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Saturday, 12 July 2014
A Rose by any other name...
Topic: Crafts



A fragrant rose is one of the few things that will stop me in my tracks. 





So, no surprise when my nephew brought in this beautiful and highly fragrant rose. We had to immediately make 2 pints of rose sugar from its healthy petals. 
If you happen upon a beautifully fragrant rose or other flower, I'd advise you to do the same, Stop what you're doing and preserve those petals in a glass jar with pure cane sugar for a real culinary treat. 




You'll need 3 items:

Freshly picked, clean, organic, fragrant flower.  Pluck the undamaged petals only, lay out on a piece of waxed paper 

Clean and dry glass jar with a wide mouth. Those leftover glass pickle jars work well. Re-label with your own homemade labels or file labels  or even use your business cards,

Pure cane sugar.
Assembly is easy. Layer sugar, alternate with rose petals. Make sure they're clean and dry. They'll dehydrate further in the sugar.  
Cover, store in your pantry. The scent and flavor will permeate the sugar in a couple of weeks.
Delicious in tea, sprinkled on your homemade cookies or rolled on outside of truffles or other candies for the holidays! 






Posted by Karen at 11:30 CDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 July 2014 20:00 CDT
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Friday, 20 June 2014
Dry flower petals!
Topic: Crafts

June ! 

The month of graduations, weddings, anniversaries... your garden blooming with flowers!

It's filled with so much activity, that it's easy to "forget" to do something extra.But, I am here to remind you of one of the easiest Summer crafts to do with materials that you'll have readily available thanks to all of those celebrations and your garden...

Drying flower petals !

There are many ways suggested, but I am concentrating on the easiest today because I also know you have no time to deal with an activity.

Whole bouquets

These can be removed from the vases (or if they were hand held bouquets, they may be ready to go directly to the hanging step.).  

Clip all wet stem and leaf material off. Tie kitchen twine around the dry part of the stem near the base of the flowers. Invert and hang upside down in  a cool, dark, and  NOT humid place. I like my laundry room area in the basement.You can even clip the tied bouquet strings onto a hanger and hang it on your drying rod, away from the clothes. 

It wll take weeks to  the fully dry a bouquet but you won't have time to work with the flowers until Fall anyway.  Then, snip off the flowers from the stem and create a floral potpourri! You can add scented oils and create your own "house blend."

Flower Petals 

This is much quicker than drying whole flowers.

Remove clean, dry, non diseased or damaged petals from flowers. Roses work extremely well and come off with a firm snap using your thumb. Otherwise, use small, sharp scissors. Remove each petal individually. You don't want to macerate or bruise the petals. 

Next, place the petals in between sheets of newspaper on a flat surface in a cool, dark, NOT humid,  place. The petals should be a single layer thick with newspaper under and over.  Leave them alone and check for dryness weekly, should take 1-2 weeks depending on your humidity. This is the best chance for retaining color, as other methods such as sun drying or microwave will bleach out more color. 

Once the petals are dry, store in an airtight container--glass jars are great. 

They'll be ready for you to float in your fountain for a romantic party, to make potpourri from, or...my favorite idea... make some floral scented sugars. This is done by layering fragrant petals between pure cane sugar in a glass jar (see Oct 26, 2013 post for details for geranium scented sugar)







Posted by Karen at 09:00 CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 August 2014 21:19 CDT
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Friday, 29 November 2013
Christmas Lanterns
Topic: Crafts

A Thanksgiving tradition in our family was re-introduced yesterday. After dinner, while letting our food settle--and not yet ready for dessert-- the kids and interested adults created a holiday craft. I say we "re-introduced" it because for awhile, we had kids too young to do a craft and adults too busy with those too young. Now our little ones can handle any project you stick in front of them!

This holiday project is super simple and will keep little fingers busy while you do other holiday preparations and gift wrapping. And you need very little materials, all available at low cost. In fact, you may have these things in your house right now!  Plus, once these lanterns are done, you can use them as centerpieces, part of mantle decorations, or even as luminaria going up a staircase, inside or out!

