Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sugar Pie Dollies

I have some new little friends to share with you.
Etsy Dolls 012
In my spare time I have been creating some more little friends. These little Dollies are for you. You can pick one up at My Byrd Nest.
We are calling these new dolls, Sugar Pie Dollies. They are homespun and sweet as pie and waiting to come visit you or a little girl you know. They have perfect manners and love tea parties, sleepovers, walks in the woods and keeping special secrets.
Meet the new Sugar Pie Dollies.
Aileen
Etsy Dolls 006
Miss Aileen is just "a wee bit Scottish." Her dress is a sweet homespun plaid and she is wearing long bloomers. She is a hard working little farm girl with lovely copper colored pigtails. She is looking for a new home and a new set of friends.

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Gracie

Gracie

Is a sweet little 1930's country girl with golden pigtails. She is always happy ready to help. She has clear blue eyes and sweet little smile. She loves to have stories read to her and is the best of listeners. She loves to bake cookies and gather the eggs from her chicken coop. She can't wait to go home with a new little (or big) friend and share secrets and giggles.

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Kirstin

Kirsten

Miss Kirstin is a Swedish Dairy Maid from Minnesota. She has a slight accent and can sing like and angel. Her hair is golden yellow and is put up in two little buns. So cute! She is sweet and wholesome like like the sunshine and sweet air on her farm. She can't wait to meet her new family and share many fun adventures with them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Maid of Honor Cupcakes

I don't know where I had been hiding but this is an old treat that I had never tasted before. My dear friend Cheridyn and her sweet mama Lauralie shared this old time treat with our girls at a recent Girls Activity Day. Cheridyn shared a story about her great Grandmother Lucille Rawlins and shared this tasty treat that she used to make for her family each Christmas. I was lucky enough to know Lucille and she was a wonderfully sweet lady. She was always very pleasant and had a great sense of humor. She was really old when I knew her and I was only 12 or so. I remember her always being busy doing something.

maids of honor 1

This treat is a very old one. According to the story (as I remember it) this treat was a real Luxury for Lucille to make. It required using precious sugar which was rationed during WWII. It also has raspberry Jam in it which was a real Luxury because the berries were dear and because it required so much sugar to make it.

Here is the recipe as we got it.
Pie crust - from scratch, mix or ready made from the store.
Cake batter - from scratch or from a box (use a yellow or white cake)
Raspberry jam
Frosting - from scratch or a can

Directions:
Roll out your pie crust and cut out circles ( you can use a large glass or I use my biscuit cutter that is just under 3" in diameter)
Place the circle of pie crust in the bottoms of your greased muffin tins.
Place a small spoonful of Jam in the center of each pie crust.
Mix up your cake batter and pour some over the pie crust and jam. Fill the tins 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 deg F for about 20 minutes.
When they have cooled, remove them from the pan and frost them.
You can add half a maraschino cherry on top for fun.

maids of honor 2

These are really easy and so tasty. You can put any kind of jam inside these and I was thinking that raspberry jam with a lovely piece of chocolate on top of that baked in there. It could be something wonderful!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Basic Muffins

I just found this recipe and have to share it. It is so fast and easy and tastes fabulous. I have been looking for a recipe like this for a long time. Something that I can use for breakfast or dinner when we are out of bread but the meal screams for a tasty piece of bread to go with what ever we are eating. The recipe can be dressed up with additions if you want to also.

Muffins 003

Whole Wheat Muffins

2/3 cup brown sugar (can use less)
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup sour milk (add 1 tbsp vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup and then fill with the milk, OR you can use buttermilk.)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups whole wheat flour (fresh if you can get it)

Blend the sugar and butter, stir in egg. Add the other ingredients and mix. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 375-400 deg. F. for 15 minutes.
Makes about 12 muffins.

