Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Leia...The Reveal

Here she is, the beautiful Princess Leia, going about, doing her business and being a space bad ass in her every day outfit.  She's not going to a council meeting, or the beach in a gold bikin ( her Daddy forbid a gold bikini as a Halloween costume), this is what the average space princess wears when she's just doing her normal thing....that is to say, stomping out space treachery and denying galactic bad guys their fun.

That's right villain!!!  You have been thwarted!

Awww, Mom, I just saved...frantically thinking of a planet...where's the husband when I need him...ummmmm...ohhhh yeah, I got it, I am so on top of things...Tatooine, and you're still going to make me practice my spelling words? 

What do you think?  Aside from the space pearls and scabbard, I think I nailed her vision.

Wanna see how I did it?

Affix sequins in daughter's spacey design to sides of leggings.  Find a pair of silvery dress-up pants kids no longer wear and decide since Leia needs space boots, to make faux boots.  Chop off the legs, hem the raw edge and line up to leggings approximately where you think boots would start.
Pin what was once the ankle of the silver dress-ups to the calf of the white leggings.  Hand sew, using extremely large stitches, so you can remove said boots when daughter wants to wear leggings, not as space pants, easily.  They are long so they'll sit over her shoes...sort of.

Buy a white shirt, ours is be-sparkled, we happened to have the space yak vest that we added to the ensemble, make her a blaster holster, do her hair in intricate side of the head buns and call her Leia.  Done.

Not too tricky.

This is the easy version of Leia's iconic buns.  Make piggy tails on either side of girl's head.  Braid.  Loosely loop around in a circle and pin.  My Oldest was quite upset that she didn't have enough hair to cover her ears completely in space buns, but felt this was a tolerable substitution when Mama told her she wasn't buying her a wig.

Happy Halloween!!

Check out these other Leia costume posts:
Rebel Insignia Blaster Holster
Let your kids design their costumes


Monday, October 28, 2013

Rebel Insignia....dun, dun, da-dun, dun, da-dun, dun, da-dun.

John Williams and I'm sure a few million geeks, only, would understand the humming in the title.  :)

Daughter's Princess Leia inspired costume coming long as you can call her sweet Rebel Insignia Blaster Holster belt as the only thing I have done....coming along.   Aannddddd, I bought her some white leggings and a white bedazzled shirt.  So yeah.  I'm thinking it's just fine that I haven't begun the be-sparkling of her pants yet, T-Minus...3 days.  Gulp.

Luckily sequins don't take too long to affix...unless your daughter has come up with an intricate pattern that will require many thousands of sequins.  Wondering what I'm doing tonight?  Me and my thimble will be having a party.

If you are needing to make a sweet blaster belt, well, here's how I made mine.  Completely pretending I know what I'm doing, and loving it!  I like it when I can just wing a project and it works.

 1.  Using the very high quality compass I bought in the children's arts and crafts section, that does not lock in place and makes it extremely difficult to actually draw a circle...make a circle.  I am using a very light, icy blue cotton that has already been ironed onto some fusible web.

 2.  From the above circle, make a shape inspired by the Rebel Insignia in Star Wars.  Not too bad.

 3.  Cut a belt-shaped piece of felt, make sure it's big enough to tie in the back...because I am too lazy to sew on buttons, alright.  Try it on your kid and pin a swatch of fabric where the insignia is going to go.  This is a reference for when you sew on the blaster holster.

 4.  Make a blaster holster.  I just cut a long rectangle using felt.  Folded it almost in half, sewed a scant 1/4" seam across both sides, making sure to back stitch....and yeah, a blaster holster is born.

 5.  Sew it onto your belt.  As you can see, I just pulled down the front, top of the holster down as I sewed so it wouldn't get sewn shut and did a straight seam above it onto the top of the belt.  Back-stitching again.  I don't want it to fall apart mid trick-or-treat.
 You can sew on a snap or a button to close the holster.  I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do with it.

 6.  Remove your belly button marker, seen above, and iron on your insignia.  Love fusible web.  My sewing BFF.

7.  If you are making a belt for a certain princess, then bedazzle it baby!

Mine is extremely bedazzled, but I figured, it's a space princess's belt, so heck ya she needs some gems.  Like a lot of them.  But not too many, as to make it tacky.  Just the right amount.

