Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a Happy Halloween.  We had a crazy weekend so I was not organized enough to have anything planned for today.  I did want to share these cute clementines that I packed in the kids lunches today.  Aren't they cute?  I thought it was a good way to add something healthy, but still fun to their lunch. 

Pumpkin Clementines

I hope everyone has a safe Halloween.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Kitchen Update

Last week was all about making decisions.  We have been trying to come to a decision regarding the cabinets.  We were finally able to get several estimates.  The estimates ranged from $4600-$8000 for solid plywood cabinets.  We did lots of soul searching and decided we really did not want to spend that much money on cabinets.  We were not in love with any of the cabinets that we looked at.  So we decided to stick with what seems natural to us, trying to use as much of our existing cabinets as we can.  Mitch will build any new cabinets that we need. 

The one good thing about getting all of the estimates for the cabinets were these cool plans that we received. These really helped us visualize how the kitchen will (hopefully) look one day. 


Look at all the cabinet space we are going to gain by the fridge. We have decided that we are going to do butcherblock for the countertops on this section and probably granite for the section by the sink.

Mitch did manage to find a little bit of time on Sunday to start building out the recession for the fridge.


We moved the fridge to make sure it would fit in the opening.  It fit!! 


It is all ready for drywall.  We have a contractor coming this week to do some of the electrical work and drywall this area.   


While Mitch was working, I put a coat of primer on the riser.  It made me feel useful. : )


Baseball season ended last night so that will free up some time for us.  No telling what we could accomplish if we actually had a full weekend to work on the kitchen. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coffee Cozies Continued

I finally finished my coffee cozy order.  Yikes, it only took me a month.  I was out of practice so it took me longer than I planned, but I am finished!!!   It was fun to be sewing again.  I feel like it has been forever.  I am itching to have a good sewing project, but with the kitchen remodel I need to stick to easy, fast projects.  I am working on some super easy snack bags.  I am hoping to have a tutorial up next week.



You can find my coffee cozy tutorial here.

I will have an update on the kitchen tomorrow. 





Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Vegetarian chili is a staple for me when the weather turns cool.  I make a big pot of it on Sunday, then I have lunch for the rest of the week.  I have tried many different recipes, but usually I end up dumping whatever I can find in the pantry into a pot and call it chili.  I made this combination a few weeks ago.  I liked it so much I made note of the ingredients I used so that I could make it again.  This is going to be my new go to vegetarian chili recipe. 


1 can of pinto beans
1 can of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of refried beans (I love the Whole Foods brand with Roasted Chile & Lime)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 can or bottle of beer
2 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 a red pepper chopped (optional)
1 cup of frozen corn (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

I forgot to photograph the spices with the other ingredients. 

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot or dutch oven.  When the oil is hot add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Last time I made it I added half a red pepper.  I cooked it until it was tender.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Serve with torilla chips.  Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato chips are my favorite.  I also add some hot sauce to mine for a little kick. Avocado would be a nice addition too. 



Friday, October 21, 2011

Tips for a Green Halloween

FruitaBu Fruit Rolls_Strawberry

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought I would revisit some tips for a Green Halloween. I wrote this post 2 years ago with some tips. also has tons of awesome information on their website.  I found these 10 tips, especially useful. 

Here are my tips:
1.  When choosing what to hand out to trick or treaters, think outside the box.  My kids love FruitaBu or fruit leather.   You could also hand out dried fuit, yogurt covered raisins, granola bars, or popcorn.  You don't have to hand out food.  Crayons, coins, stickers, and pretty rocks are all great options.

2. Make your own face paint.  This recipe is from Green Halloween too.
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp all-natural diaper rash cream
  • 1-2 drops of natural/organic food coloring
  • .5-1 tsp of water (dependi ng on desired consistency)
Instructions:   In a small bowl, mix cornstarch, diaper cream, and food coloring.  If necessary, add       water to achieve desired constistency.

3. Save your candy wrappers.  Reuse the candy wrappers to make flowers for barrettes or presents.  These bracelets would be a great craft to do with the kids.  Lil Blue Boo also posted 10 things you can do with candy wrappers last week.

4. It is a little too late to do it this year, but consider Reverse Trick or Treating for next year.  This is a good way to educate people regarding Fair Trade practices.  It is not too late to hand out Fair Trade chocolate. Endangered Species makes Fair Trade chocolate that is perfect for trick or treating. 

What tips do you have for a Green Halloween?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Break- Atlanta, Ga.

We took a quick trip to Atlanta for Fall Break and to celebrate my niece's 5th birthday.  We started out really early Sunday morning. 

 We spent the day at Stone Mountain in Georgia.  The kids enjoyed the obstacle course and zipline.



The weather was perfect. 

