Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tutorial: How to Make a Baby Doll Bottle With Disappearing Milk

Today I took a break from cleaning and cooking to work a little on my sadly neglected eBay and Etsy stores. We have guests arriving tomorrow, so it's just a short break. I ordered some plastic baby bottles a couple months ago so I could make "disappearing" formula bottles for baby dolls. I was pleased to find small, 4 inch bottles, with closed nipple lids, rather than a pierced nipple. A lot of people make these with real baby bottles for reborn dolls, but I find those too large and I also don't trust the flexible pierced nipple. Even though you can close the hole in the nipple, it would still be easy for a determined child to bite through a silicone nipple and drink the fake formula. That would be bad, since the formula is not made of edible ingredients and could be quite harmful if ingested. My bottles have hard plastic nipples with no hole in the nipple, so it's easier to keep the fake formula out of a child's mouth. Still, I would keep these away from kids who aren't old enough to understand they shouldn't drink it. My own children would have been able to play with these at age 8 or so, but please consider your own child's personality when making one of these to use as a toy. I sell the bottles to make these in my Etsy store and also make them to order.

Baby Doll Bottle

To begin, gather isopropyl alcohol, clear baby oil, and all purpose flour, along with a bottle.

Ingredients for formula

The formula "disappears" when you turn the bottle upside down because it flows into the bottle lid. Since the lid is opaque, it looks like the baby doll is actually drinking the formula. Therefore, you don't want to make too much more formula than will fit in the lid. I use the lid as a measuring cup.

Use the lid as a measuring cup.
I measure one cap full of alcohol and mix it with 3/4 cap of flour and 1/3 cap of baby oil. Whisk all these until smooth with a fork or wire whisk. The formula will have an authentic grainy appearance, just like real breast milk or baby formula.

Pour the formula into the bottle.
Pour the formula into the bottle using a funnel. Then wipe the threads on the bottle neck with a paper towel dipped in alcohol to remove any spills or debris in preparation for gluing the lid.

I really like Beacon 527. It's a great all-purpose glue. I use it in my studio for making doll jewelry, jointed cloth dolls, making repairs... pretty much everything. This is a permanent glue, which is what you want in a situation like this where you don't want the lid to come off.

Glue the lid.

Wipe away the excess glue.
Glue all around the bottle neck and immediately screw the lid on the bottle. Wipe away any excess glue from the neck. Allow the glue to dry. Now your bottle is ready for play or display! I am trying to devise a formula that will be safe if a child ingests it but not spoil or get moldy. If I come up with one I will update this post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Great Turd War

Just look at the beautiful Christmas scene in my living room. It's like a vintage greeting card, isn't it? Except... Why are the presents scattered all over the floor? Well, that would be due to the Great Christmas Turd War, now being waged in the living room. By the way, notice how lovely the mirror I repaired in my epoxy tutorial looks now that it's painted and displayed!

Remember that sweet Himalayan cat we rescued and nursed back to health? Remember how she was such a perfectly behaved angel? Yeah, well, much like children who test you once they've been adopted, our cat now feels comfortable enough to push us and see how far the boundaries stretch. At least, that's our theory. My husband's Internet research indicated cats might have such a turf war when moving in together. Our teen said, "Actually, it's more like a 'turd war!'", and the name stuck.

Our new cat

Our kitten, who was furious at first when we adopted the second cat, calmed down. The cats have been actually playing and eating together. We decided to see if we could downsize to one litter box. That fateful decision occurred around the same time we put the Christmas tree up. Turns out, it was a really bad idea. The cats, once pushed into such close proximity, apparently felt the need to assert their own specific territories, and both wanted the Christmas tree. First, Snickers the Himalayan peed in the plastic plant trays next to the tree. Oreo, the kitten, retaliated by pooping on the floor next to the plants. This has been escalating until this afternoon, when Snickers peed all over the tree skirt and presents under the tree. Just as soon as I mopped that up, Oreo came in and pooped on the floor right in front of me! It was the last straw.