You can add 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, dates, apples, etc.) to the batter.
You can also add grated cheddar cheese to the batter.
These are great plain with just butter.
They go well with soups on a cold fall or winter night.
Are you drooling yet? Go make some. You will have hot, delicious, and healthful muffins in about 30 minutes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Breakfast Meal Plan

Rooster Moring
Those of you that know me well know that organization is my bain. I am about as scattered as you can get (at least I hope no one is more scattered than I am.) This past month I had a brilliant thought that might just save me some confusion and stress in the morning. With 5 little and now big Byrds to get up and ready in the morning I can't face my kitchen stove at 7:00 a.m. in a panic thinking "what do I feed them this morning??" I don't have time for that. So I have taken a leaf from the books of several organizational gurus and have set up a weekly Breakfast plan. Each day of the week has a set aside breakfast so I know the day before what I will be fixing for breakfast. It is making life so much easier for me and there is a lot less parental stress before the bus gets here. I planned the week according to our time and mood constraints.
If you want to do it too look at:
  • What is easiest for you to do in no time flat?
  • What are you willing to eat? (that sounds weird but if you can't deal with cereal than don't think of it as an option)
  • What can you fix in advance to make breakfast a snap (ie. freezing and warming up stuff)
  • What can your family help do when time permits? (Saturday or Sunday morning traditions that everyone participates in, learning great self help skills)

So with that in mind here is what I came up with:

  • Sunday - Cereal/granola (busiest day of the week for me with church so we need a no stress breakfast)
  • Monday - Cereal/Granola (we are all dead heads on Monday so we can slide into our day without too much stress.)
  • Tuesday - Toast and Cocoa - (this changes according to what is on hand, homemade whole wheat bread, muffins, bagels, cinnamon rolls, etc. and from scratch cocoa or homemade mix cocoa)
  • Wednesday - Oatmeal
  • Thursday - Biscuits, eggs, sausage
  • Friday - Eggs and Toast
  • Saturday - Pancakes, waffles, or something fun like that

Now each of these meals has many variations. I might stick muffins in place of biscuits, or we might have biscuits and sausage gravy instead of eggs. The egg and toast day could be any kind of bread (bagels, muffins, etc) and any way of fixing eggs (boiled, scrambled, fried, toad in the hole, etc.) The oatmeal is always from scratch with old fashion oats and we add things we have fresh on had to it.

I have lots of different recipes I use and have posted many of them here under good food and breakfast.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tatting

I found a new obsession.
(Like I need one!)
Tatting
I picked up a tatting needle several years ago and have meant to give it a try, well now I have. My good friend Robbie at Bittersweet Quilt Store showed me how to use it again. It was addicting.
After looking at a couple of tutorials on the net I figured out how to do some of the basics. It was a lot of fun and didn't take too long. I thought I would pass along the links and let you get obsessed if you choose. hee hee Sorry!
Here is the tutorial I used. Actually she has a written tute and a video tute of the same thing. Watching, reading, doing and watching again really helped. It really wasn't hard once you the the rhythm down. You have to check out her Etsy shop.
Here is a link to a place you can get supplies. The needles are hard to find.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Soap Day

