Saturday, November 29, 2008

No Sew Fleece Pillow

For those who liked the fleece scarves so well, I give you yet another no-sew craft project to make with your fleece. These soft and fuzzy fleece throw pillows would be an excellent gift to have on hand for those unexpected guests, to make for teacher gifts or for the kids to make for family members. Kids would even love these for their rooms!

Before you ask, I did do a little sewing on mine just to attach the felt tree, but it isn't required. You may by all means hot glue or iron on an applique or even leave it bare. Just make sure you attach whatever embellishments you want before you tie the pillow.

Polyester filling or pillow form
Applique or embellishments (optional)
Step 1: Cut 2 pieces of fleece out to the size you desire. Mine was 18 1/2 inches X 15 1/2 inches and I used 3 inch fringe, but you can make yours any size. If you are using a pillow form, cut your fabric about 9 inches longer than your pillow form to give you more fringe to work with to fit your form. For example, if your pillow form is 14 X 14 inches, your fleece should measure 23 X 23 inches.
Step 2: Attach any embellishments you wish to the front panel of your pillow.
Step 3: Place front panel of your pillow directly on top of the back panel lining up your edges.
Step 4: Cut a square from each corner that is equal to the fringe you are tying. For example if you are using 3 inch fringe as I did, cut a 3 X 3 inch square out, if you are using 4 inch fringe, cut a 4 X 4 inch square out.
Step 5: Cut fringe strips around all edges that are about 1 1/2 inch wide. Fringe that is too skinny will break. I suggest making your first but in the center of that side and making equal cuts from there out to the end. My dimensions required 8 strips on each the top and bottom edges and 6 on each of the two sides.
Step 6: Begin by tying the fringe strips from the front panel to the ones that coordinate to them from the back panel. You will want to double knot each one to ensure a secure hold. Tie all of the fringe on three sides leaving one side open for stuffing.
Step 7: Stuff your pillow with the filling or your pillow form. Make sure the corners are filled and straight.
Step 8: Finish tying the last side closed.
Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at Its All for the Best

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Enjoy your Holiday

Happy Thanksgiving to you. Enjoy your time with family and friends. I'll be back to a regular posting schedule next week!

Image Credit: Vintage Holiday Crafts

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Carnival #91

This week the Make it from Scratch carnival can be found at Feels Like Home. This week you'll find some helpful and tempting posts for Thursday's celebration. There are also some great gift ideas for Christmas. Be sure to read the whole carnival to find your favorites, but here are a few that I found particularly interesting.

Three Easy and Natural Fall Centerpieces.
I'm often to practical to take the time to make things look pretty, but I do so enjoy the beautiful things that others make. Items that are this easy, and made from things in my yard inspire me.

Upcycled Sweater
I recently tried to use old sweater sleeves to make leggings for my six year old. They look so cute, but I need a better way to keep them up. I thought maybe this post would be about making leggings. It is not, but I love what she did with her old sweater. Go and see.

Vanilla Extract
So simple to make your own, and a great gift idea. Hmm....

Enjoy the carnival this week. Be sure to join us next week! Please email me if you would be interested in hosting the carnival at your blog.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Make Your Own Christmas Gift Tote

Fabric and homemade gift bags are becoming increasingly popular. Not only are they the greener option by saving wrapping paper and being reusable, but they give that added special touch to any gift.

I received a bag like this last year for Christmas (pictured below with a snowman on it). I turned it inside out, took measurements and made my own pattern from that. It is very different from the Fabric Gift Bag with Ties that I posted about in September, but I think you'll agree that it is just as cute. Its definately just as easy to make!


Felt or other fabric, less than one yard
Sewing machine (or a needle to sew by hand)
Thread to match your fabric
Marking pencil
Measuring tape
Applique, fabric paint or decorations (optional)


Step 1: Measure, mark and cut the following pieces from your fabric:
2 peices measuring 8 1/2 by 9 1/4 inches. These will make the front and back of the bag.
2 pieces measuring 12 by 1 1/2 inches. These will make your handles.
1 piece measuring 25 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches. This will make the sides and bottom.

NOTE: If you are adding embellishments that require sewing, you will want to add them to your front and back pieces before you assemble your bag to make it easier.

Step 2: Fold the long sides of the handles over so that the edges overlap. Pin and stitch (be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end) down the entire length of each handle. Set those pieces aside.

