Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feeling the urge?

image from The little red house

My green thumb has been acting up lately and I can't stop myself from hanging around the gardening section at Home Depot, if just to smell the flowers and imagine the wonderful garden I could have if I didn't live in an apartment. In fact, I have no access to dirt at all. I will confess that along with loitering I'm guilty to plotting a night trip to a local park and filling a few jugs with dirt because the concept of BUYING dirt is ludicrous to me. SO for those of you who are in tight quarters like me or who are looking for a way to bring the outdoors inside, here are 2 GREAT ideas!

Sheena at The Little Red House uses glass terrariums (these are her pictures):

Easily found in your cupboards, thrift stores etc..

Inside are rocks, moss, active carbon...

And plants!

Some examples of plants you could plant in your terrariums can be found here.

Can you see where her terrariums are?! I think they look gorgeous sitting on a shelf unit or out on a kitchen table or window sill. For full instructions and other links, see her blog.

What I'm trying now are these water bottle feeders. With the most ingenious watering system idea:

this image and the following from Self Reliant Sisters

I know you have water bottles or soda bottles lying around the house or gathered around your trash/recycle cans in your kitchens.

All you do is cut the bottle in half (please do not stab yourselves) and invert the top into the bottom.

By adding a 1/8" piece of rope or yarn you've constructed a self-watering wick. Water your soil and then fill the bottom of the bottle with water, refilling only as needed. For people like myself that can easily forget to feed something (RIP gerbil) this is ideal as you only have to water when the base reserve is out. Also ideal for college dorm room sills or for young kiddy-winkies to be in charge of.
The site is Self-Reliant Sisters and they also offer great tips and links for food storage and coupon advertisements (for the Nevada region).

Easter Bouquet of Cupcakes

These bright Easter Cupcakes are so fun and easy. I have made these for many years. They sell out quickly at bakesales and are gone almost instantly at parties. Start with baking your favorite cupcake....I love lemon zinger cupcakes or chocolate cupcakes. Cool cupcakes completely.

Make a batch of frosting or you can easily use pre-made whipped white frosting from a can.
Divide frosting into cups and add food coloring...grab sprinkles...and a bag of marshmallows. I have tried less expensive marshmallows. They do not work as well as Jet-Puff by Kraft. Frost cupcakes.

Using scissors, cut the marshmallow into three pieces (cut width of marshmallow, not length, in order to fit on standard size cupcakes).

Let the sprinkling begin.

Place marshmallow petals on frosted cupcake...4 petals per cupcake. Use extra sprinkles or pipe frosting in the middle of cupcake to make a center for your flower (see below).

Hard to resist eating them all or making an Easter bouquet of cupcakes!

*Hoosier Homeade was kind enough to let us link up with their site and feature our cupcakes on their Cupcake Tuesday! So exciting for new bloggers like us!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Count down to Easter!

photo from Martha Stewart.com

Martha Stewart.com is a mecca for inspiration and she sure hasn't let us down for Easter. I LOVE LOVE these dyed eggs made from silk ties. So easy to do all you need are:

Small- to medium-size raw eggs
Glass or enamel pot (NOT metal)
Silk ties or blouses (source: closet or thrift store)
White sheets or pillowcases or old tablecloths
Twist ties
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
Warm water
Vegetable oil
Paper towels
Tongs or spoon

1. Cut silk into squares large enough to wrap around 1 egg. (Keep in mind that these silk squares can be reused over and over or just a few times depending on your swatch.)
2. Wrap a raw egg making sure the printed side of the material is facing the egg.
3. Place the silk-wrapped egg in a piece of white sheet, pillowcase, or old tablecloth and secure tightly with a twist-tie. (Key word: tightly. But not too tight you crack the egg, obviously).
4. Place the egg(s) in an enamel or glass pot (don't over crowd) Fill pot with water to cover eggs completely. Then, add three tablespoons of white vinegar.
5. Bring water to a boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 20 minutes (longer if you plan on eating the eggs).
6. Remove eggs from water with tongs or spoon and let cool.
7. Remove silk from cooled egg.
8. For shiny eggs, finish off by wiping the eggs with vegetable oil for a pretty sheen.

photo courtesy of kidscuisine.net

Easy, no mess, you can re-use your scraps and display or eat your eggs when they're done!

Other projects to get you started for Easter:

at Moda Bake Shop

Easter cards (not too late to send out!) from Little Birdie Secrets.

These are actually chocolate CAKES w/ crushed cookies, candy rocks and mint!
(these pots are .98cents at Joanns & Home Depot)
Recipe at Martha Stewart

Peeps Bunting and Door Hangers at Dana Made It

The only question is.....which one to make first!

Happy Monday everyone!

It's Good to be GREEN!!!!!!

