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Monday, May 30, 2011

Printable Dandelion Recipe Pages

I hope you like this layout as much as I do. The font used is Written in the Stars by Kimberly Geswein, you can see her wonderful handwritten fonts on her webpage, Kimberly Geswein Fonts with a Heart. Downloading and using the fonts for personal use is free, and a commercial use is inexpensive. They are great fonts for digital scrappers.
These pages are 300 dpi in PNG format for very clear printing. Click on the small versions to download the full sized 8x10 versions. 

Blank for your own recipes or digital scrapping.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dandelions are wonderful

Photo taken by me using my HS10 Fujifilm camera-
click on the image to see the pollen on the bee's nose!

If you're considering growing food to eat, dandelions deserve a lot of consideration. They grow easily and well. To plant, all you need to do is wish on a dandelion gone to seed and blow. Nature will take care of the rest. Please pick dandelions away from roads and places where animals are walked. Also don't eat dandelions that are treated with fertilizers or weed killer. I get mine from my yard which I know is a safe place to harvest.
They are super healthy. A cup of greens is higher in vitamin A than carrots, has 1/3 the amount of vitamin c recommended for a day, and a fair amount of dietary fiber. 
They taste good too, young, tender leaves have a faintly bitter taste that goes well in a lot of salads. Making dandelion wine is traditional for St. George's Day (link to Tarragon & Thyme), the roots can be roasted to make a tea
The blossoms are lovely floating a jar, but even better battered and fried.
I *love* fried dandelions.
You can find instructions for a vegan version with photos here

Edited to add: Printable decorated version of this recipe is available HERE.

My version is not vegan. I based my recipe mostly off hazy memories of being a kid and picking dandelions for my best friend's grandmother to fry for us. She used a boxed tempura batter. I made my own batter.

Fried Dandelions Recipes
You will need:
Lots of dandelion blossoms- pick big, healthy looking heads and snap them off as close to the head as you can.
Prepare the dandelions by picking off the bottom set of leaves and trimming off the bottom- I used my very clean finger nails and pinched it off, if you're fussier than I am, use a small paring knife. It's very easy to trim off too much then instead of a blossom that's easily fried, you have a nice pile of dandelion petals. Rinse and lay out to dry.
In a bowl mix-
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 cup of corn starch
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt (I used sea salt)

In a cup or another bowl:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vinegar 
1 cup water
Mix well and mix the liquid ingredients in with the dry ingredients.  If you prefer a thinner batter, add a bit of water to make it as thin as you prefer. 

Heat a couple inches of canola oil to about 350 degrees, I used my electric wok, I like it for frying small things because I use less oil with it than I do with my frying pan and the temperature is so easy to adjust.
Dip the dandelion blossoms in the batter, then fry until golden brown on both sides and drain on paper towels. Now convince people they are really worth trying, because apparently people have serious doubts. 
Salt and pepper to taste, use dipping sauces if you like them.

My son thinks these are fantastic, and they are still one of my favorite treats of summer. The reason I use the baking powder and the vinegar is that the chemical reaction between them makes a very light batter. It puffs up in the oil and it's just wonderful. 

Dandelions part 1 and a bonus

This is actually sort of a grab bag. I'm planning to make some dandelion recipe cards because I'm sort of dandelion obsessed right now, and because knuckstermom mentioned dandelion wine in the comments. But while I was working out designs, I drew something that I thought would be a good coloring page, and some art I'm just not sure if I like it or not. Looking at my templates, I found an old 100 dpi one that I don't use anymore, so that's getting posted as well.
The colored art is 300 dpi. The template and coloring page are both 100 dpi. Click on the images for the full sized versions. Feel free to add text to the art for personal use only, maybe something about wishes if you wish on dandelions!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dying feathers with Easter Egg dye

I can't be the only one who buys up 10¢ packages of Easter egg dye after the holiday right? I get it mostly because we use it on tissue paper. We fold it and dip dye it to create soft geometric patterns.
I had some feathers I wanted to dye, and noticed the Easter egg dye package. So I decided to try that first before getting into more serious dyes.
This method will also work with Kool-aid and food coloring. So if you don't have Easter egg dye, you can use those.
You'll need:
Feathers with light colors. The not pink ones in my photo are the natural feathers. These are not super long feathers, but it will work with those as well. These are from my stash of feathers. 
Coloring- Easter egg dye, food coloring (the little dropper bottles are fine) or unsweetened Kool-Aid
A microwave safe bowl, cup or casserole- more on that in a minute
dish soap

For your feathers, you'll want a dish they won't get the shaft broken in. These little feathers are quite flexible so I just used a coffee mug. If your feathers are too long for your microwave, well.. I want pictures when you're done! And I suggest a baking dish and heating it in your oven at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes instead of zapping it for 2. Most feathers can curve some without breaking the shaft, so if they aren't expensive feathers, try a casserole dish first.

