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Saturday, October 30, 2010



This is where I got the inspiration for these Rag Slippers: The Pink Slipper Project
This link, Official Pink Slipper Project Pattern, will take you right to the pattern.
The pattern was for an adult slipper, but I modified to fit a toddler and added an elastic band around the back.

First thing I did was trace the toddler's foot, so I could adjust the size of the pattern, which I did in my photo editing program. For a toddler, these slippers can use up scraps of material, but since they were having a Butterfly theme for her birthday party, I bought 1/2 yard of butterfly  print flannel. I Still have about 3/4 of it left, since I used leftover pink fleece for part of the slippers, so I'll add it to my stash and make something else someday.
I printed out the pattern and pinned it to the fabric and cut it out.
For the patterned fabric I cut each piece out individually, so I could have at least 1 whole butterfly on the slipper.
I made straps for the back by cutting  a 9"x2" rectangle out of the main fabric, folding the 2  long ends to the center and then in half. I pressed this and sewed close to the open end to form a casing.
If you need, you can click on the images to make them larger.

I threaded 1/2the length of the casing + 1" elastic through the casing with a safety pin and sewed it in place on both ends.
Pin the strap between the outer fabric and lining fabric, along the straight edge of the top, about 1" in from the sides, right sides together. Sew a 1/2" seam along the straight edge and double seam it.

 Turn the piece right side out and press.
Now layer your pieces for each slipper as follows:
                                                 #1 Sole
#2 Padding (I cut this 1/2" smaller all around, 
so the edge wouldn't be so bulky)
                                                 #3 Main fabric bottom
                                                 #4 Top (which is already sewed together)
Pin the layers together and sew  1/2" from the edge around the entire slipper.

I started at the top and when I got back to the beginning, just kept on going around a second time. It may not look the nicest, but it will be less likely to tear at the seam.
Clip the edge almost to the seam, about every 3/4" to 1". This not only gives it the "rag" look, but also helps the slipper to lay flat and not curl up at the corners.
Apply fabric paint to bottoms for a slip-resistant sole.
I just made her name. Be generous with the paint, so it is puffy.
Embellish as desired. I made a small bow and used Tacky Glue to adhere it.

Have a Fantastic Day and Stay 

"In The Pink"!

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Friday, October 29, 2010


Well, I got a start on my plant stand. This how part of the bottom layer looks with 2 coats of primer.

 I'm using Zinsser BIN primer and I'm likin' it. It dries fast, to touch in 15 minutes and I can recoat in 45. Certainly not like any oil based paint I've ever used before. I have read reviews that people think it stinks a lot. I have not found the odor to be offensive at all. Certainly not near as bad as the paint thinner I used to clean the piece. I thought I would have to open a window or 2 for ventilation, but, unless I'm just used to the smell, it seems to go away quickly.

So, here's the question. See those metal supports between the 2 shelves on the one table? I'm not sure if I should paint them to match the handles (pewter) that go on the piece...

 or paint them the same color (pine, with a brown glazing) as the main piece.
Approximate color

The color of this house. Dutch Boy won't let me copy a swatch, only the whole picture.
Any thoughts?
It's too bad white doesn't go with my scheme, 'cause that's lookin' good with just the primer.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


   It's come to this! This is my living room, but I've had to temporarily take it over as a workshop, since I don't have a decent basement.

 Our basement is a dirt floor and only under one section of the house. the other part is a crawlspace. Anyway, there is barely enough room down there for the utilities and canning products, not to mention the ceiling is so low, I can barely stand up straight in parts without hitting my head on furnace pipes.
   It's gotten too cold to be painting in the garage, so I have to move my projects indoors. In fact, I had to move Henry's Train-Activity table/ Toy box into the mudroom to finish it. Just for the painting though. I will finish all the prep work in the garage, since that doesn't matter if it's cold or not.
   This is the reason my living has become a workshop.

  This being my plant stand. It should have been done  long before now, but life gets in the way.

