Musings of a Random Girl

Leaf Coaster Project February 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dobysgirl @ 1:47 pm
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Someone on one of the craft sites I frequent posted recently, looking for someone who embroidered.  She had come across a picture of embroidered leaves and fallen in love with them.


I responded to her request and offered to do some embroidery for her.  We chatted back and forth briefly regarding what exactly she was wanting – something decorative, something useful, a surprise?  She opted for a surprise, but had also mentioned that they would make cute coasters.  And, if I wanted to do the embroidery on muslin squares, she’d do all the assembling/sewing afterwards.


I was able to pull six separate leaf images from her inspiration picture in a process that reinforced my desire for some sort of light box.  I printed out the above picture and taped it to the window on the door going from my kitchen to the mud porch.  I then traced each of the six images onto paper.  I did the initial tracing using a pencil and then, when it looked just right, I went over it with a marker.


I cut 8 – 5 inch squares of muslin (the extra two squares are back-ups, just in case).  Then I traced the patterns onto the muslin squares using a fabric pen (the kind that the ink fades away).  I picked out a few shades of green to use and a nice bright blue to use for the border.  Here are the finished squares:





While I was stitching these, I decided I wanted to do something ‘just for fun’ to send along with it.  I found some felt in my stash and chose a piece of green, blue and white to use.  I layered the pieces, green on the bottom, then white and finally, blue on top.  I dug into my button stash and found some to use in making flowers.  Then I found a cute little leaf bead that I used as well as some that looked like flowers to decorate the corners.  I also tied on a little charm that says ‘Imagine’.  When I attached the blue and white layers to the green, I only sewed down three sides.  I left the top part open to use as a pocket to put the coasters in for transport.




The final piece to the project is a length of kumihimo braid that I made to tie the coasters together with using blue, green and white floss.




These will go out in the mail on Monday (though, I will hold off on posting this until she receives her package).  Hope she enjoys her surprise!




Recipe Organization January 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dobysgirl @ 9:05 pm
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I love to cook and I love to collect recipes.  Over the years, the collection has gotten a bit out of hand.  One of my resolutions for this year was to get it sorted and organized.  With that in mind, I headed out to the local Barnes & Noble and picked up a recipe binder. 


recipe binder


It came complete with a variety of already labeled dividers, printable recipe pages, hints and tips on a variety of topics, a notepad, magnets and more.  I picked the binder up on clearance for about $6.  Of course, this is something that would be easy enough to put together yourself and possibly even save you some money. 


Starting this project motivated me to purge a fair amount of recipes from my collection.  You know those recipes that have gorgeous pictures included?  The ones you think – ‘someday I will through an elaborate/elegant dinner party and cook this for all my dearest friends’ ?  All those recipes that called for Essence of Lavender, the cheeses you have never heard of, spices that you cannot find at any store in town, etc.  Yeah, I had those in my stash also.  And, in all the dinner parties I have had over the years, I have never even considered attempting one of them.  If it takes that much work to gather the ingredients, I am most likely not going to ever make it.  It was time to be honest with myself and keep only the ones I have used or know I will someday try.  Everything else was filed in the recycle bin!


Another bonus to the project was the discovery of many recipes that I had long forgotten about.  Mom’s Cheesy Garlic Biscuits, Dad’s Microwave Peanut Brittle, the Ice Box Bran Muffin recipe I got from Mary, and more. They have all made it back into rotation in my kitchen.


All the recipes I kept have been typed up, printed out and filed in my new binder.


And, on that note, I’m going to share with you another recipe that I re-discovered during this project.


Taco Soup, courtesy of Apple A Day (a wonderful restaurant that sadly, is no longer in business)


1 onion, chopped

1 lb ground beef

1/2 – full pkg taco seasoning mix

2 cans kidney beans, drained

1 can corn, un-drained

2 cans Mexican-seasoned tomatoes, un-drained

2 C water


Sauté onions and ground beef and drain.  Stir in taco seasoning.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Top bowls with shredded lettuce, sour cream and an edge of lime.

Serve with warm, rolled flour tortillas as dippers.





Smash Book Project January 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dobysgirl @ 4:34 pm
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I learned about Smash Books recently and immediately knew I had to have one of my very own!  Smash Booking is similar to scrapbooking but on a smaller, more relaxed scale.  There are all kinds of Smash Book journals out there to purchase as well as all of the fun goodies to use with said Book, and pretty much every one of them has been placed on my wish-list now!  For now though, I have decided to start out creating my own using things I have readily at hand.


I used:

  • a blank journal from my stash
  • a brown paper bag from the grocer
  • duct tape
  • a few stickers I was able to scrounge up
  • ink pen



I recently relocated about 2400 miles across country and most of my crafting supplies remain in boxes that have yet to be unpacked, hence the limited supply list above.  I covered the front and back of the blank journal with pieces of the brown paper bag, using the duct tape to secure it in place.  Then I used a few stickers on the front cover and am making a doodle (I do not draw – I doodle) on the front to fill in the empty spots.



Love white duct tape!!



