Top Social

Eureka!

12.01.2010

One of the most common emails I get is asking where we found the tile for our kitchen backsplash.  And I always had to answer that it was at a local tile close out store and I had no idea where anyone else could find it.

IMG_2956

Until now….

CIMG0063(2)

We just happened to be at the same tile store last weekend (because you know that is what we like to do with our free time) and I was lusting over all the gorgeous and cheap glass tile.  And trying to justify buying some for the basement even though we have no idea what we are planning or how much we need.  Reason won out and we left empty handed, but I did spy our kitchen tile that I have not seen in two years.

So if you are in the Kansas city area you can head to the Tile and Stone Warehouse and score it for 6.99 a square foot.  (if it is still there…..things move quickly there.)

But the good news is for everyone else it is also online. 

Of course it is a lot more expensive, but I finally found a source.

Capture

Yeah!  So please tell me we are not the only ones that like to browse tile stores for inspiration and fun?  Anyone?

C-O-O-K-I-E-S

11.28.2010

I love sugar cookies.  And I love making sugar cookies.  And I love giving sugar cookies. 

DSC03377

And I think people like them too because I am always being asked for the recipe.  So last year my sugar cookie recipe was part of the cookie week at Kim’s.  (click here for the recipe).

This year I was going to make something different than sugar cookies.  I scoured magazines looking for that perfect recipe.  But either because of my nut allergy eliminating tons of them or my affinity for the dough, I was led right back to the old standby.

This time with a twist.  That actually makes them quicker and easier.  And while not better than the original…different and amazing in their own way.

DSC03373

 

Peppermint Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • chocolate chips
  • candy canes
Directions
  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and sour cream until well blended. Stir in the sifted ingredients. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters or random round object (I used a glass). Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler (or a makeshift one using a Pyrex bowl and a saucepan…hey it worked). 
  5. Put candy canes in plastic bag and crunch them.  Multiple techniques for this include the rubber mallet, stomping on them etc.
  6. Dip cooled cookies into the melted chocolate halfway and then set on wax or parchment paper. 
  7. Before the chocolate hardens, sprinkle the peppermint chunks on top.

Yummy!  Make sure you head over to Kim’s to sample all the yumminess over there!

Baby Windowpanes

11.23.2010

The reason that I started to learn to quilt was because all my friends started to have babies and I wanted to make cute things for them.  This makes baby quilt #6 (with a couple more in progress of course since I can never finish something 100% without starting something new).

IMG_3137

And I still love making them…..

IMG_3138

This took just a charm pack of fun fabric and a solid color for the background. It pieced together very quickly and I love the windowpane look.

And the back in a cream soft flannel with a pinwheel….

IMG_3139

I think I am in love with that curvy stitch on my sewing machine…..

IMG_3140

I also made a light weight blanket with a fun boy animal print.

IMG_3133

This was super easy.  I just got a yard of fabric I loved and sliced it, turned different sections around, and inserted white.

IMG_3134

More snuggly flannel on the back.  This was the first time I attempted a machine sewn binding.  I have to say it was so much faster than a traditional hand sewn binding (like on the quilt) and I was so happy how the front looks.  But it was a little wonkier on the back than I would have liked.  Oh well I guess that just means more practice.  Hopefully Baby K won’t mind.

We had a great time at the shower and Sarah, the mom-to-be, looked so cute.  Sarah is actually the friend that convinced to start a blog and that people would actually read it (besides her and my mom). 154117_592771270129_66801178_33502088_2849917_n

So now you know where to direct your hate mail/fan mail to.

Hope Baby K loves his new quilt!

It is Beginning to Look A Lot Like…..

11.21.2010

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Luckily/unluckily I am just starting to feel better while Derek is now best buds  with the Nyquil.  I am on his favorite person list right now obviously….

The whole sick thing caused some blog silence last week since going to bed at 7 was not good for my productivity and I even missed the first week of Kim’s Dare to DIY party.  Sad.

But no worries, I am back (for the most part…excuse my box of Kleenex).

Last year, I decorated our dining room table for Christmas a week early and while I loved it, I swore to myself that this year I would not forget about Thanksgiving and set the table with gourds and the and other fall-y things.

That is until it occurred to me that we were hosting Christmas and not Thanksgiving, so why waste good ideas on a tablescape that no one would use? Right?

So I present you with an early Christmas table for the second year in a row…..

IMG_3181

Red does happen to be my favorite color.  Good thing it corresponds with Christmas.

IMG_3173

IMG_3170

IMG_3174

IMG_3169

I really wanted a beautiful red tablecloth to cover the entire table.  But a round tablecloth in a size to cover a 75 inch round table is impossible to find in stores.  Trust me on that.  I did find some huge ones online that I may order for future occasions, but that would not have fit the blog party timeline. 

