Sunday, August 19, 2012

Punkin Muffins via Smitten Kitchen

I love muffins and lately I have been craving pumpkin.  Perhaps I have fall fever {as much as I don't wan't summer to go away!}  I came across THIS RECIPE this morning and with a few adaptions came up with these...


My adaptions...

Used 1 can of Pumpkin Pie Mix and omitted the spices called for in the original recipe.  Also added 1/4 cup of low-fat plain yogurt.  And then splash more oil after mixing the flour in... seemed a bit dry.  Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Huge Canvas Art - Cheap!

Check it out!  A HUGE (55"x 35") piece of art made for less than $30!  I bought a huge roll of canvas on clearance at Hobby Lobby last fall for about $30 for the roll.  It was like 80' x 6' of canvas, what a steal!  I've been cutting small pieces off here and there for little projects but I've had something like this in mind since I bought it.  Here's how I did it:

1. Cut desired size of Canvas

2. Brush on a coat of paint in any color you like and let dry fully

3. Use rubber cement to make any design you choose.  (I put the rubber cement into a squeeze bottle with a small tip on the end for greater control when applying.) Let dry Completely!

(Here is a picture of the rubber cement drying.  The pieces of lumber are holding the canvas flat and eventually get made into the frame.)

4.  Apply a contrasting color of paint over the entire canvas.  Let dry.

5. Peel of rubber cement to reveal design and admire your beautiful new piece of art!

6.  Make a wood frame by glueing and screwing a frame together.  We used 3/4" by 3 1/4" by 8" pieces of stock lumber at The Home Depot.  My husband did this job for me.

7. Use a staple gun to attach your artwork to the frame.  

Tips: I sketched my design out first so I had a good idea of how I wanted the finished piece to turn out. I did several tests on small pieces of canvas to make sure the paint I was using would work.  I tried acrylic paint first (which worked well, too) but ended up using some left over latex bathroom paint from The Home Depot.  The under-layer was Semi Gloss and the top layer was Satin.  It took some work getting the Rubber Cement off along with the paint because the paint did not stick to the rubber cement.  I had to use my fingernail to scrape some parts and I also used a paper towel to gently "sand" some parts, too.  Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vintage Better Homes and Gardens

I just picked up 32 issues of Better Homes and Gardens from the 1950's and 60's for $10 (I love Craigs List!)  I am trying to find some vintage Kohler bathroom advertisements for a current bathroom update (keep your fingers crossed!)

I just opened my first issues, May 1956, and feel like I have already "Hit the Jack-Pot" (no Kohler adds yet, though.)  The articles, fashions, decor, recipes are FANTASTIC! Check out this article I found on making your own slipcovers...

Just yesterday I was scouring the internet for ideas and tutorials for making your own slipcover.  While I found plenty of inspiration (check out this site Pink and Polka Dot) I couldn't find any simple and easy tutorials.

I can't wait to try the instructions from this article, results are sure to follow soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Custom" Framing

If you've ever had anything custom framed you know how shockingly expensive it is.  I've had this Map of Maui (purchased on my honeymoon) for almost 8 years now and I've shied away from having it framed because of this.  When my husband and I finally decided to decorate our bedroom I knew it was time for this map to find a home.  I almost bit the bullet and had it professionally framed but then it dawned on me "what if I could find a frame at a thrift store and just purchase the matting?"  Later in the week I went to a local thrift store and found "The Perfect Frame" for $20.00!  Here's how I customized it:

1.  I removed all the staples from the backing with a pair of pliers and some elbow grease.

2. I carefully removed the original artwork from the matting (which also happened to coordinate quite nicely with my map!)

3.  I went to my local Michael's and asked them to cut a custom mat to surround my map.  The man working in framing did this for me and charged me about $8 for the service, including the mat.  I am pretty sure this is not something they commonly do so you may want to call around to a few different locations to make sure they can and will do this for you.

4.  I took my mat home and taped my map into it.  Then I placed this into the frame and original matting and secured in place with tape.  I added a piece of cardboard behind the print and matting to help add some bulk and push the map up against the glass.

5. Lastly, I found my husbands staple gun and carefully stapled the backing back in place.  (Tip: Be sure glass is clean on the inside before performing this final step!)

