Friday, November 30, 2012

Tip of the Day: Bottle Dry Beans!

I love to can and bottle food! It makes me happy! (Weird...I know.) There is just something so satisfying about it. One thing I have done every year at the end of "canning season" is bottle some of my dry "food storage" beans in glass jars using my pressure cooker. By doing this activity one day each year, I can just run to the shelf, grab a bottle, open it up, and throw it into any dish, warm and they are ready to go! It's just like using the canned beans from the store. (But helps me use and rotate my food storage) Because I have already rinsed, soaked and pressure cooked, sealed them; they are ready when I am. Before I started doing this yearly, I rarely used my "food storage" beans because by the time I thought about it, it was too late to soak overnight, they took too long to cook and I needed them NOW! So this ritual has really helped me to use those little beaners more often. Yes, it does take some time to prepare and bottle them, but it's just one day and then they are ready for fast dishes for many days in the future. They make chili fast and easy, I add them to soups and my taco/burrito meats for extra texture, fiber and nutrition. They have so many uses. (I even have a special "how to use beans food storage cookbook" so if you want to make everything bean!) You must use a pressure cooker for this job. The recipe/canning instructions I use come from the USU Extension Service Canning Guide see page 4-5/6  for dry beans, here's the link:

My kids also love baked beans, which I have made and bottled using the baked bean recipe from this guide, also good! (This Guide is my Canning Bible, I printed it off and have it in a 3 ring binder, it's used much!) Beans, beans the magical fruit, makes your....oh never mind. (Sorry! I couldn't resist, saying beans just makes that song come to mind!) Happy Tooting!

Baptism Gift Idea for a Girl

This photo shows the entire gift I put together today. I use a white towel embroidered with the child's name and date of baptism, copy of the My Baptism Towel poem (found this poem online), held together with green tulle ribbon (because it matched the CTR ring) with a CTR ring tied to the ribbon.
Today I'm sharing a baptism gift idea for little girls. It's made using the method I show in a video tutorial I made a while ago, I call them Fabric Corsages. They are bracelets made using fabric and lace. Then I embellished this one with a white ribbon flower, silver bead, Swarovski crystals and silver beads that read Faith and CTR. It's a simple, inexpensive yet, special gift for that sweet girl on her special day. To view the tutorial on how to make one of these look for the blog post titled: Fabric Corsage Video Tutorial.

This angle shows the Faith bead better than the first pic. I have attached crystals also intermittently all the way around.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Christmas Spirit.

There's just nothing like a random acts of kindness to put a smile on your face! No matter if you are the giver or the receiver, makes no matter. When you are the receiver you feel loved, noticed, appreciated. When you are the giver you receive happiness because you gave service. Either way, it's a win, win. I know I have posted about this subject before, but I really feel it is a topic worthy of keyboard strokes. It must be the fact that Christmas is on it's way that makes me notice more of the RAK going on around me. It makes my spirit happy to see people being more kind, generous and well...more Christ-like.  Which is good, that is after all why we celebrate Christmas! People have been talking about their traditions of giving and new things they plan to start doing to show love and service to others this special time of year. I have been been enchanted by hearing and seeing them. Got me thinking what we are going to do this year...I know for certain one thing that will happen and the rest is still in the works (planning and pondering stage). The one thing that I do want to start stems from a gift our family received last Christmas. Our family has never been the one in need, (until last year.) My husband was laid off his construction job last November (just before Thanksgiving) and prior to that we had been self employed (construction) and after our business suffered a serious down turn, we had used up all our savings. So my husband in his efforts to continue to support his family took an hourly rate job and then without notice was laid off. To make a long story short we had enough money to make our house payment and bills, but not enough to do Christmas on top of all the normal stuff. So I remember the "what are we going to do?" Thoughts and worries about how we were going to do Christmas for our 3 kids. This is not a feeling I am comfortable with and never want to feel again, but in the same breath I am sort of glad for the experience because it has given me a new appreciation for what others feel. Only my closest friends and family knew of the circumstances we were in and really compared to what many go through on a daily basis just trying to feed, cloth and house their families, this was nothing. But for me it was a big deal. We had not gotten a Christmas tree yet and didn't know how that would happen. One mysteriously, anonymously showed up on my porch. And another night a young man who I did not recognize, brought a frozen turkey and an envelope that forever made an impression on my soul. It was enough cash to make a Merry Christmas for our kids and without it, it would have been a disappointing morning for them. To this day I don't know who our Christmas Angel was, but Angels just the same! Our new tradition will be to pay this kind gesture forward to another family who is in need of some Christmas cheer! I am and will forever be grateful for the Random Act of Kindness shown to my family by a Christmas Angel. And am also grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who is mindful of my circumstances and answers my prayers through the the generous hearts of others. I would love to hear of your Christmas giving traditions! Will you be doing 12 Days of Christmas? Or leaving your waitress an extra big tip? Toy's for Tots? Or will you be starting something new? Whatever your giving traditions are, may God bless you for your good works!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Updated Home Made Fire Starters, Using Old Candle Wax!

