Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Well, my kids have been doing the countdown for about the last 25 days.  They've been so excited for Halloween. (Show me a kid who isn't excited for Halloween.)

We carved our pumpkins over the weekend.  I had grand, Pinterest-inspired, plans for my pumpkin.  As soon as I got out the glitter, my youngest wanted to help.  So, like a good mom, I abandoned my plan and let her glitter up my pumpkin after she was done carving her own.



My son made his pumpkin eating a mini pumpkin. (Such a 10 year old boy thing to do.)



I was so happy with the kids' costumes this year.  My daughter found a $3.00 cat jumpsuit at a garage sale last spring.  We added some ears, a tail, and a nose.  She's thrilled with her costume and I'm thrilled with the price!

 My son couldn't decide what he wanted to be for Halloween.  Jokingly, I said, "You could be a Frito bag, like I was when I was 10."  He jumped at that offer!  When I told him he could go get the costume out of the garage, he was thrilled that I wasn't kidding.  My mom had made me a Frito bag out of felt, one year when I was 10, and we just happened to have the box it was stored in.  My son came in from the garage and tossed it into the wash.  The 30 year old felt didn't hold up so well and the whole thing fell apart.  He was just about in tears and I said, "We'll be able to make a new one."  I just happened to have made a trip to the fabric store the week before and purchased a boat load of felt.  I had every color he needed.  My mom was watching the kids after school the next week, so my son and my mom went to work on the costume.  Pretty cool, huh?



Hope you all had a great Halloween night!  I'm off to hand out some more candy!

Happy Halloween!
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home and Family Friday

Well, hello friends!  Happy almost Friday!  It's been a busy week and I'm one tired teacher.  I'm ready for some home life inspiration. 

Last week's most clicked on link was from Embellishments By SLR.  This is a beautiful fall table.  I'm having a party this weekend, so I made need to try a new tablescape.



I can't wait to see what you have in store for our Home and Family Friday linky party this week.  I am loving all of the fall decor! So many creative ideas out there!  I'd love it if you'd grab my button and become a follower.  Please click on ideas that interest you.  I use those numbers to pick my features for the following week.  (It also just makes us feel happy to receive comments!)

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sew Inspirational

I love to sew.  Actually, I think I'm a bit obsessed sometimes.  I dream about sewing projects.  I'd love to make a cover for my sewing machine, but I really don't need one when I'm using my machine just about every day.  Today, for instance, I didn't make anything fun.  But, I mended a pair of pants for my hubby and fixed some ripped jammies for my daughter.  Those aren't the types of projects I dream about, though.

I love to make pretty pillows for holidays and special occasions.



I make pillow covers to change out for the different seasons.


I adore making quilts!  Baby quilts are my favorites because they are quick and easy.



Ooooh, remember the Pottery Barn Sweater pillow that I made from a Goodwill sweater?  I have two new Goodwill sweaters just calling out to me right now!















Sewing to help organize a space kills two birds with one stone.  I get to sew AND organize.  Love it!




I sew drapes.



I sew outdoor pillows.  (I LOVE all of the Sunbrella outdoor fabrics out there now!)



I have sewn three different sets of valances for my kitchen.  You see, sewing is a bit of an obsession.



Since discovering Pinterest, I'm now able to put my To Do list of sewing projects all in one place.  Here is my Sewing Pinboard, if you'd like to see it. Oh, so many projects to sew!

I even find myself recording and watching sewing shows on PBS.  Ok, that might just throw me into the "nerd" category when it comes to sewing, but I told you.... I can't get enough of it!

I found a great project on Pinterest today, which led me to a terrific blog, Oliver and S.  I spent some time browsing the blog, clicked the Follow Button, and happily pinned a few new inspiration pieces.  Well, as I was watching  Sew It All, on PBS today, there was my new BFF, Liesel Gibson who writes the Oliver and S blog.  She was showing a tutorial on making bucket hats for kids!  If you're interested in learning to sew, I'd highly recommend Sew It All and It's Sew Easy.  They are both on PBS and give great tips and hints for sewing. 

