Thursday, December 27, 2012

Surviving My First Nor’ Easter

Can’t say I’ve ever been in a blizzard until today! Every time I asked what a Nor’ Eastah was, I was told to just wait for it. When we went to bed last night it hadn’t started to snow yet and I was a little nervous since we had taken wagers on how much snowfall this blizzard would bring. My guess was 12 inches, which is about an inch of rain. Since I have never experienced an extreme snow storm, I took a chance and listened to the snow chart on the weather channel with fingers crossed.

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window there was about four to five inches of snow on the ground and we had one thing on the brain: snowball fight!  Hope anyone else experiencing winter storms is having a snowy fun time, and keeping safe.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Checklist…Naughty or Nice?

Only 15 more days until Christmas and I’m not ready! Are you?

I’ve never been an early shopper despite not liking to deal with busy stores and hard to find parking, but this year I’m steering clear of the mall. Most of our gift giving is handmade this year, or purchased from small businesses. To be honest, I much prefer shopping from the couch in my pajamas!

Here’s a little checklist to help your Holiday shopping go smoothly!
 Click on the photo to download. For private use only please.

Lovely Link Ups: Craftberry Bush

Friday, December 7, 2012

DIY Fabric Dog Rope

My Australian Shepherd mix Luna has always loved her rope. When I adopted her at the animal shelter they told me she was 6 months old and wouldn’t grow much more. She was about 35 pounds then. As her first year with me came and went I found myself with a 65 pound puppy who would chew through sandals, sweaters and just about anything else left lying around. The solution to the problem was her rope.

As a puppy she used to tug the rope really hard, so hard at times it was hard to keep my balance because she was so strong. She’s not too keen on fetching balls, catching Frisbees or doing tricks beyond sit and shake, but when she wants to play she’ll bring her rope and not so gently nudge the nearest human leg. She will fetch her rope when asked to bring it and knows to leave it at the back door because it is an outside toy.

Although she still loves her rope I see her carry it around less and less. Since she and her teeth aren’t as strong as they used to be I figured she needed something a bit softer to play with. I had some old t-shirts lying around and thought they would make an awesome soft rope for old dog Luna.

Take your t-shirts and cut them into 1 inch thick strips. I just cut the length of the shirts and then cut each strip at the two existing seams. I used 12 strips total, 6 green and 6 yellow, so my ropes aren’t too thick. The more strips, the thicker the rope! I made a twist rope and a braided rope to see the difference and if the pups preferred one over the other. So far they don’t seem to care, but the braided rope is much thinner and is stiffer than the twisted rope.

Braided Rope:

Bring all of your t-shirt strips together and tie a tight knot at one end. Split the strips evenly into three sections and braid. I had my mom hold the knotted end while I braided which made it easier and neater than when I tried to hold the end myself. Leave enough room at the end for a second knot and make sure it is tight as well. Cut off extra long pieces from the ends and play!

Twisted Rope:

Again, start off by combing all of the t-shirt strips and tie a tight knot at one end.  Divide the strips so you have two equal sections and twist them tightly. At the end make a second knot to secure the strips. When let go, the twist will loosen up so make sure to twist them tightly. Cut off any extra long pieces and now you have another rope.

I love these fabric dog ropes because you can make them long, short, thin or thick, and with as many colors as desired. Oh, and it’s cheap! I just used 2 shirts that were in the Goodwill pile. My dogs usually rip apart a new toy 10 minutes after it enters the front door, so having a toy that is affordable and quick to make works for me.

Hope your pup enjoys their fabric dog rope as much as Luna and the rest of our pups did!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Place I Live: Founder’s Park

Take a tour of Founder’s Park for a trip back in time. Relive Anaheim’s past by visiting some of the city’s oldest buildings filled with relics and photographs. Knowledgeable docents dressed in period clothing greet visitors throughout the park and are available to answer questions along the way. From the South of the park visitors are greeted by the 130 year old Moreton Bay Fig tree. Walking through the park visitors pass a water pump, clothesline, grape vines and vegetable garden. Children can learn what 19th century life was like with hands on demonstrations in the park.

