Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Bananna Milkshake

I used to make banana milk shakes for my lunch when I was trying to loose weight all the time. They are really good to me and it counts for 1 serving of milk and 1 or 2 servings of fruit depending on the size of banana that I use. But a few weeks ago I was reading an article in Prevention magazine about the importance of fiber in the diet and one of their suggestions was to put a tablespoon of baking cocoa powder in smoothies to increase the fiber content. I looked on my can of baking cocoa and sure enough it is true. One tablespoon of cocoa has 2 grams of fiber.
I love chocolate so I decided to give it a try. It taste great to me. Here is how I do it: I put one banana in my blender, add one cup of skim milk, one teaspoon vanilla flavoring, two packets of artificial sweetener and one tablespoon of baking cocoa powder. I start that to blending and then add a cup of ice cubes one cube at a time. It comes out nice and thick and very cold.
There were quite a few tips for getting more fiber in your diet. I am going to try them and let you know what I think about them in later posts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whole Wheal Dinner Rolls

Whole wheat bread is much better for you that white bread. Mostly because of the fiber it adds to your diet. Unfortunately, it cost more too. Since I am on a tight grocery budget, I make my own for a fraction of the cost.
These rolls I made small so one roll is the equivalent of one slice of bread. For breakfast each morning I slice 2 rolls in half and microwave them for 15 seconds. In a bowl I scramble 1 egg and microwave for 20 seconds, stir and microwave for 20 more seconds. Then cut the egg in half, fold each half up and put it on the rolls. It makes a nice breakfast with two servings of whole grain and one serving of protein.
When I got the bread cooked, I divided them up in quart size bags (with 10 rolls in each bag) and put them in the freezer so they wouldn't get stale before I could finish them. All together I put 4 bags in the freezer and 1 bag out for me to be eating on.

This picture shows the ones that I tried to get a little fancier with. I used a muffin tin and made three small dough balls for each cup. I use these for dinners when I want to show off a little.

Friday, July 9, 2010


A couple of days ago I got in the mood to can peaches. I called my Mom's cousin Lois and asked her to go with me to get some (Lois knows where all the good orchards are around here). We went to one over in Marionville, about 20 miles from here. The ones they had ready were called semi-freestone and they were picked fresh from the tree that morning, so I bought a half bushel.
I used the instructions out of the Ball's Blue Book canning guide. I made 6 pints and 1 1/2 pint of peaches in heavy syrup (my husbands choice).
This picture is of the peach chutney that I made. I have never tried it before, but My daughter and I decided to try a few new things and trade jars so we both could decide if we liked it or not, and chutneys is something they are always talking about and using on some of the cooking shows that I watch on TV, so peach chutney is the one I decided on (my daughter made tomato chutney, I can't wait to taste it). I know they advise against it, but I used some old salsa jars for part of it, and one of them didn't seal (so it is in my refrigerator right now waiting to be used). All together I got two 15 1/2 oz salsa jars (plus the one that didn't seal) and four 1/2 pints. The peach chutney taste like sweet and sour sauce to me. I think it is going to be really good on sweet and sour pork or sesame chicken.

This is peach butter. I have never tried making it before, but one year for Christmas I made enough apple butter to give as presents to my whole family and everybody loved it, so I wanted to see if peach butter would go over as well. I only got 6 half pints (one didn't seal so it is in the refrigerator for me), so if I want to give them as Christmas presents this year I am going to have to get some more peaches. It taste really good to me, and spreads on toast with ease.

This is peach preserves. This is what I went and got the peaches for in the first place. My husband likes strawberry preserves the best, but my favorite is peach. I got nine 1/2 pints.
I also froze a gallon bag of peaches for a peach cobbler the next time my son comes for a visit.
All together, I think a half bushel of peaches went a long way. I was pretty proud of my accomplishments, but then I thought it took me three days to put up a half bushel of peaches, and my Grandma would have done it in one afternoon. Oh well, I am still proud, and I think she would be too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden Update

This is a picture of my tomato vines. There are three of them and I have them growing on a fence so they will grow up instead of spreading out on the ground. I thought this would make picking easier. The fence is 4 foot tall and the tomato vines are to toe top already. I don't know where I will go from here. They took a beating during that hail storm we had a few weeks ago, but as you can see they have bounced back with a vengeance. All the tomatoes that were on the vines at the time of the storm were destroyed but I have plenty of blooms and little tomatoes now.
This is the end of the garden where I have my black-eye peas planted.They are beginning to send out runners and I am training them to climb the fence.
This picture shows my pepper plants, and the new lettuce that I planted about 2 weeks ago. Also, the soaker hose watering system. I have it on a timer at the faucet so it will water everything for me, even if I am not home.
My egg plants are doing good. they have a lot of blooms and a few small egg plants on them already. These are the long skinny variety that my husband likes cooked on the grill.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby Bubble

