Friday, July 5, 2013

Heidi and Finn Pattern Review

I was browsing Facebook when I happened upon a call for pattern testers. I hadn't even opened up the sewing beast since we closed on our house two months ago, but for some reason I signed on to test the pattern. I'm so glad I did!
I am not a professional seamstress by any means, but I was able to whip this number out relatively quickly with no headaches! I credit that to the clear instructions in the pattern.
So comfortable, lightweight jersey knit!

Every time she saw the dress, she said, "tuute! Tuute!"

And the chevrons are perfect for holding snack.

For more by Heidi and Finn, hit up

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to Make a Split Entry More Functional

Hello again.

One of the things I wasn't excited about in our new house was the entry. I know some people absolutely hate split entries, for many reasons, the only one I was bugged by was the lack of space in the entryway. I mean, really. 3 doors open into it. Not from it, into it. Luckily the previous owners had kicked a hole in the entry closet door, so it came off and the entry seemed a bit bigger. However, then our mess of a front closet was clearly visible for all, and I didn't want that to be the first impression when people walked into our home.
 Welcome! Here is a mess!
 I know some people would have just bought shoe shelves, or maybe a nice shoe bin. But I saw the entry nook from

And I went out shopping. I could make mine more functional, too! Plans and pictures to follow! I'm excited to see how it turns out!

Good night for now!

The American Dream

Hello, my follower. Whoever you are, feel free to comment and chat for awhile.

I have been meaning to do some posts for awhile now, but there always seems to be something else I could be doing. My husband cringes when he realizes I do my blogging from my phone. But its unobtrusive, though clunky. Blog from anywhere, anytime. BAM!

Anyways, we have been quite busy, as we just bought a house! Nothing too grand, but hopefully through some smart planning, a beautiful and functional home. And...maybe just a little pinterest hopping. My husband says men dread that website. He says it creates too much work and envy. But, its also incredibly useful for seeing images of houses, so surf I do.

Here's the beauty, as it was when we first looked at it. Quite honestly, I wasn't sold on it. But it was good value and had potential, and resale value would be good (it was a foreclosure), so offer we did. Etc. Apparently the previous owners cared for the yard quite well, as we had some lovely bushes and flowers bloom this spring.

I used to think peonies were ugly, but now I love them. I wonder why...

Here are some pictures of what the house looked like, and how we started changing it up.

 Our living room furniture for awhile! :) that red has got to go....

Much better as Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl. Plus a preview of our flooring (yay, nasty carpet gone!) And the bar counter where the wall used to be. Its amazing what a different house this is!

Come visit?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Midnight Melodies Cupcakes

I wanted to make a version of self filled cupcakes for a baptism tomorrow, but I didn't have any cocoa powder. I did have lots of chocolate chips, so I'm trying to make a new recipe as I go.

Yum! First bite passes my tests! 

1/4 cup each of coconut flour, brown rice flour, barley flour
1/2 cup (heaped) of almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
5 oz (1/2 bag) of enjoy life semi sweet mini chips
1 cup coconut milk, split
2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate chips (optional)

8oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients together. Add 1/2 cup oil, 2 eggs. Melt chocolate chips with 1/2 cup milk, add to mix. Add vanilla, mix well. Keep adding the remaining milk until it reaches desired batter consistency.

Prepare filling by mixing soft cream cheese with sugar until combined, add egg and mix until smooth and glossy.

Spoon chocolate mixture into bottom of liners, spoon filling on top of that. Add chocolate chips onto the cupcake at the point if desired, then spoon more mix onto the tops. Bake at (I just realized my oven is at 340, not 350 or 325) 340°F for 18-20 minutes, or until center is no longer wobbly. If wobbly a bit, you will end up with a "molten center," which might be what you want anyway.


Maybe with a bit of tea or coffee! Mine just came out of the oven and they are gooey choclatey goodness, with the cream cheese mixed in. Yum! My daughter is off of dairy, so I simply made 2 without the filling. 
So good!
Waiting for them to be done....

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

6 eggs
1.5 cups yogurt (I used plain almond milk yogurt, amande brand)
1 tbsp vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup each of coconut, barley, amaranth, brown rice, and flax flours/meal
.5 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp cardamom

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl, dry in another. Add dry to wet, mix well. Scoop into greased muffin pan or liners and bake at 325 for 18 to 25 minutes, depending on your ingredients and amounts and oven.

These turn out flavorful and moist, but not overly sweet, perfect for an evening snack or breakfast treat.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

DIY Ruffled Lace Scarf

I used to be the biggest tomboy on the block. We didn't live on a block, but I was still free and easy in my tomboy status. Might've even bragged it up a time or two..."Yeah...I'm so tough I won the class arm wrestling championship!" (I did. Second grade. Don't knock it.) I am finding an appreciation for the more delicate things in life, though I will never be a girly girl in that sense. Here is my take on a ruffled lace scarf, and you can't get more feminine than that.

