Posts Tagged ‘do-it-yourself projects’

A Holiday Craft Re-Post

Today I am re-posting a craft project idea, an Ornament How-to for the Christmas Season that was written by one of my dearest friends and fellow blogger.

As I’ve mentioned before, Aimee is a Home-schooling Christian mother and she is full of great ideas for Christmas gifts and decor on a tight budget.

The recipe included is not gluten free, but I will look for one that I can add to this later.

DECEMBER 9, 2010 · 8:06 PM

Salt Dough Again

The boys and I made salt dough ornaments again today; and things went much better.

It has been very dry here, the humidity in the house dipping below 40%; so I have been boiling a stock pot of in the kitchen for hours at a time to try to combat the dry skin, static and other effects of low humidity like the struggles we have been having with out salt-dough (the bread I made over the weekend was pretty bad too).  Today’s dough worked much better than the last 3 times I have made it this season, so maybe the boiling water helped the humidity in the kitchen enough?  I’ll be doing it next time too, just in case it is the key.

The recipe I used today:

  • 1.25 cup HOT water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 cups flour

I started with the cup of salt and the 1.24 cups of HOT water and spent a good 3 or 4 minutes quickly stirring the mix to dissolve the salt as much as possible before the flour.  The salt did not dissolve 100% of the way for me though.

As I kneaded the dough I still had to add more water – but by bit – but I got DOUGH.  I suspect in total it ended up being 1.5 cups of water or even a little more, but that last part I add so “little by little” I can’t be sure.  This time the dough rolled out nicely too, such a pleasant change.  I was able to get the dough rolled out thin, thinner than the other 2 batches we’ve made.  (2 batches of “cookies” made, one attempt at dough thrown out).

We work on flexible plastic cutting boards.  I love them.  They define a space for each person; especially the boys.  They also move an entire project if I need to slide the boys part (they do tend to drift into each other, must be my boys).  Also if I need one of the boys to “hand me” their project, they can slid me their entire cutting “board”’ like when I help Big Brother roll the dough and he does the rest.  The flexible cutting boards protect my counter from the cookie cutters and other tools; and they make clean up easier since I can simply pick up a good part of the work space and dump it in the sink.  Salt dough can be a very messy project, even for adults alone, and any help in the clean up department is always welcome.

The boys had a great time.  Big Brother worked and worked on his dough, in his space.  He really made an effort at rolling out the dough nicely, though he really struggles at it; rolling the rolling pin AND applying pressure at the same time is more than he can do, but he is only 5.  After Little Brother and I finished our’s I helped Big by rolling his dough out for him, so he could just use the cookie cutters and then transfer the shapes to his pan.  However, he worked at least 25 minutes independently and really made a good effort, did not get frustrated or give up.  I love to watch him.  For Little Brother I roll the dough and let him place the cookie cutters, and then I help push them down “hard”. Little brother then picks up the cookie cutters and I pull the extra dough off and transfer the shapes to the cookie pan.

Momma puts the holes in the ornaments and puts them in the over. 

I set the oven at 170 (the lowest it goes) and just let them dry.  After the first 30 minutes I flip them over and then I just leave them.  Today we put 28 of them in the oven.

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2 Responses to Salt Dough Again

  1. Wow! This is great stuff!
    “If people were concerned about what really matters in life,
    there would be a shortage of craft supplies in the stores!

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We Want to Hear From You

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Well, this is our 20th blog post at Modern Pioneer Family!  We’ve been blogging almost a month now, so we’d love to know just what you, the readers are thinking!  We want to improve your reading experience.  Please take a few seconds to vote in our poll, so that we can bring you more of the posts that you will love most!

We are thinking of posting blog posts on our various topic catagories on different days.  Make them “regular features” here to keep us sort-of-organized.  We already have our Mystery Recipe Monday features.  Are  you all liking that one?  We are definitely going to start doing a middle of the month-ish, after the 4-H meeting recap and update on the Farmer Boys’ 4-H projects.

What else would you like to read about regularly?  Service Dog Saturdays with the K-9 Pioneers?  Lots more recipes for Gluten Free cooking?  How-to’s on fixing or building things with Pa and the Farmer Boys? Crafting and household how-to’s with Ma?  the Littlest Pioneer Girl’s lessons in grammar and vocabulary?

After a month, it’s time to find out what is going to bring you the readers, back for more? We always welcome your insights, questions and comments to our posts, and are especially looking forward to them when do a post like this one.

Besides, it’s an important election year, so we think it’s a good thing to practice voting… that way maybe we will all remember to vote in the Big Election this coming November.

