Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff We Gave

Well we had a good Christmas. Not materially huge, but we had a nice time and managed not to have any family shouting matches at my sister's house, which is a rare gift in itself. We really did try to keep to the theme of "Buy Handmade" or "Give Handmade." I thought I would post some pics of stuff we gave for Christmas.

I had made a quilt top for a Weird and Ugly fabric Challenge that I called "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil Points" because my tree points were TERRIBLE and my star points were PERFECT. LoL. Tree sideRed side
My mom admired it so I had a notion to finish it for her for Christmas. Des says, hey mom, instead of backing it plain, why don't I throw together a simple quilt of squares and put the kids' handprints in them? Mom's favorite color is red, so this gave us a chance to throw in something just for her. We put the handprints of all the grandbabies (and Tony, LoL) and the 2 great-grandbabies, and left space for more to come. Beautiful!
Ski Band
Next up, I made my BIL two earwarmers... one from a Shenandoah batt that I handspun and knitted (pic to the right is inside and outside), and one from some handspun, hand dyed Falkland wool from FeltStudiosUK at Etsy. He likes to keep a window open in his office. It keeps the computers there from overheating. But in cold weather, it can get a little chilly in there!

I knitted some fingerless gloves for Jade, which are in another post. Some friends of ours have a little boy, Riley, and a baby girl, Michah. We got Riley a Firehouse Dog stuffed animal with a fireman outfit. For Micah, my daughter Desiree knitted a pointy stocking cap with a BIG pompom, and I knitted two little Jester bootees with bows on the toes and ties around the ankle to keep them from kicking off! Too cute!

While we were at it, we gave Tara (the mama) a Water Bottle Coozy made out of the same felted sweater as these fingerless mitts (sold on Etsy, sorry!) and Brandon this knitted ear warmer. He works outside, so he was happy to have something warm but not restricting to wear. It is knitted out of the same Falkland wool as the one I made for my BIL, but I overdyed my BIL's with denim blue.

A while back, I posted some handspun yarn I had made from a Happy Begonia Batt that I bought off Etsy. I used some of that yarn, some lime green Cascade 220, some lime and pink fun fur, and fabric "yarn" that I cut from a cotton batik fabric, to make "The 'Oh Look, Key Lime Pie!' ADD Scarf" for our music pastor at church. They are always teasing her about being ADD, and her favorite color is lime. This scarf was very freeing to make, because if I got bored, I just changed stitches or yarns.

Oh and we gave my BIL some "man art", a framed collage of robots and dollar signs. I bought the robots from Jessica Pierce off Etsy too. And some pin-back buttons, a card case, some T shirts from Juror2.

I also made my quilting Secret Pal and her dh matching quilted stockings, and a stocking for my baby Beverly. It has a cuff that is little gold swirlies on cream. She loves RED so it had to have red batik prairie points and a bow on it, and there are little curly-haired sheepies on the stocking that she says go "bah."

And lastly (well really not lastly, but the last of the handmade stuff), I made this scarf for my 13yod Diantha. She is a Fashion Plate... always has been! So this trendy, narrow, long scarf is just right for her! It is about 3" wide (spreads out to about 5") and 10 feet long! I made it from a bamboo batt I bought from KittyGrrlz at Etsy
Not bad for a bunch of amateurs! LOL!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Too Clever

One of the skeins of yarn I sold over the month of December was a self-striping, fuzzy green, goldish-green and maroon blend that I called Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.

The buyer of this yarn has turned it into a GORGEOUS capelet called Kermit's Revenge. I would never have thought to make a capelet of that skein of yarn. She is too, too clever. If you want to visit her Etsy shop for more great and clever surprises, you can find her here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Two Yummy Recipes

Applesauce Junk Cake

So called because it is Applesauce cake with the freedom to throw in any "junk" you have lying around that you think may be good in cake. After eating this, my son Artemas said, "More hamburger, less cigarette ash" (a joke, my dh used to have an aunt who would bake with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and the ashes would be in EVERYTHING. LoL)

1 Cup butter (no sub)
2 Cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 Cups Applesauce (1, 15oz. can is fine)
about 3 cups total "junk"
(see note to the right)

3 1/2 Cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Anything you think would be good
in cake! I used coconut, crushed
almonds,and shredded carrot.
You could also use:
  • walnuts or pecans
  • raisins
  • craisins
  • butterscotch or white choc. chips
  • cinnamon red hots (I would then leave out some of the spices)

    3 oz. cream cheese
    1 tsp vanilla, dash salt
    powdered sugar (1 lb. or more)
    milk if needed for consistency

  • My Junk - carrots, coconut, crushed almonds

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 or 3 round cake pans, 2 9" square pans, or one 13x9x2" pan.