If you follow my blog you know I love to re-use and re-make stuff into new useful things. A while ago I posted about making home made fire starters using egg cartons, dryer lint and melted bees wax. And I mentioned how wonderfully they work. One egg unit will start my fire every time! No paper or other fuels required. I have tried them over and over and it amazes me each time how well they work. Well today I want to add something else that I have discovered. I'm pretty excited....I can't contain myself! Wait for it...wait for it....You can make the same fire starters the same way, but instead of using precious bees wax you can substitute used up, old candle wax!! You know those Salt City Candle Melter Tiles ? I love them. This is the time of year when I love my house to smell like pumpkin pie or pine trees. And I melted some the other day and when the wax had lost it's aroma I wondered.....Could this wax be used again for another purpose instead of being throw out? I made the fire starters the same way only using this recycled candle wax. Guess what? It works just as well! And I can save my bees wax for much nobler purposes (like beeswax lip balm for all my girlfriends for Christmas!) I know. It is very odd for one to get so excited about fire starters. I'm easily entertained, what can I say?! Just thought I'd share my discovery with you. If you want to try this go to my blog post Titled Random Household Hints: Home Made Bees Wax Fire Starters. You follow the exact same instructions with the same products only exchanging the old candle wax for the bees wax. (Another helpful hint: save your scissors, when the wax dries the egg cartons can just be ripped into individual pieces using your hands!) This is the ultimate in recycling! The egg cartons, the dryer lint, the old, used wax, all the necessary "ingredients" have been used before or created while another useful purpose was being performed. (My daughter would be so proud!)

This is a pic of what the ones I made with bees wax look like in the carton.

Getting Prepared....My adventure in 72 hour kits!

Well I live in "earthquake country" so it seems. We haven't really had the "big one" yet, but it's always a possibility and always in the back of my mind. And lately there has been the suggestion to get your things in order and be prepared. Not just for an earthquake, but for any unforeseen emergency or disaster. I have been preparing for years it seems and I think I will still be preparing for years to come! The Storm Sandy and it's aftermath has gotten me thinking about whether my family is ready for a serious emergency/disaster and whether we are self-reliant. I don't want to be waiting for FEMA for a month to get me what I need to survive. So I will do my best to gather and store what I will need in an emergency. So here is an update on my attempt at being "ready". I made 72 hr kits for each of my family members in 2005, this is the year my 7 year old was born. The clothes I had for her were 3 sizes too small (would have done no good in an emergency!), my middle daughter's clothes were size 24 months, (she is 5 years old, also not going to work!), I hadn't even made one for my almost 2 year old son yet. The crackers and food I had in there were stale and nasty. The mice got into 3 of the 4 packs and they were a total loss! My daughter opens up her's and says "Mom, there are crumbs and chew marks in my bag!" Word to the wise...get backpacks that zip all the way closed. I got some backpacks that I could fit lots more stuff into because they cinched down with a draw string and then the flap closed over the hole...not a good choice! The mice can get in. Also word to the wise...don't store those type of backpacks in the garage, where mice live! So this was a good thing for me to update because had I not gone through them again, nothing would have fit and we would have been trying to survive away from home with half chewed crumbs and nasty mouse house backpacks! Yuck...nothing grosses me out worse than mice and all their nastiness! So I spent the afternoon getting new clothing, new food and updated 72 hour kits. I will start doing a rotation of taking the food/snacks out for movie night or during general conference to eat and then replace so they don't go stale again. I hate wastefulness! And keeping better track of the clothing inside since I have growing/changing children. I made a pack for my handy hubby to keep in his pick up truck that he drives to work because in the event of an emergency he will most likely be at work and if we do get the "big one" he may not be getting home for a while so I thought it best he keep his with him. Getting prepared can be expensive if you try to buy everything you would need in one purchase. That's why I say I am going to be preparing for years! If I add a little something to my supply every now and then it doesn't seem so bad. So this time I bought garden seeds, the kind that last 4-5 years, longer if you store them in the freezer. So I at least have a garden, I can't live without a garden! As a family we also had an earthquake drill at home and explained to the kids what to do if it happens. I believe in being as self reliant as one can be. I think it relieves a lot of fear and doubt if you know you will have what you need. I can't foretell the future, but I believe we should all store some essentials just in case!
This is an example of the kind of backpack NOT to get! I got it because I could fit so much more stuff in the top because of the drawstring, but it left a big enough opening for mice to invade and it looked okay until I really emptied it out. If I would have just looked at the top I would have closed it back up and said all is well! Make sure if you are new to the preparedness thing...Get backpacks that zip all the way closed! And I think I will still get a big rubbermaid box/container to store them in.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Food Storage/Emergency Preparedness Helpful Hints

