Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Old Storage Crate

 I needed a place to throw the pillows/blankets I've been collecting in my living room.  They look great....right up until the time I have guest over and they don't want 8 pillows behind their back.  I had this unfinished crate I got at a store going out of business....and have since seen at craft stores.
 Then I saw a tutorial for turning this into a vintage looking crate at homedepot.  I cut out about 16 of the steps...and just used some stain my brother left in my garage....that should teach him, and some handles I got at half off from Hobby Lobby.
I rubbed the stain on, partially following the instructions, then nailed the handles onto each side over the holes (the original tutorial has you filling in this part of the wood...uh....I don't think so.  A cute little addition to my living room that dust can gather.  :O)

Monday, July 28, 2014

GMT Summer Projects-Rough Draft

 These are the unfinished projects I've since finished that I will be taking with me to GMT tomorrow.  I had foundation work last week, so my house is all packet up, photos off the wall, and a layer of concrete dust is covering my furniture...but....it's all downhill from here-which will hopefully include better photos of these projects!.    I'll post the video with the finished projects on facebook tomorrow....assuming I don't blow away.  My guess is we will be outside for this one just because of the sheer size.  The exec. producer saw the idea for making these in magazines and I adapted them to try to make them a little more affordable.  For the canopy I bought a twin size sheet.  You can get flat sheets for five bucks at Walmart-they come in really cute colors/designs, but I decided I wanted to make an ice cream looking canopy.  I bought two sheets, cut them into strips and sewed them back goether.
 To build the canopy I went to Home Depot and bought PCP pipes and these adapters.  I found a 'male' adaptor so three pieces could fit into each corner.  I had someone at Home Depot cut the PCP pipe for me.  It came in 10 foot pieces, so I had them cut it in half, and then one piece in half again so it's five feet long and 2 1/2 foot wide.  It's big enough for two people at a beach....just push it down into the sand or ground.  Make it bigger, or cover it with canvas for a more solid shade.
 I'm just pinning my top on with safety pins so it's easy to pull off.
She also asked me to make this wreath she saw for a patio table.  I took some spanish moss, wire, and a wreath frame for the dollar tree....and a really blurry picture..
 I set the moss on top, then secured it with the wire.
 I took a pipe cleaner to tie on little pots and filled them with plants (I cheated-these are fake plants, only because I was gone all weekend running around, but....they look pretty real.  I added more most to hide any wires and a candle holder to the middle.  I have it on a wicker plate for now, just for travel purposes.
 Last up, I sprayed some wicker plate holders with fun beach colors-again, I do this a lot with wicker.  They are always clearing out old holiday baskets with designs and ugly baskets-I buy them for a few cents and spray them to match what I need them to look like!
I'll post the finished project and video later....it's been hectic around here...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July-Last Year's Cookie Exchange

