Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pretty trash cans

I applied some Mod-Podge and wrapping paper to 2 trash cans. Both took just about 15 minutes to do. And I think they look much nicer now. The brown one is in the master bath room.

Before - just a plain plastic trash can

After - covered in quilt print paper, this one is in the guest room.

Cosmetic bags for Nina - sort of

This post could also be named "like mother, like daughter" as I carry a big purse with little bags inside it.

Nina has always carried small purses or just used her pockets, but she recently bought a big bag and says it is hard to find things in. But since she recently bought a big bag because she needs to have her stuff with her, she wants some little bags to organize her little stuff inside her big bag.

She asked me sew some cosmetic bags for her. Above is my first attempt at a free-style bag. I did not use a pattern or tutorial. It is "OK" but not great.

So when I went to work this morning, I did a search for "cosmetic bag tutorial" and "make up bag tutorial" I found so many great tutorials and printed several of them on the super-duper office printer. (at my job, I have lots of down time and can use the internet and printer as much as I want with my managers blessing)
So Nina, I will be trying out some of these tutorials very soon. I know you want to be organized, just like me!

Fall decorating

I did a little work in the front yard this afternoon. It has turned cold in Oklahoma and is time to trim back some of the plants. I trimmed all the hostas, lilies, irises and the 2 rose bushes. This is the last bud from the red bush, I hope it did not freeze and will go ahead and open up.

While I was outside, I put out a few fall decorations.

My father in law painted this turkey on the back of an old slab painting.

We bought these little scare-crow people several years ago at Hobby Lobby. We just happened to be there when the last of the fall decorations were marked 90% off. Jeff picked these out and was so proud of himself for finding such a bargain.
They are starting to show their age but I still like them.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Freezer Biscuits

I've been reading about making freezer biscuits and thought you all would like to see my version of them.
Making biscuits is so messy, so for me, it is really nice to just have the mixing and rolling mess once and then have fresh biscuits any time.
To save electricity, and because I just need to bake a few biscuits when Jeff and I are here, I have been baking them in our little Oster toaster oven. This oven bakes just as nice our full size oven too.

Freezer Biscuits
6 cups all purpose flour
2 T baking powder
2 T sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/4 C butter or shortening - I used butter flavor Crisco
2 C buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredient. Cut in shortening (I use a pastry blender) until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Stir in buttermilk. It should come together in a ball, you might need a little less or a little more buttermilk.
Turn dough onto a floured counter top, knead just until it all comes together.
Roll out dough to a 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a floured biscuit cutter.

To freeze, put the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze until firm. Then take the frozen biscuits and store in a freezer bag in the freezer until you are ready to bake them.

To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

I get about 28-30 biscuits from a recipe.


Theo is resting after his first Pedi-Paws manicure. We bought ours at Walgreens and used a register reward to pay for about 1/2 of it.
Theo's nails look nice but it will take several more sessions to get his nails like they should be.

Just in case your wondering, using the Pedi-Paws is not nearly as easy and simple as the TV commercial. It does trim the nails and is way better than clippers but it will take practice, both for the pet and human, to get used to the trimmer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Show and tell Friday

Show and Tell

For more Show & Tell Fridays, visit Kelli's House

I bought this at the thrift store this week.

I spray painted this little table black and topped it with a doily crocheted by my mom and 3 plumpkins.

The front door is right beside the dining room so these black accessories looks just about right now.
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Update on Fabric Softeners

A couple of friends left comments wondering if the homemade fabric softener would leave stains.
So I've been doing some research on fabric softener and hair conditioner.

First, I will say I am very particular about how I do laundry. I think washing clothes carefully makes them look nice longer and last longer. So I would never put something on my laundry that I thought would harm them.
I have only been using the homemade fabric softener a few days but my friend Julie has been using it a few months. Neither of us have had any problems with damage to clothes.

I am very happy with the light fragrance it leaves and the level of softness it leaves.

