One Man's Trash: Vintage Greeting Cards

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Look what my husband found recently at a rummage sale- a stash of old greeting cards!  And the best part is that they are all still in unused condition.  No writing inside any of them and they all have their matching envelopes!  

And even better, if you look closely, you might notice that two of them are addressed to "Mom"- one a Mother's Day card, and the other a Valentine for "My Mom".  Another is a birthday card for "My Wife", and the final two are Wedding Anniversary cards.  So, I'm thinking that all of these would work for me!  Hey, we do have an anniversary coming up soon.  :)


I flipped through all of them to see if there is a copyright date anywhere on any of them, and there is not.  But you can see they are all American Greeting cards with the old trademark and they were also made in the U.S.A., Cleveland, Ohio, to be specific.  


It turns out that American Greeting has been making cards for over 100 years now, and have been headquartered in Cleveland the whole time.  If I had to guess, I would say that perhaps these came from a box set from a while back.  The drawings make me think of the 1950's- especially the cocker spaniel and the children on the bottom two cards. 

In any case, he paid less than a dollar for these wonderful old cards, and they make me super happy. Ahh, another case of one man's trash...  

How To Dry Your Own Herbs

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Drying your own herbs really couldn't be much easier.  It only requires a few simple tools and a couple easy steps.  Hey, if I can do it...  

This is the time of year that my herb garden overflows to the point that I know I won't be able to use all my fresh herbs before they succumb to the cooler Autumn months ahead.  So now was the perfect time to harvest my herbs to dry them for later.  Incidentally, I did leave enough in the garden to keep using what is left for now. 



Here are the only tools that you will need.  Paper bags, a hole punch, and some twine.  That's it!  So let's get started.



Begin by labeling each bag with the name of the herb that you will be drying inside.  Then punch holes throughout the bag.  The holes will help with the drying process, allowing air to move through the bag. 


Next, take your harvested herbs and tie them off at one end with a small length of twine. 


Then place your herbs inside the bag, and tie the bag shut with another piece of twine.  The bag will also collect any herbs that fall in the drying process. 


That's all there is to it!  I told you it was easy.  Hang your bags in a cool and dry place for about a month.  They will be good and dried by then and ready for use as dry herbs.  



Note: I hung all my Italian herbs together in the pantry but decided to hang my mint separately because it has a noticeably different scent and taste, and I didn't want to "mix" them.  That's really my only word of caution regarding this process.  

Here's looking forward to cooler months ahead and lots of yummy spicy dishes made with my very own dried herbs!

Green Velvet Cake

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I recently made this cake per request for Jaxon's birthday. Each year, we serve bakery cupcakes for birthday party guests (to avoid any potential food allergy reactions), and the birthday boy gets to choose whatever cake he wants for me to make for him to share with the family later that same week.

This also allows us to extend birthday celebrations a little longer, which is fine by me because 1) my boys are truly worth celebrating BIG and 2) more cake! ;-)

This year, I was given very specific instructions to make a "red velvet cake - except make it green." Well, since the only thing that makes a red velvet cake "red" is the food coloring, I figured that wouldn't be too hard to do.



Green Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 oz. green food coloring
Cream Cheese frosting (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Place all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together well with a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. Lightly beat eggs in a separate medium bowl with wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with electric mixer on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly into cake pans. Drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  6. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then, loosen the sides of the cakes from the pans and turn out onto cooling racks for another 10 minutes. 
  8. Frost with Cream Cheese frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 3/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Combine butter, vanilla, and cream cheese. Cream until light and fluffy.
  2. Add confectioner's sugar a little at a time, mixing after each addition until combined.
  3. Apply to cool cake as per directions above.


Notes:

To make a red velvet cake, my recipe calls for 2 oz. red food coloring (probably because red is such a hard color to achieve and 1 oz. would result in pink).


We made this as a birthday cake, and it would certainly fit the bill for Incredible Hulk or Oscar the Grouch fans BUT keep this cake in mind as an alternative to red velvet for Christmas (think Grinch!) or as a yummy treat for St. Patrick's Day. The possibilities are endless!

Help Make the World's Biggest Stocking

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Do you knit or crochet? 

Long time blog followers know that my craft of choice is crochet, but Yarnspirations is asking crafters of both groups to help them make the World's Biggest Stocking, which will be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.


They've estimated that they will need between 3,000 to 4,000 blankets to assemble the finished stocking.

If you participate, you will be a part of history AND you will have helped a worthy charity! Proceeds from the effort will help support the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.


Here's how you can help:




1. Choose a pattern for a 3' x 3' square blanket. (Finished edges of the blanket must be straight, so no ripple, round, or otherwise shaped patterns for this project, please.) 