This is my Granddaughter, Lucy. She is wearing a baby bubble that I made following instructions from a Sew Beautiful magazine that I purchased about 11 years ago. I crocheted around the Peter Pan collar and the cuffs on the sleeves. It has knife pleats in the front and back to give it more room (the bubble effect), and snaps between the legs.
Lucy looks just beautiful in it. Blue is definitely her color.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pineapple Table Topper

I made this table topper a few years ago. The original pattern called this a table runner, and it was supposed to be made with size 30 crochet thread and a size 10 crochet hook, but I wanted it larger than that so I used size 10 (bedspread weight) crochet thread and a size 8 hook. I still have to work in all the tails, and block it out, but I think when I get it done it will fit the top of my table exactly. The booklet this pattern came from is a very old one, originally printed in 1946 by The Spool Cotton Company.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I planted this rose bush in my front flower bed a few years ago, about two weeks before that big ice storm that we had here in Missouri that knocked all the power out for several weeks.
I planted a Japanese Maple at the same time. Well, I thought the ice storm had killed them, it did kill the Maple, but the rose bush came back. The name of the Rose bush is Ingrid Bergman, I cant remember the name of the company that produces them. I chose this one because Ingrid Bergman was always one of my favorites, and it is such a beautiful red. When I first planted it, I didn't know much about growing roses, I am learning as I go. This particular variety is pretty hardy, I haven't had much trouble.
This plant is called Salvia. I got three 6" pots of them last year along with three pots of Blue Fescue ornamental grass. I planted two Salvia and all the Blue fescue by my mail box and the other Salvia in my front flower bed. The Blue fescue didn't do good at all. I guess it was too hot for it in direct sun. It burned right up, but the Salvia did good last year in both locations. Last winter when it died back I cut it down pretty low to the ground and this spring it came in big and full. I get a lot of compliments on it.
I also have Day Lilies and Allison False Heather in my yard. The Heather is at its prettiest in the early spring and I didn't think to take a picture of it then. I will take a picture of the day lilies when they are in full bloom.

Monday, May 24, 2010


My Husband and I went to Arkansas this past weekend to visit my Daughter and her family. While we were there she told me that her church was going to have a pioneer day on the last Sunday of the month and everybody in the choir was supposed to wear something old fashioned looking for the event.
She didn't have anything so we decided to make something. She had a costume pattern but it was in the wrong size, and kind of complicated to whip together in one weekend so we decided against that idea, however she did use the pattern for the sun bonnet. For the skirt and bonnet, she had a bolt of fabric that was purchased from a garage sale for a dollar. The fabric is 3/8 inch green and white gingham check.
We wanted to make as few seams as possible so the fabric could be reused later for something else, and the fabric was thin enough that she needed a long slip (which she didn't have) so we decided to make a lining using the same materiel. For the outer skirt she cut a length of fabric two times her hip measurement, and for the lining, her hip measurement plus 10 inches, for the elastic casing, her hip measurement plus 3 inches.
While she was doing the sewing on the skirt and bonnet, I altered a shirt. The shirt she had to use originally had long sleeves with cuffs, and a collar. I cut the sleeves off half way between the elbow and the cuff and I cut the collar off just below the neck band, and then rounded the front down a little bit more so the finished edge would be right above the first button and hole. I then crocheted around the edges of the neck and both sleeves first with white, then with green to match the colors of the skirt. The apron was one that I made for her vacuum cleaner doll that I had made several years ago. Over all, I think it looks like what pioneer women wore.
This is my sweet little angel Emily. She just had to try the bonnet on and show Grandma. The funny thing about it is that the bonnet is not too big for her. For a tiny little girl, she has a big head. I think she is adorable.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


My husband and I both love cheesecake. It used to be that every time we went out to eat we would order cheesecake for desert. When we stopped going out to eat I would buy cheesecake from the bakery. Sometimes they were good and sometimes not so good.

I had never tried making one myself until a few years ago. I used the recipe that came on the flap of a package of Best Choice cream cheese called Old Fashion Cheesecake. I mixed the cheesecake with my Kitchen Aide stand mixer with the wire whip. The cheesecake came out so light and fluffy that it would melt in your mouth. I didn't use their topping though, I just topped it with a can of cherry pie filling.

