Friday, October 30, 2009

Cream Cheese Mints

Last Christmas, I found a baggie of little plastic molds with a recipe in it - the whole thing was fifty cents! And, I remember my Grandma making these! She even made tons of them for my wedding and brought them all the way to Colorado to serve at our reception. I made them the other day for a little tea party we went to, a fun special treat!

Here is the recipe that was included in with the molds, Grandma - is this like your recipe?

3 oz. softened cream cheese
1 T. butter (recipe card said oleo!)
3 c. powdered sugar
3 drops flavoring
food coloring

Knead together cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Add flavoring and coloring. Roll tiny spoonfuls in sugar and press into mold. Press to release. Store in fridge, can be frozen.

Makes 6-7 dozen

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Handcrafted Christmas: Jewelry Lady

My friend, Melissa, and I were at TJ Maxx one day this summer and saw a jewelry holder that was kind of like a dress form only about doll sized. When it came time to think about her Christmas gift (we exchanged early since she will be out of town the next couple of months) I remembered this! I went back to TJ Maxx and it was gone!

So, I did what I always seem to do and thought - I bet I can make one! First, here is a little peek at how she turned out:

I will admit that I was very pleased and almost wanted to keep her myself! I think it was the scarf - love the scarf!

Ok, how to make this yourself ~ gather your supplies:

leftover muslin (I used scraps left from lining my skirts this summer)
rice (I used about 3/4 of a 10 lb. bag)
needle and thread
sewing machine and thread
one wooden table leg (mine was 22 inches)
two small table legs (mine were 6 inches)
one piece of wood for the base
felt scrap
drill (if desired)
hot glue

Paint all of the wood pieces any color you'd like! Set aside to dry. Note, you see an extra little finial here which I intended to use for her head, but she was so tall already and I didn't really think it was necessary - so I left that off. I purchased all of my wood pieces at Lowe's.

Meanwhile, print out the body template for your lady (click to enlarge)

Attach two pieces in the middle with a piece of tape, cut out. Make sure to cut around the arm, neck and bottom tabs - DO NOT cut these off! This is important to the finished look.

Now, use as a pattern on your muslin and cut two. (of course, you could use ANY fabric for her body to personalize this even more!)

Pin the two pieces right sides together. Starting on one side of neck - sew around edge leaving all edges of the tabs open. This is how you will get the arms, head and post through! Snip corners up to seams (not through!) and turn right side out.

At this point, your lady should look like this:

Hand stitch the tab sides as shown - make sure to leave all the tab ends open as this is how they get onto the posts!

Attach post to base by drilling a hole or screwing the post into the base. Reinforce with wood glue if needed. Mark arm placement with a pencil and drill a hole all the way through the post.

Now, slide the fabric on to the post letting it fall all the way down to the base, bring tab up into the body to give a finished edge around the post:

I think this may be the trickiest part - getting the arms on! Put one of the arms through the fabric and then screw it into the hole you made. Repeat for the second arm. As you are doing this, fold tab in to give a finished edge on the arms as you did above.

Run a small bead of hot glue around the inside edge of the bottom tab just to keep things in place and hold the "stuffing" in!

Now, I made a little paper heart and wrote a verse from Proverbs 31 on it - as I wanted to remember that our outward beauty is not the main focus and I wanted even this jewelry lady to have a beautiful heart as I would desire as well.

Take your lady outside because this part is a bit messy. Bring your rice, a funnel and a measuring cup or spoon with you as well.

Pour rice through the funnel into the neck opening until your lady is filled as much as you would like her to be. Near the end, slip in the heart you made:

She should look like this now:

Fold the neck tab in towards the body and hand stitch a small gathering stitch around to close.

Hot glue a piece of felt underneath the base so she won't scratch your furniture!

Your lady is all done and you can embellish her however you choose! The arms and neck are perfect for bracelets and necklaces while you can push earrings and pins into the rice stuffed body.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Embracing Childhood

Continuing on my journey in embracing childhood - here is another beautiful glimpse into what happens when we follow serendipity and see life through their eyes!

I had been making applesauce that day and my little ladies wanted to go out and cut some zinnias from the garden. It all started from there and ended up becoming a grand special evening.

Emily has had an imaginary daughter named Anselina for quite some time now (she always has lots of children usually somewhere between 10-20 at a time!) and she and Rachel decided that this particular day was Anselina's birthday.

They cut all sorts of flowers and berries for the table, drew pictures, got out gift bags and "wrapped" up some of their toys, wanted candle light only, put pillows on the chairs to make them extra special and wanted to sing Happy Birthday!

It was so precious to me to see all the effort that they put into this. All of the ideas were theirs and they made them happen ~ what a sweet evening ...

I'd love to hear your stories of embracing childhood as well!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

God's Garden

Another favorite spot in Colorado Springs is Garden of the Gods ~ one of our pastors when I was growing up always called this God's garden and I think that name is so much more appropriate!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cook once for three meals!

I've seen lots of articles on cooking once for several meals, but they most often include things my family would not eat! Then, Jessica sent me a link to this post and I love it! It looks very doable and sounds yummy! I have a chicken in the freezer and look forward to trying these recipes out!

I would love to hear how you cook once and stretch it for more than one meal!

I will lift my eyes ...

Every time I see this particular view - my mind immediately thinks of this ~

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you -
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life:
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore."

~ Psalm 121 ~

Friday, October 23, 2009


I had fun reading your ideas of things we want to be remembered for - lots of great suggestions there! And, very worthy goals.

Now, for the fun part - here are the winners of the paper dolls:


All winners have been e-mailed with details! Thanks so much for the fun giveaway, ladies!

Soap Answers

I am certainly not an expert on soap making since I have only done it once! But, there were several questions that were too involved to answer in the comments:

Did you do the hot method or cold method? I know there are two ways, but don't know which one to choose yet. Any tips?
I am guessing the answer to your question is that we used the cold method. There was not anything cold about our soap, but we did not use any additional heat. The lye used created enough heat to melt all the remaining ingredients together. And, it did get very HOT! We made our soap on my friend's screened in porch - great ventilation. As far as tips, be prepared to do a lot of stirring - you just have to stir and stir and stir until it is ready to pour! We did not use a stick blender - but agreed that it may be worthwhile in the future if we keep doing this.

Do you have a recipe to share?
Here is the recipe I used which comes from Homestead Blessings:
For further instructions and tips, I will point you directly to their DVD as this was the only input I had in making my soap!

4 c. water
48 oz. vegetable shortening
32 oz. coconut oil
16 oz. olive oil
12 oz. lye

2-3 oz. essential oil added at the very last just before pouring into molds. Can add spices or oats at this point too.

Mix thoroughly in order until soap begins to "trace" ~ pour into greased molds. Let sit for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Cut into bars. Let harden and remove from container. Let bars harden and dry by curing for two weeks. Made about 45 bars.

Had either one of you made your own soap before?
No, we had no experience and only one of us had seen the video and I confess that I watched it only once, wrote down the directions and sent the DVD back to Netflix. We made soap a few weeks later and just sort of felt our way through it. We did consult Google a time or two!

Is it something you would recommend trying to a newbie?
Yes, this was our only experience with anything like this and I've been washing my hands successfully with my homemade soap! Did we learn things to do differently? Absolutely, but that is part of the success in my view. I want to note that I had someone at home taking care of my children and would not suggest that you do this process with the lye and children around. Too much risk of things getting spilled or someone getting hurt.

How much was it to buy everything to get started..ball park?
I spent around $50 to make the two full batches of the above recipe. Since I was splitting this with a friend - my cost came to about $25. That was the only cost involved. And, it really would cost that much every time almost because the only thing I would not be buying again is the essential oil unless I wanted a different scent. Everything else is used up in the process of the making soap.

Hope that helps - also, check out the comments yesterday, there were a few good tips given there from those who have made soap before!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Handcrafted Christmas: Homemade Soap

Not long ago, I watched the Homestead Blessings: Soapmaking DVD through Netflix. I could hardly wait to try making soap! So, I found a friend who was interested in doing it too and headed out to her farm for the day!

We had so much fun making soap and learning as we went along! The best parts were being with her all day and spending the day at her peaceful farm. Soap making was an added benefit!

We split our two batches in half so that we would come out with four kinds of soap. We made lavender oatmeal, coffee spice, orange spice and lemon soaps. I would say that we learned a lot of things, but we ended up with 90 (!!) bars of soap to split between us. Lots of people will be getting a bar of soap this Christmas!

Another thing we learned is that most homemade soaps sell for about $6 a bar at craft fairs and things and we made ours for about 0.55 a bar! Wow!

I've got a bar of orange spice by my kitchen sink that I've been using and it lathers nicely and leaves my hands feeling soft. We learned that we need to add more scent next time as these are barely scented. The ones that we did not use essential oils were the least scented just from natural ingredients. I ordered my supplies here.

But, hopefully these will make a nice gift! Have you ever tried making soap from scratch before? What scents were your favorite?

Rusty Robin Sale

All of my shop listings are getting ready to expire - but before they do, let's have a sale!
I've reduced everything by 50%!
Thank you for looking!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prepared Pantry

Something I've been wondering about lately is bulking up our pantry a little bit more. Really something I should just do in case of any emergency! I have my big buckets of wheat and then just little bits of everything else. So, I was really curious about this Pantry Tool that I read about via Money Saving Mom.

I decided to spend a few minutes seeing how long what we have would feed our family, and of course, I get a free $10 gift card for posting about it. Go here to find out how you can earn two $10 gift cards.

It was a little hard to actually tell how good my supply is based on the analyzer because I don't happen to normally buy things like freeze dried cheese, butter powder or dehydrated eggs. But, it was still worth a few minutes to me for the learning experience and the gift card to help add to my pantry.

How do you decide how much to keep in your pantry?

Embracing Childhood

As I mentioned yesterday, I have struggled with the things that I feel should come as second nature. I have always wanted to be a wife and a mom. Now, I am and it is harder than I imagined it could ever be.

I admit that I am a task-oriented girl, I love to get things done and mark things off my to-do list. I don't survive very well in a cluttered house where chaos reigns. And, to keep chaos out - I have a full time job even trying to keep up.

So, with God's help - I've been trying to let go of some of this. To say "yes" when my children bring their ideas of picnics and tea parties, of going to the park and cutting flowers from the garden. I know I will never be sorry that I spent time this way, but I admit that sometimes it is hard to think of all the things not getting done. But, God is helping me!

After being gone for a week from the girls, I was eager to spend time with them. When asked if we could have a picnic - I agreed and made it happen. And, we had a great time enjoying our lunch and coloring together under a canopy of leaves. What a beautiful day and a perfect way to refresh ourselves in God's beautiful creation.

I hope to share more of these moments with you and hope you will share how you are embracing and enjoying childhood as well!

As I said recently - my house may be a mess - but my children are happy!