Sunday, February 26, 2012

Me and Lulu- My New Etsy Shop

I have played around with the idea of opening an Etsy shop for almost a year. Do I want the pressure of taking something I love and putting deadlines on it? Do I want to make something more than once? What if nobody buys anything or what if everyone does and I don't have time to fulfill? So many questions!

I decided to just give it a shot and let God lead me. I named the store Me and Lulu, after my daughter Abby Lu. She loves craft time at school and I hope carries on the crafting gene or her Mom, Nana and my own Nana.

Not knowing how etsy works or how popular everything will be, I started small. Really small. As in, I am starting with jewelry I had already made and had in my big jewelry closet that may have been worn a time or two. Consider it a soft opening. I hope to sell these pieces and then purchase supplies to keep making more!

Prices are low since the items, although they look new, are not. I have loved all the pieces and am happy to share them in my etsy store so that they can find a new home. As a Your Little Birdie blog reader, I am offering 10% off to my chickadees. Just enter BIRDIE in the coupon code section when checking out.

All of the items in the store are named after friends- it makes it more fun. Lord knows I could not come up with names for everything! Here are a few of my favorite of the 20 or so pieces listed.

Big chunky cuff like bracelet with inspirational messages. It is perfect for a breast cancer survivor, like the woman from my Bible study it is named for.

This necklace has all the colors and shapes of chiclets!

This bracelet has a gorgeous combination of colors for someone that likes more muted tones.

I don't think you can ever go wrong with turquoise and crosses! This necklace is stunning in person- always leads to compliments!

I love the soldered charm on this necklace! The back side features a map of Austin, my hometown.

Need something special for a baby shower or for your child's Easter basket? These brand new handmade beaded baby spoons are a great gift and wonderful keepsake for your child. I have 4 options listed, but will happily take custom orders! Plus, they are less than $8!

Feel free to visit my store anytime. I hope to add new items regularly. Plus, if you ever see something on the blog you like and would rather I just make it for you, let me know!  The Me and Lulu button on the right will take you there anytime!

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Kitchen Gadgets

I recently had a gift card to Macy's and rather than buy clothing, I went upstairs and splurged on some fun kitchen gadgets from Martha Stewart. I am a sucker for fun colorful items in the kitchen and Martha has my number! So many cute things right now like my palm brush, citrus juicer, palm peeler, and quarter cookie sheet. The brush and peeler have a little finger hole so they fit into your palm and on your hand like a ring. The cookies sheet is the perfect size for a couple of slices of garlic bread or french fries for 2. She also has big cookie sheet with red or aqua blue bases. Love them!

I don't own a juicer, but have a few new recipes to try that call for fresh juice. I love this one- it worked wonderfully and stores the juice inside the cup. With the lid on, it can go right into the refrigerator. And, it shows you exactly how much you have. Genius!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

We had dinner with friends just before Christmas and she made the most amazing meal including this Baked Spaghetti she found on Pinterest. We loved it and made it for dinner last week. Seriously, so easy and good!

It is layers of meat sauce, spahetti, cream cheese with peppers and onions, and topped with French's fried onions. Who knew that belonged on spaghetti! We made half and froze half for another time. So cheesy and good!

Enjoy with a salad and bread!
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

We live on soups during the winter and I tried a new one recently that we loved! To make matters better, it is from Weight Watchers! I found it on a blog of a blog and didn't make note of how many points it is. Sorry- bad blogger!

Isn't it pretty- such great color!

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

1 medium uncooked yukon gold potato
Cooking Spray (or a little butter!)
1/2 cup uncooked celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped, uncooked onion
4 pieces corn on the cob, removed from the "cob" or frozen sweet corn precooked in the microwave
1 cup sweet red peppers, diced
4 oz. uncooked Canadian style bacon, diced
2 cups fat free skim milk
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 (or more!) t hot pepper sauce (i.e. Tabasco)

Pierce potato in several places with a fork, microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool, peel and mash. (I used baby gold potatoes, boiled them, and kept the skins on)

Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray (or butter). Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper. Saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Stir bacon and milk into saucepan. Stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Make sure it doesn't boil. 

