"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15


Bazaar preview

Last year was my first experience selling at holiday bazaars. I did two, and loved them so much! I think because it's like playing store. Half the fun is setting up my table display, making it all pretty and organized. I was hooked. So I've officially signed up for one this year, and tomorrow I'm mailing my registration for another. 
The first one of the year is this coming weekend! And it's two days long! I love that idea. Same amount of work setting up, but two days worth of sales! Here are the details:
St. Paul of Damascus Lutheran Church
24510 SE Hwy. 212
Boring, OR 97089
Friday Nov. 4th 1pm-8pm
Saturday Nov. 5th 9am-4pm
Here's a link to the flier with more information.

So, naturally, I've been getting very crafty. I'll be bringing lots of new things to see how they sell! My absolute favorite things to make so far are wreaths!

I've always loved wreaths for all seasons. Especially unique ones. I have a fall one hanging on my door, a feather one in my living room, and usually we have several displayed around Christmas time- my favorite is a lavender beaded one. I know it doesn't sound Christmas-y, but it works with our decor! 

These twig wreaths are embellished with a variety of leaves, glittered pinecones, satin flowers, feathers, beads, buttons and tulle. 

These were such a refreshing creative outlet for me! Something different than my usual sewing. I've been having a blast with my glue gun.

This is a shabby chic fabric scrap wreath! Embellished with a bow and flower. 

I've seen tulle wreaths on pinterest lately and fallen in love with them. I just so happened to have a fair amount of peacock colored tulle lying around... thanks to my halloween bunco costume...

And you all know I love repurposing! So here is my first peacock tulle wreath. 

I just love it. I think a peacock Christmas would be fabulous.

While I was having fun making satin flowers I decided to make some hair clips. Here they are, clipped to my fall garland. So fun and glam!

Of course I'll also have my usual items: reusable snack bags, stuffed owls, tons of coffee cozies... and most likely ducks and beavers embellished onesies, super cute ironing board covers, embellished wipes cases, pretty sleep masks, maybe even a diaper cake or two! I just love making them. 
A great friend will be joining me and bringing her gorgeous knitted hats, baby headbands, and possibly little girls peasant blouses! 
Should be lots of fun. Come stop by if you're local! I'd love visitors! 


Pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream...oh, and some veggies

Today it is raining sideways. Perfect day to stay in my yoga pants (don't know why they're called that.... I never do yoga in them) and bake. I pinned this recipe forever ago, and it was just what I was hoping for on a day like today. Pumpkin, since halloween is tomorrow, and salted caramel buttercream! Because there is no better combination. Here is the original recipe. I sprinkled some with cinnamon and some with my gorgeous pink sea salt from hawaii. Also I used fresh pumpkin instead of canned. For the first time this year I made a pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin~ and it yielded about double what I needed for the pie. So I froze the rest and it came in so handy today!

I've somehow resisted eating one (so far) but I did lick a bit of frosting off my finger... so scrumptious.

I think they'll be perfect after our chili feast and trick or treating tomorrow! 
Again, click here to visit made in melissa's kitchen for the recipe!

And to balance the cupcakes.... something healthy. But still delicious! I know I've said this before, but roasting veggies is the absolute best. It really brings out their flavor, they stay firm but tender (no mushy, soggy veggies in this house!), and it is so simple! Roasted broccoli is my favorite. Roasted red potatoes are a close second. This fall combo of carrots, fingerling potatoes, purple potatoes (from a friend's garden- gorgeous, right?), and garlic is as delish as it is pretty!

Just chop veggies, toss with olive oil and whatever seasonings you like. I think I used an italian blend, some sea salt and fresh ground pepper for this. Honestly just salt and pepper is wonderful though! Toss 'em on a pan (this is my favorite pampered chef baking stone~ It's very well seasoned from all this veggie roasting I tend to do!), then roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes more. Stir them around now and then. 

Serve as a side dish, toss with pasta, or just eat it straight off the pan as your dinner! That's my favorite way. :)
So there ya go! A healthy dinner so you feel better about eating all those pumpkin cupcakes.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some of the crafts I've been working on for my bazaars! One is coming up next weekend... hope those that are local can stop by and visit!