The Mother Colony House is one of the oldest wood framed buildings and is an example of a vineyard home from the mid 1800s. The plaque outside of the home reads that the home was built in 1857 by Mr. George Hansen who was the promoter for the colony of Germans that originally founded what is now Anaheim. In 1885 a grape disease destroyed the vineyards which led Anaheim into its citrus age. Along the way Polish actress Helena Modjeska lived in the Mother Colony House with Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz. The Friends of Libraries Literary Landmark reports that Sienkiewicz wrote Letters From a Journey (Lity z podrozy) and two short stories about Orange County called A Comedy of Errors and Orso: An American Hercules which is set in Anaheim.

Inside the small wooden house is a living room that doubles as a bedroom. There is a Murphy bed that when raised is a beautiful armoire complete with mirrors. There are cases filled with clothes of the time period, including very intricate dresses with lace and fabric buttons. One of the docents commented that the clothing was not washed regularly due to having to remove the buttons and other decorative pieces from the clothing to wash them and then be sown back on after dried. There is an addition to the house that includes a kitchen and washroom. There are lots of neat gadgets in the kitchen. My favorite is the metal piece that looks like an egg on a stick – be sure to guess what it might be then ask what it was used for. I bet you’ll be surprised.

North of the Mother Colony House is the Woelke-Stoffel House which was built in 1894 and is one of the last Queen Anne homes in Anaheim. The name of the home comes from the family who built the home (Woelke) and the last family to live in the house (Stoffel). The two story home shows beautiful architecture on the outside including a big porch out front. Inside there is much to look at; clothing of the period, furniture and fixtures, and historical photos.

Some changes were made to the home from 1953 until 2006 when the home was part of the American Red Cross Anaheim Chapter. Through fundraisers, the Anaheim Historical Society is helping to restore the Woelke-Stoffel House to its original condition. Earlier this month AHS reported the completion of the restoration in the entry hall, nook and stairway.

Behind the Woelke-Stoffel house is the Carriage House, Pump House and Windmill. The Carriage House features tools, crates and photos of Anaheim’s citrus boom. In the middle of the space is the vintage postal carriage that delivered much of Anaheim’s mail.  It was actually built by a postal carrier so he could do his job better. Outside is a small grove of oranges sitting under the Windmill.

Founder’s Park is all dressed up for the holidays so be sure to visit on the Saturday December 1st or 8th  from 9 AM to 12 noon. Tours are open the rest of the year on the first Saturday of the month.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shop Talk: Preparing for the Holidays and a Sale!

We’ve been preparing for the holidays! Jeremy and I spent most of the summer cutting and sanding wood to create a variety of new designs in the shop. Be sure to stop by and shop our customer appreciation pre-holiday sale November 23rd through November 26th! Use coupon code ETSYSBEST20 for 20% off your entire purchase.
1950s B&L 12K filled cat eye glasses, Vera Blue Polka Dot Silk Scarf, 1950s Boucle KinKurl Wool Coat

Wood Ornaments: Red & Green Trees, Holiday Schnauzer, Red and Aqua "Ball"

Chalk Dipped Spoon Garden Markers: Diamond Handle, Rose Handle, Set of 4

CA Drink Local Print, Home is Where the Beer Is Print

Mid Century Modern Candle Holder, Reclaimed Wood Candle Holder for 2 Tealights, Reclaimed Wood Candle Holder for 3 Tealights

Natural Wood Grain Pendant
Coupon Code ETSYSBEST20 can be used to shop with our friends too!