Well, for this one I didn't have a can of pie filling, but I did have quart bags of blueberries in my freezer that I picked last year. I used 1 bag of blueberries, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice. I cooked it in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat for about 15 minutes. And of course, let the cheesecake and the blueberries cool before topping the cake.

WARNING: Once you have had this cheesecake you will never want store bought cheesecake again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Log Cabin Table Runner

This is a table runner that I made using upholstery sample scraps that were left over from making valences for the windows at my daughters house (She is doing the lodge look at her house).
I made 7 log cabin blocks and cut 3 of them in half diagonally. I used the one's that I cut in half to set the others on point. When it came time for finishing, I had to do the quilting on the machine since upholstery fabric is just too thick to quilt through by hand. It has one layer of batting, and is backed with a pant weight twill fabric. I think it turned out nice. I will use it for dinners when all the family gets together and there is a lot of food on the table. The thickness of the table runner will protect my table from any damage.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Re-Cycled Baby Clothes

Here is a couple of baby quilts that I made using old baby clothes, mostly t-shirts, onezy's, and PJ's, all were cotton single knit. For the Top quilt, I cut the cloths up into squares and sewed them together. For the bottom quilt I used all different sizes and pieced them together using as much of the fabric as possible. There is less waste this way, but it is more time consuming.
I used two layers of high loft batting on both of them. Then I tied them using pink, yellow, and blue pearl cotton. The knit on the top, and the extra layer of batting makes these quilts so soft you just want to sink into them. I did not use a stabilizer on the back of the knit, because I wanted it to have a plush soft feel. I backed the quilts with a woven fabric to give the quilts stability.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Re-Cycled Jeans Pillow

Another way to use old jeans is to make decorative throw pillows. You know what they say "jeans go with everything". Well I believe the same is true for these throw pillows made from recycled jeans. I cut 16 squares and layered them 4 deep with all right sides facing up, sew across in 1/2 inch increments on the diagonal, cut thru three layers in between seams and then run them thru the washer and dryer to make them poof up. Then sew the blocks together so that the sewn lines form a concentric design. I put a denim back on mine to make a pillow, but the same idea could be used to make a tote or beach bag.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Infant Shoes

I seem to have misplaced the pattern for these little shoes (I am not very organized, I'm creative) but I believe it was a Retro Simplicity pattern. Supposedly it was originally printed in the 50"s. They are made from craft felt. The pattern has a floral design layout on it, but I didn't use it. I just did free hand embroidery on the floral design, blanket stitch around the top and the tie is a piece of coordinating ribbon.

The socks are infant size 0-3 months that I purchased in a bag of 10. I single crocheted directly onto the top of the socks, then a row of half double crochet, then chain 2, attach bead by chaining through the bead, chain 2, skip 3 half double crochets and single crochet in the next half double crochet.

For this pair of socks, I didn't add the beads, and then I put 7 single crochets in each chain 5 loop. Any edging can be used though. Also, this pair of shoes I used silk ribbon instead of embroidery floss for the embroidery. They make a nice baby shower gift.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lone Star Baby Quilt

I think this is my favorite quilt design. This one happens to be a baby quilt that I made to enter in the Boone County Fair, but it will ultimately go to my Granddaughter Lucy. The theme for her nursery is Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. What better way to illustrate that than diamond shapes put together to form a star. I tried to pick colors that are present in flames so it would look like a flaming star. It is quilted by hand, and I made the binding out of the same colors as the star cut on the bias.
When I was a kid I used to watch my Grandma quilt. She had a quilting frame that my Grandpa made for her out of 2x4's that he split and it was held up with tomato cages that he also built. I grew up thinking that you had to have a frame to quilt. Since I didn't have one, or the room to put one up, I had resigned myself to thinking I couldn't quilt by hand. Then one day (I think it was in 1998) I say an episode of Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson where she talked about lap quilting and the techniques of hand quilting. It was like a light bulb came on over my head. I got some scrap pieces of fabric and batting, layered them together and started practicing her techniques. OK, at first I was terrible, but it didn't take long before I got the hang of it. I made only small projects at first, and gradually worked my way up to larger and larger ones. The first Queen sized quilt I finished by hand was my chicken quilt that took over 2 years (half of that time was spent embroidering the chickens). With practice I got a lot faster and now I can complete a King sized quilt from start to finish in about 45 days. I know a lot of people don't want to invest that much time into a single project, but the feeling of accomplishment you get when you are finally finished is out of this world. Thanks to Alex Anderson, where ever you are.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Re-Cycled Jeans Hand Bags

