Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pumpkin Orange Fall Cowl

Saturday, August 17, 2013

In the Garden: PowWow Wildberry Echinacea Purpurea

Talk about packing a punch of color to my flower garden! PowWow Wildberry Echinacea Purpurea does it fantastically! When I saw the beautiful blooms of this herb I knew that I had to have it in my garden.  The flowers are a vivid rose-purple color with the orange cone like center that are about 3 or 4 inches in diameter .  They are a perennial so I can look forward to their returning blooms year after year! 
What is the most colorful flower or herb in your garden?
Linking with:  Farm Girl Friday

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How To: Wind a Center Pull Yarn Ball or Yarn Cake From a Hank Using a Nostepinne


When I purchase a hank of yarn at my local yarn shop I sometimes ask them to go ahead and wind the hank of yarn into a ball if I plan on using the yarn soon.  If I don't have the yarn shop to wind the yarn for me I end up winding it myself by hand since I do not have a yarn swift or a yarn winder.  But the other day I was at Hobby Lobby and saw this handy little gadget called a nostepinne.

The cost of the ball winder or nostepinne was $6.99 but with my 40% off coupon it only cost $4.19 plus tax.  So I bought it.....  Love those 40% off coupons!
To use the nostepinne to wind a center pull yarn ball or yarn cake this is what I did:
First, lay the hank of yarn out in a circle on a flat surface and find the ties on the yarn hank.  There will most likely be several of them.  With scissors snip the ties off  being careful not to cut into your yarn hank.... only cut the ties that hold the yarn together. 

Tie a slip knot.

Undo a length of yarn from the hank and begin to wind the yarn around the nostepinne an inch or so from where you tied the yarn onto the nostepinne rotating the nostepinne as you go along.  It helps keep your yarn ball or yarn cake looking neat by keeping your thumb at the bottom of the yarn ball and your pointer or first finger at the top of the yarn ball.   As you wind the yarn lay the yarn as close as you can to the prior string of yarn and rotating your nostepinne as needed.   I hold the nostepinne and the yarn ball in my left hand and I wind the yarn using my right hand.
Continue to wind and wind and wind and wind!  When you finish winding the entire hank of yarn into a yarn ball untie the slip knot and slide the center pull yarn ball off of the end of the nostepinne.  Tuck your yarn ends under a few strands of yarn on the ball.

So there you have it!! A pretty little yarn cake or yarn ball!!  If you aren't going to use your yarn immediately you can tie your yarn tag onto the yarn ball for future use or fold it up and insert it into whole created by winding it onto the nostepinne. 
Why hand wind your yarn into a center pull yarn ball?  Well, for one thing if there are any knots or breaks in the yarn you can take care of that at this time before you start knitting and happen upon it while knitting.  Also a center pull ball allows you the opportunity to knit from either end of the yarn ball. This comes in handy particularly when you are working with several balls of hand dyed or kettle dyed yarns.  And they stack so pretty in your storage container!
While I was outside clipping some of my hydrangeas to bring inside I noticed that my pretty yarn cake is about the same beautiful color of some of my hydrangeas.


Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How To Tutorial: Basics for Painting on Glass

Want a fun crafty project that is quick, easy and also makes a great gift idea?  Paint this simple cherry design on ice cream sundae or dessert glasses.

Basic Preparation for Painting on Glass:
Wash in warm soapy water
Wipe down the area you are going to paint with alcohol and allow to dry. I usually allow them to dry for 15 to 30 minutes before I paint.

Clean Sundae Glasses (See basic preparation directions above)
Suggested Folk Art Enamels Paint for Glass and Ceramic in the following colors:
  Engine Red
  Fresh Foliage
  Wicker White
Small Artist Brushes, I used a small flat brush and a liner brush
Foam plate
Disposable cup for cleaning brushes between paint changes or
  a brush basin

I freehand painted the cherries around the glasses. But if you don't feel comfortable with freehand painting you could first draw the design on paper and tape it to the inside of the glass and paint the design on the outside of the glass. 

Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours.  Apply Clear Medium over the painted design only.  The Clear Medium will help the paint adhere to the glass. (The Clear Medium can also be used for shading and to for transparent effects.)

To cure the painted glassware air dry for the specified number of days or bake in the oven by following the manufacturer's directions.  I chose to bake according to the manufacturer's directions.

