Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Start a New Yucca Plant

Do not attempt now!     I uploaded the pictures for this tutorial, but forgot about it. Yuccas are sharp spiked shrubs found around many rural cemeteries in the Appalachian area and on homestead around the south. According to Decoration Day in the Mountains:Traditions of Cemetery Decoration in the Southern Appalachians, a book that explains church homecomings & decorations in the south, states that yuccas were once placed on graveyards to prevent animals from scavenging the freshly buried bodies or the superstitious says the spikes keep away demons. Our yucca in the front yard came from a transplant, similar to the specimen below, came from my home church over ten years ago. The plant is now over eight feet tall, with pruning. These are intriguing old plants that take little care to grow and are great conversations pieces, not to mention the beautiful tall blooming milky white blooms that it casts in the summer. I will advice not planting these near places were children play or there is high traffic because the spikes are needle/knife sharp; our main yucca... it's by the front door.. my mom thought it would stay little.. oh well.
I learned the technique of transplanting young yuccas by thwoing ripped up suckers, small sprouts at the base of the mother plant, into the woods. You can see small roots emerged when the plant lodged itself into a mound of mulched leaves.
This is simple: pull a sucker or a small yucca out of the ground, maybe from the side of the road or from a family cemetery, it's okay these suckers have their name for a reason they suck nutrients from the mother plant. Second strip off the old dried leaves. Even if the plant has no roots place cleaned plant into soil until the white is covered, it will root on its own like it would in nature. Keep soil moist until roots establish, then treat it like a cactus or sedum.. water sparingly.

Yuccas are strong survivors. These roots are very young, yet thick and white: a sign of health.
This is an established yucca with the old leaves ripped off at the base.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Make Your Own (Christmas) Gift Tags

I like visuals... do you like visuals. In school at the very beginning of school years many teachers would talk about one certain rule of what kind of learner the student is and how they benefit from their type: they said you're either a visual, auditory, or hands on. I was a mix of visual/hands on like most country girls. I wanted this post to be very visual, not just to learn something you probably already know, but it was my way of testing my new camera and Christmas things are always pretty!
Let the show begin ->

I wanted to make my own tags to match my brown kraft wrapping paper (like butcher paper.) Gold and brown work well, right? Hobby Lobby had a a sale on stamps and ink pads last week. Here is the link to a weekly renewed 40% off coupon for you to get your stamping on.

I'm using a stampabilities ink pad in "Gold" and a stamp that is also from the same company. Store ink pads upside down to brings ink to the service, don't worry it won't leak out. Test a new pad and/or stamp by stamping the inked stamp multiple times on a scrap paper until you know the pressure needed for a clean look. Trust me... practice!

With medium pressure use a clean stamp to begin your project. This is a blank "To: & From:" stamp. Use a color that will contrast the back ground, yet go with your gift packaging theme.
Gently apply pressure to the middle with your index finger. Do not... I repeat Do not rock the stamp or press the living daylights out of it, this will definitely cause a smeared look.

Lift upward without dragging. Allow to dry thoroughly before using or writing on. A blow drier on it's lowest setting can speed up the process: hold it at least six to eight inches away from the stamped object.

Regal & pretty. These will look great when I countrify these (will post soon.)

Extra touch: use letter stamps to fill in the recipients and your name.
This set also included these symbols: top Fleur-de-lis, middle at symbol used in e-mails, bottom l to r key and heart.
Merry Christmas from me to you!

Clean stamps after each project and before changing colors, this prevents color bleeding and gunking of small detailed areas of the stamps.

Pat firmly on paper towel until dry. Store stamps in a cool place away from heat sources to prevent melting.

Two cutting styles for tags. See (bottom) what I mean about practice and not rocking the stamp... a 'rustic' mistake :)
Also used this stamp; used it to add inspiration to my Christmas cards that did not already contain a bible verse. Luke 2:14, above. A great site for purchasing cards with great Christian foundation is Dayspring & they're fashionable!
An alternative to the cream paper and gold tags. This is creamy brown with "Cherry Red" ink.
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I Heart Nap Time

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm Back.... At Least for the Moment (Red Velvet Whoopie Pies & New Frosting)

With life moving full throttle I've remembered that I do indeed have a blog and would love to start working on it again. Since Christmas is right around the corner I want to post some crafts, food, and other goodies to help inspire your celebration of Jesus Christ's birthday. I'll start today's post with my experience making 'Woman's Day' magazine Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. These whoopie pies were fun to make and impressed my family big time. They are also an acquired texture kind of treat: part cake, part cookie, and no pie *hmm.*

I've always wanted to try one of these Northern treats or Amish treats as you may want to refer to them: whoopie pies. I baked the above recipe (in the link) for our first potluck Thanksgiving last Sunday. First piece of advice, follow direction order; out of my tendencies to mix it all at once I caused a mix mess. Trying to mix red food coloring into a very stiff dough will ruin your clothes, thankfully (going with Thanksgiving here) they were just lounging clothes. Second, do not bake until the maximum time, the pies crack and and form an almost crunchy shell. Third, when using cream cheese frosting serve the pies within two hours of cooking to be on the safest side, but the sugars in the marshmallow fluff should inhibit bacteria- preventing spoiling. Fourth, use a small ice cream scoop to make even portions of pie halves; they look more uniform and are easy to mate up when frosting.  Fifth, enjoy... they're delicious and rich little treats.

We had a second Thanksgiving on the actual day, this time I want to rave about the new coolwhip frosting. I used one tub, which was not enough, to decorate a festive carrot cake. Advice: by more than one container, when coloring only use icing gels or powder to prevent 'icing' from melting, and do not over mix which will break up the air bubbles.
The carrot cake pictured is iced using the cream cheese flavored icing, the orange band down the middle was a scattered improvising of standard canned cream cheese frosting, like I mentioned there is not enough frosting in the tubs, but it is so scrumptious!!!

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