Step 3: Pin the side/bottom piece to the front/back piece as pictured at left. Stitch along the egde leaving 1/4 inch seam allowance. **When you come to the corner, sink the needle, lift the presser foot and turn 90 degrees. Fold the side/bottom piece to the side so that the long side lines up with the bottom edge of the front piece. Stitch down that side and repeat from **.

Step 4: Pin the other front/back piece to the side/bottom piece and stitch along the three sides in the same manner as above leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Step 5: Fold the top over about 1/2 to 3/4 inch and pin. Sew around entire top to make a nice finished edge.

Step 6: Pin handles in place and stitch them down by sewing forward over the entire handle, backstitching back over the handle and forward stitching over it again.

Step 7: Turn the bag right-side out. Finished!

At this point, you can decorate your bag with fabric paints or glued-on embellishments.

Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at Its All for the Best
and The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kreative Bloggers

Taking a small break today from Thursday cooking posts. Hope all your Thanksgiving preparations are coming along nicely.

A big thank you to Modern Mommyhood. She recently awarded Make it from Scratch with the Kreativ Blogger award.

The rules: I have to share six things I'm thankful for and forward this award to six other Kreative Bloggers.

I am thankful for

  • My faith and the freedom to express it.
  • My husband. -He works hard and is so loving and supporting.
  • The 100 Acre Wood. - I love living here!
  • The relative prosperity we as a country enjoy.
  • My children.
  • Blogging- It may sound silly, but it has been a wonderful hobby.

Now to pass the award on to six others.

One pretty thing- Daily inspiration for a handmade life.
Little House in the Suburbs - Simplicity, Creativity, Self Sufficiency, Minivans.
11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven - a hard to say name, for a fun and useful blog
How To Me - Saturday Postings of "How-To's" for you from us.
A Pondering Heart - "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19.

In other MIFS business....
The blogroll needs a little housecleaning. If you still have a button or link that goes to Stop the Ride, please, please grab a new code from the Blogroll page and update your link. I will be going around to check the blogs on the roll, and asking those with old links to update and removing any blogs that do not have a button or blogroll up.

While I'm sprucing up the blogroll, I will be adding members to the "Updated on the Blogroll" section in the side bar. This will show the last ten blogs that have been updated. Eventually I will move the full blogroll list to the blogroll page, and only the new section will be on the home page. This will take me some time, so patience please! :)

To those of you that have been patiently been waiting to be added to the blogroll, my apologies. The blogrolling site is still down, but promises to be back soon. I will add you to the "Updated on the Blogroll" section and get you on the full blogroll ASAP.

Have a great Thursday all! I'm off to make dinner rolls and pie crust.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Make it from Scratch Carnival #90

Welcome to the 90th edition of the Make it from Scratch Carnival. With colder weather here and holidays coming soon, many of us have tasty dishes and gifts on our mind. If you are looking for ideas, you've come to the right place. 

Tasty Dishes
Mary@SimplyForties presents Another Holiday Side Dish posted at SimplyForties. Doesn't this look marvelous?! 

Bobbie Whitehead presents an alternative to pumpkin pie at the holidays.  Recipe Corner is posted at The Backyard Grower.

Stephanie presents Pulling Off a Thanksgiving Feast with tips and links to recipes to make your Thanksgiving dinner a success. Posted at Make It From Scratch.

Leigh presents Look Mom, I’m Evolving posted at Cheap Healthy Good. A delicious (to her surprise) cooked fruit dessert. 

christinemoers presents Make that food last posted at welcome to my brain . net. This is some advice you may need after Thanksgiving. 

OneKrustyMama presents Chicken Pot Pie posted at One Krusty Mama.

3 moms presents Scrumptious Sunday - Chocolate Syrup posted at Happy to be at Home. Can you go wrong with chocolate?

For the Season Just Around the Corner
HappyCampers presents Easy Christmas Gift Idea posted at The Adventures Of The Williams Family. I love how she decorated her gift jars!

Kate presents Candy-Cane Cookies posted at A Simple Walk.

tips and tricks presents How to Efficiently Do Your Holiday Shopping posted at tips and tricks 4 me.

For the Do-It-Yourself Folks
Cindy presents Yellow Barbie Plarn Dress posted at My Recycled Bags

ChristineMM presents PJs! posted at The Thinking Mother, a learning experience for mother and son.

Thank you to all who participated in this edition of Make it for Scratch. Join us again next week at Feels Like Home.  Posts can be submitted via Blog Carnival. If you would like to host a future edition please email me at makeitfromscratch at

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Make Your Own Chinese Yo-yo!

A fabulously simple craft to make by the dozen for stocking stuffers or party favors, Chinese yo-yos are fun for any age. Customize them to your party theme or holiday easily by using appropriate gift wrap. The kids can help make these as a personal homemade gift for their classmates or friends as well.

This craft would also be a great way to use scraps of wrapping paper. Just attach them in a long strip with some transparent tape and cut the strip to the size indicated below.

Supplies needed:

1- 10 to 12 inch long X 1/4 inch diameter Dowel Rod (you could even make a smaller one with an unsharpened pencil!)
Roll of Gift Wrap

Clear Packing tape

Step 1: Remove gift wrap from roll and cut a strip about 4.5 inches wide by 36 inches long. This can be done by re-rolling the paper, measuring 4.5 inches up the side of the roll and cutting that section off.

Step 2: Put a piece of packing tape on one short end of the wrapping paper strip and attach it near one end of the dowel rod by wrapping the tape around the dowel. (See picture at right.)

Step 3: Roll the dowel rod up in the paper and hold tight with your hand for a few seconds.

To use your yo-yo:
Hold the long end of the dowel rod in your hand and 'fling' the paper end away from you (kind of like you're casting a fishing rod). The paper will slide out in a long whirly tube and spring back to the stick! You can store these with a rubber band around them to help keep them tight.
Heather is a wife, mom,
school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at Its All for the Best
and The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pulling Off a Thanksgiving Feast

The last few weeks we've been talking about making the Thanksgiving meal from scratch. When you look at the individual dishes, there is nothing that is all that complicated or that requires special skills. Thanksgiving is easy to prepare, right? The individual dishes really are. The challenge is getting all those easy dishes ready at the same time. Here are some ideas that may help.

1. Don't be a hero.
If you are having friends or family over, let them help you. They can bring a dish, or you can give them a job in the kitchen. If you won't have any help, keep the menu simple.

2. Shop now.
Sit down with your recipes and make a list. If you are frugally minded, watch the grocery store fliers and start gathering the items you need when they are on sale, or if you prefer, go to your favorite store and get everything you need. Either way, you do not want to be in the grocery store the week of Thanksgiving. It is chaos I tell you!

3. Start cooking early.
Many things can be prepared well before Thanksgiving. Cranberry sauce could be made now and stored in the refrigerator. Pie crust can be made now and frozen. The pumpkin pies can be made a few days before Thanksgiving. The rolls could be baked and frozen, or if you want fresh rolls for the big day, freeze the rolls unbaked. The bread cubes for stuffing could be made and stored in an airtight container.

I will probably start cooking next week. I try to get as much cooking done as I can before I start cleaning.

4. Write it on the calendar.
The one thing that can bring disaster to all your plans is having a bird that isn't thawed. Count back on your calendar one day for every six pounds of turkey you have. Then count back one more day for good measure. Then write on your calendar, "Put turkey in the refrigerator." I'm not joking. Do it!

5. Plan your cooking space.
Most of us only have one oven and four burners to work with. You may need to call out the reinforcements. In Talking Turkey I suggested using a roaster oven for the turkey. It could also be used for baked potatoes or stuffing. Crockpots are good for easy sides like vegetables, potatoes, or just to keep items warm.

6. Make a schedule.
Using your menu, make a time line of cooking events. Write down, in order, what time each dish needs to be started and reminders of tasks like pulling the roll dough out of the freezer to thaw or getting the butter out of the refrigerator to soften. You may not be able to stick exactly to the schedule, but having it written down will give you a plan to follow for the day.

7. T'was the night before Thanksgiving.
Use this time to do as much prep work as possible. Chop the vegetables for salad, for the stuffing, and to stuff the bird. Peel potatoes and keep them in a bowl of water overnight. Complete any other dishes that could be made ahead.

8. Relax.
Take a deep breath. Count your blessings, and enjoy your day with family and friends.

Join us Tuesday for a special Thanksgiving edition of the Make it from Scratch carnival. Add your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and ideas using the submission form at Blog Carnival.

More Made from Scratch Thanksgiving posts:
Talking Turkey
Potatoes and Sides
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vote for Make it From Scratch!

Join Us at the HSBA!

