"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Green Bunny: Special Dates Artwork

I saw this project on a blog called a.steed's.life and knew I had to make one. It is a bit more 'graphic design' than I usually do, but I loved the idea of highlighting our family's most important dates.

This was an inexpensive project. I purchased the 12x12 shadowbox frame for $9.99 at Target. I had everything else on hand. I used the Sure Cuts A Lot program with my Cricut. I love this program! It allows you to use any font you already have on your computer with your Cricut...no cartridge necessary. I used the same font as Andrea did: Modern No. 20.

Based on my 12x12 background size, I cut two inch letters using plain black cardstock for our birthdays. To change it up just a tiny bit, I used a black polka dot patterned cardstock for our anniversary.

Doodlebug Design Beetle Black Dot Grid
When I was ready to lay out the design, I drew a smaller box within the 12x12 cardstock using very light pencil lines (1/2 inch in from each edge). I started working from the outside inward placing the four numbers in the corners first. I used the smallest size glue dot available to adhere the number cut-outs.

After I got all the dates on the page, I cut a small heart from glitter cardstock using my basic shapes Cricut cartridge. Our anniversary worked perfectly for placing the heart since the year we got married had two zeros. Otherwise, you could place it in a random place on the page or not at all. I used a foam square to elevate the heart off the page and give some dimension. I also added small, black photo corners to finish it off.

I chose to change a couple things from Andrea's original project. First, I wanted the colors to be very basic so they would always work in our house. Second, I decided to do 12x12 rather than 8x10...just a personal preference. Third, I wanted to put some extra space between our birthdays and anniversary to highlight our wedding date a bit more. And finally, I wasn't in love with the decorative flourish and decided to keep it super simple.

Just a couple examples of how you can make a project your own and really make it work for your life/house/taste...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Holly's Big Girl Bedroom Makeover

Our baby is growing up so fast!!  In March, on a whim, we moved Holly from a room on the west side of the house into the room that was formerly Doug's man cave.  The walls went from chocolate brown to bright purple (her favorite color, we assume, since any time you ask her what color something is, she says, "Purple!").  Since she's still in a toddler bed, I was having trouble deciding between a quilt or blankets; I found a crib/toddler bed sized duvet insert at Ikea but was disappointed with the homely-looking choices for duvet covers.  I found one I liked on Etsy but it was too pricey and the wrong size for the insert I purchased. 

This is the crib duvet cover from Etsy that inspired me to ask Doug's mom if she could design something similar for us. 

Doug's mom is a quilting aficionado and agreed to sew one for us if I found fabric I liked (which only took one very exciting trip to the fabric store).  It's lovely--she did an amazing job and said it was a pretty quick project.  If you know someone with a knack for sewing, I think a custom duvet cover is a terrific, low-cost way to spruce up a kid's room.

Holly's duvet fabric is from Carriage Country Quilts in Des Moines, WA.  It SPARKLES!!  Can you tell how much it sparkles?!

Ikea Crib Comforter (Duvet Insert) ($15.00) -- 49" by 43" (larger than the average crib quilt, standard size being 43" by 29")

Doug bought the combination primer/paint for the walls and it covered great, in two coats.  The metallic, shimmery silver paint also needed two coats to avoid looking streaky.  The shimmery silver paint looks great with her sparkly duvet. :)  Thanks to my wonderful husband for doing ALL the painting (and masking, clean-up, etc.). 

Paint by Martha Stewart Living Precious Metals in Tin (ceiling) and Glidden in Orchid Blush (walls).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Green Bunny: EGGS

Here's what I love about this layout: The 6x6 picture! (This is a 12x12 layout.) I ordered the main picture of Logan with his green eggs from Persnickety Prints. They will print various photo sizes including 12x12 (which I have also done...maybe I'll show that one off in a future post).

Another great site for enlarged scrapbooking photos is ScrapbookPictures.com. Both sites currently have the same pricing: 79 cents for a 6x6, $1.99 for a 12x12 and everything in between. I also ordered some great 2x2 square photos of our Bermuda vacation and gave them a classic thin white border. They arrived in my mailbox ready to scrap...no cropping involved.

I have ordered from both companies and received great quality prints with no problems.

