Friday, November 20, 2009

Homespun Holiday Recipes and Snowman Ornament

Happy Friday, my blogging friends!  What a busy week I’ve had and will have an even busier weekend!  Tomorrow Kory has bowling in the morning and after that, I’m meeting two of my sisters and three nieces for a late lunch/early dinner and then we’re all heading to the Christmas Connection at the Cleveland IX Center.  There are suppose to be 100’s of crafters there!  I can’t wait!!

On Sunday, we’re shampooing our carpets so they’re nice and clean for the holidays.  Plus, we’re going to pull out all of the Christmas decorations and go through them to make sure everything’s in working condition (especially the outside decor) and repair anything that needs fixed so it’s all ready to be put out on Thanksgiving day.

I have gone through a few boxes of my inside decorations and decided that I’m going to simplify my decor this year.  I’m going to rid of a lot of my stuff.  At first, I was going to let my sisters and nieces pick what  they wanted, but my daughter said that her friend might be interested in whatever’s left over because she’s newly married and they don’t have many Christmas decorations.  Brittney has been friends with this girl since middle school – they were even roommates all through college and I decided “to heck” with my siblings – they’re older and more established than Rachael – I’ll let Rachael have first dibs.  I kind of chuckled last year when she was telling us how they didn’t have much to decorate their tree with so she was baking gingerbread boys and stringing popcorn and cranberries to hang on the tree along with white lights and tying on some red bows.  I’m thinking, “sounds like the perfect tree to me!!” 


There was a radio personality that used to be on a Cleveland radio station that used to talk about wonderful recipes on air and then you could go on the station’s website and print them out.   One day, she was talking about these Oreo Truffles.  She kept talking about how delicious they were, but the best thing about them was that they were so easy to make.  Well, just hearing the word “Oreo” caught my attention!!  I had to try them!  These are VERY easy to make and absolutely delicious!!  I hope you give them a try.

Oreo Truffles

1 (12 oz.) pkg. premium white chocolate chips

1 (1 lb. 2 oz.) pkg. regular Oreo cookies

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, cut into chunks

In a double boiler, over hot, not boiling water, melt the white chocolate chips.

Meanwhile, place Oreos and cream cheese in a food processor with a steel blade and process until it’s a thick paste, scraping sides a couple of times.

Roll into 1” balls and dip into melted chocolate.  Let dry on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet and keep refrigerated.  Makes about 50.

**If you want the melted chocolate a little thinner for easier dipping, stir in a little vegetable oil until it’s the right consistency.  Also, for a festive look, sprinkle truffles with colored sugar or other small decorations right after you dip them.  They can also be placed in small foil or paper bon-bon cups.


This next recipe comes from Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa.  Once you try these marshmallows, you’ll never want to go back to the store bought ones again!  These are SO good!!  They’re also the perfect treat to top off your hot cocoa with!  The only drawback is…you need a stand mixer.   Also, pure vanilla extract gives it a much better flavor than imitation vanilla flavoring.

Homemade Marshmallows

3 pkgs. unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 c. white sugar

1/2 c. cold water

1 c. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. water

1 T. pure vanilla extract

confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 c. cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the the syrup.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 c. water in a small pan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin.

Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.

Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust a 9”x12” non-metal baking dish with confectioner’s sugar.

Pour the marshmallow mix into the pan, smooth the top and dust with more confectioner’s sugar.

Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them into squares.

Dust the cut sides with confectioner’s sugar.

* These are also delicious dipped in melted chocolate.

** A couple of years ago, I made these for my mom for Christmas.  She loves coconut, so instead of using confectioner’s sugar, I  used toasted coconut to dust the marshmallows with.  They turned out fantastic!!


As always, if you’d like to see who else is participating in Colleen’s (And Baby Makes Five) Homemade Holiday recipe Swap click here:



 As promised the other day, here’s a tutorial for making these snowman ornaments.



Supplies needed:


Styrofoam balls, whatever size you’d like

Paper Mache – white

Sculpey/Fimo modeling clay – terracotta

paper clips


whole peppercorns or allspice

large ziploc baggy

bowl of water

covered work surface

foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with Pam

paper towels

First, make the nose by shaping a piece of the molding clay.  Take a butter knife and make marks on the sides to look like a carrot.  Break the toothpick in half and push one half into the nose.  Bake according to the directions on the molding clay’s package.