Table runners also are too short for the massive table so I had to improvise.  I bought an oblong tablecloth and kept it folded so it just looked like an extra wide but long enough table runner.

IMG_3182

Of course I will have to re-buy the red roses closer to Christmas.  But I will take any excuse to buy myself roses.

And in honor of my new light fixture, i wanted to bring some bling to the table.  I found these mini mirrors at Michael’s for 1.99 for 25.  They made the perfect mirror confetti.

IMG_3175

And of course blingy napkin rings….

IMG_3184

Head over to the Newly Woodwards and see what everyone else put together!

Swapping

11.11.2010

Last week at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild we had a holiday swap.

And it was super fun as this is the first swap I have participated.  Because of the unfortunate potholder incident.

The “rules” were that we could make anything for any holiday and we were going to do it in November because most guild members are going to be super busy in December with all sorts of handmade gifts.

I should be one of them.  And I should have also been super busy in September and October as well with this task.  But the procrastinator in me is going strong and I have not started one Christmas gift yet.  So much for getting any sleep the week before Christmas again.

Oh well.

Anyway for the swap I used some left over Figgy Pudding jelly roll to make a fun Christmas accent pillow.

IMG_3107

It came together super quick (even for me) and I just used four blocks of disappearing nine patch.  It is a fun and easy pattern that a simple google search will lead you to many tutorials for.  And this time I was not even ripping seams 5 minutes before I had to leave for the meeting.  Stupid potholders.

IMG_3106

But the most fun part of the swap by far….

IMG_3123

My new Liberty of London scarf!  Somehow even being the last to choose in my group, I scored the swap item that the president, Jacquie, made.  It is gorgeous and so soft.

IMG_3128

And backed with a great autumny orange shot cotton.  Of course I wore it to work the very next day and got tons of compliments. 

As if the scarf was not enough, I also received two fat quarters of Kate Spain’s 12 Days of Christmas.  Which is perfect as I had just ordered fabric from that line for my very own Christmas quilt that I am going to get to as soon as all the drapes and Christmas gifts are complete.

Christmas is still months away….right?

Dare to DIY

11.08.2010

Remember my blog friend turned real friend Kim who I was super happy did not turn out to be a creepy old man(although she is holding a mustache in this pic…..hmmmmm)?

IMG_2889

Well she is having a 2nd annual Dare to Do it Yourself Blog Party.

4079810980_5f87a49c79_b

This party was so much fun last year and I met so many great bloggers and got so much holiday inspiration.

Including Kim, since a link on another blog brought me to her party and the beginning of a great friendship.  She told me she expected flowers for our one year bloggy friendship anniversary.   Since we are DIYers maybe a set of paintbrushes would be more appropriate?

Of course I am super excited to participate this year.  Here is the line-up:

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 15

Dare to… be thankful!

Take some time making your own DIY Thanksgiving project. It could be a fun Thanksgiving advent calendar, a banner or something completely unique. Post about what you made, how you made it and photos in its new home.
(Last year's)

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 22
Dare to… entertain!

Show us your table! If you are not hosting Thanksgiving, take this opportunity to make your table look great. Bring out your dishes and napkins and set your table. I promise you that it will make you smile every time you walk by. Get creative and use new things. Or go true DIY and make something totally new.
(Last year's)

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 29

Dare to… eat cookies!

As we begin to attend holiday parties, share your favorite cookie recipe for all to enjoy. It’s like a digital cookie swap. Share the recipe and a review of the cookie. If you can, add a picture. And don't worry about the extra calories. At Christmas, cookies are calorie-free.
(Last year's)

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 6
Dare to… give homemade gifts!

Nothing is more special than a gift made by you. Try out something new to give this year - ideas include bath and body items, kitchen gifts, hand-sewn clothing or home decor. 
(Last year's)

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 13
Dare to… deck the halls!

Make something new to deck your halls. Did you find something in a catalog that you wish you had? Wreaths, stockings, pillows or advent calendars? Make it! Inspire us all to do the same.
(Last year's)

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 20
Dare to… have traditions!

Everyone has traditions for the Holidays. Tell us all about your favorites or start a new tradition to share.
(Last year's)

Super fun right?  Head over the NewlyWoodwards to join us in a great time!

Flower Power

11.05.2010

In honor of our first frost, I did some last minute flower cutting from the garden before they get zapped.  Which is very sad.

But to help me not come to grips with the fact that winter is coming very quickly, I spread some vases of prettiness around the house to help me pretend it is still summer.  Or at least early fall.  Happy thoughts.

This is not usually something I would blog about, because really flowers in a vase is not riveting. 

Being the non-flower designer I am, I usually cut some flowers and stick them in vase and call it good. But since all my plants even the non-flowering ones are on borrowed time right now, I added them to the mix.

