Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Necessity, The Mother of Invention

Some people might argue that a place to keep various hair clips is not a necessity. Especially if those hair clips are for a baby girl, less than a year old, who doesn't actually have much hair. (My husband would probably be one of those people). But that's beside the point.

A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to get something to organize all of Lucy's flowers and bows. She may be young, but a girl is never too young to accessorize! After searching online, I saw that most of the homemade ones were repainted empty picture frames with ribbon stapled to the back. They are really cute and I was thinking I'd make one like that. The problem is, she also has a lot of stretchy headbands and I needed a place to keep those too.

That's when I remembered the brown wall decoration that was in the bottom of a box because it didn't really go with our decor anymore. It was the right size and had a small shelf on it too that would hold all of her headbands. Perfect!

Of course, I forgot to take a before picture until after I painted it. So I took a picture of the back so you could see what color it was.

I know...I're jealous of my photo skills. Anyways, I started out by painting it white with quite a few coats of spray paint. Of course, after I was done, it was too white and the pink star was too pink, and I didn't really like it.

So I repainted it light pink and green, this time using little bottles of craft paint. So much easier than spray painting! After I was happy with the paint, I picked out a few ribbons from my stash and used the staple gun to attach them to the back. Using a staple gun is very satisfying for some reason. It makes me feel like I'm a real hardcore woodworker. Which clearly I am not.  Here is a picture of the final product.

Perfect for keeping all those clips and headbands in one place. What do you have in your house that you could give a new purpose? As always, if you have any pictures of a project you've done, or if you create your own "bow holder" send us an email and we may feature it on the blog!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hemming and Hawing...

This may seem like an odd subject to be writing about.  However, I figured that everyone has, will or may need to at the moment hem a pair of pants.

A friend of mine asked me to hem some pants for her a while back.  I've never hemmed a pair of pants but it seemed like an easy thing to do.  Last night, she brought her pants over. She reminded me that I told her that, "I could do that in like 30 seconds!"  I was surprised at my over-selfconfidence.  Maybe you're not :)
Do you ever look at the hem of your pants?  Well, different pants are hemmed different ways!  Her dress pants had a HIDDEN seam so that you can't actually see that they're sewn on the outside.  Do you know what this means?  This means that you have to HAND SEW this kind of hem.  Guess what?  I despise hand sewing.  Or I should say, despise-ED.
I wouldn't classify myself as an impatient person, however, if there is a faster way to get something done, I'm all about it.  That's why we have things like sewing MACHINES.    Here's my crazy workspace.  Our winter project is to get my sewing room fixed up and organized!  Can't wait!

Why hand sew if it can be done via machine?  Well, as it turns out, not everything can be done that way.  I learned how to do the hidden hand stitch via a training video on youtube.  It's not difficult.  Not as quick as a machine, but they turned out quite nice!  Don't you think?
The inside...  Not too bad for not having a serger...
If you're not a sewer, hand or machine, there is another way!  You heard me right!  I know that you're going to go to sleep tonight thinking, "wow, my day was complete when I read Tina's blog on hemming!"
Ok, not really.  But there is this cool stuff called  "Therm O Web Heat n Bond Iron-On Adhesive." It can be  purchased at Wal-Mart™.

It's only a few bucks for a pack of several yards. There are two types: "super" and "regular".  The "super" is used on heavy fabrics such as denim, wool, corduroy, and suede. The "regular" type is thinner in width than the "super". It's recommended for light fabrics such as cotton, rayon, and acrylic.
There are several tutorials online (if you need one) on how to use this method.
Turn those pants with holes in the knees into shorts
Make a long sleeved shirt short-sleeved
Fix those t-shirt sleeves or hems that have come loose
Turn a girls dress into a shirt
Endless possibilities!
I'm planning on trying it on a bunch of Ella's dresses that are way too small or short and turn them into cute shirts.  Will post pictures when I get to it ;)
So there you have it folks.    Hem away.  Just don't haw.  It's not becoming.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How do you like them apples?

Pumpkins, apples, leaves, sweaters, fires, cider... What is not to like about fall? Seriously? Thanks to all who participated in my apple recipe search.

 I'm posting the 8 recipes that were submitted below. I've never tried them, but each person who submitted claimed they were tried and true! I plan on making at least half of these this fall. Why half?  Well, the apple butter alone requires 10 lbs of apples, so I'd go broke buying apples if I claimed I'd make them all, right?
If the person sent an email, I included their verbiage since I felt like it added a lot to the recipe.

First one is from Jen S:
"Okay, ladies, so here's my mom's famous apple pie filling recipe. The best part? It freezes like a charm. So I pick all my apples, dump these ingredients all in ziploc bags, then freeze and use as needed throughout the year. Just defrost in the fridge and assemble. I also have a recipe to make 16 single pie crusts you can freeze in little patty shapes (Diane's recipe). So she and I do my pie filling and her dough and everyone is happy.
Takes up much less space in the freezer than fully-assembled pies! Here goes: 

Apple Pie Filling 
1/2 - 3/4 c sugar (depending on tartness of apples - I use 1/2 cup with Cortland apples) 
3 T flour 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/8 tsp allspice
 6 c thinly sliced and peeled apples 
 Combine first 4 ingredients. 
Add apples and toss to coat. Stuff your pie. Vent the top crust. I like to brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cover edges of pie with pie shield or foil. Bake at 375 for 35 min. Remove foil and bake additional 30-35 min til top is golden brown. Bon Apetit!! 

