Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category


Posted: December 4, 2012 in DIY, embroidery
Hi Everyone! I was on Pinterest and saw this. First thought was I have to share this with everyone. What a great idea! When I opened it up, I saw it was from the Homegrown Hospitality Blog . Check it out.

DIY Embroidery Pattern Printing

Thank you for all of your comments and compliments on my “scrapple” style stitching. I love to stitch and while I will be the first to admit that I do not “follow” any rules or techniques on the correct way to stitch I will also say that I LOVE the way it is coming out with all of the textures and stitches and I even added some pink in last night !!?!!whhhaatttt???, I know!

Anyways, I know you can Google “how to transfer an embroidery pattern” but this is how I do it :

Freezer Paper

1. Measure and cut a piece of freezer paper to measure 8 1/2″ x 11 (just trace a piece of computer paper onto the freezer paper)

2. Place the freezer paper SHINY SIDE OF PAPER DOWN and iron the freezer paper onto the muslin. It will pucker a little bit. MAKE SURE THAT ALL EDGES ARE IRONED DOWN COMPLETELY. Trim to measure the 8 1/2″ x 11

3. Place your piece into your printer the way you would typically place paper in and print out your image.

4. Remove the freezer paper

5. Attach an embroidery hoop

6. Stitch away! is addicting, well and even a bit harmful if you poke yourself as much as I do!

Just in case you are stuck at home because of no electricity, storms, blizzards, or even your car in the shop, these ingredient substitutions are just great to know! All of these were copied from the blog One Good Thing by Jillee. She provides so much good information! And she does it with a little humor, too. I just thought this would be a great way to share her info with my followers plus everything is in one list!

Ingredient Substitutions

Allspice – 1 teaspoon  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup)  1/4 cup white vinegar

Apple pie spice 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Balsamic vinegar (1 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. sherry or cider vinegar

Beer (1 cup)
1 cup non-alcoholic beer, beef broth, or apple cider

Baking mix (1 cup)  

1 cup pancake mix OR 1 cup Easy Biscuit Mixture

Baking powder 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)

Baking Soda There is no substitute for baking soda

Barbecue Sauce
Substitute 1 cup ketchup and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke seasoning for 1 cup barbecue sauce.

Bread crumbs 1 cup
1 cup cracker crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats

Broth, beef or chicken 1 cup
1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon powdered broth base dissolved in 1 cup boiling water

Butter (salted) 1 cup
1 cup margarine OR
1 cup shortening plus 1/2 teaspoon salt OR
7/8 cup vegetable oil plus 1/2 teaspoon salt OR
7/8 cup lard plus 1/2 teaspoon salt

Buttermilk 1 cup
1 cup yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup

Cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded

1 cup shredded Colby cheddar OR 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Chicken stock 1 tablespoon base, instant
1 cup canned or homemade chicken dissolved in broth or stock
1 cup water

Chili sauce 1 cup
1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, dash of ground cloves and dash of allspice

Chives, finely 2 teaspoons chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped green onion tops

Chocolate chips 1 ounce semisweet

1 ounce sweet cooking chocolate OR
1 cup chocolate candies OR
1 cup peanut butter OR
other flavored chips OR

Cocoa 1/4 cup
1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate

Condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 (10.75-ounce) can
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of celery, cream of chicken, OR golden mushroom soup

Cooking Sprays, No-stick
Substitute for shortening to prepare baking sheets and baking pans.

Corn Syrup 1 cup
1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use whatever liquid is called for in the recipe)
1 cup honeyCornstarch 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for thickening)Cracker crumbs 1 cup
1 cup bread crumbs OR 1 cup matzo meal OR 1 cup ground oats

Cream cheese
Part skim milk ricotta cheese or lowfat cottage cheese beaten until smooth

Cream, half and half (1 cup)

7/8 cup whole milk + 2 Tbs. melted unsalted butterCream, heavy (1 cup) (not for whipping)
2/3 cup whole milk + 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter

Crème fraiche 1 cup

Combine 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. Let stand for 6 hours at room temperatureCream, sour 1 cup
3 tablespoons butter plus 7/8 cup sour milk
7/8 cup buttermilk plus 3 tablespoons butterCream of tartar 1 teaspoon
2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar

Egg 1 whole
Substitute 1/4 cup refrigerated egg product for 1 whole egg.

