Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deals and Steals

I haven't posted much this week - It was a busy one!

On Wednesday, my amazing aunt and I worked out a deal on these beautiful 2nd hand couches!  (Excuse the messy basement) I've wanted upholstered outdoor furniture FOREVER!  These need a little work but I'm so excited!  Has anyone ever redone cushions like this?  There is a batrillion pillows.  I've been researching canvas fabric but how well does it hold up to WI summers?  I'll bring them in for the winter.  I decided on an espresso color for the wicker and picked up some paint on Friday.  Tonight I tried it out for the first time and like how it turned out.  Any guesses on how many coats it will take? 3? 4? 20?

This is my progress after 30 minutes...

 I hope to have them done before summer is over!  
I also whipped up these bibs!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baked Zucchini Chips!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a garden!
This year we went small and only have zucchini, tomatoes, jalapenos, and I planted green beans.  I say I planted green beans because I sure did.  The flippin bunnies also ate said beans!  Little heifers, I'm so mad because fresh green beans are my FAVORITE!
However, I'm learning to love the zucchini!  We've never planted it before and I've never really cooked with it either so this is new and exciting.

We used this recipe from -

This was Ellie and my first collaborative cooking experience and it went SO well!  I love having a little helper in the kitchen!  Ellie helped by handing me the zucchini chips (I would cut them thinner in the future)
 She also likes to taste as she cooks - very much like Rachel Ray that way.  :)  If you are not into shared food, don't come to our house!
Then I dipped in the egg mixture and the breading (crumbs, Parmesan cheese, pepper)
Before baking at 475 for 6 minutes on each side...
 After!  They were very tasty and I'm happy how they turned out.  I ended up baking them longer because I cut them a little too thick.  Next time I think I would like to add a little more cheese (Hello - we are from Wisconsin).
We were going to grill burgers too, but this is all we ended up eating because the weather here is TERRIBLE!  107 with the heat index!  We are not built for this weather in WI - I'd rather have 107 inches of snow!

I'm linked up at...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Watermelon Dress

Take a look at these apples... I mean watermelon...

Ellie went to bed at 7:30.  It's 11:30 right now.  Subtract an hour for talking on the phone and the distraction that was my 100th viewing of Pretty Woman plus the fact that I broke the needle on my sewing machine... That means this cute little number took 3 hours.  I'm o.k with that for a beginning seamstress.

I love the sweet little sequins for seeds!  Can't wait to see it on Ellie tomorrow!

I used the same pattern as the t-shirt dress, I just didn't put the elastic in the sleeves, waist, or neckline.

So what do you think of the bloomers?  I need to invest in more colors of thread than white, navy, and black. So to make up for the white on red I used the decorative stitch.  I kind of like the way it turned out.

The Bestest Home Fries EVER!

Tonight we had grilled pork chops, and corn on the cob, and strawberries, and...

The Bestest Home Fries EVER!!!

I mostly found this recipe on  I say mostly because have you ever used that site?  I love it, but I end up checking out four different recipes for something and then blending them all together.

So if you want to try the tastiest taters on the block...

  • cut up your taters and splash with enough evoo to coat
  • sprinkle a little seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and anything else
  • Here's the best part - Parmesan cheese!
The cheese gets just a little crusty and as Ms. Rachel Ray would say... is delish!

I bake at 350 for 35 minutes and then crank up the heat to 375 or 400 for another 5 min.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Brownie Covered Oreos

What's not to love?  Brownie - Good, Oreo - Good,
Brownie Covered Oreos... GREAT!

At a meeting this week these were served for a snack and I was very impressed.  I thought I would give them a try for our family picnic this weekend.

Ingredients -
1. Brownie mix and respective ingredients
2. Oreos

Prepare the brownies as directed, open package of oreos, and dip.
The directions I had were to use a muffin tin and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  I also applied sprinkles to the brownies before baking to jazz them up a little bit!

It was amazing that one family size brownie mix for a 9X13 pan was the perfect amount of batter to cover one package of Oreos.  I would have been o.k with a few oreos left over, but I'm glad I didn't have to waste any brownie mix.  Upon tasting the recipe my husband thought I should have used mint Oreos and I suggested Coffee.

I only have one 12 serving muffin tin and I didn't feel like waiting to put another batch in, so after dipping 12 oreos, I put them on a cookie sheet.

This is what they turned out like...

Actually, I don't mind the gloppy look.  They were the perfect combination of crunchy and gooey.  Plus, if you trim off the extra and make your family eat it, you can take the pretty Oreos to the event.

(Am I the only one that makes the husband eat the rejects?)

Here is what they looked like out of the muffin tin!

And of course, what goes well with brownies?
But strawberries... Well for my daughter.  I'm going to warm one of these babies up and have it with some ice cream!

What a wonderful summer day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby Bib with Left Over T-shirts

Teachers don't work in the summer, right?  So yesterday, after a full day of work at school with the kids, I felt a little crafty, but not too much. (this was at 9:30pm - I still wanted to get to bed at a reasonable time)

I saw this great tutorial at for this cute bib made from the top of a t-shirt.

I flew through the project, so I don't have any pictures as I went.  It took me 35 minutes from start to finish and let me tell you, this is my kind of project.  (no picky edges, you barely have to pin and straight lines to sew - I talked on the phone to 3 people as I was working on it.  Can you say multi-task, yeah, I'm kinda a big deal)

I still have to put the elastic in the neck, but I feel more of these will be in my future.

