Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blog Award

Pink Martini and Pearls gave me this wonderful blog award - thank you so much!!

I'm going to share 10 things I love and then pass this award onto 10 bloggers.

10 Things I Love:

1. International Delight French Vanilla, I use this in my coffee every morning.  Why ID over coffee mate? ID does not use partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.

2. Baking

3. Wine

4. White Jeans - the perfect summer clothing.

5. diamonds and pearls - so classic I can never have enough! I also like morganite, kunzite, and aquamarine.

6. pretty, sparkly craft supplies

7. Sandra Bullock's wardrobe in the Blind Side - this totally encapsulated how I would like to dress everyday.

8. Peonies - they are so incredibly lush I almost can't take it! My farmer's market starts next friday and there is a vendor who always has gorgeous ones. I can't wait to pick up a whole bunch.

9. Blogging - I love seeing what everyone is up to - I have learned so much from all of you!

10. Kentucky Derby - I love all the tradition behind this event but mostly I'm obsessed with the hats!

I'm passing this award to:


Monday, April 26, 2010

French Vintage Magnet Board

I found this hanging sign at Marshall's a few months ago. I was so in love the vintage french feel of the ornate swirls, distressing and glitter! I had the intention of making it a chalkboard sign, but that's not what happened.

Then I got bit by the inspiration bug: Carmen @ Beyond the Fringe mentioned the live with prima videos on her post last week so I went to check them out. These videos are great learning tools, but be warned they are all an hour and a half plus!! If you are so inclined, you can find them at ustream.

The first video I watched did a kind of random quilt pattern decoupage and it got me wanting to try a more structured harlequin pattern.  But what to put it on?  It dawned on me that my intended chalkboard might be magnetic - and it is!  So rather than a chalkboard, I went for a magnet board.

Before I got the fun part I had to do some prep.  I soaked the paper with a sponge and I was able to easily get it off. I also used rubbing alcohol and a light sanding to get it really smooth. I know a lot of you are thinking "can't you just go over it?". Well, yes you can, but my neurosis just can't handle that. And it's so pretty all clean.

After finding yourself a magnetic base, you will only need mod podge and two sheets of pattern paper to make this project.  I just purchased Sure Cuts A Lot so I used it to cut a bunch of diamonds, but you can always do this with a ruler and xacto. I penciled on lines to mark the center point and starting laying out the diamonds and glueing them down with mod podge.

A little while later it was all done and I used a ruler and xacto knife to remove the excess paper to get a nice edge. Then I sealed it with two coats of mod podge.

I added this eiffel tower magnet that my husband found in his office at work.  Who could leave such a fantastic magnet behind?

The prima videos also demonstrate how to alter their flowers a lot and I am thinking that maybe I want to add some flowers to the corners of the board. I'd also like to make some magnets for it so you may be seeing this project again.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cricut Gift Bags

I had another fun assignment from my online Cricut class that I wanted to share. We made gift bags using the Plantin cartridge.

How are cute are they? especially the little ones. I think these would be great to use as party favors or treat bags.  I punched three holes at the top - the center one for the brad and the two outside ones to thread the ribbon through.  These were just for fun to try the assignment, I have no idea if and when I'll ever use them, but I can totally see making them in the future when I have a need for them.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baking Challenge - April '10

It's time for another Martha Baking Challenge - Chess Tart (a.k.a pie).

What is a Chess Pie, you ask? Wikipedia says:
Chess pie is a particularly sugary dessert characteristic of Southern U.S. cuisine. According to James Beard's American Cookery (1972) chess pie was brought from England originally, and was found in New England as well as Virginia. Recipes vary, but are generally similar in that they call for the preparation of a single crust and a filling composed of eggs, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. What sets chess pie apart from many other custard pies is the addition of corn meal.
All I know is that when I saw the crust was made from Nilla Wafers, we had a winner. My husband loves these little cookies more than me anything.

To get started, you must grind your cookies. Then combine them with butter, sugar, and salt. The recipe said "mix" but since I already had the food processor out I let it do all the work.

I used a drinking glass to press in the crust into a tart pan with a removable bottom (side note: i was able to pop the pie out but the bottom stuck on good! I'd recommend lining it with parchment paper). Then gently press the crumbs up the side.

This gets baked a bit before the filling goes in.  The filling consists of sugar, brown sugar, cornmeal, salt, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Fill the crust and bake again. Then Chill.

