Friday, December 31, 2010

Guest post: "Girls who sew can eat venison jerky and like it too" by Huzunteit

I'm pleased to be the first "Guest Blogger" for Ahmelie and am going to do my best not to screw this up.  I'm Huzunteit, or the Huzband behind all that's well and good with Ahmelie.

I can't sew, but I can eat.  And I can shoot things.  With arrows.  For just as Ahmelie heads to her studio to crank out some new renditions of modern handmade goodness, so do I head to the deer stand to take in one of my own life "passions".  Nothing says "I can provide for my family" like an arrow through a buck in November.  Ahmelie usually gets so excited after hearing of another successful venture in the woods that she breaks 3 needles on her sewing machine instead of the normal 2.

After a "victory" in the woods, one is left with a lot of meat.  The question then becomes: To process...Or, not to process?  With an Excalibur Food Dehydrator, some fresh venison, a good recipe, and a little free time, you can skip processing at the local meat market and indulge yourself in your very own home made venison jerky.  The jerky below is me:

Here's my latest recipe:

Hot and Sweet Venison Jerky
This jerky recipe flavors the venison with the heat of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, and is balanced by the sweetness of brown sugar and molasses. The recipe makes enough marinade for five pounds of sliced venison.
1 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of molasses
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of onion powder
2 tablespoons of canning salt
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of Morton® Tender Quick®
1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper

Make sure that the sugar and salt are completely dissolved before adding the marinade to the venison. Marinate at least one day, and up to two before dehydrating.

Now, be aware: the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper may sprout a new hair follicle or two on your chest.  No problem...that's normal.


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Tradition, a Gingerbread House and a lot of Sugar!

On one of our snow days we assembled a Gingerbread House decked out in a wonderful assortment of brightly colored candies.  Santa will love this one!  I finally got the consistency of the frosting to be like "toothpaste" as the directions advise and Yeowza! did that frosting dry fast and hold tight.  It was much more fun decorating a house that wasn't constantly losing a wall or having half of the roof slide off.  The boys had a blast adorning it and had very little coordination on design with each other, isn't it cute?!  I love it!

Of course we finished it off with me squeezing a large sum of extra frosting right into the boys' mouths, an annual tradition with the leftover frosting.  They bounced off the walls for the next two days.  I hope Santa doesn't chip a tooth on the hard candies!  What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New "Do" by the Boys

Snow days are great for inside activities--and we've had our fair share of those this winter.  The boys and I sat down to Alvin and the Chipmunks and they decided to fix my hair for me.  Now you have to understand that I grew up in a household with 5 girls so we had plenty of "hair-do" time.  My kids have all brothers so fixing hair is a bit of a new thing to them...

From the back:

From the front:

Do you think they have a future in the hair bidness?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DIY Eco Friendly Art

It was time to update the art in Owen's room. Sadly it still sported the wonderful artwork of his older brother, who has a different room now.  Owen loves animals and I love great looking wall art that costs next to nothing and is eco-friendly.  So....I snatched an old calendar that I used in 2009 and saved just in case I was inspired.  Today was my inspiration day.  It's stocked with some great black and white pictures of frogs.  Check out these great photos...
King for a day...

A little fishing anyone?

Just hanging around.

This was a 5 minute makeover switching out the current art for some sophisticated looking frogs.  It didn't cost me a thing and I have professional looking photos on the walls.   Best yet,  Owen doesn't have to be bummed that we have 4 feet of snow in the window wells for the next 3 months instead of a well stocked pad full of frogs and toads.  And the finished product....drum roll please.  


What eco-friendly projects have you encountered lately?

Ahmelie's "I Love Your Heart" Granola

I grew up on homemade granola and it's truly a treat to have it in the house.  I also love making this and giving it as gifts.  It's a hearty breakfast that sticks with you on those cold winter days.  I also add a variety of dried fruit to make it deliciously sweet.  It takes 2.5 hours to toast it to a golden brown and requires being stirred every 15 minutes so it really is a labor of love.  Here's the goods on how you make it.

Ahmelie's "I Love Your Heart" Granola
10 Cups Quick Oats
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
3 Cups Oat Bran (May substitute other dry ingredients: flax seed, wheat germ, etc)
1 cup almonds, slivered or sliced
Mix dry ingredients in roaster.

