Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Bought Myself a Present

 I have a serious illness.  It is called "Craft Supply Hoarding".  I can't help is a disease......So when a friend said she loved her Silhouette more than her Cricut I had to have it!  Thank goodness my husband is an enabler, sometimes after the fact, of my need to buy every crafting tool I am aware of.  So last week when we came home from a trip my new Silhouette Cameo was waiting for me!  My first cut?  A very detailed doily that the Cricut would have torn up (and not in a good way).  See the cute paper?  That is not cardstock!  The Cameo can cut standard paper like butter with no tearing at all.

Here is a picture of the backside of the whole thing on a 12x12 piece of paper.  But that is not all the Cameo can do.   It has the ability to take a printed design and cut it out.  I didn't even know it could do that when I bought it!  It is called print and cut.  I cut out the cutest little vintage kitty faces I got off the net for free. 

Isn't it amazing!  So, I can use all the digital art I have collected over the years and not have to hand cut out the images.  I can't wait to find out what else this machine can do. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Using Peppermint Spoons to Make a Mold

I found the cutest peppermint spoons (Wiltons) for hot chocolate a few days ago.  I bought two boxes, one to give to a friend and one for us!  They were sooooo cute I thought I would use one spoon to make a mold so I could enjoy even more spoons!  Chocolate spoons, hard candy spoons, the possibilities are almost endless. 
 I used a food safe molding compound, followed the directions and within a few minutes I was able to press the spoon into the putty.  Be sure and mold the putty on the detailed side of the spoon.
 I waited a half an hour (got busy with something else and forgot about the mold.....oops) and then easily got the spoon out.  Now I have a mold that I can use when I have a need for an edible spoon--yippee!
This is the putty I use!  It is so great I always have a bit of it on me crazy but I get a little anxious if I run out. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Easy Turtles

These dark chocolate turtles couldn't be easier and are so delicious!
Start by laying out four pecan halves in a cross pattern on foil or wax paper.  Heat some caramel until it is soft enough to spoon but not so hot that it is pourable.  Spoon a tablespoon of soften caramel onto center of pecans.  The caramel should slowly flatten into a smooth mound.  I melted some Bada Bing Bada Boom brand dark chocolate in a double broiler.  Using a spoon plop some chocolate on top and spread to cover the caramel.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on warm chocolate and let set in refrigerator until firm.  Sweet and salty, creamy, crunchy and chewy----yum!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sweet Treats Quilt

Just finished a sweet little quilt yesterday using some fabric I bought a while ago.......most of the fabric is from Delicious Wishes by Jana Nielson of Izzy & Ivy for Henry Glass Fabrics and looks good enough to eat!
The fabric line has a panel of framed desserts and fruit that can be cut into squares. 
 I framed each square in a green fabric with red on each corner.
 The binding is in the same red and is hand sewn.
I machined quilted in a swirly pattern on my regular sewing machine.  It is so fun to see how much I can push myself with new designs like this.  It helped that the quilt was small and easy to work with.  I wouldn't try this swirly design on something much larger.  I am not sure if this is a baby quilt or wall hanging.......I think it might even end up as a table topper.  It would look sweet on a dessert table loaded with goodies!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies Made With Honey

Why use honey in your cookie recipes?  Two reasons-it does make a difference in the taste, texture and shelf life of the cookie AND we have our own bees so we have an abundance of honey!  You may not have tons of the amber liquid but I promise you it is still worth switching over.  Your cookies will stay soft much longer and everyone will taste the difference.
I looked a long time for a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that used honey but couldn't find one I liked, I mean I still wanted it to look and taste similar to what I normally baked.  So I decided to try a little experiment with my trusted Williams Sonoma recipe by replacing the white sugar with honey.  Here is the adapted recipe below.  Note: when baking with honey you usually use equal amounts of honey for the sugar, reduce the liquid by 1/4 cup per 1 cup of honey used and reduce the temp of the oven by 25 to 30 degrees.  This recipe follows some of those guidelines but not all.

Williams Sonoma Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 345 (only 5 degrees change from the 350 in the recipe).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on med-low speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Add the brown sugar and honey, increase the speed to medium and beat until slightly fluffy, about one minute.  Be sure and stop to scrape the sides once in a while.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pan, spacing the cookies about two inches apart.  Bake about 9 minutes then turn pan in oven and cook another minute.  The cookies should be a light golden color and the bottoms should not be dark brown.  Put the pan of cookies on a baking rack to cool for 3 minutes and then remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.  Makes about 36 cookies.
These cookies don't spread as much as the ones with sugar.  They stay nice and thick and moist.  Yum!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tiny Advent Calendar