Wash your feathers. This gets any oil off of them and off your fingers so the oil won't block the dye. I used a few drops of dish soap and warm water. I agitated them just a bit with my fingers and let them soak for 5 minutes, then rinsed them well.

Now, put your feathers, which will look limp and awful into your dish. If your feathers are small like mine, you can use 1/2 cup water and 3 Tablespoons of vinegar which is just what my Easter egg tablet instructions called for. If you're using Kool-aid or food coloring, you want to use a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar to cover. So if it takes a cup of water in the bottom of a casserole to cover your feathers, add a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Then add your coloring. A half package of Kool-aid, 5 or 6 drops of food coloring. You don't need much unless you're doing a whole bunch of feathers. Cover the dish with plastic wrap with a couple holes in it if it's shallow so it won't boil over. I didn't because the coffee cup was deep and I'm out of plastic wrap and wanted to try it right that minute.
Take it out of the microwave and let it cool. Then pull out the sorry, sad looking wet feathers and rinse them well. I used a couple more drops of dish soap to make sure the colors took well. 
Now, dry the feathers. If you're only doing a few like I did, they will dry while you fluff them back out with your fingers. If you did a bunch put them in a box and use a hair dryer on low. They will dry pretty quick and the box will help keep them from winding up everywhere. Re-align the feathers if it's necessary.
So that's a fast, safe way to color feathers for hats, hair clips, earrings and even feather extensions. 
The feathers in Turnip Girl's hair were colored with food coloring. This photo was taken after she shampooed her hair with the feathers in it.

A word on feather extensions- I live in an area with a lot of fisherman, and a lot of them are fairly annoyed that suddenly some of their favorite feathers are a lot pricier because of the trend. But at the same time, if you have a few friends who fish, and you just want a few long feathers, you might be able to ask them rather than buying more than you need at a place that specializes in fly-tying equipment and supplies. You can also ask friends who have turkeys or roosters for feathers that are shed naturally. If you have shorter hair, then you can use shorter feathers. I plan to put feather extensions in my daughter's hair, but instead of using the very popular grizzly feathers, I'm going to make them with peacock herl. Her hair is just at shoulder length at it's longest part and shorter most other places. For myself, well.. I'm not sure I can find feathers long enough, and planned to use ribbons and beads, possibly with the short feathers above on the ends of the ribbons.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review- Modern Homestead

Renee Wilkinson is the author of the blog Hip Chick Digs and of a book on homesteading in urban areas called Modern Homestead : Grow, Raise, Create

There are a lot of books out there about getting started in homesteading in urban environments now, and the truth is, I don't think you can have too many because a lot of them offer different approaches and information.
This book is great for beginners. It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're first getting interested in trying to grow more produce for your dinner table or when you're considering taking the next step in homesteading.Renee writes in an easy and clear way. It's so easy to read that I spent a day in the sun with a choice between this book and a trashy novel I was reading and wound up happily reading this.

It's in bits and bites, and she recommends that you start with what you think you can realistically handle, then lays out methods to handle it. Where to go to get information, how to set up a garden club to exchange ideas and seeds, and how to start planning and planting. She offers practical suggestions for planting in very limited spaces and how to find the best areas for sunny plants in those spaces.

Then she gets into livestock. Are you able to have chickens? She gives plans for a minicoop that will fit on some balconies. It's sized for bantam sized chickens and includes a worm bin for compost. She gives lots of practical advice about how to raise chickens and care for them. Then gets into other things like ducks, goats and beekeeping,what kind of space, time and supplies you'll need to raise those.

The final section of the book is recipes, for cooking seasonally out of your garden or farmer's markets, jams and other food preservation methods, non-toxic cleaning supplies and beauty items.