To make the hanger, push a paper clip into the styrofoam ball.


Put the desired amount of paper mache into a large ziploc baggy.  Following the directions on the packaging, add enough warm water to the mache until it’s the consistency of thick brownie batter.

IMG_1915(I was out of large ziploc baggies, so I used an old tupperware bowl.)

This next step is kind of messy.  Make sure you have paper towels handy and a bowl of water.

Work small amounts of paper mache onto styrofoam ball.  Periodically, dip your fingers into the water to keep the mache from sticking to your hands.  When the ball is completely covered, wet your fingers and smooth out all of the lumps.  Take the nose and push into the ball.  Push whole peppercorns into the mache for the mouth and, depending on the size of the styrofoam ball, use peppercorns or allspice for the eyes.  The finished snowman above has peppercorns for eyes - the one below has allspice (they’re a little larger).



Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and bake in a 200 degree oven.  For the first couple of hours,  turn the snowman periodically to prevent it from sticking to the foil.  Smooth out any flat ridges. Drying time varies – about 4 - 6 hours.

When snowman is dry, brush him with coffee to stain him.  Place him back in the oven to dry – maybe 15 – 20 minutes.  Repeat process until you reach the desired darkness.

If you want to make a shelf sitter, omit the paperclip and while the paper mache is still wet, push down slightly on the ball to flatten the bottom so he’ll sit flat.  While drying, keep turning but don’t smooth out the ridge on the bottom.

The snowman pictured above on the foil pan is going to be a shelf sitter.  He’s not completely done yet, so I’ll post a picture of him later.

wirebtrswetdiva  I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I have so much more to share with you, but I’ll leave it for other posts!

Until Next Time. . . Kris

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Few Homemade Christmas Decorations

I just wanted to share with you a few Christmas decorations that I have been working on.  I haven’t started decorating yet (not until Thanksgiving night), I just threw some lights and garland on a tree so I could take pictures!!

Do you remember these?


Well, these are what I did with them.  I wanted them to look more like an old St. Nicholas with hoods instead of caps, but I just couldn’t get them to look right.  So these are what I ended up with.  I think they turned out okay.  I have 10 completely done and have 10 more just about done.  Now I just need to figure out where I’m going to put them!  LOL  I think I might tuck them in the garland on my mantel.


For those of you that thought I sculpted the faces, thank you for your confidence in my crafting abilities, but I used a mold!!  LOL   I’m not sure about other craft stores, but for you fellow Ohioans, Pat Catans carries them in the Sculptey/Fimo clay section.  I inserted small brown glass beads for the eyes and used cotton roving that I bought several years ago  from somewhere I don’t remember for the beard.

I also cross stitched 12 of these little ditty bags.  I loved the ones that Kath (The Olde Weeping Cedar) made and posted on her blog and decided I wanted to make some similar.  I may swap out the sweet annie with some cedar when I buy my fresh greens, but I don’t know.  They look better in person – the sweet annie shows up better than in the picture.


I made these a couple of years ago.  I just wanted to show them to you now in case anyone liked them, they would have plenty of time to make them.  But looking at them now pictured like that, I may change the buttons to smaller ones.  LOL 


I also made these a few years ago, too.  They are made out of paper mache with whole pepper corns for the face and fimo clay for the nose.  I’ll post a tutorial on Friday on how to make these.












So check back here on Friday to learn how to make these, plus I’ll recipes for Homemade Marshmallows and Oreo Truffles!

Until Next Time. . . .Kris

Monday, November 16, 2009

Styrofoam Oranges

I’ve had a few people wanting to know where I got my styrofoam oranges at.  The ones I had pictured in my tutorial post were purchased last year at a craft store chain in Ohio called Pat Catans.  I went to 2 different stores on Friday to buy some more, but they didn’t have any.  I found a bag of 6 oranges at Michaels craft store for $9.99, but they seemed very hard.  I wasn’t sure if they were made out of stryofoam or a hard plastic, so I didn’t buy them.   I later went to Joann Fabrics where they had individual ones for $1.99.  They looked and felt hard like the ones at Michaels, but I bought a couple anyways to see if they’d work.  A screwdriver poked into them very easily!!    So if you’re looking for oranges, check out Joanns!  Those 40% coupons will come in handy, too!!



Friday, November 13, 2009

Homemade Holiday Recipe and Bathroom Pics

Happy Friday, my prim friends!!  It’s going to be another gorgeous day here in Ohio.  Sunny and in the 60’s.  Can’t complain about that!!

