Wednesday, August 21, 2013

State Canvas Art

Just Jaime of Wayward Girls' Crafts here! So I've seen a lot of state-loving on Pinterest lately and the bug has bitten me! I love my home state, North Carolina, and am sad I can't live there right now. I thought a North Carolina print would be perfect for my home, but you can make State Canvas Art with any state or country. This is what I created:

First let's start with the materials:

1 Stretched Canvas (I used 11 x 14)
Three different colors of acrylic paint (red paint is not pictured)
Paint Brush
Cardstock and Printer (not pictured)

I started by giving my canvas 2 coats of blue acrylic paint (Folk Art 2555 Deep Ocean Blue):

I tried to make sure the paint was even, especially in the middle where the state would be seen. The first coat I went across my canvas. For the second I went up and down. 

 Then this happened....I couldn't have done this if I tried! My scissors just landed this way!

 Next I printed out a map of my state on cardstock. I measured it to make sure it would fit well on my canvas.

I took my scissors and got to cutting. I decided to skip trying to cut out the island chain on the coast of my state (The Outerbanks) and left them on there. I like the shape better.  At this point I started remembering my 4th grade state project, where I used salt dough to make the Ol' North State. Good times. Back to the project!

 I applied removable adhesive to the back of my cardstock and stuck it on my dry canvas (I let it dry overnight just to be sure). 

I used a contrasting paint color (Folk Art 2561 Steel Gray) and started in the middle and painted OUT from my state. I didn't want to try to push the paint against the edges and have the cardstock curl or the paint get underneath. 

I gave the canvas two coats but didn't wait until the second coat fully dried before removing the state.

 I wanted to make sure it would come up easily.  I used tweezers to pull the side up so I wouldn't hurt the paint. It looked AWESOME. So awesome I forgot to take a picture. But I decided to put the final touch, a little heart over my home town.

I cut out a stencil from cardstock of a heart and dabbed a bit of red paint in the heart. Voila! I love the results. This project was really easy, a little messy and pretty cheap.

What colors would you use?

This post was originally featured on She Wears Flowers. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Canning Green Beans Tutorial