One of the things I love about this book is how down to earth it is. It's fun to read, with great photos and lots and lots of information. She gives ideas for having a party with friends to make jams or bath salts. I really recommend this one, and it's one that I'm going to have my husband read as well.

You can get this book directly from the publisher, Fulcrum Publishing You can get more information about my review policy here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eggs and Bacon Recipe Cards

Yay! Blogger is out of read-only mode. I've been trying to log in all day to post these.

3x5 inch recipe cards- print 4 to a page. Quarter ruled. 300 dpi, click on the image for the full sized version.

4x6 inch recipe cards, 2 to a page, 300 dpi, click on the image for the full sized version. Also quarter ruled.

8x10 page, unlined, good for recipe scrapbook pages, or if you prefer to keep a recipe looseleaf binder. 300 dpi.

The last few days have been *gorgeous*, so I've been outside working in my garden and reading. Yesterday I read a homesteading book that I'll review tomorrow. It's excellent. 
Today, looking at the "weeds" which have overtaken part of my yard, my son decided that a dandelion green salad was just the thing. He picked and rinsed a big bowl of tender leaves, and served them with a vinaigrette. I pointed out where the fireweed was coming in, and said "You can make something that tastes very like honey using that and clover flowers." My mom used to make it. He thought that was interesting. He loves honey. Then it occurred to me that Mom's old "Homesteader's Honey" recipe could probably be made in smaller batches using raw sugar for a decent honey substitute for vegans. So when the flowers bloom, I'm going to try that.  I'll also need to try it with other kinds of flowers. Not everyone is lucky enough to be living in an area with rampant fireweed.
I hope you're enjoying your summer as much as I'm enjoying it here. After all the rain last year, I'm determined to enjoy the weather while it lasts, and if it holds, I'll enjoy it all summer long. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rose Mandala

I had a different rose design in mind. But this is what wound up actually happening. I do hope you like it!

Black version of the box included for people who prefer to color by hand!
Click on the images for the full sized versions. The coloring page is 100 dpi, the rest are 300.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review- The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook

The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook : Recipes from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

The Mitsitam Cafe offers Native foods from both North and South America, offering education about preparation methods along with meals.  This cookbook has recipes that are used in the cafe.

There are a lot of recipes in this book. If you have an interest in regional cooking, Native culture or cooking in season, this has recipes for you. The recipes all have side bars offering you a bit of information about either the inspiration for the recipe or the way the foods were eaten traditionally by different regions and nations.

One of the things that impressed me most about this book is the range of recipes, there are recipes for things like a buffalo chili that even a very conservative eater might be willing to try, or if you're more adventurous, juniper cured salmon. A lot of the recipes can be used by vegans as well. Last night I served the refried beans (made with a vegetable oil) and a roasted pepper salsa to my family for dinner. Both were enthusiastically received by my teens and husband who didn't even seem to miss having meat with dinner. My daughter was thrilled and excited by the dessert recipes. She thinks corn and chocolate tamales are just a brilliant idea. I love the Cranberry Crumble and other berry based recipes.
A good selection of salad, appetizer and main course recipes makes this a wonderful cookbook. The recipes are all well explained and easy to follow. There are some techniques like salt curing that some home cooks may not have tried yet, but the language is easy to follow.
You expect gorgeous food photos in a cookbook, and there are some delicious photos of food, there are also some great photographs of native art and people. This one gets a place of honor on my shelf of cookbooks, I have bookmarks in for the next recipes I want to try out of it. My only quibble is a minor one given how much I do like this cookbook, I wish there were more recipes from Alaska represented. However some of the ingredients used in traditional cooking up here can be extremely hard to find anywhere else.

You can find more information about the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian here.
You can get this book directly from the publisher, Fulcrum Publishing or by clicking the affiliate link below.

You can get more information about my review policy here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eggs and Bacon Boxes

The idea of fried egg swiss dots with bacon rickrack makes me smile. I'm thinking of designing some fabric to print on Spoonflower to make an apron with toast patch pockets!

I hope you enjoy these boxes. I used the 2x2x2 template and the 3x3x1 template for this mini-set. 300 dpi, click on the images to get the full sized version. Print on card stock, cut, score, fold, glue. Should I make a matching recipe card set?