    Mix wet ingredients of cake, including sugar. Mix in 2 cups of flour. Add another cup of flour and the leavening (baking soda and salt). Mix in. Toss your 3 cups of junk with the last 1/2 cup of flour. This keeps the bits of stuff from sinking to the bottom while your cake bakes. Nice batter Mix floured junk into the batter. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (30 minutes for 3 layers, 35 for 2 layers, probably 40 minutes for one sheet pan). Cake tests done when a knife inserted in the center comes out moist and possibly with crumbs but not gooey.

    Mix frosting until it is thick enough to be spreadable and not runny. Frost cake when cooled. I just do the layers and leave the sides plain. Delicious!

    Fattening Potato Soup
    This is the BEST potato soup I have ever eaten! Don't let the name scare you off (but probably don't make a steady diet of this stuff either)...

    This makes about 3 quarts of soup. Recipe is easily cut in half (or freeze some for another night's dinner). This will warm you inside and out!

  • 10 to 12 good size potatoes, washed, partially peeled, and cut into about 1/2" cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a bay leaf
  • one large or 3 small carrots, shredded
  • one onion, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut small, fried, and drained of grease
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • about 8 oz. shredded cheese (your choice)

    Put chopped potatoes, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and shredded carrot into a soup or stock pot, cover with water and boil until potatoes are tender.

    Fry bacon pieces and set aside. Use a little bit of the bacon fat to saute the onions and celery until they are translucent and tender. Add bacon, onions, and celery to the soup pot.

    I take some of the potatoes out and mash them and put them back in. If soup is still thin, make a roux with 2 T bacon fat and some flour and stir into the soup to thicken. Salt and pepper soup to taste.

    Just before serving, stir in the sour cream. Serve topped with shredded cheese. Good with a slab of toasted Sourdough bread too.
  • Thursday, December 25, 2008

    Some Time Off

    Well I didn't get EVERYTHING done in time for Christmas. I think I have to start knitting in January, with the size brood I have, to do that. I didn't get Veronica's second sock done but it is half done! The boys didn't get their knuck mitts yet but it isn't that cold so they aren't suffering. My Etsy shops are both suffering, but there is time to rebuild the stock. I am not worried.

    Tuesday I took most of the day off and went to the Armory to shoot. We were there about 3 hours and I did a good job. My final target had one clip from the Lorcin .380, of which I got all 6 shots in the 9 ring or closer (the kill zone). The .22 Ruger longbarrel, I got 4 shots in the kill zone and 2 in ring 8. Not bad shooting for someone who has only used a weapon one other time in the last 20 years. And it seemed to work out a lot of holiday stress that I hadn't even realized I had. My dh and I bought each other reservations in the Carry and Conceal class on Valentine's day... a dual-purpose gift!

    Tuesday morning before shooting I made Tony an Applesauce Junk Cake for his birthday. Tony and Des came Tues. evening to do presents with us, and I made Fattening Potato Soup. Allen brought one of his friends over and there went an entire gallon of soup! Yum! When I get home I will post the recipes.

    Yesterday we did some last-minute errands (mailing, etc.). It was 60 degrees out, windy and kind of damp but not raining.
    So I finally got a chance to take the 73 Suzuki out. Got all leathered up and went for a ride... first time on that bike in over 20 years. It has a couple little bugs to work out but nothing major, actually great for having been in my dad's basement for 20 years. In case you didn't see the blog post last month when we brought her home, here she is. Gotta admit she is a thing of beauty!

    Last night I had some presents to work on so I walked Artemas through making a carrot cake, a white cake, and Baklava. His hands, my brain. They are delicious too! Then this morning we baked a ham, made sweet soft rolls from scratch and came to my sisters to have Christmas dinner and presents with her family and my parents. God help me, I will make it through.

    I still have the cough I have had for a month, and today I am tired and cranky. But we have had a nice Christmas so far, and for that I am thankful. And being tired will make me all the more grateful to go to bed tonight, in my comfortable bed with the bullet in it, in my warm house. I know there are many who have neither of those priveleges, so I truly am thankful.

    More tonight maybe...

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    A Christmas Memory

    Hi, it's been a while. I didn't even get my email for several days. This time of year, I do the things I need to do with my family and to serve those who can't serve themselves, and let everything else go. So if I am silent, it is not because I am still.

