Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Dress from my stash!

Despite it being almost 10pm and it's so dark in the house now I had to snap a couple pictures to show what I just finished! I made a Christmas dress for L completely from my stash down to the buttons and little velvet flower that's sewn on one of the pockets! The only thing I bought was the shirt and leggings to go with it from Old Navy. I'll get some better shots of L in it on Christmas. She absolutely loves it and told me it's the dress she's always wanted!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Treats: Fudgy Macaroons

Finally, we're doing some more baking! Fudgy Macaroons were a staple Christmas cookie growing up. They are super easy, super fast and no heating up the oven to make these cookies.
In a 2 quart saucepan, mix 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp margarine. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and is bubbly all over top. Boil and stir over medium heat 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 6oz package chocolate bits. Mix in 2 cups corn flakes (plain or sugar), 1 cup coconut and 1/2 cup chopped nuts(black walnuts). Drop from tablespoon onto waxed paper. Let stand until set. Makes 2 dozen.

And you can't forget the best part... licking the spoon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rolie Polie

I just bought my first Rolie Polie! Although I'm still confused about the quilting fabric pack terms I thought this was actually a Jelly Roll but a Rolie Polie seems to just be a smaller pack of fabric, same size pieces as a Jelly Roll. Isn't it cute? 
 I almost didn't want to open it up... almost.

This is the ADORABLE Fox Trails line from Doohikey Designs.
My plan is to leave out the blue colorway and just use the brown and green colorways and make a gender neutral baby quilt.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Treats: Chocolate Covered Pretzels

The Christmas gifts are bought, mostly wrapped, all out-of-town packages have been shipped and L is off school. We are going to enjoy the rest of the week baking and cleaning up the house to get ready for Christmas Eve. Our first treat we made is a favorite of mine and L's - Chocolate covered pretzels. I know people usually dip the big pretzel rods like this but I decided to dip the little sticks this year instead of the traditional pretzel shape. It's so much faster and kid friendly! I just melted the chocolate in mugs so even L can help dip the pretzels. 

She's so serious with her sprinkle job!

The Hunt for Round Pretzels

Did anyone else pin the round pretzel, hershey kiss and M&M treat onto their Pinterest boards recently? I was thinking this would be the perfect little quick treat for L to help me make for her preschool teachers. Boy was I wrong. First of all, we couldn't find the round pretzels anywhere! No luck at Aldi's, Walmart, Meijer or our local grocery store. After sending my husband on the hunt for the round pretzels and him calling me from every store and telling me no one had them, I got back online only to find out how hard they are to find and you could use the waffle pretzels instead. And a friend on Facebook told me she had in fact used the waffle pretzels with success too.
Great, we're back on track. Wrong. One website had said not to melt the kisses too long or you would get a crust on the outside and the M&M wouldn't push into them right. But I'm thinking I didn't even melt them long enough because when we went to bag them up for her two preschool teacher, half of the kisses popped right off of the pretzels and weren't even melted into the pretzel.
Don't they look so cute though? We packages up the ones that didn't pop apart and I went and got Starbuck's gift cards... epic fail on my first teacher gift. Being crafty I was hoping for something more crafty, creative and useful, not a gift card. But there is always a mom bring them both coffee to at least I know they will use them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A happy Polish husband

How do you make a Polish husband happy? Learn to make pierogis!
 I had never even heard of a pierogi until I met my husband. Now it's becoming a Christmas tradition the past few years to make a bunch with my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law makes the dough and the filling, Nick rolls out the dough and him and I fill and seal them up then pass them back to his mom who boils them. Of course in the process of making them she fries some of them up in butter to snack on. She always makes sauerkraut and we bring a mashed potato filling. This year was with onion and roasted garlic. L will not eat mashed potatoes and never has but give her a pierogi filled with mashed potatoes and it disappears!