Thank you for all the birthday wishes I'm getting today!
Today, while my husband is at work, I'm going to make up some teriyaki sauce for him to use when he grills dinner tonight. He's planning on some sort of seafood. I'm not sure yet if that's going to be shrimp, salmon or halibut. It will be Alaskan wild caught whatever it is.
I added a new bracelet pattern for sale in my Etsy shop for my limited edition patterns. I like keeping my prices fairly low, so an average blank template in my shop is 1.60 and commercial use okay. My pattern collections are around 3-4 dollars each for several patterns. Because people keep telling me that underprice my work badly, I decided to do some limited edition patterns, the patterns are 3 dollars each, I'll sell 10 each then permanently retire the patterns. Making them up for sale is fine. The limited edition patterns all say that they are are limited edition, and there are 3 so far, all bracelets, Ninja Beader, Cherry Pie (inspired by the Warrant song) and the one below, inspired by Alice Cooper. "Your skin/so wet/black lace/on sweat"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Corsage bracelet and update

You can find instructions for this bracelet here.

My daughter is thrilled with it, and planning to make one for herself soon. I'm currently working on a couple skirts, including a pair of half circle skirts that use a 90 inch round table cloth, so the skirts are already hemmed. They just need a seam and elastic to finish them. Unfortunately, I got everything cut out and ready to go and then couldn't find my black thread. The math is fairly simple. For a fold over elastic waist,  you cut a circle out of the center of the table cloth (find by folding into quarters) that is your hips+ease/3.14, then cut the now donut shaped table cloth in half and each half makes one skirt. The length is 45 inches- 1/2 of the above diameter, so if you decided on 40 inches for hips+ease, the circle would be 80/3.14=25.47 or round up to 26, the radius of that is 13, so 45-13=32 which is a nice long skirt.  The table clothes I'm using were marked down at Sam Clubs for having a torn package and are a cotton/poly blend. Now if I can find 120 inch ones I can make half circle capes for the ren fair. 

My husband is planning to grill fish and veggies for my birthday Monday. Yum yum. We were also talking about a wood grilled version of the crab bread that is served at the hotel he works at. It's so very good. 

Dad is doing a lot better now, and is planning to go back to work on Monday. He's also fairly sure that everyone is ganging up on him because every time he talks to one of his friends, me, his grandkids or my husband the first thing we ask is "How are you feeling?" followed by "Have you eaten today?"

William and I have gotten hooked on GetGlue. If you don't know about GetGlue yet, it's sort of like a combination social networking site and marketing site. You like and check into books, movies, albums and tv shows. Some new releases earn virtual stickers, after you've collected 20, you can have them mailed to you once a month. We joined because HEY! Doctor Who stickers!  I got my first order of stickers in the mail a few days ago. My husband was tickled by the Burn Notice stickers which he plans to put on his next laptop. My daughter was thrilled with both Fringe and Doctor Who. The physical stickers are shiny, glossy round stickers.  You can get information on how to unlock and earn stickers from the forum.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Winged Heart art for digital scrapping

Okay, I'm done playing with that heart for now. So here it is for any digital scrappers who want to make tags or other things with it. 300 dpi, transparent PNG format. Click on the images for the full sized versions.

Some matching background tiles. These are 1 inch x 1 inch except for the dotted tile which is a half inch by a half inch. PNG format. The dots are transparent so you can put them over the stripes if you'd like.

Dad update- He's home from the hospital, and feeling a lot better.
Car update- Still not fixed
Birthday plans- I've had a cake from the same bakery every year since I was 12. This year I *will* have my cake, but it will be a week or two late.  My daughter is planning to bake a small cake for the day of, and Mike's planning on grilling one of my favorites for dinner. Best present of course is just that dad's home and that he's going to be okay.  I'm also planning to post the recipe for the cake I made for my mom's 40th birthday here. It's sort of like a Versunkener Apfelkuchen, but with some modifications because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand that first time. Mom loved my variation better than the original recipe that I was working from and it's still a family favorite. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Winged Heart Purse Box

I really meant to get this posted Monday, but life got in the way all weekend.
So, the 3rd box from this set, a little purse box. The other two are a tea box and a cube. This one also includes a matching dot print. I printed the dots on one side, then the purse on the other side. Cut out and assemble according to the instructions on the purse printable. The dots can also be used with the other 2 printables to create a design inside the boxes.  If you'd like the blank template, it's available in my Etsy shop for 1.60.
300 dpi, click on the images for the full sized versions.

