Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day with your family!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day Crafts For Kids

For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.~Ivan Panin

Lina, one our long time readers and a friend shared these fun Valentine's ideas:

Note: If you don't have old cards you could always make hearts and things from colored paper or cut things out of magazines...the children love it.

Valentine Place mats: Gather up Valentines cards from past years. Glue onto light cardboard or construction paper in decorative fashion the size of a place-mat. Cover this collage with clear contact paper to seal the place mats. Be sure to have your child date and sign it. These make great gifts for grandparents.

Make simple heart shaped frames from cardboard and red/pink construction paper. Use the cardboard shape for the back and the construction paper for the front. Cut out a picture or drawing that can fit be put between both. (Choose a picture of your favorite sweetie or your children) Glue the edges when it's all together. Glue a magnet to the back for hanging on the refrigerator or a ribbon for hanging.

One of our forum moderators, Lizzy, shared this great idea:

We made a nice centrepiece for our Valentine's tea last year. We chose a plain pot and painted it red, added a large white bow to the outside and glued a heart in the knotted area of the bow. Then we put a piece of foam inside the pot and topped it with some crystal shredded paper/plastic. We stuck heart shaped lollipops (on sticks) in the foam. It was so cute - a pot of lollipops.

On OFL we have more frugal Valentine's Day tips:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's Day Treats

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. ~Thomas Merton

Today I have recipes for some dainty Valentine's treats!

Cinnamon Heart Shortbread Cookies

1 1/4 cups butter softened
1 cup icing sugar (confectioners)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg. Cinnamon Hearts or round cinnamon candies

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cream butter and sugar until light. Mix in flour a bit at a time. Stir in Cinnamon Hearts. Form dough into balls or use heart shaped cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes. Or flatten balls to rounds. Bake 12-14 minutes. Remove from sheets, sprinkle with icing sugar if you like and let cool. These are perfect for classroom parties!

Chocolate Butter

1 stick butter, softened; cut into pieces
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Stir butter and chocolate together by hand. Transfer to covered container, refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Serve with biscuits, pound cake, croissants, muffins or waffles.

Chocolate Fingers

3 egg whites
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 pound almonds, blanched and ground
4 ounces sweet cooking chocolate, grated
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Beat egg whites with dash salt until stiff, gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Fold in almonds, chocolate, and corn starch. Form into 48 finger shapes. Roll in granulated sugar and put on buttered cookie sheets. Bake in very slow oven (275 degrees) about 30 minutes. Store in airtight container. Makes 48.

We have more Dainty cookies for teas or Valentine's Day on OFL:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hodge Podge Day: Questions & Answers

The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. ~George Moore

Special Note: We will be starting an Old Fashioned Living newsletter with updates on the website. To sign up you can go to OFL, or sign up at the blog: here.

Today I have questions and answers on several different topics.

Any idea on getting soot off a rock fireplace? ~Rhonda

There are a few things you can try. Scrub the surface where the soot is with non-diluted white vinegar. This may take 2-3 times. You can also try mixing a solution of 50/50 bleach and water in a spray bottle. Spray the surface and scrub with a cleaning brush. Rinse with water.

How do I clean my African Violet leaves? ~Eileen

There are several things you can try. Buy a small paint brush that has soft bristles and brush the leaves. If they are really dusty you can rinse them off. The key is not letting them dry in the sun. It's the sun shining on the wet leaves that causes spotting.

I had a homemade recipe for Biore strips that I thought I had saved but I can't seem to find it. Can you please help me? ~Sylvie

I have very dry, sensitive skin, so I've never used the strips that Sylvie is talking about, but I did some research and found a few things that will accomplish the same thing as the strips.

Gelatin Mask: Mix 1 Tbsp.of Knox unflavored gelatin and 1 1/2 Tbsp. milk. Microwave for 10 seconds and apply to the oily areas of your face. Allow it to dry for 30 minutes. During this time it will become VERY stiff. Peel it off carefully and rinse with warm water. Gently pat your face dry.

Milk of Magnesia Mask: Deep Cleaning Mask: Use a cotton ball to coat your face with the milk of magnesia. Avoid your eye area, which is more sensitive. Leave this on for 10 minutes. Use a warm washcloth to remove the mask. Gently pat your face dry.

Chamomile Mask

You'll need:
1 package unflavored gelatin
2 bags chamomile tea or 1 tablespoon loose dried chamomile
1/2 cup boiling water

In a small glass or ceramic bowl add the boiling water to the herbs or tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes. Add the gelatin and stir until it's dissolved. Allow to cool---it's okay if it's thickens, but it shouldn't set completely. Smooth the mixture on your face and allow it to dry completely. Peel off the mask, rinse and gently pat dry.

On OFL we have tips on getting the most out of your candles:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vintage Garden Tidbits

Flowers are beautiful hieroglyphics of nature, with which she indicates how much she loves us. ~Wolfgang von Goethe

Today's tips are again from 10,000 Garden Questions Answered by Experts, published in 1944. I found so many practical tips, I wanted to share again.

Fit the box to the window space but if it is longer than 3 foot make it in two sections. For good results the box should be not less than 8 inches deep and 10 inches wide. Use 1 inch thick wood pieces and bore 1/2 inch holes, 6 inches apart in the bottom of the boxes for drainage.

The best soil for window boxes should be rich with plenty of humus to retain moisture. Use 2 parts loam, 1 part rotted manure or leafmold with a 5 inch pot of bone meal mixed in with each bushel of soil. (loam is basically a good soil that has a mixture of sand, silt and clay making it light and not too heavy. I would recommend buying topsoil when using it for window boxes, then adding the other items as described.)

Plants for around the rim of a pond or pool: Astilbe,cardinal flower, Japanese Iris, marsh marigold, rose mallow and Siberian Iris.

Pinks (Dianthus) in rock gardens: They do well in a well-drained sunny location. Do not make the soil very rich and do not over water them. Pinks do well gentle slopes, planted so that they can spread over the top of a rock, or in flat, well-drained pockets. Start with young, pot grown plants if possible and plant them out at about 9inches apart.

On OFL we have tips on planting a new rock garden-