menu plan monday ~ july 17, 2017

As promised, I made mayonnaise last week. After a false start, success! It’s not hard to do, but there are rules to follow. If you want to give it a try, I’d suggest you google for some hits and tips before beginning. Understanding the process helps! I used the mayonnaise to make chicken salad, which was a hit at dinner.

Homemade chicken salad…yum!

chicken salad

Sunday morning, DH and I went out to pick flowers for the Sunday bouquet. The daylily season is well past its heighth, though there are still some in good bloom. Everything was covered with a heavy dew.

Sunday morning daisies

We picked some yellow daylilies, phlox, hydrangea and daisies for the bouquet.

Sunday bouquet

DD’s kitty Buttercup found some quiet time to enjoy a patch of sunlight in the front hall.

sunlight = cat magnet

I found something, too. Inspiration for my next Putz house, which is actually a barn. I took this screen shot of a picture I saw on Instagram and drew a pattern based on the picture. I am in the process of putting it together and will have a post about it soon.

Putz inspiration

In the meantime, here’s the menu for this week.

Monday
Fridge Food

Tuesday
Cheddar Burgers
Roasted Kohlrabi with Parmesan
Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Wednesday
Pan Seared Tilapia
Sautéed Summer Squash and Garlic
Steamed Green Beans

Thursday
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in the Instant Pot

Friday
Fried Chicken
Loaded Cauliflower and Broccoli
Corn on the Cob
Garden Salad

Saturday
Fridge Food

Sunday
Turkey Roast in the Instant Pot
Mashed Cauliflower
Steamed Sugar Snap Peas
Garden Salad

I hope your week is going well!

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ july 10, 2017

The past week seemed to drag. Because the Fourth was on a Tuesday this year, it threw off my weekly clock! I had a hard time figuring out which day it was because the Tuesday felt like a weekend. This week should be better. Not as much planned.

This morning, while I was making the bouquet for church, the cats did their usual thing…

Clark sniffed the flowers.

Clark

Winston drank the water. DD said, “It’s like cucumber water for cats.”

Winston

Buttercup was her usual standoffish self. Interested but not quite participating.

Buttercup

The bouquet was made with daylilies and branches from a spirea bush.

Sabbath flowers

This week I am trying a few new recipes on the menu. I have never made my own mayonnaise, but am going to give it a try for the chicken salad I have planned for Monday. I have some diced chicken I need to freeze or use. I’m going with use. Because I love chicken salad.

Monday
Chicken Salad
Leftover Stir Fried Bok Choy

Tuesday
Creamy Garlic Butter Tuscan Shrimp
Arugula and Spinach Salad with Lime Dressing

Wednesday
Cheddar Burgers
Loaded Cauliflower
Dill Pickle Spears

Thursday
Instant Pot Kalua Pig (Shredded Pork and Cabbage)
Garden Salad

Friday
Oven Fried Chicken
Steamed Sugar Snap Peas
Garden Salad

Saturday
Fridge Food

Sunday
Baby Back Ribs in the Instant Pot
Mashed Cauliflower
Steamed Green Beans
Garden Salad

Do you know what’s for supper at your house? Life in the kitchen is easier when you plan ahead!

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ july 3, 2017

Last week went by quickly. I’ve been working on Putz house bases. When the houses are done, the picture will be on the bottom of the base. A little surprise when the house is turned over.

Bases for Putz houses

I think I will put a barn on the one with the cowboy and the horse. I especially like the angel. The gold highlights are so pretty! She will get a church. Probably in pale lilac to match her wings and green with the faintest touch of blue to match the background.

Bases for Putz houses

I love this card. Isn’t the lighting effect pretty? It has a magical quality to it. I will choose just the right house and will probably paint it in the pinky-red of the mittens and the limey-green of the sweater. The snowflake has opalescent glitter on it, so I’ll use that on the house, as well.

Bases for Putz houses

If you have Christmas cards or any greeting cards you are throwing away, please throw them my way! I can always use more. They will be used in craft projects to raise money to support Kenya Mercy Ministries. All proceeds from my Etsy shop go to this ministry, as well. You can visit my shop here: ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com
Cards may be left whole or the fronts removed. No identifying information will be used in my craft projects.

