Monday, November 29, 2010

Still have leftover pumpkins?

The day after Thanksgiving I still had two pumpkins sitting around, the one below was not all that pretty on the outside but I decided to bake it anyway. For my dog (more on this below). I had to chop this one into thirds it was so large.

I like to put them in the pan and put the pan in the oven and then add some water to the bottom. This way I'm not splashing or dropping anything.

Once they are cooked - baked at 350 degrees for about an hour) I use a ladle to remove some water from the pan (pumpkins will create some water as they cook) so it's again not too heavy for me to carry.

I use a bamboo skewer to test if they are done. If I can easily puncture the skin then they are well cooked.

I use a large spoon to scoop the meat out into a bowl (or bowls) and I can store it in the fridge until it gets used up.

Some of this pumpkin (I actually cooked two pumpkins) was made into some lovely pumpkin bread with dried cranberries, but the rest is going to the that dog. I first heard about dogs and pumpkin from my aunt who feeds hers canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just pureed pumpkin) as recommended by her vet.

Some reading online says that it is a great source of fiber for both cats and dogs, but be sure to feed it to them in small doses (we are talking teaspoons) or they can get toxic levels of vitamin A. Also make sure it is well cooked and if the texture is too thick, make sure to puree it. It's a popular ingredient in homemade dog treats so that may be the best way to feed it to your pet in moderation.

And please make sure to do your own research before feeding your pets since I'm not a pet health care professional and limited in my own knowledge and research.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mosaic Monday - November evening

Click image to enlarge.

I love when the sun peeks out through the clouds to say goodnight.
Even if it is at an early 4:30 pm!
This frost and snow means the end of my lingering flowers, but they were nice while they lasted. Bring on the barren beauty of winter, that is ever lovely in its own way. And this means I can start drinking my "winter fruit blend" tea which was a limited edition blend and I only allow myself to drink it when the temperature really drops.

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see all the beautiful mosaics!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping from home - thank you internet

So far I've bought one thing from a brick and mortar store this holiday season. Everything else I've ordered online and all of it from etsy. I have found some of the. best. goodies and I can shop in my pajamas and a few days later the goodies show up at my house! I love that! You can check out [this post] for some links to some of my favorite shops.

I don't talk a lot about my shop here on my blog but I did want to let you know I'm having a super clearance. All sale items are under $10.00 so enjoy the bargain and help me make some space!

See the photo below for a sneak peek at all the sale goodies in my shop.
Click [here] to go directly to the sale section.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cold to colder in the garden

It got a tad chilly at my house the other morning...

And then it got a lot more chilly.

And here it snowed much less than other areas. I'm tucked into a nice little valley/prairie. :)

I took a photo of the grape arbor and then realized I'd been taking just about that same photo multiple times this year. So here they are, as the seasons go.

Spring/early summer:

Somehow I skipped late summer when it was all full and green. But here is earlier in autumn when the leaves started changing.

Then just a couple weeks ago with a lot less leaves and a nice frost.

A couple days ago looking barren and chilly.

It's kinda fun to go backward and see the whole year through one spot. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mosaic Monday - around the house

Click image to enlarge.

I really enjoy it where I live because I have endless subjects to snap photos of while I stroll around the property. My neighbors can't see me too well, but I wonder what they think of me, sometimes wandering around in my flannel pajama pants, boots and bright orange hoody jacket in the wee hours of the morning (like for that top left photo). Oh well. :)

The grapes are long gone, but the arbor is gifting us with a lovely change in leaf color, the old wood fence is growing some fun moss, my black currant bushes only have leaves left in the tippy top and make a nice silhouette and my roses are still blooming. And that's what's going on in my neck of the woods!

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see all the beautiful mosaics!

The skies cleared up last night and I had a gorgeous view of the full moon, but this is what my poor rose up there in the mosaic looked like this morning.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Handmade gifts ideas

Raise your hand if you're starting to panic that Christmas is approaching and you can't spend a lot of money. *raises hand and waves it like that annoying kid in school*

Handmade is the way to go, especially if you are already a crafty type because most likely you'll have plenty of supplies already on hand. Not sure what in the world to make? Craft Stew has a list of 50 Handmade Gift Ideas.

Plenty of blogs run "handmade Christmas" series that post once a week or even a week at a time (google handmade Christmas blog and that will point you in the right direction) and One Pretty Thing runs round-ups every day, multiple times a day, that will leave you with no shortage of ideas.

Not all that crafty? Or just running out of time but still want to give handmade? Here are some recommendations of handmade goodies I've ordered and loved (and they are all super reasonable!)

How about a foldable, reusable shopping bag from Crafty Tokyo Mama (she now has quite the selection of zippered pouches too)

The lip tints from Petite Threla are great. I have two in my bathroom and one in my purse.

I don't know what I'd do without the cuticle balm from Coquette Bath.

I've also received fantastic bath products from Latherati, Gourmet Soaps (you need to read her profile, it made me laugh) and Epically Epic Soap.

Try some covered button stud earrings from Lovie and Boo

A cup cozy and a gift card would make a nice gift. I've ordered cozies from Hollyberry Designs, Little Jags, and Daisy Cutter. (I haven't ordered one, but I think the cup cozies from Bat Girl Designs are fantastic and cute).

I love my handbag from SylSyl. She doesn't make them like mine anymore, but she still has a ton of gorgeous purses and wristlets.

And if you want unique cards to mail, but don't want to try making them yourselves I've really liked the ones from Ollipop Greetings and A Fanciful Twist.

