Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Napkins

I've hit another 'I want to get the house fixed up' kick. Everyone knows that every house needs a little work to spruce it up and that you need to replace things as they get worn out. It's just life. Hopefully, you'll be seeing more of the things that Hubs and I are discussing doing soon. For now, I really need to replace my kitchen towels, washcloths, and napkins. I'm not sure why but they have adopted an odor that I just can't wash out. It's gross.

So I've bought some washcloths and hand towels for the kitchen. I don't really think I could have bought terrycloth and made them any cheaper than I bought them for.

I have plans for crocheting some washcloths too.

And I sewed my own napkins. I mean, why not. They are super simple to sew. And unless you find some great sale, making your own is cheaper too. I wanted to make sure the napkins were double sided for extra absorbency and also so they look nice no mater what side you see.

I made them about 12 x 12, but after folding them probably should have made them a bit larger. I mean, they are an ok size, but folded look itty bitty. I did not make a tutorial, but if anyone needs one, please let me know. I have made six napkins in one pattern already and have already cut out a different material for another set.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ruffle Fabric Skirt Tutorial


I love the super girly ruffle fabric I've been seeing everywhere. The only problem was that I wasn't seeing it at my usual fabric store. So when I went to a different store, away from my usual runnings around, and saw a couple of different bolts of ruffle fabric, I just had to get it.

I decided to make an Easter skirt for Caitlin. And it was so super simple to make and no pattern needed. Bonus!

Materials:
Ruffle Fabric (I used less than a yard)
1 inch elastic
Thread to match fabric

First you need to take two really easy measurements.
Waist: Measure your child's waist where you want the skirt to sit. Then double it. So, Caitlin's waist is 18 inches. 18 x 2 = 36 (fabric measurement) Then take that waist measurement + 1 for the elastic. 18 +1 = 19 inches of elastic.

Length: Measure from waist to how long you want the skirt to be. Since Caitlin is so tall, I made hers 24 inches long.

Cut your fabric making sure to keep the ruffles out of the way. You only want to cut between the ruffles.


Fold fabric right sides together. Make sure the ruffles all fall down and line up evenly. Sew down back-stitching at beginning and end. This makes the tube of the skirt.


Next you have to make a loop to thread the elastic through for the waistband. Fold fabric over giving enough room for your 1" elastic to fit. Be really careful to sew between the ruffles. If you don't you'll be like me and have a messed up ruffle and have to very carefully so as not to pick the fabric rip the seam out. Ugh. You don't want to do that.
Leave a small opening to insert the elastic.


Thread the elastic through. *Tip: Anytime you need to thread any elastic, ribbon, whatever through, use a safety pin. Your fingers can find the safety pin and pull it through easier than the elastic.

Sew the ends of the elastic together.

Sew the opening on the waist band closed.

And if you noticed, I didn't mention anything about a hem. You don't need to with this fabric. Whoo hoo! I love time savers!

And you have a super girly ruffle skirt. Oh, and remember the Flower Power Beanie I made for her. It matches. Totally unplanned, but awesome!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Hubs

Today is my husband's birthday. So I just want to take a little blog time to say Happy Birthday to my husband, the father of my children, my closest friend and ally.

Eric and I got married young. I was 20 and turned 21 a few days after our wedding. We have both grown and matured together. I am so proud of the man that he is. We are older now, but still young in the world and I am so taken aback by the advice I have heard Eric give people in the past year or so. He has developed a Godly wisdom. And by that, I don't mean that he is godly. Sorry, hun. But that he has a strong faith in Christ and through that and through Christ has learned how to give Godly advice.

He is such a good daddy to our two little girls. He plays, cuddles, and tells stories. And you ladies with children out there know, a man who is a good daddy just becomes all that more attractive to you because of it.

I could go on and on, but for the sake of my readers, I won't. I will just add one last thing. He is a great encourager of my goals and passions. It's hard to be a stay-at-home mom. Often the things that I want to do just for me get pushed to the side. And that's ok. It's what I signed up for. But Hubs knows how important it is for me to not lose myself, to be passionate about something that's just for me. And he encourages me to pursue those things. What more can I ask for.

Eric, I Love You! I hope you have a wonderful birthday today!

And because I'm on the laptop and don't have many current pictures on here. Here is a pic of us at the beach back in 07. Wow that was a long time ago. But I still love my Hubby, probably even more.




Saturday, March 17, 2012

Featured at Serendipity and Spice

Happy St. Patricks Day everyone!

I'm posting on Saturday today because I have some fun news to share.

Each week I link up my latest projects to several different linky parties. (You can see which ones on my right sidebar.) These parties have so many wonderful and creative projects posted. I not only share, but I gather ideas that I love.

