Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Storage Tins

Several years ago I somehow collected a few too many popcorn tins and came up with the idea to store my Christmas stuff in them. I love this for at least two reasons.

Organization: There is a tin full of just lights.There is a tin full of just ornaments that I put into another tin that has a few larger decorations packed in there too. There is a tin with stuff like the previous years cards and stockings and such.

Storage: They make the Christmas stuff easy to find in the shed (bug and element free) and you can just leave the tins out (strategically placed) as decorations themselves.

I also have a dark green tin that has Halloween written on it that is full of costumes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas Puzzle!

Started on December 24th around 8am... finished December 25th around 4pm. Of course I took many breaks in there. I think I need to go out and get a new (to me) puzzle before this weekend and pass the ones I have on to someone else. I'm not into doing the same puzzle more than once unless it has been years. It's kinda like re-reading a book to me. I already know what's gonna happen.

I did the outer edge first of course and then I did the net and all of the surrounding water. Then I did the sky and worked back to the middle where I finished it with the dock.

Friday, December 16, 2011

That really works?

Several years ago, I won a TV/DVD combo at a work picnic. It is a Westinghouse 26" SK-26H570D.

Recently, the DVD player began giving me some problems. When I put a DVD in and it makes a repetitive sound and then says "No Disc".  I had tried everything. At first, what worked (I thought) was spraying a can of air in the slot but as it turns out... I don't think that was it. I think it was the air straw doing something to where the disc enters the player.

Like I said, I've tried everything and since I thought there was a lose string from the little brush like thing at the entrance I took my bone folder (craft tool) and ran it back and forth. Hmm. It works now? Yep! Not every time of course, I still get the "No Disc" thing sometimes so I stick the bone folder in the front just a little and run it back and forth pretty fast.

I'll try to update this post with a quick video. I know others have this problem and so with proper tagging, I hope they find the answer here so I don't have to join a fix-it forum. Meanwhile, I'm watching a movie. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cinnamon Ornaments


I made these years ago and I hang them on my tree every year. It has been years and they still have a pretty strong scent. They are made from Cinnamon and Applesauce! Go HERE to find the recipe. The bows were put on with a glue dot. 

I had an initial problem with the dog eating them but once he got a taste he stopped. Just watch for the hooks. I'm lucky because Max doesn't eat foreign objects. He spits them out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Meatloaf for One

I found this meatloaf recipe in a book about cooking for one or two or something. It is fast with easy prep and clean up. I prefer recipes that only dirty one or two items so I'm not sure if I altered this recipe somewhere along the way because you only need a Texas style muffin tin, one large bowl, a 1/2 Cup and a 1/2 tsp. Oh, and a knife to dice the onion.

My Favorite Meatloaf
1lb Lean Ground Beef
1 Large Egg - Beaten
1/2 C. Italian Bread Crumbs
1/2 C. Heinz Ketchup
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
Pinch of Garlic Powder - Optional
1/2 Diced Onion

Mix with your hands.

For Texas Style Muffin Tin (Serves 6)
Bake at 350 Degrees for 25-30 Minutes or no pink. Add more time for larger pans.
Cool in pan and then dig out the servings and freeze in individual baggies.

Serving Suggestion: I love this with Italian Style Stewed Tomatoes that have been thickened with Corn Starch and french style green beans.
I did some calculations on eTools and if you use the 95% Lean 5% Fat Ground Beef this comes out to 5 Points Plus Points per Serving.

**Keep your eye on the dog while cooling.**

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Wreath for less

We needed a wreath for the lobby at work but the pre-decorated one was $40 so I found the last blank one for $7, got 1 piece of fake floral decor for $4.50 and made my own. I should have taken a photo before I fluffed it up. It was pretty flat.

Here's what I turned it into and all I needed was a pair of wire cutters. Just cut the stems long, feed them through and wind them around the base. This is a $12.50 wreath and I got to craft at work. Fun!

