Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Shaped Breads

I can't get Halloween off my mind. If I could have my way, I'd celebrate Halloween and all things spooky year round. Sadly enough, the person I've been with for nearly 2 years hates Halloween and isn't into decorating. I've had to let my Halloween spirit come out in other ways, such as my pumpkin shaped breads. Fun to make, yet practical little breads that look beautiful when served on the dinner table.

Pumpkin Shaped Sweet Breads recipe and instructions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Halloween Posters

While checking out my Halloween postcards, I decided to go online and see if there were any Halloween posters. With a new little one on the way, I plan on celebrating the holidays like I used to: loud and happily. For my walls, I found these great reproduction Halloween posters to frame:

Vintage Halloween Poster Made From Circa 1910 Postcard Dancing Devils & Witch 18"x24"

WITCH FLYING BROOM MOON HALLOWEEN BLACK CAT PUMPKIN VINTAGE POSTER REPRO

Vintage Halloween Poster Made From Circa 1910 Postcard Sexy Vain Witch 18"x24"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Halloween Postcards

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love making the costumes, decorating the house, and reading ghost stories. I also went to Amazon.com and ordered these Halloween postcards to frame and decorate the walls this season.


Halloween: Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear Postcard Book

Old-Fashioned Halloween Cards: 24 Cards (Dover Postcards)

Halloween Postcard Book

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Multiplication Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to spend time with your child and help her/him master the subject at hand. My mom would use flashcards with me when I was a child and I used them with my now teenage children These 86 Multiplication (Flash Kids Flash Cards) flashcards are sturdy cards, perfect for multiple children and hard use. Use them after dinner, at the park, or whenever and wherever you and your child have a few quiet moments together.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Loganberry Pudding Recipe


This recipe comes from The American Woman's Cook Book by Ruth Berolzheimer (Garden City Publishing Co., 1943).

Loganberry Pudding

1-1/2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup fresh loganberries

Sift first 4 ingredients together. Combine milk, eggs, and butter and add to dry ingredients, stirring as little as possible to make batter smooth. Fold loganberries in carefully, pour into well greased molds, the bottoms of which have been lined with waxed paper, cover and steam for 45 minutes. Serve warm with hard sauce or berry sauce. Serves 6.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Easy Knit Stockinette Coaster


I'm 38 years old, but I have never owned a coaster. It was just the other day, when I was doing my daily clean off of the coffee table that I decided to sit down and make coasters. Who wants to clean glass rings off the coffee table every day? Not me! So here is my basic, most simple, on the fly coaster.


I used cotton kitchen yarn for this coaster.

Size 8 needles.

Cast on 18.

Knit 2 rows.

Stockinette pattern:

Row 1: K2, *purl across*, K2.

Row 2: Knit across.

End on 2nd row, about 4 inches long.

Knit 2 rows and bind off. Weave in ends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fer Shawl - An Easy Crochet Shawl

My daughter sometimes makes odd requests, but she swears that she remembers a shawl I used to wear when she was little and she wanted one, too. So we went to the craft store and she picked out her favorite color, Red Heart Super Saver Turqua. Without bothering to search for endless hours for a pattern, I grabbed my crochet hook and began working on a triangular shape.


K (6-1/2 mm) crochet hook

Chain 5

Dc into 4th chain from hook. Dc in 5th chain. Chain 3 and turn.

Pattern: Dc 2 times in first dc. Dc across. Dc 2 times in last dc. Chain 3. Turn.

Continue in pattern until you've reached the desired size of your shawl. Finish off.

Add fringes all along the V.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Use of Fruit Pulp After Juice is Extracted

This recipe for fruit butters comes from The American Woman's Cook Book by Ruth Berolzheimer (1943).

Instead of making a 2nd extraction, the pulp, after the first extraction, may be used for jam or fruit butter. Put the pulp through a colander, add a small amount of water (1/4 cup water to 2 cups pulp) and heat to boiling. Add sugar and proceed as for jam or apple butter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mint Vinegar

This recipe for mint vinegar comes from The American Woman's Cook Book by Ruth Berolzheimer (1943).

Bruise 1 cup (packed) fresh mint in the bottom of a quart jar. Fill the jar with cider vinegar, cover loosely and let stand 2 weeks, strain and bottle. It will keep indefinitely.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grow Plants from Kitchen Scraps

Growing avocado, orange, and lemon trees was always fun when I was a kid. It also gave my oldest daughter something fun to do when she way young and being homeschooled. Don't Throw It, Grow It! by Deborah Peterson takes growing plants from kitchen scraps even further. She includes information on growing plants from unthought of sources. These include sesame seeds, mustard seeds, nuts, peanuts, ginger, carrot tops and more. The instructions are for 68 plants you can grow on your windowsill from ingredients you use in your kitchen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Buying Houseplants Online

There aren't any good houseplant nurseries in my area anymore, unless I count the overpriced and half-dead plants at the grocery stores. There are, however, a great number of places to buy houseplants online.