L usually sits and plays with scraps of dough and then runs off and plays. This year we got her to make a few of them. This is me helping her the right amount of mashed potatoes on.
Grandma said she needed to look messier for the pictures!
 Normally they do all the sealing up by hand which leaves a lot of excess dough that I don't care for but it's their Grandma's way of folding them by hand. Last year I bought the Pampered Chef Cut-n-seal tool hoping it would help get less dough and a nice seal on the edge and it works perfect! L is cutting out her master piece here.
 And now we have a freezer with a stack of potato pierogies (and a few sauerkraut for my husband because L and I don't really like them!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sewing and Snow

I've been busy sewing on the flannel again. With L's help, who does a great job taking pins out of pattern pieces, I made her a flannel robe yesterday. Originally I was going to modify this robe pattern to be sewed up in front and have a couple snaps at the top for a nightgown but when I tried it on her in the process of sewing, she loved that it was a robe.
I let her pick out the buttons (with help) and she picked these 25+ year old flower buttons that were in my mom's button jar for as long as I can remember until she passed some of her buttons to me.
On another note, it snowed last night! FINALLY!! It's hard to believe this is our first snow of the season and it's still currently snowing! I have a VERY happy 4 year old who has been dancing around the house singing about snow and a very happy dog. I always say Crystal (our beagle-mutt) is really a Husky is disguise. She goes nuts when it snows! She can't wait to get outside and run and play in it. She can hunt down her favorite outside toy no matter how deep the snow is. After 7 years of having her it's still hilarious to watch her in the snow.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warm and Cozy

Do you remember all of that flannel L and I bought on Black Friday? Well, I'm starting the big job of cutting into all of it! I started flannel pj pants for L again but wondered why in the world I wasn't making my dress loving girly-girl a nightgown so the first thing off the sewing machine that was immediately put on for bed was a long flannel nightgown. This is one of the fabrics L picked out for herself. The hearts are made of little paw prints.

Pattern is Miss Madeline by The Handmade Dress. Instructions to modify the pattern to long sleeve is found in her free downloads. I opted for the puffier sleeve on this one but I think I'd made it a little less puffy next time. And I left off the elastic waist to make it more comfy for bed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Out of the 20s into the 30s

I realized yesterday that my profile still said "twenty-something"... it's bittersweet to have to change it to thirty something but on October 31st I turned 30 years old. Although my husband had to work on my birthday, our good friends came over with their 2 greyhounds and we took L and Lindy (our greyhound) trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. L was She-ra, Lindy was Swiftwind and the other greyhounds were a skeleton and a pumpkin. We had some yummy DQ ice cream cake too! It had been forever since I'd had an ice cream cake.

I received a big birthday present earlier in the month from my husband too. I think he was just tired of me stealing his Nikon D7000. We had tried to order a Pentax DSLR but it came damaged and we just weren't happy with it. After I got an "I told you so" from my Nikon loyal husband, he took me to his favorite camera store and we picked out the Nikon D5100. I had previously been using his old D70 until it gave out and then borrowing the D7000, so it took a little getting use to not having 2 dials to adjust the aperture and shutter speed and not having the second screen for settings on the top of the camera but over all I LOVE it!! And since I got a Nikon, I'm learning to use his speed lights!
(photo from

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rustic Garland

While my daughter REALLY wants to start decorating our Christmas tree with ornaments, I am trying to wait until Daddy can be here. In my eyes, putting the ornaments on the tree is a special family tradition. I have photos from the past 2 years of my husband lifting L up to put the star on top of the tree and I love to see how she's grown and changed.

I've been trying to come up with little projects to keep her mind off of putting ornaments on the tree so I came up with a garland we could make since we don't have any for our tree! We have a lot of country and cowboy ornaments so it needed to be something natural and rustic so we went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a couple bags of wooden beads and a spool of sisal.
All we did was string a bunch of beads onto about 30 feet of sisal and tied a knot on either side of the bead in completely random spaces. Some beads are a few inches apart, some are only half an inch apart. The 30 feet shrunk down to about 15 feet with all the knots and clipping off the end of the sisal would it would unravel too much from putting the beads on. One thing that helps with that is taping the end of the sisal like the end of a shoelace, you get a small hard end that will slide through the bead.

To compliment the bead garland I also cut 2 inch strips of burlap and pulled the same thread on each end of the strip and gathered it until I liked it. Then I tied a knot on each end of the thread that had been pulled so the ruffle would stay.

