Monday

Caramel Apple Butter - Fresh Living

One of the best aromas ever is a slow cooker full of apples and spice...there is nothing like it, and one of the easiest ways to enjoy the fall smells is by making Caramel Apple Butter.   My family loves to eat it on crisp toast and pancakes.  My favorite is over salted caramel ice cream...don't judge! 


All you need to make this simple apple butter is a slow cooker and about 20 large apples.   My favorite kind to use are Jonathon's or Honeycrisp.  They are the perfect mixture of firm, sweet, and tart.  Wash your apples and peel them.  I like to use my old fashioned apple peeler...it does the job in a matter of seconds.  I think I found this peeler at Wal-Mart for $19.00.  When the peeler comes my husband and kids are ready to help.


Once the apples are peeled, you can use an apple slicer to slice them into large wedges. Place them in a slow cooker and turn it on to the low setting.  It's ok if there are little bits of peel on the apple, they cook down great.


Once the slow cooker is full, add four cups of sugar and three tablespoons of apple pie seasoning.  If you can not find apple pie seasoning, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves to a mixture you like. 


Put a lid on the slow cooker and cook for eight hours on the low setting.  Stir occasionally to mix the spices and sugars through the mixture.   You will have a delicious amount to apple juice that cooks out of the apples over cooking time.  When the time is skim off most of the juice and set aside. The spiced apple juice can be cooked down to make a delicious apple syrup for pancakes!

Add a jar of your favorite softened caramel. and mix together.  I like to use an immersion blender to blend the chunks up into a half chunky sauce.  If your mixture is still too thin, cook a little longer in the pot.  (It will thicken even more in the fridge.)


Once your apple butter is done, you can refrigerate it for up to three weeks or freeze it for up two months.  If you want it to last through the winter,  you can process them in a water bath for 20 minutes and they will keep for a year.  You can find the instructions for the water bath process at the Ball Fresh Preserving Site.


Just imagine a spice filled thick sweet and tart apple sauce in one bite...and you will know why we are crazy for this recipe!   I usually cook up several batches through the fall to give as housewarming and holiday gifts.  A jar of apple butter, and a loaf of bread and you have the perfect gift.  You can view the KUTV Fresh Living Segment by clicking on the highlighted link.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!  


Friday

DIY Story Stones - Fresh Living

One of the hottest trending children's "toys" out there is a simple stone, a Story Stone.  Story Stones are all over Etsy, Pinterest and local markets too.  They are simple to make and give hours of creative fun for your entire family.

A Story Stone is simply a stone that has an image on it that helps spark a story.  To play with them you paint or modge-podge a collection of images onto rocks and place in a bag.  You can play with one person by having them choose a rock and start a story, pick another rock and add a little more until your tale is told.



In a group setting have one person pick a rock and tell a sentence and then pass the bag onto the next person who chooses a story stone and adds another sentence, and so on.  For children who are very young, you can have them draw their story after choosing a rock.  I love this game because it gets everyone talking and laughing together...and the stories never end!



The materials are simple.  Rocks that can be found outside or at your local craft shop, paint markers, Sharpie Markers, acrylic paint, some clip art and Modge Podge.  I love to paint the rocks and if you need a little inspiration look up Story Stones on Pinterest and you will find plenty of ideas.

If you are not the artistic type, you can use clip art images Modge Podged onto the rocks.  It's super simple.  Just lay down a thin layer or Modge Podge to glue the picture to the rock and then brush over it again to seal it.  Let dry, and you are ready to play.

I found my little bags at the local craft store in the jewelry section.  They were super cheap..about $3.00 for a set of four.  I like to decorate my bags for whatever theme rocks I have in the bag.  


There really are no "rules" to how these Story Stones are used.  I know my kiddos will want to mix and match and play with them a characters.  It's just how they roll, but getting them to come up with their own bedtime stories is a treat...and it helps Mom who flat lines when it comes to making up my own story.

Ps -- They also make great gifts!