Here's Stone Mountain.  We rode the sky ride to the top.

Hold on.  Don't fall off the mountain!!


There's Atlanta in the distance.

Here's the stone carving.

Crazy cousins having some fun.


We ended the trip with a relaxing train ride around the mountain.


The day ended with some very tired kids.


On Monday we headed to the American Girl doll store to celebrate Josie's birthday.



Happy birthday Josie!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Return of the Coffee Cozies


I have received several requests for coffee cozies, since I decided to stop taking wholesale and custom orders.  I have really stuck to my guns, politely declining any requests that I have received.  After several requests from the Coffee Pod, I decided to fill an order for them.   My coffee cozies are all over their facebook page.   I am working very slowly, but I am almost half way done with it.
In case you are new to the blog, here is a tutorial on how I make my coffee cozies.  On these cozies I used cotton poplin photofabric that I purchased from Joann's.  It comes in 4 x 6 inch sheets and works great with ink jet printers. 

This order made me actually weed through my stash of sweaters.  If I can get my act together, I am planning on posting some wool sweater pieces to Etsy.  I also have a stack of vintage sheets and pillowcases I would like to list too.  The plan is to cut the sheets into charm packs or fat quarters.  Hopefully I will have the rest of the coffee cozies to show you next week. 




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kitchen Update

Kitchen Update

Last weekend we were busy painting the back door and front doors, so there is nothing new to show you with the kitchen.  Mitch did work on a riser for the washer and dryer using the tutorial below.  I think it is pretty close to being done.  We just need to paint it. 

Washer Dryer riser

We did meet with an electrican on Thursday, but he has not given us an estimate yet.  Mitch also met with a contractor who is willing to work with Mitch on the project.  He will do as much or as little as we need him to do.  Our next step is to figure out what we are going to do about the cabinets.  I wouldn't mind trying to make the existing ones work, but we are reconfiguring and taking out the soffit above the cabinets so I just don't think it is going to be possible.  We would really like to take advantage of the extra room so having taller cabinets makes sense.   Once we decide on the cabinets, we should have a better idea of how long it will be before construction officially begins.  The plan right now is to do everything except for the floor refinishing.  We will probably wait until the Spring so that it can be done while we are on vacation. 

I still get a headache every time I think about all that needs to be done to actually complete this project, but I feel like we are making progress.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Trade-Off with Uncommon

Today I am participating in Tuesday Trade-Off with Trish and Bonnie from Uncommon.  They are sharing an awesome tutorial with us today.  I am sharing my Reversible Messenger Bag Tutorial on their blog, so be sure to check it out. 

We are Trish and Bonnie from Uncommon and we are so thrilled to be here today! We are excited to share our Jersey Garland Necklace tutorial with you as part of our Tuesday Trade-Off series!    Have you seen the fabric covered beaded necklaces popping up out there? I love them! Here was one that really caught my eye by Ruche.
I was shopping the clearance section of Wal-Mart yesterday and found a gorgeous peacock knit shirt and a set of beads to use to make one of my own. Here is how it turned out... I can't wait to wear it to a Mother-Daughter Valentines Brunch this weekend. So sweet!

Jersey Knit Garland Necklace Tutorial
  • T-shirt or fabric of your choice
  • Matching Thread
  • Beads
  • Scissors and/or Rotary Cutter
  • Turning Instrument (optional)
Make two casings about 1 1/2 inches wide and sew one end shut. I got lucky and could just snip the ties off of the shirt. Don't you love it when that happens? Make it as long as you'd like, depending on how long you want your necklace to be. Keep in mind you are going to use a good bit in the knots so be liberal.
Turn the casings inside out. I used a turning tool. You'll see it a couple of steps down. If you ever make ties for anything, this is a lifesaver!
Now you want to close the casing smaller where the beads go in. Start where you want the knots to begin and sew a diagonal line and then all the way down to the open end. this will give you a thick tie, but a tight grip on the beads.

This is what your two casings should look like after you resize them.

Now, turn both casings right side out. See my handy turning tool above.

Tie your first knot. You want to space this to leave plenty of room to tie on the necklace.
Slip a bead through the casing down to the knot. Tie a knot next to it. Continue doing this with both sides until you have an inch or so left near the opening. Now, place one casing inside the other (shown above) and sew it down.
This is what your necklace should look like at this point. Ignore my knees in the photo!
Now, cut several strips and tie them on to the necklace where you would like them to go. I used strips that were about one inch by five or six inches. They don't have to be perfect. Use as many until you reach the fullness that you like. Make sure to tie some strips where you joined the two sides together. You are done!
Thanks so much for having us Jen!  We would love for you guys to join us on Uncommon anytime! 
Trish and Bonnie


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