For Tea and Cocoa

This is where I make Tea and Hot Cocoa. That canister has teabags and cocoa packets in it. Since I'm in a small apartment and pretty much too short for most of the upper cabinets, I decided I needed easier access to my mugs.

So I went to KMart and got some mug hooks for under $2/pack. Of course they come in packs of 4 and nobody has just 4 mugs. Now as you can see, I have everything I need right there. No tools required.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Stocking

This was my first real knitting project (many years ago) beyond a washcloth which is the standard learning project. I wanted to make myself a Christmas stocking. Somewhere along the way my parents eliminated the whole stocking thing. I wanted it back so I made one and have insisted that it get filled every year complete with an orange in the toe. I used standard sport weight red acrylic yarn and then knitted some white fluffy yarn onto the top. Someday I hope to get to make another one to hang next to it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Good Finds

Today I went out in search of a Christmas tree. First I looked at Big Lots and decided I wasn't interested in a large ugly tree for a minimum of $35. So I went to the Goodwill behind my apartment. There I found a 6ft tree for $19 but I didn't want something that big so I went to the Goodwill in Murrysville. I found just what I was looking for: a 3ft tree for $3! That's $1/ft. Woohoo! I already had the decorations, just not the tree because I usually get a real one. I miss my $15 trees from the Stevenson's tree lot.

Look what else I found! Also $3! I don't think it was supposed to be only $3 but who am I to complain. It has a very very very slight smoker's scent so I hung it outside all day and gave it a spritz or two of Febreeze. now I have a black, taupe and gray hooded wool coat. Brown here I come.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day Puzzle!

This is the puzzle I started on Thanksgiving Day. It took me until Saturday night to get going on it so by that I mean I really had only done the edge and then I did the majority of it Saturday night/Sunday Morning. All by myself. Next puzzle will be started on Christmas Eve.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cheater Cooking Cream

I saw a recipe in a cook book that looked good. Especially since I had most of the stuff to make it. Most. It required that new Philly Cooking Creme. I didn't have any but I had some cream cheese so I combined about 2T with some powdered Italian seasoning. Yeah, it was delicious. Probably not too healthy but delicious.

What you see is Rotini Pasta, grape tomatoes, broccoli, peppers and onions. All of which I had on hand. I realize now that the recipe had chicken in it which I had on hand also but forgot. It was still good. I plan to try this with other seasoning packets as well.

Let the holiday puzzle tradition begin

I have been doing jigsaw puzzles over the holidays for as long as I can remember. I love them and I'm crazy good at them. That being said, it was a pleasure to find a friend (Celia) that is also crazy good at them. Last summer we completed a 500pc? puzzle in about 2 hours? I can't remember the details, she will have to correct me on this but either way, it was FAST and we even had some interruptions.

We'll call this one the Pre-Thanksgiving puzzle since I started and completed it this past weekend. Today, Thanksgiving, I am taking a puzzle with me to my visit to my brother's.

I found 3 of these Click puzzles at the thrift store for .99c each. All of the pieces were included.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pink Shirt - Fixed

I found this pink shirt at the Goodwill. Turns out, these rings that hold up the sleeves had a serious problem. If you pulled a little tighter, the rings actually slippid through one another. After some thoughts that included just cutting them off, I realized that they just needed to be sewn in place.

I chose a foot that would get me as close to the edge as possible and did this to both rings.

Much better! Who knew it was such a simple fix! Maybe that's why this shirt ended up at the Goodwill? Shame on you Karen Scott (this is the brand of the shirt) for your design fail.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Preemie Hats with Pom-Poms

My friend Celia is having identical twin boys so I decided to make them some wee bitty hats. Here is the pattern. I don't know where it originated since I only have a hand-written recipe on a piece of stationery from my mother. I also added the "Sock" yarn option. Love the striping!