Serendipity and Spice has a fabulous link party on Mondays each week. I linked up my nursing covers and Amish bread this past week. And guess what? She's featuring my bread!! So head on over there and check me out along with the other featured link ups.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Apple Trees

As part of our garden, we have been wanting to plant fruit trees for quite some time now. The problem has been where to put them. We still want to have an open lawn area for the girls to play in. And we already have several trees on the perimeter of our yard, although ones I don't necessarily like. Can you say Bradford Pear trees? Oh, how I wish we didn't have them. But we can't just take those down because of HOA regulations.

Anyway, Eric took out some shrubs at the corners of our backyard fence and planted a few apple trees. We originally bought two galas, but then found out that we needed different varieties for pollination. So he took one back and exchanged it for a golden delicious.

So now we have some twigs in our yard that will hopefully one day produce apples great to eat raw, make applesauce, cider, and let's not forget the apple pies in our future. I know that it will take a year or two to really get some good production from the trees, but I have patience. In the meantime, I'm going to be hunting down great recipes and storing them for when we do have that influx of apples come in.

And because every post needs a picture, here's some pictures of apple tree twigs.




Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Introducing JuJuBeads2 with Discount Code

Have you ever tried to start your own at home business? I have. And I totally failed. It was about 8 or 9 years ago. I tried getting into Mary Kay. I love their company, products, etc. But I had a really hard time getting started. So when I get the chance to help a friend get started in an at-home business I totally jump. 

My real life friend, Jenny, just opened up her Etsy shop JuJuBeads2. She makes some absolutely beautiful jewelry! If you're like me, you love jewelry with a story. It's so much better than I bought it at a so-and-so store you can find anywhere. And I love when it's handcrafted. Handcrafted jewelry just feels incredibly more satisfying to wear. Don't ask me why, it just does. Am I the only one who feels that way?

Jenny uses all different kinds of beads from glass to pearl to shell, metal and loves semi precious beads. Her favorite beads are called goldstone. She also works with glass crystals and Swarovski crystals. She does a good bit with chain and loves using kumihimo techniques. And if you are like me and have no idea what kumihimo is, it's a braiding technique used when working with beads.

Anyway, take a look at some of the jewelry from her shop over at JuJuBeads2.

Don't you just need that special touch to finish off your Easter ensemble??

As a special treat for Gingerly Made readers, you can get 25% off any purchase between now and April 15 if you use the discount code GingerlyMade.



Nursing Cover

I am so fantastically blessed to be a nursing momma. But I'm not bold enough to nurse publicly without some sort of cover. I would be absolutely lost as a breastfeeding momma with out my nursing covers. Some women have the amazing ability to be discreet while breastfeeding without a cover. I am no such woman. I tried using a blanket with our first child and maybe it was because I was new at it, or maybe not, I just had problems. It was harder to help her latch and I was paranoid about the blanket getting in her face and blocking her breathing. So when I came across some nursing covers that went around your neck like an apron and had piece of boning in it allowing me to see my daughter as she was nursing. I was thrilled! It was a genius idea!

A few months ago I saw another blogger (Sorry I can't remember who. If it was you, please let me know and I'll link back to you.) make her own. Ah. Another genius idea! The nursing covers seem to be pretty simple to make, I just needed to try. Here's my version of the nursing cover with a peek-a-boo at the top.





I think it turned out great! I made it a little wider to add some extra coverage on the side. The only thing I would change is how big the peek-a-boo is. I used 18 inches of boning and I think I will scale it back a few inches next time.

And just a silly side note. There's not actually a baby under that nursing cover! She's inside sleeping blissfully with the baby monitor turned on. Oh, and I hate those pants, but they were the only clean pants I had that day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread


A friend of mine, knowing how much I l-o-v-e fresh bread, gave me some Amish friendship bread starter. Thanks David and Loretta!! I've heard about this bread before but had never had any. It takes 10 days for the starter to grow and be ready for baking, but let me just tell you...It's so worth it!

I'm not really sure why they call it Amish bread, because it's not an Amish recipe. Maybe to make you think it's really healthy and all natural? But there again, the Amish are surprisingly not 'all natural.' I was really disappointed last year when we went to PA and Amish country. I know they can't use electricity and I know they can use gasoline generated things. But there is just something disturbing about seeing an Amish woman using a gas powered leaf blower. I digress. Back to the bread.

This sweet bread recipe is surprisingly not 100% natural raw ingredients. I'm used to bread being simple ingredients like yeast, flour, water, egg, milk, and oil. This recipe does have those things, but it also has a packet of instant pudding mix that gets tossed in. I'm not complaining because it's really good bread, but just not what I expected from Amish bread.

The pictures I took are actually a variation on the traditional recipe. I didn't have the vanilla instant pudding pack. I had a chocolate instant pudding pack. So I tossed that it and excluded the cinnamon. Chocolate bread. Yum.

And if you don't have a friend to give you a starter. You can make your own.
 
