Monday, August 31, 2009

Extra Special Baby Spoon

I attended a baby shower this weekend and my crafty friend Melanie gave the Mom-to-be a super cute spoon. I took a close look at it and quickly realized I have everything I need to make a set myself!
Here are the supplies (plus a wire cutter sold in the jewelry aisle at stores like Hobby Lobby). The wire is 22 gauge although I think you could go a little thickers and still be fine. I would not go thinner. I used scrap beads leftover from numerous jewelry making projects. If you don't have small beads lying around, you can buy a package of coordinating small beads at Hobby Lobby while buying your wire cutter.I cut a piece of wire a little longer than my nose to fingertips. Wrap the wire around the spoon (closest to the rubber part) about 10 times. Wrap it good and tight and make sure it is snug with the wires lying side by side. Next, drop 1-3 small beads on the wire and wrap it around the spoon. Repeat. After each beaded wrap, I wrapped the wire an additional time.
Repeat this process keeping the wraps tight and the beads close together. When near the end, wrap 10 times around again really tight and cut the wire. Make sure the starting and ending piece of the wire are on the back side.

This is what the back looked like when finished.

And, this is what four super special spoons look like! Seriously, how much fun would this be to give as a gift. You could easily tie it on the outside of the package of make a complete set of spoons for a special Mom.

Here is a detailed shot of the beads. I love the variety of colors and that three of the four are really gender neutral. This same process could be used to make beautiful serving utensils for a wedding shower gift.

Enjoy beading!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More Digital Projects

I'm having lots of fun creating notecards, invitations, and notepads for friends and family. The software I use is Scrapbook Factory Deluxe. It is $40 new and can be found online or at Best Buy. It comes with a basic set of graphics, but lots of websites also sell sets that include papers, accessories, and letters. Here are some of my favorites-
Designer Digitals

The software can be used for printed items, but also website and blog designs. Many of the sites have free items to download and others have a minimal cost.
Big thanks for my girlfriend Erica for getting me started!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fall Decor

This is the fireplace decorated for fall at our old house. I love love love fall- the candle scents, football, cooler weather, dark orange and rusty red colors, football, soups and warm casseroles, hearing the HS marching band on Friday nights from my front yard, football and the decor!

My husband thinks I jump the gun in decorating for fall. I need your opinion- when is the right time to start decorating with pumpkins, little red berries, and cinnamon sticks? Keep in mind, this isn't witches and jack-o-lanterns which are for Halloween.
Can I pull it all out after Labor Day weekend? Is that too early?

Monday, August 24, 2009

This Week's Digital Projects

This week I had the pleasure of making a little boy's birthday invitation and notepads for a girlfriend. I love both of these projects. I seriously could play in this software all day long! If you want something made, just let me know! I'll be happy to do it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 Tailgate Party

Saturday night was our church's 3rd annual Tailgate party. We all get together the Saturday before college football kicks off for family fun, punt, pass and kick competition, outdoor food, and team spirit.
Look at how happy my baby girl is to be supporting her Red Raiders! She is likely happy to be flying, with wind in her face and water, but whatever!
This is a sweet girl who loves Bama. Aren't her pig tails precious! Love her and them! Here is a group of the 60 or so people watching the athletic feats of others. We have an obstacle course, punt pass and kick competition and all around fun!
Me, Johnna and Lori trying to fit in the picture!
We had a wonderful time with everyone and are really ready for some TTU football!

Here is the 2008 Tailgate Party fun!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Homemade Baby Food with the Baby Cook

I am not very organic or granola in most cases. But, I was really excited at the thought of making baby food. It saves money, ensures you of the ingredients in the food, and allows for some fun in the kitchen. I typically make a big batch every other Sunday.
Start with fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables. I prefer frozen- it is just one step easier! Plus, look at the ingredients. Today I made carrots and blueberries.The Baby Cook has a pre-measured cup inside the main liquid compartment. The provided cookbook tells me to put water to measure #3 for carrots.
Next, pour said water into the base station. This water will provide the liquid needed to steam the frozen or fresh food.

Pour the unthawed carrots into the bowl with the basket inside.

Lock in place and turn base unit to steam. It will cook for 10-15 minutes and shut off when done. You now have soft carrots in water ready to be pureed. The orange spatula fits inside the basket handles to help you pour the food out of the basket and into the water which is now sitting in the main bowl.

Put the lid back on and instead of turning the base into to steam, you turn it to blend.

You end up with a large bowl of baby food quality carrots. Next, you simply spoon them into ice cube trays and freeze them overnight. These are the blueberries.

