Dandelion Removal: Use this tool-NOT chemicals

I have sort of a love, hate relationship with dandelions. How about you? The thing is when they get out of control and are taking over your lawn; it’s time to do something about it. We have found a dandelion removal tool that doesn’t involve potions or chemicals, and doesn’t break your back.

Let’s go back to my love, hate relationship for just a moment. I am an herbalist and know of the many great benefits of using dandelions as a remedy internally, nutritionally, and externally. I use dandelion root tea for medicinal purposes and eat their leaves in my salad and smoothies.

However, when dandelions go to seed and start spreading their fluffy seeds around the yard, they can literally take over your lawn. There is a time when you have to take removal action.

Most of you know that I try to avoid chemicals in my home and in my garden whenever possible. Weed killer is NOT an option for me. (Sometimes my husband thinks otherwise), but I usually win. I used to crawl around my lawn with a little digging tool trying to pull out the dandelions, but not anymore!!!

Whys should you avoid chemical weed killers?

This is a topic of its own and needs its own post, but here are a few links for you to check out until then.

Dandelion Removal at its best!

We have found the most awesome tool ever! This little gadget is one of the best purchases for the garden I have ever made. The day we got it, I went out to the lawn and started popping away. It was addicting. I couldn’t stop until the whole one side of our yard was dandelion free. (We have a ½ acre, so a lot of lawn).

The thing is, once you pull it with this tool, they don’t grow back like they do when you use that little digging tool. It pulls out the WHOLE root.

We are so excited about this tool, that I filmed my husband demoing it for you.

 

Play Video

I recommend keeping a few lovely dandelions in your garden that you can eat and remedy up, but get those pesky ones OUT of your lawn. My suggestion is to check out this gadget, you will LOVE it!

It is called the Fiskers  4-Claw Weeder. It has a lifetime warrantee and well worth your money.  They seriously only cost around $38.

So for all you lucky gardeners who DIY, this tool is a must to add to your garden shed!

Happy weed popping!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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How to Make Aromatic Lavender Wands

Oh lavender! Who doesn’t love the fresh, calming aroma of this beautiful purple perennial? What I love about this flower, is that it can be enjoyed equally fresh in the garden or dried for later use. One of my favorite things to do with lavender is to make lavender wands.

If you are lucky enough to have a lavender plant growing in your garden, this is a great time to cut it and preserve it for later use.

Yes, I know it’s hard to cut down those beautiful purple, sweet-smelling buds from your garden, but if you don’t they will just get old and start to turn brown, and then you will wish you would have cut them when their colors were brighter and stronger smelling. There is about a two-week window to cut the blossoms when they will be at their best.

Play Video

Items you will need to make lavender wands

  • Fresh Cut Lavender (cut the stems as long as possible, just above where the long stems come out of the leafy area of the plant).
  • Ribbon (you will need approximately 1 1/2 yards) per wand.  Any width of ribbon will work.
  • Scissors (for cutting ribbon and to trim the stems)

This is a very relaxing and rewarding project.  So gather some friends or family around and do a little weaving. Making these lavender wands will give you some time to SLOW down, do a little chatting and enjoy some aromatherapy as well. Your house will smell fabulous!

Let’s get started!

How to make lavender wands

  • Choose 17 or 19 stems. It doesn’t really matter how many, you will just need an ODD NUMBER of stems. Use your fingers to slide down the stem to strip all the leaves off of each stem.
  • Arrange the stems so the bottom of the blossoms are even. Take the ribbon and tie around at the base of the flowers. (Leave about a 12 inch tail).
  • Pull the ribbon tight and knot.
  • Carefully fold the stems down over the flowers, evenly disbursing the stems all the way around.
  • Take the ribbon tail (the shorter end of the ribbon) and fold it down, tucking it in the middle of the flowers. You will pick it up after you are finished weaving to use to make a bow.
  • Take the long ribbon and start weaving over one stem and under the next. Over and under. (The first few rounds will take the longest, until you get your pattern going).
  • Leave a little space between the rows of ribbon. You can experiment to get it to look like you want.
  • Don’t pull it real tight, but it shouldn’t be real loose either.  The flowers will dry better if they are not squeezed too tight.
  • Keep weaving over and under. If you get messed up and weave over two instead of one, just continue, you won’t even notice.
  • This is supposed to be relaxing!!!!  Continue to weave until you have covered the flowers.
  • Locate the ribbon tail you tucked inside and pull it out.
  • Wrap the ribbon around few times and tie a tight bow. Cut off the excess stems and ta dah, there you have it!
  • It will become addicting, you will want to make another one using a different color of ribbon, before you know it you will have a handful.

What do you do with these colorful, sweet smelling beauties?

