Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Number One Must Have Beauty Product

Image found here.

Ok, do I have your attention?

This is a post about petroleum jelly!

Ok, ok, nuts, but I can't tell you how much I love this product.  I know coconut oil is all the rage, and I do like coconut oil.  But, good old vaseline has come in much handier than everyone's new favorite.  And for me, it's been the answer to some of my beauty problems.

For years I have suffered from very dry skin in the winter and for years I tried to remedy the solution by drinking more water, humidifying my air and using coconut oil on my skin.  Those things all helped but I still got flaky skin around my nose and my cheeks were still dry.

In my typical fashion, I scoured the internet for ideas and eventually landed on vaseline.  Vaseline?  Yes.  I was afraid this thick oily product would clog my pores and leave me with unspoken numbers of blemishes.  But it hasn't!  Vaseline is non-comedogenic.

Instead of using coconut oil on my face, I now use petroleum jelly.  My routine is to spread on some oil free vitamin c cream, let that absorb, and follow that by a thin layer of petroleum jelly.  At night I use a little more.

In addition to a great face moisturizer, I use it as a total body moisturizer.  First I use an unscented lotion, let it absorb, then follow that up by some vaseline.  Works like a charm!  My usually dry skin has been replaced by soft and non-cracking skin.  I should note that I have very sensitive skin and some products, even those for sensitive skin bother me.  Not so with petroleum jelly.

For those of you purists out there, I have tried non-petroleum jelly that I made from beeswax and olive oil.  While I liked it, it is no match for good old Vaseline.  Am I afraid of the petrochemicals?  Not really.  From the research I've done vaseline is really quite safe.

So it's up to you.  Coconut oil is great, but for my winter-dry skin, I use vaseline.  It hasn't failed me since I started using it early this year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bright and Fun Granny Square Bag

I was in the middle of making another blanket and I decided I needed to put it down for some more instant gratification.  Besides, I had someone in mind who I thought would really enjoy this bag!  The idea came from Pinterest, of course!  You can find the idea here.  I couldn't find a pattern so I used the picture for inspiration.

I worked up four identical granny squares using Red Heart Spring Green, White, Pretty n' Pink and Pink.  I also worked one granny square of the same size in just green to use as the base.   I had most of these colors left over from a blanket I had been working on.  I love using what I already have.  Check out this Little Girl's Handbag in the same colors.  Another project using leftover yarn!

My idea was to put a stuffed animal in the bag as a gift.  I thought it would be a fun place to store other animals as well, almost like a storage bin.

As mentioned above, I simply made 5 identically-sized granny squares.  To make it more stiff, I used two strands of worsted weight yarn as one.  Then I single-crocheted the squares together, a solid green one as the base.  After connecting the squares, I outlined them with one more layer of pink yarn. to make the pattern pop.  I found that the bag was a little floppier than I would like, so I added a square of cardboard at the bottom and sewed the top corners together a bit.  This helped a lot.  This is not a stiff bin, however.  It definitely does have structure, but if you wanted a more solid form, you could line it with a box.

Bright and Fun Granny Square Bag


Less than one skein of each color- Red Heart Pretty n' Pink, Spring Green, White and Pink


1.  With one strand of Pretty n' Pink and one strand of Pink, chain four.  Put your hook in the furthest chain from the hook and join with a slip stitch to make a circle.

2.  Chain 2.  Double crochet two into the space.  Chain one.  Double crochet 3, chain one.  Repeat this two more times.  Once you have four groups of three double crochet chain one, slip stitch to connect.  Slip stitch to the corner.  

3.  Chain 2.  Double crochet two, chain one, then double crochet three.  Chain one and make two shells in each corner followed by chain one.  Slip stitch to join and slip stitch to corner.

4.  Continue pattern, with two shells in each corner separated by chain one, and one shell in each chain one non-corner space, separated by chain one.  To make the color pattern I have, do three rounds of pink, two rounds of green and one round of white, always using two strands instead of one.  Make four squares this way and make your fifth square all green.  *you can really do any color pattern, just make sure each square is identical in size*

5.   Using single crochet, join each square with white yarn to make a open-topped cube shape, making sure to keep the green square as the base.  Once all squares are joined in the correct shape, outline in one more round of single crochet using Pretty n' Pink.  

6.  To make handles, join green yarn about one inch in from one square, and single crochet four into the top of the bag. continue until handle reaches desired length and join, using single crochet, about one inch from the other side of the same square.  Repeat on opposite side.

7.  If needed, pinch corners together and sew with white yarn to give more structure.  

8.  Cut out a square piece of cardboard and place in bottom.

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Watermelon Candy Granny Stripe Afghan
Cute Handbag for Little Girls

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

10 Homemade Gift Ideas

Image found here.

