Crocheted Beer Cozies

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I have a secret, and it’s one that could be detrimental to my marriage…but I’m spilling it anyway! This fall, my husband took up a new hobby and spent many hidden weekends making something for my birthday. I had no clue what he was making, but grew very curious as the weekends went by. My guess would have been something like woodworking or metal-smithing, interests I’ve heard him mention before. But as time went on, I knew it must be something small because his hiding spaces weren’t very big. I also knew that it must not require much equipment because it was a project that he was taking to other’s houses and easily working upon. I was completely baffled until the big day came.

The morning of my birthday, he could barely wait to give me his present. I was shocked when he pulled a little bag out from behind the couch. I reached in to pull out the object to find a crocheted scarf!!! It seriously took me over 15 minutes to believe that he had made it. My husband? Crocheting? I thought it sounded impossible. To think of all the hours he had spent learning how, and not to mention the teasing he endured from friends! My mother-in-law told me that one night she walked in and found him drinking beer and watching football while crocheting. When questioning him about the odd combination he said that he felt the need to “butch up.”

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Teasing aside, he’s moved on to crocheting beer bottle cozies, which I then help him finish off with handmade appliques that feature witty sayings. They were a huge hit at Christmas! Now he’s made a few for my Etsy store for Valentine’s Day. What an awesome handmade gift for Valentine’s Day – made by him, for him! Inspired by his wife’s creative hobbies, my husband now has a way to be apart of my crafting time. I’m really proud that I have a husband who is compassionate and humble enough to learn a new skill that lets him express his love for me. Now we’ll see if that love’s still there after he finds out I spilled his secret!

Jenny

Country Kitchen

Blue crocks lined up make a great country decor display
Yesterday I helped my mother decorate her house. She loves stoneware, and I placed a collection of blue stone pitchers on the china cabinet. Showing off a large collection can really be visually stimulating for your eyes. I love looking at these blue pitchers, which go perfect in her country kitchen!

Jenny

Homemade Butters

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My mother often goes on about some store-bought flavored butters that she enjoys. Upon viewing the ingredients, I was unhappy to find corn syrup solids and preservatives listed. So I decided to try mixing my own. I started by softening sticks of vegan Earth Balance butter.   I whipped the butter and then split into two to make one garlic-herbed butter and one honey-spiced butter. For the garlic-herbed butter, I added:

  • Garlic powder
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the honey-spiced butter, I added:

  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt

I didn’t measure the ingredients, but would taste test then make adjustments. And boy did I eat a lot of bread! The flavors tone down over a day as they marry together. Since my mother-in-law’s birthday was in a few days, and she just got a new bread machine, I decided to give her my first batch along with mixed dry ingredients for a bread recipe. The handmade gifts needed labels, so I placed the butters in pretty glass jars and finished with sticker labels. I placed the bread mix into a plastic zip bag then stapled a paper label across the top. The best part is that these butters can be used on so many other things besides bread. We already used the garlic-herbed butter on quartered potatoes. You could use the honey-spiced butter on sweet potatoes, pancakes, or oatmeal. The garlic butter would also be good for sauteing with vegetables or steaks.

Jenny

Flax Seed Pillows with Herbs

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For Christmas, I made flax pillows out of Anna Maria Horner’s Folksy Flannels collection. This was no easy task, mainly because I put in way too much effort. The eye pillows were easy to make, but I also made neck wraps, sinus pillows, and one wrist wrap. Each pillow had unique herbal contents. For the eye pillows, I added:

  • Lavender
  • Rose oil
  • Chamomile flowers
  • Marjoram

For the sinus pillows, I added:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Marjoram

For the neck wraps and wrist wrap, I added:

  • PureHerbs Five Oils (eucalyptus, cajeput, mullein, peppermint, wintergreen – This is great for muscle reliefs as well as opening congested sinuses.)
  • Yarrow
  • Capsicum

The tips I can offer are to make sure that there are more flax seeds to other ingredients.  I accidentally put too much lavender in my first pillow, causing it to be too light in weight. Also, I started by mixing any oils with the flax in a plastic bag a few days before sewing. Each day I would give it a shake and check the potency. Lastly, I would go the extra mile of making the herbal blends unique to your needs. I used healing herbs in the neck and wrist pillows based on the ailments of the individuals using them.

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I ordered the lavender, flax seed, and dried herbs in bulk from Ameriherbs. Their prices and quality are great, but I ordered way too many ingredients. Their products come in 1lb increments, and I often only used a couple tablespoons of some of the herbs. Also, some of the herbs I ordered were to potent to use, such as the valerian root. That stuff did not smell very well! It’s a shame, because it really relaxes you and would have been good in the eye pillows. Of course, I finished the pillows with handmade labels that included instructions for freezing, heating, and use.

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Next, I’m going to make myself one that is stomach-shaped for menstrual cramps with a  sash to tie around my waste. Subtle, no. But convenient? Definitely! And so stinkin’ cute in the folksy flannels!

Jenny

Whole Wheat Pitas from Scratch

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Inspired by Food Network, last night we had homemade pitas! I started with a whole-wheat pita recipe made in the KitchenAid. First, you must know how horrible I am when it comes to baking or dough. The fact that they came out edible is a miracle! Next time I will roll them thinner, bake them for a shorter amount of time, and add more seasoning because they came out a little too crispy and a bit overwhelming in taste. But they were beautiful with their raising pockets of air!

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For the chicken souvlaki, I marinated it using a recipe from Sandra Lee. This also included a recipe for Tzatziki sauce that came out great. Overall, this turned out to be a great, fun dinner, made from scratch.

Jenny