Pleated Flower Decor

I've had this cute round frame (spray painted black) that has been calling for some love.  So with no baby yet, I'm continuing small project detail.  (My husband says no painting or stenciling walls right now).
Laura over at Craftaholics Anonymous is pretty cool.  She has lots of fun things to look at and make...this is one that I had to try!

I did a hot glue method, twisting and glueing as I went.  I also did one really long strand instead of a couple.
I covered some cardboard from a lucky charms box with this fabric.  Who says sugary cereal isn't good for something!  
 And I glued.
 And glued.
 And then it was done.  Here's the back.
 Here's the front.
 And here's my fabulous new home decor.  I glued it on the back fabric and choose a pearly button for the center.  I'm not sold on the black and white back fabric, I think I might end up changing it to something gray and chic.  We'll see.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the spunk it gives my living room.  

Candied Walnut Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette

Our neighbors down the street invited us for Easter dinner.  Due to a bought of food poisoning for my son, we were unable to attend.  However, they said to walk down, fill our plates, and enjoy eating at home.  We took them up on the offer!  And so so so good!  The crock pot ham, funeral potatoes, slightly cheese asparagus, spinach salad, and carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting.  For real, nothing better than a meal that pleases your entire tongue.  

So I asked her for the salad dressing info and she gave me her vinaigrette recipe.  I made it yesterday and my jaw couldn't eat fast enough when I was eating my salad. This combo is amazing!  She had candied walnuts (or pecans?) in the salad and I had to whip some of those up to add as well.
Basic Vinaigrette
From Carrie Law

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp minced shallot
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Shake together in glass jar.  Refrigerate up to 7 days.

AND for the candied walnuts, here is the recipe for them.
Candied Walnuts

1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sugar

In a skillet over medium heat, heat walnuts and sugar, stirring constantly.  Sugar will dissolve into a light brown liquid and coat the walnuts.  Stir until walnuts are evenly coated.  Remove walnuts from skillet and spread on a piece of aluminum foil to cool.  Serve with salad or eat as is.  Scrumptious! 
And then combine it all together in this salad.

Candied Walnut Spinach Salad

Cucumber, sliced and quartered
Apples, halved and thinly sliced
Candied walnuts
Feta cheese
Grapes, halved

Toss salad with vinaigrette dressing.

P.S. If you want to know what I ate for Easter Breakfast...go to this post to find out how to make Creamed Eggs and Biscuits.  (and I totally forgot to do the rainbow cake this year...)

Oilcloth Bag

I'm trying to prep for teacher appreciation week and made this cute bag today.  I have 1 or 2 left to make.  I have the left-over oilcloth from covering my kitchen chairs.  I think they turned out really cute and so versatile.

I would have loved to make them like Purl bee's bag, but didn't have enough material for it.

I hope they like them!

Painting a Desk

Nesting is continuing at my house.  I'm going to bed every night with dishes done, bathrooms wiped down, and the floor swept, I'm taking down curtains that have been hanging and returning them, I'm sewing random things, I'm organizing closets, I've even gone to the garage and wiped out tool boxes and separated screws from nails.

One more thing to add to the list is painting this desk.  I first painted it wasn't the right color.  I hated looking at it and kept imagining something better.  THIS is it.  I love love love it.  I'm leaving orange (goodbye, orange!) as a decor color and going to do something different.  And although I just made the kitchen valance, it's going too.  My husband just laughs at my randomness right now.  It's a fun stage of pregnancy.

This desk was a craigslist find.  It has old separator drawers, too - totally antique.  I really like the wood grain top.

And just in case you don't believe that I'm a little self-pic from yesterday.  Right after this my kids tackled me and we had a funny picture taking session of ourselves.  It was great!

Car Seat Cover

I've seen so many cute covers out there for infant car seats.  I decided to join the club.  I followed the tutorial from the blog Hippos and Dinosaurs and it's really simple.  I did almost the same as she did.  I used a yard of printed fabric and a yard of fleece, but for the straps, I made them 10 inches long and wider.

Funny thing, I was debating whether or not to make it, but is was still being rainy enough outside, so I went for it.  Then the day I made it and since has been quite nice and less rainy.  Of course.  Here's to being prepared anyway!

Orzo with Shrimp

Yesterday was beautiful.  The sun was out and I can even tell that our 2 1/2 hours at the park paid off on my winter white skin.  We topped of the afternoon with making this Orzo with Shrimp from Giada De Laurentiss.  I have her cookbook Everyday Pasta and this week I'm pulling recipes from it for dinners.

It was delicious!  And definitely a keeper.  If you're a shrimp and lemon lover, you've got a new one to try.
Orzo with Shrimp

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp saffron threads (I didn't have any, I just used a food colorer to make the orzo yellow)
1 lb orzo (small, rice-shaped pasta)
7 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 1 1/2 lbs precooked and then heated them in the sauce)

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, bringing the broth to a simmer.  Add the saffron (if using), stir, and simmer until the saffron has "bloomed," about 5 minutes. (Having never cooked with saffron, I have no idea what this means).  Return the heat to medium and bring the stock to a boil, then add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the orzo and transfer to a large bowl.  Add 4 Tbsp of olive oil (I added about 2-3), the parsley, half the lemon juice, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and combine thoroughly.

In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and the remaining lemon juice.  Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until the shrimp are just turning pink, about 2 minutes per side.  Add the shrimp to the bowl with the orzo.  Toss to combine and serve.

*Can be a side without the shrimp.  This can be served warm, but it's also nice at room temperature, making it a good option for picnics or buffet spreads.