I needed to make a simple Advent Calendar for my son's boys and looked online for a cute little kit to put together.   Most of them needed to be assembled and knowing my woodworking skills I decided those were not for me.  I got this little kit at my local craft store and it was perfect for a quick and easy project.  It doesn't need to be put together, just decorated.  You can find it online here.
Here are a few hints to make your project go smoothly.  The boxes and frame are made out of cardboard (now don't read that as flimsy, it is quite sturdy) and have a shiny paper coating.  Glue is going to have a hard time creating a permanent bond.  Instead, use permanent red adhesive tape that you find at your craft store in the scrap booking section.  Now for the paper I used regular weight not cardstock but I don't think it matters much, I just found more patterns to choose from in the lighter paper.  To get the notch at the top just use a hole punch and it will be perfect.  Once your paper in on, sand the edges lightly and ink a bit too.  The kit comes with the number stickers!   Seriously, this couldn't be easier!  I think it is more fun to have the numbers count down to Christmas instead of counting the "Days of Christmas".  Just my preference.  This Advent Calendar is small and colorful and the drawers can hold a few chocolate kisses....... 
And it will fit in a box for mailing to those grandkids........  Just be sure and include the treats or you will be in trouble.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crazy Good Chair

I know I did a post on Picmonkey already but I thought you might be interested in another cool way you can use it!  Previewing what a project might look like BEFORE you ever pick up a paint brush or scissor!  Here is an example of a chair redo........
Here is the before chair and........
here is the chair after using this fabric with the drawing and overlay functions on Picmonkey.  How fun is that!  Just think, no more wondering what that redo will look like.  Oh and the fabric on the chair is one I came up with but isn't for sale (yet).  However, if you send me a note on Spoonflower I will update it on the shop so you can get it.

Tiny Tart Pan Ornaments

  I can't believe the countdown has begun for Christmas already!
 I want my tree to have more white on it this year so I made 36 of these lovely ornaments over the last day or two.  I used simple mini tart pans (available here).  I gave them a light spray of white paint.  Using a tiny drill bit I put a small hole at the top of each pan.  A simple o ring went in each hole for easy hanging.
 Then I punch out circles and scallops from old book pages.  These were glued on the inside of the pans.
 Next came out my jar of old buttons and bottle caps.  I gave the caps a spray of bronze paint and then combined buttons, caps and tiny gems into pleasing groups.  They were then glued here and there.  A bit of glitter pen on the edges of the paper.....then a quick blast of glitter spray. 
 Finally I hot glued small bows at the top of each ornament.  So pretty.
Don't worry about everything being perfect.  These are so much more interesting if the tin shows through.  Think vintage and shabby.......  Now they will look so nice on the tree, mixed in with all our other ornaments.  Yeah!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

English Muffin Bread And A Secret

I am going to tell you all something shameful......something I am a little embarrassed to admit.....something I have never told anyone before......I make this bread in the microwave.  I know, I know, who does that!!!!  But before you shake your head and tsk tsk this post, let me explain.  This recipe was given to me by a wonderful cook, someone I trust and admire.  A sweet little old lady even!  This recipe is easy AND you will have fresh homemade bread in your tummy in one hour, start to finish, AND you will like it, I promise!  There is no kneading, no shaping and only one rising.  Since you will be toasting the slices, this pale bread (microwaved baked goods don't brown) won't freak you out.  It makes two large loaves and tastes great!

English Muffin Bread
5 cups flour
2 packages yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
2 cups milk
Combine 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, salt and soda.  Heat liquids to 125 degrees or until very warm.  Add liquid to dry mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in remaining 2 cups flour to make stiff batter.  Spoon into two greased glass bread pans and sprinkle cornmeal on top of each loaf.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.  Microwave each loaf separately on high for 6 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes in pan.  Slice. toast and serve warm with butter.  You will want to store the bread in the refrigerator. 
I hope you will give this recipe a try and let me know how it works out for your family.

Monday, November 11, 2013

New Discount Code

New discount code for our Etsy shop for the month of November! 
Be sure and type in november2013 as you are checking out for a 15% discount!
It is the perfect time to pick up something handmade for your Christmas lists!

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Couch Cushions For the Vintage Camper

One more project to cross off the list.  I finished the couch cushions in our camper!  Well, I actually have one more to do but we only need it when the couch is made into a bed...... 
 I am loving the new firm cushions!  The old ones were pretty worn out and your bum went right to the bottom wood.  Not so comfy.
 I have been stressing about what to do with the area over the wheels.  When the bed is made up it is covered but when the couch is in place the boxes are not that great to look at.  I thought about making cushion to cover them.......that would be OK......until my friend Mary and I found 2 vintage suitcases at the Rural Society at Warwick Farms that look great...... as end tables!  Plus they provide extra storage.  And I looooove the color!  Speaking of great color......
 We also found this old AM radio in turquoise! 
 My grandma keeps me supplied in dollies.
The next project is sewing up the cushions for the crow's nest.  Then we will tackle some non sewing items!  Can't wait.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fabulous Find Friday---Have You Heard of Spoonflower?