Mix Seperately:
1 Cup Honey
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Salt

Pour honey mixture over oats, stir in.  Bake at 300* for 2.5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.  Add 1 cup raisins, 1 cup craisins, 1 cup dried/chopped apricots,  1 cup coconut. Stir into granola mixture.  Serve over yogurt or with milk.  Yummy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Easy No-Bake Oreo Mint Cookies Recipe

The kiddo's are loving prepping for the holidays so they jumped at the chance to help with the Cookie Baking Marathon.  Last year I made these Oreo cookie treats by dipping a regular oreo in white chocolate and sprinkling them with candy cane sprinkles.  This year I knew working with hot chocolate would be hard for the kids so we drizzled them in white chocolate instead.  I also got the Mint Oreos as I thought it looked festive having the green in the center and the white and red candy cane on the top.  You can't mess these up and another quick and easy no bake recipe that is kid friendly.

Chocolate Mint Cookies
Mint Oreos
White Chocolate Almond Bark
Candy Canes, Crushed
Christmas Sprinkles, optional

Directions:  Line cookies closely on wax paper--this is a great task for little hands.  Drizzle with almond bark and sprinkle with crushed candy cane.  Garnish with Christmas Sprinkles if desired.  If you ask the kids, they'll say yes!

I love the makeover we made to this recipe and the kids had a lot of fun making them.  Grab a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolcate and enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Easy No-Bake Haystacks Special Recipe

I asked Huz what kind of cookies he wanted since I'm doing a Christmas Cookie Baking Marathon at our place today.  He said, "Do you know how to make a Haystack?"  Well I think I do, but since they are so simple I thought maybe his mom had a special haystack recipe or something.  Negative.  There is nothing special about them, but this is the way he likes them...

Chocolate Haystacks

2 bags (12 oz. size) chocolate chips
1 package (18 oz. size) chow mein noodles
1.5 cups coconut
Directions:  Heat chocolate chips in double boiler or saucepan until soft. Add chow mein noodles and coconut. Form into balls and cool on waxed paper or just drop spoonfuls of mixture on waxed paper. Let cool until firm. 
Voila!  You're done!  Disappear for awhile so Huz thinks these are much more time consuming and you've been slaving away over his favorite treat.  I'd recommend sewing for a bit then having him do the dishes.  But's our little secret!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Every Gift has a Story

This video has some great earth friendly wrapping ideas.  Use old ties as a bow.  Wrap with an old funnies paper or maps you aren't using anymore.  Use Baker's Twine for a simpler look.  Recycle old cards into gift tags.  Use fabric reusable gift bags for a unique look and an an earth friendly touch.  Happy shopping and have fun wrapping! 

What's your gifts story?  

A Happy Heart is a Thankful Heart

Thankfulness is hard to teach and it's hard to learn.  I prefer to make "projects", as the kids like to call them, and share them with others.  The kids collected all different kinds of leaves several weeks ago.  We put paint on them and stamped them onto these flour sack towels.  

After that we attached notes of thanks and handed them out to daycare staff, teachers and family.  

How do you teach your kids to have a thankful heart?  

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Child Rearing

There are days where nothing seems to go right and today was one of those days.  It all came to a rolling boil when I went to pick my sweet Little O up from day care...I was hoping for a "MOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYY" as he gleefully came running to me with a big hug.  Instead, I got a sheepish look and not one, but two incident reports.  The last time we got one of these a rock mysteriously appeared in said child's nose.  Now I don't know about your house, but in mine kicking another child in the crotch and kicking/hitting and calling someone a "poopy head" is simply not accepted.  Where do they pick these things up?  How do you get them to stop when the usual punishments don't work?  And why in the world would you throw a fit because you weren't the line leader this time?   I think I need to read The Strongwilled Child.  Again.  Oh good, just saw there is a  "new" version out!

Anyone want to read it with me?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NO SEW Pinwheel Project

I'm so excited to try some of these fabric pinwheels in my kids' rooms!  Pinwheels are playful and 3-D and I can make them in any color imaginable.  Sandi Henderson of PortabelloPixie has wonderful fabrics too, Don't you agree?

Well back to the matter at hand...I can tend to get lost when I looking at fabric--just ask the huz.  Here is the Pinwheel Pattern.  

Make 'em big or make 'em small, but these pinwheels will add a lot of fun and whimsy to your walls!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Handmade Shopping

Ok, not saying you need any help shopping, but isn't this little hippo, just adorable!  I know that if my little animal lover Little O walked by it, we would have to bring it home.  Which reminds me, Kohls, your $5 stuffed animals at the registers are too hard to say "no" to.  How many Dr. Seuss stuffies does one house need?

Ok, back to the cutie pie hippo.  Here goes!  Hand crocheted and cute as a bug!  Only $19 at NeedlesNoodles.  

Can you say stocking stuffer?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hand Dying Fabric in a Rainbow of Colors

Have you done any fabric dying?  I used to have a loom that I made rugs on and I would aquire chenille bedspreads and dye them my desired color.  Most of them were white and white rugs are just not practical for many homes.  You wouldn't believe all the cool colors I came up with.  This is a pic of hand dying fabric from Burda Style . It looks to me like they used some containers that had a previous life somewhere else.  Kudos to these earth friendly peeps!

