Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DIY Mini Pumpkin Decor

I think God created miniature pumpkins to make us smile, and feel warm and fuzzy inside. :)
These sweet little embellished pumpkins are certainly doing that for me around my house.

Better Homes and Garden's October issue planted the idea in my mind.  I didn't want to go out and buy the greenery and little berries that they used, although I loved I used supplies I had at home.   And I wanted to make personalized tags that said Autumn phrases that I like, so although you can find their printable tags online, I made my own.

So let's get miniature pumpkins at the grocery store.  Round up some raffia, greenery, mini flowers, craft paper, a Fall punch, twine, little hole puncher, craft glue, and a hot glue gun.  Now you are ready to roll.

I was out of brown wrapping paper (like used for wrapping a box for mailing), so I got out a brown grocery bag, cut out an 8.5x11 piece, and fed it through my printer.  Created a word doc of sweet Fall phrases including Harvest Moon, Thankful, Happy Harvest, Autumn Bliss, Blessed, and more, then printed them on the brown paper bag.  Use a variety of fun fonts, for added interest.  I have a leaf punch, so I added some orange print leaves to the tags, and punched a hole in the upper left corner of the tag.
Tie a raffia bow around the little pumpkin stems, then thread some natural twine through the tag hole, and tie the tag to the stem as well.  For this little pumpkin, I added green paper leaves to the back of the tag.
For this set of pumpkins, I hot glued a couple of vine leaves to the top for greenery.  And for some of them, I hot glued some little yellow fall flowers from the craft store.  You'll see one rogue tag in this photo...I printed out one tag I found online, but after that, I made my own.  Do whatever suits you!  :)

When you are finished, you have the FUN of setting a few around your home.  And gifting a few.  And maybe even selling a few.  :)

My $8 vintage sewing drawer with it's glass handle, is happy to be decked out for Autumn.

The fireplace mantel is dressed for Autumn, as well.  Lots of layers of like-colors, textures, and patinas make a nice mantle sure to have height in some areas...and off center height is even more interesting.

Thanks for popping by to visit!  Your comments and pins mean alot!

Fall Blessings,


Linked To:
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dried Beans + Low Plastic Bin = HOURS of Fun for Kids

Long ago when I was a young mom, I learned of the idea of filling a plastic bin with dried beans as a sort of indoor sandbox for my children.  They had many fun hours playing with the beans with spoons, dishes, trucks, and little figures.

Now, my daughter is a mother too, and she's continuing the tradition. Her precious little 2 year old son has his own bin of dried beans!  It is easily his FAVORITE thing with which to play!

Carson loves using his toy cars, trucks, and digging machines with the beans.  His toy animals are often in there as well.

There is no muss and no fuss as he uses his toy bulldozer to move a load of beans into his toy dump truck.

The old Fisher Price Pirate raft with the shark head was fed many, many beans while I was there visiting last week.  :)

Carson never has been one to put things in his mouth that might be a choking hazard, so he started playing with beans before age 2.  Please use wise discretion with your own little one and little grands...make sure they are not prone to putting small items in their mouths.

Isn't this cute?!  And see the little frog?

I had fun hiding his little animals in the beans and letting him look for them.  :)  A real live I Spy!  Using play dishes or mom's smallest saucepan, spoons, and measuring cups would also provide alot of kinesthetic learning and fun.

My daughter uses this size of underbed box for the dried beans.  When the lid is on, they can be stored under the bed.  She put 2 large bags of dried pinto beans in the bin, and it is just the right amount.  A vinyl tablecloth or a blanket under the bin will help to coral any stray beans that make it out of the bin.

I'm a big believer in the notion that the simplest toys and joys are what kids enjoy the most!  
So Mamas and Grandmas....give it a try!



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Pickled vegetables...I'm a big fan. I was raised on homemade pickles, pickled beets, and pickled okra.  So when I saw this easy, quick recipe in the June 2014 issue of Country Living magazine, I began waiting with anticipation for my Dad's garden to produce fresh green beans.  I got my first 'mess' of perfect, fresh picked green beans on Monday, and today these Dilly Beans became a reality!

So here is the easy, quick recipe straight out of the magazine.  I did not have dill seeds, so I substituted dry dill weed...about 1/4 t. each jar.  After tasting them, I don't think that was needed.  The fresh dill picked from my herb garden would have been the perfect amount of dill flavoring.

I used minced garlic as that is what I had on hand.  Worked out great.  And I used a tiny bit less cayenne pepper than it calls for.  The rest of the ingredients were as stated in the recipe.

It was exciting to boil my jars for 1-2 minutes in anticipation of their soon-to-be mission.  Then I added the garlic, mustard seed, cayenne pepper, fresh dill, and the beautiful and slender fresh green beans to the jar.  

I boiled the pickling mixture, then poured it into each jar.  It made the perfect amount.

Add the lids and rings, and let the feeling of a great accomplishment wash over you like a gentle rain.  My daughter called me Amish.  And that's a compliment!  :)

Want some fresh pickled green beans?  This took about 20 minutes, and after 2 days in the fridge, they will be ready to serve.  Bon Appetit!