Wednesday

Upcoming Barn Quilt Classes

I'm so excited to announce upcoming dates for my Barn Quilt classes.  Most weeks throughout the fall that you can find me painting with a fun group of ladies somewhere.  These classes are addicting and I love to have repeat students come and paint for a day.  If you have ever wanted to learn about barn quilts and how to paint one check out my upcoming classes and sign up!


In addition to teaching I will also be at Swiss Days over Labor Day weekend in Booth A-2 with finished boards, unfinished boards and quilt block patterns for sale.  We love this event!  It has been a tradition in our family for years and I look forward to seeing many of you there!  I will also be at the Sundance Harvest Festival on September 24th.  Come by for a visit!





Fall Schedule

September
  • Swiss Days - Midway, Utah September 2 & 3
  • Olie and Evie - Riverton, Utah  September 10th 9:00 am - 1:00 pm  (olieandevie@gmail.com)
  • My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe - Logan, Utah September 16th 9:30 am - 1:30 pm & 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm.  (435-654-2844)
  • Sundance Harvest Festival - September 24th 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
October

  • Elaine's Quilt Block  - Cottonwood Heights, Utah October 8th 11:00 am - 3:00 pm (801-947-9100)
  • American Quilting - Orem, Utah October 14th 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm (801-802-7841)
  • International Quilt Market - Houston, Texas October 28th - 30th



Monday

Wildflower Necklaces - Fresh Living

It's summer time and the fields are full of wildflowers!  We've been out hiking and collecting wildflowers of all kinds.  It's one of my favorite summer hobbies.  In fact if you pick up a random book in my house you will most likely find a flower stuck in it's pages from some trip.  I love flowers and I like to use them as souvenirs of places I've been.  

Preserved wildflowers are all the craze now and you can find them on cell phone covers, acrylic nails, wall art, floral backdrops, and jewelry.  On today's KUTV's Fresh Living we are making wildflower necklaces.


These are super easy to make and relatively inexpensive.  It costs about $1.50 per necklace. My favorite supplier for the necklace parts and resin is a little Etsy Shop I found called Candytiles Studio.  They had everything I needed and it cost me about $19.00 for 24 necklaces and they shipped within 24 hours.  

For these necklaces you will want to find small little flowers.  I keep a little book or paper towel in my nap sac to protect the flowers until I get home.  You can dry and press flowers by placing them in a book and letting them dry for a week or two.  Or you can use your microwave and preserve them in minuets!


To preserve your flowers with a microwave you will need two ceramic tiles and some paper towels.   Place your flower face down on a paper towel and sandwich between the tiles.  Place in your microwave on 50% power for 1.5 minuets.   




Open up the tiles and check the flower to see how dry it is.  If it still feels moist return to the microwave for a minute or two more.  You can over cook the flower and have it turn brown so keep an eye on it.


Once it is dry remove it from the towel and it's ready to go.  I love this method because it is quick and the flowers retain their color.


To make the necklaces;

1.  Cut a paper background that fits the jewelry piece and glue in place.

2.  Use a little E6000 to glue the dried flower onto the paper background.  Let dry.

3.  Once it is dried, you can either cover it with the glass top or with my favorite resin called Diamond Glaze.  If you are covering it with the glass top adhere is with the E6000 and press into place.  It you are using resin, follow the instructions for the product and let dry.

My youngest daughter was married last week and I am taking little pieces from her bouquet and making her a necklace to remember her day.  This is a quick summer project that can be completed from beginning to end in one afternoon.  

To enter to win a kit to make your own necklace, Leave a comment below of your favorite wildflower.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday!

Friday

Enchanted DIY Fairy Gardens - Fresh Living

I am so addicted to fairy gardens.  I can't help it!!!  I started my first fairy garden a couple of years ago after my visit to the waterfalls on our family farm in New York.  The visit was magical and if you know upstate New York it's woods are full of toadstools, moss, fiddle heads and all sorts of lush plant life.  My cousin Varo wanted to send me home with a piece of "home" so she bagged up some moss, some ferns, old wood and a few rocks.  

They made the trip home to Utah just fine and I created a mini-garden in an old drawer using  the "gifts" from my cousin.  I have nurtured this garden along and was surprised to see it thrive in this little space.  Last year I added some mushrooms and a decided to create a little play space with a tee pee and a campfire....and then the obsession grew.


