato, cubed
1 medium butternut squash-peeled,seeded and cubed
1 (32 oz) container of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
little bit of chopped garlic
dash nutmeg
1/2 cup half-half

*Cook onion, celery, carrot, potato and squash in hot olive oil for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Pour enough of chicken stock to cover vegetables. Add the spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, add half-half and simmer 40 minutes. Milk will cook and look funny, but don't worry it will all get blended together.
*Transfer soup to blender and blend until smooth. Return to pot and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
*You can also add a dollop of sour cream to a bowl of soup.
This makes alot of soup. I served it with banana bread and pumpkin bread.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your Squmpkin Soup.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just Another Fallish Day

Wow! Didn't mean to be gone so long. Fall is coming and we are seeing the signs. It's getting cooler here in North Carolina and the leaves are changing color and falling off the trees. We have been very busy around these parts. We have had birthday parties, football games, fall festivals, and lots of other fun busy stuff. I have still been crocheting and find it very relaxing. I made this cute little guy for D2, actually it was for my niece's birthday, but D2 fell in love with it. He is a bear pattern that I turned into a kitty cat. The pumpkin was an apple pattern, I just changed the color of the yarn and added a stem. The patterns are from a book called Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli. On her blog, she even has some free patterns.
Such a cute little guy. You can't see it, but he has a tail.

He really does fit into the pumpkin, you just kind of have to stuff him.

See, I told you he fits.
This is some seriously wonderful caramel dip. I love it with these fresh mountain apples. It is very buttery and creamy.

Sad to say, but it is not my recipe. I borrowed it from another blog. Try it, you won't be disappointed. It is rather rich, so do use some restraint when eating.
Caramel dip
1 bag Kraft Caramels (unwrapped-yeah, I do have to unwrap all of them)
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (my personal fav)
1 stick of real butter-no fake stuff here

Add everything to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes,stir about 1 minute. Microwave for 1 more minute and stir again for 1 minute. Do not microwave anymore, even if caramels are not all melted. Just leave it on the counter for a little while and keep coming back and stirring it. Even if caramels don't all melt, the dip is out of this world! Store left overs in the refrigerator. To reheat, just scoop some out into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 20-30 seconds.

That's all for tonight. I promise that I will be back soon with the promised recipes from last post. And i will show you what I made for my 2 year old niece. Of course after she has opened her package. And to let you know what a forgetful Aunt I am, I forgot, well not actually forgot, just misdated my sweet nephew's birthday. For some reason I always think that it is in October, when actually it is in September. Since I am coming clean, I owe my other nieces a big apology. I  completely forgot their birthdays this year, yeah, I said year, the whole year. What's wrong with me? Maybe it is the getting older thing, yeah....I will blame it that. Sorry nieces. Your presents are in the mail.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lost Tooth

It was an exciting time today at church. D2 lost her tooth in Sunday School. She is so excited, even though this is the 2nd tooth that she has lost. Hopefully the Tooth Fairy will remember to come tonight. She use to forget a lot when the other kids were little. And miraculously mom would always find the money under the bed. Go figure.

Last night we had nice little hot dog roast in the fire pit. The big kids each had a friend over to roast hot dogs and eat. The weather is so nice and cool now. I know it won't be long until cold weather is here, so we need to enjoy this while we can.
Hope y'all had an awesome weekend. I promise to get the recipes up in the next couple of days.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Getting ready for Fall--Bake Sale!

Thursday I spent the day baking for D2's preschool bake sale. Now that Fall is in the air, I was ready to start baking something made with pumpkin. So I made Grandma's Pumpkin Spice Cake. It was sooo delicious. Of course I had to have a little bite. This past week I crocheted a patch of pumpkins to go on top of the cakes for a little extra oomph. Not really a patch, more like 4, but they turned out so cute. I am just learning how to crochet and this project was perfect. They were so little I could actually finish one in a day!

I also made Hershey Bar Pie and After the Hayride Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cake. I'll share those recipes in the next couple of days, along with pictures too.

Sorry, this picture was before I frosted the cake.

Grandma's Pumpkin Spice Cake
1 pkg. spice cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 sm. can pumpkin (I believe it was the 15oz can)
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp water (yes, that's right, 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans)

Combine all but nuts and mix well. Add nuts. Bake in well greased and floured bundt pan
at 350* for 40-45 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Frost cooled

Lip Smacking Cream Cheese Frosting
3 oz cream cheese-room temperature
3/4 cup soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
2  1/2 cup powdered sugar

Beat well.

Cute little pumpkins.

Here are the 4 half cakes. For the bake sale, they wanted us to cut the cakes into large chunks. They tend to sell better that way.

Have an AWESOME Saturday!