The presents the cat peed on

I mixed up a cat repelling oil blend and rubbed it all over the woodwork and the floor along the entrance to the room in the hopes I can keep them out all together. The recipe is: 10 drops each Young Living rosemary and Citrus Fresh essential oils mixed into 1/4 cup olive oil. This scent is supposed to be particularly abhorrent to cats. I sure hope it works! Luckily most of the expensive presents aren't wrapped yet.

As disgusting as all this has been, it was a welcome distraction today. I finally came to the conclusion it's time to let Ilse, our 13 1/2 year old Sheltie, go. She never really recovered from her illness this summer and over the past month she's become increasingly frail. She can't really see and can barely walk. I have to lift her out of her bed. She also sits around shaking, as if shivering from cold, all the time, even when the weather is warm. She doesn't do anything other than eat and sleep, but until this week she seemed to enjoy eating, so I thought she might as well continue to have that pleasure. This week, however, she won't even eat her special treats. She just lets them fall out of her mouth and our Spitz takes them and eats them. Ilse has lost a significant amount of weight as well, and she's arching her back in a way that looks painful to me, so I'm sure it feels so to her. A couple times when I've tried to take her outside she's tried to bite me, and she's bitten our Spitz several times. She's clearly miserable, so I made the call to have her put down. Her appointment is Friday morning, a time when I could be there with her for the procedure. I feel like a horrible person who's betraying her on the one hand. On the other hand, if I could have done this for my grandmother when she was dying I would have.

Ilse, our Sheltie, wearing her sweater.

As much as I know Ilse's painless passing will be a gift unavailable to most humans, my heart is breaking. Thirteen years ago when she came into our lives we were still in our twenties, the young parents of a toddler who wasn't even in pre-school yet. That toddler drove himself to and from the orthodontist's today and is out running right now, getting in shape for the spring track season. The world of Ilse's puppyhood is gone, and holding on to her is becoming selfish, but that doesn't make it any less painful.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, free from turd wars, and that your 2016 opens into a beautiful new world.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Stocking Stuffer Sale from Atelier Mandaline!

Handmade Angel Ornaments for Sale by Atelier Mandaline

As the holidays approach, I'm feeling the pinch! I try really hard to save and budget during the year and pick up as many things as I can early in the year so I can spread the price tag pain out over several months. With kids you always get last minute requests (like last year's Christmas Eve announcement that Santa was bringing my son "a spaceship with GPS"). I was like, "Um...I don't think so!"

At any rate, I feel you right now, so I'm offering a few exclusive discounts especially for my newsletter subscribers and blog followers and readers. Atelier Mandaline on eBay is currently having a Stocking Stuffer sale, where the more you buy, the more you save! When you purchase three or more items from that store using this exclusive link to the sale, you will save 15% on your total purchase!

Atelier Mandaline on Etsy has several easy ways to save. Just for you blog readers, save 10% on your order when you order by using the coupon code: BLOGGER. Favorite my shop or any of my items on Etsy and I will send another coupon code for 10% off. I will only send one email; you won't be entered into a data base or anything and you won't get any more messages from me unless you contact me or purchase something OR unless you take part in my Pinterest promotion, in which case I will send you a 15% off coupon! To participate in that promo, just pin any three of my products to Pinterest and send me a link to your board. I will send a coupon in return!

I hope this helps with holiday purchasing pain. Between these two stores, I truly have something for everyone. Best of luck for stress-free preparations in the weeks ahead!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pay Your Pal

Contact Me for Doll Repair Pricing.