For more fabric goodness visit Grosgrain .  I have saved myself a lot of money by learning how to do this. Often when sewing I'll have to get a small piece of fabric that is a very specific color. Recently I needed fold over elastic and I needed it that day. The only fold over elastic I could find in the store was in black and white. Rather than buying some online and paying for shipping and waiting for over a week for it to come in the mail I bought some fabric dye and made my own in the perfect shade. For a FANTASTIC color guide for mixing RIT colors look here. Plus, people will be super impressed when you tell someone you 'hand dyed' it. It just so sounds so much more artsy and creative! Another thing I forgot to mention in the video is that if your fabric is not as saturated as you'd like try letting it dry completely then re-dye. This definitely has worked for me. Another neat idea that I'll be trying soon is tea dying for an antique look! I can't wait to show you that one. Top photo courtesy of Div├ónia Nogueira.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scarf Along Tutorial

Do you know someone who would love a handmade gift from you this Christmas? Look at this fun and funky scarf DIY project by Heather Mattos.  What a great way to use up your scraps--if you don't have any, let me know and I'll hook you up!  What have you DIY'd today?

by Heather Mattos of Cookie Mondays

Who wouldn’t adore the gift of a cozy, handmade scarf this holiday season? This is an inexpensive and fun sewing project that can be done in an afternoon, leaving you with three happy, handmade gifts- just like that! Don’t let the math scare you away… it really is a simple {precise} tutorial, made up of lots of straight lines, and appropriate even for beginners.

You’ll need:

•self-healing mat

•large ruler/straight-edge

•rotary cutter (fresh blade!)


•sewing machine





•steam iron

•{6} half-yard cuts in different patterns to make 3 scarves. The busier, the better! For this particular method, I think it looks so much better to mix and match funky, bright patterns, rather than using anything close to solid.

•{1} yard of pom-pom trim. (This is a great resource for trims.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sweet Sugar Scrub Tutorial

Hello!  I just had to share this scrub recipe with you from Oh My! Handmade Goodness. This is a quick and easy DIY project that is cost effective and easy to make.  Enjoy!

With the holidays around the corner and cold, dry winter weather upon us here in eastern Canada, I wanted to share a nice sugar scrub to make a great handcrafted gift for family and friends on your gift list this year. This scrub will tame the dry, flaky skin winter brings, and makes an excellent stocking stuffer.

For step-by-step directions, click here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Fabric--Soul Blossoms--In Love!

Ok, I know I go weak-knee'd over new fabrics like some people go Cuckoo for Coco Puffs, but can you blame me? I mean really. These are gorgeous prints and colors! Amy Butler you've really outdone yourself this time!  Watch the fabric and project slideshow here.

Soul Blossoms is coming out in December. I have projects piling up just waiting for the fabric to get here! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Schpooky Schpiders Garland

I just love this kid friendly schpooky schpider garland!  This would look great hanging over your door way or on an open staircase's railing. Have you seen such a cute looking spider before, I mean really.  I almost want to cuddle up with one of these.  Almost.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Heather Bailey Yellow Paisley Coasters

I just finished these today.  So excited to stock my shop with some new product.  Other prints and styles will be coming soon.

Delight guests when you are entertaining with this delish set of coasters. These fabric topped tile coasters have been sealed with water resistant polyurethane. I've put felt backing on them so your table top stays gorgeous and scratch free. Great gift to keep on hand!

What creative thing have you done today?  Happy Weekend!

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Ahmie Woman Clutches

Strike a pose!  Whether you're in a classy black & white mood or a lime paisley fun and funky groove, we've got you covered.  The Ahmie Woman clutch is not for the faint of heart.  If you carry one of these around, you can take what life hands you, put on your fav color of lipstick, slip into some heels and slam dunk it.  Sha-zizzle!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Make the DIY Dish Basic Handbag

You can never have too many handbags, right?  Look at this simple and stylish pattern from the DIY Dish.  Super cute and quick to sew up.  Do you know someone who would love one?  Pick up some cute fabrics today and start sewing next week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Mom's the Bomb

So every kid needs one of these t-shirts, right?  At least mine do!  I've been very unsubtle about hinting this to my huz.  My kids don't have them yet--guess I didn't type it loud enough?!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Handmade Jammies

Is there anything better than a pair of flannel jammies to lounge in on a chilly Saturday morning?  No!  Not unless you made them yourself for a fraction of the price. They are a super quick project with instant gratification!  Whether you pick a vintage style pattern or a modern one, PJ's put a smile on anyone's face--especially kiddos.

