Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Some Like It Hot

Before you start to actually sauté your ingredients, you should preheat your pan for a few minutes. 

Making sure that your pan is at the proper temperature before adding oil or ingredients.

Meat…As far as cooking meat, heating the skillet before adding any oil or ingredients—such as chicken or pork chop—will mean that your meat will not be as dry as if you had not done this. The reason is that tender cuts of meat needs to be cooked as quickly as possible in order to stay tender.

If your pan is cold when you add your meat, the meat will spend more time over the heat

If your pan is not hot enough when you add your meat, then the meat will just sit there until your pan slowly heats up enough to start cooking the meat.

As the meat just sits there waiting, eventually the juices will start leaking out and then boiling away….resulting in disgusting gray-colored soggy pork chops or tough, instead of tender,  chicken.

Veggies...As far as cooking veggies, heating the skillet before adding any oil or ingredients will mean that your veggies will steam them instead of sautéing. This will mean that you will have drab, mushy, overcooked vegetables—not crisp, flavorful and brightly-colored veggies because the veggies have spent too much time over the heat.

How Hot is Hot Enough?…To make sure that your pan is hot enough to add your meat and/or veggies, set a drop of water into the pan. If it’s ready, the water will jump and skitter around on the surface.

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Bibliophiles, Sewing a Straight Seam

Books, Books, Books Galore

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As far as your friends and family that absolutely can’t put a book down and would much rather be holding a leather bound book than a brand new cell phone or Ipad, here are some great sources for book suggestions as to which book to buy for what person…

Blogs can be excellent sources of information. A few blogs about books are Book RiotBustle BooksOmnivoraciousThe Millions, and The New York Review of Books.

Book clubs can also be useful as you embrace a literary lifestyle. Four of the better known book clubs are DoubleDayOprahGoodreads, and Book of the Month.

Book lists can also be found with reviews on sites like Book List OnlineList ChallengesGoodreadsBook RiotNew York Public Library, and Reading Group Choices.

Book reviews can also be read on pages with Book Challenges. Several challenges that I have been following this year are…

All About Austen…Read or watch anything inspired by Jane Austen.

Back to the Classics…Discover and enjoy classic books you might not have tried, or just never got around to reading.

Christian Reading Challenge.

Foodies Read…”Do you read books about food? There are books about food in so many different genres…

  • Cozy mysteries set in bakeries…
  • Romance books set in tea shops..
  • Nonfiction books about the history of ingredients…
  • Cookbooks
  • Memoirs from chefs or waiters or people who just love to eat…

Full House Reading Challenge ...Complete the Bingo card of challenges with fiction or non-fiction books

Netflix and Books Challenge. This is going to be a yearly challenge focused on watching television shows we’ve been wanting to get to (both new and old), and reading books we’ve been wanting to read that match some fun challenge prompts

Reading Assignment Challenge... Commit to reading 1, 2, 3 or 4 books a month and make a list of the specific books you will read each month.

Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge...This challenge is about QUALITY and not quantity. It’s not about reading fifty books or even twelve books. This is an anti-rush reading challenge. Enjoy where you are in a book, and, engage fully in it. Live in the book.

Victorian Reading Challenge…More than any other time in modern history, the Victorian Age saw the most change to European and American societies. Many agrarian, rural communities transitioned to urban centers of industry. Men and women began to talk about and take steps toward redefining their traditional roles. Theories about God, the origin of man, and the practice of religion began to be publicly put forth, challenged, refuted, or solidified. The Victorian Age saw a great revolution in the western world and it’s a topic that fascinates me endlessly.  

Pinterest Boards may also prove to be a great asset a few worth noting are

  • Book Community Board
  • Goodreads
  • Penguin Random House Boards
  • Random House Official Pinterest Board

Websites can obviously give you reviews, reading guides, interviews with authors, and so forth. A few websites worth investing your time in are…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Creative Gifts for Creative Minds

We all have creative people in our lives—those “avid do-it-yourselfers who love the challenge of changing “cheap:” dollar store and thrift shop finds into brilliant pieces of art—the wanna be Joanna Gaines…

So what are non-creative people like me supposed to get a creative idea as to what to get these people when we can’t even thread a needle and have no idea what a Cricuit even is.