I alternated the burlap and the beads down the tree and I'm loving the result. The beads are delicate, yet natural and the burlap is rustic, yet has a soft look with the gathering.
Thank you for stopping by on this cold Indiana Friday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The first glow of Christmas

The living room is starting to glow with the lights of Christmas and my mother-in-law's gift shop Christmas skills came in handy today at our house. She worked for several years at a gift shop that had a Christmas section all year around, but come Christmas time there were soooo many trees all over the huge store! She brought our Christmas tree up from the basement for me, fluffed it, drove us to buy lights and strung the lights on the tree while I fixed dinner, until we ran out of lights! The decorating will have to wait until tomorrow when we can get more lights. I am very happy with this tree though. We bought it new-to-us for $10 and while I have dreams of a big fluffy tree, this is 100 times better than our previous unsteady tree. One whack of our greyhound's tail and I'm afraid the old tree would have been laying on the floor in a mess.

On another note, in preparation to putting our house back on the market we had new carpet installed today! It's a shaggy mix of browns and tans and I wish we would have put it in years ago! L loves the new carpet too! Before the furniture came back in she was rolling from one end of the room to the other.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas is in the air

Are you an early Christmas decorator? Do you wait until after Thanksgiving? I am normally pulling all the decorations out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving but we are getting new carpet put in the living room hopefully this week, or next week at the latest so the tree can't be put up yet. Very sad about that but super happy about new carpet. We put lights up outside and in the living room windows but I really wanted my tree up, so here is my tree... for now! Got this little guy on super clearance after Christmas last year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Shopping

I took L on our first ever girls Black Friday outing yesterday. Last year was the first year I ever wanted to go anywhere and I just ran out by myself and only went to JoAnn's. I knew this year L would be a big help and it would be a lot of fun and boy was I right. There was just one problem... she's worse about wanting every fabric than I am!! I did have to cut her off but I let her pick out a lot of them. 28 yards of fabric later this is what we came home with.

These are all specifically for L. The purple one with the deer is her favorite. She corrected the lady cutting fabric that it was a fawn! Can you tell she LOVES Bambi?

We picked these out for me but I think there will be enough left for some dots for her too.

L picked out the camo for her dad (after I convinced her he would like camo better than dinosaurs) and she picked out the last one for the new baby.
Crystal approves of our fabric purchases too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our BIG secret!

I'm sure no one really noticed I've been missing but there's a reason why...
L let our secret out of the bag yesterday!! Miss L is finally going to be a big sister, and what a good big sister she is going to be. She is so excited! Thankfully this pregnancy has been completely different than the first one. I've still had so much lovely morning/all day sickness but that's it. The most exciting thing right now is that I got to buy smaller maternity pants!! I put on my old maternity clothes and they were so big! I had gained 50+lbs by 29 weeks when L was born from preeclampsia. I weighed more pre-pregnancy this time than the last time so I know now that the swelling had really started so early. I am due in May again and we are praying for a May baby. L was due May 15th and came March 1st!

Now our next order of business is getting our starter 2 bedroom house up for sale because I have no idea where we would even squeeze a crib in!!

It was a big hit and the perfect announcement! I ordered the shirt from their Etsy store, super easy to order and super fast!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hunting for a Deal

I didn't think it was going to be hard to find some used wooden frames that wouldn't cost me very much that I could paint and makeover into a few projects. WRONG!! Wow, we have looked at Goodwill, Salvation Army and hubby searched garage sales! There was nothing at the thrift stores for under $10. I started searching at stores for a good frame to just buy and finally found these two frames at Meijer on clearance. They are a little scratched up but I wanted to paint them anyway!
Not the $1 or 2 I really wanted to spend but $6.24 is better than the original price!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meet Fred

I would like to introduce you to someone. This is Fred.
This is Fred in the barber shop. Does he look a little worried there is a 4 year old about to cut his hair?

No, he should be very proud of his barber's work.

Fred is an Eye Grow that L got in her Easter basket. Last month when I reorganized her closet I found him and got him started. L has been having fun cutting his hair and best of all, it grows back! She did a pretty good job cutting his hair even. Then she directed me where to cut it and even it up. I'm not sure how long he will last but he's been a smiling face sitting in my kitchen window.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Budget Book Ledge

I couldn't wait for our second wood working project to be completely done to show you. This is number 1 of several book ledges we are building for L's room. So simple and so easy! The plans are the $10 Ledges from Ana White. All you need is 2 1x4s and 1 1x2 cut to your desired length. These ledges are 35" long to fit in a short wall between a corner and a window.
I did all of the cutting, drilling, screwing, sanding and painting on this project - Cowboy just lent a hand when I needed something held.

First Day of School

And all was well in the world... or at least with L's first day of school. She ran right into the room and forgot all about us. We had to ask her to come back and give us a hug and kiss goodbye. As sad as I may be about my little girl growing up, was exhausted and went to bed early so she must have had a great day! She talked the whole way home about learning about animals and trucks and the book mobile coming to visit. By the way, I LOVE her kitty shirt from Old Navy. Just makes me smile!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Completed Build!

I have been drooling over Ana White's sight for far too long. My husband was interested but not as willing and confident to build all of the things I wanted to build. Our first project was her Spa Bench that caused lots of headaches but lots of learning. It is still sitting in the garage with it's end yet to be determined!

So Cowboy decided that I should try using the saw. Now mind you, I had never picked up a saw in my life. I watched my dad use his plenty of times but I always had to leave the workshop room when it was time for him to turn the big table saw on. I was a little nervous turning the circular saw on for the first time but we clamped a make-shift jig onto where we needed to cut and I just followed the guide. Success!! Me doing the cuts was the key to building things together!! This was our first project that we got through it without too many hiccups and without any arguing about the best way to build it!
No, it's not a fancy piece of furniture but we built it ourselves. It's a slightly modified version of Ana White's Laundry Basket Dresser. We built it to hold outdoor toys that stay in the garage so it may or may not get painted because the garage walls are unfinished. We used 2 - 1 by 2s screwed together instead of the metal angle. The basket on the bottom we just chose to sit on the bottom. We also put it up on small plastic wheels we picked up at Menards to keep the bottom dry plus it will be easy to wheel it out to clean behind it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Night?!?

Tonight is our first school night and I'm just wondering where has the last 4 and a half years gone? Where is the tiny little 2 1/2 lb baby that we had to drive an hour to go visit for 2 months while she was in the hospital? Where is the baby that would lay on her tummy on the living room floor and babble at the dog? Where is the toddler that loved to watch my sewing machine and play in my fabric scraps? The past 4 1/2 years has gone by way too fast.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

101 ways to cook Eggplant

As much as I love eggplant, I have a hard time finding a variety of ways to cook it. I can only think of 3 ways! The only way I remember my mom making it was breaded and fried. When I started growing eggplant myself we starting making eggplant parmesan. This year I added ratatouille to that list of what to do with eggplant but I have so many more eggplants waiting to be picked and as much as I love fried eggplant, I don't want to fry all of them. Do you have a favorite way to make eggplant?

This is the breading recipe my mom always used:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 slightly beaten egg
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into rounds or cut like fries

Add salt to flour, stir in egg and oil and gradualy add milk. I tend to only use 3/4 cup of milk. I think using the whole cup makes the batter too runny. Dip eggplant in batter and fry in hot oil. I have also adapted the recipe for my own family by adding other seasoning into the flour - Mrs. Dash or a combination of seasonings that I'm in the mood for! I also lightly salt the eggplant when it's done frying.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Splish! Splash!

Yesterday was the last Friday before my little baby err... big girl heads off to school for the very first time. Since we’re STILL car shopping and stuck at home (that’s a story for a later date), Grandma asked if we wanted to go to the splash park. I had planned to take my big girl last Sunday while Daddy was out target shooting (blowing up any plastic object he could find) but it had finally cooled off and was way to chilly to be running around on a concrete pad with various sprinklers and water spraying and dumping devices. The splash park was built a couple years ago where some under used tennis courts stood. We had never been there before and couldn’t figure out why they only opened for 2 hour sessions. We got there ½ hour into a session and it was the perfect amount of time to cool off on a 90 degree day. I’m glad no one else had a camera because I probably made a terrible face when the barrel of water dumped on me just as I was walking under it.
This was the obvious favorite of all of the kids. In the hour and half we were there, there was always someone hiding inside of this water feature.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Meaningful Words

When I got home from feeding the horses this morning, my husband stopped me to read a scripture verse he came across: If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done - Ecclesiastes 11:4
I can't even begin to tell you how many things this applies to in our life right now. During the afternoon while he was at work, I started reading in my bible but I couldn't find the verse. I even called him and he told me which chapter he thought it was in. I read through 3 chapters trying to find it again. When he got home we discovered why I couldn't find it. In my bible 11:4 reads: "Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest." Now if we would have read my bible I don't think it would have connected as much. Both of ours are actually New Living Translations but we bought them a few years apart.
Do you have a favorite verse of the bible?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Have you heard about Martha's new paints?

