Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What I Wore (Or the Wind was Very Windy)

I had been planning to make a bright pink necklace, and then last week I hopped over to Two Twinkies and a Tater Tot (through the Pleated Poppy), and saw her amazing yellow necklace. I decided then that nothing would stop me from making my own. Maybe I need a red one, too....

White Cardi: Already had (F21)
Green top: $5 (Old Navy)
Jeans: Already had (F21)
Sandals: Already had (Old Navy)
Necklace: Handmade by yours truly!

This dress is one of my favorite thrifted finds ever!!!!! And my my hubs loooooooooooves it. :)

Dress: $3 (Thrifted)
Belt: Came with a skirt (Rue 21)
Boots: Already had (Yard sale find)

Excited to be linking this post to The Pleated Poppy Real Girl Style Finding Fabulous Musings of a Housewife

Monday, October 29, 2012

How I Embellished a Tank Top (Or Using Up the Leftovers)

I'm sure you've all seen tutorials for making fabric flowers (if not, you can look here, here, or here). I have made these flowers in a variety of sizes out of calico, felt (here I made a hairbow bouquet for a baby shower)  and -- my favorite -- old t-shirts (here and here).

There are a couple of different ways to cut out the petals; I've cut out circles and I've cut out kind of free-form flowers. I tend to like the circles for little-girl hairbows, since they give more of a pom-pom feel, and the petals for anything that needs to look a little more lady-like.

For this project, I used tan muslin and bright white cotton left over from other projects. I cut out 3 free-form flower templates (small, medium and large).

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the smallest size. I didn't realize until the very end that I was going to need it, sadly.

To make flowers like the one on the tank top, you will need to cut:

8 large petals (4 in tan and 4 in white) --this is the base for the 2 larger flowers
16 medium petals (8 in tan and 8 in white) -- these are the middle section of the large flowers, and make up the smaller one
2 small petals (I did these in white)

The other tutorials say to hot glue the petals together. Since my flowers were going on a shirt, I had to stitch them together and then stitch them on the shirt.

I got the tank on clearance at WalMart for $3...I actually like their tanks for layering because 1) they're inexpensive, 2) they're readily available, and 3) they're longer than some of the other tanks I've found...nobody likes a tank that creeps up, right?
This project took me about an hour to finish, I think; but then, I had two extra kiddos that day, so there was a lot of stopping-and-starting involved. That's just how it goes sometimes...we do what we can, when we can!!!

Linked up to Flour Me With Love Funky Polka-Dot Giraffe Crafty Confessions Mad In Crafts House of Hepworth The Train to Crazy Katie's Nesting Spot Whipperberry I Heart Naptime The Brassy Apple Making the World Cuter

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What I Wore (Or Don't Discount a Discount Store)

Jacket: Hand-me-down
Tank: $3 (Embellished it myself -- see the tutorial here)
Skirt: $21.99 (Rue 21)
Boots: Already had (Yard sale find)
Necklace: $3 (Pendant from WalMart)

I got this tank on clearance at WalMart, and embellished it with flowers that I made from left-overs from other projects. Tutorial coming soon, I hope!!

WalMart also has a pretty decent little jewelry finds section in the crafts department. I poke around there every now and again to see if there's anything I can't live without. :) I'm planning to switch out this pendant on my short silver chain and on my super-long one (my friend Stephanie from Real Food Enthusiast wears one like it all the time, and I just love hers!!).

Linked up to Crafty Cousins Modern Modest Beauty Watch Out for the Woestmans Still Being Molly Covered In Grace
Not Dead Yet Style Life On Leroy Steppin' Out Real Girl Style Serenity Now

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How I Made Cinnamon Biscuits (Or a Stitch In Time Saves Nine)

Some of you are old enough to remember the old Hardees' Cinnamon Raising Biscuits. Do you remember how everyone went nuts collecting the Cinnamon Raisin figurines?

If you don't remember that, please keep it to yourself. I just realized that I dated myself. Terribly.