And now get ready to hear a collective “groan” in blogland when I tell you . . . . . .I’m about done with my Christmas shopping!!  :o)  Did you hear it?   lol 

I’m all done with my daughter Kory, I have one more thing to get my son – but it doesn’t get released until Nov. 20th, I have a couple more things to get for my hubby (I need to find a place to hide them, first!) and I have the few items my daughter, Brittney, had on her list.  She really didn’t have many ideas this year other than a new ipod and a few books.  She’ll probably get gift cards for the remainder of the amount we spend, but I’ll hold off getting those in case she comes up with something else.  I also picked up a few stocking stuffers along with a few bags of holiday candy (3 musketeers, twix, peppermint patties, etc.)  We started a tradition several years ago that after Santa ate his milk and cookies, he left a basket full of candy.  You know. . . .because there wasn’t enough goodies already in the house!! lol

I love getting my shopping done early!!!  Now I can relax and enjoy decorating and baking for the holidays. 


A few of you have left comments or emails in regards to my Dining Room furniture.  My hubby and I made all of the furniture pieces with the exception of the dining room chairs and the bottom portion of the stereo cupboard, which is a dresser I bought at a garage sale and then made the top piece for it.  The desk was made many years ago and was our 2nd attempt at making furniture!  It went through a few transformations before ending up the way it is now.  The cupboard above it was actually a “now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t” cover for an in-the-wall air conditioning unit that has now been removed due to having central air installed.   We’ve added a shelf and now use it for storing various things.  The wing chair was sitting out for the garbage just down the road from me and I sent my hubby in the dark to go pick it up!!  It was in great shape, but the upholstery was filthy and had a couple of tears in it.  It was my first attempt at reupholstering a piece of furniture!!  I really didn’t know what I was doing. . . .I just “winged” it!  lol  It’s been about two years and I still haven’t finished the cushion or put the face pieces on the front of the arms.  I keep putting off making the piping and learning how to make box pleats, so for now, I just have some fabric tucked around the seat!  For those that have commented on the fabric – I bought it at Joann Fabrics in the Home Decor fabric section.  And, finally, the hutch is made in three pieces and is actually navy blue, not black.  I hope I answered all of the questions!!


This stuffing recipe is fabulous.  My family loves it!  It’s a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving dinner. 

Cornbread, Sausage, Apple & Pecan Stuffing

12 T. butter (1 1/2 sticks)

2 c. finely-chopped yellow onions

3 tart apples, cored and chunked, but not peeled

1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage, with sage (Bob Evans)

3 c. coarsely crumbled cornbread

3 c. coarsely crumbled whole-wheat or multi-grain bread

3 c. coarsely crumbled French or Italian bread

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried sage

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 c. chopped Italian parsley

1 1/2 c. shelled pecan halves (do not chop)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt half the butter in a large skillet.

Remove onion and butter from pan and put in a very large bowl to be mixed later.

In same skillet, melt rest of butter, add apple, and cook quickly over high heat until lightly browned, but not mushy.

Remove apples and butter from pan and put in the bowl with the onions.

With the pan back on the burner, add sausage, crumbling as you cook it over medium heat, and cook until lightly browned.

When done, remove with a slotted spoon and add it to the mixing bowl.

Reserve drippings for basting later.

Add remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and combine gently.

If you’re going to stuff a turkey, cool completely in the refrigerator first.

To cook it as a separate dressing, spoon the mixture into a large casserole (13x9 or slightly larger), cover with aluminum foil and bake 30-45 minutes at 325 degrees, basting occasionally with cooking juices from the turkey or with reserved sausage fat, if needed.

Uncover the pan for the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown.

wirebtrswetdivaTo see who else is participating in Colleen’s (And Baby Makes Five) Homemade Holiday Recipe Swap, click here:


wirebtrswetdiva  Here are a few pictures of my main bathroom.  I’m going to change out my light fixtures on both sides of the mirror once I choose between three styles of sconces that I like, which has been a dilemma for the last couple of months!  lol   I’d also like to get a new cabinet and sink top some time,  especially since the sink doesn’t line up with the mirror!!  I’ve lived with it for 21 years like that, what’s a few more, right?