A few new baby crafts

 A sweet friend of mine recently asked if I could make a few things for her new baby girl~ who will be born tomorrow! Super excited for her and her family. Congrats to you, J & C!
Here is what I came up with, based on her ideas and preferences. 

This is something I would never have thought of, but what a fun idea! They are personalized luggage tags, with baby's name on them (blurred for the family's privacy). Mama plans to use them on her diaper bag and baby's carseat/carrier. 

 Mike helped with the design of her name; I chose several fonts I liked, and he worked them together to make these look great! Then I inked the edges and added some pretty ribbon. I just love how they turned out. 

 Another project I had never attempted but always meant to: pacifier clips. So much prettier than store bought ones, and very inexpensive to make! Plus these were just so fun, once I learned how to set the snaps (so simple! why have I never used snaps? they look so much nicer than velcro!).

This one is made with cozy, soft minky and grosgrain ribbon, plus a bow so it looks pretty clipped onto baby's outfit. 

I just used a combination of fabrics and ribbons (all nice, sturdy grosgrain), snaps, and suspender clips. I may be adding these to my etsy store soon! I love making them!

I've made these stretchy baby headbands before, but I always just sewed on a little fabric yo-yo (like in the 3rd picture below). My friend was hoping for bows on alligator clips for some mixing and matching. I think that is such a great idea! Then I can make bigger bows as baby girl grows, and she can use them as hair clips separate from the headbands. They also work for the big sisters! So versatile.

The bow clips were more time-consuming than I thought, but very fun. I wanted the metal parts to be covered in ribbon for comfort, so I used grosgrain again for a bit of grip on baby's fine hair. Plus it just looks pretty!

These also may appear in my etsy shop at some point; although etsy is saturated with baby headbands and hair clips. 
I really haven't put as much time and effort into my etsy store as I'd like, but I do intend to focus more strongly on it eventually. Perhaps early 2012. For the last year (almost) I've been using most of my spare time to brand and promote what has turned into a wholesale coffee cozy business. With tons of hubby's help. It's all been very exciting, and I'm thrilled to be able to finally share more with you very soon! Check back!

And best wishes to you, J & C, for a happy, uneventful birth tomorrow, and a speedy recovery. Mia is such a blessing from the Lord and I can't wait to see what she brings to your family!


My new favorite mac n cheese

A good, homemade, creamy macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite things ever. Especially on these chilly fall evenings. 
My mom made this version for us recently and I did not believe her when she told me it's pretty low in calories! 390 for a hearty 1 1/3 cup serving, 10.9 grams of fat... oh, it's still sinfully cheesy, but a lot healthier than most.
The secret? The sauce is made with pureed butternut squash! It makes it delicious and rich, with no butter, no flour, and no cream.

Here's what you'll need:
3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1lb squash)
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth, but of course we make it vegetarian)
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fat-free greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup (4 oz) grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup (1 oz) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 pound uncooked cavatappi (I used penne)
cooking spray
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup panko
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine squash, broth, milk and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper and greek yogurt. (My greek yogurt was expired-oops... so I made a last minute substitution and used mascarpone cheese instead. ) Remove the center of blender lid (so steam can escape); secure lid on blender, then cover the opening with a towel. Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture into a bowl; stir in gruyere, romano, and 2 tablespoons parmesan, stir until combined. 

Cook pasta according to package, drain well. Add to squash mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture evenly in a 13x9 baking dish (I used a 9" round ceramic dish instead- worked out fine) coated with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in remaining parmesan cheese. 

Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley.

This stuff is seriously so good. The butternut squash is not obvious when you eat it; it just adds a richness and a hint of sweetness. Yum. 


Margaret's tomato jam

This is fall comfort food at its best!
My friend Margaret shared this recipe with me, after I tasted hers and absolutely had to make my own.
It's really easy! My recipe yielded 6 pints.

Here's what you'll need:
5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped (got some fab looking ones at a local farm stand since mine haven't even ripened yet!)
3 1/2 cups sugar (I know. But it's so worth it.)
8 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes

In my opinion, it could use a bit more ginger and chili flakes... but that's just me. :)

You'll also need 5 or 6 pint canning jars, plus rings and new lids, a boiling water canner, and basic supplies as desired (jar lifters and funnels sure are handy).
I imagine you could freeze this if you don't want to can it... let me know if you try it!