I must have been hiding under a rock, or at least under a pile of paper that wasn't letting me wander my favorite crafty blogs. I didn't know that Martha Stewart was releasing a line of acrylic paints for Plaid. Unfortunately they are only available at Michael's though. As much as I do love Michael's, we only have a Hobby Lobby and Joann's in town.

If you've been hiding under the same rock as me, here are some links to some reviews showing off these versatile paints on everything from wood to fabric.

The Crafting Chicks painted storage cans for crayons and other school supplies as well as metal lunch boxes.

Craft Test Dummies has a good review of the 5 different finishes available.

And Tatertots and Jello stenciled decorative pillows!

I haven't had the privilege of trying these paints out but I can't wait to save up a little spending money and drive 45min to Michael's. Have you had the chance to use any of this new line yet? I'd love to see what you've used them for.

Here is Martha herself talking about her new paint line:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Power tools!!

My sewing machines have been wondering where I've been and this time it's because I've been in the garage with power tools!! And working a LOT but the power tools are more exciting. Can't wait to get some pictures after I do some more sanding and a final coat of paint. I've been working for a non-profit for the past couple months and while it's rewarding and a very good cause, it is taking up way more time than I originally had thought it would. Can't wait to show you my new found love of using a saw!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Testing 1... 2... 3...

Testing 1 2 3... I have been trying for days to post in Internet Explorer with no luck. If you are seeing this post that means Google Chrome worked!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Storytime Saturday

Welcome to Storytime Saturday! Having a book and story loving daughter with a librarian aunt, I thought I would go through some of L's favorite books and share them with you. I'm starting off with "How do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?" A perfect book for the dinosaur stage!
This cute book goes through different bedtime situations - pouting, crying, begging for another story. There is kind of a look and find for the name of the dinosaurs on the wall of the room, on the dinosaur's headboard. In the end all of the dinosaurs go to bed without any fits!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The ups and downs of car shopping

What a crazy time we've been having. We have been car shopping for what seems like forever now. We've been back at it for the past couple months trying to just figure out what we want. I think I've finally figured out what I like but now comes the fun part of trying to find one! I am feeling like the pickest person in the world right now. I see every little ding, dent and scratch. I have an extremely sensative nose on top of allergies and I smell even the tiniest bit of lingering smoke. I've done 3 test drives just this week. There was something with all of them that I couldn't bring myself to spend good hard earned money on. I'm sure we'll be out again over the weekend looking again. It's hard to get my hopes up about finding one, but even if we get a little closer to buying something, I will be happy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stars and Stripes... er Polka Dots?!

It's been awhile since I checked out a blog hop and I already found some great projects that were made this week! I linked up my Pledge of Allegiance sign but I wanted to show you something else I made this week.

As soon as I saw this star block tutorial over at Cluck Cluck Sew I had to try it right away... then I had to make 3 more! 4 of the blocks is the perfect size for a 20x20 pillow for that I happened to have sitting around here! Even though I didn't get the pillow finished up for the 4th, I'll still get it finished up this week. I'm making it as a sham cover so I can make other covers and change them out.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

One Nation Under God

I've been thinking about making a sign or something with the pledge of allegiance for a month or so but I was finally able to finish it yesterday. It's not exactly the idea that was originally in my head but I do love the end result. It started out as a scrap of 1x12 from a bench that is a work in progress. I painted it with some cream acrylic paint and some antiquing medium that I haven't quite figured out yet. I haven't had luck with the brushing on and wiping off immediately like the instructions say so I end up mixing a little of it with the base paint and blending it from there. The words were all designed in Photoshop and cut from vinyl.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twirlin' in the Wind!

I read so many different tutorials for making pinwheels so I don't have just one source to credit. I did a combination of a several using 4" squares of scrapbook paper with a straight pin attaching it to a dowel. The trick to helping the pinwheel work seemed to be putting a bead on the straight pin before I put it through the paper and another bead between the paper and the dowel. One more thing I played with was making sure the pin was at a 90 degree angle to the dowel. I've had the acrylic box forever and a day and it was perfect to fill with sand and put the pinwheels in.