I have a black Goodwill sweater calling my name, friends.  I'm off to sew!

Happy sewing!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pinterest Inspired Craft Room Clean Out

Are you on Pinterest yet?  It's inspiring, addicting, and motivating.  For all of you who are resisting the temptation, thinking Pinterest is the newest time waster on the internet, I'm here to tell you differently.

I've been busy adding pins to my Favorite Places and Spaces board on Pinterest. I spent about 10 minutes browsing through different craft rooms on Sunday.    Here are just a few of the spaces I found on Pinterest.  By clicking on my Favorite Places and Spaces link, you will be taken to the pages where these pictures came from.
Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Inspiring, aren't they?  Well, that was enough to get me motivated.  I spent a few hours, on Sunday afternoon, cleaning out the craft room.  What started as, "I think I'll fill a bag with things to take to Goodwill." turned into, "Can you guys help move these games into the living room, take these Goodwill bags to the car, and find a serge protector for the new paper crafting station?"

I can't show you the finished room yet.  I still have a few things left to organize.  You'll just have to let Pinterest inspire you for now.

Happy pinning!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Home and Family Friday Feature

Did you see this great bar makeover at our linky party last week? 



This was posted on The Yellow Cape Cod and boy was I impressed!  I know you were too because it was the most clicked on link last week!

Click on over and enjoy your Sunday evening!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies and Home and Family Friday

Are you ready for the yummiest Halloween cookies ever?

These sugar cookies are always a family favorite.  I make them for just about every occasion.  (No, not the pumpkin shape for every occasion!)  I have quite a collection of cookie cutters.

***Side Story***
 I think my favorite cookie cutters are the sea animals I bought from William Sonoma.  I bought them specifically for our Seaside trip. I have made sea animal sugar cookies every year, just before our trip.  Well, two years ago, not all of the cookies were eaten.  There we were, on the last day, and I was forcing Uncle Chris to finish off the cookies so I wouldn't have my feelings hurt.  So, last year, I decided not to bring my sugar cookies.  WOW!  You would have thought I had forgotten a major holiday!  I don't think they'll ever let me live that error down! 

Now, back to those cookies.  (Many of the following pictures were taken for St. Patrick's Day.  Don't worry.  It's the same basic cookie recipe.  The pictures just have the shamrock cookie cutter in them.)

 Here's the recipe:

2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBSP butter
1/3 Cup shortening
3/4 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookies for Christmas

Beat butter and shortening until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well. Add dry ingredients. Beat until well mixed. (I usually make a triple batch. They freeze well.)

The dough needs to be refrigerated for about 3 hours to make it easier to handle.



I like a thick sugar cookie. That way they are soft, rather than crispy. I roll them to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 375 for seven minutes.





I frost my cookies with a simple powdered sugar and milk frosting. I don't ever use a recipe. I just pour in a little powdered sugar and a little milk until I get a consistency I like. The Wilton food coloring paste is the only way to go. You can buy it at Michael's. It gives a much more vivid color than regular food coloring. Stir it up until the color is well blended.



I love to frost my cookies and then use a little sanding sugar from William Sonoma. Oh, they're just so pretty. It's a tradition my kids love and it makes the house smell great too.


If you're linking up to Home and Family Friday, keep scrolling down.  If you're just here for the cookies, then, Happy Baking!
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Glittered Pumpkins

Oh, Martha, you were so brilliant when you introduced us to glittered pumpkins. 


A few years ago, my friend, Sarah, and I saw this glittery craft project on Martha Stewart.  We both fell in love and NEEDED to make these.  We glittered the afternoon away, while our babies played happily on the floor.



Oh, those were the days.  Now our kids are in school and we have no time to even see each other.... unless I throw myself down the stairs and the doctor tells me to stay home from work!  Sarah stopped at the store on the way over to my house yesterday, and picked up 10 little pumpkins.  We still had leftover glitter from the previous pumpkin project (years ago).  Sarah even had some Martha Stewart glittering glue. (We decided it was glorified Elmer's glue.)  We put glue on the pumpkins, added glitter, and let them dry.  Oh, these glittery little beauties make my heart go pitter patter!  So much glitter!!!




