Month: January 2010

Deployment Kit

I want to share this idea with you because I think it will completely bless anyone you may know who has a husband in the military. Last year, I wanted to do something for my sister-in-law as she prepared for her husband to go out to sea for five months with the Navy. I don’t usually get gifts shipped out on time, but was proud of myself when my gift showed up the day his ship set sail. The gift idea entailed buying a white paper gift bag and titling it “Sara’s Deployment Kit”. I also glued various road maps to the outside of the bag to reflect a travel theme. On the inside, I put a variety of goodies that I thought would help her get through those months. Inside the bag I included a note with a list of all the items and how to use them. When using this idea, change up the items to reflect the interests/needs of the person you are giving it to. Here is what I used:

  • pocket calendar-to count down the days
  • slippers-to wrap yourself in comfort
  • package of mesh bags-for easy clean-up (my sister-in-law has three kids)
  • ceramic cup with tea bags-to help you relax at the end of a busy day
  • stuffed frog prince-to remind you of your true love
  • tissues-when you miss him even more
  • aspirin-when the day didn’t go so well
  • chocolate-just because
  • book with daily devotionals (from Billy Graham)-to remind you that God is always with you
  • small garden kit (seeds and those soil discs that expand with water)-to brighten your day

Easy and Durable Place Mats

I have to admit that I rarely use place mats on my dining room table. I do, however, think they are absolutely adorable (on other people’s table) when they reflect a particular season or holiday. Last Christmas, I decided I would make some festive place mats for my loved ones and their children. I picked a fun design with ginger bread men on one side and a solid brown fabric for the reverse side. I chose brown with the hope that the place mats could be used in autumn and then flipped to reflect the Christmas season. FYI, the brown did match the Christmas fabric due to the brown in the ginger bread men. (I felt I needed to mention that since one does not typically think of brown as a Christmas color.) Because I consider myself a beginner sewer, I followed a pattern and the directions for a simple place mat provided by craftandfabricslinks.com . This site is a great place to find FREE patterns, sewing lessons, sewing project ideas, and links. Here is how my place mats turned out. The fabric was purchased at Joann Fabrics.

Denim Pin Cushion

I thought I would share this cute little pin cushion I made for my sister-in-law a while back. I simply cut out a piece of denim that included the pocket from an old skirt. I then paired it with some red fabric that had some country style. I think it turned out nicely. The pocket can then be used to hold embroidery floss, needles, buttons, a thimble…the list goes on and on!

Handbags

A couple of summers ago, I wanted to pick up sewing. My goal was to purchase a book that would teach me some basic techniques through the creation of various items. I love handbags (what girl doesn’t), so I found a book that offered several different designs.The Sew Everything Workshop book is a must for anyone who loves to sew. It is especially useful for beginner sewers because the book actually offers patterns for the multitude of projects it teaches how to make. Projects include various clothing items, handbags, a doggy coat, a quilt, and a children’s stuffed elephant. I particularly love the “Tokyo Bag” offered in this book. Here are a few pictures of the ones I have made using various fabrics. Once you make this bag, it is a breeze to make. You can then alter your pattern to make a bigger bag.

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Amish Caramel Corn

Boiling caramel
Boiling caramel

On Christmas’s past, I have packaged what I have officially named “Amish Caramel Corn” for my loved ones. I love this recipe because it is easy to make, ships well in the mail, and is by far the best tasting caramel corn I have ever tasted. I have received nothing but rave reviews from those who have been graced by its presence. The original recipe came from allrecipes.com – a site that I visit often for their multitude of recipes paired with reviews. I do wish they would include more photos of the cooking process. I am not an experienced cook and rely on pictures. For that reason, I have included pictures of each step. I do need to warn you…once you take a bite of this luscious treat, you will not be able to step away!

Light and foamy caramel
Light and foamy caramel

Ingredients

  • 7 quarts plain popped popcorn *I used popping corn and popped it on the stove top. This fresh popcorn makes a huge difference in the taste.
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel corn
Caramel corn

Directions

  1. Place the popped popcorn into two shallow greased baking pans. You may use roasting pans, jelly roll pans, or disposable roasting pans. Add the peanuts to the popped corn if using. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring enough to blend. Once the mixture begins to boil, boil for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.

    Tubs from Walmart
    Tubs from Walmart
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn in the pans, and stir to coat. Don’t worry too much at this point about getting all of the corn coated.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, removing the pans, and giving them each a good stir every 15 minutes. Line the counter top with waxed paper. Dump the corn out onto the waxed paper and separate the pieces. Allow to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or resealable bags.