Got a text from my MSU daughter at 11:50pm Friday night saying, "WE JUST WON".
Go MSU!!! Love this season of college basketball and the Sweet 16 series. We play
Tennessee today, Sunday, and will (crossing fingers) head into the Final 4 after that!
*update: We WILL head into the Final 4!

Speaking of GREEN ...on Saturday night we had the 4th annual Earth Hour. Buildings in more than 104 countries turned off their lights to reduce energy consumption between 8:30pm-9:30pm. Including the Eiffel Tower and the Las Vegas Strip. Can you imagine all the electricity?! It was a good night for flashlight tag, snipe-hunt, capture the flag etc..

Part of our Tree of Life theme is supporting Go Green! efforts. Good to get my mind thinking about Mother-Earth and how I am helping, or things I need to start doing to keep our earth happy.

Throughout the coming months we'll feature articles and other "Green" events that you and those in your area might like to participate in.

For more information on Earth Hour and what happened you can go to their website.

Earth Hour is a great start. It's good to know we can all go GREEN... together.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Cookie of the Week- Mystery of the Secret Stash

TGIF! It's been a long and busy week and nothing rings sweeter than a Friday. Or Mrs. Burgoyne's Cookies. A family favorite, they've been our staple cookie for parties, take-over desserts, lunches, snacks and my dad's not-so-secret stash in his bathroom closet.

Question: Why do all men have secret stashes? The other day The Husband came home from work and pulled out a bag of M&M's from behind a picture frame on our entertainment center. Is it part of a man's "Provide and Secure" hard wiring? Or The Reverse Guilt Conscience belief that if left out and unattended their snacks will get eaten up by us women as fast as they would if they happened upon a bag of goodies themselves? Hmmm....

That is why, when mom would bake us these cookies for school lunches we would automatically store away half the cookies with a note reading "Don't eat, Dad!". If you know my dad you know that his body runs on cookie fuel. Every birthday and Christmas he receives bags of cookie dough, oreos and coupons for cookies during the year. Inevitably his chocolate nose found our stashes, he'd be rendered temporarily unable to read, and by morning half of them would be gone and in his reservoir. BUT this same Cookie Monster still never wastes a moment in sharing his spoils, whether it be Sandies Pecan cookies during late night tv watching, oreos for Friday night movie night or as a peace offering after an argument.
(love you, dad!)

This week, many of these cookies probably disappeared into my dad's bathroom closet but the rest of them went to another little man who will grow up to have his own secret stash. Mom?

Friends from our church, just welcomed a new baby boy into their family. This is their second son. So, I got into my fabric stash and pulled out some of the softest knits and made some little baby newborn beanies.

(Tutorial to come soon!) And, I was thinking that big brother might need a little something for himself, during this change and adjustment of NOT being the only child at home anymore. So I decided to make some tiny cookies that would fit just right into a little boy's hand.
I used my teaspoon measuring spoon as a cookie dough scoop. The dough looked so cute and small on my cookie sheet. I placed a quarter by the sheet so you can see how small these cookies are before baking.

Yummy tiny raisin cookie. Just plain fun.

A little boy with a new baby brother needs a nice bowl full of cookies of his very own.

Mrs. Burgoyne's Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1/3 cup shortening (canola oil works best...not butter)
3/4 cup brown and white sugar mixed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
MIX together
Add, 1 cup flour, plus 3 Tbs.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large Hershey's milk chocolate bar broken into pieces
(or you can use chocolate chips to desired chocolate-ness about 1/2C-1 cup)

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet by Tbs. Bake 325 for about 10 minutes. Yields 2 dozen cookies (I usually double the batch) The secret of this recipe is not to bake them until too well done. They are yummy!!!!

That's it for our first Cookie of the Week special! We thought we'd introduce our family tried and true cookie first but every Friday we'll feature a cookie recipe from a magazine, food show etc.. Next week we're bringing over a guest blogger to share her health conscience food blog along with her favorite recipes!

Until then, the forum is open for discussion: Does your husband/boyfriend/dad have a secret hiding place for goodies? What treat does he hide there most often? Is it a family-known secret spot or is it really hidden?!

xo Sydney and Jenna

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Skittle me 100!

Today is our daughter Kristen's 100th day of missionary service in California. When the kids were little, their elementary school would celebrate their 100th day of school. It was great fun to celebrate with each child bringing 100 items to school. So, we sent Kristen 100 colorful Skittles (she loves them) to help kick off the 100th day celebration in the field.
So here's to you, Kristen! Happy 100th Day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Itty Bitty Baby Dress

I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a little proud of myself. This is my first attempt at sewing something besides a pillow case! Luckily, I came across the easiest pattern by Rae at Made by Rae. Her blog is one of those that I check each morning when I get up and have a running list of things I want to make from! For you with small gentlemen, she recently had a month of All things boy that I highly recommend you going over to look at. Of course, I'm having a girl instead! But I still got a lot of inspiration.

