Monday, July 30, 2012

Ladybug Birthday Party Inspiration

A few years ago, when my daughter was turning 3, she wanted a pink and green ladybug party.

Evidently it was her favorite, because now she wants ANOTHER ladybug birthday party this year! Only this year, she wants red.

So, looking for a little inspiration, I found some fun ideas out there. Here are some of my favorites.

clockwise from top: cake from Savearecipe, pot from Polkadotbirthday, streamers from Somewhere in the Middle, pretzels from Bee in our Bonnet, and polka dot balloons/lanterns from articles web.

I will, of course, share the results of the REAL party after the event. :)
Should be fun. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby Girl's Fabric Necklace

A while ago my sister gave me the greatest fabric necklace. (thanks again :)
I'll have to share it with you later.
Anyway, it inspired me to make this smaller and sweeter version for my little girl.
(sorry no pics of her wearing it. It's not for lack of trying.)

After a couple weeks of her constantly wearing an old mardi gras/carnival bead necklace- you know the kind they throw at parades, I decided it was time for improvement.

I grabbed some scrap fabric in a very 'little girl' print, cut a strip about 2 inches wide and 30 inches long. Next I sewed it into a long tube, turned it right side out, and slid a 1/2 inch bead inside to the half way point. I tied a knot on each side and continued adding beads and knots till I liked it. I sewed the ends together and it was done! ( and much cuter than the plastic parade necklace).

a couple tips...
-use whatever bead size you like, just make sure your fabric tube is wide enough to fit the bead inside.
- the more beads and knots you add the shorter your necklace will be. So make sure it's not too short to easily fit over your head. The longer your fabric tube, the more options (remember my 30 inch length was for a 1 year old!)

Have fun, there are endless possibilities!

here's where we link

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Because it's summer, and because I've just moved from Iowa,
here's how to make...
Great Corn on the Cob on the Grill!

don't be afraid to mix it up with different seasoning
Have fun
Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blue Kitchen: Before and After

At this moment I would like to share the project I am probably most proud of--our kitchen redo!

Suffice it to say that when we bought the house I hated the kitchen--couldn't belive we just paid THAT MUCH for something I didn't like. But now I love it! :) It went from dark and dated to light and airy. Makes me happy just looking at it.

Check out the before and afters:

Of course, I forgot to take quality pictures of the before kitchen (who would want them anyway?) so I had to lift them from a Word doc, but you get the idea.

Here's what we did:
1) We really liked the splash board--white subway tile with the smaller tiles in blues and grays. We kept that.

 2) We painted the tan-ish walls a beautiful blue (Valspar 4008-3A Rising Tide). Now this was not our first blue...the first blue was much too bright, so we toned it down a bit, and now I really love the blue.  yea!

3) The biggest job: we painted all the cupboards white. I couldn't believe how long this process took! Take it from me, just do it right the first time: Wash them, degloss them, sand them a big to make them not so smooth, apply primer (we did a non-oil-based primer, and I think that was a mistake. It took 5 coats of quality primer to stop the wood stain from leaking through. If I ever do it again, I'm definitely going to try oil-based primer), and then paint them. We used Valspar ultra white latex enamel paint for kitchen and bath and used a smooth roller to apply it. It took 4-5 coats, but we finally got everything well-coated and ready to put back together (we took the doors off first).

4) Next thing that had to go was the flooring. You can't tell from the pictures all that well, but it was a dark, rubbery wood-print linoleum. My husband put his handy-man hat on and installed laminate flooring from Home Depot (Hampton Bay Brilliant Maple). The difference was amazing--I hadn't fully realized how much dark flooring could darken a whole space.

5) New counter top. You'll notice from the before pictures that it was a maizy-yellow color--not a good match for blue walls and white cupboards. So, we picked out a new laminate counter top that had blues and grays and little hints of honey-color in it to add some warmth and to match the flooring. My husband watched a few youtube videos about installation, had his dad come help and voila! New countertops. Price to have professionals install it for you ~$26/square foot. Price to do it yourself (after all supplies): ~$3/square foot. So worth doing it yourself if you have the time. He also used a hard-wood edge rather than laminate edge around the counter just because we thought it looked nicer.

6) Bought a new fridge (didn't have one at all at first)!

Anyway, we love the transformation, love the kitchen. :)

I'm still kind of working on decorating. I like how clean it looks, so I don't want to do a lot, but perhaps something for the beind-the-sink window. Maybe something for the sliding glass door in the dining room? Perhaps a shelf or big clock or plates or embroidery hoops with fabric or something cute for the wall in the dining room (the wall you can't see). We'll see.

The kitchen goes so well with our newly painted kitchen table:

I also took an old shelf of my mom's and painted it white to match. It's been a lot of fun to decorate it for the holidays! Here it is all decked out for St. Patrick's Day.

 All-in-all it feels good to redo the kitchen and we love how it turned out!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Healthy Summer Treat: Watermelon Icee

Pure, unadulterated watermelon is pretty hard to beat, but this treat is fun, healthy and delicious. It's fun for summer time treat--for a little something special.

I was completely amazed at how yummy it was. While blending up the watermelon, I thought to myself that it was probably going to taste rather blah and would need some sugar, but I was wrong! I withstood all temptation to put sugar in and was pleasantly surprised how flavorful and sweet it was.

Here's a quick-glance tutorial for you.

You may notice I traded pans half-way through; at first I was using the pretty white pie pan, but the bread pan turned out to be much more practical--much easier to place in the freezer.

Enjoy a fun summertime treat!

Lots of love,

Monday, July 2, 2012

4th of July Dessert: Star-Spangled Berry Pie

I think pie is my favorite dessert. It's pretty hard to beat flaky crust and sweet berry fillings--or any filling really, but berries are where it's at in my book.

I've seen a lot of fun 4th of July desserts--red, white and blue cakes, berry parfaits, layered jello, etc. but this time around, I just really wanted something that would taste better than all of those. So, pie it was!

I made a quadruple-berry pie using fresh strawberries and a frozen tri-berry mix of raspberies, blackberries, and blueberries. The results were quite scrumptious and the stars on top were festive and fun. Of course, trying to cut the pie to accomidate all the kiddies' desire for a whole pie crust star was an adventure, but hey, it was fun. :)

I like to pile my filling up nice and high and then dab some butter on top. yum.

Then, rather than adding a top crust, I rolled out the dough and used a star cookie cutter to cut out stars. Placed the little star "pie crust cookies" on top and bake. You'll know when it is done because your mouth will start to water at the delicious smells coming from your oven. :)

YUM! Don't forget the vanilla ice cream too. :)

Star-Spangled Quadruple Berry Pie

1 recipe for a double-layered pie crust (or 2 refrigerated pie crusts)
3 c. quartered strawberries
3 c. frozen mix of blueberreis, raspberries, and blackberries, partially thawed
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. minute tapioca (as the thickener)
2-3 Tbsp. butter
1. In a large bowl, mix the berries, sugar and tapioca.
2. While the berry mixture stands, prepare the bottom pie crust in the pie plate and preheat the oven to 400°F. I like to cook my pies on a lower rack of a standard oven to encourage the bottom to cook more thoroughly.
3. Roll-out the top crust and cut shapes into it. Remove the extra dough.
4. Fill the pie crust with the berry mixture. Dot with butter. Place pie crust shapes on top of the berries.
5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. You may need to cover the pie with aluminum foil towards the end to prevent over-browning of the crust. Cool at least 20 minutes before serving, but the longer you wait, the more set-up it will be. Which is why mine are always rather runny, because who wants to wait that long???   

Happy 4th everyone!