Kate here again with a canning tutorial. I am not an expert. Please consult your county extension agent for expert information. Utah State University Extension runs a comprehensive web site full of information about how to can just about anything. Canning green beans is not hard. You must absolutely use a pressure canner because green beans are a low acid food. Pressure canning for the appropriate time and at the correct pressure for your altitude kills botulism-forming organisms. Botulism-forming organisms are present in the environment and dirt around us everyday. It doesn't become a problem until it grows and we ingest it. Botulism-forming organisms grow anaerobically, meaning they don't need air. They can grow in a sealed jar. That's why it's imperative to process at the correct pressure (this depends on your altitude) and for the right amount of time (this depends on jar size--quart or pint). Merely obtaining a seal is not the ultimate goal. You want to kill all the bad stuff and seal in all the good. So with that, let's get started.
snapFirst pick the beans then snap the ends off and snap into halves or thirds.
jarsThis is my boiling water canner. Today I'm using it to keep the canning jars hot. First put 3-4 inches of hot water in the pan with couple tablespoons of white vinegar (prevents hard water marks). Put pint or quart jars in pot, replace lid, and turn burner on high heat. When the water boils turn heat down to keep a low boil and set timer for 10 minutes. Technically the jars only have to be clean, not sterile, for pressure canning, but I'm a little OC on the clean side when I'm canning so bear with me. Plus, the jars need to be hot, hot, hot or when you pour the boiling water in them later they might crack. I also like a wet-hot. I used to have a tiny kitchen so I would fill my oven with the jars and turn it on to 250° for ten minutes, but the boiling water cracked several of my dry-hot jars. Now I prefer to keep them in boiling water and steam until I'm ready to use them, I never crack jars anymore with this method.
hotsealsNext put eight seals (that's how many pint jars fit in my pressure canner) in a small saucepan and cover with hot water. You can put it on a burner on low heat if you want but DO NOT BOIL.
Also make sure you have eight clean and dry rings. See the white jar with a green lid? That's the canning salt I'll be discussing later. I like to get everything laid out and ready once the jars have boiled for 10 minutes.
rangeFill your pressure canner according to the manufacturers directions. Mine says fill with three quarts water. Begin heating the water to boiling. I also fill my teapot and get it started on boiling. The stock pot in the back is more boiling water I would need if there's not enough in the teapot.
washWhile the water boils, wash and drain the beans.
shakePlace green beans into hot jars. Shake the jars to help the beans settle.
saltAdd a 1/2 tsp. salt to each pint jar. Use canning salt. It is pure salt without any fillers. Fillers can turn your water cloudy over time. Guess what also turns your water cloudy over time? Botulism. Use the pure salt so you don't have to wonder why the water in your sealed jars is turning cloudy. You can find it on the canning aisle.
waterPour boiling water into each jar. Leave one inch of head space in each jar. Vegetables expand when cooked.
airbubblesUse something clean and non-metallic to slide in and release the air bubbles.
sealsPlace a seal on each jar and screw on a ring in a loosely-firm manner.
inPlace in the canner of boiling water.
Put lid on
lockand lock into place.
bookletConsult the booklet that came with your canner.
Find out how long to let the air and steam to exhaust from the canner. See the black topped weight holding the right corner of the book open? That's what will cover the air vent when it's time to start building pressure. My canner has to vent for 7-10 minutes. The USU Extension web site gives a general guideline of 10-12 minutes if you don't know what to do.
exhaustTurn the burner up to a relatively high heat to maintain a steady stream of air and steam exhaust.
pressurerisePlace the pressure regulator over the vent pipe when the appropriate amount of time has passed and start building pressure. I keep my burner on high for this.
altitudeConsult your booklet again for processing times and pressures for green beans. You have to know your altitude and process accordingly. Utah State University Extension web site contains guidelines for each type of food.
overpressureI have to process at 14 pounds pressure, but I like to go a bit above that because...
turndownnow I turn down the burner to maintain the pressure. I don't want it to fall below 14 pounds or I have to start the processing time all over again. The pressure MUST be maintained for the entire alloted time. Even if it only falls under the processing pressure for one minute you still have to raise the pressure back up and START TIMING ALL OVER or you won't kill the botulism-forming organisms. On my gas stove I turn it down to 2. When I had an electric range, I had to run it on high for the whole processing time.
When your 20 or 25 minutes is up, depending on if you are processing quarts or pints, turn the burner off and WAIT for the pressure to drop all by itself. DO NOT remove the pressure regulator to let the steam escape faster and pressure drop faster. This causes two problems. Jars will crack, but more importantly the processing time takes into account the time it takes for the pressure to drop of its own accord with no help from you in the form of ice packs, or removing the pressure regulator, etc.
You've come this far, finish it the right way--the safe way. When the pressure has come back down to zero, remove the pressure regulator and wait ten minutes before opening the canner. Be sure to tilt the lid away from you while using it to shield yourself from the steam.
doneRemove the jars to a towel on your counter. You will likely hear most of the jars seal while doing this.  Let them cool completely--twelve to twenty-four hours and then...
removeringsremove the rings to use for another batch. You needn't store the jars with rings on--they're sealed remember. Grab a Sharpee and write the year on the seal. See, it's not that bad. It's quite simple and goes rather quickly once you get everything set up. Check out the Utah State University Extension web site for comprehensive canning guidelines. You can do this. Give it a try.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Italian Mama Visits With Delicious Ciabatta Bread and a Recipe

