Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gingersnap Recipe

I made some of these gingersnap cookies for Thanksgiving dessert...they're so full of flavor. They aren't hard, "snappy" gingersnap cookies. They're soft and chewy.

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix the dough. The recipe says to use an electric mixer. You can use a hand mixer, but if you have one of these puppies, use it. The dough for these cookies can get pretty thick. 
 

Gingersnaps
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup white sugar

In large mixing bowl, place half the flour. Add the brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.  (FYI: I put in a little extra ginger, cinnamon and cloves.)

Beat with electric mixer on medium to high until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat in remaining flour. 

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in white sugar to coat.  Place balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled.

I baked these on my trusty Silpat sheets. 

Mmmmmm...ginger-riffic! 

Linking to: Sew Much Ado/ Crazy Domestic/ Not Just a Housewife/ Remodelaholic/ Under the Table and Dreaming/ a little lovely/ Funky Junk Interiors/ It's a Hodgepodge Life/ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating/ Tidy Mom/ A Little Knick Knack/ Fingerprints on the Fridge/ Beyond the Picket Fence/ Tales from Bloggeritaville/ Not so Homemade/ My Backyard Eden/ We are That Family/ Blue Cricket Design/ It's a Blog Party

Monday, November 29, 2010

Simple Card for a New Baby

I decided to get all crafty and make a card for a friend who recently had a new baby.  I normally don't make cards; I'm more of a scrapbooker.  However, I've been slowly buying some acrylic stamps from Close to My Heart.  I was also given some inks and acrylic blocks as a gift. 

I thought "I have all of this stamping stuff, time to use it!"  So I made a very simple baby girl card. 

The "Congratulations" and "Best Wishes" are small, raised, silver stickers that came on a page of similar phrases.  I have another page of these in gold writing.  I think these stickers will come in very handy.
I intend to write a message inside and sign our names, so it won't be so plain when I'm finished.

I also wanted to show the bone folder that I used to make a nice crease in the card.  You can get these at most craft stores for just a few dollars.  These really help when you want to make a nice, crisp fold. 
I'm sure that fancy card makers everywhere are laughing at me, but hey...simple is how I roll.

Have you ever made a card?  Do you ever use stamps? 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vintage Thanksgiving Postcards

Before Thanksgiving, I picked up these vintage Thanksgiving post cards.  I thought they were really pretty. 
 
There is some pretty embossing on the cards. 
 

One of the cards had some writing on the back.  There is also a 1 cent stamp on it.  You can click on the picture to enlarge it, but here's what it says: 

"Dear Lula, We are all well.  Hope you are the same.  I am going to move a wk from Thursday.  My address will be Alvada, Ohio.  Love to All, Flossie Phillips"

The address says "Mrs Lula Shaffer, Dumcombe Iowa RFD."

RFD stands for "rural free delivery", which was mail delivery to rural parts of the United States.  This service began in 1891.

How is everyone's weekend going?  Everyone full from Thanksgiving food and leftovers?  Are you doing any Christmas shopping or decorating?  I'm taking a small break from my usual blogging this weekend. 

Back to our usual posts on Monday. 

Linking to: Finding Fabulous/ Brambleberry Cottage/ The Gypsy's Corner/ Coastal Charm/ House of Grace/ Tools are For Women, Too/ a little lovely

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Organizing for Christmas, Part 1: Paper

Here is the first part of my series about how I organize for Christmas. 

Paper! I'm a list person, and making lists really helps me out this time of year.  I make a list of the following things, in order to start my planning and shopping:
  • Christmas cards: I print out my list of people that we send Christmas cards to.  Last year, I finally made a list of addresses on Word, so I can print out address labels for the envelopes.
  • Gifts: I started this several years ago.  I keep a list of who I buy gifts for, and what I bought for them.  This helps me to not repeat gifts, and it also gives me ideas for the following years.
  • Ingredients: I make a list of the ingredients I use for my Christmas baking.  I start to buy a little bit each time I go shopping, so I don't have to buy all the ingredients at once.
  • Shopping: I make a list of stores that I need to go to, and try to tack on buying a present or two when I'm in or near those stores.  That way, I can spread out the expense.
  • Other paper: I make sure that I have enough wrapping paper, and buy stamps for my cards.
Here are a few other things I came across recently that might help you with holiday shopping:
  • Black Friday Info, which lists the ads for the upcoming Black Friday.  You can find many of these deals online, so no need to fight the crowds! (I prefer online shopping myself.)
  • Speaking of free shipping, have you heard of this site?  Free Shipping Day. On December 17th, over 1,000 online merchants will offer free shipping with delivery by Christmas Eve in the continental US. 
Do you make lists to get through the holidays?  What kind of lists?  Are you going to be one of those people in line at a store at 3 AM on Friday?  Not me!

Happy list-making and shopping!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fiesta Ware Thanksgiving Table Setting

I played around with our Fiesta Ware a bit today, to see how it would look on my new orange tablecloth.  I wanted to do a Thanksgiving table set-up and get some good pictures on a nice, sunny day. 