An easy pattern you print right off your computer..it looks like rabbit's ears! I added a 1/4 inch around just in case Madelyn/Natalie/Jenna Jr. comes out a heifer (literally because I drink gallons of milk every week or figuratively, which she might if I keep eating this way!)

I had to go back and cut out a lining since at first I opted out but since it ties at the top I want it to look finished and not as though you were just trying to scraps of fabric together. Next time I want to try a pretty print on the outside and a dots, stripes or solid fabric on the inside.

The gathering on the skirt is what I was most fearful of but it was really easy

I didn't have the called-for piping so I used some of my felt from my epic Joanns visit by doubling the length of the bodice bottom, sewing the two pieces together and folding them in half. Seemed to work just as well for me.

Gaaaaah. THIS was the bugger spot. I could not figure out if I was pinning on the skirt right-side out or wrong side. After studying Rae's pictures I figured something out and went with it. For you advanced sewers who have sewed a bodice to a gathered skirt before, this should be no problem. (This was the beginner sewer not the instructions!)

Headin' 'round the bend! I just love this fabric. I'm tempted to make her 5 more Itty Bitty dresses from it!

Finished dress before the buttons embellishment. Like I said, for the pattern and instructions, head over to Made by Rae. This dress is sized for preemie/newborn or 1-3 months old. I believe she also has instructions for a toddler-sized pattern. It is a VERY small dress (hence the title) but too cute not to try it out.

*I went to Joanns again today (no, I did not have to flee the building this time but I did take a breather at the patterns table again) and cotton print was on sale 50% off! For a pattern like this that is only 1/2 a yard (3/4 yard including lining) you could fill a closet!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Food and Felt

Oven roasted chicken, asparagus, and green salad with veggies, walnuts, craisons, and croutons!

While living in Linden, California, I used to go out in our backyard, behind our fence by our fruit trees, and cut asparagus. What a treat and so good, too. I don't know how hard it is to grow asparagus because I had nothing to do with the planting of the asparagus. But, I did have something to do with the lawn mower "hanging" halfway up our huge artichoke plant, incident. Not pretty. So as I got out my trusty three-legged silver steamer I had to smile...memories.

I could easily spend the majority of my grocery shopping time in the vegetable and fruit area. I love vegs and fruits. And, when I spied the circular 3 tiered display of tempting asparagus, I knew I would be adding that to our first, "Hey---it's Spring", dinner on Saturday. I love bright, deep colored vegetables and those are the healthiest for you too. I noticed a few other forgotten vegetables making a come back this spring, also. And, maybe some that have been here all along, but ignored. I've silently vowed to be more adventurous and bold in my shopping and cooking with vegetables. We shall see where it takes me.

The more you know.....10 ounces of asparagus has 68 calories and 9 grams of protein. It is loaded with minerals and antioxidants. White asparagus is cultivated by depriving the plants of light, and keeping them covered with soil. They are slightly bitter, but, more tender, soft and delicate.

Speaking of colors.........

I teach and sing music on Sundays with the nursery age children. Surprisingly, one of their most favorite activities goes a long with a song called...Rain Is Falling All Around, by Moiselle Renstrom. Last fall I cut out these felt fall leaves. As we sang the song...."Leaves are falling all around, on the housetops on the ground. Leaves are falling on my nose, on my head and hands and toes"..... I would drop the leaves over their little cute heads and they would try to catch the leaves. They just loved this activity....

Then came winter....
"Snow is falling all around", was just as popular.

Now we're onto Spring. Saturday, I cut out orange and yellow sunshines for the children. I changed the song to...."Sun is shining all around, on the housetops on the ground"...etc. They continue to love this activity. All it takes is a bit of felt and some good fabric scissors. Felt is so child friendly...when the felt leaves, snowflakes or sunshines make their way to the classroom floor, little chubby, cute hands, help to pick up the felt. They hand it to me, oft times, all waded up, held tightly in their little fists-ha! They are helping and felt just lays back out nicely and ready to go again.

This is a great rainy day activity, fhe project for families with young children, or for primary lessons or other church callings!

Happy Monday!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Evidence of SPRING!!

What a fun discovery this morning. I think this proves that Spring is on it's way...

And if this has not convinced you..........

