Monday, October 20, 2014

Rustic Christmas Joy Sign: A Tutorial of Sorts

Yep, the Christmas stuff is in the stores already and the fall stuff is on special. Who would have thought I'd be the one following along and making Christmas crafts already? It's not at all like me. I'm usually scrambling to get the tree up the week before Christmas. Maybe this year will be different.

It really all started with a trip to Menards. I can't remember what else I went to get, but somehow I got sidetracked and ended up walking past a scrap lumber pile. I love wood and especially stuff for $0.49 and $0.89.  I was dreaming of a White Christmas and my own craft shop to play with all that scrap stuff, let me tell ya!

It's not like we really need any more wood in our enclosed back porch, but I couldn't resist a few pieces. Anyway... I found some tutorials on making chalk paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint, and I wanted to try a rustic sign with the technique. I love the rustic barn board look and I was excited to see how this would turn out. 

Mark it up to first experiences, but my chalk paint, did not go the way the tutorial described. Maybe different brands of paint work differently, but it took a few tries to get a nice smooth paint. Since then I found out that any paint with a primer already in it, does not work well. Hmmm. So if you are going to do the chalk paint thing, I suggest researching carefully. 

Normally, making a stencil with the Cricut would be my preferred method, but I wanted big, bold letters in a font that I didn't have. I printed my letters in a very light gray, 675 point, Times New Roman, from the computer, transferred them to poster board and cut them out with a craft knife.

So here I'm starting to use my cut out pieces to see how things are going to fit.

After I had these all in position, I marked everything, put my stencil pieces down with some masking tape and using a sponge brush as my stencil brush, I painted my letters. I also masked off the edge for a border.

The letters didn't turn out perfect, but since I was distressing everything, it was all good. Here is how it's starting to look using 150 grit sandpaper.

After the distressing was finished I used a natural paste wax on everything to finish it. Red paint tends to bleed, so I kept rotating the rag so I wouldn't end up with pink letters.

Now I want to finish with with a jute bow and rusty jingle bells. Maybe I'll throw some winter greens, stove pipe wire or other things in the mix. I'll have to see what I can come up with. Thanks for joining me. Hope you'll try your own rustic sign!

Distressing finished

Finished sign

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Little Girl's Raglan T-Shirt

I love to sew. Maybe that's a bit of an understatement. I LOVE to sew. My problem sometimes is knowing what to sew. I used to sew lots of little girl dresses on an old Kenmore machine when my girls were younger, and when my emotional attachments to my old Kenmore were over, so it seemed my sewing days kind of went by the wayside.

I have a Janome 2139N now and it works pretty well for me. Nothing fancy. It's basically a $100 machine and I'd take a upgrade any day, but today isn't that day.  I also have a Singer serger which has given me a few fits, but I think I finally have it figured out.

Leave it to grandchildren. I'm starting to do some sewing again. We're expecting a grand baby girl any day now and that's what really got everything rolling again. Now I'm looking for boy patterns and boy fabrics for the grand guys. I'm also working on a new quilt. 

The other day I ran across the Oliver +S patterns link on another blog, and decided to look them up. They had some nice reviews so I went ahead and bought this pattern for a raglan t-shirt and found some cute knit fabric to sew at my local Joann Store.

The digital delivery of this pattern was flawless. And because of the fact that it is digital, I can print it out, use the size that I want, and if I want another size, I can print again and cut out that size. The quality of the pattern is wonderful. Every piece fit together very well and was well marked. The directions were great. If I were new to sewing, there's no question that this would be a perfect pattern to use.

Despite my fumbles because of not having sewn on this type of fabric, I think we have a winner here. I can't wait to make more t-shirts and other items for the grand kids.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Copycat Arizona Green Tea

Yesterday I tried a recipe that I'd found awhile back and copied down on a piece of paper. I'm not certain where it came from, but browsing around I found it again on a number of websites. Well, it was the last day of summer. Why not give it a try?

I called my boys down for a taste test, and they ran down the stairs very willingly. When my husband got home from work, he also tried it. Three thumbs up and four if you count mine. I'm sure we'll be having this again.

8 cups boiling water
1 Green Tea Bag
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. honey
2 3/4 T. Lemon juice

Steep tea in boiling water for one hour. Add sugar, honey and lemon juice. Refrigerate until completely cool. I used one bag of Bigelow Green Tea and it turned out delicious. I'm sure any brand will work. Yes, you only need one tea bag!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Join me at

Hope you had a great weekend! 

