Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Harvest Party"

Tonight, our church hosted their annual "Harvest Party".  We always have such a great time.  We bring goodies and have a hot dog supper and play games.  Our pastor closes the evening with a devotional.

All the kids wear cute costumes.  This year, Jacob dressed up as Robin Hood, Ben dressed up as a pirate and Rebekah dressed up as a girl from the '80's.

We played fun games. Such as "Needle in the Hay Stack"

And "Ring Toss" on to long pumpkin stems.

We all brought some snacks and I brought this;

Candy Corn Bark.  It is crazy good! Even better than I thought it would be from reading the recipe and looking at the pictures.

I got the recipe from Diana Rambles.

Well, this was a fun evening and tomorrow I will be getting the final touches done on all my crafts for the craft show on Saturday. I will be happy when it's over and I can FINALLY decorate our house for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rustic Cinnamon Stars

Well, I'm ready for another tutorial. You can find my first tutorial for Cinnamon Gingerbread Ornies here and my second one for Prim Hanging Tea Lights with grungy battery operated lights here.
So, I'm from Canada, eh. You know, The Great White North and all that stuff.  Lots of people like rustic things to put in their log houses and cabins up here.  I don't have a log house or cabin (wish I did), but I like these rustic cinnamon stick stars anyway.

It all has to do with the layering of the cinnamon sticks. Now, by all means, you can do this with plain sticks. I think that looks awesome too. But while we were visiting where we used to live in British Columbia, I bought a big bag of cinnamon sticks cheap from the ethnic section in the grocery store.  Did you know that spices are almost always cheaper in the ethnic section? And they have spices that you can't usually find in the regular section.
This is the first step.  Put 2 sticks together like this;
Then, place another stick under on the bottom and on top at the top;
Place another stick starting at the other bottom corner and crossing over;
Finally, place the last stick across;
After I have them the way I want them, I glue it all together with a glue gun. Then I tied twine around each connection.  I used homespun or twine for the hanger.  I also bundled a piece of artificial greenery with some berries and tied it with homespun. Then I glued that on the front of the star.
I'm happy with the way they turned out. 
God bless!

This post is linked up to; The Dedicated House Love Grows Wild
 Happy and Blessed Home
 Saving 4 Six Next Gen Homeschool Alderberry Hill The Blackberry Vine

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prim Hanging Tea Light Ornaments

Here is another Christmas tutorial. You can check out my last one for Cinnamon Gingerbread Ornies here.  I am so excited to share this one with you and I know you're all gonna love it! 

I had seen something like this on the computer a while ago and knew I had to make these hanging battery operated tea lights.

To make these I started by grunging up some battery operated tea lights.

To do this I melted a bunch of candles in a soup can in a pan with some water simmering.  I'm upset with myself for using my nice pan, when I had one I really didn't like sitting in the garbage pile, because the wax made such a big mess.

Then I added about 1/2c of cinnamon and 2 Tbsp ground cloves to the melted wax.  Using a plastic spoon, I put a thin coat of wax on the tea lights.  The tea light on the left is at this stage (below).  I really had to watch the temperature of the wax.  When it cooled just a bit, it was easier to smear on the tea light.  Once all the tea lights had on their first coat of wax, I put on another, thicker, bumpy layer by pouring the wax over the tea light on all sides (just not the bottom) and building it up until I was happy with each one.  The tea light on the right is at this stage.  It was important to constantly be stirring the wax because the spices kept settling at the bottom and that would change the colour and consistency of the wax.

Next I got some old zinc canning lids and wrapped rusty wire around to start the hanger.

Using pliers, I curled the little over hang part around the wire that was wrapped around the lid.

Then I looped the wire to the other side and cut it. 

Then I did the same as the other side and curled the left over wire around the wire on the lid to finish the hanger.

Next I cut some greenery off an artificial Christmas tree branch and glued it in a circle inside the lid and then added some pip berries.  I would have liked to use a pip berry candle ring or just some pip berries made into a ring, but I could not find any around here. Not even at Michael's.
Now, just place a grungy tea light in the middle and voila!  I can't wait to see what these will look like in a Christmas tree.
I used the one piece old zinc canning lids, but I think you could use old gem zinc screw bands with a snap lid glued in it.  I put one together to give you an idea of what it would look like. I didn't put the hanger on it because I wasn't going to actually use this one and I think you can find more rustic looking screw bands than the one I used.
Just a note on the supplies for this project;
I bought the 24 tea lights from Micheal's with my 40% off coupon. So they were $30, but I got them for $18.  But I was at Costco today and saw a pack of 28 tea lights with 6 extra batteries for $15!  I think I will still buy some, because the batteries are the same ones we need for our bathroom scale, so there is some value in that for us on top of the better price.  I bought the zinc lids as a big lot on EBay a few years ago and have been saving them for just the perfect project.
I think I got the artificial Christmas tree for free. I knew I would be cutting it up, so it didn't need to have all its parts.
So that is how I made these adorable lights. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 21, 2013

What I've Learned About Pressure Canning

I have had my pressure canner for 3 years now. It is a very old one and it didn't come with instructions.  I have never seen anyone use a pressure canner and had to figure it all out so that I could can up lots of great foods.

