Friday, September 30, 2011

Giveaway! Lisa Jo's Laptop Bag!

 Lisa Jo's Creative Crap
I would like to introduce you to Lisa Jo, a very talented purse designer...and my sister.  Lisa and I are teaming up to do a giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive this lovely Laptop Bag.  Created in shades of brown and pink and nicely padded, the bag will hold a 15 1/2" laptop.  Extra long straps can be worn cross body.

The back features a zippered pocket for your cord and what-nots.

About Lisa Jo
Lisa Jo started making her purses as a hobby, but when family and friends saw how cute they were, she was bombarded with custom orders. Lisa's bags are made from new, second hand and vintage materials.  She has a unique way of blending the fabrics to create a one-of-a-kind look.
These bags were affectionately called "The Twins."

Vintage Care Bears by popular demand.

Western styles have been popular.

The colors of this swing bag are striking!

Made for a friend, this bag includes a cell-phone case and key keeper.

I love the floral and check together!

How To Enter...
Zetta's followers will have two chances to enter:
  • Drawing is open to Zetta's Aprons followers.  If you are not yet a follower, click on the link on the right of the page (or at the very top) and follow the easy instructions.
  • Leave a comment in "Comments" saying you follow Zetta's Aprons. First Entry.
  • For a Second Entry, visit Lisa Jo's Creative Crap on Facebook and "Like" her.
  • Return and leave a comment saying you "Like Lisa Jo" on Facebook.
  • Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving comments. 
  • Drawing ends midnight, Friday October 7, 2011.
  • Winners will be posted sometime Saturday morning.
  •  Be sure to check back to see if you've won.
  • (It would simplify things if you included an email address on one of your entries, but it's not required.)

Good Luck, Sweet Friends!
Note:  There has been an issue with adding comments to my posts.  If you are unable to leave a comment email me at and I will add you to the giveaway myself. Also let me know if you "Liked" Lisa Jo's Creative Crap on Facebook for the second entry.  I will add an extra day to the giveaway.  The contest will now end on Saturday, October 8.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall Family Traditions...Comfort Food!

 Autumn Soup
Some of my favorite memories of Fall are of hurrying home from school on a blustery day and finding Mom hard at work making pumpkin cookies or cinnamon rolls.  While dessert was getting ready for the oven, a pot of soup or chili would be bubbling on the stove.  I'm noticing that many of my favorite memories involve food.  But isn't that how we as mothers show how much we love our families?  A neighbor of mine doesn't do crafts, but boy can she cook!  She shows her love and friendship with gifts of cookies and other yummy treats.  She would deny it is a talent, but I always wish I were more like her.

Recipe for Autumn Soup 
This is simple frills...but filling.
1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
1 Chopped Onion
Carrots ( I used a small bag of baby carrots--12 oz. or so)
3 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
6 to 8 Russet Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
2 Cans of Beef Broth ( or equivalent Bouillon and Water)
1 Envelope Onion Soup Mix

Brown the ground beef, onion and celery together in a large stew pot.  Add potatoes and carrots.  Season with seasoning salt and pepper.  Add more bouillon or broth to taste if needed.  I didn't have any celery, so I dumped in a jar of the green beans I bottled last month.  We like to eat the soup with corn bread.

Rhea's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
I was feeling nostalgic, so I made both the Autumn Soup and the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies for supper last night.  I'd forgotten just how much I missed my parents and five brothers and sisters and our family life.  Fall is a season of reflection...of looking back, so we don't forget where we came from.  This cookie recipe is pretty good...I think...and it makes a LOT!.

Mom's Cookie Recipe
1 Cup Butter or Margerine
3 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 16 oz. Can Pumpkin
2 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
2 Tsp. Nutmeg
5 Cups Flour
2 Tsp. Soda
1 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
Nuts and Chocolate Chips  (As many as pleases you!)
Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.  Makes about 6 dozen.

What Makes a Comfort Food?
 I wonder why so many of our childhood memories seem to have food attached to them?  Good times and good eats go together hand in Trick or Treat and Sloppy Joes.  Autumn garden harvests bring corn on the cobb and toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches.  One of my favorite garden comfort foods is stuffed green peppers.  We had a bumper crop of peppers this year, so I have been making this dish at least once a week.
My Stuffed Green Peppers Do Not Look This Pretty!