I have a terrible week this week - all meetings, conferences, and classes so I may not be posting very much.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Vintage DIY Request

So I'm officially a crazy blogger now.  I was asked to submit a vintage inspired blog post at a link party (I refuse to say Linky party, I'm sorry but I think it sounds stupid).  I had to rack my brain a little bit, because it's Sunday and I'm enjoying the warm little spot I've made for myself on the couch and only have a bit of time until Ellie wakes up from her nap.  With hesitation, I got up and did a quick lap of the house and I found this in the spare bedroom...  It's vintage looking right?
When we first moved in to our home 5 years ago, we didn't have a ton of artwork to hang on the walls.  We did however have pictures frames left over from our recent wedding (they were used on the favor table, guest book table, etc).
#1 - I found something to frame in my scrap fabric pile - I have no idea where the lace actually came from.  Then I backed it with some black felt.
#2 - I cut it to size and replaced the matting so I wouldn't misplace it if I wanted to put a picture in here again. The mat actually helped hold the lace in place as well.
I love how it looks a little wrinkled in the frame.  This would be cute with almost anything vintage - pretty graphic fabric, old post cards, even old magazine articles or advertisements.

Cost: Free
Time Spent: 10 minutes

However, looking at this wall hanging makes me realize I need to do something with the spare bedroom.  Yes the walls are still primer white (we've lived here for 5 years and have not painted that room or the hallway! boo) Whatever I do to that room it must be dog friendly because the world's most spoiled lab has claimed it as his room!  The poor thing will freak out if we have more kids...

Also on the floor in that room is this... Tell me what I should do with it... I'm at a loss.

The print is the same that my great aunt had hanging in her bedroom and my mom now has in her living room.  (I believe it's from the 1920's) I always loved the print and my mom found this one at a yard sale for $10.  I'd like to hang it in this room but HATE the mirror frame.  O.k, hate is a little strong.  It needs some work... what should I do?

Friday, July 8, 2011

T-Shirt Dress Tutorial

Project #3 of The Challenge is complete!  I made a...
T-Shirt Dress!
It turned out great and I learned a lot while making it, However my model was not in the mood for a photo session.  (Please ignore the mess, we were multi-tasking with blogging and laundry) It was SO easy.  Remember, before I started this blog I had never sewn anything other than a straight line for a quilt, so my sewing level is truly beginner. I tried to take a ton of pictures, so it looks complicated, but it really was easier than the t-shirt from challenge #1!  
I started with the basic shape of the dress.  I cut the pattern using a clothing gift box and looking at one of Ellie's existing dresses inside out.  You can see it is just a rough a-line.  
The fabric I used was an old work shirt of my husbands.  Basic t-shirt material.  Notice I used the bottom hem of the shirt for the bottom of the dress?  It saves time and looks more professional when done.  
I cut the front and a back at the same time (see pins to keep it from slipping) and then sewed them together.  

Now for the sleeves.  I used the same pattern from the t-shirt project.  It is just a simple shape.  I also used the finished hem of the shirt sleeves for the bottom of the sleeve (this is important for the elastic later).  
See?  I was able to thread the elastic through the finished hem on the sleeve.  Handy?  Right?  
Once you have the elastic threaded, scrunch it up to size, fold it in half (right sides together) to sew down the side.  
Make sure you sew all the way down to the edge to catch the elastic.  You can sew through it a couple of times to make sure it stays put.  Next you pin the sleeve inside the dress (remember to turn it right side out first)
To imbilish the dress I used quilt binding.  Next I pinned it around the neck opening of the dress, keeping in mind I would need room for elastic.  (You wouldn't even need to put elastic in the neck opening if you didn't want to)
I did the same for a waistband.  Then I sewed along the top and the bottom of the waistband leaving room in the middle for elastic (also optional).   
If you are going to make an elastic neck opening and waistband, you will need to save room to insert it.  
I had some help putting the elastic in the dress...  What a good little helper?
Once the elastic is in, cut it to size and finish sewing up the openings.  You now have a pretty little dress for your pretty little girl! 
I made a cute little diaper cover too!  Details on that at a later date!

I'm Linked Up at (This is my first Link party... How exciting)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Zebra Dresser Tutorial

Project #2 of The Challenge is complete!

I spent the holiday weekend working on this dresser and just finished up tonight!  I originally wanted wanted to create something fun for Ellie's bedroom. But as the project evolved, I realized it's not quite right for her room, but is perfect for the groovy vibe I want to create in the basement play room (see future blog posts, this is just a figment of my imagination right now...)
I can't seem to find the before pictures - but you can imagine, old, press board dresser.  I got it from my grandmother earlier this year when she downsized from assisted living to a nursing home.

Step 1 - Paint it white - I used 2 cans of spay paint - but you could use anything you have laying around

Step 2 - Sketch out the stripes with pencil.  I used google images to find some inspiration.  It was a lot easier than trying to free hand it from memory.  Don't be too picky because zebra's are not all uniform!

Step 3 - Black paint - I bought a tiny pint of glossy black paint and brushed it on with a cheap children's art brush.  Again, don't freak if you're not perfect.  It will turn out great!

Alterations I wish I would have thought of before starting - I wish I had thought to put a layer of crackle finish on before painting it white.  I think the distressed look would be cool, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sneak Peek!

 I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July weekend!  We had a wonderful time with family and friends.  We finally went grocery shopping so we have something to eat!!!  Sunday night we had friends over and enjoyed the best small town fireworks displays in Wisconsin.

I also had some time to work on my project for The Challenge.  True to my short attention span, I worked on two projects at once!  :)  Not completely finishing either.  Below is project #2 and project #3 - A dresser for the new playroom and a sleeve for Ellie's dress.  I hope to have a tutorial for one or both posted tomorrow night.