And I could not believe what a variety of leaves did for my scrawny flowers. Hence why it gets a blog post.

IMG_3062

They actually looked like I put some thought into it….

IMG_3059

So now I can think summery thoughts while I at the computer…

IMG_3058

IMG_3054

Or washing dishes…..

IMG_3052

IMG_3048

How are you hanging onto summer?  Or are you telling winter to bring it on?

Self-Control

11.03.2010

I will not start a new project before finishing my 5 half-finished ones……

I will not start a new project before finishing my 5 half-finished ones……

I will not start a new project before finishing my 5 half-finished ones……

But there is no such thing as having too many projects right?

I will not start a guest room remodel  right before the holidays….and guests….

I will not start a guest room remodel  right before the holidays….and guests…

I will not start a guest room remodel  right before the holidays….and guests…

IMG_3100

Well I guess paint samples don’t count as starting right?

IMG_3101

And if there is a great table on super clearance it only makes sense to pick it up…..right?

I will not start a new project before finishing my 5 half-finished ones……

Italy Memories….On a Wall

11.01.2010

I may have mentioned that we went to Italy this summer.

And I may have taken have tons of pictures.

I may have been really tempted to frame all 1457 of them and hang them around the house.

But I knew that would have been just a little overkill.

However there was this big blank wall right behind the chairs in the living room that had “Italy” written all over it.

(Just picture it….it was a blank wall of nothing)

And I just may have had that wall in mind when we planned the Italy trip.

Anyway this what we whipped up….

IMG_3086

Because I wanted a way to remember our trip everyday. Without having everyone that walks into the house thinking that our travel photo album barfed all over the place.

My goal was to make look like we collected a wide array of pictures over a long period of time and make it say “Italy” without using all photos.  I think we achieved it and I am so happy how it turned out. 

It all started with this art that we bought for the old house because Derek really liked it.

IMG_3090

And it hung over the buffet in the dining room for years until we moved.  But at the new house there was not great place for it, so it sat in the closet for the past couple of years.  Sad.

Since it happened to be a painting of St. Peter’s Basilica, it worked out perfectly for our Italy wall.  And it wasn’t a photo.  Good planning 5 years ago.

Also when we at ZGallerie we stumbled on a Rome sign that was also a perfect addition.  I told Derek I could make it myself, but I got outvoted.  Now we had Rome represented.

After we had our two pieces, we bough some random frames and with the use of our area rug and a measuring tape laid out the the display.

By random, I mean absolutely no plan.  We picked a variety of sizes and finishes.  And different mats.  No plan here.  Collected over time was the desired look.

Next, we hung them all on the wall according to our plan on the floor.  And our new best friends smiled at us from their frames for a month (or two) while I picked out the rest of the pictures to complement the art.

IMG_3083

Finally finished….

On the bottom portion we have some photos of course.

IMG_3089

In addition to the normal photos, I also modified a photo of the Cinque Terre to make it resemble a painting.

IMG_1988art

I used a filter in Photoshop to in order to achieve this effect.  And if I can do it in Photoshop, anyone can do it because I still have zero skill with that program.  Also if you don’t have Photoshop, there are tons of photo editing program online that can achieve similar effects.

Another “different than photo thing” I did was with some left over Euros that the bank would not take back when we arrived home.

scan0002art

So of course I had to make something with them.

My first thought was do a rubbing over them with a pencil or charcoal.  And be all all old fashioned and stuff. Bad idea.

So I reverted back to the computer and threw them on the scanner.  I then did multiple random effects in Photoshop and Picnik until I liked how they looked.  Don’t ask me which ones because I have no idea. 

Then there is the top section….

IMG_3088

The top right is actually a retro travel poster from the Boston Public Library’s Flickr Photostream.

Tuscany - Siena

High Heeled Foot in the Door mentioned it awhile ago and I had the link safely tucked away until I needed it.  There are so many fun posters there for all sorts of destinations.  I had trouble picking just one poster and can see this becoming a go-to spot for future trips.  Definitely worth checking out.

And last but not least….our Italian phrase.

IMG_3091

Il bel far niente.

Or the art of doing nothing.

Something we are both terrible at.  And I would like to pretend that having it written in Italian on the wall will make us stop and smell the roses sometime.

IMG_3094

I spent a lot of time with my Italian travel dictionary to try to find the perfect phrase and this seemed like the best fit.

Although there were a lot of great runners up in the “amore” section that I was tempted to put up there and just tell people it meant something nice and romantic.

Non ho mallattie has a nice ring to it don’t you think? (I have no diseases)…..

Or how about “Sono ricco e single” (I am rich and single)….

No?

Oh well…I guess I will have to get busy with the art of doing nothing.

And remembering our amazing vacation daily of course…..

