Monday, December 29, 2008

Minnie Maes Now Sells Soaps!

Cameo rose goats milk soap

My kitchen smells good. Do You want to know why? (I'm not bragging by the way- just stating a fact) It's because...................

Minnie Maes Now Sells Soaps!

Here are embossed exfoliating bars and all natural coffee bars

My kitchen smells good because I have a bunch of soaps curing there right now. I will be moving them soon but I would love to mail them instead. If you can help me out with that, just let me know.....

Currently, I am selling all glycerin soaps and I plan to carry an all natural line soon. Stay tuned in the soap area, I have some plans that I am cooking up! (Literally speaking that is)

What's cooking in your kitchen today?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Random Christmas Jibber Jabber

Since I totally ran out of time this year before Christmas, I didn't even get to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I apologize that I didn't get to it before now. You know, it is only two whole days past Christmas.....What can I say? I had planned on posting some cute Christmas picture or some such, but I didn't even get to look for that. They are still on my camera (and hubby clearly stated not to post the goofy picture of him playing, "Guess who I am"). So, here I am. I am going to let you know a few things that went on at my house over the past few days.

Here are some random things heard at my house over the past few days:

"Mom, jackets are for nerds!" (I guess we all are nerds then) "I didn't eat all of the tootsie rolls" (Yeah, right. Then why are there two empty containers?) "He's been here, he's been here!" (Heard throughout the house at exactly 5:00am Christmas morning) "The reindeer's dropped carrot bits all over the driveway!" (This was discovered once the extremely heavy fog began lifting Christmas morning) "Rudolph's nose must have gotten a workout last night" (Yes, I admit to this one- you could have cut the fog with a knife Christmas morning) "I only have 5 more days until I have to go back to work" (This came from a workaholic at my house) "You got me something from ETSY!!!!!!!!!!" (I was thrilled to hear this one from my niece) "When is it my turn on the computer?" (I hear this all of the time- not just at Christmas) and the one that almost brought me to my knees:
"Bring two sugar free apple pies, a mess of Lima beans, and a broccoli casserole." (I had three hours to pull this one off-it was a miracle. Don't' let anyone tell you that miracles don't happen- especially at Christmas time.)

Here are some things that I learned during the holidays:

It is possible to make homemade cream of mushroom soup.
There is a such a thing as eating too much heavenly baked ham.
Cooked, yeast rolls can be frozen and they still turn out alright. My refrigerator is way too small for a holiday meal. 60 devilled eggs was just enough this year for everyone- thank goodness! There is a such a thing as too much sugar free pudding in one's diet. Who was I kidding when I thought I would get to mop the kitchen floor before Christmas? No one noticed that my carpet did not get cleaned. I still love peanut butter squares.
Wrapping paper from the Dollar Tree is awesome. And lastly, I can play Guitar Hero and not make a fool of myself.

So, what did you learn this Christmas?

In all seriousness, things turned out great for my family. I hope the same went on for yours.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year (and a late merry Christmas),


Monday, December 22, 2008

Diabetic Munchy Mix

The Cast of Characters
(Can you tell that we love Whole Food Market?)

Mixing the "mix"
(I love my huge silver bowl-it is my favorite)

The Final Product
(Don't you just love canning jars? They are so useful!)

  1. Sunflower Seeds (salted or unsalted- your choice) You could use any combination of nuts if you like.
  2. Cashews (salted or unsalted- your choice)
  3. Bag of Puffed Kamut (Check out your local health food store for this) You could use puffed rice if you like.
  4. Bag of veggie straws or veggie fries (You could sub these with any low salt version of chips/straws/pretzels, etc) You can find these at health food grocery stores and some chain markets.
Well, that is it. The quantities are up to you. If you have nut lovers, put more nuts in. If you have veggie straw lovers, add more of those. This mix is great for diabetics as there are not a lot of bad carbs and oils to run the sugar up. Whole grains and nuts will digest slower and thus no flood of sugar into the bloodstream. Nuts are just plain good for you too.

