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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No-Sew Tree Skirt

I've never had a real tree skirt. 
Maybe I'm cheap {cause gosh, those things can be pricey}
Maybe I just haven't found one I really like {cause gosh, those things can be ugly and cheesy}

So I finally came to my senses this year and decided that I'm an idiot. Why am I stressing over finding the perfect tree skirt when I can just make my own? Duh.

Problem... my dead sewing machine.
I ordered a new one on Black Friday but it hasn't been delivered yet.
So for those of you that don't sew or don't have a machine, its you're lucky day. I decided to whip up this tree skirt with the crafter's favorite tool: the hot glue gun.

Here's what I used...
My old, crappy, shoddy version of a tree skirt. It's felt. And 100% not cute.
A hot glue gun and glue sticks
A 6x9 canvas drop cloth from Lowe's*

*Way cheaper and more durable than regular linen fabric. Let's face it, this thing is going on the floor and will have presents piled on top of it.

Lay out the drop cloth with the tree skirt on top.
Use the tree skirt to cut out the correct shape for your tree skirt.

Don't forget to cut the slit up the side and the hole in the middle.

Now cut out a looooong strip of the canvas from the excess. I made my about 4 inches wide. I also made sure to use the already hemmed edge of the drop cloth {to save me from hemming it myself - yup, lazy.} but you could also just use the unhemmed fabric if you like the rough edge...

Create the ruffle when you attach the strip to the tree skirt.

As for me, I put it under the tree just like this {plus some ironing}. Technically the dividing slit and center hole are unhemmed. Maybe I'll fix that up after the holidays when my machine comes in. I could also do it by hand pretty easily
Maybe I won't. It's like anyone can see it. 
Gosh, I'm lazy.

Yay for a simple easy tree skirt that doesn't make me cringe!

Monday, November 28, 2011

House of Fifty - Holiday Issue

I think I've told you guys about one of my favorite e-zines before - House of Fifty
And yippee skippee, they've got their holiday issue out now!! 

Since I'm all pregnant-lady-nesting-Martha-Stewart-inspired this holiday season, I'm pretty pumped about getting some super creative ideas from this issue! This one especially  has tons of interior and Christmas decor and lots of great gift giving ideas.

 {Check it out  h e r e }

Love all the ideas, love the links, love all the web sources, love the price {free!!}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I'd been thinking about today's post for awhile now.

I was going to tell you how crazy excited I am about buying presents, jamming to Christmas music and decorating my house. Maybe its the pregnancy nesting 'tude or maybe its just general holiday cheer, but I am so ready for the holiday season.
But, I was also going to tell you about my cardinal rule of "No Christmas before Thanksgiving".  Man, its been a tough fight this year to really enjoy Thanksgiving.

Why not try by listing some of the many many things I'm thankful for? Sure, that'll make a great post, right? Done.

Then, yesterday happened. Yes, it was my wonderful husband's birthday, but it was also one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.
My lovely sewing machine was declared past the point of repair. {sniff, sniff}
Some nasty storms ruined my day of errands and birthday plans with the hubby.
J.B. got in a wreck on his way home from work. {he's ok, but the car looks a bit icky}
And then that evening, my laptop went to be with Jesus. {insert total and complete freak out}

Yesterday took lots of patience. Lots of reminding myself that the important things were all there and that the material things could be replaced.
Does it stress me out? Absolutely.
Does it make my checkbook cringe? 100%.
But will we be just fine the next day? Sure.

Maybe it was a tough lesson in being thankful for the truly important things in life. J.B. and I are happy and healthy. As is Baby Jake. We have a {quite lovely} roof over our heads, jobs to go to and lots of love for each other. Thanksgiving isn't about laptops and sewing machines and insurance deductibles. And despite the cloud that seems to want to hang over us this week, we're still bound and determined to enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday.

