Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I've Been Pinned!!

I can't even describe to you the total and complete sense of joy I get when people find something I've stuck on this old blog useful. Last night I happened to notice that the stats on my blog shot through the roof - I followed one of the links back to Pinterest and discovered that I'd been pinned!!!! Not only that, there's more than one pin from my blog! I almost peed myself with excitement. Now imagine trying to convey said excitement to a very, very tired husband that is camped out on the couch playing video games with only one eye open.

Not much of a reaction.

So I'm sharing it with YOU!!!!

I know for a fact that plenty of you out there can relate to my complete giddiness. I've had this discussion with a few of you - the sense of elation we get when we sell one of our handmade items - well, I also get that same feeling when someone tells me that they've enjoyed a blog post! And to have 70+ people so far feel that my DIY Sanding Sugar post was cool enough to pin and share....AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Talk about a flippin happy dance.

So tired husband = you getting to listen to me sing my happy song.

Thanks for listening

We'll Return Shortly

Having some problems with the blog today, ladies and gents. Links don't seem to be working and both  my sidebars have disappeared on the home page. My apologies.

Please hang in with me though and I should hopefully have everything tip top soon.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Horseshoes and Handgrenades

Had a little bbq this last weekend with some friends for St. Paddy's Day. Saturday Nancy and Keith came by and we had a great afternoon filled with delicious food, beer, and green t-shirts. Keith is one helluva singer/songwriter, so after a few beers I pulled out my old guitar and shoved it in his hands.

He rocks pretty damn hard in my opinion and I'm really excited about his music, so I wanted to share a quick video that I took. It's a poorly shot video of him playing his original song "Close Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades".  

I feel bad that the video is such crappy quality - but I know he forgives me because I was drunk and basically being awesome.

btw - I love my husband busting through the back door with an armful of beer during the song :D

You can find more of Keith at the following links (and I'd encourage you to! He's got some really great songs out there!)

Facebook // Sound Cloud // Bandcamp

If you dig the song, please leave a comment and let him know!

'til next time...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make Your Own Colored Sanding Sugar

I came across the coolest idea the other day! I saw some homemade sprinkles on Pinterest and that led me to another article on making your own sanding sugar. Actually I came across quite a few articles on it - there are a couple different techniques out there. I spent Sunday messing around with the recipe a bit and coming up with a rainbow of colors to keep on hand for decorating.

Making your own colored sanding sugar or sprinkles is a cinch and it's such a cheaper alternative to store bought sprinkles. I don't know about you, but I typically troll the clearance aisle the week after holidays when they discount all the holiday merchandise - it's the only time I can justify to myself buying those adorable colored baking sugars... They're just so damn expensive for what the product really is. You also have control over a freaking unlimited amount of colors and shades when you make your own. The flexibility is so much fun!

If you're especially cognizant of the amount of additives you're putting into yourself and your kids, that'd be another reason to make your own sanding sugar from scratch. You can always pick up vegan coloring from India Tree - a food coloring that according to their website is "made from highly concentrated vegetable colorants. They contain no corn syrup or synthetic dyes". Speaking of children, I don't have any yet, but the entire time I was making this I kept thinking what a fun activity it'd be to do with kids.

All you need is:

Sugar (either granulated or raw)
Food Coloring
Ziploc-type Baggie
Parchment Paper
Baking Pan with sides

What you need to do:

Measure out the amount of sugar you'll be wanting into a bag that seals 

Squeeze out a couple of drops of coloring into the bag and seal. 
*note: I used liquid food coloring, but food coloring paste will work just as well. You'll just need to adjust coloring amounts

Shake bag to distribute coloring evenly. 

*I read about a couple techniques to blend the sugar and coloring (tried initially mixing in a bowl with a fork, but that took foooooooreeeever) - the one that I found worked the absolute best went like this:

Make sure the top is sealed really well, but leave some air in the bag before you seal it. Grab the bag by the top, forcing all the air to the bottom of the bag - and shake that mother like a maniac. If there's any lumps or undistributed color, just massage the bag with your hands until the color is even. This method took about half the time as the others.