BijouVintageBazaar: Affordable 1950's – 90's vintage clothing, accessories and housewares.
Circa810: An Eclectic Vintage Mix for Life and Home
DearViolette: Vintage kitchen goods, aprons, dresses, clothing, coats, fur, supplies, fabric,
holiday decorations, home decor, books, prints, baby stuff, mens items, barware, book plates, scarves
GizmoandHooha: Eclectic Vintage Rustic, Industrial, Primitive, Farm & Cottage Chic, Mid Century,
Retro, Kitsch & More!
GloryBdesign: Upcycled Vintage and Antique Furniture and Home Décor.
GoldenDaysAntiques: An eclectic mix of vintage and antique furniture, glass and china, pottery,
wood and metal, wall decor, lighting and more.
HankyDresses: Dresses from the creator of the vintage Hanky Dress. Hand crafted from a vintage
hanky these sweet little dresses are sure to please big and little girls alike!
LunchLadyVintage: Shop Lunch Lady Vintage for a tasty fare of vintage, collectible and antique finds.
MomsantiquesNthings: Antiques, vintage, collectibles, altered art, mixed media assemblages,
collages, handmade natural vine and hand decorated wreaths.
NellsVintageHouse: Vintage treasure for your retro, mid century, modern, industrial, farmhouse home.
NorScott: Vintage finds and home décor in the shabby chic, cottage, country French, farmhouse,
lodge, rustic, mid century modern, industrial and retro styles.
Oddacious: Welcome to our little world of the weird. And the dead. We are passionate about bones,
 medical oddities and other matters of creepiness.
Recent History: 1930s-1980s vintage wares and wears for gals and guys.
RollingHillsVintage: Antique * Vintage * Industrial * Retro * Farmhouse * Primitive * Flea Market Finds *
Rt9NJvintageFun: Vintage Antique & Retro Home Decor circa Route 9 NJ's hidden treasures!
SaffronColoredPony: For those appreciating a rustic, farmhouse vibe.
Sugarcookielady: Mid Century, Mod, Kitschy and Retro Treasures for your home.
TheSunshineGrove: Mid Century Housewares, Jewelry and Kitchen! Vintage dresses, stockings and
coats! Reclaimed wood brooches, candleholders and art.
TheVintageCup: Vintage Housewares and Home Décor Book Sets.
Umeone: Enjoy exotic hand made pottery from the far, romantic, tropical places in my mind!
Vintage19something: Shop Mid Century Glassware, Vintage Replacement China and Dinnerware,
Silverware, Pottery, Vintage Toys, Books, Music, and Collectables from the 20th Century.
VintageRenude: Feminine clothing and accessories, delicate linens, dainty jewelry, and discriminating
home goods.
VintageShelfAndWall: Offers functional, vintage pieces of art.
We specialize in bookends, lighting, clocks and wall pockets, for every decor and budget.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Canning: Festive Cranberries

My favorite thing to spread on a sandwich is cranberry sauce. Turkey and cranberries, they just really go well together if you ask me. For my second canning experience I thought making my own cranberry sauce would be perfect. Every time I want to make a sandwich, I can have delicious cranberry to go with it. YUM!

To be honest, I was a little surprised at how easy the cranberry sauce recipe was. Boil water, mix in sugar, add cranberries and can. That’s it! So, so simple. It was fun to hear the cranberries pop as they heated up, and let’s face it they just look festive floating in the pot of water.

Something I learned at my Canning 101 class was that some fruits, like cranberries, naturally have pectin in their skin so when they pop they release their pectin so there is no need to add the store bought kind. Isn’t that neat?

After about 15 minutes of boiling the cranberry sauce should have “gelled” which would make it ready for the canning process. It took almost twice as long as the recipe suggested. I used the spoon test and the refrigerator test to make sure it was the right consistency. Once it was, I poured the sauce into sterilized jars and set it to process for 15 minutes.

The result was delicious! I’ve had it on my turkey sandwiches and wraps since I made it a few weeks ago. Can’t wait to serve it for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Preparing to Give Thanks

Last year I had the honor of cooking our Thanksgiving meal and will be again this year. It was my first time cooking a turkey, making stuffing and preparing all of the other wonderful food our friends and family would enjoy together. Our gathering was going to be smaller than usual with only 14 guests to prepare for. My dad was bringing home a turkey from work and other than that I was on my own to plan, prepare and execute.

I started with the traditional Thanksgiving staples. We would have cranberry sauce which I plan to make from scratch this year, a green bean casserole at Jeremy’s request complete with French’s onions on top, and my favorite, New England Style yams with maple syrup and topped with mini marshmallows.
Wanting to add new dishes to our meal I used the internet and Martha Stewart to add variety to the dinner table. I decided to go sweet with the turkey and used an apricot glaze which was delicious. Not too many people in my family like stuffing so I needed something outside of the box. I found a recipe for cornbread and sausage stuffing which sounded delicious and actually turned out to be a big hit.

