Monday, August 29, 2011

Counting Calories or Pennies? Your Savory and Inexpensive Autumn Go-To Food

Beef stew, meatloaf, spicy chili, and shepherd's pie- all traditional fall comfort foods, to keep you warm and full on a brisk day. Soon, it will be that time of the year to prepare all your downhome favorites...unless you have seen the cost of meat lately or are trying to limit fat, calories, or cholesterol. What's a foodie to do to keep food cravings at bay and the grocery bill in check?


I found a simple and inexpensive new staple for home cooking that I have personally tested and experimented with to see if the product lives up to the hype. This month I have been trying to limit my calories to 1500 a day and bring my grocery bill in check. I am also a vegetarian and was getting very tired paying five dollars a box for veggie burgers and breakfast patties. Boca burgers taste great, but who can afford them? And hamburger while watching your calories? No way!


So, what is this answer? TVP. A food that has been eaten in other cultures such as India for many years and is included in most of the processed meat substitutes such as Boca Burgers and Morningstar Farms Crumbles. Ummmmmm, so exactly what is this and how do I use it?


TVP= Textured Vegetable Protein. I know, sounds like something that tastes like cardboard, right? No! I was skeptical too, until I tried it; however, after seeing the unbelievably cheap price for a quality brand, I had to try it for myself. And, boy am I glad, at 2.42 for a 10 oz bag of Bob's Red Mill brand TVP, it is so much less expensive than beef or pre-made vegetarian substitutes. TVP comes dehydrated, so when water is added, it triples in volume, meaning that your 10 oz bag is equal to 30 oz of fresh hamburger. Try getting almost 2 pounds of ground beef for that price!


Purchase the Bob's Red Mill TVP here, but read on for more information and recipes: http://www.vitacost.com/Bobs-Red-Mill-TVP-Texturized-Vegetable-Protein

What is TVP and where does it come from? TVP is made from the byproducts of soybean oil. Due to increasing production of bio-fuels, every year the amount of soybean oil produced increases. TVP is what is left of the soybean after the oil is extracted and the water is removed. It is then pressed or formed into different sized pieces to resemble different types of meat. Soybeans are rich in protein and fiber, and are a cholesterol-free food. So, TVP is cheap, healthy, and good for the environment because it utilizes the waste products of vegetable oil production. Here is a fascinating article about TVP: https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/information_center/all_about_textured_vegetable_protein.htm

If you are still reading, I am going to assume you might be wiling to try TVP and want to hear about some of the foods I cooked with it. I love to experiment in the kitchen, so whipping up some delicious creations was fun and easier than I expected. 1 oz of TVP has only 80 calories and equals 3oz of hamburger. It is naturally low in fat. So, that is a tremendous savings of calories compared to ground beef. Well, let's get to the good stuff...what did you make?


First, I made a taco salad. I rehydrated the TVP and simmered it in a skillet with taco seasoning mix from Ortega. I added extra water to the skillet instead of browning it in grease or oil and drained the excess liquid off after cooking. It tasted amazing! Just like beef taco filling, except it was a bit blander, so I had to add 2 packets of taco seasoning. I took 1/2 cup of the hot taco "meat" and used it to top a romaine salad that had plenty of fresh tomatoes and onions, 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese (lowfat), and topped it all with salsa. Voila, a VERY filling meal for less than 400 calories. I had enough taco meat left over to make burritos in lo-carb wraps and another taco salad later in the week.


Next on my agenda was meatballs. The great, big huge kinds that you can use to top spaghetti or eat as a stand alone meal. I did not have a recipe for this, so I tried 1/2 TVP and 1/2 uncooked Quaker Oats with a little salt, pepper, garlic, and onion. I added boiling water to the dry mix until it was the consistency of fresh, uncooked hamburger. I formed the mixture into large 2oz meatballs, rolled each formed ball in seasoned bread crumbs and baked them on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I then turned them and used the broiler for a few minutes to finish up and brown the underside. I estimated each meatball to be approximately 125 calories and I ate these plain with marina sauce, broken up in a low-carb wrap with light mozzarella and pizza sauce. Delicious!


Finally, I prepared my version of an Italian beef sandwich. Back home in Wisconsin, the local Italian place with the famous hot beef had a secret for their hot beef recipe...pickle juice! To make my hot beef sandwiches, I simmered the rehydrated TVP in a skillet with Johnny's Au Jus concentrate and 1/2 cup of pickle juice. I drained the excess liquid from the skillet to save as a dipping Au Jus and enjoyed my sandwich on high fiber bread with low fat mozzarella and Au Jus on the side. Fabulous.


