Thursday, December 30, 2010

pot holders- last minute gift

Last week as we were packing to go on our Christmas travels, I accidentally saw this idea for reverse applique quilted potholders.  I knew they needed made up right away and finishing the binding in the car would be a nice little project for me.

They made up faster than that and I got them done before we left.  Which was fine; there was plenty of other binding to be sewn as we drove.

I have been really working on my corners when binding.  I think I'm getting better.  I use the method where you fold the strip in half and sew with the sewing machine to the front.  Then, you have to hand stitch on the back.

I had all the supplies on hand, which always makes for a good project. The reverse applique leaves raw edges on the front.  Since I used a canvas like cloth for the top, they needed sewn twice with the sewing machine and once by hand for decoration.

I gave these to Hubby's aunt who hosted us for Christmas dinner.  I'm also begging some white sweet potatoes off of her for sprouts this spring.  This was the first time I'd ever had a white sweet potato and it was pretty much awesome.  Might have had something to do with the butter and brown sugar too though.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the big house (or next door)

Picture posting issue is solved, I decided to pay a little for extra storage. We'll see how long this space last.

While in Michigan visiting my brother and his wife, we went to a Michigan (hubby's team) vs. Purdue (my sisters team) game.  We asked for family gifts and/or experiences for Christmas and this is what my sister got us. 

This was our first time at the big house and several of us were pretty much in heaven. 

Here's the whole gang,  my mom is in the pink Purdue shirt.  My brother and his wife are to the right in the Michigan shirts.  The kids and I are down  front (I'm in my sister's purdue shirt.  My sister is in Purdue gear next to my mom.  Hubby is on the left and my sister's boyfriend is in the back.  Poor hubby was so concerned about all the things we needed for closing on the house (which we did on the way to our travels) that he forgot his Michigan gear.

I have three really neat sewing projects coming up in the next few days.  For those not related to us, it should be more exciting than family pictures.

EDITED TO ADD:  Hubby has corrected me.  This area is not "The big house."  That's the football arena next door.  He would also like me to add that all should know that he did not appreciate my purdue support that day.  In my defence, I did not supprt that team, I spent most of the time people watching.  I frankly thought the ball game was half over when it was over.  I thought there were 4 periods and apparently there are only 2.  I stand corrected.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

camera straps

Bee has decided to become a photographer.  She had the childrens fisher price camera and it was fine for awhile.  The picture quality was so poor  that in three years of having it, we ended up with 0 pictures worth printing out.  She was always borrowing my camera (yikes) or Daddy's little one.  Daddy has passed down his little camera to her.  

We all realized right away that she was going to need something to help her not loose the camera.  She has been carrying it around with her non stop and laying it down everywhere. She picked out some fabric scraps and we quickly made up a little camera strap.  I decided to attach it right to the camera so there was less of a chance that she'd get it off and loose the camera. 

She is literally taking the camera everywhere with her.  She takes pictures of the funniest things.  I asked her about taking pictures of all these inanimate objects and she reminded me that I often take pictures of funny things.  She does have a point.  So, if you see a picture of a kid at the grocery taking photos of fruit and cereal boxes, it's my kid, the photographer.

Monday, December 27, 2010

mystery half solved

The kids have been taking the blame for this mess in the bathroom.  I've kept finding greenish blue stuff on the counters.

This happened a few times a day for about three days.  No one would fess up.

These pictures don't do it justice.  It looked like someone was washing marker off their hands and dripping the watery marker drippings on the counters.  This day though, I noticed what I thought to be little paw prints mixed in.

Well, that solves half the mystery.  We know who is doing this now.  Now to find out where she is stashing her art work collection and her art supplies.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

the snap happy bag

I recently came across a website where they were making up a little bag they called a snap happy bag.  I searched around online for less than two minutes and bought the pattern off ebay. I love the internet.   I arrived the fastest I've ever had anything ship!

I made up several little bags.  They take no time at all.  Bee took these pictures for me.  She wants to be a photographer.  Plus, it keeps her entertained for a good while!

The red one is going under the tree, the white one is for Bee, the purple and pink one is for me. Bee and I are hoping for something special for Christmas that will fit inside!

The fun part of this bag is in how it opens. There is a secret material used in the top.  When pulled back, it opens. 

When you let go, it snaps shut again.