The beginnings of my doodle in the upper left corner…


This project really has gotten the creative part of my brain working!  I am tempted to spend some time in the dreaded ‘Room o’ Boxes’ in an effort to locate more of my crafting supplies….and figure out how to print photo’s on my printer.   In the meantime, here’s a few pictures from one section of the inside of my Book:


SmashBook3                             SmashBook4                              SmashBook5


So, get smashing everyone.  Be creative with your books.  Going to a concert in the near future?  Taking a trip?  Have a collection of DIY projects you want to try?  Smash them all!!  Smash to your hearts content…



Detergent, post-use January 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dobysgirl @ 9:36 am
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I finally used up all of my store-bought laundry soap and was able to try this out.  The process was full of challenges for me, but I assure you, it does have a happy ending!


My first challenge was in recycling the store-bought bottle of detergent once it was empty.  Somehow, in the process of rinsing out the bottle – the lid developed a crack…  Yes, this would be the lid that one uses to measure out the detergent before adding it to the wash.  And you know the crack is on the very top of the lid!  Solution = Duct Tape.


Next was getting the gel into the bottle.  The bottle has the little pour-spout on top to better control how much comes out at any given time.  Excellent plan, but creates an issue when trying to pour a thick gel into the bottle.  Solution = a funnel and a kabob skewer (to assist the gel in passing through the funnel).


Okay, so the next challenge (and really, the first challenge) will be easy enough for you to avoid – buy the 5 gallon bucket before you begin making the detergent!  I did not have one and decided, rather than buy one, I would use something I had on hand.  Unfortunately, the big buckets that hold 28lbs of kitty litter do not hold five gallons of liquid.  They hold four.  I am sure there is a formula out there somewhere that would have told me this ahead of time, but I was anxious to get started…  Solution = instead of 1/2 – 1 cup of detergent in a load, I’m currently using 1/4 cup as my mix is a bit more concentrated.


I am single and there is generally not a lot of clothing to wash at the end of any given week.  However, being the mommy of three adorable dogs, there is never a shortage of blankets and towels to be laundered.  So I gathered up a load of dog blankets and threw them in the wash.  Gave the detergent bottle a good shake (Duct tape worked!) and measured out 1/4-ish cup of soap.  I use a front-load washer and initially had some concerns about using home-made detergent with it.  But, after speaking with several friends who use front-loaders and home-made detergents with no issues, I was ready to do this. 


Everything came out of the washer looking and smelling clean.  The real test was when they came out of the dryer and landed on the couch.  The doggie-approval test….

DSC_0156 (2)

Two out of three dogs approve…mainly because there was no room for the third dog!




Home-made Laundry detergent January 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dobysgirl @ 1:01 pm
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Always looking for ways to be a little greener and to save money, I decided to finally have a go at making home-made laundry detergent.  I’ve researched various methods in the past, even purchased the ingredients needed, but never actually followed through with putting it all together.  Recently, my good friend Megan E. gave me a recipe that she has used with excellent results. 


Here is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to pick up:  Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and a bar of Fels Naptha soap.  Additionally, you will need water and a 5 gallon bucket and lid for storing the detergent once it’s made.

A list of supplies you should have on hand for the preparation: Cheese grater (I used my Salad Shooter), large saucepan and a long handle spoon to stir things with.


Step one: Grate the bar of Fels Naptha soap.



Step two:  Heat 4 cups of water in the saucepan on the stove.  Before it begins to boil, add grated soap to the pan.


Step three:  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until it has dissolved.  Watch the mixture closely, it may froth up and overflow


Step four: Pour mixture into 5 gallon bucket and add warm water until bucket is half full.


Step five: Add 1 C Washing Soda and 1/2 C Borax to bucket and mix thoroughly.


Step six:  Fill bucket the rest of the way with water.


Step seven:  Wait one day until detergent has cooled and gelled.



To use:  Mix 1 part water to 1 part gel, shake well.  Use 1/2 C – 1C of mixture per load.


I mixed mine in an empty detergent bottle from the store that I rinsed out.



Pictured above are the tools I used to transfer the gel into the detergent bottle.

The skewer was to help work the thick gel down through the funnel.


That’s it, and truly, it was as simple as it sounds!  Next I will post about my results of using the detergent…




My musings…. January 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dobysgirl @ 2:41 pm

A new year and a new blog.  As it says in the profile, I am Dobys’ girl.  I am random.  I love snow. (It’s snowing quite heavily outside as I write this, in fact.)  I intend to keep all of my random musings here; recipes, projects, photo’s, etc.  I will start this off with a recipe for you, courtesy of my Grandma Ford.

Old Fashioned Hamburgers

1# ground beef

1 small-med. onion, chopped

2 Tbsp mustard

1/4 C catsup

1 tsp garlic salt

Mix all ingredients together with a fork in bowl.  Place hamburger bun halves on cookie sheet.  Put approx. 2 Tbsp meat mixture on each bun half and spread to edges of bun.  Place low under broiler for about 5-8 minutes until hamburger is done.  (I placed mine on oven rack situated in the middle of the oven)

Yield: 16 Old Fashioned Hamburgers

(side note: these can be made ahead and placed in freezer for later consumption)





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