My next projects for TVP include vegetarian chili, lasagna, and beef stew. TVP is also available in chicken, turkey, and sausage flavors, so it is very versatile. It also has a long shelf life and can be used to stock emergency shelters.


Google shopping results are here:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=tvp&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=339611l342219l0l343803l25l9l0l0l0l4l353l1362l0.7.0.1l9l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1166&bih=649&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw#q=tvp&hl=en&sa=N&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&ei=4zZcTvWzF5S5tgfEkPD6Dw&ved=0CKIBEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=e25c01bcffb7a7&biw=1166&bih=649

This article brought to you courtesy of Clare, proprietor of Mylana: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mylana











Friday, August 26, 2011

Moxie! Fine Art Supplies and Classes in Murfreesboro

Moxie Art Studio, near the square in Murfreesboro is coming up on the anniversary of one year in business; however, many people do not know this niche store exists. I am a regular bus rider and one day, I spotted the new store, while waiting at the downtown bus transfer hub. Having a few minutes to spare, I wandered in, to check out this interesting new store.


Upon entering, I was greeted by a very friendly staff member and the owner. They were planning an upcoming art exhibit for MTSU students. The store has both a front retail area and a back room for classes and art shows. Moxie! offers a full line of fine art supplies for sale, with discounts for MTSU students, including oil paints, canvas, ink, charcoal, pastels, and more. Additionally, they offer art classes, open to the public, in a variety of mediums. My friend, who is the proprietor of Stonekeeper's in Murfreesboro, took a class in encaustic painting. She said it was an exciting class with a cost of twenty dollars and that included materials. Encaustic technique uses beeswax to build texture on the surface of artwork.


If you visit the store in person, there is a sign-up list by the cash register for their email newsletter, which includes dates of sales, shows, and classes. Here is the other basic information for the store from facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moxie-Art-Supply-Studio-School/100826049979049?sk=wall




Location
Hours
Mon - Fri:10:00 am-6:00 pm
Sat:10:00 am-4:00 pm
About
Moxie Art Supply ~ Studio School. Murfreesboro's fine art supply and resource center for the professional artist, student and hobbyist. Scheduled art classes and workshops for groups and individuals. Temporary exhibitions.
Parking
Street
Parking Lot
Public Transit
Murfreesboro Rover
Email
moxie_arts@yahoo.com
Phone
Website


Monday, August 22, 2011

Made in TN With a Fall Flair

Autumn and craft show season is right around the corner. What a great time to enjoy the colors and flavors of Tennessee. Today I am going to show you some pictures of cute and unique fall items, handmade here in Tennessee. After the pictures will be a list of online shops where you can purchase these items; however, our crafters will also be making an appearance at many local craft shows and events. Follow us here and on Facebook to find out when and where these events are happening: http://www.facebook.com/TennesseeCrafts





































































































































Artisans from top to bottom:


VintageHoneyShop, Nashville:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheVintageHoneyShop

RebeccasAccents, Woodbury:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/RebeccasAccents

Girl216Designs, Nashville:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Girl216Designs

NRSVampChick, Clarksville:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/NRSVampChick

Jamie Bowwe, Murfreesboro:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/JamieBowwe

Mylana, Murfreesboro:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mylana

AlittleBitofJoy, Nashville:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ALittleBitofJoy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shelbyville's Queen Lamb Helps Pediatric Cancer Charity

44,000 children are currently battling cancer in the United States, according to pediatric charity Conkerr Cancer. The mission of this organization is to help children in treatment cope with the disease and bring a smile to their faces. This month's project is to provide children who are hospitalized with personalized, decorative pillowcases to inspire them while they are confined for treatment. One of the things that people of all ages suffer from during cancer treatment is depression and feelings of being different. Hair loss resulting from treatment is a major source of anxiety for both adults and children.
This cap here, sewn by Queen Lamb of Shelbyville, TN, features bright, fun colors and a peppy team logo. Cheerful accessories like this go a long way in helping cancer patients conceal any awkward stages of hair loss while sporting a creative accessory. For children with cancer, this boosts self esteem by letting them express themselves through colors and patterns while being fashionable.