Fairy gardens are simply creative mini-garden spaces.  They are popular for people of all ages and gardening experience.  So don't be intimidated because they are easy to create and maintain.  They thrive outside during the summer and survive the winter inside...so the fun can last all year.  The best part of making a fairy garden is the creativity you can share with your children.  

To get started on a fairy garden it is good to choose a theme and there is no limit to the imagination here.  You can make an English cottage garden, a fairy playground, a beach vacations, etc. Sketching out your design is helpful.  Draw in any streams or lakes you want to add.  It's always fun to add paths and hidden places too.  There are tons of ideas on Pinterest if you need a little help with the creativity.

Once you have a plan, choose a container and make sure it has good drainage in the the bottom.  If you need to drill a few holes, go for it.  Fill it with soil and add your pebbles or water ways first.  Adding water can be  as simple as purchasing the blue stones at your local craft store.  I always like to add some bark for bridges or little place to hide animals.




The next step is to take a visit to your local nursery to find plants to fill your garden.  Herbs, succulents and tiny ground cover plants are popular options because of their small scale. Some of my favorite plants are the Elfin Thyme and Irish Mosses.  Of course succulents because they are so low maintenance and Rosemary is amazing for it's heartiness and texture.



Once you choose your plants and set them in their space in the garden it's time to accessorize!

Almost every craft store and garden center has a section for fairy accessories.  There is so many options.  Some are inexpensive and some are over priced in my opinion.  My favorite thing about building a fairy garden is many of the darling accessories you find can be made at home with sticks, glue, stones, and a few craft supplies.   



It's also good to remember that you can begin with a few elements and add to it over time.  While you are outdoors this summer you can find all sorts of treasures to add.  It keeps your garden growing and makes it interesting for your children.  I promise they will be on the look out for sticks and stones to add!  These next few photos are some of the accessories that we made for our gardens...


Fairy Tutu Clothes Line...because every fairy needs to a place to do her laundry.


Flower Fairies made from wooden pegs and silk flowers.
Mushrooms made from Crayola Air Dry Clay
Fairy House purchased from JoAnn's 


Fairy Campfire made with sticks and a little orange wool.


Gwendolyn the woodland fairy made from a wooden peg, silk leaves and a feather.
(She is my favorite!) 




Bottle Cap Chair made using wire and a cap.


The woodland fairy house from a branch, bark and stones.  All put together with glue.  It is so simple to make these houses.  Give your children a pile of wood, some stones and glue..you'll be surprised and what they come up with. 



One of my absolute favorite fairy garden accessories are these Tiny Fairy Houses by Kirsti Ringger.  She makes each one by hand and the best part is the surprise inside!  Kirsti became inspired on a trip to Iceland by the little houses across their landscape.  she makes these tiny houses and hides them along trails for people to find.  Inside each house is a little note that tells the finder to "steal" the house and take a picture of it in it's new home.  she created a Facebook page for people to post pictures of the houses they find and the ones they share.  It is fun to see where they all end up.


I love her creativity and the fun of sharing something tiny and sweet with a fellow stranger.  
Check out her ETSY shop and pick up a few Tiny Houses.  You will love them!


Now that you are hooked on fairy gardens, you have to take your children to the Fairy Forest!  Not many people know about this little Utah treasure because it is hidden away in the Wasatch Cache National Forest.  To find it go past Kamas towards Mirror Lake and pull off at the Shady Dell Campground.  If you walk through the campground you will find a trail that leads to a real Fairy Forest.  

For years people have been creating fairy gardens and houses and taking them to the Fairy Forest.  It is so fun to see the little villages tucked away into the trees.  It is treat your children will remember.  So, make sure you take a little fairy garden or house to add to the forest.  After we finish there we go up to Mirror Lake for a picnic and of course we stop at Granny's in Heber for a handspun milkshake!  

I hope this post has inspired you to create a little fairy garden of your own.  Send me pictures of your gardens and trip to Fairy Forest!   
 
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