Example of shelving and storage area.
You all know I'm a preparer. I am however not a doomsday-er! I am not fanatical about it and you will not see me on an episode of Doomsday Preppers. I do believe that one should be as prepared as one can be. I do believe that being prepared for emergencies dispels fear. I am a member of the LDS church and our prophets have always counseled us to be prepared and be as self reliant as possible. This is not a hoarding thing, but a be as prepared as you can thing so you can care for yourself, your family and others in times of need. And I can tell you it doesn't take a big natural disaster or zombie Apocalypse  for this type of preparation to come in handy. When my husband was laid off from his job last year with no notice, this food storage made us feel less anxious because at least we knew we had enough food and our kids would not go hungry! So today I am posting a few things that I have learned in my journey to food storage/emergency  preparedness. I have been "preparing" for about 6 or 7 years now and I am not done, but I inch closer all the time! I am also not an expert on the subject of preparedness, but this is my own experience in "getting prepared". Here's my food storage helpful hints:

  • Store what you eat! Yes, it's great to have wheat, rice, oats, flours, sugars, beans and such, but what if your family is not used to eating these kinds of things? Not a good idea to introduce a new diet in an emergency! Your family will find comfort in the usual. That doesn't mean you shouldn't store the mentioned items above, but try to keep it as close to "normal" as you can. Keeping in mind how long your "usual" foods will store, there is nothing worse than wasted food because you stored it too long. Using and replacing is best on these kinds of foods.
  • Learn to use your food storage raw materials on a regular basis so your family gets used to them and they become "normal". I got a using food storage recipe cookbook some years ago and I regularly make something out of it so I get used to making things from scratch, my family gets used to the foods and it helps to rotate the storage.
Bottled tomatoes.
  • If you grow a garden learn to bottle, can, freeze or dry your extra produce. This can be one of the most cost effective ways to build a storage. Gardens always seem to produce more than you can eat fresh so learn to preserve the harvest.
Some of the harvest to be preserved.