Espresso Instant Coffee Powder 
Substitute 2 to 3 teaspoons instant coffee granules for 1 tablespoon espresso coffee powder.
Substitute 2 1/2 tablespoons instant cappuccino drink mix for 1 tablespoon espresso coffee powder.

Extracts 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon oil of similar flavor

Flavor-based oil 1/4 teaspoon

1 teaspoon extract of same flavor

Flour, all-purpose (1 cup)

 1 cup + 2 Tbs. cake flour

Flour, cake (1 cup)

1 cup minus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Flour, self rising (1 cup) 

1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt

Garlic 1 clove, small
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/4 teaspoon instant minced garlic

Garlic salt 3/4 teaspoon
1 medium size clove or 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh

Ginger–dry 1 teaspoon

2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

Ginger–fresh 1 teaspoon, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger

Green onion 1/2 cup chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion, OR
1/2 cup chopped leek OR
1/2 cup chopped shallots

Herbs, dried 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon fresh, finely cut

Herbs, fresh 1 tablespoon,
1 teaspoon dried herbs

Honey 1 cup
1 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid (use liquid called for in recipe)

Hot pepper sauce 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus 1 teaspoon vinegar

Italian Seasoning
Substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves for 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.

Ketchup 1 cup
1 cup tomato sauce plus 1 teaspoon vinegar plus 1 tablespoon sugarLemon juice (1 Tbs.) 1 Tbs. bottled lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar

Lemon zest (1 tsp.) 

1 tsp. lime or orange zest or 1/2 tsp. lemon extract chopped

2 cups, (4 cups cooked) uncooked
2 cups spaghetti, uncooked, (2 inch pieces)
4 cups noodles, uncooked

Marshmallows 1 cup
10 large miniature

Marshmallow Creme
Substitute 16 large or 160 miniature marshmallows plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup for 1 cup marshmallow creme. Place in double boiler or stainless steel bowl over simmering water; stir until smooth.

Mayonnaise 1 cup
1 cup sour cream OR
1 cup plain yogurt

Milk, buttermilk 1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt

Milk, evaporated 1 can (about 12 ounces)

Whip until smooth: 1 cup nonfat dry milk; 1 3/4 cups warm water. Keep refrigerated

Milk, nonfat (1 cup)
1/3 cup powdered milk + 3/4 cup water

Milk, whole (1 cup)
1/2 cup evaporated milk + 1/2 cup water or 1 cup skim milk + 1 Tbs. melted butter

Molasses 1 cup

Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mustard–prepared 1 tablespoon

Mix together 1 tablespoon dried mustard, 1 teaspoon water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar

Oil (1 cup)

1 cup melted butter, margarine, or shortening depending on the recipe

Onion 1 small1/4 cup chopped, fresh onion

1-1/3 teaspoons onion salt
1 to 2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon onion powder

Orange Juice

Substitute 3/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate for 1 cup orange juice.Orange zest (1 tsp.)
1 tsp. lemon or lime zest or 1 tsp. finely chopped candied orange peelPoultry seasoning (1 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. ground sage + 1/4 tsp. ground thyme + 1/4 tsp. ground rosemary

Pumpkin pie spice (1 tsp.)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 1/4 tsp. ginger + 1/8 tsp. nutmeg + 1/8 tsp. cloves-

Shortening (1 cup)
1 cup butter or margarine. Do not substitute oil for shortening.

Sour cream, 1 cup
1 cup plain yogurt OR
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough cream to make 1 cup OR
3/4 cup buttermilk mixed with 1/3 cup butter

Soy sauce 1/2 cup
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Sugar, brown 1 cup, firmly packed
1 cup granular sugar
1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses

Sugar, white 1 cup
1 cup brown sugar OR
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar OR
3/4 cup honey OR
3/4 cup corn syrup

Tomato juice (1 cup)
1/2 cup tomato sauce + 1/2 cup water

Tomato paste (1/2 cup)
1 cup tomato sauce cooked until reduced by 1/2

Tomato sauce (2 cups)
3/4 cup tomato paste + 1 cup water

Tomatoes, canned (1 cup)
1 -1/3 cup fresh cut-up tomatoes; simmered 10 minutes

Vanilla Bean
Substitute 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract for 1 8-inch vanilla bean.

Vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon, 1-inch vanilla bean split and simmered in liquid of recipe

Vegetable Oil
Substitute equal amounts melted butter or margarine for vegetable oil.

White vinegar (1/4 cup)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or 1/3 cup lemon juice

Wine, red (1 cup)
1 cup non-alcoholic wine, apple cider, beef broth, tomato juice or water

Wine, white (1 cup)

1 cup non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice, apple juice, chicken broth or water

Worcestershire 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon bottled steak sauce

Yogurt, plain (1 cup) 
1 cup sour cream, buttermilk, or creme fresh or
1 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 Tbs. lemon juice

And as a reward for reading through that extremely LONG list….
here’s a little BONUS.

Commonly used equivalent measures:

• General

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon

4 tablespooons = 1/4 cup

5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup

16 tablespoons = 1 cup

2 cups = 1 pint

2 pints = 1 quart

• Butter

1/2 ounce (1/8 stick) = 1 tablespoon

1 ounce (1/4 stick) = 2 tablespoons

2 ounces (1/2 stick) = 4 tablespoons

4 ounces (1 stick) = 1/2 cup

16 ounces (4 sticks) = 2 cups

• Chocolate

12-ounce morsels = 1 cup melted chocolate

12-ounce morsels = 2 cups whole morsels

• Cream

1 cup heavy cream = 2 cups whipped cream

• Eggs

8-10 whites, large = 1 cup egg whites
12-14 yolks, large = 1 cup egg yolks

• Flour

1 pound = 4 cups

• Fruit

1 medium lemon = 3 tablespoons juice + 1 tablespoon grated rind

1 medium orange = 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice + 2 tablespoons grated rind

1 pound apples = 3 medium whole or 3 cups sliced

1 pound bananas = 3 medium whole or 1 1/2 cups mashed

• Nutmeats

4 1/2 ounces nuts, chopped = 1 cup

• Popcorn
1/4 cup kernels = 8 cups popped

• Sugar

1 pound brown sugar = 2 1/4 cups

1 pound confectioners’ = 4 1/2 cups sifted

How to Freeze Tomatoes From Your Garden

Posted: August 28, 2012 in DIY
My neighbor and friends have been giving me a lot of tomatoes from their garden and I was thinking about freezing them. So in my search for an easy way to do it, I came upon this recipe. It looks easy ;-), and looks as if I can do this. So I will try this recipe and let you know how it turns out. Here is the link for the site Pick Your Own . You ought to check it out because it lists places you can pick your own.  

Freezing home grown or farm fresh tomatoes for use in winter cooking is very easy to do! The flavor of spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and salsas you make then will be superior to those made from canned tomatoes or store bought so called “fresh” tomatoes.

Here’s how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated.   This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this!  It’s a great thing to do with your kids!  If you’d rather can your tomatoes, see this page for canning directions for tomatoes!

These pages may also interest you:

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Tomatoes – any quantity, ripe, but not over ripe, still firm.
  • Vacuum food sealer or plastic freezer bags
  • 1 large pot
  • Large slotted spoon

Process – How to Make Spaghetti Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

Step 1 – Selecting the tomatoes

It’s fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality tomatoes!  

At right is a picture of tomatoes from my garden – they are so much better than anything from the grocery store. And if you don’t have enough, a pick-you-own farm is the place to go!  Below are 4 common varieties that will work:

Top left: Beefsteak

Bottom left: Roma, paste-type

Top right: Lemon Boy, yellow

Bottom right: Better Boy

The picture at right shows the best variety of tomato to use: Roma; also called paste tomatoes.  They have fewer sides, thicker, meatier walls, and less water. And that means thicker sauce in less cooking time!

Also, you don’t want mushy, bruised or rotten tomatoes!


Step 2 – Removing the tomato skins

Here’s a trick you may not know: put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)


Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.

This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!  If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce, not very pleasant.



