Saturday, November 21, 2015

Spicy-Scented Christmas Ornaments

That sounds much better than
"This year I want a smelly tree."
In addition to Strung Popcorn, our tree is going to don a variety
of natural fragrant ornaments including dried orange slices,
and these yummy smelling ornaments.

(This recipe is from 'Taste of Home Magazine' about 20 years ago.)
First thing's first:
gather items needed~
3/4 c. applesauce
1 c. cinnamon
1 Tbl. ground nutmeg
1 Tbl. ground cloves
2 Tbl. white glue
(I used homemade pearsauce, because that's what I had.)
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients.  It will be a little 'glumpy' at first.
Don't worry, just mix it together like you would cookie or pie dough.
It will smooth out.
Then roll it out to about 1/4" thick using cinnamon as you usually would flour.
Choose cookie cutter of your choice.
I'm not sure why, but I thought the little squirrel would go well
with the star and rocking horse.
Maybe I just thought it belonged in a tree.
Mine ended up a little thinner than 1/4".
I'm not too concerned.
Continue to rework your dough, roll out, and cut until there is not enough
for another ornament.
I set the remainder in a tin can with a little water on the wood stove.
Once they are all cut out,
use a straw to make a hole for a ribbon, or
I used a toothpick to poke a small hole 
since I will be using wire ornament hangers.
Be sure the hole goes all the way through.
These are pretty small ornaments.
If you are using a larger cookie-cutter, you might go ahead with the straw.
You can then set them in the oven on warm and
turn them over occasionally.
I'm not sure how long that would take, because
I cheated and set them on the dehydrator :)
It took about 1.5-2ish hours.
I can't begin to tell you just how good the house smelled.
You can use craft paint to embellish them, but
I will be keeping these natural.

After the holidays, 
you can do as mentioned above and crumble in a tin can
with some water on the stove as air freshener.
If you have munchkins in your home, please
remind them these are not for munching on.


Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Family Activity ~ Campfire Popcorn Popper

The holidays are approaching soon.
If you need a little project to keep the young
and/or young-at-heart busy,
here is a fun little project you might try.
There are some pretty simple supplies needed:
a tin can (with lid - see below)
a stick - appropriate length 3' or so
a small nail or a wood screw
a drill or screw-driver
a dab of butter
some popcorn kernels
salt (optional)
possibly a chop saw or small hand saw
a campfire (or suitable substitute)

 Go ahead and gather your supplies.
When I open a can, I leave about 1/2-3/4 inch uncut so I can use it as a lid.
And oh yes, wash can - do I really need to say that? But if I didn't:)
 Cut one end of the stick blunt.
 I tapped a hole in the side of the can to make it easier.
Then use either a drill or screw-driver to attach the can to the stick.

Now go ahead and add butter and popping corn.
Note: I found only one option for actual popping corn.  All the other
options were for the microwave which I think is a bit sad.
 Close the lid so the kernels don't pop out.
If you have young ones doing this, warn them about the lid and
teach them how to 'use' it so they don't get cut.
(My belief is to teach children how not to get hurt rather than protecting 
them from the possibility of getting hurt, but that's me.)
 If you don't have a campfire, you could use a wood stove like I did here,
a simple stove top burner, or the burner on the BBQ.
Be patient. . . hear it?  One popped!
Let it keep going.
I have to say, the little kid in me lit up when it started popping.
You may then either eat your popped corn or string it up for the tree.

I do have a confession to make.
I don't usually eat or make popped corn, but I think it looks great on the tree.
Keeping that in mind :) my first go round,
I put the can in the very hot coals/flame and burnt it.
So the second go round, I only added about a tablespoon of kernels
to the can to pop.
This time I just found a moderately hot spot and waited.
They popped up beautifully, but that's why there's not much in the bowl.
Nothing like the smell of burnt popcorn in the house.
Go ahead and laugh, and learn from my mistake, I would.

It is a fun activity for young and old alike.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Monday, November 16, 2015


Elk season is now over, and
I am elkless:(
I had a prime opportunity opening day and blew it.
I couldn't get it in my scope in the couple of seconds I had
in which to act.
Instead, I got to hike, climb, and crawl many many miles.
But instead of whining like I would prefer,
I will show you some of the country we covered.
Opening day it was so windy, we had to brace ourselves
against the wind.
In my infinite wisdom, I told Hubby, "This is why you see
those witches stuck to telephone poles.  See we're in the mts.
so it's hunter stuck to tree."
Okay, so I'm warped. 

Above and below ~ opening day.
Then. . .
yep that's the snow-line. Yesterday, covered all this in a blanket of white.
We did see about 75 head in this draw, but all cows and branch bulls 
- no spikes.
An idea of how steep it can be.
It was exhausting, and I am still without elk in the freezer.
I'm a poor hunter.  It's not something I really enjoy.
I only do it for the opportunity of delicious free range meat.
I don't like waking up in the middle of the night to hike in the dark
to where we are going to watch the sun rise while freezing to death and
remaining 'out' until dark, then come home to cook dinner,
shower, and crash.
It's beautiful, but I'm a fair weather hiker.  

Well, as promised, I will soon be posting some fun ideas
centered around the holidays.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches.

Friday, November 6, 2015

~Elk Season~

I might not get to post much this week.
It's elk season, and I'm the only one on the mountain who drew a tag.
I joked that I would rent it out a day at a time:)

(back of my coat)

At least it's about 30 degrees warmer than it was last year at this time.
Wish me luck.

Note~ I have some great activities and holiday gift ideas I am working on
for upcoming post so am hoping to get my elk opening day so
I will have more time to post those.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Monday, November 2, 2015

Spokane Valley Quilt Show~ Techniques

This past weekend was the Spokane Valley Quilt Show.
I thought rather than sharing pictures of the
oh-so many beautiful quilts,
I would share a couple that used unique techniques.
First is the Poppy~

It uses a couple of techniques.
Many small pieces layered then quilted give the background almost
a Monet-like appearance.

It was interesting to see how this was all quilted together.
There was another one that was more of a mountain scene using the same
layering technique.

Then there was a quilt that used so many techniques,
it's difficult to keep track.

I was somewhat flabbergasted to say the least.
Applique, ruching, embroidery, hand-quilting...
And do you see it?
It's fabric turning like the quilt I am still working on.
The entire thing was beautifully done.

This show has become one of my favorites.
The people are friendly - both those who are working,
and those who are viewing.
It is professional, and the quilts are well presented.
If you are ever in the area at the right time,
 I would certainly recommend attending. 

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches