Friday, September 28, 2012

Fake Pumpkins I

M has decided that we need to make decorations for this fall. I sigh in resignation, but realize that she is right, too. Even though Autumn is my favorite time of year (at least until Spring comes), I have almost no embellishments for that season. The cinnamon broom that gave me migraines got chucked within days.

Seasonal crafts abound, but we're going to challenge ourselves to use items that we already have on hand, or are cheaper than dirt. And we're going to major on pumpkins this year, but buying real ones is out of the question.

Enter our first Fake Pumpkin project, and quite possibly the easiest craft idea on the planet (unless, of course, you have to crawl all the way to the back, under the basement stairs where the canning supplies are stored, like I did). It requires no special skills, equipment, or even crafting, for that matter.

Zip tie old canning jar rings together and stick a cinnamon stick in the middle. Ta-Da! That's it. You could stuff a piece of burlap or fabric in with the stem for a leaf if you wanted to get fancy. We might add a bit from our bittersweet vine later. I should probably wash the rings at some point too.

I absolutely adore this idea and admit without remorse that I stole it from Pinterest. The original idea is posted here: Junkin' Pumpkin but she got the idea from here: Funky Junk Interiors
I may have to try the wreath another time.

We've already gathered some other fake pumpkin ideas and will be posting them as we get them made. As long as M doesn't force me to make any more candles, we're good.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Single Sheet Folded Mini Book

M and I put together some folded mini books for our three sponsored boys this morning. We personalized them and added verses and stickers. If you don't have a sponsored child, don't fret. Uses for these folded mini books are only limited by your creativity (Logbooks, anyone?).

1. Start with a 12 x 12 inch sheet of card stock (it must be a true 12 inches). Three inches from the top, and three inches from the bottom, mark a  nine inch line from the left side of the paper, leaving the last three inches on the right side unmarked. In the center of the paper, mark a nine inch line from the right side of the paper, leaving the last three inches on the left side unmarked. I created a template with my first sheet so that I wouldn't have to draw lines on the other pieces. Once you have your lines marked, use a blade and straight edge to cut along the lines. Take your time to get the lines precise.

2. Next, fold the sheet in half, perpendicular to the cuts, making sure that you keep everything squared up nicely. Fold each edge back toward the center fold. When you are finished, you will have one "valley" fold in the center, and two "mountain" folds equidistant from the center. Again, take your time. It isn't hard, but the more effort you put into being neat, the better the finished product will look.

3. Now you have a strip 3 inches wide and 12 inches long. Fold the width of the strip in half, and then fold each end back toward the center. At this point, it should be fairly obvious where you need to fold it to end up with a 3 inch square.

4. Now Decorate!

The final product, all folded up. As an incidental (well, not really) bonus, on the book we made for Edwin in Peru, the name of God is the first thing you see, from both front and back!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Better Pumpkin Bread

Now that the weather is cooling, we've pulled out the boxes of snuggly clothes and started flipping through fall food ideas. It's hard to resist a warm slice of Pumpkin Bread, but I cringe at the amount of oils and sugars in most of the recipes that I've seen. A new, healthier attempt is in the oven at the moment, but I'm being brave and posting the recipe before it's even finished. It smells delicious and I have no reason to believe that it won't be wonderful.

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 c flour
2 1/4 t baking soda
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 c wheat germ
5 T butter, softened
2/3 c sugar
1 1/4 c canned pumpkin
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease and flour a bread loaf pan. Combine ingredients well and pour into pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until wooden pick, inserted in center, comes out clean.