Sunday, October 31, 2010

Attack Rabbits - I Hope Not

Doe 1 - Name To Be Determined
Well I did it. I finally got a trio of rabbits. Two young doe and a young buck Broken New Zealands. I have been think about this since we got the chickens around the spring of '09. They are surprisingly sweet. I was extremely impressed with the breeder Colleen. Not only was she full of useful information, she really, really loved her animals. Even these "meat rabbits". She had a great respect for the animal and their "personalities" while remembering that they are animals. You can check out her rabbits at She also breeds Angora rabbits. Something I might be extremely interested in having the in the future. I like the idea of fine fiber and wool. Anyway...

I have to admit I was afraid of rabbits. Growing up I couldn't have a dog or a cat because of my younger brother's severe allergies. Instead my parents let me choose a cute rabbit. I picked out a tiny, fuzzy, snow white rabbit. He was so cute I called him "bun bun" with his official name being Snow Ball. I loved "bun bun". Little did I know that he would grow into a huge, evil, ATTACK RABBIT.

So what my parent's failed to realize was that:
1. Some male rabbits need to be neutered to not be mean.
2. Rabbits (male) smell.
3. They like to run away and hide in ever little crack in the basement making catching quite a chore.
4. That the rabbit was going to grow to an enormous size 12 pounds at least.
5. That the snow white rabbit with lovely red eyes would soon get black ears, tall, feet, and nose. Making it quite the little devil. OK, just mean looking.
6. And that rabbits would charge and growl when you came down the basement stairs.

The last item did it. The charging and growling. I was terrified. Some lovely and happy 4Hers got "bun bun" and I couldn't have been more relieved. I have never been so happy to see an animal leave. I have since had some wonderful experiences with rabbits and have a lovely pet rabbit that is a Mini-Lop Mix named Mr. Cotton Tail. But I now know that Snow Ball a.k.a. "bun bun" was a Californian Buck and I had some fear of "meat" rabbit types.

What a surprise to find them so friendly and curious and sweet. Giving kisses and coming to the door to say "hi". I am going to enjoy having our new pets. And best of all hubby seems to like them too!

Doe 2 - Name To Be Determined
Buck - Name to be Determined

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Awesome Cloth Napkins

It was important to me to have cloth napkins at our fall dinner party. There is something about cloth napkins that screams... "I've got no kids tonight so lets go all out!" Of course, I wanted something that I could make for free using only what I had on hand (and I did by only about 2 yards of thread left!) No patterns! No tutorials! Just me and free... Here we go!

Step 1: Gather Supplies.
Sharp scissors, squaring tool, pencil, two contrasting fabrics (I was originally going to do brown canvass type of pockets but later decided that was too heavy to be used as an everyday napkin.)

Step 2: Measure and Cut.
I chose to make 22 inch squares for two reasons... 1) My main fabric (a full white sheet I snagged at Goodwill for a buck!) folded into quarters, minus hems, was about a 22 inch length and 2) I found that if I took a 22 inch square and folded it on the diagonal it would work as a bib. And since at this dinner party, most of the eating is done with your hands, a big napkin/bib sounded awesome!

Step 3: Iron rough edging, top and bottom.
Fold down about a fingerwidth of fabric and follow with a hot iron, being super careful not to burn yourself. When you get to the end, let the seam cool.

Fold down again another fingerwidth of fabric and iron. Doing this makes sure that there are no rough edges exposed which could fray with constant use and washing. It also makes the napkin look really finished and professional.

Step 4: Sew top and bottom.
Using a straight stitch, stitch the fold. You could make this look any way you want by substituting a contrasting thread color or using a zig-zag stitch.

Step 5: Iron rough edging, sides.
See step 3...

Step 6: Sew sides
See step 4.

(so basically you double fold all the way around the square then straight stitch.)

You have something like this now...

Step 7: *Optional*
I created a pocket for silverware by sewing the contrasting fabric onto a eighth section of the napkin. You can either fold and iron the unfinished edges of the pocket or leave it and have a more deconstructed look.