August afforded some much needed time to make soap. I have finally had a chance to re-stock my sad soap supply.
Stack o soap 2
This is all 100% natural, hand-made, Lye Soap Goodness.
If you have never given your skin the treat of a bath with good old fashion lye soap, you have been really missing out.
I got started making lye soap about 12 years ago when my daughter Sarah was born. Her soft sweet baby skin was so sensitive we couldn't you any commercial soaps or detergents or even wet wipes on her. She would break out in a bright red lumpy rash.
So my friend Vea taught me how to make my own soap and we have been making our own soap and laundry soap ever since.
Lye soap is PH balanced very similarly to your skin so it is very gentle on your skin. It takes away the dirt and germs without drying your skin out like commercial soaps.
During the soap making process, you take a weak acid (the oils used are fatty acids) and a strong base (the lye) and mix them together. When measure properly there is a chemical reaction that converts the lye and oils into new product = soap and glycerin molecules.
The soap does a great job of cleaning you while the glycerin moisturizes your skin.
Commercial soaps remove the glycerin and then re-package it in lotions to help sooth your skin that is dry from using the commercial soap. Tricky huh!?!
There have also been studies done of lye soap and have found it to have better anti-bacterial properties that the liquid soaps without the harsh chemicals that are bad for you. Lye soap seams to repel the germs better and longer.
Another interesting thing we have noticed with our own use of the lye soap, is that the bugs around here (namely chiggers and ticks) don't like it and you get less bug bites, and when you do get bites, they seem to heal up faster with the use of lye soap.
We have also had a lot of success in treating our poison Ivy with the scrubby Oatmeal soap. My husband gets Poison Ivy really badly and now only uses the oatmeal soap. When he knows he has been exposed to the plant, he comes in and takes a cool shower with the lye soap which helps close the pores and removes the poison ivy oils. This usually prevents the rash. If that fails though and he gets a rash, he scrubs it with the oatmeal soap which opens up all the blisters quickly and dries them out and the rash is usually gone in a couple of days instead of lingering for weeks. He hasn't had to take the steroids in years now. He used to puff all up and look like a lava monster before he broke down and gave the soap a try.
We also use the soap for laundry. The plain lye soap bar works great as a stain stick. You just get the stained clothing wet with warm water and scrub the stain with the soap and wash as usual. It takes out most stains. My husband got out mud from my daughter's brand new white and rainbow striped leggings once. He had allowed her to scoot around the garden in them while he was working one day (I was not at home) and to my horror on returning home they were covered with our lovely red brown dirt. He scrubbed those pants with a bar of plain lye soap and washed them and they came out white with bright rainbow stripes. He was so lucky!
We also grate up the soap and make our own laundry soap. It works great for getting the cloths clean and costs so much less than commercial soaps and is better for you and the environment.
Oh..... one more thing. Lice don't like lavender soap. That was a wonderful find with three daughters. We wash their hair with bar soap and rinse it with a little lemon juice in water and they have soft, clean, sweet smelling hair, free from lice and the chemicals in shampoo.
Have I convinced you yet? Hee hee
Sorry, I love hand made soaps and love to share the wonderful information I have learned about it with others.
If you would like to get some of my soap for yourself, check out my Etsy shop.
****edited to add the list of scents for convenience *****
Oak Leaves & Acorns
Orange Mint
Goat's Milk and Oatmeal
Morning Bliss (citronella, lemon, Lavender and Cedar)
Mint Magic
Facial Blend (Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree, and Patchouli)
Lavender
Peach Nectar
Gardener's Blend (citronella, lemongrass, lavender, etc)
Spearmint & Eucalyptus
Basil Lime
Red Clover Tea
Rosebud
Desert Sage
Plumeria
Cucumber
Sweetgrass
Fudge Berry Brownies
Almond Biscotti Scrub
Tropical Fun
Pineapple
and
Plain Old Lye Soap

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rescued Orphan Blocks

Orphan Bags 002
I have been "Rescuing" Orphaned quilt blocks and vintage fabrics for several years now from all over South West Missouri. I have to say I have a pretty descent collection now. I love seeing quilt blocks made by other women. It is interesting to see the ones that don't make the cut and end up in odd boxes and drawers because they just don't fit in. Some of these blocks are odd sizes, not square, won't lay flat, made with odd color combinations, have glaring mistakes, or are damaged in some way. I love the snap shot of human nature captured in their tiny stitches. I believe that these blocks should all be given a life and should be enjoyed. I have taken several orphaned blocks that I have found and even made myself and given them a home and a purpose in quited Handbags. Here are some of the bag collections I have finished.
Orphan Bags 053
These are made from vintage blocks and my collection of vintage fabrics. These fabrics date from the 1930's feed sacks to 1960's wild, bright, prints.
Orphan Bags 064
These are made from my hand dyed fabrics and some orphan blocks of my own that just didn't make it into a finished project.
Orphan Bags 116
These are a set of five chicken blocks that I made last year but never worked into a project. They are sashed and backed with fabrics from my 20 year stash of homespun fabrics gathered from many of my favorite quilt shops.
Orphan Bags 121
Bag backs.
Orphan Bags 149
This set was made from a couple of vintage table cloths in need of rescue and re-purpose. They are lined with 1930's reproduction fabrics.

Check Spelling

I love these wild fabrics. The colors and patterns are fabulous!
Orphan Bags 023
**Sorry this one is Sold**
This poor block is made from lovely fabrics but the poor thing just wouldn't lay flat and didn't have a single straight edge. I love the prints I had to mix with it.
You can find these bags at my Etsy Shop
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