Conkerr Cancer, that charity mentioned above is planning on making do rags and chemo caps for children and they contacted Queen Lamb about the possibility of using her do rag pattern for the projects. She said yes, and readily allowed them to use her design. Hopefully, these caps inspired by a Tennessee crafter and made with her graciously donated pattern will help many children smile. If you want to help this charity, they can be found here: http://www.conkerrcancer.org/


Of course, do rags and welding caps can be great headgear for anyone without cancer too, from burly biker men to adorable toddlers, these caps can be both stylish and sporty. Queen Lamb uses lots of vibrant fabrics to make unusual and interesting designs like this skull cap. If you would like to purchase directly from her, you can find her store online here at etsy. She also does custom orders and sells the patterns for 8.00 dollars, if you would like to sew your own. http://www.etsy.com/shop/QueenLamb

As a personal story, I can thank Queen Lamb for donating the use of her pattern to such a good cause. My husband died last summer of testicular cancer, and even though he was an adult, at the age of 34, all of the colorful fabrics and designs from his collection of chemo caps made a tremendous difference in his attitude about hair loss. Suddenly, it was fun for him to choose headgear instead of worrying about how his hair looked or was growing in. He received his do rags from a different charity; however, I know that he would love that there is an organization out there making headgear with children in mind. Thank you Queen Lamb for donating your pattern!



Making Vanilla-Vetiver Incense Sticks With Mylana

 Smoky, mystical, and mysterious, the aroma of burning incense has been used for centuries in many cultures for spiritual practices and rituals. Now, in modern times, it is used for meditation and worship, as well as burning it for the pure joy of the intoxicating fragrance. In the past, incense was sacred and very expensive, as it was made out of precious spices and resins, but today, it can be produced for a low cost in your own home, with your own fragrance blends.




In the following pictures, I will guide you through my first attempt at making incense. My friend, Hazel, from an online soap-making group was gracious enough to furnish me with the basic supplies. Kits with all of the ingredients included are available for 26.00 dollars online from Nature's Garden, a well know fragrance supply company: http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/candlemaking-soap-supplies/item/kit-40/-*Incense-Making-Kit.html


The beginner kit includes unscented sticks, cones, fragrance, and DPG. Wait...what is DPG and why do we need it? Dipropylene Glycol is a solvent used to cut the fragrance oil, so that it absorbs into the sticks and dries out faster. Pure fragrance is oil based and very viscous, if it is not cut with a solvent, your incense will be moist with a high oil content and be extremely smoky.


Here is what Wikipedia says about DPG, "Dipropylene glycol finds many uses as a plasticizer, an intermediate in industrial chemical reactions, as a polymerization initiator or monomer, and as a solvent. Its low toxicity and solvent properties make it an ideal additive for perfumes and skin and hair care products. It is also a common ingredient in commercial fog fluid, used in entertainment industry smoke and haze machines."


In order to make the incense, we need to first gather our materials, sticks, fragrance, DPG, and shallow container where we can lay the sticks flat to soap in the fragrance solution. Next, we need to prepare the fragrance solution. That is done by mixing 2 parts DPG to 1 part fragrance oil. Make sure you are using uncut fragrance oil from a reputable supplier that is suitable for making candles. Check your supplier specifications if you are unsure. 


For my fragrance blend, I used a combination of Moonworks ancient incense and NDA tahitian vanilla. I thought that is was a little sweet and missing some depth, so I also added some vetiver fragrance oil (not the essential) from Southern Soapers. I ended up with a combination of 6oz of DPG and 3 oz of my fragrance oil blend (vanilla, vetiver, ancient incense). Smooth, sweet, and intoxicating!


Next, I laid the sticks flat in the bottom of the shallow container and poured the DPG/fragrance solution over the sticks. Here they are soaking.


Currently, the sticks have been soaking for 24 hours; however, they are not quite ready yet. According to expert tips, the best aroma is achieved by soaking for 48 hours, then removing the sticks and laying them flat on a layer of paper towels until they are dry to the touch. The sticks are coated with packed sawdust to absorb the fragrance and the DPG solvent allows it to sink into the wood and evaporate faster. This last pictures shows the sticks right now in the solution. It has gotten dark and thick as some of the wood particles from the sticks break off and the DPG solvent evaporates. Tomorrow, I will remove the sticks and dry them in open air until they are ready to test.


Note: Moonworks and NDA (New Directions Aromatics) are two suppliers of candle and soap making fragrance oils. You can combine fragrance oils from different suppliers with the ones included in the beginner's kit, as long as they are designated safe for making candles and are undiluted. 