Here's an exciting development for Atelier Mandaline! Now when you send a doll to my hospital for repair or wish to buy a doll you see on this blog (make sure to check with me first to see if I still have it in stock) you can pay me right here without going through any third party  like Bay or Etsy. Direct payment means I can reduce the cost of my items, so it's a great thing for everyone! I have a copy and paste link to my PayPal Me page on the sidebar of the blog. Sorry, but for some reason I can't get links to go live in the sidebar or headers anymore and I can't figure out what's wrong. I think it's a Blogger issue. You can also link right here to my PayPal Me page.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tutorial: How To Fix Dolls With Epoxy

Dolls needing split repair
Today I got a bunch of dolls repaired using hard plastic epoxy. When a hard material doll has a split or is missing a finger, hard plastic epoxy is my go-to product. You can use epoxy to repair PVC plastic, hard plastic, resin, composition, and more. You can use it on vinyl as well, although it isn't ideal because the difference in texture between soft plastic and the hard epoxy makes the repair really noticeable. Today, besides using epoxy on the dolls, I tried it on a mirror insert made of Styrofoam with a plastic coating.

Hard plastic epoxy
You can find hard plastic epoxy in the painting section of the hardware store. There are several kinds. Some have two different vials which must be mixed like paint. I prefer the kind sold in putty-like sticks. Kwik Plastic is one brand you might see, but there are several different brands. I've heard of a type of epoxy called Milliput or something like that which is tintable so you don't have to paint it, but I've never seen it anywhere I've lived. I think I'd probably end up painting it anyway.

Materials for epoxy repair

When you want to epoxy something make sure to have a disposable knife, paper towels, and water on hand. The epoxy will not stick to your fingers if they are damp. You don't want your hands dripping wet, but I find it helpful to dip my fingers in the water and dry them a little on the paper towel every couple minutes as I'm working. This makes the epoxy stick to the plastic and not to my hands.

 Cut off a piece of epoxy.

Knead to mix.

The mixed epoxy.

To start your repair, cut off a piece of epoxy and knead it together to mix the two parts. When the epoxy is a uniform color it is ready to use. The epoxy dries fast, so try to only take as much as you will use in a short period, no more than 20 minutes.

Repairing a split

Make sure your doll has been cleaned and dried ahead of time when you want to do a repair. Apply the epoxy to the split in your doll and try to get the edges as smooth as possible while the epoxy is wet. You can sand it down later, but it's much easier to do as much as you can when you apply it so the repair is not visible.

Sculpting a part

Besides split repairs, you can sculpt new parts for broken dolls using epoxy. In this case I am making new hard eyelashes because a piece broke off this doll. Apply your epoxy to the area and use a skewer or other sculpting tool to form it as you want, as if you were using modeling clay. Try to get the piece as finished as you want while you are sculpting; try not to rely too much on sanding to shape the piece.

Repairing a seam

The finished seam

Sometimes a doll will have only a tiny split or factory flaw where the seams don't quite meet as they should. This is a really easy repair. Just take a tiny bit of epoxy and rub it into the split. Then clean the excess off the surface with a skewer or wet paper towel, leaving the epoxy in the seam only. This kind of repair is virtually undetectable when it is finished!

Allow to dry.

When your repairs are finished allow the dolls to sit without handling for at least two hours. If it's really humid or rainy the epoxy may take longer to dry. Today while mine were drying I repaired a mirror my mom gave me.

A broken piece
My mom ordered several mirrors with an insert that makes the mirror look like a paned window. One arrived with the pane insert broken, so the company sent her a new one. She gave me the broken mirror because I know how to fix things with epoxy.

Sculpt the repair.

The mirror pane is Styrofoam with only a thin shell of resin over it, so I couldn't press too hard on it. I gently applied the epoxy and sculpted it to look like the rest of the piece with a skewer. When it dries I will paint it to camouflage the repair. I plan to hang this over the door to our living room. It's just the right size and will look like a transom window when it's finished. I think it will be really pretty!

When the epoxy is dry it will turn from a light blue/gray color to white. Then it is ready for light sanding and painting. I use oil based paint for all the the tiniest repairs. The very small seam repair shown below will disappear with a light coat of acrylic paint dabbed over it with a makeup sponge. The dolls you see here are coming soon to my Atelier Mandaline stores on eBay and Etsy, so please check.