  • Attach to a gift, or make it a gift in itself with a thoughtful note attached
  • Tuck them in drawers to keep linen, and clothes smelling fresh
  • Hang in the closet
  • My son made one for his car and one for his rock climbing shoes.  LOL!
  • Use as a bug and moth repellent  in fabric and WOOL SWEATER BINS.

I keep a stash of lavender wands in a zip bag or plastic shoe box for gifts all throughout the year. They stay beautiful and keep their fragrance for years!

If the smell starts to fade, just give the wand a good squeeze, and the fragrance will come out again.

Don’t waste any lavender

Save the lavender you do not use to make sachets and other things.

 

Let the stems dry out a few days and then get a big bowl and strip all the blossoms off by sliding your fingers down the stems. The blossoms will fall off into the bowl. Place the blossoms in a tightly closed jar until you are ready to make other projects.

 

Here are some other LAVENDER posts that you may be interested in.

LAVENDER HARVESTING TIME

LAVENDER SHORTBREAD COOKIES

HOW TO GROW LAVENDER

If you don’t have any lavender growing in your garden, I think it’s time you do! You won’t regret it!

Have fun weaving green and purple goodness!

 

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Yummy Blueberry Pie Recipe

For those of you who like blueberry pie, this recipe is a keeper.

Simple, straight forward ingredients make this blueberry pie yummy and easy to make. I am NOT a baker, and the thought of making a pie used to intimidate me and cause anxiety.

Pie making doesn’t scare me anymore, and it shouldn’t you either.

The beauty of making your OWN homemade pie, is that you are not getting any HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP that comes in store bought pies, or most store bought canned pie filling.

Here is the recipe for a blueberry pie filling. You can alter the recipe and make a delicious mixed berry pie as well. All you need to do is add 4 cups of mixed berries of your choice.

This is MY FAVORITE PIE CRUST RECIPE.

Blueberry pie ingredients

  • 4 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar depending on the tartness of the berries
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
  • dash of ground nutmeg (fresh ground nutmeg is so yummy)!
  • 2 single pie crusts (pre-made or homemade)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix together the sugar, flour, nutmeg and lemon zest.
  • Pour over the berries in a medium size mixing bowl and toss to coat.
  • If you bought a frozen crust at the store, let it thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes before baking.

 

  • Pour the berries in and put your top crust on.
  • Using a knife, cut away the excess pie dough. (Just under the rim)
  • Fold the edges under and crimp.
  • Cut a few slits with a sharp knife in the top crust to let the steam escape.

 

  • Take two pieces of tin foil and place crosswise on a cookie sheet. This will keep the pan clean in case the filling oozes out, and help keep the crust edge from burning later on in the cooking process.
  • Set the timer for 15 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, check to see if the edges are getting brown. If they are, fold the tin foil up and over just the edges of the crust and continue baking.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let it cool for the same amount of time.

 

Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Oh baby, so delicious! This is my husband’s FAVORITE and it may become yours as well!

Enjoy your day, and a slice of yummy pie!

 

Yummy Blueberry Pie Recipe

homemade blueberry pie
For those of you who like blueberry pie, this recipe is a keeper. Simple, straight forward ingredients make this blueberry pie yummy and easy to make.
  • Prep Time15 min
  • Cook Time50 min
  • Total Time1 hr 5 min
  • Yield8
  • Serving Size1 slice
  • Course
    • Dessert

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar depending on the tartness of the berries
    • 3 T flour
    • 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
    • dash of ground nutmeg (fresh ground nutmeg is so yummy)!
    • 2 single pie crusts (pre-made or homemade)

INSTUCTIONS

1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 
2

In a medium size mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, nutmeg and lemon zest and mix together well.

3

Add the berries to the bowl and toss to coat.

4

If you bought a frozen crust at the store, let it thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes before baking.

5

Pour the berries into the pie crust and put your top crust on top of the berries.

6

Using a knife, cut away the excess pie dough. (Just under the rim)

7

Fold the edges under and crimp.

8

Cut a few slits with a sharp knife in the top crust to let the steam escape.

9

Take two pieces of tin foil and place crosswise on a cookie sheet. This will keep the pan clean in case the filling oozes out, and help keep the crust edge from burning later on in the cooking process.

10

Set the timer for 15 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, check to see if the edges are getting brown. If they are, fold the tin foil up and over just the edges of the crust and continue baking.

11

Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Let it cool for the same amount of time.

  • Serving Size1 slice
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories0
  • % Daily Value*Standard DV
  • Total Fat7 g78 g8.97%
  • Saturated Fat1 g20 g5%
  • Cholesterol2 mg300 mg0.67%
  • Sodium80 mg2300 mg3.48%
  • Protein1 g50 g2%
  • Unsaturated Fat 6

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Pie Crust Made Easy – Flaky & Delicious

Does anyone else get intimidated by making pies? I used to, but not anymore. This pie crust recipe is super easy to make and turns out flaky and delicious!