While I do not yet sell any incense, you can find Mylana handmade soaps in candles in my etsy shop:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mylana


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hillbilly Homebrew! Mylana Welcomes Harvest Season With Home Made Hard Cider

A wise man once said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". A fine saying indeed! Today, I will be sharing with you a surprisingly easy way to brew your own beer and more, as I walk you through the first phase of making home made hard cider. Yum! 


"It doesn't get much easier than this." That is the slogan for a home brewing supply company called Mr. Beer. You can find their products online here: 
http://www.mrbeer.com/category-exec/category_id/181


The Mr. Beer brewing system is a 2 phase process. First, you combine the ingredients with water in the brewing keg and wait 7 days for it to ferment (turn to alcohol). Then, you simply open the spout to bottle the beer, top each bottle off with a small scoop of sugar for a nice carbonation, seal the bottles and wait 2-4 weeks for your beer to mellow and carbonate. The hardest part is waiting! 


When you order your basic kit from Mr. Beer, everything comes included in premeasured amounts, except the water and white sugar. All you do is combine the contents of the cans and packets with water in the brewing keg. After you have a few batches under your belt, you deviate from the standard flavors and create your own recipes. You can add fruits, seasonings, spices, specialty yeasts, or premium beer mixes. Today, I used the Mr. Beer Hard Apple Cider Kit, but added my own personal touch. I added one can of apple juice concentrate, 2 Tbs. of pumpkin pie spice, and 1 cup of dark brown sugar to the fermenting container, in addition to the contents of the Mr. Beer cider kit. Yeeha, that's gonna be some wickedly high alcohol cider when she's done! Anything you add to the keg during fermentation that contains natural sugars will increase the alcohol content of the finished product. 


The first thing I did to start brewing was to gather all of my ingredients. Next, I used the included one step sanitizer to treat the keg and my stirring spoon, in order to reduce bacterial contamination. Don't forget to sanitize the keg lid, too. After all of my equipment was sanitized, I filled the keg with 4 quarts of room temperature tap water. Never pour boiling water into your plastic keg, it could melt and warp.


Then, I measured out one cup of dark brown sugar and 2 Tbs. of the spice blend and added that to the apple juice concentrate and hard cider mix in a medium saucepan. I heated the mixture on the stovetop on medium heat until all the brown sugar was dissolved.


Then, I added the yeast packet to the brewing keg, stirred it up, and finally added the spice and cider mixture to the keg. Here is the sauce pan with the apple and spice mixture. And the other picture is stirring the yeast into the keg. Right now, the fermenting keg is sealed up and "sleeping". It is best to keep it in a moderate temperature zone around 70 degrees F and out of direct sunlight. The keg cannot be opened during fermenting. After 7 days, I can drain some cider out of the spout into a glass and check for clarity and taste. It should be relatively free of sediment and have a sweet, slightly yeasty taste. If it looks ready to bottle, I will then be able to bottle the cider with a little bit additional sugar and wait at least 10 more days to drink it, for carbonation and maximum flavor to develop.


I will be blogging again when the cider is finished with pictures! Until then, please follow our blog and keep reading about handmade items in Tennessee. 


Along with brewing beer, I also operate the etsy shop Mylana featuring my handmade candles, soaps, and jewelry: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mylana


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Have a Tennessee Adventure While Picking Up Your Lye and Soap Supplies!

If you currently make soap or want to learn the craft, the two most important supplies are Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and bulk fixed oil, such as olive oil and palm. Often it is difficult to obtain lye, because it is classified as a hazardous material, and very expensive to ship. Finding a local source to purchase lye in bulk, without paying shipping, is like winning the lottery for soap makers! 


Today, I am going to be featuring an interview with Diana Fleming, owner of Diana's Sugar Plum Sundries in Dulop, TN. I made this citrus and sage soap from lye and coconut oil purchased from her supply company. Diana's Sugar Plum Sundries offers everything you need to make soap, in large and small quantities, and you can enjoy a scenic drive and day trip while picking your order up from her warehouse. In addition to lye and oils, she also sells essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants, additives, packaging needs, and locally made crafts.


Visit her website today to make your order and start planning your Tennessee adventure! This stunning view from Walden's Ridge is representative of the gorgeous natural scenery you will encounter on the way to obtain your lye and oils in Dunlop, TN! Below, you can read about Diana's personal recommendations of things to see and do along the way. Thanks, Diana, for your time and pictures.



1) Where are you located in TN and what is your favorite part of living in that region?


We are located just north of Dunlap, TN in the gorgeous Sequatchie Valley. We moved from Chattanooga close to 17 years ago and have never had any regrets. The restful views and pleasant atmosphere are unmatched!