Step 3 – Removing the skins, bruises and tough parts

The skins should practically slide off the tomatoes.  then you can cut the tomatoes in quarters and remove the tough part around the stem and any bruised or soft parts.

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half.  Now we need to remove the seeds and excess water. 

Note: why remove the skins? They become tough and discolored in storage.  You wouldn’t want to eat them!

Step 4 – Squeeze of the seeds and water

Just like it sounds: wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds.  You don’t need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do. Another way to do it is to cut each tomato in half, across it, instead of lengthwise. Then just shake the seeds and juice out. Here are before and after photos:

Step 5 – Drain the tomatoes

Toss the squeezed (Squozen? 🙂 tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off.  You may want to save the liquid: if you then pass it through a sieve, screen or cheesecloth, you have fresh tomato juice; great to drink cold or use in cooking! By draining the water off now, you’ll end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time! And that preserves vitamins (and your sanity).

 Step 6 – Fill the freezer bags

Don’t overfill the bags, leave a little room for expansion. Do try to avoid leaving any air pockets!   A vacuum bag is shown at left, but you can use ziploc (or similar) bags, show below.  But be sure to squeeze out the extra air (below left is before, below right is after squeezing out the excess air)

Step 7 – Vacuum seal the bags (if you have a vacuum sealer)

Obviously if you haven’t got a vacuum food sealer, just inspect the bags and you may need to open them and reseal them to eliminate any air pockets!

TIP:  If you don’t own a vacuum food sealer to freeze foods, place food in a Ziploc bags, zip the top shut but leave enough space to insert the tip of a soda straw. When straw is in place, remove air by sucking the air out.  To remove straw, press straw closed where inserted and finish pressing the bag closed as you remove straw.

Step 8 – Freeze the bags

Pop them into the freezer (on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one).  Now leave them for 2 or 3 hours till frozen.



Put in the back (coldest part) of your freezer

And wait for a cold winter night when it is dark and dreary out, to remove it and defrost (microwave works well) and use in making so fresh tasting spaghetti sauce or other tomato cooking!

DIY Fabric Floorcloth

Posted: August 10, 2012 in DIY
Tags: , ,
Now this is a great idea! Do you want a floorcloth for your room that is like no other, any size you want, any design you want, and messes can be just wiped off??? Here you go. I saw this on East Coast Creative Blog .
I love the endless possibilities! You can use it for a kitchen floor mat, a dog bowl mat (Oh, are they messy when drinking water!), an entrance mat that will welcome your friends (can’t you just hear them say “Where did you get that beautiful mat?” ), a bathroom mat to match your curtains or towels, or even a runner that just takes your breath away? This is it!! You will even use the secret of DIY’ers everywhere – duct tape! Hooray!! I am so excited to try this!

Step 1: Gather your materials.

Fabric: the amount depends on the size of your mat. I used about 3/4 yard for my kitchen mat, and 1 1/2 yards for my entryway mat).

Rubber Mat Runner: I’ve seen similar floor mats made with vinyl flooring remnants (check out Diane’s floor mat from In My Own Style!), but I wanted something sturdy with traction and this fit the bill! Found at Home Depot in the flooring section.

Spray Adhesive
Water-based Polyurethane
Duct Tape

Step 2: Using your scissors, cut your rubber mat to size.
I wanted an octagonal shape for my kitchen so I measured the angles and then cut accordingly.


3. Measure and cut your fabric to size. Leave approximately 2-3 inches all the way around your rubber mat, because you’ll be wrapping the fabric around it later. Don’t forget to iron your fabric before moving to the next step! I used two different fabrics for two different mats. I had extra fabric from the pendant light I made for my kitchen. It’s called Waverly Solar Flair in Lime & Indigo, and it’s fabulous. I can’t remember the name of the other fabric- sorry! But I (I realize that loving fabric that much is weird, but I’m OK with that)

4. Determine your fabric placement
. Then fold the fabric back about halfway and spray the rubber mat with spray adhesive. Fold the fabric back down, smoothing out the bubbles and wrinkles as you go. Lift the other side of fabric up and repeat that method. The fabric should stick well to the rubber mat.