Amazon.com is a fun place to buy houseplants online. You can easily purchase plants, such as cactus, in bulk through Amazon.com. What's more, the price is unbeatable and, so far, the plants I have bought are in good to great condition.

You can also order some unusual and exotic houseplants that aren't found in local centers. These include fun plants like the venus fly trap and fig trees that can be grown indoors.

The trick to buying houseplants online is to do your research. Read reviews from people who bought the same plants. Before buying from an online nursery, do an online search for any complaints about the quality of the plants they ship out.

You can also check out Ebay and see what people are selling in the way of houseplants and bulk houseplants.

Friday, September 9, 2011

15 Houseplants that are Toxic to Cats and Dogs


There are many houseplants that are unsafe for your cats and dogs. From personal experience, young kitties tend to get themselves into trouble with houseplants while older cats tend to stay away. However each cat, and dog, is different.

Aloe Vera - Sadly, this popular houseplants and healing remedy for humans is toxic to cats and dogs. Signs of ingestion include diarrhea, vomiting, and tremors.

Barbados Aloe - Aloe barbadensis. Like the aloe vera plant, this aloe is also toxic to cats and dogs. It can cause vomiting and a change in the color of your pet's urine.

Begonia - Begonia spp. A favorite flowering house and garden plant, begonias are toxic to cats and dogs. The signs of poison are vomiting, excessive drooling, and problems with swallowing.

Cardboard Palm - Zamia furfuracea. This easy to grow houseplant is toxic to cats and dogs. If ingested, it can cause liver failure and even death.

Charming Dieffenbachia - Dieffenbachia amoena. If you have this plant in your home, keep it away from your pets. If ingested, it can cause irritation of the mouth and tongue, excessive drooling, problems with swallowing, and vomiting.

Chrysanthemum - Chrysanthemum spp. Keep the mums outdoors and away from your pets. One of my favorite flowers, these plants are sadly toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion can cause diarrhea, dermatitis, and vomiting.

Corn Plant - Dracaena fragrans. A common office plant, corn plant is poisonous to cats and dogs. Ingestion can cause bloody vomiting.

Devils Ivy - Epipremnum aureum. Often grown as a hanging plant, keep it away from cats and dogs. Ingestion can irritate the mouth and tongue, cause diarrhea and vomiting, and cause problems with swallowing.

Dieffenbachia - A pretty houseplant that can cause a lot of discomfort to pets when eaten. Problems include excessive drooling and vomiting.

Dracaena - Young cats think this plant is fun to play with, but it is also toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion can cause bloody vomiting, anorexia, and dilated pupils.

Elephant's Ear - Alocasia spp. These beautiful houseplants are poisonous to cats and dogs. If you pet eats the leaves, you may notice signs of excessive drooling, vomiting, and/or difficulty swallowing.

English Ivy - Hedera helix.  One of the easiest plants to grow indoors, the English Ivy is poisonous to cats and dogs. If your pet consumes this plant, s/he may experience vomiting, pain in the belly, excessive drooling, and/or diarrhea.

Fancy Caladium - Caladium hortulanum. While visually appealing, this houseplant is poisonous to cats and dogs. If your pet eats this plant, s/he may experience irritation in her/his mouth, excessive drooling, swallowing problems, and vomiting.

Hurricane Plant - Monstera deliciosa. A common office plant, the Hurricane Plant is toxic to cats and dogs. If your pet should ingest this plant, s/he may exhibit signs of mouth and tongue irritation, vomiting, problems swallowing, and excessive drooling.

Silver Jade Plant - Crassula arborescens. One of my favorite houseplants to grow, it is unfortunately poisonous to cats and dogs. If eaten, your pet may experience vomiting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Aeonium Houseplants Care and Propagation


A popular succulent, the Aeonium are common household plants that go by many names, such as pin-wheel, Atrpurpureum, Schwartzkopf, giant velvet rose, and saucer plant.

Aeoniums need full sunlight to grow healthfully. Too little sunlight and leaves will start falling off the plant.

Water Aeoniums moderately. Allow the top half inch of soil to dry out before each watering. Too little water will make the leaves shrivel up. Too much water will bloat the leaves and cause them to droop.

If you feel it is necessary, use a liquid houseplant fertilizer once ever two weeks while the plant is in its growth period.

Aeoniums should not be allowed to stand in water. They need a porous soil, such as potting soil that is half perlite or coarse sand and half regular potting soil.

You can start Aeoniums from seeds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Honey Grape Butter Recipe

This recipe for honey grape butter comes from The American Woman's Cook Book by Ruth Berolzheimer (1943).

6 cups grape pulp
1 cup grape juice
2 cups extracted honey
1/2 tsp salt

Cook grape pulp and juice for 5 minutes. Add honey and salt. Cook until thick and clear, about 30 minutes, stirring often. Pour into hot sterile glasses and seal at once. Makes 9 to 10 (6 ounce) glasses.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Aechmea Houseplants Care and Propagation


The urn plant is the most popular Aechmea houseplant. It is a tropical plant and can go up to 2 feet tall.