  • Have your supply stored in different ways. It's like diversifying your financial portfolio, and not keeping all your eggs in one basket. For instance if your entire food store was in freezers and we lost power for a prolonged period and you lost all your storage that would be sad. Have some frozen, some canned, some bottled, dried etc. Keeping in mind in an earthquake glass bottles may not be the best thing to have your food stored in. (Also if you have a large amount of your supply in the freezer having a generator with fuel to keep it all frozen is a necessity!)
  • One thing I do to help me use the dry beans I have an ample supply of is: Once a year, at the end of canning season I bottle the dry beans, this makes them already cooked and sealed just like a can of beans you buy at the store. Say that you wanted to make Chili, but you didn't want to soak the beans overnight, cook them and make Chili. This allows you to just open the bottle and dump them in! They have already been soaked and cooked, just warm and they are ready to eat. I incorporate beans a lot in my meals by having them readily available. For instance, I put them in with my meat for tacos or burritos, giving them extra protein, fiber and nutrition. I use them in various soups and chili's. I find that having them ready for use makes me more likely to use them! It takes some time one day to bottle them, but saves time all the other days. 
Example of beans ready for use, bottled using dried food storage beans!
  • Rotate your storage! Yes, some things store for a very long time when packed properly but it is good to use it up and replace frequently too.
  • Label your storage containers clearly including dates, what's inside and if you rotate make sure to update when you re-stock and if you put something different in.
Example of labeling.

See the concrete behind? Keep buckets from touching.

  • Always buy buckets that have reusable lids, I rotate/use my storage items frequently so when I went to Costco to buy big bags of flour and sugar to replace my storage and fill the empty buckets, some of the bucket lids would not seal back down again and some would. So when you make a bucket purchase make sure the lids can be used again! I am trying the gamma lid on the bucket that I am using (not sealed) because the top can be more easily removed (since on sugar and flour I use more frequently I keep them in buckets with easy to remove lids) The lid has two parts, the ring part snaps tight down onto the bucket and then the lid screws down tight onto the ring. I think it will be more convenient!
  • Keep your food storage area cool and dry. I keep a bucket of DampRid Moisture Absorber on one of the food storage shelves to absorb excess moisture in the air.
DampRid to collect excess moisture in the air, particularly important when storing excess amounts of honey as honey will collect moisture too!

  • Watch for sales on items you rotate or use most so you can stock up when the price is right. (Case lot sales are also helpful)
  • Organize, Organize, Organize! If you can't see it or find it, you can't use it!! Shelves are oh so helpful. 
  • FYI: I want to have enough water stored and thought using old milk jugs to store them was a good idea. Let me tell you however that they don't last forever, they begin to leak after a few years, I learned this one the hard way. I have better luck with juice bottles that are a heavier plastic. 
  • This sounds like a no-brain er, Have a manual can opener! (I actually just realized I didn't have one), it would be very hard to open all those cans with an electric can opener if we have no power! So that was my last purchase, $1.50, didn't take much $ to solve this problem!
  • In your preparation ask yourself these questions:
  • How will I stay warm if we have no electricity for a prolonged period of time?
  • How will I cook food if we have no electricity for a prolonged period of time?
  • How will we see in the dark if we have no electricity for a prolonged period of time? (if you have flashlights, do you have batteries?)
  • How much water do you have stored if your water supply is disrupted for a prolonged period of time?
