Friday, October 28, 2011

Wedding Stitchery - with free pattern

My cousin recently got married. I'm so excited for her!! 

I thought I'd share my go-to gift for weddings.

That black spot there is me editing out their last name.  Their last name is in the same font as the rest so I hope you get the idea.

A few years ago, I sat down and drew a ton of little people and made a big stitchery of all the grandkids (17) for grandma.  While I was at it I drew these little wedding people.

I don't have pictures of the whole process because I did most of it while we were camping. 
First step is to go here for the pattern. Print it off. Then go into your word processing program. Pick a font you like and type up the names and date. Print.  I used Black Boys on Mopeds font in size 40 (adjust as needed for your font).

The next step is to arrange the pieces and tape them all together. Then tape them to a window (or light box). Then tape up a piece of muslin. I use a 5x7 frame, so cut the fabric at about 7x9. Make sure everything is centered and trace the design onto the fabric with a pencil.

It's easiest to color in the clothing before stitching. I just use regular crayons, since it's not something that will ever be washed. I used white, red and black.

Now it's time to stitch. Using 2 strands of black thread, backstitch along your pencil lines. 

Iron it, but be careful because the crayon will melt. I just iron around the people.  As you can see I didn't do that great of an ironing job.

Now to add a little interest, I like to add a glittery dress. Here's how I do it.

Add a little dab of glue. You don't need much.

Spread it around so the whole dress is covered.


Add your glitter. Press it down into the glue and let dry. Shake off excess.


There you have it. A totally personalized and inexpensive wedding gift.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Easy Quiet Book

A few weeks ago I got all these at a yard sale for only $3.  I'm so excited about them. You can't even buy one of these Family Home Evening Books for less than $6-7. Two of them are even color, so I just have to cut out and laminate.

 I some dry erase quiet books a while back. I never got around to making them. So I was super excited when I saw these busy books.  I knew right away what I would do with them. My son loves mazes and dot-to-dots, but he does them too quickly. I tore out the pages and put them in sheet protectors and bought some dry erase crayons.

The dry erase crayons cane with a little mitt. I cut a strip of velcro.

And sewed it inside the top of the mitt to make a little bag for the crayons to fit in.

Here it is all put together. One more thing to put in my Church Bag to help keep the kids quiet.

The kids love it. 

I was a bit skeptical about they dry erase crayons. I'd never used them before, but they work great. They wipe off completely, while not erasing accidentally as the kids are drawing.  My 2 year old got some crayon on her shirt and I was worried that it would stain, but I just put a little stain stick on it and it washed right out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

White Grape Juice and Jelly

Are you getting sick of the canning posts yet?  Well... I blog about what I do, and canning plays a huge part in my life this time of year.  I am sooo ready for canning season to be over. 

Today I'm going to show you how to can grape juice. 

We planted some grape plants this year, but they won't produce any grapes for 2-3 more years.  Luckily we were able to go pick some from some friends.  They are green juicing grapes, but we don't know what kind. They smell just like the Concord grapes we used to get.  

 This is the juicer I use. It's my mother-in-law's.

The bottom pan you fill with water to boil. The top part you fill with grapes. As they steam the juice gathers in the middle part. When you remove the clamp on the tube the juice flows out into your jars.

First step is to wash your grapes.  Fill your clean sink with water and let the grapes soak. 

Fill up your pan with grapes. You do not need to remove the stems.  Place the lid on and let them steam.

They will start to look like this. The skins will split. Mash them up to get all the juice out and add more grapes.  

Keep doing this until you run out of grapes.  If your pan gets too full of skins and stems, dump them out and start over. Unclamp the hose and let the juice stream into your jars.

Process jars in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.(adjusted for my altitude)
Look at the difference in the color. The one on the left has not been processed yet and the one on the right has.  I thought it was interesting.

Even though it looks more like pink lemonade than grape juice, it tastes just as good as the concord grape juice we've made in the past.
We picked about 3 diaper boxes full and this is how much juice we got - 23 quarts. I used some of it for jelly.

Jellys is actually really easy if you've already juiced your grapes. You just add the juice, sugar and a dab of butter, bring it to a boil, add the pectin and boil 1 more minute and then ladle into jars and process 10 minutes (adjusted for my altitude). There are detailed instructions that comes with the pectin. I prefer to use liquid pectin.

Did you know that if your jelly doesn't set that you can remake it? That happened to me this time around. The instructions in the pectin tell you how to do it. It gives you measurements of sugar and pectin to add and you basically just make it again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Today I'm going to show you how I make sugar cookies.  This is fun for kids to help with - just be prepared for the mess they will make.  I use my grandma's recipe for the cookies and my mom's cream cheese frosting. You can find the recipes at the bottom of the post.

First dump your butter and sugar in a bowl.

Next cream it together until it looks like this.

Add your eggs, one at a time, stirring between each egg.

Add vanilla.

Sift in all your dry ingredients. I sometimes need more flour.

Mix well.

At this point, the dough needs to chill thoroughly - 3-4 hours or overnight.

When your dough is chilled pull out your cookie cutters.

On a clean counter spread out some flour and place half of the dough and sprinkle it with flour.

Roll out your dough.

Cut out your cookies.

Place them on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.

Frost with cream cheese frosting. 
Here's a tip to help with cleanup. Take a spatula to scrape off the cookie dough from your counter.

Here are the recipes:

Sugar Cookies
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour (maybe more)
2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. soda
1/2 t. salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat good. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill thoroughly, 3 to 4 hours.

Roll out on floured board.
Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 - 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 T. milk
5 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Playdough

My daughter came home from preschool with Pumpkin Spice Playdough. I thought it was a great idea for this time of year. I made some and it made the house smell so good.

Here's how to make your own: (Recipe is at the bottom of the post.)

Add all ingredients to a saucepan.  

Mix together. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.

 It will start to clump together. Keep stirring.

 Once it forms a ball I cook it a minute or two longer and then it's done.

Let cool for a minute then knead it.
Store in an airtight container or bag.

Every once in a while I'll make a batch that's a little sticky. Just pour a teaspoon or two of oil onto your counter top then knead it into the dough. Problem solved.

The recipe is actually pretty much the same as the playdough recipe I already had. I'll share both. 

Pumpkin Spice Playdough
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
2 T. cinnamon
1 T. cloves
1 T. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
1 c. water
2 T. vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and knead dough.

Regular Playdough
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
2 T. vegetable oil
a few drops of food coloring
Cook the same as above.