Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pumpkin Pie - American Style

The recipe for Libby's pumpkin pie has been on their canned pumpkin labels since 1950. It's the only one I've ever used that has consistently proven itself year after year. I make only a small change in spices since cinnamon is not my favorite.

If you have no canned pumpkin, make the pie using 2 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin. In the US, use sugar pie pumpkins. The look just like jack-o-lantern pumpkins but are smaller. In Australia, I successfully used Jarradale pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie that tasted as American as.....well, pumpkin pie.

This is a great tutorial for making your own pumpkin puree.

Here's the classic recipe with my tiny change. Oh, and if you don't have one deep dish pie crust, this recipe makes two regular pies. Please note that evaporated milk is not the same as condensed milk and it should never be pre-sweetened.

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree or 2 cups cooked mashed pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell OR 2 regular pie crusts
MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Advent-ure Time! Advent Calender Round-Up

Here are some of my newest favorite Advent calendars. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? These could be used anytime for any month as a fun way to keep up with the passing of time.


A Lovely Lark
You Are My Fave
Mokkasin Blog
Snug Online
Oh Happy Day


Deck the Halls
Silly Old Suitcase
La Petit Cuisine


Pottery Barn
Sugar House Shop
Spann and Willis
Inspiration for Home
My Way Hobby


Fine Craft Guild
Hats & Mittens

Here is our family advent calendar which I made 27 years ago. It's still a winner!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Old Shirts Make New Aprons!

It was a no-brainer when Mr. True Love asked if I wanted his old shirt. 

I knew exactly what was going to happen to it.

Meet Betty. She's going to help me make a new apron from hubby's tired old shirt.

My man's shirt isn't quite large enough for the measurements, so I'll just work around that and do the best I can. It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to keep the flour and butter off my dress.

First I'll make some bias tape from some bright red fabric I have. Then I'll frame the apron in it carefully. I could put it on the correct way and sew on the back of the bias tape and blind hem stitch it onto the front, but I want this done in under an hour.

It's a cheater's collar. I used the button-down front of the shirt and applied watered down glue to the edges so it doesn't fray. I was going to  make a loop to button it on, but it fits overhead sewn on.

Now for some straps for tying the apron on at the back. And using a bit of the red fabric and the shirt's original breast pocket....

I have a new apron. Hubby arranged me. Don't I look domestic?

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

One If By Land and Two If By Sea - Tutorial and Pattern

 If only Paul Revere had had modern options. Would he have added, "...and three if by air"?

Whether you're headed over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house or down to Margaritaville to a hammock with your name on it, what do you do to keep the little one occupied on the long trip? 

Make a stuffed airplane plush. It's soft and cuddly and the pattern is available in my Etsy shop. Just in time to whip up before the holiday journeys begin.

Get it here in my Etsy shop. 

But it's a double whammy of travel goodness for you today.

Travel in handmade style with these hand-embroidered luggage tags on your bags. 

These tags use a small piece of linen, cotton, or lightweight wool and a bit of embroidery floss. Once you make the little pocket of a tag, slip a cardboard identity tag inside, wrap it around your bag handle and you're ready to go.

Download the pdf for instructions and pattern!

Stay tuned. There's another travel set coming soon: an embroidered toddler cutlery tote and a nursery rhyme pair of "Dish and Spoon" softies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Forgetful Elephant Garland Tutorial

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They say the elephant never forgets, but here's one little elephant who seems to have left something behind. 

If you have a passion for pachyderms or an enthusiasm for elephants, here's a craft project to satisfy your mammoth desires. (groan) No, I'm not a very good punster.

The template included in the pattern has an option for ears and eyes, but I have left them off here. I liked the colors of the fabrics too much to embellish them even more. 

In fact, if you look carefully, you can see the little plaid elephant, the one who forgot, is made of two pieces of fabric. I didn't have a piece of the plaid that was big enough but I loved it so much, I had to use it for my project.

Stitching really doesn't have to be store-bought perfect, does it?

Download the PDF instructions and template. 

Don't be the forgetful little elephant. Download it right now and make your own elephant garland.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Not Just Tea and Scones

That's what everyone is saying at the Country Women's Association (CWA). Most people think of the CWA as a place for women all across Australia to gather, have a cuppa, and do a little knitting or stitching. And that is one of the most enjoyable types of gatherings we have.

But the CWA is so much more than that.

Did you know the CWA is responsible for a great deal of health and safety legislation in this country? Each state has an annual conference where resolutions are voted on. These resolutions describe needs of the people or address potentially harmful agricultural or mining practices that government needs to look at responsibly. Think of it as your grandmotherly policy watchdog.

The CWA also tends to those in need, especially rural women and families, those hard hit by drought or floods, and local neighbors in need.

Its history is rich with stories of establishing mother/baby health centers, hospitals, hospice, schools, affordable summer holidays rentals, and support for families who live in extreme rural locations.

I am thrilled to be a member of the Beerwah branch of the QCWA (Queensland CWA). Beerwah is a small town nestled in the Hinterlands of the Glass House Mountains of the Sunshine Coast. The branch is about 20 strong and boasts of women of all ages and backgrounds, some born here, others who migrated here. We have some of the best bakers for sure (they must be because all their cakes sell out quickly at our markets), and we have crafty ladies who make jewelry, bobbin lace, crocheted toys and gifts, knitted lovelies, and gift baskets that rival any fancy boutique. We have gardeners, canning experts, a dressmaker. And yes, we love our teatime. We have young mothers. We have grandmothers. And we are very fortunate to have a member who has been a CWA member for more than 50 years. 

We have also been know to let our hair down, or up in a do as the case may be, and participate in a 2016 calendar fundraiser for victims of domestic violence.

Last week, eight of us visited the annual State Conference in held in Gympie this year.


If you ever get the chance to attend a CWA meeting, I recommend it. You'll never meet a nicer, more welcoming bunch of ladies who open their hearts easily and immediately.

Not just tea and scones, but also not NOT tea and scones. CWA is known for its comforting and time-honoured Devonshire teas. Every disaster is smoothed out by a cup of tea and a friendly word. You'll get that at the CWA. And more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thank you, Maria Von Trapp. Part Two - Textile Waste at Home


My mother took me to see The Sound of Music in a movie theater. There was an actual intermission when we went to the lobby to have a small refreshment.

My favorite moment? When Maria decides to sew the children's play rompers from the old curtains. I was 6 years old. Go figure.

Here's a super duper round-up of links for getting started with sewing your own clothes. Sure, use those curtains! Or use up some of your fabric stash. Or you can even give yourself permission to go buy the perfect fabric for that one top you've been dying to make.

Getting started
500+ Links for making your own clothes
One woman's switch to making her own clothing
Craftsy guide to sewing your own clothing
Learn to sew - EVERYTHING in one site

And I can't get over this remarkable article by Addie Martindale, pattern designer and sewing instructor. She's posted over at Sew Mama Sew and explains how to sew at home and how to reduce textile waste while we do it. Brilliant!

But wait, there's more!

If you're looking for refashioning help - turning existing clothes into incredible new couture, check out these links:

Refashioing tutorials
Clothing DIY and refashion Pinterest board
20 ways to refashion clothes

And I just checked these books out of the library yesterday. Woo-hoo! Check your local library or Amazon. I borrowed these from the Sunshine Coast libraries in Queensland.

Upcycled Fashions for Kids by Cynthia Anderson, 2014
Remake it Clothes by Henrietta Thompson, 2012