Birthday whatnots

>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We had a big weekend. Bitty's first birthday was on Saturday and we had a big little family party. Then my husband's birthday was Sunday.

Just look at this adorable kid. I think he had a great time!

We celebrated with lions...


and monkeys...
Oh my! So, for Christmas last year my brother-in-law gave me the book Hello Cupcake! It's a good one. I had been planning on making cupcakes for Bitty's birthday for a while, and was just going back and forth on which ones to make...when, as my luck would have it, my book disappeared off of the face of the earth. Yeahhhh....

So luckily I was able to find a picture of the monkeys online. The lions I tried to remember as well as I could, and the tigers were something I just made up (hmmm...can ya tell?!). My mom was in town for the birthday party and she helped with the cupcakes, since I was running out of time to get everything done before the party started. Thanks mom!

The other big project I had been planning on before the birthday weekend (my husband's birthday was Sunday) was a homemade birthday banner.

I LOVE birthdays, and growing up we always had one of those paper Happy Birthday signs as well as some plastic pennant birthday banners that we would decorate the house with on everyone's birthdays. And at some point a few months ago I just got it in my mind that I was going to make a birthday banner out of fabric. I had see cute fabric banners all over the blogging world and thought this would be the perfect idea!

I finished it around 11pm on Friday, just in time for the big weekend! I LOVE how it turned out! I should have taken more pictures to post, but for now here's what it looked like:

Do you love it as much as I do??? I would really love to hear what you think about it... I've been toying with the idea of opening an Etsy shop for a while, but I can't decide if it would be worth the trouble... But this ended up so dang cute that I thought maybe someone would want to buy one if I sold them, right? I'll take some close-ups later and post them so you can see just how cute it really is!



Monday, Monday...

>> Monday, September 28, 2009

I have some fun stuff that I was going to post about today.... Our birthday weekend and whatnot, but I was too busy leaving comments to enter myself on all the giveaway posts at Nesting Place today! Check it out!

Don't worry, I've also been cleaning my house and playing with the bitty boy. Not JUST entering giveaways.. :)


Girls' night treats

>> Wednesday, September 23, 2009

About a week and a half ago, my BFF Jackie came to visit. While I was grocery shopping before she came I happened to walk past the cake mixes and realize I didn't even have any treats for her visit, and you can't have a weekend with your best girl friend visiting without treats! That would just be insanity.

So I solved that problem!

I picked up some of this:

And a can of this:

And made one of the best treats EVER! Just take a look at these little goodies!

And they taste much better than they look! Cakemix cookies are quite versatile, but this is my favorite way to eat them. Funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting sandwiched in between...YUM! I learned how to make cakemix cookies from my college roommates (Jackie was one of them, so what an appropriate treat for her visit!). The ones my roommates made most often were chocolate cake with peanut butter chips in the dough. The possibilities are endless, I'm sure.

The other reason these were a great treat is the fact that they are not very labor intensive. Here's the recipe.

1 package of cakemix of your choice
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
other ingredients or toppings of your choice

Shape dough in to 1 inch balls, faltten into 1/4" thickness (I don't think we even did that step...). Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

And that's it. Easy Peasy.

We also made a late night Sonic run when my brain had gotten too fuzzy to sew a straight line anymore.

{Have you seen that one Sonic commercial with the two ladies making a late night Sonic run? OH man, I laughed so hard thinking about it, and how we are those women...I can't remember it exactly but it's something to the effect of "We're two crazy ladies on a late night Sonic run...You never know what we're going to do next! Maybe some eggs....and boil 'em...." haha... If you've never seen it, I'm sure it sounds lame, but I think it's so funny!}

And we ordered something that may or may not have been a good idea. We each got one of these in the strawberry limeade variety:

Freaking delicious! The reason I say it might not have been a good idea to order it, is that I have SERIOUSLY been craving one every day since then. And at about $2.50 a pop I can't really just go get one any time I want. That being said, I'm not sure how much longer I can last without getting another one! Maybe I'll have to take my hubby out for treats at Sonic for part of celebrating his birthday this weekend :)

P.S. There was absolutely NO signage for these babies at the Sonic we went to. If you go to order one and don't see it on the menu, go ahead and ask if they have it. Luckily Jackie had had one before so we ordered them even though they weren't printed on the menu.

What treats do you like to have on a girls' night??


I might be crazy....

>> Tuesday, September 22, 2009

{Edited to add: I'm submitting this project as my Procrastinator Party entry at the Inspired Room. I know I posted this originally before the party...but in true procrastinator style, the project has hardly been touched since the original post date.. And the icing on the cake is that even procrastinated linking my post up. OOPS!}

Here's the story. We moved into our apartment on July 29th. We didn't bring our old entertainment center with us, because, well, it was an ugly piece of junk. We gave it back to the thrift store where it came from. Ever since then, this has been our entertainment center.

Yes. That is a {thrift store} dining room chair. With our tv on top, and video games (ah, husbands...) and a jumble of cords underneath. Pretty gangster, right? I haven't been able to find anything we wanted for an entertainment center within our budget yet. First I was looking at armiores, but my husband wasn't loving that idea... And unless we shelled out the money for one with the doors that slide back or wrap around they'd be hanging open all the time. Really. I used to complain about how much tv my husband watches, but now that we have TLC and HGTV, I'm almost just as bad. Almost.

So, I got to thinking maybe we should make a cabinet with 3 or 4 doors where we can keep everything out of sight, except for the tv. Because we SO need some storage for games and movies, etc. Just look at this. UGLY!

The problem with that idea is we don't really know how to make things. And we don't want to spend a ton of money, effort, and time on something that's going to look like we made it. (And I don't mean that in a good way!)

So, for a Saturday afternoon activity, we browsed the Salvation Army on the hunt for something that would work. I had thought of a dresser as a possibility before... Something that could be versatile, that we could use somewhere else as a buffet or an actual dresser in the future if we wanted.

We found something that we have since referred to as "a diamond in the very, very rough."

Allow me to introduce you to The Beast.And here's a closeup:

Aren't those the ugliest handles you have ever seen in your ENTIRE life? Not to mention the weirdest. It really is a beast. It weighs a TON and is going to take A LOT of work, but I'm hoping to end up with one of those beautiful wow! transformations, instead of failing miserably. Because that is a distinct possibility at this point. It could go either way.

But it was on sale 50% off. So for $40 we got it. We're just not at the point in our lives where we can go buy an expensive piece of furniture, ya know? I'm imagining beadboard to cover the damage on the sides, but I don't know if I'm that good! This is uncharted territory people! Wish me luck!


Friday Faves

>> Friday, September 18, 2009

Okay, I didn't mean to totally ignore the blog this week, but on the up side, I did get some things done that I needed to!

My sister told me about a blog called Our Best Bites recently and said she had tried a few of their recipes and liked them. So, when I was doing my meal planning a week or so ago I decided to check it out and work a few recipes into my plan.

I tried the guiltless alfredo sauce, the black bean soup, and the breakfast crescent braid. YUM!

There wasn't a picture of the finished alfredo sauce, but there are the ingredients. Pretty easy, and delicious! I thought it turned out a little salty though, so next time I would probably half the amount of salt. But I will definitely make it again! If you've ever reheated Olive Garden alfredo and seen the amount of butter all that cream was floating in, you will definitely appreciate that fact that this is "guiltless". SO YUMMY!

Black Bean Soup. I like this too! It was pretty easy to make, which is always a plus. I was kind of worried that I wouldn't like it, but I really did! We ate it by itself, but I think next time I make it, I'll serve it with quesadillas or taquitos. I know they've got a recipe for homemade taquitos on the blog, so I may have to check that out!

This one's called Easy Breakfast Crescent Braid. It was super easy and pretty yummy. We were thinking it would be tasty to add some bell pepper and mushrooms to the egg next time, or maybe try sausage or ham instead of bacon, though the bacon was delicious. You could get really creative with this. The only thing I would warn you on this is that it doesn't make a whole lot. My husband, my (almost) 1-year-old, and I ate the whole thing. So make two if you have more mouths to feed!

This site is definitely my favorite this week! You should really go check it out. Not only are the recipes tasty, the site's got such a fun, colorful design and awesome pictures (including the ones on this post!).


Still finding a balance...

>> Monday, September 14, 2009

Last week I was good and wrote a blog post everyday as well as getting some projects done and other projects started. Awesome, right? It would be if I had done the other important things I should be doing in my life, like my church responsibilities, etc.