To make one dozen lanterns:


  • assorted ribbon, bows, tinsel on wire, gel-sticks (used on windows)
  • optional rice, glass beads
  • optional spray snow for a little "glitz" on the interior, if using tea candles. 
And below are our results, created by all ages, from elementary school kids  to older adults. 







Posted by Karen at 13:53 CST
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Friday, 15 November 2013
Love Sparkly Thngs? Make a Scarf or Two!
Topic: Crafts

The Joy of Sparkly Things

I know I risk all the blonde jokes by writing about my attraction to (and distraction by) “sparkly things”.

I'm the one who walks into a store at Christmas and sees the decorations, not the merchandise. And if I don't have a list, I'll walk through the entire store without remembering what I came in for.

The same thing happens with magazines. If there are sparkly things in the photos, I'm hypnotized. I don't care what the content is.

This happens wherever I go, so when I was looking for some scented candles for the Holidays, that section was located right by the yarn aisles and, you guessed it!- sparkly yarn. I had to walk over and touch it. And then, hypnotized by both the lacy feel and metallic shimmer mixed with the variegated blues, I wanted to take it home with me. I really wanted it.


This instinct was immediately counter-balanced by extreme guilt...there already was sparkly yarn sitting for the last two years in a bag with other UFOs (unfinished objects). The solution became immediately clear. I'd make two scarves. First, the UFO with the silver gray sparkly yarn and then use this really gorgeous blue metallic yarn. Of course, since this new yarn was thin and really wanted a lacier feel, I also had to buy giant #16 needles, too.


So first,  the unfinished object: 

My silver-gray metallic-flecked scarf is knitted on size 10 needles, straight knit, no fringe. Look how pretty it is over a simple black t-shirt--perfect for Choir Practice! 


Next...I am working the blue metallic yarn scarf as a much narrower neck accessory,  but "loopy" on size 16 needles, I might do fringe. 


My suggestion to you for the long cold nights coming up before the holidays is to complete a couple of super-quick knitting or crocheting projects while watching a romantic comedy or classic holiday movie. It's not pointless or silly, it's satisfying to see a completed project, to work with the tactile sensation of fibers--knitting or crocheting does wonders for the soul.

And, because you are working with a simple pattern—you can make a scarf using a straight knit or crochet because “it's all about the yarn.” The only decision you'll have to make is whether you want to add fringe or not!

Posted by Karen at 14:37 CST
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Friday, 15 February 2013
Dog Biscuits--Part Two
Now Playing: Quick Dog Biscuits with Salmon
Topic: Crafts

Dog Biscuits- Part 2—this one's really quick!

My four dogs were very happy with their liver biscotti treats for Valentine's Day, but they were a little labor-intensive for the chef.

I decided I would try a quick drop biscuit in order to experiment with what was left of the Bisquick Gluten Free Baking Mix I bought the other day. I can tell you that this recipe also is "4 tails up"--meaning my two Yorkies and two Shepherds approve.

This is another recipe for a dog treat that is geared toward the allergy-prone dog. I mentioned that my dogs seemed to react to wheat flour and gluten with terrible skin itching. The baking mix I used contains rice flour and potato starch, baking soda and salt—so do not add any extra salt or seasoning. Now, I admit, I chose this product for convenience and because the rural store I stopped at that day didn't have any other options for gluten free flours. I plan to re-do this recipe with my own non-wheat and gluten-free flours and aluminum-free baking soda (and anyone who is reading this can easily adapt this recipe, too!)

NOTE: I used salmon in this recipe because I had a can of salmon available in my pantry, but you can easily substitute tuna or any leftover cooked fish you might have had for dinner. Or-- you can use canned pumpkin or cooked, mashed sweet potatoes—though you will need to add some milk or water to have the correct consistency.


QUICK Dog Biscuits with Salmon

1 can (7 oz) Salmon, with the juice

2 beaten eggs

2 tbsp. Olive (vegetable) oil

1 cup Bisquick Gluten Free Baking Mix (note- this has leavening and salt in it so don't add any more)

Mix above ingredients together.

Drop by tablespoon-full onto parchment paper lined baking pans.

