Sunday, September 18, 2011

DIY Baked Goods/Cake Stand

I'm so proud of myself for accomplishing this next craft. Recently, I got the inspiration from a post that was made on Pinterest (my new favorite website! Pinterest is a "virtual pinboard." A place to let you organize and collect pins that can relate to your style like DIY crafts, wedding ideas, remodeling ideas, yummy recipes or favorite quotes. In my mind, it's like a collage of a persons favorite things.

Anyways, I saw the photo on Pinterest and I noticed that someone was making a cake stand out of terra cotta pots (you know...those ridiculously bright orange pots you see at the hardware store!?)

I quickly reminded myself of the stash of terra cotta pots that were in my hallway closet. They had been sitting there for almost 7 months now. I had originally used them to hold birdseed and candles for a dinner party at work, but now they were just collecting dust.

So after I made a trip into town to collect some heavy-duty "gorilla-glue" and a can of spray paint, I was on my merry way to completing this craft. And I must say, now that I've accomplished what I originally set out to-do, it feels great! So great that it makes me want to bake a cake and use it!

1 small to medium 4-8 inch terra cotta pot
1 large12-18 inch terra cotta saucer
Ceramic glue (can be found at a hardware or craft store)
Spray Paint
Wet Sponge
A sturdy, but heavy object(s) about 5-10lbs.

1. Center the base of the terra cotta pot onto the bottom base of the terra cotta saucer. Take a pencil and draw a circle around the pot, in order to mark it's original place.
2. Take a wet sponge and dampen the area inside the circle you drew. This is the area that you will apply the glue.
3. Be sure to follow the glue manufacturers instructions. Place the glue on the dampen area. Do not over glue (otherwise the glue might expand or leave unwanted drips!)
4. Carefully place the base of the terra cotta pot onto the glue. Apply pressure to the pot and saucer by placing a heavy object on top (i.e. a stack of books, 5 lbs. of sugar, etc.)
5. Let the glue dry for 2 -3 hours.
6. Place a layer of newspaper onto the floor, in order to protect the ground from getting any paint on it.
7. Carefully spray paint (with a color of your choice). Tip: I sprayed the top first, than I let it dry for an hour. Then I turned it over and sprayed the bottom and waited another hour.
8. Repeat step 7 and place a second coat of paint onto the terra cotta. Let it dry for another hour.
9. The End!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent....for $0.01 per load!

For the first time in my life, I made my own laundry detergent. IT...WAS...AWESOME. Who knew that making your own laundry detergent could be so easy and cheap!? And when I mean cheap, I don't mean some half-assed batch made with harmful, toxic chemicals. In fact I made eco-friendly natural laundry detergent for about $0.01 per load. Now in all honesty, I'm a single woman. Therefore my loads aren't as large as a family of three or four, but you get the picture. Right? Nonetheless this project was considered to be a great success and the perfect way to fill the void of a quiet evening.

Enjoy the recipe!

  • 1 bar of soap, grated (I used a honey and oatmeal bar purchased from my local co-op)
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • 1/2 cup Natural Borax
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Natural Washing Soda
  • 1 gallon of cold water
  • 1 Household kitchen grater
  • 1 funnel
  • 2 empty gallon jugs
  1. Using a household kitchen grater, grate the entire bar of soap.
  2. Place the grated soap and one gallon of warm water into a large pot (big enough to hold two gallons.)
  3. Heat the soap and water mixture over medium-high heat, until the soap is dissolved (3-5 minutes). Do not boil.
  4. Add a 1/2 cup of Natural Borax and a 1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Natural Washing Soda.
  5. Heat the mixture over high heat, until it boils. Once it starts to boil, the mixture should become a bit thicker and enough to leave a thick coat on a spoon.
  6. Remove mixture from heat and add one gallon of cold water.
  7. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.
  8. Using a funnel, pour the liquid detergent into 2 empty gallon jugs.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pie Pumpkins: A lesson in baking

One year ago, I vowed to never buy canned
pumpkin...ever...again. Of course it sounds crazy, especially when I say it out loud, but at the time I didn't know any better. I certainly didn't know how EASY is was to make fresh pumpkin puree, out of Pie Pumpkins.

