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Friday, November 21, 2014

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

With the holidays coming soon I find that my time is not being diverting from online to offline as there is much to do now that it is time to get ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Recipes for Holidays

Here are a few of my families favorite comfort food recipes:

Thanksgiving is next week and not only do I have to organize my families favorite recipes I need to get the home decorated for a harvest theme. Normally the kitchen and dining room is where I feature the Thanksgiving decor theme by setting a table with seasonal table lines, dishes and then create a punkin centerpiece.

Create a perfect pumpkin centerpiece for your coffee table, foyer, dining table and it will also look good on your kitchen island. You can make this centerpiece from using a pumpkin, fresh flowers or silk for your arrangement Here's how to make and easy pumpkin decoration for Thanksgiving.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Decoration Ideas for Thanksgiving

I like to accent my Thanksgiving table with pumpkin centerpieces that I make for silk flowers. I also like to fill the hallowed out pumpkin with snacks and small pumpkin are the perfect size to hold dips for chips. Pumpkins make my holiday table look eye appealing and interesting.
For this easy pumpkin decoration I will buy a medium rounded pumpkin that has no bruises to the flesh. Shop for an almost perfect pumpkin for this party decoration.
When you get the pumpkin home wash the outside it to remove any dirt. Then cut it in half before removing the pulp. Keep the seeds because you can roast them. Keep the pulp to make puree for pie.
Then wash out the inside of the pumpkin. Make sure the strings are removed and that surface is relatively clean of any pulp. 
Let the pumpkin dry thoroughly. When the pumpkin is dry you would then fill the pumpkin with a bouquet of silk chrysanthemums cut the stems so they fit nicely in the pumpkin as a bouquet. 
Another way to  create a useful pumpkin decoration is to set a plastic container into the hallowed out pumpkin, then drape a napkin into the container and over the sides of the pumpkin before filling with snacks.
These pumpkin decorations will make your holiday gathering festive and fun.  Here is a video tutorial that will show you how to make pumping centerpiece for your holiday table.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Harvesting Apples and Pears in Fall is a Fun Activity

This week my husband and I went to help family and friends harvest pears and apples from their orchard. The trees were really heavy with fruit and we had to remove the fruit because the upcoming bitter cold weather would cause the fruit to freeze and then the fruit on the trees would rot quickly. So we left a week ago Thursday and returned yesterday.  A full week was needed to harvest the apples and pears from the tree orchard.
apples in trees

Harvesting fruit in trees is a real workout as I was nominated to climb the ladder then the tree branches to get to the fruit at the top of the tree. Then all I needed to do is shake the branch and the pears would fall to the ground. Everyone on the ground needed to catch the falling fruit or pick the pears or apples s up off the ground and then put into boxes.
apple pear chutney
Homemade apple pear chutney in Mason jars

When the harvest was completed my husband and I had two large boxes of pears and apples. We were happy to get the fruit because my husband and I will use them for our recipes; bake goods, sauces, marmalade, jelly, chutney and for daily eating.

Easy Autumn Floral Centerpiece Instructions

One of my clients had asked me if I could make a autumn centerpiece for her.  She had seen one at Hobby Lobby that she liked but did not want to pay the asking price.  She had many craft items as well as an assortment of silk and dried autumn flowers and grasses.  

 I went to Hobby Lobby and looked at the centerpiece. I could make it and so I accepted the contract.  My out of pocket was minimal and compensation was more than enough considering I had fun making the autumn floral centerpiece.
I made the floral arrangements as seen on my clients table

For this project I used:
2- Already made craft dowel vases from craft store
Florist craft dry foam
Florist tape
Natural craft raffia 8 ounces of long strong fibers
2 bouquets of assorted wildflower and sunflower matching bouquets
Dried stems of  thistle, wheat and assorted grass plumes
Hot glue gun
To make this arrangement I cut a piece of dry florist foam and taped in the bottom of the wood vase.   I used the florist tape to wrap around the silk bouquet and natural dried accents. This ensured that the flowers would stay gathered in the bouquet and would not separate.
Add natural dried grasses to arrangement
In order to keep the flower stems from drooping hot glued them before I inserted them into florist dry foam. It is best to put the stems into the center of foam.  When the glue is dry and flower are secure then work with the flowers and grass stems to making them look pretty.  I accented this arrangement with a raffia bow. Wrap the raffia around the vase several times. The raffia bow will face to the front with long ties.  Keep the raffia in place by using your hot glue gun to attach the wrap to the wood craft vase.

And you are done. I hope you will enjoy making this pretty autumn centerpiece.

Grass arrangement in clay pot by Pixabay public domain photos: 

Recipe for Herbal Soap

In the autumn season I will harvest a variety of aromatic herbs to use in my wreaths and for making soap.  

I am not a soap expert as I have only been making herbal soap for the last two years.  However I like that is is another way that I can put good use to my herbs that I grow.  I really love aromatic herbal soaps because the scent is refreshing in the bathroom and in the kitchen.

  You can make herbal soap anytime of the year but for me I usually make in the autumn season because that is when I harvest my herbs.

You will need the following:
  1. A glass microwave bowl
  2. Dried herb leaves and flowers 
  3. Buy from craft store, plain glycerin soap.
  4. A grater to shave the glycerin soap or you can cut soap with sharp knife
  5. Buy essential oils to add fragrance to your soap. (Example I am making Chocolate mint soap. I will use chocolate and peppermint essential oil.) I am hoping the finish product will have the scent of a peppermint patty. 
  6. Soap molds
  7. Wood mixing spoon and rubber spatula

For one bar of glycerin herbal soap you would do the following;
  1. Grate or cut the soap finely
  2. Melt the soap shavings in a microwave bowl for 30 seconds on high, Stir with wooden spoon and repeat for another 30 seconds until the soap is completely melted.
  3. When the glycerin soap is melted, remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of dried aromatic chopped herb leaves and flowers (you choose the herbs that you want to use). Also add 1 teaspoon of essential oil. 
  5. Mix the liquid soap and herbs and essential oil with wooden spoon. 
  6. Spray your soap molds with Crisco olive oil.
  7. When soap and dried herbs are blended you would then pour into soap molds. 
  8. Use your rubber spatula to remove the soap from the bowl.
  9. Set the soap mold on the counter for thirty minutes to allow it to harden at room temperature.

Complete the soap hardening with a cold process. Put the soap mold in the freezer for twenty five minutes. Remove the soap from the freezer and remove from the soap mold.
Set the soap on wax paper and allow it to continue to harden in a cool dry place for 24 hours.
Note: If I am going to give the soap as a gift I will add the herbal flowers as a whole toward the top of the soap because they look pretty.

View how to make Lavender herbal soap on YouTube

Homemade soap image credit: Pixabay public domain:

Apple Pear Chutney with Cranberries

In the autumn my family harvests the pears and the apples and my job is to come up with recipes for the bushes of fruit.  I make the traditional things like apple-pear pie, apple-pear sauce, apple-pear muffins but this year we also made apple pear and cranberry chutney. 

My husband helped me to get the fruit ready for the chutney and the day before we peeled and cored a bushel of apples and pears. When the peeling was done husband chopped all of the fruit and then slow cooked the fruit; apples, pears with granulated sugar, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, apple juice and water.

The fruit cooked on the stove for several hours.  Then when the fruit was almost done my husband added the dried cranberries.  When chutney was done the sauce had thicken around the chopped fruit. We never made apple pear cranberry chutney before and thought the blending of the fruit was delicious.