If you've already started on your own Christmas presents for the year and feel like you don't have time to add one more thing to the list, give this Granny Square Blanket a try. It's a free pattern and you'd only need to add a few more rows of the main pattern to get it to the required size. (And, make sure to leave off the decorative picot trim per the submission requirements.)

If you have a little more time and want to be more creative, give these free crochet patterns a try:


2. Buy your yarn. You can use any worsted weight yarn that you want for this project. However, you are encouraged to use Caron United Yarn. That's because 15 cents of every skein of Caron United Yarn purchased goes to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, which helps provide college scholarships to the children of military personnel who died in service to this country. 

Red, white, and/or green yarn is preferred for this project, but they are accepting blankets in any color. Caron United Yarn is made in the USA.

3. Craft your blanket. They will accept knit or crochet blankets, so get working!

4. Submit your project. When you're finished with your blanket, submit it with your project to one of these addresses:

USA:
Caron United – World’s Biggest Stocking Project
1481 West 2nd Street
Washington, NC 27889-4157

Canada:
Caron United – World’s Biggest Stocking Project
1700 Basset Ave.
Listowel, ON
N4W 0B1 

Donated blankets will be stitched together to form the World's Biggest Stocking. When the project comes to an end, the stocking will be disassembled and blankets will be donated to military families. 

For those who might be wondering, 36" square blankets make the perfect size for baby and toddler blankets and that is the size blanket that I most often make as a gift for new moms.

5. Spread the word*. Make sure you share this post with friends who craft so that they have plenty of time to join in on the action. Yarnspirations will continue to accept donations until they have enough blankets to assemble the stocking (so don't feel like you have to rush to get one completed), but do think about purchasing a few skeins of the Caron United Yarn for the project and maybe stitching up a blanket for this worthy cause.

Those interested can check the progress of how many blankets Yarnspirations has received toward their goal of making the stocking at the Stocking Tracker.

If you choose to participate, make sure to show it off with this blog badge and use the hashtag #WorldsBiggestStocking when showing off your project on social media.


*Note: If you're a member of any knit-alongs, crochet-alongs, classes, or crafting groups, this would be a wonderful charity project to work on in a group setting.

Lexi's Latest Jams: You've Got Time

Friday, August 21, 2015

This really is Lexi's latest jam.  She picked it herself.  And it's the funniest thing ever watching her when this song comes on.  It is the opening/ theme song to the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black (OITNB).  



For those who aren't in the know, it's a dark comedy about life inside a women's prison.  And it's in it's third season on Netflix.  John and I started watching it last year, and we were hooked.  When the new season went live in June, we were there again, and have watched all summer.  

Whenever the opening song comes on, Lexi drops whatever she is doing and runs to the tv to watch. She is glued to it until the song ends and then she returns to whatever she was previously doing.  I think it must be all the faces that she is looking at.  Silly, silly girl.  Here's the video.  What do you think?  Why else would a 15 month old be so enamored with this?


In any case, I really do also like this song.  It was written specifically for the series by Regina Spektor and was even nominated for a Grammy.  As always, here are the lyrics for you.

The animals, the animals

Trapped, trapped, trapped 'till the cage is full
The cage is full
Stay awake
In the dark, count mistakes
The light was off but now it's on
Searching the ground for a bitter song
The sun is out, the day is new
And everyone is waiting, waiting on you
And you've got time
And you've got time

Think of all the roads

Think of all their crossings
Taking steps is easy
Standing still is hard
Remember all their faces
Remember all their voices
Everything is different
The second time around

Animals, the animals

Trapped, trapped, trapped 'till the cage is full
The cage is full
Stay awake
In the dark, count mistakes
The light was off but now it's on
Searching the ground for a bitter song
The sun is out, the day is new
And everyone is waiting, waiting on you
And you've got time
And you've got time
And you've got time




Share A Coke

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

For YEARS, my husband has told me that I am a marketer's dream come true.  If there is a good or catchy promotion out there, I jump on the bandwagon faster than you can blink.  And such is the case with this summer's Share a Coke campaign.



You know the one.  You can't pass a Coke cooler without seeing rows of bottles with names on the side of them. And yes, I always pause to see if by some chance my name has magically appeared in a cooler near me.  Alas, it has not.  But that rarely stops my from grabbing a Coke anyway, usually always with someone else's name on the side.  No bother. I'm sure that's exactly what Coke wants you to do!

For those who can't find their own names, surely you can still scope out a Coke that "describes" you. Here are the Harris Sisters striking a pose with our "Sister" Coke cans over this year's Girls' Weekend. 