We have all of the vintage Fiesta colors, but I tried to use the darker, fall-ish colors this time. 
I love how shiny this red/orange gravy boat is.  It's one of my favorite pieces. 
How many people do you have at your Thanksgiving table?  There will be nine of us here. Do you set up any special dishes for your Thanksgiving meal?  Tell us about it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shepherd's Pie Recipe; and Giveaway Winners!

First order of business: We need to announce the two winners of our giveaway that we posted on Wednesday for the Hang and Level, and the Stoppy tools.



Both winners were selected by a random number generator.  

The winner of both the Hang and Level and Stoppy is:
Turtle Mom

The winner of the Stoppy is:
Haggermaker4

Check your emails, ladies!  Please email me at handymancraftywoman@gmail.com if you don't hear from me soon.  Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who entered.  We loved all the comments and ideas that you gave us for future projects.  I'm adding them to my list. 

Here's an easy recipe that I made this week.  It's called Shepherd's Pie.  This is a popular recipe in New England.  

This recipe has loads of variations, but I think this is the most basic recipe.  Some recipes use lamb for the meat; some add onions to the beef; some use peas and carrots for the veggies; and some even include stuffing.  I made a small  dish, since there are only three of us.  It was just enough for us, plus some leftovers.

Even Handy Boy ate it!  And asked for seconds!

There is going to be some "fudge factor" here in the measurements, because the amount of ingredients you use depends on the size of the pie you want to make.  I like to make it in a glass bowl that can go in the oven...you can also make a larger one in a 9x13 glass pan to feed more people.  So if you're feeding a gang, add more ingredients.

Clear as mud?

Crafty Woman's Shepherd's Pie
  • Boil and mash some 'taters. I used two very large russet potatoes here. I add some milk and a bit of butter to mine, then mix them with a hand mixer until they are very smooth.  I hate lumpy 'taters!
  • Mix 1/2 pound of ground beef with some spices if you like (I used taco seasoning. It was great!)
  • Brown the ground beef on the stove top, drain.  
  • Take some frozen corn, drain.  You can heat up the corn a little bit, but it will cook in the oven with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Layer the corn on the bottom of the bowl; top with the drained beef, top with mashed 'taters.  
  • Add some butter and paprika on top.  
  • Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, our until the edges of the potatoes start to brown.
This is a great recipe for cold winter nights...YUM!  We ate it with some nice wheat bread.  I've heard of people making cornbread to serve with it, also.  MMMmmm...carb overload!

Have you ever heard of Shepherd's Pie?  What ingredients do you use? How do you put your layers together? 

Linking to: Not So Homemade/ I Heart Naptime

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chic Click Carnival


I'm participating in a fun "click carnival" tonight, where I introduce myself to new readers who participate, and choose another blog to spotlight.  To readers that are new to our blog: I'm Laurie, the Crafty Woman, and my husband Rob is the Handy Man.  We have a son I call Handy Boy.

We are working on renovating our third house.  We tackle projects of all sizes; from painting, to adding new light fixtures, to plumbing and even tearing down walls.

I love to scrapbook, read, and organize.  Handy Man loves woodworking.  We blog about tools, renovations, recipes, New England, etc. 

Here are some of my favorite posts from our blog:



 
Another "peep" that I found in the Chic Chick carnival is This Domestic Life.  She talks about baking (cinnamon rolls), crafts (mixed media bracelet), and photography (photography tips).



Check out the Chic Chick Media widget, and visit some new blogs.  There's so much great reading out there!

I think my new motto should be "So many blogs, so little time..."

Linking to: Tidy Mom

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cool Gadget Giveaways; 2 Chances to Win!

In October, I posted about a fun, new picture hanging tool that I came across online.  It's called "Hang and Level".  This product is made by Under the Roof Decorating.  After I posted about their product, a representative from Under the Roof Decorating contacted us, and sent us some products to try ourselves, and to give away to our readers! 
A demonstration, by Mr. HandyMan himself.  Notice the "I'm only humoring you" face here.

Place your photo on the hook.  Use the single hook for a smaller frame.  There are two hooks below that one for a larger or heavier frame.  This frame had a sawtooth hook on the back.
"Can you hurry it up? I want to get back to watching my movie."

Position your picture on the wall where you want it.  Use the handy, built-in level to level it.

Remove the picture, leaving the tool in place.  Press the button (or buttons) to mark your spot. 
 

Hammer in your nail, hang up the picture and level it.  So easy!
 
We also hung a second photo above the first.  This tool really helps when you want to create groupings of pictures. 
 

Ta-da!  That was fun, and it only took about three minutes.  No struggling, no "Does this look straight?", etc.  We will be using this when I get around to hanging more photos in our stairway.

If these look crooked, it's because *I* was crooked, not the photos.  (I was trying to get a photo without showing any glare from the glass.)  A long-time friend gave us these photos of Sydney, Australia.  (H, If you're reading this, I'm sorry it took us forever to hang these up!)
 

Before you scroll down any more, can you guess what this next product does?
This is a cute little item called the Stoppy. The web site calls it "the ultimate door and window stop."  The Stoppy grips all types of surfaces, and will not mark your doors, windows or floors.  There's a short video on the site that shows the different ways you can use this tool.
We tried it out around the house.  Here it is, holding up a heavy window that doesn't stay open by itself. 

Crafty Woman: "By the way, why haven't you've fixed this yet?!"
Handy Man: "I've been too busy building my shed!"

Excuses, excuses. 
We also used one to hold open a door.  Very clever! 
We have items to give away to TWO lucky winners:
  • The first winner will receive one Hang and Level Tool, and one Stoppy
  • The second winner will receive one Stoppy
Simple rules:
- Open to residents of the United States only.
- Please become a Google follower (see right sidebar), or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or let us know if you already follow us.
- Post a comment telling us about a project or idea you’d like to see on our site in the future. (I know I did this on the last giveaway, but I really liked reading your ideas.  Some of your suggestions are in the works...)
- You must include your email address with your comment! Your email will not show publicly, only we will see it.

- Contest ends at 10 AM on Saturday, November 20th.  Two comments will be chosen randomly.  If we cannot reach you within 24 hours after the end of the contest, another number will be chosen.

Good luck!  

**This contest is now closed.**

Linking to: Tools are for Women Too!/ It's a Blog Party

Monday, November 15, 2010

Easy Stationery Organization

I've been looking for something to keep my stationery organized in my desk.  I finally found two cute red bins in Marshall's.  They were the perfect size to fit into my computer desk.

This one holds my envelopes and note pads.  I'm a list person, I like note pads.
 
I put my cards in this bin. 
 
These bins were $12 each, which was a bit more than I wanted to pay.  However, they were the perfect size, very sturdy, and they have handles on each side.  I like that, because sometimes I drag a bin to the couch or the kitchen table when I go to write out cards.

Plus, I really liked the red color.
 
I decided that my bins needed labels.  So I took out my handy tag punch that I've been using lately, and made simple labels. 

Are you a "card" person?  Do you like to send or receive cards?

Linking to:  Under the Table and Dreaming/ Tatertots and Jello/  It's a Hodgepode Life/ A Little Knick Knack/ Finding Fabulous/ Fingerprints on the Fridge/ My Romantic Home/ Frugal & Fabulous Design/ The Shabby Nest/  Life as Lori/ Beyond the Picket Fence/ House of Hepworths/ somewhat simple/ The Shabby Chic Cottage/ We Are That Family/ Sew Much Ado/ Blue Cricket Design/ My Backyard Eden/ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia/ The Gypsy's Corner/ New Nostalgia/ Coastal Charm/ It's a Blog Party/

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New England White Mountain Scenery

This is the last post in my series about the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  My previous posts were about New England architecture and old New England signs. This week I am showing photos from this year, and previous years.
Look closely at the above photo.  Do you see a house way back there on the mountain? Handy Man says he'd LOVE to live somewhere like that.

Yeah, right.

Even when the weather is gloomy up there, it's still pretty.
We have some fun things coming up this week:
  • A giveaway!  We have two prizes to give away
  • An organizational post
  • A new recipe 
  • The start of a series of posts about how I prepare for Christmas.
    Yes, I said Christmas!  I just realized today that Thanksgiving is at the end of next week; so Christmas is just around the corner.   

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Chores We Do at Daylight Savings Time

    A picture of our side yard
    Here are some chores that we do when we change the clocks back in the fall.  Yes, I know the time change was last weekend, but hey, I was busy at my scrapbook retreat!
    • change the batteries in our smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
    • clean out the dryer hose thoroughly to help prevent lint buildup
    • make sure that we have enough medicine in the house for the upcoming cold and flu season (ugh!)
    • review our emergency supplies: do we have enough food, water, flashlight batteries, etc, in case of a winter storm?
    • install storm doors
    • put away garden hoses
    • put away patio furniture and Handy Boy's outdoor toys
    • prep the lawnmower to be stored over the winter
    • put gas into the snowblower
    What's going on in your neck of the woods: Are there any other chores that you do this time of year to get ready for winter?  Do you live in an area that doesn't do daylight savings time?  Or, do you live in an area of the world where you are starting summer soon? 

    Linking to: Tools are for Women Too!/ Tatertots and Jello

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    New England Architecture, Buildings and Porches

    I wanted to write more about the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, NH, which I visited over the weekend  for a scrapbook retreat.  Here are some more photos that I took. 
    The Eagle Mountain House opened in 1879.  It was later expanded to two buildings and a Carriage House, which originally held horse carts and carriages.  The Carriage House is where we did our scrapbooking.  It is now used for weddings and meetings.
    In 1915, the main Inn was destroyed by a fire.  It re-opened in 1916, and the 280 foot wrap around porch was added.  I have many pictures of this fabulous porch from this and other scrapbook retreats: 
    Can you imagine a 280 foot wrap around porch? Wow. 

    One more post to come in this series...

    Linking to: Tools are For Women Too/ Brambleberry Cottage
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