My happiest memory of Stuffed Peppers comes from early in my marriage.  I was feeling lonely.  My husband had a part-time job loading trucks after classes at BYU...working nights.  When the baby went to sleep, I had no one to talk to.  Just when I was feeling the most sorry for myself, my mother came to the door with a plate of Stuffed Green Peppers swimming in tomato juice.  She said she couldn't stay, but she had felt that I needed a little something.  Nothing ever tasted so good!  "Comfort Food"...says it all!

Bless Your Family with Love and Comfort Food.

Have a Vintage Autumn!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Powdered Milk...The Sequel!

If you are on my Provident Living Newsletter list, just pretend you've never seen this.  I just knew that if I didn’t find some new and interesting ways to use my powdered milk storage, it would just sit on the shelf gathering dust and losing nutrients.  So I decided to learn how to make my own yogurt.  The best instructions that I came across are in the cute little handbook called “The Family Storehouse” put out by Highland Stake. 

What could be simpler, I wondered, than a recipe with only three ingredients:  water, powdered milk, and a small container of plain yogurt?  I decided to try it out and…only if I liked it…pass it on to you.  The recipe specified non-instant nonfat milk, not whey-based varieties such as Morning Moos.   I only had instant in my storage, so I went all over trying to find the non-instant.  I finally tracked some down at the “hippie-organic-wheatgrass store” in American Fork and set to work.  The finished product was creamy and yummy, especially with strawberry fruit preserves stirred in.  I was pleased with the result, but didn’t feel I’d saved any money because I had to pay $10 for the milk and almost $3 for the Greek yogurt I used because of its live cultures and higher protein content. 
For my second attempt, I used instant milk, only I doubled the amount called for in the recipe.  And it came to pass (lol) that it worked out even better.   So go ahead and substitute the instant if that’s what you have…but not Morning Moos.  For those who don’t have “The Family Storehouse,” the recipe is as follows:
YOGURT RECIPE—(makes 4 pints—can be doubled for quarts)
2 ¼ cups warm water
2 cups dry powdered milk (or 4 cups instant)
4 ½ cups cold tap water
2/3 cup plain yogurt (no gelatin) this is your start—you will use your own home-made yogurt hereafter.
Mix dry milk and warm water in blender or mixer.  Pour into kettle, foam and all.  Slowly heat to 180 degrees, stirring often to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl containing the cold water, bringing temperature down to below 110.  Spoon off foam and mix in the yogurt start. 
Pour into jars. (I used ½ pint jam jars because they are cute)  Place filled (uncovered) jars in warm oven that has been preheated to about 170 degrees.  Turn off oven, but leave oven light on, it will keep the oven warm.  You can use the “proofing” function or a warming drawer if desired.  Do not allow jars to be jiggled or moved.  It should set up in 8-12 hours, so leaving it overnight to set would be ideal.  When set, put lids on jars and put in the refrigerator.  Keep 6-8 ounces to start your next batch.
You can pre-flavor your yogurt by mixing in 2 ½ T of dry Jell-o and 2 T of sugar into 2 cups of the mixture before pouring it into the jars.  I made one pint of vanilla yogurt by mixing in 3 T sugar and ½ tsp. Vanilla.  Be sure to keep enough plain yogurt for your start.
Hope you have fun trying this easy recipe.  It will make you feel all provident and virtuous. =D If you can figure out a way to get it into Gogurt tubes let me know.
Don't you miss the early-morning rattle of milk bottles being left on your porch?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Zetta's Cupboard!

Elizabeth's Cupboard
Before I tell you about Grandma Zetta's Cupboard, I want to show you Elizabeth's.  Elizabeth has two blogs one called Creative Breathing, and the other, E's Craft Room Creations: When I first saw this painted cupboard...I thought "Mary Engelbreit is undercover in Ohio."  Elizabeth's creations are like everything I ever loved about ME and the Home Companion.  I wanted my own painted cupboard, and then I realized...I had one downstairs in the basement kitchen...Zetta's Cupboard.

