Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Curtains for the Princess bedroom

I made curtains for my daughter Victoria.  Well, they're semi-homemade (think Sandra Lee).  A BIG thanks to my friend Heather, who was donating the panels, rod and hardware after redesigning her daughter's room.  The rod was a great fit for the wide window.  The panels were too short.  The color was great, so I wanted to use them, but needed to get creative.  Here are a couple of "before" pics of the window (it's big).

Here's what I did.  Go below the pics for more detailed steps/instructions as well as the AFTER pics!

1.  I bought 3 yards of pure white eyelet fabric, and 3 yards of ribbon ($13).  (The green panels were each about 1.5 yards wide.) 
2.  Cut the eyelet fabric across the fold line, so that you have two 3-yard panels that are about 18" from the cut line to the selvage.
3.  Using a seam ripper, undo the bottom hem on the top panels (green).  4.  Cut 1/2" below the folded edge.
4.  On the selvage edge of each panel baste a long stitch 1/2" from the edge, and then again 1/4" closer to the edge, as shown.  Sewing two, rather than one, will give you a safety net as you gather the fabric, so that if one of the threads breaks, you can still gather your material with the other.
5.  Gather the fabric by pulling the top threads with one hand and the fabric in the other.  Pull in opposite directions.  Continue until you have gathered the fabric to almost a 1.5 yard width across.
6.  Along each of the sides, fold in the edge 1/4", then again and pin. 
7.  Sew the hem on each side.
8.  Pin the sides of the gathered edge, right sides together, to the panel.
9.  Sew right sides together, below panel fold/gathered stitch line.
10. Serge or trim with pinking shears to clean up the edges of what you just sewed.  If you have no serger or pinking shears, stitch again 1/8" in (closer to the edge) and cut with scissors.
11. Fold in and pin your bottom hem.
12. Stitch your bottom hem.
13. Pin ribbon over the "old" hem stitch marking on the original panel, to hide what it once "was."
14.  Stitch the ribbon on the top and bottom.
15.  HANG your new curtains on the rod!!! And SMILE that you did the project! :)

And here is the finished product:

Thank you Heather for the hardware and green panels!  I love projects like this, they're easy and very rewarding to see the end product!  And it's also a great way to reuse something that someone else no longer wants!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal

This morning I decided I would make oatmeal for the family.  I love Saturday morning breakfast with the family.  We're not rushing to get out to school and work.  I love to experiment with oatmeal, find ways to add something other than pure sugar or brown sugar (which taste good, but there are other ways to sweeten oatmeal, and I will NOT use artificial sweeteners).

Not sure why this one came to me this morning, it's really quite simple.  It was very tasty, if you like cranberry orange then you should try this.  My version feeds 4-5 (depending on how big your tummies are). 

It's time to get the microplane out, to zest the orange.  Microplanes are great because generally you don't end up zesting the "white" part just under the surface, which can become bitter.  Also the zest is very fine, so you don't have to chop it up or get a big bite of it when you're eating, instead it will be subtle.

One more thing: if you notice, I put the cranberries in the water upfront- this makes them plump up nicely.

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal

3 1/4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1/2 orange
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 cups quick oats

1/4 cup orange juice (juice of 1/2 orange)
2 Tbsp honey

Boil water with salt, zest and cranberries.  Once boiling, add oats, reduce heat to medium, and stir for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, and cover for 3 minutes.  Stir in juice and honey.  Serve!

My husband is not a big fan of oatmeal, but he liked this.  Do you like oatmeal?  Do you ever experiment with different ingredients to go with it?

Girl's Hair Clip

I made this simple (but very pretty) hair clip for my older daughter.  Click on the thumbnail of her hair for a close-up of the final product.

For this project, I used:
Sewing Machine (with thread)
3 knit flowers (mine were from Stampin' Up!)
3 buttons
hair clip
hot glue

Simply sew the buttons onto the flowers, and trim excess thread..  Glue the side flowers first, then the 2 remaining flowers.  If you don't have a sewing machine, you could pick up some cute brads to put in the center of the flowers and then glue on.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Smoothie Day!

I made smoothies for the family this morning for our on-the-go breakfast.  Here's what I put in:

3 cups Frozen pitted cherries
1.5 cups Frozen blueberries
1 small banana
Skim milk (pour in to top of fruit)

Blend ingredients, stopping to stir along the way and break apart stuck-together chunks.  Add a little more milk, as needed.

If you act fast you can quickly have a clean blender.  Rinse out the smoothie after pouring into glasses.  Put a small amount of dish soap in it, and fill water to about 1/3 full.  (Make sure the water level is 1/3 full, not the soap foam.)  Blend on high for a minute.  Rinse.  Now your blender is clean!

Have a happy Friday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Autumn Design 2009, Part 3: Outside

Okay, so I really didn't do much outside, but in the fall I feel lost if I don't put out a nice wreath on the door and some mums on the steps.  These mums are monstrous, and I found Purple & Gold for my alma mater!  So I get a "2 for 1" deal supporting the Pirates (Arrrrrgh!) and celebrating the season.