Combine all ingredients in a big ole pot.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer until it becomes a sticky, jammy mess. The recipe says this will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours depending how high you keep the heat. Now, when I'm told to simmer, I set my gas stove about as low as it goes. After a good two hours at this temperature, my jam was more like tomato juice. So I kicked that heat up to about 3 on my range, and within a half hour or so it thickened up beautifully. 

Maybe simmer means something different to me that it does to you, but I'd raise that temp a bit or this will take all day! Which is fine, if you have all day. Because, wow, does it make your whole house smell amazing! 

So, once it's cooked down to where you'd like it, remove from heat and fill (clean, hot) jars, leaving 1/4" of headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings (not too tight!). Process in boiling water canner for 20 minutes. If you are new to canning or need more detailed instructions, the canning jars usually come with some handy little instructions. It really is easy. 

Something about having jar after jar of summer delights stacked up in my pantry makes me so happy. 

The first time I tasted this jam, Margaret had poured it over a brick of cream cheese and served it with crackers. It was to die for. 
Today I spread a bit on my grilled cheese sandwich for a simple rainy day lunch, and that sweet/savory/spiced combo was phenomenal. I can't wait to find more ways to use this delicious stuff! Wondering if it would be good on some grilled chicken for hubby? Or tossed with pasta and a little cream? Any other ideas?


Homemade flubber!

This rainy day project was all hubby's doing! Ty wanted to make a "potion"... so Mike did a little googling and found this recipe for flubber, or "slime". 

All you need is Elmer's school glue and borax! If you've ever made the homemade laundry detergent I've posted in the past you'll have borax on hand. If not you can find it in the laundry aisle at most grocery stores for a few dollars. One box lasts forever. We also happened to have several bottles of the school glue because I like to stock up when the stores have it ridiculously cheap for back to school. I think I got ours for 25 cents or something crazy like that. 

Here's the recipe:
In one bowl mix one bottle elmer's school glue (the white bottle- 4oz) with 4 oz water. Set aside.
In another bowl mix 1 tablespoon borax with another 4 oz water (warm is better). Stir until borax is dissolved. 
Then add the borax mixture to the glue mixture. Stir and knead until incorporated. Add food coloring if desired! This green turned out so cool!
Mike ended up adding a bit more borax to his recipe, and the longer you work with it the better it gets. So keep kneading!

Store in a lidded container and it will keep for several weeks! Our boys had so much fun with this! It's really cool how it sort of stays together in one glob. Ty especially loved it, and asked to play with it again after Beckham went to bed, then again the next day. It keeps him occupied forever. 
I sat down to play for a while too, and it really is fun stuff!

It really doesn't make much mess either. Better than play-doh in my opinion. I gave him a placemat to use, but the globs that slipped off were no problem. They just lift right off the table. 
Hubby thinks we should make a few big batches of different colors and package them individually to hand out to trick or treaters on Halloween! With a 'do not eat' label of course. Fun idea I think!


Beckham's rag quilt

I've wanted to attempt a rag quilt forever. I love the way the frayed seams look. This was one of those accidental projects, completely unplanned. One day I was killing time at one of my favorite craft stores and saw this line of cozy flannel fabric as I was walking by. I didn't need it for anything, and wasn't even shopping for fabric, but I fell in love and had to buy some fat quarters. 

I envisioned it as a rag quilt right away, but really thought I'd make a baby gift or something. But I loved the fabric too much and decided to make it for Beckham. As if he needs another blanket...

He loves it though!

He wouldn't leave it alone long enough for me to snap some pics! Oh well. They are cuter with him anyway. 

I backed it with some dark gray satin, and used the satin quilt binding as well. He loves satin blankies. 

I kept the quilting super simple- just two concentric rectangles. I wasn't really sure how to quilt around all those fuzzy seams. 

I love this funny little guy.

Can you see the ragged edges here? I washed it so they would fluff up a bit. I imagine it will get fluffier with each wash. I love this look!