Main Bathroom 2009 001

Main Bathroom 2009 002

Main Bathroom 2009 007

Main Bathroom 2009 009

Main Bathroom 2009 010

Main Bathroom 2009 011

Main Bathroom 2009 012

Main Bathroom 2009 014

wirebtrswetdivaThanks for stopping by.  I appreciate each and every one of you and I love hearing your comments .  I hope you all have a great weekend!!

Until Next Time . . . . Kris

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clove-Studded Oranges and Dining Room Pics

Happy Wednesday, my prim friends!!  Is everybody getting ready for the holidays?  We’ve been taking advantage of having warm temperatures and started putting up our outside Christmas lights.  We didn’t get very far, though, because when my hubby plugged in the icicle lights that go on the roof to check them, more than half of them were burned out. 

Many years ago, when icicle lights just came on the market and were only available in white strands, we made our ownI also didn’t like the store-bought ones because they were too flimsy-looking.  It was never a problem replacing bulbs, here and there, each year.  But this year, out of 11 strands, only 2 completely worked.  So, instead of taking the time to go through each strand, we decided to just make new ones.  I went out and bought several boxes of lights and hubby wired one strand together and hung them on the roof.  Adding it to a previous strand, you can see a big difference between the two.  The lights are closer together on the new strands and when wired together, they don’t look like icicles,  just a bunch of lights clustered together.  So. . . .those came down and he’s back to going through every strand and checking each and every light bulb!!  (Thanks, honey!!   I still love you more!)  He only has a couple more to work on and should have them up by this weekend. 

About 5 or 6 years ago, my parents quit having the family over for Thanksgiving dinner.  There just got to be too many of us (32 – give or take a couple).  My three older siblings ( I’m the youngest of 5)  have their own kids and grandkids to celebrate Thanksgiving with and Chuck’s side of the family grew apart after his mom passed away about 10 years ago. Since we had nowhere to go, we started a tradition of putting up our Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving day.  In the morning, while the turkey is roasting in the oven, we go out and put the final decorations up outside.  After dinner and everything’s cleaned up, we put the Christmas tree up and the kids decorate it.   This worked out great when my oldest daughter was in college and was home for Thanksgiving weekend to be able to participate with the decorating. Ever since my kids were little, I  bought them an ornament each year from a craft show with their name and the year on it.  They each have their own box of ornaments that they put on the tree and when they move out and have their own tree to decorate, they can take their box of ornaments with them.  We officially  “light up” the Christmas lights on Thanksgiving night.  I put the rest of my decorations out over the weekend.  Although my hubby claims I decorate all the way up to Christmas!  lol



In the past, I’ve made centerpieces with fresh pine greens and fresh fruit.  Since you need to keep the greens moist, sometimes my fruit doesn’t last until Christmas.  This year I’m attempting to use artificial fruit and thought I’d share with you how I studded mine with cloves. Don’t mind the display – I just threw this together to take the pic!  Plus I have more to make.



To make clove-studded oranges, you need:

fake, Styrofoam oranges

whole cloves

Folk Art Antiquing Medium (I use Apple Butter Brown #819) If you can’t find it, dilute brown paint with water

Phillips screwdriver or fat screw or nail

First, lightly rub antiquing medium over your orange to age it a little.  Let dry.

Take your screwdriver IMG_1866

and poke wholes in your orange.  You can be creative and make shapes, like  stars, and various patterns in it.  This step makes it a lot easier to insert the cloves!!

Finally, push a clove into the hole.  If one breaks off in the orange, take your screwdriver and push it farther in and push a new clove in.


I’ve also been working on these:



Don’t they look like a bunch of grumpy, old men?  lol  They’re going to be Santa faces.  I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with them, yet.  I have ideas, but I’m not sure how they’ll turn out!  I’ll share pictures with you when I get them finished.

I’ve also finished this cross stitch picture.  It’s a Pineberry Lane pattern.  Now I just need to find a frame with a 7” x 7” opening to put it in.



Finally, as promised, I have pictures of my Dining Room.  The lighting still isn’t the best – there was either too much sunlight or not enough.  When I can get better pictures, I’ll post more.

I tweaked the middle section of my hutch and still need to work on the side shelves, but I probably won’t do anything with them until after Christmas.












Please come visit me on Friday to check out a delicious recipe for Cornbread, Sausage, Apple & Pecan Stuffing.  Plus. . . .I’ll have a couple of pictures from my main bathroom.

Until Next time . . . . Kris


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