Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oooh chocolate, loads of chocolate!

Doesn't this look soooo good to all you chocolate lovers like myself? 
  Just imagine, decadent chocolate buttercream frosting sandwiched between two layers of moist devil's food cake completely covered by rich chocolate ganache and just to add the cherry on top, sprinkle on some toasted almonds!
 Sounds good right?  Too bad it looks better than it tastes!  I made it and I could've loved it if I hadn't burned it!  You know when you go to check a cake in the oven and it's not quite done so you think you will leave it in for just another 2 minutes?  Well, I remembered about those 2 minutes about 10 minutes too late.  I thought the cake could still be saved since it was going to be slathered in gooey, chocolatey goodness, but it didn't happen.  This was one crispy cake!  I don't know why I bothered finishing it.  I guess because decorating the cake is my favorite part of making it.  

This cake could be good.  It could be really good.  Just don't burn it.  Get the recipe here from Make it and love it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Adorable Doll House

Ok, so technically my mom made this, but I thought it was too cute not to share!  She made the doll house for my niece's birthday.  These are pictures she emailed to me while she was making it in the basement so they are all a little dark and I don't even have a picture of the whole house completed, sorry.  She got the unfinished doll house at Michael's when they had a 60% coupon so she got it for pretty cheap!

She used scrapbook paper and mod podged it onto all the walls.  She used some furry fabric for carpet, painted the furniture and made all the bedding.
 She made decorations using my neice's names strung on some ribbon and put on the wall and also on the blocks on top of the shelf.  She also shrunk down a picture of all the grandkids and "hung" it up.  My McKinley is in there somewhere from when she was teeny-tiny.

She found all sorts of cute little knick knacks to put on the shelf.  She has a huge supply of all that type of stuff from custom orders she has done.  She makes custom scrapbooks,  guest books and invitations.  Check her out here, if you'd like.  If you can dream something up, she can make it!
Here's the living room. I love all the details like the ribbon "chair rail" and all the family photos.  She even made the rug!
This might be my favorite part.  She made this hanging fan using a pin wheel that was taken apart and then added some beads to make the pull chain.  She is one clever lady.
This is the "master bedroom".  I love the mirror!
and last but not least the kitchen!
I love that "window" and curtain!

Sorry I didn't have a picture of the whole house complete but I'm sure you got the idea that it ended up being ridiculously cute!  Wouldn't one of these be such a fun present for a little girl?  I can't wait to make one for Kinley.  I love obsessive projects like this.  Matt even wants to build the house so I am super excited!

When I was little I loved to decorate my doll house and my mom would even let me make the bedding  for all the dolls.  I guess some things never change.  By the time McKinley is old enough to decorate and sew her own "bedding" I'm sure the doll house I make for her will be due for a remodel so she can decorate as well!

So, is a year old too young to have a doll house? ;o)  Just kidding.  I'll wait a little longer...a year maybe! ; )

Linking to:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't know how to sew? Want to learn?

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I know there are a lot of people that don't know how to sew but want to learn, but don't know where to start.  I just wanted to share a website I found yesterday that has a ton of great info and mini videos on all the sewing basics.  It is called Couturier Mommy.  It includes topics from threading your machine, to how to put in a zipper and much more!    Click HERE to check out the beginner sewing section.

Ruffles and Stuff also includes a Sew Basic set of tutorials as well.  Click HERE to check those out.

I wanted to share this because I didn't want anyone to feel left out on all the fun projects you can do with very basic sewing skills,  that is all I have and I seem to be able to find a million different things to make that doesn't involve much more than sewing a straight line!

I definately was not into anything "domestic" when I was younger despite my mothers attempts to teach me, so I didn't learn a whole lot until I got married, had a baby and moved away from my fabulous, seamstress of a mother (ironic, huh?).  Luckily,  you can always find someone online willing to share their talents and walk you through the very basic of steps!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

Here is a simple recipe we had for dinner the other night.  We like this a lot and have it at least once a month, although I will make this disclaimer; this probably isn't a meal that's going to make you say, "WOW, that was the best meal ever!"  but it's still a keeper, otherwise I wouldn't put it on here.  Sheesh, doesn't that just make you want to drop everything and cook it up right now?  Obviously, I would make a terrible salesman. ;o)  

I think the key to making this meal good is don't over cook the meat and cut the meat super thin against/perpendicular to the grain of the meat.  If you look closely, there is a natural grain running through the meat, when you cut it against/perpendicular to the grain, it makes the meat more tender because your mouth has far fewer long fibers to chew through (sorry for all the gory details, I just always like to know the reason behind why you should do something a certain way).  Also, don't be afraid of the cayenne pepper if you don't like heat, it is subtle.  I hope you like it!

Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

1 lb lean steak, sliced thinly, against the grain
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 1/3 c Water, divided
1 T Canola or Olive Oil
1 large head Broccoli, chopped
3/4 - 1 c Cashews


3 tbsp Soy Sauce
3 tbsp Orange Juice
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Red (Cayenne) Pepper Flakes (opt.)

Mix together marinade ingredients.  Add beef to marinade and let sit in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (the longer the better).  Heat oil in a skillet on high.  Add beef reserving the marinade.  While meat is cooking, add cornstarch and 1/2 cup water to remaining marinade and set aside. Stir fry beef until brown, about 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate. Add 1/3 cup water to skillet.  Bring to a boil, scraping browned bits.  Add to marinade.  Stir fry broccoli 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup water.  Stir fry 4 minutes.  Add marinade and bring to boil until thick.  Toss in meat and cashews.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over brown rice.

P.S. Thank you everyone who joined me yesterday.  I am happy you are here!
P.P.S.  If you don't want to gain weight, I highly suggest NOT buying the huge, monstrous plates I own.  Filling up your plate once at my house is probably equal to filling up a plate twice at your house! ;o)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Another Car Seat Canopy

I know, I know.  These have been around forever but it doesn't make them any less cute! :o)  Here is another car seat canopy I made for a gift.  I love the fabric, they are both from Amy Butler's Love collection.  I have a little bit left that I can't wait to use up on who knows what. 
To make a car seat canopy, you basically just need to know the measurements for the main blanket and then from there just do whatever you want.  
I did patchwork straps on this one because I wanted the cute polk-a-dots to show.  Here you can find the cover I made for my daughter's car seat and a few links to tutorials to make your own!

Linking to Blue Cricket Design 

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up           party!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I have thrift store envy

I live in a relatively small town and this past weekend, we were off to the "big city", and what did I decide to do while I was there?  That's right, I went thrift shopping!  Bigger cities always seem to have way more "good stuff" than my small town, but maybe that's just because I don't go that often.  Either way, I'm jealous.

I just recently started thrift shopping.  It's funny because I used to be a thrift store snob!  It's true.  Sorry, don't think I'm snooty or something.  I remember when I was little, my mom used to go "treasure hunting" and I didn't care for it.  I thought the stores smelled funny (and I still do) and quite often I'd run across some mysterious sticky substance on a toy or something (that still happens too).  Years later, I'm the thrift store junkie and my mom doesn't go at all!  I must admit, I still fill the need to pull out hand sanitizer the second I walk out the door after rummaging through all sorts of junk treasures.

Look at the load I got this time...
and also these ugly things...
I have plans for everything.  Hopefully it all turns out how I envision it in my head.  Notice my little helper wanted to be a part of the pictures again.  I love her.
and here is my favorite little solid wood "treasure"...
The total for all of this was $27.00!  I know you couldn't pay some people $27.00 to take all that, but just stay tuned for some good ol' fashioned transformations and see what I have in store for it all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cute Scented Rice Heat Therapy Bags

 I made several of these rice heat therapy sacks to include in gifts last year.  This is a picture before they were filled.  They have a removable, washable cover and are perfect for sore muscles or to just stick under your covers to heat your bed before you hop in on cold nights.  I'm sure husbands would appreciate these as well so their wives stop sticking their cold feet on them to warm up like I do!  They are super easy to make and can be made out of scrap fabric which seems to be just my kind of project!  You can find the tutorial here on Sew Mama Sew.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fresh Salsa

I lied.  I said that I was going to be gone for the weekend but I just had to share one last thing with you before I left.  My husband and I made this salsa and it was so good!  Notice the chips in the picture are little crumbs, we already consumed most of the bag before I thought to take a picture. :)  This is perfect made with garden fresh tomatoes.  Yummy!