If you’re Stateside, I hope you’re ready for the Fourth! We are looking forward to having our son and his family here. First the parade (do they throw candy and other goodies at parades where you live?), then the fair (rides and funnel cakes!), then home to grill a late lunch. Should be a fun day!

Here’s the menu for the week.

Monday
Fridge Food

Tuesday / Happy Independence Day!
Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Grilled Ribeyes
Baked Mushrooms in Creamy Parmesan Sauce
Green Salad
Corn on the Cob
Asparagus and Lemon Sauce
Strawberry Cheesecake

Wednesday
Pizza

Thursday
Barbecue Shrimp
Green Salad
Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas and Cherry Tomatoes

Friday
Hamburgers
Broccoli Slaw
Dill Pickle Spears

Saturday
Fridge Food

Sunday
Roast Turkey
Mashed Cauliflower with Cream Sauce
Lemon Roasted Broccoli
Garden Salad

There’s still time to get daylilies, if you’re local. Just let us know. We are happy to make arrangements. All proceeds will benefit the scholarship fund for the presbytery’s summer camp this year.

We don’t have enough of this particular daylily to sell this year, but you might want to make a note for another time. It’s beautiful in its subtle color blending.

‘Techny Breeze’

Daylily 'Techny Breeze'

~~Rhonda

blue and cream Putz house

I so like the way this blue and cream Putz house turned out that I may have to keep it for my own collection.

Blue and cream Putz house

I love the combination of colors. The blue is Apple Barrel 20716 Pool Blue. The cream color is Apple Barrel 20505E Antique White. The colors do darken a bit when painted. I don’t know if that’s because I add white glue and sand to the paint or not. You can see in this picture that the blue on the bottle cap is lighter than the blue of the house. It is very evident in person.

Apple Barrel "Pool Blue"

In case you’re wondering why I put a dab of paint on the lid of the paint bottle… They are stored in a drawer and when I open it, I can easily find just the color I want. The row at the bottom is glitter. I also put the color on the glitter lids. If there’s no color on top, it’s white. The Mason jar with the zinc lid is my jar of white sand that I add to the paint for texture. This is a file drawer, so it’s deep enough to store most of my Omnigrid rulers on the side (at the top of the picture).

Paint drawer

Currently I am working at my downstairs craft desk instead of in the upstairs craft room. Up there, I have a huge drawer full of paint. These are just the ones I’ve used downstairs on projects in the past few months. When I open either drawer, it is so much easier to grab the right color when they are all painted on top the bottle lid! A real time saver.

Back to the blue and cream house! This is the paper mock-up of the pattern. I like to do this before I begin cutting a new pattern from poster board. It shows me if there are any problems that need to be fixed, if the pattern is marked correctly and if the proportion is correct. I make a copy of my master pattern (on regular printer paper) and use that to make the house. If you look at the addition on the left, you can see that the window isn’t centered. I fixed that on my master pattern.

Putz house

Then it’s cut from poster board. I use a light weight poster board that is available at Walmart. The roof is not glued down yet. I paint the roof and the house separately and glue them together when dry.

Putz house

This is the kind of poster board I like. You can see in the picture that I also use other kinds of cardboard. Cookie, cracker and cereal boxes are a great weight. But my preference is the white poster board. That’s probably due to my tendency to be obsessed with details. I want it to be “just right.” Sometimes that’s good…sometimes, not so much!

building a base for Putz houses

The pieces of the Putz house have been painted and are ready to glue together. I like to use the flaps of cardboard boxes to cover my cutting mat while I’m painting. I use them over and over till they are so full of sandy paint that I can’t stand it any longer. Then I pitch them and start fresh. Using a cardboard piece allows me to leave the wet pieces on the board and move them elsewhere to dry so I can work on something else. Really helpful when I’m working on several Putz houses at one time.

Putz house

You might note in the above picture that the roof pieces are bowed. The wet paint does that to them. Because they are scored on the fold lines, I can fold them when they dry and the bow comes out of them. Not a problem.