What a fun way to get a new look in your albums!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vintage Nellie Cooks -- Lemonade Creamsicle Swirl

Meet Nellie
We're introducing a new miniseries on the blog today!  Last year for my birthday, Lindsay found me a sweet little treasure--an antique recipe box full of handwritten recipes, straight from (someone's) Grandma's kitchen.  Most of the recipe cards have Nellie written in beautiful flowing script in the top right hand corner (with some random additions from Helen and Florence sprinkled in--I imagine these were her neighbors, who came for an afternoon scotch in their house dresses to exchange recipes).  The picture above is straight off one of the cards in the box!  Could not be any cuter.  A lot of the recipes have faded, or the script is too swirly to decode, but there are several that are begging to be shared.

Frozen Lemonade Creamsicle Swirl
I chose to make this first because the recipe, originally titled "Chilled Lemon Pie", is identical to Doug's favorite dessert, Raspberry Swirl, with lemon exchanged for the raspberries--lovely and light for spring and Easter.  It calls for the use of raw, stiffly beaten egg whites (an old school method resulting in an extraordinarily creamy treat), which I am comfortable using, but if you aren't cool with it click the links right below the recipe for lists of acceptable substitutes (double the whipped cream, pasteurized eggs, powdered egg whites).

You'll need:
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites (stiffly beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp lemon curd
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pint (2 cups) whipped cream (Cool Whip if you're in a hurry)
  • **3/4 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • **3 tbsp melted butter
  • **2 tbsp sugar
Prepare the crust first.  In a bowl, combine the last three ingredients with your fingers and then press into the bottom of a greased (or parchment-papered) 9 by 13 pan. 

Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, salt, lemon curd and zest in a saucepan and cook over medium/low heat until sugar is dissolved and liquid thickens a bit.  [Side note: I couldn't tell if she wrote "curd" or "zest" so I added a teaspoon of both.  If you want to pick one you can, but both is YUMMY.]  Cool completely. 

While the lemon mixture cools, prepare your whipped cream and beat your egg whites.  Reserve a little bit of the lemon sauce for swirling over the top of the dessert.  Fold the whipped cream and egg whites gently into the lemon sauce, and pour the mixture over your crust.  Smooth the top surface with a rubber scraper/spatula.  Pour the remaining lemon sauce in a stream over the dessert, and use a butter knife to make swirls (hopefully prettier than mine).  Freeze at least four hours or preferably overnight.  When you're ready to serve, heat up the blade of a knife under hot water and it will slide right through the frozen pie.

Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum.  Stayed tuned, more Nellie next month!

Tips on raw egg substitutes:

 (& Nellie!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hurricane Monday

Typically, our week starts with a early phone call to discuss the madness that is Monday in our houses. 

"Have I gone mad?"

"I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. The best people are." 
(Love this exchange between the Mad Hatter & Alice)

Somehow, the weekend equals a mess that we have lovingly dubbed "Hurricane Monday". Don't quite know what it is about our husbands being home for two measly days that creates this kind of mayhem, but we busily get to work tidying, cleaning, and laundering for the remainder of the week only to have it happen again five annoying days later. Here's a look at some before and after shots of one such "Hurricane Monday".

Lindsay's playroom:

Sarah's bedroom:

We're SURE we aren't the only mommies that experience this phenomenon...
Disaster relief in full force today.

Happy Hurricane Monday and have a great week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Summer Reading Preview

Let's assume you read last August's Summer Reading Wind-Up.  11 books finished, 2 started but abandoned a few chapters in.  Do you find yourself wondering why we never sporadically post book reviews throughout the rest of the year?  

I didn't pick up so much as a Sunday paper from September to February (unless you count buying one on Christmas for the day-after ads).  Fall is birthday season in our house, followed by the holidays, which means I need to be in the game even more than usual, and reading for me can be very all-consuming.  For instance, I just finished The Hunger Games trilogy in six days on Lindsay/Jenn/Patty's recommendations--I could not put them down.  I chose to forgo sleep, missed a meal or two, in favor of Peeta and Gale. 

Anyway, no fall/winter reading, and then when the sun came out for a day in March, it happened to be a day where I felt "in need of escape" so to speak (also, our shows are on some kind of spring hiatus).  I decided to start summer reading early.  So far I've finished The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow, Candace Bushnell's Sex In The City (which I must say was a real disappointment compared to the show--maybe I'm not New York enough or upper class enough to "get it"...or maybe it's poorly written drivel with too many names to keep track of and not enough substance), and the aforementioned Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins.

Currently I have three in progress, destined to remain "in progress" unless I have a real literary dry spell and get desperate: My Life In France by Julia Child, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, and Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.

And here's what I hope to accomplish in the next four and a half months:
And three extra if I actually blow through all of those:
Lindsay and I will be reading at least the Sookie books and the Stephanie Plum series together and comparing notes.  We'd love to know what's on your summer reading list!  xo

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Multipurpose Chicks

It was a Cake Pop kinda weekend.  These are Bakerella's Spring Chickens (click here for detailed directions), originally designed for an Easter theme, revamped for Chicks Night Out/Patty's Dirty Thirty birthday celebration.  Instead of a boxed cake mix and canned frosting, this time I used my FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe: Beatty's Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten on the Food Network.  (I know I know, you guys must be just about Food-Networked out by now.)  I've made that cake so many times I could probably do it from memory--it was perfect for the pops, I used all the cake and 3/4 of the frosting.  (The rest is in the fridge, taunting me...I'm guessing it won't make it past breakfast tomorrow.)

These were a fun project, lots of opportunities to get creative with the chicks. :)

(Naked chicks.)

(The birthday chick.)
--tiara courtesy crafty Lindsay--

(Party chicks!!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hello Spring!

Just sharing a couple spring things that have recently caught my eye...

Can't take credit for these flowers...my mom made them for me. She used milk cartons, fabric, wire, and beads and I love pulling them out every spring!

Family Fun Magazine's March issue has how-to instructions for this Cupcake-Liner Lantern. Love it.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow cupcakes from Parenting.com. Logan saw this picture and said, "Mom...you HAVE to make those!" Super cute.

Always inspired by Hostess with the Mostess. Check out these bright & beautimous eggs :)

Love the idea of these Pottery Barn drink dispensers. Wish they were cheaper. Target seems to have a couple of decent knock-offs. Costco has one for $20. Sarah and I are considering splitting the cost and sharing it...

Martha's craft ideas usually make me say, "yeah...right", but these little chickens are pretty darn cute!

And, finally, the 'why didn't I think of that?' idea of the day - Paint Chip Easter Garland by Amy Atlas.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bunny Handprints

CONFESSION...I totally and completely stole this idea from my friend, Melanie. She is an amazing mommy and always has the cutest ideas :)

The only thing I had to buy was the googly eyes (which I usually have, but I think we used them all on crafts last Halloween). I got a small pack at Target for $1.99. You can probably find them cheaper at a craft store, but I was there with both kids in tow and decided $1.99 suited me just fine!

I started with 8.5x11 Kraft cardstock and ran it through my printer to get their names. I used the Digs My Hart font from kevinandamanda.com. She has a great blog and offers free font downloads!

Then, I painted the boys' palms and only their pointer and ring fingers and pressed them down on the paper:

Once they dried, I added the eyes and whiskers. Melanie used what looked like pink puffy paint for the nose, but I happened to have the adorable little fuzzy pink brads. I gave them a colored cardstock background and added a matching ribbon and that's it. So easy and SO cute.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Hungry Man Casserole

This is Man Food.  No frills, no fuss.  It isn't delicate or difficult or French or fat-free.  It's warm and hardy and it's one of Doug's favorite meals, handed down from his mama to me.  And the best part is that it's super quick to prepare and clean up is a cinch.

You'll need:
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet yellow onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 oz can of pork & beans
  • Optional: additional can of black or kidney beans
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Can of home style biscuits (not butter flavored)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350F.  Brown the meat with the onions (I use my electric skillet).  If you're using fatty hamburger you'll want to drain the grease before the next step, but I always use turkey--no draining necessary.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour mixture into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.  Halve the biscuits (peel them apart into two thin circles) and place rough side down on top of casserole.  [Side note: You may not need the entire can of biscuits depending on the size of your casserole dish.]  Cover entirely with shredded cheese.  Bake until the biscuits are done, 15-17 minutes.  Make sure the biscuits in the center are done, it's no good doughy.

Perfect for a fast dinner and easy to keep the ingredients on hand!