Last summer my sister gave me some old chairs from Crate and Barrel. She and her husband originally wanted me to reupholster the chairs for her but I was too scared to take on such a big task (mainly because her fabric taste can be a bit more expensive and the idea of taking on something I'd never done before with pricey fabric made me nervous as hell!) When they ended up passing the chairs on to us I knew we'd have to cover them since they kind of clashed with the current cream couches we already had. I ended up buying some Premier Prints Suzani in Chocolate from Fabrics.com- I think I only paid about $55 for the 9 yards that I bought- much more affordable than some of the other designer prints I found that I liked! I didn't want to go overboard on the fabric in case any of what I did got messed up or I cut the pieces wrong, at least $55 was easier to swallow than $100+!!
It literally took me a year to get motivated to work on these chairs! (Yup, held on to that fabric for a year and of course once I decided to get started on it I was sick of looking at it and wished I had picked something else out!) Once I measured each of the sections out and finally got around to piecing everything together, the covers weren't as difficult as I thought they'd be. There are definite room for improvements but for my first attempt at making chair covers I don't think I did too bad! The very bottom of the chair skirt is straight, however the back has some small pleats just to dress it up a bit! Dare I say that the next time I decide to redo these chairs it'll be out of some velveteen from Anna Maria Horner, or something just as fabulous from Amy Butler! After placing the chairs in our living room, it was such a huge improvement! The living room that it is in is hardly ever used and is pretty much the same as when we first moved in five years ago! The walls are still white and there is hardly any art on the walls, so the design of the chairs really add color to the room! All in all I'm content and now that I've finished the chairs it's motivated me to get the formal area more done up!
This is totally not craft related, but last weekend I did something I never thought I'd do! Run a 5k!! I am definitely NOT a runner, nor have I ever played sports! I don't have a single athletic bone in my body! So when my brother-in-law said he was running a 5k two months ago and asked if anyone wanted to join him, my obviously answer was, hellllll no!! My husband said he'd join him on the race, and the next thing you know my other sister and her husband did too! My husband tried HARD to convince me to join them and that I had plenty of time to train for the race! Surprisingly I agreed and for about 8 weeks (give or take a week of B not feeling well, and rainy weather) I jogged 3-4 times a week, pushing B in the BOB stroller- I figured if I could train pushing some extra weight, I definitely could run a race on my own! Mind you, when I started I could barely run 2 minutes straight before feeling absolutely winded! I did a cross between the Couch-to-5k training program and also the RunKeeper program on my phone. By the end of the two months I was able to run nearly 7 min straight before needing to take a walking break! I was pretty happy with my progress and by race day I decided I wasn't going to wear a watch/strap my phone on and just run at my own pace and just finish the race without pushing myself to the point that I'd regret it the next day and completely be discouraged about running another race! My husband had promised me we'd do the race together, meaning, he'd stay by my side regardless of how much I held him back! He could've finished the race a good ten minutes or so before I did, but ran and walked next to me the entire time and even let me cross over the finish line before him! We finished the race in under 38 minutes! My original goal was to try and do it in 35 minutes, and being a bit over two minutes over my goal, I certainly won't complain! I think if I did have a timer on me I could've pushed myself harder, but I didn't want to be sore or completely exhausted at the end of it- my calf was already knotting up towards the middle of the race (a problem that would occasionally happen as I was training) and I didn't want to risk hurting myself more! Instead, I ended the race happy, and confident that I could do it again! My husband and I have been looking at more races and hope to do a Santa run in December! Hoping to reach my goal this next time around!
I don't know where I've been since I've been to enough Tastefully Simple and Pampered Chef parties, but my friend recently passed along this recipe that she had tried from a friend (I believe it is a Pampered Chef recipe). It's a great dish to bring for a potluck and a nice alternative to the usual chips and dip! I recently brought this to a family get together and served it with cinnamon sugar pita chips- it was definitely a nice, sweet treat!
Apple Berry Salsa
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 1 pint strawberries
- 2 kiwis
- 1 small orange
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp apple jelly or apricot jam
- Baked Cinnamon Chips
- Peel and core apples. Peel kiwis. Dice apples, kiwis, and strawberries. Place into small bowl.
- Zest 1 teaspoon of orange peel. Squeeze orange to measure 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Combine brown sugar, jelly/jam, orange zest and juice with the diced fruit. Gently mix. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
- Serve with cinnamon sugar pita chips
This weekend I accomplished more sewing than I realized! This is just one stack of projects that was finished- used up a lot more thread than I expected! I have been saving spools here and there for B to play with. Mainly he'll hold onto one and carry it around and I'm sure we have a dozen or so laying around the house! My original plan for these was for him to play with because he loves stacking them, and I figured they would also be great for other fine/gross motor skills. I've seen real spool toys for threading yarn and stuff and figured, this is a much cheaper alternative and just as easy and fun for a toddler! I've covered some older spools with washi tape to make them more colorful, but I also just recently followed this board on Pinterest. There were some really cute ideas, but these are some of my favorites!
