Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Girly Girly

Having a little boy, I often relish the opportunity to make items for girls.  I think this is the girliest set that I have made yet!  I love the combination of pink and grey. This set features fabrics from Michael Miller. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipe Reviews

Like many people, you may have already moved on to thinking about Christmas.  I know we have, but I couldn't let Thanksgiving go completely until I made myself some notes on the recipes that I made this year.  And of course, I am sharing them with you.  First, here's a round up of what we made.  I labeled many of the dishes because, well, most of them are indistinguishable due to the covering of cheddar cheese.  

1. Broccoli Casserole
My mom makes a great one of these, but at the last minute I could not find my copy of her recipe, so I decided to make this one instead because it seemed to be similar.  It was ok, but not great.  I will be sure to get my mom's next time.  Oh, and yes, I will be endeavoring to include more green in my menu next year, as, well, we were a little lacking.

2. Rolls
I have made this roll recipe many, many times and we really like it.  They are super easy because the dough is made in the bread machine, then you just have to divide it into rolls, let rise, and bake.  I highly recommend this recipe, but I have to bake them a little longer than the recipe calls for or they will be too doughy.  Your oven might be different though.

3. Mashed Potatoes
The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook is my go-to source for basics like this.  They were phenomenal, especially with the gravy.  

4. Shrimp & Crab Au Gratin
This recipe was fantastic!  I had never made this before and so I followed the recipe to the letter.  We had the au gratin with crackers as an appetizer, so that's why in the picture this dish has already been dug into.  The only thing I would change is that I would have gone a little heavier on the spices.

5. Corn Casserole
Paula Deen has some of the best recipes.  I love this recipe because it's one where you basically just mix everything together, then bake.  And it is delicious despite how little effort it takes.  If you have never had corn casserole, try it!

6. Turkey Breast
Oh the disappointment.  Let me first say that the recipe for this is phenomenal.  I am the one who messed up.  I brined my turkey breast as called for, but instead of grilling I wanted to cook mine in the crock pot.  Unfortunately, our crock pot has gone bad and now cooks everything waaay too fast.  I knew this going into Thanksgiving, and I tried to keep an eye on the turkey breast, but it ended up being rather tough.  Maybe next year :)

7. Deviled Eggs
Like the mashed potatoes, deviled eggs is one of those basic recipes from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  The only change I made here is that I omit the vinegar.  My husband finds it odd that my family and I eat these at Thanksgiving & Christmas, so I guess maybe it's a southern thing?

8. Gravy
 No recipe to share here.  I bought my gravy in a jar.  I have always had a hard time making gravy and with making only a turkey breast I did not think I would have nearly enough drippings to make enough gravy for us.

9. Sausage & Herb Stuffing
I made this last year and we loved it so much that we made it again.  We do modify it to suit our tastes, so we actually omit the apples and cranberries.  Sorry, Ina, we like a more savory stuffing.

To finish off our little Thanksgiving, we had a pumpkin pie (again, a Better Homes & Gardens Recipe), but somehow I never got a picture of it.  I hope your Thanksgiving was as filling and relaxing as ours!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fab New Fabrics

 I just got a whole bunch of new fabrics in the mail yesterday!  I am giddy as a school girl!  It doesn't look like a lot in the pile above, so I spread them out.

 So exciting!

 I love the bottle cap one and the alphabet font one!

I have been longing for the Michael Miller Citron Bird Sing print for a long time, so I finally bought it.

And then I used it to make this set of burp cloths, which I am selling in my Etsy shop.  Shamless plug, I know.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plum out of Pin Puns

 I am very rarely on the cutting edge.  I like to wade slowly into things.  Recently I decided to jump onto the Pinterest Bandwagon.  Mainly, I don't want to keep clogging up my bookmarks on the computer with all the stuff I love and want to make or just look at and think one day I will make.  If you take a look at the top right hand corner of my site, there is now a link to my Pinterest Boards.  I have not spent a ton of time pinning, but I will be adding more as time goes by.  Also, if you have a Pinterest Profile, let me know!  I love to see what others pin. 

Young House Love Book Review

Nearly a year ago I was researching how to paint our kitchen cabinets when I came across the blog Young House Love.  I loved the information on how they painted their cabinets and even though I went a different route due to the fact that my cabinets are a different material, I book marked their site so that I could go back and learn how to do other DIY/ decor related things.  And since then I have gone back more times than I could even count. I am constantly sending links of their projects to show my husband things that we should adapt for our own home.  When I read that they were coming out with a book, I told him I wanted it for Christmas.  Instead, he surprised me with it a little over a week ago.  I love out of the blue surprises!