However, after looking up commercial fabric softeners, I don't think I will ever use them again.
The regular ones are made from lots of animal products and I sure don't want animal products in my fabric. The ones that are from the health food store or marketed as "green" are made from plant products.
Read for your self about fabric softeners.

The ingredients in hair conditioners are not so scary and they are not usually made from animal products. If you are worried about oil in them getting on your laundry, just don't use one that says it moisturizes.
I have used lots of different hair conditioners. Nina and I both have thin, fine hair that tangles and gets static electricity. I have never thought any hair conditioner seemed oily except for some Garnier Nutrisse I bought several years ago.

I will continue to use regular hair conditioner but I don't ever plan on using traditional grocery store fabric softeners again.

thrift store stuff

I made the rounds at our 5 local thrift stores this week. I did not buy much and I plan to change most all of it. But Jimmy asked me in an email what I bought, so here it is!
I plan on painting the turkey like Em's. He cost 75 cents.
The table may get painted black to go by the front door. It was $7,
The salt shaker may get made into a tassel like Manuella shows how. It was 10 cents.
The little white pitcher will work for a small bud vase. It was 25 cents.

and the lavender mug I got for 10 cents, but it is already in the trash. As I filled it with my hot tea this morning , it cracked in 3 places and the tea gushed out on to the counter top. I am sure glad I was not holding it when it broke.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It is Sunday morning and I just picked the winners, actually, just picked the winners. The plumpkins, kitchen tools and potholders go to
Michelle in Florida! She does not have a blog, so Michelle, Email me your mailing info and I will get your box right out to you.

There were so many entries and I have a second set of potholders, so I picked a second place winner too, the winner of them is
Kamewh at Blueberries and Peanut Butter. I need your mailing info too.

Thanks so much to everyone that entered! It was lots of fun and I hope to do another giveaway on my 350th post.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Show and Tell Friday - finished dining room

This is the whole room - with new curtains, art work, corner shelf and table cloth. I think I would like to add a few more things to the walls.
Some "plumpkins" for our table.
I bought the black tablecloth at Linens and Things - and of course I used a coupon!

Keeping it motto is "if you do stuff, stuff gets done"
maybe it should really be, "if you do stuff, your crafting area will be a mess!"
For other show and tell Fridays, go to Kelli's blog. You will not be disappointed......
Show and Tell

but while you are here on my blog, scroll down and register for my giveaway

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Butterscotch Brownies from Debbie

Debbie is a good friend of mine, but we have never met and we only know each other through our blogs and occasional emails. We seem to have a huge amount in common though.

She posted this recipe earlier this week and I baked it tonight.
The recipe is from Betty Crocker and is very similar to a Caramel Squares recipe I have baked for years. My Caramel Squares recipe calls for 8 T of butter and Debbie's Butterscotch Brownies calls for just 4 T of shortening. Some grocery prices that have really gone up are all fats - oils, shortenings, butter and even margarine.
So besides using less fat for health reasons, it is also smart to use less fat for thrift.

I also like this recipe because it is just uses one mixing pan and it is just stirred - up. No need to get out the mixer!
The recipe from Debbie at Homemaking Dreams.

Butterscotch Brownies

1/4 cup shortening (I used butter flavor Crisco)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts ( Debbie used peanuts, I used chopped almonds, and I think choc. chips would be yummy too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

(If using self rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt)

Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of square pan, 8 X 8 X 2 inches, with shortening. Melt shortening in 1 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in pan. Bake 25 minutes. Cool slightly in pan on wire rack. Cut into about 2 inch squares while warm.

Thanks, Debbie, for sharing this recipe!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Orange and Black giveaway for my 300th post

I started blogging in January, 2007 because I had recently discovered the blog world and was enjoying it so much. Today, I think I am enjoying it even more. I don't post every day so it has taken me almost 2 years to get to 300 posts.