One idea is help replenish their “stash” by giving them those things that they simply  must ALWAYS have on hand…as if they were milk, butter, and eggs…

Two things that all crafters always need and can use in abundance are…

Fabric,,,need I say more?

Paint...It may seem silly to be giving creative people something as simple as paint for Christmas, but you wouldn’t think twice about giving quality makeup to a true diva, right?

After all, creative people absolutely LOVE paint…Be careful if you go to a true crafter’s house not to be very still for an extended amount of time…If you do, you might find yourself painted too…and definitely don’t go to sleep on their sofas.

  • Acrylic Craft Paint…Acrylic craft paint, especially white, only costs about fifty cents a bottle and comes in handy for lots of small paint projects, such as small little wooden pieces to use as embellishments or canvas art…and true crafters can always use help replenishing or adding to their stock of colors! It
  • Spray Paint…Spray paint can change things dramatically, and add new life to worn-out items with the press of a button.

Scrapbook/Decorative Paper…Most, if not all, crafters absolutely LOVE pretty scrapbook paper…Scrapbook paper can be the one of the cheapest and easiest ways for creative people to add a fresh look to their homes—by doing such things as putting paper in frames and changing out the framed paper for every season and occasion in order to  change the whole look of a room with just a few cents worth of paper.

A second line of thought as far as to gifts for crafters would be gifts that they receive regularly throughout the year—magazine subscriptions and subscription boxes.

Subscription Boxes

Subscription  boxes—such as CrateJoy, DarbySmart, KiwiCrate, and Makers Kit— deliver crafting supplies directly to your favorite crafter’s doorstep every month.

Subscription boxes are a great way to treat the crafters in your life with a tangible monthly reminder of how much you love them all throughout the year.

Subscription boxes are available for all sorts of crafters—including scrapbooking, calligraphy, knitting, drawing, and painting.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most popolar subscription boxes out there…

1.Adults and Crafts Crate

  • What it costs…about $30 per month
  • What it contains……everything you need—including materials, tools, and instructions—to do projects such as making a terrarium,  creating an autumn wreath, and building a wine caddy

2. Boho Berry Box

  • What it costs…$25 per mont
  • What you get…a tracker, planner stickers, and other products—such as stickers, stationery, pens, pencils, markers, and other goodies—from creative journaling brands

3.Chroma Club

  • What it costs…$8 a month
  • What you get…one coloring book each month containing a collection of art from indie artists, as well as biographical information on each one

4. Cloth & Paper

  • What it costs…three options available…$18 per month for pen subscription, 38 per month for stationery, 48 for both
  • What you get…5-8 pieces of stationery and/or 4-6 pens or pencils depending on which box you choose

5. Darn Good Yarn of the Month

  • What it costs…$10
  • What you get…three options available—fabric, beads, and yarn

6. Foodstirs

  • What it costs…about $25 a month
  • What you get…organic cake and cookie mixes, chemical-free decorations, and all the supplies and kid-friendly instructions you need to finish the project

7. .Grow and Make

  • What it costs…$30 per month
  • What you get…materials to finish one project per month in the following categories—Bath and Body, Beverages, Candles, Culinary, and Gardening 

8. Home Made Luxe

  • What is costs…$40 per month
  • What you get…all the essential materials to create a “gorgeous, Pinterest-worthy” home decor project with written and video instructions, so you’ll know exactly how to make them

9. Homegrown Collective

  • What it costs: $25 per month
  • What you get…all the materials and tools you need to make 3 to 4 projects designed to replace your toxic bath, beauty, home, and kitchen items with all-natural and organic alternatives.