Well, since I grew up in a family of 6 kids, going "out to eat," for fast food or dine-in, didn't happen all that often. So my mother would make Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits from scratch. And frankly, they tasted much better than Hardees'.

I was feeling nostalgic this morning.

I made a double-batch of biscuit dough:

2 sticks of butter
6 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
6 tsp. baking powder
2 cups milk (may need more if your dough is dry)

I'll explain why I made a double-batch in a minute. That's the "stitch in time" part.

I mixed the butter and the dry ingredients until pea-sized lumps of dough were formed. Then I incorporated the milk.

I did all of this in my Kitchen-Aid, and let it do the work using the dough hook. I let it run for a couple of minutes.

I preheated my oven to 450 degrees, and put my cast-iron skillet in the oven to heat up, as well.

After I had done all of the above, I took half of the dough and rolled it out....

....sprinkled it with cinnamon and brown sugar....

....folded the sides in and rolled it out again...

...sprinkled it again with cinnamon and brown sugar...

...folded the sides in, turned it seam-side down, rolled it out to flatten just a little bit, and cut out the biscuits.

See the ribbons of cinnamon and brown sugar? Ah, yes.

 Then I put the biscuits in the pre-heated cast-iron skillet. The pre-heated skillet will give  a crispy bottom crust...I love hearing the sizzle when the buttery biscuit dough hits the pan.

I heard once that in order for biscuits to rise properly, they have to bake touching each other. I don't know why. I just do it.

I baked this at 450 for about 12 minutes, or until golden on top.


As soon as they came out of the oven, I poured a glaze of melted butter and powdered sugar over the top. I love how the hot skillet makes the sugar crystalize and gives a beautiful crispy sheen over the biscuits, and the heat helps them soak up the buttery sugar. Or the sugary butter. Either way, it's win-win.

That's not a bad way to kick off a Saturday morning.

Now for the "stitch in time" part.

I first came across the idea of homemade frozen biscuits here. Pure genius.

I doubled my batch of biscuit dough to make some to freeze. While my Cinnamon Biscuits were in the oven, I rolled out the second batch, cut them out, put them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, and put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

After they were frozen, I pulled them out, put them in a freezer-safe bag, and labeled them.

The extra 7-10 minutes it took to roll out a second batch will save me so much time later, and homemade frozen biscuits are literally a fraction of the cost of purchased ones. So we have fresh biscuits today and frozen ones for another, busier day.

Linked up to Six Sisters' Stuff Be Different Act Normal TaterTots and Jello Positively Splendid I Heart Naptime DIY Showoff Nifty Thrifty Things Petite Hermine Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms Flour Me With Love

Friday, October 26, 2012

What I Wore (Or It's Been One of Those Days)

I started with this.
Cardigan: gift
Coral top: $4 (F32)
Jeans: already had (F21)
Shoes: already had (Kohl's)
Scarf: handmade

Nope. Need an updated cardi.

So I went to this:

 Blazer: $3.99 (Thrifted)
Coral top: $4 (F21)
Jeans: Already had (F21)
Shoes: Already had (Kohl's)
Scarf: Already had

But I was going to the store, and a blazer was too much. And I've had the scarf forever, and while I like the gray leopard-y print, it's shiny. Anybody know how to distress the shine out of a silky scarf?

Then I wound up with this:

 Excuse the blurriness of the picture. Some days you just can't win. This felt like one of those days!

Military jacket: Hand-me-down (Delia's)
Coral top: $4 (F21)
Jeans: Already had (F21)
Shoes: Already had (Kohl's)
Scarf: Handmade
Bag: 99 cents (Goodwill)

Linked to Two Thirty-Five Designs

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How I Faked an Antique Mirror (Or Making Something Old Look Older)

A friend of mine gave me this window, and for a long time I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. Then along came Krylon Looking Glass spray paint, and somewhere along the way, I developed what is likely to be an unhealthy fascination with it.
Have I mentioned that it is the MOST AMAZING THING EVER??
If you want to turn an ordinary piece of glass into a mirror using Looking Glass, one of the most important things to remember is that you must paint the back side of the glass, not the front.