I have a small giveaway to thank everyone who has been interested enough to read my blog.
And I hope Everyone Who Reads this Will Please ENTER!

So what will the winner of this orange and black giveaway get?

a pair of black potholders, stitched by me

a set of my favorite silicone cooking utensils in orange

and a set of orange and black "plumpkins"
Thanks to Heidi at Celebrate the Seasons for sharing hers, I expect I will be making lots more of these, a set for me and a set for Nina. They sew up really fast and were lots of fun to make.

To enter, just leave me a comment. And if you don't have a blog where I can contact you, please check back on Sunday to see if you are the winner so you can give me your mailing address.
I will pick a winner Sunday morning so that, hopefully, I can mail this assortment off on Monday.

Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Aren't Awards Fun?

Thanks so much to Em, at Bunch of Scrap Awards are fun. Em's blog is really fun too, she has some great seasonal decorations if you have time to go take a look.

Em says these are the rules for getting this award

1. List 6 things about yourself
2. Pass this award on to other bloggers

1. I gave birth to my 3 children in 3 years, all in military hospitals with absolutely no frills - as in no pain meds of any kind.
Bobby was born aboard Camp Pendleton and in the labor room, there was hole in the wall where they said a TV was going to be installed very soon. 14 months later, I was back in that same labor room with Jimmy, the hole in the wall was still there and no TV.

2. My parents names are Richard and Rowena, my 2 older brothers are Robert and Rex, both named after uncles. So I have an R name too. If I had been a boy, I would of been Rhett.

About names, I am very amused and frequently annoyed by names with weird spellings (I work in a personnel office and this week did applications for Sean-Lee, Alisonn and Kortnee)
I don't know if this story is true but I think it is pretty realistic.

OK. How would you pronounce this child's name: 'Le-a' ???

Leah?? NO
Lee - A?? NOPE
Lay - a?? NO
Lei?? Guess Again.

It's pronounced 'Ledasha' Oh read it right.
This child attends a school in Livingston Parish, LA. Her mother is
irate because everyone is getting her name wrong. SO, if you see something come across your desk like this please remember to pronounce it correctly.
When the mother was asked about the pronunciation of the name, she said 'the dash don't be silent.'

3. When I get a new magazine, I go through it and pull out all those pesky advertising cards before I read it. I passed this on to habit on 2 of my children too.

4. People tell me I look very young, I am 50. I think it is because I have young looking women in my family, I don't smoke or suntan and I have been using cold cream to cleanse my face and Ponds Moisturizer morning and night.

5. I have worn eye glasses since I was in the 3rd grade. But I can't do contacts, something about a stygmatism or something. I currently have 5 pairs of glasses, all with the same prescription. I think that is probably enough glasses for one person.

6. I get bored easily. I like to change things around. I rarely sit still and watch a movie all the way through.
Whenever I get something new, one of my kids will ask "can I have that when you get tired of it?"

I am passing this on to

Nina, my daughter, at Love Sweet Love

Dawn at A Home in the Country

Jen at Frugal VegCafe

Vanessa at Ramblings of a Texas Housewife

My next post will be my 300th blog! So I will be announcing a giveaway- it will have something to do with black and orange.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chickens - Show and Tell Friday

Show and Tell

I have been re-doing our dining room, using mostly black and white, and also trying to use things we already had. I bought this corner shelf from Hobby Lobby and painted it black. The curtains were mostly made from fabric and supplies we already had too.

The picture above got me on the chicken idea. I got 2 framed prints at a church rummage sale, they were very nice quality but were silver and floral, very 1980's decor. So I found that French Country looking scrapbook paper in my craft room, covered the mats with one print and covered the center part with more paper with roosters on it. The frames were painted black.

So since I now had these 2 new chicken art pieces, I remembered I had some little glass chickens.
2 of them belonged to my grandmothers. 1 of them was a gift from son Jimmy.
I remembered this handmade wooden chicken bowl, a gift from my brother, Bert.

