The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,035 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,663 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Scrapbooking Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I lovingly lined up my collection of glue sticks and a stack of scrapbooking paper that was only slightly higher than my head. (Hey now. Don’t judge. I’m a doll. And a short one, at that.)
Now scrapbooking is a recent art form. At least I think it is. Has anyone ever written the historical history of the scrapbook? I didn’t think so. Don’t fret: there’s probably a merit badge for writing one, and it’s got my name all over it.
In calligraphy, with a sweet border, a strategically placed sticker, and a maybe a bow. See what I did there? Snort. I kill myself.
Anyway, scrapbooking can be an excellent way to de-stress oneself at the end of a long day, especially if you are the sentimental type (moi) and can’t find your knitting needles to finish that long overdue scarf (also moi). And at the end of your de-stressing period, you’ll have a lovely momento or gift (but you won’t be able to wrap it around your cold neck during blizzard season, so you might want to find those needles eventually).
I decided to make my latest and greatest creation a Recipe Scrapbook. My Gramma Barbie had bombarded me lately with handwritten recipe cards and they were starting to invade every nook and cranny in my kitchen. An organized book was the way to solve all my problems! Well, not every problem: she was also mailing me, a few at a time, her collection of Beanie Babies. Sigh. They don’t fit well on construction paper and they make the scrapbook really lumpy. I’ve tried.
Mounting them on the walls, a pseudo kind of wildlife trophy art? With purple bears and sparkly cats? No? Too gruesome? Double sigh.
I sorted out my pile of recipe cards. One pile for the scrapbook, and one to … er, file away for later use. Or accidentally misplace. I mean, really, Gramma: hot dog weiner and jello mold? The ’50s were a scary time, my peeps. Some of these recipes gave me more chills than the latest Steven King novel.
I am fairly certain that housewives, chefs, young homemakers, stay-at-home dads, and your Great Aunt Betty’s first cousin twice removed would love to have this collection sitting in their kitchen. Weiner jello mold notwithstanding, of course.
What follows is something tastier, I assure you. And just in time for Halloween!
Apple Cider Halloween Popcorn Balls
2/3 cup popcorn kernels
2-4 T canola oil (leave out if using an air popper)
4 cups fresh local apple cider
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup organic honey
3/4 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
melted white chocolate, for drizzling (optional)
Pop corn however you like to pop it.
In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until the cider is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Pour into a glass measuring cup to see if it’s reduced enough. When it’s completely reduced to 1/2 cup, it will be a bit syrupy. Pour it into a larger, 3-4 quart pan with a tight-fitting lid, and add the brown sugar, cream, butter, honey, and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cover tightly with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes without removing the lid. Remove the lid, being careful not to drop any water back into the pot. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan and cook until soft-ball stage (236°F to 238°F). Add the vanilla after the caramel comes to the correct temperature. It will bubble up and splatter, so be careful! Stir and pour over the popcorn, stirring with a large wooden spoon. Stir in the white chocolate, if using.
Eat out of the bowl, or using buttered hands, form into balls and add a stick for easier eating.
Now, that is a serious Halloween treat! I would not go to the trouble of making it, but I sure would enjoy eating it if someone else did!! shades of The Little Red Hen??
I just love popcorn balls and like Winnie, I am way too lazy to actually make them but they do sell a fairly good one at halloween made by one of the popcorn companies,( I think the name had a movie theater theme, sorry cant remember the brand name.) They are always the first thing my trick or treaters always grabbed as they were the size of baseballs!
Scrapbooks were a HUGE fad in the late 1800’s and the word scrap refers the the Victorian era “glanzbilder” ( shiny cardboard papers ) little embossed and die cut shapes printed in fabulous chromolithography. Also known by these names: Glansbilder, Glanzbild, Oblaten, Decoupage, Swaps, Filippchen, Reliefbilder, Pressbilder, Glanzbilder, Bokmarken, Glansbilleder, Styken, Blanktavlor, Nouveautes, Images, Chromos, Kiiltokuvia, Poesies, Poesie Plaatjes, Die Cuts, Diecut, Diecuts, Oblate, Rosenbilder, Bokmärken, Victorian scrap. there are many website devoted to these, most are in German.
Victorian Trading Company sells many repro ones in their catalogue. My local Mennonite Book store has an antique wooden cabinet with special drawers for the sheets of these scraps and sells wonderful repros from Germany in sheets for like 45 cents-$1.00 each sheet. I stock up at all holidays. I do not know whom they get their scraps from.
Scrapbooking is very popular with the ” plain people” here in Amishland as a safe and fun activity for the entire family. YOu can buy multitudes of stickers and supplies at most Mennonite and Amish stores here.
Lisa, I am surprised to hear that Amish love scrapbooking, complete with stickers etc. It would be interesting to see what they come up with based on their lifestyle and culture. I bet I would be like a kid in a candy shop at the local Mennonite and Amish stores in your area! Someday, I have just got to come and visit you!!
Winnie, you would die and go to heaven at that Mennonite Book store with all the drawers full of “scraps”. And they have the best selection of old fashioned stickers I have ever seen. Most are also from Germany. It is mostly Mennonite families who scrapbook. I’m not so sure about Amish families as I am more close to several Old Order ( horse and buggy) Mennonite families, and don’t know many Amish families personally.
Genius: I love the scrapbook recipe idea! I have several recipes in my mom’s and different aunt’s handwritings and they would look beautiful done up like this. And if I get ambitious, I might try the popcorn balls. Probably without the popcorn…