So as we all get ready to put on our stretchy pants and hang out with family, don't forget to be thankful for all the important things.
God gives us such beautiful lives, it'd be a shame to miss out on that.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

celebration and sorrow

Well, first and foremost....

 to my amazing husband J.B.!!
He's turning ten, er..., twenty-nine today!
Although the forecast is full of nasty weather, storms and hail, I know we'll have a fantastic day celebrating my very very best friend. I seriously don't know where I'd ever be without him.

i.e. My sewing machine broke. Guess what superhero is taking it to get fixed today. That's right, the birthday boy! {hopefully not in his birthday suit?}

He's the best and I'm beyond blessed to be married to him. Hope your today {and every day} is amazing, babe!

{best family ever!}


My sewing machine is no more. Sniff sniff. Looks like I'll be asking for a new one from Santa. Wonder if he delivers on Thanksgiving...

Could be the fact that I've made about a billion of these in the last couple weeks...

Yup, burp cloths. And hey, this time they're for my own kid! 
I made a bunch of these for my sister-in-law {and niece} and she seemed to love them. Now Baby Jake is going to get his own stock of specially sewing things to puke on. 

These burp cloths were literally the first thing I ever made with a sewing machine, so they're pretty easy to do. Check out my original tutorial to give them a try!

Friday, November 18, 2011

homemade apple pie {recipe}

There's just something about a hot apple pie in the fall. This is one of my very very favorite homemade desserts and a great one for your Thanksgiving dinner.
{I'm taking it over to my parent's house this year!}

It also doesn't hurt that it's both completely homemade and completely simple. I love that typically the only ingredient that I have to buy is the apples!


 Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups of  flour 
1 teaspoon of salt 
1 tablespoon of sugar 
1/2 cup of  vegetable oil 
2 tablespoon of milk  

4-5 tart apples {I use Gala} 
2/3 cup of sugar 
1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
4 tablespoons of butter {melted}

1/2 cup of butter {melted}
1/2 cup of sugar or brown sugar {I like to mix half and half} 
1 cup of flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

Then we start with the pie crust.
Mix flour, salt, sugar together into a bowl. And mix oil and milk together in a separate bowl. Then pour the oil/milk over flour mixture. Blending with fork is easiest.

Press into pie pan with fingers. Line bottom and sides evenly.

Next we move over to our apple filling. 
Mix sugar, cinnamon, and butter together. Then pour this over your sliced apples.

And pour into the crust.

Finally, the topping.
Mix butter, sugar, and flour together. Then pour this over the apples. The mixture will be a little thick and isn't designed to cover like a blanket so you'll still see some apple edges and shapes poking out.

Now bake for 50-60 minutes. Try to contain yourself as the amazing smell fills your kitchen...

I love to eat it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

21 Weeks

I can't believe this pregnancy is over halfway over. Then again, maybe I can...

Baby Jake is kicking and tumbling around. It really is a strange feeling but incredibly fun at the same time. 

My wardrobe is getting a pretty sparing. Shopping as a petite girl has always been a little tricky, but a preggo petite girl?? Sheesh. Thank goodness for bulky sweaters and cozy-comfy winter clothes.

Still loving hot wings and sweets. Ummm, thank goodness again for bulky sweaters and cozy comfy winter clothes? I'm sure to pack on the pounds now...

We've also gotten a great start on the nursery! Check out Baby Jake's bedding from Pottery Barn Kids...

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle! I so love it!
PBK has some great nursery designs.

Instead of the fruit crib sheet, I'm going with a solid white.

Now I'm working on the last couple of pieces of furniture and some wall art. Who knew nurseries were fun?!
So excited to get the rest of his stuff put together!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Q & A

I've seen this neat book a few times in blog-land. It looked so incredibly interesting to me. But no one really referenced what it was about or where they got it.
But the other day I was spending my life savings in Anthropologie and I stumbled upon it!

It's a question a day, every day for a year. Then the next year you do it again and see how different your answers are. It's designed to go on for five years!
While I'm a terrible journal-er, I love personal questions and answers so this is right up my alley.

I really loved the interior design as well.

Here are a few questions from the book, with my own personal answers included.
What would your answers be?