If you would like to make one, you could use embroidery thread or you could do what I did and tie 3 threads together in the length you desire. You also need scissors and a needle, ballpoint so it doesn't snag any lace (lace already has holes, you don't need to create new ones!), and your lace. Mine is about 8 inches wide and maybe two yards long. If anyone is going to make this and wants to know for sure, just ask and I'll measure. Or choose your own length. Just know that it will shrink to about half the original length -- or less -- once you are done.
My lace was very geometric so it was easy to stitch and cut straight lines.
I tied a knot in my three strings, but you could use embroidery floss. And tie a knot.
Thread the needle, then begin stitching on the lace about 2 inches from one side.
Tip:put a few stitches on the needle like these surrounding pics, then pull all the thread through. You may want to pull the thread and ruffle your fabric slightly here and lock your ruffle into place with a backstitch. I didn't and it works fine, the ruffles are just readjustable.
Keep going, ruffling as you go or waiting until the end.
Repeat on the second side and you are done!
Wear draped and hanging loose!
Or wear it tucked a bit.
Or with an oh-so-casually placed hand just for fun.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to Use a Napkin

Start by having your napkin on the side. That way it is visible when you need it, rather than catching mistakes in your lap. Having one there in addition to the first is a bonus.

Bring the napkin towards your face.

Examine critically, and unfold to check for chiggers.

Crumple wildly. It'll teach that napkin!

Delicately dab the lips with the crumpled mess.

When that doesn't work, give 'er with the whole thing. Scrubba scrub scrub...

With a calm, cool, collected manner, place the napkin back in its original spot.

Continue drinking your water with a spoon.

The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do, well.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Beyond the Façade

Sometimes things look grand on the surface, and you look beyond and find that it was only on the surface, and there is chaos behind. It is like there is a stage of life that we present to people, but we live the backstage.

Take today at our house for an example. We made play dough, made art on the white boards, played in the backyard, ate a healthy supper, cleaned up, did p90x, juiced fresh fruits and veggies, gave the kids "tubbies" with bubbles, and put them to bed, all between 3 and 830. Sounds amazing?

Well, play dough was a success, I must admit. Here is jabba being slain by a light saber.
 Snowman! Promptly decapitated and...what do you call it when the midsection disappears too? Losing weight?

Art was scribbles with a marker and much marker on shirt, and playing in the backyard was daddy pulling a sled. Still, fun for all.

After supper is where the fun begins. P90x. Oh, p90x. Bring it! We started doing plyometrics, and got through the first squats before looking at each other and saying, "Man, I could really go for some fries right now. With cheese. And chili...and sour cream. Yum. And throw in a nice juicy burger. Man I hate this. The mother of all workouts! Why are we doing this again?"

So...after forwarding through half of the workout and seeing that, yes, it is just as bad a half hour in, we decided to switch to kenpo x. Same story, second verse, a little bit louder, a little bit worse.

So we did ab ripper.

The juice would've been good without the green pepper remnants that we cleared out of the fridge.

And bedtime involved much tears and wailing with the occasional bunny hop of despair across the floor by the munchkins.

Its the end that matters, though! Just like this pot: it looks pretty ugly but it smells amazing. Orange peels, cinnamon, and lemongrass simmering in water. 
And there is peace in our house.

Each morning sees some task begin, each evening sees its close; something attempted, something done, has earned a night's repose. 
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, February 25, 2013

Repurposing "Buyer's Remorse"

Brush my teeth?
 I love how this dress turned out. It used to be a size medium dress from Target that never quite fit me as flatteringly in the home mirrors as the store ones. So the tags never came off. I decided the skirt of it would be perfect for a maxi dress bottom, spring, summer, and fall.
 Since the waist was already elasticized, I simply opened the casing and pulled it tighter, which created more draping and folding as the skirt falls, and cinched it in for a smaller waist. Or chest, as it is an empire waistline. I attached a front and back bodice piece on the fabric extras from the dress top that I had chopped off, and added a ribbon neckline, with casing.
 This is the original dress.
Bit of a change, eh?
OK, you can chew on your toothbrush for a bit. No toothpaste, don't want any on your dress! Now, to keep it or to sell it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crock Pot Roast

Supper is an adventure most nights. Exploring new recipe variations, new levels of patience...early in the day I had put a roast going in the crock pot. Get a 2-3 pound roast (mine was frozen), put it in the crock pot on high with a 1.5c water, about 2tsp salt sprinkled all over, 1-2tsp garlic powder, 1tsp pepper, 1tsp Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute (or other all-purpose seasoning blend). It takes about 6 hours for it to be tender and fall-apart juicy, so plan ahead. I also like my roasts flavorful, so if you have longer, do 8 to 10 hours on low. Or add more seasonings. Your choice.

You know that lovely picture circulating on pinterest? Of the potatoes in chicken broth, lovely crisp on the outside yet so soft on the inside? Here's a peek at my attempt.
 Yeah...I did a great job on the "soft on the inside part" but not so much on any lovely crispiness. See how they fall apart? I decided that the flavor was probably still great, so I added 2tbsp of butter and fried up the outsides a bit.
  Then I discovered my friend broccoli was a little low, how was I supposed to feed 3 people on this?
 But I remembered the chicken broth I was cooking the potatoes in...and cooked green beans in that as I steamed the broccoli on top.
 peek at the meat, shredded juicy tender savory goodness....
 Potatoes gaining a bit of a crispy shell but still a colossal failure as far as presentation goes.
 And the whole supper, plated. Yum!
 veggies taste so good with salt and pepper and a dab of butter..
 As soon as I was ready to eat, cue the wails from munchtwo. Ah...cutie. She spent the whole meal trying to grab the plate.
I think the key to the meal was actually the meat, and the juices from roasting it. I drizzled some over the potatoes and my taste buds still rejoice over the memory, hours later. Don't think you'll like it? Try them! Try them and you may, I say!