Drying Your Herbs

Now that your herbs are bigger you may be thinking about how to dry them and use them in the long run. It turns out there are some nifty little things you need to know about this!

When drying your herbs it is best to be a little patient with the growing process. You will want to wait until herbs, such as oregano, are a decent size. Though the herbs should be a little bigger you will want to harvest them before they flower.

When harvesting your herbs make sure to use a very sharp knife to cut the stems. Tearing and ripping can cause moisture loss in the plant. If you plan on hanging the herbs to dry cut towards the base of the plant so that you will have something to work with.

Herbs such as chives do not really dry. A good way to use chives is to place them in a plastic bag and freeze them. You can try to dry them out in the oven over a long period of time, but this process will take at least seven hours. Frozen chives will last 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

Larger herbs, like oregano, can be dried by hanging in a cool, dry and dark place. You can also hang the herbs upside down in a paper bag somewhere out of way. This process takes between 1-3 weeks.  Lastly, leafy herbs can usually be dried in a paper towel that is folded in half. Leave on your counter for 1-3 weeks, until the leaves are dry and crunchy. Place in a plastic bag to store.

Hints: 

If you are hanging herbs make sure to check the rubber band or string every few days. As the herbs dry they will shrink and may fall out of their holder.

Remember to shake off any insects before you start the drying process. You may want to do a quick rinse and pat dry before drying the herbs.

If you are hanging herbs in a paper bag remember to cut holes in it so the herbs have an air flow.

Good luck!

Posted by: Amanda

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May 31, 2011. baking, Food Fun, Gardening, In The Kitchen, Make Your Own, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

How To Make No-Sew Curtains

It’s no secret that buying curtains is an expensive endeavor. However, having the right curtains in a room can make all the difference. In just a few easy steps, and a quick trip to your local fabric store, you can have the look you want for your home!

Supplies: 

Fabric

An ironing board 

An iron

Hem tape 

Step one:

Measure your window to see how much fabric you will need. Make sure to get a decent amount of extra fabric to allow for the hem and rod loop.  Also, if you mess up the hem it will be basically impossible to separate the sticky tape from the fabric. You may need to cut out that section and try again.

Step two:

Place the fabric on your ironing board and smooth out the edges. Apply the iron on hem tape to the top of the fabric. Fold down several inches, then iron the area in order to make the rod loop.

Step three:

Once you have the loop for the rod repeat the same process with the other edges without leaving the extra space you left for the rod.

Step four:

Hang and enjoy your new curtains!

Hint: 

To give your room a taller look hang your curtains closer to the ceiling. The extra fabric will draw the eye up and make your room appear taller than it really is.

Posted by: Amanda

May 30, 2011. Decor, Make Your Own, Wall Art. Leave a comment.

Make Your Own Canvas Wall Hangings

My friend at work wanted something to hang up in her room, but was out of ideas. I said I would come up with something, and immediately I started thinking of ideas. I had wanted to do a project with canvas and fabric for a long time. This gave me the perfect excuse to give it a try!

Supplies: 

Plain Canvas with wooden back frame

Fabric of your choice- I used cotton duck fabric because it had more of a “canvas” type look.

Staple gun

Cork board (if you want to add to project)

New canvas


Back of canvas

Place fabric over back of frame. pull tight, and staple.

Fold the corners making sure there are not bumps on the front. The second one I used less fabric, and it seemed to work out much better.

I repeated the same process with a plain piece of cork board. This is a great place to pin up notes, and it works as wall art!

The finished product. I can't wait to see them on the wall!

This project was super fast, and cheap. The total cost, excluding the staple gun, was only $35.00. I was able to get all of my materials at Hobby Lobby, and everything I bought was marked %50 off. Score! I had a ton of fabric left over, so if you do not buy a lot of fabric and leave out the cork board your total cost will be more like $20.o0.

Posted by: Amanda

May 23, 2011. Decor, Make Your Own, Wall Art. 2 comments.

A Great Website For Natural Ideas

This is such a great website! There are tons of energy saving tips, and cute ideas for the house. Click on the photo below to visit Mother Earth News!

Posted by: Amanda

May 19, 2011. Gardening, In The Kitchen, Make Your Own, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Etsy Find of the Day

I love the idea of using wine corks for place card holders at a wedding reception. This little Etsy shop has a really awesome variety of corks for super cheap!

Posted by: Amanda

May 17, 2011. Decor, Etsy, Make Your Own, Uncategorized, wedding. Leave a comment.

Make Your Own Magnetic Spice Rack

This is a super spice space saver! Say that 3 times fast.

