Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade No-Sew Sachets On A Dime

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(Be sure to enter my GIVEAWAY HERE!!!)

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We are fortunate to have a very large master closet and I love it.  What I don’t love about it is how it gets so musty all the time.  It’s a long skinny room (directly above our long skinny laundry room) without any windows.  Of course its packed with clothes and shoes, so its bound to get musty. 

I was getting tired of paying for those little sachet packets that last about one minute so I decided to make my own.  Here is what I did:

First, I grabbed a few of the boys’ old T-shirts from my Goodwill donation pile…

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Then, I cut 5x10 inch pieces out of the T-shirts, one piece for each sachet.

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Next, I folded the pieces in half (lengthwise) and used permanent fabric glue on the two sides, leaving the top open for filling later.

While the fabric dried, I mixed plain white rice with several sprays of my favorite scent from Aveda.IMG_5892 

Aveda gives one Personal Blends Pure-Fume fragrance bottle to each of its store card holders every year as a birthday present.  LOVE fab freebies!

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They’re wonderful, especially if you like aromatherapy type scents. 

I didn’t measure the exact amount of rice to spray ratio.  Just be your own judge and be sure to coat all of the rice, stirring well to get it all distributed.  Even though the smell was powerful, I added a little more of the spray knowing that the rice will absorb some of the scent over time and it will be inside of the sachet.

Finally, I filled each sachet with the scented rice, leaving enough space at the top to close the sachet with a ribbon.

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Using leftover ribbon from my wedding (no joke!), I made a double knot at the top of each sachet.  I left several inches of extra ribbon on each side of the knot so that could tie them in my closet like this…

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These simple no-sew sachets would be great for drawers as well.  I left the tops open and tied them with a ribbon so that I could refill them in the future.  However you could glue the top after filling if you like.

So far, so good.  And the closet smells like my favorite shampoo.  It’s not quite a spa, but better then eau de dirty sock. 

    

I’m linking this post up to the below parties!  Check them out for some fabulous inspiration!

 

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday To My Hubby! A chocolate mousse pie kind of day

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Happy Birthday to the D-man:  supportive husband, amazing father, part-time caramel makin’ elf (don’t believe me, see here) and all around yin to my yang.  IMG_2485

To celebrate his own personal holiday,  I indulged his inner-choc-o-holic and made his favorite:  Chocolate Mousse Pie.

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When we first got together, he told me about the “AMAZING” chocolate pie that his mom used to make.  Grandma “Bob” provided me with said recipe and I’ve made it for his birthday each year since.

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I have to say the recipe’s ingredients didn’t WOW me at first…chocolate, cream cheese and graham crust?  Something just didn’t fit.  However, I’ve grown to enjoy the stuff and love making his day special each year with this simple and easy to pull together pie.

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Chocolate Mousse Pie

  • 1 pkg. (4 oz.) Baker's German sweet chocolate
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ready made graham cracker pie crust, 9 inch

Heat chocolate and 2 tbsp. of the milk in saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted.

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Beat sugar into cream cheese; add remaining milk and chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping, blending until smooth.

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Spoon into crust. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Store any leftover pie in freezer.

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Here’s the birthday boy, sneaking a few licks from the bowl last night…

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I suppose it is YOUR day…

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Oh and I can’t forget to mention the yummy peach cobbler my mom made for his birthday too.  My dad was nice enough to bring it up to our house this weekend.  Quite the treat for Derek since I have this whole aversion to cooked fruit thing.  I’ll leave that soap box for another day.

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Thanks mom and dad…he loved it! 

Happy Birthday, Dear Derek, Happy Birthday to you!!! I hope I didn’t embarrass you too much. I mean, think about that poor Victor. You’re lucky.
Mwah!


   

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Put A Bird On It

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I require a certain amount of comic relief in my daily life.  It comes in all forms from my husband, my kids and life in general.  And when those sources run dry, I take a peak at The Bloggess.

Now, word of WARNING, she is NOT by any means politically correct or Rated-PG.  So, if you’re easily offended, remember…you’ve been warned.  Twice.

Today, its all gloomy outside, baseball has taken over our world again and I’ve got a million+ projects half finished surrounding me.  I needed some Bloggess.  She didn’t disappoint and I actually found something that many of us DIY bloggers could have a good chuckle over…

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Birds.  In the crafting/DIY world, they’re everywhere.  Pillows, throws and DIY artsy fartsy burlap stuff.  Apparently, the folks at IFC’s Portlandia have taken notice.

Where have I been?  This show is AWESOME!!!  Or at least this little clip was pretty darn funny.  Kind of reminds me of the famous Catalog Living site. 

You know that lovely couple, Gary and Elaine, and their starfish…

…and gourds…

The Portlandia tidbit was courtesy of The Bloggess in a post concerning her most recent Zazzle project paying homage to Portlandia the only way she knew how…with a dodo bird.  If you need a laugh, check this post out

And if you decide to peruse her blog a little more….well, you’re in a for treat.  However, if you get offended…I’m sorry.  She’s awesome to the hundredth power.  She's amazing and disturbing and I love her.  I need her like I need an Oreo Blizzard.  But since there isn't a DQ in my living room, I read her and reach for another Pop-Ice. 