 By the way, baking one of these suckers in the dead of winter makes the house smell dreamy and makes me much less crabby." 

Thanks Jen! Next up, Heidi's recipe. She was the grand prize winner of the key fob drawing, too, by the way ;)
 "Everything is better with buttermilk or sour cream or cream cheese. Everything.
 Love, Can't button my pants in Michigan. (Heidi)"

Apple Coffee Cake 
1/2 lb. butter 
1 cup sugar 
1 cup brown sugar 
2 eggs, beaten 
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 c. flour 
1 t. powder 
1 t. soda 
1 t. salt 
1 t. cinnamon 
2 c. chopped, peeled, apple 
1/2 c. sugar 
1/2 c. brown sugar 
2 T. flour 
1 T. butter 
1 t. cinnamon 
Pour cake into greased 9x13 pan. Mix topping together, sprinkle over top and swirl in slightly. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes." 

 Yum. One I'm definitely going to be making...
 Rachael B. sent us her Apple Crisp recipe. Who doesn't love apple crisp?
 "Tried and true...adapted from Pampered Chef"

 Quick Apple Crisp Recipe
 5 granny smith apples peeled and chopped 
 1/4 cup butter 
 1 tbs cinnamon
 2 tbs sugar 
 1/4 cup chopped nuts 
one box of yellow cake mix 
 Place peeled and cut up apples in baking dish mix butter, sugar, cinnamon and cake mix together and mix until crumbly evenly distrubute over apples bake at 350°F for 40 minutes." 

 Diane sent us her crock pot applesauce recipe:
"Doesn't get much easier than this! I used to make apple sauce using the food mill - WAY TOO much work, but it tasted so good. Tossed the food mill and now do it this way, even my mother in law uses this recipe and she's the one who bought me the food mill :) Your house will smell amazing! Another favorite - homemade carmel apples - follow the recipe on the back of the brachs carmel bag and roll in crushed peanuts - look out Affy Tapple, you got nothing on me! Oh and then there's apple french toast - the recipe they make at Royal Oaks Orchard....I'll have to copy it for you, too much to type out. But SO worth it!" 

10 lg. cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced or cut in chunks

1/2 c. water

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 to 1 c. sugar 
Put all ingredients into crockpot. Should be about 3/4 full. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours (high 3 to 4 hours).

Um, yea, I want that apple french toast recipe.

Amy sent us her apple butter recipe.  Apple butter. MMMMMMMMMM.

The Best Apple Butter!

10 pounds of cooking apples
3 cups of water
4 cups of cider
8 cups of sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cloves
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ nutmeg
1 ½ allspice

Wash and cup apples into fourths, cook in water until soft. Press thru a sieve.. or a Squeezo (ok, this is a marvelous but hard to find, tool.. but great!).  boil cider down to 2 cups and then add cider and spices to apples and cook.. until it sheets from the spoon.  Stir over low heat OR bake in a low heat oven.. almost forever!!  It needs to get a nice deep brown and very thick!

Pour into jars and seal. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath..  
"Our family loves this.. and it makes your house smell DELIGHTFUL.. better than any candle!"

Jennifer sent me an apple bread recipe.  

Apple Bread
8 Tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 apples (granny smith work very well)
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4-6 oz chopped walnuts (optional)
1. peel and core the apples. dice into small cubes.
2. soften the butter and mix in the sugar. add in the eggs and and milk and mix completely.
3. combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and add to the wet ingredients. mix in the apples. don’t overmix; just break up any large clumps of flour and get everything moist. lightly mix in the optional walnuts.
4. carefully pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake at 350 F for one hour. remove from oven and let rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

Finally, Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping sent in by Kindra.  WOW.  These look amazing.
Courtesy of Paula Deen

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Streusel topping, recipe follows
1/2 cup caramel topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.
Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.
Yield: approximately 3 cups

Thanks a million, ladies.  I can't wait to try these and hope that some of you reading will try them, too.

In other news, have you seen our new product yet?  We're excited about our rings.  We'll be able to make these in many different colors.  If you want one that's not pink, send me an email with the color that you'd like and we'll get it done for you.  For $8.50, these will be great for gifts this holiday season.  Don't you think?  

Lastly, I was able to attend Beth Moore's Living Proof event yesterday.  

(How am I a "special guest"?  What the?)
Beth spoke on "the law of kindness" from Prov 31:26.  kjv "she openeth her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness."
Great message.  The best part for me was the opportunity to pray with a handful of women who came forward during an invitation to those who wanted some prayer.  Wearing a blue walmart looking vest in front of 5000 women and standing at the front of the theater was daunting.  As the women sang a praise song and I had to stand facing them (along with the other vest wearers), I was a little self conscious.  Would anyone come to me for prayer?  Why?  Was my hair parted nice?  Did my breath smell?  Why a BLUE vest?  Should I smile?  Who the heck cares.  I should have been pre-praying (yea, new word I just made up)!  Women came.  They needed prayer.  Listening to their requests and praying with them humbled me so much.   I would don a walmart vest 1000 times over for that opportunity.  God is so good.  He is so faithful. Less of ME-More of HIM.   