Zetta's Cupboard
We talked about how Zetta didn't have a laundry room or even a bathroom in her little Alpine, Utah home.  Grandpa Mel finally got around to building a kind of lean-to addition to the back of the house, creating a utility room and a very utilitarian bathroom.  This cupboard took up one wall of the utility room and was used to store cleaning supplies and Grandpa's collection of mining memorabilia from his days in the mines of American Fork Canyon.  The cupboard was cobbled together from an old hutch top and a dresser, then painted white.  I loved poking about in the drawers and looking at the chunks of iron pyrite that Grandpa called "Fool's Gold."  I thought the old cupboard was a treasure in itself.  Many years later, after Grandpa Mel passed away and Zetta moved in with her daughter, Jane, I took the old cupboard home.

 Dutch Kitchen Kitsch
Once I got my treasure home, I asked my dear friend Denise to paint it for me.  She had handpainted many of her own chairs and other furniture.  She gave it some subtle, but lovely Pennsylvania Dutch hearts and flourishes.  I value it even more because of her work. 

Now the cupboard is home to my kitschy Dutch figurines and Blue Delft collection.  We lived in Germany in the late 70's in a city not too far from the Dutch border.  The Nieder-Sachsen countryside looked just like Holland with its canals and windmills.  The mayor of our town even had a windmill at his hunting lodge.

Because we were only an hour or two away, we often traveled to Holland to see the Tulip Festival and maybe take our little girls to the beach.  It's a lovely country.

What's Next?

I don't know if I will keep all these little Dutch pieces.  I may put them aside for my granddaughters and use the space to display new treasures.  I've cleaned out the drawers and lined them with colorful floral scrapbook papers.  I intend to use the drawers to store my collections of potholders and handkerchiefs.  I'm trying to re-organize my sewing room. 

This blog has been a blessing to me.  I've stopped wasting so much time and I'm much more productive and creative.  This has been kind of like writing my personal history in a way that is lot closer to who I really am.  I'm glad my daughters and nieces are reading this and learning about their great-grandmother Zetta.

And Finally...

A Sweet Little Handkerchief Girl
She was a gift from another dear friend.  The tag says "Made in Switzerland."

Have a Lovely Tuesday, Dear Friends,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Halloween Family Traditions...and Some Winners!

And the Winners Are...
Congratulation to the two winners of our Giveway.  Marilee has won the Halloween Rag Quilt Table Runner and Jenny has won the kit to make her very own!  I am attempting to contact the winners, but if you see your name before I do, email me at with your full names and addresses.  Congratulations!

Halloween Family Traditions 
Where did your Halloween family traditions start?  When I was a little girl we lived in Alpine, Utah.  The old school...which was pretty creepy and had only four classrooms and a rickety fire escape...also had a gymnasium next door.  My fondest Halloween memories from that time are of the school's carnival and spook alley in that old gym.  The whole town turned out for the pond, pop bottle ring toss, bean bag games.  Afterward we did a little trick or treating, which I did with my eyes shut...because people in costumes are scary!
The Old Alpine School.

When we moved to American Fork, I was in third grade.  My mom was in PTA, so she helped out with the Harrington School carnival.  Spook alley mostly...grape eyeballs and spaghetti gutts.  The classics!   My favorite part of the carnival was the sloppy joes and doughnuts.  Today, they are still the perfect Halloween foods.

We were too broke to buy costumes, so we had to use our imaginations and whatever we could dig up out of an old box in the basement, but I think we came up with some pretty good ideas.  Still, it was annoying to be dressed as the world's scariest witch and then have to wear a coat!

Devey Family Trick or Treats
Like I was saying, we didn't have a lot of money, so we couldn't afford to give away full-size candy bars like many of our neighbors.  So we improvised.  With a little creativity, we made some of the most popular treats on the block.  Our two favorites were treat bags filled with candied popcorn and Tootsie Pop Ghosties.

Saturday I made a huge batch of candied popcorn...for demonstration purposes.
My recipe card is below...still written in my high school handwriting.
(I made recipe cards for my "hope chest")

"Karen Lundell's Candied Popcorn"
Also known as "Granny Goose Popcorn."
  It was colored bright red and was sold in bags in the Potato Chip aisle. 
I can still taste that red dye they later banned.

