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Friday, September 30, 2011

Stitched Book pages

Story time.

So, my mom is a quilter. For as long as I can remember, she's always had some creative quilting project going. Bed quilts, baby quilts, decorative quilts - the woman can do everything.
At my parent's house there is this hallway to the kitchen and there is always a small quilt {2ft by 3ft ish} hanging in this hallway. The cool thing about it is that the quilts are always changing. She has a Christmas quilt, an Easter quilt, a 4th of July quilt, etc. They're colorful and detailed and always seasonal.

I got to thinking about those quilts the other day. See, I love to decorate for the seasons. A few times a year, I like to have spring time flowers or fall candles or winter decor. And I'd like to have my own "quilt wall" to change with the passing of the seasons. 

Problem is, I'm no quilter.
{and probably never will be, too impatient}

So I started brainstorming about what my own seasonal "quilt wall" could be.

And here is what I came up with:



Two frames on the wall in my living room. They hold worn out book pages with seasonal designs stitched on them. I'm a big fan.

Here's how I did it...

First, you need some old book pages. These came out of an old copy of the Grapes of Wrath. 
Can't go wrong there.



Next, I found some clip art online that I used as my pattern.





Traced these designs lightly in pencil onto my book page.
Can you see it?




Then I picked up some embroidery thread and stitched over the lines. 

It's simple work, though it can take a delicate hand. Paper will ripe easily. 
And it took a little practice before my stitches started to look even.

But they turned out like this!



To frame them, I grabbed a couple of frames from Target.
And also some linen fabric to use as a textured matte. 




I cut the linen to fit the frame...




Then glued it to the cardboard backing.




I elected not to attach the book page to the linen, for fear that any adhesive would rip the paper when I tried to take it down at the end of fall. I centered my book page face down on the glass and closed the frame. Everything held in place perfectly!




I'm excited to come up with some other patterns for the other seasons. I've already got one of my winter pages done.




I love this idea and its so easy to manipulate. 
Maybe sew on a favorite verse or saying. Maybe sew a child's name for their room.
All sorts of great things to play with.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not what I was going for ...

Some things just don't always go as planned.

Like when I decided to do a new fall craft with Indian corn, and then I couldn't find any Indian corn anywhere. Then when I did finally find some {Publix}, I tried to make said craft and quickly realized that it was going to take four hands... THEN, when J.B. got home from work and agreed to help me put it together, it just didn't turn out the same way it did in my head. Well rats.

This is essentially how my Monday and Tuesday went.

For the record, here's the craft...



In short, that's a glass hurricane with Indian corn around the sides, held together by twine. 
I like it ok, not sure that I love it. Maybe I should have gone with a bigger hurricane glass?
What do you think?


I've got some other fall stuff in the works this week.
Including making my very first Halloween costume. J.B.'s too. Should be interesting ...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

parmesan pretzel bites {recipe}



These are so so yummy!! 
I've made several batches lately for get-togethers and football games and I never ever get to bring any home. It's sad really... 

But the recipe is completely fabulous! 
It might seem complicated at first but once you try it, it's super simple.


Ingredients:

 - thawed dinner rolls {1 roll makes 4 pretzel bites}
 - melted butter
 - parmesan cheese


I start with these as my dough. Any frozen {thawed} round roll should work though. 



First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. 

While these two things are heating up, cut each roll in quarters.




Place the cut dough on a greased cookie sheet. 
Let it sit five to ten minutes out in the open to allow the dough to rise a little.




In the meantime, prep a platter or dish with paper towels on top.




When your water is boiling, toss in 10-12 pieces of dough at a time. Let them sit in the boiling water for 45 seconds. Then place them on the paper towels to drain/cool off.



{Are you tired of seeing my orange Rachel Ray cookware? Blame J.B., they're his.}



Note: the dough balls are going to look kind of weird and shriveled. 
Don't worry, the oven will fluff them right up

Next, grab the original baking sheet and regrease it. 
Place the dough balls back on the sheet and stick them in the oven about 15 minutes or until they're golden brown.




After you take them out of the oven, generously brush them with the melted butter.




Then roll the pretzel bites in the parmesan cheese.
{taste test here for the perfect amount of cheese on each}





And you're done!! These are so great that they don't even need a dipping sauce. Though I bet some warm marinara would be good ... hmm, a new idea!

You could also roll the pretzel bites in Kosher salt if you want more of the original  pretzel taste. Maybe serve with some mustard or cheese?

OR you could roll them in cinnamon and make a sugary dipping glaze for a dessert pretzel!!



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn Crafting...

Sorry for the slow going blog. These days I think all this preggo lady does is sleep and eat.
Seriously.I'm.so.tired.

But I finally got some gumption to get a few fall crafts out and about this morning.

I'd been toying with the idea of creating my own hurricane vases...

Here are some super cheap supplies I grabbed. By super cheap I mean that I got the two vases and two glass candle stick holder from the dollar store for a buck each. The candles I had on hand.




You see what's about to happen here right?




I first used hot glue, but it wasn't as secure as I'd hoped. I moved on to superglue, which worked perfectly.





Then I added some leaves from my backyard. I really would rather have used fake leaves I think, but everything I saw in the stores was super orange or yellow.




I'm still working on using these as centerpieces in my dining room.
But for $2 each, I think they turned out great!


I also did some updating on my fall ruffle wreath from last year...

Here's last years:



Here's this the updated wreath:



Wow, what a difference a year makes.
A year later of blogging, a new camera, and a slight improvement in photo editing skills can make such an improvement to pictures.

Anyway, I changed the center of the yellow burnt flower, and added a red flat rose and couple of acorns. Love the changes!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Decor

I'm been thinking about some of the fall decor I'd like to spruce the house up with this season. Lots of inspiration out there!


I love this corn husk wreath from Martha Stewart!
Full tutorial too!




I can't find the source of this great centerpiece, but it looks like white pumpkins and pistachios attached to a wreath form around that candle. Love the white!




Love this look from Faded Charm!!





These apples are Matthew Meade style. He is the new Martha and has the best holiday ideas. 
Be sure to check out his blog on my blog list.




Love this idea from BHG! I could totally pull this off with my white staircase...





I love how popular the painted pumpkins are getting. Seems like a little bit more "me" that carving a gooey jack-o-lantern.




Between the super cute "thankful" bunting and the pumpkins on candlesticks, I'm totally depressed at this moment that I don't have a fireplace {its a crime!}




Acorns and nuts as jar fillers make a great {and super simple} fall decoration!




All this stuff is giving me some great ideas! 
I have a few fall decoration crafts up my sleeve that I hope to work on today. 
Have you guys gotten crafty yet this fall? Do tell!!


p.s. I'm also on the prowl for some good looking Indian corn... I've looked all over the place! The best I've come up with is 8 ears from Pottery Barn {of all places?} for $20, which seems pretty steep to me. Has anyone out there found any?


Monday, September 12, 2011

12 Weeks and a farewell to summer

My weekend....

Well most excitingly, there's a little one on the way and I think the whole world knows now.
{thanks social media!}

I'm not planning on taking gads of photos to document how atrociously large I'm sure I'll  be. But maybe a few. Actually, this game is more like "I wonder how long I can fit into this little black dress" which thank the heavens is a bit stretchy.

At this point, I think I just look like I ate one too many burritos.
{which I probably did}



To answer a few of your questions ...

 - Due March 26th, though this baby comes from a long line of procrastinators so I wouldn't be surprised to see the kiddo in April.
 - I've avoided my share of sickness thus far {knock on wood},
 - But I'm a big big fan of naps.
 - I most definitely started bawling during the movie previews this weekend {good grief}.
 - And I looooove Tootsie Roll Pops and Sour Gummies.

We're nervous, anxious, terrified, excited, overjoyed, and overwhelmed. That's a lot of emotion!
Wish us luck!


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Back to my weekend ...

Saturday, J.B. and I said our goodbyes to summer.
We went out on the boat for what will probably be the last time this year. {sniff sniff}
But wow, was it ever perfect! 80 degrees, bright sunny sky, slight breeze. We had our picnic lunch on the river, played in the {slightly chilly} water with Denver and spent an hour or two just cruising through the water to run most the gas out of the boat. And I think I've officially gotten my last sunburn of 2011.

When I got home, I took down my spring/summer wreath { h e r e
and replaced it with my fall wreath { h e r e }. 
The changing of the wreaths, a seasonal ceremony at my house, haha.

We watch Alabama beat Penn State in football {Roll Tide}.

Then went to the dollar movies to see Bridesmaids. So so hilarious.

I also made some amazing peach cobbler that I'll have to share later this week. I may or may not be eating it for breakfast right now ...