I cut a 4.5 X 6 inch rectangle, folded the "top" of the pocket about 3/4 of an inch and straight stitched it.

Then I folded and ironed the sides and bottom of the pocket. (You don't have to sew this time. When you stitch the pocket to the napkin, it eliminates the need to sew before.)

The pockets ended up all different sizes. Doesn't bother me a bit. I then folded the napkin into eights to determine where I wanted the pocket. I decided I wanted a neat napkin with no edges.

I lined the pocket up on the napkin where I wanted it and marked with my pencil where the two bottom corners met the napkin. Not one placement did I measure, just approximate. Afterall, homemade is all about imperfection! When I went to my sewing machine, I began at the right top corner of the napkin, stictched down the side as close to the seam as possible. When I got to the bottom, I left my needle in the napkin but lifted the presser foot up and turned my project so that I could now stitch the bottom of the pocket. Set the presser foot back down and continue to sew until you reach the next corner. Set your needle in the fabric, lift presser foot and turn you project so you now can stitch the last side. Set the presser foot back down and stitch the last side. Backstitch at the end.

So simple and yet so impressive!
A set for parties, a set for family suppers and a set as a gift!

A napkin seems so boring until you think of all the combinations of fabric and styles out there... what is yours going to look like?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Bars with Maple Whipped Cream

Pumpkins are all over the place right now. On front porches, in holiday cards, on kids t-shirts and of course, food! For some reason I crave all things pumpkin right now. In my opinion, foods this time of year must contain pumpkin. Coffee, cookies, breads... I think you know where I am going here... So when we hosted our fall dinner party, dessert was simply assumed to be pumpkin. This wonderful cake is made in a 9X13 dish but could easily be made into two 9 inch rounds and frosted. The original recipe called for a cup of oil (yikes!) Since that grossed me out, I replaced it with applesauce. Still super moist! And the only thing better than dessert at the end of a great party is getting sent home with more dessert to enjoy as breakfast the following morning. I made one recipe for the party and then another half recipe to make individual muffins to send home with each guest. I also gave each couple a half-pint of homemade pumpkin butter. Like I said, the theme is pumpkin!

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Whipped Cream

  • 4 whole organic eggs (preferable from your own chickens)
  • 1 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 15 oz can pumpkin or about 2 cups fresh steamed and smashed squash
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Preheat over to 350*. Grease and flour a 9X13 pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, applesauce and pumpkin until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, powder, soda, salt and cinnamon.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Cool completely. (Cake is awesome the next day!)
Maple Whipped Cream
  • whipping cream
  • maple syrup (the real stuff!)
Five minutes before you would like to serve dessert, chill a large stainless steel bowl and
beaters in freezer. Take the bowl out of the freezer and pour whipping cream in bowl. Begin to beat on high. Drizzle syrup over cream, to taste. Beat again until the cream begins to hold shape and can round up high on a spoon. Do not over beat.

The cream is delicious and beautiful on the cake and simply perfect served dolloped on coffee and sprinkled with cinnamon or pie spices. Please do not attempt to top this gorgeous fall desert with store bought whipped cream topping as opposed to the real thing. I promise, once you try it, you will NEVER go back!

Low Country Boil

The house was beautiful, the company was wonderful, the weather awesome and surprisingly warm, and the food was good. Our Low Country Boil was a HUGE success. I have to give credit where credit is due and Jackie deserves a HUGE pat on the back. In her excitement to host an all adult party that wasn't just "ordinary" she really went above and beyond. One of her many talents is hospitality for sure.

Every guest was asked to bring a food item.
1. sausage
2. old bay spice
3. grapes & cheese & crackers (for an appetizer)
4. corn bread
5. potatoes
6. shrimp
7. onions, garlic, lemons

But our party was decorated on the cheap. Old Christmas lights, candles I had in my drawers for 7 or 8 years, a bag of baby pumpkins for $3.99 that I sprayed gold with paint I already had, a table cloth of old packing paper, torn pieces of kale from the fall garden, candle holders from old wine bottles, and lovely napkins from a sheet and scrap material (the last two were all Jackie!).