This mix was the brainchild of my hubby. I give him all of the credit. He loves this stuff. His mother loves this stuff. As a matter of fact, she is getting some for Christmas. (She doesn't know that my blog exists so it's OK that I said that).

Every year, our family gets all of the kids something for Christmas and we adults just watch them quickly tear into all of the paper, sit back snapping photos, and laughing. No one really cares whether they get a gift or not (the adults I mean- the kids would freak out if they didn't get a gift). Well, every year, even though we are not supposed to spend on the adults, we get everyone a little something. One year, they got a coffee cup filled with reindeer poop. This year, well, they are getting munch mix. I still can't think of some cute and funny name to call it that compares to reindeer poop, but there is still time before Christmas. Maybe we'll think of something.

Warning: Home school mom has to throw in educational information:

There are diabetics in my neck of the woods. There are probably diabetics in your neck of the woods too. There are also thousands of diabetics in the world.

According to the Weston A Price Foundation's article by Dr. Tim Cowan, diabetes can be considered a modern day epidemic with more than 20 million people in the United States suffering with the disease. Some families are lucky enough to not have to worry about diabetes but others deal with it daily.

Around my family circles, we are known as "health" nuts. We weren't always what people considered nuts (or at least we didn't think so). Our "health nut" adventure began when we started researching herbs, a healthy diet, and the effects of our modern American diet on our bodies. Have you ever watched the film "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock? It is a good starting point. Just google it and you will find information about it easily.

There are some good books out there too about diabetes. I have read these to begin with: Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Julian Whitaker and How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine by Dr. Michael Murray. Both are very eye opening reads in regards to finding out that some diabetics can treat themselves with diet, exercise, vitamins, and herbs (especially the "herb" part). The study of herbs is very close to my heart as I have just begun to try some of nature's miracle medicine on my family.

To further your own adventure, take a trip to a health food store. There are increasingly larger numbers of these types of stores popping up as the rising cost of pharmaceuticals are forcing people to seek more affordable alternatives to what their doctors are prescribing.

I could go on forever talking about natural treatments! My advice to you all is to research things for yourself. You just might be surprised at the information that is out there. While you are looking all of that great information up, snack on some munchy mix.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can you believe there are still some undiscovered shops on Etsy?

This little girl and doll flannel nightgown combo is from

This handmade angel quilt is from

Stamped Soaps from

Cell Phone Charm from

Limited Edition Photograph by

All of these shops are members of the SHE Team and are undiscovered. Come and take a look in their shops. You might just find something that you can not do without!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's Outside My Windows.... (Part 3)

Well folks, here it is....
Tony the Tiger Forgot to Eat Breakfast and collapsed from hunger.

I guess you have figured out what is going on by now. If not, I can probably give you a few suggestions as to just why there is a huge orange tiger lying on it's back outside my windows if I think about it hard enough.

This sight was just one of those things that makes a person stop in their tracks and think about the comical aspects of this phenomenon.

No, Clemson University's mascot was not kidnapped and tortured in the making of this blog post (or at least I don't think so).

The distressed looking fellow above didn't growl or pounce. He jiggled and jangled. Not exactly what you would be used to a tiger doing. Surely someone came along after awhile to help this helpless fellow get off of his back. I know his legs were stiff. They were sticking straight up in the air all afternoon. Maybe Tony was playing charades and was acting out being a turtle that some quick rabbit knocked off of its feet. Who knows. All I know is that he is gone now. I wonder where that huge tiger went? Probably somewhere that serves cereal for breakfast.

My hubby snapped this picture with quick thinking as I was making a chocolate run (I got a huge pack of M&M's by the way). Just so you know, his favorite college football team is Clemson University.

Speaking of Clemson University, I suppose I could tell you about the time he tortured our next door neighbor with Clemson paraphernalia. You see, being in South Carolina, most people are either Carolina Gamecock fans or Clemson University fans. Some poor, confused souls are both. There are those families that are what we call, living in a "house divided". There are also those rare few that choose to stay neutral when the subject of football is discussed (yours truly included). Well, hubby's birthday was coming up and the next door neighbor heard tell of this. The next day, well...., let just say that there was a Carolina Gamecock tag that ended up on hubby's car. And as a twisted fate would have it, hubby was to drive to Clemson, SC that same day. You know the rest.....