  • If you have to evacuate your home do you have emergency kits ready to go so you can just grab and go if necessary? Do you have all your important documents organized in a portable container?
  • Do have fire extinguishers readily available? In a disaster situation the authorities may be overwhelmed and you may have to fight your own fires.
  • Do you know where and how to turn off your power and gas and water to your home? Do these shut off processes require special tools or wrenches? If so, keep them stored right at the site so you aren't trying to find the right tools in an emergency!
  • (This one's kinda grody to think about but...) How will you use the restroom if your normal waste system is disrupted? (I know you can just dig a hole and go outside if you really had to, but I just recently bought a toilet seat/cover that fits on a 5 gallon bucket, it was less than ten dollars and at least gives you a seat! You can line the bucket with garbage bags and dispose of the bags as needed. The bag thing also sounds kind of gross so we may dig a hole and remove the bottom of the bucket also. At least we have a seat, it's easier for children to go if they have a seat! Also got some enzymes that break down this type of sewage material, also cheap. Not a pleasant topic but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!)
This is the toilet seat I got, it attaches to a 5 gallon bucket.
  • Do you have foods that are easily/quick to prepare as fuels may need to be conserved and if you have foods that take a long time to prepare and not enough fuel to support this type of cooking.(I'm not a big fan of canned soups, but in times like this they are nice because all they have to do is be warmed up and they are ready to go. But this is where rotation/use comes in, they won't store forever!)
  • If you have pets do you have a plan for them? Keep in mind most disaster shelters won't allow pets. If you need to evacuate or if you are home do you have enough food and water to support Fido or Trigger for a prolonged period of time? 
  • Have a bartering item, for instance I have bee hives and a large supply of honey. I could use this product to barter with others who have other items that I need. (Fuels, cured firewood already cut and dry, cooking oils, honey, milk products if you have a cow, eggs if you have chickens etc.) 
  • Have money set aside in small bills, if the power goes out ATM's will be no good! And you don't want to be stuck with 20's if the price is $1-5 and no one has change!
  • What is your family plan? For instance what if your family is separated at the time of a natural disaster, what is your plan? Where will you go? Do the rest of the members of the family know the plan? I recommend having a place to meet whether that be home or somewhere else, have a person (preferably out of state that everyone in your family will call in an emergency to report that they are OK, the local phone lines may be out. Know your plan so you don't have to use the phone, to keep the lines open for emergency personnel. 
  • Teach your children, involve them in the process, they will find it fun and it will help them to not be afraid. My kids saw part of the movie that our state made about preparing for earthquakes, at first they seemed a little frightened by it. (I know it was made to get people into action.) I just explained to them that if we prepare and know what to do in times of emergency that it will help us to not be as afraid. They took it very well and loved all they got to do to help. My littlest girl got to use the hammer to seal down the bucket lids, which she loved! We had a mock earthquake drill and they loved that. They will remember what to do if you show them, have practice drills and remind them often what they should do in a fire, earthquake, storm etc. 
This is just a post to get you thinking about being prepared for emergencies. If Storm Sandy in NYC should have taught us anything, it should be that we need to try to be prepared! This is not meant to scare or depress, it has been written in a spirit of optimism with a goal of trying to add a little here and there to be more prepared for life's challenges. This is in no way a complete list of things you should have or do to be prepared! Please feel free to comment on what you have learned in your journey towards preparedness.