3/4 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Food Coloring

Cook to a softball stage.  Pour over a dishpan (?) full of popcorn and stir until all the popcorn is coated and becomes sugary.
Note:  I use 4 to 5 bags of microwave popcorn.  The buttered variety makes it even yummier.

My collection of little treat bags.

My favorite bag from childhood immortalized on a tee-shirt.
My "Halloween Costume."

Some bags I stuff with batting and use for ornaments.

Best filled with popcorn as Nature intended.

The Tootsie Pop Ghosties I was telling you about.
Suckers, cocktail napkins, ribbon and a marker.  Easy Peasy!
I decided to give these as treats this year, but I'm getting them done in advance.
Do you ever have that nightmare that it's 5 p.m. on Halloween and you haven't bought the candy yet?
Nowadays, they put the candy out so early, I buy it three or four times!

Simple Halloween Candle Jar
All you need is a pint canning jar, a pumpkin scented candle from Walmart and some candy corns.

Set the candle in the jar and surround with candy corn.
Tie on a fun tag with jute twine.
Wa La!

I finally made something with that stuff I keep buying from Pick Your Plum every day.

Note:  The winners were chosen using the True Random Number Generator from

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fun With Vintage Hankies!

I've mentioned before that Grandma Zetta taught me how to iron.  The first things she let me iron were her handkerchiefs.  These came directly from the clothesline all stiff with starch.  Grandma had a 7-UP bottle with a sprinkler top to dampen the clothes as they were ironed.  I used to grumble "how could one old lady have so many hankies?"  The answer was that a woman simply did not go out and about with wadded kleenex in her pocketbook.  Each day, before setting out on errands she would select a clean, folded, pretty handkerchief from a box on her dressing table.  It was a more gracious time.  Sadly, none of Grandma Zetta's hankies have survived.  I remember her tucking a new hanky into a birthday card for a friend.  I think it was a charming custom.

A Few Favorite Florals

The love I have for my grandmothers has evolved into a love of things that remind me of them.  I know that I am not unique in this.  But the sight of a sweet floral or a fun novelty print sends me back to the times I spent with them.  Never underestimate the influence you may have on your children and grandchildren.  Who knows what memories of you they will carry with them into adulthood.
Happy Fall! 
Love the Leaf-shaped Hanky and the Warm Autumn Colors.

Some Darker Prints.
The Violets remind me of my Mother who loved them so.

Ideas For Projects Using Vintage Handkerchiefs
I've used a lot of my collection on projects that I neglected to get photos of.   Many crafters use hankies to sew into pillows, totes, tablecloths, potholders, quilts, etc.  I do have a photo of a valance that I made, sewing handkerchief corners onto a ready-made curtain.
Not too impressive, but I have some ideas from other crafters that I'm sure you'll love.

Adorable tote seen on

Beautiful Pillow found on

Wall Quilt from an issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion.
I made a similar one some years ago, but I couldn't find it.

A few of my favorite Christmas handkerchiefs are shown above.  Mary Engelbreit also did an article on collecting and displaying the Christmas hankies.  I spent a lot of time looking for ideas online today.  One lady sewed the handkerchiefs into a table runner.  A New Zealand crafter framed a half-dozen or so and grouped them on a wall.  My daughter Missy, made a valance for her laundry room by hanging them on a cord with clothespins.  Really cute!   I saw quite a few for sale yesterday at the antique mall.  The prices on handkerchiefs can vary quite a bit.  Children's designs and novelty/holiday patterns are more rare and will cost more than florals.  Most of mine were not expensive...around $1 to $2 each.  Some were as cheap as 25 cents.  D.I. and Savers often have them as well.  If you have inherited are indeed lucky!
Giveaway Reminder
The Halloween Rag Runner Giveaway ends Sunday at Midnight (MST).
Please leave a comment in the Comment Box to enter.
(Remember to become a Follower.)

Have a Beautiful Fall Weekend!  We'll be back on Monday with the Giveaway Winners!