Glued together. I must have pitched that well painted cardboard flap… In the background you can see the Christmas card on the bottom of the base for this house. There is a lantern in the picture that matches the cream color on the house.

Putz house

I use hot glue for a few places, but most often use white glue. Crafter’s Pick is my favorite. It holds so well and dries quickly. I use only this kind when it’s time to put plastic panes over the windows, as you can see in the background. They never pop off. Using Elmer’s, which I do use a lot for other things, I had some pop-off problems now and then. Crafter’s Pick works much better with the plastic window panes.

Putz house

The next step is to glue the house to the base. Then the snowing fun begins. This house has had the snow placed all around the base of the house. I use hot glue to fix the house to the base. I go all around the base of the house and run a tiny bit up each corner. That helps adhere the house tightly to the base and the snow covers all the glue.

Putz house

I like to use Aleen’s Glitter Snow. I started with Aleen’s True Snow, then noticed on Amazon that the glitter snow was a bit cheaper. I have to say, it does not glitter. But that’s fine. I add my own glitter to the “snow” before it dries. Other than the glitter it professes to have, it seems to be the same as the True Snow variety.

"Snow" for my Putz houses "Snow" for my Putz houses

I store the “snow” in a squeeze bottle which makes it easier for me to use. The bottle came from a cooking/baking supply aisle somewhere. I put the snow in it and then store it upside down in the middle of my old, but wonderful Pampered Chef tool-go-round. Mine has different size compartments which is nice. They call it a tool turn-about now. Did they ever call it a tool-go-round? Maybe I’m disremembering that…anyway, the “snow” doesn’t harden in the bottle and I can squeeze it around the base of the house or on the roof and then use a palette knife to spread it a bit.

"Snow" bottle Tool-do-round

The snow on the roof really sets if off, doesn’t it?

Putz house

Time to glue down the fence. Click this link for a tutorial on making Putz fences.

Putz house

Click this link for a tutorial for making fence posts.

Fence posts

The house is ready to be embellished. Perhaps some silvery glittered “trees” in the background and a couple of snowy, glittering bottle brush trees in the front yard…we’ll see how that turns out another time.

Putz house

Here are links to some of my tutorials for making Putz houses.

Making bases for Putz houses

Making fences for Putz houses

Making fence posts for Putz houses

Making Putz house ornaments from Christmas cards

If you would like to see more of my Putz houses, as well as Christmas ornaments I have made from upcycled holiday cards, please visit my Etsy store.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

Thanks for stopping by! ~~Rhonda

daylily season

We have been blessed with several days of beautiful weather, enjoying highs of 80 or less. Saturday was perfection with blue skies, a breeze and low temps. I actually got chilly sitting on the front porch at 11:00 a.m. Unheard of for this time of year. Today is the last of that, though. An expected high of 78 and a low of 57 tonight. Tomorrow the temps start to rise and the windows will be closed and the air conditioner will be turned back on. Our kitties will not be happy. They’ve really enjoyed their view of the great outdoors and all the fun an open window brings. Kind of like television to them…or smellavision…Clark loves an open window.

Clark enjoys the spring breeze

Last Wednesday and on Saturday, we had plant sales to raise money for the scholarship fund for our presbytery’s summer camp. Looks like it’s time to update that sign…we painted it with chalkboard paint so it’s easy to change. Seeing it in a picture makes me aware how it has aged over time!

plant sale

Wednesday was hot, but Saturday was so pretty! I was on the front porch, ready to take care of customers. DH was in the garden digging orders. You can’t tell it from this picture, but there is a street between us and the neighboring house in the background.

plant sale

Snow White was ready for customers, too! She was selling lemonade and chocolate chip cookies to make money to donate to a homeless shelter. Special thanks to our friends who bought a dozen cookies from her! That was so sweet! It really made her day.

plant sale

I love daylily season. The garden is washed with color. DH and I go out every evening to look for FFOs (first flowers out).

plant sale

This daylily is one of my top favorites. Don’t ask me to rank my faves in order! It’s too hard!
‘Wayne Johnson’

'Wayne Johnson'

So many orange daylilies, but this is one of the best.
‘Refiner’s Fire’

'Refiner's Fire'

More subtle, but no less beautiful.
‘Egyptian Ibis’

'Egyptian Ibis'

Another gorgeous daylily. This picture does not do it justice!
‘Spider Man’ (Yes, two words in the name.)