    A dozen years ago, we bought The Money Pit. It was an 1800 sq. ft. nearly-condemned house (no really, we had to escrow money to put in a heating system right away, that was the only way the bank could sell it to us, because in FL it is illegal to sell a house with no heating system) with no carpets or appliances, peeling wallpaper, a brown tile bathroom with no shower (yet!), a black swamp for a pool, a separate little cottage built in the 60s and not improved since then, and fenced acre of overgrowth. Hey, we got a good price.

    The end of the property was privacy-fenced against some Senior condos and had a couple 300-year old oaks and more wild grapevine than I had just about ever seen. I pulled down grapevine and wove it into wreaths until my hands were so sore I could barely move them. I made a 4-foot wide wreath for the front wall of the house and spray-painted yards and yards of the grapevine gold, coiled it up and stored it for use on my Christmas tree.

    Because I always seem to be ahead of the decorating trend, I painted our living room with lattice and grapevines (you can see it here), and installed dark purple carpet. I made a tree-topper out of an oval of woven grapevine to which I affixed a 3D quilted dove that I made out of white jacquard and gold lame. I made purple and baby's breath nosegays, ornaments of grape clusters and large purple and gold tassels, and spray-painted gold pinecones. I painted frosted white and purple and gold balls with grape leaves in the opposite colors. Every year we would put a Fraser Fir in the living room, decked out in purple and gold and garlanded around and around in my golden grapevine.

    Along about then is the first time they came out with purple Christmas lights too. You could only buy them at Target. So I bought 2, 100-light sets and one, 100-light set of white and sat down and painstakingly pulled out every third bulb from the purple strands and replaced it with white... then put the purple bulbs in the empty sockets of the white strand, so I had 3 strands of lights that were purple, purple, white... etc. I used these same lights every year on my glorious purple and gold and white Christmas tree.

    One year my eccentric husband decided that instead of dragging the tree out through the front door, leaving needles in his wake, and having then to dispose of an entire tree, he had a better idea. He brought in a trash can and while I was out grocery shopping, proceeded to dismember the tree branch by branch with manual hedge trimmers and put the branches in the trash can. He then cut the trunk in half, jammed it down in the can, and put it outside. Tada! How neat! He also very kindly wound my purple, purple, white lights around cardboards and put them away. How thoughtful!

    When I got home from shopping, I saw the can sitting near the porch with the tree branches in it, and many, many bits and pieces of gold grapevine. He had cut up all my grapevine garland!! OOOOooooh I was so mad, I could have bitten a 10-penny nail in half!

    Nearly a year later, I got to get mad about it all over again when I got the lights out to put on a new tree, and found out that he had also cut my purple, purple, white light strands in several places. I remember sitting on the top step of the porch with the door open and a roll of electrical tape and a pair of wire strippers, wiring those lights back together.

    I tell him I have only kept him all these years to keep someone else from having to put up with him.

    And he thinks I am kidding.

    Love is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs... Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never quits. 1 Corinthians 13:5b,7,8a NLT

    Sunday, December 14, 2008

    A Lil' Entertainment

    My favorite Christmas song EVER!!!
    When you're done listening, go on to the next post and look at all the lovely warm STUFF I found on Etsy for your holiday gift-giving needs.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    Homemade Craft Dough Ornaments

    This craft dough is so easy to make and fun to play with, you may never want to use store-bought again!

    NOTE: make sure your kiddies know NOT to eat this stuff! One of my 4 year olds once ate some while I wasn't looking and promptly threw up all over the table. It may look pretty and smell nice, but make sure they know it is yucky!!Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar (this is sold in the spice section of your supermarket)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 Cup water
  • optional: colorant (powdered drink mix works well, or just use food colors or paste colors)
  • optional: fragrance (candle or soap scent oils or foodAdding water to saucepan extracts)

    Additionally you will need:
  • cup, 1/2 cup, and teaspoon measure
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • stiff spoon or spatula

    I am making double batches so the saucepan is pictured with some ingredients measured in already. In these pictures I am making strawberry scented craft dough, so along with the required ingredients, I have dark cherry drink mix (1 packet) and strawberry fragrance oil.
    Measure the dry ingredients into the saucepan and mix around
    with the whisk. Add the oil (and fragrance oil if using) and colorant. While stirring, pour in water. Turn burner on medium heat and cook and stir until mixture thickens and begins to hold together in a ball. Once it begins to thicken, it will thicken up pretty fast!

