Sunday, February 27, 2011

Luck O' the Irish

I love St. Patrick's Day. I'm part Irish and I really do like to observe the holiday. Usually I accomplish this by wearing green and cooking corned beef and cabbage (yum!) but this year I decided to keep on with the decorating for holidays theme and do at least a little something. After all, green is my favorite color :)

I started by printing my phrase in a couple different fonts and sizes.

I laid out a piece of freezer paper over my phrase...

...and traced it out on the paper side.

I ironed it to my fabric with the plastic side down. ( I used an old pillowcase. It looks like iron burned the fabric but it really didn't. I don't know why it left the imprint.)

Cutting out the letters was the toughest part of this project. I didn't think of using a sort of curly font and how annoying it would be when it was time to cut it out. See, if I had my Cricut hooked up right now I would have just used that but the office is still kind of in shambles.

Using a foam brush I spread some paint out over the letters.

When it was dried  I used a sharp blade to pull up the letters.

I did have to clean up a couple small areas but all in all I'm happy with how it turned out!

I hot glued it to a piece of cardboard cut to the right size.

And embellished it a little bit. I had my heart set on a rainbow where this little guy is but my daughter, Laura, insisted on the leprechaun.

I got these little foam stickers an the dollar section at Joann.

I set it up on my display/buffet in my dining room and added a few green touches...

Some gold coins in a pretty green pedestal bowl.

A big green vase and dollar store hurricanes with some dollar store green glass pebbles...

And I've got a nice little St. Patty's Day vignette!

I'm still working on a St. Patrick's Day wreath. I've got some supplies but I just haven't figured out yet what incarnation I want it to take on.  I also considered doing a garland but I'm kind of tired of garlands for now. I'm sure I'll end up doing one for Easter anyway :)

Do you observe St. Patty's Day? Do you decorate for it?  I would love to hear some traditions other than my own.

I've got another bedroom project I've been working on that I'll be posting within the next couple days. I'm really excited about this one and can't wait to show you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dresser Tray (Before & After)

Last month I had a very successful day thrifting. I took pictures of all my finds and had intended to post them here but my inner procrastinator took over and I just never got around to it. Anyway, here is one of those items and what I did with it :)

I'm in love with all the pretty dresser trays I've been seeing around the blogisphere and I needed something to lighten up the top of my dresser in my dark bedroom so I was on the hunt for something I could work with but I refused to spend a bunch of money.

I found this for a buck. Not much to look at but I liked the shape and for the price - I figured it was worth the investment :)

I primed and sprayed her Heirloom White. The scale is way off so I'm thinking she's going to need to be replaced but for now, it will do!

I was planning on putting some pretty navy zigzags on it but since this is only a temporary piece, I'm just going to leave this one.  The atomizers were my grandma's. She passed away over twenty years ago but when I opened up the silver one I could still smell her perfume. It was crazy - gave me warm fuzzies :)

The tea cup was another find from that day thrifting, it was a dollar too! It is the perfect catch-all for change and lip balm.

I put some votive holders up to play with the scale issues but they didn't help. I need to find another place for them though because I've always liked them.

The photo is one I took of my daughter. I had ordered the 11x14 print and didn't know for sure where in the room it was going. I decided that I'm going to order a 16x20 on canvas of that pic because it really needs something bigger above that dresser, I just need to convince myself to shell out the bucks for it!

So, help me out with more ideas for this space. Is there anything you would add? I'm kind of thinking a tall white ceramic piece for the right side but I need to find the right shape...

Monday, February 21, 2011


I've admitted before that I'm a procrastinator. I have been my whole life and I've learned to embrace it. Well, for a few months now I've had the idea to purge and organize the cabinet in my master bath and the other day when I saw one of my favorite bloggers, Thrifty Decor Chick herself, post her linen closet reorganization and mention she was going to throw a linky party to share our organized spaces, I knew I had to make that linky party my deadline.

All in all, the closet wasn't too bad. Okay, it was - I just have a hard time admitting I had a problem.  Here is the before:

I've got the baskets in there that were somewhat organized once but then life happened and we got lazy and just kind of let the junk take over. A lot of what was there was books and magazines (I hide in the tub and read when I need some quiet time - no water, just me and a book.) so it was starting to look like a book shelf too. 

This is just what came out of the top two shelves. Can you believe I've had most of those lotions and body sprays for at least ten years? That's right, TEN YEARS! I couldn't figure out why I was holding on to them. I stood back to take this picture and it kind of put it in perspective when I realized this looks somewhat like one of those counters on the show Hoarders. I needed to purge and it felt good.

These are the nail polishes I kept - I threw out twice that many because they were old and dried up or mostly empty or just colors I don't use anymore.

Here is the after. I know it is hard to really see (have you ever tried taking a head to toe picture of something from two feet away? No, not easy!) but the purge already felt so good. I consolidated baskets and got rid of half-empty boxes, bagged up all my old paperback books to drop off at work in the honor exchange library and went through all my magazines to tear out the pages I like to keep in my binders. I'll show you that organization trick someday soon ;)

I'm so happy I finally got this done and I'm so thankful for Sarah for hosting her organizing linky party. If she hadn't mentioned it, I probably would have gone three more months with the disaster in my closet!

A Simple Fix (Before & After)

I recently posted about my search for the perfect lamps for my master.  It was suggested that I find some lamps to spray paint and I thought it was such a good idea that I went with it. I had these lamps on my nightstands anyway and had been considering painting them, I just couldn't decide on a color.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of them in place before I took them out to paint but I was just so excited to get it done that it slipped my mind.  They really weren't bad to begin with (other than the ugly yellowish-cream colored shades they came with) but the dark color in my room just needed something to brighten it up.