What can you do with your favorite pair of jeans once they are too worn to wear, or just out grown? I hate throwing things away. I am like those hoarders that they are making TV shows about that have piles and piles of stuff that they just can't get rid of. My husband and I live in a three bedroom house and two of those bedrooms that are supposed to be for guest rooms are in fact rooms to hold all the things that I keep, thinking someday I will find a use for that and I will be glad I kept it.
A few years ago I decided to try to use up all the things that I have kept over the years to cut down on the clutter, and maybe make money in the process. I started making these handbags out of the old jeans that I will never get small enough to wear anymore. I sell them for $15.oo each, or give them as Christmas or birthday presents (which saves money too because I am not out any cash for the present).
I use scraps of fabric left over from other projects to make the lining. Pockets can be put on the inside if you like, but I usually don't because there are plenty of pockets already on the jeans. On the two bags shown in these pictures, I decorated them by felting flowers, scrolls, and hearts using loose wool (that I carded and dyed myself) and a felting needle. The belts and shoulder straps can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes I use old belts of mine and sometimes I make them using the pant legs that were cut off. Macrame shoulder straps (not shown) also look nice and sell pretty well.
Use pants size 12 or smaller, anything bigger just looks like you are carrying around a duffel bag. Children's and baby jeans work great. The larger ones can even be used for diaper bags. Bottles slide down in the front pockets for easy access.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Clown Fish Baby Quilt

For this quilt, I cut nine 12 inch squares of white fabric. I drew the templates for the fish from looking at a coloring book that one of my Grand kids left here. Of course they aren't meant to look like actual species of fish so imagination is the only limit. I had quite a few scraps of brightly colored polka-dot fabric to make the fish. After appliqueing the fish, I embroidered around the edges to give more definition to the details. I also embroidered their eyes, mouth, fish hooks and worms.
I sewed the blocks together, and used a small bowl to mark and cut scallops around the outside edges. Then I appliqued it to the top of the background fabric. The background fabric shows thru just enough to make it look like water. On the white portion, I quilted in wavy lines, and on the background I mimicked the scalloped edge.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mother Goose Baby Quilt

Old Mother Goose, when she decided to wander, would ride through the air on the back of a Gander
This is my version of Mother Goose. I saw an old iron on transfer (I think from Aunt Martha's Transfers) on EBay that said it was first printed in the 50's. Well, they wanted $16.00 for it and I didn't want to pay that so I enlarged the image on the screen so I could see the details, and drew one that I could turn into a applique pattern.

After getting all the pieces appliqued in place, I used embroidery thread to fill in the details such as the facial features on Mother Goose and the Gander, the hand details, the waives on the skirt and the wings of the Gander.
Her hair is loose wool that I carded myself and felted in place with a felting needle.
The ribbon on the hat, at her neck, and around the gander's neck is silk ribbon.

I tried to applique the shoes and socks, but the pieces were just too small for these big clumsy fingers of mine, so I wound up doing them totally in embroidery.

I cut clouds out of blue and white in various sizes. To give the picture some dimension, I placed the smaller clouds in the background underneath the top layer of fabric, and the larger clouds in the foreground appliqued in place.
I used the edge of a plate to make the scalloped edge of the border fabric.
I quilted wavy lines, closer together in the background and slightly further apart in the foreground to make it look like she was flying in the jet stream.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Carosel Horse

I drew the pattern for this horse myself by looking at horses on TV. It was a lengthy process of trial and error. All four legs are different, I was trying to make it look like the horse was in a high gallop, and still be level enough to hold a rider if I ever get one made to put on him.
The body is made of suede upholstery fabric. The mane and the tail are loose wool that I carded myself. The eyes, nostrils, and the tufts of hair above each hoof are wool that I felted on using a felting needle. The bridle and saddle are made of craft felt and decorated with studs and wool that I felted to shape the seat on the saddle. The reigns is macrame.
The saddle blanket is a piece of velveteen with fringe sewn on.
I covered the dowel rod with suede and wrapped ribbon around it to give it a swirl effect. The base is covered with strips of suede woven with ribbon.
These make great decorations at Christmas time, for a childs nursery, or for anytime for someone who likes carosel horses.

Friday, April 30, 2010


My daughter got this package in a large box of craft projects that she bid on at an auction. The package is stamped Vogart Crafts. I tried to look this up on the Internet, but the only thing I found was EBay listings for vintage crafts. I have no idea how old it is, but apparently they are not made anymore.
It is a set of four napkins that are supposed to be cross-stitched on large gingham check. Well, no offence to people who like that, I think that large of cross-stitch is ugly, so I decided to applique the floral design instead.
So far, I have one done. When I finish all four I will probably put them together with sashing and make either a baby quilt, or maybe a table runner.