Preemie Hats
for Baby Weight, Fingering, or Sock Yarn
Size 2, 3, 4, or 5 Double Pointed Needles

Cast on 68 Stitches
Join in Circle
Knit first round
Next 6 rounds K1, P1
Knit next round
Next 8 rounds K2, P2 (Ribbing)
Next 15 rounds Knit all rounds
Beginning on round 16 decrease 4 stitches every other round until 40 stitches remain
Clip yarn at 15 inches and thread and pull through stitches pulling tight.
Leave the thread to attach Pom-Pom

For these hats I used Size 2 Double Pointed with Serenity Sock Weight from the Deborah Norville Collection. I also did a K1, P1 cast on that my mother showed me so that the edge would be stretchy.

Pom-Poms
For the Pom-Poms, cut 2 like circles just larger than the size of the Pom-Pom you want. I guessed and used the 1 3/4" punch. Also cut out a circle in the center like pictured above.

Sandwich the circles together and wrap the yarn around and around going through the center of the circle. I used 6 yards for this project. Again, just a guess.

Cut the yarn apart by inserting the scissors between the two pieces of cardboard. Hold your thumb over the center of the circle to keep the yarn in place.

Tie some yarn around the middle of the Pom-Pom as tight as possible without breaking the yarn.

Here's what it looks like when you pull the cardboard away from the center. 

Trim the Pom-Pom and secure it to the yarn tail that was left on the top of the hat. This was tricky so you could have someone hold it all for you while you tie. Aren't they cute!? I'm so excited for Celia to receive them. If they don't fit, she can don'ate them to the hospital and I'll make some bigger ones. The pattern is a general one and can be easily increased for a bigger hat. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Step 1: Set your eggs out at least 1/2 hour early to bring them down to room temperature or just not ice cold from the fridge. Lay them sideways like shown above so that the yolk isn't resting in the bottom of the egg. You'll see why later in the post.

Step 2: Place your eggs in a pot of water and place the pot on the stove.

Step 3: Turn your stove on to Med-Hi and wait for the water to boil. That next notch works too but just NOT HI!

 Step 4: Once the water boils, set the timer for 15 minutes and wait.

Step 5: When the timer goes off, turn the stove off, carefully take the eggs out and set them on a dishtowel or something to cool. Once they cool down a bit, put them back in the carton, mark it "Hard Boiled" and refrigerate.

Hint: If you want to test the egg, try to spin it on the countertop. It will spin really fast if it's done. To see the difference, spin a raw egg and see what happens.

This is one of my hard boiled eggs and the proper way to crack and peel (in my opinion). Give it a gentle whack or two just around the center and then peel. The more shell you crack, the more you will have to peel off.

See? Lovely.

This is why you set the eggs on their side before cooking. Notice how the yolk has plenty of white around it?
The reason that the egg is not quite oval is because I tend to use older eggs to make them hard boiled. That is also the reason for the graying around the yolk.

These are perfect for Deviled Eggs! I'll add the recipe later...

Let me know how this works for you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Display Board

I got this idea from my friend Anna. She made one of these for her boys' room for their artwork. She used clips with alternating colors. I chose to do black and white so that the cards would stand out more. For a closer look, visit my other blog: SeeJulieStamp. I used the photo as a header.

Supplies:
8ft MDF Board from your local hardware store. (I got one that was pre-primed)
Black Paint of your choice (I used spraypaint)
Mini Clothes Pins from your local craft store. (these are about 1 1/2 inches long)
White Paint of your choice (I painted each one with craft paint)
Hot Glue Gun.
Nails or screws for mounting.
Drill (optional for nicer pilot holes for mounting)

I gathered all of the supplies, painted the necessary items and then glued on the clothes pins. It helped to pre-measure the distance and the number of pins I had to get the look I wanted. More glue is better even though you can see it. This display board is meant to hold lighter items so a stronger glue could be an option depending on what you want to show off.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

Have you ever purchased these yummy nuts at a convention center or local fair? They charge you about $5 for about 3/4 cup.

You can use Cashews, Raw Almonds, Pecan Halves or Blanched Whole Almonds.