This is how the mirror started out. Ignore all the schmutz around it, if you can.

"Creating" an antique mirror is done in the same way as faking mercury glass.

On the back side of the glass, spray a thin coat of Looking Glass.

Next, using a spray bottle filled with equal parts vinegar and water, LIGHTLY mist the newly-painted glass, and then blot with a dry paper towel. Let it dry.

Repeat this process until you get the look you want. I think I did it about 4 times.

This was taken before my hubs got home from work and hung it for me. In other news, it's also one of the very last pictures ever taken of that cream carpet.

Cream, builder-grade carpet was not created for families with children. Especially not for families with 4 children under the age of 6. Cream, builder-grade carpet was the bane of my existence.

It's gone now. Now we're in the process of laying down some laminate flooring.

Living in a mess is the new bane of my existence.

So I'm just going to keep looking at my new "antique" mirror.

At least it's hanging high above the mess.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How I Wore 1 Dress 3 Ways

I bought this dress at a flea market early in the summer; I liked the ruffle at the neckline and the elastic waist, which made it incredibly comfortable to wear. When I got in home and tried it on, I wished that I'd bought another one in a different color. It is so easy to throw on that I've worn it all summer long!

Dress: $10 (flea market)
Sandals: Gift (F21)
Belt: Already had (Rue 21)

 Dress: $10 (flea market)
Knit short-sleeved jacket: $7.99 (Ross)
Belt: Already had
Shoes: Gift
Flower pin: Handmade (made for Mom's Night In)

Dress: $10 (flea market)
Military jacket: Hand-me-down (Delia's)
Boots: Already had (American Eagle)
Headband: Handmade

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How I Shopped My Own Closet (or The Look for Less)


I love being a girl. As long as I can remember, I've loved everything that had to do with hair, makeup, and clothes. I was never really allowed to wear makeup very much growing up, and wore a uniform to school from Kindergarten through graduation, so I think that I've been living in an extended adolescence as a result.

I subscribe to a few fashion magazines, and one of my favorite things to do is figure out how to recreate the outfits that I see in those pages using what I already have in my own closet, or by supplementing as little as possible.

Here are some of the ways that I worked with outfits from InStyle's August issue.

Blazer: $3.99 (Thrifted)
Top: $5 (Old Navy)
Red skinnies: $18.99 (Kohl's)
Leopard peep-toes: Already had (Target)

Dress: Gift (F21)
Jacket: Hand-me-down
Tights: Already had (next time I'll wear leggings)
Motorcycle boots: Already had (had to sell the bike when I was pg with #4, sniff, sniff)

I understand that this one's a bit of a stretch. I don't have metallic gold jeans, and I'm not going to buy them. Um, no.
Blazer: $3.99 (Thrifted)
Tank: $4.95 (H&M)
Gray skinnies: Already had (Kohl's)
Bronze peep-toes: Already had (Target)
Also, kudos to my 5-year-old Little Miss for taking these pictures! Such a patient sweetheart.


Monday, October 22, 2012

How I Made Pumpkin Cranberry Streusel Muffins (Or Putting on an Extra Winter Layer)

A few weeks ago, I was supposed to take breakfast to our Sunday School class, but I was crunched for time. I immediately thought of a Pumpkin Muffin recipe I had seen (you know, the one that uses a can of pumpkin and a yellow cake mix?). Unfortunately, I didn't have a yellow cake mix. So I did a little digging and found several reviews that said to use a Spice Cake mix instead...and, randomly, I DID have a Spice Cake mix. I know, that's weird, right?

I made them, and covered them in a butter and powdered sugar glaze, and everyone in class loved them.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I'm ready for something pumpkin again. And then I got to thinking about how much I love dried cranberries. And streusel topping. See where this is headed?

Essentially, I think you could take the pumpkin/cake mix base and take it wherever your imagination leads. Mine led to cranberries. And streusel topping.