Thank you to those who nominated us for the Best Variety category! The voting has begun and will continue until November 21. Would you take a moment to pop over there and vote for us?  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Carnival # 89

A little late, but well worth the wait, this week's carnival is at The Daily Dish. I feel like I say this every week, but there are so many great submissions this week. Well, even if I do say it every week, it is true! We have a very talented and creative group of bloggers participating in this carnival. Every week I'm impressed and inspired. Thanks to all of you!

A few favorites this week:

Candy Cane Hearts
This is such an adorable craft. The best thing is even a craft challenged mom, like myself, could make these with her kids!

Frugal Gift For Frugal People
Cute, easy and something any frugal shopper would appreciate.

Chainmail Bracelet
WOW! Way beyond me, but WOW!

What no recipes in my favorites?! Unusual I know. There are plenty of good ones over at the carnival. So, go see them and enjoy!

Next week the carnival is right here with an optional Thanksgiving theme. Give me your best Thanksgiving crafts, sewing, cooking, or other projects! Use the blog carnival form to submit your post.

Would you like to host the carnival? We can always use a few more people on the schedule! Just email me!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mitten Gift Bag/Decoration

These oh-so-cute mittens are so versatile and easy to whip up, you'll want to make them by the dozen! They can be used for so many things: a mini gift bag for cash or gift cards, a package add-on, a decoration to hang on the wall or on a door knob or a tree ornament. They also fit into the "all winter long" category which means you can leave them hanging for a splash of color after you've taken down all of the Christmas decorations!

These would also be nice to embellish with felt stars, sprigs of faux greenery, jingle bells, bows or smaller snowman ornaments.

Materials needed:
Fabric (I used some from an old flannel shirt and some scrap fleece)
Sewing machine or needle and thread
Craft wire, ribbon or twine
Unsharpened pencil or chopstick
Embellishments (optional)

Step 1: Begin by making a pattern or using one like this one I found online.

Step 2: Cut the pattern out and cut two mitten shapes from the fabric. Stitch all the way around the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving the bottom open.

Step 3: Clip the seams on the curves and trim the seam allowance to keep the fabric from puckering when turned right-side out.

Step 4: Turn the mitten right-side out using a chopstick or unsharpened pencil to help push the seams out all the way.

Step 5: Cut about 12 inches of craft wire. For a decorative touch, create a coil in the center of the wire by wrapping it around a pencil several times, then stretching the coil out a bit.

Step 6: Poke each end of the wire through one seam at the opening of the mitten. Bend the wire and twist to secure it.

Heather is a wife, mom, school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at
Its All for the Best
The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Make it from Scratch Thanksgiving - Talking Turkey

Thanksgiving is a mere three weeks away, and it is time to talk about the star of the show, the turkey. Did I hear squeals of delight? Obviously, you have partaken in Thanksgiving turkey done right, a moist and flavor full bird. 

Or was that groans of dread I heard at the thought of dry meat being choked down with a bunch of gravy? In a quest to make sure the turkey is really done, many cooks roast the bird until it is dry as cardboard. If that has been your experience, let me share some tips for roasting a turkey to perfection. 

What to Buy
Fresh or frozen? Tom or hen? Which brand? It really doesn't matter. Really. That is my experience. And an article in this month's Debt-Proof Living confirms it. The article was written by a former butcher, John Smith, author of Confession of a Butcher.

He  said a frozen turkey is actually fresher than a fresh turkey. He claimed that the quick freezing of the frozen turkey keeps the meat fresher than a "fresh" turkey that is kept almost at the freezing point, but never quite frozen. So, "fresh" is not as fresh as frozen. Frozen is fresher than "fresh." Confused? Just buy the frozen bird. 

Hen or tom? They are labeled by the weight of the bird, not the actual sex of it. Your tom may actually just be a large hen. Or your hen a small tom. The point? Buying a turkey by its sex is pointless. 

Brand? Often they are the same birds in different packaging. Buy what is the cheapest. 

You will want to figure roughly one pound per person when determining the size of bird. Of course if you want a lot of leftovers to freeze and use later, buy a bigger bird. Once you've decided what size bird you need, look for the roundest, plumpest one in that size. 

Bottom Line: Buy the cheapest roundest bird in the size you need.

Now that You Have Your Bird
Keep it cold. It is best defrosted in the refrigerator. It takes about 1 day for each 6 pounds to defrost in the refrigerator. Leave it in the original wrapping, but you will want to place a pan under the bird to catch any dripping. 