You can add in more vegetables if you'd like- they recommend asparagus or broccoli. Enjoy!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Update on my Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been using my homemade laundry detergent for a few months now. I love not having to spend the money on detergent every month. It is such a relief to have a big bucket of detergent just waiting for me when I run low. However, I have missed the smell of freshly laundered sheets, towels and t-shirts. I love pulling out clean towels and wrapping up in the scent of lavender, fresh flowers, the outdoors, any of them.

I did a little research and found an option- Downy Unstoppables. They are small little pellets, like a split pea, that have a strong scent. You pour them into the washing machine while the water is pouring in and they will break apart and make your clothes smell great! They work in regular or HE washing machines and say the scent lasts 30 days. I haven't used them that long, but so far, so good! I bought mine at Target, so I am sure they have them on the laundry aisle of most stores.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baby Shower Corsage

I recently made a corsage for a baby shower. We were holding the shower at a restaurant and I wanted something special for the Mom-to-be to wear. I should have told the other friend planning the shower, because she made one too! So, this one is going in the craft closet until the next baby shower!

Here are the super simple directions....

Cut out three circles from white cardstock just smaller than your centerpiece. I bought a pink flower at Hobby Lobby that is actually a hair clip. In one circle, cut a small slit like below.

Slide the hair clip into the slit. This will be the front of your corsage.

Take another circle and start stapling ribbons of different widths and textures to the circle.

You'll want to layer them and cut the ends at an angle. I did the widest ribbon first so that it would be in the back and just kept adding ribbons, usually one on each side of the thick back ribbons. I also stapled some bunched up tulle.

Next, staple the circle with all the ribbons to the front circle with the flower on it.

Finally, staple the third circle on the back. This will cover up and clean up the back view- it will show only a couple of staples (those attached the back to the middle) and not the big group of staples that attached the ribbons. I then glued on a safety pin.

Here is the fun and finished project. It is much like a Homecoming Mum we girls wear in high school in Texas! I love how simple and inexpensive it was to make. A great idea for showers and more modern than the fresh flower corsage.

Since the shower was at a restaurant, we had to keep the decorating minimal. I had this duck from when we had Abby Lu (came with fresh flowers from a local florist) and added some heart picks and pink flowers to it. I think it'll add a little pink to the tables and not take up too much room.

I love throwing baby showers and am sad that my friends are almost all reaching the point of completing their families. This has been a fun party planning season. Now, we are onto birthday parties!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Story of Us

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of this day of romance, I thought I would share the story of how my husband and I came to be. You can read more love stories here.

1. How long have you been together? 
We began dating in February of 1995. This picture was taken around 1996. I was 19 or 20 and Marcus was around 22. That is a scrunchie on my wrist :) We dates for 4 1/2 years before he proposed and were engaged for 9 months.

2. How did you meet? 
My husband and I met on September 25, 1994. I was a freshman in college and was interviewing to join the university's student council. My husband was a junior and already on the council. He didn't vote for me- I was "too perky". I ended up joining the council (despite him!) and he was my weekly office hour partner. We were friends for about 5 months before I asked him to be my boyfriend. He then told me that girlfriends were a liability. Seriously! We went back to the location of that liability conversation a year later and he told me I was an asset. Good recovery, Marcus!

3. How long have you been married?
Marcus and I have been married for 13 years this summer.

4. Did you have a small or big wedding?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

In my experience, any recipe from Kraft is good. They know their stuff!

I tried their Creamy Chicken Enchiladas last week and they are good and colorful! They have a good mix of chicken, cheese,salsa and cilantro.

