Thursday, December 31, 2015

More Handbags for Little Girls

You can find the pattern for my Handbag for Little Girls here.  The bag pictured below shows a variation on the same pattern.  The only difference is instead of making a flap 10 single crochet stitches across, this one has a flap the length of the back created with double crochet stitches.

This is another version of the same bag.  The possibilities are literally endless!

You might also like:

Handbags for Little Girls

Monday, December 21, 2015

Recipe - Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Image from Mooss

I often make these for Christmas gifts for friends and family.  They are a big hit and I recommend them highly!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls


1 cup confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 pound chocolate chips or melting chocolate of choice (the higher quality the chocolate, the better the results!)

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter and softened butter.  Mix well.  Shape into 1-inch balls and place on a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.  Be careful not to overcook the chocolate, as it will seize (solidify and become un-meltable).  Dip balls and place on wax paper to harden.  Makes about 24 balls.

TIP!  If you are making these for a crowd or to give as gifts, you might want to double or
triple the recipe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Humble Washcloth

People swear by these for washing their dishes.  I would argue that they are also great for face and body.  This simple yet pretty washcloth can be whipped up in not much more than an hour, depending on your skill level.

Besides being easy to make and useful, these washcloths also make great homemade gifts.  Add them to a spa or kitchen-themed gift basket for a homemade touch.



1 skein worsted weight cotton yarn.  I used Sugar 'n Cream light blue
size I hook

Chain 34.  Double crochet in the third chain from hook.  Continue to end of row.
Chain 2.  Double crochet to end of row, turn and repeat.
Finish with a single crochet border

One skein of cotton yarn should yield two washcloths this size.

This pattern is CRAZY easy.  You can use it to make blankets as well, just chain more to start.  Also, if you want a bigger washcloth, just chain more stitches at the start.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Laundry Soap

Today I thought I'd share with you the laundry soap I make for our family.  It's quick, easy and effective.  I can't remember where I got the recipe or if I tweaked it from an original.  It's been several years and I have it written on a scrap of paper.

In full disclosure, I don't use this laundry soap exclusively.  I also use a homemade liquid laundry soap (which I'll share at another time) and store-bought detergents.  I like Arm and Hammer Sensitive for a store-bought variety.  I try and do what is cheap at the time without getting stuff that will irritate my family's skin.

Not only a great addition to your cleaning arsenal, this homemade soap also makes a great gift.  Just add it to a jar, make a label and tie on a bow.  It's a nice way to spread the joys of more natural living with friends and family

Give it a try and see if you like it.  It's cheap enough!

Laundry Soap


3 bars shaved soap (Fels Naptha, Zote, Ivory or a combination)
1 1/2 cups borax
1 1/2 cups washing soda
1 1/2 cups baking soda

Shave soap on the smallest holes of a hand grater.  Add borax, washing soda and baking soda.  Mix thoroughly, but be sure not to create a cloud of soap dust in the air.  It can irritate sensitive facial skin.  Use 1/8 cup per load or 1/4 cup for heavily soiled loads.  Use as you would any other powdered detergent.  This soap is for warm or hot water loads as it will not dissolve completely in cold water.

This soap has no fragrance, so some people add Downy crystals.  These are NOT sensitive-skin friendly, but many people like the scent.

TIP!: For a nice rinse with a natural fabric softener, add plain white vinegar to your softener dispenser.  Your clothes will come out fresh and clean and will not smell of vinegar.

TIP!: You can find Borax, washing soda, Fels Naptha and Zote in the laundry aisle of your local Walmart.  Some grocery stores also carry these products.

TIP!: If you want even more cleaning action, add 1 1/2 cups cheap oxygen cleaner from Dollar Tree.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Watermelon Candy Granny Stripe Afghan

This year has been the year of crochet blankets for me.  They work up so much faster than knit and are a lot of fun to make.  The most recent one I made was so bright and fun.  This blanket is an easy take on the granny square, only done in a stripe.  My kids loved the colors and commented as I was making it that it looked like watermelon.

