Monday, March 18, 2013

Embroidering Again

I've had the itch to stitch lately. 

Embroidery stitching that is.  My Mamaw and Mom taught me how to embroider when I was probably a preteen.  Never did I think it would become such a part of me.  Every time I see an embroidered piece it takes me back to being a young girl and all the quilts my Mamaw made.  Seeing my mom sitting at night by the lamp, embroidery hoop in hand, stitching on a quilt block for one of the many quilts she contributed to over the years.

In my family, growing up, there was no better gift to get from Mamaw than a quilt.  It was a coveted present and everyone crossed their fingers and silently hoped they would get one of the heavy boxes with a quilt inside.  I have received 2 quilts from my Mamaw and 2 from my Mom over the years and they are so precious to me.  Since they represent my childhood and I really want to make some pieces for our new place (hoping to move into our place around April, crossing fingers, toes, arms, and legs), pieces that are comforting, nostalgic, and of course pretty, I decided some embroidering was in the works.

As I do anytime I have the idea to start a project I googled to find inspiration and in this case, embroidery patterns.  I wanted something other than flowers or your typical embroidery pattern.  I came across this pattern and fell in love, knew I had to make something out of it and decided on a pillow for our living room.
I couldn't get grand photos unfortunately but just know that its super cute.  I traced the pattern onto white muslin with a water soluble quilting pen.  I used fabric I already had and loved how it came together.  I just wish I would have made the fabric blocks a little bigger because I ended up over stuffing it and you can't see it as well.
Now I just need my own living room to put this little cutie on.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pan Fried Croutons

I saw many months ago on Pioneer Woman that she makes her homemade croutons in a cast iron skillet.  I've made croutons many times but always in the oven.  I had never once thought of making them in a skillet.  The only problem with my oven ones were I have a really bad tendency to burn them, and I never remember to turn them over for even cooking. 
I bought some french bread over the weekend without a real purpose, but it was $1 and I couldn't not buy some.  Yesterday I was really wanting a salad with the Fancy Mac & Cheese I made from Pioneer Woman's cookbook.  Which by the way is the best mac and cheese I've ever had.
Anyway, I decided to give the skillet version on croutons a whirl and I'm so glad I did.  They came out perfect.  They remind me alot of the ones you find homemade in Amish country, crispy on the outside and a little softer on the inside, you know so your not breaking your tooth on them like some of the store bought brands.

Here's how I made these little beauties:

1/2 loaf french baguette cut into chunks
olive oil
2 T butter
garlic salt
italian seasoning

put about 2T olive oil and butter into a medium to large pan.  Allow butter to melt and sizzle (I so love the sound of butter sizzling, does that make me wierd?)
Add your bread chunks and stir them around to coat them with all the oil and butter.  Sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper, and italian seasonings.  I didn't measure any of these because it really depends on your own tast buds.  The more you put on the more flavor you will have.  Start with a teaspoon each of garlic salt and italian seasoning and 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Allow to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for even cooking, until desired crunchiness is achieved.  I had to add about 2T more olive oil in the middle of the cooking process because mine were not as crispy as I wanted and there was no moisture left in the pan.  The bread soaks it up pretty fast.
What I love most about pan frying croutons is you have more control over the outcome.  If you like softer croutons then cook them a shorter amount of time, if you like extra crispy cook them a little longer.  I think this is how I'll make my croutons from now on.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chocolate Mint Cucakes

I love making cupcakes and last year I made a bunch to help raise money for the Relay For Life.  My intention was to make chocolate cupcakes with cherry frosting.  However, I made the cherry frosting twice and both times the butter seperated and it was NOT good and I had to dump it out, ugh!  So I had to nix the cherry frosting idea and decided to go with a Chocolate cupcake with mint frosting and Thin Mint cookie crumbles on top.

I'm not a huge mint fan, even though I love me some mint chocolate chip ice cream, but I have to say these cupcakes were pretty darn tasty.  I used Lorann's Creme De Menthe flavoring for the frosting.
Is it wierd that I love taking pictures of my cupcakes when they turn out pretty.
If only it was daytime when I took them so the lighting would be better.
I feel like a cupcake pro with the plastic containers we bought.  I know that sounds stupid but after using the cardboard cake boxes from Hobby Lobby all last year to transport cupcakes, having the plastic ones with the cupcakes seperated and everything, it was a dream.  Made it alot easier for my mom to take them to work too.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

About to Pop Water Bottle Labels

I feel like I've been MIA from my little blog FOREVER, even though its only been a little while.  Some great things and some not so great things have been going on.  I don't like to bring negativity into my blog space because this is supposed to be my Happy Place, so instead I chose to take a time out and come back when with a new attitude.

So enough about that, on to better things.

After making numerous popcorn boxes I took a break from all things baby shower related.  I just lost some steam and was stuck on how to do the invites and therefore everything was put on hold. 

I blame this brain fart on those darn popcorn boxes.  While I think they are so cute there are time consuming and a bit of a pain in my rear.  Next time I think I'll just use paper bags or buy some already made. 