The dry epoxy

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Young Living Animal Scents Collection

This past Friday was the happiest I've ever been to own the Young Living Animal Scents collection. First thing Friday morning, well before dawn, we let the dogs outside and fed them. Then, while I was rushing to get the kids on the bus, I heard a sort of shriek. I thought it came from outside and wondered for a second if it was one of the dogs, but dismissed it, telling myself it must have been our bird. A few minutes later, however, our dogs were banging themselves into the door, clearly all upset. When we let them in we saw our Spitz had a big bloody welt on his back. I inspected it and didn't see any teeth marks, so I didn't think it was a bite, but I can't imagine what else it could be. By that time the sun was coming up so it was light enough to see. I walked around the yard looking for what might have happened but I couldn't find anything. I put the kids on the bus and then came in to see what I could do for the Spitz. Our kitten was spayed last month and I had mixed up some PuriClean wash and a MendWell and InfectAway roll-on to care for her incision. I still had a lot left, so I was able to quickly clean the wound. Then I applied the roll-on to help boost healing. Two hours later, other than the oily patch of hair, there was no sign of the welt. The dog has been fine ever since. I was so glad I had the oils on had and that I had some pre-mixed for emergencies! Little did I know, I would be even happier about it as the weekend progressed.

Our sick cat

On Friday night our neighbor who works in animal rescue posted a plea for help because she said a litter of Himalayan kittens had been abandoned and needed homes immediately. When I was a teenager we had a Himalayan cat who had kittens. My husband took one of the kittens. Since we both had Himalayans, and they were very sweet cats, so we both have a soft spot for them. So even though we hadn't been thinking of getting another cat we called and asked to see the cats. Saturday morning we got up and went to the Humane Society and found out it wasn't a litter of kittens abandoned, but 12 former show cats. A woman bred these cats and showed them, but then she died and her husband stopped taking care of them. It looks like he just put them in a pen outside for a while. Finally he took them all and surrendered them to Animal Control. These are older cats, so if they hadn't been purebreds they would probably have been put down, but since they are obviously valuable, Animal Control asked if the Humane Society would take them.

When we saw the cats, I have to admit I quailed at the thought of taking one. They were all sick with coughs and running eyes and noses and they were absolutely filthy. These are cats with long, long hair, and nearly all of them were caked with red clay and feces. Their coats were horribly matted, too, almost felted in fact. I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving these formerly pampered cats there without at least helping one, though. It was as if a bunch of princesses had been dumped on the street! We chose the friendliest one, who ranked just about in the middle of the pride in terms of filthiness, and who was the only one to have already been spayed. Since we took one before they were groomed they gave us a deal on the adoption fee. We figured we would have to hire a professional groomer. We brought her home and told our teenager we got him a tribble, since she's just a ball of fur. Our youngest looked at her and asked, "What is it?". Since we already have the kitten named Oreo, the kids named this one Snickers.

Homemade Pet Products

Saturday night, however, I started petting Snickers and brushing her and found she loves to be brushed. Now that I have observed her more, I think the only time she ever was held was during grooming. She was clearly groomed a bunch; she's a pro at it! I decided to try to clean her up myself and figured I could call a groomer if it was too much of a challenge for me. Since I grew up with a Himalayan and we have a Sheltie and a Spitz, extremely fluffy dogs, I do have a lot of experience with long haired animals. I made cleaning wipes by spraying my PuriClean spray on paper towels an wiping her down with those. The PuriClean spray is about 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of witch hazel, and 3 drops of PuriClean essential oil. It's super-diluted and gentle since I made it initially for a kitten, so I even used it on Snickers' face. Snickers tolerated that well, so I made up a de-tangling spray for her matted coat. This was half a can of coconut milk, 1/4 cup of witch hazel, about 1.5 cups of water, and three drops of PuriClean. I shake this up and spray it on the brush or the fur before brushing. It's a leave-in and cleans and conditions at the same time. I sprayed this all over Snickers' back and brushed her out. On Sunday I decided to try to give Snickers a "sanitary clip". This is where you shave the bottom, tummy, and insides of the legs to keep the animal clean or to clean up a dirty animal. Snickers needed this badly, and also had to be  shaved all under her chin and neck, where dirt and food had congealed in her fur and matted it irreparably. She could barely walk because she had huge mats on the soles of all her feet, so these had to be shaved as well. My husband I took turns shaving her and we gave her lots of treats and breaks in between sessions, and she tolerated it quite well. When we were finished removing the mats my son and I washed her, mostly on her underside, in the sink with pet shampoo (not homemade). Then we gave her a blow dry with the hair dryer.