5. Brush a water-based polyurethane on to your fabric. Make sure it’s water-based so that your fabric doesn’t yellow! This will seal your fabric and protect it from water. You’ll also be able to wipe the mat down should anything spill on it (let’s be honest, I wish I could poly every surface in my house for this reason). I did 3 coats of poly, letting it dry completely in between coats.

6. Once the final coat has dried, lay your mat fabric-side down on the ground. Begin folding the edges of the fabric towards the center of the rubber mat. Spray each edge with adhesive and press down until it sticks. Then take your duct tape and run it along the edges to create a seal. No one will see the underside of your mat and you’ll want the extra security the duct table provides!

To create perfect corners, just follow these simple steps:
1. Grab the corner and fold up towards the center of the mat.
2. Fold one side up flush against the edge of the rubber mat to create a straight line.
3. Fold the opposite side up in the same way until both sides meet in the middle.

Once you’ve finished duct taping, you’re done! Lay your floor cloth down and admire your handiwork. So easy, and so cute! Here’s the one I made for the entryway (It’s 4 feet by 2 feet, if you were wondering):


And the one for my kitchen:


Because this mat already has traction, it doesn’t slide around really at all. However, if you wanted extra stay-put-ability, just run a line of caulk around the edges where the fabric is, and it will better grip the floor.Fabric Floorcloth

What a great idea! You can grow green onions in water and have a never ending supply!

Check out this tutorial on
Tiny Tip Tuesday: Growing Onions in Water

Ruffled Yellow Felt Pillow

Posted: March 29, 2012 in DIY, felt, pillows, sew, sewing

I saw these just beautiful pillows on the Better Homes and Gardens site and just fell in love with them. I will have to make some of these! The colors in the picture seem so Springy but I am not sure that it will work with my furniture. Maybe I will try some different colors. The following sewing instructions are for one pillow. If you go to the Better Homes and Gardens link, the other pillow instructions are there.

Crafts Supplies:
Felt (yellow)
3/8-inch-wide velvet ribbon (green)
Sewing Instructions:
Cut a strip of felt 9 inches wide and 18 inches long and hand-stitch two parallel lines close together through the center of the strip. Pull on the ends of each thread so felt strip gathers into a ruffle.
Make a 6-inch-wide ruffle in the same manner. Machine-stitch the 6-inch ruffle in the middle of the larger ruffle.
Cut two 12-inch squares from felt.
Machine-stitch the double ruffle in the center of one square.
Pin a piece of velvet ribbon in the center of the double ruffle.
Place the squares right sides together and machine-stitch around edges, leaving a small opening along one edge for turning. Make sure you catch the ends of the velvet ribbon in the seams.
Turn right side out and stuff with fiberfill. Hand-stitch the opening closed.

This is an interesting addition to your embroidery projects! An LED light kit is used to enhance it. You can light it up! This is so cute!

Here is what you need:


* Firefly Jar embroidery pattern (download the PDF here)

* Embroidery floss in white, dark gray, dark green, medium green, light green, light blue, brown, and black

* Navy blue fabric

* Heavy-weight interfacing or t-shirt stabilizer

LED Embroidery Kit from (optional)


* 5″ embroidery hoop

* Embroidery needle

* Scissors

* Iron

* Ironing board

* Carbon/pattern transfer paper

* Tracing tool or pen

You can get the instructions at The Zen of Making with this link:

I found this so interesting. Amanda McCavour makes these with her sewing machine, threads,  and fabrics that dissolves in water. Who would have thought? Anyway, these pictures represent her living room. Don’t you just love these? I sure do!

Amanda McCavour creates incredible images with thread. She describes how she does it on her website:

In my work, I use a sewing machine to create thread drawings and installations by sewing into a fabric that dissolves in water. This fabric makes it possible for me to build up the thread by sewing repeatedly into my drawn images so that when the fabric is dissolved, the image can hold together without a base. These thread images appear as though they would be easily unraveled and seemingly on the verge of falling apart, despite the works actual raveled strength.

The images above are from an installation called “Living Room,” in which McCavour made life-sized drawings of all the stuff she once had in her living room.

Hearts for Valentines Day

Posted: February 7, 2012 in DIY, gift, hearts, sew, valentine