I always hand wash my painted glassware but the manufacturer states that the painted glassware is top rack dish washer safe.  I figure that if I took the time to hand paint them that I will also take the time to hand wash them.

Do NOT allow the painted glassware to soak if you are hand washing.

Do NOT microwave painted glassware.

Do NOT allow food or liquids to come into direct contact with painted surfaces. Therefore for example if you are painting a plate you would need to paint on the backside of the paint using a reverse painting technique or if you are painting glasses you would need to paint on the outside of the glasses.

DO allow a 3/4 inch border ( the lip line area) at the top of painted glasses to assure that lips do not come in contact with the painted surface.

Do NOT use Folk Art Enamels for Glass and Ceramics on plastic.

Follow all manufacturer's directions and precautions for safety and use of product

Here is another example of hand painted glassware.  These hand painted wine glasses were also painted according to the basic directions above.  Wouldn't these be a great thrifty handmade wedding gift or bridal gift?  You could paint them in the colors that the bride chose for her wedding colors as a sweet remembrance of her special day! 

Have a friend who loves a cottage style kitchen?  Hand painted glass cheese domes, cake domes, water glasses and much more can be custom painted to match her cottage chic decor!!

I find that the Folk Art Enamels for Glass and Ceramics do an excellent job and hold up very well to every day use when the glassware is prepped, cured and cared for according to the manufacturer's directions. 

Have fun and use your imagination to create some beautiful hand painted glassware that might possibly become an heirloom gift!

You are welcome to Pin to Pinterest! Ma

Many thanks to Maria for featuring this tutorial on her lovely blog:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Decoupaged and Glittered Eggs Egg Art and a DIY How To Tutorial

Better late than never I suppose! I was really pushing it this year to get the childrens keepsake Easter eggs decorated in time for Easter!  It is a family tradition each year that I make some sort of keepsake eggs for them. The children look forward to them and each year they bring out their past years eggs to display. Each year I gift them a new Easter egg to add to their collection.  Eggs from the past years have included hand sequinned eggs and also hand painted eggs.   This year I opted for a quick way to decorate the eggs since I was so pressed for time.

Here is a DIY egg decorating tutorial for decorating your own eggs and a list of supplies that I used, but use your imagination and choose what you like!  

Large Wooden Ostrich Eggs with Flat Bottom
Folk Art Acrylic Paint
Martha Stewart Glitter Paint
Jolee's Butterfly Stickers
Collage Pauge Matte Finish
E6000 Glue
Recollections Adhesive Faux Pearls Flat Back
Crystal Clear Glitter
Krylon Glitter Blast Sealer
Foam Sponge Brush

Sand the eggs with sandpaper to ensure a smooth painting surface.  Paint the eggs using a foam sponge brush applying a couple of coats of the Folk Art acrylic paint until complete coverage has been achieved.   Allow paint to dry between coats and sand slightly between coats for a smooth surface.  Next I painted surface with the Martha Stewart Glitter Paint to add a bit of glittered shimmer. Allow to dry thoroughly.  

If your stickers have any mounting tape adhesive on the back remove them so that your stickers will lie flat on the eggs. Apply a small amount of Collage Pauge to the eggs wherever you would like to place the Jolee's stickers and also apply a small amount of Collage Pauge to the back of the sticker and apply the sticker to the egg.  Press the sticker firmly onto the egg. This may take a while to get the sticker to adhere.  Once adhered to the egg, apply several coats Collage Pauge over the stickers allowing to dry between coats.  

During the final coat of the Collage Pauge  and while the egg is still wet with the decoupage medium sprinkle the crystal clear gitter over the egg covering the entire surface.  Be careful in handling the egg taking care to not remove the glitter during handling.  If some does get removed allow the egg to dry and reapply more decoupage glue and more glitter on the places that have lost the glitter through handling.  Allow to dry overnight.  Seal with several coats of Krylon Glitter Blast Sealer, allowing to dry between coats.

If you wish to add the Recollection Faux Pearls add a dab of the E6000 clear glue to the back of the faux flat back pearls and press firmly in a pattern of your choice.  Allow to dry. The faux pearls already have a sticky back but the E6000 glue should hold the faux pearls more securely. It's strong stuff!!

Enjoy your decorated eggs! Great for collecting or Easter gift giving! And a sweet little keepsakes for the children!