I thought it was so cool that the filling forms a crust and stays all gooey inside. And it is so yummy!!

This was pretty easy to put together. Inexpensive and easily accessible ingredients. I did have to buy the pan, but I got it at Homegoods for $6. You should definitely give this one a try.  You could also toss in some choc chips or nuts, or make them mini.

I'm a bit disappointed with May's challenge - a spin on a brown cow. I love ice cream, but there is no baking involved. However, I will be making a flavored syrup from scratch.

Linking to: A Soft Place to Land DIY Day


Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's My Birthday!

Yeay!! Today is my birthday!!

I'm 26 today. I'm a really, real adult now :)

 I'm gonna lounge around this morning, go for a massage and pedicure this afternoon, and then out for dinner with the hubby this evening - a wonderful day :)


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Choc Chip Cookies

Today I got to know two really great girls who live in my apartment community. We were all getting together because we enjoy crafts and wanted to work on some projects and share ideas.

I'll use anything as an excuse to bake, so I made chocolate chip cookies to bring to them.

I used the recipe from the April MSLiving Best Of... Series. I'm pretty loyal to the Tollhouse recipe, but I'm willing to give anything Martha a try. The main difference between the two recipes is that Tollhouse uses equal parts white and light brown sugar and Martha uses twice as much dark brown sugar to white sugar. This made her cookies a bit denser and a lot chewier. I like them both, but Tollhouse wins - I love how it keeps a bit of the raw cookie doughness even after it is baked.

I also made some little tags using the Sentimentals cartridge on my Cricut and some pink rhinestones.

How do you like your cookies? Chewy, soft, or do you just eat the dough raw?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When Disaster Strikes...

... it strikes twice!

It started with my washing machine. Here is the wonderful, 20+ year old washer/dryer that was original to my apartment.

Pretty, right? Check out the vintage fonts and colors!!

It also came with some character. How did that happen?

The cold water had been on the fritz for a while, barely trickling in. It took at least 2 hours to run a cycle. I called maintenance to come take a look and they told me I'd be getting a new machine. I snapped some pics while they were swapping the old one for the new one. Brace yourself, this is gross!!


AHH!! They removed that disgusting, broken pan and cleaned the floor before installing the new one.

Here is the new and much smaller washer/dryer I got. It works, it does quick cycles, and the dryer beeps when it is done - yeay!!

So, the same day I got my new washer installed, my microwave decided to get in on the action. I was making popcorn and heard a load pop/bang noise. The glass plate shattered!!

How does that happen? It totally freaked me out.

I was able to find a replacement part online and a few days later I had a new plate. It is a little smaller, but it works.

I was waiting for a third disaster, but I guess this was just a two-fer special.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

I'm a bit late on accepting and sharing my award, but I wanted to put some thought into it.

Alisha @ Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife awarded me with the Beautiful Blogger Award

The rules are to share ten things and pass it on to ten bloggers.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me:

1. Thursday, April 15th, is my birthday - feel free to guess how old I am turning. I'll share it on my birthday.

2. I don't have a driver's license. It is a major pain in the butt and I know I need to get on with it.

3. I have four tattoos - a cluster of stars on my right hip, a plumeria on my back a.k.a. tramp stamp, a dragonfly on my left foot, and my hebrew name on my left wrist. I also have my nose and navel pierced.

4. I got married when I was 19 and didn't tell my family about it. A year later I told them I got married but shaved a year off. I finally told the truth last year.

5. I have a BBA in marketing and my career ambition is to be a SAHM.

6. I constantly struggle with my weight. I am just shy of 5 feet. At my heaviest I was 185lbs, at my lowest I was 127lbs. Right now I am 155lbs. I want to get back to 140lbs. I feel comfortable at that weight and I don't have to fight too hard to stay there.

7. I am the oldest of four. My brother is a film editor, my sister is a junior in college, and my little brother is in middle school. My sister-in-law is also in middle school and my brother-in-law is in elementary school.

8. I love the entire Real Housewives franchise. Andy Cohen - I think you realized that DC doesn't have much to offer b.c I haven't heard anything more about it. Please go to Dallas next - I want to see some Southern Belle cat fighting.

9. I do not like the area I live in (Virginia just outside DC). It just doesn't do it for me. I am hoping to move this summer.