*In other voting news, my Senator, John Thune, has a Bill before the Senate to stop the Labor Board from making it illegal for youth from working on their own family farms.  Please write, call or email your Senators and Congressional Representatives and ask them to support Senator John Thune’s Bill and the future of our rural youth. (Young pioneers of today grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow. In the uncertain days ahead of us, we will need strong, opinionated voices, well-developed leadership skills and a tireless work ethic… there is no better place for the modern young pioneer to learn these skills than “on the family farm” no matter how small or large that farmstead may be.)

Shopping: the New Frontier

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Yesterday was one of two days a month I try to get ALL of my shopping done.  Occassionally, I forget enough stuff on my list that I have to make another trip or two to the store, but I don’t like doing that and try hard to avoid it if possible.  Why you may ask?

Number one is pretty obvious… gas prices are far too high and I am the one who can cut back.  Pioneer Pa is not able to do that as well as I can, he must be able to get to and from his town-job… so we are trying to put the fuel into Pa’s gas tank instead of in mine wherever possible.

Number two… getting to and from the store and doing all the shopping uses large chunks of Ma’s time and Ma’s physical energy.  In short, it’s a tiring and time-consuming.

Number three… I’d just rather be at home getting stuff done here and not running from store to store to bank to post office etc.

So, yesterday, I shopped for groceries at two different stores (and still managed to forget a couple things), picked up some garden seeds and a bottle of propane (for cooking and clothes dryer) and 2 thrift shops for childrens clothes, kitchen items, patterns and fabric.

But then again, sometimes shopping can be fun.  The fun part of our shopping trip ended up being the part where the Littlest Pioneer Girl and mama were “junking around” in the thrift stores.  We found 5 yards of really cute yellow and lime green seersucker type fabric to make pretty summer outfits for Anna, several patterns for sewing teddy bears, quite a few sewing notions, including some lace, snaps and zippers, 2 pairs of pants for Farmer Boy Charles who’s in the middle of a growth spurt, a pair of adorable pale pink dress shoes and a light jacket in a red banadana print for Anna, a tupperware canister for storing rice (I may use it for brown rice) and a never-been-used Bob the Builder character cake pan made Wilton (at about 1/2 price of new) for one of the boy’s birthday.  Had it been a Thursday, I’d have also hit other thrift store in town too.  However, I was rather sad to see that our local consignment shop had gone out of business.

This part of the shopping day started out being a search for Anna a pair of pretty white dress shoes to go with her Christening Gown, since she will be Baptized on Easter in DeSmet, SD in the church that was built by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s father, Charles Ingalls and many of their neighbors over 125 years ago.  We didn’t find what we were looking for, bought the pink shoes for her even though they are a size too big (infant’s size 3, she currently wears size 2) because they were so cute and she will grow into them before fall.

We have been doing much of our clothing and housewares shopping at thrift shops in the last 18 months or so.  Like so many of our ancestral “Ma’s” of yesteryear… I know that shopping for gently used items in second hand shops, consignment shops and at yard/garage sales (particularly for items like baby clothes and childrens clothes) will stretch our family budget much further orver purchasing new items.

Several of the best finds I’ve made in the thift shops in recent memory had to do with housewares.  In the last 12 months, I’ve found a huge dresser for Farmer Boy Charles’ clothes ($45), a bassinet-sized handmade baby crib which the Littlest Pioneer Girl is currently using ($10), a pan for making hamburger buns ($4), the above mentioned cake pan ($5) and a coffee pot ($3).

That $3 coffee pot has outlasted  the last 2 slightly fancerier brand new models that were purchased for about $20 each and only held up for about 6 months of regular use.  And because I bought it used at the3 Salavation Army, not only did I help somebody in need… I won’t be totally annoyed if this coffee pot kicks-the-bucket on me sometime in the next year or so… the daily pot of coffee or so that it has given me steadily, everyday fro the last year are worht far more than the $3 we spent to purchase it.

This past Christmas, we did most of our clothing gift shopping in the thrift stores too.  Pa recieved several nice shirts and sweaters.  The Farmer Boys each got several shirts, pants and ties and Anna got lots of girlie clothes.  I took each of the boys separately with me to the thrift store, gave them $25 and had them choose a nice church outfit for each other, an outfit for their sister and something for Dad.  This is an effort by us as parents to combat the commercialism of Christmas, to teacher the value of money, helping fellow citizens in our communtiy, and the value of giving to others.