If the color turns out too dark for your liking, just add more sugar and mix. If the color is too light, add more food coloring. The more food coloring you use though, be mindful to add additional drying time. 

Place sugar in a parchment paper lined baking sheet with sides. The parchment will make it easier to transfer the sugar to the storage container after drying.

Dry sugar before storing. You can do this one of two ways.

Bake at 175° for 10-15 mins. Remove from oven and let cool completely
Lay in a thin layer and air dry for several hours (could take up to a day depending on amount of food coloring used)

Store your final product in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (that isn't the fridge).

A couple of pointers:

You might want to keep track of the color recipes that your using, just in case you run out in the middle of a project and need more of the same color, or just like a color in particular and want to recreate it at some point. I wrote mine on a small piece of clear tape and stuck it to the top of the individual sugar containers.

Don't fret if you make too much of a color, or have just a teeny bit of a particular color left over. You can always add this sugar to anything where color isn't an issue...coffee perhaps? Food coloring, as you all know, has no taste. 

You can use flavorings such as vanilla, peppermint or cinnamon to spice things up a bit. You'll just want to add to the sugar before you add the food coloring. The moisture from the food coloring will help dry ingredients such as cinnamon adhere to the individual sugar granules.

Hope someone out there finds this information as useful as I did. Or at least someone has a little fun with it...

'til next time...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PB Banana Dog Treats

It's no surprise. My dogs are spoiled. Like crazy spoiled. They're actually getting to be just a touch on the chunky side because I can hardly ever say no to them. We try to really watch what they get to eat - very little human food - but usually we have a batch of 'special dog' homemade dog treats on hand, and the nerds get a couple every day.

One of their favorites (and the one I made most recently) is the Peanut Butter Banana Treats. Crystal is a huge fan. If she happens to know where they're being stored, she'll sit by that spot on constant patrol. If you walk anywhere within her eyesight she'll do some prancing and turning, and then she does this weird Chewbacca noise...just to let you know that she wants one.

I thought I'd share this recipe with you (the recipe has been adapted from a book a good friend gave me) :)

Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats

Here's what you'll need

 1 c. Wheat Flour

1 c. All Purpose Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/3 c. Shredded Carrot

1 Large Ripe Banana - Mashed

1/4 c. Peanut Butter - Unsalted Natural Preferred (I didn't have that on hand....)

1/3 c. Distilled Water

Parchment Paper

Baking Sheet


Preheat oven to 325°

In a large bowl mix both flours, baking soda and cinnamon together until well combined.

In another bowl mix grated carrots, mashed banana, peanut butter and water together until well combined.

Make a well in the flour and pour the liquid mixture into it

Mix on low speed with a paddle attachment as long as your mixer can stand it. It gets pretty thick so just keep an eye on it. You can mix any lumps in by hand.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" thickness. If you find the dough is too sticky, just mix in some more All Purpose Flour until it's the desired consistency. Use cookie cutters of your desired shape to cut out individual treats. Reroll scraps and keep cutting. At the top of the picture below you can see what I do with extraextraextra scraps. They get made into tiny treat balls. That's just pure laziness on my part.

Bake at 325° for 20 mins on a parchment lined baking sheet. Turn off your oven and allow treats to cool in it. Once treats are cooled, removed from oven and store in an airtight container. These can be stored for about a week and a half in a cool spot (not the fridge).

I think they're a cute idea to give away as gift too. I like to hand them out to family, friends and neighbors during the holidays. You can just dress them up with little bows, or stick them in a cute container.

I'm off to give Crystal a treat so she'll stop growling at the damn cupboard.

'til next time...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Keeping us on our toes

Last Friday was a muggy 74° with crazy tornadoes and hail, then Monday morning I wake up to this.

It was light and fluffy and wonderful. I think it might have snowed more last night than it did any other occasion this Winter... However, it was 40° today and will be 60° tommorow, so all that beautiful whiteness will turn into a beautiful mess of muddiness. Ugh. Muddy dog paws. :/

After having looked around we found that we were so unbelievably lucky to have gotten off pretty much Scott free during the last round of storms. The only thing is my car - and that's pretty much just aesthetic. There's nothing wrong with it mechanically at all. Like I've mentioned before, the windshield was cracked in two places on the driver side, and the whole car is dented up. But it runs. We had a few items in the back of the house that were broke. I had a cat carrier that was sitting on my deck that was smashed, a dog bowl broken and some backyard lights that are history...but wow....have you heard about the devastation that happened East of us in West Liberty, KY? Unbelievable. The town is pretty much gone. So....screw my cat carrier and dog bowl, basically. My heart goes out to those people.

It's gonna be interesting to see where the weather takes us from here.

'til next t

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oh Hail No!

Another exciting, action filled day here in Kentucky. We dodged another round of tornadoes. Whew! They came close, within 10 miles of us, but we managed to escape major damage. We did however incur minor damage.

This hail managed to mess my car up pretty bad. It broke the windshield and killed just about every panel on the car. Seriously, the hood alone has 4 or 5 fist size dents and about 20 golf ball size dents. The rest of the car didn't far any better. At first I thought I had gotten off with just one dent and I was so freaking relieved...but then the sun poked his head out for a sec and I could suddenly see all the dents and their horrible graphic details.Todd and the neighbors were out looking at it and the general consensus is that insurance just might total it out. It's that or they'd have to re-skin the entire vehicle. Lucky me, now I get to deal with insurance. At least the car is still completely usable. It just looks crappy.

Before you ask, no we don't have a garage.

Here's a couple pics of the size of the hail - please keep in mind these are in my husband's gigantic bear claws. The one on the right is closer to the actual size of them. We waited a bit before we went out and grabbed a couple to photograph. The rain had melted them quite a bit by then.

Something I wish I had gotten a picture of but was too consumed with my car to think about at the time, was the spiky pine coned shaped hail. I'd never seen anything like it! The size and shape of smallish pine cones only much more spiky. They looked evil - I can't imagine how much those suckers would hurt.

And here's some fun video of the end of the hail. The really big hail only lasted about 2 minutes. Excuse my nasaly whiny voice in this video. I swear I'm one of those people that absolutley hates the sound of her own voice. So please don't make fun of it - or I'll get all uber self conscious and won't share my little videos with you anymore. 


After hearing that everyone is probably thinking "poor Todd". The man truly is a saint.

So tomorrow when the sun comes up I'll meander on out there and take some pictures of the car and jump on the phone with the insurance company. I'm sure we'll spend a chunk of time picking up branches and other debris too.            yay.  

hoping you're all safe tonight...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Celebrity Status Confirmed

So that video of the tornado sirens I posted yesterday? Well, CNN just happened to contact me to ask if they could use it as some of the opening footage for last night's Anderson Cooper 360!! How freaking cool is that? So of course I called all my family and friends so that they could set their DVRs to record the brief shot of my kitchen on television. I got such a kick out of it! My grandma called me today to tell me that she's seen it a couple more times on CNN - different programs though. In the whole scheme of things this means absolutely nothing...but I am so jazzed about it!

That, in addition to the fact that I finished another custom doll order has made today a pretty good day! :)

Melanie, a friend of mine from high school saw the Big Head Bailey Doll I made for my friend Sonja, and asked me to make a custom doll of her friend's lab for their daughter's birthday. I finally wrapped that up this evening and I'll be shipping it out tomorrow, which is a load off. I always get really stressed out when I send out an order. I just worry so much that the person will get the item and not be happy with it. It's a tad bit stressful.

I think tomorrow will be a craft free day. Instead I think I'll submerse myself in the smell of Pinesol and clean laundry...maybe even wet dog.  No. Strike the wet dog. I'm not washing those beasts by myself.... Whatever, I'll be cleaning house at any rate.

Oh, and guess what I saw tonight??? A GIGANTIC beast of a spider crawling at me across the living room floor. Not really. He was big, but not gigantic. He was California big, but not Kentucky big. I guess he means Spring is upon us. Well, him and the thick ass swarms of gnats that are hoovering everywhere. I asked Todd to get some spider granules and crawl under the house to spread them this weekend. Lucky guy. 

Grrrrrrrrrrr. I so don't want to deal with huge spiders scaring the crap out of me all the time. If anything will make me miss Winter, it'll be that.

Hope you're all doing well!

'til next time...