My mother-in-law makes the best pies and for my husband to say that this pie crust was as good as his mom’s, was a HUGE compliment!

Whether you’re making a fruit pie or a meat pie, this crust is the bomb!

This recipe makes enough for 4 single crust pies or two double crust pies. If you don’t need this much pie dough, simply cut the recipe in half or make extra and freeze it.

Just a note: The more you make pies, the more comfortable you’ll get with the process. So grab your apron and let’s get started!

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups butter or shortening
  • 2 TB white vinegar
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 cup Ice COLD water

If you have a food processor, mixing the butter and flour to the right consistency is so much faster and easier. If not, no worries! I will give you instructions for both.

I seriously LOVE my food processor! To think I went for years thinking it was an unnecessary luxury appliance is crazy. But not that I have one, I wonder what the heck I was thinking. It makes chopping, shredding, mixing soooooo much faster and easier. I use it all the time.

Instructions without food processor

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt.
  3. Cut the butter into small cubes and then add half of the flour mixture.
  4. Stir to coat the butter cubes with flours, then add the remaining flour.
5. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter. (This can be done by using a food processor as well)
6. Your goal is to get butter pieces that are the size of peas.
7. In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, egg and COLD water ( iced water works best).

8. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour egg mixture into the well.

9. Start blending together a little at a time with a fork until just blended.

10. Then, using your hands, form mixture into a ball. Do not over work.
11. The secret to a good pie crust is handling it the least amount possible. If you mix it too much it will not be flaky.

Instructions with food processor

  1. Cut the butter into small chunks and drop them in the flour mixture to coat.

2. Take the coated butter and place in the food processor bowl.

3. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and pulse several times to mix it into pea size chunks.

4. Add the remaining flour and pulse until you have the whole thing mixed to a pea sized consistency. It doesn’t take long at all.

5. Dump the flour and butter mixture into a big bowl.

6. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour egg mixture into the well and proceed with STEP 9 above.

Rolling out the pie crust dough

1. Lightly but evenly flour your work surface.

2. Cut the ball dough in half and then in half again and form four dough discs.

3. Roll out the dough, pausing to rotate the dough to prevent sticking. This is crucial. After every stroke of the pin, rotate the dough. At any sign of sticking, throw a little flour underneath and keep going
4. Once rolled, the dough should be approximately 1/8-1/4 inch thick. A common pastry mistake is to roll the dough so that it is thicker in the center than at the edges. Roll from the center of the dough to within 1 inch of the edge, rotate, and repeat.

Putting it all together

  1. Once you’ve rolled your dough, gently transfer it to the dish you intend to use. Wind the dough around your rolling pin, making sure it is floured and will not stick to itself. Unroll the dough over the dish, and gently press it into the corners of the pan. (Avoid stretching the dough)!
  2. Trim any excess dough, leaving an overhang of about 1/2 to 1 inch. Using whatever technique and design you want, crimp the edges to form the pie crust edge.

 

3. At this point, the pie crust can be frozen. I like to make a batch and use some for a chicken pot pie and then I can freeze the rest for another time. You should be able to get 2 full, double crusts pies out of this recipe and may have enough left over to make a shell for a cream pie or some cinnamon sugar sticks for the kids or adults. Just remember, if you are making single shells, poke holes in the bottom with a fork.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the fluted edge is golden light brown.

5. Now you are ready to add the filling.

Double Crust Pies

If you are making a double crust pie, fill the uncooked pie shell with the filling and then add the top shell. This can be a full sheet of dough or you can make a fancy lattice design of choice.

Bake according to your recipe instructions.

***TIP: To keep the crust edges from burning, place a big piece of aluminum foil underneath the pie. Check the crust after a bit and if it looks like it is cooking faster than the pie, fold the foil over the crust and continue to bake.

See. You got this! Throw on  your apron and make PIE!

For a YUMMY blueberry pie, check out my recipe HERE.

If you have leftover dough and it’s not enough for another pie, make pie dough cookies. This is something that my grandmother always did, and I liked it just as much as the pie!

Simply roll the dough out and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. cut into rectangles and bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees. Watch carefully because they don’t take very long to bake. Oh so good!

Pie Crust Made Easy – Flaky & Delicious

This pie crust is a never fail, delicious crust. Great for fruit pies and meat and vegetable pies.

  • Prep Time30 min
  • Cook Time10 min
  • Total Time40 min
  • Yield4 Single pie crusts
  • Course
    • Dessert
[MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 1]

Ingredients

    • 5 cups flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 cups butter or shortening
    • 2 TB white vinegar
    • 1 egg slightly beaten
    • 1 cup Ice COLD water
[MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 2]

INSTUCTIONS

1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2

In a large bowl, mix well: flour and salt

3

Cut the butter into small cubes and then add half of the flour mixture.

