Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stegosaurus Costume DIY

My mom's been sewing since high school and is teaching me how to now! We've done projects throughout the years, and this Halloween, she's helping me with a big back piece for my four year old's costume.

We bought two colors of felt and cut out squares with the Scentsy box lid as a stencil. Cut those in half into triangles, then stitched two sides together, and stuffed the inside.

Keep doing that, but trimming 1/2" off of 2 sides of the "stencil" so that your squares and triangles will be a bit smaller with each new spike as it gets closer to the ground.

We then sewed the third side, and folded out the flaps. I pinned those to the long strip of felt that we cut to be the in-between piece, and we sewed the spikes onto the strip.

After that, we sewed the strip with the spikes to a hoodless jacket. We ended up getting 6 spikes on my kiddo's costume.

I'll be tweeting the final costume pic on Monday! Follow us @homemadeharlots

Friday, October 28, 2011

Things I love: Eos Lip Balm

There are few things I love more than a good lip balm. No one likes rough scaly lips! I thought I would share my very favorite one with you here! EOS lip balm, it stands for evolution of smooth and boy let me tell you it totally delivers just that! It leaves your lips feeling amazingly smooth and they taste and smell great!

They come in 6 different flavors and have the cutest packaging!They don't test on animals and they are 95% organic and 100% natural! They have no crazy dyes or artificial coloring and I can pronounce and understand what every word on the ingredients label is! That may seem silly, but I like to know what I am putting on and in my body!

Here is a list of the ingredients I found on their website, which you can find here

Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Beeswax (Cire D'abeille)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Natural Flavor, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract*, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract*, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract*, Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract*, Linalool1. 1Component of Natural Flavor. *Organic. Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth. Patent Pending.

I love this lip balm and totally could not live without it anymore. I highly recommend you try it!

How to Clean Your Blinds

I have a white kitchen, so it is really hard to keep up with the cleaning of it, and if I don't want to be scrubbing all the time I just had to come up with another solution. When I mentioned to my mom that I was sick of looking out of the dirty blinds on my kitchen window she shared with me a little trick she has used for years. A quick reasy way to clean your blinds in a snap.

Here are my filthy blinds before. This is just a small area of it too!

Materials needed:
Grease cutting dish soap (I used dawn)
Scrub Brush

Place blinds in the bathtub and start filling it with warm water, add about 2 tablespoons full of dish soap(you can add bleach too or instead, but don't add too much or let the blinds soak for too long, because it will rot your blinds strings). When blinds are fully submerged, turn off the water and let the blinds soak for about 2 hours.

After blinds have soaked the take scrub brush and scrub blinds gently. Pull blinds out, and there you have it: clean blinds with minimal effort.

Here are my blinds after! So nice and clean!

Sure, you can take every slat out one at a time and clean them but why would you do that when this is such an easier and much more time efficient alternative!

Seasoning Cast Iron

My mom is remodeling her kitchen, that means I inherited several new-to-me kitchen items! I was so excited for her to bring the box over for me to go through. I found several useful items I needed and the stuff that I didn't need got donated of course!
A couple of my favorites were a new canister set
this measuring magnet

and this rad flavor injector.
But the best thing of all that I inherited were these beautiful cast iron pans, a prized part of my grandmothers kitchenware. And now, they are all mine!

Along with the cast iron pans my mother passed on the tradition of seasoning cast iron to me too, and I thought it would be a wonderful thing to share with all of you! Seasoning cast iron is important to help your pans have a non stick surface and prevent your pots and pans from rusting. If seasoning is done correctly your cast iron will last a lot longer.

First we stuck them in the oven and let the ovens cleaning cycle completely clean them. And let it cool for several hours.
Next we washed the pans with a little water and used a stiff abrasive pad to scrub it. Then we placed them back in the oven to dry. A tip my mom gave me is, you should always towel dry or dry your cast iron in the oven, you shouldn't allow it to air dry because this promotes rusting.

Then we brushed the pans with some vegetable oil (although traditionally Crisco is used, I don't have this in my house.)

