Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Second Wind

I have missed this place!

Over the last few months we have been searching for a house (when did they get so expensive again?), dealt with some health issues with our son (nothing that's an emergency...just lots of tests) and I've been trying to volunteer in my daughter's kindergarten class as much as I can. 

Life is busy!

We also soaked up the last of the summer sun and temperatures:


Picked some pumpkins:

Celebrated our little man turning 2:

And we visited this place...again. I think we might have an addiction...

It just never gets old!:

I've been debating a lot with what to do with this blog. Part of me just doesn't have the energy to keep it going...but I know I could never let it go. I've met so many awesome people through this space and I look forward to meeting many more! 

I think 2014 will come with a second wind for my craftiness and when it sewing machine and I will be ready! 

Happy Holidays and have a safe New Year!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Busy and Simplifying

I can't ignore that I haven't posted on here in over a month. I hate that I haven't put anything new on here, but I'm also enjoying the break.
We have been enjoying a relaxing summer (that included a trip to San Diego) and my daughter started kindergarten two weeks ago.
I'm in the middle of a few larger DIYs which I hope to share. For now, I'm going to keep up with what needs my attention (chores, school, and playtime with the kiddos) and relax with my free time (hello Netflix!)
I hope to be back in a routine soon, but for now I'm accepting that blogging is a full time non-career for me that I need to take a little break from. I hope you will still be here when I get back!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DIY: Reversible Painted Throw Pillow

I have a slight obsession with throw pillows. I love them. I was thinking of a new pillow design for this "new to us" vintage chair and I couldn't decide between two ideas, so that gave me an idea to use one pattern for each side. 


plain fabric (cut into two panels for the front and back)
black fabric paint
foam paint brush
sewing machine
matching thread

For the first side, I traced squares in different sizes to make a geometric pattern. I painted them in with the black fabric paint and set aside.

For the second side, I took the end of the foam brush and made little crosses with it. You can use a paint brush for a more uniform look...but I liked the random variety better.

 Once both panels are completely dry (read the paint bottle for instructions), place both panels together with right sides facing and pin. Sew along the outer edge with a straight stitch along three sides.

Flip the case right side out, put your pillow inside, and hand stitch the bottom closed.

Done! A perfect pillow for my indecisive mind;)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

RECIPE: Frosted Animal Crackers

I had a lovely baby shower to attend this weekend and I was in charge of the favor bags. After cruising the grocery aisles for a recipe idea to come to me, I decided to make frosted animal crackers. Aren't they cute? Plus, they taste a million times better than the waxy frosted crackers in the bag.

First, I grabbed a huge bag of animal crackers, picked out all the broken ones, and ate them by myself later while they kids were napping let the kids have them.

Next, I melted white chocolate candy melts and tinted them pink. I mixed in a little bit of vegetable oil to make the coating a little more runny. I also bought a tube of multicolored sprinkles. I dipped half of each cookie in the chocolate and let them harden on wax paper.

I will be making this snack again in the future. It was a fun project to do with my daughter (she is an expert with the sprinkles) and they have such a lovely handmade look!

Have a lovely day!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life Lately

We've been keeping busy this summer. It gets a little challenging when the temps outside are over 110 degrees...but I love this city and I wouldn't have it any other way. We've been hitting up the libraries, movie theaters, and ice cream shops. Here's a little bit our what we've been up to.

Since he refuses to sit in a cart (or a stroller, or the bathtub, or his highchair), I do get his help in pushing it around the grocery store:

Oh, and he has a love for Mickey lately. They are inseparable:

We all crammed into our car and made the 15 hour drive out to Texas to visit family. There was laughing, crying, games, yelling, sleeping, and stopping for burgers along the way:

I realized I might have a slight cardigan obsession:

Our neighbor gave us this dresser that he didn't want...and I took it before he could change his mind. Score!:

The Lego table at the library is his favorite place:

Cupcakes for Father's Day:

My three favorite people:

Thank goodness for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's gotten us through some tough times:

Making my daughter's dream of a Mary Poppins costume come to life (more on that later!):

Strawberry pie:

Date night, concert style:

My husband offering to make dinner and then realizing it's all wrapped in bacon:

Another vintage gem that was given to us:

Making some baby shower treats:

A "new" record player has been our favorite find this summer. When it's too hot to do much outside...then we grab a slice of pizza and walk over to the record store:

It feels like summer is almost over already. My daughter starts kindergarten in 3 weeks and then it's just Baby Boy and me for a few hours each day. 