2)Do you have any suggestions for a special place to eat or visit near your company when customers go to pick up an order?

There are many places to eat in this area. One that is very popular is a local Chinese restaurant – Taipei 101 (423/949-1101) located in the heart of Dunlap. They have quite a selection of wonderful desserts made fresh every day that my family and I greatly enjoy.

Another popular restaurant is Johnson Family Farm which includes their Cookie Jar CafĂ©. It is so named because there are literally hundreds of cookie jars decorating a shelf which surrounds the whole dining area. The food is country cooking with delicious pies made fresh every day.

We also have a new donut shop [Backdraft’s Donut Station – 423/949-3638) in Dunlap’s square where you should plan to spend some time deciding what types of  delicious delicacies you would like to carry away! They make their sweet products fresh everyday and close when they sell out or at 1:00 PM, whichever comes first. You can have them set an order back for you to pick up at your leisure.

As far as places to visit, I would highly recommend a leisurely trip to the Coke Ovens Museum and Park. The history and peaceful atmosphere are interesting and refreshing. Be sure to check the museum times before you come.

And there are plenty of other things to do as well. You can canoe the Sequatchie River, Hang-glide off Walden’s RidgeAttend the 127 Sale, Visit the wonderful bakery and orchards of Wooden’s Apple House, and attend the The Coke Ovens Bluegrass Festival and  Sunset Jammer’s monthly bluegrass concerts

Slightly farther away you can visit the TN Valley Railroad Museum and ride the train (the fall is the best time to do this due to the gorgeous fall foliage!), tour the falls at Fall Creek FallsRock IslandOzone Falls, and Burgess Falls, Horseback Riding Vacations (Sequatchie B&B), and my personal favorite:Chilhowee Gliderport. The latter is world famous in the sailplane world and the owner, Sarah Arnold, is an amazing pilot with many gliding records of her own. In fact she will be going to Argentina next year to compete in the World Championships, so if you get a chance to fly with her, do it! You can be sure that every flight you take will be beautiful and serene. I recommend using the 1961 Ka-7 Scheilcher glider from Germany. It is full of history and will take you on a nostalgic trip back in time for your peaceful flight aloft. PS It happens to be my plane! ;-)



3)What is your favorite place in TN to shop for craft supplies and what other things do you make besides soap?




Hobby Lobby! I have to take my cell phone with me when I shop so that I can be reached after so many hours of getting lost in that store! The closest Hobby Lobby is 40 minutes away but well worth the fuel. My second favorite shopping place is Bell Buckle, TNThe little shops are packed to the ceiling with interesting gadgets, antiques, and beautiful hand work. It is a good idea to spend a whole day touring the cute little town and sampling their wonderful ice cream. My family would definitely pick Bedford Tack in Bedford County, TN as the store where they feel they are in Horse Heaven. There is every type of tack, harness, gifts, and equestrian clothing imaginable!


Dianna’s Sugar Plum Sundries sells the supplies to make many different types of bath and body products. We have very rarely supplied companies with the finished products. On a personal basis I love to cook, sew, knit, tat, crochet, make bath and body products for friends and family, can the harvests, and spin wool. These are all things that I do when I have a leisure moment to enjoy being creative outside the business. I also hope to learn some whittling (wood) and bobbin lace-making when I achieve the free time/retirement part of life!



4) Of all the essential oils and fragrances you carry, which one is your favorite for soap making?

That is a hard question as there are a lot of choices! But I think I could narrow it down to LavenderPeppermint, and Rose Geranium. All 3 of those listed are essential oils and we carry them year round. They work well in soap, body mists, lotions, salts, and bath fizzies not to mention air fresheners and perfumes. (We have recipes online for these atwww.DiannasSundries.com/recipes.asp )

5) Is your supply company currently running any sales or promotions and how do customers contact you to place and pick up and order?

We just finished with a big sale in July and will have another in the Fall and another in December. We also enjoy doing surprise sales on certain items so check back often or get on our eNewsletter list!

We do not have a storefront, which cuts down on expenses that we would have to pass on to our customers. Besides ordering online, they can place their orders over the phone, fax, through the mail, or by emailing them to us. We welcome order pick-ups as this helps our customers save on shipping. But we do ask that they give us 24 hours notice so that we can check product availability and arrange for a time when they can come by.

6) I see you also sell handmade goods on your website made by local residents. Why is buying handmade and local important to you?

I was raised with the principle that every American should endeavor to improve our country for the next generation. To do anything else was considered  selfish and shortsighted. One way that I have been able to carry out that principle is to support the businesses of my neighbors and friends in the local area. When one prospers, it helps everyone else prosper. Not to mention that it keeps the industry in our country…and our nation is in definite need of  strengthening if we are to help with the recent international disasters. I have friends that sell honey, fresh fruits and veggies, quilts, every type of handwork, woodworking, metalworking, 


The bath bombs above are available on her site and are hand-crafted by an ambitious local teenager:  

Thanks again Diana for the great interview! Here is her complete contact information:

Dianna's Sugar Plum Sundries

221 Hope Lane
Dunlap, TN 37327

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crafty Ideas For Repurposing Your Trash

Reduce, reuse, recycle! Everyone has heard this eco-conscious mantra dozens of times. With the negative economy, all of us are focused on reducing consumption and waste, and the vast majority of us, either by choice or a community mandate, separate and recycle our garbage. But what about reusing? With a little creativity, anyone can turn trash into treasure. Today, we will be talking about a few examples of how to reuse common objects, before they end up in the trash bin.


This pumpkin pie spice candle, available in my shop Mylana, http://www.etsy.com/shop/Mylana is decorated with trim cut from a vintage shirt. There is a thrift shop on my street where they sell clothing for 99 cents on Thursdays. I frequent this store to find interesting fabrics and embellishments to reuse from the sale clothing. If you want to shop the Thur. clothing sales, visit All Things Possible Bargain Center on Northfield Blvd. in Murfreesboro. They offer great deals as well on furniture to repaint and spruce up.


While on the subject of reusing old clothing, we all know that crafts are messy! When I have old clothing, towels, or bedding that are not nice enough to use for crafting or donations, I cut them up and make shop rags. Every house should have a rag bag to cut down on the use of paper towels. This is not me making candles, but when I do make candles, soaps, or paint, I am so happy to have those free rags to make cleanup a breeze.


Other things you can make with old clothing is recycled t-shirt yarn and felt from 100% wool sweaters. Here is a great tutorial on making yarn from cotton tshirts: http://mousechirpy-polkadotpineapple.blogspot.com/2008/03/tutorial-t-shirt-yarn.html


And, with Halloween coming up, don't forget that old clothing can be used for costumes. We have all seen bedsheets turned into ghosts, but don't forget about easy theme costumes from old clothing such as farmer, cowgirl, hobo, princess, fairy, fortune teller, or a historical figure. You can even take some duct tape and cardboard boxes and have a simple robot costume. Add some accessories from Goodwill or your local Halloween shop and your old clothes will be a contest-worthy costume! Talking about Halloween always puts me in the mood for delicious, home roasted pumpkin seeds. When you carve that pumpkin, don't throw away the innards, us this recipe here for fresh, hot, roasted, healthy seeds: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/roasted-pumpkin-seeds/detail.aspx


Another source of trash that can be harvested for crafting is kitchen waste. These adorable gift tags were created from an old Kleenex box. Aren't they cute? See this blog for pictures of more recycled box gift tags, she even lets her kids cut scrap fabric and ribbons into the ties: http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2011/06/25/recycled-kleenex-box-gift-tags/


If you like to make soap, kitchen waste is a bonanza for found molds used in soap making. Pringles cans, orange juice containers, milk cartons, and jello molds can all be used as molds. Likewise for candle making; you can use glass jars or tin cans for candles. Just make sure the glass is thick and can withstand heat. 


Do you like to make jewelry? Well, your household is in awesome place to hunt for unusual objects to add to your designs. Old keys, washers, gears, and assorted hardware can be incorporated into steampunk designs. 

This necklace from NRSVampChick of Clarksville, TN incorporates many found objects. You can see more of her designs here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NRSVampChick


There are many ideas, too, for home decor that involve reusing old objects. Turn old shirts into pillows and sew denim into purses. Reuse sauce jars and interesting cans as vases. Get some Mod Podge to decorate glass jars with old newspaper pages- they will make amazing candle holders. You can turn leather belts into fashionable wrist cuffs and make collages and mixed media art from food boxes, book pages, and other household items. Tomoandedie, from Nashville has even turned vintage silk kimono fabric into pincushions and brooches! See her shop for more creations and to buy kimono silk:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/tomoandedie?ref=pr_shop_more


The sky is the limit for reusing household items in your crafts. All you need is your imagination! The best part is that you get to help the planet and save money on supplies.