Guest who were connected to me or Jackie were invited and I would say all had a lovely time. Even our men who don't "enjoy" that sort of thing had a nice time. We are already daydreaming of our next adult only party. Perhaps a murder mystery dinner or a ugly Christmas sweater party. Who knows.

Inspirational Quote

"You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle."

- Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of "The Alchemist"

What miracle happened in your day today?

Quote is courtesy of

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Weekend

(The kids at the beach a couple of Sundays ago...)

Some fun (and not-so-fun) things Lauren and I have going on this weekend...
  1. Friday night at my house means homemade pizzas and video games. And I do mean every Friday night. Its kind of a tradition.
  2. Saturday morning, Lauren will be picking up a trio of rabbits to raise in her backyard!
  3. I will be volunteering at my church in the nursery this Sunday morning.
  4. I hope to give my van one last good cleaning before it gets too cold... keyword: hope...
  5. Bake something yummy and warm! If I could, you know I would share! Come back next week for a perfect autumn recipe!
  6. Put the gardens to bed for the winter.
  7. I'm positive there are going to be a few loads of laundry in here somewhere... AND THE BEST PART...
  8. Lauren and I are (attempting) to host a fancy shmansy dinner party for some of our good friends ON THE CHEAP! Expect a full week of posts all about the thrifty decor and all the little extras to make your guests feel loved!
Hope you enjoy the weekend, too! See you next week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baby Legs

I am a leg warmer freak. Ask anyone who knows me and I have a drawer full of leg warmers and I wear them ALL long winter long. So when I first saw baby leg warmers, I was sold. Then ... I saw the price tag ... ouch! So after some internet surfing I found some great tutorials on how to make your own (I will provide the links at the end of this post).

Yesterday, during a quick shopping trip at Target, I found colorful $2.00 knee high socks. I wear knee highs about as much as leg warmers so I figured a six dollar investment wouldn't be too expensive if my baby leg warmer project didn't work out. I would end up with great new socks! What a treat for mommy.

Side note: I always go to Target with a list. I was looking for a winter hat for my almost 5 month old boy and didn't find one. I redirected that money to the baby leg project. Something else I had already planned on at some point. I will have to make Wade a winter hat.

This morning I was ready to put my project in action. When Wade was playing with toys and napping I was able to make him his first pair of baby leg warmers. In all it took about an hour in total. I was hand sewing because I don't have a sewing machine but with a sewing machine this project could take 15 minutes to 1/2. Here are the steps.

Step 1:
Gather supplies. I didn't have my sewing supplies on hand so I used some embroidery floss instead.

Step 2:
Cut your socks as shown. I removed the heal and toes of the socks and left two rectangles.

Step 3:
This step is one that I would have changed. I used an idea I saw on one of the Internet sites that made the smaller rectangle a cuff. I love the cuff but the post had you make the cuff slightly smaller by sewing up the side. I would have skipped sewing up the side. Not that it isn't a great idea but in the long run I don't think it is necessary for the end product and would have saved more time. The image shows the smaller rectangle from the foot of the sock turned inside out (on the right) and sewn up the side. When finished sewing up the sides I folded the piece down on itself to form the cuff (on the left).

Step 4:
Next I took the longer rectangle, the leg of the sock, and inserted in inside the newly made cuff (on the right). Using my embrodery floss, I stitched the unfinished edges together (about .25" in). Be sure not to sew the hole closed. At all times I had three unfinished edges in my hand. When finished I turned the cuff down and had one finished baby leg warmer (on the left).

Step 5:

Do other sock the same way. Here are the finished baby legs.

Step 6:

Show off your cute baby and his baby legs!

These are the links I found to help with my project:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Heart Faces Challenge : In the Orchard

My almost one year old, barefoot munching on a yucky apple!

So I've never done this before but it has been on my "to do list" forever. I Heart Faces has a weekly challenge for photographers. ( I use that term loosely since I by no means consider myself a "photographer" but just a mom who wants to capture every moment of her growing kids!) Take a look at all the other *amazing*entries at!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Inspirational Quote

For you sister.

"Everything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant."
-Oriana Bardinelli

Quote is courtesy of

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