 And then my very own Superstar found a Coke can that was seemingly made just for her.





But as luck would have it, one Harris Sister really DID find a bottle with her name on it.  I mean, what are the chances?  Especially when your name is Misty...  But they are out there, and here's the proof.  


For those of you who are still searching for your own Coke bottle, look no further.  The Share A Coke Website  allows you to purchase your very own Coke bottle with any name you choose on the side. They will custom make a bottle for you for $5.  And they are the real glass Coke bottles.  You can also design your own virtual bottle to share on social media sites, and you can look up names to see if they are already in circulation on a Coke bottle somewhere out there. In addition, you can peruse the volumes of photos that people have submitted with their Coke bottles this summer.  To add your photo to the ranks, share it on social media with the hashtag #shareacoke.  Coke says you may see your photo on their website or even on a billboard, so submit your best efforts!

And did I order my own bottle from Coke?  You betcha I did, as well as those for hubby and Babydoll too.  Per the Coke website, all our names are in circulation already, but if I haven't even been able to find a "John" yet, I hold out little hope for "Lexi" and even less for "Deanna".  In any case, we have our bottles now.  And this Coke fan is a happy camper.  But hey, if you do happen to find a "Deanna" bottle, share a photo with me, okay?



Dog Days of Summer Party

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Well, it's that time of year again where the Walkush family goes into full on party and event planning mode through the remainder of the year.

First up is always Jaxon's birthday. This year, he requested a puppy or dog themed birthday party. Considering his birthday is smack dab in August, which is still very hot in North Carolina, I thought we'd invite all of the kids over for a few hours of Slip 'N Slide and call it a "Dog Days of Summer" party.

Here are the details:

Invitation

I turned to Evite for a free email invitation. They have a ton of themes to choose from, and wouldn't you know that dog, puppy, paw print was one of them? Make sure to check them out for any theme party you might have. I think you'd be surprised at how many themes they have! And they keep track of the guest list for you, which is very convenient when you're doing the rest of the party planning.


Menu

For the menu, we served standard party fare and then labelled it creatively. We had a few special dog themed treats mixed in:

  • Cupcakes (pupcakes)
  • Potato chips (paw-tato chips)
  • Chex Mix (puppy chow)
  • Scooby Snacks (these are dog bone shaped graham crackers that you can purchase at your local grocery store)
  • Dog Treats (Scooby Doo gummy snacks)
  • Walkers Dog Shaped Shortbread Cookies (these are dog shaped cookies that you can purchase at your local grocery store)
  • Red and blue Kool-Aid Jammers (to match the color scheme of the decorations)




The Scooby Snack graham crackers turned out to be the perfect toppers for the cupcakes:


The Kool-Aid Jammers fit perfectly into my vintage Cheerwine soda crate (which you've last seen me use as a Christmas decoration):


Decorations

For decorations, I opted to use classroom decor pieces in the Hot Diggity Dogs and coordinating Black, White & Bold design schemes. (The dog and puppy themed party supplies that I had found were either for very young children, were for girls, or were character themed, e.g. Paw Patrol).

So, I used EZ letters, a hole punch, and some cut-outs to create a Happy Birthday Banner:


I hung some extra cutouts from the chandelier and used a few more to create a small banner for the birthday boy's chair:



I labelled large library pockets with letter stickers for the kids to use as their goodie bags:


I used mini cutouts to decorate the food table. I punched 2 1/2" circles of  coordinating yellow card stock and labelled them with each item. Then, I used clear packing tape to attach both the yellow circle and the dog mini cutout to a wooden skewer from the back. 

I cut the skewer for the cupcakes to the same length as the two circles (combined) and then taped the whole thing to the top of the cupcake display stand. I placed the other skewers directly into the bowls holding the goodies.



Activities


The main activity for our Dog Days of Summer party was Slip 'N Slide. I didn't recognize until we set it up that it matched pretty well to the other party decor: teal, yellow, and red. (Long time blog readers might recognize that inflatable dalmatian from our Firefighter/Firetruck Birthday Party!)


Here's the birthday boy on its inaugural slide:


We also had a pinata because my boys just love them! I did find many dog pinata choices, but we ended up choosing a cute brown and white puppy with a teal collar. Remember, pinatas always hold more candy than you think they will, so don't be intimidated by one you think might look small.


And here's our traditional photo of the birthday boy with the pinata remains on his head. :-)


All in all the party was a success, and I need to get crackin' on the next one! Hope this will give you some ideas should you need to plan a dog or puppy themed party in the future.


Happy party planning!