Monday, October 31, 2011

Update...

Last week I didn't do much blogging. Monday and Tuesday our house was turned upsidedown as old windows were replaced with new ones. {Gorgeous} I didn't know what a difference it would make, but it's phenomenal!

Wednesday we had an incredible snowstorm that brought with it a lot of collateral damage. Tree branches snapped like twigs under the weight of that heavy, wet snow! Let's just say there was a little clean-up associated with that disaster... 


Thursday and Friday the sun came out and I started painting our master bed and bath in preparation for the big overhaul -- a master bed and bathroom redo -- that starts today. Fortunately, I am not very involved in the demo or construction of the bathroom, so that leaves me free to reintroduce myself to my sewing machine and whip up a few items. I'm looking forward to that! The first things I'm going to make are some extra-special kid's pillowcases for Christmas presents. More on that later this week!

Here are a few pictures of the "before" bathroom. We got up extra early this morning to clear it out and remove the carpet. Saturday I gave the ceiling its first coat of paint. I also painted the widow ledges with the new paint color before we replaced the blinds after the new windows were installed.



I'm going to miss this soaker tub. That tub took me down from many a ledge as the kids were growing up. Half hour in there with steaming hot water and lots of  bubbles and my cares drifted away...


"Before" pictures are always a little embarrassing. One can live with something for quite some time before the realization hits you that a little update is required! Ah well, looking forward to the changes...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nuthin' but leaves...


I've got nothing to share but leaves today. These beauties were resting at my front door when I walked outside the other day....


God has an incredible imagination, doesn't He? I mean, look at those colors! I let the leaves pile up this year. Every time I'd walk outside I would see them and smile. I'm not sure what phenomenon has to occur to have such vibrant colors in the Fall, but whatever it is -- it happened this year in Colorado. The trees are gorgeous.

I wish I had something else to post about, but creating is at a standstill. This week we are having new windows installed in our home. To say our home has been turned upside-down during the process is an understatement. Toward the end of the week we should have everything put back in its place -- just in time for a master bed and bath renovation starting Monday. So excited. We're {I say "we're" loosely -- we're stimulating the economy by having someone with a construction skill-set take control!)  basically gutting the bathroom and starting over! The timeline for completion is 2-3 weeks. We can only hope. The only part of the work that I'm doing myself is the painting. I love to paint. I am having a problem finding the right color though. Ay caramba! Thank heavens for $3 sample paints at Home Depot. My bedroom walls looks like a patchwork quilt right now with all the colors I'm "testing". I'm committing to making a color decision today! Wish me luck.

Here's one more...


Have a nice day!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Braided Pizza...


Sunday afternoons beg for a quick and easy lunch. We come home ravenous from church at 2pm, having missed lunch and eaten breakfast hours before. This is a fun recipe that my girls shared with me several years ago. It's fast, economical and tasty! Below are two variations, but know that you could put anything into this braid that you would normally put on a pizza crust. Just plan on using smaller proportions, because you need to be able to pull the braid over the top of the pizza fillings. It takes less than a half hour to make and cook!

Braided Taco Pizza
  • 1 - Pillsbury Refrigerated Pizza Crust
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Taco seasoning packet
  • Optional: olives, onions, etc.
Cook ground beef and add 1/2 packet of taco seasoning. Shred cheese. Prepare any optional items -- diced onions, green peppers, olives, etc. Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Take pizza crust out of tube and place on cookie sheet. Roll out the pizza dough so it is about 1" from sides of pan. Using a pizza cutter slice the edges of pizza crust as shown in first photo below (1). Pile filling in the center of the crust as shown (2). Start at one end of the crust and braid the dough strips. Tuck last strip under (3). For a shiny crust, brush with one egg white beaten with one tablespoon water before baking. Bake for about 18-20 minutes at 425 degrees. (You may need to put a piece of foil over the braid for the last 5 minutes of baking.) Serve with a side salad or fruit for a fun twist on pizza night!


Braided Pepperoni Pizza
  • 1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pizza Crust
  • 1 can pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: olives, onions, green pepper, etc.
Prepare your pizza crust as above. Spread pizza sauce on the middle of the dough then layer the pepperoni, cheese and optional toppings. Braid and cook the pizza same as above. Whaalaaa!

Here are some photos of the Pepperoni Braided Pizza I made today:




Linked to:
Show Me What You Got @ Not Just a Housewife
The Inspiration Board @ Homework
Made with Love @ Sew Chatty

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Organic Crocheted Washcloths...


Admittedly, I've been known to go overboard at times. The last couple of years I've seen many examples of crocheted washcloths on blogs, but I've been a little cautious (until now). It might seem a little over the top, but they are definitely gaining in popularity, and I'm here to tell you I've seen the light. {Hallelujah}



I used the same easy-peasy pattern as the dishcloths that I made earlier this week for these 100% cotton organic washcloths. The pattern has just enough texture to gently exfoliate the skin.