Saturday The Mister did a few repairs to our daughter and son-in-law's car and so they were over for a little visit. It was nice to see them. Later our youngest daughter and I had to go work at the fund raiser for the Christian High School.

I departed from my usual pot roast after church on Sunday and made it an easy lunch with leftovers. My husband says that I need to learn to cook less now that I don't have to feed "an army". Sometimes we only have 4 people at the table and I haven't totally adjusted down from 8-10.  Although, left overs aren't all bad, especially when you have that extra meal on hand!

In the afternoon I caught up on some reading. I've been re-reading "Letters to Malcolm" by C.S. Lewis and also a book by Lutheran author George Henry Gerberding which is available here and as a free e-book  here.

This week I'm preparing for another historical and educational event in our area where I demonstrate basket weaving. This will be my third year at the event! We also have a parent teacher conferences and a cross country meet this week, so I need to plan around that a bit.


Drumsticks (We call them chicken suckers. Goes way back to a cute toddler remark.)
Green Beans


Grilled Brats
Potato wedges
Supposed to be sunny with a high of 73.  The brats are on special. Gotta do this while we can! 


Easy Chicken Alfredo
Homemade bread


Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili
This looked like a good recipe and the pork shoulder roast is on sale today.


Think we'll do a homemade pizza thing again this week. They'll be easy to pop in the oven when I get home from my event.


Crockpot Beef Roast
Butternut Squash


Cheesy Potato Casserole
Normandy veggies (We get a huge bag of these at Costco and they are really good!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Make Your Own Sweetened Condensed Milk

I worked on basketry today. Our high school is having a fund raiser this weekend and I was putting the finishing touches on a pair of gift baskets that we're donating to the silent auction. This is something we've done for several years and I enjoy working on.  I'll have to post some pics as soon as I have everything together. 

  Other than that, I'm in the mood for making fudge. This isn't supposed to happen until Christmas time. Now that I think about it, I suppose I may have picked up some subconscious vibes as I read some library magazines while waiting for my son to get done with cross country practice.  

  I have all the ingredients for the fudge. Well almost... A few days ago I saw this recipe in one of my cookbooks for making your own sweetened condensed milk. I could make "easy fudge" if I used this recipe. Handy, huh? When Christmas time gets here, I'll be ready.

  I'm going to let this be our little secret because if anyone in this house even thought there was a possibility of fudge being made, there would be no peace around here until I did. In the meantime, I decided to make a cup of hot chocolate instead. 

Sweetened Condensed Milk


1/2 cup boiling water
3 T. butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups powdered milk


Measure boiling water into blender. Add butter, sugar and dry milk. Blend 30 seconds. Pour out and let stand until thick and cool. Makes 14 ounces.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake

 I love going to the library, and I always find some treasure to bring home and use for awhile before reluctantly returning it. Today I found the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast Cookbook and since this recipe from the book is grain free and gluten free, I couldn't resist trying it.

 While I didn't add it here, I did add a slight hint of cinnamon when mixing mine, maybe 1/4 tsp. The cake is very moist, almost more like a brownie and it got thumbs up here. It is also very simple to make, which really elevates it on my list.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes


19 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 T. powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
  • Place chocolate chips in microwaveable bowl. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds until melted and smooth. Chips may also be melted in double boiler on stove top.
  • Combine the eggs and drained beans in food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and baking powder and pulse to blend.
  • Pour in melted chocolate and blend until smooth scraping down sides to make sure it is completely mixed.
  • Pour batter into cake pan.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Cool cake.
  • Shake on powdered sugar just before serving. 

Yield: About 12 servings

Menu Plan Monday

Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes, Chef Salad with homemade French Dressing

Shepherds Pie
One of our favorites!

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

Black Bean Spaghetti Bake
I had picked up this spaghetti at Costco when my daughter was shopping with me. It's gluten free, low carb and really tastes quite good despite the look. I have tomatoes and zucchini to use up, so this looks like a winner. I may not make it exactly like this but this looked like a good recipe for starters. 

Homemade Pizza

High School Fund Raiser Auction  Dinner

Pork Loin or Beef Roast, Rice, Squash
Something like this is often our Sunday Dinner