I finally finished the water bottle labels and love love love how they turned out.  I have a little love affair with water bottle labels.  They are at every shower/birthday part I do, just because I think it's a sweet and inexpensive touch.  Normally I personalize them with the baby's name for a baby shower or the birthday/name of the birthday person on the labels but for these I decided I wanted to just stick with the theme,  and that darn brain fart was creeping in again and I couldn't figure out how to use the baby's name on them.  Either way I love them and I think the mom to be will appreciate them too.

I made them basically the same as I always do, using my cricut, some glue dots and clear contact paper.  You can see a tutorial here for the ones I made for the Grant's 1st birthday.  For these I used multiple colors of polka dot paper for the wrap then another color cardstock for the center.

After finishing these I'm full speed ahead on getting more baby shower projects marked off my to-do list.  I bought the supplies for a new cupcake stand, more on that later, and the invites are in the process of being finished.  More on that later too. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Popcorn boxes for a Baby shower

As I've mentioned in a few posts there are people having babies all around me.  Right now I know of 3 mommies-to-be and one of them I'm hosting a shower for at the end of April.  I'm constantly saving different baby shower themes to my favorites folder in the hopes that one day I'll get to use them on someone. 

Finally my day has come.  The last shower I hosted was back in 2011 for my cousin's twin boys.  I did a Thing 1 and Thing 2 theme and I had so much fun planning a crafting for it.  Since then I've tried to talk a few family members and friends into having another baby just so I can do their shower, haha. 

I know, that's a little crazy but I can't help it. 

Anyways my cousin is having a baby girl (it's the season for girls, every mommy-to-be I know is having a girl), and I've decided on the theme "About to POP".  Many people have used this theme, it's not original on my part but it's so  much fun!

Ok so I confess I was sold on the theme when I saw the popcorn bar most people have.  I mean seriously who doesn't love a popcorn bar of gourmet flavored popcorn.

My mouth is watering...

As usual I've scoured the internet for ideas and inspiration and my favorites folder and picture folder on my computer are bursting.  If I could figure out Pinterest my computer would thank me but that's for another day.

The biggest issue I have when planning and crafting for a shower (after I choose a theme) is the invitation.  I try to remind myself to keep things simple and classic but always end up with a million ideas floating around and can't decide on the perfect one.  With this theme I had the exact opposite happen.  I couldn't figure out how to make them at all.  It seems most people order their from Etsy or make a printable one with their computer.  Of course my mom said I could just go to Walmart or Target and pick up a package of invites and write the info on them.

"What?"   was my response.  The crafter in me just can't do that.  Just like I can't go to the party store and pick up all my decorations.  I HAVE to make them.  After all that's part of the fun....

and the stress...
and the frustration....
But mainly the fun of having a shower for someone.
Of course if you're going to have an "About to POP" theme with a popcorn bar, popcorn boxes are a must.  I could have found some online to purchase I'm sure, but what's the fun in that.  I did a google search and found a template, printed it out, traced the template on cardstock, cut it out, and glued the pieces together.

I used my cricut to cut out some circles out of scrapbook paper to decorate the boxes.  I decided I didn't want to use glue to attach them for fear of the paper wrinkling, or glue dots because I was afraid they might fall off or tear. 
So what's a girl to do?
Sew them on.  Before I glued the pieces of the popcorn boxes together I took one side and stitched the circles on each of them.
I made the boxes in a variety of colors.  Pretty much I went through my cardstock stack and grabbed any color I liked and that was bright.
I think they are super cute and can't wait to fill them up with some gourmet popcorn!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Baby Shower Banner

I'm so excited to be planning another baby shower.  About a year and a half ago I did a Thing 1 and Thing 2 for my cousin who was having twin boys.  I can't believe they are over a year old now.  When I found out my cousin Trevor and his fiance were expecting I immediately volunteered to do their baby shower.  I chose the theme "About to POP", mainly because I really really wanted to do a Popcorn bar but also because I knew I could use a rainbow of colors and I want this shower to be bright and cheery, full of lots of color.

I bought a scapbook paper stack from Hobby Lobby.  180 sheets of polka dot, stripes, plaid, etc in a variety of colors and I'm going to do all the decorations and invitations using them.  The first project I tackled was a banner.  After all every good party needs a banner right?  I saw this one and knew I needed to make one of my own.  I hand traced and cut each onesie out and used my cricut to cut the circles and letters to spell baby Channing's name.  I have to say after cutting all those onesies out by hand I have a new found appreciation for my beloved Cricut.
I used some ribbon I already had along with clothespins I already had.  Then I dug through my boxes of fabric to find some scraps I could cut up to tie in between each onsie.  I wasn't trying to make colors match or anything, I just wanted some bright colors in the mix.
This is not where the banner will hang during the shower but it was the only wall space that I could get a picture without toys, pictures, tables, windows, or Grant's hands in the photo.
I absolutely love this banner.  It just screams "baby", and I like that it couldn't be used for a birthday or any other kind of celebration.
I have many more "About to POP" projects coming up, as I'm slowly completing them marking them off my list one by one, so stay tuned!


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