Farmer Boy Charles in particular struggles with a very selfish mindset.  Not because he is a mean or selfish child, but because people with autism disorders have a great deal of difficulty understanding the feelings of others. The only feelings they understand are their own and so they are very focused on people giving gifts to them but have difficulty understanding the opposite of that… giving to others and helping others.  Teaching this lesson to Charles may take many many years to cement for him, it will take lots of repetition to get the idea of giving rather than recieving into his brain.

As times become more and more tough economically for families, more and more Americans are discovering the New Shopping Frontier!  The New Shopping Frontier is shopping for gently used clothing, furniture, toys, household items and more.  Families and teens in particular are learning to take second hand items and upcycling them into something new or more “cool” than the original item was considered.  With a few basic sewing skills, an iron, a hot glue gun and items to add interest purchased also in thrift shops or craft stores, simple wardrobe basics like jeans or handbags can be upcycled into something very unique or interesting.

In the April-May Issue of Mary Jane’s Farm (the Everyday Organic Lifestyle Magazine if you would like to check it out to see if you want to subscribe to this mag or not, Mary Jane has a lot of interesting homesteading inf o on her website and in her mag) there is an excellent article about Upcycling Wedding Gowns.  For a bride looking for a gown, it is worth looking at 2nd Hand Shops and Consignment shops first for a gown that could be upcycled into a unique gown you’ll love before shopping for a mass produced, reasonably priced cookie-cutter gown or an extremely expensive custom made one.  A bride or family member of the bride or who has some basic sewing and other decorative D.I.Y. skills can take a pre-loved Wedding gown and turn it into something truly unique and special.  In a tough economy, you can still create a goregous wedding on a tight budget.  This is one area that many couples are really going overboard on, often spending more on a wedding (usually of Mommy and Daddy’s money) than they could afford on their first home.  Parents are starting to look at their kids and say “look we just can’t afford the sit-down-dinner-for-300-people” type of wedding.

My own wedding (which will be 10 years ago on June 29th) was a D.I.Y wedding.  Pa and I both wanted a Christmas Wedding, but we lived in Idaho at the time and travel at that time of year was uncertain at best.  So we decided on a Christmas In June wedding instead.  In doing so, my mother and I banded together to purchase clearanced Holiday decor at 50% to 90% off to decorate the church and reception.  My 1st choice of wedding gown was far out of my budget, so I bought my second choice gown ($250 new) and embellished it with the help of my mother with lace that I fell in love with.  (I wish I’d had the article from Mary Jane’s Farm to read at the time… I’d probably have embelished the gown further if I had).  With the help of my step-dad and 2 youngest brothers, I made my own wedding cake (my menfolk doing the actual baking while us ladies worked on decor of the reception and church, and them my doing the actual cake decorating.)  For the real flowers used in the wedding, we special ordered white and red roses thru Sam’s Club for $13/dozen  and cut juniper branches from some shrubs that needed pruning anyway from the home my husband and I had purchased and delivered them to the florist who was a member of our church. Much of the glassware and other food service pieces were eather purchased at thrift stores or borrowed from relatives. And we put together our own platters of meats, cheeses, fruit and veggies and church ladies brought homemade sandwich rolls and deviled eggs all of which was put together as a soup, salad and sandwich making buffet.  Cost of everything for my wedding (from invitations to shoes, cake, food, champagne… everything) was $1500, a tenth or less of the national average and is was still completely beautiful and wonderful.

I learned my frugal shopping tactics from my Ma and her Ma before her and my Pa’s Ma.  Our grandmothers often grew up in an era of frugal spending, saving everything and repurposing things until they couldn’t be repurposed anymore.   These smart, frugal women have much to teach us about SHOPPING THE NEW FRUGAL FRONTIER and keeping us on budget, no matter the occasion.

I really wanted to bring you some photos from my wedding on today’s post, but technology has advanced so very much in 10 years that I was unable to upload the cd’s with the photos on them to my netbook with the new cd/dvd drive that runs off the USB port (10 years ago only people who repaired computers or did programing knew was a USB port was…now everything from laptops to cell phones have one.)  I will keep searching for a way to get these old cd disks of wedding photos uploaded, as I want to revisit this topic at a later date, perhaps for my anniverary.

So, meanwhile, we’ll post some images of those “new to us” Christmas gifts we purchased 2nd hand at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and pics of handmade pajama bottoms I Made the boys as gifts.    I have plans to make the Littlest Pioneer Girl a bib overall dress/jumper to match the bandana print jacket we found yesterday “upcycled” out  of her older brothers jeans that the boys have torn beyond repairs climbing fences and ripping them out right in the seat… but the legs and pockets are still in excellent shape.

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