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Monday, November 29, 2010

Rookie Mistakes!

Hello Friends. I am back from a hiatus last week-we were in the midst of race car party planning and tooth fairy visits and Thanksgiving preparations. I had big hopes of showing off all of our race car fun, but..

My rookie mistakes began with the loss of my bag of supplies for favor bags. I had the best ideas but the follow through kind of petered out and then the goods were lost. Welcome to my world!

The idea-repurposing match box cars to make trophies. The steps-find some matchbox cars that may need a little love. Spray them with chrome spray paint and give them a new life as a trophy. Things to watch out for-DON'T put the bag somewhere to hide it away before the party and forget where you put it. This is a caution to be aware of before any gift giving or party planning occasions!!! (If I ever find the bag, I will post belated pix of these chrome beauties! At least, I think they will be beauties...)

The rookie mistakes continued when I got caught up in the excitement of the racing and partying and took little to no pictures at the party, or even before the party (of the cake!). The cake was crazy easy, and I used this race track cake idea from Family Fun. I also used their cucumber race car guy on the snack table.

Alas, here is what I have to show for the party. A great sign that we created as a family, with our finish line flag from our driveway drag races.  

A Pin the Wheel on the Race Car game that we made too.

Many handmade car decorations like this one around our home.

So, there you have (a small part of)  it. A race car birthday party-what fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gingerbread Cake

Just tried this delicious recipe and had to share... Tastes great still warm with a big spoonful of freshly made whipped cream. I feel like it is good for you because it has lots of molasses and not much sugar. That makes it healthy, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Upcycled Book Wreath

I am in the handmade holiday spirit these days. Here is a gift that that I just finished during an evening of TV watching. Aren't those the best kind of projects? Be forewarned, it may be necessary to take a few tylenol before bed to ease the throbbing of the hot glue gun burns. Or maybe that is just me, due to TV watching when I should have been watching the hot glue.
Anyway, if you google book page wreath, you will find many pictures of beautiful projects to inspire you. Here is the tutorial from Living with Lindsay I used as a guideline. I did actually fold the papers, and I varied the heights of the book pages by ripping some of my accordions to make them shorter. I like the look of the varying heights. Highly recommend this project-really fun!

PS I just found this project at Under the Table and Dreaming too. I have to try this one next-isn't it beautiful?!


PPS I swear this looks better in person. Not sure about that weird shadowy ring in the center.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super Fast Pencil Holders

Round Two in the Quick & Easy Gifts Series. This is a perfect project to work on with little ones. And you may be able to use all recycled materials that you already have at home!

Step One.
Wash & dry and save your empty cans. (I usually take the paper off too, but occasionally it stays on.)

Step Two.
Gather some supplies. Cans, pretty papers (or old newspapers & kids art work-they look great for this project), glue stick, paper cutter or scissors.


Step Three.
Measure you cans & cut paper to size. I find the best plan for measuring is the official make a mark with your fingernail (nicely manicured, still) on the paper measuring technique. If you want to do any extra embellishments on your papers, now is probably the best time to do so.


Step Four.
Use your glue stick and glue paper on!






Step Five.
Admire your work. Fill with lots of good things. These are good pencil holders for teachers or grandparents. They are also good to hold all of those cool breads in cans. Bake the bread in a separate can, cool,  then remove and put it in your super fancy can for gift giving.



Have fun!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank a Veteran today.


 Thank you to the brave men and women who have stepped up to serve their communities and their country. Regardless of how you feel about politics and policies and so on, Veterans deserve our unending gratitude.
Thank a Veteran today.

Chickpea Masala Recipe


The picture isn't much to look at, but you have to try this! Here is the link to Whole Foods Chickpea Masala recipe. I like it with a thicker sauce, so I add another can of tomato paste and another cup of water. I also replace the hot pepper with a green and/or red pepper. Oh, and I don't have any garam masala, and it tastes fine without it. Try this, it is a perfect go to recipe to make at the start of the week and heat up over a bed of brown rice. Delicious and healthy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bracelets!

OK, here is the first post in my Quick & Easy Monday Series! The holidays are fast approaching (like you need me to tell you that!) and it is always good to have some quick and easy projects in your arsenal. Most of these will be great to do with kids too. You may have already seen or even completed some of these projects, but I find that I forget things, occasionally (it has happened once or twice).  A reminder about some of the easy stuff is never a bad thing! And, PS-If you are on my list, don't be surprised if you get a 'Quick & Easy' project as a gift-they are all awesome little numbers, and I would be totally excited to get one (hint, hint)!
First Up, bracelets...

Supplies;
A cardboard ring, like the inside of a roll of tape or the inside of a roll of ribbon. Long thin strip of material or ribbon, 1/2 " to 2". Glue gun.






Glue the ribbon to the inside of the cardboard ring, slightly diagonally.





Wrap the ribbon around the ring, slightly overlapping, continuing with the slight diagonal slant.


Keep wrapping until the ring is covered, then cut the ribbon and glue on the inside of the ring.


Give to a lucky friend, or wear and smile!