I have been under a little stress lately so I decided to completely ignore my problems and get a little creative.   Not trusting myself with scissors, I finally tried out Spoonflower.  What is it you ask?   Well, Spoonflower is a site where you can design your own fabric, save it and then, if you love it, order it!  In addition, you can make your design public, and/or let Spoonflower sell it and even receive 10% of any of those sales!
 The process is very intuitive even for a computer illiterate like me.  It helps if you have a decent photo editing program (check out my post on Picmonkey).  You can download files or pictures in these approved formats TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF, AI, EPS, SVG and then play around with them as far as arrangement, color and size goes.  Talk about fun.....
 Above is an example of a fabric I designed using some images from the web.  I have been on an I Love Lucy kick lately.....she is so funny!  No copy written images can be used of course!  And once you have made your fabric design, Spoonflower puts a watermark on it to protect it.
It takes them about 10 days to manufacture the fabric in your design and then a few days for you to receive it once they ship.  Shipping was cheap, around 6 dollars for about 6 yards of different weight fabrics.  So it sounds like a two week design to door process.  Once I proof the fabrics I designed and ordered they will be available for sale (you must order proofs before you can let Spoonflower put them on the market).  Fabrics cost a little more than you would pay at a fabric store but you are getting something unique.  Prices start at about $16.00 per yard but you can order less expensive swatches and fat quarters (swatches are good for proofing).  If you design and then order your own design you get a discount and if you order more than 20 yards of any fabric you get a 20% discount!  So give it a try, you might surprise yourself.....and if you don't want to design your own, check out the hundreds of fabrics that others have designed.  Some are truly amazing! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

First Day Camping Trip

We took A Frayed Knot on her first camping trip, and even though we didn't spend the night it was so nice to have her along.  My husband had put on a new back bumper since the craft fair and it was so much prettier than the old one.  We went to the nearby Mohican State Park.  After setting up camp, my husband fished and I read a book.  Then I took a nap inside on the comfy bed with my vintage quilt and fuzzy pillows.  LOVED IT!!
The next trip will be overnight but since the temperatures have fallen, it might have to wait until next year.....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

PicMonkey--Who Knew!

I have wanted a really good photo editing program for a while now.  I have tried demos of several but none were intuitive enough (for me anyway)!  Then my friend Mary, who has beautiful photography on her blog, spilled her secrets.......she uses PicMonkey!  Best part---It is free!  I am probably the last person on the planet to know this but in case I am not, check it out.  Nothing to download, just lots of fun effects.  Plus, if you want more than the freebies they offer, you can sign up for an upgrade for less than I spend on cupcakes vitamins in one month---for an entire years subscription!  Have fun with all the Halloween special effects like the ones above.  The scary picture above?  That is a picture of our littlest grandson who is very angelic in real life but I couldn't resist giving him a more sinister aura!  I see much better photos in my future!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Discount Coupon at Our Etsy Shop

Have you been eyeing something in our shop?  Now is a great time to get it with our discount coupon that is good until the end of October.  Enter OCTOBER2013 for a 15% discount on everything in the shop!  New item are being added all the time so check back often! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hebron Art and Music Festival 2013

Last weekend we did our first craft fair in years.  We started at a very small event so it would be more fun and less stress.......that was our plan anyway.
 The camper was a big hit and got so much attention!  We actually got two offers on it but I would NEVER sell her!
 Here is a picture that shows our booth and new awning.  We learned a lot this time out!  Like how to set up the awning I made.  We learned that if we did it wrong a strong wind will bring it down on our heads----twice.
 The camper doll house was a great mascot.
 A few of my favorite items.
 The camper was great for brief breaks from the sun.
 Eli and Abby helped with set up and sells.
Abby and her school friend take a moment to chat and enjoy the camper.  While our sells were slow (small festival means few customers) we enjoyed meeting people and showing off the camper!  It was fun to have the experience.  Now we will take a break and decide if this is something we want to try again......

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halloween Quilt and Table Runner

I made these Halloween quilted decorations for my son way back in July!  Talk about planning ahead.  He has three little boys and I thought they would enjoy the bright orange and black color combo.  Plus the fabric has monsters all over it.....they will love that.

I made a table runner and wall quilt.  The runner came first and the quilt was made from the left over charms and fabric! 
So easy to put together.  I even sewed the binding on by machine instead of by hand (gasp).
 Shadow quilted around the machine appliqued "boo".  The quilt and table runner were machine quilted.
 The table runner has three large blocks.  They are all the same block design but I used different fabric placement for a scrappy look.

 Look how different each block looks. 
I didn't have a long enough piece for the back so I pieced it by using  a few charms to stretch it!  I think the back now looks good enough to display too.  I find this set strangely cheerful and just scary enough for the little boys.