I would only caution you to be ready to work with this starter. If you follow the recipe every 10 days you will be baking two loaves of bread plus creating more starters. I don't know anyone who has enough friends to keep passing out starters at this rate. So to prevent your starter from getting out of control, you can freeze it or refrigerate it. Also you can feed it half the amount the recipe calls for on day 6. That will reduce the amount of extra starter you end up with. Worst case scenario, throw out the extra starter except for one so you can keep just enough for yourself.

If you have a starter or just made your own, here's the recipe I used to make my bread.

*Do not refrigerate during 10 day cycle.
*If you are keeping starting in a Ziplock bag, let out any air that builds up from fermentation.
*You can also keep starter in a glass jar with loose lid.
*You can go over by a day to feed or bake, but you CANNOT feed you starter or bake your bread early.

Day 1: Do nothing
Day 2: Do nothing
Day 3: Do nothing
Day 4: Do nothing
Day 5: Do nothing
Day 6: Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk and stir well
Day 7: Do nothing
Day 8: Do nothing
Day 9: Do nothing
Day 10: Bake bread
  1. Pour starter into large bowl
  2. Add 1 1/3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups milk. Mix well.
  3. Label 4 one gallon Ziplock bag with "Day1" and date. Fill each bag with 1 cup of starter. You can give this to friends or freeze for later use.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Add to remaining batter:
    3 eggs
    1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
    1/2 cup milk
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    2 cups flour
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 large box instant vanilla pudding
    1 cup chopped and/or 1 cup raisins
  6. Grease bottom and sides of 2 large loaf pans. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Dust the insides of the pans with the mixture. Make sure you cover the bottom well.
  7. Pour the batter mixture evenly in the pans and sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over the the top of the batter.
  8. Bake for approximately 1 hour and until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool until the bread loosens from the pan easily.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Garden Plans

It's that time of year when we're getting ready for our vegetable garden again. We had some things growing through out the winter. In fact, we just blanched and froze some broccoli. But I'm always excited for the spring and starting over with our garden. There's just something so alluring about a garden fresh with new soil added to the beds, replenished mulch in the aisles, little sprouts poking their heads out reaching for the sun, and the promise of your harvest yet to come.

We've decided to switch up our methodology this year too. Although we have been using raised beds, we've still been planting in rows. Hubs has been trying to get me to switch to square foot gardening for a couple of years, but in true Ginger fashion, I've been too stubborn to think that any other way could be better. I was so afraid that planting close together would impact the plant's growth and ability to fruit. After two years of talking about it, I became interested, finally read some of the book, and am willing to try it out.

Eric putting down square foot markers on our raised beds. You can see the broccoli behind him still growing through the winter. We are planting spring broccoli and sugar snap peas.
I am so amazed by how much we can plant in our little garden with the square foot method! We have something like 208 SF of usable garden. Some of it is inhabited by perennial herbs and we don't count.

In that 208 SF, we are planning on planting:

Zucchini - 1
Squash - 3
Okra - 3
Basil - 3
Peppers - 4
Tomatoes - 6
Broccoli - 16
Lettuce - 16 (will stagger planting times 4 at a time)
Potatoes - 72
String Beans, bush - 108
Sugar Snap Peas - 128
Carrots - 192

Crazy huh!?! Hubs has already planted the broccoli and sugar snaps since they are cooler weather crops. It's going to be a lot of work to can and freeze all the produce we should get this year, but I'm so excited about it. The more we can do ourselves, the better for our health and the better for our wallet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegetable Beef Soup


It's been quite a while since I've posted a recipe, but when I made this soup, I knew it had to go on the blog. I grew up with this one and it's a total comfort food for me. Hubs laughs at me because I just call it Vegetable Soup. It has meat in it he says. So you'll see, I changed the name to Vegetable Beef Soup.

1 lb hamburger meat or Italian sausage
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
diced potatoes
carrots
2 cans corn, undrained
seasoning (I use salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic)
1 can green beans, drained (optional)
onion (optional)

The great thing about this recipe is that it's a great way to use up what you have in your fridge. Only have a couple of potatoes, not enough to make a potato dish...make soup. A quarter of your head of cabbage sitting there and you don't know what to do with it...toss it in. The recipe above is the basic soup, but you can always add whatever veggies that sound yummy to you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Flower Power Beanies

Ok, you all know by now that I'm a total idea thief. I am not smart enough, or creative enough yet to make my own patterns. So in the meantime I pin beautiful tutorials and go back and try making them on my own. The Dainty Daisy made this sweet shell stitch beanie with flower. And what's really awesome is that she provided the pattern for 0-3months, 3-6, 6-12, 12months - 3 years, and 3-10 years. So, you can make one for any of your young children. Love it!! And, for that matter, I can wear the blue one I made for Caitlin it's just a little short. So it seems that an adult can wear the  3-10 year old size if you add some length by adding another couple of shell stitch rows.

I made yellow for Hayley and Caitlin wanted blue. Aren't they so cute!






 
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