Did YOU do any Easter crafts this year? I would love for you to share!!
*Always follow manufacturers safety directions for their products! Be safe!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thrifty Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent

All around the internet you can find recipes for homemade laundry detergent. I have tried both the  liquid and the powder laundry detergent  and for now I think that I prefer the powder version mainly because it is quick and easy to make and I don't have a big mess to clean up when I get thru! Ok, maybe I'm sloppier  messier  more neatness challenged than some of you (smile) but the powdered version is currently my preference.

I can easily find all of the ingredients that I need to my make my homemade laundry detergent recipe in the laundry aisle at my local Walmart and also I usually don't have a problem finding them at the grocery store.

All you will need to make your own thrifty laundry detergent are three very inexpensive ingredients: Borax Laundry Booster, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and a bar of soap.  I have used various types of soap ranging from castille soap bars, soaps I have found at the Dollar Store and laundry soap bars in the laundry aisle of the grocery stores so you too can just experiment to see what you like.

So I was out of my laundry detergent. While in the laundry section of Walmart buying my supplies I decided this nerdy girly girl (don't hate me) needed some PINK soap and picked up Japon ZOTE Laundry Soap.

I have also  used a brand called Fels Naptha Laundry Soap Bar. Cost wise they were about the same price, currently at $.97 per bar.  But the Zote bar is a LARGE bar of soap. I also found Zote Laundry Flakes, which is a nice option  if you don't want to spend the time grating your own soap or if arthritis of the hands limits your ability to grate the soap easily! The box shows that two bars of soap is equal to the box of Zote Laundry Flakes wasn't too much more expensive than two bars of the soap. 

The Zote site lists their ingredients as follows:
The main ingredients are beef tallow and coconut oil,which are
neutralized with caustic soda for the saponification process. It contains
salt (sodium chloride), glycerin, perfume, optical brightener and dye,
in the case of pink ZOTE and blue ZOTE."

ZOTE soap contains an optical brightener which bleaches clothes
without fading their color. Optical brighteners are the
compounds providing clothes with brightness. Their function is to
absorb light with certain wave lengths in the washed garments
and thus reflecting a visible blue; its work is most
noticeable in white clothes." 

Here is the recipe I used:

Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

2 Cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
2 Cups Borax Laundry Booster
2 Cups Grated Zote Laundry Soap or Zote Laundry Flakes  ( I added
about 3 cups since my soap didn't grate as finely - explained below)*

Use 1 to 3 tablespoons of laundry detergent per load depending on
size of laundry load and how soiled your laundry may be.
This laundry detergent will not suds up in your washer. But don't
think that no suds means ineffective cleaning. 

Grate the laundry soap.  I used a hand grater.  *I find that it is so much
easier to get a nice finely grated soap bar when I take the soap out of the
wrapper and allow the laundry soap to just sit several days prior to grating
the soap. The soap will harden a bit and will result in a finer grated soap.
Since I was out of laundry powder and since this was a new bar I didn't
have several days to let the soap sit for a few days, so you will see that
it is not as finely grated as it could have been if I had allowed it to
sit out a few days before grating.

The above picture shows my grated laundry soap used for this recipe:

And the picture above reflects a much finer grated soap due to me having
unwrapped a bar of soap and giving it a few days to sit out and harden
a bit before grating. I think the difference is significant enough to
remember to do that!  A finer grated soap will dissolve easier in your wash!

Mix the washing soda, laundry booster and washing soda together. I
keep mine stored in a glass storage container with a lid.

Again..... you don't need much of this laundry detergent to get clean
clothes!! So remember to use very little! Only 1 - 3 TABLESPOONS
per load depending on load size and amount of soiling.

The Zote soap has a nice delicate, clean scent that is not overpowering to me. 
The Zote website states the following:
"Another of the distinctive features of ZOTE is its fragrance:
essential citronella oil, a plant that originally came from Europe,
which posseses a pleasant smell similar to lime; thanks to this ingredient,
the clothes washed with ZOTE smell fresh and fragrant for several days."

So there you go!  Clean laundry, delicately scented, cost effective, 
very little product required to get clean, fresh laundry, quick and easy as
it doesn't take but about ten minutes or so to make.  It's all GOOD in
my book my friends!  Add a pretty label and directions for use and you also have a nice,
useful, and thrifty gift idea too!