    Turn craft dough out onto a countertop Kneading
    and let set a minute or two until cool enough to handle. Knead a few times until the dough becomes smooth.

    Store in airtight containers for many hours of playtime fun! I recommend using the craft dough on a plastic tablecloth or other protected surface! Just like store-bought play doughs, this stuff does not agree with carpets and upholstery!

    Dough colorsWe made pale green (apple), white (vanilla) and deep pink (strawberry). We made ornaments out of some of ours. I baked them in a 200 degree oven for an hour or so on each side, turned the oven off and let them cool. If you are going to bake these, make sure they aren't more than about 1/4" thick, or they will not dry all the way through. Dough is also paintable when baked.
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    About Those Gloves

    Last year Jade didn't have a date to the company Christmas Dinner. She said she wasn't going to go, but my dh told her he would get one of our sons to accompany her. We strung Artemas along for a week or two. Every time he would ask what this lady was like, we would say, she makes good conversation. She wears sensible shoes. You'll probably like her. She isn't anything like a librarian. She isn't a day over 60.

    We told him he should take her a gift, since he was her "date." So he did... scented candles and handmade soap. How cute. When she finally arrived at the dinner, he about fell over to find she is less than 2 years older than him. Blonde. Nice. Cute.

    Later she was a cashier on the returns desk where my dh works, and it was cold near the doors. I said, Jade needs some fingerless gloves, so she can wear them and still use the cash register. Another co-worker was standing nearby. She said, "Do you know Jade?" I said sure... and then at the same time, Jade and I said, "She has been dating my son for about 3 months now (since Christmas)!" LOL. So it has been a running joke. But not really a joke to my son, he is absolutely smitten with her.

    When I joined Etsy, I bought some hand dyed wool in her favorite color (green). Of course non-immediate things get pushed to the back burner. This past week, my dh says, Jade says she and her roommate, who works here too, are going to the Christmas party and her "date slot" is open, LoL. So I broke out the needles and the wool and some Patons Fun Fur and knitted these fingerless gloves, so my son would have another gift for his "date."

    I think the wool was originally Cascade 220. I used a size 5 needles. Knitted 36 st, 10 rows in 1/1 rib holding the 2 yarns together... then 12 rows in 1/1 rib, knitting the k stitches through the back loop, and using 11 st on the front of the glove for the 9-st cable and a purl on each side. I did the cable in twisted stitch too. Increased 4 st around (to 40 st total) and knitted even for 14 rows. made a gusset for the thumb until I had 14 st. Put the glove body on holders and joined the thumb, worked 6 rows and bound off. Picked up 4 st on the bottom of the thumb, and knitted around for 5 rows. Began the 1/1 twisted rib again, still cabling up the front for 6 rows. Then twisted rib only for 6 rows and done. I actually did short-row across the palm of the glove and back once, to make the palm longer for when the hand is extended.

    The cable is 9 st, the cable is worked over the first 6 st and to the back every 8 rows, and over the last 6 st and to the front every 8 rows, offset by 4 rows from the first cable crossing.

    My own design and only my 2nd attempt at a mitt with a true thumb (as opposed to just a hole in the side), and I didn't have a pattern. I think they turned out quite well!

    Monday, December 8, 2008

    A Shot in the... Dark?

    My dh likes guns. He isn't that good with them, but he likes them. He doesn't go hunting or target shooting, nor does he shoot people or jack convenience stores. But he thinks they are handy things to have one or two or six of. He is real responsible with them, keeps them trigger-locked and the ammo separate and mostly keeps them locked in his old Army footlocker. But lately he decided that I should have a carry permit. Maybe one day he won't be around to protect me, LoL.

    And since the local armory gives classes for the permit every Saturday for under $100, and since I am a good shot, I figured, ok. Also the local armory has "Ladies' Day" every Tuesday. Your bring your weapon(s) and ammo or buy some ordinance there and shoot away for no range fee. Yee-haw! Annie Oakley!

    There is a girl he works with, (Jade, that one of my sons is enamoured with) who thinks going shooting with me would be a hoot. And my eldest daughter does too. Like we should make it a Girls' Afternoon Out. Here comes the Tombstone Gang... Doc (me), Wyatt (Des) and Morgan (Jade).