 Speaking of cookie exchanges.  We were on that topic, right?  Look, I always take all these pictures in December, but since I blog in advance most of my post-my blog is usually super full, so I have to put it off until the next year, but then....my blog is full again, so I dlecide to divide some of these things out....and since most of the craft stores probably have started clearing some aisles for Christmas....why not throw on a few ideas here as well.  The last 5 years or so we've done a cookie exchange at work.  We do a little different twist because there are a lot of ladies that love to bake and would like to share some cookies-or rather the recipes, so our take on the traditional cookie exchange is more of a recipe exchange.  Whoever wants to participate signs up in advance (we usually have anywhere from 17-25 participants depending on the year.  Once I have a count I send it out and each person is responsible for bring a bag of two cookies for each person with the recipe attached.  It gives us all a chance to try out new recipes, but we usually just have to bake a double batch of cookies.  I always get some great recipes to add to my collection, and I don't have to try baking them all myself-and get to try some of my pins without the work!
We lay them all out on the counter, then each person goes around with a basket or a bag and takes one of each other person's cookies. There were a ton of great recipes I'll share.  Some decorate their bags, other just do the ziplock thing=I'm fine with either-it's what's inside that counts, right?  ;o)
Here are two of the recipes I loved...
Elf Treats-they reminded me a peanut butter/chocolate rice crispie treat-a marriage of some of my favorite things!
 Elf Treat Cookies
by Laine and Stacey
Ingredients:  1 c. sugar, 1 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter, 4 1/4 c. rice crispie treats, 1 c. corn syrup, 1 pinch of salt, 3/4 c. chocolate chips, 6 chopped Reese's peanut butter cup
Instructions:In a large saucepan melt sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat.  Quickly add the salt and cereal and stir to combine.  Add the chocolate chips and stire again.  Wait 1 minute and then add Reese's and fold mix together.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and press down.  Cut into bars when cooled.
...and a second one....
I also loved these chocolate ones-they are my perfect combo of sweet and salty!
Salted Chewy Chocolate Cookies
 by Claire
Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup butter, 2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 cup flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, Kosher salt to top
Instructions:  Preheat over 350 degrees.  In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla.  Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into mix and beat until blended.  Drop by tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle a dash of Kosher salt on top of the dough.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Cool on a cookie sheet for one minute.  Cool on rack.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Making Your List Christmas Gift Idea

I love having creative friends.  When I get adorable gifts-I get to blog about them.  It's a win win.  I know, it's July.  But still....Christmas is just 5 months away...so....if you are like me-I'm already thinking/shopping/trying to come up with knew things to give the people I give to year after year.  Here's one I enjoyed getting.  Amber found this cute bag with my initial and stored some fun things to 'check off my list' in order to have a relaxing holiday...all of which were enjoyed and used-tea, chocolates, candles, and fuzzy socks.  Cute and fun, and functional.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July: Hosting a Cookie Decorating Party

I know I know....it's July.  But...this is when I start planning Christmas...

...just kidding.  I really start planning 'next' Christmas on December 26th!  I just heart a good Christmas party.  I could wait to post this closer to the holidays, but....my blog is always really full around Christmas, and...this is when I started prepping for this party.  I blogged all about these little cookie boxes I put together with a lot of goodies for the gals who came.  Here is that posting.  
 Since these were full, I provided some shirt boxes to tote their cookies home, and some printables to go with some of the shapes I made (more on this later).
 I made a ton of cookies, and had each girl bring something different-icing, sprinkles, etc.
 I put everything in ziplock bags for piping, had plates and knives and we just let our creativity loose.
 It was fun to just hang out and chat...and consume cookies.
Each gal had their own style.
I've done cookie decorating/cookie exchanges different ways each year....this was another fun one.  Now....time to get ready for next year and secretly listen to a Christmas song or two.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Oreo Fluff

I am a fan of the Oreo Cookie.  So...when I saw another use for it....I did not pass go.  I did not collect $200.  I made Oreo Fluff.  Same difference.  It's like pudding.  With Magic.  Oreo Magic.  The original recipe came from foodfamily.  Just a hit-I was able to find the white chocolate pudding mix at Walmart.
Oreo Fluff
Ingredients:  1 small box of White Chocolate instant pudding mix, 2 cups of milk, 1 small tub of Cool Whip, 24 Oreos, crushed, 2 cups of mini marshmallows
1.  Whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes.
2.  Fold in the cool whip, Oreos , and marshmallows.  Combine well.
3.  Place in the fridge until serving.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pimento Cheese Tarts

 Recently I ran into another blogger, she told me about her site, so I had to check it out.  I found the recipe for these at lanabird here.  Pimento cheese....these had my name written all over it.  I've been slightly obsessed with the stuff for the last 5 or so years....I can't explain it.  These were really easy to put together, and as the original recipe said, these make great appetizers at parties and showers.
Pimento Cheese Tarts
Ingredients:  2 boxes of mini fillo dough shells, 1 1/5 cup of your favorite pimento cheese, one egg white
 Instructions:  Whip the egg white until it forms stiff peeks (it takes me about 4 minutes on high to reach this), fold in pimento cheese.  Fill pie tarts with pimento cheese mix.
Cook at 375 for 12 minutes.  The tarts will be a light brown.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthday in a Box

