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Friday, November 29, 2013

Chocolate Squares Printable Slide Box

I hope you enjoy this printable slide box! The box will fit 3 Ghirardelli squares and this one is decorated to look like a present. I like these both as table decorations and as stocking stuffers.

Click on the image for the larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue! You can buy the blank template to decorate yourself with an instant download at my Etsy store.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

A bunch of people on FB have been doing a daily gratitude all month. I didn't join in that, but there are so many things that I'm so grateful for- so here's a short list of both big and small things.

The biggies-
1. My family- first, always. My husband and I have been together nearly 18 years and more in love every day. His thoughtfulness, care and strength of character still take my breath away. My children- William and the Amazing Turnip Girl are inspirations, joy and they are two of the sweetest, most generous people it's ever been my honor to know. My dad and his unflinching honesty- I'm glad he's reasonably healthy and just as contrary and stubborn as ever. The ones who are gone- my Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Uncle and Kim- gone, but not gone, just on the other side.

2. My friends! This year has been full of wonderful moments with friends- it's impossible to encapsulate that in a short way, but I'm so thankful for all of them.

3. Every single one of you. The regular readers, the ones who stop in occasionally and the new readers. The ones who write to me, leave comments, link back to this blog, or like my page on FB. When I started this blog, I thought that if I got a few hundred hits a month, it would be enough. You all have made this such a joy!

The smaller things: (because people are ALWAYS the big thing)

1. The opportunities! My Duck Tape, the sponsors who give me supplies to create and help support this blog financially and Dover giving me the chance to do coloring books!!

2. My husband getting out of the toxic job atmosphere he was in, and getting a job with a company who truly appreciates him. He's so happy, working less hours and in a job he truly believes in.

3. That gorgeous summer, with the wonderful crops and TG learning to make jam. Her jellies absolutely deserve a place on this list. Because YUM!

The last year has been busy. This month started with me trying to make a deadline after my computer died, and for the first week after I finished it, there was a de-stress period where I caught up on reading and other things. Then last week I got sick with the flu. Sorry for the lack of posts this month. I'm going to try to do better for December and have a couple crochet projects and a some new candy boxes lined up now plus a review of one of the best paper books I've read this year and some great knitting and cookbook reviews.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hexagonal Geometric Mandalas to color

The other day I got kind of caught up playing with simple geometric shapes. One of my favorites was a pair of hexagons-

So here are two of the finished designs for you to color. I hope you enjoy them.
Click on the images for larger versions, print/color!
Small JPG version:

Large transparent PNG versions:

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Very Sunny Christmas Box

One of my readers wrote me recently lamenting the fact that so many Christmas things were snowy, cold, frozen scenes. She lives in Australia and has never seen a snowy Christmas in her life. Of course, here in Alaska, Christmas means cold, dark, snow, ice and icicles everywhere. So I never even thought about the fact the seasons are switched down south.

So I asked some of my friends who live in Australia, and they told me all about having cold prawns for dinner, going swimming with friends and family or going to the beach. About having cold cuts and lollies and unless it's unseasonably cold- never ever considering heating up the kitchen for a turkey dinner.

Personally- I think cold prawns are ALWAYS a good idea, so they will be part of our Christmas dinner this year.

Anyway, for her, and for anyone else enjoying a sunny Christmas, I hope you enjoy this printable box.
Click on the image, print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue. There will be a coloring page later.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Be Carton Smart! (includes my mom's stuffing recipe)

This post brought to you by Carton Smart. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pacific Food Tetra Packs

I love Tetra Pak cartons. They stack well in my pantry, they crush into less space than cans take, and they are made mostly from paper that was sourced in a renewable way. They keep food as fresh and shelf stable with less packaging and it's rectangular packaging so it fits better in square shelves! Be Carton Smart, and check out all the foods available in Tetra Paks. 

They sent me Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Simply Stock- and reading the ingredient list, it is just chicken stock- made from chicken and vegetables just they way I do it. Unsalted is my preference because I can salt to taste. 

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Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree- pure pumpkin, tasty. I didn't cook with it this time, but have used it in the past. My favorite use is a small amount of pumpkin butter using a bit of apple juice, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and cooked down to a thick paste. (grilled pumpkin butter cream cheese sandwiches!)

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And Pacific Foods Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce- this is my favorite pre-made cranberry sauce, more impressively, it's the ONLY cranberry sauce not made from scratch that my husband will eat. He loves my homemade cranberry sauce, and likes his daughter's cranberry jelly but finds most canned sauces gross. This one? He likes it. The texture isn't a gelatin like smoothness, it feels and tastes like homemade. 

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I used the stock in my mom's stuffing recipe, then served it with thick deli cuts of turkey and cranberry sauce. The first holiday dinner I made for my husband back when we were dating, he told me "Stuffing is my favorite!" so I made stuffing. He was baffled watching me because he didn't tell me that stuffing in his house growing up came from a box! Then he took a bite. Since then, my mom's recipe for stuffing is his favorite food in the world.