10. Knir Crate

  • What it costs…$20 to $35 per month depending on which kit you choose
  • What you get…four different choices available—knit crate, sock crate, artisan crate, sock artisan crate, and a colloboration

 11.Knit Wise

  • What you get…yarn, needles, step-by-step instructions and anything else you might need to complete various projects—such as coasters and wall hangings
  • What it cost…$29

12. New Hobby Box

What it costs…$35 a month

What you get…eleven options available…

  1. Book Binding
  2. Eco Printing
  3. Electronics
  4. Lock Picking
  5. Macrame
  6. Paper Making
  7. Pickling
  8. Pyrograhy
  9. Scrimshaw
  10. Tasseograhy
  11. Weaving

12. Pipsticks

  • What it costs…$14.95 a month
  • What you get…15+ sheets of stickers, a postcard, a Sticker Club Newsletter, and other great stuff

13. Quilter’s Candy Box

  • What it costs…$50 per month
  • What you get…various fabrics and other necessities—along with other surprise goodies like chocolate, candies, mugs, tote bags, and more

14. Quilty Boxts…

  • What it costs…three options available, ranging from $24 to $48
  • What you get…two yards of fabric, a small spool of thread, one or two notions and tools, and Bundles of Inspiration mini-magazine complete with a showcase on the featured artist, articles and tips, and three patterns (full sized pattern from our featured artist, a mini pattern, and an English paper piecing pattern).

15. Sew Sampler Quilting Subscription Box

  • What it costs…$25 per month
  • What you get… at least five specially chosen items—such as fabric, notions, patterns, thread—always totaling more than your monthly cost

16. SketchBox

  • What it costs…$25-$35 per month
  • What you get…four to six art supplies—such as Copic markers, Krink paint markers, Pan pastels, Caran d’Ache Luminance Colored Pencils, Zig Brush Pens, Van Gogh watercolors, Gum Erasers—as well as an inspirational piece of art made with the materials in the box by our featured artist

17. Smart Art

  • What it costs: $49.95 a month
  • What you get…six full-sized art supplies, a unique project in 6 simple steps, and tutorials created by your favorite YouTube artists

Getting Healthy

Book Review…Making Soap from Scratch by Gregory White

  
Making Soap From Scratch, is a guide about soap making written for beginners without any prior knowledge of soap making. This book sparked my interest because after learning about all of the “bad stuff” found in skincare and cosmetics, I am seriously contemplating this whole idea of making my own “good stuff..”

    The title, Making Soap From Scratch, is appropriate for the book because the book carries the reader from the most basic supplies to making your own soaps to selling your homemade soaps at flea markets and bazaars.

      This theme is carried out throughout the book as evident by all of the recipes for making cold processed soaps, specialty soaps, luxury soaps, soaps for everyday use, and lard or beef tallow soap.

          

          The author of the book is Gregory Lee White, founder of the company,  AROMAGREGORY CREATIVE INC..Gregory began as an employee at a friend’s local Garden Botanika store to opening his own store in 2003 to now owning the most “hip and funky New Age – Metaphysical store” in Nashville, that sells a  “repertoire” of products including largest variety of essential oils, aromatherapy diffusers, and over 250 teas and herbs. Gregory White is also the author of the book ESSENTIAL OILS AND AROMATHERAPY: HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR BEAUTY, HEALTH, AND SPIRITUALITY.

          According to the introduction, this book promises to teach the reader the beginning process of making good soaps that are great for your skin.

          I particularly liked the fact that the book that the ingredients found in the book’s recipes are easy to find and not extremely expensivebecause I don’t want to waste more time and effort into my soapmaik got journey than necessary.

          I honestly do think that the book fulfills the purpose and promises that the author makes in the preface and introduction, and highly recommend this book because the book is easy to follow and packed with information written in a way that simply makes sense.

          The book was easy to understand and even more interesting than I had originally hoped, and I would recommend this book mainly to readers who simply want to “get their feet wet” in this soap making world.