I hope the summer has been treating you all well;) 

Friday, May 31, 2013

DIY: Painted Herringbone Memo Board

I found this cork board on a walk with my mom one day. It was out in front of a neighbor's house in their pile of things to be picked up by the city for removal. I am always amazed at the perfectly useful items that people put out for "trash". 

So, obviously I picked it up and carried it another block back to my car.

I had the idea of a painted memo board in my head for some time. I taped off the frame of this one and spray painted it black. Then, once I decided on a herringbone pattern, I drew it out with a black marker.

I started with vertical lines:

    Next, I used a ruler to make alternating diagonal lines. A herringbone pattern is similar to a chevron pattern. The only difference is alternating the colors between the lines. I colored in the lines that needed to be painted so that I wouldn't loose track while painting.

I used regular acrylic paint to paint in all the lines. I redecorated my daughter's art nook and it makes for a fun and new way to hang her artwork:

She's in a rainbow and heart phase...if you can't tell;)

 I also wanted to incorporate my latest vintage find. This basket makes for the perfect place to keep her coloring books and crayons both organized, and away from her little brother;)

I originally created this board to hang horizontal, but found that it fit the space better if hung vertically. Oh well, it was a fun and free project and I love the way it turned matter which direction:)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

RECIPE: Baked Chocolate Donuts

 I love homemade donuts. To be honest, going to a donut shop would be much faster than making them, but there is something about Sunday morning breakfast from scratch that makes the time spent and dirty dishes worth it.
3/4 cup FLOUR
1/4 cup COCOA
1 tablespoon BAKING POWDER
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/2 cup MILK
1 teaspoon VANILLA
4 tablespoons VEGETABLE OIL
 (original recipe says canola oil, but I didn't have it)
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray donut pan. Mix together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt.
STEP 2: Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla for 1 minute.
STEP 3: Mix in oil until well combined and pour into measuring cup with a spout.
STEP 4: Fill donut pan 2/3 full and bake donuts for 7-9 minutes.

While donuts are cooling, roll some in powdered sugar. For glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tbsp water or milk and mix together. Dip top of donuts into glaze and let set on cooling rack until glaze sets.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RECIPE: Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

I have had cake flour in my pantry for a while, waiting to try it out for the first time. The kids were restless the other night, so I plopped them on the counter to "help" me make some cupcakes!
These are simple and really yummy. I used a quick powdered sugar glaze for the frosting and it made for the perfect treat!
(by Wilton)
3 c sifted CAKE FLOUR
1/2 tsp SALT
2/3 c BUTTER softened
1 1/4 c MILK
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
STEP 2: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
STEP 3: In mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
STEP 4: Alternate adding flour and milk and beat another minute after all ingredients are in.
STEP 5: Bake 15-18 minutes or until center is set. Cool for a few minutes in pan and then move to cooling rack.
2 tbsp MILK
STEP 1: Mix together and dip tops of cupcakes into icing. For the heart cupcakes, I used a tiny heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the center shape. I dusted them with powdered sugar and then filled the centers with the glaze.
Happy Tuesday:)

Friday, April 19, 2013

RECIPE: Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls

I had a can of crescent roll dough in my refrigerator that was about to go bad and I decided to experiment and try to create semi-homemade cinnamon rolls. They actually turned out super yummy and are an easy "go to" on a Saturday morning when the family is demanding sugary carbs.

1 tbsp BUTTER
1/8 cup sugar
1-2 tbsp CINNAMON (depending on how much you like cinnamon)
STEP 1: Roll out the pastry dough and press seams together. Spread butter on the dough.
STEP 2: Mix together sugars and cinnamon. Sprinkle over buttered dough and roll up tight.
STEP 3: Cut into 1" slices and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for amount of time on dough package (but keep an eye on them and take them out as soon as the tops are browned).
While rolls are cooling, make the icing:
splash of milk or water (about 2 tsp to 1 tbsp)
STEP 1: Mix together powdered sugar and milk until you get a thick glue consistency, add more liquid if you need to. Mix in cinnamon and a little vanilla extract if you like.
STEP 2: Drizzle icing over cinnamon rolls while they are still warm and enjoy!
(I have also made these by adding in some broken up walnuts and they were even yummier!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My New Glasses with Firmoo (and get your first pair FREE!)

