Friday, December 21, 2012

Candied Orange Peels

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Have you ever made candied orange peels?  I think they are sometimes called Orangettes.  I’ve never had them before but have always thought they looked lovely and delicious and they are.  A friend pinned a photo of them on Pinterest the other day and I quickly checked out the links.  The link took  me to a great blog called Closet Cooking (cooking in a closet sized kitchen)  written by Kevin in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and there you will find an excellent tutorial on how to make these delicious Christmas treats!

Candied Orange Peel

Here is the recipe.

Candied Orange Peel

Ingredients:

3  navel oranges,

2 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup sugar (to be used to “sugar” the peels after they have been cooked and drained.)

Directions:

1. Cut the top and bottom from the orange.
2. Cut the peel each orange into 4 vertical pieces and remove from orange in one piece.
3. Cut the peel into thin strips.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook the peels in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain and rinse.
5. Bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat in a sauce pan.
6. Add the peel, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peels are tender, about 45 minutes.
7. Drain and toss the peels in the sugar. Note: You want to drain the orange peels well. If you just throw them straight from the syrup into the sugar, the sugar will clump up. (Tip: Save the syrup and use it in ice tea.)
8. Place the peels on a cooling rack and let them sit until the coating is dry, anywhere from 24-48 hours.

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Here are my orange peels drying on a baking rack after I sugared them. 

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And here they are.  Everyone in my family very cautiously sampled them and each one’s head started bobbing up in down as a smile spread across their face.  “These are good!”

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I hear you can also make candied peels out of lemon, limes, and grapefruit!  I think lemons might be my next project!

And before I go, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.  If you can believe it, we still don’t have a tree and I am leaving tomorrow morning to Tennessee for the weekend with my daughter Kelsey to attend a dear friend’s daughter’s wedding shower!   I have so much to do that my head is spinning!!   It’ll all get done somehow….it always does.  I am convinced that Christmas wouldn’t happen without the women and Moms in this world!!

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Creating Little Bits of Christmas

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I am creating little bits of Christmas where I can.   Can you believe that we still don’t have our tree up?!  Our daughter just finished here last exam yesterday and will be home later tonight.  She’ll help get us into the Christmas Spirit and we’ll get that tree up before the weekend is over! 

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It’s not that I haven’t decorated for Christmas.  I have been creating little bits of Christmas around the house so it really does feel like the holidays.  There is just no tree.

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This bright red tray is new this year and I have loved putting it together.  The tray is a bright and glossy cherry red.  The snowman and the trees were picked up from before Thanksgiving which is when you now have to shop for new d├ęcor these days before it all gets picked over by the first week in December.  I hate that!  And then I added some more Mason Jars with Epsom Salt snow and a white candles.

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   And I made the “Noel” burlap banner from some pre-wired burlap ribbon that I found at Hobby Lobby and I stenciled it.

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In fact, I made a whole bunch of banners that I took down to Rustic Romance.  They look fabulous in the Christmas trees down at the shop.  And I am sure they will look awesome here at home too…that is when we get our tree!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Candle Mason Jars

 

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There is something about a Mason Jar that always makes me stop and consider it’s purchase when I am out and about  shopping in some of my most favorite and thrifty of shopping spots.  I came upon a nice collection recently and purchased every one that they had.   My favorites were the Mason Jars with the star in the middle.  So Texan looking!

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But the Atlas Mason Jars come in at a close second.  I made some luminaries out them.  They are very simple to do.  The “snow” in the bottom of the jars is Epsom Salts.  Very economical as far as fake snow goes!  And I added a short chunky white candle. 

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I painted the tops of my jar lids a bright and glossy Christmas red and added a jingle bell tied on with red and white butcher’s string.

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Very festive don’t you think?!

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I made a whole set to line my front porch with on Christmas Eve.  Kept a couple to give away as gifts and the rest I took over to Rustic Romance to sell. 

Then after the holidays, I‘ll take a bath in the Epsom Salts, (just kidding) and I’ll save the jars and use them for when I make pickles in the summertime.  Always multi-tasking.  :)

I am linking up to Nifty Thrifty Tuesday over at Coastal Charm.  Lot’s of great ideas to see over there!

I am also linking up to the Christmas Craft Linky Party at Shanty 2 Chic.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Make Christmas Rosette Ornaments

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I have been making paper ornaments over the past couple of days and have loved making these Christmas Rosette Ornaments because they are so easy.  And it’s easy to create something unique each time you make them.  Just change the paper you use or….

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add different colors of glitter, buttons, small holiday embellishments, and like I did today, you can add pre-made holiday tags which makes these unique and even more easy!!