PS. Do you love my new ring? I got it at an art fair this weekend-so cute! And, the manicure is Fancy Nancy style courtesy of my little girl! I am one lucky mama!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Clutch Swap

So, I jumped right in.

A month or so ago, I signed up for the Super Style Bag Swap through Sew Mama Sew. It is the first swap I have ever participated in, and I was nervous (and wondering why the heck did I sign up for this?!). But, I am glad that I did it. On tap for next week are the awesome clutch bags (that's right, plural-am I lucky or what?) that I received from my swap partner. For today, here is a look at the clutch that I made for my swap partner. I know that she has received it already, so I can show you all. It is a very simple style, inspired by this really awesome clutch at Made By Lex. I seriously love all of her designs.

So, here is the furry baby...

The clutch is actually quite big-I didn't measure before sending her to her new home, but more than a foot wide, and maybe 9 inches or so high. The fabric is the fake fur stuff-not really a pleasure to work with, but fun to see the end results!

Here is the lining fabric-a yard sale special. I love this fabric-I only have a small strip left-boo hoo! That's the problem with yard sales and rescued goods! OK, this is all you are getting-the image keeps coming in sideways-I've had three strikes and that is it for now. You can still see the awesome text and subway ticket images-very cool.

On a side note, I hate it when I go to use super glue, and it is all dried up-darn!



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Planting Garlic Tutorial

First off, You gotta try this! It is so easy. Garlic should be planted in the fall, as it takes about 9 months to mature. Depending on where you live, you probably still have time to do this this year. Here in Maine, if you get it in the ground in the next week or so, you will be fine!

Step One.

Buy some good quality seed garlic from your local farm store. Seed garlic is basically bulbs of garlic. You can also buy garlic at the grocery store and use it as seed garlic. But the farm grown garlic is bigger (produces bigger cloves for you), more suited to your area, and tastes ALOT better than grocery store garlic (which by the way probably comes from China-see this article) We buy our seed garlic at Snell's Farm, and it hasn't let us down!

Step Two.

Separate your bulb into individual cloves.

Step Three.

Prepare soil by tilling to a depth of 6-8 inches and add compost to the soil. This is absolutely the only hard part. (It involves a bit of muscle, or machinery.) 

If you have a rototiller, use this. If not, a good old fashioned shovel or pitchfork will work wonders. Prepare furrows 2 inches deep.

Step Four.

Plant individual cloves of garlic 2 inches deep and about 4-5 inches apart. (Cover with soil once planted.) Rows should be about 12 inches apart. The cloves should be planted with the pointy side up.

Step Five.

Cover planted garlic with a thick layer (4-6 inches) of hay or straw mulch.


Take a break if needed.

Step Six.
 
Enjoy your winter. 

Step Seven.

Check them out in the spring. Re-mulch if you like. Keep them weed free. (OK, the weeding may be the hardest part!) Water regularly. They will grow and look great. In mid summer they will send up these scapes in the center of the plant. If you can, cut these off (and use in your cooking as you would use garlic). The reason to cut these off is so the plant won't waste energy growing these scapes and will use energy growing nice big healthy bulbs.

Step Eight.

The garlic is ready to be harvested when the top 1/3 of the plant is starting to not look so good-think yellow, brown, dying. In Maine, that means mid-late July usually. If you can try to go easy on the watering for a week or two before you harvest. Harvesting is simply loosening the soil around the plants and pulling up the whole plant. At the end, there will be a gorgeous garlic bulb filled with cloves for you!

Step Nine.

Dry the garlic. Lay the plants flat in a dry spot for 2-3 weeks. (I use my basement.) After this, you can peel off the outermost dirty layer, cut the stem and hang them in a mesh bag to use all winter long! (Or, to save a step, you can leave them as is, and still store and eat them all winter long!)
PS This nice looking garlic is from the farm store. Mine still looks like the picture above that-I am all about saving a step!

OK, to sum up. You should do this! It is easy and fun. All you have to worry about right now is getting some cloves 2 inches underground in some half way decent soil! Have fun in the dirt!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Off Duty

Sorry I have been off duty. You know when your get up and go leaves and won't come back? It's been like that. So, I am just going to fake it and see if it works-otherwise my blogging days will have been short lived! So, to start... A quick look at our very "semi-homemade" (like Sandra Lee) Halloween costumes.

Dorothy ...


The Scarecrow ...

The Cowardly Lion ...

Tin Man ...

Dorothy's costume was from a yard sale.

Scarecrow we pieced together with stuff from around the house.

Cowardly Lion costume was a kids costume that I cut the hooded top part off and cut the tail off (you can barely see the tail in the picture). I took some material from the vest part of the costume and and made the hooded part a bit longer to keep the back of my neck warm too and to clean up the cut edges. This was a really easy was to have a costume but not have to do much of any work to make it! I considered posting a pic of me attempting to wear the vest costume as is, but thought better about that, I didn't want trouble from any of you falling out of your chairs laughing too hard.

Tin man had silver spray painted & duct taped pants and an axe to match his silver baseball cap with the funnel shape perched atop.

Hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween and are ready to fall into fall! PS Do you LOVE the pig?! He was the resident pet pig at a party we attended-his name is Rico Suave!