Mom's stuffing

You will need:

5 cups dry bread cubes

1 lb sausage- turkey is fine, I prefer links chopped into small pieces

1 green apple- medium sized or large or 2 small (school boy) apples

1 large onion

4 stalks of celery

2 tbs of butter

1 Tetra Pak Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Simply Stock

1 Tbs each dried sage and parsley 

Dice the apple, onion and celery and brown the sausage in a large skillet. When the sausage is browned, add the butter in the skillet and add the onion, celery and apple. Cook until the onion is translucent. Pour in the stock. Stir in the seasonings. Put the bread cubes in a large pan or bowl, and mix in the stock/sausage mixture. Toss it well, then cover it. The steam will moisten the bread cubes and it's ready to bake or stuff a bird. Tetra Paks are so easy to open and can be reclosed to put in the fridge!

Cranberry sauce tip- leftover cranberry sauce mixed with cream cheese makes the best spread in the world for leftover turkey sandwiches! Yum. 

open Tetra Pak


Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest for ideas and information.

Tweet @CartonSmart with #CartonSmart to share your own favorite recipes and ideas

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Soapcrafting and a snowflake coloring page

As promised- a coloring page from the art on yesterday's snowflake box. I really like this knotwork snowflake. Click the images below for larger version to print and color.

Small JPG version:
Large transparent PNG version:

Today's Homemade Holiday 101's spotlight is about setting up a soapmaking kitchen AND has a great giveaway for a beginning soapmaking set from Brambleberry. Also! Soap Crafting (link to my review) is marked down considerably in Kindle format. Short version? If you have an interest in making gorgeous cold process soap and love color, this is a book you'll want.

Amazon links are affiliate links and help pay for this site and my book addiction.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Homemade Holidays 101 and a free printable snowflake box!

I'll be doing an update soon about what's been going on the last couple of weeks. But first, a brand new printable box and information about a great promotion from Workman Publishing.

They are having a sweepstakes, and you get a prize just for entering. The prize is your choice of one of 4 e-books. 3 are cookbooks, and one is a knitting/crochet book. Sign up for their newsletter and you're entered. It's that easy. You can sign up here- Homemade Holiday 101. Check out the blog for the cutest knit penguin pattern around while you're there.  Also they will be having fantastic deals on some of their great books for the holidays.

I'm not being paid to promote this or anything like that, but I'm a big fan of Storey and Workman books. They are great guides to self-sufficiency, cooking and crafting.

The grand prize? A Nexus tablet with some great e-books preloaded. (I'll be reviewing one of them soon!) and 5 runner ups will win a 25 dollar gift card to the online bookseller of their choice.

About the box-
It snowed. October broke all kinds of heat records for Alaska, then all the sudden, with very little warning, temps dropped and it's all white, snowy and frosty outside. Posting a snowflake of some sort shortly after the first snow is getting to be kind of a tradition here. I hope you enjoy it. Click the image for a larger version- print on cardstock, cut out, score folds, fold and glue! affiliate links help pay for this site, and my book addiction.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book review- Soup Night

So I had this plan to review this book last week while Storey was posting all sorts of delicious recipes on their Facebook page (Storey posts lots of recipes, tips and occasional giveaways). Time got away from me while working on the coloring book and to do it justice, it needs reading.

I planned to review this after trying a few recipes. Then it became clear that it was going to take a bit longer.

The reason is that this book is a big part of this book is stories about how hosting a soup night can build a community and those stories need reading. They are warm, touching and inspiring. Being busy, reading those stories was a happy break. It's all about making a couple pots of soup- one vegetarian and one with meat and inviting the neighbors over on a regular basis or alternating hosting so that you have a soup night once a month. A time to catch up with the neighbors, form friendships and creating a true neighborhood. It reminded me a lot of when I was younger and always had a pot of soup on and people would just drop by for soup, coffee and company.

The recipes- I love making soup. It's one of my favorite things because soup is easy, it's warm and comforting on a cold winter night. The recipes aren't just for soup- there are some for breads to go with the soups, salads, desserts and other things to serve on a soup night. The soup recipes are fantastic and varied which is one of the best things about a cookbook that has lots of contributors. Creamy soups, cold fruit soups, hot minestrones, bean soups, and a bit of something for everyone.

Great recipes from the people and groups mentioned in the book, with gorgeous photography. Not every recipe is photographed, but a lot of them are.

Printed in full color, with a good index, this is one of my favorite cookbooks of the year. The recipes are clear and well written. There is a great tips section full of ideas for stocking your pantry to make soup on the fly, the pros and cons of dried vs canned beans and lots of other ideas.

I highly recommend this, both to read and as a cookbook.

You can get this book in  Kindle or paperback format at your local book store or by using the Amazon affiliate links below-

U.S.A. U.K.

Amazon affiliate links help pay for this site and my book addiction.
[The book reviewed was provided to me at no cost for the purposes of review. I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of this book.]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Birthstone and Flower Mandala

The flower for November is the chrysanthemum, the stone is citrine!

This is part of my Birth Flower/Birthstone series of printable mandalas to color. You can see the rest of the series here-
The Birthstone and Flower series of Mandalas

Small jpg version:

Large transparent PNG version:

Some gifts to consider-

Amazon links are affiliate links.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Goldfish mandala

So work on the paisley coloring book is going fantastically. I sent in the preliminary sketches and most of them are just fine. This one stretches the definition of paisley too much. But it's really, really nifty and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Click on the images below for larger version to print and color-

small jpg version:

large transparent png version:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Printable quote- Khalil Gibran

This quote is a part of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.
"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving"

I posted the full quote here as a printable in January 2012. It's one that seemed worth revisiting in a simpler version. I hope you enjoy it. Click the image below for a larger version to print.
wake at dawn with a winged heart printable quote