We decided that I should throw myself down the stairs just before Christmas too.  Think of all of the fun projects I could get done before Christmas!

Happy glittering!  So much glitter!!!
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Late To The Party - Fall Mantel


Way back in September, Layla had her Fall Mantel Party.  I really wanted to participate, but this little thing called WORK kept getting in the way.  I've finally gotten around to decorating my fireplace mantel for fall.  Phew, just in time to take it down and start thinking about Christmas!



I made a ruffled burlap runner out of scraps I had from my pillow project.  It added a little softness to the hard brick (and I just love burlap).  I used lots of nuts, pumpkins, and cinnamon sticks that I already had around the house.

I threw the grapevine ball in there, just because it worked with the color scheme and had a natural feel.
 
I added a few things I had on the mantel before and some felt pumpkins from  a craft fair a few years ago.  Not too bad for just "shopping the house" for a few fall items.


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Favorite Recipes

I tried a few recipes from a Weight Watcher cookbook last week.  I have to say, I was surprised at how much my family loved them!

This is an apple-pear dessert.  I think it's supposed to be an apple pie substitute.  The base is kind of like a really big pancake.  It was really yummy.  I can't say it was as good as apple pie, but it sure hit the spot.  Of course, the kids had theirs with ice cream.
Here's the vegetable beef with barley soup.  Yum!

You will never believe these....

These were the best buttermilk biscuits I've ever tasted.  AND THEY'RE WEIGHT WATCHERS!  I told my hubby it was a Weight Watchers recipe and he didn't even believe me.  They were that good!

I had so much fun trying these new recipes.  Have you tried anything new lately?

Happy cooking!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Pillows

I had a little time on my hands today. (Stupid stairs!)  Since I couldn't go to work, couldn't drive, and needed to sit down all day, I figured the best thing to do would be to sew!  My sewing machine is operated with buttons, so I didn't even need to use my foot at all.


I made a few of these pillows, which I had seen on Pinterest. (Another great way to pass the time as I'm elevating my foot.)

I measured my pillow forms and cut the burlap squares to the exact same size as the pillows.  When I cover pillows, I don't account for  a seam allowance.  I like the pillows to be tight and not droopy or oversized.  I laid the burlap on paper towels on the kitchen counter. 

I happened to have some black fabric paint and a perfect round paint sponge.  Yeah!  Like I said, I can't drive, so a trip to the craft store is out of the question.


I had the perfect orange and black plaid, left over from a quilt I'm working on for my son's room.  I set up the embroidery machine and let it go to work.


I used some outdoor pillows, I already had, and just recovered them.  The pillows look perfect on my benches, out front.


eek!

boo!



I love it when a craft/sewing project falls together like this.  I've been wanting to make these, but could never seem to find the time.  To top it off, I just happened to have all of the supplies on hand.  (Although, I did have to crawl around in the garage to find my paint bin and I don't think the doctor would have approved of that.)  Other than that, I was able to sew the day away, while still keeping my foot elevated.  Not a bad way to spend an unplanned day at home.

Happy Monday!

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in.
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Homemade Applesauce

What do you make for a healthy after school snack for 10 girls? When apples are in season, that's an easy question.


The Honeycrip apples are TO DIE FOR right now. I chopped up as many apples as I could fit in my biggest pot. I had a few Granny Smith apples, so I added those in too. Once the pot was filled to the brim, I added water. I usually add enough water so that it fills about half of the pot. I really hate it when the apples scorch and stick to the bottom, so I always make sure I have plenty of water.



I added about a quarter cup of sugar and a tablespoon, or so, of cinnamon. I put the lid on and simmered the apples for about a half hour. By the time the girls came home from school, the apples were soft and ready to be made into applesauce. I always use a food mill to make my applesauce. My grandma and mom always did it that way, so I do too. We put the cooked apples into the food mill and the girls took turns smooshing the applesauce out.



They had a great time cooking their own snack and gobbled it up! We served the warm applesauce with graham crackers. Ooooh, warm applesauce on a cool fall day... warms the tummy.

Happy cooking!
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