I think they are super cute.  The only thing I want to change is that the seams on the inside are showing and raw.  They are zig zagged, but I would like a more finished lining.  It will make the project not as fast, but will be worth it.  I'll work on that when we get home from our Christmas travels.  Just like the name says, this project does make me happy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Kitmas

Lou says, "Kitmas."  I love it.   

Oh my goodness, this picture cracks me up.  Look at Lou's hair, face and collar.  He means business. Bee is her usual fancy gal.

Note their shoes.  Bee and I were in disagreement about her black shoes.  again.  Lou won his shoe fight.  No black church shoes for him, he's wearing his hiking boots.  Poor guy.  I always pick up his Christmas outfit the year before and just buy a bigger size.  He went through a crazy growth spurt a few weeks ago and I didn't even think to check this outfit.  He pants are just long enough if he holds still and his shirt sleeves are too short.  There was no way his feet were fitting in those shoes either.  We discovered this while getting dressed 15 minutes before church.  I didn't even think about it. 

Here they are opening one early present.  This was a lesson learned for me.  They are not able to handel a joint gift wrapped in two pieces.  Each wanted to keep their part separate.  It really wasn't fun unless they combined them.  There was crying.  Lots of crying.  Lesson learned.

Merry Kitmas from our house to yours!

Friday, December 24, 2010


No, we haven't changed our Santa thoughts.  We don't do the whole Santa thing.  That's just our choice, don't look so sad.  We do like to go to the library when they have Santa there.  He does a whole program with singing and story telling.  It's really neat.   If we were going to tell them there was a real Santa, this would be the guy.

He is the kindest Santa I've ever met.

Bee took a visit with him, Lou preferred not to. 

We stayed until the very end, thinking that Lou might change his mind about a visit.  Hubby wanted to thank him for his time and Santa even pulled out a few other books to share other favorite holiday books.   He loves Jan Brett books.  Bee reminded me on the way home that we have an extra signed book sticker from when we met Jan Brett.  If we remember, we'll take it to him next year.  Bee will remember. 

So, we've all along told both kids that Santa doesn't watch to see if they've been good, he doesn't come to the house, he isn't the bearer of good gifts, etc.  Bee has been just fine with this and seems happy to be in on the whole 'trick.'  Lou seems confused.  The day after this library trip, he said, 

Lou: Santa is pretend, right?
Me, the Mama Bee:  right.
Lou:  But, he is coming to our house right?
MB:  no honey, he is just a character from a story. He was a man in a costume, just like when we went to see Clifford the big red dog. 
Lou:  But he is sending me a present, right?
MB:  Do you want to pretend that Santa comes to our house and brings you a present?
Lou:  I want him to come down our chimney like at my friend's house.

Oh well. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

canning dry beans

I was talking to a friend last week and she mentioned that she was going to be starting her 'winter' canning this week.  I told her I had to know what she was talking about.  She explained how she cans dried beans.  It made a lot of sense.   And since winter is an 'off' time for most other canning, she does a bunch of beans.  Dried beans in the bags are so super cheap, but not convenient to use.  When you can dried beans, they are ready to use in a jar, just like if you had bought beans in a can.  Plus, you know what is in your can.

I took the directions she gave me and did a little reading online.  I tried great northern beans first. I have kidney, pinto, and black beans to try next.  I bought two regular sized bags and it made 7 pints.

Rinse and check out beans.  Take out any yucky ones.

Fill each pint jar with 2/3 c dried beans. (My friend said to fill them half way, I kept reading 2/3 c though, so I went with that).  Optional addition at this point would be 1/4 t salt.

Fill the jars with boiling water leaving @1 inch head space.  Place in pressure caner.  Prepare caner according to your specific model.

They need to be processed at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes.  My friend said 90 minutes, but I was reading that that number was for quarts. 

Here they are.  The beans cook up during the processing.   I read some people on line saying that they fell like beans done this way end up mushy.  We will see.  I will have to use some this week sometimes to test them out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

cream cheese snowman

Here's another season snack I take no credit for.  This is from Bee's class Christmas party.  He's a cream-cheese cheese ball with some decoration.  The eyes and buttons are raisins,  his arms are pretzels, his scarf is a carrot peeling and his hat is different sized crackers.  Several people went through the line and no one wanted to be the first to break into him.  I did it!  He was so funny after several people took scoops.  He looked like he was melting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

yeast pancakes

Hubby and I love to watch the food network after our work is done in the evening.  After the kids are in bed he usually goes down to his office and I usually have a few hours of sewing or some other project to work on.  When we are both done, we watch a little tv together before bed. This is why I stay up too late and am tired in the mornings. It's the food networks fault.  On one show we watched the other night, they were showing yeast pancakes. We were both intrigued.

 I made up a batch the next morning.  These sort of have the taste of the farmers market waffles minus the heaping amounts of sugar and extra butter. I thought these sour cream pancakes  from Pioneer Woman may be the new love in my life, then after several makings, we went back to the old standby pancake recipe.  The new go to pancake recipe might be these.

2 1/4 c flour
3 T sugar
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon (will do less next time)
2 1/4 t yeast
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c warm milk
1/4 c melted butter
1 egg


Dissolve yeast in warm milk.  Add other ingredients and let rise for @ 30 minutes.  Scoop onto hot pan or skillet and brown a few minutes on each side. Treat just like regular pancakes.  You can add chocolate chips, berries, etc.  That's our plan for the next batch.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pin much?

I have pinned and then pinned some more.  This time, I'm going to make sure that the quilting is done right!  Not like last time.  

After this big project is done, my poor machine needs a little break.  It would like a day at the spa to relax.  That's just what she's getting.  I think I'll find a place for a little tune up. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

December sensory tub

This sensory tub didn't end up going to preschool with all the snow and such.  It probably was just fine since it really was a bit messy.

gingerbread play "sand"
1 bag of flour
1 whole can of salt
3 t each of cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, ground cloves

We added a little sifter, some of the regular scoops and spoons and a small funnel.  Later the kids asked for some cookie cutters. They used their hands to smooth a section and pressed in the cookie cutters.  When it was just Lou, he asked for some batman toys. 

Bee and Lou played together for about 20 minutes and then Lou played more by himself for about another half hour.  That may be a record and was worth any mess.  Plus, the whole house smelled like gingerbread cookies!

EDITED TO ADD:  Note Lou's outfit, suddenly he's becoming as picky as Bee when it come to his clothes.  This was his selection after church.  At least he's dressed (the non-dressing was a former issue). 

Friday, December 17, 2010

how to ruin dinner method #81

It's been awhile since my last post about ruining dinner.  Don't worry, I've got a great one for you.  It's a real fix it and forget it ruin. 

First, make sure to tell someone special that you are making a favorite meal for them, make sure it involves pasta. Pasta fagioli soup is one of hubby's favorites.  How sweet of me to make it for him!  

Start the before mentioned meal.  Place pasta and at least two jars of canned tomatoes in a saucepan on the stove.  It's important to use the tomatoes you grew and canned yourself.  The effort shows your love!  Turn the burner on and then realize that it's way to early to do that and you don't even have any beans.  Rather than turn it all the way off, leave it on very low and walk away.  Run one errand, take a meal to a sick friend, run by the grocery on the way home to buy the beans, see a neighbor pulling in and stop and visit awhile.  You'll know you're done when you walk in the door and you smell a little something that smells like dinner.  Only, you weren't home cooking dinner.  Dinner was accidentally cooking itself.   Very much overcooking itself.

mushy pasta.  oh yum. quickly dump in garbage disposal and make some sandwiches.  Pretend those are the favorite meal you were telling your special someone about.  Who doesn't love a sandwich. 

For other installments of how to ruin dinner, visit here:
method 36
method 17 and 42
method 29

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The make up bag -take 2

Awhile back, my sister asked for some make-up bags for gifts and I made up a dop kit style bag.  I guess it wasn't what she was looking for because she didn't ask me to make any for her.  I've been thinking of other ways to make a regular zipper pouch a little cuter.  Today I made up this one with a pleat on both sides.  Shhh... It's going in her bag of random stuff she's getting for Christmas. 

It has those corner things sewn in the bottom so it stands up a bit.  It's just a regular lined zipper pouch, but the outside piece gets pleated first.  It's an easy step, but I think it makes it look pretty nice.

Lou says enough of taking pictures of that bag!  He's wearing his tie dye snowman shirt.  It's getting a bit small, I think we'll need to make a new one.