Here is the result:

Let's do the math now:

Cost of Frame: $20.00
Cost of New Mat and Custom Cut: $8.00
Cost of Map: $25.00? (can't remember exactly, it was 8 years ago!)

Total Cost: $53.00

I'm guessing (based on past experience) that this would have cost me well over $200 to have custom framed.

Eco-friendly, budget friendly and beautiful = Happy Home-Maker!

French Fries

Today my son wanted French Fries for lunch which sounded good to me, too.  I had potatoes, olive oil and salt and thought I would attempt to fry my first ever batch from scratch.  They turned out fantastically and it was really super easy.  Here's how I did it:

1. Choose a wide shallow pan.  I used my wok.

2.  Put about 1/2" oil (I used olive) in the bottom of the pan.

3. Heat on MEDIUM heat for a few minutes.  This is where I set mine...

4. While oil is getting hot - wash, peel and cut potatoes into french fry shape (about 1/2" thick sticks.)

When oil is hot enough (if it's smoking it's, too hot!) CAREFULLY put a small amount of fries in.  (I used my spatula to put the fries into the hot oil.)  Oil should bubble vigorously.  PLEASE BE CAREFUL! 

Use your spatula to CAREFULLY turn the fries after a few minutes so they cook evenly.  When golden on all sides CAREFULLY remove from pan with spatula and place on a plate with a few paper towels on it to drain.  Add salt if desired and Enjoy when cool enough.

My 2 year olds lunch.  (He had a healthy breakfast and snack.)

My Lunch!  

My college roommate taught me to eat my fry's with mayo.  Thanks Kris!  Yum!

Pretty Little Pillow - DIY Slipcover

I Love Slipcovers.  They are such an easy way to add a punch of color and style to your home.  Plus, if your 2 and 5 year old decide to use them as napkins, you can just slip them off and throw them in the wash (just make sure to choose machine washable fabrics.)  Here's how I made this one:

Step 1: Make the Ties

Cut 4 - 1"x 6" pieces.

 Fold each of the long edges in to the center and iron.  Right side of the fabric will be on the outside.

Fold ONE short edge of each piece in about 1/4 inch and iron.

Fold in each side of this same edge to form a point (kinda like making a paper airplane.)

Fold the whole strip in half (be sure right side of fabric is out, still) and iron.

Using a straight stitch, sew ties closed (as close to the edge as possible.)  I started at the non-point end and only sewed to where the point started to dip.  I did not try sew all the way down to the point.  Be sure to back stitch the end near the point to lock stitching in place.  Yay, your ties are done, you can set them aside for a brief moment.

Step 2: Make the Slipcover

Cut 2 Large Rectangles the size of your pillow form PLUS 1 inch on each side.  My pillow insert was 10" x 15" so I cut my Large rectangles 11" x 16".  Cut your Small rectangles the same height as your large pieces and approximately 1/3 the width.  My small rectangles are 11" x  6"

Grab your ties.  Pin 2 ties onto each large rectangle, along 1 short edge, approximately 3" up from the corner. Your ties should be "pointing" in toward the center of the pillow with the short 1/4" edge matching up with the short edge of the large rectangle.  Like this...

Making sure the right sides of the fabric are facing each other, place your small rectangle on top of the large rectangle and ties that you just pinned so that the equal length edges of both the small and large rectangle match. Pin in place along this edge. Repeat with the other 2 rectangles.

Sew along this edge.  I used this stitch to prevent my fabric from unraveling and to double seem it for extra durability (remember, I have 2 boys.)

Flip the small rectangle over to reveal your sewn in ties!!! Your almost done!

Place both pieces right sides of the large rectangle fabric facing each other and pin in place along the 3 edges that do not have the ties on them.  The right sides of your small rectangles will be facing out.

Sew along the 3 edges you just pinned.  I used the same double seem zig zag stitch again.

Clip the 2 corners opposite the edge with the ties so they will form a better point when turned right side out.  Be carful not to cut your seem!

Turn your slipcover right side out.

Stuff with your pillow form and tie.


Strategically place in cute location until your kids decide to throw it on the floor.