How life took over the weekend -
Friday night, my husband and I had to take my dad to the ER, he was admitted to the hospital and has been there all weekend. He's going to be fine and should be getting released today or tomorrow. Then Saturday, coming back from the hospital after visiting him, we stopped for dinner because all of us were entirely too exhausted to consider cooking. When we got out of the restaurant, our car wouldn't start. Something with the fuel pump is Mike's best guess. Since Dad wouldn't go straight to the ER and wanted to go to an urgent care center first, our budget is pretty much blown right now.  I'm still very, very grateful. It could have been so much worse than it was. Dad's nearly "fixed" and the car will be fixed soon. It's fairly warm so having to take the bus isn't the inconvenience it could have been. The financial department at the hospital is finding ways to help pay the bill and being very helpful. So we will be eating lots of soup and other inexpensive meals for the next bit of time. I'm just so glad Dad's going to be okay.  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Winged Heart Box 2

Another winged heart box, using the same popping pink colors and pink winged heart as this box.
I'm really fond of this design and this style. The offset shapes and things breaking out of lines. This time I decided on the 2x2 cube template. Click on the image for the full sized 300x300 ppi version. Print on card stock, score all folds, and glue side tab inside the other side. Fold top and bottom flaps in and close top and bottom. You might want to secure the bottom with a dab of glue or a piece of tape.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friends lists for games on Facebook

You know all those games on Facebook. You might be addicted to a couple of them. The problem is that a lot of them want to post to your wall to advertise themselves and offer incentives like bonuses for friends who play or a way to ask for something in the game you want.

If you love the game, but aren't in love with the idea of your co-workers/non game playing friends and other people seeing your game posts there is a way around it. It takes a bit of time to set up if you've got a lot of people who play your game with you, but once it's set up, maintaining it is fairly easy. It gives you a way to hide those Facebook game posts from friends.

So, go to Edit Friends. It's in the upper right hand corner of your screen like this. Open the drop down for Account.

Now you need to create your list. It's right there on top of the screen.

You get a window that looks like this. Only not blurry. :) 

Give it an easy name you'll remember. I usually go with the initials of the game. Like for Mafia Wars, I went with the very clever "MW". Just hit the create list and don't bother trying to pick all the faces out of the pop up window if you've got a ton of people on your friends list.

So now, on the left hand side of your screen, you'll have a friends list there. Click on that.
So now for the time consuming part if you've got a lot of friends who play your particular addiction. Adding the names. Facebook will offer auto-complete suggestions which makes it a little quicker. Open your game in another tab so you can get the list of people who play with you. Neighbors, members of your clan, whatever they call them in your game. Add them all to your brand spanking new friends list. If it doesn't start auto-completing instantly, just give it a minute, or backspace and type the first few letters of each name again.

Now, as you add friends that are just for your game, you add their names to that friends list by going to account/edit friends and clicking on that list. If they are adding you for a game, when you confirm you have the option to add to a list. 

So now the list is made. How to use it.
Okay.. here's one of those pop-ups that gives you a good incentive to share with friends.

Because, hey, 7,666 exp is enough to push someone over to level!

So this part takes an extra couple of seconds, but you'll get into the habit pretty quickly so it doesn't take much time if you want to keep all the game posts out of your non-game playing friends view.

Click that little lock. Which opens this-

Click customize. Which opens this.

Now you choose Specific People. 

Type your nice, short and sweet friend's list name. Choose it from the drop down. You do have to choose it from the drop down, otherwise, it becomes only visible to you. This is what it will look like after you do that.
Hit save setting, which closes that window, then confirm to publish it. It will only publish to the people on that friend's list.

Same technique works for creating lists of specific people you want to post messages to on Facebook. When you update your status, it shows that little lock icon, so same steps. You click the lock to change the settings for just that status alone.

Edited to add:
Adding friends for games!
If you're doing looking for new neighbors for your games, you can add people to your game lists while sending add requests. 

When you get an add request (which I don't have screencapped yet), there is an option in that to add to list as well.  :) Quick and easy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tattoo Tea Box

I haven't used any of my tea box sized templates in a while. This one will hold a few bags of tea, the kind that come wrapped in foil. It's 300 dpi, click on the image for the full sized version. I hope you like the design.