The cat after cleaning.

Now that we can see her face, we see Snickers is a lovely girl. She still has a couple small mats here and there, but we are working on those slowly. Her cold is improving. I am applying a mixture of 3 drops each MendWell and InfectAway diluted in flaxseed oil (the same roll-on I used on the kitten and dog) between her shoulder blades twice daily to help her fight off the bug. Since she's a "plated-face" or "peeked face" cat she's prone to congestion and runny eyes, so I wash her face with a PuriClean wipe daily.

I am actually thrilled we adopted this cat. In fact, now I wish we'd taken more than one. If I'd known we wouldn't have to pay for grooming I would have! Snickers is one of the most affectionate cats I've ever known. She would like to just be cuddled all day. It's like having a living teddy bear, and she acts just like you imagine a teddy bear would if it were alive. She just snuggles and cuddles and purrs and purrs. She looks, in fact, just like the Princess Kneesa ewok plush I owned as a girl, except she's real! It's really nice because now we have a playful kitten (who rarely lets us hold her) and a lap cat. The kitten is not happy at all to have another cat in the house, but she seems to be coming around. We hope they'll eventually be friends. I doubt Snickers ever got to play much as a kitten. Sometimes she will look at a cat toy and kind of lift her paw, but it's like she doesn't know what to do. I also doubt she ever got much affection; I think that's why she came to enjoy being groomed so much. It's a good thing, because a fur ball like this needs a good brushing every single day!

You can buy the Animal Scents collection from Young Living or sign up as a member and get it at the wholesale price on my Web site. Now that I have this collection I can't imagine owning pets without it!

There will be nine more of these cats available soon from the Humane Society of Iredell County, NC, so please contact them if you are interested in providing one with a loving home.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

May The Force Be With You

Cissette as Princess Leia

Those of you who read my Cissette Southern Belle post might recognize this extremely rare Cissette doll. I was able to acquire two of these dolls by purchasing both of them from one collector. Unfortunately, she had undressed the dolls and lost much of their clothing. By taking both dolls I was able to piece together enough of the outfit for one doll. I sold that one as the Southern Belle doll. After that, though, I was left with one dress, which I will list for sale soon, and one doll with buns on the side of her head. Hmmm... well, just look at her. You know she had to be Princess Leia! Technically, since this doll was made before the Star Wars movies, maybe Leia was channeling Cissette and not the other way around!

The OOAK outfit

You have to admire Princess Leia. She's exiled from her planet. She has to hide and spy and fight and shoot but still finds time to style her hair in her elaborate hairdo and keep it looking nice. And she keeps her white clothes clean throughout. I can't keep a white shirt clean for an hour! My princess wears high heels too, a necessity since the doll has high heel feet. They are kind of big on her but when she's standing they stay on OK.

The Alexander mark

The doll has green eyes.

I restrung Cissette and designed a costume for her. I purposefully didn't look at the movie dress until after I cut it out. I wanted it similar but not identical. I was mainly trying to just remember the movies, which I haven't seen since I was a kid, at least not all the way through. I made a Ponte knit jumpsuit with a tunic over it. The tunic is A-line but can be belted with the metallic elastic belt. I added some silver thread to the neckline. Then I dug through the kids' Lego tub to find a tiny gun. I knew I'd find one; they've been clogging up my vacuum cleaner for years! The kids were trying to tell me they didn't see any. Please. I found three within about two minutes. When I was finished I took Leia outside and had a fabulous time with her photo shoot! She poses very well.