Mums need care & feed if you want longevity.  It's best to water almost daily, especially in warm or dry climates.  Once a week, dig through and pop off any browning or dead blooms.  This will help your mums last!  It's best not to give them full sun, they need part shade- again, especially in a warm climate.

Do you have any autumn decor outside?  Please leave a comment and share!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn Design 2009, Part 2: The Bar

As promised, more autumn design!  It's my favorite time of the year, I love the colors of fall.  Today I'm sharing my bar, which I have decorated for the season.  I chose a set of hurricanes that I love- I bring them out a couple of times a year.  They are something I can fill, depending on my need. 

I found some random fall things of nature at Michaels, it was a bag with gourds, pine cones, leaves, sticks... perfect for me.  I filled 2 hurricanes with most of that.  The other hurricane I filled with some realistic looking leaves and some curly things that had come from an autumn arrangement I received several years ago (I saved the parts of it that I loved).  Also, there are 3 teeny cattails sticking out of the top of the large one, adding some height to my arrangement. 

I layed some leaf garland across the bar and layed some of the pinecones on the bar.  This really adds a nice autumn touch that carries into my kitchen. 

(I apologize for the blurry photo, the lighting was bad but the picture looked washed out with flash.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

High Efficiency Washers- A smelly situation

We bought our first High Efficiency washing machine 3 years ago.  Over time, we noticed that our laundry (and laundry room) were becoming very smelly.  It was the machine.  We tried many things, including keeping the door open after finishing the load, used less detergent, being faster about rotating to the dryer...  We also spent time reading up on some fancy stuff you can buy online (but didn't buy), yada yada.  But it was something relatively simple that has caused the stink to cease. 

I began adding about 2 Tbsp baking soda to most loads.  I don't generally add it to my delicate laundry.  Otherwise, I do add it.  And since then I've not experienced the icky smell! 

I have a flip top bucket that used to house my bulk Cascade dishwasher tablets (think Sam's Club), and I have reused it to keep the baking soda in.  I put an old little snack bowl in there to use as a scoop.  When I am ready I simply flip open the bucket, scoop, and put in the washer, right in with the liquid detergent.

I thought maybe this would help someone.  If you have a laundry tip, please leave a comment!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Pulled Pork Wraps

I put a pork tenderloin in the crock pot this morning with some tomato sauce. Tomatoes are a natural meat tenderizer! Once the meat is cooked through and tender, you can pull the meat using 2 forks.

I shredded some cheddar cheese, diced some vine-ripened tomatoes, warmed some refried beans, washed some beautiful green home grown lettuce (thanks Chuck!) and served with tortillas, sour cream and some organic salsa!

This is a simple and healthy meal that anyone can do!
What did you have for dinner?

Autumn Design 2009, Part 1: The Mantel

It is such a great season, so many people love the colors of fall. I'm going to share with you my love for fall design. I made some simple changes today to welcome the autumn season, first attacking my mantel. It's a quick, easy change that can make a bold statement.

My tips for creating a seasonal change to a surface:
  • Choose a few seasonal items that looks realistic such as a garland, some fruits/vegetables
  • Find things from around your house that you love that will blend in nicely with the colors
  • Make sure you have a balance of height- don't choose anything that will overpower the others in size, unless it is a picture or mirror that will serve as a backdrop
  • Move things around until it feels aesthetically pleasing
  • Step back, go across the room, look at it from different angles to determine if it is right
Some of the things I chose from around the house include the copper cooler and tray (both with brass handles). I thought the copper and brass were perfect accents to the colors of fall. I also used my small hurricane to hold a cute arrangement that was on clearance at Michaels. The pottery was already a part of our mantel, so it wasn't a complete transformation for us. I moved the wheat, also normally there, to the copper cooler and thought it rested nicely at an angle.
I did make some other changes for fall, and plan to share them soon! Please share what you've done for fall, inside or out!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mourning the Loss and Celebrating a Favorite

Today it was announced that Gourmet magazine will be no more. Due to an "advertising slump" despite the large circulation numbers and rich history.

The good news is that Epicurious, the website that contains recipes from Gourmet and Bon Appetit, will live on.

Farewell, Gourmet magazine.

Okay, onto the celebrations. If you are busy, or if you are a mom (which would mean you are busy), or if you are on a tight budget, or if you like to eat but don't like to spend lots of time cooking, I would like to make a recommendation. Cooking Light's 5 Ingredient 15 Minute cookbook. I've had this book for several years and it has been a staple to my small collection of cookbooks.

Tonight we cooked the Sausage and Black Bean Soup with some cheese quesadillas. The recipes in the book stick to the small number of ingredients and are mostly true to the time you spend cooking. And even more importantly, the recipes are healthy and delicious!!!

Hope you're having a great week, and happy eating!