10. I am lucky enough to have two moms - my mom and stepmom (I guess I have three b.c my mother-in-law is awesome too). Neither of them is very domestic, so I adopted Martha Stewart to teach me how to cook, clean and take care of my home.

And here are the ten ladies I am giving this award to:
1. Beth @ Stories of A to Z
2. Mandi @ Finding Home
3. Sherry @ Creations from my Heart
4. Cate @ A Tree Lined Street
5. Carmen @ Beyond the Fringe
6. Autumn @ design*dump
7. Jennifer @ Hope Studios
8. Amanda @ Imperfectly Beautiful
9. Dee @ September the March
10. m^..^ @ Tales from an OC Cottage


Friday, April 9, 2010

Beading - I'm Hooked!

After getting the craving to bead, I picked up 6 colors, played around Wed night and went to town yesterday.

Martha has been promoting her new Sewing and Fabric Crafts book like mad this week. I did pick it up the other day, but I also pulled out the Encyclopedia of Crafts that came out last year. I was flipping through looking for a project to tackle and the beaded bugs and flowers really caught my attention.

Using the instructions I made a dragonfly, butterfly and two bees:

I also made a daffodil:

And then I started playing around with lots of other flowers:

My plan is to start using these as embellishments for all kinds of projects. Like this card:

I totally want to keep going, but I am starting to feel limited by the six colors (black, white, gold, yellow, hot pink, green) I have. I really want to get some pearly pastels and keep cranking out the flowers and bees.

This is so fun and it is the perfect craft to do while watching TV.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Call to All Scrapbookers!

Have you ever heard of My Creative Classroom?

I stumbled upon it a few months ago and it is really cool! There is a free class you can join just by signing up for the newsletter and every 2 weeks you can download new pdf tutorials for that sessions craft theme. I think it is glimmermists right now. There is also a whole slew of classes that you can sign up for (these have a fee).

So the first one I took was Cricut Expression 101. I've figured out quite a bit on my own, but I wanted to make sure I was doing this correctly and see if I was missing out on anything. There is also a 102 starting in two weeks that I plan on taking.

Well, the last assignment was to use the cricut to make a scrapbook layout. Hello?!?! I don't scrapbook. Yes, I am totally obsessed with scrapbook items and can't help buying them. I bought my cricut because I had been hearing about, watched the infomercial and fell in love. Since I'm a good student, I went ahead and tried my hand at a layout.

Apparrantly there are things called page maps and my instructor showed us this site - Page|Maps by Becky Fleck
How cool!  I used one as a very loose guide for my layout - here it is:


I need your advice!! Please tell me what I can do to make my layouts better. This was pretty fun and I'd to keep trying out new ones.

This is what I did:
I knew I wanted to use the mountain border since they recently moved to Colorado.  I picked out two colors to use for the mountains and another that worked as the background.  I cut out the mountain range in each color, and glued the negative of the brown onto the tan.  I found this sticker ribbon that looked good and then felt I needed a strip of the brown underneath for balance.  So I glued the mountains and the strip the paper and placed the ribbon over the seam.  

I printed out the two pics I wanted with a white border(the kids faces are disguised for this post only - I don't know if my aunt wants their faces out there).  Then I used the same color as the mountains to make a mat for each.  I fiddled around with placement and glued them down.  I totally love tags, so I cut the white one and also cut the little circles to go around the holes.  Stamped CO on the tag first with a light color and then with a dark one (this was a happy accident - the first color was too light)  I lifted the ribbon back off to thread the tag on and then stuck it all back down.

I wanted it to have a kind of rustic/western theme and I also wanted to stick the Plantin School Book because that is what the class is using.  I cut out a bunch of stars on red and white paper in varying sizes and layered them together.  I punched two tiny holes in each and used embroidery floss to tie it all together with a button - no glue.  Just a little glue stick on back to stick them to the page.

Finally the big tagI cut this one out a while ago and painted the glaze from my family sign onto it.  I used the leftover floss to make the tassel.  I cut a square of the red paper and glued it on.  Then printed the location and date from computer.  Cut that down the size and inked the edges.  I placed it on the tag and used the remaining sticker ribbon to make two parallel stripes underneath it.

If you read all that - THANK YOU!!  I know it was a lot.  If you have any tips, please please please share them.  And any suggestions for further decorating this layout are much appreciated as well.

Thank you, xoxo, 

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