The bowl was handmade in Dequeen, Arkansas. It is all wood with chickens hand-drawn around the rim.
I had no idea I already had a chicken collection!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Year of Savings - homebaked treats

It's been awhile since I did a year of savings post. So here goes.

I baked a batch of chocolate chip muffins today to have for dessert after the vegetable beef soup we had for supper.
I put enough of them for tonight and tomorrow in the cake dome that I usually keep on the counter.
I also packed some to put in the freezer for next week's brown bag lunches. I just put them in sandwich bags and they will be fine in the freezer for a short time. If I was going to freeze them longer, I would package them with more protection, either in freezer style bags or sealed in Tupperware.

The cost of flour, eggs, sugar, chocolate chips and butter have all increased but it is almost always still cheaper to bake at home than to buy already prepared treats.

Chocolate Chip Muffins
5 T melted butter
2/3 C sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
1 C sour cream - I use low-fat sour cream
1 large egg
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 C mini chocolate chips (I only had regular chocolate chips so I chopped the regular ones with a hand chopper and I think I like them even better this way)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, sour cream and egg. Stir well.
Stir in baking soda, baking powder and flour until well combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Fill paper lined or greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until done.
Makes 14-18 muffins.

Showing off my curves

Our home has 5 windows with curves of different types at the tops of them. The previous homeowners left their curtain rods all installed and they were installed covering up the top curves. I just used their rods where they put them. Privacy with any of these windows is not really an issue and since I am in trying to "cute-ify" parts of my home, showing off those window curves is at the top of my list.

Dining room window

Dining room window

Most of this window covering was made from things I already had. The toile valance on top was previously used in a bedroom. I made the bottom leaf toile part from some fabric I got from my mom.
The ball trim was from a $1 a bag rummage sale and was avocado green, I thought it was 100% cotton so I dyed it with a box of Rit black dye and was very pleased with the results.
I only bought the off white muslin to line the long panels with and the dye to complete this project.
Because this window is right beside our front door, I think they needed to be lined so they don't look weird from the outside.

I've been busy this week working on other projects in this dining room and the living room - I will share them soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Menus for Week October 6

Pizza and salad

Black Bean Tamale Pie and Mexican Rice

Black Bean Tamale Pie Recipe added for LindaNuts request
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can tomatoes (I use Rotel brand)
1 cup salsa
12 corn tortillas
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
heat oven to 350.
grease a 7x11 or 13x9 baking dish. ( I usually use the 7X11 but it an odd size pan)
mix together beans, corn, tomatoes and salsa.
cover bottom of dish with 6 tortillas.
top with half of the bean mixture.
add another layer of 6 tortillas.
top with rest of bean of mixture.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil, top with cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.

This slices like lasagna. I like to top mine with a little sour cream. It is
wonderful reheated for lunch the next day too.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Black eye Peas with ham and rice, fried squash

Chili with baked potatoes

Hamburgers or Ribs from the freezer

Cornflake Chicken Strips

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Friday show and tell -more laundry room fun

After I hung up the new clothespin bag in the laundry room, I decided to do a little more sprucing up in there. But this room is so tiny, there is not much that can or should be done in there.

This little house quilt was made by mother in 1994.
My aprons are hanging from a little shelf that I just painted red.
I keep laundry detergent in the Lance jar. Way back when I was young, the gas stations sold just a few snack items. Most of them had 4 of those Lance jars on a stand and they held peanut butter and cheese cracker snacks. My dad is sort of a junk collector and he got a set of these Lance jars, I guess from a gas station that was either updating or closing down. My parents still have the other 3.

When my children were young, we kept snacks like Little Debbies and yogurt covered raisins in the Lance jar.

I hope to get the other 3 jars if they ever downsize but for now I am very happy with my 1.

Show and Tell

Click on the above link to see more Show and Tell Friday things hosted by Kelli.