Whats For Supper

On the menu for tonight is Fried Chicken, Black-Eye Peas, Collard Greens, Rice,
and Corn Muffins.
I don't have a secret recipe with eleven herbs and spices, I use only four. They are Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. I have only two secrets to making good fried chicken,
1.) Dry the chicken and sprinkle on the seasonings and then roll in flour and let it stand for about 10 minutes before putting it in the frying pan.
2.) Use a cast iron skillet, and get the oil up to a medium hot temperature before putting the chicken in. I don't know why cast iron makes a difference but it does.
When my garden starts producing I will have fresh black-eye peas, but these came frozen from Birds Eye. I cooked them with ham hocks, and salt. I also put pepper sauce on them once they are on the plate.
The collard greens, I am sad to admit, came out of a can from Glory foods. They taste better than the ones I have tried to make from scratch. It bruises my ego a little, but I will keep looking for that recipe that will make mine the best.
The rice is just plain white rice cooked in my rice pot.
The muffins are a Jiffy mix. I can get the box for 38 cents, and it makes 6 large muffins, which is a very good deal. My husband likes his cornbread sweet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Applique on Recycled Jeans Skirt

The skirt was made from a pair of size 6 children's jeans that my granddaughter got too tall for.
I cut them off at the knees and opened up the inside leg seam, and both side seams below the pocket. I used the bottom portion of the legs that I cut off to cut four triangles (two large for front and back and two smaller ones for the sides). The crotch area on the front and back has to be cut back to form a relatively straight line from the waist band to the bottom of the leg. Insert the triangles. Put a ruffle on the bottom of the skirt.

Then I appliqued flowers to look like they were coming out of the pocket on the left side, and across the front.

I put a butterfly on the right side just below the pocket.

I put a bow with long streamers on the back between the pockets. When I insert the triangles, because of the thick seams on jeans, the top of the triangles are not always perfect, so I put the appliques in these locations to hide any imperfections.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Brown bagging in style

Everyone is trying to save money these days and taking a lunch from home is one way to do that. This is a lunch bag that I made totally out of scrap upholstery fabric and left over pieces of fabric that I made some curtains out of.
I used the upholstery scraps and made two log cabin blocks set on point for the front and back. The sides and bottom are corduroy. The inside is lined with green plaid, and I used the same fabric to make two matching napkins. I crocheted around the edge of the napkins to make it look nice. I made the bag large enough to hold two Glad sandwich containers and two drinks.
Since it was made with scraps, it didn't cost me anything to make and no one will ever pick up my lunch by mistake.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cupboard Wall Hanging

I saw a picture of a cupboard wall hanging in a magazine one time that looked so nice I had to look twice at it to see that it was a picture rather than the real thing.
This is my version of it. I chose blue to make the dishes because my dishes are blue and I wanted it to look like it fit in with the rest of the things in my kitchen.
For the hutch, I chose shades of brown. I gave it dimension by mitering the corners of the shelves and side pieces, and set some of the dishes forward on the shelf and some of them I set back. All the applique was done with the needle turn method. The quilting is done by hand. I quilted around the dishes, then for the hutch I quilted 1/2" apart in the direction I thought the grain of the wood would go (if it were wood). The back of the hutch I did in 1" square set on point to distinguish it from the sides and bottom of the shelves.
The backing I cut about 1" larger than the front all the way around, and used it to make the binding. Finally, I put a sleeve across the top of the back to run a dowel rod thru for hanging.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pretty dresses for a little Angel

I made these dresses out of quilt scraps. I just went through my scrap bag and picked out colors that went together. On this first dress, I made the skirt by cutting out wedges of fabric that measure 2 1/2 inches across the top, and 7 1/2 inches across the bottom. The diameter of the bottom of the bodice is 20 inches so I used 5 panels for the front and 5 for the back.
I did french fold bindings around the neck and arm holes, and with my tube turner, I made tubes and appliqued them in a design around the neck for added decoration. The belt and bow are attached in the front, and I crocheted loops for belt carriers on both sides. The bottom is the wagon wheel crochet pattern in white with sage green on the outer edge.
Here is my little angel wearing it.

This is another summer play dress done in two colors. I had enough to make the gathered skirt without piecing like the one before. The bodice has french fold bindings on the neck and armholes. The bow I set to one side instead of centering. The edging on the bottom is two rows of single crochet, and two rows of shell with rose colored embroidery floss woven thru the second row of single crochet to add color.