Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buttercream Frosting

Great for topping cakes, cupcakes, cookies...whatever your sweet tooth desires.

  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine in a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, confectioners sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency.
Makes enough to frost 9x13 inch cake or 24 cupcakes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Free or Cheap Sewing Patterns & Fabric Ideas

Photo credit: cohdra from morguefile.com

Sewing can be extremely rewarding when you want to make that perfect fit or save some money. But buying everything at the fabric store is not always cheaper than just buying it already made. So here are some ideas on finding fabrics and links to some free patterns.

Fabric and Notions
* Search the Thriftstore. They frequently have remnant fabrics and notions.
*Think outside the box. Need to make a sample dress out of cheap fabric before you cut up the expensive fabric? Try a $2 sheet. Use old shirts to make new smaller ones for your children. People frequently refer to this as upcycling. Be creative!
*Try Craigslist, Freecycle, or yard sales.

Sewing Patterns or Tutorials
There are lots of free patterns online, this is certainly not an exhaustive list. So if you are looking for something specific, try searching around a little. I may add to the list as I find some new sites that I like.


Free or cheap PDF sewing patterns. Some free tutorials and lots of sewing advice.

This is a personal blog but she is really talented at patterns and gives plenty of picture tutorials. If you don't want to draft up patterns from tutorials, she also sells the patterns as PDF on Etsy very reasonably.

Amy Butler

She has some really great pattern for sale but these free ones are nice too. Many quilt patterns but there are some other good ones.

Sew News

The sewing magazines online patterns and projects. Wide range of projects and techniques.

Sewing Mamas

Lots of tutorials split into their various categories.


This is a webside for all crafty people to get together. I have included some clothing tutorials lists but they may have more sewing tutorials on the forum for other topics. You can search and enjoy to your hearts content!

Craftster clothing in general tutorials -this also includes accessories, embelishments, undergarments

Craftster kid's clothing tutorials

Craftster reconstructed clothing tutorials

Craftster free clothing pattern list -they have their own list of free patterns you can peruse.

Well that should get you started. Now find a great project and get moving!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lactose Free Ranch Dressing

I find milk is a hard thing to give up. Whether you have a lactose-intolerance or are giving it up for other reasons, it is hard to stay away. So many foods and recipes call for dairy.

But cry no more over missing ranch dressing because here is the recipe- lactose-free!

1 C. mayonaise (you can use a soy product if you want to go vegan)
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
7 1/2. tsp. soy milk
1/2 tsp. chives
1/2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. dill
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

-Mix the lemon juice and soy milk and set aside for 10 min. The easiest way to mix the lemon juice and soy milk is to put 1 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill to 1/2 C. with the soy milk.
-Whisk together your ingredients and refrigerate.

Now you can adjust thickness and spice to your own taste. My husband prefers it a little thicker and with more dill. So experiment away and enjoy your new lactose freedom!
*Hint: The hubby says it is easiest to slowly add the milk last so you can adjust how think the dressing is.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Buffalo Dip

This is a great, simple recipe for a Superbowl Party, or just entertaining some guests (especially if you know they like something spicy). It tastes just like eating hot wings, without the mess. I unfortunately rarely measure, but this is a very close estimate of how I would usually make it.

2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed (or, a 10 oz. can of chicken, but I prefer to cook it)
1 - 8 oz. package of cream cheese
3/4 cup of ranch dressing (or more to taste)
1/2 cup of Frank's Buffalo Sauce (or more to taste)

Cook all of the ingredients together over the stove until all melted. Serve warm, with celery sticks, crackers, or tortilla chips.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homemade Playdough

This cute little man loves himself some playdough. The little Bug and I frequently make this stuff into "dino eggs" and "baby dinos," in addition to the normal balls and snakes. He is one happy camper if his playdough is involved.

Playdough is relatively simple to make. I know that a lot of people do a pretty basic salt dough for playdough, like the one found here. However, I found a recipe through one of my all time favorite crafty blogs that I just LOVED. I made this stuff over 3 weeks ago, and it's still soft and pliable. Amazing! I KNOW!!!

You can find the recipe and detailed instructions here. Oh, and the craft blog I love? It's called Homemade by Jill. She hasn't blogged as much since the birth of her 2nd baby, but it's only been about a month. She's got her hands pretty full.

Have fun with the playdough!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Honey & Milk Balls

Hmmm... Doesn't that look like a tasty tower? These little snack balls are made from 4 simple ingredients and please everyone from my toddler to my husband. My daughter got excited just seeing the picture.

1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1/2 C. honey (I find that local honey is the tastiest)
1 C. oats
1 C. non-fat powdered milk (I use powdered soy milk to make these lactose-free)

Throw it all in a bowl. These are the messy ingredients before mixing.

Mix well. Roll into bite-sized balls. Refrigerate for best results. These do NOT need cooked. Just eat and enjoy!

*Hint: This is hard to mix with a spoon so you might as well get down and dirty!
*Hint #2: This is a good toddler snack but it is not recommended to feed honey to children under 1 year old. Then of course you have to beware of peanut allergy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

No-bake Banana Pudding

I know everyone always agrees that oven baked banana pudding is better than no-bake versions. I have made both, and let me tell you, if you stick with this no-bake recipe, you'll never go through the hassle of a double boiler with a baked version again. This recipe is easy, and if you're like me, the benefit of making a pretty presentation with your banana pudding will seal the deal. (Yes, I bought a trifle dish for this very purpose!)

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (room temp)
1(14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups cold milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping (thawed)
1 lemon (juiced)

3-4 bananas (sliced)
1/2 box vanilla wafers

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Fold in 1/2 the whipped topping. (Mixture will be thin at this point). Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish (or dish of your choice) with vanilla wafers. Dip banana slices into lemon juice (to prevent browning), and arrange slices evenly over wafers. Spread with a layer of pudding. Repeat layering, making sure to end with a pudding layer on top. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill in fridge for a few hours until thickened.