There are those who swear by crocheted washcloths for their facial cleansing routine. Combined with the right soap there's something luxurious about the idea.


Tied with a ribbon and some yummy soap these would make a sweet personal gift over the holidays for a friend, co-worker, or hostess. They could also be used as a stocking stuffer! They take an evening to make, so you can literally make one a night if you browse the TV channels in the pm.


Linked to:
DIY Under $5 @ A Little Tipsy
Show Me What You Got @ Not Just a Housewife
Inspiration Board @ Homework
Get Your Craft On @ Today's Creative Blog
Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings
Made with Love @ Sew Chatty
Show & Tell @ Be Different Act Normal
Friday Flair @ Whipperberry
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Hookin' Up with HOH
Show Off Your Stuff @ Fireflies & Jellybeans

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

100% Cotton Crocheted Dishcloths


Here's my version of a 100% cotton crocheted dishcloth. It is the same single crochet pattern of my previous dishcloths...


As I said in my previous post, years ago I was given a couple of dishcloths like these as a hostess gift. I loved the organic, natural feel of them -- hence the use of 100% cotton! They were wonderfully absorbent and amazingly resilient. I kept them for several years, throwing them in the washer whenever needed. I'm making mine to use as a homemade gift for friends and family for the holidays.  This (100% cotton) version is perfect for wiping down counters and light dish washing. Just throw it in the washing machine when it needs to be laundered...


Here's what you'll need:
  • Cotton yarn (4-ply). {Hobby Lobby and Walmart carry cotton brands of yarn that work well. I used the "I Love This Cotton" Yarn at Hobby Lobby for this dishcloth.}
  • Size F crochet hook {You may have to adjust this depending upon the thickness of your yarn.}
  • Scissors
1.) To make an 8.5" dishcloth, chain 34 stitches. 

2.) Then, insert the hook back into the second chain from the end and single crochet into each chain to complete the first row.

3.) When you get to the last chain, single crochet, chain one, turn and continue working a single crochet to the end of the next row. Like you did before, single crochet into the last stitch of that row, chain one and continue working in single crochet stitch until you end up with a square piece. You can tie off your ends at this point or complete the optional edging below like I did...


4.) Optional Edging (See first photo for a picture with the edging.): When you have a square piece and you are at the corner: single crochet, chain one, single crochet into that corner stitch, then continue working a single crochet all four sides -- treating each additional corner the same as above (sc, ch, sc).

5.) When you've finished all four sides, end with a slip stitch and tie it off. Weave both loose ends into your dishcloth with a darning needle or your crochet hook.


I love this cotton version! It's perfect for wiping down counters and light dish washing. Again I made a little tag to finish them off. The fonts on this tag can be downloaded (free!) from Kevin and Amanda!


Stay tuned for one more version of these cloths coming later this week!
It will be a fabulous more personal gift for the holidays!
Linked to:
Show Off Your Stuff @ Fireflies & Jellybeans
Hookin' Up with HOH

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crocheted Dishcloths

Update: 
I hate it when I get something wrong. It happens on a regular basis, but it still bugs me. Yesterday I published this post about these dishcloths that I had made. Unfortunately, I hadn't used one of them before I posted. Yesterday afternoon I took one out to use, and immediately I knew I'd made a mistake. My inspiration for making the dishcloths had come from a post, where the author called them "dish scrubbers." I had assumed she used an acrylic yarn (she didn't say otherwise), so that's what I used with mine. Unfortunately, when I went to use my dishcloth yesterday I knew immediately that the yarn needed to be cotton, not acrylic. Cotton is much more absorbent, and the acrylic is more coarse. I imagine the acrylic crocheted cloth would work as a scrubber on dishes, but I wanted to use mine for light dish washing and to wipe down counters, etc. For that use, the cotton is much better. Back to the drawing board... I have since made a cotton dishcloth and made adjustments to the list of supplies and instructions below to reflect using the cotton yarn. I have also changed the size of the crochet hook to a smaller hook which works better with the "I Love This Cotton" yarn at Hobby Lobby. There are other brands of cotton yarn though, and you may need to adjust the crochet hook to a larger size if your yarn is thicker than the "I Love Cotton" yarn. I truly hope this didn't inconvenience anyone... 

Go here for my 100% Cotton Dishcloths post!  


Last week I was sicker than a dog a little under the weather, so I decided to put the one thing to work that didn't hurt on my body {my hands} and do a little crocheting.


Earlier in the week I had pinned some crocheted dishcloths, so I thought I would make some for gifts...

 
Years ago I was given a couple of dishcloths like these as a hostess gift. I loved the organic, natural feel of them. They were wonderfully absorbent and amazingly resilient. I kept them for several years, throwing them in the washer whenever needed. I'm making mine to use as a homemade gift for friends and family for Christmas.