Let me know if you decide to give it a try!

Do you use homemade laundry detergent?  What is your favorite homemade
laundry detergent recipe?

I cannot speak as to the safety of use for washer or septic systems. As with
anything do your very own research, read cautions and literature that may
have been given to you upon purchase of your products used and
or your equipment or consult professionals with any concerns you may have.  
You may also  go to the following websites for information regarding
ingredients listed in this recipe:

Zote Laundry Soap, Borax Laundry Booster,
Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

Linked in with the following: Frugal and Sustainable Thursday,
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Frugal Crafty Home Wow Us Wednesday 
Whatever You Want Wednesday Farmgirl Friday

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Keepsake Gift Box Tutorial for Valentine's Day or Little Ballerina's Birthday


With Valentine's day just around the corner I thought I would share with you how to make this cute little keepsake heart shaped gift box that would be perfect to hold tiny little Valentine's gift for a sweet little girl.

DIY Keepsake Gift Box Tutorial


Paper mache heart shaped box available from craft stores
Acrylic paints: White, Pink, Aqua Blue
Paint brushes and paint dauber
Extra fine sandpaper
Hot glue gun and glue stick
Matte sealer
Cupcake topper - ballerina or whatever you choose

Remove any stickers from the box.  Paint the box white with several coats of white acrylic paint allowing each coat to dry thoroughly between coats. With a very fine sandpaper sand between coats and remove the dust from sanding.

With a flat paint brush paint the pink stripes spaced evenly around the box lid.  Use the size of paintbrush that you would like for your stripes to be.  Allow to dry and then paint a second coat.  While the paint is still wet from the second coat sprinkle glitter on the painted stripes for a bit of sparkle.

With a paint dauber dip the dauber into the paint and paint the polka dots around the box bottom alternating between pink and aqua blue.  Paint a second coat and while the paint is still wet from the second coat sprinkle glitter on the painted polka dots.

With a hot glue gun go around the perimeter of the top of the box with glue.  Place pretty trim on top of the glue and allow to dry.

Adhere ballerina cupcake topper to the center of the heart lid with glue from the hot glue gun.

Seal with a matte sealer if you want.

Add a small gift tucked neatly inside and surprise your little sweatheart not only with a gift but also with a sweet little keepsake box!

Warning: Use caution! Those hot glue guns do get very hot!! Paint and seal your box in a well ventilated area and avoid fumes.

I'm joining in with the following link ins:
Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways
Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Free Pretty Things for Whatever You WantWednesday

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pea Soup

I guess that peas are one of those things that you either just love or just absolutely don't. 
As for myself, I love peas!  My husband...well he absolutely don't.  In fact I guess you could call him a pea hater. Yes...a pea hater. Says he can't stand to look at them.  Says he can't stand to smell of them. And says he just can't stand to sit at the same table in the company of a pea.

Personally, I like fresh or fresh frozen peas. I don't care too much the store bought canned ones. But since my husband hates them well.... there hasn't been any pea cooking going on in my kitchen lately.

My sister loves peas too. In fact she can eat peas just about any way you want to fix them. She loves cold pea salad, can peas, frozen peas and today one of our topics of conversation was pea soup. Seems one of her neighbors was making some and she is now wanting a bowl of hot pea soup.
So for those of you who do like peas I thought I would share this recipe!

       Serves approximately 4 - 5 people

One ham hock or ham bone with meat on it or a pork shoulder bone with meat on it
One pound of dried split green peas (rinsed)
One medium onion diced
Three stalks of celery sliced thin
Three carrots sliced thin
One bay leaf
1 tsp. of salt
1 /4 tsp. white pepper preferred, but you could use black pepper
1 clove of minced garlic (optional)
2 lemon slices
1 small can of chicken broth
2 quarts of water
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1 small container of sour cream (to add as topping to the soup)
1 /4 cup chopped parsley (to add as a topping to the soup)

1. In a Dutch oven combine all of the ingredients except the parsley and sour cream.
2. Bring to boiling. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours until ham and peas are tender and the soup has thickened. Keep a check and stir now and then because the soup will thicken as it cooks and you don't want it to burn.
3. Remove the lemon slices and the bay leaf.
4. Remove the ham hocks, ham bone or picnic shoulder bone Remove any meat from bone. Discard bone and add the meat back into the soup.