This should yield 2 dozen biscuits.

Bake 20 minutes in 400 degree oven.


Posted by Karen at 10:35 CST
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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Doggie Biscotti
Topic: Crafts

Happy Valentine's Day

How about baking some treats for your “best” friends, your everyday Valentines?

I mean your really “best” friends...the ones who are there through thick and thin, good times and bad, happy to greet you when you are filled with joy, yet still there to lick the wounds of emotional trauma.

.the friends who will get you out of the house for a daily walk twice a day in rain, snow, and sleet!



You've already guessed that I am talking about our dog “best friends”.

So why not make their Valentine's Day special by baking a batch of “Doggie Biscotti”?

I think my dogs are allergic to wheat gluten. At least when I stopped using products with wheat flour and gluten, they stopped having itchy skin. So I made this recipe with wheat- and gluten- free baking mix.

I plan to try out oat flour (which you can make by processing quick cook organic oats in your food processor). But I was curious about this Bisquick Gluten free product which has rice flour and potato starch, both of which I know are in other dog biscuits I have purchased and my dogs didn't react to them.

So, long story, now here's the recipe.




Doggie Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cook about 1 lb. chicken or beef liver in 2 tbsp butter until no pink is present.

Allow to cool and then puree in a small food processor to yield 1 cup of pureed cooked liver.*

Place in a bowl and mix in the following:

2 beaten eggs

1/3 cup olive (vegetable) oil

1/3 cup water

2 &1/2 cups of Gluten free Bisquick Baking Mix (this has leavening and salt in it so don't add any more)

Additional mix or water may be added, if needed for consistency.

Divide dough into halves and form each half into a log about 1” high and 3-4 inches wide.

Place on parchment lined pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool about 15-20 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.

Slice each log into ¾ inch thick biscotti slices.

Place biscotti slices on parchment lined baking pans and return to the 300 degree oven.

Bake 30 minutes, then turn and bake an additional 15 minutes until the cookies are crispy.

Cool and serve! Store extras in a covered container.

Now, remember, if you don't have time for Biscotti, you can always cook them a nice soup bone. Or—wait until the weekend to bake their cookies and tell them “Happy Valentine's Day” then. They won't know the day until you tell them anyway!


You may want to try 1 cup of canned pumpkin or pureed cooked sweet potatoes. You can also use other cooked, ground meats that you puree to 1 cup volume –or—you can even use jarred, pureed baby food meat.

Posted by Karen at 17:26 CST
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Saturday, 8 January 2011
Kindle Cover--country style
Topic: Crafts

My sister Kathy, has been a Kindle owner since it came out. When I received a Kindle this year for Christmas, she was quick to offer her advice. First, she told me to load up on my favorite reading material--then to make sure I took my Kindle with me everywhere I went. I'd never waste time waiting anywhere again.

And, although the Kindle is very durable, it needs to be protected in while hanging out in your purse, backpack, briefcase, man-bag or whatever. Kathy didn't like the thicker covers she'd noted for sale, so she came up with the idea of simply folding over a piece of felt and sewing up the sides, leaving the top open--kind of a sleeve to glide the Kindle in-and-out. 

Here's my version, based upon what I had to adapt at the Farm. First, I had to buy a package of craft felt (sadly no solo pieces in the sewing department) but it was made in the USA so that made me happy. Because it was glued on one side, I cut a second piece, slightly narrower than the first piece and put glued sides together, matching the edges at the top, but leaving a rim on the bottom and  open side. When these exposed glued edges were matched up, the  edges "self-sealed" the side and bottom of my pouch. This gave me a "lined" sleeve. I then took some leftover yarn on a large needle and simply sewed an extra border for strength and contrast. Mainly, this was because I was too lazy to get out my sewing machine which is not as strategically located as Kathy's. 

This Kindle cover is very light and durable. It works and took about 2 minutes to make, but--when I get the sewing machine set up one day, perhaps I'll put a little more creativity into it. 


Posted by Karen at 08:35 CST
Updated: Thursday, 10 March 2011 09:15 CST
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