There are many patterns on the web for these dishcloths {including the one I pinned}, but after making a few I decided to use my own pattern. My pattern makes a tighter weaved dishcloth, which I like. {It's not too tight though, because I use a larger crochet hook.} Some of the other patterns lose their shape over time.


These cloths are a cinch to make and very inexpensive. One dishcloth can be completed -- even by the novice crocheter -- in 2-3 hours while watching TV. {Trust me on that one -- I did a lot of TV watching last week because I was ill!}


Here's what you'll need:
  • Cotton yarn (4-ply). {I would recommend cotton yarn rather than acrylic because it is much more absorbent. Hobby Lobby carries an "I Love This Cotton" yarn that works well.}
  • Size F crochet hook (you may have to adjust this depending upon the thickness of your yarn)
  • Scissors
1.) To make an 8.5" dishcloth, chain 34 stitches. 

2.) Then, insert the hook back into the second chain from the end and single crochet into each chain to complete the first row.

3.) When you get to the last chain, single crochet, chain one, turn and continue working a single crochet to the end of the next row. Like you did before, single crochet into the last stitch of that row, chain one and continue working in single crochet stitch until you end up with a square piece. You can tie off your ends at this point or complete the optional edging below like I did...


4.) Optional Edging: When you have a square piece and you are at the end of a corner: single crochet, chain one, single crochet into that corner stitch. Then continue working a single crochet all four sides -- treating each additional corner the same as above (sc, ch, sc).

5.) When you've finished all four sides, end with a slip stitch and tie it off. Weave both loose ends into your dishcloth with a darning needle or your crochet hook.

I'm making a bunch of these to use as little Christmas gifts for friends and family. I made a little tag to wrap around them with some cute fonts and cardstock. Then I secured the tag up with a little jute.


Linked to:
Show Me What You Got @ Not Just a Housewife
The Inspiration Board @ Homework

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some Pinterest Love...


You might have noticed lately a little red "Pinterest" button on my sidebar...


Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't given a whole lot of thought to Pinterest. Early on I learned how to see what items from my website were being featured on Pinterest, but other than that I hadn't given the website very much attention.

In case you are unfamiliar with Pinterest, let me explain: Pinterest allows you to create virtual {bulletin} boards of your favorite images, like these boards from my Pinterest site:


These images can be shared with followers, and you can discover new creations along the way. For me, it replaces the "bookmark" on my computer with a visually inspiring image, which helps me better remember what I'd like to work on and create in the future! If you’re looking for a minimalistic, visual approach to cataloging what you find interesting on the internet, Pinterest might be for you.

A couple of weeks ago one of my daughters-in-law was visiting. She showed me her incredible Pinterest collection and I was hooked. I signed up, added the "Pin It" bookmark, and started creating my boards.

{Tip: Once you sign up, the easiest way to pin items is to install Pinterest's “Pin It” bookmark. Then, any time you find an image on a website that you like, just use your “Pin It” button and you will be given options to pin any of the pictures on that post to one of your Pinterest boards. So simple!}

Here's my Pinterest site. Feel free to look around at some of the things I love and follow me if you'd like! There are also a few items from my blog tucked between the favorites I've found.

For those interested in seeing if any photos from your blog have made it to a Pinterest board simply do the following. Type <http://pinterest.com/source/>, then tack on your website.

For example if I wanted to check to see if my blog had any pins, I would type in the following:


You might be surprised at how many pins your blog has! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mod Podged Pumpkin

Sometimes I get carried away with Mod Podge. My motto: any item can be improved with a little Mod Podge. It's a good thing I wasn't familiar with it when my kids were little. As cute as my kids were when they were small they would have run the risk of being shellacked and placed on my mantle for display. Just sayin'...

The other day I was hankering for a fall item to display among my shabby chic decor on the landing in my entryway.  Although a splash of orange might have been cute with all that milky goodness, I imagined a more tone-down decoration for the space.

Below is a glimpse into my brain imagining that "tone-downed" decoration...


{I hope that glimpse into my brain didn't scare you too much.}

That's when I spied a pumpkin on the counter in my kitchen and decided it was just what I needed for this little redo. (Note: My pumpkin was a real, live pumpkin, but I imagine a fake pumpkin would work even better and be reusable year after year.) I took some brown mailing paper (found at most dollar stores) and tore it up into manageable pieces. Then I started Mod Podging those pieces onto the pumpkin...


By the time I was done and it had dried, it looked like the item below {not very impressive if you ask me}.


I then took a paper towel and using an ink pad I distressed the pumpkin a bit to give it a little more depth and character. Ahhh, much better.


Then I gave him a place to call home...


I'm thinking he fits right in...



Linked to:
Halloween Linky Party @ eighteen25
Show Off Your Stuff @ Fireflies & Jellybeans
DIY under $5 @ A Little Tipsy
Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Design