Throwing manure...for real

This is just in case you think I'm serious.  I'm not.  This is an official foot-pop-manure-throw over the fence into the garden.  This is what real housewives do.  :)  This picture is from a while ago, but a friend just recently sent it to me.  I was laughing hard thinking of us out there in the morning doing weeding, manuring, and enjoying a visit over the roosters crowing.  Spring mornings in Sacramento are fabulous.  I'm missing a little bit more sunshine, but I know it will come here in Portland.  

In the meantime...don't worry about a little bit of poop.  

Toy Story Martian Birthday Cake

It was just my 5-year-old's birthday and he ordered a Toy Story theme with Martian cake attached.  I have a bear mold, that carved as desired, can be whatever you order.  I think he turned out really cute!  Think "the claw."

Here is the chocolate bear sandwiched together.  I held the sides together with icing and skewers.  After pointing the ears and carving off the nose, tail, and eyes, I was ready to frost.  

Here's what I was going for, in case you were wondering.

Happy Birthday!

Kitchen Valance and Snickerdoodles

My kitchen window is visible from the front door, so it really needed some spunk.  Now when you walk in, you have cheeriness waiting for you.

And since yesterday was a Sunday, I had to do some baking.  It was a Snickerdoodle day and the recipe I've been using was passed to me from my mom-in-law...from one of her friends.  Phew, did you get all that?  Anyway, they are awesome and moist and delicious.  Enjoy.

From Barbara Skovensky

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth.  In another bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.  Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees (I used 315) and let dough rest for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator.  In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Take about 2 Tbsp dough and roll into ball.  Roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes and no more.  Allow cookies to cool on pan for 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack.  The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven.

Makes approximately 3 dozen.

Recovered Chairs

What do you do when you have about a month until your due date?  Do a bunch of projects on the list and nest like crazy.  Yes, I'm in the nesting phase right now.

If I go until my due date, I'm 2 days short of 4 weeks out.  If I go about 10 days early, like my other kids, I'm 2 weeks and 2 days away.  I'm preparing like it's the latter and if not, then I guess I'll get even more done before our little guy shows up.

We picked up this table and chairs on craigslist right before Christmas.  The owners were super nice and stored it for us until we moved into our new place in January.  I really wanted to cover the seats in something washable - so with my first visit to Craft Warehouse (where have I been!?), I walked away with some awesome oilcloth!

I'm already loving that I can wipe play dough and juice right off these babies!  First time using oilcloth, check, love it, check.

Layered Girls Skirt

I've got to say that making my little girl skirts is so easy and satisfying.  Not only does she look cute after and enjoy wearing them, but they are the simplest and quickest project.

Take a rectangle of fabric, sew ends together, hem the bottom, sew a casing for the top (leaving a gap), in the gap thread some elastic, sew elastic, and finish sewing the casing.  Wa lah!

I wanted to make this one a bit more fun.  So I added two addition fabrics to the bottom, making the skirt 3-tiered.  Now that spring is officially on its way, it will be fun to make more dresses and skirts for her...knowing they'll actually get to be used!

Silly Sock Day

At preschool for letter S week, my son was supposed to wear silly socks.  Their suggestion was mismatched socks...we might have taken it a bit further.

We both came up with ideas for shapes to cut out of felt and then hot glued them onto the socks.  It was awesome!  He had the best socks there - at least I think so.

Curtains to Crib Skirt

This really was one of the thriftiest and easiest ideas I've heard in a while!  I was telling a friend how I wanted to make a crib skirt because they cost WAY to much money in store.  

This is her genius idea: use an Ikea curtain.  I'm sure it would work with any other curtain too, this was just her comment, and I happened to have 2 on-hand.  

A while back I made curtains for our apartment in California.  They had Velcro across the top and I embellished with some red and white fabric.  If you want to see that post, go here.  That was barely over a year ago.  They were taken down and put in the excess fabric bin until now.  

Yesterday, I took one and laid it out wrong side up (I didn't feel like taking the time to take off the red/white fabric).

See, no red/white fabric and the material already has small running stitches, so it didn't matter.

Then using a sharpie and measuring tape, I used the running stitches as guidelines, and marked my lengths to cut.

The very bottom of the drape I used as the front of the skirt.  A width of this curtain fits almost perfectly across the crib front.  The sides are almost exactly half the width of the front.  However, I still cut one for each, you could get away with chopping one in half and hemming the side.  The bottom was 27" and the 2 sides (since they would need a bottom hem) were cut 28".

Then I embellished the front of the crib skirt.  Easy, something attractive, and simple.

So here's what I've been looking at under the crib (such a good place for storage!).

And now I see this!  I'm loving it.

The HOW-TO: put the front piece in position and TAPE to the board (that your crib mattress sits on).  Duct tape would work best, but I just used clear packing tape.  It's what I had on-hand.  You will have about 5 inches extra to work with.  For the sides I folded the fabric in half and did the same tape job.

Why tape? Well, eventually we'll lower the crib mattress as our little boy becomes jumpy and mobile, this way I can reposition the skirt to meet the height of the mattress.  Easy and the skirt doesn't move around!  Nothing more annoying that a wiggly bed skirt when you change the sheets.

So that's it.  I do like it.  It was easy, functional, not overly bold, and repurposed!

A side-note.  Here's a blanket that I just received from my mom-in-law.  She has been a crocheter in the past, but has give up her needles for this instead.  She did a great job!  The little ruffly edges are impeccably cut even.  Hours of love went into this one.

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