I have had to wear glasses since I was 12 years old. Unfortunately for junior high Melissa...glasses were SO not cool. These kids today don't know how lucky they have it. So, Middle School Me picked out a value pair of glasses at the local Walmart and sobbed in the mirror before school cried a little inside every time I had to wear them.
Luckily, glasses fashion has changed for the better and people even wear glasses for FUN now! I like trying to find new glasses that fit my personality and I was so excited when Firmoo contacted me about trying one pair of the many stylish pairs they have to offer online.
If you haven't heard of Firmoo yet, it's the world's most popular online eyeglass store. They have many different options for prescription glasses, non prescription glasses, and sunglasses. So, whether you need glasses (I feel you), or you just like to use them as fashion accessory...they have something for everyone!
In addition to having many styles to choose from, they have a First Pair Free program for new customers. Basically, you get your first pair of prescription or non prescription glasses for free...just pay shipping. How can you resist that?
Nervous about ordering glasses online without being able to try them on in person? Luckily, they offer a Virtual-Try-On System where you can upload a picture of yourself to see how each set of glasses will look on you. Save time and gas by getting to browse many styles all in one place and at affordable prices.
These were my favorite:

What I loved most about the website was how easy it was to choose my frames. Not only could I see how they would look on my face, but there are other people who bought the same frames and their photos on the website. I liked being able to see how the same frames looked on other people in different settings and lighting.
After putting in my prescription information, my frames were ordered and shipped out quickly and I avoided a dreaded trip to the store to try on glasses. I often get asked if my glasses are "real" or just "for fun" and I say BOTH! I love that something I used to hate wearing is now a fun way to show my personality and start conversations with others!  

 Now that I have my first pair, I have already started browsing for my second pair...or third:)
Now, for some silly pictures of me, because trying to take serious pictures of myself while two children were yapping at my heels begging for snacks and for me to take their pictures can make anyone feel a little crazy after a while:

How about you? Do you need glasses or do you wear them for fashion? Which pair would you choose for free?

I received a free pair of glasses from Firmoo in exchange for my personal review. All opinions in this post are mine.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Cinderella Birthday Party

Back in the fall, my daughter decided she wanted a Cinderella party for her 5th birthday in March. Seeing as how that was months in advance, I was sure she would change her mind. She didn't, so we celebrated her 5th birthday in true princess fashion.
I made this castle out of white posterboard and blue cardstock. I got the idea here and knew I had to use it!

I found this glass slipper cookie cutter at a local bakery shop. I tinted the icing a real light blue and used sugar crystals on top:

I made some raspberry cheesecake truffles:

I used some leftover cake batter to make a few cake pops with my new amazing pan:

I found these little glitter pumpkins at the craft store in the fall clearance. They were $.10 each...score!
I made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. For some of the cupcakes I made crown toppers made from sticks of chewing gum. I figured it was much faster and cheaper than fondant. I took a stick of chewing gum, cut points out of one long side, folded it around to make a circle (using a bit of water to keep it together) and then I brushed the front side with water and rolled them in pink sugar.
I made this simple banner the night before. I picked up silver tissue paper on clearance after Christmas. I cut rectangles, folded them in half, and cut slits on one side. They I glued them all to one long piece of yarn by folding the paper over the yarn.

I took our living room clock off the wall and set the time to almost midnight (and took the batteries out). I cut out silhouettes of Gus and Jaq. I got the idea for Jaq here but I decided to add Gus too...because he's a favorite;)

For party favors, I found a pack of nail polish in the Christmas clearance at Walmart and made my own labels in Photoshop. I printed the labels onto sticker paper and wrapped them around the bottles.

I knew I wanted to make Fairy Godmother wands for our guests. When I found these floral picks (5 for $1!) during Christmas, I thought they would make perfect wands. I tied on pink and silver ribbon to make them a little more special:


Outside, our princess guests were able to decorate their own crowns. I cut crowns out of posterboard (getting 6 crowns out of one $.50 sheet) and set out markers and stick on jewels. I got the sheet of jewels at Michael's for $1 (after a coupon) and cut the sheet into strips so each girl could have her own set. 
We had a great day celebrating our daughter turning 5!


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