At Home

Although this blog caters to paper-crafters and stampers,
I love to create and I love all things handmade.
I enjoy being a homemaker and trying new recipes and learning tips
and tricks for making chores easier.
I love crafting and creating handmade gifts…
This page of my blog is dedicated to all things made “at home”.
I would love to hear your comments, so please share!!
I’m sure we can learn all kinds of things from each other!

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Trick or Treat in your Seat…

For the last 5 years, the Home Office of the company where I hold my “day job” has celebrated Halloween by holding a Trick-or-Treat in your Seat event. Anyone wishing to participate brings in a homemade treat to share with anyone who comes by to do a little trick-or-treating throughout the day. I have been working out of a regional office until this year, so last Friday was my first time participating in what has become a fun Halloween tradition at work.

For my first Trick-or-Treat in your Seat event, I chose to bring in my much-loved homemade Caramel Corn

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I created servings of the Caramel Corn by placing it in clear 9 oz. cups and decorating each with a cup cake topper that I created using stamps from the A Muse Studio Wicked Web stamp set from the 2014 Holiday Catalog.  I used our new pinked circle dies and the stitched circle dies and stamped on a web, then a spider. I layers these together and attached a toothpick with some hot glue to the back of the card stock circles to act as a poke.

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The corn was a BIG HIT and everyone loved the embellishment. This Caramel Corn recipe is one I normally only make during the Christmas Holiday to share with family and to give as gifts. It looks really pretty in a decorative tin or in a large mason jar wrapped with some pretty ribbon and a hand-stamped tag.

If you’d like the recipe you can download/print from HERE.

A Dish Garden/Terrarium…

I love those little terrariums you see online these days at different websites like Pinterest. All of them are so beautiful and creative in their own, special way. Since I love gardens, gardening and being in the woods, I set out to create a little dish garden that reminded me of a woodland path, one that I could take to work to bring some of the outdoors into my little cubicle.

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I decided I wanted a shallow garden rather than a taller jar with a cover. I like both, I just thought this style would look great on my desk. I picked up a shallow glass dish about 10″ in diameter & some river rocks (from my local craft store), a little plant from an herb farm I visited this past week and a little ceramic bird from the herb farm gift shop.

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I placed the river rock in the dish…

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Then added the soil. I used soil from my yard, however most tutorials on this project suggest sterile bagged potting soil from the garden center to discourage growth of mold or fungus. I’m hoping I won’t run into those problems because my dish is so open to the air but if I do, I’ll just start over.

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After the soil was in place, I took the dish around my backyard with my little garden spade, looking for small, interesting mosses that I could add to the dish garden. I found two different types of moss—the regular, flat kind, as well as a variety that’s a bit taller and a little bit spiky-looking. I dug those up and planted them into my dish.

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I then went back to my deck and planted the little plant from the herb farm. It’s called Bernard’s Elfin Herb (Cuphea hyssopifolia) and it has tiny leaves and little purple flowers on it. It only stands about 2″ tall right now and I hope it grows out rather than up since I’d like to keep my garden within this shallow dish.

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After adding the little plant, I found a little “strawberry weed” in my yard that I added to the dish, along with more of the flat moss. I also found a nice piece of bark with some lichen growing on it, so I added that too. I watered the dish well. The rocks at the bottom will help the soil drain. The finishing touch was the little white, ceramic bird… I love how it looks in there.

I hope this little garden survives under the florescent lights of the office. I have an interior cubicle so no natural light {insert sad face here}… I know this little bit of outdoors will help to brighten my day… I hope this little project idea brightens yours!

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Money-Saving Idea… $5 at a time

My husband and I have been making a concerted effort to pay off some bills and save money, especially over the last 9 months or so. We are using a few different methods to save, including cutting back in general on everything + direct deposit to a savings account out of our paychecks so we have a small emergency fund (which has finally replaced our need for a credit card in an emergency). We both detest credit cards, mostly because we cannot be trusted with them. We have found throughout the years that we’ve been married that it is all too easy to “charge it” when we run into trouble. We made the decision about 5 years ago, to cut them up, pay them off and to stop relying on them to save us when an unexpected car repair or vet bill needed to be paid or when Christmas came and we hadn’t saved enough. Truthfully, it was easier said than done. It’s been a long struggle but we’re making progress…every month I get us closer to being free of them forever! I know a lot of you out there are in the same boat. You’re trying to save money but it’s hard when your paycheck will only go so far…One of the ways I found that really helps me to add to our savings account is with my  $5 jar. This was especially helpful in the beginning when we needed every penny just to pay our bills. I felt like even if I was only putting $5 or $10 into a savings account every month, at least I was saving it and not spending it.

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I took a canning jar, put a pretty ribbon around the opening and made a tag for it to dress it up a little bit and to remind us WHY we’re doing this. Whenever we end up with a five dollar bill in our wallet, it goes in the jar! That’s the agreement we made. Every other week (the day I get paid) I take whatever we have accumulated and make a deposit into our emergency savings account. Honestly, sometimes the deposit is still $5, sometimes it’s $65, but the point is, it’s a little bit more money into savings. I have to admit that it’s actually kind of fun, too. Every time I see a five dollar bill now, I think of my savings account. I am at the point now where I HOPE I get 5’s in my change so I can put them in the jar! I know this system won’t work for everyone, but it’s working for us so I thought I’d put it out there as an idea to help you too, get one step closer to reaching your financial goals, whatever they may be~!

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Perfect, Easy-peel Hard Boiled Eggs + Delicious Deviled Egg Recipe

I love everything about deviled eggs. I love the flavor, the texture, I even love how they look—so festive, and to me they just scream “lets have a PICNIC!”

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I made up a batch of deviled eggs for a picnic recently and thought I’d share
my personal recipe and how-to…

Boil the Eggs | The first step in creating delicious deviled eggs is to boil your eggs hard.  You’re going to need them to slip easily out of the shell so that the egg-white stays intact. The easiest way I know to ensure that your eggs will peel easily is to place your eggs in a pot of cold water and add a teaspoon of salt + a teaspoon of baking soda.When your eggs come to a boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is up, pour off the boiling water and fill pot with cold water again to let eggs rest and cool. Once cool, easily peel your eggs!  {I normally cook 8 eggs so I end up with 16 deviled eggs…the recipe below for the filling is based on 8 egg yolks so adjust the quantity of ingredients to your taste, for more or fewer eggs}

Prepare the Eggs | Once your eggs have cooled and you’ve easily peeled the shell off, with a sharp knife, cut each egg in half the long way. Push the yolk portion of each half into a mixing bowl; do this for all of your eggs and set all of the empty egg-white halves to the side (to be filled).

Make the filling | For my deviled egg filling, I mash up the eight egg yolks with a folk until they are fine crumbles. I then add about a cup of {Hellman’s} mayo + a generous teaspoon of {French’s} yellow mustard and then salt & pepper to taste. I mix this well with a small whisk until all ingredients are well blended and mixture is relatively smooth. {You can add more or less mustard to make it to your liking}. Once the filling mixture is ready, you can spoon it into the empty egg-white shells you put to the side earlier. I like to use the easy accent decorator gadget from Pampered Chef to fill my egg-whites with the filling mixture, but teaspoons or a piping bag work fine, too.

Decorate | I like to finish my deviled eggs off with a sprinkle of paprika. This adds some extra flavor and a little more color.

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 I hope the tip of boiling eggs the “easy-peel” way takes the frustration out of making delightful deviled eggs for your next picnic or party… Enjoy!