    I have a Lorcin .380, semi-automatic. Nice weapon... Less than 4 pounds, 7 rounds in a clip, slide it once, flip off the safety and you're off and running. But if I am going to take the Tombstone Gang with me, I have to have more than one weapon. So Saturday he got out the trunk, unlocked it and showed me his flintlocks (2) and the Ruger .22 5-shot longbarrel. Nice weapon too, single-action revolver (you have to pull the hammer back each time before shooting) with a barrel only slightly shorter than Wyatt's Buntline Special. The hammer was back. I said, "Why is the hammer back?" He says it has to be back, to put the trigger in position to put the lock on. Ok.

    Later on I am sitting in the living room knitting a fingerless glove for Jade (here's a pic, more about the gloves later), and Richie and our #2 son are in our room watching some Testosterone movie. Artemas had moved a kitchen chair into the middle of the room for his viewing comfort. Richard put the trunk up on the bed and decided to take the trigger lock off the .22 longbarrel and make sure the instrument was clean and not rusted from being in the trunk for several years. Apparently the hammer didn't click back down and he thought it was stuck. Next thing I know I hear CRACK!

    He comes out and I asked him what he shot. He just looked like the cat with the canary feather hanging out of his mouth and said, "Nothin'! Shut up!" Artemas came out a few minutes later and I said, "What did he shoot in our room?" I figured the light fixture or something. Artemas says, "Let's just say it was a gift." I said if he shot the quilt my daughter made me, hanging on the wall in there, I was going to lock him out in the 22 degree weather!

    Later when I went in to go to bed, I noticed little bitty pellets all over our sheets. I remembered that the case of cartridges for the .22 were birdshot. So I started to change sheets (I canNOT sleep in gritty sheets, no WAY) and said, "Show me where you shot the bed!" My DSIL and eldest daughter bought us this bed a year ago because our 10 yr. old mattress was so sway-backed we could hardly sleep on it. Well. I *had* been pregnant 5 times in that 10 years. While not all those were quite successful, they were still a lot of work. [wink]

    Sure enough, in his side of the bed there is a LEEEETLe bitty hole. If you didn't know what to look for, you wouldn't find it. After all, a .22 is less than a quarter inch across. I suppose the bullet is still in the bed. I said, "Did you say to Artemas, 'Now son, let that be a lesson to you in handgun safety... never know when the hammer is just jammed or if it is up because there is a cartridge in the chamber...'" He said, yeah, words to that effect. I bet.

    Glad it is on his side of the bed. Say, does this mean I can wear a holster and boots to bed? Yee-haw!!

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love, or Somethin'

    My husband colors his hair. (SHHH! He doesn't want people to know!) He has black faccial hair but doesn't want his hair colored black because it looks too fake. So I use Ash Brown on him and that works. He started coloring it about 30 years ago, when he was only in his mid-30s and went gray. Said the gray made him look and feel old. Now he keeps on, because he doesn't want people to think the kids are his grandkids. That doesn't help but still.

    And, he has been sick for like 2 weeks with some sort of flu or cold. He was on vacation for part of that, and last week was a sort of short week with Thanksgiving and all, but he still ended up working Friday and Saturday, calling in sick on Sunday (the last day of their work week) and again Monday, so he could finish lying around.

    Monday afternoon he says, "Would you color my hair?" I looked at him and thought, sure, anything to help it look better. He wears it long but it is thin, and different lengths some places cause it breaks easily from all the color-treatments. Two weeks of lying around as much as possible did nothing to enhance the style, without all the white poking through. So he went and got the haircolor without looking at it, and I mixed it up and put it on his hair without so much as a glance at the box. I might add that my hair is naturally very black, but I have it colored (lightened just slightly) purple right now. I had bought black hair color for when the color mutates, I can go back to "normal." Whatever that is.

    He got out of the shower and says, "Why is it black?" I said, "It isnt' black, it's Ash Brown. Must be something wrong with your eyes!" Then I looked at him. My husband, the Elder Goth. Tonto. Elvis. You get the idea.

    I had made a pot of bean soup for supper, but he said he needed protein. Since I was out rounding up kids, I brought home hamburgers. He had been lying on the couch keeping the madness to a minimum with the younger ones while I was gone, so he just sat up and I sat beside him, eating burgers. I was using the laptop and watching TV, but I kept seeing him out of my peripheral vision. Finally, I turned to him and said,

    "Can you sing like Wayne Newton?"

    ROFLOL! A few minutes later, I said, "Oh, come on, sing Donke Schoen just once for me!"

    He didn't really think it was funny. It was all I could do to keep from laughing so hard I was crying! I told him if people at work say anything about it, just tell them your wife wanted some strange so she colored your hair like a Goth.