More costume fun to come.

Update:  Check out how cute my Leia is!!

 Hey, even princesses have homework.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How the chickens are faring...An Urban Farm Update

We have three hens laying now.  The one in the middle is the normal size we've been getting.  The one on the left, well, apparently we now have a goose I was unaware of.  The one of the right is Starlight's fist pullet egg.  It's so teeny.  I can't wait to see what production is like when all the gals are up and running.  My family may be eating a lot of egg suppers.

Loretta.  She has the prettiest feathers.  They gleam purple, blue and green amongst the black of her wings and back.  Her chest feathers are black and fiery orange.  She's mine.  She's also the layer of the goose egg.  Sometimes they get nervous or scared and hold it....then they're walking funny for a few days when they finally...get on with the business of being a chicken.

Lily, My Oldest's hen next to Loretta.  She's the cheetah print gal.  No eggs yet.  Soon though.  I'm guessing maybe this week.

 Starlight, My Youngest's hen.  Our newest layer.  Love her bitty little egg.

The two who couldn't figure out how to get out of the coop when I was doing my photo shoot.  It happens.  Loredda, the big red hen has been laying the longest and is the most regular about it.  Dolly, the white one is the same breed as Lily....Soon.  Real soon.  They're the Araucanas which mean Easter Egg hens.  Their eggs will be blue or green or pink.  Can't wait!!!!

Thanks for reading!!


Monday, October 21, 2013

A letter to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

I need another month of weather just like this.  70 during the day 40 at night.  Appreciate it. 

Thanks in advance,

Heather and her Garden.

p.s. I've included some pictures.  Please review and consider extending this gorgeous Indian Summer.  Pretty please?

 Lavender re-blooming.

 Peppers just wanting a chance!

All those luscious bread salads I dreamed about this summer that never came to fruition thanks to lackluster growth. 
The tomato variety I never got to taste because it's growing now....thanks again, guys.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Candy Corn Spider Web Pillow

Halloween is nigh upon us.  If you haven't gotten your decorating done, time to get on it.  I had to whip up a pillow for Quilt Guild the other night.  I seem to struggle getting there due to The Mister's school schedule.  Insert sigh here.  We are so close to being done.  I will sacrifice Guild for his schooling.  But it was fun to go.  Of course that meant I had to make a pillow case fast fast!

A little string quilting later and I had half a web.  I had run out of time to complete the other half, so I used a little fusible web, attached it to the black fabric, cut out a nice web-y shape and appliqued it on with florescent green thread.  It was too plain, insert white widow also attached using fusible web and neon thread.

I quite like how the color scheme came together.  I knew I wanted gray and cream as part of the web, but then I was inspired to add the candy corn colors in.  Cute, fun and different from other things I've seen.

If you need a little quick inspiration for some holiday decor, check out my Homemade Halloween for Everyone series I did last year:

Thanks for reading and happy decorating!!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Meatloaf goodness. Yes I mean goodness and meatloaf together

It's my turn over at the Inspiration Cafe today...and our series is all about soup and sandwiches.  If you'll notice, my sandwich was so good I only had half of it left to take a picture.  Even if you think you don't like meatloaf, I suggest giving mine a try.  It's been tried and true for 30+ years and converted many who didn't think they liked meat in loaf form.

I love my meatloaf with and without ketchup.  It's great on its own but the tang of ketchup is nice too.   To quote a favorite movie:

Adam:  Got any ketchup handy?

Milly: My stew (insert loaf) can stand on its own feet.

Click here and learn how to make the tastiest meatloaf and meatloaf sandwich.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homemade Costumes...Princess Leia and Ariel

You may already have Halloween costumes for your kids...but if you don't, why not let them design their own?  I know this sounds like pie in the sky, especially if they want to be Iron Man or Ra-Tangled...I mean Rapunzel, but it's still fun to let them figure out what they want.

My little munchkins hard at work.

My Youngest is going to be Ariel this year.  Think it has something to do with the barrage of commercials for the re-release of the movie?  Nah.  I have a deal with her that if she chooses to be a princess, I let her choose the princess nightgown of her choice from the Disney Store, then she not only gets a costume, but a sweet nighty for the rest of the year.  We have done this two years in a row now, and I highly recommend it.  First, you don't end up with some crazy costume that only gets worn once in a while.  Second, it costs the same or less than a costume and is completely useful.