The Star Wars movies made such a big impression on me I can still remember going to see the first one, and I was only three years old! My aunt and uncle took me to a movie theatre in a different Ohio town than ours (I imagine our tiny theatre was full). This theatre might have once been an opera house or vaudeville theatre maybe. Or maybe it was just a movie palace from the golden age of film. It had art deco murals and friezes everywhere and a sweeping curved staircase carpeted in red velvet. There was a stage in front of the screen. The theatre was so amazing I didn't know where to look, and the movie hadn't even started yet! The sad thing is it was falling apart, and even I thought it was a terrible shame to let such an incredible building get so run down. I don't remember it at all later on in my childhood so it probably got torn down. After the movie I remember every time I closed my eyes I could see stars rushing by inside my eyelids, like the film had burned them into my retinas. I guess I fell asleep, because the next thing I remember is my aunt opening the car door and we were in my grandparents' driveway.

Princess Leia can shoot!

I have Leia and many other dolls for sale in my Atelier Mandaline stores on eBay and Etsy. Some I have listed in both stores, but I have only one. This time of year I want to have the highest possible exposure. I decided if two people try to buy it at once it will go to the first person who pays. It's not ideal, but until I can get more of a reputation on Etsy I can't get the traffic I need. I was approached last week by a person who wants to sell my dolls in Japan, and if that works out it will be a real coupe for spreading my brand! Fingers crossed!

Face the Day (and Night)

My face oils

The other day I was refilling my bottles of face oils for day and night. I wrote up a recipe for these last year, but back then I hardly had any oils. Now that my collection has grown more extensive I thought I'd let you in on what I'm using now. Over the summer a friend's daughter, who's about 8 years old, asked who was older, me or my 16 year old son! I was feeling pretty confident after that! There is, of course, no high without a low...the other day one of my youngest son's classmates, on seeing a photo of me from about 5 years ago exclaimed, "Is that you? You look so young!" If you want the truth, ask a 6 year old!

Oils for day

I do think I look pretty good for my age now that I added the oils to my regimen. I was getting crepey looking eyelids and a large age spot was lurking just below the surface of my forehead. Both those issues have disappeared. I also had some tiny bumps, not pimples, but just little hard bumps next to my eyebrow and those are gone now as well. I realized after I took the photo above that I left Purification out of the picture. Although it isn't shown I do use that in my day oil. The roller ball on the bottle really makes the product last a long time; I get about 6 months of use from a 15ml bottle of oil!

Face Oil for Day
Mix 15 drops Tea Tree essential oil, 10 drops each Carrot Seed, Cypress, Patchouli, and Sacred Frankincense essential oils, 20 drops each Purification, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Geranium essential oils in a 15ml bottle. Top off with grape seed oil and a Young Living Aroma Glide roller fitment. Apply to the entire face each morning, using care around the eyes to keep the oils out of the eyes.

To blend the oils I roll the bottle between my palms for several seconds so the heat from my hands can help them meld together. I have a reason, of course, for using each oil, specific to me. That's the wonderful thing about essential oils: they make it easy and affordable to customize all natural products for yourself. Tea Tree oil combats the blemishes I still sometimes get, as does the lemongrass in Purification. Purification also helps with broken veins and uneven skin tone. Sacred Frankincense has been shown in studies to have cell regenerating properties and Frankincense is great for general skin health. According to Dr. Axe, Baylor University in Dallas, TX recently published results of their study showing Frankincense is more effective in killing cancer cells than chemotherapy. Sacred Frankincense is also supposed to kill cancer cells, but I'm not sure if it was used in that study. Geranium is another wonderful oil for general skin health. Cypress and Patchouli tighten sagging skin, and Myrrh and Carrot Seed have sun screening properties.