Watermelon Candy Granny Stripe Afghan

2-3 skeins Red Heart Spring Green
2-3 skeins Red Heart White
2-3 skeins Red Heart Pretty n' Pink

Hook Size: J


Here's a link to a site with instructions on how to make a blanket similar to this.

My color pattern, as you can see is two rows of white, two rows of pink, two rows of white, two rows of green, etc.

I finished this afghan with a single crochet and scalloped edge border.  First I did a row of white single crochet around the edge of the entire blanket, followed by a row of green single crochet.  Then, with the pink I made the scallop.  This is done by double crocheting three into one stitch, followed by a two slip stitches into the next two stitches.  The pattern is then repeated.

Recipe - Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Image by mccartyv

Do you follow a gluten free diet?  Are you wondering what you can serve your gluten free friends and family this Christmas?  Here's one idea.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
I'm not sure where this recipe is from but there are many versions of it floating around the Internet


1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream peanut butter and sugar.  Add baking powder and egg.  Form 1-inch balls.  Bake 10 minutes.

Because they don't contain flour, these cookies eat more like candy, so be careful how many you gobble up at once!

You might also like:
Grain-Free Garlic Rosemary Crackers
Kale Chips

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Family Recipe - Sweet and Sour Kielbasa

Image found here.

If you're looking for a great appetizer to bring to your family function this holiday season, try this.  Sweet and Sour Kielbasa is a crowd favorite from my mom's recipe collection.  She makes it, I make it, and now I've passed it on to a few friends who will pass it on to a few friends.  It's one of those dishes that's gone soon after it's served.

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa is certainly not on any diet food list, but if you want to lighten it up a little, feel free to use turkey kielbasa.  This recipe is also great doubled or even tripled.  You can even get away with doubling the meat and not the sauce, depending on how much sauce you like.  Try it by the recipe the first time round and then experiment as you see fit.

Sweet and Sour Kielbasa


1 1/4 cups ketchup
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 pounds kielbasa
1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 cups brown sugar

Cut meat into 1-inch chunks.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a crock pot and add the meat.  Cook on low 4-5 hours


Nutrition Information - regular kielbasa (brands may vary)
Serves 10
1 serving =
350 calories
16 grams fat
41 grams carb
0 grams fiber
13 grams protein

Nutritional Information - turkey kielbasa (brands may vary)
Serves 10
1 serving =
241 calories
5 grams fat
39 carb
0 grams fiber
15 grams protein

Nutrition information calculated using CalorieCount.

Weight Watchers Points Plus - regular kielbasa- 10  turkey kielbasa- 7
Weight Watchers POINTS - regular kielbasa- 8 turkey kielbasa- 5

If you're looking for another great party recipe, try spinach bread!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cute Handbag for Little Girls

Just the other day, I had finished my seventh blanket of the year and I was ready for something simple and quick.  The idea for a little girls handbag popped into my head and in about five or six hours the project was complete.  This cute little pocketbook is very simple to make and is a great gift for any little girl in your life.  It uses a simple double crochet stitch for the body of the bag and a single crochet for the handle and button closure.  I also made a simple flower and leaf to attach for some flair.

Little Handbag

scraps of yarn
I used Red Heart Pretty n' Pink, Spring Green and White
1 button

Hook size: J


For the body of the bag:

Chain 30.

Double crochet into the second stitch and continue to the end of the row, turning your work.  After you turn your work, double crochet into the back of each of the chains and join the row with a slip stitch.

Chain two and continue double crocheting another round, joining with a slip stitch.  Repeat until bag reaches desired height.  My bag is about 8 inches.

For the button clasp

Find the middle of the bag and join a new piece of yarn.  Single crochet ten across.  Continue for 8 rows.

Single crochet 4.  Chain 2. Single crochet 4.  This will make your button hole.

Single crochet across row, with 2 single crochets in the chain 2 space.

Skip the first stitch and the last stitch, single crocheting 8 across.

Sew an appropriately-sized button where the hole meets the bag.

For the strap:

Keeping the bag flat, find where you would like to join the strap on the side.  Single crochet 7.  Continue until strap is about 30 inches long.  Join to opposite side using single crochet for a sturdy join.

For the flower:

Check out this YouTube video. Once you have made a flower, simply sew it on with yarn.