The Hackfields and the McCoys didn't have much on those two after that.

The war was on. Our neighbor, upon coming home from work a few days later, did not see the American Flag majestically flying in his front yard. No, he saw a huge orange flag with a paw print flying majestically in his Gamecock yard. Hubby didn't stop at that. He put a smaller flag by the walkway and a paw print sticker on his front door. Our youngest then received a new Gamecock sweatsuit a few days later.

Now, things have been kind of quiet lately. I'm wondering what will happen next between those two......

So you see folks, sometimes I see some strange things outside my windows. Whether it be practical jokes being played, or in this instance, a huge, bright orange tiger lying on it's back, things are quite interesting in my part of the world. I just have to share these strange things with someone and you are lucky enough to be just that someone.

Stay tuned for part 4 of "What's Outside My Windows". Knowing the goings on around here, it is sure to be something worthy of a good laugh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Did you know Minnie Maes does custom orders?

A Scrappy Patchwork Tote

Cute party gift bags for a special birthday girl.

Specialty sized fabric gift bags for Christmas gifts

Parent and child trick or treat bags

Matching grocery totes with coin purses

I enjoy doing special custom orders. The pictures above a just a few custom orders that I have sold through my etsy shop: Minnie Maes. I have done several orders offline too. If you look around my shop, you will get some idea of the kinds of things I make.

I even make unusual items so don't be afraid to ask. As a matter of fact, right now, there is a 3 foot long John Deere snake lying across the entertainment center and a special Doctor Who pillow which is probably on it's way to Scotland by now. If you would like something specially made, visit my shop and convo me!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some Etsy Shops to Peek Into

Here is a list of South Carolina shops that are still undiscovered. Why don't you make yourself the first lucky person to discover them! Take a look!

Some of you already know that I am a member of the South Carolina Etsy Street Team. There are a few team members that would love to make a sale. Ok, there are more than just a few but there are some that deserve a sale right now! So, if you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, give one of these shops a visit. You will not be disappointed, there is some awesome talent in South Carolina! Take a few minutes and browse around in this list. You might just be surprised at what you find!

Thanks to CurlyFry for mentioning these wonderful undiscovered shops.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Teddy Bears Everywhere!

Here are some cuties past and present from Minnie Maes. I say this because one of these sweeties has a new home and two have yet to find one of their own. For now, those two without homes, reside in distinctly different locations until they are purchased. Daisy spends her days along with Annie, Holly, and Bingo in a sealed plastic tub. Spots, on the other hand, resides atop a shelf near my computer, inside of another future project of mine. Yes, he is protected from the elements but, I can see him every day and he is a reminder to me that I need to make more teddy bears (and I also need to work on that future project that hopefully, you will hear more about one day).

You see, all of my teddy bears have a story behind them. Whether it be the fabric they are made from, or the unique name that they hold, they mean something to me and will mean something totally different to someone else one day. Life is funny that way. No one would ever assume that Annie is named after one of the very special "Maes" that I mention in my profile in my Etsy shop. True to her description, Annie was named after a real Annie. She was fearless and brave (and also wore a red toboggan hat). She loved fishing and driving tractors.
Charlie was named after a real Charlie who farmed all of his life and sold his wares to countless people throughout his county. Mae Bear was named after another very special "Mae" mentioned in my Etsy shop's profile. (In real life, Mae was Charlie's real brother)

So there you go, sometimes the simplest of objects can hold a very special meaning -in this case, Teddy Bears. As soon as you can, stop by to see the family of teddy bears that are waiting patiently for a home.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What's Outside My Windows.... (Part 2)

I have begun to notice that when people come over to my house and are standing in the kitchen, they tend to look out my windows. That is good since I might have a few dirty dishes in the sink that I didn't want them to notice. You might even find some chocolate finger prints on the refrigerator. But these things are alright. As long as my visitors are looking outside, they will not see the things that I haven't gotten to that day.