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I spotted these papers at Hobby Lobby a couple of months ago.   I like their selection of scrapbooking papers the best.   I especially like the more retro looking paper that I used for these rosettes.

To get started, simply take your papers and divide them into strips.  I folded the papers in half lengthwise, creased them really well, and tore them by hand down the center.  Then I tore each of the halves in half lengthwise in the same way.  Of course you could use scissors but I just liked the soft edge that creasing and tearing  gave the strips.  I also think that the fancy scissors with the scalloped edges would be very nice here.    Then after you have your strips torn, take each strip and fold the entire strip into an “accordion”. 

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After you have all your strips folded you can then glue them together.  Each rosette will take two of the glued together “accordions”.

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I found these mini wood clothes pin clips (purchased from the Ballard’s Catalog for a completely different purpose) to be the best and most helpful crafting tool.  Use whatever you have on hand even paper clips will work.   After gluing two strips together I used two of the clips to hold them tight while they dried.  And I have to say Aleen’s Tacky Glue is my favorite glue for projects like this.  After all of the strips were dry , then it was time to from each strip into a rosette by gluing the opposite ends together and clipping them till dry.  So you are gluing it to itself to form a circle or a tube it that makes sense. 

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Here is the tricky part.  Once the accordions are dry and secure, you will have to play with it and gently press it down,  pattern side up,so that it pops into the rosette shape.  It seems to be easier if you gather the inner accordion pleats together and gently pop it into place.  You will figure it out I promise!  The rosettes will not stay flat until you place and glue something to the center of the rosette. I had some small wooden circles that I used from an old game that I found at Goodwill.  Recycling at it’s crafting best!   I glued the circles to the center of my rosettes and and then added some weight to the top to keep them flat until I was sure they were dry.   I also used some cute holiday tags that I had and added them to the center of some of my rosettes. 

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And then you can get creative by adding some glitter.  It’s just  not the holidays till you pull out the glitter!  And Martha Stewart has some very sparkly glitter in so many  gorgeous colors.

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I am also in love with red and white butcher’s twine.   I replaced the silver and gold metallic threads that came on the tags with the butcher’s twine.  It just gives your rosettes a nicer and more homemade look I think. 

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Here you can see that the different papers like the music sheets I used on some of these paired with different pre-made holiday tags really changes the looks and makes each one unique. 

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This is probably my favorite one out of the batch of many that I made over the past few days.  I found a snowflake button in a jar of mixed buttons and embellishments that I picked up at Michaels’ quite a while ago and in it I also found the mini gingerbread man cookie cutter.  Both were glued on to the center tags.  And don’t worry, the Aleen’s Tacky Glue dries clear. 

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The music paper is fun to work with but I really love the retro paper.  I added a silver button right on top of the green glittered center.

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These are a quick, easy, and fun project that let’s you use your imagination on how you want to embellish them to make each one unique.   Have fun and don’t let all the cute papers in the paper aisle at your favorite craft store overwhelm you!  Just get started!

I am linking up to the Christmas Craft Linky Party over at Shanty 2 Chic!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vintage Wood Seat Folding Chairs

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These folding chairs have been a work in progress for a while now.  So while I hate to part with them, I am happy to get them out of my garage!  They were delivered to Rustic Romance and I hope they make a great addition to someone’s home.  If anything, they will make great extra seating with the holidays coming up.

They were pretty beat up when I found them, one more so than the other but with some black paint and little bit of elbow grease  they turned out better than I had hoped!

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The frames of the chairs were metal but the seats were wood and one looked like it had been left outside in the rain a time or two. At first I tried to spray paint them but it wasn’t sticking in some places and looked blotchy.  So instead I used black chalk paint (not chalkboard paint) because I needed something to stick to the metal and I didn’t want to have to prime them.  It worked and I gave each chair two coats of paint. 

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Next I pulled out a new stencil that I had ordered from Maison de Stencils. 

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I decided to stencil the wood seats and I also added some numbers to each chair back.   Then after everything was nice and dry, I added a coat of wax to all parts of each chair, let it dry, and buffed it off. 

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And there you have it.  One of a kind folding chairs.   I am so happy with how they turned out!

I am linking up with The Sunday Showcase Party over at Under the Table Dreaming.  Come see all the great projects there!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Making Chalkboards

Rustic Romance Chalkboards

Here is what I have been working on this week.  Chalkboards!  I have been re-purposing some old pictures with frames and freshening up the frames with some paint and then covering over the artwork with a couple of coats of chalkboard paint.  Let me show you some of the ugliness that lies beneath on the “Baby it’s cold outside” piece. :)

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Quite the transformation if I do say so myself.  I also scored some amazingly old and in great shape Mason Jars that I am busy with.  I hope to have something to show you in the next few days on that front.  I am so happy the weekend is here!  I haven’t even started decorating the house yet for Christmas.  I am hoping to catch some seriously lacking Christmas spirit soon!  How about you?  Are you all decorated and ready for the holidays this year? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

French Lavender Winter Comfort Pillows

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It’s cold here!  The sun has been shining and there has been no rain or snow, but it’s COLD!  Especially at night.  So for the last few nights I have been heating up one of these awesome bags in the microwave and taking it to bed with me.  It warms up the sheets, my feet, and me as I drift off to sleep.    I first spotted these wonderful “Warming Bags” over at Spoonful of Sugar and have been plotting out how to make them over the past few weeks.    Here is a photo of her bags that so captured my attention.

I first fell in love with the Eiffel Tower Fabric they used and the tags they added for gift giving are very cute.  They made their bags using wheat.   They put together an excellent tutorial if you want to make some of your own.     Click here on Spoonful of Sugar” to see how they did it. 

For my bags  I decided to use white rice mixed with a little bit of French lavender instead of the wheat simply because I couldn’t find the kind of wheat they used and I already had the white rice and lavender on hand.   I wanted to make some these for gifts this year and of course wanted to try and find the Eiffel Tower fabric or get as close to it as I could so the first task was to locate some fabric.  I like to shop local when I can but Eiffel Tower fabric is in short supple around here so I found some online at Fabric.com and ordered a couple of yards.  It arrived on Wednesday and by Friday night I had five bags made.  

I changed the measurements only slightly for my bags and cut the fabric into 10” X 6” pieces.    With the printed sides facing each other I pinned the pieces together and sewed them together leaved about a 2 inch opening  so that I had a space to fill the bags.   Carefully turn the bags right side out and give them a quick pass with the iron.  I mixed the rice and lavender together in a large bowl careful not to add too much lavender.  You don’t want the scent to be too overpowering.  I used a funnel to fill the bags so that they were full but still loose enough to be able to “mush” it around if you know what I mean.  After filling the bags, I hand stitched them closed with tight little stiches to ensure the bags stayed nice and tightly closed. 

I am still working on making the gift giving tags with the instructions on how to heat them up.

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To enjoy your warming bags I would suggest that you heat it up for about 1 and 1/2 minutes in the microwave along with a small dish of water to ensure that your bag doesn’t dry out.  Also, heat in small intervals of time if you want it warmer after the initial first minute or so.    You do not want to burn or scorch the rice in your bags because if you do it will affect the way that they smell.  

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I gave one to my daughter Kelsey and last night both she and I cuddled up with our Comfort Pillows and watched The Family Stone movie last night before trotting off to bed with our re-heated bags. I love that movie. It’s on my list of favorite movies to watch during the holidays.    We watched Love Actually the night before (another favorite holiday movie that made my list!).

I can’t say enough good things about these delightful little pillows of comfort!  They really are a quick and easy project and I think they just make people happy.  Can’t ask for much more than that!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Apple Crumb Pie

 Apple Crumb Top Pie Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving and the Detroit Lions are on the TV.  They are winning as of right now.  Come on Lions!  My handsome husband was just dispatched to the local grocery store for more Boursin cheese for the Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms that my daughter is making.  The mushrooms are so big that we have to double the recipe.  So off he goes on what I hope is the final grocery store run.

The house smells great because the Apple Crumb Top Pie just finished baking.  I made a Pumpkin Dessert Roll a couple of days ago and I looked up the recipe on my recipe index on my blog.  Re-reading the blog post  mentioned that I would later be posting the recipe for this Apple Crumb Pie.  Well, for some reason I never got around to it till now.

Here is the recipe.    I have to give credit where credit is due.  This is a Better Homes and Gardens recipe and I have been making it for years.  It’s delicious!

Apple Crumb Top Pie

Ingredients:

1/2 15 ounce package rolled refrigerated unbaked piecrust (1 crust)

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (about 2-1/4 pounds)

1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Let piecrust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease piecrust into plate without stretching it.

Crimp edge as desired. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice.

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apple slices; gently toss until coated.

Transfer apple mixture to the piecrust-lined pie plate. 

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Crumb Topping

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, stir together all-purpose flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle with Crumb Topping.

To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 20 minutes more or until apples are tender and filling is bubbly.

Cool on a wire rack. To serve warm, let pie cool at least 2 hours. Makes 8 servings.

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Can you smell that cinnamon apple pie aroma??

I am so grateful to all you who read my blog and take the time to leave comments.  I have met so many kind and wonderful people in this blogging world.   Thanks to you all for stopping by and I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!