So, I have been using it and learning with each batch. I'd look online to trouble shoot my problems and I think after 5 batches this year I have finally got it down!  I found a lot of my questions answered on the Presto Canning Website.   I especially had a problem with losing the liquid in the jar during processing.  I am happy it's still safe to eat, but of course, I want to do it right!

The main steps I have learned are;
  • Leave 1" head space in the jars for vegetables
  • Once all jars are in the canner, bring the water to a boil on high, with the lid on and the vent open, for 10 mins to heat up all the contents.
  • Once you have processed the jars for the proper length of time, take the canner off the heat and let it come down to 0 pressure on it's own. Do not take off the weight or open the vent. This takes about an hour!
I found out that higher elevations need more pressure. So, I am at 3000ft here and at this elevation, I need 15lb of pressure.

One more thing that I have found to help a lot has to do with our well water.  Our water leaves a white mineral build up in all my canners and especially on the aluminum racks in the canners. I read that if you add 1 tsp of vinegar to the water in the canner, this will not happen and it's completely true!

I'll leave you with a picture of some potatoes I canned up tonight.

Thanks for stopping by!

This post is linked up to Raising Homemakers Growing Home A Better Mom Happy and Blessed Home Homestead Barn Hop Time Warp Wife Savings 4 Six Serving Joyfully Hope in Every Season Living Well Spending Less
Raising Arrows

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

17 Days Til Christmas....

....until a Christmas Craft Show that I have rented a booth in that is.  AND I have done as I do so well, I have procrastinated.  I have some friends who think that is a hilarious trait about myself. I won't mention any names...Debby.
So, here I am, scrambling to make enough things to fill a 10x6 booth.

And I thought along the way I would post a few tutorials of what I'm making and here is the first one.

I know we have all seen these things to death, but I thought it would be fun to take a look again. I am talking about Cinnamon Ornies.

First I gathered all my supplies. I will be making Gingerbread Men Cinnamon Ornies and to make these I need;

apple sauce
paper clips, cut in half
small rusty bells
gingerbread cookie cutters (I use the big and medium sizes in my set)

Then I mix the dough using;

3 c cinnamon
2 - 2 1/2 c apple sauce
1 c glue

I kind of added more of what I needed to make the dough a good consistency.  Then I rolled it out 1/4" thick.  I sprinkled my board and dough with cinnamon so that nothing would stick. I cut out large and small gingerbread men using my cookie cutters. 

I fix it up right away before it dries.  This is where mine are a bit different from others that just poke a hole through the ornament to thread a string for hanging. I use the half paper clip and stick the cut sides in the top of the head and leave enough out to put strips of fabric through for hanging.

I make the eyes by dipping the end of a paint brush in black paint, blotting off a bit, then press it in the face where I want the eyes. 
To finish it off, I push two rusty bells on the body to look like buttons. 
One more tip, I kind of rubbed the bottom edges with my fingers to smooth them out a bit.  That is the cut side and it can be kind of rough.
I put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and baked at 170 deg.  for 1 hr. Then I let them air dry the rest of the way, turning them over to dry the back as well.

When they are dry, I cut a bit of homespun fabric to loop through the paper clip. I tie a little knot to make a hanger and voila!

Aren't they just so cute? And they smell delicious!  Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE:  I tried making the eyes by just using the end of the paintbrush without paint and I actually like it better.

This post is linked up to 1840 Farm Blog Hop Growing Home Salt Tree Love Grows Wild
 Confessions of a Plate Addict
 The Dedicated House
 Happy and Blessed Home
 Saving 4 Six

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Need a Greeting Card?

We just celebrated Ben's 10th birthday.  And you know, with all the preparations, I didn't get around to buying a card.  So, I looked online to find free printable greeting cards and found a great website.

It is called Greetings Island.  You can make invitations, and all sorts of cards for all occasions and holidays.  I liked it because you can personalise both inside pages with text and clip art and you can personalise the back.  This is so great! I was able to write "Happy 10th Birthday!" and a bible verse inside with a picture of balloons.  It shows you how to turn the paper to print on both sides. My printer runs differently though, which I knew, and turned the paper so that it would work.

This website is great when you're in a pinch and it's kind of fun.

This post is linked up to; Thrifty Thursday

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

God bless you all as you enjoy this wonderful day!

If you'd like to read a great post about Thanksgiving, head over to my daughter's blog here and read her Thanksgiving post.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

No Till Pumpkin Patch - The Outcome

So, here is the outcome of our no till pumpkin patch.  It was a disaster!

The plants never hardly grew. It took forever for them to produce female flowers and the pumpkins that did grow, only grew very small.  We got about 20 little pumpkins and I planted enough plants to get between 1000-1200 pumpkins:(

I know why this happened, but I was hoping it wouldn't.  Because I decided after starting the process not to round up the surrounding area, the plants were competing for nutrients and water.  Plus, this land hadn't been used for growing before and needed a lot more fertilizer.  We had just gotten our pumpkin patch perfect for growing at our old place before we moved here last year.

Here are three of our little pumpkins
My conclusion is, next year we will need to cultivate the land and add LOTS of manure.  If we have a roto tiller, I will try to space the rows so that we can run the tiller in between for a while.

I'm sad it didn't work out this year and I know a lot of people from around our area were sad as well. But, hopefully we'll be back next year!