This one is pretty easy for me right now. I am so so excited about my first little one on the way. Full disclosure, it has definitely been a mixed bag of feelings at times. For every happy, excited, thrilled moment there are also moments of complete fear, inadequacy, and the general unknown.
But I think I've finally gotten my official taste of baby fever, so excitement is winning at the moment.
I can't wait until little Jake gets here!

Umm, ouch. This is tough. I have entirely too many shortcomings to chose from.
The one that's been on my mind lately is how hard of a time I have accepting that everyone isn't just like me. People think differently that I do. And this bugs the crap out of me. I mean, really, doesn't everyone know that Nissan cars, the color grey, and Alabama football are the best in their classes? How could anyone possibly manage their money differently, believe different theology, or make drastically different life choices that I do? Don't they know that my way is the highway?
It's not even a matter of right or wrong. I just worry sometimes that I'm an overly opinionated, close minded, obstinate person. And I don't want to be that person. No one likes that person.
How is that person going to convince the world that Pepsi is far superior to Coke??

Considering I'm halfway through a pregnancy, I think I feel ok about it right now. Having said that, I'm absolutely terrified about the next few months. Really, I'm going to get bigger?? Much bigger?? And have a baby?? Dear Jake, please be kind to mommy. She wants to be pretty again after all this is said and done.

Embarrassingly, this is entirely too easy. J.B. and I live pretty goofy lives. We have dance parties in the car to ridiculous 90's songs, run laps around the inside of our house while screaming just to get the dogs acting crazy, and shamelessly mock everything.
I love that about us. We're fun. And things are never the same from one moment to the next.

Generous people. 
People that truly sacrifice of their time, money or abilities to make this world a better place. Whether its Extreme Home Makeover or a story about a friend who's adopting a child from China, I have an incredible amount of admiration for those that are will to grab life by the horns and give.
You've probably noticed that I have pretty soft spot in my heart for the military as well. I'm just so blown away by the sacrifices these men and women are willing to make to keep strangers like me safe and happy.
People that give make me so happy. It fills my heart with complete joy {and usually makes me cry}.

It also reminds me of how little I give. And how much I have.

I'm not a very good friend. There, I said it.
It's not that I don't like you. It's that I'm a bit of a recluse and a horrible introvert with new folks. 
 I like my bubble. I like my sweatpants. I like my comfy couch. 
I'm terrible at keeping up with people. I'm terrible at making plans. I'm just terrible.
But I've tried to reach out more in the last couple of years. Since moving to Madison, we've made some great new friends here in the area that J.B. and I both really enjoying being around. It's been an incredibly blessing really. I never knew what I was missing out on by being a hermit!

I think I've told you about my letters before. Every time J.B. and I are apart {for more than a day or two}, he writes me a letter to keep while he's gone. Christmas, birthday, anniversaries and just general happiness can warrant a letter too. I'm not sure there is anything in our entire house that I cherish more. I keep them in a drawer in my nightstand and love the read through them from time to time.
My man is the very best. :)

Well, here's hoping it doesn't come to this!
But I've always wanted to be fluent in a foreign language. I took Spanish for a couple of years in high school, but I was silly and distracted so pretty much nothing stuck. I love the beauty of words that flow with a totally different sound. People that can jump from one language to another without missing a beat leave me in complete shock and awe. 
Unfortunately, I have the attention span and discipline of a goldfish. So I'm afraid that it might take a steel cell before I put this into action...

Ohhhhh, this one is so easy! Hot wings!!
I've always always loved wings, but I think being pregnant has vamped up my affinity for this spicy deliciousness. Don't laugh... but I think I've had them at least once a week for last month or two.
I'm pretending like it's totally normal because its still football season....

Fun. This is definitely one that will change over time. Five years ago it was just me. I'd never had a sister that I shared a room with, a roommate in college, or even an extended house guest.
I loved my "me space" and my complete privacy.
Of course, that's all changed now. And I can't imagine life any differently. Between my handsome husband and my two crazy dogs, someone is always around. If J.B. isn't sleeping next to me at night, Denver is.
And I'm sure this will be very different in another five years. With the addition of at least one kiddo {maybe two by then} my house is probably going to be as loud and rambunctious as possible.

Wow. That was fun. Really gets you thinking!
Pardon me, I need to go give something away now...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

stenciled onesies {tutorial}

Last week while J.B. was out of town, I decided to focus all of my complete boredom into some new things for Baby Jake. I had purchased some blank onesies from Kohl's when they had them on a major sale. 
Time to vamp them up!

Love this quick and easy way to make ANY onesie you want!

For this project you'll need:
 - a blank oneise
 - freezer paper
 - fabric paint*
 - a small paint brush
 - a razor blade or exacto knife

*{I like to use screenprint paint. It dries nice and soft on the fabric. You can't feel a bit of difference.}

First, find your design. I like to use simple shapes and typically Google the image I'm looking for. Today I'm doing three designs, so you'll get to see all of them.

Trace your design onto the freezer paper {waxy side down}. 
The freezer paper is thin enough that you should be able to see right through it to your pattern.

Use your exacto knife to cut out each of the images to create a stencil. Remember, this is a stencil, so keep any of the important center pieces {like the nose parts on my aviator glasses}.

Then iron the freezer paper stencil onto the onesie {waxy side down}. Make sure to get those little center pieces down too if you have any.

Now paint! Don't forget to put something in the middle of the onesie so the paint doesn't bleed through.
I love how I really don't have to stay in the lines with these, haha.

Sometimes if you're using a dark paint or painting on a dark fabric, you might need to do an additional coat of paint. 

Peel off your freezer paper once the paint has dried. Occasionally you might need to do a little bit of touching up on the edges. Or maybe that just us OCD folks....
And here are my finished products!

I love how personal you can make these! And I did all three of them in less than an hour.

Not into any onesies? Check out these tutorials for some other ideas with painting and freezer paper:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gooey Butter Cake - recipe

Well, it's official. Dessert-Apocolypse is finally upon us. I think I might be done baking. I've reached the pinnacle.

Two things you should know about this cake:
 First, it is the most amazing cake ever. In the history of ever. 
Second, it's filled with lots of gooey goodness {true to it's name} that is sure to either clog your arteries or give you diabetes. 

Ok, I might be a tad over dramatic with that last one. Its full of gunk yes, but really no more so that your average cheesecake or other gooey dessert. So don't let the name throw you off too badly. And also, don't eat this all the time. If you all die off of severe obesity I'll have no one to talk to.

But I decided that today was a special occasion. 
1. Because I'm pregnant and, thus, make up my own rules. 
2. Because my hubby has been out of town all week and finally comes home to me today. 
and 3. The Bama/LSU game is tomorrow. 
Need I say more?

Anyway. On with the cake...


Cake Bottom:
 - 1 box of vanilla or yellow cake mix*
 - 8 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 egg

 - 8 oz package of cream cheese {softened}
 - 8 tablespoons of melted butter
 - 1 teaspoon of vanilla
 - 16 oz of powdered sugar
- 2 eggs

{*this time, ignore what the back of the cake box says you additionally need}

p.s. If you're observant, you'll notice in the picture that I'm making a 8x8 cake. Don't let me fool you, this recipe is for a regular 13x9 cake.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the ingredients to make your cake bottom {cake mix, melted butter, egg} into a bowl. This is going to be a very thick dough-y mixture. Make sure to mix thoroughly.

Press the cake bottom into a greased 13x9 cake pan.

Next move on to the filling. Combine the softened cream cheese, melted butter, vanilla and eggs into a bowl and beat thoroughly.

Now add the powder sugar.
{note to the wise: do this a little at a time to avoid a "white snow" all over your kitchen}

Once it's blended, pour it into your pan over the cake bottom.

Cook for 40-50 minutes. 
This kind of cake is a little different. There's no toothpick rule to tell you that's it's done. Look for the sides to begin to brown a little. And keep in mind that you do want the center to be a little gooey so don't over bake.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Then try to stop yourself from eating four pieces.
{harder that it sounds...}