Pie Pumpkins, are one of several pumpkin varieties grown for eating, rather then carving/decoration. Compared to populating pumpkins, they are smaller and more dense. Also, when being held by a four year-old child, Pie Pumpkins puts things into perspective. :)

Baking a Pie Pumpkin
One Pie Pumpkin


1. Preheat oven to

350 degrees.

2. Wash pie pumpkin clean and remove stem.

3. Carefully cut the pumpkin in half vertically

4. With a large spoon, discard stringy pulp. If desired save seeds for drying or roasting.

5. Grease a large cookie sheet.

6. Place Pie Pumpkins on the cookie sheet, facing down. Cover with foil.

7. Place cookie sheet on the middle oven rack and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender.

8. Remove pie pumpkin and cool for another hour.

9. Peel off the skin or scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin.

10. Puree or mash the flesh and store. Note: Home canning pumpkin puree is not recommended, according to the FDA. However, freezing is acceptable.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Madison Food & Wine Show

The word on the street is that this show is excellent! Which is great because I'm totally down to get my food and drink ON! I won't be about to attend on Saturday, but if you thinking about attending and need a ride, let me know! Here is a link to the Tastings and Events.

Dates & Time:
Friday, October 22 5:00 – 9:00 p
Saturday, October 23 Noon – 7:00 p
Sunday, October 24 Noon – 4:00 p
One-day pass: $37 in advance, $42 at the door
Weekend pass: $60 in advance, $70 at the door

Exhibition Hall, Alliant Energy Center
1919 Alliant Energy Center Way
Madison, WI
View Map

Click here for more information

Monday, October 11, 2010

My New Toy

For the past few months, I've been slaving away crocheting scarfs and realized that I needed a change. I could feel my fingers saying, "I'm sick of yarn."

That's the moment that the Brother LX-3125E, entered my life.

While checking out at Wal-Mart, I was so excited that the woman at the cash register said "Have fun with your new sewing machine." I smiled and said thanks, trying to contain my excitement in front of a dashing, twentysomething hunk waiting next in line. I must have looked like a giant nerd, as I walked away grinning.

The next morning I woke up bright and early to work on my first project. Normally I would tell you what that project is, but for those who will be recieving "it" for Christmas, I'd hate to spoil the suprise.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Celebrating my German Heritage: Glühwein

Deemed a popular beverage around the world , Glühwein (German), grzane wino (Polish) , vin brulé (Italian), vin chaud (French), Glögg (Swedish), Mulled Wine (English), is an excellent cure for pre-holiday fever. Typically it's consumed around Christmas time, but then's October...and it's cold outside, so those seem like good enough reasons to whip up a batch.


1 large orange
3 cinnamon sticks
13 whole cloves
1/4 cup honey
1 bottle red wine (red table wine or a bottle of merlot)

  1. Gently zest the orange . When finished zesting, slice the orange.
  2. In a large (non-aluminum) pot, combine the orange zest, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, cloves, honey and wine.
  3. Without boiling the mixture, simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes or until hot. Taste and add more honey if necessary.
  4. Strain and serve.

Monday, October 4, 2010

We all Hate-to-Love Martha: Autumn Wreath

(Rising my fist in the air) Darn you Martha Stewart. I love your crafty style so much, that I will vow to painfully endure your creepy smile and twentysomething complexion. Needless to say... about 1 in every 3 women love her too, so the odds are in my favor. I'm not as much of a chump as I credit myself.

I mean if you think about it....Martha is to home economics, as Julia Child is to food (minus the incarceration); both devoted, inspirational conductors of making complicated tasks simple. Simple is exactly what I love about this DIY project:

Autumn Wreath: (Level: Easy)

Step 1
Cut 10- to 15-inch-long pieces of bittersweet. Gather them into bundles. For a 24-inch wreath form, we used 24 bundles with about 5 branches each.

Step 2
You can use either floral wire on a paddle or a roll of 20- to 24-gauge wire (available at hardware stores) to affix the bundles to the form. Attach the wire to a crossbar of the wreath form.

Step 3
Lay a bundle on the top of the form, and wrap the wire tightly around the stems three times. Do not cut the wire.

Step 4
Add another bundle so that its top overlaps the bottom half of the previous bundle; wrap wire around its stems. Continue adding branch bundles until you've covered the frame.Read more at Bittersweet Autumn Wreath - Martha Stewart Holidays