1 Egg White
3 Cups Nuts (Obviously, I prefer Pecans)
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon (Ground)
½ tsp. All Spice (Ground)
½ tsp. Seasoned Salt
¼ tsp. Nutmeg (Ground)
¼ tsp. Pepper (Ground)
Bake at 250 degrees for 1 Hour, stirring them after ½ Hour

Gather the ingredients:

Put the Egg White in a medium bowl and use a wire whisk to beat it until it is frothy:

Add the nuts to the frothy egg white and mix in the coated nuts:

In a separate bowl, mix all the spices and sugar together:


Combine the spices and the coated nuts and spread them out onto a cookie sheet. The recipe says to butter it but I use a baking stone so I don't:

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 Hour, stirring them after ½ Hour:
When done it says to spread them out on something to cool like wax paper, foil, towel etc, then break the nuts apart but I just mixed them up and they were fine. No need to dirty something else in the kitchen:

Enjoy! The trick is to not eat them all yourself.
FYI - You can get the Pecan's at Sam's Club for $16.25/2lbs and the Raw Almonds are $10.66 or something.

**Turns out this is a McCormick.com recipe. I found out on 12/20/2015

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall Burlap Wreath


Here's what I started with: 2 small fall decor assortments, some burlap strips and a hanger. I later added the ripped strips of the cream fabric to hid the hanger because I didn't buy enough burlap and didn't want to go back to the store. This was all under $3.


Here's what I made. I bent the hanger into a circle and then used it like a big needle and "sewed" the burlap onto it. Then I tucked the fabric around each spot where the hanger showed. It creates a sewn look but like I said, I was only trying to hide the hanger. The fall decor pieces are just stuck into the loops of fabric. I may sew them on with some burlap strands later.

The wreath is hung on the door with a piece of fishing line that goes over the door. I used packaging tape to secure it to the back. It's clear, you can't see it.

I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quilt top NOT done

This is the top to my new bed quilt. I wanted something with some Autumn tones and for some reason at the time decided to throw in some turquoise and yellow. I love it. I saw a similar pattern on the cover of a magazine. The back will have 3 or more panels of the same pieces on the front. I haven't decided on the binding yet and I plan to quilt it myself on my Bernina.

It wasn't until I saw this photo just now as I was posting that the last 3 rows to your right are wrong! Argh! Upside down! At least it's an easy fix. I could have sworn it was right. Heck it's been hanging there since Sunday morning!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Elmo and the Nylabone

It was about time that Max got a new Nylabone. It was more expensive than usual but oh well. He deserves it. He is has been a good boy.

I also picked Elmo up at the Goodwill. Max is very good with stuffed toys as long as there aren't any hard pieces like eyes or noses. He will have the same ones for years. I used to find these Elmo's for Buster all the time. This particular one looks like he might want some of that Nylabone.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Table for One

One day, while sitting on my porch, I saw my neighbor going by with this little table. She was taking it to the dumpster so I asked her if I could have it. What I really need is a kitchen/work table. Hmmm. Many months have past and I decided that all I need to do is find some longer legs.

I went to the ReStore in Irwin after work yesterday and found these blue legs. Not quite what I had in mind but they work. The tops were on an angle so I had to go to Lowe's and buy a saw. I also got some nuts and black spray paint. It has rained all day so we'll call this a rainy day project.

Here's the table with the blue legs after I sawed the tops of the legs so that they'd fit.They want to angle in so I may need to make some future adjustments but it also doesn't help that it's on carpet.

Done! I spray painted it outside on some brown paper (thank you Stampin' Up!). It's still a little tacky to the touch but like I said, it has been raining all day and now that it's getting dark, I thought I'd bring it inside so that I could get high from the fumes.

Coffee Table: Free
Blue Legs: $2
Black Spray Paint: $1
Making something new out of something old and achieving a wonderful feeling of accomplishment: Priceless.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dog: Goodbye Pretty Girl

Bridget aka Pretty Girl aka Britty 
aprox Oct 1, 1996 -September 28, 2011