My Oldest is going to be Princess Leia.  We are kinda doing our own thing.  She was a little worried about not having a costume exactly like in the show, but I assured her that Princess Leia has lots more clothes than were seen on the show and won't it be fun to come up with our own version of what she might wear?  Nod head very emphatically.  It worked.

I bought her a white shirt and white leggings and from there we are going to add some sweet touches, a wooly vest, sparkly embelishments down the side of the legs, I am making her a belt with a scabbard and the rebel emblem on it.  What?  You didn't know there was a rebel emblem?  Or was that just me.  I confess to not having a clue.  Luckily I married a geek and he basically free-handed the emblem from memory.  She gets to have a light saber and maybe a blaster....still trying to decide on the blaster.  Maybe I'll have her make a blaster from what she can find around the house.  Love encouraging a little creativity.  And of course, the buns.  And a pearl necklace.  Yes Princess Leia loves wearing a bit of bling while she galavants about the universe.

Super love seeing their imaginations at work.  Of course My Youngest feels bad that her creations aren't as good as her sister's....It's hard being little.  I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Thanks for reading!!!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

My kids came home from school today and they were FREEZING.  Hot chocolate was immediately what they wanted to have to help warm them up.  It's what they request after a hard day of sledding and playing in the snow, and it's clearly what is needed for the brittle drive home from school....60 degrees. 

Problem.  Ain't got no cocoa mix.

Solution.  The internet knows what I need.  I have heard tale of putting powdered milk in homemade cocoa mix, and as I happen to have some powdered milk, I wanted to use it.  Thankfully I found Alton Brown's cocoa recipe.  Click here for the delicious recipe I based my own recipe off of, and know it was just what I needed.  Minus the cayenne pepper.  I was sure my children would revolt at that one.

At first I wasn't going to post the ingredient proportions I had used, out of respect for Alton's recipe, then upon further inspection on the web, this recipe is out there in many forms, so here's my unapologetic version of it.

Homemade Cocoa Mix
1 cup Cocoa Powder
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
3 Cups Powdered Milk
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
2 tsp. Cornstarch

Combine all the above ingredients in bowl and mix well.  Store in air tight container.

My my, isn't the powdered milk extremely...yellow.  I don't use it very often, so I was quite surprised.  One of the things I liked about this recipe is that it uses powdered sugar.  Seems to me that would dissolve much more nicely than granulated sugar.  I didn't have the Dutch Processed Cocoa Alton recommends.  Ooops!  Regular works great!

I'm on a bit of a get ready for Christmas kick today, but looking at this lovely cocoa mix, I am thinking if you gussied it up, it would make such a nice Christmas present for your neighbors.  Gonna keep that in mind myself.

It takes about 3 largish spoonfuls of mix to water ratio.  I never warm my girls' water up too hot.  Don't need a lawsuit on my hands similar to that coffee incident many years ago.  My kids are so litigious. 

The sad thing is, they didn't love Alton's version.  It has a very deep chocolate flavor.  I did like it, so I consider it a success.  I am altering it and making it more kid friendly by adding some more powdered milk and powdered sugar, both, and the proportions I ultimately used are listed above.  This gives it a more milk chocolate flavor vs. dark chocolate.  They did gobble up the marshmallows and then headed back out into the frigid wasteland known as Fall and commence trying to sell my neighbors pieces of beef jerky, one jerky piece for a dollar.  I definitely owe my neighbors some yummy cocoa mix this year.

I am expecting them back in any moment needing a way to warm themselves up....luckily I've got the solution right here in my cup.

Thanks for reading!

Shared here:
Mellywood's Mansion


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Making homemade Vanilla....or having a Rager.

It certainly looks like I'm having a serious party...on a 3 in the afternoon.

But upon closer inspection, notice what showed up in my mailbox yesterday.  I may or may not be making homemade vanilla to give as Christmas presents this year.  If you feel you might be getting a Christmas present from me, please promptly forget you ever saw these vanilla beans.  Thank you.

I have never made homemade vanilla, but it's been on my to do list for quite a few years.  So, if you have considered it, but never taken the plunge to actually make your own extract, now's the time to do it.  It takes about 6 weeks to two months to really infuse the alcohol and become vanilla.  So, go on Amazon, if you want to be like me and my buddy Mary from Sweet Little Bluebird who I also convinced to do this!!!  So excited!  Be extra gourmet, just like us. 