Kacey's Dresses, Update!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!! I had great intentions of sharing some yummy recipes for turkey day, but I was just too busy to post, maybe next year lol! I have been very busy lately being wife and mommy and haven't had much time to blog. I have also been spending an enormous amount of time working on my dress line lately. Sourcing fabrics for these dresses has proven to be a challenge. But I am happy to say we have begun production! Four of the five dresses that I will be debuting with Shabby Apple this Spring will be made right here in the good ol' US of A! I am really excited about this and have always wanted my things to be made in America, but thought that due to increased costs of manufacturing in America that it wouldn't be possible.  One of the dresses will be made in China, boo, I know! But that is the way it must be. I'm just glad the rest will bear the made in the U.S.A tag. The dresses being made in China will be finished by Dec. and production on the others here in the U.S. will begin very soon! My work in designing and fabric sourcing is almost over and then they are in the capable hands of the manufacturers. I'm getting really excited to share my creations with you this Spring!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frumpy Mommy...I guess I'm totally busted!

Okay here is the outfit in question.
And I must admit, I don't look as sexy in it as she does, Lol!
So I guess I have a fashion confession to make...I guess I wear a certain lilac colored velour "warm up" suit a little too much! This morning as I was throwing on my favorite kid waking, diaper changing, kid dressing, breakfast making, pb&j making, get them out the door by 8:15 outfit, my daughter says to me "mom, why do you wear that everyday?"  Well...I guess it never occurred to her that when she gets home I am usually wearing something totally different. I must justify just a little bit here. It's true, I admit it! Sometimes I do stay in this comfy, ensemble all day, but it's usually when I plan on not leaving the house. It's what I love to lounge in on a Sunday afternoon, it's what I love to clean in. And I'm a night owl! I can't seem to get myself up and get totally ready before my kids get up. I know, I'm a slacker! I wake up at 7:15 AM same as my kids, but I stay up lots later than they do! So I get up, throw on this "warm up" suit and get them out the door. Then I come back and get myself presentable to the rest of the world. (But, I actually got the suit because I felt like it was acceptable enough that if someone actually caught me in it outside of my house, say taking the kids to school or a quick jaunt to the grocery store (which has happened). I would not feel like a total frumpy mommy! I mean it's cute, it matches and it's from Victoria's Secret so supermodels wear them all the time, right?! (Insert sarcasm here!) Ha, ha! I guess I'm totally busted! I'm not a supermodel. I guess that I wear this outfit way too much. But, until I get my booty to bed earlier and my kids stop making messes on my nice clothes (which I usually do wear when I leave the house) I think I will continue to wear my warm up suit every morning! Maybe I just need to get a couple of other colors so they won't notice. And get a pair of Ugg's and then I'd really be a supermodel. (Again, insert sarcasm here! I actually dislike Ugg's almost as much as I dislike Crocs.) Today was one of those days when I didn't make it out of my "warm up" suit. I did however manage to get my makeup on so I wasn't a total frump. Again, I confess. I made one quick trip to Walmart at 8:30AM and nobody saw me (I think) and then I cleaned most of the rest of the day and spent countless minutes on the phone and email trying to find my lost dress fabric. (I don't think my business associates knew I was in my pajamas!) If I was Vector from Despicable Me right now I would say "They are not pajama's! It's a warm up suit" And then my daughter would say "What are you warming up for?" And I would say "Stuff" and then she would ask "What kind of stuff?" And I would reply "Super cool stuff you wouldn't understand!" And she would then say "like sleeping?" And again, I would say "They are not pajama's!" So they really aren't pajama's. I don't sleep in them, but I do wear this quite frequently (maybe a little too frequently according to my daughter), but it gets the job done!  And next time my daughter asks why I wear this everyday, I'm going to say it's my "super cool stuff doing warm up suit", like I'm some kind of a super hero or something! So this being said, what have you been caught wearing? Come on spill your guts so I know I'm not the only one here! What's your go to outfit for everyday mommy duties when no one else is around?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Recipe: Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza, yeah baby!

I made a pulled pork roast the other day and I don't know what happened, but I had the strangest desire to put it on a pizza! I haven't done this before and I have not seen it done, but it sounded so good. At first I used Ranch dressing as the "pizza sauce" (at my children's request), but it didn't give me that BBQ flavor I was craving. The second time I tried it with BBQ sauce and it was perfect! I love pizza and tend to be a traditional pizza eater, but this is a pizza I could eat again and again! I topped it with mozzarella cheese and pepperocini peppers for a little extra bite. was tasty! So if any of you would like to try this new take on the pizza pie here's what I did:

I used a pizza dough recipe that I found on Pinterest here's the link (well I tried to find where I got this recipe, I found it on Pinterest. But as I was blogging this I could not find where I got this recipe. I looked for a really long time! So if it belongs to you or if anyone knows where this came from please let me know so I can give proper credit! It is a great recipe and I wrote it on paper to try it and do you think I wrote from which blog??? No, I didn't. But I would recognize it if I saw it again. So I am truly sorry if it's yours and I "stole" it, I didn't mean to! So here is the recipe that I got off Pinterest somewhere that does not belong to me:
1 Cup warm water
2 1/4 Teaspoon Yeast
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Cup Bread Flour
Stir yeast and honey into warm water, let sit for 5-10 min. then add salt, oil, and 1/2 of flour, then slowly add in rest of flour, knead for 6 min. I used my KitchenAid mixer with the kneading hook, worked perfectly!

So you will need to make a pulled pork roast, I used a three pound pork roast, cooked in my crock pot for about 8 hours on low using McCormick's Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork seasoning mix prepared according to package instructions (available at the grocery store in the spices/sauces isle). Once cooked, pull the deliciously roasted meat apart with two forks so it is in shreds.

You will need:
McCormick's Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning Packet.
Your favorite pizza dough recipe or the one above.
Mozzarella cheese, grated.
Pepperocini peppers, sliced. (Mildly hot bottled peppers in the isle where you find pickles at the grocery store).
Your favorite BBQ sauce, again I used a Famous Dave's.
And your already cooked and pulled pork roast.

I made and rolled out the dough pretty thin, (with a little corn meal on the cookie sheet) then smeared the dough with Famous Dave's Rich & Sassy BBQ Sauce, then I put on lots and lots of pulled pork (more than the picture above shows!), mozzarella cheese and pepperocini's on top, and baked at 500 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown and toasty. It was BBQ pizza heaven, enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

How would I wear it? Feathered Peplum Belt...I think yes!