Here is the recipe courtesy of Kraft Foods:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine Goodie Boxes and Southern Pecan Bars recipe

My husband had such a good time delivering cookies and Christmas that I mentioned I was game to make Valentine goodie boxes. Really, I am game to make sweets most any time of the week. I just love to bake and share sweets with others. I show love through flour and sugar :)

So, this time around, we ordered gable boxes from Shop Sweet Lulu. I love her site. These boxes were perfect for holding about 2 dozen cookies. I added two shipping labels on the boxes- one had the contents of the box and the other a Valentine poem:

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Business is Sweet
Especially from You

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's Foot Fetish

I haven't done a foot fetish posts in months. I quit last fall when I changed jobs so that I could stay home with my daughter. My Zappos shopping has dropped dramatically which is a good thing. But, I have bought two pairs of shoes this winter that I absolutely love!

Michael Kors City Flats- $89 on Zappos

I have owned the pink since last Spring and am always on the hunt for a good black flat. There is something that bugs me about each pair I currently own... so I spent the money to buy the city flats in black. They feel more like a tennis shoe on, no break-in time, and they look much dressier than they feel. They are perfect on the go shoes! I wear them with jeans, slacks, and capri pants. I really want the tan suede pair now :)

I spend a lot of time at home in pajama pants. I thought staying home would bore me when I worked full time, but now, I love at home days. I never ever thought that would happen! Being home more, I needed good warm slippers. Our tile and hardwood is cold!

Ugg Ansley Slipper- $100 on Zappos

I bought a couple of inexpensive slippers at Macy's before Christmas and they didn't last. I had holes on the bottom of both pair within a month. I saw these and fell in love. Warm and fuzzy- check. Hard soles to last longer- check. Solid back to stay on when my feet are propped up- check. The price wasn't favorable, so I sold a pair of Tory Burch Reva flats on eBay and bought these instead. I wear them everyday and never wore my Reva flats. I bought the classic chestnut color and they came out in red the following week. Never fails- I would have loved red!

These shoes are well loved on Zappos- 135 reviews and still 5 stars!

Happy Shoe Shopping!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Abby Lu's Valentine Treats- Kids and Teacher Ideas

Needing ideas for your kids Valentine's? Here are my daughters treat bags this year. We made 16 of these, for the 8 kids in her Mother's Day Out program and the 8 in her dance class. The contents of the snack baggies includes heart tattoos (Hobby Lobby), heart shaped lollipops, red Starburst, heart slinkys, bouncy balls, and bracelets (all from Target!). The boys got a few extra balls instead of bracelets.

 I bought the cute monkey toppers here and then color copied and had them cut at Office Max.

I also wanted to do something for her teachers that she LOVES, but didn't want to spend too much money. I almost made them red scarves from here or the cute blocks I made for her teachers 2 years ago, but then I found these yummy Red Velvet cupcake candles from Target. Have you smelt them? They smell great!
Since they are cupcake scented, I placed them inside a treat bag with cupcake sprinkles! :)

I added a few coordinating ribbons and a tag with hearts. Super simple- $5 each!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Valentine Decor

I put up a couple of things for Valentine's Day this year... starting with my new yarn wrapped and felt wreath. I love that it is soft and simple.

I bought a 4 pack of red and pink heart picks at Hobby Lobby and put them inside a few of my existing floral arrangements. I like the little hint of love they provide.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

James and Oranges

I am doing the study of James by Beth Moore at my church on Wednesday nights, like many women across the country likely are. I have never done a formal Bible study through my church. I have done numerous little studies at homes and coffee houses through my Bible life group. It has been nice to have homework that focuses me on the Lord daily and to be with a group of women I have never met before, that are both younger and older than I am.

Many of my friends told me that James was their favorite book of the Bible and I now am beginning to see why. It is very practical, a guide to living if you will. James challenges you to be better, act out, and do it more than you say it. I'm liking him. It has also given me a new favorite scripture:

From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. - Romans 11:36

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Desktop

This month's desktop is fun! I love red and yellow together and with a heart it has just enough Valentine's for me! I hope you enjoy it on your computer this month.