We let the stove cook the oil in a little bit and then placed them in the oven with the cooking side facing the bottom of the oven on 500 degrees. There is a lot of smoke during this process so you may want to have the oven vent on and some windows opened.
Finally brushed it with one last coat of vegetable oil and let it cool! I cant wait to cook with them! I will definitely be posting the first meal I make with them. I can't wait! There are lots of different traditions that are passed down for seasoning cast iron. None of them are really wrong just different than the last! I would love to hear the ways you were taught to season cast iron! 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade BBQ sauce!

Amanda and I made homemade BBQ sauce a few days ago, when most of my kitchen (pics coming soon!) was still in boxes. We used the recipe on the back of the molasses jar, and it came out super yummy!! We poured it over pieces of chicken thighs and baked for just over an hour at 400*.

 1 cup ketchup                                1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Grandmas Molasses          1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup vinegar                              1/4 tsp Trappys red Devil hot sauce (we used franks red hot sauce)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Combine all Ingredients in bowl and mix well.

Our first time making it, we added way too much ketchup, and it was ruined. Keep mixing and tasting to find the perfect flavor!

And of course, BBQ chicken wouldn't be complete without a sticky messy pan. I got to wash this glassware in my new dish washer for it's very first real run, and oh my goodness! It works so beautifully!! Check out these before and afters... The importance of a good dishwasher!



Super easy and yummy main dish! Enjoy!

The Importance of a Scentsy

When you have a clean home, free of any stinky stuff, having something to make it smell ever so delicious is a way to really make your home very inviting. For this, I <3 my Scentsy warmers!

No, I don't sell Scentsy, and I'm not doing any promoting in exchange for free product (though I'll gladly take some new holiday scents!). I just really dig the cute warmers, the green aspect of not burning candles, and the super yummy smelling house! Having a Scentsy tells your guests that you're fashionable (different themes and styles for every room!) and that you like for your house to smell as fresh and clean as it is.

Of course, you want to make sure that your house is, in fact, clean, otherwise your Scentsy will just be hiding some smell that will still be there when you toggle the switch off. Super gross, and you won't feel quite so proud of the home on which you work so hard. My current fave smell is Welcome Home, a gift from our realtor (she also gave us the bottom warmer!). It mixes the warmth of cinnamon, plus the smell of freshly baked cookies. Yum!!

Enjoy your delicious home!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Costume : Sunflower Hat

My daughter, Luxxie, is totally obsessed with Plants vs. Zombies and could think of nothing better to be this year than the sunflower that stars in this little game. I was very excited because I knew this would be a simple costume I could throw together in a snap.

K hook
F hook
Brown Yarn
Yellow Yarn
Blunt needle
Stitch Markers
Green yarn
yellow yarn
brown yarn

DC- Double Crochet
SC- Single Crochet
Rnd- Round
ML- Magic Loop
CH- Chain
R - Row
DC2tog- Double crochet 2 stitches together

Notes: This hat is crocheted in the round so mark your stitches.

This hat is made to fit a child 3-10 years you can add more rounds and more stitches to increase it or take rounds and stitches to decrease it to the size needed.

With brown yarn and K hook
ML- DC 10
Rnd1: DC 2 in each around-20
Rnd2: *1 DC in first DC, DC 2 in next DC,* Repeat * to * around -30
Rnd3: *DC in each of the next 2 DC,DC 2 in next DC*. * repeat * to * around- 40
Rnd4: *DC in each of the next 3 DC, DC 2 in next DC.* repeat * to * around -50
Rnd5: *DC in each of the next 4 DC, DC 2 in next DC.* repeat * to * around -60
Rnd6:DC in each around-60
Rnd7-10: Repeat Rnd6
After you are all done do not finish off we will make the ear flaps now

Ear flaps:
with brown yarn and K hook
Ch 3 (where we left off) Turn
R1: DC in each of the next 9 -10
R2: CH 3 Turn, DC in each of the next 9 -10
R3: CH 3 Turn, DC in each of the next 9 -10
R4: CH3 turn, Dc2tog in each of the next 2 stitches (you will have done 4 stitches into 2), DC in next 2, Dc2tog in each of the next 2 stitches. -6
R5: Ch 3 turn, dc2tog, dc next 2 stitches, dc2tog-4
finish off
Repeat Ear flap instructions 20 stitches from where you finished off the first flap.
SC green around entire hat to give it a uniformed look.

With yellow yarn and f hook
ML 5
Rnd1: 2 sc in each sc around. -10
Rnd2: *1 sc in next, 2 sc in next* Repeat * to * around - 15
Rnd3: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sc, sc 2 in next sc* Repeat * to * around - 20
Rnd4: * 1 sc in each of the next 3 sc, sc 2 in next sc* Repeat * to * around - 25
Rnd5-8:Sc in each sc around - 25 (per round)

Close petal by sc the layers together to form a cupped petal like in the picture below.

Stitch to head of hat. Its a good idea to use the person you are going to be giving the hat to so you can place the petals correctly.

At the end add braids to the sides with green yarn by inserting yarn through a DC on each side flap and braiding together. Tie secure with more green yarn and there you have it! An awesome sunflower hat!

This pattern is untested so please let me know if you find any mistakes!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Homemade Antibacterial Cleaning Spray

In my nonstop mission to make our home clean and green, I've come across a lot of homemade recipes for cleaning products and soaps that are simple and easy to make. My favorite cleaning spray is -surprise- vinegar! I mix it at home, and saves SO much money!

It's easy: take white vinegar, pour in an empty spray bottle (remember to save one when you run out of something!), and dilute about 60% with tap water.

Start cleaning!

Your house will only smell like vinegar for a little bit. After that, it will just smell clean. You may find you crave salt and vinegar chips afterward. Stay tuned for our homemade chip recipe!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Favorite Beverage: Wine

We love wine. No other way around it, wine is delicious! Each sip fills the mouth with flavor and warmth, sweetness and spiciness. There's nothing like it, and we take every chance to have a glass.

I was able to go to the Hopland Passport Weekend in Ukiah, California this weekend, and I have so much to share!

I learned a few things at the start of our tour: when you swirl your stemware around and the wine starts to slowly come down the sides, those are called legs. The more obvious the legs, the higher the alcohol content. I did it with every wine... Felt very smart hehehe!
Different types of grapes produce different wines, and each year (called the vintage) can taste different, even if it's the same name. I found an '07 that I loved, but didn't like the '08 version much at all!

I tasted probably 40 different wines, and there were three that really stood out. A moscato and a zin, plus a regional wine that was way out of my budget. My goal was to find a red that I loved, and I'm happy to report that I found it! Fred's Red, from McNab winery. It has a hint of blackberries that just makes it so flavorful!

With wine, if you don't like your first glass, keep trying. You'll find "the one," and then will want to taste every wine in the world!

I'm definitely going back next year, and I'm taking Amanda with! Stay tuned to see the fantastic steak dinner that we'll be making to eat with the zin. Yum!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Plum Jam

I'm so excited to share my new canning experience! For the first time ever I canned jam! I chose Jam because I love the consistency and that there are still pieces of the fruit in the mixture as opposed to just making a jelly or marmalade ect. Now, I'm new to the canning process and I try to explain it in as much detail as I can here but always make sure you research and consult older family members or friends who have canned before if anything seems off to you. Researching stuff before you do it is always the best tool!

about 5 cups of plums chopped (this weighed out to about 3 lbs of plums)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp pectin (or 1 package)
1 cup honey (or to taste depends on sweetness and ripeness of plums.
1/2 cup water

Add plums pectin and lemon juice to pot and cook on medium heat, the plums will start to liquefy and turn to mush.

When mushy add 1/2 cup of water and stir well until it comes to a boil
Let boil without stirring for 20-30 minutes

There is a kind of foam that forms on top when you leave it to boil (which you should for about 20 min) Scrape foam off top
Add honey and cook for another 15 minutes until it starts to form one syrupy consistency.

Wash and boil jars to prepare for jam, dry thoroughly and add hot jam.

Place lids and rings on jars
Process jars in boiling water for 20 minutes
and there you have it homemade jam! its so simple and delicious! If there is one thing I have realized its that everything that is made from scratch and by hand is so much simpler than you make it out to be in your head! Really try it! You will amaze yourself, plus you can add the amount of sugars or salts you want. So much healthier than store bought! And how can you go wrong with all the hard work you put into it? It's bound to taste delish!

Friday, October 21, 2011

D.I.Y Guitar Pick Necklace

I went to see my very favorite band last month, Minus the Bear. After the concert one of my really good friends handed me the perfect concert trinket, a guitar pick caught from a band member! I was so excited about this I wanted to be able to show it off and use it all the time, so I came up with the perfect idea. I decided to make the pick into a necklace! I wanted to share with you all how I did it, maybe it will give you some inspiration to make something too!


Hole puncher
Guitar pick
necklace chain

Punch hole in end of guitar pick

Insert necklace chain!

Seriously how cool is that? Now, I can wear it as a cute necklace and it was a totally free concert trinket!

I also sprayed some Mod Podge on it to keep the image on the pick from fading. It seems to be holding up really well so far.


Blue Ribbon White Bread

Since I was little, my mom has been in the kitchen. She worked full time my whole life, and was in music clubs, choirs, women's organizations, but still made dinner every night from scratch and spent weekends baking cookies, bread, and canning.

I have a Cuisinart food processor, the biggest size, that I use for making bread. It has a nifty dough blade and a dough setting, which makes kneading bread super easy.

You'll need:
7 c flour
2tsp sea salt
1/2 c (unsalted) butter
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 c honey

Take one tbsp yeast and one tbsp sugar and mix in a tall glass with 1/3 cup of warm water, set aside.

Put the flour in the food processor with the salt and butter, and mix until the butter is evenly distributed.

Add the honey.

Add 2 cups of cold water to the growing yeast, stir and add to the flour. Take the insert piece out of the top so the machine can still mix while you're pouring slowly. Mix for a couple minutes.

Once the dough is properly mixed, dump it in a big bowl. If dough is sticky, it needs more flour. If dough is crumbly, it needs more water. Shape the dough and let it rise with a damp tea towel over the top.

It takes about 3-4 hours for bread dough to rise in a house that's about 70*, and it's important that it gets to rise properly.

Once risen, punch it down and shape into three oval loaves, and place in 3 greased bread pans. Cover again with a damp tea towel and let rise until the bread is about 1" above the top of the pans.

Bake at 350* for 15 minutes, or until the top is hard and not quite golden, and rub some butter on the whole top. Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes till the butter is baked in.

Remove and promptly put on a cooling rack, and allow to cool for at least ten minutes before cutting into the deliciousness!

Yeah, I have three different sized bread pans, it gives my bread character. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grand Opening Give away!

In celebration of opening our blog we decided to have a give away! I love to crochet and I came up with this cute little hat to give away to one of our lucky followers!!

All you have to do to win this hat is share us with your friends! For every Facebook post, blog post, or Tweet our followers share they will get one entry into the give away! Let us know you shared us by either posting here or over on our Facebook page. You have until Tuesday November 1st to get all your entries in! The number of entries per person is not limited so blog, post, and tweet about us all you want!!

I can make this hat in any color and size! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rainy Day Chicken Soup

I am the biggest fan of rainy days and thunderstorms, and always make a warm cozy day out of them. Warm cup of chai, fleece blanket, plants vs zombies, and hot chicken soup. *love*

My soup is super easy to make. I always use my crockpot when I get the chance, because everything that goes in always comes out delish!

To start, take a few chicken breasts, some chicken bouillon and water (or stock), a couple stalks of celery chopped up and a couple just halved (you'll take them out at the end and toss), 2 big carrots chopped up, and half an onion diced.
Put that all in the crockpot early in the morning, to be on low all day.
Add fresh parsley and thyme (dried's ok too, but fresh is so much better!), dried bay leaves (2 or 3), sea salt and fresh pepper. Don't add too much salt at the beginning, but check it later on, because the flavors all mingle together so well, too much salt at the beginning can ruin it. Leave that all on low for 6-8 hours.
Pull out the chicken when it's cooked through (around hour 4) to shred it with forks, then put that back in the pot.
When the celery and carrots are tender, it's ready!

(While my soup was simmering, I whipped up a double batch of bread dough- 3 loaves, 1 dozen rolls, and 8 homemade hot pockets- recipes coming soon! You can also see my hard boiled eggs cooling in the sink... my kids love to eat them straight with a dash of salt.)
Take the bay leaves out (or don't, and the finder does the dishes), and serve with a slice of buttered fresh homemade bread (in another post).

Days like these call for some knitting or crocheting, can't wait till Amanda teaches me how!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meet The Homemade Harlots

My name is Amanda

I'm 23 and married to the most amazing man for 3 years now! I have 3 wonderful children and couldn't be happier with my life. I'm in love with crafts and anything about being a domestic artist (what I like to refer to myself as, basically a modern twist on the 50's housewife, like way modern)

I love twitter (@shesamightyship) and reading. I am addicted to my Ipad and my Android phone. I am a android/apple hybrid and love them both just the same.

I wanted to start this blog to share with a younger generation (my generation) the domestic arts that many of our grandmothers perfected when they were younger. I feel like the many crafts of the past are getting lost and I want to revive them and give them a new life and a modern twist that ladies (and gentlemen) of our generation can enjoy!


You can call me Melanie.

In words, stay at home mom of 3, wife of an Airman, lactation counselor, & Democrat.

In life, so much more!

I'm addicted to body mods, natural living, baking, decorating, Twitter (@MelanieLLLouise), and Plants vs Zombies.

I overcame significant stereotypes to get where I am: a feminist birther choosing to be a full time housewife. And I'm kicking ass at it! Like my luff, Amanda, I'm all about becoming a domestic artist. It's our passion. <3


Tuesday Tip: Up-cycled Garbage Bag Box

We're starting a tradition on this blog called the Tuesday Tip. We often find some information or have a clever idea we just have to share. So come back every Tuesday for something new.

This week I thought it would be fun to share a little idea I had for up-cycling a Garbage bag box. Its a really simple idea, and pretty useful.

My plastic bags I get from the store are always such a mess, I know I could use reusable store bags but I just cant get myself to always remember to bring those along. So, I want give those bags a purpose and not just toss them out.

This is what my bag storage situation looked like before

And this is what it looks like now!

I just took an old garbage bag box and stuffed in the plastic bags and Voila! You have yourself a plastic bag storage solution! 


Homemade Pumpkin Pie

So now that the holidays are coming up I thought it was the perfect time to post a made from scratch pumpkin pie! This is the perfect way to impress people during the holidays especially if you're a beginner to cooking because its just so simple!
They never come out looking just like the store bought ones but they ALWAYS come out tasting so much better!

1 medium pumpkin halved and gutted (I used sugar pumpkins if you don't use sugar pumpkins add sugar to taste usually about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tbsp pumpkin pie seasoning (I just had some laying around, alternatively you could use cinnamon nutmeg cloves and cardamon I dont know the exact amount but taste everything! make it how you love it!)
2 eggs and an additional egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon zest
Pie Crust (I would have made this from scratch had I not had a spare pie shell sitting around. Waste not want not)

First and foremost I always pour myself a glass of wine, I love me some cooking and wine! :-)
1.Remove stem and gut pumpkin.(I save the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds) Lay pumpkin cut side down on foil lined baking sheet bake 350 until tender and mashable like potatoes about 45 min - 1 hour.

Let cool

Peel skin (orange part) of pumpkin off.
Mash flesh of pumpkin with potato masher (or even a spoon or blend with food processor)

In food processor (or with hand mixer, ect.) add cream, seasoning, eggs and lemon zest.(enjoy the laundry in the background)

Blend until a smooth consistency
Pour into pie crust

Bake in oven at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 for 45 minutes.
Let cool.
This was a really big hit with my mother in law and pumpkin pie is her favorite! SCORE! I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe and I would absolutely love to hear variations and suggestions!
Happy Baking!