Now that I am finally done reading through it (for the first of many times, I am sure), here is my brief review:
The book has the same voice as the blog.  Or voices, I should say, as John and Sherry both write, but what I really mean to say is that the book is written in the same, inviting, witty way that the blog is.  One of the reasons I love their blog is for the content and the other is for their personalities.  I enjoy seeing some of their life in the projects.  Originally from Richmond, the city where they live, I also enjoy the little glimpses of the area itself.  

The projects ideas are great starting points for inspiration, which I really feel was their goal.  In the very beginning they let you know that they are in no way claiming that they are the only ones to say, upholster a headboard, for example, but they show you what their experience has been with such a project and how they approached it, all with the hopes of helping you, the reader along.  I am excited to have this book and I am looking forward to making some projects from it.  My favorite project right now is #118, "Sew a Pattern into Cardstock".  I have been trying to think of fun new ways of incorporating graphic art into our home, and I already have all the supplies for this project, so it's on the to do list.

The most inspiring part of the book is this:  Sometimes, I get bummed or burnt out and feel that our house is not progressing fast enough.  But as John and Sherry point out, it takes time for a house to grow into a home.  And it's ok to have unfinished rooms.  I love that they keep it real in that way and show how long the whole remodeling and decorating process really takes.  Which makes me feel happier about the state of things, and inspires me to keep going.  Thanks John and Sherry!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm coming back!

After a few months of very sporadic blogging, I am now in a place where I can spend some regular time sewing and blogging.  And I'm super excited about it!  I've got new fabrics coming in the mail this week and I am spending this afternoon cleaning all the Christmas presents off of my sewing table in anticipation of the work ahead.  So what have I been up to?  Well, mostly the average daily life of chasing around a 2 year old mixed in with the never-ending renovations on our home.  We are currently working on the bathroom that our son's room and the guest bedroom share.
Sorry, the before picture is blurry and yes, that is very poor lighting.  It's a very small room and therefore difficult to photograph.  Unfortunately this is the only before I took as a part of a series of pictures I took to show my family our new house shortly after we moved in.  This picture actually makes it look better than it did, but believe me, the bathroom was in rough shape.  The toilet did not work.  The prior owners had had a leak in the toilet and it had damaged the linoleum flooring and the sub flooring beneath it.  The walls were not in great shape.  The light (not seen in the picture) is this awful brass contraption.  And the counter top was pink.  Yes, pink.  Apparently pink and brass were neutrals in the 1980s and this bathroom was full of them.  So in short the bathroom was failing us in the areas of both form and function.

So we did the following:
We ripped out the toilet, vanity, giant mirror, old trim, flooring, and sub flooring.  This step also included pulling out thousands of the staples that held the old sub floor down.  We also scraped out the old caulking around the tub/shower insert so that we could redo the caulking after painting.  Then we fixed the sub flooring, put down concrete backer board, laid tile, installed a new tolet, vanity, sink, and faucet, re-caulked around the tub, painted the medicine cabinet, replaced the medicine cabinet hardware, painted the walls, ceiling, trim, and door, replaced door knob and towel bars and toilet paper holder.  So here is where we are:
As you can see, we went with a dark grey ceramic tile.  This was our first time tiling, so we were very nervous!  We still need to hang the new mirror above the vanity, replace the light fixture, and replace the baseboard trim and door casings on the inside.

Originally the door, trim, and medicine cabinet were a dark brown wood veneer.  I have now painted the doors and trim in almost all of the house white.  I think that it helps to brighten things up.

We got our vanity at Lowes.  I love it, but it was not without its problems.  When we got it home and opened it up, there was no top!  It was supposed to be included and so we called and they finally tracked one down for us.  I have one DIY saying that I think is true for every project we do: "Nothing is ever going to be as simple as you think."  While it was not a major problem, little snags like that always delay things.
 We did not do a perfect job with the tiling, but I am proud of us for tackling it ourselves.  

 I should have put away the lime green kneeling pad that I use when I bathe my son.  It definitely clashes with the walls.  The color on the walls is "Happy Camper" by Behr and it's a nice kelly green sort of color.  I already had the shower curtain and liked it, so I pulled the colors for the room out of it.   

 I am a cheap-o on some things, so if I can repaint it instead of replacing it, I will!  So I took the medicine cabinet down, painted it, replaced the hardware and just hung it back up.  It's not the prettiest thing ever, but it coordinates with the rest of the room.

As you can see here we still need to replace the door casings (which I have already painted and are just waiting for a good weekend to be installed).  We did replace the electrical socket and light switches and covers.  I don't like the off white ones, so we have done this in every room.  I know, it seems like a lot of work and expense to replace something that functions, but I think they look so much cleaner in white than off-white.  Plus, I've gone to all the trouble to paint all the trim and doors in the house white, so I like for it to match instead of clash.  

Whew!  So we still have some more to do in this room and I will definitely share some pictures once we polish it off and consider it done.  Anyone else take on their first bathroom renovation lately?