Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chain of Service

Yesterday we made a paper chain as part of our "holiday decorating with what we have." I want my kids to know that this time of year shouldn't just be about receiving cool gifts but is also about helping others, so written inside each chain is a small service they can help with.

It was a challenge to come up with 25 different services they could help with but we managed. Some of my favorites are:
  • Spend the morning at the local old folks home
  • Give the dog a bath
  • Write Great-Grandma a letter
  • Donate toys to children who need them more than we do
  • Bring food to the local food pantry
  • Help with dishes
Fingers-crossed that this is a small step in character building.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mid-Century Modern Paper Ornaments

This year I am determined to decorate my house for the holidays using what I have on hand. Luckily I have Pinterest on hand and inspiration is on overdrive most of the time. I love these mid-century modern ornaments and with a box full of card stock me and the kids got busy!

Here is the inspiration pin. You can find the original tutorial here from Design Sponge.

Cut and odd number of strips in gradually decreasing lengths, line up the ends and secure with staple or glue and repeat on other end, add string. The end.

I used a paper cutter and a hot glue gun. Mine are made with only 5 pieces of paper. If you want them to be really fat the inside piece should be significantly shorter than the outside layer.

To make the flower shape make a ball and then added a dab of glue to the center and flattened it.

Here are the ornaments hanging from my lights in the living room.

 And in the dining room.

Total cost: $0 (since I had everything) but if you were to go out and buy it would be about $1 to make two. I should have saved this for a cocktails and crafts since it was so easy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homemade Paper Christmas Ornaments

Let me start off by saying that cutting on a line isn't one of my strengths. In sewing it isn't so much a problem because of seam allowance, paper on the other hand isn't as forgiving. I decided to make these cute paper balls because I wanted to do more to decorate my house for the holidays but don't want to spend money we really don't need to. I looked around my house and found a bunch of a paper and decided to find some cute decorations I could make. 

I found this paper ball on Pinterest. It looked pretty easy and I had all the supplies already. You basically cut out 12 flowers, cut some slits and slide them together. It is a bit of a brain teaser but if you fiddle with it long enough it will come together. The original tutorial called for cutting it with a Silhouette cutter which I don't have. My flower shapes are more organic and less even.

I made the large orange one first and that turned out to be smart because it was easier to put together. I am going to make a couple more large ones and hang them from my living room ceiling lights. I might even go crazy and bust out the glitter.

After I "mastered" the large one I printed out some 4x6 photos on my home printer and combined them with some navy card stock. This one will go on our tree.

There is an even smaller template but I won't be trying that one any time soon. I need to work on my tracing and cutting skills to get that nice crisp image from the top of the post.  When I get them all made and hung from the lights I will post some more pictures.

How to Make Farmers Cheese

Holiday time at my husband's and my house means homemade pierogi. I grew up eating potato pierogi and he had cheese. Normally we would buy Friendship brand farmers cheese, which runs about $8.99 a pound, but this year we couldn't find it anywhere. Solution- make our own. We made mozzarella as a cocktails and crafts last winter and I remembered that the beginning of the process created farmers cheese.
To make your own you need four things:
  • One gallon of raw or pasteurized milk - not ultra pasteurized
  • Citric acid - I used powdered I had from making mozzarella but you could use a lemon or even vinegar
  • Something to strain the cheese. I started out with a cheese cloth but then switched to two strainers with small holes.
  • Heat

Sorry the pictures aren't that great, I was using my iPhone cause I was too lazy to get my good camera from across the room.

Put milk in a large pot. 
When the milk begins to boil (small bubbles will first appear at the edges), turn off the heat. Stir acid into the milk, and the milk will curdle. You may need to wait 5 or 10 minutes.
Line a sieve or colander with a cheesecloth, and pour the milk through the cloth to catch the curds. What is left in the cheesecloth is the Farmer's Cheese. The liquid is the whey.

Wrap in plastic, or place in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.
Different brands of milk will create different results. One store brand created worked perfectly with only one teaspoon of citric acid, the next needed three. Making your own cuts the price into less than half and gives you the satisfaction of saying you made cheese.

To get a printable version of this recipe click here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ice Skating

We went to the skating rink at the outdoor mall last weekend. My son had a blast, but my daughter isn't in to the cold weather sports like the rest of us.

Look mom, no help!

Okay, maybe a little help is good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oaklet Shawl

I said I would never knit or crochet a shawl but I couldn't help myself. I was getting tired or cowls and scarves and wanted to try something new. I had this great Malabrigo sock yarn in Playa and it wanted to be something just for me.

I am new to lace knitting and it is a challenge for me. There are so many distractions at my house that I have just come accept the little mistakes! My son helped me take the picture above and the one below, I love the perspective in the pictures he takes.

I don't think I will wear the shawl as an actual shawl but more as a scarf but I do want to show off how it looks.
Here is the link to my Ravelry project if you are interested in my making your own.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Crazy Kids


This was taken with my iPhone camera. I see either future Olympic divers or ER patients.

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