Aechmeas grow best in full sunlight. If you want it to flower, keep it at the sunniest window of your home.

Water this plant moderately. Allow the top half inch of soil to dry before each watering.

Use a liquid houseplant fertilizer on Aechmeas once every two weeks. The only time when this houseplant does not need fertilizer is when it is winter.

Keep the Aechmea is a small pot because it does not produce a large amount of roots. The best potting soil is an equal mixture of perlite, leaf mold, and peat moss.

The Aechmea sends out offshoots. When these offshoots are half the size of the mother plant, they can be removed from the pot and place in a pot of their own.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Adiantum Houseplants Care and Propagation


Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum) are very popular houseplants. They are fast growing, easy to care for, and they are easy to propagate.

Adiantums enjoy bright, sunny rooms, but they not like direct sunlight.

Keep the soil moist and do not allow the roots to dry out. Water when the top inch of soil becomes dry.

Maidenhair ferns do not need much in the way of liquid plant fertilizer. I have had good success just fertilizing the houseplant once each season.

The best soil for maidenhair ferns is a soil based potting mixture mixed half and half with coarse peat moss.

New Adiantums grow from the rhizomes. When repotting the mother fern, remove the rhizomes and break apart the clumps and repot. Avoid rotting by following the watering instructions.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Acorus Houseplants Care and Propagation


Grassy leaved sweet flag (Acorus griminess) can be grown indoors as a houseplant. The plant grows from a rhizome that is located just below the soil. The Acorus can grow up to 18 inches long.

Acorus needs medium light or light that is filtered through a thin curtain.

Never allow the Acorus to dry out. Keep the soil moist at all times. The houseplant will tolerate standing in a dish of shallow water.

Fertilize once every two weeks during the spring and summer months.

To propagate, remove the plant from the pot and pull the clumps apart. Replant each clump, making sure there is a rhizome within each cluster.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Achimenes Houseplants Care and Propagation


Cupid's bower, magic flower, and nut orchid (genus Achimenes) have lovely foliage and flowers in the spring and summer. These houseplants can range in size from 3 inches to over two feet. Achimenes go dormant over winter.

During spring and summer, the Achimenes needs sunlight. Midday sunlight, however can be too strong for this plant. When the plant is dormant, it does not need light.

As soon as the Achimenes begins to grow in the spring, keep the soil moist. Do not allow the soil to dry out during its growing season or it may go back into dormancy.

When the plant begins to grow in the spring, use a nitrogen rich plant fertilizer. After the plant has taken on its adult shape, switch to using a phosphate and potash rich fertilizer.

New Achimenes houseplants can be started from detached rhizomes from the mother plant. You can also take  3 inch tip cuttings in early summer from this houseplant and root it in potting mixture.

The best potting mixture for this houseplant is made of equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Acalypha Houseplants Care and Propagation


The indoor varieties of Acalypha include chenille plant and Jacobs-coat. These houseplants are grown for their beautiful foliage. They are fast-growing plants that need to be cut back to prevent them from getting out of hand.

The Acalypha needs sunlight that is filtered through a light curtain. Too little sunlight, however, will make the plants grow spindly.

During the plant's growing time, water often and keep the soil moist. In the winter, do not water as often, but keep the soil from completely drying out.

You can give this houseplant a standard liquid fertilizer once every two weeks while the plant is in its growing season.

Acalypha are easily started from cuttings. In the spring, take tip cuttings that are 3 to 4 inches long. Put in cuttings in a small pot filled with perlite. Cover with a plastic bag and place in filtered sunlight. These cuttings should easily root for you and then the bags should be removed and the small plants repotted into potting soil.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flowering Maple Houseplants Care and Propagation


Flowering or parlor maples (Abuliton) are indoor shrubs that can grow up to 5 feet tall. Some varieties are grown in hanging baskets and some are tied to sticks.

Abulitons need lots of sunshine and at least 3 to 4 hours of direct sunshine every day.

During the Abuliton's growing season, soil will need to be kept moderately moist. Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry out before each water. While not in growth, water only to keep the soil from completely drying out.

As for fertilizer, apply a liquid plant fertilizer every two weeks while the plant is in growth.

Abuliton species can be grown from seed except for the variegated types. The variegated Abulitons need to be grown from cuttings taken from the mother plant in the spring or summer. The cuttings should be 3 to 4 inches long. Dip the ends of the cutting in hormone rooting powder and stick in small pots of perlite. Cover each pot with a plastic bag and set in filtered sunlight. The cuttings should root in three to four weeks. Remove the bags and repot the small plants in potting soil. Keep the plants in filtered light for another 3 weeks and keep the soil barely moist. The Plants should now be mature.