With Halloween creeping up on us, how cute would these little scary monsters be scattered around the house!
I wish I had more wooden spools so that I could make some of these little cuties!
These are similar to what I was doing with washi tape, but they used fabric instead! (Which we all know, I have more than enough scraps!)
And lastly, how cute would these snowmen ornaments be hanging on the Christmas tree!
Imagine my surprise the other day when I came home to a delivery outside the garage! It said Food Network on the box, and I knew for sure I hadn't bought anything! Turns out one of my friends got me a mini Belgian waffle maker as a thank you gift! We are not generally big breakfast eating people- though I do love my bacon and eggs! My son obviously has breakfast every morning, but my husband and myself typically have a cup of coffee and maybe a yogurt or bagel, but that's about it! I try and leave "real" breakfasts to the weekends when we have a bit more time to lounge around the house in the morning! I loved the waffle maker though because I always find myself wanting more than just plain, frozen waffles! Especially for giving B the variety in the morning! Toddler appetites can be so finicky sometimes! One day he LOVES one thing, the next he wants nothing to do with it!
Since all the Fall decor is out in the shops, and I'm definitely ready for the season, I decided pumpkin waffles were in order! I found this recipe that I ended up halving and also added in some wheat flour in place of the white flour. Towards the last half of the batter I also added in some Caramel Cinnamon Sprinkles that I had gotten from Tastefully Simple. I think this was a seasonal item last fall, so I wasn't able to find it in their online catalogue! Guess I'll need to make sure I ration the last bit of the jar out! (But in case you haven't seen these latest items from Cinnabon I'm betting these sprinkles would be pretty darn good in a pancake or waffle batter! Now I just wish they'd carry them in grocery stores in Virginia!) And in the last quarter of the batter I ended up dropping a few tablespoons of mini chocolate chips into the batter! So, even with halving the original recipe, I did end up with quite a bit of mini waffles! They froze perfectly and B's been enjoying them the last few mornings! (I think the chocolate chip ones may be his favorite!)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup wheat flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- optional add-ins- chocolate chips, caramel sprinkles
- Preheat waffle iron
- Combine all ingredients (The original recipe has steps if you'd like to refer back to the link, however, I just combined mine all at once instead of separating the wet and dry ingredients and then folding them in together. I'm sure you can also substitute more of the wheat flour than the white flour if you'd like; I wasn't sure how it would change the consistency of the waffle, but the way I did everything, my waffles were still pretty fluffy!)
- Cook waffles according to how you normally would. (I had my waffle maker on a medium heat and they were probably done within three minutes).
Since the new school year is quickly approaching, I decided to add something new to my inventory! Reusable snack and sandwich bags! I will be selling these as sets (unless requested otherwise, but I think sets of one of each make the perfect combo, especially with all the cute fabric choices out there). I've made a handful of snack ones for my little guy, and love how much easier they are to store in my purse than a snack cup container (which the boy has been known to chuck at me after he's finished with his snack, thus resulting in a cracked cup! I thought those plastic cups would last longer, but apparently my boy has a good arm, and we've already had to throw a few out!) These are definitely easier to tote around and just ball up into my purse once finished too! And because it has a velcro closure, it makes opening slightly harder for the little ones, so snacks tend to last a little bit longer too, which is great during errands!
The snack bags measure approximately 6.5 inches x 5.5 inches, and the sandwich bags measure approximately 8 inches x 7.5 inches. The interior lining is made with ripstop nylon, which is considered to be food safe (I know there is a lot of controversy over what plastic people consider to be food safe...) The bags are machine washable (and are also dryer safe as well. I've run mine through several times and they haven't had much shrinking problems or anything else!)
Recently I've seen a bunch of personalized notebooks listed on some deal sites. The notebooks are pretty, but at the same time, even on sale I couldn't fathom spending $10+ on a spiral for a kid!! With school starting in less than a month for my nephews I decided to make them one each, just so they could have a "fun" workbook. They haven't received their school supply list yet, so I only made one in case their teachers didn't allow them....I remember a year or so ago when I took my oldest nephew school supply shopping and there were 3 or so composition notebooks on his list. I remember asking him which colors he wanted, and he told me it didn't matter because when he brought them in they didn't keep them, but that the notebooks went into a classroom bin that the teacher would pull out when they needed them, anything leftover would be for the teacher to keep for the following year. I guess things have definitely changed since I've been in grade school, but I don't remember anything other than tissue boxes and possibly crayons/markers/pencils going into the classroom bin!
Target was having a sale on spiral notebooks this week- the small ones were only 49 cents! I grabbed two of those, and also a larger notebook (that was on sale for a dollar!) and figured I could do something simple and fun. I ended up making my nephews with their names on it, along with some vinyl cutouts of their interests! For my oldest nephew I cut out a baseball player in vinyl, and for my younger nephew I cut out a skateboarder! With the extra notebook, I simply cut out a bird frame and along the inside flap added three tiny ladybugs "walking" along the bottom!
They turned out pretty cute, and if their teachers allow it, I may make them a few extra ones once we figure out how many they'll need this year!
I'm sure many of you can agree that Pinterest is the ultimate diet sabateur! The other day I came across this pin and knew I had to make it soon! The recipe originates from this blog post, and quite honestly I'm really bummed we didn't have any vanilla ice cream to go along with it that night!! Sadly, I had to wait an entire week before I could actually make it! My nephews were at the beach, and I knew if I made these while they were gone they would've never forgiven me! Plus the fact that I could actually send some home with them and you know, not eat the entire pan myself! As soon as they came out of the oven, we were all indulging in the gooey-ness of it! I had a jar of Trader Joe's salted caramel sauce, and REALLY contemplated throwing that on top of the brownies before baking but figured it was already decadent enough, why add anymore calories! (Next time I'm going to forget about the extra calories and just do it!)
The recipe is actually really easy, and I imagine that if you already have a chocolate chip cookie or brownie recipe that you like, you can use that!
Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Bars
- 2 sticks of softened butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 package Oreos (the original recipe calls for Double Stuffed, but I used regular)
- 1 box brownie mix (I used a chocolate chunk one, so it was extra gooey!)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine butter and sugars, then add in eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and flour. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Spread cookie dough into a 9 x 13in pan. You can line the pan with parchment/wax paper if you want, but I ended up just spraying the pan with non-stick baking spray.
- Layer Oreo cookies on top of chocolate chip cookie base. (I didn't need an entire package of oreos, but I'm sure if I wanted to, it would've all fit!)
- Prepare brownie batter according to the box. Pour brownie mix over cookie base.
- Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting. (This of course is optional since once it comes out you'll be dying to dig in! I served it slightly warm, and since the brownie mix had chocolate chunks it it, there was chocolate oozing everywhere!)
And if you are looking for another mid-afternoon pick me up, I paired mine with an iced coffee! I found this off of Foodgawker the other morning and figured it'd be a great way to finish up some leftover coffee today. Hubby forgot to grab his cup for work this morning so I was left with an ENTIRE pot!! (I normally only drink one cup in the morning!) I didn't want to freeze them all into ice cubes (another great way to serve iced coffee or make frozen coffee drinks!) so I decided to just reheat a cup and try this other method! I don't know why I'd never thought of an ice bath before, but it definitely helps with not having watered down coffee too fast! Super easy, just pour a cup of coffee and sweeten to how you normally would (I totally do mine the Vietnamese way and have my strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk!) Pour into a ziploc bag and put into the ice bath (you'll need to replace the ice and water several times as it'll melt fairly quick). Let it sit in the ice bath for about ten minutes, then pour into a glass with ice (or coffee ice cubes!) and enjoy!
Our new grill arrived last week! Our old grill died on Mother's Day and we've been on the hunt for the next one since May! My husband has ALWAYS wanted a Weber and although a grill wasn't something we planned on buying this year (I mean, after completely replacing one of our air conditioning units, as well as now our water heater, a "luxury" item like a grill was the LAST thing we were expecting to buy this year!!) During the Spring and Summer we grill nearly every other day, so to be without it when the weather has been so nice out has been rough!
One of the first things we made with the new grill was beer can chicken! We started doing this last summer and loved it! (Definitely invest in one of the holders if you can, it'll make the process of getting the chicken on and off the grill much easier!!) If you have a favorite rub for the chicken, you can use that to flavor the meat. Otherwise a simple rub such as 1tbsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1tbsp thyme will work just fine for a 5 pound chicken!
- Clean chicken (remove giblets and whatever else is inside if it hasn't been removed already)
- Pat chicken dry and rub with seasoning
- Make sure the beer can is only half-way full and put the bird cavity over the can
- Place the bird in the middle of the grill on medium-high heat. Cover the grill and let the chicken cook for about an hour to an hour and a half (the chicken temperature should register about 180 when it's done)
- Once the chicken is done use a metal spatula to hold the beer can and tongs to hold the top of the chicken. Transferring the finished meat to a tray can be tricky and the beer inside the can is REALLY hot! (I know this sounds like common sense but just thought I'd put it out there!)
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting