Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easy Au gratin Potatoes

This recipe is a favorite of mine when I have company over, doesn't take much time, and I can just throw it in the oven which is always nice.

  • 2/3 bag frozen southwest style hash browns
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or colby cheese
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped small)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1-1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • cornflakes
Combine sour cream and cream of chicken soup.  Add potatoes, cheese and onion.  Mix well.  Poor mixture into greased casserole dish.  Crush cornflakes and spread over potato mixture.  Melt butter or margarine and pour over cornflakes.  Bake at 350 for 1 to 1-1/4  hours.  (make sure middle is hot)

Cake Mix Cookie

So tomorrow we are having an open house at work, and we are each supposed to bring in a dozen cookies or bars.  Unfortunately this weekend has been extremely busy for me, but rather than buy cookies at the grocery store, I resorted to my Mom's cake mix cookie recipe, I really don't know where she got it from, but I got it from her, and it is completely the easiest cookie recipe I have ever used, you can use any flavor of cake mix, and always turns out great.  I usually use white or chocolate cake mix, but tonight I used the lemon flavor, my daughter keeps sneaking them off the plate, I may have to go to the grocery store after all.  :)

  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup flour (may need to add more depending on how big the egg is, should be able to roll in your hands)
In Mixing Bowl, combine 1st four ingredients and mix well, add flour and mix well.  Spool a small amount and roll into a ball, dip into sugar and place onto cookie sheet.  If you want, you can dip the bottom of a glass and flatten the cookies.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

CD or DVD Sleeve, Printable Template

 So I was searching today for a printable template for a cd sleeve, and I could not find what I was looking for, so I decided that I would just make one up.  I think it turned out pretty good, and wasn't too painful to make either.

First open this file CD Sleeve Template-1, you can either download or hit Control + P to print, make sure that you are clicked on "actual size" before you print.

Next, if you want to have the Title and Date with ruled lines on the back of your sleeve, re-load your printed paper back into your printer, so it will print on the back side and with the flap end going in first.  Then print this file CD Sleeve Template-2
(if it prints on the first side, it's no big deal, I just like to flip it, so that my lines where I fold and cut will not be showing from the outside of the sleeve)

Cut out your template (oh, due to the margins, I could not get the lines to go all the way to the bottom of my page when printing, you will cut it all the way to the edge here), fold on the dashed lines, use a glue stick to adhere the side tabs, and then using a utility knife and a cutting board carefully cut along the lines for the little tab on the front to keep your flap closed.  And there you go, have fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hanging Kitchen Towel Tutorial

  •  15" x 25" kitchen  hand towel (one half)
  • 7" x 9" quilted fabric for topper, or you can use fabric of choice and either fleece or batting  (fleece is easier to work with)
  • 2 pcs 1-1/2" x 16" matching fabric for ties 
  • 2 pcs 1-1/2" x 7" matching fabric for bottom of topper
  • Thread to match ties and bottom of topper
  • Pattern here Towel Top Template (make sure to click on "actual size" when printing this)

          Cut the kitchen towel in half (will measure 15 x 12-1/2”) and fold so that it is in a 1/3 width of the towel in sort of a zigzag fashion, pin raw edges, see photo below, I have the back side of the folded towel showing.

Baste raw edges, total width of towel should now be approximately 5-1/4"

Cut out the pattern of the towel topper, using the quilted fabric, Towel Top Template  pattern is actual size, so please click the button for actual size when printing. (note: if using a towel that is larger than 15 x 25" in total size prior to cutting in half, you will need to add width to the bottom edges of the towel topper). Towel topper should extend 1/4"  on both left and right sides beyond the width of the folded towel.

If you are not using quilted fabric, you can also use either scraps of fleece or thin batting, I prefer to use the fleece as I think it's a little easier to handle here.  Cut out the fleece/batting slightly larger than the towel topper pattern, and then trim it back after each seem has  been stitched in place.

Picture at left, is if using fleece/batting, disregard if using quilted fabric.

 Cut 2 pieces of the fabric for ties, (1-1/2" x 16"), fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press, open and then fold in raw edges of of sides towards the center, but not touching the center, press, repeat with the other side.  

I leave about 1/16-1/8" gap in the middle between the edges to make for easier folding and sewing later, see photo. 

Now fold in 1/2 lengthwise again, and press
Take one end of the strip and fold "inside out" so that the flaps are on the outside and stitch across the end thru all four layers using 1/4" seam allowance, repeat with the other end, do this with both of the strips.  Trim close to the seam being extra careful not to cut thru the stitches as in photo below.

Turn right side out and press

It should end up looking like this photo at right

If you are using a heavy fabric, it helps to pin together and let it cool after ironing until you need it later

Center one 1-1/2 x 7" strip with right sides together along straight (outer) edge of towel topper and stitch using 1/4" seam allowance.  turn and press, repeat with other side as in photo.

If using fleece or batting, be sure to line up the strip even with the main fabric and not the fleece or batting.  Trim excess batting to match main fabric after seam is set in place.  If using quilted fabric, disregard this photo.

With right sides together, center the towel top so that the raw edge of one of the 1-1/2 x 7" strips are along the basted raw edge of the folded towel as with the photo at right.

Ok, this is where it gets a little tricky, turn the towel over and roll up the towel tightly and pin the opposite side of the towel top to the basted raw edge of the backside of the towel, pin and stitch using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Turn right side out and press, See photo at left, this is what it looks like rolled up before turning.

Clip edges of the strip just sewn in to match the angle of the towel top.  If using quilted fabric, baste close to the edge, trim excess if needed, if using fleece or batting see next step before basting.

If using fleece or batting, stitch across the towel topper horizontally about 1" below the top of the topper, and then again about 1" below that seam, now you can go ahead and baste the angled sides, trim close to seam being carefull as not to clip into the stitches  (see tip below)

Another thing that you can try, is taking three to four strips of 3/4 to 1" wide masking tape, and laying it across the face of the towel topper, stitch along the edge of the tape as a guide.  Remove tape when finished, see photo.

With strips for the ties, place one of the folded edges over "around" one of the bottom corners of the towel topper where they are extending past the folded towel, (so that this strip will be overlapping both on the front and the backside)

Stitch in place and keep pulling up the strip along the angled basted edge of the towel topper, stitch close to the "innermost" edge being careful to stitch thru all layers thru to the back of the strip too, stitch the whole full length of the strip.  Repeat with the other side.  This will finish your hanging kitchen towel. I hope you get lots of use out of it.    

Peanut Butter Cups

  • 1/3 & 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 lb chocolate almond bark
  • 24 (1-1/2" paper bon bon cups
Blend 1/3 Cup peanut butter with powdered sugar & vanilla.  Shape into 1/2 tsp balls.  Set aside

Combine chocolate almond bark and 1/2 Cup peanut butter & melt over double boiler pan.  Spoon just a little chocolate mixture to cover the bottom of the bon bon cups.  Add peanut butter ball, & cover with more chocolate mixture.  Chill.


This is one of my very favorite candy recipes I make at Christmas time.  They are so easy to make, and they taste just like the ones you pay big bucks for at the store.

Here is what you will need
  • 1 package of vanilla caramels
  • 2 Tbs of evaporated milk
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 large Hershey bar
  • 1/4 block of wax (Gulf wax)
You can either use a double boiler or a 2 quart sauce pan which is what I use, you just have to watch a little closer.  Melt the caramels and the evaporated milk over medium to low heat.  Takes a while to really start to melt, but don't forget about it, because it will easily burn on the bottom.

While the caramels are heating up, line a cookie sheet with freezer paper, and either spray with Pam, or lightly grease with butter or margarine.

Once  your caramel mixture has a smooth consistency add the chopped pecans and mix well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto your greased freezer paper and cool in the refrigerator.

In double boiler, (For this, I use two small sauce pans, one inside the other), melt the Hershey bar and wax, stir until smooth.  Dip the cooled caramel pecan mixture in the chocolate and place back onto your freezer paper until cool and hard.  Store in air tight container and refrigerate.

(If you can use chopsticks, this is the time to use them, easiest way I've found for dipping these into the chocolate)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Hello, my name is Becky, and this is my first post on my first blog.  I have to admit it's a little scary, but I am also very excited to make new friends and share some of my crafting experiences with all of you.  From time to time I will post tutorials on crafting projects, as well as my favorite recipes, and maybe some household tips that I have found useful.  Please feel free to post any comments, as I would love to hear what you have to say.

Thank you so much for dropping by