OK, now go show some kindness and bake someone an apple pie, for cryin eye!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm No Country Bumpkin, But I Sure Like My Pumpkin

Alright, I admit, not my best attempt at a title.  But at least it rhymes.  Right?
As I mentioned in the last post, I am posting my absolute favorite pumpkin recipes.   I love pumpkin.  Love it.  I should say I love CANNED pumpkin.  Have you ever tried to use a regular old pumpkin?  I did, and nearly cut my finger off.   Last year, someone told me that they didn't really like pumpkin in recipes.  I think I was a click a way from de-friending them on Facebook.  I didn't though.  I'm not that shallow.

The first recipe is for Pumpkin Pancakes.  I love pumpkin, I love pancakes.  Put the two together-bliss.
Hey, I'm easy to please.

Pumpkin Pancakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar


  1. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot. 
The next recipe:  Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake.  I make this every Thanksgiving.  Even if you don't like cheesecake, I can almost guarantee you, you'll like this.  If you don't, well, then, facebook friends no more.   I wish I could snap my fingers and eat a piece right now...  drool.  
Kraft Foods
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
25 NABISCO Ginger Snaps, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup  finely chopped PLANTERS Pecans
1/4 cup Butter, melted
4 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Sugar, divided
1 tsp.  Vanilla
4 Eggs
1 cup  canned pumpkin
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp.  Ground nutmeg
Dash Ground cloves
HEAT oven to 325°F
MIX crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan.
BEAT cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1-1/2 cups batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.
SPOON half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl with knife.
BAKE 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.
My favorite cake is Pumpkin Sheet Cake.  Years ago, my friend Laura made it and now I make it for all my winter gatherings.  It's super moist, super delicious, and when you make it be prepared to hand out the recipe to at least a few people. 
Taste of Home
Pumpkin Sheet Cake
 Cake Ingredients:
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
2 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 C flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Frosting Ingredients:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
5 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1 3/4 C confectioner sugar
3-4 tsp. milk 
Chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
In a large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil.  Add eggs.  Mix well.  Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to pumpkin mixture and beat until well blended.  Pour into greased 15x10x1" pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins or until cake tests done.
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in mixing bowl until smooth.  Gradually add sugar; mix well.  Add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.  Frost cake.  Sprinkle with nuts. 

Those are my three faves.  
I love apples too.  I need YOUR help because I don't have any great recipes with apples.   I want to go apple picking and try out some new recipes!  If you send me your recipes that are tried and true, you will be entered into a drawing for a key fob like the one pictured here:

So come on!   Click here and email us your recipes.
Thanks a bunch!  Or should I say, thanks a bushel?  Mu haha.  You have until Friday, September 17th to get them to us.  


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Dote over Totes

School has begun!  Not only are the kids carrying around their big backpacks, but moms seem to need to tote more stuff around too. 

Today's topic:  totes.  I know.  Real exciting, Tina.  But hey, I love bags, and totes are cheap and easy and carry a lot of stuff.
A friend of mine requested a tote to carry all of her Bible study stuff in...  The one that I made for her is pretty light-weight.  Could probably be shoved in your purse if you were heading to the library or grocery store as a "green" bag ;)

The same friend wanted bags for her boys.  At our church, when kids enter Kindergarten, they receive a new Bible and a mini-binder to keep their weekly devotionals in.  They bring these each week to church.  She asked for camo to make them more big-boyish for her Kindergarten and 2nd grader.  I searched high and low for camo fabric.  I found it online, but it cost more to ship than the fabric itself. 
I remembered a tutorial that I had seen on making bags with old camo pants.  I found a pair of my sons that had holes in the knees.  I cut them up and pieced them together to make the bag below.

Just had to purchase some heavy weight cloth for the strap.  SO cute.  I mean, boyish.
Check out the great usable pockets!

I just finished the bag below today.  I think that it's the cutest tote in the world.  Ok. Well maybe in my house.  It's made with upholstery fabric so it is SUPER heavy duty.  I kept telling my sewing machine what a stud he was for sewing through the crazy thick layers.  Brown houndstooth.  A-dor-a-ble.
I'm actually selling this one, so if you like it and want it, let me know.  Otherwise, it's going to our open house.
I have enough fabric to make a couple more.

Tons of fabric to use up for fall stuff.  Gonna be busy.

SO fall is my FAVORITE time of year.  One of the reasons for this is because I LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin recipes.  I'm planning on doing a pumpkin recipe posting at the end of the week.  If you have any that you adore, please send them along so that we can add them to the post (your name will be listed of course, and who knows?  Maybe we'll give one lucky person a key fob?)!  Email them to us at by this Friday.

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