Timing is Everything
The biggest stress of pulling off the Thanksgiving dinner is the timing. I will talk more about that with in regards to the whole meal next week, but for today, let's concentrate on timing the bird. Decide when you want to eat and then count backwards to find when the turkey needs to be in the oven. From serving time count back one hour to allow time for carving and to let the turkey rest 20 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Then count back the actual roasting time to find time you need to start the bird. 

Estimated roasting times at 325 degrees F.
6- 8 pounds 3-31/2 hours
8-12 pounds 3 1/2- 4 1/2 hours
12-16 pounds 4 1/2- 5 hours

So, if you want to eat at noon and have a ten pound bird, you need to start roasting the turkey at 7:00 AM. That is figuring one hour for resting and carving and four hours for roasting. 

Preparing Your Turkey
Remove the giblets to use for the dressing. Rinse the bird inside and out. 

Do not stuff with the dressing.  The bread in stuffing absorbs the fat and moisture of the bird, drying out the meat without adding much flavor. Instead, fill the cavity with items that will add moisture and flavor. Onions and celery are my favorites. Apples and carrots are good also. 

Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan, breast side up. Rub olive oil over the skin and season. Seasoning can be as simple as salt and pepper, or you can use other seasonings you enjoy. I like ginger, garlic, and rosemary.

Loosely cover the turkey with foil.

Your turkey prep will probably take about 30-45 minutes. 

Now You're Cooking
Once the turkey is in the oven, there isn't much else to do with the bird. If you've rubbed oil on it and tented it with foil, there is no need to baste. Just wait until the bird has roasted for about 2/3 of the anticipated time. At this point, you want to start checking the meat so that it does not overcook. Check with a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the drumstick, without touching bone. The turkey is done when it reaches 165 degrees F. The foil needs to be removed for the last half hour of cooking to give the turkey a nice golden color.
One more suggestion about roasting the turkey. Oven space is at a premium Thanksgiving day. If you have a large roaster oven, it is a great place for the turkey. One caution though, the bird cooks much faster in the roaster than in the oven. The first year we used a roaster we were shocked when the bird was done almost an hour early. We were able to keep the bird warm and moist while we hurried along the other dishes, but it was a little stressful. 

Practice Makes Perfect
Turkey is cheap this time of year. If you are a little anxious about roasting a moist delicious bird for the big day, why not give it a practice run? There is plenty of time, and you will feel much more confident when the big day comes. 

More Made from Scratch Thanksgiving posts:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Make it from Scratch #88

This week the carnival can be found at A bit of flour. Enjoy this weeks recipes, crafts and more. Here are a few that I found particularly interesting this week. 

No idea what this is? I didn't either until I read the post. Let's just say garlic, chili peppers, chili powder and cilantro....that is my kind of soup.

I've been looking for ideas to use tomatoes I dried this summer. This looks like a winner!
What a special gift for a first anniversary.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Make a Simple Fleece Scarf in Minutes!

Fleece is one of the greatest fabrics to work with. It is very forgiving, doesn't need hemmed and results in soft, cuddly creations. Fleece also comes in so many great colors and designs to choose from that it makes it easy to customize your projects to the recipient's likes.

One of my favorite things to do with fleece is make a fleece scarf. Homemade fleece scarves are a quick and easy gift idea for any occasion. Just a couple of yards of fleece, a pair of scissors and 30 minutes and you'll be able to cross off several names from your gift list and come in WAY under budget! One of my son's teachers made fleece scarves for her entire class and they were a huge hit with the kids!

Materials needed:
60 inch wide fleece (sometimes called polar fleece)

Step 1: Start by laying your fabric out just as it came off the bolt- folded so it is 30 inches wide from the fold to the open side. It isn't necessary, but you can now cut off the finished edge if you prefer (it usually looks like it is folded up and pressed).

Step 2: Measure along the folded edge and make a small cut (you can also mark it with a marking pencil instead of cutting) every 6 inches (you'll get about 6 from each yard this way). Repeat on the open side so the cuts or marks will line up with each other.

Step 3: Cut a straight line from the mark on the folded side to the mark on the open side to make one long strip that is 6 inches wide.

Step 4: To make fringe on the ends of your scarf, make 5 cuts about 1.25 inches apart and about 4 inches long into each end.

Your handmade fleece scarf is complete! If you keep fleece on hand, you can crank out a scarf as a last minute gift or make several when you have a little time on your hands.

Heather is a wife, mom, school cafeteria worker,
councilwoman and babysitter from Ohio.
She also blogs at Its All for the Best
and The Fat Bottomed Girl.

Header designed by Crystal. Thanks!