I bought my beans from Vanilla Products USA.  They're Bourbon Extract Grade B Planifolia Vanilla Beans.  I'll report back on the quality once I have consumed my vanilla.  In a cookie. Not drunk straight from the mason jar...I think.

I have looked at so many websites and can't really give you a specific source of where I got my information.  Here are several that I compared when figuring out how I wanted to approach this culinary experiment and the ratio of beans to alcohol: Martha: 3 beans per cup of booze 5 beans per cup of booze and then I used the recipe card that Vanilla Products USA included, very thoughtfully in my order which states: 1/4 lb of beans per quart of booze, and then I just decided to make up my own recipe.  I used 3 quarts of alcohol and 1/2 lb of beans split between the three quarts.  I'm pretty close to the 5 beans per cup that Beanilla recommends.

I also researched what kind of alcohol I wanted to use.  You can use Vodka which imparts no flavor to the vanilla or rum or bourbon, both of which will give off some of their essence to the vanilla.  Another site specified Everclear...which I'm not even sure is legal.  So, I guess do what feels right.  I am making three versions, vodka, bourbon and rum so that next time I do this, I'll know exactly what I like.

Start with nice, clean mason jars.  Pour a quart of alcohol in.  Chop off both ends of the vanilla beans.  You want the booze to run through the beans like a straw.  Then I chopped each bean in half.  I threw all the pieces, including the curly ends, in the jar.  Sealed with a clean lid and ring.  Many articles I've read says no need to split the bean lengthwise.  So, I didn't do it.

The bourbon.  Compare it to the vodka in the picture above it.  Don't pay attention to my water spots on the jar.  I just washed it.  Gosh.

Label them.  I do reuse canning lids, in such a case as this where the jar doesn't need to be sealed.  Thank you, gooseberries.

Approximately once a day you should shake your jars, tell your kids to leave mommy's science experiment alone, and get ready for Christmas by thinking about how you want to bottle this elixir up as gifts.  You can choose to leave your beans in once the appropriate time is up, or take them out.  If you leave them in, the flavor will become more complex.  Not sure what that means.

You can squeeze down each bean and release the seeds into your vanilla, and then pop your pods into a bowl of sugar and make vanilla sugar to be used later, as you like.  Or you can leave the seeds in.  So many options.  Not a clue what is the correct thing to do as I've not done it before.  Good luck to us all.

As a final hands smell like heaven from chopping all those beans of goodness!  Yum!

Thanks for reading!!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Oven Dried Tomatoes.

Don't let those final tomatoes linger on the vine and freeze.  It's October, time's running out!

Send your kids out to pick them.  You might be tired of eating them now, as you've got how many sitting there waiting in a bowl, but give it a month or two when all you've got are rock hard, off-red, mostly pinkish-orange offerings at the super market.  Blech.  I completely refuse to eat off-season tomatoes.  They've been gassed into semi-ripeness and the very idea of them gives me the creeps.  I don't have many food rules, but one of them is only eat tomatoes seasonally...and preferably from my own garden.  I will eat bottled and canned tomatoes all year as they were processed during peak time.

As you stare at the heap of tomatoes your kids picked, don't worry, I'm not going to make you drag out your canning equipment.  This project is easy.  I was reading my  Mother Earth News and it reminded me about drying tomatoes and then freezing them to use later. 

Oven dried tomatoes are super easy.  You can do a smallish batch at a time.  Very little mess.  You'll be glad you did come pasta day in January.

 Cut your cherry and pear tomatoes in half.

Lay on a piece of parchment, cut side up.

Pour on  a dash of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place in 250 F. Oven and let slowly dry for about 1.5 hours.  You can have partially dried tomatoes and completely dried tomatoes. If you want them to be completely dry, you'll have to give it a lot more time.  I wanted partially dry, so an hour and a half was good for me.  Let cool.

Spread the dried tomatoes on a plate and freeze them so they are all individually frozen, dehydrated tomato nuggets.  You don't want the tomatoes to freeze to the plate, so every half hour or so, stir them so there is no sticking during the freezing process.  Once they are completely frozen.  Toss in a freezer bag and call them good.

Thanks for reading!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...