Don't forget to make them roomy enough--that's the way they feel best.  Now for the best part, picking out the fabric.  Can't choose between them? You don't have too! Add a cuff in a coordinating or contrasting print.  If you start now, you can have a pair done for everyone on your list by Christmas.  Piece of cake! 


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Getting Pumpkins with my Punkins

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love the colors, the break in the hot weather, warm days and cool nights to snuggle up with your honey by the fire and the excitment my kids bring to each season.  We picked up pumpkins from the roadside display, "Hay by George".  He has a great assortment every year.  Do they look like they are having fun yet?

And here are some shots of the finished product, yes, designed by the boys and daddy.  They are very spooky when the candle is on and the lights are off.  Hope you are enjoying the change of seasons too!
What do you do to celebrate the change in seasons?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pre-school Art

I love preschool art.  This is a caterpillar by Owen, age 4.  I love the dots and that he used more than one color.  I hope my kids never stop bringing home pictures for me.  Can't wait to hang it up.  Good job honey!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Daycare Incident Report

So this morning I received an "Incident Report" from Owen's daycare provider from yesterday. It read: "Owen was resting on his cot. He got up and came to me crying. He said, "There's a rock in my nose". I had him blow a couple times with no result. Then I plugged the other nostril and he blew. The second time it ...came out (small stone). 

Got a story like this or perhaps a great quote?  Send it to me, I'm looking for content to publish in future issues of Modern Handmade Child.  I look forward to hearing from you and laughing with you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Strawberry Sprinkles Recipe

Owen was asking me all morning for strawberries with sprinkles on them.  I thought...yeah that would be an ok afternoon snack when he wakes up from his nap (half thinking he'd forget about it after his nap).  As soon as he woke up he was asking for them. 
My idea of strawberries with sprinkles....

Owen's idea of Strawberries with Sprinkles...
Which one do you like?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Amy Butler Cozy Kitten FREE Pattern

Need a fun, quick and cute weekend project? Download this FREE Amy Butler kitty pillow pattern and get sewing! Every kid on your Christmas List will want one of these. I hope to have a stash of them myself, before I call it a weekend on Sunday night.  I'd love to see what fabrics you choose to make yours out of!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

Do you have zucchini coming out of your ears?  If you don't you probably know someone who'd love to give you some from their garden.  :)  I made this chocolate zucchini bread recipe and both the kids and the adults in our family love it.   I substituted half the amount of oil with applesauce and it turned out fabulous.  Very moist and less fatty. Yay!

Prep Time: 30 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hr
Ready In: 1 Hr 30 Min
Original Recipe Yield 2 9x5 inch loaf pans


2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.

2.In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stuff Parents Need Review and Giveaway

Stuff Parents Need
Wrap Your Bathing Beauty in Luxury (GIVEAWAY!!!)

Several months ago, I featured a delightful shop called Ahmelie because they carry swaddling blankets that are not only beautiful, but also actually large enough for use ( a traditional receiving blanket is WAY too tiny...check out my post on receiving blankets for more info on that topic).

I'm pleased to be bringing you another fabulous find from Ahmelie. This one is perfect to wrap your little toddler in after bath time! Check out her drop dead gorgeous hooded towels! Have you ever in your life seen such beautiful bath sheets???
Ahmelie sent us the Organic Watermelon towel, made with material by Amy Butler. Tim was with me when I opened it, and he audibly swooned when he saw it. This guy is not so easily impressed, but I'm telling you, he was boderline gushing. The colors are bold, bright and beautiful, and such a nice break from the pastel pink that has taken over our home. The towel is also one of those REALLY good ones. You know...huge, super soft, and very absorbent.

This towel measures 31" x 56", so it is great for her to use now at the beginning of her toddler years, but is large enough that she'll still be using it probably until she's old enough to think it isn't cool to have a hooded towel (maybe 9? I dunno...). Ahmelie has a wonderful selection of hooded towels, with prices starting at just $19.00. These make a really awesome gift for a toddler or child! And let me just be honest...I wouldn't mind having one in my size. Just sayin'.

Bottom line, Ahmelie has a tremendous selection of beautiful and functional gifts for babies, toddlers and even hip moms. Check out the shop today; you are sure to find something you'll love! Ahmelie also has a shop at Big Cartel, and you can get 10% off there by using promo code STUFFPARENTS10.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sand and Sun Quilt

Just finished this adorable Sand and Sun quilt for a new baby boy!  This blanket will work for both his crib and his toddler bed as he grows. It has quilted chenille scribble dots for a sensory experience and cozy snuggle.  I made a matching chenille bumper pad to go with this.  Can you say "YUM"!