I've been realizing lately that I don't really feel like much of an adult. This hasn't been much of a problem in the past, but ya know... while I am young, I just keep getting older, and I don't want to be one of those really immature 25-, 30-, or 40-year-olds. I just don't.

So my goal is to be more of an adult, and what this translates to for me is being more responsible. I wouldn't say I'm irresponsible, but I let myself off the hook for not doing things I should too often by using excuses.... I had to get those projects done, I really wanted to get that blog post done today, or even something as lame as I hate calling people I don't know!

I'm going to try to start being better about focusing on the important things and doing what I'm supposed to do when I'm supposed to do it, dang it!

I'm writing this to say sorry if my posting is a little sporadic. I'm busy trying to buck up and be an adult!


Friday Faves (I was featured!!)

>> Friday, September 11, 2009

So, I felt kind of under the weather all day yesterday, and then really started to feel crummy and feverish last night (so I ended up laying in bed reading Pride and Prejudice and watching HGTV instead of painting my table, darn.)

And this morning I woke up with a huge headache, and of course, somehow with the move we ended up with no tyleonol in the house! Luckily I have a wonderful husband who went and picked some up for me before going to work. That sweet man, I love him. He even brought it to me in bed with a glass of water. So that made me feel a little bit better.

Then I came downstairs and checked my email, and saw that I had a comment on my cornice board post saying I was featured on Someday Crafts!! How awesome is that?! This is my first feature and I'm very proudly displaying my button there on the right sidebar! And right here.

Someday Crafts?

I'm actually new to this blog, and it is awesome! I haven't had a chance too look through too many of the posts yet, but I love this one all about pumpkin fall decor! I think I'm gong to have to pull out my fall stuff next week (even though it's still almost 100 degrees here!) Go check out this blog, it's my Friday Fave today!


Dining room curtain sneak peek!

>> Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I finished the curtains for the sliding door in the dining room, and I know you're all just dying to see what they look like. Or you can humor me and pretend like you are at least!

I bought a pair of khaki chino curtains at Walmart for $16, and they were a little small, so I worked up a plan to add on to them. I won't show you the WHOLE picture, until I do the entire dining room reveal (hopefully in a week), but here's a little peek to whet your appetite!

P.S. You have no idea how hard it was to find black grosgrain ribbon for this project. Seriously. I went to 4 different stores, and ended up with black twill tape instead. I am pleased with the result, but seriously? I don't live in a small town, you'd think they'd have that kind of basic crafting supply in stock. I guess it's just too popular, kind of like me (JUST KIDDING!).

And if you made it this far without giving up, I'm going to share another story with you. So, Hobby Lobby was stop #2 on the search for ribbon. I love this store, and it's just down the street from my house! {When we moved to our new apartment, I told my husband I was going to be fine, because I knew how to get to Walmart and Hobby Lobby.}

Anyway, turns out they only have black grosgrain ribbon for sale by the yard, and not by the spool. Let's do some math. I needed about 7 yards. It sells for $0.83/yard. I just "guesstimated" that would put me somewhere in the vicinity of $6-ish dollars. Maybe $5 (okay, you caught me, we're not really doing math!). Anywho, the grosgrain ribbon by the spool is 7 yards and normally sells for $4, but was on sale for $2 a spool.

I thought they might just have run out of black by the spool, but I asked the fabric lady and she said since they sell it by the yard they don't sell it by the spool., I'm supposed to pay 3 times as much for it because you can't give me an entire spool to take home? I'm not sure if I was feeling cheap, cheated, or if my pride was wounded, but I told the lady I'd just have to buy it somewhere else. (I never say things like that to sales people!)

Well, a lot of good that did me. Two stores later I was leaving with 5/8" twill tape instead of 7/8" grosgrain. But like I said, I still think it looks good, and may have even been easier to work with, so it all turned out just fine.

But really, when did it become so hard to find black ribbon??

Oh, and just for funsies, another sneak peek:

That's right, I sanded the table last night, and will be priming it during Bitty's naps today!


My table, Alt-erior Design-ed.

>> Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't you sometimes wish that you could just SEE what that new paint color would look like before you actually take the plunge (and spend the money)?