A while back, I found this sweet set of magnetic spices on Etsy (of course). I just love how the see-through lids show off the different colors and shapes of the spices!

Although I have a perfectly good spice rack that Nicholas bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago, it takes up a ton of space in my ever-so-tiny kitchen. I love the apothecary-looking jars, and I might use them for another crafty project, but for now they must go.

After I saw the brilliant magnetic spices, I thought I had died and gone to space-saving heaven. Since I’m always looking for crafty ways to do things on my own, I thought to myself, “Self, you can totally make this, and it would probably be cheaper.” If I put all of my spices in these cute little see-through containers, and slapped some magnets on the back, I could just stick them to my fridge and free up some space! It doesn’t hurt that they would also double as colorful art for the fridge! Bonus!

Supplies Needed:

round clear-top tins

spices

magnets

tape

permanent marker

I found the tins right here for only $0.63 a piece! After counting all of my spices and considering how much space I had on the fridge, I figured I would need around 30 tins. I bought self adhesive magnet strips from the craft store, and I already had spices and a marker.

I waited not so patiently for 3 weeks for the tins to come in the mail, and when they did, I was super excited!

First, I collected all of my spices and started filling tins.

Next, I stuck two magnets to the bottom of each tin. (The magnets I bought weren’t very strong, so you might only need one per tin.) Then I wrote the names of each spice on the bottom between the magnets. I would suggest putting a piece of tape down first, and writing on the tape. I didn’t do this, and ended up writing the wrong name on one of the tins, and had to cross it out. It was a sad day for my perfectionism.

This is the finished product, and what they look like on the fridge (after quite a bit of arranging).

Now my spices are right next to me while I’m cooking, and I love looking at them every time I walk by.

A couple of things I have learned during and after this project:

1) Use tape to write the names of the spices on the bottom of the tins.

2) I’ve knocked a few tins off the fridge while opening the fridge and freezer doors, so I scooted them a little farther from the handles.

3) Sometimes the tins can be difficult to open, so be careful not to fill them too full. Nicholas was having a hard time with one of them, and accidentally dumped cumin all over the floor.

Now that we constantly look at the spices when we’re in the kitchen, we end up using them a lot more. We often find ourselves experimenting with spice combinations that we would never have tried in the past. Yay for creative cooking!

Happy spice rack making!

posted by: Rhiannon

May 14, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Decor, Food Fun, In The Kitchen, Make Your Own. 2 comments.

Make Your Own Chalkboard

The Etsy find of the day got me thinking about making my own chalkboard. I stumbled across this page on the country living website, and loved the idea!

What you will need for this project:

Chalkboard paint

Item that you want to paint

Sand paper

Painters tape

Small roller

First, lightly sand the area you want to paint.  Add painters tape to the areas that you do not want painted. Use the roller to put on the paint. (Using a brush will leave lines, and not look right when you finish.) Let dry, and done! You now have yourself a crafty homemade chalkboard!

Posted by: Amanda

May 12, 2011. Tags: , , . Decor, Make Your Own, Wall Art. Leave a comment.

Make Your Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

All purpose cleaner:

In a clean spray bottle mix equal parts white vinegar and water. You can even add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to mask some of

the vinegar smell. This is so gentle you can use it on almost anything!

Air freshener:

Get an old spray bottle that is lying around the house. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water.

Spray around the house as needed to get a fresh smell.

For a lasting scent put the essential oil of your choice on several cotton balls, and store in a jar or bowl out of site.

If you have small children remember to keep this in a place they can not reach. some oils may irritate their skin.

Foaming Scrub:

Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl.

Add liquid laundry detergent until the mixture is like cake icing.

Dip your sponge into the bowl, and use as a foam scrub on tiled and shower surfaces.

Glass and mildew cleaner:

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water into a spray bottle.

Use to spray down glass, cabinets, bathrooms, etc.

If you have a lot of mildew in an area try just using white vinegar without water to break it up.

Drain cleaner:

Mix one cup white vinegar and one cup baking soda in a bowl.

(Do this near the drain so that your don’t make a mess!)

Pour down the drain and run hot water until the clog breaks.

Wood furniture cleaner:

Mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil in a bottle or bowl.

Dip a rag into the bowl and go over the surface with long, even strokes.

Do you see a a pattern forming here? We do too! Vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda are green cleaning super stars! These few supplies should get you into a non-toxic cleaning frenzy for sure. Now, put on some tunes and get crackin!

posted by: Amanda

May 5, 2011. Tags: , , . Cleaning, Make Your Own. Leave a comment.

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