I gave them a quick couple coats of some Krylon Metallic spray paint in Silver Foil  and replaced the icky smoke-stained looking shades for a pair of inexpensive drum shades from Target ($7.99 each!).

Now I've got a nice light, light!

On another note, I never actually had these lamps plugged in before, I really just set them there to get them out of the way from another room. I can't believe I never had them on before because they make such a huge difference in my dark room. I love them and are so thrilled with the result. So, for less than $20 (cost of shades + paint) I'm a happy little girl.

We had a busy weekend in our house. We got our guest room painted and ready for a total transformation into a combo guest room/office. I'm so excited to finally have a designated area for crafting/blogging but I think I've already mentioned that once or twice :)

Hope you all had a great weekend and I am looking forward to sharing some more projects this week.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We're Having a Party...

Well folks, it has been a crazy week in this house. Since the party last Saturday we took advantage of beautiful weather to work on some spray paint projects, I got pneumounia (again!) and we started our guest room/office re-do. This project is going to be big, people, and I am SO excited to have a designated place for crafting, sewing and blogging!

Anyway, I've been promising recipes and food shots from this party so here goes.

My first item was those yummy cheesy, bacony, oniony pastries in the bottom right.

I used crescent rolls, Swiss and cream cheese, green onions and a jar of bacon pieces. You could use bacon bits but I really like the bigger pieces.

I added the whole jar of bacon and some ground black pepper to my softened cream cheese.

I sliced a few bundles of the onions into the mix.

And added about a quarter cup or so of Swiss.

I mixed and mixed and mixed...

...and spread the mixture (somewhat flat) on to some plastic wrap.

Wrapped it up tightly and put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day I took my crescent rolls and made a sheet out of them. I just laid them out and overlapped the edges a little bit...

...and rolled it out. Pillsbury does make crescent roll sheets for this purpose but it is so much cheaper to just do it yourself.  I used four cans of the rolls - two for the bottom and two for the top.

I cut up the filling mixture from the day before and spread them evenly over the bottom crust.

...and draped the top crust over that.

I pressed the edges down and cut each individual piece out.

and formed them into balls with the top layer tucked under.

I brushed the tops with beaten egg whites so they would get nice and shiny, golden brown when they were done.

I baked these according to the package directions for plain crescents. They ended up staying in a bit longer, I just watched them and when they were brown and looked done, I took them out. These were such a big hit and were the only real request the birthday girl had. I love these!

Next, I decided to make a traditional tomato bruschetta topping.

I used about a half a large red onion, fresh basil, garlic, fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

In a glass (or other non-reactive material) 9x13 baking dish I diced my onion and about 3 or 4 cloves garlic

I was so thankful for the help I got from Princess Aurora and Prince Philip...

I seeded and chopped my tomatoes.

...added some coarsely chopped fresh basil.

I doused it in the balsamic and spread it out in the bottom of the pan. I refrigerated it overnight, stirring every few hours.

About an hour before serving I transferred it to a bowl using a slotted spoon to strain it a little bit. I garnished with a little more freshly chopped basil and viola - beautiful, yummy tomato bruschetta topping. This is one of my favorite all time appetizers - spoon it on some crostini (below) and it is low-fat and satisfying!  This also works so well for leftovers stirred into cooked angel hair with a sprinkling of fresh!

Next I decided to try a spin on a favorite appetizer, the ham-wrapped dill pickle.

I don't know why this picture won't let me rotate it. I tried everything I could think of and it kept going back to this orientation. Anyhow, these are the three ingredients - baby dills, deli sliced ham and cream cheese.

I chopped the pickles somewhat finely. This is why I used baby dills, they have fewer seeds and are a bit more firm.

I chopped the ham into similar sized pieces. I like to use the thicker sliced ham. Thinly sliced just doesn't add as much flavor to me. It is possible this is just in my head :)

I added ham and pickles to softened cream cheese, adding a little bit of pickle juice to thin it out a little more and make it easier to mix.

I refrigerated the mixture overnight and the next day transferred to a new bowl. I garnished with some freshly chopped pickles and ham and served with mini pretzels. I was thrilled with the end result and will be making this again for sure.

It wouldn't have been a party without some awesome spinach dip...

This is a favorite of so many people I know and so easy to make but still seems impressive (because so many people don't know how to make it!). The base recipe comes from the back of a packet of Knorr Vegetable Soup mix but I add coarsely ground black pepper and choped tomato. You need the soup mix, thawed frozen chopped spinach (you can use canned but it is nowhere near as good and too mushy), real mayo, sour cream, water chestnuts, green onions and fresh chopped tomato.

Mix the soup mix with half cups each of sour cream and mayo. Add chopped green onions (to taste - I like a lot) and fresh ground black pepper.

The recipe calls for a whole can of chopped water chestnuts but I have never used that much. I finely chop about a third of the can at most. (Sorry, another weird orientation)

I put my thawed spinach in a clean towel that I don't care about (because it stains) and squeeze it to get all the liquid out.

Add the spinach and some chopped tomatoes to the rest and mix well.

Refrigerate at least two hours. I prefer to make it a day ahead.


The next day I transferred it to a new bowl and garnished with freshly chopped tomatoes and green onions.  I served this with cubed French bread. I've seen this served in a bread bowl and sure, that is pretty but just not worth it to me.

The last thing I made was crostini. I sliced a french loaf on a bias and made two different types.

The one on top in the picture is spread with Caesar dressing and the bottom one is spread with garlic-infused olive oil.

I just popped them in the oven for five minutes or so after topping them just so they could get a little crunchy. The Caesar ones were a big hit. I got the idea from a local restaurant, this how they do it and I love it.

I served these with the tomato bruschetta topping and some roasted garlic cheese spread I talked about here.
It was a great night with good food, good friends, good drinks and good conversation. I can't wait to do it again!

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