Yesterday, I was wondering what goodies might show up next outside my windows and I didn't have to wonder very long. I actually figured that my next posting of "What's Outside My Windows", would consist of a monster, Barney the dinosaur, or even a giant evil clown. I was even prepared to show you all Melvin (you'll see Melvin one day when nothing else strange shows up). But no, as fate would have it, The Titanic was the next thing I saw outside my window. In case you have no clue as to what the Titanic was or in my case, is, I'll let you know a few facts about it.

That's what home school moms do, they spit out random facts that pertain to everyday life. (In my case, everyday life just happened to consist of the Titanic outside the window).

According to Wikipedia, the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. Over 1,500 people perished as a result of the Titanic colliding with an iceberg 400 miles south of the New Foundland Grand Banks. Throughout history, people have marvelled over this accident and numerous books and movies have highlighted or featured the sinking of this huge luxury liner.

All of that marvelling is probably what caused a two or three story version of the Titanic to show up outside my windows. Go figure.... Somebody, somewhere, thought it was a good idea. It was, wasn't it? Not many people see something like this outside their windows. To think, I was worried that something interesting wouldn't show up outside my windows this week. Boy, was I wrong!

I might be one of the very few people that have not seen the most recent movie about the sinking of this massive ship, but, that is alright as I got to see a replica of the ship itself outside my windows! That's better I think. No one will die when this Titanic sinks. That is good.

Why, the entire family has gotten in on this fun. Hubby grabbed the camera the other day and snapped what will be part 3 of "What's outside my windows". The kids are good about allerting us as to when and where something strange shows up. As a matter of fact, something quite unusual has showed up outside my windows just today! Stay tuned to see what part 3 of "What's outside my windows" has in store......You might just learn something along the way too!

Rice Pad Sewing Tutorial - Part 2

Welcome to part two of the Rice Pad sewing tutorial.

Above, you will see a 13" by 13" piece of fabric chosen for the outside cover of the inside rice pad made in the last tutorial. As seen in the picture, you will need to fold down the edge on one side of the fabric (fold from right side to wrong side). Although not pictured, you will need to pin this side. Proceed to the other three sides as well and fold and pin. I folded about a half inch. It does help to fold two parallel sides and then do the two opposite parallel sides. You will need to stitch all four sides at this point.

Here is the 13" by 13" piece of outer fabric stitched on all four sides so that there are no raw edges.

Now, lay your completed inner pad in the middle of the piece of outer fabric that you just finished stitching the raw edges on.

Fold the bottom half up and the top piece down as seen here.

Although not pictured, pin the right side of the outer fabric together at this point. Once you have it pinned in place, carefully slide the inner pad out of the outer cover as in the picture above.

Now, pin the left side of the fabric together just as you pinned the right side. This is what you should have when you are done. If you look very carefully, you will see the two pins on each side here.

Off to the sewing machine you go. Follow the stitching that shows through on the right sides of the fabric, stitch straight across both edges of the cover. If you follow the previous stitching, it will look neater. Don't worry if you get off line, it doesn't affect the pad's structure. It only effects it's looks.

Next, slide the inner pad inside the cover. Straighten the outer cover that you just created.

Voila, you are finished. Aren't you proud of yourself?

Here is the finished pad in all it's glory. To use the pad, simply pop it into your microwave. All microwave settings are different but to begin with, I would not heat the pad over 1 minute on high. In my microwave, 1 minute is for sinus pressure relief (not too hot but just right). For major muscle trouble, we microwave no more than 1 minute and 30 seconds. You will need to play around with the times until you find a time and temperature that suits you. The outer cover of the pad can be easily removed and washed as needed.

The rice pad will emit a warm, moist heat that soothes and relieves. It not only helps your muscles, it is super easy on the pocket book. The best part is that you made it yourself!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rice Pad Sewing Tutorial - Part 1

Today, I thought I would share a simple sewing craft that you can complete in just a short while, with just basic sewing knowledge. This tutorial will use a sewing machine and a few basic sewing supplies including a rotary cutter (you can use scissors if you like), thread, fabric (preferably cotton or cotton blend), straight pins, some sort of measuring device with a straight edge (I used a large quilting ruler), and rice (you can use any type- brown smells neat but I usually use white-it's cheaper- your preference).

If you do not know what a rice pad is, it is a heating pad that you heat in your microwave. It produces a steady moist heat for all of your bumps and bruises, tummy aches, and my favorite, a comforter for a sinus headache.Pictured above are several different fabrics. The pad will consist of one inner layer (containing the rice) and one outer cover that can be easily taken off and washed if needed. Decide if you want the inner layer to be a different fabric than the outer at this point. You can use just one fabric or two if you like. I would suggest that the outer layer, which will be covered in part two of this tutorial, not be white or cream (those colors show dirt too easily).

The first step is to measure out a 10" by 10" piece of fabric and cut it out with your rotary cutter or scissors.

Here, I have three 10" x 10" squares but you will only need one. (I was making three at the same time for Christmas gifts).

Now, take your 10" piece and fold it in half. You will want to pin the piece several times on the raw edge in preparation for the sewing machine.

You will need to sew a straight stitch all the way across the long raw edges that you pinned together. Now, sew only one side of the short edge. I used a scant 3/8" seam allowance. You can use a larger seam allowance if you want. Just make sure that you use the same seam allowance measurement on all seams.

What you will end up with is a rectangle with one end and the long side stitched. This picture doesn't show the stitching on the short side very well, but it is there.

Now is the time to turn the bag inside out.

Here is the bag inside out. Don't worry about pushing the corners out exactly as the rice will do this for you later.

Don't get confused! I know I said this was a rice pad tutorial, but when I got to this stage, I realized to my horror, that I was out of rice. Thinking quickly, I decided to use wheat berries as a substitute. Although I have not heated wheat berries in the microwave before, I am told they work just as well as rice. Since I have not done this myself, I would suggest you use only rice unless you know for sure that wheat berries are good substitutes. Bear with me, the wheat berries are the same consistency that I needed for this tutorial so that is what I am going to use for educational purposes.

Fill your bag with rice (ahem, I know I'm using wheat berries...) and leave about 3-4 inches unfilled. This will allow the rice some moving room and will create a pad that is not hard as a rock when you use it.

Once you have filled the bag all but about 3 or 4 inches full, turn the raw edges inward about an inch or so (use your judgement here, you just need enough to be able to catch both edges in a seam in the next step.

Quickly pin the two edges together that you had previously turned inward. I say quickly because the rice will try to escape if you are not careful. "Don't run away rice, we need you!"

Here, I am sewing across the pinned edge to close the seam. Don't forget to take your pins out before the needle runs over them. Sometimes you can get away with this but 9 times out of 10, you will break a needle this way.

Congratulations, you have completed step one of making a rice pad! What you have before you, is the inner part of your rice pad. This part can not be washed and must be protected by an outer layer to keep it clean and dry. We will cover how to make the outer layer in part two of this tutorial.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What's Outside My Windows.... (Part 1)

Welcome to what I will call a new series on this blog: What's Outside My Windows.....

Yes, I know it may seem silly at first, but let me explain. Until this morning, I had never realized that there are strange things going on all around me that others might not be seeing or experiencing. How did I realize this? While cooking last night in the oven, I had some spillover from the sauce on my baked chicken. I had forgotten about it and when I preheated the oven this morning to make delicious breakfast cookies, needless to say, the kitchen quickly filled with smoke. I opened the back door for a few minutes for the smoke to escape and I looked up and saw the sight pictured above. No, I don't live in medieval times and my neighbors are not into jousting, it's just that sometimes, there are some strange sights to be seen outside my windows. So, don't you think it is nice to look outside and see a castle majestically rising above the tree tops? I thought so too. I wanted to share this with you all out in cyber land. Who knows, maybe next week, there might be a dinosaur or some such lurking in the back yard.....

Look for other posts in the future featuring What's Outside My Windows. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this idea....he he he.....

.....By the way, the cookies turned out great and I have now cleaned the oven so not to worry......