So you all know I love runway fashions! And I love to figure out ways to wear the runway fashions in a way that is toned down for "real life." So I have a new look for you today. I have posted about peplum's before and I'll do it again. I love this look!! And I might wear it out, LOL!! I saw this full feathered dress from a Fall collection I found in Harper's Bazaar and wondered how I could pull it off. Now a full feathered dress is a little much for "real life", works great on the runway, but how could I pull it off at church? Got me thinking. I'm pretty sure that I used the same exact kind of feathers as the ones used in the full feather Lanvin dress, but I went for a Feathered Peplum belt instead of full feathers. And I love the way it turned out! I wore it to church yesterday. I can always tell right away how I did when people say "where did you get that?" Then I know I scored! I got lots of compliments on it so I thought I would share what I did. The feathers I already had from making many a feathered accessories over the past 2 years. These particular feathers come already sewn together at the top and so this belt went together really easily! I would have preferred the look to be real leather (which leather pieces are also in this Fall season), but I didn't have any of that. I did however have some fake stuff (from Walmart!) that ended up looking pretty great. I measured my waist and cut the feathers to connect perfectly end to end around me. Then I cut the fake leather looking fabric, I left about 2-3" on each side so that I could attach the hook/eye type closure to the fake leather in the back of the belt. It took just maybe a 1/2 hour to make, but gives me one more look to go with my black pencil skirt! (And I didn't buy a thing.) I love that! One of my favorite things to do is find things I can make out of raw materials I already have. Oh...and I was slightly worried about how the feathers would hold up in "real life" since my "real life" includes my 3 children, one of whom is 18 months old and I carry around a lot. And I'm in the Primary at my church (=lots of small children to wrangle.) But I'm happy to say the feathers looked just as good when I got home as when I left the house. Although my daughter did try to pet my feathers frequently!

Here is a pic of the dress that inspired my Feathered Peplum Belt:

Photo from Harper's Bazaar link: Link to Harper's Bazaar

Lanvin Full Feather Dress

Here is mine~!

Me in my Feathered Peplum Belt. My photography is not as good as the picture above, but the feathers are the same kind/color. They are black, but shine a beautiful green when the light hits it!

Here's how I did it:
Cut a piece of feathers that fits your waist perfectly, touching at the back. Then cut a piece of leather/fake leather about 2-3 inches longer than the feathers on both sides.

Using a hot glue gun I glued the leather piece to the feathers on the front first (this is the view from the back side, glued)
Then I folded the leather piece over and glued it down to the feathers covering the white threads and tops of feathers, so they are enclosed in the leather piece.

Shows me gluing down the leather piece. (By the way I'm wearing my favorite cobalt blue nail polish, don't mind the chipped mani!)
This is what I hold it on with, a large hook/eye attachment in the back. Trimmed the leather piece to fit my waist perfectly having it overlap to allow for the hook/eye closure as seen here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

New Recipe! Pear Poke Cake

I prettied up the top with a little canned whipped cream!

Hi everyone! I love this time of year for one reason...the harvest of many delicious fruits and veggies. (I could really do without the cold weather!) And I recently bought a bushel of pears which I do every year. I love all things pear! I put up pints and pints of pear jam and pear syrup that I love to eat on toast and pancakes or waffles. But I found a new use for my pear syrup and that brings me to today's blog post. A new recipe I came up with to satisfy my appetite for all things Pear, oh and my sweet tooth. Pear Poke Cake! Now keep in mind this is not for those watching their sugar intake, but it sure is good!

Here is what you will need:

Boxed yellow cake mix (and anything that box recipe requires)
 1 1/2 pints of bottled pear syrup (I just bottle the pear jam recipe that's in the pectin box, but leave out the pectin, so the sugar and pear ratios are the same but it stays thinner.) If you don't bottle pear syrup, but want to make this cake I would recommend making a simple syrup with 4 Cups pureed pears and 6 Cups sugar. Heat to boil until all sugar is dissolved then cool and measure 3 1/2 cups to use on cake. (Then save the rest for pancakes, waffles or serve over Fage Greek Yogurt, you will thank me!)
1 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
1 8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temp.