Well, I know a great girl, Ali Mae, with a great blog. It's called Alt-erior Design, and she does virtual design consultations. What she does is takes a picture that you give her, and works her magic on it to show you all of the possibilities! And she does more than just paint colors. She rearranges furniture, adds accessories, etc, so you can get a vision of what your space could look like.

And I'm super impressed (and a little jealous!) that she has found such a great way to make a little extra cash as a stay at home mom to three adorable little ones.

Like I said, she's a great girl, so after she read my post asking for advice on how to paint the dining room table, she decided to help me out and show me what the options I was considering would look like. She even threw in another option I hadn't even thought of.

Here's my before:

And here's her awesome alt-erior design (click to see it larger):

How cool is that?! Go check out Ali Mae's work at Alt-erior Design! And you'll just have to wait and see which option I decided to with! Thanks Ali Mae!

{And I know, the before is terrible, with the food and dishes all still out on the table and that ugly plastic shelf. I considered taking a new before shot for this post with all of that put away now, but I decided I'd wait and show the dining room off when I finish with the table and the curtains. It's going to be quite the improvement.}


My to-do list

>> Monday, September 7, 2009

I had a lovely Labor Day, how about you? We had fun time on a picnic at a park with my brother and his family, but I also managed to get a few things done. I cleaned out the fridge, and with the help of my handsome husband we finally arranged the laundry room, and hung up my cute little black thrift store shelves in the dining room. Love it!

Here's what I still need to do this week (before FRIDAY!!):

finish curtains
{the ones covering the sliding door are a little small, so I'm adding some a little something to make them larger... I'm pausing from that project to write this post, but I still need to go get some ribbon to finish them up!}

tie-backs {out of matching cornice board material, to go on the LR curtains}

shelf curtain {to cover the plastic shelf by the fridge}

finish unpacking stuff on the landing

finish scrubbing outsides of kitchen cabs

fix loveseat {a couple of places came un-stapled during the move}

tidy bedroom

paint table(s) {dining room table!! I also have plans for coffee and end tables, if I get to them}

make a shower curtain for baby's bathroom

buy rug for baby's bathroom

What projects do you need to get done this week?


My {kind of} bold cornice board...

>> Sunday, September 6, 2009

...or "corny board", as my husband affectionately calls it. He thinks decorating terms are silly. When I said something about spray painting finials, he stopped what he was doing and said, "Finials? Really? Are you just making these words up??" Oh, I love him!

Anyway, back to the point...

Remember when I finished my high chair seat re-do and showed you this picture of my cute boy in front of our vertical blinds in all of their glory. Did I tell you I HATE the look of vertical blinds?

As soon as we moved in I knew I wanted to hide them. I know I could have just taken them down altogether, but I didn't want the hassle of taking them down, storing them somewhere, and putting them back up when we'll be in this apartment for less than a year.

Also the side of the apartment with the blinds gets a LOT of sun and heat in the late-ish afternoon, so I kinda wanted to keep them as insulation from the hot hot sun. (FYI our power bill this month was about $140 more than we used to pay in our old place...what a difference 500 more sq. feet and central air makes in the price...)

So I decided I wanted to keep the blinds up, but HIDE them... So we put up curtains (which ended up being a little small...I'll fix that this week..didn't get done this weekend, oops!) and cut a board (I started with a 1x8x8) for a cornice board. My husband helped me screw it together. This is what our sliding door looked like for a while:

So, the other night I finally got around to covering the cornice board. I did it at about 10:30pm, so I hope I didn't bother the neighbors too much! Sorry Ashley!

First: Lay out your fabric, batting, and board, like a nice soon-to-be-cute little sandwich.

Next: Staple the fabric onto your board. I started in the middle and worked my way out. Apparently it also helps to leave the newspaper you had the last two boxes of kitchen stuff wrapped in on the floor if you're taking pictures. (But hooray! I finally finished unpacking the kitchen last week!)

Tip: On the ends (the little short boards screwed in to the long one) don't wrap the fabric all the way around. Stop on the 1" part that will be flush with the wall, so that you have a place to screw the brackets on to the inside. I wrapped mine all the way around and realized I needed to take it out and fix it. Live and learn.

Then: Hold the board while your cute hubby screws the L brackets onto the short pieces for you.