Spider Man

daylilies in the front yard

daylilies in the front yard

Even the common “ditch lily” daylilies are beautiful. Around here, some people know ditch lilies as “Tiger lilies.” This is a picture of the big oak in our backyard that I took one evening while the girls were toasting marshmallows for S’Mores.

the big oak in the back yard

The hostas are blooming, too. So pretty! This is ‘Blue Cadet’ which sits by the birdbath at the kitchen door. The daylily that’s ready to bloom is ‘Little Grapette.’

birdbath at the kitchen door

I have some letter writing to do and some Putz houses to paint, so I’ll quit here. Be back soon!

~~Rhonda

menu plan monday ~ June 26 , 2017

Hello, again! I have taken a long leave of absence from my blog. But now I am ready to start up again. I’ll begin with Menu Plan Monday. I have been working on a couple of new Putz patterns and will share those in another post. Yesterday DH and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. CanNOT believe it has been that long. He grilled enough meat yesterday for us to eat for several more days! The weather was beautiful both Saturday and Sunday. We had a great time checking the daylilies in the garden. So nice to be outside without too much heat and humidity. Here’s the view from the front porch. The sky really was that blue!

front yard

Monday
Grilled Pork Steak
Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Green Salad

Tuesday
Grilled Chicken
Bok Choy Stir Fry with Garlic
Pan Seared Summer Squash

Wednesday
Hamburgers with Cheddar Cheese
Asparagus
Garden Salad

Thursday
Pizza

Friday
Pork Short Ribs in the Instant Pot
Broccoli
Garden Salad

Saturday
Fridge Food

Sunday
Turkey Roast in the Instant Pot
Cauliflower
Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas with Cherry Tomatoes
Garden Salad

It’s always so helpful to have a menu plan in place at the beginning of each week! I hope you have planned one for you and your family!

~~Rhonda

local church celebrates 150 years

The church my husband grew up in is celebrating their sesquicentennial this weekend. A friend (and member of the church) asked if I would make a Putz-style replica of the church for the celebration. It sounded like a fun project and I am glad to say that I am happy with the way it turned out. There are a few things I wish I’d done differently or wish I could change, but I am very happy with the outcome.

When first asked to consider this project, I decided to replicate the original church building without the two additions to the church. It gave a better proportion to the finished piece and also emphasized the early days of the church.

Putz Church

My friend sent me a few pictures she had taken of the church, and also sent me this vintage photo from 1962. DH thinks this may have been taken the day ground was broken for the first addition to the church. This photo helped me a lot with some design details, including the style of the original door.

Putz Church

As I began the project, I realized I would need more reference photos and some measurements would be handy, so DH and I went over one day and did just that.

Putz Church

The project was a bit different than my usual Putz house. It was going to be larger and it was duplicating an actual building, so that made the project more complicated than creating a simple design from scratch. It took me a while to figure out just how I would construct the building. I finally came up with a large pattern that included a floor and the walls. The bit sticking out on the right is the flat roof of a portion of the church. It folds up and over the walls.

Putz Church

I added a corrugated cardboard “ceiling” to this part of the pattern to give the building stability and strength.

Putz Church

After adding pale yellow plastic window panes, I mixed some paint to achieve as close a color match as I could to the bricks. I used a picture on my computer for comparison.

Putz Church

Adding sand to the paint gives the building a nice Putz-like texture. I painted it on side to side to get some lines in the paint for a more brick-ish look.

Putz Church

The vintage photo from my friend showed me that the original clapboards were scalloped in a fish scale design.

Putz Church

The fish scale pattern was easy to replicate with scallop scissors which, thankfully, I had on hand.

Scallops

I wish I had taken more pictures of the process of construction. I usually get so involved in a project that I forget to take enough pictures, and that certainly happened during this project! At this point, the structure is done and it is ready for a few embellishments.

Putz Church

Putz Church

I wanted to keep the embellishments very simple so they wouldn’t detract from the church building.