When frozen, pop them out and into baggies to heat up whenever it is time to eat. Each ice cube is about 1 ounce. Abby currently eats 5 ice cubes per day of veggies along with her meat and fruits.
Do the math with me-
1 bag frozen carrots= 99 cents
Water= free
Servings made= 24 ounces
Equivalent in baby food jars= 8
Price of 8 jars= about $8
total savings from just this one batch = $7!
The Baby cook is an initial investment of about $150. But, that can be made up in making just 22 batches of food. I guarantee you will make the money up in just a few months. If you want to save even more, you can use a steamer and food processor or the microwave bags to steam the food. I highly recommend it!

Meat Cupcakes

Yea, the name threw me off a little, too! But I quickly got over it when I ate these delicious cupcakes that I found on another blog last night for dinner. They are really easy and were made completely by my husband in the time that I fed our daughter. Yummy!
Meat Cupcakes
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c ketchup
1T mustard
2 T brown sugar
1 can (10) biscuits
1/4 c shredded cheddar
PReheat ocen to 400. Brown meat. Mix ketchup, mustard and brown sugar together. Drain meat, add sauce. Fill muffin tins with biscuits and press down to form cups. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Top with cheese and enjoy!
PS- If you are watching what you eat, these came out to 4 Weight Watchers points each. Two cupcakes with vegetables were filling.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Easy Sides Dishes

My husband and I are watching what we eat in hopes that my baby weight comes off before the end of the year when she turns one. I am close, but the scale isn't moving anymore and let's face it, we had weight to lose before she came. I shouldn't blame it all on her!

I have the hardest time devoting time to making more than one dish. If we make a casserole, we typically only have that for dinner. We really only have a well rounded meal when we grill lean meat and then we add a veggie to it.

I looked in the frozen meal section for lunches this past weekend and realized how easy and wonderful these standard frozen lunches can be for a side dish. It is cheap, low fat and you just pop it in the mircowave. One serving can easily be divded among 2 adults for a great side item. Plus, lots of options!
Last night we had Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans with our Mexican Chicken casserole.How yummy would roasted potatoes with broccoli and cheese be with a hamburger or BBQ chicken?
We tried the macaroni and cheese with turkey tenderloin earlier this week? It is so much less fat than traditional mac and cheese from Kraft.
Check out the full collection in your grocer's freezer!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My First Nursery

I love reading blogs, especially those that focus on babies. I have so much fun getting ideas from other Moms and watching them go through all of the stages I am or have been going through. I enjoy reading a blog, Spearmint Baby, and they have a featured nursery post each week. You get to see other nurseries and get ideas. The blog is featuring Abby Lu's nursery next time around and I couldn't be more excited to share!

Before I had my daughter I had a million nursery ideas running through my head and then when it was finally time to decorate, my Mom, husband and I had a blast creating her perfect little space. My husband's only request was that it include clouds, so that was our jumping off point.

I love Mary Engelbreit but didn't want her pieces exactly. I wanted a whimsical space that mixed light and bright colors, vintage and new fabrics, and used handmade items where I could.

With the hand painted flowers that match her bedding and the happy fluffy clouds, we hung letters, white shelving, a replica vintage clock from Target, and a wooden sign from a local craft fair. Her bookcase was a great space saver and keeps her for toppling over a big bookcase later in life. It was from Pottery Barn Kids and much cheaper than most large bookcases. It did not come in white, so we bought it in beige and spraypainted it white.

The bed is an inexpensive Graco piece from Target and the bumper and quilt are from Pottery Barn Kids. Rather than use the full "Abby" matching set from PBK, we combined the floral pattern with gingham with a special detail- ribbon, ric-rac and pom poms.

The bed skirt provided inspiration for her curtains. They were inexpensive white panels from a home improvement store. My mother sewed on ribbon of various widths and patterns, ric-rac and the pom poms. I was able to buy a large spool of pom poms and the ric-rac on eBay for much less than the stores charge for a small package.

On the wall opposite the window, we hung 3 photos- myself, my daughter and my husband as a young baby. These simple frames were on sale at Kohls and came with boring white mats. I bought a large piece of matboard at Hobby Lobby in pink and had them cut it down.
The cloth bag inside her chair holds dirty clothes when she is older and stuffed animals for her now. It is made in the colors of the nursery and from fabric that belonged to my husband's grandmother.

The final corner of her room houses a small table and 2 chairs for future tea parties. The table is actually a nightstand from the Back to School 2008 dorm collection at Target and the pink stools were very inexpensive from IKEA.