We planted a garden this year but some rotten little bug ate it all up before we got much out of it.  We gave up on it weeks ago and pulled most of it out.

the pitiful state of my garden... : (
  Matt calls them squash bugs but I don't know if that's what they are really called.  Does anyone know how to get rid of those things?  Lucky for us, Matt's family planted gardens so we're still able to get our hands on the good stuff.

Sorry there isn't an exact recipe here.  We just put it all together until it was perfect (if I do say so myself ;). These are ROUGH estimates.  Adjust them to your liking!

- 6-10 large tomatoes (I'm completely guessing on this one)
- 1 onion, chopped
-a couple cloves of garlic, pressed
-1 large jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, finely diced
-1/2 -1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
-juice of 1/2 -1 whole lime
-1/2 an (8oz) can tomato sauce
- 1-1 1/2 tsp? salt

Combine everything and enjoy.

I told you I only had rough (very rough) estimates, but with salsa you can't really go wrong.  Just remember, you can always add more of things but you can't take it back out so start adding ingredients in a little bit at a time until you get the flavor you are looking for. Also, the heat in jalapenos comes mainly from the seeds so if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen!  Just kidding.  I meant to say if you can't take the heat get rid of the seeds.  Happy weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010


I didn’t have potatoes,
so I substituted rice.
Didn’t have paprika,
so I used another spice.
I didn’t have tomato sauce,
so I used tomato paste.
A whole can not a half can -
I don’t believe in waste.
My friend gave me the recipe -
she said you couldn’t beat it.
There must be something wrong with her,
I couldn’t even eat it.

Source unknown

I got my Bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a Nutrition emphasis.  I know, I know, total "domestic goddess" degree.  Anyways, I took A LOT of classes involving food and we got this poem from one of my professors.  It reminded me of allrecipes.com, one of my favorite sites to find a good recipe quick!  On there you can rate a recipe and write a review and when I look at a review where the person said they substituted nearly everything the recipe called for with something else and then still give a bad rating I just have to laugh.  Maybe if they had followed the actual recipe they would've liked it! 

Speaking of recipes one of my cute friends, Mikelle, whom I shared many of those "domestic" classes with in high school and college started a recipe blog called Food, Fun, Life.  It is full of yummy, HEALTHY recipes.  She has a couple of cute kiddos of her own so you know the recipes are "kid tested and mother approved!".  She includes a ton of pictures and extra information.  Go check it out!   

P.S. Thanks to the new people joining me here.  It now takes 2 whole hands to count the number of followers, yipee! he he.  I have a ton more projects to share with you but for now it's my birthday and I am off to vacation for the weekend.   It'll be the first time I spend a night without McKinley.  My mom is taking her. Wish her luck.  Kin's a feisty little thing.  My mom's a brave woman! ;)
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cute Quilt

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I found this cute quilt on Moda Bake Shop made by Kaye Prince of Miss Print.  I think it would be so cute for a little girl's room.  It is pretty tempting to make something like this for McKinley when she has a "big girl" room. You can find the tutorial here.  The only problem is I KNOW I would get bored with making it and it would take me 2 years to finish, like the last quilt I made!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Card Swap

I am in a card swap with a couple of friends.  Every month we pick a theme for a card and then we rotate houses and get together and eat good food and swap cards.  Basically it's just an excuse to get together.

  Here are a few random pictures of cards I've made lately.  Before I ever had this blog (which if you haven't noticed wasn't long ago) I still took pictures of just about everything I made to send to my mom and sister who live hours away.  We still craft "together" even though we don't live close.

I don't really do anything fancy because I am cheap and don't like paying for stamps!  I usually just use things I already have like little scraps of felt and ribbon and then I pick something to match from my massive paper supply.

I also like to find cute free fonts online.  My favorite free font website is Dafont.com.  You can find lots of good stuff on there.  KevinandAmanda.com also has a bunch.  Happy crafting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Funky Chunky Necklace

I made another funky necklace last night.  Remember this one?  I thought I needed one in red too.  Just like my last necklace I made, I got the idea from this bracelet tutorial from A Lemon Squeezy Home but did some tweaking to it and turned it into a necklace instead just by adding some length to it and a long piece of ribbon to tie around my neck.  I know it's not for everyone but sometimes you have to go big or go home.  Right? ;)
I couldn't decide if it should go with a yellow shirt or a gray shirt so I did both.
Then my little helper insisted she get in on the shot.  That big blob there would be her pointing to the camera.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Glass Tile Pendants

I made these glass tile pendants last year for my sister-in-law for Christmas and some for myself.  My mom and sister are young women leaders for their wards in our church and they had their girls make these as well at an activity, because they are super easy and make a great group activity!  They also make very inexpensive gifts.  I think they ended up costing around 50 cents each, not including the chain.  I got my supplies from Etsy.

The only bad part is you need to buy them in bulk to get them cheap.  Hence, the very unnecessary large amounts of them....

This doesn't even include them all.  I guess I must have "needed" one in every color! ;)  Here is a tutorial from Trey and Lucy so you can make them too.  The Diamond Glaze they use can be expensive if you only plan on making a few and not a million like I did.  My mom used good ol' mod podge with her girls and it seemed to work just fine.  The mod podge is probably not quite as clear and water resistant as the glaze but it's a whole lot cheaper!

P.S. Thanks for the new people "following" me, it's nice to have you and to know that I am not talking to myself! ;)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I am in no way, shape or form a vegetarian.  I think I can count on two hands the number of times I have had a dinner that didn't include meat because my husband doesn't think it's dinner without it.  I on the other hand, don't mind meatless meals at all, as long as it has some form of protein. When I told Matt I was going to try this recipe he wasn't excited and before he came home from work that day he grabbed a candy bar so he could have something "good" for dinner.   I surprised him, he even liked it!

These are delicious, super healthy, full of flavor and very filling.  I think the filling aspect is lacking in some of the vegetarian meals I've tried.   The nice thing about this recipe is the whole thing can be made before hand and then when it's time to eat, just pull the burgers out of the fridge and cook them up! F.Y.I... I ended up using about 1/2-3/4 of the amount of bread crumbs it called for and my burgers ended up perfect.  I think if you used more they would end up way too dry.  I found this recipe through CuisineNie.  You can find it HERE.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Black Apple Doll

I made this doll for my niece's third birthday.  There is a how-to video, tutorial and pattern available on Martha Stewart; you can find it HERE.  By the way, she's not wearing a belly shirt, ha ha!  The middle fabric is actually pink but from this picture it looks like she has on a two piece. 

These dolls come together really quick and can be made entirely out of scrap fabric.  If you make them, make sure you notice that there is not a seem allowance for the arms and legs so you sew right on the line otherwise you are going to end up with some skinny, little stick arms!  Another tip, I used a fine-point permanent marker for the face instead of painting it on and a colored pencil to make rosy cheeks and it seemed to work just fine!
Linking to Someday Crafts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fruit Dip

This is soooo good and so easy.  I got the original recipe from allrecipes.com but the version I use includes some changes I found in the comments.  Every last drop of this dip will get eaten up.  I promise.  I made this for the first time for McKinley's first birthday party and it was a hit.

Fruit Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg Light Strawberry Cream Cheese
1 (7 oz) jar Marshmallow creme
2 tbsp Orange juice
1 cup Cool Whip

Beat together strawberry cream cheese, marshmallow creme and orange juice. Fold in cool whip.  Eat it up!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dollar Store Home Decor

I got this little frame from the Dollar Store a while ago.  I thought it would be perfect to hold a dried flower my mom saved from my wedding bouquet that I never got around to doing anything with.
I don't know how the fragile petals survived for four years with only a ziploc bag to protect them, but I'm glad they did!

I painted the frame a sage green (although it doesn't look very green in the picture) with some stuff I already had and then added glaze on top with some leftover stuff I used for my recipe card holder.  I then added  scrapbook paper from my scrap paper pile for the back and wah la!
A cute and sentimental decoration for a buck!  I love the dollar store.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shirred Summer Dress

I made this little dress for McKinley a while ago.  My mom helped me finish it up by adding the straps I made because I got lazy!  Sometimes I think I have craft A.D.D.  I start making something and then I get bored and move onto something else without finishing the first thing even though the only thing left to do is add the straps! 

I used the same shirring technique tutorials as the last shirt I made for McKinley.  Once you get your tension right on your machine, shirring is just as easy as sewing a straight line!

 I couldn't get my model to look at me.  She was too busy looking around.  We also made a matching flower for her headband.  I made the flower kind of like the one I made for Kinley's car seat canopy except I found a much faster way of making them too bad I don't remember where I saw it online! Sorry.  Anyways, I think it turned out pretty cute!

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up         party!
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