Here are the excuses reasons why I don't have this done:
#1 Farming. This is one of our busier times of the year with harvesting as well as the normal chores. I did get a couple of days to work on it when a piece of equipment broke down, but only enough time to get everything done but the painting.
#2 Material Procurement. Since I needed several different kinds of tables for this project, it took a long time to find them. I had a couple from our first furniture and found one at Goodwill. The best luck I had finding tables was when a neighboring town had their citywide rummage sales. I picked up 3 of them there; actually 4, but Gary thought the one was too nice to cut up, so it will be repaired (it has a veneer top that is damaged) and painted. Anyway that brought us to the middle of September. The final piece I found on Craigslist a couple weeks later.
#3 Other Projects. Specifically, there are 3 Grandkids birthdays this time of year, and I like to make them each something homemade and the rest of their present, money for their savings. So, I made a tote from some pillow panel fabric for Blake to carry his tractors in, a train-activity table/ toy box for Henry, and a pair of slippers for Jayden. When I get the plant stand done, I have to start working on Christmas presents. No rest for the weary I guess. PHEW!
#4 Laziness. I did have a couple days when I could have worked on this project, but I chose to spend the time resting and catching up on recorded TV shows. To be fair, I did need the rest, 'cause we have been going almost nonstop since we started filling silos. Thankfully, we only have one left and that's the easy one. If all goes good it'll only take 2-3 days to fill.

That's my story and I'm sssstickin' to it!
BTW This is what my kitchen entry looks like for the moment. Had to get those plants inside. I've already waited too long in some cases, but hopefully they'll look better once I do a little pruning and such.

 I...can't...wait...til... this...project... is... 



This is the train-activity table we made for our Grandson.

My daughter plans to put baskets on the bottom shelf to hold toys.
She told me when they got it back to MN, (took up almost the whole back of their Suburban, BTW), that the road carpet that they have almost fits inside the top. It goes up the rim some.

I don't have a complete tutorial for this because Gary helped me to make it, so that it was from both of us, for Henry's birthday. He doesn't like to take time to take pics and doesn't like to be in any pics I take.

Although; this is what we did.

You can see the design I came up with HERE on my design blog. It is made of oak faced MDF and oak boards. We made it out of these materials because #1 Jessica wanted it to be stained rather than painted, #2 oak looks so much better stained than pine, and #3 we already had some oak MDF here from a project that we decided to go in a different direction with and we had leftover oak boards from remodeling our bedroom.

These are the only pics I got to take during the process. It is of the jig we first had to make to cut the large panels straight with the circular saw. 
See how the saw runs on the jig instead of on the panel?

We attached a 1x4 pine board to a piece of Melamine paneling we had leftover from the mudroom bathroom over 20 years ago. The Melamine allows the saw to glide over it and not bind the way it does if you just run the saw on the panel, butted up to a clamped on board.

We started off cutting the MDF for the shelves and sides. We then cut all the legs to size. Gary glued and nailed the legs together. We just did a butt joint, otherwise we would have had to add trim to the corners so they wouldn't be sharp. Once he had all the legs done and sanded, I built the sides, by first gluing and nailing the corners (legs) and then adding the shelf supports. When the sides were done, I placed the shelves in and glued and nailed them to the sides. Gary then attached the front and back shelf supports under the shelves and to the legs. We then added the trim pieces on the front and back to cover the MDF edges as well as the shelf supports and give a lip to the top shelf , so things can't roll off easily.
The final steps were the satining and finishing. Do not believe it when the can says you can apply  stain at 55°.I was doing this in the garage and it was the upper 50's and the stain did not go on well at all. We had a space heater blowing onto the project to help the glue dry and where it was a little warmer, the stain went on better. Maybe it's because it was a water based stain, but Jessica didn't want oil based because they had 6+ hours of driving home with this thing in an enclosed space. For the rest of the finishing we took it into the house, in the mudroom, and finished it out there. Anyway, I was out of stain and it wasn't dark enough, so I applied some brown paint I had leftover from the inside of Blake's toy box. I remembered that that paint had acted more like stain because it didn't cover in several coats and let the grain show through. That was all it took to get the color we wanted. I followed with 2 coats of Polycrylic on the whole project and 3 coats on the shelves which would get more abuse.
All in all I think it turned out quite well, considering we had to work this project in while trying to fill silos. 

Have A Fun Evening!


Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is the post I guested with on 

Thanks, again, Jen!