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Sunday, the 10th anniversary of 9-11 was pretty somber. We spent most of the morning watching the speeches and ceremonies at the various crash sites before heading off to church. 
Our pastor gave a sermon about the hope of our nation and I teared up when the entire congregation rose to say the Pledge of Allegiance together. I'll never forget sitting in my high school library that Tuesday morning as the librarian starting wheeling televisions over to us to watch the events unfold. When that second plane crashed in the World Trade Center, I thought my world was going to end. And in a sense, it did.
 Life changed after September 11th, 2001, even if it was just as simple as a new school of thought.

And regardless of what happens in this world, I have faith in a God that is bigger than any human war or act of terrorism. 

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” 
- John 16:33


If that doesn't cheer up your Monday, I just don't know what else will.

Friday, September 9, 2011

loaded potato soup {recipe}

The last few days in Alabama have been ahhh-mazing. 
Highs in the 70's, a slight breeze, leaves beginning to fall from the trees. I love the anticipation of fall. Football season has begun and I wore jeans and a sweater the other day!

I'm pretty excited that I can now {without feeling completely crazy} get back to making some of my favorite recipes ... soups!

In the midst of the crisp air and perfect temps, I whipped up this recipe. So so yummy!!



Ingredients:

 - 2/3 cup of butter
 - 2/3 cup of flour
   - 7 cups of milk
  - 4-5 large baking potatoes
 - 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  - 12 ounces of bacon
  - 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  - 1 cup of sour cream
  - 3/4 tsp of salt
 - 1/2 tsp pepper
 - 1 tsp garlic powder 


I know the list may sound like a lot, but when you really look at it, you probably have most of these things in your kitchen already. I only had to buy the potatoes, green onions, and bacon. 
Speaking of bacon, instead of actually cooking and crumbling bacon for this, I bought the Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits. It's near the salad dressing and essentially is an itty bitty bag of real cooked bacon already crumbled up for you. Perfect!

Also, this recipe is picture heavy. That's because I'm ridiculously over thorough {sorry}. You're really just mixing all of these ingredients in a large pot. Seriously. A caveman could do it.


First, cut up your potatoes into smaller pieces. Instead of taking forever to bake these, I boiled them on the stove for about 15 minutes. Then I set them aside while I mixed the other ingredients. 




Grab a large pot and melt your butter. Add the flour and whisk until it's smooth.




Add milk, one cup at a time and whisk while adding. Yup, it's going to look really thin afterwards. 
But don't fret!




Remember those cooked potatoes? Well odds are, they aren't in small enough pieces for the soup yet. Grab your potato masher and give them a quick once over. Not to much though! We're not making mashed potatoes here - lumps are your friend!




Add your potatoes and green onions {thinly sliced} to the soup and bring the pot to a boil. 
Once it's boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Be stirring continuously.
Next add your cheese, bacon, and sour cream. Mix until the cheese has melted.
And finally add your salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Mix it up for the finished product!




I like to serve mine up with an extra little dab of sour cream, bacon and cheese on top.




This is obviously a nice big batch of soup. If you don't serve it all in one sitting, I'd recommend adding a tablespoon of water to it when heating it up to thin it out a bit. The reheat heated soup is just as delicious!!
Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Necklace Onesie - tutorial

Yes, yes, we're having a baby (due in March)! Our first! J.B. and I are definitely super excited about this new adventure. What better what to celebrate on the blog than a new onesie? This one, of course, is going to my niece Olivia, but maybe before long I'll be whipping up a few of these for my own little one!







Materials:

 - blank onesie
 - fabric paint
 - fabric for the flower
 - beads/sequins for the flower center
 - paint brush or dapper

I used a couple of other optional tools along the way, you'll see...





Before you start any painting, make sure you put a piece of cardboard in the middle of the onesie. This will keep the fabric paint from bleeding through to the backside.




Next, start your first necklace. I found that it's easier to start with a dot in the center and move out to the sides. Since I'm really no good at free handing, I'm using these handy little dappers to make my "necklace beads." I picked these up awhile back in the paintbrush section of the craft store.




I also realized at this point that its much easier to do this if you already have the edge of the "necklace" traced out. Makes for less wonky necklaces!




I did the middle necklace with a little bit larger dapper for some variety.





After finishing these with the dappers, I went back with an itty bitty paint brush to fill in any places the paint didn't cover well. It looked a lot better afterwards ...




Next I made a fabric flower with a pin in the back {so it can be removed for washing}. You can use whatever fabric flower you like. I went with a rendition of  t h i s  f l o w e r  t u t o r i a l.




You could also sew the flower down or use velcro to attach it - whatever you have on hand.
Then attach your flower and you're all done!




This works great with little t-shirts too if you're not into onesies. 
I love a girlie little tee!