I like to give homemade gifts.  It's fun to think about the person you are giving to and come up with ideas on how to make it personal, just for them.   I have had some homemade gift fails in the past.  I won't mention any here, as some of you might have gotten them!  It's not that I didn't try, it's just that when I actually gave the gift, I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe I should have thought that one through a little bit more.  I know you know what I mean!  Try these gifts for some no-fail solutions.

1.  Candy
A tin of homemade candies.   I suggest fudge, peanut butter balls and chocolate covered pretzels or mint patties.  Be sure not to package mint patties with other candies that you do not wish to taste like mint.  The same goes for peanut butter.

2.  Cookies
A plate of homemade cookies.  Focus on one or two varieties that you make well instead of piling on multiple different kinds.  This is kind of a pet peeve of mine as flavors tend to mingle and none of the cookies taste distinct.  Try to pair cookies that go together in flavor as well as look.  Here's (LINK) a recipe for some allergy-friendly and totally delicious gingerbread cookies.  Put these on a plate with some nice gingersnaps and you're in for a win.

3.  Jams and Jellies
Make some jelly.  Get bottle of juice, bag of sugar, pectin and some jars.  You'll have some homemade jelly in no time.  If you want to make jam, grab a bag of frozen fruit.  Check out pickyourown.org for instructions.  Once cool, arrange a few jars nicely in a basket and you've got a great gift.  For a smaller gift, pop a bow on the top of a jar.

4.  Beauty in a Basket
Make a variety of scrubs, soaps or lotions.  Attach instructions and ingredients for the receiver so they know what each product is for and so they can make any of the beauty products themselves once they run out.  Put them all in a nice basket and add a facecloth or two.  Here's a link to my Pinterest page that might help you out.

5.  Blanket
A blanket is a thoughtful gift and the person can think of you every time they use it.  I've made many blankets in my few years crocheting and I think many people enjoy receiving them as gifts.  Here's a link to a crochet blanket roundup (ADD LINK) to give you some ideas.  And here's a link to my crochet blanket Pinterest page.

6.  Hat, Scarf and Glove set
This is great for kids.  They can never have to many of these winter necessities around.  Find out what color the child you are giving to likes and make a set in a short amount of time.  Each individual piece works up quickly, but if you've got multiple people to give to, you might want to start this project earlier in the year.  Here's a beanie and here's a granny square hat.  I didn't do it, but you can make matching gloves and scarf to go with these hats.

7.  Homemade Cleaning Supplies
Many people have been turning back to simple homemade cleaning supplies.  Check out my Pinterest page for some ideas.  Add to that my homemade laundry soap in a pretty jar and you have something someone would love to receive.

8.  Homemade Seasoning Mixes
One of my favorite homemade seasoning mixes is taco seasoning.  I use it all the time and I'd never go back to packets.  It's so inexpensive, but not only that.  It's delicious and you can mix it according to your family's taste preferences and nutritional needs.  Other mix ideas can be found at Budget 101.  This is a great site and I get a lot of excellent ideas here.

9.  Cloth Napkins
Get some fabric to match your friend or family member's kitchen and sew up some simple cloth napkins.  Get some napkin rings and you have a nice, personal gift.

10.  Kitchen Basket
You can fill a basket with homemade and store-bought kitchen supplies.  Purchase a towel or two and put them through this towel ring.  Make some simple washcloths and add some dish soap and potholders and you've got a great gift!  To spice it up a little, add in a scrubby sponge and dish wand. You really can take this wherever your hear desires.

So there you have it!  I hope you found some great ideas for this Christmas.  If you like what you see,  subscribe to my page on the right of this post.  And as always, feel free to share this with your friends!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tasty Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe for gingerbread cookies is GREAT for people with allergies to milk or eggs, two ingredients found in most cookie recipes.  My mom came across it when my brother was young.  He had severe food allergies to the point of needing an epi pen.  The recipe does contain gluten, but if you are allergic to it you could always try making it with a gluten free flour mix.

Tasty Gingerbread Cookies


1 cup shortening (refined coconut oil is a great substitute)
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup molasses
5 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375.  Beat Shortening.  Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda.  Cream mixture.  Beat in molasses and water until combined.  Beat in as much flour as you can and stir the rest by hand.  (A kitchen-aid or other high power mixer can probably handle all the flour, but a smaller or hand-held mixer might not be able to.)  Wrap and chill several hours or overnight.  Roll 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Cut with desired cutters .  Place on greased cookie sheet* and bake 8-10 minutes.

*I almost always use my stones to bake cookies on.  They come out so good every time. So if you have seasoned stone use that instead.  No greasing needed!

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Hot Chocolate

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