I hope you have enjoyed touring Abby Lu's nursery and are inspired to have fun in your own space.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Easy Quick Change

I have found that changing the knobs on an inexpensive piece of furntiure can make it look so much more special. These very basic nightstands from Target have a hand painted knob I bought for under $10. I also painted and aged the top of them for my guest bedroom. A quick and cheap change!
P.S. Anthropologie has the best vintage knobs. They aren't cheap, but they are GORGEOUS! It wouldn't be bad if you are doing 2 nightstands only.

You can also just paint the basic knobs that come with your furniture. This is my daughter's dresser and I spray painted all of the knobs pink to match her room. If you decide to paint the knobs, take a piece of cardboard from a box and screw the knobs into the cardboard like it is the drawer. It will make it easy to spray all sides evenly and for them to dry quicker.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fun Invitations Digitally

I got the privilege of designing this sweet baby girl's birthday party invitations. I love playing with my digital scrapbooking software and love that my cousin called me to throw something together.
Erica- I totally get it! Any excuse to play, create and design!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yummy Chocolate Cake

When you put this INSIDE a cake, good things happen!
I love making desserts and have to limit myself to only making them when I can share them outside of the 2 adults in my house. We would be very large people if I made desserts when I wanted to. Last night we attended a SYTYCD party at a friend's home and brought my husband's favorite German Chocolate Pound Cake.

This is one of those cakes you can buy on the fly in the grocery store and don't need the list of ingredients since it is so simple. My recipe for this is from an email in 2005 and it is covered in signs that I have made it often. Here is the recipe just for you!

German Chocolate Pound Cake

Prehreat oven to 325

Mix together the following:
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix
4 aggs
1/2 c. water
1 c. oil

Stir in:
1 can Coconut Pecan Frosting
6 oz. (or more) chocolate chips

Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.

Enjoy warm, with ice cream or all by it's lonesome.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Playing with Steam A Seam

My daughter's fashion godmother Johnna introduced me to Steam a Seam shortly after I had my daughter and it is lots of fun to play with. I had a couple of requests recently to learn how to use it. I played tonight making gifts for 5 kids and took pictures along the way.
Decide what shapes you want to iron onto your t-shirt, onesie, bag, apron, etc. If you want to do a letter- play with fun fonts. I found 400 point font to be a good size for a young child. If you want an animal-like shape, you can google it. I googled "giraffe outline" and "giraffe coloring book". You can also visit this teacher resource site for basic shapes. Once you have the shape you want, cut it out.
Here are examples of my cutouts- a tie (drawn from hand), a letter from Microsoft Word, a flower from Preschool Express (site above) and a giraffe from my Google search.
Once they are cut out you want to trace the shape on your Steam a Seam sheet. S-a-S can be bought at Hobby Lobby and is about $1 per 8.5 x 11 sheet. It is essentially 2 pieces of special paper with a webbed sticky sheet in the middle. Before tracing your shape, pull apart a small corner of the S-a-S sheet. You want to trace on the paper that the webbed surface sticks to. If your image is a letter or non-mirrored image, you want to trace the reverse so that when it is completed it will be the front side. Notice my K below is backward. For the mitten, it doesn't matter.

Once your S-a-S is cut out, remove the one side of paper backing (that you didn't trace on) and attach the remaining sheet ( sticky side and paper) onto the backside of the fabric. It should stick pretty easily. I always iron my fabric first- it'll ensure there are no wrinkles when you are tracing and heating up the fabric will help it stick.

Now you are ready to cut your fabric into your S-a-S shape. Once that is done, peel off that last piece of paper. You are left with your fabric (picture below is the backside) in your chosen shape that has the sticky webbed surface attached.

Last step, turn the fabric over and iron the fabric onto your item. The sticky webbed surface will attach the fabric to the item.

Along with the onesie above for a friend that just found out she is having a boy, I cut out all of these items. I'll attach them to shirts or give them as is and let their Mothers finish the last step.
A couple of tips- wash and dry the fabric and item first. It'll make the product last longer. If you own one, you can sew the edges in a fun zig zag stitch with a contrasting color. If you don't own one ( I do not) no worries. My daughter's shirts lasted until she outgrew them. Some got a little ratty on the edges, but they still looked good. Finally, when buying fabric, a little goes a long way. I buy 1/8 to 1/4 yard each time and just keep a bin of scraps along with shapes already cut out.

Have fun creating!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Great Things are Coming...

I have two fun projects planned for this week and I can't wait to share them with you.
Have you seen this before in Hobby Lobby? It will change your world or at least the wardrobes in your world. I am making some fun clothes for new babies and will give you step-by-step directions as I go. It is easy, makes a great gift and allows you to be as creative as you would like.I also have plans to make my husband's favorite dessert tomorrow night- German Chocolate Pound Cake. My friends, there is a tub of icing INSIDE the cake. You'll thank me for this one- mmm good!