My Bloggess Faves: Beyonce & Copernicus.  Enjoy!

P.S. Did I mention my strange and unusual addiction to Pop-Ice?  Oh yep, I did…HERE.  I could be on that crazy ass "my strange addictions" show.  You know the one where the ladies eat glass and dryer sheets??  Yep.....my body is full of Red dye #4.  And #6.  Better than dryer sheets I suppose.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Photography Fun: Using Textures

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Just wanted to share some of the stuff I’ve been playing around with lately in Photoshop Elements.  I happened upon Kim Klassen’s blog via Ashley Sisk of Ramblings and Photos.  Kim is a master of textures and even offers up several free tutorials and textures!  I had no excuse not to try it out on some of her techniques on my floral shots.

Here’s what I’ve done today…

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Image cropped and texture added:IMG_1805-texture1

The textures work so well with my floral images. 

SOOC:

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PW’s Soft Faded Action and Stained Linen textured added:IMG_1912 texture1

I couldn’t believe how easy it is to apply textures either.  Why haven’t I tackled this before?  A few clicks and tweaks and this will be perfect for my “art-on-the-cheap” attitude.  I’m looking forward to playing around with this more and possibly making some art for my mom’s entryway. What do you think mom? 

Thanks to Kim and Ashley for all the inspiration.  If you’re interested in dabbling with textures, be sure to sign up for Kim’s newsletter, where she share a weekly texture.  They’re wonderful!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Freezing Tomatoes: The cheaters guide to faux canning

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First off, let me report that our tomatoes have been less than ideal this season.  I’m not even going to post of picture of them…they are just so creepy sad looking. 
Somewhere between our cold/late planting spring, scorching hot summer and wind storm things just went south with our maters.  Blossom End Rot and Blight.  Bleck!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the fruits of our plants immensely this summer in forms of salsa, salads and one of my favorites…
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…freshly sliced tomatoes with cottage cheese and a little fresh ground pepper.  It’s delicious.  Try it!
Last year, I had enough tomatoes to try out canning them myself for the first time.  It went fairly well and the smell of the process reminded me SO much of my childhood.
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My mom and grandma were big canning queens.  Aren’t you proud mom???
Unfortunately, this year’s sad and much smaller yield prompted me to do what I’ve also done in years past:  Freeze them suckers!
I know that to those who may can each year, freezing tomatoes must sound awful.  However, it’s a simple way for me to preserve the bounties of summer.  Freezing tomatoes doesn’t result in the same tomatoes that you get from canning, but the flavor is SO there.  I use them for dishes in the winter where I really want fresh homegrown tomato flavor.  The freezing breaks the tomato’s “meat” down a bit so they are best used in simple homemade marinara, where the tomatoes flavor is the star, or in soups and stews.
Freezing Tomatoes
What you will need:
  • Tomatoes (duhhhh!)
  • Large stock pot full of boiling water
  • Large bowl of ice water
  • Large bowl for tomatoes after peeling
  • GB (garbage bowl a la Rachel Ray)
  • pairing knife
  • quart-sized freezer bags
First off, get your stock pot water to a rolling boil. 
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While the water is coming up to a boil, rinse the tomatoes and make a small “X” on the bottom of each one like this.
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It helps with the peeling process later.
Once your water is up to a rolling boil, place 4-6 tomatoes (depends on stock pot and tomato size) directly into the water. 
I don’t have a picture of this because it happens fast so use you’re imagination.  Stock pot, boiling water, tomatoes bobbing. 
Watch carefully and remove each tomato after 30-45 seconds.   Place them directly into the ice water bath.
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You’ll often see little splits in them like this:
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Do not leave them in the boiling water too long.  You aren’t cooking them!!  Just blanching.
After a minute or so in the water bath, remove the tomatoes to a cutting board and peel each tomato. 
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The peeling should come off easily. If it does not, put the stubborn mater back into the boiling water for a few seconds. Then ice water and try peeling again. 
After peeling you’ll have this:
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Now you’ll need to core each tomato using your small paring knife.
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I like to gather my cored and peeled tomatoes in a bowl to hold them all until I’m ready to freeze.  Otherwise they leak their yummy juices all over the place.
After all of the tomatoes are peeled and cored you’ll have this lovely bowl of goodness…
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As I mentioned before, I like to keep a garbage bowl handy for all of the peelings and cores.  Thank Rachel Ray for that one.  Saves a lot of mess by not having to sloop all of the tomato carnage to the garbage can.
Tomato carnage in GB:
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Next, I quarter all of my tomatoes and measure out one quart at a time.  Once I have a quart of tomatoes, I pour them into a quart-sized freezer bag.  Be sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bags.
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Now the bags are ready for the freezer.  I like to use this brilliant “pizza” freezing technique.
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Highly technical as you can see.  Basically I use my frozen pizzas to create a flat surface for freezing.  I find that having flat frozen bags is much easier for freezer space.  Then you can put them upright like files when they’re solid. I do my basil pesto this way as well.
So, there you have it.  Freezing Maters 101.  Hope I didn’t offend the canning purists and maybe shared some new info to gardening newbies.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!
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