I know this next picture is kinda blurry, and there's a lot going on with the vert blinds hardware and curtain hardware AND the cornice board, so look closely. We connected one side of the L bracket to the short side of the cornice board and the other flush with the wall.

And Ta-Da! Tell me what you think!

It's not perfect, I know... but I think it's a heck of an improvement.

I picked a bolder fabric than anything else we have in our house, because I just didn't feel like sticking with the expected, or boring, but branching out a bit. I'll be making tie backs for the living room curtains (which we DID finish hanging this week, I'll post a picture when the tie backs are done). I'm hoping that'll tie the two rooms together a little better.

After getting the board hung up it made me so excited that I went and bought the paint for my dining room table. You'll just have to wait to see what it'll look like!

I'm hoping to get a lot of little things done this week, since my BFF is coming to stay for the weekend. Nothing like house guests to get you going!

Update: The curtains are finished! If you want a sneak peek, click here!

I'm linking this post up to the following:



Friday Faves

>> Thursday, September 3, 2009

So, the way I do my "research" for these Friday Faves posts is basically just, well, reading my usual blogs in my Google Reader, and then clicking links that look interesting that I find on those blogs. While I was reading this week I saw a lot of good ideas and such, but not much that stuck out to me as extraordinarily awesome (or {FAM}tastic, if you will)...


I found one post that I absolutely fell in LOVE with! You know it's a good blog post when, after reading it, you are totally inspired to go out and start a new project! So this week we will be having a themed edition of Friday Faves:


I saw these posts from Jamie at Crafting Chicks.

Quiet Books: This one is her intro to the quiet books. At the end she lists some links to blogs where she got the ideas for a lot of her adorable pages! Book 1 and Book 2 are posts about each individual page she made for her quiet books. She made two, because she has twins, I think.
Book 1
Book 2

Yes, that is barn with animal finger puppets! Definitely making this page.

Seriously, I've already started planning out which pages I want to include in the quiet book I will now be making the Bitty boy for Christmas! I guess that means I should kick into high gear where projects are concerned so I can get it done in time!

I looked through the blogs she recommends in that first post, and I thought that this one was an excellent resource. Not only does she show you her pages, but gives instructions on how to make each one!

Go check it all out! I hope you're as inspired as I was!


Progress is slow...

>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009

With the encouragement of my sister-in-law, I finally got started hanging the curtains in the living room today. Got started, you ask? Why couldn't I just have done it and be done with it? Yes... if life were easy...

So, we figured out where to hang them, and when I screwed the first screw in, it wouldn't go all the way in. I thought it was just me being wimpy, so I moved on to the next one and would come back to it later. The next screw went in without much problem. I tried again to finish the first one, and I still couldn't get it, so again I moved on.

On to the next window. Again, I cannot get the screw all the way in. Moving on. CAN'T get the next one in all the way either! Seriously? I went back to my third screw and screwed it with all my might, but instead of it going into the wall, it just began showering drywall dust. Hmmmm... Not sure what to do about that. I'll have my husband use his muscles and see if he can make it work. Or borrow the extender thing from my brother's drill (since I wasn't able to use our drill because of the shape of the bracket I was screwing in).

Anywho, here's what we've got so far:

The window on the right is the first side I did.

Above is that pesky first screw. See how the whole bracket is hanging off the wall? That's why that side is so crooked.

I haven't put the finials on yet, because I had to give them a little coat of black spray paint.

And here's the dining room's sliding door. I bought the curtains and we hung them a couple of weeks ago... Notice they weren't quite as big as I thought they would be...I'll be fixing that. Also, that board on the side there will be the cornice board to cover up the top of the vertical blinds! It's been sitting like that in my house for a week. I'll try to get it done by this weekend. Hopefully.

I still haven't painted the dining room table yet either. But I got an awesome surprise in my inbox today! My friend Ali Mae at Alt-erior Design sent me a little preview of what the different paint options would look like! Sa-weet! Look for a post about that soon!


Cafe shelf tutorial and a GIVEAWAY!

Don't you LOVE these black kitchen shelves?! I think they are great, and if I had room in my kitchen I would probably try to make some!

Traci at Beneath M Heart has an excellent step-by-step tutorial on how to make them. Go check her out...she's giving the one she made for her tutorial away! Leave a comment on her blog to be entered in the drawing!


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