Then these little beauties that arrived today should "seal the deal".
Oh Happy Day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cars, Devil's Snare and butterflies

Before I begin I must update the post from yesterday. My grandma called and apparently there is a 'drop' of Irish blood in me! If I don't buy a set of bagpipes then at least a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" tee-shirt that I can legitimately now wear. (Which there should be a law prohibiting the wearage of said tee-shirt unless you are Irish. Same thing for people carrying Happy Birthday balloons. I have wished more of these people Happy Birthday only to hear "it's not my birthday, these are for someone else".)
On to today's news..after months of sharing one car between me and the husband we have finally bought one for me! We are an official Hyundai family now with his and hers. To celebrate I made an out-of-the way but totally necessary trip to get a celebratory Jamba Juice after suffering through the ennui of the DMV by myself. Resisting the urge to burn rubber to the nearest Joanns or Michael's I now present to you the recent spoils of my latest haul there:

::Sighs:: Is there a more beautiful sight in the world then a stack of colorful, soft fabric waiting for you to cut, sew and serge them into something wonderful?
I had the car that day so first on my list was a visit to Joanns. I park, go inside and leisurely make my way down the fabric aisles which are so close together only 1 shopping cart can fit through at a time. They tower over you like the shelves holding the prophecies from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's like being in a vault. That's how they do things in Vegas. Like a casino there are no near windows or clocks to give any indication of life outside your little sphere. No one knows what time it is or what day it is after being in there too long.

Suddenly a 60% off flannel flag jumps out at me! For the next hour I work like a thief loading gold bolt after bolt into my small cart and suddenly felt hot and dizzy. Was it the close aisles? The euphoria of 60% off the exact fabric I'm looking for that became too overwhelming? Clearly suffering a combination of both I staggered to the patterns section and sat down, parking my cart right besides me like a bag lady.

Now normally, this entire pregnancy I've been cold not hot. But I was sweating with heat and decided there was no way I could stand in a line to get this fabric cut then again to check out without causing a scene. Luckily a helpful Joann's worker helped me stash away the goods and I dashed outside . Taking in deep breaths I went to Wendy's for a quick pick me up.

Laying back in the seat I parked among the husbands lounging in the parking lot waiting for their wives to come out. I couldn't believe I was having such a problem on the one day I had the car! "You're a fabricaholic" my mom diagnosed me but neither of us knew the cure. What happened if I got overwhelmed again? Could I make it? Or would I be found lying in the aisle by Joann staff.
"We can't get through to her!" they'd shout "These aisles only fit one cart!"
"Call Mr. Incredible" I'd murmur before falling back into the culprit-ous fabric clutching at me like Devil's Snare.
"Isn't he a superhero?" they'd say to each other not knowing that that was The Husband's name in my cell phone (cute, I know).
Hearing the clarion call of my cart I went back inside. 5 HOURS later I emerged with the above stack plus craft items for two other projects (like I said, it's like a timeless vault here). Most of the fabric I have made into receiving blankets:
-the ideal average receiving blanket is 34"-36"/34-36" square. At Walmart I've seen them 30" by 30". What's the right size? I'm not sure but on the smaller side if you are swaddling an infant. I cut mine 34.5" leaving half an inch for the 2 1/4inch folds so I can use them for both swaddling and a light cover blanket when she's older.
-wash and dry fabric. Then I ironed around the edges for a crisp seam. Flannel STRETCHES! So try not to pull too much on the board or during sewing.
- for a one-sided blanket fold fabric underneath 1/4 inch. Then fold under again and sew. I used the zig-zag stitch since I don't have a serger.

Et voila.

My other project was a hanging butterfly mobile:

The top is still unfinished, I need to buy more ribbon and the tuille that will go up the string and hang down. I love this project because you can cut out any silhouette or shape in any color. I looked up a butterfly on google and traced it right off the screen onto paper that served as a pattern onto my card stock. This is PERFECT for a baby's room or a dorm room. Here are the supplies I used:

You can use vellum instead of wax or parchment paper and fishing line instead of floss. These were just the things I had on hand or bought cheaply so use what ya got! And the inspiration is from a blog I really like. I always come back with something uplifting or creative. In fact, I like her entire nursery design for her daughter born only a few days ago! I'm so jealous! June can't come fast enough..

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


When I was 8 years old I saw my first live bagpipe performance. Since it's not your traditional band/orchestra instrument I took up the piano and violin instead. But every year at this time I hear those bagpipes going again and wonder if I have missed my true calling in life. There is something about the wailing drone that stirs my bones.
I claim no Irish descent but I sure can appreciate the day. I'm wearing my green, listening to Riverdance and although it's still morning, decided to pull my own drink off tap:

The husband left for a much needed golfing day so I was up at the crack of dawn making him a fortified breakfast for a long day on the course. Cocoa is my drink of choice 365 days of the year! Had I been ten years younger I probably would have dyed it green but let's not go crazy. After all, I'm not really Irish.

Tomorrow I'll show you the mother load I brought home from Joanns and upcoming projects. Complete with the story of what happens when you put a fabricaholic pregnant woman between two claustrophobic aisles stuffed with 60% off flannel fabrics.

Happy St. Pattys!
Related Posts with Thumbnails