Drapery Cutting-The Quick and Easy Way

10.27.2010

I had a really good weekend.  My former college roommate, Katie,  flew in for a visit and we had a great time.  We shopped.  We enjoyed tapas, sangria, red wine and stayed up past our bedtime.  We got pedicures and cooked together.  And of course talked and talked.  Which made me really wish we were not hundreds of miles and a plane ride away from each other.

And took absolutely no pictures.  Even after I made a point to say “We need need to take tons of pictures this weekend because we got 0 last time”

Just picture us having an amazing time.

We also had numerous “wow we are getting old” moments.  Maybe it is because 30 is in the not too distant future.  Or maybe it is because we have both recently have moved from the city to the ‘burbs.  Or maybe it is the glaring differences in how we used to hang out and how we spend our time together now. 

But the point of this post is not to bore everyone with reminiscing.  I really do have a point.

As part of being “old” we spent some time making drapery panels for Katie’s new house.  We spent a half of day picking out the fabric and got five new lined panels banged out in just a couple of hours.

Which led Derek to ask why it has taken me months to finish our panels in the kitchen.

Anyway……

She picked out three great fabrics for each panel…..a deep gray, and orange stripe and an orange and gray pattern.   Of course again no pictures, but I made her swear to email me some as soon as they are hung in her house.

Katie is a beginning sewer and has just completed a couple of pillows.  So when I showed her my trick for incredibly fast fabric cutting she was amazed it went so fast. 

And so was Derek….because again those dang  kitchen panels.

This tip is not going to be anything new to experienced sewers out there, but i wanted to share it with everyone that is just starting to make an easy drapery panel on their own.  Because I wish I knew this with my first panels.

Quick and Easy way to Measure and Cut Drapery Panels

1. Find a square flooring surface in you house.  This could be a tile or wood floor.  Or even a carpet beginning/ending point in a wide doorway.  Or even a wall if you don’t have anything else.

2. Figure out how long you want you drapery panels to be and measure it out from your beginning edge.  Mark that spot with a piece of tape.  Scoot a little bit down and repeat to make sure you tape line is even.

IMG_3072

3. Stretch out the fabric from your tape line to your original square line on the floor.  If you are on wood or tile, line up the fabric with a line in the floor to make sure you are straight.

IMG_3075

4. Cut right along the edge that you know is square.

IMG_3073

5. Repeat with the other panels.

And you should have them cut in just a couple of minutes and ready to sew.  Quick right?

Just ask Derek about the kitchen.

Ode to Overstock

10.24.2010

The UPS/FedEx/mail men were among my favorite people this week.  They just kept bringing boxes of goodies.  Not all the boxes are ready to be revealed, but a couple are unpacked and up and running.

When we last left the dining room ceiling saga, I was stumped with what to do.  And out of my list of options, most of you picked Derek’s option of adding the white edging so that the colors looked more similar.

dining room ceiling fun

Derek would like to thank everyone for voting for him.  He reads the blog, but usually does not mention much about it except “do you want me to take pictures of this while I am doing it?”  But on the day on the dining room post I got a call at work making sure that I was not missing the comments that people were agreeing with him.

So I did it.

And it took awhile.

And again it looked great during the day, but at night it looked even worse.  The white of the crown molding and the white of the ceiling looked like completely different colors even though they were the exact.same.paint. 

Very very frustrating.

So at this point, I knew I had to do something about the light fixture since the yellow globes were the main problem.

I bought some other non-yellow globe options and honestly some of them were OK.  But to replace all the globes was going to cost over $70 and for that amount of money I decided I would rather move that light fixture to another location and get a new one for the dining room.

(I apologize for the lack of pictures of the globes….Derek had the new light fixture installed while I was out with friends and did not realize I had not done it yet.  I couldn’t be upset with him because he was installing a light fixture while I was getting a pedicure,  Guess he made up for the whole everyone liking his idea thing.)

Anyway enter overstock and this beauty.

IMG_3065

Love the bling.

IMG_3067

And while the space is not a total after yet, the ceiling and light is finally finished.

IMG_3064

Even at night…..

IMG_3080

My other overstock love landed right outside the dining room in the entryway. 

We have had this rug from our prior house in the entryway since we moved in.  It was not bought for the space and no longer fits the style of our house.  Even Derek agreed we needed something new.

IMG_3046

I wanted to keep this size rug however for a couple of reasons.  The floors are orange of course and are really beat up in the entryway.  Also when the dogs are running down the stairs at full speed and hit a bare hard wood floor they go flying and further damage the floor.  Hence the need for a big rug.

We tried the IKEA rug in the space and it was too busy and did not flow from the style of the dining room.

IKEA!

Again Overstock to the rescue with this baby….

IMG_3070

Love it.  I think the colors and style are perfect.

IMG_3071

Now off to open up the other boxes. 

And never paint another dining room ceiling again.