Oils for night

My night oil contains a lot of citrus oils because the acids in these fruits exfoliate the skin by gently eating away the old top layer of dead cells. Using them is like having a very diluted chemical peel to resurface the skin every night. These oils will make your skin very photosensitive, however, so you should not wear them in the sun because you would burn quickly. I didn't know this many years ago and went for a walk wearing a face cream made with citrus oils and got a burn like a cigarette burn on my face from the sun, so it's no joke! I have very sensitive skin and every once in a while this oil will make my skin sting. If that happens I just dilute it by rubbing olive oil or grapeseed oil all over my face.

Face Oil for Night

Mix 20 drops each Citrus Fresh, Sacred Frankincense, Frankincense, and Joy essential oils, 10 drops each Christmas Spirit, Tea Tree, and Geranium essential oils in a 15 ml bottle. Top off with grapeseed oil and a Young Living Aroma Glide roller ball. Apply all over face each night, being careful to keep out of the eyes.

The cinnamon bark oil in the Christmas Spirit blend helps tighten the skin, and that mixture also contains orange oil to improve tone and texture. You could just substitute those oils if you don't have the Christmas Spirit. The blends I mention, such as Christmas Spirit, Purification, and Joy, are all exclusive Young Living blends. Young Living is the brand I recommend because you can become a member and purchase the oils wholesale and I believe they are the highest quality oils sold here in the US.

Tuna Melt Bread

Another wonderful way to improve the health of your skin and your health in general is to eat more fish. I try to serve fish at least once a week. This has never been a problem until last year, when my youngest suddenly began to ask, "Is this fish?" and if so, to refuse to eat it. I don't understand it; when I was little tuna melts, salmon loaf, and fish sticks were among my favorites and those suppers were meals I always looked forward to. None of my kids are great tuna melt eaters, however, and my husband put the kibosh on salmon loaf almost immediately after our marriage. So, the other night I was browsing Pinterest for ideas and came across a pizza stuffed monkey bread consisting of Grands biscuits stuffed with chopped onions, peppers, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and baked in a Bundt pan. I thought, why not tuna melt bread? It's an easy bread to make. I, of course, do not use canned biscuits as my homemade biscuits are fabulous and don't take any longer than opening the biscuit can and separating the dough! Plus, my recipe is only three simple and wholesome ingredients.

Tuna Melt Bread
1 recipe biscuit dough or two cans Grands biscuits
Tuna Mixture

2 (5 oz) cans albacore tuna, drained
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1 cup Colby cheese, shredded
2 tbsp dill pickle relish

1/4 cup butter
lemon peel and dill to taste

Biscuit Dough:
3 cups self rising flour, sifted
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup milk

To make the tuna, mix the drained canned tuna with the ranch dressing, Colby cheese, and pickle relish and set aside. To make the biscuits, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center, pushing most of the flour up on the sides of the bowl. Squeeze the butter into little pieces in the center of the well. Use the butter wrapper to grease the Bundt pan. Pour the milk into the well and stir with your hand, causing the flour to fall down into the well. A dough will form. When the dough has formed but is still very liquid, begin turning the bowl clockwise, pulling a tiny bit of flour into the dough with each turn and kneading it in. When the dough is stiff enough to hold together knead it a couple times, turning it over and then back again to coat both sides with flour. Knead in this manner until the dough is stiff enough that you can pull off golf ball sized bits of dough. You might have some flour left over; just leave it in the bowl. Pull off 12 bits of dough and roll each into a ball. This should use up all the dough. To assemble the bread, flatten each ball of dough into a disk. Place a tablespoon or so of the tuna mixture in one side of the disk. Fold the other side of the disk over and pinch closed. Place the filled dough seam side up in the Bundt pan. Repeat, placing each filled dough ball next to the previous one until the pan is filled and your dough is used up. You will probably have some extra tuna mixture left over. To make the glaze, melt the butter and mix in the dill and lemon peel. Pour the glaze evenly over the assembled bread dough. Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden and puffed up. Turn the bread out onto a serving platter and serve warm with the extra tuna mixture on the side.

This recipe was a huge hit. Every kid gobbled it up and asked for seconds. So, mission accomplished! They got their fish in at least one night last week!