So here we go:

1 15-oz. can of pumpkin
1 yellow cake mix
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Incorporate all of these, BUT DO NOT OVERMIX. That's how you get dry muffins. That's a bad deal.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and fill them evenly. The batter will be much stiffer than traditional muffin batter. That's ok. 

Now for the yummy stuff.

Streusel topping:

2 TBSP. butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle this over the muffin batter.

Are you getting hungry?

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and have it come out clean.

Hungry yet?


They're almost cooled.... if you'll excuse me......:)

*Stay tuned! I'm not a huge fan of using box mixes if I can keep from it, so I'm going to work on a box-free version, I think! Come back and visit!

This post is linked up at Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Thrifty 101,  Melt In Your Mouth Mondays! Keeping It Simple, Mom's Crazy CookingShine Your Light, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed With Grace, Beauty and Bedlam, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday The Shabby Creek Cottage A Little Nosh, 30 Handmade Days Rattlebridge Farm My Romantic Home The Vintage Farmhouse

What I Wore (Or Channeling Annie Hall)

Blue shirt: $12.99 (TJ Maxx)
Vest: Already had (JC Penney)
Tan Pants: Already had (NY&Co.)
Giraffe platforms: Already had (Nine West through Amazon)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To Fake Mercury Glass

I have been seeing tutorials for how to DIY mercury glass for about a year and a half, I guess, but had never gotten around to doing it. (I read several tutorials but can't find the exact one that helped me figure out how to do it again!) Do you remember that I told you that after I spray-painted my bedside lamps with Krylon Looking Glass, I wanted to spray everything in sight? It's addictive, that stuff.

Our neighborhood had its semi-annual community-wide yard sale a couple of weeks ago, and I picked up these:

I really wanted the idea of the mercury glass to be realistic, so I put a little thought into the shapes of the glass I was choosing...I didn't want to use mason jars, or soda bottles, or anything like that...I didn't want it to look out of place. Just a personal preference.

First I lightly sprayed the inside of the glass with a light coat of the Looking Glass spray, and then while it was still a bit tacky, I VERY lightly sprayed it again using a spray bottle filled with equal parts of vinegar and water. The acid in the vinegar will help eat through the paint (if you overspray, it will remove the paint altogether, and that's not what you want). Then with a paper towel, I blotted the drops of vinegar/water away. I repeated this process about 3 times...sometimes I would blot, and other times I would rub it just a little.

I think I'm going to need juuuuuuust one more.

This post is linked up to Twigg Studios!

How to Make Burgers Like a Diner

My husband and I love (love, love, LOVE) to watch Triple D on the Food Network. And since we've been watching for a looooong time, we've picked up a thing or two. Here are some tried-and-true tips to getting a diner burger in your own kitchen.

We start with grass-fed beef and add seasoned salt, bread crumbs, a splash of Worcestershire, and a splash of low-sodium soy. The bread crumbs will soak up all the juices and hold them in the burger so that the burger doesn't dry out, and the Worcestershire and soy sauce will up the beefy flavor. They just do. Try it.

Once the patties are formed, we let them sit and reach room temperature. This helps the beef to cook evenly and quickly. No, we've never gotten sick...but as a disclaimer, I should probably say that you try this at your own risk. :)

Preheat your griddle. When it's screaming hot, lay your patties down. They're going to cook quickly at this point. Only flip them once, and don't squish them with your spatula. Ever.
In the previous picture, you can see that the edges are starting to brown. That's when (and only when) you flip the burgers. If you're going to add cheese, now's the time.

Now put a lid over your griddle. (Please excuse the elderly nature of my can't help it.) The lid will trap heat inside, and the resulting steam will melt the cheese in the most glorious way possible. Depending on the thickness of your patties, you may want to turn off the heat and move the griddle off of the heat. The worst possible thing to do is overcook your burgers!

See what I mean? Glorious.

Butter and toast your hamburger buns. Surely I don't need to explain why.

Oh, yeeeeaahhhhhhh.

This post is linked up to Six Sisters' Stuff Positively Splendid Hungry Little Girl