Sweets are a favorite at our home so we usually try for a selection so there are many to taste. Pumpkin bread is a staple on our dessert table and let’s face it, everyone samples at least one slice before dinner. A few years ago my mom added pumpkin flan to the mix and I contribute pumpkin cheesecake. Last year we also tried a pumpkin mousse but I don’t think we’ll be repeating that one. Too much work to get those peaks.

I will be adding pears to the mix this year. For dessert I’ll be making either a pear tart or a pear custard pie. They both sound tasty so I might have to flip a coin to decide. In the punch bowl we’ll be sampling chilled sparkling pear which is just champagne with pear nectar.

I wanted to dress up my Thanksgiving planning this year and made a 3 page themed download perfect for planning the meal, prepping for grocery shopping and making a to do list for the week of.  Enjoy!

Click Photo to Download
Thanksgiving Dinner Planner is for private use only please. Link back to The Sunshine Grove if you are going to share it. Thanks a bunch!

Lovely Link Parties: Eat Make Grow, Mercantile Muse, BlogHer, Like Ordinary Life

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Place I Live: Planet Tnez Art Gallery


Planet Tnez will be hosting an all wood design art show this Saturday November 10, 2012. We are delighted to announce that Jeremy’s reclaimed wood designs will be part of this show.

We met Tommy Martinez, artist and owner of Planet Tnez last May at the Anaheim Art Crawl Experience. He stopped at our booth because something caught his eye: wood. He was showing his paintings and wood benches at the CIM Art Gallery and made sure we stopped by afterwards to talk and see his space. He commented that Jeremy’s designs really needed to be shown on a wall.

Normally during craft shows we display Jeremy’s designs on tables since hauling makeshift walls strong enough to hold up the heavy wood pieces is pretty cumbersome. Because of that, there is sometimes confusion as to what the pieces are supposed to be. We are very excited to finally see the designs up on walls where they belong.

A big thank you to Tommy for the opportunity to get our wood designs up on a wall.

The Planet Tnez wood art show coincides with the Anaheim Art Crawl Experience so please come on down and support local artists!

Planet Tnez
508 W. Chestnut St.
Anaheim, CA 92805
Located at the west end of the Center Street Promenade, just across Harbor Blvd.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What's For Dinner?

Last Fall I saw a recipe for a stuffed pumpkin filled with ground beef and lots of other tasty fillings. Now that it is the perfect time of year to eat a stuffed pumpkin I can’t find the same recipe I had seen. Instead, I put together the foods I think would taste best in a stuffed pumpkin and it was good!

Preheat: 350 F
Wash the outside of the pumpkin and cut the top off for a nice bowl shape. Keep the lid of the pumpkin for later. Clean out the inside and give it a quick rinse. Remember the pumpkin seeds can be toasted or even dried for planting next year. Rub butter on the inside of the pumpkin until coated. Add a tablespoon of raw sugar and one of cinnamon inside and rub it into the buttered sides and bottom.
Buttered pumpkin with cinnamon and raw sugar
Wash veggies, then peel and dice them. Start with the carrots so they can be put to steam while prepping the other veggies. Sauté the mushrooms, peppers and onions in a large pan and add the carrots once they soften.

Mix the ground beef and sausage together adding garlic powder and pepper to taste. Brown the meat until it is cooked and stir in the vegetables. Spoon the mixture into the pumpkin including the gravy. Place the pumpkin on a large glass pan to catch any spills and help move it into the oven with ease. Be sure to cook the pumpkin with the top on so that it traps the condensation and juices, helping to cook the pumpkin quicker. If the pumpkin is tall this will require using the bottom rack in the oven.

Bake at 350 F for an hour.

If after an hour the pumpkin isn’t soft enough to eat yet, toss it back in for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the top of the pumpkin to dry up the delicious inside if it looks too wet. Once ready pull it out of the oven and serve straight from the pumpkin.

It’s a delicious meal and festive platter all in one!

Stuffed pumpkin served with wild rice and biscuit