Here is what I did:

Baked a box yellow cake according to box directions, right when it comes out of the oven and is hot make holes all over in the cake with a large spoon, pour the two pints of pear syrup into the holes until they are full and then pour the rest all over the top of the cake. Let cool. Then to make the frosting, whip softened cream cheese in mixer until smooth and fluffy, then add the sweetened condensed milk until smooth, then add Cool Whip and whip until fluffy. Then when cake is completely cooled frost and refrigerate. I like this made the day before you serve it to allow all the flavors to mingle. Mmmm....I don't think I can wait until tomorrow, gotta have a piece now!! Enjoy!

I like to make large holes!

Pouring the syrup into the holes.

I know it looks like it's swimming at this point, but I promise it will soak into the cake and be delicious! (When tweaking this recipe I started with only one jar of syrup, the pear flavor didn't come through like I wanted so I went with one and a half, two was a sugar coma!)

The completed cake. I then would take the canned whipped cream and pretty up the top!

This cake sets up and isn't as runny as shown in the picture if you make it the day before and refrigerate, but like I said I had a pear craving and could not wait!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My favorite Cheesy Bread Recipe!

Mmmm! Toasty, melty, cheesy bread!
Well Hello there everyone! Hope you had a great Halloween and have not been suffering from Halloween Hangover! Here on "Patch A Heaven" we had a super Halloween! My Momma came to share this fun holiday with my kids. This is the first time we have had Grandma with us for Halloween, and my kids will be the first to tell you that she is much more fun!! Out here instead of traditional trick or treating we do something we call Trunk or Treating. (If you aren't familiar with this term it is basically meeting at any parking lot or other large area, parking your car, decorating your trunk and the kids walk around from trunk to trunk collecting goodies.) I really prefer traditional Trick or Treating from house to house, but out here the houses are so far away from each other that we do a Trunk or Treat instead. The part I do like about the Trunk or Treat is the sense of community involvement or gathering together to visit. We hosted this event at our church this year and planned a pot luck soup/bread dinner before the candy collecting began. (Which I also loved because I felt like at least their little tummies were full of good food before the candy gorging commenced.) After the Trunk or Treat I asked my kids if they wanted to go find some more houses. To my surprise they said "no, we are ready to go home" at 7:22 PM, I was good with that! This is what brings me to today's blog post, a favorite recipe of mine for pot lucks. I love cheesy bread and I've come to know that most people share the desire for this comforting, cheesy creation! In mixing and shaking, in search of the perfect cheesy bread, this is what I came up with. So I am posting one of my favorite recipes. I have taken the following bread to many a pot lucks with success. (I made two cookie sheets full of this for the Halloween Potluck and I didn't even get a piece, it was snatched up right away!) It's super easy and very tasty. I will also share the variations I like to do.

You will need:

Flavor Packet of your choice
Mozzarella Cheese,grated
Bread, (I love this with soft French bread but chewy Italian style is also delish! But I have also done it on left over mediocre store bought rolls and it makes them irresistible!!)

Italian Cheesy Bread:
This version is what I took to the Halloween pot luck and is my favorite!
1 Packet of Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix (dry packet found by the salad dressing mixes)
2 Sticks Butter, softened
Mozzarella cheese, grated

To make the spread beat the butter in mixer until smooth and fluffy, add salad dressing packet, mix well, then spread onto favorite bread and sprinkle generously with grated mozzarella cheese. (I like to use a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil so I can get messy and add plenty of cheese and not worry about the clean up!)
Mixing the spread. If you don't use it all at one time, refrigerate rest for later use!

Then broil until cheese is melted and starts to get golden brown spots.
This batch was made with some store bought french bread rolls.

For alternative flavors I like to use a Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Packet instead of the Italian or for Traditional Garlic Bread flavor use 2 Teaspoons Garlic Salt in place of the season packets.

If you take this bread to any pot luck be prepared for people to hunt down "the person who brought the cheesy bread" because they will want the recipe! Enjoy!!