4

Stir to coat the butter cubes with flours, then add the remaining flour.

5

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter.

6

Your goal is to get butter pieces that are the size of peas.

7

Form a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour egg mixture into the well.

8

Start blending together a little at a time with a fork until just blended.

9

Then, using your hands, form mixture into a ball. Do not over work.

10

The secret to a good pie crust is handling it the least amount possible. If you mix it too much it will not be flaky.

Rolling Out the Dough

11

Lightly but evenly flour your work surface.

12

Cut the ball dough in half and then in half again and form four dough discs.

13

Roll out the dough, pausing to rotate the dough to prevent sticking. This is crucial. After every stroke of the pin, rotate the dough. At any sign of sticking, throw a little flour underneath and keep going.

14

Once rolled, the dough should be approximately 1/8-1/4 inch thick. A common pastry mistake is to roll the dough so that it is thicker in the center than at the edges. Roll from the center of the dough to within 1 inch of the edge, rotate, and repeat.

Putting It All Together

15

Once you’ve rolled your dough, gently transfer it to the dish you intend to use. Wind the dough around your rolling pin, making sure it is floured and will not stick to itself. Unroll the dough over the dish, and gently press it into the corners of the pan. (Avoid stretching the dough)!

16

Trim any excess dough, leaving an overhang of about 1/2 to 1 inch. Chill the dough immediately for about 30 minutes.

17

At this point, the pie crust can be frozen. I like to make a batch and use some for a chicken pot pie and then freeze the rest for another time. You should be able to get 2 full, double crusts pies out of this recipe, and may have enough left over to make a shell for a cream pie or some cinnamon sugar sticks for the kids or adults . Just remember, if you are making single shells, poke them all over with a fork.

18

To keep the crust edges from burning, place a big piece of aluminum foil underneath the pie. Check the crust after a bit and if it looks like it is cooking faster than the pie, fold the foil over the crust and continue to bake.

19

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until fluted edge is golden light brown.

[MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 3]

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Fleece Binding Sewing Tutorial

fleece binding

I love using fleece to bind the edges of a lot of my upcycled sweater sewing projects. Like sweater slippers, hats and cozy blankets. This fleece binding technique is so easy and it makes the finished edge look so sharp and crisp.

So without further chit chat, let’s get to it.

Play Video

Choosing the binding fabric

The great thing about using fleece fabric is that is DOES NOT FRAY! You can use a knit fabric as long it is doesn’t have too much cotton in it. If the knit has a lot of cotton, it will fray.

If you have a knit shirt that you don’t wear anymore, but you like the color or print, reuse for binding! I do it all the time.

You can test the fabric by cutting a strip and then pull and stretch it. If the edges fray, then it won’t work for binding. If it doesn’t fray, you are good to go.

Bulky fleece, like Polar fleece tends to be a little too bulky. Have fun mixing up colors and prints with your projects.

Cutting out fleece strips

Cut out strips of fleece (on the stretch) 2 – 2 1/2 inches by however long you need for your project.

If you don’t have a fleece piece long enough, no worries, you can join several strips together. I will show you how easy it is.

Joining strip together

 

Place the strips Right Sides Together (RST) and overlap the edge by 1/4
inch. Make sure the top piece is on the right side as shown above.

Stitch from point to point as indicated in photo. I just eyeball it, but if you needed to, you could mark the edge with a piece of masking tape.

Back stitch at the begging and end of the seam.

Trim the seam leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Now clip the edges.

Finger press the seam open.

Ta dah, now you have one continuous strip of binding.

This technique alleviates the bulk that you would get with a straight seam.

It offsets the seams so they are not all in one place and still gives you the bias stretch.

Fleece binding application

Sew, using a 1/4 -3/8 inch seam allowance. (Which is usually the edge of your pressure foot) Stretch as you sew.

Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

If your binding is going to be on the thinner side, trim the edges.

Finger press the seam towards the binding.

Fold the binding to the width you want over the the inside.

Pin in place.

Stitch IN THE DITCH of the previous seam.

You will have extra fabric.

CAREFULLY trim the excess fabric close to the seam. Be very careful not to clip the fabric underneath. I have sadly done this.

Now wasn’t that a snap!

Look how nice and even and crisp the edges are.

Whether it is a cozy blanket or a pair of sweater slippers that you need to bind, get out your fleece and give it a whirl.

Learn how to make and bind your own mini weekly planner with these cozy sweater strips.

Any questions or suggestions, please, let’s chat.

Have fun sewing!
 
Be sure to check out my TEACHABLE SITE for classes and tutorials, and my YouTube station.
 

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Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

Read More