Custom order for the 150th anniversary of this United Presbyterian Church.

The finished size of the building is 9.5″ x 5.5.” The base is a piece of 1/8″ finished plywood.

Putz Church

Putz Church

I have many friends in this church congregation and I am happy I was able to contribute to their celebration of 150 years as a local congregation. May God grant them many more years in which to serve Him.

Putz Church

~~Rhonda

springtime putz houses

I have been working on some springtime Putz houses. Here are a few that I have finished already.

The pink cottage. Looks like a fairy house, doesn’t it?

Pink springtime Putz cottage

It has a bunny greeting card on the bottom of the base.

Pink springtime Putz cottage

The houses are embellished with my first attempt at using polymer clay. I made the flowers and their leaves.

lily of the valley Putz house

I love this little double-decker design.

double decker springtime Putz

The vine covered cottage…too much or just right? I can’t decide. I do love the pebble walkway, though.

pink springtime Putz

This one is almost done.

in progress

The following three are available at a local gift shop called “Breath of Eden Country Store.”

Springtime Putz house

Springtime Putz house

I almost kept this one for myself…

Springtime Putz house

With the exception of the last three, the others are (or soon will be) in my Etsy shop. ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

This week I am finishing a custom order. More about that next week!

~~Rhonda

springtime

Spring is my favorite season. Here are a few pictures from our yard. The first set is from a few weeks ago. The bloodroot was blooming alongside the grape hyacinth.

spring garden 2017

The Lenten Rose was beautiful.

spring garden 2017

Daffodils were blooming all over the garden.

spring garden 2017

Poet’s daffodils are some of our end-of-the-season daffs.

spring garden 2017

Snow White kept coming in with more daffodils. She loves to pick them!

spring garden 2017

The flowering almond came from DH’s family farm. We have several starts of it around the yard.

spring garden 2017

Currently, the following flowers and shrubs are blooming. Dogwood…

dogwood

Columbine.

columbine

Peony buds.

peony blossoms

Redbud tree blossoms

redbud

Quince blossoms. The first round of blossoms froze. We were surprised to find a second round blooming. They are larger and darker than usual.

quince bush

Our pink dogwood has sported a branch of white blossoms. Must be from the root stock. We’re trying to decide if we will leave it or cut it off. I think we’re leaning toward leaving it.

white and pink dogwood

Spanish bluebells.

Spanish bluebells

The white dogwood behind the house.

dogwood

My favorite hosta ‘June.’

Hosta 'June'

Sweet William in front of the hosta ‘Thunderbolt.’

Sweet William

The pawpaw tree is blooming.

pawpaw tree

I hope you enjoyed the quick tour. I’ll be posting some springtime Putz houses I’ve been working on in the next day or so. Check back!

~~Rhonda

menu plan~ march 14, 2017

We are tolerating winter’s brief show and looking forward to later in the week when spring is expected to return. Twice the past week, we had a light dusting of snow that melted away in the afternoon. I hope that is the last of winter for us till the end of the year.

last snow of the season

The menu for the week follows. We have company in the person of Youngest Daughter’s college roommate. They, of course, have their own schedule and are busily in and out of the house. If they’re here, they eat with us. If they’re not, they eat elsewhere. We are enjoying the company regardless of how often we see the girls.

Monday
Leftover Pot Roast on
Homemade Buns

Tuesday
Tacoritos
Taco Chips
Avocado Sour Cream

tacoritos

Wednesday
Homemade Pizza

oh, yum

Thursday
Rosemary Ranch Chicken
Oven Fried Potato Wedges
Sugar Snap Peas
Sweet and Sour Cucumber Slices

Rosemary Ranch Chicken

Friday
Chicken Fettuccine

Saturday
Church Quilt Day at our house. Everyone’s bring salads to share.

Sunday
Roast Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Corn Casserole
Steamed Green Beans
Garden Salad

I am still working on spring-themed Putz houses. I’ve cut out five patterns (made two or three of some of them) and all the bits and pieces needed to finish them. I’ve made three bases so far. Eight more are needed. When the bases are done, I will start painting the houses. I hope to have some finished by Friday.

~~Rhonda