I have a friend I wanted to do something fun for on her birthday.  Year's ago, my friend Neka sent me a big box for my summer birthday (while I was home for the summer from college) with all the fixings for a great birthday.  I did it on a little bit smaller scale.  I saw a few little ideas like this, and decided I had to try it out.  I cut out a birthday banner with some scrap paper and strung it on a string.  
 Added candles, balloons, a little card, and some candy and fun 'party stuffing.'
 I bought this little clear box at the container store b/c it made it that much more fun.
 For the price of a card (less, really) I was able to add a stamp and mail this out.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Panda Express Chow Mein

One of my guilty pleasures is the chow mein at Panda Express.  I can't explain it-but I love it.  I saw the recipe for a copy cat of this dish via EatCakeForDinner and I was skeptical....
Guess what?  It was de-li-cious, and it taste exactly like P.E.....and it was super easy to make.  With the vegetables thrown it-I'm even pretending it's healthy.
This is one of my favorite recipe finds in awhile...so...if you are looking for something that fits the bill...
Chow Mein
Ingredients:  1/4 c. soy sauce, 1 T. brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1 t. ginger (grated-I just popped a little off a large cluster at the store-it was really cheap), black pepper (to taste), 2 T. vegetable oil, 2/3 c. celery (sliced), 1/2 medium onion (thinly sliced), 2 c. cabbage (shredded), 15 oz of chow mein noodles (they sell this fresh near the produce, but I found in near the asian foods, and just boiled it for 2 of the 3 minutes the package called for, drained it, and added it to the mix when it was called for to finish the cooking).
Instructions:  Combine the soy, b. sugar, garlic, ginger, and black pepper-set aside.  Boil the noodles as directed (I went a little under the required time so they wouldn't get too mushy).  Heat oil in a wok.  Add the celery, onion and saute until the onions are soft and translucent.  Add the cabbage and saute a couple more minutes until soft.  Add the noodles and soy mix.  Toss together.  Serve immediately.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fifties Drinks

I attended a 60th birthday party a few months back and I was in charge of drinks.  So...I decided to go with the good ol' days of glass bottles.  I grabbed a variety of drinks (and later waters) and got this old crate (I stole in from my Mom)....straws and bottle top opener (even though they twist off....whatever).  This is also a super simple idea for a backyard bbq...it was a convenient way to carry my drinks....go figure.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2 T. of Milk in an 'Emergency'

 I rarely buy milk because...well, I rarely drink it...unless there is a box of Lucky Charms around.  When I do need milk, it's usually a tablespoon or two for icing.  I've frozen milk before in disposable containers, but then someone shared with me this idea for freezing it in ice cube trays.  First, I had to dust off my ice cube trays, but then I filled and froze them with some of the milk I bought that was about to 'go bad' (fine, for my Lucky Charms...I had the ratio wrong and had more milk that charms).  I started by 'measuring' it with T, but then quickly figured out 2 T. is pretty much the exact size of the cube.  This works so much better for me b/c the defrosting is so much easier, and in the past, one my whole container was defrosted I had to chunk the rest b/c I didn't think the freeze/thaw/freeze thing worked as well.  Bring on the Easy Mac and Icing Recipes-I'm ready for ya!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

DIY Gold and Pink Confetti Streamer

 I've seen versions of this around and I decided I wanted to give it a go.  I'm putting together someone different party gear for my Mom's upcoming 60th.  A portion of the festivities I want to be pink and gold...so...I found some different papers with shine and glitter.
 I punched out circles and taped it evenly along a string.
 I took a second matching circle and hot glued it to the second side to give it a neater finish...
 To keep it from tangling (I learned this the hard way) I have it stored on a piece of cardboard until party day.  Seems like a silly detail, but...after the first time I stored it without this little guy-I think I can avoid streamer therapy.