Be Blessed


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saving Money on Canned Fruits and Veggies at Sam's Club

For the past few months, I've been saving time and money by buying some canned fruits and vegetables at Sam's Club.  They come in 101-107 oz I had never given them a second glance except to think that this would be the way to go if I was feeding a small army.  Then I read the idea of buying the large can for my small family, and repackaging it for meal sized portions.  It REALLY does save time and money while giving us a nice name brand product to enjoy.  Here's what we do:  I like to buy the Del Monte Tropical Fruit Salad, Libby's Sliced Peaches, Red Gold Diced Tomatoes, and Del Monte Cut Green Beans.  I'll open one of the fruit cans per week, and dish them up into clean deli meat containers that I've saved.  This can of Tropical Fruit Salad made 5 containers of fruit for the refrigerator.

The Passion Fruit juice in this salad gives it such a great flavor.  And if there is cold, ready-to-eat fruit in the fridge that I don't have to wash or peel, I am much more apt to reach for it as a snack than the crackers and chips that are calling my name.  :)  With just three of us in the home these days, one of these containers will do us for a fruit salad with dinner.  The price for this one can is $5.58.  I don't know if you have priced canned fruit at the regular grocery store recently, but I can't get 5 dinners of fruit salad for $5.58 anyplace else, except maybe Aldi.  And the Aldi can's serving is much smaller than the servings I can put on the table from this container.  
24 servings per 107 ounce can.  Fruit salad for a gang!

$5.58 for 5 nice sized containers of delicious tropical fruit.

The Del Monte Blue Lake Cut Green Beans dished up 6 containers.  I have found that we just prefer a good canned green bean over frozen ones.  These have excellent flavor and texture, and are so, so easy.  I will put 2 of these in the fridge to use for meals this week, and freeze the other four.  They thaw and heat up just fine.  Yum!  And are an easy, last minute addition to a meal or to add to soup.

The 6.3 pound can of green beans costs $3.48.  That's 6 meals of green beans for my  family of three.

Again, this can provides 24 servings.  Not bad, eh?

I freeze the diced tomatoes in these same containers to use for soups, casseroles, and making homemade salsa.  The peaches are terrific too, and also dish up into 5-6 containers for just
$4.98.  It only takes about 5 minutes to open the can, dish them up with a slotted spoon, then add a ladle of the juice to each container.  Snap on the lids, and BAM!  Done.  :)  I recycle the cans or save them for a project.  I used one of these big cans to hold gardening supplies in my outdoor bench.  :)

So keep this trick in mind the next time you are at Sam's Club or Costco.  Maybe you'd like to buy their large containers of spaghetti sauce, corn, or tomato sauce to divide up and freeze.  Aside from Aldi and places like it, this might be the best buy you'll find.  :)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY Apron Mother's Day Card

My mother's birthday was in early April, and as I flipped through one of my paper craft books, I found a darling idea for a card.
Putting my own twist on it, I created a little handmade apron for the front of her card, pictured above, and she was delighted with it.  So were my friends.  :)  And so began my journey in making variations of these cards for sale to friends and in my Etsy shop.  However, I won't keep all the fun to here is a DIY tutorial in case you want to make your own.  :)
Make a little cardstock pattern for your apron...4" x 3 1/4" and cut out your fabric.

Iron a 1/4" hem on the two short sides and one long side.

Sew those 3 little ironed down hems.

Along the unhemmed long edge, sew a basting stitch about 1/4" from the edge, for gathering.  Leave long thread ends for pulling, as show.

Gently pull the basting thread on top of the right side, to gather.  And pull the basting thread underneath on the left side, to finish gathering.  If you pull the top threads on both side or the bottom threads on both sides, your thread will lock up and not gather.  Spread your gathers out evenly.

Next take a coordinating piece of ribbon, about 5" long (give or take) and either pin it or spot glue it to the top of your apron, covering the basting thread and the top edge of the fabric.  If either the top edge of the fabric or the basting shows after you stitch on your ribbon, you can trim them/remove the basting thread til it looks clean.  I like to use a zig zag stitch to attach the ribbon to the top of the apron, to create it's waist band.  The pinning or spot gluing just helps hold it in place while you sew.

Hope you can see the zig zag stitching which attached the ribbon to the apron's waist.

Next you want to adorn the hemline of the apron with rick rack or some decorative stitching.  I have fallen in love with the vintage look of the decorative stitching.  #13 is my favorite pattern for this.  

For best results, have your thread be a coordinating color that will show up well.  I sew that stitch about 1/4" from the hem stitching at the bottom of the apron.

Ta Daaa!  Doesn't it just make you want to get out your childhood Barbies and try it on her?!

Next, clip miniature clothespins to the top of your apron.  Prepare your card with a pretty cardstock mat on the front and use a glue gun to attach the clothespins to the card.  Angle your apron as seen in the finished photo.

Type out some different sayings to go on the front of your card, and print them.

I glued my sentiment to a pretty coordinating cardstock, then matted that with a piece of a vintage book page.  I attached it to the card with a foam block, to add dimension.

Are you in love yet?  Want to wear the apron yourself?

Add caption

Finish it off with a coordinating punched heart or flower attached to the back flap of the envelope.  Pretty.  Special.  One of a kind.

And you are finished!  If you do not sew or have time to make these, please visit my Etsy shop called Perfect Darlings to purchase one from me.  :)  Or make your own and have a great time!  As a courtesy, I would greatly appreciate it, however, if you would refrain from selling yours on Etsy...I'm sure you can appreciate that.  :)

Happy Mother's Day!
Your comments always brighten my day!

Be Blessed,

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