Optional: If you want a smooth creamy soup you can puree the soup in a blender.

Serve in a soup bowl and garnish with a spoonful of sour cream and / or parsley if you choose.

Sorry that I don't have a beautiful and enticing photo of a fresh cooked, piping hot bowl of pea soup, but like I pea cooking has gone on here in a long time since Mr. Nifty Thrifty can't bear sharing the table with a pea. He doesn't  know what he is missing does he?

Do you have a pea recipe to share with other pea lovers?

Linked in with:
Coastal Charm's Thrifty Tuesday Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homemade Natural Room Freshner, Thrifty and Easy!

Want a thrifty and natural room freshner that you can make in very little time? This takes literally only a few minutes and costs near nothing!

So here are your ingredients:

Baking soda
Essential Oil(s) of your choice

I have a glass cheese shaker that I use to store my room freshner. There are already holes in the shaker part of the lid, so the fragrance can be released from the jar.  You could also use a mason jar and punch holes in the lid or a jelly jar or other jar that has a lid that you can punch holes so that the fragrance can be released into the room.

All you have to do is pour  a few inches deep of  baking soda into your jar
and then shake some essential oils into the jar. Place the lid on the jar and hold your hands over the holes in the lid and shake up a bit.  You can use your favorite essential oil or experiment with several essential oils blended together to make your own special fragrance.  Just experiment!

Especially nice for smaller rooms!

Do you have a favorite room freshner recipe or idea? I'd love to know!

Warning: Keep out of reach of children and always follow manufacturer's warnings!  See disclaimer at bottom of the page please.

Linking in with: 
Dandelion House Farm Girl Friday The Home Acre Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Homemade Crystallized Ginger Candy

I have been wanting to make some crystallized ginger candy for a while now. Especially when I looked at how expensive it is to buy it ready made! It's great to snack on but it is also great to add to other recipes too! Add it as a topping on your icecream, chop it and add it to your home baked cookies and so much more.

I am sure that there are many recipes out there on the internet but I just kind of winged it and here is how I made mine!

Although I do have some ginger growing here at home it is not quite mature enough to harvest. So I had to purchase it.

I purchased about one and one third pounds of ginger. I peeled it easily by just scraping the peeling off of the ginger root with a spoon. I then sliced it in thin slices.  You might prefer to grate the ginger root into strips or cut it up into chunks or however you like to eat it. Place the prepared ginger in a pan and cover it with water, bringing to a boil for a few minures and then reduce the heat to medium heat until it begins to get tender. Keep a check and stir every now and then. Once it is tender remove the ginger from the pan. Remove the water and set it aside but save it. (I reserved one cup of water for my ginger candy and put the remaining water into another saucepan so that I could also make some ginger syrup.) Then I added the ginger back to the pan and added back in one cup of reserved ginger water and one cup of sugar (next time I will try using Xylitol as it has less calories and tastes great.) Continue to cook on low to medium heat to allow the ginger to envelop all of that sugary goodness. I would say about 20 minutes. Keep a watch and stir frequently. Now remove from the heat (reserve whatever water / sugar is left and you can use this ginger syrup to flavor tea or make ginger ale.) Allow the ginger to cool for a few minutes. You can lay it out on a cooling rack just as it is or if you want you can dip it in sugar or Xylitol once it is cool enough to handle and then lay it on the cooling rack to continue to cool. Yes....I coated mine with sugar!

Makes a "sweet" little gift in a jar!

Remember the ginger water that I set aside to save? If you would like to make some more of the ginger syrup just measure it out to see how much water you have and add sugar to it in a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. Allow it to come to a boil stirring continually until the sugar dissolves. Some of you may want to add more or even less sugar. It's up to you! Allow to cool and poor into a lidded jar and refrigerate.

Ginger is not only a tasty treat but made into a ginger tea it seems to help me and my family if we have an upset tummy. I have used it also to help my family with a cough and sore throat.

What's YOUR favorite use or recipe for ginger?

Also, please check out how to make Violet Syrup here!

Linked in with: Petite Hermine, The Shabby Nest's Frugal Friday, Farm Girl Friday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways The Home Acre Hop, Thrifty Thursday Coastal Charm's Thrifty Tuesday Bouquet of Talent