    Later that night, he was heading for bed in flannel shirt and sleeping pants, looking kinda bedraggled. I said, "I gotta tell ya, Elvis, you don't look so much like A Hunka Hunka Burning Love to me right now."

    Man I am having a good time with this.

    Last night he went to kiss me goodnight, and I said, "Only if you sing Donke Schoen for me."

    I don't know how long this will take to fade, but I can see having a little fun with it for at least a few weeks to come. LoL.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008


    Congratulations are in order to Beatblack, who is the winner of my drawing! She chose my "Baby Jesus" yarn! Beautiful!

    You can check out her own Etsy shop at
    and her blog, at
  • Beat Black

    This is the way I did it: I put the entries all in the List Randomizer at, generating a randomly scrambled list of 41 entries. I asked my kids to pick a number between one and 20 (I was thinking of 13). The one who came closest (Diantha, with 14) got to pick a number between 1 and 41. She chose 38. So entry number 38 on the randomized list was the winner!

    As a THANK you for all who entered, I am offering free shipping to you during December on any orders from either Etsy shop, my7kids or HeartFeltFun. Just convo me prior to order so that I can adjust the shipping on the listings, or I can rebate the shipping back to you via Paypal. If you choose to do it that way, please put the code ShipDec08 in the comment box.
  • Monday, December 1, 2008

    Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Houses!

    Today we will make Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Houses!

    You will need:
  • 16-oz. (pint) milk, cream, half'n'half, juice or other cardboard carton, rinsed out and dried
  • square of sturdy cardboard, roughly 8"
  • aluminum foil
  • masking or packing tape
  • plastic baggies
  • assorted colorful candies, cereals, pretzels, crackers
  • plain graham crackers (not cinnamon-coated, the frosting won't stick very well on those)

  • Additionally for the frosting you will need:

  • Powdered sugar
  • water, cream, or milk
  • vanilla, if you want it
  • meringue powder or an egg white
    (Note: the egg white or meringue powder gives the frosting a glossier look and makes it dry stiff to the touch)
    (Note 2: most people no longer consider it safe to eat raw egg white. If small children or other people who will lick their fingers a lot are going to do this project, you may want to buy meringue powder. Or also if you intend to eat these after they are made.)


  • Prepare the frosting: put powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons meringue powder in a mixer. If you like vanilla, add about 1/2 teaspoon. I like it, but your frosting will not be as glowing white with it. I also add a pinch of salt. While mixer is on low speed, add enough liquid of choice (water, milk, or cream) to make a relatively thick frosting.
  • For ease of application, put about 1/3 cup frosting into a plastic baggie. This will be easier if you tuck a corner of the plastic baggie into a jar. Twist-tie firmly shut just above the frosting. When it is time to use the frosting, snip a small tip off the baggie and away you go!
  • Cover the squares of cardboard with foil, taping it down on the back. Tape the cardboard carton to the top of the foil-covered square.

  • If working with very small children, you will want to cut the crackers. Older children can probably do it. They cut easily if you use a serrated-edge table knife (doesn't have to be sharp) to score them, then break along the score line.

    You will want to have the following pieces:

  • 4 whole crackers with about 1" cut off of them
  • 2, half-cracker squares
  • 1, half-cracker square cut diagonally into 2 right triangles (for house gables).

  • To Assemble House:

  • Using frosting as "glue," stick a whole, trimmed cracker to each side of the carton. You will have a little margin down each side that the cracker doesn't cover. Don't worry about it! You can fill the gap in with frosting and candies or whatever, later on.
  • Put frosting in a line at the top and bottom of one side of one of the squares, and stick them on the sloping sides of the carton at the top for the roof. They may overlap a little at the top.
  • Stick each triangle at each end of the carton roof "peak" as the gable.
  • Decorate with candies!
  • Pretzels make great doors and windows.
  • Square checkered cereals make great roof tiles or paving stones for a sidewalk! Or stand them on end for flower-bed edging.
  • Graham-cracker bears make good "people"
  • Sugar Cone ice cream cones covered with green frosting and red rope licorice make great Christmas Trees!
  • Go wild!
  • When your houses are dry, take a picture (put the picture in an ornament frame with the date, to hang on the tree!). Then eat them! You can make a whole village if you want... or get together with friends and let all the kids do houses at once!

    Below is a picture of our houses. From left to right: Betsy's house made my mommy (me), niece Dana's (5) house, grandson Jeremiah's (3) house, Josiah's (8) house, and Veronica's (10) house. Yum!