 Today, cookbook author Shannon Smurthwaite shares with us a little about her journey back through her Italian heritage and how she came by a delicious Ciabatta bread recipe she gives to our readers!
You can see my review of her cookbook and more about the recipes here
This bread looks absolutely scrumptious! Thank you Shannon!
Shannon says:
"This has been a tender journey. After my mother’s death in 2008 I was encouraged to gather her recipes and those of my tiny grandmother from Naples. Collecting this comfort food I was raised on in our Italian- American family, was not an easy task. Simply put, Italians do not write down their recipes. Both of these amazing women in my life were incredible cooks and known well for their kitchen wizardry. I can rarely remember a cookbook or recipe card in front of them. They instinctively knew what to add, when their creative dish was completed and ready to serve. How does one pass this ability down through the generations that follow? With sweetness these recipes started falling into my lap not even aware they had ever been written down. I knew they needed to be preserved as requested by friends and family. In my pursuit, I realized my dear Italian friends felt the same way- and they shared their family recipes with me. Each recipe has a story. Each was given with love.

Raised by her very Roman Catholic parents, my mother was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 19. I had the blessing of uniting two worlds. It was one polar opposite world in our kitchen. Pasta e fagioli on one side of the spectrum and green jello delight on the other (taught to us by her new Sisters in the gospel).

The recipe I have chosen to share with you is a yummy, cost effective Ciabatta bread. Six ingredients, no doubt, at your fingertips. You could easily pay up to $5.00 a loaf at a specialty bakery, but you can assemble it with ease in your bread machine ( using the “dough” cycle), in your Kitchen Aide, or even hand mixed at a cost to you of about .45 cents a lovely loaf. This bread really soaks up the sauce. Pair it with a pasta dish or soup. Also great for dipping into oils ( olive, grape seed) and vinegars. You can get creative and toss in shredded cheese or herbs in the mixing process. Experiment! I happily share this with you."

Shannon M. Smurthwaite, author: Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook

Recipes from Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook
              Shannon M. Smurthwaite, author                          
CIABATTA BREAD ~ using Bread Machine for dough mixing                              
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoons salt (I use fine sea salt)
1 generous teaspoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 1/4 cup good bread flour
1 ½ generous teaspoons SAF yeast (or any good bread machine yeast)

In the order above, place ingredients in Bread Machine. Use DOUGH cycle and start. My bread machine runs the dough cycle about 90 min.
Dough will be sticky when cycle is complete. Resist the temptation to add more flour. Place dough on a lightly floured board and let rest for 15- 20 minutes.
Lightly flour or use parchment to line your baking sheet.
(You could sprinkle a little corn meal on the bottom)
Form a flat rectangle with the dough; (or you could divide dough in 2 equal pieces for 2 smaller rectangles) place dough on prepare baking sheet.
Dimple surface and lightly flour the tops (dimpling is important, because you want the air bubbles to pop-careful not press all the way through to the bottom of dough).
Cover, let rise in a draft free location. Rising time varies with altitude, flour type, etc. 50 minutes ~ 90 minutes should do it.

Preheat oven 425.
After the first rising, dimple dough a second time.
Again, baking time varies depending on your oven, but 20-25 minutes is the suggested duration.
Use the middle rack. * Drizzle with olive oil while cooling

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keeping a bow in place.

 Hello crafty people!
Kristie here today from Kristie Kreates.
Have you ever had a hard time tying a bow
and getting it to stay just where you want it on a card? 
I know I have.
Today I'm going to show you
an easy way to get that bow to stay just where you want it.
First cut a piece of ribbon and decide
where you want it placed on the front of the panel.
Once you know the placement,
punch a hole right where you want the bow to sit.
Next you will place the ribbon across the panel,
bring it around the sides to the back
and thread the ends up through the hole.
Now pull the ribbon tight over the hole,
 bringing one end of ribbon to the top and one to the bottom
of the card panel.
Now you will tie it in a bow that will not move on your card.
Once the bow is tied how you want it,
 trim your ends and adjust the edges
to be where you want them.
This bow isn't moving anywhere.
Here is the card I made with this panel.

I hope you will try this technique for adding a ribbon and bow to your card.
Thanks for stopping by today for my tutorial.
I'd love to have you stop by my personal blog
and see what else I've been creating at

Until next month, have fun creating!