Hope that helped give you some ideas...or at least steer you in a direction to get ideas. I'm almost done with Christmas gifts and I haven't even had to face the crowds!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Alima Pure

I realized the other day I'm almost completely out of foundation. I usually have a few extras on hand, product I bought on super clearance to try or something, but I've been slowly chipping away at those too and now it's almost all gone.

I've been wearing L'Oreal's mineral foundation for a few years now but something about it is dissatisfying me. When I realized I needed to go on the hunt for new I remembered a local company called Alima. I ordered samples from them years ago and loved them but for some reason never purchased further. A google search revealed the company has made some improvements. They now go by Alima Pure and have a cute little bird as the company logo.

They sell certified natural products and are cruelty free.

My package arrived quickly (well, they are local, but I have heard about their packages arriving quickly all the way across the country as well) in a bubble mailer and inside was...

These cute paper bags sealed with logo stickers - the bag on the right are free samples they sent.

I limited my order to three foundation samples but let me tell you they had plenty of lovely, tempting things I wanted to try. These sample jars are $1.50.

The company has 60 shades of satin matte foundation so if you can't find your matching color in that I don't know what to tell you. I chose to try Neutral 0, Neutral 1, and Warm 0.

Labels on the bottom let you know what color you are using.

The samples they sent me were thoughtfully chosen and complementary to the shades of foundation I ordered.

I received luminous shimmer eyeliner in Noir, bronzer in Maracaibo, and satin finishing powder in Yuki.

I don't have an eyeliner brush but I went out and bought one just so I could try this eyeliner. I've never used a powdered eyeliner before either but it was quite easy. And this color is a stunning shimmering graphite. Their evil plan in sending me the sample worked well because now I totally want it.

I'm also excited about the bronzer because it's a soft shade. Normally bronzer is so brown I look like I've been rolling in the dirt even when I apply it lightly.

Also included with my order was an invoice (not pictured) with a handwritten thank you on it. This thank you card that gives company info - check out the logos on the bottom.

Also included was this list of products and their ingredients - it is double-sided.

I'm looking forward to ordering my full-sized products for a few reasons - I love that they are local, they have excellent customer service and they have excellent product. Alima foundation really blends into my skin rather than sitting on top making me look powdery until I use a facial mist or until the foundation warms up to me. Plus their many, many shades make it easy for me to find a perfect match.

Have you checked out Alima Pure? You really should.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Queen of Junque - an upcycled crown

I've been crowned a Queen of Junque! I had to make my own crown...does it still count? :)

It all started when I saw this:

In my friend's garbage can. Yes, I garbage can dived. No one saw me so it was sneaky garbage can diving too. My friend and her husband had installed a clothes dryer and this was a leftover piece or an old piece, I can't remember. I saw it and knew it needed to be a crown. But that was months ago!

In September I bought a bucket at Goodwill and turned it into [this project]. It came with a little of what I called "Christmasification" that needed to be removed but I had just the thing to use them on (they were whispering "crown adornment" at me, I swear)

I needed height on my "crown" and since this was looking very much like a shabby chic junque project (and I knew I had a ton of it) chicken wire seemed my best bet! I made sure to cut a section wide enough to fit the circumference of the dryer fitting.

The lip in the center of the fitting was perfect for holding my chicken wire in place and I snipped the excess off the top leaving little uplifted bits to look like crown points. Where the wire meets in back I simply twisted it together to hold its round shape.

I recommend wearing some medium thickness gloves for working with the chicken wire. I also had some medium sized wire cutters (not the tiny ones I use for jewelry making).

Twisting the beaded sprigs onto the chicken wire was just a matter patience and a little finesse with some needle nose pliers.

For the bottom half - since I didn't want it to be rough or scratching any surface I happened to set it on - I used a long rectangle of white eco-felt and glued it both inside and outside of the crown edge.

I used some white decorative trim to cover the seam between the eco-felt and the dryer fitting.

And that, dear friends, is how I got crowned Queen of Junque. My friends and family now know that I will really make something out of anything. No one's garbage cans are safe! ;)

Also, don't give up if you have an idea and it doesn't come together right away. Like I mentioned earlier it took me months of little bits trickling into my stash and for me to formulate the right way to put them together.

But I think I need a smaller "head" for it to sit on...

Linking to:

House of Grace's Twice Owned party

The Shabby Chic Cottage's Transformation Thursday

Mosaic Monday - evening mist

Click image to enlarge.

I realize that almost all my Mosaic Monday posts are about nature, but really that's what I photograph 99.9% of the time so I have an overabundance of that to share. :)

In autumn and winter when the skies clear up towards evening after being covered over all day, the most haunting but lovely mist rolls in across the fields (of which I am surrounded by on all four sides). To see it well in that top left photo you'll have to enlarge the mosaic.

One particular evening as it rolled in and the moon turned from dull to glowing as the sky darkened the horses pranced around in it making a most magical sight. Sadly my little point and shoot and my seriously amateur skills couldn't capture it, but I was able to capture some of the evening.

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see all the beautiful mosaics!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The generosity of bloggers

If you've spent much time in blogland I think you'll find that bloggers are, for the most part, encouraging, uplifting and generous. I've been a recent recipient of some of that generosity.

Susan at Pieces of Fate participated along with many others of us in the Halloween Party at A Fanciful Twist. I won her lovely giveaway (after a wrinkle in the plan) and my prize arrived the other day!

I love that she put the banner for the Halloween party on there (as well as on the shipping label) just to let me know what it was I was opening up.

I was completely entranced by the book - SO up my alley. I love reading about the mysterious and bizarre. :) And a booklight too! I love to read in bed and this will be perfect!

So Susan your generosity could not have been spent on a more grateful person. Thank you so much, I love my treasures!