First of all, let me tell you, I don’t always follow the rules. When I first got married, I tried to follow recipes, but when they didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, I started making my own rules. I couldn’t make a decent pie crust to save my soul, making it the way the cookbooks told me to. I believe Martha Stewart is the one who said about piemaking, “Make it cold and bake it hot”, and you should chill the dough before rolling it out. Well, I’m not Martha and that didn’t work for me, sort of. What I mean is the only chilling I do is after I have the crust in the pan I put in the fridge to chill for a bit…. sometimes. I’ve found for me the best way to make a decent thin crust is to make it only as cool as the water from the tap and keep the dough on the soft side to roll out. I then use a lot of flour to roll it out, to keep it from sticking, to the rolling pin and surface, which happens to be my kitchen counter. When I’m done, I clean it up with a pastry scraper. Handy little gadget by the way. I use it for many things besides scraping/lifting pastry off the counter, such as cutting brownies, rice krispie bars, etc., and to scoop up things off the counter or cutting board. 
So, on to the recipe.

Pastry for Double Crust Pie
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. shortening
6-8 Tbl. cold water

These are the supplies I used.

Measure out the flour.
I scoop it into a measuring cup on a coffee filter, then  level it off with a knife. the excess can then be poured back into the measuring cup for the next measurement, or put back into the flour container.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.

Cut in the shortening till pieces are the size of small peas.

Measure out 1/2 c. water in a measuring cup. Pour in about 1/2 of this and start mixing with the pastry cutter. Add more water until you get a fairly soft dough, but not sticky. I usually use about 6 Tbl. Discard the rest of the water.

Divide dough into 2 balls. (I like a thinner crust, so I get 4 balls out of this)
Lightly flour the surface you will roll out your dough. I just use the counter top. Place one ball of dough on the surface and flip it so it has flour on both sides.

Start by pressing the ball flat with your hand. Then, roll the dough, flipping it several times so it stays floured and does not stick to the rolling pin, until it gets to be about 6"x10". Then keep rolling from center out to edges changing directions until you have a circle of about 12" diameter.

Roll the dough onto the rolling pin. You may need top loosen it a bit from the counter with a pastry scraper.

Unroll the dough onto the pie plate and adjust it so it is down into the bottom and sides. Cut off any excess dough that hangs past the edge of the pan straight down to the counter. (Set these scraps aside, we'll use them for a surprise). 

Roll under the edges on the dough, just to the edge of the plate and flute the rim by placing your index fingers on the inside of the edge and pressing with one of your thumbs between your fingers. Wherever you have the flute going outward, press down onto the edge of the pan. This will help to keep the crust from tipping into the pan as it bakes. Perforate the crust all over the bottom and around the sides. this will keep the crust from shrinking too much and bubbling.

Repeat with the other balls of dough and refrigerate while you prepare the dough scrap cookies. 
Place all the dough scraps on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake these in a 450° oven, on the top rack, for 5-10 minutes. Watch these closely, they bake fast. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

After the cookies are done, you can bake the pie crusts, likewise @ 450° for 5-10 minutes. Again watch closely. I did the one on the left with beans placed on a coffee filter to weight the crust down and keep its shape. I don't see enough of a difference to warrant this extra step. Besides, I had to remove the beans when the other crusts were done and bake it further, because the crust wasn't done on the bottom. Let these cool  before filling.

French Silk Filling

2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks BUTTER (softened slightly)
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs
(2) 8 ounce containers whipped topping, one for each pie

These are the supplies I used
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 minute, stir until smooth, and set aside to cool. Do not use milk chocolate chips, as I've found they do not melt well. If you want a milder chocolate taste, use dipping chocolate,(which is what I had to do, 'cause I was out of semi-sweet chocolate chips!) If you need to do this, it is 3 ounces.
With your mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. With a Kitchenaid, this only takes a couple of minutes; a hand mixer will definitely take longer.
Stir in the chocolate and vanilla (yes, I make my own vanilla extract) and thoroughly mix together.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating on high speed after each addition and scraping down sides of the bowl. 
Here's what it looks like when you're finished. Mine looks quite light, again, because I used dipping chocolate.
Fill your baked pie crust with the filling. It doesn't look like much there, but remember, whipped topping has to go on top yet, besides this is a rich pie and you don't want the filling too thick. If you like rich pies, by all means, make only one pie out of this as the inspiration recipe called for.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so, until the filling is firm before putting on the topping. You can keep this for a few days in the fridge without topping and apply that just before you serve it.

You can either spread whipped topping over the whole pie and garnish with chocolate shavings (I shave mine off a block of dipping chocolate).....
Or you can get fancy and do stars with a large star decorating tip. If you're not handy with bag decorating, you can use aerosol whipped topping instead.
Can you tell which one I'm giving to a friend?

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